Alpha Chi National Meeting in St. Louis

By Elton Banks, Stephanie Allen Winters, and Dr. Malinda Fitzgerald

Dr. Fitzgerrald, Elton Banks, and Stephanie Allen-Winters

Dr. Fitzgerald, Elton Banks, and Stephanie Allen-Winters

This past March,  Stephanie Allen-Winters and I (Elton Banks)  had the opportunity to travel to St. Louis so that we could be a part of the Alpha Chi national conference.  Alpha Chi is an interdisciplinary honor society and I serve as the president, Stephanie is the VP of our local chapter, and Daryl Stephens is the secretary/treasurer.  The opening speaker was Dr. Dennis Richardson who is a helminthologist.  He cofounded a non-profit called Bawa Health Initiative in Camaroon, Africa.  Their main goal is a clean and safe water supply.  The Alpha Chi students raised $5,000 to build latrines in Bawa, Camaroon.    Students also participated in a “walk for water”, the theme of this year’s convention.  There were a lot of similarities between the Bawa health initiative and the projects that MHIRT students have conducted in Uganda on access to health care and prevention of malaria.  The other plenary speaker was four star General Tommy Franks, an Alpha Chi Alumnus.  He spoke about his career in the military and how Alpha Chi prepares you to be a leader in the future.  He also had copies of his recent autobiography available.

Stephanie Allen-Winters presented the results from her senior research with Dr. Anand Kanwaljeet in the Health Sciences division of the Alpha Chi presentations.  Stephanie won first place for her presentation entitled How demographic factors influence the cortisol levels of infants and young children” and will receive a cash prize.  She also competed and won one of two regional scholarships (Region III SE USA) of $500.00 to be used towards her graduate education.   From attending various presentations and participating in the poster session and talks, we had a really good time. We also attended various workshops, one of which gave us a fresh perspective on some fundraising ideas that could benefit both Christian Brothers University and the surrounding Memphis community. For instance, we came up with the idea to help shelters in the Memphis area dodge the cold during the winter by gathering used coats in exchange for participation in a tournament-style game of dodgeball. During the evenings and between events, we had a chance check out a few of the monuments, restaurants, and other interesting attractions within St. Louis. Overall, we had a wonderful experience. We would certainly recommend that any student joining this organization attend the Alpha Chi National Honor Society conference next year.

BIOL 396 Medical Shadowing

by Dr. Stan Eisen, Professor of Biology

Dr. Adams with BIOL 396 group.

Dr. James “Bo” Adams showing details of an X-ray to this year’s class. (Front L-R: Dr. James “Bo” Adams, Danielle Frazier, Anqi Zheng, Vu Cao. Back: Jimmy Nguyen

I suppose one might say that the moral of this story is “Be careful with what you ask for, because you just might get it.”  Six years ago, Dr. James “Bo” Adams, CBC alumnus, mentioned to me, “If there’s anything I can do to help current CBU students, please let me know.”  This offer ultimately led to some brain-storming with Andrea Bergen-Rourke, Education Coordinator at Delta Medical Center, resulting in the creation of a course entitled “Medical Shadowing”.  The class meets once per week for a 3-hour block of time, during which upperclassmen rotate through the departments at Delta Medical Center, and observe the activities of the healthcare providers who work there.

These departments include: 

BIOL 396 student

Michael Covington showing Vu Cao how a freshly-collected blood sample is processed

Department/Activity

Introduction to the hospital, Hospital procedures, HIPAA directives
Pulmonology
Dietary
Emergency Medicine
Orthopedics
Physical Therapy
Respiratory Therapy
Behavioral Intake
Nursing Education
Administration
Imaging (X-ray)

In order to participate in this class, students must be in their junior or senior year, and are required to provide a urine drug screen, criminal background check, TB Skin test, and a current immunization record.

Math Center Tutors 2/14

We continue our practice of showcasing our Math Center Tutors in this issue.

