Touching lives in many ways
An ability to focus scientific research to solve real-world problems is the great strength and singular success of the American land-grant university system. We in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences are proud that our groundbreaking research is taken by Extension faculty into North Carolina fields, communities, factories and businesses; by teaching faculty into the classroom; and by our graduating students into the careers they choose.
This issue of Perspectives includes articles highlighting the special ways our College shares the knowledge and practical applications of research to benefit North Carolinians in every walk of life, whether it be in conserving natural resources, improving health and home environments, clarifying information in response to public inquiry about new research, or in providing education that leads to promising careers for the state’s children.
In our Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, many undergraduates are already making a difference in the lives of people with special needs. Read here about these students’ success in the designing and building of biomedical projects for the physically challenged. As Dr. James Young, BAE Department head, notes, “Our students are tops in the material world of engineering design, but you can’t beat that other element they bring to their assignments: the desire to help others.”
In other student news, the diverse professional paths zoology majors are choosing is the subject of another feature, along with a side note about how evolving curriculum changes and state-of-the-art research facilities could revolutionize career opportunities in agriculture and life sciences.
In spring, Perspectives reported on how Blanton J. Whitmire’s endowment of two professorships in the Department of Entomology had enhanced the department’s Urban Entomology Program. Now learn how four faculty members specializing in structural entomology, through their research, teaching and extension activities, are providing home owners, public facilities and businesses with short-term solutions to pest problems, as well as creating long-term, research-based solutions that target the pest instead of the environment.
One biotechnological method of pest control in food crops is genetic modification for pest resistance. However, the genetic manipulation of plants has prompted public concern about possible inherent risks. A recent report addressing those concerns, from the National Academy of Sciences, benefitted from the input of two College faculty members, Dr. Fred Gould and Dr. Ernest Hodgson. They discuss here their role as part of the committee that prepared the report.
In terms of touching lives, our Cooperative Extension Service has ever been the arm of the College reaching every part of the state. Extension’s mission to help people put knowledge to work is adapting with the times as surely as the College’s research and teaching activities. Read here how our Extension Service is and will be a natural and essential component of the “En-gaged Institution” in the 21st Century.
The College is likewise active in addressing public concerns as it develops alternative waste management technologies. Learn in our Noteworthy/News section about the College’s partnership with the private sector and other universities as it plays a key role in a newly created National Center for Manure and Animal Waste Management. More locally, this article also details the installation in Onslow County of a constructed wetland to treat swine waste.
In all these ways, the College continues to be a vital contributor to the quality of life of the citizens of the state.
Dean, College of Agriculture
and Life Sciences