College of Arts & Sciences

2013-2014 NEWS


Dr. Rita Hagevik (Biology) and her team of collaborators found a way that helps school children discover the natural world of their schoolyard utilizing new technologies. Their article was recently published in the March 2013 issue of Science and Children, a peer-reviewed journal of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA). Published under the title “Get Connected,” the article was recently awarded the REVERE Award (Recognizing Valuable Educational Resources across all ages, in all media, for all educational settings) by the Association of American Publishers (AAP). Dr. Hagevik and her team were notified in the spring that the article “Get Connected” was a finalist for the award, and they were very excited when notified this fall that their article had been chosen for the award.



In October, Officer Yolanda T. Hunter, Senior Recruiter of the Raleigh Police Department, met with more than twenty criminal justice majors.



Several UNCP students received honors at the Musical Theatre competition sponsored by the National Association of Teachers of Singing on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in January.  These students, all voice majors working with Professor Tracy Thomas, competed against singers from the North Carolina School of the Arts, UNC-Greensboro, UNC-Charlotte, East Carolina University, Elon College, Meredith College, Greensboro College, and other North Carolina institutions. 

The following students were recognized: 

  • Ieisha Jones, first place, freshman/sophomore women
  • James Ellison, second place, junior/senior men
  • Allyson Ivey, second place, junior/senior women
  • Amy Rowland, second place, junior/senior women

These four students-along with Kiersten Adams, Dorianna Curry, and Nygel Robinson-will advance to the regional competition, which will take place at UNCP in April.  UNCP advanced more competitors than any other participating college/voice studio in the state.

The regional competition will feature scores of students from North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C.  Some of these students will advance to a national competition in Boston, where $30,000 in case prizes will be awarded.



Maria Santisteban

Rebecca Bullard-DillardDr. Maria Santisteban (Biology) and Dr. Rebecca Bullard-Dillard (Chemistry and Physics) have secured a $618,993 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) under the S-STEM (Scholarship in STEM) program, designed to promote the study of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The grant will provide annual scholarships averaging $6000 to 27 students, arranged in three cohorts, in biology, biotechnology, environmental science, or chemistry over the next five years. Candidates should have and maintain at least a 3.0 grade-point average and attend a number of programmatic activities.

The COMPASS (Creating Opportunities for Students in Science) program is designed to build a community of scholars, to prepare students for careers, and to coordinate the S-STEM program support activities with UNCP existing resources, such as those in the areas of financial aid and academic support programs.  



Kayla SeedigCongratulations to art major KAYLA SEEDIG, pictured left, recipient of the 2014 Outstanding Senior Award presented by the UNCP Alumni Association. Kayla has participated in fourteen exhibitions in 2013-14, including the Nashville Print Revival in Nashville, TN, and the UNCP-ESU Exhibition at Emporia State University in Emporia, KS. She was recently featured as Artist of the Month at Cape Fear Studios. Upon graduation, Seedig will be pursuing an MFA in Printmaking from the University of North Texas.



artAn art major, Vivienne Leaven, provided the winning design in the UNCP Outdoor Social Space Contest. Students were asked to submit designs for a social space to be built on campus that will encourage a 'robust community.'   Vivienne will work with the management staff to build the structure, which will include comfortable seating, hammock hooks, and a plaque with Vivienne's name.  When asked why here design will contribute to a robust community, Vivienne responded "Students want to stay and relax on campus outside of their dorm rooms; however, there really aren’t any outdoor structures to do so. This space unleashes some of the potential for the vacant areas on campus."



The Criminal Justice Club students toured the Polk Correctional Institution in Butner, NC.  Polk is a closed security prison with the only super-max unit in the state.  The administration gave a fantastic, thorough tour of the various units, and spoke with the students about the realities and benefits of working in corrections.  They ended the tour with a presentation and question/answer session.  It was an eye-opening educational experience for all!



The 2014 UNCP Model United Nations team produced its best results ever at the spring conference in Charlotte, winning two awards.  UNCP's delegation, led by Dr. Kevin Freeman, chair of the Department of Political Science and Public Administration, consisted of sixteen students, divided into three teams representing Australia, Sweden, and Syria, respectively. Model United Nations challenges students' skills in writing, problem solving, public speaking, and diplomacy.  Students are expected to submit a position paper prior to the conference and defend those positions while developing consensus in diverse groups.  Approximately 330 students from throughout the southeast attended the conference. UNCP's Australian delegation won a Best Position Paper award while the Swedish delegation won an Honorable Mention Outstanding Delegation award--the school's first two awards in the seven years it has participated in the conference. Students attending the conference were Matthew Belk, Kristen Burleson, Garriso Davis, Jordin Dickerson, Nailah El Amin, Adam Franco, Robert Hamilton, Logan John, Andrew Kot, Lakima Legette, Manuel Mejia Diaz, Natonya Owens, Ashley Peterson, Leah Williams, and Andrew Yarbrough. UNCP will next attend the fall conference, held each November in Atlanta.

