Category Archives: Military

Graduate students’ work in Saipan could help with recovery of servicemen MIA after WWII

ECU maritime studies program professor Dr. Jennifer McKinnon and several graduate students are in Saipan this summer to conduct archaeological surveys of surrounding waters to locate and document sites related to World War II. McKinnon and the students – including Jack “Gus” Adamson, who details some of the experience in a personal account below – hope their work will lead to identifying possible sites containing the remains of missing servicemen.

In the early morning hours of May 17, our team of archaeologists, dive safety officers and maritime graduate students gathered at Eller House on the edge of East Carolina University’s main campus. Our gear was checked and loaded and we departed for Oceana Naval Air Station in Virginia Beach, Virginia, just as the sun began to break over the horizon announcing a new day. Although a three-hour drive, this would be the first leg of a multiday journey that would take us, quite literally, to the far side of the world ending on the now little-known island of Saipan. Located approximately 1,500 miles south of Japan, Saipan is part of the Marianas Island chain.

In mid-1944, Saipan was the site of one of the most crucial battles of World War II. Its recapture from the Japanese, along with the islands of Guam and Tinian (also in the Marianas), placed Japan within range of newly developed B-29 Superfortress bombers, allowing for strategic bombing of the war industry on the Japanese mainland. Both sides understood the island’s strategic importance and fought bitterly for control of it. The ensuing battle, waged from June 15 to July 9, 1944, resulted in the deaths of approximately 30,000 Japanese and 3,255 Americans. Many of those American servicemen are still unaccounted for and labeled as missing in action (MIA), but they are by no means forgotten. It is that memory that is fueling ECU’s maritime studies summer field school.

As a maritime studies graduate student with aspirations of becoming a conflict archaeologist, this project is particularly exciting for me. Military history and battlefield archaeology have always been a deep passion, and the chance to do a project of this nature is truly once in a lifetime. Further, I have relatives who fought in the Pacific theater and I feel that this brings me much closer to understanding their experiences.

ECU’s maritime studies program is conducting side scan sonar surveys and using underwater metal detection during their field school. (Contributed photo)

ECU’s maritime studies program is conducting side scan sonar surveys and using underwater metal detection during their field school. (Contributed photo)

Partnered with the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), which is assisting us in our travel arrangements and numerous other logistics of the project, ECU graduate students guided by our mentors will conduct archaeological surveys of the waters surrounding Saipan in order to locate, record and document sites related to the battle. Hopefully, this will lead to identifying possible sites containing the remains of missing servicemen. Our entire team is humbled and proud to be able to undertake this task that will not only reinforce the archaeological knowledge of this Pacific battlefield, but could also result in the return home of a soldier, sailor or Marine whose family hasn’t received closure after 74 years.

With the weight and pride of this task in our minds, we rolled into Oceana Naval Air Station primed and ready to begin our long journey, only to be told that we must undertake the most difficult of tasks: wait. Our aircraft was down for maintenance and would be unavailable for some time. Murphy’s Law is not the exception but the rule on field projects, and a contingency plan should always be ready. Instead of wasting time on social media or staring at the walls, our team made the short journey to a local museum where, as luck would have it, not only was there an air show of vintage airplanes occurring, but several World War II-era military aircraft were housed there. World War II buffs like me were giddy from being able to study the aircraft and components in person. As an added bonus, some of us were lucky enough to observe an engine test run of a B-25 Mitchell bomber, a rare treat that most can’t claim to have had.

The next leg of our journey finally began on May 19 with our departure for the West Coast before continuing on into the vast blue Pacific Ocean. There will surely be other surprises, but that is part of the adventure!

 

-by Jack “Gus” Adamson, graduate student

Eastern AHEC, ECU and Camp Lejeune partner on new military-civilian cardiac conference

More than 250 military and civilian health professionals came together for a new educational conference entitled Premature Cardiac Death in Eastern North Carolina on May 8 at Camp Lejeune.

