Monday, December 14, 2020

Student Nurses Association Gives Back to People In Need


Bloomsburg University’s Student Nurses Association (SNA) teamed up to help the Ronald McDonald House in Danville and the BU Women’s Resource Center during these hard times. Jordyn Blucher and Sarah Kelly, both senior nursing majors and members of SNA, were eager to participate in these service activities this semester. 

“SNA is an organization that is directly for nursing students, where all nursing students have the opportunity to join,” said Blucher. “We meet once a month and talk about what happenings in the nursing program. We also offer community service events and inform nursing students on ways that they can get involved.”

Blucher and Kelly talked about the items they collected.

“The Ronald McDonald House is an organization that provides housing and food at a low expense for families whose children are patients at the Janet Weis Children’s Hospital. Every year, we usually go there and volunteer in the kitchen, but because of COVID we were not able to do that. Instead, we did a drive where we collected canned food, plates, napkins, and utensils to give to the families,” explained Kelly.

While organizing the drive for the Ronald McDonald House, they were also organizing another drive with the Women’s Resource Center.

“The Women’s Center, a non-profit organization on campus, provides free support services to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. We put together 16 boxes of donated items, which consisted of razors, toothbrushes, deodorant, food, cleaning supplies, and women’s hygiene products. We have donated to the Women’s Resource Center in the past, and we love working with them,” said Blucher.

The meaning of giving back is very important to both Blucher and Kelly.

“Seeing the look on their faces and hearing how thankful they were gave me a great feeling inside,” exclaimed Blucher.

“Giving back as a nurse means that you get to see the more vulnerable side of people and see that emphasizes how important it truly is,” said Kelly.

SNA is something that both seniors Blucher and Kelly recommend to young and current nursing majors.

“SNA is a great way to get involved with people in the major. As a freshman, it is hard to adjust. But after I joined SNA, I met people who were going through the same experiences as me. I connected with older students in the major, who mentored me and helped me learn more. It gave me a sense of a community.” said Blucher.

After Blucher and Kelly graduate, they both plan to work as full-time nurses.

~Retrieved from PASSHE System Success 12/11/2020

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Faculty Scholarship

Steve Kokoska--Long-time faculty member Steve Kokoska is an AP calculus daily presenter.  AP resources, from the College Board, are designed to support all students and teachers with daily instruction, practice, and feedback to help cover and connect content and skills. 

~from The Week Ahead 11/30/2020

Monday, November 9, 2020

BASTL student leaving non-traditional mark on CGA


BLOOMSBURG — Members of Bloomsburg University’s Community Government Association (CGA) executive board and senate are generally your typical college-age students between the ages of 18-22 who live on or near campus.

Lizz Matias breaks that mold in many ways. A non-traditional student elected to the CGA senate as the off-campus representative, Matias lives in Reading, 70 miles from campus.

“I decided to run for CGA Senate after receiving an email about elections,” said Matias, a senior. “One of the problems I ran into as a part-time student at Bloomsburg is that I am not eligible for Dean’s List, or any academic distinction because of my part-time status. When I looked further into Bloomsburg Academic Distinction honors, I found out you need 45 credits at BU  to even graduate with honors. While I know I might not be able to get these changes made for my graduating class, I hope to get this change made for everyone who follows after me and is working full-time while taking night classes.”

Along with serving as a member of the senate, she has a few other duties as well. “I volunteered to run and was voted in as the Senior Class treasurer, and serve as the CGA rep on the university’s planning and budget committee as well as the finance committee,” said Matias.

Matias graduated from high school in 2009 and moved on to a four-year college in south-central Pennsylvania, but soon found that she wasn’t ready for college. After a few years in the workforce, she enrolled at Reading Area Community College (RACC), earning her associate’s degree in accounting in 2015.

“I enrolled in BU’s Bachelor of Applied Science and Technical Leadership (BAS-TL) program at RACC,” said Matias. “It was great that I could get my bachelor’s degree on the same campus as my fiancĂ© while he worked on his associate’s degree.”

“I never did well with remote learning, so I started with the classes I could take on RACC’s campus. Since I was working full-time, I only took two classes per semester at night. I am on schedule to graduate in May 2021.”

If she could give her younger self any advice, it would be to know you don’t have to go right to college after high school.

“That’s the one thing I think every high school graduate needs to know,” Matias.  “Don’t force something on yourself that you aren’t ready for. I am ready now and have a 3.63 GPA.”

As for life after Bloomsburg University, Matias is still weighing her options.

“Accounting is not what I want to go back to now,” Matias continued. “I’m interested in working at the college level in some capacity. Grad school at Bloomsburg University is going to be one of those options.” 

