Mar 172013


Lauren Williams Harvey


Lauren Williams Harvey

Sunday, March 17, 2013

An East Carolina University graduate shared her experiences as a first-year middle school math teacher at a national education conference on Feb. 27-March 2.

Lauren Williams Harvey, a 2012 ECU graduate, served as a panelist at the annual American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education Conference (AACTE), held this year in Orlando, Fla. She spoke on how an innovative program at ECU’s College of Education prepared her for teaching.

The college is in its third year of implementing edTPA, an assessment tool that measures the teaching behaviors and effectiveness of education students. edTPA was developed by Stanford University in partnership with AACTE.

“Being a first-year teacher can be stressful, but the preparation I received…allowed me to feel confident in my classroom,” said Harvey, who teaches sixth-grade math at E.B. Aycock Middle School in Greenville. “With this confidence, I feel that I am able to meet the individual needs of all of my students on a daily basis.”

ECU administrators recommended Harvey to serve as a panelist for the session, titled “edTPA Into Practice: Novice Teachers Speak Out,” because of the university’s extensive adoption of edTPA and the deep engagement of the faculty with Stanford University and its Center for Assessment, Learning, & Equity, according to Susan Petroff, vice president of AACTE.

“The opportunity to speak at the AACTE conference on edTPA gave me a chance to both share my experiences through the process as well as advocate for the College of Education,” Harvey, one of only three new graduates to appear on the conference agenda, said.

During the panel session, Harvey reflected on how the middle grades education program at ECU prepared her to execute the edTPA process and, more importantly, to be a successful new teacher.

“Each day, I reflected on my lessons and how well my students were performing,” Harvey said. “But the edTPA allowed me to focus on specific needs and common errors that may occur during a lesson.”

In her remarks, Harvey said that edTPA was a rich, challenging opportunity that allowed her to demonstrate her knowledge and skills. From making sure that she was planning instruction that reached all students, to assessing student work to identify gaps in instruction or misconceptions among her students, participating in edTPA at ECU made Harvey a confident, prepared first-year teacher.

“This truly was a memorable occasion,” Linda Patriarca, dean of the College of Education, said. “Listening to her articulate so clearly and cogently how she plans, instructs and assesses the students in her class and how she uses the data to inform her planning and subsequent day’s instruction was awe inspiring.”


Grant funds study of nanotubes

An ECU researcher is studying the effects of microscopic particles that exist in products ranging from sunscreens to sailboats but which could pose as-yet-unknown hazards to human lungs.

Mary Jane Thomassen, a scientist and professor in the division of pulmonary and critical care medicine at the Brody School of Medicine, is looking at the effects of carbon nanotubes with help from a three-year, $368,159 grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Her study is titled “Chronic Granulomatous Lung Inflammation Elicited by Carbon Nanotubes.”

Thomassen has been studying carbon nanotubes since 2008. Smaller than 1/1000th of a millimeter, CNTs are tube-shaped fibers that have proved useful in products as varied as cosmetics, sunscreens, bicycle frames, electronics, sailboats, space shuttles and pills. They even have been used to clean up oil spills. But not much is known about any long-term hazards from inhaling nanomaterials during their manufacture or use.

The goal of Thomassen’s project is to examine specific pathways in which carbon-based nanomaterials can injure the lungs.

Exposure to carbon-based nanomaterials may be occupational and occur during commercial production processes. Alternatively, people exposed to fires that contain burning diesel fuel, methane, propane or natural gas may be at risk since these fires release CNTs.

CNTs entering the lung are engulfed by immune cells which then send out SOS-type chemical messages that recruit more immune cells and affect other structural cells of the lung. The result can be damage to airways and difficulty breathing. Since CNTs cannot be destroyed by the immune cells, they also can clog up small airways and cause the immune cells to pile up and try to wall off the CNTs. This process causes further damage, leading to chronic breathing problems.

Thomassen said the next step will be to look for ways to treat CNT lung disease in mice, with an eventual goal to find treatments that would be beneficial in human lung disease.

Thomassen’s collaborators on the study are Dr. Barbara Barna, a scientist and affiliate faculty member of the pulmonary division; Dr. Larry Dobbs, a scientist and physician in the ECU Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine; and Dr. Chris Wingard, a scientist and associate professor of physiology at the Brody School of Medicine.

Upcoming Events

  • Monday: A lecture, “Residential Housing, Energy Issues and Codes that Will Impact Our Industry,” presented by U.S. Department of Energy architect Sam Rashkin; 3-6 p.m., SciTech Building, Room C309. Contact Eric Connell, Department of Construction Management, at
  • Monday: A lecture, “Unexpected and Unusual Wisdom in the Dead Sea Scrolls,” presented by Dr. John Kampen, professor and Dunn Chair of Biblical Interpretation at the Methodist Theological School in Ohio; 7 p.m. SciTech Building, Room C307. Contact Calvin Mercer, professor of religious studies, at
  • Wednesday: Spring Career Fair for all majors, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. in Minges Coliseum; Education Career Fair in the Murphy Center. Contact the ECU Career Center at 328-6050.
  • Thursday: The S. Rudolph Alexander Performing Arts Series presents the Frank Vignola Trio featuring Bucky Pizzarelli, 8 p.m. in Wright Auditorium. Vignola is a guitarist who has worked with top musicians including Ringo Starr, Donald Fagen, Wynton Marsalis and Les Paul. Tickets are $30 for public and $10 for students/youth. Tickets at 1-800-ECU-ARTS.
  • Thursday: Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers Screening: “Free China: The Courage to Believe,” 7 p.m. Greenville Museum of Art. Filmmaker Michael Perlman will attend. More information at

via The Daily Reflector.


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