Brinkley-Lane Scholar: Eric Sabiston

Eric Sabiston’s dream is to study chronic and autoimmune diseases to improve the lives of those burdened with lifelong illnesses.

The son of Kelli and Paul Sabiston, he is one of 20 freshmen entering East Carolina University this fall as a Brinkley-Lane Scholar (BLS), the most prestigious undergraduate award program offered at the university. The four-year merit scholarship recognizes outstanding academic performance, commitment to community engagement and strong leadership skills.

“Being a Brinkley-Lane Scholar shows that my hard work and dedication to academics, athletics and community service are not only recognized but rewarded,” he said.

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.

“ECU and the BLS program provide a college experience that cannot be found anywhere else,” Sabiston said. “Two of my top considerations when looking at potential schools were undergraduate research opportunities and study abroad programs. ECU provides both in excess, and I am very excited to pursue these endeavors.”

Outside of an impressive academic career — Sabiston is ranked 11 out of his class of 512 at Pinecrest High School — he has participated in volunteer work for various organizations, including Habitat for Humanity and the Sandhills Food Pantry. He has coached soccer camps and officiated games for the Athletic Club of the Sandhills, and he has served as a community service officer for his high school chapter of Health Occupation Students of America. This organization empowers future health professionals to become leaders in the global health community.

While at ECU, in addition to his classes and labs, Sabiston said he would like to play club soccer and create unique community service events like the Aberdeen Diabetes Awareness Walk he started. The fundraiser, which he organized through the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, raised nearly $2,000.

“The Aberdeen Diabetes Awareness Walk is a community event that I began to spread awareness for diabetes. As a Type 1 diabetic myself, I felt it necessary to inform and create a more inclusive community,” he said.

Sabiston first presented the plans for the event to the town of Aberdeen. After approval, he advertised the fundraiser, designed wristbands and volunteer T-shirts for the event, received food and water donations from a local grocery store and organized a group of volunteers. On the day of the event, he led a group of approximately 60 participants around a 1-mile loop and directed others who decided to walk on their own.

While considering his study abroad path at ECU, Sabiston said there are many places he would love, but countries with vast language differences, such as Portugal, Greece, Turkey or any Eastern European country, intrigue him.

This summer, he plans to continue serving at local soccer camps, reading books and working on his pickleball game. He also will spend time with family on one last special vacation before coming to ECU in the fall.

After completing his undergraduate degree, Sabiston wants to continue his education through graduate school and pursue a career in biomedical research.

“My dream is to live in a lab studying chronic and autoimmune disease, with Dr. Frankenstein being my role model — minus the evil monster,” he said. “By studying disease, I hope to lengthen and improve the lives of those burdened with a lifelong disease.”

“I hope to lengthen and improve the lives of those burdened with a lifelong disease.”

High school: Pinecrest High School

Intended major: Biology

Current City: Aberdeen

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