Faculty Spotlight: Meet Professor Rachel Fogle
The lifeblood of Harrisburg University is our professors.
They are the ones who deliver our experiential learning mission. They are the reason 92 percent of our students land family sustaining jobs in their fields or get accepted to graduate school within six months of graduation.
Professors like Dr. Rachel Fogle, who routinely go above and beyond to deliver a hands-on education that prepares HU students for life after college, are the reason HU has been ranked the #1 STEM University in the U.S. by Corporate LiveWire.
Fogle is an Assistant Biology professor/ Lead and Coordinator of Aquaponics Initiatives at HU. She teaches within the Integrative Sciences, General Education, and the Online Nursing programs. She also coordinates several annual summer exploration camps, including the Aquaponics, Elementary STEM, and Girls in STEM camps.
Fogle also is passionate about research, and routinely involves students in groundbreaking studies in and outside of the classroom, delivering incomparable real-world training that gives our students an edge during the hiring process.
We recently caught up with Fogle to learn more about her background and the things she loves most about teaching, and specifically working with students at HU.
Q: Tell us about your educational background?
A: I earned my BS in Chemistry and Mathematics from York College of Pennsylvania and my PhD in Cellular and Molecular Physiology from Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey. My thesis research project involved the use of proteomics and bioinformatics to detect sex-dependent molecular alterations in myocardial protein content following chronic alcohol abuse in a rat model.
Q: Where are you from originally?
A: I am from Altoona, Pa., but grew up locally in Wrightsville. I left Pennsylvania for a short stint for the completion of my post-doctoral studies but returned as soon as possible! I currently live in Elizabethtown. I love this area and all that it has to offer and look forward to the changing seasons.
Q: What courses do you teach at HU?
A: Specific courses that I have instructed at HU include: INSC (General Biology, Cell Biology, Molecular Biology, Genetics), GEND (Cornerstone, Ethical Mind – Research Ethics & Scientific Integrity *1st time at HU this fall semester*), Nursing (Genetics). In addition to these, I am involved in Experiential Learning and regularly have students completing Project 1 (literature review), Project 2 (research), or Internship.
I initiated an Integrative Sciences Journal Club, a non-credit and optional weekly meeting to improve scientific literacy and communication of our students. This is an environment where scientific literacy skills are learned and practiced. Predatory reading is introduced as a way of most efficiently reading (and comprehending) a scientific article.
Q: What do you love the most about teaching at HU?
A: The students! Also my colleagues and the teamwork atmosphere. The lack of “silos” that are found within most academic institutions. The support from administration and ability to try new things to improve course design and instruction. The encouragement for continual growth and personal/professional advancement. Lots!
Q: What are your main areas of interest for conducting research?
A: My areas of interest for conducting research have historically been diverse – ranging from my thesis research topic of alcoholic cardiomyopathy to macrophage infiltration in a diabetic mouse model to defining novel breast cancer biomarkers via patient-derived antigen characterization – and have been further influenced by the types of questions my students are interested in investigating.
As a broadly trained physiologist, my research interests are widespread. I am interested in biological systems under normal and pathological states, proteomics, and bioinformatics. My dissertation project involved the use of proteomics to detect sex-dependent differences in myocardial protein content following chronic alcohol abuse in a rat model.
One of my specific interests includes the field of quantitative proteomics and bioinformatics. Managing large datasets generated from proteome-based experiments has led to an appreciation for statistical tools that allow easier data analysis. As part of my graduate research, I developed a new statistical model using statistical software analysis packages, such as STATA and R, to allow combination of multiple datasets with related research hypotheses, thereby increasing the sample size for statistical analysis. Over the past several years, I have applied this statistical model to answer a variety of research questions, ranging from selenium supplementation in men, to identification of biomarkers in saliva obtained from breast cancer patients.
In addition to statistical modeling, I have broadened by research interests to include education research. Specifically, the implementation and validation of innovative team-based learning curriculum for responsible conduct of research (RCR).
And, more recently, my research interests have continued to diversify even further with aquaponics. Aquaponics is the combination of conventional aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (soil-less growing) in one integrated system.
Q: Any special awards or certifications you can share?
A: I was a recipient of the HU Presidential Research Grant in both 2018 (Novel Methods to Assess the Population Status of a Federally Threatened Reptile, the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake) & 2019 (A Comparison of Media to Determine Optimal Growth in Aquaponics).
I was also a recipient of a grant from The Faile Foundation relating to Aquaponics: Summer Exploration Camp, Internship Programs, and Curriculum Design & Integration.
Q: What do you think makes HU stand out as a University for our students and our faculty?
A: The focus on experiential learning and mastery of core competencies that will prepare students for success in their future careers. This is directly correlated to the consistent exposure to hands-on and real-world experiences throughout their education (e.g., the applicability of what our students are learning).
Q: Do you have any hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: I love anything outdoors and anything involving water! And, luckily for me, central PA has a ton of trails with diversity in terrain that I am able to hike (with my hounds) and bike. I enjoy hunting and fishing. I enjoy boating with friends as well as kayaking. I hope to soon acquire a paddle board as my next water challenge/adventure! I also enjoy just relaxing in nature, capturing the beauty with photography or just sitting around a bonfire and stargazing.
About Harrisburg University
Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, Harrisburg University is a private non-profit university offering bachelor and graduate degree programs in science, technology, and math fields. For more information on the University’s affordable demand-driven undergraduate and graduate programs, call 717.901.5146 or email, Connect@HarrisburgU.edu.