Dear Carolina Community,
A highlight of my week was on Wednesday, when I walked across Polk Place with students spending time outside and preparing for their last days of the Spring Semester. That walk took me to the Bell Tower, where students were eagerly awaiting their chance to climb the Bell Tower as part of a Senior Week tradition. As I heard about their plans for graduation and their favorite moments at Carolina, I was reminded again of how incredible our students are. They give me hope for the future, and I want to share a few of their stories with you today.
Dalal Azzam leads our Muslim Student Association. When we gathered to mark the beginning of Ramadan in the Pit a few weeks ago, she talked about the challenge of fasting while taking classes and studying, and the importance of our empathy for students who face many different challenges. She has been an advocate for students who don’t always feel like their voices are heard on our campus, particularly in STEM. A Chancellor’s Science Scholar, we welcomed her to the stage at the Great Hall on Tuesday when she received not one – but two – chancellor’s awards as an outstanding science scholar as she graduates with a degree in biochemistry and neuroscience.
I met Camryn Kellogg in the student section at the national championship game in New Orleans just a few days later. A biology major and neuroscience minor and a Morehead-Cain Scholar, he started a bakery in honor of his great-grandmother, Ollie, who he lost during the pandemic. Ollie’s Great Bakery is growing, with plans for a new kitchen facility underway. That entrepreneurial spirit defines so many of our students here at Carolina.
Emma Dums, Kenan Sayers and Bradley Lauck are three students who work as undergraduate research assistants at the Gfeller Center. They joined Professor Jason Mihalik and me at Graham Memorial last month to share their research with philanthropist, Atlanta Falcons owner and co-founder of The Home Depot, Arthur Blank. Emma is researching the innovative intersection between mental health outcomes and advanced neuroimaging work in Active Duty Special Operations Forces Combat Soldiers. Kenan is working on a project involving sport-related performance anxiety in varsity collegiate athletes. And Bradley is studying the utility of helmet sensors in preventing and detecting concussions in collegiate athletes.
These students, and hundreds more, are ready to go out and change the world. Their lives are influenced every day by our world-class faculty, who we honored at the end of the day on Wednesday at Carolina’s annual awards celebration to honor excellence in teaching. I don’t know of anything more rewarding than hearing firsthand accounts of the impact our teaching has on the lives of our students.
I couldn’t be more proud or more grateful.
Kevin M. Guskiewicz