Jess & Mildred Fisher College of Science & Mathematics


Fisher College Professor Win Prestigious 2014 USM Regents Award

Dr. Wei Yu  
Dr. Wei Yu  

Adelphia, Maryland (April 10, 2015) —Dr. Wei Yu received the 2015 USM Regents Faculty Award for Excellence in Scholarship, Research, or Creative Activity at the Board of Regents Faculty Awards Ceremony.

Since joining the faculty of the Department of Computer and Information Sciences at Towson University in 2009, Dr Yu has developed high-quality and well-funded research in the areas of cyber security, computer networks, and cyber-physical systems. His research work has been well-recognized internationally and has helped to raise the profile of Towson University. In 2014, he received an NSF most prestigious Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award for securing national energy-based critical infrastructures. His research efforts have been recognized by a number of US government agencies and federal research laboratories through competitive research funding awards. He has received 11 competitive research awards (including the NSF CAREER grant) as the Principle Investigator (PI), totaling over $1.47 million from agencies, including the National Science Foundation, Army Research Laboratory, National Institute of Standards Technology, Department of Defense, Air Force Research Laboratory, and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. He has developed a sustained and successful scholarship portfolio demonstrated by around 150 book chapters and papers in reputable journals and conferences, resulting in nearly 1400 citations. He received the 2012 Excellence in Scholarship Award from the Fisher College of Science and Mathematics at Towson University.


Dr. Robert Hammell Appointed Special Assistant to the Dean

  Dr.Robert Hammell
  Dr. Robert Hammell

Towson University (Jan. 30, 2015) — Professor Bob Hammell from the Department of Computer and Information Sciences has agreed to join the Dean's office on a part-time basis as Special Assistant to the Dean of Science and Mathematics. A portion of Dr. Gasparich's normal portfolio of responsibilities will now be handled by Dr. Hammell – these will include student issues such as grade appeals, topics related to assessment and degree completion plans, and others.

Dr. Hammell teaches in Information Systems, and he received the Fisher College of Science and Mathematics Excellence in Teaching Award in 2013. He has supervised numerous Master's projects and at least five completed D.Sc. Information Technology dissertations. Bob's research is supported by a five-year, $491,000 Army Research Lab grant, and he has authored over 60 publications. Bob's service to the institution has been extensive, particularly in assessment and on the Middle States Steering Committee.


Professor Jonathan Lazar is Committed to Ensuring Web Accessibility for All

Dr. Jonathan Lazar  
Dr. Jonathan Lazar  

Towson University (Jan. 13, 2015) — Dr. Jonathan Lazar, professor of computer and information sciences, directs Towson University's undergraduate program in information systems and founded the university's Universal Usability Laboratory. He's one of the nation's leading authorities on human-computer interaction, yet there's nothing remotely "ivory tower" about his zest for making the Web accessible to all users.

"Who is locked out?" Lazar asks rhetorically before launching into a list that includes users with perceptual or motor impairments, including people who are blind, low-vision, or who have limited hearing. Also included are those with limited use of their hands or impaired speech.

Read full story


Fisher College Honors Its Faculty and Staff at Fall Forum

2014 faculty and staff awardees at the FCSM Fall Forum
Front, left to right: Dr. Timothy Chandler, Dean David Vanko, Ms. Renee Watkins, Dr. Ohoe Kim,
Dr. Siddharth Kaza, Dr. Scott Hilberg, Dr. Blair Taylor, Dr. Ronald Herman, Dr. Felice Shore and Dr. Sarah Bruce.

Towson University (Dec. 5, 2014) — The Jess and Mildred Fisher College of Science held its annual Fall Forum where outstanding faculty and staff are honored. Dr. Ming Tomayko, chairperson of the Fisher College Council, gave a few opening remarks and introduced David Vanko, Dean of the Fisher College. Dean Vanko in turn introduced Dr. Timothy Chandler, Acting President of Towson University, who gave some welcoming remarks. These were followed by each department chairperson introducing new faculty and staff who have joined their department this Fall and those faculty who earned tenue and/or a promotion.

Next, Dean David Vanko gave his 2014 State of the Fisher College address.

As the central theme of the Fall Forum, recipients of the Faculty and Staff Awards were introduced and presented with plaques.


