Shining Gold | Eastern North Carolina Now | Faculty, staff named 2021 Treasured Pirates

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
    Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of ECU News Services. The author of this post is Crystal Baity.

ECU’s 2021 Treasured Pirates were honored Wednesday. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

    Twenty-six service-minded East Carolina University faculty and staff members were named 2021 Treasured Pirates during a ceremony in Harvey Hall on Wednesday.

    "There are few things more professionally gratifying and satisfying than the opportunity to enter this holiday season recognizing the hard work and dedication of so many outstanding employees here at East Carolina University," Chancellor Philip Rogers said.

    After a busy fall semester, he encouraged everyone to reflect, relax, rejuvenate and reset during the well-earned upcoming break.

    "I say this often and I'm going to say it again today because I believe it's true: I think we all know that East Carolina University is a special place that is made up of so many outstanding people like all of you who are dedicated to our mission each and every day," Rogers said. "As we celebrate our Treasured Pirates today, may they motivate all of us to continue to strive for excellence as we seek to transform the lives of our students."

    About 6,000 faculty and staff serve more than 28,000 students enrolled in more than 200 undergraduate and graduate degree programs at ECU.

    Faculty and staff were peer-nominated for the awards for making a difference in the workplace and community. The program recognizes exemplary employees for distinguished accomplishment in seven categories: customer service; efficiency and innovation; human relations; outstanding government service; public service; safety and heroism; and the spirit of North Carolina.

    The list of nominees was narrowed by division before being sent to a university-wide committee. The size of the division factored in the number of winners named in each area. Each awardee received a plaque and $250. The ECU Human Resources Learning and Organizational Development office coordinates the awards and ceremony.

    2021 Treasured Pirates

    Academic Affairs

    Lisa Briley, administrative support specialist from continuing studies, was a positive and supportive team member during the COVID-19 pandemic as she faced an increased workload, requiring her to take on new responsibilities ranging from finance to human resources to third-party contracting.

    Prospective students could still learn about ECU during the pandemic thanks to Robert Olewine, assistant director of campus visits for admissions. Olewine researched and planned virtual and in-person visits - including 17 Pirates Aboard events for students and their families - with social distancing, masking guidelines and campus safety protocols in place.

    Many students faced financial challenges during the pandemic, and Julie Poorman's leadership as director of ECU's financial aid office allowed her team to distribute regular financial aid awards as well as CARES Act funds that required new forms, processes and methodology.

    With limited staff and resources, Michelle Smith, business services coordinator in the College of Education, assumed extra responsibilities to facilitate new hires and onboarding. She also regularly stopped to talk with students, parents and co-workers, advancing the college's mission throughout one of the most challenging years in memory.

    Attracting first-generation students to the College of Business has been top of mind for Kevin Williams, director of undergraduate business programs. Williams was nominated for his work on the High School Outreach Program, targeting students from Pitt County and Tier 1 and Tier 2 counties in eastern North Carolina.

    Rick Yakubowski, director of the East Hub grant in the College of Education, spent the last few months of 2020 working with university partners to maximize the use of COVID-19 relief funds to continue the college's mission to train and develop the next generation of educators.

    Administration and Finance

    Pamela Brann, administrative support specialist for the benefits department, exemplifies the work ethic, positive outlook and creative problem-solving skills used in human resources. From handling employee questions to consoling distraught family members, Brann provides peace of mind for employees and their families through her focus on customer service and resolution.

    Penney Doughtie, a technical support analyst in Information Technology and Computing Services (ITCS), was recognized for her efforts in pivoting an in-person financial services workshop to a virtual event. Past workshops attracted as many as 200 attendees, but the virtual event drew a record 530 participants.

    Anyone who has worked with Dexter Ray, a technical support analyst at ITCS, knows his dedication to excellent customer service in a reliable, timely manner, an aspect of his work that makes him invaluable to the university.

    Mary Frances Stalls, business technology application technician in ITCS, is a consummate team player, constantly looking for ways to assist co-workers and end users of the PiratePort system. Her efforts included large scale initiatives aimed at updating and modernizing PiratePort applications to better serve students, faculty and staff.

    Scott Stubbings led ECU's efforts to upgrade and improve the Kronos timekeeping system. His expertise and project management skills as a business systems analyst in finance have prevented payroll disasters and saved the university time and money.


    Kristy Ashley, assistant director of compliance in athletics, has worked tirelessly over the last two years developing and delivering training and guidance to student athletes, coaches and faculty working with new financial aid policies and changing guidelines.

    Chancellor's Division

    Kimrey Miko, executive assistant to the chief of staff, has been instrumental over the past year in behind-the-scenes support roles from the chancellor search to Board of Trustees meetings. She also worked in COVID-19 contact tracing, delivering friendly service and support to students and their contacts.

    Health Sciences

    The pandemic brought staffing and budget challenges to all areas of the university, including the Country Doctor Museum in Bailey. Director Annie Anderson continued to collaborate and use the time the museum was closed to partner with undergraduate and graduate students, and faculty from the chemistry and history departments, to study museum artifacts, conduct virtual field trips and provide internships for student learners.

    Dr. Paul Barry, director of the Office of Prospective Health, helped develop a plan for the School of Dental Medicine to provide dental services at its service-learning centers and Ross Hall during the pandemic. He leveraged his expertise in public health - along with grace, humility and humor - to address thousands of questions and proposals on ECU's COVID-19 plans and responses.

    Leslie Bazemore, executive assistant to Dean Greg Chadwick of dental medicine, is passionate about creating a sense of community in the school. Bazemore's spirit and support ensured smooth and efficient operations while supporting faculty, staff and students.

    Gerard Camargo is an IT analyst and programmer whose work in developing dental medicine's patient portal led to streamlined services in the Community Service-Learning Centers. Patients can view appointments and update information, while providers can use an electronic signature protocol and approve funds on site.

    Tameka Cogdell, business officer for the College of Nursing, is a key member of the leadership team. With an ability to solve nearly any problem, Cogdell's expertise in financial, personnel and administrative issues is shared without reservation, and always in a kind and supportive manner.

    Shanna Garcia, an assistant professor of occupational therapy, coordinated internship placements for students set to graduate and prevented unnecessary delays in their programs. Without her dedication to working through the challenges of academic fieldwork placements during the pandemic, many students would have been left behind.

    As a longtime faculty member in the College of Nursing, Dr. Donna Roberson is executive director of program evaluation. Roberson is an ambassador for ECU across multiple colleges thanks to her work with students, as well as her participation on numerous committees throughout the university, helping to align the needs of the health sciences division and the university at large.

    At the forefront of the battle against COVID-19, Dr. Jennifer Stahl is an assistant professor of emergency medicine in the Brody School of Medicine. Stahl has provided leadership and guidance within the fellowship program and partnered with faculty and staff to ensure coverage in ICUs during the pandemic. Her expertise in critical care and emergency medicine makes her an invaluable team member and role model for young doctors.

    Ethel White, business services coordinator at BSOM, is a consummate professional in her interactions with students, faculty and staff, from answering quick phone questions to preparing and delivering budget research and background information. She has helped the biochemistry department revise, update and communicate new practices and policies, fostering cooperation in the department.

    Anthony Yocum, pharmacy technician in ECU Pharmacy Services, served a critical role during the pandemic by partnering with materials management to obtain supplies and materials to launch and maintain ECU's COVID-19 vaccine clinics. His responsibilities included oversight for the vaccine lots and data management required for reporting and inventory of all vaccination supplies, including managing doses designated for underserved populations.

    Research, Economic Development and Engagement

    When most team members began working remotely, Robin Kneisley, administrative support associate in the Office of Research Administration, stayed onsite, keeping offices running with her attention to detail and proactive approach. She helped oversee renovations to the new offices on Fifth Street. Co-workers said she brought balance and community to everyone throughout the pandemic.

    Student Affairs

    A retired veteran, Darlene Langley embraces the spirit of service as an administrative support associate in student affairs. From helping with staffing needs to teaching others about the mission of the offices she supports, she provides unwavering support for students, parents, faculty and staff, and community partners. Colleagues describe her as the "shining gold" in the Purple and Gold.

    University Advancement

    Marylee McLawhorn, administrative support associate in university advancement, took on more work over the past year as she supported additional directors and programs in advancement. Even remotely, McLawhorn has become the face of university advancement through her high level of customer service.
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