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The foundation established by East Central University’s fairly new Dr. Raniyah Ramadan Center for Undergraduate Research and Learning is already paying off for students.

Such is the case for ECU junior Josh Hardage, a biology/chemistry double-major, from Washington, Oklahoma.

Hardage will have the opportunity to serve an internship at Duke University this summer, under the direction of ECU alumnus Dr. Courtney Karner, who is an assistant professor and research faculty member in the Department of Orthopaedics Research at the prestigious institution in Durham, N.C.

“I’m ecstatic. It seems like it’s something that happens to someone else instead of happening to you,” said Hardage.

This opportunity may have not been possible had it not been for the Dr. Raniyah Ramadan CURL, which opened in 2015, according to Hardage.

“Dr. (Kenneth) Andrews, chair of the (ECU) Biology Department told, me about this opportunity,” Hardage said. “I had spent the summer and fall semester working in the (CURL) lab. There was an open application and I applied with everyone else.”

Hardage’s desire is to be a physician and his experience in the CURL have certainly enhanced his learning toward ultimately acquiring a medical degree.

“I don’t think there is a better way, especially with the opening of the new CURL Lab, and with Dr. Karner being an ECU alum” said Hardage. “I don’t think I would have been presented with this opportunity.”

As the child of veterinarians, Hardage was unsure of what path he would choose academically when he first arrived ta ECU.

“I wasn’t academically confident, but late in my freshman year, I decided I wanted to go this direction,” Hardage said. “ECU has developed my academic confidence.”

Hardage is currently serving as ECU’s student body president and was involved in student senate as a sophomore. He is also an active member of ECU’s Vision Bank Presidential Leadership Program, which is designed to develop extraordinary leaders within the student body.



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