Oklahoma Baptist University

Three Join Hurley College of Science and Mathematics

Two faculty members and one lab instructor have joined OBU’s James E. Hurley College of Science and Mathematics. Dr. Contessa Edgar is an assistant professor of biology; Dr. Yvonne Mbote is an assistant professor of chemistry; and Erin Shrick is the stockroom manager and lab instructor.

Edgar earned a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry from the University of Sioux Falls, S.D. She earned a doctorate from the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine Mayo Graduate School in Rochester, Minn. Her field of study was biomedical science with an emphasis on immunology. She most recently worked as an associate research scientist for the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. She also was an instructor in the graduate program in biomedical sciences at the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center in Norman.

During summer 2011, Edgar served as a lecturer in cell biology at the University of Oklahoma. She previously served as a lecturer and teaching assistant in immunology at the Mayo Graduate School, where she also served as a teaching assistant on molecular genetics. She served as a chemistry lab assistant and tutor at the University of Sioux Falls. She was awarded one of three travel awards given by the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation in 2012. She has received training grants in immunology. In 2002-03, she was named a Barry M. Goldwater scholar. She is a member of Alpha Chi Honor Society and the American Association of Immunologists.

“We feel that God has really had his hand in uniquely preparing Tessa for service at OBU,” said Dr. Debbie Blue, dean of the Hurley College of Science and Mathematics and senior vice president for academic services. “Beginning with her undergraduate education at the University of Sioux Falls, a small Baptist liberal arts institution where she double-majored in biology and chemistry and minored in mathematics, to her doctoral work at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, her path has seemed guided to OBU.

“If I could have hand-picked two OBU graduates as guides for Tessa, I could not have chosen better than the ones she met on her own in Dr. Jadee Upshaw Neff at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Dr. Judith James at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. In the tradition of other Hurley professors, Dr. Edgar will make students work hard and love it.”

Mbote earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Ilorin in Nigeria. She earned a master’s degree in organic chemistry from the University of Ibadan in Nigeria. She earned a doctorate in physical chemistry from the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. She most recently served as an instructor in the Department of Chemistry at Minnesota State Community and Technical College in Moorhead, teaching fundamental concepts of physics and fundamental concepts of chemistry.

Previously, Mbote served as an instructor in the Department of Math, Science and Technology at the University of Minnesota, Crookston, and an instructor and research assistant at the University of North Dakota. For nearly seven years, she was an assistant professor of chemistry at the University of Buea in Cameroon. She is a member of the American Chemical Society and Pi Lambda Theta, an international honors society and professional association in education.

“The softly lilting voice of Dr. Yvonne Mbote (the ‘M’ is silent) is a welcomed sound in the Wood Science Building,” Blue said. “With that voice, she is bringing a wealth of experience and enthusiasm to the OBU chemistry classroom and laboratory from her home country of Cameroon by way of her most recent doctoral work and teaching experience in Minnesota and North Dakota. Dr. Mbote prefers to use diverse instructional and learning strategies such as Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) and Peer Led Guided Inquiry (PLGI). We are pleased to welcome Dr. Mbote to OBU’s campus.”

Shrick earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas. She earned a master’s degree in chemistry from Oklahoma State University in Stillwater. She previously served as a teaching assistant in OSU’s Chemistry Department. She was a tutor in math, chemistry and biology for Midwestern State University’s student-athlete program.

In 2008, Shrick was named MSU’s Hardin Scholar, the highest academic excellence award presented by the university. In 2007, she was named the Clark Scholar, the university’s second-highest academic award. She is a member of the American Chemical Society, Gamma Sigma Epsilon chemistry honor society, Alpha Chi Honor Society and Beta Beta Beta biology honor society.

“The position of stockroom manager and laboratory instructor is a new one for the Hurley College of Science and Mathematics, and with enrollments on the rise, the position became a critical need,” Blue said. “We are so glad that Erin was here to fill that need. In addition to being in charge of the chemical stockroom, she will teach several chemistry labs in the fall. So, in addition to prepping the labs, she will actually get to teach some of the labs and get to know the students on the other side of the window. It has been a real blessing to have her on board this summer to get things organized in preparation for fall classes.”

OBU’s James E. Hurley College of Science and Mathematics supports degree programs in natural science, biochemistry, biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics designed to prepare students for graduate study or careers, as well as spiritual integration that will provide opportunities for success in an ever-changing social environment.

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