Category Archives: Events

Clinton’s lead surgeon returns to Brody for lecture

The chest surgeon who led the team that once operated on former President Bill Clinton gave a lecture at the East Carolina Heart Institute on April 25.

The surgeon, Dr. Joshua Sonett, graduated with honors from East Carolina University’s medical school in 1988. He is chief of general thoracic surgery at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, professor of surgical oncology at CUMC, and the director of the The Price Family Center for Comprehensive Chest Care and the Lung and Esophageal Center.

Dr. Joshua Sonett gives a lecture titled “Thymectomy in Myasthenia Gravis: Surgical Evolution and Proof in Benign and Malignant Disease” at the East Carolina Heart Institute on April 25.

Dr. Joshua Sonett gives a lecture titled “Thymectomy in Myasthenia Gravis: Surgical Evolution and Proof in Benign and Malignant Disease” at the East Carolina Heart Institute on April 25. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

In the 2005 surgery on Clinton, Sonett and his colleagues removed scar tissue that built up following Clinton’s quadruple bypass operation earlier that year.

“That was a privilege to get to know and treat President Clinton, and it was just like every other patient, believe it or not,” Sonett said. “I like going to my patients’ bedside and chatting about things, getting to know them as a person, and it was the same with Clinton. He did talk about the Middle East maybe more than other patients,” he added with a chuckle.

The importance of getting to know his patients was instilled in him at Brody. Sonett recalled having to write pages of patients’ social histories as a medical student.

“It was just as important to get to know them as it was to know their health needs,” he said.

Now, he loves being close with his patients.

Sonett’s lecture was part of the Brody School of Medicine’s cardiovascular sciences grand rounds, which are weekly topic-and case-based presentations by members of the faculty providing up-to-date knowledge about timely issues in medicine. In it, he described his involvement in a 10-year study on a disease called myasthenia gravis that can make it hard for people to breathe and walk around.

Brody School of Medicine’s cardiovascular sciences faculty attend Dr. Joshua Sonett’s lecture on April 25.

Brody School of Medicine’s cardiovascular sciences faculty attend Dr. Joshua Sonett’s lecture on April 25.

“Surgeons for years had been taking out the thymus, although it wasn’t clear if that surgery improved the patients’ lives,” Sonett said. “This study definitively proved that the surgery helped. That’s one of the highlights of my career that I was involved in that.”

Although Sonett now works for a different medical school, he said he is thankful for his education from Brody.

“There are so many good med schools around the country, and I think I was blessed to come to ECU. It was a very young med school at the time…it was a great learning environment. There’s no limits to what you can do here, graduating from here.”

 

Related: Clinton’s lead surgeon is ECU medical school graduate 

 

-by Erin Shaw, University Communications

Alumni road race raises $5,800 for student scholarships

The 11th annual Pirate Alumni Road Race and Fun Run raised $5,800 for student scholarships, according to the ECU Alumni Association.

More than 300 runners and walkers gathered at the start line in downtown Greenville on April 21 and were treated to a new 5K route through campus. Runners scampered up Fifth Street, then wound their way past Joyner Library, the Cupola, Trustee’s Fountain and Wright Auditorium. It was a sunny and temperate Saturday, and campus was quiet save for birds chirping, the fountain bubbling, and runners’ breathing heavily. As they made their way back to the finish, they were greeted by high fives from PeeDee, music from a DJ, and vendors like Smash Waffles and JuiceVibes ready to offer post-run fuel.

Runners participate in the 11th annual Pirate Alumni Road Race on April 21. (Photos by Caroline Tait)

Runners participate in the 11th annual Pirate Alumni Road Race on April 21. (Photos by Caroline Tait)

Clayton Bauman, a 2008 broadcast journalism alumnus, said the new route was like taking a walk down memory lane.

“When you’re out there and seeing all the purple and gold, all the buildings, the old stomping grounds, it really takes you back,” he said. Bauman even upped the nostalgia factor by running to a special playlist with hits popular during his time in college.

Erica Bell, a former ECU track athlete and current graduate student, ran the race last year while six months pregnant. This year she ran pushing her son, William, in a stroller.

