Category Archives: Events

Views from the Mess: My Experience at ECU LeaderShape 2016

By Glenesha Berryman, sophomore EC Scholar

leadershape1Stay in the mess.

Out of all the cool quotes and sayings I learned at this year’s LeaderShape, this phrase is the one that I keep coming back to. Staying in the mess was our co-lead facilitator John Mountz’s way of encouraging us to embrace challenges and engage when we felt the urge to withdraw. The more he said it, the more it stuck with me. However, I was not always eager to accept his message…

Avoiding the Mess

When people told me that LeaderShape would change my life, I responded with what any self-respecting college student would: a whole lot of skepticism. On the first day, I met every icebreaker, every definition of leadership we wrote, every “So what’s your major?” conversation with the satisfaction of knowing that I was right—LeaderShape wouldn’t change my life. Yet, a part of me was disappointed that I would not experience the life transformation my peers had experienced. When I voiced these frustrations with a former LeaderShape participant, she told me not to worry—just trust in the process.

Getting in the Mess

Without realizing it, the icebreakers became dynamic team building experiences that challenged everything I believed about my purpose on a team; the sessions spent defining leadership turned into moments of eye-opening reflection and bold vision building; superficial small talk became taboo; deep talks about anything under the sun became normal dinner conversation. Every hard lesson learned and every vulnerable story shared helped create a family out of strangers.

Staying in the Mess


Trusting in the process and getting super into the rock paper scissors tournament.

John Mountz called the things we were doing at LeaderShape a mess for a reason. Vulnerability, honesty, reflection, and growth ain’t easy—it’s downright messy. But by practicing all of these things and by staying in the mess, I was able to experience the life-changing LeaderShape my friends had promised me. Through deep introspection and adopting a healthy disregard for the impossible, I was able to challenge my career aspirations, sharpen my vision for the world, and discover my core values.

Looking back, staying in the mess is a testament to my LeaderShape experience, a reminder of the six days I spent participating in vulnerable conversations, fearless dreaming, and authentic relationship building. Before coming to LeaderShape, I could not have imagined myself willing to do these things. However, the fact that I did speaks to the power of LeaderShape, the power of re-thinking the status-quo, and the power of getting messy and staying in it.

Views from the Mess


My LeaderShape Cluster Family #2AAllDay

Explaining a life-changing experience like LeaderShape with just words is impossible. How can they capture all the learning, the laughter, the tears, the joy, the hope that LeaderShape gave me?

The only way to know LeaderShape is to experience LeaderShape. So to all the skeptics, the dreamers, the movers, the shakers, the I-don’t-know-what-I-want-to-do-with-my-lifers, I challenge you to embrace the mess at LeaderShape.

Honors College brings top finalists and admitted students to campus

By: Jessica Nottingham, Coordinator of Communications and Marketing

East Carolina University’s Honors College hosted its sixth annual Selection Sunday and Honors College Preview Day for top scholarship program finalists and admitted honors students Feb. 14-15.

Approximately 80 finalists were selected to interview during Selection Sunday for the EC Scholars, Early Assurance (in audiology, medicine, nursing, occupational therapy and physical therapy), Business Scholars, Humanities Scholars and Music Scholars award programs housed in the Honors College. In addition to the respective scholarship program benefits, recipients received the Honors College scholarship of in-state tuition valued at approximately $17,000 and are offered unique leadership, mentorship and community-engagement opportunities.

The EC Scholars Award Program is ECU’s most prestigious merit scholarship program valued at approximately $62,000 awarded over four years. The scholarship program includes a $5,000 study abroad stipend as well as the Honor College scholarship of in-state tuition. Setting a record, the program received 530 applications and interviewed 49 finalists. With 20 awards, the EC Scholars award is the largest scholarship program in the Honors College.

24969698752_e2103b831b_kFaculty, alumni, donors and campus administrators volunteered to select and interview finalists on Selection Sunday.

24733303260_1c22da00fc_k“Being part of the EC Scholars Selection Sunday was quite a privilege,” said Margaret Turner, director of marketing and outreach for the College of Engineering and Technology, who served as an EC Scholars Award Program interviewer. “All of the candidates are extraordinary students and not only impressive on paper, but even more so in person. It’s exciting to be a part of selecting the next cohort of scholars that will represent ECU.”

