Category Archives: scholarships

Social work graduate student featured in state publication


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

Golden LEAF invaluable for current, past students

Recent ECU graduate and current master’s student Jordan Spelce dreams of one day becoming a city or county manager and spurring business and development in places like his hometown of Taylorsville in Alexander County.

But his career path might have looked completely different had he not received a Golden LEAF scholarship and participated in the organization’s internships and leadership programs.

Established in 1999, the Golden LEAF Foundation was created to strengthen the economies of rural or tobacco-dependent communities in North Carolina. Since its inception, the organization has awarded $38 million in scholarships to 16,000 students across the state, most of whom choose to attend ECU. LEAF stands for Long-term Economic Advancement Foundation.

Since its inception, Golden LEAF has awarded $38 million in scholarships to 16,000 students across the state, most of whom choose to attend ECU. (Photos by Will Preslar)

Since its inception, Golden LEAF has awarded $38 million in scholarships to 16,000 students across the state, most of whom choose to attend ECU. (Photos by Will Preslar)

“I’m so grateful for Golden LEAF. Its leadership program really helped me almost more than anything else academically in my college years,” Spelce said.

ECU alumnus Jordan Spelce says he wouldn’t be on his current career path without the help of the Golden LEAF Foundation.

ECU alumnus Jordan Spelce says he wouldn’t be on his current career path without the help of the Golden LEAF Foundation.

It was through a paid Golden LEAF internship with an economic development agency that he discovered his passion for business and finance.

“That jump-started me toward what ultimately became the path to my career,” he said.

Each year, Golden LEAF awards scholarships to high school seniors and community college transfer students from qualifying rural counties who express an interest in returning to the state’s rural areas to work after graduation.

“Part of the way we are working to fulfill our mission is to reach young people who have deep roots in rural North Carolina, who are likely to return home, and help them go to college,” said Golden LEAF President Dan Gerlach. “Our investment in Golden LEAF Scholars extends beyond their four-year education. We fund a leadership program that helps students connect with internships in their fields of interest in rural communities. Students gain professional experience early in their educational career that they may not have gotten otherwise in the communities we hope they return to and serve.”

Senior education major Tristan Hunter speaks at a luncheon in Greenville for Golden LEAF Scholars.

Senior education major Tristan Hunter speaks at a luncheon in Greenville for Golden LEAF Scholars.

This year, 87 ECU students received Golden LEAF scholarships. One of them was senior education major Tristan Hunter of Rocky Mount, who spoke at a luncheon in Greenville January 31 that ECU hosted for Golden LEAF Scholars, staff and members of the foundation’s board of directors.

“I’m very honored to be one of those 16,000 students” to have received a scholarship, he said. “Not only did Golden LEAF lighten my financial burden, it helped me meet all the goals I set for myself in college.”

Hunter added that he wants to go back to Rocky Mount and teach in a public middle school once he earns his degree.

Golden LEAF President Dan Gerlach and ECU Chancellor Staton attend a luncheon for Golden LEAF scholarship students.

Golden LEAF President Dan Gerlach and ECU Chancellor Staton at the luncheon for Golden LEAF Scholars.

Chancellor Cecil Staton addressed the luncheon participants and thanked the foundation for being one of ECU’s strongest partners in addressing the extraordinary disparities in health, education and economic development in rural and coastal North Carolina communities.

“Our desire for rural prosperity is a key aspect of the mission of both Golden LEAF and ECU. Our missions are synchronous,” he said.

So far, the mission is being fulfilled.

For Spelce, the former Golden LEAF scholar, the decision to stay in-state and work is simple.

“I want to stay in North Carolina. I was born and raised here,” he said. He also wants to keep his Golden LEAF experience going by becoming a coach to other scholars in the future.

To learn more about the Golden LEAF Foundation, visit


-by Erin Shaw, University Communications

Revisiting a legacy: Dr. C.Q. Brown’s influence continues today

The Department of Geological Sciences in East Carolina University’s Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2017. However, one could say that the department’s foundation was cemented not in 1967, but 1965. In that year, Dr. Charles Q. Brown, a Clemson University professor at the time, kept hearing how ECC – East Carolina College – was the fastest growing college in the state. He was curious, paid a visit to the college and met some of the deans.

“I actually wrote them a response to my visit about the things they probably ought to do; some plans for the geology department,” Brown said. “We started a dialogue at that point.

“That brought me to East Carolina.”

In 1966, Brown joined ECU as a professor. In 1967, he formed the Department of Geological Sciences and became its first chairman.

