Category Archives: Research

Joyner Library recognizes prize winners for outstanding student research

Joyner Library announced the winners of its eighth annual Rhem/Schwarzmann Prize for student research during an April 5 ceremony held in the Special Collections Reading Room located on the fourth floor of Joyner Library.

Established by Mrs. Ann Schwarzmann to honor William and Emily Rhem and Theodore and Ann Schwarzmann, the Rhem/Schwarzmann Prize recognizes outstanding research papers written by sophomores, juniors and seniors at East Carolina University.

Eligibility criteria required students to use Joyner Library’s Special Collections, which houses manuscripts, rare books, university archives and the North Carolina collection, as a primary source for their research.

“The papers written by this year’s Rhem/Schwarzmann Prize winners enrich our knowledge of university, community and regional history,” said Joyner Library director Jan Lewis. “Their papers illustrate how primary sources in Joyner Library’s Special Collections can be used to research recent events as well as those occurring more than 150 years ago.”

Caption: Joyner Library director Jan Lewis, second place winner, Zachary Dale, first place winner, Jeanann Woodard, and Arthur Carlson, Joyner’s university archivist pose during an April 5 awards ceremony. (contributed photo)

Caption: Joyner Library director Jan Lewis, second place winner, Zachary Dale, first place winner, Jeanann Woodard, and Arthur Carlson, Joyner’s university archivist pose during an April 5 awards ceremony. (Contributed photo)

Papers could be in any field of study but had to be at least 10 pages or 2,500 words in length, and submitted by Feb. 17.  Entries were judged on originality, quality of research, style, documentation and overall excellence by a panel comprised of faculty members from the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences and Joyner Library.

“Through close reading and analysis of primary resource materials, these students improved their critical thinking skills and demonstrated the importance of identifying biases and questioning assumptions,” Lewis noted.

Winning the award for first place — and a $750 prize — was Jeanann Woodard, senior in the Department of History Education in the ECU College of Education, for “Planning and Patronizing: Urban Renewal and Race Relations in Greenville, N.C. in the 1960s.”

“I particularly enjoyed using the special collections because it allowed me to travel back in time and connect with people I may never have a chance to meet,” said Woodard. “While reviewing documents and images, I got the closest thing to a firsthand look at Greenville in the 1960s. The primary sources in the special collection allowed me to better connect to the residents who lost their homes for urban renewal and Sycamore Hill Missionary Baptist Church members, while also exploring the perspective of the city council and the redevelopment commission.”

Two additional award winners were:

  • Zachary Dale, senior in the Department of History Education in the College of Education, in second place — a $500 prize — for “Queer History: LGBT Activism at East Carolina University.”
  • Andrew Turner, junior in the Department of History in the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, in third place — a $250 prize — for “The Battle of New Bern: Trial by Fire.”

“Ultimately, the special collections provided me with the evidence needed to construct an argument for the thesis of my research paper,” Woodard continued.

Arthur Carlson, Joyner’s university archivist, said this year’s cycle was the most successful to date as it featured a record number of qualified entries.

“We are especially proud of our winners, who used the unique resources available in special collections to produce research papers that made an original contribution to human knowledge,” he said.

This year’s awards are made possible by the Friends of Joyner Library and the generosity of the late Mrs. Ann Schwarzmann.

For more information about the awards and future participation, contact Arthur Carlson at 328-6838 or CarlsonAr@ecu.edu.

To learn more about manuscripts and rare books, university archives, digital collections, and the North Carolina Collection, please see www.ecu.edu/cs-lib/specialcollections.

 

-by Kelly Dilda, University Communication

ECU professors ‘rocket back to earth’ during NASA simulation

Three East Carolina University College of Education faculty members spent Jan. 18 at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, learning about simulations for astronaut training and vehicle design.

Daniel Dickerson, Patricia Slagter Van Tryon and Abbie Brown from the Department of Mathematics, Science and Instructional Technology Education toured several NASA project areas: the rapid prototype lab developing and testing controls for the Orion spacecraft; the space vehicle mockup facility that includes full-scale simulations of the International Space Station and Orion; the Human Exploration Research Analog that allows teams to experience spending days and weeks on an isolated space station; and the neutral buoyancy lab containing a massive pool with a replica of a portion of the space station that allows astronauts to practice walking in a weightless environment.

