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‘Tears coming down my eyes’: White coat ceremony held at ECU Brody School of Medicine – WITN

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine held its annual white coat ceremony for the class of 2026 Friday.
A total of 86 students were presented with their white coats to begin their medical school journey.
Each and every one of them is a North Carolina resident and some are first-generation college students.
One of those students is Kena Lemu. She says she was born in Ethiopia but raised in Greensboro, and being presented with a white coat was a dream that has now become reality.
“Waking up this morning, I just felt tears coming down my eyes, and it just felt very unreal,” Lemu says. “I feel a weight on my shoulder putting this coat on because I know the responsibility that comes with it.”
Lemu says what inspired her to pursue this career is her family. She shares that some of her loved ones contracted HIV and since she was eight years old, she’s dreamed of doing research with the hope of helping others.
“Growing up, I heard a lot of people dying and I know someone who still lives with HIV so it’s something that’s very near and dear to my heart,” Lemu says. “So being in this space to get closer to the answer for a cure is something that brought me joy.”
While she begins her new journey, she has wise words for those who are still speaking their dreams into existence.
“There will be a lot of barriers, but always remember your why. Never let anybody dilute or compromise your identity because who you are and what makes you special will get you here and wearing this white coat today.”
The talented class of students was made up of three NCAA athletes and one veteran.
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