J.H. Rose High, Tar River Writing Project awarded $20,000 grant

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J.H. Rose High School teachers Robert Puckett, left, and Scott Wagoner, right, work with Rose students to plan the 3D printing/ prototyping fabrication lab maker space. Contributed photo.

Students and teachers from J.H. Rose High School in Greenville were on ECU’s campus June 15-19 working with staff from the Tar River Writing Project developing plans to implement an idea that earned them a national grant.

The Tar River Writing Project, housed at ECU in the University Writing Program, and Rose High School were one of one of 14 groups in the nation awarded a $20,000 LRNG Innovation Challenge Grant.

During the week, 11 teachers worked with 15 Rose students designing six maker spaces that will operate during Rose’s 80-minute SMART Block period. Maker spaces, sometimes called hackspaces and fablabs, are communities for people to create, invent, learn and share projects.

The maker spaces at Rose will focus on fashion design, robotics/programming, upcycling/repurposing objects, beat making, digital storytelling/media making, and a 3-D/prototype fabrication lab.

Students will be able to visit and explore in these maker spaces during the school’s SMART Block, which allows students to attend academic sessions with teachers or participate in extracurricular activities. Once students find something that they are interested in, they can pick up and follow interest-driven educational pathways, said Stephanie West-Puckett, Tar River Writing Project associate director and a member of the ECU Department of English faculty.

“This grant gives us an opportunity to design innovative educational spaces together that bridge curricular and extracurricular learning,” she said.

During the weeklong event, the educators from ECU and Rose High designed a curriculum with low barriers for easy access and high ceilings for developing mastery. Each maker space will also have a service project so that students and faculty can use the concepts and tools to benefit others in need, West-Puckett said.

“Pop-up maker stations are at the core of what SMART Block should offer students,” said Monica Jacobson, principal at J.H. Rose. “With the stations, Rose students will be afforded time and access to resources that connect and extend their knowledge. Students will be provided with opportunities to build relationships with their peers, teachers, and community partners that share similar interests while they explore beyond the classroom.”

Educators presented the ideas on the last day of the event to school administrators, community members and parents for their feedback.

Will Banks, director of the University Writing Program and of the Tar River Writing Project, noted, “It’s rare that teachers, students, and community members get to work together to find shared interests and passions—and to remember that passion, not test scores, motivates learning.”

The LRNG Innovation Challenge is a new initiative that invests in forward-looking schools and teachers to design innovative projects that take advantage of new technology to support students’ creativity. It is sponsored in partnership with the MacArthur Foundation and John Legend’s Show Me Campaign.

West-Puckett said musician John Legend wants high school students – with projects like the ones funded by the grants – to be able to pursue their interests, especially in the arts, which may not fit into a traditional curriculum approach.

Rob Puckett, a Rose printing and graphics instructor, is working to develop a 3-D printing & prototyping maker space. “While 3-D printing trinkets and toys is neat, we want to demonstrate how these tools can make a real difference in people’s lives,” he said. “Each semester, we’ll work together on printing a custom-made prosthetic hand with free, open-source plans.”

Fellow Rose teacher Lynn Cox, who is collaborating on a maker space for robotics and computer programming, said, “It was great to have the students here with us and see how eager they are for these kinds of opportunities in school.”

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J.H. Rose High School students and teachers work in groups during a weeklong event in ECU’s Joyner Library to make a pop-up “fabric hacking” maker space. Rose High and the Tar River Writing Project earned a national grant to develop maker spaces and a corresponding curriculum. Contributed photo.

 

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Author Jayne Anne Phillips to read from new work Thursday

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Author Jayne Anne Phillips will read from her new novel “Quiet Dell” at the Greenville Museum of Art at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. The reading is part of the East Carolina University Contemporary Writers Series and is free and open to the public.

Stephen King has said, “In a brilliant fusion of fact and fiction, Jayne Anne Phillips has written the novel of the year. It’s the story of a serial killer’s crimes and capture, yes, but it’s also a compulsively readable story of how one brave woman faces up to acts of terrible violence in order to create something good and strong in the aftermath. ‘Quiet Dell’ will be compared to ‘In Cold Blood,’ but Phillips offers something Capote could not: a heroine who lights up the dark places and gives us hope in our humanity.”

Phillips’ novels address the social and historical tensions that challenge American families, including such subjects as war and domestic violence. Her debut novel “Machine Dreams” (1984) chronicles a family from the Depression to the Vietnam War, and their story is revealed through the thoughts and memories of each family member. Her fourth novel, “Lark and Termite,” was a finalist for the National Book Award in 2009.

Phillips is the director of the master of fine arts program at Rutgers University-Newark. She previously taught at Harvard University, Williams College and Boston University.

The Contemporary Writers Services is housed in the ECU Department of English, Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences.

For more information, contact Thomas Douglass, Contemporary Writers Series committee member and associate professor of English, at 252-328-6723 or douglasst@ecu.edu.

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ECU Police to conduct active shooter training July 8-12

The East Carolina University Police Department will conduct active shooter training July 8-12 at Tyler Hall on College Hill.

This training, a normal part of ECU’s emergency planning procedures, is designed to prepare law enforcement personnel to respond to an active shooter on campus. Tyler Hall will be the only building involved in the training scenarios.

According to the ECU Police, the exercise may involve actors and simulated use of weapons.

Students, faculty, staff and visitors are encouraged to avoid the Tyler Hall area between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m., July 8-12, if possible.

Contact Lt. Chris Sutton with ECU Police with questions about the training at 737-7433.

 

 

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ECU community mourns loss of instructor

By Kathryn Kennedy and Jeannine Manning Hutson
ECU News Services

Co-workers and students of East Carolina University teaching instructor Debbie O’Neal are grieving this week following her death March 31.

She and her husband – both rated pilots – were killed when their fixed-wing Lancair LC-42 aircraft crashed in a Winston-Salem residential neighborhood after experiencing engine trouble, a National Traffic Safety Board official told media on Monday.

Funeral services are scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday, April 3 at Rock Springs Center, 4025 N.C. Highway 43 N, Greenville.

An additional memorial service was held Tuesday, April 2 at the Washington Eye Center, where her husband, Dennis, worked.

O’Neal came to ECU in 2004, and this semester she was teaching three sections of English composition in the classroom and two distance-education sections of English grammar.

Department of English Chair Jeffrey Johnson spent Tuesday meeting with students in O’Neal’s classes, accompanied by staff from the ECU counseling center. He said the students were “taking it hard,” and many asked if they could reach out to her family.

“Her students know how invested she was in them,” Johnson said. “She was really outgoing, full of energy and ideas, generous with her time. All these qualities of hers…make (the loss) even harder.”

O’Neal was very involved in the ECU Language Academy, which provides intensive English-language instruction to international students and professionals. She also worked with the College of Education by developing ways to integrate English as a second language (ESL) teacher education into existing curriculum.

Marjorie Ringler, associate professor in the College of Education’s Department of Educational Leadership, said she and O’Neal worked closely for years. “We were inseparable at work and as friends as well,” Ringler said Tuesday.

O’Neal was a linguist and Ringler works on partnerships with principals and school districts; together they were a great team, Ringler said. The pair recently attended an international conference in Dallas, presenting their success in teaching English as a second language in a rural eastern North Carolina school.

O’Neal engaged her classroom students as well, Ringler said, and held them to high standards.

“In the Department of English, she saw her students as her kids,” Ringler continued. “She was a mother to them because (she taught) the freshman composition class.”

She added that O’Neal kept in touch with many students and would get Facebook and email messages about how she had changed their lives. “She made sure everybody knew that she cared,” Ringler said.

“She lived life to the fullest. She was a pilot, made her own jewelry, and was always in touch with her three kids. She skied as well. What did she not do? And she tackled everything head on.”

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Folger Shakespeare Library exhibit features ECU connections

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A replica of an Irish mantle, or cloak, created by East Carolina University School of Art and Design students in Robin Haller’s textile and design course is part of the exhibit at the Folger Shakespeare Library. Photo courtesy of the Folger Shakespeare Library.

By Alexa DeCarr, ECU News Services

An exhibit on display at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., is showcasing the achievements of Dr. Thomas Herron, an associate professor of English at East Carolina University, students in ECU’s School of Art and Design and the University Multimedia Center.

The exhibit, which opened in January and runs through May 19, is named “Nobility and Newcomers in Renaissance Ireland” and focuses on the Irish upper class during the 16th to mid-17th century and its cultural exchanges with England. It investigates the political struggles of the period while acknowledging the ways in which English and Irish cultures influenced each other through achievements in literature, architecture and the arts.

“It goes beyond the black and white view of the interactions between the English and the Irish,” Herron said of the exhibit.

