ECU alums engaged during surprise flash mob

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By Jennifer Brezina
College of Business

Who says accountants can’t be fun and romantic when it comes time to pop the question?

Andrew Stoker ’11, a CPA now working in Philadelphia, hired a flash mob to impress Scarlet Van Loon ’11 of Winston-Salem when he dropped to bended knee last month. A video of his proposal made the local news in Philadelphia and has since gone viral.
A flash mob is when a group plans ahead to suddenly assemble in a public place to perform a seemingly pointless act, then quickly disperses. Stoker led Van Loon to believe they were participating with some friends in a flash mob dance in Philadelphia’s Washington Square. At the end of the flash mob gathering, the other dancers suddenly circled around Stoker and Van Loon and began singing “Kiss the Girl” from The Little Mermaid movie.

That’s when he popped the question.

“It took just under two months to plan from start to finish,” Stoker said. “It was definitely worth the wait to see the surprise and excitement on Scarlet’s face and hear ‘yes’ as her answer.”

Stoker said he’s still in shock himself that the video has gone viral. It started out as a post on his Facebook page. It has since tallied about 25,000 views.

Stoker and Van Loon met through athletics at ECU. He was a three-year letterman and captain of the swim team, and she played on the soccer team.

The Department of Accounting named Stoker its outstanding senior for 2011; he graduated summa cum laude. He and Van Loon both received awards for academic excellence.

Today, Stoker works with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Philadelphia as a senior tax associate. Van Loon, who majored in communication, is a personal trainer and aspires to become an actress.

He says they haven’t set an official date yet, but they hope to be married sometime next fall.

ECU alumnus Andrew Stoker '11 proposed to Scarlet Van Loon '11 following a surprise flashmob he arranged for the occasion.

ECU alumnus Andrew Stoker ’11 proposed to Scarlet Van Loon ’11 following a surprise flash mob he arranged for the occasion.


ECU’s Campus Recreation and Wellness to host annual Beach Festival

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East Carolina University will host the third annual Beach Festival from 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. Sept. 4 at the North Recreational Complex.

The popular attraction drew more than 1,200 students in its first two years. Activities include a 300-foot zip line, a DJ, kayaking, stand up paddle boards, disc golf, corn hole, horseshoes, beach volleyball, bocce ball, karaoke, demonstrations and inflatables. Participants may enjoy free food and take-home giveaways such as souvenir Beach Festival glasses, golf discs, beach towels, ear buds and T-shirts.

“The Beach Festival is an opportunity to promote activities and introduce the amazing facilities that are available for ECU students at the North Recreational Complex,” said Janis Steele, associate director of facilities with Campus Recreation and Wellness.

Beach Festival is part of ECU’s Plunge into Purple, a series of events and programs in the first six weeks of the semester aimed at welcoming students to the university through education, socialization and involvement. The event is presented by Campus Recreation and Wellness in collaboration with the Student Activities Board.

All ECU students, faculty and staff are welcomed. An ECU One Card is required for admittance. ECU Transit will provide bus service to and from the complex.

Media are welcome to attend and cover the Beach Festival.  Please check in at the front gate at the event for additional information.  For more information about the North Recreational Complex, visit or call (252) 328-1571.


Griffith named Harriot College of Arts & Sciences distinguished professor

East Carolina University anthropology professor Dr. David Griffith was named distinguished professor for the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences during the college’s annual faculty convocation Aug. 19.



Griffith was the 15th individual selected for the honor, traditionally awarded at the beginning of each academic year. The award is conferred upon a professor whose career exemplifies a commitment to and a love for knowledge and academic life, as demonstrated by outstanding teaching and advising, research, creative productivity and professional service.

“I have always loved my work at ECU, in large part because of the many fine faculty members …that I have had the good fortune to work with,” Griffith said.

“Early in my career, Keats Sparrow once said to me, ‘You are a good citizen of this university, David.’ At the time, I don’t believe I gave his remark the thought it deserved, but as I have grown older I have come to appreciate what good citizenship means in a university that has become a dynamic, driving force in Eastern North Carolina.”

Griffith is interim director of the ECU Institute for Coastal Science and Policy. He is recognized for his research on labor migration, the decline of traditional fisheries and the effect of that decline on the economic wellbeing of the state’s coastal communities. Griffith has authored or co-authored 35 peer-reviewed journal articles, 25 articles in edited volumes, 21 technical reports, and eight books. He has been a primary investigator or co-investigator on more than 50 research grants totaling $7.1 million.

