Students participating in the Tree Campus USA designation ceremony. (Photos by Chad Carwein)
East Carolina University has officially earned the Tree Campus USA designation by the National Arbor Day Foundation for the first time in university history. Only 12 total North Carolina institutions of higher education can claim this certification, which was celebrated during a recent tree-planting ceremony on campus.
East Carolina University’s Grounds Team planting a tree on campus for Arbor Day.
To qualify, ECU staff worked over the past year to meet Tree Campus USA standards. Standards include a Campus Tree Advisory Committee including students, faculty, facility management and at least one community member. A tree care plan was developed containing the policies for planting, landscaping, maintenance and removal of the trees on campus. (To see ECU’s Tree Care Plan click here.)
For the third and fourth standards ECU needed to have dedicated annual expenditures and extend community education efforts through an Arbor Day event.
Lastly, the university needed to complete a variety of Service Learning Projects. ECU met this standard through the following tree planting events on campus: Earth Day (April 20, 2016) and ReLeaf Community Tree Day (March 18, 2017).
For more information about Tree Campus USA, please visit www.arborday.org or contact John Gill, Director of ECU Grounds Department at (252) 737-1179 or email@example.com.
Joyner Library is hosting the exhibit “Ancient Photons” in the Janice Hardison Faulkner Gallery on the second floor of the library. On display from June 9 through July 31, the exhibit showcases a collection of astrophotography captured by Tim Christensen, molecular geneticist and associate professor for the Department of Biology at East Carolina University.
“Tim is a prolific photographer, and I knew when I started working with him on the dataSTEAM exhibit that it would be an amazing opportunity to have Joyner Library host a solo show of his artwork,” said Charlotte Fitz Daniels, programs and events coordinator for Joyner Library.
Christensen says he’s mesmerized by the universe on radically different scales, from a fruit fly cell to the grand arms of a galaxy. And as an artist, Christensen believes he’s been heavily influenced by his scientific training.
“To a scientist, images are data,” he said. “Standing in both art and science worlds, I attempt to convey the art of the data. In capturing light from our galaxy and beyond, I stay true to the data while emphasizing the aspects of the image that inspire observers to think about the scale and beauty of our universe.”
Elephant Trunk Nebula,” by Tim Christensen, currently on display at Joyner Library’s Faulkner Gallery. (Contributed photo)
He also says finding the path to his final images is a complex choreography of math, his sensibilities as an artist and scientist, and the subtleties of the subject.
“I love how he bridges the gap between art and science,” said Fitz Daniels. “His work is stunning.”
Growing up as the son of a school teacher, Christensen’s family vacations included camping trips and spending time outdoors. “That got me out in nature and under the skies and hanging out with bugs and plants,” said Christensen.
He once visited the high desert plateau with his family as a child, when his fascination with astronomy was born. Staring up at the dark night sky, he remembers seeing meteors and wondering what was up there.
Christensen also stated that telescopes are often perceived as time machines.
“The other aspect of astronomy I find interesting is this concept of time and that you look back in time when you look through a telescope,” he said. “Some of the photons I collect are 60 million light years away. That’s 60 million years old.”
Christensen’s referenced photon, on display and entitled “M109” is equivalent to 352 trillion miles away.
Christensen’s biggest challenge today is light pollution, and it’s getting worse. “I live just outside of Greenville in Simpson, and I can’t image anything in the sky to my west because of the lights in Greenville. I can only image things as they are in the eastern sky and as they rotate I have to stop and move to a different target,” he said. “The switch over to LEDs is actually a bad thing for light pollution. We now have generations of kids living in Greenville who will never get to see that night sky.”
The next goal for the artist is creating 48- and 96-panel mosaics of his works for large installations in science museums and centers. He hopes this will give more dimensionality to engage the audience in understanding the space and distance between objects within the image and believes it will take considerable time to complete. “My nine-panel mosaics take me 70-plus hours of night sky time to collect,” he said. “So you do the math.”
“We are excited to feature Tim’s work at Joyner Library,” said Heather White, assistant director for assessment and engagement. “His exhibition illustrates the power and necessity to integrate creativity and the arts in STEM initiatives.”
Joyner Library will also hold a reception on Thursday, July 20 from 4- 5 p.m. in the Janice Hardison Faulkner Gallery.
