Category Archives: News Releases

Make a Difference Service Day is Oct. 28

The East Carolina University Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement (CLCE) is hosting Make A Difference Day with dozens of community partners on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017, at various locations in Greenville and Pitt County.

Make a Difference Day is a national day of service, sponsored by USA WEEKEND magazine and Points of Light, and is the largest single-day of volunteering in the country.  Millions of volunteers across the nation will unite with the common mission to improve the lives of their neighbors.

CLCE will also collaborate with Operation InAsMuch (OIAM), which is a network of 10 churches in the Greenville area, working to make a difference in the community. The goal is to place 100-150 student volunteers with a number of community partners including Building Hope, Little Willie Center, the Pitt County Animal Shelter, RHA Howell Center and many other service sites in our community.

“ECU hosted Make a Difference Day last year with great success,” said Alex Dennis, assistant director of the ECU Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement. “This national movement is a great opportunity for students who are interested in getting connected with the community through service, learning, and leadership.”

Volunteers will start the day at 9 a.m. with an opening ceremony in the Mendenhall Student Center Great Rooms before heading to their service locations. All participants will return to Mendenhall for a reflection ceremony at 1:30 p.m.

ECU students, faculty and staff can learn more about community partner organizations and specific service activities as well as register for a service project through ECU’s OrgSync website (  Once registered for a project, a student-leader will contact all participants with additional information needed on Make A Difference Day.

For additional information, contact Alex Dennis, assistant director of the ECU Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement at  To learn more about the national Make A Difference Day, visit


Contact: Alex Dennis, assistant director, Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement

ECU to host third annual Graduate School Fair for students and alumni

East Carolina University’s Career Services will host the 2017 Graduate School Fair from 9 a.m. to noon Oct. 25 in the Mendenhall Student Center Great Rooms.

More than 25 graduate and professional degree programs from across the country are scheduled to attend. The Graduate School Fair gives students and alumni the opportunity to meet and interview with representatives from several programs including law, health care and science.

Admissions representatives from each program will provide information on their organization’s opportunities as well as strategies for successful application.

“Researching graduate programs and putting together the strongest applications are essential to successfully applying to competitive graduate schools,” said Sarah Lage, career liaison to the Graduate School with ECU Career Services. “We encourage students to attend the Graduate School Fair to learn what schools are looking for and how to be a competitive candidate.”

Some of the schools attending the fair include the ECU Gradate School, Campbell Law School, Duke University, Liberty University School of Law, UNCW Cameron School of Business, University of South Carolina, Old Dominion University, Virginia State University and Meredith College.

Attendees should dress in professional business attire and bring an ECU OneCard. Career Services also suggests that participants:

  • Research the organizations that will be attending the event at and prioritize visits.
  • Develop and practice an introduction or power greeting.
  • Create or update a resume that has been critiqued by a career counselor and take multiple copies to the fair.
  • Smile, initiate a handshake and look representatives in the eye when greeting them at the event.

For additional information about the fair, contact Leslie Rogers, interim director of Career Services, at 252-328-6050 or visit


Contact: Leslie Rogers, interim director for ECU Career Services,

Talking to children about recent tragedies

For weeks, social media feeds and televisions have been filled with harrowing stories of survival from hurricanes, floods and gun violence in the United States. Exposure to these stories may impact your children more than you think.

Children can experience secondary trauma – emotional duress that results when a person hears about a firsthand trauma experienced by another person. This can cause children to experience nightmares, difficulty concentrating in school, behavior and mood changes, fears about separation, and symptoms of anxiety and depression.

East Carolina University experts provide tips for discussing these events with your children to make sure they are processing the information and associated emotions in a healthy way.

Be reassuring

Melissa Nolan, director of the Nancy Darden Child Development Center at ECU, encourages parents to reassure their children that they are safe and will be taken care of no matter the outcome.

“Children do not have the cognitive ability to rationalize exaggerated comments. If they overhear an adult say, ‘the world will end,’ children believe the world will end,” said Dr. Sheresa Blanchard, assistant professor of human development and family science in ECU’s College of Health and Human Performance.

