NC State News News from NC State University 2016-10-22T04:49:38Z WordPress Matt Shipman <![CDATA[Researchers Find Way to Tune Thermal Conductivity of 2-D Materials]]> 2016-10-21T11:58:08Z 2016-10-21T10:00:40Z Researchers have found an unexpected way to control the thermal conductivity of two-dimensional (2-D) materials, which will allow electronics designers to dissipate heat in electronic devices that use these materials.

2-D materials have a layered structure, with each layer having strong bonds horizontally, or “in plane,” and weak bonds between the layers, or “out of plane.” These materials have unique electronic and chemical properties, and hold promise for use in creating flexible, thin, lightweight electronic devices.

For many of these potential applications, it’s important to be able to dissipate heat efficiently. And this can be tricky. In 2-D materials, heat is conducted differently in plane than it is out of plane.

For example, in one class of 2-D materials, called TMDs, heat is conducted at 100 watts per meter per Kelvin (W/mK) in plane, but at only 2 W/mK out of plane. That gives it a “thermal anisotropy ratio” of about 50.

To better understand the thermal conduction properties of 2-D materials, a team of researchers from North Carolina State University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UI) and the Toyota Research Institute of North America (TRINA) began experimenting with molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), which is a TMD.

The researchers found that, by introducing disorder to the MoS2, they could significantly alter the thermal anisotropy ratio.

The researchers created this disorder by introducing lithium ions between the layers of MoS2. The presence of the lithium ions does two things simultaneously: it puts the layers of the 2-D material out of alignment with each other, and it forces the MoS2 to rearrange the structure of its component atoms.

When the ratio of lithium ions to MoS2 reached 0.34, the in-plane thermal conductivity was 45 W/mK, and the out-of-plane thermal conductivity dropped to 0.4 W/mK– increasing the material’s thermal anisotropy ratio from 50 to more than 100. In other words, heat became more than twice as likely to travel in plane – along the layer, rather than between the layers.

And that was as good as it got. Adding fewer lithium ions made the thermal anisotropy ratio lower. Adding more ions also made it lower. But in both cases, the ratio was affected in a predictable way, meaning that the researchers could tune the material’s thermal conductivity and thermal anisotropy ratio.

“This finding was very counter-intuitive,” says Jun Liu, an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at NC State and co-corresponding author of a paper describing the work. “The conventional wisdom has been that introducing disorder to any material would decrease the thermal anisotropy ratio.

“But based on our observations, we feel that this approach to controlling thermal conductivity would apply not only to other TMDs, but to 2-D materials more broadly,” Liu says.

“We set out to advance our fundamental understanding of 2-D materials, and we have,” Liu adds. “But we also learned something that is likely to be of practical use for the development of technologies that make use of 2-D materials.”

The paper, “Tuning Thermal Conductivity in Molybdenum Disulfide by Electrochemical Intercalation,” is published in the journal Nature Communications. Co-corresponding authors of the paper are Gaohua Zhu of TRINA and David Cahill of UI. Co-authors are Ruigang Zhang and Debasish Banerjee of TRINA, and Qiye Zheng and Dongyao Li of UI. The work was supported by TRINA.


Note to Editors: The study abstract follows.

“Tuning Thermal Conductivity in Molybdenum Disulfide by Electrochemical Intercalation”

Authors: Gaohua Zhu, Ruigang Zhang, and Debasish Banerjee, Toyota Research Institute of North America; Jun Liu, North Carolina State University; Qiye Zheng, Dongyao Li, and David G. Cahill, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Published: Oct. 21, Nature Communications

DOI: 10.1038/NCOMMS13211

Abstract: The thermal conductivity of lithium ion intercalated molybdenum disulfide (LixMoS2) is measured as a function of the degree of lithiation (x), using time-domain thermoreflectance. We show that the thermal conductivity can be modified by electrochemical intercalation. We investigated two types of LixMoS2 samples with different orientations of the basal planes: i) thin films with vertically-aligned basal planes created by sulfurization of molybdenum (Mo); and ii) natural bulk crystals with basal planes parallel to the surface. The thermal conductivity of thin film MoS2 can be tuned from ≈3.4 to ≈1.7 W m-1 K-1 with lithium ion intercalation. The thermal conductivity of bulk MoS2 can be modulated from ≈2.0 to ≈0.4 W m-1 K-1 and ≈105 to ≈45 W m-1 K-1, along the through-plane and in-plane directions, respectively. We characterized the Raman-active vibrational modes, lattice expansion, and elastic constants.  The change of thermal conductivity correlates with the structural and compositional disorder, e.g., the stacking order of the layered structure and the lithiation-dependent semiconductor (2H) to metal (1T) phase transition. We found that the ratio of the in-plane to through-plane thermal conductivity is enhanced by the disorder in bulk crystals. These results suggest that stacking disorder and mixture of phases is an effective mechanism to modify the anisotropic thermal conductivity of 2D materials.

Tim Peeler <![CDATA[Celebrate All Things NC State During Red and White Week]]> 2016-10-21T12:51:22Z 2016-10-19T18:34:58Z The annual Red and White Week leading up to next Saturday’s Homecoming football game against Boston College at Carter-Finley will have a slew of activities, from Chancellor Randy Woodson’s annual fall address next Friday afternoon to food and beer presentations to free Howling Cow ice cream on Stafford Commons for students.

There’s a little bit of everything, including learning and lectures, during the seven-day celebration of NC State’s past and bright future, culminating on Friday with the homecoming parade down Hillsborough Street and the invitation-only kickoff of the university’s largest ever fundraising campaign at Reynolds Coliseum.

Red and White Week is about students, staff and the alumni who return to see what’s new on campus during this annual celebration. The Pack Howl concert returns to renovated Reynolds Coliseum Wednesday night, featuring hip-hop star T.I., while alumna and celebrity chef Ashley Christensen will discuss her debut cookbook, Poole’s: Recipes and Stories from a Modern Diner on Tuesday.

A full list of the week’s activities is available through the Alumni Association, the primary sponsor of the week’s activities.

Some highlights:

Sunday, Oct. 23

Men’s Soccer: NC State vs. Louisville
1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Dail Soccer Field
More »

Monday, Oct. 24

Textile Showcase:
5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Talley Student Union (outside of Stewart Theatre)
Come learn more about the College of Textiles and each of its unique degree programs. The showcase will feature senior design projects and posters.

An Evening with Shawn Johnson
7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Talley Student Union
Shawn Johnson will talk about her career as a gymnast. She is the 2008 Olympic balance beam gold medalist and team all-around and floor exercise silver medalist.

Tuesday, Oct. 25

Three-Minute Thesis Competition (presented by the Graduate School)
3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Hunt Library
The Three-Minute Thesis is a research communication competition designed to challenge doctoral students to present a compelling oration in just three minutes.

Red and White Week Pep Rally
7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Wolf Plaza
Get pumped to cheer on the Wolfpack for the big Homecoming football game.

The Goodnight Scholars Program Presents: Nina Tandon
6:30 p.m.
Talley Student Union (Stewart Theatre)
Nina Tandon, a biomedical engineer whose TED Talks about engineered human tissue have been viewed over two million times, was named a 2011 TED Fellow and a 2012 Senior Fellow. She is the CEO and co-founder of EpiBone, the world’s first company to use electrical signals to grow artificial tissue for transplants and other therapies.
More »

Chef Ashley Christensen 
7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
James B. Hunt Jr. Library
Ashley Christensen ’98, acclaimed chef and restaurateur, will discuss her debut cookbook, Poole’s: Recipes and Stories from a Modern Diner. Christensen will be interviewed on stage by NC State’s Cat Warren, who was Christensen’s former English professor. They’ll talk about recipes from the book, Christensen’s commitment to the revitalization of downtown Raleigh and her philosophy of building community through the shared experience of food. The event is free and open to the public but registration is required.
More »

Wednesday, Oct. 26

Industrial Design Lectures: Design Influence
4 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Burns Auditorium, Kamphoefner Hall
Speaker Mary Ellen Dohrs, who received a degree in industrial design from the Pratt Institute, was one of the first female industrial designers hired by General Motors after World War II. She was responsible for designing interiors of GM show cars and specialty cars for VIPs. Following her work at GM, Dohrs went on to work for Sundberg Ferar supervising accounts like IBM and Packard. She later was successful in creating water color paintings, pen and ink, and sculptures. Open to the public.