Join Campus Recreation & Wellness for an afternoon of family fun at the North Recreational Complex this Sunday, June 4, 2017 from 2-5pm. There will be zip lining (ages 8 and up with closed toed shoes), boating, fitness walk, a treasure hunt, basketball toss, face painting, inflatables, and water activities!
For those with children attending the CRW Summer Camp, parents and kids can meet with the camp counselors they will be hanging with this summer.
For Family Fun Day, each child must be accompanied by an adult and all adults will check in on-site with an ECU 1Card or ID and sign a waiver for themselves and any minor.
For the fourth year in a row, the ECU Club Baseball Team will play for the chance to bring home a national title at the National Club Baseball Association World Series. There is one major difference this year, the Pirates enter the World Series as the top ranked program in the nation.
“We’ve been preparing all year for this, and I think every man is ready for it, and we’re ready to achieve our ultimate goal of winning this year,” said senior second baseman Miles Haymond.
While they have made the eight-team series the past three years, they have fallen short of the crown, losing in the championship game last year. So for players like Haymond, this is their last shot to get that ring.
“You know, we’ve been to that final game last year, and we were right there. But this year I think we’re a little more ready to take what’s ours,” said Haymond.
The ECU Club Baseball Team has become a juggernaut over the last several years. The Pirates won their first, and only, national championship in 2011. First year head coach Ben Fox, a 2012 graduate, played for the ECU club team in 2009 and started coaching as an assistant in 2010. He feels his team is part of the national picture for the long haul.
The ECU Club Baseball Team piles on top of one another after coming from behind in the bottom of the ninth to defeat Ohio State. This victory put them into the regional championship game. (Photo by Richard L Miller Photography)
“We had just made our first regional when I had first started coaching,” Fox said. “We weren’t considered a perennial world series team, but now we have cemented ourselves as an every year world series baseball team, and we take a lot of pride in that.”
Graduate student Logan Sutton is playing in his final season for the purple and gold. He just missed out on playing for that national championship team in 2011.
“My first thought of it is I’m sure everyone’s first thought, you know: ‘It’s just club baseball.’ But as I got involved and started coming to practices and talking to everyone, it really hit home that it’s really competitive,” Sutton said.
“This group of guys could compete at any level… . One game, I’ll take us against anybody,” Fox said.
There are some similarities between NCAA athletics and club sports. The competition level is very high. Players can tryout (similar to walk-on) to make the team. Fox said during the past couple of years 70 to 100 players have tried out. This year, 30 players are on the roster along with four redshirts.
Stephen Allard slides into home against William and Mary. (Photo by Richard L Miller Photography)
Those who make the team may play up to five years, but they have only six years to do so after graduating from high school. Unlike traditional Division 1 athletes, they can redshirt one year and then play on the field for the other five; traditional players can be on the field or court for only four years.
The club players are not on athletic scholarships and have to pay or raise $300 a semester to play.
“Which is why you never really have to question any of these guys’ effort because they know they’re paying to be out here, and that’s the best part about it. You know these guys want to be here, or they wouldn’t pay the money to be here,” Fox said.
Club baseball also gives athletes a chance to continue playing baseball beyond high school.
“I’ll be forever grateful for club baseball… . It’s been the best decision in my life because we’re still able to play competitive baseball,” said senior shortstop Walker Gaddis of Greenville.
Senior catcher Jake Merzigan had previously walked on the ECU baseball team. While he made the team, he was behind star catcher Travis Watkins on the depth chart. He played a little as the bullpen catcher but saw club baseball as a way to get the most out of his baseball career.
Catcher Jake Merzigian dive slides into third base against Elon. (Photo by Richard L Miller Photography)
“I just saw a better opportunity playing club ball. You’re actually playing in the games rather than catching in the bullpen,” Merzigan said.
Earlier this month, Haymond and Gaddis received their diplomas from ECU and have accepted jobs that begin next month. So for them, these last few games will most likely be their last.
“It’s a tough realization, but if I have to go out one way, it would be on this team in that national championship game on June first,” Haymond said.
The ECU Club Baseball Team has its first game Friday, May 26, at 7 p.m. at the North Main Athletic Complex in Holly Springs, NC against Michigan State. Since they are the only North Carolina team in the NCBA Division 1 World Series, they are hoping to fill the stands with members of the Pirate Nation.
