Not on vacation: how CAES students spent their summers

More than 90 CAES students are expected to present an enormous array of their summer academic experiences during the annual Showcase of Excellence, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Sept. 6 in B.C. Webb Hall. The student experiences will span the gamut of agricultural fields, including corporate and Cooperative Extension internships, study abroad, and independent research projects at N.C. A&T and other universities or government agencies.

Students will present research posters on their experiences and will discuss their work with audiences who stop by the individual student stations. Participants will also receive a certificates and awards. CAES faculty and staff are encouraged to attend to support the experiences.

Alston Speaks at Urban-Ag Academy

Dr. Antoine J. Alston, associate dean of academic studies

Dr. Antoine J. Alston, associate dean of academic studies in the College of Agriculture & Environmental Sciences, delivered the keynote address – The United States’ Cooperative Extension Service: Historical Perspectives, Current Programming, and its Potential Impact for Urban Agriculture – at the sixth-annual Urban-Ag Academy at Iowa State University on July 12.

The Urban-Ag Academy provides an opportunity for urban and minority legislators to learn more about agricultural and rural issues. The national conference brings urban, minority and rural policymakers together with experts in agriculture, rural development and other relevant areas.

Alston received his baccalaureate and master’s degrees in agricultural education from North Carolina A&T State University and his doctorate in agricultural education from Iowa State. He joined the N.C. A&T faculty in 2000 and progressed through the ranks to become a full professor. In 2012 he was appointed the associate dean for academic studies on an interim basis; in 2014 the appointment became permanent.

N.C. Agribusiness Council to Meet Sept. 7

The North Carolina Agribusiness Council will meet 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Sept. 7 in the Edward B. Fort Interdisciplinary Research Center, Room 410.

Erica Upton Peterson, CEO and executive vice president of the N.C. Agribusiness Council, is a member of the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences Advisory Board. The Advisory Board includes experts representing a spectrum of agricultural industries and organizations, government agencies, and financial and educational systems.

Formed in 1969, the N.C. Agribusiness Council seeks to advance agribusiness interests and programs, thereby increasing employment and expanding opportunity. Agribusiness contributes more than $84 billion to the state’s economy and employs 686,000 in North Carolina, according to the council’s website.

Faculty Photo Day

The Ag. Communications & Marketing photographer, James Parker, has set aside the mornings of Thursday, Aug. 31, and Friday, Sept. 1, to take photos of new faculty members and old faculty members who have made alterations in their appearance (dramatic enough to where they no longer look as they did when they had their photo taken previously).

Parker will be taking photos from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Room B-29 of the C.H. Moore Agricultural Research Station. His strong suggestions for a top-quality photo that looks good in publications and reflects professionalism are:

  • Wear business dress (tie and jacket for men)
  •  Avoid white clothing
  • Avoid seasonal clothing (such as sleeveless summer clothing for women that would look strange in a January newspaper)
  • Avoid extensive or highly reflective jewelry

If you have any questions about clothing or other photo session details, please contact Parker, at 285-4713, before you come to C.H. Moore on Aug. 31 or Sept. 1. If faculty are unavailable either morning, please get in touch with Parker to request an appointment on the afternoon of Aug. 31.

CAES Collects Faculty Awards

The College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences cleaned up at the university’s Celebration of Faculty Excellence in the spring. CAES faculty members won six awards for community engagement, intellectual property and teaching:

  • Terrence Thomas, a professor in the Department of Agribusiness, Applied Economics and Agriscience Education, won the Community Engagement Award for his leadership of a local initiative designed to address the negative health consequences of a food desert affecting residents of northeast Greensboro. The project offers nutrition workshops to promote healthier eating and has created an urban farm to improve access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Shengmin Sang, an associate professor in the Center for Excellence in Post-harvest Technologies, won the Intellectual Property Award for his research investigating the potential of bioactive components from functional foods and herbal medicines to prevent chronic diseases.
  • Guochen Yang, a professor in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Design, and Sang each won a 2016 Patent Award. Yang received a patent for “Micropropagation of Alexandrian Laurel”; Sang received a patent for “Ginger Metabolites and Uses Thereof.”
  • Chastity Warren English, an associate professor in the Department of Agribusiness, Applied Economics and Agriscience Education, won an Outstanding College Teaching Award. She is a mentor and role model to her students, who describe her as dedicated, tech-savvy and innovative.
  • Devona L. Dixon, an assistant professor in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, won a Junior Faculty Teaching Excellence Award. She strives to create an environment where students feel empowered by their skills and knowledge, optimistic about their future, and supported in their academic and professional growth.

