Monthly Archives: June 2013

ECU biology professor publishes volume on Richard D. Alexander


East Carolina University biology professor Kyle Summers is co-editor of “Human Social Evolution: The Foundational Works of Richard D. Alexander,” newly released by Oxford University Press.



Summers said the book revolves around the work of entomologist Richard D. Alexander, whose seminal contributions to the field of human social evolution have inspired biologists, anthropologists, psychologists and other social scientists to explore in greater detail the evolution of human social behavior.

The volume includes Alexander’s classic works accompanied by essays from former students and colleagues, who discuss current research or areas of contention related to the topic.

The work was completed as part of Summers’ research activity as the Thomas Harriot College Advancement Council Distinguished Professor of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. Co-editor Bernard Crespi is professor of evolutionary biology at Simon Fraser University.

For additional information about the book, visit Oxford University Press a

Psychology professor receives award for paper on emotions, health

An East Carolina University assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, Dr. Lisa Baranik, has received the 2012 Best Paper Award from the Journal of Research in Personality.



“Physical Health, Positive and Negative Affect, and Personality: A Longitudinal Analysis,” was co-authored by Dr. Stephen West and Yu Liu from Arizona State University, and Dr. John Finch, an ECU professor of psychology who died in 2012. The award ceremony, which included a tribute to Finch’s career, took place June 21 at the Biennial Convention of the Association for Research in Personality in Charlotte.

“John was a brilliant scholar, a gifted teacher and a thoughtful, kind person. My coauthors and I are greatly appreciative that John’s last research project could be honored in this way,” said Baranik.

Baranik is a member of the occupational health psychology concentration of the health psychology doctoral program in the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences. Through her research, she examines employee emotions, health and well-being, and mentoring relationships. Research presented in the award-winning paper tested a statistical model of personality, mood and health, and found that negative moods may contribute more to health than positive moods.

“The connection between the mind and the body is well-known, but researchers are still discovering exactly how that connection works,” said Baranik. “Our paper shows that a person in poor physical health experiences both fewer positive emotions and more negative emotions. On the other hand, our study shows that only negative emotions predict subsequent physical health, not positive emotions.”

For additional information, contact Baranik at 252-737-3000 or via email at

‘North Carolina Literary Review’ explores the changing state of North Carolina

The North Carolina Literary Review (NCLR) focuses on the state’s ever-changing historical, environmental, and literary landscape in its 2013 issue.2013cover-small

The issue’s special feature section includes interviews with Cold Mountain author Charles Frazier; Maria DeGuzmán, founder of the Latina/o Studies program at UNC-Chapel Hill; and novelists Wiley Cash and Anna Jean Mayhew. It also has essays by Bland Simpson and Gustavo Perez Firmat, a short story by Big Fish author Daniel Wallace, and the 2012 James Applewhite Poetry Prize poem by Mark Smith-Soto. “North Carolina’s constant state of change is reflected and recorded in the state’s literature,” writes editor Margaret Bauer in her introduction to the special feature section. “One of the greatest of North Carolina’s gifts is its literature.”

Other sections of the issue feature a series of poetry and prose by former North Carolina Poet Laureate Fred Chappell; poetry by James Applewhite, a member of the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame; and the second-place and honorable mention poems by Laurence G. Avery and Grace Cloris Ocasio from the 2012 James Applewhite Poetry Prize competition,; and “The Saint,” a short story by Leah Hampton, which won the 2012 Doris Betts Fiction Prize.

Also in the 2013 issue: UNC-Asheville Professor Erica Abrams Locklear discusses the Native American connection, specifically the Lumbee Indians, in the novel Mandy Oxendine by late-nineteenth/early twentieth-century African American writer Charles Chesnutt, which was not published until 1997. Elon University Professor Anthony Hatcher reintroduces James Ross, author of one novel, They Don’t Dance Much, originally published in 1940 and reprinted this year by Mysterious Press. And author Bland Simpson remembers his colleague Jerry Leath (Jake) Mills in a poignant essay about their friendship.

Published by East Carolina University and the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association, NCLR has won numerous awards in its now 22 years of publication—most recently from the Council of Editors of Learned Journals in 2010 for Best Journal Design. The 2013 issue received support, too, from the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, for the James Applewhite Poetry Prize competition and from the North Carolina Writers Network, which sponsors the Doris Betts Fiction Prize competition. Several finalists from these competitions were published in NCLR Online earlier this year.

The cover art for NCLR 2013 is by Mary Shannon Johnstone and Dana Ezzell Gay, both on the faculty at Meredith College in Raleigh. Gay, NCLR Art Director since 2009, also designed the cover and much of the content. Other content designers include Pamela Cox of Five to Ten Design in Washington, NC; Stephanie Whitlock Dicken, a Pitt Community College graphic design instructor; and Karen Baltimore, a graphic design student at Meredith College.

NCLR 2013 will go out to subscribers in June and will be available in independent bookstores across the state. The official launch of the issue will take place at the Eastern North Carolina Literary Homecoming on the campus of East Carolina University, September 20–21. Several of the writers featured in this issue will be in Greenville for this event. For program information, go to

For a complete table of contents for this issue, subscription and purchase information, go to

ECU alumna seeks out doomsday preppers

Brooklyn Bagwell (Photo courtesy of National Geographic)

Brooklyn Bagwell
(Photo courtesy of National Geographic Channel)

By Steve Tuttle
ECU News Services

East Carolina University 2011 graduate Brooklyn Bagwell is casting director for the hit television show “Doomsday Preppers” that airs on the National Geographic channel.

She began as a production assistant in 2011 at Sharp Entertainment in New York, which produces the show for the network. She became casting director in the show’s 2012 season. The third season begins airing this fall.

