News Archives: School of Science and Mathematics

HPU faculty member and alumnus jointly conduct forensic science workshop

BROWNWOOD – August 6, 2018 – Dr. Derek L. Smith, associate professor of chemistry at Howard Payne University, and Frank Ritter, 2017 HPU graduate and middle school science teacher in Early ISD, jointly conducted a forensic science workshop at the 2018 STEAM conference this summer at the Region 15 Education Service Center in San Angelo. The workshjoint seminarop was titled “Biological Techniques in Forensic Science.”

“These workshops are intended to provide public school teachers academic enrichment and equip them with supplemental exercises and activities that they may in turn share with their students,” said Dr. Smith. “Every science department is limited in some way, but we do enjoy some resources that are not common in the public school laboratory and whose application will enhance the familiarity of the secondary school teacher.”

The conference is held every summer, and HPU has been represented the past three years through the participation of Dr. Pamela Bryant, dean of HPU’s School of Science and Mathematics, or Dr. Smith. Ritter benefitted doubly in that he received continuing education credit for both conducting and attending the seminar.

“Dr. Smith and I worked closely during two of my three years in HPU’s physical science department,” Ritter said. “I am grateful for the opportunity to continue that collaboration on a peer level. I look forward to next year.”

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Cutline: Dr. Derek Smith, HPU associate professor of chemistry (right), and Frank Ritter, HPU alumnus and Early ISD middle school science teacher, demonstrate comparison of simulated RFLP DNA electrophoresis blots. Blanket High School science teacher Jessica Dudley is pictured in the foreground.

HPU’s Dr. Derek Smith leads forensic science workshop for local elementary students

Dr. Derek Smith Forensic Science WorkshopBROWNWOOD – May 23, 2018 – During the spring 2018 semester, Howard Payne University’s Dr. Derek L. Smith, associate professor of chemistry, conducted a forensic science workshop for 35 local elementary students at the Texas 4-H Conference Center at Lake Brownwood.

The workshop was sponsored by the Andy Roddick Foundation, a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide educational enrichment for low-income students.

The young investigators undertook blood droplet height-angle analysis as well as fingerprint collection and development with enhancement powders.

Dr. Smith praised the purpose of the Andy Roddick Foundation.

“These workshops provide an excellent opportunity for children of any social status –
disadvantaged or not – to explore current fields of study and form a familiarity that can lead to future exploration and professional opportunities,” he said.

In past years, Dr. Pam Bryant, dean of HPU’s School of Science and Mathematics, has presented workshops on astronomy and star viewing to similar groups with equal success.

“These opportunities are important for the participants and our faculty alike, as well as the larger community,” Dr. Bryant commented. “We are honored that education- and enrichment-based groups would invite us to participate.”

Drs. Smith and Bryant agree that the School of Science and Mathematics looks forward to leading another science-based, hands-on workshop next year and express thanks to the funding organizations and facilitators for their sponsorship.

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Cutline: HPU’s Dr. Derek Smith conducts a forensic science workshop for 35 local elementary students.

HPU students give presentation at Texas Academy of Science meeting

Cooper presentingBROWNWOOD – May 16, 2018 – Two Howard Payne University chemistry majors recently presented at the 2018 Texas Academy of Science meeting at Midland College. Abraham Cooper, senior biochemistry and piano performance major from Early, and Richard Treviso III, junior chemistry major from Oak Cliff, each presented on different aspects of implementing cactus fiber and mucilage for water purification.

Faculty advisors Dr. Derek L. Smith, associate professor of chemistry, and Dr. Dennis Gibson, assistant professor of physical sciences, accompanied the students to the conference and, under their guidance, the students explored different aspects of the potential benefits of the abundant natural material that has been demonstrated to be effective at removing heavy metals from contaminated waters.

Treviso presentingTreviso confirmed that the gelling extract also reduces calcium and magnesium concentrations.

“Even if waters are not impacted by heavy metals, such as arsenic, the quality can be impaired by excessive hardness that is treatable with this method,” he said.

Cooper focused his presentation on the potential biocidal effects of the cactus fibers. To date, the natural fibers have only been applied to inorganic contaminants, but biological impurities may also be present.

“The results are preliminary but indicate that the water treated with fibers impedes the development of bacterial colonies on culture plates,” he said.

Dr. Smith said that, to his knowledge, this is the first application of this proven treatment method to this class of contaminant.

“This could be significant for communities where water sources are bacterial-laden rather than mineral-laden,” he said.

The trip was facilitated by faculty development funds.

“Those in the research group are greatly appreciative for the sponsorship that allows students to participate in technical conferences,” said Dr. Smith.

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Cutlines: HPU senior Abraham Cooper of Early presents at the 2018 Texas Academy of Science meeting at Midland College.

Richard Treviso III, HPU junior from Oak Cliff, speaks to attendees of the 2018 Texas Academy of Science meeting.

HPU receives grant from James A. “Buddy” Davidson Charitable Foundation

HPU Winebrenner Hall photoBROWNWOOD – April 13, 2018 – Howard Payne University has received a grant of $207,000 from the James A. “Buddy” Davidson Charitable Foundation of Midland. The funds are designated for HPU’s Biomedical Science Program, with $150,000 to be used for an endowed scholarship in Mr. Davidson’s name and the remaining $57,000 to be used for new furnishings and fixtures in Lecture Hall 123 of HPU’s Winebrenner Memorial Hall of Science.

HPU launched its Biomedical Science Program in January 2017. The program is designed for students pursuing fields such as medicine, dentistry, optometry, physician assistant, physical therapy, biomedical engineering and biomedical research.