Additionally, Dr. Abolghasem Shahbazi, a professor in and interim chair of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Design, served as major professor for Dissertation Award winner Nana Abayie Boakye-Boaten, who was recognized for her dissertation “Sustainable Production of Bioproducts from Giant Miscanthus: A Biorefinery Approach.”

The awards were presented at a May 4 ceremony recognizing faculty excellence throughout the University.

The CAES is inspired by two alumni of note

Two CAES alumni, Michael S. Regan and Dr. Frankie Jones,  are blazing distinguished career paths that have made news this month in areas of leadership and advocacy.

Dr. Frankie Jones, center, flanked left-to-right by Dr. Shirley Hymon-Parker, interim dean, and Dr. Richard Robbins, CAES facilities coordinator, at the dedication.

Jones of Phoenix One Enterprise, who was responsible for several thousand dollars’ worth of student scholarship and corporate in-kind donations from a national retailer, visited the CAES last week to dedicate a new student collaborative research study area. He also touted his roots in agriculture and his experiences at A&T.

“It gives me great pride to be able to say—and I’ve said this to the chancellor—that the “A” in A&T stands for agriculture,” said Jones, who bought and resides on the Alamance County farm that his family once worked as sharecroppers.

Meanwhile, Regan, North Carolina’s new secretary of the Department of Environmental Quality,  has garnered extra attention as an A&T alumnus with a bachelor’s degree in earth and environmental sciences.

Regan was named by Gov. Roy Cooper on Jan. 3, to head the state agency that leads and protects the quality of the state’s air, land, water, coastal fisheries, and the public’s health. After a round of legislative committee hearings, Regan’s nomination was finally approved by the N.C. Senate earlier this month.

Continue reading The CAES is inspired by two alumni of note

Six times “2 + 2” equals enrollment

The CAES has spent much of the first quarter of 2017 recruiting more agricultural graduates from North Carolina community colleges to transfer their credits to the online 2+2 Agricultural Education Program offered at N.C. A&T. Led by Dr. Antoine Alston, associate dean for academic studies, the CAES has inked

Dr. Antione V. Alston

agreements with Beaufort, Isothermal, Mitchell, South Piedmont, Wayne and Wilkes County community colleges in the past three months. The agreements with the six new community colleges are now included with articulation agreements for 14 other community colleges throughout the state.

Graduates of community colleges with agricultural related associate degrees will get two years of course credit when they’re ready to enroll in the CAES’s 4-year online agricultural education programs.

“The College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at A&T is very excited to partner with these institutions,” Alston says. “Providing access and educational opportunities to North Carolina residents is one of the primary strategic goals of our university and our college.”

The agricultural education degree program comprises two study tracks based on a student’s interest. The Agricultural Education (secondary education) track is designed for individuals who have an interest in becoming secondary agricultural educators in the public school system. The Agricultural Education (professional service) track is for individuals interested in government, agribusiness, international agriculture, and Cooperative Extension careers.



Sang and Kang receive inaugural awards for innovation

A pair of CAES researchers recently claimed noteworthy prizes in the inaugural Innovation for Impact Grand Prize, co-sponsored by SoBran Bioscience and the Piedmont Triad Office of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.

Dr. Shengmin Sang, associate professor and a lead scientist at the Center for Excellence in Post-Harvest Technologies, claimed the top prize of $11,000 for his research on ginger’s ability to mitigate the abrasive properties of aspirin and increase its efficacy. His patented ginger compound may also be effective in preventing colon and other cancers. 150922ShengminSang001ed2

The bulk of the award will be used to conduct a pre-clinical research study, and $1,000 in cash is awarded directly to the scientist.  Sang’s work emerged from the research of among 17 entrants, whose application mission was to demonstrate how their research would “heal, fuel or feed the world in the future.”

Four other scientists from North Carolina universities were also awarded prizes of $500 each, including Dr. Hye Won Kang, 150925 HyeWonKang001ed2assistant research professor of family and consumer sciences. Kang is researching ways to reduce obesity i in humans.   She is using the gut bacterium Akkermansia muciniphila to reduce adipose or fat deposits by increasing the metabolic activity of brown adipose tissue. Kang’s lab is testing the effect of Akkermansia muciniphila in mice to evaluate its potential effectiveness for helping decrease and prevent human obesity.


