Natural Science Department Faculty

School of Arts & Sciences

Natural Science Faculty

Pictured above are the men and women who make up the faculty and staff of the Department of Natural Science.

Dr. Steven Maier, Chair

Dr. Steve MaierAssociate Professor of Physics
Chair, Department of Natural Science

Phone: (580) 327 - 8562
Fax: (580) 327 - 8556
Office: SC 107-B
Laboratory: SC 108 and SC 110
Address: 709 Oklahoma Blvd.
Alva, OK 73717

Curriculum Vitae


Ph.D. OU (Norman, OK) Science Education
M.S. OSU (Stillwater, OK) Physics
B.S. SLU (Canton, NY) Physics and Education

Courses taught include:

  • PHSC 3114: Earth & Space Science
  • PHSC 1114: General Physical Science
  • PHSC 1044: Physics by Inquiry
  • PHYS 1114/1214: General Physics I & II
  • PHYS 2114/2124: Physics I & II
  • BIOL 4162: Teaching Methods
  • BIOL/CHEM/PHYS 3011: Science Fair Judging

Research/Academic Interests:

  • K - 16 Science Education (for science and non-science majors)
  • Physics Education Research
  • Science Teacher Education
  • STEM Outreach/Informal Education

Outside interests:

Fishing, traveling/camping, collecting sands, model rocketry, and milling about in lab.

Dr. Cornelia Mihai

Dr. Cornelia MihaiProfessor of Organic Chemistry

Phone: (580) 327-8559
Fax: (580) 327-8556
Office: Science Building 100-A

Curriculum Vitae


PhD, Medicinal Chemistry, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, August 2001

MS in Chemistry, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, 1996

BS in Chemical Engineering, Polytechnic Institute of Bucharest, Bucharest, Romania, 1981

Courses taught include:

  • CHEM 1105 Chemistry for Non-Majors
  • CHEM X114 Organic Chemistry I & II
  • BIOL/CHEM 4143 Biochemistry
  • BIOL/CHEM 4152 Biochemistry Lab
  • CHEM 4125Advanced Organic Chemistry
  • CHEM 4153 Medicinal Chemistry
  • CHEM 4480 Chemistry Seminar

Research and Scholarly Interests:

  • Research at the interface of  Organic and Medicinal Chemistry
  • Drug discovery
  • Serving as an academic advisor for undergraduate students in areas of Chemistry

Career Highlights:

  • More than 10 years research experience (3 years post-doctoral and 10 years pre-doctoral).
  • Proven record in Synthetic Medicinal Chemistry, Bioorganic Chemistry, Mechanistic and Synthetic Enzymology and Analytical Chemistry.
  • Proficiency in design, synthesis and characterization of organic compounds using classical and modern analytical techniques.
  • In-depth knowledge of enzymes purification, enzyme characterization, enzyme kinetics, enzyme inhibition and assay development using different biochemical and biophysical techniques.
  • Demonstrated skills in management of chemical and biochemical laboratories.
  • Supervisory and training experience in an academic R&D setting.
  • More than 14 years diverse teaching experience.
  • Grants writing skills.


Science fiction movies, new age music and travelling

Dr. Venkata Moorthy

Professor of BiologyVenkata Moorthy

Phone: (580) 327-8565
Fax: (580) 327-8556
Office: SC 201C



PhD- University of Oklahoma – Mycorrhizal Interactions

MS – Botany, University of Mysore, India

BS Major in Botany, Zoology and Chemistry

St. Philomena’s College - affiliated to Mysore University, India


  • 12.5 years teaching experience at St. Joseph’s College, Bangalore, India
  • 4.5 years of teaching experience at University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma
  • 23 years of teaching experience at Northwestern Oklahoma State University, Alva, Oklahoma

Courses Taught:

  • BIOL 3315 Microbiology
  • BIOL 4115 Pathogenic Microbiology and Immunology
  • BIOL 4323 Immunology
  • BIOL 4213 Virology
  • BIOL 4233 Human Parasitology
  • BIOL 4273 Mycology
  • BIOL 4470 Independent Study
  • BIOL 3352 Genetics Lab
  • BIOL 3174 Plant Physiology
  • BIOL 4214 Ecology
  • BIOL 1124 Botany
  • BIOL 4021 Senior Seminar
  • BIOL 4001 Junior Seminar

Research Interests:

Mycorrhizal Fungi-Plant interactions and Bacteria and Human interactions

Career Highlights:

  • Educators Leadership Academy; Outstanding professors Academy Award: 2008-2009
  • John Barton Distinguished teaching and Service Award: 2009
  • Oklahoma Higher Education Excellence in Teaching Award(NESU): 2010

Family Information:

Spouse: Sudha Moorthy

Director, Tiny steps Montessori Preschool, Alva, Oklahoma

Daughter: Dr. Ganga Moorthy, Pediatrician at Duke Medical center, Durham NC

Son: Gagan Moorthy, Senior at University of Oklahoma

Special Interests:

Gardening, Yoga and traveling.

Favorite Quote:

“Study without thinking is worthless; thinking without study is dangerous” – Confucius.

