Ka’Dedra Andrea Creech didn’t know when she was going to get her next meal. She didn’t know how she was going to wash her clothes. She was starting to wonder if she could stay in college.
And then she received the J. Gorman ’43 and Gladys Thomas Alumni Scholarship.
“That scholarship changed everything for me. It let me focus on my studies and not be so hungry,” says the senior double majoring in biology and Hispanic studies. “It was a really hard time in my college career. I still get emotional about it.”
“Anytime I need Gary, he’s there. Even if it’s last minute, Gary always comes through. He’s not someone who just threw some money at me and walked away – he wants to be part of my success.”
– Ka’Dedra Andrea Creech
Established by Gary Thomas ’83, an oncologist in Hilton Head Island, S.C., in memory of his parents, the scholarship is reserved for students who are planning a career in medicine – something that Creech has been determined to do for as long as she can remember.
“The one thing that impresses me most about Andrea is her total dedication to achieving her goal of a career in medicine. She will let nothing stand in her way,” says Thomas. “We could not have chosen a more deserving student.”
Creech appreciates Thomas’ confidence in her just as much as the scholarship money.
“Knowing Gary believes in me goes a long way. Every time we talk, he just uplifts me three notches,” she says. “Anytime I need Gary, he’s there. Even if it’s last minute, Gary always comes through. He’s not someone who just threw some money at me and walked away – he wants to be part of my success.”
Creech’s most recent success has landed her at Yale University for the summer: As part of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Exceptional Research Opportunities Program, she is spending 12 weeks with a Yale research team studying type 2 diabetes, a lifelong passion of hers.
When Creech returns to Charleston this fall, she’ll continue pursuing her medical career dreams: volunteering for CofC EMS, continuing her MUSC lab research and applying to physician assistant schools. And, thanks to Thomas, she won’t be worried about her next meal. She’s got plenty on her plate.