Next Steps for the Honors College Class of 2015

By: Erika Dietrick, Undergraduate Director of Marketing and Communications

next stepsAs the second graduating class of the ECU Honors College prepares to walk across the stage in a little over a week, we are reminded of the incredible journey on which these students have embarked and all that they have accomplished.  We are proud to know so many aspiring leaders, researchers, and artists. Below is a glimpse into the post-graduation plans of some of our students:


Ajay Ajmera, B.S. Biology: Pursing an M.D. at the Brody School of Medicine

Layne Barefield, B.S. Engineering (Concentration in Biomedical): Pursuing a M.S. in Mechanical Engineering

Matthew Baucom, B.S. Biochemistry: Pursuing an M.D. at the Brody School of Medicine

Kimberly Paige Bostick, Hispanic Studies major and Biology minor: Pursuing the Physician Assistant Program at East Carolina University

Lindsay Caddell, B.S.N. Nursing: Hired as a nurse at Vidant Medical Center

Rebekah Carbone, B.S.N. Nursing: Hired as an R.N. at Vidant Medical Center

Kari Carr, B.S. Biology and B.A. Anthropology: Pursuing the Anatomy and Cell Biology Program at the Brody School of Medicine

Karina Dierolf, B.S.N. Nursing and Multidisciplinary Studies: Hired as a nurse at Mission Hospital in Asheville

Andrew Geddes, B.S. Exercise Physiology: Pursuing a PhD of Physical Therapy

Georganna Gower, B.S. Exercise Physiology: Pursuing the Physical Therapy Program at East Carolina University

Jordan Griffin, B.S. Exercise Physiology: Pursuing an M.D. at the Brody School of Medicine

Teresa Heavilin, B.S. Biology: Hired as the Summer Residence Hall Director at the University of Portland

Denver Hollingsworth, B.S. Communication: Marketing Firm in Raleigh, NC

Charley Jauss, B.S. Biology and B.A. Health Studies: Pursuing research at Arthrex, an orthopedic medical device company

Katherine Kirk, Economics major and Mathematics minor: Pursuing graduate school at East Carolina University

Sarah Marshall, B.S. Biology: Pursuing a master’s in Chemistry at East Carolina University

Shayna Mooney, B.S. Neuroscience and B.A. International Studies: Pursuing an M.D. at the Brody School of Medicine

Victoria Neff, BFA Theatre Educations and Theatre for Youth: Pursuing a Master of Arts in Educational Theatre

Michael Prunka, Communications (Concentration in Journalism): Hired at Cooke Communications

Brendan Schachle, B.S.B.A. in Marketing: Hired as an Account Coordinator at Strategic Pharma Solutions

Thomas Vaughan, Applied Atmospheric Science: Pursuing a M.S. in Meteorology at Florida State University

Brandon Watson, B.S. Engineering (Concentration in Mechanical): Enlisting in US Navy, Commissioned as an Ensign (O-1)

Allison Wiles, B.S. Hospitality Management (Concentration in Lodging): Hired as a Marriott International Manager

Eva Zeron, B.S. Engineering (Concentration in Industrial & Systems) and Mathematics minor: Hired as a Technical Analyst at Credit Suisse

Posted in Advice/Tips, Honors College, Living Learning Experiences, Senior Honors Project, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

These Boots Were Made for Hiking: Appalachian Trail Seminar

By: Amanda Fisher, Honors College Sophomore

amanda fisher(Imagine heavy piano music.) At 5:45 am, my alarm clock went off, and I thought I was going to murder someone. Why is my alarm clock going off at this terrible hour in the morning? Then, I remembered I was going to go hike today on Medoc Mountain! I quickly called my friend Kaitlyn and my boyfriend Will to make sure that they were both awake…and…I rolled over and went back to sleep until my heavy piano music alarm once again woke me up.

I was less than wide awake, but after packing everything and layering my clothes correctly, I was ready to go! I left my apartment, found my friends Kaitlyn and Davis, and filled out some paperwork. And we were off! Not going to lie, I cuddled up next to Will and fell asleep for the entire drive to the state park.  Once there, our tour guide, Brad, gave us a short lesson on where we were going to be hiking, and we were sized for our hiking backpacks. Finally, it was time to start the hike.

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The beginning of the hike was muddy and uphill but not terribly hard. I was so thankful for my hiking boots. They kept my feet dry and warm. Virginia and Will only had tennis shoes, and they were sliding all over the place.

