Category Archives: Summer Experiences

EC Scholar checks in from Greece

Rising junior EC Scholar Ananya Koripella (B.S. Public Health Studies, B.A Hispanic Studies) checks from her summer travel after completing a medical fellowship in Greece:
Rising junior EC Scholar Ananya Koripella during her medical fellowship in Greece this summer.

Rising junior EC Scholar Ananya Koripella during her medical fellowship in Greece this summer.

“As you know, I stayed in Athens for three weeks as part of the Atlantis Program. I was shadowing doctors at three different hospitals. It was so much fun! I saw different things from a coronary artery bypass to a live birth and c-sections to orthopedic tumor removals to pediatric refugee patients who had measles and chicken pox! I met all kinds of different people too. There was a patient from Romania who had the most interesting stories and used to live literally 20 minutes from Count Dracula’s castle and now I really want to go there so bad. He had pins in his hand because he crushed two fingers in an accident and didn’t even flinch one bit when the doctor was pulling them out.

Rising junior EC Scholar Ananya Koripella enjoys some free time while in Greece for a medical fellowship.

Rising junior EC Scholar Ananya Koripella enjoys some free time while in Greece for a medical fellowship.

I’ve had more gyros and souvlaki than I can count; Tzatziki Sauce in Greece >>>>>> Tzatziki Sauce in the USA! I got to go to a lot of different places too! Literally, a half hour after I arrived at my apartment in Athens, my project coordinator took us all the way up to the Acropolis to see the Parthenon. The program took us to Sounion, a coastal city where the Temple of Poseidon is located. They also took us to Delphi known for the Temple of Apollo and the Oracle. On our own, the other fellows and I went to Aegina, one of the islands of Greece and to the Mykonos. I had a wonderful, wonderful time! There is still so much left on my list of stuff I want to see and places I want to go to, I’m definitely going to go back to Greece when I can! I’ve got over a thousand pictures on my laptop that I took with my Canon camera, I’ll definitely show you some more when I see you both in August!

Ciao for now!”



Rising junior EC Scholar Ananya Koripella in Greece this summer.

Rising junior EC Scholar Ananya Koripella in Greece this summer.


Touching Base from the Little League World Series

Rising Junior Ashely Weingartz stands in front of the Little League World Series complex in Williamsport, Pa., where she is serving as the marketing intern this summer.

Rising Junior Ashely Weingartz stands in front of the Little League World Series complex in Williamsport, Pa., where she is serving as the marketing intern this summer.

I’ve been in Williamsport, PA since Memorial Day and I just finished the third week of my internship at Little League. I have met so many great people up here and I am excited for what the next two months have in store! I am learning so much and experiencing even more. It is amazing to see behind the scenes of a place that I’ve held in such high esteem my entire life.

I am staying in an apartment less than half a mile away from the Little League International complex at some older apartments set beside a pretty lake. The weather here has been pretty great and I’m looking forward to exploring the mountains around here, and have enjoyed running along the extensive river walk they have along the Susquehanna River. I am rooming with a fellow intern at Little League, Stephanie. There are four of us interns and we are all girls! We share an office on the bottom floor overlooking part of the complex. I am the Marketing Intern and there is a Web Development Intern, Digital Media Intern, and Media Relations Intern as well.

Williamsport, Pa. will host the 2017 Little League World Series, Aug. 17-27.

Williamsport, Pa. will host the 2017 Little League World Series, Aug. 17-27.

Every day we are given an hour for lunch but receive free lunches in the cafeteria in the International Grove. For those of you who don’t know, this is the gated area on the complex that houses all of the players when they come here. It has a really neat rec room as well as its own pool. During “The Series”, this area is always completely locked down to all outsiders for security reasons so I find it very cool to be able to walk through those gates every day on the way to lunch. Because we have lunch so close to our office, there is normally time after eating for some exploring around the complex. I have to pinch myself to remind myself that this is real sometimes.

This week was very exciting as we hosted the Little League Luncheon. There were all sorts of supporters of Little League in attendance as well as Frank Coonelly, the president of the Pittsburgh Pirates Major League Baseball team. I enjoyed listening to him speak about the Little League Classic between the Pirates and the Cardinals. It is being held here in Williamsport at Historic Bowman Field on Sunday Night Baseball on Aug. 20, during the Little League World Series (Aug. 17-27), and all of the World Series participants and their families will be attending. There is a ton of excitement around this event and I’m sure it will be memorable. During the luncheon, the four interns were all allowed to place the names of the regions and countries on the 2017 World Series bracket as their spots were randomly drawn. It was an awesome experience that I’ll remember for a long time.

Ashely Weingartz, middle, stands with two other Little League World Series interns in front of the LLWS bracket during the Little League Luncheon.

Ashely Weingartz, middle, stands with two other Little League World Series interns in front of the LLWS bracket during the Little League Luncheon.

Next week, camps will begin here and I’m sure that will add even more excitement and activity in the coming weeks leading up to the World Series. I can’t even begin to describe how excited I am to work this event. On the weekends, I have been hanging out with my roommate, Stephanie, and another intern Olivia. Olivia goes to school at a small college here in town so last Sunday she took me to her church and I met some of her friends there. It was great! I am hoping to make some weekend trips to Hershey, Pittsburgh, and possibly Philadelphia before the end of the summer. It’s wonderful getting the chance to explore a different part of the country.

I do miss home a bit though. Today (June 17) was the first day of playoffs for Greenville Little Leagues and I have learned that I hate to miss big events such as this. However, I know that I’m right where I need to be. Thanks for all the support everyone has shown me leading up to this summer. I’m having the time of my life and can’t wait to give you guys even more exciting updates in the future!

