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t h e h e r b e r t w. B o y e r S c h o o l o f N at u r a l S c i e n c e s , M at h e m at i c s , a n d C o m p u t i n g


• november 2011

Construction is on schedule at the Sis and Herman Dupré Science Pavilion East Building which will be ready for the spring semester.

a p u b l i c at i o n o f s a i n t v i n c e n t c o l l e g e

INSIDE Dean’s Message New CIS Faculty Member Has Experience in Teaching, Corporate Service and Jazz

Snee-Reinhardt Grant to Support Two New CIS Labs Two CIS Students First to Complete NSF Summer Research Experiences Science Pavilion Campaign Update

The Herbert W. Boyer School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics, and Computing

dean’s MESSAGE

Advisory Council Members Mr. James F. Will, L.H.D., C’60, D’94 Chair, President Emeritus Saint Vincent College Dr. William E. Amatucci, C’86 Section Head, Space Experiments Section/Plasma Physics Division, Code 6755, Naval Research Laboratory Mr. Thomas Anderson Co-owner, Maritom Dr. Herbert W. Boyer, Sc.D., C’58, D’81 Co-Founder, Genentech, Inc. Dr. Angelo DeMezza, C’69 Physician Dr. Umberto A. DeRienzo, C’88 Physician Dr. William A. DiCuccio, C’70 Physician Dr. David A. Dzombak, Ph.D., P.E., DEE, C’79 Walter J. Blenko, Sr. University Professor of Environmental Engineering, Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University Dr. Thomas P. Gessner, C’64 Physician Mr. Donald A. Haile, C’63 Venture Partner/Site General Manager Fidelity Investments Ms. Cheryl A. Harper, C’88 Physics and Mathematics Teacher Greensburg Salem High School Mr. Michael L. Keslar, C’80 Executive Vice President BNY Mellon Mr. Francis A. Marasco, C’64 Former President Eckerd Pharmacy Services Mr. Mark J. Pincus, C’96 sanofi-aventis U.S., Research Investigator Early to Candidate Distinct Project Unit Biochemistry and Cell Biology Tucson Research Center Dr. David M. Siwicki, C’80 Physician Dr. Fred L. Soisson, Jr., P’47, C’51, D’82 Retired Physician Ms. Shelley D. Sturdevant, C’88 Technical Director PPG Coil & Extrusion Coatings PPG Industries, Inc. Mr. Stephen P. Yanek, C’68 Program Manager Applied Physics Laboratory The Johns Hopkins University Dr. Daniel J. Yaniro, C’79 Director, VoIP Program and Project Management, AT&T Laboratories


Dear Friends,


reetings! I am very honored to have been selected to serve as the Dean of the Herbert W. Boyer School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics, and Computing and am excited to be on campus. My family and I are extremely grateful to the many who have extended their kindness and hospitality to us in our transition from Savannah to Latrobe. It is a joy each morning to walk into the Sis and Herman Dupré Science Pavilion to work with our talented faculty and students. This is indeed a remarkable and beautiful facility. In this issue of the Boyer Bulletin we will get a glimpse into the students, faculty, and activities of our Computing and Information Science program. We will meet Dr. Anthony Serapiglia, a new faculty member and learn of his interests and talents. We will also meet two of our outstanding CIS undergraduate students, Shauna Hetrick and Joe Anderson. There is also recent news of a grant award that will allow the program to develop two computing labs with state-of-the-art technology and equipment. The issue also includes an update on the continued renovation of the Sis and Herman Dupré Science Pavilion. Following the fall 2010 opening of the Dupré Pavilion South Building, which encompasses the impressive glass entrance Atrium and other new construction areas, and the completion of Dupré Pavilion North Building (former Biology Building and Life Sciences Research Laboratory) in September of this year, we are now monitoring the final construction details on Dupré Pavilion East Building (former Chemistry Building). The Dupré North Building first floor provides extensive facilities for hands-on student-faculty research including an environmental research lab, ornithology and organismal research lab, physiology/pharmacology research lab, teaching lab for environmental science, collections room, five faculty offices, dedicated senior research lab, visiting research lab, invertebrate lab, animal facility, environmental teaching lab and a greenhouse. On the second floor, there is also a cell and developmental biology/genetics lab, a biochemistry/ microbiology research lab, two teaching labs for biological science and general biology, biological prep room, autoclave, and seven faculty offices. When completed in late December, the Dupré East Building will house five classrooms, a general physics laboratory and a conference room on the first floor and a chemistry lab for non-majors, instrument lab, physical/analytical chemistry research lab with laser bay, five faculty offices and a conference room on the second floor. There are many evenings on my way out of the Sis and Herman Dupré Science Pavilion when I stop in the parking lot, lean back against my car, and take in the calming scenery of the surrounding area. This is a beautiful part of our country. Some have laughed these past few months when I tell them that I grew up in southern Michigan and I feel like I am back in my childhood neighborhood. I explain that it is relative and they will usually nod in understanding when I then mention that I have spent the previous 21 years at Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, Georgia. Since my arrival at Saint Vincent College on July 1 it has been a joy to see so many wildflowers of my childhood and to now experience the changing of the seasons common to this part of the country. One aspect of my childhood that has always been in my heart is a love of science. I still remember many field trips while in grade school to our local planetarium where I learned about the stars, the planets, and the dreams of space exploration. I remember my interview this past January on the Saint Vincent campus and my excitement when Dr. John Smetanka brought me into the Atrium and turned and showed me the planetarium we have here. Excitement continues to grow among current students and faculty as well as prospective students and their parents who visit. I invite you to come and see the spectacular new facilities here at Saint Vincent and share our pride in one of the top educational science facilities for undergraduates in the country.

