University of South Carolina

Top Scholars



USC Horseshoe

May 29, 2014


Top scholars join USC freshman class


by Megan Sexton, Media Relations
msexton@mailbox.sc.edu, 803-777-1421


The University of South Carolina will welcome some of the nation’s and the state’s top students for the university’s most valuable and prestigious scholarship program. Recipients of the Carolina Scholar Awards for in-state students and the McNair Scholar Awards for out-of-state students will join the Carolina community in August.

"The USC Scholars Award program draws the best and brightest high school seniors from across the state and the nation," said Scott Verzyl, the university's associate vice president for enrollment management. "These top scholars bring the highest levels of academic performance, leadership and talent to the state's flagship university. Our mission is to bolster their insatiable curiosity and help them realize their tremendous potential at Carolina and beyond. We have great expectations for these outstanding students, and it's no surprise that they usually exceed them."

More than 2,350 students applied for Carolina’s scholar awards, making it the largest and most competitive applicant pool in the university’s history. The university invited 90 scholar candidates to campus to compete for these awards. This year’s 21 McNair Scholars include students from 10 states. In-state, the five Stamps Carolina Scholars and 13 Carolina Scholars come from six counties in South Carolina.

The Carolina Scholars Award is valued at $10,000 per year for four years. Five students also are named Stamps Carolina Scholars, and will receive all the benefits of the Carolina Scholars, plus $8,000 to be used for enrichment opportunities including undergraduate research, study abroad, service projects or trips or unpaid internships during their undergraduate tenure.

The Stamps Carolina Scholars are: Clayton Buckaloo of Isle of Palms, S.C.; Habiba Fayyaz, Elizabeth “EA” Matthews and Philip Richardson of Columbia; and Sarah Greene of Boiling Springs, S.C.

The Carolina Scholars are: Rylan Burdette of Waterloo, S.C.; Mara Cowen, Jinyu Gao, Alexander “Alex” Galan, Austin Lewis, Joseph “Joe” Marazzo, Grace Porter, Himabindu Vinnakota and Joanne Wu of Columbia; Emma Drobina of Charleston; Tulsi Patel of Irmo, S.C.; Michael Tuten of Lexington, S.C.; and Louise White of Darlington, S.C.

The McNair Scholars Award is the most valuable and prestigious scholarship for out-of-state students. The award is valued at $15,000 per year for four years. The awards come with a tuition reduction which translates into a scholarship package worth more than $128,600 for McNair Scholars.

McNair Scholars for 2014 are: London Bennett of Seabrook, Texas; Chandler Ross Casner of Forest City, N.C.; Caroline Cates of Kingwood, Texas; Stephen W. Corbitt II of Ashland, Ky.; Kevin Field of West Orange, N.J.; Kayla Grace Gardner of Mt. Juliet, Tenn.; Nicholas Robert Greene of Salisbury, N.C.; Olivia Harris of Chesapeake, Va.; Austin Taylor Hetherington of Brentwood, Tenn.; Skyler Jaques of Murfreesboro, Tenn.; Rachel Lunsford of Kernersville, N.C.; Erica Maissy of Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.; Hannah Rose Marks of Louisville, Ky.; Caroline McLeod of Albemarle, N.C.; Julia Minton of Clayton, N.C.; Lynn Schutte of Hamilton, Ohio; Kimberly Sears of California, Pa.; Erin Welty of Clemmons, N.C.; Olivia Williamson of Severna Park, Md.; Jeffrey Willicut of Liberty Twp., Ohio; Lacey Wilson of Hendersonville, Tenn.

The McNair Scholars program began in 1998 and is supported by a $30 million gift from university alumnus Robert McNair and his wife Janice McNair. The Carolina Scholars program was developed by the university in 1969. This is the second year for the Stamps Carolina Scholars program, funded through a gift from the Stamps Family Charitable Foundation, founded by Penny and E. Roe Stamps IV.