Bear Tuesday. There is a new day to celebrate this holiday season and it will be here soon. A day to give back, Itís  Bear Tuesday! Make a Gift Now

Thank You

Elizabeth Van Meter '15, Chemistry

UNC's small class sizes allow you to develop one-on-one relationships with professors—that made it the right choice for me.
  • Meet Elizabeth
  • Meet Thailia
  • Meet Samantha
  • Meet Rikki

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Dedicated, Determined and Grateful

Elizabeth Van Meter has chosen success. A junior chemistry student, Liz has set her sights on becoming an anesthesiologist. And she has no doubt she can achieve that goal.

She has learned that part of being successful is recognizing opportunity and acting on it—like choosing advanced science in high school, which piqued her interest in chemistry, and working to become one of the top callers at her job raising scholarship money for UNC students.

And it was opportunity that opened the door for Liz at UNC so she could pursue her dream of becoming a doctor.

“UNC has a strong health sciences program, one-on-one interaction with professors and small class sizes, qualities that are very important to me. But I also chose UNC because it offered the most scholarship support."

That’s why she is especially grateful to donors who support UNC students. Between scholarships, loans, her job raising scholarship money for her fellow students at UNC, Elizabeth is working hard to be here.

“There are so many students like me who depend on scholarships and who plan to do big things in the future,” Liz said. “Our donors need to know their money is not going to waste here. We are working hard, and they are helping make our dreams come true.”

Thailia Rodriques '15, Communication Studies with minors in Business Administration and Africana Studies

I’m really big on giving back, so everything I’m doing here is so that another person coming after me can do it too.
  • Meet Elizabeth
  • Meet Thailia
  • Meet Samantha
  • Meet Rikki

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What Bear Tuesday Is All About

Thailia Rodriques '15 is already paying it forward.

"The whole mission behind the scholarship I receive is to pay it forward, which is beautiful," Thailia said. "It makes you sit down and reflect on what you want to do—you receive help, but how can you help someone else?”

Thailia was accepted to a number of schools, but the financial support offered at UNC was the deciding factor for her.

A senior majoring in Communication Studies with minors in Business Administration and Africana Studies, Thailia came to UNC from Denver and has already made a difference by getting involved. She is the public relations and marketing coordinator for the Marcus Garvey Cultural Center and has leadership roles in 10 different student organizations.

Thailia plans to continue her education in clinical youth counseling. She loves helping young people find their way. She volunteers on move-in day and works at the University Center during summer orientation, sharing her experience with the new students.

Thank you for making a difference, Thailia! You are what Bear Tuesday is all about!

Rikki Gonzales '15, Sports and Exercise Science

The whole UNC community has been involved in getting me this far, and if I have that kind of support, how can I lose?
  • Meet Elizabeth
  • Meet Thailia
  • Meet Samantha
  • Meet Rikki

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Leaving a Student-Athlete Legacy

Rikki Gonzales '16 never thought in a million years that she would get a scholarship to run track at a Division I school.

"A scholarship is an incredible gift and so many of my fellow student-athletes depend on scholarship help," she said.

She could tell that UNC was a community that supported its student-athletes.

"I knew that here I wouldn’t just be a number."

That was important to Rikki and to her dad, who was a football player and ran track for UNC.

A Sports and Exercise Science major, Rikki plans to continue following in her father’s footsteps and become a coach.

"I know that my calling is to lead the next generation of athletes. I’ve seen firsthand what that can do for kids. And I've seen my dad's past students thank him for changing their lives."

You will be a great coach, Rikki! We're so proud to have you and your dad as alums!

Samantha Pellow '15, Elementary Education with concentrations in Language Arts and coaching.

I chose UNC for the teaching program.
  • Meet Elizabeth
  • Meet Thailia
  • Meet Samantha
  • Meet Rikki

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Being First and Giving Back

The first in her family to go to college, Samantha's parents were thrilled to support her in her academics and athletics. Samantha ran track for UNC for four years.

In her junior year, her dad, an ardent track supporter, was diagnosed with cancer at 52. He passed away halfway through her junior year.

Instead of flowers, her family opted to suggest donations to their church and to the UNC track program.

"Then I learned that if we had $5,000 we could fund a current use scholarship," Samantha said. "So my mom made up the difference and we started the Roger Strempke Memorial Scholarship fund. Each year we plan to host a 5K to raise more money for the fund."

Samantha came to UNC for two reasons—the class sizes and the teacher education program.

"But by the time I graduate, I will love UNC for those reasons and many more," she said. "My dad never got to go to college. Thanks to him, the support of alumni and friends, my family and my UNC family, I did. And I couldn't be more thankful."

We are thankful for you, Samantha. Your generosity is inspiring!

Bear Tuesday, in conjunction with the national Giving Tuesday campaign, invites you to join a new movement to celebrate giving and encourage more, better and smarter giving during the holiday season. Start on Bear Tuesday by making a gift to UNC.

Giving Tuesday