Women of Distinction nominations due Feb. 1

Nominations are due Wednesday, Feb. 1 for the 2017 Women of Distinction Awards given by the Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Women.

The ECU Women of Distinction Awards are given every two years to recognize the outstanding contributions by women of East Carolina University. Nominees for the awards may include ECU faculty, staff, administrators, and alumni. Ten women will be selected for this prestigious award, one of whom will be chosen to receive the Linda Allred Profiles in Leadership Award.

The 2017 event will be held April 4.

The awards recognize women who have:

  • distinguished themselves in academic work, career, leadership, public service, or any combination thereof through commitment, determination, empowerment and generosity of spirit and time;
  • contributed to the personal growth and success of others, especially women, through education, research, or public or volunteer service, beyond their expected job responsibilities; and
  • created positive social change, increased equality and fairness for all, and built community.

Areas in which nominees demonstrate outstanding contributions may include, but are not limited to, academics/education; professions; research; health care/services; management/administration; politics; social services; volunteer, charity, community outreach organizations; and athletics.

Nomination packets consist of a nomination form and a recommendation letter. Nominators also have the option to include the nominee’s resume or CV along with additional letters of support.

Nomination materials, scanned into one PDF document, should be emailed to Karen Traynor at traynork@ecu.edu.

For more information, visit http://www.ecu.edu/cs-acad/ccsw/womenofdistinction.cfm.


-by Jackie Drake, Eastern AHEC 

Community and Regional Development program is semifinalist for national award

The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, has recognized East Carolina University as a semifinalist in this year’s Innovations in American Government Awards competition.

ECU’s Community and Regional Development program will compete to be named a finalist in the competition and have the chance to be awarded $100,000 in Cambridge this spring.

The Community and Regional Development program advanced from a pool of more than 500 applications from all 50 states and was selected by the Innovations Award evaluators as an example of novel and effective action that has had significant impact and that they believe can be replicated across the country and the world.

“We are humbled and excited about this opportunity. ECU has a commitment to student success, public service and regional transformation. This selection shows that our commitments aren’t hollow words but actions. We have a community to serve, and we take that responsibility seriously,” said Dr. Cecil Staton, chancellor of ECU.

ECU’s Community and Regional Development program proactively targets distressed, low-wealth and limited capacity communities with economic development products, technical assistance and financial resources that can help increase competitiveness and build stronger, more vibrant and capable communities.

Since 2010, the program has facilitated $2.7 million of investments in eastern North Carolina communities, leveraged $24 million for community projects, established 61 formal community partnerships, completed 32 locally driven community development projects and offered 98 Community Capacity Building training sessions.

“We have an innovative program that is showing tangible results,” said Kenny Flowers, assistant vice chancellor for community and regional development at ECU. “Along with our partners, we are investing resources, but more importantly, we are training those who are directly responsible for eastern North Carolina communities. Through our engagement and collaboration, we hope to add value and help improve the competitive profile of our region.”

“These programs demonstrate that there are no prerequisites for doing the good work of governing,” said Stephen Goldsmith, director of the Innovations in American Government Program at the Ash Center. “Small towns and massive cities, huge federal agencies and local school districts, large budgets or no budgets at all — what makes government work best is the drive to do better, and this group proves that drive can be found anywhere.”

The Ash Center expects to announce 10 programs that will be named finalists and be invited to Cambridge to present to the Innovation Awards Program’s National Selection Committee in March, with the grand prize winners to be named in June.

For more information about ECU’s Community and Regional Development program, visit http://www.ecuinnovate.org/.

For the full list of semifinalists, and for more information regarding the Innovations in American Government Awards, visit http://innovations.harvard.edu.

The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation advances excellence in governance and strengthens democratic institutions worldwide. Through its research, education, international programs and government innovations awards, the center fosters creative and effective government problem solving and serves as a catalyst for addressing many of the most pressing needs of the world’s citizens. For more information, visit http://www.ash.harvard.edu.


-by Rich Klindworth

EC Scholars provide service, reflect on four-year journey

Over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, 17 EC Scholars traveled to Charleston, South Carolina where they led a service project at the Ronald McDonald House, connected with East Carolina University alumni and reflected on their four-year journey together.

(Contributed photo)

(Contributed photo)

The annual senior impact trip also included an outing to Fort Sumter to learn more about the history of Charleston.

At the Ronald McDonald House, students cleaned, removed holiday décor, cleaned the food pantry, organized the linen closet and freshened up rooms.