Sun Magazine Names Blair Taylor to “50 Women to Watch” List

  Dr. Blair Taylor
  Dr. Blair Taylor

Baltimore, Maryland (November 2, 2014) — In a special section, the Baltimore Sunpapers published a list of 50 prominent women in Maryland and why they were selected. Dr. Blair Taylor, a clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Computer and Information Sciences was included in this top 50 list. The magazine praised Taylor for emphasizing the importance of teaching TU cybersecurity students to write secure code at the outset of their studies. Her achievements also include directing SPLASH (Secure Programming Logic Aimed at Students in High School), a program that enables girls to earn college credit and prepares them for pursuing degrees in computer science or cybersecurity.

See the full announcement.


Two MB3 Majors Recieve Awards

Maria Ritchie  
Maria Ritchie  
  Thamar Etienne
  Thamar Etienne

Detroit, Michigan (October 23, 2014) — At the 2014 Women of Color STEM Conference, the Career Communications Group recognized: Ms. Thamar Etienne with a Student Research Award, and Ms. Maria Ritchie with a Student Academic Award. Both of these young women are majors in the Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Bioinformatics (MB3) program



Maryland Council of Teachers of Mathematics Presents Towson Professor with 2014 Excellence in Teaching Award

Dr. Ming TomaykoBaltimore, Maryland (October 16, 2014) — The Maryland Council of Teachers of Mathematics (MCTM) recognized Dr. Ming Tomayko, Associate Professor of Mathematics, with a 2014 Excellence in Teaching Award at an annual banquet held October 16, 2014 at Mt. Washington Conference Center. MCTM celebrates the tremendous contributions of these exceptional educators and appreciates their contributions to the teaching of mathematics.


Dr. Harald Beck Featured in Article on National Geographic

A Peccary in a Wallow in Manú National Park, Peru  
A Peccary in a Wallow in Manú National Park, Peru  

Manú National Park, Peru (September 27, 2014) — Dr. Harald Beck, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences, was interviewed by Emma Marrisfor an article "Where Peccaries Wallow, Other Animals Follow" that appears on the National Geographic News website.

Dr. Beck has been studying the environment of peccaries and has found that peccary wallows (a wet clearing where the surrounding vegetation is covered in splattered mud) have a serious and surprisingly large ecological impact. During the dry season from May to October, the wallows become water holes for an enormous array of animals, from frogs to tapirs to ocelots. His systematic study of peccary wallows revealed that their water was chemically identical to that in natural puddles at Cocha Cashu. But because of their water-resistant bottoms, wallows held more water for longer than the puddles did. Beck and his students found more frog species there and at a much higher density.


Physics Professor Rajeswari Kolagani Awarded USM Elkins Professorship

Dr. Elana Ehrlich  
Dr. Rajeswari Kolagani


Adelphi, Maryland (September 9, 2014) — University System of Maryland has awarded a Wilson H. Elkins Professorship to Rajeswari M. Kolagani, TU professor of physics, for fiscal year 2015. In his announcement, Chancellor William E. Kirwan said the Elkins Professorship review committee was impressed with Kolagani’s plans and believed that her ventures “have the potential to have a significant and longstanding impact on students at Towson and beyond.” he chancellor added, “I’m certain you know how enthusiastic I am to be able to support this project, especially with the System’s commitment to STEM outreach.”

We are proud that this prestigious honor has been bestowed upon one of our Towson faculty members,” says Timothy Chandler, TU acting president. “This professorship equally recognizes and applauds the significant contributions that Dr. Kolagani’s collaborative approach and excellent work with undergraduate and graduate students bring to the field of science.”

See the full announcement.


TU selects Dr. Elana S. Ehrlich as Ninth Fisher Endowed Chair

  Dr. Elana Ehrlich
  Dr. Elana S. Ehrlich

Towson University (July 30, 2014) — Dr. Elana S. Ehrlich, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences, joined the faculty of the Department of Biological Sciences in August 2011. Dr. Ehrlich earned her Ph.D. from the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, in 2007. Her bachelor's degree is from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, where she was a McNair Scholar. Before joining Towson University, Dr. Ehrlich held postdoctoral fellowships at the Bloomberg School and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Dr. Ehrlich teaches Cell Biology and Molecular Biology. Her two research foci are geared toward understanding (1) the activity of certain viral proteins, and (2) how individual genetic factors relate to the effectiveness of chemotherapy for breast cancer. Dr. Ehrlich finds it rewarding to work with many students. To date, she has mentored nine undergraduate students and four master's students. She actively encourages women and, in particular, women of color – a reflection of a deep commitment to increasing diversity in the sciences. Dr. Ehrlich has two recent publications with undergraduate and graduate student co-authors, and her students have presented at the TU Research Expo and the Colonial Academic Alliance Undergraduate Research Conference. She has received several internal grants and has submitted four extramural grant proposals, two of which are currently under review.

