Tag Archives: College of Sciences

Daniel Silva, Fall 2017 College of Sciences Outstanding Student

Daniel Silva
Daniel Silva

A Saint Paul resident has been selected as a fall semester Outstanding Student at Metropolitan State University.

Daniel Silva, who graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Mathematics, was chosen outstanding graduate student in the university’s College of Sciences. He was one of 1,368 students receiving bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Metropolitan State’s 101st commencement exercises on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017 in Minneapolis.

Silva plans to continue developing his skills at his current job at prnLink, an insurance consulting company. In the near future, Silva also plans to pursue a master’s degree in Applied Statistics from Minnesota State University, Mankato.

While at Metropolitan State, Silva received a master tutor certification from CRLA (College Reading & Learning Association) and worked as a tutor at the Center for Academic Excellence.

Silva was active in student life. He was a member of Friends of Erdős (Mathematical Society of Minneapolis/Saint Paul).

For his outstanding work as a student at Metropolitan State, Silva received numerous scholarships: University Academic Achievement Scholarship, Metropolitan State University Student Scholarship, and Educational Empowerment Scholarship.  Silva’s academic honors include being on the Dean’s List.

Associate Professor Wei Wei in the Mathematics department said about Daniel, “He is the most hard-working student that I have ever seen in my nine years of teaching at different institutions. Daniel got a GPA of 3.89 with straight As in all of his statistics courses.

In an independent study that he did with one of the math faculty, he spent hundreds of hours researching the materials for a graduate-level topic. The end product was almost a 100-page manuscript. He presented this paper at the Friends of Erdos Mathematical Society of Minneapolis/St. Paul in 2017.”

The associate director at the Center of Academic Excellence, Christopher West, said, “Daniel is a true student and sponsor for STEM literacy at Metropolitan State University.”

Nikitha Kommera, Fall 2017 College of Sciences Outstanding Student

Nikitha Kommera
Nikitha Kommera

A Saint Paul resident has been selected a fall semester Outstanding Student at Metropolitan State University.

Nikitha Kommera, who graduated with a Master of Computer Science degree, was selected as an outstanding graduate student in the university’s College of Sciences. She was one of 1,368 students receiving bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Metropolitan State’s 101st commencement exercises on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017 in Minneapolis.

After completing her undergrad from a top university in Telangana, India, Kommera decided she would pursue a master’s degree in information technology in the United States. Finding a potential National Science Foundation research opportunity in cybersecurity at Metropolitan State sealed the deal for her.

She transferred from the University of Michigan to Metropolitan State in spring 2016. She started as a graduate research assistant under Dr. Faisal Kaleem. She drew on technical skills that she had learned as far back as high school, and went to work.

“I was inspired by Dr. Faisal to pursue a career in the field of cybersecurity,” she said.

Her first months of research came with challenges. “I was neither aware of the cybersecurity nor the project. But it is because of Dr. Faisal’s trust in my capabilities he gave me a chance to get onboard.” Kommera pushed through the difficulties for two years, balancing school and research. She also worked full-time to guarantee her project deadlines were met.

Kommera is a first-generation college graduate in her family. “My parents are extremely happy and proud of my achievements. They always dreamt of making my dreams come true and wanted me to succeed the way I want to succeed in life. I’m happy I made them proud.” Her parents attended her graduation ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017.

With a recent move to Chicago, Kommera seeks opportunities to serve and protect the community from cybercrime. “I want to continue a lifelong journey towards making a significant contribution in the field of cybersecurity.” When she’s not busting cyber-criminals, Kommera can be found at the gym, spending time with her family, or relaxing with a book.

Dr. Kyle Swanson new Dean of the College of Sciences at Metropolitan State

Metropolitan State University has named Dr. Kyle Swanson as the new dean of the College of Sciences. He will start at Metropolitan State on Monday, July 3.

As dean, Swanson will be responsible for providing vision, leadership and strategic direction for the College of Sciences at the University. Dean Swanson will also serve on the President’s Cabinet.

