College of Natural Resources Category
Rocky Branch Creek is the stream that runs a mile through the heart of NC State’s campus along Sullivan Drive and behind Carmichael Gym. It was once an unsightly ditch with the distinction of being the most polluted stream in North Carolina.
Today, the creek meanders through a floodplain, full of aquatic life, and serves as a model of restoration practices for the region.
Lucy Laffitte, science education specialist for UNC-TV, used the transformation of Rocky Branch Creek as a centerpiece for her thesis when she received her Ph.D. in forestry from NC State in 2010. And she has documented the work in a new education video for Quest, a web-based venture funded by the National Science Foundation to provide education on the science of sustainability.
Laffitte was working as a graduate researcher and sustainability coordinator for Centennial Campus when she first became interested in the stream restoration project. The Rocky Branch Creek transformation was well underway and the university was interested in working on House Creek on the College of Veterinary Medicine campus and North Creek on Centennial Campus.
What interested Laffitte was not just how the project changed the creeks but how it changed attitudes, and her Ph.D. thesis focused on how institutions learn.
“Institutions grow rigid by nature over time and are not as innovative,” she says, and the way to change that “is to bring people from the margins — a student, a faculty member — into the process.”
Working for Quest, which is a collaboration of public TV stations in six states, Laffitte wrote and produced the video showing how NC State gained a new appreciation for rainwater as the Rocky Branch project unearthed the stream from culverts, integrated the flowing waters into the landscape and created floodplains to capture and filter rainwater. That appreciation is reflected in the interest in rain gardens such as those recently constructed at Syme and Lee dorms, Laffitte says.
One of the most important parts of the creek restoration was removing most of the culverts, a process called “daylighting.” “You have to put creeks in sunlight or they’ll die,” Laffitte says.
Rocky BranchCreek is continuing to change attitudes as it serves as a model for urban creek restoration. A greenway along the creek features interpretive signs that explain the restoration concepts, and the creek itself is used by students and faculty at NC State as an outdoor teaching laboratory.
— Sylvia Adcock ’81
Ally Amavisca has been fascinated with marine science for most of her life.
Amavisca, who studied marine and coastal resources as a student at NC State, works now as a marine science educator. She leads two programs at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California.
“I really liked teaching, so I moved to California and started doing education,” Amavisca says.
After graduating from NC State in 2004, Amavisca took a year off before starting law school at UNC. During that time she was also a marine science technician with the U.S. Coast Guard, where she primarily worked with oil spills. She worked for an environmental law firm, but soon decided that education was what she really wanted to do.
“I missed being outdoors,” Amavisca says. “I decided that maybe I didn’t want to do law.”
At the aquarium, Amavisca works with teens in the Student Oceanography Club and the Teen Conservation Leadership program.
The Student Oceanography Club is more-science oriented and allows students to come in and do experiments, hear talks from local scientists, and create conservation projects of their own. The Teen Conservation Leadership program focuses on students learning marine science and leadership through volunteering. These high school students learn leadership skills through activities such as helping families in the touch pools at the aquarium and teaching children how to properly handle the animals.
“It gives me the opportunity to inspire them and teach them to care about the ocean and the environment,” Amavisca says.
Teaching through the programs at the aquarium are not the only ways Amavisca has gotten into education. She gives talks every year to different groups about the importance of oil spill science that she learned about during her time with the Coast Guard.
She also spent three years at the Phoenix Zoo as a programs coordinator and had an opportunity as a part of the Grosvner Teacher Fellow Program with National Geographic to travel to the Arctic Circle and give talks aboard the National Geographic Explorer to other guests.
“I was the only non-formal educator, and I was super privileged to get that experience,” Amavisca says.
The favorite part of her job at the aquarium is working with the kids from the Teen Conservation Leadership program to build confidence and leadership skills.
“It’s so awesome to see the kid at the beginning of the summer who is really shy and unsure of themselves,” Amavisca says. “And then two months later, you see them blossom and have interactions with a family of four and they’re teaching the little kids about the animals.”
Given her name, it’s fitting that Snow Roberts found the inspiration to pursue adventure travel on trip in the scenic landscape of Alaska.