 Retrieved from The Week Ahead 11.9.20

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Data science opening doors to real-world impact


Juliette Gudknecht is an analytical type who likes to solve problems.

Majoring in Physics was an obvious and fitting choice for her at Bloomsburg University. Then she discovered how Mathematics could be used to solve real-world problems.

And her sights were set.

“I took one computer science class and fell in love with programming,” says Gudknecht, a mathematics and physics dual major who plans to pursue a master’s degree in data science and become a data scientist. “I’ve always been fascinated with science, specifically astronomy. I had the same mindset most do — that (astro) physics would be too hard to pursue, or that I was bad at math. I decided to just go for it and work hard.”

That grit and determination has led to a lengthy resume of internships, summer programs, and research opportunities to include two years of analyzing NASA telescope data. All done semesters ahead of graduating next summer.

Her latest endeavors involve interning with the U.S. Department of State working on a machine learning neural network algorithm for visa applications and assisting Authentic Social as a consultant intern, leveraging her data science skills with sales analytics and improving their social media strategies.

“I love it,” Gudknecht says. “It’s a great change of pace from previous internships and class projects. I’m getting real-world experience and fostering connections to advance my career.”

Networking and real-world impact have been Gudknecht’s calling, a common thread to her vast list of out-of-classroom experiences that have included projects with Princeton, Stanford and Old Dominion universities, and most recently her machine learning internship with the federal state department.

“Basically, I’m using mass amounts of data to train the computer to work on its own,” Gudknecht says. “This involves using information for visa applications and automating some of the processes, so we can catch things better and improve our national security. It’s a super fun internship! I’ve made many connections already (with) other universities, tech companies, and federal agencies.”

Gudknecht got an earlier taste of machine learning — a branch of data science that involves building algorithms from a math model based on sample data — this past spring helping Geisinger Medical Center during the initial wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I was very happy to help out,” says Gudknecht in creating machine learning algorithms from Geisinger’s (COVID-19) data to predict the curve of cases. “It’s made me very motivated to tackle real-world problems. I also found a love for healthcare informatics. I think it’s awesome I could make a difference and save lives through data science.”

Her methodic climb through physics and math into data science can be traced back to those single steps she took in gauging her initial interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) as a teen, bringing her to Bloomsburg.

“I’ve learned mathematical and computational skills that are very transferrable and in high demand on the job market,” Gudknecht says. “I recommend any STEM major who likes to solve problems to look into the data science program at BU. Job prospects look great for data science and the professors are amazing.”

Excited about self-driving cars and voice recognition?

What about researching human behavior using social media?Can you recognize the key features embedded in data?

The field of data science focuses on learning methods to extract meaning and the hidden truth from data. Sound interesting? It really is! It’s a combination of techniques and theories from many fields including mathematics, computers science, statistics, machine learning, pattern recognition, communication studies and ethics.

Bloomsburg University’s data science major equips you to draw conclusions from data, using knowledge of statistical inference, computational technology, data management skills and related theories. Study practical and scientific topics, learning how to carry out analyses of data through the full cycle of the investigative process. Participate in a project-based capstone course that synthesizes the skills and knowledge learned in the various disciplines that encompass data science. BU’s Department of Mathematical and Digital Sciences is ready to help you become a data scientist.


Retrieved from The Week Ahead 10/26/2020

Monday, October 5, 2020

Bloomsburg University Names Latha Ramakrishnan Dean of the College of Science and Technology



BLOOMSBURG — Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Diana Rogers-Adkinson, has named Latha Ramakrishnan dean of the College of Science and Technology. Lynn Hummel has been serving as the interim dean of the college.

Dr. Ramakrishnan comes to Bloomsburg after serving for more than 14 years in multiple roles at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota. Since July 2016, she has served as interim associate provost for research and dean of the school of graduate studies. As graduate dean, she oversaw more than 40 programs, including doctoral programs in higher education leadership and in educational administration. She managed operations and the program portfolio at St. Cloud State’s Twin Cities Graduate Center. She also led graduate enrollment management, strategically recruiting new students and implementing retention and student success initiatives.

As associate provost, she managed external grants, with annual awards ranging between $7 million and $10 million. Ramakrishnan also worked to diversify sponsorships and build equitable educational pathways at St. Cloud State. She supported faculty and staff efforts to secure the school’s first Department of Education funded TRIO SSS grant and the Robert Noyce STEM teacher scholarship grant funded by the National Science Foundation. 

“I am delighted for the opportunity to collaborate with the distinguished, passionate, and dedicated faculty and staff members in the College of Science and Technology to advance its reputation of excellence,” said Ramakrishnan “My goals will be to foster innovation and build on the portfolio of nationally distinctive and reputable programs.”

