Hometown: Greenville, NC
High School: Greenville High School
The exploration of STEM and the pursuit of helping others ultimately describes who I am today and where I would like to be in the future; all of my interests, hobbies, goals, and actions revolve around this core theme. Throughout my life, I have had a deep passion for all things aviation-related, spanning full-scale recreational flight, radio-controlled flight, unmanned aerial system technology, and drone racing. This passion has also run parallel to the extreme enjoyment I reap from spending time outdoors paddling, hiking, or camping, specifically when with others. However, these interests are more than merely surface-deep for me; I am persistently motivated to continue exploring what drives the things I enjoy, how they can be expanded to those around me, and how they can be applied to new, beneficial uses. Throughout high school, my primary focus has been on the first two aspects, with my future plans being more focused around the third.
Aviation and environmental studies are thrilling and wildly educational – but the most transformational benefits they can create only come when expanded to as many people as possible. This principle has driven me to expand aviation and aviation technology into my community through the establishment of USCYAA, the Upstate SC Youth Aviators Association, and to push environmental citizen science initiatives through the development of an Adopt-A-Stream program. Both of these have been incredibly beneficial to those involved; I have been able to help many students advance their STEM knowledge through an interesting and enjoyable hobby, and have, in turn, personally gained experience gathering multiple groups together, crowdfunding, and leading those around me.
In the future, I hope to be the liaison between innovators and medicine. I have always enjoyed the technical side of the physical world and have a passion for biology and helping others, and through the application of new technology in surgery, I can take full advantage of my abilities and interests and put them to use in an exciting, specific career.
What drew you to the Robertson Program? Collaboration! One of the key components of the Robertson Scholars Leadership Program and something incredibly valuable to me is collaboration, the act of working with other people, organizations, or, in this case, universities. Upon discovering the Robertson program, something struck me as uniquely attractive: the fact that a program between two “rival” schools exists that takes advantage of what each specifically has to offer, placing a select group of students right in the middle. The opportunity to attend TWO of the nation’s leading schools – both of which are incredibly attractive alone – seemed almost too good to be true. The incredible academic environment provided by the Robertson program was, by itself, unparalleled, but being paired with rich summer experiences really pushed this opportunity over the top: although cliché, it is true that this creates endless opportunities for intellectual, personal, and leadership growth.
Although the program is something incredibly special, it is also something incredibly specific; the specific nature of the program was precisely what I was looking for in a college experience and matched beautifully with my interests, future goals, and personality. Even the Robertson Foundation matched my personal interests and abilities perfectly, focusing on environmental conservation, education reform, and medical research. The entire program was a perfect storm of opportunity and connections for me that was too great to pass.
Finalist weekend – a time when we were able to talk with fellow finalists and current scholars, explore both schools, and have discussions with Robertson staff – only intensified my desire to become a part of the Robertson community. This weekend confirmed my thoughts about the program and solidified my choice to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University as a Robertson Scholar. Out of all the options I explored, this was by far the best personal fit, and I am extraordinarily blessed to have the opportunity to join such a community!