Nursing student group named ECU Outstanding Organization of the Year

Pictured from left to right are: ECANS adviser Dr. Gina Woody; members Luis Flores, Rachel L'Esperance and Jamie Williams; adviser Mark Hand; and members Leah Shannon and Corrie Hanson. (Contributed photo)

Pictured from left to right are: ECANS adviser Dr. Gina Woody; members Luis Flores, Rachel L’Esperance and Jamie Williams; adviser Mark Hand; and members Leah Shannon and Corrie Hanson. (Contributed photo)

By Elizabeth Willy
College of Nursing

The East Carolina Association of Nursing Students was honored as ECU’s Organization of the Year at the Student Activities and Organizations banquet May 4.

The group was honored for its efforts in pursuing its mission of promoting leadership and professional development for students working to become nurses.

“We are so proud of the leadership our students have demonstrated,” said College of Nursing Dean Sylvia Brown. “They exemplify excellence that is characteristic of Pirate Nurses.”

One example of the group’s leadership: It gained 129 new members over the past year, enough to bring its total head count to nearly 300 and win it grand prize in the National Student Nurses Association’s annual membership recruitment contest. The award came with an expenses-paid trip to the NSNA annual convention in April, including airfare, accommodations and registration.

“These students are ambitious,” said Dr. Gina Woody, clinical associate professor who advises ECANS with clinical assistant professor Mark Hand.

Woody explained that the growth is due to the group’s concerted expansion efforts. Organizers changed the ECANS bylaws to allow membership for pre-nursing students. It also created committees – including a pre-nursing committee – to encourage greater involvement for all members.

“This change reflected our desire to develop leadership skills for pre-nursing students before they enter nursing school, increasing the likelihood of assuming state and national leadership roles,” said ECANS president and graduating senior Rachel L’Esperance.

Also increasing the likelihood of state and national involvement were the multiple opportunities ECANS students had at those levels this year. More than 20 ECANS members attended the National Student Nurses Association Convention in April, with several of those presenting posters or being honored as awardees. In March, the organization hosted the North Carolina Association of Nursing Students Annual Convention. More than 170 students attended, and 48 of those were ECU nursing students.

But, said L’Esperance, that kind of involvement is just one of the group’s overall goals.

“Our mission for this year was to increase community outreach and participation to help nursing students better impact the community,” she said.

With its members participating in a variety of recurring volunteer opportunities, the organization met that objective. Efforts included monthly visits to the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge to prepare meals and provide donations for patients and families. ECANS members assisted with Habitat for Humanity and the local Food Bank. The group also had a presence at events such as the College of Nursing’s Pirate Nurse 5K and collaborated with other ECU health care disciplines to promote health education activities at Operation Sunshine, an afterschool program for young girls.

The volunteer efforts, together with the networking and leadership opportunities, leads to students’ professional development.

“It shows how important professional organizations are to their growth once they get out in practice,” Woody said, adding that involvement with student organizations is equally beneficial for faculty members.

“Faculty members that are involved with student organizations demonstrate servant leadership, which aligns with the university’s mission,” she said, “Beyond that, it’s a fantastic opportunity to mentor and nurture the future leaders of the nursing profession.”

For more CON news, visit www.nursing.ecu.edu and follow @ECUNursing on Twitter. For questions, contact willye14@ecu.edu.

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Passion, persistence leads to success for ECU student

Anthony Peterson

Anthony Peterson

By Margaret Turner
ECU College of Engineering and Technology

At the end of July, at least one East Carolina University senior will be working full time in the Research Triangle area for Cisco, an international networking company.

Anthony Peterson Jr., a Sampson County native and first generation college student, is expected to graduate magna cum laude May 9 with a bachelor’s degree in information and computer technology. The program is in the Department of Technology Systems in the College of Engineering and Technology. Peterson spent a year at Cisco as an intern in their Customer Advocacy Lab Operations.

Peterson developed a passion for technology in high school. “I tinkered around a lot with computers in high school so I knew I wanted to work in information technology when I came to ECU,” he said. “The program is really hands-on, which is what attracted me.”

After initially being turned down for an internship with Cisco, Peterson was persistent and tried a second time. John Pickard, a teaching instructor in the information and computer technology program, encouraged him to “go for it and get your name out there.”

He was hired and agreed to intern for six months, while taking night and online classes so he wouldn’t have to postpone his graduation date. After his first six months, he stayed on for another six-month internship, earning several certifications through Cisco along the way.

Peterson credits his strong work ethic to his parents, Anthony Peterson Sr. and Charlene Peterson, both of whom work for the public school system in Sampson County. “I’ve seen them work hard their entire lives,” he added.

While at Cisco, Peterson became well known for his work ethic. He even mentored fellow interns. “Working at Cisco provided me with real world examples and lots of lessons of how to succeed in this world,” Peterson said. “It also showed me a glimpse of what’s in store for my future. My interpersonal skills grew and I just grew better as a person.”

After the internship, Peterson was able to share his newfound knowledge and skills with underclassmen when he returned to ECU and worked as a lab monitor.

“Anthony is an outstanding student and has excelled in our ICT program,” Pickard said. “His high level of maturity and ability to handle responsibility led me to hire him as a lab worker in our networking lab for multiple semesters. His hard work and determination have definitely paid off, and I know he will excel in his next endeavor.”

Peterson set several goals early on to “finish high school, then college, and then, to get a good degree with a job in hand.

“I know my parents are proud of me, and it makes me happy to make them proud,” he said.

 

 

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ECU club boxer wins national championship

Brandon Knox

Brandon Knox

East Carolina University senior Brandon Knox won the U.S. Intercollegiate Boxing Association National Championship competition held April 3-5 at the University of Miami, Florida.

A Salisbury, N.C. native, Knox will graduate in December with a degree in construction management.

He was the only ECU Club Boxer to quality for the national competition. Knox earned a bronze medal at the competition last year and the year before that – in his first year of competition at ECU – he was a nationals runner-up.

He competed in the 125-pound open division weight class, which signifies a boxer has competed in more than 10 bouts.

“Winning the national championship is the highest accomplishment a boxer can obtain in collegiate boxing,” said Knox.  “This is why we train all year. It takes tremendous courage to step in that ring and fight another person one on one for three 2-minute rounds in front of several hundred people.”

Knox said he goes through a full range of emotions on the day of a match, especially when a national title is on the line.  He said he starts the day anxious and a bit nervous because he is just ready for the fight to begin.  But that quickly changes as he moves to the ring.

Knox poses with Claressa Shields, 2012 Olympic gold medalist.

Knox poses with Claressa Shields, 2012 Olympic gold medalist.

“I can feel my confidence rising with every step,” he said.  “Once I am in the ring, I know the work I have put in and I just believe that I can win.  And to be standing there with the referee holding my hand in the air as the winner is an amazing feeling.”

The pressure to win was compounded by some of the faces Knox saw in the audience. Watching the performing in front row seats were Claressa Shields, 2012 Olympic gold medalist; Andre Dirrell, boxing world champion; and Al Bernstein, Showtime boxing sports broadcaster.

Knox said he hopes his story will inspire other students at ECU to take a chance, put in the hard work and training that’s needed and bring another national title to the Pirate Nation.

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Departing Brody students offer annual ‘Day of Service’

Medical students participate in Brody Day of Service. (Contributed photos)

Medical students participate in Brody Day of Service. (Contributed photos)

Before learning where they’d be placed for medical residency, 80 students from ECU’s Brody School of Medicine spent a Day of Service giving back to the place they’ve called home for the last four years.

“Brody is built on a commitment of service to eastern North Carolina in gratitude for the opportunity to learn the art of medicine from its citizens,” said medical student Lindsey Fix, class president for 2014. “So much of our training emphasizes how our role as physicians will be to care for and improve the health of the community in which we live and work.

“Going to school in a rural part of the country gives us countless opportunities to help people in need. The act of service is simply integral to the Brody experience and the culture of our medical school.” 3

The fourth-year medical students participated in varied projects Friday, March 14. Some related directly to their involvement in medicine, such as service to the student-run Grimesland Clinic or performing maintenance at the Ronald McDonald House, which offers a place to stay for families of children receiving care at Vidant Medical Center.

Students prepared for the upcoming St. Baldrick’s Day event – the third one sponsored by the class of 2014 – which raises money and awareness for pediatric cancer research by shaving volunteers’ heads. The Greenville Community Shelter clinic was also renovated, cleaned and stocked during the service day.

Others projects were simply about meeting a need. Students hosted a pancake breakfast for the families and patients at the Hope Lodge who are receiving cancer therapy at Vidant and live too far away to commute. Others worked with students at the Little Willie Center and helped clean and update the facilities.

Habitat for Humanity and the Center for Domestic Violence also both received help from Brody students during the Day of Service.

The class of 2014 gift to the Brody School of Medicine was to update and renovate the student lending library for pre-clinical and clinical students. This involved collecting book donations, organizing resources and relocating the library to within the med school.

Each project was chosen by the students based on experiences and long-term commitments to service made previously with these organizations, Fix said. Many students have been working with these groups for their entire four years of medical school – some even as undergraduates at ECU.

“For most of us, it was a way to thank these groups for being a part of our lives over the past few years,” Fix said. “The class of 2014 is proud of Brody and proud of our community. Before we officially become doctors and scatter to residencies across the nation, we wanted this opportunity to try and repay some of the generosity that has allowed us to reach this amazing point in our lives.”

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ECU student selected for writing award

Buchanan

Buchanan

A short story by East Carolina University creative writing student Tim Bachanan, titled “Mezuzah,” was selected by Daniel Chacón as a winner in the Association of Writers & Writing Programs’ Intro Journals Awards.

The Intro Journals Project is a literary competition for the discovery and publication of the best new works by students enrolled in AWP member programs. The piece will be published in the literary journal Puerto Del Sol.

For additional information about the AWP and this year’s award winners, visit https://www.awpwriter.org/contests/intro_journals_project_overview.

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