Research faculty advise agencies to fund Extension overseas

A meeting of the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD) at A&T brought attention to pressing global issues of poverty and hunger, as well as some advice for funding agencies from faculty members who regularly work in agricultural development overseas. The seven member board, which advises the United States Agency for International Development, includes Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr., and met on campus May 18-20.

A panel from SAES included Dr. Manuel Reyes, Dr. Osei Yeboah, and Dr. Anthony Yeboah, who all suggested that funding agencies find ways to translate research data into action on the ground.
Reyes buttressed an impassioned plea for conservation agriculture with photos of rain forest destruction from all over the globe, often the result of cash-poor nations engaging with multinational corporations to plant monocultures, such as pineapple, which are chemical dependent and can deplete soils. Conservation agriculture, on the hand, protects soil while providing income, he said, and advocated more investment in infrastructure to educate farmers.

“What we need to do is scale up, because we know it (conservation agriculture) works,” Reyes said.

Both Drs. Anthony and Osei Yeboah advocated for more funding for Extension personnel in developing nations, to insure that the research-based innovations are more widely adopted, and so that the host countries will have a sense of ownership over implementation.

“Extension will provide the means for ownership,” Dr. Anthony Yeboah said.

More about the BIFAD conference can be found here:
http://www.greensboro.com/a-t-researchers-say-their-work-on-global-hunger-deserves/article_19283972-e7f8-5504-a913-9806597643aa.html#.V0JvRlMj064.mailto

International agricultural development

Faculty, staff and students overflowed a conference room in the Alumni Foundation Event Center to learn about opportunities to work in international agricultural development, during an outreach session by the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD) Thursday, May 19. The seven-member presidentially appointed board, which includes Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr., advises the United States Agency for International Development on ways the nation’s land-grant universities can augment the agency’s mission to end global hunger and poverty.

“Agricultural development (at the local level) is more poverty reducing than urban growth,” noted Rob Bertram, chief scientist for food security for USAID, adding that investing in smallholder farming, and women-run small farms in particular, increases local income, decreases hunger and stimulates job growth.

During the session, officials from the USAID and USDA provided an overview of the many programs and ways to connect to both agencies. Most of the opportunities fall under the USAID’s Feed the Future initiative, which emphasizes introducing appropriate technologies and drought- and pest-resistant crops to smallholder farms in developing nations.  John Watson, minority serving institutions coordinator for USAID, explained that his office is prepared to help institutions like N.C. A&T connect to the agency’s many programs. He and others from USAID emphasized the Payne Fellowship program as one pathway to careers in international ag development.

Martin, who delivered opening and closing remarks, said he appreciated the large turnout, and encouraged faculty to use the information toward their own research, education and outreach efforts.

Information about USAID’s international agricultural development programs can be found by visiting www.USAID.gov and connecting to the agency’s Office of Minority Serving Institutions. Similar programs can be found through USDA’s Office of International Research, which is administered under the Agricultural Research Service www.ars.usda.gov/research/

International opportunities for faculty, students

Students, faculty and staff who are interested in working in international development will have an opportunity to learn how, as N.C. A&T hosts a meeting of the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development Thursday and Friday, May 19 -20, at the Alumni Foundation Event Center. The Board, which includes Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr., advises the United States Agency for International Development on ways the nation’s land-grant universities can contribute to USAID’s mission to end global hunger and poverty.  The SAES Office of the Dean is strongly encouraging the entire SAES community to attend both days to learn about the many exciting opportunities to connect with development agencies. Thursday’s session, 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m., is especially important for anyone interested in connecting with development agencies. Sessions featuring officials from USAID and USDA have been organized especially for faculty and students. Friday’s session is an opportunity to learn about the big trends in feeding the future. It is is 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m., and will feature SAES faculty members Dr. Anthony Yeboah, Dr. Osei Yeboah and Dr. Manuel Reyes on a panel moderated by Dr. Valerie Giddings, interim dean for research.

SAES student facilitates workshop

Trequan McGee
Trequan McGee, president of the SAES chapter of Collegiate FFA, helped organize this workshop for Collegiate FFA members.

extension_iconThe SAES chapter of Collegiate FFA joined forces with the Center for Creative Leadership to bring a leadership workshop to students in the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences Saturday, April 23.

Trequan McGee, a junior majoring in Urban and Community Horticulture,  was a driving force behind coordinating the workshop. In fact, McGee has built a reputation for leadership and networking acumen around the SAES — skills he credits to his participation in the Golden LEAF Scholars Leadership Program. The competitive four-year scholarship and training program is for students from counties transitioning from economic dependence on tobacco. (McGee is from Enfield, in Halifax County.) Many of the projects and workshops in that program are provided by the Center for Creative Leadership, which is how McGee developed contacts for the campus workshop.

“The Center has just been really helpful to me in my development, and I just knew it would be helpful to our students,” McGee said. “Most of our members are freshmen, and can really benefit from these kinds of workshops.”

The lessons in leadership have not been lost on McGee either. Although still an undergraduate, he already seems to be about giving back, and is frequently seen around the School, developing his ideas for outreach or partnerships to enhance the learning environment.

The workshop was just the latest example. McGee recently coordinated a visit from a local chef for a healthy meals cooking demonstration to the Food and Nutritional Sciences Program,  and also invited a representative from Kansas State University to advise students in the Department of Animal Sciences  about how to prepare for veterinarian programs. He also reached out to the N.C. Farm Bureau to create a new FFA committee, Collegiate Young Farmers and Ranchers. While not an official chartered organization, the committee status means that FFA members can now access the events and workshops offered by Collegiate Young Farmers and Ranchers.

“I just always try to strike a balance among my connections and see who would be a good fit to bring to our school,” he said.

McGee also serves as president of the SAES chapter of Collegiate FFA as well as on the Dean’s Advisory Council, and as a participant in the SAES’s prestigious USDA Scholars Program. McGee takes an active role in outreach component of his major too. His recent community horticulture contributions include helping to coordinate a rooftop garden for the wolf exhibit at the Natural Science Center, and a healing garden at Wesley Long Cancer Center.

For more photos of the recent workshop that McGee helped facilitate, visit https://goo.gl/photos/mCZ28vh7pj6cXQCw5

 

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 http://www.greensboro.com/life/n-c-a-t-presents-earth-day-fashion-show/article_d3a4256c-4a22-52a4-ae0a-d30d3e2e8503.html

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, http://www.twcnews.com/nc/triad/top-stories/2016/04/8/denim–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, (http://bit.ly/saesawards ). 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 ylhalley@ncat.edu

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

award_icon
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, jj_richardson@ncsu.edu 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 www.ncgrowingtogether.org

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 www.cefsnc.org

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 www.ag.ncat.edu

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.

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