Brinkley-Lane Scholar: Diya Thaker

Diya Thaker wants to immerse herself in health care and research locally so she can make a difference globally in the lives of others.

Thaker, 17, the daughter of Alpesh Thaker and Gargi Thaker of Wake Forest, has been named to the latest class of East Carolina University’s Brinkley Lane Scholars program.

Brinkley-Lane Scholars is 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.

Thaker chose ECU because of the tight-knit campus community and the potential she sees to thrive independently “while also having close relationships with my peers and professors,” she said. “Knowing that I will be surrounded by like-minded individuals who are dedicated to making a difference will push me to encourage my own and others’ personal growth while positively impacting my community.”

An intended biology and neuroscience major, Thaker wants to become an interventional cardiologist with a focus on targeting health disparities “in pursuit of a more equitable health care system,” she said.

After spending the summer with family and friends and working as a martial arts instructor, Thaker plans to certify for her Emergency Medical Technician-B license this fall and apply to be an EMT with Pitt County Emergency Medical Services. She has been involved in her high school’s Health Equity Advocates Learning and Solving (HEALS) program, leading a team focused on enhancing medical access for underserved communities.

“Being an EMT student and treating all kinds of patients has also allowed me to witness the vulnerability and the resilience of patients in various areas,” she said. “Every patient deserves to be treated with quality, regardless of their financial standing or geographical location.”

Thaker’s high school is home to students of more than 50 nationalities, she said, allowing her to engage with various cultures and perspectives.

“Being a part of a multicultural community like this inspires me to increase my global awareness, so I hope to study abroad in Spain and Japan,” she said. “The opportunity to visit another country with entirely different customs and traditions from what I’m used to just seems so fascinating. I hope to step out of my comfort zone, immerse myself in local cultures and learn new languages.”

“Knowing that I will be surrounded by like-minded individuals who are dedicated to making a difference will encourage my own personal growth while positively impacting my community.”

High school: Wake Early College of Health and Sciences

Intended major: Biology and neuroscience

Current City: Wake Forest

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