Record Number of Undergraduates Participate in RISE Symposium

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RISE coordinators and keynote speaker (from left to right): Prof. Sailaja Vallabha, Dr. Bob Poage, Marsalis Smith (keynote speaker), Dr. Rachel Smith, and Dr. Maria Santisteban
RISE coordinators and keynote speaker (from left to right): Prof. Sailaja Vallabha, Dr. Bob Poage, Marsalis Smith (keynote speaker), Dr. Rachel Smith, and Dr. Maria Santisteban

For the second year in a row, the RISE Program’s End-of-Summer (Undergraduate) Research Symposium took place in the University Annex.  A record number of students (more than 40) participated in the program, which ran from 2:00-5:00 PM on Friday, August 23rd, 2019.  

Following opening remarks by Dean Jeff Frederick (College of Arts and Sciences), students Jessica Dean (Biology), Jazlyn Pointer (Biology), and Christopher Rue and Phineas Smith (Mathematics and Computer Science) gave 15-minute oral presentations. The poster presentations, which followed, included more than 30 research posters and topics ranging from Alzheimer’s Disease, to ionic liquid fuels, continuous wave lasers, HPLC drug analysis, to comparative genomics, bioluminescent bacteria, Lumber River nutrients, and to box turtle research. Several students presented research stemming from summer internships on other campuses, including out-of-state campuses.  Dr. Kaitlin Campbell’s (Biology) team of undergraduate researchers – six students who presented work involving cultivars and pollinators in the campus garden – was the largest group of student presenters who were mentored by a single individual.  Several students presented genomics work, based on CURE research in Dr. Maria Santisteban’s (Biology) Molecular Biology course. The symposium concluded with Marsalis Smith’s keynote address.  Smith, who is a UNCP and RISE alumnus, discussed his protracted, but valuable, educational journey, beginning with the NC School of Science and Mathematics, and concluding with his current DPT-PhD program at Northwestern University.  Scroll down below to see a photo gallery from the symposium.

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 UNCP.  It provides funding for student research (including summer research) and for related activities, including conference presentations. RISE Program Director Dr. Rachel Smith, Co-director Dr. Robert Poage, and Gloria Gray (RISE Program Coordinator) were on hand to support and encourage students in their presentations.  

The RISE program is funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health.  Students who are interested in joining the program should contact Dr. Rachel Smith (Program Director), Dr. Robert Poage (Co-Program Director), or Prof. Sailaja Vallabha (Co-Program Director).  To learn about other research internships and out-of-classroom opportunities offered through the Biology Department, click here or click on the "Student Resources" link on the right sidebar of the Biology website.