News Items from UNC Greensboro

The 9th Annual Carolyn and Norwood Thomas Undergraduate Research and Creativity Expo, hosted by the UNCG Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creativity Office (URSCO), exemplified UNCG’s commitment to doing something bigger altogether.

On April 7, 2015, 131 students representing 31 academic departments/programs, publicly presented their work.

The expo highlights the diversity of disciplinary scholarship for and through our students in order to help cultivate a culture of lifelong inquiry. The expo is a campus-wide celebration of research, scholarship, and creativity. Students share their inquiry through poster presentations, exhibits, performances and oral presentations.

The URSCO is dedicated to promoting and supporting student success through faculty-mentored undergraduate research, creative expressions and other scholarly experiences. URSCO Director Lee Phillips describes research as “an empowering experience” and emphasizes that the office “recognizes scholarship across all academic disciplines.”

Miranda Weavil: Lilian Nile Undergraduate Research Assistantship winner

The Lilian Nile Undergraduate Research Assistantship honors the mother of Dr. Terry Nile. He joined UNCG in 1998 and served as Head of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. With his love for scholarship and teaching, Nile has positively impacted the lives of numerous students, introducing them to the world of research and jump-starting their careers in industry.

Miranda Weavil, a Biochemistry major, was awarded the second Lilian Nile Undergraduate Research Assistantship in the summer of 2014. She used the assistantship to participate in the Summer International Undergraduate Research Program at the University of Bristol working with Professor Paul Pringle of the School of Chemistry. The generous donations of several of our alumni, faculty and local industry make this assistantship possible.

Jan Rychtář: 2015 Thomas Undergraduate Research Mentor Award Recipient

In 2014, the UNCG Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creativity Office (URSCO) established the Thomas Undergraduate Research Mentor Award to recognize faculty members who engage students in projects that contribute to expansion of knowledge and understanding in their discipline. The second recipient of this award is Dr. Jan Rychtář from the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. In 2004,  Rychtář earned a Ph.D. from the University of Alberta and joined the faculty at UNCG. His research interests are mathematical biology and game theory. Since 2005, he has organized an annual UNCG Regional Mathematics and Statistics Conference. He has authored or co-authored over 50 papers in peer-reviewed journals, 29 of which were with undergraduates, and co-authored a book on game-theoretical models in biology. He has been PI on the two NSF UBM grants (2006-2009 and 2009-2013), an NSF REU grant (2014-2017), co-PI on NSF REU grant (2009-2012). In 2008, he received UNCG CAS Teaching Excellence Award, and the 2012-2013 UNCG Junior Research Excellence Award, while he served as interim director of the UNCG Office of Undergraduate Research (now URSCO). During his career at UNCG he has supervised research of over 43 undergraduate students. He is also an active councilor within the Mathematics & Computer Sciences Division of the Council on Undergraduate Research.

Keynote Speaker: Barbara Holland

During the plenary session, Dr. Barbara Holland, Senior Scholar in the Institute for Community & Economic Engagement at UNCG, gave the keynote address. Barbara advises academic and institutional leadership on academic culture change and the changing nature of the academy, facilitates workshops on documenting and evaluating non-traditional forms of scholarship for promotion and tenure, and assists UNCG in building its identity and reputation as a community-engaged institution.

Expo Winners

Each presenter had the option for review by a panel of judges to be considered for exemplary works of undergraduate research and creativity. The following are the winners by category:


Division: Visual Arts

1st Place – Valerie Mazo

Faculty Mentor – Nikki Blair, Art

“Toxic Consumerism”


2nd Place – Taylor Kane & Jackson Thomas

Artists in Residence Program

“Humans of Greensboro”


Division: Humanities, Business, Education, and Social Sciences

1st Place – Shelley Gates

Faculty Mentor- Laura Cole, Interior Architecture

“Teaching Green School Buildings: An Analysis of Photovoice Data”


2nd Place – Deanne Rose Ewald & Sarah Howle

Faculty Mentor – Lauren Haldeman, Nutrition

“Hypertension in Low-Income, Immigrant, and Minority Adolescents”


3rd Place – MaryAnn Kozikowski

Faculty Mentor – Melanie Carrico, Consumer Apparel and Retail Studies

“Consumer Preferences in Plus Size Design”


Honorable Mention – Rachel Wilson

Faculty Mentor – Ann Ramsey, Consumer Apparel and Retail Studies

“Technology and the Future of the Apparel Industry”


Honorable Mention – Nicole Schacter

Faculty Mentor – Susanne Rinner, Languages, Literature and Culture

“Weltschmerz and Sehnsucht: Differences in Perceived Suffering in German and American Cultures”


Division: Sciences

1st Place – Keith Watkins

Faculty Mentor – Paul Knapp, Geography

“UNCG’s Old-Growth Trees”


2nd Place – Ashleigh Musso

Faculty Mentor – Nadja Cech, Chemistry & Biochemistry

“Simultaneous Analysis of Multiple Alkaloids in Endophyte-Infected Grasses”


3rd Place – Juliano Slivinski

Faculty Mentor – Nicholas Oberlies, Chemistry & Biochemistry

“Isolation and Purification of Compounds from Silybum marianum


Honorable Mention – Edem Tchegnon

Faculty Mentors – Nicholas Oberlies & Raja Huzefa, Chemistry & Biochemistry

“A Survey of Fungal Endophytes from Asimina triloba (L.) Dunal in North Carolina”



Honorable Mention – Yousefi Babak

Faculty Mentor – Olav Rueppell, Biology

“Behavioral and Mortality Changes in Response to Early Life Stress Treatment”


Division: Psychology

1st Place – Anna Batista, Maria Ditcheva, Saboria Thomas, & Mia McDonald

Faculty Mentor – Suzanne Vrshek-Schallhorn, Psychology

“Transdiagnostic Anxiety Severity Associated with Blunted Cortisol Response to Lab-Induced Stress”


2nd Place – Karys Normansell

Faculty Mentor – Blair Wisco, Psychology

“Negative Interpretation Bias as a Mechanism of the Relationship between Rejection Sensitivity and Depression”


3rd Place – Sarah McClanahan

Faculty Mentors – Julie Campbell and George Michel, Psychology

“Unimanual Hand Preference”


Honorable Mention – Amber Borcyk

Faculty Mentor – Blair Wisco, Psychology

“Is Dampening of Positive Affect a Specific Risk Factor for Depressive Symptoms? Evidence from Three Longitudinal Studies”


Honorable Mention – Markeela Lipscomb

Faculty Mentor – Thomas Kwapil, Psychology

“Working Memory as a Moderator of Schizotypy and Creativity”


Honorable Mention – Alyssa Mielock

Faculty Mentor – Thomas Kwapil, Psychology

“Assessment of Psychotic-like Experiences in Daily Life”


The Expo winners will be recognized on April 28 during the UNCG Student Honors Convocation.

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