Biological Engineering student receives Fulbright grant

North Carolina A&T State University senior, biological engineering student Madeline Keefer will spend nine months studying flood management in the Netherlands thanks to a Fulbright U.S. Student Programs Grant jointly sponsored by the Netherland-America Foundation.

Beginning in August, Keefer will conduct research at the Delft University of Technology in the South Holland Providence of the Netherlands.

Being only the third N.C. A&T student to be awarded a Fulbright grant, Keefer understands the magnitude of receiving the honor.

 Madeline Keefer Fulbright Winner“The process was pretty long. I submitted my application through the honors program in mid-September 2015, found out I was a semi-finalist in January 2016; then in April that I was a finalist and winner,” she said. “I was extremely excited and rather shocked because it’s a very competitive program but I am very excited and feel fortunate and blessed to be accepted.”

The grant will allow the second generation Aggie to further explore water systems engineering, which is an aspect that she has particular interest. Because her topic is a mixture of civil and biological engineering she’s able to make practical use of her study and classes such as hydrology, fluid mechanics and hydraulics, statics and geographic information systems.

“I’ll be directly applying the skills I learned in those classes in the Netherlands while I do my research,” she said. “I have always wanted to get more of a feel for water systems engineering, which this project directly relates to. Outside of the classroom, that is a part of my major that I haven’t been able to explore in much detail. I’m really interested in helping to protect our land from the power of water, but also working with water and harnessing it and using it to our advantage.”

While Keefer’s research in the Netherlands will undoubtedly open numerous academic doors, she is just as excited about the cultural experience that she hopes to fully immerse herself in. When other study abroad opportunities were presented she says she regretfully passed, but plans to take full advantage of every aspect of her Fulbright journey, including studying Dutch and engaging in as much of the culture as she possibly can.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international, educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government. It provides grants to study, teach and conduct research for U.S. citizens to go abroad and for non-U.S. citizens to come to the United States. It is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The program operates in over 160 countries worldwide.

NC A&T hosts Earth Day Fashion Show

Earth Day Fashion Show 2016This creation, made from recycled materials, was featured in the Earth Day fashion show and food drive at N.C. A&T. Students from the Fashion Merchandising and Design Program collaborated with the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication to produce the show, which has grown to an annual event at N.C. A&T. For more publicity, navigate to

Walker receives Professional of the Year Award

SAES Department of  Family and Consumer Science's Dr. Jane Walker, left, recipient of the  North Carolina Family & Consumer Sciences Professional of the Year
Dr. Jane Walker, left, recipient of the NCAFCS Professional of the Year award

Dr. Jane Walker, interim chair of the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, is the recipient of the Professional of the Year Award from the North Carolina Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (NCAFCS). The award was presented during the NCAFCS conference in New Bern April 7-9, 2016.

The Professional of the Year Award is the highest honor given by the state association, which recognizes members who “have made outstanding achievements in family and consumer sciences; made significant contributions to the profession; and demonstrated sustained leadership and active involvement at the local, state and national levels as a longtime member of the profession”.

Fashion student to compete in Denim & Degas competition

Fashion Merchandising and Design student Keianna Smalls has been accepted into the second annual Betty Creative Awards under the theme, “Dream Big: Denim and Degas.” Organized by Terry Melville of Greensboro, the competition was open to fashion students at N.C. A&T and The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Keianna Smalls (in black) with models wearing recycled denim garments.

Smalls and other students were required to incorporate denim into their designs. Degas’ works were selected because they were collected by the Cone sisters, whose brothers founded Cone Mills and put Greensboro on the map as the world capital of denim. The event is part of the 125th anniversary of Cone Denim celebrations taking place in Greensboro this month. “Dream Big: Denim and Degas” will be 7 p.m. Saturday, April 23 at Revolution Mill Studio, 1200 Revolution Mill Drive. Tickets are on sale at Triad Stage, (336) 272-0160. Student tickets are $10 and general admission is $25.

