Attending the Amazon Brand Ambassador Summit in Seattle

By: Allison Flowers, EC Scholar and Honors College Junior

allison 1At the end of my spring semester, I applied for the position of Amazon Brand Ambassador at East Carolina University and accepted an offer for the job at the beginning of the summer. My responsibilities in this role are to plan and execute on and off-campus marketing events that provide visibility to Amazon and the Amazon Student program, the Amazon Prime membership that is offered specifically to college students at a discounted price.  In addition, I help maintain a social media presence for the Amazon Brand Ambassador program through its Twitter page @AmazonAtECU.  I was asked to attend the Amazon Brand Ambassador Summit at the beginning of August to receive training for this role.

allison 3Overall, the Amazon Brand Ambassador Summit was one of the highlights of my summer.  It was held from August 6th through 9th in Seattle, Washington, and approximately 200 Brand Ambassadors from universities throughout the United States were in attendance.  During the four days that we were in Seattle, we attended various training sessions, which taught us about every aspect of our job.  The session themes varied but included topics such as social media etiquette, university solicitation policies, and event planning.  We also attended a session that explained internships and future career opportunities at Amazon.

In addition to attending training sessions, we were allotted time to explore the city of Seattle.  Having never been to the west coast before, getting to explore the culture and vibe of a new region was particularly interesting to me.  During my free time I was able to see the Space Needle, walk through the historic Pike Place Market, and visit the first Starbucks in the world.  Being an avid lover of coffee and teas, visiting the first Starbucks was my favorite tourist moment of the summit.  Our program managers had also planned social events to get to know other Brand Ambassadors, the highlight of which was an evening cruise of Lake Union, which featured stunning views of the Seattle skyline at sunset.

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All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed traveling to Seattle for the Amazon Brand Ambassador Summit.  The combination of attending informative training sessions, exploring Seattle, and meeting Brand Ambassadors from other universities resulted in a truly extraordinary experience.  After attending all of the training sessions at the summit, I feel confident to begin my job as an Amazon Brand Ambassador at ECU and look forward to holding the first on-campus events at ECU with my fellow Brand Ambassador.  If you see an Amazon table somewhere on campus, be sure to stop by and say hi!

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Showcasing Our Artists: Honors College Fine Arts Gala

By: McKenzie Shelton, EC Scholar and Honors College Junior

mckenzieThis September marked an important event for the Honors College of East Carolina University.  Amidst the whirlwind of scientific research and technical training that swirls around us, the Honors College celebrated our inaugural Honors Fine Arts Gala.  This event was incredibly well-attended and proclaimed the growing support for the arts in the Honors family.  The Gala was a result of one of the Honors colloquia, the invention of an Honors arts student who realized that our fine arts students needed a time dedicated to showcasing their work and talents. The idea was wholeheartedly supported by the Alumni Association.

As a Film/Video Production student in the art department at ECU, I am grateful and fervently excited about this new happening.  There is a dichotomy between the sciences and arts that I believe is beginning to fade with the integration of interdisciplinary studies and open-mindedness.  Each year I recognize more of my fellow artists as academics and my scientifically-minded peers as creators.  There is an extreme attention to detail, planning, execution of ideas, and personal creativity in every vocation.  Upon googling ‘art,’ I found the definition to be illuminating of the interconnectedness between all people. The definition read, “The expression of human creative skill and imagination.”  We are all moving the human race forward through our innovation and use of resources.  Is a surgeon not like a painter, wielding the scalpel with the finesse of a medical Picasso?  Or a filmmaker similar to a psychologist, listening to people’s stories and relating human experience?  I hope greatly that this year’s Honors Fine Arts Gala increased awareness of the value of the arts, which I believe exists to communicate stories and process emotion.

In regards to the show itself, there were excellent presentations of musical theatre, including renditions from Titanic, Funny Girl, a wildly moving dance piece, a classical trio, film art, poetry, metal works, and ensemble theatre performances.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself and was so honored to see the faces of so many friends and family in the crowd, but mostly, I was proud to stand with so many other Honors arts students in front of our university. We stood declaring that we are here, we are important, and we appreciate this beautiful opportunity to share that which moves, challenges, and fulfills us.  Thank you ECU Honors College!

Through the Ages Performers 2015 (1)

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Daring, Dancing, Dreaming: Honors College Fine Arts Gala

By: Kristalyn Gill, EC Scholar and Honors College Junior

kg 1What is art without a little heart?

What is movement without initiation?

What is creativity without curiosity?

As an artist, I am fascinated with thinking not only outside of the box, but also outside of the thrift store where the box is stored on the second bookshelf to the right.

Like I said, I enjoy thinking differently. A junior dance performance major in the School of Theatre and Dance, I am constantly being exposed to new methods of creative thought and technical knowledge regarding dance training. My peers and my teachers challenge me to explore ideas, emotions, and inquiries through my craft and my passion of dance. Dance studios may not have desks and tables, but as dancers, we submit to our professors our undivided attention and dedication to constantly better ourselves as professionals and as individuals. We feed off energy, excitement, adrenaline, fear, and the weight of hundreds of eyes upon our skin rather than a numerical figure on the top on an exam. It is a different environment than what is occurring within other classrooms on campus; however, neither environment is superior to the other.

Academia and the fine arts go hand in hand. I am inspired to create dance pieces because of research. The information I glean from textbooks and essays ignite in me a curious desire to move and portray images in the form of dance. Being a member of both the Honors College and the School of Theatre and Dance is a huge blessing, one that has enabled me to expand in movement creativity and in educational discovery.

After learning that the Honors College was in the process of planning an event to celebrate the fine arts, I was ecstatic. Finally, my two families on campus were conjoining! My decision to participate was an instantaneous “yes.” I desired to share with the Honors College a piece of my training experience and ideas nurtured by my time at ECU through the medium of dance. I wanted to showcase that, because of my professors’ shared insight regarding performing and directing performances, I am able to craft and exhibit my own creative dance works.

When selecting a concept, I decided to generate a dance about the strength of women and their role as ezer kenegdos, or sustainers. I was energized and in awe of the power and bravery of women in the 1940s as they entered the work force. Also, I have multiple women in my life who serve as excellent role models through their optimism, dedication to personal success, and expansive kindness.

I casted Lauren Culver, a sophomore dance performance major that is also in the Honors College, to be my duet partner. She is a beautiful dancer and a wonderful friend who inspires me in her perseverance and her joy. Sharing the stage with her at the Honors College Fine Arts Gala was an experience like none other for me. We were blessed to perform and present alongside a handful of other artists who blew me away with their voices, films, poems, monologues, jewelry, and canvases. It was an honor to see and hear their talents and to share with our friends, families, and faculty mentors our love for the fine arts.

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In its entirety, I would like to say that the gala impacted the Honors College and the ECU community. It revealed that there are students within the Honors College that have academic rigor for a large variety of career fields. Also, the event allowed for a diverse group of fine arts disciplines to be presented during one performance, an interesting and exciting experience for many artists.

I fully enjoyed my experience participating in this wonderful, thrilling event. Thank you to the Honors College and the Alumni Society for assisting in sponsoring this event. Thank you to Dr. Linda Quick and Mr. Hardik Patel for taking initiative in coordinating the gala.

This experience brought me countless amounts of joy. What an incredible feeling it was to feel those stage lights on the night of September 12th, 2015.

I deny failure. To fail means that I have been defeated, kneaded like dough and burnt in the oven, yet I refuse to say that my art can be bludgeoned. I refuse to believe that my work is meaningless.

It is between creativity and ingenuity that I find my purpose.

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Not All Who Wander Are Lost

By: Stephanie Griffin, Honors College Senior

0701151835aTraveling the world is a dream that I’ve had from a young age. To explore places and experience new cultures, food, and even architecture was always a goal for me, along with filling up my passport. I never thought I would have the chance to go abroad, but this summer, I did just that: traveling to 7 different countries throughout Europe in just over 2 weeks. I wasn’t studying abroad or going to see my family — I was taking a once in a lifetime opportunity to simply travel.

Approaching my senior year here at ECU, I have another 4 years of graduate school to look forward to, including summer sessions. I knew that this summer may be the last time that I would have the opportunity to travel and wouldn’t be up to my eyeballs in graduate school debt, so I went for it. With the help of a buddy pass for my flight to Ireland and back, I was able to travel on a budget and get quite a head start on filling up my passport.

0706151110aHaving already traveled to Haiti before, this was not my first international trip; but it was a one of a different kind to a diverse continent. Over the course of two weeks, I traveled by plane, train, and bus throughout Ireland, Spain, Italy, Germany, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, and Northern Ireland. I tasted the best pasta I’ve ever had (thank you Florence), walked along the cliffs of Ireland, and even put my feet in the Mediterranean.

Aside from all the food and views, I also was able to experience history through different museums, holidays, and traditions. I was able to stand on a bridge over the Grand Canal in Venice (in amazement at the architecture), touch the Berlin Wall in Germany, walk through a castle in the Czech Republic and experience Orange Day (a historical holiday) in Northern Ireland.

Where does the Honors College fit into all of this you might ask? Seeing such a large group of students exploring the world only further pushed my drive to do the same. If everyone else was traveling, why couldn’t I? The seminar classes were also helpful as well. I recently took Ocean Exploration with Dr. Runyan where we discussed the history of diving as well as the Titanic. Sure enough I found myself at the Titanic Museum in Belfast, Northern Ireland,and the best part was having an understanding of diving and different underwater ROV systems. I was able to take the information I had learned in class and directly apply it in a country halfway around the world. The Honors College provided me with courses and knowledge that I was able to apply all over Europe, and without the drive I was given from my fellow colleagues, this Europe exploration trip might have waited for years. My biggest piece of advice would be, when you are given the opportunity and feel strongly about something, live on the edge and go for it! Happy travels!


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Accepting the Challenge: ECU LeaderShape 2015

By: Angel Chukwu, Honors College Sophomore

angelDear Enlightened Reader,

When I signed up to attend ECU’s LeaderShape Institute, I really didn’t know what to expect. Of course, that sounds cliché, but they actually didn’t give us much information on what we were going to be doing that week. All insight was extracted from short talks given by past attendees, a location, and a packing list – everything else was both secretive and well-planned. I’ve attended leadership camps with a similar purpose, but those programs were nowhere near my six days in Blowing Rock, NC.

If you were to read the week schedule that we were given once we arrived, you might have thought that this was a jam-packed, lecture-based program. But the moment we stepped into the community room, we were greeted with a lively, amiable vibe that would last throughout the week.

During Leadershape, we quickly identified who we were, who we wanted to be, and how we functioned as student leaders. Throughout the week, we engaged in thought-provoking dialogue that helped us develop our individual characters and our visions. There were even some really uncomfortable patches that we landed on. We talked about big social elephants in the room and emotions were real, raw, and unedited – but after these activities, there was an even more authentic dialogue that ensued. We dove into the vast nature of the human experience where we discovered that despite separations in personal preference and upbringing, we all fit together like a puzzle (with a whole lot of pieces).

There are many important takeaways from my LeaderShape journey, but the most prominent was a healthy disregard for the impossible. In an almost-but-not-so-cheesy-way, LeaderShape helped to restore my faith in humanity. I only hope that everyone is able to get involved with a program that has helped me to think, grow, and expand so much in just one summer.

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