Category Archives: Community

Wounded Warriors recharge relationships at ECU

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

People balance on a wooden surface.

People balance on a wooden surface.

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

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

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

Months later, something else would bother her husband.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

-by Doug Boyd, University Communication

The Pirate Alumni Road Race pounds the pavement for students

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)

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.

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.

 

-by Rich Klindworth 

 

 

Annual High School STEM Day Brings 300 Students to ECU

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)

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)

This annual event was the second STEM-related event held at ECU in as many weeks. Earlier, more than 140 area Girl Scouts participated in TechnoQuest, which also was designed to introduce STEM to the participants.

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.

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.

 

 

-by Michael Rudd, University Communication 

TechnoQuest at ECU Brings Girl Scouts to STEM-Related 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)

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.

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.

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 turnerm@ecu.edu.

 

 

-by Michael Rudd, University Communication

Save the date for ECU’s Earth Week

We’ve got a week full of activities lined up to celebrate Earth Day! Bring your hammock or a blanket and join us outside the MSC starting at 8:30 p.m. on April 19. During this event, you can register to win a free ENO Hammock.  On April 20 we willl be out at Barefoot on the Mall to keep the party going with some great live music performances. Join us on Earth Day, April 22 for one of two community service oppurtunities with the ECU Adventure Program.

Help us spread the word about all the fun activities we have planned for Earth Week here at ECU! For more details on all of our amazing Earth Day events:  http://calendar.ecu.edu/event/earth_day_fest_8211

 

 

 

-by Chad G. Carwein, University Sustainability Manager

 

Award-winning Children’s Author & Illustrator Don Tate Visits Greenville

Overnight success does not always happen overnight. In fact, for Don Tate, overnight success took thirty-plus years to attain. This self-described “Longest-coming up-and-

Author-Illustrator Don Tate (www.donate.com); Represented by CarynWiseman, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Photo by Sam Bond Photography)

Author-Illustrator Don Tate (www.dontate.com); Represented by CarynWiseman, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Photo by Sam Bond Photography)

comer” will share his journey from reluctant grade-school reader to published illustrator, and then on to becoming an award-winning children’s book author.

In his presentation on Saturday, March 25, at the Sheppard Memorial Library, Tate will discuss lessons learned, myths vs. reality, and offer practical advice for both aspiring and published authors and illustrators. Don will read and share a few pages from his forthcoming picture book Strong as Sandow: How Eugene Sandow Became the Strongest Man on Earth and highlight his research process.

Mr. Tate is the founding host of The Brown Bookshelf – a blog dedicated to books for African-American young readers, and is the author of award-winning books It Jes’ Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw (2012) and Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton (2015).

Mr. Tate’s books will be available for purchase and he will autograph them following his presentation.

This event is free and open to the public. For additional information, contact Dan Zuberbier (252-328-0406).

 

 

-by Dan Zuberbier, Joyner Library’s Teaching Resources Center

 

Exhibit preserves history of Sycamore Hill community

“Beyond Bricks and Mortar: Revisiting the Sycamore Hill Community,” a photography project that shares the history of the displaced community, has opened at East Carolina University’s Joyner Library.

On display in the Janice Hardison Faulkner gallery through March 26, the exhibit illustrates that a community is much more than the bricks and mortar used to construct its homes. The photographs and narratives featured show how the ties that bind are often found in human connection.

Students, visitors and citizens of Greenville and surrounding areas are invited to visit the exhibit and learn about the predominately African American community that was displaced by a redevelopment project in the 1960s.

According to Joyner Library Director Janice S. Lewis, “The Beyond Bricks and Mortar project furthers the mission of Joyner Library and ECU to celebrate and preserve the life stories, art and images that represent the regional culture of eastern North Carolina. It is particularly timely as the Greenville City Council continues to discuss a planned memorial near the former location of Sycamore Hill Missionary Baptist Church, now part of Town Common. Recent meetings attended by former residents and church members provided an opportunity for us to learn more about the community, its importance, and the need to document its history before more time passes.”

Sycamore Hill Missionary Baptist Church was founded in 1860 and was originally known as the African Baptist Church. The name was changed in the 1880s and referred to the sycamore trees surrounding the church’s location on the corner of First and Greene streets. The large brick church featured in the exhibit’s historical photographs was constructed in 1917 and was a Greenville landmark for half a century. When the Town Common Park was created in the late 1960s, both the church and the vibrant community around it were forced to move.

Houses on West First Street with Sycamore Hill Baptist Church in the background. This area is where Town Commons is now located. (Photo Contributed by Joyner Library Digital Collections)

Houses on West First Street with Sycamore Hill Baptist Church in the background. This area is where Town Commons is now located.
(Photo Contributed by Joyner Library Digital Collections)

“We are honored to help the Sycamore Hill community tell their story and are excited about the possibilities with this project,” said Heather White, assistant director for assessment and engagement at Joyner Library. “It was overwhelming to have such a large participation in the portrait project, which speaks volumes to the strong sense of community and connection this group continues to feel even years later.”

