Category Archives: Family and Consumer Sciences

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

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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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.

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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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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Longtime early childhood professor honored in a major way

Dr. Valerie Jarvis McMillan, an early childhood professional with 25 years of experience, was honored by Guilford Child Development at the 2017 Early Childhood Champions Luncheon in October.

An associate professor in childhood development and family studies in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, McMillan was feted for her legacy of training other early childhood educators. She was honored at the luncheon by none other than Gov. Roy Cooper, who delivered the keynote address, and by A&T Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr., who presented the award to her.

“The people in this room get it,” Cooper told a crowd of nearly 600 people, as reported by the Greensboro News and Record. “You know what it takes to start early in the life of children, many of whom are born into circumstances that are difficult.” Continue reading Longtime early childhood professor honored in a major way

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

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.


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.

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.



Mozambican Fellows at A&T to study child-lunch programs

Five agricultural professionals from Mozambique, southeastern Africa, will visit the CAES next week to learn about the U.S. system of school-lunch programs. Their two-week stay in the U.S. is funded with a $79,000 grant to the CAES from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service Cochran Fellowship Program.

Faculty and staff from the CAES and the rest of campus are invited to a reception for the Mozambican Fellows from 10 to 11 a.m. Thursday, at C.H. Moore, room A-16.  The visit is coordinated by CAES faculty members, Dr. Paula Faulkner, principal investigator on the grant, along with co-principal investigators  Drs. Salam Ibrahim and Meeshay Williams-Wheeler.








Cochran Fellows are provided short-term stays, usually of two to three weeks, to train at universities, government agencies and private companies to help develop their countries’ agricultural-based systems.  They seek to enhance their skills and technical knowledge related to agricultural trade, agribusiness development, management, policy and marketing. Ultimately, the goal is to help strengthen trade between eligible countries and the United States.

During their A&T-based stay, the Mozambican Fellows will attend classes, lectures and food-science laboratories on campus, but they’ll also take field trips to such locations as public school cafeterias, school gardens, food processing plants and cultural sites.

“We want to provide the fellows with an understanding of how the United States government formulates and implements the National School Lunch Program, and what the agricultural sector is doing to increase school nutrition practices,” Faulkner says. “We want to help Mozambique with their food- and-market systems, with the long-term goal of expanding trade between their country and ours through food-assistance networks.”

Since its start in 1984, the Cochran Program has provided training for more than 16,300 fellows from more than 120 countries that are either considered middle income, or with emerging markets and emerging democracies.

NIFA Deputy Director gets a look at CAES research and programs

160819NIFA003ed2Dr. Muquarrab A. Qureshi, the deputy director for USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, spent a day getting to know the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences Friday, taking in some leading research and outreach activities. NIFA provides leadership and funding for programs that advance agriculture-related sciences, and is a major supporter of CAES initiatives.

He met with Dr. Shirley Hymon-Parker, CAES interim dean and a host of administrators and faculty, including the three associate deans, the departmental chairs and Provost Joe B. Whitehead.  Qureshi is the deputy director of NIFA’s Institute of Youth, Family and Community, overseeing its three program divisions in Community and Education, Youth and 4-H, and Family and Consumer Sciences. His campus visit included presentations by CAES family and consumer sciences faculty including Dr. Meeshay Williams-Wheeler and Dr. Carinthia Cherry, who discussed their respective work in parenting and obesity programs. The day also included a tour of the University Farm, a presentation on food innovation and food safety and a visit to the lab where Dr. Jianme Yu discussed the reduced-allergen peanut research she helped develop at A&T, that is now patented and being developed by Alrgn Bio for a commercial market.




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

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,–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, ( ). 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.

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

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.