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Science Education Students Win Awards at Graduate Research Symposium

Graduate student research was showcased during the annual Graduate Research Symposium, held on Tuesday, 31 March 2015.  Research posters from multiple disciplines were displayed in the University Annex. Graduate students in Science Education who presented their research included (pictured below): Olivia Bird, Kayla Giles, Kalo Haslem, Iner Lowery, Melodi Lowery, Stephanie McNeil, Julie Phillips, and Anna Sanford.

Jennifer Spivey

Science Education posters were among the best received this year, and the student winners (and their poster titles) are listed below.

Judge’s Award:
Anna Sanford: A Survey of Pond Plankton Reveals Chydorus bicornutus Inhabiting the Southeast
Jennifer Spivey: The Effects of a Community Based Apiary on Sustainability Perceptions of Rural High School Students

Judge’s Award Honorable Mention:
Kalo Haslem: Seventh Grade Students Interests and Attitudes towards STEM and STEM Careers Through Inquiry-Based STEM Activities

The Dean’s Award for Impactful Scholarly Achievement is given to the top two students who best communicated the greater societal impacts of their research. Awardees will attend the Annual NC Graduate Education Day in Raleigh, North Carolina, on 19 May 2015.

Honorable Mention for the Dean’s Award:
Kalo Haslem: Seventh Grade Students Interests and Attitudes towards STEM and STEM Careers Through Inquiry-Based STEM Activities

Other contenders for the Dean’s Award for Impactful Scholarly Achievement were:
Melodi Renee Lowery: Fostering Students’ Knowledge and Scientific Reasoning Using Argumentation Skills through Human Genetics in a High School Biology Classroom
Kayla Giles: The Change in a Female Student’s Self-Efficacy and Understanding of a Frog’s Anatomy Before and After a Virtual Frog Dissection

Other Science Education presenters (and their poster titles) were:
Olivia Bird: Using Self-Generated Analogies to Improve Understanding of Eukaryotic Cell Structure and Function in High School Biology Students
Iner T. Lowery: The Effects of an Inquiry-Based Unit on Force and Motion on High School Students’ Conceptual Understanding of Physics
Stephanie L. McNeill: The Effects of the Exceptional Children Label on High School Students’ Science Identity
Julie Phillips: Teaching Secondary Science Using the Nature of Science and Science Argumentation: A critical Review of the Research
Judges for the symposium were: Dr. Valerie Austin (Music Education), Dr. Ki Chae (Clinical Mental Health Counseling), Dr. Renee Lamphere (Sociology and Criminal Justice), Dr. Rita Hagevik (Science Education), Dr. Roger Ladd (English Education), and Dr. Velinda Woriax (Biology).

Photographs (above) are courtesy of Dr. Rita Hagevik

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COMPASS Program Seeks Undergraduate Students

COMPASS flyer 2015

The COMPASS Scholarship Program is now accepting applications for the 2015-2016 academic year.  Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the COMPASS Program targets sophomore undergraduate students of financial need who are majoring in Biology, Biotechnology, Environmental Science or Chemistry, and provides them financial assistance from their sophomore year until graduation ($6000 per academic year).  The Program goal is to prepare students to enter either the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) workforce or graduate/professional programs through intense mentoring and tutoring, research experience opportunities, internships, professional development, and career advising. 

To be eligible, the student must 1) be a UNC Pembroke sophomore in the fall of 2015, 2) must be majoring in Biology, Biotechnology, Environmental Science, or Chemistry, 3) have financial need per FY15 FAFSA with the UNC Pembroke Financial Aid office, 4) have a GPA of 3.0, and 5) have recommendations from two science professors.

Deadline for applications is 20 April 2015.

To apply, click here for the application webpage, OR request an application form by email from Dr. Maria Santisteban (maria.santisteban@uncp.edu),  or call Dr. Santisteban at (910) 775-4274.

Click here to visit the webpage for the COMPASS Scholarship Program and to view a promotional video.

RISE Program Seeks New Undergraduate Researchers

 RISE poster attendees RISE Students

The UNC Pembroke RISE Program is accepting applications from now until March 20, 2015.  Undergraduate students who are interested in careers in the biomedical or behavioral sciences OR who are interested in pursuing graduate school in the sciences, should check out this great opportunity.  The RISE (Research Initiative in Scientific Enhancement) Program is a competitive program that matches outstanding students with UNC Pembroke faculty mentors who guide them through a scientific research project.  Students will receive research training, academic support, an hourly wage, funds to attend scientific conferences, and much more!  Participating students will become Cohort 10, beginning their fellowships in the fall of 2015. 

To access the application web page, click here on RISE Program ApplicationsApplication deadline is 20 March 2015.

Students who are interested in RISE Summer-Only research will be able to submit applications beginning 17 March 2015.

