Summer’s a dead season for many sports fans. The NBA season will have wrapped up shortly. Major League Baseball’s 162-game schedule seems more tedious to some than pure sports spectacle. And golf is really no more than an on-again-off-again holdover on Sundays until the NFL returns in the fall.
But for alumnus Sears Bugg, summer’s the time of year where he turns up the training that has netted him the honor of being one of North Carolina’s best badminton players.
Bugg won a gold medal at the 2013 North Carolina Senior Games last September and is currently the state’s top male player in the age bracket of 55-59. And although he’ll miss the chance to defend his title at this year’s games in September due to a registration mix-up, he’s already training for his return to competition in 2015.
“I try to play twice a week,” he says. “Badminton’s fast and keeps you in shape. We play a power game. My brother and I love to slam. It won’t hurt the other person. If you hit it hard, it’ll stay on the court.”
Sears Bugg, after a silver medal win at the N.C. Senior games in 2009.
A graduate with an agriculture economics degree in 1976, Bugg split time between classrooms and fierce hardcourts of Wolfpack club sports. He was the president of the NC State badminton club his senior year and led his dorm to a badminton championship.He took his talents to Duke, where he earned an M.B.A in 1981 and he reached the apex of Blue Devil badminton stardom until he was supplanted by a surprise player. “I was the number-one player on the team,” he says. “Out of the blue, we had a tournament to see who was the best player on campus. And this soccer player ran me all over the court. I’ve never seen him before or since.”
And he adds that his brother, Smitty, who graduated from NC State in 1977, also took to the sport on campus, even helping to teach it to physical education classes for enjoyment with an ulterior motive. “This was the mid-1970s,” Bugg says. “There was not really many women on campus. My brother wanted to meet someone, so he started teaching badminton. He met his future wife there.”
Badminton was just one sport loved by Bugg, who operated his family’s trucking business for 25 years before retiring and becoming a fee-only financial planner. There was golf, swimming and tennis. The Warrenton, N.C., native says it was his mother who first instilled that love of competition in her sons when they were kids. “My mother was athletic. So she was good about teaching us to play different sports,” Bugg says. “She believed in lifetime sports. And NC State was real good about teaching those same sports in physical education classes in those days.”
Bugg turns 60 next year and will have to enter a new age bracket when he returns to the Senior Games. But he feels he can once again be number-one.
That is if his playing partner stays healthy and Bugg can stay focused on badminton. “Have you heard of pickle ball?” he asks excitedly. “It’s a fast growing racquet sport. You take a badminton court and lower the net to about tennis level. And they use a wiffle ball and oversized ping-pong paddles. If my partner’s legs give out, I’ll be making the switch to pickle ball.”
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Up until the mid-1950s, the dean of students was a position mostly concerned with doling out discipline and delving into student attendance.
But there emerged a clear need for the position to foster other areas of student life, such as attracting performers to campus, that went beyond strictly academic life. So on this day in 1954, NC State’s director of student housing, James J. Stewart, was given a promotion and was named the college’s first dean of student affairs.
James J. Stewart. Photo courtesy of Special Collections, NCSU Libraries.
Stewart made an immediate impact, according to Alice Elizabeth Reagan’s North Carolina State University: A Narrative History. She cites that he upgraded the college’s musical department as one of his first acts. And he helped breathe new life into the ROTC program by placing it under a new leader and getting new uniforms. “[U]nder Stewart’s direction, all aspects of college’s non-academic programs became better coordinated and planned,” Reagan writes.
In 1966, Stewart gained a great deal of respect among the students by siding with them in their fight to secure better food service and choices. He served as dean of student affairs until 1969. Today, Stewart Theatre bears his name.
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Visitors to the Dorothy and Roy Park Alumni Center can now enjoy artwork previously displayed at the Gregg Museum of Art & Design. With the renovation and expansion of Talley Student Union underway, the Gregg has had to put a vast majority of its collection into storage until a new facility for the museum is completed.
