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Sciences and Mathematics

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Sciences and Mathematics

Office of the Dean
College of the Sciences and Mathematics
Wayne Hall, Room 630
125 West Rosedale Avenue
West Chester, PA 19383

Phone: 610-436-3521

News and Events

Faculty Receives NSF Grant

Dr. Richard Burns, associate professor in the Department of Computer Science, has been awarded a $12,550 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The funding will support a symposium that will be conducted at the Tenth International Conference on the Theory and Application of Diagrams. The goal of the symposium is to encourage, expand and guide the participation of young researchers starting research in the field of diagrammatic representations and reasoning.

Student Awarded Scholarship

Graduating anthropology major Taria Montes-Rivera has been awarded a National Preservation Institute scholarship to attend the NAGPRA Essentials training workshop in Anchorage, Alaska in April. The workshop reviews the compliance process for the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) for Indian tribes, Native Hawaiian organizations, federal agencies, and museums. It provides an overview of NAGPRA statutes and regulations; addresses tools for compliance: National NAGPRA databases and other resources; reviews tools for determining cultural affiliation through case studies; and addresses the role of culturally unidentifiable remains in repatriation.

Mathematics Professor Featured in Wired Article

Mathematics professor Dr. John Kennedy's role in a landmark decision made by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court is the focus of a recent Wired article. Pennsylvania's congressional map was among the most gerrymandered in history. Dr. Kennedy's expert testimony regarding the math behind the gerrymandered map led the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to overrule a lower-court decision and found that the map violated the state constitution's guarantee of "free and equal elections." The Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a brand new congressional map on Monday to replace the gerrymandered map that Dr. Kennedy testified on. The article can be found at

Faculty Attains Leadership Position

Dr. Lisa Marano, mathematics professor and director of the actuarial science program, has joined the Board of Directors of the Mathematical Association of America. The Mathematical Association of America is the world’s largest community of mathematicians, students, and enthusiasts, dedicated to advancing the understanding of the world through mathematics. Dr. Marano will serve as Chair of MAA Committee on Sections.

World Anthropology Day

Faculty and students of WCU’s Department of Anthropology and Sociology recently participated in World Anthropology Day. World AnthroDay is coordinated through the American Anthropological Association, the world’s largest association for professional anthropologists. Held every February on the third Thursday of the month, World AnthroDay is a day for anthropologists to “Celebrate, Engage, and Inspire.” The Department of Anthropology and Sociology took part by hosting lectures, displaying student research posters, exhibiting tools of the trade (such as archaeological field gear), and sponsoring games, trivia and prizes in Sykes Ballroom. Pictured at left is anthropology major Darrell Hardy, who shared with visitors the process of field and lab archaeology.

Mathematics Professor Asked to Throw First Pitch

Mathematics professor Dr. Lisa Marano has been recognized for having made a tremendous impact on a student-athlete at West Chester University and has been invited to throw out the first pitch during the home game taking place on Tuesday, March 27th. The First Pitch Program recognizes those faculty and staff members who have positively impacted student-athletes and is a way of thanking them for their continued support.

Annual Meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology in San Francisco, CA

Dr. Frank Fish, biology, presented the paper “Fluke flexibility during propulsion in neonate and adult humpback whales” at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology in San Francisco, CA, January 3-7, 2018. The paper was co-authored with Ramya Muthukrishnan, Henderson High School student, and Nan Hauser of the Cetacean Research Institute in the Cook Islands. In addition, Dr. Fish co-authored a presentation “Properties and functions of tendons in the cetacean peduncle” that was presented by Danielle Adams, biology graduate student, and Dr. Fish was co-authored a presentation “The role of flippers, flukes, and body flexibility in blue whale maneuvering performance” at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology in San Francisco, CA, January 3-7, 2018.

Pictured at left is the cover for a physics book based on Dr. Fish's work on manta swimming. Dr. Fish worked with the publisher and artist for the image.

Upcoming Sociology Conference

West Chester University is co-sponsoring a two-day sociology conference that will be held at the PASSHE Center City campus August 10-11, 2018, beginning one day prior to the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association (ASA) in Philadelphia. WCU sociologist Julie Wiest is co-organizing the conference, called “The Roots and Branches of Interpretive Sociology: Cultural, Pragmatist, and Psychosocial Approaches,” along with Thomas DeGloma, Associate Professor of Sociology at CUNY and President of the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction (SSSI). In addition to WCU, the conference is also co-sponsored by SSSI, Yale University’s Center for Cultural Sociology, the Psychosocial Scholars Group, and the Sociology Department of Texas State University, with additional support from Hunter College and the Sociology Department of the CUNY Graduate Center. More information can be found on the conference website:

In addition, the conference will share space on the first day with the ASA’s annual Media Sociology Preconference, which is co-sponsored this year by WCU and the ASA Section on Communication, Information Technology, and Media Sociology. Cross-conference panels are planned. More information about the preconference can be found here:

Biology Professor Co-Authors Presentation for Science Symposium in Germany

Dr. Frank Fish, biology, was a co-author on a presentation “The role of flippers, flukes, and body flexibility in blue whale maneuvering performance.” It was presented at the 6th International Bio-logging Science Symposium in Lake Constance, Germany. The International Bio-logging Science Symposium focuses on the study of aquatic, terrestrial and aerial species, their habitats, and the researchers who use animal-attached electronic devices to study them.

5th Annual Delaware County Archaeology Festival

Five WCU students and three alumni representing the WCU anthropology program took part in the 5th Annual Delaware County Archaeology Festival. The event was hosted at the Newlin Grist Mill in Glenn Mills, PA and over 500 visitors attended.

Biology Professor Consults with British Natural History Museum

Dr. Frank Fish, biology, was a consultant for the exhibit “Whales Beneath the Surface” on the biology of cetaceans that is currently on display at the British Natural History Museum, in London, England.

Biology Professor Receives Grant

Dr. Frank Fish, biology, received a $300,000 grant from the Office of Naval Research for “Investigating sea lion locomotion as the basis for shape changing UUVs.” Dr. Fish will collaborate with George Washington University and Drexel University in examining the movements of sea lions as the basis for constructing a biorobotic sea lion.

Chemistry Professor Speaks in Belgium

WCU professor Kurt Kolasinski of the Chemistry Department was recently a keynote speaker at the Catalysis & Nanoparticles Summer School at KU Leuven in Belgium. Dr. Kolasinski’s discussion, “Nanoscience - From curiosity driven research to practical results,” addressed the challenges of transforming the new discoveries made in nanoscience into an understanding that leads to sustainable products and efficient industrial processes.

Faculty Receives RIMS Awards

Congratulations to the following CSM faculty members for receiving 2017 Research in Mathematics and the Sciences (RIMS) Awards:

Dr. Tianran Chen - A numerical study of spectral functions of high-temperature superconductors
Dr. Teresa Donze-Reiner – Characterizing the calcium-dependent protein kinases expression in susceptible and tolerant switchrass, Panicum virgatum, to greenbug aphids, Schizaphis graminum
Dr. Joby Hilliker - Exploring Drone Use in Geoscience Research: Two Pilot Studies
Dr. Kim Johnson - Undergraduate Beliefs about Learning & Teaching Mathematics
Dr. Monica Joshi - Application of nanoparticles and mass spectrometry for detecting organic gunshot residue
Dr. Oné R. Pagán - Pharmacological manipulation of the regeneration phenotype in planarians
Dr. Heather Wholey - Guided Student Research at the Robert B. Gordon Natural Area

Biology Professor and Shark Week

Dr. Fish and Danielle Adams Kelsey Tennett and Lunocet fin

When Olympic medalist Michael Phelps raced a simulated great white shark for Discovery Channel's Shark Week, he turned to science for help. Phelps wore a monofin, which like the caudal fins of fish and dolphins, works by displacing the surrounding water and propelling the wearer forward. The Lunocet monofin worn by Phelps was invented by Ted Ciamillo and uses the data collected by WCU Biology professor Frank Fish. Scientific American noted in 2009 that early tests with the Lunocet on regular swimmers showed that they could reach speeds of up to eight miles per hour. At his fastest, Michael Phelps can swim at a rate of five and a half miles per hour, while a great white shark can effortlessly swim six to seven miles per hour and up to 25 to 35 miles per hour while hunting. Phelps finished the 100 meter race in 38 seconds, two seconds slower than the simulated shark. According to Dr. Fish, the only reason that Michael Phelps even came close in the race against a simulated shark was the speed enhancement from the advantage that the Lunocet provided.

Pictured above is Dr. Fish and grad student Danielle Adams video recording dolphin swimming for research. Also pictured is grad student Kelsey Tennett holding a Lunocet, which Dr. Fish and Tennett experimented on.