Category Archives: Academic Departments

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

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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High school students head back to the CAES

An estimated 350 high school students from 20 campuses across the state will return to N.C. A&T for the 15th Agricultural Literacy Fest and Academic Fair, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Feb. 23 in the Alumni-Foundation Event Center.

The College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences hosts the festival annually for secondary school students to learn about the various programs, research, outreach and associated opportunities available to them in agriculture-based careers, which they are encouraged to pursue in the CAES. The event is coordinated during National FFA Week, which this year is Feb. 17-24.  CAES faculty, students and staff from all units and departments will conduct demonstrations, exhibits and interactive sessions during the fest. Continue reading High school students head back to the CAES

Ag Literacy Day

Agriculture isn’t just for farmers any more. That’s the message Dr. Antoine Alston, CAES associate dean for academics, wants the high school students who are coming to N.C. A&T for the 13th Winter Agricultural Literacy Fest this month to understand.

“Young people are often amazed to learn that an agricultural degree can fit their career goals, even if they don’t plan to go into farming,” Alston said.

Southern Vance High School freshman Shiquale Jefferson (right) looks at the difference of tilled soil vs non-till soil during Agricultural Literacy Fest.
Students examine the differences between tilled and non-tilled soil during a previous Ag  Literacy Fest.

In the CAES, it can prepare them for careers in medicine, environmental science, biotechnology, landscape architecture and more.

Each year, the CAES hosts the festival for middle and high school students during National FFA Week. This year, approximately 300 students from 20 high schools across North Carolina plan to attend. The festival is 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Feb. 23 in the Alumni-Foundation Event Center.

This year’s events will include an academic career fair, a tour of the University Farm, presentations from representatives of the agricultural industry, ROTC and university admissions, and a lunch of North Carolina pork barbecue. The Got to Be N.C. Big Cart, a giant shopping cart promoting North Carolina foods, will be available outside for pictures with students.

In addition to being educational, the event is an effective recruiting tool for the CAES, according to Alston.

CAES students demonstrate food-and-nutrition science to high school students during a previous Ag Literacy Fest.

“The students will learn what the CAES can do for them, and then, they can decide to attend N.C. A&T after high school graduation,” he said. “Given the importance of the food, agricultural, and environmental sciences, it is imperative that we identify the next generation of agricultural leaders in order to ensure a sustainable global society.”

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.

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:

Ag ed majors win National Black Farmers Association scholarships

Two agricultural education majors, Kamal Bell of Durham, a graduate student, and Justin Walker of Yanceyville, a junior have been awarded National Black Farmers Association scholarships from the FCA Foundation, the charitable arm of automobile manufacturer FCA US LLC.

151111Bell001ed2Bell, a lateral-entry teacher at Lowe’s Grove Magnet Middle School in Durham, received his bachelor’s in Animal Science Industry, also from A&T’s School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. He said he intends to apply his education toward attaining a teaching license and becoming an agricultural entrepreneur. To start his venture, Bell is finalizing the purchase of land, while he continues to teach biotechnology, animals and anatomy at the middle school.

151110Walker003ed2Walker, who at 23 is already a successful farmer and agricultural entrepreneur, is bucking that trend. His family has retained its Caswell County farmland for several generations, and Walker now is the sole manager, after the 2012 death of his grandfather, John O. “Pete” Walker. With experience growing tobacco, corn and soybeans, Walker is now turning his focus to conventional and organic vegetables. In addition to his college classes, this fall and winter will see him rebuilding a storm-damaged hydroponic greenhouse on his farm, and continuing to refine his mobile farmers-market venture, which he started last spring. That start-up was made possible by a Rural Advancement Foundation International grant, which funded an enclosed trailer. Walker, who accepts SNAP payments, often sets up his mobile market in communities that lack convenient access to fresh vegetables. Walker was also recognized in 2014, for placing second in the annual statewide Collegiate Discussion Meet, sponsored by the North Carolina Farm Bureau. (See )

Bell and Walker were among 19 recipients from across the nation who were selected based upon several criteria, including academic performance, career goals and objectives, demonstrated leadership, and participation in agricultural and community activities. The scholarship was established to encourage more African Americans to pursue the many opportunities that exist in today’s agricultural professions, including food production.

“The plight of the black farmers and the loss of black-owned farms, have been major issues for well over a 100 years,” said John Boyd, Jr., president of the National Black Farmers Association. “In 1910, nearly 1 million black farm families owned over 15 million acres of land. Today, less than 45,000 black farm families own 3 million acres. The NBFA Scholarship program will begin to address black land loss.”