As a part of the fundraising effort to convert the former chancellor’s residence into an art museum, the Gregg Museum put together a campaign committee. One member of the committee, Bing Sizemore, a 1971 textile chemistry graduate, thought it would be a great idea to get some of the art from the Gregg to be displayed at the Alumni Center.
“He thought that if some people who visit the Alumni Center saw some of the pieces of our collection, they might be more likely to donate to our cause,” says Roger Manley, director of the Gregg Museum.
The Park Alumni Center had very little art on display when it opened in 2006. The only art initially was portraits of contributors who donated $1 million or more toward the construction of the Alumni Center. There are nine framed portraits in various rooms throughout the building.
“During the building process, it was kind of a ‘thank you’ to those contributors,” says Randy Ham, associate executive director of outreach and data at the Alumni Association. “The portraits hang in the rooms that were named after them.”
Choosing additional art for the public spaces on the first and second floors was set aside until a few years ago, when the Alumni Association reached out to the Gregg Museum about displaying artwork done by alumni. Those efforts were dropped until about a year ago, when Sizemore approached The State Club and the Alumni Association again. A final agreement was reached last year to get some of the art that would have gone into storage put up in the Alumni Center.
“Manley was given free reign to pick what he thought was appropriate,” Ham says.
The pieces he chose are everything from photographs to landscape paintings. Nearly all of the art is related to NC State or North Carolina in some way. Many of the pieces are from artists who are alumni of NC State.
U.S. soldier in rotor wash of Blackhawk helicopter, Afghanistan, 2002,archival pigment print, gift of Getty Images
The abstract paintings on the first floor were done by George Bireline, a professor at the College of Design from 1955 to 1986. The first floor also features several photographs by NC State alum Chris Hondros, an acclaimed war photographer who was killed in Libya in 2011.
The first floor is also the home for a few contemporary pastel paintings by Will Henry Stevens. While he wasn’t directly associated with the university, Stevens was known for his pastels that depicted rural Southern nature abstracts and landscapes. He used to vacation in the mountains near Asheville, which is where he spent most of his time painting these works.
House with Red Roof, ca. 1921-1948, pastel on paper, gift of Will Henry Stevens Memorial Trust
Another notable artist is Cora Kelley Ward, whose pastel abstracts are located on the second floor. She went to Black Mountain College, a well-known art school at the time. “When they decided to start a college of design here, they looked to that college and tried to make ours the same way,” Manley says.
The last artist showcased at the Alumni Center, on the second floor, is Maud Gatewood. Her abstract landscape paintings were chosen because they are meant to remind alumni of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
“We wanted people to have different kinds of art that they could walk around and gravitate toward and enjoy in different ways,” Manley says.
The artwork is expected to stay in the Alumni Center for at least a few years. Ham and Manley would both like for collections to rotate, much like they do at the Gregg Museum, to keep the aesthetics fresh and interesting inside the Alumni Center.
“Our whole goal here is to make this a warm, welcoming, beautifully-decorated building for alumni to visit and consider their home on campus when they’re visiting,” Ham says.
– Sam O’Brien ’14
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Winning one of golf’s four sought-after majors each year can be a life-changing event for a PGA professional, sometimes taking an unknown to folk-hero status or simply adding one more piece of hardware to an already-great’s mantle. Members of a golfer’s family also feel the effects of that winning — or not winning.
Such was the case for Carl Pettersson‘s two children in August 2012 at the PGA Championship in Kiawah Island, S.C. Pettersson had held the lead after the first round and a share of the lead after 36 holes. But on Sunday, he couldn’t catch Rory McIlroy, who went on to win the championship by eight strokes. Pettersson, who graduated from NC State in 2000, finished tied for third, his best finish at a major during his 12-year career on the PGA Tour.
“We told our kids if Carl ever won a major, we’d get them a dog,” says DeAnna Pettersson, Carl’s wife and herself an NC State alumna. “So at the PGA, they were like, ‘Come on, Dad.’”
