Wednesday, November 18, 2009


This week I want to share with you about a great office on campus that is commonly referred to as the best kept secret on campus. Through this office, you can meet many great people, help participate in exciting service projects, and help your community, among many other things. This office is the Center for Service, Leadership, Ethics, and Public Service, commonly referred to as CSLEPS. During my high school years, I participated in volunteer work; when coming to college, I wondered how I could continue this involvement. I never imagined there was an office on NCSU campus committed to helping our community by getting students involved and preparing them to be future ethical leaders.

My freshman year I participated in Service NC State, which was in collaboration with an organization named Stop Hunger Now. Students from NC State, neighboring colleges, and even some community members come together on the first Saturday after classes started to put together packaged meals to be sent across the world. In 2008, we packaged over a million meals in just a few hours. Everyone had such a wonderful time during the event, and it passed really quickly. It was amazing to see what can be accomplished in such a short amount of time.

Alternative Service Break trips are other great opportunities offered through CSLEPS. Trips are during Christmas break and spring break. There are international and domestic trips, including everything from helping Habitat for Humanity, alleviating health issues, and teaching English in various countries. Many different interests are involved, and students from all different majors participate. This past spring break, I went to the Dominican Republic on a health issues trip. I had an amazing time interacting with the local people and learning about their culture. We toured their hospital and taught health lessons in the schools. Everyone should take advantage of these trips because you can learn so much, especially about appreciating what you have.

Leadership training is another service offered by of this office. Many great presenters offer workshops on various aspects of leadership that CSLEPS has carefully selected. By attending these workshops and doing a portfolio of service, you can earn a certificate, which employers look upon highly. These workshops have allowed me to look at things in a new perspective.

This past year, I worked with CSLEPS as a Service-Leadership Consultant, planning events and helping lead service projects. We were ambassadors for CSLEPS and helped wherever we were needed. This year this group has been absolved, and paid internships have been put into place. A group of interns over various aspects of CSLEPS have been appointed, and they will form committees where you can get involved with your specific interest and the planning behind events.

There are so many opportunities through the CSLEPS office that I simply cannot describe them all to you here. To learn more, visit their website and see for yourself what all they have to offer.

Clubs on Campus

Fun people, free food, and good networking – that is what the Agribusiness/NAMA (National Agricultural Marketing Association) Club is all about!

An advantage of being a student in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at NC State is being given the opportunity to be involved in clubs. Just within CALS, there are over 44 different clubs and organizations students can choose from! Clubs differ not only in their meeting schedules, but also their overall purpose. This gives CALS students the opportunity to become involved in an area that truly interests them. However, the main purpose of CALS clubs is to challenge students scholastically, engage students in service events, and promote networking for possible internship and job opportunities.

One of the clubs I am involved in on campus is the Agribusiness/NAMA Club, the club for students studying Agricultural Business Management in the Department of Agriculture and Resource Economics. Here is an overview of what the club does: we meet every other Monday evening, there is free food served for all club members, we have at least one service event and one social event every semester, and we help with the Maola milk book at the State Fair (in the fall) as a fundraising event. We also have a professional within the agricultural industry speak about their job at every meeting, and we have an end of the semester banquet where we celebrate the successes of the semester.

The premier aspect of the club, in my opinion, is the opportunity to learn about different internship and job availabilities as we have different speakers at each club meeting. These speakers represent different aspects of the agribusiness industry. Through the networking that takes place between students and business representatives at our club meetings, it is very easy to obtain an internship; at the very least, we can obtain information about internship opportunities. Internships are key because they help a person to figure out if a specific career is ‘right’ for them. If all goes well during an internship, a job might be offered to the student once they graduate. To me, this sounds like a pretty good deal for college students!

However, the Agribusiness/NAMA Club is not the only club that promotes and focuses on networking in CALS. Explore the following website to see a complete listing of all the clubs CALS has to offer:
This is just another reason, among the million, that I love being a student in CALS at NCSU!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What is CSI?

