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Biology

RISE Poster Session Draws a Crowd

Dr. Conner Sandefur and Nicholas ChavisAyanna Edwards
The RISE Program's annual End-of-Summer Student Research Presentation drew a small crowd on Friday, 26 August 2016.  Students, faculty, staff, administrators, and friends gathered to learn about summer research and creative projects that engaged the minds of undergraduate students from UNC Pembroke.  Research posters and oversized paintings lined the lobby hallways of the Oxendine Science Building. 

Kaitlan SmithKelsey Leigh
Frederick FreelyRobbie Juel
The RISE (Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement) Program and the PURC (Pembroke Undergraduate Research and Creativity) Program funded several of the projects.  The RISE Program Director and Co-Program Director, Dr. Robert Poage (Biology) and Prof. Sailajha Vallabha (Chemistry) were a strong presence at the presentation, as was future Program Director, Dr. Rachel Smith (Chemistry).
David Pedersen K'Yana Mclean
The RISE program is designed to prepare students for research in the biomedical and behavioral sciences, and to enhance the environment for scientific research at UNC Pembroke.  It provides funding for student research and for related activities, including conference presentations.
Ayanna Edwards and Anisha McDowellFrederick Freely and Prof. Sailaja VallabhaWei Wang
RISE and COMPASS directorsDr. Scott Billingsley and Lea TardanicoUndergraduate researcher

Dr. John Roe’s Research Shows Urbanization Reduces Turtle Survivorship

Dr. John Roe

Human populations continue to expand at the expense of natural environments and their native species.  Dr. John Roe and his colleagues used radiotelemetry to track individual Australian freshwater turtles (Chelodina longicollis) in a large suburban area and in an adjacent nature reserve of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), Australia.  During the wet La Nina event of 2012-2013, they observed reduced survivorship of turtles in the suburbs, largely caused by vehicular collisions. This was in contrast to no difference in survivorship in turtles in the same environments during the dry El Nino event of 2006-2007.  As their data show, the interaction of climatic events and urban growth can affect turtle populations in important ways.  Dr. Roe’s research on C. longicollis was published in the peer-reviewed journal Urban Ecosystems, under the title “Urban hazards: spatial ecology and survivorship of a turtle in an expanding suburban environment.” Click here for a PDF copy of the journal article.

Dr. Roe has published multiple papers on reptiles, including a seminal paper on leatherback sea turtles that grabbed the attention of the BBC News and other media outlets.  Dr. Roe advises graduate students on other campuses, and during the last several years, he has advised numerous UNC Pembroke (UNCP) undergraduate students in research, focusing largely on habitat use and distribution of eastern box turtles (Terrepene carolina) of the Carolina sandhills.  Many of his students have been associated with the UNCP RISE Program or COMPASS.  Dr. Roe is actively involved in public outreach by way of research presentations and by leading educational programs, including programs at Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve.

Dr. Roe joined the Biology faculty at UNCP in 2010 after completing a two-year post-doc at Indiana-Purdue University. He has a Ph.D. degree from the University of Canberra, Australia, a M.S. degree from Purdue University, and a B.S. degree from Davidson College.  An Associate Professor in the Department, Dr. Roe’s teaching duties largely include Field Zoology, Environmental Science, General Zoology, and Evolution.

Dr. John Roe holding a shingleback skink
Dr. John Roe holding a shingleback skink
(Photograph is courtesy of Alicia Brinton)

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Kids in the Garden Explore Science in Summer Camp

Kids in the Garden

In the “Kids in the Garden: Building a Sustainable Future Through STEM”, 15 middle school and high school students from Robeson, Bladen, Richmond, and Cumberland Counties are learning about bees, pollination, pollen and their interrelationships as part of a Burroughs Wellcome Trust funded project in informal science education.  For two weeks, the students have been exploring the topic of bees, honey, and pollen alongside scientists and science educators, as well as practicing the engineering design process in designing, studying, and sampling pollen in the environment. Through up-close encounters with a variety of plants and insects in their local environment, participants are studying ecology and conservation. In the coming school year, the students will follow up with research projects that they develop with scientists and students at UNC Pembroke. The goal of the program is to introduce these students to the practice of science and STEM careers. Students will present their research in the spring at the Regional Science Fair held each February at UNCP.

 Kids in the Lab Kids in Bahr Lab

The main UNCP faculty participants include Drs. Rita Hagevik, Deborah Hanmer, and Lisa Kelly from Biology, Dr. Martin Farley from Geology and Geography, and Dr. Jeffrey Warren from Education.  Assistance was provided by Dr. Ben Bahr from Biology and Chemistry/Physics.  Other participants include Dr. Grant Pilkay of Fayetteville Technical Community College, as well as UNCP graduate student Cameron Troutman and our school science teacher partners, David Wimert of Bladen County and Melissa Harris of Cumberland County.  UNCP PURC undergraduate students Brandon Smith and Robbie Juel have also assisted. In addition, the Bayer Bee Care Center in Research Triangle Park has joined us as our business partner.

