About Us


Raised on the Great Plains of Kansas, Sarah Boyd has a BA and an MA in English Literature from the University of Kansas.   She is currently a PhD candidate in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at UNC Chapel Hill.  Her research focuses on nineteenth-century American culture and literature with a special emphasis in the history of science.  Her dissertation explores the juicier rhetoric of science in short fiction and the development of science fiction and fantasy literature.  She is pictured above with her niece, Isabella.


cath picture
Cath Rueckeis: I was born in Berlin, Germany, and raised on the outskirts of Berlin in Teltow. My mother is a North Carolinian, who married a Berliner, whom she met on an exchange to Germany. I have three younger siblings. Both my elementary school, the Quentin Blake Europe School, and high school, the John F. Kennedy School, are bilingual schools, where I learned to read and write in English and German. The friends I made there come from countries all over the world, such as Ireland, Brazil, Singapore, California and Greece, to name a few. I started playing club soccer when I was six and I plan on continuing to play here at Carolina!

stephen lanier
Born to a military family, Stephen Lanier and his family made several moves before settling in North Carolina, where he attended elementary and high schools.  He is currently studying at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a Biology-Chemistry double major.  An avid fan of jazz and classical music, he plays alto saxophone in his free time and has performed with a variety of University Honor Band programs.  He is pictured above with his mother, Kristie.

mary sims
Mary Sims
was born the small town of Clayton, North Carolina, attending Cleveland High School her freshman and sophomore years and the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM) her junior and senior years. As a student in NCSSM’s Research in Computational Biology course, she was introduced to computational research. She expanded her experience in the field as a student research fellow at the Jackson Laboratory over the previous summer completing computational genomics research. Her experience in computational research and interests in sustainable agriculture has led her to UNC Chapel Hill as a double major in environmental and computer sciences. Hiking, playing Frisbee, singing, listening to music, and participating in sustainability activism are among some of her interests.

joe young
Joe Young: 
In March of 1996, I was born in Brevard, where I lived for four years until my parents separated in 2000. From Brevard, I moved to Asheville and started my last year of preschool. After preschool, I attended Asheville City Schools for elementary, middle and high school. During my free time in Asheville, I enjoy hiking and exploring the Blue Ridge Mountains, and driving the Blue Ridge Parkway. I am the youngest of three siblings. My oldest sister, Colleen graduated from UNC in 2012 and now lives in LA. My middle older sister attends UNC as well, and is in her junior year. I am an undecided major and plan to major in either chemistry or physics.

carter jackson
Carter Jackson: I was born August 24th, 1996 in High Point, NC. When I was very young, my family moved to Virginia near the Chesapeake Bay area. My two younger brothers, Campbell and Chancellor, were born in 1999 and 2002, respectively. I attended preschool through 1st grade in VA, until my family moved back to NC in a town called Greensboro. I was raised to be a Tarheel, as my father attended the university along with his father and family in turn. I first inquired about the school for the sake of the family legacy, but upon researching and visiting the school, I decided that it was the perfect University for me. I graduated from Northern Guilford High school and, as you know, I am now attending UNC. In 12th grade, I took AP Chemistry and realized that I have a passion for the subject. I have decided to (hopefully) pursue a career in Nanochemical research, though my intentions could change. Regardless of what I end up studying, it will very likely be a subject of the natural sciences because I have always found science extremely fascinating. I look forward to my time at UNC. Attached is a picture of me at a building in UNCG while visiting my girlfriend.

Frank Alcorn: 
I was born and raised in North Carolina, living in Raleigh my entire life. I have been a life-long nerd, watching movies like “Star Wars,” or “The Lord of the Rings.” More importantly, however, I have also always been immensely interested in all aspects of science. Other interests include fencing, which I have done for a few years, and seafood, especially sushi. I plan on double majoring in chemistry and physics. I became very interested in these subjects after taking courses in these areas during high school. Additionally, I am considering a minor in Russian (not only because my roommate, Jon Kaplan, is Russian, I also enjoy the difficulty of the language). I am also highly interested in research and plan on participating in it beginning this year.  This picture was taken after a science competition my senior year of high school.

jon kaplan
Jon Kaplan
was born in Israel with his mouth closed and his investigative eyes wide open, already exploring the unknown world. By age two, he moved to North Carolina and was immediately captivated with the first red button that dared stand in his path—the airport’s emergency escalator halt. Throughout middle and high school, Jon took every opportunity available to learn more about science, enjoying success in the Science Olympiad and Science Bowl competitions as well as in the classroom. In the summer between his junior and senior year, he contacted a professor at NCSU and embarked on a research project—an analysis of x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and its viability in evaluating the purity of graphene samples grown on copper and silicon carbide substrates. Finally, after the arduous college application process, Jon was elated to learn that he received UNC’s Colonel Robinson Scholarship, and he sincerely looks forward to the next few years here. He is pictured above with delicious cupcake frosting all over his face.

nikki mccurry
“Hi hello,” says Nikki.  Nikki Mccurry hails from the great town of Kannapolis, North Carolina, home of the NC Research Center, Gary’s BBQ, and Dale Earnhardt.  (“I don’t support our claim to fame – never even watched a Nascar race.”)  When she’s not reading books, she’s probably watching “Grey’s Anatomy” or wishing she was a Kardashian.  (“Queen Khloe, specifically.)  She wears Crocs religiously, believes in profound moments of sincere happiness, and hopes that can help make this world a little less crappy.  (“I’m roughly one rant away from being an angry social justice blogger, to be honest.”)  She likes to pretend she’s a deep thinker, but we all know she’s always, al
ways, thinking about the time she ate a whole cupcake in one bite.

