Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Semester of Revelations: Experiencing Dutch Healthcare

By: Ankita Mishra, Honors College sophomore 

IMG_9629The October of my freshman year, I began planning my study abroad experience. I researched the best options: the programs that would bring me the most credits, and a country that would best suit my interests. I landed upon HAN University in the Netherlands.

What I have learned and seen so far this semester may sound like anything else you may have read about being abroad, but the value that has been revealed to me in relation to medicine, patience, and humanity lies beyond comprehension. My minor, Internationalization, entailed a semester of theory involving the practice of healthcare in Western and developing countries and a comparison of these practices. This was coupled with a practical research component that I’d be completing while the Dutch students in the minor traveled abroad to practice health care in various developing countries at clinics in partnership with the university. The part I didn’t realize? Each and every one of my classmates would be a nursing student.

Being a public health major on a pre-medical route, my interests coincide with those of my classmates, but the education that we have received is very different. With every lecture, assignment, and group project that we completed together, I learned more about medicine from the perspective of a nurse. The challenges that they face and the mission that they hope to accomplish with every patient is similar to what I have observed from shadowing doctors, yet treated so different. Nurses are actively engaged in public health policy, patient advocacy, and have a tremendous role in the health of a patient. It occurred to me while working with other nurses that the ultimate difference between a doctor and a nurse is simply the ultimate responsibility of the patient as this is primarily the doctor’s liability. Everything else — the opportunities they have, their experiences, their goals, and their basic education — is the same.


My time with my nursing classmates not only illustrated to me the value of nursing, but also exposed me to the simple yet beautiful practice of Dutch healthcare. I have visited numerous hospitals and clinics in the Netherlands and the one aspect that they share is patient-centered care. Dutch health care focuses on addressing the social health of a patient to make hospitalization a less drastic change for patients. The cultural expectation of a person who is sick is not abided by in the practice of Dutch health care. Patients are provided with a close semblance of their daily routine as health care providers allow them to wear their own clothes, provide them with various opportunities for social interaction, and attempt to replicate their typical daily schedules as much as possible. In addition, hospitals and clinics constantly renovate their building to keep up with the needs of their clients and to assure that the client has the best possible experience during their stay. They overwhelm the client with options when it comes to rooms, their daily meal, and their day-to-day living while at their Hospital. With this approach, the Dutch health care system seeks to address the holistic needs of the patient rather than just curing their illness. The best part of it all, though? Most, if not all, of this care is free to the client.

My time in the Netherlands so far has taught me a lot about Dutch healthcare and how it compares to that of America and other countries. I continue to learn more through my research component, which consists of studying about the cost-efficiency of prevention methods established by large NGO’s, and then applying this knowledge to help develop a new public health minor at HAN with other lecturers. I cannot begin to thank the International Office and the Honors College for giving me this amazing opportunity to expand my perspective on medicine. With half of my stay to look forward to, I cannot even begin to imagine what the next few months holds.

ECU Honors Takes Orlando: Southern Regional Honors Conference 2016

By: Erika Dietrick, Undergraduate Director of Marketing and Communications

IMG_5064In April, Associate Dean Kevin Baxter accompanied five ECU Honors College students to the annual Southern Regional Honors Conference (SRHC) in sunny Orlando, Florida.

SRHC is an excellent forum for sharing common practices in honors. Honors College senior and student employee Megan Woodlief presented Planning a Large Scale Honors Commencement Reception in which she shared her experience directing all logistics associated with one of our largest events of the year.

Megan’s talk on our end-of-year celebration for seniors was complimented with a focus on incoming freshman. Mr. Kevin Baxter presented Strategic Enrollment Management and Honors, providing an overview of ECU Honors recruitment practices.

IMG_5049Editor-in-Chief of The East Carolinian and Honors College senior Ryan Clancy created a poster connecting college journalism courses with journalism careers. His poster, titled Convergence Skills as Demanded by Newspaper Employers and Taught by University Journalism Programs, offered applicable knowledge for preparing university students for the newspaper industry.

