Students representing East Carolina University at the North Carolina Geography Bowl won first place in this year’s competition Sept. 26 at UNC-Greensboro. The annual quiz competition tests student teams on their knowledge of college-level geography.
The ECU team defeated Appalachian State University in the title round and went undefeated (5-0) throughout the trivia bowl. It was ECU’s fifth first-place title since 1996, following their most recent win in 2008.
Zach Sefcovic, a graduate student in geography, was the highest scorer of the competition and was named the most valuable player on ECU’s team. The ECU team is coached by geography teaching instructor Scott Wade.
In addition to Sefcovic, the team includes students Jamie Heath (Managing Captain), Brad Sceviour (Competition Captain), Jaclyn Catania, Donnie Kirk, Nicholas Luchetti, Alex Moulton, Mark Nissenbaum, Jessica Van-Horn and Emily Fisher.
Top scorers from the state competition are invited to join the North Carolina All-Star team, which will compete against other southeastern states at the SEDAAG conference (Southeast Division, Association of American Geographers). SEDAAG this year is being held Nov. 23-25 in Athens, Georgia. Sefcovic was invited to join the NC All-Star team.
Top scorers from the SEDAAG regional competition will be invited to join the Southeast Region All-Star team, which will compete against other regions at the AAG (Association of American Geographers) annual conference. That meeting is in Chicago on April 21-25, 2015.
East Carolina University was well represented this year at NOAA Science Days Sept. 23 in Silver Spring, Maryland. The annual event highlights research done in collaboration with NOAA offices, with this year’s theme focused on social science research.
ECU professor Burrell Montz, chair of the Department of Geography, Planning and Environment, presented “Social and Behavioral Influences on Weather-Driven Decisions.” She was also co-PI on work presented by Rachel Hogan Carr, executive director of the Nurture Nature Center. Carr presented “Flood Risk and Uncertainty: Assessing the National Weather Service’s Forecast and Warning Tools.”
ECU graduate Chris Ellis, a social scientist with the National Ocean Service Coastal Service Center, presented “Social Science Research to Improve Hurricane Communications: An Assessment of the NWS Hurricane Local Statement.” Ellis received his doctorate in coastal resources management under the direction of Dr. Hans Vogelsong.
Also presenting was ECU alumna Maria Dillard, social scientist with the National Ocean Service/National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science and Hollings Marine Laboratory. Dillard received a master’s in sociology from ECU under the direction of advisor Dr. Bob Edwards. She presented “A Different Kind of Coastal Intelligence: Building Resilience though Assessment of Well-Being and Ecosystem Condition in Coastal Communities.”
ECU undergraduate Joseph West Paul III co-authored a paper on ALS that appeared in September 2014 edition of Science magazine.
“Clogging information flow in ALS: Dipeptide repeat proteins produced in certain neurodegenerative diseases exert toxicity by blocking RNA biogenesis,“ was co-authored with Aaron D. Gitler of the Department of Genetics, Stanford University School of Medicine.
A student of ECU professor Dr. Yiping Qi, Paul completed the article about the possible mechanism of ALS disease during a summer internship at Stanford University. As part of the internship he helped his internship advisor review two original manuscripts on the topic, which resulted in the published article.
Paul is an ECU Honors College student and EC Scholar. He is majoring in biochemistry.
The winners of the 2014 W. Keats Sparrow Writing Awards were recognized in a ceremony at Joyner Library Aug. 27. The awards recognize excellence in research and writing by students in ECU’s English 1100 and 1200 composition classes.
Ashley Campbell, first place, won $200 for “The Effects of Text Messaging on Students’ Literacy.” The second place entry, “Emergence of Antibiotic Resistance: MRSA,” was written by Sarah Stout, who won $150. Kimberly Miller placed third with a $100 prize for “Land of the Free – Why not ‘Sea of the Free?’” Marc Peterson was the instructor for all three winners, a first in the award program’s history.
“Joyner Library and the Department of English have a well-established information literacy program that helps students develop research and critical thinking skills,” said Jan Lewis, interim dean of Joyner Library. “Since its inception in 2000, the W. Keats Sparrow Award program has recognized students who have excelled in these areas. It is always a delight to meet these students, listen to excerpts from their papers, and talk with them about their education, career plans, and the importance of the Library to their success.”
The Friends of Joyner Library sponsored the event named in honor of the late Dr. W. Keats Sparrow, Professor Emeritus of English and former dean of the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences. Mrs. Elizabeth (Liz) Sparrow, who serves on the Friends of Joyner Library Board of Directors, was on hand for the event.
For more information about this writing award program, contact David Hisle, coordinator of instructional services at 328-4978.
Internationally renowned underwater explorer Jean-Michel Cousteau will present the premiere lecture of the 2014-15 Voyages of Discovery lecture series Oct 1 at East Carolina University.
Cousteau, an environmentalist, educator and film producer, will discuss “The Great Ocean Adventure,” including illustration with original film clips.
The series continues Nov. 18 with the Lawrence F. Brewster Lecture in History presented by Julian Bond, a historian and leading figure in the civil rights movement. Bond’s lecture at ECU last January was rescheduled due to adverse weather. He will discuss “Crossing the Color Line: From Rhythm ‘N Blues to Rock ‘N Roll.”
Two lectures will follow in spring 2015. The Jarvis Lecture on Religion and Culture on Feb. 24 will feature Dr. Raymond Moody, emeritus professor of consciousness studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Moody will discuss “Life After Life: The Meaning of Near-Death Experiences.” Rounding out the series on March 24, the Thomas Harriot Lecture will feature Dr. Ilona Bell, Samuel Fressenden Clarke Professor of English at Williams College. A leading authority on the metaphysical poetry of John Donne, Bell will discuss “Sex and Seduction in John Donne’s Poetry.”
“ECU’s College of Arts and Sciences is proud to host this speaker series, and we invite our students, faculty, staff, alumni and community friends to attend,“ said Dr. William M. Downs, dean of the college. “One mark of a great university is how well it promotes discussion of important issues. The Voyages of Discovery Series annually ensures that East Carolina University is ‘the’ venue for such discussions.”
“This, our eighth season, offers a superior slate of intellectual leaders whose multifaceted, even provocative presentations, will surely stimulate, with meaning and passion, our campus and community,” said Dr. John A. Tucker, director of the series.
The Voyages of Discovery Lecture Series is made possible through contributions from Harriot College’s Dean’s Advancement Council, various university organizations, and many friends and supporters. To contribute, contact Major Gifts Officer Jennifer Tripp at 252-737-4201 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about the series and its speakers, contact the director, Dr. John A. Tucker at 252-328-1028, or email email@example.com. Additional information also is available on the series’ website at www.ecu.edu/voyages.
All lectures are open to the public and begin at 7 p.m. in Wright Auditorium on the campus of ECU, unless otherwise noted. Tickets for the Jean-Michel Cousteau lecture and Julian Bond lecture are $10. One complimentary ticket is available to ECU students with a valid ECU ID. All other lectures for the 2014-15 series are free to all attendees. For advance tickets, call the ECU Central Ticket Office at 252-328-4788 or 1-800-ECU-ARTS.
Individuals requesting accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) should call 252-737-1016 (voice/TTY) at least 48 hours prior to the event.
— Lacey Gray, Thomas Harriot College of Arts & Sciences
East Carolina University English Department Chair Dr. Jeffery Johnson has received a $270,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The three-year grant supports “The Variorum Edition of the Poetry of John Donne,” housed at ECU. On Sept. 1, Johnson will become the general editor for the Donne Variorum, a collaborative research project involving more than 40 international scholars.
The project has been funded by the NEH since 1986, with a total of more than $1.8 million.
The Donne Variorum, including its online component DigitalDonne (http://donnevariorum.tamu.edu) has been described by other scholars as “one of the most important scholarly ventures in English literature,” (Brian Vickers, Times Literary Supplement, 25 Jan. 2008) and “one of the most successful collaborative ventures in Renaissance studies of our time” (Stanley Stewart, Renaissance Talk, p. 159).
For additional information, contact Johnson at 252-328-6378 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Research from the ECU Department of Biology on Peruvian glassfrogs was highlighted in National Geographic.
Graduate student Evan Twomey, quoted in the piece, has teamed with former grad student Jesse Delia in the research.
According to the article, the research has identified four new species of the see-through frogs, some with green bones. The species is known for gaudy coloring including yellow circles around the eyes.
Two professors in the ECU Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences were inducted as distinguished professors at the college’s annual faculty convocation Aug. 25. The honor is traditionally bestowed upon one individual at the beginning of each academic year.
Margaret Bauer, Rives Chair of Southern Literature in the Department of English and editor of the North Carolina Literary Review, and Roger Rulifson, professor in the Department of Biology and senior scientist with the ECU Institute for Coastal Science and Policy, were selected.
The professorship is the highest honor within the college and 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 and creative productivity, and professional service.
“After this year’s review of nominees, we were so impressed with the exceptional quality of our colleagues that we did something unconventional – unprecedented as far as I know,” said Dr. William Downs, dean of Harriot College. “We found two Harriot College faculty members ‘equally deserving’ of the Distinguished Professorship. And despite everybody telling me that making two awards ‘just isn’t done,’ that is precisely what we are doing this year.”
“At a time when the value of the humanities is often overlooked, I am pleased that ECU’s new Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences starts his first year recognizing the importance of research in the humanities as well as the sciences, and I look forward to seeing Harriot College shine a light on the excellent research and creative activity of many of ECU’s humanities faculty in the future,” said Bauer.
“I am very honored to be chosen for the title of Distinguished Professor of the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences by Dean Downs,” said Rulifson.
“I think of the past recipients, and I know that I will have a challenge ahead to live up to their legacy. I truly appreciate the latitude and encouragement from the Dean’s Office over 30 years to teach what I love to teach, and to conduct research on coastal issues with Biology graduate and undergraduate students, without whom I could not have accomplished so much in the name of East Carolina University.”