Monthly Archives: May 2011

Memorial Day at a historic cemetery in Durham

“I thought, ‘This symbolizes the legacy of the Jim Crow South.'”

— Dr. Phil Rubio, on the deteriorated condition of the historic Fitzgerald family cemetery in Durham in the mid-1990s.

Cemeteries are some of the most tangible manifestations of history our communities have.  Several years ago, Dr. Phil Rubio, now an A&T history professor, joined the family of civil rights advocate Pauli Murray and others in restoring the family’s historic cemetery in Durham.  With Murray’s life and work getting renewed attention,  The Durham Herald-Sun commemorates Monday’s Memorial Day event at the cemetery.

Public Health Social Work Leadership Summit

There’s still time to register for the second annual N.C. Public Health Social Work Leadership Summit: Advocacy and Action for Social Justice.  The event will focus on the role of public health social workers as advocates for policies, programs and disadvantaged populations.  It will be held Friday June 3 and Saturday June 4 in Chapel Hill.  Registration fee is $10.

For more details or to register, click here.

CNN reports on the importance and challenges of getting undergrads through to STEM degrees

“People who follow this issue understand the connection between a STEM workforce and national competitiveness. But that’s not enough. Universities and faculty have to understand this is a national priority.” 

— James Brown, executive director of the STEM Education Coalition, quoted on CNN

This isn’t exactly new news around here, but it is encouraging that it’s getting some visibility as a national issue.  CNN’s story is here.

Florida State University gives billionaire donor right to oversee hiring of faculty in econ program

From The St. Petersburg Times:

“A conservative billionaire who opposes government meddling in business has bought a rare commodity: the right to interfere in faculty hiring at a publicly funded university.

“A foundation bankrolled by Libertarian businessman Charles G. Koch has pledged $1.5 million for positions in Florida State University’s economics department. In return, his representatives get to screen and sign off on any hires for a new program promoting ‘political economy and free enterprise.'”

Click here for the full story.  Amazingly, the deal has been in place since 2008, but until now apparently no one has raised any questions about it.

Aggie doctoral student wins Italian award

Joseph Akyeampong, a Ph.D. student in industrial engineering, has been named one of eight winners of the Italian Machine Tool Technology Awards. The Italian Trade Commission says the program invites “students attending premier North American universities” to write a thesis on innovation and issues in industries related to mechanical engineering. The commission and the Politecnico University of Milan will host an award ceremony at Milan’s Museum of Science and Technology in July.  Winners receive a two-week trip to Italy to visit top Italian companies in the machine tool industry and take part in an advanced international engineering program at the Polytechnic of Milan.  Click here for details.

The recession and education in North Carolina

What: “NC Works: Employment and Education” is a look at the impact of the historic recession on the state’s diverse communities and a discussion about the challenges and opportunities of the shift to a “new normal” in North Carolina’s economy.

When: Tuesday, May 10, 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Where: Cable channels 53 and 58 in Greensboro and Guilford County.  For other areas, go to and click on “Where’s OPEN/net.” A live stream of the program will be available on the website (click on the OPEN/net TV icon in the left margin).

Details: The program will feature a discussion of the role that education will play in the North Carolina’s recovery and in the economic landscape that lies ahead. Views can join in by calling 1 888 228-6736 or sending questions or comments by mail to

Panelists: Leslie Boney, Associate Vice President for Economic Development and Engagement with the UNC System; Betty McGrath, Director of Labor Market Information with the Employment Security Commission; Sharon Morrissey, Chief Academic Officer for the N.C. Community College System; and Pat Phillips, Associate Dean with Davidson County Community College.

OPEN/net programs are produced by the N.C. Agency for Public Telecommunications.  They distributed live on N.C. cable networks.

Manuscript writing workshop on campus May 24

Researchers in all disciplines are invited to take part in a half-day workshop on manuscript writing.  Dr. Giselle Corbie-Smith, Associate Professor of Social Medicine and Medicine at UNC-CH, will lead the session. It’s sponsored by the NC TraCS Institute and Greensboro AHEC.

The workshop will cover manuscript development, critique, and submission. Participants will have an opportunity to have a manuscript they are currently working on critiqued and receive feedback. Registering for this workshop will entail submitting a manuscript-in-progress by Wednesday May 18 to Chanetta Washington at  Submitted manuscripts will reviewed by Community Engagement Core faculty and staff for the purpose of preparing for the workshop only.  Participants are also asked to indicate their discipline and areas of research.

You must receive confirmation of your registration to attend the workshop. If you have any difficulty accessing the registration site or have any questions, contact

Assessing the damage in Yankaskas case

The News & Observer wraps up the story of Dr. Bonnie Yankaskas of UNC-CH and the computer security breach that cost the epidemiologist her job and a significant amount of money.  It also put the future of her 15-year research project, the Carolina Mammography Registry, in doubt.

Funding opportunity anounced for pilot projects in minority health or health disparities research

News from the NC TraCS Institute at UNC-CH:

The Carolina Comprehensive NIMHD Research Center (Project EXPORT) has announced a call for pilot grant proposals contributing to the improvement of minority health and/or the elimination of health disparities. Two projects will be funded at a maximum of $75,000 each.  Pilot projects should be completed within 12 months and have the potential to lead to a larger federally or foundation funded award application. Eligible projects include basic, clinical, behavioral, social sciences, translational, and communications research as well as population-based studies. Research should target one or more of the following diseases or conditions that have been identified by the Project EXPORT African American Church Network as priority health concerns: cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, infant mortality, mental health, and obesity.

Proposals Due:  May 27, 2011, 5:00 p.m.

Request for proposals (PDF)

Description of church network (PDF)

NC TraCS Institute is the academic home of the NIH Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) at UNC-CH.  For more information about NC TraCS programs and services: 919 966-6022,,

Gateway meeting its minority contracting goal

Gateway University Research Park announced today that it is meeting the relatively high goal it set for the use of minority contractors in the construction of the building for the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering.  The project has achieved 27.6 percent minority participation in available contracts, compared to its goal of 25 percent and the state’s minimum requirement of 10 percent.  More details are available here from The Business Journal.