UNCG Campus Weekly

Campus Weekly is published each Wednesday when classes are in session. In the summer, it is published biweekly.

Movers, Shakers and Research Makers

033110Feature2_ResearchExpoThe Great Recession has had a great impact on Greensboro – making a comparative analysis of the city’s strengths and weaknesses all the more essential.

The 2010 Greensboro ‘State of the City’ Report was commissioned by the Greensboro Partnership to see opportunities for economic growth and see where resources might be better allocated. The Business Journal and News & Record have reported on its findings.

The Partnership is an alliance of Action Greensboro, Greensboro Economic Development Alliance and the Chamber of Commerce. They are the “movers and shakers,” says geography major Carla Hughes, who are looking at “how to grow Greensboro.”

Before Dr. Keith Debbage, along with doctoral student Suzanne Gallaway, could synthesize the data and write the report, the data had to be collected.

Two outstanding undergraduates were tapped to do it: Carla Hughes and John Rainey, another senior geography major.

“It was challenging. We knew it was hard to get data – and make sure it was correct data.” She noted that Debbage checked it.

The two seniors discussed the report’s findings at last Thursday’s Undergraduate Research Expo in Cone Ballroom. Debbage stood nearby; the students did the talking at the expo.

“Overall, it doesn’t seem to be growing as fast as peer cities [in the state],” Rainey explained, pointing to facts on their posterboard. There is job growth in Greensboro in some sectors – such as retail – but not in high-wage sectors.

A bright spot is education, he noted. “The high school dropout rate is the lowest among peer cities.”

Hughes had been a surgical technologist in Asheboro. It was a good paying job, but “I wanted to do more.” She followed her passion – urban planning.

Debbage says he has had undergraduates working on projects with him, off and on, for 15 years. He is impressed by Hughes and Rainey. When he presented the report to the Greensboro Partnership, they were with him, listening. When he sat down with the editors of the News & Record, likewise. It’s all been valuable experience for them. “A good opportunity to grow and learn,” Hughes said.

The two undergraduates received Undergraduate Research Assistantship scholarships to do the work. The work of Debbage and doctoral student Suzanne Gallaway was funded by the Greensboro Partnership.

At a nearby booth, senior Tania Moon spoke of her research with Dr. Jacqueline White, on victimization experiences and alcohol use. Did she think she’d be doing research when she became an undergraduate? “I didn’t know I’d be doing research at all,” she said. She added, “As a mentee, I’ve grown a lot under her.” Moon also is a recipient of an undergraduate research assistantship scholarship.

Provost Perrin stopped by nearby booths, asking students about their research. One was Senior Samuel Tyler (in visual, right), who explained his research on GIS data representation. Dr. Eric Jones (Anthropology) is his advisor.

Several professors went from booth to booth, speaking with the students about the research.

Dr. Mary Crowe, Office of Undergraduate Research director, explained that one great benefit of the Expo is that undergraduates not only are doing research and practicing their communication skills – but they get to see what lots of other undergraduates, in other departments, are working on.

Crowe said there’d be a new date next year for the Expo – the Friday of Reunion. Also new next year: some freshmen will present their research. “We’ve never had freshmen present work.”