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From the Fall 2019 Edition of Discovery

From the Dean

Dr. Maura Hagan reflects on themes from the Fall 2019 issue of Discovery

Dean Maura Hagan

Dr. Maura Hagan, Dean of the Utah State University College of Science

Photo courtesy Donna Berry

Dear Alumni and Friends,

“Every now and then one paints a picture that seems to have opened a door and serves as a stepping stone to other things.”

This iconic quote is attributed to the famed artist Pablo Picasso, purportedly in an exchange with Henri Matisse.1

Stepping stones aren’t unique to artists. In the ensuing pages of this issue of Discovery magazine, College of Science alumni share experiences in the classroom, the lab or with jobs that served as stepping stones on their academic, professional and personal paths. Stepping stones can serve as opportunities to discover our potential, unlocking some latent capabilities inside. As such, even failure can be a stepping stone to success.

The second theme that emerges in this issue is the success achieved by some remarkable College of Science alumnae. This past August, USU President Noelle Cockett proclaimed 2019-2020 the “Year of the Woman” at Utah State University. The proclamation was motivated by several significant voting rights anniversaries occurring in 2020, including the 150th anniversary of suffrage for Utah women, the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in the United States and the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act. USU’s Year of the Woman also celebrates the rich history of Aggie women and their impact on past, present and future generations.

I hope you will enjoy all of the stories in this issue. Thank you for your ongoing support of the College of Science.


Maura E . Hagan, PhD

Dean, USU College of Science

1Gilot, Françoise, Carlton Lake and Lisa Alther, Life with Picasso, Random House, Inc., p. 244.

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Dean Hagan at Commencement 2019

Dean Hagan, left, congratulates graduating 2018-19 Science Senator Abigail Longaker Service.

The College of Science Executive Team

Dean Hagan, far right, with recently retired Associate Dean Richard Mueller, left, and former Associate Dean Lisa Berreau, currently interim Vice President for Research.

Dean Hagan at the Hansen Life Sciences Retreat with Associate Dean Sean Johnson

Dean Hagan, left, receives a conference T-shirt from Associate Dean Sean Johnson, at the 2019 Hansen Life Sciences Retreat.

USU AFROTC Cadet Isabella Muffoletto BS’18 serves in Detachment 860’s annual, 24-hour POW/MIA Vigil on the USU Quad.

Celebrating USU’s Women Scientists in the Military

For the “Year of the Woman,” USU highlights two active duty College of Science alumnae

Liang Peng, third from the right, at his USU PhD dissertation defense, with his committee

How an Internship Paved the Way to My Career

Fall 2019 Guest Columnist Liang Peng, PhD’17, Computer Science, recounts the effect his internship had on his career

Author Marcha Fox

Following Star Trails

Author Marcha Fox (BS’87, Physics) pursues unbeaten path as late-blooming scholar, NASA space shuttle engineer and Sci-Fi writer

Pre-renovation view of the west entrance of the   S.J. and Jessie E. Quinney Biology and Natural Resources Building.

Coming to Life Redux

Biology-Natural Resources Building Undergoing Renovation

Participants in the 2019 Hansen Life Sciences Retreat

Fostering Synergistic Research

Annual Hansen Life Sciences Retreat honors celebrated scientist and USU professor/administrator R. Gaurth Hansen

Alum Willy Lensch ‘91, left, visits with his undergrad mentor, Biology professor Dennis Welker,

College of Science Fall Convocation 2019

Outstanding Scholars, Scholarship Donors Celebrated at Fall Convocation

Undergraduate Research Fellow Audrey Lidgard, center, works with faculty mentor Susannah French, left, and doctoral student Spencer Hudson in their research laboratory

'A' Day of Giving

USU Alumni Association Fundraiser during 2019 Homecoming Festivities Encourages Aggies Around the World to ‘Give Back’

Chief Scientist of NASA's International Space Station Division, Julie A. Robinson

Reaching Beyond Possible

Chief Scientist of NASA’s ISS Division, Julie A. Robinson BS’89 leads strategic planning for human space exploration