Olivia McPhaul named first place winner of the UNC MLK Student Scholarship
Olivia McPhaul (center) named 2019 First Place winner of the UNC MLK Student Scholarship

About the Scholarship

The scholarship is open to all JUNIORS at the University of North Carolina at Chapel HillAny junior may apply without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or handicap, whose public and private community activities demonstrate a commitment to improving the quality of life of our community and campus.

The awards are given annually to students who, as judged by the MLK, Jr. Scholarship Committee, best exemplify Dr. King’s commitment to our society. Nominees are judged on the basis of the activities and contributions that demonstrate their commitment to civil/human rights and their desire to improve the quality of life of all members of University community.

Nominees are also judged on the ability to achieve and excel academically. One first place winner will receive a $1,500 scholarship and two runner-up candidates will receive $1,000 scholarships.

The deadline for the 2020 application has passed. Winners to be announced at the MLK Lecture & Awards Ceremony.


Meet the 2019 Winners:

Olivia McPhaul

Olivia McPhaul

Olivia is a junior from Charlotte, North Carolina, studying Computer Science.

Olivia serves in several roles on campus, including as publicity chair for Carolina Closet, programming co-lead for We Wear the Mask, student mentor for Chapel Hill Carrboro City School District’s Blue Ribbon Mentor Advocate Program, communications chair for Student Organizations Council, cohort leader for Spark, instructional leader for Camp Write and legacy leader for Achieving Carolina Excellence. Most notably, she is the co-founder and co-president of Blacks in Technology.

Blacks in Technology (BIT) is a computer science organization that fosters mentorship, support and funding for black students who are interested in technology. The organization enlists tutors for students in CS/SILS classes and majors, planning hackathons, hosting events and seminars, and ultimately creating an ecosystem for minorities in the department in which to thrive, learn and excel. She co-founded this organization to establish equal opportunities for students in technology at the University. Of the 1,143 students registered as computer science majors, only 6.9% (79) are African American; she created this organization with the aim of having the 6.9% population to double each year.

Alli Whitenack

Alli Whitenack

Alli is a junior from Boise, Idaho, studying Global Studies and Political Science.

Allis is the co-president of the Campus Y, which is known as the hub for social justice, where she oversees an umbrella organization of 30 student-led organizations. The Campus Y, through those organizations, mobilizes approximately 2,500 students annually. As co-president, she has centered the presidency on two platforms; increasing transparency and communication within the Y and building relationships with surrounding social justice coalitions. Alli has made space to harness the energies and passions of students by including them, particularly those of marginalized identities, in decision-making processes.

Through her leadership in founding the Progressive Organization Coalition, she has unified student leaders to elevate students’ impact on an administrative level. Furthermore, she initiated regular monthly meetings with the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, upending a system in which student leaders must access high-level officials through several layers of administration and bureaucracy. In addition to the co-presidency, she is a peer educator and the director of communications for One ACT, the violence prevention through bystander education program at UNC.

In the community, Alli serves as a childcare volunteer at the Orange County Rape Crisis Center to provide childcare to survivors of sexual assault so they are able to access other services.

Taylor Doggett

Taylor Doggett

Taylor is a junior from Columbia, South Carolina, studying Public Relations, with a double minor in Public Policy and Social and Economic Justice.

Taylor is currently studying at the Journalism and Media Studies Centre at the University of Hong Kong (HKU). Taylor is an avid reader, writer and lifelong learner. It is her passion to help others unpack and review the ways that systematic oppression affects the daily lives of all global citizens. Incredibly interested in the intersection of strategic communications and social justice advocacy, Taylor plans to pave a career for herself in the public sector, specifically providing public relations expertise and serve to nonprofits in the effort to maximize public service impact.

She serves as the Vice President and former Communications Chair for Carolina Closet, and the Vice President and former Marketing Chair for UNC Homecoming Committee.