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Biology Staff Member Honored for ‘Herculean’ Work

May 15, 2024

In 1981, her senior year, Summer Montgomery took a class unrelated to her major in radio, television and motion pictures: Botany 10. Now, 43 years later, Montgomery works as a student service specialist for UNC-Chapel Hill’s biology department in Coker Hall, just down the hall from where that class was held in Room 201.

The botany course’s instructor made a big impact on the young Tar Heel.

“His name was Dr. William Koch, but he made sure everyone called him Willy,” Montgomery said. “He taught me how to think outside of the box, expand my mind and realize that it’s never too late to learn something new.”

Montgomery credits much of her personal success to this advice. That success includes the 2024 Massey Award, which honors “unusual, meritorious or superior contributions” by University employees.


Hollings Scholarship Awarded to Three UNC-CH Undergraduate Researchers

May 3, 2024

Congratulations to Clara DiVincenzo, Lucy Henthorn, and Isabel Leonard, who were recently awarded the prestigious National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Ernest F. Hollings Scholarship!

Clara DiVincenzo is a sophomore at UNC majoring in Biology and Statistics and Analytics with a minor in Marine Sciences. At UNC, she is a Buckley Public Service Scholar, Biology Ambassador, Biology Peer Instructor, and Morehead-Cain Scholar. Her research in the Castillo Lab in the Department of Earth, Marine, and Environmental Sciences focuses on the molecular mechanisms of coral-algal symbioses.

Lucy Henthorn is currently a sophomore studying Environmental Science and Marine Science at UNC. Her current research focuses on the Thermal Limits of different North Atlantic fish species and how acclimation temperature affects their thermal limits, and she plans to write an Honors Thesis focused on predicting the migration and habitat ranges of these fish species based on current climate change models.

Isabel Leonard is currently a sophomore majoring in biology and minoring in marine science. As a part of her NOAA Hollings application, Isabel focused on an independent research project about Queen conch conservation in the Bahamas that she headed from high school and carried into her first year here at UNC. Her research centered around finding ways to prevent overfishing using citizen science by employing commercial fishermen in collecting data about conch sexual maturity. Isabel hopes to be able to continue research like this on a higher level during her internship at a NOAA facility next summer.


Recent Publications by Xiao Feng!

April 25, 2024

Dr. Feng and his lab have been featured in several recent publications. Below are a couple of highlights:

  • Rethinking ecological niches and geographic distributions in face of pervasive human influence in the Anthropocene, Biological Reviews – a theoretical work (termed HiBAM) about new considerations of ecological niche in the world of increasing human impacts.
  • Phenological similarity and distinctiveness facilitate plant invasions, Global Ecology and Biogeography – investigates how does the timing of flowering affect plant invasion success
  • Lillian Zwemer Recipient of the 2024 Out in STEM Inclusive Teaching Award!

    April 11, 2024

    This award recognizes a professor and TA from UNC’s STEM departments who have created an inclusive and celebratory environment for diversity. Honorees were chosen through majority nomination by their students.

    oSTEM (Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) empowers LGBTQ+ students in STEM to succeed personally, academically, and professionally. We hold social events to connect queer STEM students with one another, and we partner with graduate students in STEM Pride to provide one-on-one mentorship opportunities.

    Congratulations to our Spring 2024 Phi Beta Kappa Biology Initiates!

    April 4, 2024

    Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest and most honored college honorary society, inducted 298 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill students as new members. Less than 1% of all college students qualify for acceptance.

    The recent induction ceremony featured remarks by Provost J. Christopher Clemens and a keynote address by Michelle King, associate professor in the department of history.

    Past and present Phi Beta Kappa members from across the country include 17 American presidents, 42 U.S. Supreme Court Justices, more than 150 Nobel Laureates, and numerous artistic, intellectual, and political leaders.

    Phi Beta Kappa membership is open to undergraduates in the College of Arts & Sciences and professional degree programs who meet stringent eligibility requirements. A student who has completed 75 hours of course work in the liberal arts and sciences with a GPA of 3.85 or better (on a 4-point scale) is eligible for membership. Also eligible is any student who has completed 105 hours of course work in the liberal arts and sciences with a 3.75 GPA. Grades earned at other universities are not considered.

    Phi Beta Kappa has 293 chapters nationwide. UNC’s chapter, Alpha of North Carolina, was founded in 1904 and is the oldest of eight chapters in the state. Each year, Phi Beta Kappa chapters and alumni associations across the country raise and distribute more than $1 million in awards, scholarships and prizes benefiting high schools and college students.

    Phi Beta Kappa officers at Carolina for 2023-24 are students Isaiah Horton, president; Varad Gurude, vice president; and Sharidan Farris, recording secretary. James L. Leloudis, professor of history, Peter T. Grauer associate dean for Honors Carolina, and director of the James M. Johnston Center for Undergraduate Excellence, is chapter executive secretary and faculty advisor.

    Listed below are the names of all biology major and minor inductees. The names appear below in alphabetical order.