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Pieces of Eight

Ketura Parker, graduate administrator for ECU's English department, represents children's best interests in Juvenile Court as a guardian ad litem. She researches cases, interviews those associated with the case, and speaks on behalf of the children in court. (Photo by Joy Holster)

Parker Goes Extra Mile to Improve Lives of Others

In coordination with the Recognition and Rewards Committee of the ECU Staff Senate, the Pieces of Eight series honoring exceptional ECU staff members recognizes Ketura Parker.

By Judy Currin

Whether at work, at church or in the courthouse, Ketura Parker is committed to improving the lives of other people.

Parker is graduate administrator for the East Carolina University English department. “Ketura is a considerable asset to our department,” said Dr. Bruce Southard, English Department chair.

“Her good humor and work ethic characterize this dynamic, dedicated professional,” he said.

As a volunteer guardian ad litem (guardian at law) with the Pitt County Program since 2004, Parker does extensive research into the cases of children who have been the victims of abuse or neglect, G.A.L. District Administrator for Pitt County, Catherine Darby said.

“Along with an attorney advocate, she represents the children’s best interests in the Juvenile Court,” Darby said.

According to Parker, “Our main focus is on the child, and on making sure they have a safe and permanent home.”

In her role as guardian ad litem, she speaks with the families, social workers, police officers and any other person involved in the case. In court, she speaks on behalf of the child.

Parker said it takes incredible effort for her not to become too emotionally involved in each case.

“We seek reunification with the family,” Parker said. “If that is not possible then we work towards creating a permanent plan for the child who was removed from his or her home.”

The courts aren’t the only place where Parker takes the extra step.

“I love interacting with the students at ECU,” said Parker, who came to the university in 2003 after earning her undergraduate degree in political science from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

“I like giving them the information they need to succeed and go to that next level. I’m glad I’m in a position to be knowledgeable about what our department can offer.”

Parker also offers her time to Wells Chapel Church of God in Christ where her father, Austin, serves as pastor. She volunteers as interim executive secretary for the church and as a sound technician, making sure all microphones are ready for every service.

Her technical skills are also a help at work. She is responsible for setting up presentations for the department. “In the Bate Building I’m referred to as an audio-visual technician,” she said.

She also takes care of changing the screen saver on her desk computer every month, swapping images each month for a new model of luxury car.

“I’m enthralled with luxury cars.” Parker said. She researches and downloads just about every model created — Mercedes, Rolls Royces, Bentleys, Maseratis, Aston Martins, BMWs — the list goes on. Once a month she changes the screen.

“I call it the Car of the Month,” she said, laughing. Parker vows to own one of these fine cars one day. The current feature is a 2006 Rolls Royce Corniche Convertible. For now, Ketura Parker, humanitarian at heart, is content with her Mazda 626.

This page originally appeared in the April 17, 2006 issue of Pieces of Eight. Complete issue is archived at