Recent graduates and Levine Scholars Caitlin Vaverek and Celia Karp were honored as Fulbright U.S. Student Program recipients.
Vaverek has received a Fulbright Teaching Assistant Fellowship to Nepal for the 2014-15 academic year. The Florida native’s goal is to pursue graduate studies in international development or public policy with a concentration in nonprofit management.
Opportunities for civic engagement are the best part of the Levine Scholars Program, she said.
"Working with the leadership class at James Martin Middle School, serving dinner every month at Ronald McDonald House, participating in food drives, planning sustainability conferences, interning throughout Charlotte and so many other engagements allowed us to give back to a city that has given us so much," Vaverek noted.
"A small group of committed individuals can come together to make a significant impact. Not only were we able to start the inaugural dance marathon, but we were able to do it with the backing of the community and the University," said Vaverek, a graduate of St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Plantation, Fla. "It (the dance marathon) combined leadership and civic engagement in a way I have never experienced, and it serves as another example of how the Levine Scholars Program helps shape the lives of everyone involved."
Karp used a portion of her grant to fund the 49er Dance Marathon, a legacy event of the Levine Scholars Program. The Maryland native also was involved with the Bethesda Health Center, located in the University City area. It provides free services to Charlotte’s Latino population.
"I’ve been working with the director to develop a program that focuses on increasing self-esteem, social connectivity and improving healthy habits and behaviors among Latina women," said Karp, who recently received a Fulbright U.S. Student Academic Award for Research.
The honor will fund her studies in Quito, Ecuador, where she will research "how health communication affects women's perspectives on sexual and reproductive health, impacts their utilization of maternal health programs and contributes to Ecuador's high maternal mortality rate," she said.
"Our backpacking expedition together taught us about leadership, teamwork and wilderness survival," said Karp, a public health and communication studies major. "The experience gave us the opportunity to build friendships and trust among the cohort, enabling us to enter our first year of college together with an amazing set of friends and peers."