Dr. C.Q. Brown

Dr. C.Q. Brown joined ECU as a professor in 1966. A year later, he founded the Department of Geological Sciences. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

The father of the department

A 2017 department newsletter states the following from geology department chairman Dr. Stephen Culver: “I cannot end without mention of our founding father, Dr. Charles Q. Brown, who planned, initiated and ran the department for the first four years (1967-1971). C.Q. returned from higher administration in 1979 and ran the department for another decade. We all owe a huge debt of gratitude to C.Q. for his vision, his energy and his leadership.”

During a recent visit to ECU, Brown toured the department that he started. Day after day, students walk by the department’s glass cases that house fossils and minerals. Some are aware of Brown’s legacy with the department. Some are also aware of his other legacies that benefit those that walk the department’s hallways.

“It is absolutely unbelievable that it has grown so far (sic),” Brown said. “Fifty years seems like a long time, but that’s rapid growth. That is fantastic growth, and it’s to the credit of this faculty and administration.”

A legacy that endures

The late Elizabeth Brown Sledge

Dr. Brown endowed a scholarship for the College of Engineering and Technology to honor his late daughter, Elizabeth Brown Sledge.

In 2000, students, colleagues and alumni recognized Brown’s legacy by establishing the C.Q. Brown Scholarship. It recognizes and awards rising seniors who are studying in the department of geological sciences. Additionally, ECU’s Epsilon Phi Chapter of Sigma Gamma Epsilon raises money that goes toward this scholarship.

In December 2015, Brown established the Elizabeth Brown Sledge (EBS) Scholarship Endowment. This College of Engineering and Technology scholarship is in memory of his daughter, who received her degrees from ECU in 1984 and 1991. It will aid those technology systems students who are underrepresented and demonstrate a financial need, which represents Sledge’s championing of the underdog.

Brian Stanford is a recipient of the EBS Scholarship Endowment. His major is in information computer technology with a networking concentration. He graduates this spring, and said he appreciates the value these scholarships bring to students’ lives.

The late Barbara Brown

Dr. C.Q. Brown’s influence in the Department of Geological Sciences continues today thanks to a scholarship in his name and an endowment he made in memory of his late wife, Barbara. (submitted photo)

“I feel much respect for and am very grateful to Dr. C.Q. Brown and any contributors of the Elizabeth Brown Sledge Scholarship,” Stanford said. “They not only have provided me with financial help for my degree, but they also showed me that we have kind people in this world who do selfless things that can have a great impact on people’s lives.”

Dr. Harry Ploehn, College of Engineering and Technology dean, had the opportunity to meet Brown while he was on campus. During the meeting, Ploehn learned more about Sledge and Brown’s wishes for the scholarship.

“With the EBS Scholarship Endowment, we want to capitalize on Elizabeth’s passion for helping at-risk students, her passion for helping the underdog,” Ploehn said. “This scholarship helps students who are at risk of not being able to continue with their studies.”

While on campus, Brown talked about how important guest lecturers were during his education. In memory of his wife, who died in 1999, Brown established the C.Q. and Barbara Hedgepeth Brown Endowment.

“I already have a scholarship that the students are supporting in my name,” Brown said. “I wanted to memorialize her life also with something different. I thought having outstanding lecturers coming to the campus and to the department would be great.

“That’s the beauty of the endowment. It goes on and on.”


-by Michael Rudd, University Communications

ECU student receives Fulbright scholarship

East Carolina University School of Communication senior Emory Saia is one of 14 young professional journalists and students to receive a Fulbright scholarship for the Berlin Capital Program in Germany.

The Berlin Capital Program gives journalists and students the opportunity to better understand the media’s role in the political, economic and cultural landscape of Germany and Europe. The weeklong program, Nov. 12-19, includes seminars and discussions with media experts as well as visits to political, cultural and media institutions.

ECU senior Emory Saia

ECU senior Emory Saia

Saia, a journalism student from Pennsylvania, learned about the program from ECU communication professor Dr. Cindy Elmore, who thought she would be a great candidate. Saia spent most of the summer compiling her 19-page program application with encouragement from Elmore, who was “patient, kind and so willing to help and motivate me to continue,” Saia said.

The youngest of five children with parents who are professors, Saia credits her family for the desire to seek new learning experiences. Her brother, Taylor, also received a Fulbright scholarship and traveled to Indonesia to teach English and music for six months. Saia’s sister, Maggie, an ECU alumna, and Taylor guided and supported her application process. “They reminded me that it’s not about the end result, but the journey,” she said.