The also painted an elephant face on a pop can tab collector. Ronald McDonald Houses nationwide collect pop tabs as a fundraiser.

The senior class described their time together as “entertaining, meaningful and rejuvenating,” said Dr. Diana Majewski, assistant director of the EC Scholars, who accompanied the students on the trip along with Dr. Todd Fraley, director of EC Scholars.

To view photos from the trip, visit:



-by Crystal Baity

College of Nursing graduate named Air Force ROTC Distinguished Graduate

Jonathan Jeffries, a recent graduate of East Carolina University’s College of Nursing, was named a Distinguished Graduate at his Air Force ROTC commissioning ceremony in December.

The honor is given to the top 10 percent of the Air Force ROTC graduating class nationwide, which this year included 1,815 graduates from 144 detachments. The award is predicated on success and leadership in academics, ROTC and in the community.

Jonathan Jeffries, right, receives a sabre in recognition of being named a Distinguished Graduate during his Air Force ROTC commissioning ceremony in December. (Contributed photo)

Jonathan Jeffries, right, receives a sabre in recognition of being named a Distinguished Graduate during his Air Force ROTC commissioning ceremony in December. (Contributed photo)

“I think he’s the whole person concept as far as what we would need as a leader,” said Lt. Col. Roxane Engelbrecht, Jeffries’ commanding officer who nominated him for the award. “He is physically fit and he excels academically — those are the first two things. The third is leadership quality and his ability to lead groups of people, not only in the Air Force and Air Force ROTC, but his demonstrated leadership at the university is somewhat unparalleled by most cadets.”

Jeffries was the College of Nursing’s fall 2016 senior class president. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in nursing in December with a 3.89 GPA. He helped to organize a relief effort to aid Greenville flood victims following Hurricane Matthew in the fall of 2016. He also spearheaded his class’s efforts to raise money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society during the 2016 Walk MS fundraiser.

Engelbrecht has nominated five cadets for the award since she came to ECU in 2014. Of those, Jeffries is one of four to have been selected as a recipient.

“It was a huge shock and a huge honor,” Jeffries said of the award, which came in the form of a sabre Engelbrecht presented him at the ceremony. “I’m not one to care about being recognized, but when it does happen it’s definitely nice to see all the effort and all the hard work you’ve put in – throughout your time either with ROTC or at the College of Nursing – be recognized. It was a surreal moment. It was probably one of the best days of my life so far.”

Prior to attending ECU, Jeffries served in the U.S. Marine Corps for three and a half years, but separated from that branch after being injured in pre-deployment training.

Jeffries plans to make a career as an Air Force nurse. He will go to Arizona in February for the Air Force’s 10-week nursing training before being stationed at Eglin Air Force base in Florida.


-by Natalie Sayewich

Inaugural Taft STEM Education Lecture set for Jan. 24

East Carolina University’s College of Education will host the inaugural Taft STEM Education Lecture on Tuesday, Jan. 24 at 6 p.m. in the A.J. Fletcher Recital Hall.

Dr. James Shymansky. (Contributed photo)

Dr. James Shymansky. (Contributed photo)

The speaker will be Dr. James Shymansky, the E. Desmond Lee Endowed Professor in Science Education at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

The event is free and open to the public.

The College of Education started the lecture series to ignite new ideas in teaching and learning in science, technology, engineering and mathematics or STEM. The series will bring international knowledge and discovery from well-known education scholars to eastern North Carolina. The lectures also will provide opportunities to ECU students, faculty and K-12 school staff to meet and collaborate with scholars while increasing the visibility of ECU’s commitment to STEM education.

Shymansky’s research has focused on factors influencing student performance and how professional development activities for teachers translate into enhanced student attitudes and achievement. He is working on a set of online student materials that focus on Next Generation Science Standards, a program consisting of web-based, dual language interactive science modules for elementary and middle school children that can be accessed in English, Spanish, Mandarin and Arabic.

For more information on Shymansky, visit https://coe.umsl.edu/mycoe/index.cfm?event=p2_profiles:viewProfile&sso_id=jimshy.


-by Terah B. Archie, College of Education

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

Professor to appear on UNC-TV’s Exploring North Carolina

East Carolina University professor Dr. Stan Riggs will appear in two episodes of the UNC-TV series, “Exploring North Carolina,” in January. Hosted by Tom Earnhardt, the show focuses on the natural features of the state.

