Category Archives: Thomas Harriot College of Arts & Sciences

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

ECU’s Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences announces new department chairperson

East Carolina University’s Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences has appointed the next chairperson for the Department of Geography, Planning and Environment. Dr. Thad Wasklewicz, ECU professor of geography, with research interests in geomatics and geomorphology, is currently the director of the Terrain Analysis Laboratory. He steps into his new role as department chair effective August 1, succeeding Dr. Burrell Montz, who has served as chairperson since coming to ECU in 2009.

“I am both grateful to professor Montz for her exemplary leadership over the past eight years and excited to have professor Wasklewicz joining the college leadership team,” said Harriot College Dean William Downs. “Thad will bring us new vision, new energy and a keen commitment to advancing research, teaching and service in this important academic unit.”

“I’ve had an amazing working relationship with Burrell,” said Wasklewicz. “She leads by example and has created a working environment that permits faculty to keep research productivity in our program at an extremely high level. As a department, we have been lucky to have her as a chair, and we look forward to her continued efforts in the program as a faculty member.”

Wasklewicz came to ECU in 2007 as an associate professor and became full professor in 2014. Over the past decade, he has been actively involved in the department through teaching, mentoring students as honors thesis, thesis and dissertation chair or committee member, serving the university and department on multiple committees, and collaborating with colleagues from a variety of departments at ECU, and other universities, on research related to environmental change detection and geospatial technologies to collect and measure these changes.

Dr. Thad Wasklewicz (contributed photo)

Dr. Thad Wasklewicz (contributed photo)

“It’s been a great pleasure working with ECU students. I’ve been working with undergraduate students in the research process and many of those undergraduate students have moved up to the master’s program,” said Wasklewicz. “To see them make it through an undergraduate honors thesis, through their masters and then get employed in positions where their expertise is respected and utilized, has been a very rewarding part of working at ECU.”

In his new role as department chair, Wasklewicz plans to build on the department’s strengths, which include continuing to mentor the faculty and pushing them to succeed, and supporting the involvement of students through a newly developing leadership program. Other initiatives he intends to promote include more international student activities, and continuing to grow numbers and increase the active participation of students in the ECU Geo-Club, which is active in the local community.

“I am excited and ready to promote our program in a manner that grows student interest and increases our presence in the eastern North Carolina community,” said Wasklewicz.

Other goals are to increase marketing of the Planning and Geography programs to attract more students and funding, and perform more service-oriented community activities grounded in current departmental research.

“Our program is not a typical destination place for students coming out of high school,” said Wasklewicz. “Trying to figure out ways to make the Department of Geography, Planning and Environment more of a destination location for students by interacting with local high schools and community colleges, and building stronger connections between programs here on campus – to not only increase our majors but increase the number of students involved in our classes – is one of the things I’d like to see progress during my tenure as chair.”

Among many research interests, Wasklewicz primarily focuses on high-resolution topography and applying topography to understand how hazards like debris-flows initiate and propagate within steep mountainous watersheds. Also, he has a keen interest in how debris flows impact built environments in close proximity to the mountain fronts. These interests have allowed Wasklewicz to conduct research in many locations in the eastern and western parts of the United States, Japan and Central America.

Throughout his time at ECU, Wasklewicz has received more than $2 million in grants and contracts, and he has been invited to present his research more than 90 times at professional meetings and university seminars nationally and internationally. He is the author, or co-author, of more than 40 articles and chapters published in peer-reviewed journals and books.

Wasklewicz is a member of the Association of American Geographers, the Geological Society of America and the American Geophysical Union. He was also a recent visiting Research Fellow at the University of Tokyo and is the current Chair of the Environmental and Engineering Division of the Geological Society of America. His past awards include an ECU Scholar-Teacher Award, the Geological Society of America Gladys Cole Award, an USGS Senior Scientist in Residence Award and a National Science Foundation Career Development Award.

Wasklewicz received his Ph.D. and M.A. degrees in geography from Arizona State University in 1996 and ‘92 respectively. He received his B.S. degree in geography from Plymouth State College in Plymouth, N.H. in 1991.

