Issuu on Google+

Promoting Workforce Development through the

Sciences

501 Crescent Street • New Haven, Connecticut www.SouthernCT.edu

A FOCUS OF OUR MISSION AT SOUTHERN CONNECTICUT STATE UNIVERSITY is to provide students with the knowledge and skills to be key contributors in areas of workforce demand in our state. One such growth areas is the STEM disciplines — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — and in recent times, Southern has seen impressive programmatic and enrollment growth in these fields. Recently, for example, the National Science Foundation announced the extension of a multi-million dollar grant supporting an innovative materials science partnership between Southern and Yale University. Southern was also one of just 12 colleges or universities to be chosen to participate in a national genome project as part of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Science Education program. And, Southern is the home for the state’s first-ever center dedicated to the cutting-edge field of nanotechnology. ese and other developments highlighted in the pages of this booklet underscore Southern’s commitment to be recognized as a center of excellence in the STEM disciplines through our teaching and research. Not only are we dedicated to providing our students with abundant learning opportunities that align with the state’s workforce needs, we are also seeking to become a regional leader for both cultivating interest and study in the sciences and providing support and mentoring for women and under-represented groups. ese are exciting times for the sciences at Southern. e pending construction of a new, state-of –the-art Academic and Laboratory Science building, now in the design phase, will enhance the ongoing expansion of our science programs and our capacity to educate more students in the STEM fields. I thank our outstanding faculty, our leaders in government and higher education and our friends in the community for supporting these and all our efforts to support workforce development in Connecticut.

R

ESPONDING TO STATE AND NATIONAL CONCERNS about declining student numbers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math – and a resulting lack of expertise in these areas – Southern Connecticut State University is playing a leading role in creating new opportunities for study and potential employment in the STEM disciplines. In the past five years, enrollment in STEM courses at Southern has increased by 17.6 percent: from 785 students in spring 2007 to 919 in spring 2011. Of the 919 students, 428 (47 percent) are women and 255 (28 percent) are minorities. e number of science majors has grown by 24 percent since 2005 (from 446 to 555), part of a 43 percent percent increase across the four universities of the Connecticut State University System. e number of students majoring in scientific academic disciplines including biochemistry, bimolecular sciences, meteorology, chemistry, earth and planetary sciences, environmental science, physics and related fields increased from 1,373 in 2005-06 to 1,962 in 201011 systemwide. For example, at Southern the number of physics majors has nearly doubled in the last four years, and now stands at almost 100???? (see chart), well above the national average per faculty member, while current graduation rates are in the

Undergrad

Grad

Total

Biology

300

26

326

Chemistry

59

7

66

Computer Science

176

22

198

Earth Science

53

Mathematics

158

Physics

61

Science Education

53 16

174 61

40

40

In addition, Biology, Chemistry and Physics support the large pre-nursing program at SCSU through pre-requisite course offerings.

top 15 percent nationally. Southern’s Physics Department has three ongoing major initiatives that enhance the university’s reputation as a regional leader in the STEM disciplines and are tailored to meet the needs of Connecticut’s high-tech industry: an engineering concentration, a proposed new interdisciplinary M.S. program in applied Physics and a 12-credit nanotechnology certificate program.

SOUTHERN OFFERS THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS IN MATH AND SCIENCE • • • • •

Sincerely yours,

Dr. Stanley F. Battle Interim President

ENROLLMENT IN SPECIFIC STEM PROGRAMS

• • •

• • •

Biology B.A., B.S., M.S. Biology B.S. with secondary certification Chemistry B.A., B.S., M.S. Chemistry B.S. with secondary certification Computer Science B.S. General Concentration, Computer Information Systems Concentration Computer Science M.S. Earth Science B.A. Earth Science B.S. Environmental Concentration, General Concentration, Geology Concentration Mathematics B.A., B.S. Mathematics B.S. with certification Mathematical Education M.S.

• Physics B.A. • Physics B.S. Engineering Concentration, General Concentration • Applied Physics M.S. (approved by the CSU BOT and submitted to the Department of Higher Education in Spring 2011) • Environmental Education M.S. • Science Education M.S. • Sixth Year Certificate Program Institute for Science Instruction and Study

Discover our diverse and dynamic university.

A Leading Partner in Materials Science

S

OUTHERN RECENTLY RECEIVED ITS LARGESTEVER RESEARCH GRANT — $1,763,000 — as part of a partnership with Yale University that promises to expand cutting-edge scientific research and bolster educational opportunities for students and faculty in the New Haven Public Schools. e National Science Foundation has allocated a six-year, $13 million grant to enhance the universities’ joint materials science center, known as the Center for Research on Interface Structures and Phenomena (CRISP). Materials science is a discipline that includes the creation of technologically-advanced items, ranging from computer chips to biological implants. e center enables students to create and examine new materials at the atomic level. It also helps to foster interdisciplinary research by faculty and students at both institutions in fields such as physics, chemistry and engineering. “is grant is extremely important as it supports both innovative research and teacher development at a crucial time for Southern and the state of Connecticut,” says SCSU Physics Department Chair Christine Broadbridge, who is the center’s director of education. “Math and science have taken on an increasing importance for our state and nation’s future.” Broadbridge says one of the major benefits to the grant is the ability to work even more closely with the New Haven School District to encourage students to consider the math and science fields. Workshops offered by CRISP have sought to improve the professional development of local science teachers during the last six years.

2

3

A Center for Nanotechnology

W

ITH THE HELP OF A $750,000 GRANT from the U.S. Department of Energy, Southern and the Connecticut State University System are poised to be at the forefront of a new frontier in science with the creation of Connecticut’s first-ever research center devoted solely to nanotechnology. Based at Southern, the new center will also be the fulcrum of a new graduate certificate program in nanotechnology set to begin at the four CSUS universities in the fall of 2012. e 12-credit graduate certificate program will offer courses such as material characterization, physics and chemistry of nanoscale materials, fabrication techniques, nanoscale applications, microscopy with emphasis on atomic force, transmission and scanning electron techniques, and applications in nanobiology and nanomedicine. e first nanotech graduate course was offered at Southern this summer. e new nanotechnology center will include specialized equipment, including a state-of-the-art scanning electron microscope, which uses electrons to image materials on the atomic scale. Nanotechnology is the study and manipulation of matter on the nanoscale, which ranges from 1 to 100 nanometers. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter. A human hair, for instance, measures about 10,000 nanometers in diameter, while a sheet of paper is about 100,000 nanometers thick. e National Science Foundation estimates that 2 million workers will be needed to support nanotechnology industries worldwide. e science is currently being used to produce new medicines and improved medical imaging tools, more durable building materials for infrastructure, as well as energy-efficient power sources like fuel cells, batteries and solar panels.

Promoting the STEM Disciplines

S

OUTHERN’S CENTER FOR EXCELLENCE IN MATHEMATICS AND SCIENCE (CEMS) is helping to bolster both the quality and quantity of students pursuing careers in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) disciplines, especially students from the Greater New Haven region. e need for a greater number of college graduates with degrees in those fields has been expressed with increasing urgency by education and governmental leaders. In fact, the National Science Board has said that the nation’s global primacy in those fields has fallen significantly in recent years with increasing competition from East Asian nations, such as China. CEMS oversees several initiatives, including the PAcE scholarships (Pathways to Academic Excellence) and the SWIMS (Southern Women in Mathematics and Science) program. SWIMS aims to provide support for women interested in those fields because females have traditionally been underrepresented in math and science. e center has also reached out to local K-12 students in an effort to encourage them to pursue math and science, such as coordinating the National Science Foundation’s 2010 pilot Family Engineering Program. Southern education, math and science students coordinated fun hands-on activities for parents and children that showed them the importance of engineering in everyday life. Among the goals of CEMS is to break down the psychological, cultural and social barriers to pursuing math and science. It provides strong role models, supportive environments and other opportunities.

7

Scholarships for Math/Science Students

T

HE PAcE SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM is a NSF-supported program that provides $600,000 in scholarship funds for students who wish to major in science or mathematics, and have academic promise and financial need. PAcE scholarships pay for any allowable educational expense up to $10,000 per year for four years of study at Southern Connecticut State University. For the 2011-2012 academic year, 12 students were accepted into the program. Five of the 12 (42 percent) accepted students are from underrepresented groups drawn from New Haven (4) and Bridgeport (1) and four of the 12 (33 percent) students are women. e students’ success will be enhanced through early involvement in faculty-mentored research and internships, and through the formation of cohort groups and learning communities. Students will also take part in a service learning course that will take them back into the primary and secondary schools they attended to serve as mentors for the next generation of scholars. PAcE is one of a number of programs developed under the umbrella of Southern’s Center for Excellence in Mathematics and the Sciences, which has the overarching goal of increasing the number, quality and diversity of students pursuing careers in these fields. e center seeks to create a forum for interdisciplinary math/science collaboration in teaching and research at Southern. It also works to enhance the capacity of K-12 schools in Greater New Haven to teach math and science effectively to all students.

