Note from the Dean 11/14

Cooper-Wilson Center for the Life Sciences in the early morning

Cooper-Wilson Center for the Life Sciences in the early morning

Even the sun doesn’t want to get up very early this time of year.

Humans try to make sense of their world, and amazingly we apparently can, at least sometimes, made good sense.

In the picture, we see that the early morning sun shines on the South side of Cooper-Wilson.  In the summer, the early morning sun shines on the North (as well as the East) side.  That fact is related to why summer is hotter and winter is colder.

But not all of our attempts to make sense of the world come out right.  (Perhaps we need to lose a few to really appreciate it when we win.)  In Science, theories are useful for organizing our huge amounts of data.  Good theories do that, but they also predict new things to look for.  That, in fact, is the real test of how good a theory is.

In the School of Sciences, we continually test our theories of how to educate students; and we do see the results in each grade we give and especially in each graduating class.  It remains a pleasure to work with such a dedicated faculty and responsive students who continually demonstrate the good results of both of our efforts.

News of the Moment 11/14

Elephant Toothpaste demonstration

Elephant Toothpaste demonstration as part of National Chemistry Week

The CBU Student Members of the American Chemical Society (SMACS) club has received notice that it has won 2 national awards from the American Chemical Society for activities during the 2013-2014 academic year.  The club received the Honorable Mention Award for its program of activities  and the Green Chemistry Student Chapter Award for its Green Chemistry activities during the 2013-2014 school year.

The CBU Student Members of the American Chemical Society (SMACS) celebrated National Chemistry Week this year with several weeks of activities and demonstrations.

Mole Day dinner this year

Mole Day dinner this year

On Mole Day, October 23, the club held its annual Mole Day Dinner at the Spaghetti Warehouse in downtown Memphis.  On October 31, the celebration continued with Foaming Pumpkins demonstrations in the lobby of Cooper-Wilson and Assisi Hall.   The final round of demonstrations were presented during the following week and included:

Foaming Pumpkin demonstration

Foaming Pumpkin demonstration

November 4: Diet Coke and Mentos in front of Cooper-Wilson
November 5:  Gummy Bear Sacrifice in AH 204
November 6:  Elephant Toothpaste  in AH 155.

 

Thank you to Beta Beta Beta members Jordan, Brenda, Kyle, Maddie, Joe and Brent for going on this year’s Tri Beta, Memphis Zoo Trip early in November. The weather was brisk but the trip was worth it (especially since most to the tour was inside). The group received a special behind the scenes tour of the aquarium, led by longtime aquarium coordinator Steve Bogardy. Steve fielded questions and showed members the workings of the aquarium as well as aquatic life not currently on display. The incredible array of aquatic creatures convinced the group that the Aquarium is a hotspot at the Zoo, right up there with along with the catfish sandwiches at the Cat House Cafe.

Gina Horton Vazquez on the panel for the Career Center's presentation.

Gina Horton Vazquez on the panel for the Career Center’s presentation.

Gena Horton Vazquez, Natural Science 1999, participated in the most recent Career Center “Careers for the Criminal Minds” on Forensics, Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement.

Dr Sue Trzynka, Associate Professor of Nursing,  presenting a poster at the AACN Baccalaureate Conference in Baltimore - Nov. 21, 2014

Dr Sue Trzynka presenting a poster at the AACN Baccalaureate Conference in Baltimore

Dr. Sue Trzynka, Associate Professor of Nursing,  presented a poster at the AACN Baccalaureate Conference in Baltimore on Nov. 21, 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Fitzgerald with her neuroscience poster.Dr. Malinda Fitzgerald, Professor of Biology and Director of the MHIRT program presented a poster at the Society for Neuroscience in Washington, D.C. earlier this month entitled:  ”Characterization of the central neurons responsible for parasympathetic regulation of choroidal blood flow in rat eye using pseudorabies virus” by C. Li, M.E.C. Fitzgerald, N. DelMar, S. Cuthbertson, M.LeDoux, S. Gong, P. Ryan, and A. Reiner.

The meeting was held in Washington D.C. November 15-19.  Over  30,000 scientists were in attendance.  (www.sfn.org)  While she was there she visited with CBU alumni that she has remained in contact with in DC as well as colleagues from Brasil, France, Italy and even from UTCHS that she don’t often see.

Dr. Fitzgerald with MHIRT faculty member and with former SGA president.

Dr. Fitzgerald with MHIRT faculty member and with former SGA president.

In particular (see image), she met up for dinner with Dr. Eloisa Pavesi, one of the Brazilian MHIRT faculty members, and Chase De Saint-Felix, Religion & Philosophy 2011 and former SGA president.

She also attended teaching sessions on neuroscience as well as scientific sessions on areas relating to her research.  Funds for this trip were provided in part by summer research funds from the School of Science and from MHIRT.

Dr. Christian Vlautin, Dr. Shane Hanlon (Co-PI on grant), Jerad Henson and Dr. James Moore get ready for field work this month.

Dr. Christian Vlautin, Dr. Shane Hanlon (Co-PI on grant), Jerad Henson and Dr. James Moore get ready for field work this month.

