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Pieces of Eight

Dr. Roytesa Savage, right, assistant dean for student affairs at the Brody School of Medicine, assists Brody Scholar Wesley O’Neal in donning the symbolic white coat that represents his profession. O’Neal was one of four Brody Scholars, and one of 76 new medical students entering this semester. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

Brody Welcomes Class of 2012

By Doug Boyd

Seventy-six new medical students capped their first week at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University Aug. 15 as they received their symbolic white coats.

This class is the largest in school history, topping last year’s 73 entering students. As usual, all students are North Carolina residents representing 32 counties from across the state. Thirty-nine are women, 37 are men. They range in age from 20 to 32. They have degrees from 29 different schools, led by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (18), ECU (13) and N.C. State University (12). Ten students have graduate degrees.

Among the class of 2012 are the four newest Brody Scholars: Nabeel H. Arastu of Greenville, Bryan Howington of Pembroke, Wesley Thomas O’Neal of Wilson and Mary Elizabeth Windham of Greenville.

Arastu enters ECU having already co-written a book about cancer survivorship among those who were diagnosed with cancer as a child. Arastu worked with Dr. Aziza Shad and nurse practitioner Karen Hennessy of the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University to write “The Next Step: Crossing the Bridge to Survivorship.”

Windham, a graduate of Farmville Central High School, enters Brody as one of four “MD in 7” students. They have completed three years of undergraduate study at ECU and will receive their bachelor’s degrees after completing their first year of medical school.

The Brody Scholars program honors J. S. “Sammy” Brody, who died in 1994. 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 and David Brody. Subsequent gifts through the Brody Foundation have enabled the medical school to educate new physicians, conduct important research and improve health care in eastern North Carolina.

The scholarship is administered through the ECU Medical & Health Sciences Foundation.

Another student, Sohale C. Vu, has received a Fullerton Foundation Medical Scholarship worth $20,000 a year. Vu is from Oxford and is a graduate of Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia. Vu was nominated for the scholarship by the ECU medical foundation.

New medical student Adam Strickland of Fayetteville said he’s enjoyed getting to know his classmates this week and is looking forward to the next four years of study.

“It’s going to be challenging, but it’s going to be rewarding,” said Strickland, a graduate of N.C. State.

This page originally appeared in the Aug. 29, 2008 issue of Pieces of Eight. Complete issue is archived at