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Natural Science and Mathematics Blog

Katherine Wu

Check out Biology major Katherine Wu C’ 17 and her ode to the Grignard Reaction: 

Ode to the Grignard Reaction
O teasing thing! What mystery! With toil
Of weary men and maidens overwrought
With basic washes and golden oil
Thou, silent dust! Dost tease us out of thought
As doth eternity: Cold Treachery!
When old age shall this generation waste
Thou shall remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a curse to men, to whom thou say'st
"Forsake all hope, ye students - that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know."
With apologies to John Keats...who is probably rolling over in his grave...

President Powell

The School of Natural Science and Mathematics held an ice cream social to celebrate the 11 year legacy of the University’s President Dr. Thomas Powell Feb 26th. On behalf of SNSM, representatives from each student club presented President Powell with a farewell gift that included a solar powered fountain birdbath. Dr. Garth Patterson and his new class, CHEM 310- Science of Brewing, presented the Powell’s with their first brew appropriately called the “Presidential Red Ale.” Laugher and high spirits were in the air as stories were traded from the Powell administration.

In an interview conducted by Nicholas Schreiber and Ryan Golden of the editing staff from The Mountain ECHO, President Powell was quoted about his thoughts concerning our COAD Science Building. He mentioned, “I remember when my son-in-law (a graduate student at the University of Florida) took a tour of our science buildings. When I asked him what he thought, he said they were ‘cute.’” President Powell added, “We have strong scientific programs, but we need state-of-the-art labs to support them.” Ending the interview President Powell said he was comfortable and confident that President- Elect Simon Newman shares the same thoughts and feelings.

The Powell’s have been such a heavy influence on the Mount and even bigger contribution to making the Mount a better place. They will be truly missed but never forgotten. The School of Natural Science and Mathematics wishes you luck in your next journey!

ComapThe COMAP math modeling competition is an important international competition in which students have a weekend to try to solve a tricky real-life problem.  For this year's problem, the students were asked about Ebola.  Specifically, they were told to suppose that a cure had been developed for Ebola, and they had to determine a way to get the cure where it needed to go in order to most efficiently stop the disease.  They had to consider a ton of different variables, like how the disease spreads, where to and how to send the medicine where it needs to go, how fast the medicine could be produced, etc.

Students Joe Appleton and Carmen Morales were the first presenters and explained the use of a SIR Model. This acronym was used to describe the different stages of the virus as being susceptible, infectious, and recovery. Rooshan Matih, the second presenter, used a clever “candy demonstration” to explain this model further and to show how a disease spreads exponentially through a population, starting with 1 person, and growing to infect 2, then 4, then 8, 16 , etc. Both presenters agreed that knowledge and awareness was the best way to overcome Ebola.  

Star Gazing Event

The School of Natural Science and Mathematics and the National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes hosted a unique event on February 13th 2015 – an evening of stargazing. More than 50 people braved the cold to look through the Science Department’s telescopes at objects unique to the winter sky, including Comet Lovejoy, Jupiter and its moons, and the Orion Nebula. Astronomy professor Jason Young gave a brief introduction and a lesson in how to use the telescopes. “This was really incredible. Thank you so much for sharing this passion of yours with us. It was really eye opening to learn about and see what can be so overlooked. I really am looking forward to researching and taking more time to enjoy what lights our world,” said one stargazer.


Don’t forget about your chance to win a $75 dollar gift card to Amazon! Above are the questions for Week 2 of Mount Math Madness. Remember to send in your solutions to This can be also viewed via Facebook:

Bill DowdThank you to Alumni Bill Dowd who participated in our Undergraduate Seminar Series Friday! Mr. Dowd enlightened students by sharing the experiences of his challenging career path. Mr. Dowd always planned to use his Biology degree from the Mount to propel him straight into Medical School upon graduation. Unfortunately, his aspirations of Med School would come to a standstill as schools denied his application or put him on waiting lists that never seemed to be answered.

Like any other fellow Mountie, Bill Dowd was not going to let a little bump in the road ruin his future. Rising to the challenge Mr. Dowd ventured into pharmaceutical sales where he found a company that would give him a chance. With very minimal sales experience he relied on his biology degree from the Mount to give him an advantage he so desperately needed. He felt as if he "knew the language" that his customers needed to engage in; he would be able to answer the real questions about the things he was selling because it was his field of study and most importantly his passion. Once management realized Mr. Dowd's success in sales they offered him a sales trainer position.

This first promotion served as a key milestone and the motivational spring Mr. Dowd needed to catapult his career to the top. In pursuit to the top he decided to continue his education and get his master's degree in marketing. By constantly adding to his skill set and furthering his education, Mr. Dowd was able to become the CEO of Eckert & Ziegler BEBIG. Bill Dowd is a reminder to our students that sometimes the realities of life can sometimes be harsh but we can't let them stop us. We have to be willing and able to re-invent ourselves by adding skill sets and furthering our education so that we don't miss the opportunities to spring our careers to the top!

Once again we want to thank Alumni Bill Dowd for his insightful presentation in our Undergraduate Seminar Series! Remember to check out flyers, Facebook, and our calendar for upcoming events.

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