When Brian Murdock ’99 and his wife Laura considered making a gift to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Carolina Center for Public Service was a natural choice. Murdock, who was recently appointed to the UNC Board of Visitors, has been connected to the Center since his first gift in 2005 and served on its outreach and development board beginning in 2008.
“Service has always been at the center of what my wife, Laura, and I are trying to accomplish in our day-to-day lives and to teach to our three young children,” Murdock said. “It’s so important to do everything we can to be actively involved in our communities and to contribute to improving the parts of society that may need some extra attention.”
Through multiple generations, the Murdock family has made a difference in the lives of others in myriad ways: family, faith, business and civic leadership, helping neighbors in need, volunteerism and philanthropy.
“When the Carolina Center for Public Service approached us about making a gift and suggested that it support APPLES alternative break experiences, it made perfect sense to us,” Murdock said. “Helping a group of 10-12 students voluntarily spend their breaks investing time in the community is a great way to help address some of the pressing issues in our society while laying the groundwork for these students to make service a vital part of their identity for the rest of their lives.”
Murdock added that giving this gift in honor of his mother, Grig Kirk Murdock ’69, also seemed fitting. “My mother has lived her life in service of others through her family, her long career in healthcare and the volunteering she has done in schools, at church and for a variety of organizations,” Murdock explained. “She has been a great example to many of putting others first for the greater good.”
Launched in 1999, APPLES Service-Learning Alternative Breaks provide an avenue for students to engage in meaningful service experiences. Each year, approximately 200 students encounter and actively address a wide range of social concerns from health and the environment to poverty, homelessness, civil rights and disaster relief. Through partnerships created and sustained by ongoing projects, students gain an in-depth understanding of complex issues. They work alongside and in partnership with community stakeholders performing needed direct service and advocacy.
“Due to limited funding, we have to turn down more than half of the students who apply for alternative breaks,” said Becca Bender, program officer for student programs at the Carolina Center for Public Service. “For some experiences, we often accept less than a third of applicants. Interest and demand from communities in need are on the rise as well. With increased funding, new alternative break experiences could be implemented to address more need and serve in more communities.”
The Murdock Family Alternative Break Experience Fund will have an immediate impact and also create a legacy to provide life-changing experiences for students and for the people in the communities they serve. The Murdock family gift provides annual support for one alternative break for up to 12 students with a preference for experiences in areas or on issues related to health. Their gift also established an endowment which will sustain and grow opportunities for students to participate in alternative break experiences in perpetuity.
Murdock said, “Laura and I are excited about the impact this gift will have on our community and look forward to talking to students whose idea of service has been broadened and developed by this experience.”
For more information about alternative break experiences or providing financial support for these or other opportunities, contact Tricia Daisley at 919-843-2219.
UNC graduate student develops trauma informed care training for medical providers in partnership with the Orange County Rape Crisis Center
By Veronica Ortega
Anole Halper, a graduate student in social work and public health, knows that sexual violence traumatizes survivors and negatively impacts their health. Halper learned that lesson through volunteer work with the Orange County Rape Crisis Center. Halper also learned that often, survivors’ healthcare experiences can lead to re-traumatization.
For more than a year, Halper volunteered as a support group facilitator at the Orange County Rape Crisis Center (OCRCC), a 24-hour crisis helpline for survivors of sexual violence. It is through this work with sexual violence survivors that Halper saw the community’s need for a trauma-informed care (TIC) training program for healthcare providers. Trauma-informed care involves understanding the effects of trauma to better treat trauma survivors and results in improved healing outcomes.
“Survivors of sexual violence are more likely to have health problems down the line because of the trauma on the body and related stress,” said Halper. “Sometimes medical care can add to the survivor’s trauma and this can have long-lasting effects on survivors and their loved ones. OCRCC hears those stories and wants to help. Healthcare providers are interested, but they need someone to help understand the survivor’s point of view.”
In 2015, OCRCC helped more than 500 survivors through services such as advocacy and accompaniment, support groups, workshops and therapy referrals. The center also offers educational programs to raise awareness about sexual violence and teaches prevention skills to thousands of young adults in the community.
It was the community’s need for healthcare provider trauma care training that Halper identified while volunteering with OCRCC that led Halper to apply for a Community Engagement Fellowship with the Carolina Center for Public Service. The fellowship provides skill training in how to conduct research in partnership with a community organization as well as funding to support the partnership.
