Student research posters unveiled across campus

East Carolina University student researchers are more visible than ever thanks to new research posters placed around campus.

The posters highlight researchers in a variety of fields, including biology, biomedical physics, journalism, political science, visual arts and communications.

The posters, developed by ECU’s Division of Research, Economic Development and Engagement, include current undergraduate and graduate students, as well as alumni. The division plans to add more posters around campus throughout the year, giving students an opportunity to see the faces behind the university’s groundbreaking student-led research activities.

ECU is promoting the growth and success of student research activities around its campuses. Pictured above celebrating biology student researcher and cross country runner Julia Brown (center right) are Vice Chancellor for Research, Economic Development and Engagement Jay Golden (from left), Brown’s research partner Matthew Chilton, and Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Director Curt Kraft.

ECU is promoting the growth and success of student research activities around its campuses. Pictured above celebrating biology student researcher and cross country runner Julia Brown (center right) are Vice Chancellor for Research, Economic Development and Engagement Jay Golden (from left), Brown’s research partner Matthew Chilton, and Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Director Curt Kraft. (Photos by Matt Smith)

“We’re always looking for ways to highlight our student researchers,” said Mary Farwell, director of undergraduate research. “We thought these posters would be a good way to introduce students who are considering participating in research activities a chance to see others like themselves. Additionally, we wanted to highlight researchers outside of the traditional bench science fields to show that research opportunities are available across many disciplines.”

Posters will be on display on both main campus and the health sciences campus, ranging from Joyner Library to the Health Sciences Building.

ECU cross country runner Julia Brown is one of 10 student researchers highlighted in posters around campus.

ECU cross country runner Julia Brown is one of 10 student researchers highlighted in posters around campus.

Additionally, student researchers will be featured on bus advertisements on ECU’s 35 on-campus buses. REDE leadership believes that by increasing the visibility of researchers and their mentors, student interest in research activities will grow as well.

“The university has outlined clear goals to increase student research participation,” said Jay Golden, vice chancellor for research, economic development and engagement. “We want to double the number of undergraduate students participating in research and lead the UNC System in the number of faculty-mentored student research projects.

“Over the past year, the Office of Undergraduate Research has participated in a number of on-campus events, including Get A Clue and meet-and-greets with students,” he said. “We hope our posters continue to keep research at the forefront of our students’ minds as they prepare for life after ECU.”

Along with informational resources from the Office of Undergraduate Research and ECU’s Graduate School, the university offers awards and competitions focusing on student research. ECU’s Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity awards help with the cost of faculty-mentored research projects and range from $1,500-2,500, and students can also apply for smaller undergraduate research mini awards and conference travel awards.

“We encourage all of our students to talk to their professors about research and creative activity projects,” said Ron Mitchelson, provost and senior vice chancellor for academic affairs. “While research certainly includes white coats, test tubes and beakers, it doesn’t have to be limited to the lab. These posters share the unique paths each student took to begin their research journey. Maybe they’ll help jump start another student’s adventure as well.”

Visit the Office of Undergraduate Research to learn more about student research opportunities on campus.

Poster locations on campus

Poster locations on campus (Courtesy of Google Maps)

View a real-time map of poster locations on campus


-by Matt Smith, University Communications

ECU names new chief audit officer

Wayne Poole

Wayne Poole

Wayne Poole has been named the chief audit officer for East Carolina University’s Office of Internal Audit and Management Advisory Services. He began his duties Jan. 1.

After a national search led by Dr. Robert Orlikoff, dean of the College of Allied Health Sciences, the search committee selected Poole. Poole has served as interim chief since June after former chief audit officer Stacie Tronto retired.

“ECU’s Office of Internal Audit has become a model for the State of North Carolina, and I am confident that Wayne’s experience in this field and his leadership will continue that level of excellence,” said ECU Chancellor Cecil Staton.

Poole first came to ECU in 1998 and joined the Office of Internal Audit in 2005. He had served as associate director since 2008.