ECU professor, Dr. Stan Riggs, will appear in UNC-TV’s “Exploring North Carolina” this month. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

ECU professor, Dr. Stan Riggs, will appear in UNC-TV’s “Exploring North Carolina” this month. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

Riggs, a distinguished research professor of geology, said he worked with Earnhardt to determine what topics were exciting and important to the show’s viewers. Each program required three to five days on location collecting video footage and interviews.

“The purpose of the programs is educating the public – how the cultural history is dependent on the coastal system,” said Riggs.

The first episode, “Canals of Northeastern North Carolina,” features the role of slaves who were brought to the state to dig the original canals that changed the landscape in the region. Riggs discusses the geology of the lakes and swamps and their significance.

The second program, “Long Parks,” tells the story of how two very different national parks –Cape Lookout National Seashore and the Blue Ridge Parkway – display the natural wonders of eastern and western North Carolina. Riggs speaks about the unique geological aspects of each park.

“Canals of Northeastern North Carolina” will air Thursday, Jan. 12 and “Long Parks” will be shown on Thursday Jan. 19 at 8:30 p.m.

Riggs said the episodes, along with others in the Exploring North Carolina series, will be made available to area schools after airing on UNC-TV.

In addition to his role at ECU, Riggs is chair of the board of directors of North Carolina Land of Water (NC-LOW), a non-profit group that partners with ECU and co-sponsored the Exploring North Carolina programs. NC-LOW’s website says the mission of the group is to contribute to long-term, sustainable economic development based on the natural resources and cultural history of the region and enhance the quality of life for residents. ECU geology faculty Dr. Dorothea Ames and Dr. Steve Culver and ECU Chief of Staff Jim Hopf also serve on the organization’s board of directors.

“NC-LOW looks at how we can build sustainable jobs for the future in a region that’s changing due to environmental factors like storms and flooding,” said Riggs.

More information about NC-LOW can be found at http://www.nclandofwater.org/ and Exploring North Carolina, http://www.unctv.org/content/exploringNC


-by Jamie Smith

ECU health fitness specialists in high demand

Helping people get healthier is paying off for health fitness specialists who graduate from East Carolina University.

Wendy Mastin ’03 is the director of operations for fitness company Aquila. (Contributed photo)

Wendy Mastin ’03 is the director of operations for fitness company Aquila. (Contributed photo)

Wendy Mastin is a 2003 graduate of the program and the director of operations at Aquila, which is a management and consultant company for corporate fitness and well-being programs. She likes to hire fellow Pirates.

“I know what I had to go through to complete the program; it’s very well rounded,” Mastin said. “You’re not just learning about exercise prescription. You’re also going to learn how to teach class, which is something that a lot of other programs don’t offer. They don’t have that extra leadership component.”

Aquila works with companies and government agencies to help their employees live healthier and happier lives. They have offices across the country including Miami and Los Angeles.

Mastin’s “collection of Pirates”, as she calls them, began when she was in charge of interns at Aquila. At that time, she said, the internship program wasn’t as strong as it could have been, so she went back to her advisors at ECU to get interns.

“That really started to get us traction in terms of having more people specifically from ECU,” said Mastin. “Once these relationships were established, we often received suggested candidates directly from them, or candidates would reach out to us directly.”

Over the past seven years, Mastin estimated they have employed or taken through internship programs 30 ECU graduates. She said they would often hire an intern after their internship, and in some cases, they would have liked to have hired an ECU intern, but there weren’t any openings available at the time.

“In comparison to other team members that we have we worked with from other universities, ECU grads are well equipped to join the health and fitness work force as soon as they graduate,” Mastin said.

Kristin Carbonara ‘10 (left) and Kindal Smith ‘12 are health fitness specialists who once took classes together at ECU and now work together with Aquila in Washington, D.C. (Contributed photo)

Kristin Carbonara ‘10 (left) and Kindal Smith ‘12 are health fitness specialists who once took classes together at ECU and now work together with Aquila in Washington, D.C. (Contributed photo)

Kristin Carbonara ’10 and Kindal Smith ’12 are two ECU graduates who work for Aquila and are based in Washington, D.C. Carbonara is a program coordinator of incentives and personal training, and Smith is the assistant program manager and group exercise coordinator for one of the larger government agencies in the nation’s capitol. While at ECU they had some classes together, and both credit ECU for where they are now.

“I definitely remember being in awe of the teachers and how they motivated me to want to do well. They also were willing to help if need be and give extra guidance,” Carbonara said.

“I probably wouldn’t have the job I do now without an ECU connection. I would say it’s pretty important,” Smith said.

