UNC Asheville has awarded five Selby and Richard McRae Scholarships to exceptional students from the incoming Class of 2025. Each student will receive $50,000 throughout their four years at UNC Asheville, with $10,000 in scholarship support each year and an additional $10,000 to support study abroad, undergraduate research, and internships, which are all hallmarks of the historically strong liberal arts and sciences education at UNC Asheville.
In addition, 11 students have been awarded Provost Scholarships, totaling $63,500 annually, and 16 students have received Alumni Referral Scholarships, each earning $1,000 annually by being nominated or referred to UNC Asheville by an alumnus/a of the University. Over the course of four years at UNC Asheville, these scholarships will provide more than half a million dollars in funding for undergraduate students at North Carolina’s designated public liberal arts and sciences university.
UNC Asheville’s McRae Scholars and Provost Scholarships are available to both in-state and out-of-state students and recognize undergraduate scholars with exceptional academic accomplishments, demonstrated leadership, and potential to be a pace-setter in their academic life and future beyond college. The McRae Scholarship provides entering students with opportunities to acquire the critical thinking skills, knowledge, and problem-solving necessary to pursue their goals and take their places as leaders and engaged citizens in a rapidly changing world.
Meet the Class of 2025 McRae Scholars at UNC Asheville
Ziyanah-Grace Alexander from Indian Trail, North Carolina, is a graduate of Porter Ridge High School. She is a two-year member of the Porter Ridge Student Council and is involved in the National Honor Society and Beta Club. Throughout the summer of 2020, Alexander volunteered at a local summer camp providing care for children during the uncertainty and instability of the Covid-19 pandemic. She is interested in the intersection of political science and environmental sustainability, with the eventual goal of pursuing environmental law. As part of her AP coursework, she conducted research on the motivations behind why people choose plastic bags over paper bags at grocery stores, and she hopes to continue environmental research as part of UNC Asheville’s seminal Undergraduate Research Program.
Kaya Hall from Wilmington, North Carolina, is a graduate of New Hanover High School. She is a member of the National Honor Society, Beta Club, and has worked in a variety of positions from boat detailing to childcare. Hall also has a passion for cooking and food. She has worked harvesting and selling produce for Lorek Farms for four years and has catered a fundraiser for The Good Friends of Wilmington. She has shown a natural curiosity and inclination toward science and research, which will benefit her as she pursues her biology degree at UNC Asheville. In addition to her work and other interests, Hall interns at a local dentist’s office to support her goal of becoming a dentist.
Melanie Juarez from Ramseur, North Carolina, is a graduate of Eastern Randolph High School. She was a varsity soccer player, secretary of the Junior Civitans club, and an Eastern Randolph College Ambassador who assisted the college adviser in creating a stronger college-going culture. As woodwind captain of the high school band, Juarez has proven herself to be a talented and dedicated clarinetist. She has also worked since the 9th grade and is currently employed at the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro. Currently undecided regarding her degree program, she is interested in sustainability and wants to research sustainable architecture. Juarez is a first-generation college student who has a passion for equity, diversity and addressing the issue of racism in the United States..
Caden Pheasant from Cherokee, North Carolina, is a graduate of Cherokee High School. He was vice president of the Health Occupations of America Club, a member of the National Honor Society, and served as a hospital youth intern. Pheasant has been involved in football and is an accomplished wrestler, having twice been to the North Carolina Individual State Wrestling Championship. He has worked to organize and address Cherokee language and culture within the K-12 curriculum in Cherokee. At UNC Asheville, he plans to take courses within American Indian and Indigenous Studies while pursuing a management degree.
Zakkery Whaley from Denver, North Carolina, is a graduate of East Lincoln High School. He crafted a rigorous curriculum by taking most of the AP courses that East Lincoln offers and received the Junior Math Award. Outside of the classroom, Whaley has been indispensable to his family by providing essential care for his two elementary-aged siblings, notably through the unusual circumstances of the last year. Whaley is still exploring major options at UNC Asheville and is interested in studying psychology. He is a first-generation college student.
First-year students and those seeking to transfer to UNC Asheville are considered for both scholarships and need-based aid. To apply, visit: unca.edu/apply.