Social work students earn nationally competitive scholarships

By Nicole Wood
College of Human Ecology

Two master of social work students were recently selected to receive nationally-competitive scholarships. Both the Christine Smith Graduate Studies Scholarship and the GlaxoSmithKline Opportunity Scholarship are awarded based on the student’s academic performance and personal or faculty recommendations.

Connor

Connor

Stacy Connor of New Bern will use the $15,000 Christine Smith Scholarship to cover the cost of her graduate degree and the exams to become a licensed clinical social worker and licensed clinical addictions specialist.

Any remaining money will help support the two years of clinical supervision required for licensed practitioners.

The Educational Foundation, with funding from the estate of Christine Smith and the members of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, established the Christine Smith $15,000 Graduate Studies Scholarship for graduate level studies specializing in children and family issues.

Connor was overjoyed when she heard the news of her accomplishment.  She said she selected ECU’s School of Social Work because of its distance education program.

“I am a working professional and the DE program allowed me to work while going to class on Saturdays. I would not have been able to attend a regular track program,” said Connor. She said that she was also drawn to ECU’s nationally-accredited social work program for its focus on relationships.

“Being immersed in the clinical-community relational perspective is important when seeking licensure. ECU has one of the few programs in the nation that specialize in this form of study,” said Connor.

Unruh

Unruh

Christina Unruh of Cary, recipient of the GlaxoSmithKline Opportunity Scholarship, was selected for demonstrating the potential to succeed despite adversity. Unruh began her graduate work in another department at ECU, but in 2011 had to take a leave of absence due to a personal matter. Upon returning to East Carolina and changing her program of study, Unruh enrolled in the social work program in 2013.

Unruh explained that she too chose East Carolina because of the program’s perspective. “The clinical-community relational perspective is what drew me in initially,” said Unruh. “Its fundamental premise is that problems in living and psychological problems are almost always exacerbated by social isolation and lack of resources.”

Thankful for the opportunities the $5,000 scholarship will provide, Unruh said, “The scholarship will pay my tuition and fees which will allow me to focus on my internship and volunteer work; giving me educational opportunities all while building my résumé.”

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Engineering students’ flying vehicle takes second in national competition

From left to right, Dr. Zhen Zhu and ECU engineering students Logan Cole, Alan Register and Tyree Parker. (Contributed photo)

From left to right, Dr. Zhen Zhu and ECU engineering students Logan Cole, Alan Register and Tyree Parker. (Contributed photo)

 

By Margaret Turner
ECU College of Engineering and Technology

Three East Carolina University undergraduate engineering students built a flying vehicle this summer that took second place in a unique national competition.

The students, led by ECU Assistant Professor of Engineering Zhen Zhu, competed against six other universities at the Autonomous Aerial Vehicle Competition at the 2014 Ohio Unmanned Aircraft Systems Conference in Dayton, Ohio. The competition, the first of its kind, was part of the Air Force Research Laboratory Sensors Directorate.

Students Logan Cole, Tyree Parker and Alan Register are members of ECU’s student chapter of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.  Zhu, faculty advisor for the organization, said the student team used very low cost materials to build the aircraft. Most competitors had larger budgets and were able to use higher end materials and sensors.

Cole and Register attended the competition with Zhu.

The students’ vehicle was required to use autonomous navigation and target geo-location in a GPS-denied environment. The vehicle had to fly autonomously and find an object and record its coordinates.  “It was a difficult task for a relatively young group of students. Many of the teams consisted of graduate level students and ours are all undergraduates,” Zhu said.

The competition was divided into three parts: demonstration, a written report and an oral presentation. The team took first place in the flying portion. “The design and concept was done by the students,” Zhu said. “I was most impressed with how well we did using the lower cost materials and open source software.”

Register, a sophomore biomedical engineering student, got involved at Zhu’s request after working on another unmanned aerial vehicle competition earlier in the year.  “In this competition, we experienced real world situations like signal interferences that can’t be simulated in a lab,” Register said. “As an engineer, we want to experience real world problems and not just produce an ideal solution.”

Cole, a senior, learned how to read and write C code, a frequently used programming language. “I want to work with microcontrollers after college so this is a great way to get some firsthand experience,” he said.

The College of Engineering and Technology has more than 20 active student organizations, which provide opportunities for competitions, learning outside of the classroom and networking. For more information, visit http://www.ecu.edu/cs-tecs/student_organizations.cfm .

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Engineering Student Receives Scholarship

Anderson

       Anderson

Byron Anderson, a senior engineering student, has been awarded the Ronald C. Harrell Engineering Scholarship from the North Carolina Society of Engineers. Anderson, who is completing a double concentration in mechanical and industrial engineering, is from Wilson.

Each year, the NCSE awards a $2,000 scholarship to a student enrolled in engineering or engineering technology at one of five universities in North Carolina. A student must show financial need, good citizenship and strong academic merit. The scholarship honors Harrell, who was an outstanding NCSE member, former president and district director of the society.

Anderson decided to attend ECU because it was close to home and the engineering program was “rapidly growing,” he said. “My experience at ECU has been good,” Anderson said. “It was not only accumulated in the classroom. Faculty members help students grow as a person. I am not the person that I once was and I owe a lot of that to the engineering department.”

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ECU undergraduate published in Science magazine

ECU undergraduate Joseph West Paul III co-authored a paper on ALS that appeared in September 2014 edition of Science magazine.

Joseph Paul

Joseph Paul

“Clogging information flow in ALS: Dipeptide repeat proteins produced in certain neurodegenerative diseases exert toxicity by blocking RNA biogenesis,“ was co-authored with Aaron D. Gitler of the Department of Genetics, Stanford University School of Medicine.

A student of ECU professor Dr. Yiping Qi, Paul completed the article about the possible mechanism of ALS disease during a summer internship at Stanford University. As part of the internship he helped his internship advisor review two original manuscripts on the topic, which resulted in the published article.

Paul is an ECU Honors College student and EC Scholar. He is majoring in biochemistry.

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Annual Beach Fest set for Sept. 17

Beach Fest in 2013 combined water and inflatables for fun activities for the approximately 1,500 who attended. This year's Beach Fest is set for Sept. 17. (Photo courtesy of Student Affairs Marketing and Communication)

Beach Fest in 2013 combined sun, water and inflatable recreation for the approximately 1,500 who attended. This year’s Beach Fest is set for Sept. 17. (Photo courtesy of Student Affairs Marketing and Communication)

East Carolina University will host the fourth annual Beach Fest from 4:30 – 8 p.m. Sept. 17 at the North Recreational Complex.

The popular attraction drew more than 1,500 students last year. Activities include a 300-foot zip line, DJ Karaoke, kayaking, stand up paddleboards, disc golf, corn hole, horseshoes, beach volleyball, bocce, club sports demonstrations and inflatables. Participants may enjoy free food and take-home giveaways such as souvenir Beach Fest tank tops, beach towels, cell phone wallets, sunscreen and Frisbees.

“ECU’s Beach Fest is a great opportunity for students to learn about the activities, sports and amazing facilities available to them at the North Recreational Complex,” said Janis Steele, associate director of facilities with Campus Recreation and Wellness.

Beach Fest is part of ECU’s Plunge into Purple, a series of events and programs in the first six weeks of the semester aimed at welcoming students to the university through education, socialization and involvement. This event is presented by Campus Recreation and Wellness in collaboration with the Student Activities Board and the Office of Student Transitions.

All ECU students, faculty and staff are welcomed. A valid ECU One Card is required for admittance. ECU Transit will provide bus service to and from the complex.

Media are welcome to attend and cover Beach Fest. Please check in at the front gate at the event for additional information. For more information about the North Recreational Complex, visit www.ecu.edu/crw or call (252) 328-1571.

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