Recipients of the Class of 2019 Brody Scholar award are, left to right, Tony Botros, Catherine Thriveni and John Hurley. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

Three medical students earn top scholarship

Aug. 21, 2015

By Amy Adams Ellis
ECU News Services

Three medical students at East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine have been awarded the most prestigious scholarship available at the university.

Anthony “Tony” Botros, John Hurley and Catherine Thriveni have been chosen for the Class of 2019 Brody Scholar award, valued at approximately $112,000. Each will receive four years of medical school tuition, living expenses and the opportunity to design their own summer enrichment program that can include travel abroad. The award will also support community service projects the students may undertake while in medical school.

Botros, a Concord native, graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2014 with degrees in biology and chemistry. Although his volunteer and shadowing activities piqued his interest in oncology, Botros said he’s undecided about which medical specialty he’d like to pursue long-term.

“My career goal is to establish free health care clinics across the world that will operate and engage the community in a unique way,” said Botros. During his time at Brody, he hopes to work closely with medical nonprofit organizations to learn more about how they operate.

“Because the Brody family has graciously borne the heavy financial burdens of medical school through the Brody Scholarship, I can begin pursuing my dream of opening up clinics for the underserved much sooner after graduation than I had planned,” he said. “It also means I will be able to network with past, present and future Brody Scholars – all who share a desire to help others – in order to make this dream a reality.”

Hurley, who hails from Monrovia, Maryland, served the Army as a medic for 16 years – most of that time at Fort Bragg – before attending Campbell University. He graduated in 2014 with a degree in applied science.

Leaning towards a career in internal medicine, Hurley enjoys working in remote, underserved areas. “I feel that the greatest ability is squandered if not used for the greatest need,” he said. “I have the ability and the passion for difficult, remote work and am now being blessed with the education to support it.”

He equates receiving the Brody Scholarship with an increased responsibility to help others. “I have dreamed of being able to attend school without the added burden of financial uncertainty,” he said. “After 16 years in the military and constant stress, the Brody family is blessing me with that possibility…I am eternally grateful and forever humbled by the opportunity.”

Thriveni attended North Carolina State University on a Park Scholarship, the university’s four-year merit scholarship program founded on scholarship, leadership, service and character. She recently completed her degree in biological sciences with a concentration in human biology.

She aspires to a career in primary care with a special focus on disease prevention. “I’m passionate about providing care that encourages the overall wellness of the patient, physically and mentally,” she said. “I’m also passionate about being a culturally-competent physician. Health is so intimately related to lifestyle habits, which are closely connected with culture.”

Thriveni said having the Brody family and board of directors behind her has made her more courageous as she begins her medical education. “I feel so grateful to know that I’ll have a home within a home at Brody and a network of support. Knowing that someone has invested in your future motivates you that much more to inspire and achieve,” she said.

“This year’s Brody Scholars were selected from an incredibly talented group of 80 incoming medical students,” said Mark Notestine, president of the ECU Medical & Health Sciences Foundation. “They were chosen not only because of their outstanding academic accomplishments, but also because of their demonstrated leadership, altruism, caring, compassion and dedication to the future of medicine – and to the people of North Carolina.”

In its 33rd year, the Brody Scholars program honors J.S. “Sammy” Brody. He and his brother, Leo, were among the earliest supporters of medical education in eastern North Carolina. The legacy continues through the dedicated efforts of Hyman Brody of Greenville and David Brody of Kinston. Subsequent gifts from the Brody family have enabled the medical school to educate new physicians, conduct important research and improve health care in eastern North Carolina.

Since the program began in 1983, 131 students have received scholarships. About 70 percent of Brody Scholars remain in North Carolina to practice, and the majority of those stay in eastern North Carolina.