New School of Science Building Opens to Students

Opportunities Increase for Science and Allied Health Majors

Marist College, School of Science buildingFuture Science majors have an exciting new addition to look forward to. The spring 2016 semester marked the completion and grand opening of the new Science and Allied Health Building. This innovative building is now home to 35 lecture and laboratory classes in Biology, Biomedical Science, Medical Technology, and Athletic Training, with more to come.

“It’s really exciting to go to class in a brand new lab where everything is brand new,” said Christopher Minck ’16, a senior who is currently taking two lab classes in the new building, which have DNA analysis and animal studies capabilities. “I think Marist is acknowledging the work that the science students and faculty put in. I am truly appreciative of that and wish I could be taking classes here for more than one semester.”

To accommodate the research and educational needs of its students and faculty, the Science and Allied Health Building is fully equipped with specialized laboratories, learning-efficient classrooms, and professional technology. The move into the new building has also created more learning opportunities for the science classes that still remain in Donnelly Hall: Chemistry, Environmental Science, and Physics. These sections have seen an increase in space allotted to them, which provides students with more enhanced learning experiences.

Marist College, School of Science labs“Having this new lab equipment is very helpful to gain experience,” said Marissa Calvanico-Weinstein ’16, who is majoring in Biology. “To say that we’re able to do certain experiments as undergraduate students with this new equipment is impressive and very good practice. There is a new piece of equipment that will allow us to isolate and use mammalian cells, something we couldn’t do previously.”

In addition to housing the department’s existing science sections, the new building will also introduce two new graduate programs, each dedicated to developing skilled medical professionals: The Master in Physician’s Assistant (PA) Studies Program and the Doctorate in Physical Therapy (DPT) Program. These new programs are the first graduate and doctoral programs within the School of Science and represent an exciting new direction for the department.

“[The expansion] was based on our strategic plan of developing graduate programs in the school of Science,” said Dr. James DuMond, dean of the School of Science. “Both of those programs would need additional space. We made sure that we could leverage all of the facility for multiple programs. The students have a nicer, newer, and more well-fitted facility to be able to explore their research desires.”

Starting in May 2016, PA students will undergo a two-year Master’s Degree program that enables students to become eligible to sit for the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE). Once a student passes the exam, he or she will then be licensed as a PA in all 50 states. In the following year, the DPT program will begin and train students to become physical therapists, a profession that has seen a significant increase in career opportunities. 

“When we go to develop a new program, we look at whether or not there is interest from our students; we look at whether or not there is a need in the industry,” said DuMond. “Then we look at its value for them when they graduate. PAs are ranked as the number five top job in the United States right now and Physical Therapist is ranked fourteenth. When the students come out, they will really be serving our population because they will be a primary care provider.”

The programs also bring the school of Science some state-of-the-art and interactive technologies. In the Simulation Suite, students will examine “live patients” and simulate live trauma experiences using mannequins. They will also be using cadavers in the GROSS Anatomy Laboratory, an opportunity students have not had before.

“It’s great to be familiar with all different technology in any science field, whether that be Medical School, PA, Nursing, and especially research,” said Minck. “Knowing how to use any kind of technology definitely makes you a better applicant when applying for jobs after college.”

Students and faculty can also look forward to working with IBM’s “Watson,” a cognitive computing system in the Health Care Industry. Together, these additions help fulfill the department’s goal of providing students and faculty with hands-on training.

“I think Marist is showing how dedicated they are to promoting science and the health professions,” said Nikita Patil ‘16, who is currently taking Microbial Ecology in the new building. “The classrooms and lab rooms are fantastic; the classes will definitely help future students because they will have early exposure to newer and upgraded lab equipment.  I know it will grow to be a great space for future students.” 

Written by Emily Belfiore '16

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