Jess & Mildred Fisher College of Science & Mathematics


TU selects Dr. Matthew Hemm as Fisher Endowed Chair

Dr. Matthew Hemm Towson University (November 18, 2011) — Professor Hemm previously served as a Postdoctoral Researcher and a Research Fellow at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. He earned his B.S. degree from the College of William and Mary, and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Purdue University. Dr. Hemm teaches Molecular Biology and his research focus is the abundance and function of small proteins. His studies show that small proteins and the short genes that encode them can be prevalent and that they can have very specific functions. Dr. Hemm is currently publishing a paper with four undergraduate coauthors.


Team of Six Fisher College Students Defeats Local Universities to Win 2011 Maryland Cyber Challenge

computer screen with lock and keyTowson, MD (October 24, 2011) — A team of Towson University's Fisher College of Science and Mathematics students won the first-ever Maryland Cyber Challenge held at the Baltimore Convention Center on Sunday, October 22.

A joint venture between governmental, private and nonprofit organizations, the two-day Maryland Cyber Challenge and Conference (MDC3) was created to raise public awareness about the importance of cyber security and to strengthen the state's cyber security work force.

The Maryland Cyber Challenge helped achieve that mission by pitting high school, college and professional participants against one another in a series of real-world cyber security games. Teams earned points for defending their systems from attackers and/or fixing vulnerabilities, and were also scored for their ability to document and communicate findings and work as a team. Groups that were successfully attacked lost points until they fixed the problem that allowed the attack to take place.

Twelve collegiate teams participated in the qualifying round held online, but only eight were selected for the in-person Cyber Challenge. Towson competed against such schools as University of Maryland College Park, who placed second, University of Maryland Baltimore County and University of Maryland University College.

Dr. Mike O'Leary, director of TU's Center for Applied Information Technology and professor in the Departments of Mathematics and Computer & Information Sciences, coaches the TU team, which includes: Andrea Mobley (team captain); Brian Cather; Jonathan Fragale; Dustin Hanks; Dennis Hayden; and Roberto Melendez.

Each participating TU student received a $5,000 scholarship from the National Security Agency and will be offered a paid summer internship position with engineering and technology firm SAIC. The team will also be honored at an invitation-only dinner and awards ceremony to be held at UMBC on Friday, November 18.

Of the last four major cyber defense competitions in the region, Towson has won three: the 2010 CCDC Mid-Atlantic Regionals, the 2010 CSC Cyb3rBattl3ground and the 2011 MDC3.


School of Emerging Technologies is Established

7800 York Road BuildingTowson, MD (October 5, 2011) — Towson University has established the School of Emerging Technologies, an institution focused on developing and supporting innovative, integrative and interdisciplinary programs at the undergraduate through doctoral levels. The unit will officially be launched in 2012. The School of Emerging Technologies, or SET, will be administratively housed within the Jess and Mildred Fisher College of Science and Mathematics, but located at 7800 York Road. Its aim is to produce college graduates and postgraduates with marketable skills for career growth in technology-driven fields.

Serving both faculty and students, the SET will collaborate with public, private and governmental partners to address the professional development needs of the technical workforce, and establish K-12 outreach initiatives to encourage more students at the pre-college level to pursue technology-based careers. The unit will also serve as an incubator for interdisciplinary faculty and student research and other forms of collaborations on the study, development and application of the emerging technologies that most impact society at work, at home and in the community.


Dean David A. Vanko Named Chair of Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission

Select group of state leaders will study use of hydraulic fracturing in Western Maryland

Dean David VankoTowson, MD (July 28, 2011) — Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley has named David Vanko chair of the Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Initiative Advisory Commission. Vanko is dean of Towson's Jess and Mildred Fisher College of Science and Mathematics, and has a doctoral degree in geology.

He and fellow members of the commission will recommend the conditions under which the gas drilling technique called hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," should be permitted within the Marcellus Formation, an organic-rich black shale in Western Maryland.

“I’m very excited to be named to the Advisory Commission,” says Vanko. “Our group reflects a wide spectrum of stakeholders, and we will be dealing with some very thorny issues. I am confident, though, that we’ll be able to agree on a comprehensive set of recommendations that is good for Maryland—recommendations that promote economic development, preserve and protect the environment, and help shrink Maryland’s carbon footprint.”

