Recent Student Highlights

Rachell Quarles sitting outside on a stone bench with a graduation capFall 2020 BS in Biology alumna Rachell Quarles has won third place in the American Academy for the Advancement of Science's (AAAS) 2021 Student E-Poster Competition in the undergraduate division for Developmental Biology, Genetics, and Immunology for her presentation, "Potential Genetic Biomarkers in Preeclampsia Patients."

Rachell's research advisor is Dr. Douglas Dluzen, Visiting Professor in Biology. (February, 2021)

Portrait Image of Joshua SambaJoshua Samba, alumnus of the BS in Physics (2017) and MS in Integrated Science (Physics) (2020) Programs, has been named as a finalist for the 2021 Hertz Fellowships. Selected from more than 900 applicants and representing 17 universities, the finalists advance to a culminating round of interviews for one of the most competitive and coveted fellowships in the nation. Since 1963, the Hertz Foundation has granted fellowships empowering the nation's most promising young minds in science and technology. Hertz Fellows receive five years of funding valued at up to $250,000, with the freedom to pursue innovative projects wherever they may lead. In addition to financial support, the foundation provides ongoing mentoring, symposia, and retreats to build a network of peers, providing fellows a forum to share ideas and explore opportunities throughout their careers. Mr. Samba is currently pursuing a PhD in Chemical Engineering at Rice University. (February, 2021)

Images of Award Certificates for Samson Gichuki, LaDonna Wyatt and Christian Jones

Over the course of the 2020 Fall Semester, students mentored by Dr. Viji Sitther (Associate Professor of Biology and principal investigator of an NSF Excellence in Research Project) participated and performed well in national research conferences, including:

Mr. Samson Gichuki, Ph.D. researcher in the Bioenvironmental Science Program, won first place for oral presentation at the National Technical Association's 92nd Annual Conference, 2020 for his presentation titled, "Impact of ultraviolet radiation on growth and identification of photoreactivation gene in Fremyella diplosiphon, a model cyanobacterium."

Ms. LaDonna Wyatt, Biology undergraduate Research Assistant in the NSF-Excellence in Research Project, won first place in the National Technical Association 92nd Annual Conference, 2020 for her presentation titled, "Impact of Nanofer 25s zerovalent nanoparticles on growth and localization in a genetically engineered cyanobacterium, Fremyella diplosiphon."

Ms. Christian Jones, Biology undergraduate Research Assistant in Dr. Viji Sitther's NSF funded Excellence in Research project, presented a poster titled "Maximizing growth and pigment accumulation in Fremyella diplosiphon using nanofer 25s nanoparticles and light filters" at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS), Nov 9-13, 2020. (January, 2021)

Congratulations 2020 Medical Laboratory Science Graduates!

Jambria Gallman (left) and Jyoti Mahrajan (right)

Congratulations to Jambria Gallman (left) and Jyoti Mahrajan (right), Medical Laboratory Science Class of 2020, for successfully passing the American Soiciety of Clinical Pathology (ASCP) Board of Certifications (BOC) Examination. The BOC is the gold standard in global certification for laboratory professionals. Certification means that the individual meets the academic and clinical competency of the profession. J. Gallman is certified as a Microbiologist and J. Maharjan is certified as a Medical Laboratory Scientist. (October 2020)

Actuarial Science major Mr. Daniel Eya Amame has passed the Financial Mathematics (FM) actuarial exam on his first attempt. Mr. Amame is a second semester transfer student in the Actuarial Science Program. (February, 2020)

Kwame OkrahB.S. in Mathematics alumnus Kwame Okrah (pictured right) has been recognized by Mathematically Gifted and Black as a Black History Month 2020 Honoree. Kwame graduated from the program in 2008. (February, 2020)

From left-to-right: Caroline Ndirangu, Muyideen Haruna, Mathumathi Rajavel, Gianna Montanez, Funmilayo Omole
From left-to-right: Caroline Ndirangu, Muyideen Haruna, Dr. Mathumathi Rajavel, Gianna Montanez and Funmilayo Omole

On Nov 7, 2019, four students conducting research under the mentorship of Dr. Mathumathi Rajavel, Associate Professor of Medical Laboratory Science presented their research as poster presentations at 4th Annual Excellence in Diversity Research Symposium (EiD) at Johns Hopkins University East Baltimore Medical Campus.

