Category Archives: Arts and Sciences

ECU alumna named NC Presidential Scholar

East Carolina University alumna Katie Stanley is one of four recent graduates from across the state named a Presidential Scholar for the 2017-18 school year by the University of North Carolina General Administration.

UNC President Margaret Spellings announced the appointment July 20.

Presidential Scholars provide a range of professional functions for the UNC General Administration. Scholars have regular interaction with senior leadership and members of the system’s Board of Governors and help research, write and implement policy.

 Left to right, Honors College Dean David White, Katie Stanley and EC Scholars director Todd Fraley celebrate during the Honors College graduation ceremony in May. Stanley has been named a NC Presidential Scholar at the UNC General Administration. (contributed photo)

Left to right, Honors College Dean David White, Katie Stanley and EC Scholars director Todd Fraley celebrate during the Honors College graduation ceremony in May. Stanley has been named a NC Presidential Scholar at the UNC General Administration.
(contributed photo)

A political science major and Greenville native, Stanley’17 was a member of the Honors College and Pi Sigma Alpha Honor Society at ECU. Stanley plans to pursue a master’s degree in public policy with the goal of working in state government. Stanley previously interned for Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Representative Dean Arp (R-Union).

“We were thrilled to learn about Katie’s appointment as a Presidential Scholar and look forward to hearing about all the great work she will accomplish in this role,” said Dr. David White, dean of the ECU Honors College. “Katie’s story is an example of how successful our Honors College students are, and how often they make us proud with their personal and professional achievements after graduating.”

The Presidential Scholars were selected among May 2017 UNC system graduates who demonstrated leadership skills, strong motivation, intellectual curiosity and ability to take risks, according to a news release. Previous scholars have worked on assignments from General Administration departments including legal, advancement, academic affairs and communications.

“The Presidential Scholars program allows some of our most talented graduates to hone professional skills and gain real working experience in higher education,” Spellings said. “Scholars also have the unique opportunity to explore and understand the inner workings of an institution that has helped transform our great state.”

 

-by Cole Dittmer, University Communications

ECU’s Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences announces new department chairperson

East Carolina University’s Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences has appointed the next chairperson for the Department of Geography, Planning and Environment. Dr. Thad Wasklewicz, ECU professor of geography, with research interests in geomatics and geomorphology, is currently the director of the Terrain Analysis Laboratory. He steps into his new role as department chair effective August 1, succeeding Dr. Burrell Montz, who has served as chairperson since coming to ECU in 2009.

“I am both grateful to professor Montz for her exemplary leadership over the past eight years and excited to have professor Wasklewicz joining the college leadership team,” said Harriot College Dean William Downs. “Thad will bring us new vision, new energy and a keen commitment to advancing research, teaching and service in this important academic unit.”

“I’ve had an amazing working relationship with Burrell,” said Wasklewicz. “She leads by example and has created a working environment that permits faculty to keep research productivity in our program at an extremely high level. As a department, we have been lucky to have her as a chair, and we look forward to her continued efforts in the program as a faculty member.”

Wasklewicz came to ECU in 2007 as an associate professor and became full professor in 2014. Over the past decade, he has been actively involved in the department through teaching, mentoring students as honors thesis, thesis and dissertation chair or committee member, serving the university and department on multiple committees, and collaborating with colleagues from a variety of departments at ECU, and other universities, on research related to environmental change detection and geospatial technologies to collect and measure these changes.

Dr. Thad Wasklewicz (contributed photo)

Dr. Thad Wasklewicz (contributed photo)

“It’s been a great pleasure working with ECU students. I’ve been working with undergraduate students in the research process and many of those undergraduate students have moved up to the master’s program,” said Wasklewicz. “To see them make it through an undergraduate honors thesis, through their masters and then get employed in positions where their expertise is respected and utilized, has been a very rewarding part of working at ECU.”

In his new role as department chair, Wasklewicz plans to build on the department’s strengths, which include continuing to mentor the faculty and pushing them to succeed, and supporting the involvement of students through a newly developing leadership program. Other initiatives he intends to promote include more international student activities, and continuing to grow numbers and increase the active participation of students in the ECU Geo-Club, which is active in the local community.

“I am excited and ready to promote our program in a manner that grows student interest and increases our presence in the eastern North Carolina community,” said Wasklewicz.

Other goals are to increase marketing of the Planning and Geography programs to attract more students and funding, and perform more service-oriented community activities grounded in current departmental research.

“Our program is not a typical destination place for students coming out of high school,” said Wasklewicz. “Trying to figure out ways to make the Department of Geography, Planning and Environment more of a destination location for students by interacting with local high schools and community colleges, and building stronger connections between programs here on campus – to not only increase our majors but increase the number of students involved in our classes – is one of the things I’d like to see progress during my tenure as chair.”

Among many research interests, Wasklewicz primarily focuses on high-resolution topography and applying topography to understand how hazards like debris-flows initiate and propagate within steep mountainous watersheds. Also, he has a keen interest in how debris flows impact built environments in close proximity to the mountain fronts. These interests have allowed Wasklewicz to conduct research in many locations in the eastern and western parts of the United States, Japan and Central America.

