Category Archives: Events

Health care quality improvement projects showcased at symposium

More than 150 people filled the auditorium of the East Carolina Heart Institute at ECU on Wednesday to discuss, and reward, projects aimed at improving health care practices in eastern North Carolina and beyond.

The 2nd Annual Unified Quality Improvement Symposium – co-hosted by the Brody School of Medicine REACH Initiative and the Vidant Health Quality Office – featured more than 40 presenters. Their topics ranged from reducing rates of newborn hypothermia and improving HIV treatment adherence, to improving discharge processes in inpatient rehabilitation centers and limiting physician sleep interruptions.

Student presents project

Second-year ECU Brody School of Medicine student Noopur Doshi discusses her project during the 2nd Annual Unified Quality Improvement Symposium, which was held in the East Carolina Heart Institute at ECU on Jan. 31, 2018. (Photos by Rob Spahr)

Second-year medical students Rebecca Jones and Reena Patel worked as nurses in neonatal intensive care and labor and delivery, respectively, prior to medical school.

For their symposium presentation, they discussed how they were working with a local OB-GYN to address the high infant mortality rate and maternal health disparities in Pitt County.

Students discuss their project

Omar Taha and Dr. Ahmed Hamed, left, discuss their project.

“We have a longitudinal program for mothers looking at having healthier pregnancies, reducing smoking, increasing breastfeeding and then also infant safety and CPR,” Jones said.

Patel said the program resulted in an overall decrease in anxiety for the mothers-to-be, as well as increased confidence in breastfeeding, CPR and choking rescue.

“We also compared longitudinal lifestyle changes and found that a number of people made significant beneficial lifestyle changes throughout the program,” Patel said. “As a result, we are implementing a portion of the program, the infant CPR portion, into Vidant hospital’s perinatal educational curriculum, as a medical student-run program.”

Student discusses his project

Second-year ECU Brody School of Medicine student Bennett Mack discusses his project.

This year’s keynote speaker, Dr. Julie Freischlag, chief executive officer of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, stressed the importance of health care professionals having integrity and being brave.

“Igniting success as health care providers, you need to be compassionate, you need to be innovative and bold,” Freischlag said. “Seize opportunities, take chances, be brave. You be the one to start the momentum, even if it’s controversial or uncomfortable.”

The following participants earned awards for podium presentations:

  • 1st Place: Diana Layne, a Vidant Medical Center nurse, for a presentation on a collaborative approach to reducing central line associated blood stream infections.
  • 2nd Place: Pooja Sarin, a third-year medical student, for a presentation on reducing the rates of newborn hypothermia by maintaining delivery temperatures of 77 F during cesarean sections.
  • 3rd Place: Kate Gitzinger, a Vidant Medical Center nurse, for the presentation “Interprofessional Education: A Powerful Tool for Improving Delivery Room Care and Competency.”

These participants received awards for their poster presentations, which were displayed in the ECHI lobby throughout the event:

  • 1st Place: Meera Patel, a second-year medical student, for a presentation on reducing the rate of contaminated blood draws coming from the ED to the microbiology laboratory at Vidant Medical Center.
  • 2nd Place: Taj Nasser, a fourth-year medical student, for the presentation “From Bits to Bytes to Reality: Reduction in Patients who Leave Without Treatment in the Emergency Department by using Computer Simulation to Redesign Nurse Staffing.”
  • 3rd Place: Sujitha Nandi, a clinical assistant professor of internal medicine at Brody, for a presentation on a challenge to discharge ECU general internal medicine inpatients before noon.

For more information about the REACH program visit


-by Rob Spahr, University Communications

ECU to host Summer Jobs & Internship Fair for students and alumni

East Carolina University Career Services will host its first Summer Jobs and Internship Fair from 1-4 p.m. Feb. 8 at the ECU Student Recreation Center.

This event covers all majors at ECU and is focused on delivering meaningful employment opportunities for students during their summer breaks that will directly apply to their academic programs and future career goals.

“Internships are extremely valuable learning experiences no matter the academic major. In many cases, nontraditional settings are equally as valuable as an internship that mirrors an academic discipline,” said Dr. Deb Jordan, professor and department chair for the recreation and leisure studies program at ECU.