He is a member of the Southern Coastal Heritage Committee, American Anthropological Association, American Ethnological Society, Society for the Anthropology of Work, Rural Sociological Society, Association for Consumer Research, American Academy of Poets, and the Modern Poetry Association. He is a fellow of the Society for Applied Anthropology and associate editor for the journal, American Anthropologist.

Griffith earned his Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Florida and his master’s and bachelor’s degrees in anthropology from the University of Iowa. He joined the ECU faculty in 1984 and was named senior scientist in the ECU Institute for Coastal Science and Policy in 2001.

For additional information, contact Griffith at 252-328-1748 or




Joyner Library responds to student demand with trial 24/5 schedule


Joyner Library is responding to student demand with a trial 24/5 operating schedule for the 2013-14 academic year.

Beginning August 19 and continuing through the spring semester, Joyner Library will be open 24 hours a day, 5 days a week.

This pilot initiative is a result of student demand for expanded hours to work on assignments, use library resources, collaborate on group projects and complete an array of other academic tasks. With the extended hours, the library will open at 10 a.m. on Sunday and remain open until closing at 9 p.m. on Friday.

After 11 p.m., an ECU OneCard is required for entry.  At 2 a.m. the basement, second and third floors will be closed for housekeeping and reduced staffing, while the first floor will remain open overnight. The second and third floors will reopen at 7:30 a.m.  Security staff will be present during all operating hours.

Mark Sanders, assistant director for Public Services, said, “We are committed to being responsive to our patrons’ needs and 24 hour access is one of the requests we most frequently receive from students.  We will monitor the hourly building use data during the overnight period of the fall and spring semesters to see if it supports making 24/5 access permanent.  I’m hopeful it will.”

Joyner Library’s complete operating hours can be found at  Operating hours are reduced during breaks, intercession periods and summer semesters.  For more information, contact Mark Sanders at


Joyner Library faculty, staff report professional activities

Faculty in J.Y. Joyner Library has reported publications and professional activities as follows:


Article by David Hursh and Christine Avenarius (Anthropology), “What Do Patrons Really Do in Music Libraries? An Ethnographic Approach to Improving Library Services,” in Music Reference Services Quarterly.

Article by Katy Kavanagh, “Incorporating cartoons in an academic library: Spicing up LibGuides graphically at East Carolina University,” in College and Research Libraries News.

An article by Mark Sanders, “Creating a safe haven for university students:  How are we doing?” in the Journal of Access Services.

An article by Linda Teel, “Transforming Space in the Curriculum Materials Center,” in Education Libraries. Teel received The Order of the Long Leaf Pine from Gov. Pat McCrory on June 5.

An article by Virginia Bacon and Patrick L. Carr, “Assessing Value Through Cross-Institutional Comparisons: A Discussion of the 2012 University of North Carolina System-Wide E-Journal Survey,” in Serials Review.

An article by Lisa Barricella, Eleanor Cook, Robert James, Jan Mayo, Mark Sanders and Ralph Scott, “E-book readers come to eastern North Carolina,” in North Carolina Libraries.

Presentations and professional activities

Katy Kavanagh moderated a panel at the American Library Association conference for the distance learning section of ACRL called, “Is it Worth It? Assessing Online Instruction.”

Katy Kavanagh and Jeanne Hoover presented a poster session for ACRL’s science and technology section at the American Libraries Association conference titled,  “Universal Design for Learning, the Library and STEM: Common Cause, Uncommon Ground.”

Presentation by Kavanagh and Angela Whitehurst, “How May We Serve You? Libraries, Hospitality Management and the Creation of Leaders,” for the LAUNC-CH Research Forum (Librarian’s Association at UNC Chapel Hill).

Presentation by Kavanagh, Whitehurst and Mark Sanders, “Connect with a right JAB:  Joyner Library and Blackboard,”  for the Think-in:  A Teaching with Technology Showcase in Greenville.

Presentation by Mark Sanders and Angela Whitehurst, “Don’t be Lost in Space:  Assess, Renovate, and Repurpose your Library,” for the North Carolina Library Association in Thomasville, N.C.

A presentation by Alan Bailey, “An Overview of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” to librarians at Appalachian Regional Public Library System’s Professional Development Day in Boone.

A presentation by Cindy Shirkey and Lisa Barricella, “Adding a use factor measure to a materials allocation plan for books in an academic library” at the Acquisitions Institute at Timberline Lodge.

Invited presentation by Bryna R. Coonin, “Come to Your Census: the development of the U.S. Census from its inception to the present,” for the North Carolina Library Association Government Resources Section.

Presentation by William Gee, “Making Space for Interlibrary Loan: Space Survey Results and Renovation Tips” at the ILLiad International Conference in March.