Dr. Stephen Jodis Dean, Herbert W. Boyer School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics, and Computing


SVC Awarded $50,000 Snee-Reinhardt Grant For Two New CIS Computing Labs by D O N O R L A N D O


nee-Reinhardt Charitable Foundation has awarded a enrolled in the program which has excellent career grant of $50,000 to Saint Vincent College to support potential. the acquisition of hardware and software for two “Computing graduates have an easier time finding jobs new computing labs for the Computing and Information than graduates in some other majors, since demand for Science (CIS) Department in the Herbert W. Boyer School computing graduates continues to be very good,” noted Br. of Natural Sciences, Mathematics, and Computing, David Carlson, O.S.B., chairperson of the CIS Department according to an announcement by Br. Norman W. Hipps, at SVC. “In addition, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics O.S.B., president. predicts that demand for software engineers as well as An Information Technology (IT) Projects Lab will provide computer network, systems and database administrators CIS students with the opportunity to combine research with will increase much faster than the average for all practice in areas such as computer networking, computer occupations over the next several years.” systems and computer security, and a Software Projects “Saint Vincent College graduates have been hired Lab will enable students to work collaboratively on by organizations such as Carnegie Mellon University, software development projects for external organizations UPMC, PNC Bank, Northrop-Grumman, Raytheon, and internal clients. Both labs will be located in the new Marconi Communications, Kennametal, IBM, U.S. Steel, Sis and Herman Dupré Science Pavilion and will allow Concurrent Technologies Corporation, Allin Consulting, for the practical application of content knowledge in the Dell, BNY Mellon, Equitable Gas, Latrobe Specialty Boyer School curriculum and expand student and faculty Steel, Westinghouse Specialty Metals, Social Security research. Both labs will be open for student use in the fall Administration, ProLogic, General Carbide, and others,” of 2012. Br. David added. “Saint Vincent College is grateful for its ongoing affiliation with the Snee-Reinhardt Charitable Foundation,” Br. Norman said. “The Foundation has been a valued partner in the College’s efforts to establish the Fred Rogers Center, to increase exposure to undergraduate education for urban youth, and to strengthen teaching and learning through the strategic integration of technology. This latest grant will help advance our shared commitment to education.” The two new labs are part of a larger effort to advance inquiry-based learning and undergraduate research that have been facilitated by the expansion and renovation of the Sis and Herman Dupré Science Pavilion. Saint Vincent College has offered a major degree program in CIS majors Justin Vernau, Sean Edmunds and Wai-Lun Lin and math Computing and Information Science for 25 major Lindsay Gruss collaborate in a computer lab. years. More than 50 students are currently 3

student spotlight

Two Boyer School CIS Students First to Complete NSF Research Experiences by D O N O R L A N D O

Joe Anderson (left) and Shauna Hetrick (center) with Br. David Carlson, O.S.B., in the Atrium of the Sis and Herman Dupré Science Pavilion.


wo students at the Herbert W. Boyer School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics, and Computing are the first Computing and Information Science majors to complete National Science Foundation-funded Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) last summer. 4

