Category Archives: awards

Biology professor receives Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences’ top honor

Dr. Baohong Zhang, professor of biology, is the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences 20th Distinguished Professor.

Dr. Baohong Zhang, professor of biology, is the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences 20th Distinguished Professor.
(Photo by Doug Boyd)

Dr. Baohong Zhang, East Carolina University professor of biology, was named Distinguished Professor at the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences 55th annual convocation on Aug. 17. Zhang is the 20th member of the faculty to be honored with the title.

“This is a wonderful surprise to me,” said Zhang. “There are so many great colleagues and professors in THCAS, and I feel lucky, grateful and humbled to be the recipient of this prestigious award. This award will encourage me to achieve more in the future – towards excellence in research, student success and contribution to ECU’s mission and internationalization.”

The THCAS Distinguished Professorship is the highest honor within the college and is conferred upon a professor whose career exemplifies a commitment to and a love for knowledge and academic life, as demonstrated by outstanding teaching and advising, research and creative productivity, and professional service.

“Baohong Zhang is a remarkable scholar and academician who has established a record that by itself would constitute an exemplary career. He has risen to these heights of achievement from modest rural beginnings, in a second language and as an immigrant – a truly inspiring Pirate story,” said Dr. Jeffrey McKinnon, former chair of the Department of Biology.

Zhang (right) gives a tour of the ECU biology greenhouse and discusses his research with a representative from a funding agent.

Zhang (right) gives a tour of the ECU biology greenhouse and discusses his research with a representative from a funding agent. (Contributed photo)

While at ECU, Zhang has displayed the qualities and characteristics required of a Distinguished Professor.

In his role as professor, Zhang has taught courses in plant biology, biotechnology and molecular biology. He has secured grants to support undergraduate and graduate students in study abroad courses in China. In addition to his courses taught, Zhang has served as a mentor to 14 post doctoral scholars and 17 doctoral and master’s degree students, as a member on 44 graduate student committees, and as a mentor to more than 32 undergraduate researchers and 241 undergraduate advisees.

Zhang’s research interests include microRNA, gene regulation, molecular genetics and toxicology, genome editing and biotechnology. He has been recognized locally and nationally for his research and creative activity in the areas of computational and molecular biology, particularly in the role of miRNA – a small non-coding RNA molecule that regulates the activity of genes by silencing RNA after it is transcribed from DNA – during cotton fiber development and in plant responses to environmental stress. In addition, he has conducted studies on the role of miRNA in cancer, and he has conducted research in the area of head trauma.

Dr. Baohong Zhang and Dr. Xiaoping Pan (right) are pictured here with ECU students at Anyang Institute of Technology during their 2018 study abroad research trip to China.

Zhang and Dr. Xiaoping Pan (right) are pictured here with ECU students at Anyang Institute of Technology during their 2018 study abroad research trip to China. (Contributed photo)

Over the course of his career, Zhang has authored more than 200 journal articles, nine books and 14 book chapters in his areas of research. He has presented at more than 50 conferences, and he has secured more than $2.4 million in research funding as the principal investigator or co-PI on 35 projects.

Since joining ECU in 2007, Zhang has chaired three biology departmental committees – greenhouse, seminar series and personnel committee – and served as a committee member on several faculty searches. In his other professional activities, he has served as an editor, associate editor, editorial board member or guest editor for nearly two dozen journals, and he has served as an ad-hoc reviewer for more than 90 journals and 35 funding agencies.

He is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; Sigma Xi, scientific research society; Association of Southeastern Biologists; the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry; American Chemical Society; and the American Society of Plant Biologists.

Zhang at work in his research lab.

Zhang at work in his research lab. (Contributed photo)

In addition to the THCAS Distinguished Professorship, Zhang has received many awards, including, in 2013, ECU’s Five Year Research Achievement Award, and in 2017, the inaugural ECU Achievement in International Research and Creative Activity Award. In 2018, he received the Cotton Researcher of the Year award given by the International Cotton Advisory Committee. The annual award is presented to only one person worldwide who has raised the international importance of research in the cotton industry.

