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Natural Science and Mathematics Blog

Dr. Patterson BrewingThe Science of Brewing is a class first started by visiting assistant professor, Dr. Garth Patterson. The class was developed to study a wide range of sciences that take place during the brewing process. Just like any other course offered at the Mount, Dr. Patterson aimed to make this course valuable to lessons being taught in other classrooms.  “It was my intent to provide context to the same type of material that is taught in other classes, allowing students to have a better understanding of why we might ask them to be more fully engaged with a topic.” This class involves laboratory experiments devoted to water analysis using atomic absorption, gas phase analysis of hops’ aromas, ultraviolet-visible spectrometry analysis of alpha and beta acids in hops, and liquid density analysis to confirm alcohol content. The experiments developed for this class have exposed students to scientific instrumentation that they might not otherwise have access to as part of their required coursework. 

6 pack Dr. Garth Patterson is not only a professor  here at The Mount but is also a Chief Executive  Officer at Cherry Lane Group, LLC. He holds  over 15 U.S. patents and has several  international patents; which mostly focus on the  development of novel designs for mass  spectrometers and related components.  Although these patents are not directly related  to brewing, the technology described in them  can absolutely be used to analyze the starting  ingredients and final product of the brewing  process. Dr. Patterson has been thrilled about the success and popularity of his new course and is currently serving as the faculty advisor of the new Brewing Club, started here on campus. His hopes for the future are to expand this course by adding new courses that could identify with a larger group of students. Dr. Patterson explains, “Students in the brewing club are coming from all academic disciplines at the Mount, discussing the context of the beer we brew and their own areas of interest. The students are making connections on their own, without intervention or contrived exercises.”  


Haley Sibley, C'10, graduated in computer science at the Mount and is currently working for the Navy. November 12, 2015 Haley spoke with our students about job opportunities where she works. The presentation was held at 12:30pm in the CS lab. Haley spoke mostly with students who are reasonably far along in the Computer Science major. Math majors with a significant amount of computer science background were also welcomed. 

Haley works in The Modeling & Interface Branch, a software development group, under the Department of the Navy that supports Navy Test & Evaluation and Navy Training with a primary focus on Modeling & Simulation. The products we develop are the Next Generation Threat System (NGTS), the Joint Integrated Mission Model (JIMM), the Next Generation Electronic Warfare Environment Generator (NEWEG), and the Architecture Management Integration Environment (AMIE). The software development work is across the entire spectrum of Computer Science from data structure and algorithm development, network protocol and interfaces, graphics, databases, software test, hardware/software integration, etc. It is a very team-oriented and fast-paced software development environment. 

...For any additional information email Dr. Brian Heinold



Joe Appleton, C’16, got to spend part of his summer at the University of Cambridge where he studied in the International Security and Intelligence Program, which was led by Sir Richard Dearlove, former head of the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), and current Headmaster of Cambridge’s Pembroke College. When Joe, a computer science major, arrived at this prestigious program for outstanding undergraduates from around the world he had to take a step back to enjoy his surroundings. Joe explains, “When I first arrived at Cambridge, the first thing that struck me was the age of my surroundings. I felt like I had stepped back in time. Beautiful stone buildings and narrow cobbled streets dominated the area, and every single bit of it was absolutely beautiful.” The University of Cambridge is one of the world's oldest universities and leading academic centers; it holds a world-renowned reputation for outstanding academics and intellectual achievement.

With such a collection of intellectual excellence, it would be hard for anyone to not feel somewhat intimidated at first. Joe admits, “I would be lying if I said I wasn’t at least a bit intimidated at first, but after the first couple days I realized that I was certainly on everyone else’s level.” Having the feeling of being on “everyone else’s level” is the result of Joe’s commitment and hard work.  Joe currently is the President of the Mount’s chapter of the Association of Computing Machinery, returning Vice President of the Student Government Association, and recent recipient of a Meritorious Winner designation of this year's COMAP competition! Joe’s participation and leadership in many campus organizations is undoubtedly one of the keys to his success.

