The Graduate School's Royster Society of Fellows attracts exceptionally talented graduate students from around the world to programs across the campus.

Learn more about the newest five-year fellows within the Royster Society – the life experiences that shaped them and the reasons they chose Carolina.

Brian Adam, Mathematics

"That first exposure to the demanding rigor of mathematical proofs and their unexpected beauty was both a shock to my system and an addicting fascination."

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Katy Ascanio, Economics

"The economics department at UNC-Chapel Hill has a large presence of excellent economists conducting research in applied microeconomics, which is the field I plan to pursue. Additionally, the department has a track record of impressive job placements, which was vital in my decision."

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Casey Berger, Physics

"I returned to school three years ago after working as an assistant in Hollywood for two years and enrolled in a heavy course of physics and math courses despite having taken no science or math since high school seven years prior."

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Emily Brennan, Communication Studies

"I am particularly excited that the Royster Society affords its members the opportunity to work with and learn from students from other fields."

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Natalie Ernecoff, Health Policy and Management

"I saw patients and their families at vulnerable times, and the psychological and emotional complexity helped me define both what I want to study and how I want to study it."

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Madeline Giefer, Geography

"I am still far from fluent in Chinese, but I'm improving, and every botched sentence is a reminder that any amount of frustration can be overcome with enough diligence."

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Jennifer Gilbert, Nutrition

"I chose UNC because I was most excited about the research opportunities available here. I was also greatly impressed by the collaborative academic community at UNC, and I felt that I would have access to a wide variety of training experiences."

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Patrick Golden, Information and Library Science

"In this time, I gained firsthand experience with how a large historical research project is undertaken. My work continues to focus on how such humanities research can be aided by computer systems."

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Allison Gose, History

"Refusing to accept the limitations imposed on me by others, I became valedictorian of my high school class, lived independently in campus housing at the university where I would ultimately graduate with a 4.0, and was accepted as a graduate student at one of the top programs in my discipline."

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Lea Greenberg, German Studies

"I chose UNC because the Carolina-Duke Graduate Program in German Studies offers the support of two outstanding institutions in the field. I could not pass up the opportunity to work with this combined group of scholars and to have the support and resources of both universities."

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Katharine Henry, English

"During my campus visit, my enthusiasm for Chapel Hill swelled with its vast library collections, the cradle for interdisciplinary research that lies at the core of my desire to pursue doctoral study."

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Sehrish Javaid, Oral Biology

"I felt rejuvenated and his words gave me the strength to work even harder in the future for playing my role in finding the cure of this disease."

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Nick Jones, Pharmaceutical Sciences

"I believe this experience was instrumental in my understanding the impact of science and industrialization on society today."

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Joanna Lawson, Philosophy

"My favorite experience during undergrad was volunteering with Club 21, a weekly social for over-21-year-old people with mental disabilities."

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Khoa D. Le Nguyen, Psychology

"As someone who values diverse intellectual experience and interdisciplinary collaboration, I look forward to meeting, learning from and potentially working with other fellows both in and outside of my field."

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Michael Little, Education

"I intend to focus my research agenda on improving school quality in the early grades, with a focus on transitions to kindergarten and increasing teacher effectiveness."

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Luis Maldonado, Nutrition

"Having been able to receive the Gates Millennium Scholarship (GMS) as a senior in high school was a life-changing experience"

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Nathan Markiewitz, Psychology

"The most significant conversations I've had are interdisciplinary. It's amazing what happens when people trained in different fields tackle the same problem."

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Kelsey Martin, Art History

"I'm very excited to work with other Fellows who are similarly passionate about their multidisciplinary research and involvement in the university, and to have support from the university to expand my academic endeavors."

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Amanda Moehlenpah, Romance Languages & Literatures

" I felt very blessed to be given the opportunity to teach these women to read, some for the first time in their lives, and to know that I was enabling them to create a better life for themselves and for their children."

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Christina Na, Chemistry

"It was my first time personally encountering anyone with an incurable disease, and the gravity of the situation made a deep impact on me. The experience catalyzed my desire to provide cures for such diseases."

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Sarah Reifeis, Biostatistics

"They were kind and charismatic. They made me feel welcome at UNC-Chapel Hill and as if I could truly belong to the Department of Biostatistics and the University. I feel like I can thrive here, and I'm looking forward to starting this new adventure."

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Suzanne Setti, Materials Science

"By sharing my college experiences and love of science with the students through hands-on experiments, I aimed to get them interested in school and pursuing higher education, as well as taught them about the opportunities that college creates."

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Karen Setty, Environmental Sciences and Engineering

"I felt accomplished both for being able to communicate in a second language and for helping to address some very real fears about how the drinking water supply affected their families. It imprinted in my mind the importance of both accurate science and science communication."

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Sarah Treves-Kagan, Health Behavior

"UNC-Chapel Hill offered the complete package! At UNC I will have the opportunity to not only work with leaders in my field but also learn alongside smart and passionate students."

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Eric Trexler, Human Movement Science

"I chose to attend UNC for my master's degree, with the intention to complete my Ph.D. here, based almost entirely on the University's stellar research reputation."

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Thelma Uzonyi, Speech and Hearing Sciences

" I was able to aid in children in saying their first words, eating their first full meal after a GI reconstructive surgery, using joint attention with their parents for the first time, calling mama/dada for the first time and the list goes on."

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Michael Webster-Clark, Epidemiology

"The fact that my preceptor trusted me enough to leave me alone with patients and the fact that patients trusted me to give them helpful health information really meant a lot to me, and I hope to continue to help those people on a much broader level through population-level research."

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