Motto I Live By:

“But better to be hurt by the truth than comforted with a Lie” - Khaled Hosseini

Dr. Cynthia Pfeifer-Hill

Dr. Cynthia Pfeifer-HillProfessor of Biology

Phone: (580) 327-8563
Fax: (580) 327-8556
Office: Science Building 100-C



1990       Ph.D. Veterinary Physiology & Pharmacology, David Ross Fellow, Purdue                      University, IN

1985       B.S.  Biochemistry, Pennsylvania State University, PA


2002-2010            Chair, Department of Natural Science, NWOSU, OK

2001-2002            Dean, School of Sciences, Mathematics and Nursing, NWOSU, OK

2000-2001            Interim Dean, School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and                                          Computer Science, NWOSU, OK

1992-1995            Research Associate, Center for Clinical Pharmacology, University                                   of Pittsburgh Medical Center, PA

1991-1992            Postdoctoral Fellow, New Mexico State University, NM

1991                       Postdoctoral Research Assistant, Purdue University, IN

Courses Taught:

  • Cell & Molecular Biology (BIOL 3363)
  • Human Anatomy (BIOL 3184)
  • Human Physiology (BIOL 3194)
  • Medical Terminology (BIOL 3502)
  • Senior Seminar (BIOL 4021)
  • Biochemistry (BIOL/CHEM 4143)
  • Biochemistry Laboratory (BIOL/CHEM 4152)
  • Pathophysiology  (BIOL 4503)

Research and Scholarly Interests:

Serving as a research mentor for undergraduate students in areas of electrophysiology or other areas of research. 

Special Interests:

  • Heartland BEST Robotics Sponsorship and Finance Chair, Alva, OK
  • American Association of University Women (AAUW), Alva, OK
  • Medical Sciences Club faculty sponsor, NWOSU, OK

Career Highlights:

1999       John Sheffield Teacher of the Year, NWOSU, OK

2007       John Barton Distinguished Teaching and Service Award, NWOSU, OK

Favorite Things to Do Outside Work:

Photography, reading, traveling, being an “Auntie”, garage sales and being with my labrador retriever, “Mya Sunshine”!

Motto I Live By:

“Learning and discovering together how the body works is fascinating!”

Dr. Aaron J. Place

Dr. Aaron PlaceProfessor of Biology

Phone: (580) 327 - 8673
Fax: (580) 327 - 8556
Office: Science 201A


2005 Ph.D., Oklahoma State University (Zoology)

2000 M.D., Central Michigan University (Biology)

1996 B.S., University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (Wildlife Management/Biology)

Courses taught:

  • General Zoology
  • Ecology (with Dr. Steve Thompson)
  • Evolution
  • Animal Behavior
  • Natural history of the Vertebrates
  • Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy
  • Herpetology
  • Museum Techniques (With Dr. Steve Thompson)

Special Interests:

Trail running

Home Brewing

Outdoor recreation

Career Highlights:

2010  John Barton Distinguished Teaching and Service Award

Dr. Jenny Sattler

Dr. Jenny SattlerAssistant Professor of Physical Science

Department of Natural Science
Phone: (580) 327 - 8568
Fax: (580) 327 - 8556
Office: SC 201-D
Laboratory: SC 108 and SC 110
Address: 709 Oklahoma Blvd.
Alva, OK 73717


2013 Ph.D., East Carolina University (Biomedical Physics)

2013 M.S. East Carolina University (Medical Physics)

2005 M.S. University of North Dakota (Physics)

2003 B.S. University of North Dakota (Physics)

Courses taught:

  • General Physics I and II
  • General Astronomy
  • Radiation Biology
  • General Physical Science
  • Earth and Space Science
  • Modern Physics
  • Classical Mechanics
  • Nuclear Physics
  • Optics

Special Interests:

  • Cancer biology
  • Radiation biology
  • Astronomy
  • BEST Robotics
  • Science Fair
  • Study Abroad

Dr. Steven Thompson

Dr. Steven ThompsonProfessor of Biology

Department of Natural Science
Phone: (580) 327 - 8566
Office: SC 201-B


B.S. Northwestern Oklahoma State University, Botany and Zoology

M.S. Oklahoma State University, Plant Ecology

Ph.D. Oklahoma State University, Plant Science, Ecology

Courses Taught:

  • General Biology, BIOL 1114
  • General Botany, BIOL 1124
  • Science Fair Judging, BIOL and CHEM 3011
  • Plant Physiology, BIOL 3174
  • Ornithology, BIOL 3204
  • Plant Kingdom, BIOL 3213
  • Grassland Ecosystems, BIOL 3374
  • Biology Seminar, BIOL 4011
  • Ecology, BIOL 4214
  • Plant Taxonomy, BIOL 4223
  • Common Plants of Oklahoma, BIOL 4313
  • Museum Techniques, BIOL 4360
  • Independent Study, BIOL 4470
  • Readings in Biology, BIOL 4490

Research and Scholarly Interest:


Favorite Things to do Outside of Work:

Fishing, especially fly fishing


Dr. Jason Wickham

Dr. Jason WickhamAssistant Professor of Chemistry

Department of Natural Sciences
School of Arts and Sciences
Science Building 100-D
(580) 327-8560

Curriculum Vitae


2007-2008 Postdoctoral Research Assistant at Washington University in Saint Loius (WUSTL)

2007 Ph. D of Inorganic Chemistry from the University of Oklahoma (OU)

2002 B. S. of Chemistry from Southwestern Oklahoma State University (SWOSU)


  • Chemistry for Non-Majors
  • General Chemistry I
  • General Chemistry II
  • Classical Chemical Analyzes
  • Instrumental Chemical Analyzes
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Physical Chemistry I
  • Physical Chemistry II
  • Chemistry Seminar


  • Iodine quantity and distribution in brine waters
  • Solid Polymer Electrolyte materials
  • Nanomaterials
  • Surface modification chemistry


  • OCAST research and development internship project grant - 2017
  • Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education Partnership Award - 2017
  • OCAST research and development internship project grant - 2014


  • Native American artifact and history
  • Fishing
  • Hunting
  • Baseball
  • Restoring cars


  • Co-Sponsor of the Chemistry Club
  • Member of the American Chemical Society
  • Treasure of the Oklahoma Section of the American Chemical Society
Northwestern Oklahoma State University

709 Oklahoma Blvd., Alva, OK 73717
Phone: (580) 327-1700

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