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Six students, two graduates of UNC win distinguished merit-based scholarships

CHAPEL HILL -- Six University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill students won distinguished national and international scholarships in 2003-2004, making this one of the universityís most successful years in recognition for outstanding undergraduates.

The scholarships, awarded to the nationís most accomplished students, were one each from the Rhodes, Luce, Goldwater and Udall programs and two from the Truman program. In addition, two UNC graduates won Andrew W. Mellon Fellowships in Humanistic Studies for graduate school.

UNC was one of just eight schools with two Truman Scholars; the university remained second only to Harvard in its number of Luce Scholars since that program began in 1974. This is UNCís second year in a row with a Rhodes winner, the 14th since 1980 and 37th since the Rhodes program began in 1902. The scholarship is one of the worldís most elite and competitive honors.

"We are extremely proud of all our students who were nominated by the university this year for nationally competitive scholarships," said Dr. George Lensing, director of the UNC Office of Distinguished Scholarships. "Many of them went on to compete successfully. Their success is entirely their own, but it is a reflection of the university itself, their professors and mentors, and the opportunities they have embraced while here."

He noted that about 50 faculty members devoted extra hours to selection committees, which evaluated applicants for the scholarships. They nominated a total of 33 students for the most competitive merit awards in the country.

This yearís good news began with the selection last November of Carolina senior Elizabeth Kistin for the Rhodes, a scholarship to Oxford University in England that averages about $30,000 in value, depending on the program of study. Thirty-two U.S. winners were chosen from among 963 nominated by 366 colleges and universities across the country.

Additional UNC distinguished scholarship winners were:

Andrew W. Mellon Fellowships in Humanistic Studies were awarded recently to Alison Colis Greene, who graduated from UNC in 2001, and Jennifer Royce Stepp of the class of 2002. They are among 94 winners chosen from among 687 applicants nationwide.

The fellowship covers tuition and fees for the first year of graduate school and provides $17,500 for living expenses. The program helps exceptionally promising students prepare for careers in teaching and scholarship in the humanities.

Greene, who now works for the nonprofit group MDC in Chapel Hill, will enter Yale University this fall. Sheíll pursue a doctorate in religious studies. Stepp, now with the New Democracy Project in New York City, will enter the University of Pennsylvania this fall to seek a doctorate political science. Both hope to become professors.

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