Students in ECU assistant professor Robin Haller’s textile and design course recreated a replica of an Irish mantle, which Herron said is a type of outer covering or cloak worn by the Irish. The University Multimedia Center also contributed to the exhibit by creating a 3-D computerized recreation of a tower house castle from the Middle Ages that allows viewers to get a virtual tour.

Herron said that a 16th century portrait of Queen Elizabeth I “discovered” in Manteo while hanging in plain sight during a conference organized by the ECU English Department is on display at the exhibit as well.

“ECU has been so generous and has played a major role in the exhibit,” Herron said. “Different departments within the university have gone out of their way to help with the exhibit.”

While the exhibit focuses on Europe during the Renaissance, Herron said modern Americans can still appreciate it.

“Shakespeare is a powerful influence on the U.S. and our culture,” he said. “And many Americans have Irish roots.”

The exhibit, “Nobility and Newcomers in Renaissance Ireland,” features portraits, manuscripts, artifacts, family records, and rare books drawn from collections in Ireland and the United States. The exhibition includes nearly 100 items from the Folger collection, as well as materials from the National Gallery of Ireland, the University of Wisconsin, the National Portrait Gallery, the National Library of Ireland, and private collections.

Brendan Kane, a historian of modern Ireland and an associate professor at the University of Connecticut, was the co-curator of the exhibit.

For more information on the exhibit, visit www.folger.edu/Ireland or contact Tom Herron at herront@ecu.edu.

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Reward announced for Dowdy-Ficklen vandalism information

ECU Police announced today that Pitt-Greenville Crimestoppers is offering up to $5,000 in reward funds for information leading to an arrest of two suspects who broke into and damaged Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on Oct. 21.

Lt. Chris Sutton announced the Crimestoppers reward at a media briefing releasing photos taken from stadium surveillance video during the vandalism that occurred between 3 a.m. and 6:20 a.m. Oct. 21.

Approximately $35,000 in damage was done by three suspects.

Persons with information about the identity of the two individuals shown with former ECU student William J. Banks on the video should call Crimestoppers at 758-7777. Individuals are not asked for their names when reporting  information; they are identified through a code system. If the information leads to an arrest, the person could receive up to $5,000 in reward money.

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Reward announced for Dowdy-Ficklen vandalism information

ECU Police announced today that Pitt-Greenville Crimestoppers is offering up to $5,000 in reward funds for information leading to an arrest of two suspects who broke into and damaged Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on Oct. 21.

Lt. Chris Sutton announced the Crimestoppers reward at a media briefing releasing photos taken from stadium surveillance video during the vandalism that occurred between 3 a.m. and 6:20 a.m. Oct. 21.

Approximately $35,000 in damage was done by three suspects.

Persons with information about the identity of the two individuals shown with former ECU student William J. Banks on the video should call Crimestoppers at 758-7777. Individuals are not asked for their names when reporting  information; they are identified through a code system. If the information leads to an arrest, the person could receive up to $5,000 in reward money.

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“Crossing Borders” event set for Oct. 25

East Carolina University’s Division of Health Sciences will host an interdisciplinary program, “Crossing Borders,” from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25 in the Brody School of Medicine Auditorium.

The event will bring students and faculty from each of the health sciences disciplines – allied health sciences, dental medicine, Laupus Library, medicine and nursing – together with a focus on collaboration in education. Approximately 300 students have been invited.

They will watch the film, “Crossing Borders,” a feature documentary directed by Arnd Wächter examining different cultures, hidden preconceptions and discovering oneself.

After the film, students will divide into small discussion groups to work with facilitators from each unit.

The event is sponsored by the offices of ECU Diversity and Dr. Phyllis Horns, vice chancellor for health sciences. Dr. Donna Lake from the College of Nursing has led the event planning group.

For more on the film, go to http://crossingbordersfilm.org/

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Spring art graduate lands solo exhibition in NYC

Omar Abbas will have a solo exhibit at the Berkeley Art Gallery in New York this month.

A recent ECU graduate has been chosen for a solo exhibition at the Berkeley Art Gallery in New York.

Omar Abbas’s new exhibition “Separation” will open this week at the Berkeley Art Gallery, located at 3 East 43rd St., New York. Abbas graduated from ECU in May 2012 with a bachelor of fine arts degree in studio art with an illustration concentration.

He will be presenting six paintings dealing with the idea of isolation and separation. The show will open Aug. 6 and continue to Aug. 31. An opening reception is set for Aug. 9.

For more information about the Abbas and to see his paintings, visit his website: http://www.omarpaints.com

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