Distinguished Executive Leadership Speaker Series (Sponsored by Wells Fargo)
4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Nelson Hall
Bill Toler ’81, chief executive officer and president of Hostess Brands, will talk about his experience in the consumer packaged-goods industry.
More »

Industrial Design Lectures: Design Influence
5:10 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Burns Auditorium, Kamphoefner Hall
Industrial Designer Mark Templeton ’75, former CEO of Citrix, will talk about how his career path was influenced by design and how you can use these skills for any career choice. Open to the public.

Industrial Design Reception: Design Influence
6:10 p.m.
Allred Gallery, Kamphoefner Hall
Reception for Mary Ellen Dohrs and Mark Templeton. Open to the public.

Red and White Food and Beverage Festival (Presented by The State Club)
6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The State Club
Enjoy food, beer and wine from NC State alumni vendors at the fifth annual Red and White Food and Beverage Festival.
Registration and more »

Amazing Alumni Panel: Contributing to Raleigh’s Renaissance
7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
James B. Hunt Jr. Library (Duke Energy Hall)
Join a panel of NC State alumni helping to make Raleigh one of the top places to live in the United States. Moderated by Chris Tonelli, owner of So & So Books, the panel includes Craig Reed of Younger Brother Productions; Jasmine Flood, founder of Riada Adair Design Co.; Jed Gant of Myriad Media; Eleanor Hawthorne of the City of Raleigh; and others.

Arts NC State – Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde
7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Thompson Hall
In three short months, Oscar Wilde, the most celebrated playwright and wit of Victorian England, was toppled from the apex of British society into humiliation and ruin. Drawing from trial documents, newspaper accounts and writings of key players, Moises Kaufman ignites an incendiary mix of sex and censorship with a cast of characters from George Bernard Shaw to Queen Victoria. Additional performance on Thursday, Oct. 27.
More »

Pack Howl Concert (presented by the Union Activities Board)
8 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Reynolds Coliseum
This year’s performer is T.I., a hip hop recording artist and actor from Atlanta, Georgia.
More  »

Thursday, Oct. 27

Visit Carmichael
6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
University Recreation invites you, your family and guests to work out and/or tour NC State’s Carmichael Gym. Visit the member services suite, located across from the main entrance in the breezeway, to begin your tour or workout.

Hillsborough Street Community Service Day
All day
Hillsborough Street

College of Design 3D Printing and Virtual Reality Demo
3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Bayley IT Lab, 203 Brooks Hall (The DIY Cartography exhibition in the Brooks Hall Gallery is open to the public.)
College of Design alumni and friends are invited to attend a show-and-tell of Bayley IT Lab, tour the space and see print capabilities.
Register online »

Under the Microscope: Exploring the Intersection of Education, Research, Food & Beer
4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Lonnie Poole Golf Course (Carol Johnson Poole Clubhouse)
This reception will be an interactive celebration of science, education and research and the role beer and food play to bring it all together. We’ll offer hands-on demonstrations and opportunities to talk with faculty. At 5:30 p.m., Rob Dunn, professor of applied ecology, will give a brief talk about brewing with wild yeasts and insights gained from his interdisciplinary research experiences.
Register online » (Presented by the NC State Foundation)

Tough Howler
5:45 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Centennial Campus
The Tough Howler is a three-mile Halloween-themed obstacle course race where participants complete in teams of two or four. Costumes are encouraged.

Evening of the Stars (presented by the NC State Alumni Association)
This invitation-only event celebrates the winners of the College Distinguished Alumni Awards, the Wolfpack Club’s Ronnie Shavlik Award and the Alumni Association Awards.
6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Talley Student Union

Women’s Soccer: NC State vs. Pittsburgh
7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Dail Soccer Field
More »

Friday, Oct. 28

Visit Carmichael
6 a.m. – 9 p.m.
University Recreation invites you, your family and guests to work out and/or tour NC State’s Carmichael Gym. Visit the member services suite, located across from the main entrance in the breezeway, to begin your tour or workout.

Belltower Tour
10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
Ever wonder what the inside of the Alumni Memorial Tower looks like? Join Tom Stafford, NC State’s former vice chancellor for student affairs, for an exclusive look inside and learn more about the history of this cherished NC State landmark.
More »

College of Engineering Events
12 p.m. to 4 p.m. (12 p.m. Barbecue Lunch at Engineering Oval Lawn) (2 p.m. Program at IEI Duke Energy Hall in James B. Hunt Jr. Library)
Centennial Campus
Connect with other alumni and learn from Dean Louis Martin-Vega and other distinguished faculty members and students about the impact NC State engineers are making in North Carolina and around the world.
More »

Lawyers Alumni Reunion
11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Aloft Hotel: Hillsborough Street
The NC State Lawyers Alumni Society is gathers for its annual meeting to renew connections with the university and fellow alumni.
More »

State of NC State: Chancellor’s Fall Address
2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Talley Student Union (Stewart Theatre)
Chancellor Randy Woodson will recap recent NC State successes and outline bold goals for the coming year.

Red and White Week Campus Celebration
3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Talley Student Union (Stafford Commons)
Celebrate the campaign kickoff announcement.

13th Annual Porch Party
4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Nelson Hall
The Poole College of Management, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Education, College of Natural Resources, College of Sciences and the Libraries are teaming up to host the 13th annual Homecoming Porch Party.
More »

Red and White Week Parade (presented by University Housing)
6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Hillsborough Street
Join campus clubs, student organizations and the NC State Marching Band for the annual Homecoming parade down Hillsborough Street.

NC State Campaign Kickoff Celebration (invitation only)
7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Reynolds Coliseum

Black Alumni Society: Welcome Reception
Meet with fellow NC State alumni and friends before heading to the Welcome Party. Also, pick up your Homecoming T-shirt.
7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Sheraton Raleigh (421 S. Salisbury St.)
No registration needed.

Black Alumni: The Kappa Omicron Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. (Anniversary Member Reception)
7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Sheraton Raleigh (421 S. Salisbury St.)

Black Alumni Society: Welcome Party
10 p.m. to 2 a.m.
ORO Restaurant & Lounge (18 E Martin St.)
More »

Saturday, Oct. 29

Visit Carmichael
9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
University Recreation invites you, your family and guests to work out and/or tour NC State’s Carmichael Gym. Visit the member services suite, located across from the main entrance in the breezeway, to begin your tour or workout.

NC State Alumni Association Tailgate
9:30 a.m.
PNC Arena (corner of E. Stephen Stroud Way and Peter Karmanos Jr. Drive)
More »

NC State vs. Boston College Homecoming Football Game
12:30 p.m.
Carter-Finley Stadium
The Wolfpack will take the field against the Boston College Eagles.

Black Alumni Society: Game Watch
No game ticket? Join us at Backyard Bistro to watch NC State take on Boston College.
12:30 p.m.
Backyard Bistro (1235 Hurricane Alley Way)

Black Alumni: Eta Omicron Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. (45th Anniversary Banquet)
7 p.m. Reception
7:30 p.m. Dinner
Sheraton Raleigh Hotel (421 S. Salisbury St.)
$45 per person
More »

Black Alumni Society: Homecoming Finale
Come to the Homecoming Party for the Black Alumni Society.
10 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Sheraton Raleigh (421 S. Salisbury St.)
More »

Matt Shipman <![CDATA[NC State Experts Offer Insight On Key Election Issues]]> 2016-10-19T18:20:42Z 2016-10-19T18:20:42Z Experts from North Carolina State University can offer insight into key issues facing the presidential contenders, including North Carolina voters, race, national security, foreign policy, federal tax plans and the economy.

Political Science

Steven Greene, professor of political science, 919/513-0520 or, is an expert on national and North Carolina politics and policy, electoral politics, gender and politics, and political parties.

Andrew Taylor, professor of political science, 919/515-8618 or, is an expert on national politics and policy. Taylor can discuss the U.S. Congress, North Carolina politics, campaign finance and public policy.

Michael Cobb, associate professor of political science, 919/513-3709 or, is an authority on election polling, celebrity politics and the effects of misinformation. He also studies the impact of election laws, particularly in the context of race.


Blair LM Kelley, associate professor of history, 513-2225 or is an expert on the history of social movements and race and can discuss the election in the wake of the Obama presidency and in the context of the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

Economics, Tax, and Finance

Michael Walden, William Neal Reynolds Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 919/515-4671 or, is an expert on economic policy who can address questions regarding the national and North Carolina economies.

Roby Sawyers, professor of accounting, 919/515-4443 or, is an expert on the federal tax system and can discuss the ramifications of various tax plans put forward by candidates.

