News Archives: School of Science and Mathematics

HPU hosts local fifth graders for Texas Arbor Day activities

Texas Arbor Day Event (3)BROWNWOOD – November 17, 2017 – Howard Payne University recently hosted a group of fifth graders from Brownwood’s Coggin Intermediate School for Texas Arbor Day activities. The students participated in fun, outdoor experiences and attended a tree ceremony on campus. HPU hosted the event as part of the university’s Tree Campus USA activities.

Tree Campus USA, a national program created in 2008 by the Arbor Day Foundation, honors colleges and universities for their commitment to campus forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals.

The fifth graders, students from the classroom of Laura Scantling, created bird feeders from pinecones, made leaf and bark rubbings, enjoyed an outdoor-themed snack and listened as an HPU student read the book “The Tree Lady” by H. Joseph Hopkins. Renee Burks of the Texas A&M Forest Service also addressed the students before they helped spread mulch around a newly planted tree on HPU’s campus.

HPU groups assisting with the event included the School of Education, School of Science and Texas Arbor Day Event (5)Mathematics, Department of Facilities and Maintenance, Department of Public Safety, the Office of University Marketing and Communications, Beta Beta Beta and Delta Epsilon Omega.

Terry Pritchett, assistant vice president for facilities and planning, serves as chair of the university’s Campus Tree Advisory Committee.

Texas Arbor Day Event (2)“We would like to thank the Brownwood Independent School District, the Texas A&M Forest Service and the many campus groups who helped organize and facilitate this event,” he said.

Pritchett also expressed his appreciation to TXU for the donation of small trees given to the children at the conclusion of the event and to Dr. Jane Metty-Samons, associate professor of education at HPU.

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Texas Arbor Day Event (1)Cutlines: Dr. Gregory Hatlestad, associate professor of biology at HPU, addresses a group of fifth graders during the university’s recent Texas Arbor Day celebration. Also listening to Dr. Hatlestad’s presentation is Buzzsaw, HPU’s Yellow Jacket mascot.

Fifth-grade students enjoy making bird feeders from pine cones and peanut butter during HPU’s Texas Arbor Day celebration.

Texas Arbor Day Event (4)Laura Scantling, fifth-grade teacher at Coggin Intermediate School, addresses her students as Buzzsaw and HPU student Micah Smith look on.

HPU student Rachel Henry assists fifth-grade student Andre Martinez with a craft project during HPU’s Texas Arbor Day festivities.

Jacklyn Lewis and Madeleine Goff, fifth-grade students at Coggin Intermediate School, create leaf rubbings during HPU’s Texas Arbor Day festivities.

HPU students among judges at local science fair

Montana Phelps and AshBROWNWOOD – November 15, 2017 – Three Howard Payne University students were among the judges at a recent science fair for students at Brownwood’s Cross Classical Academy. Students in kindergarten through eighth grade participated in the fair.

HPU judges included Paulo Flores, sophomore biochemistry major from Chandler; Montana Phelps, senior double major in engineering and chemistry from Wylie; and Richard Treviso, junior chemistry major from Dallas.

“We were all very impressed with the students’ exhibits,” said Dr. Kristen Hutchins, associate professor of biology at HPU. “They put a lot of effort and thought into their projects. I hope to see many of these same students at HPU in the years to come.”

For more information about Cross Classical Academy, visit www.crossclassicalacademy.com. To learn more about HPU’s School of Science and Mathematics, visit www.hputx.edu/scienceandmath.

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Cutline: HPU student Montana Phelps, left, listens as Sarah Ash, a student at Cross Classical Academy, describes her science fair exhibit.

HPU faculty member earns doctoral degree

Dr Dennis GibsonBROWNWOOD – October 12, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s Dennis Gibson, assistant professor of physical sciences, recently completed his Doctor of Philosophy degree with a major in chemistry from South Dakota State University.

Dr. Gibson, who joined the HPU faculty this fall, titled his dissertation “Relationship of the fractal and chemical characteristics of self-assembled natural organic matter.”

“We’re proud to have Dr. Gibson as a member of our chemistry faculty at HPU and we’re excited to celebrate his accomplishments with him,” said Dr. Pam Bryant, dean of HPU’s School of Science and Mathematics.

Dr. Gibson earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Northwestern State University of Louisiana. Before arriving at HPU, he served as graduate teaching assistant at South Dakota State University from 2012 to 2017 and as chemistry tutor and laboratory teaching assistant at Northwestern State University from 2009 to 2012.

