Hometown/State: Raleigh, NC
Incoming EC Scholar Class (year): 2012
Scholarship(s) Awarded: Elmer Haskell East Carolina Scholars Award
Major/Intended Major: Business Management (Small Business & Entrepreneurship Concentration)
Why did you choose to attend East Carolina University?
To me, East Carolina was the perfect combination of a small school feel with the resources and opportunities of a large university. At many of the other universities I was looking at, I felt that I would simply be a number. But I knew that at ECU, I would be able to make a name for myself, and the Honors College and EC Scholars program were already setting me up to succeed in that aspect. I was so impressed with the opportunities that they had to offer, and knew that I could truly make a difference here.
What has your scholarship enabled you to do?
I am honored to be an EC Scholar, not only because the scholarship has allowed me to get an incredible education and study abroad in Australia and Italy, but also because it establishes me as a leader at East Carolina. I am in a position that will allow me to make positive change, as I strive to be a strong leader among my peers and also in my community. I have had countless opportunities to support East Carolina through service and community based research, which has been backed by the EC Scholars program. Being an EC Scholar has also helped me to meet and work with many distinguished leaders, both on and off campus.
What special undergraduate research opportunities have you experienced at the university?
This past year, I completed a research internship with Dr. Smirnova. We looked at how changing the Capital Area Transit bus routes in Raleigh, NC could negatively influence underprivileged populations. I really enjoyed being able to work on research that I knew would be beneficial to people in my own hometown. I also learned a lot about the research process, which will become extremely helpful when I start working on my senior research project. While I am a business major, I would really like to branch out and explore another interest of mine, which is the psychology of dogs. Ideally, I would like to do research on how canines learn different behaviors and responses, and the impact that age has on their learning development. This knowledge would not only benefit me in my future career and service goals, but it could help other dog trainers find new techniques for training service dogs as well.
What unique leadership opportunities have you experienced at the university?
The Honors Colloquium that all freshmen were required to take really gave me the chance to explore my leadership opportunities early on. Within our project groups we had to establish leaders for different parts of the assignment, and these designated roles gave everyone the chance to find their leadership potential. Working closely with the different non-profit groups my team chose really helped me to become a leader, as I coordinated an awareness event on campus that over 700 students participated in. I also have a leadership role as an Honors College Ambassador, working with the recruitment committee. This position has given me the opportunity to work with potential incoming Honors and EC Scholars freshman, both on and off campus. Through the College of Business, I completed a leadership course that looked at how we could impact local non-profits by improving some aspect of their business work. I chose to work with the Habitat for Humanity ReStore of Pitt County, and worked with them to increase their business partnerships in the area. By the end of the semester, my team had gotten the support of over 30 local businesses, both privately owned and corporate.
What are your career plans/aspirations?
Since I discovered my passion for not only training dogs, but also teaching others how to train their own, I have been working towards the dream of one day having my own dog training business. Majoring in Business Management with a concentration in Small Business and Entrepreneurship will definitely help me with my goal of establishing and maintaining a successful business. This success will also enable me to give back to the community, by training service dogs for the blind and disabled at no cost to the recipients. The emphasis on service and giving back to the community at ECU and in the EC Scholars program has definitely made me want to incorporate non-profit work into my career.
What extracurricular activities have you participated in during your time at ECU?
I have continued to do dog training and agility while at ECU, traveling to local agility competitions some weekends with my own dogs, and training other dogs here in Greenville. I had the opportunity to learn about drug and explosive detection from a very experienced police/military dog trainer in the area, and hope to work with him more while I am here. On campus, I have become involved in Phi Kappa Phi and Beta Gamma Sigma, which are two honors societies at ECU. Joining these societies has allowed me to network significantly with other students, professors, and alumni.
How have you made a positive impact while you have been at East Carolina University?
Being an EC Scholar and Honors College student has really inspired me to pay it forward, and I always work hard to help others. I joined the Pirate Tutoring Center, where I volunteered as a Macroeconomics Tutor every week, and became involved with a few centers off campus as well. I worked closely with The Center for Family Violence Prevention to raise awareness about domestic abuse and violence, while collecting data about victims in the area to give them current statistics. I also volunteered at Golden Living Retirement Home, where I made weekly visits to an assigned resident. It only made a small difference in one person's life, but I believe it was a starting point for greater things to come. Most recently, I worked with the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, finding ways to increase their donations and revenue, so that they can continue to support more families in need. I look forward to my next few years at ECU, where I can become even more involved, and continue to find ways to make greater positive change.