Bruce McDonald, assistant professor of public budgeting and finance, 919/515-5178 or, is an expert in government finance, defense spending and the economic impact of defense finance.

Richard Warr, professor of finance, 919/513-4646 or, is an expert on finance and financial markets.

Foreign Policy

Robert Reardon, assistant professor of political science, 617/501-6494 or, is an expert on international security and nuclear nonproliferation. He can speak to the political ramifications of the Iran nuclear deal and other security issues facing candidates.

William Boettcher, associate professor of political science, 919/515-5096 or, is an expert on U.S. foreign and security policy, presidential decision making, wartime public opinion, nuclear nonproliferation, and estimative intelligence.

Mark Nance, assistant professor of political science, 919/515-3729 or, is an expert on the politics of international relations, foreign economic policy, social policy and European politics.

Religion and Politics

Jason Bivins, professor of religious studies, 919/515-6102 or, is an authority on the nexus of religion and politics in the United States since 1900.


David Zonderman, interim head of the Department of History, 919/513-2222 or, is an expert on organized labor and labor history in the United States.

Tim Peeler <![CDATA[Help With Hurricane Relief Efforts]]> 2016-10-20T14:13:31Z 2016-10-19T16:15:11Z To follow up on Chancellor Randy Woodson’s message from last week regarding Hurricane Matthew, there are multiple ways to help neighbors near and far who are suffering from the aftereffects of the disaster, which caused flooding and power outages to more than 30 counties in eastern North Carolina.

NC State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, along with North Carolina Cooperative Extension, has generated resources and fact sheets for families and farms who have been affected by the storm, which hit two weeks ago but is still causing issues around the state.

CALS also has a resources and information website to help with the recovery.

Students affected by the hurricane can find resources through the Division of Academic and Student Affairs, from extending the fall 2016 drop/revision deadline through Friday to applying for short-term loans.

Closer to home, through Nov. 4, the NC State Staff Senate will collect canned goods for its Bountiful Harvest Food Drive, with collection points all over campus to help restock the Feed the Pack food pantry and the Food Banks of Eastern and Central North Carolina. Drop-off sites and collection bins are located across campus. (Looking to give? Here’s what’s needed most.)

And for those attending Friday night’s Primetime With the Pack men’s and women’s basketball kickoff and women’s volleyball match at Reynolds Coliseum, the athletics department is collecting canned food and non-perishable items to help hurricane victims. The first 200 fans who donate to the drive will receive a $5 gift card to a local grocery store chain.

Athletics has also hosted contests and practices for teams from East Carolina, where flooding canceled a full week of school and altered schedules for the Pirates volleyball, tennis and cross country teams.

University Communications <![CDATA[Woodson to Deliver Fall Address Oct. 28]]> 2016-10-19T16:03:27Z 2016-10-19T16:03:27Z You wouldn’t know it from the unseasonably warm temperatures this week, but it’s time for Chancellor Randy Woodson’s annual fall address. Plan to attend for an update on NC State’s goals for the coming year and a review of recent successes in fundraising, academics, research and outreach.

The event — part of Red and White Week — is scheduled for 2:30–3:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 28, in Stewart Theatre.

Space is limited so mark your calendar and plan to arrive early. The event is immediately followed by a celebration on Stafford Commons marking the kickoff of a major university fundraising campaign.

University Communications <![CDATA[My Sweet Chord: Lonnie Smith Trio Performs Oct. 22]]> 2016-10-19T18:21:23Z 2016-10-19T15:38:24Z 0 University Communications <![CDATA[MarketPlace Expo at McKimmon Center Nov. 3]]> 2016-10-19T14:34:01Z 2016-10-19T14:34:01Z 0 University Communications <![CDATA[Forum to Focus on UNC System’s Strategic Plan]]> 2016-10-19T14:02:30Z 2016-10-19T14:02:30Z NC State faculty, staff and students have the opportunity to provide input on the UNC system’s strategic plan at a campus forum 1–3 p.m. Monday, Nov. 7, in the Piedmont Mountains Ballroom in the Talley Student Union.

The Board of Governors is seeking input at all 17 institutions in the system as it works to develop a strategic plan to guide future decision making. The plan includes five themes:

  • Access
  • Student success
  • Affordability and efficiency
  • Excellent and diverse institutions
  • Economic impact

In addition to the campus forums, the Board of Governors is seeking input via a confidential online survey of faculty, staff and students. A written summary of comments, suggestions and concerns will be compiled by UNC General Administration after all input has been collected.

Your voluntary participation in this important process will help shape the future of the UNC system for the next decade. For additional information on the strategic planning themes, as well as information regarding the overall process, visit the UNC Strategic Planning website.

Christine Ferrell <![CDATA[Jenkins MBA Ranks Among Best Worldwide]]> 2016-10-17T15:11:01Z 2016-10-17T15:07:23Z 0 D'Lyn Ford <![CDATA[Citizen Scientists Needed to Find NC’s Candid Critters]]> 2016-10-20T15:55:29Z 2016-10-17T14:43:38Z Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Jonathan Pishney with the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.

Do you ever wonder what animals lurk in the wildest parts of the state? Or in your own backyard? Still waiting for photographic proof of a North Carolina mountain lion? (Or Big Foot?) Now is your chance to discover the secrets of wildlife right here in North Carolina by participating in “North Carolina’s Candid Critters,” a new research project of the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, NC Wildlife Resources Commission and NC State University.

This citizen science project will span the entire state, from the mountains to the sea. No matter what county you live in, you can borrow a camera trap from a nearby public library to set on approved public lands. If you own your own camera trap, you can set it on either approved public land or in your own backyard. Then wait and see what critters you catch. At the same time that you are discovering what wildlife lives near you, you will be helping scientists learn more about deer reproduction and the distribution of all mammal species across the state.

“Before we can answer all these questions about mammals we need to collect massive amounts of data, in this case camera trap images, from across all 100 counties in North Carolina,” says project coordinator Arielle Parsons, researcher with the Museum of Natural Sciences. “We really need the public’s help to accomplish this. The more people that participate, the more we can learn about North Carolina’s critters.” For more information or to sign up, visit

Camera traps allow scientists (and citizen scientists) to collect pictures of animals without disturbing them. These cameras can capture thousands of digital photos, which are then stored online indefinitely, allowing scientists now and in the future to look at how the state’s mammals change over time. One of the main scientific advantages of pictures from camera traps is that they are “verifiable,” which means that they are evidence that an animal was located in a specific time and place. The photos generated turn into data, allowing scientists to map where animals live and when and where they are most active across the state. They can then use this data to study how wildlife interacts with the environment, with humans and with other species. For example, wildlife biologist Roland Kays with NC State and his colleagues at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences recently used camera trap photos to determine that human recreation—like hiking, hunting and dog walking—is largely compatible with most wildlife species in the Southeast and doesn’t cause measurable disturbance.

Emily Packard <![CDATA[Navigating the Road Ahead]]> 2016-10-17T20:02:33Z 2016-10-15T00:36:37Z NC State — a leading public research university of more than 34,000 students from all 100 North Carolina counties, all 50 U.S. states and more than 120 countries — first opened its doors in 1889 to a class of 52 white males.

It wasn’t until 1927 that the university conferred degrees to its first female graduates, and in 1957 to its first African-American graduate, electrical engineer Robert Clemons. This slow rate of positive change was common at universities during that time and reflective of the historically slow pace of change for diversity and equality in our nation.

Today, NC State holds as one of its core commitments a dedication to ensuring our campus is an environment of true diversity and inclusion. Diversity Education Week is an opportunity to re-examine the progress we have made — and to redouble our efforts.

By the Numbers

In 1985, 12 percent of NC State students considered themselves part of an underrepresented group. Fast-forward to 2012 and that number had grown to only 16 percent — in part because of a relative surge in international students. Growth in diversity, like many other positive changes at public universities, has been incremental.

Take the gap in graduation rates between white and underrepresented minority students. From 2003 to 2013, NC State’s six-year graduation rate for white students increased 4.8 percent, to 74.2 percent. In comparison, the graduation rate for minority students rose by 12 percent. While the graduation gap has narrowed by 7.2 percent — faster than at almost any other public university in the nation — we still have work to do.

Diversity by representation has improved for many groups on campus over the past decade-and-a-half. Underrepresented minorities made up 18 percent of NC State’s student body last year — up from 13 percent in 2002 — and comprised 19 percent of tenure-track faculty, up from 13.5 percent. Female students dropped slightly from 46 percent to 45 percent in the same period, but female tenure-track faculty rose from 20.3 percent to 29 percent.

