Brinkley-Lane Scholar: Selah Apollo

When Selah Apollo arrives in Greenville as part of the newest crop of Brinkley-Lane Scholars for the fall semester, the campus and East Carolina University ethos will be familiar. Apollo’s sister is in the class of Brinkley-Lane Scholars just ahead of her and her mother is a certified midwife who has taught Pirate nurses.

Service is written into her DNA. Her father retired after 27 years in the Air Force and now is the lead chaplain at a prison in South Carolina. His example, and that of her mother caring for underserved maternal populations in impoverished areas of southeastern North Carolina, spurred her dedication to service.

The list of her volunteering and leadership is impressive: the youngest volunteer at a hospice organization, the founding member of the first Black Student Union at a high school in Cumberland County, the events manager for the Jack Britt High School Asian American Association, the student body secretary for her school’s student government association and a member of the National Honor Society.

But singing holds her heart.

“I’m very passionate about choir,” Apollo said. “Honors chorus, all state, Eastern regionals and all county since fourth grade. I’ve also done a lot of choreographing, which is definitely something new, but I’ve choreographed and staged lots of numbers.”

She’s torn on her path once she gets to ECU — tackle the health information management undergraduate degree to prepare for dental school or forge a path as an opera singer?

When she was still a junior in high school, Apollo believed college was “so far away” but credits her sister with being a voice of reason, inspiring her to consider ECU and the Brinkley-Lane program.

“She taught me about the Honors College, scholarships, study abroad opportunities and internships,” Apollo said. “I definitely liked Brinkley-Lane because I knew ECU housed all my interests. I don’t know if I want to pursue music or if I want to go on the pre-dental track, but I knew ECU would be able to support me in both.”

Dentistry is her long-term goal. She credits her relationship with her dentist with being a role model and investing her with life lessons and self-confidence at a time she needed it.

“I was very self-conscious about my smile, and he made me feel comfortable with myself,” Apollo said. “I also saw the adverse effects of not having good dental care, and the disparities in North Carolina’s rural areas.”

But she’ll have to complete an undergraduate degree before applying to any dental program. Apollo believes earning a bachelor’s degree in ECU’s health information management program will help set her up for success with the business side of having a dental practice, giving her necessary tools to address the unequal access so prevalent in minority communities in North Carolina.

“I want to do public health dentistry because I’m very passionate about disparities in health care. With health information management, I will be able to quickly look through patient data and recognize when something’s going wrong, a disparity within a socioeconomic class,” Apollo said.

Regardless of the academic path she chooses, Apollo said she wants to continue singing while at ECU, in part because of the influence of Dr. Jami Rhodes, a professor of voice at the ECU School of Music. A chance encounter with Rhodes, who directed a choir clinic that Apollo attended during a high school all state competition, “completely revolutionized my singing,” Apollo said.

One of the requirements of Brinkley-Lane Scholars is a study abroad experience, to challenge students with learning and life experiences far afield from those they bring with them to ECU.

“I want to go to Korea. They have good music programs and, of course, their education is absolutely stellar for anything related to the health sciences,” Apollo said. She hopes to travel and study along with a close friend, who was born in South Korea and is fluent in the language.

“It would be nice to go to the other side of the world and have that experience with her,” Apollo said.

Whether in Greenville or Seoul, as a pre-dental student or a voice major, Apollo said she is excited to serve as an ambassador of Pirate Nation and the Brinkley-Lane program.

“Being able to represent ECU is just a huge honor. Along with other Brinkley-Lane students, I want to make sure that we can make things better — student life and encouraging others to get more involved,” Apollo said.

She said the community of Brinkley-Lane students has already welcomed her to ECU with open arms.

“I’ve already had Brinkley-Lane Scholars hit up my DM’s on Instagram saying, ‘Hey, if you ever need any help, I got you,’” Apollo said. “I have a blood sister who can help me, but I also have so many avenues of creating a family within the program and I’m very thankful for that.”

“Being able to represent ECU is just a huge honor. Along with other Brinkley-Lane students, I want to make sure that we can make things better — student life and encouraging others to get more involved.”

High school: Jack Britt High School

Intended major: Health information management

Current City: Fayetteville

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