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Auburn University College of Sciences and Mathematics Newsletter - December 15, 2016
COSAM Today Top Story

A message from Dean Giordano

We are coming to the end of another very eventful year for COSAM, and I reflect on all that we accomplished in 2016. We were joined by nine very talented new faculty members in August, who will help take the college's instructional and research work to even higher levels. We finished the design of a major addition to the Leach Science Center with ground breaking scheduled for late winter 2017. The “new Leach" will have state-of-the-art instructional and research labs, and allow all of the Department of Physics to be housed under one roof. We are also in the middle of design work for the new Interdisciplinary Science Building that will be the new home for the Department of Geosciences and a portion of the Department of Biological Sciences, providing both departments with modern, new research spaces. With construction of the Interdisciplinary Science Building scheduled for about a year from now, we will also finalize the design of two new classroom buildings to be constructed on the site currently occupied by Parker Hall and Allison Laboratory. These buildings will give us new instructional labs and classrooms so that we can continue to give our students the quality educational experience for which Auburn University is known.

I am also reminded of the generosity shown to COSAM by our alumni and friends. We have made good progress with the Because This Is Auburn campaign and have currently raised $28.5 million toward the $30 million goal for the college. While our goal is within reach, there are still many areas where support is needed so that COSAM can continue on a trajectory of excellence. If you would like to make an end-of-the-year charitable donation, you may do so online by visiting this link.

COSAM’s future depends on what we do today. Thank you for your interest and best wishes for the holidays.

War Eagle!

Nicholas Giordano, Dean

Meet COSAM Graduation Marshal Kristen Beaufait

Kristen Beaufait served as the College of Sciences and Mathematics’ graduation marshal during the fall commencement ceremony on Dec. 10. She graduated with a 4.0 GPA in mathematics, served as a COSAM Leader, was a supplemental instructor for pre-calculus, undergraduate teaching assistant, a Big Event volunteer, a Project Uplift mentor and an IMPACT volunteer. Her summers were spent as an actuarial intern at Alfa, a YMCA camp counselor and a labs teacher at Appleton Learning in Huntsville.

Find out how she accomplished all of this and more by watching her video interview here.

Alumni Spotlight: Katherine Seley-Radtke ’96

Katherine Seley-Radtke is the Presidential Research Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, or UMBC. She earned her doctorate in organic chemistry at Auburn University under the mentorship of Stewart Schneller. Seley-Radtke followed a non-traditional pathway to her career in science, having enrolled in college at the age of 15, but leaving to marry when she was 18. She later returned to academia in her late 30s to pursue her bachelor’s and doctorate degrees while raising a family.

Her research, which is primarily funded by the National Institutes of Health, involves drug discovery and development. She uses a synthetic organic/medicinal chemistry approach to nucleoside and heterocyclic drug discovery and development. Current projects include the investigation of flexible nucleosides/nucleobases "fleximers" for use against SARS, MERS-CoV, Ebola, Zika, Yellow Fever and Dengue, among other viruses. Notably, she and her group were the first researchers to publish a nucleoside inhibiting coronaviruses, with potent activity against both SARS and MERS. Not just focused on viruses, she also has two compounds currently in animal studies against several cancers such as triple negative breast, lung, renal and prostate.

To continue reading, click here.

Faculty Spotlight: Tj Nguyen, assistant director of the Southeastern Center of Robotics Education

Tj Nguyen is the assistant director of the Southeastern Center of Robotics Education, or SCORE, an Auburn University outreach initiative designed to prepare future generations of STEM, or science, technology, engineering and math, professionals by developing and delivering student robotics programs, online robotics resources, and professional development for educators. Nguyen, of Birmingham, received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at Auburn in 2013. He completed his master’s degree in secondary science education in 2016, and is projected to complete a master’s degree in mechanical engineering in 2017. He has worked with the College of Sciences and Mathematics Office of Outreach since 2009, previously as a student program coordinator. 

Tell me about the new SCORE program, and how it is unique to Auburn.

As a member of the College of Sciences and Mathematics Office of Outreach for the past seven years, I spent a lot of my time doing robotics competitions, teacher trainings and summer camps. The demand for robotics education around the state has increased so much that Mary Lou Ewald, director of the College of Sciences and Mathematics Office of Outreach, made the decision to branch off into a brand new department. We want to become the premier robotics STEM education resource for K-12 schools in the Southeast, and eventually, one of the best in the country. We help schools to create their own self-sustaining robotics programs in a variety of ways. We help create and plan curriculum, train teachers on programming and the engineering design process, and host robotics competitions, which is an integral part of our mission. Competitions give students an exciting opportunity to learn the STEM content that will prepare them for their future careers.  

To continue reading, click here.

COSAM faculty, students and alumni attend the sixth annual Masamu Institute and Workshops in Mathematical Sciences in Pretoria, South Africa

Auburn University faculty, students and alumni attended the 2016 Masamu Advanced Study Institute, or MASI, and Workshops in Mathematical Sciences in Pretoria, South Africa, from Nov. 18-27. The program was held in conjunction with the 2016 Southern Africa Mathematical Sciences Association, or SAMSA, Annual Conference at the University of Pretoria.

Auburn University faculty in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, including Overtoun Jenda, professor and assistant provost for special projects and initiatives, Professor Ash Abebe, Professor Emeritus A.J. Meir, and Alumni Professor Peter Johnson, together with the SAMSA Executive Committee, formed the Masamu Program in 2010. The inaugural MASI and Workshops were held in November 2011 in Livingstone, Zambia, with funding from the National Science Foundation.

To continue reading, click here.

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