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Lessons from the tropics

CALS on the job as a go-to resource for North Carolinians

Marc Hall


his past October, we celebrated the official installation of Dr. W. Randolph “Randy” Woodson as the 14th chancellor of N.C. State University. In his inaugural remarks, the chancellor defined the role the university will play in the future of the state. “We have a clear understanding of our mission and a passion for fulfilling it,” he said. “Supporting the economic health of North Carolina is something N.C. State does very well.” This, Chancellor Woodson said, is something he learned traveling the state and hearing from its citizens “in glowing terms about the impact of the university across North Carolina.” In this issue of Perspectives, we show some of the many ways this College is making these impacts. We take you to the Roanoke Island village of Wanchese, where, with some assistance from CALS food scientist Dr. Tyre Lanier, a local familyowned fish business started marketing scallop medallions and became an international operation. As one of the owners puts it, “N.C. State put us on the map globally.” Elsewhere, horticultural scientist Dr. Sarah Spayd is leading a CALS team researching ways to make wine grape crops more competitive and profitable for growers in North Carolina and along the East Coast. We bring news of Cooperative Extension’s Entrepreneur Assistance Program, which was the go-to resource when two stockbrokers lost their jobs during the recent recession and decided to turn family pickle recipes into a business venture. The assistance program, which helps entrepreneurs get off the ground and produce food safely and profitably, is headed by CALS food scientist Dr. Fletcher Arritt, who advises aspiring food entrepreneurs on what they need to do to sell food and recommends ingredients and processes. With his guidance and pickle-making-process instruction, the two former stockbrokers were able to get their business, Miss Jenny’s Pickles, up and running – and rapidly expanding to 55 stores and fine food retailer sales. They also were featured on an episode of MSNBC’s “Your Business,” where they said that starting their business right meant starting with N.C. State University’s help. Health and well-being benefits of CALS research are in focus as we bring you the story of Dana Sackett, a graduate student in our departments of Biology and Environmental and Molecular Toxicology. In collaboration with faculty from

Dean Johnny Wynne (right) holds a check presented by Bayer CropScience’s Dr. Nick Hamon (center right) to fully endow the position of Bayer Environmental Science Professor of Sustainable Development. With them are Dr. David Smith (left), CALS associate dean and director of the N.C. Agricultural Research Service, and Dr. Mark Stowers, chair of the North Carolina Agricultural and Life Sciences Research Foundation board. (Story, page 39) those departments, she is studying the fish in the state’s lakes to find which fish in which areas pose the greatest risk due to mercury contamination. And as concerns about the nation’s bed bug problem intensify, CALS entomologists are responding. N.C. Cooperative Extension, led by CALS’ Dr. Mike Waldvogel, has partnered with other agencies to host workshops for Extension county staff, county environmental health specialists, social workers, housing code officials and others who deal with housing and pest issues. Meanwhile entomology researchers, including Dr. Coby Schal, are studying existing infestations, looking for genetic clues about the origins of this generation of bed bugs and strategies for control. We also bring you stories of outstanding CALS students Michael Atkins, James Tyndall and Bridget Lassiter, who are already making contributions on local, national and international levels. As Chancellor Woodson told his installation audience, we continue to be locally responsive and globally engaged.

Johnny Wynne, Dean College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


On the Web:

The Magazine of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Winter 2011 Vol. 13, No. 1 Managing Editor: Terri Leith Design and Layout: Karl E. Larson Staff Photographers: Becky Kirkland, Marc Hall, Roger Winstead

Printed by TCG Graphics Inc., Garner, N.C.

38,500 copies of this public document were printed at a cost of $19,932 or $.52 per copy.

Printed on recycled paper.

Staff Writers: Dave Caldwell, Natalie E. Hampton, Terri Leith, Dee Shore, Suzanne Stanard

FEATURES 2 Happy Campers 4-H camps are updated for future generations to enjoy.

6 Answering the Call Jefferson Scholar Michael Atkins Jr. makes volunteerism and community service part of his wellplanned future.

Contributors: Erin McCrary, Rhonda Green, William Taylor, NCSU News Services

8 Tropical Crops

Perspectives is published quarterly by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at North Carolina State University.

10 Proud History

Third Class Postage paid at Raleigh, NC 27611. Correspondence and requests for change of address should be addressed to Perspectives Editor, Box 7603, N.C. State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-7603. William R. “Randy” Woodson, Chancellor Johnny C. Wynne, Dean and Executive Director for Agricultural Programs Kenneth L. Esbenshade, Associate Dean and Director, Academic Programs Joe Zublena, Associate Dean and Director, North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service David Smith, Associate Dean and Director, North Carolina Agricultural Research Service Sylvia Blankenship, Associate Dean for Administration Keith D. Oakley, Executive Director, Advancement 919.515.2000 W. Scott Troutman, Executive Director, Alumni and Friends Society


Global Plant Health Program and study tours bring Central America to CALS students. Family and Consumer Sciences program celebrates 100 years.

13 Sea Change Seafood company goes from dockside to international with N.C. State’s help.

15 College Profile CALS nutrition professor Sarah Ash leads students on a journey of critical reflection.

NOTEWORTHY 19 N e w s NSF grant funds Phytotron renovation • Blankenship named fellow of international horticulture society • Anastas believes science, technology offer ‘green’ solutions • Cooperative Extension helps Currituck ‘go green’ with new garden and improved storm-water ponds • PALS helps students see possibilities • Animal science student serves as national pre-vet association president • New class graduates from ag leadership program • Gene bank conserves potential sources of new crops and new medicines • First Bone Scholars begin classes • Bed bugs target of research, Extension initiatives • Zublena named Cooperative Extension Service director • CALS program helps food entrepreneurs get off to a safe and profitable start • Monaco racks up the ribbons at State Fair • Walden honored for public service • BAE partners with DOT to grow bioenergy crops on highway rights-of-way • Project aims to make wine growers more competitive • Research aids understanding of mercury risks to wildlife and people • Celebrations, special events surround chancellor’s installation

36 A l u m n i DeGruy and Pingali honored as CALS Distinguished Alumni • College honors its 2010-2011 Outstanding Alumni • Lifetime 4-H’er and former State Leader Dalton Proctor named to National 4-H Hall of Fame • Food Science alumni: Save the date for 50 th anniversary celebrations

39 G i v i n g Crop Science alumna Laura Whatley creates student emergency fund • Sustainable development professorship fully endowed by Bayer CropScience • New CALS scholarship honors Richard Canady and his love for family, friends and agriculture • Hightowers endow awards for graduate students in fisheries and wildlife • Order of Long Leaf Pine and Distinguished Service Awards given at foundations event • 2010 CALS Donor Recognition is a special celebration • A cookbook full of memories

The Cover: Graduate student Bridget Lassiter tours an ornamental plant operation in Costa Rica, where she traveled as part of a CALS tropical plant pathology course. (Story, page 8) Photo courtesy Bridget Lassiter winter 2011


Happy Campers

4-H camps are


By Natalie Hampton

ike many university-owned facilities,

updated for future generations to enjoy.

North Carolina’s

five 4-H camps and educational centers suffered from years of deferred maintenance. And though the familiar rustic facilities held fond summer camp memories for generations of 4-H’ers, 4-H youth development leaders knew it was time for an upgrade.

Roger Winstead

2 perspectives

In 2007 and 2008, the N.C. General Assembly allocated $11.5 million for renovations and new facilities at the state’s 4-H camps. Summer 2010 marked the first camping season that 4-H’ers were able to utilize many of these new facilities. 4-H is N.C. Cooperative Extension’s youth development program, serving more than 218,000 youth across the state with the help of

21,000 4-H volunteer leaders. “It is extremely gratifying to see so many wonderful improvements to our North Carolina 4-H camps and conference centers. Most of our camps still looked exactly as they did in the late 1950s when I was a 4-H camper,” said Larry Hancock, Extension 4-H specialist and director of the camping program. “Improvements have not only updated our camps, but they

Roger Winstead

A new recreation and conference hall was recently dedicated at the Eastern 4-H Center (shown top and bottom left and below). The hall earned consideration for a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design gold or silver certification for its many “green” features.

Marc Hall

have added to camper safety and comfort. Additionally, the capital improvements have enhanced programming capabilities.” At Betsy-Jeff Penn 4-H Educational Center near Reidsville, campers enjoyed a new swimming pool, with an attached bathhouse for the first time. In addition, eight cabins were renovated and mechanical systems upgraded. The recreation hall got a heating system to extend its use year-round, and multiple buildings got new roofs. The new pool, dedicated in May, overlooks the camp’s Lake Hazel and replaces an older pool that was built in 1964. It also provides campers with showers and bathrooms onsite. “The new pool is a ‘zero-entry pool,’ meaning that you can walk or roll into it on the shallow end. This makes it completely accessible

to those with disabilities and meets all requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA),” Hancock said. The Eastern 4-H Environmental Education Conference Center near Columbia, the state’s newest camp, opened its doors in May 2001 and has continued to grow. Two new group lodges opened in summer 2009, and in fall 2010 work was completed on a new recreation and conference hall that was expected to be the university’s first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified building. The LEED rating system for green buildings was created by the U.S. Green Building Council, and as of last fall, the Eastern 4-H Center building had enough points to be considered for gold certification. The 21,000-square-foot building will house a gymnasium, catering

kitchen and dining facilities, an office and three classrooms. “It’s a great place for campers to come in and play when it’s raining,” said Lisa Maune, N.C. State University’s assistant director of design and construction services. The facility also will be used for conferences and retreats. The hall’s green features include many recycled and sustainable materials, including insulation made from recycled denim, recycled ceramic tile, concrete exterior panels and bamboo flooring. Lighting is controlled by sensors that shut off when a room is not occupied. Exterior glass is treated to allow light in but keep heat out, and a rain garden helps filter storm runoff from the building. Lee Scripture, director at the Eastern 4-H Center said, “The addition of this facility will allow us to

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Swannanoa 4-H Center’s main lodge (shown preupdates, far left) is being expanded and renovated (as shown from rear, at left) to be ready for summer 2011.

Art Latham

4 perspectives

Marc Hall

helped the pool to stay cleaner. Meanwhile, at Swannanoa 4-H Center, December was the scheduled completion for renovation of the main lodge. The center, located in the mountains near Asheville, got its start in 1916 when Mrs. George Vanderbilt invited local youth to Biltmore Estates for a camp — boys would learn about corn and forestry, and girls would learn to cook on kerosene stoves. This was the beginning of 4-H in the Asheville area. Swannanoa opened its doors as the state’s first 4-H camp in 1929, with the completion of the main lodge. By 1930, nearly 3,000 boys and girls from 45 counties

attended camp at Swannanoa. Cost to attend was $1, and youths brought their food for the week. The camp was closed several years during World War II and held German prisoners of war who are credited with building some of the camp’s early facilities. A fire that destroyed the camp’s original staff house in 2005 kept the camp closed for three years. Maggie Hedge-Post calls the new staff house “Mountain View Lodge, because if you call it a lodge, they’ll treat it like a lodge.” The Mountain View Lodge, which opened in 2009, has eight rooms and five bathrooms and can sleep up to 30 people. Like many camp

Courtesy Larry Hancock

make great strides toward reaching our programmatic potential. This building provides much needed air conditioned space for our campers during the summer. It will also allow us to provide more meeting and conference space to our growing clientele.” At Sertoma 4-H Educational Center, located near Westfield in the Sauratown Mountains, renovations are nearly complete on the dining hall of historic Cheshire Hall, an old hotel that dates to 1893. The camp sits on land that in the late 1800s and early 1900s was a vacation destination for the mineral springs in the area. When owner Cicero Tise died in 1917, it was his wish that the land be used to enhance the lives of children. Sertoma Clubs in Yadkinville and WinstonSalem bought the camp and turned it over to N.C. State University in 1980 for use as a 4-H camp. The dining hall renovation will update the kitchen to improve meal preparation and serving and provide expanded food storage capacity, in addition to new safety and accessibility features, according to Keith Russell, camp director. In addition to renovations to the hotel, three new cabins with heating and air conditioning were added to the facility last summer, replacing three that were torn down due to their dilapidated condition. “We plan to begin renovations of the other 10 cabins in the spring of 2011,” Russell said. Sertoma also received a new maintenance building, which allowed the camp to convert the old building to a classroom. And upgrades to the camp’s swimming pool brought it up to code and

This past May, 4-H’ers and 4-H leaders gathered to dedicate the new pool at Betsy-Jeff Penn 4-H Educational Center. Other updates to the camp’s cabins and its mechanical and heating systems will improve campers’ safety and comfort.

Marc Hall

Marc Hall

Renovated and winterized cabins are now available to Swannanoa campers.

The new staff house at Swannanoa is rented off season for retreats and other events.

Art Latham

facilities, it is rented off season for rooms and air conditioning for the rebuilt. It will eventually become retreats and other events. The facilfirst time, eliminating the need for a teaching kitchen, but for now is ity, which includes a kitchen, living night-time trips to the community used as meeting space. The former area and a deck with rocking chairs, bath houses, according to Camp camp office has been converted also houses the camp’s office. Director Gene Shutt. to the camp store, and the historic Last summer, campers enjoyed In addition, kitchen renovabar room, constructed from wormy six renovated cabins with new tions were completed in time for chestnut by German POWs, was shower stalls and two newly renouse in summer 2010. “Improvedismantled and rebuilt. The bar vated and winterized cabments to the kitchen, new ins. The winterized cabins windows in the dining hall are ADA-compliant, inand total renovations to clude a feature to help kids our 14 youth cabins have monitor electricity usage greatly enhanced safety, and have a divided floor cleanliness and comfort,” plan so that 12 campers Shutt said. “Also, a new stay on each side without large-capacity waste water sharing bathrooms. Replactreatment system has been ing 1950s-era galvanized installed that will meet the shower stalls with modern current and future needs of white shower stalls was a the camp.” tremendous improvement Hancock said, “Our to the six renovated cabins, goal throughout these imHedge-Post said. provements has been to The much-anticipated maintain the traditional renovation of the camp’s look and appeal of our Sertoma 4-H Center’s improvements include new and main lodge, the dining hall renovated cabins and an update of the dining hall in the camps, while enhancing for summer campers, will them with modern convecamp’s historic Cheshire Hall (shown above). be ready in time for this niences. Careful attention summer’s camping season. room is a favorite spot of groups has been given to fully comply The historic lodge will retain that rent the facility. with all state construction codes its original look and feel but with Near Ellerbe in the Sandhills as well as those of local health dea wider front porch and deck that region, Millstone 4-H Camp, with partments and other agencies. wraps around the building. The its rustic, traditional camp feeling, “Parents and campers alike wellodge’s kitchen has been gutted and provided campers with a little extra come these changes, which ensure rebuilt. And best of all, the facility comfort this year. Established in that future generations of youth will that feeds as many as 150 summer 1939, the camp covers 320 acres of benefit from the 4-H camp expericampers now has separate restwoodlands within the 60,000-acre ence. We are extremely grateful to rooms for both boys and girls. Sandhills Wildlife Management our state legislators for the funds The former office wing of the Gamelands. Renovations to 14 that have guaranteed thousands of main lodge was torn down and camp cabins brought in-cabin bath‘happy campers.’”

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Jefferson Scholar Michael Atkins Jr. makes volunteerism and community service part of his well-

Answering the Call

Marc Hall

planned future.


By Dee Shore

or just about as long as he can remember,


of Agriculture and Life Sciences sophomore and Thomas Jefferson Scholar Michael Atkins Jr. has been involved in

community service — picking up litter at parks, packaging food for hunger-relief efforts, collecting school supplies for Hurricane Katrina victims, teaching youngsters about health and fitness, run-

Michael Atkins (above) and his community service activities have earned recognition from the North Carolina governor and from the U.S. Congress. (Opposite) Atkins sets up a Warming Tree in Patterson Hall to collect winter clothing for those in need.

ning to raise funds for a children’s hospital … . The list goes on. Earlier this year, thanks to a grant from Nestle’s Best in Youth, he added to that list by bringing a winter-clothes collection project to N.C. State University. The project — which Atkins started with his sister, Brittany, about six years ago — will become an annual event run by Jefferson Scholars. So far, Michael and Brittany have collected more than 9,000 gloves, scarves, hats and coats at Christmas trees they put in offices, stores and schools in Wayne, Johnston, Lenoir and Wake counties. Following the collections, which they call the Warming Tree 6 perspectives

Project, they distribute the clothes at places such as soup kitchens, women’s shelters and social services agencies. The Jefferson Scholars — an elite group of students who pursue majors in the colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Humanities and Social Sciences — regularly participate in community service projects. But they did not have a recurring, annual project of their own, Michael explained. The grant funds will allow them to have such a project, enabling them to buy Christmas trees, signs and advertising.

