Category Archives: Community

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

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

Graduate student earns ECU’s first Schweitzer Fellowship in public health

ECU graduate student Gabriel Beattie-Sergio has received a 2018 Schweitzer Fellowship, the university’s first such award in the area of public health. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

ECU graduate student Gabriel Beattie-Sergio has received a 2018 Schweitzer Fellowship, the university’s first such award in the area of public health. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

Graduate student Gabriel Beattie-Sergio has earned ECU’s first-ever Schweitzer Fellowship in public health, to create and sustain a project aimed at determining and eliminating different factors that contribute to childhood asthma. His designation through the program is as a BCBSNC Foundation Schweitzer Fellow.

Beattie-Sergio’s work will focus on victims who were impacted by the 2016 Hurricane Matthew, live in substandard housing and have children with asthma. A large part of Beattie-Sergio’s time will be dedicated to conducting in-home (field) visits, interviewing families and conducting environmental health and housing assessments.

“I’ll be gaining experience with underserved populations and minorities, and seeing firsthand what environmental factors can contribute to illnesses,” said Beattie-Sergio, who is working under the mentorship of Dr. Greg Kearney, assistant professor in the Department of Public Health.

Beattie-Sergio said earning the fellowship is a chance for him to get a first-hand look at some of the topics he has learned about in the classroom. Kearney said it represents a unique opportunity to work in the trenches.

“Gabe demonstrates an eagerness to learn and help people, so I think this will be a great experience for him,” said Kearney, program director of environmental and occupational health. “As his mentor, I hope to provide him with guidance that will allow him to apply his public health education and develop skills along the way.”

Beattie-Sergio’s work will leverage current research projects and partnerships through ECU’s Department of Public Health, including the Medical-Legal Partnership, a collaborative project between the Brody School of Medicine, Department of Public Health, Vidant Medical Center and Legal Aid of N.C. The project was funded last year by Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of North Carolina.

“The skills he will develop will focus on identifying and reducing children’s exposure to environmental triggers in rental housing and interviewing and assisting patients in overcoming the social determinants of health by integrating free legal services,” Kearney said.

The research hits particularly close to home for Beattie-Sergio, who is pursuing both a master’s of public health in epidemiology and a master’s of science in environmental health. He suffered from childhood asthma and hopes his work will help address the illness in North Carolina’s eastern region, which has the state’s highest rates of childhood asthma.

“The fellowship allows me to meet with families that I normally wouldn’t and talk with the children about how you can still live an active life with asthma,” Beattie-Sergiosaid. “I tell them that if I had a program like this one in my area growing up it would have made living with asthma as a kid much more enjoyable.”

Through the project, families get referred to the Eastern Carolina Asthma Prevention Program (ECAPP) from Vidant Medical Center’s Emergency Department.

“From there, if the family decides to have an environmental assessment conducted, Dr. Kearney and I go to the home and look at factors in the house that can be contributing to the child’s asthma — mold, roaches etc.,” Beattie-Sergiosaid.

Based on their findings, the case can be referred to Legal Aid to pursue action to get the living conditions improved by landlords and property owners.

Beattie-Sergio will conduct childhood asthma research through a 2018 Schweitzer Fellowship, under the mentorship of Dr. Greg Kearney, assistant professor in the Department of Public Health.

Beattie-Sergio, right, will conduct childhood asthma research through a 2018 Schweitzer Fellowship, under the mentorship of Dr. Greg Kearney, assistant professor in the Department of Public Health.

Beattie-Sergio’s idea for the Schweitzer project will coincide with the public health department’s ongoing research.

“It seemed like it dovetailed perfectly with our work,” Kearney said. “Gabe will be experiencing how health care, environmental health and public health come together in a real-world setting.”

Beattie-Sergio’s project also meets the criteria for sustainability, which is a main characteristic used to choose the winning Schweitzer Fellow applications.

Since 1994, the North Carolina Albert Schweitzer Fellowship Program has supported 425 fellows from many academic disciplines through funding from various foundations, academic institutions and individual donors. Last year’s 23 North Carolina fellows join approximately 240 others nationwide.

Fellows all work with mentors at one of 14 program sites across the U.S. and in Lambaréné, Africa, where physician-humanitarian Dr. Albert Schweitzer founded a hospital in 1913.