Around noon, we made it to the ‘mountain’.  It was great to stop, rest our feet, use the bathroom (orangutan style), and eat some food. I learned a valuable lesson called “don’t-put-jelly-on-your-sandwich-because-it-will-get-squashed-so-that-the-jelly-goes-everywhere.” Luckily, the bag was zipped, but it was still a lesson learned.

app trail 3After lunch, we learned how to put up our tents. Emma was my tent partner, and it was a good thing because I had no idea what I was doing.  Once all the different style tents were up, we all toured around them. Our tent was a two-person tent with two door entrances. After that, we packed up, made the place look like we had never been there, and hiked back down the mountain. I liked hiking up way better than hiking down!

One of the nice things about the hike was that I bonded with my friends and teachers and had time to reflect on my own thoughts. I had an amazing time on the hike. Everything was perfect: the weather, the people, and the hike. Now, I just cannot wait until the four-day hike on the Appalachian Trail over Easter Break!

To view trips of the class hiking the Appalachian Trail, click here.

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Posted in Colloquiums & Seminars, Honors College, Honors Colloquiums & Seminars, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Most Gratefully: Sophomore Scholars Visit Washington, D.C.

By: Trey Cook, EC Scholar and Honors College Sophomore

16917646125_149eb4e171_zBeing a part of the ECU Honors College is a unique privilege, one I am reminded of on a daily basis. I have the honor of being part of a tight-knit team within the College that has afforded me incredible opportunities and, more importantly, relationships with fellow Pirates because I am an EC Scholar. I am consistently reminded that I have been given an amazing gift by ECU and by the Honors College. Trips like the EC Scholar sophomore spring break trip to Washington D.C. remind me the opportunities available to me are a gift; the unique relationships I have with faculty like Dr. O’Connor and Dr. Fraley are gifts; and most importantly, the incredible relationships I have with my fellow adventurers in the program are each their own individual gift.

16891771786_62588d0541_zThis is why I sign my emails, “most gratefully.” The trip to D.C. prompted me to think afresh on the grand scale of the blessings in my life. Enjoying amazing food at unique restaurants and nighttime tours of downtown Alexandria and the great national memorials afforded me ample opportunities to engage my fellow scholars and friends in conversation (and pelt them with snowballs), glean from their knowledge, better understand their passions, and feed off their joy. The Holocaust Museum, wow, what an intense display of history but also of a challenge. Like few I have entered before, that museum portrayed history so vividly I could almost feel it, but it left me sobered, asking the question, “How will you respond?” I think the Holocaust Museum is there as a memorial yes, but it is also a call to action, a call to the Americans of the now not to allow the events of the past to repeat themselves, whether that be in how we view race in America or in how we react to ISIS’ persecution of Christians, innocents, and others in the Middle East. A behind-the-scenes tour of the Pentagon and a feast at the prestigious Army and Navy Club hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Tom and Kathy Shubert, Lt. Col. Vincent Smith, and Mr. Chris Owens again reminded me of the unique benefits and vast connections provided for me by the EC Scholars program and the Honors College. Perhaps the most meaningful event of the trip was a couple hours spent in Arlington National Cemetery hosted by Miss Nancy Summers who also directed us on a tour.

I have a long history with the military. My father has been a member of the Army National Guard for over twenty years. My family has experienced only one deployment, but multiple stateside mobilizations. While I will never be classified as a “military brat,” I have had a hybrid experience of sorts as a military kid. My glimpse into the world of a soldier’s family has inspired again, gratefulness, not only for the sacrifices of Soldiers, but also for the willingness of countless others that sacrifice alongside every single soldier as they release him or her to serve our country. This prompted my small team of Honors students to choose to spend our time supporting Operation Re-entry NC during our freshman Honors Leadership and Service Colloquium (HNRS 2000). We had the unique opportunity to take part in the ideation and design process of their innovative Rover van. This passion is also the drive behind my work in ECU’s biofeedback lab working with a virtual reality simulator in support of Dr. Russoniello and Dr. Fish’s work with Soldiers suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and minor Traumatic Brain Injuries.


