Students excited about new science facilities

By Diana Ashjian
September 16, 2005

Jerry Zurek

The Center for Science Education and Technology (SET), which broke ground for construction on May 6, 2003, finally opened its doors to faculty and students for the Fall 2005 semester on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2005.

The SET building, which is the newest architectural addition to Cabrini College’s ever-growing campus, is a three-story, state-of-the-art building set to prepare students for the estimated 3,650 jobs open each year requiring bachelor degrees in biological science in Pennsylvania.

According to the 2004 report on new full time students, which is published on the cabrini.edu website by the office of institutional research, enrollment for science and health allied majors has already risen from 46 freshman and transfer students to 71 out of the 537 enrolled.

The $18.5 million project could not have been completed at a better time for transfer student, Aubrey Smith, a junior biology major.

“One of the things that excited me the most about coming to Cabrini other than location was this new facility [SET] because it showed me that Cabrini is as enthusiastic about my future in science as I am,” Smith said.

Several display cases showing anatomical models and thesis posters made by students are distributed throughout the hallways of the 60, 770 sq. ft. building, as well as a 60-seat lecture hall and five different types of laboratories facilitating everything from microbiology to the physical sciences.

Dr. David Dunbar, assistant professor of biology, said, “I can sense the energy and enthusiasm of the students upon coming into the building, but what’s even more great about the SET building is the opportunity to engage in undergraduate research projects.”

Much of the instrumentation, including ultraviolet spectrophometers, fraction collectors and human anatomy and physiology models and slides, was purchased with the $2 million designated funding received over the last three years from organizations like The National Science Foundation, which granted the SET building $84,176 for equipment, and the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), which granted the SET building $260,000, also for lab equipment.

Dr. Sherry Fuller-Espie, department chairperson for science, met with architects at least twice a month to ensure all of the faculty members involved in the building’s development, like Dr. Joseph Smith and Dr. Kim Boyd, would have all their wishes come true.

“We’ve increased our departmental facilities three-fold and gone from three fume hoods [a critical piece of safety equipment in any chemistry laboratory designed to ensure proper ventilation of hazardous fumes] to 38,” Fuller-Espie said.

The science department has two majors: biology (with four concentration areas in biological sciences, biotechnology, pre-medicine and secondary education certification) and chemistry. It has a minor in environmental science, a minor in biology and a minor in chemistry. The science department also offers four pre-professional programs: pre-nursing, pre-occupational therapy, pre-pharmacy and pre-physical therapy for students planning to transfer to institutions that offer those programs who need to fulfill particular prerequisite courses.

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Diana Ashjian

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