As a student, you may have an occasional free minute to sit down and watch the infamous “CSI” television series. This show portrays Crime Scene Investigators as nicely dressed, perfectly-styled professionals who find imperative clues at first glance. When viewing this type of show, you have to remember that that is television drama, performed by Hollywood actors.

Well, what then is a CSI? A crime scene investigator plays many roles when solving a single crime. Many hours are dedicated to retrieving, recording, and testing forensic ballistics in all aspects of the crime. For instance, DNA takes at least a week to go through processing and data
recording. On the state level, cases are backed up to a year; this is due to the number of cases and the holds placed on those cases because more pertinent cases come through the system.

Specialists deal with certain aspects of a crime. One person is specially trained in the finger-print analysis unit, while another is specialized in guns. The task of a gun specialist is to compare and identify bullets from the crime scene to potentially match those bullets with a specific type of firearm. They use water chambers and cotton-lined ranges, as well as an indoor and outdoor firing range. They compare bullets left at the scene and firing pin impressions left on the shell casings with the marks on test-fired rounds in the crime lab. If the marks on the test bullet match, the weapon has been identified. This is based on the principle that no two guns leave the same marks on the ammunition. The bullet striations and firing pin impressions are as unique as our fingerprints! The specialist can also determine range, impact and type of bullet wounds, as well as calculate the distance of the shooter from the powder stain patterns on the target. Each specialist does his or her part, and then sends the information to the investigator in charge, after which he or she receives the next order of business. The specialists are never involved in the specific details of the cases.

So the next time you find yourself watching the infamous CSI series, just remember that cases are not solved so quickly or easily.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Academic Trips

Hola! My name is Dustin Hart and I am a sophomore in Poultry Science. This week, I thought it would be fun to talk about school trips! Who doesn't love going somewhere instead of sitting inside of a classroom?

I recently took a class trip to visit Asheboro Zoological Park. My Avian Physiology class has been learning about avian behavior, so for our weekly lab, we took an all-day field trip to put our newly-learned skills into practice. At the zoo, my group decided to watch Chilean Flamingoes! We spent about two hours taking notes and utilizing the skills we had learned in the classroom as we watched our subjects. For the remainder of the day, we walked around looking at the rest of the animals at the zoo.

Needless to say, this was one of my favorite labs! We didn't just learn about how to study avian behavior, but we actually put it to use. Later we created an ethogram (a way to list avian behavior) as if we were actual researchers studying the Chilean Flamingo. We also created a 5-7 minute class presentation discussing our findings from the zoo.

Where else would you be able to get this kind of hands-on experience if not in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at NCSU?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Med School Bound

Hi everyone! My name is Lacey Martin. I am a junior majoring in Biological Sciences with a Human Biology Concentration. I am hoping to attend medical school following my few, great years at NC State. To reach my goal, I take advantage of the Pre-Health resources CALS has to offer; but there is so much, I cannot possibly do it all, much less mention it all here!

The key to all these resources is the Health Professions Advising Center, or HealthPAC. This office provides advising, interview preparations, entrance exam preparation materials, information on professional schools and internships, and so much more. Personally, I'm in the HealthPAC office at least once every two weeks meeting friends, asking questions, or looking at materials.

I am also about to start the application process for medical school. One thing I know I will take advantage of is the NCSU Health Professions Committee Review process. The HealthPAC website has a portfolio system which allows students to upload activities and descriptions as they complete them. That way, you don't have to try to remember everything when the time comes to apply. Also, once you complete the Medical School application, you have the option of submitting it to the review committee. This committee examines all your information and writes a recommendation for you, which is then sent to the schools to which you are applying. This committee review is nationally recognized. Of course, you're not required to use this resource, but it is definitely a great option!

