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.



ECU graduate sells the Broadway Channel

Matt Hege, left, said he frequently bumps into other ECU graduates while covering New York City’s theater scene for the Broadway Channel. At right is Jeremy Woodard, a 2001 graduate who has spent the past couple years starring in the Broadway musical “Rock of Ages.” At center is Regina Gatti Fogle, a 2004 graduate who is a recruitment director in New York City.

Matt Hege, left, said he frequently bumps into other ECU graduates while covering New York City’s theater scene for the Broadway Channel. At right is Jeremy Woodard, a 2001 graduate who has spent the past couple years starring in the Broadway musical “Rock of Ages.” At center is Regina Gatti Fogle, a 2004 graduate who is a recruitment director in New York City.

East Carolina University alumnus Matt Hege said interning at Greenville television station WNCT and then working as advertising director of the “East Carolinian” student newspaper taught him everything he needed to know to start a Broadway-themed cable TV channel. The MBA he also earned at ECU came in handy this week while negotiating the sale of the channel to an investor for a small fortune, he said.

“It’s all the same fundamentals,” Hege said Thursday, a day after he finalized the sale of the Broadway Channel to New York theater mogul John Gore. Hege declined to release financial details of the transaction.

“The real opportunity for me to understand the potential I had came from my work at the ‘East Carolinian,’” Hege said Thursday. “To go out and negotiate the deal for a quarter-page ad–that is real world stuff. When I realized I could do that, then the sky was the limit.”

2BroadwayChannelLogoHe said he attended graduate school on a scholarship from the ECU Media Board while working as director of advertising for the student paper.

The Broadway Channel, which Hege and his father started in 1998, is carried on most New York area cable systems and also is available in more than 40,000 hotel rooms in the Big Apple. It also is available over streaming media services.

Hege is executive producer of most of the shows airing on the Broadway Channel, including “Broadway Previews,” “Broadway on Tour,” “Las Vegas Previews,” “West End Previews,” “What’s Hot on Broadway” and the series “Broadway Profiles.”

Gore owns Key Brand Entertainment (KBE), which is widely known as the owner of the ticket-sales website Broadway.com. KBE also owns Broadway Across America, which manages the touring productions of Broadway shows.

Hege, who completed an undergraduate degree in communication in 1994 and returned for an MBA in 2000, will join the Key Brand management team with a continued focus on the Broadway Channel.

Hege lives in Miami where the channel’s corporate offices are located.


School of Communication director honored with scholar award

Dr. Linda Kean

Dr. Linda Kean

East Carolina University School of Communication Director Linda Kean was honored Oct. 9 with the 2014 NCA Health Communication Division’s Outstanding Scholar Award.

This award is one of the highest academic honors presented by the organization.

Kean’s research focuses on health communication with an emphasis on mass media, including mass media campaigns that promote positive health behaviors and the effect of health-related media messages on individuals’ perceptions, attitudes and behaviors.

Her work has been published in “Communication Research,” “Health Communication,” “Media Psychology,” the “Journal of Health Communication” and “Women & Language.”

Kean began her career at ECU in 2003 as an assistant professor in the School of Communication. She was promoted to interim associate director in 2006 and appointed director of the school in 2009.

Kean holds a bachelor of science degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Illinois. She earned her master’s and doctorate degree in communication from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 1994 and 1998.

The National Communication Association is an internationally recognized communication scholarship organization with thousands of members. This year, the NCA will celebrate its founding in 1914 with a centennial celebration. Kean will accept the award in Chicago in late November at the NCA’s annual meeting.


ECU alumna, former soccer star new face of American Athletic Conference


                                                       Hali Oughton

By Steve Tuttle
ECU News Services

Former East Carolina University soccer star Hali Oughton was interviewed by the media many times during her college career. Now she’s the one holding the microphone in her job as an on-air reporter for the American Athletic Conference.

Oughton, who graduated in May 2013 with a degree in communication, was back on campus Oct. 5 for the ECU-SMU football game to film segments for the American conference’s weekly web video show, “The Rise.” It was ECU’s first official game as a new member of the conference. Her report for that game can be seen here.

“Being in front of the camera is a fun aspect of the job because I get to tell the stories of our conference and really engage with the fans,” Oughton said.

Based at the American’s headquarters in Providence, Rhode Island, Oughton travels frequently to film episodes of her show on the campuses of the 11 conference members.

“It’s funny how things work out,” she said. “Being a student-athlete at East Carolina makes this opportunity with the American really special to me. I get to work with my alma mater on a day-to-day basis as well as schools I have previously competed against on the soccer field when we were in Conference USA.”

Oughton, a native of Redondo Beach, California, was a four-year starter on ECU’s soccer team and a team captain. She was named a first-team All-Conference USA player her senior year.

A key member of the soccer team’s defense throughout her college career, she was known for her stamina. She started 60 consecutive games and played every minute in 18 of the 20 matches her senior year.

She played in all 10 of the team’s shutouts her senior year and scored three goals, two of which were game winners.

“My degree from ECU has definitely helped me get to where I am today,” she said. “I built great relationships with many of my colleagues and professors. Interning at WNCT-TV under Brian Bailey gave me a great deal of experience in my last two years of college.”

A new episode of “The Rise” airs each Tuesday at the American website.

You can follow her on Twitter at @Halioughton.



School of Communication to offer new certificate program

The East Carolina University School of Communication will begin offering a graduate certificate in health communication beginning in the summer.

The program is open to non-degree applicants with a bachelor’s degree and students currently enrolled in any graduate degree program.

The certificate requires 12 semester hours of health communication course work examining research, theory and practices of communication.

“Students earning the graduate certificate in health communication will acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to analyze, evaluate and apply effective communication in health contexts,” said Laura Prividera, associate director of the School of Communication and director of the school’s graduate studies.

Students enrolled in the School of Communication master’s program with an emphasis in health communication are not eligible to earn the certificate.

For more information, please contact Prividera at privideral@ecu.edu.


ECU alum, PR professional to speak on campus

East Carolina University alumna April Paul Baer will discuss public relations, health communication and her experiences with The Water School in rural Uganda during presentations to several ECU School of Communication classes Feb. 17 – 18.

April Baer

April Baer

Baer will also speak to the ECU Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America and to convocation for students in the interpersonal and organization communication concentration.

She is director of Student Wellness at Frostburg State University in Maryland. She earned an ECU bachelor’s degree in communication with an emphasis on public relations in 2006, followed by a master’s in health communication at ECU in 2008.

ECU students are welcome to attend any of Baer’s presentations. For additional information, contact the School of Communication at 252-328-4227 or e-mail privideral@ecu.edu.


Lassiter to receive School of Communication’s distinguished alumni award

The East Carolina University School of Communication’s Seventh Annual Spring Reception will include presentation of the school’s distinguished alumni award to communication professional Valeria Lassiter. The event is set for 6 p.m. April 20 at the Greenville Museum of Art.

Valeria Lassiter

Valeria Lassiter

The award recognizes alumni with a minimum of four years of work history, outstanding and uncommon achievement in one’s profession, in civic affairs, and/or politics.

Lassiter, who graduated from ECU in 1990, is the founder and CEO of Lassiter & Associates, a strategic partnership and fundraising management firm based in Chevy Chase, Md. She has more than 20 years of experience in the private, government and nonprofit sectors. Her clients come from education, arts and culture, unions, faith-based and public policy organizations.

“It is an honor for me to receive the Distinguished Alumni Award from the School of Communication. I am deeply appreciative of my experience at ECU,” Lassiter said.

Lassiter is an instructor for the Georgetown University executive nonprofit management certificate program, where she has trained more than 1,000 executives in corporate-nonprofit partnerships, development and fundraising. Before forming Lassiter & Associates in 2003, she was vice president of development for the Darrell Green Youth Life Foundation and project director for the Marriott Foundation for People with Disabilities, Bridges from School to Work program.

A champion for women’s rights and women in leadership, Lassiter served as the administrative director for the 75th anniversary celebration of women suffrage in America, and she is chair of the board of directors for the Women’s Roundtable at ECU, leading an effort to create a legacy of women leaders and raise access scholarships for students. In addition to her bachelor’s degree from ECU, Lassiter holds a master of divinity degree from Colgate Rochester Divinity School.

The annual reception is organized by CommCrew, the school’s alumni and supporters’ organization. Priced at $25 for the public and $10 for students, tickets to the reception are available by calling 252-328-4227.

The reception follows an open house to showcase the school’s new multimedia newsroom and communication center, set for 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. in the Joyner East classroom building on campus. Read more about the open house at http://blog.ecu.edu/sites/poeight/?p=5690.

Both events are open to the public.




Open house to showcase multimedia newsroom, communication center

ECU student AnnaMaria Gallozzi is shown in the School of Communication's new multimedia newsroom. (COntributed photo)

ECU student AnnaMaria Gallozzi is shown in the School of Communication’s new multimedia newsroom. (Contributed photo)


The East Carolina University School of Communication will show its new multimedia newsroom and communication center in an open house from 4:30 – 5:30 April 20.

Visitors will tour facilities on the second floor of Joyner East, across the plaza from Joyner Library. Room 215 houses the multimedia newsroom, and Room 205 is actually a four-room communication center with separate spaces available for research and meetings. Faculty and students from the school’s Student Ambassador program will demonstrate equipment.

“The newsroom is designed to mimic a real world newsroom giving students real world experience in creating and delivering content for a television newscast,” School of Communication Director Linda Kean said. The facilites includes new computers, three studio cameras, a TriCaster, an audio board, an anchor desk and a green screen. The newsroom’s virtual sets enable the plain green backdrop of the anchoring desk to be transformed into a city skyline and numerous other scenes.

The communication center features a two-way mirror for focus group research, an eye tracker and a biofeedback machine. In addition to providing a controlled research environment, the center will be available for workshops and one-on-one help with presentation preparation and delivery.

“We’re excited to show alumni and friends the improvements we’ve made recently in terms of technology and facilities,” said Glenn Hubbard, who teaches in the newsroom. “We are offering great experiences for our students, which is something our supporters can be proud of.”

Newscasts created in the newsroom are available under the name Pirate News Network on YouTube.

Following the open house, the School of Communication/CommCrew Seventh Annual Spring Reception will be held at 6 p.m. at the Greenville Museum of Art.

The open house is free and open to the public. The evening reception requires a ticket, which can be purchased by calling 252-328-4227.


Film screening, panel to focus on women in media



The East Carolina University School of Communication will host a free screening of the award-winning documentary “Miss Representation” at 6 p.m. Feb. 19 in Hendrix Theatre. A reception and panel discussion will follow.

The film, an official selection of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, examines how women are portrayed in the media, offering surprising evidence that women are still facing unfortunate odds even in modern society.

Dinecia Gates, academic advisor for the School of Communication, spearheaded efforts to bring the film to ECU. The film “addresses the impact media has on perceptions of women in America,” she said. That includes women in leadership and high profile positions.

“This film is both exciting and relevant in a day and age where media has a tremendous, yet often undetected, impact on our day to day lives and perceptions,” Gates said.

A panel discussion after the screening will include ECU professors Todd Fraley, School of Communication; Christine Avenarious, Department of Anthropology; Marieke Van Willigen, Women’s Studies Program; and Amanda Klein, Department of English, Film Studies.

A reception will be held after the panel discussion.

The event is free and open to the public. It is a passport event for ECU students.

For additional information about the film, visit missrepresentation.org. For details about the ECU event, contact Gates at gatesd@ecu.edu or 252-328-6001.