From the Dean's Desk -- September 20, 2012

Enrollment Increases in the College of Science and Technology

The College of Science and Technology enrollment increased 12.9 percent since fall 2011.

                                             2011        2012

College total enrollment       1,079        1,218

Anthropological Sciences          47            48

Biology                                     359          409

Chemistry                                 104         104

Computer Science                    267          271

Geography and Geospatial        40           62

Geology                                     59            63

Information Sci. & Systems          79            93

Mathematics                              75            89

Physics                                     49            48

Going Deep Into the Mountain Lake Mystery

A voice crackling over the “underwater com” told the researchers that something was there and may be the largest one yet.  Ken Dunker, owner and instructor of Diving Enterprises in Salem, is surveying the bottom of one of four mapped depressions in Mountain Lake, in Giles County, Va. As principal investigator and geology professor Skip Watts and geology faculty members Beth McClellan and Paki Stephenson wait, the bright pink string attached to a white wooden “bowtie” unravels from the large metal bolt Dunker placed in the “piping hole.”  Dunker donated his time to help survey the depression using classic search and rescue diving techniques.  The excitement on the retrofitted pontoon boat floods over when the white marker pops to the surface of the lake and the team waits for more news from Dunker.

As Dunker breaks the surface he exclaims “this is the biggest hole yet.  It was this big and the water flow looked significant,” as he holds his hands and arms above the water in a circle the size of a large beach ball.  Dunker says he placed a pole about three feet into the hole before he felt any closure or reduction of diameter.  “That is great and definitely the largest hole that we have found yet,” says Watts. 

Learn more about what this discovery means for RU geologists and their research into the draining of this important tourist destination.


IT Professor's Examination of Trust in Online Environment Published in Leading Journal

Radford University information technology professor Hwajung Lee's article "Thief Among Us: Use of Finite State Machine in Identifying Emotional Changes Toward Virtual Betrayal" was published in the Journal of Wireless Mobile Networks, Ubiquitous Computing and Dependable Applications.

The article she co-authored with Florida State information technology professor Shuyuan Mary Ho examines an experimental study that simulates insider betrayal in an online collaborative environment. 

Chemistry Professor Awarded $14,917 Grant from EPA

Chemistry professor Francis Webster was recently awarded $14,917 from the Environmental Protection Agency for his research study "Lessons from Nature: Synthetic Humic Acid Materials for Improved Water Purification."

Webster's project will focus on the development of an inexpensive, multi-functional absorbent material that will improve existing sand filtration technology to better remove a wide range of water contaminants, including arsenic, heavy metals, and organic contaminants.

Biology Professor Awarded $25,000 Grant from Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries


Biology professor Karen Francl was recently awarded $25,000 to monitor white-nose syndrome in Virginia's brown bat population.  The grant from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries will also fund work by Francl and her students to assess the status of two bat species currently being considered for "Endangered Species" status through the Endangered Species Act.

The RU Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society Spent 9/11 in Service

On September 11, members of the RU chapter of The Wildlife Society participated in a service event at Claytor Lake.  A total of 12 people volunteered for the event, and half of them were from the student chapter.  During the day, the volunteers removed 18 bags of trash from one cove of the lake. 


The CSAT STEM Club will be having our Fall Picnic on Friday, September 28 from 4-7pm in Bisset Park Shelter #1. Everyone from the College of Science and Technology is invited, both faculty and students. You do not have to be a member of the CSAT STEM Club in order to attend. 
On Saturday, October 13, the club will be participating in Highlander Festival and on Sunday, October 14 will be having our Cascades Hike. The exact time that we will be leaving the school will be announced at a later date. 

On October 20, the CSAT STEM Club will be going to the Sinkland Farms Pumpkin Patch. Then on November 10, we will be leaving around noon to head to Dixie Caverns. Our last meeting before Thanksgiving Break will be on Thursday, November 15. On the 15th, we will play board games in the Stuart Hall Lounge during our normal meeting time, rather than having a regular meeting.

If any faculty would like to be a guest speaker for our faculty guest speaker talks then please e-mail the president, Charnele Johnson at, and tell her your discipline and topic. We would love to have you come speak!

Jasmine Jackson
CSAT STEM Club Secretary