  • Muyideen Haruna, Bioenvironmental Science Ph.D candidate, presented a research poster, “Metagenomic Analysis of Soil Samples in and Around Athletic Facilities on College Campus”
  • Caroline Ndirangu, Masters in Science (Biology) candidate presented a research poster, “Characterization of Morphologically Variant Pseudomonas aeruginosa Bacteriophages”
  • Funmilayo Omole, Undergraduate Senior Biology Major presented a research poster, “Unknown Bacteriophages Isolated for Known Bacterial Pathogen”
  • Gianna Montanez, Undergraduate Senior Biology Major presented a research poster, “Exploring Escherichia coli Bacteriophages as Alternatives to Antimicrobials”

Mr. Daniel Eya AmameActuarial Science major and first year transfer student Mr. Daniel Eya Amame (pictured left) has passed the Society of Actuaries Actuarial Exam P: Probability on his first attempt. (November, 2019)

From left-to-right: Funmilayo Omole, Mathumathi Rajavel, Gianna Montanez
Left-to-right: Funmilayo Omole, Dr. Mathumathi Rajavel and Gianna Montanez

On October 19, 2019, senior Biology major Funmilayo Omole gave a poster presentation, "Isolation of Bacteriophages for Staphylococcus aureus from the University Grounds," at the UMBC's 22nd Annual Undergraduate Symposium In the Chemical and Biochemical Sciences. She won an award in the Chemistry and Biochemistry Category. Gianna Montanez, senior Biology major, also presented a poster at this symposium co-authoring with Funmilayo Omole ‘Efficacy Determination of Escherichia coli Bacteriophages as potential Antimicrobials.' Funmilayo and Gianna been conducting research under the mentorship of Dr. Mathumathi Rajavel, Associate Professor of Medical Laboratory Science. (October, 2019)

Myla Worthington standing to the right of her research poster.
Myla Worthington (right)

Bioenvironmental Science PhD candidate Myla Worthington presented a research poster, "A proposed mechanism for selective vulnerability in the brain of the HIV-1 Transgenic Rat," at the Society for Neuroscience's Neuroscience 2019 Meeting in Chicago, IL, October 19-23, 2019. Dr. Frank Denaro, Associate Professor of Biology, is Myla's dissertation advisor and senior author on the presentation. (October, 2019)

Members of the research group standing in front of the poster;
From left to right: Dr. Frank Denaro, Myla Worthington, Dr. Davide Zella, Dr. Francesca Benedetti, Harry Davis, Dr. Joseph Bryant. Not pictured: Sumiko Williams

Bioenvironmental Science PhD candidate Myla Worthington presented a research poster, "Immunocytochemical Labeling of CXCR4 in the HIV-1 Transgenic Rat Brain is Associated with Cell Types Displaying Oxidative/Nitrative Stress and Premature Senescence," at the the Institute of Human Virology's IHV2019 Meeting in Baltimore, MD, October 3-4, 2019. The research group on the presentation consisted of: Myla Worthington; Dr. Francesca Benedetti, IHV Research Associate; Dr. Davide Zella, Co-Head of Laboratory of Tumor Biology, IHV; Dr. Joseph Bryant, Former Director of the IHV Animal Models Core (retired) and a current consultant; Mr. Harry Davis, Director of the Animal Core, IHV; Ms. Sumiko Williams, Animal Facility Supervisor, IHV; and Dr. Frank Denaro, senior author and Associate Professor of Biology. Dr. Denaro is also Myla's dissertation advisor. (October, 2019)

Junior Computer Science major Deandra Harvin was selected to participate in JPMorgan Chase's Code for Good event in Delaware. The event, scheduled September 27-28, 2019, offered competitively selected technology students the opportunity to network and work in teams with the company's tech experts, meet recruiters and creatively use technology to solve real-life challenges for a non-profit organization. (September, 2019)

Darin Brindle standing next to his defense presentation
Darin Brindle (right)

On September 19, 2019, PhD candidate in Industrial and Computational Mathematics (ICM) Darin Brindle successfully defended his dissertation, "S-asymptotically ω-periodic functions and sequences and applications to some evolution equations." Darin will thus be the ICM Program's second-ever degree recipient. His research advisor is Dr. Gaston N'Guerekata, Associate Dean and University Distinguished Professor of Mathematics. (September, 2019)

Tassew Mekuria, a senior graduate student in the Bioenvironmental Science PhD Program, has been awarded the opportunity to use advanced, state-of-the-art research equipment at the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, Maryland and the Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) in Upton, New York. Under the mentorship of Dr. Dereje Seifu of Physics & Engineering Physics Department, Tassew is studying nanoscale materials with the goal of developing nanomagnetic sensors from a composite of carbon nanotubes intercalated with magnetic nanoparticles of CoFe2O4 (CFO) for the detection of carcinogenic heavy metal contaminants, such as chromium, in water and the environment.

During May 28–29, 2019, Tassew carried out research using the Small Angle Neutron Scattering (SANS) machine at NIST, which uses elastic neutron scattering at small scattering angles to investigate the nanostructure and properties of materials at the micrometer and nanometer scale. The structure of materials at such small scales is critical for the performance of advanced engineering materials. The BNL's National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II) is a state-of-the-art 3GeV electron storage ring. The facility offers scientific and industrial researchers an array of beamlines with x-ray, ultraviolet, and infrared light to enable discoveries in clean and affordable energy, high-temperature superconductivity, molecular electronics, and more. During September 12–13, 2019, Tassew used Extended X-ray Absorption Fine Structure (EXAFS) techniques on the NSLS-II to analyze sample nanocomposite materials treated with chromium and understand their microscopic driving forces under highly enhanced magnetization.

To apply for "beam time" on the SANS and NSLS-II machines, researchers submit proposals that are subjected to peer review and ranked against competing proposals based on scientific merit. At the national level, beam time on these devices is highly sought-after and awarded on a highly competitive basis.

Samson Gichuki judging poster presentations
Samson Gichuki judging poster presentations

On August 12th and 13th 2019, Bioenvironmental Science PhD candidate Samson Gichuki and junior Biology major Yona N'Guerekata attended the 36th Annual Mid-Atlantic Plant Molecular Biology Society Conference in Laurel, Maryland with their research advisor, Dr. Viji Sitther, Associate Professor of Biology. Samson Gichuki served in the panel of four judges for poster presentations. Researchers from USDA and more than 15 Universities presented on their cutting edge research.

On August 3, 2019, Ms. Fatemeh Norouzi gave a presentation, "Travel Time Estimation in Urban Transportation Network," at the Mathematical Association of America's MathFest 2019. Fatemeh is a PhD candidate in the Industrial and Computational Mathematics PhD Program, and has been studying under Dr. Elisabeth Kemajou-Brown of the Mathematics Department, who is also co-author of the presentation. (August, 2019)

Fatemeh Norouzi's Presentation

On June 17, 2019, three SCMNS students presented research posters at the American Society for Microbiology - Maryland Branch (ASM-MD) Annual Meeting at the University of Maryland:

  • Muyideen Haruna (PhD candidate in Bioenvironmental Science) and Caroline Ndirangu (MS in Science student in the Department of Biology) presented, "Bacteriophages Isolated for Known Bacterial Pathogens from University Grounds"
  • Funmilayo Omole (senior biology major) presented, "Microbiota Isolated at the University Athlete's Training Facility"

Funmilayo is the Third Place winner of the 2019 ASM Maryland Branch J. Howard Brown Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award, including a certificate, cash prize, and a one-year national ASM membership. Funmilayo Omole, Muyideen Haruna, Caroline Ndirangu, and Gianna Montanez are conducting research under Dr. Mathumathi Rajavel of the Biology Department. (June, 2019)

Student Presentations

2019 Medical Technology Graduates

Congratulations 2019 Medical Technology Graduates!

Our 2019 Spring graduates of the Medical Technology Program not only accomplished a 100% pass-rate on their American Society of Clinical Pathology (ASCP) Board of Certification (BOC) examinations, but also found 100% employment within just four months of graduation! Congratulations Hillary Ajifa, Ruth Hourston, Ambaye Semere and Joymaria Uche! (May, 2019)

Congratulations to Medical Technology graduates employed by clinical affiliates in 2019!
(May, 2019)

Pi Mu Epsilon (PME) is the national mathematics honor society for students. Election into PME is based on mathematical achievement and overall scholarship. The following five students, pictured from left to right, Sandra J. Bonga (ACSC), Toluwalope O. Ologun (Math), Roshan Ghimire (ACSC), Kameryn M. Robinson (Math minor), and Alexis D. Samuels (ACSC) were inducted into the Maryland Beta Chapter of PME on Thursday, April 25, 2019. Congratulations Sandra, Toluwalope, Roshan, Kameryn, and Alexis!