Model United Nations team  Model United Nations team



Art facultyArt facultyProfessors Adam Walls and Scott Zeigler provided a glimpse into college art courses by visiting several high schools including Terry Sanford, Massey Hill, and South View.  While molding clay on a wheel, students learned new techniques in making pottery. 



Madrid, SpainProfessors Cecilia Lara and Enrique Porrua accompanied a group of 17 students of different majors to Madrid, Spain over Spring Break. They visited numerous museums and historical places including the city of Segovia. The trip was very successful and students enjoyed it a lot.



Several UNCP Music students received awards at the NATS regional competition.  Allyson Ivey placed first in the Junior/Senior Musical Theater Women category, Ieisha Jones placed first in the Freshmen/Sophomore Musical Theater Women category, Nygel Robinson placed second in the Junior/Senior Musical Theater Men category, and Fabian Griffith planced first in the Sophomore Men Classical category.  Dorianna Curry, Kiersten Adams and Terriq White all received Honorable Mention due to their high scores.  The regional competition includes students from universities in Maryland, Washington, DC Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.  Allyson, Ieisha, Nygel and Fabian will move forward in the competition (to the National level).  These students were led by Ms. Tracy Thomas and Dr. Jaeyoon Kim.   



Donte WestDonte West, a Criminal Justice student, won 4th place (honorable mention) at the PURC Symposium in the Social Science Division category.  Donte's research poster displayed his work with the Teen Court program.  Donte's research mentor is Dr. Renee Lamphere (Sociology and Criminal Justice).



studentsTwenty UNCP students joined Professor McQueen (Sociology and Criminal Justice) in a trip to the U.S. District Courts in Greensboro, NC. The students participated in presentations given by U.S. Attorney Ripley Rand, a federal public defender, senior and line staff of the U.S. Probation office, staff of the U.S. Marshal office and Chief U.S. District Court Judge Osteen.  The students sat in on sentencing involving an internet pornography case.



Professor McDonnell's work on Diplomatic Security Service careers for our students: Chris Disney, a UNCP graduate who now works as a recruiter for the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), part of the U.S. State Department, has agreed to conduct an information session for students interested federal law enforcement careers with the DSS. The session will take place in Sampson 233 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. March 19.



Dr. John RoeLeading a multi-institutional team of researchers, Dr. John Roe just published results from a long-term study on the leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea). The leatherback is the world's largest sea turtle and one of the most endangered. The species occurs in two distinct populations in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, but populations in the Pacific appear to be more at risk, largely from fisheries and overharvesting. Leatherbacks from the Atlantic population occasionally nest on North Carolina’s beaches.

Reporting in the journal, Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Dr. Roe and his collaborators used a satellite system to track leatherback sea turtles and to estimate threats to their survival in the Pacific Ocean. They focused on turtle losses posed by bycatch (incidental catches) from longline fisheries. They tracked 135 leatherbacks from 1992-2008 (combining data from several projects) for an average tracking duration of 209 days. The greatest threats in the western Pacific occurred within exclusive economic zones (under national jurisdiction) near primary nesting beaches of Indo-Pacific islands. In the eastern Pacific, however, the greatest threat was in waters outside national jurisdiction --- the South Pacific Gyre. According to the researchers, conservation management of leatherback sea turtles should focus on these high risk areas (“hotspots”) to avoid fisheries bycatch. 



Four Criminal Justice majors joined Dr. Renee Lamphere (Sociology and Criminal Justice) at the 69th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Criminology November 20-23, 2013, in Atlanta.

Robert Atwell, Donte West, and Dr. Lamphere presented the academic poster "Robeson County Teen Court: A Program Overview," which discusses the students' experiences as interns with the North Carolina Academic Center for Excellence in Youth Violence Prevention, where they volunteer as part of Dr. Lamphere's experiential learning course. Natalie Klemann, Briana Bowden, and Dr. Lamphere presented as part of a panel on using video and audio tools in the classroom. They gave their presentation, "Topping the Classroom Charts: Teaching Criminological Theory Using Popular Music," to a packed audience.

CJ students

Robert Atwell, Dr. Renee Lamphere, and Donte West pose in front of their poster at the 69th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Criminology in Atlanta.



