Name: Bruce Pittman
Hometown: Greensboro, NC
Dream job: Surgeon
Favorite place to eat: Winslowâ€,s
Favorite TV show: White Collar
Favorite band/musician: The Fray
Hobbies/Interests: Studying, biochemistry, swimming, reading, and community service
Favorite website: www.youtube.com or www.facebook.com
When Bruce Pittman visited East Carolina University the first time for a scholarship interview, he immediately recognized the stellar quality of the faculty. After visiting another university and meeting their faculty members, Pittman said he noticed a stark difference.
"At ECU, the faculty members were all about telling students how they were going to teach us, their classroom policies, and what they were going to do to help us succeed," said Pittman. "They mentioned their research, of course, but you could tell they cared a lot about their relationships with the students and being excellent professors."
At the rival university he visited, Pittman said he received an entirely different impression of their faculty.
"At the other university, the faculty members viewed their research as the main focus," said Pittman. "I mean, that's great, but visiting as a senior in high school, I knew I wanted to go somewhere where the professors' first priority was to teach me."
Pittman said that ever since choosing ECU, the top-notch faculty members have continued to prove themselves over and over again. They are always willing to help, are really personable, and make a genuine effort to get to know their students.
Coming to ECU, Pittman already knew that he ultimately wants to attend medical school and become a surgeon. Majoring in biochemistry has helped put him on that path to medical school.
"When I first came to ECU, I thought about majoring biology, but a faculty member encouraged me to consider biochemistry because he thought it would route me better for my career goals," said Pittman. "I listened to his advice and fell in love with biochemistry. I love the mesh the discipline provides between biology and chemistry."
When his mom was sick and needed major surgery two years ago, Pittman felt the affirmation that being a surgeon was definitely the right career path for him.
"As a surgeon, you are able to help families, especially during some of their darkest times. With my mom, I knew what it was like to be so scared as a family member, and then to have her come out of surgery and to be all right and doing greatâ€Šyou really can't even express how that feels," said Pittman. "Being that person to so many people throughout a career would be amazing."
Pittman added that he hopes to dispel the typical stereotype of surgeons, or at the very least be a different kind of surgeon.
"I feel that there is an awful stereotype about surgeons, and it's often true. Many times they are cold-natured and unable to connect with patients," said Pittman. "I would like to dispel this stereotype, but I donâ€,t know if I will be able to because it is so rooted. However, I want to be an instance where this stereotype is just not true."
Pittman is very proud of ECU's commitment to serve the community and is excited about the new opportunities for service and leadership that have arisen from being an Elite Pirate.
"Becoming an Elite Pirate has been my goal since freshman year," said Pittman. "I am excited to be a role model, to share my leadership experiences with others, and to let them know what I have learned through my various leadership experiences."
All Elite Pirates have extensive leadership experience, and Pittman is no exception. He gained much of his leadership knowledge by being a part of ECU Ambassadors and Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity.
During his sophomore year, Pittman ran and was elected to the executive council of the Ambassadors. He served on that council for two years and said that being involved in this organization has really fostered his leadership capabilities. The Ambassadors has also given Pittman excellent opportunities to give back to the community.
"One of the cornerstones of the ECU Ambassadors is to live the university's motto of service, so we do a lot of community outreach," said Pittman. "We work with pretty much any university constituent or anyone in the greater Pitt County area that reaches out to us, so we have collaborated with Habitat for Humanity and the American Cancer Society and all different areas of ECU, from the chancellor's office, to the athletic department, to admissions."
Pittman has also learned valuable leadership lessons from his fraternity, and this year, he is president.
"ECU really defines leadership as a relational process where you are dealing with people," said Pittman. "You have to be able to take situations in stride, especially when conflict arises because the situations are never going to be cookie cutter."