“I can think of no one better qualified for the Harriot College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professorship,” wrote one of Zhang’s colleagues in a letter of nomination.

Another colleague concluded, “I have known virtually all previous THCAS Distinguished Professors. We should be proud to consider professor Baohong Zhang as one of their peers.”

 

-by Lacey L. Gray, University Communications

National Maritime History Society to honor ECU professor emeritus

Dr. Timothy J. Runyan, East Carolina University professor emeritus of maritime studies and Honors College faculty fellow, will be honored this fall by the National Maritime Historical Society. Runyan will receive the David A. O’Neil Sheet Anchor Award at the New York Yacht Club on Oct. 25.

Dr. Timothy J. Runyan, pictured on the deck of the 1607 replica vessel Godspeed in Jamestown, Va, where he spoke at the launch of the vessel.

Dr. Timothy J. Runyan, pictured on the deck of the 1607 replica vessel Godspeed in Jamestown, Va, where he spoke at the launch of the vessel. (Contributed photos)

“I am very flattered; so very surprised to learn that I was selected for this prestigious award,” said Runyan.

The award honors Runyan’s years of dedicated service as a trustee for the National Maritime Historical Society and for his advocacy of maritime heritage preservation in the United States.

“Dr. Runyan is being recognized for his extraordinary leadership in building the strength and outreach of the society,” wrote Wendy Paggiotta, vice president of the NMHS.

As a trustee for the NMHS, Runyan serves as a member of the executive committee, chair of the advocacy committee and chairman of the editorial advisory board of Sea History magazine.

Since 2015, his advocacy with the U.S. Congress has resulted in nearly $10 million in federal funding for a grant program in maritime heritage. More than 100 organizations have received awards through the program, including a $200,000 grant to the Battleship North Carolina in Wilmington, a $46,000 grant to the Core Sound and Waterfowl Museum on Harker’s Island and a $144,500 grant, awarded in 2016, to ECU’s Queen Anne’s Revenge Conservation Laboratory.

Runyan aboard a sailboat in Annapolis, Md.

Runyan aboard a sailboat in Annapolis, Md.

“Every organization that has received a National Maritime Heritage Grant has Dr. Runyan to thank, as he spearheaded the effort to restore funding for the grants program in his role as chair of the National Maritime Alliance,” wrote Paggiotta.

During his 23-year career at ECU, Runyan served as director of the master’s program in Maritime History and Underwater Archaeology, later renamed the Program in Maritime Studies. He served as acting director, and later, director of the program, was a senior research associate to the vice chancellor for research and graduate studies, and a faculty member of the ECU Institute for Coastal Science and Policy.

Runyan received his doctorate from the University of Maryland and studied at the University of London. Additional faculty appointments included Cleveland State University and Oberlin College. From 2007 to 2011, he was invited to serve as acting manager of the Maritime Heritage Program at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries — the largest maritime heritage program in the federal government – before returning to ECU as a faculty member in the newly established Honors College.

 

-by Lacey L. Gray, University Communications

Recent ECU graduate wins national research contest

A research paper by a 2018 graduate of East Carolina University’s Master of Public Health program has won a national contest.

Preventing Chronic Disease, a medical journal established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, recently announced that Fei Gao’s paper, “Prevalence of gestational diabetes and health behaviors among women: Findings from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2007-2014,” was one of two graduate-level winners of their 2018 Research Paper Contest.

Fei Geo

Fei Gao (Contributed photo)

The contest required papers to be relevant to the prevention, screening, surveillance or population-based intervention of chronic diseases, including arthritis, asthma, cancer, depression, diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease. Two winners were selected from the graduate student category and one each from the doctoral, undergraduate and high school categories. More than 100 papers were submitted.

