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Natural Science and Mathematics Blog

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Back row from left to right: Dr. Jeffrey Simmons (Dean), Jenny Carey, Erin Pratico, Matthew Koury (President), Maria Conner (Vice President). Front row from left to right: Austin Walters, Brooke Adolfo, Camille Werzowa, and Elaine Esteron

Last Spring Matt Koury (’17), a sophomore Biochemistry major approached Dean Jeffrey Simmons with an idea for a student advisory board for the School of NSM. Matt was looking for a way to improve the communication between students and administration. “I was intrigued with Matt’s proposal and impressed by his determination,” commented Dean Simmons. “We discussed the idea a few times and agreed that there were significant benefits to having a student advisory board.”   Matt enlisted some fellow students and together they wrote up some by-laws, obtained the necessary permissions and held their first election in September. 
 
This first year, the eight-member Board will be focused on providing information to the Mount Ambassadors (students who lead Admissions tours), better publicity for internship opportunities, outreach activities to local schools, and whole-School social events. The student advisory board had a chance to meet and mingle with their alumni counterparts from the SNSM Advisory Board on October 8th.

John AndjabaJohn Andjaba C’16 has earned a rare honor for an undergraduate – his research paper is going to appear in a premier chemistry journal, Chemical Communications. John, a senior Chemistry major, has been working on his research project since his freshman year under the mentorship of Dr. Christopher Bradley, Assistant Professor of Chemistry. Dr. Bradley is one of the co-authors of the paper entitled, “Cp*Co(IPr): synthesis and reactivity of an unsaturated Co(I) complex” along with Jesse W. Tye (Ball State University), Pony Yu (Princeton University), and Iraklis Pappas (Princeton University) . The Chemical Communications Journal is in the top 10-15% of chemistry journals worldwide in impact factor and in the past year has published research from top schools such as Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, and Oxford. Dr. Bradley explains, “Undergraduates rarely end up publishing articles in such journals as the first (primary) author. This particular journal probably has 1-2 articles a year with undergraduates as the primary author.” This publication sets John apart from other chemistry undergraduates and will open up doors in his future.

bradley

John’s research, funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation obtained by Dr. Bradley, is aimed at finding better catalysts for industrial chemical processes. Converting petroleum by-products to useful end products requires a chemical catalyst. One of the most effective catalysts, iridium, is also one of the most rare and expensive metals. John has been attempting to design and create a new catalyst using cobalt, a much more common and less expensive metal, in place of iridium. Not only did John successfully synthesize the molecule, he also was able to identify and describe a never-before-seen molecule, which was the focus of his publication.

Although John experienced many peaks and valleys during his research he explains, “The most exciting part of my research was watching Dr. Bradley’s reactions of joy when we got the final product.” Dr. Bradley and John having been working together for four years, Dr. Bradely explains "working with student’s like John on original research projects reinforces why I chose to work at an undergraduate institution. The ability to mentor someone with the drive and interest in science that John possesses makes it exciting to come to work each day." This publication could not have occurred at a better time as John prepares his applications for graduate school. In fact, a professor from Texas A&M, that watched him present his research at a conference in New York, reached out to John to invite him to apply to his lab. John plans to go into the Organic Chemistry field and is hoping to get accepted into a Ph.D. program. It’s safe to say that his publication will help give him the edge over other applicants for whatever path he chooses after the Mount. 

Dr. Patterson BrewingThe Science of Brewing, one of the newest courses in the Science Department, generated a LOT of interest among the students last spring. That is, until they saw the prerequisite – general chemistry. Although the name might cause one to wonder about the academic nature of the course, the students who took the course found out that it is indeed a serious science course. The course was conceived by assistant professor Dr. Garth Patterson to study the wide range of biological and physical processes that take place during the brewing process. Just like any other course offered at the Mount, Dr. Patterson aimed to make the course content connect to other courses being taught in other classrooms. “It was my intent to provide context to the same type of material that is taught in other classes, allowing students to have a better understanding of why we might ask them to be more fully engaged with a topic.” The laboratory portion of the course involves experiments devoted to water analysis using atomic absorption, gas analysis of hops’ aromas, ultraviolet-visible spectrometry analysis of alpha and beta acids in hops, and liquid density analysis to confirm alcohol content. The experiments developed for this class have exposed students to scientific instrumentation that they might not otherwise have access to as part of their required coursework.

