Friday October 17, 2014
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Marshall band faculty to present first performance together

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall University's School of Music and Theatre will present the university's Symphonic Band and Wind Symphony at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 23, in Smith Recital Hall on Marshall's Huntington campus.

The performance, which will include nearly 200 performers, will be the first to include both new band directors at Marshall as conductors.

Marshall Director of Bands Steven Trinkle, who will be conducting the Wind Symphony, said this matchup with the Symphonic Band, conducted by Marshall Director of Athletic Bands Dr. Adam Dalton, will bring a new musical approach to the city.

"This is a big change for this school," Trinkle said. "The setup, the size it's just radically different from what's happened here before."

Dr. Richard Kravchack, director of the School of Music and Theatre, said he's excited to present the first performance by the new band faculty members.

"Our program has been incredibly enriched by their artistry, pedagogical skill and commitment to student achievement," Kravchak said.

For more information about music at Marshall University, visit

Direct Link to This Release
Thursday October 16, 2014
Contact: Dr. Kelli Prejean, Associate Professor of English, 304-696-4015

Marshall alumnus to return as visiting scholar Oct. 28

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Dr. Todd Snyder, who received both B.A. and M.A. degrees in English from Marshall University, will return to the university's Huntington campus Tuesday, Oct. 28 as a visiting scholar. He will speak from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Shawkey Dining Room in the Memorial Student Center.

Snyder, now an assistant professor of English at Siena College in Loudonville, New York, is returning to Marshall to celebrate the publication of his first book, The Rhetoric of Appalachian Identity, which, according to the promotional material from the publisher, "blends critical theory, ethnographic research, and personal narrative to demonstrate how family work histories and community expectations both shape and limit the academic goals of potential Appalachian college students."

"Todd's thinking about these issues of identity, social class and language first began during his studies at Marshall," said Dr. Kelli Prejean, associate professor of English at Marshall, "and he is thrilled to return to Huntington to discuss his research and teaching."

In addition to the event at the Memorial Student Center, Snyder will be appearing at Empire Books and News in Huntington from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 26, to sign copies of the book.

More information on the author may be viewed online at The events of Oct. 26 and 28 also are on Facebook: book signing at Empire Books ( and Oct. 28 speaking event (

Direct Link to This Release
Thursday October 16, 2014
Contact: Ginny Painter, University Communications, 304-746-1964

Marshall officials continuing infectious disease preparedness efforts

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Infectious diseases have been in the news lately and although the risk of a case of the Ebola virus in the Marshall University campus community is remote, university leaders and health officials have been working to make sure the university is prepared to deal with that possibility, as well as the potential for outbreaks of influenza and Enterovirus D68.

Tracy Smith, director of Marshall's Department of Environmental Health and Safety, says representatives of his office, the university's Student Health Education Programs, Student Health Services, Department of Housing and Residence Life, and the INTO Marshall University program for international students have been coordinating infectious disease preparedness efforts for weeks, including reviewing the university's Communicable Diseases Response plan and discussing procedures and immunization requirements for students.

Director of Student Health Education Programs Amy Saunders said the university follows guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and coordinates with the Cabell-Huntington Health Department regarding plans to address potential outbreaks of all infectious diseases. She added, "We have a great partnership with our local health department and work closely with them on the prevention of infectious diseases. We have a well-developed emergency response plan, and we are currently reviewing our policies and procedures so we can make sure that we are doing everything we can to be prepared."

The CDC advises the following measures to help prevent the spread of germs:

  • Get a flu vaccination.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you get sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone.
  • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.
  • If an outbreak of flu or another illness occurs, follow public health advice.

Specifically related to the Ebola virus, the Marshall planning group is taking the following measures:

  • Monitoring Ebola advisories from the CDC;
  • Coordinating with other campus groups and the Office of the President;
  • Advising travelers traveling to and from areas of ongoing transmission;
  • Developing plans to monitor and evaluate returning travelers who may be at risk;
  • Assessing and reinforcing infection control measures and equipment; and
  • Proactively planning with local and state public health officials and campus partners, who know how to manage a potential exposure or a suspected case of Ebola.

