Category Archives: Spotlight

Cadets commissioned in ROTC ceremony

East Carolina University ROTC cadets participate in a May 10 ceremony in which they were commissioned as second lieutenants in the U.S. Army. Eleven cadets were commissioned in the Army and, in a separate event, four were commissioned in the U.S. Air Force. (Photos by Jay Clark)

East Carolina University ROTC cadets participate in a May 10 ceremony in which they were commissioned as second lieutenants in the U.S. Army. Eleven cadets were commissioned in the Army and, in a separate event, four were commissioned in the U.S. Air Force. (Photos by Jay Clark)


By Kathy Muse
For ECU News Services

Starting the day with a rigorous physical training session at 6 a.m. is rarely one’s idea of fun. Not to mention regular military-style drills, Ranger Challenges, and Army ten-milers. Top it off with traditional college coursework and you’ve got a full load.

But that’s exactly what Ellen Johnson and Jessica Dulin have accomplished as East Carolina University students and cadets in the Reserve Officer Training Corps.

Johnson said this busy schedule has made her focus on the future and taught her a sense of professionalism.



ECU student Jessica Dulin completed her degree at ECU and was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Air Force.
“Being in the Air Force ROTC was a challenge and required commitment,” said Dulin.

“It instills good values and teaches you leadership and teamwork.”

Both students received financial assistance from the military to help offset the costs of obtaining a college degree. They are among the 15 ROTC cadets who were commissioned as second lieutenants at the Army and Air Force ROTC ceremonies held on May 10.

The 11 Army and four Air Force cadets came forward one at a time to take the oath of office, swearing to protect and defend the nation and its Constitution.

The oath of office must be given by a commissioned officer, either actively serving or retired from any branch of service. The cadets select someone who has been important in their life to administer their oath.

“This is one of the ways we try to personalize the ceremony and make it more meaningful for everyone,” said Lt. Col. Sean Farrar, commanding officer of the ECU Army ROTC unit, Pirate Battalion.

Johnson was sworn in by her cousin, Captain Curt Rash in the Marine Corps. Johnson’s father and brother, Robert Johnson Jr. and Robert Johnson III, performed the customary pinning of the second lieutenant bars on her uniform.

Johnson was sworn in by her cousin, Captain Curt Rash in the Marine Corps. Johnson’s father and brother, Robert Johnson Jr. and Robert Johnson III, performed the customary pinning of the second lieutenant bars on her uniform.

Ellen Johnson is pinned with gold second lieutenant bars by her father Robert Johnson Jr. and her brother Robert Johnson III.

She said being in the military also gives her a sense of security.

“While some of my peers are wondering about where they will work, I don’t have to look for a job. I know what I am going to be doing for the next several years.

“At the age of 21, I will enter my first job as a platoon leader,” said Johnson.

The Rockville, Maryland native, who majored in communication, will complete the Basic Officer Leadership Course at Ft. Leonard Wood in Missouri. She will then serve at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, a maximum-security correctional facility in the Department of Defense.

Each new commissioned officer presents a non-commissioned officer with a silver dollar for his first salute.

“The exchange represents respect bestowed upon the rank as well as the promise that the second lieutenants will put into practice what they have been taught,” said Farrar.

Dulin and her twin sister, Jennifer, are starting a new tradition of military service in their family. Both received their commissioning on the same weekend and are political science majors. They will train as intelligence officers at Good Fellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas.

“Cadets transition from learning to living the core values of the military and take on a responsibility for the mission and the airmen serving under them,” said Lt. Col. Tom Glockzin, commanding officer of the ECU Air Force unit, Detachment 600.

“The ceremonies are a reminder of the commitment and sacrifices these young men and women and their families are making to serve their country,” said Dr. Glen Gilbert, dean of the College of Health and Human Performance, where the ROTC programs are housed.

“You cannot help but feel very grateful that we have such dedicated young people because the safety of this country is truly in their hands.”

Pictured below, newly commissioned officers receive congratulations following the U.S. Army commissioning ceremony held at ECU May 10.

Pictured above, newly commissioned officers receive congratulations following the U.S. Army commissioning ceremony held at ECU May 10.

Nursing hosts simulation technology conference

A medical team practicing techniques on a delivery simulator during the ECU College of Nursing Simulation Conference May 30 included, left to right, Ashlyn Bruning, Jamie Kulick, Karla Olson and Melody White. (Photos by Jay Clark)

A medical team practicing techniques on a delivery simulator during the ECU College of Nursing Simulation Conference May 30 included, left to right, Ashlyn Bruning, Jamie Kulick, Karla Olson and Melody White. (Photos by Jay Clark)


By Kathryn Kennedy
ECU News Services

The College of Nursing’s reputation as a leader in simulation-based education played a role in bringing a statewide conference on simulation technology to East Carolina University in May.

Approximately 150 health care professionals from across the state visited ECU on May 30 for WakeMed Health & Hospitals Go SIMple Conference, which featured lectures and training on the use of simulation technology in education. Attendees included nurses, paramedics, doctors and physician assistants.

“ECU was the perfect place to hold this conference because it truly is an area where simulation is growing and impacting health care providers,” said Amar Patel, director of the Center for Innovative Learning at WakeMed.

 Mary Kelly, Jamie Kulick, Jeanette Whalen and Karla Olson monitor contractions while using a delivery simulator.

Mary Kelly, Jamie Kulick, Jeanette Whalen and Karla Olson monitor contractions while using a delivery simulator.

The event was an opportunity to showcase the college’s facilities and share expertise in the education use of manikin-based and virtual simulation, said Laura Gantt, executive director of Support Services, Learning Technologies and Labs for the ECU College of Nursing. It’s an important time to talk about simulation in eastern North Carolina, she added.

“Many organizations are just getting patient simulators and are having to figure out a range of things from how to put them together to how to best use them,” she explained. “The science and art of health care simulation is expanding daily. The conference gives attendees at all stages of development a chance to learn new things and network with experts in the field.”

Gantt and others at ECU believe simulation is an effective teaching tool for a number of reasons. The training allows deliberate practice of communication skills and encourages interprofessional collaboration. It also offers experiences with high-risk “patients” which students may not get in normal clinical rotations.

“This type of cognitive and psychomotor rehearsal helps health care providers take best practices or scripts into patient care situations,” Gantt said, “which in turn means learners are better prepared and patients get better care.”