These kinds of statements can lead to fear and uncertainty.

 What do they know

Though parents may limit what children view or hear at home about recent tragedies, it’s harder to completely shield them from conversations at school or social media posts. Dr. Erin Roberts, clinic director of the ECU Family Therapy Clinic, suggests parents ask their children what they know about recent events to get an idea of their understanding.

“Give children the space and the opportunity to share their emotions too and ask questions. Ask them how they feel about what they’ve seen and heard,” she said. 

Be honest

Nolan says that it’s okay to be honest with your children and share what you are feeling in a way that is appropriate for their age.

“Don’t give children more information than what they want,” said Nolan. She suggests encouraging children to ask questions and for adults to stick with short, honest answers.

“Adults tend to give too much information,” she added.

“Kids are really good at noticing when we are upset,” said Roberts. “If they ask what’s bothering you, it’s okay to to be honest with them that recent events have made you sad. Ask them how they feel too.”

Choose your words and actions carefully

Children and teens pick up on change in a parent’s demeanor and may overhear conversations at home.

“Be aware of your moods and behavior and if it’s changed due to recent events,” said Roberts.

It can be confusing for children if the actions and words of their parents show they are upset but they tell their children everything is fine said Roberts.

“We don’t want to put too much on our children but it is okay to model how to identify your emotions and state them out loud,” she said.

Take care of yourself 

It’s important for adults to know what they’re watching and how it is affecting them.

Roberts said we know ourselves best and if adults aren’t taking care of themselves and are taking in a lot of information from the media, they could become anxious and project their anxiety, fear or anger onto their children unintentionally.

“Take a few deep breaths, reflect on how this may be affecting you and do something that helps you take care of yourself,” said Roberts.

She suggests a relaxing bath, talking to a friend, going to therapy or getting involved in efforts to support victims of the tragedy.

“Taking care of yourself will give you more space to be able to be there for your children,” she said.


Meet our experts:

 Dr. Sheresa Blanchard is an assistant professor of human development and family science at ECU in Greenville, North Carolina. Her research interests include early childhood education, parenting and family-centered practices.

Melissa Nolan is the director of ECU’s Nancy Darden Child Development Center, part of the Department of Human Development and Family Science. Her expertise includes best practices in early childhood education and child care administration.

Dr. Erin Roberts is the clinic director of ECU’s Family Therapy Clinic in the Department of Human Development and Family Science in the College of Health and Human Performance. Her research interests include the impact of trauma on individuals and families, family therapy and intimate partner violence.


-by Jamie Smith

ECU performing arts series to help celebrate N.C. Arts Council’s 50th anniversary

East Carolina University’s S. Rudolph Alexander Performing Arts Series is one of 170 organizations across North Carolina to participate in a statewide arts celebration of the 50th anniversary of the North Carolina Arts Council.

Arts and cultural organizations in all 100 North Carolina counties will celebrate the anniversary in October with music, dance, exhibitions and fall festivals.

ECU’s S. Rudolph Alexander Performing Arts Series has dedicated the upcoming performance of the Vienna Boys Choir to the statewide celebration.

The Vienna Boys Choir. (contributed photo)

The Vienna Boys Choir. (contributed photo)

The Vienna Boys Choir will perform on Tuesday, Oct. 17 at 8 p.m. in ECU’s Wright Auditorium. The 500-year-old choir is world renowned for its quality performances. At ECU, they’ll perform a program titled “Bella Italia,” featuring works by Italian composers Vivaldi, Rossini, Verdi and Mascagni, along with popular favorites such as “Santa Lucia,” “O sole bio,” “Volare” and more.

“The Alexander series has enjoyed the longtime support of the North Carolina Arts Council, and we are pleased to join in their anniversary celebration,” said Michael Crane, producing artistic director of the series. “We are proud of the impact the N.C. Arts Council has had across the state and in our own community.”

Tickets to the Vienna Boys Choir are available at $45, $35, $25 and $10, online at or by calling 252-328-4788. Parking is $5 per car in advance.

About 200 arts and cultural events are slated now through late November across the state in recognition of the anniversary of the N.C. Arts Council.