“I am honored to serve and lead the outstanding professionals in the Office of Internal Audit,” said Poole. “We have a team of people that cares very deeply for our university and we are proud to play an important role in helping ECU accomplish its mission for the people of North Carolina and beyond. I appreciate Chancellor Staton’s confidence in me to serve in this role.”

During his time as associate director, the office received the highest possible rating from external auditors during the 2016 Institute of Internal Auditors Quality Assurance Review Process. Poole has extensive experience directing and conducting audits, investigations and consultative assignments.

The chief audit officer is responsible for overseeing the staff and responsibilities of the Office of Internal Audit and Management Advisory Services which is an independent function of the university that reports to the chancellor and the ECU Board of Trustees Audit Committee. Internal audit’s services include financial, operational, compliance and information technology reviews; management advisory services; investigation of suspected fraud and abuse; education and training on internal control best practices; and serving as a liaison between the university and external auditors.

Poole received his bachelor’s degree in accounting from ECU and his master’s degree in business administration from Embry-Riddle University. He is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force.


-by Jamie Smith, ECU News Services

First Family Health Night highlights local resources

Erin Roberts encourages a mood wheel maker

Erin Roberts helps a mood wheel maker. (Contributed photos)

Using pedal power to make a smoothie on the blender bike. Creating a mood wheel to share feelings. Discovering composting, or “worm food.” Plus blood pressure checks, grocery shopping tips and healthy portion guides.

More than 100 local families got a healthy start to the new year, thanks to ECU’s College of Health and Human Performance.

Family Health Night, held Jan. 8 at the South Greenville Recreation Center, connected Pitt County families with organizations including Cooking Matters, ECU Community School Community Garden, ECU Family Therapy Clinic, Greene County Health Care Neighborhood Services, NC Cooperative Extension, Pitt County Cooperative Extension, and 4-H Youth Development.

“There are so many incredible community partners in Pitt County that make a difference for our families,” said Angela Lamson, associate dean for research in the College of Health and Human Performance and organizer of the event. “Often, though, families don’t know about the resources right in their backyard. This Family Health Night is a great way to introduce them and I hope tonight was just the first of many.”

Natalie Richardson, ECU doctoral student in medical family therapy, also facilitated the event. Nicole Manigo, recreation supervisor of the South Greenville Recreation Center, helped organize the space for the event.

Check out this video of Family Health Night by Dr. Laura Bilbro-Berry, ECU College of Education.

The blender bike is at work making a smoothie. Isaiah Lubben talks about growing health snacks and composting with a future gardener.

Left, the blender bike is at work making a smoothie; right, Isaiah Lubben talks about growing health snacks and composting with a future gardener.


-by Kelly Rusk, University Communications

ECU graduate students collect sunshine baskets for Pender County students

Ten East Carolina University graduate students have helped Pender County elementary and middle school students start the new year with much needed school supplies.

Lauren Patterson, a special education teacher in Wake County and graduate student in the ECU College of Education, coordinated a supply drive this fall for children in schools devastated by Hurricane Florence.

Lauren Patterson and nine graduate students in the College of Education – all from the Raleigh area – collected school supplies for children impacted by Hurricane Florence.

Lauren Patterson (front, center) and nine graduate students in the College of Education – all from the Raleigh area – collected school supplies for children impacted by Hurricane Florence. (Contributed photos)

Patterson and nine others from the Wake County Public School System enrolled in ECU’s Master of School Administration program collected items from across the Raleigh area for “sunshine baskets.” Donors included school service clubs, fitness groups and PEAK Civitan Club, which sponsored 25 baskets. The group also received monetary donations from across the United States and abroad for the project.

Patterson (front right) and other graduate students made the deliveries on Jan. 2.

Patterson (front, right) made the deliveries on Jan. 2.

On Jan. 2, Patterson and another teacher and friend Sarah Bankert delivered 175 baskets filled with school supplies to Cape Fear elementary and middle schools and Rocky Point Elementary in Pender County.

Patterson said the experience of delivering the baskets is something she will never forget.

“There are students and teachers still across the county that are in need of support,” Patterson said. “To quote my idol Ellen DeGeneres, ‘be kind to one another.’ It’s literally one of the easiest things to do. Continue to reach out to the local school system or other organizations across Pender County to see how you can help.”