See the complete list of current and previous Fisher Endowed Chairs.


Dr. Pamela Lottero-Perdue's Research Paper Selected a "Best Paper" at 2014 Annual Meeting of the American Society for Engineering Education

Dr. Pamela Lottero-Perdue ""

Indianapolis, IN (June 27, 2014) — Dr. Pamela Lottero-Perdue, an associate professor of Physics, astronomy and Geosciences, is the lead author of the research paper “Perspectives on Failure in the Classroom by Elementary Teachers New to Teaching Engineering” which analyzed surveys and interviews from Engineering is Elementary’s NSF-funded research project “Exploring the Efficacy of Elementary Engineering” (E4). This three-year, $3 million project aims to identify the key design elements needed to make an elementary engineering curriculum effective. See more ...

Before being selected as Best Paper for the conference overall, “Perspectives on Failure” was named best paper in ASEE’s K-12 Division.


Dr. Wei Yu, Assistant Professor of Computer & Information Sciences, Earns Prestigious NSF CAREER Award

"" Dr. Wei Yu

Towson, MD (June 17, 2014) — Dr. Wei Yu has recently received a prestigious National Science Foundation's Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award, titled "CAREER: Towards Secured and Efficient Energy-based Critical Infrastructure." With a total $436,453 in funding, Dr. Yu will spend the next five years researching how to make the national smart electrical grid secure and efficient. This career development project will initiate a scientific foundation for secured and efficient smart grid and advance the understanding of 'cyber-attacks' impact on the smart grid and help the community develop innovative responses to protect our future energy critical infrastructure. The outcome of this research will have broader impacts on the nation's higher education system and high-tech industries.

Read full story


Towson University Designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cyber Defense Education for 2014-2021

US Department of Homeland Security Seal

San Diego, CA (June 16, 2014) — At the 18th Annual Colloquium for Information System Security Education, Dr. Blair Taylor, Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Computer and Information Sciences, accepted the certificate from the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cyber Defense Education designating Towson University as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cyber Defense Education for the academic years 2014-2021.

In the notification letter Karen Leuschner, National CAE Program Director, NSA wrote "Your ability to meet the increasing demands of the program criteria will serve the nation well in contributing to the protection of the National Information Infrastructure. The Presidents' National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace, 14 February 2003 and the International Strategy for Cyberspace, May 2011, addresses the critical shortage of professionals with these skills and highlights the importance of higher education as a solution to defending America's cyberspace. ‘Like all nations, the United States has a compelling interest in defending its vital national assets, as well as our core principles and values, and we are committed to defending against those who would attempt to impede our ability to do so.’ Education is the key to promoting these ideals."

Towson University Designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations, 2014-2019

San Diego, CA (June 16, 2014) — Also at the 18th Annual Colloquium for Information System Security Education, Dr. Shiva Azadegan, Professor of Computer and Information Sciences, accepted the certificate from the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cyber Defense Education designating Towson University as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations, 2014-2019.

Natiional Security Agency seal

In the notification letter Steven LaFountain, National Security Agency Distinguished Academic Chair for Information Assurance and Cyber, wrote "Towson University has demonstrated the capability to provide undergraduate level curricula that satisfies the necessary academic requirements and all of the program criteria. Specifically in the following named degree program: Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with a Track in Computer Security."


Physics Major Zoey Warecki Receives National Award for Undergraduate Research

  Zoey Warecki at work in TU’s Pulsed Laser Deposition (PLD) Lab with graduate student Prakash Sharma
  Zoey Warecki at work in TU's Pulsed Laser Deposition (PLD) Lab with graduate student Prakash Sharma.

Towson University (May 30, 2014) — Senior Zoey Warecki, of Shirley, N.Y., has received a 2014 Outstanding Student Award for Undergraduate Research from the Society of Physics Students (SPS), an organization of the American Institute of Physics. As a winner of the SPS national competition, Warecki will represent the United States as an official delegate to the International Conference of Physics Students. The award includes an all-expenses-paid trip to Heidelberg, Germany, where she will attend the conference and talk about her research on Calcium Manganese Oxide thin films. She also receives a $500 honorarium, with an additional $500 going to TU's SPS chapter.

