Largest Class of Levine Scholars to Join UNC Charlotte This Fall

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - May 2, 2017 - Twenty-three young leaders from high schools across the United States comprise the eighth, and largest, class of UNC Charlotte’s Levine Scholars Program; they will join the University, starting this fall.

This year’s Levine Scholars includes 16 recipients from North Carolina and seven from out-of-state. The University’s most prestigious merit scholarship is valued at approximately $105,000 for in-state students and $155,000 for out-of-state students. It covers full tuition, housing, meals, books, mandatory fees and summer experiences. To support their service work in the community, scholarship recipients will have access to an $8,000 grant funded by the Leon Levine Foundation.

“The response of top students from North Carolina and across the country continues to be outstanding,” said Chancellor Philip L. Dubois. “As with the first seven classes, the students who will join us this coming fall as Levine Scholars are among the very best that can be found. We are very pleased that they have chosen UNC Charlotte.”

Diane Zablotsky, faculty director of the Levine Scholars Program, echoed those sentiments: “We are energized by the achievements and potential of the high school seniors we recruit for the Levine Scholars Program. The Class of 2021 is as fine and richly diverse a group of students as we have ever enrolled in the program. They will be studying in various majors across campus with a breadth of interests and talents, and we are looking forward to welcoming this year’s incoming freshmen into the program.”

The 16 Levine Scholars from North Carolina are:  

Leila Abu-Hassan, Fuquay-Varina High School, child of Fatimah Darwish and Ahmed Abu-Hassan; Carlos Chavez-Ramirez, Asheboro High School, child of Virginia Ramirez and Pablo Chavez Cortez; Erich Choudhury, Riverside High School, Durham, child of Theresa and Marcel Choudhury; Sammy Chouffani El Fassi, Pine Lake Preparatory School, Mooresville, child of Noufissa and Mahmoud Chouffani El Fassi; Christopher Dymond Jr., The O’Neal  School, Sanford, child of Barbara and Brett Dymond Sr.; Matthew Elardo, Croatan High School, Morehead City, child of Debra and John Elardo; Matthew Hoffman, Franklinton High School, Wake Forest, child of Margaret Fodor and Kevin Hoffman; Daniel Johnson, Scotland High School, Laurinburg, child of Johnnerlyn and David Johnson; Bridgitt Ku, Village Christian Academy, Fayetteville, child of Pai-I Tsung and Baron Ku; Nikolai Mather, Northwood High School, Pittsboro, child of Linda Kaigas and Clifford Mather; Soleil Maynor, South Robeson High School, Rowland, child of Shannon and Roy Maynor; Chiamaka Okonkwo, N.C. School of Science and Math, Gastonia, child of Virginia and Cornelius Okonkwo; Marika Samuelsson, Cleveland High School, Selma, child of Daphne Samuelsson; Dmitry Tereshenko, Grey Stone Day School, Concord, child of Kandice and Sergei Tereshenko; Akyia Wilson, Barlett Yancey High School, Yanceyville, child of LaKeysha Wilson; Sarah Wood, Cary High School, Raleigh, child of Kim and Don Wood.

The seven out-of-state recipients are:

Andrea Badillo-Perez, The Baldwin School of Puerto Rico, San Juan, child of Grisselle Perez and Manuel Badillo; Megan Bird, Charlottesville High School, Charlottesville, Virginia, child of Eileen Trainum and William Bird; Scott Christensen, Palmetto High School, Ellenton, Florida, child of Brigit and Thomas Christensen; Faith Frayman, Academy of the Holy Cross, Silver Spring, Maryland, child of Jo and Mark Frayman; Elise Lyght, The Park School of Baltimore, Owings Mills, Maryland, child of Tina Thomas-Lyght and Brian Lyght; Grey Martineau, East Lansing High School, Lansing, Michigan, child of Cindi and Joseph Martineau; Arik Miguel, Ralston Valley High School, Arvada, Colorado, child of Sonia and Ariel Miguel.

This year’s recipients were selected through a lengthy nomination and interview process. More than 3,000 high school seniors from 41 states, as well as Washington, D.C.; Puerto Rico; and the U.S. Virgin Islands; were nominated by their schools.

Selection committees chose 266 semifinalists and 76 finalists. Following a two-day Finalists Program in mid-February, offers were made to the outstanding young people who will comprise the Levine Scholars Class of 2021. Out-of-state finalists were from as far away as Arizona, Colorado, Michigan, Mississippi and Puerto Rico.

These scholarships were made possible by philanthropists Leon and Sandra Levine, who committed $22.3 million to UNC Charlotte for the merit scholarship program to develop community service leaders. This includes an additional $13 million gift, awarded in 2014 that increased the scholarship from 15 recipients to approximately 20 each year, beginning with the incoming Class of 2016. Leon Levine is the founder and chairman emeritus of Matthews, N.C.-based Family Dollar Stores Inc. The Levines are involved in a number of civic and charitable causes in the Charlotte region through the Leon Levine Foundation.

“We continue to be impressed by the outstanding potential of the new students joining the Levine Scholars Program,” said Leon Levine. “We look forward to watching them grow through their University experience and see their ongoing impact in our community, region and nation.”

About the University of North Carolina at Charlotte

UNC Charlotte is North Carolina’s urban research university and maintains a commitment to addressing the cultural, economic, educational, environmental, health and social needs of the greater Charlotte region. UNC Charlotte is the fourth largest campus among the 17 institutions of The University of North Carolina system and the largest institution of higher education in the Charlotte region. Spring 2017 enrollment is more than 28,000 students, including 5,300 graduate students. Find UNC Charlotte on the Web, TwitterFacebook, Flickr, You Tube and follow the UNC CLT_News blog.

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Media Contact:  Buffie Stephens | 704-687-5830 | 980-355-3110 | buffiestephens@uncc.edu