-by Crystal Baity, ECU News Services

Celebrating ECU’s new Main Campus Student Center

Modern meets traditional at the intersection of East 10th and Charles streets in Greenville.

The new Main Campus Student Center is a you-can’t-miss-it 220,000-square-foot sprawling building that rises three stories and has enough glass on its exterior and interior to cover an entire football field.

The new Main Campus Student Center features a 24-by-42 Pirate Vision digital display.

The new Main Campus Student Center features a 24-by-42-foot Pirate Vision digital display. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

Years in the making, the building pairs cutting-edge technology – electrochromatic glass windows, or smart windows, that tint based on weather, for example, as well as hot-water coils under the floor for invisible heating – with time-honored Pirate roots such as the ECU creed on the main staircase and the outline of eastern North Carolina on the floor of the main ballroom, a nod to our home state with an X marking the spot for Greenville, of course.

Out front, lofty ‘ECU’ letters make a bold statement, welcoming Pirates and visitors to the new front porch and living room of the university.

ECU will welcome this beacon to its landscape with a week of celebratory events, including a grand opening at 1 p.m. Monday, Jan. 7, complete with a ribbon-cutting, building tours, free food and gifts.

Other events include:

  • Dowdy Student Stores opening, 7:30 a.m. Friday, Jan. 4 in its two-level location at 501 E. 10th St.
  • Winter Welcome Back, 4-7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 7 at Main Student Center Commons on the first floor, with winter-themed novelties, attractions and free food. ECU 1Card required.
  • Student Activities Board DJ, noon to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 8, MSC Commons.
  • Women & Gender Office open house, 1-6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 8 on the second floor.
  • Power Hour: Daniel D, presented by Coca-Cola, noon Wednesday, Jan. 9, MSC Commons.
  • Ledonia Wright Cultural Center open house, 1-6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 9 on the first floor.
  • Student Activities Board DJ, noon to 2 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 10, MSC Commons.
  • Student Activites and Organizations open house, 2-7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 10 on the first floor.
  • Jesse R. Peel LGBTQ Center open house, 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 12 on the second floor.
  • LGBTQ Grand Opening Celebration, 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 12, MSC ballrooms.

Dining Details

While the new Main Campus Student Center will open Monday, Jan. 7, more time is needed for construction, inspections and brand-specific training in the dining service areas. They are expected to open by the end of January.

What is open Monday, Jan. 7, the first day of classes? With the exception of the restaurants in the Main Campus Student Center, all dining service locations will resume normal operations. That includes both Todd and West End dining halls, Reade Street Market, the Croatan, The Galley, Wright Place, Starbucks, C3 Express and the food trucks.


-by ECU News Services

ECU dental students learn about topics vital to the field of dental medicine

Skyler Lagcher knows that part of her experience in ECU’s School of Dental Medicine is building an awareness of issues that could impact their future careers — and their future patients. That’s why she and several other SoDM students took on active roles in state and national advocacy efforts and events during the fall ’18 semester.

Through conferences and activities giving them access to viewpoints from dentists, lawmakers, policymakers and other future dentists, the students learned about issues — from the opioid crisis to licensure reform — that will affect the way they approach dental practice in the coming years.

“Your duties don’t stop at the dental chair,” said Lagcher, a second-year SoDM student from Pinetown. “A lot of dental professionals focus on the clinical and professional side, which is important, but we also have an obligation as future professionals to advocate in our field. It’s a long-term commitment.”

Lagcher, along with fellow SoDM students Brittanie Height, Shailja Amin and Bryan Yang traveled in mid-October to Washington, D.C., to the American Student Dental Association (ASDA) Mid-Atlantic Advocacy Academy Conference, where they engaged in a day of workshops on the advocacy basics and learned ASDA’s stance on a variety of issues, including the opioid crisis, mid-level providers and dental licensure reform. Upon their return, the students held a lunch-and-learn session called “Advocake” — complete with an ASDA cake — to discuss advocacy with SoDM D1-D4 cohorts.

