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Meet Our 2017-18 Dean’s Scholars

Talley Student Union

Humanities and Social Sciences is proud to introduce the latest recipients of the Dean’s Scholar Award. 

The college awards the merit-based scholarship annually to top incoming freshman, who use the funds to offset tuition and for hands-on learning such as study abroad, internships or undergraduate research. Scholarship funding stems from donor gifts to the college’s Excellence Fund, in addition to the William T. Kretzer Family Scholarship fund. 

The 2017-18 class of Dean’s Scholars is an accomplished group, with interests ranging from anthropology to international studies. Learn more about this year’s cohort:  

Alexandra Gaines, William T. Kretzer Family Dean’s Scholar Award

Hometown: Durham, North Carolina

Major: English

Gaines comes to NC State after graduating as valedictorian of The School for Creative Studies in Durham, where she also was a member of the National Honor Society. She says she enjoys expressing herself through the written word and loves reading literature of all kinds; she’s considering a minor in an environmental field. Outside the classroom, Gaines says she likes watching films and writing scripts, in addition to outdoor activities such as hiking.

“This award means so much to me,” Gaines says. “It inspires me to do my best and work hard to reach my goals. Knowing that others selected me for this award makes me want to work even harder. I’d love to utilize this award to expand my horizons, either through research or through a study abroad program. I am so appreciative, and I want to prove that I am worthy of this award.”

Colin Gravelle, William T. Kretzer Family Dean’s Scholar Award

Hometown: Marvin, North Carolina

Major: Anthropology

Since arriving at NC State, Gravelle has been admitted to NC State’s University Scholars Program and is also involved in the Shelton Leadership Center on campus. While not entirely sure what career he’ll pursue in the future, Gravelle plans to continue his education after earning his bachelor’s degree. Outside the classroom, Gravelle says he’s an avid reader and enjoys playing sports and spending time with friends. 

“The scholarship allows me to pursue my academic goals in the future as an upperclassman, allowing me to have opportunities in research that other students may not have available to them,” Gravelle says.

Emily Hench, Dean’s Scholar Award

Hometown: Lexington, North Carolina

Major: English

Hench served as editor of her high school’s humanities research journal, Fifth World, and was an avid participant in intramural sports. In high school, she says she became “enamored” with the humanities and now hopes to grow that infatuation into a career. Hench says she plans to work in the publishing industry as an editor, particularly in fiction, and also write herself. 

“This award will provide me with a much-needed supplement to paying for my education at NC State,” Hench says. “It will also assist me so that I am able to take advantage of as many opportunities as possible, so that I may follow my passion to its full potential.”

James Merritt, Dean’s Scholar Award

Hometown: Cary, North Carolina

Major: Communication

While not entirely sure what he’d like to do in the future, Merritt says his career goal will definitely involve making people smile. Thus, majoring in communication made sense, he says, because good communication skills will be required for any potential job (some of his current ideas include speech writing, relationship counseling or oration). Merritt has served as a volunteer for the Wake County Public School System’s WAKE Up and Read program, an effort to engage and educate Wake County about the importance of childhood literacy. In his free time, Merritt also dances (hip-hop, salsa, modern), plays piano (classical and jazz), and also plays casual ultimate frisbee. 

“This award will assist me in pursuing my goal of becoming an effective communicator and gaining skills throughout college to analyze interpersonal relationships,” Merritt says. “This award is very helpful in reducing the burden of costs for my academic studies.”

Walker Winslow, Dean’s Scholar Award 

Hometown: Grifton, North Carolina

Major: International Studies

Winslow arrives at NC State after spending the summer in Chisinau, Moldova, where he studied Russian on a National Security Language Initiative for Youth scholarship from the U.S. Department of State. Winslow says he’s interested in the culture, languages and politics of the world, which led him to major in international studies. He also plans to minor in Russian. After earning his degree, Winslow hopes to work in government, possibly in diplomatic security or foreign affairs. Outside of class, he enjoys playing the violin, swimming, discussing politics and traveling. 

“This award will help me achieve my goals by providing me an opportunity to study abroad and learn about other cultures,” Winslow says. 

Noah Wright, Dean’s Scholar Award

Hometown: Raleigh, North Carolina

Major: History

Wright’s high school accomplishments included the Wake County Public School System’s Spotlight on Students award, which showcases top students from the district. Now at NC State, he hopes to build on his lifelong love of history. From reading books to exploring historical sites with his family, Wright says he’s always had an infatuation with the past. Following graduation, Wright hopes to further his education and eventually earn a Ph.D. His career goal is to be a museum curator or college professor. In his spare time, Wright says he enjoys playing soccer and ultimate frisbee, hiking in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge mountains and skiing.

“One of my main goals at NC State is to take advantage of the exceptional study abroad program,” Wright says. “This award’s financial assistance in both tuition and extracurricular programs will provide an excellent opportunity for me to further my learning in a overseas environment.”