Halper also leveraged her academic and research training and drew from survivor testimony and insights from experts, providers and literature offering evidence-based strategies to develop the trauma-informed care training program.
As part of this research, a survivor consultant board was formed. Board participants highlighted previous negative healthcare experiences and identified areas for improvement. One board member said, “I was grateful to be able to express my frustrations on how I was treated and provide input on how my particular experiences could have been more helpful to me and not make me feel victimized, hopeless or hurt again.”
Halper said that this survivor perspective enhanced the TIC training. “An important aspect of the survivor consultant board was consulting with survivors of marginalized identities such as sexual, gender and racial minorities. We recognized how these survivors face additional barriers to quality healthcare and added the health disparities lens to the training.”
The healthcare provider’s voice was another crucial element in developing the training. To capture that perspective, Halper conducted a local healthcare provider survey. This survey, combined with feedback from the consultant board, revealed the importance of screening patients for trauma and identified triggers that can potentially remind survivors of the traumatic event.
“The TIC training aims to facilitate the survivor’s healing and help them rebuild a sense of control and empowerment,” Halper said. “It does this by ensuring providers have the right tools and knowledge when delivering treatment. The training will strengthen OCRCC’s system of mutual referrals so the center can confidently recommend providers to survivors and providers can recommend survivors to the center.”
With the TIC training in place, Halper hopes that strengthening the center’s ties with healthcare providers will foster a more sensitive and responsive trauma-informed environment in the healthcare system, resulting in a more constructive experience for survivors in the local community.
Chapel Hill, N.C. – Two hundred and fifty seniors, all who dedicated themselves to service during their time at UNC, will be honored as Buckley Public Service Scholars (BPSS) May 12 at a pre-graduation ceremony in Memorial Hall. All graduates will receive a Carolina blue and white cord to wear at commencement on May 14 to represent their achievement.
The Buckley Public Service Scholars program, part of the Carolina Center for Public Service, supports and strengthens Carolina students’ commitment to service by providing a framework to make a positive impact through service. BPSS participants build portfolios reflecting their learning and unique experiences throughout North Carolina, the nation and the world; connect to others who care about similar issues; and are involved in training and course work that make their service more effective. Launched in 2003, more than 10 percent of Carolina undergraduates are currently enrolled as BPSS participants, representing 49 out of 65 majors on campus. The 2017 class of Buckley Public Service Scholars represent 33 North Carolina counties, 22 other states and five other countries. The students being honored join the 2,167 past Buckley Public Service Scholars who have graduated since 2004, bringing the total number of scholars to 2,418.
“The Buckley Public Service Scholars program gave me an outlet for my love and passion for service,” said Madeline Pliska, a member of the 2017 graduating class. “It gave me a community of like-minded individuals to share my journey through Carolina with, and helped me continue to chase my personal belief that we, as humans, exist to help others.”
The 250 students graduating in the 2017 class of Buckley Public Service Scholars reported more than 109,000 hours of service. To receive formal recognition, BPSS participants must have a minimum grade-point average, document at least 300 hours of service, take one service-learning course, attend four skills-training workshops and complete a final reflection activity. Many of this year’s graduates surpassed these requirements; three students completed more than 1,000 hours of service and one student completed more than 2,000 hours of service.
Since its inception, 8,902 students have participated in the BPSS program, contributing 1.8 million hours of service. This year, participating students reported service with more than 1,000 organizations like Community Empowerment Fund, Refugee Support Center, Farmer FoodShare, Global Health Connections International and Carolina For The Kids. Of the hours reported by this year’s graduates, 70 percent primarily benefited North Carolina, 19 percent other states and 11 percent other countries.
“The 2017 Buckley Public Service Scholars play an important role in strengthening the culture of service and engagement at Carolina,” said Lynn Blanchard, director of the Carolina Center for Public Service. “These students uphold UNC’s commitment to campus-community partnership. I am certain they will carry these civic values with them after graduation and will continue to affect positive change in their communities.”
BPSS is supported through the Walter White Buckley Jr. Endowment. For more information about each Buckley Public Service Scholar, see the 2017 Buckley Public Service Scholars graduation bulletin.