Kids on the RiverKids in the Garden Faculty

Faculty members from Kids in the Garden are pictured above (from left to right): Melissa Harris, Rita Hagevik, Deborah Hanmer, Martin Farley, Grant Pilkay, Cameron Troutman, and David Wimert

Kids in the Garden Bee Keepers

Article submitted by Martin Farley. Photographs courtesy of Rita Hagevik

Web Manager's note:  The Kids in the Garden Summer Camp ran from 20 June - 1 July 2016.

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Tod Frazer Presents Research at International Microbiology Conference

Tod Frazer presents at ASM Microbe 2016
Who would have thought that baby poop would get you a travel award to Boston? 
That is the question I asked myself when I found out I am a recipient of a prestigious American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Undergraduate Research Capstone Program Award.  I have to say that accepting this award and attending the program last June 17-19 at the Boston Convention Center in Boston, Massachusetts, was such a unique and rewarding experience.  Not only was I able to present my research at the international ASM Microbe Meeting, but I was also able to attend professional development sessions, participate in career workshops and engage in one-on-one conversations with fellow awardees and microbiology experts from the industry and from government agencies such as the CDC, FDA, and USDA.  It was very fulfilling to have PhD researchers from all over the world who have dedicated their careers to the same research topic I was on come up to me and ask questions out of pure interest. 

Receiving this award invitation would not have been possible had it not been for UNC Pembroke and my research mentor Dr. Marilu Santos of the Biology Department.  Dr. Santos gave me the opportunity to do this research, guided me throughout the experimentation and motivated me to compete for the ASM Capstone Award.  To culminate my research experience, we have submitted our paper for publication in the undergraduate research journal Explorations.  

So, to my fellow Braves, I challenge you to take a chance, get into research, connect with faculty mentors, apply for awards/fellowships, join clubs and, who knows, maybe something unexpected can take you places too!

Tod Frazer presents at ASM Microbe 2016
Web manager’s note: Tod Frazer completed a B.S. degree in Biology from UNC Pembroke in May 2016.  His capstone research was focused on enumeration and characterization of 
Bifidobacterium and other gut bacteria from an infant. Tod will teach at the Scotland County Public School for the academic year 2016-2017, and he will start physician assistant (PA) school beginning Fall 2017.

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Graduation Requirements

Requirements for Baccalaureate Graduation

Each student is responsible for proper completion of his or her academic program, for familiarity with the University of North Carolina Catalog, for maintaining the grade point average required, and for meeting all other degree requirements. The academic advisor will counsel, but the final responsibility for a successful college career rests with the student.

Though appropriate UNCP faculty and staff make every effort to ensure that students register for the courses required by their chosen degree program, the ultimate responsibility for meeting graduation requirements lies with the individual student. Each candidate for graduation must meet all of the following requirements:

  1. Have a minimum of 120 to 128 semester hours of course work in accordance with specific degree requirements, excluding ENG 0104, MAT 0104, EDN 0104, MUS 0106;
  2. Have successfully completed the General Education Program;
  3. Earn a grade of "C" (2.0) or better in both English composition courses, ENG 1050  and ENG 1060 ;
  4. Have successfully completed a program for an academic major;
  5. Have a minimum overall cumulative quality point average of 2.0 and have a minimum cumulative quality point average of 2.0 in all work attempted at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke;
  6. Have a minimum overall cumulative quality point average of 2.0 in the major field of study;
  7. Complete a minimum of 25% of semester credit hours applied toward the degree through regular enrollment in UNC Pembroke courses;
  8. Complete a minimum of 9 semester hours above the General Education Program level in the major field of study at UNC Pembroke if the student transferred here (This does not contravene the minimum requirement of 15 total hours of 3000 or 4000 level courses in any major.);
  9. Be registered during the academic year in which the student's graduation occurs;
  10. Count no more than 3 semester hours of activity courses toward the credit hours required for graduation. Activity courses are defined as having: no regularly scheduled class meeting time, no well defined instructional format, and no graded (A, B, C, D) work required. Excluded from this definition are UNV 1000 (Freshman Seminar)  and supervised internship courses;
  11. Count no more than 24 semester hours of correspondence and/or extension credit (with no more than 12 hours of correspondence from regionally accredited institutions toward a degree, provided that such correspondence credit is approved by the Office of the Registrar and will not be applied to satisfy specifically stated course requirements in major programs) (NOTE: Any student needing to take correspondence work after admission to study at UNC Pembroke may be permitted to do so only after obtaining formal approval from the student's academic advisor, from the Office of Academic Affairs, and from the Office of the Registrar.);
  12. Meet the requirements of one catalog which were current at the time the student entered this institution or a subsequent catalog. Students will not be allowed to meet some of the requirements of one catalog and some of the requirements of another catalog;
  13. Meet the requirements of the catalog in effect at time of readmission or those of a subsequent catalog if attendance is interrupted for more than one year (two semesters);
  14. Make application for the degree by October 1st for the following spring or summer commencement and March 1st for the following winter commencement when earned hours reach 75 (end of first semester of junior year).
    1. Complete (including all required signatures) a Degree Application Form (available in the Office of the Registrar);
    2. Pay a non‑refundable graduation fee of $50 by the required date or an additional $25 late filing fee will be charged;
    3. If a candidate fails to qualify by the time of commencement, but does qualify at a later time, the student must submit another application and a $25 diploma fee;
    4. If the candidate fails to meet this requirement as specified, the student must wait until the next commencement to receive his or her degree;
  15. Satisfy all financial obligations to the University.

