Network of support ensured graduate’s success in the classroom and beyond


Name: Hunter Holland

College: College of Education

Major: Special education — adapted curriculum

Age: 22

Classification/Year: Senior

Hometown: Burlington, North Carolina

Hobbies/interests: Dance, watching Netflix, going to the beach, reading, working with children and spending time with my friends and family.

Clubs and Organizations: Education Living Learning Community, ECU Dance Team, Office of Educator Preparation office assistant.


Favorite hangout: At home with my roommates

Favorite place on campus: Speight Building

Favorite place to eat: The Melting Pot

Favorite class: SPED 3007 — Managing the physical needs of learners with disabilities

Professors who influenced you the most: Bethany McKissick and Sarah Vach


Dream job: Elementary special education teacher

Role models: My parents

Your words to live by: “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

What advice do you have for other students? Time flies by so quickly. I know everyone says that but it is true. Take in every moment and capture those memories.

What is something cool about ECU that you wish you knew during your first year? East Carolina University provides so many opportunities for all of the college programs that are here. Once you graduate and go into your career, you are truly prepared!

When Hunter Holland thinks about her time at East Carolina University, the word support is in the forefront of her mind.

“I was juggling 10 different things with dance team and a job and my leadership roles as well as maintaining a really good GPA,” she said. “I feel like ECU — with the support that they provided — really helped me balance all of those things and be successful with it.”

Holland graduates this week with her bachelor’s degree in special education – adapted curriculum and plans to teach in her hometown of Burlington.

Headshot of Hunter Holland


“I love being in the classroom with the kids and being so hands-on,” she said.

Her desire to become an educator was sparked when she began teaching dance and grew through her work with children with disabilities.

“I thought, ‘Why not take special needs and education and put them together and really try to be the difference in the world, make a difference in those kids’ lives and provide support that they need to be successful in and outside the classroom,’” she said.

While at ECU, Holland stayed busy with her job in the College of Education’s Office of Educator Preparation and as a member of the ECU dance team. She credits time management skills as essential for balancing her academics, practicum and extracurriculars.

Holland is not the first Pirate in her family. In addition to her grandfather, some of her cousins attended ECU, including one of her cousins who passed away in a skateboarding accident. Her firsthand experience of the community and support that ECU showed her family during that difficult time solidified her college decision.

The theme of support extended to her participation in the education living-learning community, which is led by Dionna Manning, the director of the living learning community and the education community of scholars.

“I really struggled coming to college because it was such a big transition,” she said. “Being around people who have similar interests and having a good leader with Dr. Manning really helped me transition into college.”

Holland’s advice is to take in every memory since time really does go by fast. She cherished the little moments such as attending her first football game — as a student and as a member of the dance team — as well as her first walk to class and first student teaching experience.

“It’s all the opportunities ECU provides for all of their college programs,” she said. “They really do prepare you for the career that you’re going to have.”