Smalls was also featured on a Time Warner Cable News report promoting the Denim and Degas event,–fashion-and-art-walks-runway.html

Smalls has participated in multiple fashion shows during her tenure at A&T. In 2015, she won second place in A&T’s annual Earth Day Fashion Show. For her win in that show, she was invited to participate in Charlotte Fashion Week in September 2015. Also, Keianna participated in, and won, the 2015 Runway Fashion Show at International Textile Materials and Equipment Association in High Point.



Register now for Student Awards Celebration

info_iconStudents, faculty and staff are encouraged to register for the 2016 SAES Student Awards Celebration, ( ). This year’s celebration is scheduled for 6 – 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 28 in the Academic Classroom Building Auditorium. Pass the Torch speakers will be Taylor Johnson, representing  the Department of Agribusiness, Applied Economics and Agriscience Education; Kayla Castevens of the Department of Animal Sciences; Elizabeth Martino of the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, and Maddie Keefer of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Design. Academic department awards will be presented, and students who have earned various honors through the 2015-16 academic year will be recognized. Hors d’oeuvres will be served.

Specialist lauded for outstanding outreach

Dr. Misty Blue-Terry, 4-H specialist in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), for The Cooperative Extension Program at N.C. A&TDr. Misty Blue-Terry, 4-H specialist in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), for The Cooperative Extension Program at N.C. A&T, is one of two outstanding Extension specialists in the state for 2016.

Blue-Terry is recognized by the North Carolina Association of Cooperative Extension Specialists for exceptional work and partnership with county Extension agents. The award, which includes a $100 gift and a plaque, will be formally presented at the Association’s next meeting, May 6, at A&T’s Coltrane Hall, where Blue-Terry and Cooperative Extension at A&T have offices.

An award for top specialist will also be presented to Joanna Lelekacs, a specialist with NC State Extension. The North Carolina Association of Cooperative Extension Specialists is the professional development organization for specialists at both North Carolina land-grant universities, A&T and NC State.

Blue-Terry was heralded for: “The amazing work you are doing across North Carolina. “This award recognizes truly outstanding individuals working in Extension,” says Susan Jakes, committee chairperson of the Association’s awards committee.

A specialist at A&T since 2010, Blue-Terry’s work focuses on 4-H robotics, 4-H science practices, engineering principles, readying youth for STEM careers, and general STEM education. Terry’s overall goals are to help broaden the reach of 4-H and STEM in underrepresented communities and to target girls for science programs. She is well-known for her outreach in training and guiding agents across the state in 4-H Youth Development.  

Blue-Terry has bachelor and master’s degrees in industrial and systems engineering, and a doctorate in human factors engineering, all from A&T. Previously, she served as assistant professor of industrial and human factors engineering at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.

Undergraduate Research Scholars Seminar is April 21

The 2016 cohort of SAES Undergraduate Research Scholars have completed their literature reviews, gathered their data, and developed their conclusions. Now, it’s time for these young investigators to report their discoveries to the scientific community.

Scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday, April 21, in Room A16, C.H. Moore, the 2016 Undergraduate Research Scholars Seminar will feature presentations by five scholars. Featured on the program are:

Sampson County couple are top small farmers in North Carolina

Greensboro – Sampson County growers Donnie and Alease Williams were named the 2016 North Carolina Small Farmers of the Year by The Cooperative Extension Program at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University during ceremonies Wednesday on the campus. The couple and their D&A Farm were lauded for more than 50 years of farm production, including pastured hogs.

The Williamses attributed part of their success to guidance from Sampson County Cooperative Extension, whose staff nominated D&A for the farming award, and to Cooperative Extension at N.C. A&T, which produces the award and hosts the annual Small Farms Week ceremonies.

Located in Autryville, the Williams have about 150 pigs that are bred in a natural free-range operation and are fed without growth hormones or chemicals. D&A Farm includes more than 140 acres in active production, including 12 acres for the hog operation, and nearly 100 acres in corn, soybeans and wheat which are used for animal feed. The couple and their family also raise goats and sheep.

Small Farms Week recognizes the small-scale producers in North Carolina who generate $250,000 or less, annually, in agricultural gross sales. The Williamses were presented with gifts of a plaque, monogrammed jackets and $1,500 during a Small Farmers’ Appreciation Day program, which was the culmination of the 30th annual observance of Small Farms Week. Workshops, farm tours, demonstrations and panel discussions were also part of the series of events.

