Skip to main content

Leo W. Parks Lectureship Expands In Spite of COVID-19

L.W. Parks Distinguished Lectureship in Microbiology Flyer from Septmeber 29, 2020. "A day in the life of a cyanobacterium: Integrating temporal and environmental information." Susan S. Golden, Ph.D., HHMI Professor, Center for Circadian Biolohgy, University of California, San Diego.

Due to the ongoing nature of the COVID-19 Pandemic the LW Parks Lectureship was postponed in March 2020. It was originally planned to have occurred on April 2nd, 2020. Student and faculty organizers for the LW Parks Lectureship put tremendous work into revamping how best to hold this special lecture series this Fall. They moved the lectureship to a completely online format which was held on Tuesday, September 29th, 2020.

The L.W. Parks Lectureship was expanded this year to feature a morning panel discussion focusing on diversity in science, two scientific e-Poster sessions, and the featured afternoon lecture “A Day in the Life of Cyanobacterium: Integrating Temporal and Environmental Information” delivered by Dr. Susan Golden an HHMI Professor and National Academy of Sciences member who is part of the Division of Biological Sciences at the University of California, San Diego.

The panel discussion Diversity and Identities in Science – personal narratives and improving the scientific process featured Drs. Susan Golden (UCSD), Jamila Simpson and Alex Graves (NCSU); Undergraduate student Osvaldo Rodriguez and Graduate student Dee Sanders (NCSU). The goal of this session was to engage panelists who are in different stages of their academic career to share personal experiences that influence the way they practice science, how identities and intersectionalities shape decisions, and how diversity in STEM improves the scientific process and community.


The e-poster sessions had twenty- two posters submitted equally by undergraduate and graduate students. During these poster sessions students were evaluated using a rubric to rank their poster presentations by a panel of student and faculty judges.  Monetary awards were provided to the top student poster presenters, although all posters were excellent and contributed to engaging poster sessions.  The award winners and monetary recipients were:

  • Undergraduate Students

Mallory Alman (Biol. Engineering, NC State Univ.); Rose Krebs (Microbiology, NC State Univ.); Sam Schwartz (Molecular Biology, Wake Forest Univ.)

  • Graduate Students

Nick Faulkner (Microbiology, NC State Univ.); Rani Raftopoulou (Microbiology, NC State Univ.); Priyanka Theophilus (Microbiol. & Immunol., East Carolina Univ.); Zhongtian Zhang (Microbiology, NC State Univ.)

All of the days events planned for the LW Parks Lectureship were well attended by students, staff, and faculty.

Many thanks to the student and faculty organizers Deanna Peperno and Rose Krebs (Biological Sciences-Microbiology students) and Drs. Alice Lee (COS BioSci ) and Eric Miller (CALS PMB).  The organizers wish to thank our panel participants, poster judges, and our keynote speaker Dr. Susan Golden.

Program highlights and posters can be viewed at

The Leo W. Parks endowment for Microbiology was established in 2001 by generous contributions from alumni, family and friends of Professor Emeritus Leo Parks.  Dr. Parks was a former Department Head of Microbiology at NC State University and taught undergraduates and graduate students in the area of microbial physiology.  His research program focused on ergosterol biosynthesis in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae.  More information about Dr. Leo W. Parks and the endowed Lectureship can be found at  If you would like to support the Lectureship and its future expansion to enhance microbiology and microbiology students at NC State University, please contact Chris Wessel, CALS Advancement (919-515-7678 or via email at

Leave a Response

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required.