 

Contact: Lacey Gray, director of marketing and communications, Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, grayl@ecu.edu, 252-737-1754

ECU English graduate student participates in prestigious Washington, D.C. workshop

East Carolina University English student Sarah McKeever was one of only 12 students nationwide selected to participate in a highly-competitive workshop held recently at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.

The library is home to the world’s largest Shakespeare collection and one of the nation’s premier research libraries for Renaissance history, literature and culture.

“I felt incredibly lucky to receive this opportunity, which is a dream come true,” said McKeever, who received her bachelor degree in English from ECU in May and will begin her studies in ECU’s master’s program this fall.

Marianne Montgomery, chair of the Department of English, was thrilled that McKeever was selected to participate in the workshop held June 26-30.

In "the Vault" looking at 400 + year old manuscripts.  This was a surreal, spiritual and elating experience! Left - Sarah McKeever looking at the book. (Photos by Syd Bauerman)

In “the Vault” looking at 400 + year old manuscripts.  This was a surreal, spiritual and elating experience! Left – Sarah McKeever looking at the book. (Photos by Syd Bauerman)

“Sarah was among peers who share her passion for Renaissance literature and had the opportunity to study with top visiting faculty from around the nation,” said Montgomery. “We are proud of Sarah and know that she represented ECU well.”

While at the library, McKeever and other scholars worked in small teams to digitally encode and format early modern dramas not yet included in the digital archives. The authors of the dramas are contemporaries of Shakespeare and their digital presence will supplement the current collection at the library.

“I have been in awe of the Folger Library’s rare collection for as long as I can remember and was excited to step foot within its hallowed walls,” said McKeever. “It was exciting to work directly with the rare manuscripts in the vault’s reading rooms.”

The workshop complemented McKeever’s interests and immersions at ECU. For three years, McKeever has served as an editorial assistant to English professor Dr. Jeffrey Johnson on the John Donne Variorum project, a multi-volume digital anthology of John Donne’s poetry.

In Folger's theatre students acted out a scene from Thomas Middleton's play, "The Roaring Girl.”

In Folger’s theatre students acted out a scene from Thomas Middleton’s play, “The Roaring Girl.”

“Sarah is an imaginative and insightful thinker, one whose intellectual curiosity and intellectual humility are the hallmarks for why she is such an accomplished student, as well as a promising scholar,” said Johnson.

McKeever intends to focus on Renaissance literature in her master’s program.

“ECU has an incredibly stellar Renaissance literature program and faculty, and ECU has been the most fortuitous place that I could have begun my path in early modern literary studies,” said McKeever.

“Familiarity with the treasure-trove of Folger resources will enhance my research in graduate school and greatly inform my interpretations,” said McKeever.

After completing her master’s degree, McKeever wants to pursue a doctoral program. She plans to dedicate her scholastic life to early modern studies and hopes to never cease learning – and perhaps teaching – about its literary works. In addition, she finds digital technology an exciting supplement to literary texts.

“I am very enthusiastic about the development of digital anthologies; their creation being at the forefront of literary innovation today,” said McKeever. “Access to these materials will benefit future scholars in the same ways that they have been beneficial for me.”

For additional information about the Folger workshop, visit http://folgerpedia.folger.edu/Opening_the_Digital_Anthology_of_Early_Modern_English_Drama:_Skills,_Tools,_and_Texts_(workshop).

 

 

-by Lacey Gray, University Communications

ECU’s Maritime Studies Program Accepted into International Network

East Carolina University’s Program in Maritime Studies recently was named a member of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization UNITWIN Network for Underwater Archaeology. ECU joins as a full member with other universities including Texas A&M University, Southampton University, University of Southern Denmark and Alexandria University.

Associate Professor of History and Director of Graduate Studies Dr. Jennifer McKinnon travelled to Paris, France, the last week of May to attend the network’s annual meeting and present ECU’s application.