The benefits of interprofessional education and partnerships were also highlighted during the conference’s keynote address. It was delivered by James Cypert, interim president of nonprofit organization SIMGhosts, which supports professionals operating medical simulation technology. He is also on staff at the California Baptist University School of Nursing.

Cypert encouraged health care professionals to reach out to IT departments at their workplaces and engage them in their work. Those in university settings would be wise to build relationships with engineering programs, he advised.

But most important, he said, is to be someone who is not scared by change.

“The technology comes…and builds up fear and anxiety,” Cypert said. “It’s not beyond you. There are usually eight to 10 ways you can do exactly the same thing.”

He encouraged attendees to simply “find the one that works for you.”

More about the ECU College of Nursing’s simulation-based education efforts and training with the Brody School of Medicine is available at

ECU’s first Massive Open Online Course offered


By Grace Haskin
ECU News Services

Making education available to online learners around the globe, East Carolina University is now offering its first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC).

ECU professors Dr. John Drake and Dr. Elaine Seeman are collaborating on a new open online course focused on Asian economies. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

ECU professors Dr. John Drake and Dr. Elaine Seeman are collaborating on a new open online course focused on Asian economies. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

ECU faculty members Dr. John Drake and Dr. Elaine Seeman, and Dr. Ramin Maysami of the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, opened the course, “The Transformation of Asian Economies,” on May 19.

Drake and Seeman explained that with North Carolina’s tightening educational budget, universities are being challenged to effectively educate more students with fewer funds. “This MOOC demonstrates that ECU can continue its leadership in distance education and better achieve its mission in these fiscally challenging times,” said Drake.

The free seven-week course was developed collaboratively by ECU and UNC at Pembroke with a grant from the UNC General Administration.

The course focuses on successes and failures of government policies in promoting economic growth, the role of culture in shaping such policies and what lessons can be learned and applied to newly emerging economies. “Our primary goal was to help students understand the process that countries go through to move from developing to developed economies,” said Drake, assistant professor of management information systems in ECU’s College of Business.

So far, more than 80 students from around the world have enrolled. “We have a lot of students from Russia, Peru, and professionals working in the world trade,” said Seeman, associate professor of management information systems in ECU’s College of Business.

The course, which has been in development over the past year, incorporates online discussion forums for students to share their stories and personal experiences related to the topic. “What we’re running right now is a kind of a pilot, or a proof of concept,” Seeman said. “The idea is that over time, the course will get richer and richer.”

Drake said that offering the MOOC is one of many ways that ECU can serve the community. “Hopefully we can do more of this in the future,” he said. “I hope that ECU can work together with professors to develop more materials that can reach out to much wider groups of people.”

Seeman, who has been developing and teaching online classes since 1995, said that MOOCs and other forms of distance education make learning available to people who may not have the opportunity to attend a university. “There are different ways that people learn, and this works very well for some people,” she said.

For more information about the course, visit

ECU student receives travel scholarship


An ECU doctoral student is one of only five students nationwide who will represent the United States this summer at an international conference on pharmacology in South Africa.

lak2Lalage Katunga, of the Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology, is the recipient of a Graduate Student Travel Award from the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, which will send her to present research at the 17th World Congress of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology in Cape Town from July 13-18.

Katunga joined the laboratory of Dr. Ethan Anderson, assistant professor of Pharmacology & Toxicology, in 2011 to investigate the role that lipid peroxide-end products aldehydes play in cardiac remodeling in the setting of insulin resistance/pre-diabetes. Her primary interest is in nutrition and metabolism, which began while she was working as a research assistant at the UNC Chapel Hill Nutrition Research Institute in Kannapolis. There, she investigated the health impact of nutritional transition to a more western diet in Inuvialuit women in the Northwest Territories in Canada.

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the rates of heart disease are two- to four-times greater among individuals with diabetes. This is an area of active research as these complications are expensive to treat and carry a much worse prognosis for the patient. Katunga will present the findings of her research on a novel drug carnosinol, designed to mitigate the harmful effects of diabetes, in Cape Town.

Katunga is originally from Harare, Zimbabwe. She would like to continue a career in research to understand the factors that predispose certain subsets of the population to disease, and how this knowledge can be used to improve patient responses to drugs.

“She is outstanding and I know she will be an excellent representative of ECU, and the American Society of Pharmacology at this meeting in South Africa,” said Anderson.

Church named to ‘dream team’

ECU information and computer technology student Courtney Church was selected from a pool of 80 applicants to serve as a member of Cisco's Dream Team, who will provide assistance during the organization's international Cisco Live event in San Francisco. (Photo by Jay Clark)

ECU information and computer technology student Courtney Church was selected from a pool of 80 applicants to serve as a member of Cisco’s Dream Team, who will provide assistance during the organization’s international Cisco Live event in San Francisco. (Photo by Jay Clark)


By Margaret Turner
College of Technology & Computer Science

An East Carolina University student in the Department of Technology Systems has been selected as one of 10 students nationwide to serve on a “Dream Team” at an international education and training event.

Courtney Church will participate in Cisco Live, an event for customers, experts and partners of Cisco, a multinational corporation that designs, manufactures and sells networking equipment. More than 20,000 people are expected to attend the event, which will be held in San Francisco from May 18 through May 22.

The Dream Team will work alongside industry leaders to support the Network Operations Center and assist Cisco customers at the Help Desk during the weeklong event. IT support is crucial to the success of the event, according to Cisco Live organizers, and the opportunity provides invaluable experience for those selected. The team works directly with Cisco engineers and has full access to the event. They also have the opportunity to take a Cisco certification exam at the end of the week.

Church was chosen from a pool of 80 applicants who were each required to submit a written application, a video explaining why they should be selected and a written recommendation from an instructor. Steve Baker, teaching instructor in information and computer technology, recommended Church.

“She is very sharp, very responsible and a leader,” Baker said. “She is always quick to lend a hand to fellow teammates and works towards project completion with diligence and resolve. I know she is very capable.”

Church, from Jacksonville, is a nontraditional student taking a full course load both on-campus and online. She also works full time as a co-op in customer advocacy laboratory operations at Cisco in Research Triangle Park. Church first attended ECU in 2001 but did not finish her degree and instead began working at electronics retailer Best Buy. She was quickly promoted to various positions in their Geek Squad, a support group for the retailer’s customers.

“I felt stuck and in a rut,” Church recalled. “While I loved electronics and being around them, I was more interested in fixing them and figuring out how they worked. It was then I decided to go back to school and get a degree in ICT.

