RISE (Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement)
RISE (Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement)
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News and Events


Cohort 12

RISE Fellows Group Picture

Cohort 11


picture of RISE Fellows

Front Row-(Frederick Feely, Katherine Rentschler, Cora Bright, Ayanna Edwards, Cheyenne Lee)

Second Row-(Cary Mundell, Natasha Wells, Ereny Gerges, Lonzie Hedgepeth, Dakota Lee)



Caleb Stubbs Presentation

Student Degree


Student Major

Biology, Molecular Biology Track

Student Hometown

Raleigh, North Carolina


Starting in my first semester at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNCP), I knew I wanted to have a career in science, but I was unclear about what direction to take. I didn’t consider the thought of pursuing a Ph.D. as a possibility until a conversation with my academic advisor, during which he informed me that to accomplish my goals I would need to attend graduate school. Involvement in the research program at UNCP known as RISE (Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement) has pushed me to become a better scientist and has better prepared me for graduate study. The goals of RISE are to prepare students to become research scientists and to support and enhance an atmosphere conducive to undergraduate research in the sciences at UNCP. The support of this program has afforded me the opportunity to attend multiple scientific conferences, including ABRCMS (Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students), which is one of the largest professional conferences for underrepresented minorities. More recently, I received an award for my presentation given at ABRCMS, which was based on my 2015 summer research experience at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. Participation in these scientific meetings has helped me to broaden my horizons and to consider many different areas of scientific research to which I had not previously been exposed.

Since my sophomore year at UNCP, I have been conducting research under the mentorship of Dr. Maria Santisteban. My work has been investigating gene regulatory properties of histone encoded genes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae (yeast). I’ve also had the opportunity to conduct research through an NSF funded summer research program at Pepperdine University. Here I spent my 2013 and 2014 summers conducting research under Dr. Thomas Vandergon on elucidating the mechanisms heavily involved in the angiogenic (blood vessel development) pathway in HUVEC (Human Umbilical Vascular Endothelial Cells). Along with conducting research full-time at Pepperdine, I have had wonderful experiences with scientists around the country who shared their passion for research in many different areas of biomedical research. Hearing so many different areas of research in cellular and molecular biology greatly increased my enthusiasm about my field of study.

What do you like the most about UNCP?

I most admire the dedication that the UNCP faculty puts into educating their students, a characteristic I deeply cherish. The faculty is serious about investing in their students and expanding their current knowledge to ensure their success at the next level. Also UNCP is a highly diverse environment. A university that encourages diversity helps bring together people with unique backgrounds that can benefit our university overall and society as a whole.

What are your post-graduation plans?

Following my Spring 2016 graduation, I will be enrolling in the Driskill Graduate Ph.D. program at Northwestern University to pursue a Ph.D. in cellular biology.


Back Row: Jordan Smink, Jessica Brown, Marsalis Smith, Lloyd Mack, Mycah Sewell
Front Row: Kris Wild, Sarah Ruiz, Armando Corona



Left to Right:  Sarah Ruiz, Jordan Smink, Carlisha Hall, Catheryn Wilson, Robert Lamb, Marsalis Smith, Armando Corona, Caleb Stubbs, Christopher Long, Alex Foster



Read about UNCP-RISE Fellow Marcus Sherman and his success in undergraduate research and presentation at ABRCMS. Click Here.

Read about Dr. Ben Bahr and his work with the Army to conduct research on Traumatic Brain Injury. Click Here.



Biology Seminar Series

Tuesdays 2-3pm during Spring semester, Thomas Assembly Room, in the Museum of the Southeast American Indian  (located in Old Main, Room 102).
To view the current Biology Seminar Schedule (2015) Click Here.
*For more information on the location each week, please contact the RISE Office (910) 775-4428.




End-of-Summer Research Poster Presentation Session
UNC, Pembroke, NC



Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS)
Location Varies Each Year



Seeding Postdoctoral Innovators in Research and Education (SPIRE)
Distinguished Scholar Speakers Series
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS)
Location Varies Each Year

Southern California Conferences for Undergraduate Research (SCCUR)



Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB)  
Location Varies Each Year



Symposium for Young Neuroscientists And Professors of the SouthEast (SYNAPSE)
Location Varies Each Year



Pembroke Undergraduate Research Center (PURC) Symposium
University of North Carolina, Pembroke

North Carolina Academy of Science (NCAS) www.ncacadsci.org
Location Varies Each Year



Important Dates

  • Application Deadline for RISE Fellowships: Every March
  • Application Deadline for RISE Summer-Only Research Fellowships:  Every April



Past Events: