Dr. Santisteban elected president-elect of Academy of Sciences


UNC Pembrokebiology professor Maria Santisteban has been named president-elect of the North Carolina Academy of Sciences (NCAS). In its 112th year, the premier professional organization for scientists in North Carolina promotes public understanding of science, science education, scientific research and a meaningful role for science in public policy.

Maria SantistebanDr. Santisteban’s election proves that hard work and dedication do pay. With colleague Dr. Lisa Kelly and a dedicated group of UNCP faculty, she worked tirelessly to organize the 110th Annual NCAS Conference held at UNCP on April 5-6, 2013.

A member of UNCP’s faculty since 2007, Dr. Santisteban was elected president-elect on March 29 during the 111th annual meeting of the academy, held at the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh. As president-elect, Dr. Santisteban will assume the presidency in 2015.

Dr. Santisteban, who is a molecular geneticist who specializes in yeast, joined the Academy of Science in 2009 as an elected member of the board of directors and then as an elected senior member. She served as vice president in 2011-12 and last year she co-chaired the Annual Meeting Committee that plans the annual conference.

Dr. Santisteban said she would continue to build on the growing efficacy of the academy in all areas.

“Each year the academy has raised the bar a little higher, and our new president has a good vision for the future,” Dr. Santisteban said. “One of our important roles is to help the public understand the role of science in society and to address important issues scientifically.”

Dr. Santisteban said UNCP students benefit from the academy’s work. “Our annual meeting is one of the important venues for undergraduates to show their research,” she said. “They have the experience of presenting and defending their work before senior scientists.”

UNCP students and scientists participated in the annual NCAS meeting. Chemistry professor Sally Vallabha and biology professor Dr. Robert Poage, co-directors of UNCP’s RISE Program, brought nine undergraduate students to the conference, and Christopher Long and Armando Corona won awards. RISE is the Research Initiative for Scientific Advancement, a National Science Foundation-funded program to promote scientific research and the training of scientists.

Biology Department chair Dr. David Zeigler and professor Dennis McCracken judged student presentations. UNCP graduates Jared Locklear and Nicholas Faulkner, graduate students at NC State University and East Carolina University respectively, were also at the annual meeting.