UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School


Three undergraduate students selected to study in Asia as Phillips ambassadors


Three undergraduates from UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School have been selected as Phillips Ambassadors for study abroad in Asia this spring.

William “Bo” Brandt of Raleigh, will study in Shanghai with the Institute for the International Education of Students.

Matthew Stevens of Raleigh, will study in Singapore at the National University of Singapore.

Ruopia Xu, an international student from Hangzhou, China, will study at Keio University in Tokyo.

The three are among eight undergraduates from UNC-Chapel Hill chosen as ambassadors. 

The Phillips Ambassadors is a scholarship program for UNC-Chapel Hill undergraduates designed to broaden awareness of Asia on and off campus. The scholarship combines an award for study in Asia with an academic course that puts the experience in greater global context and challenges students to share their experiences of Asia upon their return.

Phillips Ambassadors are chosen twice a year and receive up to $7,500 each for a semester or year-long program and up to $5,000 each for a summer program. Scholarship recipients are selected based on their academic achievements and commitment to activities, service and leadership roles in the classroom and community.

Qualified undergraduates may use the award for any of more than 50 UNC-approved study abroad programs in Asia that are offered by the College of Arts and Sciences and UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School. The Study Abroad Office in the college manages the program. Twenty-five percent of the scholarships go to qualified undergraduate business majors and minors from UNC Kenan-Flagler.

A key feature of the program is what is called the “Give Back,” or sharing of one’s experience in Asia with the Carolina community and the student’s hometown. In accepting the scholarship, students agree to submit articles about their studies in Asia for campus or hometown publications. They also give an outreach presentation about their experiences in Asia to a school in their hometown and other schools in North Carolina, introducing more young people to Asia.

To date, 108 UNC students have studied in Asia as Phillips Ambassadors since the program started in 2007. The eight new ambassadors bring the number to 116.

Generating greater interest in Asia among UNC undergraduates was part of what motivated alumnus Earl N. “Phil” Phillips Jr., who graduated from Carolina in 1962, to endow the program. Phillips, an entrepreneur who splits his time between High Point and Chapel Hill, has said he hopes his gift will encourage more students to spend their study abroad experiences focused on Asia, an increasingly vital region of the world.

He has worked and traveled in Asia for more than 20 years and is a former U.S. ambassador to the eastern Caribbean. His long-term goal is for every Carolina undergraduate to have an international experience before they graduate.