Eighth of Excellence (Spring 2020)

From left: Spring 2020 "Eighth of Excellence" Nominees Dylan Sampson, Suja Davis, James Merritt and Anais Roller.

Dear Spring 2020 Graduates,

Your professors had the distinguished honor of selecting the individuals whose academic integrity was shown to be out of this world. On behalf of Pirate Media 1 and your academic professors, we would like to acknowledge the hand-selected individuals from each of East Carolina University's eight colleges below. May your fire for excellence continue to flourish and prosper. Congratulations, Pirates!

- Sierra Williams and Jennifer Flippin


The College of Education focuses on producing professionals in counseling, education, instructional technology, allied practitioners and librarianship. This department focuses on the support of scholarship and research/creative activity on all educational platforms as they lead their students to be constructive and effective teachers for our world.


Student: Justin Saulter (Department of History Education) 

Double Major: History & History Education

Nominated by: Professor William Morgan

“Being a Pirate is about proving we are more than our outward appearance. That even kids who like to party are capable of being doctors and engineers. That a guy who in high school was scared to death to talk to people can become a teacher. That’s what makes pirates different from all the others. We don’t hide our faults, we bare them like a badge of honor and succeed anyway. That’s what being a Pirate means to me.” - Justin Saulter


The College of Business strives to place their students in diverse organizations including large corporations, small firms, nonprofits or even self-owned businesses. This college consists of five departments and offers degrees in accounting, finance, management information systems and marketing. While incorporating leadership and professional development, each student comes out of this program well-equipped to be future leaders of the world.

Allison Pigora
Wesley Paul
Eugenie Riga
Mary Battle

Student: Allison Pigora (Department of Finance) 

Major: Finance with a concentration in Risk Management and Insurance.

Nominated by: Professor Brenda Wells

“Being a Pirate is all about having pride in our school and a sense of community. It’s about working hard and working together but also enjoying and appreciating the people around me throughout my college experience.” – Allison Pigora

Student: Wesley Paul (Department of Business) 

Major: Business Administration

Nominated by: Professor Bryan Rogers

“For me, being a Pirate is being someone who is not afraid to take on a new challenge. Someone who is eager to step up in a time of need and help others when they are weak. In my time here, I have met so many outgoing and driven individuals who embody this spirit.” - Wesley Paul

Student: Eugenie Riga (Department of Business) 

Major: International Business

Nominated by: Professor Dr. Tope Bello

“For me, to be a Pirate is to be passionate. Since I started at ECU, I have had the opportunity to pursue a degree in International Business. This area of study has given me the ability to study abroad, which has since led me to joining culturally diverse organizations. I have always been fascinated and passionate about the roles of different cultures in my life, which led me to follow this passion at ECU.”- Eugenie Riga

Student: Mary-Kate Battle (Department of Business) 

Major: Accounting

Nominated by: Professor Kathryn Carroll

“(Being a Pirate means) being within in a community that feels like my home away from home.” – Mary-Kate Battle


The College of Engineering & Technology provides a curriculum of technology-based programs in order to train students for career fields in computer science, construction management, engineering and technology systems. Committed to innovation and entrepreneurship, this college is goal-oriented on molding its students into leaders across the state of North Carolina and beyond. 

Anotonia Dingeman
David White

Student: Antonia "Toni" Dingeman

Major: Engineering with a Concentration in Electrical

Nominated by: Professor Muller-Borer

“Being a pirate is yelling gold when you hear purple, flying a no quarter flag, giving back to the community, getting involved, being yourself, wearing purple on Fridays, bleeding purple and gold, and being a proud member of pirate nation.” - Antonia "Toni" Dingeman

Student: David Allen White

Major: Construction Management with a minor in Business Administration

Nominated by: Professor Wang

To serve your community and support fellow Pirates. This follows our motto and creed of “Servire” meaning to serve. This can be accomplished by any, and all, pirates across all disciplines.


This liberal arts college of East Carolina University includes humanities, natural sciences, mathematics and social sciences. The College of Arts & Sciences focuses on creative productivity and professional service; Thomas Harriot College of Arts & Sciences strives to produce a community of scholars who center themselves on the value of learning.