Students entering in Fall 2011 or later must complete 9 semester credit hours of Writing Enriched and Writing in the Discipline courses. One course must be a Writing in the Discipline course. These are designated by "WE" or "WD" on the course schedule.

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Department Celebrates 99 Years...

Biology Department group 2016Department Celebrates 99 Years . . . as Four Members of the Biology Faculty Retire
The party mood was festive, but it is with sadness and reflection that the Department of Biology says “goodbye” to four of its long-time members.  Family, friends, and colleagues gathered at Pine Cottage on Wednesday, 6 May 2016, to celebrate Drs. Bonnie Kelley, David Zeigler, and Wm. Bruce Ezell, and Mr. John McDonald, and their service to the Department, and to wish them the best in retirement. David Zeigler will likely teach on campus this summer before retiring fully, and Bruce Ezell may continue to be active on campus in some capacity, given his new appointment as “Professor Emeritus.” These four members of the faculty have a combined service to the University of 99 years!

 Bonnie Kelley Bonnie Kelley snorkeling
Bonnie Kelley (pictured above) first joined the University in 1977 (first woman on the Biology faculty) and, over the years, she developed and taught several courses in the plant sciences, including General Botany, Morphology of Vascular Plants, Morphology of Non-Vascular Plants, Introductory Mycology, Plant Physiology, and Plant Evolution. Passionate about education, she taught multiple workshops on critical thinking in the sciences. She developed the University’s first international course, Marine Biology, team teaching it for several years with David Zeigler and later, also, with Dr. Leon Jernigan. Dr. Kelley was appointed Professor Emeritus in 2007, but she continued to teach in the Department after a brief, mandatory reprieve. During the last few years, Dr. Kelley developed and then taught the Department’s “writing in the discipline” course, Reading and Writing in the Natural Sciences.  She was “politically” active on campus, serving key roles on University and Department committees, and serving as Biology Department Chair from 1997-2002.  Notably, Bonnie Kelley was bestowed the Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1995.

David Zeigler David Zeigler in Bermuda
David Zeigler (pictured above) first joined the University faculty in 1989.  He developed and taught numerous courses.  He may be best remembered, however, for Animal Parasitology (a topic for which he has great passion) and for Marine Biology and, over the years, he built a sizable collection of preserved animal specimens for laboratory instruction.  His classroom teaching has been dedicated largely to courses in the animal sciences -- General Zoology, Vertebrate Zoology, Animal Behavior, Invertebrate Zoology, Evolution, and Animal Physiology.  He could well be the best “read” member of the Department, and he is constantly looking for new science books to append to his reading list.  His love of biodiversity, evolution, and of learning is no secret, clearly a driving force behind his published books – Understanding Biodiversity (2007) and Evolution: Components and Mechanisms (2014).  His breath of knowledge caught the attention of Princeton University, and in 2012, he gave an invited, video-recorded lecture on the Princeton campus.  David Zeigler chaired the Faculty Senate from 2006-2008, and he chaired the Biology Department from 2008-2014.