I am also a member of the Pre-Health Club. This club meets once per month and holds many different workshops, as well as hosts various speakers, all of which help the members prepare for applications, interviews, professional school, and our future careers in the medical field. The Pre-Health Club also holds many different service events throughout the year which members can take advantage of. In order to meet the needs of every member, the club is divided into ten different interests group. These groups include the Pre-Medical, Pre-Dental, Pre-Optometry, and Pre-Pharmacy groups, as well as many others. Each of these groups meets at a different time of the month. There are also two medical-related honor societies: Alpha Epsilon Delta (Pre-Medical) and Delta Delta Sigma (Pre-Dental). These societies also meet for workshops, service activities, and social events.

Right now, I am in a class called “BIO 295” on campus. This class meets on Tuesdays for 75 minutes. We have a wonderful Kaplan instructor who teaches us critical thinking skills that help on tests like the MCAT, PCAT, DAT, or OAT. These are the standardized tests you must take to get into professional school (sort of like your high school SAT). Also, for an amazingly low price we received a full set of brand-new, newly-revised Kaplan MCAT test preparation books! No other school in the area has this! The idea behind this course is that by beginning it as a freshman and continuing it every semester, you will have four full semesters of it completed by the time you take the test (usually in your junior year). This is the equivalent of a full preparation course. It is just spread over an extended period, which is much more preferable than cramming all of this information into just a few months before you take your exams!

I know all of these options can seem overwhelming, but keep in mind everything is optional. These are simply a few of the ways NC State and CALS helps prepare you for your next step after college. If you work hard and participate in these activities, you will get so much out of it -- not just another entry on your resume, but a lot of friends, support, and fun!

For more info:
Pre-Health Club:

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Dining Options

Eating Out-

NC State students have a wide variety of off campus food options. There are four well patronized eating locations within walking distance of campus: Hillsborough Street, Western Boulevard, Mission Valley Shopping Center, and Cameron Village.

Hillsborough Street (directly across from the NCSU library) offers students about 25 restaurant, bar, café, or deli options. There is a little something for every culture and palette, with Mexican, Greek/Mediterranean, Indian, American, Chinese, Japanese and Italian options ranging from casual to fine dining.

Western Boulevard (between Main and Centennial campus) is home to many well known convenience food options including McDonalds, Wendy’s, Bojangles, and Pizza Hut. A student favorite, Cookout (an all American hamburger and milkshake joint) is also located here.

Mission Valley Shopping Center (on the corner of Western Boulevard and Avent Ferry Road) is like Hillsborough Street in that it offers a broad selection of cultural food. Ethiopian, Oriental, and Mexican restaurants are among American delis, cafes, and bars.

Cameron Village (off of Oberlin Road, about 5 minutes driving from campus) is the longest walk from campus so students typically drive. The restaurants, amid local shops and boutiques, are convenient for lunch between shopping. The village’s reasonably priced American style bars and grilles make this location well known for its thriving nightlife, and the perfect spot for a date or a night out with friends.

Most of these restaurants offer discounts or daily specials for students. Coupons can be found in the Technician (our university newspaper) and at Talley Student Center.

Additional information on off campus eating:

Eating In-

Students can also prepare their own meals. Food Lion (with Western Boulevard and Avent Ferry Road locations) is closest to campus. The Avent Ferry location is on NC State’s Wolfline bus route, which provides transportation for students without a vehicle. Harris Teeter (in Cameron Village) is also a popular option.

One of the most cost efficient and sustainable locations to purchase produce is the North Carolina Farmers Market (off of Lake Wheeler Road, about 5 minutes driving from campus). Local farmers sell fresh fruits, vegetables, eggs, meat, nuts, cheese, milk, bread, pastries and more. This semester, NC State University worked in collaboration with the NC Farmers Market to provide weekly markets on campus.

North Carolina Farmer’s Market website:

Hope this helps in choosing from NC State’s wealth of off campus food options. Happy eating!

