Eason Abbott grew up loving Duke and cheering for the Blue Devils with his father, Michael Abbott M.B.A. ’83. When it came time to consider colleges, Duke was at the top of a short list that also included Georgetown University, North Carolina State University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. But the Raleigh resident knew that even though he had the academic and extracurricular achievements to do well at Duke, he would most likely end up following his older sister to UNC.
“My parents never put any pressure on me about where to go, and they were always great about saying that they would make it work no matter where I decided to go,” he says. “But Duke would have been hard for us to afford.”
In mid-April, Abbott learned that he had been selected to receive the Alumni Endowed Undergraduate Scholarship, established by the Duke Alumni Association in 1979 to recognize the academic and personal achievements of children or grandchildren of Duke alumni. The scholarship covers four years of tuition for students with demonstrated financial need; a summer academic experience such as study abroad; and invitations to attend a variety of special educational, social, and cultural programs throughout their four years.
“The scholarship sealed the deal,” says Abbott. He attended Raleigh’s Broughton High School, where he played soccer, ran track, and was active in student government. He also plays lead guitar in the seven-piece Starfish Bungalow, a party band whose repertoire includes original songs as well as covers of Earth, Wind & Fire, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Abbott says he’s leaning toward a major in biomedical engineering and has signed up to take the Focus program’s “Exploring the Mind” cluster of courses, which examines how the brain perceives everything from language and physical sensations to emotions and consciousness.
He also plans to explore club sports and perhaps take some music classes, as he hasn’t studied music formally since middle school. He may also check out the Durham music scene and leadership opportunities in Duke Student Government. But mostly, he says, he’s trying to stay attuned to options that come his way.
“I’m open to everything,” he says. “I am waiting to see what catches fire in me.”