Tiffany Rice, Math Center Tutor

Tiffany Rice, Math Center Tutor

Tiffany Rice, a sophomore Chemistry (Pre-Pharmacy) major came to CBU from Craigmont High School where she was an outstanding student.  Besides her studies and work in the Math Center she is a member of the Honors program, Tri-Beta (Biology Club), and ACS the American Chemical Society.  She says that she likes to tutor because “I feel like everyone is here for an education, but if a person doesn’t  understand a certain topic, his or her education would be stinted and they would lose the ability to grow as they should.”  She also encourages more people to use the center because “Math makes the world go round, in any language at any time.”

Eddie Gallarno, Math Center Tutor

Eddie Gallarno, Math Center Tutor

Senior Eddie Gallarno was home schooled and graduated from Faith Heritage School.  Eddie’s great smile and personality along with his mathematical expertise has made him an excellent tutor this year in the Math Center.  He is a double major in Mathematics and History and is an officer in both the MAA (Mathematics Association of America, student section) and Φ Α θ  (Phi Alpha Theta, History Honor Society).  When not involved in school activities he plays the banjo and enjoys Bluegrass music, tabletop games and World War II history.

This year’s visit to the Gulf Coast Research Lab (Fall 2013)

by Dr. Stan Eisen, Professor of Biology

The GCRL crew

The GCRL crew: (L-R): Dr. Stan Eisen, Natalie Wright, Elizabeth Nguyen, Eisha Thakor, Kevin Pharm, Chawan Rasheed, Elton Banks, Samantha Canizaro, Damien Stevenson, Garrett Burton, Eric Joe

During the Fall semester, the Biology Department plans a weekend trip to the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, located in Ocean Springs, MS, to give students a “taste” of marine biology.  This year, Dr. Stan Eisen took a group of students during the weekend of Friday, November 1, through Sunday, November 3, to go trawling the Bay of Biloxi on Saturday morning, to tour the lower Pascagoula River on Saturday afternoon, and to conduct laboratory studies on the digeanean (fluke) parasites of snails and fish from the area.

Students examining the days catch.

Students examining the days catch.

According to its website,  the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (GCRL) is a marine/ coastal research and education enterprise sited in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, and is a unit of The University of Southern Mississippi‘s College of Science and Technology.  GCRL has a workforce of 200 faculty, researchers, graduate students and support staff. Research at GCRL is multidisciplinary and applications-oriented with a focus on sustainable coastal and marine resources, development of new marine technologies, and the education of future scientists and citizens.  Education opportunities span graduate degree programs in coastal sciences, undergraduate field courses in marine biology and hands-on discovery programs for precollege students and teachers.  http://www.usm.edu/gcrl/about_us/index.php

Jessica Schneider photographing specimens in the laboratory

Jessica Schneider photographing specimens in the laboratory

Research and education activities at GCRL are conducted through one academic department, the Department of Coastal Sciences, and three centers.

  • Center for Fisheries Research and Development
  • Marine Education Center
  • Thad Cochran Marine Aquaculture Center
The Titanic Pose (Chawan Rasheed)

The Titanic Pose (Chawan Rasheed)

As part of its mission for marine education, the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory maintains a consortium of colleges and universities, which provide a venue for students to take classes at the Laboratory.  Christian Brothers University is a member of that consortium.

Featured Story: Minority Health International Research Training (MHIRT) Grant 10/13

by Dr. Malinda Fitzgerald and Julia Hanebrink, MHIRT Program Directors

Group photo of MHIRT students and faculty for at the 2013 MHIRT Symposium.

Group photo of MHIRT students and faculty for at the 2013 MHIRT Symposium.

CBU prides itself on effective and enjoyable teaching. An integral part of such teaching is having the students perform research internships. There are different ways for students to perform their research: with a CBU professor, with a researcher at another local institution such as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), or with a researcher participating in grant funded research anywhere in the U.S.

CBU student Elton Banks (Biomedical Science, ’14) learns how to how to mount tissues on a slide in Dr. Luiz Britto’s lab in the  Department of Physiology & Biophysics at the Universidade de São Paulo.