-Erin Whitley

Monday, October 19, 2009

Off-Campus Medical Opportunities

Medical School: many people want to attend, few are admitted. So, what can you do to set yourself apart? And what resources can you find in Raleigh to assist you in attaining that acceptance letter? Whether conducting research, shadowing, or volunteering, N.C. State is surrounded by numerous opportunities to not only strengthen your resume, but also allow students to attain the experience necessary for medical and other professional schools.

Research is one essential aspect of a CALS student’s experience: it emphasizes discovery-based instruction to students not attainable in lecture halls. Conveniently, N.C. State is located adjacent to Research Triangle Park. RTP harbors many honorary individuals, including recipients of the Nobel and Pulitzer Prizes, in addition to winners of the National Science Foundation Award and Presidential Award. Presently spanning 6,971 acres, Research Triangle Park is considered a “center of innovation.” This provides NC State students with an awesome (and convenient) opportunity to gain unique, discovery-based education through hands-on instruction.

If you are seeking shadowing experience or internships, NCSU is located a mere 4 miles from REX Hospital, and within 10 miles of WakeMed Hospital. If you want to branch out and experience individual practices, Raleigh is filled with fine facilities at which you can expand your outlook on medicine. I currently shadow an attending physician in WakeMed’s Emergency Department. The diversity of illnesses and interactions with patients I witness in just an eight hour day is amazing. Dr. Saad advises me to “doctor hop,” allowing me to not only observe a variety of patients but also a variety of physician’s diagnostic methods of treatment. Whether grabbing lunch with a doctor and discussing different aspects of medicine, or learning what to look for on a CT scan or X-ray, the physicians and faculty at WakeMed have significantly strengthened my knowledge of the medical field.

Volunteer opportunities in Raleigh are also very prevalent. There are countless organizations in need of assistance, and they are more than happy to receive help from N.C. State students. Students can discover and learn more about these volunteer opportunities through on-campus clubs, the CALS Career Services Office, and the CSLEPS (Center for Student Leadership, Ethics, and Public Service) website. These resources can all help you find the volunteer program that is right for you. I utilized the CSLEPS website and began volunteering at the medical clinic at Urban Ministries over a year ago.

So yes, the competition for acceptance to Medical School is tough. Fortunately, N.C. State and Raleigh have more resources than you can imagine, helping you create your own unique resume and compete with the very best applicants.

Monday, October 5, 2009


Alright, so you think you want to be a vet “when you grow up.” First and foremost, understand that this is an extremely competitive field. There are only 28 vet schools in the nation, and there are plenty of students vying for these few admission seats every year. Don’t get discouraged though – just realize that becoming a vet requires a lot of passion and determination. If you think this is the area you’d like to go into for your career, start preparing NOW! Go talk to your local vet and ask them if you can volunteer. Shadow a large animal veterinarian in your area. And when you get to college, start animal-related research projects.

This is where CALS at NC State can help you. CALS faculty are constantly looking for undergraduate help in research projects. Though some of these projects may be unpaid, you can instead receive class credit in most situations. Personally, I became involved in research the summer before my freshman year, and have continued working in the lab ever since. I participated in the HHMI RISE Program, a 6-week summer research internship for incoming freshman, and began working in a poultry genomics lab on main campus in Scott Hall. Since then, I have presented three times at undergraduate research symposiums, and have even traveled to Australia to present my research at the 2008 World Poultry Congress.

But obviously research is not the only thing you need to focus on when it comes to building your resume for vet school; you also need to have a well-rounded body of veterinary and animal experience. This includes everything from assisting a large animal vet with restraint of a patient during an exam, to walking dogs for your neighbor. Just make sure you keep a log of how many hours you’re accumulating in each of your experiences – this will make applying to vet schools (and even filling out your resume) a much smoother process later!

When it comes to finding these fantastic internships, CALS Career Services is an invaluable resource. CALS is constantly sponsoring workshops to help guide you in your quest for internships, and networking events to help connect you with a professional who may be able to provide just that. The key here is that CALS Career Services is what you make of it. None of the events are mandatory; but of course, the more you participate, the more you will get out of them. So be proactive and take advantage of the resources made available to you! Coming this fall to CALS is an exciting new program called VET Pac! The program will reside in Riddick Hall, and will essentially be a mentoring program strictly for pre-veterinary-focused students. Faculty in the program will help students find internships, connect with local veterinarians, and most importantly, perfect those vet school applications!