For more information on PME, please see Dr. Najat Ziyadi, Chapter Advisor.

2019 Pi Mu Epsilon Inductees

Benjamin Clinkscale, sophomore computer science major, has been accepted in the Distributed Research Experience for Undergraduates (DREU) Program for summer 2019. He will conduct research in the lab of Dr. Chris Crawford at the University of Alabama. (March, 2019)

George Makunde Martin III, sophomore computer science major, has been selected for the Generation Google Scholarship in the amount of $10,000. (March, 2019)

Myka Terry, sophomore mathematics major, co-presented a research paper at a Mini Conference for National Research Experience for Undergraduates Program (NREUP) hosted by the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) last fall at the MAA Carriage House in Washington, DC. Dr. Leon Woodson co-organized the conference, and Drs. Kendra Pleasant and Najat Ziyadi were also participants. The conference is featured in the February/March 2019 MAA Focus Maganzine (Vol. 39, No. 1, page 22). (February, 2019)

Roshan Ghimire, senior actuarial science major, won a $3,000 scholarship from the Society of Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriters. (February, 2019)

On February, 22—24, 2019, Somayeh Gharaie Fathabad (pictured right) gave an oral presentation, "Overexpression of Sterol desaturase gene enhances lipid productivity in Fremyella diplosiphon, a model cyanobacterium," and Shaveen McKen (pictured left) gave a poster presentation, "Virulence genetics of Erwinia tracheiphila on the cucurbit, 'ambrosia' melon," at the Emerging National Researchers (ERN) Conference in Washington, DC. Somayeh is a PhD candidate in the Bioenvironmental Science PhD Program, and Shaveen is a senior biology major. Somayeh received a travel grant to present her research at the Conference. Both Somayeh and Shaveen are conducting research under Dr. Viji Sitther. (February, 2019) 

Jose Dixon (pictured left), senior computer science major, and Taiwo Akinnuoye (right), junior computer science major, presented posters at the Emerging Researchers National (ERN) Conference in Washington, DC on February 22—24, 2019. Jose received a full travel grant from the conference organizer. Both students are conducting research under Dr. Md Rahman on projects related to crowd sourcing and machine learning. (February, 2019)

On February 17, 2019, Myka Terry, sophomore mathematics major, gave a poster presentation, "Investigating First Returns of Random Walks: The Effect of Multicolored Vectors," at the 2019 AAAS Annual Meeting held in Washington DC. (February, 2019)

Industrial and Computational Mathematics PhD candidate, Mrs. Zeinab Bandpey's paper, "Compact and Extremely Disconnected Spaces," has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Advanced Studies in Topology. The paper is co-authored by Mrs. Bandpey's joint PhD advisor, Dr. Bhamini Nayar. (February, 2019)

Jamyra Tingle-Baltimore, junior actuarial science major, won a $2,500 scholarship from the Principal Insurance Company. (January, 2019)

Amanda Nweke at ABRCMS

On November 7, 2018, Amanda Nweke, junior biology major, gave a research poster presentation, "CB2 Inhibitor, A New Binding Mechanism for MCT4 and Its Possibilities as a New Therapeutic Drug for Colorectal Cancer," at the at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS). Amanda received a Certificate of Achievement in recognition of her outstanding presentation. (November, 2018)

Three SCMNS students, John Paul Akinbami (junior chemistry major), Dolapo Nurudeen (sophomore biology major), and Ayanna Culmer-Gilbert (junior chemistry major), applied and were accepted to the Johns Hopkins University's Explore Hopkins Weekend held October 4—6, 2018. All three students conduct research in the Chemistry Department on a volunteer basis. (October, 2018)

Industrial and Computational Mathematics PhD candidate, Mrs. Zeinab Bandpey's paper, "A Study of Generalized Continuous Functions," has been accepted for publication in the International Journal of Advances in Mathematics. The paper is co-authored by Mrs. Bandpey's joint PhD advisor, Dr. Bhamini Nayar. (September, 2018)

