Hometown, State: Fuquay-Varina, NC
Incoming EC Scholar Class (year): 2012
Scholarship(s) Awarded: Carol Grotnes Belk Distinguished East Carolina Scholars Award
Major/Intended Major: Biology
Why did you choose to attend East Carolina University?
Honors College Preview Day was entirely unlike any of the previous special programs I had considered at other universities. The Honors College faculty was especially interested in providing a support structure for the aspirations of their students. In addition, ECU has a strong pre-professional program coordinating with my graduate school objectives.
What has your scholarship enabled you to do?
I was able to have my first experience going out-of-country with the scholarship, taking a 3.5 week course on ecotourism and sustainability in Australia. Without the support of the scholarship, I would not have been able to pursue a study abroad opportunity.
What special undergraduate research opportunities have you experienced at East Carolina University?
I participated in a research study on the Great Barrier Reef conducted by Eye-to-Eye Marine Encounters as a part of a study abroad program at ECU. Our group surveyed the populations of parrotfish, butterfly fish, corals, and other wildlife on two different sites at the reef. Our objective was to assess the effectiveness of establishing protected zones to protect reef biodiversity. This was an interesting study as zoning is a big debate in Australia due to conflicts over its influence on residential and commercial fishing, reflecting debates in the USA about the protection of wild spaces.
What unique leadership opportunities have you experienced at East Carolina University?
With the opportunity to volunteer as an Orientation Advisor at Honors College Orientation this year, I was able to help introduce the new class of Honors students to the program. This helped my future peers feel less apprehensive about their upcoming college experience.
What are your career plans/aspirations?
Caring for captive animals is just as significant as educating the public about species conservation and its connection to the stability of our biosphere. As I have volunteered with a non-profit zoo, my goal is to become an exotic veterinarian with a focus on herpetology. Rather than operating a clinic, however, I plan to continue working with small scale operations like non-profits and conservation programs.