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Editors Garey Fox Rebecca Nagy Lacy Parrish Contributing Writers Bradley Everhart, Garey Fox, Alex Greeson, Rebecca Nagy, Matthew Parker, Rachel Taylor, Joe Wright

ASABE State Section Meeting ASABE International Meeting New Faculty Weaver Updates Awards and Honors Research Updates



Top: Graduate student Katy Mazer conducts a flume demonstration to freshmen engineering students. Bottom left: Undergraduate student Dani Winter works on a floating islands project on Centennial Campus. Bottom right: Graduate student Josh Rudd flies a drone during a freshmen engineering recruiting event.

Student Group Updates Fall and Spring Graduation Senior Design Project Highlighted New Scholars Program

ALUMNI AND GIVING NEWS BAE BY THE NUMBERS • 26 Faculty • 80 Graduate Students • 255 Undergraduates • 6 Faculty Hired Since 2016 • $15 Million in Research Activity


Alumni Updates 2017 Young and Distinguished Alumni New Endowments


Approximately a year ago I had the pleasure of taking over the reins of this proud department. I am truly honored to serve in this capacity. While I may be new here, I have followed NC State’s program for the past two decades. I almost came to NC State 20 years ago for graduate school to work with Dr. Wayne Skaggs. Instead, I chose to attend Colorado State University and ultimately serve as the Director of the Oklahoma State Water Resources Center as a faculty member at Oklahoma State University. But when NC State came calling, I jumped at the chance to lead a nationally known program and bring a fresh perspective to the department. It has been an amazing first year for me at NC State as we not only embrace the legacy of this program but also look to the future. I am committed to maintaining key aspects of this program including its family environment and hands-on educational programs, our prominent role in our three land-grant missions of teaching, research, and extension, and our relevancy to the state Dr. Garey Fox of North Carolina and the region. BAE is jointly administered by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) and the College of Engineering (COE) at NC State. That puts BAE in a unique position to serve as a catalyst for multidisciplinary partnerships with many other departments on this campus – as well as with other institutions across the United States. I invite you to come back to Weaver Labs to experience first-hand the upgrades and changes in our facilities and laboratories including a new website, updated lobby, electronics laboratory, senior design room, electronic display boards, women’s restrooms, and many others. More changes are on their way, not simply for the sake of change but for the sake of growth and development! We are strengthening our recruiting efforts. We are communicating our accomplishments and programs. We are leading new initiatives in CALS and COE. We are strenghthening our curriculum to ensure that our students are prepared to face the grand challenges in engineering. Since January 2017, we have been joined by several new faculty members including Dr. Chadi Sayde (irrigation and water management), Dr. Natalie Nelson (data analytics and integrated modeling), and Dr. Jason Ward (precision agriculture). Current searches are underway for two more positions in metabolic “That puts BAE in engineering and biosensors. We also hired a new program communications specialist, Ms. Rebecca a unique position Nagy, who is leading us into the next generation of digital communications. We also extend our sincere appreciation of service to BAE and NC State University to those who retired this past year for multidisciplinary including Ken Coats (research shop), LT Woodlief (research specialist), Barry Lineberger (research partnerships.” engineer), and Carolyn Mitkowski (graphics designer). I am so pleased to report that new endowments have been established this year through a number of generous donations: the Robert O. Evans Endowment for distinguished graduate fellowships, Dragonfly Pond Works undergraduate scholars program, and the Mort and Jean Powell, Jr. Endowed Scholarship for undergraduate students. More great news regarding a new Distinguished Professorship is on its way! I welcome you to consider ways in which you are interested in investing in the future of BAE and help us to accelerate our growth and development. Finally, I challenge you to help me tell the story of Biological and Agricultural Engineering to our prospective students and stakeholders. BAE degrees are gateways to incredible careers: just ask our faculty and professionals about their research programs, our seniors about their future jobs, or ask an alumnus about their current work. I am amazed every day by the commitment of our alumni to this program. This was evident in the acceptance speeches of our two recently recognized distinguished alumni, Mr. Larry Coats and Dr. Matthew Jones. I think the phrase “BAE cannot be explained, it can only be experienced” somewhat still rings true in characterizing our department, but it doesn’t need to be that way. I need your help to explain BAE to others. Share your story with us and others and let’s show others how we bring engineering to life!

Dr. Garey Fox Department Head and Professor

BAE HOSTS NORTH CAROLINA ASABE STATE SECTION MEETING The North Carolina American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) State Section Meeting brought together students, staff, faculty, industry and government representatives from across the state. The meeting was sponsored by Custom Controls Unlimited and Benchmark Tool and Supply, Inc. Speakers from NC State University, North Carolina A&T State University, the NC Department of Environmental Quality, Hazen and Sawyer, PrecisionHawk and Cavanaugh and Associates presented on recent projects and topics related to the field. Updates from NC State and NC A&T ASABE student sections were given as well as updates from Pack Pullers, Alpha Epsilon and the NC State BAE Graduate Student Association.The event was capped off with a graduate student poster session and the ASABE Fall Career Fair.

Dr. Godfrey Gayle gives an update on BAE at NC A&T.

Representative of SEPI Engineering talks to students at the Career Fair.

Alumnus Bobby Vick of Prescision Hawk

Postdoc Dr. Lucie Guertault describes her

presents on UAV/UAS technology.

research on the jet erosion test.

Companies attending the career fair: • Benchmark Tool & Supply, Inc.

• Hog Slat, Inc.

• Custom Control Unlimited Inc.

• Morris & Associates

• Livingston and Haven

• Reynolds American, Inc.

• McAdams Company

• NCDOT Roadside Environmental Unit

• Hazen and Sawyer

• SEPI Construction & Engineering

• WK Dickson

• McKim & Creed

• Wildlands Engineering, Inc.

Need employees with a broad, hands-on degree? Hire BE and AET Students!

Extension Specialist Mark Rice presents a poster.

Students take in the sights of Spokane.

Bin Cheng was recognized for his work with Dr. Lingjaun Wang Li.

