Category Archives: awards

Brody alumni selected for prestigious teaching award

A pair of Brody alumni recently received a distinguished award for their contributions to teaching and mentoring the next generation of family physicians.

Dr. Bryan Bunn ’10 and Dr. Jeremy Sexton ’11 were selected to receive a 2018 Community Teaching Award from the North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians Foundation.

Brody School of Medicine alums Dr. Bryan Bunn, left, and Dr. Jeremy Sexton were selected to receive a 2018 Community Teaching Award from the North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians Foundation.

Brody School of Medicine alums Dr. Bryan Bunn, left, and Dr. Jeremy Sexton were selected to receive a 2018 Community Teaching Award from the North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians Foundation. (Photos by Rob Spahr)

The Community Teaching Award honors and recognizes dedicated family physicians who sacrifice their time in the interest of advancing the principles and ideals of family medicine by teaching and mentoring the next generation of physicians.

The Brody alumni received a commemorative plaque, a cash award and recognition at NCAFP’s State-of-the Academy Address & Awards Lunch in Asheville on Nov. 30.

Bunn and Sexton both practice at Vidant Family and Sports Medicine-Edenton in Edenton.

 

JEREMY SEXTON

Sexton said he was thankful to be chosen for the Community Teaching Award and that it helps validate efforts to do something beneficial for the people of the region.

“We’re not only providing health care to people who really need it in eastern North Carolina, but also kind of bringing a good example of what primary care can be like to people who are going through the process of deciding what specialty that they’re interested in committing to,” he said. “Hopefully the people who come through here are able to see that we do a lot of different stuff and it stays interesting. So hopefully we can get more medical students committed to primary care.”

Dr. Jeremy Sexton

Dr. Jeremy Sexton

Even though the Edenton practice is extremely busy – due in large part to the shortage of primary care physicians in the region – Sexton said he has enjoyed the experience of having students around.

“It’s nice to work with learners because most of the time they’re still really excited about medicine and sometimes when you are busy, you don’t always remember that ‘Oh yeah, this is pretty cool,’” he said.

Returning to North Carolina to practice after completing his residency training in Idaho was particularly meaningful to Sexton.

“I was in med school in Greenville not too long ago and the mission statement is kind of embedded into everything that Brody does. They really do want to turn out primary care providers who stick around in this part of the state because there is such a big need here,” he said. “If you work in primary care, you can work anywhere you want. There are five openings on the big island of Hawaii right now. I’m in Edenton, North Carolina, and I love it.”

Sexton said one piece of advice he would offer current medical students is to get as much clinical experience as possible.

“Meet or find a doctor that is doing something similar to what you imagine doing, so that you can see what kind of pitfalls they’ve experienced and things that would be helpful to navigate,” he said. “It’s an ever-evolving process and it’s going to keep changing. So it’s helpful to know someone who does something very similar to what you want to do, to get advice from.”

 

BRYAN BUNN

Bunn, a Greenville native, said he appreciates all the ways his Brody experience taught him to treat the patient, not the illness.

“Brody did a good job of continuing to emphasize that the academics are important, and the learning is extremely important, but don’t forget about the patient,” he said. “Don’t forget the history and physical, don’t forget about the social aspects and that the patient might not be able to afford these medicines.”

Dr. Bryan Bunn

Dr. Bryan Bunn

Caring for patients has a different meaning for Bunn and Sexton than it does for primary care physicians in many other parts of the country, they said. In their medically underserved area of northeastern North Carolina, there are only about a half dozen primary care doctors caring for patients across nine counties.

“Between the two of us, there are about 2,000 patients who call us their primary care provider,” said Bunn, adding that their clinic is fairly unique because it offers colonoscopies, inpatient medicine, pediatrics, outpatient medicine and sports medicine – all in one location.

Working in a practice that allows him to use, on a daily basis, more of the skills he learned in medical school and residency is exciting for Bunn, who completed his residency at North Colorado Family Medicine.

“It’s refreshing from my own intellectual standpoint and from what I want to do with medicine. So I appreciate the opportunity that Vidant has afforded us with flexibility and autonomy to do what we do,” he said. “We’re an underserved area and this is needed.”

Bunn said the Community Teaching Award is a meaningful recognition for him, because he never expected to be a “teacher” after choosing a career in medicine. He hopes medical students who are interested in primary care can see all of the opportunities available to them when they spend time in his clinic.

