A Decade of Discovery: NC State’s College of Sciences Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary
In honor of the College of Sciences’ 10th anniversary, check out 10 of our most memorable moments.
The College of Sciences opened its doors in 2013 — and we’ve been accomplishing big things ever since. Consisting of academic departments and units covering the biological, physical, chemical, mathematical, statistical and earth system sciences, the college was created to enhance collaborative opportunities for students and faculty. Over the past 10 years, our faculty, students and alumni have landed huge grants, made important strides in research and even gone to space.
In honor of our decade of discovery, check out 10 of our most memorable moments.
On July 1, 2013, students shuffled into Jordan Hall, Dabney Hall, SAS Hall, David Clark Labs, Thomas Hall and Riddick Hall for the first official day of classes in the College of Sciences. Drenched from the rain, they welcomed the coffee, doughnuts and T-shirts offered by the college’s leadership. Later that day, Sciences faculty and staff celebrated the occasion with lunch at Mitch’s Tavern on Hillsborough Street.
We Hosted a Star Astrophysicist
Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York, brought his star power to campus in 2014. Known for hosting the Fox TV show “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey” and for his many talk-show appearances, Tyson stressed the importance of science literacy during his visit. He held a roundtable interview with local media, met with students and gave a lecture at the James B. Hunt Jr. Library.
We Built on NC State’s Culture of Cross-disciplinarity
At NC State, we know that cross-disciplinarity is key when it comes to solving society’s complex problems. Through the Chancellor’s Faculty Excellence Program (CFEP), the university brings together bright minds from various disciplines to form faculty clusters that work to make breakthroughs in challenges related to health, energy, security and the environment. The College of Sciences boasts the second-most cluster hires of any college at NC State, with Sciences faculty represented in 14 of the university’s 20 CFEP clusters.
We Produced Some of the Nation’s Top Students
Our students have landed some of the nation’s top scholarships over the past decade, including three of the university’s four Churchill Scholars. Mia de los Reyes ’16, Nikhil Milind ’21 and Ana Sofia Uzsoy ’21 each won the prestigious scholarship, which funds graduate-level study at the University of Cambridge for 15-17 students. De los Reyes was NC State’s first-ever Churchill Scholar.
We Took Over Hunt Library
In 2017, the college held its premier public science and outreach event, State of the Sciences, at the James B. Hunt Jr. Library for the first time. Featuring interactive activities throughout the library’s five floors, the event brought together the NC State and wider community to discover the different ways science plays an important — and fun — role in our everyday lives. State of the Sciences returned to Hunt in 2018 and 2023.
We’re Headed for the Moon
Three-time NC State alumna Christina Koch reaches for the stars — and the moon. In 2013, Koch, who earned a bachelor’s in physics from the College of Sciences in 2001, was selected as a NASA astronaut. On March 14, 2019, she launched to the International Space Station and went on to set the record for the longest stay in space — 328 days — by a female astronaut. She also took part in the first all-female spacewalk. In November 2024, she’ll become the first woman to fly to and around the moon as part of NASA’s Artemis II project.
We’re Integrating the Sciences
Where Harrelson Hall — once referred to as “one of the most unsatisfactory academic buildings imaginable” — once stood, we’re constructing a 153,000-square-foot hub of scientific innovation and collaboration. With three core labs and plenty of spaces for teaching and research, the Integrative Sciences Building (ISB) will unite the sciences at NC State. The building will bring together chemists, biologists, physicists, mathematicians and engineers to tackle society’s greatest challenges and prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow.
Other improvements in the area will include renovations to the adjacent Brickyard and Dabney Hall.
We’re Spearheading Important Research for the People of Our State
Our faculty live out the college’s mission to catalyze research and innovation that improve our world and collective understanding. As part of the GenX Exposure Study led by Professor Jane Hoppin, faculty across NC State and other universities are measuring the effects of exposure to GenX and related PFAS in drinking water. The study, which seeks to understand the impact of PFAS on thyroid function, started in November 2017 in Wilmington, N.C. In 2020, new funding from the NC State Superfund Center allowed the researchers to expand the study to include over 1,000 people from the Cape Fear River Basin, which serves as the drinking water source for various communities.
We’re Tackling Big Health Issues
Throughout her career as an epidemiologist, Cathrine Hoyo, a Goodnight Innovation Distinguished Chair and a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, has noticed rising rates of liver cancer in North Carolina, especially among diverse populations. In 2021, she received a $17 million grant, the largest in the college’s history, from the National Institutes of Health to study the reasons behind this trend. The grant funds a multi-institutional effort that follows 16,000 people in North Carolina and Georgia for up to five years, with the end goal of determining how environmental contaminants impact liver health in diverse populations.
We Received a Landmark Gift
Alumnus John McRary traces his success back to the three physics degrees he earned from NC State. Six decades later, he gave to his alma mater through a $10 million estate gift to the College of Sciences Foundation. The largest estate gift in the history of the college, McRary’s donation will create a $6.5 million endowment to support graduate students in physics and a $3.5 million endowment to support graduate students in mathematics.
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