Two ECU students receive Retired Faculty Association scholarships

Skylar Mills

Anna Taylor

Two East Carolina University students — one undergraduate and one graduate — were selected for the Retired Faculty Association of the East Carolina Alumni Association scholarships.

Skylar Brooke Mills, an elementary education major from Greenville, received the undergraduate scholarship. She is a member and recruitment committee chair for the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program. She spends time tutoring students at Chicod School, and volunteering at the Pitt County Shrine Club, Z Kids Ministry, and at NC Teaching Fellows recruitment events.

The  graduate recipient is Anna Meredith Taylor or Rocky Mount, who is studying speech-language pathology.  Taylor received her bachelor’s degree in speech and hearing sciences and graduated Magna Cum Laude in May 2010. She volunteers as a TOPsoccer coach, a challenger baseball assistant coach, and as a volunteer at the Creative Living Center and MedLink Volunteer Center/Tar River Mission Clinic.

The ECURFA Undergraduate Scholarship and Graduate Fellowship are awarded to children of ECU faculty, active or retired, who have been accepted as a freshmen or are currently enrolled full time at ECU, or who have been accepted or are currently enrolled in graduate school at ECU, respectively. Recipients are chosen based on academic merit, a grade point average of at least 3.0, involvement in extracurricular activities, leadership potential, and any other qualities deemed appropriate by the scholarship selection committee.

The purpose of the East Carolina University Retired Faculty Association is to provide retired faculty with a continuing link to the university and to colleagues and friends through social activities, receptions, and group travel. It provides an opportunity to give back to the university through an endowment fund, which established the Undergraduate Scholarship and Graduate Fellowship.

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CONTACT: Jennifer Watson, Assistant Director for Alumni Communications at 252-328-4902, Jennifer.Watson@PirateAlumni.com, or the East Carolina Alumni Association at 800-ECU-GRAD.

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Fighting viruses

Research by Rachel Roper (Microbiology and Immunology) focuses on developing safe and effective vaccines and drugs to fight viral threats like the poxvirus. She and student K.E. Rehm just published an article describing work on an improved poxvirus vector vaccine platform. The article, “Deletion of the A35 gene from Modified Vaccinia Virus Ankara Increases Immunogenicity and Isotype Switching,”appeared in the journal, Vaccine.

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Construction management reaccredited

The East Carolina University Construction Management Program in the College of Technology and Computer Science received renewal of accreditation in February from the American Council for Construction Education.

Accreditation from the ACCE recognizes the program’s adherence to stringent standards as verified through a visiting team of peers and industry practitioners.

ECU’s construction management program is the largest of its kind in the Southeastern United States and is one of only 65 accredited programs in the country, according to the department’s web site at http://www.ecu.edu/tecs/construction/.


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Billy Taylor Jazz Festival Set for April 15, 16

The East Carolina University School of Music and ECU Jazz Studies Program will present the annual Billy Taylor Jazz Festival April 15 and 16.

Featured performers include Connaitre Miller, associate professor of music and coordinator of jazz vocal studies at Howard University in Washington, D.C., and the award-winning vocal jazz ensemble she directs, Afro Blue. Also appearing is jazz master drummer Winard Harper, along with ECU jazz ensembles led by bass professor and festival artistic director Carroll V. Dashiell Jr.

ECU Jazz Combos will perform at 8 p.m. April 15 at Christinne’s in the Hilton Greenville. Miller, Afro Blue, Harper and Jazz Ensemble A will perform at 8 p.m. April 16 in Wright Auditorium.

Also on April 16, the festival invites middle and high school jazz bands to participate in the festival’s Middle and High School Performance day, which includes stage performances followed by clinics conducted by Harper and the ECU jazz studies faculty. Outstanding soloist and musicianship awards are presented at the evening concert.

This year’s festival is the first since the passing of jazz great and festival namesake Dr. Billy Taylor.

Tickets are required. For additional information, visit http://www.ecu.edu/cs-cfac/music/jazz/jazz-festival/index.cfm or call 252-328-6851.

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Reading to feature award-winning poet

Poets Dorianne Laux and Celeste Doaks will present a reading of original work at 7 p.m. April 20 in Bate Building Room 1031.

Laux, an award -winning poet whose fifth collection, “The Book of Men,” was published recently by W.W. Norton, will be joined in the reading by Celeste Doaks, a former student who teaches poetry at ECU.

Laux’s fourth collection, “Facts about the Moon,” won the Oregon Book Award and was short-listed for the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize. “Awake, What We Carry” was a finalist for the National Book Critic’s Circle Award. She has won two Best American Poetry Prizes, a Pushcart Prize, two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and a Guggenheim. Her poems have been collected in the “Best of American Poetry Review,” the “Norton Anthology of Contemporary Poetry,” and the Best of the Net.

Doaks, who joined the ECU Department of English in January, worked as a free-lance journalist in New York before moving to Raleigh to attend NCSU. There she earned a master of fine arts in creative writing, while studying with Laux. Doaks was a recipient of the 2009 Academy of American Poets Graduate Prize and an Association of Writers and Writing Programs scholarship. She has written for The Village Voice and Time Out New York, and her poems have appeared in a variety of literary magazines.

Admission is free and parking restrictions around the Bate building will be lifted for the event.

For additional information on the reading, contact Alex Albright, director of creative writing, at 252-328-4876 or albrightd@ecu.edu. For more details on Laux, visit http://www.doriannelaux.com/.

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Author, long-distance hiker presents first Last Lecture

Author, business owner and record-setting long-distance hiker Jennifer Pharr Davis will share lessons learned on the Appalachian trail at East Carolina University April 19 and 20.

Davis has hiked more than 9,000 miles of long distance trails on six continents. She is the owner of the Blue Ridge Hiking Company in Asheville, and author of “Becoming Odyssa: Epic Adventures on the Appalachian Trail,” which chronicles her experiences on a grueling four-month hike from Georgia to Maine.

Following her 2004 graduation from Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., Davis found herself dissatisfied with her career path. Her decision to leave her job and embark alone on a record-setting 2,175-mile hike led to a life-altering experience that transformed her both physically and emotionally. Recounting that experience in “Becoming Odyssa,” Davis said, “I had no idea that the challenges faced as a 21-year-old woman hiking the Appalachian Trail would so deeply impact who I am, what I believe and how I want to live.”

Davis will share critical life lessons learned on the trail with her ECU audience. Her visit to campus includes the following events that are open to the public:

April 19

12:30 p.m., Tipsy Teapot  – Lunch and conversation with the author

3:30 p.m., Campus Recreation and Wellness – Backpacking and hiking clinic

7 p.m. Hendrix Theatre – “Goals, Attitudes and Balance – How to Pack Your Backpack for Success,” followed by a book signing

April 20

4 p.m., Hendrix Theatre – “Six Months Without a Mirror: Redefining beauty, success and happiness without the help of mainstream media.”

Davis’ visit is part of a new ECU program entitled “The Last Lecture,” developed from a partnership between the Office of Student Transitions and First Year Programs and Campus Recreation and Wellness, the Department of English and the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies. The program is based upon the famed last lecture made by the late professor Randy Pausch, a Carnegie Mellon University professor who presented an upbeat presentation following his diagnosis with terminal pancreatic cancer.

Mary Beth Corbin, director of the Office of Student Transitions and First Year Programs, said the ECU Last Lecture program specifically targets rising sophomores, who are often “in the throes of confusion in their academic, social and personal development.” She said the speaker is asked to focus on beliefs related to life’s transitions.

For additional information, contact Corbin at 252-328-4173 or corbinm@ecu.edu.

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