ECU Honors College Alumnus Named NC Presidential Scholar

Pictured here at the 2017 ECU Honors College Commencement Ceremony, Katie Stanley (middle), was one of four recent UNC system graduates named a Presidential Scholar by UNC President Margaret Spellings Thursday, July 20.

Pictured here at the 2017 ECU Honors College Commencement Ceremony, Katie Stanley (middle), was one of four recent UNC system graduates named a Presidential Scholar by UNC President Margaret Spellings Thursday, July 20.

Greenville native and East Carolina University graduate Katie Stanley (Class of 2017) was one of four recent graduates named a Presidential Scholar for the 2017-18 school year by the University of North Carolina General Administration. UNC President Margaret Spellings announced the appointment Thursday, July 20, through a press release.

Presidential Scholars serve a one-year appointment and provide a wide range of professional functions for UNC General Administration. The position has regular interaction with senior leadership and members of the UNC Board of Governors and will also work to help research, write, and implement policy.

“The Presidential Scholars program allows some of our most talented graduates to hone professional skills and gain real working experience in higher education,” Spellings stated in the release. “Scholars also have the unique opportunity to explore and understand the inner workings of an institution that has helped transform our great state.”

During her time at ECU, Stanley was a member of the Honors College, Pi Sigma Alpha Honor Society, and majored in political science. Stanley plans to pursue a master’s degree in public policy with the goal of working in the North Carolina state government. Stanley previously interned for Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Representative Dean Arp (R-Union).

“We were thrilled to learn about Katie’s appointment as a Presidential Scholar and look forward to hearing about all the great work she will accomplish in this role,” said Dr. David White, Dean of the ECU Honors College. “Katie’s story is an example of how successful our Honors College students are, and how often they make us proud with their personal and professional achievements after graduating.”

The Presidential Scholars were selected among May 2017 UNC system graduates who demonstrated leadership skills, strong motivation, intellectual curiosity, and were not afraid to take risks, according to the release. Previous Scholars had projects assigned from all General Administration departments including legal, advancement, academic affairs, and communications.

By Cole Dittmer
ECU University Communications

Forecast Calls for Pirates

ECU Honors College alumnus Thomas Vaughn (Class of 2015) stands in front of the National Weather Service Station in Tallahassee, Fla. Vaughn will start his career with the NWS this September at the Wichita, Ka. office.

ECU Honors College alumnus Thomas Vaughan ’15 stands in front of the National Weather Service Station in Tallahassee, Fla. Vaughan will start his career with the NWS this September at the Wichita, Kan. office. (Contributed photos courtesy Thomas Vaughan)

ECU Honors College Alumnus Lands Job with National Weather Service

This September, East Carolina University Honors College alumnus Thomas Vaughan ’15 will join the National Weather Service in Wichita, Kan. as one of 31 new hires by the federal agency that is responsible for providing weather forecasts, warnings of hazardous weather, and other weather-related products across the country.

Vaughan, who is nearly complete with his Masters in Meteorology from Florida State University, said he had his choice of going to the National Weather Service offices in Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado and Michigan. Vaughan ultimately chose Wichita to be close to the action.

Vaughn presents information at the National Weather Service headquarters in Silver Spring, Md.

Vaughan presents information at the National Weather Service headquarters in Silver Spring, Md.

“I picked Wichita because I knew I would get a lot of severe weather experience there,” Vaughan said. “I knew Wichita would be more beneficial in the long run to my career because they have severe weather all the time, and I’ll get to experience all four seasons.”

The National Weather Service announces job vacancies in rounds, and the round Vaughan was hired in had 31 job vacancies across the country. For those 31 vacancies, Vaughan said the NWS received more than 850 applications. After not being referred to the final pool of applicants the first time he applied, Vaughan said he was relieved to have his choice of four stations this time.

“It Is pretty competitive to get into and I knew I would have better chance to get in with a masters, so that is why I went to Florida State [University],” he said. “This is something I have been wanting to do for a long time.”

While the official title for Vaughan’s position is Meteorologist Intern, it is the entry level staff position for the NWS. In his first couple years, Vaughan said he will be learning how to complete the NWS forecasts, train on the NWS computer systems and radar, launch weather balloons, and help  manage his office’s social media accounts.

After his time as a Meteorologist Intern, Vaughan hopes to move up to through the ranks of the NWS and eventually make it back to the NWS station in Honolulu, Hawaii where he completed a summer internship while at ECU. Other “dream” stations for Vaughan include Guam, or one of the stations in Florida.

Vaughn gives a weather briefing at the Florida Division of Emergency Management in Tallahassee, Fla.

Vaughan gives a weather briefing at the Florida Division of Emergency Management in Tallahassee, Fla.

“I’d say my dream job would be to be the Meteorologist in Charge at one of those stations, but that is a long time away,” he said, laughing.

For now, Vaughan is focusing on defending his master’s thesis on historical rainfall variability in the Sahel and Guinea coasts of Africa, and moving to Kansas in September to begin working for the NWS.

Vaughn after graduation from ECU in May 2015.

Vaughan after graduation from ECU in May 2015.

By Cole Dittmer

ECU News Services

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