Monthly Archives: August 2011

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.

ERC and Bioengineering resume Friday seminars

The Engineering Research Center and the Bioengineering Program in the College of Engineering will continue to jointly host a seminar series this year.   The seminars are open to the entire community.  They are held on Fridays, usually from 11 a.m. to 11:50 a.m.

DATE: Friday, 08/19/2011
TIME: 11:00 a.m. – 11:50 a.m.
LOCATION: McNair Hall Auditorium (Room 240), College of Engineering
TOPIC: “Working (Prosthetic) Hand in (Advanced Material) Glove”

SPEAKERS: Dr. Leonard Uitenham, Chairman, Department of Chemical, Biological and Bioengineering; and Dr. Jag Sankar, University Distinguished Professor and ERC Director.

This seminar is to serve to welcome new students and staff to N.C. A&T and to provide an overview of the research and educational opportunities of the ERC and the BMEN programs.

UNC presidential inauguration at A&T on Oct. 6

If you’re making any plans for Thursday, October 6, you might want to avoid the Alumni-Foundation Event Center Corbett Sports Center.  UNC system President Tom Ross has chosen N.C. A&T for his inauguration.  Time will be 10 a.m.  Location to be announced; best guess is probably the event center (Harrison seems a little small for the occasion).

UPDATE — Although the details haven’t been announced, the directions given for parking indicate that Corbett will be the location. Regardless, traffic is probably going to be problematic across most of the campus at least.

Integrating nano into the life sciences

WHAT: “Integrating Nanotechnology into the Life Sciences: Lessons Learned,” a seminar by the R.J. Lee Group (Ms. Julianne Wolfe, Manager, Biotechnology & Pharmaceutical Services, and Dr. Kristin Bunker, Senior Scientist).

WHEN AND WHERE: Friday, August 19, 8:30 a..m to 10 a.m., N.C. State University, Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center, 850 Oval Drive, Room 123.

DETAILS: As the life sciences incorporate nanomaterials into their Quality by Design (QbD) plans, their characterization becomes a crucial element in identifying Critical Quality Attributes (CQAs). This seminar will present a series of targeted case studies providing insight gathered from numerous nanomaterials characterization projects. Case studies include quantum dot analysis, gold and silver nanoparticles and QA, POC diagnostic biosensors, and carbon nanotubes evaluations.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: A link to registration, directions and other information is available at the center’s website.  Information on the R.J. Lee Group is available at their website.  Registration is free.

MetaCore training Wednesday in Kannapolis

The UNCC Bioinformatics program will hold a demonstration and training session on MetaCore at the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis this Wednesday, August 17. From the announcement:

“MetaCore is a platform designed for the systems-level analysis of gene and protein expression, metabolite profiles, SAGE and other types of high-throughput molecular data. MetaCore is based on the largest manually curated database of protein interactions, metabolic reactions, multi-step pathways and their linkage to diseases, drugs, functional processes and other clinically and biologically relevant information. MetaCore enables users to upload and analyze their data, perform data-driven reconstruction of biological networks and pathways and interpret results in the framework of multiple clinical and biological ontologies.”

The session will be held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Bioinformatics Research Center in the DHMRI building on the research campus.  To sign up for the session or for more information, contact Phyllis Beaver,