Celebrating Black Excellence
In honor of Black History Month, we recently spoke with Black faculty, staff and students about their experiences in the field of higher education and their contributions to the College of Natural Resources. Check out their stories below.
Zakiya Leggett is an assistant professor in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources. Leggett earned her Ph.D. in forestry from NC State and currently teaches a course about the interrelationships between human populations and the natural environment and a course about how forest soils form in the natural environment and their relation to forest management and sustainability. She is also researching soil carbon and nutrient cycling, soil carbon sequestration and stability, and more.
As an instructional designer for the Department of Forest Biomaterials, James Todd is instrumental in the robust delivery of online courses. His work provides faculty with online learning techniques and strategies that play a significant role in teaching during the pandemic. James holds a B.A. in Communication and Media Studies and an M.S. in Communications and has worked for several corporations before coming to NC State, including Apple, Comcast and CNBC.
Roslynn Powell is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management. Through her research on the emotional labor of interpreting enslavement at heritage sites, Powell plans to gain a better understanding of what interpreters are going through in this process and what can be done to offer them more support. After she completes her degree, Powell would like to pursue a career in academia, where she can teach and continue doing research in parks and recreation.
As a university program associate for the College of Natural Resources, Jewel Walcott provides administrative support to the assistant dean for college advancement and the advancement team. Her work helps secure gifts for the college and keeps advancement projects running smoothly.
Louie Rivers is an associate professor in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources. Rivers earned his Ph.D. in natural resources from Ohio State University and currently teaches adaptive management and governance and environmental justice and decision making. He is also researching green infrastructure and tree planting projects in minority and underserved communities, as well as heir land loss prevention.
Lauren Pharr is a master’s student in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources at NC State’s College of Natural Resources. She’s partnering with Neighborhood Nestwatch out of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., to research the effects of urban noise and light pollution on avian survival.
As building environmental technician for the College of Natural Resources, Darnell Jones plays a valuable role in keeping our college safe. When there is a positive COVID-19 case, Jones leads efforts to disinfect the area.
Murry Burgess is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources at NC State’s College of Natural Resources. Her research focuses on urban ecology and ornithology, specifically the effects of artificial light at night on barn swallow chick health and development. After she completes her degree, Burgess would like to pursue a career in academia and start her own research lab.