Dr. James Moore, Assistant Professor of Biology, received a grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for sampling turtles for ranavirus at Wapanocca National Wildlife Refuge in Arkansas.  This month’s cold weather made some of the field work a little more “inconvenient” than normal for this time of year.

On Friday, November 21, Beta Beta Beta sponsored its annual Bowling for Uganda.  More information and an image or two will be in the next edition of the newsletter.

Upcoming Events 11/14

Thanksgiving is this Thursday.

On December 4, Dr. Xuan Zhao, Associate Professor of Chemistry at the University of Memphis, will present a seminar describing his research on artificial photosynthesis at 1 pm in AH 153.  This event is co-hosted by the CBU Student Members of the American Chemical Society (SMACS) chemistry club and the CBU Department of Chemistry.

Final Exams are scheduled for Monday morning, December 15, through Friday morning, December 19.  Here is a link to the final exam schedule .

Alumni News 11/14

Kristin Davis

Kristin Davis

Kristen Davis, Biology 2014, presented the poster from her senior thesis last week at the annual meeting of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development in San Diego.  The title was:  ”Contrast Sensitivity Testing in Normal Vision: Performance with Letter vs. Continuous Text” by Kristen Davis, BS; Marc B. Taub, OD, MS, FAAO, FCOVD.  Kristen is a student at the Southern College of Optometry.

Amanda Fitzgerald with her poster

Amanda Fitzgerald with her poster

Amanda Fitzgerald, Biology 2011, presented her thesis at the Society for Toxicology meeting in Austin, Texas, this month.  She defends her M.S. thesis on Dec 10th.

Dr. Hilaire Playa

Dr. Hilaire Playa

 

 

 

Dr. Hilaire Playa, Chemistry 2001, successfully defended her Ph.D. in November.  Dr. Lyle Wescott, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry at CBU, attended.  Her Ph.D. is in Pharmaceutical Sciences from UTHSC and her thesis title is:  ”Computer Aided Drug Design and Discovery, Screening and Synthesis of Small Molecule Inhibitors of Nucleoside Transporters”.  She also recently announced her engagement to Chase Barch.

Dr. Christina Martinez Roman

Dr. Christina Martinez Roman

 

 

Christina Martinez Roman, DDS. , Biology 2004 & MHIRT 2002, 2003, passed her oral exam for endodontics in St Louis.

Featured Alum: Binoy Shah, Pharm.D., Chemistry 2010

Binoy Shah

Binoy Shah

Binoy Shah, Chemistry 2010, graduated with a Pharm.D. from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and earned a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Memphis. He will soon be working as a Pharmacy Manager for Walgreens.  Binoy was at the health fair at CBU where he was part of a group that provided influenza, pneumococcal and tdap vaccinations to the CBU staff.  Below is from Binoy:

“First off, I would like to sincerely thanks all the professors and faculty that played a vital role in molding me into a successful professional. I would like to give special thanks to Drs. Merat, Dawson, Condren, and Busler for continuous support during my tenure at CBU. The rigorous chemistry program taught me many things one of which is prioritizing my tasks. Aside from the rigorous curriculum, I was also served as a resient assistant for Rozier Hall, where I further developed my leadership, teamwork, and communication skills.

“While attending UTHSC, I worked at Walgreens and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (SJRCH). At SJRCH, I was in charge of making chemotherapy for all the patients.”

Featured Story: New CBU Website Design

Home page of new CBU web site.

Home page of new CBU web site.

Last month CBU launched a new web site.  It is still at the usual address:  www.cbu.edu .  It has most of the information on the old site, and it has some new information.  The navigation is a little different, and the look is quite a bit different.  We are continuing to work on the site, and hope to continue to make it better.

Spotlight faculty page

Spotlight faculty page in new CBU web site

One of the new items is an item we had on the version previous to the last one:  faculty “spotlight” pages.  We don’t yet have pictures of each faculty member, but we hope to include those soon.  At CBU we want to interact with our students both as professors/experts and as fellow human beings.  The spotlight pages are one of our attempts to show students that we are also people with our own unique sets of interests and talents.  By doing this we hope to encourage them so that they can see themselves as becoming an expert in their chosen area.  To see these pages, go to the CBU web site, choose Academics, choose School of Sciences, choose Faculty and Staff, and you will see links to both the faculty member’s web site and to their “spotlight” page.

Academics Program web page.

Academics Program web page.

Another new item to our web site are sample four year paradigms for each of our degrees.  These show a “normal” progression of courses.  Of course, not everyone is “normal”.  Some students come in with some credits already earned, others need some basic courses before they start the regular sequence.  Some of the courses need to be taken in order due to prerequisites (most of the science and math courses), but some of the courses can be switched around (most of the General Education Requirements).  Student still have access to their checklists to make sure they are on track to graduate.  These paradigms are designed to give both current and prospective students a glimpse of what it will take to earn this particular degree.  Each of the paradigms can be seen from the CBU main page, choose Academics, choose School of Sciences, choose Academic Programs, and click on the major that you are interested in.