From left to right, ECU faculty members Patricia Slagter Van Tryon, Abbie Brown and Daniel Dickerson stand in front of the Orion vehicle mockup at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. (contributed photo)

From left to right, ECU faculty members Patricia Slagter Van Tryon, Abbie Brown and Daniel Dickerson stand in front of the Orion vehicle mockup at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. (contributed photo)

As part of the visit, Brown and Slagter van Tryon were “rocketed back to earth” through a simulation. Re-entering the earth’s atmosphere – from 200 mph eventually to 20 mph – was made real through intense sound effects and video displays, Brown said.

“We are grateful to the six NASA team leaders who were very generous with their time, providing us with a view of how our country’s astronauts learn to work in space and how space vehicles are designed and developed,” said Brown, professor and interim chair of the department. “It’s something few people get to see at such a detailed level and we are excited to take this information back to our science education and instructional technology students.”

ECU faculty are exploring opportunities for possible collaboration with NASA in the future.

The opportunity to visit NASA came about after Brown attended an Adobe MAX conference last fall and met the creative team developing simulations for NASA astronaut training.

There are approximately 160 graduate students enrolled online in the instructional technology program, which supports K-12 educators, corporate trainers and government and military instructors. For more information, visit http://www.ecu.edu/cs-educ/msite/it/.

 

 

-by Crystal Baity 

Bassman Honors Thesis Award winner announced

Hannah G. Woolard is the winner of the 2015-2016 Michael F. Bassman Honors Thesis Award, which recognizes students in East Carolina University’s Honors College for excellence in research and writing.

“Finishing off my senior year at ECU by receiving the Michael F. Bassman Honors College Thesis Award was a very special and rewarding moment,” Woolard said. “I am most overjoyed to receive this award because it honors the most knowledgeable advisor, exceptional role model, and caring professor, Dr. Bassman.”

Woolard poses with Dr. Michael F. Bassman, for whom the award is named. (Contributed photo)

Woolard poses with Dr. Michael F. Bassman, for whom the award is named. (Contributed photo)

Woolard’s research involved studying the different steps, or mechanism, of a new type of rare and highly selective reaction. The reaction converts cycloplatinated complexes (platinum-based compounds) into products that can be utilized for things like biological imaging and cancer research.

“The research I completed for my senior honors project investigating cycloplatinated complexes is extremely valuable to many fields of science,” Woolard said. “The discovery of the mechanism behind this reaction provides synthetic chemists with an important tool.”

Until now, the details of the mechanism had never been reported in literature. Her award-winning work was completed under the direction of Dr. Shouquan Huo, a chemistry professor in the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences.

Woolard graduated from ECU in May with a B.S. in Public Health and a B.A. in chemistry and is preparing to apply to medical school. She attended D.H. Conley High School and is the daughter of John and Gray Woolard of Greenville.

The award is sponsored by ECU’s Joyner Library and honors Dr. Michael F. Bassman, associate professor of Foreign Languages & Literatures, former associate vice chancellor of the Honors Program and its first Distinguished Honors Professor.

Judges sought for Research and Creative Achievement Week

The East Carolina University Division of Research and Graduate Studies is seeking judges for Research and Creative Achievement Week 2013.

RCAW showcases undergraduate and graduate student research and creative achievement. Graduate student day is scheduled for April 8 and undergraduate student day is April 10

Judges are needed in all categories.

The division is using a short Qualtrics survey to collect information from potential judges to help in scheduling.  Individuals who are willing to volunteer are asked to fill out the survey at http://blog.ecu.edu/sites/rcaw/list-of-judges/.  The site also has judging criteria and other information.

