Note from the Dean 11/15

Cooper-Wilson is a busy place this fall!

Cooper-Wilson Center for the Life Sciences is a busy place this fall!

Thinking!  Do you like to think?  Have you heard that it is dangerous to think?  Is there still time to think, even daydream, with all of the instant communications available today?  How does college fit in with this thing called “thinking”?

Can we in college teach students to think?  If they are willing to think, we can help them think more clearly.  Mathematics is logical thinking and our scientific theories are based on that quantitative and relational logic.  But logical thinking is based on assumptions, and if your assumptions are faulty, then so will be your results.  It is very hard sometimes to be aware of the assumptions you make. And there is more than logic that goes into thinking.  In science, thinking is called hypothesizing.  But before we can do this, we need to observe – do both real and thought experiments.  Only then can we make the abstractions that are the bases of theories.  There is another step, though.  After we make our hypotheses, we need to test them – that is, observe even more.  Without this, we leave ourselves more open to unintended consequences!  Observation is the step that really tests not only our logic but also our assumptions.

Student working in the Organic Chemistry Lab

Student working in the Organic Chemistry Lab

Most science courses have labs attached so that students can observe and hopefully relate what they observe to what is discussed in class.  It is very hard to challenge students about their long held beliefs so these labs are a critical component of science education.

Life is full of very interesting things to observe and think about.  College should expand those opportunities to observe and hence increase the quality of the hypotheses we make.  A complement to direct observations is interactions with others.  See the article later on in this newsletter about that.

I hope that in this newsletter you can see evidence of how our students are developing their thinking skills with logic, with observations of new and interesting things, and with their many and varied interactions.

News of the Moment 11/15

Dr. Ogilvie

Dr. Mary Ogilvie (center) with Dr. John Smarrelli Jr., President of CBU, and Maria Lensing, (’01, MSEM ’07) CBU Alumni Board President.

Congratulations to Dr. Mary Ogilvie, Professor of Biology!  She received the Teaching Excellence Award at the Bell Tower Gala on November 14.  Dr. Ogilvie has taught in the biology department since 1991 and currently teaches Principles of Biology I and II, Biology Seminar, Immunology and Cell/Molecular Biology lecture and lab.

Dr. James Moore, Associate Professor of Biology, has a paper accepted for publication: Trout Fryxell RT, J.E. Moore, M.D. Collins, Y. Kwon, S. Jean-Philippe, S.M. Schaeffer, A. Odoi, M.L. Kennedy, A.E. Houston. ACCEPTED. Habitat and vegetation variables are not enough when predicting tick populations in the southeastern United States. PLOS One.

Dr. Ogilvie and some students cleaning up at McKellar Lake

Dr. Ogilvie and some students cleaning up at McKellar Lake

As part of the September of Service, approximately 25 Tri Beta people showed up. They picked up trash along McKellar Lake which is an area that is a spillway for the river when it gets high. At one time several years ago it was considered one of the most polluted areas of the country. Since then, events like McKellar Clean Up Day have tremendously decreased the amount of trash and debris in the area.

Student Members of the Society of Physics Students

Student Members of the Society of Physics Students (SPS)

As a welcome back after a well-deserved break, students and alumni from the Schools of Engineering and Sciences came together for food, fellowship, and professional networking at the 1st Annual STEM Alumni & Student Networking Cookout on November 4 at Nolan Field. It was hosted by the CBU student chapters of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Mathematical Association of America, Society of Black Engineers, Society of Women Engineers, Society of Physics Students, Tau Beta Pi, and Theta Tau.

Students who participated in the Mock interview.

Students who participated in the Mock interview.

On October 8th, in the Cooper-Wilson student lounge, the Annual Beta Beta Beta Biology Honor’s Society Mock Interviews were held. This mock interview was open to all students to help them get an understanding of how it is to apply to graduate school and jobs.




Beta Beta Beta, the Biological Honors Society(Tri Beta), has implemented a tutoring system for the freshman and sophomore level courses offered at CBU. The reason Tri Beta has started offering tutoring is because we found that many of our students in the sciences were having problems comprehending the material presented to them and therefore we as an organization came together and decided to provide a service for our students to excel in the biological sciences. Tri Beta does a lot of charity and community service, but, until recently, has not been as focused on the educational aspect of being an honor society; therefore we felt that by offering tutoring to our students we would grow in that aspect. The Educations Chair of Tri Beta, Juan Mejia, along with co-Vice President, John Buttross, organized the ‘when, where, and how’ of the tutoring system as well as organized who the tutors would be based on professor approval and proficiency in the courses. The tutors are as follows: John Buttross, Juan Mejia, Miranda Anderson, Prakruthi Phaniraj, Saehymn Oh, Sagar Keriwala, Solomon Shoukouh-amiri.  The tutoring is taking place in the Tri-Beta/Pre-Health room in Assisi Hall, AH 114.  The schedule is below and is posted outside of the tutoring room.  With tests coming up as well as getting close to the end of the semester, this should be a resource you take full advantage of.  We hope you guys find this available tutoring useful and wish you the best of luck in your studies!

