Day: April 1, 2021 – Page 2

Featured Faculty- Dr. Weldon Wilson Retires After 29 Years of Service to UCO

Dr. Weldon Wilson, professor, and longtime graduate coordinator is retiring at the end of this semester after 29 years at UCO. Dr. Wilson earned a bachelor’s degree in physics in 1973 and a doctorate in physics in 1980, both from Oklahoma State University. Prior to coming to UCO, Dr. Wilson served on the faculty of the University of Central Florida, as well as working a number of years in energy research for both Occidental Oil and Gas Company and Cities Service Oil Company.
Dr. Wilson’s skills and experience in the energy industry proved most beneficial when he served as coordinator for the department’s senior engineering design capstone experience. Dr. Wilson has also served as assistant chair and was crucial in the initial ABET accreditation of the department’s engineering physics and biomedical engineering programs. He has been a key contributor in nearly every one of the department’s improvement initiatives since his arrival at UCO. His thoughtful analysis and ability to push discussion outside of conventional thought patterns will be sorely missed.
While Dr. Wilson will no longer be with us full-time, he plans to continue teaching as an adjunct, and we will certainly continue to pester him for his valuable input on department initiatives moving forward.

Featured Faculty- Diane Gaston, MS, CCRN-K, RN

During my nursing career experience of over 40 years, I have worked in the hospital setting as a staff nurse, charge nurse, supervisor, manager, critical care educator, and house supervisor. In the academic setting, I have taught various classes and clinical practice at the associate and baccalaureate levels. I am a member of the national and local chapter of American Association of Critical-Care Nurses and a national and local chapter member of Sigma Theta Tau (Honor Society of Nursing).

I am passionate about honoring and being responsible for the students’ future patients. Seeing that the students develop their critical-thinking skills as well as their bedside skills is the highest priority for me so that they can provide the excellent quality of care their future patients deserve.

I have had the privilege of teaching the following courses in my career: Foundations of Nursing (class, lab and clinical), Health Assessment (class and lab), Critical Care Nursing (class and clinical), Introduction to Nursing, Medical-Surgical (class and clinical), and Clinical – Leadership and Community.

I received my Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Central Oklahoma in 1977 and my Master of Science in Nursing from Southern Nazarene University in 2010. I was certified as a Critical Care Registered Nurse from 1988-January 2018, and currently, I have the following certifications: Critical Care Registered Nurse – Knowledge (January 2018-present), Advanced Cardiac Life Support Provider (1987-present), and Healthcare Provider BLS (CPR) for the American Heart Association (1977-present).

My areas of expertise include: Critical Care Nursing, Rapid Response Assessment, and Clinical Critical-Thinking Exercises and Hospital Administrative Skills – House Supervisor.

I have had the honor to work in a variety of settings in nursing, including Medical-Surgical Nursing and Post Coronary Care Nursing for 6 years, Critical Care Nursing Experience as a staff nurse, lead nurse, supervisor, nursing manager, clinical nurse educator, and clinical instructor and faculty for over 30 years.

My awards and honors include Deaconess Hospital Servant Leader Council Member, 1998-2007; Deaconess Hospital Exemplary Nurse Program, 2007; Summa Cum Laude, Southern Nazarene University, 2010; and 21st Century Pedagogy Institute New Teacher-Scholar, 2019.

When I have time to reflect, I like to write poetry and have had a poem published in “On the Wings of Poetry”, 2004 by Famous Poets Press.

Alumni Highlight- Stephanie Walker

Stephanie with her poster at the 2020 Nebraska Conference for Undergraduate Women in Mathematics

Stephanie Walker graduated from UCO in May 2020, with a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics. She started working on a research project with Dr. Britney Hopkins in the spring of 2019, that morphed into a group project that included Dr. Mike Fulkerson, Dr. Erin Williams, and two fellow undergraduates. Stephanie started the project by learning and teaching basic difference equations to the group. She then moved forward adapting a technique for determining the existence of solutions for even-ordered differential equations to even-ordered difference equations using techniques drawn from functional analysis.  Throughout the 2019-2020 academic year, she refined her work under a student Research, Creative, and Scholarly Activities (RCSA) grant. She has presented her work both regionally and nationally at Oklahoma Research Day, the Joint Mathematics Meetings, and the Nebraska Conference for Undergraduate Women in Mathematics. Stephanie is currently a graduate student and teaching assistant in Mathematics at the University of Kansas.

