Alumna is NC Regional Teacher of the Year


By Jackie Drake

North Carolina’s Northeast Regional Teacher of the Year is Jami Dickerson ’08, a third grade teacher at Eastern Elementary in Greenville. The announcement was made during a special ceremony at the school on December 9. Dickerson qualified for the honor after being named the 2013-2014 Pitt County Teacher of the Year in March.

“I’m honored; it’s very humbling,” said Dickerson, who is in her fifth year of teaching. “It’s also mind-blowing. I still can’t believe it happened. It’s been a long process, but it’s gone by fast. I’m excited for things to come.”

Originally from Roanoke Rapids, Dickerson grew up playing soccer and came to play for ECU. “I visited on a recruiting trip and loved the campus and the town. I loved everything about ECU.”

Dickerson had long wanted to be a teacher, but her mother, also a teacher and ECU graduate, counseled her to try other careers first to be sure. Dickerson studied exercise physiology for a year before realizing that her heart lay with helping children, to her mom’s delight.

“I am very happy and proud I went to ECU,” Dickerson says. “Now I have ECU students doing their student teaching with me. The relationship that Pitt County and ECU have is great. I love how our kids that are eight or nine years old all get excited about our university. I’m glad that I have first-hand experience of ECU to share with them.”

Dickerson said her favorite part of teaching is her relationships with the kids. “Nothing is better than a happy child. I love seeing them having fun and enjoying learning.”

Dickerson is one of nine finalists for the the North Carolina Teacher of the Year, who will be announced this spring.


Alumni Scholarship Applications Due January 30

The East Carolina Alumni Association is now accepting applications for Alumni Scholarships for the 2015-2016 school year through Friday, January 30, 2015. New this year, applications must be submitted online through the ECU Online Scholarship Management System. No paper applications will be accepted. To receive a scholarship, students must be able to attend the Scholarship Luncheon on April 25, 2015.

Approximately 20-25 scholarships of $1,000 or $2,500 are available. To be eligible, ECU students must be registered as a full-time undergraduate with at least 12 credit hours and a 3.0 GPA. Students should demonstrate service and leadership in the university and community. Applications must be accompanied by a signed letter of recommendation and a creative expression, both of which can be completed and/or uploaded through the online system.

Since 2005, the Alumni Scholarship program has awarded 197 scholarships totaling more than $260,000.

For more information, visit

Now Accepting Wright Award Nominations from Faculty and Staff

ECU faculty and staff are invited to nominate an outstanding undergraduate senior or recent graduate for a 2015 Robert H. Wright Alumni Leadership Award, to be presented at spring commencement in May 2015. In addition to undergraduate seniors graduating in May, those who have graduated with a bachelor’s degree in the summer or fall of 2014 will also be considered. All nominations are due by Friday, January 30, 2015. Only current ECU faculty and staff may nominate a student.

The Robert H. Wright Alumni Leadership Award is the most prestigious award presented by the East Carolina Alumni Association to seniors during annual spring commencement exercises. The award recognizes academic achievement, service (both to the university and the community), and leadership qualities (both potential and exhibited). Nominees should be recognized as those who will make an impact in their professions and communities.

For more information, visit

Pirates Enjoy Networking Events in Norfolk and DC


Pirates in the mid-Atlantic gave a strong showing at two recent networking events, with 29 in attendance in Norfolk, VA on December 1 and 27 in Washington, DC on December 2.

In Norfolk, featured alumni Kirk Little ’82, ’85, ’95 and Neal Crawford ’85 shared how their education at ECU prepared them for their career. In DC, featured alumni Karen Evans ’80 and Stephen Jones ’80 shared their expertise on current issues like healthcare and international security. Both events featured insightful discussion and chances for Pirates to connect with other Pirates.

“I loved it,” said Steve Spence ’11, who attended the Norfolk event. Spence earned dual degrees in small business management and entrepreneurship and also played football for the Pirates. “It was a great opportunity to grow my knowledge. I want to continue to grow on a personal and professional level by gaining wisdom and understanding from others. This event gave me the opportunity to do just that by listening to individuals who been in their industries a long time. I’m learning through their experiences. I absolutely recommend that other alumni come to future networking events. They are opportunities to grow yourself and the East Carolina community.”

