Six UNC freshmen are joining the ranks of 25 students before them who have received a scholarship from the GAA, giving them yet another reason to love Carolina.
The GAA Scholars program has awarded each student a $1,500 renewable grant, up from $1,000 in previous years. The increase results from the GAA Board of Directors adding $50,000 to the GAA Scholars program in honor of GAA President Doug Dibbert ’70 and his 25 years of service to the association.
The program was established in 2001 with a $500,000 endowment from the GAA. Also, this year for the first time, the top two recipients, based on their high school performance and SAT scores, are being designated as recipients of the Douglas S. Dibbert Scholarship.
The GAA scholarships give preference to children of alumni, said Megan Dillin, UNC scholarship financial aid counselor. Academic credentials, SAT scores and extracurricular activities are taken into consideration.
Jonathan Slaughter, Charlotte
Jonathan Slaughter’s first Carolina memories include watching his grandfather, Dr. Clayton Wheeler, show slides depicting skin disease to medical residents. “And somehow I still became attached to the place,” Slaughter said. Wheeler was the first chair of the dermatology department in the UNC School of Medicine.
A Charlotte native, Slaughter is following his grandfather’s footsteps to Chapel Hill – but likely not to the dermatology department. “I have a variety of interests, including comparative literature, dramatic arts, creative writing and history,” Slaughter said. “And then I have a great passion for mathematics.” He says it will be difficult for him to choose a major, but he is excited about pursuing all of those subjects in some way. Above all, he hopes to be challenged.
Lauren Blanchard, Marietta, Ga.
Lauren Blanchard grew up in Georgia listening to her mother, Anne Blanchard ’84, talk about her experiences in Chapel Hill. “I didn’t really understand until I visited myself,” she said. “The atmosphere was laid-back but also studious, and I was sure that I would be able to both work and play hard.”
Blanchard looks forward to getting to know her classmates, learning from renowned professors and participating in extracurricular activities. “And, of course, I can’t wait to watch us beat Duke,” she said. She plans to major in English, contribute to a publication, participate in community service and possibly join a sorority. “I’m just hoping that I will be able to make the best use of my time at Carolina so that, by the end of senior year, I am much closer to the person I was meant to become,” she said.
Melissa Tinling, Gaithersburg, Md.
Applying to UNC, where her father, Walter Tinling ’82 (MPH), attended graduate school, was a last-minute decision for Melissa Tinling. Once she visited the campus, however, she fell in love. “The campus, the trees, the people, the place,” she said. “I think it’ll be a great place to spend four years. The students seem to really love where they are and who they’re with and what they’re learning.”
Tinling’s high school in Maryland focused on environmental education, which piqued her interest. She plans to major in environmental studies, but that’s subject to change. “Hopefully, if I do college right, I’ll find lots of other things I’m interested in,” she said. She wants to join a club-level or intramural team and get involved in community service.
Jeff Schafer, Farmington, Conn.
Jeff Schafer has dreamed of attending Chapel Hill since fourth grade. “I’ve always been a real big Tar Heel fan with the basketball and everything,” he said. Though Schafer calls Connecticut home, he was exposed to the Tar Heel culture at a young age by his mother, Ginger Schafer ’80, and by living in Elon for several years. Along with Carolina sports, he said, he’s most excited about living in a Southern climate.
Schafer plans on majoring in business and playing intramural basketball, football and baseball. His goals are to “keep up a good grade point average and have some fun.”
Doug Crandell, Auburn, Ala.
Despite the distance between Auburn, Ala., and Chapel Hill, Carolina has always been close to home for Doug Crandell due to the influence of his father, George Crandell ’79. “I’ve lived in Auburn my entire life, so it’ll be nice to get out,” he said. “I am just happy to be able to go to such a good school.”
In high school, Crandell participated in science-related competitions, and he plans to major in biology. He would like to one day conduct scientific research or attend medical school. He also wants to join the marching band and explore other opportunities.
Lisa Brown, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
When Lisa Brown found out she had been accepted to UNC, she immediately switched her wardrobe to Carolina blue. “I chose UNC because it was the perfect fit for me,” she said. “I instantly became excited about becoming a true Tar Heel.” Born in Myrtle Beach, Brown says the scholarship will help her family cover out-of-state tuition costs. “And because the scholarship is renewable all four years, it is also a motivator to perform well academically.”
Like her father, Hugh Brown ’81, Lisa Brown plans to major in business. She wants to play in the University Band and to join some Christian organizations. Her goals include maintaining a high GPA, making friends and cheering the Heels on to win an NCAA basketball championship.
— Laura Johnson