Category Archives: Graduate Students

Ph.D. students: Chapel Hill’s postdoctoral program for faculty diversity taking applications for 2015

WHAT: The 2015 Carolina Postdoctoral Program for Faculty Diversity

DETAILS: Scholars for the Carolina Postdoctoral Program for Faculty Diversity are selected each year and are provided support for two years. The current stipend is $42,000.

The program is intended to attract postdoctoral fellows from underrepresented racial/ethnic groups to UNC-Chapel Hill to prepare them for tenure-track faculty positions at UNC-CH and other research universities.

KEY DATES: Application deadline is Saturday, November 15, 2014. Final decisions will be made in February 2015. The next class of the Carolina Postdoctoral Program for Faculty Diversity will begin July 1, 2015.

FURTHER INFORMATION: Contact Jennifer Pruitt, program coordinator, Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, click for email, or visit the program web page or the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs.

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Broadening participation in the STEM disciplines: Insights from a diverse group at Science Online

In many native languages, there’s no word for science.  It’s not that there’s no science in those cultures; it’s just that science isn’t differentiated from the rest of life. That’s a beautiful concept and an enviable one, considering the problems our society has in getting people even to think about that scary thing we isolate from the rest of our lives and call science.

The point arose, courtesy of Dr. Cynthia Coleman, a member of the Osage tribe (Musings on Native Science), at the Science Online 2012 conference in Raleigh last week. But you don’t have to seek out another culture to find perceptions about science that differ profoundly from those of faculty members and researchers.  It’s right there in the classroom.

“… [D]on’t tell someone their struggle isn’t real or dismiss them. Studying is hard, so is balancing work-life issues. … This stuff we call science may come easy or quickly for you, but some students may have to struggle to get the info.  Point them to university resources to help them study.  No matter how odd or unbelievable or unlikely you think these confidence-conflicts may  be, the sure fire way to turn a student off to the discipline (and to you) is prove that you can’t be trusted to take his/her concerns for doing well seriously.”

— Dr. Danielle Lee, The Urban Scientist

The discussion was convened by Dr. Lee; its starting point was broadening participation in online science communication and communities. Dr. Lee’s insights are on her blog and are well worth reading.

It was encouraging both to see a good turnout and to hear a very engaged exchange among a diverse group of scientists and communicators.  The key takeaway: We all (including you, us and everyone else) need to be doing more to understand and engage those who are in our STEM programs (whether they’re struggling or not), those who are opting out for other careers, and especially the many potential engineers and scientists who got discouraged early on and won’t even think about it now.

We can’t expect them to come to us.  We have to go to them, and they’re online.  We should be, too (that’s not the only place we need to be, but it’s one where we need to have more of a presence).  Check out the list of bloggers at Minority Postdoc or the blogging collective Scientopia. Or consider the e-mentoring opportunities at MentorNet.  The opportunities are out there, and they’re as accessible to you as they are to your colleagues here and counterparts at other universities who are already involved.  It’s a matter of us being as engaged in reaching out as we want our students and potential students to be in opening their minds to the possibilities of being our students, our colleagues and, ultimately, our successors.

Coming Friday: MIT Graduate School Clinic

Poster for MIT Graduate School Clinic, Friday Oct. 14, 2011, at NC A&T

Click to see a larger image.

From Patrick Martin, Department of Biology: This program is directed primarily at freshmen and sophomores who are considering graduate school, but juniors, seniors and master’s students are welcome.  The speaker will be Joy M. Johnson, Ph.D. candidate in the MIT Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, who was born and raised in Greensboro.  A free pizza lunch will be provided.

Worth noting: Aggies at the landill of the future and summer research by apprentice Aggies

Two news items worth noting from the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences:

— Sunday’s News and Record reported on the involvement of A&T researchers at the Catawba County Regional EcoComplex and Resource Recovery Facility, which is developing a system to recover all useable products and by-products  from the local landfill (near Hickory).  Professor Abolghasem Shahbazi and grad student Quentin Brown were quoted in the article, available here.  More about the EcoComplex is available at its website.

— High school students in the School of Ag’s Research Apprenticeship Program did some serious research this summer.  Summaries of their projects are available on the program’s Facebook page.  If you want a reason to feel good about the next generation of researchers, give it a look.

Aggie doctoral student wins Italian award

Joseph Akyeampong, a Ph.D. student in industrial engineering, has been named one of eight winners of the Italian Machine Tool Technology Awards. The Italian Trade Commission says the program invites “students attending premier North American universities” to write a thesis on innovation and issues in industries related to mechanical engineering. The commission and the Politecnico University of Milan will host an award ceremony at Milan’s Museum of Science and Technology in July.  Winners receive a two-week trip to Italy to visit top Italian companies in the machine tool industry and take part in an advanced international engineering program at the Polytechnic of Milan.  Click here for details.

P.S. on one of the Best Dissertation winners

FYI … the College of Engineering homepage has a short piece worth reading on Khaliah Hughes, one of the winners of A&T’s inaugural Best Dissertation Awards this year. Among the distinctions she has earned: A&T’s first Claire Booth Luce Doctoral Fellow, youngest A&T engineering Ph.D. ever, 4.0 average, and she has a job waiting at one of the world’s most prestigious software companies.  Her research is also featured in the current issue of Evolution, Page 23.

6 honored for best dissertations, master’s theses

Graduate students in four colleges and schools have been honored for outstanding dissertations and master’s theses.

The awards were given for the first time this year.  They reflect the increasingly important role of graduate education and research at the university.  The awards were presented on a university-wide basis.  Winners were selected by the School of Graduate Studies.

Winners of the Best Dissertation Award, all Ph.D. students who will receive their degrees in May, their fields of study, faculty advisors, and dissertation titles are:

  • Husniyah Abdus-Salaam; industrial engineering; Dr. Lauren Davis, advisor; “Examining the Influence of Dependent Demand Arrivals on Patient Scheduling”;
  • Sylvia Burgess; leadership studies; Dr. Forest Toms, advisor; “Spiritual Capital: The Relationship with Civic Engagement among Faith-Based Leaders”; and
  • Khaliah Hughes; industrial engineering; Dr. Steven Jiang, advisor; “Integration of Cognitive and Physical Factors to Model Human Performance in Fluid Power Systems.”

Winners of the first Best Master’s Thesis Award, all of whom will graduate in May, their fields of study, faculty advisors, and thesis tiles are:

  • John German; physics; Dr. Abdellah Ahmidouch, advisor; “Position Resolution and Efficiency of the Lucite Hodoscope for the SANE Experiment at Jefferson Lab”;
  • Semienawit Ghebrezadik, chemical engineering, Dr. Stephanie Luster-Teasley, “Groundwater Remediation Using Micro and Nano-Sized Zvi and Kmno4 to Treat Trichloroethylene (Tce) Contamination”; and
  • Priscilla Randolph, food and nutritional sciences, Dr. Salim Ibrahim, “Combinational Effects of a Bioactive Nutrient and Radiation on Human-Derived Ewing’s Sarcoma Cells.”