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Robertson Scholars Leadership Program announces new class of 2027 matriculates

Graphic Courtesy of Robertson Scholars Leadership Program.

The Robertson Scholars Leadership Program announced on Thursday that three first-year students will join the program’s class of 2027 cohort as first-year matriculates.

The program covers the costs of eight semesters of full tuition, room and board and most mandatory fees for students at UNC and Duke University. It also provides these students with funding for up to three summer experiences, conferences throughout the year and two semesters of study abroad.

Robertson students participate in a campus switch where they live at the other university during the spring semester of their sophomore year.

When the program was created 23 years ago, it only accepted applicants from incoming students. In 2010, the program added an application process for first-year students at UNC and Duke. 

Andrew Lakis, the executive director of the program, said that since this change, about 75 percent to 80 percent of each cohort comes from the high school applicants and the rest join as first-year matriculates.

“We want anyone who sees themselves as a young leader trying to create change in the world to think of themselves as a Robertson and to be able to apply,” he said.

The 2027 Robertson first-year matriculates are Annelise Bowers, Maggie Yang and Annabelle Qian. Lakis said  these students were chosen out of about 100 applicants.

When reviewing applications, Lakis said the program looked at a few critical factors — authenticity, curiosity and a history of responsibility to oneself and others — for emergent transformational leadership. He said this year's matriculates showed a “remarkable propensity” for all three.

Annelise Bowers, UNC

Annelise Bowers said she applied to the Robertson because she figured, “Why not?”

Bowers is from Charlotte and studies computer science and public policy at UNC.

Now that she is officially part of the cohort, she said she is excited about gaining access to academic programs at Duke and connecting with different groups across campuses. She also said she is specifically interested in engaging with computer science work at Duke.

"I think that I am really excited to have the opportunity to just connect with people at another school," Bowers said. "Just making friends and having a whole new community is an awesome chance on a personal and professional level."

Maggie Yang, Duke

Maggie Yang is from from Suzhou, China, and came to Duke University to study biology and economics. She said that as a Robertson scholar, she wants to use her new resources to satiate her curiosity about the world and explore how humans crave connections and embrace their differences.

Yang said she’s looking forward to the program's Community Summer, where the cohort will live together in one of four cities and serve their new communities. She said joining the cohort now, rather than before starting at college, makes the Robertson experience even more valuable.

“I feel very grateful to be selected as someone to represent the Duke community as the first-year matriculate,” she said.

Annabelle Qian, UNC

Annabelle Qian said she was sitting in class on Nov. 28 when she received an email about first-year applications for the class of 2027 cohort. She did some research and said she found herself drawn to the program’s benefactor, community and values and decided to apply.

Qian, who is from Utah, is studying economics and business at UNC. She said she is not only excited to join Duke’s academics but also to join their business-related clubs and opportunities.

She said she is looking forward to connecting with her cohort and feels very fortunate to have already met students, alumni and leaders through the program.

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“I think I'm really excited for that — just knowing that there's unlimited potential for what I can do with this program and that they're going to be supporting me the whole time,” she said.

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