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Auto Draft 17 Highlights of Our Extraordinary 2016-17

17 Highlights of Our Extraordinary 2016-17

The 2016-17 school year is in the books, and we think it was among our best ever. Find out just a few of the reasons why.


1. Come Along for This Undersea Adventure

In the first of a new series of video profiles of our faculty, Dave Eggleston, a professor of marine science, helped us see what it’s like to dive to the depths of the ocean — and what the sea can teach us. The award-winning one-minute video has been viewed more than 17,000 times. Watch the other videos in the series.

2. In Research, We’re on the Rise

NC State is producing stellar research — and the world is noticing. Nature recently ranked NC State as number 3 in North America — and number 31 in the world — on its list of research “rising stars” that are increasing contributions to top journals. Sciences faculty played a big part in this ranking, publishing numerous articles in prestigious journals tracked by the index.

Explore our research

3. There Is Life After Harrelson

For the first time in more than 50 years, the 2016-17 school year opened without Harrelson Hall looming over the Brickyard. By late winter, the site had been cleared and transformed into green space featuring benches made from Harrelson’s limestone facade. About 95 percent of the building’s materials were recycled or salvaged. Up next for the site, the Crossroads Building.

Slide left or right.

4. Professorships for Top Faculty

Endowed professorships help honor faculty leaders and innovators and provide them with funds and freedom to expand their important work. This year, we awarded several of these professorships, including three that were established by a generous gift from College of Sciences alumnus and SAS co-founder Jim Goodnight and his wife, Ann.

5. A Reimagined Campus

Progress continued on the Imagination Corridor, a one-of-a-kind campus environment that highlights science and creativity. Students in the College of Design collaborated with our scientists to design concepts for Imagination Labs, flexible structures that will pop up around campus to move our scientific process outside of walled labs.

6. It’s On: Think and Do the Extraordinary

In October, the university launched its five-year, $1.6 billion Think and Do the Extraordinary fundraising campaign, the largest in its history. The campaign, which will benefit university priorities like scholarships, research, programs and facilities, kicked off during Red and White Week, NC State’s homecoming celebration. The College of Sciences has already raised more than half of its $60 million campaign fundraising goal.

7. Live! at the Library

On April 21, we welcomed our biggest crowd ever— around 800 people — to Hunt Library for our annual State of the Sciences event. The fun, family-friendly evening featured talks from prominent alumni (as well as “Isaac Newton” and “Albert Einstein”), dozens of hands-on science demos, children’s science storytime, tours of the library, rooftop stargazing, great food and NC State beer. See photos here.

8. $5 Million to Fight the Flu

Mathematician Ruian Ke is part of a team that received a $5 million grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in fall 2016 to research new approaches to fighting the flu. The team is creating and testing therapeutic interfering particles that could ultimately yield a low-cost and resistance-proof treatment for this widespread and deadly threat.

9. We Took the Mannequin Challenge

Last fall, the Mannequin Challenge swept the social media world. Our version was shot on the former site of Harrelson Hall. Amid the rubble, some were mourning, some were skateboarding and others were already imagining the future.

10. Singing the Praises of STEM

Jami Mulgrave, a doctoral student in statistics, shared her story about being a woman in STEM, earning runner-up honors in a video contest inspired by the film Hidden FiguresHer video, which was chosen from more than 7,000 entries, showcases her love of both music and statistics through animations and an original song.

11. Think and Do Through Listening, Learning

This year, the college increasingly focused on building a supportive community where students feel free to imagine — and achieve — their best future. This effort includes our new Community Conversations, periodic gatherings where students can share informally with Dean Bill Ditto and college staff about their experience in the college. No topic is off-limits, and Dean Ditto uses what he learns to inform his decision-making.

12. High Fives For Awards!

Our faculty and students are top-notch — and they have the awards to prove it. This year, we celebrated several prestigious honors, including two new fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a Goldwater Scholarship, a UNC System Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching and a Fulbright Program award.

13. This Geologist Named a Martian Lava Plain

Planetary geologist Paul Byrne, a native of Ireland, learned during St. Patrick’s week that his proposed name for a lava plain on Mercury had been accepted by the International Astronomical Union. Byrne, who was involved with the NASA Messenger mission to map Mercury, honored his Irish roots by naming the plain Mearcair Planitia, combining the Irish word for Mercury and the Latin word for plain.

14. The Magnificent Ataristicians

The Ataristicians, a group including several students from the Laber Lab in the Department of Statistics, took home three honors — and nearly $10,000 in venture capital — in this spring’s Lulu eGames, NC State’s largest startup competition. Their project combines video games with artificial intelligence research and statistics education. Watch a video about their project.

15. A Walk on the Wild Side of Campus

As part of the fall Wolfpack Citizen Science Challenge, the college partnered with the NCSU Libraries to help the NC State community learn more about the wildlife that shares our campus. Citizen scientists placed camera traps in forest patches around campus and captured images of deer, raccoons, foxes, coyotes and other mammals, proving that we don’t always see the wildlife that surrounds us.

16. Pioneering Science

Biotechnology and communications pioneer Martine Rothblatt wowed a crowd of 200 at the Hunt Library in November with a wide-ranging talk that covered technological immortality, transgenderism and the life-saving medicines she’s helped create as CEO of United Therapeutics Corp. Other notable speakers to visit the college this year included theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss and Marc Kastner, president of the Science Philanthropy Alliance.

17. We’ve Got Nationals!

In April, NC State announced that it will host the 2020 Science Olympiad National Tournament. This premier STEM competition will bring more than 2,000 of the country’s brightest middle and high school science students, along with families, spectators and past participants, to Raleigh. North Carolina has the second-largest Science Olympiad program in the country, coordinated by the Science House at NC State.

CATEGORIES: Biological Sciences, Campus Life, Chemistry, Honors and Awards, June 2017, Magazine, Marine, Earth & Atmospheric Sciences, Mathematics, Physics, Research and Innovation, Statistics

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