Jess & Mildred Fisher College of Science & Mathematics

FCSM NEWS from 2009


Biological Sciences and MB3 Dual Major Awarded ASM Undergraduate Research Fellowship

Dr. Barry Margulies and Samantha Semenkow  

Washington, DC (November 2009) — The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) has selected Samantha Semenkow from Towson University as a 2009 award recipient of the ASM Undergraduate Research Fellowship.

This fellowship is aimed at highly competitive students who wish to pursue graduate careers (Ph.D. or MD/Ph.D.) in microbiology. Fellows have the opportunity to conduct full time summer research at their institution with an ASM mentor and present their research results at the 2010 ASM General Meeting in San Diego, CA if their abstract is accepted.

Each fellow receives up to a $4,000 stipend, a two-year ASM student membership and reimbursement for travel expenses to the 2010 ASM General Meeting. Of the thirty-three awardees, eight students were from a master’s college and university institutions.

Dr. Barry Margulies from Department of Biological Sciences is Samantha Semenkow’s mentor. The title of the research project is: A Veterinary Use for Subcutaneous Implants to Treat FHV-1.


2009 FCSM Senior Gift Dedicated

  Picture of the Bench given to the College as the 2009 FCSM Senior Gift

Towson University (October 15, 2009) — As a result of the first annual Fisher College of Science and Mathematics (FCSM) Senior Gift campaign, a bench given by the class of 2009 was dedicated and placed in the lobby of the 7800 York Road building. This annual campaign is organized by the college's STEM Leaders, a group that consists of the officers of all student clubs within FCSM. Representing the STEM Leaders at the dedication were Steve Mark, Maggie Resh, Josh Giltinan, Andrea McGlond and Katie Grosso.


Computer Science Faculty Receive $178,000 Grant from NSF

Towson University (September 15, 2009) — A collaborative grant proposal submitted by Drs. Jonathan Lazar and Jinjuan Heidi Feng, both professors of Computer and Information Sciences at Towson University and Dr. Libby Kumin, a professor of speech-language pathology at Loyola University Maryland, was just funded for $178,352 by the National Science Foundation. The name of the funded project is "Computer Interface Issues for Young Adults with Down Syndrome to Transition to the Workplace." One phase of this project will involve observation of young adults with Down syndrome who are successful computer users, to understand their usage strategies. The other phase of this project will be an evaluation of how social networking tools, and web-based security features, are currently used, and how the interfaces could be modified to better meet the needs of young adults with Down syndrome, to improve the likelihood of workplace employment.

This project is a follow up to their previous research on overall computer usage by young adults with Down syndrome in the United States, which won the Best Paper Award at the 2008 ACM ASSETS Conference in Halifax, Canada. (see below)


Computer Science Research Team Named a 2009 Innovator of the Year

Harr Hocheiser, Jonathan Lazar, Jinjuan Feng and Craig Sauer
Pictured, from left, are Harry Hochheiser, Jonathan Lazar, Jinjuan Heidi Feng and doctoral student Graig Sauer. The fifth member of the team, Jon Holman '08, is absent.
Photo credit: Kanji Takeno
Towson, Md. (September 9, 2009) — A TU joint project led by Jonathan Lazar, professor of computer and information sciences, has been recognized by The Daily Record as a 2009 Innovator of the Year.

The team, which includes TU faculty member Jinjuan Heidi Feng, along with doctoral student Graig Sauer and Jon Holman ’08, and former Computer Science faculty member Harry Hochheiser, developed and extensively tested HIPUU—the Human Interaction Proof Universally Usable—from 2007 to 2009.

The Daily Record will honor the group and other award recipients with a ceremony on Oct. 14 at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore.


