ECU awards inaugural Humanities Scholarship

East Carolina University sophomore Garrett Yarbrough, a soon-to-be 18-year-old from LaGrange, NC, is the inaugural recipient of the Humanities Scholar Program and will receive an annual $3,000 scholarship through his senior year.

“I am deeply honored to have been selected as a Humanities Scholar. I am elated to illustrate the significance of the understanding of the humanities, of what intrinsically defines us as human and how this essence and ambition is coupled with sciences and other fields to usher in progress,” said Yarbrough. “I eagerly anticipate my role as a representative of the humanities within the student body; to further the awareness of the importance of the accomplishments and exploration of the human spirit.”

Garrett Yarbrough (contributed photo)

Garrett Yarbrough (contributed photo)

Yarbrough, co-creator of the ECU Creative Writing Club, is pursuing duel majors in English and history. He aspires to be a creative writer and a published travel journalist, tackling international topics.

“I intend to use my background in English and history in order to bring awareness to global issues and to bring new perspectives to readers and those that would not have been exposed to differing views originally,” said Yarbrough.

The Humanities Scholar Program, established by the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences and the Honors College, is a way to acknowledge and increase awareness around the importance that the humanities play at ECU and in creating well-rounded students that are equipped to excel in the changing world.

Dr. Katherine Ford, Humanities Scholar Program coordinator and associate professor of Hispanic studies, said the humanities help people understand who they are and how they may connect with others; whether similar or not, and that the humanities attempt to answer the question, “Why?”

“Garrett Yarbrough, without a doubt, embodies the ideals of the humanities through his studies in English and history and is a perfect inaugural Humanities Scholar,” said Ford. “Garrett has a curiosity about the world around him and aims to help others understand this world better through writing.”

Garrett Yarbrough

Garrett Yarbrough and fellow students at the induction ceremony for Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society. (contributed photo)

In addition to his Humanities Scholar award, Yarbrough is an EC Scholar and a member of the Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society. He served as vice president of the ECU Creative Writing Club for the 2015 academic year and will serve as president for the 2016 academic year.

Eligible applicants to the Humanities Scholar Program are students who are admitted to the Honors College and plan to major in a humanities discipline. A student who is awarded a position in the Humanities Scholars Program, and maintains annual eligibility requirements, receives a scholarship of $3,000 a year through the recipient’s senior year. The Humanities Scholar Program is in addition to the Honors College Scholarship, which is equal to in-state tuition.

“ECU’s College of Arts and Sciences values its partnership with the Honors College, and I’m so very pleased that together we have successfully launched the new Humanities Scholars program,” said Dr. William M. Downs, dean of the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences. “This scholarship helps us attract and retain high-ability students, such as Garrett Yarbrough, who will be ambassadors for learning in the disciplines of English, philosophy, foreign languages and literatures, religious studies and classical studies.”

For more information about the Humanities Scholars Program, visit http://www.ecu.edu/cs-acad/scholars/humanities.cfm.

Brody women scientists, clinicians host workshop for middle-school girls

A couple dozen seventh and eight grade female students from three Pitt County schools recently participated in a Biomedical STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Workshop at the Brody School of Medicine.

The May 12 event was sponsored by the Brody Women Faculty Committee in collaboration with East Carolina University’s chapter of Graduate Women in Science.

Dr. Lisandra de Castro Bras, assistant professor in the Department of Physiology, works with student Kimya Boyd.

Dr. Lisandra de Castro Bras, assistant professor in the Department of Physiology, works with student Kimya Boyd. (Photos by Gretchen Baugh)

The students participated in basic science experiments, lunched with basic sciences and clinical faculty, and joined in a medical simulation at Brody. Faculty, post-doctoral and graduate student volunteers ensured the daylong event was packed with fun-filled activities, advice and support for the future scientists and clinicians.

“The students left with smiles on their faces. It’s very rewarding to know that we had a positive impact on them,” said Dr. Lisa Domico, teaching assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology and chair of Brody women faculty.

“This is where we need to start instilling a sense of support, confidence and a need to explore academic options,” she added. “The day was a success and we…were happy to be a part of it and lend to the growth and exploration of the biomedical sciences.”

