Meet the new Royster Fellows: Exceptional Carolina graduate students

The 2015 Royster Fellows.
The 2015 Royster Fellows.

New students – whether undergraduate or graduate – bring their unique perspectives to UNC-Chapel Hill when they arrive each fall. Just as high-achieving undergraduates are offered Morehead-Cain Scholarships, The Graduate School’s Royster Society of Fellows attracts exceptionally talented graduate students from around the world.

Twenty-nine doctoral students join Carolina as the newest five-year fellows within the Royster Society. They were selected based on their academic performance, research, work, service and life experiences, and potential for future leadership. Many of the fellows are pursuing graduate studies in the College of Arts and Sciences.

While at Carolina, they receive financial support and participate in an active community of graduate students in programs across the campus. Royster fellows teach first-year seminars for undergraduates, mentor Carolina Covenant Scholars and high school students, and lead efforts to decrease mental health stigma on campus, among other meaningful outreach.

“The Royster Society of Fellows provides so many opportunities for these talented doctoral students to contribute and to share their perspectives on the most significant issues in our world. In the process, they learn from the perspectives of others. We welcome the newest five-year fellows to Carolina and look forward to their strong contributions to the University,” says Steve Matson, dean of The Graduate School.

Eric Trexler, a first-year doctoral student in human movement science, says he had already considered UNC-Chapel Hill an excellent choice for doctoral programs and “the opportunity to join the Royster Society solidified its position as the top choice. Aside from the generous financial support offered, the Royster Society also provides a platform for interdisciplinary engagement, community outreach and faculty mentorship to fully support the well-rounded development of the students involved.”

Trexler and other new five-year fellows share their ideas on what it means to join Carolina and the Royster Society, as well as the life experiences that have shaped them, including how:

A man’s words about his son’s successful fight against melanoma gave a student-researcher “the strength to work even harder.

A Hollywood assistant took a heavy course load of math and physics – seven years after her last science or math class – and changed the direction of her life.

An opportunity to teach English to refugee women “taught me the values of community, the subtleties of courage and the beauty of humanity.

A class in math taught a “clever kid” to finally give academics his all.

A summer service project provided a rising ninth-grader’s resolve to work toward eradicating incurable diseases.

An interdisciplinary conversation can be a powerful tool in tackling a problem.

An offer from UNC-Chapel Hill provided the opportunity to work with leaders in her field and “learn alongside smart and passionate students.

A gift of private funding helps student recipients dream big about their graduate education.

Read more about the newest five-year Royster fellows.