PRESIDENTIAL SCHOLARS PROGRAM

2022-23 Presidential Scholars
From left to right: 2022-23 Presidential Scholars Robert K. Fensom, Christopher T. Bouzane, Derrick C. Stanfield

The University of North Carolina System represents 16 four-year institutions, one residential high school, and several affiliate organizations across North Carolina. As a world-renowned higher education system, the UNC System serves as North Carolina’s intellectual hub and economic engine. The Presidential Scholar program is designed to expose recent UNC System graduates to the full breadth of the System through a variety of functions inside and outside of the office. Created under the leadership of President Emeritus Erksine Bowles in 2006, more than 30 scholars have participated in the Presidential Scholars program and have continued on to enroll in top-ranked graduate programs and launch careers as the leaders of tomorrow. Today, scholars rotate through a variety of cross-functional teams to serve and support the work of the System’s institutions and affiliates.

Applications for the 2023-24 Presidential Scholar program will open in mid-October and close November 25, 2022. 

The best part of the presidential scholar program for me is the opportunity to interact with the brightest students. I probably learn more from them than they do from me as we exchange ideas throughout the year. The scholars make meaningful contributions while experiencing the inner workings of a large and complex public system of higher education.

Peter Hans, President of the University of North Carolina System 

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

The Presidential Scholar position is a one-year, full-time rotational fellowship awarded to three recent graduates of UNC System undergraduate programs. This position provides a wide range of exposure to the professional functions of the UNC System Office including but not limited to: communications, policy, data and analytics, government relations, budgeting, governing systems, academic and student affairs. Throughout the rotational experience, scholars will work on cross-functional teams that require candidates to be adaptable and innovative professionals seeking to make equity-minded change. Scholars will engage with numerous professional duties including attending meetings, researching initiatives, serving as support staff to a variety of councils/committees, as well as providing insight from the student experience in crucial policy decisions. Scholars will also be invited to attend a variety of events including campus tours, presidential and chancellor events, board meetings, and evening receptions. The UNC System will introduce candidates to numerous avenues change-makers can take and unique, career-launching opportunities while building an expansive network to support their goals. Candidates will be prepared to apply for a wide-variety of full-time positions or be prepared for enrollment in a top ranked graduate or professional program. 

To qualify for this program, candidates must be a December 2022 or May 2023 graduate of one of the 16 baccalaureate granting institutions of the UNC System. There is no professional or educational experience required. Candidates should be passionate advocates constantly seeking to understand how the UNC System can best serve its constituents. To learn more about the program and expectations, view the job flyer here.

To apply for this life-changing opportunity, candidates must complete the online application and upload various supporting documents. Those documents are: 

  • Resume, no longer than 2 pages
  • Cover Letter, no longer than 2 pages
  • Unofficial Transcript
  • Optional Letter of Recommendation
  • Essay Response

This application should speak to your passion and interest in learning more about the UNC System and best serving the System’s constituents. 

Applications will open in mid-October and close on November 25, 2022.

Presidential Scholar Informational Sessions

Session DateTimeZoom Info
Session 1: October 26, 20226 p.m. ESTComing Soon
Session 2: November 9, 20226 p.m. ESTComing Soon
Sessions also available upon request.

Request a Session

If you would like to request an informational session for your student group, please contact scholars@president.northcarolina.edu to schedule a session. Please provide background for the request, including a contact person and two proposed dates/times for the session. We will contact you to finalize the details for your informational session.

Again, thank you for your interest in the Presidential Scholar program. Please contact us at scholars@president.northcarolina.edu if you have any questions or concerns. 

Presidential Scholar Campus Tour

CampusDateTime and Location
North Carolina Central UniversitySeptember 20, 2022TBD
UNC WilmingtonOctober 21, 2022TBD

MEET THE CURRENT SCHOLARS 

Christopher T. Bouzane, UNC Greensboro

Chris Bouzane, of Wake County, is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in history and political science with a concentration in public affairs. While at UNC Greensboro, Bouzane served as a student leader on campus, holding multiple positions in the UNCG Student Government Association (SGA). In these positions, Bouzane worked cooperatively to allocate funds for free academic and community initiatives, add new holidays to the academic calendar and protected the medical amnesty policy on campus. In response to COVID-19, he worked alongside faculty, staff, administrators, and other student leaders to address the challenges resulting from class delivery shifts, policy changes and internet accessibility. Outside of SGA, Bouzane served as a contributing writer to The Carolinian, writing about issues and policies concerning students and Greensboro residents. As a presidential scholar, he plans to continue the work he began as an undergraduate student leader and learn from some of the state’s most impactful leaders. Afterwards, Bouzane hopes to continue his education in graduate school and continue his work in public service.

Derrick C. Stanfield, NC Central University

Derrick C. Stanfield, of Durham, is a summa cum laude graduate of the North Carolina Central University, where he earned two Bachelor of Arts degrees, one in history and one in political science. As an undergraduate student, Stanfield served as the NC Central University student body president and a member of the NCCU Board of Trustees. He also served as the senior vice president of the UNC Association of Student Governments. In 2020, Stanfield was selected as a UNC System Marian Drane Graham Scholar where he interned with the N.C. Department of Military and Veteran Affairs while conducting research on the attainment of higher education for working-class students. Stanfield was awarded the Chancellor’s Award for Truth & Service, NCCU’s highest honor for undergraduate students, due to his committed service, exemplification of good moral character and outstanding academic achievement, while making an impact on the NCCU campus and surrounding community. He plans to use his time as a presidential scholar to further his understanding of education policymaking as it relates and strengthen the skills necessary for his future career in legislative engagement.

Robert K. Fensom, UNC Wilmington

Robert Fensom, of Fayetteville, graduated summa cum laude from the University of North Carolina Wilmington with a dual Bachelor of Arts in philosophy and communication studies. His honors thesis critiqued selected philosophic conceptions of legal and social toleration, and he was awarded a university fellowship to study World War II Japanese internment and the subsequent legal redress movement. Outside of academics, Fensom dedicated four years to the Student Government Association culminating in service as student body president during his senior year. In this role, he focused on issues such as food insecurity, freedom of expression and campus sustainability initiatives. He was also an active member of the Asian Student Association, Philosophy and Religion Society and Chess Club. During his year as a presidential scholar, Robert plans on learning as much as he can to prepare for a career in public policy. Following his time at the UNC System Office, Robert plans to pursue a master’s degree in public policy.

Group photo of five UNC System Presidential Scholars
From left to right: R. Connor Wood, 2021-22 Scholar, C. Emmanuel Wright, 2021-22 Scholar, Robert M. Boone, Jr., 2019-20 Scholar, Derrick C. Stanfield, 2022-23 Scholar, Christopher T. Bouzane, 2022-23 Scholar.
2022-23 Presidential Scholars with UNC System President Peter Hans
From left to right: Robert K. Fensom, UNC System President Peter Hans, Derrick C. Stanfield, Christopher T. Bouzane.

WHERE ARE SCHOLARS TODAY? 

Program participants have gone on to enroll in top-ranked graduate and professional programs across the nation as well as launch careers as the leaders of tomorrow.

Graduate ProgramsCareers
University of Virginia Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public PolicyDirector, Communications and Equity Strategy at Whiteboard Advisors
The George Washington Law SchoolCommunications and Outreach Coordinator, Duke State Relations
UNC-Chapel Hill School of LawResearch & Advocacy | Advancing Social Policy Issues at the State and Local Level
NC State University School of Public and International Affairs Administrative and Board Operations Assistant at PBS North Carolina
Legal Assistant at Ellis & Winters LLP