Held at Camp Lejeune, the first Premature Cardiac Death in Eastern North Carolina conference brought together more than 250 military and civilian health professionals. (Photos by Jackie Drake)

Held at Camp Lejeune, the first Premature Cardiac Death in Eastern North Carolina conference brought together more than 250 military and civilian health professionals. (Photos by Jackie Drake)

This collaboration allowed physicians, nurses, first responders and others to share and discuss best practices for prevention, intervention and emergency response for cardiac events and cardiovascular disease. The conference was jointly provided by Eastern Area Health Education Center Department of Nursing and Allied Health Education, the Office of Continuing Medical Education and the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences of the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, in partnership with Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune.

Dr. D. Lynn Morris, chief of interventional cardiology at the East Carolina Heart Institute and professor of cardiovascular sciences at the Brody School of Medicine, spoke at the conference at Camp Lejeune.

Dr. D. Lynn Morris, chief of interventional cardiology at the East Carolina Heart Institute and professor of cardiovascular sciences at the Brody School of Medicine, spoke at the conference at Camp Lejeune.

The program was a success, according to Dr. Mary Wilson, assistant director for nursing education at Eastern AHEC. “Participants were able to gain a deeper understanding of the various types of cardiovascular disease that impact many in our region, current treatment guidelines and research findings,” Wilson said. “Overall, the conference provided an opportunity to learn about the unique health care needs of eastern North Carolina and facilitate joint efforts to coordinate patient care for both military and civilian populations.”

More than 18,000 people in North Carolina died from heart disease in 2016, according to the State Center for Health Statistics. A number of counties in the east, such as Lenoir and Jones, have cardiovascular disease death rates above that of the state. This issue also affects military personnel.

“Events like this allow us to learn from one another,” said Capt. James Hancock, commanding officer of Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune, during opening remarks. “We each bring something unique, different capabilities to the table, and today we have an opportunity to share those talents and education. The future of health care in eastern North Carolina depends on us working side-by-side.”

Mildred Carraway, director of continuing medical, pharmacy and dental education at Eastern AHEC, shakes hands with Capt. James Hancock, commanding officer of Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune.

Mildred Carraway, director of continuing medical, pharmacy and dental education at Eastern AHEC, shakes hands with Capt. James Hancock, commanding officer of Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune.

“I was really excited about collaborating with the military health care system,” said Dr. J. Paul Mounsey, chief of electrophysiology at the East Carolina Heart Institute. “I enjoyed interacting with the military physicians. We got a lot of positive feedback and the participants asked great questions. There was a good exchange of ideas. There is huge potential for the future in our goal of improving health care in eastern North Carolina.”

Upcoming continuing education and professional development events from Eastern AHEC include a Military Women’s Health Symposium on Sept. 19 and a Cardiovascular Symposium on Dec. 6. For more information, visit www.easternahec.net.

 

-by Jackie Drake, Eastern AHEC

Honor a service member with a Memorial Walk commemorative brick

Anthony Britt, Associate Director for Administration & Summer School at ECU, honored three members of his family by placing bricks engraved with their names at the Memorial Walk at Christenbury Gym during a Veteran's Day ceremony in November. (Photo by Rhett Butler)

Anthony Britt, Associate Director for Administration & Summer School at ECU, honored three members of his family by placing bricks engraved with their names at the Memorial Walk at Christenbury Gym during a Veteran’s Day ceremony in November. (Photos by Rhett Butler)

Each November, the Office of Military Programs conducts a ceremony to honor those whose engraved brick pavers will become part of the Memorial Walk located west of Christenbury Memorial Gymnasium.

The project, by the College of Health and Human Performance and the Office of Military Programs, also raises funds for ROTC Army and Air Force Scholarships.

The decorative brick pavers, engraved with a selected name or phrase, can be purchased in honor of any living or deceased veteran or active duty service member, as well as anyone who has done something in support of our national defense, including helping with programs with the VA, Support The Troops, Wounded Warrior Project and similar activities.

