Explore Home, the World, and Beyond at the Undergraduate Research Symposium

Student at Undergraduate Research Symposium with her poster presentation
December 4, 2018

UNC Asheville’s Fall Symposium for Undergraduate Research & Community Engaged Learning on Tuesday, Dec. 4, will explore our home in Western North Carolina, countries around the world, and even go across the stars with undergrad research, art, and service learning projects. Here’s just a small sample of some of the projects you’ll find at this year’s Undergraduate Research Symposium:

Around Campus

 A Look Into the Botans
10 a.m. in 237 Zagier Hall

If you’ve been hanging out in the Botanical Gardens on campus this semester, chances are you’ve been observed by anthropology student Savannah Lloyd. Lloyd has been looking for patterns in the activities in different sections of the Botans, exploring “the ways that people create and practice meaning in physical and nonphysical places.”


Letters from East Asheville
6:10 p.m. in the Laurel Forum

This collection of personal essays by graduating Master of Liberal Arts and Sciences student Tom Maycock offers some perspectives on life in Asheville from the viewpoint of a relative newcomer to this rapidly changing mountain city. While these reflections focus on our city, the essays are “unmistakably influenced by the profound and often disturbing changes taking place in the world.”

WNC and Appalachia

Cluck, Ol’ Hen!: A generative approach to Old Time music composition and adaptation
9 a.m. in 018 Lipinsky Hall

Go deeper into your understanding of the music of our mountains with music student Nicole Carpenter, who will not only discuss the aesthetic of the music genre, but will demonstrate how any melody can be transformed into an Old Time tune. Starting with a commercial jingle, Carpenter “will show the process of turning the jingle into a passable Old Time piece using signature traits and characteristics of Old Time to do so.”

ᏚᏘᏱ to Snowbird: Education, Integration, and Assimilation of Cherokee in the Snowbird Community, 1932-1965
10:15 a.m. in 014 Whitesides Hall

History major Dakota Brown will explore the assimilation of the Cherokee Snowbird community through the Snowbird Day School, which educated an estimated 550 Cherokee children in Western North Carolina throughout its history, before closing in 1963. It was a process that “culminated in the integration of the Cherokee students into the Graham County school system, a process that took 11 years from 1954 to 1965.”

Fire-Regime Management in Western North Carolina
2 p.m. in 014 Zeis Hall

Biology student Mandi Miller has taken on the task of developing proxy records of fire history in our area by using bog sediment records, as our current historical records only cover around the past 50 years. She’s hoping to uncover connections between historic fire and climate patterns, which “may help determine how ecosystems have responded to past changes in climate so that this information can be used to improve land-use and forest management plans in the future.”

North Carolina

The Local Opioid Epidemic
3:45 p.m. in 316 Karpen Hall

Student journalist Lindsay Fontaine has penned a series of articles looking at the nation-wide opioid crisis through a local lens, focusing on the thousands of lives that have been lost to the epidemic in North Carolina. “The Center of Disease Control statistics shows that North Carolina is at the top for prescription pain pill and overdoses,” Fontaine writes. “The end goal is to find out why North Carolina is losing the battle with the opioid epidemic.”

Has North Carolina’s Comprehensive Sex Education Policy Been Effective? An Econometric Analysis
2:20 p.m. in 035 Karpen Hall

Has a state policy change created real change in North Carolina? Economics student Carolyn Meyers has constructed a triple difference-in-difference model between North Carolina and Tennessee to determine whether the Healthy Youth Act, a comprehensive sex education policy enacted in North Carolina in 2009, has resulted in with lower teenage pregnancy rates and higher usage of publicly available contraceptive services among low-income and marginalized communities in our state.

Around the World

Enquête sur une miette : Examinant le discours de la négation dans les Fabliaux du Moyen Âge
9:20 a.m. in 013 Whitesides Hall

You’ll have to speak French to understand Alex Chelmis’ research into “fabliaux,” which are vulgar but funny short stories written in the Middle Ages.

Inter-Annual Relationship of Labrador Iceberg Data to Northern Atlantic Oscillations and Sea Surface Temperatures
1 p.m. in 212 Rhoades Robinson Hall

Atmospheric sciences student Douglas March will take us to the cold waters of the Labrador Strait, which icebergs and fishing vessels must share. As global temperatures rise, the interactions between the sea and the air are becoming increasingly important to understand; March will compare the size and range of icebergs to sea surface temperatures, in order to discover whether the change in iceberg integrity is related to those sea surface temperatures. This will help scientists forecast projected iceberg routes, and help those ships find a safe route through the icy seas.

Across the Universe

Galactic Winds: Probing the Gas of the Early Universe
1:40 p.m. in 212 Rhoades Robinson Hall

Budding astronomer Samantha Creech’s research uses quasar spectra, galaxy modeling software, and knowledge of the formation of “disky galaxies” to discover evidence of galactic winds reaching incredibly far distances across the early universe.