Category Archives: Dept. News

FLL offers Honors Spanish students live tutoring from Costa Rica

welcomeProf. Michael Schinasi, the Department’s leader in the use of Centra for live DE Spanish instruction, has long wanted to find a way to offer students both a fourth day of instruction in 1001-1004 and a way to use the relatively low cost expertise of native speaking tutors in foreign countries to improve student language proficiency. He proposed to Jim Gehlhar in the Office of International Affairs a one semester experiment in hiring live DE tutors from ILISA language school in Costa Rica. Thanks to the generous support of Dr. Gehlar’s office, the department is able to offer an honors section of Spanish 1004 in Spring 2013. In this course students are refining their command of the basic skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing Spanish. Readings further acquaint students with the life, literature, and cultures of the Hispanic world. Unlike other sections of Spanish 1004, the honors section has an additional required lab that is a graded part of the course. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays students have face to face meetings with their ECU professor, Alberto González-Valdés, and in their lab on Tuesdays and Thursdays they use Centra web conferencing from their own computer to meet with a tutor in Costa Rica. In their videoconference with Costa Rica students are receiving additional practice in oral communication, reading and clarification of difficult grammatical structures. The intent of this course is to promote a very high level of proficiency in Spanish to prepare students for foreign study or upper division work as majors or minors.

New German Fund

I know solicitations for contributions abound this time of year, but I just had to share the good news my colleagues and I received this morning. As of today, ECU’s German program now has its own 501(c)(3) fund to support German Studies here in Eastern North Carolina and to which anyone can make a tax-deductible contribution!

With this fund, ECU’s German program will now be able to provide qualified German majors and minors with a stipend for study in a German-speaking country, to present their original research at academic conferences, or to pursue advanced undergraduate study in German Studies in North America (some institutions such as Princeton periodically offer relevant summer seminars for highly qualified undergraduates). The fund will also help our program host German-related cultural events on and off campus, including in local schools that otherwise have no offerings in German language or culture.

If you would like to support our program and its students with a tax-deductible gift, you can do so in two easy ways, and your employer may even match your contribution (many companies have such a policy):

1. online, by credit card (you’ll need to type in “German Studies Fund” next to **Other Fund on the form because we’re not on the pull-down menu yet):

2. by check (made out to ECU Foundation, Inc., with German Studies Fund in the memo line), and mailed to:
Ms. Jennifer Tripp
Major Gift Officer
Greenville Centre, Suite 1100
Mail Stop 301
East Carolina University
Greenville NC 27858-4353

If you have questions about this fund or its objectives, please do not hesitate to contact me (my information is below). In the meantime, and on behalf of my colleagues, I wish you frohe Festtage und einen guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr!

Mit bestem Dank

Prof. David Smith

Jan. 19 – March 9, 2013. World Affairs Forum: Great Decisions

ECU Hosts Ninth Year of International Affairs Forum

The Great Decisions Program, now in its ninth year at ECU and co-sponsored by the World Affairs Council of Eastern North Carolina (WAC-ENC), will run for eight consecutive Saturdays beginning January 19, 2013 through March 9. Sessions will be held from 10 a.m. to noon in the Rivers West Building auditorium on the ECU campus.

The program consists of a series of lectures by academic and professional experts. Topics of discussion will include Threat Assessment, China in Africa, Myanmar and Southeast Asia, the Future of the Euro, Egypt, NATO, Iran, and Intervention.

Full-time ECU students, staff and faculty may attend for free and purchase the program book for $19. For the general public, the fee is $37 for all eight sessions and includes membership in the WAC-ENC. The textbook is $19. Individual sessions are $6. To register for the series, visit the Great Decisions web site at

For additional information, contact Dr. Sylvie Debevec Henning at 252-328-5520 or Individuals requesting accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) should call 252-737-1016 (voice/TTY) at least 48 hours prior to each event.

Michael Veale wins DAAD scholarship in German

Michael VealeFor the fourth year in a row, ECU’s German program has had a student selected for an Undergraduate Scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

This year’s recipient, MICHAEL VEALE, is a junior from Charlotte double majoring in Theatre Arts and German. Thanks to the award, Michael is spending this academic year as a student at the Freie Universität in Berlin, Germany, where he is taking advantage of the educational and cultural opportunities available to him as a resident of a major European city.

