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Natural Science and Mathematics Blog

Date: Mar 2014

Beta Beta Beta, a Mount Saint Mary's University Biological Honor Society, hosted the Upsilon Mu Chapter Northeast District 2 Convention on Saturday, March 29th. The event was held at the Mount Saint Mary's University Continuing Studies and Conference Center in Frederick, MD. Other schools that were in attendance include: Bloomsburg University, Centenary College, Drew University, Hood College, Lincoln University, Moravian College, and The College of New Jersey.

The day began with a continental breakfast followed by Dr. Jeffrey Simmons, Dean of the SNSM, welcoming all guests and students to this event. The day was made up of students conducting oral presentations and poster presentations followed by the keynote address in the afternoon. The keynote speaker, Dr. Lisa E. Hensley, focused her speech on the concept of "one health" and how this approach can be applied to the study of such new diseases and others. She is the Associate Director of the Integrated Research Facility at the National Institutes of Health.

The following Mount students conducted presentations at this convention:
Michael Conrad - Look at that GEF go: RhoGTPase signaling in pulmonary hypertension
Dahyana Arias - Understanding the HMGB1 mediated inflammatory process in the brain
Hilary Weidner - N-cadherin expression in idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension
Derek Saku - Food preference of confused flour beetles
Ashley Crosby - Generation of a recombinant adenovirus containing the RhoGDIB gene
Kathleen Callahan - Analysis of polymorpholino oligo effect on NPC1 pre-mRNA splicing
Anthony Spellman - Validation of micro RNA regulating genes
Obarikanemi Nwogu - C/EBPB and C/EBPO are downstream mediators of HMGB-1 signaling events

Dahyana Arias won first place and Ashley Crosby won third place for their oral presentations. This event was organized by the Beta Beta Beta faculty advisor, Dr. Katy Dye.

8 students and their faculty advisor, Dr. Chris Bradley,  from the American Chemical Society (ACS) Student Chapter at Mount Saint Mary's performed interactive demos for K-5 students at a local science fair in Walkersville, MD, outside of Frederick. Over 200 children experienced demos involving chromatography, catalysis, as well as cross-linked and super-absorbing polymers. Students were even able to take home their own slime they made!

ACS K-5 Frederick

ACS K-5 Frederick_1

Dr. Bradley organized the program at the National American Chemical Society (ACS) Spring meeting in Dallas, TX. Dr. Bradley invited several prominent speakers from academics and industry to give talks on their research, serve on career panels, and participate in workshops with students involving professional skill development, including resume writing, networking, etc. Over 2,100 undergraduates attended and participated in the undergraduate program at the meeting.

A few months ago, two blog posts focused on chemistry students receiving travel awards to attend the National (ACS) Spring meeting in Dallas, TX. Nicole Vanagas and Jordan Desilva presented posters at this meeting and attended a variety of skills workshops, ACS student chapter events, among others.



The SNSM is very excited to announce the addition of a new piece of equipment in the Chemistry department. The X-ray diffractometer, acquired through a multi-institutional grant involving Gettysburg College, McDaniel College, and Towson University, allows for the determination of the solid state structure of a molecule. This analysis provides accurate bond angles and distances in organic and inorganic molecules. Characterization by X-ray diffraction supplements the information other common techniques provide. The instrument will be used primarily for research purposes, but will also be integrated into upper level chemistry courses at all partner institutions.

Dr. Chris Bradley, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, is pictured with the X-ray diffractometer in his laboratory.

3 faculty and 16 students from the Psychology department attended the Eastern Psychological Association (EPA) convention in Boston, MA this past weekend. The EPA is meant to advance the science and profession through the dissemination of professional information about the field of Psychology. A meeting is held once a year for members and it welcomes psychologists from all fields across the discipline. Two of our Psychology students, Amanda Lane and Alex Bahr, had the privilege of presenting their posters to other attendees. The group treated themselves to a nice dinner at Fire & Ice, a Mongolian barbeque restaurant.

Amanda Lane EPA

Alex Bahr EPA


One of the fastest growing career fields in the U.S. today is cyber security and the Departments of Sociology and Mathematics and Computer Science have developed a new interdisciplinary minor to capitalize on this trend. The new Minor in Cyber Security will launch in Fall 2014 and consists of 18 credit hours - 12 credit hours of Computer Science courses and 6 of Criminal Justice.

"We think this minor pairs well with majors from all three Schools and the College of the University," says Melanie Butler, Associate Professor and Chair of the Mathematics and Computer Science Department. "With the Cyber Security minor, students graduating from the Veritas Program, in a variety of majors, have the breadth of knowledge and skills that Cyber Security employers are looking for."

The need is great, according to the market intelligence firm GovWin, that reports "other areas of government spending will remain flat or decrease, but information security spending is expected to increase with over a 50% growth in the number of jobs and associated dollars over the next four years. This equates to defense and civilian federal agency spending rising from $9.2 billion in 2011 to $14 billion in 2016." Analysts earn median pay of about $75,000 a year, and more than 65,000 new jobs will be created by 2020, according to the U.S. Labor Department.

More information about the Minor in Cyber Security is coming soon!

Five Summer Research Internship Program (SRIP) awards were given to students for Summer 2014. This award allows students to work with a faculty member on a project during the summer months. Following the completion of their project, the student must present their research at the SPARC Festival the following academic year or at an off-campus conference. Students are also required to write a reflection on their summer research project, which will be submitted to the Dean. The following students received an award and they have been paired with a faculty mentor:

Dahyana Arias - Dr. Jen Staiger
Angel Gaona - Dr. Chris Bradley
Christiana Burke - Dr. Dana Ward
TJ Warshel - Dr. Katy Dye
Gregory Fultz - Dr. Dana Ward

This SRIP exists because of several generous benefactors who have made and continue to make donations to this distinctive program. These outstanding alumni, whose names are listed below, feel strongly about "giving back" to the University which blessed them so richly and they recognize the importance of the undergraduate research experience.

Dr. William P. Beierschmitt
Dr. John A. Bruno, Jr.
Dr. Lawrence E. Donato, Jr.
Dr. William R. Gaver
Dr. Daniel G. Muldoon
Mr. J. Anthony Rose
Dr. Mark S. Sobus, PhD, JD
Dr. and Mrs. William Ward, Jr.

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