UNCG Campus Weekly

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

Tate Street Festival Oct. 19

A street to celebrate (courtesy UNCG Archives)

‘Tate Street, that great street’ – as the refrain goes.

The Tate Street community and heritage will be celebrated once again with the 2019 Tate Street Festival, which presents live music and performance, fine arts and crafts.
The event is this Saturday (Oct. 19), 1-7 p.m., in the Tate Street business district.
Be part of the free-admission celebration and discover some great new art, music, and food. This year, there will be over 60 vendors on Tate Street – including 10 booths filled with UNCG student work – selling jewelry, painting, photography, sculpture, pottery, organic health and beauty products, handmade clothing, hats, fine crafts, vintage clothing and furniture, stained glass and even more unique works of art.
It’s the same afternoon as the big UNCG Homecoming Party, so stop in on your way to the campus party on Kaplan Commons.
Visit https://www.facebook.com/tatestreetfestival/ or email tatestreetfestival@gmail.com for more info on the Tate Street Festival.

Presentation on suffrage, racism, and a complex history

In advance of the “She Can, We Can” series for 2020-21, which focuses on the women’s suffrage movement, HNAC and the Women’s and Gender Studies department will co-host the talk “When Women Won the Right to Vote: An American Fiction.”

The presentation, by Dr. Lisa Tetrault of Carnegie Mellon University, will address the misleading common narrative of women’s suffrage and discuss the legacy of racism in the movement. The talk will explore suffrage’s complex history and speak on strategies for continuing the project of securing voting rights for all.

The presentation, which is free and open to the public, will be Monday, Oct. 21, 5:30-6:30 p.m., with a reception at 5 p.m.  It will be held at the UNCG Faculty Center.

Newsmakers: Miller, Ott Coelho, Broadway at Well-Spring

Whether researchers with timely insights or students with outstanding stories, members of the UNCG community appear in print, web and broadcast media every day. Here is a sampling of UNCG-related stories in the news and media over the week:

  • Spartan basketball guard Isaiah Miller is the SoCon Preseason Player of the Year, as reported by The Times-News, News and Record, and many other outlets. The feature.
  • Dr. Carol Ott Coelho co-authored a piece on how improvisational music can enhance creative expression for the National Association for Music Education. The piece.
  • Jessica Vosk, known for playing the lead in “Wicked” on Broadway, will kick off the “Broadway to Greensboro” collaboration between UNCG and the Well-Spring retirement community, The News & Record reported. The article.

Enjoy ‘Soaring Sounds’ free choral concerts this weekend

Dr. Coelle conducts chorale ensemble in First Presbyterian Church

Dr. Carole Ott Coelho conducts in the Gothic Revival First Presbyterian Church

UNCG’s University Chorale, in collaboration with the Lorena Guillén Tango Ensemble, will highlight Argentine tango and its crossed-path with Jewish culture, partly through compositions of the first generation of Argentine-Jewish composers.

This collaboration is the culmination of a project initiated by Dr. Lorena Guillén, Dr. Carole Ott Coelho notes. The Associate Director of Choral Activities and Associate Professor, she directs the University Chorale. It has been immersed in these pieces throughout the rehearsal process, which included lessons in tango dancing and singing in yiddish. The compositions have been arranged for choir by Dr. Alejandro Rutty.

The concert will also feature UNCG Chamber Singers, directed by Dr. Welborn Young, who is director of Choral Activities and Professor. The Chamber Singers will perform Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Unicorn, The Gorgon, and The Manticore: a Madrigal Ballad.

UNC Greensboro’s choral program will fill Greensboro’s First Presbyterian Church – a space ideal for choral acoustics – Sunday, Oct. 20, at 5 p.m. It is free-admission.

An additional, seasonal-themed UNCG choral concert will be Sunday, Nov. 24, 5 to 7 p.m. in First Presbyterian.

Homecoming weekend holds an extra treat: The UNCG Men’s and Women’s Glee Clubs will hold their concert Saturday, Oct. 19, at 3 p.m. in Grace United Methodist Church, 438 W Friendly Ave, Greensboro. That is also free-admission.

See the UNCG Magazine article, “Soaring Sounds.”

By Mike Harris.
Photograph by Martin W. Kane


Dr. Christina O’Connor

Dr. Christina O’Connor (Dean’s Office – School of Education) received a continuation of funding from the U.S. Department of Education for the project “Piedmont Teacher Residency Partnership (PTRP).”  Dr. Beverly Faircloth, Dr. Sara Heredia, Dr. Scott Howerton, Dr. Marcia Rock, Dr. Amy Vetter, and Dr. Holt Wilson are co-principal investigators on the project.

In response to the growing need to support student development of computational literacy, the Piedmont Teacher Residency Partnership (PTRP) addresses the Absolute Priority of establishing an effective teaching residency program for high-need subjects and areas with two rural school districts — Rockingham County Schools and Surry County Schools. The PTRP also addresses Competitive Preference Priority 1 by developing and implementing an innovative teacher residency model designed to improve educational outcomes in computer science. 

Within the proposed teacher residency model, candidates – supported by university and school-based faculty – integrate computational content and practices into K-12 instruction to ensure that all students develop the knowledge and skills to engage with and design innovative technologies. The project will utilize a framework for computational literacy that focuses on the integration of computational practices in STEM classrooms and design frameworks through making across content areas. The project focuses on both computation and design so that all students have an opportunity to apply their developing understanding of computation to long-term design projects worked on in school-based maker-spaces.

Dr. Kimberly Kappler-Hewitt

Dr. Kimberly Kappler-Hewitt (Dean’s Office – School of Education) received new funding from the University of Kansas for the project “Equity Leadership in High Need Schools.”

UNCG will partner with SWIFT Education Center to support development of Equity Leaders through the SWIFT Education Center Equity Leadership program by providing coordination and logistics support as well as actively participating in a series of learning sessions, and by providing coaching support to one school district’s selected principals and their teams in four cohorts over four years. The Equity Leadership series will include three 2-day learning sessions for each cohort of participating principals and will be held in- or near-district.

