Alumni News Category
Daryl Liles and his brother, Derek, have always done everything together. They were born together, as twins, so that’s only natural.
Derek Liles paints one end zone of Carter-Finley Stadium. Photo by Ted Richardson.
They grew up rooting for the Wolfpack together with their parents. They came to NC State and graduated from the Agricultural Institute in 1998 together.
And now they work to protect the sacred grounds of NC State athletics for coaches, players and fans. Daryl is the turf supervisor for athletics grounds, and Derek is facilities supervisor.
This fall will be their 15th full season working athletic events, from double-headers at Doak Field to game-day Saturdays at Carter-Finley Stadium.”With the pressure that comes with college athletics, it puts pressure on coaches to win,” Derek says of his job. “That puts pressure on everybody else. We work a lot of hours. You like to see a season come in, but you like to see them end, too.”
Daryl Liles raises a net for an extra point attempt at Carter-Finley Stadium. Photo by Ted Richardson.
The twins told themselves when they were at the Agricultural Institute that they would graduate and own their own landscaping business. “We cut grass all of our lives and grew up on a farm in Knightdale,” Daryl says. But they both got an internship with the athletics facilities division on campus that presented them with options, one of which stood out.
“In turf grass, you’re either on the golf course, athletic fields, landscaping or sales. [But with athletic fields] you get satisfaction of how your field looks,” Daryl says. “And you’re getting paid to watch Division I athletics. But at the same time, you’re here if something goes wrong to deal with it.”
That something could be an assortment of trouble. It might be an airplane liquor bottle shoved in a urinal during a game. It might be managing an array of contests across campus on a Saturday afternoon. It might be a breaker going out on a scoreboard. Or it might mean having to delay painting the football field for a Saturday game all week because of a tropical storm, as was the case when the University to South Carolina came to town one year.
“Friday morning, there was no paint on the field,” Daryl says. “We came in at 4 o’clock that morning, painted throughout the day and finished at seven that night.”
Of course, as Derek points out, sometimes something going wrong could bode well for NC State fans. “Early on, we dealt with tearing down goal posts,” he says. “It seems like every week, we’d beat Florida State or East Carolina, and we’d scramble to get a new set of goal posts up.”
The Liles brothers love being near college athletics every day on the job, even if it does mean they can’t use their two season tickets to football games (they give them to their parents). But they do get to enjoy their season tickets to the Carolina Hurricanes.
The ice is the one place where they can just be fans.
NC State magazine was granted full access in fall of 2013 to see all the behind-the-scenes work that goes in to putting on a game at Carter-Finley on Saturdays. We included a feature about what we saw in the summer issue, which should be in mailboxes very soon. We also produced a video to show how the stadium comes alive.
NC State magazine profiled the university’s efforts in regenerative medicine in the summer issue, which should be in mailboxes soon.
But it turns out there’s a Wolfpacker also stressing regenerative efforts at the Naval Medical Research Center that could become standard practice across the globe.
The center, located in Silver Spring, Md., focuses on solving battlefield medical problems, studying infectious diseases, and understanding health problems associated with non-conventional weapons.
Capt. John W. Sanders III
And Capt. John W. Sanders III, who graduated from NC State in 1987 and is the center’s commanding officer, believes investments in regenerative medicine research will help to develop better ways to help tissue heal after traumatic blast injuries.
“This is a level of trauma that historically people did not survive,” says Sanders, who adds that today’s resusciative techniques help produce a 98 percent chance of surviving for those who suffer the injuries.
The Naval Medical Research Center is working to develop tests that can help doctors judge how well a particular wound is likely to heal and which strategies would be best to promote healing, such as adding anti-inflammatory therapies or transplanted cells. When soldiers are evacuated from Afghanistan or Iraq, any tissue removed from blast wounds is collected and analyzed in detail—the cell types and body chemicals that are present and in what amounts. The resulting database will help researchers discover which chemicals or cells are most important in healing these devastating wounds.
