Monthly Archives: March 2013

Sen. Burr talks health care during visit to Brody

ECU surgeon Dr. Richard Zeri, left, and U.S. Sen. Richard Burr speak during Burr's March 26 visit to the Brody School of Medicine. (Photo by Elbert Kennard)

ECU surgeon Dr. Richard Zeri, left, and U.S. Sen. Richard Burr speak during Burr’s March 26 visit to the Brody School of Medicine. (Photo by Elbert Kennard)

U.S. Sen. Richard Burr expressed cautious optimism today for the future of the nation’s health care system as well as concern for how the country will pay for the Affordable Care Act during a visit to the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University.

During a noon address, he told the faculty members, administrators, staff members and students in attendance that he wanted to talk to students about the ACA, known by detractors as “Obamacare,” as well as “to have a real candid exchange about where our medical system is headed in the U.S. and how that affects their future.”

As he described the costs of implementing the act and the taxes it will impose, such as levies on medical device manufacturers, he said, “I’m not going to deal with the rear view mirror. I’m going to look forward.”

For approximately 35 minutes, Burr talked about the benefits of state-run health insurance exchanges and of the medical home concept, predicted fewer people will choose to become physicians due to declining incomes, called for tax reform and said the federal government faces a financial crisis that will demand significant reform to entitlement programs such as means testing for Social Security cost-of-living-adjustments.

He then took questions from the audience for the remainder of the hour.

Burr, a two-term Republican from Winston-Salem, was invited to ECU by the student chapter of the American Medical Association.

Students inducted into Pi Theta Epsilon

Left to right sitting, Madeline McCauley, Elizabeth Gibbs, Andrea Sparks, Lauren Armstrong; left to right standing, Elisabeth Sitton, Hannah Flaherty and Caitlin Davis. Kathleen Brinkley is not pictured.

New inductees into Phi Theta Epsilon are, left to right sitting, Madeline McCauley, Elizabeth Gibbs, Andrea Sparks, Lauren Armstrong; left to right standing, Elisabeth Sitton, Hannah Flaherty and Caitlin Davis. Kathleen Brinkley is not pictured.

The Delta Beta chapter of Pi Theta Epsilon, the occupational therapy honors society, inducted its second class of East Carolina University students on Tuesday, March 19.

The inductees are Lauren Armstrong, Kathleen Brinkley, Caitlin Davis, Hannah Flaherty, Elizabeth Gibbs, Madeline McCauley, Elisabeth Sitton and Andrea Sparks.

Dr. Stephen Thomas, dean of the College of Allied Health Sciences, encouraged the students to consider different views of their role as  occupational therapists and the impact they can make in the community that surrounds them today and in the future.

Pi Theta Epsilon officers conducting the induction ceremony were Brittany Robertson, president; Monica Powell, vice-president; Alana Justice, secretary; and Erin Schofield, treasure. Dr. Denise Donica, assistant professor of occupational therapy, serves as faculty advisor.

The program concluded with words from Dr. Leonard Trujillo, chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy.


Composer Augusta Read Thomas works with student composers on campus

Augusta Read Thomas

Augusta Read Thomas worked with ECU composition students March 21 while on campus with the NewMusic@ECU Festival. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)


Celebrated composer Augusta Read Thomas conducted a master class with East Carolina University composition students while visiting campus March 21.

Thomas served as guest composer for the School of Music’s NewMusic@ECU Festival, held March 18 – 27. Her pieces were performed during the festival by the ECU Wind Ensemble on March 20, and by ECU faculty violinist Hye-Jin Kim and pianist Melvin Chen on March 21.

Thomas is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, an honor society of 250 architects, composers, artists and writers. Election to the academy is considered the highest formal recognition of artistic merit in the United States. She joined the group in May 2009.

In 2007, her ASTRAL CANTICLE was one of the two finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in Music.

Thomas is a composition faculty member at the University of Chicago, and served as composer-in-residence with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 1997 through 2006.

For additional information about Thomas, visit

Thomas listens to an ECU student composer's music before providing feedback during a master class March 21.

Thomas listens to an ECU student composer’s music before providing feedback during a master class March 21.

Research to focus on discrimination through access

East Carolina University sociology professor Dr. Mamadi Corra will study how race affects access to commodities such as jobs and real estate, thanks to a National Science Foundation grant of $191,514.

Corra will study the impact of racial status on gatekeeper-client relationships. He defines gatekeepers as individuals who provide access to information and services for potential customers. Examples of gatekeepers include employment agents, car sales representatives and real estate agents.



“When clients are members of racial and/or ethnic minority groups, employment agents may steer them to lower paid, less desirable jobs,” Corra said.  “Car salespersons may ask for and receive higher prices and real estate agents may show only segregated housing.”

Corra conducted research in 2002 that demonstrates gatekeepers’ fees are determined by the value of access granted to clients. This research will extend that analysis by asking whether a gatekeeper’s fee varies with the racial status of both gatekeeper and client. Specific research questions include: Do African-American gatekeepers gain smaller fees from Caucasian clients? What happens when Caucasians are gatekeepers? Do African-American clients pay higher fees for access? What is the impact of  the race of individuals to whom clients seek access?

Through the results of his study, Corra aims to show how racially grounded status differences affect access to commodities that people value, potentially shedding light on one of the systemic, structural ways in which discrimination persists.