It was 2000 and she had just finished her master’s degree in parks, recreation and tourism management at NC State. The sense of accomplishment she felt from completing her graduate studies blended with the phenomenal backdrop of Prince William Sound to give her a feeling she longed to experience outside of a crammed office and 9-to-5 life. She kayaked for the first time. She battled the chill of the sound’s icy waters.
And Roberts, who now organizes trips for her Blue Highway Adventures, walked away changed.
“It was a very natural experience that fueled me for other trips,” she says. “I want to make every trip like that one. Just very unique.”
Roberts says she was also inspired to pursue a profession in adventure travel from the time in her youth she spent going to camps and forming bonds in small groups. She went to camps around North Carolina and even went on a three-week camping trip to California.
“I was just immersed in that experience where you meet an entire new group of people in a cabin,” she says. “You can forge great relationships that way. …I took this group of friendships that were formed through those experiences, and they stood the test of time.”
Snow Roberts at Bryce Canyon, Utah.
After graduate school at NC State, she worked for Broadreach, a company that sends kids on educational adventures around the world, for roughly 11 years. Then in 2013 she began Blue Highway Adventures on her own.
She’s now gearing up for a summer of trips that will send participants to exotic locales and incorporate crossfit training. But she’s finding that the business side of things offers her a new education and that doing her own marketing, web design and legal paperwork is far away from a bike ride through Holland or hike in Peru.
“There’s whole side of things not necessarily in my wheelhouse, and I’m having so much fun learning about it,” says Roberts, who explains the genesis of her first name is actually a family hand-me-down and a marketing coup. “It’s so unique. It serves me great in the travel adventure industry.”
Roland Kays is a research associate professor and director of the Biodiversity and Earth Observation Lab at the Nature Research Center at the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences.
We talked with Kays for the winter issue of NC State magazine about his role on a team that confirmed a new mammal species, the olinguito, during a 2006 expedition to the cloud forests of Ecuador. News of the discovery — which came after research in museums and elsewhere suggested that such a species might exist — captured the attention around the globe when it was announced last summer.
Our interview with Kays covered more ground than we could fit in the magazine, so here are excerpts from the rest of the interview:
What do you know about the olinguito’s diet? We definitely saw them eating fruit, so we know they eat fruit. If you look at their teeth, they’re kind of pointy like a predator or like an insect eater. So we think they might eat some other stuff.
How were you able to get so much information about the olinguito by looking at in the trees? Well, we shot one and put it in the museum collections. If you want to describe a new species, you need to have a voucher specimen. You need to have that in your hand. We didn’t want to kill any of them. It’s not very fun. But we had to have our vouchers so that other scientists can go back and verify our findings, and also so we can have the fresh DNA to make these comparisons.
What does this discovery tell us about the area where the olinguito was found? It shows that the tree canopies are this sort of frontier of discovery, that there’s still a lot of unknown stuff up there. I’m sure there’s more discoveries to be made in these forests, and especially in the canopies.
How does the olinguito compare to other olingos? This one is a lot redder, has a bushier tail and is smaller – it’s actually the smallest member now of the raccoon family.
How is it possible that we’re still discovering new mammal species at this point? Every year we’re finding new mammals, and most of them are bats and rats and smaller things. But the age of discovery in mammals is still ongoing. There’s still lots and lots to learn.
Why are such discoveries important? There are still things to learn about our planet and still just this basic cataloguing of what’s here that is ongoing. It’s an important endeavor. This discovery, in particular, highlights the importance of these cloud forest habitats, that these are really special places that are really diverse. In addition to the olinguito, there’s a special bear called the spectacled bear that lives only in South America, only in these cloud forests. This is a really special habitat that is under siege by developing agriculture. This really highlights the fact that these are biologically rich places that deserve protection.
Were there any common mistakes in the reporting of the discovery? Yes, but it’s a little complicated so I can’t necessarily blame them. They reported that it’s the first new carnivore [discovered] in 35 years. But when we say carnivore in this way we mean member of the order Carnivora, which is a group of mammals that includes the raccoons, the bears, the weasels, the dogs, the cats. And most of them eat meat, but a lot of them don’t. So in this case, this is a fruit-eating carnivore. And so the press messed that up a lot — they called it a meat eater.