“Normally, he can stay up for the first five minutes and then he falls asleep,” she said.

Bell added that she preferred the new course. “It’s nice that it went through campus, that kind of distracts you along the way. And this weather was perfect.”

All proceeds from the Pirate Alumni Road Race and Fun Run benefit the ECU Alumni Association scholarship fund. The alumni association annually awards scholarships to qualified undergraduates for the following academic year. To date, the alumni association has awarded 297 scholarships totaling nearly $432,000.

Alumni scholar and sophomore Emma Plyer worked the check-in station at the race and said she was extremely thankful for her scholarship.

“It’s a really great opportunity for us students to further our education and not worry about the financial burden that college has,” she said. “We just get to be students.”

For more information about ECU Alumni Association Scholarships, visit http://www.piratealumni.com/s/722/hybrid/indextabs.aspx?sid=722&gid=1&pgid=2250

 

-by Erin Shaw, University Communications

College hosts big data symposium

East Carolina University’s College of Business hosted its ninth annual Big Data at Eastern North Carolina Symposium on Wednesday.

The event brought together students, industry representatives, faculty researchers, data collectors and number crunchers to discuss the latest uses and trends in big data and analytics.

Big data refers to large sets of facts and statistics that can be analyzed to reveal patterns, trends and associations. This analysis can lead to newfound knowledge in human interactions and behaviors. Researchers use big data to solve problems and create efficiencies, like reducing readmission rates for hospital patients or determining hospital bed capacity.

Joan Wynn, Vidant Health chief quality and patient safety officer, discusses how her organization uses big data to give patients more control over their health services and treatments. (Photo by Rhett Butler)

Joan Wynn, Vidant Health chief quality and patient safety officer, discusses how her organization uses big data to give patients more control over their health services and treatments. (Photo by Rhett Butler)

Huigang Liang, a professor in ECU’s Department of Management Information Systems, said that big data is playing a key role in the university’s future research endeavors and ties in with its Rural Prosperity Initiative.

“Big data and analytics ties in very well to the Rural Prosperity Initiative,” Liang said. “We can use big data in the health care field to provide better care, drive down costs and measure risk; we can use big data in education to find barriers to student learning and provide solutions; and we can use big data to combat economic disparities by analyzing population data and observing business trends.

“Big data and analytics is a team discipline,” he said. “It’s something every field – from business, health care to psychology – can use. The important thing is that we learn the right ways to interpret data to find out what that data means and figure out where it can take us.”

Joining ECU’s students and faculty members at the symposium were representatives from software and health care leaders SAS Software, RTI International and Vidant Health. SAS Software’s presentation focused on using data to drive informed decision making, while RTI International displayed its online personal health toolkit. Vidant Health officials discussed using big data and analytics to drive and measure quality and safety in its hospitals and care centers.

Speakers tasked audience members to think about the type of data they collect for their research projects and what they intend to do with it.

“Data is useless without analysis,” SAS Software Senior Healthcare Solution Manager Rick Monaco said. “We have to use analytics to turn data into something. We have to know how to use data. Data gives us information, but by analyzing data and looking ahead at trends and associations, we can gain useful knowledge.”

Paul Carmichael, a student in ECU’s Business Analytics Certificate program, said having the opportunity to explore how other researchers are using big data has been beneficial.

“Seeing some of the other projects researchers are using big data for has been eye-opening,” he said. “I use big data analysis at my current job in the insurance field, so to see where big data could take us is useful.”

ECU has made strides in its efforts to make big data and analytics a focus in the classroom and faculty research projects. In 2017, the university launched the big data and analytics research cluster, which plans to develop university-wide data analytics capabilities and provide data visualization technologies. ECU is also exploring the possibility of adding a dig data postdoctoral program.

The university has announced partnerships with SAS and RTI to provide on-site data software training, teaching materials and mentorship opportunities to help rural areas overcome economic, educational and health disparities.

“Big data shouldn’t be a scary term; it’s just data that we’re all producing,” ECU professor Lucky Xue said. “What’s important is learning how to extract knowledge out of these data sets and applying that knowledge to enhance our daily lives.”