School of Dental Medicine students (from left to right) Bryan Yang, Shailja Amin, Skyler Lagcher and Brittanie Height to Washington, D.C., to the American Student Dental Association (ASDA) Mid-Atlantic Advocacy Academy Conference in fall ’18 to take part in advocacy activities.

School of Dental Medicine students (from left to right) Bryan Yang, Shailja Amin, Skyler Lagcher and Brittanie Height went to Washington, D.C., for the American Student Dental Association (ASDA) Mid-Atlantic Advocacy Academy Conference in fall ’18 to take part in advocacy activities. (Contributed photo)

“For me, this conference was crucial to being informed about the issues that are affecting our patients and profession; understanding ASDA’s stance on them and figuring out how I can impact change in these areas,” said Height, a first-year student from Charlotte. “For all of the issues addressed, I was able to glean new or fresh insight. I was also able to meet and speak with more experienced advocates in our profession, hear about their passion projects and their stance on the issues.”

Among the issues covered at the conference and discussed with other advocates, bridging barriers to care became one issue that Height has decided to champion.

“Addressing barriers to care is something that I am personally passionate about and understand first-hand,” she said. “It’s important that we as practitioners never lose sight of the things that may prevent our patients from receiving the care they need. It is integral that we think critically about the role we play in those barriers and take action to remove as many of them as possible.”

Advocacy is also breaking barriers for the students as they learn to think beyond the basics.

“Before coming to dental school, I knew that I wanted to be involved in impacting positive change in the lives of our patients and our profession,” Height said. “I know from experience that some things can be impacted by the provider alone, but there are other things that must be changed systemically to truly move forward.”

Dr. Maggie Wilson, SoDM vice dean and associate dean for student affairs, said advocacy experiences are important for students because such opportunities prepare them to be voices for communities of need — to speak for the most vulnerable and advocate on their behalf.

“A key facet of our mission is to educate leaders — who are also dentists,” Wilson said. “Having the opportunity to attend professional meetings and interact with their peers across the nation is an important component of their leadership development and provides students a forum for exchanging ideas and coming together as a collective voice. That experience maximizes their leadership potential and advocacy impact.”

Although her efforts in advocacy are based in a desire to serve her patients to the best of her ability, Lagcher also came to the ECU School of Dental Medicine with a plan to push herself beyond the standard requirements of her education. The advocacy events helped her learn more about herself by challenging her existing beliefs about her abilities and parameters.

“It was intimidating at first,” she said. “I was stepping outside my comfort zone, but I realized there were so many opportunities for education outside the classroom. I also wanted to find a way to challenge my own leadership capabilities, so I stepped up in the advocacy realm.”

Lagcher said that advocacy has helped her learn to balance a variety of educational facets, not just focusing on her classroom studies. The opportunity to represent the SoDM on a state and national stage was an honor, she added.

“You always want to represent the school well,” she said. “You want to put a good face on an up-and-coming dental school. For the school to have faith in you to send you out to these events is great. If you want to be involved, they will help you do it.”


-by Spaine Stephens, University Communications

Year in photos, video

ECU’s photographers and videographers get the first look and behind-the-scenes peek at many campus happenings. Below, they select their favorite shots and videos from 2018.


There was no doubt that this scene on the second floor of Ross Hall would make a striking photo when graphic designer Sarah Jones and I saw it while working on a project at the School of Dental Medicine in October. Determining the proper exposure in order to capture the silhouettes, reflections and background provided to be a challenge, but I was very happy with the final result. This image won fifth place in the University Photographers’ Association of American’s monthly image contest in the Campus Environment category.

-Rhett Butler

A mower on the mall was kicking up dust that filtered into the beams of sunlight near Flanagan.

-Cliff Hollis

As a photographer, covering a vigil for victims of violence can be a tough task. It’s very important to remain respectful during the event, while at the same time capturing a photo that portrays the emotion of the situation. In this case, I decided to stand back and photograph this vigil at the Cupola for the victims of The Tree of Life synagogue shooting from a distance. I think this image documents the size and location of the event while using the sunlight shining through the trees to convey a sense of hope and healing.