“I have always had a heart for purple and gold and knew I would return to finally finish my degree in something I was passionate about.”

She re-enrolled at ECU in fall 2013.

With a 3.5 grade point average and Baker’s encouragement, Church decided this year to apply for the Dream Team. “I think what made me stand out compared to other applicants is my motivation and drive to succeed,” she said. Her willingness to work 72 hours straight at Cisco to support lab operations during a recent snowstorm helped to seal the deal.

“By participating on the team, I hope to accomplish several things,” Church said. “First, I want to define myself as a person and as a female in a very male-dominated field. Second, I want to put ECU out there. ECU’s ICT program is one of the best. Lastly, I want to build my resume. This opportunity stands out to recruiters and shows that I am not afraid to take on a challenge.”

Church will receive an all-expense paid trip to San Francisco for the event, traveling a few days before the event to help set up the operations center.

She plans to graduate in May 2015 and hopes to eventually work full time for Cisco. She also plans to pursue a graduate degree at ECU in network technology with a concentration in information security.

Brown receives prestigious teaching award

ECU professor Abbie Brown (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

ECU professor Abbie Brown
(Photo by Cliff Hollis)



By Doug Boyd
ECU News Services

A distance-education professor is East Carolina University’s recipient of one of the state’s highest teaching honors.

Abbie Brown, a professor of instructional technology in the ECU College of Education, has received the University of North Carolina Board of Governors Award for Teaching Excellence. Brown teaches exclusively online; he is the first online-only professor at ECU to receive the award and possibly the first such recipient in the UNC system.

“I think in some ways this recognizes the entire university’s effort in providing a quality online experience,” he said.

ECU offers more than 75 degrees and certificates online. Online graduate programs in nursing and business have been named among the best in the country.

Brown’s expertise is in the field of instructional design/technology. Many of his courses focus on teaching the teachers of distance education programs. Instructing students remotely has some similarities to teaching in person, he said, but some important differences as well.

“There’s a lot of body language that’s missing,” he said of online teaching. “What went very well in a live classroom fell very flat when I tried to type it out.”

On the other hand, teaching online gives an instructor time to think through comments and responses before posting them.

“It’s kind of like sending a long series of post cards back and forth to each other,” he said.

Mike Dixon, an instructional technology consultant in the ECU College of Fine Arts and Communication, was a student of Brown’s when he was completing a second master’s degree from 2009-2011. He described Brown as “completely dedicated” to his students.

“I was just really impressed by the organization of his courses and the customization he would do for individuals,” said Dixon, who also teaches online courses at ECU. “I’ve taken a lot from his lead in my teaching.”

A New York City native, Brown’s undergraduate degree is in communication and theater arts from Temple University in Philadelphia, and he worked in the entertainment industry for several years before becoming an elementary and middle school teacher. Using his theater background, he would create computerized instructional vignettes for his students. That’s what started him on the path of instructional technology.

“I have developed very strong relationships with students that have lasted many years,” he said. “There has been laughing and crying. Many times, I meet my students for the first time face-to-face at graduation.

Brown also has a master’s degree from Columbia University in New York and a doctorate in instructional systems technology from Indiana University. Before coming to ECU in 2006, he taught at Washington State University and California State University, Fullerton.

He has taught online since 1997 and for three years was the editor-in-chief of the journal TechTrends. He has received several other awards for teaching and scholarship from organizations such as California State University and the New Jersey department of Education.

“I feel very blessed to be able to do what I do,” he said.

The UNC Board of Governors selects a recipient from each of the system’s 17 campuses. Each award winner will receive a commemorative bronze medallion and a $12,500 cash prize. All awards will be presented by a Board of Governors member during each campus’ spring graduation ceremonies.

Oversees Capital Jury Project Archive


East Carolina University criminal justice professor Dr. Jonathan Sorensen will oversee the Capital Jury Project archive in the ECU Department of Criminal Justice.



The data archive includes interviews from more than 1,198 death penalty jurors in 14 states. Results from the study have enabled researchers to publish more than 60 academic and law journal articles over the last 22 years. The archive was originally funded by the National Science Foundation.

“The significance of the CJP is hard to overstate: it is the single most comprehensive and influential study of capital punishment ever completed,” said Sorensen.

Project originator William Bowers, formerly a professor at the University of New York at Albany and Northeastern University, asked Sorensen to collaborate on the Capital Jury Project and forwarded its data archive to ECU.

“Bowers and his colleagues sought to look inside the ‘black box’ at sentencing deliberations to better understand the decision making of jurors in capital punishment cases. We will continue with this and similar studies to assess the efficacy of capital punishment policies nationwide,” Sorensen said.

Sorensen, who joined the ECU faculty in 2012, has achieved national prominence as an expert on capital punishment and prediction of criminal offender dangerousness. As the author of three books and more than 70 peer-reviewed articles, Sorensen’s research has been cited by, among others, the U.S. Supreme Court in Ring v. Arizona (2002) and the American Bar Association.

Criminal Justice Department Chair Dr. William Bloss is pleased that the department has been selected to house the CJP archive. “Having Dr. Sorensen affiliated with the Capital Jury Project is a distinction for the department and a testament to his stature as a scholar,” said Bloss. “Housing the CJP archive will afford our faculty and students an extraordinary opportunity to work, along with Dr. Sorensen, on this historic research study.”

For additional information about the CJP archive, visit

Dail House patriarch portrait donated

Unveiling a portrait of the man who built the Dail house, home of ECU chancellors since 1965, left to right, Alex B. Dail, Nancy Dail Hall, Anne Dail Ashe and Chancellor Steve Ballard. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

Unveiling a portrait of the man who built the Dail house, home of ECU chancellors since 1965, are left to right, Alex B. Dail, Nancy Dail Hall, Anne Dail Ashe and Chancellor Steve Ballard. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

By Steve Tuttle
ECU News Services

Three grandchildren of the man who built Dail House, the official residence of East Carolina chancellors for the past 65 years, have donated a portrait of him that now hangs in the Fifth Street home.

Chancellor Steve Ballard and Nancy Ballard greeted Alex B. Dail, Anne Dail Ashe and Nancy Dail Hall for the Feb. 28 unveiling.

The portrait of the late William Haywood Dail Jr. was created in 1923 when he was 45. For many years Dail owned Greenville’s only brick making company. Four of East Carolina’s original buildings were mostly constructed with Dail bricks, as was Dail House.

The university acquired the 5,100-square-foot Italianate home in 1949. John Messick was the first chancellor to live there.