It’s not often that you get to hear stories of the golfers away from the course. But DeAnna Pettersson, along with other wives who belong to the PGA Tour Wives Association, have now pulled back the ropes, so to speak, and have offered readers a glimpse of PGA professionals at home with their families in the book Beyond the Fairways and Greens: A Look Inside the Lives of PGA Tour Families.
The book features 132 golfing families, from Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player to some of the youngest players on tour today. And there are some recipes included in the book, as well, to offer a taste of the golfers’ homes. All the proceeds from the book go back to the PGA Tour Wives Association and then go to all the charities they donate to through the year.
Pettersson says what’s interesting to her about the book is that it helps readers understand that PGA golfers and their families are like other families trying to juggle professional and private worlds. “Most people think it’s an extremely glamorous life, going to what oftentimes is a resort property,” she says. “But it’s a work week. We’re doing the exact same thing on the road. The laundry. The kids still have to go to school. It’s a job. And it’s a wonderful job.”
She says the PGA tour makes it easy for family and professional lives to intersect, adding that there’s a kinship among golf families. “We all feel like we’re family.”
Left to right: Carlie, DeAnna, Chase and Carl.
The Petterssons first met at East Village in 2000 when they were both at NC State — Carl, a Wolfpack golfer and CHASS major studying communication, and DeAnna, a CHASS major with a focus on textiles. They dated for a couple of years after graduation while Carl played on the European Tour and commuted to London. The couple married in 2003 and settled in Raleigh, and DeAnna soon started traveling with Carl to all the PGA events. These days, she still travels with him to the almost 30 events he plays a year, and they often bring along their daughter, Carlie, who is 9, and son. Chase, who is 6.
DeAnna laughs about being married to someone who plays golf, a sport she had no involvement with until she met Carl. And she says that the she’s grown more superstitious in her 14 years with him. “The longer we’re together, the more I’m involved emotionally and physically,” she says. ”I’ve become more superstitious. I’m like ’I was chewing gum and he bogeyed. Maybe I need to get rid of the gum.’…If he’s eaten eggs with Tabasco and he has six birdies, then we’re eating eggs with Tabasco sauce the rest of the week.”
The ups and downs of the golfing life are not lost on DeAnna Pettersson, and she realizes the magic can leave the golfer’s putter on the next hole or in the next round. That’s why Carl and DeAnna finally caved two months ago and got Carlie and Chase a chocolate lab named Grace.
Maybe a victory in a major tournament will come next.
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On Sept. 11, 2001, Robert Zachary Vinci was on a conference call from his office in the American Museum of Natural History on the Upper West Side of Manhattan,
talking about an upcoming exhibit on the history of baseball. The conversation ended quickly. From his office window, Vinci could see clouds of smoke and dozens of fire trucks headed downtown.
Nine years later, Vinci, who graduated from NC State in 1990, found himself in the middle of one of the most important and challenging museum projects in the world. As exhibition project manager for the National September 11 Memorial Museum for two years, Vinci was in charge of coordinating construction schedules, budgets and exhibition designs.
Robert Zachary Vinci
The museum opens to the public Wednesday.
The decade of planning and construction has been a difficult journey, with nearly every decision prompting a public discussion. Families of victims were concerned about how artifacts would be displayed. A video on the rise of Al Quaida created controversy. At one point, some family members raised questions about whether to show the faces of the 12 terrorists who hijacked four planes that day.
For Vinci, who had worked in museum planning since 1998, it was an emotional journey as well. “There were days when it was managing budgets and schedules and exhibition space, how much glass we would need,” he says. “And there were days when we in meetings to review exhibits as they were being created and designed. You’re hearing phone calls from Flight 93 passengers to their families or radio transmissions from first responders as they were trying to fight the fires and rescue people. Those were the days that were more difficult.”
The steel tridents. (Photos by Jin Lee, National September 11 Memorial Museum)
Much of Vinci’s job involved figuring out where and how to display some of the huge artifacts that resulted from the attack. Two huge steel tridents that formed the distinctive façade of the Twin Towers are the first thing visitors see before descending to the museum, which is mostly 70 feet below ground.