My best advice is just to get out there and try things. Dabble in small animal medicine, give large animal practice a try, and even explore the field of exotic animal care. What is even more important than getting into vet school is making sure that being a veterinarian is really your dream career. And after all of that experience you decide you really do want to be a veterinarian, then you will already be well on your way!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

University Scholars

When I first heard about University Scholars, I thought it sounded like another program that would benefit me academically. My first impression has definitely proved to be true! The Scholars program requires you to take honors courses and attend lectures on a variety of different subjects. I was very excited to Scholars would provide me with the opportunity learn about topics of business, engineering, and the arts, as I am a Biological Sciences major and do not have much exposure to these topics otherwise. University Scholars has also made me a more informed person; because of the program, I now make reading the news part of my daily routine. What is more, the community and trips the program has provided me with have ended up being one my favorite things about my freshman year here at North Carolina State University. Because scholars offered free transportation and tickets, I was able to see professional productions in Raleigh, Chapel Hill, and Durham. I even participated in a weekend trip to Virginia to see a Shakespeare play. I was so impressed with how the program helped to broaden my perspectives.

Although all these experiences were amazing, my very favorite activity was the Fall Break Backpacking trip. University Scholars offers a few trips each semester with the Outdoor Leadership Series. Having never backpacked before, I thought it would be a great opportunity to try something different and meet new people. This four-day excursion ended up being one the best outdoor trips I have ever been on because of great friends, leadership building, and the beautiful scenery. It was a great break from being on campus, and I learned much about myself and about surviving outdoors.

University Scholars has been a fantastic program for me and I highly recommend it to anyone who interested in learning about the world and what it has to offer. So if you have ever wanted to learn a native African dance, or travel downtown to see an original play, scholars might just be the program for you!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fun Things to Do On Campus

Hi everyone! My name is Lauren Hysong and I am a senior in biological sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences here at NC State. As my roommates and I are getting ready for this weekend’s football game against Pittsburgh (Go Pack!!!), I wanted to take a moment to tell you about all of the fun things that go on around campus. As most of you know, it’s football season, which is a notably exciting time among State students. Home football games are a great time to hang out with friends, show your school spirit, and have a lot of free fun. And not long after the excitement of football season, NC State basketball games roll around. There’s nothing like seeing the RBC Center full of NC State fans cheering on our basketball team! And though football and basketball are the two most popular sporting events to attend on campus, NC State also has a wide variety of other ACC sports that have games on campus all the time. Soccer, volleyball, baseball, softball, tennis, gymnastics and wrestling are all excellent programs that win numerous ACC and national titles and always put on a great show for students. And did I mention it’s all free for students??

Not a big sports fan? That’s fine--Arts NC State has a wide variety of shows and performances all around campus. We just finished renovating Thompson Theatre, where numerous plays and shows are put on year-round. Center Stage brings in musicians from around the world to perform, and our Dance program puts on great shows! One of the most popular venues to attend is Stewart Theatre in Talley Student Center, where many acts perform, such as our famous male a capella group, The Grains of Time. They are great live, and I highly recommend seeing a show while you’re here! Movie fans can visit the Campus Cinema, where for just $1.50 you can see a movie not yet out on video without ever having to leave campus. They also put on free advanced screenings throughout the year so you can see movies before they hit theaters.

In addition, many clubs and organizations put on events all throughout the year. As a student at NC State, there is never a dull moment on campus. There are flyers out everywhere on campus for fun things that go on all the time! I for one can’t wait for the Women’s Center to put on their annual Chocolate Festival this October. As future students, I hope that you all take full advantage of all of the fun things that go on around here. See you at the football game!!!