Schedule (as of 6 Nov 2015)
9:00-11:00 am MWF :  Juan and Sagar
2:00-3:30 pm MW:  Solomon
2:00-3:30 pm Fri: Miranda
3:30-4:30 pm Fri: John B.
12:30-2:30 pm Tues.: Saehymn
1:45-3:45 pm Thurs: Saehymn
5:00-7:00 pm Tues, Wed, Thurs: Juan

Students managing the Bowling for Uganda event.

Students managing the Bowling for Uganda event.

On Saturday, November 7, Beta Beta Beta, Honorary Biology Society, held its annual event, Bowling for Uganda, at Billy Hardwick’s Bowling Alley. The group successfully raised $1,200 for the Ishaka Health Plan, a public health initiative in Uganda. Individual winners were Nathan Sanford for Best Male Bowler and Meghan Hutton for Best Female Bowler. In team competition, first place winners were Team TKE (Connor Meeks, Trey Gillenwater, Clark Sawyers, Ben Kueter, and Jacob Knight). In second place, was Team Frisky Faculty consisting of: University President, Dr. John Smarelli, Ms. Kristina Smarelli, Dr. Serge Salan (Math/CS), Mr. Mark Kelly, and Dr. Jing Wang (Math). Third place winners belonged to Team MAA and included: Nathan Sanford, Luke Wade, Shannon Little, Olivia Koonce, and Ali Crisp. Thanks to those who organized the event, i.e., Clare Sauser, Natural Science 2018, Ben Kueter, Biochemistry 2018, and Katelyn Wilson, Biology 2018, and to all who participated.

ACS tee shirt

Dustin Higgins, Biomedical Science 2017, is shown wearing the official T-Shirt of the Undergraduate Program of the 2015 SERMACS-SWRM meeting. The T-Shirt was designed by Jennie (Thuy-Anh) Phan, Biochemistry 2016. Dustin helped with many tasks at the meeting, including registration and the Chemistry College Bowl.

The Memphis Section of the American Chemical Society hosted the 71st Southwest and 67th Southeastern Combined Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society (2015 SERMACS-SWRM) that was held in Memphis, Tennessee November 4-7, 2015.  Dr. Dennis Merat, CBU Associate Professor of Chemistry, was the General Chair for the meeting in overall charge of the planning and running of the meeting.  Over 1190 abstracts were submitted for paper and poster presentations with a meeting attendance of approximately 1,500 people.  The meeting included a number of workshops, symposia, and poster sessions, as well as an Undergraduate Program, a High School Teachers’ Program, and a variety of social events.  One of the highlights of the meeting was the Thursday night performance of Country –Rock music by Ben Bradford, CBU Biology alum, a rising country music star in Nashville.

Students helping at the ACS Regional meeting

Pictured from left to right are Jennie (Thuy-Anh) Phan, Biochemistry 2016 , Janice Nguyen, Biochemistry 2016, and Thomas Summers, Biochemistry 2016. All 3 helped with many tasks at the 2015 SERMACS-SWRM meeting, including assisting with registration and placing signs in front of meeting rooms.

The CBU Student Members of the American Chemical Society (CBU SMACS) played an important role in the 2015 SERMACS-SWRM meeting by hosting the Undergraduate Program.  The CBU SMACS club received a $2,600 grant from the Undergraduate Programming Office of the American Chemical Society for planning activities and helping to oversee the running of this program.  Undergraduate activities at the meeting included an Undergraduate Mixer and Dinner, CheMagic Show, a Demomania competition, and a College Chemistry Bowl.  The College Chemistry Bowl involved a series of matches with 2 teams of students competing with one another to answer questions from Physical, Organic, Biological, Inorganic, and Analytical Chemistry.  Thomas Summers, Biochemistry 2016, prepared all of the questions for the College Chemistry Bowl; and both he and Dustin Higgins, Biomedical Science 2017, ran all of the individual matches between rival SMACS clubs from Universities across the Southeast and Southwest.  A number of students from the CBU SMACS club also assisted with Registration and changing signs and numbers.  The following CBU students helped with registration and other tasks at the 2015 SERMACS-SWRM meeting: Courtney Banks, Kiva Burt, Abraham (Hsuan-Hsin) Lin, Maribel Lopez Mata, Rhemrose Sabio, Devam Zalawadia, and Paula Zeballos.