There are other massive pieces: A 36-foot steel beam that became known as the Last Column, which was tagged with photos and handwritten messages during the recovery operation. An elevator engine salvaged from one of the towers and a Ladder Co. 3 fire truck, its front end deformed into shards of curled metal.
“Some of these things were several stories tall,” Vinci says, and it was a challenge to figure out where to display them.
For smaller artifacts, the museum designed cases that allowed the exhibits to change, both for preservation purposes and to allow more of the museum’s vast holdings to be displayed. On display now are such things as a pair of lens-less eyeglasses, a burned wallet accompanied by credit cards and a Brooklyn library card, as well as scores of the “missing” posters that papered the city after the attacks.
Vinci says allowing for the changing of displays is important. “We’re still collecting history,” he says. “This is just over a decade old.”
The museum has an area where visitors can contribute to that collection of history — in a recording booth, they can respond to questions and talk about where they were, and why it’s important to remember.
The “Survivors’ Stairs”
Another of the larger artifacts is the so-called Survivors’ Stairs, a remnant of the remains of the Vesey Street staircase that was used by survivors to escape.
Vinci and the museum designers placed it in the center of the museum alongside the last leg of the descent from the pavilion. “It’s the best place to see it. You walk down the staircase, and you are beside the stairs. You can study the tread and the construction,” Vinci says. And it’s an important part of the story the museum tells. “It’s the way some people survived,” he says.
One the artifacts that resonated most with Vinci was a large piece of the grillage — I-beams set in concrete that were used to create the foundation of the towers. Two pieces survived. “I spent a couple of days down there with a guy with a jackhammer, working to expose the ends of the beams. You could see how the thing was constructed,” Vinci says.
“It was an element that survived that day, it was there before the construction of the building, and that jackhammer was a lesson to show just how strong it was….We chipped away so you could see the ends of the beams going one way. Here was this amazing architectural element I never knew about, and it was strong enough to survive that day.”
Vinci didn’t plan a career in museums. At NC State, he majored in zoology and genetics, but always had a love of history. In New York, he started doing environmental education for the New York City Parks Department and then later got a job at the American Museum of Natural History, where he was an exhibition developer. He later was director of exhibitions at the Museum of American Finance, which opened in 2008 in the old Bank of New York building on Wall Street. After leaving the 9/11 museum staff in 2012, he was worked as a consultant and event planner.
At the natural history museum, the baseball exhibit that Vinci was discussing on the morning of the attacks eventually came together. And among the items displayed was a player’s cap from the 2001 World Series (the Yankees lost to the Arizona Diamondbacks), which took place six weeks after the attacks. During the series, the Yankees wore caps bearing the emblems of New York City’s emergency services.
“So it came full circle,” Vinci says.
—Sylvia Adcock ’81
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Growing up in Greenville, N.C., Patrick White was struck by how hard his mom worked as a middle school science teacher. So when he went off to study chemistry and math at NC State, he had no interest in teaching as a possible career.
“I thought the last thing I would do was be a teacher,” he says.
But then life takes some unexpected twists and turns, and one of them for White came in his organic chemistry class at NC State. He worked as a teaching assistant for his professor, Kay Sandberg, and was intrigued with how she incorporated technology in an “outside-the-box” approach. “The teaching method she used got me hooked on being a teacher,” he says. “There is a big need for teachers who want to be innovative.”
White was also a Caldwell Fellow at NC State, and was influenced by a service trip that he took to Mexico to work at an elementary school. He was struck by how eager the students were to learn, even though they had few supplies and their school building was a decrepit mess. “I had a really profound experience there,” he says. “I thought about how privileged my own educational background was.”
