ECU nutrition students prepare educational feast

Aurora Mendoza puts the final touches on a  mixed green salad with fruit and nuts during meal service at the Darden Dining Room on campus. (Contributed photos)

Aurora Mendoza puts the final touches on a  mixed green salad with fruit and nuts during meal service at the Darden Dining Room on campus. (Contributed photos)

 

By Nicole Wood
College of Human Ecology

Three days a week at East Carolina University, guests can satisfy their lunchtime hunger while supporting nutrition students’ education in the College of Human Ecology’s Darden Dining Room.

Sarah Sykes helps Justin Simmons with a New England slaw.

Sarah Sykes helps Justin Simmons with a New England slaw.

Students in the food production in dietetics course – now in its fifth year – acquire hands-on experience in the kitchen, at the front of the house and in marketing positions. During the preceding fall semester, students learn about food preparation and management principles applied to quantity healthcare food production. The spring course then allows them to put their plans – and menus – into action.

“The students are getting real-world experience. Building a menu and standardizing recipes is something they will do in their future positions,” said ECU professor Diana Saum, who teaches both the fall and spring semester courses.

“We want to ensure that our students are gaining the knowledge and skills they will need to succeed in their chosen career,” said Saum.

Nutrition Science student Sarah Sykes said she was excited to get into the kitchen this semester. “I have learned so much throughout this experience, from basic food production terms in the classroom to real life management experiences in lab,” she said.

“Having people purchase our food allows us to gain feedback and fully experience the complete food production process. We value everyone who comes in to try our food and we thank them for aiding in our development as future nutritionists.”

The Darden Dining Room is open to the public for lunch on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays throughout the spring semester from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. Prices typically range from $4 per entrée to $1.50 for dessert. Cash or check is accepted. Sign up for Saum’s reminder e-mail, which includes the daily menu, by e-mailing her at saumd@ecu.edu.

Krysta Parkhurst (left) and Brooke Radford show off their soups to Nutrition Science advisor Jan Fletcher.

Krysta Parkhurst (left) and Brooke Radford show off their soups to Nutrition Science advisor Jan Fletcher.

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Nutrition students develop their professional leadership styles

Students detail their  analyses of Pitt County areas to Sandra Spann (left), president of Food Systems Consultants. Spann was one of the experts who spoke with the class during their project designed to enhance leadership skills. (Contributed photo)

Students detail their analyses of Pitt County areas to Sandra Spann (left), president of Food Systems Consultants. Spann was one of the experts who spoke with the class during their project designed to enhance leadership skills. (Contributed photos)

By Nicole Wood
College of Human Ecology

East Carolina University nutrition science professor Brenda Bertrand engaged 35 students last semester in a project designed to enhance their leadership skills.

Bertrand

Bertrand

The students teamed up to conduct “windshield tours” of Pitt County, using photography to document their research. The students examined health issues including whether areas were equipped for walkers or bikers and whether grocery stores or convenience stores were in close proximity to neighborhoods and schools.

Students then considered the implications of their findings and what those results would mean for the studied locations, which included Farmville, Chicod, Grimesland, Ayden and Stokes. They developed diagrams to chart the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) in those areas.

When the teams shared their diagrams with the entire class, a trend emerged. “They began to notice similarities between the different communities,” said Elizabeth Kroeger, graduate assistant for the course. “They each saw limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables with community and geographical constraints for shopping (distance or lack of grocery stores) and transportation (lack of sidewalks).” The teams then collaborated to combine their findings into an SWOT diagram for all of Pitt County.

Representatives from the studied communities visited the class to help students develop new ideas and intervention plans that are feasible for real-world application. Nutrition experts worked with the students throughout the process and visited campus to share their perspectives on the students’ plans.

Graduate student Elizabeth Kroeger, left, is gathering data from the nutrition students' project as part of her own research project. Kroeger is pictured with one of the students at the Pitt County Boy’s and Girl’s Clubs, where she also works.

Graduate student Elizabeth Kroeger, left, is gathering data from the nutrition students’ project as part of her own research project. Kroeger is pictured with one of the students at the Pitt County Boy’s and Girl’s Clubs, where she also works.

The students created a blog detailing their project and their own understanding of leadership in rural health. Along the way, students read articles regarding transformative leadership – a type of leadership that has ideal traits for working within the nutrition field. They answered questions about the articles on their blogs. Students also took questionnaires that identified their leadership traits at the beginning and end of the project.

While the students gathered data on the communities, Kroeger gathered details on the students’ learning process and leadership transformation. She will use the data for a graduate research project to determine whether the students’ leadership styles changed throughout the project.

“The qualitative research we collected of the students’ perspectives on the leadership projects (and) leadership in general will be used to prepare a manuscript for a journal submission in 2014,” said Kroeger. “Hopefully, our research will give professors in the field of nutrition insight into how to effectively develop leadership skills among their students.”

The project was sponsored in part by a BB&T Leadership Grant. Those grants aim to advance ECU’s culture of service and its place as a leadership development community by encouraging and assisting units across campus to embed leadership development components into their courses and programs.

 

 

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Former Human Ecology dean named University of Louisiana System provost

Karla Hughes

Karla Hughes

Former dean of the ECU College of Human Ecology Karla Hughes was named executive vice president and provost of the University of Louisiana System, effective Jan. 6.

She will serve as deputy to system president Sandra K. Woodley and monitor and support the direction of academic programs at all nine universities in the system.

Hughes was most recently provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Morehead State University in Kentucky.

Hughes was the first dean of the ECU College of Human Ecology. While at ECU, she was an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow serving 17 institutions through the UNC system, participated in the statewide BRIDGES leadership development program for women and organized the Intergenerational Community Center in Greenville, which last year won the national C. Peter Magrath University/Community Engagement Award.

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ECU alumnus to direct Criminal Justice Standards division

Combs Steven G1

Steven Combs

Attorney General Roy Cooper has named 45-year-old Steven Combs the new director of the Criminal Justice Standards Division. The Jacksonville native will begin in the new job Monday, Cooper spokeswoman Noelle Talley said. The position administers the Criminal Justice Training and Standards Commission’s certification program for sworn police officers.

Combs will succeed Windy Hunter, who has served as acting director since Wayne Woodard retired last year. Combs has most recently served as an assistant special agent in charge in the Jacksonville office of the State Bureau of Investigation. He has worked for the SBI for 15 years.

He has a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from East Carolina University and completed training in law enforcement management through the N.C. Justice Academy.

Combs worked previously with the Raleigh Police Department and in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserves.

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ECU student named GM of the Year

Jose Morales, a student in the School of Hospitality Leadership at East Carolina University, was recognized as General Manager of the Year by the Strand Development Company. Morales serves as GM at the Microtel Inn and Suites by Wyndham in Greenville.

Jose Morales is pictured with executives from Strand. (Contributed photo)

Jose Morales is pictured with executives from Strand. (Contributed photo)

Under Morales’ leadership, the Microtel Inn and Suites by Wyndham was chosen as one of Microtel’s Top-20 properties out of 350 worldwide during Wyndham Hotel Group’s annual conference in Las Vegas in 2013.

“The Microtel Inn & Suites Greenville’s commitment to excellence in revenue, rewards enrollment and guest satisfaction has earned it this well-deserved recognition as one of the best hotels in the Microtel Brand,” said Raju Uppalapati, owner of the Microtel Inn & Suites Greenville. “I am very proud of our dedicated and customer oriented team. Their commitment to service and quality shows through this award.”

Dr. Robert O’Halloran, director of the School of Hospitality Leadership, said, “Our students and alumni who represent us in the workforce continue to bring national attention to our program. We are very proud to have such an outstanding hospitality leadership program here at East Carolina.”

Strand Development Company is a 50-hotel management company with locations in the Southeastern United States. The company specializes in the two to four-star hotel segments and is approved to operate hotels under all the leading hotel brand families including; Marriott, Hilton, Starwood, Wyndham, Choice and IHG.

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