News and Events

Biology Professor Recently Published

Book Cover


Dr. Frank Fish of the Department of Biology, along with former biology graduate students William Gough and Danielle Adams, recently published the book chapter, "Dolphin Muscles and Movement," in The Physiology of Dolphins (Fahlman, A. and Hooker, S., eds.), published by Academic Press, London (2023).


Department of Mathematics Holds Colloquium Talks

Dr. James McLaughlin


The Department of Mathematics will hold two colloquium talks given by Dr. James McLaughlin.

Wednesday, 11/1/23 at 3:30-4:30 pm in UNA 162
Title:  What is Mathematics?
A general audience talk for students who are curious about what mathematicians do. For more information, please see the event flyer:

Wednesday, 11/8/23 at 3:30-4:30 pm in UNA 162
Title: Vanishing Coefficients in the Series Expansion of Lacunary Eta Quotients
A research talk on q-series. For more information, please see the event flyer:


Fall 2023 Chemistry Career & Innovation Talk

Chemistry Event


The Department of Chemistry will host a Fall 2023 Career & Innovation Talk on Thursday, October 19th at 5:30 pm in Science Center Link 151.

Dr. Patrick Melvin of Bryn Mawr College will discuss research and the new class of sulfur molecule that was recently developed in his laboratory.

For more information, please see the event flyer:


Center for STEM Inclusion Recognized

STEM logo


This August, WCU's Center for STEM Inclusion received the 2023 Inspiring Programs in STEM Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the largest and oldest diversity and inclusion publication in higher education. The Inspiring Programs in STEM Award honors colleges and universities that encourage and assist students from underrepresented groups to enter the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). WCU will be featured, along with 79 other recipients, in the September 2023 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.

Inspiring Programs in STEM Award winners were selected by INSIGHT Into Diversity based on efforts to inspire and encourage a new generation of young people to consider careers in STEM through mentoring, teaching, research, and successful programs and initiatives.

INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine selected WCU's Center for STEM Inclusion because it places students at the heart of everything it does to build access, persistence, outreach, and career readiness in STEM. CSI's career readiness programs celebrate students' identities and fosters new friendships and networks. CSI's persistence and access activities build supportive communities that lift STEM students up to learn and succeed. CSI's outreach brings science to kids all over the region and creates multi-year relationships with them. CSI faculty members cultivate connections with school districts that are mutually reinforcing and that result in many additional invitations to present programs at schools. CSI has won funding from federal, state, and corporate sources and has demonstrated STEM achievements to elected officials.

“We know that many STEM programs are not always recognized for their success, dedication, and mentorship for underrepresented students,” says Lenore Pearlstein, owner and publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. “We want to honor the schools and organizations that have created programs that inspire and encourage young people who may currently be in or are interested in a future career in STEM. We are proud to honor these programs as role models to other institutions of higher education and beyond.”

A call for nominations for this award was announced in April 2023.

For more information about the 2023 Inspiring Programs in STEM Award and INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, visit


Dr. Lisa Marano Appointed Interim Dean of CSM

Radha Rammy Lisa


We are pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Lisa Marano as the interim Dean of the College of the Sciences and Mathematics.

During her 20+ years with West Chester University, Dr. Marano has served as a professor of mathematics, the Dean’s Faculty Associate for Student Success, and the Associate Dean for the College of the Sciences and Mathematics. Dr. Marano was the founding director of the Department of Mathematics’ actuarial science programs and the inaugural co-director of the WCU First Year Experience program. Dr. Marano also serves as the Chair of the Council on Sections on the Board of Directors of the Mathematical Association of America.

Dr. Marano has agreed to serve as interim dean following the departure of Dr. Radha Pyati. Dr. Pyati served as Dean of the College of the Sciences and Mathematics from 2018-2023; she leaves us to serve as Chancellor and Dean of Penn-State-Berks Campus. Under her leadership, the College launched a new major in biomedical engineering, as well as a degree program in quantum science and engineering. In addition, Dr. Pyati instituted the Center for STEM Inclusion, which actively promotes diversity and equity initiatives within the College of the Sciences and Mathematics, increasing access to STEM careers for a diverse body of students. We thank Dr. Pyati for her outstanding service to our College and wish her well in her new position.


Article Features Anthropology Fieldwork 

Anthropology Fieldwork



Dr. Heather Wholey and the Department of Anthropology and Sociology were recently featured in a Greet Brandywine Valley article . The article details the archaeological dig at the 1730 Huey site in Westtown Township. Dr. Wholey leads students as they perform fieldwork and use ground-penetrating radar at the site. The site is one of several where CSM students can participate in hands-on learning in the field.


