When Allison Peel '99 was considering where to attend college, her parents gave her one stipulation—she and her oldest brother must go to college at least 250 miles away from home.
"They wanted us to get out of the D.C. area," Peel said.
Originally from LaPlata, Maryland, Peel decided to attend ECU in part because of its distance from home and because of ECU's physical therapy program. However, once she got to East Carolina, Peel found her true calling through work with Hal Daniels, professor emeritus in ECU's Dept. of Biology.
"He's so supportive of women in science careers," Peel said, adding that the more she read and wrote about cancer, the more interested she became. She switched her major to biology, and began her career with the National Cancer Institute, working with their editorial boards for their Web site.
"I'm not sure where I picked up my interest in cancer," Peel said. "Cancer is fascinating. It is changing very rapidly."
Now, Peel works as an education products manager at American Society of Clinical Oncology in physician education. She manages the development of print products such as ASCO's Self-Evaluation Program (ASCO-SEP), which is geared toward oncology fellows and practicing oncologists, who are preparing to take the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) medical oncology board exam. She also works extensively on ASCO's online education Web site, ASCO University.
The Women's Roundtable at East Carolina University helps support the university's Access Scholarship Program, which provides financial support to a historically underserved but greatly deserving group of ECU students who demonstrate both financial need and proven academic potential. The scholarship support it provides is part of the reason Peel chose to join the Women's Roundtable—she is grateful for her ECU education and wants to help ensure that generations of women coming after her have the same opportunity.
"I am very lucky that my parents could afford to send me out of state to school," she said. "In today's world I think a college degree is virtually a necessity for many career paths. Unfortunately, higher education has gotten so expensive that even the thought of going to college is out of the question for many women. By becoming involved in the Women's Roundtable I hope to help alleviate the stress many women face when thinking about paying for college. And hopefully allow them to worry a little more about their next chemistry test rather than the tens of thousands of dollars in debt they will have when they graduate."