Drs. Kea, Goktepe, Davis, and Li

2010 N.C. A&T Research Excellence Award winners

Pictured above (from left), 2010 Research Excellence Award winners Dr. Cathy Kea, Dr. Ipek Goktepe, Dr. Lauren Davis, and Dr. Zhichao Li

North Carolina A&T State University honored four researchers in 2010 for their contributions to food safety, culturally responsive teaching, humanitarian logistics, and advanced manufacturing processes.

The university’s 11th annual Outstanding Research Awards were presented March 15, 2010, at the annual Honors Convocation in Harrison Auditorium. 

“These are remarkable researchers, scholars and teachers who are advancing our understanding of four critical areas,” said Dr. Celestine Ntuen, interim vice chancellor of research and economic development.  Dr. Ntuen received A&T’s first Outstanding Senior Researcher Award in 2000.

This year’s winners are:

Outstanding Senior Researchers

A tie in this category resulted in two researchers receiving the award, Dr. Ipek Goktepe and Dr. Cathy Kea.

Dr. Goktepe is an associate professor of food science and nutrition in the Department of Family and Consumer Services.  Her research focuses on food safety and environmental health, including such issues as assuring the safety of poultry products, the packaging of mushrooms, and the effect of pesticide exposure on farm workers. 

She has authored or co-authored more than 75 publications and professional presentations, including one article that was recently listed by ScienceDirect as one of the top 25 hottest articles in the world based on the number of scientific database downloads.  Since coming to A&T in 2000, she has secured more than $3 million in research funding and $500,000 worth of specialized research equipment.

Dr. Kea is a professor of curriculum and instruction in the School of Education.  Her research is centered on one of the most challenging areas in pre-K through 12 education: the intersection of general education, special education and multicultural education.  She has had a particular focus on the overrepresentation of culturally diverse students in special education.   

Her work is continuously cited in journals and special education textbooks, and she is consistently sought out by universities around the nation for her expertise in training teacher educators in culturally responsive teaching.  Dr. Kea has brought $2.7 million in sponsored funding to A&T.  She joined the A&T faculty in 1991.

Outstanding Junior Researcher

Dr. Lauren Davis, assistant professor of industrial and systems engineering.  Her research is in quantitative methods for analyzing supply chain systems, particularly in regard to information sharing and collaboration.  Her most recent work looks at humanitarian logistics. 

Dr. Davis initiated a collaborative project with North Carolina State University and the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina, to design a weekly routing plan for pickup of food donations and delivery to rural agency partners.  The project has had two very positive results:  A routing strategy that has been implemented by Second Harvest, and a proposal for further research in efficient and equitable distribution of food donations that has been recommended for funding by the National Science Foundation.  Since joining the A&T faculty in 2005, she has secured more than $790,000 in sponsored research funding.

Rookie of the Year

Dr. Zhichao Li, assistant professor of industrial and systems engineering.  Dr. Li is the recipient of a 2010 National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Award, the NSF’s most prestigious award program for junior faculty.  The award was $400,000 in research funding. 

His research focuses on modeling, simulation and optimization of manufacturing processes, particularly in relation to the manufacturing of dental ceramics, abrasive machining of semiconductor materials, and biological energy manufacturing.  Dr. Li joined the A&T faculty in 2008.