Skip to main content
Old Well and tulips

Three UNC Chapel Hill students win Boren Awards

Three UNC students are being recognized by the National Security Education Program with Boren Awards, which support fields of study identified as critical to the national security of the United States, particularly language study.


Abigail Gancz

Commencement profile: Abigail Gancz: ‘A freedom to explore’

By working in labs and Carolina’s makerspaces, graduating senior Abigail Gancz spent four years exploring and redefining her career path.


Hanan Alazzam (Photo by Emily Sullivan). She is sitting on the ground in her blue cap and gown and smiling.

Commencement profile: Hanan Alazzam: Building community

A member of the first cohort of the Carolina Center for Public Service’s MacDonald Community Service Scholars program, graduating senior Hanan Alazzam, a biology major, has spent more than 1,000 of hours over the past three years putting others before herself.


Randi Thompson stands on a large plaza in a black and white dress with her hand on her hip.

Commencement profile: Randi Thompson: Breaking the cycle

Randi Thompson will graduate from Carolina with a bachelor’s degree in public policy and a minor in social and economic justice. In doing so, she will become the first person in her family to graduate from college.


Kolby Hunter, C-STEP Program student speaks during a C-STEP announcement. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, thanks to a grant from the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation, announced an expansion of its nationally recognized Carolina Student Transfer Excellence Program and the creation of a new program to give specialized support to C-STEP students interested in the STEM field. January 11, 2019 (Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)

Commencement profile: Kolby Hunter: ‘Where you’re supposed to be’

Graduating senior Kolby Hunter, an exercise and sport science major, overcame many obstacles on his journey to Carolina. With the help of University support programs, he thrived on his way to a college degree.


Victoria Chavis (center) celebrates with from left to right: Emily Chavis, Gabrielle James, Dylan Brooks and Kennedy Locklear. (photo by Donn Young). In caps and gowns, they throw their caps in the air on South Building steps.

Commencement profile: Victoria Chavis: A life full of little circles

When Summer Bridge Program Coordinator Euna Victoria Chavis walks across the stage to receive her master’s of social work degree in May, she’ll be thinking of four other UNC-Chapel Hill students who will receive their undergraduate degrees then, too.


“Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there” is Zac Rhyner’s advice to veterans who want to return to school. He’ll graduate from Carolina in May. (photo by Kristen Chavez). Rhyner is sitting on the front porch of his home with an American flag draped on his sofa seat.

Commencement profile: Zac Rhyner: A life of service

Carolina senior and decorated military veteran Zac Rhyner urges students to step outside their comfort zones in pursuit of their dreams. Decorated military veteran Zac Rhyner ’19 is the recipient of three Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star and the Air Force Cross. He has been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan six times and been involved in humanitarian relief efforts in … Continued