“I’ve been a Pirate my whole life and there’s nothing better to have ECU across our chests,” Gaddis said.
Joyner Library’s SHRA Assembly held its 13th annual Paraprofessional Conference on Friday, May 12.
Joyner Library hosts a Paraprofessional Confrence. (Photos by Brooke Tolar)
This year’s theme, Libraries and Community Empowerment, addressed the role played by libraries and librarians to help individuals and communities acquire knowledge about themselves and the world around them.
Joe Barricella, digital services production coordinator for Joyner Library, said, “Our Library and librarians interact with the community daily. We offer a variety of resources, including computers and books, which allow us to serve patrons. Although Joyner Library is often thought of as being a library for only the university, one of our key goals is also to serve the public.”
“The Beyond Bricks & Mortar: Revisiting the Sycamore Hill Community project is a perfect example of Joyner library partnering with the local community,” Barricella explained. “We were able to offer resources they might not have had readily available. These collaborative partnerships are the types of projects we hope to continue completing in the future.”
The one-day event was attended by more than 110 school, public and academic library paraprofessionals from at least 13 counties in North Carolina. In addition to a keynote presentation, attendees were offered four concurrent sessions for a total of 16 presentations about bringing positive change and growth to their home institutions.
This year’s keynote speaker, assistant professor and graduate advisor in the Library Science Program for the Department of Interdisciplinary Professions at East Carolina University, Dr. Lou Sua, presented a message on “Library as Place: Community, Leadership and Empowerment.”
Sua believes libraries are equalizers in their communities and more important today than ever.
Assistant professor and graduate advisor for the Department of Library Science at East Carolina University, Dr. Lou Sua, gives keynote presentation. (contributed photo)
“It’s our job to empower communities,” said Sua. “We are the people who can make a difference in the lives of so many people.”
With a percentage of the population unable to afford access to technology, libraries offer these resources and services for free. Libraries have also been a place where people develop citizenship skills.
“I think that we help shape our communities by providing an atmosphere for them to develop their own learning,” said Sua. “And with everything that’s going on now with fake news and alternative facts, it’s the libraries that can help people understand exactly what is real and what is not.”
She also thinks this conference gives attendees the tools they need to go back and do their jobs even better. “During this conference, people share their experiences and talk about what works well for them,” she explained. “Conferences like this help someone from a library that’s maybe struggling from budget cuts hear another approach to cost savings and inspire them to bring that back to their community.”
Facilitated by experts in the profession, attendees were offered a variety of session topics such as the role of free educational resources for community members, outreach to community groups and special populations, and citizen science community engagement.
Tammiika Krowner works in the Curriculum Learning Resources Lab at Fayetteville State University and attended a session on open educational resources (OERs).
These are free materials that can be used as an outreach tool for the public to gain access to work that might only normally be available through a paid educational institution or school. OERs can be used as supplements or core learning for homeschool families that are on limited budgets, for those seeking additional materials, as well as self-learning and discovery.
“I work with pre-service teachers and we are moving away from textbooks towards online information,” she said. “Building up those resources and the teachers’ knowledge about them and where to locate them is paramount for the future.”
Barricella says his biggest hope was for the attendees to enjoy themselves and learn something. “I believe this year’s conference was a big success,” he said. “Everyone I’ve spoken to has been enthusiastic about what they’ve learned today.”
Joyner Library offers special thanks to The Scullery, Great Harvest Bread Company, Dowdy Student Stores and Bagelman for their donations in support of this year’s conference:
For more information on this event or about Joyner Library, contact Kelly Rogers Dilda at firstname.lastname@example.org or 252-744-2232.
Dr. Thomas “Tom” Williams has received the North Carolina Principal and Assistant Principals’ Association’s (NCPAPA) highest honor – the Ralph Kimel Award.
Dr. Thomas “Tom” Williams. (contributed photo)
Williams is director for leadership development outreach in East Carolina University’s Department of Educational Leadership. He has served as a developer and facilitator for NCPAPA’s Distinguished Leaders in Practice program. Williams also worked in various administrative roles in the North Carolina public schools for 32 years, including serving as superintendent of Granville County Schools.
Williams, who lives in Raleigh, received his master’s in school administration, education specialist and doctorate of education degrees from ECU.
“Williams has impacted many of our lives,” said Shirley Prince, executive director of the NCPAPA, in an N.C. Association of School Administrators online newsletter. “Many of us had the privilege to work with him, but all of us have benefited from the contributions he has made to education.”