According to the 2017 Job Outlook, the five top skills employers desire in potential hires are the ability to work on a team, problem solving, written communication skills, a strong work ethic and verbal communication skills.

“Finding an internship where these skills can be learned and honed will facilitate the success of all students as they begin their professional careers,” said Jordan.

More than 50 companies are participating in this career fair, including Enterprise, Northwestern Mutual, Peace Corps, Peter Millar, YMCA, Eastern 4-H Center, UNC Coastal Studies Institute, Bethelwoods Camp and Conference Center, Busch Gardens Williamsburg & Water Country USA, Beacon Hill Staffing Group, and the Autism Society of N.C.

ECU Career Services offers the following suggestions to attendees:

  • Dress in casual attire and bring your ECU 1Card.
  • Research the employers who will be attending the event by visiting and prioritize what organizations to target for employment.
  • Develop and practice an introduction or power greeting.
  • Create or update your resume that has been critiqued by a career counselor and bring multiple copies to the fair.
  • Remember to smile, initiate a handshake and look the employers in the eye when greeting them at the event.


-For more information, contact Leslie Rogers at 252-328-6050.

Exhibit celebrates 10 years of study abroad in Italy

Photograph by Jim Abbott

A photograph by ECU faculty member Jim Abbott

“Made in Italy: Italy Intensives,” a celebration of the 10th anniversary of East Carolina University’s study abroad program in Certaldo Alto, Italy, will be on display Feb. 2-22 in the Wellington B. Gray Art Gallery at ECU.

Photographer and ECU faculty member Jim Abbott will give a talk about his large selection of photographs in the show at 5 p.m. Feb. 22 in Speight Auditorium.

The exhibition features work by artists who have taught in the study abroad program. ECU instructors included in the exhibition are metal design teachers Marissa Saneholtz, Tim Lazure, Jennifer Wells, Mi Sook Hur, Cristopher Hentz, Barbara Minor Hentz, Linda Darty and James Malenda; drawing and painting teachers Jill Eberle, Michael Ehlbeck, Catherine Walker-Bailey, Michael Voors and Kelly Adams; photography teachers Dan Bailey, James Henkel and Abbott; book arts teacher Terry Smith; and administrative staff and teaching assistants Stuart Watson, Lucy Clark and Chris Ellenbogen.

Art piece

A piece by metal design teacher Marissa Saneholtz

The gallery is located off of Fifth and Jarvis streets in ECU’s Jenkins Fine Arts Center. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The gallery is closed for all university holidays.

Jenkins Fine Arts Center is handicapped accessible. Individuals with disabilities who require accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) should contact the Department of Disability Support Services at least two weeks before the event at 252-737-1016.

For more information, contact Tom Braswell, interim gallery director, at 252-328-1312, or visit


-by Harley Dartt, University Communications

Pirates prepare for 22nd annual Polar Bear Plunge

The 22nd annual Polar Bear Plunge is set for 5:30 p.m. Jan. 18 at the East Carolina University Student Recreation Center.

All ECU students, faculty and staff are invited to jump into the icy waters of the center’s outdoor pool. Polar Bear Plunge Jan. 18The first 1,000 jumpers will receive a free event T-shirt and a certificate. Jumpers can also sign the large Polar Bear Plunge banner and be entered into drawings for prizes, including a 3-foot-tall stuffed polar bear donated by Coca-Cola.

As part of the grand opening of the Student Recreation Center in 1997, 35 participants took the inaugural plunge. The event has grown each year, with more than 700 plungers in 2010, 958 in 2011 and a record-breaking 1,094 in 2013. The goal is to set a new record of more than 1,100 in 2018.

Registration begins at 5 p.m. and all jumpers must present their ECU One Card, bring a swimsuit and fill out a waiver before jumping in the pool. The waiver is accessible and can be downloaded at the Campus Recreation and Wellness event website Participants should also bring their own towels.

After the event, participants can enjoy refreshments and entertainment and attend the ECU Student Involvement Fair, which showcases ECU’s 400-plus student organizations. Polar Bear Plunge sponsors include Campus Recreation and Wellness, Student Involvement and Leadership, Campus Living, Dining Services, Residence Hall Association, 33 East Apartments, the Bellamy, the Landing, University Commons and Dickinson Lofts.