CAES Ag Hall of Fame claims new names

Two legendary leaders of the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (CAES) at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University – Dr. Arthur P. Bell and the late Dr. Howard F. Robinson – have been inducted into the college’s Agriculture Hall of Fame.

A.P. Bell Family copy
Dr. A.P. Bell, fourth from left in black suit, stands alongside his portrait and is surrounded by family and CAES administrators.


A renowned teacher and mentor, Bell, of Greensboro, influenced innumerable students toward productive careers in the agricultural sciences during his more than 40 years in education. His former students can be found today in leadership positions locally, nationally and internationally. Robinson led research divisions at the university from 1965-82. Credited with increasing the college’s annual research budget many times over, Robinson’s testimony before Congress in the 1970s was a key factor in federal officials releasing funding directly to N.C. A&T and other 1890 institutions to support their research and Cooperative Extension programs.

H.F. Robinson widow & Family SM
Dr. Howard F. Robinson was posthumously inducted, and his widow Vivian Robinson (foreground) said her late husband was a humble man who worked tirelessly for A&T.

The induction ceremony, the first in 17 years, included the unveiling of framed photographs of both men. Bell and Robinson were lauded by CAES Interim Dean Shirley Hymon-Parker as leaders who left indelible footprints and smoothed out bumpy roads for others to travel. Continue reading CAES Ag Hall of Fame claims new names

Dale named associate dean and Cooperative Extension chief

Dr. Rosalind Dale has been appointed  associate dean of the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, and administrator of The Cooperative Extension Program at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. 160120Dale177PRF

Dale brings a wealth of experience to this position, including having served as interim Extension administrator since August 2015. In her interim capacity she led a major strategic planning initiative to guide the organization’s operation, planning and processes for a five-year period that ends in 2021.  As associate dean and administrator, Dale will continue to lead the Extension, outreach and engagement efforts with external communities. She will also extend and apply the organization’s expertise to engage business, industry, government, other universities, individuals and groups in addressing a wide range of issues and challenges facing communities, particularly those that are under-served.

Dale joined A&T in 2011 as one of Extension’s regional program coordinators. Her previous experience, at the University of Illinois, includes administrative and program oversight for a series of Extension programs that dealt with nutrition and wellness.

Dale has an Ed. D. in adult and continuing education from National Louis University, a master’s in human services administration from Spertus College, and bachelor’s degrees in both nutrition and home economics from Benedictine University and Western Illinois University, respectively.

Wheeler at the wheel of state organization

Dr. Meeshay Williams-Wheeler is the 2017-2018 president of the North Carolina Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (NCAFCS) having been installed during the organization’s recent annual meeting in Charlotte.

A certified family life educator,  WilliMeeshay Williams-Wheeler 2ams-Wheeler is an associate professor of Child Development and Family Studies in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences.

The NCAFCS is an affiliate of the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences. Williams-Wheeler has been an officer of the organization since 2015, when she was second vice president. She served as president-elect in 2016-2017.

Williams-Wheeler has a bachelor of science degree in child development and family studies from UNC-Greensboro, a master’s in clinical psychology from N.C. Central University and a doctorate in human development and family studies from UNC-Greensboro.

Liang trio awarded best higher ed practices by the 2017 Small Business Institute

160817 Kathleen Liang 001ed3Dr. Kathleen Liang has, for the third time in four years, garnered top honors from the Small Business Institute (SBI) during its 2017 conference in San Diego last month. Liang, who is the W.K. Kellogg Endowed Chair in Sustainable Community-Based Food Systems in the CAES, teamed with  Guilford College colleagues, Drs. Marlene McCauley and Kyle Dell to win the SBI’s Best Practices Award for a collaboration project between the two campuses. The presentation that took home honors for the trio was: “Building a Collaborative Effort of Training and Education in Sustainable Food System for the 22nd Century through Urban Agriculture Programs.”

