Are UNC  Historically Minority, Medium, and Small Institutions, Students "the left behind" for lack of facilities to offer online courses during Pandemic; UNC Board Member Darrell Allison refer to as Socialist by fellow Board member for asking for funding for Minority Institutions
Michael J. Pippen, Sr.
Board member Darrell Allison Chair of UNC Committee on Historically Minority-Serving Institutions and member of UNC BOG Budget and Finance Committee,  faced a stiff head wind from other members of the Committee and larger UNC institutions chancellors, in his attempt to secure funding from the UNC Repair Budget,  from the latter committee, to  provide monies for Minority, medium and small UNC Institution,  for  emergency generators to prevent those institutions from  having to shutdown pursuant local power failures. [Video]   UNC System Online Program Strategy Executive Summary, for information only,  indicate UNC System serves a small number of full online students - only 28K, or 12% of student in the System as of fall 2018. [ Sept. 2019, Ed Plan Committee, Tyron Partners Report]   UNC Minority Committee Meeting Material Graphic  Video Report

Pecaro Represents NCCU Football in NFF Hampshire Honor Society

NCCU Athletics - Photo Credit NCCU
IRVING, Texas – North Carolina Central University senior punter John Pecaro has been named to the 2020 NFF Hampshire Honor Society, comprised of college football players from all divisions of play who maintained a cumulative 3.2 GPA or better throughout their college careers, the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) announced on Wednesday.

Pecaro, who hails from Boynton Beach, Florida, boasts a 3.44 overall GPA as a political science major, and is a member of the Tau Sigma National Honor Society. After graduating in May 2020, he plans to take a year off from school, work in the nation's capital while studying for the LSAT and then go to law school.

Pecaro's 38.1-yard punting average in his final season for the maroon and gray was nearly five yards better than last year (33.3) on his way to being named CoSIDA Academic All-District in 2019.In his final home game, he registered a 70-yard punt against South Carolina State University, which matches the ninth-longest punt in school history and longest punt since 2008.

"We are pleased to honor another impressive group of athletes as part of this year's Hampshire Honor Society," said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. "For more than a decade, the Hampshire Honor Society has served as a powerful vehicle for schools to recognize their college football players who have distinguished themselves both academically and athletically, and we congratulate the schools and each of these young men for their commitment to excellence in all aspects of their lives."

For a complete list of 2020 NFF Hampshire Honor Society members, visit
N.C. A&T-led Research Team Awarded $8M NASA Grant to Develop Air Passenger Taxis  Jamie Crockett

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (April 15, 2020) – An interdisciplinary team led by North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University has received a four-year, $8 million award from NASA to address traffic congestion by developing, testing and eventually deploying air passenger taxis as a supplemental means of transportation.
North Carolina A&T is the first historically black college or university (HBCU) to lead a project for the agency’s University Leadership Initiative (ULI). The grant is also the second-largest award the university has received in its history.

“We won’t have the luxury of physical space to build more roads as the populations in urban areas continue to grow,” said Abdollah Homaifar, Ph.D., principal investigator and a NASA Langley Distinguished Professor in the College of Engineering (COE). “I am excited for this collaboration as we are addressing real challenges in our society that require solutions that one group cannot provide alone.”
“The project leverages interdisciplinary expertise to engineer new capabilities in unmanned Advanced Air Mobility,” COE Dean Robin N. Coger, Ph.D., said. “This project is a wonderful example of the scale of innovation possible when research universities, industry, and NASA partner together.”

N.C. A&T researchers will collaborate with researchers at Purdue University and the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), as a well as industry leaders Aurora Flight Sciences, Alaka’i Technologies Corp., General Atomics Aeronautical Systems and Northrop Grumman Corp.
North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University undergraduate and graduate  Research : Engineering Capstone projects
Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and ground vehicle (UGV) hybrid Video  FP

The collaboration will address the following technical challenges (TCs) in Advanced Air Mobility:
• TC1: Safe Perception, Coordination, Planning, and Navigation Led by Ali Karimoddini, Ph.D. (N.C. A&T), and Kyriakos Vamvoudakis, Ph.D. (Georgia Tech), will develop flexible and adaptive coordination and control algorithms for Urban Air Mobility (UAM).

• TC2: Secured Autonomy Led by Inseok Hwang, Ph.D., and Dengfeng Sun, Ph.D. (Purdue University), will develop secure algorithms for future UAM. Cyber-physical characteristics will address both conventional data security and physical security.

• TC3: Verification and Validation and Testing and Evaluation Led by Abdollah Homaifar, Ph.D. (N.C. A&T), and Sam Coogan, Ph.D. (Georgia Tech), will develop verification and validation procedures to provide provable guarantees of correctness of the UAM software and support certification of the developed technologies through testing and evaluation.

• TC3:System Integration Led by Dan DeLaurentis, Ph.D. (Purdue University), and Mark Costello, Ph.D. (Georgia Tech), will integrate TC 1-3 products through dependency analytics, integrated simulation, and experimental flight tests through fast-learning cycles.

N.C. A&T will offer hands-on research for both undergraduate and graduate students and support outreach opportunities that introduce K-12students to engineering.

John Kelly (N.C. A&T) and James Goppert (Purdue University) will lead the education and outreach components of the project aimed to train the future STEM workforce. Other N.C. A&T researchers on the project includeYahya Kamalipour, Ph.D., M. Nabil Mahmoud, Ph.D., Ioannis A. Raptis, Ph.D., and Allison Sullivan, Ph.D.

Additional researchers include Shaoshuai Mou, Ph.D., at Purdue University, Judy Hoffman at Georgia Tech, James Paduano, Ph.D., at Aurora Flight Sciences, Bruce J. Holmes, Ph.D., at Alaka’i Technologies, Damon Jenkins at General Atomics Aeronautical Systems and Neta Ezer at Northrop Grumman Corp.

According to a Morgan Stanley study,the market for autonomous air transportation will likely reach $1.5 trillion by 2040.

N.C. A&T is uniquely positioned to lead this project as Homaifar serves as the director of the Autonomous Control Information Technology (ACIT) Institute and director of the TECHLAV DoD Center of Excellence in Autonomy.

NASA requested proposals driven by universities addressing at least one of the agency’s six strategic thrusts. The initiative focuses on developing the next generation of researchers and engineers and emphasizes the inclusion of HBCUs and minority-serving institutions.

To learn more about the ULI program, visit NASA’s website.

CAES Professor Awarded UNC System’s Board of Governors’ Excellence in Teaching Honor
Jordan Howse;  Photo courtesy  NC A&T
EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (April 8, 2020) ­— For more than a decade, Jenora Waterman, Ph.D., has led students and research at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in animal science, specifically functional genomics.

Each year, a leading faculty member is chosen from each of the constituent institutions of the UNC System to receive the University of North Carolina System’s Board of Governors (BOG) Award for Excellence in Teaching. This year, Waterman, an associate professor of functional genomics in the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (CAES), is N.C. A&T’s honoree.

“Dr. Waterman is an excellent professor who shows commitment to the excellence of teaching her students and in researching how agricultural practices effect the animals and humans involved,” said N.C. A&T Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Beryl McEwen. “She’s a valuable resource for students and has remained committed to helping them reach their full potential in her courses, lab and the workforce.”

 “Dr. Waterman is an excellent professor who shows commitment to the excellence of teaching her students and in researching how agricultural practices effect the animals and humans involved,” said N.C. A&T Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Beryl McEwen. “She’s a valuable resource for students and has remained committed to helping them reach their full potential in her courses, lab and the workforce.”

Waterman’s teaching style is one that engages students and teaches them to be thought leaders while inspiring students to become life-long learners.   Video FP

“My goal as an effective teacher is to develop two of the most essential skills needed in today’s global workspace – good communication and critical thinking skills,” she said.

Her course content and assessments are hinged on building these two skills. For example, her students create original podcasts, participate in Socratic debates, and analyze relevant non-fiction books to critically analyze, communicate their thoughts, and apply information they learn.

“Dedicated, demanding, enthusiastic and caring, are the words I would use to describe her as a teacher,” said Mohamed Ahmedna, dean of CAES. “When she speaks her enthusiasm for the students and the topic of discussion are both palpable.”

A faculty member since 2008, Waterman earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology at Bennett College and North Carolina A&T, respectively. She earned her doctorate degree in functional genomics at North Carolina State University.

Each Excellence in Teaching awardee will receive a commemorative bronze medallion and a $12,500 cash prize. A BOG member will present the award to Waterman during the rescheduled spring commencement ceremony.

About North Carolina A&T State University
North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University is the nation’s largest historically black university, ranked number one among public HBCUs by U.S. News & World Report. It is a land-grant, doctoral high-research classified university by the Carnegie Foundation and constituent member of the University of North Carolina system. A&T is known for its leadership in producing graduates in engineering, agriculture and other STEM fields. The university was founded in 1891 and is located in Greensboro, North Carolina.

NCCU Senior Salute: Women’s Tennis  April 16, 2020
Kevin Buczek  Photo Credit NCCU
DURHAM, N.C. — The North Carolina Central University women’s tennis team had its 2020 spring season cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the NCCU athletics department would like recognize its four seniors for their athletic achievements by highlighting their Eagle careers at this time in lieu of a traditional Senior Day experience.

NCCU is honoring its four seniors at this time as the 2020 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Women’s Tennis Championship was originally scheduled for this weekend.

This quartet of seniors helped the NCCU women’s tennis team be recognized as the NCCU Faculty Athletic Council Academic Award for small teams each of the last three seasons and an ITA All-Academic Team each of the past two campaigns. All four NCCU women’s tennis seniors posted 4.0 grade point average (GPA) in the fall semester.

Senior Emily Pena is four-year letter winner for the Eagles. She has competed in 58 dual matches for the maroon and gray and has totaled six singles and 10 doubles victories. Pena garnered the NCCU women’s tennis Newcomer of the Year award in 2017 and the Debra Saunders-White Leadership Award in 2019. She has also earned MEAC All-Academic Team accolades each of the past two years.

The Barquisimeto, Venezuela, native is expected to return to NCCU in the fall to complete her degree. Pena is a business administration major with a concentration in financial analytics. She plans to get a job after graduating and go backpacking through Europe. Pena’s favorite tennis moment at NCCU was beating Howard University in the quarterfinals of the MEAC Women’s Tennis Championships in 2019. Pena, who had a lot of ups and downs due to a back injury, partnered with Sofia Miller to win their match that day. The Eagles went on to win doubles and the match with Pena cheering on her teammates from that point. It marked the first time NCCU advanced to the semifinals in her career and capped their best season in her four years.

Senior Frida Cnossen is another four-year letter winner for the Eagles, but she was a medical red shirt in 2018. Cnossen tallied 10 singles and 10 doubles wins in 44 dual matches over the other three seasons. She bounced back from injury by earning First Team All-MEAC laurels in 2019. Cnossen has earned two MEAC Player of the Week awards, one MEAC Rookie of the Week award and is a three-time ITA Scholar-Athlete and two-time MEAC All-Academic honoree.

The resident of Laren, Netherlands, is a biomedical sciences major. Cnossen next plans to use up her last year of collegiate athletics eligibility at another institution while pursuing a masters/PhD in the biological field before eventually returning home to pursue another masters in scientific illustration, which is her ultimate goal to work in a field where you can combine science with art. Cnossen, who did an internship with Kyoto University in Japan last summer as part of the Amgen Scholars Program, reminisces that her whole experience at NCCU was amazing. She believes the journey of growing as a team and working together towards one goal makes it special. College tennis does not exist in The Netherlands, so she will always cherish the experience to play collegiately the United States.

Senior Sofia Miller played her final three seasons at NCCU after transferring in from Oakland University. She participated in 45 dual matches for the Eagles and registered nine singles and 12 doubles triumphs over that span. Miller is a two-time ITA Scholar-Athlete and a MEAC All-Academic Team honoree who earned the 2019 NCCU women’s tennis Eagle Excellence (GPA) Award.

The Toronto, Canada, native is a political science major with a concentration in theory and pre-law. Miller plans to travel and work after graduation. Her favorite moment with the NCCU women’s team was the same as Pena’s when the Eagles advanced to the semifinals of the MEAC Women’s Tennis Championship in 2019.

Senior Jurasia Horvat joined the NCCU women’s team as a walk-on before the spring 2019 dual season. She collected ITA Scholar-Athlete honors before playing in her lone dual match in 2020, a doubles victory with Miller.

The local Cary, North Carolina, product is a business administration major with a concentration in marketing. Horvat, who is a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society, plans to get a job in sales or marketing after NCCU with aspirations to go to grad school to either obtain a MBA or law degree. Her favorite moment with the Eagles was her first road trip with the team to Wofford and Gardner-Webb, where she was able to become much closer with her teammates and coaches.