2017 Buckley Public Service Scholar graduates by county, state and country:
Alamance County – Halie Ellinger, Grace Elizabeth Gunter, Elgin Yalin
Beaufort County – Hallie Jo French
Buncombe County – Marissa Brooke Cranford, Jeeun Noelle Lee, Abel Lomeli-Garcia, Oliana Luke, Nirja SutariaBurke County
Burke County – Sarah Katherine Long
Cabarrus County – Leah Baker, Priyenka Khatiwada, Leslie Moen, Gray Rodgers
Chatham County – Gloria Ashley Gaines, Kathryn Elisabeth Thomann
Cumberland County – Ashley Nicole Jenkins, Adrienne Lynn Than Maung, Ching Yi Ng, Rashiidah Richardson, Samantha Michelle G. Ty
Durham County – Vanessa Canuto, Jacqueline Ceron Hernandez, Elizabeth Ann Ferguson, Robin Lowe-Skillern, Esther Oluwatoni Madugu
Forsyth County – Leona Aisha Amosah, Hannah Angle, Akanksha Arora, Anna Davis Caudill, Achsah Renee Nicole Coleman, McKenzie Sean Folan, Hannah Kathryn Forbes, Kevin Davis Giff, Austin Dean Gragson, Lauren Grace Kent, Maleeha Mahmood Khan, Gustell A. Preston, Mishana Sturdivant*, Madison Elizabeth Watts, Mikala Ashlyn Whitaker
Granville County – Erin Nicole Welsh
Guilford County – Abena Adu-Nyako, Ronnie Armstrong Jr., Timber Grey Beeninga, Shira Pauline Chandler, Obinna Lucky Ejimofor, Amina Lawal Garba, Joshua Frazier Hanover, Matthew William Harris, Paige Hines, Sarah Carter Jessup, Kathleen Grace Kilmartin, Samantha Elise Link, Amy Katherine Lyon, Oscar August Menzer, Sydney Mitchell, Dhara Shah, Sarah Bethany Spiker*, Jason Urbano
Halifax County – Jaime Catherine DiLauro, Veronica Edmonds, Whitney Kay Edmonds
Haywood County – Kayla Joe Campbell
Henderson County – Luis Cristian Acosta, Kaitlyn Maddox
Hertford County – Casey D. Grant
Iredell County – Olivia Elizabeth Andretti*, Mary Kate Crawford, Lauren Rokavec Fotsch
Jackson County – Rose-Helen Xiuqing Graham
Johnston County – Nicholas James Gray Britt, Jonathan Taylor Wall
Lincoln County – Leslie Leung, Jade Loendorf
Mecklenburg County – Tia Andrade, Madison Ann Barnhart, Jacquelyn Beatty, Michael F. Caragher, Graham Collins, Elizabeth Anne Fleischer, Laura Wells Gill, Francesca Elena Maddy Gines, Kajal Rosy Grover, Phillip Montgomery Jester, HueyShan Lin, Elizabeth Matulis, Lucas Nielsen, Katherine Laine Nuccio, Jessica Rose O’Hara, Janki Rajendra Patel, Sarah Savannah Peters, Emily Reckard, Srilekhya Sure, Jayasri Vijay, Colleen J. Watson, Julia Elaine Whitfield, Morgan Zemaitis
Nash County – Carrie Lewis*
New Hanover County – Tirthna Savajibhai Badhiwala, Addie Humphrey, Audra Rose Killian, Emily Yvonne Milkes, Justine Orlovsky-Schnitzler, Alexis Worthington Shiro*, Katherine Marie Vaughn, Matthew Gray Wilson
Onslow County – Stephanie Nicole Wangerin
Orange County – Ranjitha Ananthan, Sarah Brooks, Carly Marie Collette, Hannah Stein Eichner, Anthony Kan, Amy Lee, Mary Eloise Pate, Kendell A. Silveira, Brooke Mackenzie Sobolewski, Enrique Toloza, Juliana Rae Wulforst, Maria Yao, Garrett Young-Wright, Lilly Alice Yuan
Pitt County – Kimberly Mewborn Keiter, Caitlin Mateer Seyfried, Jared Douglas Williams
Randolph County – Gemma Guadalupe Herrera, Abigail Martinez Jaimes, Jordan Caroline Jarrett
Robeson County – Sajan Y. Amin
Rowan County – Kaylyn Beatrice Pogson
Rutherford County – Lindsay Denise Barth
Stanly County – Lea Nicole Efird*
Union County – Jacqlyn Grilli, Vickie Erin Poulimenos
Vance County – Morgan Elizabeth Noel