Beyond the Numbers

Yet despite a general increase in diversity, the percentage of African-American students at NC State has declined over the past three decades, even as the shares of Native American and Latinx-identifying students have risen slightly. And diversity numbers don’t capture the ongoing struggle of underrepresented groups on campus to truly feel part of the NC State family. Equity and inclusivity can’t be quantified.

NC State students engaged in a die-in protest at Talley Student Union.
NC State students have protested peacefully on campus in recent weeks. In September, they organized a die-in in Talley Student Union in response to the officer-involved shooting of Keith Lamont Scott.

Recent incidents of racism and bigotry — nationally and on campus — brought these issues to a head, as messages posted to social media left many students feeling that they were not safe or welcome at NC State.

These sentiments were brought to a wider audience at the recent Racial Climate Town Hall held at Talley Student Union, where students shared their hurt with university leaders. The students who spoke felt that their concerns had been ignored; many argued that the culture on campus had failed them. Such pain felt by any of our students, faculty or staff demands a response from all of us.

So where does NC State go from here? This is a Think and Do university, and that means matching ideas and dialogue with action.

Steps Taken

Following a January 2016 town hall meeting with student organizations, the University Diversity Advisory Committee made recommendations to Chancellor Randy Woodson and Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Warwick Arden. These recommendations covered four key areas: cultural competency, diversity education, communications and student government action.

Based on these recommendations, the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity — led by Linda McCabe Smith, vice provost for institutional equity and diversity — has begun developing cultural competency and implicit bias training. These programs will help groups and individuals to better engage with a diverse campus by recognizing and remedying their own biases.

Exploration of the current U.S. Diversity requirement in the General Education Program is also underway to determine possible changes, including course qualifications and the integration of cultural competency into the requirement. Units and divisions across campus will assess communications efforts to ensure that their messaging accurately reflects diversity at NC State.

The chancellor has formed a task force that will examine and recommend action on the university’s recruitment, admission, retainment and ability to graduate underrepresented students. Additionally, administration and Student Government will collaborate on diversity action items.

NC State students assemble at Wolf Plaza to protest.

Pieces in Place

Other pieces in place reflect NC State’s integration of diversity and inclusivity measures into the broader workings of the university. For example, our newly formed Bias Incident Response Team — led by Reggie Barnes — examines reported incidents of bias on our campus and coordinates the university’s response, including support for those affected.

Another initiative, the Equal Opportunity Institute, provides training for faculty, staff and students on equal opportunity, diversity and equity. The National Coalition Building Institute also continues to offer workshops on diversity and bias issues. In the near future, NC State seeks to offer further support for our Asian American and Pacific Islander students, along with peer training that will allow for productive dialogue on diversity and privilege.

Diversity education is promoted throughout the Division of Academic and Student Affairs — from Alternative Service Break trips that further cross-cultural understanding to specialized Counseling Center groups for people of color. Staff within the division have taken steps to create a more culturally aware administration by dedicating resources to intensive race-immersion workshops and a series of race-related trainings.

The university community has also come together to create interfaith prayer and meditation spaces that serve and respect the many religions represented on campus. Current spaces in D.H. Hill Library, Witherspoon Student Center and Centennial Campus allow members of our community to practice their faith in a safe space.

Just the Beginning

These initiatives reflect the desire of the NC State community to see true diversity in every facet of campus life. Diversity should be more than a buzzword: It is essential to our pursuit of excellence at this university — and to the realization of our students’ full potential.

Recent events show us that there are still significant issues within our community that privilege cannot ignore and talk cannot solve. Words and promises must lead to action. Universities must be safe, welcoming and empowering places. We speak often of society’s grand challenges at this university, and this is one such challenge. We will keep working to solve it — together.

]]> 2 D'Lyn Ford <![CDATA[A Healthy Start for All]]> 2016-10-14T20:18:53Z 2016-10-14T19:27:09Z It’s a promising sign that the national childhood obesity rate appears to be leveling off. But progress has been uneven, with persistent racial and ethnic disparities. Overweight and obesity rates are substantially higher for Black and Latino children and adolescents, creating serious health risks. That’s why the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is tapping the expertise of NC State researchers for a national project to end childhood obesity.

Myron Floyd, head of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management in the College of Natural Resources, studies racial disparities in access to public parks and worked on one of the foundation’s first national studies with underserved groups. We asked him to tell us more about the latest national project, the Physical Activity Research Center.

A portrait of College of Natural Resources professor Myron Floyd.
Myron Floyd, professor and department head in the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management

What is the Physical Activity Research Center?

The Physical Activity Research Center (PARC) is a national project to study how to make physical activity a part of the everyday experience for children and youth, especially among those at highest risk of overweight and obesity. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has invested $2.9 million in PARC as one of its five “big bets.” Four universities — University of California San Diego, Johns Hopkins, NC State and Georgia Tech — are teaming up to do research. The goal is to help all American children reach a healthy weight by 2025.

What motivated the project?

The childhood obesity epidemic and need for equity. A third of children and youth in the U.S. are obese. There are positive signs that the epidemic is leveling off. However, this positive movement is not being seen within low-income households and historically underserved populations. The project aims to identify how the built environment, which includes parks, recreation facilities, and streets and sidewalks, promotes greater physical activity among children and youth. The results will be provided to individuals and organizations that make decisions about park planning and design.

Why was NC State invited to be part of this project?

Public parks are important community settings for promoting healthy communities. NC State has enjoyed a 10-year relationship with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation because of our expertise in the health benefits of parks. I was principal investigator on one of the first park projects funded by the foundation that focused on underserved populations. For more than 20 years my research has focused on racial disparities in access to public parks. Aaron Hipp, an associate professor in the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management, is co-principal investigator for this project. He studies built environments and health with a focus on where, when and for whom environments support healthy behaviors. His research has investigated quality of local playgrounds, impact of new greenways, and the ability of programs to engage local communities in physical activity and recreation. He uses emerging technologies (GPS, accelerometers, web cameras, crowdsources) to objectively study the person-environment interaction and share research results that will help every community live, play and work in healthy neighborhoods. Our combined expertise turned out to be a very good fit to cover the role of parks and children within the PARC project.

What is our role in the project?

NC State will study public park use and physical activity among children in lower-income and racial and ethnic minority communities in Raleigh-Durham and in New York City. The findings will inform planning decisions for city parks, providing information about how to design parks and improve recreational opportunities and programs for underserved populations. The grant to NC State is $425,000.

What will the research involve?

The project will have three main components. We will rate the quality of a sample of neighborhood parks and surrounding streets and sidewalks in the Raleigh-Durham area and in New York City. We will also conduct systematic observations of how children and families use parks, with an eye toward documenting settings and facilities that promote or hinder activity. Finally, we will conduct a brief telephone survey to identify park attributes parents look for when making decisions about their children’s use of parks.

How will the results be shared and used?

Beyond peer-reviewed publications and conference presentations, we will work directly with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), the North Carolina Recreation and Park Association, and the Recreation Resources Service (RSS) here at NC State to disseminate the results of our work through policy briefs and fact sheets. To ensure we are reaching the right audiences with appropriate methods, we have representatives from NRPA and RRS, as well as the National Park Service, as study advisers.

Matt Shipman <![CDATA[Study Finds Surface Texture of Gallium Nitride Affects Cell Behavior]]> 2016-10-14T16:40:36Z 2016-10-14T16:40:36Z Researchers at North Carolina State University have determined that the surface texture of gallium nitride (GaN) materials can influence the health of nearby cells. The work is significant because GaN is a material of interest for developing new devices that can control cellular behavior.

GaN materials have a unique suite of properties that make them viable candidates for bioelectronic devices: you can tune the charge on the surface of the materials; the materials don’t easily degrade in aqueous environments like the body; and they are nontoxic.

“But while living cells will survive in the presence of GaN, we wanted to know if we could influence the behavior of the cells by changing the make-up of the GaN material,” says Patrick Snyder, a Ph.D. student at NC State and lead author of a paper on the work. “Basically, we wanted to know if engineering the GaN could influence the health and metabolism of the surrounding cells.”

To do this, the researchers tested three different materials: GaN, and two variations of aluminum gallium nitride – Al0.8Ga0.2N and Al0.7Ga0.3N. The researchers manipulated the surface of the materials, creating rough and smooth versions of each. Lastly, the researchers modified the surface chemistry of the materials to make them more or less attractive to water – hydrophilic or hydrophobic, respectively.

