Monthly Archives: March 2014

Third annual Innovation Challenge brings out creative, high-tech thinking from undergraduates

Student Michael Baker and tech transfer director Louis Judge

Innovation Challenge winner Michael D. Baker III is congratulated by Louis Judge, N.C. A&T director of technology transfer.

Undergraduates come to college with a lot to learn, but many are already well prepared for one challenge: innovative thinking.

At N.C. A&T this year, the third annual Innovation Challenge produced ideas from 20 teams and individual undergraduates. A total of 43 students participated.

The panel of judges awarded first place to Michael D. Baker III, a junior from Raleigh, for a zero-emission, self-powered vehicle. The concept brings existing technologies together in a novel way to power a vehicle with no internal combustion engine. The first-place prize was an iPad.

Second place went to three sophomores – Mariyah Pressley from Newport News, Virginia; Maya Whitlow, from Germantown, Maryland; and Kendrea Young, from Houston, Texas – for “The SMART Bed,” a twin-, full-, queen-, or king-size bed that would include a variety of built-in systems for personal productivity and relaxation. Each second-place winner received a mini-projector.

Third place was awarded to Kevin Compton, a sophomore from Mebane, N.C., for “The Chameleon,” an electronic system that could render military vehicles virtually invisible. The third-place prize was $75.

Continue reading

N.C. A&T social work researcher aids UN agency with study of unaccompanied child refugees

Cover of UN reort on unaccompanied child refugeesAmong the distressed peoples of the world, few groups are more vulnerable than refugees.  And among refugees, few are more vulnerable than children, especially children on their own, without families.

Since 2011, the United States has experienced a surge in the number of unaccompanied children coming from Central America’s Northern Triangle – El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras – and Mexico. In fiscal 2013, there were more than 40,000. More than 21,000 came from the three Central American countries, compared to 4,000 in 2011.

With the cooperation of the United States, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees set out to learn why. The result was a report, released this month, “Children on the Run: Unaccompanied Children Leaving Central America and Mexico and the Need for International Protection.”

“While recognizing a significant contextual difference between the situation in Mexico and in the Northern Triangle of Central America, the common denominator is that all four countries are producing high numbers of unaccompanied and separated children seeking protection at the southern border of the United States,” the report says.

“UNHCR’s research was to ascertain the connection between the children’s stated reasons, the findings of recent studies on the increasing violence and insecurity in the region, and international protection needs.”

The project was a daunting one. To get a statistically meaningful sample, hundreds of children needed to be interviewed. Then the data from the interviews needed to be analyzed.

For help with that analysis, the U.N. agency consulted with Dr. Maura Busch Nsonwu of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, an assistant professor of social work and interim director of the social work bachelor’s degree program in the Department of Sociology and Social Work.

Dr. Nsonwu has worked with the U.N.’s refugee agency on a number of projects over the past three years.  Her research focuses on refugees and human trafficking.  She had conducted qualitative studies, so she had the necessary expertise. But this study had two dimensions unlike anything she had encountered.

Continue reading

Undergraduate Research Symposium, April 11

Flyer for 4/11/2014 Undergraduate Research Symposium

Click on the flyer for more information or to go to the registration page.

Academic units name 14 top researchers for 2014, first stage in Research Excellence Awards process

Fourteen top faculty members have been named researchers of the year by their colleges and schools at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. All are automatically nominated for the university’s top research honors, the annual Research Excellence Awards.

The honorees are a diverse group, representing 13 academic disciplines in seven colleges and schools, including the Department of Nanoengineering of the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering. The one department with multiple nominees this year is the Department of Computer Science.

In addition, one interdisciplinary project was nominated for the Research Team Award.

The Research Excellence Awards will be presented at a dinner on Friday April 11 in the Alumni-Foundation Event Center on campus.

This year’s nominees:

Senior Researcher of the Year

  • College of Arts & Sciences: Dr. Yuh-Lang Lin, Department of Physics
  • College of Engineering: Dr. Yusuf Adewuyi, Department of Chemical Engineering
  • School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences: Dr. Lijun Wang, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Design
  • School of Business and Economics: Dr. Lemuria Carter, Department of Accounting
  • School of Education: Dr. Phoebe Butler-Ajibade, Department of Human Performance and Leisure Studies

Outstanding Junior Researcher Award

  • College of Engineering: Dr. Justin Zhan, Department of Computer Science
  • School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences: Dr. Jenora Waterman, Department of Animal Sciences
  • School of Education: Dr. Nichole Smith, Department of Curriculum and Instruction

Rookie of the Year Award

  • College of Engineering: Dr. Kaushik Roy, Department of Computer Science
  • Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering: Dr. Lifeng Zhang, Department of Nanoengineering
  • School of Business and Economics: Dr. Stephanie Kelly, Department of Business Education
  • School of Technology: Dr. Mahour Mellat-Parast, Department of Applied Engineering Technology

Intellectual Property Award

  • College of Engineering: Dr. Salil Desai, Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering
  • School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences: Dr. Shengmin Sang, Department of Family and Consumer Sciences and the Center for Excellence in Post-Harvest Technologies

Research Team Award

  • Nominated by the College of Arts & Sciences and the School of Business and Economics: NSF CREST Bioenergy Center