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Graduate students display their research at UNCP

April 15, 2009

UNC Pembroke’s graduate students showed off their research on March 31 in the 2nd annual Graduate Research Poster Presentation.

The Annex of the James B. Chavis University Center was filled with more than 200 people who strolled through 46 projects that ranged from “The Care and Feeding of a New Marching Band” to “Re-shaping the Strategic Management Process: Utilizing Sustainable Principles to Create Public Value.”


Master of Public Administration (MPA) candidate Ashton Slate

The event, for graduate students and prospective graduate students, was hailed by Chancellor Allen C. Meadors as a success. With five graduate degrees on his resume, he is a strong advocate of advanced study.

“This is outstanding work,” Chancellor Meadors said. “This event started only a year ago, and it has already come a long way.

“For those of you considering graduate study, I encourage you to ask a lot of questions tonight,” he said. “A graduate education is more important than ever.

“Graduate study offers a unique experience because it allows students the time to explore issues in greater depth,” he said.

Dr. Sara Simmons, acting dean of the School of Graduate Studies, coordinated the event.

“This is an opportunity for our graduate students to show their scholarship to the wider University community,” Dr. Simmons said. “We’re very proud of them and the hard work that has gone into this night.

“The quality of the poster presentations is high, and the students were articulate and passionate as they discussed their research topics with attendees,” she said.


Norma Faulk, candidate for a Master’s of Service Agency Counseling

UNCP has more than 700 graduate students in 17 programs. Their classes are mostly at night, and the exposition brought them into the light.

Master of Public Administration candidate Ashton Slate lives in Raleigh and works for The Wooten Company, an engineering consulting firm. His project focused on sustainability in planning public projects.

“I’m taking the program online, so this is only my third visit to the University,” Slate said. “In my project, policies that promoted sustainability were compared to those that mitigate policy decisions.”

No stranger to Pembroke, Slate helped design several local projects including the new Pembroke recreational facility.

Norma Faulk, of Southern Pines, will begin her third career in substance abuse counseling upon completing work towards a master’s degree in Service Agency Counseling. Her research was on community approaches to substance abuse prevention.

“I was a hotel manager for many years, but I always wanted to be in a helping profession,” Faulk said. “I will turn 60 when I graduate and I plan on doing something meaningful until I’m 70.”

A candidate for a Master of Arts degree in music, Charles Dumas is the director of Methodist University’s brand new marching band. His research focused on band start-ups.


Desirèe Dziewa, candidate for a Master of Arts in Teaching

“It’s about the care and feeding of a new marching band,” Dumas said. “I researched everything from the cost of uniforms to water coolers.”

A project to empower African American fathers was presented by Keisha Saunders from Greensboro. In the Service Agency Counseling program, she said UNCP is the right place to study.
“I wanted to be something more than a number in a classroom,” Saunders said. “I came here to have a closer relationship with faculty, and that’s what I found.”

From Fayetteville, Desirèe Dziewa is working toward a Master of Arts in Teaching in science education. Her research surveyed science students’ attitudes about teaching.

“I wanted to know why science majors weren’t choosing to go into education,” Dziewa said. “Part of the answer is that students, especially minority students, are being recruited into other fields, particularly medical professions.”

Natalie Gause is driving from Whiteville to work on her third degree from UNCP. Enrolled in the new Master of Social Work program, her research focused on solutions to family issues.

“I looked at two theories to help solve family issues,” Gause said. “I want to work either in the medical field or in school social work.”

For more information about graduate programs at UNCP, please contact the School of Graduate Studies at 910.521.6271 or email