Interdisciplinary collaborations honored with N.C. A&T research awards

April 15, 2013

Interdisciplinary collaborations focused on global trade and on local health care are among the highlights of the 2013 Research Excellence Awards at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.

The winning researchers include an international agricultural and environmental economist and a team of health care scholars from the School of Nursing, the Center for Behavioral Health and Wellness, and the departments of Biology and Human Development and Services.

The awards were presented Friday April 12 at a dinner honoring winners of the university’s research and teaching awards.

The Senior Researcher of the Year is Dr. Osei-Agyeman Yeboah, professor of agricultural economics. Dr. Yeboah specializes in international trade.  His work addresses the impact of domestic and international trade policies on such issues as land values, food safety and security, and the efficiency and welfare of the economy as a whole.  He works with large, multidisciplinary groups of colleagues at other land-grant universities, research institutions, and government agencies. 

Dr. Yeboah received his B.S. in agricultural economics from Kwame Nkrumah University in Ghana, his M.S. in production economics from N.C. A&T, and his Ph.D., with a focus on trade and environmental economics, from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  He joined the A&T faculty in 2003.  He is a member of the Department of Agribusiness, Applied Economics and Agriscience Education.

The Interdisciplinary Team Award was presented to six faculty members who worked with colleagues from Wake Forest University to produce the Cone Health Foundation White Paper on Access to Health Care in Guilford County.  The researchers examined the local and regional health care system with particular emphasis on access to health care for indigent, uninsured and underinsured populations.  Their research is now guiding the Cone Health Foundation in its strategic planning and allocation of millions of dollars in grant funding to local health agencies. 

The team included Dr. Schenita Davis Randolph, School of Nursing; Dr. Kelly Graves, Department of Human Development and Services; Ms. Amanda Curry, Center for Behavioral Health and Wellness; Dr. Rosalyn Lang-Walker, Department of Biology; Dr. Inez Tuck, dean of the School of Nursing; Dr. Miriam Wagner, chair of the Department of Human Development and Services; and Mr. Mark Hall of the Wake Forest University schools of Law and Medicine and Dr. Doug Easterling of the Wake Forest School of Medicine.

This year’s Outstanding Junior Researcher is Dr. Paula E. Faulkner of the Department of Agribusiness, Applied Economics and Agriscience Education. The awards committee cited her excellent mix of external grants, totaling $1 million, and peer-reviewed articles and conference presentations. Her research relates to teacher education, diversity/multicultural education, working with people with disabilities, and experiential learning.

The research Rookie of the Year is Dr. Justin Zhan of the Department of Computer Science. The committee called his research output "remarkable" -- now in his second year at A&T, Dr. Zhan has produced 34 funding proposals as a principal investigator (PI), generated $1.3 million in funding as a PI or co-PI, published 135 papers in peer-reviewed journals, and established an interdisciplinary research lab. His research is focused on information assurance, social computing, and biomedical computing.

The Intellectual Property Award was presented to Dr. Lifeng Zhang of the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering (JSNN), Department of Nanoengineering. In 2012, Dr. Zhang filed two patent applications, three invention disclosures, met with 11 companies to promote invention-related new nanotechnologies, and received seed funding from two corporations to work on commercial applications of nanomaterials. His research focuses on engineered materials at the nanometer scale.

Winners of the Research Excellence Awards are selected by a committee of faculty members appointed by Chancellor Harold L. Martin, Sr.  This year’s committee was chaired by Dr. Ceola Ross Baber of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. It included Dr. Jeffrey Edwards, Department of Economics; Dr. Margaret Kanipes, Department of Chemistry; Dr. Devdas Pai, Department of Mechanical Engineering; and Dr. Leonard Williams of the Center for Excellence in Post-Harvest Technologies.

The nominees for the awards are each year’s winners of the research awards of A&T’s seven colleges and schools and the JSNN Department of Nanoengineering.  In additions to the winners, this year’s college and school winners are:

Senior Researcher of the Year

  • Dr. Wendy C. Hamblet, College of Arts & Sciences, Department of Liberal Studies
  • Dr. Lyubov Kurkalova, School of Business and Economics, Department of Economics
  • Dr. Comfort O. Okpala, School of Education, Department of Leadership Studies

Outstanding Junior Researcher

  • Dr. Narayan Bhattarai, College of Engineering, Department of Chemical and Bioengineering
  • Dr. Ibraheem Kateeb, School of Technology, Department of Computer Systems Technology
  • Dr. Jing Zhang, College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Physics

Rookie of the Year

  • Dr. Kimberly D. Erwin, School of Education, Department of Curriculum and Instruction
  • Dr. Mahour Mellat-Parast, School of Technology, Department of Applied Engineering Technology

Intellectual Property Award

  • Dr Ellie Fini, College of Engineering, Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Interdisciplinary Team Award

  • Evaluation and Mitigation of Multi Hazard Effects on Conventional Buildings, Modeling and Simulation/Analysis Tools for Infrastructure Applications, Land Management, and Adaptive Intelligence Systems Architecture, Dr. Sameer Hamoush, College of Engineering, Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, and Dr. Ibraheem Kateeb, School of Technology, Department of Computer Systems Technology.
  • NASA INSTRUCT, Dr. Ajit Kelkar, Department of Nanoengineering, Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering, and nine faculty members representing six departments and three colleges/schools.
  • NSF Engineering Research Center for Revolutionizing Metallic Biomaterials, Dr. Jagannathan Sankar, College of Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering, and faculty members from multiple A&T departments, the University of Pittsburgh, University of Cincinnati and Hannover Medical School in Germany.
  • NSF Mentoring of Middle Grade Science and Mathematics Teachers, Dr. David Boger, School of Education, Department of Curriculum & Instruction, with faculty members from Human Development and Services and faculty mentors from Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Arts & Sciences, Business and Economics, Education, Engineering, and Technology.