“In general, I believe public health is naturally embodied in the work that Dr. Schweitzer accomplished while he was in Africa,” Kearney said, “so it’s a good opportunity for public health students to apply for the fellowship.”

 

-by Spaine Stephens, University Communications

Simulation brings awareness about living in poverty

About 50 East Carolina University students recently assumed the role of a family member living in poverty while juggling monthly bills, buying food or going to the doctor.

The students took part in a community action poverty simulation on March 16 at the East Carolina Heart Institute at ECU. The simulation was led by Tamra Church, a teaching instructor in the College of Health and Human Performance’s Department of Health Education and Promotion, Kim Werth, a counselor in the School of Dental Medicine, and the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement. Courtney Williams, a master’s student and graduate teaching assistant, was instrumental in planning, organizing and volunteering in the simulation as well as overseeing registration, lunch, snacks and community resource tables.

Students – most from a health behavior theory class in the Department of Health Education and Promotion - portray family members living on a budget in a recent poverty simulation held in the East Carolina Heart Institute at ECU. (Photos by Josh Vaughan)

Students – most from a health behavior theory class in the Department of Health Education and Promotion – portray family members living on a budget in a recent poverty simulation held in the East Carolina Heart Institute at ECU. (Photos by Josh Vaughan)

Church’s students are pre-health professionals and many are preparing for graduate school in physician assistant studies, occupational therapy, physical therapy, medicine, nursing or dentistry. Other graduates will go into the workforce where they will interact with people and patients from all walks of life.

“It was an opportunity to put themselves in the shoes of someone experiencing poverty,” Church said. “My goals for the simulation were to change beliefs about people experiencing poverty, increase students’ empathy towards people living in poverty and encourage them to get involved in more civic engagement.”

A student receives information for her simulation.

A student receives information for her simulation.

In the simulation, students were assigned to a family unit ranging from a single parent without a car to an elderly person having to pay for heat and medication for a month. The students sometimes faced unexpected challenges such as a death in the family or a break-in at their home. They interacted with service providers including employers, bankers, grocers, public schools or police officers portrayed by 14 volunteers from the School of Social Work, Pitt County Health Department and community.

“The poverty simulation accurately demonstrated the roller coaster of life that people in poverty have to live to get by day to day,” said Harlee Rowe, a public health studies major. “It was a shock of reality to see how much needs to be changed to help these people in need.”

Emmanuel McLeod, who is also in the public health studies program, said the activity was an eye-opening experience. “It has helped me to understand the daily lives they may face, and how the majority of the things they go through are out of their control,” McLeod said. “Despite this, we can reach out as a community and support those who need it.”

Students review materials for a community action poverty simulation held March 16.

Students review materials for a community action poverty simulation held March 16.

The simulation also taught students about available resources in the community.

After the event, some students said they planned to start having conversations about poverty while others planned to volunteer or start writing local government about issues.

“It changed my perception of how families in poverty deal with daily life struggles (that) the people who are not in poverty never have to think twice about,” said public health studies student Angela Bracco.

Church plans to offer the simulation each semester.

 

-by Crystal Baity, ECU News Services

Increased campus activity, traffic

During the weekend of March 23-24, ECU will have more than a dozen events, programs and activities going on across our main campus, athletics complexes and parking lots. ECU will once again be the hub of major activity, and our campus will be on full display for thousands of current and prospective Pirates and their families as well as devoted Pirate fans cheering during the Purple and Gold activities.

Here are some of the major events taking place:

Friday, March 23

  • Purple/Gold Pigskin Pigout at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium
  • Spring Family Weekend events in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium
  • Multiple Athletics events including volleyball and softball

Saturday, March 24

  • ECU Pirates Aboard – Admitted Students Day starting at 8 a.m.
  • ECU Spring Football Game at 2:30 p.m.
  • Spring Family Weekend festivities
  • Multiple Athletics events including lacrosse and softball

The largest impacts to the campus community are expected to be on Saturday, March 24.  With so many events going on at the same time and the current construction projects around the athletics complex and main campus, many of the roads around campus will see increased volumes of traffic. Additionally, many of our parking lots are expected to be full.