The Ralph Kimel award was established in 1995 to honor the founding member of NCPAPA. The award is given annually to a retired educator who has made a lasting contribution to the profession and association. Williams is the first person from the ECU College of Education to receive the award, which he accepted during the 2017 NCPAPA annual meeting on March 30.
A blue sky and mild temperatures provided the perfect backdrop for the 10th annual Pirate Alumni Road Race, which was held in Greenville Saturday, April 22. The 5K and 1-mile fun run provided some competition as a way to raise funds for scholarships.
“This is one of our major scholarship fundraisers for the year. It’s a great opportunity for people to not only to have fun and be active, but also to help us with scholarships,” said Heath Bowman, president of the East Carolina Alumni Association.
PeeDee was the first one out when the cannon went off, but he couldn’t hold onto the lead for the 10th annual Pirate Alumni Road Race. PeeDee got a “did not finish” while No. 49, Patrick Creech, came in first in his age group. (Photos curtesy of the Alumni Association)
Bowman said they have 21 East Carolina Alumni Scholars this year and give away nearly $50,000 in scholarships every year. Many of the scholarship recipients were either volunteering or running in the event.
“A lot of students rely on financial aid and scholarship support, and so we feel like this is part of our mission to assist students and to help alumni and future alumni have a great experience here at ECU and to be able to obtain a higher education,” said Bowman.
PeeDee welcomes a couple of finishers, sporting their Pirate Alumni Road Race T-shirts, as they cross the finish line.
ECU sophomore and alumni association scholar Jacob Walker is a public health studies and chemistry major who hopes to go to medical school. He said his alumni scholarship is vital to him attaining that goal.
“It’s been so important to me. I don’t really have a good financial background with my parents,” said Walker. “My mom has been a single mom of three for most of her life, and it’s been really hard. A lot of the financial burden is on me. This scholarship has really helped me in terms of paying for my own education.”
All of the 250 race participants received a T-shirt, and the top three finishers in each age group won medals. Approximately $6,000 was raised for scholarships. The students benefiting from the fundraiser said they are appreciative of those who took part.
“Thank you (donors) so much. It means the world to us that you would give back to the university and help students like us,” said ECU junior and alumni association scholar Stephanie Morales, who was volunteering at the event.
The next alumni association scholarship fundraiser will be the Purple Gold Golf Open, set for Sept. 15 at Ironwood Country Club in Greenville. More information about the alumni association is at http://www.piratealumni.com.
Nearly 300 high school juniors from across eastern North Carolina recently visited East Carolina University (ECU) to experience and learn more about Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) opportunities offered at the University. ECU’s College of Engineering and Technology, the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, and the College of Education, including the STEM Center for Education, sponsored the event and provided more than 60 volunteers.
Students rotated through three of 15 hands-on, engaging sessions that were taught by current ECU faculty and students. Departments represented included engineering, physics, technology, mathematics, chemistry, biology, construction management, computer science, geology, geography, atmospheric science, math and science education.
Some of the hands-on learning sessions included:
Learning about and how to extract DNA
Determining the types of clays that might be addressed on a construction site
Exploring how high-resolution 3D models are captured using a simulation of unmanned aircraft systems, and how to analyze and visualize environmental change
Using cryptography to send secure messages and how it is used in the military for confidential communication and secure online banking, shopping and other applications
Area high school juniors recently visited ECU for the sixth annual High School Stem Day. Fifteen hands-on sessions were scheduled that represented a wide variety of education opportunities available at the University. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)
Margaret Turner, director of marketing and outreach for ECU’s College of Engineering and Technology, helped organize both events and also helped organize the five former high school STEM Days. Over the years, she’s noticed a very obvious increase in students interested in STEM. Not only does STEM Day introduce these students to exciting and interesting careers, Turner enjoys introducing these students to a university that can help them capture their future, STEM-related degrees.
“I see the excitement in the students faces every time they step on campus and into the sessions,” said Turner. “I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to let them know that if they do pursue a STEM-related career, ECU is a great choice to get them started.
Students Managing Students
Helping Turner organize this year’s event were three college students pursuing their own STEM-related degrees in engineering. Juniors Jessica Campos, Meagan Smith, and Malik Simon provided Turner with project management support. As part of a class assignment in an engineering project management course, they helped Turner with everything from volunteer training, the session schedule, transportation and communication.
