College of Arts & Sciences



 Reptile at Science ExpoSeptember 2017:  Visitors to campus during Family Weekend were treated to a carnival-style Science EXPO on Saturday, Sept. 23rd.  The event was a collaboration between the College of Arts & Sciences and the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center’s Impacts Program.  The program trains scientists to communicate effectively with the general public.  Faculty from the departments of Biology and Geography & Geology were joined by scientists from Chapel Hill and Fayetteville Technical Community College, reptiles from the North Carolina Aquarium, and an educational display from the Nature Conservancy’s Sandhills office. The Art Education Club led science themed arts and craft activities, while sno-cones kept the heat at bay. 




 Boy Scouts at Merit Badge College

September 2017: Dean Frederick welcomed boy scouts on Saturday, Sept. 23rd, to the inaugural Boy Scout Merit Badge College at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. The scouts worked toward badges in crime prevention, pottery, geology, public health, weather, entrepreneurship, public speaking, chemistry, American heritage, and sustainability. Thanks to all the UNCP faculty and staff who helped with the event!



University of North Carolina at Pembroke will host an event commemorating the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Matthew on October 5, 2017, 6-8 p.m. in the University Center Annex. Mike Sprayberry, director of North Carolina Emergency Management, will serve as keynote. The public is invited to attend.



Patricia Seller PortraitSeptember 2017: Professor Patricia Sellers’ (Biology) research on mercury contamination has helped spur the Canadian government into addressing a long-overdue environmental injustice.  

Last June, the Canadian government announced it would earmark $85 million to clean up mercury contamination in the Wabigoon River in Ontario, Canada.  The announcement comes nearly 50 years after mercury contamination was first discovered and after generations of people of Grassy Narrows and Wabaseemoong First Nations have suffered from mercury poisoning.  The people ingested mercury by way of drinking water and consuming fish and other wildlife connected to the river. 

Patricia is part of a scientific research team, led by Dr. John Rudd, which has monitored mercury levels in the Wabigoon-English River for many years while working closely with the Grassy Narrows community.  The river was contaminated with mercury when Reed Paper’s chlor-alkali plant in Dryden, Ontario, disposed of several tons of mercury into the river during the 1960s.

In May of 2016, the team reported that the river and nearby Clay Lake appeared to continue to receive mercury, either because mercury that was trapped in sediment was being released or because mercury was being leaked from the plant itself.  The team also reported that the river could be cleaned so that mercury levels in fish would be reduced, enabling people to consume fish without risk of mercury contamination.  News reports indicate that remediation and monitoring efforts will proceed based on the team’s recommendations.

In a CBC News audio report, Patricia was interviewed about her 2015 research report on the contamination of the river and the effects of mercury on people of Grassy Narrows.  Patricia is also the lead author on a March 2017 report that documented large levels (many times the background level) of mercury downstream of the chlor-alkali plant and low concentrations upstream of the plant.  This suggests that the plant continues to leak mercury.  Large levels of mercury downstream of the plant were also correlated with high concentrations of mercury in fish downstream.

Patricia, who is a freshwater ecologist, has been on the research team for more than a decade, and she has worked as a scientific advisor for the Grassy Narrows First Nation since 2004.  She joined the UNCP Biology faculty in 2005.



Nancy Fields PortraitSeptember 2017: Nancy Strickland Fields, director of the Musuem of the Southeast American Indian, dissusses her ties to Robeson County in an Our State Magazine article by Elizabeth Leland.  Fields joined the museum in January 2017 and bringing 15 years of musuem expereince. She's worked for American Indian musuems in New Mexico, washington, D.C. and Oklahoma.



UNCP 2017 Swarmathon TeamSeptember 2017: A UNCP team has been selected to compete in the 2018 NASA Swarmathon Physical Competition.  The event is a challenge to develop cooperative robotics to revolutionize space exploration. This technology promises to more effectively and efficiently locate and collect resources on the Moon or Mars.  Students will be challenged to develop search algorithms for robotic swarms. Pictured is the UNCP 2017 team, that participated in April 2017 Swarmathon. The team is coached by Dr. Mohanarajah, associate professor the the Mathematics and Computer Sciences department. 

The Third Annual Swarmathon will occur April 17-18, 2018 at the NASA Kennedy Space Center. 

More information can be found at :



Motti Inbari portraitKirill Bumin portrait

September 2017:  Motti Inbari (Philosophy & Religion) and Kirill Bumin (Political Science & Public Administration), have received a $4000 Micro-Grant for the study of Christian Zionism from the Academic Engagement Network. The grant will support a student research assistant, supplies, travel to and board at conservative evangelical conferences in the United States. The conferences include an annual meeting of Christians United for Israel (CUFI), a visit to Liberty University, and possibly travel to the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting in June-July 2018.

