Fall leaves surround bell tower

Meet the Scholars

Meet the Scholars

Below are profiles of current and past Scholars in Residence at UNC.

2017-18 Scholars: Ambassador Arnold A. Chacon & Tyler Steelman

Arnold A. ChaconAmbassador Arnold A. Chacon is Diplomat in Residence at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  He holds the rank of Career Minister in the United States Senior Foreign Service.  He was the Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Human Resources from 2014-2017, leading a team of 800 Civil and Foreign Service employees who carry out the full range of human resources activities essential to recruiting, retaining and sustaining the State Department’s 75,000-strong workforce.

Ambassador Chacon was the United States Ambassador to Guatemala from 2011-2014, Deputy Chief of Mission at Embassy Madrid from 2008-2011, and has served as the Department of State’s Deputy Executive Secretary.  He served at the American Embassies in Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Italy, Mexico and Honduras as well as the United States Mission to the United Nations in New York.  He is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Foreign Service Association and the Hispanic Employee Council of Foreign Affairs Agencies.  He was a Fellow at the American Political Science Association and is the recipient of the State Department’s Presidential Rank Award and other leadership honors.

Ambassador Chacon is originally from Denver and is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Tyler Steelman is currently a graduate student in the Political Science department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He received his B.A. in Political Science and his B.A. in Music Performance from High Point University as well as his M.A. in Political Science from Appalachian State University. Tyler's current research involves political communication including how Americans consume their political news and how presidents communicate with the American people. When not working, Tyler likes to play Pokemon Go, watch Veep, and play boardgames like 7 Wonders and Avalon.

2016-2017 Scholar: Tyler Steelman

Tyler Steelman is currently a graduate student in the Political Science department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He received his B.A. in Political Science and his B.A. in Music Performance from High Point University as well as his M.A. in Political Science from Appalachian State University. Tyler's current research involves political communication including how Americans consume their political news and how presidents communicate with the American people. When not working, Tyler likes to play Pokemon Go, watch Veep, and play boardgames like 7 Wonders and Avalon.

2015-2016 Scholar: Candis Watts Smith

Candis Watts Smith is an Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Adjunct Assistant Professor of African, African American and Diaspora Studies at UNC. Like many of you, this is her first year at Carolina. She studies American political behavior, with a special focus on people's preferences on public policies that ameliorate or exacerbate inequalities. Her research also examines Millennials. (That's y'all!) As the scholar in residence, she lives on the ground floor of Craige with her husband, Terrell, and two-year old son André. Terrell is from Monroe, NC and works at a small school down the road... And Professor Smith is from Fayetteville, NC. Fun fact: She attended the NC School of Science and Math. Another fun fact: After getting three degrees from Duke (B.A., M.A., and Ph.D.), she's looking forward to being the best Tar Heel ever! 

2013-2014 Scholar: Peter Friedrich

Peter Friedrich arrives at UNC directly from Iraq, where he lived and taught theater for five years at the American University of Iraq in Sulaimani. While in Iraq, Friedrich directed the Iraqi premieres of Akbar Ahmed’s Noor, Heather Raffo’s Nine Parts of Desire and several Iraqi original works on arranged marriage, corruption, religion and war, many of which were comedies.

In 2012, Shakespeare Iraq, Friedrich's troupe of Iraqi first-time student actors, won international attention and a 2013 Falstaff Nomination with a Kickstarter-funded performance at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Friedrich and his students have interviewed on NPR, Truthdig Radio, Al Jazeera and many other programs.

In 2013 Friedrich is guest teaching at Stanford University, New York University and American University in Washington. He is the recipient of the 2013 Contribution to the Field Award by the American Conservatory Theater and a proud graduate of Chapel Hill High School. While at UNC Chapel Hill, Friedrich will be teaching, directing and producing theater for social change as a proud member of the Department of Dramatic Art, Playmakers Repertory Theater, and Craige community.

2012-2013 Scholar: Dr. Julia Nitz

Dr. Julia Nitz is Assistant Lecturer for American Studies at the English Department at Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg as well as managing director at the Centre for United States Studies (ZUSAS), organizing seminars, conferences and educational programs. Her current research concentrates mainly on the identity of American women during the Civil War and the postbellum period and historiographic narratology. She is also interested in media and adaptation studies, film analysis and postmodern literature.
 
