Nursing students honored at National Student Nurses Association convention

 College of Nursing  Comments Off on Nursing students honored at National Student Nurses Association convention
Apr 302014

When the National Student Nurses Association Convention was held April 9-13, in Nashville, Tenn., the East Carolina University College of Nursing was hard to miss. More than 20 East Carolina Association of Nursing Students members attended the 62nd Annual event, with several of those presenting research posters or being honored as awardees.

ECANS_webECANS President Rachel L’Esperance accepted the grand prize for NSNA’s InTouch contest at the event. ECANS won first place in the 2013-2014 membership recruitment contest by attracting 129 new NSNA members. In addition to sponsored prizes, the group received one trip to the convention, including airfare, accommodations and registration.

“I love helping others, and that’s why I want to be a nurse,” said L’Esperance, a senior nursing student. “I love helping others professionally as well and giving everyone an opportunity to know about our organization.”

ECNAS, the North Carolina Association of Nursing Students and the parent entity NSNA are pre-professional organizations meant to aid students’ entrance into the nursing profession by giving them access to resources such as networking and leadership opportunities.

Also honored at the convention was first-year nursing student Corrie Hansen. Hansen is recipient of the Thomas H. Edwards Memorial Endowed Scholarship, given by the National Student Nurses Association’s foundation. The $2,000 scholarship will help offset Hansen’s tuition costs.

Additionally, eight ECANS students presented two poster presentations at the conference. Kelsey Bergstedt, Sydney Howard, Corrie Hansen and ECU dental student Sarah Loren Moles presented “Oral Health: Interdisciplinary Approach to Community Health Education.” Aaron Seigh, Kristyn Ruitenberg, Kaitlin Meade and Miranda Brady presented “Dollars and Sense: The Journey to NSNA Chapter Success.”

Clinical Associate Professor Gina Woody and Clinical Assistant Professor Mark Hand, the group’s faculty advisers, also attended the conference. The convention featured keynote speakers, an exhibit hall and numerous networking events for the students as well as faculty in attendance.

(Pictured from left to right are: students and NSNA conference attendees Kelsey Bergstedt, Corrie Hansen and Rachel L’Esperance.)

For more CON news, visit and follow @ECUNursing on Twitter. Questions? Contact


Brody Admissions moves forward

 Brody School of Medicine  Comments Off on Brody Admissions moves forward
Apr 182014

White Coat

As the Admissions Office at the Brody School of Medicine wraps up another application season, now is a good time for reflection. With one of the largest applicant pools we’ve had in 18 years, the interviewing season was a huge success. While the Admissions Committee inevitably makes the final decisions on which applicants are picked, the Admissions Office plays a key role in things running smoothly.  Most folks are creatures of habit, afraid of change and don’t want to do things differently.  After all, it’s always been done that way, right? But change is not always bad. In fact, it’s a vital part of success.

In an effort to increase efficiency and cut operating costs, our office is always striving to improve our processes. One of the main goals of the office is to identify and interview folks that will one day be successful Brody students. We have witnessed the application process evolve from huge piles of paper to almost everything electronic! After so many application cycles, one would expect the process to run smoothly, but that’s not always the case. Lots of hard work and good organization skills keep things running, but each season continues to bring challenges to our office.  The next interview cycle will bring some changes and challenges as well. For the very first time, our interviews will be centralized in one location with more exposure to our current student body. Hopefully, this will encourage and improve the student interaction with our applicants. There are also plans to streamline the application process and even implement ways for applicants to check their individual application status online. All these changes aim to make the process even more successful and efficient in the years to come.  

Now it’s time to look to the future. In early May, our office will witness another successful graduating class finish their journey as medical students. As the next application cycle begins in just a few months with hundreds of new applicants, we will also watch as 80 first-year students come to Brody to begin their experience through medical school. Many of these folks will help carry out our mission by receiving their education here and will become physicians who will hopefully one day return to North Carolina to serve in our communities.  