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Cutline: Dennis Gibson, assistant professor of physical sciences at HPU, recently completed his doctorate from South Dakota State University.

HPU’s Cooper participates in medical research program

Abe CooperBROWNWOOD – October 4, 2017 – This past summer, Howard Payne University senior Abraham Cooper of Early participated in the Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) Summer Medical and Research Training (SMART) Program. The program was a twelve-week research opportunity for top undergraduate students across the country interested in biomedical sciences.

Cooper was one of five students selected to be mentored by doctors in the research program with Texas Children’s Pathology and one of three students who got the opportunity to participate in the BCM SMART program. He worked in the lab of Dr. Daniel Lacorazza at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. Cooper’s research, titled “Testing Pharmacological Activation of the Tumor Suppressor KLF4 in Acute Myeloid Leukemia,” included experiments such as immunoblots, cytotoxicity assays and flow cytometry.

Along with the other students in the program, Cooper was mentioned in “The Path Report,” the Texas Children’s Hospital Department of Pathology newsletter, and will be included in a 2018 publication for the research he completed this past summer.

“It was a blessing to be part of the program,” said Cooper. “I am grateful for the faculty and staff at HPU who have prepared me to flourish in a research program at one of the top medical and research centers in the world.”

Dr. Derek Smith, associate professor of chemistry at HPU, said summer research is an invaluable experience for students.

“Students are given a primary responsibility for one aspect of a funded research project and collaborate with experts,” he said. “One reward of summer research for students is that they usually earn a mention in a published research article that benefits students as they apply for further professional study. However, in this case, the gene therapy that Mr. Cooper worked on could lead to effective treatments for certain types of leukemia. Such contributions to medical science are impossible to overestimate.”

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Cutline: HPU student Abraham Cooper participated in a Summer Medical and Research Training Program recently.

HPU names six faculty promotions

Faculty Promotions Fall 17BROWNWOOD – September 19, 2017 – Howard Payne University announced the promotion of six faculty members at the beginning of the fall 2017 semester. Receiving promotions are Dr. Celeste Church, Dr. Gregory Church, Dr. Kevin Kelley, Dr. Paul Lilly, Dr. José Romero and Dr. Rusty Wheelington.

“We’re proud to acknowledge the accomplishments of these individuals,” said Dr. W. Mark Tew, HPU’s provost and chief academic officer. “The promotions granted are indicative of their hard work and faithful service to the university.”

Dr. Celeste Church, HPU faculty member since 2005 and formerly associate professor of music, was named professor of music. She additionally retains the title of dean of institutional research and effectiveness.

Dr. Gregory Church, formerly associate professor of music, has been named professor of music. He joined HPU’s faculty in 2004.

Dr. Kevin Kelley, who joined the HPU faculty in 2013, was named associate professor of psychology and chair of the Department of Psychology and Family Studies. He was formerly assistant professor of organizational psychology and business.

Dr. Paul Lilly, formerly assistant professor of criminal justice, was named associate professor of criminal justice. He joined HPU’s faculty in 2011 and also served as director of HPU’s Department of Public Safety from 2011 to 2017.

Dr. José Romero, previously associate professor of mathematics, was named professor of mathematics. He joined HPU’s faculty in 1996 and additionally serves as chair of the Department of Mathematics.

Dr. Rusty Wheelington, who joined the HPU faculty in 2006, was named professor of Christian studies. Dr. Wheelington formerly served as associate professor of Christian studies.

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Cutline: Six HPU faculty members were promoted at the beginning of the fall 2017 semester. Left to right: Dr. José Romero, Dr. Rusty Wheelington, Dr. Gregory Church, Dr. Celeste Church and Dr. Paul Lilly. Not pictured is Dr. Kevin Kelley.

Eleven full-time faculty members join HPU for fall semester

new faculty fall 2017 for webBROWNWOOD – August 24, 2017 – Howard Payne University began its fall 2017 semester this week with eleven new full-time faculty members among its ranks.

“Our new faculty members bring a wealth of knowledge and experience that will greatly benefit our students and the university as a whole,” said Dr. W. Mark Tew, provost and chief academic officer. “HPU’s entire body of faculty demonstrates the highest of academic standards, and we look forward to the year ahead.”

