The Synapse

Updates from the Sciences at Loyola University Maryland

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May 2020 | Issue 20

We hope this issue finds you and your family healthy and well. As we wrap up final exams and a spring semester at Loyola unlike any ever before, we celebrate the resilience, innovation and success of students, faculty, staff and administrators. Opportunities to grow and learn have risen from the Covid-19 crisis and we continue along this journey together.

Share your news, photos, or inspiring stories for a future issue. In particular, we would like to know what you have missed the most about being on Loyola's campus. Send a photo, short statement or video that we can include in the next newsletter to Jen Sullivan at

Finally, congratulations to the class of 2020! While we may be apart, we are celebrating your achievements and wishing you well as you go forth to change the world!

Highlights and General Announcements

Congratulations Class of 2020!

A Salute to Loyola University Maryland's Seniors - Class of 2020
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Computer Science Department End-of-Year Events

Computer Science Professor Published in IEEE Computer

Computer science professor and department chair Mohammad Raunak and his colleague Rick Kuhn authored the Guest Editorial for the April issue of IEEE Computer. The ideas are based on his research at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) during his sabbatical.

Read the article here >>>

Announcing Loyola's Inaugural Haig Scholars Cohort

Celebrating student achievement and the legacy of a beloved faculty member, Loyola’s natural and applied sciences academic division has designated 23 Loyola students as the University’s inaugural Haig Scholars. The students selected are juniors and seniors from all six departments within the natural and applied sciences who were nominated by faculty. Students were chosen based on demonstrated academic achievement, leadership experience and potential, commitment to service, and community engagement.

The Haig Scholars program was created to honor Rev. Frank Haig, S.J., professor emeritus of physics.

Read more here >>>

Announcing the nominees for the first Choudhury Sarkar-Dey Medal

The Choudhury Sarkar-Dey Medal was founded in 2019 by the Sarkar-Dey family in honor of professor Dipa Sarkar-Dey as the first division medal at Loyola University Maryland. It will be conferred annually on a student graduating with a degree in Natural and Applied Sciences with excellent academic accomplishments combined with outstanding demonstrated support for diversity and community service in enhancing the intellectual, cultural, and social life of the campus and the greater Baltimore community.

We are proud to announce the following finalists for the very first Choudhury Sarkar-Dey Medal to be presented to a member of Loyola's class of 2020:

  • Ann Ernst (Department of Engineering)
  • Sarah Kujala (Department of Biology)
  • Chiara Maalouf (Department of Computer Science)
  • Zac Metzler (Department of Mathematics and Statistics)
  • Ethan Mullen (Department of Physics)
  • Jennifer Valencia (Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry)

These six highly-accomplished students were selected by the faculty and chairs of each department within Natural and Applied Sciences. Please join us in congratulating them on their academic success and thanking them for their contributions to diversity and community service at Loyola and beyond!

Hauber Summer Research Fellowship Program Continues with Remote Research

The Hauber Summer Research Fellowship Program has been a Loyola tradition since 1988. It is our pleasure to announce the 2020 Hauber fellows and mentors who will be conducting remote research this summer. Stay tuned for more information about virtual presentations later in the summer that will be open to the entire Loyola community. Thank you to the faculty and students who have been flexible and innovative. And thank you to all who continue to support and recognize the value and impact of undergraduate research.

2020 Hauber Fellows

Jack Baldwin (mentored by Dr. Suzanne Keilson)

Cameron Bullet (mentored by Dr. Bernadette Roche)

Sabrina Daglish (mentored by Dr. Christopher Thompson)

Grayce Heinemann (mentored by Dr. David Hoe)

Brian Hess (mentored by Dr. Mary Lowe)

Skylar Higgs (mentored by Dr. Joseph Ganem)

Kyle LeBlanc (mentored by Dr. Michael Knapp)

Liam O'Grady (mentored by Dr. Heather Schmidt)

Ryan Overton (mentored by Dr. Yanko Kranov)

Kirby Povilaitis (mentored by Dr. Christopher Thompson)

Matthew Spear (mentored by Dr. Joseph Ganem)

Anthony Taylor (mentored by Dr. Maren Blohm, Dr. Courtney Hastings)

Jack Toohey (mentored by Dr. David Binkley and Dr. M Ruanak)

For additional program information, visit

Lab Renovations Are Underway

An empty campus means time to get to work on major renovations. The electrical engineering lab has been completely gutted and has begun transformation into a state-of-the-art laboratory and teaching facility. The microbiology lab will also be undergoing renovations in the coming months.

