Plans, Hopes & Dreams
march 3, 2008

Anticipation Runs High for New Science Center
by Maura King Scully

New Science Center

If you visit campus, you’ll notice that Stonehill is constructing a new Science Center. What you may not know, is that it will be equipped with all of the latest tools for 21st century hands-on scientific inquiry.

 Perched on the Belmont Street end of campus, the structure is taking shape day-by-day and brick-by-brick. While it’s slated to open in fall 2009, anticipation is already running high across campus, especially among science students and faculty. 

SAM spoke with a cross-section of these occupants-to-be to find out what their hopes are for the new Center.

Prof. Roger Denome
Roger Denome

The Total Package
Roger Denome
Chair, Biology Department

“This building will be the total package – the gestalt that makes science interesting to everybody. The way I see it, outcomes will improve across the board. Student research will be better and more sustained, because we won’t be trying to fit classes and research projects into the same space. Students will get to do research at the time of day when it’s most appropriate for them rather than the time of day when the lab is free.

”Faculty research productivity will improve as well, because each faculty member will have dedicated research space. We won’t need to set up and tear down research because of conflicts with the teaching space.”

What doesn’t get said often enough is that students should do better in their classes and learn more, for many of the same reasons. They’ll have access to better teaching and research facilities, more access to faculty, better study space and a more dynamic atmosphere that encourages academic thought."

Massarotti Alessandro Massarotti

More Space for Teaching and Research
Alessandro Massarotti
Associate Professor, Physics

“It’s going to be a very efficient building – more space for teaching and more space for research. We’ll be able to combine lectures and labs, with more tools to do our jobs more effectively. Academically, we’re working toward launching a physics major in 2009. We’ll be bringing on another faculty member, an experimental physicist, who will require lab space. So even before hiring this person, we were able to dedicate space for an experimental physics lab where she or he can have a couple of experiments set up and running in addition to teaching space. It’s ideal.”

 Marilena Hall with students

Social Space
Marilena Hall
Associate Professor, Chemistry

“I’m most looking forward to having my own separate research lab, which I don’t have right now. I also think the addition of social space is very important. The atrium will be a beautiful public space – a place where students from all majors can come together. Stonehill doesn’t have enough of this type of space right now. Having food available on that end of campus will also be great. It will change the way we meet with students. I can imagine meeting an advisee over a cup of coffee for a more casual, informal discussion. When a student pops in to ask questions about a problem set or upcoming test, we can sit down in the atrium instead of in my office. It will also be a great place to just sit and see who passes by.”

Creating Dynamic Collegiality
Sharon Ramos-Goyette
Assistant Professor, Biology

“I’m excited that all the science faculty will be in one place. I think it will bring about much more dynamic collegiality. For example, take the new neuroscience major: neuroscience brings together biology and psychology; but currently, the two departments are in separate buildings. In the new facility, I’ll run into my psychology colleagues much more often and we’ll have a dedicated neuroscience teaching lab. Science is a collaborative profession. In the way it’s set up, the Center will encourage this collaboration early and often among faculty and among students. It’s going to be terrific.”

Increasing Active Learning
Christopher Poirier ’97
Assistant Professor, Psychology

“I’m most excited that we’ll have a child play room. I teach developmental psychology and we spend an entire semester talking about the development of the child. Right now, however, students rarely view real children. With the new room, active learning will increase: my students will watch real children play and collect observational data. That will be a powerful learning experience — they’ll get a lot more out of the course.”

What Science is all About
Angela Farinella ’09
Biology major

“It sounds strange, but I’m most excited about the Dunkin’ Donuts that will be in the new Science Center. I know a lot of people who aren’t science majors are intimidated by the sciences — what we do and what goes on in the labs is a big mystery to them. Dunkin’ Donuts will be a place where students from all majors can grab a cup of coffee and have something to eat. Then maybe they’ll peek in the labs and see what science is all about.”

Dedicated Research Space
Tim Cushing ’09
Psychology major

“I can’t wait. There are going to be all kinds of new facilities and the latest equipment that I’ll get to use before I go to graduate school. I’m hoping to do a directed study with either Professor Poirier or Professor Klentz — which will be great because they’ll both have their own dedicated research space. In that atmosphere, I’ll get an excellent experience. An experience like that will help tremendously in getting into a good graduate program.”

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