Julia was an undergraduate and graduate student of English and American Studies and Media and Communication Studies at Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg and also holds a certificate of German as a Foreign Language. Furthermore, she was a visiting student at Columbus State Community College (Ohio, USA) and at the University of Wales Swansea, and worked as Teaching Assistant in Mulhouse (France).
 
Julia Nitz successfully completed her doctoral thesis in August 2009 with "summa cum laude" for which she was awarded the "Lutherurkunde" by Martin-Luther-University. She received a state-funded graduate scholarship for her PhD and a research fellowship from the German Historical Institute London. The monograph was published by Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier in 2010. Julia is also co-founder of an English reading circle and a passionate and nationally successful frisbee player.

2012-2013 Scholar: Anne Looijestijn-Clearie

(submitted in first person) I will let you guess which country I grew up in. It is country where men with hairy knees sometimes wear skirts, where we drink a lovely amber coloured beverage called Usige Beatha (better known as Scotch whisky) and which lies to the north of a small, insignificant country called England.

When I married my husband Jan, who is Dutch, I moved to the Netherlands where I have lived for many years now among the tulips, cheese and coffee shops. For many years I have a worked as a Professor of European Law at the Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands. I love to teach students (at least those who listen to my words of wisdom).

My husband and I like good food, good wine, good whisky and good books. We are also keen on sports, golf, swimming, walking and going to the gym. I am a fanatical soccer fan and a supporter of the best soccer team in the world: Ajax Amsterdam. Unfortunately my husband does not agree with this. He supports a team which comes from Rotterdam: Feyenoord.

We are looking forward very much to meeting the students of Morrison Dorm and having interesting discussions with them. We hope you can teach us something about American Football.

2012-2013 Scholar: Dr. David Ricks

Dr. David Ricks is a professor of Modern Greek & Comparative Literature at King’s College London and founding convenor of the UNC-King’s Strategic Alliance since 2005. In the latter role, he has been a relentless advocate for the benefits of a Carolina education and has sent many students to this campus. He studied classics and philosophy at Oxford, completed his doctoral studies at the University of London and has also held appointments at Birmingham and Princeton. His books, articles, translations, and broadcasts cover the literature and culture of modern Greece and the field of classical tradition. 

2012-2013 Scholar: Dr. Volker Behr

Prof. emerit. Dr. Volker Behr is a professor of Civil Law, Civil Procedure, Private International and Comparative Law at the University of Augsburg, where he has also served as Dean of the Law Faculty and is on of the managing directors of the Institute for European Legal Systems.

Education: Prof. Behr studied law at the Universities of Bonn and Tübingen, and was a DAAD Research Scholar at the University of California at Berkeley before receiving his doctorate law summa cum laude (1976) and his Habilitation (1983) both from the University of Bonn. In addition to Augsburg (since 1988), he has taught at the Universities of Bonn, Göttingen, Giessen, Erlangen-Nürnberg, and as well as a visiting professor at the Universities of Izmir (Dokuz Eyluel), Louisiana (Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge), Pittsburgh (University of Pittsburgh), Chapel Hill (University of North Carolina), Washington, D.C. (GWU), Kaliningrad (Baltic Kant University) and Beijing (China University of Political Science and Law). Since 1992 he regularly teaches as visiting professor at the University  of Lyon III (Jean Moulin).

Subjects: Civil Law, Civil Procedure, Commercial Law, Private International Law and International Civil Procedure, Comparative Law.

Other positions: Director of the Institute for European Legal Systems, Former President an actual member of the advisory board of the Augsburg Law Society. . In 2003 he established a research centre on Turkish law at the University of Augsburg and became the first director of this centre.

Memberships: German American Lawyers Association, Civil Law Teachers Association, German Association for International Law, German Association for Comparative Law.

2011-2012 Scholar: Bill Lucas

Mr. Lucas received the Morehead Scholarship to attend our very own institution, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he graduated with a B.A. in English in 1973.  Post graduation, Mr. Lucas backpacked through Africa, traveling through 20 sub-Saharan African countries. He later enrolled in Johns Hopkins University, School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, D.C. In addition to his M.A. from SAIS, Mr. Lucas received a master’s degree in Political Science from Stanford University on a mid-career sabbatical from the U.S. Department of State.

Mr. Lucas is a 32-year veteran of the Foreign Service. He has served for over 30 years with the State Department, traveling overseas to South Africa, Belgium and the Philippines, and spending more than half his career in Washington at the home office. He is currently the director of the U.S. State Department’s Office of European Union Affairs in Washington, D.C. He also serves on UNC’s Advisory Board for Global Education.