Joseph Bryant, a native of Greensboro, is a senior majoring in public health studies at East Carolina University and an aspiring pharmacist.
"Medicine is an important part of a community's health, but a lot of times people don't know what types of chemicals they're putting into their bodies," Bryant said. "As a pharmacist, I would be able to help people understand what kinds of medicine they're taking, what types of interactions they may have, and even find them cheaper, more affordable alternatives. I want to be able to give back to the community as a pharmacist."
As a student, Bryant has volunteered at community events and organizations and works as a resident advisor at Gateway West residence hall.
"Being an RA is both challenging and rewarding," he said. "It's challenging because the students you work with are all different, so bringing them together can be a challenge. But connecting with students and helping them is extremely rewarding."
Bryant has completed nearly 1,000 hours of community service by participating in ECU's Martin Luther King Jr. service day, the Susan G. Komen Race, Science Olympiad, Third Street Community Center's after-school program, blood drives and the Greensboro Housing Authority. He has also been a wheelchair assistant for the NCAA and volunteers every Friday at Vidant Medical Center.
"When I did the wheelchair assistant volunteering, the tournament was in my hometown, Greensboro," Bryant said. "I still live there when I'm not at school, so I volunteer whenever they have big events.
"I really enjoy volunteering and giving back because you get to learn from everyone you meet. It's a heartwarming experience," he said. "You realize how blessed and lucky you are. My time volunteering has solidified my desire to help others throughout my lifetime and career."
Although Bryant received an offer to play basketball at another university, he decided to attend ECU.
"I turned down my basketball scholarship because I had intended to try out for ECU's basketball team," he said. "In order to prepare myself, I decided to join the club basketball team, which was a great decision. We ultimately won two national club basketball championships during my time on the team."
While Bryant never played for the Pirate basketball team, he is thankful for the opportunities he's had at ECU.
"One thing that I really appreciated about ECU was the diversity, which I would not have gotten at a historically black college or university. It's important to be in a diverse environment so that you can be prepared to help others who are different than you in the real world," said Bryant.
At ECU, he has been involved in the ECU Ambassadors and Residential Scholars program and the Eta Sigma Gamma Fraternity (Public Health Honor Society). He also received multiple scholarships, including the Laura Marie Leary Elliot Scholarship, the Ledonia S. Wright Memorial Scholarship, and the ECU Residential Scholar Scholarship.
Following graduation, Bryant plans on attending graduate school for pharmacy.
What is something cool about ECU that you wish you knew during your first year?
There are so many opportunities to develop your leadership skills that will build your confidence and provide you the chance to learn from our professors and administrators.
What advice do you have for other students? Surround yourself with individuals who you want to grow with scholastically, spiritually and have the same values.
Your words to live by:
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Written by: Sophronia Knott
Photography by: Cliff Hollis