But Morris’ work goes beyond those invasive pests. He’s also a leading researcher in the field of aquaculture, which is the cultivation of marine species and aquatic life for either consumption by humans or for use in biofuels. From its use on trout or catfish farms to its implementation in the ocean, aquaculture is a science that’s meaning more these days with the demand for seafood constantly growing while supplies are flatlining.
“There are job creation opportunities,” Morris says. “There are a lot of reasons we think marine aquaculture is poised to expand.”
One of Morris’ areas of focus is on cage culture. It’s a technique where fish are cultivated in a large aquapods, like the one seen in the picture here (photo by Snapperfarm), or cages, that are submerged in the ocean. Up until recently, it has been used in a few areas in the country, like the Northwest, where cages have been used to cultivate salmon. Morris says there’s also cage culture in the Northeast and in the Bahamas.
With advances in the engineering of those cages, which can actually be steered now, and the research that Morris does concerning the impacts on marine life and water quality, cage culture could expand in the U.S.
“Many of those impacts can be avoided if siting happens in a proper way,” Morris says. “We could see activity in the Gulf of Mexico. There’s activity in the Southwest.”
But Morris doesn’t forecast a growing cage culture for North Carolina, where it’s never been tried.
“In the Southeast, it’s going to be difficult to do aquaculture in the sea,” Morris says. “It just gets so rough. It’s such a shallow shelf. I’m not saying it’s not completely doable, but we’re not sure about it right now.”
At NC State’s 2011 spring commencement, the university awarded just under 3,600 degrees to female students. That number was almost half of the degrees NC State awarded that year, a figure that would have been a distant dream in the early 1900s. In the university’s early days, the administration was conflicted about whether to award degrees to females at all.
The 1920s saw the height of that debate after Lucille Thomson, the institution’s first regularly enrolled woman, departed school without having completed her degree, according to Alice Elizabeth Reagan’s North Carolina State University: A Narrative History.
Women continued to enroll as “special students,” and in June 1926, North Carolina State College of Agriculture and Engineering President Eugene Clyde Brooks recommended to trustees that women who had completed a degree’s stipulated coursework be considered “graduated.” That November, the trustees approved the recommendation.
Mary E. Yarbrough, the first woman to complete all coursework at NC State and be awarded a degree.
So on this day in 1927, three women were the first females to be awarded degrees from the university. They were Jane S. McKimmon, Charlotte Nelson and Mary E. Yarbrough.
Reagan writes that McKimmon had completed most of her coursework at Peace Institute and through extension courses. She received a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Nelson received a degree with some of her coursework completed at Meredith. Yarbrough, who completed all of her graduate courses at State College, was the first woman to receive a graduate degree from the university and the first one to have completed all her coursework here.
Three years later, State College would award a journalism degree to Ada Spencer, the first woman to complete all coursework on campus and receive an undergraduate degree from the university.
Republicans are in control of the state House and Senate in North Carolina for the first time in over a century. The governor is a Democrat with the power to veto any legislation she finds unacceptable.
That combination, along with a sputtering economy that forced cuts in government spending, led to a historic legislative session this year. The session is not technically over - legislators will return to Raleigh this summer to work on redistricting, constitutional amendments and other issues. But the passage of a state budget and several other pieces of legislation will change how things are done in North Carolina.
But what, specifically, will it mean for North Carolinians? How will they feel the impact of the decisions made by legislators?
We posed those questions to two NC State experts who follow government and politics in North Carolina. We spoke separately with Michael Walden, the William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor & Extension Economist, and Andrew Taylor, a professor of public and international affairs, and asked them what they considered to be substantial measures to come out of the legislature.
Both said the results may not be as severe as the heated rhetoric between Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue and Republican legislative leaders might indicate. They pointed out that government had already been absorbing spending cuts over the past year in response to declining revenues and that state and local governments will shuffle resources to mitigate the impact of smaller budgets.
“We’ve actually had to downsize the budget in a gradual way,” Walden said. “Now that downsizing has been codified, or ratified, in the budget.”
But Walden and Taylor also said the legislature made substantial changes, some of which may still be vetoed by Perdue. Taylor said the legislature clearly moved public policy in North Carolina in a more conservative direction.
Walden focused on the budget, noting that spending will be cut throughout government as overall state spending takes a rare dip. Walden pointed out a few specific areas where changes may be more obvious:
The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources took a big hit, with many positions cut and others shifted to other state agencies. The result, Walden said, is that there will not be as much public oversight of the environment. Taylor said that was part of a larger effort to roll back regulations on business.
Consumers will get some relief at the cash register after legislators declined to continue what was supposed to be a temporary one-cent increase in the sales tax. Perdue wanted to keep the tax increase to provide more money for education.
Capital spending - on buildings, roads, etc. - will be in short supply. With the state short of cash, legislators chose not to put a lot of money into construction projects.
Taylor talked about some non-budget items that will lead to big shifts in public policy in North Carolina:
The political process will undergo significant changes as the result of bills requiring voters to show identification, making judicial elections partisan and changing the time allowed for early voting.
Legislators made changes in abortion laws, requiring women to have an ultrasound and wait 24 hours after a counseling session before getting an abortion, and may ask North Carolina voters to weigh in on a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages.
Taylor said divided government may become a fixture in North Carolina for years to come. He said North Carolina is not clearly a red state or a blue state.
“We’re very much a purple state, something we should get used to,” Taylor said.
The Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) program is a part of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service.Begun in 1911, the program began with McKimmon working as a demonstration agent, going into homes of primarily rural women and assisting them with issues like nutrition and poverty relief.
Today the program works through outreach to help families in counties throughout the state understand issues associated with energy efficiency, finances, education, literacy, and health care.
Attendees were treated to a rich tapestry of artifacts that depicted domestic life in the state throughout the last 100 years:washboards, Singer sewing machines, Aristocrat canning cookers and quilts dating back a century.
Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Service, a book chronicling the history of FCS, was unveiled at the event. “The book takes and tells a story from every county in North Carolina,” says Marshall Stewart, program leader for FCS at NC State. “When you read it, you can see the history of North Carolina taking shape.”
The celebration also recognized 25 inaugural members into the McKimmon Hall of Fame, some of whom were asked to describe the program’s legacy.
Judy Mock ’82 EDD: The power of education, particularly for rural women. We enable people to be responsible and raise their quality of life. We’re still tied to our roots. The programs are never going to go away.
Sandra Zaslow ’87 PHD: The foundation is Jane McKimmon and all the people in the counties. It’s always been a people-driven program.And that has continued unbroken.
Juanita Hudson: Everything changes, but it’s a growing opportunity. [FCS] has endured because of the research at NC State.
The program has reached out to North Carolina families since 1911. The program has provided hot lunch programs to rural schools and electricity to rural citizens. It began with home demonstration canning clubs.
Today, the program provides families with information about budgeting, credit use, health care costs and financial planning.
“What families need now is the same as what they needed in the past – credible information and practical skills to improve their economic opportunity, educational excellence, health and well-being, thus improving their lives and the communities in which they live,” said Marshall Stewart, program leader for FCS at NC State. “Families have the will. FCS has the way.”
Two events will be featured at the McKimmon Center.The first event, from 5-6 p.m., will unveil Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Service, a book that focuses on the program’s history and discusses the role of home demonstration clubs in North Carolina counties.
Dinner will begin at 6:30 p.m. and will include a dramatic reading by women in period costume representing four decades:the 1920s, 1940s, 1960s and 1980s.
The program will also induct 25 inaugural members into the Jane S. McKimmon Hall of Fame.
The Abstract, NC State News Services’ research blog, wrote yesterday about research led by Ben Chapman, an assistant professor and food safety specialist. The researchers put video cameras in commercial kitchens and found that risky food preparation practices happen more often than previously thought.
Chapman has a real passion for food safety (he calls himself a “nerdy dinner companion”), and he regularly publishes infosheets on food safety. He’s also the co-founder of the always fascinating Barfblog. Don’t worry, it’s way more interesting than it is disgusting. It’s a really accessible blog about food safety that will have you washing your hands a lot more often than you do right now (be warned . . . there is some barfing).
We caught up with Chapman yesterday and talked to him about restaurants and some ways to avoid food poisoning.
What do you look for when you eat in a restaurant?
Living in North Carolina, I look for sanitation grades. That’s one of the pieces of information I look at, [but] you have to put a whole picture together. I check out what people are doing and . . . look at what their practices are. As with a lot of stuff around food, a lot of it is trust-based and reputation-based and experience-based. Every meal I have — whether I make it at home or . . . when I go out to eat — I’m always sort of trusting someone’s not going to make me sick. I definitely look at the historical scores of our favorite restaurants. That tells me more than that 96 or 91 or 94 when I walk in. That’s why I love some of the [systems that counties] have in North Carolina. I can go back and look at inspection reports if I want to know a lot about [a restaurant]. The second thing I do is ask a lot of questions, which maybe makes me a nerdy dinner companion. I’m always interested in hearing what people do for food safety, what they think about it, [how they respond when I ask] about it.
How reliable are those sanitation grades?
They’re not indicators of whether I’m going to get sick. They’re this window into when the inspector showed up. We know from research that when inspectors show up, people do things differently. They try to be on their best (more…)
In the 1920s, members of the N.C. 4-H's Clarendon Women's Club of Columbus County hold their dress molds. (Photo courtesy of Special Collections, NCSU Libraries)
The N.C. 4-H Club will celebrate its 100th anniversary this week as members from across the state will be in Raleigh to participate in competitions and events as part of its annual 4-H Congress. Among the events will be a Centennial Homecoming Celebration on Tuesday night, when there will be a reunion dinner and a Rockin’ Clover Bash and when the first class of the 4-H Hall of Fame will be announced. NC State helped develop the N.C. 4-H Club — which also has been called the Corn Club and the Farmers’ Boy Club — in 1909.
NCSU Libraries’ Special Collections has an online exhibit, Green’n’ Growing, that includes a detailed history of the N.C. 4-H Club and hundreds of great photos of the club’s work over its 100-year history. The N&O also has some colorful photos of the recent N.C. State 4-H Horse Show, one of the nation’s largest 4-H horse programs.
If you were a Cub Scout, you probably participated in the Pinewood Derby. Well, last Thursday N.C. State’s Plants for Human Health Institute and the N.C. Cooperative Extension’s Program for Value-Added and Alternative Agriculture held the Zucchini 500 at the North Carolina Research Campus Farmers Market in Kannapolis. It’s kind of like the Pinewood Derby, but instead of creating a car from a block of wood, contestants use a zucchini.