Ashland University Science Scholars Program

Contact Us

Questions concerning the AU Science Scholars program can be directed to:
Dr. Perry Corbin
Professor of Chemistry
pcorbin@ashland.edu
419.289.5269

Science Blog

AU Trustees Approve Reduction of Academic Programs

The Ashland University Board of Trustees recently voted to “sunset” twenty undergraduate degree programs. Sunsetting means that current and incoming students will have the opportunity to fully complete their majors, but students will no longer be accepted into these programs after the current incoming fall class. Information about this decision can be found on the AU website and Facebook page. This post is intended to provide some clarity regarding the impact on programs housed within the Kettering Science Center. The Bachelor of Science with majors in Geology, Geoscience Technology & Management, and Physics will be sunsetted, in addition to the minor in Physics. The Geology minor will continue to be offered, as will the geology and physics courses that are required by other programs. All majors within the Department of Biology/Toxicology will remain. Likewise, the Bachelor of Science with majors in Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Forensic Chemistry will continue. The Environmental Science Program will also remain. The potential for a revised EVS/Geochemistry track has received support from the administration. In science education, the two BSEd majors in grades 7-12 Integrated Science and Life Science will continue, as will the science concentration for the middle grades major. The BSEd programs in Chemistry Education, Earth Science Education, and Physical Science Education will be sunsetted. The news of the discontinuation of academic programs is personally and professionally disappointing to students, alumni, faculty, staff, and friends of Ashland University Sciences. Feel free to contact me at if you have questions. My colleagues and I are working to create the safest and best possible experience for our new and returning students this fall. We hope to see you or hear from you in the coming year. As always, thank you for the support. Dr. Rebecca CorbinChair of the Department of Chemistry/Geology/Physics...Read more

AU research sparks further investigation of a public health threat

Scrap material used for cookware in Cameroon includes old engine parts
In 2013, Dr. Jeff Weidenhamer was contacted by Perry Gottesfeld of Occupational Knowledge International with a question about the safety of cookware. Mr. Gottesfeld was working with colleagues at an NGO (see: http://www.crepdcm.com/) in Cameroon to reduce toxic exposures from lead paint, when questions were raised about the possible hazards of the aluminum cookware that most people there use. In Cameroon, and throughout the developing world, the recycling of scrap aluminum into cookware is a widespread practice. After a preliminary investigation we learned that source materials can include items such as old engine blocks, radiators, and computer parts.
Pots awaiting sale in a Cameroon marketDr. Weidenhamer and several AU students – Peter Kobunski, Alison Biro, and Meghann Fitzpatrick – along with AU colleagues Dr. Rebecca Corbin and Dr. Michael Hudson, set out to investigate the hazards of this cookware by looking at the metals that leached from the pots in dilute vinegar solutions that mimicked mildly acidic solutions that are often used for cooking. Working with Mr. Gottesfeld, and beginning with cookware from Cameroon and then ten other developing nations, they found a number of cookware items that released toxic levels of lead during simulated cooking. The worst was a pot from Viet Nam that yielded more than 1400 micrograms of lead per serving. Other metals detected in the leachates of some pots included arsenic and cadmium, and almost all of the items released levels of aluminum that exceed World Health Organization guidelines.
The studies, which have been published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, have encouraged researchers in Cameroon, South Africaand other countriesto conduct follow-up studies to assess the...Read more

Five Biochemistry Alumni earn Medical Degrees

The Biochemistry major has been popular with many of our students who plan careers in medicine. In the spring of 2019, five Biochemistry alumni earned their medical degrees.
Dr. Daiva (Gerbec) Mitchell (’13) completed her MD at the University of Toledo School of Medicine (MD) in Spring 2019, and is currently a resident in Internal Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Daiva writes,
“Ashland University was the perfect school to prepare me for medical school and my career as a physician. With the small class sizes, I was able to get to know my professors and easily find mentors and research opportunities. Also, with Ashland's wide variety of clubs and groups, I was able to develop my professional and leadership skills while in college. Finally, with Ashland's focus on Christian values, I grew in my compassion for others which has impacted the way I care for my patients now.” 
Dr. Aaron Tipton (’13) also completed his MD at the University of Toledo School of Medicine (MD) in Spring 2019, and is a General Surgery resident at the Case Western Reserve University/University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. Aaron writes,
“The experience at Ashland University prepared me for medical school in many ways from knowledge, critical thinking and a love for learning. Every class was taught by a professor who was passionate about the subject. They inspired me to become a lifelong learner, which is one of the most important traits of becoming a physician.”


