Recently in College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics Category

IMG_5857_260px.jpgIn September, IUP's student chapter of the American Chemical Society was recognized as an outstanding chapter by the national ACS.

Not only will the chapter  be honored at the national meeting March 25 - 29 in San Diego, but they are spotlighted in the February/March 2012 issue of inChemistry magazine.

And they are REALLY in the spotlight!

In addition to a great photo of the students in the chapter, the publication has a full-page of Q&A about the chapter activities and an interview with Professor Nathan McElroy, the chapter's advisor for the past six years.

The article showcases many of the chapter's projects and initiatives. This group offers free chemistry tutoring four nights a week, raises funds with weekly sales of hot dogs and T-shirts and uses these funds to make an annual donation of $1,000 to a local elementary or high school science program. The group also participates in local science fairs and recruiting events, including National Chemistry Week at the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh.

McElroy, who is an IUP alumnus, was secretary of the Chemistry Club as a student. When he returned to IUP as a faculty member, he said, "I asked to become the advisor."

When asked about advice for new club advisors, he suggested, "Don't underestimate your students' creativity."

Clearly, it's a formula that works.

Thumbnail image for phikappaph_260pxi.jpgPhi Kappa Phi, the oldest, largest, and most selective all-discipline honor society in the nation, honored its IUP chapter as a "Chapter of Excellence" in November.

Now, IUP junior, senior, and graduate students in the top 10 percent of their classes have the chance to join this most excellent chapter.

The honor society recently sent membership invitations to 430 undergraduate students and 557 graduate students, mailing the invitations to the students' home addresses on record with the university.

The IUP chapter will have two initiation ceremonies: March 28 for undergraduate students and April 3 for graduate students. Both ceremonies will be held from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. in the Blue Room, Sutton Hall.

Students may accept the invitation to join by mailing in a form or completing one on the web and should indicate whether they will attend the ceremony -- for undergraduates, the deadline is March 7; for graduate students, March 13.

"We really hope that all invited students respond to this invitation -- it's a wonderful opportunity for students to be part of a national network of scholars," said Professor Dennis Giever, IUP chapter president.

In addition, he notes that "Phi Kappa Phi has more than $700,000 in scholarships and graduate fellowships for its members nationally, and several IUP students have been selected for these awards since IUP's chapter was chartered in 1993."

He asks that faculty encourage invited students to reply. "We know that students get inundated with information and mailings, but this is something that can be of great benefit to them, especially if they have an interest in scholarships or graduate fellowships."

Check your mail. You are already a winner! 

Thumbnail image for kopchick_lab.widea.jpgJohn Kopchick '72, M'75 recently learned that Ohio University's Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine's newest endowed research chair would be named for him.

Kopchick, the Goll Eminent Scholar and Professor in Molecular and Cellular Biology at OU, is widely admired as an inventor of Somavert, a drug that treats acromegaly. Somavert has saved the lives of millions of people with this disorder, which can cause excessive growth of organs and bones and lead to premature death. It has also brought millions of dollars to Ohio University.

The new chair was established in recognition of Kopchick's extraordinary contributions to the medical field and the university. 

"This position is such an honor," he said. "The John J. Kopchick, Ph.D., Osteopathic Heritage Foundations Endowed Eminent Reseach Chair -- those words are very special. Thank you."

His stature notwithstanding, Kopchick's colleagues and students refer to him fondly as a down-to-earth friend and mentor who has a knack for building research teams, makes research fun, and is an inspiration. 

The new Kopchick Chair is funded by a $5 million endowment supported by the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation and Ohio University. It will be held first by a researcher recruited into the college's Department of Biomedical Sciences in 2016.

"I would hope whoever is the recipient would do their research with the same philosophy that I had, which is to do something that's going to change the world," Kopchick said. 

A recipient of IUP's Distinguished Alumni Award several years ago, Kopchick returned to campus in 2008 to receive an honorary doctoral degree and give the Commencement address.

See a story from the Athens (Ohio) News that explains the how the sale of partial royalty income rights of Somavert will help Ohio University.

Photo credit: Ohio University 


Scholarship Recognizes Professor Emeritus's Inspiration

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Faculty members inspire many things--success, fortitude, vision, and, sometimes, the desire to give back in return for those things. That's Bob Stouse's story.

Stilwell-Strouse.JPG A member of the Class of 1970, Strouse recently pledged his support to establish a scholarship fund in honor of Merle Stilwell, a retired professor. Strouse, of DuBois, has pledged a portion of the amount needed to establish the Merle Stilwell Scholarship for Mathematics fund. The charitable foundation associated with his employer, Illinois Tool Works, will match the balance.

The scholarship will be awarded to Mathematics or Mathematics Education majors. Preference will be given to those who demonstrate involvement in community service and who exhibit attributes of a well-rounded person.

If you would like to give to the Stilwell or another scholarship fund,
visit our Give a Gift page today.

Stilwell, a longtime faculty member, was granted emeritus status in 1991. He lives in Indiana.

"Merle went out of his way to help me," Strouse said. "No matter who you were, he took care of all the students. He really was the professor in the Math Department students could go to for help.

"I went from a very immature kid entering IUP to a very focused adult who launched a successful career," said Strouse, a member of the football squad that played in the 1968 Boardwalk Bowl.

Strouse dreamed up the idea of a scholarship after being contacted by IUP's Development staff.

"You know, alumni are contacted to donate to the Foundation for IUP to help the university. I thought about it, and my employer would match three dollars for every one dollar. I thought if I'm going to help IUP, why not do it this way. We can fund a scholarship to honor Merle. Merle helped students, and a scholarship is a great way to help students," he said.

Strouse invites fellow alumni who were inspired by Merle Stilwell to also contribute to the Stilwell Scholarship Fund.

Upon his graduation, Strouse became a mathematics teacher and then entered private industry. After retiring from Illinois Tool Works and settling in DuBois, he now is helping students at DuBois Business College. He also is among a group of Boardwalk Bowl alumni leading the charge to develop a scholarship that supports IUP's football team members.

It could be that Stilwell also inspired Strouse to lend his time as well as his treasure to worthy causes.

In the photo are Eleanor and Merle Stilwell and Bob and Susan Strouse. The photo was taken during the last football season at a pregame party.

Maureen McHugh.jpgAdolescent bullying, for good reason, is a hot topic, and one of IUP's professors is in the forefront of the discussion.

Maureen McHugh of the Psychology Department this week caught the attention of LiveScience. McHugh studies bullying, sexual harassment, and especially "slut-bashing," the practice of peers labeling other peers as dirty and promiscuous, oftentimes in the absence of any sexual activity at all on the part of the victim.

"Their peers know what kinds of words to use to hurt them," McHugh told LiveScience, adding that sexuality becomes an Achilles heel in the beginning of adolescence.

"It is serious, and not only in terms of something as devastating as suicide, but also people not doing their best in school to live up to their potential," McHugh said. "They don't apply themselves, or they skip school because they can't bear to be there. [Bullying] has a huge number of consequences for a lot of people."

See the full article.

McHugh serves as the associate editor of Sex Roles and teaches at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Accreditation Distinguishes IUP Programs

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NAYSC_Early_Childhood_Accreditation_11711D69_260px.jpgThe good news keeps coming in terms of continued accreditations for IUP's departments and programs, and for those affiliated with IUP.

Most recently, the Indiana County Child Day Care Program, which serves as the laboratory for students in IUP's Child Development and Family Relations Program, was re-accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Earlier this month, the dietetics track in the Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition program in the Department of Food and Nutrition was recognized with full, continued accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education.

In September, the IUP Counseling Center was notified of its reaccreditation by the International Association of Counseling Services Inc., an organization of American, Canadian, and Australian counseling agencies.

In August, the Computer Science Department's degree program in Computer Science/Languages and Systems Track was recognized with accreditation by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET.

In April, the Eberly College of Business and Information Technology was notified of its continued accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

And, IUP as an institution holds accreditation through the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Truly, the list goes on and on, with some fifty programs on the list compiled by the Division of Academic Affairs.

So, what does this mean to the faculty, students, and parents? That IUP programs are not stagnant, for one thing. Departments must continue to be accountable for standards and outcomes, or they are at risk of losing their accreditation.

