Owens - Brenna

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EC Scholars - Class of 2015

Brenna Owens

Hometown/State: Greenville, North Carolina

Incoming EC Scholar Class (year): 2011

Scholarship(s) Awarded: Dowdy Student Stores East Carolina Scholars Award

Major/Intended Major: Biochemistry

Why did you choose to attend East Carolina University? 

Growing up in Greenville, NC I have been immersed in the traditions etc. of the Pirate Nation but it wasn't until my senior year in high school where I finally realized all of the amazing opportunities I would be able to experience only by attending ECU. I feel that by choosing to attend ECU I have been granted the opportunity to receive an education that will prepare me best for my future success.

What has your scholarship enabled you to do?

So far my scholarship has allowed me the chance to meet and work with a bright group of students. My scholarship has also enabled me to have access to many valuable resources that I will need in order to become a successful leader. Being an EC scholar has given me the chance to study abroad for an entire semester, allowing me to experience a new culture and explore a new place. Being an EC scholar has and will continue to lead me on the path towards reaching my goals of becoming a successful professional and a valuable leader in society.

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

Since I began my undergraduate studies at East Carolina University in 2011, I have experienced a few very special undergraduate research opportunities. The first project that I became involved in was actually a community-based research project completed with the help of the Department of Geography. We worked with the Hispanic/Latino immigrant population of Pitt County to assess what issues or struggles they face assimilating into society. After conducting our research, we worked to connect this population with available resources in the area to help empower them. 

I have also been very active in conducting research in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology under the supervision of Dr. Kyle Mansfield at the Brody School of Medicine. In Dr. Mansfield’s lab I have been allowed the opportunity to study the cellular response to hypoxia and hypoglycemia in both rat and human cells. Having the chance to explore the unknown while conducting research in a biochemistry laboratory as an undergraduate, has allowed me the opportunity to learn so much while also allowing me to make a personal contribution to the world of scientific knowledge.

What unique leadership opportunities have you experienced at the university? 

I have been able to gain an immense amount of leadership experience through acting as the Vice President and now, President of the ECU Chemistry Club, becoming an Honors Ambassador and through being an active member of Omicron Delta Kappa (a national leadership honor society). I have gained experience in planning meetings and events, coordinating service projects and fundraisers, leading and recruiting new students for the Honors College and the Chemistry Department, and so much more. These type of experiences have helped developed me into leader who is capable of working to bring a larger group of people together and accomplishing something great.

What are your career plans/aspirations? 

Upon graduating from East Carolina University, I hope to attend the Gillings School of Public Health at UNC Chapel Hill, where I will work towards receiving a Masters in Public Health and Ph.D. in Social Epidemiologist. I hope to then work for the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta conducting research on the cultural and societal factors associated with chronic disease in minority populations.

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

One of the most rewarding ways in which I have been able to make a positive impact at East Carolina University, is by acting as a Pirate to Pirate Mentor. I have been able to connect with first-year students on campus and assist them in their transition to independence. Through these connections, I feel as though I have been able to act as a big sister to many new students and provide advice about classes, the importance of time management, networking, getting involved in service and student organizations, etc. that I wished someone had given me as a first year student. In this way I believe I’ve positively impacted other students, who have also positively impacted even more students.