Alease Williams thanked an audience of about 300 at the awards program, also celebrating under the banner of the 125th anniversary of N.C. A&T’s founding in 1891, saying: “Right now, I’d have to say I’m feeling that Aggie pride.”

Comments from Donnie Williams, in an interview, summed up the passion that he—at 72—has for his work: “I always wanted to be a farmer. I just like it.”

DIY web page demo scheduled

info_iconUniversity Relations and Information Technology Services have scheduled a demonstration of web-based faculty and staff pages that are under development. The faculty and staff pages will allow each employee a professional web page to describe his or her expertise, research, projects, educational background and brief biographical information.

All faculty and staff are invited and encouraged to provide feedback. The event is scheduled for 3 – 4:30 p.m. Thursday, March 3 in Proctor Hall Auditorium.

All website content coordinators of colleges, schools, division and departments are required to attend. Attendance is strongly encouraged for content contributors. RSVP to Yvonne Halley at

Fashion faculty, students weigh in on plus-size marketing

Dr. Elizabeth Newcomb Hopfer
Dr. Elizabeth Newcomb Hopfer

Fashion merchandising and design majors Arionna Jones and Nhandi Johnson were recently interviewed by a FOX8 news reporter on their views of plus-size marketing trends in fashion retail.

Jones and Johnson told reporter Natalie Wilson that they could personally relate to women having more options. The report also included comments from an area retailer who had recently launched a new boutique catering solely to XL to 3X women.

Wilson also interviewed Dr. Elizabeth Newcomb Hopfer, assistant professor in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences.

“There is lots of market research study that shows the plus-size industry has purchasing power that is so huge we simply can’t ignore it anymore,” Hopfer said.

With approximately 120 students, the fashion merchandising and design program is one of the largest in the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. It is also fairly unique among fashion programs in higher education, in that it combines both business and design aspects, thus giving students a well-rounded education in the industry.

Wheat bran study wins award

Dr. Shengmin Sang
Dr. Shengmin Sang

A journal within the American Chemical Society (ACS) has presented its Research Article of the Year Award to a study of wheat bran by Dr. Shengmin Sang, professor and lead scientist for functional foods at the Center for Excellence in Post-Harvest Technologies (CEPHT) at the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis/.

The study, “Oxyphytosterols as Active Ingredients in Wheat Bran Suppress Human Colon Cancer Cell Growth: Identification, Chemical Synthesis, and Biologic Evaluation” was published in the February 2015 Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, one of the ACS’s publications coordinated by its Division of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

The study and the award it garnered from ACS, one of the world’s most influential scientific societies, are further evidence that wheat bran should be an important part of a healthy diet. The bran component of wheat and other grains has long been recognized for preventing colon cancer, but little has been known about the active components. Sang’s study sheds much light on understanding what components in wheat bran are the most powerful. It provides a comprehensive chemical profile of wheat bran, and pinpoints many compounds in it that prevent colon cancer cells from proliferating, and, even better, compounds that induce cancer cells to die. In order to study their effects, Sang purified 21 compounds from wheat, three of which he reported as novel compounds. Sang then synthesized nine of the compounds, and studied their biological effects on two colon cancer lines, and identified several of the oxyphytosterols that had significant anticancer effects.

The award comes with an invitation for Sang to lecture on this topic at the 252nd ACS National Meeting, Aug.  21-25, in Philadelphia, Pa. In addition to having his travel and lodging costs covered, Sang will be presented with a plaque and check for $1,000.

The study was funded by USDA. Co-authors are Dr. Yingdong Zhu, research associate in the Sang lab, and Dominique Soroka, a research technician in Sang’s functional foods laboratory at CEPHT.

In addition to studying wheat bran, Sang also studies the chemistry of ginger, tea, rosemary and other grain brans and their bioactivity and function in human health. He has recently patented an aspirin and ginger derivative for the prevention of colon cancer.

