Leading the Next Generation

Nihar Vaidya on computer

When Nihar Vaidya ‘23 began applying to colleges, he had developed an interest in computer science and was strongly considering aeronautical engineering programs. UNC-Chapel Hill was on his list along with several other prestigious schools, but it was a campus visit to interview for the Chancellor’s Science Scholars program that vaulted Carolina to the top.

Now in its ninth year, the Chancellor’s Science Scholars program offers merit-based scholarships, opportunities to participate in cutting-edge research, professional development, leadership training and mentorship designed to pave the way for academic success and future achievement in STEM fields.

Soon after his interviews, Vaidya, from Cary, North Carolina, was between classes at his high school when the email arrived that he had been selected as a Chancellor’s Science Scholar. He began jumping and shouting as his friends hugged him in celebration, and it was at that point he knew: He was heading to Chapel Hill for college.

“I felt like CSS was a program that truly cared about my personal development,” said Vaidya. “It was such a familial environment, and that shone through everything that they did. It made a huge impact, and I can say that it is 100% the reason I came to Carolina.”

Vaidya, who is a computer science major with a minor in neuroscience, hopes to teach and train future computer scientists, especially students of color, a calling that was inspired, in part, by his experiences as a Chancellor’s Science Scholar.

“I hope I can take everything I have gained through CSS and make a positive difference in a lot of people’s lives,” said Vaidya. “And hopefully I can help the next generation of computer scientists become as good as they can be.”

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