N.C. A&T On Point Newsletter

VOL. 1 / NO. 6 / MAY 2018

Chancellor's Message
Chancellor's Message

Savoring the Success of A&T Alumni
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Chancellor MartinThis year, more than 2,100 undergraduate and graduate students completed their studies at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University -- significant accomplishments we honored in three commencement ceremonies here in Greensboro.

When new graduates begin their journey into businesses and organizations around the world or in graduate schools at our nation’s finest campuses, including N.C. A&T, that is when the narrative around our alumni truly becomes exciting.

A&T living alumni now total more than 56,000, and they are making their mark. Their career achievements illustrate the enduring value of the degrees they earned at our university, whether serving in senior elected or appointed offices in federal and state government, in the highest ranks of our armed forces, as entrepreneurs and chief executive officers or as leading educators in classrooms around the country. As indicated in our branding campaign, Because That's What AGGIES DO!

Savoring the Success of A&T Alumni

Our graduates are the most important contribution that A&T makes to the world around us. They are the leadership and workforce of tomorrow's economy, armed with the knowledge and preparation to compete in a dynamic workplace and to ensure our nation's competitiveness in an interconnected, ever-changing global economy. The care and rigor we invest in their experiences at our university are more than short-term commitments to their academic success; rather, they are critical parts of a foundation intended to support them throughout their work lives and as they serve the communities where they live.

We are proud of our graduates and just as proud to share some of their stories with you in this edition of On Point.

- Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr.

+ To learn more about North Carolina A&T, please visit iTunes and subscribe to the On Point with Chancellor Harold L. Martin podcast.
These 3 Things
These 3 Things

Breaking New Ground: Aggies Lead
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 Michael Regan (left), SaBra Neal (middle) and Tarik Cohen (right)Aggies are making their presence known in fields as diverse and wide-ranging as the breadth of North Carolina A&T degree programs. These three alumni have grabbed the spotlight in very different fields and for very different reasons, all of which make significant contributions to Aggie Pride.
  • Michael Regan. North Carolina traces its official stewardship of the environment back 280 years to the first enforcement of game laws in the colonial days. Given that long history and the value that the environment continues to hold for the state today, the fact that Regan ('98) serves as secretary of the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality is no small matter. From enforcing regulations regarding toxic coal ash to halting the release of GenX compounds through wastewater and into the air, the DEQ under Regan is furthering the state’s environmental legacy. It’s also familiar territory for Regan, who has served as a senior leader of the Enviromental Defense Fund, an Environmental Protection Agency administrator under presidents Clinton and Bush and an attorney practicing environmental law.

  • SaBra Neal. During her meteoric student career at A&T and Georgia Tech, Neal ('13) earned plenty of notoriety. She was a Dowdy Scholar and NSF Scholar at A&T, and was later a presenter at the Google Research Summit, as well as a Facebook Woman in Research. But it was the culmination of her studies at Georgia Tech that placed her in the history books earlier this month, when she became the first African American to earn a Ph.D. from the university’s School of Computational Science and Engineering. “You have to persevere and be consistent despite your surroundings, despite your ethnicity or your gender. You can’t let those factors drive your future,” said Neal. Correction, Dr. Neal.

  • Tarik Cohen. A record-setting star during his four years as an A&T running back, Cohen turned heads when he was chosen in the fourth round of last year’s NFL draft by the Chicago Bears. Many wondered whether the 5’6, 180-pound speedster had the size to make it in the pros. One year later, they’re not wondering any more. Cohen rushed, caught, returned and threw for a combined 1,599 yards on his way to being named the 2017 ESPN Rookie of the Year for NFL South Division and becoming a fan favorite for one of the league’s biggest brands. The Bears reportedly have even bigger plans for him this fall.

The Widening Path to Silicon Valley
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2016-17 Student Government Association President Jordan Greene When Facebook CEO/Founder Mark Zuckerberg kicked off a nationwide speaking tour in 2017 at North Carolina A&T as the debut speaker in the Chancellor’s Town Hall series, some wondered, "Why A&T?"

