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 Division of Business. Pictured from left to right are ...

Dr. Steven Maier, Chair

Associate 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

Professor of Organic Chemistry 
Phone: (580) 327-8559
Fax: (580) 327-8556
Office: Science Building 100-A

Curriculum Vitae

Dr. Cornelia Mihai was born in Bucharest, Romania. She holds a B.S. Degree in Chemical Engineering (Technology of Organic Compounds) from Polytechnic Institute of Bucharest, Romania, a M.S. in Chemistry and a Ph.D. Degree in Medicinal Chemistry from University of Illinois at Chicago.

She taught undergraduate-level classes (General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry and Principles of Drug Action and Therapeutics) and Medicinal Chemistry graduate-level classes for more than 4 years at University of Illinois at Chicago.

Prior coming to NWOSU, she was working as Research Associate at Albany Molecular Research, Inc., as Research Scientist at Integrated DNA Technologies in Coralville, Iowa and as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at University of Iowa, Iowa City.

She has more than 10 years research experience and a proven record in Synthetic Medicinal Chemistry, Bioorganic Chemistry, Biocatalysis, and Mechanistic and Synthetic Enzymology. She loves Organic and Medicinal Chemistry and she hopes to convey her passion to her new students at NWOSU.

At NWOSU, she teaches General and Organic Chemistry. When not teaching, Dr. Mihai enjoys good books and movies and Classical and New Age music.

Dr. Venkata Moorthy

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

Curriculum Vitae

Dr. Venkata Moorthy, holds a Bachelor's Degree in Science (Botany, Zoology and Chemistry) from University of Mysore, India, a Master's Degree in Botany from University of Mysore, India, and a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Botany (Mycorrhizal Ecology) from The University of Oklahoma.

Dr. Moorthy taught Botany, Genetics, Plant Physiology, Plant Taxonomy, Microbiology, Ecology and Environmental Science for 10 years at St. Joseph's College, Bangalore, India.

Prior to coming to Northwestern in 1995, Dr. Moorthy taught Botany and related courses for 4 years at The University of Oklahoma.

Currently Dr. Moorthy is involved in full time teaching. His courses include Botany, Plant Physiology, Pathogenic Microbiology, Immunology, Ecology, Genetics and Microbiology. Dr. Moorthy's teaching philosophy includes inquiry instruction, improving students critical thinking skills and involving hands-on laboratory activities.

"Study without thinking is worthless; thinking without study is dangerous" -Confucius 

Dr. Cynthia Pfeifer-Hill

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

Curriculum Vitae

Dr. Pfeifer-Hill received her B.S. (Biochemistry) at Pennsylvania State University and her Ph.D. in 1990 (Veterinary Physiology and Pharmacology) at the School of Veterinary Medicine at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN. She continued her Postdoctoral Studies for several years in hormone research and the physiology of kidney mechanisms in hypertension at the University of New Mexico and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Currently she enjoys teaching full-time at NWOSU and loves to interact with the students in a smaller University setting. When not teaching, Dr. Pfeifer-Hill enjoys the peace and quiet of Alva, traveling in New Mexico, photography, garage sales and her lab/collie dog, "Oreo".

Courses taught at NWOSU include: Human Anatomy and Physiology, Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology, Immunology, Medical Terminology and Pathophysiology.

"Learning and discovering how the body works is fascinating!!"

Dr. Aaron Place

Professor of Biology

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

M W F 8-9,11-12, 2-3

Curriculum Vitae

Dr. Place earned his B.S. in Wildlife Management and Biology from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and his M.S. in Biology from Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, MI. The title of his thesis was The Rattlesnake Rattle as a Caudal Lure. He continued his research on rattlesnake behavior at Oklahoma State University-Stillwater where he finished his Ph.D in Zoology. The title of his dissertation was, The role of Learning in the Expression of Rattling Behavior in the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake.

Courses taught:

  • General Zoology
  • Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy
  • Limnology
  • Natural History of the Vertebrates
  • Wildlife Conservation
  • Wildlife Management Techniques
  • Herpetology
  • General Ecology (w/ Dr. Steve Thompson)
  • Animal Behavior
  • Evolution
  • Evolutionary Medicine
  • Biology Seminar (Sceince and Humanities)
  • Readings in Biology
  • Independent Study

Research interests:

  • Ecology and evolution of pit vipers, especially rattlesnakes
  • Comparative animal behavior
  • Biogeography of snakes
  • The role of learning in defensive behavior
  • Feeding behavior of snakes


  • Outdoor recreation (biking, hiking, camping)
  • Reading books by Stephen Jay Gould
  • Spending time with family in Oklahoma and Wisconsin
  • Homebrewing
  • Trail running

Dr. Jenny Sattler

Assistant Professor of Physical Science

Department of Natural Science
Phone: (580) 327 - 8568
Fax: (580) 327 - 8556
Office: SC 107-A
Laboratory: SC 108 and SC 110
Address: 709 Oklahoma Blvd.
Alva, OK 73717

Curriculum Vitae

Dr. Sattler earned her BS in Physics at the University of North Dakota.  Continuing her studies at UND, she earned an MS in Physics (thesis: Calcium kinetic studies in animal models for osteoporosis using calcium-47 and calcium-41 radiotracers).  She then earned an MS in Medical Physics and a PhD in Biomedical Physics at East Carolina University (dissertation: Comparison of two human cell lines following exposure to low dose radiation and treatment with soybean miso and its active ingredient genistein). 

Dr. Steven Thompson

Professor of Biology
201B Science Building

Office Hours:

9-10 M-F,
10-11 TTh,
11-Noon MWF,
and by appointment

Phone: 580-327-8566


Curriculum Vitae


  • General Biology 1114
  • Grassland Ecosystems 3374
  • Plant Taxonomy 4223
  • Common Plants of Oklahoma 4313
  • Ornithology 3204
  • Science Fair Judging 3011
  • Biology Seminar 4021
  • Independent Study 4470

Dr. Jason Wickham

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

Curriculum Vitae


Northwestern Oklahoma State University

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

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