The center also works to improve prosthetic limbs, in collaboration with regenerative medicine pioneer Anthony Atala, director of the Institute for Regenerative Medicine at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, where researchers are developing ways to prepare prosthetics so human skin will bond to better and prevent infection.
Sanders, whose expertise is in tropical medicine, says that NC State’s new investments in regenerative medicine are wise.
“Regenerative medicine is part of the evolution of our medical care, both for soldiers and sailors injured in battle and for civilians who may suffer a blast injury,” he says. “Like so many other examples of military technique, we expect techniques developed to take care of combat injuries will ultimately end up being used in other areas of medical care, from cancer to reproduction.”
Visitors to Washington, D.C., will get their first look at the planned Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial in 2017 when the memorial commemorating the 34th president of the United States opens across from the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.
While architect Frank Gehry was chosen to design the memorial, landscape architect and soil scientist Barrett Kays is concerned with a much deeper question — what in the world will go on underneath Eisenhower Square?
Kays, who graduated from NC State with a design degree in 1973 and with a Ph.D. in soil science in 1979, is one of the country’s leading experts in integrating soil science in the design of landscape architecture projects in urban areas. (NC State magazine profiled Kays in 1996 when he took on a project in New York City’s Central Park.)
He recently completed the construction documents for the manufactured custom soils and drainage system for the memorial’s site.
“At the Eisenhower Memorial, we have to control the moisture,” says Kays, president of the consulting firm Landis Inc. in Raleigh. “So we have to remove about 35,000 cubic yards of material from the site.”
A planned view from Eisenhower Square. (Photo courtesy of Eisenhower Memorial Commission.)
Kays will replace it with a custom blend of soils that, as he describes it, will drain well when it’s extremely wet and keep in enough moisture when it’s dry.
“Typically in the past, the way urban parks get destroyed is when you have these large events with a lot of people, when they occur after a large rainstorm event,” Kays says. “The National Mall was destroyed over and over in the 1960s. In Central Park, behind The Metropolitan Museum of Art, they would have a million people there at a time.”
But with technology and a focus on landscape architecture in urban planning, Kays says scientists have been able to have a large rain event with no runoff.
It used to be that students might take a year after college graduation to travel around before starting a job. But two architecture graduates, Brian Gaudio and Abe Drechsler, have decided to thread travel into their jobs and have gone to work for themselves.
Gaudio and Drechsler are the brains behind Within Formal Cities, a project in which they will study informal communities in South American cities and produce a documentary about the subject. The two were awarded the Duda Travel Scholarship, established by Linda and Turan Duda. Turan Duda is an NC State graduate and is a partner at Duda Paine Architects in Durham, N.C.
And Monday, Within Formal Cities launched a crowd-funding campaign to help raise money for their trip, which will take place in September and October.
Gaudio says he had spent a lot of time on service projects in the Dominican Republic, and that the cities of Bogota, Lima, Santiago, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo seemed like the next logical step in studying how cities around the world will handle the next influx of people coming to them. Within Formal Cities’ website states that an estimated 1.41 billion more people will move to urban areas over the next 40 years.
“We chose South America for a few reasons. It’s closer, so you do more with the fellowship money,” Gaudio says. “South America has been dealing with these housing issues for a long time.
The pair will travel around the five South American cities and interview architects, community organizers and professors about how the respective city deals with housing challenges. They will identify a neighborhood and look at buildings built both by private citizens and by the government. They’ll also be shooting film for a film they’ll edit and release when they return.
“We’re really trying to do more than just study things for ourselves,” Gaudio says. “We think creative people like architects and designers have a lot to offer.
“Seventy percent of the world’s population will be living in cities. It’s going to be a very important challenge for the world.”
Doug Mattox was a history buff long before he majored in the subject at NC State.
