Monthly Archives: May 2012

N.C. A&T, UNCG programs working together on community-based mental health project

Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust logoGuilford County’s growing immigrant community is one of the county’s most underserved populations for mental health services.  The correlation between immigrant status and depression, anxiety, and substance abuse makes such services a critical need.

Beginning this fall, one largely immigrant neighborhood will become the site of a new community-based mental health care provider through a project led by North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.  The project will involve the departments of social work at N.C. A&T and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, the Center for New North Carolinians (CNNC) at UNCG, and the joint A&T-UNCG master’s degree program in social work.

The project will focus on the Oakwood Forest community, off U.S. 29 north of Greensboro.  The neighborhood has about 480 households and 2,400 residents. Eighty percent are of Mexican descent with limited English-language ability.  The program will be funded for its first three years by a $447,000 grant from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable
Trust of Winston-Salem.

Most of Oakwood Forest’s households are characterized as working poor with temporary jobs in construction, restaurants, and other service industries.  In general across the nation, the Latino/Hispanic population is among those with the highest poverty rate and lowest rate of health insurance.

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Joint A&T-NCSU sustainable local food initiative named a finalist for national engagement award

Logo for Center for Environmental Farming SystemsNorth Carolina A&T and N.C. State University have been named as finalists for a national community engagement award thanks to a joint project of the universities’ Center for Environmental Farming Systems.

The C. Peter Magrath University Community Engagement Award is presented annually by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. A&T and N.C. State were both nominated for “Building a Sustainable Local Food Economy in North Carolina through Partnership and Engagement.” The two universities and the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences, through the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS), entered a brewing crisis between agricultural and environmental groups and found positive ways to tackle emerging environmental issues. The program led to the creation of NC Choices, which promotes the advancement of local, niche and pasture-based meat supply chains.  The overall program is jointly headed by Dr. John O’Sullivan, farm management specialist with the N.C. A&T Cooperative Extension Service, and Nancy Creamer, professor of horticultural sciences at N.C. State University.

CEFS was created in 1994 by A&T, N.C. State University, and the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services at the Cherry Farm facility near Goldsboro.  The center works with state and federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, farmers, and residents to provide agricultural research, extension, and education.

As finalists, each institution will receive a cash prize of $6,000 as regional award winners and move on to compete for the national award during the National Outreach Scholarship Conference at the University of Alabama Sept. 30 through Oct 2.  The national winner will be announced at the APLU Annual Meeting, Nov. 11-13, in Denver, Colorado.

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Aug. workshop on teaching ethical dimensions of coupled natural and human systems

National Science Foundation logoFaculty members from North Carolina A&T and Penn State will conduct a two-day workshop for A&T faculty, post-docs, and doctoral students in the sciences and engineering who are interested in integrating the ethical dimensions of coupled natural and human systems into their classes.

The “Ethical Dimensions of Coupled Natural and Human Systems Research” workshop will be held on campus August 13-14. Location and times will be announced soon. Details on the event are here. Funding is provided by the National Science Foundation.

The workshop is designed to improve pedagogical methods and capacity-building strategies.  Researchers will learn how to incorporate research ethics content into existing curriculum and will acquire the ability to develop content tailored to their area of expertise.

A&T faculty members sponsoring the workshop are Dr. Keith Schimmel, chairman of the Department of Energy and Environmental Systems (EES); Dr. Luba Kurkalova, Department of Economics and EES; and Dr. Yengeniy Rastigeyev, Department of Mathematics and EES.

Contact Schimmel,, 285-2329, by July 15 to register or for more information. You must reserve a spot to attend.  There is no charge for the workshop.  It is open only to N.C. A&T researchers.

New research tool: A ‘global heat map’ for NC

Screenshot of Global Heat Map of North Carolina

Screenshot of Global Heat Map of North Carolina

The UNC System’s Center for International Understanding is unveiling a new tool today, the North Carolina Global Heat Map, that could benefit anyone doing research on North Carolina’s economy and demographics

The center and SAS have put together a map of the state designed to be a single data source for education, business and demographic information. It ranks every county on 52 measures of population, education, imports and exports, and other criteria. It   A detailed description is found here, courtesy of WRALtechwire.

Guilford County, for example, ranks third in population and third in most demographic measures. It ranks first in K-12 enrollment in Chinese language classes, but only 14th in percentage of K-12 students enrolled in foreign language classes.  Guilford is a net exporter by a considerable margin, $3.2 billion annually compared to $2.2 in imports.

The map was developed by the center and SAS.  It’s being shown for the first time today at the SAS corporate headquarters in Cary.

JSNN building receives excellence award

JSNN building

Joint School building on the south campus of the Gateway University Research Park.

Congratulations to the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering — its brand-new building has been honored with the Star Award as 2012’s most outstanding new construction project in North Carolina.

The award is presented annually by the Construction Professionals Network of North Carolina.  The JSNN building won in the over $20 million category.  The other category, under $20 million, also was won by a Greensboro project, the International Civil Rights Center and Museum.

Projects are selected on their merits and challenges.  Criteria include the project’s outcome, overall project management, quality management, cost management, schedule management, project complexity, and innovation and creativity.

Zhan selected for NIH early-career program

Dr. Justin Zhan


The National Institutes of Health have selected Dr. Justin Zhan to participate in the Early Career Reviewer program of the Center for Scientific Review.  Zhan is an associate professor of computer science at N.C. A&T.

The center evaluates NIH research grant applications through peer review groups.  The Early Career Reviewer program provides review experience to qualified scientists who haven’t previously had the opportunity to participate.  This experience also benefits researchers in developing grant applications for their own research.

The program was launched last year.  Background on the program and information on how researchers can apply are available at the program’s website.

Zhan’s research interests include information assurance and cyber security, social computing and social behavior modeling, and biomedical computing. He is the director of the iLab in the Department of Computer Science, which facilitates problem-driven interdisciplinary research on human-natural systems.

He has previously been a faculty member at Carnegie Mellon University and the National Center for the Protection of Financial Infrastructure at South Dakota State University. He is editor-in-chief of two scholarly journals, the International Journal of Privacy, Security and Integrity, and the International Journal of Social Computing and Cyber-Physical Systems.

The NIH peer review process is designed to ensure that grant applications are evaluated through a process that is fair, equitable, timely, and free of bias. A two-level peer review system is mandated by federal law.  Initial reviews are conducted primarily by non-federal scientists with expertise in relevant scientific disciplines and current research. The second level of review is performed by the national advisory councils or boards of NIH institutes and centers.

Two Guilford teachers win research fellowships

Two Guilford County high school teachers have been awarded Kenan Fellowships to spend 18 months working with researchers on an aviation project at N.C. A&T.

Science teachers April King of the Middle College at N.C. A&T and Kathleen Melious of Andrews High School will be mentored by Dr. John Kizito on their project, “Designing Safe Aircraft.”  He is a professor of mechanical engineering.

The teachers will be immersed in the science, technology, engineering and math of the project and develop lesson plans around them.  They “will follow the development of an aviation project from conceptual design through implementation, testing and reporting, and will create relevant lessons that motivate the next generation of rocket scientists in North Carolina,” the Kenan program says.

The Kenan Fellows Program for Curriculum and Leadership Development is a competitive fellowship offered to K-12 public school teachers in North Carolina. Its mission is to enhance curriculum relevance for students; engage teachers, businesses, and universities through professional collaboration; and promote growth opportunities for teachers.  It is a program of the Kenan Institute at North Carolina State University.

The fellowships for Ms. King and Ms. Melious are sponsored by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.  A total of four teachers from Guilford County and 44 from around the state were selected for the 2013 program.

Drug discovery group, genome browser webinar, grant-writing tips and STEM conference deadline

Triad Drug Discovery Discussion Group at A&T, May 17: The group’s next meeting will be held at N.C. A&T, Thursday, May 17, 6:30 p.m. It will be joint meeting with Central NC ACS.  Topic: Ethics in Scientific Practice. Speaker: Dr. Daniel Vallero of the EPA, an environmental engineer who conducts research in chemical fate and transport of pollutants, especially those that are persistent and accumulate in the food chain. The meeting will be held in the New Science Building.

Genome browser webinar, May 17: The UCSC Bioinformatics Group will hold two free webinars on the UCSC Genome Browser. The webinars will be conducted by OpenHelix, which provides training on free, publicly accessible bioinformatics and genomics resources. The 75-minute webinar will cover the topics needed to effectively use the browser. Thursday, May 17, 1 p.m. ET. Details here.

Grant writing webinar, May 24:Creating Successful Research Proposals: Tips from the Trenches,” a short, free presentation followed by Q&A with Celia Elliott, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. How to get started writing a proposal, strategies that will increase your chances for success, common mistakes that kill proposals, and other topics.  Thursday, May 24, 2 p.m.-3 p.m. ET. Part of the ACS Webinar series.

Abstract deadline, STEM conference, May 31: Bridging the Gap: Uniting K–16 STEM Education, October 23-24 in Raleigh, will bring together education, industry, government and informal science groups to strengthen K–12 and college STEM education throughout North Carolina. Presented by the N.C. Association for Biomedical Research.

A&T, Shanghai University sign agreement

Shanghai University delegtation tours ERC at NC A&T

N.C. A&T research scientist Zhigang Xu (center) answers questions from the visiting group from Shanghai University on a tour of the NSF Engineering Research Center.

A delegation from Shanghai University of Engineering Science visited N.C. A&T today to sign a broad memorandum of understanding on collaboration in research and education.  The group was led by Vice President Xincan Tian and Sihao Chen, Director of the Scientific Research Office at the university.

While on campus, they met with research administrators and faculty members and toured labs in the Fort Interdisciplinary Research Center. The visit was organized by Dr. Jianzhong Lou, professor of chemical engineering at A&T.

Provost Alexander and Shanghai University delegation

Shanghai University Vice President Xincan Tian speaks through an interpreter to Provost Winser Alexander before signing the MOU.

Vice Chancellor Celestine Ntuen shows Dr. Alexander where to sign during MOU signing at NC A&T.

Registration open for EPA conference at A&T