Jess & Mildred Fisher College of Science & Mathematics

FCSM NEWS from 2007 and 2008


Drs. Jinjuan Heidi Feng and Jonathan Lazar Earn Best Paper Award

Dr. Jinjuan Feng and Dr. Jonathan LazarHalifax, Canada (October 15, 2008) – Drs. Jonathan Lazar and Jinjuan Feng from the Department of Computer and Information Sciences, along with Dr. Libby Kumin of the Department of Speech-Language Pathology/Audiology at Loyola College and Dr A. Ant Ozok of the Department of Information Systems at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, co-authored a paper entitled “Computer usage by young individuals with down syndrome: an exploratory study.” This paper won the “Best Paper Award” at the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Conference on Assistive Technology (ASSETS) in Halifax, Canada. This ACM ASSETS conference is considered to be the highest level and most competitive conference in the world, on the topic of assistive technology; and The Best Paper Award is the top award given at this conference!


Dr. Cynthia Zeller receives a $170,000 Grant from NIJ

Dr. Cymthia ZellerTowson University (September 16, 2008) — Dr. Cynthia Zeller, Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry has been awarded a two year grant for $170, 643 from the National Institute of Justice under the Forensic DNA Research and Development Solicitation. This project entitled, "Development of a DNA-Based Real-Time PCR Assay for the Identification of Sperm, Blood and Saliva," was designed to develop a rapid and sensitive test for the identification of body fluids commonly encountered during criminal investigations. Dr. Zeller and student researchers in collaboration with BRT Laboratories Incorporated, located in Baltimore, Maryland, will develop the assay and test the procedure in collaboration with local crime laboratories.


Dr. Jennifer Scott receives a $28,000 Grant from NASA

Dr. Jennifer ScottTowson University (September 10, 2008) — Dr. Jennifer Scott, Assistant Professor of Astronomy in the Department of Physics, Astronomy and Geology, received a $27,975 grant from NASA to work on projects stemming from Guaranteed Time Observations on the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph to be installed on the Hubble Space Telescope in the next NASA shuttle servicing mission, currently scheduled for October 10, 2008. Dr. Scott will contribute to studies related to the intergalactic medium and large scale structure, the ultraviolet background, and the gaseous extent of galaxies.


Drs. Hochheiser, Azadegan, Taylor and O'Leary receive a $400,000 Grant

Towson University (September 8, 2008) — Dr. Harry Hochheiser, Dr. Shiva Azadegan, Dr. Blair Taylor, Dr. Mike O'Leary, all from Towson University, and Dr. Claude Turner from Bowie State University have been awarded a three-year Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Innovation grant of $399,500 for a project entitled “Building Security In: Injecting Security throughout the Undergraduate Computing Curriculum”. Building of off earlier work in the COSC department that provided the basis for Dr. Taylor's dissertation, this project will support the development and dissemination of new modules for bringing computer security education to a broad range of courses in the Computer Science and Computer and Information Science curricula.


Dr. Pamela Lottero-Perdue receives a $93,600 Grant

Dr. Pamela Loterro-PerdueTowson University (September 3, 2008) — Dr. Pamela Lottero-Perdue and a team of colleagues from Harford County Public Schools were awarded a BRAC Workforce ONE Maryland grant from the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, for $93,634. The title is, “Enhancing K-12 Engineering Education: Implementing an Elementary Engineering Program in Harford County Public Schools.” Dr. Lottero-Perdue will work with Harford County teachers so that Harford elementary school children will have an opportunity to learn age-appropriate engineering concepts. For more information see the article in the college's Community Outreach and STEM Education website.