Jeffrey R. Simpson, associate professor of physics, advises the campus chapter, where Warecki serves as president. He characterizes her as a proactive leader who has been instrumental in obtaining national SPS grants for the chapter's outreach efforts to area schools. Warecki's research mentor, Rajeswari Kolagani, professor of physics, says she plans to publish their findings in a peer-reviewed journal. She says Warecki's "careful and systematic method of conducting the experiments played no small role in our discovery, which has important theoretical and practical implications in terms of engineering the properties of thin films for technological applications. "I am confident that Zoey will not only be a successful physicist," Kolagani continues, "but also a trailblazer, mentor and guide to many aspiring young women physicists." Warecki will be spending the summer at the Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island, N.Y., in an internship funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. "I definitely want to go to graduate school," she says. "I may study experimental physics, materials science or engineering—there are so many possibilities."


Liina Ladon Presented with 2014 Dean's Recognition Award

Dean David Vanko, Ms. Liina Laden and Mr. Lance johnson  
Dean David Vanko, Ms. Liina Ladon and
Mr. Lance Johnson (president, TU Alumni Association)

Towson University (May 8, 2014) — Dean Dr. David A. Vanko presented Ms. Liina Ladon with the 2014 Dean's Recognition Award. Liina is a 1976 graduate of Towson with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry. She went on to earn her Master of Science in Physical Organic Chemistry from UMBC. Back then she didn't have the option that students have now, to remain at Towson for a Master of Science in Forensic Science.

In 1980, Liina returned to Towson to direct the science tutoring program, and she has been doing so for the past 34 years! Throughout that time, she has helped thousands of Towson students overcome their difficulties in science classes. She continues to enjoy teaching introductory chemistry classes, and as a First Year Advisor she helps incoming first-year students get off to a good start. Liina's continued dedication to mentoring students is apparent in her tutoring center website, which is one of the most popular chemistry help sites on the Internet today.

Liina's love for Towson University is apparent in her enthusiastic support of Tiger athletics. She attends numerous sporting events, and is always keen to cheer on her chemistry students at their events. In summary Dean David Vanko said "For her tireless dedication to education, student success and Towson University, I am pleased to present the 2014 Dean's Recognition Award on behalf of the Fisher College of Science and Mathematics to Liina Ladon."


Towson Faculty, Students, Family and Alumni Participate in Bay Grass Restoration Effort

Operation Cyber Blizzard
(left to right) Bill LaBarre (Environmental Science & Studies graduate student), Dr. Ryan Casey (interim director, ENVS Program), Nicole Hartig (ENVS undergraduate), Rachel McCloskey (ENVS undergraduate), Shannon McCloskey, Keith McCloskey and Debra Joseph ('06 BIOL alumna)

Grasonville, MD (April 27, 2014) — On a bright blue Sunday morning, 50 volunteers gathered for a bay grass restoration effort at the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center in Grasonville, MD. The restoration effort was funded by carbon offsets that were purchased by attendees of the 2013 annual meeting of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry which took place in Nashville, TN. Donors to the carbon offset program, which was designed to defray the climate impact of travel to the conference, were able to vote for an effort in which to invest their offset funds. The bay grass restoration project won and with the expertise of two organizations, Matrix New World Engineering, Inc. and the Restore the Earth Foundation, the planting was successfully accomplished using volunteer labor. If successful, the planting will stabilize an eroding wetland resulting in net carbon sequestration. Future monitoring efforts will quantify the performance of this particular restoration strategy.


Fisher College of Science and Mathematics Honors Its Students

Cake with congratulations inscriptionTowson University (April 27, 2014) — The Fisher College of Science and Mathematics held its 24th Annual Honors Convocation where outstanding students in the college are recognized for their scholarship. In his opening remarks, Dr. David A. Vanko, Dean of the College, described the day as a day of celebration! We are gathered to present awards to many of the most outstanding students in our College. We honor you for your scholarship and we honor you for your leadership. Your identification as individuals who have reached a high level of excellence surely represents the culmination of many years of hard work, and although you probably had the support of family, friends, teachers, or community, we know that one common ingredient that you all have shown is determination. So, just as teachers don't give grades - you have to earn them; we don't simply give out honors, awards and scholarships - you have had to earn them, too. Dean Vanko congratulated the students on a job well done.