Members of the commission include:

  • Shawn Bender, president, Garrett County Farm Bureau
  • Steven Bunker, director of conservation programs, Nature Conservancy Maryland Office
  • Sen. George Edwards
  • John Fritz, president, Savage River Watershed Association
  • Peggy Jamison, mayor of Oakland, Md.
  • Jeffrey Kupfer, senior adviser, Chevron Government Affairs
  • Delegate Heather Mizeur
  • Dominick Murray, deputy secretary, Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development
  • James Raley, commissioner, Garrett County
  • Paul Roberts, co-owner, Deep Creek Cellars and Winery
  • William Valentine, commissioner, Allegany County
  • Nick Weber, chair, Mid-Atlantic Council of Trout Unlimited
  • Harry Weiss, partner, Ballard Spahr


Dr. Pamela Lottero-Perdue Awarded Best Paper Award at ASEE Annual Conference

  Visitors examine a Sinaloan Milksnake during the Open House
  Dr. Pamela Lottero-Perdue, with her award and three of her
co-teachers (from left): Shawna Maxey, Jamie Schaller
and Becky Knight.

Vancouver, Canada (June 27, 2011) Dr. Pamela Lottero-Perdue was awarded the Best Paper honor (out of 134 papers) for the K-12 Division of the American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference in June 2011 in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Her single-authored, peer-reviewed, empirical paper was entitled Classroom Teacher - Enrichment Teacher Pairs: Co-teaching as a means to implement elementary engineering education. It was presented in the session, Research Related to Learning and Teaching Engineering in Elementary Classrooms, on Monday, June 27. The paper examined co-teaching as it impacted the way in which teachers taught science-technology-engineering blended units of instruction within the SySTEmic Project in Harford County Public Schools. Learning some of the benefits of co-teaching for engineering education, Dr. Lottero-Perdue applied her research findings and co-taught two summer Engineering Adventures Camps for children at Harford Community College with six former students: TU graduates Erin Grippi (EESE 2011), Anna Hagan (EESE 2011), and Becky Knight (ELED 2011), and TU seniors in the Harford County EESE program, Nicole Oakley, Shawna Maxey, and Jamie Schaller.


Dr. Gail Gasparich Appointed to NCAA Cabinet

Towson University (May 26, 2011) — Dr. Gail Gasparich, Associate Dean of the Fisher College of Science and Mathematics, has been appointed to a four-year term to the NCAA's Division I Awards, Benefits, Expenses and Financial Aid Cabinet. Dr. Gasparich also serves asTowson's NCAA faculty representative.


Towson University Field Station Holds Open House

Visitors examine a Sinaloan Milksnake during the Open House  
Visitors examine a Sinaloan Milksnake during the Open House.  

Monkton, MD (May 7, 2011) — The Towson University Filed Station Open House was held Saturday, May 7th between noon and 4 p.m. in Monkton, Maryland. The weather cooperated and scores of visitors, including faculty, staff, alumni, local residents and their families enjoyed nature hikes, turtle tracking, interactive wildlife exhibits, as well as displays of student research posters. Faculty and Graduate students from the Center of Biodiversity provided exhibits of insects and plants and the Shields lab in Biological Sciences manned a display outlining gypsy moth research at TU. In addition, Alex Storrs (PAGS) had the portable planetarium on hand and young and old alike enjoyed the wonders of the night time sky in the middle of the afternoon!

  a young visitor examines a radio-tagged box turtle
  Teal Richards-Dimitrie and a young visitor examine a
radio-tagged box turtle.


The Field Station which is located on 223 wooded acres adjacent to the Gun Powder River in northern Harford County has facilities for teaching and research. Since its establishment in 2010 the Field Station it quickly living up to its slogan, "A place where faculty and students investigate the natural world."


John T. Beynon is Presented with 2011 Dean's Recognition Award

Mr. John Beynon, 2011 Dean's Recognition Award recipient, receiving glass tiger from Dean David Vanko and Mr. Keith Ewancio of the TU Alumni Association  
Dean David Vanko, Mr. John T. Beynon and
Mr. Keith Ewancio (secretary, TU Alumni Association)

Towson University (May 5, 2011) — Mr. John T. Beynon, Mathematics '73, received the 2011 Dean's Recognition Award on behalf of the Fisher College of Science and Mathematics. John is President of Beynon Sports Surfaces, a Fieldturf Tarkett company. He started his company with the vision of creating high-performance synthetic athletic surfaces designed for both competition and daily training, and now Beynon sports surfaces are found in the most renowned athletic facilities world-wide. John and his wife, Robin, also a TU graduate, have been strong supporters of Towson athletics and were very pleased to be honored by the Fisher College.


Dr. Brian Fath has been Awarded a Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Environmental Sciences

Dr. Brian Fath

Towson University (May 4, 2011) — Brian Fath, an Associate Professor of Biological Sciences at Towson University, has been awarded a Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Environmental Sciences at the Parthenope University of Naples, Italy for Spring Semester 2012. Awards in the Fulbright Distinguished Chairs Program are viewed as among the most prestigious appointments in the Fulbright Scholar Program. Awardees are eminent scholars and have a significant publication and teaching record.


Fisher College of Science and Mathematics Honors Its Students

Towson University (May 1, 2011) — The Fisher College of Science and Mathematics held its 21st 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. Marcia Welsh, Interim President, addressed the audience with some very encouraging words for all of the students present.


