Education
ECSU Receives DOD Grant For High-Powered Materials Research PDF Print E-mail
Education
By Administrator   
Tuesday, 01 June 2021 09:16

Elizabeth City State University has received a $177,566 grant from the Department of Defense to aid in the creation of new materials for the development of electric aircraft, vehicles, ships, space platforms and directed energy missions, said Annemarie Delgado, director of the university’s Office of Sponsored Programs.

According to the grant’s principal investigator, Dr. A. Victor Adedeji, this is a one-year grant to fund the acquisition of specialized equipment for Materials Science and Engineering research at ECSU. The research project is titled, “Acquisition of Equipment for Thermal, Processes and Electrical Transport Characterizations of Wide Band Gap and Ultra-Wide Band Gap Semiconductors.”

The instruments to be acquired by ECSU are, according to Dr. Adedeji, a high-powered capacitance voltage instrument, extremely high-temperature furnace, rapid thermal annealing furnace and Hall effect measuring station.

“These instruments are essential for the development of new materials for high power, harsh environment electronic devices to meet strategic missions of the Department of Defense agencies,” said Dr. Adedeji.

Dr. Adedeji says this grant also provides opportunities for ECSU faculty to be involved in “frontier research and meaningful interdisciplinary research collaborations with research-intensive institutions.”

“ECSU students would also be involved in frontier materials research activities with hands-on opportunities to operate important instruments and learn material characterization techniques pertinent to the field,” he said.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 June 2021 09:23
 
NC State Scientist Earns Global Service Award PDF Print E-mail
Education
By Administrator   
Thursday, 27 May 2021 11:43

The UNC Staff Assembly has presented the 2020 Erskine B. Bowles Staff Service Award to Dr. Veronia Cateté, a research scientist at NC State University. 

Since becoming a research scientist in 2018, Cateté has continued to go above and beyond in service to NC State and the global community. She serves as the co-advisor for the STARS student organization, a service club that provides weekly workshops in computer science for K-12 students. She has mentored 50 high school, 10 undergraduate, and five graduate researchers, and an incredible number of protégés. In addition, Cateté’s groundbreaking research has led the way in establishing evaluation support for novice K-12 teachers new to computer science.

 

“Dr. Catetéinvests the time to know each student individually, understanding what motivates them, what aspects of research they are successful at, and how they can collaborate with other students inthe lab to create studies and projects that maximize their potential,” said UNC Staff Assembly Chair Garrett Killian, who made the announcement at the May 2021 meeting of the UNC Board of Governors.

As the second Latina Ph.D. graduate from NC State’s Department of Computer Science, Cateté has made it her personal mission to help foster a sense of belonging and curiosity toward computing in young women and minorities to help give them the knowledge and opportunities to make informed decisions on career pathways.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Catetétook steps to help students adjust. She shifted her office hours to meet regularly with students in other time zones. In addition, Cateté sponsored virtual game time and social activities for students to feel connected with their peers.

“Her character makes our culture better and her actions and initiatives make our department better,” said Tiffany Barnes, professor at NC State. “I am confident that she helps NC State grow relationships while providing additional cultural, professional and educational exposure for our students.”

The award was established in 2010 by the UNC Staff Assembly to recognize employees whose accomplishments are consistent with the goals of the University and the University’s public service mission. Recipients must exemplify excellence in their professional interactions and customer service within their university employment; provide extraordinary service to their campus and the UNC system outside their job description; and provide exemplary service to their surrounding community.

 
UNC System To Expand Student Mental Health Services PDF Print E-mail
Education
By Administrator   
Thursday, 27 May 2021 10:42

The University of North Carolina System will rapidly expand mental health services for students statewide with a $5 million grant from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund.

The announcement comes alongside the release of the UNC System’s report, “Healthy Minds, Strong Universities: Charting a Course to More Sustainable Student Mental Health Care.”

Eight in 10 students say their mental health has been negatively impacted by the pandemic, the report shows. Surveys also indicate that 10-15% of college students have had serious thoughts of suicide within the past 12 months. Nationwide data show that 20-30% of incoming college students are arriving with a previous mental health diagnosis.

In addition to promoting and ensuring student health and wellbeing, addressing student mental health challenges has far-reaching implications for student success and educational attainment, the report says. For example, mental illness is one of the most cited reasons for why students drop out of college, according to research from the World Health Organization.

Last fall, the System provided its 17 institutions access to a 24-hour crisis hotline, a resource for students who needed professional care. But more work must be done, especially as campuses focus attention on those struggling to cope with the stressors of the past year.

“Many of our campuses have seen their counseling and outreach services strained to the breaking point, and I think it’s clear to all of us that we need a better approach to both helping students in need and creating a more supportive environment that addresses student mental health before it becomes a crisis,” said UNC System President Peter Hans. 

The System Office will use the $5 million in GEER funds to increase training, resources and expertise to better support its students, faculty and staff. Additionally, the UNC System will extend access to training and shared services to outside institutions in consultation with North Carolina’s community colleges and independent colleges and universities. Examples of potential investments include the establishment of electronic medical record systems at counseling centers, development of a shared pool of psychiatric providers across the UNC System and implementation of a system-wide off-campus referral tracking system.

GEER funding consists of federal dollars that aim to help school districts, postsecondary institutions or other education-related entities address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. On May 24, Gov. Roy Cooper directed $51.4 million in new GEER funding to help students access and complete postsecondary education as the state recovers from the pandemic.

“The UNC System appreciates the Governor’s support to keep our students on track towards on-time graduation through completion grants and to address urgent mental health needs, especially for at-risk students,” Hans said. “The Governor’s emphasis on helping those most vulnerable during the pandemic is reflected by his leadership on these issues.”

 
Governor Announces $51.4 Million In Education Grants, New Financial Aid PDF Print E-mail
Education
By Donna Martinez   
Monday, 24 May 2021 17:38
Governor Roy Cooper directed $51.4 million in new funding to help students access and complete post-secondary education as the state recovers from the pandemic.
 
The Governor will invest $44 million of the funds to help students access college and earn degrees starting this fall; $5 million to support mental health initiatives across state postsecondary institutions; and $2.4 million into equity-focused initiatives for K-12 and postsecondary students and families.
 
The funding is North Carolina’s share of the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) fund, federal dollars that aim to help school districts, postsecondary institutions, or other education-related entities address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
"Students and educators across our state have faced challenges both inside and outside the classroom over the course of the pandemic," said Governor Cooper. "The GEER funds announced today will provide much needed relief for the state's community colleges and universities, help us continue to build and grow a successful and diverse workforce and provide students equitable access to postsecondary education." 
 
With this package, the Governor will launch the Longleaf Commitment program, a $31.5 million investment to guarantee that graduating high school seniors from low- and middle-income families receive at least $2,800 in federal and state grants to cover tuition and most fees at any of the state’s 58 community colleges. The Commitment program will supplement the federal Pell grant and existing aid by providing an additional $700 to $2,800 grant per year for the 2021-22 and 2022-23 academic years for students to earn an associate degree and/or credits to transfer to a four-year college or university in North Carolina. Additional details on how students can apply for these grants will be available at www.nccommunitycolleges.edu.
 
To support student success after enrollment, the Longleaf Commitment program will also provide matching grants to help colleges expand student advising, success coaching, and related services.
 
“Education translates into opportunity, and I thank Governor Cooper for his decision to use federal funds to extend higher education opportunities for students to attend community colleges,” said Thomas Stith, president of the NC Community College System. “North Carolina’s ‘great 58’ community colleges are essential to the state’s economic recovery efforts and are well poised to prepare the workforce needed, today and tomorrow.”
 
The Longleaf Commitment leverages the Governor’s discretionary GEER aid as a first step toward the more robust NC Guarantee grant program, which the Governor proposed through the American Rescue Plan Act funding. If enacted, the NC Guarantee would ensure that students from eligible families receive at least $6,000 per year in federal and state grants toward attending any UNC institution or North Carolina Community College.
 
