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Natural Science and Mathematics Blog

Date: Sep 2014

This past summer, Angel Gaona Rojas, was a student selected to be a part of our Summer Research Internship Program! Angel explains his experience to be very valuable in order to fully apply the knowledge from the classroom to the lab. Angel’s SRIP involvement consisted of heavy amounts of research and extensive experience in the lab. Angel explains, "This program has given me access to techniques and instruments such as the glove box, the vacuum line, NMR, etc." Besides the one-on-one interaction with Dr. Bradley, Angel aslo describes, “these kinds of programs are key for an excellent background/experience to be competitive enough for acceptance to the best chemistry programs in good graduate schools.”

We want to thank and congratulate Angel Gaona Rojas on all of his hard work and wish him luck in his future academic endeavors! 

Robert Buckheit Jr.A big thank you from the Mount Community goes to Dr. Robert W. Buckheit, Jr. for presenting in our Undergraduate Seminar Series! Dr. Buckheit’s presented to a full room of eager students in the science buildind today and gave a very insightful presentation on his career choices and his company ImQuest Biosciences which he started in 2004. Dr. Robert W. Buckheit, Jr. earned his Ph.D degree in Microbiology and Immunology with a focus on retrovirology from Duke University in 1986 and completed a postdoctoral training program at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in HIV molecular pathogenesis in 1989. Since 1989, Dr. Buckheit has been intimately involved in the preclinical development of anti-infective agents with a focus on therapeutic and prevention products for use against HIV.

Dr. Buckheit has developed and managed infectious disease research programs for commercial, academic and government clients, including a variety of multi-million dollar and technically complex federal contracts, hundreds of programs with virtual and small biotechnology companies, research programs with pharmaceutical industry companies and collaborative programs with academic investigators. Dr. Buckheit’s experience with anti-infective evaluations has resulted in over 150 publications in the peer reviewed literature as well as dozens of projects that have progressed compounds to the IND stage of drug development.  

Dr. Buckheit founded ImQuest BioSciences in February 2004 and is ImQuest’s President and Chief Scientific Officer. The company is dedicated to providing technical and professional support for the development of a broad spectrum of therapeutic agents and topical microbicides. Under Dr. Buckheit’s leadership ImQuest BioSciences was named Frederick County’s Small Business of the Year and Best Places to Work in Frederick. Dr. Buckheit was personally honored as Entrepreneur of the Year by the Technology Council of Maryland. Dr. Buckheit sits on the Board of Director’s of Fredericks biotechnology incubator (Frederick Innovative Technology Center, Inc.) and was recently elected President of the International Society of Antiviral Research. We once again thank Dr. Buckheit for coming to the Mount to share his knowledge and expertise with our students! We wish Dr. Buckheit and his company ImQuest BioSciences the best of luck in the future!

Congratulations to Gregory Fultz for being the recipient of our Summer Research Internship Program over the summer! What is our Summer Research Internship Program (SRIP)?? SRIP is a donor-funded initiative designed to provide students with a stipend which allows them to spend a summer on campus working closely with a faculty member on a research project. A pledge of $6,000 provides a direct stipend to students for the summer, allowing them to focus on their research project and the skills that can only be developed through an intensive, hands-on experience, working in the lab directly with our faculty.

“For future students at Mount Saint Mary’s University, I would highly recommend spending a summer side by side with one of their professors to strengthen their laboratory skills” Gregory wrote in his reflection letter about the program. Undergraduate research is a key component in the competitiveness of our graduates for acceptance into the best medical schools and graduate programs in the country. Our faculty benefit as well, by advancing their research programs and raising the profile of the Mount as a center of excellence in the sciences. A big thank you and congratulations goes out to Gregory Fultz in all his hard work!

This summer, Christopher Bradley, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemistry, presented undergraduate research conducted by John Andjaba, C’16, at the International Conference on Organometallic Chemistry in Sapporo, Japan. Dr. Bradley was the only presenter from an undergraduate university in the United States at the conference, which hosted world leaders in the field of inorganic chemistry.

Andjaba described this research experience as one of the most rewarding parts of his undergraduate career. “It is definitely challenging and a big time commitment, but the amount of knowledge and experience acquired is fantastic,” said Andjaba. “To know that our research is being shared with the global community is a mind-blowing idea, because other individuals can learn from and utilize the research that we conduct.”

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Summer Research Internship Program The School of Natural Science and Mathematics’ Summer Research Internship Program (SRIP) is a donor-funded initiative that provides a stipend to students that allows them to spend a summer on campus working closely with a faculty member on a research project. Summer research is a vital part of the research program in the School because it is a time when faculty can focus exclusively on their investigations. The SRIP program provides funding for students who want to do research but need to earn money during the summer to make ends meet. 

This year’s recipients were:  Dayhana Arias, faculty mentor-Dr. Jen Staiger; Beverly Burke, faculty mentor-Dr. Dana Ward; Angel Gaona, faculty mentor-Dr. Christopher Bradley; Gregory Fultz, faculty mentor-Dr. Dana Ward; Robert Snyder, faculty mentor-Dr. Katy Dye.

At the end of their projects, students and their faculty mentors wrote a short reflection paper about their experience. Here is what a few of our students had to say about their experience:

“During laboratory experiments this summer I learned procedures such as splitting cells and making artificial arterial wall environments. Furthermore, since our specific question had never been investigated before, I learned firsthand the amount of time, effort, and planning needed to create a proposal for an experiment.  Most importantly, this opportunity opened my eyes to the idea of research as a career.”

“These kinds of programs are key to be competitive enough for acceptance to the best chemistry programs in good graduate schools.”

“This summer has further cemented my desire to go on to graduate school and aim for my Ph.D. in biochemistry. I have truly enjoyed being a part of the Summer Research Internship Program.”

On behalf of the School of Natural Science and Mathematics and our students, we thank our donors for their continued support of this program. 

Dean Simmons get published in River Research and Applications!! Dr. Simmons co-authored a recent study comparing water temperature in streams from forested and open areas. Dr. Simmons led the 15-member research team in a study spanning the United States and Canada. Though it is well known that streams under a forest canopy are cooler than streams in the open, this research focused on predicting the amount of cooling that occurs.

The study: A Comparison Of The Temperature Regime Of Short Stream Segments Under Forested And Non-Forested Riparian Zones At Eleven Sites Across North America can be found at the Online Willey Library. Learn more about this research at :

Check out this article published by Melanie Butler, associate professor and chair of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, in the Mathematical Association of America's news-magazine! Dr. Butler sheds light on what its like to be apart of the #mountcommunity

What I learned from Teaching … Writing
Melanie Butler


Several years ago I couldn’t imagine myself facilitating a class discussion about the meaning of community. These days, however, I spend 2.5 hours a week doing things like this. It’s not always easy, but I have learned a great deal. One of the biggest surprises so far has been what an impact teaching writing could have on my mathematics courses.

Our freshman seminar program, which is now called the Veritas Symposium, focuses on reading and writing skills while posing questions about what it means to be human. Faculty from departments across campus teach the course, but I hesitated to volunteer. I doubted my abilities for an interdisciplinary course. Now that I am involved with the course, the other faculty, and the students, I am so glad I took the chance. Here are some of the reasons why...

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