Monthly Archives: August 2012

Local high school students spend six weeks at A&T working as bioengineering researchers

Members of the 2012 ERC Young Scholars program

Faculty advisor Vernal Alford and the 2012 ERC Young Scholars (from left): Shira Chandler, Dondre McCaskill, Brianna Hargett, Aditya Badve, Ephraim Bililign and Aditya Garg.

If you ask Greensboro high school student Brianna Hargett what she did over the summer, you won’t get a typical answer. She’ll tell you about her research in automatic imaging analysis of biomaterials.

Ms. Hargett and five fellow students from local high schools didn’t have ordinary summers. They spent six weeks as hands-on bioengineering researchers at the Engineering Research Center (ERC) at North Carolina A&T.

As participants in the ERC’s Young Scholars program, they worked on the center’s core projects alongside N.C. A&T professors and graduate students, as well as eight local high school and community college teachers and nine undergraduates from universities around the nation.

Details on the research teams and their projects.

Shira Chandler and Dondre McCaskill worked on the design and analysis of biodegradable magnesium screws to reconstruct knee ligaments.

For Ephraim Bililign, it was design and testing of biomedical materials, and Aditya Garg worked on corrosion testing of magnesium alloys.  Aditya Badve was part of a team working on how to improve those studies.

They’re all excellent students, but when ERC researchers talk about them, another word that keeps coming up is “driven.”

“It’s big stuff that they’re working on, but they love it because they’re hanging with the big guys,” says Dr. Jagannathan Sankar, ERC director and professor of mechanical engineering.

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Ramses warning: System unavailable August 29; no proposal submissions will be possible all day

N.C. A&T will upgrade to RAMSeS v24 on Wednesday, August 29. The system will be unavailable for any purpose during this 24-hour period. It will not be possible to submit proposals to funding agencies the entire day.

  • Any proposals due August 29 should be submitted to the Office of Sponsored Programs by Friday August 24.
  • Any proposals due August 30 should be submitted by Monday August 27.
  • Any proposals due August 31 should be submitted by Tuesday August 28.

Proposals that have not been submitted before the close of business on Tuesday August 28 will have to wait until Thursday August 30 to be reviewed and submitted.

The N.C. A&T grant of the month for July: $239,000 to increase minority engineering grads

US Dept_of_Education_LogoThe Sponsored Funding Report for July:

N.C. A&T received eight grants totaling $512,946 in July.  One highlight of the funding was a grant worth $239,950 from the U.S. Department of Education to Dr. Stephanie Luster-Teasley of the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering.  Other faculty members involved in the project are Clay Gloster, Leotis Parrish, Matthew McCullough, and Ronnie Bailey.

The complete list of grants received in July.

The project: ENGAGE 2BE Engineers: Engaging the Next Generation of African-American Graduates Entering Biomedical, Biological and Environmental Engineering Careers

The issue: The numbers of under-represented minority engineering students continue to remain low in comparison to the representation in the general population. Despite efforts to increase the diversity of the engineering profession, at the national level African
Americans, Native Americans, and Hispanics collectively represent only 11% of students completing BS level engineering degrees.  The total percentage of undergraduate students pursuing engineering degrees in the United States has increased very modestly over the last 10 years. Compared to other nations such as China and India, the United States falls significantly behind in production of BS level engineers. It is clear that engineering as well as other STEM fields must attract more students to meet the future demand for STEM professionals.

Abstract:  The goal of the ENGAGE 2BE Engineers proposal is to focus on providing mentoring, academic support, stipends and professional development for students at North Carolina A&T State University interested in pursuing careers in Biomedical, Biological and Environmental Engineering. The proposal seeks to develop a program within the College of Engineering focused on:

1) Increasing the number of minority students who complete college and are academically prepared to pursue graduate degrees in biomedical, biological and environmental engineering.

2) Provide support, mentoring and on-campus resources to increase retention and persistence of non-traditional and high-needs students who may have additional challenges — such as students with disabilities, students from low-income families, students from immigrant and migrant worker families, and students with children — enrolled in the departments of Chemical and Bioengineering (CBEN) and Civil, Architectural, Agricultural and Environmental Engineering (CAAE). This support will be in the form of academic mentoring, motivation, and advisement to assist their progression and acclimation at A&T and in the CBEN or CAAE

3) Implement data management methods to increase real-time advising and mentoring, and

4) Establish a sustainable mentoring program that will continue to serve students in CBEN and CAAE thus increasing the number of  underrepresented students and high-needs/non-traditional A&T students who graduate with STEM undergraduate degrees long-term.

