A season of student scholarship continues for the CAES

Chancellor Martin congratulates Desiree Hedrick as his 2018 award for Academic Excellence.

CAES scholarship is in full bloom this season, with the recent award announcements of the inaugural Cheatham-White Scholarships, the Lewis and Elizabeth Dowdy Scholars, and the Chancellor’s Award for Academic Excellence.  All awards are predicated on high grade-point averages and demonstrated scholarship.

Shown with an agricultural communications class, Alston says academic excellence is core to the CAES’s mission.

“Excellence in academics has always been part of the mission for the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences and these students are examples of this ideal,” says Dr. Antoine Alston, CAES associate dean for academic studies.

The University announced this week the names of the 20 Dowdy Scholars, whose endowments are bestowed in honor of the university’s sixth president, the late Dr. Lewis C. Dowdy and his wife, Elizabeth.  Three of those awardees — 15 percent of the total number of recipients —  will study in the CAES. Those incoming scholars to the CAES are:

  • Lia Artis of Chester, Va., who will major in food and nutritional science.
  • Jaylah Autry of Bayboro, an animal science major.
  • Quincey Lee of Holly Hill, S.C., an animal science major.

Continue reading A season of student scholarship continues for the CAES

Minor lauded in a major way


Dr. Radiah Minor, associate professor in the Department of Animal Sciences was recently named one of just 17 teaching excellence specialists for 2018 by the University of North Carolina Board of Governors.  An immunologist who studies immune  regulation in mammals and teaches animal science, Minor was chosen earlier this month for the prestigious annual award along with faculty representing each of the other 16 campuses in the UNC system. She is a Ph. D. graduate of Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tenn., who joined the CAES in 2008. Each of the winners were recognized for innovative and creative teaching methods that inspire students.

“Dr. Minor makes sure students get practical experience, as well as professional development and training,” says Dr. Shirley Hymon-Parker, CAES interim dean.

In an essay on her teaching philosophy submitted as part of her nomination for the Excellence in Teaching Award, Minor discussed her lifelong passion for learning and the many ways she seeks to inspire and engage students, to instill the same excitement in them.

“Through all the teaching tools I use, I encourage students to step further out of their comfort zones, challenging them to push themselves to grow personally and intellectually,” Minor said. “But I also drive home the point that there are few excuses for not trying or not doing your absolute best to achieve a goal. If you want it, you must do what it takes to get it.”  Continue reading Minor lauded in a major way

N.C. A&T students co-host biggest MANRRS in 33 years

Briana Holness


More than 1,200 students, faculty and industry leaders from across the country made the 2018 Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) conference the best attended in its 33-year history.

Held April 4-8 at the Koury Convention Center, the conference was co-hosted by the MANRRS chapter of the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at N.C. A&T, and by its sister land-grant affiliated chapter at NC State in Raleigh. Other hosts and sponsors included agrochemical and pharmaceutical companies BASF Corp., Bayer and Syngenta.

The annual gathering and career fair was tailored to students in a range of agriculture-related fields including agribusiness, animal sciences, biological engineering, fashion merchandising, environmental systems and food science.

This year’s conference was also distinguished by its first-ever pop-up shop. The short-term retail space merged the concepts of agribusiness and fashion merchandising and succeeded in engaging a broader array of agricultural-based disciplines in the conference. Students in A&T’s fashion merchandising and design program, which is an agricultural discipline, and other student CAES volunteers operated the store.

Area middle and high school students interested in agricultural careers are also scheduled to attend the conference. They will tour the University Farm at A&T, and also conduct a laboratory experiment.

Key CAES participants in MANRRS 33 included: graduate student Briana Holness, region 2 graduate vice president, Dr. Radiah Minor, lead coordinator for MANRRS at A&T and associate professor in the Department of Animal Sciences; Dr. Chastity Warren-English and Dr. Paula Faulkner, associate professors in the Department of Agribusiness, Applied Economics and Agriscience Education; Dr. Richard Robbins, facilities director, and Lynda McGee, administrative support associate for the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Design.

Dixon makes international splash

Dixon Weaving in Mexico

Dr. Devona Dixon, an assistant professor in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, is enriching her spring-semester classroom instruction with insight from her winter sabbatical focused on textile production. Dixon spent two weeks in Yucatan, Mexico on a textile and tourism study-tour for professionals hosted by the International Textiles and Apparel Association of which she is a member.

The Yucatan Peninsula is a hub for embroiders and producers of quality henequen products. Dixon’s tour allowed her to observe henequen production, processing, yarn production, traditional backstrap weaving of fabric; and construction of various products, including hammocks and such accessories as handbags and hats. Dixon even constructed a henequen purse. She also observed the production of hand-made panama hats from sisal fibers.

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Duplin County Grower is Top Small Farmer in North Carolina

Most Small Farmers of the Year have spent decades in their fields. Not this year’s honoree.

2018 Small Farmer of the Year Ronald W. Simmons Jr. only started Master Blend Family Farms in 2012. But although Simmons may have less experience than many past winners, he already matches their passion for agriculture.

The Duplin County grower was honored by Cooperative Extension at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University during the Small Farmers’ Appreciation Luncheon on campus March 28.

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CAES leadership participates in Brazilian agriculture study mission

Dr. Shirley Hymon-Parker was among the top agricultural leaders in the state who recently accompanied N.C. Commissioner of Agriculture Steve Troxler on a trade mission to Brazil, studying the South American country’s farms, factories and other agriculture-related industries.

