Office of Distinguished Scholarships
UNC has produced more Luce Scholars than any other university in the nation.
Martha Isaacs, a fourth-year student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has been named a recipient of the 2017 Luce Scholars Program Fellowship. Carolina boasts more Luce Scholars than any other college or university in the United States, including eight recipients in the last five academic years.
Isaacs, a geography of human activity major and city and regional planning minor, is UNC-Chapel Hill’s 38th Luce Scholar and one of only 18 students in the United States selected for the prestigious program, which includes an internship in Asia.
“I am honored and overjoyed to have the opportunity to travel to Asia next year with the Luce Scholars Program,” said Isaacs. “As a Luce Scholar, I hope to work as a transportation planner in Singapore or Japan, beginning my professional career with a chance to shed North America-centric planning practices and learn from a different political, economic, and geographic context.”
Isaacs, 21, is from Reisterstown, Maryland. She will graduate from Carolina this May and is working on her senior honors thesis. She is a Morehead-Cain Scholar, Phi Beta Kappa member, Honors Carolina student and was named a Buckley Public Service Scholar in 2014 after completing more than 300 hours of public service.
While at Carolina, Isaacs served as the co-chair for Students United for Reproductive Justice. A research assistant at the Highway and Safety Research Center, Isaacs conducts research on the ‘Safe Routes to School’ and ‘Watch for Me NC’ programs and writes issue briefs for the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center. She plans to pursue a graduate degree in city and regional planning with a focus in transportation, and then start her career as a transportation planner in the governmental, private or non-profit sector.
“It is wonderful to see Martha selected for this outstanding program and fantastic opportunity to continue her studies of transportation and urban planning systems in Asia,” said Chancellor Carol L. Folt. “I am very excited for Martha and have no doubt that her studies will help shape the cities and transit systems of the future.”
The Henry Luce Foundation launched the Luce Scholars Program in 1974 to provide an immersion experience in Asia to young Americans who would not otherwise have the opportunity to learn about the region. The award provides stipends, language training, and individualized professional placement in Asia for graduating seniors, graduate students and professionals under age 30.
“The University is delighted that Martha will be Carolina’s 38th Luce Scholar,” said Inger Brodey, director of UNC-Chapel Hill’s Office of Distinguished Scholarships. “Martha stands out among her classmates for her originality, enthusiasm and sincerity. Spending a year interning in Asia with the Luce Scholars Program will enable her to pursue her dream of improving equity in transportation systems.”
Read the UNC Spotlight here.
Learn more about the Luce Fellowship here.
Adriano Bellotti, a current student in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Medicine, has been awarded the prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarship, which provides full support for graduate study at the University of Cambridge in England.
Bellotti, 24, a Charlotte native, is among 36 Americans selected for the award from 800 U.S. applicants. He is Carolina’s sixth Gates Cambridge Scholar and its fourth consecutive recipient since 2013.
The Gates Cambridge enables academically outstanding students from outside the United Kingdom, with a strong interest in social leadership and responsibility, to pursue graduate study at the storied university.
“It is wonderful to see Adriano selected for this outstanding award that will help him advance his studies in the development and application of mathematical models to create new biomedical engineering solutions leading to breakthrough clinical treatments and technologies,” said Chancellor Carol L. Folt. “I am very excited for Adriano and know his studies at Cambridge will provide an excellent opportunity for him to continue his studies.”
As an undergraduate, Bellotti began to appreciate the pragmatic perspective and mathematical methods of research in biomedical engineering. He sought to apply this empirical approach to medicine, which led him to pursue a combined master’s and doctoral degree program at Carolina.
At Cambridge, Bellotti plans to complete a three-year doctoral degree, studying neurophysiology through computational modeling, specifically neuroplasticity in both single neurons and neuronal circuits. Using this research, coupled with his engineering background and clinical experience, he aspires to lead medical researchers in facilitating the translation of new treatments and technologies into the clinic.
“The Gates Cambridge enables academically outstanding students from outside the United Kingdom, with a strong interest in social leadership and responsibility, to pursue graduate study,” said professor Inger Brodey, director of Carolina’s Office of Distinguished Scholarships. “Adriano’s selection is quite an honor for him as well as for Carolina.”
Established in 2000, the Gates Cambridge Scholarship is funded by a $210 million donation to the University of Cambridge by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Read the UNC spotlight here.
Learn more about the Gates-Cambridge Scholarship here.
