Welcome to Carolina, Students

A new school year is underway. The students are back in Chapel Hill and campus is buzzing again. The Carolina community grows a little bigger each August, as thousands of new first-year, transfer and graduates students officially become Tar Heels. To read more about these students, visit



 Elly Cummins



After her 18-year-old brother died from an anxiety medicine overdose because his friends were afraid to call 911, Elly Cummins realized she could work to stop her brother’s story from being repeated. Cummins created a state-wide campaign called Be Kind, Leave No One Behind, and for the past two years, she has been raising awareness of North Carolina’s Good Samaritan Law, which protects bystanders who call 911 to report drug- or alcohol-caused medical emergencies from being prosecuted.





Izzie Estes

Kill Devil Hills

First-generation student

In the shadow of the spot on North Carolina’s Outer Banks where the Wright Brothers launched the world’s first flight, Izzie Estes is preparing for a first of her own. Growing up surrounded by the coastal beauty of the Outer Banks, helped inspire Estes’ planned major: environmental science.







Julian Robles


Chancellor’s Science Scholar

After being diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma as a senior in high school, incoming first-year student Julian Robles aspires to become an oncologist. As a Chancellor’s Science Scholar at Carolina, he’s ready to take his first steps to dedicate his life to helping others.







Abel Miranda



After serving five years in the U.S. Navy as a medic, incoming Carolina student Abel Miranda says he’s in the perfect place to continue his training as a “humanitarian warrior.” Miranda will major in biology and plans to attend medical school. He wants to improve health care access by providing the care himself and helping to restructure the country’s health care system.





Jordan Epley



Not many college applications have a resume quite like Jordan Epley’s. Not only does the incoming first-year student have a great academic record from her international school in Thailand, but her extracurricular activities include participating in Thailand’s version of the popular televised singing competition The Voice, opening for a Nelly concert and earning the MVP title in Thailand’s junior NBA league. But she said all those accomplishments pale in comparison to getting into Carolina.




Amirsaman Zahabioun



After immigrating from Iran when he was 13, Amirsaman Zahabioun was enrolled in English as second language classes, but he didn’t let that stop him from creating a comprehensive language study guide for his high school classmates. His book “The Complete Guide to High School English Literature,” is now in its second edition.






Pa Chia Thao


Doctoral student

Pa Chia Thao decided she wanted to become a scientist in sixth grade, but she rarely saw other women — let alone women of color — in her STEM classes or textbooks. But Thao didn’t quit. Instead, she persevered all the way to Carolina, where she will soon begin her first year as a doctoral student in the College of Arts & Sciences’ physics and astronomy department as a National Science Foundation graduate research fellow.