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Molchanov establishes environmental scholars program with $1 million gift in Campaign for Carolina

January 7, 2019 Students carry a kayak at the Institute for Marine Sciences.

A new endowed internship program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Institute for the Environment will put students one step closer to environmental science careers. A $1 million gift from Pavel Molchanov of Charlotte will match students with hands-on professional summer internships and help fund the experience.

Pavel Molchanov
Pavel Molchanov’s $1 million gift endows the program, which matches undergraduate students with environmental internships.

A $1 million gift from Pavel Molchanov, an expert in energy sector analysis, will endow the Pavel Molchanov Scholars Program. The program will create a partnership between the UNC Institute for the Environment and selected environmental small businesses, non-profit organizations and government institutions in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. Each year, up to 10 undergraduate students will be matched with an environmental internship at one of the partner organizations where students can supplement their academic work with experiential, professional training. Molchanov Scholars will receive a $5,000 stipend to support their summer experience.

“This generous gift allows us to invest in the next generation of leaders in the environmental realm by funding transformational professional experiences for Carolina undergraduates,” said Michael Piehler, director of the UNC Institute for the Environment. “We are grateful to Mr. Molchanov for his generosity and commitment to preparing students for environmental careers.”

The UNC Institute for the Environment seeks to meet major environmental challenges by developing collaborations among diverse academic fields, public and private partners, and an informed and committed community. Undergraduate students in any interdisciplinary degree program who want to understand and solve complex environmental issues can apply for the Molchanov Scholarship. The inaugural class of Molchanov Scholars is expected to be announced in March 2019. Additional information on the program and how to apply for the scholarship will be made available online.

“Thinking back to my college days, internships were the experiences that prepared me best for what I am doing currently,” Molchanov said. “I am delighted to support UNC undergraduates who want to gain first-hand exposure to environmental careers, an important and dynamic field.”

Molchanov is a senior vice president and equity research analyst at Raymond James & Associates. He joined the firm in 2003 and has since been working as part of the Energy Group, researching oil and gas, renewables and clean technology. Molchanov also serves as a member of the advisory board at Cool Effect, an environmental project-funding charity. Molchanov discovered his passion for studying energy and natural resources while at Duke University, where he graduated cum laude in 2003 with a bachelor of science degree in economics. He was born in Moscow, and grew up in Charlotte.

Molchanov’s gift supports For All Kind: the Campaign for Carolina. The University’s historic $4.25 billion fundraising campaign is inspired by the Blueprint for Next, Carolina’s overall strategic framework built on two core strategies: “of the public, for the public,” and “innovation made fundamental.”

About the UNC Institute for the Environment

The UNC Institute for the Environment develops multidisciplinary collaborations to meet major environmental challenges and engage diverse academic fields, public and private partners, and an informed and committed community. Through its air and water research centerspublic service and outreach, and  experiential education programs, the Institute fosters interdisciplinary collaboration among faculty, students, and community partners tackling pressing environmental issues.

About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 74 bachelor’s, 104 master’s, 65 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools including the College of Arts & Sciences. Every day, faculty, staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in every region and all 100 counties. Carolina’s nearly 330,000 alumni live in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, US Territories and 162 countries. Almost 178,000 live in North Carolina.

University Communications: Carly Miller, (919) 445-8555,

UNC Institute for the Environment: Emily Williams, (919) 962-0965,

View the release on UNC News