Grant available to UNCP student from NC Beautiful


Non-profit’s executive director says move is an organizational ‘milestone’

NC Beautiful, a provider of environmental education and beautification opportunities that elevate the quality of life of North Carolinians, has announced the addition of The University of North Carolina at Pembroke to their Environmental Scholars Program. 


Jesse Peters

Jesse Peters

The Environmental Scholars Program awards funding to four of the best and brightest college students in the state of North Carolina.  These $3,000 undergraduate grants allow students to pursue research projects that let them explore creative solutions to environmental challenges.  The inclusion of UNCP into this program marks NC Beautiful’s first expansion into the Eastern part of North Carolina, a move that complements the organization’s goals.

“The mission of NC Beautiful is to educate all of our young people about the importance of good environmental stewardship,” says NC Beautiful Executive Director, Steve Vacendak. “Our goal is to expand our Environmental Scholars Program to every four-year college and university in the state of North Carolina with an Environmental Science program. This expansion into Pembroke, our first ever into eastern North Carolina, is truly an organizational milestone. We’re excited and proud to welcome UNC Pembroke into the NC Beautiful family.”

The Pembroke Undergraduate Research and Creativity Center (PURC) will forward three NC Beautiful grant applicants who must be rising juniors.

Dr. Jesse Peters, PURC director and dean of the Esther Maynor Honors College, said the partnership with NC Beautiful marks an exciting moment for Pembroke students and will encourage a further awareness of the state of the environment and the importance of environmental science among members of the University and local community.

“The support this grant provides will allow a student to spend significant time and energy researching an area of environmental science, and that experience will help prepare the student for graduate school and a career,” Dean Peters explained.  “It will not only make a significant difference in the life and education of one student, but it also will help us demonstrate to other donors how important supporting undergraduate research can be.” 

Dr. Peters also adds that he’s appreciative of NC Beautiful’s vision to extend its undergraduate scholars program to include a rural university like The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

“I applaud their vision, especially their willingness to support a regional university like UNCP,” adds Peters. “Undergraduate research makes a difference in the lives of students and will ultimately have a positive impact on the world itself.”

About NC Beautiful

NC Beautiful has been part of the state’s environmental preservation community for 40 years, supporting awareness, education and beautification efforts that affect quality of life. Today, they concentrate on hands-on and merit-based programs designed to empower citizens to preserve the natural beauty of the state of North Carolina. Whether it is school children building outdoor classrooms, graduate students developing cutting-edge research, or a Boy Scout troop planting azaleas at an elder care facility, they make it possible for North Carolinians to keep NC Beautiful. For more information, visit