Five UNC Students to Study in Asia

Five Carolina undergraduates have been selected as Phillips Ambassadors for spring study abroad programs in Asia.

Phillips Ambassadors is a scholarship program offered through study abroad programs in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences and the Kenan-Flagler Business School. The scholarship combines an award for study in Asia with an academic course that puts the experience in greater global context and challenges students to share their experiences of Asia upon their return.

All five newly selected students are from North Carolina. They have been awarded scholarships for study in India, Japan, Singapore and Thailand. Seventy-nine UNC undergraduates have studied in Asia as Phillips Ambassadors since the program started in 2007.

Phillips Ambassadors are chosen twice each year, with 25 percent of the scholarships reserved for qualified undergraduate business majors and minors from Kenan-Flagler. Scholarship recipients are selected for academic achievement and commitment to activities, service and leadership roles in the classroom and community. Phillips Ambassadors can chose from more than 50 UNC-approved academic programs in Asia.

“There is growing interest in the global importance of Asia among students,” said Bob Miles, associate dean of study abroad and international exchanges at UNC. “The Phillips Ambassadors program helps encourage a deeper understanding of Asia and rewards high academic achievement.”

A distinguishing feature of the program is an emphasis on what is called the “Give Back,” or sharing of one’s study abroad experience in Asia with the Carolina community and a student’s hometown. In accepting the scholarship, students agree to publish a piece about their studies in Asia for a campus or hometown publication. They also give an outreach presentation about their experiences in Asia to a school in their hometown and other local schools around North Carolina, introducing more young people to Asia.

Generating greater interest in Asia among UNC undergraduates was in part the motivation for Earl N. “Phil” Phillips Jr. ’62 in his endowment of the program.

“Hopefully this gift will encourage more students to spend their study abroad experiences focused on Asia – an increasingly vital region of the future,” said Phillips, an entrepreneur who shares his time between High Point and Chapel Hill. He has worked and traveled in Asia for more than 20 years and is a former U.S. ambassador to the eastern Caribbean.

“My long-term goal is for every Carolina undergraduate to have an international experience before they graduate,” Phillips said.

Phillips Ambassadors receive up to $7,500 each for a semester or yearlong program and up to $5,000 each for a summer program. The new ambassadors are listed below with their destinations and majors:

  • Katherine Knish of Charlotte; Singapore; economics
  • Charles McLaurin of Albemarle; Singapore; business administration
  • Gregory Randolph of Raleigh; India; religious studies
  • Niraj Shah of Greensboro; Thailand; business administration
  • Benjamin Wang of Cary; Japan; physics and astronomy

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