Periodically, Eastern Mennonite School highlights the accomplishments of alumni in the field of science. The recognitions, begun by long-time biology teacher, Myron Blosser '79, have included a visit to the school to inspire future scientists. During his tenure, Blosser inspired dozens of graduates to pursue careers in biology and other scientific fields. If you would like to nominate an alumnus for this award, email firstname.lastname@example.org with the alumnus' name, grad year and professional accomplishments.
Mark Kniss, M.D.
Class of 1944
Bachelor of Science, Wittenberg College
Medical Degree, Hahnemann Medical College
Residency, Union Memorial Hospital
- Answering the call of God, Dr. Kniss started his medical practice in 1960 in Tumbagara, India under a large tree with only a table, chair and large box of medicines on the site of the new hospital construction. In 1963 the Nav Jivan Hospital was opened. Ten years later a Nursing School was started. In 1973 Dr. Kniss returned to the States and helped to open the Park View Medical Center. Specializing in Family Medicine and Obstetrics, he delivered over 1,000 babies during 24 years of practice. In addition, Dr. Kniss was Medical Director of Avante Nursing Home, and the physician for Eastern Mennonite University, Gemeinschaft, Prison Camp and the Rockingham County Jail.
Conrad Mark Zapanta, Ph.D.
Class of 1987
Bachelor of Science Carnegie Mellon University
Ph.D. The Pennsylvania State University
- Dr. Zapanta is currently Associate Department Head and Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. He is an expert in the area of prosthetic heart valves and circulatory support devices and shares his expertise with students and colleagues as a devoted professor in his field. His work has been acknowledged with many awards including The American Society for Engineering Education Biomedical Engineering Division’s 2016 Theo Pilkington Award.
Serita D. Frey, Ph.D.
Class of 1984
Soil Microbial Ecologist
Bachelor of Arts, University of Virginia
Ph.D., Ecology, Colorado State University
- Growing up on a farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, Dr. Frey has always been interested in issues surrounding the environment. As a Soil Ecologist, she now focuses on how human activities are impacting terrestrial ecosystems with an emphasis on soil processes. Dr. Frey currently directs the Natural Resources and Earth System Science Ph.D. Program at the University of New Hampshire, and is the Editor-in-Chief of the journal Issues in Ecology. Also involved in her local community as chair of the conservation commission, Dr. Frey actively works to protect forest land and open space from development through conservation easements.
Nathaniel J.S. Fairfield, Ph.D.
Class of 1997
Bachelor of Arts, Swarthmore College
M.A. Robotics, Carnegie Mellon University
Ph.D. Robotics, Carnegie Mellon University
- Dr. Nathaniel Fairfield is currently at Google in Mountain View. His primary areas of interest are robotic exploration in environments which require a high level of autonomy and extending the capabilities of a robotic system via human-robot collaboration. Dr. Fairfield works on simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM), exploration, and science autonomy; as well as data visualization, mission specification, and real-time interaction.
Mary Ethel Heatwole, M.S.
Class of 1949
Bachelors of Science, Eastern Mennonite University
Masters Degree, Pennsylvania State University
- Ms. Heatwole was a registered dietitian for more than 45 years. She served as director of food services and chief dietitian at Shanta Bhawan Hospital in Nepal and as head of the clinical Nutrition Department at the King Fahad General Hospital in Saudi Arabia. She also was a professor at EMU and director of their Food Services and served as a Nephrology Dietitian for many years. She is an advocate for helping others improve their nutrition and following a healthy lifestyle.
Daniel B. Suter
Class of 1935
Bachelor of Science, Bridgewater College
Masters Degree, Vanderbilt University
Doctorate, Medical College of Virginia
- Dr. Suter taught more than 300 future doctors, dentists, veterinarians and other health professionals during his tenure at Eastern Mennonite University, from 1948 until 1985. He was the school’s pre-med advisor and also helped develop EMU’s highly regarded nursing program.
Robert M. Kyler, M.D.
Class of 1977
Bachelor of Science, Eastern Mennonite University
MD, University of VA. School of Medicine
Residency in Radiation Oncology,
Georgetown University Medical Center
- Dr. Kyler started the department of Radiation Oncology at the RMH Regional Cancer Center in 1990, and helped to plan the AMC Cancer Center in Fishersville, which opened in 2004. He has treated thousands of cancer patients within our community, providing state of the art care in a compassionate manner.
David K. Mumaw, M.S.
Class of 1958
Bachelor of Science, Eastern Mennonite College
Masters Degree, Virginia Tech
- Mr. Mumaw taught Biology and other sciences at EMHS from 1962-2002, leaving to complete his master’s degree in Wildlife Management from 1963-1965. His teaching inspired countless students to pursue their interest in science, especially in biology and medicine. He also started the Driver’s Education program, taught a Taxidermy class and had a passion for encouraging students in field research. He spent countless hours collecting and preserving specimens which still remain. Mr. Mumaw’s legacy includes many who are now teachers and credit him with their inspiration.
Jan O. Emswiler
Class of 1992
Bachelor of Arts, Biology & Nursing, Eastern Mennonite University
Masters Public Health, Tulane University
- Jan Emswiler worked with community health programs in Tanzania for ten years to strengthen their response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, increasing access to prevention, care and treatment in rural communities. She taught nursing classes at Aga Khan University in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Jan is currently teaching nursing at Goshen College, Goshen, IN and serving on the Adult Crisis Stabilization Unit at Oaklawn Psychiatric Hospital.
Timothy B. Brenneman, Ph.D.
Class of 1976
Bachelor of Arts, Goshen College
Ph.D. Plant Pathology, Virginia Tech
- In the forward to A Sand County Almanac, the great conservationist Aldo Leopld states “There are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot.” From an early age, Tim realized he could not! Growing up he loved exploring the mountains and rivers of werntern Virginia. “I was blessed with an education and a career that taught me more about God’s creation, and allowed me to help people by solving problems in agriculture.” Tim teaches and conducts research at the University of Georgia on methods of disease control in peanuts and pecans. Tim has co-released two peanut cultivars, discovered pecan truffles in Georgia and presented his work in nine foeign countries. He also coordinates ongoing agricultural development projects in Haiti and Nicaragua.
Aimee L. Miller, Ph.D.
Class of 1989
Bachelor of Arts, Eastern Mennonite University
Ph.D., Chemistry, University of Virginia
- Great minds unlock ideas. Great hearts motivate students to unlock their own learning. In her years teaching at Millersville University, Aimee Miller has shown the ability to do both of these. Colleagues and students appreciate Aimee for her accessibility, patience and creativity in teaching challenging subjects. She incorporates state of the art technology, strong organization skills and appropriate pedagogy to reach even students who struggle with chemistry. These skills extend to the many committees she serves on at the University. She is deeply appreciated as an advocate for faculty and students in her roles on important committees.