Sophomore atmospheric sciences student Zach Tuggle and sophomore computer science student Chelsea Childers both knew the fields they wanted to study long before they came to UNC Asheville. They also knew that if they applied for a scholarship in those fields by March 15, along with their regular application to UNC Asheville, they might have a chance at a substantial amount of funding for their degrees.
For Childers, a lifelong interest technology was reignited when she was in the tenth grade and her family bought their first desktop computer.
“It just seemed magical to me,” Childers said, who is double-majoring in new media. “It seemed like this magical device that could do almost anything.”
Tuggle’s passion for weather began when he was in the third grade and had a near miss with a tornado in Alamance County, N.C.
“My mom backed up the car just enough so that a piece of sheet metal off a barn roof wouldn’t hit us,” Tuggle said. Though the experience was frightening for him at first, once he felt safe in the back seat of the vehicle, he calmed down and became fascinated the weather phenomena happening around him. It’s a fascination that has followed him into college.
Childers and Tuggle are both recipients of ACES (Atmospheric and Computer Science Exploratory Scholars). Sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the ACES Scholarship provides support for 10 students in the Atmospheric Sciences and Computer Science Departments. Scholarship awards are approximately $6,000 per year, per student.
Tuggle says the ACES Scholarship has not only helped him financially, but has encouraged him to reach out to other ACES Scholars and get more involved in the department. He’s already secretary of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) student chapter at UNC Asheville, and is running for president next year. He’s also starting undergraduate research, working with Doug Miller, professor of atmospheric sciences, studying snow events using weather balloons and rainfall amounts using rain gauges high in the mountains.
“It pushes you to work harder,” Tuggle said, as students must maintain their GPAs in order to stay eligible for the scholarship. “It pushes me to be more active.”
Childers recommended that future ACES Scholars—and all students—take the time to get to know their professors.
“If you get to know the professors, you’ll really understand the field more,” she said.
The deadline to apply for the ACES Scholarship is March 15, 2017. ACES Scholarships are open to accepted first year students and transfer students. Scholarships for atmospheric sciences majors and computer science majors are based on academic merit as well as financial need. For more information, visit http://www.aces.unca.edu/aces.shtml.