Videos of Weather Balloon Filling and Release from 30 July 2016


MSEM Graduate student Chris Cormier set up a GoPro camera to record the filling and release of a weather balloon as part of the Tropospheric Ozone Pollution Project.  Set up in front of Main Building, it was a picturesque day for the first TOPP launch from St. Edward’s University.

Until I get that uploaded, here is my Vine video of the second launch on Thursday, 4 August!

You can find the data on the Munday Library Institutional Repository Website.  Stay tuned to this blog for more information on the project.

Coming soon!

Welcome Our New NSCI Full-Time Faculty Members

I’m excited to welcome our new, full-time colleagues to NSCI:

  • Kaitlyn Phillipson, Assistant Professor of Mathematics
  • Raychelle Burks, Assistant Professor of Chemistry
  • Thomas Moe, Visiting Assistant Professor of Computer Science
  • Mitch Phillipson, Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics
  • Erika Schwarz, Visiting Assistnat Professor of Biological Sciences
  • Casey Parish-Fisher, Assistant Professor of Forensic Science

Be sure to say, “Hello!” and offer your welcome and greetings to our new, full-time colleagues this year.

Kaitlyn comes to us from Texas A&M, where she just earned her Ph.D. this past Spring.  Her husband Mitch got his Ph.D. from A&M in May 2015 and spent the last year teaching at SUNY Oswego.  They both join our Dept. of Mathematics.

Raychelle (a.k.a., Dr. Rubidium or @DrRubidium on Twitter) joins our Dept. of Chemistry from Doane College, where she taught the last 3 years after two years of teaching at Seattle University and a summer semester at Seattle Central Community College.  Her Ph.D. is from U. Nebraska, Lincoln.

Thomas just retired after 23 years working with the Texas Legislature, most recently as a manger of infrastructure and operations in I.T.  His MS degree is from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN. He’s joining our Dept. of Computer Sciences.

Erika arrives at St. Ed’s after adjuncting for 3 years at ACC (where she taught) Biotechnology and Biology) while she was completing her Ph.D. at the University of Texas, earning her degree this past May. She will be on the faculty in the Dept. of Biological Sciences this academic year.

Finally, we’re happy to formally welcome Casie Parish-Fisher as a member of the NSCI faculty!  Casie has led the Forensic Science program at St. Edward’s in the School of Behavioral and Social Sciences since 2008.  She had her Ph.D. conferred this past year from the University of Central Lancashire and moved her program to NSCI (under the Dept. of Chemistry) this past summer.

Welcome to all!

Portal to the World Arriving at St. Edward’s – Sept. 2016

What would you do if you had 10 minutes to communicate with someone from the other side of the world? Share a meal?  Share a song?  Perform a short play? Would you speak?  What if you didn’t know the language? How do we communicate with others in cultures different from our own?  What can we learn about each other and ourselves?

Starting 30 August 2016 and continuing throughout September, St. Edward’s University will host a portal (a technologically enhanced shipping trailer) from Shared Studios.  The gold colored portal will be on our campus to provide our students, faculty, and staff as well as Austin area schools and our Austin community family members a chance to connect to a part of the world they might otherwise never experience in person.

Take on Your World in the Shared Studios Portal.  Learn more about what others have done on Instagram for Shared Studios and on YouTube and see the significant media coverage of this groundbreaking project that we now have the chance to bring to our campus.

More details to come, including reserving times for your planned activities.  Watch for future posts with more information.

How will you spend your time in the Portal?  And where will you go?

This project is coming to St. Edward’s thanks to the efforts of the Office of Information Technology with support from faculty and staff in Instructional and Emerging Technology, the Global Engagement Office, the School of Humanities, and the School of Natural Sciences.