Joseph Anderson, a senior double major in Computing and Information Science and Mathematics, participated in TRACK—Training and Research in Advanced Computer Knowledge—at the University of New Orleans, and Shauna Hetrick, a junior Computing and Information Science major, pursued research with JHAVÉ, an algorithm

visualization software tool used in teaching computer science, at the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh. Both were awarded fully-funded, ten-week programs. “The research at UNO was focused on signal processing and image processing,” Mr. Anderson explained. “Our particular project was fish tracking and identification using underwater video. It was kind of neat. My assignment was segmenting and actually finding fish in the pictures. I learned a lot about small group coordination, and it improved my technical writing. I also learned a lot more math and statistics skills to solve real world problems.” Mr. Anderson had previously served as a programming intern in work conducted on campus with Ethix Systems. “I learned about how to work on and improve systems they designed to coordinate tasks more efficiently,” he said. “I was involved in the actual planning, from database design to modeling the interface. It was a great experience.” He also works as a desktop analyst in the College’s Information Services Department. “My role is primarily product research and documentation, managing the systems used to control all of the computers.” He is also beginning work on his senior research project which is an application to interface with the Support Suite software which the help desk will use to manage the student hardware that goes in and out so they can more accurately document the services provided to students and faculty. He expects to graduate in May and pursue graduate school studies toward a Ph.D. in mathematics or computer science—or a combination of the two—in Pittsburgh, Boston or Indiana. “I am very interested in the juncture of philosophy, math and computer science,” he noted. A graduate of Derry Area High School, Mr. Anderson is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Anderson of Derry and a member of St. Martin’s Parish in New Derry. In his leisure time, he participates in Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, has played trumpet in the Westmoreland Youth Symphony, takes organ lessons, and is starting a computer science colloquium club—popular at the nation’s top schools— where students can get together to talk about math and computers, physics and chemistry. Speaking about her summer research, Ms. Hetrick related, “Our program tried to make it like a mini-grad program where we got the information at the beginning and then cut us loose to work on our projects. Each group got a list of topics and we chose one and developed an algorithm visualization for that topic. We also had to do a textbook page online describing our topic so that a student could go and do the visualization. We also did a research poster and paper on how we developed our software.”

“Our topic was object composition which was a little different because it is not necessarily an algorithm but rather a concept that many people have trouble with so we are trying to visualize that to help beginner computer science students,” she continued. “I really enjoyed the research aspect of it and may pursue graduate study in that area but I haven’t yet decided.” She previously did an internship at Concurrent Technologies Corporation. “We did a research project there as well as a research paper and presentation,” she added. “I am just trying to get as much experience as I can. The problem solving that is involved is enjoyable for me.” In addition to her CIS major and minors in mathematics and Spanish, she still finds time to pitch for the Lady Bearcat varsity softball team, chair the committee for Colleges Against Cancer, tutor for the CIS Department, and participate in the computer science club. “I am in Alpha Lambda Delta and participate in their service projects and like to volunteer when Campus Ministry is making pillows for children in the hospital. I always do that.” What has she enjoyed most about her educational pursuit at SVC? “I just like that faculty challenge me but aren’t overwhelming to where I feel like I can’t do it,” she responded. “It makes me excited to keep trying. I like the entire faculty. They are all very accessible and open, excited to help students learn.” Ms. Hetrick was honored to learn that the poster she and her study partner created last summer was accepted at a research conference sponsored by CCSC (Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges) Midwest for Computer Science Education. “We were invited to attend the conference in Huntingdon, Indiana, September 23-25 and were awarded first place for our poster. It was a great experience.” Daughter of Robert and Kelly Hetrick of Johnstown, she graduated from Westmont Hilltop High School and belongs to Saint Patrick’s R.C. Church. Br. David Carlson, O.S.B., chairperson of the Computing and Information Science Department in the Boyer School, said that Mr. Anderson and Ms. Hetrick are both outstanding students. “For both of them to obtain a high-quality summer research experience in the same summer is a significant accomplishment,” he said. “They have already made many positive contributions to the Department, to the College, and to the wider community. I am sure we will hear more good things about them in the future.” 5

faculty FEATURE

Dr. Anthony Serapiglia Brings Teaching, Corporate Experience, Baseball, Jazz To CIS Classroom by D O N O R L A N D O


nspired by the New York Herald Tribune’s Roger Kahn who wrote a popular memoir, The Boys of Summer, about his relationship with his father and their love for the Brooklyn Dodgers, Dr. Anthony Serapiglia was sure he wanted a career in sports writing. “But my father wanted me to be an attorney so we split the difference and I pursued study in physics because I enjoyed it and found it easy to understand,” he explained. “I found my ability to communicate science in an understandable fashion became a skill that I developed while I was an undergraduate at Allegheny College. I also became involved with the campus radio station where I could pursue my love of jazz and all of a sudden I was the news director and then the general manager.” What started as a summer job at the former WDUQ-FM in 6

