Media reports are full of statistics that indicate that interesting and well-paying careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math – the STEM fields – are wide open and waiting for a trained workforce. Reports from a variety of sources say that women represent 48 percent of the U.S. work force – but in STEM fields, women represent only 24 percent of the work force.
Many believe the lack of women in the field is caused by a lack of female role models in STEM education. Lubbock Christian University, however, is turning around that stereotype. Among the many dedicated and gifted professors in biology, chemistry, natural resources, and math is a group of seven remarkable women playing key roles in training young women and men who come to LCU for a great education and preparation for their futures.
Enjoy meeting the women of the Department of Natural Sciences and the Department of Math and Physical Sciences. Their numbers, statistics, and students tell an amazing LCU story.
Professor of Chemistry, B.S. Education, LCU 1989, M.S. and Ph.D., Texas Tech University
For the past 10 years, in an effort to bring undergraduate research to LCU, Dr. Julie Marshall has served as a consultant for research and development in the peanut industry, helping to solve real-world problems for such companies as Smucker’s and Birdsong Peanuts. Students who work with Dr. Marshall get to participate in answering questions for the industry by designing experiments and conducting original research. The skills learned in the laboratory and in presenting their research benefits students as they transition into graduate school, professional school, or the work force.
Dr. Marshall has received more than $1.3 million in funds to purchase equipment, support student researchers, and fund travel to scholarly meetings. She spends about two months a year working on grants or proposals, grant reports, and the like. Roughly 320 hours/year for 10 years = 3,200 hours.
Dr. Marshall has thought a great deal about how LCU has been able to grow such an outstanding program: “Our instructional methods are innovative thanks in large part to my colleagues and their willingness to try new things. I cannot express how much I think of the dedicated faculty and staff. It is a blessing to work in this environment.”
Dr. Marshall’s students consider her a challenging teacher, yet a great role-model and encourager:
“Working in the LCU BRL [Biochemical Research Lab] profoundly impacted my undergraduate academic experience. A direct benefit of working in that environment was learning the value of scientific research and advancement. It is difficult to teach the process of scientific advancement (not to mention the thrill of discovery) in the classroom – as uncovering the cutting-edge takes place in the lab, the best place to gain familiarity with the process is also in the lab. The BRL provided me this learning avenue and helped prepare me for research at the graduate level, where I currently am. I expect to complete my Ph.D. in Chemistry in 2015 and am grateful to Dr. Marshall for the earlier learning through research that the BRL offered me. As I have witnessed firsthand the beneficial effect of research on undergraduate education and to summarize the impact that opportunity had, I currently aim to use the science I have learned at the Ph.D. level with undergraduate students after my graduation.” Austin Privett (B.S. Chemistry and Math, 2010, and Honors Scholar), finishing the last year of his Ph.D. Physical Chemistry at TTU
“Undergraduate research was an integral part of my college career at LCU. The experience I have had working under Dr. Marshall and Ms. Porter has been an incredible learning opportunity that I will remember far beyond my education. During my time there, I was able to learn dozens of important laboratory techniques that will certainly be useful as I begin my career. The lab experience has also greatly enhanced my classroom experience, giving me great insight on the practical application of class material. More importantly, however, I have practiced cooperation and have built up several strong relationships that I hope to maintain for the years to come. Dr. Marshall, Ms. Porter, and the rest of the LCU faculty have been an absolute joy to work for, and I have been blessed beyond measure by their encouragement, patience, and support. I would without hesitation recommend undergraduate research to any student of chemistry, as the experience is invaluable and the relationships priceless.” Bryan Hettick (B.S. in Chemistry, 2014, and Honors Scholar) in first year of graduate work at The TTU Institute of Environmental and Human Health
Lecturer in Residence, B.S. Zoology and M.S. Microbiology, Texas Tech University, Chair of the LCU Council on Undergraduate Research
The undergraduate research movement is swelling at LCU in part due to Lucy Porter’s involvement over the past five years. She has attended the National Conference of Undergraduate Research, along with other science faculty, each year LCU has participated in this conference. Spending an incalculable number of hours, she has mentored or co-mentored 35-40 students, each one presenting posters or oral presentations at conferences and seminars.
