A year ago, Corey Stewart’s senior year was ending on a high note.
He was one of three valedictorians at Lee High School in Pennington Gap, Virginia, and was excited about starting college at ETSU, where he would continue realizing his dream of becoming a neurosurgeon.
And when his classmates crowned him and his longtime girlfriend as prom king and prom queen, Stewart decided to make the prom the backdrop for a once-in-a-lifetime moment.
He proposed to his girlfriend.
“Everyone at the prom knew I was going to propose – except my girlfriend,” Stewart recalls. “Everyone in the town of Pennington Gap knew what I was going to do.”
That night, his queen became his fiancé.
A year later, both have finished their first year at ETSU where Stewart is studying biology and minoring in computer science. His fiancé is studying studio art.
“I have always been fascinated by how the brain works,” he said. “When I was in the fourth grade I suffered from terrible migraines and had to have an MRI done. I was amazed by how computers were used to study the brain and I thought, ‘Wow, this is really cool. Why not make a job out of this?’”
Ever since fourth grade, Stewart has planned to become a neurosurgeon.
And he is already giant steps toward that goal. When he arrived at ETSU for his freshman year, he already had 77 credit hours under his belt, thanks to a dual enrollment program with a local community college. Though he already has enough college credits to be a senior, he plans to stay at ETSU a few more years and take additional courses as he prepares to apply to medical school.
“In high school, we learned ‘what’ happens in science, but in college I have enjoyed learning ‘why’ it happens,” he said. “I also appreciate the freedom that college offers as well as what it means to be an adult. College teaches you that.”
Stewart says a fun part of his first year at ETSU was getting to be a referee for intramural games at the Basler Center for Physical Activity. He also appreciated working with the staff at the Medical Professions Advisement Office. “Martha Edde has always been very helpful and she has given me great advice on ways I can volunteer and get clinical hours while I am in college.”
Stewart finished his first year at ETSU with a 4.0 grade point average.