Author Archives: dittmerr17

ECU alum named UNC Presidential Scholar for 2018-2019

Will Zahran, pictured here receiving the Robert Wright Award at the 2018 ECU Commencement, was named one of four Presidential Scholars by UNC System President Margaret Spellings for the 2018-2019 school year.

Will Zahran, pictured here receiving the Robert Wright Award at the 2018 ECU Commencement, was named one of four Presidential Scholars by UNC System President Margaret Spellings for the 2018-2019 school year.

Accolades and awards are not foreign to recent East Carolina University graduate, EC Scholar, and Robert Wright Award winner Will Zahran (class of 2018). Now, the biology major and business management minor from Fayetteville can add an appointment as one of the four UNC Presidential Scholars for the 2018-2019 school year to that list of awards.

UNC System President Margaret Spellings announced the appointment of the four new Presidential Scholars Tuesday, July 17. The Presidential Scholars were selected among May 2018 UNC system graduates who demonstrated leadership skills, strong motivation, intellectual curiosity, and independence, according to the release.

“The program is a win-win situation,” said President Spellings. “The scholars help the UNC System do its work while they earn valuable experience in preparation for promising careers in public leadership.”

Zahran learned about the program from the Honors College staff and through watching another fellow Honors College alumnus—Katie Stanley—experience the program after she was named to the 2017-2018 class of Presidential Scholars.

“It was an honor to be named among 3 other impressive recent graduates who are passionate about public service and have already accomplished so much in their respective communities,” Zahran said.

The Presidential Scholars serve a one-year appointment and provide a wide range of professional functions for the UNC System Office. The scholars will regularly interact with senior leadership and members of the UNC System Board of Governors, helping to research, write, and implement policy.

With multiple experiences in higher education administration while at ECU, Zahran said he is interested to learn how big data and analytics are used to inform administrators and policymakers on how to increase student success.

“I hope that this experience will open doors to a number of new jobs and graduate programs across the state where I can plug in,” he said. “Previous Presidential Scholars have found impressive opportunities afterwards, and it is humbling to walk in their footsteps.”

 

EC Scholar checks in from Greece

Rising junior EC Scholar Ananya Koripella (B.S. Public Health Studies, B.A Hispanic Studies) checks from her summer travel after completing a medical fellowship in Greece:
Rising junior EC Scholar Ananya Koripella during her medical fellowship in Greece this summer.

Rising junior EC Scholar Ananya Koripella during her medical fellowship in Greece this summer.

“As you know, I stayed in Athens for three weeks as part of the Atlantis Program. I was shadowing doctors at three different hospitals. It was so much fun! I saw different things from a coronary artery bypass to a live birth and c-sections to orthopedic tumor removals to pediatric refugee patients who had measles and chicken pox! I met all kinds of different people too. There was a patient from Romania who had the most interesting stories and used to live literally 20 minutes from Count Dracula’s castle and now I really want to go there so bad. He had pins in his hand because he crushed two fingers in an accident and didn’t even flinch one bit when the doctor was pulling them out.

Rising junior EC Scholar Ananya Koripella enjoys some free time while in Greece for a medical fellowship.

Rising junior EC Scholar Ananya Koripella enjoys some free time while in Greece for a medical fellowship.

I’ve had more gyros and souvlaki than I can count; Tzatziki Sauce in Greece >>>>>> Tzatziki Sauce in the USA! I got to go to a lot of different places too! Literally, a half hour after I arrived at my apartment in Athens, my project coordinator took us all the way up to the Acropolis to see the Parthenon. The program took us to Sounion, a coastal city where the Temple of Poseidon is located. They also took us to Delphi known for the Temple of Apollo and the Oracle. On our own, the other fellows and I went to Aegina, one of the islands of Greece and to the Mykonos. I had a wonderful, wonderful time! There is still so much left on my list of stuff I want to see and places I want to go to, I’m definitely going to go back to Greece when I can! I’ve got over a thousand pictures on my laptop that I took with my Canon camera, I’ll definitely show you some more when I see you both in August!

Ciao for now!”

 

 

Rising junior EC Scholar Ananya Koripella in Greece this summer.

Rising junior EC Scholar Ananya Koripella in Greece this summer.

 

The Magic of Mursion

Junior EC Scholar Meghan Lower experiences a job interview simulation i the Mursion Lab.

