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Biology and Environmental Science News

The annual lecture held in memory of Department Chair and Professor of Mathematics, Susan Palmer Slattery, was held last Thursday, September 18, 2014. Dr. Slattery was an inspiration to both students and faculty and will always be remembered by the Stevenson Community.

This year’s lecture featured Arlene G. Weiner, an Environmental Engineer for the Baltimore District of the US Army Corps of Engineers. Ms. Weiner utilized her 30 years of experience as an environmental professional to speak on building a career in Applied Mathematics. Following the lecture, Applied Mathematics major Anna Foote was named the 2014 Slattery Scholar. She was presented the award by Ms. Thea Zimmerman, Dr. Susan Slattery’s sister. Congratulations to Anna and warm wishes to the Slattery family!

Kendel Quirk, a freshman Biology major, moved back to the United States to attend Stevenson University after living for 10 years in Budapest, Hungary. She knew she wanted to attend a University that was similar to her high school, the Greater Grace International School, where each class has no more than 16 students and all of the teachers really cared about individual students.

After hearing about Stevenson University from family and friends, she knew that she would be comfortable here. Once she visited campus, she realized this was the school she wanted to attend.  Kendel has enjoyed growing up in an international environment and will never forget the people she has met and the friends she has made. Welcome to the Stevenson family Kendel!

“Attending an international school since the third grade and being one of the few Americans in the school has definitely affected me. Not only have I made best friends who are from all around the world, but I also was able to learn about different cultures and their perspectives on many different things. Even spending the night at a friend's house taught me something new about a culture different than my own. This is something that I will always be grateful for, and although it was difficult to be away from home at times, I wouldn't change anything from these past ten years. I now consider Budapest as my home.” – Kendel Quirk

Melissa Battis, the Biology Lab manager for the School of the Sciences, gave a presentation on lab biosafety to biotechnology majors in the BT 205: Biosafety and Quality Assurance class last week. Ms. Battis graduated from Stevenson University in 2011, and went on to secure a position here at Stevenson managing lab safety and training.

The BT 205 course introduces safety and quality control issues related to product development in the biotechnology industry including safety, storage and disposal of hazardous materials, development and implementation of quality assurance programs, and issues related to local, state, and federal regulations.

Her presentation helped introduce these concepts to students and reinforce the importance of lab biosafety in the field of Biotechnology. Thank you for helping to keep Stevenson students safe in the lab Melissa Battis!

The Biology Department was thrilled to see one of our alums, Regina Portnoy (BIO, '04), featured on the back inside cover of the latest Ventures magazine! An excerpt from the article is below, and the whole article can be read at -

"Villa Julie was my No. 1 choice for an undergraduate school because of its excellent biology program, small classes, and individual attention to the students."

After graduating, Portnoy moved back to San Francisco to work for a biopharmaceutical company. After nearly eight years in the industry, she is currently serving as Senior Clinical Research Associate working on a clinical trial for ovarian cancer indications. In addition to other oncology trials, she has also helped initiate and set-up monitoring activities in cardiovascular transplant trials in France, the United Kingdom, and Germany.

“The most rewarding aspect of my job is seeing the clinical-trial patients go on with a better quality of life,” Portnoy says. Along with working full-time, she is also earning a Master of Science degree in Regulatory Affairs.

Mark Moody, a freshman Environmental Science major, found a Halifax spear point while vacationing in Nags Head, North Carolina. He vacations there each year with his family and stayed in the midst of Hurricane Arthur, a category 2 storm with sustained 100 mph winds. While combing the beach for shells after the storm, Mark spotted a rock out of the corner of his eye that looked different from most of the other rocks on the beach.

Upon closer examination, he realized what he had found and took it to a local with extensive knowledge about the Native Americans that live in the coastal regions of North Carolina. Mark was told that he had found a Halifax spear point that dated back some 3,000-6,000 years and that they are very rare, usually only surfacing after big storms like Hurricane Arthur. He looks forward to the trips he makes down there each year, and thinks that that the possibility of finding more spear points is thrilling. Very cool Mark!

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