“After experiencing the overwhelming friendliness of the students and faculty, I knew that there was something special about this group and if given the opportunity to join, I definitely couldn't pass it up.”
Greenville, North Carolina
D.H. Conley High School
Joshua Gurganus remembers the day he found out he was named an EC Scholar.
"I remember getting texts from my friends who were other finalists telling me that they got accepted," he said. "So, I ran down to my mailbox and got the letter out. After reading that I got in, I danced all over my kitchen, then went on to take a bunch of pictures with my acceptance letter."
The 18-year-old Gurganus went to D.H. Conley High School in Greenville. This soon to be East Carolina University-resident ranks in the top 7 percent of his class. He was in the marching band for his entire high school career, served as student body vice president and was elected president of the Societe Honoraire de Francais as a senior. And these are only some of the activities listed on the first page of his resume.
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.
One would think Gurganus would be primed to take a break before hitting ECU as a biomedical engineering freshman. Well, think again.
"By the end of the school year, I will get my certification as a pharmacy technician so that I can work in a pharmacy over the summer," said Gurganus. "I also will take a mission trip with my youth group to the Dominican Republic to help with vacation Bible school and medical clinics in different villages."
Gurganus is already planning to make his ECU experience a memorable one, and along with jumping head first into his classes, he's looking forward to joining the Marching Pirates.
"I've seen the Marching Pirates exhibition shows at some high school marching band competitions the past couple years and can't wait to play a part in such an awesome group," Gurguanus said.
He's also looking forward to the many opportunities that being an EC scholar will bring him.
"It's all about opportunity," Gurganus said. "Not only will the next four years in Greenville be filled with awesome experiences, the relationships made and skills learned from this program will stick with me for the rest of my life."
Gurganus will also get to study abroad as an EC Scholar. Based on his high school activities, it's no surprise he plans to visit Switzerland.
"The country's mountains and lakes seem beautiful in pictures, and I really want to experience them in person," said Gurganus. "Since Switzerland is surrounded by so many awesome countries, it makes traveling that much easier."
Though he's looking forward to Switzerland, Gurganus is not looking too far ahead when it comes to his post-ECU life. He's not sure what he'll do. It could be going to work, staying for his master's or even attending medical school.
"Fortunately, as an EC Scholar, I'll get the mentorship I need to make those decisions when the time comes," he said.
Gurganus is the son of April Spruill of Greenville, and Ralph and Amy Gurganus of York, South Carolina.