As a boy growing up in Wendell, N.C., he discovered stamp collecting. No one in his immediate family was a stamp aficionado, but Mattox gravitated to it. And just like a stamp, the hobby stuck.
Today, Mattox is the founder and president of Mattox Coins & Stamps, Inc., a Raleigh company that generated $1.5 million in revenue last year.
“It’s just the treasure hunter in me,” he says, when asked what has kept his business going for more than 35 years. “You never know what’s going to come in the door or what you’re going to find in a box of stuff. That’s what keeps it fun.”
As the name implies, the company deals in more than just rare stamps. Mattox and his son, Austin, work as agents and brokers, appraising the value of coins, currency, stamps and envelopes and selling them to auction houses.
The work attracts a variety of clientele, ranging from universities and bank trusts to individuals who inherit items from deceased loved ones and aren’t sure of their value. Other customers come to Mattox with items they purchased for investment and are ready to sell.
But the Internet has fooled many a would-be collector, says Mattox, who graduated from NC State in 1976. People often buy coins that are purported to be rare by advertisers, only to learn that they were duped when they come to Mattox for an appraisal.
One of the most counterfeited items that Mattox comes across are U.S. gold coins. Valuable ones are about 90 percent pure, but Mattox says people often come to him excitedly with some, only to find that their coins are perhaps 50 percent gold, or even just gold-plated brass.
“I tell them just to put it in the bank or give it to a kid,” he says. “You know, on the Antiques Roadshow, everybody gets good news. But here, more people get bad news than good news.”
Over the years, Mattox has encountered many old and unusual items. One day, he might find himself appraising German currency from the 1920s. The next, a $5 American bill from the 1880s. The priciest item sold recently was a set of Tibetan stamps from 1907 for $121,000.
But as a former American history major, Mattox gets the most excited when an American colonial item comes his way.
“That’s always fun because we weren’t very populated – even in big cities – in colonial days,” he says. “So when you run across envelopes or currency, that’s always cool.”
One California day, a scared and suicidal man walked into a homeless shelter in a city he’d never been to before. He’d been discharged from a psychiatric hospital in Las Vegas three days before, given a bus ticket and shipped off to Sacramento with barely any food and little medication.
He was looking for help – but he never imagined it would come from Phillip Reese, a 1999 NC State graduate and investigative reporter for The Sacramento Bee.
Reese and colleague Cynthia Hubert uncovered a systematic process of patient dumping by the Nevada hospital, which shipped 1,500 mental patients out of state over five years, stranding many in unfamiliar cities with no support system.
Some ended up turning to crime, including one murder.
Reese and Hubert’s reporting led to multi-million dollar reforms in the Nevada mental health care system, led to Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital being stripped of its accreditation and received several prestigious awards, including becoming a finalist for the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting.
Reese, a former Technician editor-in-chief, called the patient dumping series the most important and effective work of his career thus far.
“This was a very taxing story to report,” Reese said in an email interview. “Cold calling people and asking them about their time in a mental hospital is tough.”
Finding the patients and family members who were willing to talk was one challenge. So was identifying the trend. To do it, The Bee requested the receipts of bus tickets that has been purchased in the last five years.
Reese, who is skilled at data analysis, put the receipts into a database and mapped them. He discovered Rawson-Neal had bused patients to each state in the continental United States during that period, and that’s when he and Hubert started tracking them down.
Some were dead ends. Some of the patients’ stories couldn’t be verified. But thousands of hours later, Reese and Hubert had spoken with nearly two dozen patients and 100 family members, as well as former Rawson-Neal employees who confirmed that busing patients without escorts happened more frequently than officials claimed.
The reports led Rawson-Neal to change its busing policies so that now no one can travel without a chaperone. The state of Nevada also has allocated $30 million in additional funding for mental health care in the state.
“That was validating,” said Reese.