Smith said, "The safety of the Marshall University community is our top priority. We are monitoring the Ebola situation very closely and are taking precautionary measures as recommended by federal, state and local public health officials."

Medical personnel from Marshall Health and the university's Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine also have been coordinating with university and community colleagues to determine risk and ensure the safety of the community.

They recommend that anyone who has traveled outside of the U.S. within the last 21 days and has a fever of more than 100.4 degrees F (38 degrees C) or has headache, weakness, muscle pain, vomitting, diarrhea, abdominal pain or unexplained bleeding seek medical care immediately  at the nearest hospital emergency department.

Dr. Joseph Werthammer, chief medical officer at the university's Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, said, "Marshall Health and the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine are actively engaged in discussions regarding our protocols in the highly unlikely event a person with Ebola would present at one of our clinics or on our campus. We, like dozens of academic health centers and hospitals around the U.S., are following CDC guidelines and have in place procedures that protect our patients, students and staff."

To learn more about infectious diseases, review the information on the CDC's website at

Marshall students with questions about infectious diseases should contact Student Health Education Programs at 304-696-4800 or or visit

The university's emergency management plan is available at

Direct Link to This Release
Wednesday October 15, 2014
Contact: Megan Archer, Alumni and Outreach Coordinator, 304-488-8863

Marshall nursing faculty to conduct research on student retention to meet demand for nurses; participants needed

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -�� A Marshall University nursing faculty member is seeking persons who started, but did not complete, Bachelor of Nursing degrees in the last ten years to participate in a study. Participants will be compensated for their time.

Dr. Nancy Elkins of the Marshall University College of Health Professions will begin her qualitative research soon with students who did not complete their four-year baccalaureate nursing programs in West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky and Virginia. Elkins said the results from this research study would help to improve retention rates at Marshall University and surrounding universities.
Volunteers who are interested in participating in the study can contact Elkins by e-mail at or by calling 304-696-2617. Participants in the study will receive $50 for a one-hour interview.
Elkins said research such as this is necessary when one considers the number of nurses who will be needed over the next several years.

"The nursing shortage is expected to grow and it is projected that the United States will need an additional 340,000 nurses by the year 2020, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing," Elkins said. "Because this nursing shortage continues to grow, nurse educators cannot afford to lose qualified students hoping to become RNs. We must increase the retention rate of nursing students who take one of the limited, sought-after positions in a nursing program."

Elkins said the registered nurse workforce is one of the top ten occupations in the United States with an expected job growth of 26%, which is an increase of 1.2 million nursing jobs through 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"The results of this study may assist administrators of BSN programs with nursing student retention and program completion, which will help meet challenge of the nation's growing deficit of nurses," Elkins said.

Elkins will conduct her research alongside her co-investigator and fellow nursing colleague, Dr. Joy Cline. Cline said the results from this study could increase the number of nursing graduates and therefore improve health care throughout the U.S.

"Let's face it, our country is facing a surge in patients as baby boomers age and right now the literature shows we aren't educating enough nurses to meet the demands of the American public," Cline said. "Currently, there is no research that measures student perspectives or outcomes about their unsuccessful experiences in their nursing program. We are hoping to change that."

Dr. Denise Landry, department chair of the Marshall School of Nursing, said many students are dealing with factors that can affect their performance in the clinical and classroom setting, such as psychological stress, test-taking anxiety, juggling family obligations, work responsibilities, health issues and economic instability. Landry said she commends her colleagues for initiating research that will improve all nursing programs in the country.

"Dr. Elkins has begun to implement strategies within our School of Nursing to help prepare students to successfully complete their BSNs through her proposed Introduction to Nursing course," Landry said. "The School of Nursing is reviewing and revising the curriculum and it is a course that may exist in upcoming semesters."�����

For more information on research initiatives in the Marshall School of Nursing, visit online.


Photo: Dr. Nancy Elkins of the Marshall University School of Nursing is planning a study on people who started, but did not complete, bachelor's degrees in nursing.

Direct Link to This Release
Tuesday October 14, 2014
Contact: Beth Caruthers, College of Arts and Media, 304-696-3296

Octubafest to bring tricks, treats and tubas to the Tri-State

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Tricks, treats and tubas that's what's in store during this year's Octubafest at Marshall University.