“My MPH provided many opportunities to practice and utilize research techniques, from our internship to our professional paper to attending research conferences,” said Gao. “My role as a graduate assistant for the diabetes study conducted at the ECU Family Medicine Center also helped cultivate my interest in diabetes. All in all, the combination of great mentors and opportunities helped prepare me in writing this manuscript.

“With much more to learn about diabetes and preventative care, I will continue my research to provide pertinent findings to help reform current interventions and guidelines for diabetes and other related chronic diseases,” Gao added.

The journal will publish Gao’s winning paper later this year. Gao is the first student in ECU’s Master of Public Health program to receive the honor.

 

-by Kelly Rogers Dilda, University Communications

ITCS employee named Inclusivity Award winner

Lisa Barry, a member of the East Carolina University Information Technology and Computing Services (ITCS) department, was one of four women who received the Internet2 Inclusivity Award at the annual Internet2 Global Summit in San Diego earlier this month.

Barry is a network analyst at ECU and is responsible for administration of enterprise-level network services including firewalls, VPN systems, intrusion detection and prevention systems.

Lisa Barry, Internet2 Inclusivity Award winner

Lisa Barry, Internet2 Inclusivity Award winner. (contributed photo)

Internet2 is a nonprofit technology community that was founded by the nation’s leading higher education institutions. The group serves more than 300 universities in the U.S. The Inclusivity Award is a scholarship awarded to women in the information technology field to encourage and support their professional growth.

“As soon as I read the purpose of the Internet2 Inclusivity Award was to support emerging information technology professions by providing an opportunity to build the knowledge capital of their institutions and help diversify technology, I knew Lisa was a worthy candidate,” said Andy Anderson, director of ECU ITCS network services.

The recipients of the award have access to mentors and a network of women IT and technology professionals and participate in discussions about the latest innovations and best practices for their campuses.

“The Internet2 Inclusivity Scholarship was designed to celebrate and promote women working within the information technology field. It is an honor not only to receive the scholarship but also to represent ECU at the Global Summit in San Diego,” said Barry. “Participating in the summit is a wonderful way to bring back new ideas and technologies to our university. Opportunities such as this allow us to grow and expand the efforts ITCS is putting forth to promote research and ensure ECU becomes the next great national university.”

In addition to Barry, Gladys Andino of Purdue University, Stephanie Collins from Virginia Tech and Manisha Kanodia of the University of California were named recipients of the award.

“The value of Lisa attending this conference has already become evident.  She gathered a tremendous amount of information related to Internet2 services that support research and we are in the process of determining which may be a good fit for ECU,” said Anderson.

 

-by Jamie Smith, ECU News Services

Health and Human Performance inducts six to the Wall of Fame

Six people were inducted on April 20 to the East Carolina University College of Health and Human Performance Marvin and Joyce Johnson Wall of Fame.

The inductees were Linner Griffin and Robin McManus, who were both inducted posthumously, along with Jannis Shea, Thom Skalko, Jerry Tolley and Odell Welborn. Welborn died May 10.

Griffin, professor emeritus at ECU, served on the ECU faculty from 1990 until her retirement in 2013. She served in a variety of roles including associate professor of social work and associate dean for graduate studies, interim dean of the School of Social Work and Criminal Justice, and associate provost for academic program planning and development.

McManus was an instructor in the Department of Human Development and Family Science and lead teacher in the infant classroom of the child development laboratory, now known as the Nancy Darden Child Development Center. She helped secure the center’s accreditation by the National Association for the Education of Young Children and a five-star child care license.

Shea’s teaching career spanned 37 years including two stints as acting chair for the Department of Child Development and Family Relations and as assistant to the dean for Helen Grove. She taught the first introduction to marriage and family course offered in home economics and every child development and family science course before the family therapy program was established. She served on the committee that developed the ECU code of operations and designed and helped implement the first interdisciplinary minor in gerontology at ECU.

