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Jun 3, 2020

Note from the Director, Kim Allen

Dear friends,

Amid the uncertainty of these times, we at the Kenan Scholars Program want to pause and check-in with you, our friends and supporters. How are you?

We are pleased to report that we have completed a spectacular year of growth and high-impact for the Kenan Scholars program. Our seniors graduated on May 10th with a send-off address from Chancellor Guskiewicz via Zoom. It wasn’t the ceremony that they hoped for, but there is talk of a more formal ceremony in the fall.
Despite the downturn, job offers for all of our seniors have held steady and most will start working full-time in the coming weeks. The same is also true for our juniors who are undertaking private sector internships this summer. It has been a slightly different story for our sophomores. Many of their internships were canceled or never materialized. In light of this, we decided to get creative and offer students an opportunity to explore the impact of COVID-19 on their local communities and the imaginative ways they’ve responded. Students will share tales from across the world in places like Texas, Maine, North Carolina and China. We’ll be hosting a virtual showcase this fall featuring their summer experiences. You are at the top of our invite list, and we hope to see you then!

As classes transitioned to being remote this spring, we hosted a number of Zoom events to help maintain a sense of community and support for our scholars during this challenging semester. Our efforts included a talent show, weekly coffee hours, and a Senior Send-off Celebration. As you can imagine, by the end of the semester, students were experiencing Zoom fatigue. We’ve since taken a break from our online group activities, but will continue our one-on-one check-ins to keep scholars engaged and ensure they feel supported. We’re happy to provide these added touch points, made possible because of the intimate nature and size of our Kenan Scholars community.

I’m so pleased that so many of you are hoping to maintain communication with our scholars during these especially trying times, what with a global pandemic and nationwide protests against anti-black violence. I know they greatly value the additional encouragement and support. They also appreciate the sense of community that our program provides.

This summer, we’ll be making a more concerted effort to connect with our mentors and supporters. Many of you have expressed a desire to be better connected with one another, in addition to the scholars. We look forward to providing opportunities to further strengthen these connections. We also are working on producing an inaugural Kenan Scholars Annual Review that will showcase our wonderful year in review.

For the latest information about UNC’s current operational status and response to the COVID-19 / Coronavirus situation, please https://unc.edu/coronavirus/. Regarding recent anti-black violence demonstrations, here are statements from Kenan-Flagler’s Dean Shackelford and UNC Chancellor Guskiewicz. In these uncertain times, guidance and reassurance are powerful elixirs. Thank you for making yourselves available to our scholars. Thank you for your generosity of spirit. We hope to see you on Zoom soon.

I hope that you and your families are safe, sound and staying sane.

Warm regards,
Kenan Scholars Director

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