Kenan Scholars


To provide a world-class, transformative scholarship experience to exceptional students who are committed to learning and working at the nexus of business, policy, academia and the non-profit and government sectors at home or abroad.


Each year, 10 to 25 sophomores are selected as Kenan Scholars. These students are recognized for their superior scholarship and genuine interest in putting the private sector to work for the public good. Scholars are introduced to the critical role that business plays in identifying and providing sustainable solutions to contemporary, complex issues. The program connects scholars to academic and industry thought leaders, business executives, serial start-up entrepreneurs, policymakers, government officials and civic leaders. They develop the interdisciplinary competencies vital to becoming successful cross-sector business leaders. Scholars receive coaching and mentorship from UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School alumni, program staff, faculty advisors and access to the resources of the Kenan Institute. These include invitation-only conferences and forums, as well as connections to the Kenan Institute’s affiliated centers.

Scholars participate in lunch roundtables, field trips, alternative break experiences, mentor panels and skill-building workshops and trainings. During their senior year, scholars complete an original research project under the guidance of a Kenan-Flagler faculty advisor.


Kenan Scholars Research Seminar

To deepen and broaden the Kenan Scholars’ research experience, a faculty-led research project is an essential component of the Kenan Scholars Program. During senior year, Kenan Scholars are either enrolled in a Kenan Scholars Research Seminar or the Kenan-Flagler Honors Thesis course. Guided by faculty advisors, the scholars will gain a rich understanding of what can be learned from business research and how it can make a difference in the real world.

Summer Internships

The Kenan Institute requires all Kenan Scholars pursue valuable summer experiences. The Institute will provide financial support, a professional network, and placement assistance for opportunities that are well-aligned with the mission of the Kenan Scholars Program. Typically, scholars will participate in two specific types of internships:

  • Public sector or NGO (sophomore year summer)
  • Private sector (junior year summer)

Kenan Scholars also have the option of pursuing their own business ventures in place of one of these internships as an opportunity to further their entrepreneurial skills and pursuits.

Enrichment Fund

The Kenan Scholar Enrichment Fund was created to allow our Kenan Scholars to pursue meaningful opportunities outside of their academic curriculum. Each scholar can apply for grants totaling $2,000 during their tenure as an undergraduate Kenan Scholar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The Enrichment Fund is meant to provide for experiences such as workshops, conferences, interviewing, research, and pursuing innovative ideas.

Interested Kenan Scholars must submit an application to the Kenan Scholars Program Director in advance of the proposed expenditure. Each application is reviewed on a case-by-case basis, considering the Kenan Scholar applicant’s background, experience, and career trajectory. Scholars can apply to the fund anytime throughout the year, and can submit individual or group applications. A condition of the support is to provide a short presentation and written summary of the experience suitable for sharing publicly.

Mentors and Advisors

The Kenan Scholars Mentors are a select group of business leaders, near-peers, policymakers and faculty who have volunteered their time and expertise to provide professional guidance to the Kenan Scholars. During the Scholars’ junior year, a total of four moderated panel sessions with their respective board of mentors will be held. Each panel session will be followed by small group discussions with the mentors. These sessions allow one-on-one and group networking. In addition, the Kenan Scholars are encouraged to reach out to mentors for individual meetings.

Kenan Scholars Mentors are asked to commit to serving for one year with the opportunity to continue to engage with the same cohort of Kenan Scholars into their senior year. Mentors will also be available to scholars for individualized professional guidance.

Kenan Scholars also receive dedicated coaching and advising from the Kenan Scholars Program advisors. Scholars meet quarterly with their advisors and discuss topics from personal, professional and leadership development to effective research techniques. Kenan Scholar’s advisors help them set goals and then provide structure and accountability. This guided contact allows the Scholars to grow and experiment in a low-risk environment.

Alumni Engagement & Networking Events

In addition to access to many exclusive, invitation-only events at the Kenan Institute, the Kenan Scholars also have access to the growing list of Kenan Scholars Program alumni. Alumni from the Kenan Institute Leadership Fellows and Kenan Scholars Program already number more than 100 around the globe.


All UNC students who are interested in becoming a Kenan Scholar must also apply for selection in the UNC Kenan-Flagler Undergrad Business Program. The program is open to students in their sophomore year. The application period is July 1 to Sept. 1, 2019. Learn more

Interested in becoming a Kenan Scholar?

Contact Kim Allen, Ph.D.
Kenan Scholars Program Director
Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise  • 919.843.3317

Application process
Meet our scholars
See Kenan Scholars alumni


The Kenan Scholars Program enhances the Carolina experience and prepares students to succeed in a diverse world and interconnected global economy.


Spotlight on Kenan Scholar Jordan Mareno


Spotlight on Kenan Scholar Varun Amesur


Spotlight on Kenan Scholar Elizabeth Berry