A Day in the Life...
The Biomedical Science program is blessed with some outstanding students! This year was no exception. From numerous All Academic Conference and Region athletes to others who simply excelled in their academic lives, we found this year to be filled with points of light to celebrate. That said, we had tough decisions as we selected our outstanding students for the Department of Biology. Though they come from all three Biology degrees (Biology, BIMS, and Life Science), our BIMS students were well represented.
So here are the recipients for the Department of Biology Academic Awards for 2016. (forgive me if I get Academy and Academic confused…)
Outstanding First Year Students: Bethany Everett and Haley Shepard
Outstanding Second Year Students: George Gutierrez and Kelsey McKiernan
Outstanding Juniors: Payden Dompe, Maddie Fatheree, Sophie Southwell
Outstanding Seniors: Ella Mackowiak, Taylor Russell, Rachel Thompson
We were also able to award numerous endowed merit-based scholarships to some of our more advanced students. This is not the totality of merit scholarships our students will receive, but represents some of the key scholarships we know about at this time:
The Dr. Richard D. Moore Scholarship. This award is in honor of Dr. Richard D. Moore, long-time Biology professor and pre-med advisor for the department. Winners: Payden Dompe and Maddie Fatheree.
The Bob Uselton-Ko Sari Scholarship. This award is in memory of graduate and Ko Sari member Bob Uselton. Winner: George Gutierrez.
The Dr. J. Danny Cooley Scholarship. This award is in memory of McMurry graduate and environmental microbiologist Danny Cooley. Winner: Sophie Southwell.
The Dr. Charles Bloomer Scholarship. This award honors alumnus and local oral surgeon and McMurry supporter Dr. Charles Bloomer. Winners: Dona L’Ne Kirkes and Rachel Thompson.
The Dr. Victor Hudman Scholarship. This award is in memory of alumnus and physician Dr. Victor Hudman, signifying three generations of the family preparing for careers in medicine through McMurry Biology. Winner: Kelsey McKiernan.
Any basketball lovers out there? If so, you probably are like me and have a love-hate relationship with the NCAA Division I basketball tournament – March Madness. It is a time when anything is possible, any team entering the field has that dream that if they can just string together 6 perfect games they can win a national championship. I was in love with March Madness back in the early 90s, when I chose three of the final four and ultimate champion Arkansas. Contrast that to this year, where two of the teams I pegged for the final four were eliminated in the first game. Like everyone, I try to predict the early upsets, and I actually hit on one – Arkansas-Little Rock defeating Purdue. I had to root for UALR because their coach, Chris Beard, as coach at McMurry not so many years ago.
I think there are some similarities between the highs and lows of March Madness and our BIMS program. Like selection Sunday, where there’s great anticipation about what teams will “go to the dance”, our recruiting season is a time of great anticipation as we await those who place their deposits, sign up for SOAR, and enroll as our majors each summer. And just like the tournament itself, there are those very talented students who stumble and those underdogs who achieve beyond anyone’s expectations. College, after all, is the greatest participation sport you can imagine.
So what are the similarities and differences that make some students succeed and others flame out? Just look at the Cinderella teams in the tournament. They tend to have great coaching, better than average talent, and lots of heart and determination. They are so focused on the tournament that they do not let any distractions or other interests get in their way. And they leave their entire effort out there on the floor. When our students commit every bit of their talent and effort to pursuing their education, they always come away winners.
- Science Saturday! January 23rd will feature an open house for the sciences at McMurry. Science Saturday is an opportunity for the community, and in particular regional high school educators and students, to come experience the unique flavor of McMurry’s science programs. There will be hands-on events sponsored by our science faculty and students. Biology will host three sessions – one an exercise is studying population diversity in an ecological setting, another a forensic science activity using conventional and molecular techniques, and a third centered on epidemiological investigation of a mock disease outbreak. In each case, students and other visitors take on the role of scientist to see how knowledge is put into action to solve real-world problems.
- Honors Research! This spring we will have only one Honors student completing Honors research. The student is Taylor Russell, standout basketball player for the Lady War Hawks. Her project is using molecular techniques to investigate whether microbial populations in traditional Winogradsky columns are also supported in diatomaceous earth (DE) columns (now becoming known as Benoit Columns in reference to their discoverer, our own Dr. Tom Benoit). We are eagerly anticipating the results from the epigenetic analysis because it is likely some of the microbes discovered could be members of the new domains of organisms first reported this summer.
- Faculty Research! With the announcement that four of our Biology faculty received KIVA grants and Sam Taylor Research Fellowships, the move will be on to study bats and plant diversity and invasive crab species and mole migration patterns. Students will be given the opportunity to dive in and learn as they conduct research.
- And Speaking of Grants…. The department will be deeply involved in the writing of a major grant that has the potential to transform McMurry sciences. This multi-year, multi-million dollar grant would bring improved spaces and equipment and new opportunities and programs to our current and future students. More on this as we get deeper into 2016!
So there you have it. Lots to be excited about as a War Hawk BIMS student! May this be a great year for us all!