Jayati Vyas

This Pirate balances academics
with work, leadership and dance.

Jayati Vyas juggles multiple interests and activities.

Jayati Vyas is a rising junior who is working–and even dancing–her way into medical school. While most students would be challenged with a major in psychology and a minor in neuroscience, Vyas is juggling academics, two leadership positions in medical organizations, a competitive dance group and a job.

“I’ve always grown up wanting to be a doctor and I’ve never really thought about anything else,” said Vyas, who moved from India to America when she was 9 years old.

As an early assurance Honors College student on the pre-med track, Vyas has a guaranteed admission to Brody School of Medicine upon graduation.

Vyas said a pivotal point in her life came after hearing stories about the poor care given to her late grandmother, who spent nearly 17 years in a Bombay hospital while suffering from a host of liver diseases.

“As a doctor I can save lives and help people, but I want to do a little bit more than that,” said Vyas. “I want to make that journey for them a lot less trying than it was for my grandmother.”

Vyas works at the Honors College. As the undergraduate coordinator of marketing and communication, she is involved with the Honors College social media accounts, photography and advertising.

“I love my job. I love working with administrators, the faculty and the staff. They’re so supportive,” said Vyas.

Vyas is also the secretary for the Minority Association for Pre-Health Students and the historian for the Neuroscience Student Association.

Despite those responsibilities, Vyas still makes time for dance, an interest that has allowed her to preserve her culture and traditions.

“I was lucky enough to be able to dance all through middle and high school because my parents were supportive,” said Vyas, who has been dancing for over 16 years.

Along with co-captain Mona Amin, Vyas leads the Indian folk dance group Pirate Raas as they compete across the state.

“I’m able to be myself in college and I’m able to do what I absolutely love more than anything else in this world,” said Vyas. “The Raas team enabled me to do that and not have to sacrifice something that means so much to me.”

Vyas said that managing her interests without compromising has been one of the most trying, yet rewarding times in her life.

“Sometimes giving 100 percent to Pirate Raas and giving 100 percent to my work and to academics cuts me absolutely in thirds, but I think that I’ve really tried,” said Vyas. “I think that I’ve grown a lot as a student and a person since freshman year to be able to balance my social life, my familial life and my personal life (while) being in tune with myself.”

Vyas hopes to attend the Brody School of Medicine and become a physician.

How have you managed everything?
Sometimes it’s very difficult but I’ve definitely come a long way with my time management skills. I’ve come a long way with my organizational skills as well. I’ve got a calendar in my phone, my MacBook and my agenda. All of them have to match so I don’t miss something. I make lots and lots of to-do lists on my phone, my laptop. Those are my life. I make sure that I allot enough time to each thing. I allot enough time to homework, to Pirate Raas choreography, to be able to post on social media for the Honors College.

Why did you continue to dance in college?
My identity points towards the fact that I’m Indian and everything stems from that. I did not want to lose that part of me whatsoever. I think that doing the Indian classical dance as well as the folk dance was absolutely the number one way for me to be in touch with it because I’d done it for so long.

What advice do you have for other students?
There is so much more to life than we allow ourselves to take advantage of. So many places we have yet to discover, so many people we have yet to meet, so many adventures we have yet to go on. It's very comforting to fall into a routine and go through the motions from day to day, but that's not enough. You've got to step out of your comfort zone, throw yourself out there and experience everything this world has to offer to you. You get but one life, so why hold back from living it to the absolute fullest, each and every day?

Photography by: Cliff Hollis
Written by: Summer Tillman


College:  Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences

Major: Psychology

Age:  20

Class:  Junior

Hometown: Cary, North Carolina

Clubs & Organizations: American Medical Student Association, Minority Association for Pre-Health Students; Neuroscience Student Association


Place on Campus: Sonic Plaza (outside Joyner Library)

Hangout: The Tipsy Teapot

Place to Eat: Plaza Azteca

Class:  Ethics, Global Health, and the Fundamental Cause of Disease taught by Dr. Daniel Goldberg

Website: Buzzfeed

Hobbies and Interests: Dancing, traveling, reading, watching movies, trying new things for the first time, and going on spontaneous adventures

TV Show: "How To Get Away With Murder," "Scandal" and "Sherlock"

Musician/band: The Weeknd

Movie: "Interstellar"


Most Influential Professor: Dr. Daniel Goldberg

Dream Job:  Professional dancer or a food critic

You Can’t Live Without: My bed

Role Model: Oprah Winfrey

Words to Live By: "Dare to be the best you can. At all times, dare to be."

Something cool about ECU you wish you knew during your first year:  I wish I had known that the musical arches, the water fountain, the steam and the clock tower outside of Joyner Library were a live art installment, only one of 10 live art installments on university campuses in the entire nation. They are all beautifully designed structures and I believe they deserve more recognition than they receive on our campus.

Words of Wisdom

"You've got to step out of your comfort zone, throw yourself out there and experience everything this world has to offer to you. You get but one life, so why hold back from living it to the absolute fullest, each and every day?"

– Jayati Vyas