On Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024, at 7 p.m. in Pollak Theater, best selling author Doug Tallamy, Ph.D., professor of Entomology at University of Delaware and author of Nature’s Best Hope and the Nature of Oaks will present on what you can do in your own yard or balcony to fight climate change, create climate resiliency, and create beauty in your own backyard. Fighting Climate Change at Home: Homegrown National Park will present listeners with a road map on how to fight climate change and create a more ecologically resilient landscape.
Today, there are more than 44 million acres of turf grass in the U.S., an area larger than New England. Turf grass is the worst plant choice for fighting climate change because it is the worst option for sequestering carbon. Our parks, preserves, and remaining wildlands—no matter how grand in scale—are too small to sequester the amount of carbon needed to impact climate change. Moreover, they are also too small and separated from one another to sustain the native trees, plants, insects, and animals on which our ecosystems depend. These systems must be resilient if we are to have climate resiliency. We now must store carbon outside of parks and preserves, largely on private property, where we live, work, shop, and farm. Thus the concept for Homegrown National Park: a national challenge to create diverse ecosystems in our yards, communities, and surrounding lands by reducing lawn, planting natives, and removing invasive plants, and, in so doing, fight the biodiversity crisis and climate change simultaneously.
Senior Joe Furmanowski was recently awarded the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Upsilon Pi Epsilon (UPE) scholarship. UPE is an international honor society focusing on Computing and Information Disciplines whose mission is to recognize academic excellence at the undergraduate and graduate levels in Computing and Information Disciplines.
Furmanowski was required to submit a comprehensive application, including transcripts, adviser recommendations, and statements describing his contributions to University activities, such as his participation and leadership in the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers/Association of Computing Machinery (IEEE/ACM) club. Since becoming a member, Furmanowski has been instrumental in reviving the high school programming competition, the very event that originally introduced him to Monmouth University and fostered his love for computer science. As vice president, he is undertaking the organization of an Internship Roundtable event, where undergraduate students hear from senior computer science students who will share tips and offer advice on job and internship applications as well as interview preparation. Furmanowski is also a tutor at the CS Tutoring Center on campus, providing support for courses in Java, Data Structure and Algorithms and Computer Architecture.
Furmanowski is committed to raising awareness about the computing profession and the endless opportunities it holds. His goal to become a software developer stemmed from an ongoing internship with the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, where he gained experience in agile software development, researched programming languages and techniques, and built software from scratch. “In short, my long-term plans are to continue as a software developer specializing in mobile and web applications or to choose a career in cybersecurity. I am taking Dr. Weihao Qu’s Cyber Security course this semester and have become interested in the subject.”
As You Sow (AYS) is the nation’s non-profit leader in shareholder advocacy. Founded in 1992, AYS harnesses shareholder power to create lasting change by protecting human rights, reducing toxic waste, and aligning investments with values. The As You Sow mission is to promote environmental and social corporate responsibility through shareholder advocacy, coalition building, and innovative legal strategies. The As You Sow vision is a safe, just, and sustainable world in which protecting the environment and human rights is central to corporate decision making. Corporations are responsible for most of the pressing social and environmental problems we face today—As You Sow believes corporations must be a willing part of the solutions. We make that happen. As shareholder advocates, AWS directly engages corporate CEOs, senior management, and institutional investors to change corporations from the inside out. Kiplinger rated As You Sow number one of the nine most useful tools for ESG Investors.
As You Sow has created a series of easy to use web tools for investors to invest their values including Fossil Free Funds, and As You Vote. Fossil Free Funds analyzes the fossil fuel exposure and carbon footprint of thousands of U.S. mutual funds and ETFs. We make it easy to know what you own, so you can align your investments with your values. As You Vote is a tool that you can empower to vote every ballot item: director nominations, auditors, CEO-pay, and shareholder resolutions according to your values. Both of these web tools will be showcased in this presentation by Diana Myers and Grant Bradski. Diana Myers is a research assistant with As You Sow’s Say On Climate Initiative, which focuses on cutting corporate green house gas emissions and evaluating companies’ environmental progress through a climate scorecard. Grant Bradski coordinates As You Sow’s 401(k) Sustainability Scorecard, which rates corporate retirement plans based on their exposure to environmental and social issues. He works to empower employees with the tools and resources to invest in a climate-safe retirement.
