For Alumni

The Drake University Science Collaborative Institute (DUSCI) offers several avenues for alumni to connect with Drake and get involved with our undergraduates.

Science graduates could share their career experiences and current research endeavors by being part of the Drake University Science Colloquium Series or Life After Drake Series.

September 13, 2013, 12:00-12:50, Cline 206 - 2013 DUSCI Summer Research Students, Hannah Moses, TITLE: Voluntary Alcohol Preference Model in Drosophila, Abstract: Previous studies have shown that in a capillary assay fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) will voluntarily drink an ethanol-food mix, but will achieve low internal ethanol concentrations, precluding meaningful physiological effects .  The current experiments were designed to develop a new model of ethanol preference in flies.  In this model, naïve fruit flies were placed in a glass T-tube with an outlet on either end.  One arm of the t-tube contained vaporized ethanol and the other contained humidified air.  Flies could freely sample between the ethanol and air arms for the duration of the experiment.  Preference was assessed first in naïve flies, and we found strong relative aversions to ethanol concentrations above 10%.  In spite of the low preference for higher ethanol concentrations, the internal ethanol concentration of flies that voluntarily sampled 40% ethanol reached approximately 15 mM, a higher dose than has been reported for the capillary assay.  Removing the third antennal segment from the flies resulted in a marked increase in preference for ethanol, while a prior forced exposure to ethanol was ineffective at increasing preference.  These results suggest that our model of voluntary alcohol preference might provide a convenient means to study ethanol preference in an organism that is highly amenable to genetic and neurobiological analysis. Aubrey Lambach, TITLE: There’s Something in the Water: The Effects of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) on Early-Onset Puberty in Zebra Finches Abstract: Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), such as bisphenol A (BPA) are found in many plastics and naturally-occurring plant-derived substances, and have been shown to mimic estrogen. EDCs are not restricted to BPA and even plastics that are considered “food safe” have been shown to release estrogen-like chemicals. In humans, fetal exposure to BPA has been shown to lead to lower birthweight, earlier pubertal development, increased prostatic growth, changes in mammary gland development, and alterations in sexual differentiation in the brain. Elevated EDC levels have been found in obese children and it has been shown that obesity may result in earlier onset of puberty in girls. This study investigated if zebra finches naturalistically exposed to EDCs develop: (1) changes in leptin sensitivity, (2) obesity, (3) early onset of puberty, and (4) altered reproductive success. Decreased egg viability and low chick hatch weight was observed in treatments groups exposed to BPA and estrogenic compounds through their daily water consumption. We continue to explore these effects as our offspring populations develop and enter reproductive maturity to determine potential multi-generational effects of EDCs.

October 4, 2013, 12:00-12:50 p.m., Cline 206 - Lisa M. Balbes, Ph.D. Balbes Consultants, LL, Title: Use of New Technologies to Enhance Your Career We all know the Internet and information technology have changed the way we do business. But how have they changed the way we find business, jobs, or even completely new careers? New technological tools such as blogs, social networking sites, wikis, telephone and video conferencing provide a wealth of information - both for you and about you. This presentation will focus on tools and techniques of particular use to science professionals, and how they can be used for both active and passive career development.

Life After Drake,
Wednesday, October 23, 2013, 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Sussman Theater, Drake University, Dr. Robert Wallander - In this address, I will illustrate how my 4-year study for a Bachelor of Science at Drake University affected my life in the way a pebble in a pond creates ever-widening ripples. Those ripples then reach others and impact them in combined and expanding ways. Along the way in my Life after Drake, important influences would amplify what Drake started. Two key persons to play that part resulted directly from a vital relationship I developed as an undergraduate with Dr. Scott Wood. So while this is a look at my life after Drake, I wish to acknowledge the specific influences I encountered at Drake that helped establish crucial driving forces for all that would unfold. In particular, I wish to dedicate a portion of my time to Dr. Wood’s important presence at Drake University. He is no longer with us, but his influence continues, in my life after Drake and in the broader discipline and practice that he helped to shape on a massive scale.