Dr. Timothy Chandler, Towson University's Provost, addressed the audience with words of congratulations to the students, and thanks to all of those who helped students meet their goals.

A slideshow has been posted on this web site at


Student Cyber Defense Team Wins Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition

Operation Cyber Blizzard

Laurel, MD (March 30, 2014) — Congratulations to the team of eight students: who worked for two days to defend a network of computers from attacks while keeping their systems running while responding to user's and management's needs. This year's competition was based on the idea that a major blizzard had impacted the entire state of Maryland, prompting declarations of emergency and the mobilization of the state national guard.

The team student members are: team captain Matt Mickel; seniors Emily Jay and Kurt Karolenko; juniors Felix Guerrero, John Feehley, Justin Mavunkal and Matt Spriesterbach; and sophomore Matt Verrette. The students acted as the IT staff for local field operations in support of the guard. They had to set up and maintain secure communications their remote field stations; they also had to manage the network infrastructure, tracking volunteers, equipment, and supplies as they moved to aid the victims. While this was going on, each team was attacked by roughly thirty professional attackers, called the Red Team. Their role was to attack and disrupt the operations of the student teams.

Thirty different schools from Pennsylvania to North Carolina participated in the regional competition, including Bowie State, George Mason, George Washington, North Carolina State, the Naval Academy, and the University of Maryland at College Park- all of whom were knocked out in the qualifying round. Joining Towson in the finals were Anne Arundel Community College, Capitol College, Liberty University, Millersville University, Radford University, UMBC, and West Virginia University.


Associate Dean Gail Gasparich Receives $60,000 from the USDA

Picture of a wheat field

Towson University (March 6, 2014) — Congratulations to Dr. Gail Gasparich, who was awarded $60,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for her project entitled, "Molecular tools for specific detection and identification of species and strains of wall-less bacteria threatening the success of crop plants." This grant will provide support for undergraduate and graduate students to work with colleagues at the USDA at the Beltsville, Maryland Agricultural Research Center to develop diagnostics for rapid detection and identification of bacterial pathogens for crop plants.


Dr. Sarah Haines Receives 2014 USM Regents' Faculty Award for Public Service

"" Dr. Sarah Haines

Adelphi, MD (February 14, 2014) — The University System of Maryland (USM) Board of Regents (BOR) has selected Dr. Sarah Haines, Professor of Biological Sciences, as a recipient of a 2014 USM Regents' Faculty Award for Public Service. This award is the highest honor that the Board bestows to recognize exemplary faculty achievement. Her achievements will be recognized at a special breakfast ceremony, as well as during the public session of the full board meeting on Friday, April 11, 2014 at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC).

A sampling from her extraordinary record of public service includes but is not limited to: (1) working with the Maryland Partnership for Children in Nature;(2) having served on the Chesapeake Bay Trust's environmental education grants technical review pane; (3) being a volunteer curriculum writer and workshop facilitator for a joint project involving the states of Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey; (4) having served for the past 11 years as a Maryland Department of Natural Resources classroom volunteer through the TEAM (Teaching Environmental Awareness in Maryland) program; and (5) recently being appointed to the DNR's Invasive Species Education Project Leadership Team.


Actuarial Science and Risk Management Program Earns Elite Honor from Society of Actuaries

Towson, MD (January 22, 2014) — University’s Actuarial Science and Risk Management program has been named a Center of Actuarial Excellence by the Society of Actuaries (SOA). The distinction puts Towson in an elite class; only 15 programs in the country have received the recognition. Towson’s is the only program in Maryland to be recognized.

“It’s as if we are part of the Ivy League of actuarial science and risk management, without the high tuition,” says ASRM Program Director Ohoe Kim. “It shows that Towson University is tremendously dedicated to the program, and that a student who invests their time and dreams in our program will have some of the best support, resources, research and advising in the nation.”

The Jess and Mildred Fisher
College of Science and Mathematics
Smith Hall, Room 312 (campus map)
Phone: 410-704-2121
Fax: 410-704-2604

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Many interesting and informative activities and accomplishments of the faculty and administration in the Jess and Mildred Fisher College of Science and Mathematics are published in a monthly newsletter. Read the current newsletter or browse through previous newsletters.



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