ECU students share research on graduate education day

ECU graduate students Bradley Eidschun, Daniel Zapf and Mahealani Kaneshiro-Pineiro represented East Carolina University in North Carolina’s Graduate Education Day May 23 in Raleigh. (Contributed photo)

 

 Three East Carolina University graduate students displayed their research at the North Carolina Capitol Building in Raleigh May 23 as part of North Carolina’s Graduate Education Week, May 20-26.

Mahealani Kaneshiro-Pineiro, Bradley Eidschun and Daniel Zapf from ECU joined students from Duke, Wake Forest and other UNC system universities at the event, which was designed to recognize the contributions that graduate education makes to the scientific, cultural, and economic needs of the state and global communities.

The three ECU students set up posters highlighting their research projects. They met with ECU Chief of Staff Phillip Rogers, the university’s liaison with the state legislature, and discussed their research with a number of elected officials, including Rep. Marian McLawhorn, Rep. Bill Cook, Rep. G.L. Pridgen, Rep. Tim Spear and Sen. Stan White.

Additional information about the students follows:

Kaneshiro-Pineiro

A native of Oahu, Hawaii, Kaneshiro-Pineiro is a PhD candidate in coastal resources management. She has a master’s degree in zoology and a bachelor’s in marine science from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and Hilo, respectively. She has conducted research throughout the Pacific, including Midway Atoll and Okinawa, Japan. Her research interests include jellyfish ecology and jellyfish-human interactions. Kaneshiro-Pineiro presented research on the biology and tourism effects of Sea Nettle jellyfish. Her faculty mentor is David Kimmel, assistant professor of biology in the Harriot College of Arts and Sciences and the Institute for Coastal Science and Policy.

Eidschun

Arizona native Eidschun has just completed a master’s degree in mathematics at ECU and holds a bachelor’s in mathematics and computer science from UNC-Pembroke. His research examined a method for modeling tsunami and rogue waves, as well as the impact these waves could have on the North Carolina coast. ECU mathematics professors David Pravica and Mike Spurr served as Eidschun’s mentors.

Zapf

Master’s degree student Zapf, of Rochester, N.Y., has a bachelor’s degree in environmental biology from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry.  He has worked for the Illinois Natural History Survey studying fisheries ecology in Lake Michigan. Zapf’s research examined critical river herring nursery habitats in the Albemarle Sound using otolith microchemistry. His faculty mentor is Roger Rulifson, professor of biology in the Harriot College of Arts and Sciences and the Institute for Coastal Science and Policy

Accompanying the students were their faculty mentors, ECU Graduate School Dean Paul Gemperline, along with Graduate School Associate Deans Thomas J. McConnell and Belinda Patterson. Gemperline is the president of the North Carolina Conference of Graduate Schools for 2011-2012.

Governor Bev Perdue signed a proclamation in January declaring May 23 as Graduate Education Day and May 20-26 as Graduate Education Week in North Carolina.

Faculty, administrators and students were among the ECU attendees at Graduate Education Day.

Researchers seek volunteers for generation gap investigation

East Carolina University child development and family relations professor Dr. Mark White is among a group of researchers who are investigating whether the generation gap truly exists.

Researchers in The Generations Project are seeking volunteers to complete a survey that should highlight generational differences related to the economy, society, workplace, family and relationships.

Dr. Mark White

White said that the concept of a generation gap is generally accepted.  “We talk about the silent generation, baby boomers, the millennials, and generation x and y,” he said.

“However, there are very little empirical data documenting clear and consistent generational differences,” White said.

White said that The Generations Project is among the first research studies nationwide that examines similarities and differences between the generations.

“The findings will provide insights into some of the larger societal trends that may play out in government, business, education, and families. The results we obtain will provide data to inform educational and business practices, workplace interactions, and public policy,” he said.

The researchers are seeking volunteers to take a survey related to the economy, society, workplace, family and relationships. Participants of all ages are asked to log in to take a 30- to 45-minute survey by Dec. 1 at http://www.generations-project.com/index.html.

Survey participants are anonymous and will not be contacted.

