Four Students Selected as Inaugural Robinson Honors Fellows

April 4, 2016

Marcus Valcarce-Aspegren, Ori Hashmonay, Alex LaGrand and Abby Gancz.

Four students from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill were selected as the first recipients of the 2016 Anne L. and S. Epes Robinson Honors Fellowship, which provides funding for students who propose a program of study wholly focused on some aspect of the history and culture of the West, including Europe and the Mediterranean region, from fifth century B.C.E. to 1920.

The Robinson Honors Fellowship was established in 2015 by a gift from UNC alumni Anne L. Robinson and S. Epes Robinson. Its purpose is to recognize and support undergraduate students at Carolina who possess extraordinary capability and imagination. The program provides up to $6,000 in funding for expenses for domestic or international learning experiences that explore art, literature, music, history, politics, economics, philosophy or religion of the West and the Mediterranean. The fellowship is open to all Carolina students who meet the eligibility criteria.

To be chosen as a Robinson Honors Fellow, an applicant must give convincing evidence of exceptional ability and promise through the application, recommendations, and personal interview. The proposed fellowship experience should be one that will allow the recipients to study the humanities and the ideas that have molded Western society and form the foundation of Western culture.

Abigail Gancz, class of 2019, is from Rockville, Maryland and is pursuing a double major in biostatistics from the Gillings School of Public Health and anthropology from the College of Arts and Sciences. This summer, she will be traveling to Israel to participate in the excavation of the archeological site, Omrit, and create an online collection of 3-D models of historical artifacts, famous historic Israeli sites, and modern structures.

Ori Hashmonay, class of 2018, is from Chapel Hill, North Carolina and is pursuing a double major in art history and German studies with a minor in French from the College of Arts and Sciences. This summer she will spend two months traveling to Jewish museums and archives throughout Europe analyzing illustrated Ketubbahs, which are Jewish marriage contracts.

Alex LaGrand, class of 2018, is from Cary, North Carolina and is pursuing a double major in English and dramatic art with a minor in medieval and early modern studies from the College of Arts and Sciences. She will spend two weeks researching prompt books used in performances of Shakespeare’s King Lear at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington D.C. She will spend the following five weeks working at the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, Virginia as the official dramaturge for their professional summer production of King Lear.

Marcus Valcarce-Aspergren, class of 2017, is from Oak Ridge, North Carolina and is majoring in ethnobotany with minors in chemistry and in medicine, literature, and culture from the College of Arts and Sciences. This summer, he will travel to northern Spain to study medieval texts on medicine, herbalism, and religion in order to learn about the cultural and historical experiences of healing and what it meant to be a healer.


Read more about the Robinson Honors Fellowships on its website.

Robinson Honors Fellowship contact: Gina Difino, (919) 962-9680,