“STEM day was an effective way to show how much detail goes into planning an event,” said Smith. “There were months of meetings that involved brainstorming on how to improve the planning process and ways to improve how the day would flow.”
Part of that brainstorming saw the introduction of social media to help with communication between all volunteers. The application that was used is called GroupMe.
Juniors Meagan Smith (left), Jessica Campos (right) and Malik Simon (not pictured) provided project management support for High School STEM Day. This marked the first time students played a role in managing the event.
“We had volunteers outside Wright circle waiting for high schools to drop off their students, and with this app, our volunteers were able to tell us what schools were here, where to meet them, the final number of students they brought and more,” said Campos. “Throughout the day we were able to communicate any issues that arose using GroupMe, and with everyone’s input, we were able to resolve those issues.”
“Throughout the day we were able to communicate any issues that arose using GroupMe, and with everyone’s input, we were able to resolve those issues.”
“Jessica, Meagan and Malik did a wonderful job in helping make sure we had another successful STEM day,” added Turner. “I think they learned a great deal about the many logistics involved in organizing such a large event. They were also proud to see the event happen and go smoothly and realize they had a large part in planning it.”
This was the first time college students helped with managing the event.
East Carolina University’s College of Engineering and Technology, along with Girl Scouts – North Carolina Coastal Pines, recently hosted TechnoQuest on ECU’s campus.
The event brought in more than 140 middle and high school Girl Scouts from eastern North Carolina (ENC) to participate in four of 15 hands-on, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) -related workshops. From DNA testing to 3D modeling and 3-D printing to simulated geographic occurrences, local businesses, ECU faculty and students shared their expertise and passion with the TechnoQuest attendees.
Girl Scout Laressia Steadman of Goldsboro, North Carolina, extracted DNA from a strawberry during the recent TechnoQuest held at ECU. (contributed photos)
One attendee was Laressia Steadman of Goldsboro, North Carolina. She’s an 11-year old with the Girl Scouts – North Carolina Coastal Pines. TechnoQuest was Steadman’s first STEM-related event, but it was not an introduction to the components of STEM. According to Steadman, she loves “learning about the makeup of things in genetics. It’s one of my favorite things to learn in science.”
It was this love of science that led Steadman to a very particular workshop that showed the Girl Scouts how to extract DNA from strawberries. Working with the East Carolina University Graduate Women in Science, Steadman used simple laboratory techniques to help with the extraction. What did she learn?
“DNA, even though it’s very small, it is very important,” said Steadman. “It really makes up what an object or a person is.”
Dr. Laura Novotny, STEM program director with Girl Scouts – North Carolina Coastal Pines.
It’s this type of experience the event organizers were hoping the attendees would receive. According to Dr. Laura Novotny, STEM program director with Girl Scouts – North Carolina Coastal Pines, the experiences would not have been possible without the workshops themselves.
“What is remarkable, though, and unique to this event, is the cross-department collaboration of ECU faculty and students that led to the rich diversity of STEM-workshop topics that were offered,” said Novotny.
More than nine university-wide departments and programs were represented in the workshops. The College of Engineering and Technology, Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Allied Health, and the Brody School of Medicine’s pharmacology department all had faculty and students volunteering at the event.
This was the first time ECU hosted TechnoQuest, which is a specific event held by the Girl Scouts – North Carolina Coastal Pines. TechnoQuest is traditionally held at Meredith College, but according to Novotny, an expansion of a Duke Energy grant to establish a second
Learning more about physical therapy was one of 15 STEM-related workshops recently held at TechnoQuest on ECU’s campus.
TechnoQuest made it possible for ECU to host the event.
TechnoQuest marked the first STEM-event held at ECU in 2017. On April 7, High School STEM Day will bring nearly 300 high school juniors to campus from across eastern North Carolina to experience and learn more about the STEM opportunities offered at the University. On this day, students will rotate through three of 15 hands-on, engaging sessions taught by current ECU faculty. Sessions will include engineering, physics, technology, mathematics, chemistry, biology, construction management, computer science, geology, geography, atmospheric science, math and science education.
The College of Engineering and Technology hosts multiple STEM events on campus annually. For more information about STEM events and camps, contact Margaret Turner at email@example.com.