National Institutes of Health Award Fisher College a Bridges Grant of $840,000

Towson University (September 1, 2008) — Dr. Gail Gasparich, Principal Investigator, has been awarded a five year grant of $843,856 by the National Institutes of Health. Her Co-PIs are Drs. Roland Roberts, Joy Watts, Michele Snyder, Jack Shepard, Vonnie Shields, Barry Margulies, Ginny Anderson, Clare Muhoro, and Cindy Zeller. The long-term goal of this project is to establish a formal program between Towson University (TU) and the Baltimore City Community College (BCCC) and the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) that will enhance transfer and retention of minority students to the completion of their B.S. degree in an area that will allow them to pursue careers in the biomedical sciences. The specific aims of this program are to:

  1. continue recruitment efforts at BCCC and CCBC to increase program awareness and increase the pool of qualified students at community college partner institutions;
  2. continue to increase program awareness at TU to create a supportive institutional climate for Bridges students;
  3. provide an active and supportive academic program for students (including tutoring, peer mentoring, summer research experiences, faculty advising teams for each student, and annual evaluations of the program by a program evaluator); and
  4. provide students with the skills and capacity required to succeed at TU and post-graduate education and careers.


Drs. Feng, Lazar and O'Leary receive a $300,000 NSF Grant

Towson University (August 30, 2008) — Dr. Jinjuan Feng, Dr. Jonathan Lazar, and Dr. Mike O'Leary, all from Towson University, and Dr. Claude Turner from the Bowie State University have been awarded a two-year grant for $299,832 from the National Science Foundation under the Capacity Building track. This project entitled “Integrating usability and accessibility in Information Assurance education” includes a combination of teaching, research, and community development activities aiming toward making security and privacy mechanisms more usable and accessible.


Dr. Charles Dierbach and Dr. Harry Hochheiser receive a $140,000 Grant

Towson University (August 20, 2008) — Dr. Charles Dierbach and Dr. Harry Hochheiser, in collaboration with Dr. Christopher Ariza from the Music Department, have been awarded a two-year grant for $ 139,981 under the “Pathways to Revitalized Undergraduate Computing Education” program. This capacity-development project entitled “Piloting Pathways for Computational Thinking in a General Education Curriculum” will involve the design and initial offering of general education classes aimed at bringing "computational thinking" to a broader range of undergraduates.


NSF-Funded Research Experience for Undergraduates Site in Urban Environmental Biogeochemistry Completes First Summer

Students in TU Urban Environmental Biochemistry 2008 REU
Students in the 2008 Towson University
Urban Environmental Biochemistry
Research Experience for Undergraduates

Towson, University (August 7, 2008) — The National Science Foundation continued its support of research in the area of Urban Environmental Biogeochemistry by funding an undergraduate research site at Towson for the summers of 2008 through 2010 ($212,238). This summer the first cohort of students completed a 10 week research experience working with faculty mentors from the departments of Chemistry, Biological Sciences and Physics, Astronomy and Geosciences. Mentors included Ryan Casey (Director), Susan Gresens, Steven Lev, Clare Muhoro, David Ownby, Joel Snodgrass and Joy Watts. Participating students came from Towson University, Virginia Tech, University of Minnesota, Western Washington University and Colorado State University. The research was highly interdisciplinary and had students working with multiple mentors in different departments. The students finished the program with a poster session in which they presented their work to their peers and the College community.


NSF Awards a $190,000 Grant to Fisher College of Science & Mathematics

Towson, Maryland (August 1, 2008) — The National Science Foundation awarded a grant of $191,709 to Towson University for support of the project entitled "ADVANCEment Towards Institutional Transformation at Towson University." The intent of the Towson University (TU) IT-Start program is to collect historical and baseline information needed to develop a strategy to proceed with institutional transformation related to women faculty in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines (either independently or via an ADVANCE IT grant). The overall goal will be to identify roadblocks for female faculty members and major issues involved in their recruitment, retention, and advancement. It is anticipated that the problem will show itself to be some combination of small obstacles related to institutional, career, and family issues and that these issues may differ across important individual and family characteristics.

This project is under the direction of Professor Gail E. Gasparich and co-directors Dr. Alex Storrs, Dr. Jay Zimmerman, Dr. Ryan Casey, Dr. Paz Galupo; and it is effective through July 31, 2010.


