Monthly Archives: September 2012

Students from NCSU, Fayetteville State and UNC-CH win N.C. Social Business Conference competition

Energy and the environment are much on the minds of social business entrepreneurs among UNC system students.  The system’s North Carolina Social Business Conference on Thursday included a business-plan competition for student teams with entries from all 17 campuses. Several  initiatives focused on energy and the enironment, including food distribution. Poverty and microfinance were also addressed by multiple groups.

A total of 31 teams entered.

The winning teams were from N.C. State University, first place; Fayetteville State University, second; and UNC-Chapel Hill, third.  Among the nine finalists was one of the N.C. A&T teams.

The winners’ social business ideas are:

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A&T salutes Nussbaum Center on 25th anniversary

N.C. A&T ad saulting Nussbaum CenterTwo weeks ago, North Carolina’s largest business incubator held an event to mark its long-awaited move to a new facility, the former Carolina Steel plant on South Eugene Street in Greensboro.  Tomorrow night, the Nussbaum Center for Entrepreneurship will celebrate 25 years of success in helping new businesses grow and create jobs.  Congratulations to CEO Sam Funchess, former CEO Tom May, and the many entrepreneurs who have contributed to that success.





Business plans from UNC campuses’ student teams highlight social business conference today at A&T

From the Associated Press:

“A competition being held this week by North Carolina’s public university system pits 31 student-led teams that are presenting business plans for enterprises that would both generate profits and help the needy.

“The first North Carolina Social Business Conference on Thursday promises to boost, if only a little, a hybrid of business and charity getting more attention since the Great Recession highlighted that free markets can’t provide all society needs. The competition at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro is also a platform for the university system to show off its 17-campus emphasis on pulling concepts out of classrooms and into commerce.”

Click here for the full article.

The keynote speaker is Muhammad Yunus, the 2006 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.  Yunus originated the concept of microfinance.  He an economist and educator from Bangladesh.

Undergrads: Research event next week highlights summer and graduate school opportunities

2012 MORE-STEM Fair Flier

Click for flyer.

A&T undergraduates with an interest in research will have a chance next week to explore summer opportunities and graduate schools and to practice their presentation skills.

The university’s research training programs are collaborating to host the first  MORE-STEM Fair (Maximizing Opportunities in REsearch promotes interest in Science Technology Engineering and Math Careers).

The event will be held Tuesday, October 2nd, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Barnes Hall auditorium.  It will highlight summer research program and graduate school opportunities, with these institutions represented:

  • Baylor University,
  • Duke University,
  • Emory University,
  • Johns Hopkins University,
  • National Institutes of Health
  • University of Maryland Baltimore County,
  • University of Massachusetts,
  • University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill,
  • University of North Texas,
  • Virginia Commonwealth University, and
  • Wake Forest University.

On Wednesday, October 3rd, students in the research training programs  will present their scientific posters from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the Atrium of Barnes Hall.

A&T’s research training programs are the:

  • Historically Black Colleges and Universities Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP Talent-21),
  • Integrative Biomathematical Learning Enhancement Network for Diversity (iBlend)
  • Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC),
  • N.C. Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (NC-LSAMP), and
  • Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE).

For further information, contact John Patterson, Department of Biology, 336 285-4000.

U.S. report on public research universities: ‘Diminishing Funding & Rising Expectations’

Cover of National Science Board report "Diminishing Funding and Rising Expectations"

Click image to see the entire report.

The National Science Board has taken a look at the future of U.S. public research universities, and the view is grim:

“In the 2012 edition of Science and Engineering Indicators (Indicators), the National Science Board (Board) reported a substantial decline over the last decade in per student state appropriations at the Nation’s major public research universities. This policy companion report to Indicators 2012Diminishing Funding and Rising Expectations: Trends and Challenges for Public Research Universities, highlights the importance of these universities to the local and national economies, rising public expectations for these institutions, and the challenges posed by recent trends in enrollment, revenue, and expenditures.

“In the wake of increasing enrollment and costs and declining per student state appropriations, the Board is concerned with the continued ability of public research universities to provide affordable, quality education and training to a broad range of students, conduct the basic science and engineering research that leads to innovations, and perform their public service missions.”

