Golden LEAF Scholar Alumni Spotlight: Brittany Wiley

Name: Brittany Wiley
High School Attended: Wilson Early College Academy
Home County: Wilson, NC
College(s) Attended: East Carolina University
Major(s): Biology, Public Health
Minor(s): Psychology
County Now Living In: Wilson County
Next Steps: Master’s Degree in Physician Assistant and Public Health at Campbell University

What are some of your major accomplishments during college?

While obtaining my college degree, I was offered positions as a research assistant for Dr. Ables’ and Dr. Rulifson’s labs at ECU. I was also accepted into the BioLLC program, a program designed to help biology and biochemistry students succeed at ECU. I was inducted into the Alpha Epsilon Delta honors society at ECU.

What would you tell someone interested in applying for the Golden LEAF Scholarship about being a recipient?

I would tell anyone who is interested in applying for the Golden LEAF Scholarship to DO IT! The Golden LEAF Scholarship opened so many opportunities for me during college and even after graduation. This scholarship allowed me to have extra support while working towards earning my degree in Biology and Public Health. This scholarship alone on my resume made me a more attractive candidate when applying for jobs, graduate programs and even when obtaining volunteering experiences. If you have an opportunity to receive this scholarship, apply to become a part of the Golden LEAF Scholarship Program. I applied for and was accepted into the Golden LEAF Scholars Leadership Program, only open to Golden LEAF Scholarship recipients, and the leadership program provided me with the skills necessary to obtain an internship that aligned with my career goals and plans. I will be attending a Physician Assistant program in the fall of 2021!

What helped you decide to live/ work in a rural area?

I’ve learned a lot about what makes rural communities so special and why they matter since becoming a recipient of the Golden LEAF scholarship. Upon receiving a scholarship from Golden LEAF, I decided to join the Golden LEAF Scholars Leadership Program (GSLP). This program is focused on giving back to rural communities through completing internships in rural N.C. counties. Upon completing my internship, I fell in love with working in a rural community because often rural communities are overlooked and underserved. Therefore, I decided to return to my internship site to work as a Medical Assistant so I can have the opportunity to help patients who are often medically underserved in the community.

What kind of leadership roles are you serving in currently?

I am currently a Medical Assistant/Scribe at Wilson Medical Group. I exhibit leadership qualities on my job by being a team player and by listening to others. Many people often think being a leader means to direct others or give orders. However, I was taught through GLSP that being a leader also means being a team player. On my job, I am often required to make sure that I effectively and efficiently communicate with others to make sure that I have done all I can do to make sure the office runs as smoothly as possible. This plays a huge role in serving patients in the community with the best care possible!

What would you like to share about your personal or professional philosophies?

My personal and professional philosophy is “Always stretch and challenge yourself.” I have learned that in order to become successful in what you want to do, you must step outside your comfort zone and do something that challenges you. Challenging and stretching yourself opens you up to the possibility of failure, which is OK. You often learn from failures and find yourself becoming 10 times better when you cross the task a second time. Stepping outside of your comfort zone will often lead to the possibility of growth and learning at your job, school and even in life.

What did you learn during your experiences with the Golden LEAF Scholars Leadership Program?

During my internship I experienced personal growth and development through trying new things. When I began my internship at Wilson Medical Group, I did not know how to do any of the tasks that I know how to do now. I was very eager and nervous to learn new skills and techniques, but at first, I was scared that I would make mistakes while learning. Now I have gained confidence in performing these skills at my internship site. I quickly realized that making mistakes is a part of learning and becoming great at what you learn.

What internship experiences did you have?

I completed three years of interning at Wilson Medical Group. During my time there, I created a Medicare Physical form for the office. This form is now used for patients who are over the age of 65 to evaluate their lifestyle and other health related issues. It has played a role in improving care during Medicare physical office visits. Throughout this internship I have learned how to complete patient clinical history, current complaints, diagnoses, procedures and medical orders given. In addition, I had the opportunity to perform EKGs, A1Cs, urine analysis, and vitals.

Did your experiences with the Golden LEAF Scholars Leadership Program help shape your decision to live/ work in rural areas? If so, how?

Absolutely! Through completing my internship with the Golden LEAF Scholarship program, I discovered my preference for rural areas and have found a passion for reaching out to these communities. I also learned more about rural communities through Golden LEAF conferences and newsletters. I hope to be able to continue to provide service to rural North Carolina, no matter what career path I end up pursuing.

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