Benjamin Kompa, a fourth-year student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has been named a recipient of the prestigious Churchill Scholarship, a research-focused award that provides funding to outstanding American students for a year of master’s study in science, mathematics and engineering at Churchill College, based at the University of Cambridge in England.
Kompa is one of only 15 selected for the award, which not only requires exemplary academic achievement but also seeks those with proven talent in research, extensive laboratory experience and personal activities outside of academic pursuits, especially in music, athletics and social service. He is Carolina’s 17th Churchill Scholar.
“Receiving a Churchill Scholarship is an incredible opportunity for a young scholar and Benjamin is so deserving of this prestigious award,” said Chancellor Carol L. Folt. “He is focused on applying his significant skills in computer science and statistics to solve challenging, global biomedical problems. We are very pleased for Benjamin and know his studies at Cambridge will help pave the way for him to make life-changing impacts in the fields of computational biology and bioinformatics.”
Kompa, 22, is a native of Columbus, Ohio and plans to graduate from Carolina this May with a double major in mathematics and computational science, and a minor in biology from the College of Arts & Sciences. He is a Colonel Robinson Scholar, a Phi Beta Kappa member and an Honors Carolina student and has worked in biology labs since high school. Kompa is also a two-time national champion Bridge player, who upon request from the World Bridge Federation, successfully investigated cheating in Bridge using computer methods.
Read UNC story here.
Learn more about the Churchill Scholarship here.
Jialing (LingLing) Jiang, a fourth-year student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Chang Zhao, a 2015 graduate of the University, have been selected for the Schwarzman Scholars program, an elite China-based scholarship modeled after the Rhodes Scholarship and founded by Blackstone Co-Founder and CEO Stephen A. Schwarzman.
This innovative master’s degree program supports the study of public policy, economics and business, or international studies at China’s prestigious Tsinghua University and bridges the academic and professional worlds to educate students about leadership and China’s expanding role in the world.
Jiang and Zhao were two of only 129 global recipients selected for the one-year award, which provides unparalleled learning opportunities with leaders from China and the world through high-level interactions at lectures, an internship program, a mentorship network and intensive travel seminars. They are Carolina’s 3rd and 4th Schwarzman Scholars, following last year’s inaugural scholars Larry Han and Max Seunik.
“Being named a Schwarzman Scholar is an exceptional achievement and we are incredibly proud that Jialing and Chang will have an opportunity to pursue their international studies in China,” said Chancellor Carol L. Folt. “They are both talented and accomplished young scholars who care deeply about the world and want to help make a difference. We look forward to learning about their future successes in intercultural relations and international development.”
Jiang, 21, is from Mainland China. She plans to graduate this May with a degree in economics and philosophy and a minor in philosophy, politics and economics from the College of Arts and Sciences.
While at Carolina, Jiang founded the UNC International Ambassadors program and the first Chinese Cultural Month on campus. Along with promoting multicultural awareness, she is also passionate about social entrepreneurship and has provided improvement coaching for 16 nonprofits in eight cities around the country. Jiang has researched Africa-China relations at Stellenbosch University in South Africa and hopes to be an agent for intercultural relations and international development by starting a social enterprise that focuses on alleviating rural poverty.
“I am very honored for the opportunity to spend next year with some of the brightest young people across the globe at Tsinghua University,” said Jiang. “I cannot wait to learn about China from a new perspective and meet top China scholars and business leaders through the Schwarzman program.”
Zhao, 25, is also from Mainland China. She graduated from Carolina with honors and distinction after majoring in anthropology in the College of Arts and Sciences. She is currently a Global Academic Fellow at New York University Shanghai, where she conducts research and teaches undergraduate students.
Read full story here.
Learn more about the Schwarzman Scholars Program here.
Yasemin Cole ’16 was recently selected as one of four overseas students out of over 700 applicants to be the recipient of The Dean’s Master’s Scholarship at Imperial College London. The Scholarship covers full tuition fees and a £17,500 year stipend. With support of the scholarship, Yasemin will be completing a MSc in Genomic Medicine. As part of this master’s program, she will be conducting cancer research with Professor Anne Bowcock, who was involved in searching for BRCA1 and BRCA2 breast cancer genes.
Each year the Faculty of Medicine at Imperial College London grants a full tuition, fees, and stipend support to 9 students for one year of graduate study at the Faculty of Medicine at Imperial College London). Five of the recipients are selected from EU countries. Four of the recipients are selected from overseas countries such as the US. Candidates are expected to provide evidence of outstanding academic ability. This usually means being amongst the highest achievers in their undergraduate cohort and in receipt of, or due to receive, a first class UK Honors degree or equivalent.