Atkins hopes that giving back through the Warming Tree Project will be as enriching to his fellow Jefferson Scholars as it has been for him. He recounted one experience he found particularly rewarding, when he distributed collected clothes at a soup kitchen: “The director … had pointed out a man who was basically desperately in need, and I went up to him and I handed him a pair of gloves, a pair of socks and a coat. And before I could walk off,” Atkins recalled, “he handed me the gloves back. And he said, ‘I already have a pair of these. Give some to

nouncements to raise awareness. Michael’s passion for supporting military families was not the only positive thing to come out of his experience as a heart patient. He had open heart surgery that corrected the condition when he was 10, but as a child, he had to limit his activities and sometimes felt excluded. Through acting, he found ways to participate with other kids and to deal with stress. So far, he’s been in about 40 plays, ranging from lighthearted musicals to dramas about such

somber topics as the Holocaust. “When you get onstage and you are under those lights, you are another person. You are the character that you are supposed to be playing, and if you really throw yourself into the part, the problems that you were having when you walked on stage don’t seem to exist anymore,” he said. Looking ahead, Michael said he hopes to become more involved with drama and student government at N.C. State. During his freshman year, he mainly focused on academics. He is working on two majors: Through CALS, he’s studying applied sociology, and through CHASS, he plans to major in political science, with a concentration in law and theory. “If I go the law route,” he said, “I would like to become a corporate attorney and represent a pharmaceutical company before stepping into the political arena.” His “ultimate goal,” as he puts it, is to be elected President of the United States in 2028 – the first year that he’ll be eligible to run. “It seems like right now we don’t have a lot of direction with all the things that are going on economically, politically, environmentally. There are just a lot of problems right now in the country, and I feel like we need strong leadership,” he said. “I’m very passionate about my position on different political views, and I feel like I could really make a difference in the country. Politics is something that I think I could really grab onto and give a lot of myself to.” And, as his experience proves, giving of himself is perhaps what Atkins does best.

“By standing up and letting other people know that this is the way that I felt and this is the way things were for me, maybe I can help them realize that [those] who live next door to them whose dad is deployed, well, ... maybe they can go next door and see how they are doing, visit with them, maybe even babysit the kids so the spouse can get out of the house and hang out with friends,” Atkins said. “It is just simple things you could do that would mean so much.” Last summer, Michael was invited by the Thanks USA Foundation – an organization that grants scholarships to military dependents – to speak at a congressional dinner about what military life had been like for him and his family. And through a 4-H program called Operation Military Kids, Atkins has packaged care kits for military dependents, helped organize classes and summer camps for them and made public service an-

Marc Hall

someone who really needs them.’ “If people who have so little can give back, then we who live comfortably and are able to get an education — we have the time, and we have the resources,” he said. “We should really make use of those and give back to our community.” Atkins’ passion for community service hasn’t gone unnoticed. He won the Gold Congressional Award – the highest honor Congress bestows on those under the age of 25 – in part because of his experiences with the Warming Tree Project. And recently he was named by Gov. Beverly Perdue to the 25member N.C. Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service. “Basically I am working on the media and public relations end of the commission, just to spread a spirit of volunteerism and community service across the state of North Carolina,” he said. “And I’m hoping that through my position I can inspire people my age – and people younger and older – to get involved.” One of the causes Atkins contributes to is particularly close to his heart: Every chance he gets, he speaks up about the need to support not just active-duty troops but also their families. Atkins’ father, M.J. Atkins, a now-retired Air Force senior master sergeant, served in the Persian Gulf War when Michael was an infant. That made life harder for him and his mother, especially since Michael had a life-threatening condition known as an atrial septal defect – a hole between two chambers of his heart. “During that time, I almost died,” he said. “My mom wasn’t able to get in contact with my dad because he was out on the front lines – he was fighting – and so it was just very difficult. My mom had to raise me and my sister basically by herself. And so she worked two jobs while my dad was overseas.

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Tropical Crops

Photos courtesy Bridget Lassiter


By Dee Shore ollege of

Agriculture and Life Sciences graduate

Global Plant Health

students have had the chance to sample the variety of

Program and study tours

tropical agriculture — from small sugarcane farms to mas-

bring Central America

sive banana plantations — through short study tours to Costa Rica for the last three years.

The one-week trips have been part of Dr. Jean Ristaino’s graduate course on tropical plant pathology. Taught in the spring each year, the course has given 35 students the chance to hear lectures about Central America, crop production and significant agricultural diseases affecting tropical environments. Then, each June, the classes have traveled to Costa Rica to experience firsthand what they’ve learned. The students visited operations producing bananas, coffee, pineapples, sugarcane, root crops, ornamental plants and cacao, the source of chocolate. On several of the visits, they were joined by 8 perspectives

some of Ristaino’s former students, including Dr. Monica Blanco, a crop production professor at the University of Costa Rica who earned her Ph.D. at N.C. State and who co-taught the course. “We have a wonderful Wolfpack family in Costa Rica and are leveraging our alumni connections to enhance the experience for our current students,” Ristaino said. Course participant Bridget Lassiter said that getting to see so much in such a short period of time made the trip particularly appealing to part-time students. Normally, study-abroad experiences last for weeks, and it can be hard to get away from full-time jobs for that

to CALS students. long, she said. Lassiter, a Ph.D. student in crop science who works as a full-time research assistant in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, said the behind-the-scenes look that the course offered also appealed to her. “It’s an experience you could never go to a travel agency and pay for,” she said. “Basically, we were seeing crop production the whole week. We were learning in depth about things that the casual tourist wouldn’t get to see.” Lassiter found the visit to a Dole Food Co. banana plantation particularly interesting. The students got to learn about some of the major diseases affecting the crop and how

niques for Phytophthora. The course brought together 24 plant pathologists from nine countries and created a network of scientists to improve the connections between diagnostic laboratories in Central America, Mexico and the United States. Through the workshop, the project deployed a series of rapid diagnostic tools, including digital cameras that will be used to send diseased plant and pathogen images to N.C. State’s Plant Disease and Insect Clinic for help with identification. In addition to the Phytophthora project, Ristaino is also helping launch a Global Plant Health Scholars Program at N.C. State. With a grant from the National Science Foundation, the plant pathology professor, Plant Biology Department Head Dr. Margo Daub and partners in Costa Rica have set up a research internship program that will fund 18 study abroad internships for advanced undergraduate or master’s-level students . In the summer of 2011, selected students will spend six weeks in Costa Rica working on projects developed by N.C. State, Dole, the University of Costa Rica and the Tropical Agriculture Research and Higher Education Center in Costa Rica. They will learn about issues facing agriculture in the developing world, including climate change, food security, emerging plant diseases and trade. Such international activities are mutually enriching, Lassiter has found. “Central America is important because we get so many of our food crops from there,” she said. “I also think it’s important that we are working with Central America because they have a lot to teach us, and we have a lot to teach them.”

crops for the United States. She and her colleagues have taught a number of prominent scientists there, including Dr. Luis Alpizar Gomez, Dole manages them. They also got director of the agricultural research to see nearly every stage of produccenter at the University of Costa tion – from planting to harvest, and Rica, and Dr. Felipe Arauz, dean of then on to post-harvest processing that university’s agronomy school. and packaging. Building on these and other “There’s just so much that goes connections in Costa Rica and into it,” she said. “The plant paelsewhere in Latin America, thologist whom we were traveling Ristaino has developed an internawith at that farm said, ‘We grow tional project funded by USAID bananas, but we sell the peels.’ And to improve detection and stop the he said, ‘If a banana doesn’t look spread of Phytophthora, a genus of plant-damaging pathogens that cause billions of dollars of crop damage around the world each year. The project’s goals include reducing the risk of introducing Phytophthora species into the United States and increasing sustainable horticultural trade in Latin This group’s study tour is one of the ways Dr. Jean Ristaino America. (second row, left) is building the Global Plant Health ProWith fundgram between N.C. State and Costa Rica. ing from good to you in the grocery store, USAID’s Partnership Program you are not going to purchase it. So for Support and Research in Horit’s so very important that we don’t ticulture, or Hort CRSP, Ristaino do anything to bruise or blemish and Blanco coordinated a summer the outside peel of the banana.’ If workshop on rapid diagnostic techyou think about how many miles it traveled from Costa Rica to get to my grocery store in Raleigh, N.C., it’s eye-opening.” Ristaino will be able to offer such informative experiences well into the future, thanks in part to funding from the National Science Foundation, which will cover student stipends for the next three years. The annual study tours are just one of the ways that Ristaino is building the Global Plant Health Students got behind-the-scenes Program between N.C. State and looks at crop production processes in Costa Rica. Costa Rica, a major source of food Student Bridget Lassiter (opposite) examines cacao in Costa Rica.

To hear and see more about the study tour, go to: agcomm/news-center/perspectives/cals-tourbrings-central-america-to-plant-pathologystudents/

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oing since

pport, ong u s l a it p s o ing for h ty. Fund-raiss in Alexander Coun the ‘40

Proud History


Agent Rosali home demon nd Redfearn organizes County, 191stration clubs in Anson 3.

les bring women Apron-making and saounty. income in Anson C

By Natalie Hampton s the

Family and Consumer Sciences program

celebrates its centennial in 2011, much has changed in the program and in the homes of the citizens that FCS

serves. But in many ways, FCS has returned to its roots – can-

Family and Consumer Sciences program celebrates 100 years.

ning and gardening programs have seen renewed interest in recent years.

10 perspectives

of the same issues they have traditionally — nutrition, food preservation and food safety, child development and family relations, family resource management, housing and energy management.

“What families need now is the same as what they needed then — knowledge about how to stay healthy, to establish a nurturing home and to prepare healthy meals,” said Dr. Marshall Stewart, head of the 4-H Youth Development and Family and Consumer Sciences Department in N.C. State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. On May 25, FCS will hold a statewide centennial celebration at

Becky Kirkland

The year 1911 marked the beginning of the home demonstration program in North Carolina that later became “home economics” and is known today as Family and Consumer Sciences. North Carolina was one of five Southern states to pioneer home demonstration work, starting in 14 counties throughout the state. The program began with gardening and canning clubs — later known as Tomato Clubs — that were designed to teach young women skills of home gardening and safe food preservation. Today, FCS professionals serve citizens in all the state’s 100 counties and the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation. FCS programs focus on many

21st century: Extension professionals prepare energy-saving kits for homeowners.

McKimmon Center, beginning at 5 p.m. with a launch of a special book — still unnamed — on the history of home demonstration in North Carolina. At 6:30 p.m., there will be a celebratory dinner. The dinner will include the charter induction of members to the N.C. Family and Consumer Sciences Hall of Fame, recognition of donors and presentations to highlight the history of FCS and provide a vision for the program’s future. Pre-sales of the book began in January, and those ordering early will be able to pick up their books at the centennial celebration. (For information on book sales, call 919.909.9081 or email kay_saville@ Almost anyone with a family history in North Carolina should remember home demonstration clubs and the agents who taught skills like cooking, food preservation, sewing and furniture restoration. The Tomato Clubs for girls began in 1911, with the hiring of Jane S. McKimmon, who coordinated the home demonstration program. An early report by N.C. State College’s Board of Trustees commented on the effectiveness of these early clubs. “The Extension Department of the College, under the leadership of Dean I.O. Schaub and Dr. Jane S. McKimmon, has brought the College into closer touch with the people of the state than any other instrumentality yet tried,” the trustees’ report read. The history book focuses on the decades since the state’s home demonstration program began, as well as past milestones and present achievements of individual counties. It is filled with photos and memories, according to Dr. Wilma Hammett, retired FCS specialist. In 1920, the Home Demonstration Program officially became part of the Extension Department of then N.C. State College, under what became the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. In the 1920s and ’30s the program

expanded to include clothing, resource management, and housing and home furnishings. Skill workshops provided an economiJane S. McKimmon cal means to clothe the family and improve the home. Many of the community institutions and services that we take for granted owe their very existence to the women of the home demonstration program and the state’s home demonstration clubs. School lunches, public libraries and county health departments in many coun-

A men’s Extension homemakers club picks up highway trash as a service project in Alamance County.

ties were started as projects of home demonstration clubs. In the 1920s and ’30s, the U.S. Department of Agriculture began to promote milk consumption, as awareness grew that many diseases caused by malnutrition could be prevented through better childhood nutrition. At the time, the mid-day meal was recognized as the most important meal of the day, yet schools were not equipped to prepare meals

for students. Home demonstrations club members, trained by local Extension agents, learned to cook hot meals for schools on little more than a wood stove. The idea took hold, and today the school lunch program is still supported by USDA. In the mid-20th century, many home demonstration clubs adopted the practice of reading and discussing books recommended by the state librarian. Members who read a certain number of books from the librarian’s list received a certificate from the state. Without local libraries, the books had to be shipped from Raleigh to the county Extension offices. Members began to see the need for a local source for books in their counties, and many clubs were instrumental in raising funds for county libraries and bookmobiles — libraries on wheels. In Cabarrus County, the first library was established in the home demonstration clubhouse. The home demonstration agent in Halifax County served as the county’s first librarian, with a collection in her own office. In 1959 the Extension Homemakers County Council in Polk County helped get a bookmobile and led the effort in the county for a special tax election to fund the new library. When construction began in 1967, the Extension Homemakers’ president and the Extension home economics agent helped break ground for the new library. FCS was involved in early public health initiatives as well. During the 1918 flu pandemic, agents taught club members to serve as nursing squads and to prepare food for those who were sick. Across North Carolina, 75 kitchens prepared food for an average of 105 people daily. Home demonstration agents and volunteers also helped in emergency hospitals that treated the sick. Throughout the past 100 years, home demonstration clubs have found other ways to support the health of their communities. In Alexander County, clubs helped

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12 perspectives

FCS has seen a flood of new interest in home food preservation. Across the state, FCS agents host canning workshops that have been extremely popular in recent years. Modern FCS programs provide education on nutrition and physical activity to a variety of age groups to combat the obesity epidemic. Other efforts have helped families make the most of their financial n many ways, today’s Family and resources and avoid home forecloConsumer Sciences program has sures during the economic recesreturned to its roots. Advocates of sion. Parenting programs and aging the local food movement might initiatives support families at both be surprised to learn that home ends of life. The housing program demonstration agents in the 1920s focuses on safe and healthy envipromoted the idea of curb markets ronments for children and families. as a way for homemakers to earn In its first century, Family and Consumer Sciences has supported North Carolina families through pandemics, wars, economic hardship and much more. The same program strengths that have sustained North Carolina will keep FCS strong in the years to come. “The N.C. FCS centennial Family and Consumer Sciences specialist (now retired) marks an imporDr. Karen DeBord (right) helped create outdoor learning tant milestone and play environments at a childcare center in 2003. in the history some extra income selling surplus of Extension and North Carolina. produce from their home gardens. FCS agents and volunteers have In 1942, there were 55 curb marprovided the safety net or helpkets across the state associated with ing hand for generations of North home demonstration. Regular venCarolinians,” said Stewart. dors at the markets reported earn“Whether they were teaching ing more than $570,000 in market people to read, getting the dirt sales, plus an additional $629,000 roads paved, building libraries or from food sales to merchants, instipreserving food, the FCS program tutions and individuals. has and continues to make an inToday, a number of FCS agents credible difference by providing are involved with North Carolina’s economic opportunity, educational 10% Campaign, aimed at consumer excellence and health and welleducation to encourage families being for North Carolinians. North and institutions to spend 10 percent Carolina would not have seen the of their food dollars on local food. great progress it has had over the And with renewed interest in farmpast 100 years without Family and ers’ markets and home gardening, Consumer Sciences.” provide support for blended families and one-parent families. The Expanded Foods and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) for more than four decades has reached out to limited-resource youth and families, teaching them how to eat healthier meals and snacks, stretch their food dollars and reduce the risk of food-borne illnesses.


