Scholar-Athlete Luncheon Recognizes Academic Excellence

Scholar-Athlete Luncheon Recognizes Academic Excellence

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. ­– Throughout the school year, UNC student-athletes are applauded for their successes as they compete in Carolina blue. On Thursday at the third-annual Scholar-Athlete Awards Luncheon, many of them were applauded for their academic achievements during the past year and over the course of their careers.

The event, held in the Blue Zone at the Loudermilk Center for Excellence, brought together faculty, staff and coaches in support of students who balance the demands of competing in a varsity sport with the challenges of excelling academically at one of the nation's top universities. “You demonstrate every year that it's possible for Carolina to be an outstanding institution from both an academic and an athletic standpoint,” James Dean, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, told the students.

The day's highest honor went to the Top 10 Scholar-Athletes, the five senior men and women who rank the highest in the most impressive collegiate statistic: grade point average. Each invited a faculty member (other seniors were invited to do so as well) and introduced him or her during brief remarks. In addition to speaking about each honored faculty member, the students looked back on their time at UNC and offered words of advice to younger student-athletes.

Those honored were: Jake Bernstein (men's fencing, St. Louis, Mo.), Connor Daly (men's tennis, Thousand Oaks, Calif.), Chris Madaffari (men's cross country/track and field, Norwalk, Conn.), Paige Neuenfeldt (volleyball, Birmingham, Mich.), Houston Summers (men's track and field, Greensboro, N.C.), Elly Wagner (softball, Pittsburgh, Pa.), Shelley Warner (rowing, Cary, N.C.), Nick Weiler (football, Fairfax Station, Va.) and Carly Wooten (women's fencing, Welcome, N.C.).

Bernstein, a computer science major who will work for Google in the fall, invited Dr. Diane Pozefsky, a research professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies in computer science, and spoke of how impactful his weekly meetings with her have been. He urged fellow students to make an effort to forge meaningful relationships with faculty.

Daly, a business administration major who will work as an equity analyst in San Diego for Brandes Investment Partners, invited David Ravenscraft, Fulton Global Business Distinguished Professor of Finance at UNC's Kenan-Flagler Business School. As many of the students did, Daly talked about his favorite professor going above and beyond to make classes as impactful as possible. “His passion for learning is truly infectious and he showed me the importance of being a lifelong learner,” Daly said.

Madaffari, also business administration major, invited Patrick Vernon, Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at Kenan-Flagler. After speaking of Vernon's impact, Madaffari continued that, “the cool thing about Carolina is that Professor Vernon isn't the only one like that. There are hundreds of professors at UNC that if you show dedication, they'll do all they can to help you succeed.” Madaffari will intern with Nike in Beaverton, Ore., this summer and will graduate in December.

Neuenfeldt, another business administration major, invited Dr. Jessica Christian, a professor of organizational behavior with whom she has taken two classes at Kenan-Flagler. “She's a role model for me in the business world and she truly cares about every single one of her students,” said Neuenfeldt, who urged her fellow student-athletes to get to know their classmates, rather than focusing simply on assignments. Neuenfeldt will work for Ernst and Young in Atlanta beginning this summer.

Night, a public policy major, invited Dr. Pamela Jagger, Associate Professor of Public Policy, and thanked her for the direction she's provided as Night works toward completion of her honors thesis. She also thanked her coach, Karen Shelton, for always pushing her to set a higher standard and never settle for simply “good enough.” Night will compete in field hockey one more season and will graduate in December.

Summers, a psychology major, invited Dr. Eric Youngstrom, a professor in psychology and neuroscience whose energy and compassion Summers described as infectious. Summers, who recently finished a term as Student Body President, also offered the advice to be “excellent, with a heart,” a phrase used to describe former Student Body President Eve Carson.

Wagner, a business administration major, remembered being inspired by the Top 10 speeches as a freshman. Her invited guest was Chip Snivley, a Kenan-Flagler professor whom she turned to for guidance throughout her time at Carolina. She urged students to take advantage of all that UNC offers. In that vein, Wagner will study abroad this fall before graduating in December.

Warner, a nutrition major, invited Dr. Michael Crimmins, a chemistry professor. Warner told of struggling early in her career and of the lessons she learned from Crimmins' organic chemistry class. She too urged younger student-athletes to build connections with professors and give back to them as able – she participated in a nomination process for Crimmins, who was honored this spring by the UNC Board of Governors with the Award for Excellence in Teaching. Warner will enroll in medical school at UNC this summer.

