The newly formed department of earth, marine and environmental sciences received a vote of confidence from College alumni Jennifer Watson Roberts ’82 and Manley Roberts ’80, who have created the Roberts-Watson Family Environmental Scholars Program.
The program will support scholarships for high-achieving juniors and seniors majoring in earth, marine and environmental sciences, including students in the environment, ecology and energy program, with the goal of building a more inclusive scientific culture in the department.
Funding for high-impact summer experiences such as participation in faculty-mentored research, study abroad programs, credit-bearing internships or field work will also be provided for recipients who maintain a 3.0 GPA and who have financial need. The scholarship’s summer experiential learning opportunities could include field experiences in Morehead City and other parts of North Carolina, Thailand, the Galapagos and elsewhere around the globe.
Jennifer and Manley Roberts (pictured at right) established the fund to combine their passions for finding solutions to the most challenging resource issues facing our planet and creating more opportunities for students who enhance the diversity, equity and inclusion of the department of earth, marine and environmental sciences.
“As alumni of UNC, we both love what the University has done for our lives, and we want more students to have the same great opportunities we did,” Jennifer Roberts said. “We know that environmental science is increasingly important, and North Carolina is front and center for being at risk from extreme weather. We hope our scholarship will help more diverse students enter this field, to research the ways we can mitigate the impacts of extreme weather for our food supply, our health, our wallets and our lives.”
Support for programming designed to foster a sense of community among scholars and facilitating connections with alumni and leaders making a mark in the field of environmental science will also be supported by the Roberts-Watson Family Environmental Scholars Program.
The department recognizes the importance and value of diverse student perspectives in the classroom and in experiential learning settings.
“The Roberts’ generosity in establishing this endowment will help ensure that the varied experiences and viewpoints of students in EMES will enrich everyone’s experiences within the department,” said Eric Kirby, department chair.