Maritime students go from surveying WWII sites underwater to local outreach

ECU maritime studies program professor Dr. Jennifer McKinnon and several graduate students are in Saipan this summer to conduct archaeological surveys of surrounding waters to locate and document sites related to World War II. McKinnon and the students – including Ryan Miranda, who details some of the experience in a personal account below – hope their work will lead to identifying possible sites containing the remains of missing servicemen.

This is the third post from the trip. Read the first and second posts to learn more about the journey to Saipan and the importance of the trip.

Bird Island

Bird Island (Contributed photos)

As we fly on top of the crystal blue waters in the zodiac boat, multiple thoughts run through my head: the plan for the day, my job during the dives and what types of materials we are looking for. Scanning the horizon, I imagine how 74 years ago it would be filled with the huge metal masses of United States Navy ships.

Our field school has been underway for the past few weeks and it’s been an amazing experience. For me, the best way to learn the techniques and methods of the archaeological process has been being in the field or, in our case, on the water. We’ve dived, snorkeled and have become a lean, mean surveying machine.

As the field school progresses, our knowledge and execution of archaeological methods such as six-person snorkel surveys, side scan sonar lines or two-person dive circle searches has improved. We were even able to help conduct surveys with a Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) that was provided and driven by one of our partners.

We also conducted public outreach about our research and the overall mission.

Several maritime students appeared on radio shows, the local news and classmate Joel Cook and I talked to several classes at Kagman High School on the island. Our camaraderie has grown as well. On the boats, we talk, joke and grow closer as a group.

Joel Cook and Ryan Miranda with Kagman High School students. (Contributed photos)

Joel Cook and Ryan Miranda with Kagman High School students.

But while we have been working hard, we also have been taking time to explore Saipan and the massive amount of history here. We have walked into a Japanese bomb bunker, machine gun emplacements, visited Banzai and Suicide Cliffs and looked at the ancient paintings at Kalabera Cave.

Japanese Bomb Magazine where explosives were stored prior to and during the war

Japanese Bomb Magazine, where explosives were stored prior to and during the war

A special treat came on the final day of jumping targets when we finished early and were able to dive at some of the better-known sites on the WWII Maritime Heritage Trail: Battle of Saipan. We were able to explore downed aircraft and shipwrecks and marvel at the amount of preservation. It reminded all of us why we chose this field of study.

As our work turns from being on the water to being behind a computer, we realize how much we have achieved and the area we have covered. Personally, I am amazed and surprised how much we have done.

Looking back, I am thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this field school and the overall mission of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency. It allowed us to learn and improve our archaeological skill while serving a greater purpose.

We still may have more to learn but I look forward to the challenges and adventures that are on the way.

 

-by Ryan Miranda, graduate student

North Carolina Literary Review explores North Carolina ‘On the Map and in the News’

The 2018 issue of the award-winning North Carolina Literary Review opens with an essay by the acclaimed author of the 20-book Judge Deborah Knott mystery series. Margaret Maron describes traveling to many of the places that put North Carolina “on the map” as she researched the settings of the next court case she would send her character to adjudicatein “From Manteo to Murphy: A Writer’s Personal Journey.”

Cover of the 2018 North Carolina Literary Review, “On the Map and in the News” (Designed by NCLR Art Director Dana Ezzell Lovelace)

Cover of the 2018 North Carolina Literary Review, “On the Map and in the News” (Designed by NCLR Art Director Dana Ezzell Lovelace)

The collage on NCLR’s cover, designed by Dana Ezzell Lovelace, the review’s art director, reflects what draws people to North Carolina, including beach and mountain vacation spots.

Readers will meet Vivian Howard, chef, television personality and writer, who is putting tiny Deep Run, N.C., on the map with her PBS television show, “A Chef’s Life;” restaurant, Chef & the Farmer, in Kinston; and memoir, “Deep Run Roots.”

North Carolina sometimes draws attention for less savory reasons, but as NCLR editor Margaret Bauer notes in her introduction to the special feature section of the issue, “North Carolina writers do not shy away from difficult subjects.”

One example Bauer gives is Priscilla Melchior’s poem inspired by a Ku Klux Klan parade, which received second place in the 2017 James Applewhite Poetry Prize competition.

In an interview conducted by Appalachian State University English professor Zackary Vernon, Allan Gurganus, a writer whose books put Rocky Mount on people’s radar, advocates writers directing their talents toward political activism.

“We can communicate our alarm and our concern,” Gurganus said.

