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Brookhaven College employee newsletter: Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Student Value Series: Mathematics and Science Division

Student Value Series: Mathematics and Science Division

Article by Mary Schoals, student and department assistant I, Marketing and Public Information Office

Through creativity, hard work and after-hour mentoring, the Mathematics and Science Division takes its course material to a whole new level.

The division is home to two of 15 faculty mentors in the DCCCD Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Institute, STEM Institute. Claire Bambrough, professor of chemistry and Jason Cates, professor of mathematics split the instruction of the Institute’s students for the division. Charles Cadenhead, professor of Computer Information Technology, also takes about a third of the students, so the professors average five or six students each.

From agreeing to meet off-campus after hours, to walking students through applications and summer research jobs, Claire, Jason and Charles bring the experience and connections that are essential for success in their respective fields.

Aside from mentoring, Claire, this year’s Minnie Stevens Piper Award Nominee, brings a great deal of her own creativity to her classes. Her “Periodic Table Art Project,” an extra credit assignment, has become a tourist attraction for members of the college.

Also in Building X, Kristina Wood and the self-titled “Microbiology Mavens,” the faculty trio of Peggy Mason, Simone Thaxton and Terri Canaris, all ensure student success by implementing life skills in their curriculum. Due to their willingness to adopt a “one-on-one” teaching basis and customized exercises, the professors are highly recommended by students.

Creativity and fun abound in the Microbiology Department. Kristina created the “Taste of Micro” assignment, where students analyze microbes in their favorite food or drink, and Peggy supports the Quality Enhancement Program Reading: The App for Life. That, combined with their success rate with nursing program incumbents, Kristina and the “Mavens” boast nominations for excellence in teaching as well as grants awarded.

Shanthi Murrali, professor of biology for non-majors, works one-on-one with her Early College High School students. Shanthi integrates daily activities into her lectures, such as snack analysis and comprehensions exercises, which make learning fun. Emphasizing the “tough college experience,” the professor informs her high school seniors of the resources available to them, as well as her availability whenever they require extra instruction.

Not to be outdone, Scott Sires and Melanie Gamble of the Brookhaven College Geotechnology Institute have their respective hands full as manager of the Geographic Information Systems Institute, and as outreach and recruitment coordinator and coordinator of the biannual Brookhaven College Earth Science Fair.

Scott brings years of GIS experience to Brookhaven College, along with around 30 advisors from past work relations in the field. Through internships, job connections and a rigorous curriculum, Scott says he often can land students job offers before they even graduate. Scott’s extracurricular events are also a draw for students and include the well-known research trip to Belize and national conventions, where on occasion student work is presented.

Through Melanie Gamble and her outreach skills, Brookhaven College plays host to the much anticipated Earth Science Fair. Melanie invites rock and mineral vendors from all over, as well as the Arlington Archeological Society and geocaching experts, to the family-friendly event. This semester, the Perot Museum is scheduled to attend, as well as other guests. Melanie, along with Sandy Wyche, dean of Business Studies, and Becky Knickles, accounting professor, assisted the Council of Petroleum Accounts Societies in arranging scholarships for Brookhaven College students.

From the Mathematics Department, Debbie Hanus, instructor and informal advisor, as well as Minnie Stevens Piper Award Nominee, pioneered the college’s dual-credit algebra program and the “Math Ways” project, which she did as a part of the Texas Leadership Team. Extremely student-focused, Debbie invites representatives from the college’s student services to speak to her students about what they offer. Debbie is an advocate for service-learning, the STEM Institute, and the Counseling Center's SkillsShops.

Several individuals in the Mathematis and Science Division wish to highlight the efforts of their fellow employees who are instrumental in the success of their programs:

A special thanks to Doris Rousey, executive dean, and all employees in the Math and Science Division for their time and never-ending efforts. Next month’s issue will highlight the Social Science Division. If you know of anyone in your division adding value to the Brookhaven student experience, please email Mary Catherine Schoals in the Marketing and Public Information Office.