East Carolina University’s faculty, staff, students and friends are able to purchase the commemorative bricks for family members or those who have served in the military. The cost is $125 – $25 buys the paver and pays for the engraving, and $100 goes for ROTC scholarships. The $100 of the cost is tax-deductible.

The November ceremony includes a segment where the family, friend and/or service member can lay the paver as part of the program. During this time, each name is read and the Victory Bell is struck to represent the service and sacrifice of the one honored.

The dedication for this year will be 2 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2. Paver orders will be accepted for this year’s ceremony until Sept. 7.

For more information and to access the order form, visit https://hhp.ecu.edu/2018/05/09/honor-a-service-member/.

The engraved bricks become part of the Memorial Walk outside of Christenbury Gym.

The engraved bricks become part of the Memorial Walk outside of Christenbury Gym.

Researchers attend Air Force workshop

Five East Carolina University researchers presented their projects at the U.S. Air Force Science and Technology 2030 Workshop in April.

The workshop, hosted by the University of South Florida, was tasked with pushing researchers to the “boundaries of what is possible in the areas of science and technology to defend America.”

A group of East Carolina University researchers including Nicholas Murray (from left), Zachary Domire, Kamran Sartipi and Teresa Ryan attended the U.S. Air Force Science and Technology 2030 Workshop in April to discuss new research topics relevant to the military branch.

A group of East Carolina University researchers including Nicholas Murray (from left), Zachary Domire, Kamran Sartipi and Teresa Ryan attended the U.S. Air Force Science and Technology 2030 Workshop in April to discuss new research topics relevant to the military branch. (Contributed photos)

ECU researchers attending the event and their research projects included:

  • Yong-Qing Li, Department of Physics, “Laser tractor beam pulls small objects over a long-distance in air and space.”
  • Nicholas Murray, Health and Human Performance, “Adaptive BCI Environments for Enhanced Training and Performance.”
  • Kamran Sartipi, Department of Computer Science, “Global Integrated Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance: Eyes and Ears on Adversaries.”
  • Zachary Domire, Health and Human Performance, “Imaging biomarkers for identification of potential muscle injuries.”
  • Teresa Ryan, Department of Engineering, “Acoustic detectability in the littoral environment has wide military applicability over any terrain.”

“The workshop was quite interesting and informative for researchers in understanding real engineering and informatics problems to tackle,” said Sartipi, an assistant professor in the computer science department. “The Air Force deals with all sorts of science and technology problems, along with human aspects, in their projects. Working with the Air Force will result in high-quality research programs and will increase the research profile of the university.”

Workshop presentations revolved around the theme “Global Vigilance, Global Reach and Global Power for America.” Presentations topics included rapid global mobility, enhancing the performance of airmen and air, space and cyber superiority, among others. Each session consisted of five-minute presentations with opportunities to brainstorm with workshop participants. Participants were tasked with identifying new ideas relevant to Air Force missions.

“The new Air Force aircrafts are heavily dependent on information technology and utilize huge data from sensors, especially when communicating with ground systems with different mechanisms,” Sartipi said. “The Air Force is very interested in new advancements in information technology, system intelligence and cybersecurity that can help them ensure that it sustains its superiority over its adversaries.”

Presentations at the U.S. Air Force Science and Technology 2030 Workshop touched on research topics that pushed “boundaries of what is possible in the areas of science and technology to defend America.”

Presentations at the U.S. Air Force Science and Technology 2030 Workshop touched on research topics that pushed “boundaries of what is possible in the areas of science and technology to defend America.”

Sartipi’s project focused on what technologies are available, or could be created and utilized, to gather information, monitor adversaries and provide real-time knowledge to forces in combat. He suggests that big data analytics, fast data mining and machine-learning algorithms will provide valuable knowledge for the Air Force.

“Workshops such as these increase ECU faculty engagements with Department of Defense researchers,” said Jim Menke, director of military research and engagement. “Opportunities like these greatly increase the university’s potential for building future multidisciplinary and multi-institutional collaborations that support national defense research.”

ECU was voted a 2017 Military Times Best for Vets College and has been named a Military Friendly and Military Friendly Spouse School by MilitaryFriendly.com.

