Category Archives: Visitors

Wounded Warriors recharge relationships at ECU

Tuesday was Meranda and Rusty Baggett’s 19th wedding anniversary. They spent it working on their relationship while helping other military members, veterans and their spouses work on theirs.

East Carolina University’s Campus Recreation and Wellness partnered with the Wounded Warrior Project to host a Project Odyssey Retreat at the Belk Building rope course. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

East Carolina University’s Campus Recreation and Wellness partnered with the Wounded Warrior Project to host a Project Odyssey Retreat at the Belk Building rope course. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

The Baggetts were one of 14 couples in which one or both spouses were active duty or retired servicemembers and one was dealing with a traumatic brain injury, combat stress or a post-traumatic stress disorder. They were at East Carolina University as part of a Wounded Warriors Project Odyssey Retreat to help military couples learn to rebuild trust in their relationships affected by combat stresses and experiences.

ECU provided a low ropes course at the Blount Complex on Tuesday and planned a canoe trip along the Tar River for Wednesday.

Jenna Potter, combat stress recovery specialist for Project Odyssey and a 2015 recreation therapy graduate of ECU, contacted university staff members last fall about hosting a Wounded Warrior event. After talking, they decided it was a natural fit.

The group makes it way through a spider web in a cave while maintaining group contact.

The group makes it way through a spider web in a cave while maintaining group contact.

“It just kind of clicked in my head,” said Potter, whose parents were in the Air Force. “I knew Pirate Nation is a strong community and has so much love no matter what. Within weeks, we had a great relationship going.”

“It was really a no-brainer to offer the collaboration,” said Adrienne Fike, assistant director for adventure leadership with Campus Recreation and Wellness, whose husband was wounded while on duty with the Marine Corps. “Wounded Warrior is a project that was looking for something really specific. The fact we got to be that is really great.”

Rusty Baggett was a master sergeant and medical operations specialist in the 18th Airborne Corps. After serving for 16 years from Hawaii to Iraq to Afghanistan, it was a routine training flight out of Fort Bragg in November 2010 – a month before he was to ship out for another mission to Iraq –that ended his military career.

People balance on a wooden surface.

People balance on a wooden surface.

He remembered being in the plane. The next thing he remembered was being in a hospital a month later. In between, he jumped from the plane, and experts pieced together that apparently a gust of wind caused his parachute to collapse about 100 feet from the ground. He crashed, broke his pelvis and had two brain bleeds. Sixteen of the 30 jumpers were injured during the exercise.

Meranda Baggett recalled rushing to the hospital after getting the call that he was critically injured.

“When I got there, what broke my heart the most was he didn’t know who I was,” she said. “That broke my heart.”

Months later, something else would bother her husband.

“I was still bitter that I wasn’t going to Iraq for the second time,” he said. “That was my job. That’s what I did.”

Meranda Baggett lifts a rope high to keep tension on it.

Meranda Baggett lifts a rope high to keep tension on it.

Seven years later, he still has short-term memory loss. Thus, they plan each day with an online calendar, right down to what they’re having for each meal. And he says the civilian world lacks the camaraderie and organization of the military.

“I had to find out where I fit in,” he said.

The couple, who met when they were 14 and have an 18-year-old daughter, found that together with the Wounded Warrior Project. After participating in a few odysseys, they are now peer mentors – helping other active and retired servicemembers. The camaraderie is back.

“We have the same pains and things we can work through, and we can do it together and learn from each other,” said Rusty Baggett, who graduated in May from Methodist College with a degree in health services administration.

This week’s event was the first Project Odyssey at ECU. Another one is scheduled for July, and more are tentatively planned for next year.

 

 

-by Doug Boyd, University Communication

New tool available for higher education job seekers

Professionals seeking positions in higher education now have a new, more comprehensive tool to conduct regional and national job searches.

Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (HERC) of the Carolinas is a nonprofit group located at East Carolina University that connects professionals with higher education employers in the East. HERC has developed and launched a job board that lists hundreds of jobs from its member colleges and universities, community colleges, teaching hospitals and research institutes.