Liang’s expertise in  entrepreneurship and sustainable food systems programming  was sought by the Guilford College faculty for building their new sustainable food systems major. Specific strategies designed and proposed for the collaboration between the two Greensboro-based campuses include:

  • Sharing courses and projects to offer collaborative learning opportunities in sustainable agriculture, food systems, and entrepreneurship.
  • Encouraging faculty and students to participate in collaborative workshops and seminars.
  • Recruiting and training undergraduate students from A&T and Guilford College to work jointly on sustainable urban food system issues using Guilford College’s 3-acre farm through partnerships with campus dinning service, local restaurants, refugee resettlement programs, and new immigrant communities in Greensboro.

“The proposed collaboration will benefit N.C.
A&T faculty and students in learning about urban multi-functional agriculture development to support low-income, immigrant communities in the Greensboro area,” says Liang, who says she is honored by the award and in collaborating with Guilford faculty and students.

“The collaboration will also enhance the knowledge and skills in entrepreneurial strategies to support urban food systems for faculty and students at both A&T and Guilford College.”

The SBI Best Practices Award recognizes colleges and universities that develop “new entrepreneurial curriculum, new or innovative classroom delivery and superior outcomes from existing programs.” Liang also won top SBI awards in 2015 and 2014, while at the University of Vermont. She was noted for a Teens Reaching Youth (TRY) for Food Systems award in 2015, and in 2014 for her Dollar Enterprise collaborative entrepreneurial curriculum, which she has since been able to establish at A&T between the CAES, the College of Engineering and the College of Business.

Student cooking competition adds more spice to Small Farms Week

A live, Iron Chef-style cook-off between students in their mecca of munching, Williams Dining Hall, is featured as the closing event of a week set aside each March to celebrate agricultural  accomplishments in North Carolina. The cooking competition is also a fun way to involve students in Small Farms Week, N.C. A&T’s annual celebration of small-scale agriculture, held this year March 19-25. The cooking competition is from 4-6 p.m.  March 23.

“Even though agriculture is a foundation of our university, many of our students are not aware of, nor participate in, the variety of programs and resources in the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences,” says Dr. Michelle Eley, community and economic development specialist for The Cooperative Extension Program. “For Small Farms Week, we wanted to do some things to engage students and make them aware of our depth and breadth.”

This year’s observance focuses on the ways North Carolina’s $84 billion agricultural industry can be made safer and more sustainable. Sponsored by The Cooperative Extension Program at A&T, the week will feature workshops, guest speakers and demonstrations. It will also highlight the fact that locally grown, sustainably managed foods are the best and healthiest choices.

“One clear way to make farming a sustainable enterprise is to have another generation that understands and values its importance, including eating fresh food,” Eley says.

Three teams of four students, each equipped with blender, microwave, griddle and a cornucopia of fresh, local foods from which to choose, will take up a prominent place in the dining room to make one entrée and one dessert.

The contest will be timed and judged by a panel of faculty and students based on originality, taste, presentation and something else: the use of a secret ingredient, to be revealed only at the start of the competition. The evening event is timed to capture students’ attention when they are at their hungriest and slide a little education about healthy eating across their tables.


Planners are hoping the students will come to the cooking competition for the fun, but leave having heard the message that fresh, local, sustainable farm products are easy to incorporate into a lifestyle.  Even a collegiate one.

Just a few days are left to register for Small Farms Week activities: or for more informatio, nvisit:

Yu’s peanut allergen research helps agricultural supporters in ‘Retaking the Field’

Peanut allergen research by CAES research scientist Dr. Jianme Yu is one of 11 featured stories highlighted in the recent release of the new report, Retaking the Field—Strengthening the Science of Farm and Food Production, produced by the Supporters of Agricultural Research (SoAR) Foundation.

SAES research scientist Dr. Jianmei Yu's contributions that led to a patented procedure "that is significantly reducing or virtually eliminating two key allergens from peanuts without affecting the flavor."

The publication explores research projects funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s (NIFA) Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) at each institution.

Publicists for Retaking the Field — the second in SoAR’s series — note that: “Scientists are solving some of the thorniest questions in food production despite the USDA’s limited research budget. Even as the research budget for all federal agencies has climbed, USDA’s share has nearly been cut in half.”

The story of Yu’s groundbreaking work on reducing allergens in roasted peanuts that has been  patented and is being readied for the commercial marketplace, is the only report in the series  featuring an 1890 institution.

“Researchers are solving some of the most important problems that farmers face,” said Thomas Grumbly, SoAR Foundation president. “Too often, their success hinges on whether they secure enough funding to keep the lab doors open. Too much top quality, high-impact research is unfunded and left on the cutting room floor.”

