News and Events (2015-2016)


UNCG honors student, Amanda Baeten, and her mentor, Dr. Blair Wisco of the Department of Psychology, took their research to Capitol Hill last week. Amanda’s research project, titled “How Rumination Affects Emotions,” examines the harmful effects of rumination, a negative thinking style that increases risk for depression. Amanda’s research reveals that individuals suffering from depression can be helped by using healthy distraction techniques instead of ruminating about their problems, particularly when managing feelings of anger. Future work will focus on the effects of rumination and depression on close relationships.

The project was one of 60 from across the nation selected from over 400 applications for the 20th Annual Posters on the Hill event sponsored by the Council on Undergraduate Research. This marks the second year in a row where a UNCG student has been chosen for this prestigious event. UNCG’s Director of the Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creativity Office, Dr. Lee Phillips traveled with Baeten and Wisco to Washington, D.C. April 19-21, where they discussed their work and the importance of undergraduate research with staffers in Senators Burr and Tillis’s offices, as well as many NC representatives to the U.S. Congress. The UNCG trio met with Representative Mark Walker (pictured above). They also met with White House staffers from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

The Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) is dedicated to supporting and promoting high-quality undergraduate student-faculty collaborative research and scholarship. CUR’s Posters on the Hill is a national showcase that emphasizes the impacts of undergraduate research experiences for the U.S. Congress.

Communication Studies Undergraduate Researcher Wins National Award!

Senior Essma Boucteb has won the Bob and Ann Weiss Undergraduate Paper Competition for the top undergraduate research paper at the 2016 National Association of Communication Centers Conference. Her paper, “Organizational Identification at Communication Centers,” was developed while serving as a Pete & Joan Allan Student Research Fellow at the University Speaking Center. Essma is a managing consultant at the Speaking Center and completed her research under the mentorship of Dr. Roy Schwartzman. She is enrolled in Lloyd International Honors College at UNCG and double majoring in Communication Studies and Psychology.

UNCG Psychology Students Snag 1st Place in New Orleans

Thanks to awards granted from URSCO, generous funding from donors to the College of Arts and Science, including the Margaret Mitchell Fund for Undergraduate Liberal Education, the Walter H. Beale Arts and Sciences Enrichment Fund, and the Arts and Science Enrichment fund, a record number of 15 Psychology undergraduates were able to attend the annual meeting of the Southeastern Psychological Association in New Orleans. The students represented UNCG well, presenting cutting edge research, attending talks, and networking with the region’s top researchers. A strong group of 12 students, led by Psi Chi president Nicole Pocchiari, took part in the meeting’s diversity quiz bowl, an annual event where all the region’s schools face off against each other to answer questions on the role of diversity in psychology. Our team took first place, beating over 20 other institutions and netting themselves $120 in prize money. This is yet more evidence of the outstanding educational opportunities that we provide for our students, and in turn, their strong initiative and pursuit of excellence in their undergraduate careers.

Artist in Residence, Will England

Program: A Short Evening of Big Band Music with The Wednesday Orchestra
Thursday, March 3 in the Recital Hall of the UNCG Music Building

The Wednesday Orchestra is a triad-based organization comprised of woodwinds, brass, strings, and the added drive and excitement of a jazz rhythm section. Under the direction of composer/instrumentalist Will England, the orchestra performs music from the jazz, bossa nova, and contemporary classical styles. The repertoire exhibits differing moods from sprightly to impassioned to serene and frequently features soloists from within the group.

Professor Olav Rueppell receives the 2015 CUR-Biology Division Mid-Career Mentor Award

Dr. Olav Rueppell, Department of Biology, has been selected as a recipient of the 2015 Outstanding Mentor Award in the Mid-Career category by the Biology Division of the Council of Undergraduate Research (CUR). See more on this story in UNCG Campus Weekly.

Undergraduate Research and Creativity Award (URCA) recipient, Noah DeAngelo, named First Team Academic All American

UNCG’s Noah DeAngelo has been named to the men’s soccer Academic All-America First Team. Noah was awarded an URCA for work with Dr. Vincent Henrich, Biology, on “Testing for Genetic Association Between Relaxin Variants and Knee Laxity In Female Athletes.” See more on this story in UNCG Campus Weekly.

2015 State of North Carolina Undergraduate Research and Creativity Symposium

On November 14th, 2015, 16 UNCG undergraduates presented their research at the 11th Annual State of North Carolina Undergraduate Research & Creativity Symposium (SNCURCS) at High Point University. Our students and faculty mentors joined over 800 individuals from all over the state who are committed to research as a foundational undergraduate experience. This SNCURCS included 414 presentations, of which 13 were from UNCG. Undergraduate research helps students to develop those skills necessary for success in the workforce, and, for some, get a head start on learning techniques that will help ease the transition to graduate and/or professional school.

Dr. Lee Phillips is the Director of UNCG’s Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creativity Office (URSCO). He looks forward to the student-friendly, welcoming forum, and hopes to attract a greater number of UNCG participants each year. SNCURCS gives students an opportunity to present research results in front of their peers. Additionally, students have the chance to attend sessions on topics ranging from graduate school applications to applying for fellowships and international research experiences, among other things.

