The College of the Sciences and Mathematics had a very successful Fall Poster Session. Awards went to:
Pictured is undergraduate first prize winner Abrya Field with Dr. Radha Pyati, Dean of the College of the Sciences and Mathematics.
The EPaDel section of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) held its fall section meeting at West Chester University on November 3rd in the Business & Public Management Building. The meeting featured the invited speakers Deanna Haunsperger (President of the MAA), Kristin Lauter (Microsoft Research) and Alex Nakahara (The Phillies) as well as contributed paper sessions by faculty and students, a silent auction, student activities, and more.
Dr. Richard Falk, a Ralph C. Milbank Emeritus Professor of International Law and Practice and an Emeritus Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University, spoke at a public lecture hosted by the Department of Political Science last week. He is a world-renowned scholar of international relations and international law, former UN Special Rapporteur on Palestinian Human Rights, and author of more than 40 books and hundreds of academic articles and essays. His lecture, World Order in the Age of Trump and Trumpism, focused on foreign policy and the new world order. The text of his lecture has been published in the Global Policy Journal and can be found here: https://www.globalpolicyjournal.com/blog/31/10/2018/world-order-age-trump-and-trumpism.
The Daily Local News recently featured an article on Dr. Oné Pagán, Department of Biology, and his new book, Strange Survivors, in which Dr. Pagán writes about the survival mechanisms of several different creatures. The Daily Local News article, "Small Talk: Worms: Great for fishing, and the environment too," can be found here: https://www.dailylocal.com/news/local/small-talk-worms-great-for-fishing-and-the-environment-too/article_1d44d6d4-b783-11e8-8650-171264561998.html.
Dr. Julie Wiest, sociology, has a new book being released on October 18th. The Allure of Premeditated Murder: Why Some People Plan to Kill is co-authored with Dr. Jack Levin, a renowned scholar in criminology and emeritus professor at Northeastern University.
From the publisher’s website: Any murder causes pain and suffering that ripple through families and communities—of both the victims and the perpetrators—but premeditated murders cause the worst kind of damage. The Allure of Premeditated Murder is about the worst kinds of premeditated homicide in which the perpetrator plans an attack over a period of days, weeks, or months, leaving behind massive carnage and unspeakable suffering. Drawing on extensive research and interviews with murderers, sociologists Jack Levin and Julie B. Wiest help readers understand why such vicious murders occur and what we can do to minimize their incidence.
Dr. Frank Fish, biology, and Danielle Adams, biology graduate, presented “Constraints on swimming performance by stiffness of body and propulsor of cetaceans and tuna” at the Office of Naval Research (ONR) Multidisciplinary University Research Initiatives (MURI) Review Meeting: Hydrodynamics of Non-traditional Propulsion Bio-Inspired Flexible Propulsors for Fast, Efficient Swimming: What Physics Are We Missing? at Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA, September 27-28, 2018.
Pictured are Dr. Fish and Danielle Adams video recording dolphin swimming for research.
Dr. Jacqueline Zalewski, sociology, will be presented with the Leigh S. Shaffer Award this week at the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) global conference in Phoenix, Arizona. The Leigh S. Shaffer Award recognizes scholarly contributions published in the NACADA Journal that significantly advance the field of academic advising.
Dr. Zalewski has also recently been published. Her book, Working Lives and in-House Outsourcing: Chewed-Up by Two Masters, offers a sociological account of the process by which companies instituted and continue to institute outsourcing in their organization.
Dr. Radha Pyati, Dean of the College of the Sciences and Mathematics, was recently presented with an Environmental Award of Merit for her significant impact to the community as a scientist, educator and advocate.
In Dr. Pyati’s prior position as Chair of the Chemistry Department of the University of North Florida (UNF) and Director of the UNF Environmental Center, Dr. Pyati also assumed responsibility for the annual State of the River Report for the Lower St. Johns River Basin. In addition to all of the local community and media presentations made about the report, under her leadership the report also received international attention from the United Nations with the integration of aspects of the report included in a United Nations World Water Development Report – the first time a US river was included in a world water report. Under Dr. Pyati’s leadership, the UNF Environmental Center was expanded and the effort to have UNF join the American College and University Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), which is a public commitment by universities to become carbon neutral, was successful. Outside of the contributions she made while at UNF, Dr. Pyati has been a strong advocate for the importance of science in public policy, as well as many social issues.