Dr. Kayla Prokopakis (’15) completed her DO at the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine in Spring 2019, and is an Emergency Medicine resident at Mercy Health -St. Elizabeth Boardman Hospital in Boardman, Ohio.Kayla writes, 
“Ashland University prepared me for medical school and my professional career in more...Read more

Toxicology student presents research on Pesticide Analysis

Cillian Donahue, a senior Toxicology and Biology major (with a concentration in Forensic Biology) from Strongsville, had the opportunity to present her research on “Using Passive Sampling as a Method for Pesticide Analysis” at the recent National Collegiate Honors Council Conference in New Orleans. Cillian has been investigating a new method using silicone tubing to absorb pesticides from sediment for her Honors Capstone project. She is supervised by Dr. Jeff Weidenhamer (Chemistry) and Dr. Andrew Trimble (Toxicology).
Cillian writes that the feedback she received will be useful for other presentations of her research in the coming year, and that she was able to see projects that that Honors Students around the country are working on. While in New Orleans, Cillian had the opportunity to check out a couple of museums related to her scientific interests – the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum and the New Orleans Museum of Death, which has memorabilia related to famous crimes among other forensic-related topics. 
The New Orleans Pharmacy Museum (photos below) was located in a pharmacy that was founded in the 1800s. The building housed old pharmaceutical equipment and various questionable medications. Tinctures ranged from mixtures of cocaine and red wine, to heroin and sodas. In addition, there was no shortage of heavy metals, including lead coated pills for the rich, and lead baby bottles to sooth young ones. Overall, Cillian found the museum was very educational and interesting, particularly for Toxicology majors. 


...Read more

Contact Us

Contact Us

Questions concerning the AU Science Scholars program can be directed to:
Dr. Perry Corbin
Professor of Chemistry
pcorbin@ashland.edu
419.289.5269

Science Blog

Science Blog

AU Trustees Approve Reduction of Academic Programs

The Ashland University Board of Trustees recently voted to “sunset” twenty undergraduate degree programs. Sunsetting means that current and incoming students will have the opportunity to fully complete their majors, but students will no longer be accepted into these programs after the current incoming fall class. Information about this decision can be found on the AU website and Facebook page. This post is intended to provide some clarity regarding the impact on programs housed within the Kettering Science Center. The Bachelor of Science with majors in Geology, Geoscience Technology & Management, and Physics will be sunsetted, in addition to the minor in Physics. The Geology minor will continue to be offered, as will the geology and physics courses that are required by other programs. All majors within the Department of Biology/Toxicology will remain. Likewise, the Bachelor of Science with majors in Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Forensic Chemistry will continue. The Environmental Science Program will also remain. The potential for a revised EVS/Geochemistry track has received support from the administration. In science education, the two BSEd majors in grades 7-12 Integrated Science and Life Science will continue, as will the science concentration for the middle grades major. The BSEd programs in Chemistry Education, Earth Science Education, and Physical Science Education will be sunsetted. The news of the discontinuation of academic programs is personally and professionally disappointing to students, alumni, faculty, staff, and friends of Ashland University Sciences. Feel free to contact me at if you have questions. My colleagues and I are working to create the safest and best possible experience for our new and returning students this fall. We hope to see you or hear from you in the coming year. As always, thank you for the support. Dr. Rebecca CorbinChair of the Department of Chemistry/Geology/Physics...Read more