Dr. Debby Hanmer Offers Study Abroad Course in Costa Rica

UNC Pembroke Students in Costa Rica

The Biology Department (Dr. Debby Hanmer), American Indian Studies (Dr. Jane Haladay) and International Programs offer a chance for students to study abroad in Costa Rica in the summer of odd numbered years.

Catch this course when it is offered during Summer I in June 2015.  Download the course's colorful brochure:
(MS Word).

Don’t miss this chance to visit one of the most biologically diverse places on Earth with this faculty-lead study abroad course.

Click here to view photographs from the 2011 course.

Student Resources

TriBeta Student Induction

Students are Inducted into the TriBeta Honor Society Every Year

Successful completion of college coursework and earning a good GPA are critical for a successful career in the biological sciences.  Other activities, such as research experiences and active participation in clubs and societies in the sciences, can also add tremendously to future success.  UNC Pembroke and the Department of Biology offer several programs of study, research opportunities, and activities that enrich the college experience and help prepare students for the world outside the college classroom. 

Click on the links below to learn about these opportunities and to obtain helpful information:



Undergraduate Researchers in Alzheimer's LabDr. John Roe Brandon PaytonStudent researchers in Alzheimer's Research Lab

UNC Pembroke and the Department of Biology offer a variety of programs that engage undergraduate students in scientific research.  Under the guidance of a faculty mentor, undergraduate students may choose to do independent research (BIO 4990: Research in Biology).  Paid research opportunities are available for qualified students through the RISE (Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement) and the PURC (Pembroke Undergraduate Research and Creativity) programs.  Dr. Ben Bahr’s Alzheimer's Disease Research Lab (PDF link) works with the RISE Program and has several opportunities for undergraduate research.  Students can apply for summer research internships (e.g., Research Experiences for Undergraduates) that are offered both in state and out of state.  Many of these internships are paid and may cover travel and lodging for participating students.  Please be aware that many of the off-campus internships have application deadlines that fall in January or February.

To learn more about opportunities for undergraduate research, click on the links below. 

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Marcus Sherman


Student Degree


Student Major

Biology with Biomedical Emphasis

Student Hometown

Lakewood, WA

“I am a Christian, married, non-traditional, veteran senior with stellar grades and countless research hours.” While this statement is completely true, it is not complete. These “bullets” for my graduate school applications do illustrate the caliber of student I am, but miss some of the unique traits that makes my undergraduate career vibrant in such a way that is only describable through the experience alone. I came from ten years of no math to trying to figure out what ‘x’ equaled. Sometimes I think the Army was easier. Truth be told though, I did not know who I was when I got here and, to some extent, still do not. However, I do know (without a shadow of a doubt) that I am a Brave. It was through that ‘bravery’ that I took on tutoring and heading up supplementary instruction classes. From there I took on a presidential role in the biology honor society: Beta Beta Beta. These small steps lead me right back to the first sentence…I am, indeed, a Christian first. And by God’s greatest mercy, I am married as well. My age and background from the military have been the single greatest strengths in my academic belt. To get here, I not only needed motivation to get on track, but also the discipline to keep me on track when I faltered. Faith, support, strength, motivation, discipline, and a couple of brain cells led me to UNCP, but it is at UNCP that I took all of those things and found my Battle Cry.

The Shermans•       Why did you choose to attend UNC Pembroke?
My time in the military was up and I had met a girl. It came time to make a decision. Either move back home or stay and find out what this girl had to offer, I chose the latter. That was my first best decision. My second was salvation and, third was UNCP. Life has not looked better since.
•       What do you like best about UNC Pembroke?
It would be unoriginal to say opportunity, but it is true. UNCP allowed me to define who I am and decide who I will be.

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HERP Project Goes Live on Pembroke Day

(October 2014)

Dr. Andrew Ash and corn snake
For the past three years, the HERP Project has provided school children in rural communities with hands-on opportunities to study frogs, salamanders, turtles, lizards, and snakes.  The project helps nurture an appreciation for these "herps" and for the science of herpetology.  Members of the HERP (Herpetology Education in Rural Places) Project took part in the Pembroke Day celebration on October 1st. 

HERP Project members Andrew Ash and Mary Ash shared information about these seldom seen animals, and they provided herp illustrations for children to color.  The big hit with their display, however, was a living corn snake.  Colorful corn snakes are among the most popular snakes to have as pets, in part because of their gentle dispositions.  Children who visited the HERP Project display learned quickly that corn snakes can be handled safely.  Children lined up to see and touch the snake. In total, the display was visited by nine groups of children from two different Head Start programs, by one group of sixth graders, and by several adults.

Children See Corn Snake Children See Corn Snake Children See Corn Snake

The HERP Project is funded by the National Science Foundation and is spearheaded by a multidisciplinary team from three North Carolina university campuses: The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, and Elon University. Dr. Ash is one of the team's Co-Principal Investigators.  Both he and Mary Ash are professors in UNC Pembroke's Department of Biology.

Child holding a corn snake

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