CBU student Elton Banks, Biomedical Science 2014, learns how to how to mount tissues on a slide in Dr. Luiz Britto’s lab in the Department of Physiology & Biophysics at the Universidade de São Paulo.

In addition to the above opportunities, CBU is pleased to provide an excellent opportunity to do this research via internships, while assisting underserved individuals, at sites in Brazil and Uganda, with all expenses paid and a stipend through a Minority Health International Research Training (MHIRT) grant funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This is a major collaborative project involving CBU, and other regional academic institutions that started in 2000. Dr. Malinda Fitzgerald, CBU Professor of Biology, and Mrs. Julia Hanebrink, an alum and Adjunct Lecturer of Anthropology at CBU, co-direct the MHIRT Program. There is also an advisory board that consists of faculty from the University of Memphis, Rhodes College, University of Tennessee Health Science Center Memphis and LeMoyne Owen College. These faculty assist in the recruitment of students locally at their institutions. Students and faculty travel to these countries to conduct research on biomedical and behavioral health disparities in collaboration with leading scientists and researchers from foreign universities and community organizations. Approximately 15 students participate in this MHIRT program each year in the summer after having participated in preparation workshops the prior spring.

This year, two new research sites were offered to students. Dr. Cilene Lino de Oliviera mentored Erica Johnson (Jackson State, Healthcare Administration) on a project titled A Translational Rodent Assay of Affective Biases in Depression and Antidepressant Therapy: A Protocol Replication in the Behavioral Neurobiology lab at the Federal University of Santa Catarina. Margaret Ajok, Executive Director of the Centre for Reparations and Rehabilitation in northern Uganda, collaborated with graduate students Amanda Reinke (UT Knoxville, Anthropology) and Justin Hendrix (U of M, Public Health) on a project assessing sexual- and gender-based violence.

The most wonderful things happen as a result of these summer research experiences. Students go on to graduate programs in dentistry, medicine, anthropology, epidemiology, public health, and biological sciences. Some dedicate their lives to helping others by setting up non-profit organizations, or working with the foreign sites. All continue to be globally involved. You can read about the students’ wonderful, life-changing experiences at the new MHIRT Blog. Deadline for applications this year is December 31, 2013. For more information, visit the MHIRT website.

Featured Story: Student Success 2013

At CBU, we strive to give each and every student the best opportunity for success. Sometimes that means helping students get into professional or graduate school to further pursue their ambitions. Sometimes that means helping students determine a “Plan B” if their initial plan was not really suited to their talents and/or initial expectations. Other times, it means helping a student determine what are the possibilities out there that match up with their interests and talents.

Dominique Garcia-Robles, Chemistry 2011, and Stephanie Johnson, Biology 2009, at their white coat ceremony at the Southern College of Optometry.

Dominique Garcia-Robles, Chemistry 2011, and Stephanie Johnson, Biology 2009, at their white coat ceremony at the Southern College of Optometry.

In the last five years (classes of 2009 to 2013):

  • We had 27 of our graduates accepted into medical school (82%* acceptance rate)
  • We had 21 of our graduates accepted into pharmacy school (96% acceptance rate)
  • We had 12 of our graduates accepted into physical therapy school (92% acceptance rate)
  • We had 13 of our graduates accepted into nursing school (93% acceptance rate)
  • We had an additional 22 students accepted into various other health professional schools such as dentistry, veterinary, optometry, occupational therapy and chiropractic.
  • We also had 27 of our graduates accepted into graduate (M.S. or Ph.D.) programs in the sciences (100% acceptance rate).

* In reviewing these percentages, please note that we do not pre-screen our applicants to the various professional or graduate schools as some institutions do. Some of our students were initially rejected but were accepted in a following year. If a student was accepted in one area and rejected in another, we only count the acceptance and not the rejection since we concentrate on student success.