The following people were recently inducted to the College of Health and Human Performance Marvin and Joyce Johnson Wall of Fame: from left, Jerry McManus representing the late Robin McManus, Bobby Griffin representing the late Linner Griffin, Thom Skalko, Jannis Shea and Jerry Tolley. Inductee Odell Welborn is not pictured.

The following people were recently inducted to the College of Health and Human Performance Marvin and Joyce Johnson Wall of Fame: from left, Jerry McManus representing the late Robin McManus, Bobby Griffin representing the late Linner Griffin, Thom Skalko, Jannis Shea and Jerry Tolley. Inductee Odell Welborn is not pictured. (contributed photo)

Skalko served as a professor at ECU from 1996-2017 including as chair of the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies from 1996-2004. He directed the ECU Horizons Day Treatment program, providing intervention for youth with severe emotional and behavioral disorders. Skalko collaborated with educators in South Africa to establish the country’s first degree in recreational therapy.

Tolley has been an active member of the college’s Dean’s Advancement Council for decades and a longtime supporter of ECU athletics. A track and football athlete at ECU, Tolley coached football at Elon College, where he led the team to national titles in 1980 and 1981. He held academic and administrative positions at Elon University and served as associate vice president of Laboratory Corporation of America. He is a nationally known sports author and serves as the mayor of Elon.

Welborn, faculty emeritus at ECU, coached the Pirate wrestling, track and football teams between 1960 and 1992. He led the football team after Coach Clarence Stasavich had a heart attack in 1963. Welborn posted an undefeated record as interim head coach and continued as an assistant after Stasavich’s return, helping the Pirates win two consecutive bowl games. He was inducted in the ECU College of Education’s Educators Hall of Fame in 2010. He taught health, physical education, driver education and traffic safety for decades.

The inductees joined 30 outstanding men and women already recognized on the College of Health and Human Performance Wall of Fame, which is on the first floor of Rivers Building.

The wall was established with a $50,000 donation in 2015 in honor of Joyce Johnson in support of the Department of Human Development and Family Science.

Marvin and Joyce Johnson met in the early 1950s at ECU where Marvin majored in physical education and Joyce in home economics. Marvin Johnson was drafted into the Korean War and Joyce Johnson completed her degree. Following the war, they were married and raised their family in Atlanta.

Funds from the inductions help students in a variety of ways from membership fees for professional organizations and development to academic programming and events for outstanding seniors.

Angela Lamson, associate dean for research in the college and professor of human development and family science, served as master of ceremonies for the event.

 

-by Crystal Baity, ECU News Services

ECU’s Harriot College recognizes exceptional staff

The Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences Staff Council hosted its second annual Staff Awards and Recognition Ceremony May 11 in Harvey Hall. The event honors all dedicated THCAS staff members and recognizes the hard work they engage in on a day-to-day basis.

“Our college has the best staff at ECU,” said Dean William M. Downs. “We could not lead in all the categories in which we lead without them. I am really proud of this group.”

•Julie Marik, Chris Bonnerup and Chastidy Ridley were honored with Harriot College’s 2018 staff excellence awards and professional development grant at a special ceremony May 11.

Julie Marik, Chris Bonnerup and Chastidy Ridley were honored with Harriot College’s 2018 staff excellence awards and professional development grant at a special ceremony May 11.
(Photos by Rob Taylor)

During the ceremony, two staff members received Staff Excellence Awards, and one staff member received the Professional Development Grant. The awards acknowledge administrative or technical staff within the college who show exemplary professionalism and go above and beyond the requirements of their position, while the grant is awarded to a person who is actively pursuing career advancement within his or her field.

Julie Marik, research specialist in the Department of Biology, who serves as greenhouse manager and BIOL 1201 and 2251 lab coordinator, was awarded the Senior Staff Excellence Award. Chastidy Ridley, lead administrative support associate in the Department of Political Science, was awarded the Junior Staff Excellence Award. Chris Bonnerup, advanced research specialist in the Department of Physics and engineer for the ECU Accelerator Laboratory, was awarded the Professional Development Grant.

