OFALD Notable Alumni Archives

Becky Gilbird, MPH, CHSE, CHSOS-A

Administrative Director, Office of Clinical Simulation
Master of Public Health with a concentration in Public Health Analysis and Management, ECU, (’10)

Becky began her career in healthcare simulation in graduate school, by joining the East Carolina Heart Institute Robotic Surgery Training Program. In 2016, she transitioned to the Interprofessional Clinical Simulation Program at BSOM. There, she works with the amazing Sim Lab team to create impactful educational programs for students and providers throughout Eastern NC.

Becky is both a Certified Healthcare Simulation Educator and Certified Healthcare Simulation Operations Specialist – Advanced. She is also an accreditation site reviewer for the Society for Simulation in Healthcare, which allows her to travel to other simulation centers across the country to ensure their programs meet simulation best practices. Becky presents annually at the International Meeting for Simulation in Healthcare and has co-authored several publications related to healthcare simulation.

Becky has participated in the ECU Staff Senate, Chancellors Leadership Academy, and was a recipient of the 2023 ECU Treasured Pirate Award. She is excited about the continued growth of the BSOM simulation program and upcoming expansion into the new medical education building.

In her free time, she enjoys traveling with her husband, Neil, reading, gardening, and being a dog mom. If you stop by her office, she will show you pictures of her dog, Daisy, modeling a variety of hats!

Adam Burch

PhD Candidate in Biomedical Science with a concentration in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
B.S. Biochemistry ECU 2019

Adam received a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from ECU in 2019. During his time as an undergraduate, he participated in undergraduate research in the labs of Dr. Brian Love and Dr. Robert Hughes where he developed a love for the sometimes frustrating but ultimately rewarding process of research. He received the outstanding senior in biochemistry and graduated with honors leading him to further pursue a career in scientific research.

Adam is now a fourth year PhD Candidate in the department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. He works in the lab of Dr. Ruth Schwalbe, studying the role of N-glycosylation in the progression of the pediatric cancer neuroblastoma.

When he is not in the lab performing western blots or doing cell culture; Adam can be found playing music, spending time with friends/family, or “knee deep in the water somewhere.”

Dana Shefet

Current M3 and Brody Scholar, (’25)
BS, Public Health and minors in mathematics, nutrition, natural sciences, ECU, (’21)

Dana Shefet is a 3rd year medical student at the Brody School of Medicine. She graduated from East Carolina University’s Honors College as a Brinkley-Lane Scholar, the most prestigious award program offered at East Carolina University. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.S. in Public Health and minors in Nutrition, Mathematics, and Natural Sciences. In undergrad, Dana was a researcher in the Food-based Early Education (FEEd) Lab, a program that focuses on childhood overweight prevention in low-income communities and has multiple publications for her work. Dana received the Michael F. Bassman Honors College Research Award and the Robert H. Wright Leadership Award, the most distinguished award given to undergraduate seniors at ECU upon graduation.

In medical school, Dana is a Brody Scholar and stays involved serving the Eastern North Carolina community through her work in the Service Learning Distinction Track and as a coordinator in the Pitt County Care Clinic, a free clinic for the underinsured and uninsured people of Pitt County. She also spent 3 weeks of her M1 summer traveling to the Himalayas providing acute medical care to patients. She holds a national role through the American Academy of Family Physicians as a Well Being Champion, a role in which she advocates for students’ mental health. She has served as the President of both the Family Medicine Interest Group and Brody Ambassadors, an organization which connects medical students with undergraduates at ECU interested in pursuing a career in medicine.

She is excited to be applying for Family Medicine residencies in her M4 year and spends her free time reading, running, traveling, spending time with family, and chatting with anyone and everyone!

Savanna Williams

PhD student in Biomedical Sciences, Pharmacology & Toxicology Concentration

BS, Biology with a concentration in Molecular and Cellular Biology and a minor in Psychology, ECU, (’18)

Savanna received a Bachelor of Science in Biology with a concentration in Molecular and Cellular Biology and a minor in Psychology from ECU in 2018. During her time as an undergraduate, she was a Chancellor’s Fellow in the ECU honors college and was given the opportunity to experience undergraduate research in both biomedical engineering and kinesiology.