-Rhett Butler

The concern and concentration on the student helping the resident of Cypress Glen makes this photo a favorite.

-Cliff Hollis

All the planning for capturing this photo went out of the window as many graduates began filtering out of the stadium when the fireworks began at the end of the Spring 2018 Commencement Ceremony. This made the already difficult task of getting graduates and fireworks together in one frame ever harder than we anticipated. But thanks to a little luck and a some graduates who decided to stick around for the show, I was able to get a photo that documented the event and also worked perfectly for the ECU homepage. 

-Rhett Butler

The family all hold up the grad’s face making this photo wonderfully surreal.

-Cliff Hollis



I thoroughly enjoyed spending a day with these young people. The way they support each other and take on difficulties with a smile is profound. The connection between camper and camp counselor is strong and that is what this video is about.

-Reed Wolfley

After years of studies, clinics and rounds at ECU’s Brody School of Medicine, 75 medical students learned during the school’s annual Match Day ceremony on Friday where they will be completing their residency trainings. It was an emotional day. See for yourself.

-Video by Rich Klindworth

Brody alumni selected for prestigious teaching award

A pair of Brody alumni recently received a distinguished award for their contributions to teaching and mentoring the next generation of family physicians.

Dr. Bryan Bunn ’10 and Dr. Jeremy Sexton ’11 were selected to receive a 2018 Community Teaching Award from the North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians Foundation.

Brody School of Medicine alums Dr. Bryan Bunn, left, and Dr. Jeremy Sexton were selected to receive a 2018 Community Teaching Award from the North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians Foundation.

Brody School of Medicine alums Dr. Bryan Bunn, left, and Dr. Jeremy Sexton were selected to receive a 2018 Community Teaching Award from the North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians Foundation. (Photos by Rob Spahr)

The Community Teaching Award honors and recognizes dedicated family physicians who sacrifice their time in the interest of advancing the principles and ideals of family medicine by teaching and mentoring the next generation of physicians.

The Brody alumni received a commemorative plaque, a cash award and recognition at NCAFP’s State-of-the Academy Address & Awards Lunch in Asheville on Nov. 30.

Bunn and Sexton both practice at Vidant Family and Sports Medicine-Edenton in Edenton.



Sexton said he was thankful to be chosen for the Community Teaching Award and that it helps validate efforts to do something beneficial for the people of the region.

“We’re not only providing health care to people who really need it in eastern North Carolina, but also kind of bringing a good example of what primary care can be like to people who are going through the process of deciding what specialty that they’re interested in committing to,” he said. “Hopefully the people who come through here are able to see that we do a lot of different stuff and it stays interesting. So hopefully we can get more medical students committed to primary care.”

Dr. Jeremy Sexton

Dr. Jeremy Sexton

Even though the Edenton practice is extremely busy – due in large part to the shortage of primary care physicians in the region – Sexton said he has enjoyed the experience of having students around.

“It’s nice to work with learners because most of the time they’re still really excited about medicine and sometimes when you are busy, you don’t always remember that ‘Oh yeah, this is pretty cool,’” he said.

Returning to North Carolina to practice after completing his residency training in Idaho was particularly meaningful to Sexton.

“I was in med school in Greenville not too long ago and the mission statement is kind of embedded into everything that Brody does. They really do want to turn out primary care providers who stick around in this part of the state because there is such a big need here,” he said. “If you work in primary care, you can work anywhere you want. There are five openings on the big island of Hawaii right now. I’m in Edenton, North Carolina, and I love it.”

Sexton said one piece of advice he would offer current medical students is to get as much clinical experience as possible.

“Meet or find a doctor that is doing something similar to what you imagine doing, so that you can see what kind of pitfalls they’ve experienced and things that would be helpful to navigate,” he said. “It’s an ever-evolving process and it’s going to keep changing. So it’s helpful to know someone who does something very similar to what you want to do, to get advice from.”



Bunn, a Greenville native, said he appreciates all the ways his Brody experience taught him to treat the patient, not the illness.