Wm. Bruce Ezell, Jr. Dr. Wm. Bruce Ezell and high school teachers
Bruce Ezell (pictured above) first joined the University in 1999 after being appointed Dean of the School of Graduate Studies.  Yet, his career in academics spans more than 40 years and includes faculty and administrative positions on multiple campuses. In 2001, he joined the Biology faculty as a full professor. He taught many sections of the Department’s introductory courses (e.g., Principles of Biology), and he developed new courses that enriched the undergraduate (e.g., Religion and Science) and graduate (e.g., Medical Entomology) curriculum. He took great delight in introducing students to the wonders of the natural world, and every autumn he took his Entomology students on a weekend trip to Highlands Biological Station. Dr. Ezell was instrumental in acquiring the local chapter (Psi Lambda) of TriBeta (a national honor society), which he co-advised for six years. During the 15 years in which he maintained a weekly television program, Academe Today, he interviewed dozens of members of the University community. In 2014, the campus chapter of the National Broadcasting Society and honor society Alpha Epsilon Rho recognized Bruce Ezell for supporting broadcast education on campus.  

Mr. John McDonald John McDoanld and Bonnie Kelley
John McDonald (pictured above) worked in academics long before joining the UNCP Biology faculty in 2000.  He earned a baccalaureate degree from North Carolina A & T State University in 1960 and a master’s degree in Developmental Zoology from Atlanta University in 1965.  He taught classes and served as vice-principal for a public school in Scotland County, North Carolina.  He taught science and math courses at Fayetteville State University, and biology, microbiology, and human biology courses at Robeson Community College.  As a Lecturer at UNCP, Mr. McDonald taught numerous sections of Principles of Biology, Basic Human Biology, and Environmental Science.  He was actively involved in local community happenings off campus.  This included political activity, serving formerly as mayor and member of the town council in Wagram, NC. He served on the Board of Deacons and as Treasurer for Spring Branch Missionary Baptist Church.  He is Past President of the Parents Teachers Organization at Shaw Middle School, and he was a basketball coach for the county little league.  In 2013, Mr. McDonald officially “retired” at UNCP, but he continued to teach, although at a reduced course load.

Retiree party balloonsThe Biology Department is grateful for the tremendous service and contributions these outstanding individuals have given to the Department and to the University.  We wish them the best in the next phase of their lives, and we hope they will continue to keep in touch over the years.  Ninety-nine years with the University is certainly worth celebrating!

Many thanks go to Prof. Erika Young and Ms. Tonya Locklear (Department Administrative Assistant) for planning and organizing a wonderful retirement party for our retirees. Their many "small" touches made this party truly a special event.

Celebrating 99 years

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Dr. Bruce Ezell is Appointed Professor Emeritus

Dr. Wm. Bruce Ezell

Long-time member of the Biology faculty, Dr. William Bruce Ezell, Jr., has been appointed Professor Emeritus. The formal announcement was made on 22 April 2016 during the Faculty Appreciation Dinner in the University Annex. Dr. Ezell served on the faculty as Professor of Biology from 2001-2015. Sadly, he was compelled to resign partway into the fall 2015 semester as a result of his wife Nancy’s failing health. Dr. Ezell first joined the University in 1999 after being appointed Dean of the School of Graduate Studies. Yet, his career in academics began more than 40 years ago and included faculty and administrative positions on numerous campuses, including a nine-year appointment as Dean of the College of Graduate Studies and Extended Learning at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania.

From indoor and outdoor classrooms, Dr. Ezell taught a variety of courses while at UNCP -- graduate (e.g., Medical Entomology), team taught (e.g., Religion and Science), upper level (e.g., Entomology), and introductory (e.g., Principles of Biology). He brought to teaching the knowledge of a skilled scientist and the insights of someone familiar with history, literature, and culture. He took great delight in introducing students to the wonders of the natural world, and every autumn he took his entomology students on a weekend trip to Highlands Biological Station in the southern Appalachian Mountains.

Dr. Wm. Bruce Ezell

Dr. Ezell was co-advisor for the local chapter (Psi Lambda) of Beta Beta Beta (a national honor society for students of the biological sciences) for six years, and in 2003, he received an award bestowed by students in recognition of his role in acquiring and advising the chapter. One of his favorite professional appointments was to the Board of Scientific Advisors for Highlands Biological Station. He served in this capacity for several years before being appointed as Trustee to the Board in 2008.

For 15 years, Dr. Ezell maintained a weekly television program, Academe Today, in which he interviewed dozens of members of the University community. This enhanced the University’s public relations, reaching 200,000 homes across six counties in North Carolina. In 2014, Dr. Ezell was recognized by the campus chapter of the National Broadcasting Society and honor society Alpha Epsilon Rho for supporting broadcast education on campus.

The Department of Biology congratulates our friend and colleague, Dr. Wm. Bruce Ezell, Jr., on his appointment as Professor Emeritus. It is an honor well deserved, and we wish him the best in his future endeavors.

Dr. Wm. Bruce Ezell and students in the southern Appalachians

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