Caldwell Fellows and alumni came together in the Brickyard this weekend to turn scrap planks of plywood into a red lean-to for the 22nd annual Shack-a-Thon, a weeklong fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity of Wake County.
Beginning Monday, the shack became a temporary home for participating Caldwell Fellows. In addition to manning their shack during the day, the Fellows will take turns spending the night until the event ends at 5 p.m. Friday.
Julia Rao and Ryan O’Donnell pass time in the Caldwell Fellows’ shack.
Julia Rao, a sophomore in mechanical engineering, helped build the shack on Sunday and was one of the first to staff it on Monday.
“When we started we had absolutely no plan,” Rao says. “I’m impressed we were able to make it look this good.”
Ryan O’Donnell, a junior in business administration, joined Rao in the shack. Looking up from his Chinese homework, he mentioned that this year’s shack is slightly larger than those in previous years. “We’ll be able to fit more people in it, that’s for sure,” he says.
According to Shack-a-Thon rules, each organization’s shack must be manned by at least two students at all times and can be no larger than 12-by-12 feet.
Last year, the Fellows raised about $3,400 and placed third behind the first-place Poole College of Management and second-place College of Natural Resources. According to Summer Higdon, a senior in wildlife biology and leader of the Caldwell Fellows’ Shack-a-Thon effort, the group hopes to raise $4,000 this week through in-person and online donations.
In addition to collecting donations, the group will raffle off donated gift certificates and coupons from local restaurants.
Higdon says she plans on spending most of her free time in the shack this week. “Everyone seems really excited about it,” she says. “It’s more exciting when you can see it there and you think ‘oh I get to live in this shack, that’s really cool.’”
To contribute to Habitat for Humanity through the Caldwell Fellows, visit 2013ncsushack.kintera.org.
– Alex Sanchez
The Caldwell Fellows program is an intensive leadership-development scholarship program that was created by the Alumni Association to honor the legacy of Chancellor John T. Caldwell.
The Alumni Association is honoring 21 NC State professors with the 2013 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 Michelle Harrolle, an assistant professor in the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management in the College of Natural Resources. Harrolle is one of seven professors being recognized as Alumni Association Outstanding Teachers.
What prompted you to become a professor? I love teaching and always have. Thinking back to my childhood, my friends and I would play school and I always wanted to be the teacher. Teaching is in my nature and a part of who I am. My road to becoming a professor began in 2006 when I was a collegiate head swimming coach at Providence College. I realized I enjoyed the teaching aspects of being a college coach.
What are the keys to being a successful teacher/professor? First and foremost, I believe teachers truly need to care about their students. I always want to see my students succeed. The second most important part of my success has been my willingness to change and adapt. As society changes, so do our student. I enjoy adapting my teaching techniques (e.g., encouraging students to use laptop and tablets in class) and developing strategies to improve my teaching and student engagement (e.g., using student response systems in class).
What gives you the greatest satisfaction as a professor? When students are critically thinking and they have that “a-ha” moment, I am a very happy professor. I love it when former students come back after graduation and tell me they have used financial ratios and break-even analysis within their professions.
NC State University, the Wolfpack Club and the Alumni Association will recognize some of NC State’s greatest stars tonight at Prestonwood Country Club in Cary, N.C., honoring 18 alumni and friends of the university for their professional and personal accomplishments and their continuing support of NC State, the Wolfpack Club and the Alumni Association.
The honorees at the 9th Annual NC State Evening of Stars are:
COLLEGE DISTINGUISHED AWARD RECIPIENTS
Tommy Bunn ’66, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences: Bunn, president of the U.S. Tobacco Cooperative, has spent more than 45 years in the tobacco industry. He got his start growing tobacco on his family farm, then went on to work for 21 years as executive vice president of the Leaf Tobacco Exporters Association and the Tobacco Association of the United States. He also worked in the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the N.C. Department of Agriculture, and was a charter member and chairman of the Golden Leaf Foundation Board of Directors.
