Goel - Leela

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EC Scholars Class of 2016

Leela Goel

Hometown/State: Raleigh, NC

Incoming EC Scholar Class (year): 2012

Scholarship(s) Awarded: Henry G. and Nancy Williamson Leadership East Carolina Scholars Award

Major/Intended Major:  Biomedical Engineering, Minor in Mathematics

Why did you choose to attend East Carolina University?

All of the faculty and staff that I met when visiting ECU made me feel at home. The Honors College staff made me feel especially welcome at ECU and I was confident that I would be able to accomplish all of the academic and professional goals I had for my undergraduate education at ECU.

What has your scholarship enabled you to do?

This scholarship has given me the freedom to be a truly full time student at ECU.  I am very fortunate that I do not have to worry about paying back student loans or affording to pay for my college education.  This allows me to focus on learning and participating in activities that interest me. 

The study abroad stipend also allowed me to study in India during the summer of 2013.  Without this stipend, I doubt that I would have ever had the opportunity to experience going to another country without my family and gaining a deeper appreciation for Indian culture. 

During the Spring of 2014, I also had the opportunity to travel to Washington, DC with my fellow EC Scholars.  We had the opportunity to get a behind the scenes tour of the Smithsonian and learn about the research that goes on there.  This helped me see the variety and breadth of research that can be done.

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

This will be my third year working in ECU's biomechanics lab, which is part of the Department of kinesiology.  I have learned a lot about the field of biomechanics, including the related anatomy and physiology, different areas of research in this field, clinical/medical applications of this research, and the types of technologies used in this field which include ultrasound and motion capture. 

I was a recipient of an Spring 2013 ECU Undergraduate Research and Creativity Activity reward, presented at the State of North Carolina Undergraduate Research Symposium (SNCURCS) during the Fall of 2013, and presented at ECU's Research and Creativity Week (RCAW) during the Spring of 2014. 

I am currently developing an automated ultrasound image processing algorithm using Matlab to create a more efficient way to analyze muscle movements from ultrasound images. All of the faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students in the lab are great mentors and help me learn how to be a better researcher.  I look forward to continuing my work this year!

What unique leadership opportunities have you experienced at the university?

During the Fall 2013-Spring 2014 school year, I was President-Elect of ECU's Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), a volunteer tutor for the Pirate Tutoring Center (PTC), and co-chair for the ECU Honors College Recruitment Committee. This year, I will be President of the Biomedical engineering society and continue tutoring for the PTC.  This will also be my second year in a row serving as student leader for the annual Freshman Honors College Service Day.

What are your career plans/aspirations?

I want to become a medical researcher when I grow up.  I love research and I really like the idea of doing clinically applicable and translational research which I feel can make a direct, positive impact in health care.  I plan to pursue an MD/PhD program upon graduation and currently have interests in medical imaging, orthopedics, surgery, and medical devices.  Admittedly this is a very broad list, but at this point in my career I think that EVERYTHING is interesting and I like to think that's not a bad thing.  

With each medical and research experience I have (including doing basic science research at the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences; working in ECU's biomechanics lab; and participating in the East Carolina Heart Institute/Honors College summer internship program), I become more passionate in my desire to make a positive impact through medical research as a physician scientist.

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

One of the biggest positive impacts I have had while at ECU is my experience as a tutor at the PTC.  I really enjoy helping students not only do well in their classes, but really understand the content and be able to apply this information to other classes.  One of the best feelings in the world is showing a student how to approach a problem and watching them not only finish the rest of their assignment on their own, but also helping out their other classmates who have similar problems!  I really enjoy helping students take control of their education and look forward to continuing to tutor this year.