Graduate students Alison Deviney and Zac Lentz discuss their research.

NC State Well Represented at ASABE AIM The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers annual meeting took place July 16-19 in Spokane, Washington. Many BAE faculty and students attended and presented. An Alumni and Friends social was held Tuesday night, bringing together both past and present factulty and students. Several outstanding BAE students were recently recognized at the 2017 ASABE Annual International Meeting (AIM): • • • •

Bin Cheng won second place in the Association of Overseas Chinese Agriculture, Biological and Food Engineers Graduate Student Paper Competition James Abdalla and Riley DeHority won second place in the AGCO Student Design Competition Alison Deviney won first place in the KK Barnes Paper Contest Kayla Kassa won third place in the KK Barnes Student Paper Contest

ASABE ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL MEETING HEADS TO DETROIT The next International Meeting will be held in Detroit, Michigan July 29 through August 1, 2018. Registration and call for papers is now open. The call for papers ends January 3. Visit www.asabemeetings.org for more. The department will once again host an alumni and friends social. Details forthcoming.

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Associate Professor Director, Marine Aquaculture Research Center (MARC) Hall earned a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the State University of New York at Buffalo, an M.S. in agricultural engineering from the University of California at Davis and a Ph.D. in biological and agricultural engineering at Cornell University. He was the first postdoctoral fellow in Sustainable Agriculture at McGill University, Montreal, Canada. Prior to joining BAE, he was assistant, associate and full professor; and graduate chair at Louisiana State University (LSU) and the LSU AgCenter in Baton Rouge in biological and agricultural engineering and was on the faculty at the LSU AgCenter Aquaculture Research Station. Designs and studies focus on biological, smart and automated solutions to aquacultural, environmental and coastal challenges with an interest in enhancing sustainability. He collaborates with a variety of academic, industrial and environmental professionals as director of the NC State MARC. Hall is past president of the Aquacultural Engineering Society and Fellow of the American Scientific Affiliation. Dr. Hall joined BAE in August 2016.


Assistant Professor Castro-Bolinaga received his M.S. and Ph.D. in civil engineering from Virginia Tech in December of 2012 and August of 2016, respectively. Castro-Bolinaga completed his undergraduate studies in January of 2009 at Universidad Católica Andrés Bello in Caracas, Venezuela, where he then worked for nearly two years as a hydraulic project engineer in a private consulting firm. His research focuses on the application of computational fluid dynamics to environmental fluid mechanics, and river hydrodynamics and morphodynamics. It encompasses natural processes that are primarily governed by the dynamic interactions among water flow, sediment transport and the geomorphic evolution of the riverbed. Specifically, his work aims to provide a better understanding of how the scales associated with these interactions govern the propagation of large amounts of loose sediment that are suddenly deposited within riverine environments, referred to as sediment pulses.Dr. Castro Bolinaga joined BAE November 2016.


Assistant Professor Sayde holds a B.S. in agricultural engineering from the University of Holy Spirit, Lebanon, an M.S. in land and water resources management from the Mediterranean Agricultural Institute of Bari, Italy and a Ph.D. in water resources engineering from Oregon State University (OSU). In his PhD and post-doctoral work at OSU he focused on developing cutting edge tools that allow the interrogation of our environment at a range of temporal and spatial scales never attempted before. This work included demonstrating the feasibility of using actively heated fiber optics (soil-AHFO) in conjunction with Distributed Temperature Sensing (DTS) to quantify soil water content and fluxes at spatial scales spanning over 4 orders of magnitude (0.1 m to 1,000 m) and temporal scale well below 1 h. He also developed a novel approach to continuously measure wind speed simultaneously at thousands of points using actively heated fiber optics (air-AHFO). Dr. Sayde joined BAE in January 2017.


Assistant Professor Nelson received her B.S. in agricultural and biological engineering from the University of Florida. She also received a Ph.D. in agricultural and biological engineering with a concentration in hydrologic sciences from the University of Florida. During her graduate studies, she was awarded a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, and conducted research at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center as a research affiliate and NSF Graduate Research Intern. Her research takes a data-intensive, management-focused, and interdisciplinary approach to the study of complex biological system dynamics. Projects within Nelson’s program seek to identify drivers underlying biological system behaviors to inform the development of sustainable management strategies. Dr. Nelson joined BAE August 2017.

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The department was honored to host the family of D.S. Weaver, the first NC State BAE department head and whom the building was named after. The family joined faculty, staff and students for a cookout before touring D.S. Weaver Labs, which has undergone many significant changes since Weaver served. The family gifted the department D.S. Weaver’s retirement letters which are on display in the reception area of Weaver.


Joe Blalock, Welder/Fabricator Samuel Garvey, Research Assistant Alisha Goldstein, Extension Associate Lucie Guertault, Post Doctoral Fellow Rebecca Nagy, Communications Specialist Brittany Santore, Extension Workshop Coordinator


Ms. Nicole Bridgers Product Steward,Technology Development Seqirus, Inc. Mr. J. Devin Carroll, P.E. Vice President Custom Controls Unlimited Inc. Dr. Michael D. Dukes, P.E., C.I.D. Professor of Agricultural and Biological Engineering University of Florida Mr. James Hipps, P.E. Black & Veatch (retired) Dr. Mathew Jones Board Chair Senior Principal Engineer Hazen and Sawyer Ms. Laura Lord, P.E. Principal Engineer Hazen and Sawyer

Dr. Sue Nokes Professor Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering University of Kentucky Mr. Donald Pearson Field Operations Engineer, Roadside Environmental Unit NC Department of Transportation. Mr. Justin Rothrock John Deere Turf Care Ms. Sepi Saidi, P.E. President and CEO SEPI Engineering & Construction, Inc. Mr. Gus Simmons, P.E. Director of Bioenergy Cavanaugh & Associates, P.A. Mr. Luther (Luke) Wood, P. E. Process Department Manager I. Kruger Inc.