For comparison purposes with medical school acceptances at UT, East Tennessee, U of Arkansas and nationwide (data for 2012, source is data from aamc):

  • UT-Memphis accepted 165 out of 1,629 applications (10% acceptance rate).
  • East Tennessee Quillen accepted 72 out of 1,929 applications (4% acceptance rate)
  • University of Arkansas accepted 166 out of 2,148 applications (8% acceptance rate).
  • nationwide, 19,517 are accepted out of 636,309 applicants with each person giving 14 applications on average for an overall acceptance rate per person of 43%.

For pharmacy schools, the average acceptance rate for 2012 was about 16% for each school (6.4 applications per acceptance), but since students often apply to more than one school, we obtained information a couple years ago that 50.2% of all PharmCAS applicants received at least one acceptance.

CBU’s Steps for Success

To get into competitive professional (e.g., medical, pharmacy, dental) schools, there are five things that are important:

1. Grades At CBU, most of our science courses have labs associated with them, and the instructor for the lecture is usually the instructor for the lab. Our professors have at least 10 office hours each week to help students both with their coursework and with advising for their career plans.

2. Entrance tests (e.g., MCAT, PCAT, DAT) The excellent courses supported by well equipped labs prepare our students for these tests. In addition, the CBU Career Center offers practice tests to try to help prepare our students.

3. Experience in the field At CBU, we provide our students with many opportunities to gain experience in their chosen field. Our student groups, particularly the Biology group, Beta Beta Beta, and the Chemistry group, Student Members of the American Chemical Society, provide opportunities to see and interact with institutions and people in the local health community. In the freshmen Principles of Biology courses, we have a discussion section that spends some time talking about what it takes to get into various fields. In the junior year we have a Junior Seminar course that brings researchers onto campus to talk about their research. All of our majors have a senior capstone research or internship course. This experience is viewed very positively by the various health professional schools.

4. Recommendations from your professors and the supervisors of your work in the field At CBU, you are encouraged to really get to know your professors. If you take advantage of this, the professors will be able to write very specific letters of recommendation for you.

5. Interviews As part of the admissions process for professional schools, students are required to attend an interview. At CBU, we help students prepare for this opportunity by holding mock interviews staffed by our alumni and other health professionals.

To help and guide you in your preparation for pursuing any of the health careers, we have a Pre-Professional Heath Director, Dr. Stan Eisen. He has a very extensive set of web pages on the various health careers and what it takes to get into these professional schools.

Math Center Tutors 9/13

The Math Center is a very popular place where students can get free one-on-one tutoring in math. It is also a place to do your math homework by yourself or in a study group with others in the center. Here are profiles of two of the tutors.

Elizah Brown, Math Tutor

Elijah Brown, Math Tutor

Elijah Brown is a freshman who offered his talents as a tutor in the CBU Math Center.  He graduated from First Assembly Christian School and received AP credit in Calculus I.  He is currently enrolled in Calculus II and is pursuing a major in Electrical Engineering.  When asked why he wanted to become a math tutor he said “I like to help others and I like explaining and doing math problems.”

Htet Cho Oo, Math Tutor

Htet Cho Oo, Math Tutor

Htet Cho Oo is a junior from Myanmar, Southeast Asia. He is an Electrical Engineering and Computer Science major, with a Mathematics minor. He tutors every Math course up to Probability, everything in Computer Science, everything in Physics and Chemistry 115. He has a very pleasing personality and will try to tutor anyone until they understand a topic.   Even if he is in the center and not on duty he cheerfully helps students when time will permit. Htet Cho is also active in the school of Engineering and tutors some Electrical Engineering courses.  He likes technology related topics.  He says that if you are interested in technology, he’d be interested in getting to know you!

Featured Story: Faculty Development

Faculty development in the School of Sciences at CBU happens in many different ways. All faculty work on their courses, both keeping up with constantly expanding content and improving the course materials and delivery. Work on developing course web pages and web resources keeps many of our faculty active throughout the year. Work on new and improved laboratory experiments also keeps many of us busy and involved in the lab. Work on using the power of the computer to aid instruction also is a source of continued faculty effort. While many of our students do their senior research with researchers at local research institutions, some of the Sciences’ faculty are able to work with students on their student research. In particular, Dr. Malinda Fitzgerald, Dr. Stan Eisen, and Dr. James Moore, have worked with students in biology, Ms. Lynda Miller has worked with natural science students, Dr. Dennis Merat has worked with chemistry students, Professor Cathy Grilli has worked with math students, and Dr. John Varriano has worked with physics and even some engineering students on their senior research projects. In Computer Science, Dr. Arthur Yanushka oversees the Computer Science internships.

