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Marcus Sherman


Student Degree


Student Major

Biology with Biomedical Emphasis

Student Hometown

Lakewood, WA

“I am a Christian, married, non-traditional, veteran senior with stellar grades and countless research hours.” While this statement is completely true, it is not complete. These “bullets” for my graduate school applications do illustrate the caliber of student I am, but miss some of the unique traits that makes my undergraduate career vibrant in such a way that is only describable through the experience alone. I came from ten years of no math to trying to figure out what ‘x’ equaled. Sometimes I think the Army was easier. Truth be told though, I did not know who I was when I got here and, to some extent, still do not. However, I do know (without a shadow of a doubt) that I am a Brave. It was through that ‘bravery’ that I took on tutoring and heading up supplementary instruction classes. From there I took on a presidential role in the biology honor society: Beta Beta Beta. These small steps lead me right back to the first sentence…I am, indeed, a Christian first. And by God’s greatest mercy, I am married as well. My age and background from the military have been the single greatest strengths in my academic belt. To get here, I not only needed motivation to get on track, but also the discipline to keep me on track when I faltered. Faith, support, strength, motivation, discipline, and a couple of brain cells led me to UNCP, but it is at UNCP that I took all of those things and found my Battle Cry.

The Shermans•       Why did you choose to attend UNC Pembroke?
My time in the military was up and I had met a girl. It came time to make a decision. Either move back home or stay and find out what this girl had to offer, I chose the latter. That was my first best decision. My second was salvation and, third was UNCP. Life has not looked better since.
•       What do you like best about UNC Pembroke?
It would be unoriginal to say opportunity, but it is true. UNCP allowed me to define who I am and decide who I will be.

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HERP Project Goes Live on Pembroke Day

(October 2014)

Dr. Andrew Ash and corn snake
For the past three years, the HERP Project has provided school children in rural communities with hands-on opportunities to study frogs, salamanders, turtles, lizards, and snakes.  The project helps nurture an appreciation for these "herps" and for the science of herpetology.  Members of the HERP (Herpetology Education in Rural Places) Project took part in the Pembroke Day celebration on October 1st. 

HERP Project members Andrew Ash and Mary Ash shared information about these seldom seen animals, and they provided herp illustrations for children to color.  The big hit with their display, however, was a living corn snake.  Colorful corn snakes are among the most popular snakes to have as pets, in part because of their gentle dispositions.  Children who visited the HERP Project display learned quickly that corn snakes can be handled safely.  Children lined up to see and touch the snake. In total, the display was visited by nine groups of children from two different Head Start programs, by one group of sixth graders, and by several adults.

Children See Corn Snake Children See Corn Snake Children See Corn Snake

The HERP Project is funded by the National Science Foundation and is spearheaded by a multidisciplinary team from three North Carolina university campuses: The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, and Elon University. Dr. Ash is one of the team's Co-Principal Investigators.  Both he and Mary Ash are professors in UNC Pembroke's Department of Biology.

Child holding a corn snake

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COMPASS Program Overview. Presented by Dr. Maria S. Santisteban to the COMPASS scholars on August 15, 2014.

Career Center presentation "Internship 101: How to get your foot in the door" (9/22/14) by Amber Lennon (UNCP career center). 

Videocast "Interviewing Basics" (watched on 9/29/14). Presentation by Bill Higgings giving at the NIH Graduate and Professional School Fair on July 20, 2012. 

Videocast "Advice from the trenches: Getting to Professional School". Panel presentation and discussion giving at the NIH Graduate and Professional School Fair on June 30, 2009. 

Environmental Science Student, Layla Locklear, Joins Historic Climate March

Layla Lockear Joins Historic Climate March (September 2014)People's Climate March

Thousands of people gathered in New York City last September to demand global action to address global climate change.  Journalist and activist Bill McKibben and his environmental organization were responsible for launching the People's Climate March, which was endorsed by hundreds of organizations, including school, community and environmental groups, as well as by indigenous peoples.  The march was the largest of its kind in history, drawing 300,000-400,000 participants from across the nation.  Moreover, the New York march was mirrored by similar marches in 162 nations around the world.  The September 21st date of the march was strategically set two days before leaders from around the world were to gather for the United Nations Climate Summit.  Among the throngs of people who gathered for the People's Climate March, was UNC Pembroke's Layla Locklear.  Passionate about the environment, Layla is earning a bachelor's degree in Environmental Science and is a senior in the Department of Biology. 

Layla Locklear in People's Climate March

Layla is especially interested in water issues, which she values as a vital to all creation.  Outside the classroom, Layla is an environmentalist who both educates and raises awareness about environmental issues for people in her communities.  Layla's outstanding community service was recognized by way of two awards when she was yet a sophomore.  She received the 2011 Community Impact Award from the UNC Pembroke Office for Community & Civic Engagement.  Even more noteworthy, she received the distinguished “Woman to Watch” National American Indian Women Award.  This award was given in September 2011, during the Conference for American Indian Women of Proud Nations.  After completing her bachelor's degree, she plans to attend graduate school in Environmental Science, with emphasis on Native American tribes and water issues.  Layla Locklear is indeed a "woman to watch."