Yasemin Cole was born in Raleigh, N.C. and graduated with high distinction and honors from UNC in May 2016. She obtained a major in Biology and minor in Chemistry and Medical Anthropology. During high school, her passion for research developed after she interned at Nobel Prize winner Professor Aziz Sancar’s lab. This led her to work multiple summers as an Intramural Research Training Award (IRTA) fellow at National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Her research work at NIEHS led to her co-authorship of the scientific article on Glis3, which was published in PLOS ONE journal. As an undergraduate she also completed a senior honors thesis on her research in the Cook Lab at UNC, where she is currently working.
As an undergraduate, she received multiple awards and recognitions including Honors Carolina Program, Carolina Research Scholars Program, Student Undergraduate Teaching Award – Chancellor’s Award, and Buckley Public Service Scholar. She became a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2015, and served as Office of Undergraduate Research Ambassador. She was also an active student at UNC as President of Carolina Premedical Association, Advocacy Coordinator in UNC Partners in Health Engage, and a UNC Hospital volunteer (for over 4 years).
In 2012, she co-wrote and illustrated a children’s book about overcoming limitations “The Tail of Disperato”, which is translated to Turkish “Derin’in Hikayesi”. Ten thousand copies were printed and distributed by a non-profit organization to schools in disadvantaged areas of Turkey.
Yasemin aspires to become a physician scientist, translating cancer research from the bench to the bedside. In this capacity, she hopes to contribute to the cancer field by developing personalized cancer therapies for cancer patients.
“I am very appreciative of the academic rigor and support UNC provided me as an undergraduate. My four years at UNC has instilled in me the values of service, scientific inquiry, and scholarship that are at the heart of Carolina. My experiences at UNC will provide me the foundation to become a successful physician scientist,” said Yasemin.
The Dean’s Master’s Scholarship website:
Two alumni and one graduate student are among 30 recipients of the award for New Americans
(Chapel Hill, N.C. – June 24, 2016) – Aisha Saad ’09, Vishwajith Sridharan ’14, and Heidi Vuletich were recently selected as recipients of The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans. This is the first time Carolina has had more than one person selected as a Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow in the same year.
Each year The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans grant up to $90,000 to 30 people for tuition, fees, and stipend support over two years of graduate study in any field and in any advanced degree-granting program in the U.S. for immigrants and children of immigrants. Awardees gain membership in an active community of current and past Fellows that includes U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy.
This merit-based competition seeks applicants with demonstrated creativity, originality, initiative, and sustained accomplishment. Commitment to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights is valued, and the program has no quotas for types of degrees, universities or programs, countries of origin, or gender.
“We congratulate Aisha, Vish, and Heidi on their selection as Paul & Daisy Soros Fellows,” said Chancellor Carol L. Folt. “We are proud to have such distinguished scholars as part of our Tar Heel family. We are a stronger, more diverse Carolina community thanks in part because of the contributions made by students who were born in other countries and complete their studies here before they embark on careers of service in our state, nation and world.”
“We were thrilled to learn that Aisha, Vish, and Heidi were recognized for their potential and achievements,” said Mary Floyd-Wilson, director of Carolina’s Office of Distinguished Scholarships. “The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans is an incredible resource in that it eliminates financial barriers for young people who are determined to succeed and serve.”
Saad, 28, was born in Cairo, Egypt and moved to the U.S. with her family during her childhood. She came to Carolina as a Morehead-Cain Scholar and double majored in environmental sciences and engineering from the Gillings School of Global Public Health and Romance languages from the College of Arts and Sciences. After being selected in fall 2008 as a Rhodes Scholar, she earned master’s and doctoral degrees at the University of Oxford and taught for two years at the American University in Cairo. Saad is currently earning a juris doctorate at Yale Law School and plans to pursue both legal scholarship and impact litigation to assist marginalized communities that are fighting environmental and corporate injustice. “It’s no exaggeration to say that UNC instilled the values and foundations that have animated my later academic and professional experiences with academic rigor, commitment to the public interest and a joy of discovery and adventure,” said Saad.
