Top Astrophysicist, Television Personality to Keynote A&T Title III Graduate Symposium
Tonya Dixon
Greensboro, N.C. (Sept. 21, 2017) – Dr. Hakeem Oluseyi (ole-oo-shay), an internationally recognized astrophysicist and television personality is the keynote speaker for the debut Title III Graduate Symposium set for 1:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 29, in the General Classroom Building, room 218, at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. The talk is free and open to the public.

Oluseyi, a co-host for programs on the Science Channel and Discovery International and a distinguished research professor at the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT), will deliver the talk, “Unlimited Horizons: Reflections on an Unimagined Journey From ‘Gangsta Nerd’ to Astrophysicist.” The lecture will focus on how the challenges of his external environment did not preempt his success as an astrophysicist, science educator and advocate. He will also share insights on the future of scientific exploration and conduct a presentation for graduate students.

Oluseyi earned the “Gangsta Nerd” nickname through a background one might not expect of an astrophysicist and through his dogged pursuit of dreams bigger than many might have considered possible.

Born in New Orleans, Oluseyi spent much of his childhood in challenging circumstances in some of the country’s toughest neighborhoods – Watts in Los Angeles and Inglewood, both in California, and Houston’s Third Ward – before his family finally settled in rural Mississippi. He flourished there and began to spread his wings academically, graduating as his high school’s valedictorian in 1985.

After serving two years in the Navy, Oluseyi entered Tougaloo College, a private, historically black institution in Tougaloo, Mississippi, where he earned bachelor’s degrees in both mathematics and physics.

Oluseyi next set his sights on graduate school and was accepted into Stanford University, home to one of the nation’s best physics programs. He earned a master’s and a Ph.D. and became involved in space research.

He continued his studies as an E. O. Lawrence Postdoctoral Fellow in the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory’s Physics Division before joining the physics faculty at the University of Alabama in Huntsville for three years. Since 2007, he has been at FIT, where he earned his distinguished research professor position last year.

Along the way, he has published more than 80 scientific and technical publications and books and secured 11 patents. He has also lived out an enormous commitment to science education, with a particular focus on underserved populations in America and in the Third World.

That commitment has included co-hosting such shows as “Outrageous Acts of Science,” “How the Universe Works” and “Strip the Cosmos” on the Science Channel as well as “You Have Been Warned” and “Deadly Dilemmas,” on Discovery International. In addition, Oluseyi routinely appears on news networks such as CNN, NBC and MSNBC to provide a scientific perspective.

Title III is a federal grant program that provides support to strengthen various aspects of schools through a formula grant to historically black colleges and universities. For more information about the presentation, visit The Graduate College Symposium online.

N.C. A&T Scientist Patents Additional Cancer-Fighting Compounds
Daniel M. Nonte
Greensboro, N.C. (Sept. 20, 2017) - Dr. Shengmin Sang, a food scientist with North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, has received another patent for compounds comprising aspirin and ginger derivatives that have shown promise for preventing and treating cancer. This patent supplements a patent Sang received in 2015 for other novel aspirin-derived compounds.

“N.C. A&T is working with Dr. Sang to build a robust patent portfolio around this ground-breaking research, and we are delighted by this most recent recognition,” says Dr. Laura Collins, director of intellectual property development within A&T’s Division of Research and Economic Development.

Combining aspirin and ginger derivatives with anti-cancer properties, the newly patented compounds are more effective than their individual components in killing colon cancer cells in laboratory tests. The compounds are prodrugs, which become pharmacologically active when they are metabolized.

In addition to their anti-cancer properties, the new ginger-based derivatives have the potential to reduce the irritation of the digestive system frequently caused by aspirin. If the compounds can lessen those adverse side effects, more patients could benefit from aspirin’s ability to prevent or treat colon cancer, heart disease and other disorders.

Sang, a professor and lead scientist for functional foods at the university’s Center for Excellence in Post-Harvest Technologies at the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis, also studies bioactive compounds in tea, whole grains (wheat, oats, barley and corn), apples, rosemary and other foods.

“Our idea is to use a combination of natural products with aspirin,” Sang says. “We use a prodrug approach to reduce the side effects caused by aspirin and to enhance the overall efficacy.”

His research has already attracted interest from a pharmaceutical company. In March, N.C. A&T signed an exclusive licensing agreement with SARISA Therapeutics, an Invensure Company based in Minneapolis, to commercialize Sang’s patented aspirin-derived compounds.

