CALS on the job as a go-to resource for North Carolinians

This past October, we celebrated the official installation of Dr. W. Randolph “Randy” Woodson as the 14th chancellor of N.C. State University. In his inaugural remarks, the chancellor defined the role the university will play in the future of the state. “We have a clear understanding of our mission and a passion for fulfilling it,” he said. “Supporting the economic health of North Carolina is something N.C. State does very well.” This, Chancellor Woodson said, is something he learned traveling the state and hearing from its citizens “in glowing terms about the impact of the university across North Carolina.”

In this issue of Perspectives, we show some of the many ways this College is making these impacts. We take you to the Roanoke Island village of Wanchese, where, with some assistance from CALS food scientist Dr. Tyre Lanier, a local family-owned fish business started marketing scallop medallions and became an international operation. As one of the owners puts it, “N.C. State put us on the map globally.” Elsewhere, horticultural scientist Dr. Sarah Spayd is leading a CALS team researching ways to make wine grape crops more competitive and profitable for growers in North Carolina and along the East Coast.

We bring news of Cooperative Extension’s Entrepreneur Assistance Program, which was the go-to resource when two stockbrokers lost their jobs during the recent recession and decided to turn family pickle recipes into a business venture. The assistance program, which helps entrepreneurs get off the ground and produce food safely and profitably, is headed by CALS food scientist Dr. Fletcher Arritt, who advises aspiring food entrepreneurs on what they need to do to sell food and recommends ingredients and processes. With his guidance and pickle-making-process instruction, the two former stockbrokers were able to get their business, Miss Jenny’s Pickles, up and running – and rapidly expanding  to 55 stores and fine food retailer sales. They also were featured on an episode of MSNBC’s “Your Business,” where they said that starting their business right meant starting with N.C. State University’s help.

Health and well-being benefits of CALS research are in focus as we bring you the story of Dana Sackett, a graduate student in our departments of Biology and Environmental and Molecular Toxicology. In collaboration with faculty from those departments, she is studying the fish in the state’s lakes to find which fish in which areas pose the greatest risk due to mercury contamination.

And as concerns about the nation’s bed bug problem intensify, CALS entomologists are responding. N.C. Cooperative Extension, led by CALS’ Dr. Mike Waldvogel, has partnered with other agencies to host workshops for Extension county staff, county environmental health specialists, social workers, housing code officials and others who deal with housing and pest issues. Meanwhile entomology researchers, including Dr. Coby Schal, are studying existing infestations, looking for genetic clues about the origins of this generation of bed bugs and strategies for control.

We also bring you stories of outstanding CALS students Michael Atkins, James Tyndall and Bridget Lassiter, who are already making contributions on local, national and international levels.

As Chancellor Woodson told his installation audience, we continue to be locally responsive and globally engaged.

Johnny Wynne, Dean
College of Agriculture
and Life Sciences

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