Advocating and fundraising for the Honors College, the ECU Women’s Roundtable became a supporting partner this year. Shelby Strother, emerita Women’s Roundtable member and 2007 Incredible ECU Women honoree also served as an EC Scholars interviewer. “Some of [the students] have already accomplished more in their K-12 education than others do in a life time,” said Strother. “East Carolina University is very fortunate to have these outstanding students as part of the incoming freshmen class.”

The early assurance programs (EAP) guarantee admissions into the respective graduate or doctoral programs at ECU after completing an undergraduate degree as an honors student. The most competitive EAP is in medicine, which offers recipients guaranteed admittance to the Brody School of Medicine. The EAP in medicine received 176 applications, interviewed 23 finalists and will name four recipients and four alternates.

The EAP in nursing received 46 applications, selected six finalists and will award three recipients. The EAP in physical therapy received 45 applications, interviewed four finalists and will name two recipients. The EAP in occupational therapy received 9 applications, interviewed and will award two finalists. The EAP in audiology received four applications and selected one finalist to interview and award the scholarship.

The scholar program awards in business, humanities and music are valued at approximately $30,000 over four years including the Honors College in-state tuition scholarship. Applicants must articulate an interest and dedication to one of these respective fields on their Honors College application to be selected as a finalist.

25028850945_5f6144e359_kAfter receiving 52 applications, the Business Scholars program interviewed six finalists and will award two recipients. This program also provides guaranteed entry to ECU’s MBA program upon completion of an undergraduate degree in business. The Humanities Scholars program received 13 applicants, interviewed and awarded one finalist. The Music Scholars program received 30 applicants, and the finalists are still participating in auditions.

The Honors College has partnered with ECU’s Brody School of Medicine, College of Allied Health, College of Business, College of Nursing, School of Music and Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences to deliver these award programs.

“Selection Sunday is a time for us to showcase ECU’s prestigious merit scholarship programs to some of the best students in our region and nation,” said Dr. Todd Fraley, director of the EC Scholars Award Program and interim associate dean of academic programs for the ECU Honors College. “Every year, I continue to be amazed by the students and how competitive these programs have become.”

Finalists had lunch with current recipients of the Honors College scholarship awards, university leaders and college constituents to learn more about ECU, the Honors College its scholarship programs. Following the lunch, finalists participated in their interviews and were invited to a reception at the East Carolina Heart Institute. At the reception, the prospective scholars and their families heard from Dr. David White, interim dean of the Honors College, Dr. Ron Mitchelson, the ECU provost, Dr. Liz Fogarty, an Honors College faculty fellow and associate professor in the College of Education and Chris Thaxton, a senior EC Scholar majoring in biology and chemistry.24910794262_c4a8e9a75d_z

24969706112_131daec030_kOn the Monday following Selection Sunday, the Honors College hosted Preview Day for accepted honors students who enter fall 2016 as freshmen. Designed to assist students in their college selection decision, the event featured campus administrators including Dr. Steve Ballard, ECU Chancellor, Dr. Dave Meredith, director of admissions, White, interim dean of the Honors College and Kevin Baxter, associate dean of the Honors College.

24720249409_fd827b8610_kProspective honors students heard from faculty, current students and parents, met with advisors from colleges across campus, participated in a campus and Gateway Residence Hall tour, and ate lunch at West End Dining Hall.

“East Carolina University and the Honors College have a lot to offer high-achieving students,” said White. “I am confident that the scholar program finalists and accepted honors students and their families left ECU knowing that we are a campus committed to scholarship, leadership, character and service.”

For more information about the Honors College and its special scholarship offerings, visit Photo galleries for Selection Sunday and Preview Day are available.

An Epic ECU Lip-Sync Battle: This Girl is on Fire!

By: Jackie Curtis, EC Scholar and Honors College Sophomore

Convo_45“My advice for incoming freshmen: don’t be afraid to try new things!  Step out of your comfort zone a little bit – you’ll be amazed how much you can learn about yourself!”  So I wrote as I sat in my room thinking about the millions of things I could say to the incoming freshmen at Convocation.  Out of all the ideas I had come up with, this one seemed, rather ironically, very fitting for the occasion.