Weiler, a business major, invited Dr. Bradley Hammer, Senior Lecturer in English and Comparative Literature. Weiler was in Hammer's English class the second semester of his freshman year, at a time he when he was struggling mightily with the adjustment to college. “On a day like today when we celebrate success, I wanted to look back on the times we've all failed,” Weiler said. “I think it's important to appreciate those experiences and how they've made me a better person today.”

After graduating in May, Weiler will enroll in the Kenan-Flagler Master of Accounting program while playing one more season of football.

Wooten, a double major in psychology and studio art, spoke of finding one's passion and following it. She has been inspired by her invited guest, Lien Truong, an Assistant Professor of Painting, Drawing and Mixed Media. “My advice to any student is to find your passions and explore them – study abroad, pursue that creative degree, start a club, join a team, meet and make connections with your professors, take advantage of all that Carolina has to offer,” Wooten said. “And remember that your passion will drive you to work harder and lead to many successes in your time as a Tar Heel.” Wooten will enroll in the Wake Forest Master of Arts in Management program this fall.

In closing, Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham evoked the Department of Athletics mission statement: We educate and inspire through athletics. “I don't think there's been a better example of the education these students receive than what we heard today,” he said, “and I don't think there's a better example of the inspiration that you students provide to us.”

Additional Honors and Awards

4.0 Club

Both Spring and Fall 2015: Luke Ciocca (men's soccer), Katie McKay (women's swimming and diving), Frances Reuland (women's soccer)

Spring 2015: Kristin Aloi (gymnastics), Ezra Baeli-Wang (men's fencing), Mattie Blue (women's cross country), Kelly Corish (women's swimming and diving), Acacia Cosentino (gymnastics), Ben Griffin (men's golf), Christina Kresser (rowing), Sam Miner (men's track and field), David October (men's soccer), Bailey Patrick (men's golf), Jacob Pincus (wrestling), Lauren Roberts (women's track and field), Patrick Schellberg (men's cross country), Sasha Seymore (men's basketball), Sarah Thompson (women's soccer), Maura Thornton (women's fencing), Mary Thurman (rowing), Carly Wooten (women's fencing)

Fall 2015: Alex Bales (football), Josh Beals (men's swimming and diving), Jonathan Campbell (men's soccer), Hayley Carter (women's tennis), Alex Comsia (men's soccer), Adelaide Cooke (rowing), Anne Corrigan (women's basketball), Jamie DeCicco (gymnastics), Ian Dibble (football), Kate Elliott (rowing), Abby Fisher (women's swimming and diving), Joey Mangili (football), Sam Night (field hockey)

Tar Heel Scholar-Athletes


Toby Egbuna, Marcus Paige


Erika Johnson


Logan Carroll, Mark Derrick, Carl Geiger, Chris Madaffari, Richard Miller, Sam Miner, John Stoney


Caroline Alcorta, Emma Astrike-Davis, Mattie Blue, Hannah Christen, Lauren Moody, Grace Morken, Josette Norris, Karley Rempel, Lizzy Whelan


Harry Adams, Collins Allison, Ezra Baeli-Wang, Jake Bernstein, Michael Gopman-Slonim, Theophilus Onigbinde, Matt Shlimak


Meredith Bozentka, Samantha Galina, Amanda Lalezarian, Caitlin Malone, Sara Moreno, Carly Wooten


Kristy Bernatchez, Rachel Black, Emma Bozek, Casey Di Nardo

Blissie Du Bose, Halle Frain, Alex Grant, Mackenzie Mick, Sam Night, Julia Young


Alex Bales, Ben Craig, Ian Dibble, Elijah Hood, Jarrod James, Joey Mangili, Andrew Moore, Chris Ripberger, Nick Weiler


Davis Bateman, Ben Griffin, Zach Martin, William Register


Lexi Harkins, Elizabeth Mallett, Bryana Nguyen, Cheni Xu


Lexi Cappalli, Morgan Lane, Josselyn Mackey, Lauren Weisel


Bug Carper, Riley Graham, Patrick Kelly, Jack Lambert, Ryan Macri, Austin Pifani, Jordan Prysko, Mark Rizzo, Shane Simpson, Michael Tagliaferri, Luke Walsh