“Having the opportunity to see med students come through and to think that you’re giving back to them is really cool,” he said. “And you learn from them as well, because medicine is always changing. So it’s definitely an honor to know that med students think that we’re helping them too.”

 

-by Laura McFall Bond and Rob Spahr, University Communications

Office of Undergraduate Research announces fall URCA award winners

East Carolina University’s Office of Undergraduate Research announced that 38 students will receive fall Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity awards.

The award provides support for faculty-mentored research and creative projects led by undergraduate researchers in four disciplines including biomedical science, STEM, social science, and the arts and humanities.

Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity awards are announced twice during the academic year. Students apply for the award with a developed project narrative and budget justification summary that they’ve developed in collaboration with a mentor.

Awards range from $1,500-2,000 for each project. Honors College recipients can be awarded up to $2,500 with support from the college. The award may go toward project materials and cost, a stipend for the student, or used for travel to conduct field or archival research. Award recipients are required to present their findings at venues including Undergraduate Day during ECU’s Research and Creative Achievement Week and the State of North Carolina Undergraduate Research and Creativity Symposium held in November.

“The URCA award program is a long-standing tradition at ECU and is our largest single output of funds, accounting for 80 percent of the office’s budget,” said Mary Farwell, director of undergraduate research. “The Academic Council has generously provided increased support over the last several years to keep up with demand. The partnership between our office and the Honors College is a welcome change that allows a more equitable and sustainable approach to funding thesis projects.

“The quality of the research and creative projects have increased substantially since I began as director 10 years ago,” she said. “I very much appreciate faculty mentors and their hard work in supporting these student-led projects.”

This year’s URCA award recipients are:

  • Jocelyn Bayles, nutrition science, “Can food-based learning improve preschoolers vegetable intake?”
  • Lesley Benderman, anatomy and cell biology, “Investigate the role of claudin-7 in intestinal stem cell functions”
  • Hannah Black, biomechanics, “High intensity weightlifting mechanical analysis”
  • Timothy O’Quinn Boykin, anthropology, “Prehistoric artifact classification at Raven Rock State Park”
  • Joshua Butler, engineering, “3D printing patient-specific images for preoperative planning”
  • Mina Chanakira, chemistry, “Investigating protein folding stability and Cu2+ binding ability of a new class of ferroxidase from brucella spp.”
  • Katie Collins, foreign languages and literatures, “Chekhov and Shakespeare on the modern stage: two plays in one show”
  • Caleb Collins, chemistry, “Use of HPLC column retention probes to predict pharmaceutical method development direction”
  • Sean Cone, physics, “Studying the breakdown of fibrin initiated by tPA”
  • Griffin Crail-Steinbaker, Center for Sustainability and Department of Engineering, “Design and development of a frugally-engineered, low-cost energy-savings device for the built environment”
  • Connor Gerney, School of Theatre and Dance, “Twilight boy”
  • William Guiler, psychology, “Effects of a mindfulness-based stress management program for college students”
  • Danish Hasan, School of Dental Medicine Foundational Sciences, “Anti-fungal properties of berberine chloride on candida spp.”
  • Faith Heagy, biology, “Social status-dependent regulation of hypothalamic dopaminergic neurons”
  • Calie Hemgen, geography, “Planning and environment, applying data science to a dense network of precipitation observation in rural Jamaica: 2014-2015”
  • Callie Herman, kinesiology, “Does consumption of slow-releasing carbohydrates improve mental performance following exhaustive exercise?”
  • Felicia E Jaimes, nutrition science, “Matricryptins as regulators of hepatic macrophage phenotype”
  • Megan Koceja, biology, “Investigating how litter decomposition and microbial activity respond to long-term fertilization in a wetland habitat”
  • Hanna Kosnik, physiology, “High fat diet induced sex differences in bladder mitochondrial complexes”
  • Christina Larkins, kinesiology, “Clean up your health intervention”
  • Miranda Lee, physics, “Using microfluidics to study the effect flow has on fibrin properties”
  • Madison McCauley, College of Nursing, “From the students perspective: analysis of graduate students quality improvement (QI) learning outcomes using reflective strategies”
  • Erin McCullen, psychology, “Internalized weight bias and self-compassion study”
  • Jaylon Morehead, biology, “Prenatal supplementation prevents birth defects”
  • Chase Neese, foreign languages and literatures, “Linking Tsiolkovsky’s rocket science to humanities”
  • Radha Patel, biology, “Venom proteomic profiling of wandering spiders”
  • Ryan Patton, emergency medicine, “Physiology, relationship between dopamine and morphine responsiveness after spinal cord injury”
  • Morgan Phillips, biology, “Examining the role of Tpr2 in germ cell division”
  • Samantha Poppenfuse, biochemistry and molecular biology, “Toxicology screening of umbilical cords”
  • Taylor Reed, School of Theatre and Dance, “Legends of the past”
  • Sara Roozbehi, biology, “Microbial influence on zombie crab parasitism”
  • Stephiya Sabu, anatomy and cell biology, “Role of claudin-7 on intestinal inflammation”
  • Anup Sanghvi, engineering, “The effect of downstream resistance in a CABG”
  • Catherine Taylor, College of Nursing, “Function trajectory in older adults with heart failure”
  • Chelsea Thompson, health education and promotion, “Nutrition compliance among cancer patients”
  • Erin Tucci, nutrition science, “miRNA regulation of TLR4 in macrophages”
  • Bhakti Vahewala, biology, “Opsin gene expression in white stickleback”
  • Claudia Woznichak, College of Nursing, “Community engagement in a developing country.”