Sheri Thomas

furnish the reception area of the local hospital, and Stokes County clubs helped purchase kitchen equipment for the local hospital. In 2001, a Forsyth County Extension and Community Association club worked with an artist to create colorful murals to brighten patient facilities at Wake Forest University’s Baptist Medical Center. In addition, home demonstration club members and Extension agents around the state together over the years have scored some big achievements for their state and their country. These include recycling efforts of World War II and organizing the construction of more than 220,000 mattresses from surplus cotton in 1941. With support from other North Carolina women’s and nurses’ groups, the N.C. Federation of Home Demonstration Clubs sold more than $4 million in war bonds to renovate and equip a former battleship to become the U.S. Army Hospital Ship Larkspar. In the 1950s and 1960s, seeking a place where home demonstration clubs could meet for education, members raised $100,000 from their “butter and egg money” toward the construction of what is now the Jane S. McKimmon Center. The McKimmon Center at N.C. State opened in 1976 and today provides continuing education programs to citizens across the state. In the 1960s and ’70s when society became more consumerdriven, Extension’s home economics program was there with reliable consumer education program materials, especially in the areas of clothing and home furnishings, focusing on buying decisions, as well as care and maintenance for economic value. For example, families could purchase efficient, attractive house plans designed by Extension and make good decisions on home furnishings using specialists’ recommendations. As families became more diverse and women went to work in large numbers, the program changed to

Sea Change

Seafood company goes from dockside to international with N.C. State’s help.


hen asked how

By Dee Shore

Dee Shore

Dee Shore

N.C. State University has made

a difference to his family business over the years, Wanchese Fish Co.’s Sam Daniels answers quickly

and definitively: “N.C. State has put us on the map globally,” he Dee Shore

says. “It’s pretty much changed our company, to get away from the fresh fish business our father started in the 1930s to become an international, value-added company.” The company headquarters where he works is evidence of the transformation that has taken place since Wanchese began selling what it calls Scallop Medallions – a product that College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ food scientists helped perfect in the late 1990s. With a towering lobby and brick façade, the 240,000-squarefoot state-of-the-art processing plant and cold storage facility in Suffolk, Va., stands in contrast to the company’s roots in a one-room fish house in the tiny Roanoke Island fishing village of Wanchese. When Daniels’ father, Malcolm,

started the company more than 70 years ago, there were probably fewer than 10 employees, Daniels says. But today, around 225 people work in the Suffolk facility and in plants in Hampton, Va., and Wanchese and Hatteras, N.C. The company is one of the nation’s largest suppliers of raw and prepared fish and shellfish, and it has international operations and sales. All of Malcolm and Maude’s 15 children worked in the business from an early age. Sam, the youngest boy, and Mikey, the fifth born, both remember getting up at 4 a.m. – well before school started – to

Dr. David Green (top left) often confers with Mikey (top right) and Sam Daniels (bottom). Above is the company’s first boat.

pack fish in Wanchese, then returning to the fish house after school to work until 10 at night. In the company’s early years, the packaged fish went to a distribution company in Hampton. But in the 1950s and ’60s – as soon as some of the sons got old enough to drive the used trucks that Malcolm bought at auctions – the family began distributing their fish themselves to markets in New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Boston. Fresh Atlantic flounder, by and

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14 perspectives

“We set up a taste test at the Duke Marine Lab with 100 people,” Green says, “and the flavor profile of the Argentine sea scallop was better than the mid-Atlantic sea scallop or the North Carolina bay scallop.” Still, the company had a hard time selling the scallops because they were so small. It was around this time — in the mid-1990s — that Sam visited customers in Japan and decided to take in a seafood trade show. There, he found a vendor selling what he called a scallop patty — small scallops that had been formed into a single piece of meat, the way chicken pieces are made into nuggets. Bingo, Sam thought: This kind of product could give the company a market for the small but tasty scallops it was harvesting off Argentina. Sam brought home a sample and called upon Dr. Tyre Lanier, a CALS professor in what’s now known as the Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences. How, Sam asked, was the product made? And would it work with his scallops? Lanier told him what he thought was binding the meat pieces together and pointed them toward a source. But, Sam says, Wanchese couldn’t get the binder to work. So with a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Lanier and CALS graduate student Kim Baker compared ways to bind quarter- to half-inch wide scallops into larger, more marketable patties using two methods: One used a meat-derived binder; and the other, a microbialderived enzyme, transglutaminase. The company now uses both methods, depending on consumer preference. Most consumers couldn’t distinguish a formed scallop from a natural one, Lanier says.The binding process is one that other companies have tried but without the success of the Danielses. They attribute the difference and thus their dominance in the formed scallop industry to the superior taste of the

Argentine scallop. The product has proven so popular that Wanchese is able to sell 2.5 million pounds of medallions each year, some of them plain and others breaded or wrapped in hickorysmoked bacon. And by building the facilities to produce, package and store the medallions, the company has also been able to expand into new products from other types of fish and shellfish – croaker, tuna, sea robins, bluefish, shrimp and mackerel, among them. As Sam put it, “We used to be a flounder king. We could catch them only 90 days a year then, and when the market gets saturated with them, we would take $.50 a pound for them — or whatever we had to take — whereas now we have opened another line of business. So now we can fillet that fish, freeze it and sell it along with our medallions. And our sea scallops that we catch off the mid-Atlantic coast — we freeze them and sell them. “So we basically went from a fresh fish company, selling 90 percent fresh, to now today in 2010, we are doing probably 80 percent frozen sales and only 20 percent fresh. We can pick and choose our customers now,” he adds. “Up until the 1990s, we had only maybe 25 different items. Today we probably have 150 to 200 items we sell with different species of fish in all parts of the world.” Given such success, it’s not surprising that Wanchese’s owners continue to look to N.C. State. In November, Green delivered Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points food safety training to company employees, including third-generation family member Kristopher Daniels. And Lanier has continued to provide advice on food products ranging from surimi to tuna barbecue. As the company continues to explore diversification opportunities, such as basket crabs and shell oysters, Sam says, “Anytime that we don’t know what we are doing, or we need more technical information, we turn to these guys.”

large, was their niche. “This is what our company was,” Sam says, “from day one until we started with the medallions.” As Mikey puts it, the medallions “were our salvation.” To tell the medallion story, Sam backs up to the early 1990s, when the federal government began setting quotas for fish. “We used to fish 365 days a year for flounder. Well, all of a sudden they came in and said, ‘You are only going to fish but 90 days for flounder this year.’ It was 1993, I think,” Sam recalls. “We said, ‘Gosh, what are we doing to do?’ All we know is fishing. My whole family, it’s all we’ve ever done.” Fortunately, a couple of Sam’s older brothers had seen the changes coming. Just as their father had bought used trucks and boats before, the Danielses bought an old boat, put a freezer on it and took it through the Panama Canal and up to Alaska, where the fishing season was longer. “Then the same thing happened there with fishing regulations,” Sam adds. “They ran us out of there with only 30 or 40 days of fishing a year.” As they considered ways to keep the company alive, the Danielses learned from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science that there were scallops off the coast of Uruguay. They retooled the boat, adding a shucking machine to separate the meat from the scallop shells, and sent it to Uruguay. “The closer we got to Argentina, the bigger the scallops got and the more scallops we caught,” Sam says. The Argentine government granted Wanchese a permit to fish in the shallow waters of the vast continental shelf off the country’s coast. Soon, the Danielses found themselves overwhelmed with more small sea scallops than they could sell. One of the Daniels’ long-time employees, James Fletcher, called Dr. David Green, with N.C. State University’s Seafood Lab, for help.

College Profile CALS nutrition professor Sarah Ash leads students on a journey of critical reflection.

By Terri Leith

Becky Kirkland


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Becky Kirkland

Sarah Ash has developed an interdisciplinary course on community food security, which includes service-learning activities.



Sarah Ash, professor of nutrition in the Food,

Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences Department in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, teaches

her students how to deal. Or, rather, DEAL – describe, examine and articulate learning – using the critical reflection model that she and colleagues have developed.

“Critical thinking is an approach that resonates with me. It isn’t just about teaching students the material, but teaching them to think – and to write,” says Ash, whose career has been focused on teaching. “I am an example of someone who was able to get tenured and promoted based on the scholarly work I do in teaching,” she says. Ash’s scholarship has revolved around the development of the DEAL reflection model. “I got interested in service learning — how people come together to address problems and the academic concepts that you are applying in the community. A key element of service learning is you need to have a mechanism for supporting students in articulating what they’ve learned,” she says. “So reflection is a key element in service learning.” With co-author Patti Clayton, a former service-learning coordinator at N.C. State and, she says, “significant input from students across a number of years,” Ash has presented the model in a publication called Learning Though Critical 16 perspectives

Reflection: A Tutorial for ServiceLearning Students. “It’s a critical reflection framework that guides the students. It’s grounded in educational theory, and it’s been received very positively,” Ash says. “A challenge in reflection is that when you ask students, ‘What did you learn?’ you often don’t get much beyond a recitation of facts,” she says. “And when you put students in unfamiliar situations, without an effective structure for guiding their thinking about it, you may find that the experience only reinforces inappropriate assumptions that they bring to it. “The model helps them connect their experiences to course material, challenges their beliefs and assumptions and deepens their learning.” Because the model is not controlled by classroom environment, it can be used in any experiential learning situation. “It’s a way to document the outcomes students are achieving, for institutional assessment or any purpose,” says Ash. “Since each experience is

unique to the student, you can’t test the students per se. So this measures what they’ve learned from an academic perspective and what they’ve learned about themselves and about how a service organization works.” Just as important, she adds, “The model allows instructors to assess what is being learned and how that fits in with their own expectations, giving them feedback they can use to make changes in the structure or nature of the experience.” The guide will also come in handy in Ash’s recently developed interdisciplinary course on community food security, as her students gauge what they have garnered in the class’s service-learning activities. Currently being taught as an experimental course, this past fall was its second semester as a pilot. The course is intended to be one in which “students could come up with an understanding of where the problems lie that lead to food insecurity,” Ash says, “or it could at least give them an understanding of some of the fundamental constraints and talk about models for solutions.” “Food security” essentially means the absence of hunger; it’s freedom from the fear of limited access to food (or, at the extreme, starvation). The concept refers to the availability, accessibility, sufficiency, safety and nutritional value of food needed by the people in a household, community or nation. There are many complications that can affect one or all of those factors and disrupt food security. On a household level, it could be a shut-

in situation or a family that hasn’t the sufficient means to get to or pay for needed food. On local to global levels, food security could be affected by loss of farmland, political upheaval, population increase, climate change, export restrictions or other social, environmental or economic disaster. “Internationally there’s always been a food security crisis,” says Ash. “But it isn’t enough to say we need more farmland. Why isn’t there food? How is that land controlled? What’s the infrastructure, what are the roads like, how do you get to the food? It depends on, too, your definition of how you want a person to have access to food — via charity or via their having a job. “You don’t want food security to be based on stop-gap measures; that doesn’t solve the problem. It’s a matter of understanding the difference in defining it in terms of stop-gap or long-term food security. … I’m thinking about the important things we want our students to understand, the bigger issues.” Ash hopes that not only will the course be interdisciplinary but that the students will be, too. “Going forward, we see that as a goal: to bring those multiple perspectives from students,” she says. “This is the sort of course for someone who might be a policy maker or that someone working on international agriculture problems might take.” The course “grew organically,” Ash says, out of the relationship Ash’s CALS colleagues Dr. Suzie Goodell of FBNS and Dr. Julie Grossman of the Department of Soil Science have with Raleigh’s Interfaith Food Shuttle. Goodell’s and Grossman’s students have taken part in community nutrition and soil management service-learning activities with the Food Shuttle’s community gardens. “It hit us that we could turn those activities into a course more relevant to the community food security concept,” Ash says. She, Grossman and Goodell were as-

sisted in developing the course by CALS colleagues Dr. Bob Patterson and Dr. Michelle Schroeder-Moreno, Department of Crop Science, and Liz Driscoll, Horticultural Science Extension associate. “For a long time we’ve been interested in issues related to cultural competency, such as delivering nutrition education to limitedresource audiences,” Ash says. “And how do you help students, who themselves have no experience in unpredictable access to food, understand that issue? Understanding your audience is important.” So, as one of the class exercises, the students are given addresses in a community gardens neighborhood and in the housing projects, along with the address of the state farmers’ market. “We then ask them to find the nearest grocery store with Google Maps,” Ash says. “It’s a way to raise the awareness that it’s not that easy to get to the food by public transportation.” The students also do work on a farm at the Interfaith Food Shuttle’s land on Tryon Road, as well as the community gardens. And “so they can see the full breadth of what community food security encompasses,” students take field trips to places like a Durham community grocery operation run by a group that helps recovering addicts. “Students are learning that even activities that sound wonderful are not without their challenges,” Ash says. “I’d hate anyone to suggest there are always true solutions in the sense that one approach eliminates the problem. Better to think in terms of multiple approaches to reducing problems.” In fact, if they learn nothing else, Ash hopes the students will see “that the big concerns we have are all complex, and there are no simple approaches. I hope they come away with an ability to ask the right questions. I hope they know they need to ask questions and to be sure they’re always questioning their own assumptions.”


aking a big-picture approach is something that Sarah Ash has practiced since her own student days in Boston at Harvard University, where she received her 1976 bachelor’s degree in biology, and in Medford, Mass., at Tufts University, where she earned her 1982 master’s and 1986 Ph.D., both in nutrition. She grew up just south of the University of Connecticut, where both her parents were professors. “Initially I was drawn to evolutionary biology, fascinated by the concept of change over time. However, I had this notion I would spend all my time in the basement of a museum of comparative anatomy,” says Ash. “I also wanted something interactive, something I could engage people in.” Then, one summer, she was rooming with a friend who took a course in nutrition. “She brought home her text, and I was fascinated,” Ash says. “I saw how relevant everything I had been learning was to nutrition. It crystallized for me how it all came together. To me, nutrition is the ultimate applied science. All basic science roads lead to nutrition, not to mention all the psychology, sociology, anthropology aspects that come into play. It gets back to this concept of understanding complexity.” Encouraging this interest was her undergraduate adviser, who suggested she take nutrition courses at Harvard’s School for Public Health. “I took a graduate-level public health nutrition course and a nutrition biochemistry course,” Ash says. “I then decided to do an independent study; I asked Professor Stanley Gershoff if I could do research in his lab, and he gave me a cool little research project. How important that was to me, that he took time to help me out. That was a touchpoint in life that mattered, that made a difference to me.” Upon graduation, she got married and relocated with her husband, Mark Ash, when he attended law school in Chicago. When they

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‘Science is an ever-changing process. ... There are times you have to make sure to keep an open mind and not be so dogmatic in your approach.’

18 perspectives

over here as coordinator about five years ago.” Now her aim for the students in that program is “increasingly to learn bigger picture things. With nutrition, you need to compare what we used to know with what we know today and what we’ll need to know tomorrow. It goes back to evolution — how you got to this point so you can move forward. Science is an ever-changing process. You need a little bit of humility. There are times you have to make sure to keep an open mind and not be so dogmatic in your approach.” It all comes back to ways of critical reflection, says Ash. “In all my classes now, I focus on it one way or another. I get a lot of satisfaction in my food history course when a student says, ‘I never realized’ or ‘I never thought about it that way.’ I love opening their minds and getting them to think.” Another of the things she likes most about her job is advising — “a role that I think gets overlooked,” Ash says. “It’s not appreciated for the time it takes and the impact it can have. I take very seriously the role I can play in helping students find their way and see the opportunities and experiences [available] while in school. To help them navigate the choppy waters of undergraduate life. I’d like to think the majority knows I care about them.” And finally, she enjoys meeting the students’ families at graduation, which “makes it all worthwhile,”

she says. “I do love the student interaction — for the most part, they bring you joy.” Ash’s dedication to her students has not gone unnoticed. In 2009, she received the Board of Governors’ Award for Excellence in Teaching, and in 2007 she was a regional winner of the USDA Food and Agriculture Sciences Excellence in Teaching Award. However, there have been quieter, but no less meaningful, accolades, like the one she calls her “hand of God” moment: “A couple of years ago in the spring, I felt tired and strung-out, that maybe I needed to make a change. In a low moment, I went to Starbucks and asked for a job application, but they had none. I was half-way serious,” Ash says. “As I was leaving, at the door, a young man tapped me on the shoulder and said, ‘You taught me nutrition,’ and he told me that course had changed his life.” She looked heavenward and said, “OK.”

moved back to Massachusetts, she returned to work in Gershoff’s lab and soon entered graduate school. Her children, Sam, now a secondyear year medical resident at the University of Washington, and Rachel, now coordinator of grants with the N.C. Symphony, were born during the years she earned her graduate degrees. Ash came to N.C. State in 1987, but her route to the FBNS nutrition program was just as indirect and marked by serendipity as her student path at Harvard had been. She started out as biochemistry lab research technician with Dr. Samuel Tove, then in 1988 started teaching in the CALS Animal Science Department, where Dr. George Wise had started a course in human nutrition. “It became very popular,” says Ash, who started teaching the course in the late ’80s, when then-instructor Dr. Jackie McClelland left the position, eventually becoming a Family and Consumer Sciences faculty member. “That’s how I started teaching the course. I did some advising in Animal Science (mainly pre-veterinary students) and teaching and eventually got tenure in Animal Science,” says Ash. The university’s undergraduate nutrition program was interdepartmental until a decision was made that it needed to be properly housed in a department, she says. “The undergrad major, now called nutrition science, became part of Food Science. And I was brought



NSF grant funds Phytotron renovation

Marc Hall

Dr. Carole Saravitz, director of the N.C. State University Phytotron, works inside one of the lab’s climate-controlled plant growth chambers.

