Dajer Fernandez, a 2018 graduate and former student body president, has been selected as a Presidential Scholar for the UNC System during the 2018-19 academic year.
Fernandez is the first UNCP student to be awarded the prestigious appointment since the program began in 2008.
He was one of four UNC System graduates selected. They will provide a wide range of professional functions for the UNC System office in Chapel Hill.
The scholars will regularly interact with senior leadership and members of the UNC Board of Governors, helping to research, write, and implement policy.
“Being selected as a Presidential Scholar is an honor because it allows us to serve in a role, within the much larger picture of higher education in North Carolina, in helping bring great initiatives and ideas into action,” Fernandez said.
“The Presidential Scholar position will provide us with the opportunity to see all the involved actors that play an important role in ensuring that our schools are striving to create more economic mobility, innovation, and serve the needs of the state."
He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science. He served as president of UNCP’s Model United Nations Team. He was a Marian Drane Graham Scholar at the UNC System office and interned at Go Global NC during the summer 2017.
“As an alumni of UNCP, I look back at the positive impact my university had in supporting and giving back to its local community and ensuring that people from across North Carolina acquire the experience and education needed to bring change and help others in any way possible.
“Now as a Presidential Scholar, I will make sure to put in the same passion to serve that the UNCP staff, faculty, administration, alumni, students, and community members exemplified, but now within the UNC System office in any way I can. To be part of the UNC System office and a product of the system has allowed me to find a purpose and passion.
“My approach from now on is the same one I had in the classroom at UNCP and that is to continue learning and using my experience here to further be part of something larger than myself. I miss my alma mater, but the values acquired at UNCP will forever shape the work I do.”
The three other 2018-19 Presidential Scholars are:
- Ashley George who earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington;
- Collin Russell, who earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill;
- William Zahran, who earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from East Carolina University.
Dajer Fernandez, far right, is pictured with other 2018-19 Presidential Scholars Ashley George, Collin Russell and William Zahran