Five students selected as 2017 Robinson Honors Fellows

Five students from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill were selected as recipients of the 2017 Anne L. and S. Epes Robinson Honors Fellowship, which provides funding for students who propose a program of study wholly focused on some aspect of the history and culture of Europe and the Mediterranean from 5th century B.C.E. to 1920.

The Robinson Honors Fellowship was established in 2015 by a gift from UNC-Chapel Hill alumni Anne L. Robinson and S. Epes Robinson. Its purpose is to recognize and support undergraduate students at Carolina who possess extraordinary capability and imagination. The program provides up to $6,000 in funding for expenses for domestic or international learning experiences that explore art, literature, music. history, politics, economics, philosophy or religion Western Europe and the Mediterranean. The fellowship is open to all Carolina students who meet the eligibility criteria.

To be chosen as a Robinson Honors Fellow, an applicant must give convincing evidence of exceptional ability and promise through the application, recommendations, and personal interview. The proposed fellowship experience should be one that will allow the recipients to study the humanities and the ideas that have molded Western society and form the foundation of Western culture.

Grace Han, class of 2018, is from Seoul, South Korea and is pursuing degrees in art history and political science with a minor in global cinema from the College of Arts & Sciences. This summer, Grace will study the work of the Italian Renaissance artist Giotto and his contemporaries. She will travel around Italy where she can compare and contrast the fluidity of perspective in Western art history. Through her Robinson Honors Fellowship, she is hoping to analyze the art of making two-dimensional media three-dimensional.

Michael Hensley, class of 2017, is from Rutherfordton, North Carolina and is pursuing a degree in history of the ancient and medieval world with a minor in medieval and early modern studies from the College of Arts & Sciences. This summer, Michael will travel to archaeological sites, museums, and universities across Europe in order to study the religious icons, mosaics, and manuscripts of the Byzantine Empire that have survived to the present, and create a blog that will highlight the cultural and religious significance of this “forgotten” empire to Western European civilization. By examining the religion of the Byzantine Empire through multiple facets, he hopes to draw larger conclusions about the art, religious practices, and culture of Byzantium.

James Messmer, class of 2018, is from Charlotte, NC and is pursuing degrees in history and computer science from the College of Arts & Sciences. This summer, Jimmy will travel to London and visit the British Library Archives, British Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, Cambridge, and Aberystwyth and study apocalyptic thought in early modern England. His project seeks to create an immersive learning experience delving through pamphlets expressing warnings of the apocalypse from early modern England and tie these to similar medieval expressions.

Noah Rawlings, class of 2018, is from Cary, NC and is pursuing a degree in comparative literature with a minor in environmental studies from the College of Arts & Sciences. This summer, he will be traveling to Paris, France for two months to research 19th-century developments in the fields of botany and use them to contextualize horticulture-influenced depictions of plant life in Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time. Immersing himself in the botanical texts Proust was reading during the writing of his epic novel, Noah will assess what these depictions implicate for reading Proust in the 21st century.

Anne Sutton, class of 2018, is from Burlington, VT and is pursuing degrees in voice performance and geography from the College of Arts & Sciences. This summer, she will travel to London and Dartington to study historically informed baroque performance with manuscripts and masters. At the British Library in London, she will look at the original manuscripts of different Handel operas in which Faustina Bordoni, an Italian soprano active in Italy, Germany, and England, performed to explore the question of how singers affect composition, specifically their role in the musical zeitgeist during the Baroque era in the early 1700s.