RISE Brings New Workshops and Speakers to UNCG for 2023-24

Posted on August 30, 2023

Two students work in a UNCG chemistry lab.

The Fall 2023 semester at UNC Greensboro brings experts in various STEM fields and new resources for students and faculty to engage in STEM-related academics and research, courtesy of the RISE Network.

RISE, which stands for “Research and Instruction in STEM Education,” organizes networking events, guest speakers, scholarships, and other resources to link students with the resources they need to advance their knowledge in the STEM fields and keep faculty members updated on the grants and funding available to them for their own research.

A professor and graduate student look at a measuring stick in a field.
Dr. Praskievicz conducts field research along North Buffalo Creek.

This year, Dr. Sarah Praskievicz, professor of geography, environment, and sustainability, takes the reins as director of RISE. Dr. Jerry Walsh, professor of chemistry, served as interim last year and will remain on the board to help manage events such as Science Everywhere!

Expert speakers and mentors 

This year they intend for all events to be in-person as they were before the COVID-19 pandemic. During the 2022-23 academic year, they were able to bring back some events to campus.

“We encourage students to come to our speaker series,” says Praskievicz. “With those, we frequently have one or more interactive student-oriented events like luncheons where they can connect one-on-one with the speaker.”

A professor shows two UNCG students a display in his lab.
Dr. Jonathan Chekan’s chemistry lab.

Fall 2023 will feature two speakers, the first being Dr. Esther Ngumbi, assistant professor of entomology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, on October 20. She will speak on “Harnessing soil microbiome to nourish the soil and provide food security for a growing population.” This talk was originally going to be held during Spring 2023 but had to be rescheduled.

“There’s been a lot of excitement in the Department of Chemistry about her coming because of her high profile within that discipline,” says Praskievicz. “I’m excited as her work involves environmental applications.”

On November 3, UNCG will host Dr. Adriana Martinez, an associate professor in the Department of Geography and Geographic Information Sciences at the Southern University of Illinois Edwardsville. More speakers will be scheduled in the spring semester.

RISE is also excited to announce a new initiative known as PROGRESS. This multi-institutional grant program is sponsored by the National Science Foundation and brings together many universities to help female undergraduate students find mentors in earth and environmental science. UNCG will host a one-day workshop in October for all North Carolina students who are part of PROGRESS, to be announced in the coming weeks. There, they will meet representatives from companies in the private sector that are interested in mentoring.

Sharing a love of science everywhere 

Science Everywhere! is a UNCG-wide open house with interactive science activities for children, parents, and other members of the community. It is one of RISE’s biggest events each year with STEM departments across campus presenting activities. Praskievicz is eager to open peoples’ minds to the broad reach of scientific areas and all the ways they impact day-to-day life.

A UNCG student shows two children a lab experiment.
Science Everywhere!

“This Spring of 2023 the School of Nursing participated for the first time,” she says. “They demonstrated their training technology and provided instruction on lifesaving techniques. Their activities were some of the most popular.”

RISE will continue to work with students in its existing programs such as Science, Technology and Math Preparation Scholarships (STAMPS). This brings financial and community support to undergraduate students from low-income families who are majoring in biology, chemistry, computer science, geography, mathematical sciences, or physics and astronomy.

All events, updates, and resources can be found here.

Story by Janet Imrick, University Communications
Photography by Grant Evan Gilliard, David Lee Row, and Martin W. Kane, University Communications

A UNCG chemistry student in a lab coat holds up a sample and studies it.

Rise up as a leader in your favorite field.


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