The volume of students studying undergraduate sciences at High Point University is growing as quickly as the field of science itself. Exercise science is now the third largest major on campus, with biology ranking No. 4. To foster that growth, graduate degree programs in fields such as physical therapy, physician assistant studies and pharmacy are in development, and new teacher-scholars, including department chairs for biology and chemistry, have arrived to engage more students in scientific research than ever before.
“We wanted to bring additional leadership to enhance our science departments,” says Dr. Carole Stoneking, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “Our new chairs are instrumental in reviewing curriculums and establishing new initiatives that better prepare our students for 21st century careers.”
Dr. Angela Bauer, chair of the biology department, joins the HPU family from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, where she researched the potential health effects of exposure to endocrine disruptors, or chemicals in the environment that disrupt hormone function.
She also conducts studies in the field of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in order to discover how she can best help all students learn. She came to HPU to work in an environment that was centered on educating the whole student, inside and outside of the classroom.
“In addition to providing top notch classroom instruction, our faculty spend a great deal of time outside of the classroom advising students, preparing them for their future professional paths, connecting them with the community, and working with them in the lab on numerous research projects,” says Bauer. “Our commitment to students goes beyond academics. We care about the entire student.”
Bauer will create a clear path for her students to follow who are interested in careers in the health sciences. With faculty experienced in research, collaborative lab opportunities and access to internships, she says students who obtain a science degree from HPU can thrive in multiple fields.
Augustine is working on a project that would allow gold to stick to plastic. Gold is an excellent conductor of electricity, but it’s limited by not being able to stick to many surfaces. Augustine says an HPU graduate, Laura Lee, ’12, actually helped to discover that it could be done while she was working as a summer intern at James Madison University.
In addition to his current work, he conducts research on surface modification of novel nanocomposite polymers and the fabrication of microfluidic devices made from those polymers. In laymen’s terms, he works to create small “labs on chips” that allow scientists to analyze data even if they have a small amount of material to work with. For example: analyzing DNA from a small amount of blood found at a crime scene.
“I’m excited about the culture on the HPU campus,” says Augustine. I value our students, faculty, and the tone the president set at the beginning of the year. I like the feel and energy of everyone pulling together as we build up this program.”
He is spending his first year as the chemistry department chair meeting with prestigious graduate programs to develop systems that put HPU students in selective spots.
“We are very fortunate to have Angie and Brian on our team,” adds Stoneking. “They not only successful researchers, they are forward-thinking and student-centered Teacher Scholars.”