Student: Leah Carr

A high school history teachers’ influence helped East Carolina University senior Leah Carr embrace the idea of being a teacher, something she never expected to happen.

“I would not be the person that I am without her, and I finally hit that point where I knew I was called to be in education,” she said. “I had been running from it, but I knew that I wanted to be able to make the impact she made on me on other students and help them grow into the people that they will one day become.”

Carr comes from a long line of educators: Her grandmother was a Nash County teacher and principal; her mother is a school speech language pathologist who earned her master’s from ECU; her aunt is a retired teacher, ECU alumna and die-hard Pirate fan; her uncle is a principal; and her cousin is an assistant principal.

Several factors helped Carr choose ECU, including its outstanding reputation for preparing teachers, and financial assistance as a Chancellor’s Fellow in the Honors College and the Education Community of Scholars in the College of Education. She is a Roos Scholar and has received several other scholarships, including the Hattie B. Strong Foundation Scholarship.

“It is a beautiful campus. Everyone says it, but it really is so beautiful and that combined with the atmosphere, the love that people showed. I just felt a connection, and like this was the home away from home, which has now become my home,” she said. “I’m so happy with the decision I made.”

The College of Education’s Irene Howell Assistive Technology Center lends out tools like these for ECU students to use in their teaching practicums.

The College of Education’s Irene Howell Assistive Technology Center lends out tools like these for ECU students to use in their teaching practicums.

One of the strengths of ECU’s College of Education is getting students in the classroom early. Carr has been in the classroom each year and taught third grade at Ridgewood Elementary School in Winterville this spring.

“I loved getting to be in the classroom, and it has taught me so much. I absolutely love second and third grade, fifth grade is not my favorite, and these are things I’m glad I know now before actually going out and applying for jobs,” Carr said. “I learn best by doing things hands-on and getting to see what works, what doesn’t work and getting to make those connections with the students. Getting to see those connections that I can make in such a short amount of time has me so excited for my own classroom one day.”

Carr looks forward to helping her students grow academically and personally. In addition to elementary education, Carr is majoring in psychology.

“I’ve seen how much it overlaps with education in understanding not only the students’ minds and how they work in an educational sense, but it also helps me to understand behaviors and how to best manage that,” she said. “In my practicum experiences so far, that has been extremely helpful in trying to understand not just what things look like but what I see going on behind the scenes that will help me help the students better.”

On campus, Carr works parttime as student lab manager in the College of Education’s Irene Howell Assistive Technology (IHAT) Center and in the college’s Academic Success Center. In the IHAT center, ECU student teachers can use and try out assistive technologies to get hands-on experience with how to help students in their classrooms learn best.

Earlier this month, Carr went with the College of Education Living Learning Community to Europe, traveling in three countries over 10 days. They toured a fourth-grade class in Italy, where students were learning English and Arabic. “It was interesting to see that there are a lot of similarities in how we do things, but they had a lot more peer and community involvement through projects,” she said.

Another of Carr’s favorite places was Windsor Castle, where they paid respects to Queen Elizabeth, and saw where her grandson Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were married.

As she prepares for her senior year, Carr recognizes the many resources that ECU provides its students.

“I don’t think I would be in the place that I am and have the confidence that I have in the classroom if I hadn’t had these experiences,” she said. “My teachers have taught me how to care for my students, and they’ve done that through their example of caring for us.”

Instructors have provided guidance in classroom and time management, and how to talk with people other than peers.

“I just finished my psychology degree, and we got to do a resume workshop and interview workshop, all of these things that are preparing us for our next steps,” Carr said. “I have learned so much in my classes. I do not feel like I could go teach an entire classroom right now, but I feel like by the time I finish my senior year I will be overwhelmingly confident in my ability to do so.”

Leah Carr shows some of the resources that teachers use in the classroom.

Leah Carr shows some of the resources that teachers use in the classroom.

This Pirate looks forward to helping elementary students learn and grow.


Name: Leah M. Carr

College: College of Education

Majors: B.S. elementary education, B.A. psychology

Age: 21

Classification/Year: Senior

Hometown: Rocky Mount

Hobbies/interests: Reading books, playing with my dog, spending time with friends, traveling

Clubs and Organizations: Education Living-Learning Community, ECU Honors College, Epsilon Sigma Alpha – Omega Pi Chapter, Education Community of Scholars, Apple Ambassadors



Favorite hangout: By the pool

Favorite place on campus: Alternative study rooms in Joyner Library

Favorite place to eat: La Rancherita

Favorite class: ELEM 3500: Teaching Social Studies in Elementary School with Dr. Mary Huffman

Professor who influenced you the most: Dawn Shelton

Favorite TV show: “Grey’s Anatomy”       

Favorite band/musician: Noah Kahan

Favorite movie: “Kill Bill Vol. 1”

Favorite app: TikTok



Dream job: Elementary teacher

Role model: Dr. Dionna Manning

Your words to live by: “Make yourself a priority. At the end of the day, you are your longest commitment.” – Anupam Kher

What advice do you have for other students? Get involved with organizations on campus!

What is something cool about ECU that you wish you knew during your first year? I wish I had known about all the free resources offered on campus, like the Teacher Resource Center in Joyner Library.

Their production center gives students access to award makers, poster printers and even a Cricut!