Archive for the ‘Natural Science & Mathematics’ Category

PHYS-P 120: An Online Course on Energy Use, Production and its Future

Wednesday, March 12th

By Yu Kay Law, Ph.D.

In recent years, there have been many news headlines related to energy in everyday life: gas mileage mandates from the government, tar sands and the environment, the possibility that we’ll run out of crude oil, biodiesel and wind energy … and so on.  It is important that Indiana and our nation (and the world as a whole) has a well-informed citizenry that understands the science behind what is discussed in the media as well as the economic and environmental impact behind choices we make as a nation and as mankind.YuKayLaw

With this in mind, I think that it’s very important that a balanced view of this topic is reached.  It is important that we understand the principles and issues related to the use of fossil fuels (including why they’re so convenient!) and also have a good understanding of renewable fuel sources.  On the other hand, we need to have an understanding of what energy is and how much energy is used in different everyday activities.  This sounds like common sense, but quite a few textbooks are written without a balanced treatment of all of these issues.  Furthermore, textbooks quickly become out of date, given that our energy portfolio and the available technologies change significantly over time.

In response to this, I have developed using a Course Development Grant an online course – PHYS-P 120 (Energy and Technology) – which is designed to achieve exactly these goals.  Starting with an overview of what energy is, students learn about our energy use in everyday life – cumulating with an overview of how energy is used in everyday life.  The course then changes course to examine various energy sources used in society today, discussing the principles and issues related to the use of each of these energy sources.  It cumulates with a discussion of strategies for resolving energy issues in the future.

In terms of course delivery and organization, the course features a range of videos and reading assignments; a “right-tech” approach was designed for the course in order that .  Reading assignments are taken from a wide range of e-books, ranging from textbooks on the subject to parts of specialized texts and relevant articles.  Likewise, while many videos were produced for this course – ranging from traditional short online lecture-presentations to “at-home” demonstrations and illustrations of concepts in the course – students were also assigned documentaries and other videos on events and controversies related to the course material.

After learning about the material through reading and video-watching, a range of supporting learning activities were assigned for students to participate in.  In particular, students were also assigned a range of open-ended questions that contain value judgments related to the material to discuss in the context of social problems to discuss as a class.  In addition, all course participants – including myself – were required to estimate their energy use and compare and contrast how different lifestyles and living conditions affect our energy use per person, and to examine what the major contributions to our energy use are – some of the answers are in fact rather surprising to those who haven’t done the calculation!

At the end of this six-week intensive course, students will have an understanding of the issues facing us in the energy realm, and will be able to participate intelligently in discussions on challenges, controversies, and choices that society faces in using and “generating” usable energy – questions for which there are no “correct” answers.

Science and Math outside of the Classroom – 2013 Homecoming Parade

Wednesday, March 12th

Homecoming events are celebrated at many U.S. campuses, typically during the Fall semester, and IU East is no exception.  This year, Chancellor Cruz-Uribe initiated the first homecoming parade and community celebration.  Held in the Richmond Historic Depot District, student organizations, Rufus the Red Wolf and Junior Red Wolves (IU East kids’ club) members, the Homecoming Court, student-athletes, and community groups and organizations came together for a fun-filled evening.

The School of Natural Science and Mathematics was quick to secure a spot in the parade line-up.  We wanted to not only take part in the festivities, but to use this time as an outreach to the community.  Our Administrative Specialist, Diana Fahl, managed to pull together an assortment of goodies to hand out along the parade route, costumes and party accessories for the faculty and staff, as well as a couple of crowd favorites such as a bubble-machine and dry ice effects (safely handled and operated by our chemistry department.)

Yu Kay Law as Einstein, the Natural Science and Mathematics Dean, Neil Sabine, dressed as Beaker from Sesame Street, and Hitesh Kathuria wielding dry ice entertained kids and adults alike as they walked the parade.  scienceguys

Mark your calendars!  The School is already planning for next year’s event which will be in October, so come and join the fun!

Note from the Dean

Wednesday, March 12th

I would like to take a few minutes of your time to address the global impact of the School of Natural Science and Mathematics here at IU East.

First, we have several international students that are completing their degrees online.  For example, one of our students lives in Belize, and is a junior in our Bachelor of Arts in Biology program.  He, like many of our international students, is having exceptional academic success.

Students in our school are gaining strong international perspectives as well through our study abroad opportunity. Over 100 of our students have taken classes where they have spent weeks in Belize or Costa Rica. Some of our students spend much longer times overseas.  Kelsey Meyer, a December 2013 graduate of our Biology program, spent a year in London taking classes. The impact of these experiences on faculty and students can’t be overstated.