 

-by Matt Smith, University Communications

Students attend first Social Work Career and Resource Fair

Alexis Brooks and Destiny Sanders, Bachelor of Social Work Student Association members, welcomed participants to the fair.  (Photo by Crystal Baity)

Alexis Brooks and Destiny Sanders, Bachelor of Social Work Student Association members, welcomed participants to the fair. (Photos by Crystal Baity)

East Carolina University’s School of Social Work held its first Social Work Career and Resource Fair on April 13 at the Holiday Inn in Greenville.

About 60 ECU students attended the fair, which featured 30 agencies and organizations. Following the fair, the school hosted an appreciation luncheon to thank field supervisors in the agencies and organizations for hosting student interns during the academic year.

The event was organized by LaTonya Gaskins, director of field education in the School of Social Work, and Janine Jason-Gay, assistant director.

Social work students Apriann Sutton, Brianna Best and Sydney Ferrer attended the 2018 Social Work Career and Resource Fair on April 13.

Social work students Apriann Sutton, Brianna Best and Sydney Ferrer attended the 2018 Social Work Career and Resource Fair on April 13.

 

-by Crystal Baity, ECU News Services

Country Doctor Museum celebrates 50 years on April 21

A daylong celebration at the oldest museum in the nation dedicated to the history of rural health care will be held Saturday, April 21.

From 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., the Country Doctor Museum will host “History Alive! A 50thAnniversary Celebration” – a family-friendly event that aims to offer visitors a glimpse into the past. Free activities will include museum tours, a petting zoo and horse-drawn carriage rides from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Acoustic and old-time music will be provided by DryBread Road, and a variety of food vendors will be present.

The Joel Lane House, Imagination Station Science and History Museum, Aycock Birthplace and the Tobacco Farm Life Museum will offer free activities and demonstrations.

The Country Doctor Museum will also showcase a new exhibit, “The Sick Room: Home Comfort and Bedside Necessities,” which illustrates how an extended illness of a family member or loved one was a common part of life at the turn of the 20th century.

The museum, located at 7089 Peele Road in Bailey, is managed as part of the History Collections of Laupus Library at East Carolina University through an agreement with the ECU Medical & Health Sciences Foundation.

For more information, call 252-235-4165, visit www.countrydoctormuseum.org or visit the Country Doctor Museum Facebook page.

 

-by Kelly Rogers Dilda, University Communications

I-Corps@ECU honors entrepreneurs

I-Corps@ECU recognized the work of faculty members, students and community members at its 2018 Celebration and Information Session at the East Carolina Heart Institute on April 13.

More than 30 participants, East Carolina University representatives and community partners honored the spring semester’s 26 teams.

I-Corps@ECU is funded by the National Science Foundation. The program provides budding entrepreneurs a model to reach go or no-go decisions on their business ideas by using a lean launch method. Participants identify a customer base, interview potential customers to learn about their wants and needs and reach a decision on whether to bring a product to market based on consumer feedback, market share and profitability.

East Carolina University professor Richard Baybutt describes his product, BetaSol, during the 2018 I-Corps@ECU Celebration and Information Session at the East Carolina Heart Institute. BetaSol is an e-cigarette product that delivers vitamin A to smokers to help protect their lungs from damage. (Photo by Matt Smith)

East Carolina University professor Richard Baybutt describes his product, BetaSol, during the 2018 I-Corps@ECU Celebration and Information Session at the East Carolina Heart Institute. BetaSol is an e-cigarette product that delivers vitamin A to smokers to help protect their lungs from damage. (Photo by Matt Smith)

Three teams were highlighted at the celebration, including a team led by an ECU student, an ECU professor and local business owners. The program recognized BetaSol, a product developed by professor Richard Baybutt, which provides a dose of vitamin A to smokers to help prevent lung injury; FoodMASTER, an educational curriculum that uses food to teach math, science and nutrition skills led by professor Melanie Duffrin and graduate student Allender Lynch; and Glean, a local baking flour product created by a group of entrepreneurs from “ugly” vegetables that are rejected by retail stores.

