MNU news

Fall 2013: Faculty News

MNU Professor May Help Unlock Mammoth Mystery

Did a comet impact 13,000 years ago trigger the so-called “Big Freeze” that killed the North American mammoths and other large mammals, changing life forever on Earth? This idea, referred to as the Younger Dryas impact hypothesis, is still very controversial. Now MNU assistant professor Drew Overholt, PhD, and University of Kansas professor Adrian Melott, PhD, have found a definitive way to test this hypothesis.

Part of Overholt’s doctoral dissertation examined rare isotopes that are hard to create on Earth. These cosmogenic nuclides are produced more abundantly from cosmic rays deep in space. For this reason, comets and other extraterrestrial objects tend to contain these nuclides. Therefore, Overholt theorized, ice core samples can be tested for these nuclides, providing evidence of past impacts.

“Scientists have never had a before-the-fact test for the Younger Dryas impact hypothesis,” Overholt says. “We have found such a test and it will work for other large impacts as well.”

The ramifications of such tests are of great interest to scientists. While they cannot predict future events, the test could tell researchers how often these impacts have occurred, which could help scientists determine what threat these events pose. Overholt’s paper was published in “Earth and Planetary Science Letters” in September.


Todd Bowman, PhD, associate professor of counseling, published “Angry Birds and Killer Bees,” a book by Beacon Hill Press, to help parents turn "the talk" into an ongoing conversation that counters the myriad sources of bad information children are exposed to on a daily basis.

Rebeca Chow, MA, LPC, LCPC, RPT/S, play therapy program coordinator and assistant professor, has published the first interactive book for children on play therapy. “The Play Therapy Book,” available on the Apple App store, allows children to answer questions on an iPad and create a story about themselves to help therapists introduce the idea of play therapy.

Neil Friesland, (’94) EdD, professor of education, program coordinator, Master of Education in Adaptive Special Education, was published in The NADD (National Association of Developmental Disabilities) Bulletin, May/June, Vol. 16, called “A post-secondary education experience for a student with Down Syndrome: a look into the first semester.”


Erin Steinkamp, director of sports medicine, was featured on KCTV5’s “Beyond the Glass Ceiling” series by news anchor Karen Fuller. Watch Steinkamp’s video and read how this job is a dream come true and how her faith is central to the position.

Doctorates Completed:

  • Don Dunn, PhD, instructor, Department of Bible, Theology and Mission and Professional Studies in Management; earned at Capella University.
  • Mary Fry, PhD, associate professor of counseling; earned at Regent University, Virginia Beach, Va.
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