Second, NSM is reaching out to other countries by offering academic opportunities never before realized.  We began by contacting every post-secondary institution in Central America to offer their students the opportunity to apply for our Bachelor of Science in Mathematics program.  This degree is particularly appealing to international students because the last two years of the program are completely online.  We also have students from India who are interested in coming to Richmond to complete their entire degree onsite. Many of these have strong academic backgrounds and we will be preparing them to be competitive for admission to medical school.

It is clear that we live in a global community and the School of Natural Science and Mathematics is committed to having all students reach their potential whether they are in Richmond or Rio de Janeiro.

For more information on our global outreach, contact
Neil Sabine, Dean
Indiana University East
The School of Natural Science and Mathematics

Congratulations to our NSM Students on a job well done

Wednesday, March 12th

Chancellor’s List fall 2013 for the School of Natural Science and Mathematics
Trevor Boram, Jenilee Braun, Anthony Breitenbach, Hillary Chaney, Charles Daugherty, Dylan Doner, Jeremy Eddy, Kim Eggert, Grady Garno, Stanton Garrett, Alexis Hurd, Benjamin Jenkins, Brianna Keener, James Lutz, Veronica Maghielse, Mariah Marshall, McKenna Marshall, Lenks Medvin, Kelsey Meyer, Elizabeth Miller, Dustin Nutt, Sarah Phillips, Heidi Plueger, Cody Schellhaas, Samantha Stevens, Kasey Stolle, Charles Walker, and Laura Weaver
Dean’s List** fall 2013 for the School of Natural Science and Mathematics
Michael Alfonso, Chelsea Armentrout, Austin Barancin, Jordan Bevins, Hubert Branstetter, Katelyn Brown, Christine Carrera, Kyla Cecil, Dakota Childers, Christina Coryell, Savannah Davis, Morgan Dobbs, Ryan Edwards, Donnie Estes, Kortney Garringer, Stephanie Gropp, Lynsie Harper, Brittany Hethcox, Paula Hibbard, Laura Hill, Erin Hoodlebrink, Jacquelyn Janes, Derek Jessup, Michael Karns, Jesse Keller, Olivia Markley, Daniel McQuinley, Mekayla Nicholson, Logan Orr, Kelly Parker, Mariah Peters, Adam Reisert, Rebecca Smith, Morgan Stanley, Courtney Stuart, Clint Swanson, Ethan Taulbee, Seth Thomas, David Turner, Kurt Walker, Mackenzie Weston, Heatherlynn Whitby, Courtney White, Shannon Wiest, and Zachary Williams

*The Chancellor’s List represents those students who have taken a part-time or full-time course load and have achieved a 4.0 GPA for the semester*

**The Dean’s List represents those students who have taken a part-time or full-time course load and have achieved a 3.5 or higher GPA for the semester, but who do not achieve the Chancellor’s List*

Spotlight on the Faculty

Wednesday, March 12th

Chair of Mathematics Department participates on online education panel discussion
Markus Pomper, chair of the Department of Mathematics, was invited to be a panelist at a podium discussion at the Indiana Section of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA). The meeting was held on October 26 in Evansville, Ind. MarkusPomper1

The panelists explored topics ranging from the challenges to teaching online classes in Mathematics, overcoming student problems, and instructional techniques.
Pomper was selected to participate in this discussion because IU East is in the unique position to offer an entire degree program in Mathematics online. During the past year, the enrollment in the online math program has grown dramatically and now enrolls 90 students, who reside in 34 states or U.S. territories. Some of the students reside in Canada, Germany, Israel, Korea and Japan. IU East is the only U.S. institution to offer a Bachelor of Science degree online.

“Our Mathematics program has grown tremendously since its inception in 2011,” Pomper said. “The mathematical community is taking note of our accomplishments and asking us to share our experiences.”

The School of Natural Science and Mathematics Welcomes New Faculty, Simran Banga, Ph.D.
Indiana University East is pleased to welcome Simran Banga, Assistant Professor in Biology, as a new faculty member in the School of Natural Science and Mathematics starting in the fall of 2013.  DSC_5408+Banga-2776987221-O

Banga received her Ph.D. from Purdue University and went on to work as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Iowa.  Her areas of expertise include Microbiology, Cell & Molecular Biology, Immunology, and Biochemistry.  Currently, she teaches Introduction to Biological Concepts II (BIOL-L102,) Molecular Biology with a lab (BIOL-L211/213,) and Proteins & Enzymes (CHEM-C324/C390.)

Banga would love to teach Microbiology and Immunology, and is working toward adding undergraduate research in microbiology and molecular biology, along with designing small projects that would best fit the undergraduate curriculum of the students here at IU East.  To this already impressive course expansion, Banga adds, “I am also planning to develop advance level courses in microbiology & immunology.”