 

-by Matt Smith, University Communications

Laupus Library’s leadership worthy of national celebration

This week, Laupus Library joins libraries nationwide in celebrating the many ways libraries lead our communities through the transformative services, programs and expertise they offer.

April 8-14 is National Library Week, an annual celebration of the life-changing work of libraries, librarians and library workers. Libraries aren’t just places to borrow books or study — they’re also creative and engaging community centers where people can collaborate using new technologies and develop their skills and passions.

“The History of PTSD: How Cultural Narratives Affect the Patient Experience” will be held at 4:30 p.m. April 9. (Contributed by Laupus Library)

“We promote our scholarship at a national level,” said Beth Ketterman, Laupus Library director. “Our library employees lead through active service in regional, state and national library associations. Next month, we have librarians speaking at the Medical Library Association on innovative ways we’ve transformed our collection development practices to best meet the needs of our university patrons. Our archivist, Layne Carpenter, relayed some of her interpretive expertise and practices at a recent Society of N.C. Archivists meeting.”

Ketterman said Laupus leads ECU’s Division of Health Sciences by introducing new services. One recent example is the launch of a systematic review service that provides authoritative and exhaustive searches for investigators in the health sciences.

“Our librarians conduct the searches and supply the literature search methodology for published reviews, and receive authorship credit for this very important partnership in the research process.”

Dr. Joseph Lee, assistant professor for the Department of Health Education and Promotion in the College of Health and Human Performance, recently completed a published review using the library’s service.

“Our collaboration with the systematic review service at Laupus provided information critical to the Food and Drug Administration’s regulation of vaping (or e-cigarette) retailers,” he said.

“Our systematic review, which is published in Tobacco Control, was only possible with the expertise and collaboration of a librarian. This service is indispensable given the ever growing volume of scientific literature and the need to leverage high-quality scientific evidence to improve the health of the public.”

Also a leader in the provision of resources to support the division and area health practitioners, the library selects and ensures efficient access to thousands of journals, books and other resources.

“A unique and growing part of our collection is our anatomical models; in fact, we have the largest collection of these models of all health sciences libraries in the state, and that is due to Laupus’ responsiveness to student need,” said Ketterman.

As part of the celebration, the library is hosting free programs and exhibits during the week and into the later part of April.

An opening reception for art exhibit “Eye Rain and Heart Cramps” will be held from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 10. (Contributed by Laupus Library)

An opening reception for “Eye Rain and Heart Cramps” will be held from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 10. (Contributed by Laupus Library)

On Monday, April 9 the Medical History Interest Group lecture, “The History of PTSD: How Cultural Narratives Affect the Patient Experience,” presented by Dr. Sheena M. Eagan, assistant professor in the Department of Bioethics and Interdisciplinary Studies, will be held at 4:30 p.m. in the Evelyn Fike Laupus Gallery located on the fourth floor of Laupus Library.

On Tuesday, April 10 an opening reception will be held for art exhibit “Eye Rain and Heart Cramps” from 4:30-6:30 p.m. in the Evelyn Fike Laupus Gallery on the fourth floor of the library. On display through June 1, the exhibit showcases a collection of paintings and mixed media artworks by April Holbrook, administrative support specialist for clinical financial services in the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University. The art exhibit is part of the library’s ongoing Art as Avocation series that explores artistic talents of faculty and staff from the health sciences.

On exhibit throughout the week in the fourth floor gallery is “Fighting for their Lives: Medical Practices During the American Civil War.” The exhibit examines how doctors and medical staff cared for soldiers, looking specifically at surgery, disease, infection and the role of hospitals. Items on display represent an unrecognizable era of medicine when amputations were common and anesthesia was fairly new.

The following week of April 16-20, Laupus will celebrate National Preservation Week with a variety of daily activities and demonstrations offered on the second floor of the library. Students and patrons will have the opportunity to learn more about book preservation, digitizing and photographing artifacts for the database, performing conservation on artifacts and archival materials, packing and storage of family heirlooms, and more about cultural heritage. Handouts and supplemental materials will be available each day.

