All posts by CAES

Kiyonna Williams: Internship leads to food sciences career path

Kiyonna Williams, a food and nutrition major, found a connection to the research that her mentor Reza Tahergorabi, Ph.D was doing with sweet potatoes.

Being an Undergraduate Research Scholar has already paid off for Kiyonna Williams, and she doesn’t even graduate until Saturday.

Williams, a food and nutritional science student with a concentration in food science, worked with Reza Tahergorabi, Ph.D to measure the physiochemical properties of surimi – minced fish that can be flavored and molded into different shapes – mixed with sweet potato starch.

She collected data on the product’s ash content, carbohydrate content, protein content, water-holding capacity, color, texture and more. The Atlanta native began the project last academic year and completed it this fall. Continue reading Kiyonna Williams: Internship leads to food sciences career path

Osei Yeboah honored for service to military veterans

Dr. Osei Yeboah receives the Advocate of the Year award from Secretary Larry Hall of the N.C. Dept. of Military and Veterans Affairs. On the left is Kyle Winder, president and board chairman of N.C. VetBiz.

For his years of service to North Carolina’s veteran farmers, Dr. Osei Yeboah has been recognized by the North Carolina Veteran’s Business Association (NC VetBiz).

Yeboah received the Advocate of the Year award at the group’s 2018 Procurement Summit, held in Raleigh during the summer. Presenting the award were Larry Hall, secretary of the N.C. Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, and Kyle Winder, president and board chair of NC VetBiz.

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Ahmedna Named Dean of the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences

North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University has named Mohamed Ahmedna, Ph.D., a renowned researcher and an N.C. A&T faculty member between 2000 and 2010, dean of the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, effective Oct. 1.

Ahmedna has been a fellow with the American Association for the Advancement of Science at USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture in Washington. He also was a professor of food science and nutrition at Qatar University, where he served as associate dean for research and graduate studies in the College of Arts and Sciences, 2010-2016. Continue reading Ahmedna Named Dean of the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences

Sang receives $2.8 million grant to study whole grains

There’s evidence that whole grains can help prevent chronic disease, but there aren’t accurate tools to measure beneficial compounds from whole grains in the body. To better understand the effects of whole grains on health, biomarkers for their exposure and effects are needed.

Shengmin Sang, Ph.D., a food scientist with North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, has received a $2.8 million, five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institutes of Food and Agriculture to change that. He will work with his research partners to identify biomarkers for whole grain wheat and oats.

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Faculty Photo Days

CAES photographer James Parker has set aside the mornings of Wednesday, Sept. 19, and Thursday, Sept. 20, to take photos of new faculty members and other faculty who need new photos.
Parker will be taking photos 9 a.m.-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. If faculty are unavailable during the times set aside for portraits, please get in touch with Parker to schedule another time.

Dr. Guochen Yang, Zhongge Lu Receive Patent

Alexandrian laurel (Danae Racemosa L.) is an evergreen shrub in high demand. But meeting that demand isn’t easy: The seed germination of Alexandrian laurel often takes up to 12 to 18 months with a germination rate of only about 20 percent. Due to its slow-growth rate, it can take six years to produce a saleable one-gallon size plant.

Dr. Guochen Yang and research technician Lu (Cindy) Zhongge in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Design have found that germinating seeds in the presence of cytokinins and/or auxins increased in vitro shoot multiplication and seedling quality in the shrub. The application of the cytokine Benzyladenine was found to balance seedling development by accelerating shoot growth and slowing root growth, whereas another cytokine, Thidiazuron, significantly promoted shoot multiplication and proliferation by producing 5-30 shoots per seed.

This research and the resulting patent will help ensure a more plentiful and reliable source of Alexandrian laurel in the agricultural marketplace, particularly in the landscape and nursery industries.

RAP student uses research to hone design skills, meet a need

A decade ago, when Mikaili McNeill was 7, her mother let her watch “Project Runway.” She loved seeing how competing designers responded to the reality show’s challenges, and she started to dream about becoming a professional clothing designer.

This summer, McNeill, a rising high school senior from Knightdale, tackled a design challenge of her own during the four-week Research Apprenticeship Program at A&T. Her father, who participated in the program 26 years ago, had encouraged her to apply.

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Summer programs offer ag insights

Another summer has passed and another crop of high school students – and potential Aggies – have graduated from the CAES’s two signature pre-college programs. More than 60 high school students participated in the Institute for Future Agricultural Leaders (IFAL) and the Research Apprenticeship Program (RAP).

“Agricultural youth enrichment programs are vitally important to the future of the global agricultural industry,” Associate Dean Dr. Antoine J. Alston said. “The College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at N.C. A&T State University has a long heritage of training future agricultural leaders. Programs such as RAP and IFAL are critically important to fulfilling our mission as a land grant university.”

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Dr. Sung-Jin Lee Receives AAFCS Scholarship Award

Dr. Sung-Jin Lee in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences and four co-authors received Honorable Mention for Outstanding Scholarship Article in the Journal of Family & Consumer Sciences (JFCS).

Lee and her co-authors, Dr. Valerie L. Giddings, Sheryl Renee Robinson, Dr. Kathleen R. Parrott and Gene Brown, wrote “The Influence of Home Modifications on Aging in Place for North Carolina Low-Income Elderly Homeowners.” The article reported on a study (funded by USDA NIFA) that examined the influence of home modifications on successful aging in place for a sample of North Carolina low-income elderly homeowners.

The JFCS is a quarterly, peer-reviewed scholarly journal published by the American Association of Family & Consumer Sciences (AAFCS). The award was announced at the AAFCS 109th Annual Conference & Expo in Atlanta, Ga.

N.C. A&T breaks ground for farm pavilion

The first phase of $12.3 million worth of construction at the N.C. A&T University Farm began July 11, signaling an expanded era of research, education, community engagement and agribusiness development – including Aggie ice cream.

The College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, which has oversight for the farm, hosted a groundbreaking that drew a standing-room only crowd of university and elected officials and A&T supporters, who came to envision what 7 acres of the 492-acre farm will look like by the year 2022.

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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

Brianna 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.

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To the CAES goes the trophy

The CAES is the winner of the A&T Campus Walk Challenge for February, in competition with the Student Health Center. With more than 60 registered participants in the College, walkers logged 9.6 million steps for the four-week challenge.

In addition to bragging rights, the CAES was gifted with a trophy and a banner, on display in the dean’s office at Webb Hall, and a feather banner located at the building entrance.

Dr. Shirley Hymon-Parker, interim dean of the CAES, congratulated participants on the victory during a post pep-rally last month to accept the prizes from Student Health Center organizers. She notes that the true victory, though, is in developing and maintaining a healthy life and work environment, which is the goal of the campus health initiative.

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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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Speedway to Healthy races to fight childhood obesity

Thousands of North Carolina school children have brushed teeth with a giant toothbrush and filtered through kidneys during tours of the 1,200-square-foot, interactive exhibit The Speedway to Healthy.

Designed to combat childhood obesity, the custom-made exhibit of the human body’s interior was created and is managed by Cooperative Extension at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.

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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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