News Archives: School of Science and Mathematics

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.

HPU’s Balderas awarded conference scholarship from Brownwood Garden Club

Andrea BalderasBROWNWOOD – April 27, 2017 – Howard Payne University junior Andrea Balderas recently received a scholarship from the Brownwood Garden Club to help fund her trip to the Botany 2017 – Botanical Crossroads conference in Fort Worth in June.

“The Brownwood Garden Club is honored to award Miss Andrea Balderas a scholarship to attend the American Botanical Society national convention,” said Gilda Stanford, treasurer. “Our club seeks to provide scholarships to worthy students studying horticulture or botany. Andrea has proven herself in the classroom and the prestigious national conference will allow her to observe, meet and identify with scientists from all over the world.”

Balderas, a biology major from Lytle, works for HPU’s Department of Biological Sciences as herbarium manager. While at the conference in June, she will participate in two field trips sponsored by the American Botanical Society. One field trip will give Balderas the opportunity to look at native ferns of Texas and the other is a tour of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas in Fort Worth.

“I am incredibly blessed and excited that the Garden Club awarded me this scholarship,” said Balderas. “The botany conference is going to be fun and very educational.”

Applications are still being accepted for the fall 2017 semester at Howard Payne University. HPU offers a variety of financial aid options including the Heart of Texas Scholarship, which awards $60,000 to students from Brown County and surrounding counties. 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 junior Andrea Balderas was recently awarded a conference scholarship from the Brownwood Garden Club.

HPU junior Hannah Justice accepted into medical school prep program

Hannah Justice 2017Howard Payne University junior Hannah Justice of Brownwood has been accepted into the Joint Admission Medical Program (JAMP). She is the first HPU student to be accepted into this prestigious medical school prep program.

“I am so excited about this opportunity,” said Justice. “Throughout this journey, God has shown me how faithful He is to provide for my needs by opening doors that I didn’t know existed and by aligning my passions with His will.”

According to the JAMP website, the program was created by the Texas Legislature to support and encourage highly qualified students pursuing medical education. It provides students with educational and clinical learning opportunities to better equip them as they pursue careers in medicine.

Justice heard about JAMP from one of her professors, Dr. Kristen Hutchins, associate professor of biology and JAMP faculty director at HPU.

“I am thrilled that Hannah, who also was recently accepted to HPU’s new Biomedical Science Program, will begin as a JAMP student in the program’s 2017 cohort,” said Dr. Hutchins. “Hannah has actively sought out exposure to the field through medical internships in our community, excelled in her courses and has been involved in campus student organizations all while continuing to walk with the Lord. I couldn’t be more proud of her accomplishments.”

The JAMP application process is identical to a traditional medical school application that is completed the third or fourth year of college. For JAMP, applicants apply between their first and second years of college. Then, applicants who meet the initial qualifications are invited for an interview. After the interview, prospective JAMP students are notified as to whether they have been chosen to be in the program.

“Most pre-med students do not go through an application process like this until later in their time at college, so it was a little nerve-racking at times to go through it as an underclassman,” said Justice. “I wanted my application to be the best it could be. I am thankful that I have such wonderful professors who have mentored me and helped me prepare.”

Justice will participate in an internship this summer at the Texas A&M College of Medicine. She will have the opportunity to participate in clinical and clerkship settings, take medical school classes in basic sciences and prepare to take the MCAT. She will also participate in an internship the following summer. During her next year at HPU, she will apply to all 10 of the medical schools in Texas, a JAMP requirement; take the MCAT; and then interview with each medical school in Texas. Pending her MCAT score, she will be matched to one of the medical schools. Once she graduates from HPU, she will attend medical school for four years and then participate in a residency program for three to five years to become board certified in a specialty of her choosing.

“It’s hard to decide which specialty to go into until you experience clinical observations of each,” said Justice. “I am considering hematology/oncology or infectious disease, and want to serve in the medical mission field.”

Dr. Hutchins shared her final thoughts about Justice and the JAMP program.

“We’re excited to see Hannah progress through JAMP as she prepares at HPU for medical school,” said Dr. Hutchins. “It is an excellent opportunity that we are happy to be part of here at HPU.”

For more information about JAMP, contact Dr. Kristen Hutchins in HPU’s School of Science and Mathematics at 325-649-8158 or khutchins@hputx.edu.

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Cutline: HPU junior Hannah Justice has been accepted into the prestigious Joint Admission Medical Program (JAMP).

HPU hosts Living WELL Aware™ event

Living WELL Aware EventBROWNWOOD – March 10, 2017 – Howard Payne University recently hosted guest speaker Patricia J. Sulak, MD, founder of the Living WELL Aware™ wellness educational program, who led members of the HPU community in a high-energy discussion on holistic wellness.

Dr. Sulak is a researcher, professor, practicing physician, nationally acclaimed speaker and author of “Should I Fire My Doctor? Eleven Essential Elements to Living WELL Aware.” She began her discussion on the HPU campus by leading the audience in a series of light exercises and described her program, which endorses a comprehensive view of health and wellness.