In her own words: After graduating from Monmouth , I pursued an MS in Physician Assistant Studies at Thomas Jefferson University. Prior to applying to graduate school, I worked as a medical assistant in a cardiology clinic that saw approximately 500 patients daily for around 2 years. During this time, I gained valuable hands-on patient care experience and deepened my exposure to medicine. I was fortunate to be the first medical assistant onboarded into a cardio-oncology program within the same company, allowing me to work closely with patients and their cardiovascular and oncology treatments.
I began my journey as a Physician Assistant at a COVID testing center in Princeton, NJ, where I served as the sole provider overseeing 3-4 medical assistants. At the peak of testing, we were handling an average of 120-140 patients daily. Later, I transitioned to my first full-time position in a specialized vascular and facial palsy surgical office. Here, I pursued my interest in becoming a surgical Physician Assistant, working in collaboration with Lenox Hill Hospital and Manhattan Ear Eye Nose Throat Hospital in New York City. As the sole advanced practice provider in the office, I had the opportunity to gain extensive hands-on skills and exposure that exceeded my expectations. This included 1st and 2nd assisting in surgeries, post-op discharges and follow-ups, international telemedicine consultations, in-office laser procedures, and administering Botox injections. Approximately a year later, I took a position in an urgent care setting, where I continue to work today, seeing an average of 40-70 patients as the sole provider at the office. During my career as a PA, I explored other avenues, including working as a sub-clinical investigator. This experience was incredibly insightful, allowing me to work with an extremely knowledgeable dermatologist and clinical investigators in a different area of medicine.
Currently, I have successfully completed an intensive 24-week full-stack software engineering program in preparation for a career as a software engineer/software developer. I made this decision after recognizing the integration of technology into our healthcare system and observing the vital role played by software and programs such as Electronic Medical Records/Electronic Health Records (EMR/EHR) in providing and tracking care. I felt there was significant room for improvement, sparking my interest in creating change and making an impact in this field. Balancing a full-time school schedule while juggling two part-time jobs as a physician assistant was challenging, but having completed my program successfully, I now have a stronger sense of drive and motivation. My plan is to apply my software engineering degree to the emerging healthcare/tech field!
My experience and education at Monmouth University have prepared me for continuous education and exploration of my curiosity. During my time at Monmouth, I actively participated in various clubs and activities, including serving as a peer mentor for both the honors school and the school of science. This allowed me to strengthen my ability to guide and teach aspiring students by sharing my knowledge and experience. Additionally, my three years as a research assistant instilled in me the determination to persevere, even when research did not go as expected, and helped me become more comfortable with public speaking through symposiums and presentations to colleagues, professors, and industry professionals in the field of science. Monmouth University provided me with numerous opportunities to express myself and push my boundaries, which I will continue to leverage in my future careers and endeavors.
When I’m not working in the clinic or coding, I enjoy challenging myself with various activities such as running, hiking, and snowboarding. Whenever the weather is good, you will definitely find me outdoors. On days when I prefer to stay in, I enjoy cozying up inside with a good book or spending time in the kitchen cooking and baking.
Nov. 10, Friday at 11 am in Edison 201, Dr. Mary Grace Baker will present “Food Allergy: Current Understanding and Hope for the Future”.
Dr. Mary Grace Baker MU’10 is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Allergy & Immunology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She attended Monmouth University for her undergraduate studies, where she was enrolled in the Honors School, majored in Spanish, and completed her pre-medical coursework. She then earned her medical degree from the University of Virginia School of Medicine. Dr. Baker went on to pursue her residency training in Internal Medicine at Yale-New Haven Hospital, where she graduated with the Clinician Educator Distinction. She then completed her fellowship training in Allergy & Immunology and MS in Clinical Research at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Dr. Baker sees patients with a variety of allergic conditions, with expertise in food allergy and food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES). She also oversees clinical trials aimed at improving the diagnosis and treatment of food allergy and FPIES and enjoys mentoring trainees interested in research.