When asked about his experience at Cambridge Joe replied: “One thing that struck me as I studied at Cambridge was how well I had been prepared. Actively participating in the supervisions and seminars required quick formation of thoughts as well as excellent speaking skills, two abilities that The Mount has been helping me develop during my time here. There is a reason the liberal arts classes here have a participation grade – it is going to be difficult to become a more engaged student if you do not raise your hand and open your mouth. Had my Mount professors not directed me as they did, encouraging discussion as well as helping me to develop my individual intellectual pursuits, I would certainly have been less prepared for my studies at Cambridge.”  

As Joe finishes up his senior year at The Mount in The School of Natural Science and Mathematics, he plans to continue challenging himself as he searches for a job and vocation. His experience at The University of Cambridge has provided Joe with a greater understanding of what occurs within the depths of the national and international intelligence agencies. Although Joe is not certain that he wishes to work in the intelligence sector specifically, he feels that he has the foundation that will prepare him for success in whichever career path he decides to take. 

The School of Natural Science and Mathematics’ Summer Research Internship Program (SRIP) is a donor-funded initiative that provides a stipend to students that allows them to spend a summer on campus working closely with a faculty member on a research project. Summer research is a vital part of the research program in the School because it is a time when faculty can focus exclusively on their investigations. The SRIP program provides funding for students who want to do research but need to earn money during the summer to make ends meet. 

This year’s recipients were:  Sarah Bonson, faculty mentor-Dr. Patti Kreke; Emily Luetkemeyer, faculty mentor-Dr. Caitlin Faas; Timothy Schwemler, faculty mentor-Dr. Garth Patterson; Katherine Wu, faculty mentor-Dr. Abigail Kula.

At the end of their projects, students and their faculty mentors wrote a short reflection paper about their experience. Here is what a few of our students had to say about their experience:

“I have learned so much and have been able to progress in my research. The SRIP program has also helped me to get an idea of what it would be like to have a career in research. I am very thankful for the opportunities given to me through this program, and am excited to continue my research in the future. The faculty and staff at the Mount have been so supportive of my project and through their help I have been able to move forward with my research and learn so much this summer!”

“My experiences this summer have strengthened my desire to continue on to graduate school, with the eventual aim of a career in research, and I am grateful to have had such a great opportunity.”
“The coding process for this data is an arduous one, and I am very grateful to have finished my data collection in the summer, so that I can spend the entirety of the fall semester on data analysis. Without the summer research internship award, this would not have been possible, and I am incredibly thankful to have been given this experience. Thank you.”

“My research internship over the summer of 2015 was both a personal and professional benefit for me.”

On behalf of the School of Natural Science and Mathematics and our students, we thank our donors for their continued support of this program. 

Sarah Bonson, Matthew Koury, Camille Werzowa, and Jacqueline Rowan attended the 18th Undergraduate Research Symposium in the Chemical and Biological Sciences and the UMBC campus on October 3rd. The Symposium invites mentor-approved contributions from undergraduates investigating any aspect of chemistry, biology, and biochemistry. These advances will be disseminated in a daylong event that typically offers nearly 200 student contributions and gathers more than 400 beginning scientists, mentors, and other guests. The event will feature two poster sessions with posters judged by panels of participating mentors and other qualified attendees. 

Sarah Sarah Bonson presented her research project titled the  Synthesis of Gold Micelles for Use in Targeted Drug  Delivery Systems. The goal of her research was to  synthesize gold polycaprolactone nanoparticles, which  form micelles to be used in a targeted drug delivery  system. The system would provide healthier and more  effective treatment as it specifically targets malignant  cells, leaving healthy cells unharmed. The gold  nanoparticles build up in tumor sites due to their  enhanced permeability and retention (EPR) effects and  have the ability to convert light energy into heat, allowing  the drug to be released into the body using a laser.  Oleylamine coated gold nanoparticles are  synthesized, thiolated withmercaptoundecanol, and then  polymerized with polycaprolactone, allowing the  nanoparticles to form micelles. Sarah described “It was  a great experience and a privilege to be able to represent the Mount and our Science Department! I had a great time at the conference and it was really neat to learn about the research of other students from all around the country."

