Research revealed at undergraduate expo

UNCG undergraduates are more than students – they are researchers.

Each year, they have the opportunity to share their research and scholarship with peers and the campus community, at the Carolyn and Norwood Thomas Undergraduate Research and Creativity Expo, now in its 13th year.

All students engaged in faculty-mentored scholarly inquiry were invited to participate, with projects that could be developed from course work, independent research, other research with a faculty mentor, or volunteer work.

Student in front of presentation board

More than 200 presentations were included in the 2019 expo, making it the largest thus far. 245 UNCG undergraduates participated, with 111 mentors from 42 academic departments and programs.

In addition to the honors awarded to students, the 2019 Thomas Undergraduate Research Mentor Award for Early Career Faculty was presented to Ramji Bhandari.

Picture of Ramji Bhandari
Dr. Ramji Bhandari

Bhandari joined the faculty at UNCG as assistant professor in the Department of Biology in 2016, and has mentored 15 undergraduates, several of whom have co-authored manuscripts and have presented their work at scholarly venues including the NC Academy of Sciences, the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, and Developmental Biology.

“My lab is a family,” he says. “As a mentor I thoroughly enjoy working with undergraduates and seeing their confidence develop over time in the lab. Undergraduate research facilitates the students moving from classroom theory to practical research lab experience and solidifies their learning, particularly critical thinking and problem-solving skills that are transferrable to areas beyond the classroom and research laboratory.”

Many of Bhandari’s students advance to graduate school and medical school, and he says that the research experience has been instrumental in helping them embark on their career paths.

The 2019 expo award winners are:

Humanities and Social Sciences

1st Place: Courtney Phillips (Nursing)
“Nurse Practitioner Knowledge and Use of Complementary and Alternative Therapies for the
Management of Chronic Pain: A Pilot Study”
Faculty Mentor: Susan Letvak

2nd Place: Vanessa Enoch (Human Development and Family Studies)
“Trauma and Abuse Experience and Elevated Scalp Hair Cortisol Concentrations Among SE
Asian Refugees in the US South”
Faculty Mentor: Sudha Shreeniwas

3rd Place: Kaitlyn Chaplin (Communication Studies), Ariana Chavez (Classical Studies), and Brianna Rogers (Classical Studies)
“There’s No Place Like Homescreen” (Performance)
Faculty Mentor: Killian Manning

Education and Behavioral Sciences

1st Place: Avila Ramirez Itzel (Psychology)
“Do Ethnic-Racial Socialization Messages Manifest in Technological Communication Between
Romantic Partners of Latinx Heritage?”
Faculty Mentor: Michaeline Jensen

2nd Place: Sarah Ragab (Biology)
“The Transfer of Global Applications of Sport for Positive Youth Development”
Faculty Mentor: Michael Hemphill

3rd Place: Brianna Ferraro (Specialized Education Services)
“From Accommodation to Invitation: Roles Communication Centers Play in Acknowledging and Empowering People with Disabilities”
Faculty Mentor: Roy Schwartzman

Honorable Mention:
Morgan Bryant (Interior Architecture)
“The Ancillary Office: The Effects of Biophilia and Ergonomic Solutions within the Workplace”
Faculty Mentor: Travis Hicks

Aran Garnett-Deakin (Human Development and Family Studies) and Rachel Fuqua (Human
Development and Family Studies)
“A Meta-Analytic Review of the Associations between Marital Dissolution and Anxiety”
Faculty Mentor: Heather Helms

Mathematics, Life and Physical Sciences

1st Place: Ayesha Ejaz (Chemistry)
“Simulating a Microchip-based Stark Guide and Decelerator using Simion”
Faculty Mentor: Liam Duffy

2nd Place: Quashawn Chadwick (Biology & Biochemistry)
“Transgenic Tobacco with Archaeal Heat Stress Resistance”
Faculty Mentor: Ayalew Osena

3rd Place: Ekaterina Ellyce San Pedro (Biology)
“Effect of the Regulatory Light Chain of MyosinII on Glut 4 Translocation to the Plasma
Membrane”
Faculty Mentor: Yashomati Patel

Performance

1st Place: Michael Newman (Theatre), Jordan Speas (Theatre), Steve Williams  (Theatre), Auntais Faulkner (Theatre)
“MAMA” (Mindfulness Arts Mindfulness Action)
Faculty Mentor: Denise Gabriel

Emerging Scholars (UNCG Residential College Students)

1st Place: Isabelle Cooper (Environmental and Sustainability Studies)
“An Interactive Map of Holistic Veterinary Medicine”
Faculty Mentor: John Sopper

2nd Place: Ryan Peace (Political Science)
“The Effects of Child Sexual Abuse on Black Men”
Faculty Mentor: Sara Littlejohn

3rd Place: De’Viona Lowery (Consumer Apparel & Retail Studies)
“Cancel Culture: Destroyer of Celebrities but How Does It Affect You?”
Faculty Mentor: Sara Littlejohn

Honorable Mention:
Belle Downing (Community and Therapeutic Recreation)
“How Recreation Therapy Can Improve the Quality of Lives within Human Trafficking
Survivors”
Faculty Mentor: Sara Littlejohn

Sydney Chamberlain (Biology)
“Cannibalism in Food Culture: Why Prions Need Regulation”
Faculty Mentor: Sara Littlejohn

 

 

Story by Susan Kirby-Smith, University Communications
Photography by Martin W. Kane, University Communications