The Magnolia Arts Center: Greenville’s Thriving Community Theatre

By: Megan Daniel, Honors College Junior

Megan 1Theatre. It can seem distant, something that only exists in metropolitan areas like New York or Chicago. But theatre is everywhere. Locally, theatres can consist of underfunded high school programs. In a college town like ours, there can be academic theatre. Beyond that, there’s community theatre. Many people may not realize that Greenville has an established and constantly growing community theatre—Magnolia Arts Center.

Magnolia was founded in June 2005, having just recently celebrated its tenth year. I first became involved with Magnolia Arts Center last year. I was cast in Amanda Higgins’ (recent Honors College and Musical Theatre graduate) Well Water: A Parable. We rehearsed in one of the theatre classrooms, so it wasn’t until about three quarters into the rehearsal process that we even saw Magnolia. I can remember walking in as a cast member and looking at all the props and costumes on display in the lounge, imagining how well Amanda’s musical would fit into the intimate stage area. It was shocking to me that I had never been there before.

IMG_1457After closing Well Water, I looked forward to what I thought would be a nice summer off. But only a couple weeks after it had closed, I was itching to be a part of another production. I received an email about Magnolia producing Godspell over the summer, but auditions were the same night as another audition I had already signed up for. I almost didn’t go. I can remember pulling up, hastily putting on my heels and grabbing my repertoire book, my previous audition not leaving me much time before Godspell auditions closed. I walked back into the intimate stage area. When I saw the black walls, memories of Well Water came flooding back. Those feelings of nostalgia quickly faded as I passed the audience seats and greeted the audition panel, which was made up of unfamiliar faces. I took a deep breath, handed the accompanist my music and sang, performing again in the space of a show past. Two weeks later, I got an email saying I was cast.

IMG_1047My time in Godspell truly cemented my love for Magnolia Arts Center. Janice Schreiber, the director, made me love coming to rehearsal every day. Seeing my cast members, some with a lot of theatre experience, and some with very little, have theatre touch them in the same way as it touches me was rejuvenating. It reminded me why I do theatre in the first place. Theatre’s significant impact was evident with the audiences’ reception—our show sold out. Greenville has an audience for all it’s theatre outlets, whether it’s academic or community based.

Since then, I’ve continued to work with Magnolia. Here at ECU, I’m a part of the East Carolina Theatre Association and 5th Street Players, a student-run theatre company created by Honors College and Musical Theatre students Brandon Fillette and Matthew Johnson. Magnolia has welcomed 5th Street Players with open arms, allowing us to use their space for four shows this semester. I’ve coordinated a pre-show made up of East Carolina Theatre Association members for their Christmas show and am in the process of coordinating another pre-show for their Valentine’s Day production.

Not every town is fortunate enough to have community theatre. With the collaboration between university and community theatre, theatre is flourishing in Greenville now more than ever. Below is a list of dates for upcoming Magnolia Arts Center performances. The next time you’re looking for an enjoyable way to spend your evening or weekend, pop in to Magnolia and experience something great. You won’t regret it!

Mark Twain’s The Diaries of Adam and Eve

(with a preshow by ECU School of Theatre and Dance students at 7:00pm)

February 11, 12, 13, and 14th at 7:30pm


A Tree is a Tree/Revolting: An Electrifying Comedy

(a 5th Street Players production)

February 19th at 7:30pm

February 20th at 7:30pm



(an ECU theatre improvisation troupe)

February 21st at 2:00pm


Sabrina Faire

March 4th at 7:30pm

March 5th at 2:00pm and 7:00pm

March 6th at 2:00pm

March 11th at 7:30pm

March 12th at 2:00pm and 7:30pm




(a 5th Street Players production)

March 18th at 7:30pm

March 19th at 7:30pm

March 20th at 2:00pm


Spring Awakening

(a 5th Street Players production)

April 15th at 7:30pm

April 16th at 7:30pm

April 17th at 2:00pm


Aint Misbehavin’

June 3rd at 7:30pm

June 4th at 2:00pm and 7:30pm

June 5th at 2:00pm

June 9th at 7:30pm

June 10th at 7:30pm

June 11th at 2:00pm and 7:30pm

Posted in Research & Internships, Summer Experiences, Uncategorized, Volunteering | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Experiencing Portugal as an Atlantis Project Fellow

By: Erika Dietrick, Undergraduate Director of Marketing and Communications

tulsi 2Learning about health care systems and practices, shadowing physicians, and getting acquainted with medical terminology are all activities pre-medical students have accepted as necessary preparation for medical school. Dedicating the time and intellect to these preparations is difficult enough in English — let alone in another language. However, opening her eyes to health care based in dissimilar cultures is exactly what sophomore EC Scholar Tulsi Patel set out to do when she applied to participate in the Atlantis Project.

