News Items from UNC Greensboro

Graduate student with a poster

UNC Greensboro graduate student researchers play a multi-facted role on campus.

Throughout the Graduate School’s many departments and disciplines, they not only do the crucial work of research assistance within their mentors’ labs, but also undertake entirely original, individualized research. They pursue projects from the idea phase to exploration to the point of a conference presentation, and often even beyond that, so that their work has a real-world impact on public policy, relevant literature or intervention programs.

Last week, more than 100 students presented work at the sixth annual Graduate Research and Creativity Expo, hosted by the Graduate School and the Office of Research and Engagement. Fifteen projects were selected as competition winners by 30 prominent community members.

Dr. Junius J. Gonzales, senior vice president for academic affairs for the UNC System, welcomed the participants, observers and judges to the expo with a quote by Nobel Prize-winning physiologist Albert Szent-Györgyi de Nagyrápolt: “Discovery is looking at the same thing as everyone else and discovering something different.”

“After looking at the posters here,” he continued, “It’s evident that students and faculty here are discovering something different.”

It wasn’t only the judges who took in the presentations, however. A steady stream of faculty, staff and students of various levels, including participants, made their way through the expo to see the projects.

“I enjoy seeing all the diverse research areas,” said expo participant and public health education student Sydney Zester. “You’ll see social justice and you’ll see myosin. It’s all-encompassing and it’s good to see how much is being done.”

Many of the presenters said they enjoyed presenting to community members and judges who were not experts or scholars in their field, because it prompted them to translate their research for wider comprehension. Many also said they appreciated the opportunity not only to compete at the expo, but to practice speaking in preparation for future conference presentations.

“It’s meaningful to me to take the work that we do in the lab to the public and for them to appreciate it,” said biology student Safeera Khan. “I also appreciate the work of others.”

See the 15 winners within seven categories below:



Elizabeth Ellis (History) Branded as Cain: Jonathan Worth and the Unionist Legacy in Post-Civil War North Carolina
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Mark E. Elliott

Jamie Watson (English) Talking to Himself: Teaching Autobiographical Frederick Douglass Works in the Early American Lit Survey
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Maria Carla Sanchez


Creative Arts

Jessica M. Ocasio Adorno (Interior Architecture), Mr. Travis Lee Hicks & Mr. Khoi Nguyen Vo  Tiny House, Big Community: Catering to Millennials’ Needs
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Maruja Torres-Antonini


Professional Programs

Lillian Carden (Library and Information Studies) Green Screen in the Library? How Technology Can Help Kids Learn to Write!
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Anne T. Akers


Natural, Physical, and Mathematical Sciences

Sheeba Dawood (Nanoscience) Metal organic framework- The future of electronic devices
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Hemali Priyanka Rathnayake

Alla Letfullina (Nanoscience), Dr. Jong Soo Cho, Mr. Pankaj Alaboina & Dr. Sungjin Cho Investigation of Molecular Rotation Benefits within Hybrid Polymer Electrolytes
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Dennis R. LaJeunesse

Yener Ulus (Biology) How does seawater intrusion affect mercury cycling in our coastal plain wetlands?
Faculty Mentors: Dr. Martin Tsz-Ki Tsui & Dr. Alex Chow


Social Sciences

Amanda Barnes & Dana Conlin (Human Development and Family Studies) Supporting Refugee Families in Promoting their Preschooler’s Literacy Development
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Rachel Jepkemboi Boit

Joy Kelly (Counseling and Educational Development) Developing an Intimate Partner Violence Recovery Measure:  An Exploratory Factor Analysis Study
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Christine Elizabeth Murray

Yuki Sugimoto (Kinesiology) Stride-to-Stride Gait Variability in Individuals with Chronic Ankle Instability, Copers, and Healthy Controls
Faculty Mentors: Dr. Scott Ross & Dr. Chris Rhea


Health Sciences

Mariam Abdelaziz (Communication Sciences and Disorders) Morphological Knowledge in Third and Fifth Grade Students
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Alan G. Kamhi

Hannah Carter (Nutrition) Effects of Fortification and Storage Time on Pasteurized Donor Human Milk
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Maryanne Tigchelaar Perrin

Selena McCall & Kate McKenzie (Community and Therapeutic Recreation), Sharon Williams, Huddle Up: Implementing and Evaluating Challenger Flag Football League
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Leandra A. Bedini

Lindsey Oakes (Public Health Education), Dr. Benjamin D. Hickerson Partners & Participants for Health: Innovative Methods to Engage College Students with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities (IDD)
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jeffrey John Milroy

Conner Wallace (Nutrition), Cherie Barnes & Brielle Jacobowitz, Omega-3 treatment does not improve reductions in brain function caused by saturated fat
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Steven C. Fordahl


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

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