Junior EC Scholar Meghan Lower experiences a job interview simulation i the Mursion Lab.

Junior EC Scholar Meghan Lower reflects on her experiences using the Murion Lab at the ECU College of Education.
Lower reacts to the avatar's comment during her mock job interview in the Mursion Lab.

Lower reacts to the avatar’s comment during her mock job interview in the Mursion Lab.

My first experience with Mursion was through a simulated job interview. Even though I used the word simulated, I certainly did not feel as if it was a simulation. The interview was very authentic, as I received personalized feedback in real time as if were a real interview. The avatar that interviewed me had appropriate gestures and body language that reflected what it was saying. Honestly, the authenticity of the technology caught me off guard a little at first. I did not predict the capabilities of Mursion would be as extensive as they were. It is truly like you are conversing with another human in an interview setting — an experience many undergraduates do not have before stepping into a real interview.

Another attraction of Mursion is its applications for education majors. Probably the most popular simulation of Mursion involves a classroom of five students. Each student in the class has their own story and personality — ones that accurately represent the types of students a teacher would interact with on a daily basis. A user can learn how to include the more introverted students into class discussions or how to control the more eager students from speaking out of turn. Having the opportunity to practice lessons and classroom management techniques before even stepping into a classroom is unprecedented. The more practice a teacher has before entering the classroom, the more comfortable and prepared they will be when they teach their students.

Mursion also goes beyond the classroom simulation to prepare future educators for other aspects of their job, such as engaging in a parent-teacher conference. It is these additional duties of a teacher that the majority of future educators do not have the chance to learn or experience before having to conduct one as a teacher. I highly recommend every education major, or anyone who will be interacting with children in their career, to utilize Mursion during their time at ECU.

Junior English Education major Makenzie Evans teaches a class using the Mursion Lab.

Junior English Education major Makenzie Evans teaches a class using the Mursion Lab.

Mursion Opportunities Outside Education

For those outside of the education field, Mursion has multiple other simulations that can be applied to almost any major or career. Participants can interact with patients as a doctor, engage with a room full of business board members, or converse with customers in a hospitality management setting. Regardless of major, Mursion can provide the opportunity to experience these simulation environments to help prepare for almost anything!

–Meghan Lower, Junior EC Scholar, Science Education Major

Find more information about Mursion here: http://www.ecu.edu/cs-educ/mursion/

 

 

Chancellor Staton and Local Entrepreneur Tracz to Speak at Honors Convocation

The Honors College Convocation will take place Thursday, Aug. 31, at 5 p.m. inside Wright Auditorium.

The Honors College Convocation will take place Thursday, Aug. 31, at 5 p.m. in Wright Auditorium.

 

The Honor College at East Carolina University will host its annual convocation Thursday, Aug. 31, inside Wright Auditorium, featuring ECU Chancellor Cecil Staton and local entrepreneur Dennis Tracz.

Following remarks from Staton and Honors College Dean Dr. David White, Tracz will kick off the school year with the keynote address to the Honors College highlighting innovation, entrepreneurship and the future impacts on eastern North Carolina and beyond.

Dennis Tracz will be the keynote speaker at the Honors College convocation Thursday, Aug. 31.

Dennis Tracz will be the keynote speaker at the Honors College convocation Thursday, Aug. 31.

Tracz said he was excited to formally welcome the Honors College Class of 2021 and recognize their potential to make a difference to the Honors College community.

“I am honored to be included in the efforts of the Honors College to help introduce students and the broader community to embrace innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Tracz. “I look forward to contributing to this remarkable institution and engaging with students and faculty alike.”

“I am pleased to welcome Mr. Tracz to the Honors College,” said Dean White. “His experiences and expertise in innovation and entrepreneurship have helped us to shape our plans here. His message will help our community understand the bright future possibilities through innovation and entrepreneurship in addition to their course work.”

Tracz is the CEO and Co-Founder of Carolina Wild, a muscadine juice company based in Pink Hill, NC. Tracz has set out to help transform the land that tobacco forgot into the land of the muscadine. He was the founder of the Virginia Financial Group, Inc. and served as the Director of the Entrepreneurship Center for James Madison University’s College of Business. Tracz has experience in entrepreneurship and innovation through eight start-ups established over more than 30 years. Tracz serves on the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Rural Center and is active in helping his rural community receive access to broadband and other technology services.

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