“As the stepdaughter of a Marine, I grew up in Jacksonville, North Carolina, in close proximity to Camp Lejeune,” said Kaitlin Peck ’23. “Moving from such a connected community to Chapel Hill, where I knew only two other people, was certainly a challenge.”
The Vetter’s Scholarship, which sparked the Red, White and Carolina Blue Challenge, and the Carolina Covenant both helped ease Kaitlin’s transition and allowed her to take advantage of both academic and extracurricular opportunities at Carolina.
Kaitlin’s preconceived interest in health care led her to declare a major in pre-nursing. While she enjoys these studies, it has actually been her choice of a minor that has shaped Kaitlin’s academic experience thus far.
“When I was introduced to the medicine, literature and culture minor during my first year at Carolina, I was instantly drawn to it,” said Kaitlin. “It’s easy to dehumanize medicine, but it is so important to focus on the actual person you are treating. I have learned a lot through this minor and have recognized my passion for health and the ways humanities and socioeconomics relate to health.”
Kaitlin has applied this passion for humanizing medicine outside of the classroom by volunteering at hospitals in her hometown. While the current pandemic has put this volunteer work on pause, she has joined the Tar Heel Pen Pal System, an organization that allows her to continue to connect with patients on a personal level, even from afar. She is also involved in the UNC chapter of the Association of Nursing Students.
“We participate in service projects to give back to the community, work on professional skills and have weekly lunch-and-learns surrounding professional development opportunities and topics in our field.”
When she isn’t providing support to hospital patients or participating in service projects, Kaitlin sports Carolina blue as a flute and piccolo player in the UNC Marching Tar Heels. Being a part of this respected organization has allowed her to both exercise her love for music and build a community among her peers at Carolina.
Over the past year and a half, Kaitlin’s studies and activities have shaped her into an intelligent and confident Tar Heel. She recognizes, though, that the opportunity to do so was made possible by the Carolina Covenant and Vetter Military Family Scholarship.
“Not only did my scholarships take the weight of financial stress off my shoulders — giving me time to focus on my passions and plans for the future — they also provided me with great support systems of people from similar backgrounds,” said Kaitlin.
This community, made possible by the Red, White, and Carolina Blue Challenge, has already changed the lives of many students like Kaitlin, and it will continue to do so for years to come.
“I am incredibly grateful, blessed and honored to have received these scholarships and to be a part of a community that cares about giving back to others and supporting those with military affiliation,” said Kaitlin.