NC State News News from NC State University 2016-04-28T15:44:32Z WordPress University Communications <![CDATA[Belltower Lighting to Honor Faculty]]> 2016-04-28T15:42:15Z 2016-04-28T15:42:15Z NC State lights the Belltower red on Tuesday, May 3, to mark the university’s annual Celebration of Faculty Excellence, an event honoring faculty members who have earned recognition, awards and accolades during the academic year.

The dramatic lighting effect is reserved for special occasions at NC State, such as Founders Day, the induction of faculty members into the National Academies, notable athletic victories and major scholarship awards.

The Belltower is also illuminated by red floodlights on holidays that honor veterans, including Memorial Day and Veterans Day. The Memorial Tower, as it is officially known, was created to honor NC State students killed in World War I. The “legend in stone” was completed in the late 1940s and dedicated on Nov. 11, 1949.

University Communications <![CDATA[Zeal on Wheels: It’s Bike Month]]> 2016-04-28T14:12:07Z 2016-04-28T14:07:58Z Pump up the tires and knock the rust off the pedals: May is Bike Month at NC State.

With many students off campus between the spring semester and first session of summer school, there won’t be as much traffic to dodge, so those faculty, staff and students who are around are invited to ride to work and to participate in several campus events during May.

May 6 is the annual Capital City Bike Ride. A group of NC State riders will gather at the Belltower at 8 a.m. to join the larger group in Boylan Heights at approximately 8:30 a.m. Registration is requested at either the event’s Facebook page or Eventbrite page. The ride will wander through the streets and greenways of Raleigh.

May 20 is the NC State Bike to Work Day Pit Stop on Centennial Campus, part of the regional Bike Month celebration to encourage and reward people who commute to campus by bicycle. Participants will receive Raleigh bike maps, bike lights, a copy of the book Everyday Cycling by Elly Blue, commuter accessories and a light breakfast.

The pit stop will be located at Centennial Campus’ Venture III building from 7 to 9 a.m. For more information, visit the Facebook page or EventBrite page.

The event is sponsored by NC State’s Wolftrails in partnership with the Institute of Transportation Research and Education, Centennial Campus Development and GoSmart.

admin <![CDATA[’83 NCAA Champions to Visit White House]]> 2016-04-28T14:07:28Z 2016-04-28T14:06:11Z 0 Tim Peeler <![CDATA[Engineering an Olympic Dream]]> 2016-04-28T11:31:05Z 2016-04-27T21:00:05Z Jonathan Addison came to NC State to become an engineer, not an Olympian.

Next Saturday, that first dream will come true when the Raleigh native and Enloe High School graduate receives his degree in industrial engineering, along with 83 current and former student-athletes and thousands of other students in all degree fields. Like many, he’s already accepted a job in his chosen field.

He won’t start work, however, until after he finishes competing for the NC State men’s outdoor track and field team and makes a trip to Eugene, Oregon, for the U.S. Olympic Trials in late July.

“Going to the Olympics is something I’ve dreamed about a long, long time,” he says.

One of the country’s top long jumpers, Addison finished second at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in February and produced an Olympic-standard distance to earn his invitation to the trials. If he finishes in the top two there, he will make the U.S. Olympic team headed to the 2016 Rio Janeiro Games in Brazil in August.

First, Addison will pick up his degree at spring commencement exercises next Saturday at PNC Arena. He’ll do that after competing on Friday at the Wolfpack Last Chance Meet at the Paul Derr Track, where he has trained for the last four years to fulfill his athletic dreams.

A three-time All-American and three-time ACC champion, Addison has twice been named the ACC Indoor Field Athlete of the Year and earned back-to-back ACC Outdoor Performer of the Week honors this spring following his jumps at the Florida Relays and the Raleigh Relays.

He’s also earned academic honors from the conference as one of two NC State seniors who earned ACC Postgraduate Scholarships. Cross country runner Kaitlyn Kramer, who will graduate with degrees in chemical engineering and textiles, was also honored, while two-time NCAA champion Nick Gwiazdowski, majoring in parks, recreation and tourism management, and All-American offensive lineman Joe Thuney, an accounting major, both received Weaver-James-Corrigan honorary awards.

The athletic recognition has been a nice supplement to Addison’s college career, but track was not his primary interest when choosing his hometown school.

“The main reason I came to NC State was because of the engineering program,” he says. “Track was the No. 2 thing. I knew that I wanted to be prepared for a career after school. That’s always been my focus.”

NC State long jumper Jonathan Addison and longtime track and field coach Rollie Geiger.
NC State long jumper Jonathan Addison and longtime track and field coach Rollie Geiger.

Wolfpack head coach Geiger, now in his 34th season, has always emphasized to recruits that they need to focus on more than just their four years of competition at a school.

“We encourage student-athletes in our program to challenge themselves academically,” Geiger says. “We don’t want them to take the easy path. Jonathan has been that way since he enrolled in school.

“He’s one of those special young men you have in your program over the course of a career.”

Addison has gotten better with each passing season. In 2014, he was 20th at the outdoor championships. Last year, he was 14th at the indoor championships and fourth at the outdoor. And in the winter, he was second at the indoor championships.

He’s also gotten faster as a sprinter. At the Raleigh Relays, he had a wind-aided 10.47-second 100-meter dash, which is just 0.03 seconds off his personal best. At the Virginia Relays in late April, he ran a wind-legal 10.53-second 100 meters and teamed with football standout Nyheim Hines, Shannon Patterson and Quashawn Cunningham to post a 39.42-second time in their season debut in the 4X100 relay, a mark that ranks among the top 10 in the nation.

Now that his course work is over, he can focus on the rest of his competitions, which included the ACC Outdoor Championships in Tallahassee, Florida, May 13-15; the NCAA East Preliminary, May 26-28 in Jacksonville, Florida; and the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Oregon, June 8-11.

Natalie Hampton <![CDATA[Grad School Event Honors Faculty, Students]]> 2016-04-27T18:24:24Z 2016-04-27T18:22:09Z 0 Alastair Hadden <![CDATA[Art2Wear 2016]]> 2016-04-27T21:05:56Z 2016-04-27T17:53:23Z For 15 years, the annual Art2Wear fashion show has been challenging young designers at NC State to create wearable art and put it in front of a passionate audience.

What was once a boutique campus event — first held in “The Pit” at the College of Design with a boombox for music and nearly as many models as attendees — has grown into the premier educational project of its kind in North Carolina and across the wider region, drawing a crowd of 4,000 people annually.

This year’s show took place on April 22 at Talley Student Union. Working alongside the team of nine fashion designers — and the models who showcased their work — were student event planners, photographers, videographers, hair and makeup artists, fundraisers and more. Planning and executing Art2Wear demands an ensemble Think and Do performance.

The value of the show for those students is not lost on Justin LeBlanc, an NC State alumnus and two-time contestant on the reality TV show “Project Runway.” LeBlanc, who initially studied to be an architect, found his love for fashion by entering Art2Wear in 2008. The former Caldwell Fellow now works as an assistant professor at the College of Design — and serves as mentor to most of the show’s designers.

“Art2Wear is where I got my start,” says LeBlanc. “I did not do fashion until Art2Wear, and it changed my life completely. So as the teacher now, I’m on the other side of the table, and just seeing the students that create this work and seeing their passion and their desire to bring something to the audience … it’s a beautiful thing.”

University Communications <![CDATA[Hunt Library Focus of ‘Our State’ Program]]> 2016-04-26T15:09:26Z 2016-04-26T15:09:26Z The Emmy Award-winning series Our State will feature the Hunt Library in an episode on UNC-TV next week. The program will explore the striking architecture, interior design and technological advancements of the futuristic library, including its innovative robotic book delivery system, the bookBot.

In a media release, the producers said the Hunt Library revolutionizes the concept of the university library as a space for more than just checking out books, offering numerous work spaces equipped for 3-D printing, game design, video simulations, and other tech-oriented projects in an open, collaborative environment.