Click here to view a Youtube video of Layla singing during the climate march.

Layla is wearing a blue skirt, holding a round drum, and is standing near the bottom center in each photograph above.

April Whittemore Locklear contributed to portions of this article.

Photographs are courtesy of Sarah Little Redfeather Kalmanson

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Dr. Hagevik’s Award-Winning Article Helps School Children “Get Connected” to the Outdoor Classroom

Dr. Hagevik’s Article, which Helps School Children “Get Connected” to the Outdoor Classroom, Wins a National Award and Recognition (September 2014)

Dr. Rita Hagevik and her team of collaborators found a way that helps school children discover the natural world of their schoolyard utilizing new technologies. Their Cover page of article "Get Connected"article was recently published in the March 2013 issue of Science and Children, a peer-reviewed journal of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA). Published under the title “Get Connected,” the article was recently awarded the REVERE Award (Recognizing Valuable Educational Resources across all ages, in all media, for all educational settings) by the Association of American Publishers (AAP). Dr. Hagevik and her team were notified in the spring that the article “Get Connected” was a finalist for the award, and they were very excited when notified this fall that their article had been chosen for the award.

The REVERE Award identifies and honors excellence in educational materials. The main objective of the award is to help teachers, parents, and the educational community identify the most effective resources for teaching and learning. No other competition has had the longevity and success of the REVERE Awards, and other awards cannot match the prestige of winning a REVERE Award. For more information see: https://review.wizehive.com/voting/aapgallery/22724 .

In “Get Connected,” the authors describe how a group of fifth graders in Tennessee observed and documented the plants and animals in their schoolyard.  Field guides, nature journals, and digital technologies were used in the learning process.  The students read about and discussed famous naturalists while learning to create their own nature journals. Google Earth was used to map their results using satellite images of their schoolyard. Students used nature journals to document their thoughts and observations, and they used smartphones to record GPS locations and to take photographs of the surroundings.  Returning indoors, the students pursued additional studies using field guides and digital maps. The students were able to analyze patterns and draw conclusions about what they had observed on the schoolyard by using the satellite imagery and data they had collected themselves!

Dr. Hagevik’s collaborators (and co-authors) involved in this project were Jessica Horton and Bennett Adkinson (both of whom were doctoral candidates at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee, during the project) and Jilynn Parmly, a fifth-grade teacher at Brickey-McCloud Elementary in Powell, Tennessee.  Dr. Hagevik is the Director of Graduate Studies in Science Education at UNC Pembroke. Dr. Horton is currently a fifth grade teacher at Summit Country Day School and adjunct faculty at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. Dr. Adkinson is teaching high school science in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Rita Hagevik

Dr. Rita Hagevik in an outdoor classroom

To learn more about the graduate program in science education at UNC Pembroke, click here.

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Summer Research is Showcased during RISE Poster Session (August 2014)

Justin Branch Catheryn Wilson

Several of the University's undergraduate students had rewarding summers engaged in scientific research.  On Friday, 29 August 2014, their research was showcased during the End-of-Summer Student Research Presentation, sponsored by the Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) Program. Fourteen students presented research posters during this annual event, which ran from 3:00-5:00 PM on the first floor lobby of the Oxendine Science Building. 

Donna Porter Zachary Lunn Caleb Stubbs

Christopher Long Carlisha Hall Sarah Ruiz

Several research mentors were on hand, and members of the University community dropped by to chat with students about their work. A wide range of topics in the STEM disciplines were showcased, including genomics, genetics, chemistry, mathematics, physics, ecology, reproductive biology, microbiology, and physiology.  Research projects took place on campus and in the surrounding counties, and as far away as Alaska and California.  Scott Bigelow of University Communications snapped photos and interviewed select students for a University Newswire article.  For a complete list of poster titles and authors, click Word or PDF.  

Samuel MarshallZaporia Swift and Aaron Byrd Marcus Sherman

Robert Poage and Christopher Long John Roe and Catheryn Wilson Gareth Hoffmann

The RISE program is designed to prepare students for research in the biomedical and behavioral sciences, and to enhance the environment for scientific research at UNC Pembroke.  The RISE program provides funding for student research and for related activities, including conference presentations.

Ben Bahr and Caleb Stubbs Scott Bigelow and Zachary Lunn student posters

The RISE program is funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health. Students who are interested in joining the program should contact Dr. Robert Poage (Program Director) or Prof. Sailaja Vallabha (Co-Program Director). 

Pictured from left to right in the photograph (below right) are Prof. Sailaja Vallabha (RISE), Dr. Ryan Anderson (Interim Director of the Pembroke Undergraduate Research and Creativity Center), Dr. Robert Poage (RISE), and Dr. Maria Santisteban (Principal Investigator of the COMPASS Scholarship Program).

RISE poster attendees RISE, PURC, and Compass directors

Joanna Cole and Mark Canada

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