2014 Alternative Fall Breaks bring new elements

By Janell Smith

bowl_painting_afb2014Since the 1990s, alternative breaks have been a defining experience of the APPLES Service-Learning program. On Oct. 15, APPLES continued with its traditional alternative break structure and sent 70 students to communities across the state and mid-Atlantic region.
Though the basic framework of the breaks remains, much has changed since the first alternative break and the program continues to evolve. This year’s Alternative Fall Break (AFB) program introduced three new components: Service, Engagement, Enrichment and Development (SEED) orientations, the Arts in Public Service break experience and a carbon-free initiative.

SEED Orientations
On Saturday, Oct. 4, approximately 70 select students gathered for a pre-orientation in the Student Union to prepare for the various APPLES AFB experiences on which they would embark.
“Students were very receptive to the pre-orientation, which was complemented by a re-orientation on Oct. 26 after the students’ return,” said senior program officer of APPLES Service-Learning Leslie Parkins.

Pre-orientations are meant to familiarize break participants with the APPLES approach to community engagement and the importance of reflection before the break. Sa’a Mohammed, a junior psychology major and participant on the Urban Communities alternative break, attended the pre-orientation.

group_afb2014“My group was really diverse and each individual brought something different and really valuable to this experience,” Mohammed said. “It was great to meet the group before leaving for the actual trip and to truly learn about service-learning as well.”

Similar to the pre-orientation, the re-orientation provided break participants with the opportunity continue the service-center spirit they cultivated during the break. Christina Galardi, graduate assistant for Alternative Breaks, said this inaugural reorientation was a powerful experience, as it was the first conversation of its kind where students reflected and brainstormed ideas to further the service they began in their break experience in other communities.
“We don’t want [the break] to feel like an isolated experience,” Galardi said. “[Students] come back from the experience very energized and we wanted to give them a forum to channel that energy and focus it on how they could actually use it to feed back into their studies and feed back into their impact on campus.”

2014 AFB APS SelfieArts in Public Service

APPLES launched a new break experience this fall as well. Participants on the Arts in Public Service break harnessed their creativity by incorporating it into service. The break was created through a collaborative grant between APPLES and Carolina Performing Arts and aims to use art as a form of service and community building.
Break leaders Aditi Borde and Kelly Pope, students who are both involved in arts ranging from musical theater to belly dancing, were excited to help students draw new connections between arts and public service through their AFB experience.

“I see the arts as a universal way to communicate,” Pope said. “My hope is that [participants] expand their knowledge on what the ‘arts’.

“I want them to take their new understanding of this art — and all the different art mediums — and use it to communicate, to relate to other people and to provide service ultimately. It can be done, and it is being done.”

Borde, Pope and 10 other UNC students traveled to Asheville, North Carolina during the break, where they discovered how both art and service has become integral to the Asheville community.
The group explored a variety of museums in the Asheville area, including the Center for Craft, Creativity and Design, Black Mountain College Museum, the Folk Art Center, the Asheville Pinball Museum, the Asheville Area Arts Council and a book press. They completed services projects with the Asheville Community Theater, creating bowls that were then donated to a local homeless shelter.2014 AFB APS Learning

The pair is hopeful that this groundbreaking experience has forged sustainable relationships with the community, which will help the alternative break endure for years to come.

Carbon-Neutral Initiative

Daniel Irvin, a junior and AFB co-chair, hopes to incorporate sustainability into APPLES alternative breaks in a different way.

Inspired by a 2011 change at Appalachian State University, where the university’s Alternative Service Experience programs practice carbon neutrality and simple living, Irvin piloted a similar environmentally sustainable initiative with APPLES AFB Environmental Issues.

“I wanted to bring it to APPLES for two reasons,” Irvin said. “I thought it lined up perfectly with our ideals of critically thinking about service, and figuring out how to make our service better. Making a commitment to make all our breaks carbon-neutral shows that we are thinking about how our lives affect the rest of the world, both on break trips and off them.”

Creek_afb2014During the fall break, APPLES participants tracked their carbon emissions, calculating just how much carbon they emitted. These calculations will help the students determine how many trees need to be planted to counterbalance their emissions. To promote carbon neutrality, Irvin plans to partner with UNC groundskeeper for a tree-planting day.

“My second reason [for focusing on this carbon-neutral initiative] was that I thought a big tree-planting day would be a fun way to bring all the breaks together after our trips were over, similar to the big service days we always try to do.

“Usually when APPLES refers to sustainability, it is in the context of sustainable community partnerships and the like. However, I think environmental sustainability can still play a part in APPLES’s sustainability because it shows our commitment to a sustainable world.”

With SEED orientations, the Arts in Public Service break experience and the carbon neutral initiative, a spirit of renewal and excitement has been planted in APPLES AFB.

Carolina Center for Public Service celebrates 15th anniversary

15th Anniversary
For the last 15 years, the Carolina Center for Public Service has worked to fulfill the promise of the first public university – doing everything from providing fellowships to supporting students and faculty in public service and engagement. On Nov. 14, the Center will celebrate that theme – and its decade and a half of service – with a reception honoring students, faculty, staff and community partners who have been instrumental in its work.

“Although we have seen many changes in 15 years, one thing has remained constant: the dedication of this University to serve the state,” said Lynn Blanchard, director of the Center. “At the same time the Carolina Center for Public Service is celebrating the accomplishments of the last 15 years, we are also reaffirming our commitment to help fulfill the promise of the first public university in the years to come.”