philip luther et al
From beautiful Saint Petersburg on the west coast of Florida, Philip Luther is a first year student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Biochemistry with a possible minor in Art History or Classical Archaeology. His interests include protein synthesis as it relates DNA, Italian baroque painting, and Greek sculpture from the High classical period. He is pictured on the left with his girlfriend, Sephie.

kiana givpoor
Kiana Givpoor
: I was born and raised in Potomac, Maryland about 20 minutes outside of Washington, D.C. I am currently a freshman at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill which has been my dream school for years. As of now, I am planning on majoring in Biology however I do have an interest in political science as well. Horseback riding has been a huge part of my life since I was 5 years old, and I recently became the owner of my horse, Patrick. In the picture, I am with my best friend from home at prom.

grace lee
Hi! My name is Grace Lee, and I’m originally from South Korea but moved to Chicago, Illinois when I was five. I attended Elk Grove High School where I was involved in student council, volleyball, soccer, cross country, peer helpers, and PALS tutors. My ultimate passion is helping those in need as well as doing anything possible to keep our environment clean and friendly to all the creatures that inhibit it. Currently I am an Exercise and Sport Science major, but that can easily change! The picture above was taken at Busan, South Korea over the past summer. 

I’m Deavyn Edwards; I am from Mount Airy, North Carolina. I graduated from an early college so I have an Associates Degree. At Chapel Hill, I plan to major in health policy and management. I chose health policy and management because of my interest in administration in hospitals. I volunteered at my local hospital every summer during high school.  The picture is of my family and I at the Hoover Dam this past summer!

kat k
Kat Krovetz
was raised in Holly Springs, North Carolina. She attended Holly Springs High School, where she was the President of the robotics team. Currently, Krovetz is studying at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and majoring in Environmental Science. In her free time, she enjoys swimming, hiking, and painting.

tommy pan
Born in Taiwan and immigrating to the United States at the age of four, Tommy Pan lived in Edison, New Jersey for 14 years and graduated from John P. Stevens. He is now currently studying economics on a pre-med track at UNC Chapel Hill.  During his free time, he enjoys playing pickup sports, chilling with friends, and listening to music. In fact, he is an avid music fanatic, having played the piano for 12 years and the viola for 6 years. [pictured second from the left]

Kenya Lee
Kenya Lee
is a first-year biology/public policy double major from Moncure, North Carolina. In her free time, she likes going to poetry slams, singing, and listening to hip-hop music. She would like to study abroad in East Africa (preferably Kenya) during her time at Carolina; she also hopes to be comfortable speaking Kiswahili by the time she graduates. 

Jessica Hoffman
Jessica Hoffman
grew up in Matthews, NC. As of now, she is hoping to double major in Chemistry and Environmental Studies. Not only does she enjoy science, but she also loves visual art and dance. Biggest indulgence: Ghirardelli dark chocolate. She is pictured above at the Ring of Kerry in Ireland.

Bryan Gerber
My name is Bryan Gerber and I am from New Jersey. I am currently a BIology and Chemistry double major and I plan on minoring in business. I am 110% sure I am sticking with biology, since I have loved the topic since I was in first grade, but with Chemistry I might just drop down to a minor. I have already completed 2 years of research in high school and am looking forward to utilizing the great opportunities here at UNC to continue research. I enjoy playing soccer and staying active and I hope to keep off the freshman 15 as long as possible. 

samuel lee
Samuel Lee:
 I was born in the bowels of the south in Oxford, Mississippi. Later, I moved to Fayetteville, North Carolina and have lived there ever since. My academic interests include philosophy, chemistry, biology, mathematics and economics. As of now I’m a chemistry major, but am thinking of becoming an economics major. I am premed and would like to be a doctor. I have considered becoming a neurosurgeon, but I’d like to keep exploring. I’d like to be a doctor because I enjoy science and the idea of healing appeals to me. To me a doctor can not only cure a disease, but a soul. Patients are souls and those that have illnesses find themselves deteriorating physically, mentally and spiritually. I want to help people in all of these aspects by being a doctor. Outside of academics, I enjoy ultimate frisbee (which is a real sport, contrary to popular belief). I recently went to the open tryouts for our club team and will hear back soon. I am extremely excited to be at Chapel Hill and to be in this ENGL 105i class.

Hi my name is Taylor Peedin and I am from Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina. I am originally from Burgaw, North Carolina but moved to Roanoke Rapids three years ago. I lived with my Aunt Pam, Uncle Jeff, and cousins Bobby and Pete. Bobby also attends Chapel Hill, though he’s like my older brother so we kind of avoid each other haha. I love to play volleyball and basketball. I also enjoy swimming, surfing, and laying out on the beach. I like to spend time with friends most of all. I believe having friends are very essential in life, especially in college. In my picture, these are my two best friends Kaley (left) and Katie (right). Katie lives in Burgaw and Kaley lives in Roanoke Rapids. Both are Seniors this year, so it’s definitely hard moving away and not seeing them as much. 

writing in the natural sciences