NIOSH Training Program Grant

Interested in joining the program? Contact any faculty member in Human-Systems Engineering!


Program Overview

The NIOSH Training Program was initiated in 1999 by Drs. Gary Mirka and Carolyn Sommerich to address the need to reduce occupational injuries and illnesses in North Carolina.

The purpose of this scholarship is to help graduate students become occupational safety and ergonomics professionals of the future by conducting scholarly research in the areas of human-systems engineering, including but not limited to occupational biomechanics, virtual and augmented reality, brain-computer interfaces, cognitive ergonomics, and human-robot collaboration. The research efforts are aimed at improving our understanding of human cognitive and physical capabilities as bases for complex system designs.

ISE’s Human-Systems Engineering Program encompassed the Safety and Ergonomics component of the NC Occupational Safety and Health Education & Research Center (ERC). It is one of five component programs, including


Program Structure

Admission Criteria

  • 3.0 GPA
  • GRE scores of Verbal ≥ 150, Quantitative ≥ 153, Analytical Writing ≥ 3.0
  • Minorities are encouraged to apply
  • Only U.S. citizens or permanent residents are eligible for support

NIOSH Support

  • 9-month stipend – currently $1,700/month minimum
  • 3-month summer research support or internship
  • Tuition support and State of NC health insurance during degree

M.S. and Ph.D. Programs

Current Human-Systems Engineering Courses through NC State ISE and Psychology


Recent Achievements

Recently Funded NIOSH Trainees


  • Mei Lau


  • Rebecca Ellis
  • Robert Hazel
  • Nathan Sanders

Recent Publications by NIOSH Trainees

  1. Rose, T., Nam, C.S., Chen, K. B. (2018). Immersion of Virtual Reality for Rehabilitation – Review, Applied Ergonomics, 69, 153–161.
  2. Zahabi, M. & Kaber, D. B. (2018). Effect of police mobile computer terminal interface design on officer driving distraction. Applied Ergonomics, 67, 26-38.
  3. Zahabi, M., & Kaber, D. (2018). Identification of task demands and usability issues in police use of mobile computing terminals. Applied ergonomics, 66, 161-171.
  4. Pankok, C. & Kaber, D. B. (2017). An integrated measure of display clutter based on feature content, user knowledge, and attention allocation factors. Ergonomics, 14, 1-15. DOI: 10.1080/00140139.2017.1401669.
  5. Pankok, C., Zahabi, M., Zhang, W., Choi, I., Liao, Y-F., Nam, C-S. & Kaber, D. B. (2017). The effects of interruption similarity and complexity on performance in a visual­manual mock assembly operation. Applied Ergonomics, 59(A), 94-103. DOI: 10.1016/j.apergo.2016.08.022.
  6. Rasdorf, W., Machado, P., Hummer, J, Kaber, D., Zahabi, M., Lau, M. & Pankok, C. (2017). The impact of nine-panel logo signs, logo familiarity, logo format, and drivers’ age on food and attraction target identification. Transportation Research Record (Journal of the Transportation Research Board), Vol. 2624, DOI: 10.3141/2624-02.
  7. White, M., Zhang, W., Winslow, A., Zahabi, M., Zhang, F., Huang, H. & Kaber, D. B. (2017). Usability comparison of conventional direct control vs. Pattern recognition control of an upper-limb prosthesis. IEEE Transactions on Human-Machine Systems, 47(6), 1146-1157.
  8. White, M. M., Morejon, O. N., Liu, S. J., Lau, M. Y., Nam, C. S., & Kaber, D. B. (2017). Muscle loading in exoskeletal orthotic use in an activity of daily living. Applied Ergonomics, 58, 190-197.
  9. Zahabi, M., Machado, P., Pankok, C., Lau, M-Y., Liao, Y-F., Hummer, J., Rasdorf, W. & Kaber, D. B. (2017). The role of driver age in performance and attention allocation effects of roadway sign count, format and familiarity. Applied Ergonomics, 63, 17-30. DOI: 10.1016/j.apergo.2017.04.001.
  10. Zahabi, M., Machado, P., Pankok, C., Lau, M-Y., Liao, Y-F, Hummer, J., Rasdorf, W. & Kaber, D. B. (2017). Driver performance and attention allocation in use of logo signs on freeway exit ramps. Applied Ergonomics, 65, 70-80. DOI: 10.1016/j.apergo.2017.06.001.
  11. Zahabi, M., Pankok, C., Kaber, D. B., Machado, P., Lau, M-Y., Hummer, J. & Rasdorf, W. (2017). On-road visual sign salience, driver attention allocation and target detection accuracy. Transportation Research Record (Journal of the Transportation Research Board), Vol. 2663, DOI: 10.3141/2663-06.
  12. Zahabi, M., Zhang, W., Pankok, C., Lau, M-Y., Shirley, J. & Kaber, D. B. (2017). Effect of physical workload and modality of information presentation on pattern recognition and navigation task performance by high-fit young males. Ergonomics, 60(11), 1516-1527. DOI: 10.1080/00140139.2017.1324115.