The N.C. State University Phytotron, a collection of climate-controlled chambers that allows scientists to control the conditions under which plants are grown, is about to get a major renovation, thanks to a $1.79 million National Science Foundation grant. When the Phytotron, formally known as the Southeastern Plant Environment Laboratory, first opened its doors in the spring of 1968, it was state-of-the-art, only the second such facility in the United States and one of the largest in the world. Tucked between two of the wings of Gardner Hall, the three-story Phytotron contains 57 growth chambers ranging in size from 4-feet-by-3-feet to 8-feet-by-12-feet, along with five climate-controlled roof-top greenhouses. While the majority of the research done in the Phytotron involves plants, the facility has also been used by zoologists and entomologists. The facility is an indispensible

research tool. Within the growth chambers, scientists may control the composition of the air, temperature, humidity, day length, light spectrum, root zone temperature and nutrition available to plants. The value of the Phytotron lies in the ability it provides to isolate and change one of these factors while other factors remain constant, something that’s not possible in field or greenhouse experiments. More than 42 years of heavy use have taken a toll on the facility, said Dr. Carole Saravitz, Phytotron director, and the renovation is much-needed. While greenhouse space has been added and some electronic controls have been upgraded, the facility has seen little in the way of renovation over the years. And many of the changes that have occurred, like leaks in the floors of the growth chambers, have not been for the better. The National Science Foundation grant that will fund renovation was

made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, also known as economic stimulus funding. It is perhaps fitting that the National Science Foundation would fund renovation of the facility. Saravitz pointed out that an NSF grant was used to build the facility in the late 1960s and operate it during the early years. Saravitz said the Phytotron has been able to continue to function without extensive renovation because it was designed with extra cooling capacity in the beginning to allow for repair during continuous operation. As cooling chillers needed repair over the years, they could be taken off line without limiting the facility’s capacity. Currently, however, the chambers cannot be used at the coldest temperatures possible (0 to10 degrees C). At the same time, the Phytotron staff has become adept at fixing the facility. According to the grant application submitted to NSF, the facility’s three electrical and maintenance technicians spend from 30 to 80 percent of their time repairing outdated equipment, while repair costs can top $75,000 annually. Chillers shouldn’t be a problem, at least in the near future. Saravitz said the grant will pay for the Phytotron to be hooked up to the university’s cooling system. The facility will no longer have to rely on 40-plus-year-old chillers. The grant will also allow for the installation of new specialized chillers that will cool (continued next page)

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Blankenship named fellow of international horticulture society Dr. Sylvia Blankenship, associate dean for administration for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and professor of horticulture, has been elected a Fellow of the International Society of Horticultural Science. The society has been electing fellows since 2002, and only 10 people have been honored. Blankenship is the first person from N. C. State University to receive the honor, one of two women and one of four Americans to be elected a society fellow. In electing Blankenship a Fellow, Dr. Norman E. Looney, society president, noted that she “is a world-class horticultural scientist whose many accomplishments during her career as a postharvest physiologist have contributed significantly to the understanding of ethylene biology in horticultural crops. Her work with ethylene action inhibi-

tors in particular has changed the course of research in the area of fruit ripening and provided an invaluable commercial tool for postharvest Sylvia Blankenship management of climacteric fruit.” Blankenship and Dr. Ed Sisler, professor of biochemistry, developed a patented method of treating fruits and vegetables that slows fruit aging, thus controlling ripening. The method, called the SmartFreshSM Quality System, is widely used, particularly with apples. “Dr. Blankenship’s name will always be associated with the groundbreaking discovery of the ethylene action inhibitor, 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP).

This development has had an enormous impact on postharvest science and technology, particularly commercial practice. It has brought great advantages to experimental postharvest science in allowing the control of ethylene action and so increased our understanding of ripening and senescence processes,” Looney noted. Blankenship joined the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences faculty in 1983 in the Department of Horticultural Science. She served as assistant department head from 1999 to May 2003 and as interim department head from May 2003 to October 2003. She has served as associate dean for administration for the College, first in an interim capacity and then permanently, since late 2003. —Dave Caldwell

some chambers to freezing. Saravitz said this will be particularly useful for experiments involving the coldhardiness of crops such as strawberries, cucumbers and watermelons, which are often planted early in the year and are susceptible to spring freezes. The grant will also be used to replace the electronics that control the climate in the facility’s growth chambers and to repair a system that allows scientists to control the amount of carbon dioxide in chambers. CO2 is a greenhouse gas, of course, so this upgrade will make global warming studies possible. As might be expected of a facility in which plants are constantly being watered, the concrete floors leak. Saravitz said waterproof membranes will be installed in all the growth chambers. Perhaps the most exciting part of the project will be construction of what Saravitz called a level 3 biosafety laboratory. This lab, which will include greenhouse space, will be built on the third floor in space that is now used for

20 perspectives

storage. The availability of the lab will allow scientists to work with plant diseases such as soybean rust, which must be carefully contained. Anyone working in the lab must shower before leaving, while any equipment that leaves the lab must be autoclaved to prevent the transmission of disease beyond the lab. Saravitz said the N.C. State School of Veterinary Medicine has a similar facility for the study of animal diseases. The availability of a biosafety lab will allow CALS scientists to work with plant pathogens, pests and vectors that may be emerging threats but that are not yet found in North Carolina. The project is expected to take three years to complete. Construction

Marc Hall

Phytotron (continued)

Saravitz stands at the controls of a growth chamber. The upgrade and repair of the facility’s climate-control systems will enable enhanced globalwarming studies.

isn’t expected to begin until the end of the summer of 2011, with design work taking place between now and then, according to Saravitz, who said, “This will open a lot of doors for research.” — Dave Caldwell

Today, most people have biochemical substances in their systems that weren’t even known before 1945, Dr. Paul Anastas of the Environmental Protection Agency told an audience at N.C. State University during the fifth Borlaug Lecture held Oct. 4. Known as the “Father of Green Chemistry,” Anastas told the audience that innovation is required to help society reduce its dependence on products and processes that rely on toxic substances. Anastas, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency assistant administrator for the Office of Research and Development, is known for his groundbreaking research on the design, manufacture and use of minimally toxic, environmentally friendly chemicals. Prior to joining the EPA, he was on the faculty of Yale University, served as founding director of the Green Chemistry Institute headquartered at the American Chemical Society and worked in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. The Nobel Laureate Dr. Norman E. Borlaug Distinguished Lecture on Global Service to Society and Environment is sponsored by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Natural Resources. Known as the “Father of the Green Revolution,” Borlaug was instrumental in developing crop varieties that helped feed millions around the world. Chancellor Randy Woodson opened the lecture by praising Borlaug and the other scientists who have delivered the Borlaug Lecture. He also praised the innovation of N.C. State thinkers like Dr. Joann Burkholder, professor in the CALS Plant Biology Department, who received the Award for Service to Society and Environment last year. Anastas described the many products we rely on today that contain substances known to be harmful. Bisphenal-A found in plastic drinking bottles, including baby bottles, is one

Marc Hall

Anastas believes science, technology offer ‘green’ solutions

The EPA’s Dr. Paul Anastas delivers the 2010 Borlaug Lecture.

example of a recently identified harmful substance. In addition, production of some products that we rely on requires the use of toxic chemicals that are difficult to neutralize. Twenty years ago, Anastas said the word “green” was not commonly used. In developing the 12 principles of green chemistry, Anastas’s intent was to encourage science to design materials in ways that reduce or eliminate hazardous substances. Doing that requires a systems approach to redesigning products. “How we decide to frame the question determines how many solutions we’ll come up with to a problem,” Anastas said. “Do you just optimize the existing technology, or could you re-engineer the whole system? Once you redefine the questions, you’re able to get better answers.” Science has redefined systems many times and come up with new answers, he said. For example, cell phones eliminated the need for poles and wires. Decaffeinated coffee once

required the use of a chemical now recognized as a carcinogen. Today, carbon dioxide is used to decaffeinate coffee, and hybrid coffee varieties that don’t contain caffeine have been identified. To create a “green lawnmower,” a manufacturer might develop an engine that is quieter, uses less fuel and creates less exhaust. But a better solution might be to develop varieties of turfgrass that don’t grow very high. Do you create a “greener” laundry detergent, or develop clothes that are self cleaning, Anastas asked. Today, Earth seems to be on an unsustainable environmental trajectory, Anastas said, but we’ve been there before. In the days when horses provided the primary means of transportation, projections of the need for more horses fueled talk of unsustainable mountains of horse manure. But thanks to newer modes of transportation, the manure mountains never materialized. “Science and technology changed the equation,” he said. With creativity, spirit and dedication, the world can find sustainable solutions to pollution challenges, Anastas said. “Am I a technology optimist? Perhaps,” he said. “Science and technology can’t be the only path. But in the absence of science and technology, I don’t know that there is a path.” –Natalie Hampton

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Cooperative Extension helps Currituck ‘go green’ with new garden and improved storm-water ponds

Dee Shore

An improved storm-water pond (left) provides a scenic focal point at Extension’s Currituck County center. (Below) Master Gardeners created a wildlife garden near the center.

22 perspectives

Environmental Protection Agency. Gloria Putnam and Barbara Doll, both water-quality specialists with Sea Grant and Cooperative Extension, led the project. It got started, Putnam said, when she and Rodney Sawyer, the previous county Extension director, recognized that the former farm field that is now the site of the beautiful new Extension facility could become an

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In Currituck County — the farthest northeastern place you can go in North Carolina — people recognize that environmental stewardship is key to the economy and the quality of life. To help lead the way, N.C. Cooperative Extension is incorporating environment-protecting practices on the site of its 3-year-old county center. On a bright October morning, 15 Extension Master Gardener volunteers created a wildlife garden of native plants on the rural site near Barco. The volunteers also learned about improvements that have made the three storm-water ponds on the site a model for builders, engineers, landscape architects, golf course managers and others involved in developing commercial and residential areas. The garden and the improved ponds were among the first fruits of the “Currituck Goes Green” collaboration among the county planning department, North Carolina Sea Grant, Cooperative Extension, the University of North Carolina’s Coastal Studies Institute, the N.C. Coastal Federation and others. Funding came from the county and from the Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program, sponsored by the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the U.S.

outdoor classroom showcasing environmentally friendly development in northeastern North Carolina. Environmental stewardship is the top concern for county residents, a recent Extension survey revealed. And protecting water resources — which cover roughly half of the county — is

particularly important. County Planning Director Ben Woody said, “The Currituck Sound and the other water resources are an important part of the culture of the county. So projects like this that have a focus on water quality have always been well-supported by our commissioners and by our community.” Indeed, in 2009, the commissioners adopted a resolution directing county staff members to provide continual training and education to advance sustainable stewardship and to explore the possibility of a sustainability plan. The goal, they noted, was to create “a more stable, sustainable future … that will ensure lasting social, economic and environmental prosperity.” The garden-and-ponds project, Putnam said, is the first “on-the-ground demonstration project to help county residents and businesses visualize and understand what adopting green practices could do for a site and the environment.” The existing ponds, which cover an acre, already met the state’s minimum coastal storm-water runoff standards, Putnam said, removing sediment and slowing runoff that would flow from the site into adjacent agricultural ditches that flow into the North River and, from there, into the Albemarle Sound. But she and Doll knew that a few changes could make them even better. Doll, an environmental water resource engineer, recommended (continued next page)

PALS helps students see possibilities

Marc Hall

Extension’s Liz Driscoll (right) gives PALS students a greenhouse tour.

A summer program called PALS provided 20 boys and girls from eastern North Carolina with a taste of higher education and, perhaps, a glimpse of the future. PALS, which stands for Preparing for the Agricultural and Life Sciences, was organized by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Diversity Council, which is chaired by Dr. Lisa Guion, CALS assistant dean for diversity, outreach and engagement. From July 25 through July 30, PALS brought middle school students to the North Carolina State University campus for a residential summer science enrichment program.

PALS was about possibilities. Guion said the program was designed to give the boys and girls who attended inquiry-based science experiences and career guidance, particularly on careers they might pursue armed with a college degree in an agricultural or life sciences discipline. The program also provided information on what the students would need to do in order to move beyond high school and attend college. That last bit of information is particularly important, Guion pointed out, because all the participants came from families unfamiliar with higher education. If the boys and girls who participated in PALS end up attending college, they will be the first in their families to do so. All the PALS participants came

Currituck (continued) adding an aquatic bench around the ponds’ edges to improve storm-water treatment, provide wildlife habitat and make the site more attractive. That meant excavating the site and installing native wetland plants such as sweet flag, creeping water plantain, fragrant waterlily, arrow arum, pickerel weed and softstem bulrush. The Master Gardeners also used native plants when they installed the wildlife garden. They put in shrubs such as winterberry holly and beautyberry; flowering plants such as purple coneflower and Virginia sweetspire; grasses such as pink muhlygrass; and deciduous trees such as apple serviceberry. The plants are designed to attract small mammals, songbirds and game birds, butterflies and other

pollinating insects. Jan Perry-Weber, Cooperative Extension’s agricultural technician and Master Gardener volunteer coordinator, helped Putnam select the plants. She hopes that the garden will encourage the county’s people to incorporate wildlife-friendly plants and native plants into their landscapes. That’s important, she said, because along with county’s rapid population growth has come destruction of native plants and trees that are best suited to the area. A sign between the garden and the storm-water pond explains the environmental importance of the project and lists some of the plants used. —Dee Shore

from limited-resource families, Guion added. The 12 girls and eight boys who attended all receive either free or reduced lunch at their schools. They were chosen for PALS after being referred to the program by teachers, principals or community leaders. CALS and university faculty and staff provided their time and expertise to make the program a success. Liz Driscoll, N.C. Cooperative Extension associate in Horticultural Science; Stephanie Gorski, graduate research assistant in Entomology; Clayton Morrison, graduate research assistant in Microbiology; Melissa Scherpereel, Extension associate in Poultry Science, and Debbie Ort, research specialist in Poultry Science; all provided hands-on lab experiences, while Brent Jennings, Extension associate in Animal Science, engaged the students in hands-on activities at the beef and dairy educational units at the Lake Wheeler Road Field Laboratory. The students also took field trips to the N.C. Museum of Life Sciences, N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, and Phytotron. In addition, Myron Burney, N.C. State assistant director for admissions and Dr. Gerri Williams, associate director of the offices of Scholarship and Financial Aid and director of Pack Promise, provided information on financial aid and scholarships, while Melissa Kahn, CALS Career Services assistant director, gave a presentation on agricultural and life sciences careers. Students came from Carteret, Duplin, Edgecombe, Jones, New Hanover, Pender, Tyrrell, Wayne and Washington counties. Program evaluation data demonstrated that the effort was a success. All the students indicated they were more interested in attending college when they graduate from high school, while 89 percent said they like science more and 72 percent were more interested in pursuing a degree in science as a result of the PALS experience. — Dave Caldwell

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24 perspectives

Tyndall will preside at the APVMA 2011 national symposium in March.

Becky Kirkland

For animal science major James Getting to be a veterinarian, Tyndall, veterinary medicine is much though, isn’t easy, Tyndall acknowlmore than spaying and neutering dogs edges. “But like anything good in life,” and cats. It can also be an avenue to he says, “it’s worth working hard for.” improving the food supply, he says, And hard work is something Tynand improving the welfare of all types dall knows well. As a young husband of animals – and of people. and father, he works a 30-hour-a-week Serving as this year’s national presijob with a local toxicologist while strivdent of the American Pre-Veterinary ing to maintain the high grades that Medical Association, the CALS senior veterinary colleges require of prospecis using his passion for vet med to raise tive students. the public’s awareness of good animal Along the way, he’s also found time care and the benefits of research and to serve others: In addition to his role its impact on society. on APVMA’s executive board, he’s APVMA has more than 50 regserved as vice president of the N.C. istered clubs throughout the United State chapter of Sigma Nu fraternity, States. Tyndall was elected president at taught autistic children to ride and the association’s 2010 national sympocompete in equestrian events at the sium, hosted by Purdue University in Special Olympics and volunteered Indiana. More than 480 students and for the Society for the Prevention of advisers attended, taking part in labs Cruelty to Animals. and lectures on veterinary topics rangTyndall says he enjoys challenges ing from suture techniques to wolf and and helping improve the lives of othbird medicine to cattle breeding. The ers. Through veterinary medicine, he 2011 symposium, over which Tyndall believes he’ll be able to do both. will preside, is March 11 to 13 at Mis“I don’t necessarily want to be sissippi State University. nationally recognized on the cover During his presidency, Tyndall also of Forbes magazine,” he says. “But I hopes to raise undergraduate students’ do want to help find the cure for canawareness of the career possibilities cer – find a medical device that helps available through veterinary medicine wounded veterans better cope with and to help them learn from each other their lives and improve their lives. as they pursue their goal of getting into You can do that through veterinary vet school. “My mind just explodes with everything you can do,” Tyndall says. “There are so many different pathways you can do … once you get to vet school – pathology, toxicology. You can work in a clinic, start your own clinic – there are just thousands of different James Tyndall works with a fellow animal science student directions that you in the Veterinary Professions Advising Center (VetPAC) at Riddick Hall. can go.”

Becky Kirkland

Animal science student serves as national pre-vet association president

medicine.” In addition to setting his career sights on helping improve others’ lives, he also strives to motivate other N.C. State students to pursue their dreams, despite the challenges they face. In part, he says, it’s payback for the enthusiasm and support that his CALS animal science professors have shown for him. “If something comes your way — be it a hard test or be it just a bad day with your boyfriend or girlfriend— you can work through that. There are ways around it,” he says. “People in CALS and the professors, particularly in animal science, are there to support you not only as an undergraduate student but as a person. “You can be an undergraduate student, and be a good father, and succeed professionally, and do all kinds of things – if you work hard,” he says. “If you work hard, at the end of the day, everything will pay off.” — Dee Shore

New class graduates from ag leadership program

Lanny Hass

The 2010 graduates of the Agricultural Leadership Development Program, along with program leaders Dr. Billy Caldwell (second row, next to last) and Dr. Bill Collins (third row, third from left) participated in a legislative study tour of Washington, D.C.

