ECU hosts Veterans Writing Workshop

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

ECU celebrates World Anthropology Day

East Carolina University’s Department of Anthropology will celebrate World Anthropology Day for the fourth year with Anthropology After Dark.

The Anthropology After Dark open house events include a lecture on the role of anthropology in the military by cultural anthropologist Robert Greene Sands. Sands, director of the Institute for the Study of Culture and Language at Norwich University, will discuss “From Advancing Cultural Sensitivity in Special Operations Forces to Building Sustainable Communities Through Outreach to Veterans,” 6:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 15, in the Flanagan Building, room 265.

The evening also will feature laboratory and artifact exhibits, Andean music and the display of an Egyptian tomb beginning at 7 p.m. on the second floor of the Flanagan Building.

“This event is one of our more significant public outreach events,” said Dr. Randy Daniel, chairman of the department. “We invite the public into our classrooms and labs to help them understand the relevance of anthropology in the 21st century.”

All events are free and open to the public. Free parking will be available at the lot near the corner of 10th Street and College Hill Drive. A shuttle from the parking lot to the Flanagan Building will run every 15 minutes beginning at 6:15 p.m.

World Anthropology Day is a day for anthropologists to share their excitement about their discipline with the public and to build enthusiasm and awareness for current and future anthropologists. This year, 236 schools representing 13 different countries will hold events in celebration of World Anthropology Day.

“This is a great time for anthropology,” said Dr. Alex Barker, president of the American Anthropological Association. “Today’s anthropologists are making remarkable contributions to human understanding and tackling the world’s most pressing problems.”

Anthropology Day is an initiative by the American Anthropological Association. Founded in 1902, the association has more than 10,000 members and is the world’s largest professional organization of anthropologists. For more information, visit americananthro.org/AnthroDay.

 

Contact: Dr. Randy Daniel, chairman, Department of Anthropology, Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, danieli@ecu.edu, 252-328-9455

Students and staff to present ECU production of “The Vagina Monologues”

East Carolina University will present a production of “The Vagina Monologues” at 7 p.m. on Feb. 13 in Wright Auditorium.

“The Vagina Monologues” is a play addressing multiple aspects of the feminine experience including the physical body, empowerment and the ultimate embodiment of individuality. The material was developed based on interviews with more than 200 women. It was first performed in New York in 1994.

“It’s an honor to bring life to Eve Ensler’s words and to be a part of this wonderful community of women who care so deeply,” said Mira Sampath, ECU senior and member of the ensemble. “I first auditioned to challenge myself to step outside of my comfort zone, but now I believe in the power these words hold to transform both the audience and the performers in a way unlike any other.”

Admission to the performance is free and open to the ECU community and general public. No ticket is required for entry. However, donations will be accepted at the door and will benefit the Center for Family Violence Prevention. This organization serves Pitt, Martin and Washington counties to break the cycle of domestic violence while enhancing individual self-sufficiency and promoting healthy family relationships.

The cast includes 23 women consisting of students, faculty, staff and community members.

“One of the most amazing things about being part of “The Vagina Monologues” is the reminder that runs through all the stories of how resilient women still have to be on a daily basis,” said Will Banks, co-director of the ECU production. “While these monologues may be 20 years old, the stories of sexual assault contained in many of these pieces are still far too real, too much a part of our daily lives. I hope by continuing to stage this show, we are helping more women know that they are not isolated in those experiences, and more men to recognize how we can be too complicit in these experiences by ignoring or downplaying their significance.”

Early performances of the play led to the 1998 launch of V-Day, a global movement aimed at ending violence against women and girls. The initial event led to more than 5,800 annual V-Day celebrations, many of those on college campuses.

The play contains strong language and adult content and is intended for mature audiences.

 

Contact: Mark Rasdorf, associate director for the ECU LGBT Resource Office/co-director of ECU production at 252-737-4451. 

ECU to host NC Civility Summit featuring Dr. Jennifer Arnold

East Carolina University will host the third annual North Carolina Civility Summit from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Feb. 17 in the Mendenhall Student Center.

The goal of the N.C. Civility Summit is to create constructive dialogue beyond ECU’s campus and the state of North Carolina, to find solutions and build coalitions to address real-world challenges and tackle significant societal issues. The keynote speaker will be Dr. Jennifer Arnold.

Arnold and her family star in the TLC Network hit docu-drama, “The Little Couple,” which follows her personal and professional life. In addition, she has spent the last eight years involved in health care simulation education. Arnold is currently the medical director of the Simulation Center at Texas Children’s Hospital and assistant professor of pediatrics at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

In 2013, upon the adoption of the couple’s second child, Arnold was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer.  Through the support of family, friends and her fans, she underwent intense treatments and is currently cancer-free. Now as a cancer survivor, Arnold is an advocate for spreading cancer awareness, supporting those on the road to recovery and engaging all others with her inspiring story of survivorship.

