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This is one alum we all should be proud to call our brother. After graduating from UNC in 2009, Dr. Grayston Armstrong went on to Harvard for his master’s in public health. This month, he is graduating with a medical degree from Brown University and has just recently returned from the Middle East where he proposed refugee policy solutions to the Prince of Jordan. Soon, he will be headed back to Harvard to do his medical residency in ophthalmology, all while serving as the national chair for the 50,000-member Medical Student Section of the American Medical Association.

What was the determining factor in pledging Sigma Nu at Chapel Hill?

When I pledged Sigma Nu, I joined a team of motivated students to help build something from the ground up with a vision towards forming a truly incredible fraternity. I was lucky to have been selected to take part in this process. While the chance to mold an organization like Sigma Nu at UNC was great, I was mainly drawn by the high caliber of brother in the group.

What Psi Chapter influences did you have that helped guide your decisions to be involved and make the educational and career choices you have?

My time at the Psi Chapter of Sigma Nu left an indelible mark on me. It was the first time I had gone out on a limb and tackled peer leadership. It's the first time I took on the responsibility of mentoring and motivating my peers as the scholarship chair. It was a fraternity brother who got me hooked on the idea of pursuing medicine as a career. Without all of these experiences, I wouldn't be finishing medical school at Brown University and heading off to Harvard as a fully fledged doctor to undertake my medical residency. I can also say for sure that I wouldn't be the national chair of the American Medical Association's Medical Student Section — the nation’s largest medical student organization with over 50,000 members.

You are very accomplished in your pursuits to become a physician and give back to the community. What has been your biggest success? You biggest learning moment?

I've been busy since my graduation from UNC Chapel Hill. I've nearly finished medical school at Brown University and am weeks away from graduating, I've completed a Masters of Public Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, I was elected to serve as the national chair of the 50,000-member American Medical Association-Medical Student Section, I recently returned from the Middle East where I proposed refugee policy solutions to the Prince of Jordan and I'll be heading to Harvard next year to do my medical residency in ophthalmology. All the while, I've focused on helping improve the lives of those around me … be it my patients or those in the US health care system, the nation's medical students or Syrian civil war victims abroad. 

To date, I'd say that my biggest success has been the luck and good fortune I've had in exploring the world of health policy. During my first few weeks of medical school, between classes on biochemistry and on the proper use of a stethoscope, I happened to attend an AMA-sponsored lecture on health insurance (boring, right?). Well, this serendipitous event has led to the plethora of opportunities I just described, and I can't wait to see where else it takes me.

My greatest learning moment occurred when I moved north to Brown University in Rhode Island. I thought that the entire world knew what good BBQ was … sadly, I was sorely mistaken. 

What would you like your brothers to know about you?

I'd like my fraternity brothers to know that I'm always open to talk, chat, mentor, advise or just hang out at any time. Feel free to reach out. Everything I've accomplished is due to awesome mentorship and luck, so now it's my turn to give back.

Give us some background information (hometown, major, family, etc.).

I was a music major and chemistry minor from Weddington, N.C. I'm the oldest of four children. My father, Robbie, and mother, Gail, still live in Weddington. My brother, Scott, is in law school at USC; my sister Ashley is getting her master’s at Queen's University; and my sister Allison is in college at UNCC.

What advice would you give the younger you?

If I had the chance to go back and give advice to younger me, I'd tell myself two things. First, I'd tell myself to truly enjoy my time at UNC and with Sigma Nu. It's a really transformative experience. Second, I'd encourage myself from an earlier age to branch out and take chances with leadership. The only way to learn to lead is by practice and determination, so you might as well start early.

What is next for you?

My next step is to move to Boston, Mass., and start my medical residency at Harvard University. I'll spend four years studying ophthalmology in hopes of becoming an ocular surgeon. 

How would you like your brothers to remember you 50 years from now?

I'd like my brothers to remember me as the guy who never gave up trying to make a difference in the world.

Brothers can connect with Grayson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..