Changing lives, changing communities
Hometown: Dehli, Louisiana
Year: Senior, double-major in biology and geology
Career goals: To earn a doctorate in vertebrate paleontology and become a college professor
Research and service
“I fully believe the reason that people attend college is so that they may not only better themselves but the world. When I do research for biology or geology, that research will have an impact directly or indirectly on the public. Knowing that research has impacts on people has also led me to give back by volunteering every way I can in our department. My favorite is Science Olympiad, where you get to see middle schoolers and high schoolers compete in events that are based on things I learned at ECU.”
“Philanthropy, in my opinion, is a necessity for our world. It is the ultimate way for people with resources to spare to help others who have not had the same luck in life but who do have the drive to better themselves. I know when I am able to I hope to impact as many people as I possibly can.”
C.Q. Brown is credited with helping create the geology department at ECU more than 50 years ago. He has endowed two scholarships: the Elizabeth Brown Sledge Scholarship Endowment and the C.Q. and Barbara Hedgepeth Brown Endowment. Brown also contributes to the C.Q. Brown Scholarship, which was established and funded originally by alumni and friends in his honor.
Grant to aid students with learning differences
Students with learning differences at East Carolina University and across the country will have better avenues to learning thanks to a $1.5 million grant from the Oak Foundation.
The grant will be used to expand the reach of the College STAR (Supporting Transition Access and Retention) program, a collaborative initiative designed to help college campuses become more welcoming of students with learning and attention differences. The project is guided by a partnership of anchor campuses that includes ECU, Appalachian State University and Fayetteville State University.
The program, which originated as a UNC system initiative, is now headquartered at ECU and provides a network of support for students who are capable of college success but struggle academically because they learn differently. By balancing direct support for students with instructional support provided to faculty who teach increasingly diverse groups of learners, the project is making a positive difference for a variety of students.
The grant will fund the fourth phase of the College STAR program, expanding partnerships be
yond the North Carolina campuses to a national scope.
“After our early years with College STAR we feel like we’ve learned so much,” said Sarah Williams, director of ECU’s STEPP Program and principal investigator for the College STAR project. “It’s exciting to think about expanding that learning nationwide to make a large and positive impact.”
The Walter and Marie Williams STEPP Program at ECU was the first student-support program to participate in the College STAR project and is designed to help students with learning disabilities transition to post-secondary education and provide support throughout their college experience.
Kevin Mantica, an ECU sophomore who participates in STEPP, said working with mentors in the program has helped motivate him.
“Not every college provides something like this – to give the students all the tools that they need to be successful,” said Mantica. “It’s going to impact a lot more students.”
Funding will help create a national network that will facilitate collaboration, research, resource development and technical assistance related to ensuring that colleges and universities are places where students with learning and attention differences can excel.
“ECU has been an incredible partner in this work,” said Stacy Parker-Fisher, former director of the Learning Differences Program at the Oak Foundation. “This is something that instructors are embracing. They see the difference this is making for their students.”
– Rich Klindworth
Isleys commit $2 million to entrepreneurship at ECU
The East Carolina University College of Business has received a $2 million commitment from Van and Jennifer Isley of Raleigh that will provide a hub for business, engineering, technology and arts students to have “creative collisions” that produce innovation and entrepreneurship.
The extraordinary commitment from the Isleys not only sets a high bar for alumni giving, its impact will certainly be felt here on campus, in the region and around the state,” said Dr. Cecil Staton, ECU chancellor. “Our great young and diverse minds will have a place where they can work with one another in solving the problems of today and tomorrow.”
In addition, Mike Harris has been named director of the Miller School of Entrepreneurship. He had served as interim director since January 2017.
Before that, Harris chaired the college’s management department, and for 18 years, he led the college’s Small Business Institute.
As director of the MSOE, Harris will be responsible for curriculum and degree offerings, hiring faculty, and invigorating the entrepreneurial spirit across ECU and in eastern North Carolina.
The hub, named the Van and Jennifer Isley Innovation Building, will provide a space where business, engineering, technology and art students can collaborate on product innovation and entrepreneurship.
Now known as Building 43, across from the Science and Technology Building and home to the mail services department, the redesigned facility will The East Carolina University College of Business has received a $2 million commitment from Van and Jennifer Isley of Raleigh that will provide a hub for business, engineering, technology and arts students to have “creative collisions” that produce innovation and entrepreneurship. cover 28,000 square feet, including a 5,000-square-foot space where up to 300 students can bring their interdisciplinary innovations to life.
The hub will also be the home of the College of Business’ Miller School of Entrepreneurship and will feature a world-class fabrication and rapidprototype workshop run by the College of Engineering and Technology.
Van Isley, a 1985 accounting graduate, said his entrepreneurial spirit started way before he arrived at ECU. A couple of coaches purchased a golf driving range, and, at the age of 14, “they threw me the keys and said ‘Run this thing for the summer.’”
Today, Isley is the CEO and founder of Professional Builders Supply, which he started after 18 years in the financial and building-supply arenas. He said he understands and appreciates the entrepreneurial energy employees can bring to a company. They are usually risktakers who are willing to try new things.
“Personally, I’d hire a graduate with an entrepreneurial degree,” said Isley. “I like that mindset. I’m just thrilled to be in a position to do this. ECU was a big part of the foundation that helped me get to where I am.”
– Michael Rudd