LaToria Davis


Student Degree

Bachelor of Science

Student Major


The reason I chose UNCP’s nursing department is because of the reputation they uphold.  Compared to other nursing programs, UNCP has one of the highest passing rates for NCCLEX and the professors have a reputation throughout the community for caring for their students and providing education and knowledge that we are able to utilize throughout our nursing practice.

My most enjoyable experience in the program is actually going out into the clinical sites, working with clients, and providing client centered education while utilizing evidence based practice research.  Knowing that you have provided your client with essential education that can improve their lifestyle to enhance their quality of life.  

Christian Butler Ryckeley


Student Degree


Student Major

Biology (Zoology Track) and Chemistry (Pre-Med)

Student Hometown

Dublin, North Carolina


As an Air Force baby of a pilot and flight nurse, I was always on the go, traveling across the country/world well into my teenage years.  Being so mobile, if I wasn’t playing with my mother’s suture kits and heart models, I would busy myself by exploring the landscape surrounding our house.  I can’t imagine the number of meals that I skipped, or the number of poison ivy plants I brushed, while traversing the woodland landscapes.  With both my mother and natural surroundings, it is no wonder that this was the beginning of my two great loves: medicine and zoology (especially turtles!)!

I am a traditional, commuting student who, outside the classroom, has held two jobs consistently throughout my undergraduate career.  From cashier and server, to Supplemental Instructor, to Academic Support Center Tutor, I have internalized the teachings of my parents that determination and a solid work ethic are central in becoming a successful, well-rooted adult. I have also been a Relay For Life captain for two years, an Honors College Council Representative for four years, Vice President for Gamma Sigma Epsilon (Chemistry Honors Society), and an active member of TriBeta (Biological Honors Society), the Health Careers Club and Literacy Commons.  I look forward to closing out my final semester in Field Zoology with Dr. John Roe, who I hear is a fellow lover of the ever loveable terrapin, so I am extremely excited!


Why did you choose to attend UNCP?

Being a lover of science, but also from a small town that has only one stop sign, I found the intimate but engaging atmosphere of UNC Pembroke to be exactly what I desired. The pivotal moment in my decision-making process was when Dr. Mandjiny grabbed both my friend, Linda Council, and me from a campus tour to give us a personal lab-to-lab walkthrough. He gave us an in-depth explanation for every piece of machinery, equipment, and glassware, showing a keen desire in not only us, but also in fostering a love of science in his future students.  I can gladly say that he was, and still is, the highlight of my UNCP experience.

What do you like best about UNCP?

Being part of the UNC system but having a smaller student body offers an interesting dynamic for students enrolled at UNCP.  This is especially so in the science departments, where having a smaller average class size of ~30, in comparison to ~100 at other institutions, allows for more interaction with instructors and the class material.  This has aided me in attaining a higher level of proficiency in my chosen fields of study, allowing for more time to pursue extracurricular activities outside of the classroom setting.

I have had the pleasure of being a Supplemental Instructor for the one and only Prof. Mary Zets, commonly known as “Meg of the Biology Department” (outside of the Oxendine Science Building) for her tremendous reputation for teaching the biological sciences.  For two years, I had the pleasure of assisting her students in and out of the classroom, helping them not only in understanding, but in learning how utterly fascinating biology can be. As the SI course was BIO 1000 (Principles of Biology), the classes were predominantly freshman, so I also had the opportunity to get many of the students on the right foot in terms of study skills, coping with stress, and transitioning to college life in general.  Besides being a magnificent help in reviewing material for my Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), it also inspired in me a passion for teaching and aiding others through their educational endeavors.  This is so much so that I wish to pursue a teaching position in medical school following my years of practicing surgery.  For this, I am entirely grateful for the guidance, knowledge, and inspiration shared by my forever mentor, Mrs. Zets, for without her, I probably would not have been led down this career path.

What are your post-graduation plans?

After graduation in spring 2016, I plan to matriculate into UNC’s School of Medicine in pursuit of a doctorate in surgical medicine.  I am currently in wait of interviews, so all thoughts are remaining positive!  After school and residency, I wish to follow in my parents' footsteps and join the Air Force, not only to practice and heal those around the world, but to become exposed to different sights, beliefs and ideas.  My parents, with their plethora of stories and tales from various nations and countries, have inspired me to travel the world, to take in what it has to offer, and to eventually come to the realization that no matter how different we may look from each other, that we are all the same.

After retiring from the Air Force, I wish to take on civilian practice for a period of time, and then engage in teaching the next generation of physicians.  Afterwards, I may decide to pursue my next degree of choice, becoming a veterinarian.  So from the looks of it, my final years will probably consist of my either practicing/teaching medicine, honing my veterinary skills, or some combination of the three, time permitting I might add.  Being one to never be okay with “down-time,” I see my later years either full of work, reading, animals, raising carnivorous plants, or cooking.  That reminds me, marriage will probably happen sometime in there as well…hopefully!

Christian Ryckeley

Ethan Sanford


Student Degree


Student Major


Student Minor


Student Hometown

Hamlet, NC


For as long as I am able to remember, learning has fascinated me.  Even as I began my college education at the nontraditional age of 14, I knew that one day I wanted to pursue a career in science.  When I stepped into my first class at UNC Pembroke four years ago, Introduction to History, amid a wave of curious stares, my passion for higher learning settled into place.  I was, and still am, certain that I never want to stop learning.  Since that very first day of classes, I have been doing my very best to be an active participant in opportunities—research, conferences, presentations, and academic honors—that will prepare me for graduate study. 

While at UNCP, I have enjoyed access to faculty that would be unheard of at a larger institution, and I have subsequently acquired a wonderful group of mentors who have played a significant role in my motivation to succeed as a scientist.  As an undergraduate, two of my most valuable experiences were studying abroad at Bangor University in Wales and completing an NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) at UNC Charlotte.  More recently, I presented my summer research at ABRCMS, an annual biomedical research conference, in Seattle, Washington.  I am also fortunate to have recently had the opportunity to represent UNCP at the 50th annual National Collegiate Honors Conference in Chicago, Illinois.  Currently, I am performing research in computational biology with Dr. Conner Sandefur as a member of the RISE program here at UNCP, and I am working diligently on my applications to graduate school.  I am the current vice president of the UNCP chapter of TriBeta, a national biological honors society open to all well-performing biology students.

Dr. E.O. Wilson and Ethan Sanford

I once had the opportunity to meet E.O. Wilson, an esteemed conservation biologist, during a seminar at Duke University.

What I like most about UNCP:

I like the personal attention from faculty and the abundance of seminar-style classes that allow me to enhance my learning experience.  There are tons of opportunities available to well-motivated UNCP students who choose to actively pursue them.

Post-graduation Plans:

          I will graduate from UNCP in the spring of 2016, and I hope to have secured a position in a PhD program by that time.  Failing that, I plan to pursue a year of post-baccalaureate study in preparation for graduate school.  The University of Washington in Seattle is my top choice for graduate school, and I hope to one day obtain a PhD in cell and molecular biology from that institution.


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