Baucom Awarded National Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship

By: Erika Dietrick, Undergraduate Director of Marketing and Communications

150507baucom-200wIn June, Class of 2015 graduate Ryan Baucom was rewarded for his excellence in chemistry and dedication to serving others with both the ECU and national Eldean Pierce Graduate Fellowship Award. The awards, which are sponsored and bestowed by Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society, are worth $5,000 each with the purpose of funding the initial years of graduate or professional school.

The former EC Scholar and Early Assurance in Medicine recipient will be attending ECU’s Brody School of Medicine in Fall 2015. For his full bio, click here.

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Third Consecutive Honors College Student Receives NOAA Scholarship

By: Crystal Baity, ECU News Services

reidcoverThe following blog post was originally an ECU News Services story titled Exceptional Scholar: Student receives prestigious national scholarship, internship. Photo by Cliff Hollis. 

An Honors College student from Vanceboro is the third consecutive East Carolina University student to be awarded a prestigious scholarship and internship with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Andrew Reid has received the Ernest F. Hollings Scholarship, which provides $16,000 for his junior and senior years and a 10-week paid internship in 2016 with NOAA, the federal science agency responsible for the conditions of the oceans and atmosphere, including weather, fisheries and marine protected areas.

Reid, who is majoring in chemistry, is one of 150 recipients from across the country. Only about 10 percent of applicants are selected, said Dr. Tim Runyan, Honors College professor and scholarship advisor.

“Andrew is an exceptional student with a wide range of talents including athletics,” Runyan said. Reid was a walk-on member of the ECU football team.

Reid’s research interest is ocean acidification and how to prevent it. “With increased carbon dioxide, it causes the PH level of the ocean to go down and become more acidic and makes it harder for organisms to exist,” he said.

Reid, who is considering a career in medicine, volunteers at the Pirate Tutoring Center and received an undergraduate award in chemistry in 2013. He is an undergraduate research assistant in ECU chemistry professor Art Rodriguez’s research group.

Rodriguez said he has been impressed by Reid’s research independence and creative thinking skills. At ECU’s undergraduate research symposium this spring, Reid presented his work on a compound that experimentally has been shown to act as a contrasting agent. The compound has the potential to determine the presence or absence of brain tumors.

“Andrew is one of the hardest working undergraduate students that I have had the pleasure of knowing,” Rodriguez said. “His laboratory skills are outstanding. Andrew is a quick learner, a conscientious researcher and a reliable worker.”

A West Craven High School graduate, Reid is the son of Hank and Ivy Reid.

Reid joins ECU senior Chris Thaxton and recent graduate Thomas Vaughan as recipients of the Hollings scholarships.

For more information on the Hollings Scholarship, visit

To learn more about ECU’s Honors College, go to

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The American Dream: U.S. Wins Women’s World Cup

By: Erika Dietrick, Honors College Senior


The following piece was originally posted on the blog Diary of an Introvert.

June 26, 2015.

Days before the U.S. quarterfinal in Ottawa, Ontario, I concluded that, sadly, I was one of few American soccer fans who had traveled across the border to cheer on our women’s soccer team. As I explored the city, my eyes wandered amongst the pedestrians searching for proud U.S.A. apparel or some sort of “American look.” I couldn’t get a good read, but being the person that I am, I was certain that the stands would be stripped of U.S. stripes.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. A huge grin spread across my face while walking down the steps of my hostel…it turns out us Americans had been incognito (at least, in my mind) or drove just for the game to save some mullah.  My boyfriend and I took off in our simple U.S. jerseys to visit the Ottawa locks, and around every corner, we met the eyes and nod of an approving fellow American or a hearty, “Go, U.S.A.!!!” We were everywhere. The streets were adorned with red, white, and blue — official U.S. women’s jerseys and hipster patriotic tank tops, Uncle Sam shirts and outrageous ‘Merica shorts. On the sidewalks with our huge Nikon cameras, we nearly outnumbered the Canadian locals, who smiled in good spirit or teased us with, “Good luck when you play Canada.”

