Taking Honors to New Heights: the NCHC Conference

Shayna Mooney, Associate Dean Kevin Baxter, and Adrian Modzik before presenting

Shayna Mooney, Associate Dean Kevin Baxter, and Adrian Modzik before presenting

By: Adrian Modzik, Honors College Senior

Before traveling to Denver, CO, the furthest I had ever traveled was Dallas, TX for a soccer tournament when I was 12. I was excited for the adventure of tackling a new city I have never been in. It turns out, my adventurous mindset was very fitting given the theme of this year’s National Collegiate Honors Council Conference.

During the conference, there was a break in sessions, and we were asked to attend a speech by plenary speaker Erik Weihenmayer. Erik lost his sight very early in life. He aspired to do great things, and he did not let a little thing like sight stop him. Erik is the only blind person to reach the summit of the tallest peak on each continent, including Mt. Everest. Recently, Erik decided to take on a new adventure and succeeded in kayaking the entire length of the Grand Canyon.

Erik’s remarks were both witty and inspiring. His take home message was two fold; first, go beyond what you think you are capable of (because you never truly know what exactly you are capable of until you push that boundary), and second, you cannot accomplish your goals without a good team behind you. Throughout the conference, I came to the realization that I had never heard truer words.

As I sat in each session and listened to all of the wonderful ideas and programs that other Honors programs across the country have instituted, I was so inspired by these amazing people. Each school had unique approaches to a variety of common challenges faced in every Honors program. However, I also realized how truly special our program is. We are, by far, the best program in the country. We offer our students more, we have more resources for them, and we have the best team of faculty and staff. I felt so thankful, again, that I had chosen East Carolina for my education because of the Honors College. All of the students in attendance were proud to represent their program, but tha was nothing compared to the pride I felt for our program.

Enjoying the sights of the city

Enjoying the sights of the city

This being said, when it came to giving our presentation, I could not have been more nervous.  Shayna Mooney and I had been selected among a competitive pool to give a presentation on Honors Student Engagement and Leadership: Honors Ambassadors. (Honors Ambassadors is a voluntary, student-led organization which strives to improve the Honors College through marketing, recruitment, philanthropy, and student programs.) I have very little experience speaking in front of people, and my co-presenter Shayna has always excelled at speaking in public, so I felt that I had a lot to live up to. How could I possibly accurately do justice to our program? And that was when Erik’s words came to me. If he can accomplish all these things that should not be possible for him, why couldn’t I? Why couldn’t I be the confident advocate that our Honors College deserved? I resolved to conquer this peak, and to give the best presentation I possibly could. Thus, when I walked into the conference room to present, it was with a confidence in myself and our program that I didn’t know I had. The presentation was a huge success, and it was one of the best moments in my life when we finished. Mr. Baxter did not have a single complaint–in fact, he praised our stellar performance. In that moment, I felt like I was on top of Everest.

Honors Student Engagement and Leadership: Honors Ambassadors

Honors Student Engagement and Leadership: Honors Ambassadors

Throughout the rest of the conference, Erik’s second point also hit home with me. Without the amazing team of Honors College faculty and staff, my experience would not have been the same, and would not have even been possible. As I have grown up in the Honors College since my freshman year, the faculty and staff have become like my second family. Having their support in this adventure meant more to me than I can say, and I am so proud to have been (hopefully) a good representation of the kind of student and person that the Honors College at ECU produces.

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Redefining Service

By: Cameron Worthington, EC Scholar and Honors College Freshman

cameron worthingtonVolunteerism is defined as the use or involvement in volunteer labor. I dislike how the term has been defined. Is volunteering really labor? I don’t think so. Volunteering is giving back to the community, helping the under-served, and giving with a smile on your face and happiness in your heart. Every chance you get to volunteer, you should take it. Locally, there is always someone who needs your help. As a part of this university and the Honors College, I constantly feel a desire to lend a helping hand.

The motto of East Carolina University (ECU) is servire, which means to serve in Latin. In my few months at ECU, I have taken time to assist GO Science in furthering science education around Pitt County; to help Dowdy Student Stores distribute textbooks for the fall semester; and to plan multiple service projects with the Honors College Marketing Committee. It has been some of the greatest months of my life. I fell in love with this university and its ideas when I first stepped foot on campus; however, my past experiences were definitely what led me here.

As a local student, I volunteered as much time as I could spare. I spent most of my time at Vidant Medical Center in the emergency department. I logged 400 hours with them, and it encourage me to follow my current career choice. Ever since I was young, I have always wanted to be an emergency physician. I was definitely reassured by my experiences there. I spent a year volunteering in a biomedical laboratory at the Brody School of Medicine. We studied intracellular mechanisms involved in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. I cannot begin to describe how spending time in the lab furthered my aspirations to pursue the medical field.

Volunteerism does not just benefit the organization you’re working for–it broadens your experiences and makes you a better person. It opens you to so many different opportunities. You meet new people, form new connections, and build new friendships. Volunteering is everything. I wish I could put into words how much it means to serve. Take every chance you get, no matter how simple, and give back. Giving your time goes a long way.