New full-time faculty members include Teresa Cavitt, instructor of kinesiology; Dr. Dave Claborn, professor of government; David Clemons, instructor of history; Dr. Dennis Gibson, assistant professor of physical science; Dr. Leslie Griffin, associate professor of psychology and family studies; Dr. Rick Grimes; associate professor of kinesiology; Richelle Hair, instructor of communication; Dr. Jill Heupel, assistant professor of kinesiology; Dr. Jane Metty-Samons, associate professor of education; Dr. Nina Ouimette, dean of the School of Nursing and professor of nursing; and James Wunderle, Jr., instructor of psychology.

Teresa Cavitt earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from The University of Texas at Arlington and a Master of Education degree from HPU. She served as an adjunct instructor at HPU from 1999 to 2017 and as an aerobics instructor for Brownwood’s Coggin Avenue Baptist Church from 1990 to 1998.

Dr. Dave Claborn holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of North Texas and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He served at Olivet Nazarene University from 2011 to 2016 as associate professor and from 2006 to 2011 as assistant professor. Prior to that, he served as assistant to the pre-law advisor and as teaching assistant, advisor and instructor at the University of Massachusetts.

David Clemons earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Southwestern Assemblies of God University and a Master of Arts degree from Wheaton College. He is a doctoral candidate at The University of Texas at Dallas. He previously served as an HPU adjunct instructor and as a doctoral teaching assistant at The University of Texas at Dallas. He also served as a history instructor at Southwestern Assemblies of God University from 2008 to 2012.

Dr. Dennis Gibson earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Northwestern State University of Louisiana and his Doctor of Philosophy degree with a major in chemistry from South Dakota State University. Before arriving at HPU, he served as graduate teaching assistant at South Dakota State University from 2012 to 2017 and as chemistry tutor and laboratory teaching assistant at Northwestern State University from 2009 to 2012.

Dr. Leslie Griffin earned a Bachelor of Science degree from University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, a Master of Science degree from Nova Southeastern University and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Texas Woman’s University. She served as an adjunct faculty member in the University of North Texas’ School of Human Services from 2015 to 2017 and as family and consumer services teacher for Crowley ISD from 2011 to 2017. She additionally served as an adjunct faculty member at Texas Woman’s University from 2012 to 2015 and as an adjunct faculty member at American Public University from 2012 to 2015.

Dr. Rick Grimes holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Baylor University and Master of Education and Doctor of Education degrees from the University of Houston. He served as senior lecturer at the University of North Texas from 2014 to 2017, as assistant professor at Texas A&M University – Kingsville from 2007 to 2012, and as assistant professor at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor from 2002 to 2007. Additionally, he served as an instructor at Tyler Junior College from 2000 to 2002 and as instructor and chair of the physical education department at Lone Star College District (Tomball College) from 1988 to 1999.

Richelle Hair holds a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master of Arts degree from Texas Tech University. Her previous experience includes serving as a graduate teaching assistant at Texas Tech University from 2015 to 2017 and as a graduate assistant consultant at Texas Tech University from 2016 to 2017.

Dr. Jill Heupel earned a Bachelor of Science degree, Master of Education degree and Doctor of Education degree from Tarleton State University. She served as a graduate assistant in teaching at Tarleton State University from 2016 to 2017 and as a graduate assistant in research from 2015 to 2016. She also served as an assistant principal in Stephenville ISD from 2011 to 2015, as a physical education teacher with Stephenville ISD from 1996 to 2011 and as a physical education teacher/junior high coach with Mexia ISD from 1995 to 1996.

Dr. Jane Metty-Samons holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Stephen F. Austin University and a Master of Science degree and Doctor of Philosophy degree from Texas A&M University. She served as professor of education at Mercer University from 2010 to 2016 and as instructor at Texas A&M University from 2008 to 2010. She has developed and delivered various programs and courses for a number of schools and universities.

Dr. Nina Ouimette earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from George Mason University, a Master of Science degree in child development and family relations from East Carolina University, a Master of Science in Nursing degree from Hardin-Simmons University and a Doctor of Education degree from Texas Tech University. Her past experience includes serving as dean and professor of nursing with tenure at Patty Hanks Shelton School of Nursing from 2009 to 2016. Also with Patty Hanks Shelton School of Nursing, she served as Bachelor of Science in Nursing director and associate professor of nursing with tenure from 2008 to 2009 and as assistant professor from 2002 to 2008. Additionally, she served as an adjunct faculty member at Abilene Intercollegiate School of Nursing from 2000 to 2002 and as RN clinical nurse analyst and nurse educator at Hendrick Medical Center from 1997 to 2002.

