Carolina student earns Luce Scholars Program Fellowship

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Carolina student earns Luce Scholars Program Fellowship


(Chapel Hill, N.C. – Feb. 27, 2017) – 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. 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.”





About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 77 bachelor’s, 110 master’s, 64 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. Every day, faculty, staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in every region and all 100 counties. Carolina’s 317,000-plus alumni live in all 50 states and 156 other countries. More than 167,000 live in North Carolina.


Office of Distinguished Scholarships contacts: Inger Brodey, (919) 923-1414,; and Malindi Robinson (919) 843-7757,; Twitter @ODS_UNCCH


University Communications contact: Jeni Cook, (919) 962-2091,