Motorists are encouraged to avoid the areas of campus that border Greenville Boulevard, Charles Boulevard, 14th Street, 10th Street, Fifth Street and Cotanche Street. Traffic will be more congested than normal and numerous buses will be utilized to shuttle campus visitors. Please drive defensively and allow extra time for your travels.

For additional information, please visit the following websites:

Bus tour focuses on research

East Carolina University faculty and staff returned home March 6 after traveling more than 400 miles across 14 North Carolina counties as part of the inaugural Purple and Golden Bus Tour.

The tour, hosted by the Division of Research, Economic Development and Engagement, took 42 participants to 13 stops over two days.

oParticipants of East Carolina University’s Purple and Golden Bus Tour visited 14 North Carolina counties over two days, including stops at the Lake Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge, Sylvan Heights Bird Park, Elizabeth City State University and the UNC Coastal Studies Institute.

Participants of East Carolina University’s Purple and Golden Bus Tour visited 14 North Carolina counties over two days, including stops at the Lake Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge, Sylvan Heights Bird Park, Elizabeth City State University and the UNC Coastal Studies Institute. (Photos by Paige Middleton/REDE Visual Arts Specialist)

“The tour was designed to introduce ECU faculty with identified research plans to the culture, geography, heritage, economy and assets of eastern North Carolina,” said Jay Golden, vice chancellor for research, economic development and engagement. “This program is designed to encourage partnerships and research that can have long-

term benefits for the people and communities of eastern North Carolina. Already, the faculty participants have started to create new projects and collaborations – and we expect that will continue.”

The tour ties into ECU’s Rural Prosperity Initiative by creating connections between researchers and regional partners that can affect health, economic development and health disparities in eastern North Carolina. Additionally, participants met with five university-wide research cluster co-directors who were members of the tour.

Mike Lubbock (center), executive director of the Sylvan Heights Bird Park, shares research opportunities with ECU faculty members.

Mike Lubbock (center), executive director of the Sylvan Heights Bird Park, shares research opportunities with ECU faculty members.

Faculty members connected with experts and representatives from various agencies, including Sylvan Heights Bird Park, the Roanoke Cashie River Center, Elizabeth City State University and the UNC Coastal Studies Institute. Participants also interacted with town officials from Bethel, Princeville, Windsor and Kinston during the tour.

First-day tour stops included the CHE Community Food Hub in Bethel; a windshield tour of Edgecombe, Halifax, Northampton, Hertford, Chowan, Perquimans and Pasquotank counties; the Sylvan Heights Bird Park in Scotland Neck; the Roanoke Cashie River Center in Windsor; Elizabeth City State University; and the ECU School of Dental Medicine’s Elizabeth City Community Service Learning Center. Second-day tour stops included the UNC Coastal Studies Institute; the Lake Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge; the Kinston Arts District; and windshield tours of Beaufort, Craven and Lenoir counties.

Tour impact

ECU professor and Theatre for Youth/Theatre Education Coordinator Patricia Clark said the tour provided “valuable connections” that will help her align her research with areas of need in eastern North Carolina.

oECU faculty members visited the Coalition for Healthier Eating Food Hub in Bethel, N.C., as part of the Purple and Golden Bus Tour. The CHE Food Hub is a nonprofit organization that works to connect local, sustainable growers with consumers.

ECU faculty members visited the Coalition for Healthier Eating Food Hub in Bethel, N.C., as part of the Purple and Golden Bus Tour. The CHE Food Hub is a nonprofit organization that works to connect local, sustainable growers with consumers.

“I had the opportunity to discuss STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) education ideas for K-2 learning, including incorporating theatre and creative dramatics techniques to teach science,” Clark said.  “This idea developed over a lunch conversation at Lake Mattamuskeet with Hyde and Tyrrell County Extension Director Natalie Wayne. She expressed a need for students to have hands-on science education activities.

“We also talked about offering teacher development programs during the regular school year,” she said. “I’m looking forward to seeing how other researchers and myself might work together to combine theatre arts and the sciences in early learning.”

Dan Dickerson, associate professor and STEAM cluster co-director, said the trip provided an opportunity to shape the goals of the research cluster he oversees.

“The bus tour certainly helped me continue to broaden my network throughout the east by providing an opportunity to listen to, speak with and problem solve with locals who are actively pursuing sustained rural prosperity for their communities,” Dickerson said. “I also learned a lot during conversations from my ECU colleagues while on the bus. Shawn Moore, STEM Center Director and STEAM cluster co-director, and I were able to gather significant input regarding cluster direction and opportunities and are appreciative of their insights.”