Matt and Jacqueline Matthew Koury and Jaqueline Rowan presented their research titled The Synthesis of Ethyl and Methyl Benzoate with a Reduced Reflux Time. Jaqueline explained “I did feel very good about our presentations. I think it all went very well. It was a great atmosphere being around other people who share the same passion for science as I do. I learned a lot, this being my first presentation, but now I know what to expect and what to fix in the future.”

Camille Camille Werzowa presented her research titled  Understanding C/EBP B, a Transcription Factor Expressed  Downstream in Neuroinflammatory Events Mediated by  HMGB-1. Camille explained “I felt good about my  presentation. I had a lot of fun explaining what I have  done during my time in the lab. Though I did not have as  much data as I had hoped, the judges and other students  who listened to my presentation were impressed with what  I had so far.” When asked about the atmosphere of the  Symposium Camille responded “I was just in awe the  entire time with all of the different research undergraduate  students, like me, have done. It's so fascinating talking to  everyone and hearing what  they worked on and the data  they obtained. It made me want to continue with my  research and to present at more conferences.”


Welcome to Dr. Abagail Kula’s Ecology class where class time is dedicated to the outdoors in order to truly grasp and understand the material. Pictured above are Rachel Carr, Mike Flyte and Rachel Horner as they gear up for their group project that will look at the effects of mowing frequency on insect diversity using two sampling methods (sweep netting and yellow pan traps) to sample the insect community.

LarvaBeing able to educate students outside of the realm of the classroom opens doors for amazing opportunities. For example, Dr. Kula and her students were able to come across Monarch Larva which is now becoming a rarity due to the recent declines in population. Dr. Kula mentions: “We found this beautiful specimen in the field behind the President’s Home on Old Emmitsburg Rd. It is always significant to find a monarch in the field because monarch populations are declining sharply. In all the milkweed plants examined during our lab period (approximately 100 plants), this was the only monarch observed. This is a late stage (or instar) larva that will likely make it to the pupal stage and from there emerge as an adult sometime in early October. Typically at this time of the year in our area we should see mainly adult monarch butterflies on their way back to their overwintering area in Mexico.”


timTim Schwemler presented a poster at the 10th Workshop on Harsh-Environment Mass Spectrometry (HEMS) September 13-16, 2015. Accompanied by Dr. Garth Patterson Tim presented his summer research titled "Identifying Environmental and Physical Plant Stresses Using Vapor Analysis." Dr. Garth Patterson, James Larkin and Kevin Jankowski served as Co-Authors on the presentation. The Workshop on Harsh-Environment Mass Spectrometry (HEMS) was created in 1999 as a means of encouraging interaction among people involved in deploying mass spectrometers outside of the typical laboratory setting. These environments are diverse, ranging from volcanoes and battlefields, to ocean depths, outer space and other rugged locales. Building mass spectrometers to withstand the rigors of such harsh and remote environments places a unique burden on engineering design and science objective planning, where operational requirements for power, size and durability must be met while achieving the goals of the scientific mission. 

Dr. Patterson mentioned "Tim and I worked together on two separate but related projects.  We wanted to be able to differentiate varieties of hops plants based on the vapor being outgassed by the plants (for example, Citra hops outgas a large amount of alpha limonene, magnum is much less).  We also wanted to show the relative health of plants based on their vapor signature (when distressed plants might outgas a higher level of terpenes).  We were successful in the first and demonstrated that we can test for the second, but we need a lot more data and another summer to prove the second."

Congratulations to Dr. Patterson, Tim Schwemler James Larkin and Kevin Jankowski for their work in this project! 

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