Dr. Sonja Frison

Dr. Sonja Frison (Center for Youth, Family, and Community Partnerships) received new funding from the Reintegration Support Network for the project “Building Communities of Recovery.”

Recovery Communities of North Carolina (RCNC) – Reintegration Support Network (RSN) will implement a Building Communities of Recovery (BCOR) program that provides a sense of belonging and the skills and capacities for self-advocacy, healthy relationships, and positive engagement in the community to youth 14 to 18 years old who are in recovery from substance-use disorder, and/or are receiving services for mental health issues, and/or court involvement.

RCNC-RSN’s emerging Youth Recovery Community Organization provides this reintegration support through its volunteer Pay-It-Forward Mentor Program, Youth Peer Support Groups, Community-wide Resource Network, and Outreach and Education. The program operates in Durham and Orange counties, North Carolina. The RCNC-RSN’s Pay-It-Forward Mentor Program recruits, screens, trains, and sponsors individuals 18 year or older from the community who have lived recovery experience, supporting them in becoming North Carolina Certified Peer Support Specialists (CPSSs). In exchange for training and supervision, RCNC-RSN CPSS/mentors provide one-on-one peer support to youth participants, gaining valuable experience serving the unique needs of adolescents. CPSS/mentors also serve as community ambassadors, providing outreach and education, thereby creating a local Youth Recovery Community Organization (YRCO) Corps.

Corps members also serve as facilitators for community Youth Peer Support Groups (YPSGs). The YPSGs are open to youth at varying stages of recovery. The weekly groups are designed to provide youth who experience difficulties with truancy, substance misuse, a mental health diagnosis, and/or exposure to the juvenile justice system with an environment of mutual care and ongoing support. The 12-session peer support group meets once weekly and is designed to provide topics for discussion and activities relevant to recovery and overall well-being.

Finally, RCNC-RSN facilitates community-wide support through its Community Resource Network and Community Partnerships. RCNC-RSN works with local treatment centers, schools, juvenile court, and private counselors as well as Recovery Communities of North Carolina (RCNC) and its affiliates. RCNC-RSN also partners with other youth-serving organizations in the community, e.g. Boys and Girls Club, El Centro Hispano, Triangle Bike Works, The Art Therapy Institute, Therapeutic Riding Center, and Musical Empowerment to provide healthy connections, relationships, and resources to enhance youth participants overall wellbeing. RSN is a program of Youth Community Project located in Carrboro, NC.  

Kathelene McCarty Smith

Kathelene McCarty Smith (University Libraries) received new funding from the State Library of North Carolina, Department of Natural and Cultural Resources for the project “Building Partnerships for Student Success.”  

North Carolina educators have a documented need for professional development resources to effectively find and evaluate primary sources and incorporate the use of primary sources in their classrooms. The NC Government and Heritage Library and the UNC Greensboro University Libraries have partnered to create a project that will address this need by developing a program that provides teachers the opportunity to attend workshops that deliver expert instruction on primary sources, which can be customized to the needs of school districts state-wide.

Through this project, and in consultation with an advisory group that will be established, the planning committee will identify K-12 district partners, create workshop curriculum and assessment tools, and develop application and selection criteria. Once K-12 partners are identified, schools in the district or region will be invited to send teams of teachers (Media Specialist, English Language Arts, and Social Studies) to the workshop; this team attendance format will help schools develop their own multi-disciplinary approach to implementing the knowledge gained in the workshop. The K-12 partners will come from regions of highest need and will be identified through the Hometown Strong Initiative and NC Department of Commerce County Distress Rankings.

Dr. Jay Poole

Dr. Jay Poole (Social Work) received new funding from Cone Health Foundation for the project “Partnership to Address Co-Occurring Disorders in Vulnerable Populations.” Dr. Kenneth Gruber is co-principal investigator on the project.

This program seeks to increase the availability of mental health and substance abuse services for those who are homeless and those who are immigrants. Specifically, the program, hereafter referred to as the Partnership, has established the following goals.

Goal I: Develop and maintain a close working relationship with the programs involved in the Partnership as well as those entities that are community partners in this effort. Close working relationships are measured by the ability of the partners to effectively and efficiently provide needed services to those who are homeless and those who are immigrants. Meeting the benchmarks for those served by the Partnership will be an indication that it is effective and efficient.

Goal II: Increase the ability to function more effectively for those who are homeless and who suffer from mental illness and/or substance abuse disorders. Effective functioning is measured by the ability to engage in activities of daily living, the ability to maintain roles, the ability to be goal directed, and the ability to reduce consumption of substances and/or alleviate symptoms associated with mental illnesses. The people served are partners with service providers in identifying needs and strengths.

Goal III: Increase the ability to function more effectively for those who are immigrants and who suffer from mental illness and/or substance abuse disorders. Effective functioning is measured by the ability to engage in activities of daily living, the ability to maintain roles, the ability to be goal-directed, and the ability to reduce consumption of substances and/or alleviate symptoms associated with mental illnesses. The people served are partners with service providers in identifying needs and strengths.

Goal IV: Increase knowledge about mental wellness and the effects of substance abuse for those who are homeless and those who are immigrants. An increase in knowledge will be indicated by the comparing pre- and post-tests upon completion of education modules conducted by social work students and nurses with the assistance of an interpreter in the case of non-English speaking populations.

Goal V: Increase knowledge through specialized training about mental health and/or substance abuse concerns for congregational nurses and social work students involved with the Partnership.


Fran Pearson

Fran Pearson (Social Work) received new funding from Cone Health Foundation for the project “Congregational Social Work Education Initiative (CSWEI 2019-20).” Dr. Jay Poole is co-principal investigator on the project.

Consistent access to primary medical and behavioral health care reduces cost and increases capacity within the tertiary health care system, and enhances the wellbeing of communities overall. Studies demonstrate that individuals without permanent housing and other health disparate population groups such as immigrants and refugees access primary health care and other health wellness services at far less frequency than that of the general population. 