Learn more about the URCA awards online.

 

-by Matt Smith, University Communications

ECU Student Media director wins Distinguished Newspaper Advisor award

Student Media Director John Harvey (center) received one of the nation's top awards for collegiate media advisers last month at the College Media Association Convention, where he was joined, from left, by TEC students Daniel Roberts, Trajan Warren, Jenna Price and Darby Hubbell.

Student Media Director John Harvey (center) received one of the nation’s top awards for collegiate media advisers last month at the College Media Association Convention, where he was joined, from left, by TEC students Daniel Roberts, Trajan Warren, Jenna Price and Darby Hubbell. (Contributed photo)

East Carolina University Student Media director John Harvey received one of the nation’s top awards for collegiate media advisers at the annual College Media Association (CMA) Convention on Oct. 28 in Louisville, Kentucky.

Harvey, Student Media director at ECU, was one of four to receive the 2018 award for “Distinguished Newspaper Advisor at a Four-Year College.” Harvey attended the conference with four students from The East Carolinian: Darby Hubbell, Jenna Price, Daniel Roberts and Trajan Warren.

ECU student Gregory Arnold also picked up a CMA award, earning a Pinnacle Honorable Mention for “Best Feature Photo” that appeared in Expressions magazine.

“It was quite an honor to receive the award from my peers in the industry, and it was especially great to do it in front of my students,” Harvey said.

Since coming to ECU, Harvey has overseen an extensive remake of Student Media, instituting a training program called the Media Academy, restructuring the professional staff, forming the student executive committee, establishing the Student Media Advertising & Marketing Agency, and creating a magazine division that features The Hook, Rebel, Expressions and Anchors Away, a new graduation magazine.

Harvey’s most significant accomplishment at ECU is the development of the Media Academy, especially the Candidate Program for first-time reporters. The semester-long program provides instruction for students who wish to become reporters at The East Carolinian with classes on ethics, libel law, newswriting, feature writing and editing.

Cherie Speller, adviser of The East Carolinian, coordinates and teaches the Candidate Program, while radio adviser Shayna Johns runs a similar program for WZMB 91.3 FM called the Radio Corp, or Zombie Program.

Javeria Salman, former managing editor of The East Carolinian, applauded Harvey for the award.

“He has been a great source of knowledge over the years, from the candidate classes to my post-grad life,” Salman said. “John’s guidance during my college years pushed me to work harder and become a stronger journalist.”

Harvey spent nearly 20 years as a journalist in Connecticut and Pennsylvania, serving as editorial page editor, managing editor and executive editor. He shifted to education in 1998, becoming news adviser of The Daily Collegian at Penn State. He took an expanded role as Student Media director at Georgia Southern in 2010 before coming to Greenville in 2012.

For additional information, contact Harvey at harveyj@ecu.edu.

 

-Contact: John Harvey, director, ECU Student Media, harveyj@ecu.edu, 252-328-9234

ECU Glaxo Women in Science Scholars network with mentors

ECU sophomore Jamie Chamberlin (left) and senior Ashley Lynn (right) were able to talk with ECU alumna Dr. Renu Jain (center) during the Glaxo Women in Science fall meeting in October.