Dr. John Varriano, Professor of Physics, has worked to develop some web based resources for some of his physics courses, and was recently asked by the Educational Technology division of the Ministry of Education in Singapore to allow them to link to some of his on-line resources. Dr. Anna Ross, Professor of Biology, has also created impressive resources for the web and has received numerous requests for permission to use those resources. Br. Walter Schreiner, Associate Professor of Mathematics, has developed statistics manuals for the calculators we use and for SPSS that are regularly used by other schools. He has also developed several Maple worksheets including a new set for Calculus III.

Some of us are able to find the time to devote to the traditional form of faculty development: publishing our research. Listed below are some areas of active interest and some of the papers that were published by the Sciences faculty recently.

Dr. Leigh C. Becker, Professor of Mathematics, does research on Volterra integral equations.  Some of his recent results include theorems that allowed him to find closed-form solutions of integral equations that were previously unknown.  They are among some of the other results that appear in the following papers:
Resolvents for weakly singular kernels and fractional differential equations, Nonlinear Analysis: Theory, Methods & Applications,75, Issue 13 (Sept. 2012), pp. 4839-4861. 
Singular integral equations, Liapunov functionals, and resolvents, Nonlinear Analysis: Theory, Methods & Applications, 75, Issue 7 (May 2012), pp. 3277-3291 (coauthored with T. A. Burton and I. K. Purnaras).  Resolvents and solutions of weakly singular linear Volterra integral equations, Nonlinear Analysis: Theory, Methods & Applications,74, Issue 5 (March 2011), pp. 1892-1912.  Seven of his papers are cited in a recently published book by T. A Burton entitled Liapunov Theory for Integral Equations with Singular Kernels and Fractional Differential Equations (amazon.com 2012). Dr. Becker also reviewed papers for two journals last year.

Dr. Malinda Fitzgerald, Professor of Biology, writes:  “As a faculty member in science, it is important to stay current in my area of expertise, as developments progress so quickly.  One of the ways I am able to do this is to apply for summer faculty development funds.  These funds allow faculty to attend meetings, conduct research or update our classes.  I have been fortunate enough to receive summer support, which I used to attend an international meeting as well as a workshop, and it supported time to re-vamp my courses.  This past summer, I attended the International Congress of Eye Research in Berlin, Germany.  This was a small meeting by comparison to other meetings I normally attend: ARVO and Neuroscience that have 15-20 thousand people in attendance, and  ICER that has 500 attendees.  I was able to present my data and attend other sessions that were outside my field.  In this manner, I learned a lot about areas of research in the visual system that I would not normally read about.  I also had the opportunity to observe Dr. Felix Vasquez-Chon, Biology 1998, who is currently a post-doctoral fellow in Utah.  He moderated a session at the meeting and it was wonderful to see him ‘grow up’ in the scientific community.  It was not all work, Felix and I rented bikes and rode around Berlin.  It was a wonderful city. ”

Dr. James Moore

Dr. James Moore, Assistant Professor of Biology

Dr. James Moore, Assistant Professor of Biology, had two papers published in 2012:  Water stress interacts with early arrival to influence inter and intra-specific priority competition: A test using a greenhouse study. Journal of Vegetation Science 23(4): 647-656;  and  Long-term population demography of Trillium recurvatum (Beck) on loess bluffs in western TN. AoB-Plants doi: 10.1093/aobpla/pls015.