James Wunderle, Jr., holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Old Dominion University as well as a Master of Arts in Religious Education degree and a Master of Arts degree in marriage and family counseling from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a doctoral candidate at B.H. Carroll Theological Institute. He served as instructor at Ecclesia College from 2015 to 2017, as therapist at Ozark Guidance from 2015 to 2017 and as therapist/CEO at Cornerstone Counseling from 2004 to present. Additionally, he served as therapist/CEO of NWA Family Counseling, Inc., from 2005 to 2015 and as therapist at the Counseling Center of Denton from 1998 to 1999.

(Updated October 12, 2017)

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Cutline: HPU’s new faculty members include, from left, Dr. Rick Grimes, Teresa Cavitt, Dr. Jill Heupel, Dr. Dennis Gibson, Dr. Dave Claborn, David Clemons, Dr. Nina Ouimette (front row), Dr. Jane Metty-Samons, Dr. Leslie Griffin and Richelle Hair. Not pictured is James Wunderle, Jr.

HPU’s forensic science program acquires mass spectrometer

Mass Spectrometer for webBROWNWOOD – May 19, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s forensic science program recently acquired an Agilent tandem gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer, an analytical instrument that helps to identify chemicals based on molecular mass and ionic charge and is commonly used in many fields of science.

The equipment was acquired as part of the Drug Enforcement Administration South Central Laboratory’s routine turnover program.

“The DEA laboratory upgrades its instrumentation every five years,” said Dr. Derek L. Smith, associate professor of physical science and head of HPU’s forensic science program. “The previous laboratory director instituted a program whereby he donated the outgoing instrumentation to academic programs who train students in disciplines that could benefit the DEA in the future.”

Through this program, HPU’s School of Science and Mathematics received a donation of a tandem gas chromatograph-FT infrared spectrophotometer in 2010, and this latest acquisition further complements the analytical capabilities of HPU’s applied science programs.

“The greatest value of these generous donations is the experience that students gain by working with research-grade instruments that we would not otherwise be able to afford and that students in other programs may not be able to operate independently at the undergraduate level,” said Dr. Smith. “We are deeply grateful for the beneficial relationship that we enjoy with Director Jerry A. Walker and the DEA laboratory.”

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Cutline: Students in Dr. Smith’s instrumental analysis class perform initial trials with the university’s new mass spectrometer, implementing methods they obtained from research articles.

HPU Biomedical Science Advisory Board holds inaugural meeting

Biomedical Science Advisory Board May 2017BROWNWOOD – May 17, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s first Biomedical Science Advisory Board meeting was held on May 5 in the university’s Mabee University Center.

The Biomedical Science Advisory Board consists of local health professionals who represent specific areas of practice. They will engage with HPU’s biomedical science scholars in various ways including hosting student medical internships and speaking about their fields in the university’s Health Professions Seminar course.

At this first meeting, board members discussed aspects of their professions that students need to learn beyond academic training. The board also helped inform plans for a health care seminar series that HPU’s Biomedical Science Program will offer beginning this fall for both the university and the community.

Board members for the 2017-2018 academic year are Dr. Rance Boren, medicine/neurology; Dr. Kevin Clardy, dentistry; Michael Cloy, physician assistant; Dr. Randy Ethridge, optometry; Jennifer Evans, physician assistant; Dr. Joshua Hawver, pharmacy; Dr. Gayland Gowdy, veterinary medicine; Dr. Peter Ness, medicine/ophthalmology; Shannon Sims, physical therapy; Dr. Amy Tindol, medicine/internal medicine; Dr. Jeff Windham, veterinary medicine; and Dr. Lorin Wolf, chiropractic.

“We are honored to have each of these board members support our program’s efforts in developing well-educated, compassionate, integrity-minded medical professionals,” said Dr. Kristen Hutchins, program director and associate professor of biology.

HPU’s new four-year Biomedical Science Program is for students pursuing careers in medicine, dentistry, optometry, physical therapy, biomedical engineering, biomedical research and other human-health fields. The rigorous program, set within HPU’s distinctive Christian liberal arts framework, exceeds requirements for most health professions programs. In addition to completing a robust slate of academic coursework, scholars in the program will experience medical internships, skills clinics, mock interviews, mentorship with local health professionals and program visits to various professional schools in Texas.

For more information, contact Dr. Hutchins at 325-649-8158 or khutchins@hputx.edu.

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Cutline: Dr. Kristen Hutchins leads the discussion during the HPU Biomedical Science Advisory Board’s inaugural meeting on May 5.

