The Twelfth Annual Pembroke Undergraduate Research and Creativity (PURC) Symposium was launched with greetings from PURC Director Dr. Ryan Anderson and Provost Dr. David Ward. The symposium included two rounds of student oral presentations, 60 posters, and five art exhibits. Participants and guests were treated to light refreshments during the half-day event on April 11th in the UC Annex. Dr. Cathy Marcum of Appalachian State University’s Government and Justice Studies delivered the keynote address.
Research and creative works from across the disciplines were showcased during the symposium, but Biology students were by far the largest participating group, having 19 posters and two oral presentations. This was followed by Chemistry & Physics, with 13 posters and one oral presentation. Other disciplines included Service Learning; Business; Education; English, Theatre, & Foreign languages; Geology & Geography; History; Health, Physical Education & Recreation; Mathematics & Computer Science; Music; Political Science & Public Administration; Psychology; Sociology & Criminal Justice; and Art. The Sandefur Lab (Biology) had the largest showing of posters -- focused mostly on the antimicrobial properties of American Indian medicinal plants. Students in other Biology labs presented work in Alzheimer's Disease, box turtle ecology, genomics, yeast molecular genetics, ant ecology, honey bee mites, nematodes, and pest management.
Biology research was supported largely by three programs: PURC, the NIH funded RISE (Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement) Program, and the NSF funded COMPASS Scholarship Program. Program opportunities can include faculty mentorship, workshops, travel to conferences, and preparation for graduate school. Program directors (Dr. Ryan Anderson of PURC, Drs. Rachel Smith and Bob Poage and Prof. Sailaja Vallabha of RISE, and Dr. Maria Santisteban of COMPASS), and RISE Program Coordinator Ms. Gloria Gray were on hand to encourage students and to inquire about their research, as were Chancellor Robin Cummings, travel award benefactor Dr. Charles Humphrey, and numerous faculty mentors.
The PURC symposium is a first opportunity for many students to formally present their work and to see other students' work, and they do so in an atmosphere that is both friendly and collegial.
A digital program of the PURC symposium, containing the schedule and list of student presenters (and their abstracts), is available by clicking here (webpage) and by clicking on the download link below.