AU research sparks further investigation of a public health threat

Scrap material used for cookware in Cameroon includes old engine parts
In 2013, Dr. Jeff Weidenhamer was contacted by Perry Gottesfeld of Occupational Knowledge International with a question about the safety of cookware. Mr. Gottesfeld was working with colleagues at an NGO (see: http://www.crepdcm.com/) in Cameroon to reduce toxic exposures from lead paint, when questions were raised about the possible hazards of the aluminum cookware that most people there use. In Cameroon, and throughout the developing world, the recycling of scrap aluminum into cookware is a widespread practice. After a preliminary investigation we learned that source materials can include items such as old engine blocks, radiators, and computer parts.
Pots awaiting sale in a Cameroon marketDr. Weidenhamer and several AU students – Peter Kobunski, Alison Biro, and Meghann Fitzpatrick – along with AU colleagues Dr. Rebecca Corbin and Dr. Michael Hudson, set out to investigate the hazards of this cookware by looking at the metals that leached from the pots in dilute vinegar solutions that mimicked mildly acidic solutions that are often used for cooking. Working with Mr. Gottesfeld, and beginning with cookware from Cameroon and then ten other developing nations, they found a number of cookware items that released toxic levels of lead during simulated cooking. The worst was a pot from Viet Nam that yielded more than 1400 micrograms of lead per serving. Other metals detected in the leachates of some pots included arsenic and cadmium, and almost all of the items released levels of aluminum that exceed World Health Organization guidelines.
The studies, which have been published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, have encouraged researchers in Cameroon, South Africaand other countriesto conduct follow-up studies to assess the...Read more

Five Biochemistry Alumni earn Medical Degrees

The Biochemistry major has been popular with many of our students who plan careers in medicine. In the spring of 2019, five Biochemistry alumni earned their medical degrees.
Dr. Daiva (Gerbec) Mitchell (’13) completed her MD at the University of Toledo School of Medicine (MD) in Spring 2019, and is currently a resident in Internal Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Daiva writes,
“Ashland University was the perfect school to prepare me for medical school and my career as a physician. With the small class sizes, I was able to get to know my professors and easily find mentors and research opportunities. Also, with Ashland's wide variety of clubs and groups, I was able to develop my professional and leadership skills while in college. Finally, with Ashland's focus on Christian values, I grew in my compassion for others which has impacted the way I care for my patients now.” 
Dr. Aaron Tipton (’13) also completed his MD at the University of Toledo School of Medicine (MD) in Spring 2019, and is a General Surgery resident at the Case Western Reserve University/University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. Aaron writes,
“The experience at Ashland University prepared me for medical school in many ways from knowledge, critical thinking and a love for learning. Every class was taught by a professor who was passionate about the subject. They inspired me to become a lifelong learner, which is one of the most important traits of becoming a physician.”


Dr. Kayla Prokopakis (’15) completed her DO at the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine in Spring 2019, and is an Emergency Medicine resident at Mercy Health -St. Elizabeth Boardman Hospital in Boardman, Ohio.Kayla writes, 
“Ashland University prepared me for medical school and my professional career in more...Read more

Toxicology student presents research on Pesticide Analysis

Cillian Donahue, a senior Toxicology and Biology major (with a concentration in Forensic Biology) from Strongsville, had the opportunity to present her research on “Using Passive Sampling as a Method for Pesticide Analysis” at the recent National Collegiate Honors Council Conference in New Orleans. Cillian has been investigating a new method using silicone tubing to absorb pesticides from sediment for her Honors Capstone project. She is supervised by Dr. Jeff Weidenhamer (Chemistry) and Dr. Andrew Trimble (Toxicology).
Cillian writes that the feedback she received will be useful for other presentations of her research in the coming year, and that she was able to see projects that that Honors Students around the country are working on. While in New Orleans, Cillian had the opportunity to check out a couple of museums related to her scientific interests – the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum and the New Orleans Museum of Death, which has memorabilia related to famous crimes among other forensic-related topics. 
The New Orleans Pharmacy Museum (photos below) was located in a pharmacy that was founded in the 1800s. The building housed old pharmaceutical equipment and various questionable medications. Tinctures ranged from mixtures of cocaine and red wine, to heroin and sodas. In addition, there was no shortage of heavy metals, including lead coated pills for the rich, and lead baby bottles to sooth young ones. Overall, Cillian found the museum was very educational and interesting, particularly for Toxicology majors. 