What: Polar Bear Plunge

When: 5:30 p.m., Jan. 18; registration at 5 p.m.

Where: ECU Student Recreation Center

Who: ECU students, faculty and staff are invited to participate


–For more information, contact Jon Wall, Polar Bear Plunge event coordinator, at 252-328-1565 or

Coastal Studies Institute to host open house

The Coastal Studies Institute (CSI) will host an open house from 1-4 p.m. on Jan. 20 at its campus in Wanchese. The public is welcomed and encouraged to attend this free event.

Attendees will be able to tour the campus and facilities, learn about current research and education programs, take part in family-friendly activities, and interact with CSI faculty and staff. The LEED gold certified CSI Campus is located at 850 N.C. 345 Highway, approximately one mile from the U.S. 64 and N.C. 345 intersection.

A northeast view of the research and education building located on the CSI campus.

A northeast view of the research and education building located on the CSI campus. (contributed photo)

CSI is an interdisciplinary research and education institute focusing on place-based research in five main program areas. Research programs include coastal engineering and renewable ocean energy, coastal processes, estuarine ecology and human health, maritime heritage, and public policy and coastal sustainability.

CSI is a multi-institutional campus administered by East Carolina University in partnership with UNC Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University, UNC Wilmington and Elizabeth City State University. The institute’s mission is to undertake research, offer educational opportunities, provide community outreach programs and enhance communication among those concerned with the unique history, culture and environment of the maritime counties of North Carolina.


-by Jules Norwood, ECU News Services

ECU students, alumni to take part in new class ring ceremony

For the first time in East Carolina University’s 100-year history, students will receive an official ECU class ring at a ceremony on Dec. 3.

The class ring ceremony is a new tradition in which students mark an important milestone toward becoming ECU alumni. While students have always been able to purchase a class ring, there has been neither a signature collection with a unified look nor a ceremony before. Alumni from 1970-2016 have also ordered class rings this year.

The three official ring styles – signet, traditional and dinner – all have a crest on the top with the university shield, a sword and ECU’s motto, “Servire.” A group of ECU alumni, students, faculty and staff worked with Dowdy Student Stores and jewelry manufacturer Jostens to design the rings.

“The ring ceremony is a very special event and one we hope grows into a venerable tradition here,” said Heath Bowman, ECU Alumni Association president. “The class ring is a tangible connection to the university and a celebration of a student’s time at ECU. It is a lasting symbol of Pirate pride that will forever unite its wearer with fellow Pirates.”

The Ring Ceremony

The ceremony will be 2 p.m. Dec. 3 at the East Carolina Heart Institute at 115 Heart Dr., Greenville. It is open to those who have purchased a ring and RSVP’d to the event invitation. Rings will be presented by Heath Bowman, ECU Alumni Association president, and La’Quon Rogers, Student Government Association president. The ceremony will close with a singing of the university alma mater.

For more information or to buy an official ECU ring, visit Dowdy Student Stores or go to


-by Erin Shaw, University Communications

Harriot College Collecting Items for Pitt County Angel Closet

Harriot College’s Staff Council is holding a donation drive for the Pitt County Angel Closet. Each department and the dean’s office has a box where contributions may be dropped off before Dec. 8. (contributed photo)

Harriot College’s Staff Council is holding a donation drive for the Pitt County Angel Closet. Each department and the dean’s office has a box where contributions may be dropped off before Dec. 8 (contributed photo)

In this season of thanks and giving, East Carolina University’s Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences is dedicated to helping the community’s youngest citizens. The THCAS Staff Council is hosting a donation drive, Nov. 13 – Dec. 8, with proceeds going to the Pitt County Angel Closet.

Each of the 16 departments in the college was given a box to decorate and place near their office, where individuals can donate new bibs, baby bottles, pacifiers, diapers, wipes, pull-ups, underwear, socks and winter clothes for children of all ages.

“We thought a donation drive would be a great way to get people involved with a local organization,” said Amelia Thompson, chair of the council’s planning subcommittee. “The Angel Closet was in need of several items, and we thought that we could really make a difference for them this year.”

The goal of the council is to collect 500 items for the organization.

Dr. William M. Downs, dean of Harriot College, is particularly drawn to helping children.

