Student Support

The Fruits of Our Efforts

A letter from Candice Powell, the director of Carolina Covenant

A letter from Candice Powell, the director of Carolina Covenant

Dear Friends,

In my last letter to you, I shared our efforts to grow networks of opportunity and connections for Carolina Covenant Scholars. Today, I write to share the fruits of these efforts, and wow — I couldn’t be prouder of what we’ve done together with your support.

With support from our chancellor, senior administration and many campus partners, we’ve developed the Connecting Carolina’s Covenant Scholars (CCCS) initiative into a robust system of professional development support for our students. The CCCS initiative includes our mentors, our liaisons at the professional schools, our alumni, and our Career Accelerator Program. In just over a year, we’ve grown our Alumni Advocate network of former Carolina Covenant Scholars who are now professionals and graduate students to more than 100 individuals. We were also awarded a $250,000 grant from Strada Education Network — the Beyond Completion grant — to help our students engage in high-impact professional development experiences over the summer of 2022. With these funds, we helped more than 60 Covenant Scholars access internships, research assistantships, service and shadowing opportunities, and career-related courses that will take them closer to their professional goals. We also completed the first research study on enrolled Covenant Scholars’ experiences and perspectives — the Covenant Voices Study. Taken together, we know so much more about what our students need and can plan our next steps to meet these needs.

The Carolina Covenant has done an incredible job of helping low-income students enroll and graduate from college. Still, our Covenant Voices Study and national data remind us that barriers to career development and other opportunities still exist for low-income students even when they receive significant financial aid. As a national model for low-income student success, the Carolina Covenant not only has the responsibility to help our students thrive in college. We must also equip Covenant Scholars with the relationships, experiences, and skills to compete and thrive beyond degree completion. When Covenant Scholars walk into their next chapter after Carolina, we want them to realize all the benefits and promises of their experience and of the Tar Heel network. The Connecting Carolina’s Covenant Scholars initiative is our strategy, and you — our friends and supporters — help give that strategy momentum.

I want to thank Rick and Leah Margerison, who are among the first to give strategically toward CCCS goals. With Rick and Leah’s support, we will hire the first full-time, professional position focused on Carolina Covenant Scholars’ career development and outcomes. This will allow us to build out our Career Accelerator Program and summer opportunities and provide more Carolina alumni venues to share their professional wisdom and networks of opportunity with Carolina Covenant Scholars.

We are laser-focused on building this next chapter of the Carolina Covenant Scholars Program. I hope the stories highlighted in this report will inspire and excite you as they have inspired me. We must continue our work to ensure that income and social class are not barriers for talented students to achieve their goals, maximize the promise of a Carolina education, and change the world. As we continue developing these efforts and our strategic plan for the Carolina Covenant, I hope you will be part of our journey.

Candice Powell ’06, ’21 (Ph.D.), director of the Carolina Covenant

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