Since the series was published in 2013, Rawson-Neal made changes that enable it to continue receiving federal Medicare funds. A civil rights lawsuit filed on behalf of the Sacramento man that was the catalyst for Reese’s series was just dismissed, but the attorney plans to appeal.
Asked if he has any other investigative pieces currently on his radar, Reese has a one-word reply:
Students certainly had their fair share of options as to which club they might want to join during the early 1980s on campus. There was the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Technology Club. Students could explore conservation in the wildly popular Leopold Wildlife Club. Or they could stay on top of their studies with the Water Ski Club.
But for one club, 1984 marked a major breakthrough as NC State’s campus was introduced on this day for the first time to the Steady State Breakers, the only professional breakdancing crew in Raleigh, the Technician reported.
Steady State consisted of four students who were visionaries, seeing that breakdancing would have just as much staying power as the salsa and or the waltz. Scott Wilce, Richard Lewis, Curtis Hamilton and Elaine Furtis had been practicing daily for several months and worked on other campuses to spread their gospel of gyration.
“The Breakers won a Breakdance contest at Groucho’s during finals week last semester and gave a Breakdancing demonstration at Groucho’s a few weeks ago,” the Technician reported. “In addition, they are currently working a Breakdance clinic at Duke University.”
The club members’ styles varied, with each excelling in one of the multiple facets of the art form. “Other moves include the Hanglide, which is spinning the body using the hand as a pivot and the legs for balance; the Backspin; the Headspin; the Windmill, which is spinning alternately on one shoulder then the other; and the Suicide, which is a no-hands forward flip where you land flat on your back.”
Tommy Burleson was a first-team All-ACC performer after his sophomore year in 1972, but that summer, the 7-foot-4 center took his talents national as he was picked to be on the 12-man Olympic team by head coach Henry Iba.
The pick on this day 34 years ago came after two weeks of Olympic trials at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. Burleson was one of three rising juniors that year to be named to the team, according to the Technician.
Norm Sloan, Burleson’s coach at NC State, visited the trials and said the experience gave the center a chance to see for himself just how good he was. “Tom didn’t appreciate how good he was on a national level until these trials,” Sloan said. “This was a good experience for him.”
“I really wanted to make it and I couldn’t sleep the night before the naming of the team on Sunday afternoon,” Burleson said in the Technician. “It is the greatest honor ever bestowed upon me. It meant so much to me and I tried to do everything it took to make it. Not only on the court, but all the little things required. Coach Iba told us it was as tough mentally as it was physically playing in the Olympics and that was why we had such a rigorous training program.”
The ’72 Olympics in Munich that September became forever linked to the massacre by terrorists of eleven athletes from Israel.
The games were also marred by a controversial finish to the men’s basketball final, in which the U.S. team lost to the Soviet team in a game it had initially won. Burleson and his teammates never collected their silver medals.
Burleson recounted the experience for a feature story in NC State magazine in summer 2012.
Email can seem like such an easy way to communicate.
But, as Cheryl Sutton has recognized, email can also be confusing, unclear and ineffective. Her mission is to help individuals and organizations do a better job with email.
“Very few of us have been educated how to use email,” says Sutton, who graduated in 2004 from NC State with two undergraduate degrees.
To address the problem, Sutton started her own email consulting company, Email Lemonade, from her home in Belmont, N.C., earlier this year. She serves as the company’s president and “email ambassador.”
“I have always taken email very seriously,” she says. “I don’t want people to feel like they have to settle for bad email.”
Sutton, who also earned an MBA from Northwestern University, worked for Jockey International for nearly a decade before she started her new venture. For many of those years, she worked in Jockey’s international division, requiring her to communicate with people around the world.
“There are particular challenges when communicating internationally,” she says. “You have to pay attention to the tone you use. So much of your relationship is based in email. You can’t always pick up the phone or have a face-to-face meeting. I learned how to be very clear, and even preemptively answer questions when I sent an email.”
