Joseph W. Paul, III
Major/Intended Major: Biochemistry
Why did you choose to attend East Carolina University?
East Carolina University stood out to me as an institution that plays a unique role in the community and eastern North Carolina because of its foundations on service. Ultimately I chose ECU because service and leadership are highly integrated into the curriculum. The environment at ECU, through the Honors College, also allows me to gain exposure to a variety fields through interactions with other high-achieving peers.
What has your scholarship enabled you to do?
My scholarship has allowed me to work with some of the most exceptional professors and faculty members that I have ever met. It is a very unique experience to enter a large university with the feeling of a smaller and more focused atmosphere with many similarly motivated peers in both the EC Scholars program and Honors College. During my freshman year I observed and learned how ECU provides healthcare and education to an underserved population as well as conducting basic research in a laboratory. During my sophomore year and beyond I hope to continue to explore health disparities in eastern North Carolina through service to these communities and laboratory research.
What special undergraduate research opportunities have you experienced at the university?
I am interested in pursuing a career in medical research so expanding both my fundamental and technical knowledge of science is a priority. I have begun exploring both basic and clinical research opportunities within the Brody School of Medicine. This year I plan to start conducting research centered on health disparities that disproportionately affect populations in eastern North Carolina. Eventually, by working with leaders at the University, I hope to use these experiences to write my senior honors thesis that will analyze the causes of these health disparities.
What unique leadership opportunities have you experienced at the university?
The EC Scholars program has put many programs together that focus on our maturation into leaders as individuals and as a group. Through coursework and other activities sponsored by the Honors College I have been able to study how leaders in Greenville and beyond effectively and positively contribute to society. I plan to continue to utilize these connections within the Honors College and beyond to learn how to develop my leadership skills at ECU to better serve the community.
What are your career plans/aspirations?
The growing number and complexity of human diseases has inspired me to pursue a career in medical research. I would like to specialize in translational medicine, which involves taking novel discoveries from the research and development phase into clinical trials. Recent advances in the understanding of the genetic etiologies of neurologic disease motivate me to pursue a career focused in the long term on developing drugs for neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric conditions, which currently have no effective treatment.
How have you made a positive impact while you have been at East Carolina University?
To make a positive impact at ECU, I have honed my efforts to leadership and service. I plan to focus my efforts to assist with some of ECU’s ongoing projects at the Bernstein Community Health Center and the Lucille W. Gorham Intergenerational Community Center to understand the unique problems affecting the populations these centers serve. I also spend time every week volunteering with the Golden Living Center, a nursing home in Greenville served by the Brody School of Medicine. My hope is to use all of these experiences in the future to advocate for a growing and perpetual involvement of ECU in the community.