Lake Superior State University
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Alum Success

Marci graduated from White Pines Collegiate and Vocational School in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, and has been active during her time at LSSU in the Chemistry and Environmental Club, Investment Club, Pre-Professional Society, Honors Society, Alpha Chi Sorority, Learning Center, a member of the American Water Works Association and the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, and is a volunteer at Pathways Retirement Home. While at LSSU, she has worked at the Learning Center as a tutor and supplemental instructor, learning her advanced tutoring certification and winning the Margaret Hagg Memorial Scholarship. She was a recipient of the Ontario Honors Scholarship for four years. Marci completed her senior research by standardizing a method to fluorescently detect pharmaceuticals and personal care products in drinking water. This study helped to prepare her for her graduate studies at Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi to conduct biodiesel research with Dr. Paul Zimba. She will graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Chemistry and Chemistry, magna cum laude, with minors in Economics and Mathematics, graduating as part of the Honors Society.

Marci Leanee Savage
2010 Outstanding Graduate
Environmental Chemistry

College of Natural and Mathematical Sciences

School of Physical Sciences

Mission/Vision

The School of Physical Sciences is comprised of the Department of Chemistry and Environmental Sciences and the Department of Geology and Physics

The School prepares physical and environmental scientists to address regional, state, national and global problems.  This is accomplished as we:

  • provide students with a sound foundation in the fundamentals of their selected scientific discipline
  • provide students with up-to-date research knowledge in their scientific discipline
  • provide students with opportunities to demonstrate growth and achievement in their selected scientific discipline

The Departments of the School of Physical Science are fully aligned and supportive of the goals of the College of Natural, Mathematical and Health Sciences.  The observable, measurable objectives, and the assessments by which we will measure our accomplishment of these goals include:

  1. GOAL: Develop skills in analysis, critical thinking, problem solving, decision-making and communication.
    OBJECTIVE: offer well-planned and pedagogically sound learning exercises in courses and in research projects.
    ASSESSMENT: annually examine and evaluate course syllabi, course assessment materials, and student research experiences.  

    Data Sets Needed: course syllabi (dean and chair), course assessment documents (dean and chair), compiled Student Research/Projects Experience evaluations (chair and assessment coordinator)

  2. GOAL: Prepare students for careers using their respective degrees and/or certificates.
    OBJECTIVE: offer coursework and training appropriate for employment related to departmental majors or minors.
    ASSESSMENT: require discipline-specific tests of content knowledge (e.g. standardized, nationally-normed tests where appropriate) and student reported employment at baccalaureate level.

    Data Sets Needed: Course assessment (dean and chair), Student Exit Survey (chair and assessment coordinator)

  3. GOAL: Prepare students for graduate schools and professional schools.
    OBJECTIVE: offer coursework and active learning experiences appropriate to the prerequisites of specified  post-baccalaureate programs.
    ASSESSMENT: tabulate student reported application and acceptance rates to post-baccalaureate programs.

    Data Sets Needed: Student Exit Survey (chair and assessment coordinator)

  4. GOAL: Provide hands-on experiences with modern instruments and equipment
    OBJECTIVE:  provide coursework and research opportunities that include opportunities to use equipment.
    ASSESSMENT: regularly inventory equipment and instrument usage records; plan for replacement, upgrades and new acquisitions.

    Data Sets Needed: Compiled Instrument Usage logs and Annual Instrumentation Report/Plan (chair and lab coordinator)

  5. GOAL: Provide highly skilled professors who are also respected scholars.
    OBJECTIVE: recruiting Ph.D.- prepared faculty, reward good teaching, encourage faculty to conduct funded  research and publish results, and encourage participation in professional organizations.
    ASSESSMENT: regularly review faculty engagement in scholarship, teaching and service

    Data Sets Needed: annual faculty HLC report form (dean and chair)

  6. GOAL: Provide unique learning opportunities.
    OBJECTIVE: utilize the unique environmental features of our region, state, continent and world; the facilities of the Crawford Hall of Science, including the Long Planetarium, the Geographic Information Systems lab and the Environmental Analysis Laboratory;  and the LSSU Aquatic Resource Laboratory.
    ASSESSMENT:  annually evaluate the usage and future needs of our specialized learning environments.
    Data Sets Needed: Add self-reporting question to the annual faculty HLC report regarding use of unique learning opportunities (chair and assessment coordinator)

Optim- ization of Salmon DNA as an Internal Standard for qPCR

Elaina Murray

The Escherichia coli species is a human fecal contamination indicator and as such is used in beach monitoring efforts. Quantifying E. Coli presence in local beach waters helps the health department determine if a beach should be closed. The current method of determination, Colilert, takes 18 hours to produce data. Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (qPCR), which measure genetic DNA, is also method used to quantify the number of E. Coli, but it can be done much faster than Colilert. In order to standardize the qPCR results, an internal standard is included which is salmon DNA. This project goes through the process of optimizing the salmon standard curve. Each of the components was modified and the resulting standard curve was analyzed for improvements; the primers and probe were purchased new and the concentrations were varied, the DNA was purchased new and the standard curve concentrations and dilution methods were varied, the DNA was cleaned with a Qiagen kit, and new master mix and bovine serum albumin were purchased and prepared. We found that changes to the concentrations of primers and probe and cleaning the DNA showed an increase of optimization, and that changing the dilution methods had no effect of optimization. A combination of the above modifications may be able to produce an optimized salmon DNA standard curve.

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