Biological and Health Sciences Faculty
Director of the Forensic Science Program
Ph.D. McMaster University
B.Sc. University of Western Ontario
Director, Nutrition and Dietetics
B.S. Michigan State University
M.S. University of Michigan
Dietetic Internship University of Michigan School of Public Health
Assistant Professor/Program Director
Biomedical Sciences Program
B.A. Monmouth College, BS Rush University
Masters in Adult Education National Louis University in progress
Ed.D. Roosevelt University
Ph.D. Michigan State University
M.S. Iowa State University
B.S. University of Iowa
Ph.D. Wayne State University
M.S. Oakland University
B.S. Oakland University
M.S. Eastern Michigan University
B.S. Eastern Michigan University
Laura F. Kull
Laura Freeland Kull, MS, RDN is the Director of the Nutrition and Dietetics Program. She started at Madonna University as an adjunct faculty member in 1997 and joined as a full time faculty member and director in 2008. She completed her undergraduate degree in Dietetics at Michigan State University and her Master’s Degree in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetic Internship at University of Michigan Ann Arbor. Her interests include food system sustainability, environmental nutrition, food insecurity, community and life span nutrition. Laura has worked in clinical nutrition specializing in nutrition support in the long term care population. She is an active member in the dietetics profession. She has served on the board of the Michigan Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Michigan Nutrition and Dietetics Institute and the Southeastern Michigan Dietetic Association. She is the recipient of multiple awards including the Michigan Dietetic Association’s Outstanding Educator, the Michigan Dietetic Association’s Registered Dietitian of the Year, The Michigan Dietetic Association Award, the Southeastern Michigan Association Distinguished Service Award and the Volunteer of the Year for the St. Vincent and Sarah Fisher Center. Laura is also the faculty advisor of the Madonna University student government organizations: the Nutrition Network and the Food Recovery Network.
Certified Medical Technologist (Medical Laboratory Scientist) with a specialty certification in Clinical Chemistry - MT (ASCP) SC, 15 years' university teaching experience, 15 years' technical bench and supervisory experience in Clinical Chemistry/Hematology at Rush University Medical Center
Veronica Riha is a professor of Biology. She joined the Faculty of Madonna University in 2002. She teaches General Biology, Microbiology, Ecology and Special Topics. She is also involved in Study Abroad programs in Biology and loves to provide experiential learning to students. She has traveled with students to the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, Costa Rica, Galapagos Islands and Machu Picchu. Veronica is also a proponent of service-learning not only in her classes on campus but also as part of Study Abroad programs.
Karen J. Schmitz
Dr. Schmitz is a former Peace Corps volunteer who became interested in the field of nutrition while working as a high school science teacher in Lesotho, Africa. She is a Registered Dietitian who has worked in the areas of research, nutrition education and nutritional counseling. She enjoys teaching courses in Nutrition Assessment, Medical Nutrition Therapy, Advanced Human Nutrition and Experimental Foods and Research. She has been active in many professional associations related to nutrition and dietetics, most recently serving as an Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Position Paper editor and on the board of the Southeastern Michigan Dietetics Association. She has served as a reviewer for several nutrition textbooks and on advisory boards for dietetic internships. Her recent research includes collaborating with nursing faculty on the project titled, "Teaching Nutrition Screening and Assessment of the Geriatric Patient: An Inter-professional Approach." In addition, she has worked with many students on research projects related to fat replacers, sugar substitutes, oil absorption and consumer acceptability of food products. Several of these students have presented their research and won awards at the Michigan Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Annual Conference.
James B. Wendt
James Wendt is the director of the Pre-Clinical Imaging Science Program. He joined Madonna in 1989 after previously serving as an adjunct professor at Eastern Michigan University. Mr. Wendt completed his Master's Degree in Biology (Microbiology) and published his research thesis in 1985. His research interests are focused on gastrointestinal bacterial pathogens found in Southeast Michigan. He has also worked for Beaumont Hospital - Dearborn Campus as a medical technologist for 35 years.
Mr. Wendt enjoys teaching Microbiology courses including General Microbiology, Medical Mycology, Parasitology, and Clinical Bacteriology. He is a student focused instructor who creates a stable learning environment, inspiring students to actively participate in class and do their very best.
Mr. Wendt currently serves on the advisory committees for the Clinical Imaging Programs at Providence Hospital, St. John Medical Center, Henry Ford Health System, and DMC Sinai Grace Hospital. He is a member of the American Society for Microbiology, Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society, and American Society of Clinical Pathologists (M.T.). He has also served the community for the past 35 years as a consultant in clinical microbiology and infectious disease.
Mr. Wendt is a lifelong practicing Catholic and was one of the founding members of the parish that he is a member of today. He serves a Lector and a Commentator, in addition to previously serving as the former Parish Council President.
Jessica Zarate is a Forensic Science Instructor and Research Scientist at Madonna University. She is a former Michigan Certified Police Officer and while working as a police officer, she developed the Zar-Pro Fluorescent Blood Lifters. Zar-Pro provided a new method to lift, enhance, and preserve blood impression evidence for law enforcement and a United States patent was awarded for this technology.
Zarate began her work at Madonna University in 2009, as the Principal Investigator for a Midwest Forensic Science Research Center grant conducted in collaboration with the Michigan State Police Forensic Science Division. She has since began teaching in the Madonna University Forensic Science Program and as a faculty member, she has mentored several student research projects related to fluorogenic enhancement methods for impressions deposited in biofluids. In 2014, she was awarded a National Institute of Justice forensic science research grant conducted in collaboration with the Oakland County Sherriff's Department Forensic Science Laboratory.
Zarate is an Associate Member of the International Association of Identification and frequently presents at professional meetings and has written several forensic sciences related publications. She is also the founder of the Madonna University Cold Case Investigative Research Team and a Committee Member for Missing in Michigan.