Katie Stanley,  East Carolina University ’17

Katie Stanley is a 2017 graduate of East Carolina University from Greenville, North Carolina. She graduated Magna Cum Laude, earning a B.S. in Political Science with Honors and a minor in Communication Studies. As an undergraduate student, Katie was involved in a plethora of activities both on campus and in the community. Katie was a student in the ECU Honors College and was a member of Alpha Delta Pi Sorority, serving on the Executive Board for two years as the Finance Vice President and Membership-Education Vice President.

Additionally, Katie was a member of the Pi Sigma Alpha National Political Science Honor Society, served on the Panhellenic Woman of the Month Committee, was a Pi Chi Recruitment Counselor, and volunteered as a Wyld Life leader for Pitt County. Katie was also a recipient of the East Carolina Alumni Association scholarship award and the Department of Political Science’s Tinsley E. Yarbrough scholarship award. During her time as a student Katie held internships with Senator Thom Tillis’ office, and for the North Carolina House of Representatives with Rep. Dean Arp through the North Carolina State Internship Program. It was her internship at the NC House of Representatives that sparked her interest in higher education policy and led her to become a Presidential Scholar.

Katie’s experiences throughout college and her internships planted the seed to pursue a career in public service in North Carolina, and she is confident that her time as a Presidential Scholar will provide her with many opportunities to learn more about how to advocate for the important issues surrounding higher education in NC.


Farris Smith,  University of North Carolina Wilmington ’17

Farris Smith grew up on a strawberry farm in McGee’s Crossroads, North Carolina. She attended the University of North Carolina Wilmington, where she graduated with honors in 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts in History and a minor in Campaign Management. As a history student, Farris worked in her university’s Special Collections archive, where she researched, processed, and published two congressional collections for public use. As a senior, she completed an Honors Thesis on labor activism history and dedicated her senior seminar research to the educational history of southeastern North Carolina.

Upon graduation, Farris received the Thomas Moseley Award for demonstrated excellence in U.S. history. Through her love of political history, Farris developed an acute interest in public policy and governance, which she further explored through internships with the offices of the Brunswick County District Attorney and U.S. Congressman David Rouzer. On campus, she served as a representative on the UNCW College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Advisory Council and was active in student government. Farris also contributed to UNCW’s political talk show, WingSpan, serving as the Research Chair and Segment Producer for two seasons.

In the summer of 2016, she was selected to participate in the Marian Drane Graham Scholars program hosted by the University of North Carolina General Administration. In this role, she completed a research project, “North Carolina Hispanic/Latino College Enrollment and Completion: A Case Study Analysis of Urban and Rural County Resources Serving the Needs of Hispanic/Latino Students in Higher Education,” which analyzed the current state of Hispanic/Latino students within the higher educational pipeline. She looks forward to the opportunity to explore the intersectionality of public policy and the historical significance of higher education in North Carolina as a 2017-18 Presidential Scholar.


Elizabeth Boney,  Western Carolina University ’17

Elizabeth Boney, a recent graduate of Western Carolina University (WCU), emerged from the developing City of Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina. While at WCU she earned her B.A. in Political Science with Minor in Leadership. Boney became an exceptional student and acquired many roles to better the WCU community tucked in the mountains of western North Carolina. One of her many roles was the Association of Student Government (ASG) Senator for WCU’s Student Government Association. During her time as ASG senator she helped support the statewide promotion of the “It’s On US” campaign to help prevent sexual assault on WCU’s campus. She also had an active position on the finance committee at monthly ASG meetings, which funded over $20,000 to public universities.

All while she served two year-long terms as President of Chancellor’s Ambassadors, an elite student volunteer organization that assists the Chancellor with university events for prominent alumni and community leaders. Boney also served as a student representative on The Women’s Leadership in Action Advisory Council. An organization that promotes the representation of women in upper administrative roles in higher education.

One of Boney’s most captivating experiences was studying abroad in the Fall 2016 in Madrid Spain, where she attended Universidad Pontificia Comillas ICA-ICADE. Boney was accepted into Comillas’s Faculty of Law program, where she had the opportunity to expand her knowledge on litigation, arbitration, international business, and political campaigning. Boney aspired to become a Presidential Scholar because she believed it would be a privilege to gain knowledge from experienced leaders within higher education who have implemented policies that have directly enhanced one of the most respected university systems in the country. By accepting this position Boney hopes to gain knowledge and insight of the UNC general administration and what it takes to run seventeen public schools all in one accordance. Boney is grateful for the opportunity, and cannot wait to see what this position will offer.


Carson Rich,  Appalachian State University ’17

Carson grew up in Weddington, North Carolina. He graduated with honors from Appalachian State University, located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, where he earned a B.S. in Political Science with a concentration in American Politics. Carson enjoyed the high expectations and academic excellence of App State’s Department of Government and Justice Studies, but he also experienced many educational and transformational undergraduate opportunities outside of the classroom.

He worked on special projects in Appalachian’s Office of Sustainability; contributed as a student leader in his local campus ministry; supported the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs as both an office intern and co-instructor for the University’s Leadership Minor; and crafted Appalachian’s new University oath for all incoming students. Additionally, Carson had the challenging and humbling opportunity of serving as Appalachian State’s Student Body President and member of the Board of Trustees for two years. During Carson’s tenure in this role, he worked with clubs, community partners, and University administration in addressing many of the salient issues, concerns, and needs of the student body.

In recognition of his efforts, Appalachian’s Board of Trustees awarded him the Plemmons Leadership Medallion, and the University administration awarded him the 2016 Leadership and Legacy Award. These different efforts, initiatives and accomplishments provided endless learning opportunities for Carson, and more importantly, lead to positive changes for students at Appalachian State. Being able to witness these positive changes is ultimately what helped him find his passion for higher education policy, as well as overall student health, wellbeing, and long-term success. As a component of that long-term success, Carson finds a deep interest in the role that higher education plays in our Nation’s economic development, especially when it comes to enhancing job growth and dependability in the great state of North Carolina. He is excited and incredibly thankful to have this opportunity with General Administration, and looks forward to supporting the excellent and diverse institutions of The University of North Carolina.