Solo performances by the university's Tuba and Euphonium Studio members Friday, Oct. 24, will kick off the annual celebration. TUBAWEEN!, an event chock-full of free candy, kid-friendly activities, costumes and an array of Halloween-themed compositions by Tubonium, Marshall University's tuba/euphonium ensemble, will take place Thursday, Oct. 30. Both events begin at 7:30 p.m. in Smith Recital Hall on Marshall's Huntington campus.

The more-than-a-decade-old Octubafest has grown tremendously in the past seven years since the inclusion of TUBAWEEN!, according to Dr. George Palton, adjunct professor of tuba at Marshall.

"Our ensemble works very hard to bring the performance together," Palton said. "We strive for a family-like atmosphere, and the result is an event that is a lot of fun."

This year's TUBAWEEN! will feature a combined ensemble that will include students and faculty from Marshall's music department, as well as local high school students and community members.

"The most significant things about Octubafest are the involvement we receive from so many different individuals and the orchestration of new music each year," Palton said. "Every year I arrange a new medley of tunes especially for the concert."

Admission to Octubafest activities is free and open to the public. To get involved, or for more information, contact Palton at (304) 696-3117 or

Direct Link to This Release
Thursday October 9, 2014
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

'Night of the Living Dead' to be shown Oct. 22 in the Drinko Library

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -  The Marshall University Libraries will host a free public screening of George A. Romero's influential zombie classic Night of The Living Dead in the Drinko Library Auditorium from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 22.

The critically acclaimed 1968 film follows characters Ben (Duane Jones), Barbra (Judith O'Dea), and a group of survivors as they fend off bloodthirsty "ghouls" in a rural Pennsylvania farmhouse. Considered one of the most significant horror films of all time, the low budget, black-and-white film still continues to inspire filmmakers and audiences more than 45 years after its release.

"Romero invented the modern zombie," Chris Hodge, a Marshall University student and organizer for the event, said. "Without Night of The Living Dead there wouldn't be television shows like The Walking Dead or movies like World War Z. The entire zombie genre is built around the mythos and terror Romero established in Night of The Living Dead. If you haven't seen the movie, this is the perfect opportunity to see what kicked off the zombie craze."

Before the film, the Marshall University Libraries will present a 15-minute lecture about the cultural significance and public domain status of Night of The Living Dead called "Rights of The Living Dead: How a Copyright Error Gave Birth to The Modern Zombie Genre."

Popcorn and refreshments will be provided and individuals are encouraged to arrive early, as seats are expected to fill up quickly.

For more information about the Night of The Living Dead movie screening, contact Hodge at

WHO: The Marshall University Libraries

WHAT: A public film screening of George A. Romero's influential 1968 zombie movie Night of The Living Dead with a discussion of the film's influence and public domain status

WHERE: Drinko Library Auditorium (DL402), Drinko Library, Marshall University

WHEN: Wednesday Oct. 22, 5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. (Movie starts at 6 p.m.)

Direct Link to This Release
Tuesday October 7, 2014
Contact: Megan Archer, Alumni and Outreach Coordinator, College of Health Professions, 304-488-8863

Marshall graduate student chosen as PROGENY finalist for research on interdisciplinary education

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - A Marshall University student has been chosen as a finalist to participate in the American Speech-Language Hearing Association's (ASHA) PROGENY research program at the association's annual conference Nov. 20-22 in Orlando, Fla.

Ryan Kerns, 22, of Romney, W.Va., is a first-year graduate assistant in the Marshall University department of communication disorders. Kerns conducted his research on faculty attitudes and perceptions of interprofessional (IPE) education. He will share this research in a poster presentation during the annual ASHA conference in November.

According to the ASHA website, "PROGENY pairs faculty researchers with undergraduate students who are first authors on poster presentations at the annual ASHA Convention. PROGENY highlights and supports the work of these undergraduates by providing them with an opportunity to talk with experienced scientists about their research, and about pursuing an academic-research career."

