Monthly Archives: August 2011

Sickle cell awareness summit to be held at A&T

Poster for Sickle Cell Awareness Summit at N.C. A&T State University, Saturday, September 17, 2011

Click on the image to enlarge it.

Ramses tip of the week: Which browsers work

Advice from the UNC General Administration about using Ramses, the electronic proposal submission and database system:

We know that there are several browsers out there and that not everyone uses the same one.  However, when you get an error performing tasks such as Events or Reporting, please try one of the recommended browsers to see if that resolves the issue before creating a ticket.

  • Mac users – The preferred browser is Mozilla Firefox.
  • PC users – The preferred browser is Internet Explorer (IE).

While most features will work with no problem using browsers such as Chrome and Safari, there are things that may give an error.   Some of the  Java scripts are picky and work better with Firefox and IE.   All RAMSeS features have been tested to work without error using the current versions of Firefox and Internet Explorer.

Two Aggie undergrads make good impressions

You can say this about Aggie undergrads: We have some young scholars who can make very positive impressions.  Two students who have done so lately are Leah Marshall, a senior biological engineering major, and Jack Harris, a junior computer science major.

Marshall is a USDA 1890 Scholar and has interned with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in her home state of Virginia.  You can tell that her work there on water and waste management structures, among other areas, won her some fans with the agency — the NRCS is now featuring her on their website in an “Employee Spotlight” article. Marshall is considering grad school, but if she changes her mind, it looks like she won’t have any trouble finding a job.

Harris is generating some positive exposure for himself and the university on IBM’s “Destination Z” website, which promotes mainframe technology.  The profile of Harris relates how his experience with video games has grown into an enthusiasm for a career with mainframes.  There’s no shortage of people who think video games are a massive waste of time.  Don’t you love an Aggie who upsets conventional thinking?

Meet the next Vice Chancellor for Research

Three campus-wide forums with candidates for the position of Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development will be held this week and next:

  • Thursday August 25: Dr. Dhanonjoy Saha, Assistant Vice President for Research Administration and Operations, Carolinas Medical Center, 4 p.m. to  5 p.m., New General Education Building, Auditorium.
  • Friday, August 26: Dr. Celestine Ntuen, Interim Vice Chancellor for Research & Economic Development, N.C. A&T, 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., Proctor Hall, Room 160 (auditorium).
  • Wednesday, August 31: Dr. Tachung Yih, Associate Vice President for Research/Chief Research Officer, California State University, Long Beach, 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., Proctor Hall, Room 160 (auditorium).


This week’s ERC-Bioengineering seminar: Nanoparticles’ effects on human airway cells

TOPIC: In vitro Analysis of the Influence of Anthropogenic and Biogenic Nanomaterials on Human Airway Cells

SPEAKER: Christa Watson, PhD Candidate in Energy and Environmental Systems

WHEN & WHERE: Friday, 11 11:50 a.m., McNair Hall auditorium

THE DETAILS: Nanotoxicology is the study of the potential toxic effects of anthropogenic and biogenic nanostructures. The influence of nanostructures such as nanoparticles on the human airway has gained interest due to increased susceptibility of translocation into other regions of the body. Adverse effects such as oxidative stress and inflammation have been found after the inhalation of airborne nanoparticles in airway epithelial cells. For more details, click here.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Christa Young Watson earned her BS in Biology from N.C. A&T in 1999 and MS, magna cum laude, from A&T in 2004, also in Biology. She was a 2010-2011 Kannapolis Scholar and a 2011 American Thoracic Society Minority Trainee Travel Award recipient.  Watson is a graduate research fellow with the NSF Engineering Research Center for Revolutionizing Metallic Biomaterials and recently accepted a NIH Postdoctoral Training Grant at the Harvard School of Public Health beginning this fall.  She’ll focus on the implications of nanomaterial exposures on lung biology.

About that little earthquake we just had …

Did you feel that earthquake around 2 p.m.? The epicenter was in central Virginia; it registered 5.9 on the Richter scale.  Details are at  There’s also a form you can submit to report what you experienced.  The IRC trembled a bit, enough for everyone on the fourth floor to notice.

Aggie Alumni Entrepreneurship Conference

Save the date notice for Aggie Alumni Entrepreneurship Conference, Thursday, October 13, 2011

Click image to enlarge

Mathematics & African American Male Students: Noble explores a research path less taken

“The social realities of African American men are far from ordinary and difficulties are abundant. Consequently, their impediments, failures, adversities, setbacks, frustrations, and inequities are exaggerated when compared to women or men of another race or ethnicity. For a group that arguably faces the greatest challenges in education, research should be conducted, and made readily available, that offers practical and comprehensive solutions to defuse the negative perceptions of, what seems, a majority of this group’s members.”

Dr. Richard Noble of the Department of Mathematics is saying those words and taking his own advice in “Mathematics Self-Efficacy and African American Male Students: An Examination of Two Models of Success,” published in the Journal of African American Males in Education (Summer 2011, Volume 2, Issue 2).

Noble notes that there’s no shortage of documentation of the failures of young African American men, but far less on those who have success in academic settings (although the literature on that point is growing).  His article explores the personal stories of African American men who excelled in mathematics to understand the impact of their self-efficacy beliefs on their motivation and later academic achievement in math at the postsecondary level.

Conclusion: “General analyses of autobiographies and interviews revealed that enactive attainment and vicarious experience were influential sources for these African American men’s self-efficacy beliefs and were supported by family, friends, and peers.”

Going beyond that overall finding, Noble’s work finds vicarious experience appeared to be a stronger force with the men he studied, which supports some previous findings and may differ from others.

ERC gets another $4 million and five more years

The National Science Foundation has informed the Engineering Research Center that it will fully fund the ERC’s $4 million request for fiscal 2012.  On top of that, the agency’s rave review of the ERC’s first three years has resulted in the likely extension of the project for at least three years beyond the ERC’s original five-year horizon.

The Business Journal has all the details at the top of the front page of this week’s edition (available in print and to subscribers on the newspaper’s website).  A news release from the university also has the details.

NIH study finds bias against black researchers

From The New York Times:

“A research grant application from a black scientist to the federal National Institutes of Health is markedly less likely to win approval than one from a white scientist, a new study reported on Thursday.

“Even when the researchers made statistical adjustments to ensure they were comparing apples to apples — that is, scientists at similar institutions with similar academic track records — the disparity persisted. A black scientist was one-third less likely than a white counterpart to get a research project financed, the study found. …

“The findings will be published in Friday’s issue of the journal Science.

“At the N.I.H., which commissioned the study, top officials said they would follow up to figure out the causes of the disparity and take steps to fix it.”

The full article from the NYT website.