“Hunt Library: The Library of the Future” airs 9 p.m. Monday, May 2, and 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 5. Find more information about this episode and Our State online.

Matt Shipman <![CDATA[Study Finds Online HIV Prevention Resources Face Resistance From Black Female College Students]]> 2016-04-25T12:55:07Z 2016-04-25T12:55:07Z New research from North Carolina State University and Pennsylvania State University finds that black female college students were often unlikely to use online resources related to HIV prevention, due to the stigma associated with the disease and concerns that their social network would learn they were accessing HIV-related materials.

“We assumed that providing information about HIV prevention online would be an effective way of reaching black female college students,” says Fay Cobb Payton, an associate professor of information technology at NC State and lead author of a paper on the work. “We thought it would resonate and be accepted, and we were wrong.”

The researchers convened eleven focus groups, consisting of a total of 60 black women who were college students. Half of the focus groups were based in North Carolina, the others in Pennsylvania.

Based on the results of those focus groups, the researchers developed a website and social media tools containing culturally relevant, culturally sensitive information about HIV prevention designed to address the needs of black female college students. The online resources were then shared with members of the target population. The researchers conducted follow-up surveys, meetings and one-on-one interviews to determine how effective and useful the online resources were.

The results suggest that there are several barriers, including stigma and societal perceptions, which limit black women’s willingness to use social media to seek and share HIV prevention information even when the resources are tailored for the target population.

“We found that stigma by association was playing a significant role in limiting their use of our social media tools,” Payton says. “Even just interacting with educational information about HIV carried a social stigma. There was a fear, particularly among the Pennsylvania students, that engaging with the information would lead peers to think they were HIV positive.”

Both groups of students were concerned about how they’d be viewed as black women – by peers, family and larger social networks – if they were seen to be educating themselves about HIV. This concern motivated students to carefully manage where and how they seek HIV prevention resources.

“Study participants thought the online resources were great, but accessing the information appeared to carry a social cost,” Payton says. “They would rather get information via hard-copy, like pamphlets or brochures, because there’s no electronic footprint that their peers or family might see.

“Sometimes, as designers, we make assumptions about our audience,” Payton adds. “When we talk about creating educational resources for stigmatized health conditions, we need to be aware that there are culturally imposed limits to what people want to access and engage with online. So, attempts to educate various audiences about HIV or other culturally sensitive topics need to take into account how the target audience wants to access information.”

The paper, “Online Health Awareness and Technology Affordance Benefits for Black Female Collegians – Maybe Not,” is published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. The paper was co-authored by Lynette Kvasny of Penn State. The work was supported by the National Science Foundation under grant numbers IIS-1144327 and IIS-114430.


Note to Editors: The study abstract follows.

“Online Health Awareness and Technology Affordance Benefits for Black Female Collegians – Maybe Not”

Authors: Fay Cobb Payton, North Carolina State University; Lynette Kvasny, Penn State University

Published: April 19, Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association

DOI: 10.1093/jamia/ocw017


Objective – We investigate the technology affordances associated with and anticipated from an online HIV prevention awareness platform, myHealthImpactNetwork, intended to reach Black female college students. This population is at increased risk for HIV transmission, but is not often studied. In addition, this population regularly uses digital tools, including websites and social media platforms, to engage in health information seeking.

Results – Contrary to our proposition, the participants’ information needs did not align with the anticipated benefits associated with the technology affordances of the prevention awareness platform. Concerns about personal online social capital, reputation management and stigma limited participants’ willingness to engage with the HIV prevention content on the website.

Discussion – Although the participants’ use digital tools as a primary means of becoming informed about health, concerns about friends, family and others in their social network assuming that they were HIV infected limited their willingness to engage with myHealthImpactNetwork. Print media and conversations with healthcare professionals were preferred channels for HIV prevention information.

Conclusions – Perceptions of stigma associated with HIV negatively impact health information seeking and sharing online in the social networks in which Black college students engage. However, by understanding the unanticipated consequences, researchers can effectively design for cultures and sub-cultures infected and affected by health disparities.

University Communications <![CDATA[5 Students Win Fulbright Grants]]> 2016-04-26T15:32:30Z 2016-04-22T14:54:07Z Five NC State students will head off around the globe as winners of prestigious Fulbright grants for the 2016-17 academic year. As Fulbright Scholars, they’ll teach and conduct research in fields ranging from chemistry to architecture at sponsoring institutions in Europe, South America and Africa.

English Teaching Assistantships 

QuiAnne’ Holmes, a senior majoring in both psychology and Spanish language and literature, will serve as a teaching assistant in Colombia. She is a member of the University Scholars Program, president of the peer mentor program for multicultural students and a senior representative on the Afrikan American Student Advisory Council. She also has tutored student athletes, served as a resident advisor and written for the Nubian Message.

Alex Starnes, a senior in electrical and computer engineering with a minor in Spanish, will serve as a teaching assistant in Spain. He has completed internships at Boeing and Eastman Chemical, served as president of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and is active in Eta Kappa Nu, the electrical and computer engineering honors fraternity.

Research/Study Grants

Rachel Gonsalves, completing her fifth-year certification in the environmental design in architecture program, will conduct a research project titled “Tradition vs. Innovation: Cost-Benefit Analysis of Rwandan Construction Techniques” at the University of Rwanda.

She was a 2012 recipient of a U.S.-U.K. Fulbright Institute Award to Nottingham-Trent University. She also received a Fellowship Advising Office enhancement grant in 2012 to pursue an internship at CO2 Bamboo in Nicaragua.

Gonsalves’ sister, Lianne, received a Fulbright grant in 2010-11 to teach in Venezuela.

Danny Smyl, a Ph.D. candidate in civil engineering, will conduct a research project titled “Electrical Methods to Improve Monitoring of Structural Health” at the University of Eastern Finland.

Smyl, who earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in civil engineering from the University of Kansas, is a Marine Corps veteran who served as a platoon commander and assistant operations officer in Afghanistan. He also has competed in amateur powerlifting events.

Kyle Virgil, a senior in chemistry with minors in philosophy and biology, will conduct a research project titled “Solar Fuel Production through Catalytic Carbon Dioxide Reduction” at Uppsala University in Sweden.

He is a member of the University Scholars Program, a scholar in the Initiative for Maximizing Diversity program, president of the Society of Multicultural Scientists and student ambassador in the College of Sciences. He has presented his research at the Undergraduate Research Symposium and he is the second author on a paper in the Journal of Physical Chemistry.

Members of the campus review committee included:

  • Kristine Alpi — NCSU Libraries
  • Bethany Bradshaw — Foreign Languages and Literatures
  • Kyle Bunds — Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management
  • Natalie Bunds — Biological Sciences
  • Burak Erdim — Architecture
  • Ronald Fodor — Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
  • Jillian Haeseler — Foreign Languages and Literatures
  • Eric Money — Center for Geospatial Analytics
  • Ruie Pritchard — Instruction and Counselor Education
  • Karen Tharrington — Foreign Languages and Literatures
  • Tim Wallace — Sociology and Anthropology

NC State has produced 54 student Fulbright Scholars since 1946, and is recognized as one of the nation’s top Fulbright-producing institutions.

University Communications <![CDATA[Get Smart: Sign Up for OIT Workshops]]> 2016-04-22T13:47:33Z 2016-04-22T13:47:33Z With the spring semester quickly wrapping up, this is a great time to hone your Google, WordPress or computing skills. And you won’t find better instructors than the smart yet patient folks in the Office of Information Technology, who just happen to have a variety of classes planned through August.

To find out more or register for a session, click on the workshop title below. View the full calendar of workshops in ClassMate.

Lunch and Learn Events

Google Training

WordPress Training

Other Training

Additional workshops and offerings may be added throughout the semester.  For a complete schedule, visit Classmate Scheduled Workshops.

