Second-year Brody School of Medicine student Endya Frye exemplifies a tradition of serving the community – a core value at East Carolina University.
"I came to the conclusion that the money you make and the people you meet do not measure success, but rather it is measured by the lives you touch," said Frye.
Frye says that giving back to the community is one of her assignments in life and it is a joy. As this year's co-president of the ECU chapter of the Student National Medical Association, Frye will work to target undergraduate students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities and at UNC–Pembroke who wish to pursue a career in medicine.
"Medicine is a field of service and I think it is my duty to assist in increasing the number of underrepresented minority students entering the medical field," said Frye.
She will begin to engage with the students during the spring semester, to help them prepare for different aspects of the medical school application process. In meeting part of ECU's mission – to enhance the access of minority and disadvantaged students to a medical education – Frye's goal is to provide prospective medical school students with thorough knowledge of the application process.
Frye said she reviews all the application materials for the students who she works with "to ensure they highlight the pertinent aspects that display their attributes and passion for medicine."Frye explained that sometimes applying to medical school is not always about access to the programs, but about having proper interviewing skills and knowing when and where to prepare for the MCAT; she wants to make sure they are equipped with knowledge of both.
She worked with breast cancer patients at Duke University School of Medicine before coming to ECU. "It was an eye-opener for me to see those types of things and not even be an official medical student yet," she said.
Frye saw patients go through the process of getting diagnosed with breast cancer, having lumps or their breast removed. "I got to talk to patients in the clinic and interview them and talk to the physician," said Frye.Through her experience at Duke, she saw another doctor's passion for patients.
Frye took that experience to use with patients she will have in the near future. Brody students have the opportunity to work in clinics in rural areas, because ECU aims to provide care to underserved areas of North Carolina.
Addressing the need for medical access in rural areas was the driving force behind the development of Brody School of Medicine. In the early 1960s, leaders from eastern North Carolina sought to develop a medical school that would train people to serve in rural areas. Endya Frye's grandfather, Justice Henry Frye, was serving in the state legislature when Dr. Andrew Best contacted him about bringing a medical school to ECU, then known as East Carolina College.
With support from Justice Frye and others in eastern North Carolina – including strong leadership from former ECU chancellor Leo Jenkins, William Laupus, and Ed Monroe – the medical school entered the first stages towards establishing the institution known today as the Brody School of Medicine.
Frye said her family is a big influence for her as they have always encouraged her and supported her education.
What do you like about the Brody School of Medicine?
I like that everyone is friendly. I am the type of person who will talk to just about anybody, even if I don't know you. I like to get the warm welcome back from the professors and the small class sizes. Also, I want to be a pediatrician and Brody's outreach programs, such as the Greenville Shelter Clinic and the Grimesland Clinic, provide opportunities to interact with patients in the third year of study.
Why did you choose to come to ECU?
I came on a visit to view the campus and one of the upperclassmen was there to give the tour. His story really captured me. He went through some difficulties with his family and some things that were going on, but despite all that, Brody still helped him. They still allowed him to come back and gave him the support that he needed. Seeing that and that they really were the family that I saw on the Internet and saw in the YouTube videos – this was a real thing. Hearing it from him and actually looking into his eyes, I could tell that the passion was there. Being here even now is a testament that this is where I am supposed to be.
What led you to pursue the study of medicine?
I'm happy to be here at Brody studying to be a doctor. It's something that I've always wanted to do. I wanted to be a doctor when I was in kindergarten. Then I had a bout with illness in seventh grade and there was a question about whether I would make it. As I sat in the white coat ceremony, I got the feeling that this is where I am supposed to be.
What events in your childhood inspired you to choose medicine?
Initially in elementary school, my friend's dad came to career day and he was a doctor. Then when I got sick and I saw other young kids – some who were younger than me – who were sick, it just propelled me even more. I thought that I wanted to learn more about this and then going to different summer programs just confirmed it.
What do you think of Justice Frye's accomplishments?
I think they are admirable. It's hard to say a lot because he's so humble and it's a great example for me to look at and see how he has grown over the years and yet he still remains a family man and a great role model. But it's something that helps me strive and always do my best and just be the best person that I can be, just by watching him. He's touched so many lives but he really doesn't say it a lot. He just does what he thinks is right and moves forward with that.
Written by: Jamitress Bowden
Photography by: Cliff Hollis
"I came to the conclusion that the money you make and the people you meet do not measure success, but rather it is measured by the lives you touch."
- Endya Frye