Joseph Basco
Madeline Tripp
Nathan Rowe
Chasity Clarke

Student: Joseph Basco (Department of Psychology)

Major: Multidisciplinary with a concentration in Neuroscience

Nominated by: Professor Tuan Tran

“A Pirate at ECU is an individual who goes to the furthest end of the plank they are walking on, whether it be Greek life, community service, or academics. I have had the privilege of serving with the finest men and women in the United States Marine Corps, yet Pirates at ECU are the most driven and hardworking people I have had the pleasure of being a part of.” – Joseph Basco

Student: Madeline Tripp (Department of Geography, Planning & Environment) 

Major: Bachelor of Science in Geography, with a concentration in Global Environment and Development. A minor in Urban and Regional Planning, and a certificate in Geographic Information Science

Nominated by: Thad Wasklewicz

“From the moment I stepped on East Carolina’s campus, I have seen how dedicated the university is to serve the surrounding community and uplifting Eastern N.C. To me, this is the core of what it means to be a Pirate—using the resources, opportunities and privileges you have to lift up the people who don’t. One of the things I love most about ECU is this focus on encouraging this philosophy of empathy and engagement with everyone around you.” – Madeline Tripp

Student: Nathan Rowe

Major: Applied Geography with a minor in Biology

“A Pirate is a student that works hard to further themselves in the classroom and gives back to the community. The University has given so much to us as students, so being a Pirate is someone who gives back to help ECU and the communities of Eastern North Carolina” – Nathan Rowe

Student: Chastidy Clarke (Department of Political Science)

Major: Masters of Public Administration

Nominated by: Professor Alethia Cook

“Being a Pirate to me means being a part of an academic community that is known for its achievements and professionalism. A Pirate’s life is one that aims for victory, so as a Pirate, I aim for nothing less than success.” – Chastidy Clarke


With over 1,500 students enrolled in its degree programs, the interdisciplinary college prides itself on its mission of improving the fast-growing health care sector by educating the next generation of the work force -- including counselors, physician assistants, audiologists, dietitians, counselors, medical technologists and health information managers. 

Chris Curran

Student: Christopher Curran (Department of Health & Human Performance) 

Major: PhD in Bioenergetics and Exercise Science, Concentration in Biomechanics and Motor Control

Nominated by: Professor Zac Domire

“Being a Pirate to me means continuing the high level of biomechanics research that has been a tradition at ECU, while also using my work and time to serve the community around us.” – Christopher Curran


The College of Health & Human Performance is responsible for making sure their students are well equipped in human health departments such as Health Education, Promotion, Human Development & Family Science, Interior Design & Merchandising, Kinesiology, Recreation Sciences, Social Work & Military Sciences.

Sarah Kautz
Stephen Kegley
Skylar Coley
Dylan Sampson

Student: Sarah Kautz

Major: Public Health

“Being a Pirate is all about doing all things with drive, passion, and commitment. As an out-of-state student, I have found my home away from home here at ECU. It is because of the friends I have made, the mentors I have worked with and the incredible amount of support I have felt, that being a Pirate means so much to me. Pirates are driven to reach their goal, no matter what obstacles they face. Pirates give their all to everything they do, and they do so because they are passionate about what they’re working towards. They are undaunted.” - Sarah Kautz

Student: Stephen Kegley

Major: Health Services Management

Nominated by: Professor Xiaoming Zeng

“Being a Pirate means taking pride in everything that I do. It means being part of a community and traditions that have been around for years. I hope to continue the values of integrity, respect and service that have been instilled in me during my time at ECU.” – Stephen Kegley

Student: Skylar Coley

Major: Social Work with a minor in gerontology

“Being a Pirate means embodying the fighting spirit of this university. I believe social workers possess an innate understanding of the importance of equality. Standing for the equal treatment of individuals regardless of ethnicity, gender, sexual identity/orientation and so much more. I am proud to be a part of the pirate nation and its history of perseverance.” - Skylar Coley

Student: Dylan Sampson

Major: Exercise Physiology

“To me, being a Pirate means facing challenges without hesitation and supporting your fellow Pirates. During my time at ECU, I have been encouraged to participate in research and constantly seek out innovation. Pirate Nation stands strong together and no matter where you go, if you meet an ECU alumnus it feels like you are part of a family. This support was the main reason that I choose to come to ECU, because when you are here you are not just another student in a classroom you are a part of something much larger.” - Dylan Sampson

Student: James Merritt

Major: Exercise Physiology

“To be a Pirate means that you are a dreamer. It means that you push yourself to excel, no matter what obstacles get in your way. This is something that is earned through hard work and dedication, and something that allows you to make a difference in unimaginable ways.” - James Merritt