If you would like to schedule custom software training for your department, unit or classroom, complete the Custom Training form. If you have any questions about OIT training, contact Katie McInerney, OIT training coordinator, at 513-4091 or via email at

Carla Davis <![CDATA[Green Bricks Honor Sustainability Efforts]]> 2016-04-28T11:31:27Z 2016-04-21T16:50:16Z 0 University Communications <![CDATA[NCSU Libraries Wins Top Service Award]]> 2016-04-21T20:21:20Z 2016-04-21T16:46:32Z 0 admin <![CDATA[Check Out NC State at Triangle SciTech Expo]]> 2016-04-21T16:38:04Z 2016-04-21T16:38:04Z 0 University Communications <![CDATA[Spring Crafts Fair April 30]]> 2016-04-21T16:36:28Z 2016-04-21T16:36:28Z 0 University Communications <![CDATA[Another Big Jump in Rankings for Poole College]]> 2016-04-21T20:21:01Z 2016-04-21T16:31:01Z 0 Tim Peeler <![CDATA[Spellings Wowed By NC State Visit]]> 2016-04-21T18:59:09Z 2016-04-21T16:11:04Z New UNC President Margaret Spellings took one last glance at the activity tracker on her wrist as she headed back to Holladay Hall—more than 10,000 steps on an illuminating tour of the largest campus in the university system.

It was the 12th visit she’s made to the state system’s 17 institutions, and she came away with a strong sense of NC State’s place in higher education.

Ms. Spelling, center, walks with NC State Chancellor Randy Woodson, right, and University Architect Lisa Johnson in front of the Talley Student Union while on campus.
President Margaret Spellings, center, walks with NC State Chancellor Randy Woodson, right, and university architect Lisa Johnson in front of the Talley Student Union.

“At the student meeting, they said something that I thought was perfect,” Spellings said. “This is a very pragmatic place. It’s all about getting it done, taking world-class research and translating it to real-world applications.

“It’s a solution-oriented, pragmatic institution.”

A highlight among the cutting-edge research she saw on her day-long listening tour was the work being done in the National Science Foundation-certified Advanced Self-Powered Systems of Integrated Sensors and Technologies (ASSIST), where wearable technologies go way beyond counting steps.

That the multi-university center is led by a female engineering professor, Veena Misra, and is attracting a larger number of female students into an emerging field made a big impact on the system’s new leader, as she absorbed multiple demonstrations at the center’s home in the Monteith Engineering Research Center.

Spellings also saw the innovative work being done at the Center for Additive Manufacturing and Logistics, where massive 3-D printers are churning out new processes for creating spare parts for large industrial manufacturing purposes and for household pets, among other things.

She saw the university’s past at Holladay Hall, its present at both the Hunt Library and the new Talley Student Union and how the past will become the future when the renovation at Reynolds Coliseum is completed in August.

President Spellings meets NC State University faculty members Rodolphe Barrangou (center) and Montserrat Fuentes.
President Spellings meets NC State University faculty members Rodolphe Barrangou (center) and Montserrat Fuentes.

At Hunt, she saw a demonstration of the famous bookBot, the student game lab, a digital history project that recreated a Martin Luther King speech in Durham and the naval training lab.

“I loved the library,” she said. “I’ll be back.”

She met with business leaders with ties to NC State’s Centennial Campus during a listening lunch and had meetings with faculty, staff and students in separate listening sessions.

And she came away wowed by what is being done at the state’s first land-grant university.

“It is a tremendous place,” she said as her tour concluded. “It obviously provides an excellent education with incredible opportunities that are so relevant to the workplace, whether it is in engineering or political science or you name it.”

Walking step-by-step with Spellings was NC State Chancellor Randy Woodson, showing off his school’s most compelling features like a proud father. And Spellings gave him credit for much of what she saw.

“All of this starts with a tremendous leader,” she said. “Show me a good leader and I’ll show you a good enterprise.”

Spellings said among the things she will take up with the General Assembly when it begins its short session in Raleigh next week was a pay increase for faculty and staff.

“The No. 1 priority of mine and the Board of Governors is a staff and faculty pay raise,” she said. “It’s been a long time and we are in a super-competitive environment. You can’t run great institutions without great people.

“We need some assistance there.”

President Spellings talks with NC State students during her listening tour.
President Spellings talks with NC State students during her listening tour.

She also addressed media questions about North Carolina’s controversial HB2, a law that she says has “cast a chill on campus” and the recent federal appeals court ruling in Virginia that puts federal funding for schools with discriminatory policies in jeopardy.

Spellings enjoyed her meeting with student leaders and heard their thoughts and concerns, particularly about their passion for social change, their thoughts on diversity and inclusion and the overall learning atmosphere for a student body of more than 34,000.

“They are such a good representation of what is going on here,” she said. “They are smart and passionate. They are warm and loving towards each other.

“The feel of the place is palpable.”

And that, she said, was her favorite part of the day, which also included a double scoop of Wolf Tracks Howling Cow ice cream.

“The students are always my favorite part of these tours,” she said. “They are why we are here. Without them, none of this would be possible or necessary.”

University Communications <![CDATA[Schools Partner to Offer Legal Courses]]> 2016-04-21T12:32:03Z 2016-04-21T12:32:03Z Campbell Law School and NC State’s Office of Professional Development are teaming up to offer continuing legal education courses. The courses will be taught at the law school and facilitated through NC State.

The first class, Advanced Interview and Investigation Techniques: Title IX, EEO, Threat Management and Hiring Optimization in Higher Education, will be offered Thursday, May 19. The course will be taught by Campbell Law adjunct professor Peter Romary, managing partner at QVerity Legal.

NC State’s Office of Professional Development oversees the event planning, integrated marketing, registration, financial management and reporting needs for each course.

David Hunt <![CDATA[NC State Star to Disco for Dollars]]> 2016-04-28T11:31:45Z 2016-04-20T21:18:36Z Mindy Sopher admits she occasionally gets winded. The radiation treatments that helped her battle and defeat cancer four times in 12 years left scars on her lungs.

But what the relentless optimist lacks in lung power she makes up in heart.

This Saturday, Sopher, an academic advisor and lecturer in exploratory studies, will step out on the dance floor during the Southern Women’s Show at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds to compete in a fundraiser to benefit children with disabilities.

The competition, Dancing Like the Stars, matches local celebrities such as Sopher, WRAL anchor Kathryn Brown and WTPF reporter Brandon Dickson with professional dance instructors from the Arthur Murray Dance Center in Cary. The teams are not only competing on the dance floor; they’re going toe to toe to see who can raise the most money for the National Inclusion Project, a nonprofit group that supports children with physical and developmental disabilities.

Shaking Some Trees

After practicing her dance routine for hours after work, Sopher takes to social media to reach out to friends, colleagues and former students who might kick in a dollar or two toward the effort. You can vote for Sopher and help her raise funds by donating online.

Mindy Sopher prepares to compete in Saturday’s Dancing Like the Stars contest.
Mindy Sopher is well known in the Triangle for community service. Raleigh marked “Mindy Sopher Day” in 2009 in recognition of her work with the Komen Foundation and the American Cancer Society.

“I’m shaking some trees,” she says. “I don’t mind asking for help, because it’s for the kids.”

Her efforts are beginning to pay off. A student she advised at Memphis State three decades ago donated $50 and then passed the word to his fraternity brothers in Phi Gamma Delta to chip in, too.

“He challenged them to pony up because Miss Mindy bought their T-shirts and raffle tickets and doughnuts back then,” she says. “It’s payback time.”

At the Arthur Murray Center, instructor Alex Lloyd echoes Sopher’s enthusiasm. He’s looking forward to their moment in the spotlight on Saturday, when they’ll shake their booties to the tune “Dancing Queen” by Abba.

“Anybody who knows Mindy knows how wonderful she is,” he says. “She just lights up the studio. She loves dancing, and she loves the cause. She inspires everybody.”