CBU alums and additional chemistry faculty also participated in the 2015 SERMACS-SWRM meeting.  Analice Sowell, Chemistry 2001 & MAT 2005, was the Chair of the High School Chemistry Teachers’ Program and of the Southern Chemist Award Committee.  Dr. John Young, Associate Professor of Chemistry, chaired a Biomolecular NMR Symposia.  Dr. William Peer and Dr. Anthony  Trimboli, Associate Professors of Chemistry, assisted with registration and judging of Undergraduate sessions.  CBU alums Christine Nguyen, Biochemistry 2014, Kevin Liao, Biochemistry 2014, and Parth Thakor assisted with a number of tasks, including registration.

Christian Lyons and Tiffany Rice presented posters at the 2015 SERMACS-SWRM meeting.  The title of Christian’s poster was “Synthesis of Isoquinoline Derived Pentadentate Ligands”; coauthors on the poster included R. Mattapalli, K. Driskill, K. Knight, and X. Zhao.  The title of Tiffany’s poster was “Synthesis of Nitrogen-rich Ligands and Cobalt Complexes for Hydrogen Production”; coauthors on the poster included S.R. Powers, Y. Gueye, and X. Zhao.  Christian and Tiffany performed their research in the laboratory of Dr. Xuan Zhao in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Memphis.

On November 12, at the invitation of the Student Members of the American Chemical Society (SMACS), Dr. William J. Busler, Professor Emeritus, CBU Department of Chemistry, gave the first of a two part guest lecture series on  THE MESSAGE OF STARLIGHT.  The title of his talk was “Without Spectroscopy, Astronomers Would Know Very Little About the Universe”.  Dr. Busler traced the history of astronomical spectroscopy and elucidated the principles upon which it is based.  Part 2 of the series will be on November 19 – see the Upcoming Events section of the newsletter.

Trivia Night Winners

Trivia Night Winners with the trophy.

The CBU Society of Physics Students (SPS) chapter hosted the Fourth Annual Science Trivia Contest on Thursday, November 12.  Teams tried to come up with the correct answers to questions dealing with biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics, and other miscellaneous scientific topics.  The first place team, shown holding the coveted “Science Genius” trophy, consisted of Hunter Gore (University of Memphis), Jordan Meyer (Rhodes College), and Edo Draetta (Rhodes College).

Luke Wade and Ali Crisp, the 2nd place winners of the Trivia Contest.

Luke Wade and Ali Crisp, the 2nd place winners of the Trivia Contest.

The second place team consisted of Luke Wade and Ali Crisp (both from CBU).  It was a close contest that came down to the last question.  Congratulations to all the teams that competed!

On November 13, Beta Beta Beta had a behind the scenes tour of the Herpetarium at the Memphis Zoo.

JD Price, CBU Nursing Student, Dr. Florence Jones VP and Chief Nursing Officer of Methodist North Hospital and Laura Scott, CBU Nursing Student.

JD Price, CBU Nursing Student, Dr. Florence Jones VP and Chief Nursing Officer of Methodist North Hospital and Laura Scott, CBU Nursing Student.



Laura Scott was a recipient of the Tennessee Nurses Foundation Board – Edna Mason Memorial TNA Annual Conference Scholarship.  She earned a scholarship to attend the TNA Annual Meeting in October 2015.



Upcoming Events 11/15


Guest Lectures by
Dr. William J. Busler
Professor Emeritus, CBU Department of Chemistry

Thursday, November 12 and Thursday, November 19, 2015, 1:00 p.m.
Assisi Hall, Room 155

Part I was on November 12, and is in the News of the Moment section of this newsletter. Part 2 will be on November 19, and Dr. Busler will outline the many important astronomical discoveries which were made possible through spectroscopy, and will connect these discoveries to our present understanding of the Universe.

Contact Dr. Varriano for more details.

Contact Dr. Varriano for more details.

The CBU Student Members of the American Chemical Society (CBU SMACS) will have the Annual Mole Day Dinner on November 23, 2015.  The dinner was delayed from October 23, the traditional mole day, since SMACS was preparing for the 2015 SERMACS-SWRM meeting in October (see News of the Moment section).

christmas tree (295x400)We will start decorating Cooper-Wilson and Assisi Hall for Christmas on Monday, November, 30th. If you would like to help decorate the Christmas trees, see Mrs. Paula Beecham.

The annual Beta Beta Beta and Student Members of the American Chemical Society Holiday Party is coming up on December 3rd.

