On March 20-21, the 2013 Memphis-Shelby County Science and Engineering Fair was held on the campus of Christian Brothers University. Approximately 300 students from across Shelby County participated in the 2013 Fair; the Fair has seen increased participation for each of the last four years.
The Middle School division of the Fair includes students from grades 6 through 8; and the High School Division includes students from grades 9 through 12. The winner of the High School Division was Vijaya Dasari from White Station High School, and she will represent Memphis at the INTEL International Science and Engineering Fair that will be held in Phoenix, Arizona in May 2013.
On March 22-23, Dr. Ted Clarke, Assistant Professor of Physics, and Dr. John Varriano, Professor of Physics, attended the annual meeting of the Tennessee Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers (TAAPT) at Middle Tennessee State University where both gave talks. “Eddy Currents and Aluminum Cans” was presented by Dr. Clarke and “Physics Fun with 3-D Glasses” was presented by Dr. Varriano. Dr. Clarke was elected as President of the TAAPT for the 2014-15 year. CBU will host the conference in the spring of 2015.
On March 24-25, members of the student chapter of the Mathematical Association of America traveled to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). While there, they saw the fastest supercomputer in the world, the spallation neutron source (the only other one in the world was in Japan and is being rebuilt after the earthquake), and the graphite reactor from the Manhattan Project.
On March 30, The American Chemical Society’s 45th Annual Competitive Examination in High School Chemistry and the Twenty-ninth Local Examination for the Chemistry Olympiad were hosted by the CBU Department of Chemistry. These events are sponsored by the Memphis Section of the American Chemical Society. Fifty-eight students from 11 different high schools took part in the examinations; participating high schools included Arlington High School, Bartlett High School, Bolton High School, Christian Brothers High School, Collierville High School, Germantown High School, Lausanne Collegiate School, Memphis University School, St. Agnes Academy, The Bridge Home School, and White Station High School.
On April 5, Krystyna Clark,Biology 2013, and Jessica Ferrell, Biology 2013, presented at the national Alpha Chi convention. See the featured article on the meeting and the CBU recognitions later in this newsletter.
On Saturday, April 6, CBU hosted the Collegiate Division of the Western Regional Meeting for the Tennessee Academy of Sciences. There were six sessions with 35 papers and 9 posters. CBU students won 11 “Best Paper Awards” for their presentations. JD Wolfe took first place in the Botany Session for “Growth responses of different aged individuals of Xanthium strumarium L. in flooded conditions.” Patrick Graham received second place in the Zoology Session for “Determining the age of wahoo (Acanthocybium solandri), a premiere sport and food fish in the Gulf of Mexico: An assessment of sagittal otoliths as wahoo ageing structures.”
In the Health & Medical Sciences I Session, Lauren D’Surney took first place for “Neuroprotective treatment for blast-induced vision loss,” Jessica Dunn won second place for “Effects of alcohol and caffeine on middle cerebral artery diameter,” and Krystyna Clark took third place for “Molecular cloning and expression of cDNAs encoding type 2 ryanodine receptors.” CBU also took all three prizes in the Health & Medical Sciences II Session, with Lydia Hyatt winning first place for “Conditioned olfactory aversion increases olfactory sensitivity in mice,” Lauryn Murphy winning second place for “Determination of axonal loss and optic nerve head degeneration in glaucomatous eyes,” and Jessica Ferrell taking third place for “Corticospinal tract damage accompanies motor dysfunction in a mouse model of closed-head mild traumatic brain injury.” In the Engineering Session, Nicholaus Smith took first place honors with “Wind Energy,” and Hunter Coulson won second place with “Solar Panel Analysis.” Brent Holmes won first place in the Mathematics Session for “Rainbow colorings of some geometrically defined uniform hypergraphs in the plane.” For full meeting details, see the meeting web site.
Dr. Malinda Fitzgerald, Professor of Biology, gave two seminars recently. On March 25, she gave a talk to the CBU informal R and D forum entitled: “The many facets of research in biology at CBU” where she talked about how research can be characterized many different ways: it can be a simple project that tests a hypothesis in a class, or years of work on a very esoteric project. She also reviewed some of the projects and types of research conducted in the department of biology. On April 12, she gave a presentation to the UTHSC graduate students as part of their graduate student research day entitled: “What path should I take from here? How do I chose?” This talk was designed to assist students in making decisions about their next step in their career. It covered six life lessons that she thought helped her. Several students asked for a copy. There were three CBU alumni in attendance: Jen Paxson Saputra, Kyle Summers and Michael Herr.
On April 11, we held our annual Youth & Vitality (SOS Students) vs. Old Age & Deceit (SOS Faculty & Staff) Volleyball Game with the proceeds ($350 so far) going to the Church Health Center. This year the students prevailed over a faculty team that was down a couple players due to a physics talk off campus but was supplemented by the addition of the CBU President! See images from the game courtesy of Dr. Anna Ross.
On April 13, 2013, the top students from the Local Examination for the Chemistry Olympiad returned to the campus of Christian Brothers University to take the American Chemical Society’s National Examination for the Chemistry Olympiad. The purpose of this examination, sponsored by the American Chemical Society and given across the United States, is to select the top students who will represent the United States at the International Chemistry Olympiad to be held in Moscow, Russia in July 2013. Dr. Dennis Merat is the local coordinator for the Chemistry Olympiad and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Stephanie Allen, Biology 2014, and Kevin Pham, Biology 2014, were both awarded Neuroscience Undergraduate Merit Fellowships for their senior internship research projects. Stephanie will conduct research with Dr. Kanwaljeet Anand and Kevin will work with Dr. Kristen O’Connell. (Kevin is pictured in the Math Center Tutor section.)
Anna Birg, Biochemistry 2014, has been selected to receive a 2013 Undergraduate Summer Research Scholars Fellowship from the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center in Memphis.
Jessica Dunn, Biology 2013, announces her engagement to Wesley Garrett. (Jessica is pictured above in the TAS image.)
Rebekah Herrman, Mathematics & Physics 2014, was awarded a Department of Energy Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship at Oak Ridge National Laboratory for the summer. Rebekah will be working on quantum computing.
Brent Holmes, Mathematics & Physics 2013, has been awarded a teaching assistantship in the Ph.D. Mathematics Department at the University of Kansas. He also has a paper accepted for publication: ”Two Kinds of Frobenius Problems” by L. Beneish, B. Holmes, P. Johnson and T. Lai in the International Journal of Mathematics and Computer Science.
Sheshaben (Shesha) Shah, Chemistry 2014, has been selected to receive a 2013 Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Fellowship from the University of Memphis.
Colleen Valdez, Biology 2013, worked with Dr. L Reiter of the UTHSC Neuroscience Institute who just published a high impact journal article on his research on autism.
Cameron Volpe, Biology 2013, has been accepted to the University of Tennessee (Knoxville) School of Veterinary Medicine. (Last month we reported that she was accepted at the School of Veterinary Medicine at Mississippi State University.)
Erika Yates, Biochemistry 2014, has been selected to receive a 2013 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship from the SURF program in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center at Memphis.