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News Release

Durana chosen for USA Todayís All-USA College Academic Team

Pablo Durana, a junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has been chosen as a member of USA Todayís 2005 All-USA College Academic Team.

Durana was one of 20 undergraduates nationwide selected for the newspaperís "first team." A panel of judges picked them from more than 600 students nominated by colleges and universities nationwide. Judges considered grades, leadership, activities and how students extend their intellectual talents beyond the classroom

These students Ė their photographs and accomplishments Ė were featured in a two-page color spread in the Feb. 17 issue of USA Today. They also will receive a $2,500 cash award.

Another 40 undergraduates were selected for the second and third teams. The All-USA College Academic Team honors the 60 students as representative of all outstanding students in the nationís colleges and universities.

.Durana, a communication studies major and business minor, is a native of Bogota, Colombia, whose home is now Montreal. He founded and coordinates the Carolina Language Partnership. This program offers one-on-one English lessons to Hispanic dining services, housekeeping and groundskeeping employees at UNC.

"In addition to teaching English, the program is a way to make the employees feel more welcome on campus," Durana said. "The volunteers learn to appreciate the employees so itís not only beneficial for the people being taught, itís also beneficial for the teachers."

He developed the program with the Social Entrepreneur Scholarship he received through UNCís APPLES Service-Learning Program.

Durana also tutors a dining services employee twice a week as a part of the program, and they have become good friends outside of the classroom setting. "Itís a good feeling to have been able to impact the lives of these people," he said.

Last fall, Durana and his sister cycled about 2,700 miles through minority culture regions of western China. His study was made possible by UNCís Burch Fellows Program, a program started by a gift from UNC alumnus Lucius Burch III that provides grants of up to $6,000 each to support unique independent study projects. Durana is editing a documentary of the journey.

Besides filmmaking and coordinating the Carolina Language Partnership, Durana is an athlete. He is a member of UNCís varsity cross-country, indoor and outdoor track teams.

His honors include UNCís Blue & White magazine "Person of the Year," recipient of UNCís Robert B. House Distinguished Service Award and Academic All-American in outdoor track, all presented in 2004.