Two graduate students in the English Education program joined Dr. Mark Canada (English, Theatre, and Foreign Languages) at Houghton Library on Harvard University's campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to conduct research on projects related to the American novelist Thomas Wolfe. Michael Houck examined archival materials related to Wolfe's work as a playwright, and Nami Montgomery studied the manuscript of an unpublished biography of Wolfe by his friend Marjorie Fairbanks. Both students took a Wolfe seminar with Dr. Canada over the summer and received grant support from the School of Graduate Studies and Research.



Newy ScruggsBroadcasting alumnus and current member of the UNCP Board of Trustees Newy Scruggs is a six-time recipient of an Emmy award in the state of Texas. Scruggs was recently named best sports anchor in the 2013 competition of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' "Lone Star" chapter, which represents 19 television markets. He is a 1994 graduate of what was then the Department of Communicative Arts at Pembroke State University. UNCP now has a Department of Mass Communication, where students can study broadcasting, as well as journalism and public relations.

Over the years, Scruggs has established the Newy Scruggs Endowed Sports Broadcasting Scholarship for students in the Department of Mass Communication and the Dr. Sylvester Wooten Scholarship for the local chapter of Omega Psi Phi fraternity. He is the sports director at KXAS-TV NBC 5 in Dallas-Fort Worth and hosts a national program called Voices of the Game with Newy Scruggs on NBC Sports Radio.

Newy Scruggs, who studied broadcasting at UNCP, appears above with his Emmy award.



Dr. Brandon Sanderson (Art) and student Daniela Jimenez are set to share the results of their summer 2012 PURC USA research at the the University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. Their work is part of a larger print exchange project entitled "Switching Costs," organized by Chris Wallace, one of UNCP's visiting artists in 2013. A work by Jimenez appears below.

 Daniela Jimenez artwork



Sixteen UNCP students made a total of 12 presentations at the ninth State of North Carolina Undergraduate Research and Creativity Symposium (SNCURCS) on November 16, 2013, at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.  They were among more than 460 presenters from 35 schools.

UNCP's student presenters came from five departments and were supervised by 14 mentors. The names of the presenters, projects, and mentors appear below.

Bioactivity of purified antibacterials secreted by entomopathogenic bacteria Xenorhabdus nematophila and Photorhabdus luminescence  
Matt Bowen, Biotechnology, University of North Carolina - Pembroke  
Mentors: Len Holmes, University of North Carolina - Pembroke  
Floyd Inman III, University of North Carolina - Pembroke 

The Importance of Pharmaceutical Stability in African Countries  
Victor Cole, Pre-Pharmacy, University of North Carolina - Pembroke  
Mentor: Meredith Storms, University of North Carolina - Pembroke 

Design and Manufacture of an At-Home Basic Electronics Kit 
Edward Derosier, Applied Physics, University of North Carolina - Pembroke
Mentor: Bill Brandon, University of North Carolina - Pembroke 

Forest Fragmentation of Southeastern North Carolina  
Justin Duncan, Environmental Science and Geography, University of North Carolina - Pembroke , Pembroke  
Mentor: Jesse Rouse, University of North Carolina - Pembroke

Surveying Red Imported Fire Ant Social Forms in Nature Preserves of the NC Coastal Plain  
Nigel Hirth, Molecular Biology, University of North Carolina - Pembroke
Co-Author(s): Mycah Sewell, University of North Carolina - Pembroke  
Mentors: Jeremy Sellers, University of North Carolina – Pembroke,  
Lisa Kelly, University of North Carolina - Pembroke 

Simplistic Sonar-based SLAM Platform for Low-Cost Unmanned Aerial Quadcopter Systems  
Christopher Hudson, Computer Science, University of North Carolina - Pembroke 
Mentosr: Saad Biaz, Auburn University; Chase Murray, Auburn University

A Better Suzuki Polymerization for Thiophene-Containing Monomers with Electron-Neutral Coupling Partners  
Robert Lamb, Chemistry, University of North Carolina - Pembroke

Mentor: Pamela Lundin, Appalachian State University 

The Effects of Gravity on the Cori Cycle  
Candace Langston, Exercise and Sport Science, University of North Carolina - Pembroke
Co-Authors: Tiffany Scott, University of North Carolina - Pembroke;   
Molly Musselwhite, University of North Carolina - Pembroke  
Mentors: Siva Mandjiny, University of North Carolina - Pembroke; 
Tim Ritter, University of North Carolina – Pembroke

Annotating Genes In Drosophila Species Through The Genomics Education Partnership: a Summer Research Experience  
Thomas Neal, Biology w/ Biomedical Emphasis, University of North Carolina - Pembroke  
Mentor: Maria Santisteban, University of North Carolina - Pembroke 

Geometer's Sketchpad vs. GeoGebra  
Ziya Ogron, Secondary Mathematics Education, University of North Carolina - Pembroke
Mentor: Mary Kilinikowski, University of North Carolina - Pembroke 