The grandchildren, who all live in Virginia, return to Greenville every December to lay wreaths at the family plot in Cherry Hill Cemetery. Before their most recent visit, Nancy Ballard invited them to the residence for a tour.

In a letter accompanying their gift of the portrait, the Dail grandchildren said, “We cannot think of a better place for this portrait to hang.”

Haywood Dail Jr. was an avid supporter of a local bond referendum to attract the fledgling East Carolina Teacher Training School to Greenville. By his own admission given during the college’s 50th anniversary, he chewed up and swallowed some “no” paper ballots during the vote counting.

He died in 1959 at the age of 81.

Nancy Ballard, wife of ECU chancellor Steve Ballards, straightens the newly hanged portrait of William Haywood Dail Jr.

Nancy Ballard, wife of ECU chancellor Steve Ballard, straightens the donated portrait of William Haywood Dail Jr. during a ceremony Feb. 28.

‘Human books’ share life stories


Human book volunteer Sherman Parker, right, shares his life experiences with a Joyner Library patron who has borrowed Parker for a 15-minute conversation during a Human Library event March 4 on campus. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)


By Jamitress Bowden
ECU News Services

East Carolina University library patrons checked out more than printed works on March 4 at Joyner Library. At a Human Library presentation, readers borrowed “human books” for 15-minute conversations about unique life experiences.

Event planners hoped the experience would help break stereotypes and create an open dialogue about inclusion on campus, said Katy Kavanagh Webb, interim head of research and instructional services at Joyner. She said she enjoyed multiple discussions on topics such as surviving cancer, sexual abuse, homelessness, culture shock and HIV.

“I got a chance to connect … and it helped me see each individual has these awesome background experiences to draw off of,” she said.

Student volunteer Emily Bosak, who has dyslexia, served as a human book volunteer sharing the experience of living with a learning disability. “My whole life people thought I was stupid,” she said.

“It’s cool to…tell people that even though I have dyslexia, I’m not stupid.

ECU junior James Reardon shared his life experiences as a veteran living with post-traumatic stress disorder.

“We’re portrayed in TV shows as ticking time bombs and that’s just not the case,” he said. “I want people to know we’re just soldiers who went to war and came home with a different kind of wound.”


Volunteer Tiyuana James-Hinton participates in discussion as one of Joyner Library’s human books.

For some the learning experience at the Human Library moved beyond simply gaining new perspectives. College of Nursing professor Robin Corbett said she encouraged her students to attend because it was an innovative way to learn how to interview potential patients. The experience provided a unique opportunity for nursing students to learn how to gain essential information to help them better care for patients, she said.

Approximately 75 visitors attended the Human Library event, where they could first browse the titles of the available human books and read a synopsis before deciding if they wanted to learn more about the person’s story.

The human book categories and individual stories represented were:

Health: HIV, Cancer Survivor, Multiple Sclerosis, Vitiligo

Psychology: PTSD, Dyslexia, Sexual Abuse

Religion: Judaism, Atheism, Christianity, Islam

Social Sciences: Homelessness, LGBT, Transgender, First Generation College Student, Poverty, Non-Traditional Student

Cultural: Native American, Study Abroad, Culture Shock, Living in the Middle East, Two Cultures

Careers: Social Worker, Soldier, Educator, Program Coordinator



Book titles and brief descriptions helped patrons select which human books they wanted to ‘borrow’ for a 15-minute conversation.

Lys joins national press briefing

ECU College of Education professor Dr. Diana Lys, second from right, spoke at the National Press Club about ECU's experience with a new teacher candidate assessment program. (Contributed photo)

ECU College of Education professor Dr. Diana Lys, second from right, spoke at the National Press Club about ECU’s experience with a new teacher candidate assessment program. (Contributed photo)


By Jessica Nottingham
College of Education

The College of Education at East Carolina University was the only institute of higher education represented at the American Association of College Teacher Education press briefing that marked the national launch of teacher performance assessment, referred to as edTPA, after two years of field testing.

edTPA was designed to set a national standard of assessing the capabilities of aspiring teachers, similar to the bar exam for law students. Teacher education candidates seeking their initial teaching license submit an edTPA portfolio of materials and a video that shows them at work in the classroom during their student teaching internship. The candidates are evaluated based on their ability to develop lesson plans, respond to student needs, set standards, differentiate instruction and analyze whether their students are learning, according to the AACTE launch announcement. Trained education professionals score the portfolios.

Dr. Diana Lys, director of assessment and accreditation for the College of Education, was invited to speak at the National Press Club about ECU’s extensive experience with the new teacher candidate assessment that is now ready for all teacher preparation institutes across the country to implement.

edTPA allows individuals across disciplines to speak a common language and to share innovative practices, said Lys at the AACTE briefing. She said edTPA was a “lever for change” at ECU and that it has helped build a bridge to practice between the university and its partner schools.

ECU has been engaged in edTPA since the nationwide pilot began three years ago. The university recorded 96 percent participation among spring student teaching interns in 2013 and is currently the only university in the state to have all education programs on campus participating. edTPA is not mandated by the state of North Carolina, which makes ECU’s breadth and depth of engagement with the assessment most noteworthy.

“AACTE is proud of the innovative work being done by teacher education faculty and leaders at East Carolina University,” said Saroja Barnes, senior director for professional issues with the AACTE. “We applaud them for the reforms they have engaged in, particularly in relation to their use of performance-based assessments of teacher candidates and clinical practice models. Their reform efforts demonstrate the power of transformative action at the local level to engage in change for improvement. Ultimately it is this type of change that will move the needle on high quality educator preparation and PK-12 student achievement.”

Jaclyn Midgette, a 2013 ECU graduate and now 4th grade reading and social studies teacher at Bullock Elementary School in Lee County, was featured in “Education Week” recently for her experience as a beginning teacher who completed edTPA as an undergraduate student. Even though she described it as “stressful, drawn-out and exhausting,” she said that the assessment process taught her how to reflect on each lesson, which she now does every day.

The briefing was held on November 8 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. and Lys served as a panelist alongside a new teacher who completed edTPA as a student, AACTE leaders, state policy leaders from Illinois and Washington states and National Education Association partners.