Wake County – Kesha Acharya, Mahnoor Baloch, Morgan Lindsey Bush, Stephanie Ann-wei Chien, Kristen M. Chung, Youmna Elkamhawy*, Daniel Andrew Farrell,
Jessica Maria Ferrall, Taylor McKenly Fleming, Rachel Leigh Floyd, Dana Gentry, Nicole Gonzalez, Sara Heikal, Lauren Elizabeth Hitchings, Lindsey Holbrook, Taylor Rena Howard, Christopher Thomas Jadelis, Wendy Kally Ji, Hannah Louise Johnson, Benjamin Laird Hutton Jones, Sydney Grace Kalin, Colleen Kane, Isabella Hye Eun Kim, Maria Hye-Jin Kim*, Bryan Brinton Lester, Sian Li, Sydney Rowan Mark, Cherise Drusilla McManus, Caroline Nagy, Christine Keeyoon Nam, Meaghan Nazareth, Abigail Neal, Lauren Norris, Jordan Peterkin, Sarah Elizabeth Pupa, Pranavi Sanka, Aribah Masood Shah, Julia Shen, Rithi Sridhar, Elizabeth Stine, Christina Antonia Stone, Laurel Anne Sykes, Kiera Brigh Turner, Christopher Bin Wang, Caroline Aunspaugh Woronoff, June Grace Yang
Warren County – Selina Jaime Lopez
Wilson County – Christopher Tyler Sharp, Joseph Blake Wall
Alabama – Margaret Alice Williams
Arizona – Anjani Patel
California – Grace Busby, Giulia Raffaella Curcelli, Abigail Deborah Kinnaman, Kenneth Lee
Colorado – Madison Sarah Stark
Florida – Pamela Brody, Natalie Marie Cabo, Snigdha Das, Raina Danielle Enrique, Emily Isabel Shipley Granados, Virginia Keaton Green, Leah Francesca Jimenez, Samantha Kerker, Morgan Ashley McLaughlin, Jessica Caitlin Porter, Sofia A. Soto Sugar, Catherine Diana Wilsnack
Georgia – Sahar Alimohamadi, Sarah Ellyn Boland, Dory Julia Gellins MacMillan
Hawaii – Khin Oo
Illinois – April A. Hamer, Hannah Yayoi Saggau, John Charles Von Drasek
Kansas – Manuela Nivia
Louisiana – Katherine Anna Henning
Maryland – Morgan Focas, Martha Isaacs, Amara Gabrielle Jordan, Brooke Jacqueline Kilker, Jenn Morrison
Massachusetts – Jonathan C. S. Lynn
Minnesota – Madeline Jean Pliska
New Jersey – Sarah Belle Hart, Brianna Nichelle Moody, Ambika Paulson
New Mexico – Ana Cutts Dougherty
New York – Jessica Feeley, Amrithaa Mangala Gunabalan, Kelly Lynn Jasiura, Ryan Lupo, Hailey Amanda Orgass, Brian Christopher Riefler, Caitlin Schwagerl, Reyanne Nichole Strong, Exornam Angela Tettey
Ohio – Maggie Brownrigg, Claire Elizabeth Poindexter, Thomas E. Shockley III
Pennsylvania – Billie Rainley Patterson
South Carolina – Harrison Lancaster
Tennessee – Winston Arthur Bell, Townes Bouchard-Dean
Virginia – Brittany Anderson, Nicole Marie Brown, Sarah Henderson, Sheng-Shin Christina Lee, Veronica Sever
West Virginia – Austin Michael Mueller
Colombia – Daniela Lopez
Scotland – Alexander Clayton
Vietnam – Phuong Dinh Truc Nguyen
China – Ting Zhang
Peru – Maria Luisa Loo Deng*
*Indicates December 2016 graduates.
APPLES hosted its first Service-Learning Initiative (SLI): Engage event March 31-April 2. This is a unique student-lead introduction to service-learning and allowed participants to learn more about APPLES opportunities and local organizations in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro community. Traditionally, SLI takes place in the fall over three days before classes begin and allows incoming students to get to know each other and serve local community partners. This was the first offering of a spring SLI which was open to any UNC student and included local service as well as reflections on sustaining community engagement beyond college. Twenty-five students participated, including student leaders who previously served with SLI.