Sridharan, 24, moved to the U.S. from southern India during elementary school. While earning his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the College of Arts and Sciences as a Chancellor’s Carolina Scholar, he was recognized as a Goldwater Scholarship Honorable Mention and a Buckley Public Service Scholar, became a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and served as development director for the Community Empowerment Fund. Sridharan is currently earning a medical degree in the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences program and an MBA at Harvard Business School and hopes to develop translational therapeutics that can be brought to market and benefit cancer care in underserved communities. “I have only fond memories of my time in Chapel Hill,” said Sridharan. “UNC is a place that teaches you that service to your community matters, and teaches you life lessons that are just as important as those learned in the classroom.”
Vuletich, 27, was born in Chihuahua, Mexico and moved to the U.S. at age five, attending school in both countries until high school. She earned a bachelor’s of science in neuroscience from Regis University in 2011, and is currently enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences’ department of psychology and neuroscience as its first dual program doctoral student. “My future goal is to work at a research university,” said Vuletich. “I would like to continue investigating the barriers to academic achievement and motivation in underserved youth. This award will allow me to work towards that goal by enabling me to focus more time on research but will also provide me with an opportunity to gain invaluable teaching experience.”
Paul and Daisy Soros, Hungarian immigrants and American philanthropists, established their Fellowship program for New Americans in December 1997 with a charitable trust of fifty million dollars. In 2010, Mr. and Mrs. Soros contributed an additional $25 million to the charitable trust that funds their Fellowships for New Americans.
Learn more about The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans here.
Learn about other nationally competitive and prestigious awards from ODS, and follow ODS on Twitter: @ODS_UNCCH.
Jordan Maly-Preuss, a 2013 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has been selected for the prestigious Ertegun Graduate Scholarship Program, which funds graduate study in the humanities at England’s University of Oxford.
This year, 18 scholarships were granted for one-year and two-year full-time master’s degrees and for three-year doctoral degrees. Ertegun Scholars pursue research in diverse fields, from literature and archaeology to art history and medieval and modern languages. They leave Oxford prepared to be positive thought leaders and active contributors in their chosen fields and the global community.
The award includes full coverage of university and college fees as well as grants for living costs. Scholars also benefit from faculty mentors and enjoy dedicated use of Ertegun House, which provides space for writing and research, as well as access to lectures, seminars, concerts and other activities developed expressly for the Scholars.
This May, Jordan, 26, completed a two-year post-baccalaureate certificate in Classics at Carolina. As an Ertegun Scholar she plans to study Greek and Latin linguistics and papyrology, while pursuing a two-year master’s degree.
“The Classics post-baccalaureate program at UNC was integral to my transition in fields of study, allowing me to gain the training and exposure I needed to confirm academic work within Classics as my long term ambition,” said Jordan. “I’ve dreamt of attending Oxford since childhood and now I’m blessed with the scholarship I hoped for and membership at my top choice college.”
Jordan grew up between Prague, Czech Republic and Dallas, Texas, and graduated from high school in Greensboro. She was recruited to attend UNC-Chapel Hill as a varsity fencer, and she competed and lettered for two years on the women’s fencing team. As an undergraduate at Carolina, she earned a bachelor’s degree with distinction in biology from the College of Arts and Sciences with minors in music history and Modern Hebrew. She also studied Arabic, Modern Greek and Czech.
“As the former director of graduate studies in a literature program, I know how rare it is to find support for graduate work in the humanities,” said Mary Floyd-Wilson, director of Carolina’s Office of Distinguished Scholarships (ODS). “The Ertegun is a stellar exception: it will allow Jordan to pursue advanced scholarship in classical studies at Oxford, where her talent and intellect can flourish.”
The Ertegun Scholarship is named for Atlantic Records founder, the late Ahmet Ertegun, and his wife Mica. Ertegun was a monumental force in the music industry for decades. From the blues to jazz and rock & roll, he built an unrivaled record of identifying, nurturing and promoting artists and performers who would go on to create music for millions of people around the world. Mica Ertegun established herself as one of the foremost interior designers of the last 50 years. As the founder of MAC II, she combined her artistic vision with business acumen to create a highly successful design company.
Learn more about the Ertegun Graduate Scholarship Program here.
Learn about other nationally competitive and prestigious awards from ODS, and follow ODS on Twitter: @ODS_UNCCH.
Tiffany Marie Cox, a 2016 alumna of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has been selected for the distinguished Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship. Through its undergraduate and graduate fellowships, the program aims to prepare individuals pursuing graduate studies for a career in the U.S. Department of State Foreign Service. This year, 10 Undergraduate Fellows and 20 Graduate Fellows were chosen.
Tiffany received the Pickering Graduate Fellowship, which offers up to $37,500 annually for tuition, room and board, books, mandatory fees and some travel expenses, for a two-year master’s degree in fields related to the Foreign Service such as business administration, economics, public policy, international affairs and more. Other program benefits include two internships, mentoring from a Foreign Service officer throughout the fellowship, and employment in the Department of State Foreign Service for those who successfully complete the program and Foreign Service entry requirements.
The program identifies talented people from all ethnic, racial and social backgrounds who, in addition to outstanding leadership skills and academic achievement, demonstrate financial need. Women, members of minority groups historically underrepresented in the Foreign Service, and people with financial need are encouraged to apply.
“By fully investing in the extraordinary potential of its candidates, this prestigious program ensures that the U.S. Department of State Foreign Service will represent the diversity and excellence of our country to the world,” said Mary Floyd-Wilson, director of Carolina’s Office of Distinguished Scholarships (ODS).
Tiffany, a 22-year-old native of Winston-Salem, double-majored in global studies and public policy and minored in Chinese in the College of Arts and Sciences. During her time at Carolina, she was co-chair of the Campus Y Global Circle and Vice President of Outgoing Exchange for AIESEC, the world’s largest student-run nonprofit organization focused on world issues, leadership and management. In her role at AIESEC, she facilitated over 30 international exchange opportunities for students at UNC-Chapel Hill to volunteer abroad as English instructors.
“My experience at UNC-Chapel Hill, specifically with the global studies and public policy programs, was fundamental towards developing my passion and professional background in foreign policy,” said Tiffany. “I would not have been able to succeed in the Pickering Graduate Fellowship application process without the knowledge and professional skills I have developed throughout the past four years.”
As a Pickering Graduate Fellow, Tiffany will study American foreign policy at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, traveling to its Bologna, Italy campus for her first year before returning to the D.C. campus. She hopes to use her overseas internship during her fellowship to work in Asia.
Read more about Tiffany here.
Learn more about the Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship Program here.
Learn about other nationally competitive and prestigious awards from ODS, and follow ODS on Twitter: @ODS_UNCCH.
Andrea Barnes, a second year student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has been selected as the University’s first recipient of the Mount Vernon Leadership Fellows program, a competitive, five and a half week leadership development program for rising college juniors who want to make a difference.
Offering unparalleled opportunities to a select group of young men and women, the program immerses students in a dynamic leadership curriculum inspired by George Washington and today’s foremost leaders. This year 16 students will interact with nationally recognized corporate, government and military leaders and discover how to change the world through self-reflection, experiential activities and a community service-focused capstone project. The fully-funded, residential summer program, which is based at George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate just outside Washington, D.C., includes a $600 weekly stipend plus all room, board and transportation expenses.
“Andrea has benefited from great mentors, and in turn, has devotedly sought ways to mentor others, said Chancellor Carol L. Folt. “We are so proud that the Mount Vernon Leadership Fellows program recognized her commitment to public service and education and selected her as Carolina’s very first recipient of this distinguished fellowship. I know her experiences this summer will translate into new opportunities for many underserved populations.”
Andrea, 19, from Fort Washington, Maryland, is a public policy and sociology double major and Hispanic studies minor in the College of Arts and Sciences. She came to UNC-Chapel Hill as a Carolina Covenant Scholar and as the only Margerison Distinguished Scholar in her cohort.
“I am extremely honored to represent both Carolina and Prince George’s County, MD as a Mount Vernon Leadership Fellow,” said Andrea. “The fellowship will allow me to make monumental, community-based change that will give more students the ability to attend an extraordinary college or university, like UNC-Chapel Hill.”
As a first generation college student, Andrea is passionate about expanding access to higher education to more minority and low-income communities. Her desire to help others stems from impactful mentors who shaped the successes of her life. At Carolina, Andrea serves as the director of the Latina/o Mentoring Program, which provides academic and professional resources for students on campus. Additionally, she is an Admissions Ambassador, Co-Director of Advocacy and Community Engagement for Students for Education Reform, an Honors Carolina member and a member of Phi Alpha Delta, a pre-law fraternity. Andrea is also a gold medalist figure skater and coach. She plans to attend law school, and hopes to eventually run for Congress.
Learn more about the Mount Vernon Leadership Fellows program here.
Learn about other nationally-competitive and prestigious awards from the Office of Distinguished Scholarships (ODS), and follow ODS on Twitter: @ODS_UNCCH.