“While the research focuses on the impact of race on gatekeeping, I believe that the results will prove widely applicable across an array of social relations and structures,” Corra said. “The underlying theoretical process outlined is not limited to racial status. It should apply to any gatekeeping setting where any ‘status characteristic’ (identifiable attribute of individuals that carries with it cultural beliefs and/or evaluations of worthiness and competence) becomes salient. Gender, age, beauty and sexual orientation, for example, are all status characteristics, and when they become salient in a gatekeeper-client relationship, effects should be the same as those predicted for racial status.”

The NSF funding will support four graduate research assistants throughout the two-year study, providing research training for those ECU students, which Corra said will advance “ECU’s mission of being a leading regional research institution.”

“I am delighted to receive the award, both for myself and my department, college and ECU,” Corra said.

Corra joined ECU in 2003, after receiving a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of South Carolina, Columbia. He earned an MBA and B.S. in sociology and business administration from Gardner-Webb University in 1995 and 1993, respectively. He was a 2012 ECU Scholar-Teacher award winner and a nominee for the 2013 ECU African American Awards of Excellence. He has been nominated for ECU’s Department of Sociology Annual Teacher of the Year Award for Lower Division Courses every year since 2004. He received the Thomas Harriott College of Arts and Sciences Research Award in 2007 and was inducted that year into Omicron Delta Kappa, ECU’s National Leadership Honor Society. Corra has authored or co-authored more than two-dozen publications in his field, and he has been a frequent presenter at meetings of the American Sociological Association and the Southern Sociological Society.

For additional information, contact Corra at 252-328-4836 or via email at

Youth Arts Festival set for April 6

Pirates of all ages are invited to join in the fun at the annual Youth Arts Festival.

Pirates of all ages are invited to join in the fun at the annual Youth Arts Festival. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

East Carolina University’s School of Art and Design will host the ninth annual Youth Arts Festival from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 6 on the mall in the center of campus. In case of rain, the festival will be held in the Leo W. Jenkins Fine Arts Building.

The festival will include more than 100 visual and performing artists from across the Southeast. Musical, dance and theatrical groups will perform. Artist demonstrations will include wheel thrown ceramics, traditional watercolor painting, weaving, blacksmithing, paper-making, printmaking and portraiture.

Children will have the opportunity to create their own artwork assisted by ECU art students and professional artists. Events are free and open to the public.

University support of the Youth Arts Festival comes from ECU’s Office of the Provost, the College of Fine Arts and Communication, the Ledonia Wright Center, the Department of Recreation and Wellness, the School of Music, the School of Theater and Dance, the Student Activities Board, the Office of Institutional Diversity and Joyner Library. Community supporters include Target, The Belk Fund, the Friends of the School of Art and Design, the North Carolina Arts Council, Uptown Art and Supply, the Pitt County Arts Council at Emerge and Coca-Cola.

For additional information, contact Dindy Reich at 252-328-5749 or e-mail

Healthy lunches, education highlight National Nutrition Month

East Carolina University’s Campus Dining Services and ARAMARK will highlight National Nutrition Month in March with healthy lunches at Todd and West End Dining Hall on March 19 and March 26, along with suggested menu combinations nightly throughout the month in both dining halls.

The celebration is part of a national campaign through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. With a theme of “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day,” the campaign encourages the development of a personalized healthy eating style that incorporates individual preferences, lifestyles, health concerns, and cultural and ethnic traditions.

“National Nutrition Month highlights the importance of making informed food choices that work for each individual’s lifestyle and nutrition needs,” said Janie Owens, the ARAMARK registered dietitian with ECU Campus Dining Services.  “We are committed to providing the campus community with a menu that features a variety of healthy options and supports consumers’ changing preferences.”

The March 19 and 26 lunches will feature tips and educational information about the importance of building a healthy plate by following the recommendations of to create “Pirate Approved Plates.” Menus will feature many whole grain options and lean proteins. Lunches are $8.50 and may be purchased through university meal plans.

Additional information about National Nutrition Month activities on campus is available at For suggestions related to ways students can “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day,” visit

Library hosts exhibit featuring Audubon watercolors


Joyner Library at East Carolina University will host an exhibit titled “Selections from John James Audubon’s Fifty Best Watercolors,” beginning with an opening reception at 5 p.m. April 4 in the Special Collections department on the 4th floor.

The reception will honor donors Dr. and Mrs. Rick Webb. ECU faculty members Susan McRae (Biology), Karl Rodabaugh (History) and Michael Ehlbeck (Art and Design) will speak on how the collection can be used as a teaching tool in diverse disciplines.

The exhibit was curated by Paul Goodson, MLS under the direction of Maury York, assistant director for Special Collections.

Nursing names distinguished alum, inducts hall of famers

Dr. Frances Eason, 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award winner

Dr. Frances Eason, 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award winner

Dr. Frances Eason has been named the ECU College of Nursing Distinguished Alumna for 2013.

Eason, professor of nursing, has been at the college since the 1960s, first as a student and then as a teacher. The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes alumni who have made exemplary contributions to the nursing profession.

Inductees to the 2013 class in the College of Nursing Hall of Fame also have been announced. They are Becky Bagley, Linda Bolin, Susan Brinkley, Nancy Leggett-Frazier, Kathleen Johnson, Maura McAuliffe, Frank Moore, Tommie Pratt, Sue Taylor, Gene Tranbarger, Cheryl Whitaker and Joan Wynn.

The Hall of Fame recognizes significant contributors to nursing education, administration, research and practice. The program also supports a fund that provides merit-based scholarships for nursing students.

The inductees were honored at Rock Springs Center on March 1.

The ECU College of Nursing inducted the 2013 class of the Hall of Fame on March 1.

The ECU College of Nursing inducted the 2013 class of the Hall of Fame on March 1.

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