Chase Hubbard entered the Agricultural Leadership Development Program as a farm manager at Warren Wilson College. He graduated two years later with an additional title: Soil and Water District Supervisor in Buncombe County. The two-year College of Agriculture and Life Sciences program not only prepared him to run for office, Hubbard says, but also opened his eyes to new ways to think, communicate and become more involved in his community. “The Agricultural Leadership Development Program has had a major impact on my professional and personal life,” Hubbard says. “As a farm educator, my awareness of issues facing North Carolina agriculture has increased. The mastery of self, through assessment tools, reflection and strategies to increase my own capacity has had lasting, meaningful results.” Hubbard is one of 30 professionals who graduated from the program in November. They represent the full spectrum of North Carolina agriculture. Created in 1984 as the Philip Morris Agricultural Leadership Development Program, which was open only to tobacco growers, the new program

has expanded to include all types of agricultural professionals. Dr. Bill Collins, senior director of development for the CALS Department of Crop Science, and Dr. Billy Caldwell, associate director emeritus of North Carolina Cooperative Extension, have led the program together since the mid’80s. Dr. Lanny Hass and Eleanor Stell of Extension’s Personal and Organizational Development group also provide leadership and training and manage the program’s day-to-day operation. “This program is equivalent to, or exceeds, any executive development program at any corporation,” Hass says. “We’re training these young leaders to compete in a world in which they need to be competitive.” Collins says, “We teach the participants how to form consensus, because those impacted by a decision should be involved in the process. They’re learning the issues facing North Carolina agriculture today and into the future.” The program also focuses on the mastery of self and relationships, and social and organizational action. “The program has helped me to understand people and to solve and analyze problems better,” says Beth

Foster, a recent graduate and Washington County farm owner. “It has given me more confidence in myself. I have become more engaged and a better leader.” Foster also credits the program with enabling participants to form valuable connections and lasting professional relationships. In addition to seminars in Raleigh, program participants take a legislative study tour in Washington, D.C., a study tour to Brazil and local and domestic study tours. “The travel was a wonderful experience,” says David Heath, a recent program grad and Craven County farmer. “We saw everything from a farm in southern Brazil with 3 acres of tobacco being worked by a young man and his wife with two oxen, to a farm in California with more than 70 six-row cotton pickers.” Hubbard says the travel broadened his understanding of U.S. and international agriculture and policy. “Learning about agriculture in California gave me new ways to understand water usage, farmland preservation and other issues that will affect North Carolina increasingly in the coming decades,” he says. Program graduate Scott Bissette, marketing specialist for the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, says the travel experience “gave us the opportunity to see firsthand what our competitors are up to and the obstacles they face.” While the program has come to a close for these 30 graduates, the experience will last a lifetime, Collins says. “We see program participants become more confident, more capable of managing issues and better equipped to lead the industry when they graduate,” he says. “This program changes people’s lives.” — Suzanne Stanard

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26 perspectives

lations, climate change threatens to bring about radical changes in the regional flora. “What we are seeing is that many of our growth zones are shifting north, resulting in zone creep. This means that some of the plants that are here now might Dr. Joe-Ann McCoy began setting up the gene bank collecnot be in the fution of North American native and medicinal plants three ture,” she says. years ago. “Some plants will make that shift and adjust, but some ensure they don’t deplete wild popuwon’t — for example, in our highlations, they don’t remove more than elevation habitats, including rock out- 20 percent of the seeds or 20 percent crops and the spruce fir zone, where of the plant population in any place rare populations are already pushed they collect. to the very top of their limits. We may While they collect plant matter, potentially lose these species. they also collect and record lots of “So from a conservation point of data, including the elevation, aspect, view, we want to collect in those arslope, global positioning system (GPS) eas as soon as possible and get them coordinates, directions to the site, asconserved in the gene bank,” she says. sociated species, the number of indiWhen McCoy collects plants, she vidual plants they find and the number and her colleagues follow stringent of flowering individuals. sustainable national guidelines. To Back at the lab, they press the plant material and dry the seeds, then freeze them at minus 20 degrees Celsius in vacuum-sealed trilaminate packets. The goal is to make the seeds last as long as possible. Some will last only a few years, but others can last hundreds of years, McCoy says. Every five years, the seeds will be tested to see if they germinate. When the germination rate goes down, it will be time for the scientists to return to the field to recollect. In addition to leading the Bent Creek Institute’s collection and conservation work, McCoy uses her expertise in analyzing plants’ medicinal properties to collaborate with scientists from around the state who are interested in research related to the development of new botanical products. Such products include nutritional supplements, mediMcCoy says the repository’s primary cines and more. focus is conservation. (continued next page)

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When it comes to plants, the mountains of North Carolina are among the most biologically diverse in the United States. A unique new research laboratory and seed bank with ties to College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is helping to conserve that diversity and explore how it might be used to develop medicinal products and improve the region’s economy. Dr. Joe-Ann McCoy serves as the director of the Bent Creek Institute Germplasm Repository and Laboratory, which she began setting up three years ago to become the first comprehensive North American gene bank devoted to native and medicinal plants. The nonprofit institute was started by the UNC system. McCoy, based at the N.C. Arboretum at Asheville, has been a faculty member with the College’s Department of Horticultural Science. Though her director position was recently transferred to the Bent Creek Germplasm Repository, a subsidiary UNC campus, she will retain ties to N.C. State as an adjunct faculty member. The repository’s primary focus is conservation, McCoy says. With the help of technicians and volunteers, she is collecting, cataloging and storing germplasm – seeds, mainly – from thousands of plants that live in the plant-rich mountain region. Lichens, algae, spores, fungi and bacteria are also included in the collection. “From a collection standpoint, this is a very, very special place, because there are more species of plants found in the mountains of North Carolina than in any other area of similar size in North America,” she says. “Also, throughout the last four ice ages, this region was not covered in ice, so as the glaciers retreated, this was the seed source that reseeded the rest of the continent. As a result, this is an optimal spot to develop a gene bank, because a lot of the original source material is here.” McCoy approaches her work with a sense of urgency, because just as the ice ages altered past plant popu-

Dee Shore

Gene bank conserves potential sources for new crops and new medicines

First Bone Scholars begin classes N.C. State University’s first Bone Scholars began taking classes with the beginning of the 2010 fall semester. The Bone Scholars program was created by Dale and Genia Bone, who established an endowment that will provide scholarships to migrant farm workers and their families. The first three Bone Scholars are Omar Acosta and Guadalupe Arce-Jimenez, both of Johnston County, and Stephanie Knowles of Henderson County. All three are first-year students. Acosta and Arce-Jimenez plan to major in biological sciences, and both hope to attend medical school following graduation. Knowles will major in animal science and hopes to be a

In June, Bone Scholars Omar Acosta (left), Stephanie Knowles and Guadalupe ArceJimenez (right) met with Genia and Dale Bone (center), who established the scholarship endowment for migrant farm workers and their families.

veterinarian. Acosta, Arce-Jimenez and Knowles will receive scholarships of up to $5,000 per year for four years totaling up to $20,000.

Gene bank (continued) “We think it’s a good area to research and could be a potential economic development tool for growers and this region, because dietary supplement sales reached $4.8 billion in the United States alone in 2008, and worldwide they were $60 billion – and growing,” she says. “And it seems to be recession-proof, as sales have continued to increase for the past two years.” If a researcher is looking for plants to screen for antiviral properties, for example, McCoy’s lab can research the specific chemical structure or activity the researcher is looking for, find native plants that share the chemical family or are phylogentically related to a well-proven product, collect the plants and provide high-quality extracts that can be used in that researcher’s tests. And thanks to detailed records kept as part of the germplasm repository, the lab can repeat studies in the future using the exact same source material as that used in the initial study. That’s important, McCoy says, because using a different source can lead to very different results when it comes to medicinal properties. Research she conducted with colleagues at Iowa State University proved this point: With a grant from the National Institutes of Health, the researchers took seeds collected in North Carolina from three popula-

tions of the native Prunella vulgaris (commonly called self-healer or healall), grew them in identical habitats in Iowa, harvested them, made extracts and then tested the three extracts. They found that the plants collected from different areas in the same region had significantly different levels of the chemical responsible for the plant’s anti-viral properties, McCoy says. “What we are doing,” she says, “is offering researchers high-quality, wellcharacterized materials appropriate for their specific area of expertise. We also provide them with the ability to trace back to the original genetic source if studies ever need to be replicated. We then store the seed, along with voucher, DNA specimens, and extracts, as well as high-resolution photographs of the plants, vouchers and seed, which are all available for publication purposes,” McCoy explains. “And most researchers in the state don’t have the capability to do this, but because we’re located in the western portion of the state, we have access to over a million acres for collection.” “What we are creating here is quite unique. There’s nothing else like it as far as we know,” she says. “And we see a great deal of potential not just for conservation but for health and wellness and for regional economic development.” —Dee Shore

Dale Bone, now retired, is known as one of North Carolina’s most successful agricultural businessmen. Under the banners of Dale Bone Farms Inc. and Nash Produce Co., he farmed more than 14,000 acres, producing cucumbers, melons, sweet potatoes, other produce and tobacco. He also distinguished himself as an advocate for agribusiness among local, state and national policymakers. He is a past president of the National Council of Agricultural Employers. A College of Agriculture and Life Sciences graduate, Bone stressed the importance of education to his employees and supported their efforts to become better educated. He paid tuition plus hourly wages to employees who attended English classes at Nash Community College. The Bones and the three Bone Scholars were honored at a June 19 luncheon held at the N.C. State University Club. The event was attended by CALS Dean Johnny Wynne, Dr. Ken Esbenshade, associate dean and director of Academic Programs, Keith Oakley, executive director for college advancement; Dr. Bill Collins, CALS senior director of development, Dr. Lisa Guion, assistant dean for diversity, outreach and engagement; and Bone Scholar family members. — Dave Caldwell

winter 2011


Bed bugs target of research, Extension initiatives CALS entomologists are tackling the bed bug problem.

Brannon said that trained dogs can detect the scent of bed bugs with 90 to 95 percent accuracy, while humans conducting a visual inspection will find bed bugs only 30 percent of the time. He cautioned, however, that while dogs can isolate areas where bed bugs are likely to be, property owners must ultimately decide what steps to take to resolve the problem. Scott McNeely of McNeely Pest and Wildlife Solutions demonstrated how heat can be used to control bed bugs. The company set up a conference room in Pitt County and an office in Forsyth County that were heated to 135 degrees, the temperature that

management (IPM) strategies over routine and often unnecessary spraying; and increased resistance of bed bugs to several categories of pesticides. Education is the key to helping county agencies and the public deal with bed bugs, Waldvogel said. One Extension agent said she routinely gets calls from people who know they have a bed bug problem but feel that they can’t afford professional pest control services. Waldvogel and other workshop leaders stressed the importance of getting professional help with a bed bug infestation. Rick Santangelo, an N.C. State research specialist, highlighted steps to take to avoid bringing hitchhik- Extension specialist Dr. Mike Waldvogel (left) is among ing bed bugs into leaders of workshops providing critical information about the home. The bed bugs. Dr. Coby Schal (right) is researching the origins workshop also in- of this generation of the pests. cluded demonstrations of using dogs to a home must reach for five hours in detect bed bugs, inspecting a mattress order to kill bed bugs. In addition to for bed bugs and using heat to treat for heaters placed throughout the home, bed bug infestation. monitors are used to make sure that Robert Brannon of Integrated Pest even the internal temperature of Inspections demonstrated how dogs furniture and mattresses reaches 135 can be trained to effectively sniff out degrees. bed bugs in homes. Within seconds, his trained beagle detected a vial of or the past four decades, bed bugs four bed bugs that Waldvogel had have posed few problems in the taped under an empty chair. After United States, other than an occasional handling the vial and rubbing his outbreak in poultry houses, Schal said. glove on a podium nearby, Brannon DDT and other powerful pesticides got the dog to respond to the odor of that followed it largely controlled the bed bugs there as well. populations. So all research initiatives


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Photos by Daniel Kim and Becky Kirkland

“Don’t let the bed bugs bite” may seem like a trite outdated bedtime wish, but unfortunately it is becoming more real for homeowners and institutions around the country. Bed bugs are back with a vengeance, and N.C. State University entomologists are looking for solutions to the problem and helping educate the public. In November, N.C. Cooperative Extension partnered with other agencies to host workshops in Pitt and Forsyth counties for Extension county staff members, county environmental health specialists, social workers, housing code officials and others who deal with housing and pest issues. In addition, entomology researchers at N.C. State are busy studying bed bug infestations, looking for genetic clues about the origins of this generation of bed bugs, as well as possible strategies for control. Dr. Coby Schal, Blanton J. Whitmire Distinguished Professor and urban entomologist, and others associated with bed bug research have been featured in numerous news stories about bed bugs, including appearances on “The People’s Pharmacy” syndicated radio talk show and WRAL-TV news. Topics covered at the two Extension workshops included information on the history and biology of bed bugs, prevention and treatment strategies, inspecting for and detecting bed bugs, as well as rules and regulations on bedding. Partners offering the workshop with Extension were the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources and its Public Health Pest Management Section, N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, N.C. Mosquito and Vector Control Association, and the N.C. Pest Management Association. Dr. Mike Waldvogel, Extension entomology specialist in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, said bed bugs are becoming a problem in homes and institutions because of increased international travel; decreased routine pesticide spraying as institutions adopt integrated pest

Zublena named Cooperative Extension Service director In December, Dr. Joe Zublena was named associate dean for extension in N.C. State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and director of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service. Zublena had served as interim director of the organization since the May 1 retirement of past director Dr. Jon Ort. Zublena came to N.C. State in 1988, as professor and Extension leader for the Soil Science Department, where he was also a specialist in waste management and utilization. Since then, he has served numerous roles with Cooperative Extension, including associate state program leader for natural resources and community

and rural development (1995-96), assistant extension director and director of county operations (1996-2000), and associate extension director and director of county operations (20002010). Prior to joining the faculty at N.C. State, Zublena was professor and state Joe Zublena Extension agronomist for corn and grain sorghum. He also served as a regional agronomist in Clemson University’s Agronomy and Soils Department.

North Carolina Cooperative Extension partners with communities to deliver education and technology that enrich the lives, land and economy of North Carolinians. Extension serves citizens of the state’s 100 counties and the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation, providing education and technical assistance based on research from North Carolina’s land-grant universities, N.C. State University and N.C. A&T State University. Extension specializes in agriculture, youth, communities, health and the environment by responding to local needs. — Natalie Hampton

where bed bugs seeking a human blood meal might encounter pyrethroid-treated bed nets, designed to prevent biting by malaria-carrying mosquitoes. So Schal believes that it is likely the bed bugs found in U.S. hotels, homes and apartments may be descendants of bugs that came from those areas of the world, where they evolved resistance to pyrethroids. In addition to dosing the bed bug colonies with pesticides to identify chemicals they may have resistance to, the researchers are using molecular tools to extract DNA from dead bed bugs and look for genetic clues for resistance. They have learned that the U.S. bed bug populations typically have two genetic mutations that confer resistance. If both these mutations occur, the insects’ resistance to pesticides increases greatly. Bed bug researchers are using other genetic tools to “fingerprint” bed bugs to suggest how they colonize buildings and rooms. Using such technology, Schal’s group, in collaboration with population geneticist Dr. Ed Vargo, determined that a bed bug infestation in a 10-story building was so genetically similar that all the bugs likely came from a single source.