Each team discussed their journey through I-Corps@ECU and how it helped them reach decisions for their products.

I-Corp co-director Marti Van Scott said the program is a useful tool for entrepreneurs who want to explore whether their idea has a position in the marketplace.

“I-Corps will benefit anyone; whether they’re a scientist, a writer or an artist, this program is useful,” Van Scott said. “Whether you’re researching, writing a grant or have an idea for a business, it forces you to take an in-depth look at what you’re offering to see if its beneficial to the people you’re trying to serve.

“I-Corps is a great tool to help people think through the next steps of their business idea,” she said. “Often, entrepreneurs will come up with an idea, but it’s the steps after that – interviewing potential customers, identifying pain points and determining market share – where they struggle. I-Corps helps point you in the right direction.”

Teal Darkenwald, an associate professor in the School of Theatre and Dance, said she attended the event to learn more about I-Corps@ECU. Darkenwald is the founder of Ultra Barre, a barre-based supplemental dance training method that lengthens and tones muscle.

“My background has nothing to do with entrepreneurship,” Darkenwald said. “I know that’s a deficit in my training and education, so today was a great opportunity for me to learn more about business and entrepreneurship.

“It makes sense for me to learn more about where I fit in with my business and learn how to build a team,” she said. “I could do that through I-Corps. I feel like I have the research background and I have a clear idea of who my demographic is, but I could potentially participate in I-Corps and strengthen the other half of the business through what you learn in the program.”

I-Corps@ECU begins its third session this fall. For more information about the program, http://www.ecu.edu/cs-acad/ott/icorps.cfm.

 

-by Matt Smith, University Communications

ECU celebrates Earth Day 2018 with full week of events

Environmental activist Summer Rayne Oakes will speak at Mendenhall Student Center at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 16.

Environmental activist Summer Rayne Oakes will speak at Mendenhall Student Center at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 16.

East Carolina University will celebrate Earth Day with a full week of events beginning Monday, April 16, and continuing through Sunday, April 22.

Monday: Special lecture by environmental activist Summer Rayne Oakes, 7 p.m., Mendenhall Student Center, Room 244. Oakes is a correspondent on Discovery Network and Modelinia.com, author of “Style, Naturally” and editor-at-large of ABOVE Magazine.

Tuesday: Buy Green Expo, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Willis Building Auditorium. This event will feature vendor exhibits and product demonstrations from companies and organizations committed to sustainability.

Wednesday:

  • Greenway LimeBike Ride, 5 p.m., Wright Plaza.
  • Hammock Hangout Movie: Before the Flood, 8-10 p.m., outside Mendenhall Student Center.

Thursday: Screening of Growing Cities documentary, sponsored by the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement, 7-9 p.m., Mendenhall Student Center, Room 244.

Friday: Earth Day Fair, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Student Recreation Center. This festival will feature tree planting, a bike repair clinic, e-waste recycling and a variety of hands-on activities.

Saturday:

  • CLCE Earth Day of Service, Health Sciences Student Center, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • ECU Adventure Beach Camping Trip (overnight trip, register at adventure.ecu.edu).

Sunday: Paddle and Clean the Trails, pre-register at adventure.ecu.edu.

For more information call 252-744-4190.

 

-Contact: Jules Norwood, norwoodd15@ecu.edu, 252-328-2836

Laupus Library demonstrates how to care for cultural heritage

Layne Carpenter, archivist from Laupus Library history collections removes tape from a book in the preservation lab. (Photo contributed by Laupus Library History Collections)

Layne Carpenter, archivist from Laupus Library History Collections removes tape from a book in the preservation lab. (Contributed photo)

Would you like to learn about caring for your family’s heirlooms? Join Laupus Library’s History Collections staff on April 16-19 for a series of demonstrations about preserving artifacts and manuscripts.

“This is a great opportunity for the history collections department to share what we do with our students, faculty and staff, and the community,” said Layne Carpenter, history collections archivist. “We are excited to demonstrate how we care for collection materials to ensure they last well into the future.”