IPE, the topic of Kerns' research, refers to occasions when students from two or more professions in health and social care learn together during all or part of their professional training with the object of cultivating collaborative practice for providing client- or patient-centered health care. Kerns said he became interested in IPE and how it's used in the educational curriculum for future allied health professionals. Kerns collected data from faculty in the Marshall Schools of Medicine and Pharmacy as well as the College of Health Professions.

"I observed a few planning sessions for IPE sessions and thought a survey would be beneficial to help educators reflect on their experiences," Kerns said. "I also did this research because I think it is important students play an active role to ensure they gain the most out of educational opportunities."

Pam Holland, director of clinical education for the department of communication disorders, said the department's Community of Research Practice group is one way these students learn about research and the opportunities offered through the PROGENY program.

"PROGENY stands for PROmoting the future GENeration of researchers," Holland said. "That is exactly what we do at Marshall - we motivate our students and encourage them to conduct research projects which allow them to explore an academic-research career."

Kerns said he feels extremely blessed to attend an institution like Marshall University, which gives students the opportunity to strengthen and develop research skills, which can help throughout his professional career.

"Since becoming a member of the Community of Research Practice group in fall 2013, I've felt empowered and capable of doing research at this level," Kern said. "I would like to personally thank our department for helping me get to this point by supporting me and providing essential feedback, especially Dr. Susan Thomas-Frank and Mrs. Pamela Holland for being the best professional mentors I could ask for."

Holland, who also serves as an assistant professor of communication disorders, said developing research skills enhances students' clinical capabilities and prepares them to be evidence-based practitioners. Since the Community of Research Practice group began in 2008, Marshall has had eight students, including Kerns, represented in the PROGENY program in the past six years.

"We are so proud of our students and their involvement with ASHA because it highlights their continued hard work in this field," Holland said. "No matter the size of your school or department, it is possible to have a significant impact on a whole discipline. These students do this because they love it, not because they have to."

The Community of Research Practice sessions are held from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. every other Friday in Smith Hall 113 on the Huntington campus.  Students can learn more about these sessions by visiting online. To find out more about ASHA, visit, or to learn about PROGENY, visit online.


Photo: Since coming to Marshall, Ryan Kerns has worked as a resident advisor, and now as a graduate assistant for The College Program for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Kerns said the facilitation of a successful college experience is best when a team of professionals works together. "The reiteration of these values through my time here at Marshall inspired me to do this research," Kerns said. "The feeling of being part of Marshall's community is why I chose to continue my education here." For more information on Ryan's research, you can contact him via e-mail at

Direct Link to This Release
Monday October 6, 2014
Contact: Megan Archer, Alumni and Outreach Coordinator, College of Health Professions, 304-488-8863

Marshall athletic training students travel to State Capitol to discuss importance of licensure in West Virginia

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -  Faculty and students from the Marshall University College of Health Professions visited the State Capitol last month to meet with senators and delegates about the importance of instituting athletic training licensure in West Virginia. Currently, 42 states have athletic training licensure and six states, including West Virginia, require only athletic trainer registration.

Zach Garrett, assistant professor of athletic training in the college, said he and his students were given the opportunity to educate state legislators about their profession and discuss the seriousness of mandating regulation for athletic trainers.

"We want to define a scope of practice for our field because there is a concern amongst the athletic training community that there are individuals who practice, but aren't qualified to do so," Garrett said. "You want your nurses to be licensed and you want your doctors to be licensed, so why wouldn't you want your athletic trainers to be licensed?"

Garrett said the state of West Virginia has 290 secondary schools with athletics and only 49 high schools have certified athletic trainers, with fewer than half who work full time. Of the 290 schools, only five are recognized by the National Athletic Training Association (NATA) to be "Safe Sport Schools," according to Garrett.

West Virginia Del. Richard J. Iaquinta said he supports the idea of athletic training licensure in West Virginia. Iaquinta said it seems like a necessary step when one considers the increasing number of injuries occurring in high school sports.

"We want to protect the safety of our young athletes and any time an injury occurs, we want to set our state's standards at the highest level for preventing injury," Iaquinta said. "It makes me sad to know our state is lagging behind and we aren't providing a necessary service in this competitive sports environment to allow our students to perform to the best of their ability."