That evening, we each stood in line to board the free, school bus shuttles with excitement, anticipation, and a bit of fear. The day before, the Ottawa Citizen had printed a biting article criticizing the U.S. team’s “lack of offensive firepower.” They showed skepticism toward the American team’s self-proclaimed shield against the media, and the thesis of the piece was that “winning ugly hasn’t won them much praise.” It was true — we had watched the U.S. play Australia, Sweden, and Nigeria in the group rounds with ambivalence…proud to have moved on to the next game but a little dismayed at the uncharacteristic inconsistency in gameplay. But we believed. Even the skeptical among us still secretly believed.IMAG01207[1]

We stepped off of the buses onto the plaza that surrounds TD Place. Making our way towards the bright orange stadium, we stared in awe at theIMAG01080[1] crowds of people: children playing soccer on miniature fields, red-shirted Chinese soccer fans pounding a beat on drums, U.S. fans decked out in the craziest hats and clothing they could find. An impressive glass cinema towered to our right, and a nice burger joint had a line out the door to our left. Soaking in the atmosphere, I sensed no animosity or bitter competitiveness between the two groups of fans; some arrogant jubilance as if the victory was certain, for sure, but also respect and unbridled energy.

Tickets checked and poutine in hand, our mouths gaped in amazement at the bright, open stadium. It was breathtaking–the camaraderie among the U.S. side was palpable. After some friendly chitchat and crappy pictures of the team warming up, the game began.IMAG01093[1]

The first half exuded American dominance and possession but produced no goals. We took over 15 shots but had few on goal. The threat of the Chinese scoring seemed slim despite their technical prowess. We played hard, perhaps even intimidated the Chinese team, but could not finish. Julie Johnston remained the bastion for the fullbacks as Alex Morgan quickly maneuvered around their opponents, attempting to score. Abby Wambach and Sydney Leroux sat the bench, and Megan Rapinoe and Lauren Holiday sat apart from the team due to their one-game suspension. Chants of “U.S.A.!” and “IIII believe that WE WILL WIN!” echoed throughout the stadium and were countered by Chinese songs and battle cries, their underlying meaning still translatable.

Suddenly, in the 73rd minute: Johnston crossed the ball to the mosh pit of players in the goal box.  Carli Lloyd jumped, legs karate-kicking, above it all and powerfully headed it into the right corner of the goal.

By the end of the game, the U.S. had proved that they were still the same fierce team with no thoughts of rolling over during this World Cup. However, their passion didn’t go unchallenged or unchecked.

Flash-forward to the semifinals: U.S. vs. Germany, June 30th. In direct contrast to the stoic strategy of the Chinese, Germany immediately burst into battle blitzkrieg-style, pressuring the U.S. team in every moment and causing mistakes. The first 5 minutes looked disastrous for the U.S. as we played catch-up, disoriented by the fast, aggressive movements of the Germans. To top it off, the U.S. gave a penalty kick to the German team after a heart-broken Johnston held a German player back from scoring. Lucky for us, Germany’s Celia Sasic missed entirely. Even luckier was the fact that Carli Lloyd scored a penalty kick just minutes later. Although slightly relieved, U.S. fans held their breath–Germany was not giving up without a fight.

As the game wore on, the U.S. calmed down, maintaining composure against attacks and (arguably) out-playing their opponents. What some were already criticizing as, if the U.S. won, an undeserved win was completely silenced during the 84th minute. The U.S. weaved the ball fast and Ping-Pong style around German defenders to Kelley O’Hara, who scored the second goal of the game. Germany’s spirit fought back, faded, quickly broke.

Today, the U.S. will play in the Women’s World Cup final against Japan, who beat the U.S. during penalty kicks in the final of Germany 2011. What began as a rocky start for the U.S. team has transformed into a rematch for revenge. The U.S. has a #ScoreToSettle with Japan. And if they keep the fire and ferocity of their recent play ablaze, they are certain to come out victorious.*

*UPDATE: Congratulations to the U.S. women’s soccer team for winning this year’s Women’s World Cup, Canada 2015!

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ECU LeaderShape 2015

By: Keerthana Velappan, EC Scholar and Honors College Junior

11270238_10103141659620948_3004368703822713197_o6 long days, 6 insightful cluster facilitators, 60 driven participants…and enough passion, inspiration, and memories to last a lifetime. Where do I even begin? I went into the week feeling anxious and considerably more nervous than excited as I questioned what I had gotten myself into. That changed rather quickly, though, upon my arrival at the Blowing Rock Conference Center. I was greeted by the excited crew of adults there: Maya, Greg, Mark, Wes, Katie, Chris, Laura, Jessica, Dan, and Dora. The first six individuals served as cluster facilitators, Laura and Jessica were the master planners, and Dan and Dora were the session co-leads, both from different universities. After an extensive introduction on the LeaderShape Institute and its goals, the sixty of us were divided into smaller “family clusters,” and I smiled as I recognized a few faces in my cluster. However, the icing on the cake was having Mark Rasdorf as my cluster facilitator. If you have not yet met Mark, the Assistant Director for the LGBTQ Resource Office on campus, I strongly suggest you drop by the aforementioned office in Brewster, if for no other reason than to meet this incredible kind-hearted individual!