Dr. Clare Muhoro receives a $58,000 Research Corporation Grant

Dr. Clare MuhoroTowson, Maryland (May, 2008) — Dr. Clare N. Muhoro, Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry, was awarded a Research Corporation Cottrell College Science Award for $ 57,603 in May 2008. Her research project “Phosphanyl(organyl)boranes: Synthesis, Characterization and Applications” will support studies on the discovery of new synthetic methods of preparing phosphanyl(organyl)boranes, which are compounds with potential applications in the synthesis of polymeric materials. The grant will support undergraduate researchers in her laboratory during the summers of 2008, 2009 and 2010.


Professors in the the Fisher College of Science and Mathematics are Awarded Over One Million Dollars in Grants

Towson University (February, 2008) — Dr. John S. LaPolla (Department of Biological Sciences) and Co-PI's: Sean G. Brady (Smithsonian Institution) and Steve O. Shattuck (Australian National Insect Collection-CSIRO) were awarded $500,000 over four years for A Global Monographic Revision of the Ant Genus Paratrechina through NSF's Revisionary Synthesis in Systematics Program. The ant genus Paratrechina is a diverse group of 158 species; however, as many as twice that number remain to be discovered by scientists. Several Paratrechina species are already of quarantine concern, and this research will provide the tools needed to protect areas from the accidental introduction of species, and will inform decisions about agricultural biocontrol efforts.

Dr. Joel W. Snodgrass (Department of Biological Sciences), Dr. Ryan Casey (Department of Chemistry), Ed Landa (U.S. Geological Survey), and Steve Lev (Department of Physics, Astronomy and Geosciences) were awarded a $188,000 grant for Integration of Stormwater Management Ponds into Urban Communities: Long-term Water Quality Protection, Wildlife, and Environmental Awareness. Small ponds are created by human to retain stormwater runoff from surface in urban and suburban landscapes, and protect surface waters from the pollutants carried by runoff. This project will take an integrative approach to investigate the long-term effectiveness of ponds, their use by wildlife, and their perceptions by citizens.

Dr. Richard A. Seigel and Co-PI's: Dr. Donald Forester, Dr. Joel Snodgrass, Dr. Colleen Sinclair (all from the Department of Biological Sciences) were awarded $287,000 over three years for Responses, Movements, and Survival of Relocated Box Turtles During the Construction of the Inter-County Connector. Large-scale construction projects necessarily result in major modifications to the habitat within and adjacent to the project footprint. Given that habitat for native wildlife species has been shrinking rapidly for decades in the US, there is widespread public support for measures that mitigate the impacts on wildlife species. One of the most commonly used mitigation measures are relocations, where animals or plants are removed from the direct path of the construction footprint and are either released adjacent to the construction area (on-site relocation) or well away from the construction zone. However, actual data testing the effectiveness of this mitigation method are sparse. We will test this methodology with an important and well-known part of Maryland's native animals, the eastern box turtle.

Dr. Linda Cooper and Dr. Ming Tomayko (both from the Department of Mathematics) and Dr. Martin Roberge, Dr. Jay Morgan, and Dr. Paporn Thebpanya (all from the Department of Geography and Environmental Planning) were awarded a $63,000 grant from The Maryland Higher Education Commission for their College Preparation Intervention Program proposal The Geomatics Academy at Fairmont Heights High School.


TU to receive $141,000 in federal funding for Forensic Chemistry Institute

Unique institute will train scientists in bomb analysis

John Sarbanes, Robert Caret and Benjamin Cardin
Senator Benjamin Cardin and Representative John Sarbanes present Towson University President Robert Caret
with a check for $141,000
TOWSON, Md. (Feb. 1, 2008) — U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) and U.S. Representative John Sarbanes (D-3), today announced that Towson University will receive $141,000 in federal funding to help establish the Forensic Chemistry Institute.

Towson University will partner with local, state, federal and private crime labs to create the Forensic Chemistry Institute, which will specialize in education, interdisciplinary research, training, testing and consulting in forensic science. The new institute will focus on training scientists in bomb analysis. Currently, there are only 100 bomb analysts in the nation.