Health and Human Services

Examining the Health of Long Island Sound

S

OUTHERN’S CENTRAL LOCATION along the heavily urbanized Connecticut coastline in close proximity to a variety of diverse natural habitats provides excellent opportunities for research and education focused on environmental preservation. Southern’s Center for Coastal and Marine Studies (CCMS) draws on the advantages of its location to focus on faculty-directed student research designed to address environmental issues of local and regional importance. For example, faculty and students have sampled and determined heavy metal content in sediments from Norwalk, Bridgeport, New Haven, Branford and New London harbors. Supported by a federal grant, studies have also been made of the health of the Connecticut oyster population in Long Island Sound and the resulting effects on the state’s oyster industry. e research and educational programs of Southern's CCMS have received a major boost through more than $400,000 in support from the Werth Family Foundation, which provides funding targeted toward student environmental research. e foundation support has enabled the center to pay a stipend to students over the summer, allowing them to further their own research or career goals. e Werth gi also funds boats, chemicals and other supplies and the center has been able to purchase state-of-the-art equipment to help the students with their research Pamela Werth, who established the foundation with her husband Peter, says the center’s research has the potential to be “a valuable resource for developing and improving Long Island Sound.”

10

11

Genomics on a National Scale

N

EARLY TWO DOZEN FRESHMEN in Southern’s Honors College are joining hundreds of undergraduate students throughout the country this fall in an innovative genomics research program created by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). Southern was among 12 colleges and universities — and the first in Connecticut – chosen for full membership in the Science Education Alliance, a national network of scientists and educators committed to the improvement of undergraduate science education in the United States. In 2008, the alliance created the National Genomics Research Initiative, a program in which college students participate in cutting-edge research techniques, such as DNA analysis. A dozen colleges and universities are picked each year for full participation in the program. It enables students to engage in scientific discovery, a vital component in sparking scientific curiosity. During the two-semester genomics course, the Southern students will isolate unique bacterial viruses, or phage, and decode their genomes. ey will later purify the phage and extract its DNA, which will then be sent to the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico to be sequenced. Students will later receive files about their phage’s DNA sequence and use bioinformatics tools to analyze and annotate the genomes from their phage. “We are thrilled to become part of a national network of science educators who seek to improve student learning and generate excitement about authentic scientific discovery,” says Nick Edgington, associate professor of biology.

12

13

A New Home for Science

S

OUTHERN CONNECTICUT STATE UNIVERSITY’S ongoing expansion of its science programs will be greatly enhanced with the construction of a new, 98,332square-foot academic and laboratory science building. Currently in the design phase with Centerbrook Architects, the new building would be “L” shaped to close a “science enclave” in concert with the pre-existing science building, Jennings Hall. Embracing innovative sustainable design, it will predominantly house teaching and research laboratories for nanotechnology, physics and optics, the earth sciences, the environmental sciences, cancer research, astronomy, biology and chemistry. e building’s two wings will be interconnected at all floors by a meandering “village street,” windowed along its southern exposure that faces the newly formed science enclave. Along this path, aquaria, enlarged mock nano-tubes, optics displays, rock formations, biological specimens and astrological videos will be interspersed among sunfilled lounges, all to encourage interaction among different scientific disciplines. Pitched roofs will shelter two attics full of industrial fans exhausting 83 fume hoods. ey have been designed to accept photovoltaic solar collectors on their south-oriented slopes. A portion of the roofs has been le flat to accommodate six experimental, Dobsonian astronomical telescopes that will exit a storage garage located under the pitched roof and be wheeled into formation for experiments throughout the year.

Workforce Impact e following is an overview of the various scientific fields at Southern and their influence on graduate studies and employment in the sciences.

Chemistry THE CHEMISTRY PROGRAM AT SOUTHERN is accredited by the American Chemical Society (ACS). Both undergraduate and graduate students find employment with many Connecticut companies including McDermid, US Surgical, Unilever, Quest Diagnostics, Arch Chemical Connecticut Agriculture Center, Perkin Elmer, Analytical Consulting Technology Inc., Smiths Detection, Bristol-Meyers Squibb and Boehringer Ingelheim. Students who pursue graduate study attend UConn (chemistry, materials science, pharmacy), Brandeis (veterinary), Oxford University, UK (chemistry) and McGill University (chemistry).

