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Natural Science and Mathematics Blog

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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Dean Simmons (blue shirt on the left) joins the Mount community in accepting the #IceBucketChallenge to raise funds for the care and treatment of ALS patients and families! A big thanks to the Mount community for coming out to support and donate! Check out more photos of the event:


Ariel Wirchnianski, C’13, is part of a team of international scientists whose research on a deadly virus similar to Ebola could help save thousands of lives. The deadly fever infection is called Lassa and is found primarily in West Africa. It causes an estimated 100,000 deaths annually and in March 2014 was diagnosed in an individual in the U.S. Wirchnianski works in the virology lab at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) at Fort Detrick in Frederick, Maryland.

Wirchnianski, along with three other team members studied the way Lassa virus infects healthy cells. They discovered the virus uses a two-step process when attacking the healthy cells. Their work confirmed similar studies by scientists at the Netherlands Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, and the University of Kiel in Germany and their findings were recently published in the prestigious journal Science.

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