Student Kudos

UCO Student Wins First Place in the Non-Life Science Poster Presentation at Annual Research Symposium

 The UCO College of Mathematics and Science, School of Engineering student, Kayley McBride was

awarded first place in the non-life science poster presentation at the Oklahoma Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (OK-LSAMP) 28th Annual Research Symposium. McBride’s presentation, titled “ParaView-ing Data at NERSC Remotely Using Jupyter Notebooks”.

The symposium, held on October 1, 2022 at the OSU campus in Stillwater, included approximately 70 students from ten universities across Oklahoma. McBride, a biomedical engineering senior was among ten students in the non-life science poster category. Research was conducted at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) in summer 2022 with mentorship by Johannes Blaschke, Ph.D., a LBNL application performance specialist and Gang Xu, D.Sc., UCO professor of Biomedical Engineering.

Jupyter Notebook is an increasingly popular open-source application that allows users to create an

d share documents containing live codes, equations, and data, but with limited visualization capacity especially for large datasets. On the other hand, ParaView is one of the open-source data analysis and visualization applications that allow quick analysis and interactive visualization of extremely large datasets. As part of the project funded by the Department of Energy, McBride’s task was to combine the best of both worlds in order to process and visualize the complex datasets from the computational fluid dynamics simulations run on the LBNL supercomputers. She showed that Jupyter Notebook running the ParaView kernel can be set up on a personal computer or laptop and then connected to a ParaView server that is running on a supercomputer. Her project supports th

e possibility of fully implementing the ParaView kernel on a supercomputer and dramatically improving the user experience in large data visualization in Jupyter Notebook, which will benefit a wide range of computational projects and researchers.

 

The Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (OK-LSAMP) is a National Science Foundation funded consortium of Oklahoma colleges and universities working together to develop programs aimed at increasing the number of students from under-represented populations who receive degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. Current goals and activities of OK-LSAMP focus on undergraduate research experiences, graduate school preparation, and international experiences.

Message from the Dean

Dear College of Mathematics and Science Alumni and Friends,

As I reflect on the college’s progress over the past few months, I am amazed at how many examples I can provide of the energetic contributions and efforts of our faculty and staff.  We have remained steadfast in our commitment to our mission to advance knowledge, prepare students for success and leadership roles, and contribute to the intellectual life, health, and economy of the metropolitan area. The awards our outstanding faculty received at the August convocation demonstrate some of the ways we contribute to academic excellence, transformative learning, and student success, and engage with our community:

  • Sanjeewa Gamagedara from the Department of Chemistry was a recipient of the Neely Excellence in Teaching Award. This is notable because this is the fourth year in a row that a College of Mathematics & Science faculty member has received this prestigious university-wide award!
  • The Vanderford Engagement Award went to Dr. Matthew Parks from the Department of Biology. This award recognized Dr. Parks’ engagement with undergraduate students and colleagues in research.
  • Jicheng Fu from the Department of Computer Science and Dr. Morshed Khandaker from the School of Engineering received Merit Credit awards for Research, Scholarly, and Creative Activities.
  • Although not from CMS, Jared Scism from the UCO Office of Global Affairs received an Exceptional Performance Award for his work immersing our Iraqi Fulbright Scholars in Oklahoma culture and planning activities to help our UCO community better understand Iraqi history and culture.
  • And at our CMS Back-to School Meeting, Dr. Michelle Haynie from the Department of Biology received the CMS Vanderford Teaching Award.

We have continued our efforts to increase our students’ preparation and competitiveness for the workforce, and to help fill critical workforce needs in Oklahoma. We developed another curriculum option for student success, an undergraduate Certificate in Cybersecurity in the Department of Computer Science.  Our Department of Engineering and Physics was re-designated as a School of Engineering to recognize its excellence and productivity.  We formed a partnership with Tinker Air Force Base that resulted in the donation of a large supercomputer cluster that will enhance our faculty’s and students’ ability to analyze large sets of data.  The Engineering Makerspace, made possible by Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education workforce development funds, is under construction and will be completed in the spring.  The Department of Nursing responded to workforce needs by adding an evening cohort of students this fall to increase bachelor’s trained nurses. We held a STEM Industry Careers Panel with representatives who shared their experiences and advice with students. The John Barthell Pollinator Garden, composed of Oklahoma native plants, will be established by the STEM Building this fall, providing many opportunities for education, research, and outreach.

Our faculty and students produced many publications, gave many research presentations, and submitted 45 external grant proposals.  Among the funded proposals were two National Institutes of Health grants and a National Science Foundation grant. The Fulbright Scholar Pro

gram resumed this summer, bringing four Iraqi Scholars to our college. Several faculty members mentored incoming students in our Summer Bridge program, and the Department of Engineering & Physics held a STEM Summer Academy.

Our Health Professions Mentorship Dinner last spring was a huge success and has led to more alumni being engaged with and supporting our pre-health professions students.  The partnerships we are pursuing with engineering and biotechnology companies are leading to collaborations, internships, and a pipeline into jobs for our students.  If you wish to help us in our efforts to better prepare our students for the workforce and professional schools, please reach out to me or to one of our department chairs!

On behalf of the faculty, staff, and students, I thank you for your continued confidence in and support of our college.

Gloria Caddell, Ph. D.

 

Gloria Caddell, Ph.D.

Dean, College of Mathematics and Science

Mathematics and Statistics Department

The newly created (joint with the Department of Computer Science) Master’s degree program in Data Science started in January 2022 and is already a rapidly expanding program with 16 accepted students and multiple new applications arriving every week.

In order to develop a supportive and welcoming community for mathematics educators at all levels in the metropolitan area, UCO is host to the Central Oklahoma Math Teachers’ Circle meetings. This diverse community of teachers and mathematicians meet four times during the academic year where they participate in collaborative problem-solving activities. By inspiring teachers to discover the joy of solving mathematics problems and by cultivating their confidence to engage in open-ended math problems, teachers become better equipped to incorporate more student-centered, discovery-based pedagogies into their classrooms.

Funeral Service Department

Funeral practices in Latin America are truly different than what we are accustomed to in North America.  Most families prefer to have their visitation and service and disposition within 24 hours of the death.  Most families choose to bury rather than cremate. Most cemetery plots are rented for 7 years and then the bones are reclaimed and placed in a communal ossuary. Most firms are open 24 hours a day to serve their community.

What is remarkable about all of these funeral professionals is that there is no formal education for any of their practices.  There are no mortuary programs, no training in embalming, no college program to learn how to run a funeral business.  They learn from others, they acquire skills on the job, they seek out any kind of training available to advance their knowledge.

ALPAR – Latin American Association of Cemeteries and Funeral Services– has devoted their organizational efforts to provide training for member firms all over the continent.  Glenda Stansbury, adjunct instructor in the UCO Funeral Service Department and founder and trainer for Certified Funeral Celebrants with the InSight Institute, returned to Bogota, Colombia in August of this year to conduct the second Celebrant Training co-sponsored by ALPAR and ICCFA (International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association).  This training was actually scheduled for March, 2020, but, of course, those plans had to be significantly postponed, so everyone was relieved that it was finally safe to hold the event.

Thirty-four participants from nine countries gathered for a 5-day experience of creating unique ceremonies for their families.  To overcome the language barrier, 2 sets of translators sat in a soundproof booth at the back of the room translating the presentations into Spanish and Portuguese and the participants patiently sat with headphones to understand the resources and information that were being offered.  Even though the cultures and mores and traditions are vastly diverse, everyone bonded through understanding the universal language of serving families during the most difficult days of their lives and celebrated their success at the end of the training.

Computer Science Department

A new undergraduate Certificate in Cybersecurity program is being offered starting Fall 2022. The new cybersecurity certificate program offers excellent opportunities for students interested in joining the cybersecurity workforce. This program aims to prepare students to become well-rounded cybersecurity specialists, not only with must-have technical skills required for securing software, systems, and networks but also with in-depth knowledge and core practices in incident responses and cyber operations. Students will learn to conduct their roles with an ethical responsibility specific to their work environments, become proficient at communicating with people at different levels in an organization, and engage in continuous education to deal with new threats and vulnerabilities evolved with technological advances.  Students can pursue the certificate independently or jointly with a B.S in Computer Science or B.S. in Software Engineering degree with only a few additional credit hours. Multiple courses were designed to help students prepare for industry-leading Computing Technology Industry Association certificates as a partner of CompTIA.

The program is supported by a group of five core faculty members with years of academic and industrial experience in cybersecurity. Dr. John Rhee, the director of the cybersecurity program, has more than nine years of experience in an industry research lab in addition to his Ph.D. study at Purdue University, which is well known for its strong cybersecurity program, CERIAS. Dr. Rhee and faculty members cordially invite and welcome prospective students and other stakeholders of cybersecurity to join the program to become cybersecurity leaders, obtain a high-quality education, conduct exciting research, and prepare for future opportunities in a robust cybersecurity workforce.

Biology Department

The Biology Department has had a great start to the year.  We’ve had new faculty members join the department and we are so lucky to have them! They include Dr. Justin Agan. He teaches Bio for Majors: Diversity & Life Sciences Lab. Dr. Ashley Mattison teaches Bio for Majors: Principals, General Biology, and Intro to Micro and lab. Dr. Richard Dolman teaches a Life Sciences Lab & Human Physiology lecture and lab and is also Physiology lab coordinator. Randee Marble M.S. teaches Mammalian Physiology I, Cell Biology and Lab, and she’s the Cell Bio Lab’s coordinator.  Come by and say hello to them all.

We are revising the Biology: Biomedical Sciences degree and developing new courses for the Spring 2023 semester. Look for Pathogenic Microbiology and Advanced Human Anatomy and Dissection next semester and more for the Fall 2023 semester. We are also excited for the final approval for a new Ecology and Conservation Biology degree that could be in the 2023-2024 course catalog.