Robert E. Bryan Public Service Award

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The Robert E. Bryan Public Service Award honors the memory and accomplishments of alumnus Robert E. Bryan ’26 of Newton Grove, N.C., who worked his way through the University to become a successful businessman, entrepreneur and public servant.

Five Bryan Awards will be given for a specific effort (rather than an overall record) exemplifying outstanding engagement and service to the state of North Carolina that is characterized by:

  • working in partnership with community members,
  • inspiring and involving others, and/or helping others to serve,
  • responding to a practical problem, issue or concern of the state, and
  • working to assure the impact in the community is lasting.

Bryan awards will be given to recognize an outstanding

  • undergraduate student,
  • graduate student,
  • faculty member,
  • staff member, and
  • officially recognized student organization.

Nominations for the Robert E. Bryan Public Service Award are closed.

2017 Award Recipients

2017 Robert E. Bryan Award recipientsAlexander Peeples, a history and political science major and Bonner Leader, received the undergraduate student award for his work with Heavenly Groceries, a local food bank that provides quality produce and grocery items to underserved communities. For the past three years, Peeples served as a link between St. Joseph C.M.E. Church, which houses the food bank, and the Jackson Center, which facilitates student involvement. One of Peeples’ contributions was securing grant money for a new van to make operations easier.

Brittany Brattain, a law student and member of the UNC School of Law Pro Bono Program, received the graduate and professional student award for her work with the UNC Cancer Pro Bono Project. Students in this program, supervised by volunteer lawyers, talk at the cancer center with patients and their families about financial and health care powers of attorney and living wills. In her role as special projects coordinator, Brattain recruited student and attorney volunteers to serve at clinics; developed training protocol for student volunteers; created client files for clinics; and developed an institutionalized and automated system that will ensure the longevity of the project.

Matthew Mauzy, manager of Emergency Response Technology, received the staff award for his work with the North Carolina Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team (NCHART) response to Hurricane Matthew. As chief of the South Orange Rescue Squad, Mauzy ensures that his team is ready for hurricanes and for the resulting damage. In the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, Mauzy contributed countless volunteer hours with the NCHART group to ensure North Carolina residents affected by the hurricane received the support they needed during the critical weeks following the storm.

Marsha Penner, a lecturer in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, received the faculty award for her commitment to the course PSYC 424 Neural Connections: Hands-on Neuroscience. The class is dedicated to teaching neuroscience through hands-on activities in the community. Students in the course develop neuroscience activities that include a detailed manual and tool kit and deliver them to educators for their use teaching in schools. Penner has been devoted to making science accessible to the public.

The Refugee Health Initiative (RHI) received the campus organization award for its outreach to refugee families who have settled in the local community. Founded in 2009, RHI has provided a sense of belonging in the community as well as access to needed services, including healthcare and social resources. This year, RHI matched 66 undergraduate and graduate students with 32 refugee families across Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Durham. As RHI pairs students with refugee families, students are able to regularly meet with and serve refugee families and ease the burden on local resettlement agencies.