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Academic News Brief May 1

May 1, 2014

Round up of what is new in the world of Academic Affairs published by the Office of the Provost at Saint Francis University. May 1,  2014 Edition


History/Political Science - Michael Vaughn (History, class of 2013 and current graduate student) and Dr. Denise Holladay Damico, Assistant Professor of History, will be among the speakers at the dedication of the Pennsylvania State Historical Roadside Marker for the former tuberculosis sanitarium in Cresson, Pennsylvania. Mr. Vaughn, advised by Dr. Damico, conducted research that was used in the application for the historical marker. The ceremony will take place this Saturday, May 3, 2014 at 10:30 a.m. near the facility, which served as a state tuberculosis hospital from 1913 to 1964, and most recently held the Cresson State Correctional Institute. The President's Office has made a donation toward the construction of the Marker.

History/Political Science - Dr. Joe Melusky, Professor of Political Science, and several Pre-Law students Nerissa Duncan, Washi Gervais, Kylie Jackson, and Tony Nicotra toured the State Capitol in Harrisburg on Monday, April 28, 2014. They visited the offices of Sen. John Wozniak and Rep. Edward Haluska. They also visited Penn State Dickinson School of Law. They met with senior admissions director, Grant Keener, and were given a tour by current Penn State Dickinson law student and SFU graduate (class of 2013), Derek Markle.

Literature & Languages - The scholarship of Dr. Timothy Bintrim, Associate Professor of English, was cited by composer Gregory Spears in an interview about his hit opera Paul's Case, based on Willa Cather's 1905 story of the same name set in Pittsburgh. The opera was performed this winter by companies in Arlington, VA; New York City; and Pittsburgh, and received glowing reviews in the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Observer, and the New York Times. In the Spring 2014 issue of the Willa Cather Newsletter & Review, Spears told interviewer Marvin Friedman, "[While researching the story,] I . . . emailed with Tim Bintrim, who told me a lot about the locations, circumstances, and people [Cather] used as inspiration. I became transfixed with the models for Paul and Cather's real-life role as a high school teacher in Pittsburgh. I became intrigued with the notion that Cather might have lived aspects of this story, both as one of the outraged teachers and as an artist feeling oppressed by middle class Pittsburgh values. Slowly, I began to realize how much of this story was about Cather herself . . . ". Bintrim and colleague James Jaap of Penn State-Greater Allegheny presented alongside Greg Spears at a talk at the Pittsburgh Opera headquarters, and later they attended a production, which they agreed Cather would have loved. From retiring Professor of English Dr. Kirk Weixel, Bintrim learned to be generous toward creative writers, even as-yet unheralded young composers with advanced degrees from Yale and Princeton.


Business Administration - Fifteen students from the School of Business traveled to New York City on April 27 and April 28, 2014. The students had a breakfast meeting with Kyle Driscoll (SFU Class of 2010) of Morgan Stanley. Kyle delivered a talk on the "day in the life" of a financial advisor and also answered several questions on obtaining employment in the world of finance and economics. Gene Roseo, owner of Bluepoint Securities, also hosted the students on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange and explained how technology has changed the floor from a bustling sea of 6,000 traders to a "glorified television studio" employing little more than 600 traders. Several students also had the opportunity to speak with Joe Belissimo (SFU Class of 2012) on his experience working at PricewaterhouseCoopers. Dr. Randy Frye, Dr. John Miko, and Dr. Edward Timmons accompanied the students on the trip.


Physician Assistant Science - The MPAS Program held its annual Clinical Year Celebration and Awards Ceremony on Thursday, April 24, 2014. The MPAS Graduate Student Award is given to the clinical year PA student who exemplifies excellent clinical year performance, academic achievement, professionalism and service. This year’s recipient was Ms. Brittani Raybuck. Inductees to Pi Alpha, the National PA Honor Society, were also honored that night. The Honor Society was created in recognition of significant academic achievement, leadership, research, service and the high standard of character and conduct among physician assistant students and graduates. Students inducted included Emily Byers, Rachel Geissler, Thomas Johnson, Sean Kirby, Malia Lonergan, Brittani Raybuck, Christina Rombouts and Taylor Thompson. The Program also inducted Ms. Michelle Beck, MHS, PA-C, Clinical Assistant Professor as a faculty member, Ms. Angela Aumen, MPAS, PA-C as an alumni member and Elliot Bilofsky, MD as an honorary member. Both Ms. Aumen and Dr. Bilofsky have served many years as clinical year preceptors and as advocates for the PA Program. The Program also honors clinical year preceptors as nominated by members of the clinical year class with the “Preceptor of the Year Award.” This year the Program honored two exceptional preceptors. Elias Rifkah, MD, a family practice preceptor was presented one of the awards and was nominated by Brittani Raybuck. Mr. Bryan Ronan, PA-C, an emergency medicine preceptor was presented the other award and was nominated by Holyn Fox.


Chemistry - The Chemistry Department will receive a $6,000 grant from the College Equipment Grants Program of the Spectroscopy Society of Pittsburgh (SSP). The grant will be combined with matching funds from the department to purchase new types of cells for doing Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. The new cells are anticipated to augment the types of laboratory experiments that can be done in a number of chemistry classes taken by both chemistry majors and non-majors. The author of the successful grant application, Dr. J. Nathan Scott, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, will attend the awards banquet hosted by the SSP on Wednesday, May 21, 2014 at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA.