When he was very young, Donyai Moffatt took his first plane trip to visit his grandmother in Ohio, and from that very first flight, he knew that he wanted to be involved in aviation, somehow, somewhere. Eventually, that interest took him to ECSU, because it has one of the few university-level academic degree programs in aviation. But first, he had to grow up in Kinston, NC without a father around. A tragedy had deprived him of his two grandparents on his mother’s side, but he grew up loved and supported by his mother, his godmother and his maternal grandmother.
“These three women - my mom, my godmother and my grandmother - were there every step of the way for me and what one could not provide financially, emotionally, or physically, the other two would make up for it and cover our needs. Upon my enrollment at ECSU, my mom had been unemployed for a year. I worked three jobs that freshman year - in the Registrar’s Office, through my mentors Vincent Beamon and Mable Riddick, yard work for Roosevelt Walker, and at a local restaurant, to which I transferred from my hometown of Kinston. It was a good year, because I finished my first year with a 3.9 GPA and my mom found a job after 28 months of searching. Since then, I’ve received a Thurgood Marshall College Foundation (TMCF) Scholarship for Miller-Coors, been a national winner for Toyota’s Green Campus Contest, elected Mr. Elizabeth City State University 2014-2015, became the only freshman to be selected from ECSU as a Leadership Institute attendee for TMCF, earned a summer internship at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, and I have to say, to paraphrase Nietzsche, “that which did not kill us (myself and mother) made me/us stronger”. I appreciate the honor of this profile, but the person who deserves it more is my mom, Cleo Patterson.”
“I was lucky. I could have migrated to the streets like some of my high school classmates did, but I had loving support all around me, even though we didn’t have much. And the great thing about ECSU is that it’s really a family away from home. They support you when you need it, push you when you might not be trying hard enough and, overall, are there to help you do what you’re capable of doing.”
“And, speaking about support, I have to mention four special people without whom I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish all I’ve done here at ECSU. Two are professors, two are staff employees. Professor Robin Mangham, retired US Navy, taught me what I needed to know about Air Traffic Control. She has always encouraged me to do my best no matter how large the challenge, and has answered my questions when I needed the help. Aviation Science Professor Orestes Gooden’s passion for encouraging young men like me to make something of themselves has motivated me to do the same for the younger students I’ve met. He gave me support when I needed it, showed tough love when that was called for, and wrote the recommendation letters I needed. Outside the classroom, Ms. Markitta Whitehurst-McClean, director of Career Services, has worked with me (and many others) to sharpen my professional skills and make me aware of the many opportunities in the world. Ms. Danielle Fox, the counselor/coordinator for the Vikings Assisting New Students (V.A.N.S) program, introduced me to the program and has given me the chance to help freshman students by hiring me as a V.A.N.S associate. This wonderful program for first year students helped me immeasurably and I have been giving back through the program ever since.”
Donyai has big plans for his future. Upon graduation, he may stay in Elizabeth City and create a youth partnership organization if he can get corporate sponsorships. Eventually, he wants to work in air traffic control or in airport management, doing his part to make the skies safer and the process on the ground smoother.
Favorite place on campus: My favorite place on campus besides my organization’s Greek plot would be the picnic area outside of the New Student Center. This area is relaxing and is well shaded with the umbrellas. You could eat your takeout meals and still enjoy a beautiful day with a nice breeze.
Professor who has influenced you the most: The professor that has influenced me the most has been Ms. Robin Mangham. She never left me with a question unanswered and always encouraged me to do my best no matter how large the challenge. She has been the best academic advisor a student could ask for. Orestes Gooden is also a favored professor. He shown tough love when I needed it, shown emotions when I needed it, wrote recommendation letters when I needed it, and has been there to tell me everything that I was going through in school would pay off when I needed it the most. I also have two faculty and staff member that I would like mentioned Â¾ Mrs. Makitta-Whitehurst-McLean, and Danielle Fox. Mrs. Makitta-Whitehurst-McLean, director of Career Services has worked with me hands-on to sharpen my professional skills. Ms. Danielle Fox, coordinator of Viking Assisting New Students (V.A.N.S), has given me the chance to help freshman students by hiring me as a V.A.N.S.Â She provided the best advice as a counselor.
Advice for other students: The advice I would give to students is to “Elevate Higher, Emerge Stronger”. Once you attend ECSU as a freshman, you have taken that step to elevate higher by furthering your education, but that is only half the battle; you have to use the family and opportunities that ECSU provides to emerge stronger.