For example, there were six types of GaN material: hydrophobic, hydrophilic and unmodified rough GaN; and hydrophobic, hydrophilic and unmodified smooth GaN. The same was also true for both compositions of AlGaN.

The researchers then used the various GaN materials as substrates for growing PC12 cells – a line of well-studied model cells that are well understood.

During the seven-day experiment, the researchers monitored the cell cultures to track the health and metabolism of the cells.

“We found that the roughly-textured AlGaN compositions released more gallium into the cellular environment,” Snyder says. “While this did not kill the cells, it did cause metabolic changes.”

“This tells us that the topography of the material matters, and can influence cellular behavior,” says Albena Ivanisevic, a professor of materials science and engineering at NC State and co-author of the paper. “The work demonstrates that surface textures of bulk materials – like those used to create devices – can have similar effects to what we’ve previously seen in nanoscale materials.”

The paper, “Nanoscale topography, semiconductor polarity and surface functionalization: additive and cooperative effects on PC12 cell behavior,” is published online in the journal RSC Advances. The paper was co-authored by Ramon Collazo, an assistant professor of materials science and engineering at NC State; and Ronny Kirste, a postdoctoral researcher at NC State who is also affiliated with Adroit Materials. The work supported by the U.S. Army Research Office under grant W911NF-15-1-0375; and by the National Science Foundation under grant DMR-1312582.


Note to Editors: The study abstract follows.

“Nanoscale topography, semiconductor polarity and surface functionalization: additive and cooperative effects on PC12 cell behavior”

Authors: Patrick J. Snyder, Ramon Collazo and Albena Ivanisevic, North Carolina State University; Ronny Kirste, North Carolina State University and Adroit Materials

Published: Oct. 10, RSC Advances

DOI: 10.1039/C6RA21936E

Abstract: This work compares the behavior of PC12 cells on planar and patterned III-nitride materials with nanostructured topographies. Three different materials’ compositions containing N-polar and Ga-polar areas are studied: Al0.8Ga0.2N, Al0.7Ga0.3N, and GaN. Surface microscopy and spectroscopy, along with biological assays are used to understand the connection between nanoscopic features, polarity and surface functionalization. All materials are modified using a solution based approach to change their surface composition. The results demonstrate that altering the surface hydrophobicity can be used to generate additive effects with respect to protein adsorption in addition to the cooperative effects observed with respect to planes’ polarity and topography. The work also details differences in the release of metal ions from clean and functionalized nanostructured III-polar and N-polar semiconductors in cell culture media, and their relationship to changes in cell response through quantification of cell viability and the production of reactive oxygen species. Our results demonstrate that nanoscale topography can be linked to additional parameters at the cell-semiconductor interface in order to understand and modulate PC12 cell behavior.

Tracey Peake <![CDATA[Wind Patterns in Lowest Layers of Supercell Storms Key to Predicting Tornadoes]]> 2016-10-13T19:59:09Z 2016-10-13T19:14:27Z New research from North Carolina State University has found that wind patterns in the lowest 500 meters of the atmosphere near supercell thunderstorms can help predict whether that storm will generate a tornado. The work may help better predict tornado formation and reduce the number of false alarms during tornado season.

Supercells are a special type of thunderstorm. They last much longer than normal thunderstorms and produce the vast majority of tornadoes and other severe weather. Seventy-five percent of supercell thunderstorms are nontornadic, or don’t cause tornadoes. Difficulty in predicting which storms may produce tornadoes has resulted in a false alarm ratio for tornado warnings that also hovers around 75 percent. When using traditional weather sampling methods, there are no clearly observable differences between tornadic and nontornadic supercells in terms of precipitation echoes, rotating updrafts or surface air circulations.

To address this knowledge gap, researchers involved in the second Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes Experiment (VORTEX2) collected data in close proximity to supercell storms. Using data from the 12 best-sampled storms – seven of which produced tornadoes – Brice Coffer, a graduate student in marine, earth, and atmospheric sciences at NC State and lead author of a paper describing the work, ran simulations of supercell storms to determine which factors made tornadogenesis more likely.

“We noticed that the biggest difference between tornadic and nontornadic storms was the wind in the lowest 500 meters near the storm,” Coffer says. “Specifically, it was the difference in the way the air rotated into the storm in the updraft.”

All storms have an updraft, in which air is drawn upward into the storm, feeding it. In supercells, the rising air also rotates due to wind shear, which is how much the wind changes in speed and direction as you go higher in the atmosphere. Coffer’s simulations demonstrated that if wind shear conditions are right in the lowest 500 meters, then the air entering the updraft spirals like a perfectly thrown football. This leads to a supercell that is configured to be particularly favorable for producing a tornado, as broad rotation at the ground is stretched by the updraft’s lift, increasing the speed of the spin and resulting in a tornado.

On the other hand, if the wind shear conditions in the lowest part of the atmosphere are wrong, then the air tumbles into the storm like a football rotating end over end after a kickoff. This results in a disorganized storm that doesn’t produce tornadoes due to a lack of stretching near the ground. Coffer hopes that his results may lead to fewer tornado false alarms.

“This work points to the need for better observational techniques of the low-level winds being drawn into the storms’ updraft,” Coffer says. “Improving this aspect of storm monitoring will improve our predictive abilities when it comes to tornadoes.”

The research appears in Monthly Weather Review. Matthew Parker, professor of marine, earth and atmospheric sciences at NC State, is co-author. The research was supported by the National Science Foundation grant AGS-1156123.


Note to editors: An abstract of the paper follows

“Simulated supercells in nontornadic and tornadic VORTEX2 environments”

DOI: 10.1175/MWR-D-16-0226.1

Authors: Brice Coffer, Matt Parker, North Carolina State University
Published: Monthly Weather Review

The composite near-storm environments of nontornadic and tornadic supercells sampled during the second Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes Experiment (VORTEX2) both appear to be generally favorable for supercells and tornadoes. It has not been clear whether small differences between the two environments (e.g. more streamwise horizontal vorticity in the lowest few hundred meters above the ground in the tornadic composite) are actually determinative of storms’ tornadic potential. From the VORTEX2 composite environments, simulations of a nontornadic and a tornadic supercell are used to investigate storm-scale differences that ultimately favor tornadogenesis or tornadogenesis failure. Both environments produce strong supercells with robust mid-level mesocyclones and hook echoes, though the tornadic supercell has a more intense low-level updraft and develops a tornado-like vortex exceeding the EF3 wind speed threshold. In contrast, the nontornadic supercell only produces shallow vortices, which never reach the EF0 wind speed threshold. Even though the nontornadic supercell readily produces subtornadic surface vortices, these vortices fail to be stretched by the low-level updraft. This is due to a disorganized low-level mesocyclone caused by predominately crosswise vorticity in the lowest few hundred meters above ground level within the nontornadic environment. In contrast, the tornadic supercell ingests predominately streamwise horizontal vorticity, which promotes a strong low-level mesocyclone with enhanced dynamic lifting and stretching of surface vertical vorticity. These results support the idea that larger streamwise vorticity leads to a more intense low-level mesocyclone, whereas predominately crosswise vorticity yields a less favorable configuration of the low-level mesocyclone for tornadogenesis.

D'Lyn Ford <![CDATA[Great Schools Need Great Leaders]]> 2016-10-13T16:20:07Z 2016-10-13T16:08:18Z NC State University will lead a $5.6 million effort to redesign principal preparation programs as a partner in the Wallace Foundation’s five-year, $47 million national initiative.

NC State was one of seven selected from a pool of about 700 U.S. principal preparation programs, says education professor Bonnie Fusarelli, principal investigator for the grant and director of the Northeast Leadership Academy, which trains principals and assistant principals to serve as turnaround specialists in underperforming schools.

NC State's Northeast Leadership Academy prepares principals to serve as turnaround specialists in underperforming schools.
NC State’s Northeast Leadership Academy prepares principals to serve as turnaround specialists in underperforming schools.

“We know that great schools have great leaders, so we’re delighted to have support to improve and customize training for North Carolina principals,” Fusarelli says. “NC State will be working with 16 school districts and with corporate partners that are donating their expertise in data analytics and leadership training.”

NC State will expand its outreach efforts to include the Wake County and Johnston County school districts, as well as continue work in 14 districts that participate in the Northeast Leadership Academy (NELA). The NELA districts are Bertie, Edgecombe, Franklin, Granville, Halifax, Hertford, Martin, Nash-Rocky Mount, Northampton, Roanoke Rapids, Vance, Warren, Washington and Weldon City.