SLI: Engage participants served at local community partners including IFC Community House, Triangle Land Conservancy, North Carolina Botanical Garden, Wildwood Farms, the Caring and Sharing Center and Battle Park. Activities and reflections followed the program’s sustainability theme, including ethical food and environmental practices, as well as sustainable partnerships and maintaining strong community relationships, a primary value of the APPLES Service-Learning program. Students also heard from a panel of UNC young alumni who have pursued service careers. Panelists included:
- George Barrett ’13, associate director of the Marian Cheek Jackson Center
- Sarah Cohn ‘13 , advocate program coordinator for the Community Empowerment Fund
- Sarah Smith ’10, global civic engagement coordinator at the Campus Y
- Alexandra Zagbayou ’09, executive director at Student U
“We were excited that the program went so well for its first year and are looking forward to SLI: Launch in the fall and continuing to grow SLI: Engage in the future,” said student co-chair, Taylor Newsome, a junior biology and global studies major from Davidson, North Carolina.
Co-chair Abby Gostling, a sophomore economics and global studies major from Raleigh, North Carolina, said, “The participants were very engaged and we hope that they continue to serve the local community during the rest of their UNC careers.”
By Kealia Ryenolds
Chapel Hill, N.C. – Community-based services for the elderly, pro bono legal assistance and a refugee health program were some of the projects recognized at UNC-Chapel Hill’s 2017 Public Service Awards celebration on April 5. The annual event is held by the Carolina Center for Public Service.
“Service to others is at the heart of how a great public university engages with and serves its communities,” said Chancellor Carol L. Folt. “The recipients of this year’s awards exemplify the best of blending public service and engaged scholarship to serve the public good. I am honored to recognize their meaningful and profoundly impactful work.”
Lucy Lewis, recently retired assistant director of the Campus Y and director of the Bonner Leaders Program, received the 2017 Ned Brooks Award for Public Service honoring her commitment as a mentor for students engaged in public service and advocate for both students and community partners. Lewis was the founding director of the Bonner Leaders Program, which accepts work-study students with demonstrated leadership potential and a commitment to public service and provides them with opportunities to engage in intensive community work supplemented by weekly capacity-building workshops and critical issues seminars.
Three others received Office of the Provost Engaged Scholarship Awards, which honor individuals and campus units for public service through engaged teaching, research and partnership. The recipients are:
Gary Cuddeback, distinguished term associate professor in the School of Social Work, was recognized for engaged research through the partnership between the Mental Health and Criminal Justice Evidence-Based Intervention Collaborative and the North Carolina Department of Public Safety. Cuddeback leads a team that combines rigorous research methods and community engagement strategies to improve the lives of people with mental illnesses involved in the criminal justice system. The project developed a series of mental health training modules to educate probation officers across the state. The research program also developed treatment manuals focused on implementing an adaptation of an evidence-based practice for people with co-occurring illness and substance use disorders in mental health courts and probation settings.
Hannah Gill, director of the Latino Migration Project, was recognized for engaged teaching for her work with the APPLES Service-Learning Global Course Guanajuato. The spring semester course trains bilingual students to understand the contemporary and historical complexities of immigration through research, service-learning with immigrants in North Carolina and travel to communities of migrant origin in Guanajuato, Mexico. The program fosters bi-national relationships with migrant families, secondary schools and foundations in Mexico. The Latino Migration Project is a public educational program on Latin American immigration and integration in North Carolina that includes undergraduate teaching. It is a collaborative initiative of the Institute for the Study of the Americas and the Center for Global Initiatives.
Jenny Womack, clinical professor in allied health, received the partnership award for her work with the Orange County Department of Aging (OCDOA). Womack has worked with individuals, organizations and health-delivery systems to develop community-based services focused on three key issues affecting the quality of life for elders: driving, falls and dementia. She collaborated with the OCDOA on two successful grants – one funded a senior transportation coordinator, the other developed services and practices to build a dementia-capable community. Her efforts have impacted the aging community and empowered older adults and their families to utilize resources, programs and services in Orange County.
Winners of the Robert E. Bryan Public Service Award, which recognizes students, staff and faculty for exemplary public service efforts, are:
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.
Alexander 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.
Marsha Penner, 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.
About the Carolina Center for Public Service
The Center offers a variety of programs that support public service and engagement, providing students, faculty and staff many ways to explore service opportunities, learn new skills and link their academic endeavors to making a difference in the community.
By Veronica Ortega
The APPLES Service-Learning program recently honored five individuals and organizations for providing significant contributions to service-learning to the UNC campus and in support to APPLES.
Four individuals, Finn Loendorf, Sonda Oppewal, Patricia Parker, Michael Ulku-Steiner and one community partner, Robeson County Church and Community Center, were recognized at the annual APPLES Service-Learning Award Brunch for sustained service as an integral part of the academic experience through their involvement with APPLES.