So when White graduated from NC State in 2011, he joined Teach for America and was sent to Warren Harding High School in Bridgeport, Conn. White initially wondered how much need there was in a place like Connecticut, which he knew primarily as the home to Martha Stewart. But he soon found that there were plenty of students in Connecticut, particularly in urban areas like Bridgeport, who struggled with poverty. “A lot of really wealthy people live here, but there are pockets of urban students who live in severe poverty and are severely underachieving,” he says.
White was hired to teach ninth-grade math, but his initial assessment of his students found that they were, on average, at a fifth-grade level in math. “I very quickly encountered students who wanted nothing to do with me,” he says. “They had been in a system so long that didn’t support their education. I thought I would come in and have this magical moment. But I had no idea what I was doing. I really struggled learning just how to teach, with a group of students who I didn’t relate to at all.”
But magic sometimes happens in small doses, and White took advantage of the fact that his class met in a computer lab. He used technology to reach different students at different levels, and built his own curriculum using the online resources available at the Kahn Academy. By the end of White’s first year, his students had, on average, increased their math level by a year-and-a-half. It wasn’t, as White notes, life-changing progress. But it was progress.
“You have to celebrate everything that goes well,” he says. “For the things that don’t go well, you have to constantly look for solutions.”
White was helped by other teachers at his school, including several who were also part of the Teach for America program, as well as the staff of Teach for America. “I never felt I was by myself,” he says.
One of the victories that stands out from that first year was a student who had broken out in tears when she initially learned that she was at a seventh-grade level in math. By the end of the year, she was at a ninth-grade level. “She just looked at that score, looked at me with a big smile on her face and said, ‘We did it, Mr. White. We did it,’” he recalls.
White admits that there were times when he thought about giving up. But he says his experience as a Caldwell Fellow — and lessons he learned in perseverance and leadership — helped him through the difficult spots. “My experience as a Caldwell Fellow prepared me to do the tough, tough work, pushing through that first year teaching,” he says.
But before that first year was over, White was faced with another challenge. Another teacher, who had been the adviser for the school’s fledgling robotics team, cornered White in the copy room one day and told him that he would have to take over the team next year. She didn’t ask White about taking over — she told him that she was retiring, and that he would take over the team. When White resisted, his colleague convinced him to at least come to a robotics competition.
“It was out-of-this-world cool,” White says. “They were taking this STEM-heavy [Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics] subject, and making it feel like a varsity sport. There were fans everywhere. It was amazing.”
So White, who had no clue how to build a robot, signed on to lead the Warren Harding High School robotics team. “This is such a powerful tool to show people what urban students are capable of,” he says.
His initial task, as he began his second year of teaching, was to get more kids involved. The robotics club had 3-4 members when White started, but he recruited other kids to bring their membership numbers up to 15. He found a volunteer in the community who could help the kids with computer programming, a nice addition to two volunteers who had been working with the students on the mechanics of building a robot. When they went to a regional competition, the students finished in the middle of the pack of 56 teams. It was the school’s best performance, by far, in such a competition.
In another twist to White’s story, he decided to remain at Warren Harding High School for another year after his two-year commitment to Teach for America was satisfied. “My plan was to do my two years, feel really good about myself, and go on to grad school and get my Ph.D in chemistry,” he says. “But I just wanted to teach here another year. I think I’m good at it now.”
The robotics team had even more success the following year, growing to some 20 students and making it to the finals in two out of three areas at the district finals. The team finished in the top 10 in one area, and started to make a name for itself among other high school robotics teams. “We got a lot of energy from our kids this year,” he says.
The “Hard Botties”
But for the team to continue to make progress, White says they need some help. They need money to be able to travel to more competitions, as well as to upgrade some of the equipment in their shop so the kids can create better robots and more kids can get involved.
“We spend a lot of time building this robot, so we want to compete as much as we can,” White says. “It gives us an opportunity to recruit more kids to come to competitions, give them exposure to what STEM is, how it works in the real world. One of the missions of our team is to promote STEM in Bridgeport. It’s assumed our kids can’t do it.”