NC Growing Together to Bring Local Food Supply Chain Together at N.C. A&T

For Immediate Release: February 18, 2016

Media Contact: JJ Richardson, NC Growing Together Website and Communications Coordinator, or 919-889-8219

The annual meeting of the North Carolina Growing Together project is hosted this year by The Cooperative Extension Program at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. The program begins at noon, Wednesday, Feb. 24 at Coltrane Hall.

NC Growing Together is a five-year (2013-2017) USDA-funded project that works to bring more locally grown foods – produce, meat, dairy and seafood – into mainstream retail and food-service supply chains.

The project is led by the Center for Environmental Farming Systems, a partnership of N.C. A&T, North Carolina State University, and the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.  The project has more than 25 partners across the state, including Lowes Foods and N.C. Cooperative Extension.

“Hosting this meeting is another opportunity for Cooperative Extension at A&T to provide innovative leadership and collaboration on local foods, a priority issue for us as we serve our communities locally, statewide and beyond,” said Dr. Shirley Hymon-Parker, interim dean of the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at A&T.

Nearly 80 people are expected to attend the meeting, representing the entire local food supply chain from farmers and fishermen, to processors and distributors, to food hubs and food retailers, to Extension agents, non-profit partners, students and researchers.  The goal of the meeting is to collaborate, network, celebrate successes, and brainstorm solutions to challenges in scaling up local foods for mainstream markets.

For more information about NC Growing Together, please visit

The Center for Environmental Food Systems develops and promotes just and equitable food and farming systems that conserve natural resources, strengthen communities and provide economic opportunities in North Carolina and beyond. For more information, please visit

The Cooperative Extension Program at N.C. A&T helps people across the state lead better lives by finding solutions to their problems, delivering educational programs and technology that enrich the lives, land and economy of limited-resource individuals, families and communities. Visit us at

SAES student to participate in Outlook Forum

Animal science major Rhyne Cureton of Charlotte has been selected to participate in the USDA’s annual Outlook Forum Student Diversity Program, Feb. 23-24 in Arlington, Va.

Rhyne Cureton

The program is designed to expose students to contemporary agribusiness, future trends, scientific research, and agricultural policy in today’s real world environment. During the two days, student participants engage in several planned activities, including visits to USDA headquarters and meetings with senior leadership and staff.

Cureton was one of 30 students from across the nation who were selected for the honor. Part of the criteria included submitting an essay, “Agriculture as a Career.”  Cureton, a junior, also serves as chair of the Dean’s Student Advisory Council for the SAES.

USDA’s Agricultural Outlook Forum provides producers, policymakers, business, government, and industry leaders with a unique opportunity to meet, exchange ideas, and discuss timely issues at the forefront of America’s agriculture. In an effort to increase diversity participation, USDA created the program that provides sponsorship opportunities for junior-senior undergraduate and graduate students to attend this annual event.

Ag industries recruit SAES students

extension_iconAttendance at the 2016 International Production & Processing Expo in Atlanta, Jan. 26-28, paid off for 16 SAES students who were offered summer internships or full time jobs during the event. The expo featured 38 agricultural industries seeking potential employees for internships and jobs. The SAES strives to connect students to future job opportunities through hosting career fairs on campus, and facilitating student participation in industry events such as this expo, which is known as the largest annual trade show for the poultry, meat and feed industries. The SAES had 21 student participants.

Three students received full time job offers from Tyson Foods Inc. They are animal science majors Shatise Miller and Jana Williams, and Amber Wortham, an animal industry major, who also received job offers from Cal-Maine and Sanderson Farms.

Most of the students attending received offers of paid summer internships, including Anthony Dillard, a sophomore in animal science, who received an offer to intern with Mountaineer.

Students and their majors who received offers of summer internships with Tyson Foods Inc. are: Christina Bradshaw, animal science; Caleb Bryson, animal science; Zavier Eure, animal science; Oriana Goldsmith, animal science (also received offer of an internship with Mountaineer); Chelsea Horton, animal science; Elizabeth Martino, food science; Johnathan Sales, agribusiness, (also received an offer to intern at Hendrix Genetics); Daisha Peele, animal science; Kevin Todd, animal science; Kiyha Toler, animal industry; Chelsea Wiggins, animal industry, and Taylor Williams, animal science.

