Playing a role
A D.H. Conley High School senior has his eye on a career as a physician assistant and will get started on that with help from East Carolina University's top undergraduate scholarship.
Benjamin Estorge, 19, of Winterville will attend ECU as part of the EC Scholars program, the most prestigious undergraduate award offered at ECU. He is the son of Beverly Estorge of Winterville and John Estorge of Greenville.
Estorge is one of 20 members of the Class of 2021 who are EC Scholars. 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 almost $62,000.
"The EC Scholars opportunity is one that I am incredibly excited about and is what brought me to ECU," Estorge said. "I saw all of the great work that the past scholars have done, the great things they are doing now, the familial community they developed with each other and the staff around them, the great opportunities for research, and the incredible things the scholars have done with their study abroad stipend. I can't wait to be a part of it."
Estorge plans to major in nutrition science and enroll in a physician assistant studies program after he completes his undergraduate degree.
In high school, Estorge has been involved in student government, serving as student body president this year. He organized an event called "Conley Cleanup Day" where he led students around the school, picking up trash and performing beautification projects "to make the school a nicer, healthier and more environmentally friendly place to be," he said.
He also ran on the Vikings cross country team for three years, being named team captain his junior and senior years. He also participated in theater, playing roles such as Li Shang in "Mulan," David in Eddie Kennedy's "Dreamwalk," Troy Bolton in "High School Musical" and Orin Scrivello in "Little Shop of Horrors."
"Theater became a big part of my life over the past few years, and I intend to keep acting in Greenville's community theaters." He also started an a cappella group in high school and wants to do the same at ECU.
When it's time for him to study abroad, Estorge plans to use what he's learned about nutrition to travel to an area in need of education. Even better would be to do so in a Spanish-speaking country, as he aims to work on his skills in communicating in that language while at ECU.
Before enrolling at ECU in August, Estorge plans to volunteer at the Third Street Community Center's "Backyard Bible Club," work at a local pool, shadow under a physician assistant and home health physical therapist, and possibly look for internship opportunities in public health.
Becoming an EC Scholar "means joining a community of motivated learners, great new friends, and a dedicated staff that is ready to help me and the new scholars discover, achieve and reach our full potential," Estorge said. "Additionally, it means that I will get to play a role in showing the world how great East Carolina University truly is and highlight the great strides ECU is making in education, service and research."