HERC of the Carolinas has 22 member organizations including ECU, Clemson University and Guilford Technical Community College. Members are committed to hiring a diverse work force and supporting dual-career couples.

The job search resources are free and available to the public and can be found at HERCjobs.org/Carolinas.

Russian education leaders at ECU to learn about global understanding program

East Carolina University will host 11 education leaders from Ural State University in Russia Sept. 23.

The Russian guests and two interpreters will learn about ECU’s Global Understanding Program and discuss how East Carolina has become the state’s leader in distance education. The visitors will also learn about possible international linkages such as the Global Academic Initiatives at ECU.

East Carolina began its Global Academic Initiatives several years ago with a global understanding course that offers an opportunity to study abroad with students from other countries without ever leaving ECU’s campus.

The global initiatives, which also includes global lectures and research opportunities, has grown to more than 30 universities and 23 countries around the globe, including Lomonosov Moscow State, Maritime State University and Tomsk State Pedagogical University in Russia.

For more information, contact Dr. Austin Bunch, ECU Senior Associate Provost at (252) 328-0607.

# # #

EXPERTS CONVERGE: ECU hosts second annual hurricane conference

NOAA satellite imagery from September 1999 shows Hurricane Floyd approaching North Carolina. Representatives from NOAA and the National Weather Service will join ECU experts in a hurricane conference at East Carolina University.

 

East Carolina University and North Carolina Emergency Management will host the second annual hurricane conference for emergency managers May 18 in the Murphy Center on campus.
Along with representatives of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Weather Service, ECU researchers will review the latest tools and trends in forecasting and decision-making for storm surge and river floods.

ECU geography professor Dr. Tom Allen, director of RENCI (the Renaissance Computing Institute) at ECU and economics professor Dr. Jamie Kruse, director of ECU’s Center for National Hazards Research, will facilitate the event, with technical assistance from Ken Gallupi and Jessica Proud Losego from Renci at Chapel Hill.

ECU Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Studies Dr. Deirdre Mageean will welcome conference participants. NCEM Director of Emergency Management Doug Hoell and Deputy Director Mike Sprayberry, one of the conference organizers, also will be in attendance.

Keynote speaker Dr. Rachel Davidson of the University of Delaware will discuss new approaches to evacuation. Davidson, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, researches natural disaster risk modeling and is a mentor for the Enabling the Next Generation of Hazards and Disaster Researchers program funded by the National Science Foundation. Additional topics will be presented by representatives from the National Hurricane Center, the National Weather Service Southeast River Forecast Center and local NWS offices. The conference will conclude with discussion of the 2011 Hurricane Season Outlook.

“The conference represents a strong multi-disciplinary partnership,” said Jeff Orrock, warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service Office in Raleigh. “By working together, we are able to provide the best information possible to residents of our state.”

For additional information, contact ECU professor Donna Kain at 252-717-9330, email kaind@ecu.edu, or NCEM Area 2 coordinator David Weldon at dweldon@ncem.org. The event is not open to the public.

Reading to feature award-winning poet

Poets Dorianne Laux and Celeste Doaks will present a reading of original work at 7 p.m. April 20 in Bate Building Room 1031.

Laux, an award -winning poet whose fifth collection, “The Book of Men,” was published recently by W.W. Norton, will be joined in the reading by Celeste Doaks, a former student who teaches poetry at ECU.

Laux’s fourth collection, “Facts about the Moon,” won the Oregon Book Award and was short-listed for the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize. “Awake, What We Carry” was a finalist for the National Book Critic’s Circle Award. She has won two Best American Poetry Prizes, a Pushcart Prize, two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and a Guggenheim. Her poems have been collected in the “Best of American Poetry Review,” the “Norton Anthology of Contemporary Poetry,” and the Best of the Net.