Dr. Lisandra de Castro Bras, assistant professor in the Department of Physiology, demonstrates a tool for students.

Dr. Lisandra de Castro Bras demonstrates a medical tool for students.

“My favorite thing that happened was when we got to pretend like we were doctors and got to solve a medical scenario,” said Kimya Boyd, a participant from Wellcome Middle School. “We got to see a simulation doll act like a real patient. It sweated and even trembled like a real person. This is definitely a field trip I would recommend to others.”

–Amy Ellis

ECU Admissions to host virtual Q&A for prospective students

On Tuesday, May 24, from 3 – 6 p.m., ECU’s experienced admissions staff will be live tweeting answers to admissions questions from prospective students and parents.

During this time, followers are encourage to share questions using the hashtag #AskECUAdmissions and we’ll post answers on the @ECUAdmissions Twitter account.

The ECU Admissions team looks forward to meeting you online next Tuesday!

ECU School of Art and Design presents the Coastal Carolina Clay Guild Exhibition

by Dana Wilde-Ramsing

Five alumni from East Carolina University will have pieces on display in the Coastal Carolina Clay Guild Exhibition to be held June 3-30 in the Wellington B. Gray Gallery. There is an opening reception with many of the artists on Friday, June 3, from 5 until 7:30 p.m.

The exhibition features ceramic art work in a variety of styles and aesthetics by 35 artists from the greater Wilmington area including the following ECU alumni: Richard Heiser, Jacob Herrmann, Vicky Smith, Kathy Whitley and Dina Wilde-Ramsing.

The Coastal Carolina Clay Guild was established in 2007 and now has more than 100 members from the coastal areas of North and South Carolina.

by Brian Evans (Contributed photos)

The Wellington B. Gray Gallery is located off of 5th and Jarvis Streets on campus in the Jenkins Fine Arts Center. Summer gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the exhibition.

For more information, contact Tom Braswell, interim gallery director, at 252-328-1312 or visit www.ecu.edu/graygallery.

Psychology professor selected for Hendrix Award

Associate Professor Dr. Lisa Campbell has been selected as the inaugural recipient of the Dr. William H. Hendrix Psychology Faculty Excellence Award.

Established by Dr. William H. Hendrix, who graduated as a psychology major from ECU in 1962, the award recognizes one psychology faculty member who demonstrated the highest level of excellence in scholarly achievements during the past academic year, excellence in teaching and mentoring activity, as well as service to the department, university and profession.

Dr. Lisa Campbell (Contributed photo)

Dr. Campbell’s scholarship focuses on ethnic disparities in pain conditions and cancer outcomes, as well as developing culturally sensitive psychosocial and behavioral interventions to enhance post-treatment quality of life in African-American prostate cancer survivors.

The award was announced at the Department of Psychology Graduate Recognition Ceremony on May 6. Dr. Susan McCammon, chair of the Psychology Department, described Dr. Campbell’s scholarship as valuable because it not only advances the field of health disparity research, but also offers interventions for disease and pain management to medically underserved populations.

Dr. Campbell was selected by a committee of three faculty in the psychology department as well as Dr. Cindy Putnam-Evans, Associate Dean for Research in the Harriot College of Arts and Sciences.

Hendrix, for whom the award is named, earned his masters and Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology at Purdue University. After teaching and serving as head of the Department of Management at Clemson University, he was a distinguished Visiting Professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership at the United States Air Force Academy. He is now retired from academia, but his business, Hendrix and Associates, offers organizational consulting.

ECU faculty publish book after finding success in improving writing program

Members of East Carolina University’s English Department collaborated to publish a book they hope will help other higher education institutions harness the full potential of their writing programs.

After successfully utilizing the reaccreditation process to improve ECU’s writing program, faculty members Will Banks, Wendy Sharer, Tracy Morse and Michelle Eble co-edited, “Reclaiming Accountability: Improving Writing Programs through Accreditation and Large-Scale Assessments.” The book provides examples of how departments and writing programs have used accreditation to gain the kinds of benefits seen at ECU through similar initiatives around the country.