Computer Science SOUTHERN’S COMPUTER SCIENCE PROGRAM is accredited by ABET (formerly the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology). Both undergraduate and graduate students find employment with Connecticut companies including Pharmaceutical Data Services, Source Medical VA Research, Sikorsky, FactSet, Derby School System, Sonalysts, Somerset Capital Group, SCSU OIT, Fairfield University OIT, and Yale ITS. Students who pursue graduate study attend UConn, Fairfield University, Rutgers, Washington University at St. Louis and the University of Delaware. e computer science department also has a strong relationship with a small group of Connecticut companies that provide representation to the Technology Advisory Committee within the department. ese companies are Digital Surgeons, Yale New Haven Hospital, Sikorsky, e Hartford, Travelers, SNP Technologies and Source Medical.

Earth Science THE EARTH SCIENCE DEPARTMENT AT SOUTHERN offers several post-graduate opportunities. Students completing the bachelor of science degree with 7-12 teaching certification normally find jobs as teachers in secondary schools. Students completing bachelors of arts degrees or bachelors of science degrees with concentrations in geology or environmental earth science typically attend graduate school and/or find employment with companies in the geotechnical or environmental service industries. Graduate School opportunities in the earth sciences are somewhat limited in Connecticut. Many earth science graduates attend graduate school in other states and return to employment here aer completion of their graduate degrees. e majority of private geotechnical and environmental service employers in Connecticut are relatively small companies. Entry-level positions typically involve technical fieldwork that involves a strong geoscience background. Some of the firms that have hired earth science graduates in recent years include: Onyx Environmental Inc., Newington; East West Technical Services, New Britain; Clean Harbors, Inc., Milford; Hygenix Inc., Stamford; Veolia Environmental Services, Groton; Environmental Compliance Services, Branford; U.S. Geological Survey, Hartford; Pratt and Whitney, East Hartford; and Northeast Utilities, Berlin.

Mathematics MOST STUDENTS MAJORING IN MATHEMATICS AT SOUTHERN (approximately 80%) are certified to teach mathematics in grades 7-12 and obtain employment in the Connecticut public schools. Both the undergraduate and graduate programs in mathematics education have been approved by the national Council for Teachers of Mathematics. On average, one student per year goes on to graduate school in mathematics. In the past year alone, one graduate received a teaching assistantship at Worchester Polytechnic Institute and entered the Ph.D. program in mathematics. Applied mathematics majors find employment as actuaries, in computer science areas, in statistics, in financial mathematics or in other industries. Examples of employers include PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Danbury Hospital, e Hartford, United Healthcare, Aon Benfield and K2 Advisors.

Physics SOUTHERN PHYSICS GRADUATES find employment in the high-tech industry, such as United Technology, MIT Lincoln Labs, and Perkin-Elmer, employment as researchers/technicians in universities such as Princeton and Yale and with the NASA Exoplanet Science Center (Caltech). In addition, graduates are employed in public schools as physics teachers. Others have been accepted to graduate study in physics or engineering at UConn, University of British Columbia and UMass Dartmouth.

Science Education/ Environmental Studies THE DEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE EDUCATION/ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES does not offer undergraduate degrees, but is responsible for the certification requirements of all science majors and offers two very popular minors. e science certification program certifies between 15 and 30 students a year for employment in public schools as secondary (7-12) science educators. Even with the more challenging job market in recent years, about 85 percent of students find a job upon graduation. e undergraduate minor programs in environmental and marine studies provide students with experience and skills beyond their major — giving them an advantage in finding employment in those related fields. Students who complete these minors have been employed at the state Department of of Energy and Environmental Protection, Norwalk’s Maritime Aquarium, the state Bureau of Agriculture-Marine Fisheries and as environmental technologists. ey have pursued graduate studies at UConn, SUNY/Buffalo, Yale University and various law schools. e M.S. in environmental education prepares students to work in a wide variety of professions and industries. One recent graduate is working at Northeast Utilities as an environmental specialist, another at Mystic Aquarium, and several at the state Department of Environmental Education, while others have taken the entrepreneurial route, developing their own ecotourism and consulting businesses. In the M.S. in science education, the majority of students are completing the graduate work requirements needed to keep their teaching credentials. Most are certified science teachers while some are completing certification and the M.S. at the same time.

Promoting Workforce Development through the

Sciences

501 Crescent Street • New Haven, Connecticut www.SouthernCT.edu


Science Report