The sciences were also strongly represented by three outstanding presentations in chemistry, health, and biology, respectively. In fulfillment of the Senior Honors Project, Honors College senior Kate McPherson presented a poster titled Palladium Catalyzed C-C Coupling Reaction from a Computational Quantum Mechanical Perspective, and Honors College senior Sarah Judy presented research titled The Effects of Coal Ash Containment Pond Runoff on pH and Microbial Respiration in River Sediments.

IMG_5053Last but certainly not least, Honors College sophomore Sahiti Marella presented A comprehensive study of the positive and negative effects of folic acid on embryonic and adult life. Her research suggests that folic acid is not only an essential prenatal vitamin supplement for the reduction of neural tube defects, but also a pivotal nutrient in the development of complications embryonically and in adulthood.

The Harry Potter themed conference paid tribute to nearby Harry Potter World. Each participant was placed in one of the four Harry Potter “houses” (Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Slytherin, Hufflepuff) to promote camaraderie and friendly competition. Between panels and socials, the group enjoyed visits to Universal Studios (including Harry Potter World!) and various Disney locations.

IMG_5067Outstanding host cities, opportunities to network, and a supportive platform to communicate research with other honors communities are just a few of the reasons SRHC remains a must-attend conference for the ECU Honors College.IMG_5057


Business Scholars: More Than A Number

By: Haley Smith, Business Scholar and Honors College freshman 

Honors Blog photoBeing in the Honors College at East Carolina is such a huge honor. It sets me apart from the large university. In the same way, being a Business Scholar sets me apart inside the College of Business. I am currently in my second semester here at ECU and I have loved every second of my time here. I am majoring in Finance with hopes to become a financial analyst. After completing my undergraduate degree and obtaining my BSBA, I will go to graduate school at East Carolina’s College of Business and acquire my MBA.

I originally applied to be a Business Scholar because of the awesome benefits that it would bring me. One major benefit that can be appreciated by all is a $12,000 scholarship, which is given out as $1,500 per semester for four years. That might sound great, but the best part is that an ECU College of Business alumni selects you and they personally fund your scholarship. This allows me, and all other Business Scholars, to form a one-on-one connection with our sponsor, who is usually someone that has worked their way up in their corporation, and is willing to help us in any way possible. The fact that they care so much about me and my success is a huge part of the whole experience. Another benefit of being a Business Scholar is what happens after I graduate. Upon completing my undergraduate here at East Carolina, as long as I remain in good standing, I will have an automatic, guaranteed seat in ECU’s nationally ranked MSA or MBA graduate program.  This is a huge benefit, as I will not have to worry about taking the GMAT or worry about applying or getting into other graduate schools. I am able to know my exact plan once graduating from my undergrad. Another benefit of being a Business Scholar is being invited to events to represent the College of Business. For example, one event I went to was a reception at Dean Eakins’ house. I was able to meet and network with notable alumni — I actually received lots of business cards, and I was told to call if I ever needed anything or if I was looking for a job. Did I mention that that was in the first month of my first semester? It was an incredible feeling knowing that the alumni cared about me and they were already looking to help me with jobs and internships and I didn’t even know that much about my major yet!

Overall, being a business major and a part of the College of Business has been an incredible experience so far! East Carolina has one of the largest undergraduate business schools out of all seventeen universities in the UNC system. The faculty of the business school is extremely nice and passionate about the subjects that they teach. It is nice to know that my professors, advisors, and even the administration of the business school all care about my success not only in the classroom, but they also hope for my success after I graduate. Within the College of Business I am more than just a number — the faculty actually know my name, which is something that you often can’t say about other large universities. Dr. Westmoreland, the Associate Dean, Mrs. Karen Kus, the Director of Undergraduate programs, and Mrs. Anne Fisher, the Director of Professional Programs, have all really impacted my time within the College of Business. These three people never fail to stop what they are doing and ask me how I am and how my classes are going. Every time I see them, I am reminded of how incredible ECU’s College of Business is and how I made a wonderful decision to attend East Carolina University.