Brazil is a leading exporter of some of the same commodities for which North Carolina is known --   poultry, tobacco, cotton, soybeans—and Hymon-Parker, interim dean of the CAES, came away from the tour with impressions on how agriculture in Brazil and North Carolina can be mutually beneficial. The trip also included discussion on Brazil’s role in addressing global food security.

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CAES student writes his own ticket to USDA diversity program

Jabril Wright, who is majoring in agricultural and environmental systems with a concentration in environmental studies, is headed to Washington, D.C., thanks to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Student Diversity Program.

Dr. Antoine Alston, professor and associate dean for academics, and Larry Hartsfield, the CAES’s liaison for the USDA 1890 Program, helped Wright apply to the program. The session provides participants a weeklong trip to Washington capped by their attendance at the Agricultural Outlook Forum, the USDA’s largest annual meeting, Feb. 22-23 in Arlington, Va. Now in its 11th year, the program gives undergraduate and graduate students real-world learning opportunities in contemporary agribusiness, scientific research and agricultural policy.

Continue reading CAES student writes his own ticket to USDA diversity program

Lynda Brown honored for mentorship

Lynda Brown

Dr. Lynda Brown, an associate professor in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, has received the Network of Minority Health Research Investigators (NMRI) Medallion for her contributions to the network’s national training and mentoring efforts. NMRI is sponsored by the Office of Minority Health Research Coordination in the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

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Small Farms Week promises big festivities

2017 Small Farms Week award recipients and speaker are flanked by Cooperative Extension, CAES and A&T.

With the theme “Small Farms, Big Impact,” the 32nd annual tribute to small-scale agriculture will feature workshops, tours and farming demonstrations.

Sponsored by Cooperative Extension at N.C. A&T, the annual celebration is set for March 25-31 and kicks off with a discussion and farm tours March 26 in Robeson County, home of 2017 N.C. Small Farmer of the Year, Lucius Epps. Campus events are also scheduled on the March 26 opening date at Webb Hall. Small Farms Week activities continue March 27-28 at A&T, with educational workshops, demonstrations and a March 28 luncheon where the 2018 Small Farmer of the Year will be announced. Continue reading Small Farms Week promises big festivities

NIFA Seeks Applications for Small Business Innovation Research – Phase II

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is seeking applications for the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) – Phase II program from previous Phase I awardees.

The SBIR program is carried out in three separate phases. Phase I determines the scientific or technical feasibility of ideas submitted by applicants on research topic areas solicited. Phase II requires a more comprehensive application, outlining the proposed effort in further detail. Phase III’s focus is to stimulate technological innovation and return on investment from research carried out in Phases I and II. Continue reading NIFA Seeks Applications for Small Business Innovation Research – Phase II

Merry Monday

Monday is being made merry this season, as CAES Interim Dean Shirley Hymon-Parker hosts her annual holiday reception. The fete is scheduled from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday, Dec. 11, in the student lounge area of Webb Hall.

Refreshments will be served. Music will be played. Spirits are expected to be festive. All CAES faculty and staff are encouraged to attend the floating reception to celebrate the successes of the semester and fellowship with one another.

Dr. Antoine J. Alston completes prestigious program

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

Dr. Antoine J. Alston, CAES associate dean for Academic Studies,  graduated from the Food Systems Leadership Institute (FSLI) in November. The program offers leadership development to upper-level leaders in higher education, government and industry. Alston has taught, advised and mentored countless students in his teaching and administrative career. Through the FSLI, he proved that he also is a life-long learner.

The program provides fellows with strategies to handle leadership challenges and opportunities for the future. Alston was a member of the FSLI’s cohort 11 and participated in the program from 2015-2017. He was presented with a special acknowledgement at the annual meeting of the Association for Public and Land-Grant Universities held in Washington.

Dr. Misty Blue-Terry receives APLU Top Honor in Extension Excellence

The Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) has awarded Dr. Misty Blue-Terry, 4-H STEM specialist for Cooperative Extension at N.C. A&T, the 2017 Excellence in Extension Regional Award at its annual meeting in November in Washington.

At A&T, Blue-Terry provides statewide direction for 4-H programs. She specializes in educational strategies for increasing the technical and soft skills to succeed in STEM careers for limited-resource and socially disadvantaged audiences. She delivers effective training and educational support materials for Extension field staff and their clientele.

Dr. Meeshay Williams-Wheeler receives grant to encourage healthy lifestyles

Dr. Meeshay Williams-Wheeler has received a $500 grant from the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences for a project to combat the childhood obesity epidemic through gardening.

The project, FCSfitKIDS: Promoting Healthy Eating and Physical Activity in a Family Mentor Experience, will teach undergraduates how to use gardening education and activities to encourage young children to eat healthy and stay active. Continue reading Dr. Meeshay Williams-Wheeler receives grant to encourage healthy lifestyles

DeShawn Blanding thrills National FFA Convention

Biological Engineering major DeShawn Blanding concluded his yearlong term as Southern region vice president of the National FFA with an electrifying speech.

The South Carolina native delivered his retiring address at the 90th annual National FFA Convention and Expo, an event held Oct. 25-28 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Among the messages he shared with the audience was the importance of hope Continue reading DeShawn Blanding thrills National FFA Convention

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