Pittsburgh soon led to his first regular job as a radio DJ with his own show—Jazz in the Afternoon—while he completed his education. After he earned a bachelor of arts degree, Dr. Serapiglia started teaching high school physics as a substitute until a “temp service” offered him a challenging job in computing with an oil drilling company that required extensive use of global internet research. At the same time, he decided to pursue a master’s degree in communication and information systems at Robert Morris University. He moved to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review as webmaster just as the worldwide web was coming to life. “We built a new website, PittsburghLive, and branched out into the new media while I was there. We were supporting seven newspapers and 13 different offices. Mixing old and new media was quite a challenge!” He had an opportunity to join an internet service provider, Nauticom, when that part of the industry was starting to boom. “I helped them develop the ability to process credit card orders which was a major service expansion and a great

Dr. Anthony Serapiglia

revenue generator. I learned a lot about the computing services industry during my five years there.” Working as a consultant for PC Network Services expanded his knowledge of that area of the computing world. “I was the

lead project manager,” he said, “and spent several years flying all over the country providing managed services to companies and organizations including aircraft, manufacturing, international business, even law firms. I absolutely loved it.” After eight years of teaching college courses as an adjunct professor part time, he decided to return to his original plan to be a teacher, completing a D.Sc. degree and joining the Computing and Information Science Department in the Herbert W. Boyer School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics, and Computing as assistant professor of computing and information science. He is teaching two basic programming classes for freshmen and advanced networking and database courses for juniors and seniors. “I really enjoy exciting other people, seeing them pick it up and get that spark,” he said. “I get to make a difference in young peoples’ lives and I get to see what they become. And I like to integrate all of my varied experience into my teaching – even jazz.” He is currently involved in a research project involving communications technology. “I am presenting a paper at the Information Systems Educators Conference (ISECON) in Wilmington, North Carolina November 3-6. I have published twice with them previously. This paper involves methods of communication outside of the classroom that teachers have been using. It is a longitudinal study that involved a survey at another college to see the methods teachers would use such as email, instant messaging, social media and all these other platforms where the students are. As a professor it is where we need to be. I am also on a panel for the conference that will discuss integrating social networking into the classroom.” Dr. Serapiglia reports that the career prospects in the computing field are unlimited. “I talk to my peers in the information technology industry and they all tell me they have open positions but cannot find qualified people to fill them,” he said. “They always have openings. I want to make sure students coming out of my classroom are the ones they will want to hire. I know the skills they need. The internships we do here are fantastic. They put students in an excellent position to succeed by getting something on their resumes that will be meaningful.” A native of McKees Rocks, he and his wife, Wendy, now live in the North Hills with their two children, Amanda, 10, and Alex, 3. In his spare time, he still enjoys playing baseball in a “38 and over” wooden bat league and fencing. He is a member of St. Sebastian’s R.C. Church. 7

Mailed from Zip Code 15650 Non-Profit Organization U.S. Postage Paid Permit No. 110

The Herbert W. Boyer School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics, and Computing 300 Fraser Purchase Road Latrobe, PA 15650-2690 www.stvincent.edu Printed on recycled paper using vegetable-based inks. PR6680-5M-11/2011

The Sis and Herman Dupré Science Pavilion North Building opened in September.

Fundraising Status through September 2011 $40,000,000 $35,000,000

Additional Funds Needed $5 million

$30,000,000 $25,000,000 $20,000,000 $15,000,000 $10,000,000 $5,000,000

Funds Committed $34 million

Thank you! Commitments to the Sis and Herman Dupré Science Pavilion campaign stand at nearly 90 percent of our goal. Your gift is an investment in the future of the College and will ensure that Saint Vincent’s science programs and facilities are second to none!

The analemma sculpture is a feature of the plaza entrance to the Sis and Herman Dupré Science Pavilion.

Profile for Saint Vincent College

Boyer Bulletin Vol. 3, No. 1  

Newsletter for the Herbert W. Boyer School of Natural Science, Mathematics and Computing.

Boyer Bulletin Vol. 3, No. 1  

Newsletter for the Herbert W. Boyer School of Natural Science, Mathematics and Computing.