To say it was an honor for junior biology student Hannah McFarland to present at the annual Experimental Biology meeting in Boston would be a huge understatement. McFarland, who showcased her breast cancer abstract at the national event in April, was the first undergraduate her professor, John Schmitt, could recall presenting in his 10 years of attending the event. “That privilege is generally reserved for graduate students, scientists and clinicians in the field,” he said.
McFarland’s abstract, “AKAP7 Regulates CaM Kinase Activation in MCF-7 Cells” – which examines whether or not inhibiting the protein AKAP7 plays a role in inhibiting individual breast cancer cell growth – was selected from approximately 1,300 submissions. She presented a 15-minute talk on the topic in front of biochemists, chemists, pharmacologists, nutritionists and doctors.
“Being chosen to present was obviously a great honor, but really my satisfaction comes from knowing I’m doing something that could impact lives,” said McFarland, who was drawn to the project because her grandmother had breast cancer.
McFarland plans to attend graduate school and study to be a family practitioner or nurse practitioner.
The summer of 2013 will be one to remember for AmandaMarie Adams. First, she spent three weeks in Ecuador as part of the university’s Juniors Abroad program. Then, just a few days after she returned, the double major in computer science and information systems boarded a flight to Cleveland for a dream internship at the NASA Glenn Research Center.
Adams is working on a project titled “Design of real-time biomedical data processing framework.”
“The project is real-time processing of biomedical information (data from the brain) from a pilot, so that the cockpit can read whatever their physical and mental state is,” explains Adams. She’ll use her programming skills to help bridge the interface between pilot and cockpit, with the desired outcome being reduced operator error due to stress.
“Brain function, space and aeronautics are some of my top interests as far as a career go,” she says, “so it’s really cool that I get to combine them.”
As rare as Adams’ NASA internship is, she’s not the only George Fox student to land one. Senior Kenton Miller is spending his summer at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., working on a project that involves the analysis of geomagnetic activity.
When Hank Helsabeck began working at George Fox, Jimmy Carter was in office, disco was in vogue and the Portland Trail Blazers were the defending NBA champions.
The year was 1978 when the college hired Helsabeck to be a professor of mathematics. Thirty-five years and four job titles later, he retired this spring.
“God clearly – supernaturally – called me to George Fox, and he never released me from that call until this year,” says Helsabeck, who taught more than 40 different classes during his tenure.
For the past nine years, Helsabeck was dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. Previously, he taught math and computer science (1978-2004) and chaired the Department of Math, Computer Science and Engineering (1992-2004). He also founded the school’s computer science program in 1983.
As for retirement, Helsabeck says he’ll take the next year to evaluate his future plans. “I’m sure God has something for me besides biking, jogging and puzzle-solving.”
The university community mourned the loss of George Fox Evangelical Seminary adjunct professor Richard Twiss in early February. The noted Native American author, speaker and activist passed away at the age of 58 after suffering a massive heart attack.
“Richard was an imposing man with a gentle spirit and a heart for God,” wrote university president Robin Baker. “He was one of our very finest chapel speakers, and he challenged all of us to look beyond our cultural lenses to see the work of God.”
In addition to starting his own nonprofit ministry, Wiconi International, Twiss was a co-founder of the North American Institute for Indigenous Theological Studies.
“Richard was the voice of our movement and he was an incredible innovator . . . ” wrote seminary colleague and close friend Randy Woodley. “His unique gift was his extroverted personality and his innovative mind.”
Rebecca Addleman’s work in the field of internationalizing teacher education caught the attention of the Fulbright Program, which selected her as a Fulbright Scholar to Denmark for the 2013-14 academic year.
Addleman, a teacher in George Fox’s master of arts in teaching program, will work with international students and collaborate with educators in the Department of Teacher Education at Blaagaard/KDAS, a teachers training college in Copenhagen. She applied for a Fulbright award focused on teacher education, specifically innovative teaching methods and problem-solving educational challenges in cross-cultural groups.
“The exchange of ideas surrounding innovative instruction and globalization will benefit both our universities,” she says. “I look forward to the innovative curriculum and instruction approaches that I will experience in Denmark’s educational settings – particularly their use of differentiated teaching and cooperative skills to shape educated citizens.”
The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government.
George Fox University lost a significant friend with the passing of Joan Austin on June 5.
Austin, a philanthropist who, with husband Ken, was a generous supporter of the university, died in her sleep at the age of 81.
The Austins regularly bring the Oregon Symphony to George Fox, and their gift of land made possible the construction of the Austin Sports Complex. Both were recently on campus for the groundbreaking of Stoffer Family Stadium.
In Newberg, Joan was the driving force behind the creation of The Allison Inn & Spa and many other improvements to the city. An elementary school in town bears her name.
In 1964, the Austins founded A-dec, one of the world’s largest dental equipment manufacturers. In addition to George Fox, they have made sizable contributions to education, dental care programs, drug and alcohol treatment centers, and Special Olympics Oregon.
In April, professor Seth Sikkema was recognized by the Portland Police Bureau with an Achievement Medal for his role in establishing the Justice for Fraud Victims Program at George Fox.
The program assists individuals or small businesses that believe they have been victims of financial fraud but don’t have the resources to investigate it. That’s where Sikkema and a select group of George Fox accounting students come in.
Working in partnership with local law enforcement and the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, Sikkema and his students perform a complete forensic accounting examination to determine if and how the suspected fraud was perpetrated, and to quantify the damages.
Launched in the spring 2013 semester, the program pairs students in groups of three with a Certified Fraud Examiner to investigate a case. Only alleged victims who could not otherwise afford a forensic examination are accepted. At the end of the semester, each team makes a formal presentation of its findings to law enforcement.