Alumni News 11/15

Duy (Danny) Nguyen

Duy (Danny) Nguyen

Duy (Danny) Nguyen, Chemistry 2014, has been accepted into the next class of the Southern College of Optometry here in Memphis, Tennessee.

Dr. Cina Ali, Biology 2001 & UTHSC 2008, and his wife, Dominique Butawan-Ali, welcomed their son, Arie Joseph, on November 3.  Cina is currently a musculoskeletal radiology fellow at Duke University in Durham, NC.

Allyson Frymark Natural Science 2013, married John Archer Engineering Management 2013, on October 3 at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in North Little Rock, AR.  A lot of CBU alumni were in the wedding.

Drs. Gautam , Biology 2001 & MD/PhD UAMS 2009, and Cindy Gandhi, MD/PhD UAMS 2009, welcomed their daughter, Lilian Yuying Gandhi.  She joins her older sister and brother.  They are currently practicing in Little Rock.

Rachael Reese Covington

Rachael Reese Covington

Rachael Reese Covington, Biomedical Sciences 2010, presented a paper entitled “Lack of Standardization in Laboratory Reporting of Variants Outside the Coding Region: a Case Report”
at the National
Society of Genetic Counselors meeting.


Elizabeth Nguyen and her husband, Peter, welcomed Lana AiVan Nguyen born 10-14-15 @5:19.  Liz is currently a dental hygienist at the Church Health Center

Adrienne Renfro, Biology 2012, was married to Justin Ayler October 10, 2015.  She is currently studying to be a nurse practitioner MSN at East Tennessee State University.  She graduated from Belmont University College of Health Sciences and Nursing.

Nicholas and Hannah Shackelford Baer

Nicholas and Hannah Shackelford Baer

Dr. Dora Sellers, Psychology & Natural Science 2007 & UTHSC 2013, and Greg Gaston welcomed their daughter, Lucy Grace, on September 18.  Dr. Sellers has Sellers Dental Studio in Memphis.

Hannah Shackelford, Biology 2007, and Nicholas Baer were married at Teton Trek in the Memphis Zoo on Saturday, November 14th. Both are currently in veterinary school.





Hope Shackelford luka ( bio CBU) and Dr Adam luka participated in Hannah's wedding. Lula was youngest flower girl. But slept through it!

Hope Shackelford luka ( bio CBU) and Dr Adam luka participated in Hannah’s wedding. Lula was youngest flower girl. But slept through it!

Hope Shackelford Luka, Biology 2009, and Dr. Adam Luka, Biology 2009, participated in Hannah’s wedding. Lula was youngest flower girl. But slept through it!

Featured Alum: Patrice McKinney, Computer Science 2006

Patrice McKinney with her son

Patrice McKinney with her son

I graduated from CBU in May of 2006 with a major in Computer Science and a minor in Mathematics.  The summer before completing my degree, I had the honor of interning with the best company in the Memphis area, FedEx.  It was then that I learned my goal of one day becoming a VP with the company could be a reality.  So I worked hard to ensure that I would obtain my degree in spite of finding out that I was pregnant.  With the help and encouragement of teachers like Dr. Y, Ms. Cathy Carter (Grilli), Dr. Bedrossian, and Dr. Peacher-Ryan, I pushed forward with a zeal to not give up, but to finish what I started.  And exactly six weeks after giving birth to my son, I became the first person in my family to walk across a collegiate stage and to be presented with a degree.

Shortly afterwards, I was hired by a local company, by the name of Primacy Relocation, in their IT department as an Associate Programmer.  And one week before my three month contract was to end, FedEx posted a position in the Career center at CBU.  I immediately completed the application; and after a month long hiring process, I became a full time employee of FedEx.

While I enjoyed my job and career with FedEx, the economy was starting to change and as a company everyone took a 5% pay deduction.  I realized that I needed to do something different in order to sustain my family.  So I made the hard and challenging decision to leave the company of my dreams to work for a small startup, called DREAM Software.  While being a part of a much smaller development team; I experienced how to lead projects, negotiate with third party vendors, and conduct meetings with vendors, directors, and CEOs.

After one year, I decided that I had gained  enough knowledge and new skillsets to apply for higher positions within FedEx.  I received a phone call about a contracting position within the company’s Airline Technology organization.  And after several phone interviews I was hired for a contract-to-hire position.  And subsequently working a 6 month contract, I was hired again as a full time employee with the best company in the Memphis area, with a job title of Programmer Analyst Advisor.  I have been an intern, a contractor, and an employee with this company, but the ultimate goal is to become a VP.  While receiving several BZ awards with the team, I have also been inducted into the IT Hall of Fame.  Since completing my undergraduate degree, I have completed the Dale Carnegie Course of Leadership and currently taking training courses to obtain my PMP certification.

