You have worked with ECU administrators as a member of various student organizations. What are your thoughts on the relationship between students and the university?
In my experience, ECU has clearly demonstrated a commitment to listening to students and working with us. My freshman year, there was no equivalency for meal exchange in the ECU meal plan. Students had to use Pirate Bucks if they wanted to eat somewhere other than a dining hall, or we could get three dollars in exchange which wasn’t enough to buy a comparable meal. So the Honors students got together and we went to the chancellor about it. We felt there should be an exchange where students could get a comparable meal. He listened to us, and by the next year we had a new system. Then during my sophomore year, I went to a dinner at Todd Dining Hall with the chancellor and his wife and we talked about various things. They wanted to know what we thought of the policies on campus, everything from visitation to all sorts of stuff. It was pretty cool.
How has your involvement in undergraduate research prepared you for your future career?
The biochemistry program is really good for people who are motivated. It’s a smaller department than some others on campus, but I think that just means it is more close-knit and that there is more opportunity to get noticed if you work hard. Our faculty is very accommodating. I have friends at other schools who say that’s not always the case where they are. For me it’s been great. I wanted to get involved in research, and so I began Undergraduate Research as a freshman. By my sophomore year, I was being fully trained in research techniques and now I have been involved with multiple projects within the lab. I’ve presented my research at symposiums, and even had some research published.
Undergraduate research is great. You get credit hours for it, and you can apply for grants to help fund your research. I was able to work here all summer with funding from a grant. And the university helped me with how to apply for grants and how to write my research proposal. They worked with me step by step which was really nice.
What are your plans for your future?
I hope to go onto graduate school and pursue my PhD and have a career as a researcher at a hospital. I really like working on cancer research, but I also worked in the maternal/fetal medicine lab and that was really interesting in a whole different aspect. So maybe I’d like to work in the neonatal field. I haven’t decided yet.