From the Dean's Desk -- February 23, 2012

IT Graduate Named HP Most Valuable Person

Marcus Cheek, a 2006 computer science graduate, was recently named one of Hewlett Packard’s Most Valuable People for 2011. Cheek is a network engineer at HP Enterprise Services (EDS). He is one of the 500 people out 130,000 HP employees who won this nationwide award.  He says his experience as a student at Radford gave him a solid foundation for a successful career.

While a student, Cheek worked on a wireless technology independent study project with his faculty mentor Hwajung Lee. Working with wireless technology helped him acquire the technical skills for his first job.

Cheek says assistant teaching for Professor Maung Htay also served him well. “As they say, the best way to learn is to teach,” explains Cheek.

For students showing interest in a degree involving technology, Cheek stresses that vigilance is the key. “We all know technology is constantly changing, and staying on top of the current trends will help to ensure success in your career,” he explains. Cheek also encourages students to “delve into new emerging technology.” He believes with technology constantly being outdated, it is important for students stay on top of the latest technology to give them a competitive edge in the workplace.

Cheek will attend the award ceremony March 29 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego, Calif. He thanks RU and the information technology department for helping him to achieve his goals. -- JF

Electronic Math Journal Launches Printed Version

Mathematics professor Wei-Chi Yang, editor-in-chief of the Electronic Journal of Mathematics and Technology, has announced the launch of The Research Journal of Mathematics and Technology.  The newest journal in his quiver is a printed version of selected articles from the electronic journal.

"The purpose of the journal is to provide for those readers who would like to read articles in print rather than online.  Therefore, the Research Journal of Mathematics and Technology is to complement and enhance the needs of the electronic journal, where we encourage readers to experiment and discover mathematics when supplementary electronic files are available," says Yang.

The printed journal will be published semi-annually in June and December of each year with the first edition in June 2012.

Both journals' areas of interest are research in mathematics and its applications and mathematics education with technology, instruction in mathematics and its applications with technology, and newly emerging technologies in mathematical fields.  All articles are peer-reviewed and published in the electronic journal first.

Students Present Mosquito Research at Conference

Biology majors Kimberly Filcek, Nikki Holland and Madison Gardner, and recent biology graduate Amanda Robinson presented their research at the 65th annual Virginia Mosquito Control Association (VMCA) in Suffolk, Va.

Accompanied by assistant biology professor Justin Anderson, the group spoke to representatives from a variety of academic institutions and mosquito control districts. December 2011 graduate Robinson presented her findings on “Bacterial population differences in the digestive tract of Aedes albopictus from three collection sites.” Kimberly Filcek, discussed: “different prohibitin proteins contribute to vector competences for the dengue virus.” And finally, Holland (’14) and Madison Gardner (’13) examined the potential effects of the plant Pokeweed to counteract infected mosquitoes.

Each year, VMCA hosts an annual conference where members and other academic associations discuss new ideas in an attempt to control the threat of mosquitoes to the public. Anderson is an editor for the VMCA annual newsletter, The Skeeter. RU students’ and faculty’s research efforts help contribute to new aspects in controlling the mosquito threat to the public. -- JF

RU Wildlife Society Members Honored

Kelsey Townsend

Kelsey Townsend received the "Excellence in Wildlife Stewardship Through Science and Education" scholarship.

Biology majors Kelsey Townsend, Jordan Kime, and 12 others attended The Wildlife Society annual conference February 6, in Wakefield, Va. Kime, a senior, was recognized for her outstanding presentation on bat wing damage by receiving second place for the “Best Student Presentation Award.” Junior Kelsey Townsend was awarded a $500 scholarship for her potential to make significant contributions to wildlife management. She was this year’s recipient of the "Excellence in Wildlife Stewardship through Science and Education" scholarship. Tessa Canniff and Dan Rabago also presented their research findings at the conference.

The Wildlife Society is known for its efforts to help humans and wildlife coexist and its assistance in conservation of endangered or threatened specifies. During the fall and spring, Kime and other students caught bats entering and exiting caves for research regarding bat wing damage. “We take pictures of the wings, which is where my project comes in. I look at the pictures with a program and measure damage. This information goes into a database that we analyze on a per species basis and look at increases and declines over seasons,” explains Kime. 

After being encouraged to join the club by biology faculty mentor Karen Francl, Townsend has actively participated in club activities that led to her award. “I was a peer mentor to an environmental biology class aiding in the trapping and identification of mammals and bird species,” she explains.  On a field assistant experience with mentor Francl, Townsend remembers wearing waders to check turtle traps at Selu Conservancy. These opportunities are unique experiences students can receive in the biology program and RU's chapter of The Wildlife Society.

The RU Wildlife Society has many upcoming events in the works.  Students in the club are planning Bio-Blitz and Vulture Day for the spring. The Bio-Blitz is a day dedicated to surveying a vast amount of wildlife and helping to educate the general public about it. Vulture day is hosted by the City of Radford to educate the community about the importance of vultures and their ecosystem. -- JF

STEM Club News

by Jasmine Jackson, Secretary of CSAT STEM Club

Science Exploration Day was held last Saturday and we had a great turnout. CSAT STEM Club members volunteered as teaching assistants, held a bake sale for the scouts, and bought pizza and drinks for the faculty and volunteers.

The CSAT Open House will be this Saturday, February 25. CSAT STEM Club members will be volunteering from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. to help with setting up and talking to prospective students about the CSAT majors, college life, and dorm life. Volunteers will also be helping to cleanup once the event is over.

On Thursday, March 15 at 7 p.m. in McGuffey 203, Dr. Jarrod Burks, the Director of Archaeological Geophysics at Ohio Valley Archaeology, Inc., will be giving his talk “Rediscovering Ohio’s Ancient Earthwork Sites.” Prior to the talk from 3:30-4:30, the club will host a reception in the Stuart Hall Lounge for anyone who wants to talk to Dr. Burks one-on-one about his work.

On Saturday, March 17, the CSAT STEM Club will be going to the North Carolina Zoo. The trip has now been opened to all CSAT majors. Dr. Laura Jacobsen has trip registration forms, and the cost to attend is $15. The fee pays for your bus seat, as well as admission to the zoo. Please turn in your money and registration forms to Dr. Jacobsen at our CSAT Meeting on Wednesdays at 6 p.m. in Stuart Hall Lounge or in her office Peters Hall A126.