Fusarelli says the Wallace funding will support work on four goals:

  • Developing and implementing high-quality courses of study at NC State for preservice training of future principals
  • Building strong collaborations between the university and school districts
  • Creating a Leadership Tracking System to gather data about graduates’ performance that will be used to improve the program
  • Providing preservice training to aspiring leaders in partner districts and continuous professional development for current school leaders

“We’ll be redesigning our master’s degree program in school administration so that it can be delivered in the participating districts,” says Tim Drake, assistant professor of education and co-principal investigator for the Wallace Foundation grant. “In effect, we’re taking this to the people, rather than asking them to come to us, which is part of NC State’s mission as a land-grant university.”

Cary-based analytics software giant SAS will help develop a leadership tracking system for the project. BB&T will donate a week of corporate leadership training for all NC State educational leadership students as well as Johnston County’s current assistant principals.

The new funding will enable the NELA project to expand its work with struggling schools, where it has demonstrated strong results.

One example is NELA graduate Carol Mizelle, a principal at Colerain Elementary in Bertie County. When Mizelle began work as a principal, only 30 percent of students were proficient on state tests. Now, the rate has risen to 55 percent.

“Carol has taken her school from an ‘F’ to a ‘C’ grade in two years,” Fusarelli says. “That’s remarkable, particularly when you realize that test scores commonly drop following a change of leadership.”

The Wallace grant is the latest recognition for NC State, which is building a national reputation for excellence in preparing school leaders. NC State’s College of Education has $15.3 million in current state and private foundation grants for preparing school leaders. Since 2010, NC State has received more than $22.6 million in external grant funding to support NELA, which is one of five programs nationally to be honored with an Exemplary Educational Leadership Preparation Program Award from the University Council for Educational Administration.

Tim Peeler <![CDATA[Help Warm the Pack With Coat Donation]]> 2016-10-13T15:42:42Z 2016-10-13T15:33:33Z The NC State Staff Senate is partnering with the Feed the Pack food pantry to collect new or gently used winter coats for students who may be in need of warm clothing this winter.

Drop-off locations are set up around campus through Oct. 21.

  • Joyner Visitors Center (M-F, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.)
  • University Police Department (24 hours, for after-hours assistance use red phone in vestibule)
  • Environmental Health and Safety Center

Students in need of winter-wear can pick out a coat from 2-6 p.m. on Oct. 24 at the Feed the Pack Food Pantry, located at 1333 Broughton Hall.

Tim Peeler <![CDATA[Early Voting Returns to Campus on Oct. 27]]> 2016-10-15T13:43:00Z 2016-10-13T15:13:32Z Early voting returns to NC State’s campus for the 2016 general election, with a polling location at the Creative Services Building at 1220 Varsity Dr., adjacent to the McKimmon Center, from Oct. 27-Nov. 5.

While the polling location is not open the first week of the state’s early voting period, it will be available for a total of 10 days leading up to the Nov. 8 election.

Friday is the final day to register to vote for the 2016 election.

Throughout the final weeks of the election cycle, NC State’s chapter of the non-partisan NC Public Interest Research Group will host a variety of events for students, staff and faculty, from free ice cream on the Brickyard from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. to a wrap up and analysis of the election on Nov. 10 at the University College Commons.

The student-led “Pack the Polls” initiative also has convenient information about where early voting is available on campus and throughout Wake County, as well as information about where in Raleigh registered students who live on campus may vote on election day.

Matt Shipman <![CDATA[Study Examines What Drives Student Involvement in Racial Justice Movements]]> 2016-10-12T18:53:17Z 2016-10-13T11:00:42Z A new study from North Carolina State University, the University of Chicago and the University of Michigan finds that women college students are more active than men in racial justice movements – and that what drives Black students to engage is different from what drives Latino students. The finding not only sheds light on how students support social action – but what higher education can do to support its students.

“We wanted to know how active Black and Latino undergraduates are in regard to advocacy for racial justice,” says Elan Hope, an assistant professor of psychology at NC State and lead author of a paper describing the work. “And we wanted to know what factors predict that advocacy.”

The researchers did this by focusing on two specific movements: the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and advocacy for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) legislation.

The BLM movement began in 2013 in response to the murder of Trayvon Martin and gained momentum following the shooting of Michael Brown Jr. and the deaths of Renisha McBride, Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice, Laquan McDonald and others. The DACA movement seeks legislative change to address obstacles faced by immigrant youth. It gained momentum in 2010 with anti-deportation campaigns led by undocumented activists who sought citizenship for undocumented people born abroad but raised primarily in the United States.

For this study, the researchers surveyed 533 undergraduates at five universities – 221 Black students and 312 Latino students. Seventy-five percent of the Black students were women; 57 percent of the Latino students were women.

Study participants were asked whether they had been involved in the BLM and DACA movements, whether online, offline or both. Participants were also asked about their experiences with racial microaggressions, such as being singled out by police due to race or having experiences where people assumed every person of their race was alike.

Across all groups, the students were more likely to have been involved in the BLM movement than in DACA, and women were more likely to be active than men. Sixty-eight percent of Black women were active in BLM, compared to 54 percent of Black men. Meanwhile, 37 percent of Latina women were active in BLM, compared to 17 percent of Latino men.

But the factors that predicted each group’s involvement varied significantly.

For Black students, the primary predictor was whether they had previous experience with political activism – the more political activism experience they had, the more likely they were to participate in BLM. For Latino students, those who had experienced more racial microaggressions were more likely to be active in the BLM movement.

Latina women were the most active undergraduate group in the DACA movement, with 26 percent participating, compared to 10 percent of Latino men. Meanwhile, 21 percent of Black women were involved in DACA, compared to 17 percent of Black men.

Racial microaggressions again played a significant role, with Latino students who experienced more microaggressions being more likely to be involved in the DACA movement. In addition, Latino students who felt they had the power to effect political change were more likely to be active in DACA.

For Black students, previous political activism also predicted involvement in the DACA movement. But DACA participation was also closely tied to whether a Black student was a first-generation U.S. citizen, with first-generation students being more likely to get involved.

“This study gives us some insight into what is happening now – how these movements are shaping, and being shaped by, college students,” Hope says. “But there is also a message here for higher education broadly.

“Most university mission statements address public service, civic engagement and diversity,” Hope says. “This work highlights that undergraduate populations want to be involved in efforts to positively influence social change.

“This will, hopefully, tell school administrators that it makes sense to support their students – and their mission statements – by offering a variety of courses with a social justice focus, and providing workshops that teach best practices for race/ethnicity-related activism,” Hope says.

The paper, “Participation in Black Lives Matter & Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals: Modern Activism among Black & Latino College Students,” is published in the Journal of Diversity in Higher Education. The paper was co-authored by Micere Keels of the University of Chicago and Myles Durkee of the University of Michigan. The work was supported by the William T. Grant Foundation under grant number 180804.


Note to Editors: The study abstract follows.

“Participation in Black Lives Matter & Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals: Modern Activism among Black & Latino College Students”

Authors: Elan Hope, North Carolina State University; Micere Keels, University of Chicago; Myles Durkee, University of Michigan

Published: Journal of Diversity in Higher Education

DOI: 10.1037/dhe0000032

Abstract: Political activism is one way racially/ethnically marginalized youth can combat institutional discrimination and seek legislative change towards equality and justice. In the current study, we examine participation in #BlackLivesMatter (BLM) and advocacy for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) as political activism popular among youth. Participants were 533 Black and Latino college students. We found that both Black and Latino students reported more involvement in BLM than DACA. There were no gender differences in participation for Black students, but Latina women reported greater participation in BLM and DACA than Latino men. We also tested whether demographic characteristics, racial/ethnic microaggressions, and political efficacy predict BLM and DACA involvement. For Black students, prior political activism predicted involvement in BLM and DACA and immigration status predicted DACA involvement. For Latino students, more experiences of racial/ethnic microaggressions predicted involvement in BLM and DACA and political efficacy predicted DACA involvement. Findings highlight rates of participation in modern sociopolitical movements and expand our understanding of how psychological factors may differentially promote activism for Black and Latino college students.

David Hunt <![CDATA[Creating a Campus Culture Free of Slights and Slurs]]> 2016-10-13T10:05:47Z 2016-10-13T09:58:12Z We all put up with minor slights — from the waiter who assumes we qualify for the senior discount to the coworker who points out our mistakes in front of the boss. So what’s all this talk about microaggressions  in higher education? Are college students really so sensitive they can’t shrug off the occasional slight?

Maybe the problem isn’t overly sensitive college students, says Renee Wells. Maybe I should really be asking myself why talking about microaggressions annoys me so much.