Attraction of Galleria mellonella larvae to bacterial luminescence produced by the entomopathogenic bacterium Photorhabdus luminescence  
Walter Patterson, Biotechnology, University of North Carolina - Pembroke 
Mentors: Len Holmes, University of North Carolina – Pembroke;  
Floyd Inman III, University of North Carolina - Pembroke 

Working Past the Struggle: Documenting the Voices of the Lumbee 
Sandra Torres, Social Work , University of North Carolina - Pembroke  
Mentor: Michele Fazio, University of North Carolina - Pembroke 


Candace Langston, Trae Griffin, and Tiffany Scott pose with their poster at the SNCURCS conference in Charlotte.



Physics ResearchWith the supervision of Dr. Bill Brandon (Chemistry and Physics), several undergraduate students are involved with an ongoing research project related to magneto-optical polarimetic measurement techniques.  Applications include optical modulators, isolators, and circulators, along with field sensors, spectroscopy, and astrophysical probes.  In exploring various high precision measurement schemes to measure Faraday rotation in air, the undergraduate research group developed a balanced dual laser beam phase sensitive photodetection apparatus to measure laser modulation induced by an alternating current magnetic field.  With its very small Verdet constant, air simply serves as a convenient test case.  The ultimate goal is to measure vacuum birefringence (i.e. Faraday rotation in vacuum), an area of interest in the realm of quantum electrodynamics.  A similar, although significantly more sophisticated technique might qualify as a probe for one of the proposed candidate particles of dark matter - the axion.

With support from PURC, the undergraduate research students have presented at numerous conferences.  Austin Griffin received second place for best undergraduate research poster at the 2012 NCS-AAPT conference.  Rob Wardell won first place for best pedagogical paper at the 2013 NCS-AAPT conference.   



Students in science education, along with faculty in the Department of Biology and the Department of Chemistry and Physics, presented their work at the Regional National Science Teachers (NSTA) conference in Charlotte November 7-9, 2013. UNCP presented six sessions:

  • "Wiggling Into Biochar," by Dr. Deborah Hanmer (Biology) and Indya Evans (undergraduate science education);
  • "Bringing Scientific Argumentation Into the Science Classroom," by Dr. Rita Hagevik (Biology) and Corinne Jordan, David Wimert, and Ursula Adams (graduate science education);
  • "Let’s Argue About It!," by Dr. Rita Hagevik (Biology) and Chris Spencer and Jennifer Spivey (graduate science education);
  • "Graphing a Pathway Through Mechanics: An Inquiry Into Uniform Motion," by Dr. Pete Wish (retired-Biology), Dr. Tim Ritter (Physics), and Dr. Brian Postek (Chemistry);
  • "Hands-on Activities for Teaching the Basic Physical Quantities of Mechanics," by Dr. Ritter, Dr. Wish, and Dr. Postek.
  • "Got HERPS, There’s an APP for That!," by Ms. Mary Ash (Biology) and others from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Nineteen UNCP undergraduate and graduate science education students attended the conference. The UNCP students remarked of the experience, “A big thank you to all faculty members who provided everyone the opportunity to attend this exciting conference and for all your support and contributions to the student presentations. We could not have done it without you.  We really encourage anyone who has a chance to attend this conference in the future to attend.”

DSC group 

Pictured above, left to right, are Corinne Jordan, David Wimert, Ursula Adams, Chris Spencer, Jennifer Spivey (all graduate students in science education) and Dr. Rita Hagevik (Biology).



Five of UNCP's RISE Fellows will present their research at the ABRCMS (Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students) this November in Nashville, TN. The students will present research they conducted over the summer to an audience of individuals and science leaders from around the country.

The following list provides the student’s name, the title of their research poster, and the location at which they conducted their research.  All of these students are also currently engaged in research at UNCP and in the Bahr Lab at the BioTechnology Research and Training Center at ComTech.

  • Armando Corona, “Analysis of the Interaction Between Cib1 and Integrin Aiib Through X-Ray Crystallography and Nanodiscs," research conducted at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Sarah Hafner, “ß1 Integrin Exhibits a Distinct Response to Seizure Activity Which is Blocked by the Cannabinergic System”, research conducted at the Bahr Lab at the BioTechnology Research and Training Center at ComTech
  • Jordan Smink, “Construction of an Improve Shuttle Vector for Transformation and Gene Expression in Histophilus somni," research conducted at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • Robert Lamb, “A Better Suzuki Polymerization for Thiophene-Containing Monomers with Electron-Neutral Coupling Partners," research conducted at Appalachian State University
  • Marsalis Smith, “Optimizing Whole Animal Auditory Measurement,", research conducted at Stanford University