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Brett Whalen
Brett Whalen

Update from the Director of Undergraduate Studies – Winter 2021

Our majors are an impressive bunch. The faculty see this in the classroom every semester, as our students progress through their years at Carolina. It is not always easy, however, to keep track of their persistent excellence outside the halls of Pauli Murray (aka Hamilton) Hall. (As evident from our departmental LinkedIn account, we know they go to achievement in virtually every field and line of work). Every once and a while, a news item comes across my radar that reminds me and my colleagues of the great things our majors accomplish beyond our department. Here are just two examples.

First, congratulations to Kimathi Muiruri (class of 2021), who became Carolina’s 54th Rhodes Scholar. During his time in our department, Kimathi was awarded the Frank Ryan prize for the best senior honors thesis, “Their City, Our Terms: The Livelihood and Political Strategies of African Migrant Labourers in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal c. 1874-1906.” Independent of the Frank Ryan Prize, Kimathi Muiruri was also awarded the History department’s Cazel Prize, part of the Chancellor’s prize ceremonies. The Cazel prize recognizes an outstanding graduating senior who has excelled in the study of history, contributed to the life of the History department, and shown a profound commitment to the values of the historical discipline on and off campus.

Second, congratulations as well to Samuel Zahn, a Robertson Scholar, who was just named Carolina’s 11th Schwarzman Scholar. This prestigious award will fund his pursuit of a master’s degree in global affairs at Beijing’s Tsinghua University. During the academic year 2020-2021, Sam served as a student member of the History Undergraduate Studies Committee, helping to shape the undergraduate curriculum and course offerings in our department. In 2021, he was also named a Truman Scholar.

Kimathi and Sam’s impressive accomplishments are a reminder that our majors, building on their success in the classroom, are just taking their first steps toward a larger world. We are immensely proud of them all.

Brett Whalen
Director of Undergraduate Studies