Saia plans to embrace the opportunity although anxious “to take this leap, literally on a plane across the world by myself.” She encourages other students to challenge themselves. “Push yourself out of your comfort zone and accept new experiences and adventures as they are around you. You just have to be willing,” she said.

Saia serves as an intern in the ECU School of Communication, where she maintains the social media accounts, creates promotional material, plans events and assists as a director in Dr. Mary Tucker-McLaughlin’s Producing the News class. Saia will take over the School of Communication Instagram account to document her experience. Follow her journey at

-by Brittany Thompson, School of Communication 



Harriot College honors scholarship recipients, donors

East Carolina University continues to thank its generous donors for providing financial gifts to students. This academic year, 175 Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences students will receive nearly $215,000 in scholarship support from 331 donors.

The donors were formally thanked at the college’s second annual scholarship luncheon held Sept. 22 in the Murphy Center’s Harvey Hall. Nearly 225 scholarship recipients, donors and department faculty attended the event.

Keynote speaker Retired Colonel Thomas Shubert. (Photos by Rob Taylor)

Keynote speaker Retired Colonel Thomas Shubert. (Photos by Rob Taylor)

“I am very proud of everybody in this room here today,” said Dr. William M. Downs, dean of the THCAS. “You are indispensable to this great national university.”

Downs said that for many students, scholarship support “makes the basic core difference” between attending college or not attending college, and that scholarship support increases the likelihood of success and the timely completion of a degree.

Opening remarks were continued by ECU provost Ron Mitchelson, Alumni Association president Heath Bowman and THCAS director of alumni relations and outreach Jessica Nottingham.

“I am absolutely inspired by the choices donors make to support the success of ECU students,” said Mitchelson. “It really is a remarkable thing. You are at the heart of those dreams; students’ dreams…We are the place where student’s lives are transformed.”

Retired United States Air Force Colonel Thomas Shubert, ECU ROTC and Harriot College political science alumnus, presented this year’s keynote address.

He told the students that it is necessary in one’s life to take risks and chances, not to be afraid to fail, to continue on and make an impact by serving as a mentor for others.

“The world does not end if you don’t get straight As,” said Shubert. “You have to take risks. Learn from failure and you are still going to succeed.”

Seth Sutton, senior geological sciences major, hugging his scholarship donor C.Q. Brown. Brown

Seth Sutton, senior geological sciences major, hugging his scholarship donor C.Q. Brown. Brown

Following Shubert’s remarks, three Harriot College scholarship recipients formally thanked their donors and expressed their sincere gratitude for the opportunities provided them.

Seth Sutton, senior geological sciences major and recipient of the C.Q. Brown Scholarship, plans to continue his education through graduate school. He wants to become a professor of paleontology, studying dinosaur fossils.

“Professors in our department connect with their students,” said Sutton. He gave credit to a number of geological sciences faculty, including department chair Dr. Steve Culver.

“He gave me the confidence to continue on my path,” said Sutton. “The fact that the chair of our department took the time and effort to meet with me is pretty cool and astonishing.”

Sutton reiterated that it was an honor to receive the C.Q. Brown Scholarship. He said it eased his financial burden so that he did not have to work, giving him more time to focus on his academics.

Stephen Hart, junior political science major and criminal justice minor, is the recipient of the Col. Louis & Mrs. Trudy Gomes Award and the John F. Minges III Scholarship. He mentioned his scholarship awards also alleviate the financial burden of attending college, allowing him to focus on his studies with the intention of attending law school in the future.

He said he was “determined to go to college, no matter what.”

“I am grateful for this opportunity the Minges and the Gomes families have given me,” said Hart. “I will represent the donors and the Political Science Department to the best of my ability – with hard work and dedication – to further my academic success.”

Shainah Andrews, junior English major and recipient of the Jim & Pam Mullen THCAS Study Abroad Scholarship, thanked all the individuals involved in the day’s event.

THCAS donors Sadie Oates and Charles Saunders.

THCAS donors Sadie Oates and Charles Saunders.

Ever since the age of six, Andrews dreamed of being a pediatrician, until she studied abroad in London this July.

She said that being able to travel down some of the same streets as the authors she read as a child, allowed her “to become one with my favorite fictional characters.”

This three-week-long experience changed her mind about her future.

“Life has a funny way of taking us down many paths. Some which we plan, or envision, and others that we don’t,” said Andrews. “Never did it really cross my mind that I would be changing my minor from science to linguistics the summer before my junior year, completely abandoning the idea of becoming a doctor.”

“Truth be told, I’m a terrified person,” said Andrews “I’m terrified, but here’s the catch. I don’t let that fear debilitate me. I use it as fuel to do the things I yearn to.”