Both programs demonstrate the Governor’s commitment to affordable education and developing a skilled workforce.
 
“While we work with legislators to fund the NC Guarantee, today’s graduates need help immediately,” said Governor Cooper. “Longleaf Commitment is a down payment toward more affordable and predictable pathways for students through NC Guarantee.”
 
The Governor will also launch the Longleaf Complete program to help college students whose education has been interrupted during the pandemic complete their degrees. $12.5 million in flexible funding will help the UNC System Office, NC Community College System, and independent colleges and universities provide financial aid or expand student support services to help students who are near completion of their degree or credential and need the extra help.
 
“Independent colleges and universities have worked so hard during this pandemic to keep students safe and on track for their educational progress,” said NC Independent Colleges and Universities President Hope Williams. “We deeply appreciate the Governor’s support for mental health assistance and for $4 million which will be instrumental in helping students complete their degree.”
 
Beyond college affordability, Governor Cooper is directing $5 million to the UNC System Office to rapidly expand mental health services for students across the state. According to UNC, 8 in 10 students say their mental health has been negatively impacted by the pandemic. National data reinforces the urgent need to supply campus communities with the training, resources, and expertise to better support students, staff, and faculty. To the extent practicable, the UNC System Office will extend access to training and shared services to institutions outside of the UNC system in consultation with community colleges and independent colleges and universities.
 
“The UNC System appreciates the Governor’s support to keep our students on track towards on-time graduation through completion grants and to address urgent mental health needs especially for at-risk students,” said UNC System President Peter Hans. “The Governor’s emphasis on helping those most vulnerable during the pandemic is reflected by his leadership on these issues.”
 
The higher education actions build on the Governor’s recommendation to use federal American Rescue Plan funds to help at least 200,000 more people attain degrees or trade certificates by 2025.
 
The package will also improve data and expand equity initiatives through the following programs:
 
$825,000 to expand the Jobs for North Carolina Graduates (JNCG) program, which teaches 11th and 12th grade high school students employability and workplace skills in preparation for the workforce after graduation. The program currently operates at eight high schools in mostly rural counties in North Carolina. JNCG college and career coaches at each participating school identify students who are at risk of not completing high school or transitioning into the workplace due to economic, family, academic, or personal barriers.
 
“To increase school completion, improve graduation and ensure students continue their education journey into postsecondary, it’s essential that our youth have access to academic and career development support, particularly as they attempt to regain momentum post COVID,” said Jill Cox, President and CEO of Communities In Schools of North Carolina. “This incredible investment in our 11th and 12th grade students in the Jobs for North Carolina’s Graduates program will ignite hope and propel future opportunities for students state-wide.”
 
$750,000 to develop an Education Recovery Dashboard, which will empower education leaders with data necessary to better serve students, families, and educators as school districts and colleges manage more than $10 billion in federal education aid. This resource will provide timely data to ensure the state’s education recovery is fast and fair.
 
$650,000 to develop and promote an accessible digital literacy toolkit that educates students and parents on the digital literacy skills that are critical to remote learning and workforce opportunities. This is a recommendation of the Andrea Harris Task Force, which Governor Cooper established to address the social, economic, environmental, and health disparities in communities of colors.
 
$173,000 to further support the NC School of Science and Math and UNC School for Arts, which each received limited to no federal COVID relief funds because of the size of their high school student populations.
 
North Carolina previously received $95.6 million in GEER I funds under the CARES Act. Aid from the first GEER package, which the Governor announced in the fall, has been used to hire student health staff and academic support personnel in more than 170 school districts and charter schools, help more than 5,200 students pursue industry-recognized credentials, and provide emergency financial aid to more than 6,900 college students.
 
In December, the federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act allocated $42.2 million in GEER II funds to North Carolina. GEER II aid will be available for use through September 30, 2023. The awards from today’s announcement include $9.4 million in remaining GEER I funds and $42.0 million in GEER II funds.
 
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