Finishing out the month, the Country Doctor Museum will celebrate its 50th anniversary on Saturday, April 21 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with “History Alive! A 50thAnniversary Celebration” – a family-friendly event that aims to offer visitors a glimpse into the past. Free activities will include museum tours, a petting zoo and horse drawn carriage rides from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Country Doctor Museum will offer horse drawn carriage rides as part of its 50th anniversary celebration. (Contributed by the Country Doctor Museum)

The Country Doctor Museum will offer horse drawn carriage rides as part of its 50th anniversary celebration. (Contributed by the Country Doctor Museum)

Acoustic and old-time music will be provided by DryBread Road, and a variety of food vendors will be present. The Aurora Fossil Museum, Joel Lane House, Imagination Station Science and History Museum, Aycock Birthplace and the Tobacco Farm Life Museum will offer free activities and demonstrations.

The Country Doctor Museum will also showcase a new exhibit, “The Sick Room: Home Comfort & Bedside Necessities,” which illustrates how an extended illness of a family member or loved one was a common part of life at the turn of the 20thcentury.

Opened in 1968, The Country Doctor Museum shares the history of medicine in rural America and is managed as part of the History Collections of Laupus Library. It is the oldest museum in the United States dedicated to the history of America’s rural health care and is located in Bailey, N.C.

“None of what we do would be possible without the advocacy and commitment from our Friends of the Laupus Library,” said Ketterman. “The Friends promote the library and ensure that we have funds to enrich these programs and student-focused events when we wouldn’t otherwise be able to.”

Chairman of the Friends of Laupus Library Dr. John Papalas said, “As a Brody School of Medicine alumnus, I know how instrumental Laupus Library was to my success as well as the class of 2006. By being involved with the Friends, my support helps Laupus to continue to serve a growing health sciences division.”

Read more about the Friends in a photo story at https://spark.adobe.com/page/DoKdK0nuMj46g/.

First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April.

For more information about Laupus Library, The Country Doctor Museum and the Friends of Laupus Library, visit http://www.ecu.edu/cs-dhs/laupuslibrary/.

 

-by Kelly Rogers Dilda, University Communications

Social work graduate student featured in state publication

Lowry

Lowry (Contributed photo)

William Lowry Jr., a combat veteran and master of social work student at East Carolina University, has received a scholarship dedicated to increasing the number of practitioners working with military service members and their families.

Lowry was featured in the North Carolina Governors Institute on Substance Abuse winter newsletter.

The scholarship, funded by the N.C. Division of Mental Health Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services, aims to dually license practitioners and increase the number of licensed clinical addiction specialists working in North Carolina. The scholarship program is building a workforce that will support military service members and their families.

Lowry served 30 years in the military and is a combat veteran of the Gulf War and Operation Iraqi Freedom. His goal is to help people recover from substance use, mental health and medical issues.

Lowry is employed as a N.C. certified peer support specialist and integrative health coach in the Department of Veterans Affairs Health Care Center in Wilmington.

In the future, Lowry hopes to open a practice that serves veterans, at-risk youth and adults and provides educational workshops and training. He will graduate in May 2019.

 

-by Crystal Baity, ECU News Services

ECU hosts Veterans Writing Workshop

East Carolina University will help veterans develop the confidence to tell their stories during the Veterans Writing Workshop Feb. 16-17.

Dr. Robert Siegel, associate professor of English and organizer of the Veterans Writing Workshop, said the purpose of the two-day event is to help veterans and their families preserve their stories for future generations, record history, bridge the gap between veterans and civilians and place veteran concerns in the public consciousness.

The workshop begins with a reading and open discussion at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16, in Joyner Library’s Faulkner Gallery.

On Saturday, Feb. 17, the workshop continues at 10 a.m. in Joyner Library, room 2409, with a special presentation by poet Hugh Martin. Martin, who spent six years in the Army National Guard and was deployed to Iraq in 2004, will read from his highly praised collection, “Stick Soldiers.”

