Brinkley-Lane Scholar: Chris Kalapurackal

It’s no surprise Chris Saji Kalapurackal plans to major in engineering at East Carolina University.

“Ever since I was young, I have always loved building and tinkering,” he said. “These interests have always grown with me as I grew, and they developed after I joined the Pitt Pirates Robotics Team. With the help of this team, I learned to use tools and machinery, fueling and growing my passion to build and educate. This helped me decide that I want to do and learn engineering for the rest of my life.”

Kalapurackal is coming to ECU this fall as 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.

Kalapurackal, from Winterville, is graduating from J.H. Rose High School. The 18-year-old is the son of Saji Kalapurackal and Lyja Kuriakose.

“East Carolina University captivates me on various levels,” he said. “Its academic programs align with my aspirations. It is also conducted by faculty members who celebrate curiosity and questions, which I enjoy. Moreover, it’s close to home, enabling me to enjoy college life without getting homesick. ECU’s appeal extends from academics to dynamic campus life, making it my ideal choice.”

As someone who likes to volunteer — he’s spent time at the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences in Greenville supporting youth STEM programs — he plans on taking ECU’s motto of Servire to heart.

“I would love to start a project which would provide AI applications for the elderly to promote more freedom and security,” Kalapurackal said. “I am also planning to manufacture affordable 3D printed wheelchairs for dogs.”

It’s just one of the ways he plans to be involved on campus.

“I look forward to getting involved in multiple student organizations at ECU, especially the Indian student organization,” he said. “I have attended and enjoyed the Holi festival organized by this group, and I look forward to more experiences such as that.”

With a career goal of becoming an aerospace engineer, Kalapurackal is looking at Germany as his study abroad destination.

“Germany is renowned for its strong engineering programs and cutting-edge research facilities, providing students with access to world-class education and opportunities for hands-on learning,” he said. “Additionally, Germany’s engineering industry is one of the most innovative and advanced in the world, offering valuable internships and career prospects for aspiring engineers. Moreover, I want to explore Germany’s culture and landscape.”

But for now, he’ll spend the summer working, with a trip to Canada planned and some down time swimming, playing badminton and building robots with friends.

“Being a Brinkley-Lane Scholar to me means opportunity. I get to involve myself in experiences that I would not receive in a normal university such as leadership and research internship. I also get the opportunity to travel abroad, where I can gain a new sense of worldview and impressions.”

High school: J.H. Rose High School

Intended major: Engineering

Current City: Winterville

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