“During the interview process Dr. Ramakrishnan distinguished herself as someone who has a depth of experiences that will serve our institution well,” said Rogers-Adkinson. “She also possesses the qualities of being a collaborative problem-solver, an outstanding mentor to faculty and students, and a champion of diversity.”

She joined St. Cloud State’s chemistry department in 2006 as a tenure-track assistant professor of biochemistry and was promoted to full professor in 2014. In 2013, she was elected co-chair of the Division of Chemistry in the Department of Chemistry and Physics and in 2014 became chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Her experiences with professional society certifications include working with the American Chemical Society and the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. During her tenure as chair, the chemistry department developed and launched a new professional science masters in materials science and scientific instrumentation.

Ramakrishnan’s shared governance experiences include serving as a faculty association senate member, and working collaboratively with the faculty association leadership and faculty research grants and graduate education committees to advance scholarship and advocate for graduate education on campus.

During her tenure at St. Cloud State, Ramakrishnan secured over $6 million in external grants, including multiple grants from the National Science Foundation. She secured over $500,000 from the Major Research Instrumentation program at National Science Foundation to modernize the research instrumentation infrastructure and $5 million to award scholarships for at least 100 students aspiring to seek a degree in STEM and have a demonstrated financial need.

As an independent investigator, she established a research program in behavioral neuropharmacology testing anti-convulsive drugs using planarian flatworms as model organisms. She mentored over 50 undergraduate students in research and published research articles with multiple student co-authors.

Prior to arriving at St. Cloud State, she did post-doctoral research in biophysical chemistry at Cornell University. She was awarded the Epilepsy Research Foundation and Milken Family Foundation’s post-doctoral fellowship grant in 2003.

Ramakrishnan earned her doctorate in chemistry from the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, India and her master’s degree in chemistry from the Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai, India.


Retrieved from the Week Ahead 10-05-2020

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Biology professor receives $327K National Fish and Wildlife Foundation research grant


Bloomsburg University biology professor Steven Rier has been awarded a grant, in collaboration with the Academy of Natural Science of Drexel University, from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

The grant, valued at $327,000, will allow Rier, his graduate student, and several undergraduate students, to evaluate the vulnerability and resilience to climate change of headwater streams in the Delaware River basin.

“This project will allow my research students and I to collaborate with an amazing group of scientists at the Academy of Natural Science on an important project concerning the health of stream ecosystems in the 21st century,” said Rier.

The grant, titled “Evaluating Headwater Biodiversity, Vulnerability, and Potential Resilience to Inform Conservation in the Delaware Basin,” will also allow researchers to study species in their watersheds that are vulnerable to human activities, including climate change. The project will provide data and approaches that can be applied to protect important headwaters and to give an understanding of where in the watershed climate change may pose a higher threat.

“We will measure ecosystem metabolism in 40 streams over two years,” Rier added. “Ecosystem metabolism is a way of taking the ‘pulse’ of the entire ecosystem. It includes all of the photosynthesis and collective metabolic activity of all organisms from bacteria to fish. We will measure ecosystem metabolism by deploying loggers that measure oxygen, temperature, light, and depth every 15 minutes for an entire year.”

The grant is one of 37 new or continuing conservation and restoration projects totaling $8.12 million for a 2020-year round of funding for Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The 2020 awards generated $22.08 million in non-federal match from the grantees, providing a total conservation impact of more than $30.2 million.

The Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund aims to conserve and restore natural areas, corridors, and waterways on public and private lands to support native migratory and resident wildlife and fish, and native plants; and to contribute to the social health and economic vitality of the communities in the Delaware River watershed.

The fund was launched in 2018 to bring together various stakeholders to collaboratively deliver restoration and conservation efforts throughout the Delaware River Watershed that strategically improve fish and wildlife habitat, grow partner capacity, build networks, and improve project efficiency and focus on a basin-wide scale.

Retrieved from Bloomsburg University tumblr post 9/30/2020

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Scholarship and Research - Mr. Troy Prutzman


Troy Prutzman
, radiation protection specialist, a staff member of COST Dean’s office and campus radiation safety officer has obtained his Radiological Officer certification from the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency this summer. As a Radiological Officer, he joins five other individuals in Columbia County Emergency Management Agency designated to protect the lives and property of fellow citizens by responding to radiological and nuclear incidents as needed. Prutzman is an active member of the Columbia County Radiological Response Team.

Recently, Prutzman has been selected to serve as a panelist at the national meeting of the Health Physics Society, where he will join other panelists in the Academic, Industrial, and Research Radiation Safety section of the meeting on October 8. The Health Physics Society is a scientific organization of professionals who specialize in radiation safety. Its mission is to support its members in the practice of their profession and to promote excellence in the science and practice of radiation safety.

Retrieved from The Week Ahead 09/28/2020