The Colonel Robinson Scholars are the newest addition to the Scholars Program family, joining the Scholars Program with the incoming class of 2009.  The Colonel Robinson Scholarship focuses heavily on students engaged in math and the sciences. The scholarship also provides funding opportunities for summer research endeavors.


Colonel Robinson scholars from North Carolina receive $9,000 per year, and out-of-state Colonel Robinson scholars receive the equivalent of tuition, fees, room, and board. The Colonel Robinson Scholarship is renewable for eight semesters of undergraduate study, provided scholars retain a 3.0 GPA. No separate application is needed to be considered for the Colonel Robinson Scholarship, and the final selection process takes place at Scholars Day.


Col. Robinson Scholars have a faculty member who will act as a mentor during their freshman year at Carolina. To learn about the Col. Robinson mentors, click here.


In Spring 2012, Col. Robinson Scholar Alexandru Bacanu ’12 was one of fewer than 300 scholars chosen internationally for a Goldwater Scholarship. He is a double math and physics major, with a chemistry minor, from Chapel Hill, NC.

Alex sat down with the Scholar’s office to tell us why he loves Carolina, and how it made him the student he is today.

What experiences at UNC best prepared you for the Goldwater?
The experience that best prepared me for the Goldwater was the research that I have done with Dr. Michael Rubinstein’s polymer physics laboratory. My research involves creating computational models to describe the tension distribution in various molecular topologies.  Altering the distribution of bond tension in a molecule can greatly change its physical properties, potentially allowing it to behave as a sensor or as a catalyst.  Dr. Rubinstein has served as a research advisor and a mentor as well. He has greatly helped me in understanding what scientific research entails.  In addition, by working in his laboratory, I have been presented with many opportunities, such as giving a research talk at the Triangle Universities Soft Matter conference, as well as giving a fifteen minute talk at the American Physical Society meeting in Boston, MA.  Furthermore, the science and mathematics classes that I have taken while at UNC have greatly helped me to develop my research skills, and all of the professors I’ve had have all been very encouraging.

How did being a Col. Robinson Scholar help you achieve while at UNC?
The Col. Robinson Scholarship helped me to connect with students with interests similar to mine, who have encouraged me to pursue a career in physics.  In addition, our Col. Robinson advisor, Dr. Greg Gangi was one of the people who nominated me for the Goldwater scholarship.  Furthermore, the information session that the scholars/honors program has hosted every year about distinguished scholarships helped me to learn about the requirements for the Goldwater.  There, I met former recipients of the scholarship, and they told me what the Goldwater committee really looks for in an application.

What advice do you have for younger students who hope to receive distinguished scholarships?
For students hoping to receive distinguished scholarships, it’s never too early to start searching for scholarships that line up with your interests/academics.  In addition, for the Goldwater scholarship a significant amount of scientific research is required, so look for professors whose research interests line up with your own.  I have been working in Dr. Rubinstein’s laboratory ever since the summer after my freshman year.  Pursue your interests and passions, and hopefully, the rest will fall into place!