Tulsi applied to travel to São Miguel Island of the Azores Islands in Portugal for the AP Medical Leadership Scholars Program.

tulsi 4

After a string of competitive interviews, Tulsi was not only selected to be a 2016 Atlantis Project Fellow…she was also one of the first recipients to ever receive a $2,200 scholarship covering the full cost of the program. The merit scholarship is awarded on the basis of potential for excellence in the medical field, as evidenced by strong distinction in scholarship, leadership, and public service.

tulsi 7

Tulsi is on São Miguel Island with 3 other Fellows (from New York, New Jersey, and Tennessee), a site coordinator, and a tour guide. They spend 4-5 days a week shadowing doctors in Hospital do Divino Espírito Santo.

tulsi replace

In their spare time, the Fellows embark on a number of adventures, such as jumping off waterfalls, swimming in hot springs, playing soccer, and touring the city (to name a few).

tulsi 1

Her cultural immersion–making friends with the locals and living in the city–has helped her understand the influence of culture on health care systems like that which exists on São Miguel Island. And really, when you get to look at views such as these every day, how could you not be inspired to learn about the people, place and culture?

tulsi 6

tulsi 5

At the end of her experience, Tulsi will study abroad in Spain for the Spring 2016 semester!

Posted in EC Scholars, Honors College, Research & Internships, Scholarships, Study Abroad, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Full College Experience: ECU Honors and Nursing

By: Meghan Boop, EC Scholar and Honors College Senior

nursing frandsAs a 20-something-year-old in this day and age, a number one conversation starter is inevitably “What is your major?” Some people are still in the process of figuring this question out, others have switched multiple times in the course of their four years of undergraduate, and some of us are able to answer this question confidently from the beginning.

I knew I wanted to be a nursing major since my senior year of high school, so I applied to ECU with hopes of getting to fulfill my career path at this top nursing program. Being a part of the ECU nursing school is one of the toughest, yet most rewarding adventures on which I have embarked. The schedule is nothing like that of any other undergraduate major. You spend the normal 16 or so hours in class a week, on top of anywhere from 6 to 16 clinical hours per week. You get to rotate through all types of interesting clinical sites, from psychiatric wards to pediatric emergency departments. You get to learn in-depth skills such as intravenous administration and nasogastric tube insertion. Being a nursing major is certainly not easy, but it is the best choice I have ever made.

However, I don’t like to be defined by just my major, and that is one of the many reasons why I absolutely love EC Scholars and the Honors College. EC Scholars and the Honors College have offered so many diverse opportunities for its undergraduate students. Apart from the typical prerequisites for nursing school, I got to take part in leadership colloquiums, Holocaust seminars, research opportunities, and cultural courses offered by the Honors College. When people ask what I do at East Carolina, I am able to mention many unique experiences that other nursing majors have never gotten to be a part of. I also get to transcend the College of Nursing bubble. At the College of Nursing, students hangout with the same people 5 days a week on an isolated campus, so the EC Scholar program allows me to still keep in touch with the main campus of ECU and my friends in the program that have different majors.

In the end, I think everyone in college feels like they are defined by their decisions; their decision on their university, their decision on their major, their decision to join a student organization, etc. All I can say is I couldn’t be happier with my decisions to be a part of the EC Scholar family and the College of Nursing.

Posted in Advice/Tips, EC Scholars, Honors College, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Tomorrow Starts Here: Reflections of an Honors College Senior

By: Sarah Lisson, EC Scholar and Honors College Senior

sarah football“East Carolina University: tomorrow starts here.” Every time I hear these words at the end of an ECU commercial, I remember the day when my tomorrow started. It was February 29, 2012 — aptly dubbed “Leap Day.” That evening, with scholarship letters in hand, I took a giant leap of faith and told my parents that I wanted to attend ECU. At the time, I was certain of only two things: my major and my spot in the Honors College’s third incoming class. I had absolutely no clue what else was in store or what “tomorrow” held.

Now, as I blaze through my senior year, I look back at nearly four years of “tomorrows” that have been fuller and richer than I ever could have imagined. Four years ago, if you’d told me that I would study abroad in Central America, I would have called you crazy. I would have laughed if you’d said that I’d present a poster at a national conference (or even do research in the first place). I wouldn’t have believed you if you’d told me I would tour the Pentagon, meet a former Miss USA, or even become a football fan.

sarah selection sundayI also look forward to the “tomorrows” that are yet to come. Through opportunities offered by the Honors College, I have found my niche in my chosen field, which has helped me decide where I want to go to graduate school and what type of degree I
want to pursue. I have developed a strong sense of wanderlust and look forward to a future full of international adventures. I have learned the value of networking and made valuable academic and professional connections that will help me further my career. Most importantly, I have discovered the importance of philanthropy, and I am eager to continue returning the huge investment the Honors College has made in me.

Guatemala day 1None of us can be certain what our “tomorrow” will hold, but in my case, it has always been better than anything I could have crafted. If you’re a die-hard Disney fan like Mr. Baxter, you’ve probably heard the lyric, “There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow.” For me, the Honors College has become the second-happiest place on earth, and it’s set me up for a big, beautiful future of my own.


Posted in Advice/Tips, EC Scholars, Honors College, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Grateful for Gateway: the Honors Student Perspective

By: Erika Dietrick, Undergraduate Director of Marketing and Communications

gateway 5

The first class of Gateway Hall moved into East Carolina University’s premier residence hall in August. Boasting a number of amenities from music practice rooms to basketball facilities, Gateway sits atop College Hill as the new home of the Honors College Living-Learning community. Now, after a semester of dorm living, both Honors College freshmen and upperclassmen are sharing why they are proud to call Gateway home. (Photo, left, by Patrick Fay.)

The Lucky Ones

As told by Shamin Jamadar, Honors College Freshman

“‘Oh my gosh, you’re so lucky!’ is most definitely a phrase every resident of Gateway has become accustomed to hearing. It also goes without saying that this is a very accurate statement. From both lounges and study rooms on each floor, to wide closet spaces, Gateway has it all; although, what is even better than Gateway itself is the people that inhabit it.”

New Dorm Provides a Learning ‘Gateway’ atop College Hill

As told by Jason Schodt, Honors College Freshman

study rooms

Photo by Patrick Fay

“Living in the new Gateway dorm atop College Hill was an experience that I looked forward to before I entered ECU in August. I anticipated I would find a modern dorm that would be comfortable and an enjoyable living environment. However, Gateway is more than just a new and spacious living space. It is also an incredible learning environment that has assisted my academic development as an Engineering and Music student.

The multiple study rooms that can be found on each floor are an incredible resource for my fellow Honors College students and I. These rooms are a great place for Honors freshmen to meet with their community service groups from Honors 2000. My group and I meet each week to discuss the progress of our work with a community organization. Additionally, housing the Honors College students together facilitates collaboration and discussion. I have several Honors College students on my floor who are also Engineering students and they are an excellent collaborative resource.”

Second Year Perspective: a Light-Hearted, Heart-Felt Review of Gateway

Roommates Kevin Nguyen and Cameron Worthington finish unpacking in their new home!

Roommates Kevin Nguyen and Cameron Worthington finish unpacking in their new home!

As told by Kevin Nguyen, Honors College Sophomore

“If I could say one thing about Gateway, it would be that it’s gigantic. If you haven’t seen it, it’s five floors full of the smartest people you’d ever have the pleasure to meet. Coming from my last dorm into Gateway, there’s no comparison between the two. Literally no comparison. Gateway has an elevator, albeit you can’t jump in it, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that we have an elevator. Very handy. The washing machines are fantastic and not old and will not leak water all over the floor, which is generally just very agreeable. However, I’d have to say that the best part about Gateway is the fact that people rarely stay in their rooms. I can’t say if this is a result of Gateway or the people, but it is quite enjoyable and honestly one of the best experiences I’ve had in a dorm. I may have had only two years of experience with one of them being Gateway, but that’s no matter. Gateway, at its core, is the people in it. And the people in it are some of the best I’ve ever befriended.”

Grateful for the Gateway Experience

As told by Tricia Malcolm, Honors College Freshman

Inside of Gateway

Photo by Patrick Fay

“I love living in Gateway. It is the best place to live on campus. I am so thankful to be in the Honors College so that I can live in that beautiful dorm. If I was not in the Honors College, I would have had to live in an older dorm with rooms that aren’t nearly as nice. Gateway has big rooms with tall ceilings that do not make me feel confined. Gateway also has very clean bathrooms with plenty of showers and toilets.

My experience living in Gateway has been overwhelmingly positive. The Hall Government and RA’s put on little events with free food all the time. The events can be informative or even just a dance party. There was this one time when they held a “Netflix and No Chill” event–they also provided free chick-fil-a nuggets and sauce. That was a lot of fun. Sometimes people gather in the lobby to watch football games or Harry Potter.

If you are a sports lover, Gateway is a great fit for you. We are right beside the football stadium, so if you want to head on over to a game you do not need to walk far! If you are not into football, you still have the feeling of school spirit as you walk down the hill toward campus on almost any day. You will pass the school’s marching band rehearsing, the dance club dancing, and several groups practicing. It is a lot of fun to walk past and listen to the band’s rendition of several James Bond songs on the way to my Chemistry Lab.”

first class

Posted in Dorm Life, Honors College, Living Learning Experiences, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment