An alumna, UNC employee, immigration activist, and now a Luce Scholar

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.