Lloyd and David Cox, owner of the Cary Arthur Murray franchise, choreographed the dance routine, which incorporates moves from the tango and the hustle, spiced with a flirtatious Latin flavor.

“It has a Saturday Night Fever feel to it,” Lloyd says. “It’s pretty challenging.”

Stepping Up

Sopher is determined to step up to the challenge, recalling her early successes on the dance floor, including a dance recital at 6 — at which she wore a glow-in-the-dark outfit — and ballroom-dancing lessons at 12.

“I taught my little brother how to do the the cha-cha in the living room,” she says. “And dancing taught me the little grace that I have.”

The effort also reinforces the philosophy of service learning that lays the foundation for the course Sopher teaches in nonprofit leadership and development every semester. Students in the course, some of whom volunteer with the National Inclusion Project, encouraged her to join the dance contest.

“Service learning is far more than volunteering,” she explains. “It’s integrating ideals with action, and then reflecting on that and growing from that. It focuses on critical-thinking skills. It’s the essence of ‘think and do.’”

That reminds her she still has plenty to do before Saturday’s event.

“I’m on the hunt for a costume,” she says, browsing a website for vintage 1970s clothing. “I have a feather boa and a curly, white wig. But I still need an outfit that I can dance in. Something with bright colors and bell-bottoms.”

Sopher tilts her head thoughtfully as she checks out a picture of a psychedelic tunic with ruffled sleeves.

“Something like this,” she says, breathing a little easier.

Matt Shipman <![CDATA[Model Makes Designing New Antennas Orders of Magnitude Faster]]> 2016-04-22T19:04:33Z 2016-04-20T15:44:07Z Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a model that allows antenna designers to identify efficient configurations for antenna designs in minutes, rather than days. The model is designed to expedite development of next generation “multi-input, multi-output” (MIMO) antennas, which allow devices to get more use out of the available bandwidth.

“Our model produces nearly optimal results, and should save designers an enormous amount of time in reaching results that can be used to create prototypes or that could be refined using conventional modeling techniques,” says Jacob Adams, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at NC State and senior author of a paper on the work.

In a MIMO system, multiple transmitters can send data on the same frequency but along different spatial paths. Multiple receivers can distinguish between those multiple streams of data based on the uniqueness of the paths that the radio waves take to the multiple receivers. This type of system requires MIMO antennas which are often planar, or flat, and are found in everything from smartphones to satellite arrays. The point at which a transmitter and receiver connect to the antenna is called a port. If a MIMO system is using two ports, it can double the amount of data being transmitted. And you can achieve greater benefits by using more ports.

This is important because competition for available bandwidth is fierce. Commercial and military communication services must broadcast and receive information via the finite spectrum of radio frequencies, even as consumers are calling for faster download speeds for their personal devices.

However, implementing the MIMO concept in small, mobile devices can pose significant design challenges. That’s because the ports can “couple,” or interact, when they are placed too close together – making it effectively impossible for them to differentiate between the signals they are receiving from the transmitters.

Designing a MIMO antenna and choosing the best location for each port on a MIMO antenna can be time consuming, because each possible configuration of ports requires designers to calculate how the configuration would affect all of the ports. And the problem increases by an order of magnitude for every additional port used in the design.

The researchers addressed this problem by creating an approximate model that does two things. The model calculates the performance of each probe point in regard to its efficiency in sending and receiving information. The model also tells users the extent to which each configuration of probes causes the individual probes to couple.

The researchers calculated that directly determining the performance impact of every possible configuration for a MIMO antenna with only two ports would take approximately 7,000 minutes – or more than 116 hours – using conventional methods. Using their model, the researchers were able to identify a near-optimal configuration in approximately 15 minutes.

The paper, “Computing and Visualizing the Input Parameters of Arbitrary Planar Antennas Via Eigenfunctions,” is published online in the journal IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation. Lead author of the paper is Binbin Yang, a Ph.D. student in Adams’s lab. The work was supported by the National Science Foundation’s Enhancing Access to the Radio Spectrum program, under grant number 1343309.


Note to Editors: The study abstract follows.

“Computing and Visualizing the Input Parameters of Arbitrary Planar Antennas Via Eigenfunctions”

Authors: Binbin Yang and Jacob J. Adams, North Carolina State University

Published: April 15, IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation

DOI: 10.1109/TAP.2016.2554604

Abstract: We propose a method for modeling planar multiport antennas of arbitrary shape using characteristic mode theory (CMT) without physically including the feeds. The characteristic modes of the feed-free structure are expanded to form a basis for the eigen-fields and a virtual probe is introduced to excite the antenna. We develop a broadband multiport circuit model for the antenna impedance based on the excitation of each mode, where the feed locations affect only transformer ratios in the model, enabling design and analysis of arbitrary feed combinations over a wide frequency range. Because a CMT expansion can be computed for any planar geometry, the shape of the radiating element can also be arbitrary. While this approach is approximate, several examples are presented to demonstrate that its accuracy and flexibility make it suitable for various planar antenna design applications. With the rapid evaluation of input impedance at multiple excitation points, input parameters such as the multiport S, Y, or Z parameters can be plotted as a heat map on the antenna structure, facilitating planar multi-port antenna optimization and feed selection.

Matt Shipman <![CDATA[In Gaming, Player Behavior Reflects Roles – Even When No Roles Are Given]]> 2016-04-13T11:55:42Z 2016-04-20T12:00:59Z New research from North Carolina State University finds that player behavior in narrative role-playing games (RPGs) reflects specific character roles – even if the game tells players nothing about the character’s role. The finding is relevant to both game designers and gaming researchers who study player behavior in RPGs.

“We wanted to know how, if at all, having a role influenced player behavior,” says Ignacio Domínguez, lead author of a paper on the work and a computer science Ph.D. student at NC State. “We also wanted to know if it mattered whether the role was assigned versus selected by the player.

“We found that people’s behavior was consistent with their role, regardless of whether it was assigned or chosen,” Domínguez says. “What’s more, we found that people’s gameplay was consistent with a single role even if they didn’t have one. In other words, people exhibit consistent, role-based behavior even if they are given no information about what their role should be.”

Screenshot of a multiple choice query in the game. Click to enlarge.
Screenshot of a multiple choice query in the game. Click to enlarge.

For the study, researchers created a simple, single-player RPG. The RPG is a visual, interactive narrative game, but offers no cues about the physical attributes of the player character. (The game can be found online at

The researchers had 210 people play the game, and tracked their gameplay. Seventy-eight players were assigned to one of three roles: fighter, mage, or rogue; 91 players were allowed to choose from the three roles; and 41 players were given no role – they simply began gameplay.

The gameplay consisted of not only moving the character through the game environment, but also making a dozen multiple choice decisions about the character’s actions in an unfolding fictional narrative.

Each option within every multiple choice decision was designed to be consistent with one of the three character roles. For example, when players are asked to select a weapon, they can choose from an axe (which is consistent with the “fighter” role), a staff (mage), or a set of daggers (rogue).

After evaluating the players’ decisions, researchers found that – whether roles were assigned or chosen – player behavior was very consistent with their explicit roles. Players, with fighter roles, for example, chose the “fighter” options on decision-making tasks 65.7 percent of the time. Mages chose the “mage” options 76.1 percent of the time, while rogues chose the “rogue” options 69.7 percent of the time.

“The results strongly support the idea that players make choices based on their character’s role, even if they didn’t pick the role,” says David Roberts, an assistant professor of computer science at NC State and senior author of the paper. “And we were careful, when creating the game, to validate the role descriptions we provided to players, as well as validating that all of the gameplay options were perceived consistently with the relevant roles.” That validation process was done in an earlier study that included 231 study participants.

The researchers also assessed the gameplay of players who were given no information about their characters’ roles, to see if player decisions tended to be consistent with a role anyway. They did this using cluster analysis, which told them how often player decisions tended to cluster around a specific role.

