Category Archives: Health and Human Performance

ECU students implement day of learning for preschoolers

Left to right, Mira Martoccia, Olivia Flowers and Jameson Williamson investigate creating slime with the help of ECU student Laura Williams. (Photos by Montana Burkett Photography)

Left to right, Mira Martoccia, Olivia Flowers and Jameson Williamson investigate creating slime with the help of ECU student Laura Williams. (Photos by Montana Burkett Photography)

Children in the preschool classroom of East Carolina University’s Nancy Darden Child Development Center learned to make slime without a recipe.

Twenty children were engaged in hands-on learning activities, which looked like ordinary play during the first science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) day implemented by ECU students on November 18.

“Learning to make slime without a recipe provided children with the opportunity to explore the difference in texture when more glue or water was added,” said Ashley Norris, instructor in the Department of Human Development and Family Science. “The activity was more open ended and placed the child as an active learner.”

Early childhood is an optimal time to learn STEAM concepts because children are natural scientists, according to Norris. These activities support the development of 21st century skills for young children including creative thinking, collaborating with peers and communicating about their discoveries through critical thinking and questioning.

Ardyn Butner and ECU student Diana Rivera test a bridge they designed and built by adding weights.

Ardyn Butner and ECU student Diana Rivera
test a bridge they designed and built by adding weights.

ECU students planned, advertised and implemented the event that included parents. Students worked in groups of four and organized a demonstration day. They received feedback from peers and asked questions about implementation.

Students were tasked with using appropriate scientific vocabulary in their activities such as observe, compare, predict, motion and magnetism.

“Students will leave this class with a tangible skill set of planning and implementing a family activity,” Norris said.

Birth-kindergarten teacher education major Julia Gargis facilitated the painting with magnets activity. “Our goal was to teach the children that magnets use force to push and pull objects,” Gargis said.

Christie Martin attended the event with her 4-year-old daughter, Mira Martoccia. “I loved watching my daughter make slime,” Martin said.

Martin agrees that these experiences are important for children. “They help children to think outside of the box and experiment with activities they do not do on a regular basis.”

The event ended with a Positive Parenting Program (Triple P) seminar for parents and was conducted by Sharon Ballard, chair of the Department of Human Development and Family Science in the College of Health and Human Performance. Triple P is a nationally recognized model aimed at promoting positive relationships between parents and children.

– Kathy Muse

ECU professor inducted in national academy

A professor in East Carolina University’s Department of Kinesiology has been named a Fellow of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP).



Dr. Thomas Raedeke, who also serves as the graduate program director, was recognized with the honor at the annual conference in October.

Dr. Glen Gilbert, dean of the College of Health and Human Performance, said of Raedeke, “We are proud of this international recognition. As a sport psychologist, most of his research is on motivation. He enjoys modeling concepts from sport psychology on motivation and leadership in the classroom setting,”

The recognition honors Raedeke’s significant contributions to academic and professional practice knowledge in sport and exercise psychology.

Raedeke joined ECU in 1998 and became a certified consultant in 2002. He teaches both graduate and undergraduate courses. His research interests include the social psychology of sport and exercise and enhancing motivation and mental health with an emphasis on physical activity.

Raedeke has been recognized with other awards. In 2006, he received the UNC Board of Governors Distinguished Professor for Teaching Award and the ECU Award for Outstanding Teaching in 2005. He also received the East Carolina Scholars-Teacher Award in 2004.

Raedeke received a doctoral degree in exercise and movement science from the University of Oregon, a master’s degree in physical education from the University of Idaho and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Concordia College.

The AASP promotes ethical practice, science, and advocacy in the field of sport and exercise psychology. Since 1986, the AASP has been an international, multidisciplinary professional organization that offers certification to qualified professionals in the field of sport and exercise psychology. With more than 2,200 members in 54 countries, AASP is a worldwide leader.


Three honored by School of Social Work

Lewis with Dr. Bunch.jpg

School of Social Work Chair Dr. Sheila Bunch and Lauretta Lewis

East Carolina University’s School of Social Work honored three social work practitioners at the sixth annual Alumni and Friends Celebration at the Holiday Inn in Greenville on Nov. 13.

Lauretta Lewis was recognized with the Distinguished Faculty Legacy Award. Lewis joined the ECU Department of Social Work and Corrections in 1974. She received bachelor’s degrees in social work and psychology from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Lewis was the recipient of a National Institute of Mental Health scholarship to pursue studies in mental health and geriatrics. She also pursued postgraduate studies at the Gerontology Center at the University of Michigan.