Sociology Professor Publishes Research

Dr. Jacqueline Zalewski


Dr. Jacqueline Zalewski of the Department of Anthropology and Sociology has had her research on teamwork pedagogy published in Teaching Sociology. Dr. Zalewski and co-author Susan Brudvig authored the chapter, "Encouraging Productive Behavior in Student Teams with Interventions."

Dr. Zalewski and her collaborator also have a podcast about her research findings:


Congratulations to RIMS Awardees



Congratulations to the faculty recipients of the 2022-2023 College of the Sciences and Mathematics Research in Mathematics and the Sciences (RIMS) Awards:

Dr. Lauren Brumley, Department of Psychology - Leveraging Federal Data to Meet Student Dissertation Needs

Dr. Kurt Kolasinski, Department of Chemistry - Controlling the Surface Chemistry of Porous Silicon for Biomedical Applications

Dr. Shannon McQueen, Department of Political Science - Let’s Talk About It: Cultivating Dialogue and Expression in the Classroom

Dr. Shawn Pfeil, Department of Physics & Engineering - Is NMM, an important probe of G-Quadruplex DNA, a dimer in solution?


Biology Professor Awarded NSF Grant

Dr. Megan Fork


Dr. Megan Fork, together with a team of researchers, received a $390,381 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for a project titled "Improving institutional diversity in professional society participation through virtual and hybrid conferencing." The team will investigate how and whether virtual and hybrid conferences in ecology, environmental science, and allied fields have increased participation by individuals from a diverse set of institutions, including academic organizations like universities and organizations outside of academia like government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and environmental consulting firms. With participants from a diverse set of institutions, scientific conferences can improve collaboration and knowledge exchange and facilitate evidence-based environmental management. The project will also assess whether virtual and hybrid conferences are more inclusive of a diverse set of backgrounds and career stages and assess barriers, attitudes, and preferences related to conference access, attendance, and participation.


Winterthur Conservation Scientists Visit Chemistry Department 

student uses chemistry equipment


Last week we had some visitors from the Winterthur Museum Scientific Research and Analysis Laboratory (SRAL) in the Chemistry Department. Conservation Scientist Catherine Matsen, along with Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation (WUDPAC) graduate student Tammy Hong visited the research lab of Dr. Zachary Voras to investigate the composition of Chinese export miniature paintings. 

This project focuses on nineteenth century Chinese export painted landscape miniatures on ivory and metal in Winterthur’s collection and seeks to investigate their material compositions. The results of this investigation aim to illuminate the trade routes associated with the materials that influenced Chinese export painters’ artistic decisions and agencies when creating products for a foreign market. 

Catherine and Tammy used the newly acquired micro X-ray fluorescence (µXRF) ArTAX spectrometer to characterize the elemental composition of the paintings. A sample size of six paintings representative of the two substrates (3 on metal, and 3 on ivory) were selected for analysis. Since the materials and techniques employed in Chinese export paintings are understudied in the North American frameworks of material culture and conservation, the data collected from this project can increase our understanding of the ways in which these materials interact and how they may change over time.

Further information can be found at:


Spring 2023 Chemistry Career & Innovation Talk

The Department of Chemistry will hold the Spring 2023 Chemistry Career & Innovation Talk on Friday, February 24, 2023 from 5:15-6:15pm in Science Link 151.

Dr. Lukman Solola of Axalta Coating Systems, a global coatings company, will discuss his career in the chemical industry and provide insights into the businesses Axalta serves, the product development cycle and sustainability goals. 

Free pizza, snacks, and drinks will be provided!

For more information, see the Spring 2023 Chemistry Career & Innovation Talk flyer .


Department of Physics and Engineering Launches New Program

Quantum Physics


A new program in Quantum Science and Engineering (QSE) has been launched to prepare for the emerging market in quantum computing. In partnership with the University of Delaware, the 3-2 program allows students to spend three years at WCU and two years at the University of Delaware, earning both a BS in Physics from WCU and an MS in QSE from the University of Delaware.  Check out the Physics and Engineering program page for more information!


Students & Faculty Present Research

Student Presents Research

Student Presents Research


Dr. Frank Fish of the Department of Biology recently presented his research paper “Taking a new heading: the sea lion head as a control surface” at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology in Austin, Texas. The paper was co-authored with biology graduate student Caitlyn Swiston, mathematics graduate student Scott Moon, and Dr. Allison Kolpas of the Department of Mathematics. Biology undergraduate student David Kramer, biology graduate student Matt Wileyto, biology graduate student Caitlyn Swiston, and physics and biomedical engineering undergraduate student Alexa Cesari also presented their research at the event. 


