The Synapse

Updates from the Sciences at Loyola University Maryland

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August 2020 | Issue 23

"Limitations make the creative mind inventive." ~Walter Gropius

As the pandemic continues to disrupt the best laid plans, we are now looking ahead to a fall semester online. While we may be limited in our ability to gather in person during the coming months, this challenge offers an opportunity to innovate creative solutions as a community of engaged learners. To learn more about recent updates and plans for the fall semester, visit Loyola's coronavirus webpage.

We are especially excited to welcome the incoming class of 2024, one of the strongest academically and most diverse classes in Loyola's history, many with intended majors in the sciences. We hope you'll find our monthly newsletters helpful in navigating the many opportunities available to science majors.They feature updates, events, news, and accomplishments from and for students, faculty, alumni, staff and administrators from Loyola's natural and applied sciences.

Share your news, photos, or inspiring stories for a future issue. We are always looking to highlight student and faculty accomplishments and would love to hear what you've been up to over the summer. Send a photo, short statement or video that we can include in the next newsletter to Jen Sullivan at

Highlights and General Announcements

Announcing Loyola's new Forensic Pattern Analysis graduate program

Dr. David Rivers, director of Forensic Studies, was recently interviewed on CBS news about the launch of the new Forensic Pattern Analysis graduate program for fall 2021, a program unlike any other currently available in the country. As the need for forensic scientists continues to grow, especially within the Baltimore area, this program prepares students with interests in solving crime. For more information about forensic studies programs, visit

Read the press release here:

View the interview here:

Loyola named “Best College for Getting a Job” in Maryland by Zippia

The online career search site Zippia named Loyola University Maryland as the "Best College for Getting a Job" in Maryland with a 94% placement rate among recent graduates. The experience and value of a Loyola education and degree continues to shine in the job market.

Click here for the full article.

NAS students making a difference in diversity and community service

During Loyola University Maryland’s 2020 Commencement, the Natural and Applied Sciences academic division awarded for the first time the Choudhury Sarkar-Dey medal to an outstanding graduating senior who has shown remarkable commitment to diversity and community service during their time at Loyola. We are proud to share with you the reflections submitted by the finalists, nominated by their faculty and departments, in a series of posts on the Art of STEM blog.

Meet mechanical and materials engineering alumna Ann Ernst, ’20, a finalist for the Choudhury Sarkar-Dey medal, and a Loyola's nominee for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award.

Read more about Ann's NCAA nomination on the women's volleyball blog.

Read Ann's reflection on the importance of community and the giving and receiving of support during her time at Loyola as a top student, athlete, and mentor. Read more >>>

"Black Engineering Professors Speak" in support of Black Lives Matter

Black faculty represent only 2.4% of STEM faculty. A collection of black engineering faculty worked together to create and share the video “Black Engineering Professors Speak” ( to raise awareness of their experiences as black engineering faculty, to connect to current and potential partners in the Black Lives Matter movement, and to stand in solidarity with activism efforts for Blacks in America. As Loyola actively works toward promoting a culture that is anti-racist, we ask how each of us could support equity, inclusion and sense of belonging and support ALANA members in STEM?

Learning through the Summer

Pre-Health students and faculty stay active with summer health journal club

Loyola’s newest extracurricular, the Hound’s Summer Health Journal Club, formed in response to the COVID pandemic by Loyola's own innovative students and professors. We rooted the fundamental aspects of our club in the juxtaposition of skills and experiences that would otherwise be cultivated in this summer's, now canceled, internships and shadowing opportunities. Logistically, our club meets weekly, via Zoom conference style, with one student leading a higher-level discussion on an article of their choice. When asked how joining the club changed his summer, Tan Hung Nguyen (a general interest group member) states, “weekly articles not only keep me motivated but also challenge me to apply what I learned during classes into real-life scenarios. The club reminds me to find new ways to continue furthering my education, even if I have to try something that diverges from my ‘norm.’ ”

Each week, students accomplish such, through the subdivision into interset breakout groups; (1) the ‘health’ room consists of students with passions for pre-med, pre-nursing, pre-pa, and global health, (2) the ‘speech’ room consists of students with passions for speech pathology, (3) and the ‘general’ room consists of students with passions for pre-veterinary medicine, pre-dental medicine, research, and general sciences. Although students in breakout rooms hold a broad interest with one another, a new leader each week promotes a variety in literature style, from research papers to peer-reviewed journals, and diversification of material discussed.

Averi Cannon (moderator of the speech room) states, “the Speech Pathology section of the Summer Journal Club has looked at a variety of different articles including interprofessional collaboration, effects of speech therapy when combined with music therapy, and the role of SLPs in the NICU. As a group, we have thoroughly enjoyed exploring different areas of our field and learning about the importance of collaboration when it comes to giving our future patients and clients the best care we can.”

Meanwhile, if speech pathology is not what interests you, Reece Lenaz (moderator of the general room) states, “we discuss a wide variety of topics, including dentistry, veterinary medicine, and enological virology. We continue to develop our understanding and passion for biology, and with the help of Dr. Mino enhances our scientific writing capabilities.”

“Overall,” starts Faith Tyranski (moderator of the pre-med group), “I am incredibly proud of every student for taking this stand to relentlessly ensure they are best suited for life after the pandemic. Not everybody loves reading scientific literature, but I believe that so many students participate, because they see the value in keeping abreast the latest innovative research, building the capacity to shift awareness into engagement, and participating in advanced conversations that foster academic tendencies outside of the academic calendar year.” The Hound’s Summer Journal Club has definitely made its mark on Loyola, yet moreover, the students involved, and Dr. Mino (the club sponsor) have made their mark on the Hound’s Summer Journal Club!

For more information, contact Faith Tyranski, '22 at

Hauber Summer Research Program Concludes with Presentation Recordings and Q&A Sessions

The 2020 Hauber Summer Research Program concluded this week with the last of two live Q&A sessions hosted on Zoom, highlighting the fellows' work in an interactive format where audience members engaged with the student researchers. Corporate partners attended including Robin DeRitter, Continuous Improvement Leader, Materials Technology at W. R. Grace & Co, James Owens, Senior Vice President at The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company, and Justin Overfelt, Senior Lead Engineer at Booz Allen Hamilton (and Hauber alumni).

This year's fellows and mentors showed resilience and ingenuity as they modified their projects to be conducted remotely, utilized technology to operate lab equipment from home, took home equipment when they could, and grew experiments in their back yards. Their work will continue as they create research posters and write research papers for future opportunities to present their work on campus and beyond throughout the upcoming academic year.

Links to the fellows recorded research presentations can be found at Please join us in congratulating the fellows and mentors on a successful research program!

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Club captures a bird's eye view of Evergreen campus

While we're all missing the beautiful Evergreen campus right now, we hope you enjoy this aerial tour captured by the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) club below. The UAV student club meets throughout the year to build a large drone for student competition. All drone enthusiasts are welcome! Contact president Jack Cannon,, or club moderator David Opitz,, to get involved.
Loyola University Maryland - an Aerial Tour

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