Happy Holidays from Erika and Seth!

Seth_Erika Holiday Card 2014By: Erika Dietrick

From new degrees to new home addresses and from new hobbies to newfound literary confidence, 2014 can only be described as a fast-paced adventure.  Read on to discover our shared and individual triumphs and what we are looking forward to in the new year:

Taking on Grad School: Seth’s Year-in-Review

After a chaotic senior year filled with varsity soccer games, two labor positions, and a senior thesis, Seth graduated magna cum laude from Berea College in May.  Thanks to the credits he received while in high school, Seth was able to graduate in just two years.   Erika couldn’t reach Seth for a comment on this story (because, as Seth put it, “Quotes are stupid.”), but she knows that he misses all of his friends and will always be a mountaineer at heart.

During Seth’s last semester, his senior thesis was accepted into Wittenberg University’s East Asian Studies Journal. He was also notified that he had been accepted to East Carolina University as a Master’s student in Military History.  He earned the Graduate Scholar Award which earned him a full ride at East Carolina.

Over the summer, he spent some time with his family while working at the Brown County Municipal Court.

Seth now has a semester of teaching American History Since 1877 under his belt and was elected Secretary of Phi Alpha Theta, a national History Honor Society. He is also serving as a Contributing Editor to History Matters, an academic journal published by Appalachian State.

Opening New Doors: Erika’s Year-in-Review

Erika began the beginning of this year as a research assistant for Dr. Claudia Jolls.  The lab studies plant ecology, and due to a recent grant, its main focus has been an endangered plant species called Thalictrum cooleyi or Cooley’s meadowrue.  She started out as a volunteer during the spring semester and was hired as a Field Assistant for the summer.  This semester, Erika wrote her Senior Honors Project proposal titled Embryo Development and Seed Viability: A Microscopic View, and she was rewarded an ECU Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement Award (URCA Award) to fund her project.  She was also awarded the Charles Bland Scholarship Award in August.  She wouldn’t want to bore you with too many details, but basically, she has been working very hard and is now organizing her results to (hopefully) be presented at the Association of Southeastern Biologists conference in Chattanooga. (Read more about her URCA grant here.)  She has enjoyed working side-by-side with Dr. Jolls, an incredible mentor, and her graduate student Renee Fortner.

Over the summer, Erika continued to work at the Honors College as a Coordinator of Marketing to save up a little extra money. She took a trip to Ohio to visit her grandparents, Seth, and Seth’s family and spent some quality time with the Dietrick crew.

During her spare time, she devoted much of her time to writing.  Surprising even herself, Erika performed at her first spoken word poetry open-mic night and was later asked to join ECU’s Word of Mouth, the university’s spoken word poetry club.  Spoken word is different from traditional poetry in that it is memorized and performed on stage.  The experience has been nerve-wracking, challenging, and incredibly fun for her.

She submitted some of her short stories and poetry to ECU’s Rebel, a literary arts journal.  She was awarded 2nd place in fiction for The Twirling Effect and 1st place in poetry for Walking Through an Airport Parking Lot.  Her paper on heavy metal music titled Lyrical Likeness: A History of Hatred Despite Metal and Pop Lyric Commonalities was accepted into ECU’s The Lookout.

Lastly, Erika added a Hispanic studies minor to her biology degree. Her restless nature ensures that she doesn’t have too much free time. :)

From Long Distance to Roommates

August 21st marked the end of me and Seth’s 3-and-a-half-year long-distance relationship.  Words cannot describe how happy we are to finally be together.  Thanks to the support of both of our families, we now have a semi-stylish and comfortable 1-bedroom apartment at Campus Towers.  We were grateful just to do the little things together again, like have a meal together or have a face-to-face conversation, but luckily, we got to do a ton of other fun things together this semester.

We FINALLY got to play on an intramural soccer team together, and we also ran in our first 5K together (The Reindeer Dash for Cash).  We struggled through late-night homework, terribly cooked meals, and enormous piles of my clothes.  We traveled back to Ohio for Thanksgiving and took a mini-vacation with my family to Harry Potter World (a.k.a. Seth’s dream come true).

I was hideously messy, and Seth was predictably a smart-elic, but we’re both looking forward to many more years of bugging each other.

What’s in Store for 2015

Seth will begin his 2nd and final year of graduate school, and Erika will begin her senior year of undergraduate.  Neither are completely sure what they want to do after graduation, so they’ll still avoid answering any of those questions for a little while. :)

A trip to the Women’s World Cup is in the works, and after that, they will eat only beans for a long, long time.

In an ideal world, they will both also get in shape, write a book, and get a handle on what they might like to pursue…fingers crossed!

Thanks for a Great Year

Thank you to everyone who has left their mark on our 2014. We consider ourselves lucky to be where we are today and to be surrounded by all of our friends, family, and coworkers.  Happy Holidays, and we wish all of you a fantastic new year!


Erika and Seth











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