-Ashely Weingartz


Ashley is a rising junior in the Honors College majoring in Sports Studies and is a member of the ECU Softball team.


Learning medicine in Nicaragua

By Conor Pumphrey, sophomore EC Scholar and Early Assurance in Medicine

Conor - NicaraguaThe summer following my junior year of high school, I had the opportunity to go on a mission trip to Nicaragua with St. James United Methodist Church. Though the team members vary each year, the group has been going to Nicaragua on this trip for over 12 years now. What intrigued me the most about this opportunity was that the trip was focused on providing medical care to the people of remote villages in the mountains. I was already interested in the medical field at this point and after the trip, my idea about wanting to become a physician was completely confirmed. I enjoyed this mission trip because I had the opportunity to do procedures that I would not have been able to do in the states such as testing for hemoglobin levels, glucose levels, taking blood pressure manually and with a machine, and testing for oxygen saturation levels. In addition, I was able to shadow the physicians that lead the trip. I decided to go again this summer because it was such an amazing experience for me.

The mission of the group is to provide basic health care to an impoverished country, especially the communities surrounding the city of Jinotega. The mission trip is one week long and the group has been lodged in the same orphanage every year since the first trip. The first day of this year’s trip was spent preparing for the first clinic that we held at the orphanage. This clinic served the kids at the orphanage, the staff and the surrounding community. Over the next two days, we had a clinic in the mountain villages and this is where I experienced some of the most memorable moments of my trip. One impactful moment was when we saw a man that was in his 80’s come into thNicaragua - Conore clinic wearing extremely dirty clothes with holes all over them. It looked like they had not been changed in weeks and he was wearing a plastic bag to stay dry during the rainy season. The interpreters said that he had walked 2 hours just to come get medical attention. It was amazing to see multiple members of the team give him personal items that they were wearing such as a hat, a raincoat, and clothes that we had at the clinic. Another patient came in with extreme pain in her arm. When we inquired more she said it only hurt when she was carrying buckets of water. The shocking part of the story was that she walks about 6 hours round trip a day to gather water from a stream, carrying several liters of water just to provide for her family.

Nicaragua Group - ConorThis trip not only provided me with great hands-on medical experience, but it was an eye-opening experience to see how the people of Nicaragua live. The people of this country would be blessed to live like the poorest of the people in America, and I think this is something many people would be shocked to witness. All of these reasons are why I love visiting this country and plan on continuing to go for many years to come.

Japan: An ‘inexhaustible variety of life’

By Josh Butler, a junior EC Scholar

Butler JapanStudying abroad in Tokyo, Japan, and the surrounding areas was an experience second to none that involved cultural immersion coupled with intellectual stimulation. Few places demonstrate values directly opposite to that of the United States like Japan, and experiencing these differences allows one to better understand the society he/she originates from and to view the United States from a foreigner’s perspective. Individualism versus collectivism; human rights versus rights of the collective whole; the person’s demand for respect versus a self-effacing respect for the other person; confrontation versus meekness; admittance versus ostracism. Juxtaposed standards such as these portray the differences between the United States and Japan respectively. Saying that experiencing these things profoundly increased my understanding of cross-cultural human nature would be a gross understatement.

Japanese foodI went to Japan entirely open-minded; however, I continuously found myself surprised at each restaurant, turn of the block, or bend in the path. Describing each surprise would take far too long for the purpose of a blog and simply not do the experience justice, so I will attempt a few. To begin with, convenience stores brought a whole new meaning to the word convenience. Instead of merely carrying an assortment of snacks, drinks, and simple essentials for the road, the common 711 or Family Mart convenience store in Japan was also full to the brim with fresh meals ranging from sandwiches to meats and bread. I often found myself in one of these stores to stock up on food for the guest house, grabbing a quick meal before our next excursion, or withdrawing cash from its ATM.

Tokyo cityMany people tend to look at a picture of Tokyo and liken it to New York City. Even though the skyscrapers are similar, the size of Tokyo, the biggest city in population density in the world that sports more places to eat than any other city, is simply too large to compare to its New York counterpart. Tokyo is also much cleaner, partly due to the lack of trash cans, subsequent reduction of trash quantity, and the taboo of eating while walking throughout the city. Trash is also separated between burnable items and plastics, reducing the necessity of landfills, unlike US practices.

Some restaurants feature a vending machine-like way of ordering. On the machine are pictures of meals (which are not photo shopped, like almost every menu in the US) and prices. After inserting some coins or a paper bill and choosing a meal, a ticket spiJapan- hikingts out, and the customer then passes it on to the cook. Pitchers of water are typically left on the table so you can refill the small glass as needed. Also, a waiter or waitress will only stop by your table if and when you call for their attention. From what I could discern, this is because meals are considered a private affair that are not to be interrupted unless the waiter/waitress is needed by the customer. I often forgot about this and waited at the table with friends, waiting for the waiter, when in fact the waiter was waiting for us.

Food portions are generally much smaller than in the US, and a typical meal consists mostly of noodles or rice, vegetables, and a small portion of meat (usually fish or pork). In addition, there are numerous American fast food restaurants, such as Carl Jr.’s, McDonalds, and KFC, in Japan. These restaurants demonstrate how Japan has been gradually westernized, influencing not only eating habits but choice of clothing and music as well.

Japan is a mesmerizing conjunction of the traditional and contemporary, the old and the new, the natural beauty of mountains and its wild monkeys and the adjacent concrete jungle of skyscrapers and modern wonders. These first-hand experiences have allowed me to see the United States from a fresh perspective and better comprehend what F. Scott Fitzgerald described as the “inexhaustible variety of life.”


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