Evangelical Christianity is the largest of all religious movements in the United States. It is also known as a movement that is highly engaged in American politics, mostly identified with the Republican Party. Exit polls have shown that in the 2016 election, about 80% of all Evangelicals voted for Trump. 

Conservative Evangelists are also known for their strong support for Israel. In this research the goal is to gain a better understanding of this support by conducting surveys and focus groups. This research is intended to build knowledge about evangelical Christians/Christian Zionists and their views on a range of matters such as on Israel, the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Temple Mount, settlements, and Jews in general.  We believe that the results of the research can provide very helpful data in thinking about anti-Semitism in America, and especially in the South.



 Dr. Smith with RISE Students

August 25, 2017:  The Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) Program's annual End-of-Summer Student Research Presentations featured the work of more than 20 undergraduates (mostly biology and chemistry majors). The presenters conducted research this summer locally or out of state. Host institutions included Yale University, Miami University, the University of Maryland, and the University of California at Riverside. The RISE Program and other agencies like the National Science Foundation funded many of the projects.  The RISE Program prepares students for careers in biomedical and behavioral sciences and enhances undergraduate research in the sciences at UNCP.  Pictured above:  Dr. Rachel Smith with RISE presenters. Click here for more information on our RISE Program.



Detectives speak to class

August 2017, two UNCP alumni, Lieutenant James Obershea 02' and Sergeant Damien Mclean 01' of the Robeson County Sheriff's Office, took time out of their schedules to speak with Rudy Locklear's Criminology class. The detectives covered their roles in crime statistics and the Uniform Crime Reports (UCR), their investigations of homicides (murder and non-negligent manslaughter), rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft, and arson, classified as property crime. The detectives also covered National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS).

Thanks to Lieutenant Obershea and Sergeant Mclean for giving their time to their alma mater.



Portrait of Astrid OviedoAstrid Oviedo, Assistant Professor in Nursing, recently published an article, "The Doctrine of Deliberate Indifference: Reed vs. Krajca," in the Journal of Forensic Nursing, July/Sept 2017.  Ms. Oviedo's work is a great display of the Department of Nursing's mission: "Commitment to the tripartite roles of teaching, research, and community service that contribute to the cultural, intellectual, and social development of professional nurses in North Carolina and the nation."



Jeff Frederick, Laura Bottomely, Robin Cummings, Mary Beth Locklear

Summer 2017, UNC Pembroke introduced its first annual Engineering Camp Pembroke. Elementary and Middle school kids from around the region participated the day-camps from July 24 through August 8, 2017. UNC Pembroke partnered with the N.C. State College of Engineering and the Engineering Place to present the week-long camps. Campers learned in collaborative groups how engineers help society, and they experienced engineering themselves through hands-on, creative investigations and design activities. Some of the activities included a Nanobug Maze, Marshmellow Catapult, Newspaper Chair and other fun challenges.

UNCP currently offers a 3-plus-2 dual degree engineering program with N.C. State University.  Pictured above are: Jeff Frederick (Dean, College of Arts & Sciences), Dr. Laura Bottomely (Director, NC State's The Engineering Place), Chancellor Robin Cummings, and Mary Beth Locklear (Director, Office for Regional Initiatives, who sponsored UNCP's Engineering Camps).

For more on the camps, click here.  And check out this video on our 3-plus-2 dual degree.



Wu's Presentation

Professor Xianhua Wu visiting from Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology (NUIST), Nanjing, China, presented a talk on Friday, July 21, 2017.  He first spoke about his institution, NUIST, and its School of Economics & Management. He then presented his research on climate change and disaster risk analysis: economics of disasters, statistical methods in risk assessments, and environmental policies. 

Dr. Wu was a visiting scholar at UNC Pembroke in 2010 and he is now Dean of the School of Economics & Management at NUIST. 



Paparozzi and DorlandJuly 15, 2017: Mario Paparozzi (Professor & Chair, Sociology & Criminal Justice) was guest speaker at the “Send a Cop to College” event in Wilmington. The annual fundraiser was sponsored by the Wilmington Police Recreation Association, a non-profit, and benefits its scholarship program. The event was hosted by UNCP graduate Sgt. Warren Kennedy (Ret.), who received a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies with a criminal justice concentration. Pictured above are Dr. Paparozzi and Retired Senior Parole Officer Bryan Dorland.