Much of the week’s work was done in these designated family clusters, and I think I can speak for almost everyone when I say that the cluster time was what made the whole week. The clusters were a safe space, a supportive, judgment-free environment, where each of us could be ourselves and openly express our ideas and feelings. Every time I entered our special cluster room, for lack of better words, I literally felt safe and at ease. The overall goal of LeaderShape involved defining a personal vision – a commitment to changing or contributing to the world in a positive way – and then developing a blueprint for the action each of us will undertake upon our return to campus and beyond. While the actual Institute lasts only six days, the LeaderShape model is based on seven days, with the understanding that “Day 7” is “tomorrow and the rest of your lives.” Day 7 is when the work happens to ensure that these monumental visions become tangible realities. The six days in the actual curriculum have thought-provoking themes and activities in themselves, from “Building Community” (Day 1), “Challenging What Is, Looking to What Could Be” (Day 3), my personal favorite of “Living and Leading with Integrity” (Day 5), and perhaps the most important one, “Staying in Action” (Day 6).


Over the course of these six days, LeaderShape fostered strong friendships and intense personal growth. I was prompted to truthfully think about how I am living now and how that life corresponds with the future I want, not only for myself, but also for the generations to come. The tasks we performed most definitely tested me; I quickly learned to be comfortable being uncomfortable. For all sixty of us, LeaderShape reignited our passions and encouraged us to push for the things we believe in. It encouraged us to dream big and not settle. However, contrary to many leadership experiences, LeaderShape also provided us with the tools needed to put dreams into action and an ever-present support network…so here is to creating a just, caring, and thriving world where all lead with integrity and possess a healthy disregard for the impossible.


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Greetings from London!

By: Nadiya Yerich, EC Scholar and Honors College Sophomore

11692630_1116552118358421_4877869218383032410_nJune 14, 2015

Dear Honors College Family,

I am having a great time in London! So thankful that the Bate Foundation covered this study abroad! I left for Europe last Friday, June 5. I flew with another friend who is on the study abroad trip with
me to Iceland and then to England. Iceland was absolutely gorgeous! We
had a 16-hour stopover, so we decided to spend the night in a hostel
and had booked a trip to the Blue Lagoon the next day. The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa in Reykjavik (a main city in Iceland), and the waters are a bright blue. The temperatures were 98 to 102 degrees Fahrenheit for thewater, and it was awesome! Apparently, the waters are supposed to have healing powers relative to skin problems.

The Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon

The next day we flew to London. We have seen and done so much already!
The official study abroad is only 13 days long, but Ms. Vail-Smith and
Dr. Chaney really packed in a lot. So far, I have seen more sights than
I can count. The first day, my friend and I went on a free 3-hour
walking tour that led us around Buckingham Palace, a bunch of parks,
Westminster Abbey, museums and monuments, the Big Ben (which is
actually not referring to the tower, but the bell inside it!), and
Parliament. With the study abroad group, we have been on the London
Eye, seen the musical Billy Elliott, had a traditional English dinner
the first night we were here, and took a day trip to Cambridge.

The White Cliffs of Dover

The White Cliffs of Dover

From June 7 until yesterday, we had been doing site visits to the
health organizations around London and Cambridge. I have been learning
SO much about the English healthcare system and the NHS! It’s
incredible how the wonderful public health programs they have here
would be so much harder to run in the US because of bureaucracy. For
instance, there is one organization partnering with Public Health
England (PHE) called Change 4 Life, which is founded under the general
idea that children will ultimately be healthier in life given a good
start to life. Therefore, the program focuses on tackling childhood
obesity. The way they are doing this is incredible! They have partnered
with Disney, and send free packs out to any family that wants one. The
idea is that a child will get to select what ”team’ they want to be on
(i.e. Frozen, Monsters, etc.) and then they will get sent a team
pack. In the pack will be a pedometer, a calendar with stickers on it
for every day you exercise, a stopwatch, cards, etc. Then on TV, they
have “10 Minute Shake Ups,” based off of the fact that you need 60 or
more minutes of exercise a day. However, for someone who only gets 10
minutes a day, 20 is great! So they do a 10 minute shake up throughout
the day, hopefully getting to 60 or more, and these kids get
competitive with it and try to get their team to win by exercising more!
It’s so simple that it’s brilliant.

Hope you all are doing well!!


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