Smith’s comment is something that those in the College of Health and Human Performance have heard before. Rhonda Kenny is a teaching instructor and the health fitness specialist program director. She said the health fitness specialist program provides opportunities that set ECU students apart from their peers at other universities, such as incorporating a personal fitness training course and an exercise leadership course.

“When our students leave, they’ve already had an entire semester on how to be an effective personal trainer to really change people’s lives and how to be an effective group exercise leader,” said Kenny.

However, Kenny believes the program’s biggest strength is the faculty’s interaction with students.

“Even though we’re a large program, our faculty is dedicated to helping them improve as professionals,” Kenny said. “We are dedicated to getting to know our students. We are very active in promoting and attending professional conferences with them.”

Becoming a health fitness specialist is a growing industry. Kenny said during the economic downturn a few years back, they did not lose one internship position, even though companies were scaling back. She credited this to it being more cost effective for companies to have healthier employees.

“If you look at the trends over the next 13 years, our job outlook will increase 28 percent,” she said.

If those numbers increase as Kenny projected, Mastin could be collecting even more ECU alumni as the years go on.

“I enjoy and take pride in being able to employ and mentor fellow Pirates,” Mastin said. “From a professional standpoint, when I’m able to work with ECU grads, I know and trust that I am employing a highly qualified solid candidate. On a personal level, I view it as a way to give back to the university and the health and human performance program.”


–by Rich Klindworth 

Adventure trip boosts Vietnam veteran

Article originally published in East Magazine Winter 2017 Edition


After a week of rock climbing, rafting, fly fishing and more, George Kalinowski was most excited about being among fellow veterans who really listened.

Kalinowski, a Vietnam veteran and East Carolina alumnus, was one of 10 participants on a recent trip that allowed combat- wounded veterans to bond and realize new capabilities through adapted outdoor sports. From Aug. 9-14 at the National Sports Center for the Disabled in Winter Park, Colorado, Kalinowski and veterans of other conflicts such as Iraq and Afghanistan were able to build confidence and camaraderie.

“The trip was outstanding. Everybody was opening up. I think they liked having the old guy there,” said Kalinowski, who suffered shrapnel wounds in Vietnam and received a Purple Heart. “No one takes the time to listen to veterans, at any age. With the guys, we opened up more when we realized we’d gone through similar things. They wanted to hear what I had to say. They were really supportive, and I wanted to support them, too.”

The East Carolina Alumni Association Military Alumni Chapter partnered with No Boundaries, a nonprofit that offers trips to veterans from across the country twice a year to bond and realize new capabilities through adapted outdoor sports. (Contributed photo)

The East Carolina Alumni Association Military Alumni Chapter partnered with No Boundaries to offer a unique trip for veterans. (Contributed photo)

Kalinowski was selected for the trip after applying through the East Carolina Alumni Association Military Alumni Chapter. This year, the chapter partnered with No Boundaries, a nonprofit that offers this trip to veterans from across the country twice a year, in the summer and winter, at no cost to veterans.

“My favorite part was the fly fishing, but every activity was great,” he said. “A couple times, I doubted myself and thought some of this stuff was beyond what I could do at my age. But everything went really well.”

Kalinowski grew up in the Washington, D.C., area. His father was an Air Force officer. He came to ECU on the recommendation of one of his high school teachers. He joined a fraternity and studied accounting but was drafted into the Army before he could graduate. He worked in several fields throughout his career, including real estate and as the part-owner of a sign company.

“Life has been good to me. I’ve been fairly well off,” he said. “But being retired, I wasn’t doing much. This trip inspired me to get in shape. My family was worried it would be too much strain. I’ve been a couch potato, but now I’ve got a whole new attitude.”

On the last night of the trip, participants were invited to be guests of honor at a local rodeo. They were brought to the center of the ring as the announcer thanked them for their service.

“The crowd stood up and clapped. I’m not an emotional person, but that got to me,” Kalinowski said. “We were so unwelcome when we came home. I’m so glad the nation is supporting veterans better.”

Kalinowski “overwhelmingly” recommends the trip to other Pirate veterans. “No doubt about it, you won’t be sorry,” he said. “It’s great what these organizations are doing for us.”

The next No Boundaries trip will be March 7-12. Applications will be due Jan. 24. ECU alumni or students who are combat-wounded veterans are encouraged to apply.

The Military Alumni Chapter hosts various programs throughout the year and is open to any ECU alumni with current or past military service. To find more information, get involved or support the chapter, visit PirateAlumni.com/militaryalumni.


-by Jackie Drake



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