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WOODLIEF WINS UNIVERSITY AWARD OF EXCELLENCE The NC State University Awards for Excellence is the most prestigious honor bestowed upon non-faculty employees. LT Woodlief was recognized as both a CALS and university award of excellence winner. LT Woodlief has accepted a wide range of project assignments during 45 years of service to NC State. His contributions include monitoring stations in hot, bug-infested wetlands; planting and harvesting crops; hauling and maintaining field equipment; and providing sound technical advice. His work ethic, technical competence and attitude have made a significant impact on the BAE programs that have helped the people, the economy and the natural resources of North Carolina.


Dr. Mike Boyette was honored with the National Research Impact Award from the National Sweetpotato Collaborators Group. Dr. Gary Roberson was honored as a College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Outstanding Teacher. Dr. Garry Grabow received the Dr. Ronald Sneed Friend of the Irrigation Industry Award. Gary Roberson leads the Precision Agriculture Team.

FACULTY HONORS • • • • • • Dr. Wayne Yuan is congratuluated by CALS Dean Linton and Department Head Garey Fox.

Tim Seaboch promoted to Senior Lecturer. Dr. Wayne Yuan promoted to Professor. Dr. Garry Grabow named Editor of the Journal of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering. Dr. Steven Hall named Editor of Journal of Aquacultural Engineering. Dr. Chadi Sayde’s work highlighted in American Geophysical Union’s research spotlight Dr. Mohamed Youssef’s work featured in Drainage Contractor. Dr. Ling Wang Li elected to Board of Directors for f International Research Center for Animal Environment and Welfare.


Ken Coats, welder/fabricator Barry Lineberger, research engineer Carolyn Mitkowski, graphic designer LT Woodlief, research specialist Tim Seaboch and Carolyn Mitkowski pose at her retirement reception.

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BAE RESEARCH AREAS Bioproccess Engineering

Ecological Engineering

Environmental Engineering

Sustainable Waste Management

Machine Systems and Precision Agriculture Controlled Environments for Agriculture

RECENT BAE GRANTS Francois Birgand - Transforming Denitrifying Bioreactor Research and Applications: Unveiling the Inside of the Blackbox, US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) - National Institute of Food and Agriculture Mike Boyette - Following Up on Preharvest and Postharvest Clues to Marginalize Internal Necrosis in 'Covington', NC Sweet Potato Commission Mike Burchell - Efficacy of Linear Wetlands to Treat Agricultural Drainage Water in the Little River Watershed, US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Mari Chinn - Ensilage Technologies as Harvest Management Strategies for Bioenergy Feedstocks, NC Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Barbara Doll - Design, Construction Oversight and Mitigation Monitoring of Millstone Creek and Tributaries, Randolph County, North Carolina, NC Department of Environmental Quality Garey Fox - Influence of Preferential Flow on Coupled Colloid, Nitrogen, And Phosphorus Transport Through Riparian Buffers, US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) - National Institute of Food and Agriculture Bill Hunt - Swale Design Optimization for Enhanced Application and Pollutant Removal, NC Department of Transportation Gary Roberson - Adaptive Nutrient Management for Corn, Sorghum, and Wheat in the Coastal Plain of North Carolina, Environmental Defense Fund Sanjay Shah - Engineered windbreak wall - Negetative Strip System to Reduce Pollutant and Odor Emissions from Mechanically-Ventilated Broiler and Swine Barns, US Dept. of Agriculture - Natural Resources Conservation Service Lingjuan Wang-Li - Create eLearning in NIFA Challenge Areas to Transform Education of Controlled Environment Animal Production (eCEAP) for Sustainability, US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) - National Institute of Food and Agriculture Mohamed Youssef - Multidisciplinary Graduate Training in Advanced Technologies for High Yield Sustainable Agriculture, US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) - National Institute of Food and Agriculture Wayne Yuan - Renewable Paving Binders from Top-lit Updraft Kilning of Biomass, National Science Foundation

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Alex Greeson (left) and Rachel Taylor (right) congratulate Dr. Mike Boyette (center), the first winner of the BAE Faculty Three Minute Thesis Competition.

The Three Minute Thesis is an annual competition held at universities worldwide. It challenges graduate students to explain their thesis in three minutes or less using one static slide. The Graduate School at NC State held its 3rd Annual Three Minute Thesis this year. But for the first time, BAE held its own version of the event. This time, faculty were placed on the hot seat and challenged to explain their research in three minutes or less. The event was organized by the BAE Graduate Student Association and the NC State ASABE student group. “The first annual Three Minute Thesis Competition was a great opportunity for faculty to leave the office for a bit and engage in some friendly rivalry,” explains Alex Greeson, president of ASABE. “Our goal in forming the event was to allow students to hear about current research projects in the BAE department, but I think it was a great way for the faculty members to provide an update on each other’s projects as well.”

Voting to award first, second and third place was conducted by students and staff. “It was unique to judge faculty as a student, but the score sheet offered an objective set of categories to rank each individual contestant.” After a rigourous morning of competition, votes were cast. Dr. Mike Boyette was voted first place. Dr. Praveen Kolar won second place as well as People’s Choice Award, and Dr. Mike Burchell was awarded third place. “Although it was a competition, I hope that participants and spectators were able to learn more about each other, and gain a stronger sense of connection with the BAE department,” notes Greeson. Watch the BAE Faculty Three Minute Thesis on the BAE Youtube channel at go.ncsu.edu/bae-youtube.