Professor Porter is known as a dedicated mentor, often spending weekends and holidays with students who are working on presentations, so they can have her undivided attention:
“My main mentor was Ms. Lucy Porter. I feel really blessed to have had her as a mentor; she is truly passionate about teaching. Ms. Porter was profoundly helpful in helping me carry out my research project. Without her, I most likely would not have tried research on my own. She is someone who believed in me even before I believed in myself, and has been instrumental in helping me grow not only as a student, but as a person. Ms. Porter is more than a teacher to me; I am proud to say that she has become a friend as well. She has impacted and will continue to impact the lives of students for years to come.” Nicole Kemei (B.A. in Biology, 2014), currently studying for a Master’s in global health at King’s College in London
“I would like to take this time to share how wonderful my mentor has been. Having the opportunity to work on undergraduate research under the guidance of Ms. Porter has been the greatest blessing. She is insightful, honest, patient, and encouraging. I have a newfound confidence and motivation when it comes to excelling in the sciences, and that is due, in large part, to my mentor.” Markese Bohanon (biology major and Honors Scholar)
“I was one of the students who presented at NCUR in 2012. Ms. Porter was my mentor. I graduated this past May with my degree in Biology, but I spoke to Ms. Porter just a few days ago as we are very good friends. Ms. Porter invited me to participate in the undergrad research program when I was a sophomore in her microbiology lab. I took her advice and cannot tell you how grateful I am that I did. The experience I got in the lab as an undergraduate is invaluable when it comes to finding jobs post-graduation. I just accepted a job at as a technologist in a forensics lab in the Dallas area, thanks in large part to the experience I got from participating in research at LCU. I have nothing but wonderful things to say about Ms. Porter. She went above and beyond to guide me through college. She was not only my mentor in research but also in life. She truly made an impact on me that will last a lifetime. I am so grateful to have had the privilege to work and learn under such a selfless, Christ-like woman. Words cannot adequately express my love and gratitude for her heart for students. I am proud to call LCU my alma mater.” Sarah McBride (Biology, 2014)
Assistant Professor of Chemistry, B.S.I.S. LCU 1996 and M.S. Chemistry, Lehigh University
Professor Rogers is perhaps best known these days for her lectures found on the LCU website, “Can a Gummy Bear Scream?” and “Why Does Ice Float?” But she is also known as a great colleague in the physical sciences. She has been hard at work lately on an articulation agreement with West Texas A&M to promote an engineering degree for LCU students.
Students appreciate Ms. Rogers’ enthusiasm:
“When I switched over from a communications major to biology, my intent was to seek out a degree learning as much science as possible and then using that knowledge to become a science teacher. I was unsure at the time that I had made the right move since it was such a broad jump to another end of the spectrum of learning. Soon after this switch, I started working as a TA for Jessica Rogers, and it was through that relationship that I found full assurance that I had done the right thing. Actually you could even say that I discovered in Jessica the exact woman I wanted to be. It was in watching her love for teaching chemistry to (in her words) "especially the underdogs" that I saw my future. By working for her, I even gained such a love for chemistry that I went on from LCU to work in research as a lab technician at Dow Chemical in the Epoxy group. My favorite thing about studying at LCU was the attention that I received from my professors and the relationship we got to build there. My most important, most meaningful, longest-lasting, still-staying-in-touch-through-phone-and-email relationship was the one I built in the chemistry department, working in a lab, learning from the very best! And I still have full intention in the future to be the mother Jessica is to her children and the science teacher she is to her students!” Ashlyn Montgomery (B.S. Biology, 2011, and Honors Scholar), now a Technical Lab Coordinator at Texas A&M in biomedical engineering
"As a home school student in high school, I had not experienced a lab at all before coming to LCU. Jessica Rogers spoiled me for any other lab experience. Her unique approach to lab design made me think like a scientist, instead of following a cookbook, and it actually made me change my major to chemistry. Her passion for chemical education inspired me to pick that topic for my dissertation, and she is an extremely valuable resource as we both apply new and interesting teaching methods." Drew Brandon (B.S. Chemistry and Math, 2010, and Honors Scholar)
Assistant Professor in Chemistry, B.S. Chemistry, LCU 2006 and Ph.D. Chemistry, Texas Tech University
As one of the newest members of the LCU faculty, Dr. Amanda Boston seeks to create the same mentoring relationships with students she experienced as a student at LCU only a few years ago. She said her undergraduate research at LCU prepared her well for the graduate work she did at Texas Tech.
Amanda is also a runner, estimating her lifetime miles run at 20,000, including two 100-mile races in her running career. In a recent trip to Africa, she developed a running and tutoring relationship with several young boys who were studying for the national science exam. You can find pictures of her African students on Facebook: Jimmy, Bienvenue, Aubin, Thierry, Isaac, Gerald and Pacifique. These young scholars count themselves as lucky to have a Ph.D. in chemistry willing to tutor them.
