Incoming EC Scholars prepare for fall during Ocracoke retreat

Incoming EC Scholars Kevin Nguyen, foreground, and Vivian Holt embark for a kayaking tour of Ocracoke Island during the EC Scholars retreat in August.

Incoming EC Scholars Kevin Nguyen, foreground, and Vivian Holt embark for a kayaking tour of Ocracoke Island during the EC Scholars retreat in August. (Photos courtesy of ECU Honors College)

By Jessica Nottingham
ECU Honors College

Between serious sessions of charades, beach games and group dinners, the incoming class of EC Scholars participated in leadership training that included topics such as professional etiquette, time management and work-life balance during a retreat the week before the start of fall semester.

Each year, East Carolina University’s Honors College hosts a retreat on Ocracoke Island for freshmen EC Scholars, recipients of ECU’s most prestigious undergraduate scholarship award. The retreat prepares this high-achieving new crop of students for a healthy and successful college career.

“The EC Scholar freshmen Ocracoke retreat is a unique opportunity for our incoming class to cultivate relationships and foster a strong sense of community before they arrive on campus,” said Dr. Todd Fraley, director of the EC Scholars program. “Over the course of three days, they participated in team-building activities, networked with faculty and upperclassmen EC Scholars and completed a leadership development program created by ECU’s Adventure office.”

Leadership training and team building exercises help build community within the new class of scholars.

Leadership training and team building exercises help build community within the new class of scholars.

ECU’s Adventure program took students through activities that brought awareness to various leadership styles, group problem-solving and building trust.

“Students arrive to college in a daze,” said Brad Beggs, assistant director of the ECU Adventure Program. “Among approximately 4,000 incoming students, most new freshmen feel lost, a bit alone and unsure how to have success. This type of orientation session lets the EC Scholars make friends before classes begin and learn specific skills that help them adapt to and succeed here at ECU.”

EC Scholar Lillie Malpass of Hallsboro observed the group learning the value of incorporating different ideas. “Most of us are natural leaders—we learned how to listen to each other and not always be in charge,” said Malpass. “We are all comfortable with leading and sharing ideas so we had to work with all of our different ideas during the activity.”

Taking advantage of the locale, the adventure program team led the class on a two-mile kayaking tour of Ocracoke, highlighting pirate and Revolutionary War history as well as some sea level rise concerns, said Beggs.

Wayne ’64 and Sherry ’74 Holloman of Greenville sponsored this year’s trip, making it cost-free for the students. “Thanks to donors like the Hollomans, our scholars enter their freshmen year with a sense of belonging and an awareness of the commitment ECU has made to their success,” said Fraley.

For more information about the Honors College and EC Scholars scholarship award program, visit www.ecu.edu/ecscholars.

 

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LGBT Resource Office to screen Emmy award winning movie

East Carolina University’s LGBT Office will screen the Emmy award winning movie, “The Normal Heart,” at 7 p.m. Sept. 15 in Hendrix Theatre, Mendenhall Student Center.

normalheartThe 2014 Emmy award winner for best television movie stars Academy Award winner Julia Roberts, Academy Award nominee Mark Ruffalo, Emmy Award winner Jim Parsons, along with Matt Bomer and Taylor Kitsch.

“Though it has taken almost 30 years to make it from the stage to the screen, ‘The Normal Heart’ still conveys all the passion, rage, and heart wrenching emotion as it did when it premiered at New York’s Public Theater in 1985,” said Mark Rasdorf, assistant director of the ECU LGBT Resource Office.

“This will be an intense film experience for all in attendance. We also hope this leads to creating dialogue and discussions on campus and in the community.”

“The Normal Hearttells the story of the onset of the HIV-AIDS crisis in New York City in the early 1980s.  The movie examines the nation’s sexual politics as gay activists and their allies in the medical community fight to expose the truth about the burgeoning epidemic to a city and nation in denial.

The screening is free and free parking will be available from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. in the ECU parking lot located at the corner of 9th Street and Evans Street.

The LGBT Resource Office and the Student Activities Board Film Committee are presenting the screening, with support from the Center for Diversity and Inequality Research and the Department of English. The screening has been approved as a Premier Passport Event for ECU’s Wellness Passport program for students.

For more information, call the LGBT Resource Office at (252) 737-2514.

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ECU graduate students fire kiln at North Carolina Pottery Center

Randolph County potter Joseph Sands, at left, hosted ECU graduate students Devin McKim and Erin Younge during their summer internship.

Randolph County potter Joseph Sands, at left, hosted ECU graduate students Devin McKim and Erin Younge during their summer internship.

As part of a summer internship finale, two East Carolina University graduate students will fire a groundhog kiln on the lawn of the North Carolina Pottery Center today.

Erin Younge, a third-year graduate student in ECU’s ceramics program, has been teaching clay programs for all ages. Devin McKim, a second-year graduate student, has been working with local Randleman potter Joseph Sands to learn production ceramic techniques. The student internships are part of an ongoing collaboration between ECU and the pottery center.

The firing of the groundhog kiln takes approximately 15 hours and uses two cords of wood.  “Firing a groundhog kiln is a great introduction to Seagrove pottery,” McKim said. “I am excited to be joining in on that traditional style of salt firing.”

Also on Aug. 2, there will be a Raku firing demonstration. Younge and McKim will explain the firing process and answer questions from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. today and Saturday.

The Raku firing will be divided into smaller batches to fire, remove and fume – and then repeat with each batch – to give visitors a chance to see finished pieces more quickly than most types of firings.

“I am amazed by the range of color that Raku firings produce,” said Younge. “The transformation that takes place in both the clay and the glaze by using simple combustible materials like sawdust or flowers is always a treat.”

The mission of the North Carolina Pottery Center is to promote public awareness of and appreciation for the history, heritage and ongoing tradition of pottery making in North Carolina.

The center is located at 233 East Avenue in Seagrove. It’s open Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. For more information, call 336-873-8430 or go to www.ncpotterycenter.org.

 

 

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ECU honors student wins competitive scholarship, NOAA internship

Chris Thaxton

Chris Thaxton
(Photo by Cliff Hollis)

By Jessica Nottingham
ECU Honors College

For the second year in a row, an East Carolina University Honors College student has won a prestigious scholarship and internship with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Chris Thaxton, a junior from La Grange and an EC Scholar, has received the Ernest F. Hollings Scholarship, which provides $16,000 for Thaxton’s junior and senior years and a 10-week paid NOAA internship in 2015. He is one of 106 recipients from across the country.

Thaxton, who is majoring in biology and chemistry, intends to pursue a career in marine conservation.

“As an undergraduate, the research experience beyond ECU will be huge,” Thaxton said. “My original goal was to work at a university, but seeing NOAA from the inside, I now hope for a career with NOAA. This is a great resume-builder and networking opportunity.”

A frequent visitor to the coast, Thaxton said his passion for marine biology comes from a desire to preserve the destinations that have meant so much to him so that future generations may have the opportunity to enjoy them as well.

“Summers spent at the beach paddling through salt marshes, boating and fishing nurtured my love for the coast,” he said. “I decided to focus my love for the ocean toward coastal and wetland conservation—preserving them so that people can enjoy them like I have.”

The EC Scholars program, the most prestigious undergraduate scholarship offered at ECU, requires undergraduate research and encourages students to engage in conferences, study abroad opportunities and internships. Thaxton will be studying marine biology in Australia this fall. He interned at the Duke University Marine Lab in Beaufort last summer.

“We encourage our students to seek scholarships and internships that broaden learning as they prepare for their life’s work,” said Dr. Marianna Walker, dean of the ECU Honors College, where the EC Scholars program is housed.

Thaxton attributed receiving the scholarship to his specific research interests and what he learned in a visit to NOAA’s Southeast Fisheries Science Center lab in Beaufort.

“Chris is an exceptional student whose hard work was recognized in his selection for the very competitive Hollings Scholarship,” said Dr. Tim Runyan, an Honors College faculty fellow who encouraged Thaxton to apply. “While meeting with NOAA researchers at the Beaufort lab, it was clear to me that he was dedicated to the field of ocean conservation.”

Thaxton could be placed at any NOAA office for his internship, but he hopes for an assignment in Alaska or San Francisco to study wetland restoration next summer, he said.

Thaxton is the second consecutive ECU Honors College student to receive the Hollings Scholarship. Thomas Vaughan, a senior atmospheric science major, is completing an internship in Hawaii this summer.

More information about the ECU Honors College and EC Scholars program can be found at http://www.ecu.edu/cs-acad/honors/ or by contacting Jessica Nottingham, coordinator for marketing and recruitment for the Honors College, at nottinghamj@ecu.edu or 252-737-4625.

 

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