Actuarial Science Alumnus, Mr. Alpha Bada (2013) has attained the Associate of Society of Actuaries (AsA) designation. This achievement puts Mr. Bada on track to become Morgan's first Fellow of the Society of Actuaries. (September, 2018)

Sophomore mathematics major, Myka Terry presented her research paper, "Investigating First Returns: The Effect of Multicolored Vectors," at the NAM Mathfest at Spelman College, Atlanta. Ms. Terry's research advisor is Dr. Leon Woodson. (September, 2018)

Ms. Fatemeh Norouzi, PhD candidate in the Industrial and Computational Mathematics Program, presented her paper, "How to model volatility in stock exchange by GARCH(p,q) model" at the Mathematical Association of America Mathfest in Denver, CO on August 4, 2018. Ms. Norouzi is conducting research under the guidance of Dr. Elisabeth Kemajou-Brown of the Mathematics Department. (August, 2018)

Two Biology majors, Mr. Benjamin Frey (May 2018 graduate - pictured left) and Ms. Shauna Tabb (rising senior - pictured right), were selected as Bunting Family Foundation interns during the summer of 2018 at the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET). Ben and Shauna both made a strong and positive impression during their internships. Ben has been accepted to the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMET) master's degree program. He will work in the laboratory of Professor David Secor at the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory with Dr. Rosemary Jagus as a co-advisor. Shauna has been invited to continue her research project in the laboratory of Profesor Sook Chung during the Fall 2018 semester. Read more about their experiences here. (August, 2018)

Dy'mon Walker

Recent Biology alumna, Dy'mon Walker (Class of 2018), received an Honorable Mention for her poster presentation, "Effect of Salinity on Microcystin Production and Protein Expression in Selected Cyanobacteria," at the 35th Annual Mid-Atlantic Plan Molecular Biology Society Meeting at the Patuxent Research Refuge in Laurel, Maryland. A total of 28 students presented at the meeting, hailing from a variety of institutions, including the University of Virginia, the University of Delaware, Virginia Tech, Towson University, the University of Maryland, Hagerstown Community College, Frederick Community College, Al Azhar University, and Frostburg State University. Other presenters from SCMNS include Somayeh Gharaie Fathabad (Bioenvironmental Science Ph.D. Candidate) and Shaveen McKen (senior Biology major) who presented their research findings with Dr. Viji Sitther of the Biology Department as their mentor. (August, 2018)

Michael McDonald, a sophomore Computer Science Major, and Michael Guy III, a sophomore Physics Major, were awarded the Hercules Scholarship from the Tom Joyner Foundation. (November, 2017)

Extreme Science Internships at Johns Hopkins University have been awarded to the following MSU students (May, 2017):

Ph.D. candidate in Industrial and Computational Mathematics, Zeinab Bandpey, has contributed an article, "Equations of Peace," to the May–June 2017 Newsletter of the Association for Women in Mathematics. (April, 2017)

Computer Science students, Marissa Bush, Chevane Minto, and Joshua Olumese, and Ambria Dolison in Electrical Engineering, have been accepted for summer internships at Facebook.  Dionna Burrell and Trevon Wiggs in Computer Science have been accepted for summer internships at Google. (April, 2017)

Freshman Computer Science Major, Chauncey Rogers (mentored by Dr. Edward Dillon), has been accepted for a 10-week summer internship program with the Florida State University Computer Science Department. (April, 2017)

Graduating senior in Computer Science, Martina Taylor, has been admitted to the NYU Tandon School of Engineering to do a PhD in Cybersecurity. (April, 2017)

Graduating senior in Computer Science, Marc Brooks (mentored by Dr. Sam Tannouri), won the first prize in the 24th Annual Undergraduate and Graduate Symposium for his project designing a tic-tac-toe puzzle game. (April 2017)

Ph.D. candidate in BioEnvironmental Science, Behnam Tabatabai, has published a paper, co-authored with Dr. Viji Sitther, "Overexpression of hlyB and mdh genes confers halotolerance in Fremyella diplosiphon, a freshwater cyanobacterium," in the journal, Enzyme and Microbial Technology. (April, 2017)