Pollard - Rachel

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EC Scholars - Class of 2014

Rachel Pollard

Hometown/State: Richlands, North Carolina

Incoming EC Scholar Class (year): 2010

Scholarship(s) Awarded: Dowdy Student Stores EC Scholars Award

Major/Intended Major: B.S. Biology/B.A. Chemistry (Pre-Vet)

Why did you choose to attend East Carolina University?

I chose to attend East Carolina University for many reasons. I have a sister who is also a senior at ECU, so naturally I've always had an interest in this university. I also chose to attend this institution for the opportunities I knew awaited me here. Because I was fortunate enough to be selected to receive the Dowdy Student Stores East Carolina Scholar Award, I am no longer just an average student. I have connections that have enabled me to be placed in higher-level courses, be involved in countless meaningful leadership and volunteer opportunities, study abroad, and participate in undergraduate research.

What has your scholarship enabled you to do?

The Dowdy Student Stores East Carolina Scholar Award has relieved me of my worries about paying for college, which has allowed me to explore leadership and volunteer opportunities. If not for this scholarship, I may have chosen to apply for a part-time job as a freshman or sophomore, which would have limited my growth as a leader and volunteer in the Greenville community. Because of the East Carolina Scholar Award, I have been able to play intramural soccer and football, meet an amazing new group of friends, experience numerous leadership opportunities, study terrestrial and marine ecology in Panama, and volunteer at organizations such as the Little Willie Center and the Humane Society of Eastern Carolina.

What special undergraduate research opportunities have you experienced at the university?

I have been involved in two research projects at East Carolina University. During my sophomore year, I assisted an ECU Health Education and Promotion assistant professor with a project aiming to establish a patient navigator system for people living with HIV/AIDS in eastern North Carolina. I helped plan the project, conducted a market analysis of patient navigator systems, and learned the benefits of community based research.  I am also a current research assistant for a Biology professor at ECU. Our project is investigating the validity of a subspecies of Namib darkling beetles. We have received two grants for our project and recently submitted a manuscript, which I co-authored, to ZooKeys.

What unique leadership opportunities have you experienced at the university?

I have been able to participate in numerous leadership organizations, such as the Rising Leaders Circle and Omicron Delta Kappa. The Rising Leaders Circle is an organization that prepares freshmen and sophomore students to apply to Omicron Delta Kappa, a National Leadership Honor Society. As a member of this organization for two years, I was able to learn about leadership and service, participate in many leadership events throughout the school year, and gain valuable leadership skills as Co-Chair and, later, President. During my junior year, I was inducted into Omicron Delta Kappa. 

What are your career plans/aspirations?

I plan to graduate from East Carolina University with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry and pursue a career in veterinary medicine. I hope to practice small animal medicine and specialize in emergency and critical care or surgery.

How have you made a positive impact while you have been at East Carolina University?

As an EC Scholar, I have made a positive impact while I have been at East Carolina University through my volunteer work. As freshmen, my fellow EC Scholars and I spent about two hours every week with residents at Golden Living Center, a local retirement home. Since then, I have volunteered at many other organizations, including the Humane Society of Eastern Carolina, the Little Willie Center, and the Rocking Horse Ranch, an equine center that provides therapy for children and adults with psychological or physical disabilities. Additionally, I served as a Biology tutor at the ECU Pirate Tutoring Center. I believe that I have made a positive impact at ECU by giving back to the community that has allowed me to pursue my career aspirations.