“We found that, even when players were not explicitly given a role, participants still role-played,” says Rogelio Cardona-Rivera, co-author of the paper on the work and a computer science Ph.D. student at NC State. That is, players who were told nothing about their character still tended to make gameplay decisions as if the character had been specifically defined as a fighter, mage or rogue.

“Our study is also interesting from a narrative perspective, because it sheds light into how players cast themselves as characters in an unfolding narrative during gameplay,” Cardona-Rivera says.

“Our findings could have two main uses,” Domínguez says. “First, it tells game designers that they may want to focus their content development efforts on actions consistent with character roles, and spend less time on content that players are unlikely to use.

“Second, the study highlights the fact that researchers studying gaming and player choice need to account for roles within games, or else their findings may be skewed,” Domínguez says.

The paper, “The Mimesis Effect: The Effect of Roles on Player Choice in Interactive Narrative Role-Playing Games,” will be presented May 11 at the ACM Computer-Human Interaction conference in San Jose, Calif. The paper was co-authored by James Vance, who participated in the work while an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. The work was supported by the Department of Energy under grant number DE-FG02-97ER25308. Vance’s participation was made possible by the National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates program under grant number 1262899.


Note to Editors: The study abstract follows.

“The Mimesis Effect: The Effect of Roles on Player Choice in Interactive Narrative Role-Playing Games”

Authors: Ignacio X. Domínguez, Rogelio E. Cardona-Rivera, and David L. Roberts, North Carolina State University; James K. Vance, University of Wisconsin-Stout

Presented: May 11, ACM Computer-Human Interaction conference, May 7-12, San Jose, Calif.

DOI: 10.1145/2858036.2858141

Abstract: We present a study that investigates the heretofore unexplored relationship between a player’s sense of her narrative role in an interactive narrative role-playing game and the options she selects when faced with choice structures during gameplay. By manipulating a player’s knowledge over her role, and examining in-game options she preferred in choice structures, we discovered what we term the Mimesis Effect: when players were explicitly given a role, we found a significant relationship between their role and their in-game actions; participants role-play even if not instructed to, exhibiting a preference for actions consistent with their role. Further, when players were not explicitly given a role, participants still role-played – they were consistent with an implicit role – but did not agree on which role to implicitly be consistent with. We discuss our findings and broader implications of our work to both game development and games research.

Tracey Peake <![CDATA[East Coast Should Expect Active Hurricane Season, Researchers Say]]> 2016-04-15T14:34:37Z 2016-04-15T13:16:47Z The 2016 Atlantic hurricane season will be significantly more active than the overall averages from 1950 to the present, according to researchers at North Carolina State University.

The 2016 season should see 15 to 18 tropical storms and hurricanes forming in the Atlantic basin, which includes the entire Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, according to Lian Xie, professor of marine, earth and atmospheric sciences at NC State. This number is significantly higher than the 1950 to 2014 average of approximately 11 named storms.

Of those named storms, 8 to 11 may grow strong enough to become hurricanes, with the possibility of three to five storms becoming major hurricanes.

This year’s numbers for the Gulf are more in line with historic averages: Xie’s data indicate the likelihood of two to five named storms forming, with one to three of the storms becoming a hurricane.

In the Caribbean, two to four tropical cyclones may form, with one to two becoming a hurricane. In this scenario, the Caribbean could see one major hurricane this season.

Xie’s methodology evaluates more than 100 years of historical data on Atlantic Ocean hurricane positions and intensity, as well as other variables including weather patterns and sea-surface temperatures, to predict how many storms will form in each ocean basin.

NC State collaborators on the research include Montserrat Fuentes, professor of statistics; Joseph Guinness, assistant professor of statistics; Marcela Alfaro-Cordoba, graduate research assistant in statistics, and Bin Liu, adjunct assistant professor in marine, earth and atmospheric sciences.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30.


Matt Shipman <![CDATA[Study Argues ‘Winner-Winner’ Behavior May Shape Animal Hierarchies]]> 2016-04-15T15:55:16Z 2016-04-14T17:34:50Z Researchers have developed a behavioral model that explains the complexity and diversity of social hierarchies in ants, and which scientists believe may help us understand the nature of other animal societies – from primates to dolphins. The work was done by researchers at North Carolina State University, the University of Oxford and Arizona State University.

Indian jumping ants police their nest mate (center) to stop her rise in the hierarchy. Photo credit: Clint Penick. Click to enlarge.
Indian jumping ants police their nest mate (center) to stop her rise in the hierarchy. Photo credit: Clint Penick. Click to enlarge.

“Earlier research on animal hierarchies has focused almost exclusively on behaviors that have a clear winner and loser, because this is how a single individual can establish dominance,” says Clint Penick, a postdoctoral researcher at NC State and co-lead author of a paper on the work. “But this doesn’t help us understand animal societies where there is a group of dominant individuals rather than a single ‘alpha.’ We think that some dominance behaviors are actually winner-winner interactions, increasing the social authority or standing of both participants.”

The researchers began by examining the behaviors and social hierarchy of the well-studied Indian jumping ant (Harpegnathos saltator). When an H. saltator colony’s queen dies, the female workers engage in ritual fights to establish dominance. While these battles can be fierce, they rarely result in physical injury to the workers. Ultimately, a group of approximately 10 workers will establish dominance and become a cadre of worker queens or “gamergates.”

A social hierarchy like that seen with H. saltator’s gamergates is called a shared dominance hierarchy. Most of other ant societies establish despotic hierarchies or linear hierarchies. In a despotic hierarchy, one individual is dominant and all other individuals share the same subordinate status. In a linear hierarchy, there is a clear pecking order: there is a dominant alpha, a beta who is dominant over all but the alpha, a gamma who is dominant over all but the alpha and beta, and so on.

Three behaviors used to establish a shared dominance hierarchy in Indian jumping ant colonies. Image credit: Clint Penick. Click to enlarge.
Three behaviors used to establish a shared dominance hierarchy in Indian jumping ant colonies. Image credit: Clint Penick. Click to enlarge.

The researchers identified three behaviors related to establishing a hierarchy in H. saltator: biting, in which one ant bites another’s head, has a clear winner and loser, with the winner establishing dominance; policing, in which subordinate workers restrain challengers to a dominant individual; and dueling, in which two individuals engage in a martial display with their antennae, but which has no clear loser.

“We were curious as to whether dueling results in a winner and a loser, or if it is a winner-winner interaction that allows workers to express aggression without requiring a loser,” says Jürgen Liebig, an associate professor at Arizona State University who is senior author on the study. Penick adds that dueling may be like, “a couple of football players psyching each other up before a game.”

To explore this question, the researchers created a computer model that allowed them to manipulate all three behaviors in order to see how the behaviors affected the social structure of a colony.

When biting was present, but policing and dueling were absent, the model resulted in a linear hierarchy. When biting and strong policing were present, the model resulted in a despotic hierarchy with a single dominant individual. It was only when biting, policing and winner-winner dueling were all present that the model resulted in a shared dominance hierarchy.

“We see examples of all three types of social hierarchies in various ant species, but we also see them throughout the animal kingdom – and we know that shared dominance hierarchies can be found in animal societies from lions to dolphins,” Penick says. “Higher cognition certainly plays a role in shaping the societies of many vertebrates, but we think the presence or absence of winner-winner behaviors may be an important factor in determining the nature of dominance hierarchies for a wide variety of species.”

The paper, “A simple behavioral model predicts the emergence of complex animal hierarchies,” is published in the journal The American Naturalist. Co-lead author of the paper is Takao Sasaki of Oxford. The paper was co-authored by Zachary Shaffer, Kevin Haight, Stephen Pratt and Jürgen Liebig of Arizona State. The work was supported by the National Science Foundation under grant number 1012029.


Note to Editors: The study abstract follows.

