Photo courtesy Gregory Vance
Jackson native Gregory Vance recently became one of seven freshman students at the University of Mississippi to receive scholarships from the Stamps Family Charitable Foundation. The scholarship provides funds for enrichment activities such as study-abroad programs, academic conferences and leadership training.
"When I found out I had qualified for the scholarship back in April, it was incredible news," Vance says. "The stipend will allow me to take trips, see places and do research that I may never have done otherwise. One thing I'm considering is going to Boston, where there is cutting-edge neurological research going on, and training under a doctor there. I could also go to Italy or Greece, some of my favorite places in the world, and study their history and engineering."
Vance, 18, graduated from Jackson Preparatory School and is majoring in biomedical engineering at UM. After touring a number of other institutions in Mississippi, he says that he chose to attend the University of Mississippi for its biomedical engineering program, the beauty of its campus and the honors college it offered.
"A lot of other schools had their own plusses," he says, "but I wanted to come here because I felt Ole Miss had the most tools and presented the greatest opportunities for success in my field."
Vance says he has been fascinated with the functions of the body and brain, as well as the connections between the two, since high school. He has also been interested in music since childhood in part because of how it can stimulate the mind and provoke different responses in listeners. He began playing piano at age 4, joined the show choir at Jackson Prep during high school, and is currently a member of UM's University Chorus and Men's Glee.
"The brain is responsible for all of your movement, every color you see, every emotion you feel and every action you take," Vance says. "Neuroscience and biomedical engineering appeal to me because they're about finding ways to help people keep those functions alive, even in the face of disease or trauma."
He is considering a minor in neuroscience, and plans to pursue either medical school or an advanced biomedical engineering degree after graduation. One possible career path that Vance says he envisions is helping to treat children with neurological diseases.
"I may not be sure on where I see myself in five years right now, but I have confidence that the faculty here at Ole Miss will help guide me into whatever the future may bring," he says.