“An entire infestation could be founded by one pregnant female,” Schal said. Researchers working on the bed bug problem include Schal and Vargo, as well as post docs Dr. Warren Booth and Dr. Alvaro Romero, who is working under a National Science Foundation fellowship. Virna Saenz is a doctoral student, and Rick Santangelo is a research specialist. Romero’s work includes investigating the human scents that attract bed bugs to humans, along with the body heat and carbon dioxide that we exhale. Such information could lead to potential “scent-based” traps for bed bugs. Saenz is working with College of Veterinary Medicine researchers Drs. Edward Breitschwerdt and Michael Levy to find out if bed bugs could potentially transmit Bartonella, an arthropod-borne bacteria that may be responsible for some chronic and debilitating neurological illnesses in humans. Current results suggest that bed bugs are annoying but do not transmit diseases. — Natalie Hampton

Bed bugs (continued) on bed bugs ceased in the 1950s. Getting back into the arena of bed bug research essentially means starting from scratch. To determine what pesticides bed bugs can survive, Schal’s lab maintains a collection of bed bug populations collected around the United States. The insects are kept alive with the help of a feeding apparatus that provides rabbit blood to colonies of the insects. Through dosing with various pesticides, the researchers can determine which pesticides effectively kill the insects and which do not. And that information alone can provide clues as to where today’s bed bugs came from. One thing that colonies from all over the United States have in common is a very high resistance to pyrethroid-type pesticides. The main places that bed bugs would contact pyrethroids in this country would be in kitchens or bathrooms – places regularly treated for cockroaches, but not where you would find bed bugs. So the United States’s pyrethroid-resistant bugs likely came from a region where those pesticides are used extensively around beds. That could happen in Africa, Southeast Asia or South America,

winter 2011


CALS program helps food entrepreneurs get off to a safe and profitable start

When Jenny Fulton and Ashlee Furr a program assistant hired in January lost their stockbroker jobs during the to help meet the growing demand. recent recession and decided to turn As Laundon told the Raleigh News Fulton’s grandmother’s pickle recipes & Observer, “People seem to be looking into a business venture, one of their for additional sources of income, or first stops was with N.C. Cooperative they’ve lost their job and think, ‘Well, Extension’s Entrepreneur Assistance I do make this great barbecue sauce.’ I Program. think this economy has made a lot of Designed to help entrepreneurs people into budding entrepreneurs.” get off the ground and produce food Arritt, an assistant professor and safely and profitably, the program Extension specialist in the Departannually helps nearly 300 people or ment of Food, Bioprocessing and companies, ranging from cottageNutrition Sciences in the College of type industries to large processing Agriculture and Life Sciences, advises plants. The program’s laboratory annually tests almost 5 00 products to determine the processing requirements and provides nutrition labeling assistance for more than 350 products. The numbers are rising, says N.C. State University’s Dr. Fletcher Arritt, who heads Shown here are some of the products launched with help the program, and from the Entrepreneur’s Assistance Program, which annuTristan Laundon, ally assists hundreds of individuals or companies.

30 perspectives

Becky Kirkland

Becky Kirkland

Dr. Fletcher Arritt (left), with program assistant Tristan Laundon, heads the program that advises aspiring food entrepreneurs.

aspiring food entrepreneurs on what they need to do to sell food and recommends ingredients and processes. Many are surprised, he said, to learn that they cannot simply make their food and sell it without meeting regulations designed to ensure food safety. And those rules apply equally to large food manufacturers as well as mom-and-pop operations, he said. Arritt also serves as North Carolina’s “process authority,” the only person in the state able to provide U.S. Food and Drug Administrationrequired letters confirming that a company’s intended processes for making certain acidified foods are safe. Acidified foods are those that depend on acidification as part of the process to ensure safe products. Naturally acid foods and fermented foods, along with jams, jellies, preserves and dressings that meet regulated standards, are exempt. However, if the food contains a mixture of acid and low-acid foods, the regulations may apply. For makers of the latter foods, Arritt offers training designed to help them pass a required certification exam. In 2010, he conducted Extension’s three-day Acidified Foods Processing and Packaging Better Process School, commonly known as “the pickle school,” five times in different areas of the state. Currently the N.C. State training is the least expensive anywhere in the United States, Arritt said. The training covers such topics as microbiology of thermally processed foods, food plant sanitation, container handling, record-keeping and container closures. (continued next page)

While the regulatory requirements can be daunting, the consequences of not following recommended processes for acidified foods can be dire, Arritt added. Without adequate acidification, microorganisms — such as the one that causes botulism — can grow in the foods and make consumers sick. “If you do things wrong, you can kill people. So it’s a very serious thing,” Arritt said. “I tell people who come to us, ‘Helping you make money is important; it’s my second priority. But food safety is my number one priority.’” Fulton, of Miss Jenny’s Pickles, told MSNBC-TV on a November episode of “Your Business” that she and Furr wanted to start their business right — and that meant starting with N.C. State University’s help. She and Furr worked with Arritt to have N.C. State test their products and create their nutritional labels, took part in the intensive pickle school and had their pickle-making process approved by the FDA. They’ve also consulted with Arritt on such issues as pickle crispness. Since Fulton and Furr started the business in August 2009 in Kernersville, they have rapidly expanded, now selling in 55 stores and through the national fine food retailer Dean & Deluca, Fulton said. The success comes, she said, with the “old-fashioned experience” that the family recipes provide. But N.C. State has had an important role in helping the company get established, she added. “It’s like they say — you don’t know what you don’t know,” she said. “And the knowledge we walked away with from Fletch and N.C. State — we use what we learned every day. Without them, none of this is possible.” — Dee Shore

Monaco racks up the ribbons at State Fair When Dr. Tom Monaco walked through the horticultural exhibit at the 2009 North Carolina State Fair, he thought to himself, “I can grow vegetables just as good as these.” And he did. Monaco, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ part-time commodity relations coordinator, entered produce in 34 categories in the 2010 State Fair and won ribbons in 23, including three blue ribbons for his mini pumpkin, bishops cap pepper and eggplant. “I’ve been gardening my entire life,” Monaco said. “Everything I entered in the State Fair competition is what I grow each year anyway.” That includes a menagerie of peppers, tomatoes, squash, pumpkins, eggplant, collards and peas. He gardens with his family on an eighth of an acre in Apex that features a greenhouse and storage shed they constructed themselves. The garden is irrigated from a small pond built for that purpose when they cleared the land for the garden. “I spend every Wednesday and Saturday in the garden during growing season,” he says. “My labor pool on weekends includes my grandchildren, sons and a neighbor. It’s a family

Suzanne Stanard

Food entrepreneurs (continued)

Tom Monaco displays his blue-ribbon eggplants.

venture.” Family – as well as friends and neighbors – also get to reap the benefits of Monaco’s green thumb. “We give away everything,” he says. As for next year’s State Fair horticultural competition? Monaco is already making plans. — Suzanne Stanard

Walden honored for public service Dr. Michael L. Walden, William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor of economics at N. C. State University, received the Award for ExcelMichael Walden lence in Public Service Oct. 8 from the board of Governors of the multi-campus University of North Carolina. The award, announced during the board’s regular October meeting, was established in 2007 to encourage, identify, recognize and reward distinguished public service and outreach by

faculty across the university. Walden has taught at N.C. State for the past 32 years. An awardwinning teacher and researcher, he also pioneered the use of mass media in Extension programming to help average citizens understand complex economic principals and relationships so that they can make better decisions about their own lives. In addition to his classroom teaching, he writes and broadcasts a daily commercial radio program, writes a biweekly column carried by more than 40 newspapers, conducts a monthly call-in radio program and publishes biannual economic forecasts for the state and its regions.

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BAE partners with DOT to grow bioenergy crops on highway rights-of-way

If you’ve driven North Carolina highways this year and spotted a blazing yellow plot of canola or a clutch of crimson safflowers along the roadside, you might have been looking at more than just pretty flowers. On several plots throughout the state, these crops, along with sunflowers, are being grown for energy. In partnership with the North Carolina Department of Transportation, scientists from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering (BAE) are participating in the national FreeWays to Fuel initiative, growing biomass crops off highway rights-of-way and converting them to biodiesel to fuel DOT vehicles. In fact, N.C. State is among only a handful of universities in the United States producing biofuels from crops grown along the roadside. And the work taking place here has captured the attention of national and local media outlets. Under the leadership of Dr. Matt Veal, BAE assistant professor, the College planted four canola crops in fall 2009, in Duplin, Wake, Rutherford and Surry counties. After those crops were harvested in spring 2010, sunflowers were planted in Rutherford and Surry counties, and safflowers in Wake and Duplin Counties. Those harvests took 32 perspectives

Courtesy Matt Veal


Plots of canola like this (left) are being grown for energy. Canola seed pods are harvested along a highway (below).

place in fall 2010. Veal says the program’s first year was a success. A total of 108 gallons of oil were processed from 2,900 pounds of plot-grown canola, with the highest canola yields coming from Rutherford and Surry counties (data for the fall harvests of sunflower and safflower were not available at press time). “Canola is a really viable, economically advantageous crop, and it produces good oil,” Veal says. “The sunflowers performed marginally, but we think that was due to the fact that a significant part of the growing season was very dry.”

Ted Sherrod, engineer in the DOT Roadside Environmental Unit, worked closely with Veal and his team on the project, along with DOT engineer Ben DeWit, who played a big role in cultivating the partnership between the two organizations. “Overall, the program was a success,” says Sherrod, who earned CALS bachelor’s (1982) and master’s (2007) degrees from the BAE Department. “One of the canola plots exceeded national yield averages, and two other sites had very good yields.” Sherrod describes the N.C. State team as “first-class scientists and engineers.” “Matt and [BAE] graduate student Michelle Mayer were super partners on the project,” he says. “They both bring engineering and science attributes to a challenging real-world problem as we search for ‘power plants’ as alternative fuels.” All biomass processing and conversion took place in Weaver Labs, on the N.C. State campus. The biodiesel then was picked up by the state DOT and blended for fleet use. The cost to produce the crops was very similar to agriculture production, Veal says, but the advantages are numerous. These crops make use of land that is otherwise unsuitable for growing food crops. The program also helps the state DOT meet new requirements for renewable fuel usage. And it helps the state save money in a number of ways, from lowering mowing costs to reducing the need to import biodiesel from other states. The program also presents the potential to make money: Canola tillage costs range from $171 per 10-foot strip to $206 per 10-foot strip, and the (continued next page)

Project aims to make wine grape growers more competitive The ground beneath vineyards and what grows there — in addition to grape vines — could play a role in making wine grape growers in North Carolina and elsewhere along the East Coast more competitive and profitable. That is the thinking behind an N.C. State University study of the way wine grape growers produce grapes. N.C. State is one of six universities involved in a five-year study funded by a $3.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Na t i o n a l I n stitute of Food and Agriculture. Virginia Tech is the lead institution in the study. Scientists up and down the eastern seaboard will be engaged in a range of projects designed to determine how wine grapes can be grown more competitively in the eastern United States. N.C. State will receive $841,111 over the five-year life of the grant, said Dr. Sara Spayd, professor of hor-

Bioenergy crops (continued) biodiesel and meal value for that same amount of crop is $355. And the program supports efforts to beautify the state’s highway system. Canola for 2011 harvest is in the ground, Veal says, and he’s already getting to work on ways to expand the program. “Power line rights-of-way are the next areas we’re looking at. We’re also exploring ways to make production better and to scale it up to make it more of an enterprise. I’d really like to get more entities, especially farmers, involved,” he says. “I really believe this program holds great promise for the future.” —Suzanne Stanard

ticultural science and North Carolina Cooperative Extension viticulture specialist in N.C. State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Spayd said the N.C. State part of the project will focus largely on determining the optimum way to treat the ground beneath rows of grape vines. She explained that the relatively large amounts of rainfall in the eastern United States — in North Carolina, around 40 inches annually — can be a problem for wine grape growers. That moisture tends to fuel the growth of the vine canopy — the leaves on a grape vine — and an unusually leafy canopy can be a problem for growers. If vines grow too vigorously, Spayd explained, fruit quality and yield can be reduced. Growers can spend considerable time and money dealing with excessive canopy growth. Eastern growers are often forced to trim canopies, which adds to the cost of producing grapes. And a big, leafy canopy tends to hold humidity, which can lead to fungal diseases, and gives insects a place to live and hide, both problems that can add to the cost of producing grapes. Researchers hope to find a more cost-effective way of managing vine canopy vigor. Spayd said most growers plant grass — usually fescue — in the space between rows of vines while leaving a weed-free area or strip of bare ground 1 or 2 feet wide directly beneath the vines. But what grows between the vines influences canopy growth and vigor and grape yield and quality. Spayd explained that grass or other plants growing among grape vines use moisture and nutrients that would otherwise be available to the vines. So what Spayd and other N.C. State scientists hope to determine is

the optimum width the strip beneath grape vines should be so that vine canopy growth is inhibited just the right amount to produce the best grape yield and quality. Preliminary research in North Carolina has demonstrated that weed competition and strip width beneath the vines can influence grape vine growth and yield. Working at RayLen Vineyards in Mocksville, the scientists will compare different scenarios ranging from nothing but bare ground beneath the vines to a vineyard floor completely covered by grass. In some cases, researchers will allow weeds in the usually weed-free strip to compete with the vines to see how the presence of weed competition impacts the vine canopy. Spayd said a team of scientists from N.C. State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has been assembled to work on the project. Weed scientists are involved with establishing fescue and monitoring weeds growing on the vineyard floor and assessing impacts on the vines. Soil scientists will study how different treatments influence the moisture available to vines and vine nutrition. Plant pathologists will look at any differences in disease pressure. Spayd will determine how the different treatments impact vine physiology and fruit quality. Economists have been enlisted to document demand for East Coast wines. Another faculty member will assess how the project impacts the grape and wine industries on the East Coast. “The point is to help (eastern) growers compete better with other (wine growing) areas,” Spayd said. “This is a very regional approach. It’s a very coordinated approach.” — Dave Caldwell

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people against eating largemouth bass harvested from waters statewide. “We thought that a statewide advisory was overkill,” Sackett said, because even among the same species of fish in the same North Carolina river basin, there can be 10- to 100-fold differences in mercury levels. A better understanding of that variation and of how mercury moves through ecosystems, they thought, could give public health officials — and the public — a better idea of where to expect the greatest risks.

Becky Kirkland

Packed with omega 3 fatty acids, lean protein, B vitamins and other important nutrients, fish are considered a healthy food option for most people, but they can accumulate levels of mercury that are toxic. A College of Agriculture and Life Sciences graduate student’s research is helping pinpoint which fish in which areas of North Carolina pose the greatest risks – and some of her findings are surprising. Dana Sackett, a Ph.D. student in the departments of Biology and Environmental and Molecular Toxicology,

Sackett (center) confers with Dr. Derek Aday (left) and Dr. Jim Rice, collaborators in the mercury-contamination research.

embarked on her study of mercury contamination in fish three years ago. Her collaborators are Drs. Derek Aday, an associate professor of biology; Jim Rice, a professor of biology; Greg Cope, an associate professor of toxicology; and David Buchwalter, an assistant professor of toxicology. Fish contaminated with mercury are a concern because when people eat enough of these fish, they can develop nervous system problems. The problems are particularly risky for fetuses and young children. The research began after the state’s Department of Health and Human Services issued an advisory cautioning 34 perspectives

The researchers’ first step was to analyze data that the N.C. Division of Water Quality had collected on mercury levels in fish from 1990 to 2006. Using easy-to-determine environmental factors such as water pH, the fish species and geographical region, they were able to explain a vast majority of the variation in mercury levels. They then used what they’d found to develop a model to predict which species in which lakes in which areas of the state would likely be safe to eat and which would not. Public health officials and wildlife resource managers “don’t always have the means necessary to go out and

Courtesy Dana Sackett

Research aids understanding of mercury risks to wildlife and people

At Lake Adger, Dana Sackett hauls in a bass for her study.

collect fish from all lakes in the entire state,” she said. “We hope this model will help them make determinations about fish consumption advisories and wildlife management decisions.” After developing the predictive model, Sackett and Aday began to look specifically at lakes near coalfired power plants. These plants are the largest source of anthropogenic mercury air pollution, which rain can carry into lakes and rivers. “What we wanted to do is say, ‘Well, next to these coal-fired power plants where you expect to see higher levels of mercury deposition, does that translate into higher levels in the fish?’” Sackett said. What the scientists found was surprising: Fish in lakes at least 30 kilometers from a coal-fired power plant had mercury levels three times higher than fish of the same species in lakes within 10 kilometers. The reason: selenium. “Selenium is emitted from coal-fired power plants, too, and can prevent mercury from accumulating in fish tissue,” Sackett said. While high selenium levels help lower mercury levels in fish, high selenium levels can have negative effects of their own, causing health problems for fish and other wildlife. Sackett’s next doctoral research project will look at how fish size and age relate to mercury levels. Fish that are high on the food chain and those that are older are the ones most likely to have high levels of mercury. That’s because mercury levels add up in fish tissue over time, and they add up when one fish eats others that have mercury in them. (continued next page)

Celebrations, special events surround chancellor’s installation The Oct. 26 installation of Dr. W. Randolph “Randy” Woodson as 14th chancellor of N.C. State University was celebrated over a week of special events at the university. These ranged from the solemnity of the installation ceremony, when Woodson was sworn in by former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Burley Mitchell, to the frivolity of a Brickyard ice cream party featuring the Chancellor’s Choice flavor of N.C. State’s Howling Cow ice cream, to the Halloween afternoon wrap-up of the chancellor’s week of appearances, at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Donor Recognition reception. The commemorative events also included an entrepreneurs lecture series and N.C. State start-up companies showcase; a campus town-hall meeting and reception; and a celebration of faculty research and scholarship, with featured speaker Dr. Trudy MacKay, CALS geneticist and member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Mercury in fish (continued) The problem, Sackett said, is that older fish and fish higher on the food chain tend to be bigger. And fishing regulations often encourage fishermen to keep for consumption bigger fish, returning those that are smaller to the wild so that fish populations are sustainable. “What we don’t know is, Are we encouraging fishermen to always take home high-mercury fish?” she said. “So what we want to see is, in lakes that are highly contaminated with mercury, are there any fish that are small enough that would still be considered safe to eat?” she said. “And in low-contaminated lakes — those we would consider safe lakes — are there any fish that are old enough and big enough that they would pass that limit of what would be safe to eat?” Right now, Sackett is analyzing the data on mercury levels and fish size in six North Carolina lakes. Meanwhile, she’s also taking a look at how hurricanes affect mercury levels in fish in the southeastern United States. — Dee Shore

Chancellor Randy Woodson takes the helm at N.C. State.