Congratulations to SEA & RAWA Recipients

CSM logo


Congratulations to the recipients of the College of the Sciences and Mathematics Student Engagement  Award (SEA):  

Dr. Lauren Brumley & Dr. Stevie Grassetti, Department of Psychology - Applied Community-based Clinical Experiences through Service Learning in Schools (Project ACCESS)

Dr. Liu Cui, Department of Computer Science - Closing the Gender Gap in Computer Science

Dr. Megan Fork, Department of Biology - Place-based research on environmental change: A Goose Creek research internship to increase research access, STEM identity, and career readiness

Dr. Peter Loedel, Department of Political Science - European Union Simulation Program

Congratulations to the faculty who were awarded Research Alternative Work Arrangements (RAWA):

Dr. Aliza Richman, Department of Anthropology and Sociology - Sustainability Census - a campus-wide survey examining sustainable knowledge, behaviors, and sociodemographic indicators among WCU students, staff, faculty, and administrators

Dr. Sean Buskirk, Department of Biology - A Comprehensive Investigation into the Development of Alcohol Tolerance by Bacterial Pathogens

Dr. Yong Hoon Kim, Department of Earth & Space Sciences - Development of Porpoise Detection System based on Deep Learning Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Dr. Thomas Kwiatkowski, Department of Chemistry - Electronic Cigarette-Derived Phthalates Impact on Male Gonadal Tissues

Dr. Shannon McQueen, Department of Political Science - Us Too: Republican Women’s Groups and the Struggle to Support Women Candidates


Fall 2022 Mathematics Colloquium

Math Flyer


Dr. Jim Coykendall of Clemson University will discuss "Exploring Some Pathologies in Factorization Via Examples" on Wednesday, October 26th from 3:00-3:50 pm in Anderson 211.

See flyer for details.


Biology Professor Published in Nature

Nature Cover


Dr. Frank Fish of the Department of Biology coauthored the article, "Multi-environment robotic transitions through adaptive morphogenesis," which was published in Nature, vol. 610 pages 283-289 (13 October, 2022). The article was coauthored with Rebecca Kramer-Bottiglio of Yale University. 

The article, which details the turtle-like robot that adapts its shape and behavior to move on land and in water, is featured in the Oct. 13 edition of Nature and is featured on the issue's cover.


Biology Professor Interviewed

Dr. Megan Fork


Dr. Megan Fork of the Department of Biology was recently interviewed by Hello, West Chester. Dr. Fork shared her expertise on freshwater and urban ecosystem science to discuss flooding in West Chester.  The interview can be read here:


Political Science Student Selected to Intern in Norway

Jocelyn Brown


Jocelyn Brown, a political science major, has been selected for the prestigious Honors College Fall Semester Internship in Oslo, Norway, working for the Nobel Peace Institute. Due to the Honors College's partnership with the Norwegian Nobel Institute, Jocelyn was chosen as their next intern and will be working on site from late September to December. The internship focuses on communications, like the Institute's social media pages, and helping to set up the Nobel Peace Prize announcement and ceremony. This is only the second time a student from WCU has had this opportunity. We congratulate Jocelyn on her achievement!


Fall 2022 Mathematics Colloquium


Dr. Sunita Chepuri of Lafayette College will present "Total Positivity and Networks" on Thursday, September 22nd from 3:00-3:50PM in Anderson 211. 

Please see the flyer for further information.



Biology Professor Presented with ig Nobel Award

Frank Fish


Dr. Frank Fish of the Department of Biology was awarded a 2022 Ig Nobel Prize for his hydrodynamics research. Dr. Fish's research on the formation swimming of ducklings was 1 of only 10 projects from around the world that were honored this year. The Ig Nobels recognize science that makes people laugh, then think. Congratulations, Dr. Fish!

The Ig Nobel ceremony is available online, with Dr. Fish’s prize award segment beginning at approximately 56:00.


