One of the things that you’ll hear about UWA quite often is, “There’s something about this place.” Come visit us at the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (NSM), and you’ll get a sense of what that means. NSM contains the Departments of Biological and Environmental Sciences, the Department of Physical Sciences, and the Department of Mathematics. In 2017, the College was also pleased to add under its umbrella the School of Health Sciences and Human Performance, which contains the Department of Physical Education and Exercise Science. The more than 50 faculty in the College oversee almost 20 majors covering the full spectrum of basic sciences, applied health training and mathematics. These STEM fields, of course, are critical to the future. A strong preparation in these areas goes a long way toward ensuring a productive career.
The opportunities in NSM are rich and varied. Our program in Cell and Molecular Biology prepares students for entry into medical, veterinary and other professional schools, as well as providing outstanding preparation for entry into graduate study at UWA or another institution. Similarly, the Conservation and Field Biology program provides a firm foundation for those biologists who wish to work with the natural resources so abundant in the Southeast. This program also serves as a solid foundation through which students can move into UWA’s new Master of Science program in Conservation Biology, one of the few of its kind anywhere.
Other students may opt for our program in Environmental Science and its associated internships, which provide an excellent gateway into employment. NSM’s program in Marine Biology and its association with the Dauphin Island Sea Lab has a long, rich history, and many of the graduates of that program currently work with their feet wet around the world.
In the Physical Sciences, our programs in Chemistry allow students to choose a variety of pathways. Perhaps the most popular, and successful, in the Pre-Pharmacy Chemistry track. Students successfully completing this program have had great success moving on into schools of pharmacy and joining this highly rewarding occupation. Our programs in Exercise Science and Health Sciences feature the opportunity to work with some of the nation’s finest professors and athletic trainers. The College provides opportunities for teacher certification in biology, general science, mathematics and physical education and UWA’s long history of teacher preparation has established a tremendous reputation with educational institutions in the region.
In NSM, we believe strongly in learning by doing. Our classes are inquiry-based with a hands-on approach. Undergraduate research is a major focus and our Undergraduate Research Symposium has developed into one of the best in the region. We try to provide opportunities that go beyond the classroom. Our students have interned at Yale University, done research on Siberia’s Lake Baikal and studied at the University of Western Australia. Outreach and involvement also play a major role in NSM, and the College has long-sponsored events such as Science Saturdays, Elementary Science Olympiads and Regional Sciences Fairs. Our students typically play a major role in these events.
All in all, we believe that the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics is the perfect place to put UWA’s other motto into action: Do something that matters!
Jeffery Merida, PhD
For over 20 years, the professionals at bby have been sharing techniques to improve mathematical instruction in elementary classrooms across the United States. This organization believes that use of visual models when combined with mathematics builds a solid foundation for a lifetime of learning.
Sumter County Nature Trust
The Sumter County Nature Trust was established in 1985 through a gift from Doctors Ralph and Margaret Lyon, both UWA Professors Emeriti. The Lyons, who lived in Sumter County for over thirty years, chose this avenue as a means of expressing their love for the county, for nature, and for people. The Trust is committed to identifying and preserving the natural resources of Sumter County, informing citizens about such matters, sponsoring environmental education activities, and developing sites where citizens can enjoy and appreciate the environmental treasures of the Black Belt Region. Endowment income provides funds for activities initiated by the Trust, as well as matching grants for individuals and organizations interested in fulfilling the goals of the Trust.
The Trust is administered by a seven-member Board of Directors appointed by the UWA Board of Trustees. The Chairperson is a faculty member in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.
Sumter County Nature Trust Board — 2020-2021
John McCall, Chair
Rodney Granec, Treasurer
Joan Rundles, Secretary
Jack Pleasant Greenhouse
The College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics maintains the Jack Pleasant Greenhouse Complex on the UWA campus to support its educational mission in teaching. This facility consists of two separate structures: a 2,000 square foot greenhouse that houses representative plant collections for teaching as well as providing research space to NSM faculty, and an additional structure to facilitate instruction in plant propagation and culture, as well as plant identification. This facility also serves to house young specimens of native plants for propagation in the Black Belt Gardens surrounding the Complex.
West Alabama Onsite Wastewater Training Center
The West Alabama Onsite Wastewater Training Center (WAOWTC) was established in 1997. Based on a growing need for education in the rapidly changing wastewater field, WAOWTC is dedicated to expanding public awareness of water quality issues, with a particular emphasis on wastewater management. Continuing education and online classes are offered each year.