She is now a second year PhD student pursuing a PhD in Biomedicine with a concentration in Pharmacology and Toxicology. Under the mentorship of Dr. Jacques Robidoux, her work seeks to understand the relationship of certain inflammatory cytokines in the pathology of cardiac fibrosis, using a 3-D organoid model.

In her free time, she enjoys baking and participating in the “Mutt Strutters” volunteer group, which exercises and socializes dogs from the Pitt County Animal Shelter.


Jedediah S. Smith

Data Analyst and Instructional Consultant, Office of Data Analysis and Strategy
MS, Instructional Technology, ECU, (’14)

Jed has been involved with education for over 25 years. He first began his career as a high school science teacher with Pitt County Schools. He went back to school to get his master’s degree so that he could further impact student outcomes by improving the development and delivery of instruction. He began working at the Brody School of Medicine in 2017 as a curriculum facilitator for the Office of Medical Education and was working deeply with data related to learner outcomes and LCME accreditation. He was hired as the first employee in the newly formed Office of Data Analysis and Strategy and is currently devoted to improving outcomes for Academic Affairs programs and offices through the development of data analytics and reporting innovations throughout Brody’s ecosystem.

Jed is a servant leader in the community. He has been an avid supporter of science opportunities for young people. He and his wife organized and ran the first elementary Science Olympiad tournament in the east. He also has devoted time to the area through his work in youth sports. He currently works with the Pitt-Greenville Soccer Association to improve the development of coaches of local teams. Dozens of his former students and players have graduated from Brody and are changing the region through their contributions to scientific advancement and health outcomes in eastern North Carolina. Their successes are the culmination of his career mission to help others grow and change the world.

James E. deVente MD, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Medical Director of Obstetrics at East Carolina University Health Medical Center

MS, Biology, ECU, (’92)
PhD in Microbiology and Immunology at Brody School of Medicine, (’96)
MD, ECU Brody School of Medicine, (’01)

Dr. James E. deVente is an academic obstetrician and gynecologist, tenured associate professor in the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Brody School of Medicine and Medical Director of Obstetrics at East Carolina University Health Medical Center. Dr. deVente has been practicing obstetrics and gynecology, educating residents, medical students, and graduate students in eastern North Carolina for more than 20 years. He has published more than 30 peer-reviewed articles and has procured both intramural and extramural funding for research and/or educational efforts. His primary areas of research focus on clinical quality and safety, insulin signaling, obesity, and exercise in pregnancy. Dr. deVente serves as the OB Medical Director for ECU Health and is very involved in education and simulation across the 29 counties of eastern NC through ECU Health Perinatal Outreach. He currently is the Maternal Clinical Leader for the Perinatal Quality Collaborative of NC and serves on the NC Maternal Mortality Rate Committee. He recently received East Carolina University Brody School of Medicine’s Master Educator award and in 2020 he received the Harold C. Pollard III Award, NC OB and GYN Society. He truly has a servant’s heart. His overall professional goal and mission is to make eastern North Carolina a better place to be born.

Michael Wright

B.S. Public Health (‘21)
MBA (’22)
Current M2 (‘26)

Michael Wright is a second-year medical student at the Brody School of Medicine. He graduated from East Carolina University’s Honors College as a Chancellor’s Fellow with a B.S. in Public Health and an MBA prior to his matriculation to Brody. As an Eastern North Carolina native, Michael takes pride in giving back to his community. This spring, Michael was the event coordinator for Brody’s Pirates vs Cancer event, where he helped raise over $20,000 and shaved his head in support of local Pediatric Cancer patients at ECU Health’s Maynard Children’s hospital. Alongside his friends, Michael helped found the Brody Coaches Association, a community outreach group partnered with Greenville Parks & Rec, aimed at creating a safe environment for children to grow through recreational sports while sparking excitement for science at an early age. As a LINC Scholar in the Health System Transformation and Leadership distinction track, Michael has received training in patient safety, quality improvement and population health, and is currently working on a QI project in ECU’s Pediatric Medicine clinic. He hopes to use his experiences and education from Brody to one day become a Physician in Eastern North Carolina.