To put this achievement in context, ECU’s program in German is 1 of only 5 in the United States to have had an undergraduate receive a DAAD Undergraduate Scholarship in each of the last four years, and the only program in the entire Southeast to do so. These four scholarships represent approximately $45,000 in external funding for ECU undergraduates to pursue their studies in German and other fields of interest at an institution of higher learning in Germany.

In Michael’s case, the German faculty would like to thank the faculty and staff of the School of Theatre and Dance, in particular Prof. John Shearin, Prof. Hector Garza, and Prof. Gregory Funaro. Their support of Michael’s candidacy was unwavering and much appreciated.

Alumni news, Joel Banjo Johnson, BA German Major

Joel Banjo Johnson, 2009 winner of the Robert H. Wright Alumni Leadership Award and BA German major, writes:

Greetings from Ramstein Air Base Germany :-)
Friday night, we hosted the seasoner opener for the NCAA between UCONN and Michigan State. The game aired live on ESPN and ESPN2. It took us 5 months to plan but the event was a success. I definitely had a lot of fun and all the interviews and coverage turned out well. Everyone learned a little about what we do at Ramstein Air Base. The pic is about an hour before Sports Center was going to air live. I’m grateful for these different experiences. I’m completely exhausted afterwards but excited as its going on. Learned a lot about production behind the scenes and programming.

My Major is now deployed so I’ve taken over. I now am the Chief of Public Affairs for the largest wing in the entire Air Force. It’s certainly a challenge but doing well. Hope all is well in Pirate country! :-)

National French Week 2012

Art Exhibit: Romanesque Journey Nanyoung Kim. October 1- December 5 @ The Scullery, 431 Evans St. Greenville NC.

Cultural Attaché Aurélie Surblé, French Consulate Atlanta. Thursday November 8, 7pm @ The Scullery. “French-American Exchange and Cooperation.”

Diner Français. Thursday November 8, 7pm @ The Scullery. Reservations required. Contact Anne-Hélène Miller.

Flim: L’Artiste. Friday November 9, 7pm in Bate 1031.

Pétanque in the Park. Sunday November 11, 3pm @ Elm Street Park Lawn Games Area (beside gym). Contact Thomas Herron.

French Harpsichord Concert: Maude Gratton. Tuesday November 13, 7pm @ The Music House, 1726 W. 5th St., Greenville NC. Reviewed by CVNC (The Classical Voice of North Carolina).

For general questions, please contact Marylaura Papalas.

Amber Heckart, Phi Kappa Phi Outstanding Senior

Amber HeckartThe winner of the 2011-2012 ΦΚΦ Outstanding Senior award is Amber Heckart from Holly Ridge, NC. A graduate of the NC School of Science and Math, Amber was selected to be an EC Scholar and member of the Honors College. She was also chosen to be part of the Brody Early Assurance for Admission to Medical School program. Amber graduates in May of 2012 summa cum laude with a B.S. degree in biology and a B.A. degree in Hispanic Studies. She studied abroad for a semester in Santander, Spain, where she attended classes at the Universidad de Cantabria. She did her senior honors thesis project under the direction of Dr. David Tulis at the Brody School of Medicine investigating the biochemical mechanisms that underlie abnormal growth of vascular smooth muscle. Amber has also been involved in many service and leadership activities. She has been a volunteer tutor for chemistry, biology and physics. She served as Co-President of the ECU Spanish Club, helped raise funds for the NC Migrant Farm Worker Food Bank, and has been the Undergraduate Student Vice President for ECU’s chapter of Phi Kappa Phi. In Greenville, she has served with a number of organizations to volunteer ot help the local Latino population, working particularly in the Grimesland Health Clinic and the AGAPE health clinic in Washington, NC. Amber is a member of Phi Kappa Phi, Phi Eta Sigma and Golden Key. She was recently nominated for the Fullerton Scholarship in the Brody School of Medicine, which she will enter this fall. Amber plans to prepare for a career in primary care. Eventually, she would like to open medical clinics across eastern NC to serve the growing Hispanic population.