Biology Degree Program web page.

Biology Degree Program web page.

A third item that is new to our web site that we also had on the version previous to the last one, is a departmental syllabus for each of our courses.  This is not yet complete for all courses, but we are working on it.  We hope that this extra information will assist our students in choosing appropriate courses and assist our faculty in making our courses a coherent whole.  The departmental syllabi do not contain the grading that is the responsibility of each faculty member, but they do contain the prerequisite knowledge needed, the course goals, and the areas that will be covered in the courses.  To see the departmental syllabus for any course, go to the CBU web site, choose Academics, choose School of Sciences, choose Academic Programs, choose the Department that offers the courses, choose Courses, and then under each course there is a link to the departmental syllabus (if it has been created yet).

The new Pre-Health web page

The new Pre-Health web page

A fourth item is the inclusion of a page on Pre-Health Programs with sub pages for each of the most popular pre-health areas.  Most health professional schools do not require any particular degree, but do require specific courses.  Dr. Stan Eisen, our Director of Pre-Health Programs, has created these pages that show what is required for entrance into these professional health programs and what those courses are called at CBU.  To see these pages, go to the CBU web site, choose Academics, choose School of Sciences, choose Academic Programs, and then choose the Pre-Health Programs link.

If you have any suggestions on any of the Sciences’ pages, or suggestions for new information that should be displayed, please let me know (at: jholmes@cbu.edu ).

Math Center Tutor: Luke Wade 11/14

Luke Wade, Math Center Tutor

Luke Wade, Math Center Tutor

Luke Wade, a graduate of Cordova High School, is a freshman and a new tutor in the Math Center.  He is majoring in Mechanical Engineering and is considering adding a major in math.  Luke is also a member of the Honors Program and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.  In addition to tutoring math he often finds himself helping others with everything from Physics to Chemistry to Programing.  He greets people with a very friendly smile and pleasant attitude.

Thank You Note to Dr. Johnny B. Holmes, Professor of Physics and Dean of the School of Sciences

The following is a thank you note from a high school student who “interviewed” Dr. Holmes as part of a high school assignment.  It is presented here, not so much as a credit to Dr. Holmes, but as a testament to the sense of wonder that is, or at least should be, in all people regardless of age.

Dear Dr. Holmes,

I would like to thank you again for the fantastic interview.  It truly showed me a side to physics which I haven’t ever seen.  It showed me the “brighter” side to physics you could say.  Physics isn’t all equations and theories like many people think.  It is the majority of physics yes, but not all of it.  There’s a side of it where you can think creatively, just like you said, you can look out the window and seriously wonder “Why is the sky blue?” or “How can I see that star that’s billions of light-years away?”  Yet, the most beautiful part of all of this is that you can find the answer to these questions.  You showed me these things and I thank you so very much.  Because of your interview I am more focused and hopeful on achieving my dream of being a physicist.

Thank you again,

Alexandra

Featured Major Computer Science

CBU offers three related degrees in the broad field of computing with courses taught in three schools. The School of Business offers a concentration in Management Information Systems (MIS), the School of Engineering has a major in Computer Engineering (ECE), the School of Sciences has a major in Computer Science (CS), and CBU offers a multidisciplinary degree in Cyber Security and Digital Forensics. The MIS courses prepare a graduate to manage software that solves problems in a business environment. The ECE degree prepares a graduate to design hardware and software. The CS degree prepares a graduate to develop software. A computer scientist designs algorithms to solve applied problems efficiently with software in such areas as video games, search engines, bioinformatics and secure communication. For example, one reason why Google is such a widely used tool for web searches is the speed and quality of its search algorithm.

Computer Science lab

Dr. Pascal Bedrossian, Professor of Mathematics and Computer
Science teaching the CS 234 Data Structures Lab.

Dr. Pascal Bedrossian, Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science, uses a genetic algorithm to create a final exam schedule each semester that meets the needs of both students and faculty. His algorithm creates a final exam schedule that a) has no conflicts for students; b) has no student taking four exams on any day; c) allows faculty to schedule multiple sections in one time slot for a common final exam; and d) minimizes those students who have three exams on one day. His algorithm represents a significant improvement over the old way where some students had to resolve conflicts of two finals in the same period and common final exams for multiple sections were difficult to accomodate.

Our Computer Science majors take an internship course in their junior year where they help to develop software for local businesses. They next take a capstone course in their senior year in which they complete a software project for industry in order to gain additional experience and use their skills and knowledge bases to solve a real problem. Our best graduates find jobs with companies such as Microsoft, Google and the New York Times. Some of these graduates have been featured in previous issues.

The Computer Science degree requires an option in computer engineering, information technology management, bioinformatics, or forensics. Bioinformatics applies techniques of computer science to solve biological problems at the molecular level. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital uses bioinformatics as one of its research tools to find cures for diseases. A computer scientist in forensics applies techniques of computer science to answer questions in the legal field.

CBU offers the opportunity to obtain dual degrees in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, and dual degrees in Computer Science and Mathematics. CBU has also developed a degree in Cyber Security and Digital Forensics that requires several computer science courses.