Student: Chloe Greenfield *not pictured* 

Major: Health Fitness Specialist Major

Nominated by: Professor Rhonda Kenny

“The second I stepped foot on campus, I knew it was where I was meant to be. Throughout my time at ECU, I have been able to define what being a Pirate means to me. One of the staples is serving my community. I have been able to take part in research, study abroad and extracurriculars all which fed into giving back to the Pitt-Greenville community. I learned how to be a leader in my field and within the Jewish community and to stand up in the face of adversity. I was also an Alumni Association Scholar for two years which gave me immense pride in seeing what other Pirate alum are doing around the world. I will forever be a proud Pirate and wear my purple and gold with honor.” - Chloe Greenfield 


The College of Fine Arts and Communication strives to push their students to go out of their comfort zone in order to reach the unknown. The College of Fine Arts places their students in their respective fields such as animation/interactive design, ceramics, film and video production, graphic design, illustration, metal design, painting and drawing, photography, printmaking, sculpture and textile design. Communication concentrations include interpersonal/organizational communication, media studies, journalism and public relations, where they train each of their students to professionally change perspectives in storytelling through written and video graphic work.

Kate Lochner
Anais Roller
Erika Takeda

Student: Kate Lochner

Major: Communications with a dual concentration in Public Relations and Media Studies

“To me, being a Pirate has meant an unmatched sense of community. Throughout my four years, I’ve always felt at home and supported at ECU. I’ve found my best friends, discovered mentors in my professors and had enough experiences for a lifetime.” – Kate Lochner

Student: Anais Roller

Major: Mass Communication with a concentration in journalism

“What it means to be a Pirate to me is not being afraid to take chances. It’s about being willing to accept that fact that failure is inevitable but also knowing that from that failure a bigger and better opportunity is ahead.” - Anais Roller

Student: Erika Takeda (Department of English)

Double Major: English Language and Literature & Asian Studies (concentration in Japanese)

Nominated by: Professor Lida Cope

“For me, being a Pirate means to challenge myself. Pirates should always challenge ourselves to be a better version of ourselves. Pirates don’t have to travel the world, but they should always strive to find that better version of ourselves that we can learn to love. So for me, a Pirate is all about challenges that helps change us for the best.” – Erika Takeda


With their nationally recognized program, the College of Nursing educates nurses who are prepared to integrate the science and art of nursing, articulate informed treatment options and advocate for their patients as they provide and direct expert care. With over 8,500 Pirate Nurses, the college provides numerous opportunities for their students to grow in service learning and leadership roles. 

Student: Suja P. Davis

Major: Nursing with a PhD in Nursing Science

Nominated by: College of Nursing

“To me, a Pirate means getting extended support from the leaders of the College of Nursing to become an independent researcher. The CON and the team were incredibly supportive of my research trajectory including support with conferences and preparing research presentations. My advisor helped me immensely with preparing posters and podium presentations, and the preparation of two manuscripts, which is in the press now.” - Suja Davis 

Student: Sandra Leggott

Major: DNP/FNP

Nominated by: College of Nursing

“To me, being a Pirate means finding the inner strength to go on in the midst of hardship, push through when times are tough or the work feels mundane, and dancing in the rain. Pirates are strong. Pirates are resilient. Pirates are adaptable. Pirates inspire others.” - Sandra Leggott 

Student: Taras Grinchak

Major: Nursing

Nominated by: College of Nursing

“Being a Pirate, means that I have access to some of the best educational opportunities in the state of North Carolina through the ECU College of Nursing. Being a Pirate, means that I will become part of the best alumni community in the country after I graduate as a Pirate Nurse. Being a Pirate, means that I have an opportunity to collaborate with and learn from respected faculty mentors in the fields of nursing and public health who are passionate about student engagement, interprofessional leadership, advancing the nursing profession, and serving the rural community of eastern NC. Being a Pirate, means that I will obtain the skills and knowledge needed to become a competent, dedicated, benevolent, versatile, and authentic nurse leader. Being a Pirate, means that I will be able to obtain a rewarding job and an opportunity to grow my professional career in NC or anywhere in the United States. Being a pirate, means that I will become a Pirate Nurse who will provide safe and compassionate care that fosters hope and promotes healing.” - Taras Grinchak 

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