Following Martin’s presentation, the event will continue with workshops on fiction, nonfiction and scriptwriting. All events are free and open to the public.

The Veterans Writing Workshop is co-sponsored by the ECU Division of Academic Affairs, Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, Department of English, Joyner Library and Operation Re-entry. For more information visit ecu.edu/cs-acad/veteranswritingworkshop/index.cfm.

Martin is the recipient of a Wallace Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University, winner of the 11th annual A. Poulin Jr. Poetry Prize from BOA Editions, Ltd. and winner of the Jeff Sharlet Memorial Award from the Iowa Review. His work has appeared in The Kenyon Review, Grantland, The American Poetry Review, The New Yorker and The New Republic. He was the 2014-15 Emerging Writer Lecturer at Gettysburg College, and he now teaches at Ohio University where he is completing his Ph.D.

 

Contact: Robert Siegel, associate professor of English, Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, siegelr@ecu.edu, 252-328-6581

 

Student startup helps veterans with transition to college

Matt McCall has been there. He knows what it’s like.

Now, with help from GreenvilleSEED@ECU, he’s working to help other veterans make the transition from the military to college.

McCall, who joined the Marines in 2007, deployed to Afghanistan in 2011 and was honorably discharged in 2013, said he spent a lot of time in the tutoring lab after enrolling in Coastal Carolina Community College’s pre-engineering program.

“I had a lot of knowledge gaps, especially in math, chemistry and physics,” he said. “A tutor told me I could get some of the tutoring cost reimbursed through the G.I. Bill.”

With the tutoring help, his grades improved, and he began tutoring other vets who needed help.

“I also helped them file their reimbursement paperwork,” McCall said. “Word spread, and within a couple months I had five students, so I started looking for other veterans and veteran spouses at the school who wanted to be tutors.”

With help from GreenvilleSEED@ECU, Matt McCall (right) has started a company that helps veterans like Michael Kohn transition to college. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

With help from GreenvilleSEED@ECU, Matt McCall (right) has started a company that helps veterans like Michael Kohn transition to college. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

Now enrolled in East Carolina University’s biomedical engineering program, McCall has started Beyond Tutoring, a company centered on veterans tutoring other vets. He enlisted the help of Katie Thomas, a fellow Marine and tutor.

“Since the tutors are veterans and spouses, they’re able to relate to the students’ struggles well, especially relocating, anxiety and feeling out of place,” he said. “Our common ground helps break down barriers to learning.”

Student Michael Kohn, an undergraduate business management student at ECU, said the difference in lifestyle coming from the military to college can present a challenge, and it can be intimidating working with other students who haven’t had the same experiences.

“You’re not used to the mentality, the way of thinking and working though problems, the homework,” he said. “So having someone who’s been through what I’m going through, telling me how to work through the system, was a big help.”

Kohn said McCall showed him how to organize papers and manage his time.

“Working in the Army, every day is the same thing,” he said. “Matt helped show me how I could take the discipline I learned in the Army and be disciplined in a new way, apply it to the new area.”

McCall joined GreenvilleSEED@ECU to get help refining his business plan and his pitch, and to learn how to scale up the business. GreenvilleSEED@ECU is a partnership between the City of Greenville, the Greenville-Pitt Chamber of Commerce and ECU providing flexible operating space, business expertise and other resources to entrepreneurs.

“As a student entrepreneur, he is juggling the demands of classwork and building a business,” said John Ciannamea of ECU’s Office of Innovation and Economic Development. “Our staff has assisted Matthew with business introductions, vetting ideas and evaluating corporate development issues. His base platform is now well positioned for expansion in the market.”

Beyond Tutoring now has eight tutors and has assisted more than 60 students, 23 of whom are disabled veterans. McCall has also received assistance and advice from ECU’s Miller School of Entrepreneurship, the Office of Technology Transfer and the Pitt County Small Business and Technology Development Center.

McCall said his next goal is to work with the Department of Veterans Affairs to streamline the reimbursement process. It can take months for a student to get reimbursement for the cost of tutoring. One possibility is to create an online form to speed up the process.