“I feel very fortunate to work with such a wonderful group of people every day, and I appreciate all they do for me,” said Marik, who is an alumna of ECU (’07) and has worked at the university for 10 years. “I work with a great group of fellow staff and amazing teachers and researchers who are doing very cool science.”

Ridley also is an ECU alumna (’14). She has served as the lead administrative associate in the Department of Political Science for nearly two years and worked with the staff in the Department of Biology from 2015-2016.

•Gift baskets from the THCAS Staff Council were given to the three award winners.

Gift baskets from the THCAS Staff Council were given to the three award winners.

“I am humbled that I have colleagues who think so highly of me. It is always great to have reassurance that you are doing your best, and I feel awards like this do just that,” said Ridley. “Working within the college, I have gained great relationships and friendships. I also enjoy that I now get to supervise student office assistants, as I was once one myself. I find it rewarding that this comes full circle.”

Prior to the ceremony, many colleagues provided words of praise in their nominations of the candidates.

“Julie brings to her challenging position a remarkable combination of professionalism, expertise, strong work ethic, creativity, positive attitude and a desire to help and serve,” wrote a supporter of Marik. “Julie truly exemplifies our Pirate motto, Servire.”

Another nominator wrote, “Julie’s dedication to undergraduate success is evident by her excellent mentorship of TAs and her willingness to take on pedagogical changes to the laboratory courses she oversees.”

A colleague of Ridley’s commented, “Chastidy Ridley is a prime example of the Pirates that we like to see coming from East Carolina University. She was a dedicated student and student worker, and now we are fortunate to have her as a staff member for THCAS. She works tirelessly to ensure that her chair, faculty and students are assisted.”

“Ms. Ridley comes to work each day with a positive attitude and works to help raise the spirits of others around her,” commented another colleague. “She makes it clear she cares about others and will go out of her way to help students and faculty in any way she can.”

Door prizes donated by campus and community organizations were raffled off to attendees of the event.

Door prizes donated by campus and community organizations were raffled off to attendees of the event.

Bonnerup, winner of the professional development grant, began his career with ECU in 2004 as a research instructor in radiation oncology at the Brody School of Medicine. He moved to Harriot College’s Department of Physics in 2013.

“I’m very thankful for the college to offer these funds, as specialized training and continuing education opportunities are not readily available in Greenville,” said Bonnerup.

Bonnerup will use his $1,200 grant to attend this year’s annual Symposium of Northeastern Accelerator Personnel in Madison, Wisconsin. The conference focuses on the interest of the people who use, build, maintain and repair particle accelerators for academic research and commercial purposes.

“This year’s meeting happens to be a great time to attend, in that the itinerary will include a VIP tour of National Electrostatics Corporation, the manufacturer of the ECU particle accelerator,” said Bonnerup. “The venue is also a great opportunity to meet with highly experienced users of these machines, discuss problems they have experienced and techniques to address and solve them. I hope to bring these skills and techniques back to ECU and use them to provide enhanced engineering and user support for the ECU accelerator lab.”

 

-by Lacey L. Gray, University Communications

Harriot College announces 2018 Dean’s Early Career Award recipients

East Carolina University’s Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences has announced that Dr. Elizabeth Ables, assistant professor of biology, and Dr. Jacob Hochard, assistant professor of economics, are recipients of the 2018 Dean’s Early Career Award. The announcement was made May 10 during a special reception hosted by Dean William M. Downs at the home of the THCAS Dean’s Advancement Council Chair Jim Mullen and his wife Pam.

The Dean’s Early Career Award, established in 2015 through the generosity of the Harriot College Advancement Council, recognizes and rewards exceptional performance by tenure-track assistant professors. It represents the college’s breadth of faculty excellence in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and mathematics.