A week before, I had received an email asking for volunteers to compete in a lip-sync battle at ECU’s Convocation.  The email was from an Honors College faculty member, so instead of doing my homework and confirming the details, I assumed that the email was referring to the Honors College Convocation.  I responded to the email saying that I would like to participate, thinking that a solo performance in front of a relatively small group of my Honors College peers would be a beneficial transition from my past experience with choirs and musical theater chorus ensembles.

At some point, as I was reading through the long stream of emails that ensued regarding the lip-sync battle, I came to the startling realization that it was not, in fact, the Honors College Convocation at which I had volunteered to lip-sync.  It was the general college Convocation – the one that close to five thousand freshmen would be attending.

To give some personal background, just about anyone who knows me would say that I am shy, quiet and reserved.  I am an introvert.  I like listening more than talking.  I don’t want to be the center of attention.  My agreeing to take center stage in front of what I thought would be around two hundred people was a pretty big deal.  Needless to say, I was slightly unnerved when I realized my misunderstanding.  The idea of performing in front of thousands of people was not especially appealing.

Fast-forward to the day of Convocation: I showed up at Minges a few hours before convocation began to run through my routine.  I had a great time watching my fellow competitors rehearse, watched as thousands of freshmen poured into the arena, took a few deep breaths before I went onstage in front of everyone, and then proceeded to have the time of my life.  I absolutely loved every second I was performing.  I never could have imagined that I would have so much fun doing something so far outside my comfort zone.

I will never forget the feeling I had while I was onstage performing.  I will also never forget the lessons I learned through this experience.  Number one: read emails thoroughly before agreeing to do things.  Number two: “step out of your comfort zone a little bit – you’ll be amazed how much you can learn about yourself!”

A Simply Delicious Living-Learning Experience

By: Matthew Chilton, Honors College Freshman 

Matt 1On October 25th,  I traveled with members of the Honors College on a Living-Learning Experience (LLE) called Simply Delicious. These LLEs are opportunities for students to explore outside the University and are a chance to build relationships with donors, business leaders, and fellow students. This trip was focused on agricultural business in Greenville and the surrounding cities.

Students eagerly loaded onto the bus at 2:30 p.m. at Minges Coliseum. The first half took place at the Starlight Farm on the outskirts of Greenville. The farm, owned by the Boutilier family, is used to supply their restaurant Starlight Café here in Greenville. The Boutiliers pride themselves in their all organic, low-impact farming. Mr. and Mrs. Boutilier guided us through planted mounds and pecan trees. The field was a little less than a quarter acre, which was a surprise to me to see that only a small plot of land is needed to stock a restaurant. (They do, however, use products from other local farms for their restaurant as well.) The Boutiliers explained various farming techniques that they employ in order to produce a high yield.

The modern farming industry, they pointed out, has an array of technologies that allow a single individual to operate a vast amount of land while using less labor. Tractors allow for plowing, combines are great for harvesting, and pesticides ensure that plants are bug free; however, the Boutiliers have adopted farming techniques that have been around since the Middle Ages. The goal of this is to grow crops for quality rather than quantity, which saves the owners money on supplies and land. Tactics like drip irrigation waters plants directly at the basal root and saves an exponential amount of water compared to a sprinkler. Also, caring for plants by hand allows them to inspect the crops for disease, something that mega farms can rarely do.

The Starlight farm grows an array of crops: beats, turnips, artichokes, tomatoes; and an array of herbs like basil, mint, and rosemary, to name a few. They also have a number of animals on their land, such as cows, sheep, chickens, apiaries filled with bees, and some friendly farm cats. They explained how to care for each animal and their significance to the farm; for instance, the sheep that they care for are an endangered breed that the major farming industry has discarded because of its wool properties. It seems that everything on the farm is carefully thought out in order to have a positive ecological impact. The Boutiliers recognize that it is a lot of work for two people, but they take immense pride in their work because they can produce something that can be shared with the community of Greenville.


After saying our goodbyes, we loaded back into the bus to go to Ayden where the Simply Natural Creamery is located. We were greeted with the smell that let us know we were certainly in the right place. Simply Natural Creamery is a brand new creamery owned by the Moye family. The creamery utilizes the family-owned dairy farm comprised totally of Jersey Cows, a fact they proudly display on their products.