Below is a list of the UNCG students and mentors who participated in the 2015 SNCURCS celebration of research, creativity, and scholarship:

Poster Presentations:

Student(s) – Dept Mentor(s) Title
Harrison Bolton – Biology Roy Stine and Lee Phillips Ground Penetrating Radar Investigations of Surface Collapses due to Mining Operations in Gold Hill, North Carolina
Nhung Budam – Public Health Ed, and Abigail Budam – Nutrition and Wellness Sharon Morrison Tailoring a Biological Risk Factor Survey for use in Hypertension Assessment with Montagnard Refugees
Aaron Frazier — Psychology Kari Eddington Analysis of self-reference word usage of individuals with depression pre- versus post-treatment
Cory Henderson — Anthropology Robert Anemone The Application of 3-D Imaging as an Instructional Tool
Daphne Hill — Psychology Blair Wisco Negativity of Intrusions for Dysphoric Individuals
Eni Minerali – Chemistry Kimberly Petersen Asymmetric Synthesis of Enantioenriched Lactams

Oral Presentations:

Student(s) – Department Mentor Title
Amanda Baeten – Psychology Blair Wisco How Rumination Affects Emotions
Anna Cox – English Risa Applegarth Implications of the Purity Myth
Alaina Monts – Women’s and Gender Studies Sarah Cervenak Take You to Paradise’: Meshell Ndegeocello, Liminality, and Radical Black Sexualities
Sean Norton – Political Science William Crowther Caught Between: Transnistria’s Separatist Conflict in the Regional Context
Rachel Ryding and Melissa Roberts – Sociology Stephen Sills Identifying Opportunities: Geospatial Analysis as a Tool for Targeted Redevelopment
Anastasia Shymanovich and Zechariah Etheridge – Sociology Stephen Sills The Center for Housing and Community Studies of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Anna Warner – Psychology Rebecca Muich Prisoner of Progressivism: Huxley’s Attempt to Preserve Our Human

2015 International Conference of Undergraduate Research – Sept 28-30

The ICUR is a wonderful opportunity for UNCG students to interact with others from around the globe. On Sept 29 and 30, the following students represented UNCG as our first participants in the ICUR.

Amanda Baeten – Amanda is an undergraduate research assistant in Dr. Blair Wisco’s clinical psychology lab at UNC Greensboro. She is learning about the effect cognitive processes have on emotions in depression. At ICUR, she will present her research on the emotional effect of rumination, which is thinking passively and repetitively about one’s distress. She found rumination in dsyphoric individuals increases sadness and decreases positive emotions. (Presentation: Sept 30, 10:30 – Noon)
Daniel Foil – Daniel is a senior double majoring in Chemistry and German. After graduating, he plans to pursue a Masters in Chemistry in Germany or Austria. Daniel’s research in Dr. Nadja Cech’s laboratory at UNCG focuses on evaluating the potential of new compounds from plants to fight antibiotic resistant infections. (Presentation: Sept 29, 8:00 – 9:30 am)
Ivanti Galloway – This project’s aim is to answer the question: where does cooperation come from? It has been shown in previous studies that cooperative and selfish individuals do not naturally coexist. This project shows that mutations can cause these populations to coexist. Furthermore, it shows that lower mutation levels are needed for coexistence when populations start in high numbers and are allowed to move. (Presentation: Sept 30, 10:30 – Noon)
Aaleah Lancaster – Starting the summer of 2015 Aaleah Lancaster has worked alongside Qaleelah Smith, studying how to optimize border patrol strategies. During her research, spent countless hours finding new strategies for border patrol. She will present a study that tested what strategy out of 2 is the most effective, and why. (Presentation: Sept 30, 9:00 – 10:30 am)

Rhoni Moffit and KeeAera Hood – In Summer 2015, Rhoni Moffit has worked with KeeAeara Hood on game theoretical analysis of the optimal evacuation before an approaching hurricane. They have enjoyed the research experience although they did not expect it to be so stressful and demanding. (Presentation: Sept 30, 6:30 – 8:00 am)
Jay Saini – Jay is an undergraduate student in the Math department at UNCG. At ICUR 2015, he will present his research on the evolution in structured population. He made an existing model more realistic and discovered a possible way how can even disadvantageous mutations fixate in the population. The best part of the research was the coding of the simulation in MATLAB. (Presentation: Sept 29, 9:30 – 11:00 am)
Kristen Schleich – Criteria exist to assist medical professionals with return-to-play decisions post-concussion. However, most of these criteria have been developed with male athletes. This project examined whether females and males scores similarly prior to a concussion, which would validate the use of existing criteria. Kristen tested female football players before a concussion and compared the data to published male values. (Presentation: Sept 30, 9:00 – 10:30 am)
Qaleelah Smith – During her research, she able to discover new found passions and step out of her comfort zone. By using computational and analytical techniques Qaleelah and her partner, Aaleah Lancaster, optimized patrol routes for the Mexican border in order to maximize the number of caught intruders while using the minimum amount of resources. (Presentation: Sept 30, 9:00 – 10:30 am)
David Suarez – Using a Gillespie’s algorithm-based exact stochastic simulation, we examine how changing the individual’s mobility and neighborhood size influence the evolution of cooperation within a population. As a math researcher, the hardest part is figuring out the model, which involves reading many manuscripts. In contrast, the best part is coding the model. When you resolve a serious code error, you feel really great. (Presentation: Sept 29, 8:00 – 9:30 am)
Babak Yousefi – Since his first year at UNCG, Babak Yousefi has worked in the Social Insect Lab, studying aging and health of honey bees. During his research, he has monitored behavior and surveyed survival in the field and he employed molecular assays in the lab. He will present a study that tested the long-term consequences of juvenile stress in honey bees. (Presentation: Sept 30, 6:30 – 8:00 am)