SAES alum appointed ECSU chancellor

Thomas E. H. Conway Jr.
Thomas E. H. Conway Jr.

SAES alumnus Thomas E. H. Conway Jr. has been elected chancellor of Elizabeth City State University by the Board of Governors of the 17-campus University of North Carolina system. Conway, who had begun serving as interim chancellor of ECSU on Jan. 1, received the permanent appointment Jan. 26.

Conway has a long connection to both of the Tar Heel state’s Htwo land-grant universities. He received both his bachelor’s in agricultural education in 1971 and his master’s in guidance and counseling in 1976, from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University,  and his Ph.D. in counselor education from N.C. State University in 1994.

Conway, 66, previously served as vice chancellor and chief of staff at Fayetteville State University, a position he had held since 2008, and prior to that, had served as dean of undergraduate academic programs at N.C. State in 2005 – 08. During a 32-year tenure at N.C. State, Conway also served as vice provost for enrollment management and services (2002-05), associate vice provost for the Division of Undergraduate Affairs (1998-2002); and director of the First Year College (1998-2000). He earlier had served as director, or in other leadership capacities, for numerous and varied programs at N.C. State.

Active in a number of professional organizations, Conway has served as a consultant for numerous historically minority institutions and has written and spoken widely about academic assessment, mentoring and leadership.  At the UNC system level, he has served on the UNC Military Affairs Council and the UNC Task Force on Athletics and Academics.

A native of Louisburg, N.C., Conway is married to the former Mychele Jenkins of Hollywood, Fla. They have two adult children: Simon, a middle-school teacher in the Washington, D.C. public schools; and Zena, who works for a conference management company in Charlotte.

Information for this article was provided courtesy of Elizabeth City State University.

Program helps bridge the information gap

Dr. Osei Yeboah
Dr. Osei Yeboah

Small farmers are the backbone of North Carolina’s agricultural sector, yet too many of them still don’t know how to connect to the many resources that USDA offers. Up to 44 percent lack information about programs that could help them strengthen their farm businesses, according to Dr. Osei Yeboah, interim director of the L.C. Cooper Jr. International Trade Center. To address the issues, he has developed a project that includes conferences and workshops to connect small farmers, ranchers and veterans across the state to USDA resources.

A two-day conference Yeboah organized in January drew 110 farmers to Raleigh to learn about the programs and outreach that the department provides, including loans and technical assistance. Dr. Valerie Giddings, the SAES’s interim associate dean for research, provided opening and closing remarks.

“It was an excellent conference and was very effective in bridging the information gap,”  she said, noting that the conference included many practical “how tos” for farmers, including how to: treat the farm as a business; apply a value-added perspective to food production;  establish a strong infrastructure; form hubs and co-ops for distribution of farm products; use assistive technology; give children interest in the farm business; seek grant funding to support business innovations, and more.

The conference featured directors from USDA’s many programs, including its Office of Advocacy and Outreach.  Larry Hartsfield, N.C. A&T’s liaison for the USDA 1890 Program, a scholarship program for undergraduates, was also on the program, representing the Office of Advocacy and Outreach.

Yeboah has also facilitated a menu of learning modules on an array of topics, available to farmers’ organizations. Topics include: entrepreneurship; financial planning; direct marketing strategies; strategies for farming while disabled (AgrAbility); land-resource valuation; tax planning for farms, and for cooperatives; farm recordkeeping and accounting; organizing cooperatives; farm succession planning; product and market feasibility; farm innovation development; crop, soil and water needs; drip irrigation systems; soil analysis; specialty vegetables; value-added business planning; use of iPhone and Android in production agriculture, and more.  For more information on how to start planning a workshop on these topics, contact Yeboah at or 336-285-4727.

The conference and workshops are organized through Yeboah’s project, “Developing an Information Technology-Based Outreach Program to Strengthen the Linkage between Socially Disadvantaged Farmers, Ranchers, and Veterans and USDA Offices,” and is funded by USDA’s Office of Advocacy and Outreach.