ENGINEERING THE DESIGN OF BUFFERS AND VEGETATIVE FILTER STRIPS BY GAREY FOX Buffers are best management practices aimed at controlling surface runoff pollution from agricultural fields, construction zones, or urban areas. Buffer types include spray drift buffers, field borders, riparian buffers, and vegetative filter strips. Understanding the performance of buffers for runoff mitigation has typically been frustrating for practitioners. For typical buffer widths, the effectiveness for removal of sediment, nutrients, and pesticides ranges between 0 and 100%, depending on the incoming flow characteristics and hydrologic and sediment transport conditions in the buffer, partly controlled by land use. Small runoff events may be entirely captured by the buffer and prevent transport out of the buffer; a subsequent large storm event may allow complete transport through the buffer. Time-varying factors such as land use, infiltration capacity of the soil, presence of shallow groundwater tables, and the roughness of the vegetation may significantly impact a single buffer’s performance. Building upon engineering fundamentals, using mechanistic-based approaches are required due to the dynamic nature of these best management practices under the time-variable hydrologic and sediment transport conditions that a buffer may experience. This has been the thrust of much of the recent and future collaboration between Rafael Muñoz-Carpena, Professor at the University of Florida, and Garey Fox, Department Head at North Carolina State University. Their field, laboratory, and computer modeling research has largely focused on pesticide fate and transport in vegetative filter strips (VFS) for environmental exposure assessments (Sabbagh et al., 2010; MuñozCarpena et al., 2015). In fact, through collaborations with Bayer CropScience, DOW Chemical, Waterborne Environmental, Inc., and European partners a collaborative team led by Muñoz-Carpena and Fox has demonstrated how VFS can be incorporated into the environmental exposure assessment strategy for pesticides. “What was unique about our approach to predict pesticide transport through buffers and filter strips was the focus on the driving forces and mechanisms that engineers are trained to consider,” Fox notes. Their approaches have been adopted by the European Union as part of their exposure assessment for pesticide regulation, and are currently being considered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This focus on system dynamics works not only for pesticides but also in analyzing data for total phosphorus and bacteria transport through buffers (Fox and Penn, 2013; Kuo and Muñoz-Carpena, 2009) and emerging contaminants like nanoparticles and colloids (Yu et al., 2013). The conventional buffer design approach uses largely qualitative guidance by specifying a conservative buffer

width. The focus of a dynamic approach is that a systems or engineering analysis can be used to predict this complex performance using appropriate physical equations for the infiltration, sediment transport, and contaminant transport processes. Instead of predicting VFS performance based on simple features such as width or vegetation type (which cannot explain the wealth of historical data of buffer performance in the literature), focusing on integrated process variables such as infiltration and sediment reduction explains the wide range of efficiencies observed in these previous studies. These integrated process variables can be predicted by the most advanced and well-tested VFS model, VFSMOD (Muñoz-Carpena et al., 1993, 1999; MuñozCarpena and Parsons, 2004, 2008), originally developed in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at North Carolina State University and improved for the last 15 years at the University of Florida (fig. 3). Recent improvements of VFSMOD include being able to analyze for shallow groundwater tables (Muñoz-Carpena et al., 2017) and pesticide degradation between events (Muñoz-Carpena et al, 2015).

Adding to this body of knowledge, a new United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Foundational Grant will focus on preferential flow processes in buffers (Project #: 201702151). Preferential flow is hypothesized to be incredibly important in riparian zones and well-established buffers. “An opportunity truly exists to continue to apply engineering principles to a number of natural systems to better understand and predict their behavior,” Fox adds. “Biological and Agricultural Engineers are uniquely positioned to do this work when they focus on how mechanistic processes apply to natural systems. Such a focus leads us to transformative and transferable research of worldwide impact and well-supported by funding agencies.” Read the rest of this article in the latest issue of ASABE’s Resource magazine.

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UPDATE FROM MATTHEW PARKER, PRESIDENT OF ALPHA EPSILON For the first time since 1998, the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at NC State University has its own honor society! First chartered in 1967, the North Carolina Mu Chapter of the Alpha Epsilon Honor Society was revived in April and recently completed its first business meeting of the year. The purpose of Alpha Epsilon is to recognize those in the profession of Agricultural, Food, and Biological Engineering who display consistent academic and technical achievement, strong leadership qualities, and excellent character. The newly reborn NC State chapter of Alpha Epsilon hit the ground running this fall by hosting expert seminars, planning departmental outreach programs, and encouraging collaboration and fellowship among students and professors. “I am honored to advise Alpha Epsilon and excited about how this organization can give back to the department, NC State, our state, and our profession,” notes Dr. Steven Hall, chapter advisor and NC State BAE professor. “I think we have great student leaders and look forward to a wonderful year!” Alpha Epsilon is also hosting social events this year to encourage juniors, seniors, and graduate students to mentor freshmen and sophomores in BAE. Even though Alpha Epsilon is certainly an exclusive society in terms of academic requirements, it would be absolutely great to see each and

every BAE student meet the criteria for induction. I’d love to help all BAE students succeed and reach their fullest potential as students and engineers.

Spring 2017 Alpha Epsilon inductees.

Additionally, Alpha Epsilon chapters are authorized to grant honorary membership to individuals based on significant contributions to the field of Agricultural, Food, and Biological Engineering. Due to the long lapse in activity of the NC State chapter, no honorary members have been inducted for at least twenty years, but nominations are being solicited. To nominate someone for honorary membership, inquire about student eligibility requirements, or obtain more information about Alpha Epsilon, please contact Matthew Parker at mgparke3@ncsu.edu.


UPDATE FROM RACHEL TAYLOR, PRESIDENT OF GSA The Graduate Student Association (GSA) has continued its commitment to providing all the department’s graduate students with opportunities for professional development, community service, and social events. In the last year, the GSA has participated in events with the Wake county Habitat for Humanity and Special Olympics. We have added a new officer to the board to promote professional development within the organization. The GSA has had seminars on LinkedIn and we are actively pursuing other professionals to lead seminars. GSA has become more involved with the other people in the department hosting a Family night with professors and their children and a developing relationship with the department’s ASABE chapter. Recent and upcoming events for GSA include a sweetpotato gleaning and Three Minute Thesis competition but with the tables turned so professors must present their research! GSA took part in a sweetpotato gleaning.



ASABE and GSA took part in the Rocky Branch cleanup.