The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program named University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill third-year student Chiara Pancaldo Salemi as a 2016 Goldwater Scholar and Mike Lebhar, also a third-year student, as a 2016 Goldwater Honorable Mention.
This prestigious scholarship provides up to $7,500 per year for eligible educational expenses to students who excel in academics and who plan to pursue research careers in science, mathematics, engineering and computer disciplines.
“My congratulations go to Chiara and Mike on their prestigious recognition from the Goldwater Foundation,” said Chancellor Carol L. Folt. “They are perfect examples of next generation leaders and problem solvers who make an impact on a global scale. The diversity of their research, encompassing simulations as well as programming and data analysis, sets them apart as pioneers charting a new course for future breakthroughs in physics, mathematics and engineering.”
For 2016, the foundation selected 252 scholarship recipients. Salemi and Lebhar were chosen from a field of 1,150 students who were nominated by colleges and universities nationwide.
Chiara, 20, is from Chapel Hill and is the daughter of Michael Kerry Salemi and Ariana Pancaldo. She is double-majoring in physics and mathematics in the College of Arts and Sciences. Her research in nuclear and particle physics has taken her around the world, including the European Organization for Nuclear Research, also known as CERN. She plans to attend graduate school and study nuclear and particle physics.
Mike, 21, is from Naples, Florida and is the son of Steve and Maureen Lebhar. He is pursuing a major in biomedical engineering and minors in chemistry and neuroscience from the College of Arts and Sciences. He plans to pursue a doctoral degree in the design of artificial organs as tools for experimentation and drug screening.
Read more about Chiara and Mike here.
Learn more about the Goldwater Scholarship here.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill alumna, Caroline Zullo, Class of 2015, has been selected for the elite Carnegie Junior Fellows Program. She is Carolina’s first recipient of the one-year award in 25 years of record keeping by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. The Junior Fellows program provides substantive work experience at the Carnegie Endowment for students and recent graduates with career interests in international affairs.
Caroline, 22, is one of only 14 selected for the prestigious program from a pool of almost 200 applicants representing nearly 150 institutions. As a Junior Fellow, she will work full-time at the Carnegie Endowment in Washington, D.C. as a paid research assistant to the endowment’s senior associates.
“We are tremendously proud of Caroline for being UNC-Chapel Hill’s first Junior Fellow of record,” said Chancellor Carol L. Folt. “With her deep commitment to the advancement of peace and international affairs, I know her year with the Carnegie Endowment will be a transformative experience that will set her on course for a brilliant career in humanitarian affairs.”
Caroline, from Raleigh, North Carolina, is the daughter of Gary and Lisa Zullo. She graduated with honors from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2015 with a double major in political science and global studies and a minor in Arabic from the College of Arts and Sciences. She is currently teaching English to Palestinian high school students in East Jerusalem through the Amideast Educational and Training Services.
“I am truly honored to be Carolina’s first Junior Fellow of record and to be working with the Middle East program,” said Zullo. “It is an invaluable opportunity not only to research and write about pressing topics in the Middle East, but also to learn from acclaimed Carnegie scholars and senior associates.”
Read more about Caroline here.
Learn more about the Carnegie Junior Fellows Program here.
Larry Han and Matthew Leming ‘15 have been awarded prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarships, which provide full support for graduate study at the University of Cambridge in England.
This is the first time Carolina has had two people selected as Gates Cambridge Scholars in the same year. Carolina now has a total of five Gates Cambridge Scholars.
Larry, a fourth year student and Matt, a master’s student, are among 35 people selected from 826 applicants in the U.S. competition for the scholarship, which was established in 2000 and funded by a $210 million donation to the University of Cambridge by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It enables academically outstanding students from outside the United Kingdom with a strong interest in social leadership and responsibility to pursue graduate study at the storied university. Both Larry and Matt are Goldwater Scholars and members of Honors Carolina.
Larry, 21, from Raleigh, and the son of Bajin Han and Xiaomin Li, is a Morehead-Cain Scholar and plans to graduate this May with a major in biostatistics from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and minors in chemistry and mathematics from the College of Arts and Sciences. At Cambridge, Han intends to pivot toward understanding how healthcare services and intervention delivery can be modified to improve patient outcomes. He will pursue a master’s degree in philosophy in strategy, marketing and operations at The Judge Business School. Han will begin his studies at Cambridge in 2017 after a year at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China.
