EC Scholars - Class of 2015
Hometown/State: Davidson, North Carolina
Incoming EC Scholar Class (year): 2011
Scholarship(s) Awarded: Helen McLawhorn Memorial East Carolina Scholars Award
Major/Intended Major: Nursing
Why did you choose to attend East Carolina University?
The first time I visited East Carolina University I knew that I had set foot on the campus that I would be spending the next four years of my life at. While taking a tour of ECU I found the interaction among students, staff and community gives the large university the small town college feel that I longed for. I knew I would not be a number at a large university, instead I would stand out as a uniquely individual student. Everyone at East Carolina University contributed to the spirit that the Pirate Nation is known for. Over the past four years, East Carolina University has become my home away from home.
What has your scholarship enabled you to do?Being an EC Scholar has given me countless opportunities to travel, conduct research and serve the Pitt County community. One of my favorite college memories was the opportunity to explore the world through a study abroad experience funded through EC Scholars Scholarship. During the summer of 2012 I had the privilege to travel to Antigua, Guatemala with Dr. Kim Larson of the College of Nursing. The experience truly changed my life by opening my eyes to extreme poverty as well as the differences in health care through out the world. I was able to live with a host family, take Spanish classes each day, and travel to remote villages to provide medical care and knowledge to women and children. I experienced once in a lifetime medical diagnosis including intestinal worms and a wound caused by a machete. The experiences, memories and gains in knowledge I made, inspire me to continue to use my talents around the world and have caused me to consider other roles in Nursing.
It is not only the physical scholarship but also the program in which the scholarship comes from that has bettered me as a student. Through the program, I have formed strong friendships with people who strive for a brighter future as leaders and who are actively involved in the school and community. I have been able to receive intimate attention from a faculty and staff that genuinely care about my school, health and goals and have provided valuable advice for my future. I feel that the EC Scholars program and scholarship have brought into my life a support system and a close family.
What special undergraduate research opportunities have you experienced at the university?During the spring semester of 2013 I was given the privilege to work under the mentorship of Dr. Suzanne Lazorick of the Brody School of Medicine, along with her two graduate assistants and a fellow EC Scholar. Our project titled “Improving Implementation of the Middle School Physical Activity Component of the NC Healthy Active Children Policy” reviewed the Healthy Active Children Policy that was implemented in 2006 in an attempt to address childhood obesity in North Carolina. Our purpose was to determine if school districts throughout North Carolina had created and implemented a wellness policy and identify barriers that schools face when it comes to the implementation of these policies. I was able to learn that not all research takes place in a lab with test tubes and microscope, which really helped to expand my skills as a student.Entering into my senior year I am now focused on conducting research independently in order to complete my Honors Thesis.
Over the next year I will explore reintegration programs in the education system for young students who are facing chronic illnesses such as Asthma and Cancer. After conducting an extensive literature review, I will be completing a 120-hour honors capstone, which will allow me to interact and engage students in schools and in the community in order to focus on the management of chronic illnesses among school-age children. This opportunity will not only increase my nursing skills, but also provide me with a better understanding of how to interact among children and parents facing illness once I graduate.