Dr. Anna Ross, Professor of Biology, attended the Annual Human Anatomy and Physiology Society http://www.hapsweb.org/ Conference in May 2012.  Annual HAPS meetings are attended by A&P professors from across North America and feature two days of update seminars followed by two days of hands-on workshops.  Dr. Ross reports, “Having students use clay to help learn human muscles is an idea I’ve had my eye on for several years… but the name brand versions of the skeleton model cost several hundred dollars each and sculpting muscles in clay seemed far too time consuming.  Then I attended a workshop at the May 2012 HAPS meeting and saw that a couple of A&P professors had developed a cheaper method… using the Tiny Tim model skeletons (about $20 each) and strings of clay (instead of having to sculpt more realistic looking muscles).  They even have a web site that shows  about 60 muscles constructed this way.  After trying it during the workshop I decided I could make this work for CBU’s A&P course.”  So, early last summer Dr. Ross purchased 14 of the skeletons (one per student), 4 clay extruders, and a few pounds of good quality plasticene clay.  She then modified the A&P Supplement and syllabus to include this hands-on lab activity in the Biol 217 lab course.  This fall, each A&P student constructed a few assigned muscles on a small model skeleton.  Then the students examined each other’s models and identified the names and actions of the muscles other students constructed.  Dr. Ross reports that students really enjoyed the hands-on lab activity and befitted from practice learning the names and actions of human muscles.  Here are some photos of the students in action http://facstaff.cbu.edu/aross/APIhome.htm#L8_9

new models in use

New models being used in Human Anatomy & Physiology

Dr. Johnny B. Holmes, Professor of Physics, and Dr. John Varriano, Professor of Physics, worked this year to update the physics computer assisted homework problem sets that they created. These 48 programs worked fine on the Windows XP and older windows operating systems, but the recent versions of Vista and Windows 7 required the use of a third-party DOSBOX routine. The updated programs now run directly on all of the windows operating systems.

Featured Story: Technology in Teaching

A screen from one of the computer homework programs developed at CBU on the theory of relativity.

A screen from one of the computer homework programs developed at CBU on the theory of relativity.

Many faculty members at CBU have made very good use of technology in the classroom and in their course support materials. PowerPoint provides a useful classroom tool. As with any tool, it has the potential to be abused, but it also has the power to be a way of providing clear and concise notes including images and graphs. Some of the professors post the PowerPoint presentations on their web sites as a way of providing good class notes that can be annotated by the students in lecture, freeing up time for the students to listen and participate in class. Another powerful tool is spreadsheets that can show numerical techniques and provide simulations. These also are sometimes posted on professors’ websites and can be used and experimented with by students. Some of our professors use Moodle as a tool to provide graded homework and class information.But computers provide more than just PowerPoint and spreadsheets. In the Physics Department here at CBU, Dr. Johnny Holmes, Professor of Physics, and Dr. John Varriano, Professor of Physics have created computer homework program sets that have been downloaded by hundreds of other educators around the world. This work began about 1980, so there are now plenty of CBU science and engineering graduates that are familiar with these. The programs have recently been updated so that they run on the newer windows operating systems. Based on student comments on course evaluations and student performance on tests, these program sets are a useful learning tool. Dr. Ted Clarke, Assistant Professor of Physics, is using Wiley Plus as a computer aid for his students.

Hands On learning at CBU labs

Along with all of the automation and computers, labs at CBU still have a hands-on component.

Biology is very image intensive, and our biology faculty have used the ability of the computer to store and retrieve images quickly. Particularly outstanding in this area is Dr. Anna Ross, Professor of Biology. She has shared with me many notes of thanks from around the world for her resources she makes available on the web. And the biology resources on our intranet are even more extensive! Dr. Malinda Fitzgerald is using clickers in her lecture classes to improve student engagement.

In chemistry, molecules exist in three dimensional space, so the computer is now an important tool to see these molecules in 3-D. Dr. William Busler, Professor Emeritus, wrote a program on the old Commodore computers to help students practice nomenclature, and that program has recently been updated to run on the newer windows operating systems. Many of our alums should remember that program! Dr. William Peer, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, has many chemistry resources available on Moodle for his students including the above mentioned nomenclature program, PowerPoint slides, study guides and practice exams. He also uses the OWL computer system because of the instant feedback in doing homework problems and because of the good explanations when students do not get the right answer. Dr. Anthony Trimoli, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, uses the Sapling computer system along with clickers in his lecture classes. Dr. David Dawson, Associate Professor of Chemistry, uses software to display organic chemicals in his Organic Chemistry lectures.