TU selects Dr. Timothy Brunker as Fisher Endowed Chair

Dr. Timothy BrunkerTowson University (August 16, 2009) — Dr. Timothy J. Brunker, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, joined the faculty of the Department of Chemistry in August 2008. Professor Brunker previously served as a lecturer in chemistry at Boston University (Boston, Massachusetts), a Visiting Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the College of the Holy Cross (Worcester, Massachusetts), and a Postdoctoral Research Scholar at Dartmouth College (Hanover, New Hampshire). Professor Brunker holds both the Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Chemistry degrees from the University of Oxford (Oxford, United Kingdom).

Prof. Brunker teaches Organic Chemistry, and his research focuses on the synthesis of novel chiral metal complexes and their potential applications as chiroptical molecular switches. Chiral molecules are those that can exist in both left-handed and right-handed forms - they behave identically in almost every way except that they can display different chemical properties if they interact with other chiral molecules. This behavior allows the design and synthesis of chiral molecules that can be switched back and forth, making them potentially useful for the storage of digital information.


Biology Course Taught In Costa Rica Features Service Learning Component

Dr. Haines and students in Costa rica
Dr. Sarah Haines (left) with students from her class and from Costa Rica elementary school

Towson University (July 2, 2009) — Dr. Sarah Haines (Department of Biological Sciences) has returned from Costa Rica after teaching a biology course targeting those interested in science teaching careers. The course is part of Dr. Haines’ work as a SENCER (Science Education for New Civic Engagement & Responsibility) Leadership Fellow. SENSOR is a program sponsored by the National Science Foundation. SENCER courses improve science education by focusing on real world problems and, by so doing, extend the impact of this learning across the curriculum to the broader community and society. Student coursework includes opportunities for civic engagement and service. While in Costa Rica, students planted trees on a cocoa plantation to provide forested corridors for local wildlife. Students also completed several service projects at a local school, including removing waste from the school’s soccer field, painting the schoolyard fence, and removing debris from the schoolyard. The course also included trips to Arenal volcano, Manzanillo Preserve, and the Institute for Biodiversity.


Fisher College Biologist Receives the Davis Medal as Maryland's Outstanding Young Scientist

Dr. John LaPolla receiving the David Mwedal from Van Reiner and Father Frank Haig.  
Van Reiner (President & CEO, Maryland Science Center), Dr. John LaPolla and Fr. Frank Haig (Chairman – Scientific Advisory Council, Maryland Science Center))  

Towson University (June 11, 2009) — Dr. John LaPolla (Department of Biological Sciences) has been selected as The Maryland Outstanding Young Scientist (OYS) for 2009. The prestigious OYS award program was established in 1959 to recognize and celebrate extraordinary contributions of young scientists in Maryland. The award is sponsored by the Maryland Academy of Sciences and conferred by the Maryland Science Center in the hopes of encouraging the important work of young scientists in the state of Maryland, and to increase public awareness of their accomplishments. Many previous recipients of these awards have gone on to distinguished careers in science and engineering in Maryland. The award recipients receive the Allan C. Davis Medal and a cash award of $2,500. The Medal was presented to Dr. LaPolla at a dinner hosted at the Maryland Science Center.


Linda Rosenberg Wilbanks Presented with 2009 Dean's Recognition Award

Dr. Linda Rosenberg Wilbanks, 2010 Dean's Recognition Award recipient, receiving glass tiger from Dean David Vanko and Ms. Kim Fabian, President of the TU Alumni Association
Dean David Vanko, Dr. Linda Rosenberg Wilbanks
and Ms. Kim Fabian (president, TU Alumni Association)

Towson University (April 30, 2009) — Dean Dr. David A. Vanko presented Dr. Linda Rosenberg Wilbanks with the 2009 Dean's Recognition Award. A 1973 graduate of the Mathematics Program at Towson University, Linda earned her Masters of Engineering Science in Computer Science from Loyola College and her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland. Linda currently serves as the Chief Information Officer for the National Nuclear Security Administration in Washington, DC. Prior to that, Linda was the CIO at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. Linda occupies a fascinating and highly important position. Last Tuesday, April 21, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that the United States is "under cyber-attack virtually all the time, every day." Well, Linda's National Nuclear Security Administration is part of the Department of Energy, and she tells me that the computer systems for which she is responsible are also continually being hacked by outsiders. In her House testimony last September, Linda spoke of literally millions of attempts to break into the computer systems that safeguard our nuclear secrets. She said, "Maintaining highly effective security for nuclear weapons, weapons components, special nuclear material, and classified and sensitive information is our highest priority. We recognize our enemies will not take a day off, and we cannot either."

