Monday, May 30, 2011

AU Grads Co-Recipients of Prestigious Yeager Award

Two May 2011 AU graduates -- Jennifer Miller (left, Geology and Integrated Science) Daphne Guinn (right, Toxicology) -- have been selected as co-recipients of the Ernest B. Yeager award by the Cleveland Chapter of the Society for Applied Spectroscopy (SAS) and the Analytical Topics Group of the American Chemical Society (ACS). They are pictured here presenting their research in Washington DC at the recent Council on Undergraduate Research Posters on the Hill with adviser Dr. Jeff Weidenhamer.

The award will be presented on June 1 at the annual Conference on Spectroscopy and Analytical Chemistry at John Carroll University, where Guinn and Miller will give a presentation on their research. The Yeager award recognizes Guinn and Miller’s achievements in independent research, particularly in the application of spectroscopy to the analysis of cadmium, for which the two will receive a certificate, a monetary award and a year's membership in SAS.

The two graduates are the first Ashland University students to win this prestigious award since their adviser, Dr. Jeff Weidenhamer, professor of chemistry, won it as an undergraduate student in the late 1970s.

Dr. Weidenhamer notes, “The Yeager Award is quite an honor for both Daphne and Jennifer and for Ashland University. Their work has helped draw attention to the previously unrecognized hazards of putting cadmium, which is a very dangerous heavy metal, into jewelry products as a replacement for lead. It is unusual for scientific research at any level to make a direct impact on public policy, but this work has already helped improve the safety of children’s products and raised the level of consciousness about the dangers of cadmium.”

Daphne is pursuing a career in biomedical research, and has been accepted into the Ohio State University Integrated Biomedical Science Graduate Program to study for her Ph.D. Jennifer is interested in pursuing a career in environmental geochemistry and has been accepted into the Miami University Geology Program to study for her Master’s degree.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Ashland Alum Pursues Spectroscopy Research

David Wilcox (Chemistry ’08), who is working on a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry at Purdue University, has just published a paper in the journal Chemical Physics Letters (doi:10.106/j.cplett.2011.04.001). The paper, titled “Additional conformer observed in the microwave spectrum of methyl vinyl ketone [MVK],” describes the use of chirped-pulse Fourier transform microwave spectroscopy for structural analysis of MVK, and provides evidence for a previously undocumented conformation of this molecule. MVK is an important compound in atmospheric chemistry which can react with hydroxyl radical to form reactive aldehydes.

While a student at Ashland, David conducted research with Dr. Jeff Weidenhamer that helped develop new methods of analysis for root exudates in soil. David writes, "The education I received at Ashland University greatly prepared me for graduate level research. In conjunction with research under Dr. Weidenhamer, the lab and classroom experience equipped me with the problem-solving tools that I still use to accomplish goals in my research at Purdue.” After completing his Ph.D. requirements, David plans on pursuing a post-doctoral position in molecular spectroscopy.

Chemistry alum taking position with Cooper Tire

Tiffany Weaver (Chemistry ’11) has been hired as a Materials Engineer for the Materials Application Development department of Cooper Tire & Rubber Company of Findlay, Ohio. Her job will include technical support to domestic and international manufacturing facilities, development of new test methods, work on global raw material sourcing plans, and participation on teams preparing product lines for compliance with upcoming environmental regulations in Europe.

Tiffany states that “The opportunities to use and learn about the instrumentation beginning as a freshman was a reason for choosing Ashland University to begin with and played a major role in making me a good applicant for the position.” She also credits the one on one attention from faculty, her research opportunities working with Dr. Perry Corbin and Dr. Rebecca Corbin on MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry of polymers, which resulted in a research presentation at the American Chemical Society’s national meeting in Anaheim, and other opportunities such as the ability to travel abroad for helping make her a well-rounded candidate that stood out from the rest.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Ashland toxicology graduates to enter PhD programs

Daphne Guinn
Two of our toxicology majors will be entering graduate school this Fall to begin studies towards their PhD degrees.  Daphne Guinn has taken part in several research studies while an undergraduate student at Ashland University, including work on the toxic effects of metals in children's toys and costume jewelry, and the effects of chemical mixtures.  Daphne will be entering the Integrated Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program at The Ohio State University where she will be focusing on the Biology of Human Diseases.

Phillip Wages
Phillip Wages has performed undergraduate research at Ashland University on the development of the eye lens using a small fish called the zebrafish, while also investigating the toxic effects of pesticide and herbicide mixtures for his University honors thesis.  Phillip will be entering the Biomedical and Biological Sciences Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Our undergraduate toxicology program at Ashland University is one of only a handful in the country.  Graduates from the program go on to pursue advanced research degrees, enter medical school and other health professional programs and gain employment as laboratory technicians.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Biochem alum admitted to medical school

Zachary Il’Giovine (Biochemistry ’11) has been accepted to the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine (Dayton, OH) as part of the class of 2015. Wright State offers excellent training in virtually every field of medicine, but is especially well known for its primary care training. The school takes a unique approach to the curriculum in that there is a strong focus on team based learning and developing community. Zach joins fellow AU alum Nick Bellanco (Biochemistry ’10) who entered the Wright State medical program last fall.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Congratulations to 2011 science graduates

It was a beautiful day for AU's spring commencement this past Saturday, and the first in the University's new football stadium.  Congratulations to our science graduates and all new Ashland University alumni.

Biology majors Fred Grant, Amy Drossman, Rachel Day and Beth Frisbee
Fred double-majored in psychology and biology and plans to attend graduate school for social work or counseling.  Amy will be heading to Chicago to enter the Illinois College of Optometry, while Rachel enters the Masters program in Environmental Science at Miami University of Ohio.  Beth will be attending the Logan College of Chiropractic in Missouri.

Biology majors Katie Huff and Rachael Glover
Rachael Glover will be starting a Masters program in Biology at John Carroll University with a focus on ecology.  Katie is interested in ecology and environmental science as well.

Toxicology major Phillip Wages addressing the crowd as Student Senate President
Phillip will be heading to North Carolina to enter the PhD program at UNC-Chapel Hill in Biological and Biomedical Sciences.

Check back over the next week or two to see what some of our other graduates will be doing next year.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Biology Honorary Welcomes New and Promoted Members

Ashland University's Xi Mu chapter of Beta Beta Beta, the national honorary society for students of biology, welcomed 31 new and promoted members at its initiation ceremony in April. The mission of Beta Beta Beta is to promote scholarship, communication, and research in the life sciences. The Xi Mu chapter organizes* a variety of activities in support of that mission and the Ashland University Sciences community.

After initiation, the membership elected officers for 2011-2012: (left to right) Jenn Pyle (historian/webmaster), Alicia McBride (secretary), Jared Baisden (VP), Charlie Davis (president), and Zach Haley (treasurer).

*Outgoing (and graduating!) 2010-2011 officers get a BIG THANK YOU for organizing a fun and very productive year: Rachel Day (president), Wendy Dria (VP), Daphne Guinn (secretary), Katie Manocchio (treasurer), and Rachael Glover (historian/webmaster).