Boundless opportunities illuminated William Guiler’s interest in neuroscience

A passion for research and an interest in how the brain works drew William Guiler to neuroscience.

He will join the ranks of East Carolina University alumni on Friday before traveling to the University of Iowa to pursue his doctorate. in interdisciplinary neuroscience. One of the life lessons Guiler takes with him is learning how to live a well-balanced life.

“If I don’t have balance then I can’t really accomplish anything,” he said. “This past year, that’s been my number one focus and in picking a grad school, balance was my main decision. If I don’t make this my number one priority, I can’t be successful.”

William Guiler will pursue his passion for neuroscience after graduating this spring with degrees in psychology and multidisciplinary studies. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

The psychology and multidisciplinary studies in neuroscience double major credits the ECU Honors College for his achievements.

“It’s been a core aspect because it’s helped me get a lot of the opportunities that I wouldn’t have been able to. I started in a research lab because Dr. Todd Fraley gave me the information I needed to get in,” he said.

That experience was only the beginning of his research career at ECU. He has worked across campus with Dr. Christyn Dolbier and Dr. Blake Hutsell in psychology and Dr. Qun Lu at the Brody School of Medicine.

“Dr. Dolbier took me on as a freshman, which is just not all that common, and I’ve continuously grown every single year in her lab,” he said.

Guiler’s hard work has paid off. As a junior, he received the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship. This year he received the Robert H. Wright Leadership Award and took home an award during Research and Creative Achievement Week.

“I’ve done that every single year since freshman year and I’ve improved every single year,” he said. “It’s a testament to what RCAW is supposed to be: continuous improvement and learning.”

He also credits the Honors College for transforming his worldview through seminars and the freshmen colloquia.

“You always have to do group projects in high school but you never have to really work on a team for an extended period of time and deal with different personalities and different majors,” he said.


Name: William R. Guiler

College: Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences

Major: Double Major – Multidisplinary Studies in Neuroscience and Psychology

Age: 22

Classification/Year: Senior

Hometown: Charlotte

Hobbies/interests: Reading, coffee, hiking, video games

Clubs and Organizations: Psi Chi, Phi Kappa Phi


Favorite hangout: Little Washington

Favorite place on campus: The Fountain

Favorite place to eat: Coastal Fog

Favorite class: Psychology of Learning

Professor who influenced you the most: Dr. Eric Bailey

Favorite TV show: “Friends”      

Favorite band/musician: Chris Cornell

Favorite movie: Harry Potter series


Dream job: Tenure-track professor

Role model: My high school chemistry teacher, Mr. Hawkins

Your words to live by: Focus on the present moment

What advice do you have for other students? At ECU, you have the tools to be anything you want. So please, take advantage of this time and pursue your dreams.

What is something cool about ECU that you wish you knew during your first year?I wish I knew I could take a course in scuba-diving or conduct research on sunken pirate ships!

According to Guiler, people who overlook ECU don’t realize its potential. His friends who attended other universities didn’t have the same undergraduate experience.

“They were offered a fraction of the opportunities that I was,” he said. “They didn’t get a lot of leadership experience or an internship and I got all of that.”

As a junior, Guiler received the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship. This year he received the Robert H. Wright Leadership Award and took home an award during Research and Creative Achievement Week.