Throughout his time at ECU, Wasklewicz has received more than $2 million in grants and contracts, and he has been invited to present his research more than 90 times at professional meetings and university seminars nationally and internationally. He is the author, or co-author, of more than 40 articles and chapters published in peer-reviewed journals and books.

Wasklewicz is a member of the Association of American Geographers, the Geological Society of America and the American Geophysical Union. He was also a recent visiting Research Fellow at the University of Tokyo and is the current Chair of the Environmental and Engineering Division of the Geological Society of America. His past awards include an ECU Scholar-Teacher Award, the Geological Society of America Gladys Cole Award, an USGS Senior Scientist in Residence Award and a National Science Foundation Career Development Award.

Wasklewicz received his Ph.D. and M.A. degrees in geography from Arizona State University in 1996 and ‘92 respectively. He received his B.S. degree in geography from Plymouth State College in Plymouth, N.H. in 1991.

 

Contact: Lacey Gray, director of marketing and communications, Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, grayl@ecu.edu, 252-737-1754

ECU’s Earth Day Expo

The Biodiversity Initiative and Department of Biology at East Carolina University will host an Earth Day Expo on Tuesday, April 11th from 4-6pm in Howell Science Complex with interactive events for people of all ages.  Various ECU researchers and local non-profit organizations will have displays and activities available on topics related to biodiversity.

There will be live animals and plants, lab activities, natural history story times, and more.  Kids from various after school programs will be attending and the public is welcome. Please check in at the breezeway of Howell when you arrive for a passport, map, and other information! More details are available at www.ecu.edu/biology/ncbiodiversity.

For more information, please contact Heather Vance-Chalcraft at vancechalcrafth@ecu.edu or 252-328-9841.  This event is a North Carolina Science Festival event (http://www.ncsciencefestival.org/).

 

 

-by Heather Vance-Chalcraft, Department of Biology

ECU guest speaker to discuss “Fake News, Misinformation & Democracy in America”

On April 18 at 7:30 p.m. Dr. Adam Berinsky, professor of political sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology will be on campus to discuss “Fake News, Misinformation and Democracy in America.” Berinsky studies the political behavior of ordinary citizens.

While Berinsky is primarily concerned with questions of representation and the communication of public sentiment to political elites, he also studied public opinion and foreign policy, the continuing power of group-based stereotypes, the effect of voting reforms, the power of the media and survey research methods.

The event is co-sponsored by the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Political Science and the ECU Center for Survey Research. The event is free and open to the public and will be held in Rivers Building, room A-102, East Carolina University, Greenville, N.C.

For additional information about Berinsky, visit: http://web.mit.edu/berinsky/www/index.html.

 


-by Lacey Gray, Thomas Harriot College of Arts & Sciences

Department of Criminal Justice to Host Career Fair

The Department of Criminal Justice at East Carolina University will hold the 2016 Criminal Justice Career Fair from 1 – 3 p.m. Thursday, March 17, in the Mendenhall Student Center on the ECU campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Participants include more than 30 federal, state and local criminal justice agencies as well as North Carolina law schools. The FBI, NCIS, U.S. Department of State, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Marshals Service, Federal Bureau of Prisons, U.S. Armed Forces, North Carolina Department of Public Safety, North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, Raleigh Police Department, Greenville Police Department, UNC‐Chapel Hill School of Law and Campbell University School of Law are a sampling of organizations that will attend to discuss criminal justice careers and job opportunities.

Candlelight vigil to honor terror victims

Vigil

East Carolina University French faculty members in the department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, along with the ECU French Club, are holding a candlelight vigil at 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 16, at the cupola on campus.

The vigil will honor the victims of Friday night’s terrorist attacks in Paris, the victims of the recent bombings in Beirut, those of the Russian airliner crash, and all people touched by terror, war and conflict across the globe.

For additional information, contact Marylaura Papalas at 252-328-5786 or papalasm@ecu.edu.

ECU psychology students support academic enhancements at Farmville Middle School

Pictured left to right are Farmville Middle School Instructional Coach Etosha Kiah; ECU SASP members Christine Rivera, Caroline Mulhare, Lauren Gaither, Katie Gitto, Erin Jackson, Hannah Wilson and Vicki Steinmetz. Kneeling in front is Farmville Middle School Principal Paul Briney. (Photo provided by Christine Rivera.)

Pictured left to right are Farmville Middle School Instructional Coach Etosha Kiah; ECU SASP members Christine Rivera, Caroline Mulhare, Lauren Gaither, Katie Gitto, Erin Jackson, Hannah Wilson and Vicki Steinmetz. Kneeling in front is Farmville Middle School Principal Paul Briney. (Photo provided by Christine Rivera.)

East Carolina University students are assisting Farmville Middle School students through tutoring and team building projects.