ECU faculty partner on projects


Newly graduated scholars and some of their coaches posed after the ceremony for a group image. They are, seated left to right, Lori Flint, Linda Crane Mitchell, Olga Smirnova, Paige Schneider and Borim Song; standing, left to right, Mark Scholl, Jeannie Golden, Tara Gallien, Essie Torres, Sharon Paynter, Carol Kline, Kirk St. Amant, Stephen Fafulas, Linda May and Sharon Rogers. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)


By Crystal Baity
ECU News Services

Community partnerships and projects in several North Carolina counties were celebrated Dec. 4 when East Carolina University’s Engagement and Outreach Scholars Academy recognized nine new graduates.

The academy cultivates engaged ECU faculty scholars who can be leaders in their professions while working with communities to improve quality of life.

“Since its inception in 2009, the Engagement and Outreach Scholars Academy has developed faculty who want to work with communities to do what’s right and work together with their partners to create positive change,” said Dr. Beth Velde, director of public service and community relations at ECU. “Their mutual research projects have addressed health disparities, student success, economic transformation and leadership development.”

The class joins 50 faculty and 88 student Engagement and Outreach Scholar Academy alumni “creating a strong and vibrant network of engaged ECU scholars. Together they help ECU achieve its mission and motto,” Velde said.

ECU’s Office of Public Service and Community Relations offers several academies for students and faculty to plan and conduct the scholarship of engagement. After a peer selection process, scholars attend a series of workshops, complete a research proposal, and implement the research with a community partner.

Also at the event, Dr. Sharon Rogers of the College of Health & Human Performance was recognized for her commitment to ECU’s mission by serving as an academy coach for five consecutive years. Ron Butler with the Pitt County Schools was recognized as a sustained community partner. Dr. Tom Irons, associate vice chancellor for health sciences and professor of pediatrics in the Brody School of Medicine, spoke on the importance of public service at ECU.

The project name, faculty member, coach, community partners and counties impacted are:

  • Using the Community Readiness Model to Increase Community Readiness for Health Prevention: Essie Torres, College of Health & Human Performance; Sharon Paynter, College of Arts & Sciences; Association of Mexicans in North Carolina (AMEXCAN); Pitt County.
  •  Evaluation of Vidant Family Medicine Washington Health Coach Program: Tara Gallien, College of Health & Human Performance; Jeannie Golden, College of Arts & Sciences; Vidant Family Medicine Washington, Eastern Area Health Education Center, and Beaufort County Health Department; Beaufort County.
  •  MARCH-INC Communities: Linda May, School of Dental Medicine; Sharon Rogers, College of Health & Human Performance; Pitt, Pasquotank, Hertford and Jackson counties.
  •  Enhancing Outcomes for Students with Autism: Linda Crane Mitchell, College of Human Ecology; Lori Flint, College of Education; Pitt County Schools; Pitt County.
  • Art-based Program for Pregnant Teens: Borim Song, College of Fine Arts & Communication; Jennifer Brewer, College of Arts & Sciences; Pregnant Teen Group at Greene Central High School; Greene County.
  •  Windsor’s River Treehouse Village on the Cashie: Paige P. Schneider, College of Health & Human Performance; Robert Thompson, Thomas Harriot College of Arts & Sciences; Bertie County.
  • Career Support Group – A Postmodern Counseling Intervention Designed for the Community Ex-Offender Population: Mark B. Scholl, College of Education; Hal Holloman, College of Education; N.C. Department of Public Safety; Beaufort County.
  • Bridging the Gap: Bilingual Education and Community Engagement: Stephen Fafulas, College of Arts & Sciences; Kirk St. Amant, College of Arts & Sciences; Pink Hill Elementary, Snow Hill Primary “Los Puentes” program, AMEXCAN; Lenoir County.
  • Route Productivity Standards: Olga Smirnova, College of Arts & Sciences; Carol Kline, College of Health & Human Performance; Capital Area Transit; Wake County.


Event kicks off robotics competition


Members of the Pitt Pirates robotics competition team began work to construct robots for the 2014 FIRST Robotics Competition during a kickoff event at East Carolina University on Jan. 4. Pictured at left is D.H. Conley student Barrett Woodruff and at right, Xavier Stokes and Austin Lantz. Students from all six high schools in Pitt county are represented on the Pitt Pirates team. (Photos by Margaret Turner)


By Margaret Turner
For ECU News Services

Nearly 500 high school students from across North Carolina and as far away as Virginia and South Carolina met in excitement Jan. 4 at East Carolina University to get a first glimpse into the 2014 FIRST Robotics Competition.

More than 2,700 robotics teams made up of 70,000 high school students around the world viewed the live NASA-TV broadcast and webcast, which was shown at ECU in Hendrix Theatre. ECU was one of 92 host sites, and it’s the first time the competition has launched east of Raleigh. The day also included the delivery of parts kits to each visiting team, and the chance to get started on their robot design with the help of ECU Department of Engineering faculty and community mentors.

“Part of our university’s mission is to provide service and opportunities to citizens in the eastern region of the state and this event does that,” said organizer Evelyn Brown, an ECU engineering professor.

“We also believe many of these students who participate in robotics competitions are suited well for our College of Technology and Computer Science majors: computer science, construction management, engineering, and technology systems. Exposing them to our campus may help them choose ECU or simply choose to seek additional education after high school.”

FIRST founder Dean Kamen aims to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology. He founded the not-for-profit public charity in 1989. Since its inception, FIRST – meaning For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology – has grown from 28 teams in a New Hampshire high school gym to the 2,700 teams competing worldwide.

Every year, the teams get a new game challenge for competition. This year’s challenge is called Aerial Assist and is played by two competing alliances of three robots each on a flat field. The objective is to score as many balls in goals as possible during a two-and-a-half-minute match. The robots are required to work together with other robots, each designed and built by different teams.

The challenge encourages “coopertition” – a term coined by FIRST. Coopertition is “displaying unqualified kindness and respect in the face of fierce competition. It is founded on the concept that teams can and should cooperate with each other even as they compete.”

Pitt County high school students have competed in the FIRST Robotics Competition since 2008. Bill McClung, an engineer at PotashCorp in Aurora, heads up the team as lead mentor and coach. The Pitt Pirates have grown from just a few students to almost 45 on the team now. This year’s team includes students from all six high schools in the county. Like all FIRST participants, the team will have six weeks to design, build and plan how to their robot can be the most successful in the competition.

The Pitt Pirates will travel to Raleigh in mid-March to compete in the first of two regional events. How they fare there will determine their ability to compete at the international level this April.

“It’s a true taste of the real world,” McClung added. “The competition requires students to work together. Some students who understand calculus may not be able to turn a screwdriver as well or operate a lathe. We have a wide variety of students and teamwork is a large part of the challenge.”

