Phillips Ambassadors to study in Asia in spring 2012

Six undergraduates from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have been selected as Phillips Ambassadors for spring 2012 study abroad programs in Asia. They will study in China, India and Singapore.

Phillips Ambassadors are selected twice a year and receive up to $7,500 each for a semester or year-long program and up to $5,000 each for a summer program. Recipients are selected for academic achievement and commitment to activities, service and leadership roles in the classroom and community.

UNC’s Phillips Ambassadors program includes a three-credit academic course that puts the experience in global context and challenges students to share their experiences of Asia upon their return.

Since the Phillips Ambassadors program began in 2007, it has sent 140 undergraduates to Asia, including this cohort. Twenty-five percent of the scholarships are reserved for qualified undergraduate business majors and minors from Kenan-Flagler Business School. The ambassadors choose from more than 50 UNC-approved academic programs in Asia that are offered by the College of Arts and Sciences and Kenan-Flagler.

The program emphasizes what is called “Give Back,” having the ambassadors share their study abroad experiences with the Carolina community and their hometowns. In accepting the scholarship, a student agrees to submit an article about his or her studies in Asia to a campus or hometown publication. Students also give outreach presentations about their experiences at a school in their hometown and North Carolina schools.

Earl N. “Phil” Phillips Jr., who graduated from UNC with a business administration degree 1962, established an endowment to support the program to generate greater interest in Asia among UNC undergraduates. Phillips has worked and traveled in Asia for more than 20 years and is a former U.S. ambassador to the eastern Caribbean.

“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, an entrepreneur who splits his time between High Point and Chapel Hill.

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

Lee Grainger of Charlotte will study at the National University of Singapore. She is majoring in pre-nutrition and minoring in chemistry.

Sophia Zhang of Charlotte will study in Taiwan at National Taiwan University. She is majoring in English and minoring in creative writing.

Amanda Baldiga of Apex will study in Pune, India, with the Alliance for Global Education. She is majoring in sociology and dramatic art.

Devika Chawla of Cary will study at Hong Kong University. She is majoring in psychology and biology and minoring in Asian studies.

Andrew Guo of Cary will study in Beijing, China, at the Peking University Guanghau School of Management. He is majoring in business administration and biology, and minoring in chemistry.

Matthew Nolan of Cary will study in Taiwan at National Taiwan University. He is an Asian studies major (Chinese), minoring in entrepreneurship.