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What is an Honors College Seminar, Anyway?

By: Erika Dietrick, Undergraduate Coordinator of Marketing and Communications

Each spring, the Honors College unveils over a dozen Honors College seminars spanning topics as diverse as Ethics, Global Health, and the Fundamental Cause of Disease, The Science and Culture of Food as Plants, and Global Heavy Metal Music.  These innovative and interdisciplinary seminars are a means for faculty to offer exciting new courses and for honors students to broaden their academic horizons.

The Honors College is currently accepting new proposals from ECU faculty for 2016 Honors College seminars.  More information about the application process can be found here.  Applications for seminars in 2016 are due by March 11, 2015.

Watch the video below to learn more about the impact and scope of Honors College seminars!

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

The FreshSpire App: a Fresh Idea for Reducing Waste

By: Mona Amin, Honors College Freshman

mona aminMona Amin (East Carolina University), Gabrielle Beaudry (UNC Chapel Hill), Shraddha Rathod (NC State), Hannah Sloan (UNC Chapel Hill), and Jennifer Wu (University of Pennsylvania), former students at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, formed the idea to develop a multifaceted notification system and mobile application to notify consumers on the daily markdowns that occur in grocery stores on perishable goods during their senior year.

The FreshSpire App

The FreshSpire mobile application is intended to connect grocers with consumers motivated to purchase wholesome and healthy fresh foods at discounted prices. By liquidating fresh food inventories prior to expiration, FreshSpire aims to reduce landfill waste and methane emissions, boost the bottom line for grocers, and provide healthy discounted foods to all socioeconomic classes.

There is a lot currently happening with Team FreshSpire. Comprised of college freshmen, we are proceeding to raise investment capital by soliciting to potential investors and entering more competitions; arrangements have been made to meet directly with grocers (their primary business development target); and we continue to perfect our technological approach with the app. We are doing all of this all while being a decentralized team attending four different universities.

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Our team is continuing to push our idea forward as we apply and participate in start-up and innovation competitions. We are in the process of registering for a third consecutive year for the Conrad Innovation Challenge, were honored as finalists for the American Dream Seekers competition, and were named one of fifty companies in Global Entrepreneurship week. Just recently, we placed second in the Eastern NC Business Plan Competition. Through the competitions, we established profound partnerships, and FreshSpire has now begun the process of application development! We are enthusiastic about using innovative communication technologies to solve serious problems in effective food distribution. We simply can’t wait for our concept to become a reality.

Presenting at the Eastern NC Entrepreneurship Summit

mona amin 2

When I heard about the ENC Business Plan Competition (part of the Eastern NC Entrepreneurship Summit), I was very excited. I knew this was my opportunity to get the idea of FreshSpire out to the public and to gain connections with mentors at or around ECU. After going through two rounds of business plan submissions, we were glad to get the opportunity to present before the judges. Though this was the first time that we presented with just one of five team members, the support I had from my teammates before presentation day was tremendous. Our distance apart has in a way brought us closer. At the summit on Monday, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet with software developers, attorneys, and angel investors within the Greenville community. Competitions like these truly show the dedication that ECU is putting into its Entrepreneurial Initiative. I cannot wait to see the growth of innovation and entrepreneurship on this campus within my next few years at ECU.

Supporting the FreshSpire App

If you would like to help support Mona and her colleagues or simply learn more about the FreshSpire App, please e-mail teamfreshspire@gmail.com.

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Honors Students Place in Study Abroad Photo Contest

By: Erika Dietrick, Undergraduate Coordinator of Marketing and Communications
blog 3Once again, ECU’s Study Abroad Office was charged with the task of choosing between countlessstunning images for their annual Study Abroad Photo Contest.  The contest called for ECU students who had recently studied abroad to submit up to five of their best study abroad photos.  Participants submitted pictures for the chance to see their artwork in Joyner Library, and over all category winners were promised a special prize.

Among this year’s grand prize winners were Honors College students Allison Donnenwirth and Zoe Hinton.

Allie (junior) won the Pirates Abroad Grand Prize for her photo titled Just Call Me Lizzie McGuire (bottom left).  The art major/business minor spent her entire sophomore year amidst the breath-taking sites of Italy while taking courses in jewelry making and enameling.  You can read more about the experience that changed her life here.
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Zoe (sophomore, EC Scholar) took Overall Best in Show for her photo “Barbed Freedom” (right). While studying abroad in India over the summer, Zoe dedicated much of her photography to capturing unsung stories and forgotten history.Despite her neuroscience background, Zoe decided to take the opportunity to explore religious studies as a means to broaden her horizons and discover a beautiful country.  You can read about her experience here!

Both Allie and Zoe’s photos will be showcased in Joyner Library for the remainder of the academic year.  To see all of the amazing photos that were submitted during this year’s contest, visit the ECU Study Abroad Facebook page.

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