More information about the FIRST Robotics Competition is available online at

ECU professor’s research honored


A research paper by ECU biology professor Dr. David Chalcraft was designated as one of 100 Influential Papers published in British Ecological Society journals.



The article, “Functional diversity within a morphologically conservation genus of predators: implications for functional equivalence and redundancy in ecological communities,” originally appeared in Functional Ecology. Read the full paper.


Nursing celebrates midwifery program

ECU students in the midwifery program work on a patient.
ECU students in the midwifery program work on a patient.

ECU students in the midwifery program attend to a patient. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

By Crystal Baity
ECU News Services

Think again if the word “midwife” conjures up thoughts of home birth and hippies.

In fact, 95 percent of births attended by midwives happen in a hospital system and the rest are divided about equally between birthing centers and home.

ECU’s College of Nursing has been educating certified nurse-midwives for more than 20 years, graduating its first class in 1992.

ECU offers the only nurse-midwifery education program in North Carolina and one of only 39 across the United States.  The college recognized its faculty, staff and students in celebration of National Midwifery Week Oct. 6-12.

ECU has graduated 160 students from the master’s degree concentration, and 32 are enrolled now, said Dr. Becky Bagley, director of nurse-midwifery. To practice, graduates must pass the national board exam through the American Midwifery Certification Board. ECU has had an overall pass rate of 98 percent on the exam since the program began, Bagley said.

In North Carolina, certified nurse-midwives also must obtain approval to practice from the Midwifery Joint Committee of the N.C. Board of Nursing.

More than 250 certified nurse-midwives were registered in North Carolina in November 2012, according to the state nursing board.

Across the country, more than 50 percent of certified nurse-midwives work in a physicians’ practice or list a hospital as their primary employer. They also work in public health centers, the military, birthing centers and home birth services. In 2011, the most recent data available, 12 percent of all vaginal births were attended by a certified nurse-midwife.

While known for obstetrical care, midwives also provide primary care including annual physical exams, family planning, preventive health screening, health promotion and patient education.

They are trained to provide care for newborns through their first 28 days of life. “This training allows the certified nurse midwife to empower the new parents and help prepare them for life with a new baby,” Bagley said.

Midwifery means “with woman” and certified nurse-midwives are “with women” from puberty through menopause. “The care provided by a certified nurse-midwife is one of a partnership with the woman,” Bagley said. “They are an advocate for women and families to eliminate health disparities and increase access to evidence-based, quality care.”

ECU’s program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education. For more information, visit


Chamber Singers named winners

The ECU Chamber Singers perform in international competition in Spain.

The ECU Chamber Singers perform in international competition in Spain.

The ECU Chamber Singers have been named one of the winners of the international Tolosa Choral Contest in Spain, and as winners, they performed at the winners concert in Tolosa in early November.

The ECU group was competing against other invited choirs from Germany, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Indonesia, Russia, Spain and Sweden. ECU was the only representative from the United States competing at the event.

In the chamber choir category, the final results are as follows:

POLYPHONY COMPETITION: 1st place St. Jacobs Ungdomskor (Sweden), 2nd place Saarbrucken Kammerchor (Germany), 3rd place East Carolina University Chamber Singers

FOLKLORE COMPETITION: 1st place St. Jacobs Ungdomskor (Sweden), 2nd place East Carolina University Chamber Singers, 3rd place Saarbrucken Kammerchor (Germany)

With these awards, ECU will receive a silver medal, bronze medal, and a total of 1,250 euro cash prize (750 for silver, 500 for bronze).

The invitation to compete came after the ECU Chamber Singers posted several concert performance videos on YouTube in spring of 2012. Soon after the posting, ECU chamber singers director Andrew Crane noticed that Javier Busto, a prominent Spanish choral composer, commented on one of the videos.

“This was particularly exciting for us, that someone so renown, and halfway around the world, would take the time to tell us he liked our video,” Crane said. “ I didn’t think much of it after that.”

As a jury member of the Tolosa Contest, Busto invited the ECU Chamber Singers to participate in 2013. No more than one American choir is invited to participate annually.

“Apparently, he listened to our performances on YouTube and shared them with his fellow jury members,” Crane said. “They all agreed that they were of a high enough quality to grant us this invitation.”

The Tolosa competition is unique among choral competitions in that the organizers pay for all the choir’s lodging, food and transportation once at the location. The chamber singers were in Spain through Nov. 5.

ECU Chamber Singers-4

ECU Chamber Singers-1

Study shows fatty acids boost immunity

Shaikh, Saame-c57

By Doug Boyd
ECU News Services

New research at East Carolina University suggests that omega-3 fatty acids may have potential applications for combating infections in obese people.

The study, led by Dr. S. Raza Shaikh, an assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the Brody School of Medicine at ECU, is the cover story of the latest issue of the Journal of Lipid Research and is published online at


Dr. S. Raza Shaikh

Researchers found that giving omega-3 fatty acid-enriched fish oil to lean mice boosts antibody production and increases the levels of B cells, a type of white blood cell vital to the immune system.

This finding led researchers to test the effects of omega-3 fatty acids on mice consuming high-fat diets that contribute to obesity. The rationale was that obese humans suffer from many complications, including poor humoral immunity to infections. The data showed that mice consuming a high-fat diet had lowered antibody production, which could be revived with dietary supplementation of omega-3 fatty acids.

Humoral immunity is the part of the immune system that produces antibodies from B cells to combat infection.

“Our data open the possibility of developing omega-3 fatty acids for simultaneously suppressing inflammation and boosting antibody production in humans, which has benefits for the obese population and possibly the aged,” said Shaikh, the senior author on the study.

The study was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health to Shaikh and Dr. Gavin Reid, a co-investigator from Michigan State University.

In April, Shaikh and his collaborators published research in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology suggesting that instead of suppressing the body’s immune response, fish oil actually improves the function of B cells.

Last year, Shaikh received the Early Career Award at the International Society for Fatty Acids and Lipids for his work linking the biophysical aspects of omega-3 fatty acids to immunity.

Bailey examines emerging trend

Eric Bailey
Eric Bailey

Eric Bailey

By Jamitress Bowden
ECU News Services

An East Carolina University professor examined his own family members and the stigmas they face while analyzing a growing trend in America: multiracial and multiethnic families and individuals.