McKinnon (center-right, turquoise pants) poses with a group of UNESCO UNITWIN Network members and meeting attendees. (Photo by Jonathan Benjamin.)

McKinnon (center-right, turquoise pants) poses with a group of UNESCO UNITWIN Network members and meeting attendees. (Photo by Jonathan Benjamin.)

“Joining this network has the potential to further the program’s existing international contacts and partnerships, providing both faculty and students with opportunities to collaborate, research and study abroad,” said McKinnon. “It also speaks to our Chancellor’s vision for global impact and becoming a national model.”

Established in 2012, the objective of the cooperative program is to promote research, training, information and documentation in the field of archaeology related to underwater cultural heritage.

“Maritime Studies’ membership in the UNESCO UNITWIN Network for Underwater Archaeology is a prime example of the university’s commitment to expanding its global impact in the classroom, in the laboratory and in the field,” said ECU Executive Director of Global Affairs Dr. Jon Rezek.

ECU’s Program in Maritime Studies, established in 1982 and housed in the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences Department of History, is the second oldest and one of the largest of a few graduate programs in the United States that teach students in underwater archaeology. It has a national and international reputation working in areas around the world from Bermuda in the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean, Caribbean, Africa and Latin America.

“The Department of History is committed to expanding our international footprint,” said Dr. Christopher Oakley, chair of the department of history. “We look forward to partnering with UNESCO UNITWIN to enhance our research collaboration with other prestigious universities across the globe.”

For additional information about the UNESCO UNITWIN Network, visit www.underwaterarchaeology.net.

 

 

-by Lacey Gray, University Communication

Mina Girgis & The Nile Project to Visit ECU

Dr. William M. Downs, Dean of the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, invites you to attend the final presentation in the 10th Anniversary Season of the Voyages of Discovery Lecture Series.

The evening’s events will include a presentation by Mina Girgis, Producer and CEO of The Nile Project (http://nileproject.org), followed by a musical demonstration performed by Nile Project musicians. Girgis will discuss “Citizen Diplomacy & Transboundary Water Conflicts” at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 6, 2017, in Wright Auditorium.

To listen to a WUNC Public Radio interview with Mina Girgis, visit http://www.tinyurl.com/k6727kh.

During the first half of the evening’s event, Girgis sets the stage by explaining how different environmental, economic and political factors have contributed to the Nile water conflict. Following the discussion, Nile Project artists will illustrate how they combine their diverse musical idioms to unearth a new Nile sound without compromising the integrity of their various age-old traditions. They relate their collective creative process to the efforts of diplomats and water professionals in finding win-win solutions to hydro-political conflicts.

ECU Students:
ECU students may request a free ticket. To receive a free ticket, ECU students must go to the ECU Central Ticket Office, located in Mendenhall Student Center, and present his or her ECU One Card. This is a Wellness Passport event, and tickets are required.

ECU Faculty/Staff and General Audience Members:
Tickets for the April 6 lecture are only $10 and are available for purchase online, or by calling the ECU Central Ticket Office at 1-800-ECU-ARTS (1-800-328-2787).

Please note: The College’s Voyages event, which is $10, is the night before the S. Rudolph Alexander Performing Arts Series concert event with The Nile Project. The cost of the event for the SRAPAS event is $25.

Co-sponsors of the Thomas Harriot Lecture include the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences; ECU’s Division of Academic Affairs; Division of Health Sciences; Division of Research, Economic Development, and Engagement; Division of Student Affairs; Student Activities Board; College of Fine Arts and Communication; and the Honors College. For additional information, visit http://www.ecu.edu/voyages. More information about THCAS is available at https://www.ecu.edu/cas.

 

 

-by Lacey Gray, Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences

ECU guest speaker to discuss “Fake News, Misinformation & Democracy in America”

On April 18 at 7:30 p.m. Dr. Adam Berinsky, professor of political sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology will be on campus to discuss “Fake News, Misinformation and Democracy in America.” Berinsky studies the political behavior of ordinary citizens.

