Emma Zarriello selected as Morehead-Cain Scholar

Published 3:21 pm Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Emma Zarriello was recently honored by being awarded a Morehead-Cain Scholarship – the oldest, most prestigious merit scholarship program in the United States.

Emma Rose Zarriello, Morehead-Cain Class of 2015

As set out in the program’s founding documents, selection criteria for the Morehead-Cain are leadership, academic achievement, moral force of character and physical vigor. Morehead-Cain recipients are chosen solely on the basis of merit and accomplishment, not financial need.

The class of 2015 will include 27 scholars from North Carolina; 19 American scholars from outside North Carolina; three British scholars and three Canadian scholars.

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In addition to covering all expenses for four years of undergraduate study at UNC, the Morehead-Cain features a distinctive program of summer enrichment experiences. Over four summers, scholars have the opportunity to complete an outdoor leadership course, carry out public service in the United States or abroad, conduct research at sites across the world and gain experience in private enterprise.

The summer enrichment program, designed to broaden each scholar’s experience and worldview, is complemented during the academic year by a Discovery Fund that encourages deeper exploration of a particular interest. From attending development conferences in Geneva to shadowing emergency room doctors in Boston, Morehead-Cain scholars are given the resources to pursue educational opportunities wherever they find them.

In the past nine years, 12 Morehead-Cain scholars have won Rhodes Scholarships to England’s Oxford University, one of the world’s most competitive and prestigious awards for graduate study. Since the first Morehead Scholars graduated from Carolina in 1957, 29 of UNC’s 32 Rhodes Scholars have been Morehead-Cain graduates.

Morehead-Cain Scholars have accounted for 21 of the University’s 30 Luce Scholars and 19 of Carolina’s 32 Truman Scholars, among the nation’s most generous and distinguished awards for graduate study. Twenty-six Morehead-Cain Scholars have won Fulbright Fellowships.

Zarriello will graduate this spring from Chase High School in Rutherfordton, N.C., where she is an award-winning Beta Club orator and Speech and Debate Team debater. She also serves as co-captain of the varsity cheerleading squad.

Zarriello is the daughter of Debra Backus, Steps to HOPE publicity/public relations coordinator, and granddaughter of Lester and Sylvia Backus of Morgan Chapel Village.

– article submitted by Debra Backus