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Six undergraduates selected as Phillips Ambassadors for study in Asia

Recipients are selected based on academic achievement, strong communication skills, intellectual curiosity and ambition, evidence of generous service to campus and community, and a previous record of leadership.

The newest cohort of Phillips Ambassadors pose for a photo.

Six undergraduates from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have been selected as Phillips Ambassadors for study abroad programs in Asia in 2020. Two scholarship recipients will study in Singapore, two in Taiwan, one in South Korea and one in Thailand.

The Phillips Ambassadors Program is part of UNC-Chapel Hill’s Carolina Asia Center, in association with the UNC Study Abroad Office. Phillips Ambassadors are selected twice a year and receive $5,000 each toward the cost of a Carolina-approved study abroad program in Asia. Recipients are selected based on academic achievement, strong communication skills, intellectual curiosity and ambition, evidence of generous service to campus and community, and a previous record of leadership.

Since the Phillips Ambassadors Program began in 2007, the scholarship program has supported approximately 350 undergraduates studying abroad in Asia. Twenty-five percent of the scholarships are reserved for qualified undergraduate business majors and minors from UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School. Several scholarships are available each year to qualified Duke University undergraduates. Scholarship recipients choose from more than 70 Carolina-approved academic programs in Asia that are offered by the College of Arts & Sciences and Kenan-Flagler Business School.

Phillips Ambassadors enroll in a global studies course designed uniquely for them. Successful completion of the three-hour credit course is required of all scholarship recipients. Led by Carolina faculty, the course challenges students to explore their study abroad locale in significant detail and seek understanding of the region in a global context.

A distinguishing feature of the program is an emphasis on what is called a “Give Back,” or sharing of one’s study abroad experience in Asia with the Carolina community and the student’s hometown. In accepting the scholarship, students agree to fulfill a Give Back related to their study abroad experience. Give Backs include endeavors such as published articles, classroom presentations at a student’s hometown high school, photo and art exhibitions, musical performances and group projects focused on Asia.

The Phillips Ambassadors program is made possible through a gift from Kenan-Flagler Business School alumnus Earl N. “Phil” Phillips Jr., an entrepreneur and former U.S. ambassador, and his family. The program is intended to generate greater interest in Asia among UNC-Chapel Hill students. Phillips has worked and traveled in Asia for more than 30 years and is a former U.S. Ambassador to the eastern Caribbean.

“Our goal with this gift has been to encourage more students to spend their study abroad experiences focused on Asia — an increasingly vital region of the future,” said Phillips, who splits his time between High Point and Chapel Hill.

Applications for summer and fall 2020 Phillips Ambassadors scholarships are open through Feb. 10.

Carolina’s newest Phillips Ambassadors are:

  • Angela Chen of Wilson, North Carolina, will study through National Taiwan University. She is a biology and economics double major.
  • Hal Froelich of Charlotte, North Carolina, will study through Mahidol University in Thailand. He is a media and journalism major.
  • Kyra Miles of Greenville, North Carolina, will study through Korea University. She is a media and journalism and global studies double major.
  • Swadha Rai of Cary, North Carolina, will study through the National University of Singapore on the Computing exchange. She is a computer science and statistics and analytics double major.
  • Julia Shankin of Raleigh, North Carolina, will study through National Taiwan University. She is an anthropology and global studies double major.
  • Amanda Witzke of São Paolo, Brazil, will study through the National University of Singapore Business School. She is a business administration major.