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We're Here for You, CHASS Undergrads

Posted on September 18, 2014 7:10 am by Lauren Kirkpatrick

CHASS student advisors Dragana Milisav, Mary Bounds, Patsy Sibley, and Amy Leonard

CHASS student advisors Dragana Milisav, Mary Bounds, Patsy Sibley, and Amy Leonard

Lucky you, CHASS undergrads! You have a tremendous resource available to you. Free,  convenient, expert and kind. Four academic advisors are on hand for you Monday through Thursday from 9:00 - 4:00 (9:00 - 2:00 on Fridays) in Caldwell Lounge. You can step right up; appointments are not necessary.

The advisors are grad students who can advise on college and university policies, academic records, degree requirements, and university resources. Ask them about intracampus transfer, registration procedures, the General Education Program or how to develop strategies to handle academic difficulty. Their expertise may be especially useful before and during registration times, and for freshmen and transfer students transitioning to life at NC State.

The advisors can respond to questions from non-CHASS students too, particularly if they concern transferring to CHASS, adding a CHASS major/minor, locating campus resources, or explaining general university policies.

The CHASS Academic Support Center is not a substitute for advising from the academic major department.  Students will still need to visit your academic advisors for course registration approval. And your home department remains the most comprehensive source of information for major requirements, careers, internships, and discipline-specific graduate studies. Meet this year's CHASS academic advisors:

Mary Bounds

Mary Bounds

Mary Bounds is a second year graduate student in the Department of Public Administration. She's working on a Master’s in Public Administration and a Nonprofit Management Certificate. A native of Maryland, Bounds earned her B.A. from McDaniel College, where she studied French and Political Science. She is bilingual and has worked as an ESL teacher in Mulhouse, France, and as a French teacher in the U.S. She spent three years as academic coordinator at Alliance Francaise in Washington, D.C. She has worked as a fundraiser for The Washington Ballet and is a member of the NC State Dance Company.


Amy Leonard

Amy Leonard

Amy Leonard is a second year School Psychology doctoral student and a member of Dr. Mary Haskett's Family Studies Research Lab. She received her B.A. in Psychology from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2011, with a secondary major in Sociology. In addition to studying School Psychology, Leonard is a part-time law student at Campbell University School of Law. Her research interests and career goals center around education and health law, policy and practice, with a focus on the well-being of specialized populations including children who are adopted, homeless or maltreated. 


Dragana Milisav

Dragana Milisav

Dragana Milisav is a second year graduate student in the Master of International Studies program. She has interned for the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Commercial Service, working with international trade specialists to educate and assist local area companies through the exporting process. Milisav received her degree in Political Science and International Studies from Guilford College in Greensboro. While studying abroad in London, she worked at Tender, a U.K. charity that educates  young people in violence and abuse prevention. She also spent a summer interning with the economic advisor to Serbia at the Serbian Consulate in Chicago.  Milisav is a native of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Her interests lie in economic and business development as well as Eastern European culture and politics.

Patsy Sibley

Patsy Sibley

Patsy Sibley is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Psychology, where she is specializing in developmental psychology. She works as a graduate researcher in the Family Affect, Beliefs and Behaviors Lab with Dr. Amy Halberstadt. Her research concentrates on issues of gender, emotion and parental socialization. Her work examines how parents translate their expectations of emotional expression to their children and how these socialization behaviors are affected by parents' beliefs about emotions, gender and culture.

An Antique Find Prompts Academic Research

Posted on September 15, 2014 7:16 am by dlleeder

student Mike HelmsResearch can deepen students' passion for a subject, challenging them to search for answers to complex questions. It permits students to be creators of knowledge, and not simply recipients of past ideas. This Q&A explores the role research can play for CHASS undergraduates.

Mike Helms is a senior majoring in History. His curiosity about an antique item has led to research into a previously under-explored topic.

What sparked your interest in this research?
Last year I found a curious looking antique handgun at a local antiques store. I didn't know anything about its maker, Rollin White, but I had a hunch that this gun had a lot of history behind it. I was right, and researching this gun ballooned into a year-long side project. I discovered during this time that the history of American firearms manufacture has received very little academic scholarship. The opportunity to do important, novel research like this seemed perfect for my history honors thesis.

Briefly describe the research.
The heart of my research is on the 1850 to 1870 period of American firearms manufacture. Rollin White held a key patent that was instrumental in the rise of Smith & Wesson and the shift from muzzle-load to cartridge-load ammunition, which fundamentally transformed the way that firearms were designed, manufactured, marketed, distributed and sold. I'm also interested in the social factors that influenced the civilian purchase of these weapons. My research website is at:

How does the research relate to your major, career goals and personal interests?
As a historian, I want to marry the work of the academic historian with the antiquarian and the genealogist. Researching the firearms industry gives me the chance to do all three in a subject area that is an integral part of America's historical narrative. After I publish my thesis, I'd like to continue developing it into a full-length book.

What are some things you have learned?
I've learned that history never happens in isolation, and things that don't have any connection on the surface can share strong undercurrents. An example of this is a research paper I completed in 2012 on the rise of the Ku Klux Klan in North Carolina. Although there's no obvious connection between the Klan and the evolution of the firearms industry, it appears that the reconstruction era may have been a prosperous era for gun sales precisely because of these sorts of episodes of civil unrest.

What are some of the challenges you've encountered?
The social dimension of historical research has been the most surprising, and the most difficult to learn. Many people are inclined to keep and preserve things from the past, but they're not always willing to share them with well-intentioned researchers. I've had to network with a diverse group of people and organizations to gather primary sources, and that has taken tremendous patience and persistence.

What are some of the rewards?
Studying the firearms industry has revealed a cross-section of American culture that in many ways encapsulates the national ethos of innovation, productivity and Jeffersonian rugged self-reliance. Working with people in both the historical communities and the gun-collecting communities has been incredibly rewarding, and the enthusiasm that people have shown in my research gives me tremendous impetus to keep moving forward.

By Dara Leeder


‘Family Meal’ Ideal Is Stressful, Impossible for Many Families

Posted on September 11, 2014 7:25 am by Lauren Kirkpatrick

Bowen-cooking-imageMagazines, television and other popular media increasingly urge families to return to the kitchen, stressing the importance of home-cooked meals and family dinners to physical health and family well-being. But new research findings from North Carolina State University show that home cooking and family meals place significant stresses on many families – and are simply impossible for others.

“We wanted to understand the relationship between this ideal that is presented in popular culture and the realities that people live with when it comes to feeding their children,” says Dr. Sarah Bowen, an associate professor of sociology at NC State and co-author of a paper on the ongoing study.

The researchers interviewed 150 female caregivers in families with children between the ages of 2 and 8, as well as conducting in-depth observations of 12 of these families for a total of 250 hours.

“We found that middle-class, working-class, and poor families faced some similar challenges,” says Dr. Sinikka Elliott, an associate professor of sociology at NC State who co-authored the paper. “For example, mothers from all backgrounds reported difficulty in finding time to prepare meals that everyone in the family would be willing to eat.”

In addition, middle-class mothers reported being torn between their desire to spend quality time with their children and the expectation that they needed to provide the children with a home-cooked meal.

But, while all families reported financial considerations as a factor in meal planning, finances affected family decisions in very different ways.

For example, middle-class mothers were concerned that they weren’t able to give their kids the best possible meals because they couldn’t afford to buy all organic foods.

Poor families, meanwhile, faced more severe restrictions. Their financial limitations made it more difficult for them to afford fresh produce, find transportation to grocery stories, or have access to the kitchen tools needed to prepare meals – such as sharp knives, stoves, or pots and pans.

“Poor mothers also skipped meals and stood in long lines at non-profit food pantries to provide food for their children,” Bowen says.

“This idea of a home-cooked meal is appealing, but it’s unrealistic for a lot of families,” Bowen adds. “We as a society need to develop creative solutions to support families and help share the work of providing kids with healthy meals.”

“There are a lot of ways we could do this, from community kitchens where families work together to arranging to-go meals from schools,” Elliott says. “There is no one answer. But we hope this work inspires people to start thinking outside the family kitchen about broader things we as a society can do when it comes to food and health.”

The paper, “The Joy of Cooking?,” is published online in Contexts. The paper was co-authored by Dr. Joslyn Brenton, an assistant professor of sociology at Ithaca College and former Ph.D. student at NC State. This project was supported by Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grant number 2011-68001-30103 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.


Note to Editors: The study abstract follows.

“The Joy of Cooking?”

Authors: Sarah Bowen and Sinikka Elliott, North Carolina State University; Joslyn Brenton, Ithaca College

Published: Summer 2014, Contexts

DOI: 10.1177/1536504214545755

Abstract: Sociologists Sarah Bowen, Sinikka Elliott, and Joslyn Brenton offer a critique of the increasingly prevalent message that reforming the food system necessarily entails a return to the kitchen.  They argue that time pressures, tradeoffs to save money, and the burden of pleasing others make it difficult for mothers to enact the idealized vision of home-cooked meals advocated by foodies and public health officials.

