The past few weeks have brought news concerning the next phases of life for three of our Biology Department graduates.
Dr. Gena Jester Nichols. Gena was a Biology major who did her Honors research with Dr. Brian Waters sequencing a gene for iron uptake in plants. She completed her PhD at Wake Forest and a post-doctoral fellowship at Tulane. This fall she will begin as an Assistant Professor in Biology at Averett University in Virginia.
Dr. Andrew Hockert. Andrew was a Biology major who completed his doctorate in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at Texas Tech University Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in Lubbock. He has been named the Chair for the Department of Biology at the University of the Cumberlands in Kentucky.
Toyosi Adewunmi. Toyosi has been accepted into the South Texas Doctoral Bridge Program. As described the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, “[t]he South Texas Doctoral Bridge Program, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), promotes the participation of individuals from underrepresented groups in the pursuit of advanced degrees in biomedical research by providing financial and academic support, and professional development activities. The program is a partnership between the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and Texas State University in San Marcos.” At McMurry, Toyosi worked with Dr. Hyunshun Shin in Honors research and was active in campus life. Since graduatiion with her BS in Biomedical Science, Toyosi has been working in a research lab in Houston.
We would like to hear from others! Please contact Dr. Wilson at email@example.com so we can celebrate your achievements with you!
This year, science programs at McMurry have made a concerted effort to enhance the science community of our students and faculty through Friday afternoon activities. We call these events Science Fridays. Typically, science program clubs meet over the noon hour, and then we have something planned. Sometimes it is tutoring, sometimes it is a field trip or a guest speaker, sometimes it is a service project, sometimes a special guest (photo at left is of Jonathan Urbanczyk, 2011 graduate who is in medical school and came to campus last month to talk to our students). In all of these things, we hope that our science students and faculty cultivate deeper friendships and get comfortable living in the world of science. Though many of the activities are arranged for all science students, we find that often different audiences have different plans. For instance, the Physics and Math folks have planned activities more in line with their students’ interests.
Just announced is the schedule for the rest of the semester for those with an inclination toward biology, healthcare, and chemistry.
- March 20. Texas Tech’s Biotechnology Program is coming to McMurry to speak about their new local Biotech program at the TTU School of Pharmacy-Abilene and to recruit students for their summer internship program.
- March 27. The US Army will bring healthcare professionals to campus for a suture clinic. Students will learn how to stitch-em-up in a hands on activity. Reservations are required.
- April 3. Good Friday, no school.
- April 10. TTU School of Pharmacy will be hosting our students in their drug compounding clean room to teach them how drugs are formulated and compounded. Reservations are required.
- April 17. Metroplex Genetic Counselor Jenny Howell will be on campus to give an address and answer questions about what genetic counselors do.
- April 24, last Friday of the semester. TTU School of Public Health-Abilene will conduct an epidemiology simulation for our students. Students will assume various roles in a study to find the source of an outbreak and develop strategies to prevent its spread. Reservations are required.
I think it is safe to say the added benefits of coming to a small university like McMurry includes events like these where our students get exceptional enrichment opportunities!
There is a difference between “good” programs and “great” programs that is revealed by how they approach criticism. Good programs may fight the news or dispute the news; great programs embrace the news and use it to their advantage.
BIMS is a great program. Just 6 years ago, the Biology Department launched its three new B.S. programs – the brand new Biomedical Science (BIMS) degree, the brand new Life Sciences degree, and the revised Biology degree. Each year since, we have participated in authentic and investigative annual assessment to identify our weaknesses and form strategies to make improvements. Our willingness to find fault and criticize our own efforts led us to ask “How can we improve our performance for the sake of our students?” Just over a year ago, the accumulation of evidence told us we needed a more extensive and universal Biology Core curriculum for all three majors. And we needed to break down the barriers that prevented our BIMS majors from taking advanced BIOL courses, and vice versa.
We have just received approval for our new curriculum. Here is a look at the BIMS of the future, starting Fall 2015:
Biology Core (courses taken by all BIOL, BIMS, and LSCI majors)
- BIOL 1306/1106. General Biology I/Gen Bio I Lab. Molecules to cells.
- BIOL 1307/1107. General Biology II/Gen Biol II Lab. Animals and plants to ecosystems and evolution.
- BIOL 3460. Genetics
- BIOL 3110. Junior Seminar. Immersion in scientific literature to prepare for senior capstones. Career counseling and entrance exam preparation. Participation in locally-produced diagnostic Junior Exams to help us assess effectiveness of our courses during their first two years.
- Senior capstone experiences. Can be either BIOL 4201/4101 Senior Capstone Experience/Scientific Literature (research with a faculty member, scientific writing to report results), BIOL 4388 Biology Internship (arranged internship with practitioners in science or health professions), or BIOL 4496/4397 Honors Research/Honors Thesis (for those pursuing the added distinction and expectations of Honors research and thesis).
BIMS Program Required Courses
- BIMS 3350 Cell Biology. Return of a course focused on eukaryotic cell anatomy and physiology.
- BIMS 3410 Microbiology.
- BIMS 3430 Human Physiology.
- BIMS 4350/4150 Molecular Biology/Molecular Biology Lab.
BIMS Elective courses.
- Ten hours of elective courses from advanced BIMS and BIOL course offerings.
The Biology and Life Sciences programs have also undergone some tweaks that promise to make them even more effective than their current versions. We are excited about how these changes position us (and our students) for the future!