Hometown/State: Wake Forest, North Carolina
Incoming EC Scholar Class (year): 2012
Scholarship(s) Awarded: Dowdy Student Stores East Carolina Scholars Award
Major/Intended Major: Biology and Hispanic Studies
Why did you choose to attend East Carolina University?
I chose to attend ECU because of all the university has to offer. By being a part of the EC Scholars Program, I knew that I would have the best of both worlds. I loved knowing that I would have a select group of people to rely on and relate to, yet I would also have access to the resources of a large university. After visiting many different universities throughout my senior year in high school I realized that I felt most at home on ECU's campus. Everyone I met was incredibly welcoming and had so much pirate pride. Additionally, I could not wait to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by the EC Scholars Program since I planned on being very involved, both academically and socially during my time at East Carolina University.
What has your scholarship enabled you to do?
So far, my scholarship has enabled me to make connections with my peers, volunteer within the community, and take part in many different programs and events that are unique to the EC Scholars Program. As an EC Scholar, I have also had the chance to take on leadership roles that I would not have been introduced to otherwise. I am especially thrilled to have the opportunity to study abroad. One of my main areas of study is Hispanic Studies because I am very passionate about the Spanish language and the different cultures associated with it so I have always wanted to spend time studying this subject matter in a country where it originated. With my scholarship, I can now fulfill my life-long desire to spend a semester studying abroad in Spain.
What special undergraduate research opportunities have you experienced at the university?
I am currently working as an undergraduate researcher in the lab of Dr. Ables within the Biology Department here at ECU. Within Dr. Ables' lab I assist in research that uses the fruit fly ovary as a model to study how steroid hormone signaling affects and is related to adult stem cell function. Working as an undergraduate researcher has enabled me to learn many techniques used within a scientific laboratory, such as confocal microscopy, and has also allowed me to gain a great deal of other valuable knowledge and experience. I am beginning work on my own project within Dr. Ables' lab that involves investigation of the role of the gene, Trl, on the maintenance and proliferation of germline stem cells. I plan on continuing my role as an undergraduate researcher throughout my entire undergraduate career at ECU. I truly enjoy and appreciate having the opportunity to take part in research as an undergraduate because I know that the skills and experience I gain now will benefit me in my future endeavors.
What unique leadership opportunities have you experienced at the university?
As an EC Scholar, I have been able to act as a leader among my fellow classmates and within the community by taking part in student organizations and volunteer opportunities. While I have not experienced a great deal of leadership opportunities thus far, I plan to take on different leadership roles within the student organizations I am currently a member of and those that I hope to become involved in, such as the Gamma Beta Phi Honor Society, ALMAS, Honors Ambassadors, and American Medical Student Association (AMSA). Now that I am no longer a freshman EC Scholar I have also realized that I can act as a leader by being a mentor for the incoming class of EC Scholars and Honors College students.
What are your career plans/aspirations?
After completing my four years of undergraduate school at ECU with degrees in Biochemistry and Hispanic Studies I plan on attending medical school in order to become a neurosurgeon.
What extracurricular activities have you participated in during your time at ECU?
I really enjoy participating in extracurricular activities because they enable me to meet different groups of people and get to know what is going on around campus. While at ECU, I have joined clubs and organizations that involve my various interests as a pre-med student, honors student, and Hispanic studies major. I am currently an active member of Golden Key Honor Society, Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, American Medical Student Association (AMSA), the EC Scholars Roundtable, the tutoring program ALMAS, and ECU Medical Global Brigades. I am also participating in the Primary Care Physician Shadowing program this semester which will allow me to shadow physicians in clinical settings and various areas of primary care.