Sutton, who will be the featured speaker at an upcoming session as part of the Alumni Association’s Career Webinar Series, says that by following some simple steps, people can increase the chances that their emails stand out among the clutter of emails that many people receive.
Make sure, for example, to put a subject in the email’s subject line. Sutton says many people fail to take that simple step, making it likely that their email will move to the bottom of the pile.
She also says it’s important to format your email. “People glaze over it when they see an email with one long paragraph,” she says. “When you break it up into three shorter paragraphs, or put it in some bullets, it’s much easier for the reader to digest the email.”
Sutton says job-seekers need to be careful with their emails with potential employers. “People forget that grammar actually matters,” she says. “Have an opening to the email. Close it with, ‘Kind regards, Cheryl.’ Just really basic content like that. People are so used to texting now.”
It’s critical, Sutton says, that people are mindful of the tone of their emails.
“Tone is one of the most overlooked and also one of the most important considerations,” she says. “If I receive this email, would I think it was friendly or positive. I have seen a lot of business relationships get wrecked because they didn’t think about the tone.”
Sutton’s webinar session on July 8 is free for NC State alumni. To register, visit the webinar series website, and click on the button that says “registration.”
Grown-ups always told young Madelyn Rosenberg that she should be an author.
It started in the fifth grade, when Rosenberg wrote a story about how Randy the raccoon got his mask. He was at a Halloween party, and his mask shrunk while bobbing for apples. No one could get it off, and it remained there forever.
Her relatives loved the tale, and they correctly forecasted Rosenberg’s future. Today, Rosenberg is a children’s writer, with three books already published and three more about to hit store shelves. The next book, a young adult novel called Dream Boy co-written with her friend Mary Crockett, comes out July 1.
Despite the praise of her earliest works, Rosenberg had no idea what to study when she came to NC State in 1985. “That was ridiculous, because writing is the only thing I’ve ever been able to do,” she says. “But it just never occurred to me that it was something that I could turn into a career.”
Rosenberg decided on an English major. Over the next four years, she honed her writing skills in the classroom and delved into journalism as a staff writer for Technician, going on to become its news editor.
After graduating in 1989, Rosenberg worked as a reporter for the Roanoke Times in Virginia. It was a job she loved, but eventually the allure of make-believe storytelling was too great. Rosenberg got a master’s degree in creative writing at Boston University in 2002 and returned to NC State as an adjunct professor in journalism for a year, all while submitting samples of her work to book publishers.
It was a frustrating process that lasted at least a decade.
“It took a lot of ‘no’s’ before I got a ‘yes,’” Rosenberg says with a laugh. “I didn’t count rejections because if I did, that probably would have thrown me into a depression. I did hit a point where I would prepare envelopes so that when a rejection came, I wouldn’t have to get over that whole psychic barrier before sending out another query.”
In 2009, Rosenberg got an agent – and that’s when she scored her first book deals. Her first children’s books, The Schmutzy Family and Happy Birthday, Tree, A Tu B’Shevat Story, came out on the same day in 2012.
“Every time I write a book, I feel like ‘This is the last book anyone is ever going to publish by me, ever,’” Rosenberg says. “So, when the first ones came out, I pretty much wanted not to be a one-hit wonder.”
But her luck didn’t end there. Next was a book for middle graders called Canary in the Coal Mine, which was named a VOYA Magazine top-shelf read and a Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People in 2013.
Rosenberg says writing for a young audience comes naturally. She has two children, a son and daughter, and says she has always been fascinated with the unique ways children navigate the world.
Her books often explore on sibling relationships, drawn from her own close relationship with her brother and the dynamics she sees between her children and their friends. How to Behave at a Tea Party, due out Sept. 9, will focus on a Type-A little girl who has to learn to let loose when her brother keeps wrecking her proper tea party. Nanny X, due later in September, involves siblings with a secret agent nanny.
When she is not telling her own stories, Rosenberg continues real-life writing for Arlington Magazine in northern Virginia.