Press Releases, Student Life

NCC Biology Students Meet Scientist, Textbook Author

Nash Community College’s Biology Department hosted Dr. Kelly Cowan for a “Meet the Scientist” event on Tuesday, September 17 and completed a DNA Finger Printing lab experiment using equipment funded by the NC BioNetwork. Dr. Cowan is the author of a textbook used in NCC Biology courses, McGraw-Hill’s “Microbiology: A Systems Approach.”

Dr. Cowan is Professor Emerita of Microbiology at Miami University. She holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree from University of Louisville and has been a microbiology faculty member since 1993. In addition to authoring three textbooks, Dr. Cowan has published book chapters, a major review article, and 24 research articles about her work with bacterial adhesion mechanisms and plant-derived antimicrobial compounds. Her research is the subject of two patents and has been externally funded. As an avid teacher and pedagogical researcher, Dr. Cowan’s articles are published in the “Journal of College Science Teaching,” the “Journal on Excellence in College Teaching” and “The Teaching Professor.”

McGraw-Hill Education Director of Marketing of the Life Sciences, Jim Connely, accompanied Dr. Cowan to gain student feedback regarding the textbook. Connelly has worked for more than 20 years in educational publishing.

NCC Instructor Nahel Awadallah said, “It is so exciting for our students to be able to meet the author of their text. When we can introduce them to the scientist whose work they are studying, it expands their perspective on the topics we are covering.”

Following Dr. Cowan’s presentation, Instructors Nahel Awadallah and Reggie Cobb led students in a DNA fingerprinting laboratory experiment. The technique is used to establish a link between biological evidence and a suspect in a criminal investigation. By taking DNA samples from a scene, the students were able to compare with a DNA sample from a person. If the two DNA profiles matched, then the evidence came from that suspect.

“Whenever possible, we try to incorporate real-world exercises into our instruction. NCC students get to see where and how they will utilize their research and scholarship prior to entering the field.”