University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill alumnus William McInerney has been awarded a prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarship, which provides full support for graduate study at the University of Cambridge in England.
The Gates Cambridge Scholarship, established by a donation to the University of Cambridge from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000, supports scholars in a variety of fields with outstanding intellectual ability and the potential to be transformative leaders. The Gates Cambridge program seeks to build a global network of leaders committed to improving the lives of others.
McInerney, from Chapel Hill, graduated from 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in peace, war and defense in the College of Arts & Sciences. A member of Phi Beta Kappa and Honors Carolina, McInerney researched arts and peace education and discovered the power of poetry in the classroom. He went on to work as a poet and educator, performing and teaching worldwide; a journalist and producer with WUNC-FM, focusing on peace and conflict stories; and executive director of a spoken word poetry and peace education nonprofit in Chapel Hill called Sacrificial Poets.
As McInerney began to focus on the problem of men’s violence against women, he returned to UNC-Chapel Hill as an employee to develop and help facilitate the UNC Men’s Project, a men’s violence prevention program for undergraduate and graduate students. In recognition of his work, he was awarded a Rotary Peace Fellowship to study conflict resolution from the University of Bradford in England, earning a master’s degree in 2018.
McInerney will take up his Gates Cambridge Scholarship this fall to pursue a Ph.D. in education at Queens’ College of Cambridge. He will continue to research the value of creative educational approaches, specifically spoken word poetry, in men’s violence prevention education.
“We are delighted that William McInerney, a talented and deserving educator, will have the opportunity of representing UNC-Chapel Hill as our seventh Gates Cambridge scholar,” said Professor Inger Brodey, director of the Office of Distinguished Scholarships. “William is on the forefront of creative ways to address violence prevention.”
Read an interview with McInerney about the intersection of spoken word and social justice in the Carolina Arts & Sciences magazine issue about “Carolina’s Human Heart,” a yearlong arts and humanities initiative in the College in 2016-17.