WCU students present STEM research at UNCG Conference

Students Emily Francis, Paiton Motley, Ariel Colón Rodriguez, and Arabella Magdamit presented their research funded by the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program at a conference at UNC Greensboro Sept. 22. 

LSAMP conference goers from left to right: Dr.Robert Youker, Dr. Cheryl Waters-Tormey, Paition Motley, Arabella Magdamit, Dr. Heather Coan, Aiden Posadas, Ariel Colón Rodriquez and Emily Francis.

They were the first scholarship recipients from WCU and were granted the opportunity by various professors and advisors who applied for them. 

LSAMP is a program designed to encourage and support minority students in pursuing degrees and careers in STEM. In addition to the scholarship program, LSAMP offers a “Bridge to the Doctorate program” that provides financial support to minority students who are pursuing a doctorate degree in STEM. 

Emily Francis plans to apply for the Bridge to Doctorate program. 

Francis spent close to three months working with Dr. Barbara Ballentine preparing her research about the affects urban noise has on male sparrow breeding efforts and habits. Francis was able to obtain stipend pay for her research through the LSAMP grant.  

For Francis, the stipend offered through the program was a great way for her to stay in Cullowhee over the summer to work on her research. 

Paiton Motley with her research presentation.

Another student presenter, Paiton Motley, worked with Dr. Christy Witcher at Tennessee University. There, she focused her research on synthesizing plastic to find new, effective ways to recycle. 

“It was a really good experience just getting to present to a group who’s not really that scary…I feel like that’s a very low risk situation to be our first presentation ever,” Motley said. 

Francis said, because this is the first year WCU offered the LSAMP grant, it was more of a trial run. Over the summer, students and professors had the ability to get to know the program and try it out. She hopes the program will continue and that other students will find the grant and get involved with the program. 

To learn more or to get involved with the LSAMP program at WCU, email lsamp@wcu.edu.