Affordability, accessibility (transportation), and availability (long wait list, inconvenient hours) are commonly cited causes for vulnerable individuals’ inability to secure necessary, ongoing, coordinated health and behavioral care. In addition to the foregoing, obstacles to care may include difficulty navigating a fragmented human service delivery system, untreated mental illness or substance abuse, fear of stigmatization, language, or other cultural barriers.

An integrated care approach, within an interdisciplinary model of care, and augmented by other ancillary community-based, co-located service agencies – especially those offering supported housing – have proven to be highly effective program models. With its creative, collaborative, community-based model, CSWEI has successfully developed and implemented programming that addresses the needs of each of these vulnerable population groups and has been effective in linking health desperate individuals to care.

Dr. Maryanne T. Perrin

Dr. Maryanne T. Perrin (Nutrition) received new funding from Mother’s Milk is Best, Inc. for the project “SBIR: Analysis of Human Milk Pre- and Post- Use of a Concentrator.”

The Perrin Lab at UNC Greensboro will work with Mother’s Milk Is Best, Inc. (MMIB) to analyze 60 human milk samples for the following components: lactoferrin (quantified by ELISA); secretory IgA (quantified by an activity ELISA); and sodium (quantified by Ion Selective Electrode). Blinded samples will be prepared by MMIB and shipped to the Perrin Lab for analysis.

Dr. Terri Shelton

Dr. Terri Shelton (Office of Research and Engagement / Center for New North Carolinians) received a continuation of funding from Cone Health Foundation for the “Immigrant Health ACCESS Project.” Dr. Kelsey White is co-principal investigator on the project.

Purpose/Problem: Immigrants are uninsured and face multiple barriers  to access appropriate and available health care and often end up at the Hospital Emergency Departments for non-emergency health issues, and many who have real emergencies go without care.

Objective: To assist immigrants in gaining access to health care services and navigate the health systems by providing interpreters and community Health Workers.

Method: Working in conjunction with the Guilford Community Care Network , provide screening, assessment, and referral and identify the uninsured and seek solutions to connect them to a local integrated health clinic.

Dr. Harriette Bailey

Dr. Harriette Bailey (Human Development and Family Studies) received new funding from the Guilford County Partnership for Children for the project “Education, Quality Improvement, and Professional Development (EQuIPD).” Dr. Linda Hestenes is co-principal investigator on the project.

The Education, Quality Improvement, and Professional Development (EQuIPD) project addresses a critical need in Guilford County – the improvement of quality in community child care settings. EQuIPD includes five interconnected activities. The proposal addresses activities for family child care homes and centers including professional development, program enhancement through individual consultation, community learning sessions, and workforce retention strategies including compensation. UNC Greensboro, through the Department of Human Development and Family Studies (where the Birth through Kindergarten Teaching Licensure program is housed), will provide project leadership through advising and consultation. The project will be conducted in Guilford County early care and education programs.

Three Spartans honored with gerontology award

L to R: Dr. Janice Wassel, Dr. Richard Tucker, and Dr. Rebecca Adams at the award ceremony

Earlier this year, three Spartans were selected as honorees by the Southern Gerontological Society (SGS) for the Gerontologist Rooted In The South (GRITS) award.

Dr. Rebecca Adams, Dr. Janice Wassel, and Dr. Richard Tucker ’70 MA were selected.

The award seeks to maintain and stimulate interest in the history of SGS and perpetuate the legacy of past and present members. Members are recognized for their achievements in the field of gerontology, their contributions to enhancing the lives of elders in the SGS region, and their service as role models for future generations interested in the advancement of knowledge and practice in the field of aging.

Adams was recruited to UNCG in 1983 to help start the gerontology program, which she directed during the 1980s and again from 2013-2017. Although she now writes mainly about aging music fans, most of her publications, including two of her books, focus on older adult friendship. She is a professor in the Gerontology program and recently co-curated a series of talks, exhibits, screenings, and performances related to Deadhead culture. She has helped develop the Gerontology Research, Outreach, Workforce, and Teaching Hub (GROWTH), which is a network of faculty and community partners who support transdisciplinary aging-related research, education, and outreach across the campus and community. Check out her recent feature in UNCG Research Magazine.

Wassel was director of the UNCG gerontology program from 2001 to 2015. Her research interests include how couples make decisions about retirement timing, post-retirement employment after forced retirement, pension wealth, the relationship of family caregiving and depression, and family structures and decision-making in caregiving relationships.

Tucker has written and taught on the psychology of aging, and his research interests include characteristics of older Canadians in Florida with focus on health care needs and utilization; the effects of respite care on care givers for those with Alzheimer’s disease; and general issues in clinical geropsychology.

Information on the GRITS award can be found at https://southerngerontologicalsociety.org/grits.html

Information on the UNCG gerontology program can be found at http://gerontology.wp.uncg.edu/


FAFSA workshops for early filing, Dec. 1 deadline

The early filing period for FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is now open, and all current and prospective undergraduate students are encouraged to complete their FAFSA before the period closes on Dec. 1.

Here’s what Spartans need to know:

  • Students must submit a FAFSA each year in order to continue to receive aid.
  • UNC Greensboro funds and certain state funds are limited. Students who file early have a better chance of receiving these funds, in addition to any federal aid they may receive, such as Pell grants.
  • The Financial Aid Office is offering FAFSA workshops every Tuesday during the months of October and November. The workshops will be held from 5:30-7 p.m. in the Mossman Building atrium. Students are encouraged to bring their laptops.

In March 2020, students will be notified of their financial aid package for the 2020-21 academic year. Students are encouraged to resolve any financial aid issues before they leave campus for the summer. Filing the FAFSA early will help students get their financial aid refunds before classes begin in the fall.

UNCG students receive more than $200 million in financial aid annually. The University awards $10 million in institutional aid, such as scholarships, each year.

To learn more, visit fia.uncg.edu.


Employee Wellness events for October

October is Employee Wellness month, and Healthy UNCG is hosting a variety of events this month and throughout the semester to support the physical and mental health of all UNCG employees. Most are free.