Iaquinta said the athletic training community should expect to see this issue put on the table for the upcoming legislative session in January.

"We want to make this happen no matter how long it takes�it's too important to ignore," Iaquinta said.

Rachel Blum, an athletic training student in Marshall's program, said having the chance to discuss important issues such as these with state legislators was an amazing experience.

"This is the future of our profession and being given the opportunity to weigh in on this topic that has such impact in the athletic training community was awesome," Blum said. "Students and faculty from University of Charleston, West Virginia University and Concord will be visiting the State Capitol during the next several months and we hope with our combined efforts, we will be able to make athletic training licensure a possibility in West Virginia."

To learn more about the NATA Safe Sport Schools, visit online. For more information on other states' athletic training regulations, visit and view the state regulation map at

To learn more about the Marshall University Department of Athletic Training, visit online.

Direct Link to This Release
Monday October 6, 2014
Contact: Carl Mummert, Department of Mathematics, (304) 696-7153

Mathematics professor awarded grant to prepare students for local industries

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Dr. Michael Schroeder, assistant professor of mathematics at Marshall University, has been awarded a competitive grant to prepare students for local careers in applied mathematics. The grant is part of the Preparation for Industrial Careers in Mathematical Sciences (PIC Math) program.

"Students are sometimes not aware of the relationship between careers and what they learn in class," Schroeder said. "The goal of PIC Math is to show students how mathematics is integral to business, industry and government."

Schroeder was selected by the national PIC Math program to teach a section of a special course for mathematics majors, in which students focus on semester-long research problems provided by local businesses. The first section of this course will be offered at Marshall and other universities nationwide in spring 2015. In the course, students will analyze real-world problems in detail, and produce video and written reports of their proposed solutions.

Students in the class will work in research groups. "I will essentially act as their manager on campus," Schroeder said. "The students and I will meet weekly to discuss progress, and we will consult regularly with a company liaison to keep the company up to date with our progress and gather feedback."

Schroeder said he is reaching out to local businesses such as in Kinetic Park to find problems of interest to local employers. "We want to engage local businesses to foster a relationship between Marshall and the business community. Our students often stay in the area after graduating, and this program can help them find lucrative jobs in the region."

The PIC Math program is sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the Mathematical Association of America and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. Its goal is to educate mathematics students and faculty about non-academic employment. It also aims to develop ties between universities and local businesses.

The videos and reports from the PIC Math sections nationwide will be judged in June 2015, and the best will be recognized at a national conference in August 2015.

Schroeder has been a faculty member at Marshall for four years. He earned a Ph.D. in mathematics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2011. His research focuses on discrete mathematics and graph theory.

Direct Link to This Release
Friday October 3, 2014
Contact: Tiffany Bajus, Communications Specialist, 304-696-6397

Marshall University Alumni Association launches new website

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -, the Marshall University Alumni Association's website, has a whole new look this week after a complete design overhaul. The new design is a result of feedback and recommendations from alumni and fans.

"We began the redesign process last year with the help and support of our web partner, iModules," said Matt Hayes, executive director of the Alumni Association. "From our research and recommendations from the iModules design team, we were able to put together a variety of elements we believe will position us at the forefront of alumni association sites."

The new design addresses requests for more photos, mobile compatibility and an improved browsing experience.

"From the beginning, this project was all about Marshall University alumni, friends and fans," said Rob Ellis, associate director of Alumni Relations. "What we've been able to create through this redesign process is the result of their collective voice. I like to think of the new as your one-stop shop for everything Marshall."

The new site also offers a social media hub for alumni to connect directly with colleges, departments and campus groups.

"We're very excited to finally launch this new site design," Hayes said. "It's hard to believe it's been a year since we started the redesign process. So much innovative thinking and collaboration went into this project. We hope Herd Nation will embrace this new site and utilize it to its capacity, all the while continuing our dialogue toward maximizing the full potential of this great organization."