Lynn S. Coward, Director
Medical Student Admissions

Alumni Spotlight: Dasha Little

 uncategorized  Comments Off on Alumni Spotlight: Dasha Little
Apr 152014

As a Pirate alumna, Dasha Little not only honors East Carolina University’s motto “servire”, or “to serve” by representing her alma mater well through her company’s dedication to providing services to injured service members and other government contracts, but also by her faithful contributions towards several different programs within the University.

Through her donations towards areas such as Academic Affairs, the Colleges of Allied Health Sciences, Business, Fine Arts and Communications, and Health and Human Performance, and Student Life, she has continued to give back to the University. ECU is honored to have Dasha serve as one of the Incredible Women of ECU and a member of the ECU Distinguished Military Service Society. She also joined the ECU Medical and Health Sciences Foundation Board in February and spoke at the ECU Women’s Roundtable event in October, delivering her perspective on leadership and service.

Dasha, who majored in art education, graduated from ECU, along with her husband Kirk in 1981 and 1982, and founded Apogee Solutions, Inc. in 2002. During her years at ECU, she was involved in including the Student Government Association, Gamma Sigma Sigma service sorority, and ECU Ambassadors, and also served as a resident advisor. Following graduation Dasha decided to continue her education in a different area.

“I wanted to lean forward and use my creativity to venture into the counseling and Student services career field,” said Dasha, “I received my Master of Science degree in Counseling as a wife of an Air Force Officer. At that time I knew that having a portable degree and skills would make me employable in many duty sites and in many work situations. My love of people and serving led me to the Vocational Rehabilitation career field.”

When asked about her favorite memories from her time as an ECU student, Dasha is quick to say that meeting and marrying her “ECU sweetheart” Kirk is at the top of the list along with the amazing faculty with which she had the opportunity to interact.

Dasha Little with husband Kirk, photo by Jay Clark

Dasha Little with husband Kirk, photo by Jay Clark

“I am very thankful for the excellent instructors and administrator at ECU who saw promise and leadership qualities within me and called those capabilities forward to be my passion and vocational direction,” said Dasha.

Dasha now serves as the president and CEO of the company with Kirk as the vice president and chief operation officer. Apogee Solutions is a small business based in Virginia with over 160 employees in 13 states and the District of Columbia and provides allied health management, technology integration, and operations, training, and logistics consulting services to the U.S. government.

In its allied health management division, Apogee provides certified case management professionals who assist injured service members through counseling and job assistance. The division also helps assess patients’ potential benefit from rehabilitation services, vocational testing, vocational case management, and vocational earnings capacity assessments. Through their services, Apogee Solutions supports both the U.S. Government and private sector organizations in areas such as training and exercise support, medical training and education, and technology integration.

Through the other areas of Apogee, operations, training and logistics and technology integration, the company develops engineering designs and cyber operations along with modifying traditional, large-scale simulation systems to include weapons of mass destructions for marine training prior to deployment.

The Little family and their company make their focus and mission to “positively impact the delivery of professional services; exceed our customers’ expectations; provide qualified employees who deliver prompt achievement of customer requirements; and be priced at competitive rates.”

Despite their residency in Virginia, Dasha says that ECU has become a “destination and a lifestyle of living” that aids her and Kirk’s business.

“It has helped Kirk and I learn to focus on the fact that people are important, relationships are to be valued, and leadership and influence are to be shared. We are grateful to be proud Pirates and sing ECU’s praises often,” she says.

The Little’s four children followed in the footsteps of their Pirate parents, Forrest Little graduated East Carolina University in 2009 followed by sister Meredith in 2012 and both Robert and Raleigh Little are current students.

Lowin lecture highlights evidence-based sexual health intervention

 College of Nursing  Comments Off on Lowin lecture highlights evidence-based sexual health intervention
Apr 112014

When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention endorses a public health intervention you developed, you know you’ve done something right.

For Dr. Anonia Villarruel, that “something right” was conducting extensive research to determine the efficacy of ¡Cuídate!, a sexual risk-reduction program for Latino adolescents. The program is one of only several such initiatives to have demonstrated effectiveness for both Spanish and English speakers.

