Alumnus Makes History


Joshua Gaskill ’10 is teaching history – and making it.

As a history teacher at Pamlico County High School in Bayboro, NC, he is a fourth generation educator and ECU alumnus. He was recently honored as the 2014-2015 Pamlico County Schools District Teacher of the Year and the Southeast Regional Teacher of the Year for North Carolina.

“As a result of becoming the district teacher of the year, I received the George R. Brinson Honored Educator Scholarship which allowed me to attend the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching. I am very humbled by these accomplishments and am happy to have found my true calling through teaching,” said Gaskill.

Aside from teaching history, Gaskill is the social studies department chair as well as the driver’s education coordinator. He serves on the school’s improvement team and he leads his department’s professional learning community.

Gaskill is a 2003 graduate of Pamlico County High School and a fourth generation Pamlico County educator. He is also a fourth generation ECU College of Education alumnus. While at ECU, Gaskill earned his master in teaching (MAT) in history and was a member of the Pirate Club.

“I was actually enrolled in a doctoral program at ECU after receiving my bachelor’s degree from NC State. However, after a semester in the program, the coursework left me unfulfilled. With so many teachers in my family, I knew firsthand and had experienced what a positive impact the profession had on the lives of others. From there, I made the decision to enroll in the MAT program and it was the best decision of my life,” said Gaskill.

“This is a family legacy, and I believe in the quality education I received through the MAT program,” said Gaskill. He recognizes Dr. Allen Guidry for contributing to the valuable education he received from ECU.

Gaskill is still involved with ECU today. “I have been trained to serve as a clinical teacher to host student interns within the Latham Clinical Schools Network through the ECU College of Education,” said Gaskill. “I am proud to be an ECU Pirate!”

By Sara Strickroot

Alumna Spotlight: Cate McCanless ’03


Cate McCanless ’03 is the recent recipient of the 2014 Professional Women in Advocacy’s Excellence in Advocacy for an Up and Coming Practitioner award. McCanless is the senior policy advisor for Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck in Washington, D.C.

The Excellence in Advocacy by an Up and Coming Practitioner award recognizes the advocate for early achievements in her career and potential to be a successful contributor to the field over time.

“I am so honored to be recognized by such a prestigious organization. There is a growing culture of women helping women in this country, and in Washington we are striving to keep up,” says McCanless.

McCanless strongly supports the PWIA’s mantra, “When women have a seat at the public policy table, everyone benefits. In order to get and keep our seat, we must be equipped to competently and confidently represent our viewpoint.”

Her job as the senior policy advisor includes a multitude of tasks including reading statutes, working to interpret regulations for clients, meeting with legislators and their administration staff to advocate on behalf of her clients, and much more.

“Currently, my work allows me to develop and advocate policy positions on behalf of pharmaceutical and device manufacturers,” said McCanless. “These policies provide life sustaining treatments to patients, physician organizations, companies, providers who serve the Veterans Health Administration, and public health institutions that serve large rural populations and those living with HIV/AIDS. My clients all have different policy needs but all operate within the health space.”

McCanless transferred to ECU after spending her first year of college as a theater major at UNC-G and her second year of college performing on a cruise ship.

“Looking over my academic interests I realized that I was drawn to political science over my current love – theatre – and it was an easy decision to make once I visited the ECU campus,” McCanless said. “I was interested in a school that would allow me to be well rounded and not force me into a program or career before I had an opportunity to experience several of my many interests.”

At ECU, McCanless served as the vice president of the Pi Sigma Alpha Political Honors Fraternity, in which she organized the first senatorial debate hosted by ECU. She was the inaugural Sen. John P. East Scholar in political science. She also was an active member of the Delta Zeta sorority, serving as assistant new member educator for one year.

“While I was at ECU, I was able to participate in Greek life, experience leadership opportunities, perform with student theatre productions, sing in campus groups, and generally explore interests outside of political science. I felt this was encouraged and I appreciated the opportunity to grow in other areas,” said McCanless.

“I am a Pirate through and through. I believe that my experience allowed me to grow and develop in many areas, leading me to the fulfilling, well rounded career I enjoy today,” said McCanless.

Today she is still connected to the political science department at ECU, to her Delta Zeta sisters and to many friends she made during her time as a Pirate.

By Sara Strickroot

2015 Alumni Award Recipients Announced

The East Carolina Alumni Association is proud to announce the recipients of the 2015 Alumni Awards.

Virgil Clark ’50 Distinguished Service Alumni
This award given to dedicated volunteers with a record of service and leadership with the alumni association and university.

  • Beverly Cox ’67, charter member of the Women’s Roundtable Board of Directors
  • Max Joyner Sr. ’55, past president of the East Carolina Alumni Association, and wife Kitty Joyner ’59 (posthumously), charter member of the Women’s Roundtable

Honorary Alumni
This award is given to those who did not attend East Carolina but who have claimed the university as their own through substantial service and loyalty.

  • Jeff Charles, “the Voice of the Pirates”
  • David Brody, past chair of the ECU Board of Trustees
  • Dr. Ray Martinez, past head swimming and diving coach
  • Mary Raab, M.D., retired physician and professor of medicine

Outstanding Alumni
Our most prestigious award recognizes exceptional achievement and leadership in the recipient’s profession and/or public affairs.  

  • Michael Aho ’02, political officer, U.S. Department of State
  • Ken Chalk ’68, ’71, retired senior executive vice president of BB&T
  • Brig. Gen. Dr. Jeffrey Clark ’84, director of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center
  • Jeremy Woodard ’01, Broadway actor

Save the date! The 2015 recipients will receive their awards at the Alumni Awards Ceremony and Dinner on Friday, October 16. All alumni are welcome to attend. More details will be posted as they become available.

If you’d like to nominate someone for the 2016 awards, nominations will be accepted through November 1, 2015. Click here for more information.