Direct Link to This Release
Thursday October 2, 2014
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Marshall University School of Pharmacy announces activities for American Pharmacists Month

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - October marks American Pharmacists Month and the Marshall University School of Pharmacy has organized several activities to promote awareness of a career that is expected to be one of the top health care professions in the next decade.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the pharmacy profession is expected to grow 14.5 percent by 2022.   Pharmacists mix technical, organizational and people skills in research, hospital, clinic and retail environments worldwide.

This month's awareness activities include the following:

  • American Pharmacists Month luncheon, 11 a.m.- 1 p.m. Friday, Oct. 3, in the Don Morris Room of the Memorial Student Center on Marshall's Huntington campus.   The special guest speaker is Dr. Lawrence "LB" M. Brown, who is the associate dean of student and academic affairs at Chapman University School of Pharmacy in Orange, Calif.   Dr. Brown will speak on "A New Image of Pharmacists for a New Health Care System."

  • Student Societies of Health-System Pharmacy (SSHP) health event, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 18, at Drug Emporium, #3 Mall Road, Barboursville.  "Health Check" will feature blood pressure screenings and other wellness initiatives.

  • American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) Operation Immunization, Monday, Oct. 20, and Tuesday, Oct. 21, in the Memorial Student Center lobby on Marshall's Huntington campus.  Pharmacy students will share health information about different vaccines at various times throughout the day.
  • APhA-ASP Generation Rx members Friday, Oct. 24, at Wayne High School.   Pharmacy students will present information on the dangers of prescription drug abuse.        

Marshall's School of Pharmacy welcomed its first class in 2012 and will graduate its first class in 2016.

Direct Link to This Release
Wednesday October 1, 2014
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Marshall University herbarium plays key role in NSF-funded digitization initiative to document a biodiversity hotspot

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - The Marshall University herbarium is playing a key role in a National Science Foundation-funded effort to digitize collections that chronicle a global hotspot of plant diversity in the southeastern United States. The Marshall University Herbarium is located on the third floor of the Science Building and is directed by Dr. Emily Gillespie, an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences.

In all, the NSF awarded six grants this year totaling approximately $7.5 million to digitize biodiversity collections, a nationwide effort coordinated by the iDigBio ( program based at the University of Florida. MU has united with dozens of other southeastern universities in a Thematic Collections Network project entitled "The Key to the Cabinets: Building and Sustaining a Research Database for a Global Biodiversity Hotspot." The digitization will make the collections at MU and its partner institution in West Virginia (WVU) instantly accessible to anyone with Internet access. Appalachian State University, in Boone, North Carolina, is the lead institution for this regional collaborative effort.

The MU herbarium, which houses West Virginia's second-largest collection of dried plant specimens, received $138,795 from the National Science Foundation to direct West Virginia's part of a four-year, 12-state initiative. The effort will develop an imaged and databased set of more than 3 million of the estimated 15 million southeastern U.S. specimens from 107 herbaria in the region.

With these funds, Gillespie said, "We will build collaboration among four important communities. The four communities are 1) the scientists working with the collections and their students, 2) affiliates who use the herbaria in their day-to-day work, such as conservation biologists, 3) information technologists who will build the data pipeline to move information and facilitate communication, and 4) citizen scientists who will gain virtual access to the collections and the working scientists via this data pipeline."�

"In building collaboration among these communities, we will be exploring methods to engage citizen scientists in the process of doing science," Gillespie said. "The data generated through this effort will be of significant value in basic fields of biology, such as ecology and evolution, as well as in applied areas of conservation and regional planning. Ultimately, we intend to use the information gained from these community interactions to inform other scientific efforts on ways to give the public opportunities to do science and have a real impact on the world around them."

For more information, contact Gillespie at 304-696-6467, or by e-mail at


Photo: Dr. Emily Gillespie, director of the Marshall University herbarium, looks at a dried plant specimen through a microscope in her lab Wednesday afternoon. Photo by Rick Haye/Marshall University.

Direct Link to This Release
Monday September 29, 2014
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, 304-691-1713

Multi-million dollar federal grant renewed for Marshall researchers and statewide collaborators

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Dr. Gary Rankin with the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and co-investigators at institutions around West Virginia, including West Virginia University, have received a five-year renewal grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) totaling more than $17 million for the West Virginia IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (WV-INBRE).