Last year, Congress passed the America Competes Act to help fund or improve professional science master's (PSM) programs nationwide. Currently, Towson University is only one of four schools in the nation to offer a two-year professional science master's degree in forensic science. Towson also offers the only baccalaureate forensic chemistry degree in Maryland, focusing on DNA technology and analysis.

There is currently a serious lack of qualified forensic scientists in the nation, affecting law enforcement and homeland security. It is estimated that our nation needs 10,000 new forensic scientists to meet its homeland security and law enforcement needs over the next decade. The National Institute of Justice has estimated that 90% of DNA samples are awaiting lab analysis due to lack of trained personnel.

"We are fortunate in Maryland that Towson University is at the forefront of training forensic scientists who will be able to meet our nation's homeland security and law enforcement needs," said Senator Cardin. "I strongly support programs such as the Forensic Chemistry Institute because it is critical that we educate and train more scientists who will help keep our nation safe."

"Towson University is one of our state's premier institutions of higher education," said Rep. Sarbanes. "This federal funding will help Towson to stay on the cutting edge as advances are made in forensic science."

"As Maryland's growth campus, producing Maryland's workforce, Towson University is educating the forensic scientists needed to meet the demands of law enforcement and homeland security," stated President Caret. "These funds are an integral piece in creating the Forensic Chemistry Institute which will grow our program and training initiatives and further expand our relationships with federal, state, local and private partners."


TU Professors Lazar and Hochheiser Draft Policy on Internet Accessibility

New York (January 16, 2008) — ACM Groups Urge Actions To Broaden Web Accessibility

As information on the Internet and World Wide Web (WWW) becomes more critical for an array of commercial and leisure activities, several ACM (the Association for Computing Machinery) groups have jointly developed a statement to encourage equitable and inclusive access for everyone including people with disabilities. Acknowledging that a majority of private and commercial Web sites have some access limitations, the ACM groups have committed to being leaders in the call to improve access to the Internet and Web. Their goal is to increase Internet access as a means to attract broader participation of talented people in the global economy.

The ACM groups have issued a statement urging the following actions

  • Increased awareness of the value of accessibility
  • New Federal policies to increase Web accessibility
  • Continued Federal R&D funding for more accessible IT systems
  • Additional low-cost Web development tools from the IT community

Signatories to the statement are the U.S. Public Policy Committee (USACM) and members of ACM's Special Interest Groups on Accessible Computing (SIGACCESS), Computer-Human Interaction (SIGCHI), and Hypertext, Hypermedia and the Web (SIGWEB). Also signing the statement is the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA), launched by ACM in 2005 to ensure that teachers have the tools they need to get students interested in computer science careers.

"The technical community has the resources to make commercial Web sites accessible without undue regulatory and monetary burdens," said Harry Hochheiser, a member of the USACM Executive Committee and Assistant Professor of Computer and Information Sciences at Towson University. He cited the work of the World Wide Web Consortium Web Accessibility Initiative and its accessibility tools as well as the U.S. Rehabilitation Act, which includes standards to assure accessibility to users with certain disabilities.

The USACM joint statement stresses that the benefits of universal access to the Internet and Web go beyond helping those with perceptual and motor impairments. “Striving for universal access results in streamlined Web site design that relies on clear, simple language, consistent navigation mechanisms, and text descriptions for graphic elements,” said Jonathan Lazar of ACM SIGCHI, a signatory to the statement. “It also assures enhanced access to knowledge for users of all ages and expands e-commerce opportunities for all users,” said Lazar, Associate Professor of Computer and Information Sciences at Towson University, and director of its Universal Usability Laboratory.

Additional information about universal Internet accessibility policy recommendations and a fact sheet on the dimensions of the issue and the resources currently available to address it are at


NSF Awards $580,000 Grant to Fisher College of Science & Mathematics

Towson, Maryland (September 19, 2007) — The National Science Foundation awarded a grant of $580,920 to Towson University for support of the project entitled "CoSMiC — Computing, Sciences, and Mathematics in College." This project establishes undergraduate and graduate need based scholarships for students majoring in: (a) Computer and Information Sciences, (b) Mathematics, (c) Forensic Chemistry or (d) Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Bioinformatics (MB3).