Information about how to apply for the 2016 National Black Farmers Association scholarship program will be available in early May at


SAES students receive accolades

documents_iconDr. Guochen Yang of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Design chaperoned three students in the SAES Multicultural Scholars Program (MSP) to Washington in late August for a meeting of project directors for MSPs and USDA’s National Needs Fellows Program. Both programs provide USDA funding for scholarships that will boost multicultural diversity in the agricultural and food sciences, and natural resource management. Yang’s topic for a presentation at the meeting was “Enhancing undergraduate training of underrepresented ethnic populations in natural resources and environmental sciences”— a discussion of ways in which the training he and other members of the SAES faculty are providing MSP scholars in plant sciences and horticulture have applications for urban and community food production, biotechnology and conservation and renewable resource management.

One of the SAES’s current MSP scholars, Hannah Talton, also had an oral presentation at the meeting. Her focus was on how her “Journey as a Multicultural Scholar” has led her to extracurricular activities as a volunteer as well as introductions to research into plant propagation, tissue culture, and Integrated Pest Management (IPM). MSP scholars James Martin and Trequan McGee had poster presentations at the late-August gathering of MSP and National Needs Fellows project directors. Martin’s poster presentation included plans for research into high tunnel production and rooftop gardening that will augment urban horticulture and community gardens. McGee’s poster presentation included research, internship, leadership development and networking opportunities that have come his way — in addition to high-level classroom and laboratory experiences — through the MSP.

Undergraduate research projects can be ticket to Congressional review


The Council on Undergraduate Research’s (CUR) annual effort to give members of Congress a firsthand look at the range and significance of undergraduate research — Posters on the Hill — is accepting abstracts through Nov. 4. The authors of 250-word abstracts whose posters are selected for Posters on the Hill (a yet to-be-determined date in the spring of 2016) will be notified in early February. Abstracts must be accompanied by a letter of recommendation, on institutional letterhead, from the student’s research advisor. Abstracts should describe policy issues that the research addresses as well as the background of scholarship that inspired it.

Opportunity for undergrads to showcase research coming to Triad

SAES sophomores have until Oct. 16 to submit their research work for George Barthalmus Undergraduate Research Grants. Awards of $100 to $500 will be presented as part of the eighth annual State of North Carolina Undergraduate Research & Creativity Symposium. Applications for a Barthalmus Grant require a 500-word description of the research and its role in the student’s future plans. The grants will be awarded for research work that comes to a conclusion before September 2016.

High Point University will host the Undergraduate Research and Creativity Symposium on Saturday Nov. 14. Freshmen, juniors and seniors (and sophomores not competing for a Barthalmus Grant) have until 5 p.m., Friday, Oct. 30, to register abstracts for displays, and poster and oral presentations covering research work that they would like to present at the conference.

Showcase of Excellence a success

Fifty-two SAES students delivered poster presentations describing what they did on their summer vacations, during the 4th annual Showcase of Excellence at B.C. Webb Hall Sept. 9. Unlike vacations of many students, the summer experiences SAES students described were mostly work and little play. Students worked in industry offices, government agencies, or university laboratories, conducting research or learning business practices. Others studied abroad, or participated in Cooperative Extension internships. Most programs in the SAES require students to complete an internship or some other form of experiential learning that complements their majors.

“The hands-on experience proves to be an invaluable asset to students, whether they are preparing for their first job interview, or their applications to graduate school, and that is why we stress the importance of these internships,” said Dr. Antoine Alston, associate dean for academic studies, and coordinator of the Showcase.

2015 SAES Showcase of Excellence

Elon’s annual crash course for teaching faculty set for Aug. 13

academics_iconThe focus for Elon University’s 12th Annual Summer Conference  for university and college educators on Thursday, Aug. 13 will be “Designing Engaged Learning Experiences,” and the program offers strategies for pedagogies that have produced lasting impacts. The opening plenary will be led by Dr. Michael Palmer, associate Director of the Teaching Resource Center at the University of Virginia. Although there is no registration fee for conference attendees, online pre-registration is requested.

Student knowledge of food distribution could be prize worthy

grant_iconThe Food Distribution Research Society (FDRS) has a May 30 deadline for its 2015 Richardson-Applebaum Memorial Scholarship Awards, which include cash stipends of $750 for the best master’s thesis and for the top master’s-level case study or research paper concentrating on food distribution and marketing, related policy issues or economic development. The winners in both categories also will have their travel expenses paid for a trip to Philadelphia for the FDRS 2015 annual meeting Oct. 9-14.

Wells-Fargo funding applications due May 8

The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) has financial assistance provided by Wells-Fargo for current sophomores, juniors or seniors at A&T or another of TMCF’s 47 member institutions. May 8 is the application deadline. Applicants for Wells Fargo Scholarships must have a minimum GPA of 3.0, and they are required to submit an essay, of at least 500 words, that responds to the questions: What college course has had the greatest impact on you with regard to your worldview, personal growth or career plans? And how will this affect your plans for the future? Students selected will receive one-year scholarships of $7,000 for the 2015-16 academic year, and the funding can be applied to costs for on-campus room and board and required textbooks, as well as tuition and fees.

