Straight to the Head with Sr. Susan Yochum

Straight to the Head with Sr. Susan Yochum

According to Sr. Susan Yochum, chairperson of the division of natural and health sciences, the division has a lot to offer in terms of news this semester. From a government funded research project to the new exercise science major and potential building projects, big things are happening at Seton Hill University’s (SHU) natural and health sciences division.

New and Noteworthy in the Division

Many students have probably seen the little flyers all over campus for the Seton Hill University Personal Empowerment Program (SHUPEP). This project is more than just an opportunity for students to earn some extra money, but is a big research opportunity for the university and the nutrition and dietetics students.

We’re hopeful that student will participate. It’s quite noteworthy that we are involved with the Walter Reed (Research Hospital) and the federal government,” said Yochum. This is not the first federally funded research project SHU has participated in, from 2005-2008 chemistry and biology students worked on a project with the Air Force.

The project, sponsored by the U.S. Army, will take two years and is starting with screenings this month. According to Yochum, the project is designed to “assess the whole wellness of the college student in terms of diet, exercise, stress level, sleep patterns, all those good things.”

Another transition that the division of natural and health sciences has been recently implement was the new exercise science major, coordinated biology professor Bernadette Fondy, for SHU students. Fall 2013 will see the first class of exercise science students.

“We are always talking about what new programs are timely, and it fits right into our mission of the health sciences professions. It’s a nice compliment to nutrition and dietetics, physicians assistant and now exercise science,” said Yochum.

Other things the division looks forward to, according to Yochum, is the possibility of a new building project to house some of the programs within the division.

What you need to know about the division of natural and health sciences

The natural and health sciences division hosts a variety of programs at SHU. Some of the most well known programs are the nutrition and dietetics program, the physician’s program, and the cooperative programs with Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine. According to Yochum, programs like the medical technology are less well known.

 “One of the positive futures of the programs within the division is they are marketable at the bachelor’s level. So people can get a job. Medical technology is a great example of that,” said Yochum.

Biology, chemistry, biochemistry, forensic science, mathematics and computer science also fit within the natural and health sciences division.

The division is unique, in the eyes of Yochum, because of the focus on laboratory work, the success of graduates and the use of incorporated technology.

“I think our students are happy and feel that they are getting a great foundational education both to get a job with their bachelor’s degree or to go on to graduate school,” said Yochum.

The division has grown because of the programs and affiliations. They are looking to hire a new biology faculty member in the near future.

“We’ve enjoyed, I would say, an explosion of students enrollment within the division, particular in biology,” said Yochum.

Yochum also praised the divisions state of the art instrumentation, special facilities like the crime scene house on campus, dedicated faculty, on campus research opportunities with faculty, and internship opportunities.

What the Liberal Arts Core?

The division of natural and health sciences has a wide range of non-majors looking to fulfill their liberal arts core requirements. Some popular courses include ecology, biology of medicine, chemistry for living, fundamentals of criminalistics and nutrition for life.

“I view those classes as science for the global citizen. I think you should learn skills that make you able to assess issues that are important to your life. To be able to look at articles and say, ‘This makes sense’ or ‘this is false science, or pseudoscience,” said Yochum.

Courses like math of games exist, too, for those looking to fulfill a student’s mathematics core credit.

“There’s science anxiety. There’s math anxiety. We would hope that students would not be fearful of that and to not wait till their senior years to take those classes. Science shouldn’t be feared, it’s everywhere,” said Yochum.

Yochum is a SHU alum and a member of the chemistry faculty. She originally was a biology student and was interested in being a veterinarian, but changed to chemistry during her undergraduate studies.

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