But White says it’s difficult for the students on his team to raise money. “The area they live in, they are not exposed to a lot of people who have money to spare,” he says. So he has started an effort, through an online crowdfunding site known as Piggybackr, to appeal to others around the country (including some of White’s fellow Wolfpackers) to help the team meet its $5,000 fundraising goal. White had seen the school’s track coach raise money for sports equipment through the site, and figured he would give it a try.
“Why can’t we do that for the nerds in our school, for science and shop equipment?” he asks. “There are people out there who are interested in these things, who want to help.”
The fundraiser ends on May 31, and it is still far short of its $5,000 goal. So White is trying to spread the word, hoping that people will be inclined to help the “Hard Botties,” as the Harding High robotics team is known. To contribute, visit the “Hard Botties” page on Piggybackr.
As for White, he’s about to finish his third year of teaching and is preparing to move on to the next phase of his life. This fall, he will start studying for a master’s degree at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He says he may eventually return to the classroom, or could look for opportunities to work for a school system or nonprofit organization looking for smart ways to use technology in schools, particularly in urban areas.
But he also plans to stay involved with the robotics team at Harding High School.
“My goal is that this team is around for as long as possible,” he says. “I’ve seen it impact kids in amazing ways, helping them be more invested in school.”
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Tyler Helikson remembers last August and the early days of Happy + Hale, a healthy option food delivery service in downtown Raleigh.
He and business partner Matt Whitley had just turned their vision into a company. There was nobody else but them and one line cook in a kitchen. The summer was bearing down on them as they took turns operating a juice tricycle on the corner of Hargett and Fayetteville streets.
Tyler Helikson, left, and Matt Whitley, right.
And then there was the delivery of Happy + Hale’s juices and salads, which could prove tricky with everything from a golf cart that might die to dangerous Raleigh traffic.
“I remember one time I was using Matt’s car for delivery, and a city bus came by and took off the door when I had opened it,” says Helikson, who graduated from NC State in 2007 with a communications degree. “But we looked at the vision and the lives we impacted, and we knew it would be okay.”
Helikson, 29, and Whitley, 26, have grown Happy + Hale into a downtown mainstay, offering healthy food in a quick way. They now have seven full-time employees, and that number will double in mid-June when the pair opens the company’s first brick and mortar store.
It’s the culmination of of a dream for Helikson and Whitley, who also attended NC State, who never strayed from what they saw as the bigger picture to the business.
“There was a serious need for and lack of quick healthy and delicious food in Raleigh,” says Helikson, a Charlotte native. “We knew as long as we continued to put in the hours and connected with a lifestyle choice, we would succeed.”
The idea first came to Helikson when he was traveling around the country in a previous job, selling champagne for Moet Hennessey. That experience gave him time to see other cities, like Los Angeles, Austin and Portland, Ore., that he says are ahead of the curve with flourishing downtown cultures. And it hit him that similar delivery options in those cities would take off in Raleigh.
“Raleigh’s one of those cities growing rapidly,” he says. “You have an influx of young, healthy, progressive people who are conscientious about their health.”
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A native of Costa Rica, Luis Felipe Arauz earned his doctorate in plant pathology from NC State in 1990. Until last week, he was a professor of plant pathology and agroecology at the University of Costa Rica and dean of its College of Agricultural and Food Sciences. Today, he is the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock of Costa Rica after being appointed by the country’s new president, Luis Guillermo Solís. Here, he talks about his new responsibilities and how he has remained connected with the university over the past 20 years, both personally and professionally.
What led to your appointment as minister of livestock and agriculture? We just had an election in which Luis Guillermo Solís was elected the new president of Costa Rica. During the campaign and before, I was in charge of coordinating the committee that wrote the agriculture program for Mr. Solís’ eventual administration. After he won the election, he asked me if I wanted to be in charge of implementing the program as the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock.
What will your main responsibilities be? To implement a program that will bring well-being to agricultural producers, especially small and poor farmers. To provide food safety and sovereignty to the country and to produce a healthy environment. To create opportunities for the rural youth, and to foster a vigorous agro-exporting sector.
