Staff: Meghan Lower
Meghan Lower seemed destined to be a Pirate. After all, she grew up 15 minutes from the East Carolina University campus, her grandparents and mother graduated from ECU, making her a third-generation Pirate. On top of that, her grandfather, Tom Michel, scored the first touchdown in what is now Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.
“On the first day of class, those awkward icebreakers, that was always my fun fact,” she said.
Today, Lower is the business services coordinator for the Honors College, calling on her experiences as an ECU student to help today’s students and her co-workers.
Still, as a Greenville native, she initially considered going away to attend college.
“Once I toured during my senior year of high school, I fell in love and eight years later, I’m still here,” she said.
She was accepted into the Honors College as a Brinkley-Lane Scholar, ECU’s most prestigious scholarship program.
“I loved every second being here. Obviously, I’m still here to this day,” said Lower, who was also a Robert H. Wright Leadership Award recipient as a student in 2019. “The things the scholars program, the Honors College and ECU in general provided me while I was here, I couldn’t imagine getting that anywhere else. I can’t even imagine where I would be at this point in my life if I hadn’t come here to ECU.”
As a former Brinkley-Lane Scholar, she can relate to the pressures and burdens as well as the joys and excitement of today’s scholars.
“I’ve been where they’re at. I know what they’re going through. I’ve been in their shoes. That enables me to pull on my past experiences — and I wasn’t here too long ago,” Lower said. “I know the curriculum. I know the faculty. I know the staff. I know the programs and the clubs they’re in. I know who they need to talk to for certain things. It’s nice having gone through what they’re going through to be able to help them connect those dots across campus.”
After obtaining a Bachelor of Science in science education at ECU in 2019, Lower went on to get her Master of Business Administration in 2021, working as a graduate assistant in the Honors College and the Office of University Scholarships. It set the stage for a career in higher education.
“I decided to go into higher education because of the incredible experience that I had here at ECU,” she said. “I wanted to see how everything worked behind the scenes and the operations of what goes in to making a great undergraduate experience for all our students. That’s something I really see now, especially being on the business and operations side of everything that goes into serving our students. That’s the main reason we’re here. Everything that goes on behind the scenes, especially in my role, the students won’t see 95% of what I do, but there’s a lot that goes on to provide for the college and to provide for our students.”
Lower is responsible for managing the Honors College’s funds and budget and its business operations. She administers and manages roughly 800 scholarships. She said she’ll have at least three to-do lists at any one time and credits her colleagues in the Honors College for the support they give.
“In order to keep my mind straight, I really rely on the people in this building,” she said. “We’re a small staff. There are six of us full time here in the Honors College, and we’re all basically one-person departments. That requires us and allows us to work integrated a little more than say some of the larger units just out of necessity. They’re my checks and balances for what I do every day.”
She took on the added responsibility of creating an Honors College merchandise store in which students and alumni can purchase T-shirts, polos and tumblers.
“We opened this a few months ago for the students to be able to show their Honors College pride and to be able to represent their college,” Lower said. “There were a lot of little logistical pieces that went into it, more than I thought there would be when I was getting it started, but this university has some really great partners who worked really well for me to get this up and rolling.”
Lower also supports the Truist Leadership Center, working with the man who was her chancellor when she was a student at ECU, Dr. Steve Ballard. She also serves as the director of scholar engagement on the executive board of the Undergraduate Scholar Programs Administrators Association (USPAA).
“Outside of what I do day-to-day, serving on the USPAA executive board and working with Dr. Ballard at the Truist Leadership Center are two opportunities that I’ve gotten from being in this position that professionally I really value,” she said.
Outside of work, Lower is a personal trainer at Burn Boot Camp and completed a Spartan obstacle course trifecta, finishing 5K, 10K and 25K competitions.
“They are outdoors, woodsy, muddy, basically obstacle course races, almost like cross training types of races,” she said. “I would have never foreseen myself doing any of it, but I’m a very competitive person and I love the challenge of something.”
And to top it all off, Lower is getting married next month to Will Taylor, a former Honors College student she met her senior year. He’s in his final year at ECU’s Brody School of Medicine.
“He’ll be a two-time Pirate and I’m a two-time Pirate, and his parents went here as well, so there’s a lot of ECU going on,” she said. “It’s a good thing.”
For Lower, she can’t imagine being anywhere else.
“It’s a dream come true,” she said. “I knew that if I could ever get back to working as a full-time member of the Honors College, that’s everything I could ever want. I just know the value of what this college provides for its students. To be able to be part of that and help provide that for years and years of students, that’s all I wanted to do ever since I was a student here.”
Name: Meghan Lower
Title: Business services coordinator, Honors College
Colleges attended and degrees: East Carolina University, Bachelor of Science in science education; Master of Business Administration
Years working at ECU: Two
What I do at ECU: I feel like what I do changes every day. I oversee and execute all business operations for the Honors College, Brinkley-Lane Scholars Program and Truist Leadership Center. This includes administering scholarships for 800 students, managing all college funds and budgets, and keeping my colleagues from spending too much money!
What I love about ECU: The people, the campus, the spirit — I could go on and on.
What advice do you give to students? Be open to exploring new paths and passions, even if they are the ones you never initially planned.
What do you like to do when not working? When I’m not working at ECU, you can find me on the microphone at Burn Boot Camp as a personal trainer.
Last thing I watched on TV: “F1 Drive to Survive”
First job: Youth soccer referee
Guilty pleasure: Playing New York Times Connections
Favorite meal: Any dessert
One thing most people don’t know about me: Last year, I earned a Spartan trifecta by completing three different Spartan obstacle course races: one sprint, a 5K race with 20 obstacles; one super, a 10K race with 25 obstacles; and one beast, a 25K race with 30 obstacles.