A Renaissance man
When Colin Johnson arrives at East Carolina University this fall, he will have come full circle from his first visits to campus as an eighth grader.
A Greenville native, Johnson was a member of the Health Sciences Academy, a Pitt County Schools curriculum program designed to prepare students for health care careers in partnership with ECU, Pitt Community College and Vidant Health.
“That exposed me to working in the (health care) setting,” Johnson recalled. “I wanted a profession where I could interact with people but also do science. And it involves helping people.”
The 18-year-old will take a significant step toward that goal when he enrolls this fall at East Carolina majoring in biology and health services administration. Johnson is one of 20 incoming freshmen named EC Scholars - the most prestigious undergraduate award program offered at ECU.
The four-year merit scholarship recognizes outstanding academic performance, commitment to community engagement and strong leadership skills. Recipients receive an Honors College scholarship for four years, along with a stipend for study abroad, for a total value of $62,000.
Johnson’s long term goal is to become a hospital administrator, such as a president or CEO. He said he has always been drawn to administrative roles, whether it be student government or on stage. He’s active on his high school Drama Board, helping select – and starring in – student-produced plays and musicals.
“I have a pretty diverse set of things I like to do,” Johnson admitted. “Biology and health care are my focus, but I also need a creative outlet.”
Johnson said he looks most forward to “diving into student activities” at East Carolina. He likes the energy around ECU athletics, and hopes to join student organizations and clubs in addition to his place in the Honors College.
Johnson also maintains an interest in conducting research. As a high school junior and senior at the competitive N.C. School of Science and Mathematics, he engaged in a molecular genetics research mentorship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. And he’s brought home prizes from the N.C. Science and Engineering Fair in biological sciences.
“I’m in a unique position in that I’m coming back home to go to college,” he said. “I’ve been in Durham for two years. But I’m close to my mom and sisters, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Johnson’s parents are Charlie and Lisa Collins of Greenville, and Kurt Johnson of Ellicott City, Maryland.