Alyssa Andress, Carly Davis, Kelly Devlin, Mallory Frysinger, Elizabeth Haus, Katie Kinsey, Naomi Lerner, Devin Markison, Marie McCool, Sophie McCoy, Aly Messinger, Kayla Miles, Megan Ward


Alexis Amato, Lauren Colberg, Morgan Donnelly, Kate Elliott, Bonnie Ertel, Chelsea Gustafson, Kathryn Johnson, Jackie Kenney, Madelyn Krebs, Christina Kresser, Ashley Laws, Nina Luker, Allie Martin, Victoria McGee, Bryn Melanson, Erica Patella, Lexi Walters, Shelley Warner, Kylee Wooten, Mallory Young


Jonathan Campbell, Luke Ciocca, David October


Joanna Boyles, Megan Buckingham, Cameron Castleberry, Hanna Gardner, Annie Kingman, Darcy McFarlane, Paige Nielsen, Frances Reuland


Lauren Fuller, Kendra Lynch, Elly Wagner


Josh Beals, Bailey Burt, Christian Caveness, Matt Conway, Mitch DeForest, Chris Gondek, Sam Lewis, Michael McBryan, Ozzie Moyer, Jack Nyquist, Philip Perdue, Lucas Popp, Patrick Riess


Caroline Baldwin, Maddy Burns, Rachel Canty, Liliana Casso, Lauren Earp, Abby Fisher, Katie Ford, Ally Hardesty, Annie Harrison, Caty Hulsey, Katie McKay, Katie Munch, Emma Nunn, Erin Purdy, Kacy Rhyne


Brett Clark, Connor Daly, Chad Hoskins, Robert Kelly, Ronnie Schneider


Hayley Carter, Ashley Dai, Maggie Kane, Whitney Kay


RJ Alowonle, D'Monte Farley, Paul Haley, A.J. Hicks, Javonte Lipsey, Houston Summers, Austin Vegas


Alexis Gannon, Emily Godwin, Sarah Howard, Brittany Hull, Tory Kemp


Abigail Curry, Heather Gearhart, Taylor Leath, Paige Neuenfeldt, Beth Nordhorn, Jordyn Schnabl


Christian Barber, Jack Clark, Kyle Coniker, Benjamin Cournoyer, Robert Henderson, Kevin Silk, Alex Utley, Matt Williams

Additional Honors and Awards (Announced previously but recognized on Thursday)

Academic All-America

Jonathan Campbell, 1st

Men's Soccer

Benton Moss, 1st


Paige Neuenfeldt, 1st


David October, 3rd

Men's Soccer

Marcus Paige, 1st

Men's Basketball

Loren Shealy, 2nd

Field Hockey (At-Large Team)

Academic All-District

Joanna Boyles (Women's Soccer)

Jonathan Campbell (Men's Soccer)

Hayley Carter (Women's Tennis)

Sarah Howard (Women's Track and Field)

Gillian Litynski (Women's Fencing)

Benton Moss (Baseball)

Paige Neuenfeldt (Volleyball)

David October (Men's Soccer)

Cameron Overstreet (Women's Track and Field)

Marcus Paige (Men's Basketball)

Loren Shealy (Field Hockey)

Lauren Walker (Softball)

ACC Senior Scholar-Athletes of the Year

Houston Summers (Men's Track and Field)

Carly Wooten (Women's Fencing)

Wells Fargo Scholarship

Carly Wooten (Women's Fencing)

ACC Weaver-James-Corrigan Postgraduate Scholarships

Casey Di Nardo (Field Hockey)

Emma Nunn (Women's Swimming & Diving)

Houston Summers (Men's Track & Field)

ACC Weaver-James-Corrigan Honorary Award

Marcus Paige (Men's Basketball)

Skip Prosser Award

(ACC Scholar-Athlete of the Year for Men's Basketball)

 Marcus Paige

EAGL Scholar-Athlete of the Year

Lexi Cappalli

Phi Beta Kappa

Jake Bernstein (Men's Fencing)

Houston Summers (Men's Track & Field)

Carly Wooten (Women's Fencing)

Order of the Golden Fleece

Joel James (Men's Basketball)

Paige Neuenfeldt (Volleyball)

Houston Summers (Men's Track & Field)

Darcy McFarlane (Women's Soccer)

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