Three Faculty in the Fisher College of Science & Mathematics Receive USM Regents' Awards

Towson, Maryland (April 22, 2011) — Three FCSM faculty members have been named winners of the 2011 University System of Maryland Regents' Faculty Awards, the highest honor presented by the board to exemplary faculty members.

Brian FathBrian Fath, associate professor of Biological Sciences, was awarded for the category of scholarship. Fath is an ecosystems ecologist focused on sustainability science, a field that encompasses ecosystem services, biodiversity, natural resources, human cultures and specific environments. He serves on the Baltimore Sustainability Network and is acting chair of the Baltimore County Commission on Environmental Quality. Fath has published extensively in scientific literature and books, and in the past three years has given over 30 presentations around the world.

Jonathan LazarJonathan Lazar, professor of Computer and Information Sciences and director of the Universal Usability Laboratory, was named in the category of public service. Since he started teaching at Towson in 1999, Lazar's service to the university and community has been exemplary. He has coordinated curriculum and research partnerships between Towson and the National Federation of the Blind for nearly a decade, and served as adviser to the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board (which oversees stimulus funds), the Treasury Department and the White House.

Roland Patrick RobertsRoland Patrick Roberts, associate professor of Biology, was selected for the category of mentoring. Roberts established a well-funded research program in the fields of plant population genetics and systematics. Previously a mentor to students participating in the National Science Foundation's "Research Experiences for Undergraduates" program at Towson, he goes to great lengths to involve undergraduate and graduate students in his diverse research programs, providing them with an invaluable opportunity to work with him in the laboratory.


NSF Awards $588,816 Grant to Fisher College of Science & Mathematics

Towson, Maryland (March 1, 2011) — The National Science Foundation awarded a grant of $588,816 to Towson University for renewal of the project entitled "CoSMiC — Computing, Sciences, and Mathematics in College." This project establishes undergraduate need based scholarships for students majoring in: (a) Computer and Information Sciences, (b) Mathematics, or (c)  Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Bioinformatics (MB3). Towson University has previously received nearly $1 million dollars through the CoSMiC program for scholarships and activities for our STEM students.

This project is under the direction of Dr. Martha J. Siegel (Professor of Mathematics), and two Co-Directors: Dr. Gail E. Gasparich (Associate Dean of the Fisher College and Professor of Biological Sciences) and Dr. Gabriele Meiselwitz (Assistant Professor of Computer and Information Sciences); and this project is effective through February 28, 2015.


Biological Sciences Professor receives a $388,000 Grant from NIH

Dr. Matthew Hemm  
Dr. Matthew Hemm  

Towson, Maryland (February 18, 2011) — The National Institutes of Health awarded a grant of $388,000 to Dr. Matthew Hemm, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences at Towson University. This grant will provide funding for his proposal titled "Role of Small Transmembrane Proteins in Cytochrome bd Oxidase Activity." This proposal focuses on the role and function of specific proteins crucial to cellular respiration and to the processes of infection and colonization by several bacterial species. Understanding the activities of these proteins may have significant implications for the public health industry in terms of infection control. This project is being funded through April 30, 2014.

This award has many benefits in store for Towson University. With the funds provided, both undergraduate and graduate students will have greater opportunities to participate in laboratory research, thereby fostering their talents for hands-on experimentation and information analysis. With the additional resources, there will be more room for trial and error in these experiments; this is especially important, as students will be able to correct procedural mistakes and therefore learn via repetition and review. The increase in the amount of time allotted for lengthier periods of problem solving is a luxury that can never be valued too highly in a scientific setting. Also, having additional funds available can accommodate further experiments suggested by discoveries in a current line of research. As Hemm will attest, every answer leads to another question for which one may need another experiment.


Dr. Jonathan Lazar leads TU Team that Receives TEDCO Grant for Innovative Challenge-Response Test

Towson, Maryland (February 4 , 2011) —Towson University has received a $50,000 grant from the Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO) to further develop its alternative to CAPTCHA and patent the technology.

Picture of a CAPTCHA
CAPTCHAs, like the one above, help thwart spam and automated bots. But they can also pose a tremendous challenge to blind and visually impaired users.

Towson’s new innovation, called SoundsRight audio CAPTCHA, was researched and designed by a group of faculty and students led by Dr. Jonathan Lazar, professor of computer and information sciences and director of the universal usability laboratory in the Jess and Mildred Fisher College of Science and Mathematics.

“TEDCO is pleased to support the early-stage development of SoundsRight audio CAPTCHA through our University Technology Development Fund,” says Rob Rosenbaum, president and executive director of TEDCO.

The full article may be found at the

The Jess and Mildred Fisher
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Phone: 410-704-2121
Fax: 410-704-2604

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