Noah Abel

Noah AbelWhen he received the offer to be a Brinkley-Lane Scholar, Williamston’s Noah Abel was in shock.

“First of all, I didn’t even expect to get into the Honors College at all,” he said. “Then I thought, well maybe I can get the lowest level, and I’ll be happy and it’ll help me out with school.”

Instead, he received the offer to become a Brinkley-Lane Scholar, the most prestigious undergraduate award program offered at ECU. The four-year merit scholarship recognizes outstanding academic performance, commitment to community engagement and strong leadership skills. Recipients receive a fully funded education, covering the cost of tuition, fees, room and board for both in-state and out-of-state students and unique high impact experiences, as well as the ability to explore the world with a $5,000 study abroad stipend. Scholars benefit from access to an array of leadership opportunities, research with award-winning faculty and a robust alumni network.

Abel already had his heart set on attending East Carolina University, following in the footsteps of his mother, Tiffany Hassell-Abel, who received her bachelor’s in music education and master’s in percussion performance from ECU.

“I’ve been around ECU my whole life since my mom’s an alum,” he said. “I do a lot of music stuff because my intended major is music education. Whenever we have anything going on with the band — school band day and the homecoming parade — I’m always in and out of there.”

He had the opportunity to work with some of the students in his mother’s sixth and seventh grade classes at Bear Grass Charter School, which he also attends, and realized how much he enjoyed being in the classroom.

“I want to come back to Bear Grass, which is sixth through 12th grades,” Abel said. “I’m pretty dead set on coming back home because I love Williamston; it’s home.”

First, Abel plans to take advantage of all that ECU has to offer, including participating in the Marching Pirates, the university’s marching band, which will be a big change from his current band experience.

“At my school, we don’t do any competitive marching,” he said. “We do parades, and we march out on the football field, play the national anthem, and march right back off again.”

His love of music also plays into where he’s thinking of traveling for the required study abroad experience: Scotland.

“I learned how to play the bagpipes about a year ago,” he said. “Scotland is the home of the bagpipes so that’s why I want to go there, because it’ll be cool to be able to hear Scottish bagpipers. Plus, Scotland is just beautiful.”

After his experience during the admissions process, Abel is excited to meet the rest of his Brinkley-Lane Scholar cohort and have the chance to bond with them.

“I had such a good time Selection Sunday, meeting all of the people,” he said. “Everybody was so nice and it seems like it’s one big, happy family. … It’s going to be nice to have a group of friends already.”

Abel is the son of Hassell-Abel and John Abel of Williamston.

“It seems like it’s one big, happy family. … It’s going to be nice to have a group of friends already.”

High school: Bear Grass Charter School

Intended major: Music education

Hometown: Williamston

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