Student research and creativity in display at UNCP


The 2010 edition of the Pembroke Undergraduate Research and Creativity (PURC) Symposium included a wide range of subjects from drama and creative writing to business and science.


Recreation Research Team – From left:Kyle Cooper, Christy Chavis, Jason Martin, Kadeem Genwright and Christina Crovetti

UNC Pembroke’s 4th annual PURC Symposium was staged on April 7 with 63 poster entries and five pre- sentations. Information about continuing research and graduate education was also part of the event, said Dr. Lee Phillips, associate director for undergraduate research.

“I am very pleased with the turnout this year,” said Dr. Phillips. “On display today is art, drama, business and more. It’s great to see so many departments represented.

“An important new feature this year is our sponsor, Progress Energy,” he said. “We thank them for their support.”

Yanissa Perez de Leon read a short story about the aftermath of a classmate’s death.

“I don’t know how to deal with death; I wanted to cry,” de Leon read. “I didn’t know what else to do, so I wrote.

“Writing is therapeutic,” she said following the reading. “This was good for me because I had so many thoughts. Writing them down helped organize my thoughts.”


Franchesca Doyon

Floyd Inman’s research project would find a new cure for disease. He took a bacteria that protects a nematode from disease to see what impact it might have on 28 other common bacteria that infect humans.

“One day these agents might produce synthetic drugs to fight specific diseases,” said Inman, who did his research at UNCP’s new Sartorius-Stedim Biotechnology Laboratory. “There is more research that I would like to conduct.”

Franchesca Doyon and Brian Troskey, both with graduate school in their future plans, delved into banking and finance in the Gulf States.

Doyan compared the stock markets of Qatar and Bahrain to see how fluctuations in the price of oil affected them.

“The markets in Qatar moved with the price of oil, but Bahrain did not,” she said. “There are some studies on this, but I had to really dig for information.”

Troskey compared banking and finance in Oman and the United Arab Emirates.

“These nations have experienced tremendous economic growth over the last decade to where a small nation like Dubai is positioning itself as the world’s top resort,” he said. “Banking and finance have been the fuel for sustaining their growth.”

Dr. Rami Maysami, an economics professor, was the advisor for both students’ research.

“This was the result of an independent study course with the goal to get their papers published,” Dr. Maysami said. “I am enjoying the diversity of the projects here today.”


Brian Troskey

Physical education was the newest discipline to be represented. One group project compared recreation and enter- tainment at UNCP over 50 years.

“With changes in technology, enrollment and the rural nature of the University long ago, entertainment has changed,” Kyle Cooper said. “We interviewed eight (tribal elders) to learn about recreation and leisure throughout their lives and in college life.”

Another group traveled to Robbins and Cameron, N.C., to consult on community park projects. They presented two posters.

“Robbins has a lot of potential, but they don’t know what they want to do right now,” said Jannaka Oxendine. “Our plan was to make a reservoir more accessible to the public.”   Marc Roy, a history major, studied “bikers” in popular culture from 1953-75.

“I watched all the old movies and read biker magazines,” Roy said. “It was a fun project and I learned a lot.

“It was interesting that the photos in old biker magazines picture the owner of the motorcycle, and today, it’s a photo of a bike and a nude,” he said. “And no, I don’t ride.”

Vampires and gender was the subject of Daniel Davis’ research.

“I studied the portrayal of women in ‘Dracula,’” Davis said. “The two women protagonists are Lucy, who represented the new woman, brave and intelligent, and Mina, who was both strong and a traditional submissive wife.

“Bram Stoker was trying to create a new, ideal woman,” he said. “I looked at the stereotypical roles for males and females and how the author challenged them.”

Candice Johnson’s project combined art history and printmaking. She updated a Rembrandt drawing with her own etching.

“I studied Rembrandt’s mark making, and after coming upon “Woman Reading,” I wanted to make it contemporary,” Johnson said.

Judges were busy taking notes and interviewing students during the event. The first place winners received a $100 gift card to the UNCP Bookstore.

The winners were:

Art Exhibit:

  • Winner: Trisha Dooling, “Fright Flight” Mentor: Brandon Sanderson
  • Honorable Mention:
    • Kendra Daniel, “Simply Simple” Mentor: Adam Walls
    • Candace Johnson, “Rembrandt’s Wandering Hand” Mentor: Brandon Sanderson

Oral Presentation:

  • Winner: Megan Alexander, “Development of a Spectro-electrochemical Assay for Serum Billirubin” Mentor: Paul Flowers
  • Honorable Mention:
    • Yanissa Perez de Leon, “Aaron Stallworth” Mentor: Dr. Scott Hicks
    • Samantha Hutcheson and Stuart Hamner, “The Band Gap of Liquid Water Based on the Dispersion of the Verdet Constant”  Mentors: Drs. Bill Brandon and Tom Dooling

Posters – Humanities and Business

  • Winner:Sharon Paz, “Hemmed in: An Examination of Women of the 19th Century American Middle Class and Kate Chopin’s The Awakening” Mentor: Dr. Susan Cannata
  • Honorable Mention:
    • Daniel Davis, “Blurring the Border: Male vs. Female in Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”  Mentor: Dr. Susan Cannata
    • Christine Sabina, “The Journey to Find Independence and Freedom in “The Awakening” Mentor: Dr. Susan Cannata

Posters – Sciences

  • Winner: Floyd Inman, III, “Mass Production of the Beneficial Nematode, Heterohabditis Bacteriophora, in Submerged Culture” Mentor: Dr. Len Holmes
  • Honorable Mention:
    • Tiffany Dial, “Hormones in Artificial Media Incite Variable Responses in Tobacco Callus and Regenerated Plantlets” Mentor: Velinda Woriax
    • Alexandria Ferrer and Thelietha Smith, “Dextromethorphan: Developing a Solid-Phase Extraction Method”  Mentor: Dr. Meredith Storms

For more information about the Pembroke Undergraduate Research and Creativity Center or the symposium, please call 910.521.6841 or email