“There’s a really big cognitive perception gap between people who experience microaggressions and people who commit them,” says Wells, director of the university’s GLBT Center. “It’s important to understand that most microaggressions are not intentional. People just don’t see that what they’re saying is exclusionary or discriminatory or problematic in some way.”

Renee Wells says most microaggressions are unintentional.
Renee Wells says most microaggressions are unintentional.

While I may commit the occasional microaggression and shrug it off as something of no consequence, others may feel the offense very deeply.

“People who experience microaggressions experience them all the time,” Wells says. “It’s sometimes called ‘death by a thousand paper cuts.’ There’s this cumulative emotional effect that leaves people feeling marginalized and invalidated.”

Wells will facilitate a workshop titled “Recognizing and Responding to Microaggessions” from 9 a.m. to noon Monday, Oct. 31, in the Talley Student Union. The workshop is open to NC State undergraduates, graduate students, staff, faculty and alumni as well as interested members of the community. Registration is available online through the GLBT Advocate Program.

No Laughing Matter

Most people recognize common microaggressions for what they are: insensitive remarks, backhanded compliments or even outright insults that mask an underlying bias or stereotype. We joke about Asian students throwing off the grading curve, recount a run-in with a “woman driver,” or ask an African American student if they came to school on an athletic scholarship.

But there are other types of microaggressions, Wells explains, including environmental microaggressions.

“For example, a student walking across campus might see a confederate flag in the window of a residence hall or a racist slur spray painted in the Free Expression Tunnel,” she says. “These are things that you see that aren’t necessarily targeted at you, but are part of the environment you are navigating.”

Or — as happened recently on campus — you could find racist messages and offensive stereotypes posted in a chat forum.

“Microaggressions include things you might consider macroaggressions, things that are intentional and overt — people using racist slurs — which are microassaults,” Wells says.

Sadly, most people don’t call out microaggressions when they occur. That may reinforce the notion that no harm has been done.

“People who experience microaggressions don’t usually address it. But when they do address it, people get really defensive and try to rationalize what they said and what they meant,” Wells explains. “When confronted, they tend to see it as an isolated incident. They say they didn’t mean anything by it and come up with lots of reasons to explain how they didn’t mean to hurt anyone.”

Ironically, people sometimes respond with yet another microaggression.

“For example, they may accuse the other person of ‘playing the race card.’ What that’s saying is that your perspective is only based on your status as person of color and that it’s not a valid perspective,” Wells says.

Be Part of the Solution

And don’t think you’re free of irrational bias just because you’re a person with a disability, black, gay or female. Members of one marginalized group sometimes experience “horizontal oppression” at the hands of members of other marginalized groups.

“You may be culturally competent as it relates to your own identity and community,” Wells says. “But that doesn’t mean that you’re culturally competent about communities you’re not a part of.”

The key to reducing insensitive language and actions at NC State — and in the community — is for each of us to stop shrugging off microaggressions and to confront them when they occur, intentionally or unintentionally.

“The ultimate form of privilege is having the option of not challenging oppressive behavior, to say it’s not my problem,” Wells says.

We also have to be willing to take a long, honest look at ourselves, to see our own biases and blind spots.

“Nobody wants to hurt other people,” Wells says. “It feels bad to be made aware you hurt other people. It makes you feel really uncomfortable. But the truth is, if we’re not willing to be vulnerable and learn from it, we won’t ever become better as people.”

University Communications <![CDATA[Celebrating Innovation, Entrepreneurship]]> 2016-10-12T19:05:29Z 2016-10-12T19:05:29Z 0 admin <![CDATA[The End of the World As We Know It?]]> 2016-10-12T18:54:34Z 2016-10-12T18:27:05Z It sounds obvious when you say it—growing populations require more and more resources to survive. Paul Ehrlich, founder of the field of co-evolution and author of the prescient 1968 classic The Population Bomb, has made a career of saying it until people finally began to listen and change public policy.

Ehrlich joins NC State professor of applied ecology Rob Dunn on Wednesday, Oct. 19, 7-8:30 p.m., in the Hunt Library auditorium, for “A Conversation with Paul Ehrlich: The Sixth Mass Extinction is Here.” Copies of their books—including Ehrlich’s latest title, The Annihilation of Nature—will be available on-site for purchase and signing.

The free, public talk is co-presented by the NCSU Libraries, College of Sciences (Department of Biological Sciences), College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (Department of Applied Ecology), the Southeast Climate Science Center and the Global Environmental Change Cluster.

Through his tireless research, Ehrlich has raised issues of population, resources, and the environment as matters of public policy. Co-founder, with Peter H. Raven. of the field of coevolution, Ehrlich has pursued long-term studies of the structure, dynamics, and genetics of natural butterfly populations. His research interests cover several areas including the ways that human-disturbed landscapes can be made more hospitable to diversity.

“For five decades, beginning with the provocative and controversial book, The Population Bomb, Paul Ehrlich has focused public attention on human population growth,” says Nick M. Haddad, an NC State applied ecology professor. “Among Ehrlich’s 43 books, he has revealed the consequences of the growing footprint of humans for the natural world. His scientific contributions and impacts are broad, and include acclaimed advances in the biology of everything from butterflies and evolution.”

Ehrlich is Bing Professor of Population Studies and Professor of Biological Sciences at Stanford. He has been elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences and has won many honors, including the Crafoord Prize, an explicit substitute for the Nobel Prize in fields of science where the latter is not given; the John Muir Award from the Sierra Club; the Gold Medal Award from the World Wildlife Fund International; a MacArthur Prize Fellowship; the United Nations’ Sasakawa Environment Prize; the Heinz Award in the Environment; and the Heineken Prize for Environmental Sciences.

admin <![CDATA[Diversity Education Week Begins Monday]]> 2016-10-12T17:26:08Z 2016-10-12T17:14:09Z 0 Carla Davis <![CDATA[NC State Meets State-Mandated Reduction Goals]]> 2016-10-12T16:45:07Z 2016-10-12T16:45:07Z 0 admin <![CDATA[Nobel-Laureate Amano To Lecture at Hunt Library]]> 2016-10-13T13:36:36Z 2016-10-12T15:37:16Z Nobel-laureate Hiroshi Amano, the co-recipient of the 2014 Nobel Prize for Physics, will present a distinguished lecture about semiconductor devices on Wednesday, Oct. 19, from 3-4 p.m. at the Hunt Library auditorium.

Amano, a professor in the graduate school of engineering at Japan’s Nagoya University, was one of three physicists who shared the prize for the their invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes (LEDs), which have enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources.

His lecture is sponsored by the Office of International Affairs, the department of electrical and computer engineering and the PowerAmerica Institute.

The event is free and open to the public.

Tim Peeler <![CDATA[Goodnight Scholars Host TED Fellow Tandon]]> 2016-10-13T16:32:33Z 2016-10-12T15:11:56Z Nina Tandon, TED Senior Fellow and chief executive officer of EpiBone, will be the featured speaker for the fall semester Goodnight Scholars Program at 6 p.m. on Oct. 25 at the Talley Student Union’s Stewart Theatre.

Her presentation, called “Body 3.0,” will explain the process of growing tissue and transplants and the future of medical science. Tandon, author of Building with Biology, is an expert on engineered human tissues, an issue that resides in the crossroads of manufacturing and information technology.

The event is open to the public and admission is free.

University Communications <![CDATA[UNC System Seeks Input on Strategic Plan]]> 2016-10-13T16:08:32Z 2016-10-12T14:57:28Z The Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina system is seeking input in developing a strategic plan that will guide decision making in the years ahead. The UNC strategic plan is centered around five themes: access, student success, affordability and efficiency, excellent and diverse institutions, and economic impact.

In order to get a wide breadth of input on the strategic plan, the system invites faculty, staff, and students to provide feedback to the Board of Governors via an online survey.

Participation in the survey is completely voluntary. Responses are confidential and will be given careful consideration as the planning process moves forward.

For additional information on the strategic planning themes, as well as information regarding the overall process, visit the UNC Strategic Planning website.

Nash Dunn <![CDATA[Many Paths to Making Family]]> 2016-10-12T14:34:46Z 2016-10-12T14:34:46Z 0 Matt Shipman <![CDATA[Moms More Likely Than Dads to Favor Both School Diversity And Neighborhood Schools]]> 2016-10-11T18:58:00Z 2016-10-12T11:00:13Z In the first empirical study on gender and school assignment, researchers find that mothers are more likely than fathers to favor both school diversity and so-called neighborhood schools. The study also finds that mothers are more likely to be concerned about challenges, dangers and uncertainty related to school assignments.