For further reading, see the following news items regarding the release of the State of the River Report for the Lower St. Johns River Basin:
On Friday September 21, in West Chester University’s Sykes Ballroom, eleven companies participated in the Second Annual Joint Actuarial Career Day hosted by WCU and Arcadia University. Of the twenty-nine WCU Actuarial, Mathematics and Applied Statistics students who submitted resumes for review, twenty-five of them were selected for formal and informal interviews throughout the day. Participating companies included Lincoln Financial Group, Penn Mutual, Transamerica, iPipeline, CBIZ, Aon Pension Group, Aon Health Group, Willis Towers Watson – Actuarial Group and Willis Towers Watson – Pension Group. Graduates from our Actuarial Science or other Mathematics programs work at each of these companies and in fact four of the interviewers were WCU Mathematics Department alumni.
Dr. Frank Fish, biology, Kelsey Tennett, biology graduate student, and Dr. Anthony Nicastro, physics, published a research article, “Terrestrial locomotion of the northern elephant seal (Mirounga angustirostris): limitation of large aquatically adapted seals on land?” in the Journal of Experimental Biology (2018) 221, jeb180117, dot: 10.1242/jeb 180117. The article was also co-authored with Dr. Daniel Costa of the University of California Santa Cruz.
Dr. Jessica Sullivan-Brown (Biology) and Dr. Shawn Pfeil (Physics), along with two faculty members at Penn State Brandywine, were recently awarded a Major Research Instrumentation grant (MRI) from the NSF for an Olympus IXPlore SpinSR Confocal Microscopy System with TIRF capabilities. This imaging system will be housed in the Center for Microanalysis and Imaging Research and Training (CMIRT) facility at West Chester University and will enable researchers to perform cutting-edge research, provide transformative undergraduate research experiences and strengthen our already strong STEM pipeline. Examples of research projects include (1) studying how folic acid, an essential vitamin, affects embryonic development and (2) single-molecule biophysical studies on the folding of a novel nucleic acid structural motif in the presence and absence of molecular crowding. Acquisition of this microscope will expand teaching and outreach opportunities and ensure that the affordable high quality education offered at WCU prepares students for successful careers in the sciences.
WCU students recently had the opportunity to meet Dr. Robert Jacobs, a chemist with over 30 years of experience in medicinal chemistry and drug discovery. Dr. Jacobs recently led a team of medicinal, synthetic and computational chemists at Anacor Pharmaceuticals, a world leader in the discovery and development of boron-containing pharmaceuticals. The team’s focus on the discovery and application of novel boron-containing drug molecules resulted in a major advancement in the treatment of atopic dermatitis leading Anacor to be acquired by Pfizer. Dr. Jacobs was invited by Dr. Thomas Simpson to join Dr. Simpson’s Organic Chemistry Lab class. Dr. Simpson introduced Dr. Jacobs to the students at the beginning of the class and he stayed to speak with the students and to provide laboratory tips during the laboratory class. It was a wonderful opportunity and the students were excited to have an industry expert drop in to visit during the class.
Dr. Allison Kolpas, mathematics, recently co-authored the paper “Optimal Mating Strategies for Preferentially Outcrossing Simultaneous Hermaphrodites in the Presence of Predators” in the Bulletin of Mathematical Biology with Corin Stratton and Dr. Josh Auld, biology; see https://rdcu.be/4ikr. Corin Stratton was an undergraduate researcher in mathematics at the time the paper was written and is currently in the MA in Mathematics program at WCU. Corin was supported by an NSF RUI Grant that Dr. Auld and Dr. Kolpas share; see NSF.gov for a description of the grant.
The Department of Earth & Space Sciences was highlighted in this summer's PCPG (PA Professional Geologists) Newsletter. To read more about WCU's part in the First Annual PCPG Student Poster Session and Competition and the exciting work being done with drones in Centralia, the newsletter can be found here: PCPG Summer 2018 Newsletter .
Dr. William H. Sawyer, physics, presented the paper “Nanocrystal Ghosting in ZrO2 – Extensive Radiation Damage in ZrO2 induced by low-energy electrons” at the 2018 Materials Research Society Spring Meeting in Phoenix, AZ. The paper was co-authored by Ellen Farmer, physics undergraduate student.
Dr. Anil K. Kandalam, physics, presented the paper “Neurotransmitter-conjugated Au-Ag
bimetallic nanoclusters: Interaction of AuxAgy (x + y = n; n = 8 and 10) clusters
with Dopamine” at the 2018 Materials Research Society (MRS) Spring Meeting in Phoenix,
AZ. The paper was co-authored by Eric Herrmann and Haley Buckner, physics undergraduate
students along with Georgia Montone, mathematics graduate student.