She thanked the Mullens, saying that because of them the “desires of her heart are in fact tangible.”

Concluding the event, Downs again congratulated all the students and thanked the donors for their support.

“It’s all about the students, and those are three great testimonials,” he said.


-by Lacey L. Gray, University Communications

Fulbright Scholar fulfills dream of studying abroad

Fulbright Scholar Farisal Bagsit had dreamed of studying abroad for years but turned down opportunities in the past due to personal obligations. When she was selected as a Fulbright Scholar in 2016, Bagsit knew she had to take the opportunity to leave her native Philippines to travel to the United States.

“It’s a bit far, but I was told if you really want rigid training you go to the U.S.,” said Bagsit.

Bagsit came to East Carolina University’s coastal resource management program to pursue her Ph.D. in social science and coastal policy through the Fulbright Scholar Program awarded through the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. According to the Fulbright website, it is the U.S.’s flagship international educational exchange program that sponsors student exchanges in approximately 160 countries worldwide. Students are chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential.

Before coming to the U.S., Bagsit worked for seven years as a researcher at the University of the Philippines Visayas, where she received her undergraduate degree in marine fisheries and master’s degree in marine affairs. After completing her studies at ECU, she she hopes to return to the to the same university as a faculty member.

Fulbright Scholar Farisal Bagsit (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

Fulbright Scholar Farisal Bagsit (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

Bagsit’s research centers around small-scale fisheries. She is also interested in studying the ripple effect of fishery closures in her home country.

Dr. David Griffith, interim director for the Institute for Coastal Science and Policy, is Bagsit’s adviser. He said she is very motivated and has already fleshed out her doctoral dissertation. The topic of choice involves the social and economic impacts of closures in the Filipino sardine fishery.

“By the end of her first year she had a full proposal drafted with the flexibility to respond to political developments in the Philippines,” said Griffith.

Bagsit said the fishery closures began in 2011 but the effects are just now being realized in parts of her country.

“I want to see how the closures effect people’s livelihoods and economics in the community,” said Bagsit.

Her first year in the program has been demanding and Bagsit admits she didn’t have much time to explore Greenville. After completing the first summer session of classes, she took a trip to the beach and returned home for a few weeks to visit her husband and three children before returning to complete her second year. She hopes to attend her first ECU football game this fall.

“This is a good opportunity to experience American culture,” said Bagsit.

For more information about study abroad opportunities at ECU visit Details regarding the Fulbright Scholar Program can be found at


-by Jamie Smith

Five ECU Students Receive Scholarships from TiMOTION

Thanks to a company that “believes strongly in moving toward a better future,” five engineering students from the College of Engineering and Technology are each the recipient of a $1,000 scholarship.

Pictured, from left to right: Patricia Malcolm, Basel Abdelfattah and Laith Damreh. All three are biomedical engineering students who each received a scholarship from TiMOTION. (contributed photos)

Pictured, from left to right: Patricia Malcolm, Basel Abdelfattah and Laith Damreh. All three are biomedical engineering students who each received a scholarship from TiMOTION. (contributed photos)

In a recent news release, Taiwan’s TiMOTION and its North American Subsidiary awarded these scholarships, which will benefit full-time students of high academic standing who are enrolled in engineering programs. The company considers these awards an investment in the engineers of tomorrow.

Scholarship recipients include:

  • Basel Abdelfattah
  • Laith Damreh
  • Travis Harrison
  • Jamie LoScalzo
  • Patricia Malcolm

All five students are from North Carolina

Junior Jamie LoScalzo is a recipient of a $1,000 scholarship from TiMOTION.

Junior Jamie LoScalzo is a recipient of a $1,000 scholarship from TiMOTION.

Junior Jamie LoScalzo is from New Bern, and she’s currently president of the Dean’s Student Leadership Advisory Council for the College of Engineering and Technology. About the scholarship, she said, “this award helps to alleviate my financial concerns for next semester, and will allow me to focus on my coursework, as well as my extracurricular activities within the college.”

Laith Damreh, a junior from Raleigh, echoed LoScalzo. “This opportunity is very helpful because, with the scholarship, I can work less so I can focus more on my academics.”

Goldsboro’s Malcolm knew from an early age that paying for her education would fall squarely on her shoulders. “My parents told me from a very early age that they would not pay for my college education and that I would be responsible for it myself,” she said. “Getting this scholarship will allow me to continue pursuing my education goals.”

Abdelfattah is from Greenville. Like the other ECU scholarship recipients, this scholarship will have an impact. “It’s motivation for me to work diligently for academic success,” said Abdelfattah. “The scholarship will help lessen the impact of my tuition costs.”