Second, that the university's programs are designed to meet standards to help students be competitive when they graduate, as programs with accreditation are expected to measure how well students are learning. 

And finally, accreditation means that a university has passed the test of independent reviewers. It's great to see that IUP and its programs are "A" students.

Accreditation. Don't go to a university without it!

Students at International Conferences? You Bet!

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IUP students truly do have the best of all worlds.

Rockies2_260px.jpgFaculty are committed to teaching and being available to students, AND faculty are part of cutting-edge research. Because they understand the value of both worlds, faculty know how to push students "out of the nest" and give them opportunities they may not have thought possible.

Daniel O'Hara, a Geoscience and Computer Science major from Ebensburg, has been selected to present at the American Geophysical Union Annual International Conference in San Francisco in December.

I've been to Ebensburg. It's a lovely little town, population 3,091 as of the 2000 census, but my point is that it's a long way from there to presenting at an INTERNATIONAL conference with 20,000 geoscientists from all over the planet. That is not a typo--there will be 20,000 scientists at this event.

Graduate students, especially those at the Ph.D. level, often have research and presentation opportunities at other universities, but IUP excels at giving undergraduates the chance to do research worthy of international presentations and then helping them acquire the skills and confidence to be part of prestigious conferences and meetings.

IUP also commits its financial resources to making these kinds of opportunities possible--in Daniel's case, he received support from the Department of Geoscience, the School of Graduate Studies and Research, the dean of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and the IUP McNair Scholars Program.

Daniel's presentation is just the tip of the iceberg in counting up research presentation opportunities for undergraduates. It happens in all disciplines, from Anthropology to Theater and Dance.

Meggie PaceFor example, Meghan Pace, an Anthropology/Archaeology Track major from Bucks County, presented her research at a national conference in Atlanta, and it resulted in her landing a summer job at a geophysical consulting firm. ... That's in addition to her doing archaeological research in China's Fujian Province--all as an undergraduate. She's now working on her master's degree at IUP.

For the past six years, IUP has offered undergraduates an opportunity to prepare and present research and creative works at the Undergraduate Scholars Forum. Last year, the School of Graduate Studies and Research coordinated a forum for graduate research.

Congratulations, Daniel, and all of our students selected for these types of presentations. You bring great pride to IUP!

I don't know about you, but I still hesitate just a little bit when I enter my credit card number and click "Enter," even if I'm completely sure of my shopping choices.

Whether you like it or not and whether or not you are a computer user, information on almost everyone is stored in some kind of computer system, be it your health records, bank records or even your grocery shopping choices (Use your Advantage Card at Giant Eagle?).

So, the point is, everyone needs to be concerned about cybersecurity.

Rose Shumba, computer science professor, and studentsFor almost a decade, IUP has been one of the leading universities in the nation focusing on the issue of cybersecurity, or information assurance. Information assurance addresses all of those issues surrounding security of computers and data. IUP is one of fewer than one hundred universities in the nation recognized by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security as a national Center for Academic Excellence in Information Assurance. One of the things that sets IUP's program apart is that it combines the disciplines of criminology and computer science, offering a unique perspective on this fascinating field of study.

IUP is also very proud to have an Institute of Information Assurance, directed by Rose Shumba, professor of computer science. One of the projects of the institute is an annual Information Assurance Day. Top-level speakers come to IUP to talk with students, faculty members, and the community about issues in the field. This year, the event is Thursday, November 10.

For this fourth annual event, speakers from nationally known firms and from the FBI will discuss topics as diverse as "Four Essential Requirements for Securing Your Enterprise" to "What Keeps Me Up At Night," a discussion about botnets, malware, cybercrime, and the criminal underground. This second program is copresented by two FBI agents, both special investigators of national security and criminal cybercrime. The final program of the day will be given by IUP graduate Douglas Brown, senior vice president and IT audit senior manager for First Commonwealth Financial Corporation, who will present "Information Assurance, an IT Audit Perspective."

All of these programs are free and open to the community.

When I know that IUP students are learning how to keep my information safe, it makes me feel a lot better about the state of our nation's computer information.

Celebrating Chemistry at Carnegie Science Center

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Chemistry student at workFor many years, IUP students and employees have enjoyed Wiener Wednesday in Weyandt Hall.

