20th century advances in science have been unparalleled in the history of our planet, from advances in nuclear research, to the discovery of new polymers and composites and even the development of DNA technology.
Whether students aspire to a career in the sciences or simply wish to be well-informed members of society, they must become scientifically literate in the language of science that is increasingly influential in all dimensions of everyday life.
Salesianum provides students with the knowledge, and training to fulfill their vocations and make decisions as responsible citizens of this planet. A comprehensive science curriculum challenges students at their ability levels and provide them with the most current scientific theory. A talented and unique faculty consists of nine science teachers – five with Masters Degrees, two chemical engineers, one civil engineer and one materials science engineer.
The Abessinio Center provides ample facilities for scientific exploration, as well as the integration of technology with instruction and data-gathering. The center houses a total of 10 science laboratory rooms. Eight classrooms contain a full set of 26 student lecture/12 lab stations, including 12 Dell computers in each room, with gas lines and ventilation hoods for 2 chemistry rooms. Two additional Independent study student labs – one for chemistry and one for biology – provides technology and resources for independent work. There are four chemical storage rooms with four teacher prep rooms between each set of classrooms.
The centerpiece of the Abessino Science Center is a three-story DNA model in the corner stairway. Constructed of plate steel rungs and stainless steel in its backbone and spirals, it was designed by longtime teacher and science department chair Phil Vavala ’66. The model was engineered and constructed at O’Rourke & Sons, Inc. and was installed in one piece, by lowering it through a hole cut in the roof.
In addition to being a beautifully-engineered model of a section of DNA, the “megamolecule” holds within it a part of the genetic code needed to make a very important molecule, hemoglobin. In a sense, the DNA is a blueprint for making a protein. Salesianum students use the model to study the structure of DNA and how it is decoded. The molecule shows the color-coded base pairs for a sequence of human DNA with codes for the sickle cell anemia substitution which causes the disease. Students can use the molecule to match the correct nucleotides on the double helix structure. They can identify the exact spot where the incorrect base causes the wrong sequencing to occur, resulting in the incorrectly folding form of hemoglobin.
Teachers use Vernier Software with probes including temperature, pressure, conductivity, ion specific sensors, gas sensors, pH, oxidation/reduction, electric current sensors, and motion detectors. These Vernier sensors are used with the Dell computers to Graph lab data in real time and demonstrate to students the various mathematical functions and relationships of biology, chemistry and physics. In addition to the sensor technology, there is dissection technology, DNA and protein electro-phoresis, chromatography labs. Some of our teachers utilize iPads with video learning, animations for biological processes and all teachers use EXCEL graphing of student data for analysis starting in the freshman year. All teachers use power point, many use Airserver and some also have courses set up in iTunes U.
Salesianum currently offers seven AP Science courses – AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Environmental Science, AP Physics 1, AP Physics 2, AP Physics C Mechanics with calculus, AP Physics C Electricity & Magnetism with calculus. We offer ten additional science electives, including a new STEM Introduction to Engineering course, Biotechnology & Forensics, Anatomy & Physiology, Ecology, Aquatic & Marine Biology, Advanced Research in Biology (Independent Study), Advanced Research in Chemistry (Independent Study), Chemistry II, Meteorology & Microbiology.
Alumni in the Sciences
Countless alumni of Salesianum have gone on to hold exciting careers in the sciences. These include:
Dr. John M. Byrne ’67
Professor of energy and climate change policy at the University of Delaware, recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.
Dr. Stephen D. Leach ‘78
Paul K. Neumann Professor in Pancreatic Cancer; Professor of Surgery, Oncology and Cell Biology; Vice Chair for Academic Affairs, Dept. of Surgery at Johns Hopkins University; Board of Trustee member, Princeton University
Dr. Anthony Monaco ‘77
13th President of Tufts University, genetic research scientist whose work contributed to the discovery of the gene responsible for X-linked Duchenne and Becker Muscular dystrophies. Former Director of Oxford University’s Wellcome Trust Center for Human Genetics.
Dr. Joseph F. Hahn ‘60
Chief of Staff, Cleveland Clinic Health Systems
Daniel Carlton Smith ’90
Research scientist at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory,
Dr. Jen Anthony - Department Chair
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Ms. Jennifer Albanese
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Mr. C. Creighton Anderson
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Mrs. MaryBeth Bray
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Ms. Kathryn Devine
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Mr. David Stevens
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Mr. David Szaroleta
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Ms. Alexis Walsh
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Mr. Sam White
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