Building a life around service
-- Kathryn Kennedy
Music, math and medicine may not seem connected to many people, but for Katerina Koloustroubis they work in perfect harmony.
The Youngsville native began playing piano at age 3, picked up the flute in fifth grade and enjoys participating in musical theater at The Franklin Academy. As for the math, she said, “I don’t really have a passion for it, just a gift.” She is the only student at her school taking the highest level of advanced placement calculus.
A burgeoning interest in medicine reflects her desire to use those gifts to help people.
“The most purposeful life is one built around serving others,” she said.
Koloustroubis, 17, will be one of 19 incoming freshmen to enter East Carolina University in August at EC Scholars – the most prestigious academic scholarship the university offers.
“It takes a (financial) burden off my family,” she said of earning the scholarship. “And it also feels like all my hard work has paid off.”
Koloustroubis, who is half Greek, has visited Greece many times with her family. She will return there again this summer. She hopes, however, to expand her travels to developing nations in the future.
“I know it sounds cliché,” she said, “but I want to save lives.”
She looks up to her older sister, who studies engineering and has similar service goals. Koloustrobis said her sister, now a student at N.C. State, has traveled to Kenya to build schools.
Koloustroubis’ own high school career is dotted with numerous service projects, ranging from performing music at retirement communities to tutoring peers. She hopes to continue one particular project in which she creates “memory bears” sewn from the belongings of people who have passed to help their families through bereavement.
“I know that in medicine, you have to deal with death,” she explained. “I thought this would be a good experience for that.”
Like many high school seniors, Koloustroubis is nervous about being independent and away from family for the first time. However, she feels certain that ECU is the right place to embark on the next chapter of her life.
“It was just so uplifting and comforting when I visited,” she said. “I felt like a young adult with aspirations. And not like I was just a number.”
Koloustroubis is the daughter of Gregory and Pamela Koloustroubis.