Upcoming events include:

  • Gentle Flow on the Lawn: Every Tuesday in October, join a gentle flow yoga class in Foust Park, surrounded by nature. Every Tuesday, 12:15-12:45 p.m., Foust Park.
  • Oct. 9 & Oct. 16: Flu Clinic: Flu shots are available to all covered employees of the state health plan for free. Bring your insurance card and get immunized for the flu season! Oct. 9, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m., EUC Alexander Room and Oct. 16, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Campus Supply, Oakland Street.
  • Oct. 19: Wonder Woman College Run: Run or walk in the first DC Wonder Woman College Run Series, with entertainment, swag, and a post-run party. Oct. 19, 9 a.m., 1200 West Gate City Blvd. Entry is $30 for UNCG affiliates. See more at ______.
  • Oct. 23: Healthy Relationships at Work: Learn skills to help facilitate healthy communication and collaboration in the workplace environment with the Healthy Relationships Initiative. Oct. 23, 1-2 p.m., Shaw Residence Hall, Tillman Smart Room.
  • Oct. 25: Virtual Grocery Store Your: Take a virtual walk through a grocery store with a dietitian to better understand what to look for when shopping, how read labels, and more skills that will help make healthy choices at the grocery store. Oct. 25, noon-1 p.m, EUC Dogwood Room.

For more information, disability accommodations, and future events, see the HealthyUNCG website here.

The virtual reality in Spielberg’s “Ready Player One”

Come contemplate a real-world illustration of the virtual reality technology depicted in Stephen Spielberg’s 2018 film “Ready Player One.”

Friday, Oct. 11, Dr. David P. Parisi, Associate Professor of Emerging Media at the College of Charleston, will present “Feeling the Game: Creating Haptic Sensations for Video Games & Virtual Reality.” The presentation will discuss the way touch can play into modern technology, and how it can be used in a variety of academic and social contexts.

The presentation will be at noon in the Digital Media Commons, located in the lower level of Jackson Library.

“This talk shows how video games have layered touch sensations onto images and sounds, as a way of increasing player engagement with and immersion in games. This use of touch to convey meaning and emotion marks video games off as distinct from media – like film and television – that operate only through the eyes and ears,” Parisi explains.

“I will provide examples of touch feedback interfaces drawn from the past, present, and future of video games, including a detailed look at the next-generation Teslasuit – a haptic bodysuit that uses electricity to simulate the feel of virtual objects, and gives a real-world illustration of the virtual reality technology depicted in Stephen Spielberg’s 2018 film ‘Ready Player One.'”

It is sponsored by the Digital Media Commons, University Libraries, and the departments of Anthropology, Communications, Computer Science, Media Studies and Religious Studies.

Dr. Patricia Reggio

Dr. Patricia Reggio (Chemistry and Biochemistry) received new funding from Temple University for the project “Molecular Determinants for GPR55 Activity.”

Dr. Terri Shelton

Dr. Terri Shelton (Office of Research and Engagement / The Center for Youth, Family, and Community Partnerships) received new funding from the Guilford County Partnership for Children for the project “Bringing Out the Best: Supporting Young Children’s Social and Emotional Development.”

By 2019, it is estimated that there will be over 32,000 children birth through 5 years of age in Guilford County. Conservatively, at least 20% or 6,400 will be at increased risk for social emotional/mental health challenges that if not addressed, will negatively impact not only their future mental health but their cognitive development, health, kindergarten readiness, and future success.

With nearly half of the county’s children being born into poverty, the number at risk could easily be higher. However, research shows that well timed intervention, supporting their families and childcare/ teachers/providers to implement evidence-based strategies, can reduce or ameliorate this risk.

Bringing Out the Best (BOB ) through its team of seasoned early-care and education specialists who have delivered such services for 10+ years, along with consultation from adjunct therapists, will enhance the social emotional development of young children in Guilford County by: 1) building and improving child care/preschool provider competences to identify, prevent, and address mental health challenges; 2) increasing family/caregiver capacity to support their children’s social emotional development and reduce behavioral challenges; and 3) serving as preschool part of the Ready/Ready collaborative effort to build a connected, innovative system of care with and for Guilford County’s youngest children and their families.

This will be accomplished by: training 400 childcare providers/preschool teachers in 75 centers/schools in early childhood competencies and evidence-based practice through individualized technical assistance as well as regular workshops; supporting directors/administrators to support these practices; screening and referring to needed services; building caregivers’ skills through in-home therapy,  peer support, parenting workshops, and parent mentoring/advocacy; providing mental health consultation as needed; and on-site individualized intervention for 150 children (including capacity to serve Latino/immigrant children) and their families; and coordinating with other community services for vulnerable children.

Project activities will result in infants and preschoolers with behavioral challenges maintaining their child care/preschool placement; families and child care providers/teachers/directors developing new skills to support children’s social-emotional development; and earlier screening and intervention reducing behavioral challenges and increasing social emotional competencies.

The impact of this project will be to intervene early to support children who will be ready for school and ready for life, to play an important role in advancing the mission of the Guilford County Partnership for Children, and to play a unique role in Ready/Ready’s efforts to build a comprehensive and integrated early childhood system.

Dr. Terri Shelton is vice chancellor of research and engagement and holds the Carol Jenkins Mattocks Distinguished Professorship.


Dr. Christina O’Connor

Dr. Christina O’Connor (Dean’s Office – School of Education) received new funding from the US Department of Education for the project “Piedmont Teacher Residency Partnership (PTRP).” Dr. Beverly Faircloth, Dr. Sara Heredia, Dr. Scott Howerton, Dr. Marcia Rock, Dr. Amy Vetter, and Dr. Holt Wilson are co-principal investigators on the project.

In response to the growing need to support student development of computational literacy, the Piedmont Teacher Residency Partnership (PTRP) addresses the Absolute Priority of establishing an effective teaching residency program for high-need subjects and areas with two rural school districts – Rockingham County Schools and Surry County Schools.

