Belk Alumni Share Their Experience

Belk Alumni reflect on the how the John M. Belk Scholarship impacted their time at Davidson. They share how the lessons learned while being Belk Scholars have positively influenced their careers. 

Jordan Starck '12
Majors at Davidson:
Psychology and education
Doing now: Ph.D. Candidate, Princeton University

Sydney Kornegay '11
Major at Davidson: Political science
Doing now: Director of Refugee Responses Adult Programming

Whitney White '08
Major at Davidson: 
Anthropology
Doing now: Innovation Leader and Founder at Take Back Your Time

Stephen Kaliski '07
Major at Davidson: 
English major and theatre minor
Doing now: Visiting Assistant Professor of Theatre at Davidson College

Photo Quote
Rahael Borchers Headshot

Rahael Borchers '15
Major: 
Political science (concentration in international studies)
Use of Belk stipends: I participated in the Davidson in Washington program, attended international development conferences in D.C., and traveled in Chile.
Doing now: Medical student at the University of Pennsylvania following a post-bacc pre-medicine program

I chose Davidson for happiness. Many schools offer rigorous learning experiences, but for me, Davidson felt different because of a community I deeply admired, the warmth I felt during my visit, and the strong emphasis on integrity, social justice, and community service. Davidson gave me four blissfully happy years, surrounded me with people I hope to become more like, immersed me in different cultures and ways of thinking, challenged me to grow and contribute both inside and outside the classroom, connected me with exceptional staff and faculty, who were down-to-earth but had very high expectations, and helped me discover the ways in which I also hope to "live a life of leadership and service."

Mustafa Abid headshot

Mustafa Abid '15
Major: Political science, Arab studies minor
Use of Belk stipends: I spent 8 weeks in Amman, Jordan conducting interviews with health care providers working in the refugee health sector; while in Amman I also studied more Arabic and volunteered with a local food kitchen.
Doing now: General surgery resident at University of North Carolina Hospitals

At Davidson, we were immersed in a campus where people are always excited to share and learn from new ideas. Built on a community that values connection and friendship, I will forever look back with gratitude on four years of building lifelong friendships while also getting to really pursue my intellectual interests, wherever they lead me. Central to this experience was that of being a Belk Scholar—not only was the support of the scholarship and its stipend central to my Davidson journey and its many adventures, but the community and learning built around the Belk Scholar experience facilitated much of the growth I experienced as a student at Davidson.

Arielle Korman

Arielle Korman '17
Major: Languages and cultures of the Middle East 
Use of Belk stipends:  I used one stipend to develop and record original music. I used the other to travel through Spain and Morocco with a Muslim classmate, exploring religious sites important to both our faiths.
Doing now: Executive Director and Co-Founder of Ammud, the Jews of Color Torah Academy

As a proud New Yorker at 18 (I still hold that pride!), I knew I wanted to experience living somewhere different from what I knew for college. On my tour of Davidson, I was told that for half the students at Davidson, it's the most religious place they've ever been, and for the other half, it's the most secular. In my time at Davidson I was deeply involved in Jewish life and leadership. Meeting other students grappling with religion, being empowered to help determine the future of Jewish life on campus prompted me to stretch and grow. I bring a Jewish identity so influenced by my time at Davidson with me in my current position as Executive Director and Co-Founder of Ammud, the Jews of Color Torah Academy, a Jewish educational organization for Jewish people of color, by Jewish people of color.

Bryan Aoyama

Brian Aoyama ‘09
Major: East Asian Studies (Center for Interdisciplinary Studies)
Use of Belk stipends: I used my first stipend to attend Middlebury College’s Chinese Language School, a 9-week Chinese immersion program. I used my second stipend to spend a summer conducting thesis research in Shanghai and traveling throughout China.
Doing now: MBA Candidate at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. Previously worked at Bain & Company and also spent 7 years in Southeast Asia building a technology startup focused on expanding affordable broadband access.

I chose Davidson because it was a community that would challenge and change me. When I visited campus, I most admired the warmth and kindness of students: their drive was rooted in character and a genuine commitment to one another. After entering as an ‘undecided’ major, Davidson gave me the flexibility to design an interdisciplinary major that combined political science, anthropology, and Chinese under the guidance of three phenomenal professors. The Belk Scholarship made it possible for me to pursue these new interests outside the classroom through language study, international conferences, and fieldwork. The most lasting gifts of the Belk Scholarship, though, are the friendships that have endured long after graduation. The friends I made at Davidson continue to ground, challenge, and inspire me in their commitment to deploying their gifts in the service of others.