Becky Kirkland

In his inaugural address, Woodson acknowledged the prominent guests and academic leaders in attendance – including N.C. Gov. Beverly Perdue, Rep. Bob Etheridge, UNC system President Erskine Bowles, three former N.C. State chancellors and representatives of higher education institutions from throughout the state, along with members of the N.C. General Assembly, the UNC Board of Governors and N.C. State Board of Trustees — and said, “I’ve joined a group of visionary leaders.” In defining his vision, Woodson prominently mentioned CALS faculty member Dr. Mike Walden, William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor of economics. “At the [UNC system] Board of Governors meeting earlier this month, our own Michael Walden was honored as a recipient of the Award for Excellence in Public Service,” said Woodson. “In introducing Michael, Charles Hayes, president and CEO of the RTP Regional Partnership, complimented him not just as an expert on the North Carolina economy, but as someone with an ability to communicate his knowledge and ideas to the general public and to students in the classroom. Charles added, ‘That’s N.C. State.’” Said Woodson, “That statement speaks volumes. If there’s any one thing that stands out from all I have learned about N.C. State, it’s that this university has a strong outward focus. We are good at moving knowledge out to the people who need it but equally good at listening to people about the knowl-

edge they need. Engagement is a two-way street, and N.C. State travels both directions. That’s the core of our landgrant mission and the basis for the idea that brought this university into existence.” Noting that the “land grants have a special place in American higher education,” Woodson said, “We helped to create the world’s most productive agriculture industry, produced breakthrough research that cured some of humanity’s most deadly diseases, designed and built much of the infrastructure that fuels our nation’s economy and empowered our citizens through access to education.” With these words and many other historical references, he reinforced the university slogan and installation week’s theme, “Locally Responsive. Globally Engaged.” But Woodson concluded his remarks with attention turned resolutely toward the future. “As we consider how we move N.C. State forward, there are three areas that need our focus and attention: the success of our students and faculty, engagement and economic development, and organizational effectiveness,” he said. “We have created institutional policies, processes, templates, contracts. We have done the heavy lifting,” Woodson said. “We have a lot of exceptional people at N.C. State. My goal is that we have a shared vision for this university that clearly defines our future goals and the strategies we will engage to achieve them. “Our vision,” he said, “is to be the most innovative public institution in the country.” —Terri Leith

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alumni DeGruy and Pingali honored as CALS Distinguished Alumni

Becky Kirkland

Courtesy Mike deGruy

The achievements of Mike deGruy (left) and Dr. Prabhu Pingali were recognized at the College’s Alumni Awards reception in October.

A world-renowned underwater cinematographer and an international leader in agricultural economics are the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Distinguished Alumni for 2010-2011. Michael V. deGruy and Dr. Prabhu L. Pingali have received the award for their outstanding career achievements, which have brought honor and recognition to the College, and for their commitment to the landgrant principle of service to community, state and nation. The two were recognized in ceremonies Oct. 1. Familiar to audiences of the Discovery Channel’s annual “Shark Week” telecasts, Mike deGruy is a native of Mobile, Ala. He graduated from N.C. State in 1975 with a bachelor’s degree in zoology, with a marine science concentration. At N.C. State he was a varsity athlete on the diving team, winning eight Atlantic Coast Conference championships in the 1-meter and 3-meter springboard,

36 perspectives

and was a two-time All-America selection. DeGruy then pursued his doctoral degree in marine biology at the University of Hawaii, but he decided he wanted to film the creatures he was learning about. A nearly fatal encounter with a gray reef shark in 1978 inspired his fascination with sharks — and skates and stingrays — and his desire to develop his career as a specialist in underwater, wildlife, volcano and aerial filmmaking. Described as “one of the world’s greatest underwater cameramen” by Andrew Neal of the British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC), deGruy has gone on to film and produce multiple documentaries for the BBC, Discovery Channel, PBS, National Geographic and TBS. He won the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) award for cinematography in 1991, 1994, 1995 and 2002. He received the EMMY award for cinematography in 1996 and 2002 and was named Best

Presenter/Host at the International Wildlife Film Festival in 2004. DeGruy, who owns The Film Crew, a Santa Barbara, Calif., production company, was director of photography for The Life of Mammals, Tempest from the Deep, Last Mysteries of the Titanic and Mysteries of the Shark Coast, and he hosted the televised programs Perfect Shark, Amazon Abyss, Sharks: Size Matters and Shark Roulette. Dr. Prabhu L. Pingali, deputy director of Agricultural Development for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is a native of Hyderabad, India. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in economics from Birla Institute of Technology and Science in 1977. He completed his Ph.D. in agricultural economics, with a minor in statistics, from N.C. State in 1982. Pingali began his distinguished economics career at the World Bank’s Agriculture and Rural Development Department. From there he moved on to serve as director of the Agricultural and Development Economics Division, Food and Agriculture Or(continued next page)

College honors its 2010-2011 Outstanding Alumni

2010-2011 Outstanding Alumni Dr. Robert A. Bashford, B.S. 1967, biology; associate dean, admissions; professor, departments of Psychiatry and Obstetrics and Gynecology, UNC School of Medicine, Chapel Hill Dr. Fuller W. Bazer, Ph.D. 1969, animal science; Regents Fellow, Distinguished Professor and O.D. Butler Chair, Department of Animal Science, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas Dr. Donald R. Durham, Ph.D. 1978, microbiology; senior vice president, manufacturing, TenX Biopharma Inc.; principal, Durham Consulting LLC, Chapel Hill

Distinguished alumni (continued) ganization in Rome, Italy. Currently, his affiliations include past president of the International Association of Agriculture Economists, as well as fellow of the Agriculture and Applied Economics Association (AAEA), the highest honor that the organization bestows on individuals. Pingali’s career is full of accomplishments and has allowed him to become one of the world’s leading authorities on the economies of agriculture. He has been recognized with several research awards from the AAEA, and he was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences as a Foreign Associate. He lives in Seattle, Wash. — Terri Leith

Becky Kirkland

On Oct. 1, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at N.C. State University held its annual Alumni Awards reception, recognizing 14 graduates as Outstanding Alumni and two as Outstanding Young Alumni. The College also presented its two annual Distinguished Alumni awards to Michael V. deGruy and Dr. Prabhu L. Pingali during the event. Among the CALS graduates honored for exemplary achievement:

Among those honored at the CALS Alumni Awards reception were (from left) Heddleson, Bazer, Durham, Hartlage, Pingali, Reardon, Kays, Scott, Keels, Starling, Suggs, Gray, Zurney and Stuber. Not pictured are Bashford, Tran, McNeil and deGruy.

Lester L. Gray, B.S. 1983, poultry science; vice president of operations, Perdue Farms, Salisbury, Md. Richard W. Hartlage, B.S. 2007, horticultural science; partner, AHBL Inc., Seattle, Wash. Dr. Ronald A. Heddleson, Ph.D. 1995, food science; project manager, Progresso Soups Division, General Mills Inc., Minneapolis, Minn. Dr. Barrett L. Kays, M.L.A. 1973, landscape architecture; Ph.D. 1979, soil science; owner, Landis Inc., Raleigh Charles L. Keels, B.S. 1956, M.Ed. 1968, agricultural and extension education; retired, lead consultant for Agricultural Education and state FFA adviser, N.C. Department of Public Instruction, Cary Dr. Jeremy N. McNeil, Ph.D. 1972, entomology; Battle Professor of Chemical Ecology, scientific director, Biotron Research Faculty, University of Western Ontario, Cap-Rouge, Quebec, Canada Joseph W. Reardon, AA 1991, Agricultural Institute; director, Division of Federal-State Relations, Food and Drug Administration, Willow Springs

George H. Scott, B.S. 1998, agronomy; M.S. 2000, crop science; vice president, Universal Leaf North America U.S. Inc., Wilson Dr. Charles W. Stuber Sr., Ph.D. 1965, genetics; professor emeritus, Genetics and Crop Science, N.C. State University; director, Center for Plant Breeding and Applied Plant Genomics, Raleigh Dr. Charles W. Suggs, B.S. 1949, M.S. 1955; Ph.D. 1959, biological and agricultural engineering; professor emeritus, Biological and Agricultural Engineering, N.C. State University, Raleigh Dr. Elizabeth J. Tran, Ph.D. 2004, biochemistry; assistant professor of biochemistry, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind. Outstanding Young Alumni Ray A. Starling, B.S. 1999, agricultural and extension education; general counsel, N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Raleigh Dr. Jennifer M. Zurney, B.S. 2003; Ph.D. 2008, microbiology; study director, Burleson Research Technologies Inc., Raleigh. —Terri Leith

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Lifetime 4-H’er and former State Leader Dalton Proctor named to National 4-H Hall of Fame Dr. Dalton Proctor, former State 4-H leader in North Carolina, was inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame in an October ceremony in Chevy Chase, Md. The Hall of Fame honors 4-H volunteers, supporters, staff members and pioneers who have made a significant contribution to 4-H at local, state or national levels. Active in 4-H since the age of 10, Proctor held several leadership positions in the organization, culminating in his tenure as state program leader from 1984 until his retirement in 1995. As state program leader, Proctor shaped a North Carolina 4-H curriculum model called Cooperative Curriculum Systems that was adopted throughout the Southeast. He was instrumental in the development of the Eastern 4-H Environmental Center, and he expanded 4-H international programs, including the International 4-H Youth Exchange and programs with Costa Rica and Japan. “Dalton Proctor is the embodi-

ment of all that 4-H stands for,” said Dr. Marshall Stewart, 4-H state program leader. “He dedicated his life to the organization and raised it to new levels through efDalton Proctor fective and compassionate leadership. We are so proud of him for achieving this tremendous honor.” Proctor also was an active fundraiser for the organization. Under his leadership, North Carolina 4-H brought in the largest one-day non-corporate gift in the National Campaign for 4-H. Proctor oversaw creation of the annual 4-H gala, which, to date, has raised more than $1.7 million for North Carolina 4-H programs. He and his wife also established the Dalton and Ruby Proctor Endowment and serve as National 4-H Heritage Club charter members.

In 1984, Proctor received the Outstanding Extension Leadership Award from North Carolina Cooperative Extension, and in 1988, he won the Chief Engineer Award from the National 4-H Council. A U.S. Army veteran who retired as a lieutenant colonel after 28 years of service, Proctor received the U.S. Air Force American Spirit Award in 1987 from the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents, as well as the organization’s Distinguished Service Award in 1995. A Wilson native, Proctor is an alumnus of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences: He holds a 1956 bachelor’s degree in animal science, and he also earned his 1969 master’s degree in adult education from N.C. State. He received his 1974 doctoral degree in adult and continuing education from Virginia Tech. Proctor, who resides in Cary, called the Hall of Fame award “the highlight of my career … the ultimate recognition.” — Suzanne Stanard

Calling Food Science alumni, faculty and friends…


The Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences Department is celebrating its golden anniversary! July 1, 2011 marks the 50th anniversary of the Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences — and a big celebration is planned for this fall! Mark your calendars for the celebration Thursday Sept. 29 through Sunday Oct. 2, 2011. Tentative schedule of events: Sept. 29: Sat., Oct. 1: • Thursday night meet and • Saturday morning, 5K fun greet, Hotel TBD run, location TBD Sept. 30: • Saturday evening, Wine and • Friday morning golf event, Cheese Gala, hosted by Lonnie Poole Golf Course Food Science Club, location TBD • Friday evening pig pickin,’ Schaub Hall front lawn • Friday events will also include lab and facility tours at Schaub.  Archival photos courtesy Carl Hollifield

For more information, contact Carl Hollifield: Call (919.513.2388), email ( or go to (

We’ll see you there! 38 perspectives



Crop Science alumna Laura Whatley creates student emergency fund

Marc Hall

Dr. Laura Whatley, with husband Thomas Whatley, credits her professional success to N.C. State University.

When Dr. Laura Whatley arrived in North Carolina to pursue her master’s degree in crop science at N.C. State 34 years ago, she was driving a car without air conditioning. In August. “I arrived on campus sight unseen, having driven from Michigan in my very first car,” she says. “I remember sitting at an intersection with sweat rolling down my face. It was hot!” But that’s just about the only complaint Whatley will give about her time at N.C. State. In fact, when she reminisces about her days as a grad student and the people she worked with, she becomes emotional. “At N.C. State I learned that a university could promote academic excellence and be people-oriented,” she says. “It was clear that my instructors wanted me to succeed, whether they were in the Crop Science Department or not. People were really, really kind. I was awed by it.” When Whatley was a student, her mother had to have surgery and needed someone to help her afterward. “I wanted to go home, but I certainly didn’t have the money to

fly to Michigan,” she says. A fellow church member wanted to help Whatley. It was his kindness that inspired her years later to create similar opportunities for students in situations of unforeseen economic hardship. She also wanted to give back to the university, which she credits with her professional success. “If it weren’t for N.C. State, I would not be anywhere near where I am today,” she says. “It was really pivotal. And there were a lot of people who extended kindness to me, so I

wanted to pay it forward.” To that end, she recently created the Laura Medlen Whatley and Thomas L. Whatley Crop Science Student Emergency Fund, which will help any crop science student who may experience unexpected economic hardship or changes in their financial status. Whatley, who serves on the BASF Corp. regulatory team, also elected to add to her endowment through her will by naming the North Carolina Agricultural Foundation Inc. in her estate. Whatley earned her bachelor’s degree in botany from the University of Michigan in 1976 and her master’s degree in crop science from N.C. State in (continued next page)

Sustainable development professorship fully endowed by Bayer CropScience In September, Bayer CropScience’s Dr. Nick Hamon presented the final of three gift installments from the company to fully endow the position of Bayer Environmental Science Professor of Sustainable Development in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The presentation was made during the N.C. Agricultural and Life Sciences Research Foundation board’s annual meeting. Created in 2008, the endowment is used to support activities of a full professor working in turfgrass management or other areas of innovation in sustainable development in the College. Eligible CALS departments

for the professorship include Crop Science, Horticultural Science, Soil Science, Plant Pathology, Entomology or other departments providing support to the green industry. Dr. Tom Rufty, CALS professor of crop science, is the current Bayer Professor of Sustainable Development. Hamon, head of sustainability for Bayer CropScience in North America, also serves as an N.C. State University adjunct professor of entomology and works closely with CALS and with N.C. State’s College of Management on a range of sustainability initiatives. — Terri Leith

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New CALS scholarship honors Richard Canady and his love for family, friends and agriculture

Becky Kirkland

David and Jean Canady shared memories of their son Richard (shown left).

It’s not typical that an endowment signing draws a standing-room-only crowd, but when word went out that a scholarship was being created in memory of Richard Canady, 2002 graduate of N.C. State University, nearly three score family, friends and colleagues made a point to be there Oct. 1. The David “Richard” Canady Scholarship Endowment was created that day by Richard’s parents, David and Jean, and brother, Andrew, in the North Carolina Agricultural Foundation Inc., College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The endowment will be used to provide scholarships for CALS students who are at least rising sophomores and enrolled in a traditional agriculture program either in four-year degree curricula or in the two-year

Agricultural Institute. Priority for receiving the award will be for students with a background or interest in agriculture or agribusiness, with additional priority given to applicants from the CALS Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ARE), from which Canady graduated. Canady’s 2002 bachelor’s degree from ARE was one of two he earned that year, double-majoring in forest management. Canady, who grew up in St. Pauls, had applied only to N.C. State when he graduated from high school, saying, “My kind of people go to State.” His father and grandfather both were N.C. State graduates. He later earned a 2003 master’s degree in agribusiness management from Mississippi State University. From there, he returned to work briefly with the state department of natural resources, before taking a post as agronomist with Universal Leaf North America in

Whatley (continued) 1978. She went on to become the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in agronomy in the weed science curriculum from the University of Illinois. After starting her career as a member of the Mississippi State University faculty, Whatley later moved to New Jersey to work for American Cyanamid Co.’s Agricultural Research Division. When the company was acquired by BASF in 2000, Whatley and her husband moved back to North Carolina.