“The ideal that founded the North Carolina Arts Council in 1967 was “arts for all citizens,” said Wayne Martin, executive director, North Carolina Arts Council. “Since that time, we’ve worked to create an expansive network of nonprofit arts organizations so that citizens can participate in the arts and artists can contribute to our state’s growth and development.”

The concentration of events will occur during October to coincide with Arts and Humanities Month, a celebration of arts and humanities across the U.S.

“The celebration in October is a tribute to our collective achievements the last 50 years,” Martin said.

Events are listed on a comprehensive calendar at Information on ECU’s Alexander series can also be found at

Follow the N.C. Arts Council’s 50th anniversary celebration at #NCArts50 on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.


Contact: Michael Crane, 252-328-5386

ECU welcomes new physicians to Family Medicine Center

ECU Physicians has welcomed seven new physicians to their Family Medicine Center – four who are practicing comprehensive care, and three specializing in sports medicine.

In the area of comprehensive care, Drs. Kelley Haven and Audy Whitman are graduates of the Brody School of Medicine, and both completed residencies with ECU and Vidant Medical Center – Haven in obstetrics and gynecology and Whitman in family medicine.

Dr. Melissa Prado, a graduate of Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, completed her residency in family medicine at Lancaster General Health in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Dr. Uma Shah earned her medical degree at the American University of the Caribbean in St. Maarten before completing a family medicine residency at ECU and Vidant Medical Center.

From left, Drs. Uma Shah, Kelley Haven, Melissa Prado and Audy Whitman

From left, Drs. Uma Shah, Kelley Haven, Melissa Prado and Audy Whitman. (Contributed photos)

Haven, who is board-eligible in OB-GYN, is focused on comprehensive women’s care. Her clinical interests include contraception, adolescent health, ultrasound, birth centers and the midwifery model of care, complementary and alternative medicine.

As board-certified physicians in family medicine, Whitman, Prado and Shah are trained to treat patients of all ages and an array of common diseases, including asthma, allergy, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, depression and anxiety. Their services include immunizations, well-child exams, routine physicals and Medicare wellness exams.

Whitman is especially interested in holistic medicine, obesity, family planning, OB-GYN, office-based procedures and aesthetic medicine.

Prado’s clinical interests include group medical visits, OB-GYN, LGBT care, opiate addiction treatment and office-based procedures, while Shah’s focus is on preventive medicine and patient education.

All four physicians are accepting patients at ECU’s Family Medicine Center, 101 Heart Dr., Greenville. Appointments are available by calling 252-744-4611.


Sports medicine

Three new physicians have joined Dr. Justin Lee in the Family Medicine Center’s Sports Medicine Clinic.

Dr. Megan Ferderber comes to ECU from Pennsylvania State College of Medicine. She completed a family medicine residency and sports medicine fellowship at the University of Pittsburg Medical Center. Her clinical interests include concussion management and preventive medicine.

From left, Drs. Megan Ferderber, Justin Lee, Evan Lutz and Christopher Urbanek.

From left, Drs. Megan Ferderber, Justin Lee, Evan Lutz and Christopher Urbanek.

Dr. Evan Lutz is a graduate of the Brody School of Medicine who completed his family medicine residency and sports medicine fellowship at ECU and Vidant Medical Center. He has special interest in acute and overuse injuries in athletes, custom orthotics and ultrasound-guided injections.

Dr. Christoper Urbanek earned his osteopathic medical degree from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine before fulfilling a family medicine residency and sports medicine fellowship at University of Pittsburg Medical Center. Diagnostic and interventional ultrasonography and regenerative medicine are among his clinical interests.

As board-certified physicians in the field of sports medicine, Ferderber, Lutz and Urbanek are trained to meet the specialized performance needs of athletes, treat knee and shoulder injuries, tendonitis, stress fractures, concussions and low-back pain. Additionally, all are qualified to help patients who have illnesses such as asthma, arthritis, hypertension or diabetes meet their health and fitness goals.

The ECU Physicians sports medicine team also offers counseling on injury prevention, nutrition and supplements, increasing physical activity and improving fitness.