Photos by David Hoe, associate professor of Engineering

Natural and Applied Sciences Steering Board Meeting

The Natural and Applied Sciences Steering Board including distinguished alumni actively engaged with Loyola and NAS programs met on May 6, 2020 to discuss recent updates as well as the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on the university and science programs specifically. Conversations focused on short-term and long-term goals as well as ideas for innovation and potential opportunities.

Upcoming Events

Loyola Ready Summit - A Zoom Webinar Series

Join Loyola's Career Center for the LOYOLA READY SUMMIT, four one-hour zoom sessions with something for everyone. Register through Handshake or email for Zoom links.

THRIVING THROUGH ADVERSITY - Thurs. May 7 @ 12 pm & 6 pm

This parent/guardian focused webinar will cover job market data and insights, resilience techniques, internships & alternatives, staying connected to community, Career Services resources, and conclude with an interactive Q&A.

INTERNSHIPS & ALTERNATIVES - Friday, May 8 @ 12 pm & 4 pm
Geared towards First Years, Sophomores & Juniors, students will develop resilience techniques for adjusting to this new environment, learn how to pivot plans for internships and examine options for a meaningful summer.

ASK A RECRUITER - Mon., May 11 @ 12 pm
This Senior-only session will help students acquire the latest
information on job market data and insights, participate in
an "Ask Me Anything" segment with recruiters, learn how
to strengthen personal brand and leverage transferable skills.

RESILIENCE & INSPIRATION NOW - Tuesday, May 12 @ 5 pm
Wrap up the LOYOLA READY SUMMIT with none other than the beloved Rev. Timothy Brown, SJ, Associate Professor of Law and Social Responsibility, as he imparts words of inspiration and wisdom in light of the pandemic. Terry Sawyer, Senior Vice President, will provide closing remarks. Open to the entire Loyola Community.

Join us virtually for the 38th Annual Cosmos & Creation Conference

The annual Cosmos & Creation conference scheduled for June 2020 and traditionally held on Loyola's campus will be online this year with several keynote lectures available to the public as well as member discussions via an online platform. Plans are still underway.

The conference began in 1982 with the vision that working scientists would find it fruitful to share their religious awareness with other scientists, to discuss and share their vision of God and the world, based on their scientific training, reading, and working experience.

Visit for more information about the conference and details as they become available.

X-STEM All Access Virtual Speaker Series

X-STEM All Access presented by AstraZeneca – is a virtual interactive speaker series designed to inspire students, teachers, and parents. Moderated by science educator and communicator Justin Shaifer, X-STEM All Access will be presented as a series of five daily livestream events featuring an exclusive group of visionaries aimed to empower students about careers in STEM. View the speakers here.

X-STEM All Access will take place on May 13-15 and May 18-19 and will be free to attend.


COVID-19 Student Action Fund to Support Students Committed to Social Action

Launched by President Bill Clinton and Chelsea Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) COVID-19 Student Action Fund will support select students at universities around the world who are committed to address the COVID-19 pandemic. This fund will provide at least $100,000 in total funding to students who are developing social enterprises, awareness and prevention campaigns, infectious disease monitoring and response systems, and other emergency response initiatives to provide immediate support during this global crisis.

Apply by June 3 with your commitment to take action at

Opportunities for Connection and Service

We encourage you to visit the University's COVID-19 update page for important information, useful links and resources.

  • Care for your neighbors. Don't underestimate the gifts you can share during this time, from donating to a local food pantry or calling a neighbor or relative to check in. Check out this greeting from Erin O'Keefe in CCSJ.
  • Pray together. Connect with the resources available through Campus Ministry including live streamed worship on Sunday's at 6 pm, and communal prayer throughout the week.

Stay Connected!