However, hot dog lovers might not have realized that the sales of hot dogs and related items by the IUP American Chemical Society student chapter is creating great opportunities for chemistry education.

Each year, the IUP student chapter--which was recently recognized by the national American Chemical Society as an Outstanding Student Chapter--donates $1,000 to area high school chemistry programs to promote science education and to interest students in studying chemistry. And, not only do the students and their advisor, Nathan McElroy, make the donation on site, they do "cool" chemistry experiments--complete with goggles, beakers, and foamy or "steaming" liquids.

Want to see them in action?

Seven IUP students and faculty member Justin Fair will be continuing their outreach efforts at the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh on Saturday, October 22, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The program is free to those who pay admission to the center and open to all. So, if you've wondered what fluoride REALLY does to tooth enamel or how breakfast cereals are fortified with iron, here's your chance to find out.

In addition to the fund-raising efforts, the students do free chemistry tutoring four nights a week for IUP students and do demonstrations throughout the community at local science fairs and recruiting events. All of these efforts have resulted in four national awards for excellence, counting this last recognition.

On Monday, the students will celebrate Mole Day. No, not the little squinty-eyed rodent, the basic measuring unit in chemistry, Avogadro's number (6.02 x 1023), with a bake sale at Weyandt Hall. Not to ruin the surprise, but I hear there will be cupcakes with atomic symbols. I won't have a clue about the symbols, but a cupcake with icing can NEVER be wrong.

Dr. McElroy has an unusual understanding of the IUP Department of Chemistry--he is a very proud IUP Chemistry graduate!

But, he gives all the credit for the chapter's success to the students.

"The Outstanding Chapter Award by the national ACS is a great honor for the club. I couldn't be more proud of these students and of the exceptional work that they do for the department, the university, and the local community."

If You Can't Think of Something to Say, Just Offer Support

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I like Facebook.

I enjoy seeing photos of my friends and my daughter away at college. And like it or not, Facebook has become a valuable tool for communications professionals. We use it here at IUP, my Quota club uses it, and it's helpful.

I like checking my personal page, and I try VERY hard not to post things of the "Who cares?" variety. So, because my life is fairly uneventful, I don't post all that often.

But I have wondered what to do when I see those posts that present information reflecting a lot of personal emotion: Passing of a parent. A fire. Loss of a job. Worry over the stock market and a 401K plunge postponing retirement FOREVER (oh wait--that's me). Should I comment? What should I say?

Krys KaniastyIUP Psychology professor Krys Kaniasty to the rescue.

Even if you don't know what to say, say something simple and direct, he advises.

And he should know.

Dr. Kaniasty has done extensive study on social support after natural disasters and trauma.

In fact, he was honored by the Stress and Anxiety Research Society with the Lifetime Career Award for his work. And, he just returned from the Australian Psychological Society Annual Conference in Canberra, where he was an invited keynote presenter on the topic of support for victims of natural disasters.

Earlier this year, he was asked by web editors from Gizmodo to offer advice on how people should respond to comments on social media to people affected by disasters--most recently, the Japanese tsunami.

For example, let's say a Facebook friend and trauma survivor posts feelings that are of concern

"Don't stay silent," Kaniasty recommends in a posting titled "An Etiquette Guide to Tsunamis and Other Disasters."

"Send a private message that says something to the effect of, 'I just read your post. If you need to talk, I'm here for you.' Make sure to include a phone number--sometimes people need to talk."

Dr. Kaniasty is one of my favorite Psychology professors. He's very active in his field, respected internationally for his work, and recently co-authored a review titled "Weighing the Costs of Disaster: Consequences, Risks, and Resilience in Individuals, Families, and Communities" in the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest.

He's a native of Poland, and is the author of a book about the 1997 Polish flood. (That publication is worthy of several blog entries alone. Check it out on his website.)

In terms of offering support, Dr. Kaniasty says in the posting that "you don't have to be a talented clinician to be helpful. Most people aren't looking for you to provide a solution; they're looking for someone to listen."

Good advice, both for Facebook and life.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics category.

College of Humanities and Social Sciences is the previous category.

Eberly College of Business and Information Technology is the next category.

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