The PTRP also addresses Competitive Preference Priority 1 by developing and implementing an innovative teacher residency model designed to improve educational outcomes in computer science. Within the proposed teacher residency model, candidates, supported by university and school-based faculty, integrate computational content and practices into K-12 instruction to ensure that all students develop the knowledge and skills to engage with and design innovative technologies.

The project will utilize a framework for computational literacy that focuses on the integration of computational practices in STEM classrooms and design frameworks through making across content areas. The project focuses on both computation and design so that all students have an opportunity to apply their developing understanding of computation to long-term design projects worked on in school-based Makerspaces.

Dr. Eric Josephs

Dr. Eric Josephs (Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering) received new funding from the NIH National Institute of General Medical Sciences for the project Complex Mechanisms of Mutation and Mutation Avoidance in Living Cells.”

All organisms strive to maintain genomic fidelity in the face of agents that can damage their genetic material and the possibility that errors that can occur whenever their DNA is replicated. The ultimate goals of this research are to understand (i) how the mechanisms and higher-order coordination of DNA repair processes are governed by molecular, genetic, and epigenetic factors in vivo; (ii) how these factors affect diverse repair processes in different contexts to affect human health; and (iii) how clinically-important modulators of DNA repair activities and of repair-related toxicity can be leveraged as novel therapeutics.

Josephs has focused primarily on DNA mismatch repair (MMR) pathways, the pathways responsible for correcting errors that occur during DNA replication. As a primary mechanism of DNA damage repair in nearly all organisms, MMR plays a central role in many diverse processes that affect human health, from the emergence of drug resistance in infectious pathogens and cancers to the onset and treatment of somatic genetic diseases.

The researchers developed a novel assay to deconstruct the mechanisms of MMR in vivo that uses chemically-modified oligonucleotide probes to insert targeted DNA ‘mismatches’ directly into the genome of living cells. This assay, which they call by the acronym ‘SPORE,’ can therefore be used to directly interrogate replication-coupled repair processes like MMR quantitatively in a strand-, orientation-, and lesion-specific manner—something otherwise nearly impossible to achieve. Using the SPORE assay as a uniquely powerful baseline of approach, in combination with next-generation biotechnologies like CRISPR and innovative experimental design, the researchers will seek to answer the following questions:

  • How do different molecular, genetic, and epigenetic factors affect the higher-order architecture (components and interactions), coordination, dynamics of canonical and non-canonical MMR mechanisms?
  • How do these factors affect repair-associated toxicities? Are different molecular lesions recognized by MMR repaired according to different mechanisms with different toxicities?
  • Do the unique repair mechanisms in pathogenic organisms represent a novel source of antimicrobial targets?
  • How do viral factors and environmental mutagens modulate MMR and MMR-related toxicities and by what mechanism?
  • What is their role in hypermutation and emergence of drug resistance?
  • What governs the tradeoff between mutagenic and anti-mutagenic roles of MMR in TNR diseases?
  • What occurs during collisions between DNA repair mechanisms with each other or other processes on DNA?
  • What is the nature and origin of catastrophic mutational events?
  • These questions are each complex in their own right and have remained difficult to answer using traditional techniques, but the SPORE assay provides a direct way to address each of them. The likely outcomes of my laboratory’s approach during the R35 award will be numerous breakthroughs in our understanding of genomic stability and how it can be manipulated in living cells; with a long-term impact being a sea-change in the ability to probe and exploit DNA damage repair mechanisms to treat disease.

Research that is reported in this post is supported by the National Institute Of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R35GM133483. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Jared McGuirt

Dr. Jared McGuirt (Nutrition) received a continuation of funding from the DHHS Health Resources and Service Administration for the project “Designing and testing a community context driven evidence-based virtual avatar coaching approach to improve access to health promotion programs for low-income children and families.” Dr. Omari Dyson and Dr. Christopher Rhea are co-principal investigators on the project.

Community health promotion programs, including the Expanded Foods and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP), are important sources of obesity prevention programming for low-income children. Unfortunately, due to barriers including time, limited transportation, accessibility, and monetary resources, low-income and rural individuals who are most impacted by childhood obesity are often not able to access this type of programming.

Virtual peer coaching using avatars – an interactive educational experience that is more engaging than one-way videos – may be a way to reach low-income individuals and people living in rural areas with intriguing health promotion programs that may not have been previously available or accessible, and thus may help federal nutrition education programs save costs while also increasing reach.

Therefore, the researchers propose the design of a low-cost virtual reality avatar coaching approach accessible via internet to augment and increase access to existing evidence-based federal community health promotion programming. In this approach, the Avatar coach will present EFNEP curriculum in an interactive way so that participants can have an engaging educational experience – which may be missing from other approaches that seek to increase remote access to curriculum.

Researchers will design the program by observing the standard classroom experience and by speaking with child and parent participants, and examining existing curriculum and virtual experiences to help ideate and match the virtual experience with the curriculum. Researchers will then develop the prototype from the ideas generated. After development, they will conduct initial testing of the user experience and changes in knowledge in a small group of EFNEP youth participants.

Dr. Emily Janke

Dr. Emily Janke (Institute for Community and Economic Engagement) received a continuation of funding from Triad Health Network for the project “Advancing LEAP: Lifetime Eating & Physical Activity Practices.” Dr. Lauren Haldeman is co-principal investigator on the project.

LEAP is a collaboration among UNCG, Cone Health, and Guilford Health Department, with support from Guilford County Schools, Greensboro Parks and Recreation, and Ready for School Ready for Life. The purpose of the effort is to identify common goals and measures that existing program providers and residents can use to inform their health and wellness efforts. LEAP will bring together multiple stakeholders across the county to collectively determine these goals and measures through various meetings. This funding will provide administrative support to extend the efforts of the LEAP collaborative.

Dr. Zhenquan Jia

Dr. Zhenquan Jia (Biology) received a continuation of funding from Campbell University for the project “Activating Multiorgan Antioxidative Gene Network for Treating Sepsis.”