Dean Braden Takes the Ice Bucket Challenge

Posted on September 6, 2014 8:01 am by Lauren Kirkpatrick

CHASS Dean Jeff Braden stood on NC State's Court of the Carolinas to accept the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge* he received from Karen Bullock, head of the college's Department of Social Work.

In his comments, the dean said, "I have made donations to the national ALS Association of America  and to the Mayo Clinic  [type "MSA" in the box when you open the Mayo Clinic's giving site] in support of their research on MSA, Multiple System Atrophy. MSA is a closely related disease to ALS. Our good friend, Mark Friefeld, died of MSA this summer. Like ALS, it’s a terrible way to die, and it takes too many people too early in life. I hope that, by accepting this challenge, I can encourage others to begin—or increase—their support for research into ALS, MSA, and other neurodegenerative diseases."

Faculty and staff helped Dean Jeff Braden take the Ice Bucket Challenge. Photo by Blair Kelley.

Faculty and staff helped Dean Jeff Braden take the Ice Bucket Challenge. Photo by Blair Kelley.

The dean issued a few challenges of his own, too. It's on, arts and sciences deans Tim Johnston at UNC-G, Karen Gil at UNC-CH, and Ton Calamai at App State University.

Many thanks to master videographer Jim Alchediak and on-the-spot photographer Blair Kelley.

*The #ALSIceBucketChallenge is a campaign that's gone viral all around the world, raising awareness and funds to fight ALS, commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig's Disease.

September Student of the Month

Posted on September 5, 2014 11:14 am by dlleeder

Alex Hyler is the CHASS student of the month.

Alex Hyler is the CHASS student of the month.

Meet Alex Hyler, CHASS Student of the Month

Hometown: Raleigh, NC

Class: Senior

Major: Spanish Languages and Literatures

Minor: Biological Sciences

Sample Courses:

  • Topics in the Culture of Latin America and the Caribbean
  • General Microbiology
  • Sounds of Spanish


  • Intern, Smiles of Cary Dental Office, Cary, NC, Fall 2013-present
  • Teaching Assistant, BCH (Biochemistry) 351, Fall 2014
  • Volunteer, Give Lee Kids a Smile, Sanford, NC, Spring 2014
  • Founder and Chair, NC State Typhoon Haiyan Relief Fundraiser, 2013-14
  • Vice-President, NC State Pre-Dental Club, 2013-14
  • Volunteer, North Carolina Missions of Mercy Clinics, 2013-14
  • Intern, Zervos & Earwood Family Cosmetic Dentistry, Raleigh, NC, Spring 2013
  • Study Abroad in Madrid, Spain, Fall 2012
  • Translator and Dental Assistant, First Presbyterian Medical Mission, Santa Cruz, Bolivia, Spring 2012


  • Sigma Delta Pi Spanish Honor Society
  • Delta Delta Sigma Pre-dental Honor Society

Postgraduate Plans:

Dental school

Why did you select CHASS?

I have been studying Spanish since elementary school. I had a very inspiring high school Spanish teacher, and went to Spain for three weeks on a high school trip. I felt CHASS had a very strong Spanish program, including a focus on linguistics.

What have been your favorite CHASS courses?

Introduction to World Archaeology with Prof. Scott Fitzpatrick and Spanish Oral and Written Expression II with Prof. Karen Tharrington. Both were very approachable, and had a passion for their subjects, which made me look forward to going to class. Prof. Tharrington has become more like a friend, offering me suggestions about studying abroad and doing translating work.

What do you enjoy most about CHASS?

The faculty do more than simply teach here. They serve as role models. They support you in becoming a well-rounded person by teaching beyond their specific subject. My professors know me by name, and I feel like I am part of a community, not simply a number.

What has been your greatest challenge at NC State?

In high school, I felt that you looked at material and either “got it” or you didn’t. My freshman year, I realized I needed to change some of my study and test-taking strategies for certain subjects, such as science. Success in that area involves doing practice problems and repeating use of formulas and concepts. It was also an adjustment to have a midterm or final that covered a very large quantity of information.

What advice would you give incoming students?

Get involved and pursue things that interest you, whether it is sports, language, theater, or some other area. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It can be intimidating for a new student to raise your hand in a class and admit you don’t understand something, especially if you are used to small class sizes, as I was. Take a risk!