May 062013


Photo by Cliff Hollis/ECU News ServicesLt. Co. Serena Armstrong, left, and Dr. Glen Gilbert, center, speak with Air Force Brigadier General Catherine Dreyer Chilton. Chilton and Major General William

Photo by Cliff Hollis/ECU News ServicesLt. Co. Serena Armstrong, left, and Dr. Glen Gilbert, center, speak with Air Force Brigadier General Catherine Dreyer Chilton. Chilton and Major General William “Dutch” Holland shared ideas about leadership with ECU ROTC cadets on April 15.


ECU Notes:

Sunday, May 5, 2013

A commitment to service is the foundation of leadership, two alumni with distinguished military careers said on April 15 while speaking to cadets in East Carolina University’s Air Force ROTC.

Air Force Brig. Gen. Catherine Dreyer Chilton and Maj. Gen. William “Dutch” Holland (retired) met with cadets in small groups and talked about leadership as a practical tool they used to advance their careers. Chilton and Holland graduated from East Carolina while serving as cadets in the campus Air Force ROTC unit, Detachment 600. Both have received the East Carolina Alumni Association’s Outstanding Alumni Award.

Leadership is “about being genuine,” Holland said. “The foundation of leadership is concern for others around you, and being committed to doing the right thing. Leaders also need to learn, and you can’t do that if you’re talking. So to be a leader you have to listen more than you talk.”

He told cadets the Air Force is noted for developing leadership skills in its officers and that Chilton is an excellent example of a leader.

Chilton works at the Pentagon as the mobilization assistant to the military deputy of the assistant secretary for acquisition of the U.S. Air Force. A 1981 graduate of ECU, she oversees research and development of weapons systems worth more than $40 billion.

Holland recently retired after serving as commander of the 9th Air Force at Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter, S.C. The 9th Air Force comprises six wings in the eastern United States and two direct reporting units with more than 350 aircraft, and 24,000 active-duty and civilian personnel. He now serves as executive coordinator of the Governor’s Military Base Task Force in that state.

Chilton and Holland were inducted into the ECU chapter of Phi Kappa Phi in a ceremony on April 14 in Wright Auditorium.

Both said military service did the most to develop their leadership skills. Chilton said there are a growing number of career opportunities for women in the military.

Detachment 600, chartered in 1948, is one of the oldest Air Force ROTC units in the nation. In addition to Chilton and Holland, the unit has produced many military leaders, including retired four-star Gen. Gary L. North, who was ECU’s graduation speaker in 2009. North graduated from ECU in 1976.

ECU’s AFROTC unit is a part of the College of Health and Human Performance.

Students to intern 
with NASA

Two students from ECU will participate this summer in a competitive internship experience with NASA through the Langley Aerospace Research Student Scholars Program.

Lisbeth Soria, a senior pursuing a bachelor of science degree in industrial technology with a concentration in information and computer technology, and Kaveh Darafsheh, a graduate student in computer science, earned spots among 200 internships out of 1,000 applicants. Both programs are housed in the College of Technology and Computer Science.

LARSS is a year-round internship program that offers three sessions in Hampton, Va. Soria and Darafsheh will participate in the 10-week program beginning June 3 — a paid research opportunity for students pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

“I hope to expand the knowledge and skills I have acquired at ECU while engaging and meeting other people in the same career field as (mine) while working with NASA and its mentors,” Soria said.

This week, Soria will be the first person in her family to graduate from a four-year institution. She said she is thankful for her parents’ sacrifices to provide her that opportunity.

Darafsheh said “the internship will allow me to take the theoretical knowledge I gained in the past year in an academic setting and apply it to a real world problem.” He will be developing an application for distributed network synchronization through software development.

Both students said the TECS Career Center and department faculty helped them learn about the opportunity. Krishnan Gopalakrishnan and Junhua Ding in computer science and Lee Toderick in the BSIT program were instrumental in the recommendations required for the applications, they said.


Grad student develops recreation master plan

ECU graduate student Ryan Merritt has made a name for himself during his time in North Carolina — particularly in one coastal county.

Merritt, who came to ECU from Iowa, led the development of a recreation master plan for Dare County this semester. He carried out the work as a teaching assistant in a parks and facilities planning class under the direction of Carol Kline, assistant professor in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies.

The course is designed so that a class of undergraduates is paired with a county to develop recreational plans for the community during the semester. This semester, the class was assigned to design a 10-year, comprehensive master plan for Dare County based on the needs and the wishes of the community’s residents.

Merritt facilitated public meetings, met with the parks and recreation advisory board and delivered hard-copy surveys to local businesses and electronic ones for residents.

The master plan, which Kline said will be released to the county in July, will make short- and long-term recommendations based on analysis of the county’s historical and natural resources, public demand, community benefits and cost-effectiveness.

Merritt said some of the ideas involve a new swimming pool for the community as well as hiking and biking paths.

He also took groups of students on his own to Dare County when Kline was unable to attend.

“It is a testament to his maturity and professionalism,” Kline said.

Merritt completed his studies in only three semesters and will graduate this week. He recently defended his master’s thesis on vacation recreation activity preferences while traveling. And he already has a job lined up after graduation, working as an event coordinator with Iowa Sports Foundation.

While at ECU, Merritt was a Student Engagement and Outreach Scholar, worked with the United Way to secure grant funding for recreation programs, and volunteered with the Special Olympics.


Upcoming Events

Friday: ECU Spring 2013 Commencement, 9 a.m. Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. The speaker will be Valeria O. Lovelace, ECU alumna and award-winning developer of children’s programs. More information, including the schedule for college- and school-specific ceremonies, is available online at

via The Daily Reflector.


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