A native of Marion in western North Carolina, Bagwell’s degree is in apparel and merchandising design, but she said in an interview with Asheville’s Daily Planet that she had always wanted to work in television. She said she uses the phone and the Internet to finds the preppers featured on the show. She said she also goes to prepper conventions such as the Sensible Mountain Preparedness Seminar in Asheville.

Bagwell earned an ECU degree in merchandising through the College of Human Ecology.

Thorp completes physical therapy certification



Dr. Jacob Thorp, clinical assistant professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, recently passed his orthopedic clinical specialist examination from the American Physical Therapy Association.

The OCS is the preferred clinical specialization for musculoskeletal physical therapy.  The specialist certification program was established to provide formal recognition for physical therapists with advanced clinical knowledge, experience, and skills in a special area of practice and to assist consumers and the health care community in identifying these physical therapists.

ECU FoodMASTER Camp instills a love for food, science, and math

By Nicole Wood
College of Human Ecology

Twenty-eight middle grade students from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Pitt County will receive hands-on math and science experience through ECU’s FoodMASTER Summer Science Camp in June (6/24-28) and July (7/8-12).

The students will cook and garden under the direction of hospitality leadership and

Dr. Melani Duffrin

Dr. Melani Duffrin

nutrition science faculty and students. Students will spend the week learning the science and math concepts involved in cooking, gardening, and nutrition.  By the end of the week they have will have reviewed concepts in the fields of biology, chemistry, horticulture, nutrition science and math all while having fun in the kitchen and garden.

FoodMASTER Summer Science Camp partners with Boys and Girls Club; A Time for Science, the nature and science learning center in southern Pitt County; and Save a Sea Turtle Foundation to offer the camp. Prior to FoodMASTER Camp, the children spend a week at A Time for Science learning about water quality and conservation.

Melani Duffrin, FoodMASTER principal investigator and ECU professor of nutrition science, and Virginia Carraway-Stage, FoodMASTER director and assistant professor of nutrition science, are leading the initiative to create and test a FoodMASTER curriculum for middle graders in North Carolina. The summer science camp is part of that project.

FoodMASTER Summer Science Camp Director Jacqueline De Chabert-Rios is an assistant professor of hospitality leadership.  David Rivera, Jr., associate professor of hospitality leadership, also helps with camp efforts.

FoodMASTER has received over $2.7 million in funding from the National Institutes for Health’s (NIH) Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) to develop, implement, and disseminate food-based curriculums and materials to K-12 teachers in North Carolina and beyond. The FoodMASTER curriculum incorporates food activities into Common Core Standards for math and science.

FoodMASTER was created in 1999 by Duffrin along with Sharon Phillips, an Ohio elementary school teacher, to bring science, math, and nutrition concepts to life through activities using common household items such as measuring cups and spoons, cereals, flour, fruits, vegetables, and milk.

Learn more at

ECU ecologist’s wetlands research in major publications

Research by ECU professor Marcelo Ardón-Sayao, assistant professor of ecology in the Department of Biology, has appeared in two major science publications this summer. His work on soil and surface water runoff from natural and restored wetlands in North Carolina has been featured in the journal Global Change Biology and in the science journal Nature.

Dr. Marcelo Ardón-Sayao,

Marcelo Ardón-Sayao

Dr. Jeff McKinnon, chair of the Department of Biology in the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, said Ardón’s research is directly relevant to the people of Eastern North Carolina, as well as having national and international implications.

“His work highlights the complexity of the effects of more frequent salt-water incursions due to droughts and sea-level rise on both natural and restored wetland ecosystems,” said McKinnon.

Coastal freshwater wetlands diminish nitrogen delivery to sensitive coastal waters, but according to Ardón, increased salinity from droughts and sea-level rise may threaten this important service.

To test for salinity effects on nitrogen cycling, Ardón and collaborators from Duke University studied two natural and one restored coastal wetland in North Carolina over a period of five years.

Ardón’s research indicates the wetlands experienced episodes of increased surface water salinity due to droughts that occurred from 2007 to 2012.

“The increased salinity caused nitrogen release from all wetlands, with the highest releases in the restored wetland, potentially due to its fertilizer legacy from past agricultural use,” said Ardón. “Our results suggest that increased salinity in coastal wetlands could lead to large nitrogen losses from freshwater wetlands worldwide.”

For additional information, contact Ardón at 252-328-6307, or email him at More details about Ardón are available at

To read the summary written by Nature, go to The abstract for Ardón’s paper may be viewed online at

Board of Trustees vice chair joins Charlotte firm

East Carolina University Board of Trustees vice chair Robert Brinkley, an ECU alumnus, has joined the Charlotte real estate firm Womble Carlyle.



“Womble Carlyle is known for its outstanding real estate practice, and the firm has a strong presence in Charlotte, so this will be a good fit for me and my clients,” Brinkley said. “I believe my clients will appreciate Womble Carlyle’s client-focused, value-centered approach.”

He is the Past Chair of the North Carolina Bar Association’s Real Property Section, and has been a Member of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce’s Land Use Committee and is a previous Chair of the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce’s Land Use Committee.

In addition to his work as a real estate attorney, Brinkley practices in the areas of banking, corporate and educational law. He also is very engaged in many community, civic and charitable activities. He currently is completing his second term as Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees of Providence Day School and his second term as a Member of the Wake Forest Law Board of Visitors.

Brinkley brings more than 30 years of real estate law experience to Womble Carlyle. He has led numerous major commercial development projects in the region, including bringing mixed-use developments to Uptown Charlotte, helping a Fortune 200 relocate a major division to Charlotte and developing a 950,000-square-foot high-rise office building in Uptown Charlotte. He also has worked extensively on high-profile economic development projects, working with government, community and business leaders to help bring jobs and investment to the region.

He has served on ECU’s Board of Trustees since 2007.

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