In December of 2013, I walked across a collegiate stage for the second time to receive my MBA.  My son, who is now 9, has been my biggest fan every step of the way.  And he motivates me to aim for stars, because landing on the moon is better than never taking off at all.  While I am not a VP today, the ultimate goal still stands.  And I will continue to work hard, be the best, and encourage and motivate those around me to do the same.

Interactions 11/15

In the Note from the Dean earlier in this newsletter, logic and observation were mentioned as being central to a college education.  Interaction is another important element of thinking that allows people to bounce their ideas and theories off of other people.  Here are some of the ways for students at CBU to interact outside of class and lab time with professors, with each other, and with possible employers:

Student taking advantage of office hours.

Student taking advantage of office hours.

1.  With the professors.
*  a)  Each student has an academic adviser from the department of their major to help guide them through the curriculum and talk to them about their major.
*  b)  Each professor at CBU is available for at least 10 office hours every week.  Professors encourage students to stop by to talk about the subject and how they are doing.  Professors love their subjects and want to share that excitement with their students!

2.  With student tutors.  Sometimes students feel more at ease with fellow students despite the faculty’s attempts to welcome students to talk to them during office hours.  Also, a good way to learn a subject is to try to teach it, and the student tutors learn a lot by helping their fellow students with difficult material.
*  a)  In the School of Sciences, we have a Math Center in CW 321 staffed by student tutors that can help with not only the math courses but some tutors can help with other science subjects as well.  (See article on Math Tutors later in this newsletter.)
*  b)  The Student Members of the American Chemical Society (SMACS) have set up a schedule of tutors to help with chemistry in CW 207.
*  c)  As mentioned in the News of the Moment section, the Beta Beta Beta Biology Honor Society (BBB) has set up a schedule of tutors to help with Biology courses in AH 114.
*  d)  CBU’s Office of Academic Advising has a peer mentoring program that can help with the basic skills important to success in the courses and throughout the curriculum.

Beta Beta Beta meeting

One of the Beta Beta Beta meetings this fall.

3.  With students who have similar interests.  In the School of Sciences, each of the four departments have very active student groups as you can see from the News of the Moment section.  These student groups provide opportunities beyond the classroom and lab to interact with their chosen fields via special talks, trips, and activities.  They also provide opportunities to give service to others at CBU and to the local community.

4.  With the job market.  CBU’s Career Center provides help with identifying career options and provides direct assistance in identifying and obtaining externships and internships before graduation, and jobs after graduation.

Helping one another is a great way of helping yourself.  It is one of the foundations of a CBU education.

Math Center Tutors 11/15

Each newsletter we feature one or two of the student tutors in the Math Center.

Math Center Tutor Alexa Kintanar

Math Center Tutor Alexa Kintanar

Freshman Alexa Kintanar, a graduate of St. Benedict at Auburndale, is a new tutor in the CBU Math Center. She is in the School of Engineering with an Electrical Engineering major and a concentration in Computer Engineering. She tutors anything from basic Algebra up to Calculus I. She brings a very happy, outgoing and helpful personality to her work.  Students have found her optimistic and helpful as she goes out of her way for anyone in need of tutoring. Alexa is also a member of the Honors Program and CBU’s Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

Math Center Tutor Richard Townley

Math Center Tutor Richard Townley

Sophomore Richard Townley has been a math tutor for 1 year. He is a physics major with a computer science minor. Very friendly and knowledgeable, he is always happy to assist students with their problems, helping them to gain a deeper understanding of math. Richard has privately tutored 4 students in calculus and physics. He graduated from White Station High School, and is interested in physics, computer programming, feminism, and communism.

Thank You Note to Dr. Anna Ross, Professor of Biology 11/15

Hey Dr. Ross,

I meant to email you earlier, but the semester has been going by incredibly fast. Emi and I still feel like it should be August. As you can imagine, everything is really fast paced and there is an enormous amount of material; two things have really helped take a huge load of stress off me that many of my classmates have had to endure: embryology and histology.

First off, histology is a huge bulk of our gross anatomy grade, consisting of about 45% of the anatomy questions per test. I just have to lightly review histology lecture and am able to focus more time on gross anatomy. Histology practicals are a breeze as well. So thank you! Taking your histology class has really been a huge help. Embryology has been a huge help as well! ….

I hope everything at CBU is going well. …. Again, thank you so much for having the histology class and presenting the material. Your class weny more in depth than we do now, but it has been a wonderful foundation. Take care!

Sarah Langsdon