“A simple behavioral model predicts the emergence of complex animal hierarchies”

Authors: Takao Sasaki, University of Oxford; Clint A. Penick, North Carolina State University; Zachary Shaffer, Kevin L. Haight, Stephen C. Pratt and Jürgen Liebig, Arizona State University

Published: April 14, The American Naturalist

DOI: 10.1086/686259

Abstract: Social dominance hierarchies are widespread, but little is known about the mechanisms that produce non-linear structures. In addition to despotic hierarchies, where a single individual dominates, shared hierarchies exist where multiple individuals occupy a single rank. In vertebrates, these complex dominance relationships are thought to develop from interactions that require higher cognition, but similar cases of shared dominance have been found in social insects. Combining empirical observations with a modeling approach, we show that all three hierarchy structures–linear, despotic, and shared–can emerge from different combinations of simple interactions present in social insects. Our model shows that a linear hierarchy emerges when a typical winner-loser interaction (dominance biting) is present. A despotic hierarchy emerges when a policing interaction is added that results in the complete loss of dominance status for an attacked individual (physical policing). Finally, a shared hierarchy emerges with the addition of a “winner-winner” interaction that results in a positive outcome for both interactors (antennal dueling). Antennal dueling is an enigmatic ant behavior that has previously lacked a functional explanation. These results show how complex social traits can emerge from simple behaviors without requiring advanced cognition.

Sherry O'Neal <![CDATA[DELTA Grants Make VR a Reality]]> 2016-04-14T17:09:55Z 2016-04-14T17:09:55Z The use of virtual reality (VR) has skyrocketed in the past few years and is making its mark on higher education in a significant way.

NC State faculty are leading the way in using virtual reality in a wide spectrum of contexts across campus. DELTA has used VR to develop an interactive training for food safety inspectors and created a 360-degree spherical a field trip of a prescribed fire.

Imagine if students were able to use virtual reality to be immersed in their designs to work out the kinks along the way? Or to prepare for their first teaching experience?

That is what is happening with two DELTA Exploratory grants currently underway.

Immersive Designs

Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture Kofi Boone has experimented with different techniques for students to communicate their design ideas for years. He has tried animation and filmmaking.

Virtual reality tools are now used in landscape architecture.
Virtual reality tools are now used in landscape architecture.

For Boone, virtual reality was a logical next step.

His grant is seeking a better solution for graduate students to test out their design solutions through VR for an advanced media course.

According to Boone, “Landscape architecture has challenges in helping students gain the tools to visualize and communicate their work so they can understand their designs better, whether or not the space they are making will work, whether or not the materials they are choosing are right.”

“How can we make a process, starting with our students, that teaches people to communicate their design work and their ideas using virtual reality from the beginning,” asks Boone.

“It requires a great amount of work and a level of abstraction (drawings and models) to convey that. And there is never a moment when you can look around and immerse yourself into the design to check to see if you are doing things right,” he adds.

The project began on a small scale with students placing a digital rendering of a piece of public art on Fayetteville Street into a specific setting. Zeke Krautwurst, a graduate student in landscape architecture, and Skylar Kitchen, an undergraduate student in architecture, have been testing various methods to augment their designs in a 360-degree photosphere and had success stemming from a couple.

Boone anticipates that by taking objects and placing them into different settings, students will begin to learn a process for determining the impacts of spatial changes to landscapes.

“So placing the object in the picture and allowing you to look at it in that immersive world, no matter which way you turn your head, you can see how the new thing feels in the context to what is actually there,” he says.

“The suspicion is that [students] can eventually make those decisions faster in a self-directed way, not requiring an instructor to come in and tell them what is right and wrong,” Boone says.

Throughout spring 2016, beta testing is underway with Boone’s research assistants. Other students are also becoming increasingly aware of the work and have expressed an interest in incorporating some of the new techniques into their master’s coursework.

The potential for students to display their designs in the virtual image of their site location will open up many avenues for community design input as well.

“We want to make a process, starting with our students, that teaches people to communicate their design work and their ideas using virtual reality from the beginning,” Boone explains.

“Elsewhere, it is difficult to pull together this range of effort and expertise with this level of grant funding, but DELTA has been able to do it and it is starting to pay off,” Boone says.

Teaching and Evaluation Applications

DELTA’s VR experience with the Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences aims to assist students in a different way.

Producing a virtual-reality video is a complex process.
Producing a virtual-reality video is a complex process.

“We never would have thought about applying for an exploratory grant if we had not first discussed it with DELTA,” says Natalie Cooke, postdoctoral teaching scholar and program director for A PACKed Kitchen, a satellite partnership of the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle and Share Our Strength.

Cooke and Suzie Goodell, associate professor in nutrition, reflected on their first DELTA Grant in 2014 when converting a seated course for distance education delivery. They were in search of ideas to replace live field trips so DELTA used 360-degree spherical video to take distance education students on a virtual tour of Grand Asia Market.

Goodell says, “We got a lot out of our first course development grant. It’s $8,000, but I have gotten more value than being able to hire an assistant. You get all the technology, expertise and time from the DELTA crew. They give you access to a wealth of resources. Knowing that we had the education and technology support was vitally important.”

This cycle, Cooke and Goodell are using 360-degree VR technology in a new way—as a virtual teaching experience to transport their students into a teaching role in front of a “live” audience.

NC State students enrolled in NTR 420 Community Nutrition work in groups to prepare lessons and instruct community classes about nutrition—from knife skills to making recipes more healthy. The students teach groups of senior citizens or students from the local Boys and Girls Club, cook a meal, dine with them and discuss what they have learned about nutrition from the session.

No matter how prepared Cooke’s students seemed prior to teaching a “Cooking Matters” class, when they went to teach the class, they were still apprehensive, she says.

Comments like “I wish I knew… I wish I had seen… If only we had been to a Cooking Matters class before going into the community…” repeatedly surfaced in the end-of-semester focus group, explains Cooke.

For this grant, the duo had a two-fold goal: to lower student anxiety and expose them to conflict resolution scenarios by placing them into a realistic teaching situation as well as to decide the feasibility of using 360-degree video for student teaching evaluation.

Cooke says, “Because it is an exploratory grant, we think they [videos] are going to work, but if they didn’t work, that was learning, too!”

“We can’t teach students everything, but the more tools we can give them and put them vicariously into that position, the better,” says Goodell. “Particularly with virtual reality, we are trying to create this experience where the student feels like they are in the classroom and they are the teacher. Even if they aren’t really there.”

The collection of conflict management training videos allows students to experience a first-person point of view or from the viewpoint of a co-instructor. Both types of videos allow the students to recognize when they may need to step in and help with a conflict when they are a supporting instructor and not the lead.

Cooke adds, “The key is enhancing. We have different skills we want students to gain within the curriculum, like knife skills and conflict management. We have been using existing activities to teach students these skills, and we are ramping these activities up with VR to make them better.”

In addition to the immersive learning experiences brought by VR, students also have a chance to learn how to respond effectively to common conflict management situations.

In the recording of the conflict management videos, staged disruptions are introduced into the community classroom to give students opportunities to pause and discuss how they would resolve various issues. Students work in teams to view a conflict scenario using Google Cardboard and they discuss possible resolutions. Once the team’s decision has been made, students view two resolutions—both good and bad. As a team they discuss the outcome of their decision and the implications.

“We had never heard of Google Cardboard until we talked about it with DELTA staff,” says Cooke. “We are excited to explore the impact of VR headsets like the Google Cardboard in evaluation the effectiveness of these videos.”

Because the pair received an exploratory grant, the learning experience may include successful outcomes. However, learning occurs even if your vision needs a bit of tweaking.

According to Goodell, “another beauty of partnering with DELTA in these ways is that if you are interested, you can do scholarship of learning.”

“So if faculty are looking to submit for a grant to create some type of virtual reality experience, they need to come up with an idea or framework of what they want to accomplish,” Cooke suggests. “If you have an activity you want to adapt, that’s even better.”

Virtual reality is changing learning in the classroom and will have effects far beyond the university into people’s daily lives.

