Vaughan - Thomas

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EC Scholars - Class of 2015

Thomas Vaughan

Hometown/State: Murfreesboro, North Carolina

Incoming EC Scholar Class (year): 2011

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

Major/Intended Major: Applied Atmospheric Science

Why did you choose to attend East Carolina University?

Coming from a school with fewer students than most freshman Biology classes, I always knew I wanted to attend a large university with many opportunities for involvement. Because my mom graduated from ECU, I grew up an avid Pirate fan, attending many football and basketball games. I applied to many colleges, but ECU and the town of Greenville consistently stood out to me when it came to school spirit -- something that was very important to me. I was also excited to learn that my major, Applied Atmospheric Science, was added to ECU's catalog in 2010, and the idea of being a part of this new major and the new Honors College appealed to me. All of this combined with receiving the EC Scholars Award made ECU the obvious choice.

What has your scholarship enabled you to do?

I love to travel, but have never had the opportunity to travel outside of the United States. My scholarship has given me the opportunity to participate in a study abroad experience which probably would not have been possible otherwise. The scholarship has also helped relieve the burden of paying for college, and given me the opportunity to save money for graduate school and beyond. Instead of worrying about where I'm going to get the money to pay the next bill, I can focus my energy on academic performance and engaging in activities across campus.

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

ECU will give me many opportunities to engage in research, such as conducting a senior honors project. Additionally, the atmospheric science major within the geography department provides research internships in areas such as hydrology, El Niño and global precipitation, the biosphere-atmosphere interaction, climate variability and prediction, hurricanes and cloud systems, and satellite and radar meteorology.

What unique leadership opportunities have you experienced at the university?

As an EC Scholar I am expected to lead by serving others in the community and beyond. During my tenure at ECU, I also plan to become involved with a variety of organizations on campus, including Student Government and the ECU Ambassadors. Through these programs, I will serve as a role model for my fellow pirates while enhancing my leadership skills and making a positive contribution to ECU.

What are your career plans/aspirations?

By studying changes in the atmosphere, predicting weather conditions, and informing the public, atmospheric scientists save lives. Because I have always been captivated by weather and the environment, I am excited to be a part of ECU's brand new Applied Atmospheric Science major. After graduating from ECU, I intend to continue my education and obtain my masters degree and perhaps a PhD in meteorology. I hope to work for either the National Hurricane Center as a hurricane specialist, the National Weather Service as a meteorologist in a forecast center, a private corporation which relies on weather reports, or at a university as a professor of meteorology.

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

Through conducting community service, assisting in planning campus events, volunteering with campus organizations, and maintaining high academic standards, I will have a positive impact on East Carolina.

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