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 1000 level 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?

One of the major things that my scholarship has given me is the opportunity to expand my horizons by studying abroad in Italy for a semester.  This has allowed me to not only study a new language, but learn more about a different culture and become immersed in the Italian way of life.  The scholarship has also relieved the burden of paying for college, allowing me 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?

Through EC Scholars, I had the opportunity during my sophomore year to participate in the Engagement and Outreach Scholars Academy.  I was paired with faculty from the School of Art and Design, along with another EC Scholar and graduate student to work on a research project exploring sense of place and the notion of community in the Roanoke-Chowan area of North Carolina.  This project was of particular interest to me because I am from the area of study, and it gave me a unique perspective of the place I’ve always called home.  The project also aided the newly opened ECU School of Dental Medicine Dental Service Learning Clinic in Ahoskie, NC in becoming aquatinted with the community it will serve.  Additionally, with the aid of faculty from the ECU Honors College and the Department of Geography, Planning, and the Environment, I was selected as a 2013 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Hollings Scholar.  This national scholarship program, which is designed for students interested in pursuing careers related to the ocean and atmospheric sciences, provided me with a summer research internship at the Pacific ENSO Applications Climate Center in Honolulu, Hawaii  where I completed a project titled, “Seasonal Rainfall Variability and Forecasts for the Hawaiian Islands.”  Finally, as a senior, I am currently working on my senior honors project, which will focus on the 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season.

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. I have been fortunate to serve on various different committees of the Honors Ambassadors throughout my college career, including several co-chair leadership positions.  Additionally, I represent the university in an official capacity as an ECU Ambassador. ECU Ambassadors work to bridge the gap between prospective students (by giving campus tours), current students (by representing the student body at numerous events and applying the university’s motto, “To Serve,” through community service), and alumni (by interacting with alumni from the university).

What are your career plans/aspirations?

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 in meteorology. I hope to work for the National Weather Service as a meteorologist in a forecast center, a private corporation which relies on weather reports, or as a broadcast meteorologist.

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.