Lindsey Hollbrook, APPLES president, said, “These individuals continue to build the strong foundation for service-learning at Carolina and challenge us to do better every year. Their involvement, along with the University’s commitment, will ensure that APPLES continues for years to come.”
Finn Loendorf, a sophomore physics major, received the 2017 Undergraduate Excellence Award for their leadership and substantial contributions to the campus and community through organizations such as Carolina Advocating Gender Equity at the Campus Y and Boomerang, a youth empowerment program in Chapel Hill. Loendorf is also a former participant and student leader in the First-Year Service Corps and APPLES Service-Learning Alternative Break programs. Loendorf is from Stanley, North Carolina.
Luis Acosta, the 2016 award recipient, presented the Undergraduate Excellence Award to Loendorf and said, “More than many students in just their second-year at Carolina, Finn embodies the APPLES values of integrating all of the various threads of a students’ life.”
Sonda Oppewal received the 2017 Teaching Excellence Award for developing and teaching, since 2010, the course Health Care in Global Context. As part of the course, Oppewal leads an interdisciplinary group of students to spend a week in Tyrell County, North Carolina examining a wide range of factors contributing to residents’ health. Students gain perspective and concrete skills while contributing to the work of their partners through screening older adults for risk of falls, taking blood pressure, conducting home visits, and discussing long-term healthcare and medications.
Abbey Kinnaman presented the award and said, “Professor Oppewal’s willingness and commitment to contribute so much of her time, enthusiasm and ideas toward the service-learning experience and partnership in her course has exceeded our greatest expectations.”
Robeson County Church and Community Center received the 2017 Community Partner Excellence Award. Since 1969, the Robeson County Church and Community Center has involved people across cultural, racial and denominational barriers in partnership with each other to address a wide range of social needs in the community. The organization has a sustained partnership with APPLES Service-Learning Alternative Break programs, providing students with substantive opportunities to participate in its work while learning more about social change and the history of Robeson County.
Darlene Jacobs accepted the award on behalf of the organization. Kevin Giff and Austin Gragson presented the award. Giff said, “This organization has partnered consistently with the APPLES Service-Learning Alternative Break programs, providing students with substantive opportunities to participate in its work while learning more about social change and the history of Robeson County.”
Michael Ulku-Steiner ’92, received the 2017 Outstanding Alumni Award. A member of APPLES’ founding team, Ulku-Steiner has remained dedicated to service through his accomplished career in education. He currently serves as Durham Academy’s head of school, where he also has worked as a teacher, coach and advisor. Ulku-Steiner continues his connected to APPLES and recently came back as part of the alumni speaker series to talk with current organizers about the early days of service-learning at Carolina and his career in education.
Alexandra Zagbayou, the 2016 award recipient, presented the award to Ulku-Steiner. Zagbayou said, “Michael has remained dedicated to service through his accomplished career in education. His work is an inspiration to us and we are grateful to honor his contributions to APPLES.”
Patricia Parker, department chair and associate professor of Organizational Communication, received the 2017 Service-Learning Award in honor of Ned Brooks for a career of engaged teaching and research in social justice leadership. Her experience includes founding The Ella Baker Women’s Center for Leadership and Community Activism, developing a diversity liaison program for the College of Arts and Sciences, and decolonizing organizational communication processes within her research. Parker has taught several popular APPLES courses, including Collective Leadership Models for Social Change.
Mike Caragher presented Parker the award on behalf of Ned Brooks. Caragher said, “We are grateful for all of Patricia’s service to this state, university and communities. Her efforts have brought people together, to work together and to support one another in numerous ways.”
Geoffrey Bell wanted a way for students in his fall 2016 Restoration Ecology class to link concepts in ecosystem restoration with the practical application of research techniques they were learning. Sally Hoyt wanted to find new ways to engage students in the campus infrastructure around them.
So it was only natural that the two found a common purpose in the Battle Grove Restoration Project, which turned the once-soggy area beside McIver Residence Hall into a gentle stream that flows from Raleigh Street to Country Club Road.
The stream was created last year through a process called daylighting, where water from a Battle Branch tributary that had been piped beneath the road for 75 years was released in an aboveground stream. The new Battle Branch stream was designed with a filtration process that would naturally filter pollutants and contaminants out of runoff water, benefiting water quality downstream as well as in the immediate area.