Recent HPU graduate accepted into forensic science graduate program

Kierstyn Evans for webBROWNWOOD – May 16, 2017 – Among the Howard Payne University seniors who crossed the stage during HPU’s recent Commencement ceremony was Kierstyn Evans of Anson. Evans, who earned a Bachelor of Science degree in forensic science, has been accepted into the forensic science graduate program at Texas Tech University.

Evans is a lifelong fan of Texas Tech and originally planned to earn her undergraduate degree there as well.

“Tech was my dream school,” she said. “I wasn’t planning on going anywhere else.”

Upon learning that the university did not offer an undergraduate forensic science major, however, she was left with a big choice.

“I was either going to stick with forensic science and go to a different school or change my major to go to my dream school,” she said.

Despite being accepted to Texas Tech during her senior year of high school, she decided to pursue an undergraduate degree in forensic science. She took to the Internet to research her options.

Around that same time, she learned about HPU through her high school band director and associate band director, both of whom are alumni. When HPU came up in her searches for undergraduate forensic science programs in Texas, she decided to visit campus.

“I remember that my tour guide talked about how close everyone is on campus,” Evans said. “The more I looked into Howard Payne, the more I liked it.”

The forensic science offering at HPU is a relatively unique program, said Dr. Derek Smith, associate professor of physical science and director of the chemistry program.

“Most universities that offer training in forensic science include it as an emphasis under criminal justice, rather than as a standalone major,” he said.

A forensic science major combined with HPU’s friendly campus atmosphere made the university an obvious choice for Evans. She served as a Jacket Ambassador for HPU’s Office of Admission as a student, leading her own university tours.

“I told prospective students that they will have professors who truly care about them,” she said. “There was a professor I had my freshman year who still knew my major and remembered things we talked about years later. I don’t think you can get that from other universities.”

Though it wasn’t what she originally planned, Evans is happy with her decision to come to HPU first.

“I love Howard Payne,” she said. “Especially being from a small town, I feel like I would have gotten lost in the crowd at Tech. I like the small classes at HPU.”

Dr. Smith said Evans is the first student whose progress he has witnessed from beginning to end.

“She enrolled in general chemistry I with me and concluded in instrumental analysis this spring,” he said. “Few students have been willing to enroll in the full complement of chemistry courses that the forensic science degree requires, but Kierstyn persevered. I am proud of her accomplishment and look forward to news of her continued success.”

Another big factor in Evans’ decision to come to HPU was the Central Texas Scholarship which awards substantial financial assistance to graduates from high schools in Jones County and other counties in the Central Texas area. For more information about this and other financial aid opportunities, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at enroll@hputx.edu.

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Cutline: Kierstyn Evans, a recent HPU graduate, has been accepted into the forensic science graduate program at Texas Tech University.

HPU student and faculty member present at Texas Academy of Science meeting

Justin HughesBROWNWOOD – April 28, 2017 – A student representative and a faculty member from Howard Payne University’s School of Science and Mathematics presented recently at the 2017 Texas Academy of Science meeting at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton.

Justin Hughes, freshman engineering science major from Llano, presented preliminary results on his work into chemical thermodynamics with a presentation titled “Heats of Combustion of Natural and Artificial Sweeteners.”

Dr. Derek L. Smith, associate professor of physical science and head of the chemistry program, sponsored the trip to the meeting and provided academic guidance to Hughes.

“Mr. Hughes performed superlatively and represented us well despite the fact that he has completed only one semester in chemistry,” said Dr. Smith. “Other faculty members in attendance at the session and his university peers were equally impressed with his very confident presentation.”

Dr Derek Smith presentingAt the same meeting Dr. Smith delivered a presentation titled “Public-Private Partnerships in Science Education” to a group concerned with science education. The presentation was based on Dr. Smith’s recent experience with securing funding for student research projects from private business owners in the region.

“I enjoy very good relationships with some successful small-business owners, and I impressed upon them the benefit of contributing to science education by sponsoring my students’ research,” said Dr. Smith. “The educators and administrators in attendance were particularly receptive to the novelty of framing the proposal phase of the projects as a pitch to investors, as in the popular television program ‘Shark Tank.’”

Dr. Smith plans to expand this initiative by contacting other local small businesses and even corporations that may be willing to invest into academic research programs.

For more information, contact HPU’s School of Science and Mathematics at 325-649-8400.

Applications are still being accepted for the fall 2017 semester at Howard Payne University. HPU offers a variety of financial aid options. For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at enroll@hputx.edu.

Cutline: Justin Hughes (top) and Dr. Derek Smith present at the 2017 Texas Academy of Science meeting at University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton.