Awards recognize outstanding contributions of women to ECU

Six outstanding women were honored for their selfless leadership as Women of Distinction at East Carolina University during a virtual ceremony on Sept. 29.

Eboni Baugh, Betsy Tuttle, Cheryl Dudasik-Wiggs, Jill Matarelli Carlson, Emily Taylor Stewart, and Harvey Sharp Wooten received the awards, which are given biennially to women who have made outstanding contributions to ECU.

Dudasik-Wiggs received the Dr. Linda Allred Profiles in Leadership Award, named for the former associate professor of psychology who died in 2005. Allred directed the ECU Women’s Studies Program and advocated for women’s rights and the rights of those with disabilities.

“It’s an honor to celebrate these women and their accomplishments,” said Dr. Virginia Hardy, vice chancellor for student affairs. “This award is a testament to your commitment and drive.”

Hardy — a member of the inaugural 2007 class of Women of Distinction — challenged the recipients to continue to inspire and foster growth in others. “This is our time,” Hardy said. “We have to continue use our voices, our strengths and our influence in ways that are beneficial to the masses.”

Pitt County Sheriff Paula Dance, the first Black woman elected sheriff in North Carolina, was the keynote speaker. Dance talked about the challenges and lessons she has learned in a male-dominated profession.

“I was the little girl that Martin Luther King dreamed of when he gave his famous speech,” said Dance, a Martin County native and ECU alumna. “My career took me through curves, turns and one-way streets at times.”

She worked full time while raising three children and earning her college degree. She advised the recipients to continue supporting one another while doing three things: step out of their comfort zone by doing something they’re afraid of; have a mindset of equality while demanding respect; and defy social expectations while having confidence in themselves.

This is our time. We have to continue use our voices, our strengths and our influence in ways that are beneficial to the masses.
- Dr. Virginia Hardy, vice chancellor for student affairs

The honorees were chosen from more than 30 nominations received by a jury of faculty, staff and students chaired by Dr. LaNika Wright, said Ashley Harzog Cleland, associate director for the ECU Women and Gender Office. Cleland also thanked past jury chair Dr. Stephanie George, Dr. Eleanor Cook, graduate assistants Holly Campbell and Kaitlyn Isherwood, the Gender Studies Executive Council and the Office of Equity and Diversity.

The ceremony is normally held in the spring but was postponed due to the pandemic.

The ECU Women of Distinction for 2020 are:

Eboni J. BaughDR. EBONI J. BAUGH

Dr, Eboni J. Baugh, associate professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Science, is a certified diversity professional and family life educator.

She has taught more than 10 undergraduate and graduate level courses and has served as chair and on more than 20 dissertation and master’s thesis committees. She has secured over $160,000 in grant funding, primarily focused on parenting support and families.

She serves as an Office for Faculty Excellence Fellow, extending support to colleagues across campus, as well as liaison to the ECU/National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD) and program leader for the Office for Equity and Diversity’s cohort for the NCFDD Faculty Success program.

She’s been recognized with several Excellence in Teaching Awards, as an outstanding mentor at the Women and Gender Office mentorship breakfast, and an ECU Leadership Development Academy participant.

A published researcher, her interests include parental influence, parent education, body image, ethnic identity and program evaluation.


Emily Taylor Stewart is the first student to be selected as a Woman of Distinction.

A Navy veteran, Stewart graduated from ECU in May with a Bachelor of Science in biology and Bachelor of Arts in chemistry.

At ECU, she was one of the founding program assistants of the Women and Gender Office, a center assistant and panelist for the Dr. Jesse R. Peel LGBTQ Center, and founding vice president of ECU’s chapter of oSTEM, a student organization for LGBTQ students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

She was an undergraduate research assistant in the biology and chemistry departments.

She is pursuing a graduate degree at Quinnipiac University and plans to attend medical school, with the goal of working in endocrinology.

“I believe the leadership provided by women and gender minorities possesses a level of empathy and humanity that allows the choices made to be beneficial for all involved,” Stewart said. “Positions of power should represent the population and every person should be allowed to view themselves in their leadership.”

Dr. Cheryl Dudasik-Wiggs DR. CHERYL DUDASIK-WIGGS

Dr. Cheryl Dudasik-Wiggs is a recipient of the Bertie Fearing Excellence in Teaching Award, the English department service award, and the inaugural Harriot College of Arts and Sciences’ Fixed-Term Faculty (FTF) Teaching Award.

She directed ECU’s Women’s Studies Program for a decade and has chaired the Gender Studies Executive Board for many years, helping to create programming that brings diverse national speakers to ECU. She also serves on the Coastal Women’s Shelter Board of Directors and is an active member of several local women-focused political and advocacy organizations.

Dudasik-Wiggs is a co-recipient of the Chancellor’s Centennial Award for Excellence in Ambition and an ECU Leadership Fellow. She is a member of ECU’s Servire Society for her work with domestic violence survivors.

She designs and edits the English department’s newsletter, chairs the department’s FTF committee, serves on the Harriot College FTF committee, and served as a member of ECU’s Title IX hearing board. Her research interests include victim advocacy in higher education.

Dr. Betsy Tuttle DR. BETSY TUTTLE

Dr. Betsy Tuttle is the Walter J. Pories Distinguished Professor and chair of the Brody School of Medicine’s Department of Surgery as well as chief of surgery at Vidant Medical Center.

She previously served as a critical care fellow at UNC-Chapel Hill and as a fellow in abdominal transplant surgery at Duke. At Duke, she was director of the UNOS Liver Transplant Program, co-director of the Undergraduate Surgical Education Program, director of the abdominal transplant fellowship program and a staff surgeon at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Durham. Tuttle was the first woman surgical faculty to have children at Duke, earn tenure and win the coveted Davidson Teaching Award from medical students.

She is a past president of the Association of Women Surgeons, a member of the American College of Surgeons and its North Carolina representative to the Board of Governors, and a member of the Upsilon Phi Delta Honor Society. She has received Wake Forest University’s Medical Alumni Association Distinguished Achievement Award, two Medals of Honor for organ transplantation from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, as well as multiple teaching awards.


Jill Matarelli Carlson is a professor of theatre in the ECU School of Theatre and Dance, and movement specialist, actor and educator dedicated to advocating for performer safety.

She is a certified teacher with the Society of American Fight Directors, a certified intimacy director with IDC Intimacy Directors and Coordinators, and a 200-hour registered yoga teacher.

Matarelli Carlson co-founded The Odyssey Express Touring Theatre Company, dedicated to bringing quality theatre experiences to children in the Chicago area.

She has worked professionally across the United States, most recently staging the violence, movement and intimacy scenes for the Cape Fear Regional Theatre productions of “Wait Until Dark,” “Disgraced,” “Peter and The Starcatcher,” “Music City” and “Memphis.”

Matarelli Carlson received an MFA in acting with a movement concentration from Western Illinois University.

She received the 2019-2020 ECU Scholar–Teacher Award and the 2014-2015 UNC Board of Governor’s Distinguished Professor for Teaching Award.


Harvey Sharp Wooten is an ECU alumna and 2016 inductee to Phi Kappa Phi, ECU’s most distinguished academic honor society.

She is a founding member of the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences Advancement Council, on which she has served as an active member since 1997 and provided generous funding for the Distinguished Professorship in the Sciences and Mathematics and W. Keats Sparrow Distinguished Chair in the Liberal Arts.

Alongside the dean of the Harriot College, she created the Voyages of Discovery series, which was inaugurated in 2006. The series brings thought-provoking, accomplished leaders from various disciplines to provide insight into important issues in today’s society.

She continues her legacy of generosity through the Voyages of Discovery endowment, as well as the Harvey Sharp Wooten Study Abroad endowment.

Wooten is a Kinston native who has lived in Greenville for 40 years. She is a founding member of Women for Women of Pitt County and board member and past president of Emerge Gallery and the Pitt County Arts Council.