Get your 2013 calendar out and save this date

Flyer for Urban Education InstituteWebsite link: Urban Education Institute.

Aggie researcher in the news: Maura Nsonwu

“These mothers literally have nothing to give to their children — just their love and affection. And affection in their culture is considered soft.”

— Dr. Maura Nsonwu, assistant professor of social work, on the challenges faced by Liberian refugees in Greensboro, quoted in the News & Record, Sunday August 12, 2012

Aggie Alumni Entrepreneurs Conference: Oct. 25

Event: 2nd Aggie Alumni Entrepreneurs Conference.

Janice Bryant Howroyd

Janice Bryant Howroyd

Keynote speaker: Janice Bryant Howroyd, founder and CEO of ACT•1 Group, a global leader in the staffing and human resources industry.  ACT•1 has 240 offices in the United States and eight other countries and $1.8 billion in revenue in 2011.  Her company is the largest black female-owned business in the United States.  An advocate for entrepreneurship and education, she will share her “Secrets for Success in Building a Billion Dollar Company.” She is an Aggie alumna and a member of the N.C. A&T Board of Trustees.

Agenda highlights:
  • Entrepreneurship Students Elevator Pitch Competition
  • Distinguished Aggie Alumni Entrepreneur Award Presentation
  • Panel discussions and lots of networking

Date and time: Thursday October 25, 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Location: Merrick Hall Auditorium, School of Business & Economics

Agenda details and registration: Click here.

More information: Thaddeus McEwen,, 336 334-7656, x4030.

Sponsors: GFS Investments, Life Enhancement Services, N.C. A&T Office of Alumni Affairs, NC A&T Alumni Association. N.C. A&T Entrepreneurship Program, School of Business and Economics.

What you missed this summer if you were away

Welcome back, faculty and student researchers who were gone this summer.  To catch up on what you missed, here’s a roundup of the top research news from the summer. Click on the headlines to read more.

NIH, other agencies change conflict of interest rules; comment period open for new A&T policy

  • The Public Health Service has revised its financial conflict of interest reporting requirements for applicants and awardees for proposals and SBIR/STTR Phase II cooperative agreements.

NC-LSAMP annual research conference on minorities in STEM to be held Sept. 20-21

  • The North Carolina Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (NC-LSAMP) will hold its annual research conference September 20-21 at N.C. A&T.  LSAMP seeks to increase the quality and quantity of students successfully completing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) baccalaureate degree programs, and successfully matriculating into STEM graduate programs.

Students from N.C. A&T and Purdue collaborate on project for space station

  • Primarily undergraduate engineering students at both universities will design and build the shoebox-size experiment, develop the procedures for operation in space, train the astronauts, process the data, and write research papers describing the results.

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Aggie researcher in the news: Joseph Graves


“Evolution has shaped body types and in part athletic possibilities. Don’t expect an Eskimo to show up on an NBA court or a Watusi to win the world weightlifting championship. Differences don’t necessarily correlate with skin color, but rather with geography and climate. Endurance runners are more likely to come from East Africa and sprinters from West Africa. That’s a fact. Genes play a major role in this.”

Dr. Joseph  Graves, evolutionary biologist, N.C. A&T faculty member and associate dean, Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering, quoted in “What makes a great Olympian? Sometimes, it’s genetics” The Daily Beast, August 11, 2012

NIH, others change conflict of interest rules; comment period open for new A&T policy

Attention researchers with funding from the National Institutes of Health and other Public Health Service (PHS) agencies and those who are seeking PHS research funding:

PHS has revised its financial conflict of interest reporting requirements for applicants and awardees for proposals and SBIR/STTR Phase II cooperative agreements.

Effective August 24, these changes will affect all faculty and non-faculty EPA employees funded by NIH and the other PHS agencies. These agencies include:

  • Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
  • Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  • Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
  • Indian Health Service (IHS)
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

N.C. A&T has drafted a financial conflict of interest policy in response to the PHS changes. The policy is open for comment until Monday August 20. An approved policy will be in place by August 24. The draft policy can be found here.

This page on the National Institutes of Health website has further information on changes to the PHS policy. Additional resources:

Behavioral health clinic open house Monday; Maya Angelou to speak at ribbon-cutting

Flyer for Behavioral Health Clinic opening