Tag: heidi difrancesca

2010 Spring Commencement

by gwilson on May.08, 2010, under Students

VID00297[003]On May 8, 2010, McMurry held its spring commencement in Kimbrell Arena.  Among the 200+ graduates on this day was the FIRST graduate of the Biomedical Science Program.  Just two years old, the program has become a landing site for some students who have either changed from other majors or have transferred in from other colleges and found the collection of courses previously taken match best with the BIMS curriculum.  Today’s graduate began her college career elsewhere but found her home in our BIMS program.

Dr. Heidi DiFrancesca and her protege 2010 Graduate Amanda Miller

Dr. Heidi DiFrancesca and her protege 2010 Graduate Amanda Miller

Amanda Miller was raised in Merkel, TX, just a short drive from Abilene.  However, the road taken that would eventually lead to her McMurry degree took her tthrough Orlando FL to Belton TX to Lubbock TX before returning her to Taylor County.  She spent a year as Cinderella at Disneyworld, began her college career at the University of Mary Hardin Baylor, continued it at Lubbock Christian University, and arrived in my office for advising during the summer of 2008 shortly after the BIMS program received faculty approval.  Looking at the collection of courses taken, considering how we might maximize their “fit” with our degree plans, and discussing where she wanted her life to go, we found a great opportunity for her in BIMS.  She has taken flight in the program, becoming Dr. Heidi DiFrancesca’s “go-to” student for help in preparing and delivering courses in molecular biology and genetics. Her plans?  To give back by serving the HIV-infected people of Africa as a member of the Peace Corps.  More evidence that a McMurry education is more about skills and knowledge – values and service are learned in extra measure.  We wish you well, Amanda.  Godspeed.

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by gwilson on Apr.13, 2010, under A Day in the Life...

d-dayIt’s one thing to plan new spaces, but another thing to transition from where you are to where you will be.  Countless hours have gone into designing spaces, getting quotes on equipment, and thinking through efficient and effective use of space.  Now that such things are largely under control and winding down, attention is shifting toward moving out of the spaces so the work can begin.

There is a very narrow window of time during which everything has to be done.  We end classes the first week of May and the fall semester starts mid-August.  So anything we can do to hasten the start of construction is important.  We are already in the process of ordering cabinetry and equipment.  May should be the time for demolition and asbestos abatement.  Planning is underway for storage of equipment and supplies from the affected spaces during the process.  Our miniaturized version of D-Day planning is going well.

To help provide as much time as possible for construction, we have been given the green light to end our lab courses early.  My microbiology course will finish a week or so early, and is actually done in the lab.  We will finish the semester using VirtualUnknown(TM) Microbiology to accomplish much of the same work in simulation that we would normally do in the wetlab.  Dr. Benoit is similarly finding ways to complete his courses’ use of the Micro lab ahead of schedule.  Edvotek kits for his immunology course have been a lifesaver!  Dr. D’s work in the genetics/molecular lab will likewise wind down in the next couple of weeks, and her headstart on packing nonessentials is well underway.

trapezeLike trapeze artists using perfect timing to leave one swing in order to catch the other, we are doing all we can to help the construction folks move in and complete their work easily and quickly.  Then, we hope to be able to complete the maneuver by moving back in during August.

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Happy New Year~!

by gwilson on Jan.09, 2010, under A Day in the Life...

Happy 2010!

Happy 2010!

Happy 2010!  May this be the best year ever in all your pursuits.  May you grow intellectually, socially, spiritually, and in maturity – all while experiencing outstanding health!  Make 2009 envious and intimidate 2011 by how 2010 brought great memories and great investments into your body, mind, and spirit!

At McMurry, the BIMS faculty are ready to do our  part to help this wish for the coming year come true.  Hard to believe this is only the second New Years observed by the BIMS program.  Dr. Benoit, Dr. DiFrancesca, Dr. Sharp,  Dr. Pyenta, and I all expect the maturing of the BIMS program during 2010 to bring greater courses, greater research projects in your labs, greater opportunities for you, and closer relationships among students and faculty as we grow into the vision upon which this program was built.  New courses, fine tuning of the curriculum, new relationships with biotech firms and professional schools all will provide new opportunities, experiences, and skills to fuel that growth.

Your role?  Don’t bypass an opportunity to learn, to experience, to grow.  Your benefit from the program is in direct proportion to your immersion in the program.  So dive in, and enjoy!

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