Young Aggies softball team has promise

An abnormally young A&T women’s softball team began play this past weekend, and marked the beginning of what could be four years of dominance in the MEAC. When Head Coach Mamie Jones ended last year’s season she had a lot of holes to fill. Finishing a good season in 2000 at 16-32, and coming in third in the conference tournament, Jones had to replace four outstanding seniors. So that is what she did, with freshmen. Jones brought in six freshmen to go along with a core of three sophomores, two juniors and two seniors. These six freshmen are not the typical freshmen for Jones. They are experienced players, something she has not had in the past. “My off season went very well. It was a big recruitment year for me as far as bringing in some quality freshmen. Experienced freshmen that have a lot of fast-pitch experience. I hadn’t had that over theyears,” said Jones. In high school fast-pitch softball has not completely taken over slow pitch. In many cases freshmen will come into college with little or no experience in fast pitch. Jones being able to recruit not just one but six experienced freshmen is a phenomenal advancement for the Aggies program. Heading this freshmen class is Cheretta Stevenson, a highly recruited pitcher and shortstop. She has a lot of pitching experience for a freshmen, and Jones expects her to make a tremendous impact this year. “She should change the whole concept of this program with her pitching,” said Jones. Gerri Crockett is another freshman who Jones expects to come in and make an impact this year. Crockett is a speedy center fielder who can hit and already has fundamental skills that Jones will not have to teach. Jones was eager to start the season with the additions she has made. “I’ve been anticipating the season. All summer I’ve been waiting for February to come to see what they can do,” she said. Along with these six freshmen, Jones has a good crew of upperclassmen who bring game time experience. Senior Macy Henderson is impressed with the freshmen class and is looking to have a good season to end her career at A&T. “We have a lot of talent, and everybody is here for the common goal of winning. I think we have a good chance of winning the conference this year,” said Henderson. The only other senior on the team, April Lemons, also looks to finish her career on a high note. “I think coach Jones did a really good job of recruiting. We’ve got some freshmen this year that are playing at the level the seniors were playing at last year,” said Lemons. Lemons hopes to have a repeat of her freshmen year when she posted the highest batting average of her career at A&T. Jones and the Aggies have a mix of youth and experience which will make for an interesting and exciting season. They began play Feb. 23. All home games are played at Levette Field on the corner of EastLee and Benbow streets about a mile away from campus. All games are free to students with ID.

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Aggies snatch three games from Howard

The North Carolina A&T Aggies baseball team has opened their season in a nice way by compiling a 7-5 record. They have also opened up some eyes with their offensive firepower this season, and it was no different on Feb. 17th and 18th in a four game series against conference foe Howard University. The Aggies snatched three of four games from the Bisons and averaged 8.5 runs per game during the series. Their pitching was also excellent as their starters gave up a total of seven earned runs and struck out 33 batters. In the first game, the Aggies broke a 3-3 tie as Kevin Allen scored on a missed grounder giving the Aggies a 4-3 lead. The Aggies tacked on one more score and beat the Bisons 5-3.Game two of the four game series was taken by the Bisons as they defeated the Aggies 6-5. The Bisons scored the game winner in the bottom of the 11th inning on an era made by the Aggies. Despite the loss, the Aggies got a strong pitching performance from Joe Locklear. Locklear pitched five strong innings giving up three earned runs and striking out 12. On Sunday, Feb. 18th, the Aggies exploded for four runs in the second inning breaking the game open on their way to an 8-5 victory. A&T’s Patrick Battle went 3 for 3 with three runs batted in to lead the Aggies to victory. The Aggies completed the series with a 16-6 win over the Bisons. They scored at least one run in every inning except for the fourth inning. Aggie pitcher Travis Scott went 6 and 2/3 innings giving up one earned run and striking out eight.

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Aggies snap five-game losing, beating CSC

If five straight agonizing losses doesn’t make you want to win, then I don’t know what does. It seemed to inspire the Aggies on Feb.19th as they jumped out to an early 14-0 lead and held on for a 68-65 victory against the Coppin State College Eagles. Anthony Debro led the Aggies with 19 points including two critical free throws with eight seconds remaining to give the Aggies the cushion they needed. “It won’t be long before it’s conference tournament time,” said Aggie head coach Curtis Hunter. “But I’m not looking at that right now. We still have a chance to finish among the top four and tonight’s victory was big for us.” The Aggies played just about as well as any team could play in the first half as they went into intermission with a 40-24 lead. But the Eagles would go on a 10-0 run to begin the second half to begin a big rally. The Eagles would have many opportunities to take over the lead in the game, but A&T’s defense would not give in. “A&T attacked us from the outset and we really couldn’t recover until the second half,” stated Coppin State forward Joe Brown. “We made our run in the second half and had a chance to win but we didn’t hit the shots in the end.” With 1:02 remaining, the Eagles cut A&T’s lead to 64-63, but they missed a couple of opportunities to take the lead. Aggie forward Tarrell Robinson, who scored 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, hit a couple of free throws with 20.1 seconds remaining putting A&T ahead 66-63, but the Eagles would score again to make it 66-65. A&T’s Debro then hit the two free throws that iced the game for the Aggies. The win pushes the Aggies to 10-13 overall, 7-7 in the MEAC with two huge conference games remaining. Coppin State falls to 10-14 overall and 8-8 in the MEAC.

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Ideas at work: Aggie patents

Time spent waiting in line at Disney World led to one of two patents recently filed by A&T students, part of a renewed effort to promote innovation through the university. Graduate student Leonard Testa developed the “Hybrid Dynamic Programming Genetic Algorithm/Scheduling Algorithm.” This patent will add applications to devices like Palm Pilots that help people manage their time more efficiently. The idea came to Testa as a computer science undergraduate when he was in Disney World for summer vacation. “I was standing in this long line and I was thinking, ‘I should have a computer doing this for me,'” he said. In other words, he thought he should better budget his time by having a computer help him learn when the lines would be shortest. This technology is already used by businesses such as UPS and Federal Express, but Testa found a way to improve it. “The scheduling algorithm takes time-dependent tasks and tells you what order you should do them to save cost and time,” he explains. The idea is currently under venture capital and is in the process of market research. In a second patent filing, A&T chemical engineering professor Dr. Shamsuddin Ilias, former student Sirena Hargrove and Miles Talbert developed the “Flux Enhanced Cross-Flow Membrane Filter,” to help improve traditional filtration methods. “The patent can be used for everyday use such as kidney dialysis,” says Hargrove. Other uses include beverage, pharmaceuticals, and water/waste water treatment. The patent has yet to be sold.Such innovative efforts will be promoted by a pair of grants A&T recently received from the National Science Foundation. The university is participating in “North Carolina Technology Development Initiative: A Novel Approach to Assess, Disseminate and Test a University/Venture Capital/Incubator Partnership Model for Technology-Based Business Development to Enhance Innovation Infrastructure in North Carolina.” In laymen’s terms, the project seeks to take patents and develop them to the point where they can be used. Faculty and students from North Carolina universities like East Carolina University, North Carolina State University, Pembroke State University, Wake Forest University, Western Carolina University and UNC-Charlotte will work to develop technology transfer methods that will lead to a training program in intellectual property (patents) development, which will help their innovations move from the lab to the market. “Our goal is to take these innovations into a public domain,” says Dr. Earnestine Psalmonds, vice chancellor for research. “[The inventors] don’t necessarily have to start their own business. They can work with the ones already there.” “Developing a patent is a function of involvement,” says Dr. Abdollah Homaifar, professor of electrical engineering and director of the Center of Autonomous Control Engineering at A&T. “We do things everyday and we don’t know if it will be marketable.”A second NSF grant will support work teaming the university with a manufacturer to improve its products. Dr. Kunigal Shivakumar, the interim director of A&T’s Center for Composite Materials Research, will lead a project researching different applications of carbon textiles that are shaped, filled with resin and heated at high temperatures. The result is a lightweight, heat-resistant material that is strong as steel. A&T will share this grant with 3Tex Inc., a 2-year-old company in Cary that makes 3Weave, a carbon textile. 3Tex will let A&T use its technology in the school’s lab.Psalmonds believes the NSF funding will benefit both A&T and North Carolina as a whole. “It gives A&T a lot of visibility, it becomes an added asset the university can market and it makes our students more marketable and competitive,” says Psalmonds. “As far as North Carolina, it will support the state’s economic development efforts, especially in manufacturing, it also supports industries and attract new businesses.”

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Verge journeys to the Orient

Verge and Mercer Model Management teamed up to present a modeling show with a Chinese theme. Founder and former president of Verge, Robert Mercer, collaborated with the group’s current president Mitchell McCraw to create a show featuring elements of Chinese culture. The show was entitled “Screening Through Characters: When Fashion Becomes a Symbol Of Opposition.” Tenille Foust narrated the show and D.J. Flex from 102 JAMZ provided the music. Scene I was “Untitled,” with the ladies entertaining the men to 112’s “Let Me Show You.” Within seconds the role was reversed and the men were all modeling in suits. Scene II was entitled “Dragon’s Breath,” and consisted of a parade of models portraying red and yellow dragons. Male models carried their female “royalty” on to their thrones in the middle of the aisle. The rest of the female models came down the aisle wearing black and red scarfs, bands and headwraps. Towards the end of this scene all of the models in the aisle stopped and posed for several minutes. This scene proved that being a model requires discipline. Scene III, “Versus,” was a hip hop spin to the students of Dojo. Verge models Chinese exercised to Ludacris’ “Southern Hospitality” and threw ‘bows to the crowd. Once the exercises were over the models battled each other in pairs of two. Terrance Hawkins and Shaun Hamn performed a reenactment of the fight scene from Berry Gordy’s “The Last Dragon.” Scene IV was “The Processional.” Verge members paid tribute to their queen played by Natasha Cross. Scene V, “The Temple,” had Verge members come on stage with different types of orange outfits. In Scene VI, “Antagonizing Beauty,” steam rose from Verge saunas as the swimsuit scene caught the crowd’s attention. The models put on a wonderful performance. The props and settings were elaborate and creative. They pulled together a hot show with a variety of scenes pertaining to the Chinese culture in only three days. In my opinion a lot of people missed the chance of witnessing just how talented Verge’s modeling organization is.

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20 Questions

1. Why do you need your ID card to get into the IRC at night, when the door is always open anyway?

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Race team revs up ‘Down Under’

The N.C. A&T motorsports racing team got a taste of Australia and a taste of winning when its members placed third overall in the first annual Australian Formula Society of Automotive Engineers competition. The team competed against a field of eight Australian schools and two American schools — the University of Texas, Arlington and Rochester Institute of Technology, N.Y. “We finished well in [the Mini Baja and Formula SAE Competition], [we all] thought we would do well in Australia,” said team member Joshua Dawson matter-of-factly in a phone conversation. Later, in a one-on-one interview he added that the team anticipated its victory over the Australians, but was not expecting the two American teams, which “have won five or six times [consecutively].” The Australian Formula SAE team consisted of seven mechanical engineering students: Christopher Potter (first-year graduate student from Sherills Ford), Dawson (senior from Greensboro), Dennis Simmerly (senior from Greensboro) (senior from Greensboro), Derrek Wilson (senior from Georgetown, Ky.), Terrance Elder (senior from Murfreesboro, Tenn.), Dax Gerringer (junior from Greensboro), and John Steelman (junior from Greensboro), as well as mechanical engineering professor David Klett. The SAE competition brings together engineering skills with the fun of working on cars. Dawson was working on his truck in the motorsports lab as the interview began. He explained that Potter was helping him incorporate a V-8 engine into his truck. “They’re not made to fit into these trucks … I have to strip the front end of the truck out,” he said, put in the new engine and make everything fit around it. This was the first time there had been a SAE competition in Australia. The competition was held the second week of December near Geelong, Victoria, Australia. The trip lasted five days — four days of competition, and one day of touring. “It was around exam time, and unfortunately, we didn’t get to spend a lot of time touring Australia,” said Klett. Since the trip was in Australia, the students had to come up with funding for their expenses. The team developed a proposal in order to find a sponsor. In the end, Ford agreed to sponsor the trip. Klett estimated the cost of the trip to be $20,000. “The people went out of their way to be nice to us because we were from America,” said Simmerly. “As soon as they recognized our accent, they went out of their way to be nice to us,” said Dawson. He said that one night, while waiting to be seated for dinner, they began conversing with a bartender and asking about nighttime recreational activities. “The next night. ..[he] asked his manager to get off work, and took us out. ..where ever we wanted to go,” Dawson said. Not only did the team see a golf course full of kangaroos, a few brave souls dared to test their taste buds. Both Potter and Dawson tried kangaroo cooked rare. “They said when you overcook it, it isn’t good,” said Potter. “It tastes pretty good.” Dawson said that everyone asks if it tasted like chicken. “It doesn’t taste like anything, it taste like kangaroo. It wasn’t bad, but it doesn’t taste like anything that you’ve ever (had),” he said. The Society of Automotive Engineers sponsors several student design competitions each year including the Mini Baja and the Formula SAE competition. The program is designed to encourage engineering students interested in pursuing careers in automotive engineering. The Formula SAE competition requires students to design andbuild a “mini-Indy” type vehicle, while the Mini Baja requires the students to build and design a single-seat, all-terrain vehicle. Building the Formula SAE car was an exact process, which started with deciding what type of engine best suited the purpose of the car. In this case, the students chose an 80-horsepower engine. Next was the car “footprint,” determining the position of the tires and how wide and long the car would be. Then, the designers chose a position for the driver and engine. Afterwards, they designed and built the frame, followed by the suspensIon. “Basically, you build the car from the outside in,” said Dawson, “knowing that you have to meet the two critical areas, being the engine and the driver on the inside.” The students started designing the car in December 1999 and completed it in June 2000. The end result was a 550-pound car with a Honda motorcycle engine. On the first day of competition, the car was judged on such categories as design, in which the team described the composition of the vehicle. Also, the students had to indicate the price of each car part in the cost event. In addition, there was a sales event. In this event, the students were required to present the car to a number of manufacturers, as if they were actually selling the vehicle. The next day was for dynamic events, including tests of acceleration, braking and “tilt,” in which the car was strapped to a board and raised to measure the angle at which the car proceeds to tip over. The skid pad event tested the cornering acceleration of the car. The team finished third in most of these events. Although senior mechanical engineering students are required to produce a car as a senior project, mechanical engineering majors of all classifications are always eager to contribute. “This is just a bunch of guys working on cars,” said Jason Nunnery (freshman mechanical engineering major), referring to himself and his two companions, Wilson and Potter. The three were working diligently late Wednesday night in themotorsports lab. The guys were dressed in blue jeans and dingy white T-shirts, stained with a day’s worth of working on cars. Nunnery said when he found out the lab was open to anyone, he began to take advantage of the opportunity to do one of his favorite pastimes. Overall, the motorsports team had an excellent year. They successfully participated in the West, East and Midwest Mini Baja competitions, one of only two schools in the country to do so. The team place 18th at the West competition, fourth in the East competition and third at the Midwest competition. Also, they finishedin 11th place at the Formula SAE Competition, the highest placing first-year entry. The team is in the process of building a new car for the Mini Baja, as well as making improvements on the Formula car. Racing participants are required to build a new car every two years for each race. Simmerly said they plan to improve the Formula car by building a new front suspension and adding a turbo engine. “We’ve learned the way (the judges) would like to see things built and… designed,” said Dawson. He said they are designing the car to meet those standards, but puttint “what we want on it — as far as performance and suspension — that’s different from other schools.”