“Our threshold question was whether there were gender differences among parents toward their children’s public school assignments – and we found clear differences,” says Toby Parcel, a professor of sociology at North Carolina State University and lead author of a paper on the research.

“This is the first time researchers have measured, in an empirical way, how school assignment concerns break down along gender lines,” Parcel says. “And it gives us a deeper, fundamental understanding of parental concerns about schooling.”

For the study, researchers analyzed survey data from 547 parents of children in Wake County (N.C.) Public Schools. Survey participants were split about evenly between men and women.

“We found that mothers were more pro-diversity and more supportive of neighborhood schools than fathers, regardless of any other variables – such as race, education, income or political affiliation,” Parcel says. “This highlights the policy challenges facing school administrators, who often have to find a balance between promoting school diversity and drawing a school population from its immediate neighborhood.”

The researchers also found that mothers were more concerned than fathers about potential logistical challenges a school reassignment might pose, were more fearful that a reassignment may harm a child’s learning or friendships, and were more uncertain about the likelihood of a child being reassigned to a different school.

“We do know that school boards do take these concerns into account,” Parcel says. “For example, in Wake County, these concerns have slowed down the rate, and limited the number, of school reassignments.”

Parcel notes that while this study focused on one North Carolina county, the underlying variables that the researchers examined are broadly applicable to other parts of the United States.

The study highlighted another area of potential interest for future research.

“We think the work of making school choices – such as choosing among public, private, charter, magnet and home-schooling options – is significant; it takes time, effort and emotional energy,” Parcel says. “And it’s an understudied area. We’d like to see questions about this incorporated into national surveys that focus on the division of household labor.”

The paper, “‘How Far is Too Far?’ Gender, Emotional Capital and Children’s Public School Assignments,” is published in the journal Socius. The paper was co-authored by Andy Taylor of NC State and Joshua Hendrix, a former Ph.D. student at NC State, now at RTI International.


Note to Editors: Study details follow.

“‘How Far is Too Far?’ Gender, Emotional Capital and Children’s Public School Assignments”

Authors: Toby Parcel and Andrew J. Taylor, North Carolina State University; Joshua A. Hendrix, RTI International

Published: Oct. 10, Socius

DOI: 10.1177/2378023116669955

Abstract: The authors analyze how gender and other individual and family characteristics shape attitudes toward children’s school assignments. Using a mixed-methods approach, the authors analyze preferences for (1) diversity- and (2) neighborhood-based schools and three new dimensions of negative emotional capital: (3) parental challenge from student reassignments, (4) perceived dangers to children from reassignments, and (5) the uncertainty reassignment entails. Quantitative results indicate that emotional capital is highly gendered, with mothers perceiving more challenges, dangers, and uncertainty than fathers. We interpret these findings within the context of the division of household labor and how gendered work arrangements are reproduced at home.

Tim Peeler <![CDATA[Howling Cow Debuts New Flavor at NC State Fair]]> 2016-10-10T20:31:11Z 2016-10-10T20:31:11Z 0 Matt Shipman <![CDATA[‘Sensing Skin’ Detects Cracks, Harmful Chemicals in Structures]]> 2016-10-11T17:32:08Z 2016-10-10T13:05:39Z Researchers have developed a multi-layered “sensing skin” to detect corrosive or otherwise harmful substances in structures. The skin can also detect cracks and other structural flaws that are invisible to the naked eye.

An example of testing a multi-layer sensing skin for detecting chlorides and cracking. The top row shows photographs of the sensing skin on a concrete beam surface before and after cracking the beam. In the top left photograph, the dashed circle indicates an approximate location of an embedded chloride solution reservoir. The second and third row illustrate the EIT reconstructions of a (chloride and crack-sensitive) copper layer and a (crack-sensitive) silver layer, respectively. Before cracking (left column), the copper layer shows a chloride damage in the location of the chloride reservoir, and the silver layer is intact. After cracking (right column), the copper layer reveals both the chloride damage and the cracks, while the silver layer shows only the cracks. Image Credit: Aku Seppänen. Click to enlarge.
An example of testing a multi-layer sensing skin for detecting chlorides and cracking. The top row shows photographs of the sensing skin on a concrete beam surface before and after cracking the beam. In the top left photograph, the dashed circle indicates an approximate location of an embedded chloride solution reservoir. The second and third row illustrate the EIT reconstructions of a (chloride and crack-sensitive) copper layer and a (crack-sensitive) silver layer, respectively. Before cracking (left column), the copper layer shows a chloride damage in the location of the chloride reservoir, and the silver layer is intact. After cracking (right column), the copper layer reveals both the chloride damage and the cracks, while the silver layer shows only the cracks. Image Credit: Aku Seppänen. Click to enlarge.

“We’ve created a skin that can be applied to the surface of almost any structure and be used to monitor the structure’s integrity remotely and in real time, identifying potential problems long before they become catastrophic,” says Mohammad Pour-Ghaz, an assistant professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering at North Carolina State University and co-author of a paper describing the work.

The sensing skin consists of three layers, which can be painted onto the surface of a structure or pre-assembled and attached to the surface like wallpaper.

The first layer is electrically conductive and is used solely to detect cracks. The second layer serves as a buffer between the first and third layers. The third layer detects cracks, but is also engineered to detect specific chemicals of interest.

This third layer incorporates metal nanoparticles whose conductivity changes in the presence of specific ions. By changing the composition of the metal nanoparticles, this layer can be engineered to respond to any particular chemical.

If users want to monitor for chemicals coming out of a structure – such as leakage of the chemicals out of a containment structure – the third layer would face inward, touching the structure’s surface. To monitor external chemicals, the third layer would face outward.

Here’s how the sensing skin works. Electrodes are applied around the perimeter of a structure. The sensing skin is then applied to the structure, over the electrodes. A computer program then runs a small current between two of the electrodes at a time, cycling through a number of possible electrode combinations.

When the current runs between two electrodes, a computer monitors and records the electrical potential at all of the electrodes on the structure for both the first and third layers of the sensing skin. This data is then used to calculate the sensing skin’s spatially distributed electrical conductivity on both layers. The researchers have developed a suite of algorithms that can use changes in conductivity measured by the first and third layers of the skin to detect and locate both damage and the presence of target chemicals.

In a proof-of-concept study, the researchers applied their sensing skin to reinforced concrete. The researchers exposed the concrete to corrosive elements and subjected the concrete to strain in order to simulate the failure of real-world structures. For this study, the third layer of the sensing skin was engineered to detect chlorides, which can cause corrosion in reinforced concrete.

“The skin performed really well,” Pour-Ghaz says. “We were able to detect cracks as small as a few hundred micrometers; and we could very accurately detect any instances in which chlorides came into contact with the skin.

“We want people to be able to detect problems very early on,” Pour-Ghaz says. “And while this proof-of-concept looked at concrete, the technology – if properly applied – could be used on structural materials from metals to polymers.”

The researchers are in the process of conducting experiments of the sensing skin on a large-scale structure, more accurately reflecting the size of real-world structures.

The paper, “A Functionally Layered Sensing Skin for Detection of Corrosive Elements and Cracking,” is published online in the journal Structural Health Monitoring. Lead author of the paper is Aku Seppänen, of the University of Eastern Finland. The paper was co-authored by Milad Hallaji, a former Ph.D. student at NC State. The work was done with support from the Academy of Finland and the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering at NC State.


Note to Editors: The study abstract follows.

“A Functionally Layered Sensing Skin for Detection of Corrosive Elements and Cracking”

Authors: Aku Seppänen, University of Eastern Finland; Milad Hallaji and Mohammad Pour-Ghaz, North Carolina State University

Published: Oct. 6, Structural Health Monitoring

DOI: 10.1177/1475921716670574

Abstract: In this paper, we propose an electrical impedance tomography (EIT) -based multi-functional surface sensing system, or sensing skin, for structural health monitoring. More specifically, the EIT-based sensing skin is developed for detecting and localizing the ingress of chlorides and cracking – two phenomena which are of concern in many structures, including reinforced concrete structures. The multi-functional sensing skin is made of two layers; one layer is sensitive to both chlorides and cracking, and another layer is sensitive to cracking only. In the experiments, the sensing skin is tested on a polymeric and concrete substrate. The results demonstrate the feasibility of the multi-functional multi-layer sensing skin for detecting and localizing corrosive elements and cracking, and for distinguishing between them.