Steve received his BA in chemistry and biochemistry in Colorado in 1991 and then taught middle school math and science in Lesotho in southern Africa. After returning to the US in 1995, getting married and moving to Indiana, Steve finished a PhD degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 2000. His graduate research included genetically altering tobacco plants so that they express a gene from a bioluminescent jellyfish. Cellular calcium concentrations and hydrogen peroxide could then be easily measured in these glow-in-the-dark plants. At EMU, Steve continues this research, involving EMU students in the study of oxidation/anti-oxidation in plant stress, with applications in sustainable agriculture and invasive species ecology. Steve teaches courses in biochemistry, chemistry, and sustainable agriculture. He also advises undergraduate students on pre-professional health career tracks.
Dr. Cessna’s research interests include:
- Developing and assessing multiple min-research projects for use in teaching labs
- Developing and assessing strategies for teaching the nature of science and higher order cognitive skills
- Comparing antioxidants in blueberries grown in different soil types and conditions
- Comparing photosynthesis and growth of various native and invasive vine species
- Testing gardening techniques in terms of their impacts on produce yield and nutritional quality
Dr. Graber Neufeld is Professor of Biology. He is on sabbatical and leave-of-absence from 2015-2017, working as water harvesting and storage, sanitation, and hygiene advisor for Mennonite Central Committee, Nairobi, Kenya.
While at EMU, he works primarily with the Environmental Sustainability program, with a concentration in issues that relate to environmental monitoring and toxicology. He teaches in the introductory biology course, Concepts in Biology, and in a variety of courses related to environmental issues (such as Environmental Toxicology, Natural History of the Shenandoah Valley). In addition, he teaches the medical ethics course in the M.A. in Biomedicine program. He has a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in environmental physiology, and worked at the University of Arizona and the University of Otago (New Zealand) before coming to EMU. He served a two year term with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) in Cambodia, were he worked on environmental issues through the Royal University of Agriculture and the Royal University of Phnom Penh. Starting in 2015, he is serving another two year term with MCC, as water harvesting and storage, sanitation, and hygiene advisor in Kenya. Doug lives in Harrisonburg with his wife, Cristina, and two sons, Alex and Evan. They enjoy many outdoors activities, and take as many opportunities as possible to go camping and traveling.
Doug’s research at EMU is in collaboration with students and includes projects:
- water monitoring assessing stream health in a local watershed, and the effects of stream restoration
- baseline water monitoring in an area that was proposed as a hydrofracking site
- assessing pesticides in market vegetables using a novel combination of techniques, and
- using zebrafish startle response as a sensitive toxicity indicator
Dr. Tara L.S. Kishbaugh obtained her undergraduate degree in chemistry from Wheaton College and her graduate degree in organic chemistry studying the reactivity of electron deficient indoles at Dartmouth College under the mentorship of Gordon W. Gribble. During graduate school, she spent a year teaching organic chemistry at St. Michael’s College, Winooski, Vermont. Afterwards, she was a Dreyfus postdoctoral fellow at the University of Massachusetts, North Dartmouth campus. During this position, she taught as well as studied fluorinated allenes. At EMU, Tara has taught a variety of courses, including organic, general, medicinal, and environmental chemistry as well as seminars on ethics, land use, and food chemistry. Since 2013, she is chair of the biology and chemistry departments. Tara has been involved in a number of trans-disciplinary projects on campus, such as EMU Common Reads, a common reading and associated programming. Tara’s chemistry-related hobbies include photography, baking, and tie-dying. Tara’s research interests include chemical education, heterocyclic chemistry, and water quality studies.
Dr. Kishbaugh’s research interests include
- Chemical education projects, such as assessing non-content learning in laboratory research projects, or
- Assessing student familiarity with and understanding of green chemistry, or
- Improving student’s engagement with math coursework by adding contextual relevance to the assignments
- Writing review chapters on heterocyclic chemistry- in particular indoles and pyridines
- Water quality monitoring in the local watershed related to bacterial contamination, run-off or hydrofracking.
Dr. Siderhurst earned a B.A. in chemistry and molecular biology from Goshen College and a Ph.D. in Entomology from Colorado State University. After receiving his degree, Dr. Siderhurst held a postdoctoral research associate position with the USDA-ARS-PBARC in Hilo, Hawai’i, working to identify attractants for several economically important invasive insects. Current research projects include chemical ecology of invasive insect pests in Hawaii, Australia, and Guam. Teaching experience throughout his academic career has lead Dr. Siderhurst to value education as a lifelong process, which especially lends itself to the small institution setting with its small class sizes, close student-professor interactions, and undergraduate-centered research.
Dr. Siderhurst’s research interests include:
- Development of improved attractants for invasive and agriculturally important insect pests including tephritid fruit flies, the little fire ant, and several beetle and moth species
- Synthesis of small organic molecules related to insect chemical ecology including pheromones and secondary plant compounds
- Ecology of invasive species studied through trapping or radio tracking
- Investigating the odor profiles of tropical agricultural products
Dr. Laurie Miller Yoder earned a PhD in Physical Chemistry from the University of Michigan after graduating with a BS in Chemistry from EMU. Her graduate and postgraduate research interests in molecular energy transfer and the dynamics of chemical reactions took her to Sandia National Laboratory in Livermore, California, the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York.
Laurie teaches a variety of science courses at EMU, including Matter and Energy, environmental chemistry, physical chemistry, earth science, and nutrition. As Chemical Hygiene Officer in the Biology and Chemistry Department, Laurie oversees the safety-related aspects of our program and helps make sure that all who perform laboratory work can do so with minimal risk to themselves, others, and our newly renovated space. Laurie’s other interests include birding, making homemade bread, knitting socks, and ballet dance.
Brint Domangue is lab coordinator in the Suter Science Center, serving primarily the departments of Biology and Chemistry, and he also teaches courses in environmental science. Brint’s educational and research interests are in botanical studies. He earned his B.S. and M.S. in Biology from James Madison University by investigating vascular flora in the Shenandoah Valley. After graduation, Brint spent some time as an adjunct at Mary Baldwin College and continued research at JMU and Virginia Tech. Brint has been with EMU since Fall 2014 and is grateful to serve others in a family-like community. In his spare time, he enjoys landscaping and gardening outdoors.