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Group of Phillips Ambassadors stand outside.
Pictured left to right: Kim Phillips, Katherine Angell, Sarah Ithipathachai, Stuti Shah, Jason Yang, Mariah McCann, Elizabeth Orr, and Ambassador Earl N. “Phil” Phillips Jr., a 1962 graduate of UNC.

Six undergraduates from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill were selected as Phillips Ambassadors for Spring 2022 study abroad programs in Asia. Undergraduate scholarship recipients will study in Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, and South Korea.

The Phillips Ambassadors Program is a program of UNC’s Carolina Asia Center, in association with the Study Abroad Office. Phillips Ambassadors are selected twice a year and receive $6,000 each. Selection is based on strong communication skills, intellectual curiosity and engagement, academic achievement, evidence of generous service to the campus and wider community, and a previous record of leadership.

Twenty-five percent of the scholarships are reserved for qualified undergraduate business majors and minors at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School. Up to two scholarships each year are available to qualified Duke University undergraduates.

Phillips Ambassadors choose from more than 70 academic programs in Asia that are approved by the College of Arts & Sciences and Kenan-Flagler Business School. Scholarship recipients enroll in a three-credit hour global studies course designed uniquely for them. Led by UNC’s Earl N. Phillips Jr. Distinguished Professor of International Studies, Dr. Michael Tsin, the course challenges students to explore their study abroad locale in significant detail and seek understanding of the region in a global context.

A distinguishing feature of the program is an emphasis on what is called a “Give Back,” or sharing of one’s study abroad experience in Asia with the Carolina community and the student’s hometown. In accepting the scholarship, students agree to fulfill a Give Back related to their study abroad experience. Give Backs include endeavors such as published articles, classroom presentations at a student’s hometown high school, photo and art exhibitions, musical performances and group projects focused on Asia.

The Phillips Ambassadors Program is made possible through a gift from Carolina alumnus Earl N. “Phil” Phillips Jr., an entrepreneur and former U.S. ambassador, and his family.

“Our goal with this gift has been to encourage more students to spend their study abroad experiences focused on Asia — an increasingly vital region of the future,” said Phillips, who splits his time between High Point and Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

The first group of Phillips Ambassadors studied abroad in Asia in the summer of 2007. By the end of 2022, more than 380 Carolina undergraduates will have studied abroad in Asia as Phillips Ambassadors.

The new Phillips Ambassadors are listed below alphabetically by North Carolina county.


Mariah McCann of Durham is studying through the Yonsei University spring program. She is an African, African American and diaspora studies major.


Elizabeth Orr of Winston-Salem is studying through the Mahidol University International College spring program. She is a psychology major.

Katherine Angell of Winston-Salem is studying through the Yonsei University spring program. She is an English and comparative literature and global studies double major.


Stuti Shah of Charlotte is studying through the National University of Singapore spring program. She is a business administration and public policy double major.


Sarah Ithipathachai of Greenville is studying through the Mahidol University International College spring program. She is a communications and media and journalism double major.


Jason Yang of Asheboro is studying through the Chinese University of Hong Kong Business School spring program. He is a business administration major.

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