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Lamar Richards stands at a podium.
UNC Student Body President Lamar Richards greets students at the 2021 New Student Convocation. (photo by Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)

Lamar Richards, a UNC-Chapel Hill junior and student body president, has been selected as a 2021 Presidential Fellow.

The Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress sponsors highly qualified, academically gifted and service-oriented students from the top schools around the nation. This year approximately 55 scholars were chosen across the United States.

Presidential Fellows complete research on their individual campuses in a specific area of social science and present that research in front of members of Congress and the Executive Branch. Findings are later published in a publication featuring the research of all of the fellows. The scholars will receive financial support throughout the duration of the nine-month fellowship.

Richards is a public policy major in UNC’s College of Arts & Sciences and a human organizational leadership and development major in the UNC School of Education. He is also pursuing a psychology minor. He is passionate regarding matters of social justice, racial equity and civil rights.

Former President Barack Obama has praised the Center for the Study of Presidency and Congress for bringing “a critical eye to analysis of the federal government, and just as importantly, bring[ing] students into the fold to foster greater understanding of these two institutions.”

Richards has served the University in many leadership roles prior to being elected student body president in February — including vice chair of the finance committee in the Undergraduate Senate, chair of the Commission on Student Equity and chancellor appointee to the Campus and Community Advisory Council.

Richards is also a Buckley Public Service Scholar and has recently finished up work this past summer as a 2021 SECU Public Service Fellow.

As student body president, Richards has led his team in successfully developing the Distinguished Lectureship on Racial Equity and creating the Richard Epps Emerging Leaders Program targeting incoming first-year and transfer students, offering them a rigorous leadership and professional development curriculum. He is currently working alongside the Office for Undergraduate Research to finalize a program that will allow more marginalized students access to paid, research positions on and off campus.

Richards will begin his fellowship in September and will complete his research with distinguished law professor Michael J. Gerhardt and political science professor Kevin McGuire. He plans to study the evolution of voter disenfranchisement of citizens in federal prisons and the application of the Equal Protection Clause in being a policy solution to ensure voting rights for citizens convicted of federal crimes.




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