HPU Students Present Innovative Research at Annual Symposium

Apr 22nd, 2022

HPU Students Present Innovative Research at Annual Symposium

High Point University students presented high-level research at the 10th annual Research and Creativity Symposium, known as High-PURCS, on April 12. This year’s event, hosted by HPU’s Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Works, was held for the first time inside the new Nido and Mariana Qubein Arena and Conference Center.


HIGH POINT, N.C., April 22, 2022 – High Point University students presented high-level research at the 10th annual Research and Creativity Symposium, known as High-PURCS, on April 12. The event, hosted by HPU’s Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Works, was held for the first time inside the new Nido and Mariana R. Qubein Arena and Conference Center.

High-PURCS is an opportunity for students to present their work on campus to fellow students, faculty, staff and the public in a variety of ways. The symposium allows students to share their professional development and provide a glimpse of tomorrow’s future leaders, artists, scientists, teachers and scholars.

“Through High-PURCS, students build their confidence, show off the skills they developed that are so important to employers like critical thinking, problem solving and communication, and share their enthusiasm for these projects that have been such an important part of their academic experience at HPU,” said Dr. Joanne Altman, director of HPU’s Undergraduate Research and Creative Works program.”

Students lined HPU’s Qubein Arena concourse with poster presentations that showcase the months of research and work they’ve compiled. They researched a multitude of topics, including biology, chemistry, exercise science, art and design, mathematical sciences, pharmacy, popular culture and media production, psychology, strategic communication and game design.

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Junior Garrett Alewine, pictured center, worked with Dr. Cale Fahrenholtz, assistant professor of basic pharmaceutical science, on Fahrenholtz’s research to develop a new treatment for neurofibromatosis type 1 that could leave healthy cells untouched.

Junior Garrett Alewine worked with Dr. Cale Fahrenholtz, assistant professor of basic pharmaceutical science, on Fahrenholtz’s research to develop a new treatment for neurofibromatosis type 1 that could leave healthy cells untouched.

“Being involved with Dr. Fahrenholtz’s research has been one of the most impactful things I have been a part of since being here at HPU,” said Alewine, a biology major from Salisbury, North Carolina. “Research has taught me various lab techniques and other lessons that you couldn’t get outside of a research environment.”

Senior Vivian McAllister has been involved in undergraduate research since her freshman year, starting with the Research Rookies program. The program, led by the Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Works, introduces freshman to the university’s culture of scholarly research as soon as they arrive. At the symposium, McAllister focused her research on routine work separation (RWS).

“Routine work separation refers to partners being constantly separated due to occupational demands,” said McAllister, a psychology major from High Point, North Carolina. “I was interested in seeing if the constant absence and presence of one partner was related to reports of relationship satisfaction and stress. For me, there are so many parallels between research and life. As I have become more knowledgeable and involved in research, I have also gained a deeper understanding of life.”

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High-PURCS is an opportunity for students to showcase their work on campus to fellow students, faculty, staff and the public in a variety of ways. Vivian McAllister, a senior psychology major, pictured left, explained her research on routine work separation to event attendees like Dr. David Bergen, the chair of the Department of Human Relations, pictured right.

Based on her research sampling from partners of truck drivers, she found evidence that RWS is related to relationship satisfaction and stress.

Students like Allison Tucker have strengthened their research through several years of focusing on the same topic. She has worked with Dr. Aurijit Sarkar, a pharmacy professor, since October 2019. Her research investigates the effects of glycosaminoglycans on Staphylococcus aereus growth and biofilm formation.

“These past years of research have provided me the invaluable opportunities to publish my work, present my work at five conferences and gain invaluable skills in and out of the lab,” said Tucker, a senior neuroscience major from Cross Lanes, West Virginia. “The guidance here at HPU and support from URCW has led me to a position at the National Institutes of Health in the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, where I will be working for a year before I pursue my Ph.D. in neuroscience.”

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Students researched topics in a multitude of fields, including biology, chemistry, exercise science, arts and design, mathematical sciences, pharmacy, popular culture and media production, psychology, strategic communication and game design. Game Design students set up four different demonstrations of original games they created by the Qubein Arena. Pictured from left to right are seniors Chris Lenhart, Hunter Holbrook, Julia Oliver, Ryan Mijumbi and CJ O’Brian.