Despite more than three decades of extensive research, sepsis remains the chief cause of death in intensive care units. However, the exact pathophysiology of sepsis remains to be elucidated. It is thought that sepsis is the culmination of complex interactions between the infecting microorganisms and the host inflammatory cells, leading to dysregulated inflammation, multiple organ failure, and death.

Lipopolysaccharides (LPS), also known as lipoglycans and endotoxins, is a widely used model for studying sepsis. LPS endotoxemia is simple and reproducible proving a rapid tool for to study systemic inflammation mimicking the inflammatory storm in sepsis in the clinic. Substantial studies support a causal role of oxidative/inflammatory stress in the development and progression of multiple organ injuries in sepsis in both animals and humans.

The larger project is geared toward understanding the molecular basis and role of a series of endogenous Nrf2-regulated antioxidative/anti-inflammatory (AO/AI) genes in LPS-induced endotoxemia. This sub-award work from the Campbell University Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine will support this goal by analysis of total glutathione, and NADPH:quinone oxidoreductase 1, glutathione transferase, glutathione reductase, glutathione peroxidase and catalase by enzymatic activity, immunohistochemistry, Real-Time PCR techniques.

Dr. Diane Ryndak

Dr. Diane Ryndak (Specialized Education Services) received a continuation of funding from the US Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, for the project “Project LEAPS: Leadership in Extensive and Pervasive Support Needs.” Dr. Christie Cavanaugh and Dr. Kara Holden are co-principal investigators on the project.

The Doctoral Program in Special Education at UNCG has a history of (a) graduating scholars who procure and maintain employment in teacher preparation programs nationally, and (b) conducting OSEP projects to prepare high quality leaders. LEAPS builds on this history by collaborating with the North Carolina (NC) Department of Public Instruction, low-performing schools in NC, self-advocates and parents of students with disabilities, and national experts to prepare leaders in research and the preparation of teachers to meet the needs of high-need students with disabilities who are far below grade level; at risk of not graduating with a regular high school diploma on time; or not on track to being college- or career-ready by graduation.

Specifically, LEAPS will focus on competencies for conducting research and preparing teachers to work with students historically labeled as having significant intellectual disabilities, autism, severe, or multiple disabilities (i.e., extensive and pervasive support needs; EPSN), areas in which there has been a chronic critical shortage of qualified teachers nationally and in NC.

LEAPS will extend the existing doctoral program’s competencies for research, preservice teacher preparation, and service, and add competencies for evidence-based practices (EBP) to meet the needs of high-needs students with EPSN in low-performing schools. Scholars will learn competencies in inclusive practices, secondary and post-secondary education and transition, EBP and individualized supports (including assistive technology), advocacy, and academic and behavioral Multi-Tiered Systems of Support. This will be accomplished using technology during courses, when teaching, and in collaboration with schools, national experts, and other scholars nationally within the context of the existing doctoral program, additional 1-hour seminars related students with EPSN, authentic experiences with low-performing schools, and the use of resources and expertise of National Technical Assistance Projects. The intent is to improve outcomes for these students and their schools.

George Hancock

George Hancock (SERVE Center) received new funding from the U.S. Department of Education for the project “Region Center 6 at SERVE (RC6).”

The SERVE Center will operate the Region 6 Center at SERVE (RC6) to provide intensive, capacity building services to Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. They outline a Five-Year Plan in Section B Project Design in five areas (two of which include Competitive Preference Priorities 2 and 3). They propose “intensive” capacity building services to state education agencies (SEAs) and others to address four High-Leverage Problems:

  1. Statewide Systems of Support to Low-Performing Schools
  2. Support to Rural Schools
  3. Equitable Student Access to Effective Teachers and Principals (Competitive Priority 2)
  4. Positive School Climates through Student Supports and Family Engagement Interventions (Competitive Priority 3)

The fifth area in the Five-Year Plan is support for the National Center’s “targeted and universal services” to SEAs, REAs, LEAs, and schools.  

The intended clients in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina include: (1) schools and districts that have high percentages or numbers of students from low-income families; (2) LEAs and schools who are implementing comprehensive support and improvement (CSI) or targeted support and improvement (TSI) activities; and (3) rural schools and districts.

Hancock also received new funding from Dillard Academy Charter School for the project “Dillard Academy Charter School: Comprehensive Needs Assessment.”

This project is a systematic assessment of practices, processes, and structures within a school to assist school leadership and key stakeholders in determining needs, examining their nature and causes, and setting priorities for future actions. The assessment guides the development of a genuine school improvement plan that is grounded in data and provides a roadmap to future progress. Research supports the fact that schools who undertake a true comprehensive needs assessment make better decisions, resulting in improved outcomes relative to the achievement of their students.

The Assessment Process – An assessment team (2-3 team members) will visit the school, providing an opportunity for teachers, support staff, school improvement team members and other stakeholders to outline current perceptions relative to leadership, instruction, professional development, planning and operations, and family and community engagement.

Dr. Ayesha Boyce

Dr. Ayesha Boyce (Educational Research Methodology) received new funding from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Prime: National Science Foundation for the project “BD Hubs: Collaborative Proposal: Midwest: Midwest Big Data Hub: Building Communities to Harness the Data Revolution.”

Boyce will serve as the MBDH external evaluator and will obtain the necessary University IRB approval. She will use a Values-Engaged, Educative evaluation approach (VEE) (Boyce, 2017; Greene, DeStefano, Burgon, & Hall, 2006). The VEE approach, developed with NSF-EHR support, defines high-quality STEM educational programming as that which effectively incorporates cutting-edge scientific content, strong instructional pedagogy, and sensitivity to diversity and equity issues.

The evaluation team will utilize a mixed-methods strategy in which data from one type of method (quantitative or qualitative) is merged, connected, and/or embedded with data from another type of method. Mixed-methods evaluations provide richer data allow for better triangulation of data, and result in more nuanced evaluation results. This evaluation will provide formative data to guide program improvement and summative assessment of program quality and impact.

Public talk by Honorary Consul of Germany Oct. 2

Klaus Becker, honorary consul of Germany, will give a talk on cultural images of Germany, the value of Americans learning German, and business matters pertaining to the German-American relationship. The talk takes place Wednesday, Oct. 2, from 10 to 11 a.m. in Petty Building 136.

