Jumpstarting lifelong excellence: Levine Scholars alumni make early-career impact around the world

Kaitlyn Worley in Utrecht, Netherlands
Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Levine Scholars arrive on campus each fall from across the United States having competed for and earned a spot with UNC Charlotte’s premier merit-based scholarship program. Considered among “the best and brightest,” the scholars possess passion, potential, intellectual curiosity and a demonstrated commitment to community service that sets them apart from their peers. And as Levine Scholars, they chart extraordinary paths that position them to excel when they graduate.

Levine Scholar alumni, beginning with the inaugural graduating class in 2014, now total more than 100 individuals. While still in the early stages of their careers, they are blazing trails across the globe.

The Leon Levine Foundation grants $11.5 million to continue the Levine Scholars program 

Kaitlyn Chapman WorleyKaitlyn Chapman Worley ’16 lives in Utrecht, Netherlands (pictured at the top), and works as a consultant with Durham-based McAdams, a civil engineering firm. Her work focuses on the design of outdoor spaces such as sidewalks, plazas and parking facilities and also planning for utilities. As an undergrad, she interned with Envision Charlotte, a public-private partnership that leads the city’s global “smart city” efforts; helped implement Richardson Stadium’s zero-waste initiative; and utilized her Levine civic engagement grant and teamed with a fellow scholar to research, apply for and fund the Green Globes certification for Levine Hall, under construction when she graduated. Prior to COVID, Worley attended a number of European sustainability conferences that have enabled her to further her knowledge and network in the field. Currently, she is a member of the Levine Alumni Council, which specifically help current scholars connect/network with alumni.

“One of the greatest strengths of the Levine Scholars Program is the family feel that fostered close-knit relationships that continued throughout my college career. Being a Levine Scholar really taught me the value of networking and provided numerous opportunities to strengthen that skill set. Also, the program really makes it possible to follow your own interests; it values students as individual scholars. Faculty members helped to connect me with mentors and others who furthered my passion for sustainability.”

Brandon NixonBrandon Nixon ’16 is a creative strategist for Google in Los Angeles. The philosophy major works on global marketing campaigns with external agencies, bringing projects to life through a combination of innovative video, audio and multimedia tools. Most recently, he led Google’s Juneteenth celebration, which ran the gamut from building brand identity and identifying subjects for short- and long-form videos to engaging the company’s leaders to participate.

“Being a Levine Scholar prepared me to manage multiple projects without becoming overwhelmed. The program provided lots of support that let me test myself and move beyond my comfort zone. From study abroad to numerous internships, I gained greater confidence in my ability to succeed as I was learning what real life beyond college looked like.”

Kailey FilterKailey Filter ’15, recognized as the U.S. Air Force Cadet of the Year while an undergrad, is a nurse corps officer in the U.S. Air Force. Currently assigned to Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma, the primary care flight commander manages the base’s Family Health, Pediatrics and Immunization Clinics. As a clinical nurse, she assists patients in their treatment and recovery. Filter has continued to receive recognition, specifically as Group Officer of the Quarter and most recently, Squadron Officer of the Quarter.

“The Levine Scholarship has had — and continues to have — a significant impact on my life. The opportunities such as the summer internships and study abroad were incredible and would have been impossible without the scholarship. The program prepared me to work with diverse individuals and to deal with differing opinions. I started my career with experience writing a grant, exposure to different cultures around the world and planning events. I had responsibilities beyond my classes, which gave me not only more real-world experience but greater confidence than my peers.”

Taelor MalcolmTaelor Malcolm ’18 is working toward a Master of Urban Planning at Harvard University. Due to COVID-19, she is taking a semester off while serving as the communications manager for Destination Design School of Agricultural Estates, an Atlanta-based design planning and arts community school focused on strengthening cooperation and experimentation with agricultural design practices. In addition to research experiences at the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute, Malcolm, who majored in economics and international business, developed and facilitated a series of housing workshops to support the YWCA’s Women in Transition (WIT) Program. This civic engagement project invited local nonprofits, developers and government officials to share their knowledge of current and future affordable housing opportunities throughout Charlotte with WIT participants to advise their future housing decisions.

“Most of my graduate school peers have had more work experience, but due to the Levine Scholarship that afforded me so many travel and research opportunities, I feel on par with them. Initially, I was undecided about accepting the scholarship. However, the study abroad experiences, the breadth of majors and minors along with the time and flexibility to explore them, and the small, tight-knit community of the program made me feel safer. Beginning college with 14 friends who made up my class of Levine Scholars was an incredible network within a large university and then having access to all that Charlotte offers was very advantageous.”

The Levine Scholarship Program provides a four-year scholarship that offers tuition, room, board, a grant to implement a service project of the scholar’s own design and four summer experiences that develop leadership skills, social awareness and an international perspective. 

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