Charlie Stuber ’65 PhD, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences: For more than 35 years, Stuber held a joint appointment as a genetics professor at NC State and a research geneticist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service. Stuber then came out of retirement to return to NC State in 2006 to develop and direct the Center for Plant Breeding and Applied Plant Genomics. The USDA Agricultural Research Service named him the Outstanding Scientist of the Year in 1989 and inducted Stuber into their Science Hall of Fame in 1989.
Steven Schuster ’73, College of Design: Schuster is the founding principal of Clearscapes, a full-service architectural design firm in Raleigh. Under Schuster’s leadership, Clearscapes has been recognized with more than 75 design awards and worked on such notable projects as the Marbles Kids Museum in Raleigh, the Haw River Ball Room, the Raleigh Convention Center and the Contemporary Art Museum. Schuster is also a national leader in the historic preservation community. He serves on the Board of Visitors at NC State.
Robert Bridges ’70 MED, College of Education: Bridges taught sixth grade and then high school in Wake County before becoming principal at Crosby-Garfield Elementary School. He then went on to work in Wake County’s central office as a director, assistant superintendent and deputy superintendent before becoming the superintendent in 1984. After five years leading the state’s second largest public school system, Bridges went on to become provost at St. Augustine College in Raleigh, and then worked as an education and management consultant and chaired the N.C. Advisory Commission on Raising Achievement and Closing Gaps.
Stephen Angel, ’77, College of Engineering: Angel is chair, president and CEO of Praxair, Inc., a Fortune 300 company that ranks as the largest industrial gases producer and distributor in North and South America, with sales of $11 billion in 2011. Before joining Praxair, Angel spent more than two decades at GE, most recently as general manager of the company’s $2 billion power equipment business. He serves on the board of directors of the U.S.-China Business Council and PPG Industries, and is a member of the Business Roundtable, the Business Council and the U.S.-Brazil Forum.
Jimmy Clark ’74, College of Engineering: Clark is the owner and president of Guy M. Turner, Inc., a diversified company that is a leader in the handling and moving of the heaviest equipment in the fields of rigging, machine tool installation, crane services and specialized transportation. The company has 12 offices in the United States and Canada. Clark serves on the NC State Board of Trustees, as well as on the board of directors for the NC State Alumni Association and the Engineering Foundation. He previously chaired the NC State Board of Visitors.
John Edmond ’87, College of Engineering: While earning his PhD in material sciences and engineering, Edmond teamed with other graduate students and young faculty on some promising silicon carbide research. Upon graduation, the group co-founded what became CREE Inc., one of the world’s top LED manufacturers. Today, Edmond is director of advanced optoelectronics for the Durham-based company, which makes energy-efficient LED lights, lighting components and semiconductor products.
Susan Warren Rabon ’82, College of Humanities and Social Sciences: Rabon is a member of the N.C. Utilities Commission, which regulates the rates and services of all of the state’s public utilities. Rabon, who received her law degree from the University of Virginia, has also worked as a clerk in the N.C. Court of Appeals, as special counsel and then chief of staff for the N.C. Department of Justice, and senior assistant for administration in the office of the governor. She has previously served on the NC State Board of Visitors.
Kevin Beasley ’79, Poole College of Management: Beasley, a CPA, is a partner-in-charge of tax practice at the Raleigh office of Grant Thornton, one of the Big Six international accounting firms. He previously worked at Arthur Anderson, where he rose to the position of partner and earned a spot in the inaugural class of the NC State Accounting Hall of Fame.
Ray Tanner ’80, College of Natural Resources: Tanner, a former All-ACC baseball player at NC State, was named athletics director for the University of South Carolina last year after spending 25 years as a collegiate head baseball coach, including nine years as the head coach at NC State. Under Tanner’s direction, the baseball team at South Carolina won two NCAA Division I Baseball Championships and made six appearances in the College World Series. Tanner has been named National Coach of the Year three times.
Sung Won Lee, ’60 MS, ’67 PhD, College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences: After earning his graduate degrees at NC State, Lee returned to his native South Korea to lead the S-Oil Corporation to success as the third largest oil refinery in Korea. He also served as chairman of two South Korean chemical companies. But his passion is downhill skiing, and his family built Korea’s oldest and largest ski and snowboard resort, which will host alpine skiing events for the 2018 Winter Olympics and 2018 Winter Paralympics. Lee is founder and president of the Asian Ski Federation, former vice president of the Olympic Council of Asia and honorary president of the Korean Ski Association.
