A Bright Future for the School of Natural Science and Mathematics

The Mount is a place constantly changing and evolving to create a vibrant campus with an abundance of opportunity, especially in the School of Natural Science and Mathematics. With new professors on campus, new majors and programs and a wonderfully innovative vision for the school’s future, it is a place where more students will find an academic home than ever before.

According to Interim Dean Dr. Jennifer Staiger, “The School of Natural Science and Mathematics is poised and ready to make some quantum leaps forward. Enrollment in Biology, Chemistry and Biochemistry courses has nearly doubled in the past 10 years to the point where approximately 30% of the incoming freshman class each year enrolls in Introductory Biology and General Chemistry. The number of psychology students has likewise doubled, and with the launch of the B.S. degree in Cybersecurity this fall we have more than doubled the number of students with majors in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science.”

Additionally, renovations to the COAD Science Building have helped to form the new Center for Computing, Cybersecurity, and Data, with more programs on the way, including a major in Biopsychology, new post-baccalaureate certifications, and a dual degree Health Science and Athletic Training program in partnership with Philadelphia University.

The school has five new faculty members as well: Dr. Patrick Lombardi in Chemistry, Dr. Isaac Mills in Chemistry, Professor Athar Rafiq in Cybersecurity, Dr. John Dusel in Mathematics, and Dr. Angy Kallarackal in Neuroscience.

Dr. Staiger explains the vision and goals for the School of Natural Science and Mathematics as such: “Our vision in the School of Natural Science and Mathematics is to develop an expanded and vibrant community of faculty and student researchers, innovators and learners engaged in discovery. Students will have a plethora of opportunities for experiential learning inside and outside of the classroom and a dynamic career pathway program to help them obtain an ideal job or enter a graduate program. The world-class faculty will blur the lines between research and teaching by weaving research and problem solving into our signature STEM curricula.”


Getting to Know the New Professors: Dr. Patrick Lombardi

What is your background in?  Where did you receive your education?

My background is in protein biochemistry. My most recent studies have focused on understanding how cells detect DNA damage and recruit the necessary repair complexes. I majored in chemistry as an undergraduate at Yale University and received my doctorate in chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania. I spent the last five years as a postdoctoral researcher at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

What are you teaching?

This semester I’m teaching one section of general chemistry lecture and two sections of general chemistry lab.

What drew you to the Mount?

The combination of mentoring the next generation of scientists while being able to continue to pursue my own research interests is what made a career at the Mount so appealing to me.

What makes you passionate about being a professor?

Many of my own undergraduate and graduate school professors were instrumental in guiding me to finding a career that I love. These professors broadened my perspective of the opportunities that were available to me and helped me gain entry into fields of study that I found exciting, important, and very rewarding. I’m hoping to pay that forward as a professor here at the Mount.

What is one thing you think students should know about you?

I’m hoping to be able to round up some undergraduate researchers and Science Department faculty for the occasional afternoon wiffleball game in the fields surrounding Coad Hall when the weather is nice. Come join in when you see us!


Getting to Know the New Professors: Dr. Angy Kallarackal

What is your background in? Where did you receive your education?

I have an B.A. in Psychology with a minor in neuroscience, and a PhD in neuroscience.

Undergraduate: St. Mary’s College of Maryland; Graduate: Unviersity of Maryland, Baltimore

What are you teaching?

Foundations of Psychology and Sensation and Perception with Lab

What drew you to the Mount?

I had been doing research at the University of Utah for the last 5+ years and was eager to move back to Maryland. I particularly liked the emphasis on service and faith at the Mount as well as the potential for lots of academic and scientific growth.

What makes you passionate about being a professor?

I love having the opportunity to work with students on conducting research. I really enjoy learning about neuroscience through experiments, but it’s just as fun to share what I learn with students and hope that they get enthusiastic about it too. Even if my students aren’t interested in scientific research, I hope that they can leave my class with a better understanding about how to interpret science-related topics that they read about and encounter in their daily lives.

What is one thing you think students should know about you?

I’m a total nerd and not afraid to admit it.


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