NEW INFO:  Here’s a link to the sites with which the portal will be connected:

TOPP Alumna Covers Go-For-Launch! at St. Edward’s University

Natalie Ferrari, one of nearly 100 alumni of the Tropospheric Ozone Pollution Project (TOPP), now works at KXAN as an on-air meteorologist.  She came to St. Edward’s on Tuesday, 12 July, as part of Go-For-Launch! to both give a talk to the participants on her career trajectory as well as to do a story on the camp itself.  You can see that story, which appeared on the 6 pm news on Wednesday, 13 July, here!

During her presentation, she talked about the importance of making connections, pursuing internships, and communicating with others.  Her broadcast career got started with an unpaid internships at Fox affiliate KRIV in Houston during her senior year at the University of Houston (UH).  She worked in Abilene and College Station before arriving in Austin last Fall.

It was the first time Dr. Gary A. Morris, Dean of Natural Sciences at St. Edward’s, and Natalie had met in person in more than 5 years.  Natalie graduated with a degree in Environmental Science from UH in 2011.  While she was there, she took a class in Advanced Atmospheric Data Analysis and Laboratory from Dr. Morris during a semester in which he was a visiting faculty member at UH.  She joined the TOPP team and helped launch weather balloons instrumented to measure ozone as well as temperature, pressure, humidity, wind speed, and wind direction.

“It’s always nice to meet up with former students to see what they’re up to and where they’ve been along the way,” said Dr. Morris.  “I’m very proud of Natalie — she’s made it in a very tough field!  And it’s fun to think that her experience as an undergraduate with our balloon research project might have helped her on that path.”

You can see Natalie on KXAN on the weekend and morning reports.  Thanks to Natalie and KXAN for covering our inaugural Go-For-Launch! event at St. Edward’s University.

Natalie Ferrari (KXAN meteorologist), Mike Foreman (retired NASA astronaut), and Michelle Lucas (founder and CEO of Higher Orbits) at Go-For-Launch, 11 - 13 July 2016 at St. Edward's University

Natalie Ferrari (KXAN meteorologist), Mike Foreman (retired NASA astronaut), and Michelle Lucas (founder and CEO of Higher Orbits) at Go-For-Launch, 11 – 13 July 2016 at St. Edward’s University

Go-for-Launch Brings Japanese and American Student Teams Together

The first 30 students at Go-For-Launch St. Edward's University, 11 - 13 July 2016.

The first 30 students at Go-For-Launch St. Edward’s University, 11 – 13 July 2016.

St. Edward’s University hosted its inaugural “Go-For-Launch!” event 11 – 13 July 2016.  30 students participated with 15 here as part of the summer program with Asia Pacific University and 15 from Austin-area high schools.

Team Rigel builds their paper tower on Day 1.

Team Rigel builds their paper tower on Day 1.

Astronaut Mike Foreman met with students all three days, answering questions about life in space and the technical challenges associated with conducting experiments on the International Space Station (ISS).

Students formed teams of 5, with no more than 3 international students on any given team.  Monday started with competitions included building a paper tower, selecting a team name, and designing a team mission patch.  By Wednesday, teams had designed an experiment for the International Space Station.

In addition to Astronaut Foreman, Mac McCall (a longtime NASA contractor with Boeing who worked 18 years on ISS projects), Associate Vice President of Global Initiatives Bill Clabby, Visiting Assistant Professor of Physics Paul Walter, Dr. Paul Colosky (Space Physiologist), Dean of Natural Sciences Gary A. Morris, and CEO and Founder of Higher Orbits Michelle Lucas did the judging.

The winning project, designed by a team called, “Ryusei 5,” sought to watch a phytoplankton species (Nannochloropsis) develop on the ISS to determine the impact of the low gravity environment.


We look forward to hosting Go-For-Launch! at St. Edward’s again next summer, 10 – 12 July 2017.  Spread the word!

Winning team, Ryusei 5, with Astronaut Mike Foreman at the inaugural Go-For-Launch! event at St. Edward's University, 11 - 13 July 2016.

Winning team, Ryusei 5, with Astronaut Mike Foreman at the inaugural Go-For-Launch! event at St. Edward’s University, 11 – 13 July 2016.


Save the Teachers

From Paul Walter:

Angie Lux ’12, a former biology student and Noyce Scholar at St. Edward’s, was recently featured in an article on the SEU webpage.  In the article, see discusses how she developed a love for science and the impact that the Robert Noyce Scholarship Program directed by Prof. Steven Fletcher has had on her career as a teacher in secondary education.

Spring 2016 NSCI Advisory Board Meeting

In his two years as Dean of Natural Sciences, Dr. Gary A. Morris has enjoyed meeting with the NSCI Advisory Board each semester.  This spring’s meeting marked a special occasion as Dr. Bob Wilems (’63) handed over the reigns as chair of this board to Nick Cristea (’09).  The members of the Advisory Board thanked Bob for his many years of service leading the board and look forward to his continued contributions as a member of the board.

Bob Wilems (right) hands off leadership of the NSCI Advisory Board to Nick Cristea (center), with Dean Gary A. Morris (left).

Bob Wilems (right) hands off leadership of the NSCI Advisory Board to Nick Cristea (center), with Dean Gary A. Morris (left).

This spring’s agenda featured a visit by CS Prof. Bilal Shebaro and students from his mobile app class, Sophie Gairo, Gage Martin, Marisa Bisaga, and Chloe Becker.  They presented their work leading a session at the CCSC conference (held at SEU earlier this month) on mobile app development in which they taught current CS professors how to build mobile apps.  The also talked about their experience during the Apple TV hack-a-thon as well as the new opportunities provided by the NSCI seats at the Capital Factory.

Next, Munday School of Business Dean Nancy Schreiber and Career Center Director Ray Rogers presented information on our internship matching program with the Austin Tech Council and the developing and deepening relationships between NSCI and MSB students and programs.

Dr. Morris gave an overview of 2015 – 2016 accomplishments in NSCI, including faculty publications, student awards, and recent grant awards (including the Steelcase grant).

Mr. Michael Lykaios Guerrero presented information on our existing 3+2 engineering partnerships, our partnership with Notre Dame for the ESTEEM program, and our developing partnerships in the health professions.

Mr. Michael Morelius and Ms. Kristina Bachman then gave a presentation on 2015 – 2016 accomplishments in Advancement, with special attention to pledges and contributions to NSCI and Wild Basin.

The meeting was adjourned for lunch around noon.  Many Advisory Board members then attended the annual Senior Seminar presentations.

Celebrate Earth Day (22 May) with NASA

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden sent around email this morning reminding all NASA researchers of NASA’s celebration of Earth Day:  “At NASA, it’s Earth Day every day…”

You can follow NASA’s Earth Science Field Missions over the next 6 months on the Earth Expeditions page.

NASA has launched a social media campaign with the hashtag #24Seven for people worldwide to upload photos of what they’re doing to celebrate Earth Day and improve our planet.

NASA will share “a day in the life” of Earth Science through a series of images on the 24Seven website.

What did you do to celebrate Earth Day?  Add a comment to this post.


St. Ed’s NSCI Alumna and Fulbright Scholar Featured in Story on Research to Combat Antibiotic Resistance

Jana Soares (Biology, ’15) is featured in a story released by the University of Technology Sydney on her Fulbright Scholar research project.  She’s working at UTS’s ithree institute to defeat antibiotic resistant bacteria using worms, antibiotics, and antimicrobial peptides in the battle superbugs against like pseudomonas aeruginosa, one of the leading causes of infections acquired in hospitals. See the full story on her work, including some pictures from the places she’s visited around Australia.  Her work is sponsored by the Australian-American Fulbright Commission.

Jana plans to return to the US in the fall to pursue a graduate degree at the “intersections of science and business.”  Stay tuned to find out which lucky graduate school gets her to enroll!

And you can find out more about Jana’s adventures in Australia on her blog.

CANCELLED: World Intellectual Property (IP) Day 2016 Comes to St. Edward’s

A conversation on how IP contributes to technology, music, and the arts.