A professor at North Carolina State University has worked with Hoyt, the University’s stormwater engineer, and her team to examine the effect of storm conditions on the stream’s water quality, but that work didn’t include monitoring Battle Branch’s base flow conditions – taken when it wasn’t raining as a way to gauge nutrient concentrations on an average day.
That’s where Bell’s class became instrumental.
“That was a gap in information we needed,” Hoyt said, “and I worked with Dr. Bell on parameters that were both useful to the project and feasible for his students to measure with the equipment that was available.”
Testing the nutrient concentration over time is important because the Battle Grove area is part of the Jordan Lake watershed, and that lake already has too many nutrients, some of which reach it through base flow conditions, Hoyt explained.
A three-student team in Bell’s class took on the base flow-monitoring project and designed their measurement and analysis methodologies to provide the information Hoyt needed. They sampled the water multiple times during the semester at four sites within Battle Branch to measure base flow concentrations of nitrate, nitrite, ammonium and phosphate in the water as well as dissolved oxygen, salinity and temperature.
Although their research didn’t yield conclusive patterns – phosphate was the only nutrient that differed significantly among the four sites – that in itself is a finding. It points to the need for additional testing at different times during the year to create a more complete picture than tests within one semester can show, the students explained in their report.The sites were selected based on varying degrees of treatment, including two places where water enters the system and a third location where water coming in from both entry points exits the system, said Brooke Benson, one of the students on the team.
The Battle Grove project was one of six community partnerships Bell’s class developed. Student teams also worked with University clients to examine ecological issues related to short-leaf pines in the North Carolina Botanical Garden, oyster restoration in conjunction with the Institute for Marine Sciences, stream monitoring on Outdoor Recreation Center land and endangered species restoration in Battle Park, as well as a project with the Town of Chapel Hill to monitor water quality for a local stream.
The class, which Bell has taught each fall for the past several years, is an APPLES service-learning class, requiring students to devote 30 hours outside of class to their assigned restoration project.
“As I developed the course, I saw an opportunity to bring both the service component and a practical application of research into the classroom because there was so much restoration work going on around campus,” said Bell, senior lecturer in the Curriculum in Environment and Ecology.
Bell focuses not only on teaching his students key concepts in restoring ecosystems, but also the research skills they need to design experiments, think critically and test hypotheses, and analyze their data.
“The biggest benefit for the students is that they can take what they learn in the classroom and apply it to a real issue,” he said. In the process, they’re learning how to manage projects and meet clients’ needs while giving back to the community.
In the Battle Grove project, for example, Hoyt showed the student team around the site and provided parameters for the information she needed, and the students took it from there. They determined the specifics of the study design and analysis.
“Projects like this are critically important to being good stewards of our environment,” said Benson, who is majoring in environmental studies with a concentration in ecology and society. “Nature has done a good job of taking care of itself, and we have to pay attention to the effects of pollution and urbanization on our natural systems.”
Bell’s class is a model for using the campus as a living-learning laboratory, as Chancellor Carol L. Folt has championed as part of the new Three Zeros Initiative. On March 24, Bell will be part of a Center for Faculty Excellence-sponsored panel to discuss innovative ways to integrate research and service into a living-labs classroom.
And his students’ work has laid the foundation for further assessment.
This semester, Stephanie Monmoine will take additional water samples from the Battle Branch stream, and she will create a time-lapse photo vignette of the area to show how the site has changed in terms of vegetation, animal habitats and other factors.
Monmoine, an intern with the Sustainable Triangle Field Site Program, is also focusing on education and outreach efforts.
“As students, many of us don’t consider how much planning goes into taking care of our campus,” she said. “I have a chance to see some of what happens behind the curtain to make our University run smoothly.”
Launched in fall 2016, the Three Zeros initiative is Carolina’s integrated approach to reducing its environmental footprint through three sustainability goals: net zero water usage; zero waste to landfills; and net zero greenhouse gas emissions. A central component to the initiative is to create a living-learning laboratory for students, faculty and staff to study and advance the most recent developments in sustainability policy and technology.
By Veronica Ortega
Alternative breaks program provided UNC graduate with unique experiences
Hope Thomson ‘15, like many college students, was exploring options to pursue a graduate degree after completing her undergraduate curriculum at UNC. But one campus experience took her down an unexpected path that influenced her career development.