There are many potential uses of VR in the academic environment. If you’re interested in applying for a DELTA grant, consultations with DELTA staff are available now through April 29 with proposals due May 6.

admin <![CDATA[Cheer Team Wins NCA Championship]]> 2016-04-14T16:52:16Z 2016-04-14T16:41:08Z 0 D'Lyn Ford <![CDATA[Admiral to Give Spring Commencement Speech]]> 2016-04-14T14:10:38Z 2016-04-13T21:16:33Z Admiral Michelle Howard, vice chief of naval operations, will deliver NC State’s commencement address on Saturday, May 7 at 9 a.m. in the PNC Arena in Raleigh.

During the ceremony, Chancellor Randy Woodson will confer honorary degrees on Howard; anthropologist Jean Schensul, founding director and senior scientist with the Institute for Community Research; and Lawrence J. Wheeler, director of the North Carolina Museum of Art.

Admiral Michelle Howard
Admiral Michelle Howard

Howard, the second most senior officer in the U.S. Navy, has served at sea since 1982. She became the first African-American woman to command a U.S. Navy ship, USS Rushmore, in 1999. Her deployments include Desert Storm and Desert Shield, Indonesia tsunami relief efforts, maritime security operations in the North Arabian Gulf and command of a multinational counter-piracy task force.

In 2014 Howard became the first woman to earn the rank of four-star admiral in the U.S. Navy, as well as the first African-American woman to attain four-star rank in any branch of service when she became 38th vice chief of naval operations. Howard was named the 2011 USO Military Woman of the year, the 2013 NAACP Chairman’s Image Award recipient and the 2014 Thurgood Marshall College Fund National Hero Award recipient.

Originally from Aurora, Colorado, Howard is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. She earned a master’s degree in military arts and sciences from the Army’s Command and General Staff College in Leavenworth, Kansas.

Schensul is an anthropologist with interdisciplinary research and teaching experience in health problems and concerns from birth to older adulthood in the United States, Africa, Latin America and South Asia. Her main areas of funded U.S. and international research are structural factors contributing to substance use and prevention (tobacco, alcohol, marijuana and illicit drugs), especially in young adults; oral health disparities; and HIV in the U.S. and South Asia.

Dr. Jean Schensul
Dr. Jean Schensul

She is an adjunct research professor with the University of Connecticut’s School of Dental Medicine and an adjunct professor with UConn’s Department of Community Medicine. Schensul has received many NIH, federal and foundation grants. She is senior editor and co-author of “Ethnographer’s Toolkit,” a seven-book series on community-based, mixed methods research.

Schensul received the Society for Applied Anthropology’s Malinowski Award for lifetime achievement in the application of anthropology to human problems and the American Anthropological Association’s Solon T. Kimball Award (with Stephen L. Schensul) for contributions of anthropology to policy.

Wheeler’s leadership since 1994 has helped the North Carolina Museum of Art become one of the leading art museums in the South. Major exhibitions, featuring Rodin, Rembrandt and Monet, have attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors.

Dr. Lawrence J. Wheeler
Dr. Lawrence J. Wheeler

The museum unveiled its design for an ambitious expansion in 2006. Wheeler’s vision for a spacious, light-filled structure to house the museum’s collection became a reality in 2010. Wheeler secured a gift of 29 Rodin sculptures, making the NCMA the largest repository of Rodin’s work in the South. He helped build the modern and contemporary collections substantially, particularly mid- to late-20th century American masters.

Wheeler’s awards include France’s Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters, the City of Raleigh’s Medal of Arts, NC State’s Design Guild Award and the inaugural Mary D.B.T. Semans Award for Distinguished Service from Duke University’s Nasher Museum of Art. He holds bachelor’s degrees in history and French from Pfeiffer College, and master’s and doctoral degrees in European history from the University of Georgia.


Matt Shipman <![CDATA[Colloquium Highlights Secrecy, Intelligence]]> 2016-04-12T19:41:48Z 2016-04-12T19:41:48Z Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Nash Dunn, a writer in NC State’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Researchers who study intelligence often face methodological and conceptual challenges associated with the secret nature of the field.

Next week, members of the academic and intelligence communities will come together at NC State to discuss how to overcome those barriers.

“Secrecy and Intelligence: Opening the Black Box” will be held from April 18-19 at NC State’s Talley Student Union and James B. Hunt Jr. Library. Organized by NC State’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences in conjunction with Professor Brian Balmer of University College London, the event is expected to draw Science and Technology Studies and related scholars, civil society members and intelligence community practitioners from the United States and Europe.

The first day of the colloquium will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Talley Student Union, Room 4280. The day will be capped off by a special Rolf Buchdahl Lecture on Science, Technology and Human Values from George Washington University scholar Hugh Gusterson at 7:30 p.m. in Talley’s BR-Coastal Ballroom. Gusterson, a professor of anthropology and international affairs at GWU, will give a talk entitled “Secrecy and its Discontents.”

The second day of the colloquium is 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the James B. Hunt Jr. Library, Duke Energy Rooms C and D. For more information on the event or to see a full schedule, visit This is a public event; however, scheduled meals and certain items on the agenda are by invitation only.

This colloquium is sponsored by the U.S. National Science Foundation; U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency’s Intelligence Community Centers for Academic Excellence (IC-CAE) Program; the Laboratory for Analytic Sciences (LAS); the Kenan Institute for Engineering, Technology, and Science; the Science, Technology and Society and Interdisciplinary Studies programs in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at NC State; and the Buchdahl Fund.

For information and directions to the Talley Student Union, click here. For directions to the Hunt Library, click here.

Public parking (on an hourly basis) is available at the Poulton Paylot across the street from the first-floor entrance to the Hunt Library. The lot is gated and requires a credit card to enter and for payment upon exit. Daily visitor parking permits are available at the Visitor Information Booth on Varsity Drive for $5 per day. Click here for the Poulton Paylot map. Click here for the Visitor Information Booth map.

Matt Shipman <![CDATA[College of Engineering Hosts 2 Events for North Carolina Science Festival]]> 2016-04-14T14:45:21Z 2016-04-12T18:51:39Z Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Brent Lancaster, a writer in NC State’s College of Engineering.

The College of Engineering at North Carolina State University will open its doors to anyone with an interest in science and engineering during two events with a focus on nanotechnology, soft matter and microorganisms that thrive in extreme environments.

NC State’s annual NanoDays event and an outreach event coordinated by the Research Triangle Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) will both be held on Wednesday, April 20 on NC State’s Centennial Campus.

Both events are free and the public is invited:

  • From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the atrium of Engineering Building III, NanoDays will highlight the College’s research on nanotechnology with student poster presentations, tabletop demonstrations that bring nanoscale phenomena to life and tours of engineering laboratories.
  • From 6 to 8 p.m. in the atrium of Engineering Building I, the Research Triangle MRSEC will stage hands-on demonstrations from various areas of soft matter and a presentation from Dr. Robert Kelly, Alcoa Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (CBE).

Started at NC State more than a decade ago, NanoDays is now a nationwide education and outreach program. Each year, middle and high school students and their teachers come to campus to not only learn about science, but to get a taste of what college life is like.

“The goal is to educate students and the public about advances in nanotechnology and the awesome research we are doing here at NC State,” said Dr. Gail Jones, Alumni Distinguished Graduate Professor in the university’s College of Education. Jones founded NanoDays.

Launched in September 2011, Research Triangle MRSEC is a national resource for materials science and engineering research and education that encompasses faculty members and students at NC State, Duke University, North Carolina Central University and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Kelly’s presentation, “More heat than light: life in boiling water, in hot acid and (maybe?) on other planets,” will focus on extreme thermophiles, microorganisms that can flourish in boiling water and acidic hot springs and the exciting opportunities in astrobiology and biofuels that research on these organisms represent.

Hands-on demonstrations during the MRSEC program will allow participants to make liquid nitrogen ice cream, see self-folding origami and learn about 3D printing and the science behind Jello.