One explanation is pretty clear: A&T’s leadership in STEM education translates into significant numbers of graduates who are of special interest to the growing number of tech concerns in Silicon Valley and related areas.

A&T is already represented at such companies as Intel, IBM, Texas Instruments, Dell and more. And the number of Aggie alumni is increasing. This spring, at least five A&T graduates were bound for West Coast jobs at Microsoft – including 2016-17 Student Government Association President Jordan Greene (pictured here) – with four undergraduates planning to join them over the summer as company interns.

With the university ranked no. 1 in America in graduation of African Americans with undergraduate engineering degrees and master’s degrees in mathematics and statistics, Silicon Valley corporations know that the university is strong source of highly qualified employees who in many instances also bring greater diversity to the tech world.

Those concerns were well represented at A&T's 2018 Spring Career Fair, with companies noted above joined by Cisco Systems, NASA, NVIDIA, Oracle and more in efforts to identify and hire graduates-to-be. The pipeline of prospective high-tech employees shows no signs of slowing: A&T awarded more than 2,100 total degrees in 2017-18 and enrolls a student body expected to grow to 13,500 by 2020.

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Lab Report icon
Lab Report

Aggies at Work at Federal Science Agencies

Joletta PatrickThe North Carolina A&T legacy at prominent federal science agencies stretches back generations, and is perhaps best represented by the late Ronald McNair, Ph.D., a NASA astronaut, physicist and alumnus.

McNair perished in 1986 during the ill-fated Space Shuttle Challenger mission, but he continues to be a reference point today for the many Aggies who work with or are funded by NASA and other federal institutes.

One such Aggie is Joletta Patrick, a Greensboro native who earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at A&T. She began work in Houston at the Johnson Space Center shortly after graduation, working as a flight controller for the International Space station and as an engineer conducting time-phased power analysis.

Patrick later became manager of the Minority University Research and Education Project at NASA, a senior fellow at the White House Initiative on HBCUs and a spokesperson for the space agency’s commitment to STEM education. Along the way, she earned an MBA from the University of Maryland University College, where she is currently a doctoral candidate.

Other Aggies are making their mark in different ways. Tonya Smith-Jackson, Ph.D., chair and professor of the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at A&T, is currently at the National Science Foundation as a program director for the Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate’s Division of Information and Intelligent Systems.

In this temporary assignment, scheduled to end in February 2019, Smith-Jackson is helping to advance research in cyber-human systems and human factors and providing leadership in the directorate, one of seven at NSF, which, with an annual budget of $7.5 billion, is one of the nation’s largest science agencies.

“I am humbled by the opportunity to serve my university and my country in this way,” Smith-Jackson said, adding that her work at NSF “has far reaching implications for North Carolina A&T Aggies. I hope to see more Aggies taking advantage of similar opportunities.”

Data Points
Data Points
Alumni Impact
The Aggie Family’s collective impact grows larger with each fall and spring commencement.
Students in A&T’s first graduating class in 1899 (A&T University Archives)

1,300              Approximate number of students in Spring 2018 graduating class (A&T Office of the Registrar)

A&T alumni living in the United States and internationally (A&T Alumni Association)

No. 1 
A&T’s natl. rank in producing African American grads with B.S. degrees in Engineering, M.S. degrees in Mathematics & Statistics (Diverse Issues in Higher Education, U.S. Dept. of Education)

A&T alumni rank in early career earnings, second among alumni from N.C. public campuses (Money magazine)

Dr. Harold L. Martin Sr.

Nicole Pride

Todd Hurst Simmons


Sandra M. Brown
Yvonne L. Halley

North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University is a land-grant university that is ranked by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education as a Doctoral University: Higher Research Activity.

N.C. A&T does not discriminate against any person on the basis of age, color, disability, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, veteran status, or any other basis protected by law. For inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies, contact the Title IX Coordinator at titleixcoordinator@ncat.edu.

N.C. A&T is an AA/EEO employer, and it is an ADA compliant institution; thus, facilities are designed to provide accessibility to individuals with physical disabilities.