Dr. Boston is known as an innovative teacher, “flipping” her classroom by creating videos that her students watch before they come to class to maximize class time.
Total videos: 88, total views: 2,663, estimated minutes watched: 23,401.
Running and science? As you might imagine, Dr. Boston’s students enjoy visiting with her about both topics, and she has developed quite a following in her short time at LCU:
“Beginning at LCU at the same time, Dr. Boston and I have had a special connection from the first day that I sat down in her Organic Chemistry class. Her ability to present complex information in a comprehensible manner coupled with her apparent passion for her discipline settled my nervousness and helped me transition into college easily. Dr. Boston cares greatly for her students and is always willing to spend countless numbers of hours inside and outside the classroom to ensure that her students succeed. I greatly enjoyed my time in Dr. Boston’s class, and to this day it remains one of my favorite courses I have taken. As a research mentor, Dr. Boston has gone far above and beyond to offer support and assistance in my research project. However, Dr. Boston’s influence extends far beyond the walls of her classroom or lab. It is obvious the Dr. Boston cares for the whole student, not just his or her academic endeavors. I greatly appreciate Dr. Boston taking time out of her busy schedule to come support me at one of my cross country meets.” Tyler Sams (biology major and Honors Scholar)
“My experience with Dr. Boston and Mrs. Rogers in the science department has been nothing but great! I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with each of them in the classroom and in the lab. They both present the material in a way that students can understand it and have fun while learning tough material. They both always have a smile on their faces and are eager to help their students learn and succeed in the sciences. I am very thankful and feel very blessed that I have had the opportunity to learn from these two great women: they are both huge influences in my life today.” Ashton Meeks (biology major)
Assistant Professor of Mathematics, B.S.Ed. Abilene Christian University, M.A. Mathematics, Texas Tech University
Ann Sims has been teaching for 32 years, 20 of those at LCU, where she is known as a caring and thoughtful math teacher. She believes she has taught 181 math classes at LCU and approximately 3,207 LCU students. (Math teachers and their estimates are very precise.) Her reach into the field of education is exciting, as she has helped prepare more than one hundred future math teachers. Most of her mentoring has been with these future teachers, encouraging them to help younger students achieve in math and perhaps grow to love it. She estimates that those teachers have touched the lives of approximately 100,000 students.
Just for fun (and we love fun math teachers), Professor Sims ran some additional calculations: “Number of times I’ve used the quadratic formula: 1500; number of dry erase markers that have gone dry in the call of higher math education: 2715 (if we stacked them one on top of the other, they would be as tall as an 85 story building).”
Students speak eloquently about the difference Professor Sims made in their lives:
“LCU is known for having quality professors, and Mrs. Sims is a major contributor to this reputation. She welcomes her class every day with a smile and a positive attitude. It is obvious that she has not only a passion for math but a passion for teaching. She was my personal mentor last semester as I prepared for my math exam to become a math teacher. During that time she went above and beyond to prepare me with one on one tutoring. I came to that test confident and well prepared. She can make the most challenging math concepts simple. Her class has an emotionally safe environment where it's okay to be wrong. I enjoyed her class because I knew I was in a place where I was cared for. In her class you can always feel confident that Mrs. Sims will keep trying until it clicks.” Nikki Box (completing student teaching for a B.S.I.S. in Middle School Education)
“When I got to LCU, I told my advisor I wanted to be a middle school history teacher. One of my first classes was college algebra. With much trepidation, I bought my book and supplies and walked into Mrs. Ann Sims’ class. I got there early to get a seat in the front and waited nervously. About 15 minutes later, in walks Mrs. Sims. From that moment on my career path and life were forever changed! As I spent numerous hours with Mrs. Sims, she patiently explained mathematic processes (it had been close to 20 years since I had been in high school!), built up my confidence, and unlocked a love for math that I never knew I had. At the end of my first semester, I went into Mrs. Sims office and asked her a question: ‘Do you think I could become a math teacher?’ Mrs. Sims smiled and said ‘Yes!’ I left her office and changed my degree plan. I have been teaching middle school math for nine years now … It is the best decision I have ever made. Becky Bacon (B.S.I.S. Middle School Specialist, 2006)
“Not a week goes by that I am not reminded of my opportunities to sit in LCU math courses with my professor, turned mentor and friend, Ann Sims. Her professionalism, subject knowledge, and classroom experience mixed with genuine warmth and commitment to our success prepared me for years ahead, and encouraged me through each current semester. I often told her, when you took one of her tests, you KNEW you had been tested, but you also discovered how much you truly came to understand.” Kimberly Quintanilla (B.S.I.S. Secondary Education, 2010) Secondary Educator in Math, Spanish, ESL, & Adult Ed.