ECU English faculty members

ECU English faculty members (left to right) Tracy Ann Morse, William P. Banks, Wendy Sharer and Michelle F. Eble co-edited, “Reclaiming Accountability: Improving Writing Programs through Accreditation and Large-Scale Assessments.” (Contributed photo)

As part of the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), required for accreditation, the authors focused their efforts on specific initiatives that would help broaden the reach of ECU’s writing program. “We saw reaccreditation as an opportunity to rethink our first-year writing program and our writing-intensive program so they worked together more effectively at helping students move from beginning college-level writing and thinking across their years at ECU,” said Banks, associate professor.

According to Sharer, director of the QEP, some of the changes seen in the program at ECU include:

  • Additional peer consultants to work with students and faculty in all disciplines in a larger, welcoming University Writing Center.
  • A revised Writing Foundations curriculum that includes a new, sophomore-level composition course designed to help students transition into writing in their major areas.
  • Writing mentors embedded in writing-intensive courses across the curriculum.
  • A website that brings together writing-related resources.

Additionally, the university provided resources to help faculty learn new information about writing and how to teach it in major courses.

As part of the updated curriculum, the class “Writing About the Disciplines” was added for second-year students to make it easier to transfer their skills to writing for their disciplines. “We are making the writing that students are doing explicitly relevant to the writing they will do in their majors or even careers,” said Eble, associate professor.

Their book brings together a series of critical cases that show how accreditation has been used in similar ways at other institutions to effect change on campus and across various academic programs. It illustrates how faculty can use accreditation to cultivate campus-wide discussions of writing to better meet local student learning needs.

–Jamie Smith

Graduates toasted at Senior Celebration

Glasses were raised to East Carolina graduates of two generations at Senior Celebration on Thursday afternoon.


Sponsored jointly by the East Carolina Alumni Association and the Pirate Club, the event allowed members of the class of 2016 to celebrate earning their degrees and joining the ranks of Pirate alumni.

Graduates also had a chance to converse with 1966 alumni, who were back on campus for the association’s annual Golden Alumni Reunion for the 50-year reunion class.

While rain poured from the roof of the Club Level into Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, champagne was poured into keepsake flutes for a toast to graduates past and present.

“The future of ECU is certainly bright thanks to you, our newest Pirate alumni,” said Associate Vice Chancellor for Alumni Relations Heath Bowman, who led the toast.

“Like many families, we may not all live in the same place, but staying in touch keeps our bonds strong,” said Erinn Latta, a 2009 alumna who coordinates young graduate programming for the Pirate Club.

Also recognized were five graduates who received the 2016 Robert H. Wright Alumni Leadership Award from the alumni association: Ryan Clancy, Erika Dietrick, Joel Glotfelty, Sarah Lisson and Kate McPherson.

–Jackie Drake; video by Rich Klindworth

Laupus Library offers respites for stressed students

Final exam week is the busiest time for Laupus Library each semester, as students pack into every available study space for hours of studying. To encourage students to take a healthy break from their hard work, Laupus hosted a variety of stress relieving activities and programs April 26-29 for those needing a brief escape.

The library’s ongoing Pet Therapy program, sponsored by the Friends of Laupus Library, kicked off the week with much success as many students were eager to spend a little time with man’s best friend.

Health Sciences students take a break from studying for exams to engage in some pet therapy – part of an expanding student program sponsored by the Friends of Laupus Library. (Contributed photos)

Christa Sanderford, a graduate student in the environmental health sciences program, was talking on the phone about exams with her mom when she walked into the library and spotted the therapy dogs. “I was like, ‘mom I have to go,’” she said. “There are dogs in the library!”

“I am so excited,” she gushed after giving both dogs a good rub. “My exam is in 30 minutes and I am so much more cheerful now.”

“Bringing these dogs to the library is a way we can acknowledge that we appreciate what these students are going through and provide a bit of emotional comfort, particularly during finals week when the stress goes up another notch, explained Beth Ketterman, interim director of Laupus Library. “And there is good evidence in the health sciences literature that taking a few moments to stop and pet an animal has a positive impact on human psychology and physiology.”

Physician assistant studies student Hayden Mulligan says she spends more time in the library than her own home.