Following the keynote address at 11 a.m., attendees from across the region will break out into multiple sessions discussing topics such as DACA/the Dream Act, the Politics of Sports, Climate Change and Language Ownership.

The N.C. Civility Summit is free and open to the public; however, tickets are required for entry. To register and for tickets for the event visit www.ecuarts.com. Lunch will be provided for all attendees.

Sponsors include Student Involvement and Leadership, Student Activities Board, Student Government Association, Black Student Union, Sexuality and Gender Alliance, Intercultural Affairs, Off-Campus Student Services, N.C. Civil and Pitt Community College.

For more information about the N.C. Civility Summit visit www.ecu.edu/ecunited or contact Wanda Tyler, director of intercultural affairs, at 252-328-6495.

 

Contact: Wanda Tyler, director of intercultural affairs, tylerw16@ecu.edu, 252-328-6495

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 goldenleaf.org/scholarships.html.

 

-by Erin Shaw, University Communications

ECU students benefit from University Writing Center donations

East Carolina University students receive valuable benefits from the University Writing Center preparing them for academic and professional success. Recent donations to the center are facilitating those advantages.

Dr. Nicole Caswell, director of the University Writing Center, pictured with a former UWC consultant

Dr. Nicole Caswell (right), director of the University Writing Center, is pictured here with former UWC consultant, Rexford Rose. Caswell is grateful for recent donations to the UWC priority fund that allows them to continue their mission of serving students. (Photos provided by Dr. Nicole Caswell.)

In fall 2017, ECU English alumni Wanda (’75) and Jon Yuhas (’78) gifted an initial $5,000 to establish the University Writing Center priority fund. The purpose of the fund is to continue the vital work performed by the center.

“The writing skills we ourselves learned at ECU have served us well in building successful careers. Writing is important to every profession,” said Wanda, executive director of the Pitt County Development Commission and a new member of the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Advancement Council. “In our professions, we both see well-educated people who, because their writing skills are not good, miscommunicate important information. Writing standard operating procedures, legal documents, medical instructions or providing technical specs all start with solid basic writing skills.”

Jon and Wanda Yuhas discuss the University Writing Center

ECU alumni Jon and Wanda Yuhas discuss the University Writing Center priority fund with Dr. Will Banks, professor of English, (center, yellow shirt) and Dr. Nicole Caswell (right).

However, not every question about writing can be covered in the classroom, a concept Jon knows well from when he taught freshman composition.

“Poorly written work says something about the writer’s intellect and character that is almost impossible to redeem,” said Yuhas, human resources manager at the Roberts Company in Winterville. “The ability to express thoughts in writing is crucial to success in any endeavor.”

Through the UWC, students at all levels may seek support in drafting, editing and revising written papers for university classes and preparing them for written communication projects they may encounter in their careers. All services provided are free of charge.

Monica Bloomberg

Monica Bloomberg, ECU graduate student and current consultant at the University Writing Center, is an advocate for students and enjoys impacting the lives of others.

“I have learned to be an advocate for students, a leader, a counselor and a member of a larger, dedicated family that is committed to supporting ECU’s students, faculty and staff,” said Monica Bloomberg, graduate student and consultant at the UWC. “My experiences collaborating with writers and my fellow consultants solidified my decision to pursue a service profession where I can continue interacting with the community and impacting the lives of others.”

Dr. Nicole Caswell, director of the center said, “Writers who visit the UWC might see the impact more immediately on a particular assignment, but the skills they have gained will serve them long after that assignment is completed.”

Chelsea (Cox) Mullins also worked as a consultant at the UWC from 2011 until she graduated from ECU in 2014.

Chelsea Mullins

Chelsea Mullins, ECU alumna (’14) and former University Writing Center consultant, said a few words at the UWC grand opening ceremony held Sept. 23, 2013.

“I was humbled to watch the UWC grow over the course of my undergraduate years,” said Mullins. “When I graduated, the UWC had become a special place where students were welcomed in and had access to more services than ever before.”

Recently, another $10,000 donation to the center’s priority fund by Dr. Michelle Eble, associate professor of rhetoric and technical communication in ECU’s Department of English, and her husband Shane Ernst, senior vice-president of quality at Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, continues to show that the center’s mission is important.

“The director of the UWC, Dr. Nikki Caswell, has expanded the services of the center to meet ongoing student and faculty needs, and we saw an opportunity to invest in something at ECU that influences the everyday lives of students,” said Eble. “I’ve been amazed by the number of my own students who have used the services of the UWC. They are excited to share the feedback they received.”

Ernst sees the advantages the center provides students in helping prepare them for writing in their careers.