“Brody did a good job of continuing to emphasize that the academics are important, and the learning is extremely important, but don’t forget about the patient,” he said. “Don’t forget the history and physical, don’t forget about the social aspects and that the patient might not be able to afford these medicines.”

Dr. Bryan Bunn

Dr. Bryan Bunn

Caring for patients has a different meaning for Bunn and Sexton than it does for primary care physicians in many other parts of the country, they said. In their medically underserved area of northeastern North Carolina, there are only about a half dozen primary care doctors caring for patients across nine counties.

“Between the two of us, there are about 2,000 patients who call us their primary care provider,” said Bunn, adding that their clinic is fairly unique because it offers colonoscopies, inpatient medicine, pediatrics, outpatient medicine and sports medicine – all in one location.

Working in a practice that allows him to use, on a daily basis, more of the skills he learned in medical school and residency is exciting for Bunn, who completed his residency at North Colorado Family Medicine.

“It’s refreshing from my own intellectual standpoint and from what I want to do with medicine. So I appreciate the opportunity that Vidant has afforded us with flexibility and autonomy to do what we do,” he said. “We’re an underserved area and this is needed.”

Bunn said the Community Teaching Award is a meaningful recognition for him, because he never expected to be a “teacher” after choosing a career in medicine. He hopes medical students who are interested in primary care can see all of the opportunities available to them when they spend time in his clinic.

“Having the opportunity to see med students come through and to think that you’re giving back to them is really cool,” he said. “And you learn from them as well, because medicine is always changing. So it’s definitely an honor to know that med students think that we’re helping them too.”


-by Laura McFall Bond and Rob Spahr, University Communications

Performers from around the world join Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival’s Winter Workshop for three concerts in January

Peter Frankl

Peter Frankl (Contributed photos)

A cast of international performers will join the Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival Winter Workshop 2019 for three public concerts of different chamber music programs on Jan. 4-6 at East Carolina University.

Concerts will be held at 7 p.m. on Jan. 4-5 and at 3 p.m. on Jan. 6 in A.J. Fletcher Recital Hall on the ECU campus.

Hungarian pianist Peter Frankl joins festival artistic director and violinist Ara Gregorian, pianists Keiko Sekino and Kwan Yi, violinists Ani Kavafian, Ida Kavafian and Hye-Jin Kim, violist Steven Tenenbom, cellists Colin Carr, Emanuel Gruber and Michael Kannen, and 25 selected participants from around the world to perform chamber music masterpieces.

The participants were chosen from more than 260 applicants and come from nine countries. This will be the fifth year of Winter Workshop.

Guest artist Frankl has been on the international concert circuit since the 1960s, performing solo recitals and appearing with many of the world’s great orchestras, conductors and chamber musicians. His recordings include the complete works for piano of Schumann and Debussy, solo albums of works by Bartók and Chopin, a Hungarian anthology, concerti and four-hand works by Mozart and several works by Brahms.

“In five years, Four Seasons Winter Workshop has become one of the most sought-after destinations for young musicians from throughout the world,” said Gregorian. “I cannot stress enough that the level of our participants is world-class. Bringing all of these artists together for a week that culminates in three concerts is one of the highlights of our season — the concerts will be exceptional.”

Violinists Ani Kavafian, left, and Ara Gregorian

Violinists Ani Kavafian, left, and Ara Gregorian

The concerts will include performances by Beethoven, Brahms, Dvořák, Mendelssohn and others.Tickets are $20 for individual concerts, or $50 for the series, and are available at, by calling 252-328-6019, or at the door on a first-come basis.

The Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival brings renowned musicians to eastern North Carolina and beyond for concerts, master classes and interactive outreach initiatives. In residence at the ECU School of Music, the festival is celebrating its 19th season.

If you go:

For Winter Workshop concert tickets, visit or call 252-328-6019.

Winter Workshop concert I: Jan. 4, 7 p.m., A.J. Fletcher Recital Hall

Winter Workshop concert II: Jan. 5, 7 p.m., A.J. Fletcher Recital Hall

Winter Workshop concert III: Jan. 6, 3 p.m., A.J. Fletcher Recital Hall


-by Crystal Baity, ECU News Services

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