This project is under the direction of Professors Joyce C. Little, Gail E. Gasparich and Martha J. Siegel; and it is effective through August 31, 2011.


Fisher College of Science & Mathematics at TU  Receives $2,000,000 NSF Grant

Washington, DC (July 27, 2007) — Dr. Katherine Denniston with a team of collaborators from Towson University and Baltimore City Community College have received a $2,000,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Division of Undergraduate Education for support of the project entitled "Towson Opportunities in STEM (TOPS)." In addition to Dr. Denniston, the team included Dr. James Saunders, Dr. Jane Wolfson, Dr. Boon Loo, Dr. David Vanko, Ms. Alfreda Dudley-Sponaugle and Mr. Art King all from Towson University; and Dr. Carolyn Dabirsiaghi, Dr. Joanne Settel, Dr. Jack Taylor and Ms. Marianna Gleger all from Baltimore City Community College. The Program Director will be Dr. Jane Wolfson of Towson University. This award runs from August 2007 through July 2012.

The primary goal of the TOPS project is to increase the number of high school students entering STEM programs at Towson University (TU) and Baltimore City Community College (BCCC) and graduating from Towson University with degrees in STEM disciplines. This project aims to provide multiple, smooth pathways from Baltimore area high schools through the baccalaureate degree in STEM disciplines at Towson University. Strategies will include among other activities:

  • High school outreach programs designed to engage students in STEM disciplines and recruit them into TU and BCCC programs
  • 2+2 Articulation programs between BCCC and TU that address course requirements as well as course content
  • Joint TU/BCCC student advising and mentoring
  • Student peer mentoring and peer tutoring
  • Scholarships for underrepresented students
  • Early research experiences


TU selects Dr. Jennifer Scott as Second Fisher Endowed Chair

Astronomy professor’s research focuses on quasars and the intergalactic medium

Assistant Professor Jennifer ScottTowson, Maryland (July 5, 2007) — Jennifer Scott, assistant professor of astronomy in Towson University’s Department of Physics, Astronomy and Geosciences, has been selected as the second recipient of the Jess and Mildred Fisher Endowed Chair in Biological and Physical Sciences. Her three-year appointment will commence on August 15.

As holder of a Jess and Mildred Fisher Endowed Chair, Scott will be provided a monetary award of $20,000 for each of three years that may be used for, but is not limited to, a summer faculty stipend, professional travel, research equipment and supplies, and undergraduate student research support.

Scott received her B.S. (Highest Honors and Highest Distinction) in physics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1994 and her Ph.D. in astronomy from the University Research Fellow at the Space Telescope Science Institute of Johns Hopkins University and as a National Research Council Fellow at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Her research focuses on quasars – the distant, powerful galactic nuclei powered by accretion onto super-massive black holes – and the intergalactic medium, the gaseous matter between galaxies and the reservoir of material from which they formed. She has authored 15 peer-reviewed research papers published in top tier astronomical journals.

As one of the Fisher Endowed Chairs, Scott’s research plans include studies of quasar environments; examinations of the connections between galaxies and the intergalactic medium; and refinement of measurements of the ultraviolet background radiation field. She will conduct much of this work in close collaboration with her undergraduate students. Scott also intends to use the visibility of the Fisher Chair to promote community outreach and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education efforts by creating the first Project ASTRO network in the Baltimore-Washington area. Project ASTRO links astronomers to teachers by bringing inquiry-based astronomy activities to K-12 classrooms.

The Jess and Mildred Fisher Endowed Chair in the Biological and Physical Sciences was established in June 2005 as part of a $10.2 million gift to the College of Science and Mathematics from the Robert M. Fisher Foundation. Its purpose is to honor the memory of the Fisher family by incorporating research opportunities into the undergraduate learning experience through the support of the scholarly growth of highly promising faculty researchers in the physical and biological sciences who are in the early stages of their careers at Towson.

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