On Sunday Sept. 17, Monmouth students lead by School of Science Associate Dean Catherine Duckett and joined by School of Education professor Ai Kamei marched in New York City to protest the use of fossil fuels and to call attention to the worsening climate crisis. Students from the Marine and Environmental Policy Club and the Outdoors club participated in the march along with friends. School of Science Student Richard Robinson said about the march, ” Being able to participate in the March to End Fossil Fuels was an experience that allowed me to voice my worries and frustrations for the future of our planet. Marching through the streets of New York City alongside my fellow MU peers, chanting with signs in hand made me feel a sense of unified discontent at the effects that fossil fuels have on our personal lives. The small part I played in the march made an impact as without the combined voice of every individual person, there would be no thunderous cry for change.”
Please join us on congratulating the our faculty on their promotions. Drs. Nikita Burrows, Davis Jose, and Francis Valiquette were promoted to Associate Professor this spring. Dr. Bernadette Dunphy was promoted to Senior Specialist Professor.
Dr. Nikita Lauren Burrows specializes in organic chemistry with a focus in chemical education. She completed her Ph.D at Georgia State University (GSU) in the chemical education program after completing her B.Sc. in Biology (minor in Chemistry) at the University of the Bahamas. At GSU she was a Teacher quality fellow in the Bio-bus program as well as a Molecular Basis of Disease(MBD) Fellow. Nikita completed research focused on Project-based laboratory curriculum development, assessment and evaluation.
Since receiving her Ph.D, Nikita started an active research lab at Monmouth University centered on understanding the student experience in the chemistry laboratory and Alternative Assessments for undergraduate students. To learn more about Nikita’s scholarship see her Google Scholar, ResearchGate or click ‘see scholarship’ below. Nikita has served as a Subject Matter Expert for the American Chemical Society and developed laboratory safety training modules for undergraduates. In addition, Nikita is currently serving as a external evaluator for CURE biology labs at Drexel University under a CAREER grant awarded to Megan Phifer-Rixey. Outside of scholarship Nikita does consultation and Instructional design for eLearning courses and institutions. In addition, Nikita is very active in the Chemistry Education Research (CER) ACS division and serves on their committee.
Dr. Bernadette Dunphy (DPT) started teaching at Monmouth University in 2008. She is currently a full-time faculty member as a Senior Specialist Professor in Biology teaching Anatomy and Physiology and Biology First Year Seminar. Dr. Bernadette Dunphy is Owner, Director, and Clinical Coordinator of Dunphy’s Physical Therapy in Red Bank, New Jersey. Dr. Dunphy founded Dunphy’s Physical Therapy with her husband, also a physical therapist, in 2007. In their practice, this husband and wife team compassionately provides patients with drug-free pain management and assist to manage debilitating orthopedic and neurological issues.Additionally, Dr. Dunphy is the Director of Pre-Health Advising at Monmouth University.
Dr. Dunphy has have been in involved in Pre Health Advising since 2010. She was on the PHA committee for three years. She moved on to Co –Director for next two years. For the last eight years, Dr. Dunphy has been Director of Pre Health Advising.
As a member of the National Association of Advisors for Health Professions and Northeast Association of Advisors for Health Professions, Dr. Dunphy attended yearly conferences to stay current with health professional school guidelines. This gave pre health students a competitive edge and enabled her to write strong committee letters, which in turn, heightened their chances of acceptance into the graduate program of their choice.
Dr. Davis Jose specializes in the field of Nucleic Acid Conformations and Protein-Nucleic Acid Interactions. He earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Chemistry from Mahatma Gandhi University, Kerala, India. He did his Ph.D. in Biophysical Chemistry at the Max-Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Gottingen, Germany, where he studied the intricacies of Nucleic Acid conformations. Following the completion of his Ph.D., Dr. Jose did a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Oregon with Dr. Peter H. von Hippel. During this period, he investigated the interactions between proteins and nucleic acids, gaining valuable insights into these biological processes that are essential in gene regulation, DNA replication, and cellular signaling. Dr. Jose has published numerous papers in leading scientific journals, shedding light on the complexities of nucleic acid conformation and protein-nucleic acid interactions. Dr. Jose’s passion for research and education led him to an academic career. He currently serves as a dedicated educator at Monmouth University, imparting his knowledge and enthusiasm to the next generation of scientists. With a focus on Organic Chemistry and Biophysical Chemistry, he works to shape the academic pursuits of aspiring students, instilling in them a deep appreciation for the molecular intricacies of life.