Michael Fralix ’00 PhD, College of Textiles: Fralix is the president and CEO of [TC]2, a company that develops next generation supply chain technologies such as 3-D body scanners used in product development for apparel and equipment, made-to-measure clothing, clothing size and style recommendations and body shape analysis.
Dr. Laura Rush ’97 DVM, College of Veterinary Medicine: Rush began her career as a registered nurse, specializing in the care of cancer patients, before going to vet school. Following graduation, she joined the faculty at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine and headed a laboratory funded by the National Institute of Health that focused on cancer research in dogs and humans. Rush now works as vice president and associate medical director for GSW Worldwide, a healthcare marketing firm where she helps develop marketing strategies for healthcare companies.
WOLFPACK CLUB AWARD
Nora Lynn Finch, Ronnie Shavlik Award: Finch was a pioneer for collegiate women’s athletics, serving as the ACC’s first female assistant athletics director and negotiated the first women’s basketball tournament television contract with CBS. At NC State, Finch served as head volleyball and softball coach, associate head coach for women’s basketball, and assistant, associate and senior associate athletics director. She is currently the ACC’s associate commissioner for women’s basketball operations and senior women’s administrator. She has been inducted into the National Women’s Sports Hall of Fame.
ALUMNI ASSOCIATION AWARDS
Ryan DeJong ’05, Outstanding Young Alumnus: DeJong, chief operating officer of FIRM Consulting Group, has led the Tampa NC State Alumni Network since 2007. As network leader, DeJong has aggressively promoted his alma mater and the Alumni Association. He recruits and manages volunteers to staff local college fairs and plans many types of group activities for his fellow Tampa Wolfpackers.
Sherice Nivens ’98, Outstanding Young Alumnus: Nivens, cardiac sales manager for Intuitive Surgical, is a member of the PAMS Alumni and Friends Advisory Board and a founding member of the Dean’s Circle. She served as the keynote speaker for the 2009 Department of Chemistry graduation ceremony and the 2010 Society of African American Physical and Mathematical Scientists annual banquet.
Bill Collins ’54, ’61 MS, Meritorious Service Award: Collins, a world renowned expert in tobacco field production, was a Philip Morris Professor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences for 28 years. Since retiring in 2005, Collins joined the CALS Office of College Advancement as senior director of development. He is a former member of the board of directors of the Alumni Association.
Judi Grainger ’72 MS, Meritorious Service Award: Grainger served as president of the Alumni Association board of directors in 2011 and served for a total of 14 years on the board. She also serves on the NC State Board of Visitors, the College of Education Advisory Board and the board of directors of The State Club.
The Arizona Cardinals suffered one of the more memorable losses of the 2012 season last week, as they fell to the Seattle Seahawks 58-0. It was difficult for an NFL veteran like Adrian Wilson, the longest tenured Cardinal, to fully process such a loss.
Photo courtesy of the Arizona Cardinals.
“When you have a game like that, emotionally, you’re going to be charged the rest of the week until you play another game,” says Wilson, who played at NC State in the late 90s and early 2000s. “It will make you question a lot. It will make you question if you want to play. ”
But Wilson and the Cardinals get another chance this Sunday. “That’s the great thing about football,” he says. “That’s why guys love to play it.”
The High Point, N.C., native has loved playing professional football the last 12 years. He left NC State and was drafted by the Cardinals in the third round of the 2001 NFL Draft. He was a starter by his third year, led the Cardinals in tackles in Super Bowl XLIII in 2008 and was named to his fifth Pro Bowl last season. Wilson chalks up his longevity to a little luck and care. “I’m truly blessed to have good health, and I take care of my body,” he says.
Wilson is also leaving his footprint off the field. The fashion bug bit him in 2007, and he opened High Point Shoes – a store dedicated to street wear and skate fashion — in Scottsdale, Ariz. He says his mother pushed the entrepreneurial spirit in him, but that it was scary opening a business, even for a 6-foot-3, 230-pound NFL strong safety.
“You have to find your identity,” he says. “You can’t be like any other store. I think when we first started, we were a street wear type of brand, and now it’s crossed over more into shoes and accessories. More cleaned up and buttoned down types of things.”
Wilson says a lot of NFL players understand the concept of transitioning to life outside of football. “But to actually have the guts to do it is another thing,” he says.
High Point shoes is now in its sixth year, and Wilson appreciates seeing customers come in and enjoy what he sells. He says the store has a family atmosphere, and that he likes that a community has been forged there. And that’s an aspect he’ll want to continue after football, when he plans to build a community center, as well.
“Sometimes people just come in and hang out,” he says. “It’s very gratifying.”
Photo courtesy of adrianwilson24.com.
When a parade of brightly decorated boats passed by the waterfront in New Bern, N.C., as part of the town’s annual Coastal Christmas Flotilla this year, there were plenty of traditional holiday symbols: a snowman, a gingerbread house, reindeer and, of course, Santa Claus.
One boat, however, stood out: Nancy Childs ’87 and her family trimmed their sailboat with hundreds of LED lights to create a striking image of NC State’s mascot.
Photo courtesy Zach Frailey and The Uprooted Photographer
Childs, who graduated from the College of Design and is a graphic artist at Craven County Community College, says she and her family have participated in the flotilla before. But they never received as much reaction as they did at this year’s event on Dec. 1.
“It was great,” she says. “The kids were yelling ‘wolf’ and people on the shore would yell ‘pack.’” (Childs did allow, however, that the names of a couple of rival schools were shouted out as well.)
Childs says the Wolfpack-themed boat done was in part to honor her father, Robert James Miller ’56 of Raleigh.
Miller gave the sailboat, a 23-footer named “Sprite,” to his daughter after he could no longer use it, but the family is planning to sell it. Childs said her dad was pleased that the boat had placed first in its class, calling it “delightful.”
Miller received his undergraduate degree from the College of Natural Resources, later received master’s and doctorate degrees from Yale University, and became vice president of Radford College (now university) in Radford, Va.
Childs and her husband, Edward, joined by children Sarah Kate, John and Emily, spent about 28 hours mapping out the wolf’s head — complete with a red nose and “NCSU” spelled out on its sailor cap — using more than 2,000 LED lights meticulously attached to plastic mesh that was then hoisted onto the mast.
To see a gallery of other boats in the flotilla, go to: www.uprootedphotographer.com/
– Sylvia Adcock ’81
Photo courtesy of Denver Broncos.
Nate Irving has three numbers tattooed on his left forearm. They read “06-28-09″ and serve as a reminder of the automobile accident three years ago that forced him to sit out a year of football at NC State. But, Irving says, the accident helped him learn humility and patience. And that has helped prepare him for life in the NFL.
Irving was a third-round pick by the Denver Broncos in the 2011 draft after an All-ACC career for the Wolfpack. But Irving, a linebacker, played primarily on special teams during his rookie year. Irving knew he had to be patient to learn the pro game.
“Sitting out last year and just doing special teams helped me get adjusted to the speed and physicality of the NFL,” he says. “You’re going up against guys who are elite at their positions. You have to be very good and smart at what you’re doing.”
The Broncos hired a new defensive coordinator, Jack Del Rio, for this season, and his defensive scheme is conducive to Irving’s game at the middle linebacker position. Irving credits Del Rio’s system with him getting more playing time. It has also helped Irving make a greater impact on the field, like when he had three tackles during a Monday Night Football game on Oct. 15.
“I think it’s what Coach Del Rio and the coaching staff has done,” he says. “I’m able to be physical. I like playing on the line of scrimmage.”
Irving says the new system also allows him to improve on his weaknesses, like defending against the pass.
Photo courtesy of Denver Broncos.
What aids in that improvement is the patience the numbers tattooed on Irving’s forearm evoke. Sitting out the 2009 year at NC State while he recovered from the accident armed him with that virtue, which, in turn, allowed him to accept studying the game for a year last season and become prepared to make an impact this season.
“I’m happy that things happened the way they did,” he says. “It taught me about NFL football. It helped me study NFL teams and what to look for.”