SAES students once again return from national MANRRS with reasons to crow

award iconThe SAES sent a delegation of 14 students and four faculty advisors to Houston for the 2015 Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) Career and Training Conference March 26-28.  SAES student standouts at the 2015 MANRRS conference were:

  • Shayla Jackson – elected undergraduate Region 2 vice-president for 2015-16 and placed third in impromptu speaking
  • Trequan McGhee — second in the MANRRS essay contest
  • Micah Rollie — first in the undergraduate research poster contest
  • Keegan Johnson — third in the undergraduate research poster contest

After a pair of consecutive quiz bowl national championships, the Aggie quiz bowl team had to settle for a second place finish (to a team from Virginia State) this year.  Comprising the quiz bowl team were: Keegan Johnson, Micah Rollie, Trequan McGhee, Hannah Talton, Amanda Belton, and Taylor McFadden.

Dr. Tracy Hanner of the Department of Animal Sciences, USDA’s 1890 liaison to A&T, Larry Hartsfield, Dr. Paula Faulkner of the Department of Agribusiness, Applied Economics and Agriscience Education, and Dr. Radiah Minor of Animal Sciences served as advisors for the SAES MANRRS chapter for the 2014-2015academic year. Hanner returned to Greensboro with the MANRRS National Advisor of the Year Award.

Showcasing for undergrad research has April 10 abstract deadline

The Division of Research and Economic Development’s Web page that’s accepting registrations for the Undergraduate Research Showcase will be open for submissions until April 10. The Research Showcase will be Friday, April 17, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the International Civil Rights Center & Museum in downtown Greensboro. The registration form requires a title and abstract. Students whose posters are accepted for the Showcase will need to mount their handiwork on a hard-backed surface (for display on an easel).

April 13 – 17 is National Undergraduate Research Week, an annual slate of activities with incentives for students to work closely with faculty mentors to become part of the cutting-edge of new discoveries in their fields of study that is coordinated by the Council on Undergraduate Research, a national organization composed of nearly 10,000 individual members and more than 650 colleges and universities.

To get a poster in line for the large format printer at C. H. Moore, your PowerPoint file should be placed in your personal folder in the “poster share file.” Remember, one dimension of the poster can be no larger than 42 inches. This is the width of the paper roll and the maximum the machine will print. All posters should also be carefully edited before they are placed into the folder.

Poster-printing requests are first-come, first-served. The Ag. Comm. staff needs a minimum of three business days of lead-time before the pickup day for a poster. Posters that do not make use of pre-approved 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. Left click “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$”

Once the poster is uploaded, notify Ag Communications that it’s ready for the printer by sending an email that gives the title of the document and date it was uploaded to

To determine if a poster has been printed and is ready for pickup  pull up the  “Poster Share” Web page and look for a poster with the same original name you gave it to which “printed” has been added. Printed posters may be picked up in the bin in the reception area at the Agricultural Research Program’s administrative suite at C. H. Moore.

Scholarship opportunities for dairy students

April 15 is the application deadline for The National Dairy Shrine’s annual scholarship program that awards more than $40,000 to students at U.S. colleges and universities majoring in agricultural studies relevant to the human resource needs of dairy industries. The Dairy Shrine’s support for higher education includes scholarships of $2,500 and $1,000 for high school seniors planning to work on a degree in dairy or animal science with a communications emphasis next fall; as well as a $1,500 scholarship and five-to-eight $1,000 scholarships for sophomores and juniors majoring in animal sciences, ag. economics or ag. education who are planning to pursue careers in marketing dairy products. Also in the offing is a $1,000 grant for a current freshman with a major related to dairy or animal sciences and an interest in working in the dairy industry in the future; and seven $1,500 scholarships for students now completing their first, second or third year at a college or university who have been involved in showing dairy cattle.

Know some SAES students who proved their mettle in 2014-15?

Faculty and staff whose work with SAES students in the current academic year brought them in contact with individuals who deserve special recognition for contributions to the personal and professional development of their peers have until March 20 to nominate their candidate for one of three Aggie Pride Student Awards that A&T’s Office of Student Activities will present at the 2015 GALA Awards ceremony on April 22. March 20 is also the nomination deadline for three other awards that will be presented at the GALA Awards ceremony: four awards for students who have distinguished themselves as volunteer tutors or peer mentors; four will be presented to students who have taken their passion for education outside of the classroom through internships; there will be an award for the student organization president of the year; and the university will announce the Dr. Dorothy J. Harris Exemplary Leadership Award. For all awards other than the three Aggie Pride Student Awards and the student organization president of the year award, nominees should have an overall GPA of at least 3.0 who is also a member of at least one student organization, and membership in at least one student organization.

March 20 is also the deadline for nominations for A&T’s top student organization for the 2014-15 academic year, and for the student organization that’s led the way in community service. Awards for a student organization advisor of the year and four awards for faculty and staff who have distinguished themselves in the 2014-15 academic year also will be announced April 22, and those too have a March 20 nomination deadline.