JACKSONVILLE, FLA. – Students at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University won six awards for their presentations at the 19th Biennial Research Symposium hosted by the Association of 1890 Research Directors.

Topics ranging from the shelf life of strawberries to the connection between seniors’ mental health, physical health and faith were among the 700 oral and poster presentations being made during the ARD symposium hosted by Florida A&M University in Jacksonville, Fla., March 30 to April 3.

“Conducting research helps learning come alive for our students,” said Mohamed Ahmedna, Ph.D., dean of N.C. A&T’s College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. “The ability to communicate that research, which our students are demonstrating this week, will serve them well as they continue their studies or enter the workforce.” 

Faculty, staff and students from the 19 institutions that are 1890 land-grant universities shared their research during the event, which has the theme “Making Critical Contributions to Rural Prosperity and Solving Challenges in Food and Agriculture.” Twenty-three students were among the group of A&T attendees, which also included faculty, staff and administrators.

The award winners from N.C. A&T are:

Oral presentations:
Undergraduate: Renewable Energy, Natural Resources and Environment
Alexander Hauke 2nd place – “Extraction and Transformation of the Nutrients in Agricultural Wastes for Production of High-Value N/P/K Fertilizer”

 Poster presentations:
Graduate: Plant Health and Production and Plant Products
Paul Omaliko – 2nd place – “Evaluate Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) in an Intercropping System as a Pollinator Enhancer for Increased Crop Yield”

Graduate: Food Safety, Nutrition, and Health
Danimah Otieino – 1st place – “Quercetin Increased Non-Shivering Thermogeneisis in Brown Adipose Tissue”

Graduate: Family, Youth and Community Economic Development
Ricki Owusu – 3rd place – “Relationship between Housing Instability and Food Insecurity of the Low-Income Elderly Population in the United States”

Undergraduate: Family, Youth and Community Economic Development
Shannon Walston – 1st place – “Low-Income Older Adults’ Health Challenges and Their Aging in Place”

Undergraduate: Renewable Energy, Natural Resources and Environment
Jared Via 2nd place – “Industrial Hemp Determining Growing Conditions in North Carolina”

 The symposium is an opportunity for the 1890 land-grant universities to showcase their excellence, according to Vernon L. Jones, ARD chair and associate dean of the School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences at Langston University.

“The goal of all 1890 symposia is to provide a forum for interactions, knowledge sharing, building networks for expanded partnerships and to showcase the talents and achievements of the 1890 community,” Jones said. “This is our time to shine and to let the world know of the valuable contribution we are making to support food and agriculture.”

A key part of the ARD symposium is the role that students play in making presentations and showcasing their posters, said Alton Thompson, ARD executive director.

“A critical part of this meeting is to ensure that students graduating from these institutions leave ready to assume the role of scientists and leaders in an ever-evolving knowledge-based, global, digitally-powered economy,” Thompson said. “In the words of Ben Franklin, ‘Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.’ We are involving our students in all levels of this symposium.”

The symposium also marked the 40th anniversary of ARD and included the first Evans-Allen Memorial Lecture, which was given by U.S. Rep. Alma Adams, D-N.C. Adams, who is entering her third term, is a vice chairwoman of the House Agriculture Committee, founder of the Congressional Bipartisan HBCU Caucus and the Progressive Education Caucus, among others.

The 1890 land-grant universities are those institutions that were established under the Second Morrill Act of 1890. These historically black institutions share the land-grant mission of teaching, research and Cooperative Extension. The agricultural research at these institutions is designed to improve communities in the food and agricultural sector.

Symposium sponsors include the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Southern Regional Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education, AgFirst Farm Credit Bank, USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service and National Crop Insurance Services.