Natural Sciences Division Faculty

Mary Vedamuthu, Professor of Chemistry

Professor of Chemistry
Natural Sciences Laboratory Coordinator

Contact information:
Administration 219

Dr. Vedamuthu begin at Missouri Baptist University in the fall of 2004 after teaching for three years at Logan College of Chiropractic in St. Louis and one year at Texas Tech University. Dr. Vedamuthu was promoted to the position of Associate Professor in 2006 and to Full Professor in 2016. Dr. Vedamuthu earned a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Texas Tech University in 1996. Her dissertation project investigated the anomalous characteristics of liquid water with a focus on the underlying issue of its structural forms. After completing graduate school, she served as a post-doctoral research associate at Eastern Illinois University, which was funded by Cabot Corporation, a global specialty chemicals and performance materials company. From 1999-2001, Dr. Vedamuthu served as a research chemist at Monsanto Headquarters optimizing the reaction conditions for the continuous production of glyphosate, popularly called “Roundup”. Personally, Dr. Vedamuthu loves getting to know my students outside of the classroom setting, listening to Indian music, watching movies, and volunteering at church.

B.S., University of Madras, 1982
M.S., University of Madras, 1985
Ph.D., Physical Chemistry, Texas Tech University, 1996

Kim E. Cochran, Director of MBU Early College Partnerships

Director of EXCEL
Assistant Professor of Mathematics

Contact information:

Mrs. Cochran joined MBU in the fall of 2000 as an adjunct mathematics instructor. She has transitioned into an Assistant Professor of Mathematics in 2018. She has taught various mathematics classes throughout the years, but she has focused primarily on Probability and Statistics. In 2019, Mrs. Cochran became the Director of EXCEL.

Mrs. Cochran earned a BS in Electrical Engineering at the University of Missouri – Rolla (Missouri S & T) and an MBA at Webster University. After graduation, she worked for 10 years in the engineering field with various roles such as process, project, manufacturing and quality engineer. She also worked for several years as an operations supervisor for a manufacturing department in the silicon industry. Personally, Mrs. Cochran is married to Tim and they have three grown children, Nicole, Noah and Emma. They live in O’Fallon, MO. Her interests include serving communities through local, domestic and international missions. She generally likes to stay active through hiking and walking.

B.S., Electrical Engineering, University of Missouri – Rolla, 1987
M.B.A., Webster University, 1996

Mark Duerr, Assistant Professor of Biology and Biochemistry

Assistant Professor of Biology and Biochemistry
Contact information:

Dr. Duerr has had a career-long passion for science education and was blessed to join the faculty of MBU during the Fall of 2017. After graduating from Concordia University Wisconsin with a degree in Secondary Education/Biology, Dr. Duerr taught high school biology before continuing his education at Saint Louis University (SLU). While at SLU, Dr. Duerr developed an ongoing interest in the formation and metabolism of inflammatory lipids in diseases such as sepsis and heart disease. At MBU, Dr. Duerr strives to convey the importance of the biological sciences to his students, while also fostering an appreciation for the beauty of God’s creation from the largest of animals down to the simplest of organic molecules. Dr. Duerr enjoys spending time outdoors with his lovely wife Jasmine and his three children, Oliver, Hadley, and Benton.

B.A., Secondary Education/Biology Concordia University Wisconsin, 2010
Ph.D., Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Saint Louis University School of Medicine, 2016

Shayani Pieris, Assistant Professor of Plant Sciences

Assistant Professor of Plant Sciences

Contact information:
Administration 221

B.Sc., University of Colombo (Sri Lanka), 1997
Ph.D., Iowa State University, 2007

Julia Schroeder, Dean of Southern Illinois Learning Centers

Dean of Southern Illinois Learning Centers
Professor of Education and Natural Sciences

Contact information:

Dr Schroeder began at MBU in Feb of 2012.  She has taught courses in mathematics, physics, physical sciences, geosciences and graduate education. Dr Schroeder has a specialty in Statistical Process Control and has done training for large and small companies all over the United States and Canada over the past 20 years. She has also served in numerous administrative positions at the college level during her career. Dr Schroeder’s husband is John and they live on the Lake of Egypt in southern Illinois. She has two daughters–the oldest, Carla, is an Electrical Engineer and has her twin grandsons and the youngest, Casey, is an Illinois State Trooper Lieutenant and has the two other grandsons and is expecting another baby early next year. Dr Schroeder is only a few courses shy of having a BS in Mining Engineering and began an MS in Geosciences. Her interests are in the geosciences and genealogy.