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“I was thrilled,” she says. “I never dreamed I’d live near N.C. State again.” By establishing her endowment, Whatley has created a legacy that will inextricably link her in perpetuity to the place she loves. “I had to pay for everything on my own as a student, so I understand that struggle,” she says. “And I figure, if I could make it easier for students facing hardship, wouldn’t that be wonderful?” — Suzanne Stanard

Nashville, a job his father described as a “hand-in-glove” fit for him. Meanwhile, in 2005, Canady had begun his own farming operation, raising soybeans. By 2006, his father recalled, he had 130 acres of beans. “He was getting serious about his business,” David Canady said. But in June 2006, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Despite surgery to remove it, the cancer returned, and Canady’s health declined. He was attended to by many loving family and friends, and several local farmers joined together to complete the harvesting of his bean crop. He passed away May 26, 2007, at the age of 28. Now, on this first day of October — Richard’s mother’s birthday — the room was full of memories of him. His three diplomas were on display. And his aunts and uncles, former classmates, work colleagues, friends, N.C. State professors and, of course, his parents were generous with their recollections of him, painting a vivid picture of Richard Canady. “What a wonderful person our son Richard was. How he loved people. How thankful we are for family and friends who made his and our lives richer and for all of you who helped care for him in those months he was home,” David Canady said. “With this scholarship in his name, we hope students will catch some of the spirit of loving life and loving agriculture that Richard Canady possessed.” — Terri Leith

Hightowers endow awards for graduate students in fisheries and wildlife

Becky Kirkland

Shown at the signing are Drs. Robin and Joe Hightower (seated) and, standing from left, Dr. Barry Goldfarb, Dr. David Bristol, Dr. Damian Shea, Dr. Robert Brown and Dr. Johnny Wynne, along with fisheries and wildlife program colleague Dr. Chris Moorman.

he and Robin have set up this endowment,” Shea said. Added Goldfarb, “Faculty dedication has made this [fisheries and wildlife] program grow, and this endowment is an example of that dedication.” Earlier this year, the Hightowers also created the Joseph E. and Robin

Becky Kirkland

A new endowment to fund awards for N.C. State University graduate students has been established by Dr. Joe Hightower and Dr. Robin Hightower. The Joseph E. and Robin C. Hightower Graduate Award Endowment in Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences was created Oct. 22 at a signing ceremony and reception hosted by Dr. Johnny Wynne, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS). The endowment, created in the North Carolina Agricultural Foundation Inc., will be used to provide financial awards and educational opportunities for graduate students enrolled in the fisheries and wildlife sciences master’s and Ph.D. degree programs jointly administered by CALS, the College of Natural Resources (CNR) and the College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) at N.C. State. “Thanks to Joe and Robin for their contributions to fisheries and wildlife,” said Wynne. “Both are CALS graduates, and we’re appreciative of their giving back to the university.” Among those participating in the ceremony were Dr. Robert Brown, CNR dean; Dr. David Bristol, CVM dean; Dr. Damian Shea, head of the CALS Biology Department; and Dr. Barry Goldfarb, head of the CNR Forestry and Environmental Resources Department. Also in attendance were the Hightowers’ son, Jason, and many of their family, friends and colleagues. “Joe really is a model for other faculty, one who finds ways to work for the students’ benefit and who is always there for the students. It’s no surprise, knowing his character, that

Joe Hightower listens as friends and colleagues pay tribute to him.

C. Hightower Collection Endowment in support of the N.C. State University Libraries, to enrich library materials in genetics, fisheries and wildlife. As Wynne said, Joe and Robin Hightower are CALS alumni: They earned their 1978 bachelor’s degrees from the College’s Department of Zoology (now Biology). Both pursued graduate degrees at the University of Georgia, with Joe receiving his 1981 master’s degree and 1984 Ph.D. in fisheries, and Robin receiving a 1980

master’s in zoology and a 1985 Ph.D. in genetics. After working in California, the two returned to North Carolina, where Joe is professor of zoology and assistant leader of fisheries for the N.C. Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit in the Department of Biology, teaching courses in fisheries sciences and working on migratory fish and population dynamics. In 2006 he received the Excellence in Fisheries Education Award from the American Fisheries Society. Robin, previously a molecular biologist for the University of California-San Francisco and Advanced Genetic Sciences, has worked for Novartis in North Carolina and taught in the state’s community college system. “I enjoy students and enjoy being around them. We’re excited that we can do this,” Joe Hightower said. “My dad went to the University of Georgia, where he and my mom created an endowment for veterinary students, and many of those students sent letters of thanks. We saw what a great thing that was and wanted to do that here. Now I look forward to hearing from the students here.” — Terri Leith

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Order of Long Leaf Pine and Distinguished Service Awards given at foundations event

Becky Kirkland

Jerry Hardesty (left), Dr. James West and Sen. Richard Stevens were honored in November.

A state legislator, a county commissioner and a retired Extension-director-turned-community-volunteer were honored Nov. 10 during the joint meeting of the North Carolina Agriculture, Dairy and Tobacco foundations at N.C. State University. Sen. Richard Stevens, who represents the state’s 17th district in the General Assembly, and Commissioner James West, who represents Wake County’s fifth district, received Distinguished Service Awards. This year’s event also included a surprise presentation of the Governor of North Carolina’s Order of the Long Leaf Pine award to former Forsyth County Extension Director Jerry Hardesty. Dr. Johnny Wynne, dean of N.C. State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, presided during the luncheon awards event at the University Club. Dr. Randy Woodson, chancellor of N.C. State, addressed the foundations members and guests and joined Wynne in the awards presentations. Also participating was Britt Cobb, chief of staff of Gov. Beverly Perdue, who represented the governor in honoring Hardesty. “Each year the North Carolina Agricultural Foundation presents one or more Distinguished Service Awards to individuals who have provided truly outstanding support of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and N.C. 42 perspectives

State University,” Wynne said. “We are very pleased this year to honor two individuals who provide great leadership and advocacy on behalf of our citizens and higher education in North Carolina.” Stevens, a Wake County native, is serving his fourth term in the North Carolina Senate, where he serves as co-chairman of the Senate Appropriations on Education/Higher Education and Appropriations/Base Budget committees. A graduate of UNC-CH, he is a former chairman of the UNC Board of Trustees and a former instructor at N.C. State. He has served on the Yates Mill Associates board of directors and acted as contact for the Colonel W.W. and Emily Stevens Soil Conservation Scholarship/Fellowship Endowment, one of the larger endowments benefitting the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Said Woodson, “Sen. Richard Stevens exemplifies what it means to serve the people of North Carolina and the 17th District. He is a friend and advocate of N.C. State and agriculture and the life sciences in North Carolina, and we are glad to have him as our friend. Through his work with the Wake County Extension Service when he was Wake County Manager, to his and his wife,   Jere’s, interest and

appreciation for horticulture and the Master Gardener program, Richard understands the importance of agriculture to North Carolina.” West, who is from Raleigh, is former director of county operations for the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service. He earned his master’s and Ph.D. degrees in adult and community college education from N.C. State and his bachelor’s degree in agricultural engineering from N.C. A&T State University. Wynne called West “a tireless community leader who has provided unparalleled service to the citizens of our state and Wake County, both professionally and personally.” After retiring from N.C. State in 1995, West served on the Raleigh City Council and then as mayor pro tem, prior to his current role as a Wake County commissioner. A recipient of the Leadership Award from the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service, West has been inducted into the Phi Delta Kappa and Gamma Sigma Delta agriculture honor societies. “As former director of Country Operations for the Cooperative Extension Service,  James West helped build what is absolutely the best extension service in the United States,” Woodson said. Wynne then turned the podium over to Cobb to present a previously unannounced award, the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, which honors individuals for extraordinary service to their state, community contributions, career achievements and service to organizations. “There have been two great individuals honored today, and I’ve got one more,” Cobb said. “The highest honor a North Carolina governor can bestow is the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, and I’d like to ask   Jerry Hardesty to come forward.” Hardesty, of Winston-Salem, (continued next page)

2010 CALS Donor Recognition is a special celebration

Becky Kirkland

Extension’s Dr. Joe Zublena joins Chancellor Woodson (center) as he greets CALS benefactors Bill and Melda Lamm at the October reception.

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ annual donor recognition event at McKimmon Center was especially festive this year for two reasons. First, it wrapped up a week of activities commemorating the Oct. 26 installation of Dr. Randy Woodson as N.C. State University’s 14th chancellor. Second, the 2010 CALS Donor Recognition event took place on Halloween, adding a holiday ambiance to the occasion, which included a dessert reception, displays from College programs and opportunities for donors to get together with student scholarship and fellowship recipients, as well as

faculty members who have benefitted from awards, professorships and other endowments made possible by donor support. “We feel it important to provide our donors and recipients the opportunity to meet and socialize at a College event,” said Dr. Johnny Wynne, CALS dean, who hosted the event. “Our College is very fortunate to have more than 700 endowments supporting our wonderful programs and departments. Many of our endowment holders and annual award donors are with us today, and I thank you for all you do for our College.”

Awards (continued) served as Extension director in Currituck County for 23 years and in Forsyth County for seven years. He holds a bachelor’s degree in animal industry and a master’s degree in education from N.C. State. After his retirement from Cooperative Extension, Hardesty worked with the North Carolina Pork Council as educational liaison. He also directed government relations for Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina and held the same position for the North Carolina Association of Feeding America Food Banks. During the last 15 years, Hardesty has worked to obtain $24 million for Food Bank programs across the state.

Hardesty is a member of the N.C. 4-H Development Fund and N.C. Family and Consumer Sciences boards, assisting in fund raising for the state’s 4-H camps and for family programs. To provide youngsters the opportunities for new learning experiences, he and his wife, Martha, have established the Jerry and Martha Hardesty Camp Scholarship Endowment for the Eastern 4-H Center. They are also establishing an endowment to support the Family and Consumer Sciences Foundation. In 2007, he received the Outstanding Volunteer Award at the CALS donor recognition gala. — Terri Leith

Wynne then introduced Woodson and his wife, Susan, who were attending their first CALS Donor Recognition. Taking the podium, Woodson noted the popularity of the nearby reception area serving the new “Wolf Tracks” ice cream. That’s the Chancellor’s Choice flavor of the Howling Cow brand of ice cream produced in the CALS Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences. Woodson quipped that the new flavor is so good that it’s really what made the difference in the Wolfpack’s recent comeback victory over Florida State: “Tom O’Brien gave the players a little Wolf Tracks ice cream at halftime!” He then thanked the donors for their support of the College and N.C. State and said, “Your remarkable investment in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and its diverse, important programs is again leading the University in private contributions. Through the end of September, your gifts and commitments total almost $10 million or 44 percent of all private contributions to N.C. State thus far this year. And we appreciate it so much.” Woodson also acknowledged the accomplishments of CALS faculty members, such as National Academy of Sciences members Dr. Trudy McKay, Dr. Todd Klaenhammer and Dr. Major Goodman; Dr. Anita Flick, CALS HealthPAC director, and Dr. Shweta Trivedi, VetPAC director; Dr. Jack Odle, Department of Animal Science; Dr. Ron Heiniger, Extension crop science research specialist; and CALS personnel at the N.C. Research Campus in Kannapolis in the Plants for Human Health Institute and Cooperative Extension’s N.C. MarketReady program. “One of the many things that make N.C. State special is the university’s land-grant mission, and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, particularly through the North Carolina (continued next page)

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A cookbook full of memories When is a cookbook more than just a collection of recipes? When it’s North Carolina’s 4-H Centennial Cookbook: Celebrating 100 Years of Blue Ribbon Recipes. This collection, compiled in commemoration of the 2009 centennial of the state’s 4-H program, includes favorite recipes and special 4-H reminiscences shared by 4-H alumni and current 4-H’ers from across the state. The book was published in 2010 by the N.C. 4-H Development Fund, part of the N.C. Agricultural Foundation Inc. in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. And it is as practical, logically arranged and easy-to-use as if Jane Simpson McKimmon, the state’s first home demonstration agent who began her career in 1911, had herself authored it. In fact, if you turn to page 192 in the “Desserts” section, you’ll find a recipe for Junket Ice Cream that was demonstrated by McKimmon in 1934 and is perhaps the oldest in the cookbook. The recipe – with the story behind it – is shared in the cookbook by 4-H alumna Juanita Ogburn Hudson, who vividly recalls McKimmon’s 1934 demonstration of the recipe at the Panther Branch Home Demonstration Club in Johnston County. Hudson’s is just one among many colorful stories accompanying the recipes, which are grouped in the cookbook chapters titled “Appetizers and Snacks”; “Beverages”; “Breads”; “Beef, Lamb, Pork”; “Poultry and Fish”; “Main Dishes”; “On the Grill”; “Dairy Foods”; “Egg Cookery”; “Vegetables

and Fruits”; “Salads and Dressings”; “Desserts”; and “For a Crowd.” The titles themselves are reminiscent of annual 4-H cookery competitions – and appropriately so. F o r example, on page 10 8 of the Egg Cookery section, the Egg-Cellent Egg Custard recipe submitted by Kacie L. Hatley of Stanly County is a competition award winner. “I won first place in the state 4-H egg cookery presentations for the 9-10-year-old category in 2006 using my late Grandma Hatley’s recipe,” says Hatley. The book is a collection of hundreds of tantalizing recipes, such as Sherbet Punch, Coffee Cappuccino and Sweet Tea (under Beverages); Baked Cilantro Fish in Coconut Broth (Poultry and Fish); Granny’s Famous Lasagna, World Series Cheese-A-Roni and Bill’s Fabulous Flying Burritos (Main Dishes); DB’s Secret Family Recipe and Joey’s Barbecue Sauce (On the Grill); Apple Cranberry Casserole, Zesty Mesquite Potatoes and Gran’s Yams (Vegetables and Fruits); Famous Lemon Bars

CALS donors (continued) Cooperative Extension Service, recognizes and embraces this engagement mission by reaching nearly 2 million citizens each year,” Woodson said. “CALS outreach efforts are a significant reason that N.C. State University is an engine for economic development throughout North Carolina, and that is particularly important in these difficult economic times,” he said, adding that CALS programs

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“will help get North Carolina back on a sound economic footing.” Said the chancellor, “All of you here today play a role in making this university outstanding and making this College the best college of agriculture and life sciences in the country. Particularly now, when government at every level faces such difficult fiscal pressures, gifts from donors like you are more important than ever.” —Terri Leith

and White Corn with a Kick! (For A Crowd) … and many more. At the same time the book celebrates the positive impact of 4-H on its members. In the Desserts section, Dr. Myrle L. Swicegood of Chatham County shares her recipe for The Best Bread Pudding and the following tribute: “4-H led me to choose Home Economics as my profession,” Swicegood writes. “This later led to my becoming a 4-H agent, then associate director of S.C. Extension.” Along with her recipe for Irish Soda Bread, Judy Stowers Farley, who now lives in Orange County, writes, “the 4-H Club programs were ‘my heroes’ of success growing up in a rural area of southwest Virginia. My 4-H presentations in foods, electricity and homemaking skills in local, district and state competition awarded me with confidence, skills and knowledge to become a very successful student, teacher and parent.” And don’t miss the Southern Sweet Potato Pie recipe from Rachel Kirby Thomas, a Wilson County 4-H alumna and retired N.C. State University food and nutrition specialist, who helped test many recipes found in the cookbook. The accompanying story of her work with Cooperative Extension and as supporter of 4-H youth food and nutrition programs is as rich as her recipe. Proceeds from the cookbook will be used to establish a 4-H Foods and Nutrition Endowment. — Terri Leith For purchase information, go to, or call 919.515.1680.

Scenes from



ore than 1,100 CALS alumni and friends celebrated the tradition on Sept. 4, as the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences held its 19th annual football tailgate event at Dorton Arena on the state fairgrounds. Before heading over to Carter-Finley stadium to watch the N.C. State Wolfpack defeat Western Carolina 48-7, the CALS group enjoyed an all-you-can-eat catered barbecue and shrimp meal, toured exhibits from CALS departments, enjoyed the sounds of the bluegrass band Sassafras and placed bids in a silent auction. The N. C. State pep band and mascots Mr. and Ms. Wuf also were on hand to lead the group in a pregame pep rally. “We raised $6,450 in the silent auction, which will go toward CALS student scholarships,” said Scott Troutman, executive director of the CALS Alumni & Friends Society. “Considering it was a holiday weekend, we’re very pleased with the attendance. It continues to be the largest — and best — alumni event at N.C. State.”

Now available — The CALS News Center All the latest news from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Brought to you by the team from CALS Communications! It’s your new portal to: • Perspectives online and Student Perspectives • Media Releases from the College • Economic Perspectives from Dr. Michael Walden • Extension News • Headlines: CALS news in various media • How CALS is ‘Making a Difference’ to North Carolina and beyond • CALS Communications Resources • News and Information sites • CALS facts • Social Media: CALS on Facebook and Twitter • RSS • CALS links to Academic Programs, Research, Extension, Diversity, Giving • Main College page • N.C. State University site and campus links Bookmark it and check in with the College daily!

PERSPECTIVES College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Campus Box 7603 North Carolina State University Raleigh, NC 27695-7603


Looking forward

Becky Kirkland

Backed by a model of the Belltower, Dr. Randy Woodson shares his vision for N.C. State University’s future as he delivers his inaugural address Oct. 26, 2010, in historic Reynolds Coliseum. (Story, page 35)

Perspectives | Winter 2011  
Perspectives | Winter 2011  

The Magazine of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences