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 at Princeton University

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

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

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

Rahael Borchers '15
Major at Davidson: 
Political science, international studies minor
Doing now: Completed Goucher College’s Post-bacc Premedicine Program, and current medical student at the University of Pennsylvania 


Brian Aoyama '09
Major at Davidson: East Asian Studies (Center for Interdisciplinary Studies)
Doing now: MBA Candidate at Stanford Graduate School of Business (2021 Siebel Scholar, Arbuckle Leadership Fellow)

Photo Quote
Mustafa Abid headshot

Mustafa Abid '15
Major and minor: 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.

Nick Carney

Nick Carney '11
Major and minor: Political science, economics minor
Use of Belk stipends: One stipend was used for the Davidson in Washington Program—an exciting opportunity to intern at a D.C. nonprofit while completing a Political Science course taught by a Davidson faculty member during the evenings. The second stipend allowed me to travel to a series of European countries to interview experts and policymakers driving innovative energy, transportation, and land-use policy.

Doing now: Senior Underwriter, Multifamily Finance at the Illinois Housing Development Authority

Although many colleges provide a fine education, few (if any) can match Davidson's dedication to cultivating an ethic of service among its students. The Belk Scholarship builds on that commitment, allowing you to fully embrace the countless opportunities that Davidson offers and to bring what you have learned in the classroom to real-world settings far beyond campus. I owe much of my personal and intellectual growth to opportunities provided by the scholarship, and will always be grateful for the chance to be part of the inspiring Belk Scholar community. 

Jessie Li, Davidson Alumna, Belk Scholar and Editor at the New Yorker

Jessie Li '15 
Use of Belk stipends: I used my first stipend to spend a summer in Hong Kong, teaching poetry to middle school students through the program Breakthrough Collaborative. I used my second stipend to travel to China for an investigative reporting project on education for students with disabilities, through a fellowship with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. 
Doing now: Newsletter Editor at The New Yorker

When I visited Davidson as a prospective student, I fell in love with the tight-knit community. That sense of fellowship remained true throughout my time at Davidson, where I formed lifelong friendships and took classes and workshops with brilliant and devoted professors, many of whom I continue to stay in touch with. The support of the Belk Scholarship, in particular, allowed me to pursue writing and journalism wholeheartedly and gave me the opportunity to take internships and study abroad multiple times, in India, Italy, England, Hong Kong and China.

Nate Harding '17

Nate Harding '17
Major(s)/minor:  Education & Community Studies
Use of Belk stipends: I used my first stipend to complete a program in Cape Town, South Africa, collaborating with residents and NGO leaders to research and develop strategies to address inequities stemming from the city’s history of systemic racism under apartheid. I used my second stipend to participate in the Davidson in Washington Program, where I worked with a nonprofit advising U.S. government executives.

Doing now: Consultant at The Bridgespan Group, advising nonprofits and philanthropists on social impact strategy 

The Belk scholarship gave me permission to let go of anxieties around financing my degree and my future and to instead fully devote my time and attention to engaging the abundance of opportunities for self-discovery and growth that every course, every relationship, and every experience seemed to offer. My time as a Belk Scholar at Davidson thus not only solidified my commitment to living a life of leadership and service, it exposed me to the ways in which that commitment can manifest differently for people navigating life in different bodies and different circumstances and enabled me to acknowledge and to celebrate both the richness of our diversity and the shared humanity that unites us all.

Bethany Kirkpatrick '19

Bethany Kirkpatrick '19
Majors:  History and educational studies
Use of Belk stipends: I taught summer school for rising 9th graders in Birmingham, AL; I worked in the Brookings Institution's Brown Center for Education Policy with a research focus on teacher diversity and student success.
Doing now: MPP Candidate at Harvard Kennedy School and finishing up two years teaching middle school in Rocky Mount, N.C.

I miss Davidson for the conversations: never knowing what would be said, always leaving more thoughtful and more curious. Davidson gave me the chance to surround myself with people who deeply valued knowledge and learning, but who wanted to use that knowledge to do something. It's a culture of passion and conviction, where I learned to notice problems and to ask better questions about them. I'm so thankful for the friendships I made, the professors who still answer my emails, the community I built, and the humility that comes from always having something to learn.