Doaks, who joined the ECU Department of English in January, worked as a free-lance journalist in New York before moving to Raleigh to attend NCSU. There she earned a master of fine arts in creative writing, while studying with Laux. Doaks was a recipient of the 2009 Academy of American Poets Graduate Prize and an Association of Writers and Writing Programs scholarship. She has written for The Village Voice and Time Out New York, and her poems have appeared in a variety of literary magazines.

Admission is free and parking restrictions around the Bate building will be lifted for the event.

For additional information on the reading, contact Alex Albright, director of creative writing, at 252-328-4876 or albrightd@ecu.edu. For more details on Laux, visit http://www.doriannelaux.com/.

Author, long-distance hiker presents first Last Lecture

Author, business owner and record-setting long-distance hiker Jennifer Pharr Davis will share lessons learned on the Appalachian trail at East Carolina University April 19 and 20.

Davis has hiked more than 9,000 miles of long distance trails on six continents. She is the owner of the Blue Ridge Hiking Company in Asheville, and author of “Becoming Odyssa: Epic Adventures on the Appalachian Trail,” which chronicles her experiences on a grueling four-month hike from Georgia to Maine.

Following her 2004 graduation from Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., Davis found herself dissatisfied with her career path. Her decision to leave her job and embark alone on a record-setting 2,175-mile hike led to a life-altering experience that transformed her both physically and emotionally. Recounting that experience in “Becoming Odyssa,” Davis said, “I had no idea that the challenges faced as a 21-year-old woman hiking the Appalachian Trail would so deeply impact who I am, what I believe and how I want to live.”

Davis will share critical life lessons learned on the trail with her ECU audience. Her visit to campus includes the following events that are open to the public:

April 19

12:30 p.m., Tipsy Teapot  – Lunch and conversation with the author

3:30 p.m., Campus Recreation and Wellness – Backpacking and hiking clinic

7 p.m. Hendrix Theatre – “Goals, Attitudes and Balance – How to Pack Your Backpack for Success,” followed by a book signing

April 20

4 p.m., Hendrix Theatre – “Six Months Without a Mirror: Redefining beauty, success and happiness without the help of mainstream media.”

Davis’ visit is part of a new ECU program entitled “The Last Lecture,” developed from a partnership between the Office of Student Transitions and First Year Programs and Campus Recreation and Wellness, the Department of English and the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies. The program is based upon the famed last lecture made by the late professor Randy Pausch, a Carnegie Mellon University professor who presented an upbeat presentation following his diagnosis with terminal pancreatic cancer.

Mary Beth Corbin, director of the Office of Student Transitions and First Year Programs, said the ECU Last Lecture program specifically targets rising sophomores, who are often “in the throes of confusion in their academic, social and personal development.” She said the speaker is asked to focus on beliefs related to life’s transitions.

For additional information, contact Corbin at 252-328-4173 or corbinm@ecu.edu.

###

 

 

Tibetan Monks

Buddhist monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery visited the East Carolina University campus March 14 – 18 as part of a tour to raise awareness of Tibetan civilization and contribute to world peace through sacred art. View a slideshow taken on the first day of their visit.

The Mystical Arts of Tibet tour features a mandala sand painting celebration, in which the monks lay millions of grains of sand to create a mandala. Sacred music and dance, lectures and community participation in the sand art are included in the week’s activities. In a closing ceremony March 18, the mandala sand will be dispersed into the Tar River as a sacred blessing. For more information about the Mystical Arts of Tibet tour, visit http://www.ecu.edu/news/newsstory.cfm?ID=1917. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

The Mystical Arts of Tibet coming to campus

Buddhist monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery will visit East Carolina University March 14-18 for a series of Dalai Lama-endorsed events intended to raise awareness of Tibetan civilization and contribute to world peace through sacred art.

The Mystical Arts of Tibet tour will feature a mandala sand painting celebration March 15-17 in the Mendenhall Student Center. Each day, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., the monks will lay millions of grains of sand into place on a platform to create a mandala. The mandala, according to tradition, is a symbol of the universe in its ideal form. Read more…

1 2