The Pamlico Rose Institute
Growing Community by Preserving History
820 Park Dr. Washington, NC, 27889

About The Pamlico Rose Institute for Sustainable Communities

Fostering the importance of community through research, learning, projects, and programs that encourage preservation, reutilization, and persistence of its historical, social, cultural, economic, and natural environments.

Growing Community by Preserving History

Founded in 2016, the Pamlico Rose Institute for Sustainable Communities (PRISC) is a North Carolina 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to help build and grow community through preserving history.  Located in Washington, NC on the Pamlico River, PRISC fosters the importance of community through projects and programs that encourage preservation, reutilization and persistence of its historical, social, cultural, economic, and natural environments.  PRISC accomplishes this mission through its umbrella program, the Betty Ann Sands Memorial Project Build Community (PBC).

Programs and projects under PBC promote community growth and sustainability through cultural and historic preservation.  In a turbulent social and cultural environment characterizing much of our country today, growing and strengthening communities and developing shared and common identity for all community residents can start to bring people together and heal the ruptured divisions we’re currently experiencing.

Addressing the plight of today’s veterans re-entering and successfully transitioning back into our communities is one of PRISC’s and PBC’s primary goals.  PRISC staff and Board of Directors are passionate about veterans’ issues and consider a strong and sustainable community as critical to their well-being.  Welcoming veterans into our communities brings a diversity of experience, skills, and knowledge that can help to build stronger communities.  Initial PRISC projects model that passion, concern, and hope.

The initial project features building an Historic Enclave by purchasing and rehabilitating “distressed” homes in Washington, NC’s historic district and creating affordable housing for disabled veterans and their families.  Historical enclaves are a distinct yet connected neighborhood of houses linked together by a common landscaped green space.  Enclaves provide an alternative approach to meeting disabled veteran housing, easing physical disabilities and stress-related concerns, and providing a means to connect veterans while immersing them in a local community.

A second project is to acquire an endangered historic property and create a facility for sober living.  Named Rose Haven, this property will support female veterans with substance abuse history as the final step to aid in their recovery to becoming a functioning and fully-engaged member of a community.  In addition, this project will develop a program of social resilience to help with the residents’ transition to living in the community.

Building Community through Public Participation (BCPP) is a third effort under Project Build Community.  This community-based program is designed to forge shared community identity through history, cultural and historical resources, arts, and the greater humanities.  Through partnerships and collaborations between PRISC and other community organizations and nonprofits, BCPP will support programs and projects such as in-residence cultural historians and resource managers, development of public historical products to help bind community identity, workshops and presentations on building community through preserving history, and more.


2017 marks the start of PRISC’s efforts toward building strong and sustainable communities.  PRISC’s staff of CEO Dr. Robert Greene Sands, Project Engineer David Steckel, and Research Associates Dr. Jackie Eller and Dr. Kelly Earp and a very active Board of Directors, anticipate promoting these programs and projects in Washington, NC while modeling our successes to be used in other communities.  PRISC welcomes tax-deductible support of our mission, programs, and projects through financial gifts, donations of materials, time, real estate, and other donations-in-kind.

To Give to PRISC and PBC, please visit our Donation Page.


Robert Greene Sands
Chief Executive Officer

Robert Greene Sands, PhD, is the CEO of Washington, NC’s newest nonprofit organization, the Pamlico Rose Institute for Sustainable Communities.  Sands is an anthropologist whose career spans over 25 years of work in applying theoretical aspects of culture to a diverse set of practical applications to meet organizational and community needs.  He has worked in such areas as archaeology, cultural resource management, and historical preservation in support of Federal agencies.  Sands has been active over the last decade in the design and development of critical culture and language learning programs for the Department of Defense and other US Governmental organizations.

Robert is the author of eight books along with numerous articles and book chapters, and is a frequent speaker and lecturer on the role of culture and language in national security.  Sands’ enduring passion utilizes facets of culture to strengthen and sustain a sense of community that is essential for embracing the rapidly changing social, physical, and cultural landscape that lies at doorsteps in neighborhoods and across the far flung reaches of the planet. Dr. Sands received his PhD in Anthropology from the University of Illinois, a Masters of Anthropology from Iowa State, and his B.S. from Illinois State.  He also spent over fifteen years in Southern California teaching and surfing, while engaging in ethnographic research on sport and culture.  He and his wife, Allison, have a home in Washington, NC.

David Steckel
Project Engineer

David Steckel is recently retired from the USAF, where he was a Test Range Engineer and Environmental Manager.  He has a BS in Aerospace Engineering, and an MS in Engineering with a focus on Product Assurance.  During his time with the USAF he held many positions, including Environmental Restoration Division Chief which led him to a second Masters degree in Bioregional Planning.  He has always been interested in promoting good environmental stewardship.  Adding to his active duty time in the mid-70s, Mr. Steckel volunteered for a year’s deployment in Afghanistan where he served as the Base Master Planner at Bagram Airfield, putting him in charge of inventorying and assigning all land parcels within its 3,700 acre expanse.  The work focused on providing support for over 27,000 U.S. and foreign military, federal civilian, and contract personnel.  This brought him into direct contact with all entities (foreign and domestic) currently existing or newly arrived onto Bagram, siting defensive systems, radar sites, motor pools, office space, as well as retrograde and staging areas.  He is currently a volunteer/member of Team Rubicon which provides disaster relief to those affected by domestic or international natural disasters.  Team Rubicon pairs the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders, medical professionals, and technology solutions.

Jackie Eller
Research Associate

For over 30 years, sociologist Dr. Jackie Eller has been involved in all facets of higher education at Middle Tennessee State University as an acclaimed and awarded professor, as graduate program director, women’s studies program director, Chair of the Sociology and Anthropology Department, and most recently, as Interim Dean of the College of Graduate Studies and Vice-Provost for Research.  Her research and publications include the study of social deviance and sexual assault, “deviant” communities, sociology of emotions and the construction of identity, and women’s issues in general.  Dr. Eller has an acute understanding of what makes a learning program successful in all types of classroom environments, to include faculty preparation and delivery, development of effective curriculum, and appropriate and meaningful assessment.  In her research and teaching, Dr. Eller has forged successful relationships across disciplinary lines in her academic administrative experience while also translating multidisciplinary efforts into successful and effective learning experiences.

Chase Taylor
Community and Civic Engagement and Research Assistant

Chase is currently enrolled at East Carolina University, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Applied Sociology with a minor in History.  He is currently interning at PRISC to learn more about research and community engagement.  His current coursework has him developing skills in research and academic writing.  He plans to pursue a career after graduation in research or a masters degree in sociology.  Chase will be assisting PRISC members over the summer of 2017 with social media, community engagement.