Dr. Swanson has been at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee for the last 20 years and is currently serving in the role of chair of the Department of Mathematical Sciences. In addition, he is also a special assistant to the provost for Budget and Planning.

Swanson earned a PhD in geophysical sciences from the University of Chicago and a bachelor’s in mathematics and physics from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. In addition, he completed a postdoctoral fellow program in atmospheric oceanic sciences at Princeton University in New Jersey.

“I am proud and excited that Metropolitan State University has recruited Dr. Kyle Swanson to serve as the next dean of the College of Sciences. Dr. Swanson has an outstanding record as an educator, academic leader, researcher, and administrator,” said university President Virginia “Ginny” Arthur. “With his long experience serving at a public, urban university in the upper Midwest, he brings visionary, collegial leadership to an energetic faculty and a growing college. I look forward to the powerful ways in which the College of Sciences will continue to excel in serving our students and the Twin Cities metropolitan region in the months and years to come.”

Search committee members included:

  • Carl Polding, dean of the College of Individualized Studies
  • Pauline Danforth, advisor, College of Sciences
  • Julio Vargas-Essex, director of Admissions
  • Cynthia Harley, assistant professor, College of Sciences
  • Janice Kwallek, office manager, College of Sciences
  • Mike Stein, professor, Information and Computer Sciences
  • Katherine Johnson, associate professor, Mathematics

Swanson will assume the position currently being held by Interim Dean Sue Fitzgerald, who was appointed after Dean Thomas Nelson’s death in August 2016.

University mourns death of Tom Nelson, dean of the College of Sciences

Tom Nelson
Tom Nelson, dean of the College of Science

Tom Nelson, dean of the College of Sciences at Metropolitan State University, died of cancer on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016, at home surrounded by his loving family.

Prior to joining Metropolitan State, he was dean at Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta, Ga., and before that, chair and director of the biology and environmental science departments at the University of North Georgia, Eastern Illinois University and Arkansas Tech University.

Tom was born on Dec. 14, 1952, in Monmouth, Illinois, to Leith and Mary (Murphy) Nelson. He married his wife, Dianne, in 1975 and was a loving father and grandfather to son Brian, his wife Elena and their two children Cecilia and Henry, Kate and her husband Bryan Nuckols, and John and his fiancee Alexandra Benejam. Tom is survived by one sister, Mary (Gerald) Bevington; one brother, John (Gail) Nelson of Phoenix, Arizona; and several loving nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and one brother, Leith Nelson.

Tom loved his family, his animals (especially corgis), gardening, traveling and spending time in nature. He loved teaching and working with colleagues, and influenced many students with his dedication to biology.

Tom’s career spanned 26 years, teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in ecology, conservation biology and environmental science. He published more than 40 peer-reviewed research articles and a scientific monograph, and he authored or co-authored 80 papers at professional conferences. He secured more than $2 million in grants to support research and scholarships from sources such as the National Science Foundation, Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Service and the Department of Defense, as well as numerous state and local environmental agencies.

Tom earned a B.S. in biological sciences from Illinois State University and both M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in ecology from Southern Illinois University.

“One of the things I most appreciated about Tom was his ability to be both visionary and pragmatic,” wrote Metropolitan State President Ginny Arthur, in a letter to the university community. “He was also a strong and tireless advocate for his College, its faculty and staff, while balancing his advocacy with the overall needs of the university… I was struck by how passionately committed he was to the mission of Metropolitan State and the students we serve.”

Services took place Tuesday, Sept. 6, at the Norberg Memorial Home in Princeton, Illinois, and Tom was buried at Oakland Cemetery. A university memorial will be hosted at a later time.

Memorials may be directed the Memorial Scholarship Endowment for Dr. Thomas Nelson at youCaring.com  https://www.youcaring.com/thomasnelson

Online condolences may be left at http://www.norbergfh.com/.