The sports medicine team is accepting patients at ECU’s Family Medicine Center, 101 Heart Dr., Greenville. Appointments are available by calling 252-744-4611.


Contact: Amy A. Ellis, Director of ECU Health Sciences Communication,

Prominent magazine editor chosen as 2017 Professional-In-Residence

ECU Student Media and the School of Communication are pleased to announce that magazine editor Joanna Citrinbaum Zerlin has been selected as the 2017 Professional-In-Residence.

Zerlin’s magazine career has included desk-editing positions with Redbook, Teen Vogueand Inside TV.

The Professional-In-Residence is a two-day program that includes visits with School of Communication journalism classes and a workshop with staff members from Student Media.

Zerlin will also be the keynote speaker at the North Carolina Scholastic Media Association Workshop hosted by the School of Communication on Oct. 12. The workshop attracts high school journalists from across the region.

The Professional-In-Residence Program started in 2014 and has included Chris Korman, senior editor at USA Today, and Sara Ganim, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for CNN.

“Joanna’s experience in the magazine industry, including editing and fact-checking, as well as her roots in student journalism, make her a particularly relevant guest this year,” said John Harvey, ECU Student Media director.

Zerlin graduated from Penn State University in 2005 with bachelor’s degrees in journalism and women’s studies. She worked as a reporter and a copy editor at The Daily Collegian, the Penn State student-run newspaper, where Harvey served as her adviser. In her senior year she also served as the editorial intern at Cosmopolitan.

After graduation, Joanna participated in a two-week copy-editing residency at the University of Central Florida in preparation for her Dow Jones Newspaper Fund internship that summer at The Palm Beach Post.

Joanna began her magazine career in 2005 as a freelance copy editor at Inside TV (produced by TVGuide) and later landed a position as copy editor at Redbook. Three years later, then a senior copy editor, she left that publication for, New York City’s official tourism and marketing website. She started out as a freelance copy editor, then served as copy editor and later senior copy editor, and copyedited and fact-checked content for the Webby Award–winning site for more than four years. She returned to the magazine industry to be copy chief at Teen Vogue, a position she held for three years.

For additional information, contact Dr. Mary Tucker-McLaughlin at 252-737-1559 or John Harvey, ECU Student Media director, 252-328-9234.


Contact: John Harvey, ECU Student Media director, 252-328-9234 or Dr. Mary Tucker-McLaughlin, ECU School of Communication, 252-737-1559

Researchers awarded $1.5 million grant to investigate the future of coastal communities

Andy Keeler, professor of economics at East Carolina University and program head for public policy and coastal sustainability at the UNC Coastal Studies Institute, is part of an interdisciplinary team of researchers investigating how public policies affect both economic decisions and the coastal environment.

Keeler is one of the researchers funded by a $1.5 million National Science Foundation grant awarded to Dylan McNamara, associate professor and chair of the Department of Physics and Physical Oceanography at UNC Wilmington.

McNamara will lead a group — from geomorphologists to economists — from seven universities to address the interactions of natural forces, economic decisions and public policies to determine how the environment and patterns of human settlement react to rising seas and related coastline changes. The NSF grant will fund the research for four years. The project is underway.

“Our team is excited to receive this grant as these resources will allow us to work together as a coherent multidisciplinary team, which is fundamentally necessary to understand the human-occupied coastline system,” said McNamara.

Researchers from UNCW, Duke, UNC-Chapel Hill, the University of Georgia, The Ohio State University, East Carolina University and the University of Colorado will create and investigate computer modeled coastal communities similar to those found along U.S. East and Gulf Coast barrier islands.

“We are heading into a critical phase where coastal communities will have to make important decisions about how they are going to adapt to the future,” McNamara said. “We are hoping we can inform some of that policy. The stakes are high for communities along every coastline as the recent storm tragedies highlight. Our goal is to understand the complex dynamics at play along human-occupied coastlines. So rather than reactively dealing with a disaster event, we aim to proactively understand the dynamics that so often lead to disaster.”

Keeler said one of the goals of the project is to better understand the factors at play in defending the coastline versus retreating from it.

