Category Archives: Arts and Sciences

Endowment to bring more renowned speakers to ECU

Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Colson Whitehead, underwater explorer Jean-Michael Cousteau, primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson have all come to East Carolina University to share their unique perspectives, and such luminaries will continue to be a staple thanks to an endowment for the Voyages of Discovery Series.

The series is an ongoing showcase of distinguished speakers with thought-provoking messages from every field. Humanitarians, authors, activists and astronauts have all been featured since the series was established in 2007 by the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences. The Voyages of Discovery Series has become the premier intellectual event for students and faculty of ECU as well as the citizens of eastern North Carolina.

The 2017-2018 season ended Thursday with a performance by the political satire group The Capitol Steps at ECU’s Wright Auditorium.

Harvey Wooten attends the 2017 Voyages of Discovery premier lecture with Dr. Robert Ballard, who discovered the Titanic, and friend Vik Sexton. (Contributed photo)

Harvey Wooten attends the 2017 Voyages of Discovery premier lecture with Dr. Robert Ballard, who discovered the Titanic, and friend Vik Sexton. (Contributed photo)

The Ms. Harvey S. Wooten Voyages of Discovery Endowment is the first endowment for the series. Wooten is one of the founding members of the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Advancement Council and has been involved in the series since its beginning.

“I just feel so strongly about this lecture series,” she said. “It’s a way to bring intellectual stimulus to the university and the community with big names that might not ever come here otherwise.”

Wooten, a Kinston native, has lived in Greenville for nearly 40 years. She served as the co-chair of the THCAS Advancement Council for 10 years. As an active member of the council, Wooten has provided generous funding for the college and established the Harvey Sharp Wooten Study Abroad Scholarship and the Harvey Wooten Social Sciences Scholarship.

“Harvey Wooten is, without match, our most loyal and generous supporter of the Voyages of Discovery Series,” Dean William M. Downs said. “For years, she has contributed funds that have enabled Harriot College to bring some of the world’s foremost scientists, authors, policymakers, and world-changers to Greenville. By creating the Wooten Endowment, she has laid a solid foundation for the series’ future. As we endeavor to elevate the prominence of the speakers we bring to campus, we will look to grow the endowment so that generations of future Pirates will continue to benefit from the wisdom, wit and inspiration of those showcased by eastern North Carolina’s most important lecture series.”

Series director Jeffrey Johnson echoed that sentiment. “Harvey is a person of wide-ranging interests in the arts and sciences, and her appetite for intellectual inquiry and exploration embodies this series,” he said. “All of us who are involved with the series are deeply grateful to Harvey.”

Wooten said she never misses a lecture. Her favorites over the years have included renowned paleoanthropologist Richard Leakey, writer and journalist Walter Isaacson, and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. Above all, Wooten said she hopes the endowment will encourage more people to give to the lecture series and show others what a gift ECU is giving to the public.

“You can bring rock stars and country singers here and that’s great entertainment for one night, but these speakers that come give you insight into their mind and their world and give you something inspiring to take away from it.”

For additional information about the Voyages Series, visit www.ecu.edu/voyages.

 

-by Erin Shaw, University Communications

Revisiting a legacy: Dr. C.Q. Brown’s influence continues today

The Department of Geological Sciences in East Carolina University’s Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2017. However, one could say that the department’s foundation was cemented not in 1967, but 1965. In that year, Dr. Charles Q. Brown, a Clemson University professor at the time, kept hearing how ECC – East Carolina College – was the fastest growing college in the state. He was curious, paid a visit to the college and met some of the deans.

“I actually wrote them a response to my visit about the things they probably ought to do; some plans for the geology department,” Brown said. “We started a dialogue at that point.

“That brought me to East Carolina.”

In 1966, Brown joined ECU as a professor. In 1967, he formed the Department of Geological Sciences and became its first chairman.

Dr. C.Q. Brown

Dr. C.Q. Brown joined ECU as a professor in 1966. A year later, he founded the Department of Geological Sciences. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

The father of the department

A 2017 department newsletter states the following from geology department chairman Dr. Stephen Culver: “I cannot end without mention of our founding father, Dr. Charles Q. Brown, who planned, initiated and ran the department for the first four years (1967-1971). C.Q. returned from higher administration in 1979 and ran the department for another decade. We all owe a huge debt of gratitude to C.Q. for his vision, his energy and his leadership.”

During a recent visit to ECU, Brown toured the department that he started. Day after day, students walk by the department’s glass cases that house fossils and minerals. Some are aware of Brown’s legacy with the department. Some are also aware of his other legacies that benefit those that walk the department’s hallways.

“It is absolutely unbelievable that it has grown so far (sic),” Brown said. “Fifty years seems like a long time, but that’s rapid growth. That is fantastic growth, and it’s to the credit of this faculty and administration.”

A legacy that endures

The late Elizabeth Brown Sledge

Dr. Brown endowed a scholarship for the College of Engineering and Technology to honor his late daughter, Elizabeth Brown Sledge.

In 2000, students, colleagues and alumni recognized Brown’s legacy by establishing the C.Q. Brown Scholarship. It recognizes and awards rising seniors who are studying in the department of geological sciences. Additionally, ECU’s Epsilon Phi Chapter of Sigma Gamma Epsilon raises money that goes toward this scholarship.

In December 2015, Brown established the Elizabeth Brown Sledge (EBS) Scholarship Endowment. This College of Engineering and Technology scholarship is in memory of his daughter, who received her degrees from ECU in 1984 and 1991. It will aid those technology systems students who are underrepresented and demonstrate a financial need, which represents Sledge’s championing of the underdog.

Brian Stanford is a recipient of the EBS Scholarship Endowment. His major is in information computer technology with a networking concentration. He graduates this spring, and said he appreciates the value these scholarships bring to students’ lives.

The late Barbara Brown

Dr. C.Q. Brown’s influence in the Department of Geological Sciences continues today thanks to a scholarship in his name and an endowment he made in memory of his late wife, Barbara. (submitted photo)

“I feel much respect for and am very grateful to Dr. C.Q. Brown and any contributors of the Elizabeth Brown Sledge Scholarship,” Stanford said. “They not only have provided me with financial help for my degree, but they also showed me that we have kind people in this world who do selfless things that can have a great impact on people’s lives.”

Dr. Harry Ploehn, College of Engineering and Technology dean, had the opportunity to meet Brown while he was on campus. During the meeting, Ploehn learned more about Sledge and Brown’s wishes for the scholarship.

“With the EBS Scholarship Endowment, we want to capitalize on Elizabeth’s passion for helping at-risk students, her passion for helping the underdog,” Ploehn said. “This scholarship helps students who are at risk of not being able to continue with their studies.”

While on campus, Brown talked about how important guest lecturers were during his education. In memory of his wife, who died in 1999, Brown established the C.Q. and Barbara Hedgepeth Brown Endowment.

“I already have a scholarship that the students are supporting in my name,” Brown said. “I wanted to memorialize her life also with something different. I thought having outstanding lecturers coming to the campus and to the department would be great.

“That’s the beauty of the endowment. It goes on and on.”

 

-by Michael Rudd, University Communications

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/.

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