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210 Pittsboro Street
Campus Box 6210
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-6210

T 919-962-2091
F 919-962-2279

News Release

For immediate use 

April 18, 2006 -- No. 214

UNC-Chapel Hill, Duke
choose Robertson winners

Note: Mug shots of Robertson Scholarship winners can be downloaded at Winners are listed below by state.

CHAPEL HILL - Forty-six top high school seniors, including students from Kenya and Zimbabwe, have been chosen for the Robertson Scholars Class of 2010, Chancellor James Moeser of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and President Richard H. Brodhead of Duke University have announced.

The Robertson Scholars Program is an innovative merit scholarship program at UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke. About half of the scholars enroll at Duke and about half at UNC-Chapel Hill. All the students take courses at both schools and spend a semester in residence at the other campus.

Robertson Scholars attending Duke receive full tuition, while UNC-Chapel Hill scholars receive full tuition, living expenses and a stipend. All scholars receive laptop computers and funding for summer community service research and travel in the United States and abroad.

The scholars are chosen for academic excellence, collaborative spirit, leadership ability, commitment to community and behavior grounded in strong ethical principles.

Twenty-two students have been awarded the scholarship at Duke and 22 at UNC-Chapel Hill. In addition, two students were offered the scholarship by both schools and have the option to decide whether to be a Robertson Scholar at UNC-Chapel Hill or Duke. The two are Stefanie Feldman of Symrna, Ga., and Tariq West of Washington, D.C.

The winners, who hail from 22 states and two foreign countries, have until May 1 to accept the scholarship. The universities expect to enroll 36 Robertson Scholars next fall, up from a total of 30 last year.

The winners were chosen from nearly 20,000 admission applicants at UNC-Chapel Hill and more than 19,000 at Duke. After a selection process that included application review and phone interviews, committees at both universities invited 99 finalists to Durham and Chapel Hill for interviews April 1-4.

"I am delighted with the selection of the next class of Robertson Scholars," Moeser said. "I congratulate them for this outstanding achievement. Their predecessors have done great things on our campuses. We look forward to welcoming these students as they embark on the next stage of their academic careers."

Robertson Scholars come together for special seminars taught by faculty of both universities, research projects and service-learning programs. The program runs a free express bus between Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill and offers collaboration grants to faculty and students at each university to support joint programs.

"The Robertson Scholars have established themselves as leaders on both campuses," Brodhead said. "Through their summer service-learning experiences, they also have made a positive difference in disadvantaged communities and schools throughout the Southeast and in foreign countries. They have become powerful ambassadors of goodwill from both Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill."

Julian and Josie Robertson of New York founded the Robertson program in June 2000 with a $24 million endowment gift.

Last year, the Robertsons established a separate scholarship opportunity for deserving students from New Zealand, where the couple resides for part of each year. The student chosen for the scholarship this year is Lara Markstein of Auckland, New Zealand.

"We are excited to be able to offer the leadership and personal development opportunities of the Robertson Scholars Program to six more students this year," said Dr. Eric Mlyn, director of the Robertson program. "We look forward to the impact they will make on both campuses."

Robertson Scholars are chosen from the applicant pools at Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill. There is no independent application process, though students can complete a form to express their interest in the scholarship and provide additional information about their leadership and service involvement.


This year's winners, their hometowns and their high schools are:

Winners at Duke University:

Winn Seay, Montgomery; St. James School
Shahein Tajmir, Birmingham; Hoover High School

Daniel Gillespie, Anchorage; Robert Service High School

Jacky Sims, Phoenix; Desert Vista High School

Dimitrije Ruzic, Rancho Palos Verdes; Palos Verdes Penninsula High School

Alex Rivera, Pembroke Pines; St. Thomas Aquinas High School

Claire Coenen, Athens; Athens Academy
Melanie Long, Tyrone; Sandy Creek High School

Charishma Chotalia, Lincolnwood; Niles Township West High School

Yousef AbuGharbieh, Granger; Penn High School

Nathan Strauss, St. Louis; John Burroughs School

New Jersey
Ratnanjali Bhatia, Kinnelon; Kinnelon High School
Sabrina Chu, Belle Mead; Montgomery High School
Anthony Marzocca, Wayne; Wayne Valley Senior High School

New York
Lisa Bevilacqua, New Hyde Park; Herricks Senior High School
Ryan Williams, Ossining; Ossining High School

North Carolina
Andrew Zonderman, Cary; Raleigh Charter High School

Neena Mohan, Harleysville; North Pennsylvania High School
Andy Pickens, Wayne; Haverford School

Mary Barbour, Houston; Kinkaid School

Ted Jordan, Woodberry Forest; Woodberry Forest School

David Brunell, Harare; St. John's College

Winners at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill:

Daron Sharps, Birmingham; Jefferson County International Baccalaureate School

Michael Chomat, Miami; Christopher Columbus High School
Kassandra Engroff, Lake Worth; Atlantic Community High School

Bernard Worthy, Marietta; Marietta High School

Eric Anderson, Ottawa; Ottawa High School

Mugisha Mushoka, Deerfield; Deerfield Academy

Priya Sury, Roseville; Roseville Area High School

New Jersey
Meggie Staffiera, Moorestown; Moorestown High School

North Carolina
Neagheen Homaifar, Greensboro; Grimsley High School
Faraaz Khan, Charlotte; South Mecklenburg High School
Nabil Kleinhenz, Cary; Raleigh Charter High School
Maggie Salinger, Greensboro; Greensboro Day School
Anthony Sawyer, Camden; Camden County High School

Debra Dixon, Cincinnati; Seven Hills Upper School

Ankit Dhir, Mars; North Allegheny Senior High School

South Carolina
Samiron Ray, Columbia; Dutch Fork High School
Amy Zhang, Columbia; Dreher High School

Joseph Long, Memphis; Central High School

Desiree Lagrappe, Houston; Memorial Senior High School

Michael Althoff, Chester; Maggie L. Walker Governor's School for Government and International Studies
Jonathan Cross, Springfield; James W. Robinson Jr. Secondary School

Julie McComish, Seattle; James A. Garfield High School

Winners at both universities:

District of Columbia
Tariq West, Washington, D.C.; Washington International School

Stefanie Feldman, Smyrna; The Lovett School

New Zealand winner, Duke:
Lara Markstein, Auckland; Macleans College, Auckland

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Robertson Scholars Program contacts: Dr. Eric Mlyn, director, (919) 843-7506
UNC News Services contact: L.J. Toler, (919) 962-8589
Duke News Service contact: Keith Lawrence, (919) 681-8059