...Read more

 

National Science Foundation

Ashland University, supported by the National Science Foundation S-STEM Program, is pleased to offer the AU Science Scholars Program. The program provides renewable scholarships to outstanding students with financial need who are majoring in a natural science discipline at AU (biology, biochemistry, chemistry, environmental science, geology, physics, or toxicology), who plan to pursue a career in science, and who are selected to join the program.  Three cohorts of students were selected to join the program in 2017, 2018, and 2019.   A limited number of positions are now available in the program for community college students who are transferring to Ashland University in Spring 2020, Fall 2020, or Spring 2021.

Features of the AU Science Scholars program include:

  1. Guidance from faculty, peer, and alumni mentors
  2. Participation in a learning community with fellow AU Science Scholars
  3. Enhanced career-preparation programming for the science field
  4. Renewable scholarships ranging in amounts from $4,000-$6,000 per year

In order to be eligible for consideration to join the Ashland University Science Scholars Program, applicants must:

  • be accepted to Ashland University prior to completing the Science Scholars Program application (see transfer student admission)
  • be a community college student who will transfer to Ashland University with junior status (minimum 60 hours)
  • have a college/university GPA of at least 3.0 
  • be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or refugee alien
  • declare a natural science major
  • be a full-time student once at Ashland University
  • file the FAFSA
  • complete the Science Scholars Program application--link to the left (applications will be considered on a rolling basis)  

Science Scholars Program Activities

As part of the Ashland University Science Scholars Program, students participate in internship and career preparation workshops, attend talks given by experts in science, and travel off-campus to visit various science facilities and jobsites.  Highlights of recent program activities follow.

STEM Career and Internship Videos

As part of Ashland University's S-STEM grant, as outside speakers and alumni interact with the AU Science Scholars, and as Scholars or other selected Ashland University students participate in research and internships, video interviews are being conducted to document activities for futher use.  These interviews not only focus on careers, internships, and graduate programs, but also focus on the individuals' path and interest in science.   Selected video links from 2017-2018 are shared below:

Dr. Marie Southerland (graduate study in science)  In Fall 2017, Ashland University biochemistry alumna Marie Southerland spoke to the AU Science Scholars about her experience as a graduate student and about preparation for graduate school in the sciences.  Marie is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Oberlin College.

Ms. Emily Law (NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates)  In Fall 2017, Ashland University physics and math double major Emily Law spoke to the AU Science Scholars about her participation in two NSF REUs.  Her presentation was part of a workshop for the Science Scholars on possible internships in academic labs (both on-campus and off-campus).

Mr. Chris May (Director of Restoration, The Nature Conservancy, Michigan)  In Fall 2017, the Ashland University Science Scholars Program welcomed Mr. Chris May who gave a lecture about "Landscape Restoration and Conservation of Coastal Wetlands in Western Lake Erie" (VIDEO link to entire presentation).  This talk was part of the 2017-2018 annual Environmental Science lecture series, which was co-sponsored by the S-STEM program.

Dr. Ofer Reizes (Laura J. Fogerty Endowed Chair for Uterine Cancer Research, Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute)  As the inagural speaker in a new lecture series that is part of the AU S-STEM project, the "Lab to Market Speaker Series", Dr. Ofer Reizes gave a lecture about "Clinical Problems and Drug Development for Gynecological Cancers".  The purpose of the Lab to Market Speaker Series is to expose students to how new knowledge, derived from scientific research, is brought to industry or clinic; which, in turn, results in benefits for society.  Dr. Reizes also sat for an interview in which he outlined his career path and preparation advice for students.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1643489 (DUE).

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.