6 pack As well as being a professor at the Mount, Dr.  Garth Patterson is also Chief Executive Officer  of Cherry Lane Group, LLC, an analytical  chemistry company. He holds 15 U.S. patents  and has several international patents which  mostly focus on the development of novel  designs for mass spectrometers and related  components. Mass spectrometers are widely  used for many applications from detecting  traces of explosives at airport check points to  analyzing food and beverage products. Dr.  Patterson is thrilled with the success and popularity of his new course and is currently serving as the faculty advisor of the new Brewing Club. He hopes to build on the interest of this course by adding related courses that would be accessible to a larger group of students. Dr. Patterson explains, “Students in the brewing club are coming from all academic disciplines at the Mount, discussing the context of the beer we brew and their own areas of interest. The students are making connections on their own, without intervention or contrived exercises.”  

 

Haley

Haley Sibley, C'10, graduated in computer science at the Mount and is currently working for the Navy. November 12, 2015 Haley spoke with our students about job opportunities where she works. The presentation was held at 12:30pm in the CS lab. Haley spoke mostly with students who are reasonably far along in the Computer Science major. Math majors with a significant amount of computer science background were also welcomed. 

Haley works in The Modeling & Interface Branch, a software development group, under the Department of the Navy that supports Navy Test & Evaluation and Navy Training with a primary focus on Modeling & Simulation. The products we develop are the Next Generation Threat System (NGTS), the Joint Integrated Mission Model (JIMM), the Next Generation Electronic Warfare Environment Generator (NEWEG), and the Architecture Management Integration Environment (AMIE). The software development work is across the entire spectrum of Computer Science from data structure and algorithm development, network protocol and interfaces, graphics, databases, software test, hardware/software integration, etc. It is a very team-oriented and fast-paced software development environment. 

...For any additional information email Dr. Brian Heinold

  

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Joe Appleton, C’16, got to spend part of his summer at the University of Cambridge where he studied in the International Security and Intelligence Program, which was led by Sir Richard Dearlove, former head of the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), and current Headmaster of Cambridge’s Pembroke College. When Joe, a computer science major, arrived at this prestigious program for outstanding undergraduates from around the world he had to take a step back to enjoy his surroundings. Joe explains, “When I first arrived at Cambridge, the first thing that struck me was the age of my surroundings. I felt like I had stepped back in time. Beautiful stone buildings and narrow cobbled streets dominated the area, and every single bit of it was absolutely beautiful.” The University of Cambridge is one of the world's oldest universities and leading academic centers; it holds a world-renowned reputation for outstanding academics and intellectual achievement.

With such a collection of intellectual excellence, it would be hard for anyone to not feel somewhat intimidated at first. Joe admits, “I would be lying if I said I wasn’t at least a bit intimidated at first, but after the first couple days I realized that I was certainly on everyone else’s level.” Having the feeling of being on “everyone else’s level” is the result of Joe’s commitment and hard work.  Joe currently is the President of the Mount’s chapter of the Association of Computing Machinery, returning Vice President of the Student Government Association, and recent recipient of a Meritorious Winner designation of this year's COMAP competition! Joe’s participation and leadership in many campus organizations is undoubtedly one of the keys to his success.

When asked about his experience at Cambridge Joe replied: “One thing that struck me as I studied at Cambridge was how well I had been prepared. Actively participating in the supervisions and seminars required quick formation of thoughts as well as excellent speaking skills, two abilities that The Mount has been helping me develop during my time here. There is a reason the liberal arts classes here have a participation grade – it is going to be difficult to become a more engaged student if you do not raise your hand and open your mouth. Had my Mount professors not directed me as they did, encouraging discussion as well as helping me to develop my individual intellectual pursuits, I would certainly have been less prepared for my studies at Cambridge.”  

