They don’t call it a mountaintop experience for nothing.
Eighteen months after standing at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro, Dr. Craig Brookins can remember what he was thinking as he began his attempt to reach the summit of the world’s tallest freestanding mountain, 19,351 feet above sea level.
Brookins, an associate professor of psychology and Africana studies, shared his experiences with a rapt audience recently during a Fabulous Faculty presentation at D.H. Hill Library as part of Black History Month events.
"Jesse Helms and Jim Hunt." he says. "Both of them were absolute experts at political communications."
Crone, a political consultant who founded Campaign Connections in 1991, was a keynote speaker during CHASS Communication Week in February.
Crone says failing to communicate is one of the most common mistakes made by political figures. Good issues research and voter research, he says, are crucial to effective political communication.
"Anybody who's in the political arena, in either party, has to have a set of core values," he says. "Then you have to test your core values against the perceptions and expectations and values of the voters … Voter research is validating whether you can accomplish your core values. Will voters accept or reject your leadership?"
With the General Assembly in session to wrestle with a massive shortfall in the state budget, Republicans and Democrats have just begun to debate what the state’s priorities should be as they make spending cuts. Crone says it is important for members of both parties to be open about their deliberations.
"I think the people of North Carolina want their government to be open," he says. "North Carolina has been relatively progressive when it comes to open government, and we need to continue that."
first posted on NC State's Red and White for Life blog.
NC State University has received a five-year, $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to study the root causes behind childhood obesity in low-income families. Sociologist Sarah Bowen will direct the research project whose goal is to track urban and rural families to better understand the factors – economic, social, cultural and environmental – that contribute to what has been called an "obesity epidemic" in the United States.
Children, low-income and minority populations are particularly at risk of being part of the obesity epidemic – those populations have seen the largest gains in obesity nationally.
Recent research on obesity has focused almost exclusively on individual behaviors," says Dr. Bowen, an assistant professor of sociology. "While this is important, we also need to look at how broader structural factors contribute to these dramatic increases in obesity. How affordable and accessible are fresh fruits and vegetables in low-income neighborhoods? What time constraints on working families make it difficult to prepare healthy meals? Do low-income parents perceive their neighborhoods as safe for outdoor play and do their children have access to public spaces for physical activity? How do stores in low-income neighborhoods stock and market food?"
The researchers will follow families over a five-year period. The study will take place in Durham, Harnett and Lee counties, and will draw from families who are part of the Faithful Families: Eating Smart and Moving More project, which promotes nutrition education and healthy eating behaviors. The Faithful Families project is part of the USDA’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, which aims to help low-income families make better decisions about healthy eating.
When the factors contributing to childhood obesity are better understood, Bowen and her research colleagues will work with community groups to develop common-sense structural and policy changes to help low-income families gain access to healthier food – and to safe places where kids can be physically active.
"Community members themselves will propose and help implement changes – whether it’s creating a community garden or a local farmer’s market or building a walking trail – to address the problem of childhood obesity and put our research into action," Bowen says.
Bowen’s colleagues include Dr. Sinikka Elliott, an NC State sociologist, and Lorelei Jones, the coordinator of the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program in North Carolina. Dr. Susan Jakes, an extension assistant professor and family and consumer development specialist at NC State and Keith Baldwin, a horticulture extension specialist at North Carolina A&T State University, will also work on the project, as will David Hall, the coordinator of the Faithful Families project.
By Mick Kulikowski, NC State News Services
Why, and when, do we learn to speak the way that we do? NC State University linguist Dr. Walt Wolfram's research on African-American children presents an unexpected finding: language use can go on a roller-coaster ride during childhood as kids adopt and abandon vernacular language patterns.
"We found that there is a ‘roller-coaster effect,’ featuring an ebb and flow in a child’s use of vernacular English over the course of his or her language development," says Wolfram, William C. Friday Distinguished University Professor of English Linguistics at NC State and co-author of several recent papers describing the research. "This was totally unanticipated." Vernacular English is defined here as culturally specific speech patterns that are distinct from standard English; in this case, the vernacular is African-American English (AAE).
One implication of the finding involves education, since teachers often advocate teaching standard English early in a childhood education. "This approach does seem to work at first," Wolfram says, "but it doesn’t last." In other words, if a school system wants its students to graduate high school with a strong foundation in standard English, it may have to revisit standard English later in the education curriculum.
Specifically, the researchers found that children come to school speaking English with a relatively high number of vernacular features. Then, through the first four grades of elementary school, those features are reduced, as children adopt more standard English language patterns. As the children move toward middle school, the level of vernacular rises – though many children often reduce their use of vernacular again as they enter high school.
"This finding reveals a cyclic pattern in the use of African-American vernacular English that no one expected to see during children’s language development," says Janneke Van Hofwegen, a research associate at NC State and co-author of the study. "This wasn’t even a hypothesis when we began the study."
The researchers note that, while their data looked solely at African-American children, the findings may be applicable more broadly to other groups.
The research stems from the longest, and largest, study ever to examine the longitudinal development of language in African-American children. The study began in 1990, following 88 African-American children from central North Carolina in order to track their language development. The study is ongoing, with 68 of the original participants still being tracked. The data is collected by the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute in Chapel Hill, N. C.
The retention rate of the participants is remarkably high, particularly given that approximately 71 percent of the children were living below the poverty line in 1990. "It’s incredible, and gives us a rare opportunity to study language development in children," Wolfram says.
The study also gives researchers an impressive array of data, providing them with access to school and test data, as well as the data collected through the study’s own interviews and surveys.
Researchers are currently assessing how and whether dialect use is related to literacy skills, as well as the role that mothers play in their children’s use of vernacular.
One of the papers, "Trajectories of Development in AAE: The First 17 Years," is forthcoming from the Proceedings of the Conference on African American Language In Popular Culture. The paper was co-authored by Wolfram; Van Hofwegen; Mary E. Kohn, a Ph.D. student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and Dr. Jennifer Renn, who worked on the paper while a Ph.D. student at UNC-Chapel Hill. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation.
Another paper, "Coming of age in African American English: A longitudinal study," was co-authored by Wolfram and Van Hofwegen and was published in September 2010 in the Journal of Sociolinguistics.
NC State’s Department of English is part of the university’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences.
By Matt Shipman, NC State News Services
Katie Starr (International Studies and French, '11), is speaking today (Feb. 23) at the 55th annual United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York.
Last Fall, Starr was one of four students to receive a fellowship from the nonprofit organization, WomenNC, to attend the UN conference. This is the second year fellowships have been funded by WomenNC, which holds as its mission the U.S. ratification of CEDAW (the Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women). Starr recently rehearsed presenting the findings of her research, titled "Sex Trafficking in North Carolina," before a group in Raleigh.
Today, at the United Nations CSW conference, Starr will be speaking to hundreds of attendees from around the world. The majority of presenters are members of various NGOs and international delegations, all with the common goal of discussing the global issues currently facing women and exchanging ideas on how to combat these issues. As one of the youngest delegates to address the UN, Starr says she's honored and excited to represent NC State.
Students from 83 schools will gather in Witherspoon Auditorium on the NC State campus Saturday, February 26, from 9:00 am - noon, to compete for a spot as a finalist in the national Scripps Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.
"It's the first time in 13 years that Wake County students are able to participate in a countywide spelling bee," said Dr. Walt Wolfram, William C. Friday Distinguished Professor of English and coordinator for the university’s involvement. "We are so glad to play a part in making the bee possible for these school children."
Wolfram assures it will be a fun event. "I'm a sports enthusiast," he laughs. "I think it is wonderful that we celebrate an academic sport. These children have trained as intensely as any other type of athlete for a competition."
Come show your support for our young academic athletes and their accomplishments in this year’s bee.
For the full report, visit: http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/rankings/writing-programs
'Neal Hutcheson is a documantary film-maker who has done extensive work on traditional culture in North Carolina. He has worked on films with N.C. State Professor Walt Wolfram for the North Carolina Language and Life Project. The NCLLP seeks to document North Carolina’s linguistic diversity and make the material available to a wide audience, including a curricula in the NC public schools. His films on language include Mountain Talk, Indian by Birth: the Lumbee Dialect, and The Carolina Brogue. He has also produced the Queen Family: Back Porch Music and Appalachian Tradition, which includes NEA Heritage Award Winner Mary Jane Queen. The Last One was an Emmy Award-winning documentary about the late moonshiner "Popcorn" Sutton."
Don't miss these feature events:
Monday February 21: "The Future of Political Campaigning"
CHASS alum and founder of Campaign Connections Brad Crone will share his perspectives on political communication and campaigning.
Caldwell Lounge, 1:30-2:30 pm.
Wednesday February 23: "Amazing Alumni Series: Greg Volk”
Greg Volk ('03) recently won his second Emmy for his work with the popular Discovery Channel show Cash Cab. Volk, a former Caldwell scholar and writer for Technician, will discuss his career and the secrets of developing Cash Cab questions.
DH Hill Library, West Wing Auditorium, 4:00-5:30 pm.
Thursday February 24: “The Price of Education in Little Rock: A History Lesson in Integration”
At age 16, Dr. Minnijean Brown Trickey was one of the “Little Rock Nine” in 1957 when she and eight other Black American teenagers defied death threats, hostile white demonstrators, and even the Arkansas National Guard to attend the all-white Little Rock Central High.
DH Hill Library, Erdahl-Cloyd Theatre, 7:00-8:30 pm.
Friday February 25: "International Public Relations"
Members from UNC-Charlotte's Center for Global Public Relations will take on the challenges and nuances of international public relations.
Winston 029, 12:30-2:00 pm
All these events are free and open to the public. Communication Week is sponsored annually by the Department of Communication to help students connect with practitioners from various fields of communication. And it's a great way to explore the different ways communication impacts our daily lives.
"We want to educate students--communication majors and others--about what it means to study communication, and to give them valuable networking opportunities," said Richard Waters, who is coordinating the week's events. "Communication Week helps students connect theory and practice."
In celebration of Black History Month, TheGrio.com named this year's History Makers in the Making. Among the 100 prominent African-Americans are CHASS alumni Decker Ngongang and Cullen Jones.
Former NC State Senior Class President Decker Ngongang (2003, Political Science) works for Moblize.org where he develops activist-oriented programs. For example, Democracy 2.0 calls attention to how our democratic process affects the millennial generation.
Olympic gold medalist Cullen Jones (2006, English) made history in the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. Cullen brought home the first gold medal for an African-American in swimming. Jones uses his talents to help teach minority youths how to swim through a national anti-drowning initiative, Make a Splash.
Congratulations to these outstanding alums. You make us proud.
This article was published by Technician on Tuesday, February 1, 2011.
By Joshua Chappell, Senior Staff Writer
Twice a semester for over two years, College of Humanities and Social Sciences Dean Jeffery Braden has been sitting down with students for a brown-bag lunch.
On Tuesday, Braden hosted another one of these lunches for students in his college, allowing them to directly share their thoughts, concerns, issues and ideas with him. Braden created the program in fall 2008 when he became interim dean of the college.
"This event is important because I get direct contact with and feedback from the students," Braden said.
About half of the students selected for the event were chosen from various leadership positions around campus and the remaining half were selected at random, according to Braden.
According to Braden, this event encompasses one of his core values as an administrator: the importance of interacting with students.
"It's essential that administrators, faculty, and staff have regular contact with students," Braden said. "On a daily basis, sometimes I'll have meetings with individual students or groups, other times I'll only see students passing by in the hall. However, there's never a day I don't see students."
Another inspiration for the program is the opportunity to learn from the students.
"I've learned that students appreciate the educational experience they get in [CHASS]," Braden said. "They love the passion of our faculty for their subject, and feel the humanities and social sciences offer much-needed dimensions to N.C. State's campus."
Braden said that he has also learned about some specific problems that students have observed on campus, such as issues with academic advising.
"I've learned that we need to improve the quality of advising across the university," Braden said. "We offer good advising for most majors, but aren't especially good at helping people with requirements, majors, or minors in other degrees."
Students also benefit from the program, Braden said.
"When students get good information, they have a much deeper appreciation of the challenges and difficulties we've been facing over the past few years," he said.
For Braden, the lunch also provides a great way for him to become better acquainted with the University.
"My contact with students reminds me how lucky I am to work at a university," Braden said. "I feel truly blessed to be able to teach, do research, and introduce the best and brightest young minds to the humanities and social sciences."
Jonathan Sanyer, a junior in creative writing, met Braden at another student-interaction event – pumpkin-carving – and was excited about using the lunch to help unite the University community.
"It's a great one-one-one experience as well as bringing together students of varying majors within the college to talk with a man who has obvious leadership qualities," Sanyer said.
Sanyer said that the lunch just adds to the plethora of events that CHASS hosts.
"CHASS events have been very open to the college, goal-oriented, and just plain fun," Sanyer said. "I think for the dean to take the initiative to positively impact the lives of select students every so often will have a trickle effect not only in CHASS but in the whole University community."
For students like Jessica Deahl, senior in public and interpersonal communications, the event was an opportunity for her to discuss the budget crisis facing the University community.
"It is crucial that students know what to expect in the coming years regarding their academic career," Deahl said. "Since I am a senior and my college career is coming to an end, I hope to participate in an informal chat about my experience at N.C. State."
After the lunch, Deahl said that Braden had some interesting comments regarding the budget crisis.
"[Braden] assured me that no undergraduate programs would be cut," Deahl said. "He pointed out that budget cuts would result in fewer courses offered with less seats."
Overall, Clifton Deal, a freshman in psychology, said he was satisfied with the lunch.
"It was informative and every question asked was answered truthfully," Deal said. "If the chance came back up, I would really consider taking advantage of it again."
Braden also mentioned the importance of humanities and social sciences in students' lives.
"It's important for students all across the university to understand how the social sciences extend and improve lives, and how the humanities give life meaning and purpose," Braden said.
On Thursday, February 10, CHASS Dean Jeff Braden and Sophomore Sarah Hager will trade places. Both will experience a day on the NC State campus from an entirely new perspective.
Sarah was chosen for the role after submitting the winning essay in a competition judged by CHASS student ambassadors. As the face of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Sarah will have a rare glimpse into the dean's administrative duties. She'll attend meetings with other deans, and meet with faculty, students, and donors throughout her day. Meanwhile, Dean Braden is in for a long day of Communication, Media, and Journalism classes. At 4:00 pm, he's scheduled to co-host Sarah's DJ shift at WKNC 88.1 FM, so tune in!
Feucht interned last summer at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems in Goldsboro. The research farm studies large- and small-scale sustainable farming systems.
“Sustainability is crucial to everything we do. ThinkImpact focuses on sustainability as a method for approaching poverty alleviation. I would like to do the same with homelessness. Moreover, I believe sustainability is a value that everyone must learn to embrace. Sustainability should be a central theme in every person’s lifestyle design,” Feucht said in a recent interview with NC State's Alumni Association.
After graduation, Feucht wants to join the Peace Corps and help communities with sustainable agriculture development.
To read more about the scholarship and Feucht’s ambitions, check out Technician.