Each year, the German Information Center of the Embassy of the Republic of Germany in Washington, D.C., sponsors a “Campus Weeks” series at numerous U.S. universities and colleges. Participating schools organize a variety of events, guest speakers, symposia, and competitions that are centered on a yearly theme. The embassy has awarded the UNCG German Program with funding for the “Campus Weeks” series since 2012.

This fall’s theme of “Wunderbar Together” highlights how Germany and the U.S. are intertwined. Through the partnership with the German Embassy, the UNCG German program will focus on the significance of the transatlantic relationship, the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the anniversary of women’s suffrage in Germany and the U.S.

Other upcoming events include:

Monday, Nov. 4, at 7 p.m., MHRA 1214: Screening of the film “Balloon” (2018, Michael Bully Herbig), based on the true story of two families who attempted to escape East Germany by balloon in order to explore everyday life in East Germany and forms of resistance.

Friday, Nov. 22, from 10 to 10:50 a.m., SOEB 222: Former UNCG professor and artist Sheryl Oring will give a talk titled “Berlin Berlin: The City as Muse” on her art projects related to censorship and the Berlin Wall.

A poetry competition open to all UNCG students will allow students to share German poetry and their own original poetry at the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures “Poetry Jam” event on Nov. 6 as well as at a prize ceremony on Monday, Nov. 25 at 5 p.m.

For further information, visit https://llc.uncg.edu/german/ or contact Dr. Brooke Kreitinger at bdkreiti@uncg.edu.

Collaborative anti-abuse campaign launches

The Abuse is Never Okay Campaign is a collaboration between organizations across Guilford County focused on educating the community about abuse, promoting healthy relationships, and connecting victims to local resources and support. UNCG and the Healthy Relationship Initiative are primary collaborators.

The campaign launches Oct. 1 with the Greensboro Purple Tree Lighting, where Dr. Christine Murray will be the keynote speaker. There will be more events through October, including film viewings and panel discussions, and a number of events as part of the YWCA’s Week Without Violence. Beyond October, the campaign will continue to provide education about and support for sufferers of abuse in all its forms.

For more details and a full schedule, see www.neverokayguilford.org. The events are free and open to all.

Faculty/staff discount for home opener – plus other deals

2019 NIT game

The men’s basketball season is opening soon, and with it a great opportunity for discounted tickets. For $75 you can purchase the Spartan 4-Game Mini Plan. The plan gives you one ticket for the game against NC State, one ticket for a non-conference game of your choice, and two tickets for SoCon games of your choice. To buy tickets, see the website here.


Faculty/staff can purchase season tickets for a discount price of $109 (regularly $139). Learn more here.


Want $5 tickets, for one of the biggest games of the year? It’ll be the home opener, and faculty/staff can purchase tickets for themselves and guests for $5 each.

Coinciding with “Storm The Streets” for the UNC Greensboro men’s basketball home opener against North Carolina A&T on Tuesday, Nov. 5, UNCG Athletics has set a goal of 10,000 fans at the game, which would be a new program record for a home opener. The current attendance record for a home opener was set on Nov. 8, 2013 against High Point (5,989).

For faculty/staff tickets for the home opener – $5 dollars per ticket for employees and their guests – use the following:

And to get in the basketball spirit here in the unseasonably warm days of early fall, come to LeBauer Park this Saturday.  From 10 am to 6 pm, it’s “3 on 3 with the G” and a Fan Fest.

Questions about basketball tickets? Call Tyler Weedon, Director of Ticket Sales, at 336-334-3250 or email him at t_weedon@uncg.edu.

State Employees Combined Campaign is underway

Wade Maki (Philosophy) draws names at last year’s SECC raffle and breakfast. This event will be a featured part of this year’s campaign.

Do you have a favorite organization or cause that you would like to support? Do you want to support communities by giving back? The State Employees Combined Campaign (SECC) is underway, and Spartans are invited to donate to one or more of their preferred charities.

In the first week, the campaign has already raised $30,800. The goal is $175,000.

Team Coordinator volunteers will be the primary point of contact for their respective departments and areas on campus, and they add a personal touch to the giving process. Coordinators will provide information, forms and giving guides – and will organize special events or activities related to the campaign.

This giving season, which runs through Nov. 20, marks the 34th year of the official statewide SECC. Last year, UNC Greensboro tied for the highest participation rate in the UNC System and generously donated $173,396 to 316 out of the almost 900 participating non-profit organizations.

Many hundreds of charitable organizations in our region and state are supported by the SECC. You may choose one or more to support, if you’d like. You’ll find them here.

If you don’t see your favorite charity listed, please ask them to apply to become an SECC charity. Details can be found on the official State Employees Combined Campaign website (http://www.ncsecc.org).

To donate securely online, access the Giving Guide, or see the real-time “Campaign Progress Thermometer,” visit https://secc.uncg.edu.


Newsmakers: Lenstra, enrollment, Plant and Pollinator Center

Whether researchers with timely insights or students with outstanding stories, members of the UNCG community appear in print, web and broadcast media every day. Here is a sampling of UNCG-related stories in the news and media over the week:

  • Dr. Noah Lenstra was quoted in a Pew Trusts piece on the role of libraries in public health. The article.
  • This year’s record enrollment figures were highlighted in Yes! Weekly and the News & Record.
  • The opening of the Plant and Pollinator Center was featured on WXII 12 News. The piece
  • Dr. Roy Schwartzman was interviewed for a front page Sunday News and Record feature on Generation X, Millennials, and Baby Boomers – and the characteristics they bring to the workplace. The article.

Conversation on housing and economics Oct. 4

Housing Hangouts are an opportunity for the community to come together and informally discuss issues related to housing, economics, and public health.

The topic of the next hangout, on Oct. 4, will be “Housing and Economic Development.”