The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) at NC State is an organization focused on uniting BAE students, and preparing them for life after college. ASABE empowers engineers to create sustainable solutions to current agricultural, bioprocessing, and environmental concerns through student collaboration and innovation, networking, and professional development. ASABE holds at least one event every two weeks, and strives to produce inspired engineers within the biological and agricultural fields that will enhance the honor, reputation, and usefulness of the engineering profession. The club hosts regular guests such as company representatives, BAE graduates, The Career Development Center, local politicians, and other speakers. ASABE organizes service activities, takes tours of

companies related to Biological and Agricultural Engineering, and holds career fairs. The Fall Career Fair was held in Weaver Labs on the last week of September, and featured companies focused on machinery design, environmental engineering, and bioprocess engineering. Companies in attendance commonly employ alumni of BAE, giving students the opportunity to speak directly with representatives that source BAE students. ASABE partners with the Graduate Student Association (GSA) to promote student collaboration within the BAE department. ASABE and GSA organized a welcome back cookout at the beginning of the Fall 2017 semester, and cleaned up trash from Rocky Branch Creek on NC State’s Main Campus.


UPDATE FROM BRADLEY EVERHART, CAPTAIN OF PACK PULLERS The Pack Pullers are looking forward to improving on the foundation laid by last year’s team in competing at the 2018 ASABE International Quarter Scale Tractor Competition. For the 2017-2018 school year, the Pack Pullers will work alongside a Senior Design team to update and make improvements on the tractor that was used in the competition in Peoria, Illinois. During the fall semester, a large portion of time for the Pack Pullers will be devoted to public outreach, which involves taking the tractor to the State Fair. Every year, the Pack Pullers take the previous year’s tractor to be put on display in the antique farm equipment building. Here, team members have the opportunity to interact with the public and educate them about the competition, as well as share with them the work we are doing in the department. After the State Fair, the team will reconvene in order to begin work on the tractor for the 2018 competition. At this

Members of Pack Pullers speak to prospective students at a freshmen engineering recruiting event.

time, the biggest projects for the team involve improving the existing steering configuration and upgrading the clutch assembly. This will ensure that the tractor will be able to handle rigorous testing, which is planned to be begin later in the semester. Once the existing tractor has been tested, the improvements and design changes will begin to be implemented for the 2018 competition in Peoria, IL in Spring 2018.

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Fall 2016 B. S. in Agricultural and Environmental Technology Wade G. Barnes Thomas S. Ethridge Hunter R. Graham Emily A. Griego Wright S. Medlin Jordan C. Miller Tyler L. Moncourtois Colby E. Pittman Jacob C. Sowell Jacob A. Speight Steven J. Turnage Jeremiah Ufot B. S. in Biological Engineering Jason T. Looney Derek E. Urquhart

Master of Biological & Agricultural Engineering Benton R. Carroll Jeffrey P. Johnson M. S. in Biological & Agricultural Engineering Maria F. Balcazar Tellez Taylor M. Carter Yengxi Geng Kevin M. Koryto Ph.D. in Biological & Agricultural Engineering Nicole A. Dobbs Hao Lu Robert L Vick, Jr.

Spring 2017 B.S. in Agricultural and Environmental Technology Daniel Burnette Austin Cline Sidney Dunn Wright Medlin Cody Moffitt Stephen Perry Daniel Redmond Gregory Sheets Daniel Weaver Robert Weaver B.S. in Biological Engineering James Abdalla James Adcock Kenneth Atkins Michael Barzaghi T. C. Beinke Natalie Bohorquez Macon Boyce Benjamin Bradley Riley DeHority Amber Fields Alexander Ges Mary Gessner Mallory Goan Elizabeth Gordon Andrew Harrell Kelly Harris Richard Hinton James Homiller Kayla Hurst Cameron Jernigan Tracy Jones B.S. in Biological Engineering Samuel Kohl Ann Lopez Kaylie Loyd Mason Marriner Tracey Marshall Alexander May Spencer McAvoy

B.S. in Biological Engineering Jacob McCarn Maxwell Mileham Alexander Mills Kristen Navaroli Jocelyn Painter Alexi Panizza Helen Peel Meghan Porter Levi Preston Andrew Prickett John Ratcliffe Jared Robbins Austin Scott Sean Smith Caitlin Spear Calvin Stone Gavin Teague Andrew Thompson Benjamin Tyner Kevin Vittert Tyler Wagner Zachary Ward Mackenzie Warren Buck Williams George Williams Grant Williams Taylor Williams Li Yu Master of Biological & Agricultural Engineering Manal Askar Cameron James Matthew Michel William Rogers M.S. in Biological & Agricultural Engineering Yousef Abdalaal Forrest Brooks PhD in Biological and Agricultural Engineering Chiao-Wen Lin Yu Liu Zhimin Liu

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STUDENTS’ INNOVATION TO RENEW A COASTAL WETLAND BY SUZANNE STANARD Visitors to Harkers Island this summer may wonder about the unusual metal structure at the entrance to the popular Core Sound Waterfowl Museum & Heritage Center. The “stormwater wetland and solar-powered pumping station” may sound like a mouthful, but it will do one very important thing: resuscitate a wetland that will have significant environmental and educational impact on the island. Built entirely by students in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering (BAE), the pumping station is the product of months of hard work in the department’s senior capstone program. The student team — Mason Marriner, Alex May, Kristen Navaroli, Meghan Porter and Taylor Williams — did everything from designing the pump to wiring the control panel to cementing the structure into the ground at Harkers Island. They procured all parts and pieces for the project and burned the midnight oil at Weaver Labs on many occasions. Their massive effort won them the “Outstanding Senior Design Team” award at graduation. “This project is one of our ideal case scenarios where we have an outside entity with a real-world problem,” said the team’s faculty adviser Dr. Mike Burchell. “They came to us with the vision and the potential that this could be a great undergraduate design experience … and they saw an opportunity where that wetland could provide water quality ecosystem services.” Before the museum and road existed, a natural wetland occupied much of that section of Harkers Island. It was drained years ago to make way for development. “So our project was to restore that wetland to its natural function, as well as using a pumping station with renewable energy to overcome the low elevation and flat topography,”

Navaroli said. “Using a solar-powered pump is a more efficient way to move water from one end of the wetland to the other.” Wetlands provide many important ecosystem services, Navaroli said. “Not only do they treat nutrients, but they improve air quality and water quality.” The area is going to be designed in a way that also encourages runoff from surrounding parking lots and roads to enter the wetland, which will filter pollutants from the water before it reaches the sound.