“Sometimes it’s hard to incentivize yourself to take a break because there is so much work to be done,” she said. “It’s so nice to be able to take a second away from studying and love on an animal that is sweet and generous and cuddly.”

“These dogs help me remember there is real life outside of school,” she continued. “They relax me and make the library feel a little more like home.”

Because of the positive response from students, the Friends of Laupus Library voted earlier this year to double the number of offerings by sponsoring sessions for fall and spring semesters during mid-term and final exam weeks.

Friends Chair John Papalas says the group is proud to support the library and students it serves.

“By sponsoring and promoting events like this we hope to highlight the prominent role Laupus plays in the education of a growing and ever more diverse student body,” he said.

Other activities held throughout the week included a Food N’ Fun Break on Wednesday evening for students who enjoyed free pizza, snacks, giveaways and board games. Also during the break, students completed surveys which collected feedback on ways the library can improve services to better meet their needs.

Programs concluded on Friday, April 29, as Laupus VIP contest winner Brittany Eure – a freshman nursing student – and four invited friends received 12 hours of private and reserved study space and a full day of pampering. Free breakfast, lunch, and dinner were delivered to the lucky group along with snacks and other giveaways throughout the day.

Laupus staff also decorated the exclusive spot to make the long study hours a more enjoyable experience.

“Winning the contest has made a huge difference in my studying,” claimed Eure. “I actually looked forward to coming to study today and was relieved not to have to worry about finding a room.”

The competition, created to encourage students to follow the library’s social media sites, required students to attend the Food N’ Fun Break and post a photo from the event on the Laupus Library Facebook or Instagram pages. Participant names were entered into a drawing held on Thursday morning.

“All these programs show the library cares about the students and wants to make this time as manageable as possible for us,” Mulligan said. “That makes me feel like they are on my team and I really appreciate their support.”

–Kelly Dilda

CSDI students present donors with patient-created quilt

Students from East Carolina University’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders presented a group of long-time donors with a unique gift during several representatives’ visit to campus this April.

Students and staff from the College of Allied Health Sciences present members of the Scottish Rite organization with a quilt created by pediatric patients in ECU’s Speech-Language and Hearing Clinic. (Photos by Gretchen Baugh)

Students and staff from the College of Allied Health Sciences present members of the Scottish Rite organization with a quilt created by pediatric patients in ECU’s Speech-Language and Hearing Clinic. (Photos by Gretchen Baugh)

The Scottish Rite Foundation has supported the department – housed within the College of Allied Health Sciences – for more than 20 years, and members regularly tour the Speech-Language and Hearing Clinic and meet with the faculty, staff and students working to combat childhood language disorders and dyslexia.

“We just really appreciate everything you do for us,” said Kate DelGreco, who is working toward a master’s degree in speech-language pathology. She and two other graduate students presented members with a quilt created by the clinic’s pediatric patients, who range in age from 2 to 18.

Clinical Operations Director Lori Kincannon said meeting the students shows the full impact of a gift to the clinic or department.

“We want them to know that not only do their donations help the children in our clinic, but they’re also supporting the training for future clinicians who will go on to help hundreds of children over their lifetimes,” she said.

Speech-language pathology graduate student Kate DelGreco speaks with Scottish Rite masons Michael May and Tom Broderick about the pediatric programs they sponsor in ECU's Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.

Speech-language pathology graduate student Kate DelGreco speaks with Scottish Rite masons Michael May and Tom Broderick about the pediatric programs they sponsor in ECU’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.

Scottish Rite Sovereign Grand Inspector General Dr. William Brunk said it’s a pleasure to meet the people who further the foundation’s ongoing work to improve speech, language and literacy across the state and nation.

“(I get) the joy of knowing I’m a little part – just a very little part – of something that’s doing good for other people,” he remarked. “Our job it to try and make society just a little bit better.”

The ECU Speech-Language and Hearing Clinic averages 3,000 patient visits each year. Providers at the clinic offer comprehensive services to individuals of all ages experiencing speech, language, hearing, balance and communication disorders. For more information or to make an appointment, call 252-744-6104.

–Kathryn Kennedy