November 18, 2013 12:00-12:50 p.m., Cline 206 - Dr. Linda Young, Director, X-Ray Science Division, Advanced Photon Source, Argonne National Laboratory, TITLE: Studying Structure and Function at the Atomic Level How does one peer into complex systems to understand structure and function?  Can such a tool help create designer materials and designer drugs?  A powerful tool to visualize matter at the atomic level is a synchrotron source that emits tunable, polarized x-rays to penetrate matter and provide elemental, chemical, and orientational selectivity.  In this lecture, I will describe the Advanced Photon Source, the nation’s most versatile x-ray synchrotron source and give examples of experimental programs that investigate material behavior at pressures equivalent to those at the center of the earth, control of phase changes in novel superconductors, and function in biological systems.  This lecture is made possible through the Distinguished Travelling Lecturer program of the Division of Laser Science of the American Physical Society.

February 4, 2014 12:00-12:50 p.m., Cline 206 - Dr. Jerry Honts, Associate Professor of Biology, Drake University

February 21, 2014 12:00-12:50 p.m., Cline 206 - Dr. David Senchina, Associate Professor of Biology, Drake University TITLE: The First Five Years of the Exercise Science & Sports Medicine Lab

March 7, 2014 12:00-12:50 p.m., Cline 206 - Dr. Sheila Baker, Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences, University of Iowa

April 10, 2014 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., 11th Annual DUCURS, Keynote Speaker, Dr. Sona Pandey, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, St. Louis, Missouri

Fall 2012 James Armstead, Come With a Dwolla Account; James Sacco, Pharmacy, Drake University, Genetic Variation and Sulfonamide Drug Hypersensitivity; Julia Moffit, Dept of Physiology & Pharmacology, Des Moines University, Cardiovascular Decondition, Depression & Cardiac Arrhythmias: Mechanisms & Targets

Spring 2008
 Bradley Brennan, Drake graduate and Ph. D. candidate at Arizona State University,"Global Sustainability:  Energy in the 21st Century"

Fall 2007 Christopher R. Field, Drake graduate and Ph. D. candidate at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, "Towards Navigating the Forest of Interactions in a Neutrophil: Studying Enzyme-Catalyzed Reaction Kinetics using an Acoustically Levitated Drop Reactor for In Stillo Measurements"

Spring 2007 Casey O'Donnell, Department of Science and Technology Studies, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY,  "Breaking (into) the Video Game Industry: Work, Play, and the Global Economy"

Fall 2012 Dr. Amy Bingaman, Gynecologist, Iowa Health, "My Life's Journey and the Lessons I Learned"

Fall 2011
Dr. Todd Janus, Neurologist, Iowa Health Physicians, " Life in Science and Medicine After Drake"

Fall 2009 Dr. Angela J. Grippo, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Northern Illinois University, " Life as a Bulldog: How Drake Shaped My Career as a Psychologist"

Fall 2008 Dr. Paul Bush, Criminalist, Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, Ankeny, Iowa, "Life After Drake" Following an Educational Path to Fulfillment"

Spring 2007 Dr. Ann Hornschemeier, Deputy Project Scientist, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD "From Drake University to X-rays in Space"

Spring 2006 Dr. Albena Ivanisevic, Associate Professor of chemistry at Purdue University "The fabrication and characterization of biological and chemical architectures."

  • The Alumni Advisory Board comprises a group of alumni who form connections with current Drake students for the purposes of mentoring and advising in anticipation of graduation and careers in science- and math-related fields. If you are interested in serving as an Alumni Advisory Board members, contact John Gitua at
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University News
July 15, 2014
Three Drake alumnae were honored in the Des Moines Business Record’s 2014 Women of Influence awards. The awards celebrate women who have made a difference in their community.