As Joe finishes up his senior year at The Mount in The School of Natural Science and Mathematics, he plans to continue challenging himself as he searches for a job and vocation. His experience at The University of Cambridge has provided Joe with a greater understanding of what occurs within the depths of the national and international intelligence agencies. Although Joe is not certain that he wishes to work in the intelligence sector specifically, he feels that he has the foundation that will prepare him for success in whichever career path he decides to take. 

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:  Sarah Bonson, faculty mentor-Dr. Patti Kreke; Emily Luetkemeyer, faculty mentor-Dr. Caitlin Faas; Timothy Schwemler, faculty mentor-Dr. Garth Patterson; Katherine Wu, faculty mentor-Dr. Abigail Kula.

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:

“I have learned so much and have been able to progress in my research. The SRIP program has also helped me to get an idea of what it would be like to have a career in research. I am very thankful for the opportunities given to me through this program, and am excited to continue my research in the future. The faculty and staff at the Mount have been so supportive of my project and through their help I have been able to move forward with my research and learn so much this summer!”

“My experiences this summer have strengthened my desire to continue on to graduate school, with the eventual aim of a career in research, and I am grateful to have had such a great opportunity.”
“The coding process for this data is an arduous one, and I am very grateful to have finished my data collection in the summer, so that I can spend the entirety of the fall semester on data analysis. Without the summer research internship award, this would not have been possible, and I am incredibly thankful to have been given this experience. Thank you.”

“My research internship over the summer of 2015 was both a personal and professional benefit for me.”

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

Sarah Bonson, Matthew Koury, Camille Werzowa, and Jacqueline Rowan attended the 18th Undergraduate Research Symposium in the Chemical and Biological Sciences and the UMBC campus on October 3rd. The Symposium invites mentor-approved contributions from undergraduates investigating any aspect of chemistry, biology, and biochemistry. These advances will be disseminated in a daylong event that typically offers nearly 200 student contributions and gathers more than 400 beginning scientists, mentors, and other guests. The event will feature two poster sessions with posters judged by panels of participating mentors and other qualified attendees. 

Sarah Sarah Bonson presented her research project titled the  Synthesis of Gold Micelles for Use in Targeted Drug  Delivery Systems. The goal of her research was to  synthesize gold polycaprolactone nanoparticles, which  form micelles to be used in a targeted drug delivery  system. The system would provide healthier and more  effective treatment as it specifically targets malignant  cells, leaving healthy cells unharmed. The gold  nanoparticles build up in tumor sites due to their  enhanced permeability and retention (EPR) effects and  have the ability to convert light energy into heat, allowing  the drug to be released into the body using a laser.  Oleylamine coated gold nanoparticles are  synthesized, thiolated withmercaptoundecanol, and then  polymerized with polycaprolactone, allowing the  nanoparticles to form micelles. Sarah described “It was  a great experience and a privilege to be able to represent the Mount and our Science Department! I had a great time at the conference and it was really neat to learn about the research of other students from all around the country."

Matt and Jacqueline Matthew Koury and Jaqueline Rowan presented their research titled The Synthesis of Ethyl and Methyl Benzoate with a Reduced Reflux Time. Jaqueline explained “I did feel very good about our presentations. I think it all went very well. It was a great atmosphere being around other people who share the same passion for science as I do. I learned a lot, this being my first presentation, but now I know what to expect and what to fix in the future.”

Camille Camille Werzowa presented her research titled  Understanding C/EBP B, a Transcription Factor Expressed  Downstream in Neuroinflammatory Events Mediated by  HMGB-1. Camille explained “I felt good about my  presentation. I had a lot of fun explaining what I have  done during my time in the lab. Though I did not have as  much data as I had hoped, the judges and other students  who listened to my presentation were impressed with what  I had so far.” When asked about the atmosphere of the  Symposium Camille responded “I was just in awe the  entire time with all of the different research undergraduate  students, like me, have done. It's so fascinating talking to  everyone and hearing what  they worked on and the data  they obtained. It made me want to continue with my  research and to present at more conferences.”

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