Rankin, who is chairman of the department of pharmacology, physiology and toxicology, serves as the grant's principal investigator.

"We are really happy to be able to continue the work of the WV-INBRE program across our state," Rankin said. "These funds will provide much-needed support for investigators at West Virginia colleges and universities to develop biomedical research programs and receive critical new equipment for their research activities."

Rankin explained that researchers with the WV-INBRE research network are already studying many important health issues germane to West Virginia including cancer and cardiovascular disease, and the grant allows for expansion in those areas.

"The grant will also allow us to continue providing biomedical research opportunities for undergraduate students and faculty in all parts of West Virginia and help us train the state's future workforce in science and technology," Rankin said.

WV-INBRE is part of NIH's Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program housed in the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) at NIH. The goals of the IDeA programs are to enhance biomedical research capacity, expand and strengthen the research capabilities of biomedical faculty, and, for INBREs, provide access to biomedical resources for promising undergraduate students throughout the 23 eligible states and Puerto Rico in the IDeA program.

"Our INBRE puts the IDeA approach into action by enhancing the state's research infrastructure through support of a statewide system of institutions with a multidisciplinary, thematic scientific focus," Rankin said. "For WV-INBRE this focus is cellular and molecular biology, with a particular emphasis on chronic diseases. We have also started an initiative to support natural products research in the areas of cancer and infectious disease research."

Rankin said the research goals are accomplished through mentoring and administrative support provided by both Marshall University and West Virginia University.  

Direct Link to This Release
Friday September 26, 2014
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Forensic Science graduate student receives prestigious scientific scholarship award from the J. Edgar Hoover Foundation

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - David Preston Miller, a Marshall University Forensic Science graduate student from Dallas, Texas, is the first student from Marshall to receive a prestigious, nationally recognized scientific scholarship award from the J. Edgar Hoover Foundation.

Miller was presented with a check for the $25,000 scientific scholarship Friday, Sept. 26, at the Forensic Science Center by William D. Branon, chairman of the board and director of the J. Edgar Hoover Scholarship Foundation.

Branon said Miller was a very strong candidate for the scholarship with a very impressive background. Along with his achievements of academic excellence and dedication to his interest in forensic science, he demonstrated strong character, professionalism and motivation.

Marshall University President Stephen J. Kopp said the Forensic Science Graduate Program has had many firsts, and Dr. Terry W. Fenger and the faculty have done an outstanding job developing the nationally recognized program that produces graduates who go on to fill leadership roles in the field.� "When you think forensic science, and you think forensic science excellence, it's Marshall University that comes to people's minds immediately," he said. "It's a real source of pride for us."

"Marshall University is honored to have the distinction to be among the educational institutions to have a student as a recipient of this very prestigious national award," Kopp said. "We at Marshall are very proud of Preston Miller for being selected as the recipient of this year's scientific scholarship from the J. Edgar Hoover Foundation."

Miller, 23, is the 14th recipient of the award. He received his B.A. in biochemistry at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. At Marshall, his areas of concentration in forensic science are digital forensics and crime scene investigation.

Miller said it is a great honor to receive the prestigious J. Edgar Hoover Foundation's scientific scholarship. "Since its inception in 2001, the J. Edgar Hoover Foundation has been assisting students to achieve goals that would otherwise be unobtainable," he said. "I am humbled to have been selected as the recipient for the 2014 year. I would like to thank my family, friends, mentors and, of course, the foundation itself."

He said he chose to attend Marshall because of the Forensic Science Graduate Program's high rankings and flexible curriculum. "Additionally, its unique relationship with the West Virginia State Police (WVSP) permitting graduate students to work in the WVSP Digital Forensics Unit was a deciding factor," he said. Miller has been a graduate assistant providing technical support for the unit since he started his studies at Marshall.

Dr. Terry W. Fenger, director of the Marshall University Forensic Science Center, stated that the quality of the curriculum at Marshall attracts students with high levels of credentials. "Preston is a shining example for other students," he said.

Branon said the foundation awards only one full scientific scholarship each year to a candidate who is interested in pursuing a forensic science-related career in law enforcement.