Assistant Professor of Biology, B.S. in Biology, LCU 1991, and M.S. Higher Ed, Texas Tech University
Donna Harman has enjoyed an interesting career at LCU. She spent several years in Student Affairs, serving her last three years in that office as dean of students. She then moved to full-time teaching in Natural Sciences in 1999. Her course listing covers several challenging classes: “I have taught Human Anatomy & Physiology lecture and lab, Microbiology lecture and lab, Cell Biology, Human Biology, as well as Immunology and Toxicology. But I really have no idea of the number of students I have worked with in the past twenty years. Even the rough estimates are mind-blowing!”
Lots of student contact time means lots of mentoring over the years:
“Mrs. Harman made an impact on me during my time at LCU and my future and always gave me great advice when it came to decisions that I had to make about my future. She was a great help to me as well as an encourager when it came to applying for nursing school. She was also a huge help when I decided to study abroad for a semester. Without her help and support, I don’t know if I would have been able to go through with studying abroad. She was a great mentor and professor to me during my time at LCU.” Cheyenne Hoeffner (pre-nursing major)
"My time in Donna Harman's class was perhaps one of the greatest blessings I had at LCU. She would do everything that she could to help me succeed. Her door was always open and we were able to talk not only about class but other things as well such as Lady Chaps basketball. She truly does exemplify what Lubbock Christian University is all about down to its very core." Andrew Hershey (B.S. in Exercise Science, 2013)
“I love Professor Harman! From the first time we met, she made me feel comfortable and cared for. She's ALWAYS there when I need her (even now), whether it's about school and classes or just if I need advice. I truly appreciate her and what she's done for me here and for my future.” Amber Harrison (criminal justice major)
“Donna Harman was one of my professors during my time at LCU, and she was also my advisor as I was interested in the nursing program through Covenant at that time. Professor Harman really cares about her students and their futures. She was always willing to answer any questions I had in regards to her lectures, or the requirements for the nursing program. Not only was she a professor and an advisor to me, but she was always very supportive and confident in my ability to handle difficult classes. She would always tell me that she believed I would be fine, and she knew I could handle the classes no matter how hard they were. When I got my acceptance letter to Covenant School of Nursing, she was generally very happy for me and she wished me well. She is a very kind, and organized professor who wants the best for her students.” Taryn Massey (pre-nursing major)
Professor of Biology, B.S. Secondary Education, LCU 1972, M.A. Science Education, UT Austin, Ed.D. Higher Education, Texas Tech University
Currently in her 36th year of teaching biology, Dr. Iona Baldridge began as a “very young, naïve teacher” who had to work to “teach” 15 minutes (out of the hour allotted). Now, she has lots of life experiences to stretch material into more interesting information than just a list of facts. Dr. Baldridge developed the content of three classes still being used for Human Biology and Integrated Science I & II. She cannot count how many students have come through her classes, saying only that it is “many, many.” She has constructed four lab manuals, two of which she still uses, revising them each semester.
Dr. Baldridge has served LCU in many different roles: two stints as department chair, a valued member of accreditation committees, leader of the team that drafted the first QEP (Quality Enhancement Program for SACS accreditation) and a 15-year leader in LCU’s Student Success program for freshmen. Dr. Baldridge also is one of the sponsors of the LCU chapter of Alpha Chi (national honor society) and a long-serving member of the Master Follies steering committee.
Dr. Baldridge is a dedicated advisor and mentor to hundreds of students over the years who have gone on to careers as teachers, nurses, doctors, and other roles in allied health careers. All count her as a major factor in their preparation for productive futures:
“As a science major at Lubbock Christian University, my favorite undergraduate class was biology taught by Dr. Iona Baldridge. She has a special ability to make the content of the course interesting, funny, and memorable. It was my experience in her class that motivated me to become a college professor. Her teaching method has inspired me throughout my own teaching career to always think of ways to engage students through stories, humor, and practical application. Dr. Baldridge is a wonderful teacher, and my perspective has been greatly enriched by her influence!” Dr. Chrissy Cross Joyner.