B.S., Mathematics (Physics minor), SIU-Carbondale, 1976
M.S., Math Education, SIU-Carbondale, 1988
Ph.D., Workforce Education and Development, SIU-Carbondale, 1995
Postgraduate work in Geosciences, Mississippi State University and State University of New York (SUNY)

David Smith, Assistant Professor of Mathematics

Assistant Professor of Mathematics
Contact information:
Field 117 (Academic Success Center)

Professor David Smith joined MBU as an Assistant Professor of Mathematics in 2009. Before that time, he served as an adjunct professor for ten years teaching at the MBU Troy-Wentzville Regional Learning Center. Prior to MBU, he taught 34 years within the Missouri education system, at Silex R-1, Elsberry R-2, and Troy R-3 schools. He has earned many awards including Optimist Club Teacher of the Year, Most Influential Teacher, MBU Distinguished Professor of the Year, and the Emerson Excellence in Teaching Award. Professor Smith received a BS in Math Education in 1975 and a MS in Mathematics in 1981, both from Illinois State University. David and his wife Sandy live in Troy, Missouri. They have two daughters and two granddaughters. Professor Smith’s interests include mathematics, long distance running, and playing guitar.

B.S.E., Math Education, Illinois State University, 1975
M.S., Mathematics, Illinois State University, 1981

Lydia Thebeau, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Accreditation

Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Accreditation
Professor of Biology

Contact information:
Office location: FLD building, academic suite

Dr. Thebeau came to MBU in the fall of 2005 as an Assistant Professor of Biology. Dr. Thebeau earned a bachelor’s degree in Biology at Hannibal-LaGrange College and subsequently completed her PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology at Saint Louis University. Working in the division of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Dr. Thebeau’s doctoral research focused on the role of co-stimulation in T-cell activation and antibody class-switching in response to viral infection. Dr. Thebeau completed a short post-doctoral fellowship in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine’s BJC Hospital before accepting her first academic appointment at Saint Louis University. Dr. Thebeau currently serves MBU full time as the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Accreditation, while still teaching part-time in the Natural Sciences Division. Personally, Dr. Thebeau is married to Michael, and has three children: Rebekah (Bekah), Blake, and Bailey. Her interests include long distance running, watching her children’s sporting events, cheering for the St. Louis Cardinals, St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Vikings, and reading.

B.A., Biology, Hannibal-LaGrange College, 1995
Ph.D., Cell and Molecular Biology, Saint Louis University, 2002

Jason Vermette, Assistant Professor of Mathematics

Assistant Professor of Mathematics

Contact information:
Administration 209

B.S., Oral Roberts University, 2008
M.S., University of Tulsa, 2010
Ph.D., University of Delaware, 2015

Carrie Wahlman, Assistant Professor of Biology

Assistant Professor of Biology
Contact information:
Administration 220

Dr. Wahlman joined Missouri Baptist University Division of Natural Sciences in the fall of 2017. Dr. Wahlman earned a B.S. in Biology with a Biomedical Concentration and a minor in Music at Southwest Baptist University and then completed her Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Physiology, awarded with distinction, from Saint Louis University. Her doctoral and post-doctoral research focused on developing novel therapeutics for the treatment of chronic pain. Dr. Wahlman teaches biomedical sciences here at MBU including: Anatomy and Physiology, General Biology and Introduction to Biology. Personally, Dr. Wahlman is married to Ben and they have one son, Zeke. They live in South County where they are very active in their Church.

B.S., Biology with a Biomedical Concentration, Southwest Baptist University, 2011
Ph.D., Pharmacology and Physiology, Saint Louis University 2017

Janelle Wesson, Laboratory Manager

Laboratory Manager, Natural Sciences Division

Contact information:
Office: ADM-206A

Janelle joined MBU in the fall of 2016. She is an MBU alum and during her time as a student, she was a teaching assistant for various natural science labs. As lab manager, she works with both teaching assistants and faculty to offer the students the best lab experience possible. Personally, Janelle is married to James and they currently live in South County. Interests include reading, movies, and photography.

B.S., Biology, Missouri Baptist University, 2011