“The ability to write and communicate is an essential factor when it comes to landing an entry-level position and the potential for career advancement,” said Ernst.

Caswell said the center is eager to serve the Greenville community in the future through events that will assist the public with writing cover letters, resumes, and grants as well as filling out job applications.

“I’m grateful for the recent donations to the UWC priority fund because these resources allow us to continue our mission on campus while simultaneously working to expand our services to the Greenville community,” said Caswell.

For more information about the UWC, visit ecu.edu/cs-acad/writing/uwc/.

Chelsea Mullins helps cut the ribbon at the UWC grand opening

Chelsea Mullins (center, purple shirt), ECU alumna (’14) and former University Writing Center consultant, helps cut the ribbon at the UWC grand opening held Sept. 23, 2013.

 

-by Lacey L. Gray, University Communications

Award-winning SHOES Project builds on two years’ successes to combat mental illness and depression

East Carolina University students have partnered with campus departments to present the SHOES Project from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Feb. 8 near the cupola on the ECU Mall.

SHOES, which stands for Students Honoring Others’ Everyday Struggles/Stories, is a program intended to help ECU students who may be dealing with challenging times. College students may experience depression, anxiety, stress, addictions or thoughts of self-harm, but may feel isolated and unable to manage their response.

“Our hope is that this program and its profound effect on helping others with their struggles, providing them with education and resources, along with hope, encouragement and positivity, will help the masses in being more aware of mental health issues in adolescents and young adults,” said Waz Miller, director of residence life.

The SHOES project was first held in 2016. It won the state and regional Program of the Year award from the South Atlantic Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls, and went on to be chosen as the Program of the Year by the National Association of College and University Residence Halls. The program was shared with other campuses at the Association of College and University Housing Officers-International conference in Rhode Island in June.

Shoes with notes bring awareness to mental health issues

Shoes are scattered across the ECU Mall with anonymous notes during the 2017 SHOES event, a project which aims to bring awareness to mental health issues. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

Thursday’s event will feature a display of 400 pairs of shoes, each attached to a story of someone struggling with a family situation, medical condition, mental health issue or other obstacles, which have been collected from ECU and Hope Middle School students.

In addition to the shoes on display, the So Worth Living student organization will have a Worthy Wall, a chalkboard wall where students can write down the reasons why they are worthy of being loved. Student radio station WZMB 91.3 FM will broadcast live during the event.

ECU students and staff will distribute thousands of positive messages on buses and in campus buildings during the SHOES Project. There will also be a resource table, and the Center for Counseling and Student Development will have a counselor on site for participants who would like someone to talk to in a confidential setting.

There will also be a giant purple bear named Soks and hot chocolate and cookies donated by Campus Dining. Participants can share their photos and thoughts using the hashtag #ECUSHOES.

“This is a time of year when students may get stressed, lonely and need a lift,” Miller said. “This is a collaborative effort to bring more awareness to mental health and other issues which college and younger students are facing.”

In the event of rain, the project will be moved to Thursday, Feb. 15. For more information, contact Waz Miller at millerc@ecu.edu.

 

-Contact: Will Bullock, ECU Residence Hall Association advisor, bullockw17@ecu.edu, or Troy Nance, SHOES event coordinator/RHA President, nancet15@students.ecu.edu

Social determinants of obesity, diabetes addressed at ECU symposium

Does where you live or your level of education make you more prone to obesity and diabetes?

These and other social determinants of obesity and diabetes, which are disproportionally affecting eastern North Carolina, were addressed during the 14th annual Jean Mills Health Symposium at the East Carolina Heart Institute at ECU on Friday.

ECU student discusses her project

ECU senior kinesiology student Mackenzie Brown discusses her project during the 14th annual Jean Mills Health Symposium at ECU on Feb. 2. (Photos by Rob Spahr)

During the event, local, regional and national experts in obesity and diabetes, as well as community leaders and ECU faculty, staff and students, were challenged to address the social causes of the diseases.

The social factors discussed included cultural beliefs, gender roles, access to health care and patient-provider communications, economic stability, community infrastructure, educational attainment and role models.

Dr. Leandris Liburd speaks

Dr. Leandris Liburd, associate director for the Office of Minority Health and Health Equity at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, speaks during the symposium.

This year’s featured speaker was Dr. Leandris Liburd, associate director for the Office of Minority Health and Health Equity at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Liburd is an expert on the social determinants of health and has been successful in identifying intervention strategies to reduce racial and ethnic health disparities.

“Our health is our greatest resource, it affects everything. … (But) it’s something that I think we typically take for granted until we don’t have it anymore. And then we get up and say ‘OK, now I need to pay attention,’” Liburd said. “In public health, we try to get to people in the front end of that. And while we can’t prevent everything, there are things that we can delay and that we can minimize.”