Dr. Kristen Hutchins, associate professor of biology, serves as director of the Biomedical Science Program.

“In addition to the generous scholarship fund for biomedical science students, we are also looking forward to updating the look and function of one of our lecture halls in Winebrenner,” she said. “This space is utilized by our Biomedical Science Program as well as other campus departments year-round. Most of the current furnishings and fixtures are original to when the room was completed, making them right at 55 years old.”

Improvements will include replacing the stadium-style seating with large tabletop work spaces which will allow for greater levels of collaboration; replacing the existing tile flooring with carpet to reduce noise and create a warmer classroom setting; and adding a new mobile podium/desk which will provide faculty members and presenters with more flexibility and complement the updated furnishings.

HPU has received significant support from the James A. “Buddy” Davidson Charitable Foundation in the past. The foundation has given approximately $766,000 to HPU for the James A. “Buddy” Davidson Chair of Christian Studies and an additional $58,000 for computers, furnishings and lab supplies for the university’s School of Nursing.

“We’re extremely thankful for the foundation’s ongoing support of HPU and our students,” said Karina Daniel, the university’s director of corporate, community and foundation relations. “The scholarship funds and much-needed facility updates will not only benefit students and faculty within the Biomedical Science Program, but offer immeasurable encouragement to the university’s efforts to provide students with high-quality facilities that match our high-quality academic programs.”

Applications are being accepted for the fall 2018 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.

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Cutline: HPU has received a grant of $207,000 from the James A. “Buddy” Davidson Charitable Foundation of Midland. The funds are designated for the university’s Biomedical Science Program. Photo of HPU’s Winebrenner Memorial Hall of Science by Vivian Nguyen, HPU senior.

Community tours HPU’s newly remodeled science labs

Winebrenner labWinebrenner reception

 

 

 

 

 

BROWNWOOD – December 8, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s School of Science and Mathematics hosted an Open House last week to celebrate the newly remodeled science labs in HPU’s Winebrenner Memorial Hall of Science.

The reception took place in rooms 210, 211 and 212 of the facility, each of which have been remodeled for use by HPU students.

Winebrenner Hall, dedicated in 1962, contains classrooms, labs and offices for the School of Science and Mathematics. The facility is named for Dr. O.E. Winebrenner, former science department head, who served at HPU for more than 40 years.

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

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Cutline: One of HPU’s newly remodeled science labs is shown just prior to the Open House event.

A steady stream of HPU personnel, students and community members attended the come-and-go event.

HPU forensic science students attend professional conference

Boyer comparison microscope for webBROWNWOOD – December 1, 2017 – Howard Payne University forensic science students recently attended the 2017 meeting of the Southwestern Association of Forensic Scientists held at the Fort Worth Stockyards.

Attending the conference were Mackinzey Boyer, freshman forensic science and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Granbury, and Alexa South, freshman forensic science/criminal justice major from Clyde. The students were accompanied by Dr. Derek Smith, associate professor of physical science.

At the three-and-a-half-day conference, Boyer and South, both aspiring student members of the Southwestern Association of Forensic Scientists, had the opportunity to meet practicing laboratory scientists, veterans in the field and academic researchers.

Conference attendees could choose from seminars on the latest trends in synthetic drug manufacture, trafficking, detection and analysis; DNA analysis; the toxicology of drugs; and digital forensic investigation.

Boyer and South with Gill for web“These conferences afford our students the opportunity to receive in-depth exposure to and training in subject matter that is addressed topically in forensic science courses,” said Dr. Smith. “The trainees can meet professionals in the fields in which they may eventually research and practice.”

The trip was sponsored by HPU’s School of Science and Mathematics as well as the HPU Faculty Development Committee. Boyer and South each commented on how the experience provided perspective on some of the disciplines included under the heading of forensic science.

In a post-conference review, Boyer noted how fingerprints contain much more information than merely ridge detail.

“Fingerprints hold substantial pieces of evidence for various other types of cases,” she said.

South learned more about fentanyl, the new greatest threat among illicit drugs.

“Fentanyl is close to one hundred times deadlier than heroin,” she said, “but heroin and fentanyl look almost identical.”

Dr. Smith said both students appreciated the opportunity to meet and dialog with experts in these fields.

“They also enjoyed the opportunity to see some of the cutting-edge instrumentation that is being developed to aid the modern scientist-investigator,” he said.

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Cutlines: HPU freshman Mackinzey Boyer is introduced to comparison microscopy of ballistics fragments at the Southwestern Association of Forensic Scientists trade show.

HPU students Mackinzey Boyer and Alexa South are called upon by Bob Gill, Esq., expert instructor in digital forensic analysis, at a meeting of the Southwestern Association of Forensic Scientists.

HPU to host Open House for newly remodeled science labs

BROWNWOOD – November 28, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s School of Science and Mathematics will host an Open House this Thursday, November 30, to celebrate the newly remodeled science labs in HPU’s Winebrenner Memorial Hall of Science. The come-and-go event will take place from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. in rooms 210, 211 and 212 of the facility, located at 1108 Center Avenue. The community is invited to attend and refreshments will be provided.

“We’re excited to unveil to the community three beautifully remodeled science labs,” said Dr. Pamela Bryant, professor of chemistry and dean of the School of Science and Mathematics. “We’re thrilled to be able to invest in our current and future students, including the students in our biomedical sciences program, with this newly updated learning environment.”

Winebrenner Hall, dedicated in 1962, contains classrooms, labs and offices for the School of Science and Mathematics. The facility is named for Dr. O.E. Winebrenner, former science department head, who served at HPU for more than 40 years.

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

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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.