Another key benefit of the project? Educational services. “As part of our project we’re educating the local community, as well as the local middle school, on the importance of wetlands and natural systems and how to treat stormwater, especially in coastal communities because they are such water-sensitive communities,” Navaroli said. Read the full story in CALS News.


The department hosted several engineering summer camp programs this year fo high school students through NC State’s College of Engineering. Two weeklong camps were offered through BAE: Ecological Engineering camp and Biofuels camp. Both camps featured trips to the beach or biofuel facilities. The week of camp was capped off with presentations by each group of campers to their peers and family.

Mick Ribault is the the founder of Dragonfly Pond Works.

NEW PROGRAM FOSTERS COLLABORATION BETWEEN STUDENTS AND INDUSTRY The opportunity to work outside the classroom on realworld problems is an invaluable experience for students. A new undergraduate scholars program in NC State’s Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering will provide just that. The Dragonfly Pond Works Scholars Program pairs juniors and seniors majoring in Agricultural and Environmental Technology at NC State with mentors from Dragonfly Pond Works as well as faculty members from the department. Dragonfly Pond Works is an environmental service company specializing in lake and pond management. After representatives were invited to speak with students in an Ecological Restoration Implementation class, Mick Ribault, founder of Dragonfly Pond Works, saw students in the department as a natural pairing. “In learning more about the program and how it taught specific technical skills about what we were doing, it seemed like a great fit,” he notes. Barbara Doll teaches Ecological Restoration Implementation, a class that heard from the company’s representatives. “I think it is important to expose the students to real world projects and professionals in the field, so that is why I take students in this class out to projects that have been built or that are in construction,” Doll explains. “And this is why I invite professionals to the class and to these field tours.”


The scholars program appeals to Ribault on a personal level as well. “I’m a graduate of NC State and it’s an important place in my development as a small business owner,” he explains. Ribault graduated from NC State with a degree in fish and wildlife science. He credits his interest in ecosystems and stormwater facilities to professors and advisors who brought water to life and encouraged a career solving environmental issues in the outdoors. Founded in 2006, Dragonfly Pond Works began as a small company in Raleigh. Since then, offices have opened in

Charlotte, Wilmington and Sarasota, Fla. What projects will students work on? The sky’s the limit. “We definitely don’t want to put a constraint on what students can work on. And there’s benefits to having a group of students tackle a project they’re looking at with new eyes,” Ribault says. “We’re really interested in tapping into that unconstrained creativity.” Garey Fox, head of NC State’s Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, sees this as a great opportunity for students. “Our Agriculture and Environmental Technology (AET) students are going to significantly benefit from this program because it intricately connects what they are learning in their classes to real world case studies,” notes Fox. “We appreciate the commitment to supporting undergraduate education being made by Dragonfly Pond Works.” “This is a unique university and industry partnership that can easily be expanded to students in both our AET and Biological Engineering degree programs,” he continues. “Such programs not only further develop the skills of our undergraduate students but also provide companies with access to our best students.” Companies and farms interested in creating partnerships can contact Fox.

“I’m a graduate of NC State and it’s an important place in my development as a business owner.” Applications for the Dragonfly Pond Works Scholars Program must be submitted in the fall prior to the spring semester of the program. Students will develop a final report and deliver a presentation to Dragonfly Pond Works on their research project.

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BATTEN NAMED 2017 INNOVATIVE YOUNG FARMER Brandon Batten graduated from the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering (BAE) in 2008. He went on to earn his master’s degree from BAE in 2010 working with Dr. Mike Boyette on ways to make tobacco curing barns more efficient. As an NC State student, Brandon won the Fred G. Bond Tobacco Scholarship and the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE), NC Section Scholarship. He was recently named the recipient of the 2017 Innovative Farmer of the Year Award by The Tobacco Farm Life Museum.


I guess, blood. My dad went to NC State; I’ve always wanted to go to State. It was the only college I applied to. I didn’t actually know there was such a thing as BAE until I went to a Farm Bureau program called Future Institute for Ag Leaders and I found out that you could do agricultural engineering, which were the two things I wanted to do. So that pretty much sealed the deal.


I’m a farmer – I farm with my dad and uncle in Johnston County. We farm about 600 acres of cropland, hay and cattle. Farming is a challenge. There are challenges every day. During my education in BAE, I was taught to be a problem-solver. To think outside the box. The solution may not be what’s always been done. It may be something that’s never been done. And that’s what I do every day in farming. I find creative solutions for everyday problems to hopefully operate a little bit more efficiently and a little bit more effectively because of that.


Farming is always different. Every day I have to be an agronomist, an accountant, an engineer, a public relations specialist, a marketer…I wear a lot of different hats every single day doing a lot of different things. It’s just fast paced. Always a challenge and always changing.


Some of the efforts that led to the award were continuous of my graduate work — I had designed and manufactured some retrofits for our tobacco barns to make them cure a little bit more efficiently. We’ve added a lot of precision agriculture technology on our farm since I came back, such as auto-steer and GPS guidance. A lot of farming is not exempt from the regulations of the world. I’ve added a cloud-based record keeping system so that everybody on the farm can put in what they’re doing and it automatically uploads and we can all see and have a real-time record of everything that’s going on.


BAE gave me a broad skill set that I could literally take anywhere in the world and make a living with. BAE was a great start to my career. I knew a lot about farming, but the engineering aspect can carry over into any field that you want to take it to. It teaches you to be a critical thinker and to solve problems, whether that’s budgeting problems or mechanical problems or electrical problems. I’m able to do a lot of my own repair work. I’m able to create systems that work for us that may not be available or in place commercially. BAE gave me a broad skill set that I could literally take anywhere in the world and make a living with.