Developing Discipline: A How-To Guide for Taking the MCAT

By: Ryan Carter-Stanley, EC Scholar and Honors College senior 

MCAT pictureThe “MCAT.” I don’t know about you, but for me, as a senior in high school, that one word had the ability to evoke incomprehensible amounts of anxiety. It wasn’t until I met the test face-to-face (or face-to-computer really) that I was able to see past my fears. The MCAT is a necessary step to achieving your dreams–one of many as you will shortly discover–but it does not have to be a dreadful one. You will, I hate to say, find your self spending countless hours nose-in-book, and you will have to learn the art of saying “no” every once in a while. You will have to develop a study plan. You will have to look inside yourself, muster up every ounce of self-discipline and interest in science that you can, and buckle down for a hard couple of months. But you do NOT have to be anxious. This is a very hard test and it is meant to be. I don’t think any human being desires to sit in front of a computer for 7 hours and be required to expel countless tidbits of information compiled from the toughest college classes you will have taken. But, my young friend, hear me when I say this: you can do it. You may have to do it twice, and it will not be the best memories you have from college, but you can do it!

I have always found test taking to be one of my strengths, but after taking the MCAT once, I discovered that this exam was different. Do not be quick to assume that you do not need to study hard. I was able to get a set of MCAT subject study books for free from my Pre-Med advisor. These books can easily run a few hundred dollars. I made a study plan, which I humbly admit I struggled to stick to. I have had friends who are able to sit down each day and study 4 hours for a couple months, and if that is you, then this method may work. Figure out if you are a morning or evening person. It helped me to wake up before my roommates, brew some coffee and tackle it then. That way, I didn’t find it as tempting to join in on the activities around me. I took the older MCAT in November of my junior year. I did this so that I would have enough time to take the newer version a second time if need be.

…Well, the need be became my reality. I wasn’t satisfied with my slightly below average score, so after quite a bit of self-coaching on why I wanted to be a doctor, I began preparing for the second test. This time, I took a different approach and signed up for a MCAT preparation course.  It was VERY expensive (I think around $1,000), but there is just no Family Dollar option for this test. I joined in on an online session twice a week and studied some on my own. We were assigned a chunk of the book to read and practice on our own and then we would go over it together. Kaplan (the company that I took the course with) was able to offer countless strategic tips on how to attack the test aside from content-based knowledge. I without a doubt recommend taking one of these courses…and this is coming from a girl who would choose shopping at Goodwill or a yard sale any day. I am thrifty, but there are no cutting corners with this one. If I remember correctly, the course is a two-month commitment. You also need to give yourself time to take the many practice tests they provide, so I would probably dedicate a semester to preparation. Kaplan will provide you with so many resources; you will not be able to cover it all. But I encourage you to try and do as much as you can.

And then rest. Find things that you enjoy to take a break. And take the test. Dominate the test even! And find a way to occupy yourself for a month while you wait for the results. Trust me, this is only your first lesson of patience when it comes to seeking a career in medicine. It is March as I write this, and I have been waiting since my interview in October to hear back from the Brody School of Medicine. We will wear those white coats one day, my friends. One. Foot. In. Front. Of. The. Other.

Apply for ECU’s NSF-Funded Computer Science Research Program!

By: Ashley Wilford, Undergraduate Coordinator of Academic Programs

blog pictureThe following article was originally posted on the ECU Honors College Research Connections Blog, a site for current Honors College students to seek internships, research positions, and other academic opportunities. 

The Computer Science Department at East Carolina University will conduct a ten-week summer research program funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) for ten undergraduates!

Students will work on open research topics in software testing and analytics under the supervision of faculty mentors. They will participate in workshops on software testing and analytics, development of basic research skills, and application of scholarships and fellowships for undergraduate and graduate studies. We also will arrange field trips to visit our industry partners and ECU’s Brody School of Medicine.

When: May 23, 2016 to July 29, 2016

Who is eligible:

  • Rising juniors or seniors from accredited undergraduate institutions who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
  • Applicants should have a strong academic record and preferably a proficiency in Java programming.
  • Underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged to apply, as well as those from academic institutions with limited research opportunities.

Each selected participant will receive a $5,000 stipend, a housing allowance, meals, and a travel reimbursement of up to $500 for non-ECU students.

For more information about the program and projects, visit

How To Apply:

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