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MLK 2020 UNC Student Scholarship Awards
Charlie Helms, Jr. (right), named the winner of the 2020 MLK UNC Student Scholarship (photo: Ryan Herron)

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.

 

Meet the 2020 Winners:

Charlie Helms, Jr.

Charlie Helms, Jr.
(Winner)

Charlie is from Fayetteville, North Carolina and is majoring in Computer Science with minors in Mathematics and Arabic Studies.

Charlie is the co-founder and co-president of Black in Technology, professional development chair for the Minority Business Student Alliance, Admissions Ambassador, Co-director intern for Xcel, pre-college mentor for Upward Bound and bioinformatics research assistant with Dr. Alain Laederach, and a Chancellor’s Science Scholar. Similar to Dr. King, Charlie was inspired to make a positive change for his community.

Black in Technology is a computer science organization that fosters mentorship, support and funding for black students who are interested in technology. Charlie 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; and he created this organization in order for the 6.9% population to double each year. Black in Technology has worked with companies like Microsoft, Google, Cisco, Facebook, Deloitte, and more to get their members internships and full-time offers at top tech companies. In addition, the organization works to secure academic scholarships for members so they can continue their education in the computer science major.

Samuel Ndukwe

Samuel Ndukwe
(finalist)

Samuel is from Raleigh, North Carolina and studying Health Policy and Management.

Samuel is a mentor for the Student National Medical Association Future Leaders in Health Program and the (Fella)ship mentor group. He is a student ambassador for the Gillings School of Global Public Health and a Buckley Public Service Scholar. As a Buckley Public Service Scholar, Samuel has addressed Dr. King’s concern with service to all humankind by never turning a blind eye to someone in need. He has studied health equity and disparities that burden families in underprivileged communities and applied this knowledge to medical trips in Honduras where he was able to help establish family clinics and assist doctors with treating families in rural areas.  Samuel ultimately hopes to divert the trajectory of health trends burdening low-income and minority groups and to redefine black male leadership.

Amy YuAmy Yu
(finalist)

Amy is from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and is studying Biostatistics.

Amy is the co-chair of Linking Immigrants to New Communities, serves on the National Board of Directors of the American Mock World Health Organization, Inc. and is working with a PhD student on a pilot program at UNC Hospitals called the ABC’s of Online School Re-entry.

Amy has worked to address Dr. King’s goal of increasing diversity and inclusion within our nation. In the hopes of helping marginalized immigrant populations overcome linguistic and socio-cultural barriers, she leads a group of inspiring students to teach English classes to recent immigrants and refugees in the Chapel Hill/Carrboro community from Peru, Myanmar, Columbia, Germany and Mexico, among other countries. Amy aspires to break barriers to equality and to create equal access to opportunities for all during her time at Carolina and in the future, as a practicing physician.