The discussion will center on the role homes play as economic commodities, and the correlation between housing and economic development. The speakers will be Nancy Hoffman, Greensboro City Council member; UNCG’s Dr. Kenneth Snowden; Dr. Bob Williams, professor of economics at Guilford College; and Jon Lowder of the Piedmont Triad Apartment Association.

The event will be from 12-2 p.m. in MHRA Room 1214.  Entry is free, but you must register here.

Housing Hangouts are held the first Friday of every month, from noon to 2 p.m. For more info on the upcoming hangouts, see the website.

‘Dynamic duo’ pianists Anderson and Roe will perform

two glamorous peopleNext Tuesday evening, Oct. 1, two “rock stars of the classical world,” as described the by Miami Herald, will perform at UNCG’s Tew Recital Hall, in one of the first University Concert and Lecture Series events for 2019-20.

Tickets are available for the piano duo, Greg Anderson and Elizabeth Joy Roe, known as “Anderson and Roe.”

They will also appear in a presentation on the day after the concert, Oct. 2 at 1 p.m. in the Music Building, which is open to the campus community.

Anderson and Roe have played with countless symphony orchestras, from Rochester to San Francisco, and have toured extensively overseas. Their Emmy-nominated, self-produced music videos have been viewed by millions on YouTube and at international film festivals. They have appeared on MTV’s Total Request Live, NPR’s All Things Considered and From the Top, APM’s Performance Today, PBS’ Texas Music Cafe, and BBC’s In Tune.

The performers met at The Juilliard School as freshmen before earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees. They performed the world premiere of their own composition, Star Wars Fantasy: Four Impressions for Two Pianos, in Juilliard’s “Cinema Serenades” concert at Alice Tully Hall. They directed the project “Life between the Keys,” which involved the entire Juilliard Piano Class of 2004.

To learn more about the concert and to purchase tickets, visit the event page here: https://vpa.uncg.edu/single-event/anderson-roe/

Aaron Allen’s work fuses music, environment, and culture; wins award

Dr. Aaron Allen, director of the Environment and Sustainability Program and associate professor of musicology at UNC Greensboro, recently received the 2018 Ellen Koskoff Edited Volume Prize from the Society for Ethnomusicology for the book “Current Directions in Ecomusicology: Music, Culture, and Nature.”

He shared the award with co-editor and co-author Dr. Kevin Dawe from the University of Kent.

Campus Weekly caught up with Dr. Allen to ask him about the book and his work.

What is ecomusicology?

When ecomusicologists are thinking about environmental concerns we ask: What role does music play in causing environmental problems or in activating people through activism and emotional responses? What role does music play in communicating a broader cultural understanding of environmental problems or connection between humans and nature? How does sound tell us about the state of environmental and cultural affairs? Typically, musicology and ethnomusicology are about the study of music and culture. The way that we’ve framed ecomusicology is as a triad: the study of music, culture, and nature.

So, a mixture of disciplines.

In environmental studies, we connect the environmental and the human. In music we’re constantly connecting the sonic and the human: sound, artistry, musicality, and pieces of music or poetry with human culture. For ecomusicology, we overlap those two approaches.

Is this a relatively new field of inquiry?

People have theorized for a long time about how sound comes from nature and how music impacts human emotion. It’s just taken awhile for music scholars to give it the name “ecomusicology.” And I think the reason for naming the field is that we have finally come to grips with this huge environmental crisis going on that’s about climate change and loss of biodiversity.

This book is the first sustained example of ecomusicology. So, it’s both new and old. It’s both something innovative and specific to right now, and also something completely mundane and obvious.

As co-editors of the book, do you share similar research interests?

I’m a music historian and a musicologist, trained in historical method broadly, working to understanding music and history. Kevin is trained as a music anthropologist and ethnomusicologist. We both have backgrounds in the natural sciences. We wanted to bridge the disciplinary divides in ethnomusicology and musicology by collaborating. We each offered something different. I offered more of an environmental studies and historical approach, and he offered more of an anthropological and biological sciences approach.

For the book project, how did the two of you decide who would be responsible for what?

Kevin was really good at organizing, recruiting, and communicating with the press. And I was really down in the text of each article. As a junior scholar, I learned a lot from collaborating with a more experienced colleague.

What was one of your biggest challenges as co-editors?

Organization! We really thought hard about how to order the chapters, and we had some sections sketched out at the outset based on different kinds of environmental problems. But ultimately, we found that approach was too narrow, so we zoomed out and thought about providing an orientation to a field as if the book were a map or a field guide. We’re trying to understand something – trying to get somewhere. So we went with four directions: ecological, fieldwork, critical, and textual. We called them current directions with the understanding that the field of ecomusicology will change – that the terrain will likely be quite different the next time someone sits down to do a book about ecomusicology.

How do you see ecomusicology fitting into all the recent conversation and activism around climate change?

The ecomusicology project is drawing attention to the cultural basis of environmental problems. Fundamentally, all environmental problems are cultural problems. The ecomusicological approach is one of many ways to teach people to draw unusual connections, and to activate people to consider human-environmental issues and work to change culture to solve and prevent these catastrophic problems.

We can’t rely on just the scientists and politicians and technocrats to figure it out and deploy the solutions. That’s not working! We need a lot of different ways to confront the environmental crisis. Ecomusicology is not the be-all, end-all. It’s not a panacea. It’s just one of many ways to approach it. And I think that it’s an interesting and creative way, and I think one of the foremost things that it can offer in the context of a liberal arts education is to make the unusual interdisciplinary connections that are necessary to move us from a liberal arts approach to an environmental liberal arts approach, which would help us change culture.

What about your research on the relationship between musical instruments and the environment?

That research is about how human musical cultures value particular types of musical instruments, and how the materials for those instruments can have both positive and negative impacts on the environment. What’s interesting is that those impacts come from the same aesthetic values. I’m not suggesting we must entirely change that aesthetic culture; but I do think we need to adjust according to our environmental and social impacts.

Any new developments coming up for the Department of Geography, Environment, and Sustainability?

The UNC System Board of Governors just approved last week our new BA in Environment & Sustainability!

Story by Matthew Bryant