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You might wonder why Professor Glenn Oren keeps a colorful plastic rooster on his desk. After all, he teaches physics, statistics, research methodologies, and mathematics to Mercy students, not ornithology. But it’s clear to him. And he hopes it’s clear to his students. “This rooster means you need to enjoy your life and make the best of it,” Oren says. “You might think physics and statistics are the most boring things you’ve ever encountered. But if you dig deep enough, you’ll find that’s not true. Have curiosity about everyone and everything around you. That’s the secret of life.” Oren says he’s never met anybody who doesn’t fascinate him, which sounds surprising for a man who got his Ph.D. in Wood Science from Iowa State University (ISU). After all, he spent years studying materials, not people. And he got his professional start as a bench scientist at Ames Laboratory, a government-owned research facility of the U.S. Department of Energy operated by ISU. So how did Oren transition into a profession where he related directly with people? After 15 years or so as a bench scientist, he says, he got bored with research and began interviewing for university teaching positions. One day he received a call from Mercy College; the administration wanted Oren’s help in setting up a chemistry lab to facilitate classes. Oren agreed to help. Eventually the Academic Dean said, “There’s a slight problem. We don’t have

8 | Mercy College of Health Sciences 8 | Mercy College of Health Sciences

anyone to teach the class. Can you help?” Again Oren said “yes,” and that’s when it began to get “kind of cool,” he says. He became an adjunct professor in June 2003—and realized something immediately about that first class of students. “They didn’t have a good handle on science,” he says. “But they were willing to invest their lives in caring for the sick and dying. How awesome is that? I had spent my life as a research scientist, which is a very self-serving kind of existence. Then I ran into these students with tremendous heart and compassion for other people. They had a calling. And I got to work with them.” Since then, Oren has done his best to instill an awe of science in his students, and an appreciation for what it can do to help them with their calling. Maybe that’s why he was named Adjunct Faulty of the Year 2003-2004—because of his passion for his job. He became a full-time faculty member in August 2004. “To this day, if I walk down the hospital hallway and see former or current students, I get goose bumps,” Oren says. “I get to help patients vicariously through my students.” Now that he’s getting closer to retirement, Oren is dreaming about fly-fishing. “One day they’re going to find me face down, lightly gripping a rod,” he says. “There’s lots of physics involved with fly fishing. It encompasses science and art in a most magnificent form.” He also takes time to notice all the talented people walking the halls of the College. “Mercy has a tremendous future,” he says. “It’s a terrific institution that prepares people for the noblest profession there is.”

Vital People 2011  

Mercy College of Health Sciences Magazine

Vital People 2011  

Mercy College of Health Sciences Magazine

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