Mona Townes poses with School of Social Work Chair Dr. Sheila Bunch and her Rising Star Alumni Award.

Mona Townes and Dr. Sheila Bunch

She was named to a six-year term as a Danforth Associate by the National Danforth Foundation based on her expertise and activity in scholarship. She was appointed to the Caswell Developmental Center’s Human Rights Committee Secretary of State Sarah Morrow. She served as a regional faculty liaison for the National Association of Social Work Education and board member for the North Carolina Council on Social Work Education.

Mona Townes was recognized with the Rising Star Alumni Award. Townes serves as the mobile crisis director at Integrated Family Services. She is a member of the National Association of Social Workers and certified by the National Council on Behavioral Health as a facilitator for Youth and Adult Mental Health First Aid.

She serves as a training instructor for the local Crisis Intervention Team and presents training on behavioral health. Townes received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from ECU.

Renee’ Pearson was recognized with the Distinguished Alumni Award.

Renee’ Pearson and Dr. Sheila Bunch

Renee’ Pearson was recognized with the Distinguished Alumni Award. Pearson received bachelor’s degrees in psychology and social work and a master’s degree in social work from ECU. She is dually licensed by the state of North Carolina as a clinical social worker and clinical addiction specialist. She is the founder and owner of the Pitt County Counseling, PLLC in Greenville and has over 25 years of experience in social work.

Pearson’s clinical skills include working with issues related to perinatal health, gender, trauma, and sex offending behaviors. She provides educational instruction to social work and human service students at ECU and Edgecombe Community College. She serves as faculty advisor for the Human Services Club at ECC.

Pearson’s education and career has always focused on her passion for working with children, women, and families.

– Kathy Muse

ECU student awarded BCIA certification scholarship

An East Carolina University student was one of six recipients nationwide to receive a prestigious scholarship.

Christina Brown-Bochicchio

Christina Brown-Bochicchio

Doctoral student Christina Brown-Bochicchio received the 2015 Francine Butler Scholarship from the Biofeedback Certification International Alliance. The scholarship covers fees for BCIA certification in biofeedback and honors the contributions of Dr. Francine Butler, former executive director of BCIA.

Brown-Bochicchio of Calif. is pursuing a degree in rehabilitation counseling and administration in the College of Allied Health.

She works as a clinical coordinator in the Center for Applied Psychophysiology in the College of Health and Human Performance.

Excels program celebrates student achievement

ECU alumnus Eric Kosco was keynote speaker at the Excels event.

ECU alumnus Eric Kosco was keynote speaker at the Excels event.

The East Carolina University College of Health and Human Performance celebrated its high achieving freshmen and transfer students at an Excels program Feb. 20 at Club Level, Dowdy Ficklen Stadium.

The event recognized 334 freshmen and transfer students with a GPA of 3.0 and above including 25 on the chancellor’s list, 134 on the dean’s list and 175 on the honor roll.

Dr. Glen Gilbert, dean of the College of Health and Human Performance welcomed the students and parents. “HHP has a long history with interesting and challenging career options,” he said.

His remarks were followed by the keynote speaker, ECU alumnus Eric Kosco.

Kosco graduated from ECU in 2013 with a bachelor of science in athletic training and is pursuing a degree in physical therapy.

Megan Warfield of Hickory, exercise physiology major, and her parents attended.  “This event makes me feel good about my hard work,” she said.

Students received an HHP t-shirt following an activity that allowed them meet peers and faculty in the college.

ECU student Megan Warfield

ECU student Megan Warfield

In Memoriam – Jimmy Grimsley



Dr. Jimmy Grimsley, ECU alumnus and faculty emeritus, passed away Jan. 28. He was 70.

Grimsley joined the ECU faculty in 1967 to teach and serve as head coach of both tennis and soccer for men. Following a brief leave of absence to earn his doctoral degree from the University of Georgia in 1972, he returned to ECU, where he continually taught for more than 40 years in the Department of Kinesiology.

He was known for his outstanding memory, student advising and mentoring of former students. He was a mentor and friend to his colleagues. His sincerity and practical advice were valued by many.

As an associate professor, he served as director of graduate studies, director of clinical experiences, and coordinator of physical education programs. He contributed significantly to the University through his service on search, accreditation and other committees, including the President’s Advisory Committee, Faculty Senate, and the Graduate School.

He was a strong supporter of ECU and Pitt County Schools athletics. He served as the scoreboard operator at ECU football and basketball games for several decades.

Above all else, he cared about students and was a strong and effective student advocate. He leaves a legacy as a caring, knowledgeable, well-loved professor, who understood the field of physical education. He will be missed in the hallways of Minges Coliseum.

Gifts may be made payable to the ECU Foundation, Inc. for The Jimmie Grimsley Scholarship and mailed to:

Tammy C. Garris

Greenville Centre, Room 2211

East Carolina University

2200 South Charles Blvd.

Greenville, NC 27858

Mail Stop 301

Recreation, leisure studies professor inducted in national academy



Dr. Richard Williams, associate professor in ECU’s Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies, was named fellow of the National Academy of Recreational Therapists. He was inducted during the national organization’s annual conference Sept. 15 in Oklahoma City.

Williams earned an undergraduate degree from Virginia Commonwealth University and bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Georgia. He joined the ECU faculty in 2000.

Williams received the University Award for Outstanding Teaching in 2006 and the UNC Board of Governor’s Distinguished Professor for Teaching Award in 2013.

His scholarly interests include public policy and research into the efficacy of recreational therapy.

The National Academy of Recreational Therapists is an honorary organization composed of the most accomplished leaders who have made significant and sustained contributions to the profession of recreational therapy.

ECU professor receives gubernatorial appointment

By Kathy Muse
Health and Human Performance

Gov. Pat McCrory has appointed East Carolina University assistant professor Dr. Beth Chaney to the North Carolina Substance Abuse and Underage Drinking Prevention and Treatment Task Force.



The task force consists of 20 members appointed for a two-year term.

“I am honored to be appointed to the Governor’s task force and am hopeful that we will make positive impacts related to substance abuse and underage drinking prevention,” said Chaney.

Chaney leads a team of ECU researchers in an alcohol field study conducted in downtown Greenville.  The study results will provide important data related to drinking behaviors of over 1,000 bar patrons for the task force to consider when developing recommendations for approaches to address the hazardous drinking issues in North Carolina.

“The behaviors associated with high-risk drinking are complex. Solutions to this problem will demand a multileveled approach, involving changes not only at the individual level, but also at the institutional, community and policy levels,” said Chaney.

Members are charged with preparing a comprehensive plan to address the underage sale and use of alcohol and drugs, risky behaviors and substance abuse among collegians.  Additional work includes providing treatment and recovery services for individuals struggling with substance abuse, according to the executive order which created the task force. “I look forward to working with the task force members to begin to develop strategies for tackling these problems, said Chaney.”

“Substance abuse and underage drinking are critical public health concerns,” said Dr. Glen Gilbert, dean of the College of Health and Human Performance.  “Beth’s service on this task force will add a researcher that understands the behavior of this important population as well as practical approaches to address the issues.”

The task force will build on statewide prevention, treatment and enforcement initiatives implemented by the Alcohol Beverage Control Commission, Alcohol Law Enforcement Division, the Department of Health and Human Services and the UNC system.

The governor signed the executive order at ECU May 14.  ECU is one of six University of North Carolina campuses that will take part in a pilot program that will emphasize prevention and treatment.

Chaney earned a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in health studies from The University of Alabama.  She received a doctorate in health education from Texas A&M University.

ECU kinesiology student receives national award

Thomas Mahar

Thomas Mahar (Photo by Chuck Baldwin)

East Carolina University student Thomas Mahar was selected as the National American Kinesiology Association Undergraduate Scholar for 2014.

This is the first year that the AKA selected a national winner. Mahar was chosen out of 24 nominations submitted from universities across the country.

The award honors the student whose academic and leadership records are judged to be the most distinctive. Nominees must demonstrate an exceptional interest in the field of kinesiology by undertaking independent or guided research, assuming leadership positions, and having the potential for making a significant impact on the field.

“The opportunities to participate in research including study design, data collection, and presentation have helped me appreciate the entire research process and how important research can be to the quality of life,” said Mahar.

As an undergraduate student, Mahar participated in more than ten scholarly presentations on topics such as complex movement and cognitive function and physical activity assessment by accelerometers and commercially available activity monitors.

He received the ECU Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Award in 2012 and 2014.

Mahar graduated with a bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology, Department of Kinesiology, in the College of Health and Human Performance on May 9.

“There is no doubt in my mind that Mahar competed well and ultimately won against students across the nation because of the individualized undergraduate research experiences he had leading to presentations and publications,” said Dr. Stacey Altman, chair of the Department of Kinesiology.

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