“The award’s primary focus is on the faculty member’s productivity in research and creative discovery, which must be judged to be of such high quality and impact that it exceeds expectations,” said Downs. “Outstanding performance in professional development must be complemented by demonstrated excellence in instructional effectiveness and service, and I am extremely pleased to say Drs. Ables and Hochard exceeded these qualifications.”

In addition to their recognition at the home of the Mullens, Ables and Hochard will be acknowledged at Harriot College’s fall convocation in August.

Dr. Elizabeth Ables, assistant professor of biology, and Dr. Jacob Hochard, assistant professor of economics, are recipients of the 2018 THCAS Dean’s Early Career Award. (Contributed Photos)

Dr. Elizabeth Ables, assistant professor of biology, and Dr. Jacob Hochard, assistant professor of economics, are recipients of the 2018 THCAS Dean’s Early Career Award. (Contributed Photos)

Dr. Elizabeth Ables

“I am humbled and surprised,” said Ables. “This award has gone to some folks that I really admire in the field, especially in our department. It’s nice to consider myself part of that rank.”

Born and raised in rural Virginia, Ables has a lot in common with a majority of the students at ECU.

“It means a lot to me personally to have been able to come to this part of the country,” Ables said. “One of the things I decided I wanted to do when I started this path was to provide experiences for students from rural areas, and I feel East Carolina University has given me the opportunity to do that.”

Ables received her doctoral degree from Vanderbilt University in 2007 and completed post-doctoral training at Johns Hopkins University in 2012, before coming to ECU in January 2013. She is a cell biologist and geneticist, and she teaches undergraduate and graduate-level courses in cell biology.

“I teach very differently to the undergraduates than I do to the graduate students,” Ables said. “I enjoy the undergraduates. They tend to be more enthusiastic when they learn something for the first time. But I like challenging the graduate students, in part, because they challenge me back. I think my most rewarding experience is teaching the graduate students who work in my lab.”

Ables studies the Drosophila melanogaster (fruit fly) stem cells seen here. They are located in the ovary and are the parent cells for every oocyte, or egg, produced by the female fly. (Contributed photo)

Ables studies the Drosophila melanogaster (fruit fly) stem cells seen here. They are located in the ovary and are the parent cells for every oocyte, or egg, produced by the female fly. (Contributed photo)

As a cell biologist and trained developmental biologist, Ables researches how cells that make up the human body are instructed by genomes to have a specialized function. She uses stem cells as a model because they have the potential to divide and make new daughter cells. This research underlies two fundamental biological questions pertaining to regenerative medicine, and how we make new cells from stem cells or other tissue sources; and cancer biology, which is a problem of unlimited cell division.

Currently, two doctoral students, three master’s students and up to four undergraduate students per semester conduct research in Ables’ lab using Drosophila melanogaster, the common fruit fly.

Fruit flies are being sorted by a student researcher in Ables’ lab. In the lab, Ables and her students study the basic biology of how cells use the information encoded in the genome to establish specialized functions. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

Fruit flies are being sorted by a student researcher in Ables’ lab. In the lab, Ables and her students study the basic biology of how cells use the information encoded in the genome to establish specialized functions. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

“It’s a great model system. I use it as a way to teach cell biology in my classroom,” said Ables. “It’s really hard to get attached to a fly, which I think is good for beginning experimentalists, and we have a lot of tools so the experiments we do are relatively simple.”

At ECU, Ables collaborates across campus with researchers in the reproductive biology interest group. She is involved with a variety of microscopy groups including the Laser Technology Applications Group, an east/west campus initiative that seeks to provide more dynamic research and information-sharing opportunities to industry and academic researchers. Also, Ables serves or has served on the biology departmental undergraduate curriculum committee, the biology graduate curriculum committee and on a number of faculty searches.