I would say to take advantage of all the opportunities that are offered to you. It’s busy and college is tough but it’s nothing compared to the real world. Everybody in college wants to help you. Take advantage of that. Take business classes. Try to do an internship, co-op or study abroad. I did an internship while I was in college and that really opened my eyes as to the way

corporate America works. I knew the farming side but I didn’t know the corporate side of agriculture, and I got a chance to see that with an internship at Philip Morris. In this engineering internship, I worked on the mechanization of burley tobacco. I traveled all over the burley tobacco region working with growers. I got to talk to them about mechanization and opportunities to increase efficiency on their farms. It really helped me better understand the need for being able to communicate with a lot of different kinds of people.


The best thing I got out of NC State was my wife, who was also in BAE with an environmental concentration. She graduated in 2010 when I finished with my master’s. She’s a stormwater engineer for the City of Fayetteville. This article originally appeared in CALS News.

HONORING OUR DISTINGUISHED AND YOUNG ALUMNI There is no shortage of outstanding alumni in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering. This year, the department recognized Larry Coats as the 2017 Distinguished Alumnus, and Matthew Jones was awarded the department’s first Young Alumnus award.

LARRY COATS Larry Coats is a founding partner in the law firm Coats & Bennett PLLC. Coats & Bennett is an intellectual property firm focused on patent prosecution and patent infringement litigation. He obtained his Bachelor of Science in Biological and Agricultural Engineering from NC State in 1967, and his Juris Doctor from the UNC-Chapel Hill in 1969. Admitted to practice law in North Carolina before the NC Supreme Court as well as before the Supreme Court in PA, he is also registered to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is a member of the American Intellectual Property Association, NC Bar Association, and Wake County Bar Association and has served on the NC State BAE Advisory Board.

MATTHEW JONES Dr. Matthew Jones is a senior associate with Hazen and Sawyer, where he leads the firm’s stormwater practice group. Matthew received his Bachelor of Science degree in 2005 and his Ph.D. in 2010 from the NC State BAE department, studying the thermal impacts of stormwater best management practices with Dr. Bill Hunt. He has played a role in numerous innovative stormwater efforts with Hazen and Sawyer, including marquee green infrastructure initiatives in Boston, NYC, Philadelphia, and Washington DC. He also serves and chairs the BAE advisory board.

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ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING BY JOE WRIGHT ABOUT JOE WRIGHT B.S. 2008, North Carolina State University Agricultural and Environmental Technology/Agricultural Business Management Hometown: Casar, North Carolina Enjoys: The outdoors, boating, fishing, big equipment, volunteer firefighting, piloting small planes; centered on faith, family, church… and GO PACK!

I am the founder and owner of Wright Contracting, LLC. I started the company in 2008, and we currently have two divisions: Environmental Restoration and Heavy Construction. I employ about 30 people, and we work all over the country with multiple crews in many states on a variety of projects. Our volume is between $6 million and $10 million per year. We currently have several site work and Department of Transportation projects. I had dreams of being a fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force, and I arrived at North Carolina State University with that intention. Basket weaving was fine with me as a degree, as long as I could be a pilot! But family and friends kept saying I should go into some type of earthwork or construction. Colonel Charlie Hicks, a retired USAF fighter pilot, instructor, adviser, and now close friend, encouraged me to follow my dreams and keep my options open.

use it, sell it, and make people believe in it, then AET is the degree for you. During my summers and downtime between classes, I was able to work with the Waste Group and Water Quality Group, which are cooperative extension arms of NCSU. I learned about the importance of research and implementation in the environmental industry. I was able to meet a lot of different people and make industry contacts. As an employer, the top three attributes that I look for in a new hire are attitude, attitude, and attitude. Someone with a good attitude will always try, work hard, and learn to the best of their abilities. It doesn’t always mean a perfect fit for a particular job, but ultimately with a positive attitude the hire will succeed. I think bosses and employers get a bad rap sometimes! I genuinely want to help others to be as successful as I have become. It’s the best part about my career! I would like to see more people pursue entrepreneurship and lead roles. As an industry and as a country, we need job creators more than ever. This article originally appeared in EXPLORE magazine.

“The degree program offered a lot of options. I could pull in classes from different colleges within NC State.” I had never quit anything before dropping out of Reserve Officer’s Training Corps. But doors opened up for me. I worked with an advisor in the College of Ag and Life Sciences. I described things I liked to do, and she suggested the Agricultural and Environmental Technology program. I did a little research, and I was on board. The degree program offered a lot of options. I could pull in classed from different colleges within in NCSU, and I was able to create a handson track that gave me the knowledge and the contacts to be successful today. The AET program prepares you to be the middleman between engineers and end users. If you’re technical and smart enough to be an engineer, and have enough common sense to explain a process to the person who is going to

Joe Wright is the owner and founder of Wright Contracting LLC.

S c h o l a r s h i p s a n d G i v i n g S c h o l a r s h i p a n d G i v i n g ALUMNA’S STORY INSPIRES SCHOLARSHIP ENDOWMENT FOR FEMALE ENGINEERS Mary A. Dolan had no direct connection to NC State’s Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering (BAE). But after just a few moments of hearing BAE alumna Sepi Saidi’s story, Dolan was inspired to support the department in a unique way. Saidi, CEO and president of SEPI Engineering and Construction, spoke at the CALS Awards Banquet as the 2016 BAE Outstanding Alumna. Her story of growing up in Tehran, traveling to the United States for a better education, and starting her business as a woman immigrant engineer moved Dolan. This led to Dolan’s decision to create an endowment with the inheritance willed to her by neighbors Jean and Mort Powell, whom she considered her North Carolina family. The endowment will create a merit-based scholarship in memory of the Powells. The Jean and Mort Powell Jr. Biological and Agricultural Engineering Scholarship will go to a student involved in Women in Science and Engineering, the Society of Women Engineers, or Sigma Alpha Professional Agricultural Sorority.