Thomson participated in an APPLES Service-Learning Alternative Fall Break experience (AFB) where students learn and serve outside the UNC community. AFB participants attend orientation sessions that prepare them for the challenges and issues they will confront during their service experience. Students also collaborate with community service partners, engaging in both direct and indirect services as well as advocacy work. The resulting networking, team building and project management skills are invaluable to AFB participants who benefit significantly from the intimate immersion in local communities.
For Thomson, the AFB experience nurtured an interest to further her community-focused work. As a result, after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, Thomson switched gears on her post-graduation plans and accepted a full-time position with Morehead Planetarium and Science Center (MPSC).
Today, as a community outreach educator at the planetarium, Thomson combines her passions for chemistry and civic engagement by sharing educational science programs with families in dozens of communities across North Carolina. One program the outreach team delivers is a simulated laboratory experience in classrooms at schools that are not able to visit the planetarium because of distance and/or expenses. Another program is the free summer camp that services 10 North Carolina counties. Thomson’s personal favorites are doing chemistry experiments with third and eighth-grade classrooms like Elephant Toothpaste and coordinating the STEMville Science Symposium, a half-day science conference at MPSC for students in grades four to seven.
“You cannot bring science to the middle of North Carolina, if you have never been to the middle of North Carolina,” Thomson said. AFB engages participants in the community in such a way that makes their community service meaningful. Thomson added that AFB’s immersive experience taught her the importance of understanding and respecting the diversity that helps many community initiatives succeed. “My career is as unexpected as it is rewarding, and I appreciate the role that AFB played in helping me find my best way forward.”
By Kealia Reynolds
Rachel Schaevitz wanted her students to experience working with real-world clients while creating media in public service. So, she applied for an APPLES Service-Learning course development grant and proposed that students in her COMM 493 film production class pair with university departments to create videos to use as teaching tools in K-12 and community college classrooms. The course is a collaboration between the Department of Communication and Carolina Public Humanities. Inspired by retired professor Francesca Talenti, Schaevitz, a post-doc research associate in the Department of Communication and Carolina Public Humanities, revised her class to include a service component where student filmmaker teams collaborate with educators across campus.
Course development grants successfully integrate community-based service into the curriculum and promote the pedagogy of service-learning at UNC.
“One of my favorite things about this course is that it is truly interdisciplinary, truly helps students serve the public in a meaningful way that relates to their career goals, and truly takes advantage of the myriad resources available here at UNC,” Schaevitz said.
Some students in Schaevitz’s class experienced filmmaking for an education-based audience for the first time ever. So, the creative decisions made were filtered through the lens of education. They had to keep the attention of high school students, explain complicated historical material and creatively incorporate faculty experts.
“As the films started taking shape, students became increasingly excited about the prospect that students and teachers in classrooms all over the state would be relying on their work for educational information,” Schaevitz said. “This added a layer of responsibility and accountability to what would otherwise have been a purely artistic project.”
When Jaycee Rogers ’17, a communication studies and English major from Robbinsville, North Carolina, found out that their videos would be used in classrooms, she understood the potential the projects had.
“Knowing that this video was actually going to be useful to educate someone made me push harder to create a great video,” Rogers said. “The aspect of community service made it more than just a class — I was doing this to help a system that needed content to teach kids who need to learn.”
Thanks to the grant, Schaevitz fully integrated a community-based service component into the course. Schaevitz also realized an added impact; the grant allowed her to engage with the Department of Music, incorporating an interdisciplinary experience for the students. They could go beyond the classroom and partner with another professor’s class to enhance their videos. Schaevitz’s students worked with Professor Allen Anderson’s advanced composition course to have his students create original scores for each film made in her class.
“Because we had funds from APPLES, we could pay for mixing and engineering of original student-produced music for all six films in the class,” Schaevitz said.
While Schaevitz and her students anticipated that middle and high school teachers would use the films, they didn’t imagine it would extend beyond that. “We’ve loved learning that professors here at UNC are using our videos as instructional tools in the university classroom as well,” Schaevitz said.
The partnership between Schaevitz’s course and the Carolina K-12 program, also under the Carolina Public Humanities department, will place the class’ videos on a database of educational resources available to teachers across North Carolina. Once the videos are added to the database, teachers across the country will use them to help teach their students.
Schaevitz and her students expected their work to have an educational impact. But the students did not expect the emotional impact the course would have on them. Rogers added how essential it was having professor Schaevitz lead the class. “There were parts in this class that were incredibly hard when deadlines were approaching and she was always there to push us and jump into the thick of production with us,” Rogers said. “Without her, I don’t think the motivation and the sense of community would have been as strong.”