Brenden Rickards, *06 (MOL)

Position
Provost and Vice President, Academic Services
Role
GradFUTURES Forum Speaker
Bio/Description

Dr. Brenden Rickards began his career in science as a Biology major at West Virginia University in Morgantown, WV. While an undergraduate student, he worked as a Pfizer Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow to study and synthesize organic molecules that have been implicated in and could be used to potentially treat diabetes. He also worked in a toxicology laboratory where he investigated how several commercial pesticides and herbicides known to be toxic and/or carcinogenic to humans affect cell communication processes in humans. He was honored as the most outstanding Organic Chemistry student by the faculty in the Chemistry department at West Virginia University. His research and presentations as an undergraduate earned him several awards and honors including the most outstanding undergraduate research and poster presentation at a local American Chemical Society meeting.

Following graduation where he was honored to become members of both Beta Beta Beta and Phi Beta Kappa, Dr. Rickards enrolled in graduate school in the Molecular Biology Department at Princeton University in Princeton, NJ. At Princeton, Dr. Rickards studied the molecular mechanisms that lead to cells becoming transformed into cancer cells. He then ascribed new functions to three proteins, nucleolin, Brd2 and Brd3. By working with these proteins, he illustrated how these proteins all contribute to ensure that genes are expressed appropriately in a cell. Several of the proteins Dr. Rickards studied are essential for regulating life processes to ensure cell survival.

After receiving his Ph.D., Dr. Rickards continued his work as a post-doctoral research associate at Princeton University where he studied the effects that a common virus named adenovirus has on human cells. By furthering the understanding the effects this virus has on our cells, the potential application of this virus in human gene therapy medical treatments could potentially be realized.

Dr. Rickards has been working in education to pass his love of Biology and science on to his students throughout his career. Prior to his time at Rowan College of South Jersey, he taught courses at West Virginia University, Princeton University, where he was recognized with a student teaching award, and The University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Rickards began as an Assistant Professor of Biology at Rowan College of South Jersey in 2007. As a full time instructor, he taught numerous courses for students majoring in the Sciences as well as for students not pursuing degrees in the Sciences. He was instrumental in developing several new degree options and courses for students. His efforts at improving his own pedagogical skills resulted in him receiving the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching in 2013.

Following his time as an instructor, Dr. Rickards began serving as the Dean of STEM in 2013. During his tenure, the STEM division grew by adding additional degree programs in Environmental Science and Process Technology to students. Furthermore, a partnership was developed with the Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering at Rowan University that has resulted in exponential growth of the Engineering program at Rowan College of South Jersey. The growth of the STEM division under his leadership also resulted in the need for an additional Math and Engineering building to be constructed as well as an expansion of the Scott Hall STEM Center to add engineering laboratories to support student success.

Currently, Dr. Rickards is serving as the new Provost and Vice President of Academic Services at Rowan College of South Jersey where he oversees over 110 degree and certificate programs at all campuses of the college. His vision for the future academics at the college always has the best interest of the student at the forefront of every endeavor and he intends to push the college’s academics forward to continue the growth of partnerships with industry and partner colleges to further support student success and preparation for the workforce.

Dr. Rickards has authored two grants that have been funded by Pfizer, Inc. and the NJ Commission on Cancer Research. He has been co-author on five different peer-reviewed articles.

"I am very excited to be partnering with GradFUTURES to help guide any and all graduate students at Princeton into their future careers. Always remember that education and learning is a lifelong endeavor. I implore each student to continue to learn new things throughout their entire career as this will always open new avenues to your futures.

The experiences at Princeton University in the classrooms, laboratories and departmental colloquia and functions helped mold me into the professional educator that I am today. The leadership and public speaking skills that I obtained in my graduate career have allowed me to continue to progress into public leadership positions within the college."

I have participated in the following GradFUTURES Programs:

I am open to being contacted by a Princeton Graduate Student for an informational interview!

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