In his free time, Michael enjoys spending time with his friends and family, grilling out and cheering on the Pirates!

Alexander Hondros

PhD Candidate, Biomedical Science with a concentration in Biochemistry and Molecular Cell Biology

BS, Molecular Cell Biology with a minor in German, 2020

Alex Hondros is a fourth year PhD candidate at Brody School of Medicine in the Biomedical Sciences program concentrating in Biochemistry and Molecular Cell Biology. He graduated from East Carolina University in 2020, majoring in molecular cell biology with a minor in German. Over the course of his undergraduate studies, he was a member of the Biology Living Learning Community. His love for science became apparent during his freshmen year while participating in undergraduate research as he continued undergraduate research all four years. He is grateful to ECU’s research program for the opportunity to learn a wide variety of techniques even before beginning his doctorate. Alex has participated in several research projects focused on neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease, the effects of ozone exposure on bacterial Pneumonia susceptibility, and is currently a member of the Cavanagh lab investigating new potential therapeutic targets of bacterial protection mechanisms that contribute to the appearance of antibiotic resistance.

When not in the lab, Alex spends most of his time with his lab mates from the Cavanagh lab who have become close. They are even all residents of a house turned quadplex rightfully dubbed the “Cavanagh House”. He also enjoys outdoor activities including scuba diving, receiving his certification from ECU’s scuba class.

Jennifer Cranford

Director, Office of Student Affairs Brody School of Medicine

MAEd, Adult Education (Certificate in Student Affairs in Higher Education), 2023

BS, Hospitality Management (minor Business Admin), 2018


Jennifer currently serves as Director at the Brody School of Medicine in the Office of Student Affairs. While working full-time, being a wife and mother, and attending school online, Jennifer was able to maintain a 4.0 GPA, citing BSOM students as her inspiration to continue her education. Prior to joining the Brody Family, Jennifer worked for ECU Transit as an undergraduate student, working as both a student bus operator and a student transit supervisor for 3 years. After graduating from ECU, Jennifer worked for the City of Greenville as a Transit Supervisor, serving in the Public Works Department with the Greenville Area Transit System. Jennifer started her career in OSA as the Program Coordinator in the office before being promoted to Director in March 2022. She has a passion for fostering a safe, supportive, and welcoming environment where all students can achieve their academic and personal goals. Her commitment to the Office of Student Affairs and the mission of the Brody School of Medicine is palpable in all aspects of her work. Jennifer has a devotion to lifelong learning and hopes to continue furthering her education as well as make a positive impact at the Brody School of Medicine.

Outside of work and the classroom, Jennifer enjoys reading, cooking, traveling, and spending time with her family. A former intern at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, FL in 2016, Jennifer and her husband try to sneak down to Orlando once or twice a year to visit Mickey Mouse and his pals with their 3-year-old daughter, Charlotte!

Tracey Woodlief, PhD

Tracey Woodlief

Research Instructor, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology

BS, Biology, 2001

MS, Biology, 2005

PhD, Bioenergetics and Exercise and Sports Science, 2011

Dr. Tracey Woodlief is a faculty member at the Brody School of Medicine in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology. She graduated from East Carolina University in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology, in 2005 with a Master of Science in Biology, and in 2011 with a PhD in Bioenergetics and Exercise and Sports Science. After completing a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh and then the Translational Research Institute for Metabolism and Diabetes, she went on to serve as a Clinical Research Scientist within the Global Robotics Institute before returning to East Carolina University to complete her postdoctoral training in cancer biology and toxicology and then transitioning to research faculty. Her research interests include how peroxisomes drive health and disease, especially within the reproductive system and cancer models and following environmental exposures. Additionally, she is actively mentoring two high school students through the Honors Medical program, two doctoral students and numerous other laboratory students.

Dr. Woodlief enjoys spending time with her daughter, traveling the world, and cooking. She also enjoys teaching and being a life-long learner.