NSF Grant for New Scanning Electron Microscope Awarded

NSF Logo


The National Science Foundation has funded our proposal for the purchase of a field emission scanning electron microscope (FE-SEM). The $391,730 grant will be used to purchase an  Apreo 2 from ThermoFisher FEI  to replace our existing SEM. This instrument, which can image objects with 1 nm resolution and quantify elemental composition, is used in advanced undergraduate laboratory courses as well as research. It will be housed in the Center for Microanalysis and Imaging Research and Training  (CMIRT), which is a facility supported by the College of the Sciences and Mathematics. Principle Investigator Dr. Kurt Kolasinski (Chemistry) was joined by Dr. LeeAnn Srogi (Earth & Space Sciences), Dr. Howell Bosbyshell (Earth & Space Sciences), Dr. Brandon Mitchell (Physics) and Dr. John Pisciotta (Biology) in the proposal. These researchers will use the new instrument to probe the structure of nanomaterials and semiconductors, to investigate the interactions of nanoparticles with the environment, and to study microtextures and chemical composition of mineral grains.


Biology Professor Awarded NSF Grant

Dr. Jessica Sowa


Dr. Jessica Sowa of the Department of Biology has been awarded a $502,187 grant from the National Science Foundation for her project “Discovery and characterization of novel viral pathogens of Caenorhabditis elegans”. Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) are a popular model organism used to study how pathogens infect host cells and how the host immune system responds to infection on a cellular level. However, only one virus capable of naturally infecting C. elegans has been identified to date, which limits the usefulness of C. elegans as a model system for studying viral infections specifically. Dr. Sowa’s project aims to address this gap by identifying new viruses in wild-caught nematodes that can be passed to C. elegans, and studying the cell biology of the newly identified viral infections. Wild nematode collection will be conducted through the Nematode Hunters program, an outreach program that partners with 4th grade classrooms. 4th grade students will collect wild free-living nematodes from their local environment and submit them for infection screening, which will be conducted by WCU undergraduates enrolled in the Nematode Hunters class (a new Biology elective). Newly identified viruses will be studied and ultimately made available to the research community, allowing the power of the C. elegans model to be applied to a wider range of questions about how viruses interact with host cells. 



Anthropology Professor in the News

Dr. Michael Di Giovine


Dr. Michael Di Giovine of the Department of Anthropology & Sociology was recently interviewed by EDgage magazine.  The article, Why Setting Campus Culture is Critical, discusses the changing landscape in higher education due to sustainability and internationalization efforts, along with the increased shift to virtual learning and digital technologies. 

Read the article here.


CSM Students Recognized

CSM Celebrates


The College of the Sciences and Mathematics held the CSM Student Recognition Ceremony on Monday, May 2nd.

Congratulations to the many students who were recognized, including Outstanding Student Award winner Kai Vonkiel. Photos of the event are available here .


Spring 2022 Mathematics Colloquium 

Mathematics Event


The Department of Mathematics is hosting a colloquium on Wednesday, April 20th from 3:15-4:05pm in Anderson 203 and via Zoom. 

Dr. Tom Crawford of the University of Oxford will give a talk, "Using Maths to Clean the Ocean," providing an in-depth look at the content of the Numberphile video:  Where Does River Water Go? 


Celebrating the Night Sky 

Planetarium Events


Two special presentations are being held at the West Chester University Mather Planetarium. 

On Wednesday, April 20th at 7pm, the showing will celebrate Earth Week and feature special guest Senator Carolyn Comitta. 

On Saturday, April 23rd at noon, the showing will celebrate WCU's 150th Anniversary, with activities for adults and children throughout the WCU science complex from 1-3pm.


Political Science Professor Featured on Fox29 News

Dr. Loedel Speaks to Class


On February 24th, Dr. Peter Loedel of the Department of Political Science led an open discussion with students regarding the crisis in the Ukraine. Dr. Loedel is an expert on European security affairs, including US-NATO relations. The event was featured on FOX29 News.


Assistant Professor of Psychology Interviewed by KYW

KYW Roche


Dr. Michael Roche of the Department of Psychology was recently interviewed by KYW. Listen here: Me Me Me! Are We More Narcissistic Than Ever? Let's Look at the Data.


Biology Professor Publishes New Book

Book Cover


Dr. Oné Pagán of the Department of Biology has published a new book. The book, entitled "Drunk Flies and Stoned Dolphins," looks at multiple non-human organisms and their relationships with intoxication.


Students Participate in European Union Simulation

EU Simulation Students


The Department of Political Science participated in the 29th Annual Mid-Atlantic European Union Simulation in Washington, D.C. from November 11th-13th. Eleven WCU students participated in the European Union Simulation Senior Seminar,  and two WCU students were selected by their student peers as “Outstanding Ministers” of their respective councils. The program promotes global knowledge, while actively connecting “theory” with the “reality” of European Union politics.


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