Virginia-North Carolina Alliance for Minority Participation

2017 VA-NC Alliance Undergraduate Research Symposium: "Developing Critical Thinkers, Innovators & Leaders in STEM"

March 31, 2017 to April 2, 2017

The 10th Annual VA-NC Undergraduate Research Symposium was hosted by Saint Augustine’s University, March 31 – April 2 in Raleigh, NC.  All events were held on the campus of Saint Augustine’s University.

Winners of the 10th Annual VA-NC Undergraduate Research Symposium in the oral and poster presentation categories are as follows:

First Place - Marissa Howard, George Mason University: Application of Hydrogell Nanoparticles for a Latent Tuberculosis Rapid Diagnostic Test
Second Place - Hunter Eason, Elizabeth City State University: Prime Sieves and Their Applications
Third Place - Jabrille Little, Shaw University: Discovery of a novel antibiotic activity from Musa accuminata

First Place - Sydney Henry, Johnson C. Smith University: Is Microglial Morphology Impacted by Particulate Matter?
Second Place - Eddy Lontchi, Virginia Commonwealth University: Development of Methods to Examine Enantioselectivity
Third Place - Maria Vera Alvarez, Virginia Commonwealth University: Assessing detection bias and population decline in a Neotropical community: observation and experimental approaches

First Place Oral Presentations - Francis E. Carrasco Serrano, Guildford Technical Community College: The Simple Things in Cyberlife
First Place Poster Presentations - Paul Nyarko, Guildford Technical Community College: A Life Without Life

The following institutions were represented at the Graduate School Fair, Sat. April 1st:

North Carolina A&T State University
North Carolina Central University
North Carolina State University
University of Health Sciences, Antigua
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
University of Virginia
Virginia Commonwealth University
Virginia Tech



Student presentation guidelines
Electronic program booklet
St. Augustine's University campus map


Keynote speaker, Dr. Roketa Sloan

  Roketa Sloan was born in Midwest City, Oklahoma and is from Sumter, SC.  She completed her undergraduate work at Saint Augustine’s University (B.S. 2005). During her time at Saint Augustine’s University, Dr. Sloan was actively engaged in summer research. Dr. Sloan obtained her M.S. Degree in Biology from North Carolina Central University (M.S. 2010) and some of her work was published on the characterization of null and hypomorphic alleles of the Drosophila l(2)dtl/cdt2 gene.  Sloan recently completed her dissertation research in the laboratory of Sue Jinks-Robertson at Duke University (Ph.D. 2016) where her research utilized budding yeast to investigate genomic instability induced by the chemotherapeutic drug, camptothecin, or increased levels of the enzyme, topoisomerase I.  During her time at Duke, Sloan served as the President of both the Bouchet Society and the Black Graduate & Professional Student Association.  She helped coordinate outreach programs at local colleges and universities, promoting the option of a Ph.D. in the sciences to minority undergraduates. She also served as a student coordinator for the Duke Summer Research Opportunity Program.  Sloan was involved in the creation of the Ida Stephens Owen Black Tie Dinner in honor of Duke Graduate School’s first black female Ph.D., designed to highlight the significant achievements of African Americans with a STEM Ph.D. from Duke.  Sloan was awarded a 2014 Samuel DuBois Cook Award and was one of the 2015 Duke University Graduate Young Trustee Finalists.  Sloan is currently at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN completing her post-doctoral research in the laboratory of Dr. Peter Mckinnon.  Her research at St. Jude investigates the neurological and disease consequences of topoisomerases (I and II) in childhood neurological diseases.