New faculty hired

extension_iconThe SAES welcomes two new teaching-faculty members, whose appointments were effective Jan. 6:

  • Carter Crawford
    Carter Crawford

    Carter Crawford, assistant professor of Landscape Architecture in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Design, brings with him more than 35 years of teaching and professional experience in designing large- and medium-size public, commercial and private landscapes, mostly in the Triangle area. Crawford, whose Ph.D. is from N.C. State University, is president of Carter Crawford DESIGN PA. Prior to joining N.C. A&T, he served as associate professor of the practice of landscape architecture at N.C. State from 2008 – 2013. Throughout his career, he has served as president, project landscape architect, and landscape designer for numerous design and engineering firms. Crawford also has extensive experience serving in advisory capacities for various public entities, including the City of Raleigh and Town of Apex’s appearance commissions, the Landscape Architecture Advisory Council for N.C. State, and others. In addition to serving as program coordinator in the SAES, Crawford is currently teaching landscape design studios to freshman and seniors.

  • Sherrell Hicklen House is an assistant professor in the Child Development and Family Studies Program of the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences. Her academic background includes an undergraduate degree in psychology from Howard University, a master’s degree in psychology in education from the University of Pittsburgh, and a Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies from Michigan State University. While pursuing her master’s and doctorate, House amassed numerous academic honors, awards, grants, scholarships, assistantships and a fellowship. House’s teaching experience includes serving as a teaching assistant at the University of Pittsburgh for multiple courses and serving as instructor of record for Michigan State University from 2011 – 2015, teaching courses in research methods and child development and family sciences, both online and in person. Since 2006, she has assisted in 10 research studies and is co-author of multiple publications, with several upcoming publications in the pipeline. Currently, House teaches FCS 260: Introduction to Human Development, FCS 331: Family Systems, and FCS 432: Culturally Responsive Perspectives for Children and and Family.

Study sheds light on agritourism

info_iconAgritourism is a growing opportunity for North Carolina farmers, as evidenced by the hundreds of listings of farms that offer the opportunity for consumers to pick their own produce, cut their Christmas trees, meander through a corn maize or sip a taste of wine.

The North Carolina Agritourism Networking Association is in its 10th year of offering conferences for agritourism operators to share ideas.

Dr. Anthony Yeboah, chair of the Department of Agribusiness, Applied Economics and Agriscience Education, who has been researching the trend as a tool for small farmers to improve the viability of their farms, was an invited speaker at the association’s recent annual conference. He delivered preliminary findings of his study, “Small Farm Agritourism as a Tool for Community Development in North Carolina” to the 10th annual Agritourism Conference held in Winston-Salem January 14-15.

From left, John Paul Owens, Jarvetta Bynum and Dr. Anthony Yeboah of the Department of Agribusiness, Applied Economics and Agriscience Education, smile for a photo during a tour of Hickory Creek Farm  in Guilford County, during the North Carolina Agritourism Conference Jan. 13 - 14, 2016. The farm, a former tobacco farm, is open to the public during the holiday season, offering fresh cut Christmas trees and handmade wreaths for sale, hayride tours, and fun activities for children.
From left, John Paul Owens, Jarvetta Bynum and Dr. Anthony Yeboah of the Department of Agribusiness, Applied Economics and Agriscience Education, smile for a photo during a tour of Hickory Creek Farm in Guilford County, during the North Carolina Agritourism Conference Jan. 13 – 14, 2016. The farm, a former tobacco farm, is open to the public during the holiday season, offering fresh cut Christmas trees and handmade wreaths for sale, hayride tours, and fun activities for children.

Yeboah’s study opens a window to the demographic of farmers who offer agritourism, and reveals opportunities for those who don’t.  Of the 195 responses to a survey he conducted, 68.5 percent said they provide agritourism – more than twice as many who said they do not. Other results included that most of the agritourism farms were less than 10 acres, and close to half of these had acreage deemed unsuitable for crop production. Most respondents also reported they were located very near a paved highway.

Results are still being compiled and Yeboah and his research team will use them to develop an outreach program to educate small and minority farmers about agritourism as an alternative farm enterprise.

News of the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at North Carolina A&T State University