Congratulations to FPD senior Ruth Samuel! Ruth was selected to receive the prestigious Morehead-Cain Scholarship from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The Morehead-Cain Scholarship is a four-year, undergraduate merit scholarship. Applications are accepted from all over the world and only 3% of the thousands of nominees receive the award.

In addition to tuition, books, room and board, and a laptop computer, the Morehead-Cain funds four summers of travel and experiential learning as well as access to mentors and advisors across the world. The goal of the Morehead-Cain scholarship is to identify and invest in promising leaders, challenging them to have a profound impact on the people and pursuits that define their lives. In exchange, scholars are asked to make a perpetual commitment to lifelong personal growth through hard work, discipline, humility, and compassion.

The selection process entails three rounds. The first includes an in-depth application, teacher recommendations, essays, and descriptions of extracurricular activities. Ruth advanced to the semi-finalist round where she presented a 15-minute, on-camera interview. Weeks later, she was notified that she had made it to the finalist round and would travel to Chapel Hill for Selection Weekend. Finalists toured the campus, observed classes, listened to panels of previous and current scholars, and participated in five more interviews.

More on the Morehead-Cain Scholarship

Below is a brief interview with Ruth regarding the award:

How did you learn about the Morehead-Cain Scholarship?

I learned about it from Mr. Brad Thompson! He sent me an email one day saying that I should come to his office during my free period if possible – and I had no idea what to expect. Then, he told me that I had been chosen to apply for the Morehead-Cain Scholarship. Prior to my nomination, I didn’t know anything about it. I was honored to find out that I would be competing for (what was once) the first merit scholarship at the nation’s first public university.

How did you feel/react when you learned you had been named a scholar?

On the Friday that results came out, I was in the middle of a tennis match. As soon as I walked off the court, I finally got the chance to read a text message from my best friend (who was also a finalist) and my heart sank when she didn’t get it. I nervously stepped aside from the rest of the team and as I tried to login to the applicant portal on my phone, my brother and my parents started calling me. I answered my brother’s FaceTime call and told him to stay on the line as I viewed the results. As soon as I read the word “Congratulations!”, I dropped to the ground and started bawling. Through the happy tears, I said “I got it!” My doubles partner quickly embraced me, and my brother was ecstatic. Soon after, I called my parents and the Morehead-Cain scholar who hosted me the previous weekend.

What is of most interest to you in regards to the Morehead-Cain experience?

The flexibility, opportunity, and community that the Morehead-Cain experience provides is one of a kind. I have a variety of interests and as a Morehead-Cain scholar, I have access to scholar advisors that will help me tailor the UNC curriculum to those areas. Furthermore, the scholarship not only covers tuition, but it also allows students to apply for various internships through the Summer Enrichment Program. From the stories I heard from current scholars, they’ve had the opportunity to work with the Cleveland Indians, intern at the U.S. House of Representatives, and go to Costa Rica to provide healthcare to the impoverished. As of right now, there are 225 scholars on campus and thousands of Morehead-Cain alumni. Being a part of a community of ambitious, like-minded young adults who are all supporting, challenging, and pushing each other is priceless.

What do you want to study in college?

As of right now, I want to major in Public Health (specifically Health Policy and Management) and minor in Spanish. However, I’m really interested in political science, sociology, and creative writing – so we’ll see!

Looking back as a senior, what have you enjoyed most First Presbyterian Day School?

I’ve loved working on the FPD Literary Magazine, “The Edda,” and playing on the tennis team. For the past three years, it’s been such a joy to gather weekly with Mr. Andrew Katzer and other students who appreciate writing, artwork, and want to put together a booklet to showcase other students’ talents. It’s such a great time, just eating lunch, chatting and editing. In regards to tennis, I’m definitely going to miss Coach Lashley, the car rides, the long practices, and the friendships I’ve made.