On Dec. 27 and 28, former Sycamore Hill community members and their descendants were photographed as close as possible to the sites of their former homes. Narratives from the former residents and family members about their memories of living in the Sycamore Hill community were collected to accompany the portraits.

Historical images of Sycamore Hill Baptist Church and the surrounding neighborhood from the Joyner Library Digital Collection are also included in the exhibition.

Amber Nannette Harris, who participated with her father in the project, said, “Listening to these stories is a scar for me too. These sacred grounds will forever be home in our hearts,” said Harris. “This acknowledgment is a start of a healing process.”

A public celebration honoring the Sycamore Hill community and recognizing participants in the project will be held 5-8 p.m., March 3 in the Janice Hardison Faulkner Gallery in Joyner Library. The celebration will include a short program at 5:15 p.m. and will be a part of the First Friday Artwalk series with shuttle service by the Jolly Trolley.

After the exhibit closes, the images will be preserved and will continue to be available online as part of Joyner Library’s Digital Collections. The library hopes this project will be the seed for more extensive outreach and collection of regional history, including the history of communities that have been underrepresented in archival collections.
Joyner Library will also hold a Community Scanning Day on March 4 from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the Sycamore Hill Missionary Baptist Church, 1001 Hooker Road, Greenville.

If you have historical photographs of the Greenville area or related items that you would like to have scanned, please contact Charlotte Fitz Daniels at fitzdanielsc16@ecu.edu or 252 328-0287.

 

-by Kelly Rogers Dilda, Joyner Library

Dowdy Student Stores presents checks from T-shirt sales

Thursday, Dec. 10th, Dowdy Student Stores and their vendor, Perfect Promotions & More of Apex, NC presented three checks from the sales of t-shirts benefitting specific causes this fall.

Thursday morning, physicians and staff from the Leo Jenkins Cancer Center were presented a check for $2,124 to benefit the Pink Ribbon Breast Cancer Fund, and a check for $2,124 was presented to Ms. Katrina Combs, manager of the McConnell-Rabb Hope Lodge of Greenville.  These funds were from sales of Pirate Cancer Awareness T-shirts sold during October at ECU Dowdy Student Stores and the Medical Bookstore at Brody School of Medicine.

Over $4,000 was raised in support of cancer organizations during the sale of Pirate Cancer Awareness shirts sold by Dowdy Student Stores during October.

Over $4,000 was raised in support of cancer organizations during the sale of Pirate Cancer Awareness shirts sold by Dowdy Student Stores during October.

The McConnell-Raab Hope Lodge of Greenville is part of the American Cancer Society’s program providing no-cost temporary housing to patients and their caregivers while undergoing cancer treatments at the Leo Jenkins Cancer Center and Vidant Hospital.

The Pink Ribbon Fund assists local breast cancer patients at the Leo Jenkins Cancer Center, a joint venture of the ECU Brody School of Medicine and Vidant Hospital.

Later that morning, a check for $4,788 was presented to the ECU Distinguished Military Society to benefit ROTC Scholarships at East Carolina University. The presentation was made at the Freedom Wall to Dr. Steve Duncan, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Military Programs and Dr. Glen Gilbert, Dean of the College of Health and Human Performance.  These funds were generated from sales of ECU Military Appreciation t-shirts during the month of November at the Dowdy Stores as well as at the football stadium.

Dowdy Student Stores also presented $4,788 to the ECU Distinguished Military Society to benefit ROTC Scholarships at ECU.

Dowdy Student Stores also presented $4,788 to the ECU Distinguished Military Society to benefit ROTC Scholarships at ECU.

Stephen McFadden, Vice President of Perfect Promotions and More, of Apex, NC was the vendor of the t-shirts and was instrumental in the venture. McFadden is an ECU Alumnus who enjoys giving back to the University through projects such as this.

More than 1000 of each of the shirt styles were sold, and according to Dowdy Student Stores Director Bryan Tuten, they plan on running both of these programs again next year.

Dowdy Student Stores is owned and operated by the University.

ECU student seeks help for underprivileged children

ECU student Leon Johnson, center, is shown in December 2014 distributing gifts to underprivileged children in the community. (Contributed photo)

ECU student Leon Johnson, center, is shown in December 2014 distributing gifts to underprivileged children in the community. (Contributed photo)

East Carolina University student Leon Johnson is helping to make children’s wish lists come true for Christmas.

Johnson created “Giving Grace: Make A Christmas,” which pairs ECU students with underprivileged children in Greenville to make sure the child gets at least one present on their Christmas wish list.

In its first year in 2014, Johnson’s group was able to help about 70 children. This year, he hopes to help at least 100 or more.

Johnson, a senior in public health studies, is teaming with ECU’s Student Government Association, Black Student Union, Greek organizations and others to help children from the Little Willie Center and Operation Sunshine.

The project is named Grace for Johnson’s grandmother, who died last year.

A Christmas party and gift exchange will be held Dec. 8 in Mendenhall Student Center.

For more information or to participate, contact Johnson on Instagram at leon_asking or email johnsonle11@students.ecu.edu.

1 2 3 4 6