Dr. Eric J. Bailey, professor of both anthropology and public health, looks into historical patterns and how those patterns have created social stigmas that individuals and families are beginning to embrace and talk about openly.

In “The New Face of America: How the Emerging Multiracial, Multiethnic Majority Is Changing the United States,” Bailey explained that he chose the census results from 2000 and 2010 because the U.S. Census Bureau introduced a change those years in identification options. The census began to provide a choice to mark more than one race and ethnicity for self-identification.

Bailey said that increase in awareness of multiethnic and multiracial persons has carried over into the classroom with his students.

“They’re willing to talk about it and that’s the greatest thing,” said Bailey. Previously students were hesitant to self-identify as a multiracial or multiethnic individual, explained Bailey, mostly because multiracial individuals did not openly discuss their backgrounds.

In 2002, only 2.9 percent of marriages in the country were interracial, but there has been a 33 percent increase since 2000 in the numbers of people who identify as multiracial, according to Bailey.

Bailey uses census data and other research to present readers with information about health, adoption and celebrities within the multiracial and multiethnic communities in America.

The book also examines health and physical aspects of the lives of multiracial people. Bailey presents information about adoption, physical features and health issues. For example, Bailey discusses issues that may arise with bone marrow transplants. Because a donor must have exact genetic typing as the patient, it becomes more difficult to find an unrelated donor with only two percent mixed race registered donors.

His interest in writing the book emerged from his own family’s diversity and his desire to know how interracial people define themselves. His mother told Bailey and his siblings that they have relatives of Creole, European, and Native American backgrounds. Multiracial and multiethnic matters were once again brought to his attention when his older brother married a woman of a different race and the couple had children.

Bailey has been with ECU since 2005. He teaches in the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences and Brody School of Medicine. Bailey’s studies are focused on applied medical anthropology and public health in the area of hypertension, cancer, HIV/AIDS and diabetes. This is his seventh book.

Graham to offer fresh perspective

Dr. David Graham is visiting ECU as an ACE Fellow, a program for senior faculty and administrators in higher education. The program enhances skills through interaction with another university's leadership team. (Photo by Jay Clark)
Dr. David Graham is visiting ECU as an ACE Fellow, a program for senior faculty and administrators in higher education. The program enhances skills through interaction with another university's leadership team. (Photo by Jay Clark)

Dr. David Graham is visiting ECU as an ACE Fellow, a program for senior faculty and administrators in higher education. The program enhances skills through interaction with another university’s leadership team. (Photo by Jay Clark)


By Spaine Stephens
For ECU News Services

Dr. David L. Graham believes time spent with East Carolina University administrators will ultimately make him a better leader.

Graham is a 2013-14 American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow, visiting ECU from the Ohio State University, where he serves as assistant provost and associate athletics director for student athlete success. A former student-athlete himself, Graham brings to campus more than 20 years of higher-education experience and dedication to student success.

“ECU is a great university filled with great people doing great things,” Graham said. “Through this experience, I hope that I can be of service by providing a fresh perspective to areas that will ultimately enhance the student experience.”

The ACE Fellows Program identifies and prepares promising senior faculty and administrators for key positions in college and university administration. Graham is one of 50 Fellows nominated by the presidents or chancellors of their institutions and selected this year in a national competition.

The ACE Fellows Program combines retreats, interactive learning opportunities, campus visits and placement at another college or university for a single semester or year. Graham will be included this year in the highest level of decision-making—the Chancellor’s Executive Council—while focusing on academic planning and innovations, budgeting and institutional advancement.

“A critical aspect to the Fellow’s experience is mentoring,” Graham said, “and I believe that Chancellor Ballard and his leadership teams will provide me the mentoring that will enhance my learning and professional development.”

Along with Graham’s accomplishment for participation as a Fellow, it is also an honor for ECU to be chosen by a Fellow as a host university.

“Selection as a host institution is a sign of the standing and reputation of the university,” said Margarita Benítez, interim director of ACE’s Emerging Leaders Group and the ACE Fellows Program. “An ACE Fellow chooses an institution for its rigorous academic environment and high-quality efforts to educate students.”

Graham’s interest in ECU stemmed from “the commitment to the eastern region of North Carolina by providing access to higher education and health care,” he said.

Since his arrival in August, Graham has set out to strengthen his strategic planning skills and to study revenue generation and philanthropic giving, crucial because of rising costs of higher education.

The fellowship also will provide a reinforced skill set Graham can apply at Ohio State. While he works to make both universities even better for students, he will reap benefits himself as well. “As an educator,” Graham said, “I am committed to being a life-long learner.”

Other ACE Fellows hosted by ECU include Dr. Charles Cullop (1971-72) and Dr. Rosina Chia (1980-81), who were also nominated by ECU for the honor and chose to spend part of their fellowships at ECU. The fourth fellow hosted by ECU, Dr. Daniel Robison (2007-08), was nominated by North Carolina State University.

Founded in 1918, ACE is the major coordinating body for all the nation’s higher education institutions, representing more than 1,600 college and university presidents, and more than 200 related associations, nationwide. It provides leadership on key higher education issues and influences public policy through advocacy.


ECU grad students save companies money

A class project developed by ECU graduate student Brittany Ryan will save the Cumberland County landfill more than $100,000 annually. Ryan is pictured above in front of her wetlands project that reduces the landfill's requirements for EPA testing. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

A class project developed by ECU graduate student Brittany Ryan will save the Cumberland County landfill more than $100,000 annually. Ryan is pictured above in front of her wetlands project that reduces the landfill’s requirements for EPA testing. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)


By Jamitress Bowden
ECU News Services

Class projects completed by graduate students enrolled at East Carolina University will save two North Carolina-based companies more than $1 million over the next decade.

Graduate students Brittany Ryan and Robert Johnson completed their projects while earning the Lean Six-Sigma Black Belt certification. The program is designed to equip students with the methodologies of Lean and Six-Sigma, which focus on streamlining industrial and business processes.

At ECU, completion of an industrial or business process project is a requirement of the course. The project must show certified savings or revenue increase.

“The idea of students applying things from class and using them in real-world settings is the goal,” Dr. David White, dean of the College of Technology and Computer Science said.


Typha or cattail plants – the tall, reedy plants pictured above at the wetlands project – help remove excess chemicals in the landfill’s drainage. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

Dr. Janet Sanders, assistant professor in the Department of Technology Systems, is one of the two professors at ECU qualified to teach the course. Sanders said the students must be able to quantify the improvement and clearly show what is being measured.

