Mingma Norbu Sherpa Fellowship

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The fellowship is named for the late Mingma Norbu Sherpa, a pioneering conservationist in the Himalaya who served as an official with the World Wildlife Fund. A protégé of Sir Edmund Hillary, Mr. Sherpa believed that “saving nature need not take place at the expense of the people,” and as example of that, he developed an 800-square-mile conservation area surrounding the 28,169 foot tall Kangchenjunga (behind Everest and K2 in height). He and 23 others died in a 2006 helicopter crash just after they left a ceremony giving control of the area to the local residents. Carolina alumni Donald ’77 M.B.A. and Karen ’77 M.B.A. Wagoner created this fellowship in his memory.


Eligible applicants must be:

  • undergraduate or graduate students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,
  • continuing their studies at UNC-Chapel Hill in the semester following their fellowship.

Submission Guidelines

The online application asks for the following information:

  • a concise description of the project and how you will carry it out;
  • specific outcomes and how you will measure them;
  • a statement of the eventual impact and value of the project;
  • an approximate timeline you will follow; and
  • a project budget that does not request more than $1,250 and describes the sources and amounts of any other funding.

If the project will be conducted in cooperation with or will receive financial or other support from a governmental agency or private sector organization, the application should include, in addition to a proposal, a letter of commitment from each such agency or organization.

Applications for the 2017 Mingma Norbu Sherpa Fellowship are closed.

2016 Sherpa Recipient

Anna Stamatogiannakis ’17, an Environmental Health Sciences major, received the 2016 Sherpa Fellowship to further the work of her project, Maputo Sanitation (MapSan). MapSan will characterize the routes of environmental exposure to fecal contamination (water, soil, flies, etc.) to better understand whether or not new latrines are effective in disease reduction. The team will collect environmental samples from low-income households in semi-formal, densely populated urban settlements in Maputo, Mozambique. MapSan is a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Health for the Republic of Mozambique (MISAU), four different public universities in the U.S. and the U.K. (including UNC), and Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP). This project is also funded by USAID.