Sepi Saidi, CEO and President of SEPI Engineering.

“This endowment acknowledges our department’s commitment to training high quality students who are creating engineering solutions for sustainable agricultural, biological and natural systems,” notes Garey Fox, head of the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering. “I cannot thank Mrs. Dolan enough for this generous contribution to the lives and careers of our students,” he continues. “The Jean and Mort Powell Jr. scholarship will recognize our highest performing undergraduate female engineering students.”

“This endowment acknowledges our department’s commitment to training high quality students who are creating engineering solutions for sustainable agricultural, biological and natural systems.” Women engineers are still considered an underrepresented group in engineering. BAE typically maintains greater than 25 percent female enrollment in the undergraduate program. Supporting women in engineering is also one of Saidi’s passions. At the 2016-2017 BAE Student Awards Banquet, she spoke about the importance of encouraging women to open their own doors, giving them a chance, and respecting their ideas and perspectives. As the keynote speaker, Saidi talked about growing her company — an engineering and design firm focused on

innovation and sustainability — from two employees in 2001 to a thriving firm with 250 on staff today. Despite starting her company in one of the most uncertain financial times in history, she was determined that her company would not participate in the recession.

“It means so much to me to be able to give back to a university that has given so much to me.” “I had faith. One way or another, we were going to turn enough stones,” Saidi said during her keynote. Eventually she landed a contract to build the first toll road in NC. It was Saidi’s contagiously optimistic spirit that inspired

Dolan to reach out to the university and create the Jean and Mort Powell Jr. Biological and Agricultural Engineering Scholarship.


Dolan’s late husband, Robert J. Dolan, was a professor in the Department of Adult and Community College Education at NC State. “I never went to college, but I have a Ph.D. in the ups and downs of life,” Dolan reflects. When times were hard, she always had her university community to lean on, she said. At the time her husband became ill, the two had only lived in Raleigh for about seven years. But they had a support system in the Powells and right here at NC State. “It means so much to me to be able to give back to a university that has given so much to me.”

GRADUATE ENDOWMENT ANNOUNCED AT STUDENT AWARDS BANQUET During BAE’s Student Awards Banquet, Robert Evans signed a memorandum of agreement to create a new endowment, the Robert O. Evans Graduate Endowment for Excellence in Biological and Agricultural Engineering. His contribution will make a lasting impact on BAE students to come. Evans and Department Head Garey Fox were joined by NC State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Dean Linton and NC State Engineering Associate Dean Lavelle, illustrating BAE’s unique position within both colleges. Throughout the night many outstanding students were recognized and Sepi Saidi, 2016 BAE Outstanding Alumna gave the keynote speech.

SUPPORT BAE Give Today & Impact Tomorrow! The Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering (BAE) provides a high quality, hands-on education for future engineers and creates a research and extension environment that drives innovative and application of engineering technology in machine systems and precision agriculture, ecological engineering, environmental engineering, and bioprocess engineering. The generosity of BAE alumni and friends helps us to recruit and extend unique educational opportunities to the best and brightest students into our program and support and retain outstanding faculty to teach those students. Potential ways in which you can support BAE include the following opportunities. Give Today & Impact Tomorrow! BAE Enhancement Fund The BAE enhancement fund provides departmental flexibility to support key initiatives in academics, research, and extension. The fund helps support student and faculty travel to regional, national, and international meetings, funds for adjunct instructors, publication support, and computing resources for our department. With your help and generosity, the BAE department can continue to respond immediately to exciting challenges and opportunities for our students, professionals, staff, and faculty. High Impact Educational Experiences: Undergraduate Research Opportunities and Study Abroad A key component to the academic and professional training of BAE students include undergraduate research opportunities. The BAE department is committed to providing undergraduate students with a high-quality research experience to promote the professional development of these students. The BAE department is designing undergraduate research scholar programs that can interface directly with individuals and companies, allowing you a competitive advantage in terms of gaining access to our best and brightest students. The BAE department is also very supportive of student professional development through study abroad. Numerous study abroad opportunities exist at NC State University, but at times, the costs are too restrictive to allow students to participate. Starting in 2017, the BAE department began collaborating with other academic institutions (Texas A&M) to offer a unique study abroad experience in Belgium. Endowment Opportunities Endowment gifts are long-term investments from alumni and friends of the BAE department. The stability and growth potential represented by an endowment gift amplifies its impact. Numerous types of endowments can be created. Undergraduate Scholarships and Graduate Fellowships – Make an impact on a student’s life by providing financial resources to assist in their education. Graduate fellowships allow the BAE program to compete for the very best graduate students across the globe. Distinguished Professorships – Endowed professorships are a key for building the national and international reputation of a department, and they allow us to recruit and retain the most exceptional faculty members. We utilize the state of North Carolina’s generous matching program, which provides 1/3 of the cost of the endowed professorship. For ways to support BAE teaching, research and extension programs, please contact Dr. Garey Fox by phone at 919-515-6700 or by email at garey_fox@ncsu.edu.

Undergraduate Justin Traenkle studied

Students were able to travel to

Undergraduate Katie Wardinski took part in a NSF

abroad in Ireland.

Washington for ASABE AIM.

Reasearch Experience for Undergraduates.

NC State University Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering Campus Box 7625 Raleigh, NC 27695-7625

GIVING OPPORTUNITIES Support the programs most meaningful to you through monthly, quarterly, annual or one-time payments. To provide general support to BAE, visit cals.ncsu.edu/alumni-giving.


Checks payable to: N.C. Agriculture Foundation - BAE Box 7645, Raleigh NC 27695-7645


For giving questions, please contact Chris Wessel by phone at 919-5157678 or by email at chris_wessel@ncsu.edu.






Profile for NC State Biological and Agricultural Engineering

NC State BAE Newsletter 2017  

A lot is going on in the NC State Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering. Keep up to date with the newsletter.

NC State BAE Newsletter 2017  

A lot is going on in the NC State Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering. Keep up to date with the newsletter.

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