On a path to exploration
Patrick Twisdale ended a childhood beach fishing trip helping a relative dissect a fish. That moment of exploration opened the door to a desire to study anatomy and biology.
-- Mary Schulken
“My relative showed me its internal organs and I even got to see its beating heart,” said Twisdale, 17. “You may think that is gross but being a 5-year-old boy that was really cool.”
Twisdale, of Mint Hill, is one of 19 incoming freshmen entering East Carolina University in August as EC Scholars — the most prestigious academic scholarship the university offers.
That early-life experience led him to biomedical technology courses as a freshman at David W. Butler High School. There, his experiences in honors anatomy and honors biology courses, participation in Science Olympiad — along with a teacher’s urging to join Health Occupation Students of America (HOSA) — convinced him his future would be in the biomedical area.
In particular, Twisdale credits that teacher’s direction for his path.
“The encouragement she provided me when I was a high school freshman has helped focus my high school academic and non-classroom efforts … (it) opened by eyes to a new world that I may not have found without her help,” he said.
In addition to HOSA and Science Olympiad, Twisdale has been involved in National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, soccer and tennis. In Science Olympiad, he won medals in competition for three years as a middle school student and as a freshman at Butler. His junior and senior years he led the school’s then-struggling Olympiad team, recruiting members and training the team for competition.
Twisdale said he was determined to make his team competitive.
“It was a lot of hard work, but I learned a lot of lessons about leadership,” Twisdale said.
His most rewarding experience, he said, has been volunteering for Kicking 4 Hunger, a charity which conducts youth soccer camps to collect food for a local food bank.
A visit to East Carolina and its Honors College swayed Twisdale away from other campuses and made the university his top choice. He particularly liked the campus atmosphere and the community support for the university, he said.
“The students and faculty all seem to be very serious about the school’s motto, ‘To Serve’,” said Twisdale, who plans to continue his work with Science Olympiad and Kicking 4 Hunger as a Pirate at East Carolina.
Twisdale had committed to attend ECU’s Honors College and his EC Scholarship was a bonus, he said. “I am grateful for this opportunity,” he said.
He is the son of Hal and Karlanna Twisdale.