Bland Simpson does just that in his essay focusing on his concern about one of North Carolina’s most vital resources — water: keeping it safe to drink and worrying about it eroding the state’s shores, especially as the population continues to rise.

Other sections of the 2018 issueinclude former North Carolina Poet Laureate Fred Chappell’s analysis of Angela Davis-Gardner’s novels; Robert Wallace’s 2017 Doris Betts Fiction Prize story; John Thomas York’s Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction Prize-winning essay, selected by Our State editor Elizabeth Hudson; Susan O’Dell Underwood, finalist in the Albright competition; and finalists from the 2017 James Applewhite Poetry Prize competition, including the winning poem and an honorable mention poem, both by Christina Clark.

“It was another successful year of creative submissions,” said Bauer.

NCLR is sold in independent bookstores across the state and by subscription. To subscribe, visit www.nclr.ecu.edu/subscriptions. A two-year subscription will include the 2019 issue, which will feature African American literature of North Carolina.

 

-Contact: North Carolina Literary Review, nclruser@ecu.edu, 252-328-1537

Wanted: Fall move-in volunteers

Campus Living is seeking groups and organizations to serve as volunteers for this coming fall’s move-in from Wednesday, Aug. 15 through Friday, Aug. 17.

Move-in volunteers welcome residents and their families to campus while assisting them with carrying boxes, answering questions and providing directions. Additional volunteers assist with the check-in process at Minges Coliseum.

Volunteers help students move in at the start of the 2017 fall semester. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

Volunteers help students move in at the start of the 2017 fall semester. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

Any size group can be accommodated, and individuals also are welcome to volunteer.

If your department, organization or group is interested in participating or would like more information, please arrange for a representative to contact Dave Hilbert in Campus Living at hilbertd17@ecu.edu or 737-1063.

Professor speaks at congressional briefing about shoreline stabilization

Rachel Gittman, East Carolina University assistant professor of biology, was invited by Congressman Frank Pallone Jr. to present at a congressional briefing in Washington, D.C., on May 30. Gittman was asked to talk about the current state of science on the ecological benefits and resiliency of living shorelines.

Rachel Gittman, an assistant professor of biology, speaks at a congressional briefing. (Contributed photo)

Rachel Gittman, an assistant professor of biology, speaks at a congressional briefing. (Contributed photo)

The congressional briefing is in support of the passage of House Bill 4525: The Living Shorelines Act of 2017, which would allow the administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to award grants to state and local governments and nongovernmental organizations for the purpose of carrying out shoreline stabilization projects using natural materials.

Pallone, who also serves as co-chair of the Coastal Community Caucus, is sponsoring the bill along with 21 co-sponsors.

Graduate students learning to become better archaeologists, divers on Saipan trip

ECU maritime studies program professor Dr. Jennifer McKinnon and several graduate students are in Saipan this summer to conduct archaeological surveys of surrounding waters to locate and document sites related to World War II. McKinnon and the students – including Aleck Tan, who shares below what they already have learned – hope their work will lead to identifying possible sites containing the remains of missing servicemen.

This is the second post from the trip. Read the first post to learn more about the journey to Saipan and the importance of the trip.

Our Saipan field school has been underway for the past few days. Professors and graduate students in the East Carolina University Program in Maritime Studies have settled into a routine. At 7 a.m. each day we travel to our base in Smiling Cove Marina, and then it’s a short boat ride to our project sites in Tanapag Lagoon. We conduct surveys until 3 p.m. then come back to our hotel to de-salt ourselves and post-process data. 

While our ECU team looks like a well-oiled machine now, it took some trial and error to get there. On the first day of conducting a sonar survey, a wave overcame the 7-meter-long black rubber boat and flooded some of our not-so-waterproof computers. Thankfully, there were other computers available to replace the flooded ones. On my first day of conducting a metal detector survey at one of our project sites, my dive buddy and I forgot the necessary 30-meter measuring tape, but instead got a short 15-meter tape, so we had to return to the boat to get the appropriate length tape. Each mistake has taught us what not to do, what to do, and how to do it better.

This field school has been a great learning experience. In a classroom, one can learn all he or she can about how to conduct circle searches or run metal detector surveys, but it is another thing to actually do the work in the ocean where conditions are different. The current moves you away from survey lines, you might get scratched by coral, the sun might beat down harshly on already sunburnt skin, and you might constantly sweat through your shirt and smell like you haven’t washed it in three days. With every challenge, we have learned how to become better archaeologists and divers. Most importantly, the challenges and new experiences have taught us to go with the flow with a bright and shining positive mental attitude.

