Inside the Department: Biological, Physical and Chemical Sciences

Biology Feature, Caption_ Graduate Student of Biotechnology, April Quarles, checking to see if the human cells are beginning to move apart

By Kenji Koyama

From its early days in the 1950s to its move into the Wabash Building, Roosevelt University’s Biological, Physical and Chemical Sciences Department has come a long way.
“Historically, everything started in the Auditorium Building, and we have had science majors at Roosevelt since the very beginning of the university,” Department Chair Vicky McKinley said. “In fact, back in the ’50s and ’60s, the chemistry major was huge. The entire sixth floor was chemistry, and the entire fifth floor was biology. When we built the new building here, the number [of students] went up, and now it is about one-third and two-thirds split between the Schaumburg and Chicago Campuses.”
The department has more than 400 students currently enrolled as science majors, and there are 14 full-time faculty and 22 adjunct professors. Over the years, the science and math departments have collaborated with one another to cross ideas and even have a program every year called the Math and Science Symposium held at the Wabash Building. It will be held this April 18 in the Wabash Building and is open to the public.
The symposium will have an array of presentations that promote research and information about various science and math related concepts.
The department is currently cramped for space at the Schaumburg Campus, according to McKinley.
“We are trying to get more space, mostly lab space,” she said. “We have just one research lab out there, and it is not big enough for everything that we need to do.”
The Schaumburg Campus is hoping to expand there within the next few years.
Another new component of the department is the addition of a science academic advisor, Elizabeth Day.
“[Day] is someone any student interested in a science major should get to know,” McKinley said. “She can help with picking classes, placement testing, finding internships, learning about careers and much more.”
The Wabash and Auditorium Buildings currently have the majority of the labs and classrooms for the department. The Wabash has three floors dedicated to the department.
“The seventh floor is primarily chemistry, the eighth floor is primarily biology and the ninth floor has physics labs,” said Meredith Mendola, the Chicago Campus lab manager for the department. The labs are filled with new equipment that allows students to conduct their research.
“I’ve really loved it,” said April Quarles, a second year master’s student of Biotechnology. “It’s definitely different from my undergrad where I went to a larger state university. … Being able to interact with the professors on a one-on-one basis and having a smaller class environment is very nice because you get the personalized attention that you need to grow.”
The lab space and small classroom setting has intrigued students to work productively and continue to work towards their goals as college students.

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