Wounded warrior, an ECU graduate, receives new home

Wounded warrior and ECU graduate Nathan Rimpf is shown above, second from left, at the groundbreaking ceremony for his new home. (Photo by Steve Tuttle)

Wounded warrior and ECU graduate Nathan Rimpf is shown above, second from left, at the groundbreaking ceremony for his new home. (Photo by Steve Tuttle)

A little over a year after he lost his legs to a mine while fighting in Afghanistan, Army Ranger Nathan Rimpf received a new home donated through a partnership of the Operation Coming Home foundation and the Home Builders Association of Raleigh-Wake County. It is the sixth home donated by the partnership to wounded warriors in the last five years.

“Operation Coming Home and those involved are truly changing the lives of wounded veterans, including my own,” Rimpf said at the Aug. 8 groundbreaking ceremony for the home. Designed to accommodate his special needs, the detached, single-family home is located in the Renaissance Park development in south Raleigh.

Rimpf graduated from East Carolina University in 2010 and was a cadet in the Army ROTC chapter on campus. A color guard from the ECU ROTC unit, the Pirate Battalion, assisted with the ceremony, students who Rimpf said he remembered from his college days. Also attending from the university was Dr. Glen Gilbert, interim vice chancellor for advancement and dean of the College of Health and Human Performance – a college  which includes military programs.

Over the past year, Rimpf has received extensive rehabilitation therapy at Walter Reed Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., where he was fitted with prosthetic legs. Today, he is able to walk and run.

“July 8, 2012, was filled with pain and anxiety for our family,” said Cindy Rimpf, his mother. “I could never have imagined that one year later, our son would be named a recipient of a home” donated through Operation Coming Home.

Construction on the home is expected to be completed in November. At that time, Rimpf will return for a ceremony to receive the keys to the house.

“We’ve met so many wonderful supporters of the military this past year,” Cindy Rimpf said. “It is so encouraging to be in a county with patriot citizens who appreciate the sacrifices that others have given on their behalf.”

— Steve Tuttle, ECU News Services






College of Allied Health Sciences reports professional activities

Professional activities reported by members of the College of Allied Health Sciences include the following:

Professor Steven Sligar and Ph.D. student Matt Putts in the Department of Addictions and Rehabilitation Studies publishd a book chapter, “Life Centered Career Education Competency Assessment: Knowledge and Performance Batteries,” in A Counselor’s Guide to Career Assessment Instruments.

Occupational therapy professor Dr. Denise Donica published an article, “Enhancing globally aware rehabilitation practice through technology,” in the International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation. The article examines the use of technology in the classroom to enhance global awareness of clinicians and practice in other countries.

Dr. Robert Campbell, associate professor in Health Services and Information Management presented the following at the American Health Information Association’s Assembly of Education Faculty Development Institute:  “Database Technology and the Meaningful Use Standards,” and “using the Open EMR to Teach Electronic Health Record Management Skills.” The institute was held July 22-24 in Baltimore, Md. Campbell also attended a workshop on accreditation sponsored by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education.

Communication sciences and disorders master’s degree student Jillian Nyswonger received the American Speech and Hearing Association’s 2013 Students Preparing for Academic-Research Careers Awards. The award includes a $1,000 stipend to support activities proposed in her research mentoring and teaching plan. Nyswonger will submit an interim and final report on the project’s status, success, challenges and obstacles. Her primary mentor Dr. Jamie Perry will assist on the project.

The SPARC Award Program is part of ASHA’s strategic objective to increase research commitment. The goal of SPARC is to foster students’ interest in the pursuit of PhD education and careers in academia in order to fill faculty/researcher vacancies in communication sciences and disorders.



Dance camp in Costa Rica precedes first ECU semester

Incoming ECU freshman Kristyn Tingelstad poses with a student in a dance camp created for children in Costa Rica. (Contributed photos)

Incoming ECU freshman Kristyn Tingelstad poses with a student in a dance camp created for children in Costa Rica. (Contributed photos)

Incoming freshmen Lauren Pavone and Kristyn Tingelstad, both from the Raleigh area, are coming to campus following a cultural exchange trip to Costa Rica organized by dance instructor Marilyn Chappel, a 1990 ECU graduate.

They were among five students in Chappell’s Holly Springs School of Dance who traveled to the village of Carrillos in early June. The students created a dance camp for local children and shared folk dances for audiences who had never seen a live performance, according to Chappel. The camp ran for nine days.

Pavone and Tingelstad also served meals to children and helped create a vegetable garden at a local church.

Incoming ECU freshman Lauren Pavone joined in a cultural exchange program in Costa Rica.

Incoming ECU freshman Lauren Pavone joined in a cultural exchange program in Costa Rica.