ECU graduate student Aleck Tan runs a metal detector over an object while Dr. Nathan Richards supervises. (Contributed photo)

ECU graduate student Aleck Tan runs a metal detector over an object while Dr. Nathan Richards supervises. (Contributed photo)

At the end of the day, our team crowds into a makeshift conference room where we talk about our day and plan for the next day. In our meetings, we also talk about another important topic – where to eat dinner. Food has been one of the highlights of the trip as it reminds me of home.

While Saipan is a thousand miles away from my home in North Carolina, it feels like home for me. As a Filipino immigrant, I was born and raised in the Philippines, where afternoon showers, mangoes and water activities are common. Being geographically close to the Philippines, Saipan is similar in weather and even in culture as Saipan has a very close relationship with the Philippines. Since the 16th century, Filipino migrants have been traveling and bringing their culture and food to Saipan.

Being on an island similar to my birthplace has made the study abroad experience easier to adapt to but also more exciting. While work days are long and nights are filled with post-processing, a lot of duct tape, and discussions of people’s spirit animals, our team looks forward to exploring more of Tanapag Lagoon.

 

-by Aleck Tan, graduate student

ECU’s Country Doctor Museum partners with high school students to make history

East Carolina University’s Country Doctor Museum in Bailey teamed up recently with students from Southern Nash High School to help preserve local history.

A student-led oral history event was held for Nash County residents on May 24 as part of an ongoing class project to create a digital history archive for the museum, which is managed as part of the History Collections at ECU’s Laupus Library.

Southern Nash High School juniors Jubie Moss, left, and Robert Hough laugh as they listen to Mike Doss tell a story about a childhood visit to the doctor during an oral history project at the Country Doctor Museum in Bailey, N.C. on Thursday, May 24. (Photos by Rhett Butler)

Southern Nash High School juniors Jubie Moss, left, and Robert Hough laugh as they listen to Mike Doss tell a story about a childhood visit to the doctor during an oral history project at the Country Doctor Museum in Bailey, N.C. on Thursday, May 24. (Photos by Rhett Butler)

“I tell my students there’s a difference between learning history and doing it,” said history teacher Scott Hendricks. “To personally speak with someone instead of reading it out of a book or seeing a video really makes history come alive.”

The students interviewed dozens of local residents about growing up in rural North Carolina during an era when most medical treatments were administered at home.

“I had a lady tell me that she had a cut to the bone and so her mother went and got a bunch of spider webs and packed the wound with them. Then her mother wrapped it with cloth and within three days it was healed,” sophomore Zach Smith said. “Some of these stories sounded strange to us today, but what they did was perfectly normal back then.”

Robert Hough, a junior, said he was surprised to learn that most people who lived in the area during the late 19th and early 20th centuries were from sharecroppers’ families and didn’t have insurance.

“Only one person told me his father had insurance and that was because he worked for a railroad company,” Hough said. “And when people paid their medical bill, it was in cash or they bartered meat or anything the doctor would accept as payment.”

Members of the Bailey community arrive at the Country Doctor Museum to be interviewed by Southern Nash High School students during an oral history project.

Members of the Bailey community arrive at the Country Doctor Museum to be interviewed by Southern Nash High School students during an oral history project.

After the interviews, many participants toured the museum, while others sat on a nearby porch and chatted with students, museum docents and other community members.

For Celia May Glover, the event felt like a homecoming celebration.

“I’ve lived all my life in Bailey. In fact, this place right here is where I grew up,” Glover said, pointing at the floor. “This is my home.”

Glover’s childhood home was repurposed in 1967 as the Country Doctor Museum – America’s oldest museum dedicated to the history of rural health care.

Glover views the polio vaccine as the biggest medical improvement in her lifetime. She recalled a nurse administering the oral vaccine to her as a child by feeding her a sugar cube bearing the live virus.

But what she remembers most about polio is her young neighbor who lived with it.

“She was in an iron lung because that was the only treatment for it back then,” Glover said. “If you were outside, which we were a lot at night, you could hear the noise of the iron lung.”

An oral history project was conducted by South Nash High School at the Country Doctor Museum.

An oral history project was conducted by South Nash High School at the Country Doctor Museum.

Anne Anderson, curator for the Country Doctor Museum, said the oral history project was a great start to the museum’s next 50 years because it will help the museum extend its focus beyond its current collections, which center on the late 19thand early 20th centuries.

“It’s remarkable for the students to have taken the lead with these interviews,” she said. “It’s important for them to hear the memories and stories firsthand, and for them to realize the contribution they are making to their community.”

The students will transcribe the recorded interviews and select portions to include in the museum’s online digital history archives.

Anderson hopes the project is only the beginning of an oral archive documenting the unique aspects of life in eastern North Carolina.

Hendricks said the interaction between the students and the older community members was a highlight of the event.

“Typically that’s not going to happen a lot between the different generations because of their differences with one another,” he said. “History is something everyone can relate to, and in this community, it brings everyone together.”

Edna Mount talks about the scar that was left after receiving the polio vaccine when she was a young girl during an interview at the Country Doctor Museum.

Edna Mount talks about the scar that was left after receiving the polio vaccine when she was a young girl during an interview at the Country Doctor Museum.


-by Kelly Rogers Dilda, University Communications

Graduate students’ work in Saipan could help with recovery of servicemen MIA after WWII

ECU maritime studies program professor Dr. Jennifer McKinnon and several graduate students are in Saipan this summer to conduct archaeological surveys of surrounding waters to locate and document sites related to World War II. McKinnon and the students – including Jack “Gus” Adamson, who details some of the experience in a personal account below – hope their work will lead to identifying possible sites containing the remains of missing servicemen.

In the early morning hours of May 17, our team of archaeologists, dive safety officers and maritime graduate students gathered at Eller House on the edge of East Carolina University’s main campus. Our gear was checked and loaded and we departed for Oceana Naval Air Station in Virginia Beach, Virginia, just as the sun began to break over the horizon announcing a new day. Although a three-hour drive, this would be the first leg of a multiday journey that would take us, quite literally, to the far side of the world ending on the now little-known island of Saipan. Located approximately 1,500 miles south of Japan, Saipan is part of the Marianas Island chain.

In mid-1944, Saipan was the site of one of the most crucial battles of World War II. Its recapture from the Japanese, along with the islands of Guam and Tinian (also in the Marianas), placed Japan within range of newly developed B-29 Superfortress bombers, allowing for strategic bombing of the war industry on the Japanese mainland. Both sides understood the island’s strategic importance and fought bitterly for control of it. The ensuing battle, waged from June 15 to July 9, 1944, resulted in the deaths of approximately 30,000 Japanese and 3,255 Americans. Many of those American servicemen are still unaccounted for and labeled as missing in action (MIA), but they are by no means forgotten. It is that memory that is fueling ECU’s maritime studies summer field school.

As a maritime studies graduate student with aspirations of becoming a conflict archaeologist, this project is particularly exciting for me. Military history and battlefield archaeology have always been a deep passion, and the chance to do a project of this nature is truly once in a lifetime. Further, I have relatives who fought in the Pacific theater and I feel that this brings me much closer to understanding their experiences.

ECU’s maritime studies program is conducting side scan sonar surveys and using underwater metal detection during their field school. (Contributed photo)

ECU’s maritime studies program is conducting side scan sonar surveys and using underwater metal detection during their field school. (Contributed photo)

Partnered with the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), which is assisting us in our travel arrangements and numerous other logistics of the project, ECU graduate students guided by our mentors will conduct archaeological surveys of the waters surrounding Saipan in order to locate, record and document sites related to the battle. Hopefully, this will lead to identifying possible sites containing the remains of missing servicemen. Our entire team is humbled and proud to be able to undertake this task that will not only reinforce the archaeological knowledge of this Pacific battlefield, but could also result in the return home of a soldier, sailor or Marine whose family hasn’t received closure after 74 years.

With the weight and pride of this task in our minds, we rolled into Oceana Naval Air Station primed and ready to begin our long journey, only to be told that we must undertake the most difficult of tasks: wait. Our aircraft was down for maintenance and would be unavailable for some time. Murphy’s Law is not the exception but the rule on field projects, and a contingency plan should always be ready. Instead of wasting time on social media or staring at the walls, our team made the short journey to a local museum where, as luck would have it, not only was there an air show of vintage airplanes occurring, but several World War II-era military aircraft were housed there. World War II buffs like me were giddy from being able to study the aircraft and components in person. As an added bonus, some of us were lucky enough to observe an engine test run of a B-25 Mitchell bomber, a rare treat that most can’t claim to have had.

The next leg of our journey finally began on May 19 with our departure for the West Coast before continuing on into the vast blue Pacific Ocean. There will surely be other surprises, but that is part of the adventure!

 

-by Jack “Gus” Adamson, graduate student

ECU summer festivals for piano and guitar bring international artists to Greenville for public performances

The inaugural East Carolina Piano Festival and the long-standing ECU Summer International Guitar Festival will bring acclaimed international performers to Greenville for public concerts in June and July.

The East Carolina Piano Festival begins June 23. This is the first year of the piano festival. The ECU Summer International Guitar Festival begins June 30. This is the guitar festival’s 23rd year.

Peter Frankl (Contributed photo)

Peter Frankl (Contributed photo)

The piano festival welcomes legendary Hungarian pianist Peter Frankl to join ECU faculty artists in performance of works by Schubert, Debussy, Schumann and Brahms on June 26. Andrew Tyson, winner of the Avery Fisher Career Grant and numerous international piano competitions, will perform works by Couperin, Chopin, Ravel and Berg on June 24. Multiple additional concerts during the festival feature festival faculty, guests and participants. Contact 252-328-5184 for more information.

Grammy-winner Jason Vieaux, described by NPR as “perhaps the most precise and soulful classical guitarist of his generation,” headlines the guitar festival. Additional concerts feature French virtuoso Judicaël Perroy, Canadian Jeffrey McFadden, American guitarist Andrew Zohn, 2004 ECU solo guitar competition first prize winner Isaac Bustos, 2018 solo competition winner Samuel Hines, Mary Akerman and guitar festival director Elliot Frank. Contact 252-328-6245 for more information.

All concerts are at East Carolina University School of Music, A.J. Fletcher Recital Hall.

Piano festival guest artist and faculty concerts are ticketed. All guitar festival concerts are ticketed. For ticket information, visit www.ecuarts.com or call 252-328-4788.

 

East Carolina Piano FestivalFestival Opening Concert Saturday, June 23, 7:30 p.m.  Featuring guest and faculty artists Benjamin Hochman, Yukiko Sekino, Keiko Sekino, Kwan Yi and John O’Brien. Works for piano solo, four-hands, six-hands, and two pianos eight-hands by Mozart, Bizet, Ravel, Scriabin and others. (Ticketed)  Piano recital by Andrew Tyson Sunday, June 24, 3 p.m.  Works by Couperin, Chopin, Ravel and Berg. (Ticketed)  An Evening of Chamber Music: Pianist Peter Frankl and Friends Tuesday, June 26, 7:30 p.m.  Pianist Peter Frankl joined by ECU faculty artists Ara Gregorian and Hye-Jin Kim, violin, and Keiko Sekino and Kwan Yi, piano. Works by Schubert, Debussy, Schumann and Brahms. (Ticketed)  Young Artist Program Final Concert I Thursday, June 28, 9 a.m.  Featuring 20 young pianists from across the United States. (Free)  Young Artist Program Final Concert II Thursday, June 28, 3 p.m.  Featuring 20 young pianists from across the United States. (Free)  Young Artist Program Final Concert III Thursday, June 28, 5 p.m.  Featuring 20 young pianists from across the United States. (Free)

 

ECU Summer International Guitar Festival

Samuel Hines Saturday, June 30, 4 p.m.  Elliot Frank/Judicael Perroy Saturday, June 30, 7:30 p.m.  Mary Akerman Sunday, July 1, 4 p.m.  Andrew Zohn/Jason Vieaux Sunday, July 1, 7:30 p.m.  Solo Competition Semifinals Monday, July 2, 4 p.m.  Isaac Bustos/Jeffrey McFadden Monday, July 2, 7:30 p.m.  Youth and College Competition Finals/Awards Tuesday, July 3, 4 p.m.

 

-For ticket information, visit www.ecuarts.com or call 252-328-4788.

ECU researcher examines barriers faced by older Latinos in cancer treatment

Schwartz

Schwartz (contributed photo)

Abby J. Schwartz, assistant professor of social work at East Carolina University, recently completed a study in partnership with Lauren Ring and Allen Glicksman, researchers at the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging, to examine barriers faced by older Latinos being treated for cancer.

The project also sought suggestions on ways that social service providers can work with these older adults, their families and health care practitioners to reduce barriers and improve the overall health and well-being of older cancer patients.

The project consisted of four focus groups including older Latino cancer patients at the Mann Older Adult Center; nurses from Pennsylvania Hospital; social workers and care managers from the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging; and staff from Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha, a community development corporation serving the Latino community in North Philadelphia that provides neighborhood-based economic development and social services.

Themes that emerged from the research included difficulties with transportation to appointments, language barriers, and challenges by caregivers struggling to provide care while simultaneously juggling work, school and raising small children.

Schwartz previously studied African-American caregivers of cancer patients in rural North Carolina with a focus on the barriers experienced by both patients and caregivers in adhering to treatments.

The study can be found here.

 

-by Crystal Baity, ECU News Services

1 2 3 199