ECU sophomore Jamie Chamberlin (left) and senior Ashley Lynn (right) were able to talk with ECU alumna Dr. Renu Jain (center) during the Glaxo Women in Science fall meeting in October. (Contributed photos)

East Carolina University sophomore Jamie Chamberlin and senior Ashley Lynn are recipients of the 2018 Glaxo Women in Science scholarship. As recipients of the scholarship, they receive more than just a monetary award.

The North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation Women in Science Scholars Program, which awards two scholarships each at 30 colleges and universities in North Carolina, is providing Chamberlin and Lynn the opportunity for one-on-one mentorship from professional women in scientific fields and attendance at the fall meeting and spring conference.

“After a year of waiting, I was beyond thrilled to be given one of the 2018 scholarships from GlaxoSmithKline,” said Chamberlin, who is also an EC Scholar pursuing a bachelor of science degree in biochemistry with a concentration in chemistry, as well as a bachelor of science degree in biology. “The program goes far beyond a financial opportunity; it is an investment in women who will enter careers still heavily dominated by unspoken patriarchal restrictions.”

Chamberlin credits another woman in science who influenced her decision to attend ECU, Dr. Cindy Putnam-Evans, interim chair of biology and Harriot College associate dean for research. The scholarship was established at ECU in 1993. Putnam-Evans has served on the selection committee for the scholarship since 1996 and has chaired the committee for many years.

Chamberlin, seen here in the Brody School of Medicine Geyer Lab during the 2018 summer biomedical research program, is making hydrophobic dams around cryosectioned tissue in preparation to perform research via indirect immunofluorescence.

Chamberlin, seen here in the Brody School of Medicine Geyer Lab during the 2018 summer biomedical research program, is making hydrophobic dams around cryosectioned tissue in preparation to perform research via indirect immunofluorescence.

“It was Dr. Cindy Putnam-Evans who first told me about the GlaxoSmithKline Women in Science Scholars Program, and I immediately knew I wanted to be one of the two girls offered the opportunity,” said Chamberlin, who decided then that ECU was the “right fit.”

Ashley Lynn, who is pursuing her bachelor of science degree in geological sciences, said, “When I learned that I had won the scholarship, I was ecstatic. I was happy to learn that they typically don’t accept seniors, but they liked my application so much, that they awarded it to me. I love being able to represent an amazing foundation.”

This year, Dr. Allison Danell, associate professor of chemistry and adjunct associate professor in pharmacology and toxicology, accompanied Chamberlin and Lynn to the Glaxo Women in Science fall meeting.

“I think our scholarship recipients enjoy this unique opportunity to attend these professional development meetings,” Danell said. “The program connects them with mentors who are willing to share their own stories.”

Chamberlin and Lynn heard from several women in leadership roles and spoke with scientists at GlaxoSmithKline. One of those women included ECU alumna Dr. Renu Jain, who earned her doctoral degree in biochemistry from ECU’s Brody School of Medicine in 1997. Now, Jain serves as the scientific director for medical affairs at GlaxoSmithKline in Durham’s Research Triangle Park.

Lynn presented her research, performed during the 2017-2018 academic year, at the Geological Society of America’s southeastern section conference.

Lynn presented her research, performed during the 2017-2018 academic year, at the Geological Society of America’s southeastern section conference.

“When her [Jain] speech was over, I felt motivated to go after my Ph.D.,” Lynn said. “I learned that everyone’s journey is different and that there are multiple ways to achieve your goals.”

“It was beyond wonderful to hear from incredibly successful women who served as speakers for the event,” Chamberlin said. “Each talked about the obstacles they had to overcome to manage a thriving career under a glass ceiling that often feels more like concrete.

“I left the conference inspired and confident that I, like every woman, have the potential to persevere through a major in the hard sciences and pursue higher education beyond my undergraduate degree,” said Chamberlin.

For additional information about the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation and the Women in Science Scholars Program, visit http://www.ncgskfoundation.org/women-in-science.html.

 

-by Lacey L. Gray, University Communications

HHP faculty member receives national award

Dr. Sheresa Blanchard

Dr. Sheresa Blanchard (Contributed photo)

East Carolina University’s Dr. Sheresa Blanchard, assistant professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Science in the College of Health and Human Performance, has received a national award.