Villarruel, the Nola J. Pender Collegiate Chair and Associate Dean for Research and Global Affairs at the University of Michigan School of Nursing, discussed her research as part of the Siegfried Lowin Visiting Scholar Lecture Series at the East Carolina University College of Nursing on April 8.

Villarruel, who will assume the role of dean at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing in July, said that ¡Cuídate! uses activities such as role-play and group discussion. The program helps adolescents develop knowledge and skills to reduce their risk of STDs, HIV and unplanned pregnancy through strategies such as sexual abstinence and correct condom use.

She tested the intervention with at-risk youth in Philadelphia, with both youth and parents in Mexico, and with parents in a computer-based version of the program. The randomized controlled trials she conducted showed that participating youths had reduced incidence of unprotected sex and increased condom use.

“You have an adult that’s engaged with a student, listening to them, not talking down to them, accepting to them,” she said about the program. “That’s what I think the magic is.”

2014-04-08 13.11.09

It was that success that caught the attention of Dr. Kim Larson, associate professor in the ECU Department of Undergraduate Nursing Science. She consulted with Villarruel over the course of several years to bring ¡Cuídate! to eastern North Carolina in 2013. Larson and a team of academic and community partners worked with two public schools to study the program’s efficacy with a new Latino sub-group in a rural region of the southern United States.

“Our pilot study successfully implemented ¡Cuídate! with adolescents of Mexican and Central American origin in a rural, conservative geographic region of the country using a community-based participatory research approach,” Larson said. “This was a pilot study that will provide data for a community-level intervention trial to further advance the research in this area.”

In closing her talk, Villarruel encouraged the audience to consider the policy implications of their research. She also emphasized the importance of communicating research results not just with medical practitioners but also with the public.

“It’s about somebody else taking on that banner and moving it forward to better their community,” she said. “I think that is the work that we are all about.”

The Siegfried Lowin Visiting Scholar Lecture Series is sponsored by the ECU College of Nursing and the Sigma Theta Tau Beta Nu chapter.

The series began in 2007 through the generosity of ECU faculty members Dr. Mary Ann Rose, professor and chair of the department of graduate nursing science, and Dr. Walter Pories, professor and surgery and biochemistry. The couple named the series in memory of Pories’ uncle, who greatly respected the nurses who cared for him throughout an extended illness.

(Pictured from left to right are: Brenda Nuncio, program director at Wayne County Cooperative Extension; Larson; Villarruel; and Dr. Sharon Ballard, chair of the ECU Department of Child Development and Family Relations. Ballard, Larson, Nuncio and two school health nurses who are not pictured made up the research team that implemented ¡Cuídate! in North Carolina.)

Want more CON news? Visit our news page or follow @ECUNursing on Twitter. Questions? Contact

Searching for dissertation inspiration? Look no further than Laupus Library

 Laupus Library  Comments Off on Searching for dissertation inspiration? Look no further than Laupus Library
Apr 042014

Socrates said, “Education is the kindling of the flame, not the filling of a vessel.”

This notion might ring especially true for graduate students seeking dissertation inspiration: How to sum up years of learning in one final – and very important – assignment?  The thought can be overwhelming. But it only takes a spark to get a fire going.

At Laupus Library, we regularly seek and adapt new resources that help pass the learning torch and ignite bright new ideas.  Some of the best tools we offer are those that expose ECU Health Sciences students and faculty to the unique insights of their educational counterparts from other times, cultures and practice areas.

ProQuest Dissertations and Thesis Global, the most comprehensive collection of dissertations and theses from around the world, is such a resource. And beginning today through May 1, Laupus Library is pleased to offer our students and faculty trial access to the collection, which is searched over 200 million times a year by researchers from more than 3,000 leading academic institutions worldwide.

Its coverage spans from the 18th century to the present day and includes full text for graduate works added since 1997, along with selected full text for works written prior to 1997. It contains a significant amount of new international dissertations and theses both in citations and in full text.

We feel confident this robust new collection will inspire our graduate in these final weeks of second semester, and beyond.

–Kelly R. Dilda
Laupus Library