While Berinsky is primarily concerned with questions of representation and the communication of public sentiment to political elites, he also studied public opinion and foreign policy, the continuing power of group-based stereotypes, the effect of voting reforms, the power of the media and survey research methods.

The event is co-sponsored by the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Political Science and the ECU Center for Survey Research. The event is free and open to the public and will be held in Rivers Building, room A-102, East Carolina University, Greenville, N.C.

For additional information about Berinsky, visit: http://web.mit.edu/berinsky/www/index.html.

 


-by Lacey Gray, Thomas Harriot College of Arts & Sciences

Writing workshop highlights veterans’ stories

Former Marine Phil Klay. (contributed photo)

Former Marine Phil Klay. (contributed photo)

Former Marine Phil Klay will be at East Carolina University March 16-17 to participate in the University-sponsored Veterans Writing Workshop, designed to coach and mentor veterans and military-connected writers to record their stories of service.

Klay joined the Marines because we were a nation at war, he says. He wrote short stories about his war, and how that war followed him home, so the American people could better understand the consequences of America’s reactions to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. There were stories he had to tell — individual stories about men and women that weren’t being told on the nightly news.

Now he’s returning to eastern North Carolina to help other veterans tell their own stories.

Klay will lead a writing workshop March 16 and will be joined by fellow authors Ron Capps, Monica Haller and Dr. Fredrick Foote at Hendrix Theater that evening from 7-9 p.m. for readings and a question-and-answer session, which is open to the public and is an ECU Passport Event.

Author Ron Capps. (contributed photo)

Author Ron Capps. (contributed photo)

“I think the craft of writing is the best way we have of dealing with the most vital, painful and beautiful aspects of life. Hopefully, I’ll have something useful to say to writers who are trying to figure out how to approach subjects that are important to them,” Klay said. “Certainly, I’ve found conversations with veteran writers to be hugely important in helping me to formulate my thoughts.”

Klay won the 2014 National Book Award for Fiction for “Redeployment,” a collection of short stories about the war he witnessed in Iraq during a 2007 troop surge intended push back against a raging insurgency that threatened Iraq’s future.

“It’s such an odd space to be in, transferring being at war in Iraq and at peace the States, between one’s primary sense of oneself as a Marine and as a husband, as a soldier and a citizen,” Klay said. He hopes that his work, and the writing produced by the Veterans Writing Workshop, will extend a bridge to those who didn’t share the experiences of combat.

Klay continues to be affected by his time in Iraq and the continuing legacy of a war well into its second decade. In February 2017, the New York Times published an opinion piece (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/10/opinion/sunday/what-were-fighting-for.html) that commended the moral courage of individual American fighting men and women.

“I think I’ve continued to develop a respect for the depth and complexity of veteran’s experiences. I’ve also thought more about the role of American citizens more broadly, whether veteran or not, and the things that unify us as a country,” Klay said.

Veterans and military-connected writers interested in participating in the Veterans Writing workshop can visit http://www.ecu.edu/cs-acad/veteranswritingworkshop/registration.cfm to register.

 

 

-by Benjamin Abel, Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences

ECU’s Harriot College recognizes high-achieving first-year students

East Carolina University’s Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences recognized its high-achieving first-year freshmen and transfer students at the college’s annual ECU Excels Awards Ceremony on Feb. 17 in the Mendenhall Student Center Great Rooms.

The event, which began in 2010 and is in its eighth year, honored 573 Harriot College students who achieved a GPA of 3.0 or higher in their first semester at ECU.

Dr. William M. Downs, dean of the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, welcomed the students and their guests to the celebration.

“ECU is an exceptional place. We really do put our students first,” said Downs. “ECU Excels is all about recognizing that you are already on the path to success and a timely graduation. It is a huge accomplishment.”

Following the dean’s comments, three officers from the THCAS Dean’s Student Leadership Council gave formal remarks about their lives at ECU. They provided words of wisdom to current Excels awardees on how to be successful throughout their academic career at ECU.