On Nov. 28, at the half-way point for donations, Downs and members of the staff council will walk around to the departments and collect the items donated up to that point. Then, they will deliver those items to the Pitt County Angel Closet, with the final collection and drop-off occuring on Dec. 8.


-by Lacey L. Gray, University Communications

Trash cinema class to screen ‘worst movie ever made’

It’s not very often that a movie’s appeal is in how dreadful it is. But that’s exactly how an East Carolina University film class is advertising its upcoming screening of “The Room.”

Often called “the worst movie ever made” or “the Citizen Kane of bad movies,” “The Room” is about a successful banker named Johnny, his deceptive fiancé Lisa and his best friend Mark. There’s also terrible dialogue, ridiculous subplots and unexplained framed photos of spoons.

The class will host a free screening of “The Room” at 7 p.m. Thursday in Hendrix Theatre as part of their coursework.

“The director sort of had no idea what he was doing,” said Dr. Amanda Klein, an associate professor who teaches FILM 4980, also known as Topics in Film Aesthetics: Trash Cinema and Taste.

“He made it in a way that made no sense, like someone learning a new language and misusing the words and terms,” she said.

Director, producer and star Tommy Wiseau gained a cult following because of the movie’s captivatingly odd elements. Most see “The Room” as his misguided, so-bad-it’s-good passion project. It also inspired an upcoming movie about its making directed by James Franco.

“It’s not about analyzing the film as a good film,” FILM 4980 student Susie Hedley said. “It’s about analyzing why it’s not, and appreciating the world that these bad qualities bring you into. And ‘The Room’ brings you into one hell of a world.”

Hedley said she was drawn to the Trash Cinema class in part because it gives credit to films that often aren’t deemed worthy of serious examination.

“Examining trash movies through an academic lens is like reading ‘Twilight’ in a literature course or studying Dothraki as a foreign language. It seems wrong somehow, because we’re taught to see these topics as lowbrow or lacking substance.”

But, as Klein pointed out, “It’s much easier to see film construction when you look at one that isn’t made too well.”

It can also be a lot of fun to watch. Similar to a “Rocky Horror Picture Show” screening, yelling and throwing things during “The Room” is not only acceptable, but encouraged. Viewers at the Thursday night screening will receive a goodie bag of projectiles including mini footballs, rose petals and spoons (the reasoning will make sense during the movie for the uninitiated).

“As for the audience, I can’t be sure whether or not they’ll love the experience, but I know it will get a strong reaction out of them,” Hedley said. “The first time I saw the film … mostly I was in shock the whole time.”


-by Erin Shaw, University Communications

Trick or Treat event brings children, families to Laupus Library

The William E. Laupus Health Sciences Library at East Carolina University held its third annual Health Sciences Trick or Treat event on Oct. 27 throughout the library.

Anne Anderson, curator for the Country Doctor Museum explains how surgical instruments were used long ago. (contributed photos)

Anne Anderson, curator for the Country Doctor Museum explains how surgical instruments were used long ago. (contributed photos)

Attended by over 400 ECU faculty, staff, students and their children, who enjoyed participating a variety of games, crafts and trick-or-treating.

Occupational Therapy Student, Lauren Selingo, enjoys the many creative costumes worn by attendees.

Occupational Therapy Student, Lauren Selingo, enjoys the many creative costumes worn by attendees.

“My four-year-old grandson had such a great time,” said Terrie Hamilton, instructor in the School of Hospitality Leadership. “The Laupus staff did a great job decorating their offices, dressing in costume and spending time with each of the trick-or-treating children. We even appreciated the dental students and their tooth brushes – it gave us a chance to incorporate health care into the experience.”

“This also provided an excellent opportunity for those of us on the main campus to visit the health sciences campus and explore some of what is offered there,” she added. “What a wonderful way to show my grandson that libraries are fun and exciting places.”

A costume contest was also held with the winners announced on Laupus Library’s Facebook page.

The Country Doctor Museum photo booth also offered families a chance to explore spooky archives and pose with some of the items from its collections.

Families pose for photos at the Halloween event.

Families pose for photos at the Halloween event.

To view photos from the event, costume contest and photo booth, visit the Laupus Health Sciences Library at ECU Facebook page at


-by Kelly R. Dilda, University Communications


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