Liburd said physicians come with high levels of authority and respect, which they can lend to help sway public policies and make significant positive impacts in leveling out some of the social health discrepancies.

“We don’t expect that doctors will go out and take on all of these issues. But we do think that it’s reasonable, as a beginning, that they will lend their influence to the efforts that others are trying to put forth to help make them successful,” Liburd said. “We have to find our place in this and where we can contribute the most.”

The symposia are presented by the ECU College of Allied Health Sciences in collaboration with ECU’s Department of Public Health, the Brody School of Medicine and the ECU Medical & Health Sciences Foundation.

“Over the past decade and a half, the Mills symposium has invited distinguished national and international experts to address the health and health care issues that affect minority populations, especially our communities right here in eastern North Carolina,” said Robert Orlikoff, dean of ECU’s College of Allied Health Sciences.

“This is not an academic seminar and this is not a town meeting,” Orlikoff added. “It’s a rare opportunity for us to come together, educate ourselves and work together to reach real and long-standing solutions.”

Jean Mills, who died from breast cancer in October 2000, was an ECU alumna with a passion for community health and health equity. Her brother, Amos T. Mills III, established the symposium in her honor.

 

-by Rob Spahr, University Communications

Health care quality improvement projects showcased at symposium

More than 150 people filled the auditorium of the East Carolina Heart Institute at ECU on Wednesday to discuss, and reward, projects aimed at improving health care practices in eastern North Carolina and beyond.

The 2nd Annual Unified Quality Improvement Symposium – co-hosted by the Brody School of Medicine REACH Initiative and the Vidant Health Quality Office – featured more than 40 presenters. Their topics ranged from reducing rates of newborn hypothermia and improving HIV treatment adherence, to improving discharge processes in inpatient rehabilitation centers and limiting physician sleep interruptions.

Student presents project

Second-year ECU Brody School of Medicine student Noopur Doshi discusses her project during the 2nd Annual Unified Quality Improvement Symposium, which was held in the East Carolina Heart Institute at ECU on Jan. 31, 2018. (Photos by Rob Spahr)

Second-year medical students Rebecca Jones and Reena Patel worked as nurses in neonatal intensive care and labor and delivery, respectively, prior to medical school.

For their symposium presentation, they discussed how they were working with a local OB-GYN to address the high infant mortality rate and maternal health disparities in Pitt County.

Students discuss their project

Omar Taha and Dr. Ahmed Hamed, left, discuss their project.

“We have a longitudinal program for mothers looking at having healthier pregnancies, reducing smoking, increasing breastfeeding and then also infant safety and CPR,” Jones said.

Patel said the program resulted in an overall decrease in anxiety for the mothers-to-be, as well as increased confidence in breastfeeding, CPR and choking rescue.

“We also compared longitudinal lifestyle changes and found that a number of people made significant beneficial lifestyle changes throughout the program,” Patel said. “As a result, we are implementing a portion of the program, the infant CPR portion, into Vidant hospital’s perinatal educational curriculum, as a medical student-run program.”

Student discusses his project

Second-year ECU Brody School of Medicine student Bennett Mack discusses his project.

This year’s keynote speaker, Dr. Julie Freischlag, chief executive officer of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, stressed the importance of health care professionals having integrity and being brave.

“Igniting success as health care providers, you need to be compassionate, you need to be innovative and bold,” Freischlag said. “Seize opportunities, take chances, be brave. You be the one to start the momentum, even if it’s controversial or uncomfortable.”

The following participants earned awards for podium presentations:

  • 1st Place: Diana Layne, a Vidant Medical Center nurse, for a presentation on a collaborative approach to reducing central line associated blood stream infections.
  • 2nd Place: Pooja Sarin, a third-year medical student, for a presentation on reducing the rates of newborn hypothermia by maintaining delivery temperatures of 77 F during cesarean sections.
  • 3rd Place: Kate Gitzinger, a Vidant Medical Center nurse, for the presentation “Interprofessional Education: A Powerful Tool for Improving Delivery Room Care and Competency.”

These participants received awards for their poster presentations, which were displayed in the ECHI lobby throughout the event:

  • 1st Place: Meera Patel, a second-year medical student, for a presentation on reducing the rate of contaminated blood draws coming from the ED to the microbiology laboratory at Vidant Medical Center.
  • 2nd Place: Taj Nasser, a fourth-year medical student, for the presentation “From Bits to Bytes to Reality: Reduction in Patients who Leave Without Treatment in the Emergency Department by using Computer Simulation to Redesign Nurse Staffing.”
  • 3rd Place: Sujitha Nandi, a clinical assistant professor of internal medicine at Brody, for a presentation on a challenge to discharge ECU general internal medicine inpatients before noon.

For more information about the REACH program visit http://www.ecu.edu/reach.

 

-by Rob Spahr, University Communications

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