|3 new winners propel Carolina past Harvard in producing Luce Scholars|
Carolina has passed Harvard and now ranks first in producing Luce Scholars among American colleges and universities.
Two UNC students and a graduate have received three of 18 Luce Scholarships awarded nationwide for 2009.
Seniors Nicholas Buell Anderson of Weston, Conn., and Rachel Alison Harper of Cary, as well as May 2007 graduate Jennifer Ellen Cimaglia of Suwanee, Ga., won the scholarships from the Henry Luce Foundation in New York City.
The three recipients pull Carolina past Harvard to rank first nationally in the number of Luce Scholars since the program began in 1974. Since then, the foundation has chosen 30 Carolina students for the honor. This year, 55 colleges and universities nationwide nominated 111 candidates for the Luce.
The Luce funds a year of living and learning in East and Southeast Asia for recent college graduates with no prior experience of the continent. The foundation’s goal is to connect future American leaders with Asian colleagues in their fields. Selection criteria include outstanding academic achievement and leadership ability.
“UNC has much to be proud of (in) its students and alumni,” said Ling Li, director of the Luce Scholars Program. “We have three new scholars this year from UNC-Chapel Hill. This has happened only three times in the past in the Luce Scholars Program’s 35 years of history, so it’s quite unusual.
“This is a recognition of the outstanding achievements and leadership potential of the selected scholars, but it surely also reflects the leadership and impressive outreach efforts on the part of the University’s office of scholarship and the selection committee for Luce Scholars. We appreciate their efforts to keep sending us outstanding candidates.”
Only three colleges and universities previously have had three winners in the same year: the University of Chicago in 1974, Wellesley College in 1976 and Yale University in 2008. All are private institutions; Carolina is public.
Li said he hoped the time in Asia will be a transformative experience for the new scholars, as it has been for previous Luce recipients.
“The current economic downturn has reminded us yet again that we are living in a truly interconnected world, and Asia plays a critical role in the world affairs and America’s future,” he said. “A year of cultural immersion in a professional setting is designed to deepen the scholars’ understanding of the diversity and complexity of cultures and societies of Asia, which will stay with them as they grow into leadership roles in their chosen fields.”
The value of the award varies by assignment. The scholars will learn their assignments in June, spend part of the summer in language study and start their 10-month internships in September.
“We’re delighted that all of our UNC nominees this year were selected as Luce Scholars – a remarkable feat that underscores just how great our UNC students are,” said Raymond B. Farrow III, executive director of UNC’s Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise and chair of the UNC Luce nominating committee. “Nick, Jenny and Rachel are remarkable young leaders who make you feel hopeful about the future. They will no doubt go on to highly distinguished careers in their chosen professions.”
Following are partial biographies of the three new Luce Scholars from UNC:
Anderson, 21, the son of David Anderson and Coleen O’Shea of Weston, Conn., graduated from Weston High School in 2005. He received a Robertson Scholarship, a full four-year merit award to study and participate in a leadership development program at both Carolina and Duke University. Anderson is based at Carolina.
The Robertson Scholars Program seeks to attract and develop leaders of strong character and intellectual curiosity who create innovative, sustainable benefits to society. Scholars receive full tuition, room, board, living stipends, laptop computers and summer funding for service, research and travel in the United States and abroad.
A public policy major in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences, Anderson has been on the dean’s list every semester at UNC and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s highest honor society for college students.
The Robertson Scholars Program operates buses between the two campuses; Anderson researched and wrote a plan for offsetting the bus emissions. As a result, the program now purchases carbon credits from two projects. One captures methane from a South Carolina landfill. The second allows trucks to connect to a power grid at a rest stop so that they don’t idle their engines.
Anderson began his honors thesis last summer, living with an indigenous tribe in Brazil. In the past, colonists had cleared much of the area for agriculture. Anderson sought to connect the tribe’s chief with organizations that would finance a reforesting project. This would not only restore the forest, but also create sustainable livelihoods for the community and reduce the world’s carbon emissions.
Through study abroad, Anderson spent fall 2007 in Chile, where he researched copper mining and wrote a plan in Spanish for improving the industry’s impacts on the country’s economy. He presented his findings to the Chilean Copper Commission.
Anderson won three grants to fund volunteer work in Argentina, where he implemented an infrastructure, nutrition and solar project at a rural school in summer 2007.
He co-founded and leads the Durham Teachers Warehouse. The storefront nonprofit has provided approximately $70,000 in school supplies to some 500 needy classrooms in Durham. StartingBloc, an organization that advocates social entrepreneurship by emerging leaders, awarded him a fellowship that took him to Columbia, New York and Yale universities to study for part of last year.