Ryan worked with the Cumberland County Landfill manager to improve the landfill’s efficiency with mandatory testing. The landfill, in accordance with rules set by the Environmental Protection Agency, must test the chemical levels of its four sediment basins, once a month and after heavy rains. Due to the smaller contaminants that may remain in the water run-off, there is a potential environmental danger to wildlife present in stagnant waters and the nearby water source.

According to Ryan, the testing costs about $600 each year per basin, including travel costs for testing done off-site in Wilmington.

Ryan found that growing a wetland within the sediment basin would remove excess chemicals in the drainage. With Typha plant (commonly known as cattails) and grass collected from a nearby wetland environment, she reduced the amount of chemical oxygen demand – the amount of organic compounds in the water to determine organic pollutants – phosphates and some nitrates from the basins.

“We walked to a wetland near the landfill and took some plants to plant them in the basins,” said Ryan.

As a trial run for the project, Ryan said they created a wetland environment within one sediment basin to test her research. Her goal is to have a small wetland planted within all four of the sediment basins by the end of this summer. With the installed wetlands acting as a second filter for the run-off, testing would not have to be performed after every heavy rain, just once a month in accordance with the EPA. The landfill should save approximately $109,000 dollars annually – because of the decreased amounts of testing required – with the changes that Ryan implemented.

Johnson completed his project with Power Mulch, Inc. at the Charlotte Regional Intermodal Facility. His goal was to increase the company’s revenue by streamlining the process used during installation of erosion control socks. The black flexible material is filled with compost to keep soil and clay from running into the waterways near the construction site.


ECU graduate student Robert Johnson streamlined installation processes for erosion control socks. Pictured above, the socks are filled with mulch and installed on a grassbank to prevent soil erosion near a railroad track. Johnson’s project saved Power Mulch of Charlotte close to $2,500 a day. (Contributed photo)

Johnson said he enjoyed seeing techniques from class applied, knowing the project worked and saving the company money.

“I heard about Six-Sigma in the military. We used a lot of the same methodology that I learned at ECU,” said Johnson.

Johnson developed standard operating procedures for the people installing the erosion control socks. Better organization of project materials prevented excess time waste. The changes that Johnson made to the organization of the worksite and the workers increased the amount of erosion control socks installed from 1,530 feet to 2,340 feet per day.

“I was making sure the workers were efficient in the operating procedures and making sure the tools were ready and in the trucks at the site. If someone left their tools, they would have to waste time to go get them and come back,” explained Johnson.

The savings are measured on a daily basis because of the nature of the project. Soil erosion control will not be a constant expense for the company. Since the beginning of the project in January, the average daily savings amounts to $2,427, according to Johnson.

Progress within the Lean Six-Sigma program is measured with different colored belts and only a certified Black Belt can teach the program. Students progress through the certification process similar to martial arts with yellow belt, green belt and black belt. The two ECU graduate students completed the certification program as black belts.

The graduate certification program was completed entirely online, with the exception of the final project presentation, given to the student’s sponsoring company. Though Sanders said the students are not required to inform her of the final presentation, she likes for them to tell her so she can try to be there.

“I feel I have helped give students skills to further contribute to society,” said Sanders.

This fall will begin the third year of the Lean Six-Sigma certificate program at ECU. Currently, 12 students are enrolled in the certificate program. ECU is one of three universities offering this program in the state.

Grant funds Alzheimer’s research


From left, donor and AlzNC board member Laura Gaddis, AlzNC board chair J. Gregory Wallace and Dr. Qun Lu of ECU during a presentation of funding to benefit Alzheimer’s research. (Photos by Doug Boyd)

By Doug Boyd
ECU News Services

An East Carolina University laboratory dedicated to research on dementia has received $50,000 to advance studies of Alzheimer’s disease.

The money will be used to study the effects of physical and cognitive exercise on laboratory animals with symptoms of dementia and how certain drugs can mimic the effects.

“Exercise has long been known to improve people’s general health,” said Dr. Qun Lu, a scientist and professor of anatomy and cell biology at the Brody School of Medicine at ECU. Lu wants to see if that improvement can help dementia.

Lu is director of the Harriet and John Wooten Laboratory for Alzheimer’s and Neurodegenerative Diseases Research at ECU. The grant is the first to be awarded to the lab itself rather than to individual researchers.

“It’s a milestone that we can do more now,” Lu said of the grant’s importance to the lab. “We have a tremendous amount of potential. We can do a lot of things together.”

Working with Lu are Dr. Sonja Bareiss, an assistant professor of physical therapy in the ECU College of Allied Health Sciences; and Dr. Tuan Tran, an associate professor of psychology at ECU.

The grant was presented Friday at an event at the Alzheimers North Carolina Greenville Program office on Stantonsburg Road. AlzNC provided the grant.

Laura Gaddis owns the Guardian Angel thrift stores in Fuquay-Varina and Apex and is an AlzNC board member. Since she opened her first store in 1999, she has donated $1.6 million to Alzheimer’s research and respite care in North Carolina.

“My mother had Alzheimer’s, and I started a thrift to raise funds,” she said. “It’s been like a 747 taking off. The community has been very supportive.”

More than 140,000 people in North Carolina have Alzheimer’s disease, according to Alzheimers North Carolina, and that number is expected to quadruple by 2025.

Earlier this year, Lu and colleagues published research that could help lead to a better understanding of how individual cells perform certain tasks and could have implications for Alzheimer’s disease and other conditions.

Lu’s research was published in the January issue of The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. An abstract of the study, titled “Small Molecule Targeting Cdc42-Intersectin Interaction Disrupts Golgi Organization and Suppresses Cell Motility,” is available online at

The Wooten Laboratory was established in 2008 by Dr. Harriet Wooten in memory of her husband, Dr. John Wooten, an orthopedic surgeon who died of Alzheimer’s disease in 2004. More information about the Wooten Lab is online at

The Alzheimers North Carolina 2013 Greenville Walk will be Nov. 2 at the Greenville Town Common. More information is available online at or by calling AlzNC at 252-355-0054.


From left, Dr. Sonja Bareiss and Dr. Tuan Tran of ECU, Alice Watkins of AlzNC, Dr. Qun Lu of ECU, donor and AlzNC board member Laura Gaddis, AlzNC board chair J. Gregory Wallace and Dr. Paul Cunningham, dean of the Brody School of Medicine at ECU, were in attendance at the presentation of a check funding research into the effect of exercise on Alzheimer’s.


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