“I’m so happy that Dr. Sulak was able to present her wellness program to the HPU community,” said Amy Kresta, instructor of biology at HPU. “Most people are aware of the benefits of eating well and exercising, but her program was a great opportunity to remind us that there are many other aspects of wellness such as emotional, spiritual, social and even financial wellness. We were very fortunate to have her visit our campus.”

For more information about Dr. Sulak’s program, visit www.livingwellaware.com.

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Cutline: Dr. Patricia J. Sulak, founder of the Living WELL Aware™ wellness educational program, recently led a discussion on the HPU campus. She began her presentation by leading the audience in a series of light exercises.

HPU launches Biomedical Science Program for students pursuing human-health careers

Hannah Justice at microscopeBROWNWOOD – February 20, 2017 – Howard Payne University announces the launch of a four-year Biomedical Science Program 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.

“Many professional schools encourage applicants to take additional undergraduate coursework beyond the required basics to better prepare them for the medical field,” said Dr. Kristen Hutchins, program director and associate professor of biology. “HPU’s Biomedical Science Program provides the experiences and coursework that help develop strong candidates for admission to these schools. We’re excited to connect this program with health professionals in our community and create opportunities for our students to learn as much as possible about their future careers.”

Students must maintain a 3.0 grade-point average and interview with an admissions committee for consideration into the program. Hannah Justice, junior from Brownwood, was the first student admitted into the program.

“I am excited to be a part of this program since it will take a specific focus on students who are preparing to go into the health field,” she said. “I will get to learn key concepts and skill sets that most students wouldn’t get to see until in a graduate program. One of the most important benefits to me is the mentorship that comes from the faculty. They have invested so much time in pushing me to achieve excellence in my studies and outside of the classroom as well.”

To view degree requirements and suggested four-year courses sequences, visit www.hputx.edu/biomedical. For more information, contact Dr. Hutchins at 325-649-8158 or khutchins@hputx.edu.

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Cutline: Hannah Justice of Brownwood is the first student admitted into HPU’s new Biomedical Science Program.

HPU engineering science students serve as judges in robotics contest

BROWNWOOD – November 18, 2016 – Four Howard Payne University engineering science majors recently served as judges for a robotics contest at Early Middle School.

Tami Hull, EMS robotics coach, invited the group to judge the competition among fourth- through eighth-grade students. The participants competed using LEGO Mindstorms robots.

HPU students serving as judges were Justin Christopher Hughes, freshman from Llano; Reid Dillion Longabaugh, sophomore from Early; Paden Joe Seidel, freshman from Proctor; and Clara Octani Tarigan, junior from Brownwood.

“It was fun to watch the young, bright elementary and middle school students take part in such a competition and to see our students involved in the community,” said Dr. Hendra Tarigan, director of the engineering science program at HPU. “I thank Mrs. Hull for introducing our four students to the audience consisting of approximately 50 parents that evening; Dr. Gerry Clarkson, chair of HPU’s Department of Physical Sciences, for connecting HPU with Mrs. Hull; and Dr. Pamela Bryant, dean of HPU’s School of Science and Math, for her full support.”

Based on their performances as judges, the HPU students have been invited by the TCEA (Texas Computer Education Association) Area 15 director to serve as judges at the TCEA Area 15 Robotics Contest in Ballinger on January 21, 2017.

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Cutline: Four HPU engineering science majors recently served as judges for a robotics contest at Early Middle School. Pictured from left to right are Paden Seidel, Justin Hughes, Tami Hull (science teacher and robotics coach at EMS), Keith Taylor (retired robotics coach of Early Elementary School), Reid Longabaugh and Clara Tarigan.

HPU Herbarium to sponsor worldwide WeDigBio event

BROWNWOOD – October 13, 2016 – The Howard Payne University Herbarium will sponsor a Worldwide Engagement for Digitizing Bio Collections event on Saturday, October 22, from 9:00 a.m. to noon in room 113 of the university’s Winebrenner Memorial Hall of Science. The public is invited to participate.

WeDigBio is a four-day event to promote biodiversity that engages participants online and onsite as they digitize natural history collections. Onsite events are hosted by museums, herbaria, universities and other institutions and enable participants to get involved with local collections. Online events engage volunteers from around the globe by facilitating the transcription of specimen information from images hosted by worldwide transcription platforms.

“We are very excited to be a part of this worldwide endeavor,” said Dr. Marilyn Mathis, associate professor of biology. “This event will help make biological collections available to everyone.”

The HPU group will work with Botanical Research Institute of Texas to build a database of Texas flora. Volunteers will transcribe various plant specimen labels at the event. During the transcribing process, volunteers with have the opportunity to win prizes and play various games, such as Habitat Locations, Geo Locator and Timeline Tracker. There will also be short programs for volunteers to view titled “A Visit to Kew Gardens in London, England” with senior Sara Wood, biology major from Orange Grove, and “A Visit to Eastern Australia” with senior Keaton Fletcher, biology major from Perryton.

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

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