Food Lion supports ECU, military

ECU Chancellor Dr. Steve Ballard accepts a donation Oct. 27 from Paul James, central division manager of operations support specialists for Food Lion. Others include Dr. Glen Gilbert, dean of the College of Health and Human Performance, Dr. Steve Duncan, assistant vice chancellor of administration and finance and director of military programs, and Dr. Stephen Thomas, dean of the College of Allied Health Sciences.


East Carolina University became Food Lion’s MVP this weekend when the grocery store chain donated $100,000 to support fellowships and a scholarship.

The donation will establish the first university-wide doctoral fellowships for Operation Re-Entry North Carolina and an endowed scholarship in the Department of Occupational Therapy in the College of Allied Health Sciences. The Operation Re-Entry initiative is centered on research and projects that help veterans return to civilian life after service.

The presentation was made during halftime at ECU’s home football game against Navy on Oct. 27, which was Military Appreciation Day.

The partnership goes back to September 2010, when 15 employers were selected to receive the U.S. Secretary of Defense Freedom Award in recognition of their support of the guard and reserve.

Two of the employers were from North Carolina: ECU and Food Lion. At that time, the two organizations vowed to partner and continue to provide a superior level of support to the military, said Pat Frede, ECU development officer in the College of Allied Health Sciences.

“We thank Food Lion for their generosity, support and dedication to the men and women of our nation’s armed forces,” said Frede, a Navy veteran and reserve Senior Chief Petty Officer who served a 14-month tour of duty in Afghanistan in 2010-2011.


Occupational therapy graduate students inducted to national honor society

Eleven occupational therapy graduate students at East Carolina University were inducted Oct. 29 in the Delta Beta Chapter of Pi Theta Epsilon, the honor society for occupational therapy students and alumni.

The chapter is the only one in North Carolina and one of 80 active chapters in the United States, said Dr. Leonard Trujillo, chairman of the Department of Occupational Therapy in the College of Allied Health Sciences.

Inductees are Alana Justice, Keli Alana McColl, Chelsey McKeel, Kelly Michelle Pippin, Stacia Pomeroy, Monica Powell, Brittany Robertson, Erin Schofield, Sarah E. Timmons, Farrell Wiggins and Caitlin Zawistowicz. Dr. Denise Donica is the faculty advisor.

The society recognizes and encourages superior scholarship among students enrolled in professional entry-level programs at accredited education programs across the United States. Pi Theta Epsilon supports the development of occupational science and the practice of occupational therapy by promoting research and scholarly activities of its members.

Dr. Stephen Thomas, dean of the College of Allied Health Sciences, was guest speaker and Trujillo made closing remarks.

For more information on Pi Theta Epsilon, visit

For information on the occupational therapy program at ECU, go to

ECU graduate students inducted to the occupational therapy national honor society are sitting, left to right, Chelsey McKeel, Stacia Pomeroy, Alana Justice and Brittany Robertson. Standing are left to right, Monica Powell, Caitlin Zawistowicz, Kelly Pippin, Erin Schofield, Farrell Wiggins, Keli McColl, Sarah Timmons and Dr. Denise Donica, faculty advisor.



ECU Neuroscience Symposium to be Nov. 6

Research on spinal cord injury and multiple sclerosis are among the topics to be discussed at the 14th annual East Carolina University Neuroscience Symposium on Tuesday, Nov. 6.

The daylong event will be at the Brody Medical Sciences Building at East Carolina University. It’s open to the public. Registration begins at 9 a.m. Opening remarks are at 11:45 a.m., and the event lasts until 5 p.m.

The keynote speaker is Dr. Oscar Lopez, director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at the University of Pittsburgh. His talk is titled “Prevention and Risk Factors for Dementia in the Elderly.”

Other topics to be discussed are “bath salts” drugs, the psychology of pain and regenerative axon growth in neurons, research aimed at repairing nerve damage.

The program is jointly sponsored by the national and Eastern Carolina chapter of the Society for Neuroscience and the Harriet and John Wooten Laboratory of Alzheimer’s Disease and Neurodegenerative Disease Research.

The event is $10 and $5 for students and senior citizens

For information about the event or to register, visit


ECU biology professor publishes on horizontal gene transfer

ECU biology professor Jinling Huang
(Contributed photo)


An article by ECU biology professor Jinling Huang, with co-authors, appeared in the latest issue of the online publication Nature Communications.

According to a press release from the online journal, Huang’s research indicates that transfer of genes from one species to another helped moss species adapt to life on land. Horizontal gene transfer – from one species to another – may not be uncommon in land plants, the release said.

The article, “Widespread impact of horizontal gene transfer on plant colonization of land,” is available at




U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey coming to ECU for reading

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Natasha Trethewey, the United States Poet Laureate, will visit East Carolina University Oct. 25 as part of the university’s Contemporary Writers Series. She is the author of four poetry collections and a book of creative non-fiction.

