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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

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.