“I have always been interested in genetics and how just a simple modification in someone’s genes can change one thing about them.”
Knightdale, North Carolina
William G. Enloe Magnet High School
Public health studies
Fit and finish
East Carolina University is a natural fit for Marissa Ferrell. A little push from friends led her to tour the campus, and the rest is history.
Ferrell has her work cut out for her, as she already has her sights set beyond an undergraduate degree.
"After graduation, I plan to continue my studies with medical school, and I would like to specialize in medical genetics," she said. "I want to become a medical geneticist to treat and diagnose genetic disorders and diseases."
She's already working hard toward her goals, holding down a job at Walgreens this summer to help pay for her education. But it's not all work and no play, as she'll also be spending time with family and friends before heading to Greenville in the fall, since she won't be able to see them every week the way she's used to.
Ferrell said the EC Scholars award came as a blessing for her family.
"My mother is a single parent and would have had to come up with the tuition. Having my undergraduate studies paid for gives us more time to save up for medical school," she said. "It also means being part of a prestigious group of intellectual individuals with similar educational values."
The chance to study abroad might mean brushing up on her proficiency in speaking French or studying public health and genetics in a place such as Switzerland, Australia or the United Kingdom. Ferrell also plans to be involved in student government, club volleyball, campus ministry and possibly a choir.
"I am just excited to be able to call myself a Pirate," she said.
EC Scholars is 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 almost $62,000.
Ferrell is the daughter of Kimberly Ferrell and a senior at Enloe Magnet High School in Raleigh.