After his year in Asia, Anderson will seek to attend law school. Another goal is to found a lending nonprofit to empower environmental entrepreneurs.
“I would provide seed loans and management support to low-income aspiring entrepreneurs who want to start companies in residential weatherization, sustainable agriculture, green construction and more,” he said.
Cimaglia (pronounced “chee-MAL-ee-ah) studied classical archaeology in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences, earning a bachelor’s degree in May 2007. Now she is one of only four American interns with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris, for which she has a Fulbright Fellowship.
The daughter of John and Ellen Cimaglia of Suwanee, Ga., Cimaglia, 23, graduated as valedictorian from Northwest Guilford High School in Greensboro in 2003. (Her family has since moved to Georgia.) She came to Carolina on a Morehead-Cain Scholarship, a merit award that pays all expenses for four years of undergraduate study, including the cost of a laptop computer and four summer enrichment experiences. Additional funding is provided for educational and experiential opportunities during the academic years.
Through her second Morehead-Cain summer experience, in 2004, Cimaglia discovered a passion for archaeology. Working with excavations in Crete and Italy, she said, “I found coins, jewelry, keys and even bones. I was hooked.”
The next summer, Cimaglia studied Spanish and the tango while conducting research in Argentina and Uruguay. She is fluent in Spanish and French and has working knowledge of Bulgarian and Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian.
As part of her Morehead-Cain Scholarship, Cimaglia did archaeological fieldwork in Catalonia in Spain and took an Outward Bound sailing course along the Maine coast. With a travel award for a junior year abroad, Cimaglia studied classics at King’s College in London. She also won three merit scholarships for work and travel abroad from the classics department.
Her activities since graduating from Carolina include working at archaeological sites in France and studying Bulgarian at the University of Pittsburgh in summer 2007; and studying Turkish in Turkey last summer on a U.S. Department of State scholarship. In 2007-2008, Cimaglia conducted research on another Fulbright grant at the Bulgarian Archaeological Institute and Museum.
Cimaglia’s current work involves creating a replicable, transplantable design for sustainable tourism at UNESCO World Heritage Sites – places that UNESCO has identified as important to the cultural and natural heritage of people around the world.
Ultimately, Cimaglia would like to found and operate an organization that preserves both archaeological sites and the economic needs of communities in which they are located.
“Archaeological sites should be able to create enough revenue to fund their own future conservation and protection,” she said. “I have dedicated my life to protecting sites of cultural patrimony, because to lose our connections to these places would be a loss too great to bear.”
Harper, 22, a senior biology major in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences, is president of the UNC chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s highest honor society for college students. She has made the dean’s list every semester.
The daughter of Rebecca Harper of Cary and Theodore Harper of Durham, Harper graduated from William G. Enloe High School in Raleigh in 2005. At Carolina, she is assured of graduating as a public service scholar – a student who has performed at least 300 hours of public service during his or her college career. Harper has almost 400 hours.
She has conducted research for more than two years in a genetics lab at UNC’s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. She is writing an honors thesis on her work, and she co-authored a paper on the topic that was published last year as part of the proceedings for the Keystone Symposium on Cancer, Genomics and Epigenomics, a research meeting of scientists held in Taos, N.M.
Harper decided to become a doctor on a visit to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. “I realized New Orleans would require dedicated medical personnel long after the immediate clean-up,” she said. “Community doctors are on the front lines every day, working with their patients to ensure that vital public health information is translated into effective, long-term health care. I knew then that my passion needed a life beyond the lab.”
Harper’s public service has included volunteering with a local health clinic run by UNC students, where her work included taking vital statistics, helping to compile demographic information and some translation for Spanish-speaking patients.
“I hope to assist Hispanics and ultimately other underserved populations in my future practice, and to serve as their champion as our country faces radical changes in its medical system,” she said.
In fall 2007, Harper coordinated World AIDS Week at Carolina, which involved 17 campus organizations, more than 100 students and a visit of sections of the World AIDS Quilt to UNC. Harper wrote grant proposals that brought in $2,650 to support the week’s events.
Through N.C. Hillel, a foundation for Jewish life on campus, Harper has been involved with social justice projects.
She believes that governments and doctors should provide information about public health issues: “As a Luce Scholar, I hope to explore how Asian doctors have blended traditional medical practices with the latest biomedical advances and investigate how Asian governments promote sexual health initiatives and confront public health emergencies.”