Dean Vanko said "I am proud that a Towson University alumna is the chief cyber expert at the NSSA, and I am very pleased to present the 2009 Dean's Recognition Award on behalf of the Fisher College to Linda Wilbanks."


Science Educator Receives USM Board of Regents Excellence in Teaching Award

Dr. Cody Sandifer receiving USM Regents Excellence in Teaching Award from Clifford Kendall, Robert Caret and William Kirwan  
Clifford M. Kendall, Chairman of the Board of Regents,
Dr. Cody Sandifer, Dr. Robert Caret, President of Towson University and William Kirwan, Chancellor of the USM

Towson, Md. (April 10, 2009) – The University System of Maryland (USM) Board of Regents at its meeting today announced the recipients of the 2009 USM Regents' Faculty Awards. The awards are the highest honor presented by the board to exemplary faculty members. Presented in five categories, the awards honor excellence in teaching; scholarship, research, or creative activities; public service; mentoring; and collaboration. Each award carries a $1,000 prize provided by the institutions and the University System of Maryland Foundation.

Dr. Cody Sandifer, associate professor, Department of Physics, Astronomy and Geosciences, was recognized for excellence in teaching. Sandifer’s dedication to teaching extends beyond his own classrooms: he has redesigned and/or written curriculum material for four physical science and science education courses that have been used by many new and contingent faculty members, often with his direct supervision and support. Department chairperson David Schaefer said “During his seven years at Towson, Dr. Sandifer has almost single-handedly transformed our curricula for science education, helping TU’s efforts as the largest producer of elementary teachers in the state.”


Science Educator Named a Hub Site Partner in EiE Program

Dr. Pamela Lotter-PerdueTowson University (February 15, 2009) – Dr. Pamela S. Lottero-Perdue, an assistant professor in the Department of Physics, Astronomy and Geosciences, has been identified as a Hub Site Partner — and thus Towson University was identified as one of seven national Hub Sites — for the National Dissemination through Regional Partners project for Engineering is Elementary (EiE; The sites include: Kentucky, Maryland (at Towson University), New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Vermont and Wisconsin. This means that Dr. Lottero-Perdue and Towson University will be resources in the mid-Atlantic region for teacher professional development for EiE units. This comes with roughly $30,000 in money to support professional development and materials for teachers in the Harford County Public School (HCPS) system beyond the $100,000.00 Dr. Lottero-Perdue has already acquired with her HCPS partners through the Workforce One Maryland Program.


Mrs. Diane David Appointed Executive Administrative Assistant

Mrs. Diane DavidTowson University (January 20, 2009) – We are happy to announce that the Fisher College dean’s office has a new, permanent Executive Administrative Assistant. After a thorough search involving more than 50 applications, Mrs. Diane David has been named to the position. Mrs. David is moving from the Department of Physics, Astronomy & Geosciences, where she has been the Administrative Assistant / Office Manager since 1993. Prior to that she raised a lovely family, and prior to that she worked for three years as the administrative assistant in the Department of Health Science. Mrs. David brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her new position, and all in the dean’s office welcome her to our team. Please join us in congratulating Mrs. Diane David on her new position.

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

Events Calendar
 Visit the Fisher College Calendar of Events to see what is happening in our college.

Newsletter Logo

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.



University Police

Closings & News
410-704-NEWS (6397)

Text Alerts
Sign up now