Approximately 10 school psychology and pediatric school psychology students in the ECU Chapter of the Student Affiliates in School Psychology (SASP) have been working with the middle school children to help them perform well academically and continue on to college.

ECU health psychology doctoral student Maribeth Wicoff said tutors provide assistance with subject matter as well as study skills, such as effective note-taking. Team building includes group discussions where students learn techniques for getting “their point across in a professional tone and expressing disagreement non-judgmentally,” she added.

While the partnership benefits students at Farmville Middle School, the ECU students are learning from the experience as well. Dr. Christy Walcott, director of ECU’s school psychology and pediatric school psychology programs, said graduate students who engage in community service enhance their areas of study and receive the added benefits of training before graduation.

Walcott noted three reasons for encouraging community service. “First, psychology is a helping profession that is strongly rooted in principals of social justice,” she said. “Second, we specifically train our students to be leaders in addressing needs and advocating for underserved populations.”

Finally, Walcott added, “We believe that graduate training is a privilege…thus participating in the community is a small way of symbolically and fundamentally giving back.”

The ECU chapter of SASP is formed under the auspices of the American Psychological Association’s Division 16. SASP is designed to keep graduate students apprised of issues pertaining to school psychology while offering activities that support their professional development and advocate for the field. For additional information about SASP, visit http://www.apadivisions.org/division-16/students/.

ECU Voyages lecturer to discuss life after life, near-death experiences

Raymond Moody Email.jpg

Emeritus professor of consciousness studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and former ECU assistant professor of philosophy, Dr. Raymond Moody, will deliver the ECU Religious Studies Program Distinguished Lecture on Religion and Culture in the 2015-16 Voyages of Discovery Lecture Series. Moody will discuss “Life After Life: The Meaning of Near-Death Experiences,” at 7:30 p.m., Oct. 27, in ECU’s Wright Auditorium.

During his lecture, Moody will describe the common elements of near-death experiences as medical doctors in many countries have studied them. Also, he will describe shared death experiences, an identical phenomenon reported by bystanders at the death of some other person.

Moody traces debates on these topics back to Plato and Democritus, who argued about whether near-death experiences indicate an afterlife or just a dying brain. Moody will discuss new ways of studying such experiences and their relationship to humanity’s biggest question: What happens when we die?

Prior to completing his M.D. from the Medical College of Georgia, Moody was an assistant professor of philosophy at East Carolina University from 1969-72. From 1980-83, after completing his M.D., Moody served a psychiatry residency at the University of Virginia Medical Center. He was a visiting associate professor of philosophy at the University of Virginia from 1977-78, an associate professor of psychology at the University of West Georgia from 1987-92 and the Bigelow Chair of Consciousness Studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, from 1992-2002. He received his B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in philosophy from the University of Virginia.

In addition to his teaching, Moody has served as a forensic psychiatrist in a maximum-security unit for the criminally insane, and he has practiced grief counseling for more than two decades. He is the author of 14 books, including “Life After Life” (1975), “Coming Back” (1995), “Glimpses of Eternity” (2010) and “Paranormal” (2012). His main professional interests are logic, philosophy of language and ancient Greek philosophy. He is best known for his work on near-death experiences, and through his research, Moody has interviewed thousands of people all over the world who have had these experiences.

Co-sponsors of the lecture include the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences Religious Studies Program, ECU’s Division of Academic Affairs, Division of Health Sciences, Honors College, Division of Research and Graduate Studies and Division of Student Affairs. A question and answer session will immediately follow the presentation, and Moody will sign copies of his books, which will be available for purchase in the lobby of Wright Auditorium.

Moody’s lecture is a Wellness Passport Event and is free to all attendees. No tickets are required. Individuals requesting accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) should call 252-737-1016 (voice/TTY) at least 48 hours prior to the event.

For additional information about the Voyages series and its speakers, visit www.ecu.edu/voyages. More information about Harriot College is available at www.ecu.edu/cas.

CNN analyst to speak at ECU Sept. 29

Peter Bergen email.jpg

Peter Bergen, CNN National Security Analyst and Director of the National Security Studies Program at the New America Foundation in Washington, D.C., will present “Making Sense in a World of Trouble,” at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 29, in Wright Auditorium at East Carolina University.

The presentation is the premier lecture in the 2015-16 Voyages of Discovery Lecture Series. It is a Wellness Passport event and is free to all attendees. No tickets are required.

A question and answer session will immediately follow the presentation, and Bergen will sign copies of two of his books, “The Longest War: The Enduring Conflict between America and Al-Qaeda,” and “Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for bin Laden from 9/11 to Abbottabad,” which will be available for purchase in the lobby of Wright Auditorium.

Cosponsors of the lecture include ECU’s Division of Academic Affairs, Division of Health Sciences, Honors College, Division of Research and Graduate Studies, and Division of Student Affairs.

For additional information on the Voyages lectures, visit http://www.ecu.edu/voyages. More information about THCAS is located at https://www.ecu.edu/cas.

— Lacey Gray

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