In addition to White, the Generation Project researchers include Drs. W. Jared DuPree, assistant professor in family therapy at the University of Houston – Clear Lake; Tim Rarick, Brigham Young University – Idaho; Katherine Hertlein, assistant professor in the marriage and family therapy program at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Mary Short, associate professor of clinical psychology at the University of Houston – Clear Lake; Sharon Hall, professor of psychology at the University of Houston – Clear Lake. White is associate professor of child development and family relations in the ECU College of Human Ecology.

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For additional information, contact White at 252-737-2076 or by e-mail,
 whitem@ecu.edu

ECU study examines sleep and fatigue in chronically ill mothers

Carmel White

Mark White

 

Health care providers should be particularly attentive to supporting high quality sleep for chronically ill mothers of young children, according to a new study by East Carolina University researchers.

Professors Carmel White and Mark White in ECU’s Department of Child Development and Family Relations, examined the sleep patterns of chronically ill mothers with young children to determine how they manage sleep and fatigue. The researchers questioned 103 mothers with multiple sclerosis, 68 with rheumatoid arthritis and 91 with normal health about their sleep, fatigue, pain and levels of depression. All participants had at least once child between the age of 12 months and 45 months.

The researchers surveyed the mothers about their problems falling asleep; trouble sleeping after being awakened; sleep interruptions from their young children; average hours of sleep; and fatigue during the day.

“Understanding how sleep relates to depression and fatigue in mothers with MS or RA is important for mothers, families and health care providers,” said Dr. Carmel White.

She said families and health care providers should be sensitive to the importance of high quality sleep, doing what they can to support the mothers.

“Health care professionals should be especially sensitive to both pain and depression in mothers with MS or RA to ensure that these two common problems are not interfering with mothers’ sleep,” she said.

Mothers with chronic illnesses reported more daytime drowsiness, with reduced sleep quality and quantity especially noted in mothers experiencing a flareup of RA symptoms. Chronically ill mothers reported mother problems going to sleep and staying asleep, but were less likely to experience nighttime sleep interruptions caused by their children. The researchers speculated that other family members might be caring for the young children during the night, knowing that the mother has difficulty falling back to sleep.

Mothers with MS had the highest correlation of sleep problems correlated to fatigue, suggesting that health care providers who work with MS patients should include sleep assessments.

The researchers said that women with chronic illnesses often experience a great deal of fatigue, and parenting young children can add to the exhaustion.

Their research, “Sleep Problems and Fatigue in Chronically Ill Women,” appeared in the July issue of Behaviorial Sleep Medicine. Full text of the article may be viewed at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21722010.

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For additional information, contact Carmel White at 252-737-2075 or whitec@ecu.edu or Mark Shite at 252-737-2076 or whitem@ecu.edu.

The Department of Child Development and Family Relations is located within the ECU College of Human Ecology.

ECU faculty research draws attention in Charlotte museum

Research by East Carolina University faculty at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art in Charlotte was featured in the museum’s blog at http://nashermuseumblogs.

Dr. Cynthia Bickley-Green, associate professor in the School of Art and Design, and Dr. Nicholas Murray, director of the Visual Motor Laboratory in the College of Health and Human Performance, developed the research. The study tracks eye movement in response to artwork, exploring relations between oral prompts, cognition and eye-tracking patterns.  A qualitative questionnaire gathers information about the beholders’ aesthetic response to the experience.

The study is part of a larger group of museum and gallery studies that began in the Greenville Museum of Art. It is entitled “Mobile Eye-Tracker (MET) Gaze Patterns Generated by Artworks and Museum Locations.” Results should provide data that may help researchers understand people’s thinking patterns, which could be applicable for related disabilities and overall improved communication.

The full blog post on the research is available at http://nashermuseumblogs.org/?p=4211.

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Grant aids study of prostate cancer protein

With the help of a grant of more than $400,000, Dr. Maria Ruiz-Echevarria is looking at ways a protein could help the prognosis, treatment and/or, detection of prostate cancer.  Ruiz-Echevarria, a scientist and assistant professor of hematology/oncology, received the three-year, $423,803 grant from the National Institutes of Health in December. The funds will help her and her team determine the role of the TMEFF2 protein in prostate-specific tumor development. TMEFF2 is a protein involved in prostate cancer.

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