The SoAR Foundation leads a non-partisan coalition representing more than 6 million farming families, 100,000 scientists, hundreds of colleges and universities as well as consumers, veterinarians, and others. SoAR educates stakeholders about the importance of food and agricultural research to feed America and the world and advocates for full funding of USDA’s Agriculture Food and Research Initiative (AFRI). SoAR supports increased federal investments to encourage top scientists to create agricultural solutions that improve public health, strengthen national security, and enhance U.S. economic competitiveness.

To download the report, visit .   A limited number of hard-copy reports are also available in the Agricultural Research Division.



Breakfast with champions: CAES Advisory Board hosts meeting

appicon_1024x1024When members of the CAES Advisory Board return to campus for their next meeting, they want to interact with faculty. The advisory panel is hosting a breakfast from 9- 9:45 a.m. Friday, April 28 in the C.H. Moore Research Station, room A-16. CAES members are encouraged to get to know the board, ask questions about the group’s purpose and work, and to find out how the Advisory Board is advancing the CAES’s mission.

Please RSVP to Michelle Capel at by Thursday, March 30.


Poster posit

Faculty and staff preparing for upcoming conferences and other events are reminded of guidelines for helping create quality academic posters. Please note that new poster templates with the CAES’s name change and the appropriate version of the A&T logo are available and should be used.

Ag. Communications strongly encourages the use of Microsoft PowerPoint to create posters for the large format printer at  C.H. Moore. For best results, start with one of the 36″X48″ templates in the “TEMPLATES” folder on Poster Share. (Directions for getting to the templates are the same as for depositing posters to be printed—below.)

The Ag. Comm. staff needs a minimum of three business days  notice to produce a poster.  Posters that do not make use of the required templates must be pre-approved by a department chair, Ag. Research administration or a unit head.

To get a poster into the Poster Share queue for the large format printer (from a computer with a Windows OS):

1. Left click “Start”

2.  Select “Run” (If “Run is not a menu option, press and hold the Windows Key + R)

3. Inside the command box that appears, type ” \\argyle\poster$

4. Save your poster in the directory “To be printed”

5. Once the poster is uploaded, notify Ag Communications that it’s ready for the printer by emailing

When the poster is ready for pickup, the designation “printed” will be added to the name of your work inside the “To be printed” folder. Posters may be picked up in the bin near B-17 at C.H. Moore.

Producing industrial hemp is focus of CAES growers’ meeting

The College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences is hosting an upcoming meeting to help small-scale farmers learn more about how to produce industrial hemp.  Scheduled for 1-3 p.m., Feb. 27 at the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering, at 2907 E. Gate City Blvd. in Greensboro, the meeting will also focus on parameters of the law.

The 2015 North Carolina General Assembly legalized industrial-hemp production and established a pilot program that will help small farmers generate income through production of the new crop. The law was updated in 2016 to establish a research program using the faculty expertise at N.C. A&T and N.C. State University, the state’s two land-grant institutions160321SFW058ed2.

Organized by Dr. Valerie Giddings, the CAES associate dean for research, the meeting will feature information from CAES faculty and staff.

Hemp production in the United States has become a profitable, value-added crop with a number of uses including grain, dietary supplements, textiles, animal bedding, car parts, biofuel, environmentally safe paper and packaging material, and construction. The goal of the N.C. Industrial Hemp Commission is to help North Carolina become a leader in hemp production and processing, to stimulate the economy and to provide viable opportunities for small-scale farmers.

To reserve a meeting space, email or call 336-285-4701.


Williams to advise U.S. Ag. Committee

Dr. Leonard Williams, director of the N.C. A&T Center for Post-Harvest Technologies (CEPHT), has been appointed to the USDA’s Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.

During his four-year term, Williams will advise the secretary and U.S. trade representatives on issues that affect both foreign and domestic policy, and production, in the area of processed foods. The panel is composed of 36 members. Williams’s term started Jan. 15.

“I’m excited,” Williams says. “This appointment gives the CAES and A&T a way to have a voice from an international perspective.”

CEPHT fosters interdisciplinary research after food has been harvested, including developing and testing functional foods, improving processes to extend the shelf life and control spoilage of foodborne pathogens, and evaluating and modeling consumer acceptance of food products, along with other aspects of food production technologies.


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