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Aspiring doctor taking ride across US for others
carter riding bike
Rebecca Carter trains in the Flemington area for the 3,510 bicycle ride that she starts today. - photo by Photo by Frenchi Jones
Six months ago Rebecca Carter knew she would be taking a new turn in her life.
She was set to graduate from the University of Georgia, which she did  May 9, and she knew she wanted to use her bachelor’s of science degree in genetics as a step toward becoming a physician like her father Glenn Carter.
But she said she never thought she would spend her summer on 3,510-mile trek across the country on a bike.
“I didn’t have any plans for the summer,” she said. “I just figured I would be working on my applications for med school.”
That changed when Carter learned about Bike and Build from a friend. Although the application deadline had passed, Carter applied, hoping she would be accepted, and she was.  
“I’m just really excited,” she said. “I am going to be seeing things I have never seen before, meeting new people from all over the country and I am just really excited.”
Each year, Bike and Build takes young men and women on a 68-day educational cycling quest that begins from various points in the United States.
The organization’s executive director, Rosemary DiRita, said, “We use cross-country cycling trips to engage young adults in service. It is a huge commitment not just of time, but also of their talents and treasures.”
Bike and Build is known for its signature phrase, “Pedaling to end poverty” because it raises awareness and money for affordable housing programs such as Habitat for Humanity.
Carter said she did several other Habitat for Humanity projects while in high school and was elated by the idea of helping those less fortunate than her.
“Since Hurricane Katrina, I have wanted to go down there and help,” she said. “It’s been four years and it is still in terrible condition. It’s amazing that it is still in the shape that it is.”
Carter will get her chance to help soon.
Today, at 11 a.m., Carter and her father will drive to Jacksonville, where she will join a group for a 70-mile-a-day ride west, stopping at various points along the way.
Louisiana is on her list of stops.
Under the guidelines of the Bike and Build project, each cyclist is responsible for raising $4,000 and becoming educated about an assigned affordable housing research topic.
Carter has been assigned the history of rent control in America and building incentives for affordable housing projects.
She said she has already raised more money than required.
“I am now at $4,600 something,” she said. “I am still telling everybody that I see about it because the cause is never going to disappear.”
Carter’s grandfather, Ollie Carter, who she credits for her hunger for helping others, said he is extremely proud of what she has accomplished thus far.
“I am thrilled about her going on this bike trip to do that sort of thing,” he said. “It is important for young people to learn to be able to help others and to do things for themselves. To learn what a good healthy work ethic is.”
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