The National Science Board is the governing board for the National Science Foundation.

The full report is here.

Aggie Fitness Day (with free fruit smoothies!)

Flyer for Aggie fitness Day

Ag researchers: NIFA chief to speak at NCSU

WHAT: Open forum and listening session with Dr. Sonny Ramaswamy, Director, USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

WHEN: Tuesday, October 9, 10:15 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

WHERE: Centennial Campus, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center (BTEC), Lecture Hall, main floor (directions).

DETAILS:  10:15 a.m. Open forum with NCSU administrators & stakeholders (this session follows a similar event for NCSU faculty, students and staff).

Rather lengthy parking instructions:

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The N.C. A&T grant of the month for August 2012: Health Informatics Security and Privacy Program

NSF logoThe Sponsored Funding Report for August:

N.C. A&T received 13 grants totaling $6.59 million in August.

The complete list of grants received in August.

One highlight of the month’s funding was $29,640 from the National Science Foundation toward a $329,000 grant to Dr. Dorothy Yuan of  the Department of Computer Science.  The project is titled, “Targeted Infusion Project Grant: Developing Health Informatics Security and Privacy Program.” Working with Dr. Yuan on the project are Drs. Gerry Dozier of the Department of Computer  Science; Hong Wang, Department of Management; Jinsheng Xu, Department of Computer Science; Justin Zhan, Department of Computer Science; and Kossi Edoh, Department of Mathematics.

The issue: Health informatics is one of the economy’s largest growth areas. With the government’s growing interest in electronic health records and with the growing investment by healthcare organizations in technology, there is an increasing demand for health informatics and health information technology professionals. To make health information systems secure,  the systems’ designers and administrators must be well educated in information assurance, with an understanding of security, privacy, integrity and reliability.

Abstract: The goal of this project is to establish a concentration in Health Informatics Security and Privacy in the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science program. This interdisciplinary project will be a  joint effort of  the departments of Computer Science,  Management, and Mathematics.

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Nobel Peace Prize laureate to speak at N.C. A&T

Professor Muhammad Yunus, winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, will be the keynote speaker for the North Carolina Social Business Conference to be held  Thursday September 27  at N.C. A&T.

Professor Yunus is a Bangladeshi educator, economist and banker.  He developed the concept of microcredit as a professor of economics at Chittagong University.  His work led to the founding of Grameen Bank, with which he shared the Nobel Peace Prize.

The daylong conference will bring together economic development interests from across North Carolina to hear Professor Yunus’ social business concept of combining business know-how with the desire to improve quality of life.   The conference is organized by the UNC General Administration.

Registration is open. The general registration fee is $25; students can register for $15.

Blazing a trail for future astronaut-gardeners

Science fiction about space travel tends to focus on the big-picture issues, like exploring strange new worlds,  seeking out new life and new civilizations, boldly going where no man has gone before.  But when humans really do travel in space, their success will have as much to do with how well they eat as how fast their warp-drive engines can shoot them between the planets and the stars.

Dr. Matthew Mickens

Dr. Matthew Mickens

Dr. Matthew Mickens, a 2012 Aggie Ph.D. grad, is one of a group of  NASA scientists exploring how to grow food aboard spacecraft as productively as possible. He’s a member of a team at Kennedy Space Center, working on an Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) Habitation project.

The researchers are growing vegetables under different lighting conditions suitable for use during space travel, including broad spectrum florescent lighting and blue and red LEDs.  The type of light makes a difference.  From a report in Science Daily this week:

“Even subtle changes in light quality can potentially increase antioxidant properties of crops such as the lettuce used here,” Mickens said. “The nutritional quality of the vegetables meant to feed our astronaut explorers can be controlled by proper selection of lighting used to grow these crops during long range space missions beyond low Earth orbit.”

Mickens received his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees at A&T. While in grad school, he had a Harriett G. Jenkins Predoctoral Fellowship, sponsored by NASA, and a North Carolina Space Grant Fellowship.  He received his  Ph.D. from the interdisciplinary energy and environmental sciences program.

More about the research being conducted by Mickens and the team he is part of is at