What are the particular challenges that you would like to address? How to combine the above. People say there is a conflict between social, environmental and economic issues in agriculture. I do not see it as a conflict but as complementarities that, if well managed, can result in a truly sustainable agriculture.
Describe some of your recent research. I have been in administration for the past 10 years, but I still kept a foot on research and teaching. I have been collaborating on research related to the epidemiology and biocontrol of plant diseases, such as the American leaf spot of coffee and downy mildew of cucurbits. The latter is in collaboration with Dr. Peter Ojiambo from NCSU’s plant pathology department and Dr. Ojiambo’s Ph.D student, Katie Neufeld.
How did your education at NC State prepare you for the position you have now? First, it provided me with a solid scientific foundation that helps in the way I analyze problems and look for a solution. Second, it fostered critical thinking. Third, it helped me develop a holistic approach to problems. I believe holistic approaches are embedded in the way plant pathology works. It is a very holistic discipline, and this approach can be translated to many aspects of life.
How have you managed to stay connected with the university over the years? There have been several factors. I maintain a personal friendship with my former adviser, Dr. Turner Sutton. My wife, Melanie Hord Arauz, is also an NC State graduate, and her family lives in North Carolina so I have remained connected with the state as a whole. Also, several Costa Ricans throughout the years have obtained advanced degrees at NC State, which in turn resulted in a good group of potential collaborators for student exchange. Dr. Jean Ristaino took the initiative of bringing NCSU students to Costa Rica, and as a result she found ways to reciprocate and we were able to bring a group of students from UCR to NCSU as well. I also did a six-month internship in 2009 with Dr. Ojiambo in the Plant Pathology Department.
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NC State has made significant contributions to many fields, from engineering to agriculture. But it’s not often that the university is celebrated for its efforts in shaping language.
But that’s what happened on this day in 1954 when The Technician reported that L.E. Hinkle, head of the Department of Modern Languages, was named as a consultant for Encyclopedia Britannica’s world language dictionary.
Encyclopedia Britannica’s goal with the dictionary was to aid Americans in speaking six foreign languages: French, German, Spanish, Italian, Swedish and Yiddish.
Hinkle was an authority in all six, as well as director of NC State’s translation service.
“The United States has come up against language difficulties quite acutely since it finds itself a world leader,” Hinkle said. “Up until recently, we have been deficient in our language knowledge which has hampered us a great deal.
“This is an effort to counteract this deficiency.”
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The Alumni Association this week honored 26 NC State professors with the 2014 Faculty Awards for their outstanding work in the classroom, in the laboratory and in the field. We talked (via email) with some of the recipients about their work and the keys to being a successful professor.
Today we’re visiting with Alina N. Duca, director of undergraduate programs in the Department of Mathematics. Duca is one of eight professors recognized with Outstanding Teaching Awards.
What prompted you to become a professor? Math has always been an enjoyable subject to me. Growing up in Romania I was constantly challenged to find creative ways to solve sophisticated mathematics problems and participated in numerous Olympiad-style competitions at various levels. It is impossible not to fall in love with math when you are successful at solving difficult problems and understand every little logical step involved in a solution. As I was going through grade school I realized not only that I loved math and I was good at it, but I was also enjoying sharing my “discoveries” with teachers and fellow students. This was the combination that carried me to the place I am now.
What are the keys to being a successful professor? The main quality in a teacher, and in particular a math teacher, is to be able to convince the student that no problem is too difficult to attempt to solve, no question is too hard to try to answer. A successful teacher is one who’s teaching feeds off the excitement of guiding students to actively discover connections between what they already know and what they are learning so they take ownership of their discoveries.
What gives you the greatest satisfaction as a professor? The excitement in the student’s eyes when the “Aha!” moment comes after a long struggle is probably the constant satisfaction that I experience in my teaching career. I am also thrilled when former students knock on my office door or send me an exciting email to let me know about their amazing path their life and career has taken.
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