Dr. Jacob Hochard

When Hochard learned he would be one of the recipients of this year’s award, he said, “It’s definitely humbling. I know a lot of the past recipients, and they are great scholars. I am privileged to be in their company.”

“ECU has done a really good job of supporting early career researchers,” Hochard said. “I think they are progressive at institutionalizing interdisciplinary research, which is one of the reasons I am very happy here.”

Hochard received his doctoral degree from the University of Wyoming in 2015, before beginning his career at ECU that same year. At ECU, Hochard is an assistant professor of economics and an assistant research scientist at the Institute for Coastal Science and Policy. He teaches an introductory-level principals of microeconomics course, and he teaches doctoral students in the coastal resources management program.

“I love teaching the introductory level students,” said Hochard. “Most of them are first-generation college students, and I am too. So I think I can identify with them and get them excited about economics.”

Through one of his research projects, Hochard traveled to rural Karnataka, India, where he visited schools and interviewed farmers about their agricultural practices and challenges. (Contributed Photo)

Through one of his research projects, Hochard traveled to rural Karnataka, India, where he visited schools and interviewed farmers about their agricultural practices and challenges. (Contributed photo)

Hochard’s research focuses on ecosystem services from land, water and wildlife. He is examining the red wolf recovery program in eastern North Carolina, how land use changes in the developing world affect poverty rates and the human health impacts of hog farms on eastern North Carolina, specifically how ingesting contaminated water affects birth weights and gestation lengths.

His most pressing work is the focus on water quality in eastern North Carolina, which is funded by the Environmental Protection Agency. ECU co-collaborators include Dr. James Randall Etheridge, assistant professor of engineering, and Dr. Ariane Peralta, assistant professor of biology.

“We are hoping to inform communities on how they can protect themselves against potentially contaminated water sources, whether that’s expanding public services into rural areas that currently lack them, or investing in natural capital – forest cover, restoring buffers that will filter out contaminants – and how that might protect human health,” said Hochard. “The thing I find intriguing about the work we are doing in water quality and human health is it is one of those areas where you can have a local impact and still make a broad intellectual contribution that is recognized by our peers.”

Beyond his research at ECU, Hochard is a member of the Coastal Maritime Council. Earlier this year, he received the 2018 Coastal-Maritime Council Coastal Scholar Award during ECU’s Research and Creative Activity Week. He is a member of the Coastal Resource Management doctoral program admissions committee, a member of the Science and Technology Advisory Committee for the Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuarine Partnership, and he founded and organized ECU’s Early Career Contributions in Climate and Coastal Science seminar series.

 

-by Lacey L. Gray, University Communications

ECU medical faculty member honored with international educator award

Dr. Jill Sutton

Dr. Jill Sutton

An ECU Brody School of Medicine OB-GYN professor has been recognized by an international organization for her outstanding performance as an educator.

Dr. Jill Sutton was recently awarded the 2018 William N.P. Herbert, MD, Promising Educator Award by the Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics (APGO).

Herbert, a former APGO president, created this award in 2007 to recognize promising junior faculty who have demonstrated accomplishments in women’s health education.

“I am incredibly honored to have received this award,” said Sutton. “Teaching medical students how to care for women is work I absolutely love to do.”

Sutton earned her undergraduate degree in biology from Wake Forest University. She completed her medical degree and residency training at Brody before joining the faculty as a clinical assistant professor in 2010. Sutton has served as Brody’s clerkship director since 2014, overseeing the clinical education of students during their third and fourth years of medical school.

“Jill’s impact as an educator is locally noted by the awards she has received from her students,” said Dr. Elizabeth Baxley, senior associate dean for academic affairs. “She was recognized in May of 2017 by the third-year class with the Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching. She is routinely sought out by students for teaching, mentoring, sharing stories from her life in medicine, and even to help recruit future Brody students.”

Sutton was also a recipient of Brody’s Clinical Teaching Faculty of the Year award in 2015, the Excellence in Teaching Award from the Class of 2016, and the Dr. Katherine Bray-Strickland Young Alumni Award in 2016 for her dedication to medical student education.

“Dr. Sutton’s passion and energy for educating medical students and other learners about women’s health is infectious,” said Dr. Cal Hayslip, chairman of Brody’s OB-GYN department. “She always comes to work with a bubbly positive attitude, and any time you are around her, she makes you smile. This award is well deserved.”

“Despite her hectic schedule, Dr. Sutton agreed to serve as my Albert Schweitzer Fellowship academic mentor,” said Rebecca Jones, a second-year medical student. “She has provided invaluable insight, constant encouragement and unwavering support. When our project has faced obstacles, she has always offered patient and thoughtful assistance despite her numerous obligations. Her concern for the community and commitment to service is evident in the sacrifices she makes to assist others.”

“Dr. Sutton is one of the most inspiring educators I have encountered in my time at Brody,” said Reena Patel, another second-year medical student. “She has a unique passion for sharing her knowledge, while also effectively supporting, motivating and communicating with her students. I feel extremely fortunate to be able to call her a mentor and educator.”

APGO represents academic OB-GYNs throughout the United States and Canada. It provides contemporary teaching tools to physician-educators and learning mechanisms for faculty, students and residents, with the ultimate goal of providing optimum health care to women. Sutton graduated from APGO’s Academic Scholars and Leaders Program in 2017.

 

-Angela Todd, University Communications

ECU alumna named NC School Nurse Administrator of the Year

From her 30-year career as a school nurse and nurse administrator, Terri Joyner knows that healthy children learn better— and that school nurses are key to making that happen.

The ECU alumna was recently named the School Nurse Administrator of the Year by the School Nurse Association of North Carolina.

Joyner said she was “overwhelmed” by the recognition, and that the award is an acknowledgment of the hard work school nurses and nurse administrators do on a daily basis.

Liz Newlin, former president of the School Nurse Association of North Carolina (left), presents Terri Joyner (right) with the 2017 School Nurse Administrator of the Year Award.

Liz Newlin, former president of the School Nurse Association of North Carolina (left), presents Terri Joyner (right) with the 2017 School Nurse Administrator of the Year Award. (contributed photo)

“Most people think it’s all Band-Aids and boo-boos, but it’s not that at all,” Joyner said. “Kids face much bigger health needs than most people realize. School nurses can make a really big impact on overcoming those barriers.”

Joyner received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from ECU in 2005 and Master of Science in Nursing in 2013. After working as a school nurse for 10 years, she became the manager of the School Health Program at Vidant Medical Center, where she oversaw the 20 school nurses serving Pitt County’s 37 schools. She retired in January.

“Terri (was) responsible for 24,000 students—24,000 sets of parents—and 3,000 staff,” Catherine Dews Nelson, senior administrator for Community Health Programs at VMC said in a press release. “The scope alone is mind-boggling, especially when you consider anything can happen at any time, any day that might require a nurse’s attention. The entire community benefits greatly from the dedication and expertise Terri brings to the work.”

Because there is not a nurse at every school each day, nurses in Pitt County must ensure schools can handle health needs when they aren’t there. They also help families navigate health care systems and find health resources.

About 20 percent of children in Pitt County have chronic health conditions, Joyner said. Nurses work with those children to guarantee access to education regardless of health needs. Joyner managed the county’s school nurses, helped them locate resources and coordinated care between the school system, the hospital and the health department.

Her favorite part of the job was the staff, she said. “I worked with the best group of women nurses out there. They are so passionate about the kids in Pitt County and helping the kids be successful academically and with their health.”

Joyner also works part-time with ECU’s College of Nursing. She said she enjoyed ECU’s program as a student and chose it for her bachelor’s and master’s degrees knowing “it was the place where I would get what I needed to improve my own practice as a nurse.”

 

-by Erin Shaw, University Communications

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