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Message from the Natural Science Divisional Dean

Jay Brewster

August 2018

I bring you greetings from the Natural Science Division faculty and staff! Whether you are a potential student, a current student, or an alumnus, I want you to know that we welcome your interest in our program. We are a dynamic and productive undergraduate program with truly extraordinary faculty. We are committed to the intellectual and spiritual development of each of our students. Our goal is to provide a curriculum and campus experience that leads students toward a readiness for careers in scientific disciplines, and a meaningful vocational vision.

All programs in the Natural Science Division seek to cultivate student understanding of the nature of science and its place in society. As a community that embraces Christian faith, our fascination with the natural world is rooted in the understanding that natural processes are the expression of God's creative power. Belief does not limit our exploration or understanding of the natural world, but rather inspires our curiosity. We explore the intellectual interaction between faith and science, and encourage academic discourse on this topic.

I am proud to be associated with the faculty of the Natural Science Division. They are a wonderful collection of scholars who love to share their discipline with students, and who have chosen to build their professional life at a place of faith. I encourage you to visit the individual websites of our faculty members. As you will see, many have received national and university teaching awards, and all are committed to academic scholarship. Our faculty are devoted to the development of their students; they want to mentor students closely and share in their professional journey. As scholars, faculty have active research programs in their discipline. We work to create and fund opportunities for students to engage in research beyond the classroom. Through private, university, state and federal funding, our faculty members integrate research experiences for undergraduates with their own scholarly interests.

Undergraduate research programs highlight our commitment to personally engage students in scholarly discovery, thereby advancing scientific knowledge, and serving emerging needs of society. These programs include Summer Undergraduate Research in Biology (SURB, funded by the National Science Foundation), chemistry and nutrition research fellowships funded through endowments, and several other research fellowship programs supported by grants and institutional funds. These programs currently provide training for 50 or more students per year and generate results that are of interest to the scientific community, local managers of natural resources in the Santa Monica Mountains, and the public. Results are presented at regional and national conferences, archived in Payson Library, and published in leading scientific journals. As students move forward in their "life after Pepperdine", these research contributions are incorporated into their applications for graduate fellowships (Fulbright Fellowships, Graduate Research Fellowships), and their applications for specific graduate programs.

We are proud of our classroom and laboratory facilities. Recent renovations have occurred within all Natural Science Division facilities including the Rockwell Academic Center and the Keck Science Center. These renovations provided upgraded teaching, laboratory, and research space in the division. Renovated research labs have increased our capacity to engage students in independent research guided by faculty mentors. In addition to improved facilities, recent equipment additions have dramatically strengthened our research capabilities in all areas of study. Examples include atomic force microscopy (AFM), nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), DNA sequencing and analyses, flow cytometry, field portable photosynthesis-respiration-transpiration systems, and live cell fluorescent imaging. These instrumentations are used in both teaching and research settings, providing training that is typically not associated with undergraduate education.

Student accomplishments subsequent to graduation are probably the best metric of a program's overall success. Pepperdine students have been accepted into top tier graduate, medical, and dental schools at rates that far exceed national norms. Pepperdine students have earned national recognition through the receipt of Fulbright Fellowships to support their international postgraduate research, and Graduate Research Fellowships from the National Science Foundation.

I hope that you consider participation in one of our special program offerings in the Natural Science Division. For a listing of all programs offered here at Pepperdine, please review our web pages.

Thank you for your interest in our division,
Jay L. Brewster
Divisional Dean of Natural Sciences
Professor of Biology