Monthly Archives: August 2011

ECU researchers explore history near Columbia

Dr. Nathan Richards, far right, presents information about known shipwrecks on the Scuppernong River at the Pocosin Arts Center in June. (Contributed photo)


East Carolina University researchers are collaborating this fall with the UNC Coastal Studies Institute and the citizens of Columbia, N.C. to explore the region’s history and close connection with the state’s coastal waterways.

Initial findings will be presented at an Oct. 6 public forum to be held in conjunction with the community’s annual Scuppernong River Festival and at an information booth open at the festival Oct. 8. More detailed results will be shared in a public symposium planned for late 2011 and a publication in the works for 2012. A grant application related to the project is also under development.

An old photograph of the mail boat, the "Estelle Randall," is among the artifacts uncovered so far in the collaborative project. (date unknown; Source: Mariners Museum PB2876 C176).

The researchers will use side-scanning sonar to search for lost shipwrecks in Bulls Bay and the Scuppernong River, while local residents provide a backdrop through their stories of the region’s history. Topics for study include waterway modifications, the evolution of trade networks and the fishing, lumber and naval store industries in the area.

ECU history professor Dr. Nathan Richards, who specializes in nautical archaeology, met with residents in June to begin conversations about the project. Collection of oral histories has begun, including stories of how residents relied on boats from Elizabeth City to bring the mail and goods that were traded for vegetables, fish and crabs. Residents will provide river tours and house students and faculty participating in the research.

The grant application will seek funding for the development of a digital media project, The Scuppernong River Heritage Trail, which could be presented in tandem with the existing Scuppernong River Interpretative Boardwalk, a .75-mile wetlands trail near Columbia.

Richards said the area provides the perfect location for a maritime heritage trail because of the existing infrastructure, the extensive history in the area and the two prominent rivers in the area (the Scuppernong and Alligator Rivers). Columbia is also situated along a major tourism corridor, he said, as a stop along the route to the North Carolina Outer Banks.

For additional information, contact Richards at 252-258-4264 or




Portrait honors medical school advocate

PORTRAIT PRESENTED: Dr. Paul Cunningham, dean of the Brody School of Medicine at ECU, Ernest Furgurson III and Jo Aycock, from left, talk about Furgurson and Aycock’s father, the late Dr. Ernest Furgurson Jr. of Plymouth, a noted early advocate of the establishment of a medical school at ECU. Aycock and Furgurson presented a portrait of their father to the medical school Aug. 5.

Upon passage of the bill to create a two-year medical school at East Carolina, Furgurson said, “It will take imagination and unfaltering leadership, but we will use this facility to attain our goal: to apply a remedy to the shortage of doctors that is so urgent and critical in Eastern North Carolina.”

Photo by Cliff Hollis

ECU faculty research draws attention in Charlotte museum

Research by East Carolina University faculty at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art in Charlotte was featured in the museum’s blog at http://nashermuseumblogs.

Dr. Cynthia Bickley-Green, associate professor in the School of Art and Design, and Dr. Nicholas Murray, director of the Visual Motor Laboratory in the College of Health and Human Performance, developed the research. The study tracks eye movement in response to artwork, exploring relations between oral prompts, cognition and eye-tracking patterns.  A qualitative questionnaire gathers information about the beholders’ aesthetic response to the experience.

The study is part of a larger group of museum and gallery studies that began in the Greenville Museum of Art. It is entitled “Mobile Eye-Tracker (MET) Gaze Patterns Generated by Artworks and Museum Locations.” Results should provide data that may help researchers understand people’s thinking patterns, which could be applicable for related disabilities and overall improved communication.

The full blog post on the research is available at


Elected as fellow in scholarly academy

An East Carolina University professor was the only professional in the nation elected this year as fellow to the American Academy of Park and Recreation Administration.


Dr. Deb Jordan, chair of the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies in ECU’s College of Health and Human Performance, will join the ranks of a membership limited to 125 practitioners and educators.

The prestigious academy promotes public understanding and knowledge related to the administration of parks, recreation and conservation as well as conducting research and providing service to advance the profession. Elected fellows must have served a minimum of 15 years in the field and have demonstrated major contributions to the profession.

Jordan is among a select group of professional who have been elected as a fellow in three distinct scholarly academies. She was elected as a fellow to the 100-member Academy of Leisure Sciences in 2007 and to the 100-member American Leisure Academy in 2001.

She holds a doctorate in parks and recreation administration from Indiana University, a master of science in parks and recreation administration from Western Illinois University and a bachelor’s degree in parks and recreation from Slippery Rock State College. Jordan joined East Carolina University in 2009.


ECU students receive scholarships for study abroad

Two East Carolina University students are enjoying study abroad thanks to scholarships awarded by the German Academic Exchange Service.

Ashley Hooper of Raleigh is completing a year of study at the University of Leipzig, Germany. She was also selected for the organization’s Alumni Association Academic Excellence Award, which supports her attendance at the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy Academy in Berlin. The weeklong academy focuses on cultural diplomacy and international relations through expert lectures and workshops, cultural and social activities.

Hooper is a rising senior majoring in German and history.

Chadwick Spence of Charlotte received an undergraduate scholarship funding a year of study at the Universität Konstanz in southern Germany.

He is a rising junior majoring in German and chemistry.




Grant to fund student oncology group

East Carolina University has been awarded an Oncology Nursing Society Foundation grant that will develop a student oncology interest group to increase awareness of the oncology specialty and explore roles of various health disciplines in oncology. This $3,000 grant is funded by Meniscus Limited.

The College of Nursing, Brody School of Medicine and the Physician Assistant Studies program in the College of Allied Health Sciences will work together to form student interest groups in each discipline. Student leaders from each group will meet with faculty advisors to plan their monthly meetings for the academic year.

The groups will consider topics related to pain management, alternative therapies, hematological malignancies and thoracic oncology with a focus on multidisciplinary teams and communication between disciplines.

Faculty advisors are Dr. Ann Schreier, associate professor of nursing, Dr. Darla Liles, associate professor of medicine, and Carolyn Pugh, clinical assistant professor of physician assistant studies.


Business faculty report publications

Faculty in the ECU College of Business have reported recent publications, which include “ERM in a CPA Practice,” by Denise E. Dickins (Accounting), published in the CPA Journal.

From Marketing and Supply Chain Management, David West and Scott Dellana published “An emperical analysis of neural network memory structures for basin water quality forecasting,” in the International Journal of Forecasting.

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