The tour started with a video presentation of the milking process. The creamery has state-of-the-art technology that ensures that the milk is pasteurized and filtered properly, then separated to make certain dairy products. We then proceeded on a tractor ride throughout the facility and were shown the various feed types that the cows eat depending on the stage of the cow’s development. All of the feed is grown and separated on site, lending to the “Simply Natural” name.

21882878073_5b8699a7a0_oThe next stop was my favorite: “Calftown USA” is what the Moyes call it. Since the type of milk can be affected by the cow’s health, the Moyes ensure the health of all their cows by raising them from birth on site. Calftown is a plot of land that is sectioned off in order to provide a safe place for the calves to develop in their first few weeks. Each calf is placed in a dog house and given a square meter of outside space fenced off. We were allowed to go up to the calves and pet them. They were very docile and loved to be rubbed on their heads and necks. They acted like dogs in that they licked anyone nearby. The guide explained to us how they assist the mother cows giving birth. We then proceeded to the birth pen, where a one-hour-old calf was standing and gathering its bearings.

After leaving Calftown, we went to the holding and milking parlor and watched the milking process in-person. The parlor smelled sweet with the aroma of milk. The cows appeared calm and looked like they were enjoying the process. We learned that a single cow can deliver over five gallons of milk a session and that they have two milking sessions a day. Given that they have over 180 cows milked a day, the average day can yield anywhere from 1,800 to 2,000 gallons of milk, which can be sold the same day in a carton on the shelf of their store.

The final task on our agenda was to enjoy some complementary ice cream. Simply Natural Creamery has an assortment of flavors from Reese’s Peanut Butter to cherry vanilla. I enjoyed their cupcake-flavored ice cream, which was noticeably sweeter and lighter than store brand. It was the perfect end to an afternoon on the farms.

I am certainly thankful to have the opportunity to go on Living-Learning Experiences like this one. It is not possible to have such a great time off-campus without the support of the donors of the Honors College. I would like to express my gratitude toward those who put forth the time and effort in order for these programs to exist. Without their support, a unique educational experience such as this and countless others would not be possible. I am excited to hear about the next Honors College outing and will be sure to reserve a spot!

Showcasing Our Artists: Honors College Fine Arts Gala

By: McKenzie Shelton, EC Scholar and Honors College Junior

mckenzieThis September marked an important event for the Honors College of East Carolina University.  Amidst the whirlwind of scientific research and technical training that swirls around us, the Honors College celebrated our inaugural Honors Fine Arts Gala.  This event was incredibly well-attended and proclaimed the growing support for the arts in the Honors family.  The Gala was a result of one of the Honors colloquia, the invention of an Honors arts student who realized that our fine arts students needed a time dedicated to showcasing their work and talents. The idea was wholeheartedly supported by the Alumni Association.

As a Film/Video Production student in the art department at ECU, I am grateful and fervently excited about this new happening.  There is a dichotomy between the sciences and arts that I believe is beginning to fade with the integration of interdisciplinary studies and open-mindedness.  Each year I recognize more of my fellow artists as academics and my scientifically-minded peers as creators.  There is an extreme attention to detail, planning, execution of ideas, and personal creativity in every vocation.  Upon googling ‘art,’ I found the definition to be illuminating of the interconnectedness between all people. The definition read, “The expression of human creative skill and imagination.”  We are all moving the human race forward through our innovation and use of resources.  Is a surgeon not like a painter, wielding the scalpel with the finesse of a medical Picasso?  Or a filmmaker similar to a psychologist, listening to people’s stories and relating human experience?  I hope greatly that this year’s Honors Fine Arts Gala increased awareness of the value of the arts, which I believe exists to communicate stories and process emotion.

In regards to the show itself, there were excellent presentations of musical theatre, including renditions from Titanic, Funny Girl, a wildly moving dance piece, a classical trio, film art, poetry, metal works, and ensemble theatre performances.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself and was so honored to see the faces of so many friends and family in the crowd, but mostly, I was proud to stand with so many other Honors arts students in front of our university. We stood declaring that we are here, we are important, and we appreciate this beautiful opportunity to share that which moves, challenges, and fulfills us.  Thank you ECU Honors College!

Through the Ages Performers 2015 (1)

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