Grad students present to academic community
2015 graduate research and creativity expo
On April 9, over 60 UNCG graduate students gathered in the Elliott University Center to present their research and creative work to groups of judges. The event was the Graduate Research and Creativity Expo: Scholarship that Matters. Sponsored by the Graduate School and the Office of Research and Economic Development, the expo showcased a wide variety of participants’ accomplishments in six different categories: creative arts; health sciences; humanities; natural, physical, and mathematical sciences; professional programs; and social sciences.
At the annual event, participants compete in their respective categories for a $1,000 prize and for the opportunity to represent UNCG at Graduate Education Day at the State Legislature in mid-May. There, winners share their achievements with legislators and discuss the potential impact of their work on education and the greater North Carolina community. The expo is not all about winning, though — just by participating, students can gain important experiences that benefit them throughout their careers.
“Students have the opportunity to create a shared understanding with audiences who may not be immersed in their specific discipline but who want to appreciate the significance and potential impact of their work,” says Dr. Laura Chesak, associate dean of The Graduate School, “In talking with members of the greater community, students can discover points of contact with audience members who want to solve a particular problem or tap into their expertise and ideas.”
Leslie Locklear is a doctoral student at UNCG and winner in the professional programs category. Locklear brought her passion for education and her heritage as a member of the Lumbee tribe together to analyze cultural responsiveness in the classroom. She argues that native students’ cultural backgrounds sometimes conflict with typical school learning styles. This conflict may contribute to high dropout rates, high suicide rates, and low graduation rates among native students. As part of her research, Locklear compiled a list of techniques teachers and administrators can use to create a culturally responsive curriculum that promotes academic and personal achievement among Native Americans.
Locklear says that her department and her advisor Dr. Sylvia Bettez were both instrumental in inspiring and assisting with her research.
“The amazing thing I’ve found in [the Department of Educational Leadership and Cultural Foundations] is that I’m given free rein to research whatever I’m passionate about,” Locklear says. “This is my independent study project, and my professor not only supported me but gave me resources and allowed me all the time that I needed to really dig into this and find what I loved.”
Locklear and the other winners (below) will be recognized for their achievements today at the Honors Convocation.
Karen S. Thomas, Department of Music Education
“Musicians’ Earplugs: Does Their Use Affect Performance or Listeners’ Perceptions?”
Faculty Mentors: Dr. Donald Hodges, Dr. Sandra Teglas
Lauren West, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
“Nutritional Manipulation of HIV/AIDS: The Effects of Ergothioneine and Cultural Complementary and Alternative Medicines on HIV”
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Ethan Will Taylor
Mardita Murphy, Department of Interior Architecture
“The Kirkbride Plan: A History of Psychiatric Medicine and its Reflection on 19th Century Architecture”
Faculty Mentor: Mrs. Jo R. Leimenstoll
Natural, Physical, and Mathematical Sciences:
Vincent P. Sica, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
“Direct Chemical Analysis of Fungal Cultures”
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Nicholas H. Oberlies
Sarah Sperry, Department of Psychology
“Measuring the Validity and Psychometric Properties of a Short Form of the Hypomanic Personality Scale”
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Thomas Kwapil
Article Author Emma Troxler is a senior at UNCG, double majoring in English and Women’s and Gender Studies. She is a Media and Communications Intern for UNCG’s Office of Research and Economic Development. Her passion for writing about other peoples’ research led her to her current position.