ECU English associate professor John Hoppenthaler will lead a question and answer session with Trethewey at 1 p.m. at The Greenville Museum of Art; she will also give a public reading of her work at 8 p.m. in A.J. Fletcher Recital Hall on campus. Her books will be available for purchase at both events, which are free and open the public. Tickets for the public reading on campus are available through the ECU Central Ticket Office, 328-4788.

Trethewey is the first poet laureate from the South since 1986, when Robert Penn Warren was appointed by the Library of Congress.

After hearing her read at the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C., Librarian of Congress James Billington chose Trethewey as poet laureate because her work “explores forgotten history and the many human tragedies of the Civil War.”

It’s a “happy coincidence,” Billington said, “that Trethewey was chosen during the 150th anniversary of the war between the states. She’s taking us into history that was never written. She takes the greatest human tragedy in American history — the Civil War, 650,000 people killed, the most destructive war of human life for a century — and she takes us inside without preaching.”

Natasha Trethewey

In his citation, Billington wrote, “Her poems dig beneath the surface of history—personal or communal, from childhood or from a century ago—to explore the human struggles that we all face.”
Trethewey was born in Gulfport, Miss., to parents who were illegally married at the time of her birth in 1966 – a year before the U.S. Supreme Court struck down anti-miscegenation laws with Loving v. Virginia. Her birth certificate noted the race of her mother as “colored” and the race of her father as “Canadian.” Her mother was part of the inspiration for “Native Guard,” published in 2007, for which Trethewey received the Pulitzer Prize; the work is dedicated to her mother’s memory.

Her latest book “Thrall,” published earlier this year, explores the historical, cultural and social forces across time and space that determine the roles consigned to a mixed-race daughter and her white father.
ECU faculty member Hoppenthaler, who is a friend of Tretheway, said he is delighted to have her return to campus. She visited the ECU campus in 2007.

“Every time we seem lulled into thinking that finally we have come to some post-racial place in American history, our pretty little soap bubbles pop, and we find that perhaps there is no such thing as post-racial,” said Hoppenthaler.

“Her major project as a writer, that of reinscribing that which has been erased whether accidentally or intentionally from the public record, is the most valuable sort of project any writer can undertake. … Couched in clear, concisely focused language in the personal drama of loss, Trethewey’s poems are among the most crucial being written today,” he said.

Tom Douglass, who is also an English Department faculty member and a member of the Contemporary Writer’s Series committee, said it’s great luck to have Trethewey coming to campus during her term as poet laureate. She follows Philip Levine as poet laureate. Levine visited the ECU campus as part of the Contemporary Writers’ Series in late April near the end of his appointment.

“We invited her in 2007 and two weeks later, she won the Pulitzer Prize. For this visit, we invited her earlier this year, and two weeks later she was named poet laureate,” he said. Douglass added this is another wonderful opportunity for ECU students to speak with a working poet.

Trethewey is also the author of “Bellocq’s Ophelia” (Graywolf, 2002), which was named a Notable Book for 2003 by the American Library Association, “Domestic Work” (Graywolf, 2000), and “Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast” (University of Georgia Press, 2010). A memoir is forthcoming in 2013.

For more information about Trethewey’s visit, contact Tom Douglass at 252-328-6723 or John Hoppenthaler at 252-328-5562.


ECU team assists in search for missing teen

ECU graduate students Alex Putnam-Garcia, Andrea Pease, Kelsey Roepe and Kathryn Drake were on the team that provided assistance in the case of a missing N.C. teen. (Contributed photos)

A team of East Carolina University anthropologists are assisting in the search for a missing teenager from Scotland Neck.

Dr. Megan Perry

Anthropology professors Dr. Megan Perry and Dr. Charles Ewen, along with five ECU graduate students, will excavate areas of interest and use ground penetrating radar to search for evidence in the case of the missing girl, Jalesa Reynolds, 18.  Reynolds has been missing for 3 years and authorities have stated they believe foul play is involved.

Henry Schmidt of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and Special Agent Walter Brown of the State Bureau of Investigation contacted the ECU team to request assistance.

For additional information about the case, visit

ECU professor Dr. Charles Ewen, left, helps an SBI agent search for evidence in the case of a missing teenager.


Obesity, diet expert to speak Nov. 28

Dr. Barry Popkin, W.R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Nutrition at UNC – Chapel Hill, will present “The world is fat: patterns, determinants, current controversies” from noon to 1 p.m. Nov. 28 at the East Carolina Heart Institute Auditorium (ECHI 1415).


Popkin has been at the center of many diet, activity and obesity controversies and research. He will discuss many major dietary and activity/inactivity shifts, along with controversial topics such as the role of beverages in the diet, questions related to high fructose corn syrup and solutions other countries are using to address the obesity epidemic.

Popkin has published more than 370 refereed journal articles and is one of the most cited nutrition scholars worldwide. He is the author of a 2009 book titled “The World is Fat,” which has been translated into nine languages.

The event is sponsored by the departments of nutrition science and biochemistry and molecular biology in the Brody School of Medicine.

For additional information contact Dr. Will Forsythe at 252-328-6850.