Harrison - Kali

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EC Scholars - Class of 2015

Kali Harrison

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.

What unique leadership opportunities have you experienced at the university?

As an EC Scholar and Honors College student I have used my skills as a leader to become a representative of East Carolina University. During my Freshman year I was accepted into the ECU Ambassadors, the face of the University. As an elite group of students we are able to serve our school and the surrounding community through service to the Dean of Students Office, the Alumni, staff, faculty and students of ECU as well as the surrounding community. I have been able to express my excitement for the university and share my experiences to potential and new pirates along with our large group of alumni that make up the Pirate Nation as a Tour Guide. In the past, I have acted as a committee chair for Homecoming competitions as well as for our Annual Special Populations Prom, a prom for individuals who have special needs.  Recently, I have taken an executive position with in the organization and am currently the Vice President of Membership Development. My responsibilities include recruiting new Ambassadors as well as growing the bond between our members and their skills as leaders.

What are your career plans/aspirations?

Upon entering into East Carolina University College of Nursing I was set on the field of Pediatric Oncology as I have an extreme passion for childhood cancer awareness and the children that are affected by cancer. This field truly captured my heart during my high school years when I saw the strength and spirit that children affected by cancer have during my time volunteering at Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte. However, while my passion for Pediatric Oncology still remains my experiences in my clinical rotations have made me aware of the many opportunities that are available in the field of Nursing. Currently, I am exploring options in Labor and Delivery as well as Peace Corp Nursing.

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

Servire, to serve, is the motto for East Carolina University and over the past two years it has continued to be a main part of my life. Attending a university that encourages it’s students to give back to their school as well as the surrounding community has pushed me to become involved in as many service opportunities as possible. Being an active member in Gamma Sigma Sigma, the national service sorority, as well as The East Carolina Ambassadors I have been given a wide variety of volunteer chances including working with Riley’s Army, The American Red Cross, MADD, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and many others. I have always had a servant’s heart and found that Mark Twain’s words “The best way to cheer yourself is to try to cheer someone else up” hold true when serving others. You not only impact those who you are helping but you also impact your own life. One such event that has impacted my life is the Special Populations Prom that the ECU Ambassadors host every spring. This prom gives those who have special needs within Pitt County a chance to experience a night that they may not have had. From scratch our organization plans a prom including themes, decorations, food and pictures. Each year parents and care givers tell us of the excitement and anticipation their loved ones have for this evening. It’s incredible how everything seems so perfect in that one night. The smiles and laughter truly show me that being different is beautiful.