Learn more about book preservation, caring for photographs, digitizing items for the database, performing conservation on artifacts and archival materials, packing and storing family heirlooms, and more. Handouts and supplemental materials will be available each day.

  • Monday, April 16: Book preservation demonstrations will be held from 2-4 p.m.
  • Tuesday, April 17: Photograph and digital file preservation demonstrations will be held from noon-4 p.m.
  • Wednesday, April 18: Artifact and archive demonstrations will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Thursday, April 19: Packing and storing family heirloom demonstrations will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Demonstrations will be given on the second floor of Laupus Library near the main entrance.

“On Thursday we encourage people to bring in their small to medium-sized family heirlooms,” said Justin Easterday, collections manager. “That day we will offer information and tips on how to best store items of sentimental or historical value along with contact information for local conservators who can address more serious issues concerning keepsakes.”

Laupus Library will also be accepting artifact donations next week. “If you have a medically-themed artifact that is taking up space in your house, attic or garage, bring it by for an assessment and join our list of donors that help us preserve the medical history of North Carolina.”

For directions and parking information, visit http://www.ecu.edu/csdhs/laupuslibrary/about/Maps.cfm.

 

-by Kelly R. Dilda, University Communications

Students attend largest, oldest French film festival in the U.S.

Students from the ECU French Club stand outside the historic Byrd Theater in Richmond, Virginia, at this year’s 26th annual French Film Festival. Pictured from left to right are Julia Beauchamp, Sadie Crockett, Jon Cockerham, Kara Hall, Chase Ottensen, Marylaura Papalas (ECU faculty representative), Gary Lavenia, Amanda Curran, Rachel Griffith and Roylanda Merricks. (Contributed photo.)

Students from the ECU French Club stand outside the historic Byrd Theater in Richmond, Virginia, at this year’s 26thannual French Film Festival. Pictured from left to right are Julia Beauchamp, Sadie Crockett, Jon Cockerham, Kara Hall, Chase Ottensen, Marylaura Papalas (ECU faculty representative), Gary Lavenia, Amanda Curran, Rachel Griffith and Roylanda Merricks.
(Contributed photo.)

Students in East Carolina University’s French Club enriched their knowledge of French culture by attending the 26thannual French Film Festival in Richmond, Virginia, March 23-25.

“For years the club has tried to make a trip happen, but it just hadn’t worked out,” said Julia Beauchamp, president of the ECU French Club. “This was a great opportunity. Rarely do you get a chance to find a Francophone activity around the North Carolina, Virginia area. What a wonderful opportunity it was to have something so significant so close to us.”

As one of the French Club officers who planned the trip, Beauchamp, who is a junior majoring in communications and minoring in French and business, said the trip offered students a new opportunity to emerse themselves in the French culture.

“This trip gave us the real-life experience of being around another language,” Beauchamp said. “It revived my energy toward learning a second language.”

The festival is one of the largest and oldest French film festivals in the United States and offered the students a unique experience.

“French films are so different than Hollywood. They keep you at the edge of your seat, and you can’t guess the ending,” said Beauchamp.

During the three-day festival, students attended films each day in the historic Byrd Theater in Richmond.

“Each student had a favorite film, but one that everyone was particularly enthusiastic about was ‘Au revoir là-haut’ [English translation: ‘See you up there’], which won 5 Césars this year – France’s equivalent of the Oscars,” said Dr. Marylaura Papalas, assistant professor of French, who attended the festival with the students.

Students also had the opportunity to interact with directors, actors and musicians involved with the films.

“Many of the students bought the novel (‘Au revoir là-haut’), on which the movie was based. They were then able to talk to the music composer, Christophe Julien, and obtain his autograph,” Papalas said. “The privilege of talking to someone involved in the production of the film as well as conversations with other actors and directors at the conference were once-in-a-lifetime experiences.”

Officers of the French Club sought and received funding from ECU’s Student Government Association and the Student Activities and Organizations’ Co-Curricular Programs to attend the event, which covered the cost of lodging and cinema passes.

 

-by Lacey Gray, University Communications

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