It is this passion that brought me to my knees upon entering Arlington National Cemetery. I lagged behind a lot that day, partially because there was really no desire to joke around with my friends while traversing that hallowed ground, but mainly because I was overcome with passion, the passion of the silent bodies underground. It was their passion for a flag with some stars and some stripes on it, it was their passion for their brothers-in-arms, it was their passion for those they loved at home that has ultimately brought our country to its current state and paved the way for me to enjoy the education, the relationships, and even a trip to their memorial in such freedom. Just like the tears of gratefulness welling up from within me that day kept flowing, so my thankfulness keeps flowing for my country’s Soldiers and their families, my thankfulness for my scholarship and the Honors College.

Sometimes people ask me why I’m so energetic all the time, or why I’m constantly smiling. Sometimes I respond, “I have a lot of be thankful for.” Maybe that statement makes a little more sense now. Thanks for reading.

Most gratefully.

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Between the Lens: Photography and Writing Seminar

By: Kayla Thompson, Honors College Sophomore

As a student majoring in Multidisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Neuroscience, everything about an Honors College seminar with a fine arts credit made me uneasy. The lecture took place on the opposite end of campus away from my comfort of the Science and Technology building. I trudged to the other side of campus every Tuesday and Thursday morning. Navigating through the Jenkins Fine Art building was a tough task in its own. Then, they suggested I hop in a rusty, white van and go to Duke University to look at art. This would need some convincing.

I continued to steer to the far end of campus and attend this class that discussed a connection between photography and writing. Dr. Charles Twardy, a professor of the School of Communication, and Dr. Daniel Kariko, a professor of the School of Art and Design, displayed concerns about many different issues including things. We explored many series of pictures that conveyed messages about the terrain located near and far from Greenville, North Carolina. Before I knew it, they asked my peers and I to do the same thing in Eastern North Carolina. Anything east of I-95 would suffice.

Dr. Twardy prepared us through writing exercises and lectures on how to interview people. He had us talk in class using the same words that he wanted us to write with: concrete nouns and verbs. Dr. Kariko plunged into efficiently handling cameras and adjusting settings along with some modern and historical examples of popular photographs. They both taught me a new perspective of art portrayed through not only pictures, but also writing.

On a Saturday morning, I jumped into the van and headed to Durham where the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University awaited. I had the opportunity to explore black rooms for developing photographs along with seeing a real example of what our projects aspired to resemble. Lynsey Addario, a woman of many talents including blogdocumentary photography, had an exhibit on display that we explored. She called it “Veiled Rebellion: Women in Afghanistan.” It was a rather silent reveal due to the emotion that flowed through the words and pictures on display. I felt for these women and had the opportunity to recognize a different culture thousands of miles away. These emotions were interpreted by looking a photograph and then reading the story behind each woman. For example, a young girl had marks all over her face. After reading, I learned that this particular girl had acid sprayed onto her when walking to school because some men in their country do not encourage getting an education. The pictures were all interesting subjects but you developed an emotional attachment after reading Addario’s words that told exactly what was happening.

In America, we are not exposed to women trapped under the claws of the Taliban. But, we do have other issues, even in Eastern North Carolina. I discovered this when I was asked to go explore and talk to people in the community. I have initiated interviews and captured photographs of these people five minutes after meeting them. Being enrolled in a fine art seminar through the Honors College has stretched my confidence in many areas of my education. Interacting with Drs. Kariko and Twardy has also allowed me to comfortably adjust to unknown areas of my surroundings. In short, I have been given the opportunity, along with many other students, to convey passion through a camera lens and write about relevant issues.

To see some of the pictures taken in Greenville by the class, click here.

Posted in Colloquiums & Seminars, Honors College, Honors Colloquiums & Seminars, Living Learning Experiences, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

ARGH 5K: EC Scholars Give Back

By: Patrick Twisdale, EC Scholar and Honors College Sophomore

Greenville Harvest is a non-profit organization that educates Greenville residents on the importance of healthy eating and sustaining the environment through gardens. This year, the EC Scholars decided to help this local organization by hosting a 5K and donating all of the proceeds. As an EC Scholar, I was already assisting with the 5K, but I thought why not run in it too?  Several of my EC Scholars peers and I participated in the run with other members of the community.

This was my very first 5K, and I had no idea what to expect. But I wasn’t disappointed! As soon as the whistle sounded, I started at a good pace and was able to run the 5K in its entirety in 27 minutes and 4 seconds.

I feel that the 5K was a really successful fundraising event for Greenville Harvest. My participation in the 5K was very gratifying, and if given the option to participate in a 5K for this organization again, I would eagerly volunteer all over again.

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