“It was great getting to meet other Pirates,” said Sandra Spender ’82, who attended the DC event. “I’m very impressed with what other graduates are doing with their careers. There was a great span of class years, and we all learned from each other. I enjoyed meeting other Pirates who live closer to me, and I would recommend other alumni to do the same.”

Many thanks to our networking event sponsor, Liberty Mutual, and our venues, Norfolk Waterside Marriott and Bistro Bistro DC.

Our next networking events will be in New Bern on January 27 and in Wilmington on January 29. Advance registration is required. Come meet fellow Pirates in your area and expand your professional and social networks. Be sure to check out all our upcoming networking events on our website.

ECU Retired Faculty Forums: Spring 2015

Retired faculty of East Carolina University are invited to a series of free informational forums in the spring of 2015, hosted by the Retired Faculty Association and sponsored by the East Carolina Alumni Association. These forums are designed to keep retired faculty connected to each other, their fields of study, their university, and their community. Membership in the RFA is not required, but those interested in joining are encouraged to inquire. Current faculty and other members of the East Carolina community are welcome.

Tuesday, January 13
“Sylvan Heights Bird Sanctuary”
Mike and Brent Lubbock

Tuesday, February 10
“Inside the Exxon Valdez Accident”
Archie Smith

Tuesday, March 10
“Zero to Eighty on Unpaved Roads”
Evelyn McNeil

Tuesday, April 14
“Seeing Through the Camera”
Dwayne Frutiger

Tuesday, May 12
“Did Lincoln Own Slaves? And other FAQs about Abraham Lincoln”
Gerald Prokopowicz

All forums will be held 3:00-4:30 p.m. in the second floor conference room of the Family Medicine Center at 101 Heart Drive in Greenville. Ample parking is available after 2:00 p.m. directly outside of the building in the B and A7 lots. Questions? Please call Christy Angle at 252-328-1958.

Pirate Fights Human Trafficking

By Sara Strickroot

Anna Smith ’11 is the executive director and co-founder for the non-profit organization Restore One. She and her husband Chris, president and co-founder, created the anti-slavery organization in June 2012.299014_47_ed137f

Smith began her undergraduate career as a nutrition major at ECU, but due to the difficulty chemistry gave her, she changed it to social work. She also joined the Social Work Student Association. “I’d always desired to be the one who reconciles a problem or aids in meeting the needs of others. Point blank, I aspired to serve people in my daily job,” says Smith.

Her second major was religious studies and she was also a member of the Religious Studies Club. “After taking introduction into New Testament, I was hooked and took the jump, adding Religious Studies onto my track,” Smith said.

She continued, “the summer before my senior year, I interned at a Christian safe house for domestic minor sex trafficking victims. It was there I felt God calling me to fight human trafficking. That same summer, Chris was working as a youth minister. Provoked by my interest in human trafficking, he took it upon himself to research the problem. Through research, he discovered that few men were serving in modern day abolition. It was through that revelation he followed the call of God to be a man who stands up for freedom.”

On March 27, 2013, Restore One was granted 501(c)3 non-profit status, giving them the green light to progress toward opening The Anchor House. The Anchor House is the first shelter in America for sex trafficked boys ages 12-18.

Smith says, “Restore One is a ministry that seeks to open safe homes that are Christ-centered free of cost to male victims of domestic minor sex trafficking (DMST) and commercial sexual exploitation (CSE).”

Restore One owns land in eastern North Carolina where they plan to break ground in mid-January 2015 on the first cottage that will house four boys as well as a large main building. The complete Anchor House project consists of three cottages and one large main building built to serve a total of 12 boys.

“Today I am so very thankful for the struggle with college chemistry, for it altered the possibilities of not just my education but also my life. I am so thankful for my education at East Carolina University. I’m proud to say that I am a Pirate,” Smith says.