Wednesday, May 7, 2008

School of Science Highlights 2007/2008

Department News

Environmental Studies - With the essential support of Fr. Kevin Mullen, the School of Science and the School of Liberal Arts added a new Department of Environmental Studies. The successful search for a leader will bring Prof. Jean Mangun from Southern Illinois to be the first department head. Heartfelt appreciation goes to Prof. Larry Woolbright and the faculty in the previous Environmental Studies Program for building the foundation for this new venture. This development is part of the green initiative identified by Fr. Kevin as a key example of Franciscan values in the future of Siena.

Women in Science Initiative- The School of Science is in its second year of a Luce Foundation grant that funds full scholarships for women undergraduates in science. This year’s Clare Boothe Luce Scholars are Patti Carroll (Physics) and Christina Sillery (Computer Science and Biology) whose awards started in the 2007-08 academic year. They will be joined by this year’s awardees Janelle Rizzo (Computer Science) and Sarah Amie (Biochemistry).

New Scholarship Grant for Science Majors- The National Science Foundation awarded in April 2008, a five-year grant totaling $598,852 to Siena College for support of their project, entitled "Educating Scientists for Tech Valley: A Cohort Scholars Program." The grant will provide scholarships and programs that encourage undergraduate students to major in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. The project is under the direction of Larry R. Medsker, Allan T. Weatherwax, Karen S. Quaal, Rachel Sterne-Marr, Rose A. Finn.

Externally-Funded Research- Current external grants to SoS faculty now total over $5.3 million.

New grants announced this year are
1. NSF S-STEM ($600,000) to provide scholarships for science students
2. NSF grant to Rachel Sterne-Marr ($600,000) for research on Cell Signaling
3. NSF RUI Collaborative Research grant to Allan Weatherwax on Investigating Intermediate Scale Structures in the Auroral Oval and the Ionospheric Trough ($73,592).
4. Grant to Dr. Rose Finn ($145,000) for Spitzer space telescope observation.

5. NSF grant to Dr. Allan Weatherwax ($756,000) to continue his atmospheric and space weather studies from Greenland and Antarctica. This work is in collaboration with Stanford University and UC-Berkeley.

Undergraduate Research

Three School of Science students, supervised by SoS faculty, completed and presented a honors thesis this academic year.

Independent Studies and Internships (Coordinated by Prof. Tim Lederman)
During Summer 2007, Fall 2007, Spring 2008, there were:
- 199 Independent Study/Research registrations; and, of these, there were:
- 187 different Independent Study/Research projects or titles;
and, overall, there were:
- 163 different students who had an Independent Study/Research project during this academic year.
- 81 different faculty members supervised at least one Independent Study/Research student this academic year.

Louis J. Favreau Memorial Scholarship recipients
John Amann and Ashley Frederick (Each are freshman physics majors)

NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates National Program- Seven Siena Science students were invited to participate in research this summer at prestigious universities.

Other Undergraduate Research

Professor Jon Bannon worked with Siena Mathematics major Matthew Farrelly on a modern algebra problem. His paper to the Rose-Hulman undergraduate journal has been accepted for publication.

Biochemistry major Meaghan Hart is doing research under Mathematics Professor Emelie Kenney on rates of HIV transmission by category of patient.
Several students work with Biology Professor George Bazinet on the antibiotic activity of plant extracts.

Professor Kevin Kittredge (Chemistry) has an NSF Career grant and works with six Siena students on undergraduate research in the synthesis of functionalized crown ethers, preparation and studies of nanoparticles assembled as thin films, stability studies of polyamide films towards heat and light, and microwave-assisted synthesis using polymer bound reagents.
Mathematics major Antonella Martuccio, was awarded a $2,000 scholarship by the Association of Mathematics Teachers of New York State.

This April two Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry faculty and seven undergraduate students traveled to the American Chemical Society's National Meeting in New Orleans to present their research in six separate presentations.
Undergraduate ALFALFA team- Patti Carroll (junior physics major) and Kevin Risolo (sophomore physics major) were recently invited to join the Undergraduate ALFALFA team. ALFALFA is the Arecibo Legacy Fast ALFA Survey, a blind HI survey being conducted by Cornell astronomers using the Arecibo radio observatory. The undergraduate team includes astronomers and students from 14 institutions nationwide, and the team was recently awarded an NSF grant to fund an annual workshop at Arecibo. Patti Carroll and Kevin Risolo participated in this workshop this past January, and they learned about the telescope and the survey as well as observing and data reduction procedures. Faculty advisor is Dr. Rose Finn.

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