March 5, 2008. A heinous act of violence took the life of Eve Carson, an individual that embodied what it means to be a UNC student. The senior studying political science and biology was a Morehead-Cain scholar, served as Student Body President and was dedicated to volunteering for the greater UNC community.
However, Carson's impact on the community changed when two men shot and killed her 11 years go.
Keeping her memory alive, the UNC community carries on Carson's legacy by fulfilling one of her campaign promises, creating a scholarship for juniors: the Eve Carson Scholarship.
Executive Director Jacky Zheng, a senior studying biology, chemistry and Chinese, and his committee selected three scholars this year out of over a 100 applicants: Malikiya Hinds, Kerri Reid and Alli Whitenack.
Zheng said he oversees all aspects of the scholarship, including social media, their website and the selection committee. The executive committee is student led, but a faculty member associated with the Morehead-Cain scholarship assists in the selection process, integrating an organization that Carson was a member of.
“I really like that it was a second chance for them to get funding so that they could explore opportunities that otherwise they wouldn’t have,” Zheng said.
Zheng said the selection committee looks for students who have made significant progress at UNC. The committee wants their scholars to be leaders that care deeply about serving the greater UNC community.
“The big things that we look for are a clear passion, some sort of drive that they’ve really spent a lot of their college career pursuing,” Zheng said.
Like Carson, these scholars are leaders, guiding their fellow classmates to success. They demonstrate leadership qualities that many admired about Carson.
“All of them have this very tangible impact on our campus,” Zheng said.
Kerri Reid, a junior studying global studies and psychology, is one of the scholarship winners. She is the donations manager for Carolina Cupboard, the community outreach coordinator for UNC NAACP and a residential adviser in Rams Village.
Reid acknowledges Carson’s impact on the UNC community and understands her role as an ambassador tasked with carrying on Carson’s legacy.
“I hope to be a role model on campus and a voice and live for the spirit that Eve Carson lived through,” Reid said.
The Eve Carson Scholarship awards scholars a stipend to travel abroad for the summer. Reid said she is excited about studying Spanish in Salamanca, Spain, for her global studies major.
“I’ve always wanted to study abroad, but it’s super expensive, so it means a lot to me to get this new dimension on my education," Reid said.
Alli Whitenack, a junior studying global studies and political science, is another scholar. Like Carson and Reid, Whitenack is heavily involved in the UNC community. She served as the co-chairperson of Carolina Advocating for Gender Equity and the co-president of the Campus Y. Whitenack said she is honored to carry on Carson’s legacy.
“To receive a scholarship in the name of Eve Carson means a lot because I recognize the incredible impact she had on the Carolina community,” Whitenack said.
Whitenack is studying Swahili in Tanzania this summer with a Yale-affiliated institute. She said she is extending her stay by 10 days to research women’s access to land in Tanzania.
“I am super excited for that and so grateful to have the summer stipend because I absolutely would not be able to do those things without it,” Whitenack said.
Malikiya Hinds, studying chemistry, biology and Spanish, is the third scholar. During her time at UNC, Hinds participated in community government as a social justice advocate, serves as a residential adviser, is a peer mentor and volunteers at the hospital.
Hinds said the scholarship means the world to her.
“Getting the scholarship means that I don’t have to focus on the financial component of whether or not I’m going to be able to attend UNC, and it allows me to focus more on becoming more involved in these communities,” she said.
Hinds said she plans on having a workshop where minorities can learn about research opportunities. She wants to also continue her research on prostate cancer at UNC.
“I love the mission of the scholarship in that it helps give them the resources necessary to take it that step, that extra step further when they have already demonstrated so much growth and community impact,” Zheng said.