“Since its inception, the RT-MRSEC has been involved very actively in various forms of public outreach. We do so for multiple reasons,” said Dr. Jan Genzer, Celanese Professor in CBE and MRSEC co-director. “First, we constantly strive to increase participation and diversity in STEM fields through education and mentoring of K-12 and undergraduate students. In a sense, this is a great recruiting event for all Triangle universities and the MRSEC in particular. We also put a lot of effort toward enhancing public awareness of materials research through lectures and hands-on demonstrations (many of which we have developed ourselves). We conduct those in middle and high schools, at local colleges and in various public places. The NC Science Festival represents a true hallmark of our activities in public outreach.”

The North Carolina Science Festival is a multi-day celebration showcasing science and technology that is taking place in locations statewide from April 8 to 24, 2016. Learn more at

Information on NC State’s Centennial Campus, including maps, driving directions and parking details can be found at

Matt Shipman <![CDATA[Get a Sneak Peek of NC State Startups at Lulu eGames]]> 2016-04-14T14:45:45Z 2016-04-11T17:07:02Z NC State student and faculty entrepreneurs will showcase their innovative products and new ventures Thursday, April 14, at the annual Lulu eGames startup competition. The event will be held in the Talley Student Union, with startups demonstrating their concepts at 5:30 p.m. Media coverage of the event is invited.

Examples of products and services developed by NC State entrepreneurs include a “smart” coffee roaster, an off leash dog park/restaurant concept and a smartphone application that enables users to access data in the absence of any 3G, 4G, LTE or Wi-Fi network.

Other innovative prototypes range from a wearable device designed to keep you safe in an emergency to Trakex, technology poised to revolutionize the trucking sector by measuring cargo more efficiently — saving millions of dollars and significantly reducing carbon emissions.

An awards ceremony to honor the winners will be held immediately following the demo, featuring pitch presentations and an audience Q&A with first place finalists in each competition category. The audience will be able to vote for their favorite to win the $1,000 Audience Choice Award.

The Lulu eGames will award more than $60,000 in prize money across five different categories, including the Daugherty Endowment Challenge for companies who have licensed NC State intellectual property and the B Corp Champions Challenge for students building new ventures that use business as a force for social and environmental change.

The annual competition is sponsored by and is made possible by a gift from its founder, Bob Young.

The Talley Student Union is located at 2610 Cates Avenue in Raleigh. Additional information about the event is available at

The NC State Entrepreneurship Initiative is a campus-wide program that supports student entrepreneurship and innovation. We empower students to create meaningful change by turning ideas into action. To learn more, visit

Tim Peeler <![CDATA[Spring Football Has Sprung]]> 2016-04-14T14:45:00Z 2016-04-07T16:00:29Z NC State football fans can catch a glimpse of the future and reconnect with links from the program’s past on Saturday at the 2016 Kay Yow Spring Football Game.

Not only will former ACC Player of the Year Philip Rivers return to the stadium where he shattered school and ACC records, former All-America wide receiver Torry Holt, now retired from the NFL, will participate in the Alumni Classic Game, which begins at 10:45 a.m.

The Red and White intrasquad scrimmage—which honors Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame inductee and former Wolfpack women’s basketball coach Kay Yow—is slated to kickoff at 1 p.m. at Carter-Finley Stadium. Parking lots open at 8 a.m. and stadium gates will open at 10:30 a.m.

Perhaps of most interest for fans is checking out the replacements for two-year starting quarterback Jacoby Brissett, who finished his career by leading the Wolfpack to a 7-6 overall record and an appearance in the 2015 Belk Bowl in Charlotte. Last year, as a red-shirt freshman, Jalan McClendon saw action in seven games behind Brissett. He’s competing with redshirt freshman Jakobi Meyers in the spring for the starting job.

A full list of activities are scheduled for Friday and Saturday. Admission is free, but a $1 donation to benefit the Kay Yow Cancer Fund is requested from all who attend.

Rivers, set to begin his 13th season with the San Diego Chargers this fall, last visited campus in 2012, when he was the spring commencement speaker at PNC Arena. Though he’s lived on the West Coast with his family—which has grown to six daughters and two sons since he left Raleigh—Rivers says he still follows the Wolfpack football program as closely as ever.

Holt, who put up hall-of-fame numbers during his 11-year NFL career, won a Super Bowl ring as a rookie with the St. Louis Rams. He will join dozens of former players in the alumni game, with much ice, ibuprofen and bed rest to follow.

Brent Winter <![CDATA[Scearce Scores Macbeth Ballet]]> 2016-04-07T15:14:12Z 2016-04-07T15:14:12Z If you received a prophecy that said you’d become the ruler of your nation, would you believe it? And what would you be willing to do in order to make that prophecy come true?

These are questions with particular relevance in a U.S. presidential election year, but a certain English playwright was grappling with the same issues 400 years ago. Now an NC State professor has composed the score for a new ballet that will once again bring William Shakespeare’s tragic tale of power, corruption and magic to life.

The Carolina Ballet will perform Macbeth—scored by J. Mark Scearce, professor of art and design in the College of Design—on April 14-17 at Raleigh Memorial Auditorium and on April 30-May 1 at the Durham Performing Arts Center.

In 2014 the Carolina Ballet’s artistic director, Robert Weiss, asked Scearce if he’d be interested in composing the score for a Macbeth ballet, with Weiss doing the choreography. The two already had three successful collaborations behind them, and Scearce jumped at the chance to work with Weiss again.

“The exciting part for me is that we’ll have a full symphony orchestra playing the music, so I get to write on a large canvas and tell the story with all the darkness I’ll need,” Scearce says.

The collaborators did the heavy lifting of composition and choreography during a five-week resident fellowship at New York University’s Center for Ballet and the Arts.

“We took full advantage of being in New York,” Scearce says. “We’d work all day, and then at night we’d go see lots of plays and ballets. At intermission we’d go out on the sidewalk and hash out what we thought of the performance. We compared our views to each other and also to the critics. That residency made Macbeth not just stronger; it made it deeper and darker and more violent and passionate.”

By the end of the fellowship, Scearce — much to his surprise — had completed the score.

“It’s the fastest thing I’ve ever done,” he says. “And also the biggest: It has 4,026 measures, and it’s 887 pages long. The score weighs 42 pounds when you print it out. It has to be that big because this ballet is a mammoth undertaking.”

Scearce says Macbeth is also the most personally difficult score he’s ever composed.

“I consider myself a method composer, kind of like a method actor; so before I can write about what it’s like to kill your best friend, I have to feel that emotion so the music can express it,” he says. “While I was in New York, I ended up in the ER three times through sheer exhaustion. I wasn’t taking good care of myself because I was consumed by this play. To climb inside that level of blind, overriding ambition takes a toll on you. Maybe that’s why there’s an old tradition in the theater world that Macbeth is cursed.

“Some people won’t even say the name; they call it ‘the Scottish play’ instead, because it’s set in Scotland.”

In the course of his research for Macbeth, Scearce unearthed an interesting historical fact: Africans, or “Moors” in the parlance of the Middle Ages, were present in Scotland from at least the 10th century onward.

“There was a medieval king of Scotland who had a roundtable of knights who were described as being black, and some people think they may be the inspiration for the tales of King Arthur’s roundtable,” he explains. “There are definitely black knights mentioned in those Arthurian legends. And one of the characters in Macbeth is named Macduff, which comes from the Scottish Gaelic words maga dubh, which means ‘black clan.’ So with all this African influence around, I decided that every time there’s a large dance scene in the ballet, it’ll be a Moorish dance.”

Scearce says he’s pleased with the timing of Macbeth coming out during a contentious presidential campaign.

“When you go through an experience like this, everything seems connected in an amazing way,” he says. “I hope the experience of watching the ballet will enrich people’s sense of what’s important in life.

“That’s what the arts are for, and they can do that for everyone, no matter what field you work in.”