Blanchard received the Merle B. Karnes Award for Service from the Division for Early Childhood, a part of the Council for Exceptional Children, the largest professional organization dedicated to improving the educational success of individuals with disabilities and/or gifts and talents.

The award is presented to a Division for Early Childhood member who has made a significant contribution in areas of leadership, service, research, advocacy or publications. The award is in honor of Dr. Merle Karnes, who served on the division’s executive board and was the founder and first editor of the Journal for Early Intervention.

Blanchard accepted the award Oct. 26 at the 34th annual International Conference on Young Children with Special Needs and Their Families in Orlando, Florida. For more information, go to http://www.decconference.org/.

 

-by Crystal Baity, ECU News Services

Brody’s Dr. Robert Carroll selected for prestigious teaching award

A professor at ECU’s Brody School of Medicine has been awarded a distinguished international award for his outstanding contributions to medical education.

Dr. Robert G. Carroll, a physiology professor and Brody’s associate dean for medical education, was selected to receive the 2018 Alpha Omega Alpha Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Award from the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Dr. Robert Carroll was selected to receive the 2018 Alpha Omega Alpha Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Award from the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Dr. Robert Carroll was selected to receive the 2018 Alpha Omega Alpha Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Award from the Association of American Medical Colleges. (Photos by Rhett Butler)

Carroll is one of four recipients from across the United States to receive the award. It will be presented on Nov. 4 at the AAMC’s annual meeting in Austin, Texas, where Carroll has been invited to also help lead a discussion about the future of medical education.

Carroll will also receive a cash prize of $10,000 and two grants – $2,500 for teaching purposes and $1,000 for Brody’s AOA chapter.

Carroll said he’s “very honored and humbled” to be recognized for his achievements in teaching.

“I know some of the people who have won this award in the past, and they are truly national and international leaders in the field,” he said.

ECU Brody School of Medicine professor Dr. Robert Carroll leads a group discussion.

Carroll leads a group discussion.

According to the AAMC, Carroll has traveled to more than 20 countries – such as Sri Lanka, Grenada, Nigeria, Bangladesh and Rwanda – in his efforts to improve medical education standards worldwide.

“His journey from the classroom to the global community reflects his dedication to enhancing medical education,” said Dr. Mark Stacy, dean of the Brody School of Medicine.

Carroll has witnessed many changes during his 34-year tenure at ECU’s medical school, the biggest of which is a shift in teaching methods.

He said that today medical education “is no longer about the content. It’s about motivating students and coaching, encouraging, showing them how to approach the information.

“The students are very adept at mastering a huge volume of information, particularly for a huge examination; but then one month later when you ask them, they’ve purged it. They don’t remember,” Carroll said. “So mostly the changes have been more student-centered learning and helping students with how they can learn best, as opposed to teaching them the material.”

Reflecting on his career, Carroll said the most telling piece of advice he received from a mentor was about professionalism.

Dr. Robert Carroll speaks with students outside the Brody School of Medicine.

Carroll speaks with students outside the Brody School of Medicine.

“One of my mentors said, ‘Look at what you’re doing on nights and weekends and find a way to make that more of your 8-5 job, because that’s where your interests lie,’” he recalled. “When I was a young faculty member working late nights or on weekends, generally it was on education related things. So over the years, I’ve gotten a chance to make education more of my 8-5 job.”

For Carroll, this award demonstrates the quality and service that is embedded in the medical school.

“Brody – both the school and the students – has a strong commitment to service and to making the world a better place,” he said. “This is an opportunity to more broadly tell people what’s going on here.”

 

-by Ashley Beagley, University Communications

ECU recognized for diversity and inclusion

For the seventh consecutive year, East Carolina University has been recognized for its commitment to diversity and inclusiveness by receiving the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) award.

The HEED award is sponsored by Insight into Diversity magazine and recognizes colleges and universities in the U.S. that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. The 2018 award winners were selected for initiatives that focus on all aspects of diversity including gender, race, ethnicity, veterans, people with disabilities and members of the LGBTQ community.

“Receiving this award for the seventh consecutive year recognizes the continuing efforts and successes of our collective work around diversity and inclusion,” said LaKesha Forbes, associate provost for Equity and Diversity. “We strive to maintain an increasingly diverse and welcoming environment for our faculty, staff and students. Diversity is strength and inclusion leads to excellence, and we are strong in our endeavor toward excellence.”

