Accolades and awards are not foreign to recent East Carolina University graduate, EC Scholar, and Robert Wright Award winner Will Zahran (class of 2018). Now, the biology major and business management minor from Fayetteville can add an appointment as one of the four UNC Presidential Scholars for the 2018-2019 school year to that list of awards.
UNC System President Margaret Spellings announced the appointment of the four new Presidential Scholars Tuesday, July 17. The Presidential Scholars were selected among May 2018 UNC system graduates who demonstrated leadership skills, strong motivation, intellectual curiosity, and independence, according to the release.
“The program is a win-win situation,” said President Spellings. “The scholars help the UNC System do its work while they earn valuable experience in preparation for promising careers in public leadership.”
Zahran learned about the program from the Honors College staff and through watching another fellow Honors College alumnus—Katie Stanley—experience the program after she was named to the 2017-2018 class of Presidential Scholars.
“It was an honor to be named among 3 other impressive recent graduates who are passionate about public service and have already accomplished so much in their respective communities,” Zahran said.
The Presidential Scholars serve a one-year appointment and provide a wide range of professional functions for the UNC System Office. The scholars will regularly interact with senior leadership and members of the UNC System Board of Governors, helping to research, write, and implement policy.
With multiple experiences in higher education administration while at ECU, Zahran said he is interested to learn how big data and analytics are used to inform administrators and policymakers on how to increase student success.
“I hope that this experience will open doors to a number of new jobs and graduate programs across the state where I can plug in,” he said. “Previous Presidential Scholars have found impressive opportunities afterwards, and it is humbling to walk in their footsteps.”