The Synapse

Updates from the Sciences at Loyola University Maryland

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January 2022 | Issue 39

Welcome to the start of the spring semester! This issue highlights faculty and student accomplishments, summer opportunities with fast-approaching application deadlines as well as the Haig Scholars program for sophomore and junior NAS majors, and more!

Share your news, photos, inspiring stories, and events for a future issue. Please send any feature suggestions to Jen Sullivan at


Biology student awarded J. Howard Brown award from ASM Maryland

Loyola's Natural and Applied Sciences division is proud to recognize biology major Madeline Valentine who received first place for the J. Howard Brown Award for Outstanding Undergraduate abstracts by the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Maryland Branch. Maddie's research work in collaboration with faculty mentor Christopher Thompson is making a contribution worthy of recognition in the field of microbiology. She presented her research at the ASM Maryland meeting on December 7. Please join us in congratulating Maddie on her accomplishment!

Computer Science Faculty Awarded Grant from NOAA

Dr. Sibren Isaacman, associate professor of computer science, was recently awarded a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) via a partnership with small business partner, INNOVIM, LLC. The funding is a sub award from INNOVIM on a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant to develop a new Machine Learning technique for accurately forecasting extreme precipitation from Landfalling Atmospheric Rivers. The grant allows Dr. Isaacman to continue and extend his work as principal Computer Scientist with the INNOVIM team that took place during his sabbatical leave.

Predicting rainfall is a challenging problem. Dr. Isaacman’s team is exploring innovative ways to recombine established neural network architectures to outperform state of the art rain prediction as well as ways to more efficiently select the data used as input to the model. In phase one, the team demonstrated their LEARN2 model could outperform the GFS (national weather service weather model) when predicting whether it would rain more or less than average at specific points along the west coast. In phase two, they have expanded the area of prediction to the entire west coast, requiring data collection from the bulk of the Pacific, and are targeting the prediction to extreme rainfall, raising questions about processing and storing large amounts of data efficiently on limited hardware.

Increased confidence in forecasts provides benefits for advanced planning and decision-making with positive real-world impacts. Read INNOVIM’s press release about the grant and project here. We look forward to sharing more about Dr. Isaacman’s work in a future issue.


Explore Summer Opportunities

Now is the time to plan ahead for summer opportunities. Whether your interest lies in research or gaining work experience through a valuable internship, explore your options. Application deadlines are often in January and early February, so no time like the present!

Visit the below links on the NAS and Pre-Health sites:

Apply for 2022 Hauber Summer Research Fellowship Program

Each summer, a select group of undergraduate NAS majors is selected to conduct research with faculty mentors on projects in their area of interest during the 10-week Hauber Summer Research Fellowship program, culminating with research presentations for the Loyola community, research posters, and scientific papers. Participation has been a stepping stone for many students to campus and national awards, publications, and admission to graduate programs. The fellowship carries a $5,000 stipend with discounted on-campus housing available and runs from the first week of June through mid-August. The application deadline is Friday, February 4.

For details and application, visit

Apply for 2022 Haig Scholars Program

The Haig Scholars Program is an academic excellence and leadership program for students majoring in Natural and Applied Sciences. The program recognizes the accomplishments of highly-motivated students. Admission is competitive. Scholars are selected during the spring semester of their sophomore or junior year on the basis of demonstrated academic achievement, leadership experience and potential, commitment to service, community engagement, and personal essay. Scholars will participate in the fall Haig Scholars seminar course which will have a strong emphasis on innovation and innovative mindset and incorporate guest speakers in leadership roles. The application deadline is Friday, February 4.

For a complete list of eligibility requirements and application, visit

NEW Student Club - Undergraduate STEM Analytical Organization

Calling all NAS majors and minors - the Undergraduate STEM Analytical Organization (USAO) is a new student organization that will focus heavily on applying and refining learned skills through organized competition(s) at Loyola and beyond. Student leaders aim to grow and foster strong relations by networking with each other and bringing new networks (outside STEM-related companies) to Loyola. There are different clubs on campus geared towards each major and the idea of being under one umbrella will bring together students of diverse thinking and aspirations.

You are invited to join the E-Board or become a member of USAO. Interviews will be conducted for applicants selected to possibly join the E-Board. Freshmen, sophomores, and juniors are strongly encouraged to apply. Positions will be filled swiftly for the Spring 2022 launch.

For more information, contact Day Grear at

NEW Student Club - Data Science Club

Calling all Data Science majors and minors - the Data Science Club is a new student organization that will focus heavily on getting involved and meeting like-minded friends who are pursuing the same area of study as you. The Data Science Club is a great way to network and explore potential career paths, as well as promote academic excellence and service to our community.

You are invited to join the E-Board or become a member of the Data Science Club. Interviews will be conducted for applicants selected to possibly join the E-Board. Freshmen, sophomores, and juniors are strongly encouraged to apply. Positions will be filled swiftly for the Spring 2022 launch.

For more information, contact Robert Kenyon at

Upcoming Campus Events

Upcoming Campus Events

Career Center Opportunities

To register for career-focused events and opportunities, visit Handshake.

The Bridge

Visit The Bridge for upcoming campus meetings and events.

Training & Development Sponsored by Human Resources

  • Employee Assistance Program Orientation - 2/21/22 from 10:30 - 11 am via Zoom.
  • Mental Health: Recognize and Respond for Employees - 1/26/22 from 11 am - 12 pm; Register here.
  • New Employee Orientation - 2/21/22 from 8:30 am - 12 pm via Zoom.

Go to for more information.

Additional Training and Development Opportunities for Employees and Students

OUTLoyola SafeZone Training

Green Bandana Brigade

Spring Semester Resources

Academic Calendar

Coronavirus Resources

  • Loyola Coronavirus Updates - General university information for all students, faculty, staff including the spring 2022 COVID operations plan, COVID-19 dashboard, FAQs, policies, and resources.

Student Support Resources

Employee Support Resources