ECU is one of six institutions in the UNC system to receive the 2018 HEED award.

“At ECU we are dedicated to being a community that is reflective of a globally diverse workplace for students and employees. I am proud that we are once again being recognized for our commitment to build an inclusive community where we value our differences,” said ECU Chancellor Cecil Staton.

Several groups and programs specifically address diversity and inclusion at ECU, and three of these programs were included in ECU’s 2018 application for the HEED award. The following programs highlight opportunities available for students and employees to promote inclusiveness through research, education and outreach:

Diversity and Inclusion Research and Scholarship (DIRS) Program

The DIRS Program is a faculty development and seed grant program that provides funds to departments with faculty who engage in research projects related to diversity, equity, inclusion and/or cultural competence. Faculty members may apply for financial assistance for either diversity-related research expenses and/or reassignment from teaching assignments for up to one academic year.

Multicultural Appreciation Day Experience (MADE)

In collaboration with Undergraduate Admissions, MADE at ECU gives current high school students an opportunity to see how they can benefit from an exceptional education and wonderful social experience at ECU. It offers high school students the chance to meet with current ECU students and faculty, learn how to apply and pay for their education, explore scholarship opportunities and learn about the many different majors offered at ECU.

Valuing Inclusion Program (VIP)

VIP provides educational opportunities for open dialogue of beliefs and values and to develop skills to create an inclusive community at ECU. This program promotes an inclusive and respectful working, living and learning environment. It brings awareness to the experiences of people with intersecting marginalized identities and aids in developing skills to effect positive change and promote inclusivity.

“The HEED Award process consists of a comprehensive and rigorous application that includes questions relating to the recruitment and retention of students and employees — and best practices for both — continued leadership support for diversity, and other aspects of campus diversity and inclusion,” said Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of Insight into Diversity magazine. “We take a detailed approach to reviewing each application in deciding who will be named a HEED Award recipient. Our standards are high, and we look for institutions where diversity and inclusion are woven into the work being accomplished every day across their campus.”

ECU will be featured along with the 95 other recipients in the November issue of Insight into Diversity magazine.

ECU’s Brody School of Medicine welcomed the most diverse class of medical students in history this year.

ECU’s Brody School of Medicine welcomed the most diverse class of medical students in history this year. (Photo by Rhett Butler)

 

-by Jamie Smith, ECU News Services

Social work celebration: Burwell receives Distinguished Faculty Legacy Award

Dr. N. Yolanda Burwell has received the East Carolina University School of Social Work 2018 Distinguished Faculty Legacy Award.

Burwell will be honored at the school’s annual Alumni and Friends Celebration on Friday, Oct. 26, at the Greenville Hilton. The Outstanding Alumni Award and A Rising Star Award also will be presented at the event. Nominations will be accepted until Sept. 20.

Dr. N. Yolanda Burwell

Dr. N. Yolanda Burwell

Burwell of Zebulon has been a faculty member of the leadership training program of the N.C. Rural Center for 24 years.

She joined the ECU School of Social Work in 1990 as an assistant professor. She taught courses in social work policy, human behavior and macro practice and served as the director of the undergraduate program for four years.

Colleagues said Burwell challenged and motivated students to become excellent social workers “because clients and communities deserved the best. She held them to high expectations, and her legacy is evident through the successful careers of former students.”

Her academic research focused on social welfare history in African-American communities, empowerment strategies and social work in rural communities. She also has conducted numerous training and consultations on teamwork, cultural competence, conflict resolution and communication.

Burwell was active on the local mental health board and the Mediation Center of Eastern North Carolina. In 2005, she joined the North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center as a senior fellow, where she worked for eight years. She studied barriers and incentives for economic opportunities, especially for low-resourced communities and groups.

Burwell received her bachelor’s degree in social work from N.C. A&T State University, a master’s of social work from Washington University and her doctorate from Cornell University.

The event will celebrate the school’s accomplishments, provide networking for alumni and friends, and raise money for the School of Social Work Scholarship Pool to support students in the program. Graduates from ECU’s bachelor of social work program leave with an average of almost $23,000 in debt, while graduate students incur on average about $55,000 in debt.

The event is open to the public. For more information, tickets or to nominate someone for an award, visit https://hhp.ecu.edu/socw/alumni/, email parkeran@ecu.edu or call Virginia Bunch at 252-737-2058.

 

-by Crystal Baity, ECU News Services

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

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