In the lower level mathematics courses, the Math Department uses several different tools. In the ALGebra sequence, the department uses a computer program to supplement the lectures. This program gives students guided practice on the skills and concepts being taught. In the Finite Math course for Arts and Business majors, Dr. Bedrossian has developed computer tools for a hybrid course offered in the evening to Professional Studies students but it is also useful to day students as a great study guide. In the Precalculus course, the department is using an on-line system that not only gives guided help to the student but also decreases the cost of a printed textbook.

The Mathematics Department has utilized the Moodle Program since 2003 by setting up a series of tests in Pre-Calculus, Pre-Calculus/Calculus 1, Calculus 1 & 2, and Differential Equations courses to help students with their computational abilities in these areas.

In the upper level mathematics courses, the department uses the Maple programs to help visualize functions in several dimensions (parameters). Not only do the math faculty use this tool, they also create tools that they share with others in the world. For instance, Dr. Leigh Becker, Professor of Mathematics, has worked students to develop Maple worksheets and some of these have been published by Maplesoft at its Maple Application Center web site.

The use of computers in the lab is everywhere. They provide excellent tools in the gathering of data and in the analysis of that data. Almost every instrument now has a computer interface. We try, however, in the labs to really let the students see, touch, and understand what is really going on and not just learn to push buttons. And we do use technology in lab teaching, too. One advantage is allowing students to “replay” lab activities as they study the material outside of lab time. In biology, they have tutorials using digital images (of anatomical models, dissection specimens, and photomicrographs) and video that we can link through Moodle, course web pages and made available via a shared directory.

Here is a link to a video clip from a recent embryology lab. Ebony Talbert, Biology 2014, captured this video (as well as some still images) with her iPhone through the dissecting microscope objective. It shows a stained, living chicken embryo. You can clearly see the heart beating.

Featured Story: Minority Health International Research Training (MHIRT) Grant

CBU prides itself on effective and enjoyable teaching. An integral part of such teaching is having the students perform research internships. In recognition of this, all science majors at CBU are required to do either a senior research project or an internship. There are different ways for students to perform their research: with a CBU professor, with a researcher at another local institution such as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), or with a researcher participating in grant funded research anywhere in the U.S.

In addition to the above opportunities, CBU is pleased to provide an excellent opportunity to do this research via internships at sites in Brazil, Uganda, or Kenya with all expenses paid and a stipend through a Minority Health International Research Training (MHIRT) grant funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This is a major collaborative project involving CBU, and other regional academic institutions that started in 2000. Dr. Malinda Fitzgerald, CBU Professor of Biology, is the program director, Mrs. Julia Hanebrink, CBU Adjunct Lecturer of Behavioral Sciences, is the program coordinator aided by Mr. Dustin James as assistant coordinator. There is also an advisory board that consists of faculty from the University of Memphis, Rhodes College, University of Tennessee Health Science Center Memphis and LeMoyne Owen College. These faculty assist in the recruitment of students locally at their institutions. The summer research projects allow students to assist underserved individuals in Brazil, Uganda, and Kenya. Students and faculty travel to these countries to conduct research on health related projects that benefit the native populations. US students also work closely with faculty in foreign university sites. Approximately 15 students participate in this MHIRT program each year in the summer after having participated in preparation workshops the prior spring.

The most wonderful things happen as a result of these summer research experiences. Students go on to graduate programs in dentistry, medicine, public health, and biological sciences. Some dedicate their lives to helping others by setting up non-profit organizations, or working with the foreign sites. All continue to be globally involved. It is wonderful for our students to have this life altering experience. Deadline for applications this year is December 31, 2012. For more information, visit the MHIRT website.