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 For details about the ECU event, contact Gates at or 252-328-6001.


Grant supports ECU Arts Smart series

East Carolina University’s Arts Smart series has received a $2,000 grant from Target Stores to support writing across the curriculum for Pitt County students in grades K-6.

Two authors in those grades will be recognized for exemplary writing. The students and their classmates will receive complimentary tickets to one of six titles on the Arts Smart series.

ECU elementary education student Amy Shackleford will support the initiative with age-appropriate course materials and educator support materials, developed in conjunction with the Teaching Resource Center in Joyner Library. Communications major Jessi Hardin will outline a marketing campagin to encourage teacher and student participation.


Eight ECU women selected for BRIDGES 2012

Eight East Carolina University professors will participate in 2012 BRIDGES, an academic leadership program for women sponsored by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Selected were Rebecca Dumlao, associate professor in the School of Communication; Hsiao Ling Lai, assistant professor in the Department of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics; Amy McMillan, associate professor in the Department of Physical Therapy; Tendai Ndabvonga, assistant director of the College of Business; Laura Prividera, associate director of the School of Communication; Teresa Tripp, assistant director of Laupus Library; Alethia Cook, assistant professor in the Department of Political Science; and Marieke Van Willigen, associate professor in the Department of Sociology.

The program provides intensive professional development for women in higher education who seek to gain or strengthen academic leadership capabilities. It is designed to help women identify, understand and move into leadership roles within higher education.

BRIDGES is held in four weekend sessions Sept. 7 through Nov. 10.

More information on the BRIDGES program is available at



ECU alumnus producing feature film

ECU alumnus Curtis Thieman (Contributed photo)

An East Carolina University alumnus is gearing up for production on his first feature film, with plans to begin shooting this fall in Wilmington.

Curtis Thieman is a 2005 ECU graduate with a B.S. in communication (media production) and a minor in English. He and his brother Craig Thieman are working together on the independent film, “Love Letter,” which they hope to release in 2013.

Thieman said the film is a dark comedy based on an award-winning short film by the same name. The storyline, he said, involves a young man writing a suicide letter, not for himself, but for his girlfriend who is tied up in the garage. The situation gets complicated when more and more people show up and find themselves involved in Garrett’s plot.

The filmmakers are seeking investors to join the production process through an online campaign. With ten days to go, the campaign is nearly halfway to its goal.

“If we don’t meet our goal, we get none of the funds and the movie will be difficult to make,” Thieman said. “Every dollar helps,” he said.

For additional information about the film and the campaign, visit or contact Thieman at


School of Communication alum to receive alumnus award

John Cooper, who earned his communication degree at East Carolina University in 1989, will be given the School of Communication’s Distinguished Alumnus Award at a reception April 21.


Cooper, deputy manager of the Live Desk at NBC News Channel in Charlotte, has worked at the NBC news service for more than 20 years. NBC News Channel distributes national and international video news stories to NBC stations around the country. At the Live Desk, Cooper acts as a producer for field reporters.

Last fall, Cooper visited ECU as the keynote speaker for the fourth annual High School Media Workshop, which the North Carolina Scholastic Media Association co-sponsored.

“John Cooper has been an outstanding supporter of the School of Communication for a number of years, and we are delighted to recognize his significant contributions by giving him the Distinguished Alumnus Award,” said Dr. Linda Kean, director of the School of Communication.

The 6th Annual Spring Reception is organized by CommCrew, the School of Communication’s alumni and supporters’ organization.



Alumnae to keynote Communication event

ECU School of Communication graduates Jamie Lynn Sigler, left, and Sarah Evans will speak at the CommCrew spring reception April 21.

East Carolina University alumnae Jamie Lynn Sigler and Sarah Evans will keynote the CommCrew’s Sixth Annual Spring Reception  from 6 to 8 p.m. April 21 at the Greenville Museum of Art.

Sigler and Evans – 2001 graduates – are partners in J Public Relations, a bi-coastal public relations firm that develops innovative public relations campaigns for chic hotel properties, restaurants, nightclubs, spas and luxury lifestyle goods.

The event will also include presentation of the distinguished alumnus award for graduates with outstanding achievements.

“Each year, our banquet has grown more successful, thanks to inspirational, dynamic and highly successful guest speakers as well as lots of hard work by CommCrew members,” said Dr. Linda Kean, director of the School of Communication. “In addition to alumni, we encourage communication and hospitality professionals from the community to attend. Every ticket purchased means more networking, scholarship and career development opportunities for our current students.”

A noted expert in the travel and lifestyle industries, Evans has been featured on ABC,, Bridal Guide and more. She also has a travel blog, “The Glam Globetrotter,” which highlights stylish travel. Sigler’s clients are regularly featured in top media outlets, including: E! Entertainment Television, The New York Times, US Weekly, and “The Today Show.”

Those who will attend the reception are invited to bring books for a book drive benefitting Operation Sunshine, Hope Lodge and community schools. Books for all age groups are needed.

CommCrew is an organization for friends and alumni of ECU’s School of Communication. In addition to supporting activities and scholarships for School of Communication students, it also strives to involve alumni in current activities as well as to keep them informed about current school news and events.

Banquet tickets are $25 each. Call 252-328-4227 to pay by credit card. Or, make checks payable to ECU Foundation and mail to: Cyndee Mueller, School of Communication, Joyner East, East Carolina University, Greenville, N.C. 27858.




Aphasia support group meets on campus

A support group for people with aphasia and their caregivers will meet each Friday through Dec. 2 at East Carolina University.

Aphasia is difficulty or loss in communication, usually the result of stroke or brain injury.

The ECU Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders hosts the group from 9 to 11 a.m. Fridays in Room 1305 in the Health Sciences Building at the College of Allied Health Sciences.

Participants engage in a variety of activities to improve communication skills. Contact Sherri Winslow at 252-744-6142 or for more information.


Occupational therapy department holds CarFit safety program

East Carolina University’s occupational therapy department will host CarFit, a free, interactive program that gives a quick comprehensive check on how well an older driver and their vehicle work together.

The event will be held 9 a.m.-noon Saturday, March 26, at Eastern Pines Church of Christ, 3380 Portertown Road, Greenville. No appointment is needed. The assessment takes about 15 minutes. Read more…