“If we can figure out how to get them their money back in a few days instead of five months,” he said, “they’d be more free to get the help they need. … We’ve already gone through the tough parts of transitioning into college, and we can help our students navigate the education system and get the most out of the benefits they earned.

For more information visit www.greenvilleseedatecu.org.

 

-by Jules Norwood

ECU researcher will use NEH grant to work with student veterans

An East Carolina University faculty member has received a National Endowment for the Humanities grant of almost $65,000 to work with student veterans over a two-year period.

Dr. Anna Froula, associate professor of film studies, designed a two-week Soldier to Scholar bridge program to bring together war scholars and student veterans who will begin their studies at ECU this fall.

Froula’s team includes fellow English department faculty members Dr. Andrea Kitta, associate professor of multicultural and transnational literature, and Zack Perkinson, U.S. Army veteran and teaching instructor, as well as Nicole Jablonski, assistant director of ECU’s Student Veteran Services, and Dr. Jonathan Vincent, assistant professor of English at Towson University.

As part of the program starting Aug. 7, Froula’s team will cultivate discussions about war experience through the study of humanities texts with 15 new student veterans. Participants will study works including World War I poetry and novels, films from World War II and the Iraq war and the soundtrack from “Hamilton: The Musical.” Topics will include memory and memorialization, gender and war, homecomings, military folklore and veterans’ narratives, and representations of veterans in popular culture. An orientation component will focus on the transition from military culture to university culture and prepare participants for academic success.

“This class will provide incoming student veterans with an amazing opportunity to start their education at ECU in a supportive environment surrounded by their peers,” Jablonski said. “But, more importantly, it provides time to unpack their military experience in an accessible and supportive manner.”

Out of 73 proposals to the NEH’s Dialogues on the Experience of War program, 15 were funded including a second award of almost $98,000 to ECU that Froula worked on this July in Saipan with project director Dr. Jennifer McKinnon, associate professor of history in the maritime studies program, and Dr. Anne Ticknor, associate professor of literacy studies in the College of Education. Both proposals, part of the NEH’s Standing Together: The Humanities and the Experience of War initiative, raise questions about civilian obligations to service personnel, the necessity of understanding veteran experiences, and wars and their aftermaths. The initiative stresses the importance of the humanities in working through the experience of war.

Froula’s research encompasses veterans’ stories and their representations in popular culture. Most recently, she co-edited a volume on television series about war. She is the granddaughter of a World War II veteran, the daughter of a Vietnam veteran, and the cousin of an Iraq War veteran. Since 2015, she has served as the faculty sponsor of ECU’s chapter of the Student Veterans of America—the Pirate Veterans Organization.

“As a citizen, I am concerned about how few public conversations we have about our veterans, the wars in which they fight and our responsibilities to them when they return,” Froula said. “I am excited to develop this program and to help facilitate a supportive learning cohort that will support each other and fellow veterans throughout their time at ECU.”

“With her research background in the representations of war service, trauma and returning veterans in popular culture, and her record of service with veterans here at ECU, Dr. Froula is the ideal facilitator for this important new program,” said Dr. Marianne Montgomery, chair of the ECU English department. “I am thrilled that the NEH recognizes the central role of the humanities in helping veterans unpack the experience of war, and I look forward to welcoming the first Soldier to Scholar cohort in August.”

NEH reviewers of Froula’s proposal remarked on the potentially profound impact for participants and the suitability of ECU as a hosting university, given its ongoing support of student veterans through its Student Veterans Services office. Since launching the Standing Together initiative in 2014, the NEH has awarded more than $7.7 million for humanities projects that serve veterans and help them share their experiences.

For more information about the ECU English department, visit http://www.ecu.edu/english/.

For more information about Student Veterans Services, visit http://www.ecu.edu/cs-studentaffairs/studenttransitions/studentveterans/.

 

Contact: Dr. Anna Froula, 252-328-6663, FROULAA@ecu.edu

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