Chair of Division I (Natural and Health Sciences) which includes programs in Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Nursing and Physics at Berea College in Berea, Kentucky
Over the last 22 years I have mentored around 50 undergraduates in summer research projects with funding from Berea College, Research Corporation, Merck, Dupont, Kresge, and the Appalachian College Association. My research for the last 13 years has focused on the digenetic trematode, Proterometra macrostoma. These studies have dealt with functional morphology, physiology, ecology and pathology. I am a past president of the Kentucky Academy of Sciences. Our Division is currently in the process of submitting STEM-related grants to NSF and HHMI.
I recall conducting two undergraduate research projects while a student at Hendrix College. During the summer following my freshman year I worked on a research team headed by the late Dr. Tom Clark mapping the forest communities on Crowley's Ridge in northeast Arkansas. Another summer was spent surveying the trematode fauna found in some Arkansas amphibians under the mentorship of Dr. Art Johnson.
How Hendrix prepared me for success
I think the excitement of opening a tiny window on a natural event that no other person had ever seen hooked me on my love for investigative science. Certainly my Hendrix mentors fostered and cultivated this feeling in many students, and I have always been grateful to have had such fine and dedicated teachers.
My colleagues and I want to do what we can to allow students in our country to regain the passion and drive that at one time allowed them to provide leadership and innovation in STEM related fields. Current strategies in teaching pedagogy and progressive mentoring in research teams comprised of high school students, high school teachers, postdoctoral fellows, Berea undergraduates and Berea faculty will assist us in this quest.
Berea College is a tuition-free institution which provides promising students of limited financial means to obtain a quality liberal arts education. Its graduates include a Nobel Prize laureate chemist plus leading physicians and medical researchers. Providing people with a chance to excel in life and realize their dreams is one of the greatest gifts you can give back to society. In the end it is not the titles or honors you acquire; rather it is what you have done for others. Life should be one of continuous service.