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Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                           

CHAPEL HILL, NC – The University of North Carolina System has named five students as 2020 Marian Drane Graham Scholars. The scholars will participate in an eight-week immersive and experiential summer program, designed to help them develop leadership skills and gain a better understanding of key issues facing public higher education.

As a part of the program, the scholars will be placed in a state government agency, where they will gain valuable working experience in the fields of public service and higher education.

“Each of these students is a future leader in education, and this program gives them an close look at how the state’s higher education systems function,” said Dr. Kimberly van Noort, senior vice president for Academic Affairs. “We are excited to welcome all five scholars and are eager to provide them with learning opportunities that will lead them on a path to become our state’s future leaders.”

Scholars will work alongside UNC System leaders over the summer, and connect with educational professionals and agencies in the state. Additionally, each scholar will work with UNC System Office staff to develop and present a capstone project outlining the role of higher education in North Carolina and its impact on the UNC System.

“Our scholars represent some of the brightest talents within the UNC System, and they will bring that new energy and insight to the System Office and to the departments where they will ultimately be placed,” said Kim Mitchell, director of student development and the program’s coordinator in the UNC System Office. “This is a tremendous opportunity for them.”

This year’s scholars are:

  • Shevani Mehta, from Holly Springs and who attends NC State University, will be placed at Go Global NC;
  • Derrick Stanfield, from Durham and who attends NC Central University, will be placed at the NC Department of Military and Veterans Affairs;
  • London Newton, from Huntersville and who attends UNC Asheville, will be placed at the NC Business Committee for Education through the NC Governor’s Office;
  • Patience Jones, from Raleigh and who attends NC Central University, will be placed at in UNC System Office’s Division of Strategy and Policy; and
  • Dusty Brandon, from Rocky Point and who attends Appalachian State University, will be placed in the UNC System’s Student Affairs Office.

Open to rising juniors and seniors, the program began in 2013 and is named for Marian Drane Graham, the wife of Frank Porter Graham, the first president of the consolidated UNC System. The program’s namesake reflects its emphasis on pairing scholars who are passionate about education policy and public service with agencies in North Carolina.