“What we’re trying to do is use these example communities and some sophisticated modeling systems to see how different policies and outcomes affect that tipping point,” he said. “My particular interest is in the way we model infrastructure and public policy, and how they influence people’s choices.”

The results of the team’s research will provide insight into how real estate markets respond to complex changes in environmental conditions, public policies, scientific knowledge, and individual attitudes and values.


Contact: John McCord,

ECU students donate $4,723.50 to Hurricane Harvey and Irma relief efforts

ECU students stepped up to make a difference with hurricane relief efforts for communities directly impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. 530 ECU students donated from their dining plan on Sept. 19-20 and raised $4,723.50 that will go directly to hurricane relief efforts.

Partners include the ECU Residence Hall Association (RHA), Elite Pirates, the Campus Living Community Service Team, Campus Living and Dining Services.

Hurricane relief effort tables were set up at Todd Dining Hall, West End Dining Hall and in front of Dowdy Student Stores at Wright Plaza. Students could make a donation of up to $10 using their Purple or Gold Bucks.

All students with ECU meal plans receive Purple or Gold Bucks loaded on their ECU OneCard depending on whether they live on or off campus. Purple and Gold Bucks are pre-paid debit type accounts that are associated with corresponding meal plans. They are spent dollar for dollar.

Now that the collection totals are complete, ECU Dining Services will provide that amount to Aramark, the food service provider for ECU. The total ECU donations will be split and distributed to one college or university in Texas and one in Florida.

These respective universities will purchase items through Aramark on their campuses to help aid in the recovery process of their community. After the items are purchased, ECU Campus and Aramark will then evenly transfer the funds generated from this fundraising event to the universities involved.

For additional information, email Troy Nance, Residence Hall Association president, at or Morgan Randolph, Elite Pirates vice president, at


Contacts: Troy Nance, Residence Hall Association president,; Morgan Randolph, Elite Pirates vice president,

Joyner Library team develops resource to improve student literacy skills

Two faculty members from Joyner Library have produced a new digital resource targeted to help students successfully complete research assignments.

Information Literacy Concepts, an open educational resource created by David Hisle, learning technologies librarian, and Katy Kavanagh Webb, head of research and instructional services, introduces high school, community college and college students to information literacy topics and gives them an overview of how to conduct their own research.

Open educational resources (OERs) are free to access and are openly licensed text, media and other digital assets used for teaching, learning, assessing and research. They also are commonly used in distance education and open and distance learning.

“By choosing to publish their textbook as an OER, Hisle and Webb have not only created a clearly-written, well-organized and thorough text that that can be used in multiple educational settings to teach information literacy concepts, but also one that can be freely customized or modified by other instructors to suit their teaching styles and their students’ learning needs,” said Jan Lewis, director of Joyner Library.

This openly accessible primer also provides learners with an overview of major information literacy concepts identified in the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy.

According to its introductory framework, “Students have a greater role and responsibility in creating new knowledge, in understanding the contours and the changing dynamics of the world of information, and in using information, data and scholarship ethically.”

“We want to prepare our students for today’s rapidly changing information landscape,” said Hisle. “Information literacy skills are essential not just in the work they do as student researchers, but also as college graduates who will need to know how to find and evaluate information to meet their real-world information needs.”

Intended learners for this resource include students in their final year of high school as well as those in the first year or two of college. Specifically, these are learners encountering college-level research assignments for the first time.

Because these students are likely unfamiliar with many basic research concepts, this OER will guide them to fulfill the university’s expectations for conducting research and locating high-quality sources for their research-based assignments.

Content includes chapters stemming from navigating search engines, library databases and discovery tools, to evaluating source credibility and recognizing fake news.

“This freely available e-textbook will be a critical supplement for librarians at ECU (and beyond) to give a big-picture view of the skills that students will need to engage in to produce their own high-quality research,” said Webb. “We have tried to write the book in a way that it would be applicable to students in a variety of contexts, whether they are completing assignments for a writing composition course, in their majors or in a semester-long research skills course.”

Information Literacy Concepts is available at

For more information please contact David Hisle at or Katy Kavanagh Webb at


-by Kelly Rogers Dilda, University Communications

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