Dear Participants and Guests:
It is our distinct pleasure to welcome you to our Eleventh Annual North Carolina Alliance to Create Opportunity through Education (NC OPT-ED) Alliance Day conference, scheduled for Tuesday, October 16, 2011 at the North Carolina State University Jane S. McKimmon Conference Center.  The theme is “Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM): Empowering the Next Generation of Leaders.”   This is the only Nationally Science Foundation conference in which students are from middle school, high school, community college, undergraduate and graduate degree programs.  The focus is to promote and target STEM education among all students with special emphasis on those population groups who are underrepresented in these fields (i.e., African Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians or other Pacific Islanders). Alliance Day is sponsored by the NC Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP). It combines the resources of three universities: North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (NC A&T), North Carolina State University (NCSU) and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH). The AGEP program is currently in a no-cost extension, however, the importance of the conference and what it has provided the students in terms of educational opportunities, thinking creatively and seeking STEM careers cannot be overemphasized. 

This North Carolina Alliance has a formal network including all other NSF-HRD supported underrepresented minority (URM) programs in North Carolina: the North Carolina Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (NC-LSAMP), Historically Black Colleges and Universities Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP), Engineering Research Center (ERC), Center for Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST) and the North Carolina Math Science Educational Network (NC MSEN), a K-12 program with sites on seven college campuses across the state. We have collaborated with the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI) as an external partner. PARI is an institute which offers teachers and students in grades 8-12 a unique, live, hands-on inquiry based approach to learning through internet control of a 4.6 meter radio telescope as well as astronomy/engineering and environmental science challenges to our undergraduate and graduate students.

The OPT-ED Alliance Day conference is a one-day interactive conference that serves as a forum to exhibit the research of undergraduate and graduate students from underrepresented groups in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields and the social, behavioral and economic science (SBE) fields. In addition, emphasis is placed on the attendance of middle and high school students who are our future pioneers in the STEM/SBE fields. The event includes poster and oral research presentations, student and faculty panels, recruiting fair and special-topic breakout workshops. The conference is also accessible to participants with disabilities.  We would be honored to have you join us at the Eleventh Annual NC OPT-ED Alliance Day conference. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact our Program Director and Alliance Coordinator, Larry Campbell via email at lecamp@email.unc.edu or (919) 843-6903.