Carolina’s tuition gives it a real bang-for-the-buck edge over many of its peers. Even so, an extra incentive never hurts to recruit some of the brightest students, and the GAA Scholarship does just that.
“The scholarships are made with the intent of attracting students to the University who might not otherwise attend Carolina,” said Dan Thornton ’00 (PhD), associate director of academic scholarships at UNC, whose office selects the recipients of the GAA-sponsored award.
Preference is given to students who are the children of alumni. The scholarship is not need-based, but Thornton’s office does consider how significantly the $1,000 award would help each student in paying for college.
“We try to look for those students that filed for financial aid but just missed the cut-off,” he said.
The scholarship is funded by a $500,000 endowment from the GAA, which has presented the renewable grant to 25 freshmen since 2002, including this year’s six recipients.
Mary Mac Long, Henderson
Choosing to come to Carolina wasn’t hard for Mary Mac Long.
“It’s just the only place I’ve ever really wanted to go,” Long said.
That’s partly because of her extensive connection to the Carolina community. Both of Long’s parents, Nicholas Long Jr. ’78 and Sharon Long ’78, and several aunts and uncles are alumni, her older brother is a junior at UNC, and her grandmother Kathleen Long ’51 was once a housemother for the Carolina chapter of Alpha Delta Pi.
Long is thinking about joining a sorority herself. She is a lifeguard, and in high school, she played varsity tennis and soccer. She plans to keep active at UNC by playing intramural sports. Long said she is thinking about majoring in journalism but is still undecided.
Ashley Lewis, West Jefferson
Ashley Lewis likes her small hometown but said she is excited to return to Carolina. Although her life as a college student has only begun to unfold, Lewis spent her early years in Chapel Hill while her parents, Phillip Lewis ’93 and Theresa Richardson ’96, were students. Lewis was 7 when her mother graduated from UNC – on Mother’s Day.
“When I visited, I really enjoyed the atmosphere. It was like going home,” she said. “When my parents went to Carolina, I went with them.”
Lewis plans to major in psychology and said she hopes to do research after graduating. She said she would also like to continue her 16-year dancing career by joining the Ballroom Dance Team.
Brittany Hill, Charlotte
Brittany Hill likes to keep her options open and said that’s why Carolina – with its countless opportunities – was a good fit. Now she’s just trying to narrow it down.
“I’m really good at math; it comes pretty easy for me,” she said. “But I also like to help people, and I think nursing will be a good field for me to help people get better.”
Hill, who is the daughter Rickie Hill ’78, said if she chooses math, she would like to become an investment banker, but either way, she wants to go to graduate school up North.
She has been dancing for 15 years, and plans to continue by trying out for the University’s dance team. Hill also said she wants to get involved in student government, the Black Student Movement and the Campus Y.
Steven Kirk Warner, Raleigh
Kirk Warner loves to travel. Last summer, he visited Tunisia and Algeria. But when deciding which college to attend, Warner chose UNC, a school just 30 minutes from his hometown.
Warner said he wants his studies at UNC and his future career to reflect his passions. That’s why he plans to major in international studies and art history, another of his interests.
“I want to try to make a living in what I really love to do,” said Warner, the son of Ernest Warner Jr. ’77 .
Warner wants to join the crew team and said he might like to join an environmental group, noting that everyone has something to contribute to society.
“I’ve always believed that one person can make a difference no matter how small they are,” Warner said.
Erin Locker, St. Petersburg, Fla.
Erin Locker wasn’t home to open the award letter about her scholarship, but she was certainly thrilled to get the news.
“I was actually in Europe,” Locker said. “I called my parents and they told me, and I started flipping out. I was very excited.”
A native of Florida, Locker said she chose Carolina because it was a good match for her interests. Both of her parents, Stanley Locker ’81 (MS) and Cynthia Locker ’73, are alumni.
Locker said she is thinking about majoring in journalism and mass communication. She isn’t sure what else she’ll be involved with but is considering joining the Wesley Foundation and possibly playing club or intramural soccer.
Alexandra McTier, Atlanta
Alexandra McTier wants to go to medical school after college and said UNC’s strength in academics will prepare her to do that. But for now, she’s happy to be experiencing life as an undergrad.
McTier, whose mother, Joyce Patterson ’79, played on the women’s basketball team as a student at UNC, said she wants to participate in sports as well as public service.
“I definitely want to do intramurals or join a club team in tennis or basketball,” she said. “I also want to do Habitat for Humanity.”
An out-of-state student, McTier said she has long had a love for North Carolina that was developed through camping trips to Brevard.
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