ECU students collaborate on Nov. 1 performance

pictured left to right are ECU students Dylan Ritch, director of the showcase, and mask creator Jordan Brown. (Contributed photos)

pictured left to right are ECU students Dylan Ritch, director of the showcase, and mask creator Jordan Brown. (Contributed photos)

Twenty-one East Carolina University students have teamed up to present “Stories from Afar,” a Theatre for Youth Showcase, which will be held Saturday, Nov. 1 at the Turnage Theatre in Washington.

The performance begins at 2 p.m. followed by a theater workshop for children at 3 p.m. Children will create their own tale and act it out.

Dylan Ritch, an ECU junior and theater arts major from Asheville, directs the performance aimed at entertaining while teaching children life lessons such as dealing with a bully and helping friends in need.

Stories are incorporated from cultures all over the world.

Senior Jordan Brown, a fine arts major concentrating in sculpture from Snow Camp, created nine African masks for the performance.

“I wanted to use these masks to communicate a form of theatre that originated from Africa and to expose children to multiple types of theatrical drama,” Ritch said.

Masks created by an ECU senior will be part of a performance this weekend in Washington.

Masks created by an ECU senior will be part of a performance this weekend in Washington.

“It is also my strong desire to inspire in children a love for theatre,” Ritch said. “I know seeing a play for the first time for me was a life changing experience. I wish to recreate that experience for other children who might be getting their first taste of theatre.”

Ritch also hopes the performance will introduce the community to ECU’s Theatre for Youth concentration, part of the theatre arts program in the School of Theatre and Dance. The concentration prepares graduates to work in professional theatre for children and youth. Students also participate in the Global Classroom Initiative, partnering with universities in such countries as Peru and Russia to extend their understanding and exposure to children’s theatre and cultures around the world.

Tickets to the performance are $8.54 (tax included). For more information or to purchase tickets, call 252-946-2504.

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EC Scholars help raise nearly $70,000 for Charleston library

EC Scholar Payton Burnette sorts and organizes books for a Charleston County Public Library book sale.  (Contributed photo)

EC Scholar Payton Burnette sorts and organizes books for a Charleston County Public Library book sale. (Contributed photo)

Every year during East Carolina University’s fall break, the senior class of EC Scholars travels to Charleston, South Carolina. A major component of this capstone experience, called the senior impact trip, is a service project that benefits the local community.

This year’s senior EC Scholars spent six hours volunteering at the Charleston County Public Library’s “That BIG Book Sale” hosted by the Charleston Friends of the Library.

“We selected the Charleston Friends of the Library because of their long-term commitment to the city of Charleston, the history of the event and the important connection between reading and academic success,” said Todd Fraley, director of the EC Scholars award program at ECU.

More than 60,000 books, DVDs, CDs, and other items were available for purchase with all proceeds supporting the library. With the help from the EC Scholars, the organization raised $68,000, which surpassed their goal.

“Being able to be a part of something that provides this transformational experience to children and adults throughout Charleston and the surrounding communities was extremely fulfilling,” said senior EC Scholar and nursing major Lindsay Caddell.

The Charleston Friends of the Library is a nonprofit organization that supports and advocates for the Charleston County Public Library system. According to their website, the organization raises money to fund more than 6,000 programs sponsored annually by the library.

“I have no doubt our seasoned volunteers will be telling stories of the ECU students for years to come,” said Emily Everette, executive director of the Charleston Friends of the Library.

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ECU receives financial support from Pitt County ABC for alcohol education efforts

donation

Left to right, Teresa Campbell, Pitt County ABC executive, presents a donation for ECU alcohol education efforts to ECU Dean of Students Lynn Roeder and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Virginia Hardy.

By Kelly Setzer
ECU News Services

East Carolina University will use a donation from the Pitt County Alcoholic Beverage Control toward efforts to educate students on the dangers of alcohol.

“What started with a $10,000 grant a few years ago has grown to $30,000 dollars in support for vital alcohol education programming on our campus,” said Lynn Roeder, dean of students at ECU. “Pitt County ABC’s support has transformed the university’s ability to provide consistent outreach, training and resources to combat the No. 1 health and safety issue on most college campuses. We are very thankful for their support.”

During the 2014-15 academic year, the financial gift will support two main initiatives: Alcohol EDU and the Pirate Dry Dock.

Alcohol EDU is an online education module required of all first-year ECU students. The training aims to reduce underage drinking by exposing students to the laws and consequences resulting from it, as well as to teach students about low-risk and high-risk drinking behaviors.

The Pirate Dry Dock is ECU’s new alcohol-free tailgating alternative for students, which began Aug. 30 for family weekend and continued Sept. 20 before the UNC game. More than 245 students participated in the first two tailgates, with another scheduled for Oct. 23.

ECU continues extensive campus-wide efforts to educate students about alcohol. “We are very appreciative of the longstanding relationship and financial support from the Pitt County ABC board,” said Virginia Hardy, vice chancellor for Student Affairs at ECU. “The partnership has allowed ECU and the Division of Student Affairs to successfully launch the Pirate Dry Dock tailgate series and educate thousands of first year student Pirates about the risks associated with underage drinking through the online module.”

Teresa Campbell, Pitt County ABC executive, presented the check to Roeder and Hardy on Oct. 14.

“Pitt County ABC believes deeply that proper education and training about alcohol consumption leads to decreased underage drinking and better decision making,” Campbell said. “We are proud to have increased our financial support for ECU’s efforts to keep students safe and informed. We hope to continue this partnership into the future.”

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ECU team wins state geography bowl

The winning ECU team.

The winning ECU team.

Students representing East Carolina University at the North Carolina Geography Bowl won first place in this year’s competition Sept. 26 at UNC-Greensboro. The annual quiz competition tests student teams on their knowledge of college-level geography.

The ECU team defeated Appalachian State University in the title round and went undefeated (5-0) throughout the trivia bowl. It was ECU’s fifth first-place title since 1996, following their most recent win in 2008.

Sefcovic

Sefcovic

Zach Sefcovic, a graduate student in geography, was the highest scorer of the competition and was named the most valuable player on ECU’s team. The ECU team is coached by geography teaching instructor Scott Wade.

In addition to Sefcovic, the team includes students Jamie Heath (Managing Captain), Brad Sceviour (Competition Captain), Jaclyn Catania, Donnie Kirk, Nicholas Luchetti, Alex Moulton, Mark Nissenbaum, Jessica Van-Horn and Emily Fisher.

Top scorers from the state competition are invited to join the North Carolina All-Star team, which will compete against other southeastern states at the SEDAAG conference (Southeast Division, Association of American Geographers). SEDAAG this year is being held Nov. 23-25 in Athens, Georgia. Sefcovic was invited to join the NC All-Star team.

Top scorers from the SEDAAG regional competition will be invited to join the Southeast Region All-Star team, which will compete against other regions at the AAG (Association of American Geographers) annual conference. That meeting is in Chicago on April 21-25, 2015.

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Book signings feature contributions by ECU student, alumna


Artist, ECU alumna illustrates children’s book   

possiblepoliceHannah K. Shuping, a 2013 East Carolina University graduate and Raleigh resident, recently illustrated the children’s picture book, “The Possible Police,” written by Wylde Scott.

The story teaches children that naysayers and doubters in the world can’t stop them from imagining and achieving their dreams.

“History is filled with plenty of people who didn’t give up in the face of rejection or lack of encouragement and succeeded in living out their wildest dreams,” Scott said. “To overcome all of ‘The Possible Police’ they will encounter, we must encourage and support our children to develop, explore and enrich their imagination.”

Shuping knows the challenges of overcoming obstacles. She was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome while at ECU, where she received a BFA with a concentration in illustration. “Both her graduation from ECU and illustrating this book at such an early age are both tremendous acts of accomplishment,” Scott said. “She is an inspiration to me and can be for so many others.”

Scott will appear in costume and read from his book at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 18, at Barnes & Noble in the University Commons in Greenville.

ECU student shares story in “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Reboot Your Life”

chickensoupTyler Stocks, a history and English major at East Carolina University, has published a short story in a new book “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Reboot Your Life.”

The book, the latest in the well-known series, features 101 stories aimed at inspiring others to solve problems, take chances, follow dreams or start over.

Stock’s story “I Think I Can” describes his journey to becoming a writer. A Greenville resident, Stocks is a freelance journalist whose work has been published in several newspapers and magazines. The submission process for the book took four to six months. Entries, which were received from all over the world, had to be true and nonfiction, he said.

Stocks will hold at a book signing 2-3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25 at Barnes & Noble in the University Commons in Greenville.

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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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