The foundation's board of directors solicits candidates for the scientific scholarship from colleges and universities with accredited forensic science programs. During the annual meeting of the foundation's board, the candidates are reviewed and a deserving recipient is selected.

Prior winners of the scientific scholarship have been from Ohio University, the University of New Haven, Michigan State University, Saint John's University, the University of California at San Francisco School of Medicine, California State University, Cleveland State University, the University of Georgia, George Washington University (two recipients), Columbia University, Stetson University and the University of Maryland.

Since it was founded the J. Edgar Hoover Foundation has distributed more than $3.5 million for scholarships, grants for education, as well as legal and professional law enforcement training.

The J. Edgar Hoover Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to the ideals of fidelity, bravery and integrity promoted by J. Edgar Hoover, who served under seven presidents,� and influenced the professional development of modern law enforcement in the United States.


Photo: William D. Branon, right, congratulates David Preston Miller after presenting Miller, a student in Marshall University's Forensic Science Graduate Program, with a prestigious scientific scholarship award of $25,000 from the J. Edgar Hoover Scholarship Foundation today during a ceremony at the MU Forensic Science Center. Branon is chairman of the board and director of the J. Edgar Hoover Scholarship Foundation.
Photo by Braxton Crisp/Marshall University.

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Friday September 26, 2014
Contact: Megan Archer, Alumni and Outreach Coordinator, College of Health Professions, (304) 696-7153

Marshall's Department of Social Work provides job opportunities to students through child welfare program

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -  For the past 20 years, the Marshall University Department of Social Work has given students the chance to secure jobs before they even graduate. This opportunity is sustained through the Title IVE Child Welfare Scholar program, which allows social work students to receive a stipend if they agree to work for the West Virginia Division of Health and Human Resources (WV DHHR) for the amount of time they received the stipend, with a one-year minimum after graduation.

Jo Dee Gottlieb, primary investigator for the Title IVE Child Welfare project and a social work professor in the College of Health Professions, said the purpose of this program is to professionalize child welfare services while preparing students to be potential employees at the WV DHHR.

"Our students receive a stipend each semester for up to $3,000 and sign a contract to complete a 400-hour practicum and work for DHHR in child welfare after they graduate," Gottlieb said. "Students gain amazing clinical experience during their practicum work and have the opportunity to obtain jobs in Child Protective Services, foster care, adoption and youth services."

Hope Smith, community services manager at the Cabell County DHHR and a 1995 graduate of the Department of Social Work, was one of the very first students to receive the child welfare stipend. Smith said this program gave her the chance to experience a profession she otherwise would not have chosen for herself and one she still enjoys to this day.

"When I went into social work, I wasn't sure where I wanted to go in my career. The last place I thought I would work was in public child welfare, but the stipend gave me the opportunity to experience something rewarding and I fell in love with it," Smith said. "Child welfare is a great starting place for any social worker, especially at DHHR, because you get exposed to everything in our field. It's a great stepping stone to just about any job in the social work profession."

Social work student Mikyla Stewart, 22, of Parkersburg, West Virginia, said she knew she wanted to work in Child Protective Services before learning about the program. When Stewart realized she could get financial assistance while working closely with experienced professionals in her field, she said the decision was simple.

"When I heard about the child welfare program, I knew I would be able to get my education while working toward a lifelong career," Stewart said. "I am so grateful I made this decision in the first place because it just shows the heart of my profession. They have taught us everything we need to know about social work and how to be good people. I hope this program sets an example for other departments on campus and across the state, so they too can provide these amazing opportunities for their students."

Five Marshall students have received the program's stipend for the 2014 academic year:  Mikyla Stewart, Alyssa Hall, Cindy McDaniel, Melissa Nibert and Tiffany Adkins. 

For more information on the Title IVE Child Welfare program, contact Gottlieb at To learn more about WV DHHR and their career opportunities for recent graduates, visit To find out more about our Department of Social Work, visit


Photo: From left to right, Cindy McDaniel, Mikyla Stewart, Tiffany Adkins and Alyssa Hall have received the Title IVE Child Welfare Scholar stipend for the 2014 academic year. Not pictured: Melissa Nibert.

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