Chair of the council Lily Faulconer, an Honors College student who will graduate in May with degrees in political science and multidisciplinary studies, said, “Your time of transition is not over after your first semester. You’re going to experience many types of transition. You may find yourself in a time that feels like constant chaos, but you’ve already demonstrated your ability to adapt to a new environment and to new responsibilities.”

“I want to encourage you to continue on this path,” said Faulconer. “Think of today and our celebration of your success. Think of how hard you worked to be here at East Carolina, reflect on your successes and remember the incredible opportunities you have had and will have as a student and future graduate and alumni of East Carolina University.”

“ECU is a community, a family, a network of support and a hub of resources. You have everything you need to succeed nestled somewhere on our campus. Take advantage of what ECU has to offer you,” Faulconer concluded.

Katharine Chandler, co-chair of the leadership council who is majoring in history, philosophy, religious studies and great books, said “the key to success is to harness strength in all your academic endeavors.”

Within her first two years at ECU, Chandler studied abroad in Italy, South Africa and India. She said that getting to know her professors and being involved in campus organizations helped her focus and achieve her goals.

“It was because of the professors that I was able to accomplish so much,” said Chandler.

Virginia Vasquez-Rios, secretary of the leadership council and a sophomore biology major, was the final student to speak at the event.

“You should be very proud of yourselves,” said Vasquez-Rios.

Vasquez-Rios re-iterated Chandler’s comment about getting to know the professors at ECU, and also told students to use their time wisely and apply themselves in everything they do.

“Apply, apply, apply,” said Vasquez-Rios. “Persist in what you think will help you reach your goals.”

Honorees of the event received a certificate to commemorate their accomplishments and had the opportunity to have photos taken by a professional photographer. Additionally, the scholars and their guests celebrated with cake and mingled with faculty and associate deans from Harriot College.

 

 

-by Lacey Gray, Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences

ECU geological sciences professor co-chairs panel overseeing sea drilling

An East Carolina University professor has volunteered his time and expertise with an international marine research collaborative dedicated to exploring the world’s oceans.

Dr. David Mallinson. (Contributed photo)

Dr. David Mallinson. (Contributed photo)

Dr. David Mallinson, professor of geological sciences in the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, has been a longtime member of the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) and recently completed a three-year term as co-chair of the program’s Science Evaluation Panel.

The 54-member science panel or SEP reviews drilling proposals from around the world. Mallinson co-chaired along with Dick Kroon from the University of Edinburgh and Ken Miller from Rutgers University.

“These proposals require a tremendous amount of work and review,” Mallinson said. “Large amounts of geophysical data need to be acquired and reviewed to demonstrate that the objectives of the proposal can be met.”

The SEP consists of top scientists from 25 participating nations who are assigned different proposals by the co-chairs. Approximately 20 proposals are considered at bi-annual meetings. Co-chairs review all documents, coordinate meetings and presentations, and make final decisions on the proposals.

“Proposal decisions are extremely important, in that each drilling expedition costs upwards of $12 to $14 million,” said Mallinson. “So there is a lot of pressure to get everything right.”

As co-chair, Mallinson also attended almost 20 meetings of other important panels and boards held in the United States, Europe and Japan.

DV JOIDES Resolution (US platform). (Contributed photo)

DV JOIDES Resolution (US platform). (Contributed photo)

“It was a huge time commitment. But it was great to represent ECU on an international stage,” said Mallinson.

Mallinson said he has enjoyed working with people from all over the world and visiting 13 different countries as a part of the SEP and IODP.

“It’s a great feeling to be involved with something that is so global in scale and represents the cutting-edge of Earth science,” said Mallinson, adding the opportunity to serve “provided a great platform for representing ECU to top scientists around the world, and helped to elevate the stature of the university.”

Prior to his term as co-chair of the SEP, Mallinson served a three-year term as vice-chair for the Site Characterization Panel. Mallinson also served as a member on the Proposal Evaluation Panel.

For more information on the IODP, visit http://www.iodp.org/ and the SEP at http://www.iodp.org/boards-and-panels/science-evaluation-panel.

 

-by Lacey Gray

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