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 $1,750 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 2019 Mingma Norbu Sherpa Fellowship open Dec. 1 and close Feb. 8. Apply online through the CCPS Application and Nomination Portal.

2018 Sherpa Recipient

Catherine Alves, a graduate student studying ecology, received the 2018 Mingma Norbu Sherpa Fellowship. Her project will focus on bettering the lives of small-scale fishers living on the coasts of Belize. Through interviews and data collection, she will evaluate the impacts that programs designed to quell over-fishing have had on these fishers’ livelihoods.