In addition to her work at the university, Banga enjoys spending time with her family, reading books, playing games, and watching movies.  She and her family have settled into the Richmond community, and are looking forward to many years here as Red Wolves.

The School of Natural Science and Mathematics is going global – again

Wednesday, March 12th

The School of Natural Science and Mathematics here at IU East has made significant strides in our efforts to reach out across the globe, bringing knowledge, community, and opportunity to students worldwide.  Our online B.S. in Mathematics has been well-received by students, not only here in the States, but around the world.  The science department is now branching out; we have one student from the country of Belize, and our concentration is currently focused on prospective students in India.

IU East offers a traditional college education within today’s world of online students. Competitive programs in Biochemistry, Biology, Mathematics, and Human Life Science are reaching across the globe to potential students looking for a campus to call home; either on-site or online.  We are excited about the prospect of taking our programs and faculty around the world, and cannot wait to see where we go next.

Want to know more?  Contact the Dean of Natural Science and Mathematics Neil Sabine at or Assistant Professor of Chemistry Hitesh Kathuria at to find out where we are aiming next and how you can be a part of this growth.

Enrollment Growth for Spring 2014

Wednesday, March 12th

The School of Natural Science and Mathematics has, in the past year, seen a tremendous growth in both the number of enrolled students, as well as the number of credit hours our faculty is teaching.  As of the first day of classes (January 13), student enrollment in Spring of 2014 has grown by 29.6% over enrollment numbers from Spring 2013.  Overall, our faculty is teaching 6,318 credit hours this semester, which is 138 hours more than last Spring.

We are excited about this progress, and look forward to reaching more students each semester.









Welcome NSM Alumni

Tuesday, December 3rd

Welcome to the premier edition of Indiana University East School of Natural Science and Mathematics newsletter. Our goal is to connect our alumni with current happenings in our school, elevate our perspective, and spark ideas to educate the next generation of mathematicians and scientists for the world of tomorrow.

Note from the Dean

Tuesday, December 3rd

Welcome to the first edition of our newsletter!  I am new to the position of dean but have been teaching in the School of Natural Science and Mathematics since 1991.  I have spent most of my academic life here at IU East because I love the interactions I have had with faculty, staff, and especially students.  This has been, and continues to be, a very good fit for me. NeilSabine

As dean, I am committed to offering our students every opportunity to be successful. This is a particularly exciting time because innovations in student learning are taking place both in traditional and virtual classrooms.

Regardless of how our students take our classes, we are focused on providing them with high-quality learning experiences.  We measure our effectiveness by the success of our students and it is our hope that all of our graduates will pursue fulfilling careers and invest their efforts in improving their communities.

I am excited about what the future of our school holds – it is bright!  As we share some of our achievements over the coming months, I am sure you will find them as informative and rewarding as we do.

Neil Sabine
IU East School of Natural Science and Mathematics

The Bigger Picture

Tuesday, December 3rd

IU East celebrated the second year of the “One Book, Many Voices” project this fall. The project mission is to foster a campus and community discussion about themes and ideas inspired by a common text in an effort to develop camaraderie, inform knowledge, and inspire action towards positive civic engagement and improvement.DocHendley

The featured book was Wine to Water, by Doc Hendley. Just as the subtitle indicates, the book is about “how one man saved himself while trying to save the world.” A bartender from North Carolina, Hendley became aware of the global water crisis and decided that he needed to and could do something about it.

The project continues with events through December 2013. Hendley visited Richmond and speak at an event open to the public on November 13 at IU East as well as at the university’s annual Spirit of Philanthropy Luncheon on November 14.

Community partners intersected with existing events. Helping Young Professionals Engage Richmond (HYPE) has agreed to donated a portion of its proceeds from its annual wine tasting event, “For the Love of Grapes,” to Wine to Water, book clubs are reviewing the book, and other events are being planned that will be included on the project website and community calendar. Books are available for purchase at the IU East Bookstore as well as available for borrowing at the Morrisson-Reeves Library.

The School of Natural Science and Mathematics is took an active role in this year’s “One Book, Many Voices” by connecting our students with their environment – namely, water sources.

Students from the Biology-L101 and L102 classes learned about pollution, toxins, and their effects on our water supply. In addition, each student will learn proper methods of sample collecting and put that knowledge to use by taking samples at designated locations throughout Wayne County. Chemistry students then analyzed the water samples and chart the results.

By engaging the students in the “One Book, Many Voices” project, the School of Natural Science and Mathematics is promoting not only the application of literature, but also real-world processes that our students can carry with them throughout their academic career. Our hope is that our students will gain a better appreciation, understanding, and concern for the world around them – starting close to home.

For more information on this, and other projects that the School of Natural Science and Mathematics are working on, please visit our website at or e-mail the Dean Neil Sabine at