The National Institutes of Health and the North Carolina Biotechnology Center provided funding for the research that led to Sang’s patents.

The Center for Excellence in Post-Harvest Technologies at the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis is administered by the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at A&T. The university is an 1890 land-grant doctoral research institution dedicated to learning, discovery and community engagement.
N.C. A&T College of Education Seeks Fellowship Applicants
Tonya Dixon
Greensboro, N.C. (Sept. 11, 2017) - The College of Education at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University is actively seeking applicants for the North Carolina A&T Teacher Residency Program. Qualified applicants will receive a $20,000 fellowship to attain a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) from the university.

“This program provides a phenomenal opportunity to assist people who truly desire to positively impact the lives of young people in our public schools while simultaneously aiding these individuals with earning their master’s degree and their initial teaching license,” said Anthony Graham, dean of the College of Education.

Ideal applicants are recent college graduates with degrees in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) disciplines as well as current lateral entry teachers and teaching assistants or individuals who seek to make career changes. Applicants need to have earned a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher from their undergraduate program and have a strong desire to work with children or adolescents as a classroom teacher.

Applicants must complete the pre-screen application to determine if they meet the minimum eligibility criteria. Those who meet the requirements will be interviewed on Sept. 22. Applicants who transition through the pre-screening process will need to complete the MAT application.

Selected candidates will complete a 30-hour program in the appropriate discipline area. Candidates will work full-time in a selected school for 10 months as they apply classroom knowledge in real-time. Once candidates earn the master’s degree and teaching license, they must teach three consecutive years in a school in Randolph County Schools or Stokes County Schools.

For additional information, visit
N.C. A&T Remains Top Producer of African American Engineers at All Levels
EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (Sept. 1, 2017) – In its latest Top 100 Producers of Minority Degrees ranking, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education has ranked North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University the No. 1 producer of African American engineers at the undergraduate level; the No. 2 producer of African American engineers at the master’s level; and the No. 4 producer of African American engineers at the doctoral level.

“It is very validating to see this report. The credit for this result goes to our faculty, staff, students, and alumni – and I am very proud of them for the quality they consistently achieve for the benefit of our university and our nation,” said Dr. Robin Coger, dean of the College of Engineering.

The college will deepen its capacity to educate even more future engineers and computer scientists, when work begins later this academic year on the $90-million Engineering Research and Innovation Complex (ERIC), which will be central to the College’s continued growth and effectiveness.

Diverse: Issues in Higher Education is a source for critical news, information and commentary on the full range of issues concerning diversity in American higher education. Each year, Diverse compiles the list of the Top 100 institutions that confer the most degrees to minority students by conducting an analysis of U.S. Department of Education reports submitted by institutions.

In addition to engineering, N.C. A&T has also been ranked in a number of categories including:

On the undergraduate level:

No. 2 in degrees awarded to African Americans in agriculture, agriculture operations and related sciences; engineering technologies and engineering-related fields; and parks, recreation, leisure and fitness studies
No. 4 in degrees awarded to African Americans in communication, journalism and related programs; and mathematics and statistics
No. 5 in degrees awarded to African Americans in marketing
No. 7 in degrees awarded to African Americans in architecture and related services; family and consumer sciences/human sciences; and liberal arts and science, general studies and humanities
No. 8 in degrees awarded to African Americans in all disciplines combines; and visual and performing arts
No. 10 in degrees awarded to African Americans in psychology
At the graduate level, A&T has also been ranked:

No. 1 producer of master’s degrees awarded to African Americans in mathematics and statistics
No. 2 producer of master’s degrees awarded to African Americans in physical sciences
No. 5 producer of master’s degrees awarded to African Americans in engineering technologies and engineering-related fields
No. 6 producer of master’s degrees awarded to African Americans in English language and literature/letters
A&T has also ranked in the top 20 for:

Undergraduate degrees awarded to the total minority in engineering technologies and engineering-related fields; and agriculture, agriculture operations and related sciences
Undergraduate degrees awarded to African Americans in history, physical sciences, and public administration and social service professions
Master’s degrees awarded to African Americans in education
Master’s degrees awarded to total minority students in engineering technologies and engineering-related fields
“North Carolina A&T’s leadership in educating and graduating so many African American students in STEM disciplines and a host of other fields not only plays a transformative role in those graduates’ lives, but contributes significantly to the diversity of the fields in which they work,” said interim Provost Beryl McEwen.

These rankings come on the heels of the announcement of the university’s enrollment growth across racial and ethnic groups.