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Jobs are the key for PIW conference

Interviews with corporate representatives highlighted the annual Private Industry Workshop held Feb. 7-9 by the ALOBEAEM accounting society. In an effort to keep Accounting: the Language of Business; the Eyes and Ears of Management, society members discussed internship and job opportunities with representatives of 12 leading corporations. The event opened with a reception at the Koury Convention Center on Feb. 7 with guest speaker Milton H. Jones Jr., president of the mid-south banking region for Bank of America. He spoke on the workshop theme, “Opening doors to corporate America, converting dreams, identifying possibilities, and stepping into reality.” On Thursday, the workshop continued with a luncheon in the Student Union Room for company representatives and members of the executive board. Awards were presented to Crystal Butler as Outstanding ALOBEAEM Member of the Year and Keiah Miller and Venus Townsend for Most Community Service Member of the Year. Each representative received a token of appreciation from the organization. The final two days of the workshop included those all-important interviews between ALOBEAEM members and company representatives. This program “presents internship opportunities other schools do not have. This is one of the benefits of attending an HBCU,” said Andrew Gibson, second vice-president. Unlike the career fair, the PIW offers more one-on-one contact. “You are able to interact with employees on a personal basis and they are more focused on who they want,” said Marquis Garrett, a December 2001 graduate who is looking for an internship for the summer. Craig Hodges, an NCA&T alumni and former member of ALOBEAM, was back on campus as a representative of DuPont. “Internships are so big, and are like prerequisites to getting a job,” Hodges said. Companies look at internships because “they give experience and it shows that the student must be good to have worked with some of the prominent, private companies.”Michael Hudson, a senior who participated in the interviews last year and received an internship with SuperValu, said that not only did he gain experience, but he was also able to decide what he enjoyed about accounting in corporate America. Industries that took part in this year’s PIW were Baxter, Cargill, Corning, Duke Energy, DuPont, Eastman Kodak, Eli Lilly, General Electric, General Motors, Honeywell, Philip Morris and Union Pacific. ALOBEAEM was formed at A&T during the fall semester of the 1970-71 academic year by students and faculty concerned with professional development and camaraderie among accounting students. The organization supports students in their studies, and sponsors many professional presentations and workshops. “The goal of ALOBEAEM is to provide opportunities for leadership development, academic enrichment and personal growth,” said Dr. Ronald L. Campbell, faculty advisor. “This is why for 22 years the society has invited companies to come and interview with our students on campus, right here in Merrick Hall.” Tiffany Jones, a junior from Atlanta, Ga., who is the current Ms. ALOBEAEM, said the society can help students grow. “Any accounting students who want to become more marketable and are not yet members of this organization should visit room 135 Merrick Hall and learn how to join,” she said.

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Change the world, one child at a time

The high-pitched sound of laughter rings through the air, from a child who’s barely tall enough to ride roller coasters. The blue, red, yellow and green merry-go-round spins faster and faster. Cries of wonder grow louder and louder, while the black swings go higher and higher.The joy of life is being experienced through the innocence of a child.Have you ever looked into the eyes of an 8- or 9-year-old girl or boy and wondered what he or she is thinking? Have you ever wondered how the world could take such precious gifts for granted?It’s amazing when you actually sit down and listen to the goals and aspirations of a child. The way they think is so appealing, and there’s nothing like hearing the words, “I want to be just like you when I grow up,” to overwhelm your heart with happiness.So why do we take the gift of children for granted? Why don’t we take a more active role in the lives of our youth? We should take advantage of the opportunity to plant seeds in the lives of our youth. Knowing that they look to us for guidance, understanding, help and protection.We didn’t ask to be role models but we are. We didn’t ask to be considered heroes but we are.The difference one person can make in a child’s life is remarkable. Today our youth need to know that they aren’t abandoned, that there is someone who understands them, that though they may not be the best readers in their class they are the best in the eyes of God. To know that someone will be there to answer their call is the greatest thing for a child. The Bible says to train up a child in the way that he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it. So just imagine if we were to spend time with children who may not have a mother or a father, or who may have them but they just aren’t there. Imagine if we could impart to them that they are more than conquerors, they are the best, and they are the future. Imagine what that would do for their spirit and their attitude.Truth is, we don’t spend enough time with our youth and the result of that is 12- and 13-year-olds straying, clinging to drugs or something else that will destroy them.The sun’s going down and the laughter is fading. The smiles are turning into frowns and the voice of that 8- or 9-year-old child is dying. It’s time we did something to help that child understand his or her worth. It’s time we gave back from whence we came.

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Movie nights restored

Reviving what once was a regular event for the students of N.C. A&T, Chancellor James Renick along with other administrators and students have turned Harrison Auditorium in a theater on Friday nights. On Jan. 26 the university showed “CoyoteUgly” to 125 students. The movie was first in the series of movies to show in Harrison Auditorium this semester for $1. “This is a great idea for students who don’t have transportation to get involved with campus activities,” said senior business major Anya Winfield. “The price was the first thing that stood out to me. I wish we had this when I was a car-less freshman.” The revival of Movie Night came from the “chats with the chancellor.” He proposed the idea to students and they entertained the idea of having movies in Harrison Auditorium. James Armstrong, associate vice chancellor for student services, recalls when he was an undergraduate student here in the early ’70s watching “The Graduate” in Harrison Auditorium.”With such things devices as DVDs we can bring such things to the students,” Armstrong added.Armstrong also had a hand in selecting those who serve on the committee movie night committee.”It’s very important to have student input in such activities. We often select students by virtue of the positions of campus as well as their academic major,” he said.Marva Watlington, director of student activities and member of the Movie Night committee, also remembers when she was a student here a recalls paying only 25 cents to see movies in Harrison Auditorium. Shannon Cannady, member of the Movie Night committee, thinks that the university is doing something that is good for the students.”I like seeing change and it is evident that some things are changing for the students here on campus,” she said.The university also invites different organizations to sell concessions during the movies. To the surprise of many organizations that have sponsored a movie night, the university provided concessions; the organizations also get to keep 100 percent of the profits. “Though I was not able to attend the Movie Night to which my organization sponsored, I am glad for having the opportunity to raise money for the University Fellowship Gospel Choir,” said Warren Fort, president of the choir. If your organization is interested in sponsoring a movie night, come by the Student Activities office in room 217 of the Memorial Union and sign up to be the host of the show.On Feb. 9 approximately 120 students showed up to the second movie “Hurricane.” And last Friday the university showed the coming of age flick “The Wood,” starring Omar Epps, Taye Diggs and Richard T. Jones. The movie was sponsored by Student Senate You can expect more movies to come among them feature films such as “Shaft,” “Love and Basketball,” “Remember The Titans” and the “Original Kings Of Comedy.”

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Money tops board session

A speech by a National Merit Scholar and a donation from General Electric topped the regular Board of Trustees meeting, held Feb. 21. Chancellor James Renick introduced National Merit Scholar Nakeisha Watson to the board. Watson is a graduating senior who carries a 3.18 grade point average in her double major of industrial engineering and Romance literature-Spanish. Watson is a member of the Golden Key Honor Society, a candidate for the Spanish National Honor Society, a member of Alpha Pi Mu, and she is also in the Industrial Engineering Honor Society. To show her fluency in her second language, Watson introduced herself in Spanish. Watson then talked about her life at A&T, recalling a traumatic experience with losing a scholarship last fall before the tuition was due. “I felt abandoned,” she said. “I felt like my security blanket was gone.” However, Watson put a positive spin on the event. “It happens to the best of us. In spite of lack of funds, I’m here, thank God,” she said. After the speech by Watson, General Electric presented the university with a check for $225,000. Of that amount, $150,000 will go to the School of Business while the School of Engineering will receive $75,000. GE representative Lisa Salley talked about her ties and the company’s ties with A&T. “My relationship with A&T goes back 10 years while the company goes back 20 years,” she said. Board member Howard Chubbs discussed the additions to the campus. He said that the Fitness and Wellness Center and the Student Union were “99 percent” complete and will open soon. Chubbs also announced that renovations for Haley Hall will begin next month.The trustees also voted to increase undergraduate and graduate tuition by $75 a semester, beginning in the fall. The measure, along with a trustees’ request to increase student fees, requires approval by the UNC Board of Governors.

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Biotechnology may help African fields yield more crops

Tahoka. It means bitter water in Apache. It is also the name of a town in the high plains of arid Texas, 40 miles south of Lubbock, Texas, where A&T’s Dr. Marihelen Glass grew up. Glass recently returned from the “Enabling Biotechnology for African Agriculture” workshop in Accra, Ghana, where she represented the Aggies. The workshop, which was a part of the Strategic Alliance for Biotechnology Research in African Development (SABRAD), had representatives from 16 other historically black land-grant institutions in attendance to provide information on biotechnologyefforts in their states. Glass is a biotechnologist in A & T’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Design, specializing in ornamental horticulture. She helped to put together infrastructural proposals for advanced agricultural systems and technology suitable forthe arid regions of Africa. “An ornamental horticulturalist uses plants to make peoples surroundings more aesthetically pleasing,” said Glass. “With these plants we can also help to feed, clothe and keep their world calm,” she added. The goals of the workshop were to set up an effective networking and communication system, develop regulatory framework and trade policy, research and development, increase awareness of biotechnology and analysis of the socio-economic. “The problem with agricultural fanning in Africa is the poor nutrient level in the soil,” says Glass who has taught Aggies since 1987. She received her BS at Texas Tech where she also was a student teacher/lab instructor. She went on to get her Masters and PhD. in plant physiology at Texas A & M, where she learned more about plant tissue and began her journey in the world of biotechnology. Biotechnology is any manipulation of a biological organism. Plant biotechnology is the manipulation of plants to increase productivity, increase disease resistance, produce plants resistant to insect damage, create an edible vaccine and change the nutrition of plants to give them more nutritional value. An example of how this science is beneficial to chemical companies, such as Monsanto Chemical Co., which also had representatives at the workshop, is golden rice. Golden rice that has been genetically enhanced to increase its beta carotene (a precursor to Vitamin A) content is much needed in the diet of Africa. Vitamin A helps in the formation and maintenance of healthy teeth, skeletal and soft tissue, mucous membranes and skin. It promotes good vision, especially in dim light, and may also be required for reproduction and lactation. With the cooperation of the chemical companies, biotechnologists and African government officials, the children of Africa will have better access to more nutritious plants.Glass also helped create a system to enforce proper distribution of biotechnically enhanced foods. “Political corruption along with poor sewage systems and a dilapidated transportation system hinders the development of better systems to feed the people,” said Glass. As of now, there is no system in place to play watchdog and oversee the distribution of biotechnology. Yet, four proposals are being written to put ideas in motion. She says that they are trying to build confidence in African political leaders. Such confidence should ease the transition from Africa’s traditional farming system, which makes use of primitive farming tools such as ox-drawn plows, to a system that can better handle biotechnology. Glass was positively glowing as she talked about the wonderful opportunity the workshop offered to her and A & T. “The networking with the other universities, USDA and chemical companies is a sure plus and grants us the ability to teach A & T students better so that they may be able to help in the future,” she said. Glass also hinted at the possibility of a grad student accompanying her to the next conference slated to be held in Nigeria later this year. “With plants, through landscape design, you can bring calm to people’s lives by seeing their surroundings executed,” Glass says. The doctor from Tahoka may have helped find the cure for the bitter land on the mother continent.

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