College of Textiles Category
Even if you don’t find math the most engaging topic, it’s hard not to appreciate how NC State alumnus Robert Allison uses math to make interactive maps.
With the recent mystery of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight, many people have taken an interest in airplane disappearances. Allison has been interested in airplanes since he was a child because his father was a pilot in the Navy.
Allison, who earned his undergraduate (1987), masters (1990) and doctoral (1996) degrees at NC State, has worked with visual analytics at SAS for over 20 years. He recently developed an interactive map that shows the major unexplained airplane disappearances since 1948.
“NC State is where I learned how to do the graphics and use the SAS software and mapping techniques,” says Allison, who lives in Cary, N.C.
The interactive map he made was based off of one he found while researching the missing airplane on Bloomberg’s website. By downloading a spreadsheet of data from the Aviation Safety Network and using the SAS programming language, he created a new map that contained much more information than the original.
“My goal was just to find a map that I like and make a better version of it,” Allison says. “It’s easy to understand and easy to use.”
Allison focuses on making simple graphics that maximize efficiency. With the map he has created of missing airplanes, researchers could see if there are any trends of which airports these airplanes took off from or make more detailed data sets related to pilot experience or other factors that could have led to these lost airplanes.
“We could potentially utilize some of SAS’ analytic capabilities to help find the missing plane,” he says. “For example, they found 122 pieces of debris in satellite photos that might be from the missing plane – we could use SAS/OR (Operations Research) to optimize the order in which they investigate these 122 pieces, so that they do that in the shortest distance & time.”
Making maps is not new for Allison, but he still enjoys making them for their interactivity and potential for data analysis. Allison has created hundreds of maps and graphics, including maps that track the flu epidemic in California, show the debris from a space shuttle explosion and track iPhone versus Android phone usage by state.
“I’m currently working on a map to try to show all the known information about the missing Flight 370 on one single map,” Allison says.
These maps have the potential to help solve the mystery behind missing airplanes. Allison hopes that future efforts will be made with SAS technology to further this research and find out why some of these disappearances happen.
Tracy Bissette considers herself an architect even though she’s never built a house or designed a building.
Instead, Bissette, who graduated from NC State in 1995 with a degree in textiles, is a self-proclaimed “chief learning architect” at her business WeejeeLearning, an e-learning company that develops fun and exciting programs companies can use to train their employees.
Businesses approach Bissette and the other designers at Weejee, which Bissette started with a business partner in 2010, with a specific goal in mind. They may want their employees to take part in orientation or undergo compliance or customer-service training. Bissette has different ways of explaining what Weejee does with the training, claiming that “The Blah Stops Here” or describing the development as “Funification.”
Regardless of what she calls it, the goal is the same: Engaging adult learners at various Fortune 500 companies in ways they have not been educated before. “I see it is as making [learning] more ‘edutainment,’” says Bissette. “It used to be that every module was two hours long and they had a fifteen-minute closing. If training is going to be effective, you have to get their attention.”
Bissette calls upon her master’s degree in instructional design from George Mason University and her previous endeavors with developing e-learning curricula for education companies like All Kinds of Minds and Mindworks Multimedia to find creative ways to get learners involved. It may be adding music or telling a story instead of just providing a list of instructions to employees. Sometimes, she’ll develop a game to teach the material.
Those solutions help Bissette and WeejeeLearning take home awards for their creative solutions. She was named by the Triangle Business Journal as one of RTP’s “Top 40 under 40″ in 2012, and the company’s designs have been heralded in Training Magazine.
Getting involved in his school seemed to come naturally for Ed Stack. He helped establish the first student government at his junior high school in Rowan County, N.C., and then became the school’s first student body president. In high school, he was involved in student government, sports and, as he says, “every club that you could think of.”
So when he came to NC State, Stack didn’t hesitate to get involved — even if it was on a much larger stage than the small schools he had attended before college. As a textiles management major, Stack got involved with the Textile Student Council when he was a freshman.
“Fortunately, the textile school is a very fostering and encouraging place to be,” Stack said in one of his interviews as part of the Student Leadership Initiative, an effort by NCSU Libraries to chronicle the experiences of student leaders at NC State. “I mean, I certainly didn’t come to State with the mindset that I was going to run for student body president, although I had always been involved in student government.”
His time on the Textile Student Council, though, whetted Stack’s appetite for student government. He was elected student body president his junior year and then re-elected again his senior year, holding the office from 1990-92.
But while Stack enjoyed being involved with student government — working with other students on different programs and issues – he did not particularly enjoy the election process. “I’ve always been surprised at how much politics — pure, ugly politics — is involved in student government, or at least was at the time,” he said. “That is probably the thing that I liked least about it.”
Stack served during a tumultuous time for NC State, with state budget cuts impacting the hours that D.H. Hill Library could be open. Stack challenged the student body president at UNC to a fundraising contest to raise money for the libraries at the two universities. “Even though State and Carolina are big rivals, we can come together on such an important issue and send a strong message to the state legislature,” Stack said at the time.
The loser of the contest would have to wear the winning school’s colors at an NC State-UNC basketball game. Stack raised over $6,000, more than enough to win the challenge.
Stack, who is now associate executive director of The Wolfpack Club, says his motivation for being involved in student government — or in his fraternity or anything else at NC State — was simple. “Anything that I got involved in,” he said, “was really an effort to make NC State a smaller place.”
Rows of greenhouses show up on campus maps behind Kilgore Hall as far back as 1955. Years later, the rows multiplied and filled up much of the space behind Kilgore, stretching south to Yarborough Drive and the railroad tracks. The run-down greenhouses gave the area an almost industrial feel.
“You used to walk through campus and when you would get there, you would feel like you were not on campus anymore,” says Lisa Johnson, university architect.
Today much of the space appears on maps of NC State as a patch of green to signify the park that has replaced the greenhouses.
After the Marye Anne Fox Science Teaching Laboratory was completed in 2004, the research greenhouses were moved off the main campus. A few greenhouses used for teaching are now located behind Fox, while in front is a wide lawn with patches of daylilies for color, walkways for strolling and benches for resting. In one corner, a vine-covered arbor offers shade near a grove of fig trees.
The park-within-a-campus was named the Governors Kerr and Bob Scott Courtyard. Kerr Scott was governor from 1949-53; his son Robert served from 1969-73. The elder Scott graduated from NC State in 1917, while his son graduated in 1952.
At the dedication of the courtyard in 2010, William C. “Bill” Friday ’41, president emeritus of the UNC system, spoke of the contributions of two NC State graduates who went from farming to the governor’s office.
Friday died in 2012; today a bust of Friday is part of the courtyard, facing Nelson Hall, which for many years was the home of the School of Textiles, of which Friday was a graduate.
— Sylvia Adcock ’81
The faculty and administration at the College of Textiles were not eager to be pioneers on Centennial Campus. They voted unanimously in 1987 against the college moving from Nelson Hall and David Clark Labs on the main campus to the new campus that was still more imagined than real.
Nonetheless, it was on this day in 1988 that the ground was officially broken for a new home for the College of Textiles on Centennial Campus. The 300,000-foot square foot facility, which was actually to be four interconnected buildings, was expected to cost $30 million to build and equip. Over 175 people turned out for the groundbreaking.
“If this $30 million investment says anything, it says the textiles industry is a number one priority at North Carolina State University,” then-Chancellor Bruce Poulton said at the groundbreaking, according to an account in the Technician. “This building is really symbolic of our constant commitment to have the best College of Textiles in the free world.”
The new College of Textiles complex was dedicated in 1991.
Kyle Blakely loves his job at Under Armour. It helps that he finds himself surrounded by other graduates of NC State.
At least 17 NC State alumni work at the Baltimore headquarters of the sporting apparel company, according to Blakely. “It’s a lot for a small company,” says Blakely, who graduated from NC State in 2007 with a textiles degree.
Blakely, director of material development, works with a team to develop and engineer textiles that Under Armour uses for their athletic wear. “We’re engineering the fabrics that go into garments,” he says. “Part of that is working with our mill partners and the other part is working with design partners here.”
Blakely attributes the large number of employees at Under Armour from NC State to the education that the university provides. “Most of us are from College of Textiles,” he says. “But, one is from sports marketing – that’s a big deal. I think there are a few with engineering degrees, but it’s mostly textiles. We do have other fields present and we even have a few from UNC. Most of them majored in finance.”
It’s nice to have so many colleagues who share his Wolfpack background, Blakely says. “Baltimore – it’s a great city, but we’re from North Carolina,” he says. “Anyone from North Carolina that has lived there for an extended period has an understanding about how great it is down South. It’s nice to have people here that understand your culture and your background.”
Blakely and his coworkers have filled their walls with NC State paraphernalia. “I have an NC State jersey on the wall,” he says. “It’s everywhere. You can tell NC State people because we have it all over our desks. Everybody displays their NC State stuff with a lot of pride.”
In addition to hiring so many NC State graduates, Under Armour has developed a more formal partnership with the university. “We have a great working professional relationship with NC State,” says Blakely. “We show some of our designers our school, show them the textiles machine. We take proofs to NC State and (the designers) have a whole new perspective. It’s beyond just us working here.”
The success that Blakely and his NC State colleagues have enjoyed at Under Armour, he says, undercuts any suggestion that a degree in textiles is not useful in today’s economy. “While the manufacturing side isn’t as heavy as it used to be, there are still mills in this hemisphere and they are thriving,” he says. “There are many job opportunities and brands (in textiles) … In all reality, there is more opportunity than ever, especially since we’re specialized and there are not a lot of us (textile majors).”
Blakely says his textiles degree has worked well for him. “When I came into textiles, people were like are you kidding me?” he says. “I couldn’t be happier. I have the coolest job on the planet.”
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 Keith Beck, a professor of textile engineering, chemistry and science in the College of Textiles. Beck is one of six professors being recognized as Alumni Association Distinguished Undergraduate Professors.
What prompted you to become a professor? In my early days as a graduate student in the Purdue University chemistry department, my assistantship required that I teach organic chemistry labs. Through those opportunities to learn and practice the art of teaching, it became apparent that I really enjoyed, not only the generation of knowledge, but also sharing it with others, especially in the hands-on laboratory part of chemistry. When my research adviser would need to be out of town on business, he gave me the opportunity to lecture about organic chemistry to 260 undergraduate chemistry and chemical engineering students. Those days of large blackboards and chalk have morphed into our technologically advanced classrooms and all the resources of the internet, but after 43 years in the classroom and laboratory, my joy of sharing knowledge with students is still strong.
What are the keys to being a successful teacher/professor? My teaching philosophy has always been centered on expectations. If you expect only a little from students, it is highly likely that they will achieve at that level. At the beginning of each course, I explain my expectations to the students, including a lengthy interactive discourse on the importance of academic integrity. Secondly, timing is very important. In the real world, expectations are that people will be prompt for meetings and with project responsibilities. One of my goals is to always start and finish classes and labs on time, so that the students can attend to their other responsibilities. I also return homework, lab reports and exams in the next class meeting so that students can receive rapid feedback on their performance. Finally, it is important that, through your actions, students sense that you care about their education and future. Because my classes are typically small (15-40 students), I learn the student’s names during the first week, so that I can call on them by name. Students will be more motivated to work hard if their instructors demonstrate concern for their future and a willingness to get to know them.
What gives you the greatest satisfaction as a professor? My greatest satisfaction is generated in observing the “aha” response that students exhibit when they finally understand something or they do well on an exam or a chemistry experiment gives them results that they can understand and explain. Having a small part in the process that generates that response is very rewarding. I still enjoy that experience in the lab when experiments produce new information about textile materials with which I am working. Also extremely satisfying is the interaction with former students who are doing well and relate some of that success back to their educational experience at NC State.
Bryan Jones never thought he would be a writer.
“I can’t even spell,” Jones says. “I’m atrocious at grammar.”
But 14 years after graduating NC State with a degree in political science, Jones finds himself creating children’s books with Hootie Bowman, who graduated from NC State with a textiles degree in 1997.
The die-hard Wolfpackers Jones and Bowman are the creators of Collegiate Kids Books, a company based in Hickory, N.C. It started with the idea that avid sports fans can be cultivated at a very early age.
Go … Wolfpack … Go! is just one book in the collection. Currently, there are five books in the collection, but Jones plans on expanding. The books are interactive, with scratch-and-sniff items and textures for children to feel. They are tailored to include the landmarks, mascots and well-known establishments of beloved ACC schools.
There’s even one for UNC-Chapel Hill, which wasn’t easy to write, Jones says, even though his mother and wife both went there.
“I still feel like I need to go wash my hands,” Jones says. “It was a little difficult. But really, I want Carolina kids to grow up to be passionate Carolina fans and hate State. I want them to be just as passionate about beating State as we are about beating Carolina.”
Jones was inspired with the idea for the books when his daughter Lauren was born. He was looking for good books to read her before bed. He read books like the N.C. State-centric Hello, Mr. Wuf, by Aimee Aryal and Pat the Bunny, a touch-and-feel book, and realized he could fuse the State themes of the one with the interactive qualities of the other to create his own concept.
“You want your child to love NC State,” says Jones. “I thought I could combine those ideas.”
So he did. Now, Jones and Bowman’s book collection is steadily growing to expand into other conferences besides the ACC.
“We’re coming out with South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Auburn and Clemson maybe as early as March,” says Jones, who adds that the company will eventually produce books about professional teams and even smaller schools. “We’re also going to do the military and Harley-Davidson. We want to do it if there’s a passionate group of people that want to pass that on to a younger generation.”
Now the father of two girls and one boy on the way, Jones hopes to take advantage of his product to get his children invested in the Wolfpack. If they like any other school, he’ll attribute it to a job well done.
“If they like UNC better, maybe I did my job too well with the Tar Heel book,” says Jones. “But, having both of these books kind of negates for one of them to sway (my children) to the other side.”
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.
Much of what goes on during Homecoming week is about having fun — concerts, contests and parades.
But NC State is also committed to service, so it should be no surprise that Homecoming week includes events such as a blood drive and a clean-up of Hillsborough Street.
And, today, a canned food drive culminated with several student organizations — from fraternities and sororities to college councils — bringing the cans they had collected to the Brickyard. There, student ambassadors for the Alumni Association helped collect thousands of cans that will be donated to the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina.
The collection got started around noon with more than 1,000 cans donated by students in the College of Textiles. “It’s a great cause,” said Carl Santos, a junior from Wake Forest, N.C., who is president of the Tomkpkins Textile Student Council, which organized the college’s effort. “With the hurricane, there are going to be a lot of people in need of food.”
Christopher Lawing, a sophomore from Charlotte, N.C., helped organize the canned food drive as part of a week-long Homecoming Spirit competition that included a craziest fan contest, a cupcake contest and a banner contest. Lawing is a student ambassador with the Alumni Association, which stages most of the events during Homecoming week.
“Last year, we collected 11,000 cans,” Lawing said. “I would love to beat that this year.”
They appeared to be well on their way as the cans piled up through the afternoon. One fraternity brought more than 3,000 cans for the drive.
THE CANNED FOOD DRIVE BEGINS: Carl Santos delivers cans collected by students at the College of Textiles
THE CANNED FOOD DRIVE NEARS THE END: Christopher Lawing tosses more cans onto the growing pile