Dr. Francis Valiquette earned his Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities in 2009. After two postdoctoral positions at McGill University and Dalhousie University, and five years as an Assistant Professor at SUNY at New Paltz, Dr. Valiquette joined Monmouth University in 2018. His research focuses on the applications of moving frames in geometry and the theory of differential equations. At Monmouth University, Dr. Valiquette primarily teaches courses in the calculus sequences from Precalculus to Real Analysis. To Dr. Valiquette, the most appealing feature of teaching at Monmouth University is the small class sizes and the opportunity to closely interact with students in and outside the classroom.
Dr. Kevin Dillon has returned to the Biology Department as a Lecturer. Dr. Dillon graduated from the School of Science and Honors School at Monmouth University in 2015 with a B.S. in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. After MU, Dr. Dillon attended Rutgers University and earned his Ph.D. in Microbial Biology. After earning his doctorate, he was funded by the National Institutes of Health for his post-doctoral research at Rutgers University. His doctoral and post-doctoral research focused on the diversity and metabolic activity of airborne microbes in indoor and outdoor air. His interests include microbiology, bioinformatics, environmental science, and science education. He is teaching Introduction to Cell and Molecular Biology and Microbiology in Health and Disease. Prof. Dillion joins our faculty as a Lecturer in the Biology Department.
Prof. Jack Giannattasio earned his master’s degrees at Pacific Western University and Monmouth University. He taught high-school physics and chemistry for 32 years and as an adjunct professor at MU for the past 23 years. I retired from the NJ public schools in 2022 and asserts “I am fortunate to join Monmouth as a full-time physics faculty member. Through the Governor’s Teacher recognition program, I was named district teacher of the year in 2002 and county teacher of the year in 2010. I am passionate about science education and inquiry learning as well as reading and enjoying time outdoors – especially the beach.” Prof. Giannattasio joins our faculty as an instructor in the Chemistry and Physics Department
Dr. Weihao Qu received his Ph.D of Computer Science from Boston University in 2022, his research interest involves the concept of programming languages, formal verification of programs and logics. He worked at Meta as a research scientist focusing on the application of programming language techniques to guarantee security in Meta’s products. He is interested in teaching logics and programming languages, in particular functional programming languages, and security. Professor Qu joins our faculty as an Assistant Professor in Computer Science and Software Engineering.
The 2023 Distinguished Teaching Award recipient is Dr. Kathryn Lionetti, Associate Professor in the Department of Biology, in the School of Science. Dr. Lionetti earned her Bachelor’s in Biological Sciences and Doctorate in Genetics from SUNY at Stony Brook. She has been an educator, mentor, and advisor for the Monmouth University community for over 30 years.
The Monmouth University Distinguished Teaching Award celebrates and encourages sustained excellence in teaching, with a commitment to providing Monmouth students with a transformative and engaging educational experience that promotes critical thinking and evidence-based pedagogical practices. Dr. Lionetti has taught and undertaken major revisions in teaching both general and applied microbiology for biology majors. When the COVID pandemic forced remote learning , She developed innovative ways to accomplish lab learning outcomes for students taking the General Microbiology (lab and lecture) remotely. Dr. Lionetti published on this work in the prestigious Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education in 2022 “Teaching Microscopy Remotely: Two Engaging Options”.
We are all very proud to recognize Dr. Lionetti’s accomplishment.
The School of Science commitment to inclusive teaching was embodied this year as 17 faculty and 2 administrators participated in a faculty learning community dedicated to inclusive teaching. The learning community was supported partially by a grant from the Monmouth Intercultural Center. The community was centered around and online course on inclusive STEM teaching funded by the National Science Foundation on Inclusive STEM teaching and included other meetings for faculty to share their experiences.
Faculty reported that the course helped them connect with more of their students and be confident in using more inclusive teaching techniques. The School of Science also instituted a teaching award for both as single class and for whole courses or syllabi that had been modified for inclusive and equitable teaching. Drs. Sean Sterrett of Biology and Nikita Burrows of Chemistry were winners in the entire course category and Dr. Madeline Balman in the single class meeting category.