Five receive $10K Phillips Ambassadors alumni awards

Since studying abroad in India in 2009 as a Phillips Ambassador, Patrick Dowd ’10 has lived and worked in Thailand, Nepal and the Tibetan region of the People’s Republic of China.

Since studying abroad in India in 2009 as a Phillips Ambassador, Patrick Dowd ’10 has lived and worked in Thailand, Nepal and the Tibetan region of the People’s Republic of China.

The Phillips Ambassadors Program is celebrating 10 years of supporting students’ study abroad experiences in Asia. Since its inception, 270 Carolina undergraduates have been awarded Phillips Ambassadors scholarships to study in a dozen Asian countries.

The Phillips Ambassadors is a program of the Carolina Asia Center within the College of Arts and Sciences. A quarter of the scholarships are reserved for students in UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School.

To celebrate a decade of scholarship, service and engagement with Asia, five $10,000 awards were presented to Phillips Ambassadors alumni to support their further engagement with Asia.

“We wanted to do something that would reinforce the spirit and purpose of the Phillips Ambassadors Program,” said Earl N. “Phil” Phillips, who, with his family, established the program. Phillips, a Carolina alumnus, entrepreneur and former United States ambassador, has had business interests in Asia for more than 25 years.

In marking the 10-year milestone of the scholarship program, Phillips said he and his family decided to look no further than the program’s alumni. “Our alumni are our strength and a tremendous resource for each other and Carolina overall,” he said.

The intent of the awards is to generate effective initiatives related to Asia and to share some aspect of those efforts in the recipient’s community, place of employment or current place of study.

Forty-three alumni submitted proposals. (All proposals received a $500 award to encourage further engagement on their chosen topics.)

The 10th anniversary award recipients:

Burcu Bozkurt

2011 Phillips Ambassador in Vietnam
Project: Increasing engagement of International Youth Alliance for Family Planning in Myanamar, Vietnam and the Philippines

Bozkurt graduated from UNC in 2012 with a public health and global studies double major. She now works in Washington, D.C., as a senior analyst for the health plan advisory council at the Advisory Board Company.

In 2013, she co-founded the International Youth Alliance for Family Planning, whose mission is to enable youth from around the world to contribute a significant voice and lead interventions and decisions on family planning and reproductive health and rights.

Melissa Brzycki
2007 Phillips Ambassador in China
Project: “East Asia for All,” development of a podcast series with a focus on East Asian popular culture

Brzycki graduated from UNC in 2009 with a degree in political science and a minor in Chinese language. She is now a Ph.D. candidate in history at the University of California at Santa Cruz, with a focus on childhood in China between 1949 and 1966.

Patrick Dowd
2009 Phillips Ambassador in India
Project: Development of Tibetan language textbooks for young children

Dowd graduated from UNC in 2010 with a double major in English and comparative literature and interdisciplinary studies. He is pursuing a master’s degree in international educational development at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dowd is currently in the Tibetan region of the People’s Republic of China, where he is working with Tibetan teachers in rural, semi-nomadic areas.

Larry Han
2014 Phillips Ambassador in Singapore
Project: Resolving patient-physician mistrust in China: a crowdsourcing approach through UNC-Project China

Han graduated from UNC in 2015 with a degree in biostatistics and a minor in chemistry. He is currently in Beijing as a member of the first cohort of the prestigious Schwarzman Scholars program, where he is completing a master’s degree in global affairs and public policy before heading to Harvard to pursue a Ph.D. in biostatistics.

Adam Schaffernoth
2007 Phillips Ambassador in China
Project: Cross-cultural training and Japanese homestays for U. S. Marines in Japan

Schaffernoth graduated from UNC in 2008 with a degree in business administration from Kenan-Flagler Business School. He is currently an infantry officer and first lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps, and has been deployed in Afghanistan, Romania, South Korea and Japan, where he is now.