UNC-Chapel Hill’s Honors Carolina program names three students 2016 Weir Fellows

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Honors Carolina has selected three students as recipients of the 2016 William D. Weir Honors Fellowship in Asian Studies, now in its 10th year.

The program is designed for students who have started their Chinese language journey and would like to develop advanced working language skills. Second-year students Christopher Burriss and Olivia Holder and third-year student Emily Rose, all students in the College of Arts and Sciences, join the ranks of Carolina students and alumni who have been awarded the prestigious fellowship.

Recipients spend the spring semester in Beijing for intensive language study at the CET Chinese Language Center and devote eight weeks during the summer to an unpaid internship in either Beijing or Shanghai at the CET Shanghai Program center.

Burriss, class of 2018, is from Raleigh, and is majoring in economics, with a minor in Asian studies. In high school, Christopher established an exchange program between Apex High School and Beijing Royal School and subsequently spent his junior year in Beijing. Upon his return, he decided to pursue a joint-degree in economics with Carolina and the National University of Singapore, which allows him to spend half of his undergraduate degree in Asia. With the support of the Weir Fellowship, Burris will spend seven months in China completing an intensive language study and interning. He hopes to become fluent in Mandarin and develop a better understanding of Chinese culture so that he can play a future role in bridging the differences between China and the United States.

Holder, class of 2018, is from Greenville. She is a double major in Chinese and History and is excited to unite these interests during her time in China. The Weir Fellowship will allow Olivia to immerse herself in Chinese culture by chasing time down the ancient streets of Beijing and browsing through history in the halls of the Forbidden City, all while taking intensive language study in Mandarin.  Holder hopes to spend the summer at the National Museum of China working as an intern and looks forward to learning more about Chinese history and culture while working among art and artifacts.

Rose, class of 2017, is from Charlotte, and is majoring in global studies and minoring in Chinese and medical anthropology. Through the Weir Fellowship, she will spend seven months in China, taking intensive language courses and completing a public health internship in Beijing. She is excited to combine her interests in public health with her love for the Chinese language and explore how health in China is tied to the nation’s social, economic and political developments and policies.

The William D. Weir Honors Fellowships in Asian Studies were established in 1995 by Peter Boneparth and Heather Weir Boneparth, both 1980 graduates, to honor Heather’s late father, William Donald Weir. The fellowship was created to offer U.S. citizens the opportunity to immerse themselves in the language and culture of China with the goal of creating long-term, sustainable success between the two countries.

In honor of the 10th anniversary of this generous gift, Honors Carolina hosted a lecture by Senior Brookings Institution Fellow, Jeffrey A. Bader, a former special assistant to the president on national security affairs and director of the China Initiative. Bader’s lecture, “The China Challenge: Where is it heading and how should the U.S. Respond?” was followed by a reception and dinner, which reunited most of the 35 former Weir Fellows on campus.

William D. Weir Honors Fellowships in Asian Studies offer Carolina undergraduates a unique opportunity to develop their language skills and gain practical, independent work experience in China. The fellowship is open to all UNC-Chapel Hill undergraduates with at least second-year status, a 3.2 GPA or higher and three or more semesters of Chinese language. The Fellowship covers most program expenses, including CET program fees, airfare, housing, textbooks, excursions and medical insurance. Students contribute the equivalent of tuition for one semester and cover their food and personal expenses.

Read more about the Weir Fellowships on the program’s website.