What is something about ECU you wish everyone could experience?
Research. No matter what the subject is or what you are studying, there is research in anything. You can pick out any subject and go into it with a curious mind. I am sure you will find something you have never even thought of. I've been involved in conducting research since I was a sophomore, and I can’t imagine my student life without it. Looking at parts of the untouched world and being involved in trying to figure out its roles in the universe is a cool feeling. On top of that, being the first to find something out that no one has looked at before is most exciting. Just imagine being the first to know something. Revealing these hidden secrets should truly be part of every student’s role here at ECU.
What would you tell a prospective student about ECU?
Make sure to align your priorities and practice good time-management skills. Your undergraduate experience is truly the first step in the “real world.” Understand that there is a time for academics and a time for enjoying all that college life has to offer. Get involved in as many ways as possible, take on leadership roles, and excel in the classroom. Understand that there will be challenges you must face, but meet them and overcome them. At the same time, have fun and enjoy the best years of your life as a Pirate!
What are some of the things you are proud of at ECU?
I love the professors at ECU. Ever since I was a freshman, no matter how big the class was, it didn’t matter if there were 20 people or 250 people in the class, meeting a professor and feeling a connection was not hard at all. You can just go down to the professor and talk to them and they will remember your name. You can talk to them about anything; it doesn’t have to be just about that class. They always have advice for you about your future goals.
Is there anything else you think people should know about you?
I was born in Slovenia and spent the majority of my childhood years in Bosnia. During this time, a civil war took place and destroyed the country and left its people hopeless. Fortunately, my family and I were able to escape to the U.S. when I was only 11 years old as refugees. Speaking no English and coming from a completely different lifestyle, we experienced major culture shock when we moved to the states. As time went on, we found hope by looking to the future. My main focus was my education, which would allow me to have many opportunities that would not have been possible in my home country. Ten years ago, I never heard of East Carolina University, and now I cannot imagine my life without it.
Do you have any special talents?
I am a national award-winning commissioned portrait artist. I feel that whenever I do art, it takes me to a different place. I don’t think about anything else around me. I just focus one thing and try to make it perfect.