Stephanie pictured with the four UCO students who attended the 2020 Nebraska Conference for Undergraduate Women in Mathematics (from left to right: Shannon Yeakley, Ashlynd Heatherington, Stephanie Walker, Amber Young)

Alumni Highlight- Daniel Williams

Daniel Williams has lived in or near Oklahoma City his whole life. He completed both his undergraduate and graduate degrees at UCO. He completed his Master’s in Computer Science in the Fall of 2020. Daniel worked with Dr. Fu to develop an artificial intelligence algorithm to assist wheelchair users in collecting information to promote a healthy lifestyle. “It was very gratifying to be able to work on research that I felt was directly helping people and also allowed me to explore cutting edge artificial intelligence algorithms and hardware architectures while I completed my graduate program.”
He was able to exhibit good academic performance thanks to the help he received from professors at UCO who go above and beyond to make sure their students have everything they need to succeed. “I also think that my good performance is a reflection of the passion I have for computer science and software engineering. I have held a love for computer science since I was 13 when I first learned that anyone could write software and games for a computer for free and all they had to do was learn how.” In addition to his AI research at UCO, he also placed third at the TCU software competition with an augmented reality tourism app and was honored with an academic performance award during the last semester of his undergraduate program.

“Mr. Daniel Williams is a very talented, diligent, and self-motivated young man. The first time I met him was in my Software Engineering I class. His active involvement in class and outstanding ability to apply the learned knowledge to solve challenging problems truly made him shine in the class. After Daniel joined my research lab, he developed a smartphone app that could communicate with a smartwatch to collect wheelchair users’ activity data in a nonintrusive way. This app has allowed us to use machine-learning techniques to analyze wheelchair users’ activity and mobility levels in order to help them live an active lifestyle. In Fall 2020, Daniel successfully defended his thesis “Development of an Artificial Intelligence Algorithm for the Analysis of Wheelchair Movements”. I believe that Mr. Daniel Williams will continue his success as a Computer Science professional in his career development.”
-Dr. Jicheng Fu, Professor and Beresford Endowed Chair

Staff Highlight- Beverly Endicott

Beverly Endicott, Director of Sponsored Programs, is planned to retire this June. We decided to interview Beverly to learn more about her adventures at the Univerisity of Central Oklahoma in the College of Mathematics and Sciences.

  1. How did you get involved in UCO? “I was hired in 2002 as director of grants and major gifts. At that time, centralized development was located in the Alliance for Institutional Advancement. In 2003, the university moved development directors to each college and I came to CMS as development director in October 2003.”
  2. What would you say has been your largest contribution to the College of Mathematics and Science? “After arriving at UCO in 2002, I began working with former CMS dean, Dr. Bill Caire, to fund construction of nine Biology labs that were not finished when the lab annex was completed in 1997. The university barely had any alumni records at that time, so I had to research CMS alumni and create a database. Drs. Peggy Guthrie and Jenna Hellack (former Biology department chairs) were instrumental in helping me build that database. Dr. Caire and I were introduced to CMS alumnus Dr. Lee Beasley, who agreed to chair the Investment in Excellence campaign to complete these laboratories. Dr. Beasley helped secure two grants from the Inasmuch Foundation, along with funds from private donors. All nine labs were completed in three phases for a little over $1 million.”
  3. What is your favorite memory at CMS? “I have many great memories, but these are my favorites: 1. the aforementioned Biology lab campaign; 2. When former dean, Dr. Wei Chen, came into my office and asked me to log into the National Institutes of Health (NIH) eRA Commons database to upload the summary statement and reviews for an NIH R01 grant proposal he had submitted six months prior. As we reviewed the documents online, it was clear that his scores were within the funding range. I still remember both of us jumping around, screaming and high-fiving. It was an incredible accomplishment for Dr. Chen. The grant was the first NIH R01 awarded to a non-research institution in the state; 3. Traveling to annual National Science Foundation grant meetings in Washington DC; and 4. Any time one of our faculty receives a grant!”


  4. What are you looking forward to most about retirement? “Having more time to do things I already enjoy doing—gardening, cycling, cooking, being outdoors, and spending time with family and friends. I am looking forward to my second COVID vaccine in April so that I can return to my regular workouts at the Y. Traveling is high on the list, as well as attending concerts and sporting events when it is safe to do so.”
  5. One piece of advice you want to leave with CMS. “Something I have said many times before – let others proof your proposal drafts.”
  6. One thing you have learned from CMS? “Patience!”

Thank you Beverly for fighting for our professors and for taking care of our college! You will be truly missed.