As part of this funding, TiMOTION said it will provide “products for classroom learning and projects.”

TiMOTION is an industry-leading provider of electric linear actuators worldwide.

The Pirate Alumni Road Race pounds the pavement for students

A blue sky and mild temperatures provided the perfect backdrop for the 10th annual Pirate Alumni Road Race, which was held in Greenville Saturday, April 22. The 5K and 1-mile fun run provided some competition as a way to raise funds for scholarships.

“This is one of our major scholarship fundraisers for the year. It’s a great opportunity for people to not only to have fun and be active, but also to help us with scholarships,” said Heath Bowman, president of the East Carolina Alumni Association.

PeeDee was the first one out when the cannon went off, but he couldn’t hold onto the lead for the 10th annual Pirate Alumni Road Race. PeeDee got a “did not finish” while No. 49, Patrick Creech, came in first in his age group. (Photos curtesy of the Alumni Association)

PeeDee was the first one out when the cannon went off, but he couldn’t hold onto the lead for the 10th annual Pirate Alumni Road Race. PeeDee got a “did not finish” while No. 49, Patrick Creech, came in first in his age group. (Photos curtesy of the Alumni Association)

Bowman said they have 21 East Carolina Alumni Scholars this year and give away nearly $50,000 in scholarships every year. Many of the scholarship recipients were either volunteering or running in the event.

“A lot of students rely on financial aid and scholarship support, and so we feel like this is part of our mission to assist students and to help alumni and future alumni have a great experience here at ECU and to be able to obtain a higher education,” said Bowman.

PeeDee welcomes a couple of finishers, sporting their Pirate Alumni Road Race T-shirts, as they cross the finish line.

PeeDee welcomes a couple of finishers, sporting their Pirate Alumni Road Race T-shirts, as they cross the finish line.

ECU sophomore and alumni association scholar Jacob Walker is a public health studies and chemistry major who hopes to go to medical school. He said his alumni scholarship is vital to him attaining that goal.

“It’s been so important to me. I don’t really have a good financial background with my parents,” said Walker. “My mom has been a single mom of three for most of her life, and it’s been really hard. A lot of the financial burden is on me. This scholarship has really helped me in terms of paying for my own education.”

All of the 250 race participants received a T-shirt, and the top three finishers in each age group won medals. Approximately $6,000 was raised for scholarships. The students benefiting from the fundraiser said they are appreciative of those who took part.

“Thank you (donors) so much. It means the world to us that you would give back to the university and help students like us,” said ECU junior and alumni association scholar Stephanie Morales, who was volunteering at the event.

The next alumni association scholarship fundraiser will be the Purple Gold Golf Open, set for Sept. 15 at Ironwood Country Club in Greenville. More information about the alumni association is at


-by Rich Klindworth 



Scholarship celebration honors donors, recipients

The East Carolina University College of Allied Health Sciences celebrated its 65 scholarship recipients and their donors during a recent ceremony at Rock Springs Center.

During the event the college awarded more than $100,000 in merit and need-based scholarships ranging from $500 to $9,000 each.

The College of Allied Health Sciences awarded more than $100,000 in scholarship funds to students at the April 4 Scholarship Celebration at Rock Springs Center. (Contributed photo)

The College of Allied Health Sciences awarded more than $100,000 in scholarship funds to students at the April 4 Scholarship Celebration at Rock Springs Center. (Contributed photo)


“These are students who all share a very simple, direct and important life goal: they want to make a difference in the lives of others,” said Dean Robert Orlikoff during the April 4 celebration. “Our mission at ECU is to promote student success, first and foremost. Without student success, we cannot attain success in the other aspects of our mission, and those are community outreach and regional transformation.”

Dr. Phyllis Horns, vice chancellor for health sciences, acknowledged the importance of the scholarships, many of which were established with private funds to honor or memorialize influential allied health educators and professionals and to support the academic pursuits of future professionals in the field.

“There’s nothing we do at this institution more important than to recognize and celebrate our scholarship recipients and recognize and celebrate the generous individuals who make these scholarships possible,” Horns said.

To the students in attendance Horns said, “I know that these scholarships make it possible for you to achieve your ambition and have your dreams come to fruition. We can’t tell you how proud we are of you and how high our expectations are of you when you leave us.”

ECU’s College of Allied Health Sciences is the largest college of allied health in North Carolina with more than 1,250 students across nine programs.

For more information, visit ECU’s scholarships website at


-by Natalie Sayewich, University Communication

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