Leming, 22, the son of Gary and Lisa Leming of New Orleans, LA, is a Carolina Covenant Scholar and plans to graduate this May with a master’s in computer science from the College of Arts and Sciences as part of a five-year computer science bachelor’s and master’s program. He earned his undergraduate degree and completed minors in mathematics and Russian language and literature, also from the College, last year. At Cambridge, Leming will pursue a doctorate in psychiatry in Churchill College, focusing his research on analyzing the circuitous connections in the brain with diffusion and functional MRIs, as a way to predict mental illness and neurological disorders in children.
Read more about Larry and Matt in UNC’s press release.
Learn more about the Gates Cambridge Scholarship here.
Blake M. Hauser, a fourth year Carolina student, has been named a recipient of the Churchill Scholarship, a research-focused award that provides funding to American students for a year of master’s study in science, mathematics and engineering at Churchill College, based at the University of Cambridge in England.
Blake was one of only 15 students selected for the prestigious award, which not only requires outstanding academic achievement but also seeks those with proven talent in research, extensive laboratory experience and personal activities outside of academic pursuits, especially in music, athletics and social service. She is UNC’s 16th Churchill Scholar.
Blake, 21, is the daughter of Michael David Hauser and Elizabeth Hungarland Hauser, and is from Marietta, Georgia. She is a 2012 graduate of The Westminster Schools in Atlanta, Georgia and plans to graduate from Carolina this May with a double major in environmental health sciences from UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and biology from the College of Arts and Sciences, as well as a minor in chemistry, also from the College.
Last year, she was one of Carolina’s four Truman Scholarship finalists, the most Carolina has had in recent years.
Her interest in the study of infectious disease can be traced back to a summer in Malawi, where she worked on a systematic review of the impact of HIV counseling and testing on uninfected HIV individuals. Blake aspires to be a physician-scientist and plans to pursue an M.Phil in Evidence-Based Social Intervention and Policy Evaluation.
Aja Kennedy, a 2012 Carolina graduate, is one of 30 candidates chosen as a recipient of the 2015 Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Fellowship. The Rangel Fellowship is a prestigious and nationally competitive award funded by the U.S. Department of State that supports extraordinary individuals who want to pursue a career in the U.S. Foreign Service. The award is worth approximately $95,000 in benefits, including funding of a master’s degree, internships, and professional development.
“The Rangel is a fantastic opportunity for me,” Kennedy said. “My summer congressional internship in D.C. and my postgraduate placement in a U.S. embassy will help me to learn how our government works as well immerse me in the working culture of an embassy. The fact that I’ll also be provided with mentors to guide my professional and personal development means I’ll be given the best possible chance to succeed in a diplomatic career once I graduate.”
Kennedy, 25, of Charlotte, NC, is the daughter of Anthony Kennedy and Alma Kennedy. She is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who completed service to the Darien Province of Panama this April as an English Education Facilitator and as president of Peace Corps Panama’s Gender and Development Committee, where she oversaw management of PEPFAR funds allotted to Peace Corps Panama. She learned about the Rangel Fellowship while investigating opportunities to join the Foreign Service. She plans to promote economic development and prosperity as a Foreign Service Officer while working in the Far East and other locations around the world. After completing her internship last summer, Kennedy enrolled in her first semester Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs last fall and is studying for a master’s degree in public affairs.
Kennedy was first drawn to public service and international affairs during her secondary school interactions learning from first and second generation immigrants’ cultural backgrounds. “I decided to attend UNC after hearing about the UNC Study Abroad office’s accessibility,” she said. “I learned that many UNC students study abroad, and I wanted to grow by having more cross-cultural experiences.”
At UNC, she pursued a double major in romance languages focused on Spanish and in international studies focused in Latin America and global economics, trade, and development and a minor in Chinese. Kennedy was a Phillips Ambassador, a Freeman-ASIA Scholar, and a participant in the UNC Southeast Asia Study Abroad Fellowship for first year students. She also studied abroad in Spain and has served as an ESL tutor, teaching assistant, outreach educator, and education facilitator both at UNC and with community organizations and institutions from Carrboro to Panama. A member of the Dean’s list during all semesters, she also placed first in two Chinese speaking competitions in the Asian studies department, served in the Kappa Kappa Psi national honorary band fraternity, and was drum major for the UNC Marching Tar Heels.
The Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Program began in 2003 and is a joint initiative between the U.S. State Department and Howard University that aims to enhance the excellence and diversity of the U.S. Foreign Service. The program includes a summer enrichment program for undergraduate students in addition to its graduate fellowship. Managed by the Ralph J. Bunche Center at Howard University, the program has enabled Fellows to serve as diplomats around the world who contribute to a more diverse representation and effective execution of U.S. foreign policy.
In spring of 2015, Joseph Locklear ’17 was chosen in a nationwide competition as one of 50 Udall Scholars, and also became Carolina’s first American Indian recipient. The Udall Foundation in Tucson, Arizona, named for Morris Udall and Stewart Udall to honor their positive impact on this nation’s environment, public lands, and natural resources, and their support of the rights and self-governance of American Indians and Alaska Natives, bestows the Udall Scholarship on sophomores and juniors committed to careers in the environment or, for American Indian and Alaskan native applicants, students pursuing health care or tribal public policy. Scholars must demonstrate leadership potential and academic achievement.
“It feels great to know I am one step closer to reaching my goal of working in health care within Native American populations,” said Joseph. “I aspire to live up to the ideals of the Udall Scholarship and have a positive influence on my community.”
Joseph is from Rowland, NC and is a member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina. He plans to earn an M.D./Ph.D. and become a research physician, relying on his background and education to help build better doctor-patient relationships within Native American communities. Joseph has served as a member of the Minority Student Recruitment Committee, treasurer for the Carolina Indian Circle, and helped restore UNC-Chapel Hill’s chapter of Phi Sigma Nu, the largest Native American fraternity in the United States.
Read more about Joseph here.
When S. Jakelin Bonilla ’12 and her family moved to NC from California, they shared visions of a brighter future filled with educational opportunities. A Siler City native, she began to realize those visions when she attended UNC-Chapel Hill on a Pogue Scholarship; she was also a Carolina Covenant Scholar and both a mentee and a mentor for the Scholars Latino Initiative.
In February 2015, Jakelin, 24, was one of 18 Americans announced as a Luce fellowship recipient. The Luce Scholars Program is a one-year fellowship designed to introduce Americans under age 30 with limited exposure to Asia to the continent. The award provides stipends, language training, and individualized professional placement in Asia. Carolina is home to more Luce Scholars than any college or university in the United States. “I am eager to learn from immigration activists working in grassroots organizations,” said Jakelin. “Like in other areas of the world, the forces that drive immigration-economic opportunity, political oppression, and even environmental factors-are only increasing in Asia.”
Upon graduation, Jakelin served as the director of the Global Gap Year Fellowship and Global Programs in the Campus Y at UNC-Chapel Hill. After her Luce year in Asia, she plans to earn joint juris doctor and master’s degrees from Harvard and ultimately practice as a public interest lawyer.
Read more about Jakelin here.
Recent Award Finalists + Recipients
Benjamin Kompa, ’17
Churchill Scholarship, 2017-2018
Ben is a double major in mathematics and computational science with a minor in biology. He hopes to apply the techniques of computer science and statistics to biomedical problems and pursue a research career in bioinformatics. Ben is UNC’s 17th Churchill Scholarship recipient.
Chang Zhao, ’15
Jialing Jiang, ’17
Schwarzman Scholars, 2017-2018
The newly named Schwarzman Scholars share a connection in the the Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies. Jiang, a current member of the organization, was mentored and sponsored for membership by Zhao.
Jake Bernstein ‘16
Blake Hauser ‘16
Destiny Planter ’16
Shauna Rust ’16
Truman Finalists, 2014-15
This group was Carolina’s largest group of Finalists for the Truman Scholarship in recent years. Their interests include social entrepreneurship (Jake), epidemiology and surgical initiatives (Blake), children’s rights advocacy (Destiny), and community health promotion (Shauna).
Scot Emmons ’19
Sarah Miller ‘18
Goldwater Scholars, 2016-17
This duo is focused on mathematics and computer science, specifically network theory (Scott) & epigenetics and long non-coding RNA (Sarah). Carolina has produced 46 Goldwater Scholars.
Information Sessions, Workshops, and Prep-Shops
ODS regularly hosts information sessions, workshops, and prep-shops to help applicants better understand and prepare for the application process.
UNC HAS PRODUCED
49 RHODES SCHOLARS
Words of Wisdom:
The personal statement is the key to the application. It’s your chance to stand out. Tell a story that makes the reader want to get to know you. Create a narrative that speaks to your goals and what you hope to achieve.