REDE plans to host additional bus tours, providing future opportunities for unique collaborations between researchers.

 

-by Matt Smith, University Communications

Award-winning SHOES Project builds on two years’ successes to combat mental illness and depression

East Carolina University students have partnered with campus departments to present the SHOES Project from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Feb. 8 near the cupola on the ECU Mall.

SHOES, which stands for Students Honoring Others’ Everyday Struggles/Stories, is a program intended to help ECU students who may be dealing with challenging times. College students may experience depression, anxiety, stress, addictions or thoughts of self-harm, but may feel isolated and unable to manage their response.

“Our hope is that this program and its profound effect on helping others with their struggles, providing them with education and resources, along with hope, encouragement and positivity, will help the masses in being more aware of mental health issues in adolescents and young adults,” said Waz Miller, director of residence life.

The SHOES project was first held in 2016. It won the state and regional Program of the Year award from the South Atlantic Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls, and went on to be chosen as the Program of the Year by the National Association of College and University Residence Halls. The program was shared with other campuses at the Association of College and University Housing Officers-International conference in Rhode Island in June.

Shoes with notes bring awareness to mental health issues

Shoes are scattered across the ECU Mall with anonymous notes during the 2017 SHOES event, a project which aims to bring awareness to mental health issues. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

Thursday’s event will feature a display of 400 pairs of shoes, each attached to a story of someone struggling with a family situation, medical condition, mental health issue or other obstacles, which have been collected from ECU and Hope Middle School students.

In addition to the shoes on display, the So Worth Living student organization will have a Worthy Wall, a chalkboard wall where students can write down the reasons why they are worthy of being loved. Student radio station WZMB 91.3 FM will broadcast live during the event.

ECU students and staff will distribute thousands of positive messages on buses and in campus buildings during the SHOES Project. There will also be a resource table, and the Center for Counseling and Student Development will have a counselor on site for participants who would like someone to talk to in a confidential setting.

There will also be a giant purple bear named Soks and hot chocolate and cookies donated by Campus Dining. Participants can share their photos and thoughts using the hashtag #ECUSHOES.

“This is a time of year when students may get stressed, lonely and need a lift,” Miller said. “This is a collaborative effort to bring more awareness to mental health and other issues which college and younger students are facing.”

In the event of rain, the project will be moved to Thursday, Feb. 15. For more information, contact Waz Miller at millerc@ecu.edu.

 

-Contact: Will Bullock, ECU Residence Hall Association advisor, bullockw17@ecu.edu, or Troy Nance, SHOES event coordinator/RHA President, nancet15@students.ecu.edu

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 www.ecu.edu/polarbear. 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 walljo@ecu.edu.

Spring 2018 ECU After School Art Classes

Students create interdisciplinary artworks with a variety of two- and three-dimensional media under the instruction of undergraduate art education students, who are supervised by a university art education faculty member.

Pre-Registration:  Jan. 3 – Feb. 10, 2018
Cost: $10.00 per class

Visit epay.ecu.edu/arted for registration information.

If you have any questions please contact the instructor listed below. 

3rd-5th Grade Class:
Tuesday Class begins Feb. 6, Meeting Time: 4:00-5:00 pm.
Contact Person: Dr. Cynthia Bickley-Green at bickleygreenc@ecu.edu
Class meets in Jenkins Fine Arts Center Room 1327
Class doesn’t meet on Mar. 6 and concludes on Apr. 17.

3rd-5th Grade Class:
Wednesday Class begins Jan. 31, Meeting Time: 2:30-3:30 pm.
Contact Person: Dr. Robert Quinn at quinnr@ecu.edu
Class meets at Wahl-Coates Elementary School
Class doesn’t meet on Mar. 7 or Apr. 4 and concludes on Apr. 18.

Multi-Age Inclusive Class:
Wednesday Class begins Feb. 7, Meeting Time: 4:30-5:30 pm.
Contact Person: Dr. Cynthia Bickley-Green at bickleygreenc@ecu.edu
Class meets in Jenkins Fine Arts Center Room 1327
Class doesn’t meet on Mar. 7 and concludes on Apr. 18.

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