Brandon Damgaard, Biology, Physics, Chemistry and Biochemistry


Name: Brandon Damgaard

College: Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Health and Human Performance

Major: B.S. in Biology, B.S. in Physics, B.S. in Biochemistry, and a B.A. in Chemistry, with minors in mathematics and military science

Age: 23

Classification/Year: Senior

Hometown: Seattle, Washington

Hobbies/interests: Finding ways to improve myself physically and mentally, which includes exercise, video games and adventuring outdoors/trail running

Clubs and Organizations: I am in the Army ROTC here at ECU. I have been the chapter president of the Golden Key International Honor Society for the last two years. I am a member of Sigma Pi Sigma, which is a physics honor society also known as the Society of Physics Students. I have been a lead physics tutor at the Pirate Academic Success Center since August 2021. I volunteered at Vidant/ECU Health in the pediatric hospital for a few years as well.


What memories/relationships/skills will you take with you when you leave ECU? I have the memory of who I was, and how I came to enjoy the journey and not only the destination. I had many endeavors that brought me to a breaking point, but through believing in myself and a perfect amount of time management, I performed what appeared impossible to me, and that’s all I could ever come to enjoy and learn from my time here at ECU.

First-generation college student Brandon Damgaard is a 23-year-old commissioned United States Army second lieutenant and chemical explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) officer originally from Seattle, Washington. He said his hobbies and interests include ways to improve himself physically and mentally, and he has taken full advantage of the opportunities available to him at East Carolina University, creating a well-rounded academic experience and preparing him for his future.

This week, Damgaard will see the fruits of his labor pay off when he earns four degrees from the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences — Bachelor of Science degrees in biochemistry, biology and physics, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in chemistry — along with minors in mathematics from Harriot College and military science from the College of Health and Human Performance.

Through the Army’s Simultaneous Membership Program, Damgaard is a member of ECU’s Army ROTC and the North Carolina Army National Guard. Along with his personal and professional interests, he said ECU’s ROTC program and medical school influenced his decision to pursue degrees here.

“I knew my National Guard benefits would help fund my education goals, and I transferred to ECU after joining the National Guard,” he said. “ECU was close to my parents as well. They live in New Bern, so it enabled me to be close enough to impact their lives as well as my own.”

Damgaard’s goal is to one day become a pediatric oncologist, something he has aspired to do ever since shadowing a doctor when he was in high school. While at ECU, he has completed more than 100 volunteer hours in the pediatric unit at ECU Health, enjoying the interactions with health professionals and patients, and learning about the work environment.

Throughout his rigorous studies, Damgaard has continuously made the ECU Honor Roll. He is an active member of Sigma Pi Sigma, the honors society for physics, and serves as president of the ECU Chapter of the Golden Key International Honor Society, where he oversees the planning and execution of events.

He serves as a tutor at the Pirate Academic Success Center and helps his fellow students with math, physics and other science courses. He also conducted research under the direction of Dr. Nathan Hudson, assistant professor in the Department of Physics, that focused on the image analysis of the formation of fibrin networks of blood clots.

Damgaard shows his Pirate pride as he displays the football team’s “No Quarter” flag. Like the team, Damgaard doesn’t give up on his goals.

Damgaard shows his Pirate pride as he displays the football team’s “No Quarter” flag. Like the team, Damgaard doesn’t give up on his goals.

Damgaard also received more than four scholarships to study abroad, allowing him to study in South Korea, where he took a course in differential equations and beginning Korean at Yonsei University, and Mexico, where he studied whales and their migration patterns and ocean literacy.

“I appreciated the ability to simply go see more of this massive world we’re surrounded by. We take a lot for granted, so I want to make sure that I remember there’s more that surrounds us than we will ever know,” he said.

Following graduation, Damgaard will go through an 18-month training period with the U.S. Army before he is placed at a duty station where he will complete a four- or five-year service contract. Then, he will apply to the Uniform Services University of Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland, to pursue his long-term goal of becoming a pediatric oncologist.

Of the life lessons Damgaard has learned while attending ECU and advice he would give others, he said, “Never be afraid to have a little ‘work hard, play hard’ mentality. Take time to work toward a goal but don’t forget to enjoy yourself sometimes as well. Everything in moderation. You will not leave ECU how you entered, and that is the exciting part, to look back and see how you’ve transformed into the person you are today.”