The week the Center was founded in 1999, the eastern part of North Carolina was devastated by Hurricane Floyd. Then-Chancellor Michael Hooker charged the Center with organizing the campus’ response.

Since then the Center has continued to strengthen and expand UNC-Chapel Hill’s tradition of service and engagement in a myriad of ways, including three major programs: APPLES Service-Learning, Buckley Public Service Scholars and Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars. Through these programs, students, faculty and staff documented almost 247,000 hours in service with communities in the 2013-2014 year alone.

“I cannot thank the Center and its APPLES Service-Learning program enough. They have provided our organization with irreplaceable volunteers,” said Jenice Ramirez, executive director and vice president of La Isla, a community nonprofit organization that provides a safe and nurturing environment for native Spanish speaking children with the purpose of promoting literacy in the language of Spanish.

“Our program would not be what it is without them. They allow us to provide our students with top notch one-on-one assistance and bring so many amazing ideas to our program.”


In 2009, the APPLES Service-Learning program became a part of the Carolina Center for Public Service. APPLES is a student-led program that transforms educational experiences by connecting academic learning and public service. Since 1990, APPLES has strengthened civic engagement by bringing together students, faculty and communities in sustained and mutually beneficial partnerships. Along with many other activities, APPLES includes the Robert E. Bryan Social Innovation Fellowships, which support aspiring social change-makers who are interested in providing a significant contribution locally, nationally or internationally through an entrepreneurial project that addresses a community need.

Kliink, an organization that links donors and educational nongovernmental organizations in India, is a recent recipient of a Bryan Fellowship. Kliink’s website aims to change the process of giving by providing a streamlined presentation of information for the donor to see the impacts of their contributions.

“The Bryan Social Innovation Fellowship helped build the base Kliink needed to start a well-functioning organization,” said Nikhil Jyothinagaram, a senior economics major and one of the creators of Kliink. “The guidance and instruction from the program helped us with everything from management to fundraising. Moving forward, my team and I are more confident that we have what it takes to run a social venture.”


In 2003, the Buckley Public Service Scholars program was created to provide a framework for undergraduate students committed to making a positive impact through service. Since the program’s inception, more than 5,635 students have participated, contributing 1.35 million hours of service. Currently about 10 percent of Carolina undergraduates are enrolled as participants.

One such student is senior Katie Savage. The political science major recently founded Advocates for Carolina, UNC’s first club for students with disabilities. The organization works to increase awareness, accessibility and education about disabilities on campus. Like many other BPSS students, Katie is a leader who works to engage with the UNC community in a meaningful way.

“Serving others is something that has always been in my heart. Over the last two years, I have been surrounded by people who see life just as I do: Life should be one of service,” said Savage. “Being a Buckley Public Service Scholar has been an experience in which I not only gave a lot, but received a lot in return. I will take so much away from this experience when I leave Carolina.”


Since its inception in 2007, 43 faculty members have been selected to participate in the Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars Program, representing nine schools and 21 departments. This year, the fifth class of scholars was selected. One member of the class is Cheryl Giscombe, an assistant professor in the School of Nursing. Her research projects focus on examining stress and the risk of obesity in African-American women.

“The Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars program is providing me with a rich opportunity to enhance my community-based scholarship,” said Giscombe. “In particular, this experience is providing me with the necessary tools to maximize my training as a psychiatric nurse practitioner and a social and health psychologist to integrate my research, my practice, and my teaching of undergraduate and graduate nursing students to develop and implement culturally-relevant and sustainable evidence-based interventions that will improve mental health care for underserved populations.”


In celebration of the 15-year anniversary, the Center recently launched the I Serve campaign, a simple way to honor the vast amount of public service undertaken by UNC’s students, staff, faculty and alumni. The campaign highlights campus community members and why and how they are involved in serving others.

“I serve to help our students and our faculty change the world,” wrote Chancellor Carol Folt.

Janell Smith, a junior Journalism and Mass Communication major, wrote, “I serve because change doesn’t happen on its own. Change needs and agent.”

Alumnus Antawn Jamison wrote, “I serve because this is where all of my dreams came true.”

In addition to celebrating the anniversary, organizers hope the I Serve campaign will help inspire and motivate others to serve – for many years to come.

CCPS 15th Anniversary

APPLES Day 2014

By Janell Smith

9-24-2014 APPLES Day cakeAPPLES Service-Learning celebrated APPLES Day Sept. 24 by partnering with Hunger Lunch in the Student Union. APPLES served more than one hundred students cake and inviting them to learn more about APPLES programs.

“APPLES Day is a day dedicated to celebrating the students, the service and everything we do as an organization in a way that the entire campus can be involved in and take notice,” said Amanda Gaffey, APPLES vice president.

The day is meant to honor APPLES’ history and promote all of APPLES’ program opportunities to UNC students who may be interested in APPLES or those who are otherwise uninformed about the organization and service-learning.

Gaffey added that APPLES Day does more than raise awareness or spark interest in the organization, the day honors the organization’s commitment to community engagement, academics and service. “We want the whole campus to know about the important work that APPLES does,” Gaffey said.

APPLES Day 2014The celebration also is a prelude to APPLES 25th anniversary, which will be commemorated during the upcoming 2015 spring semester.

Since 1990, APPLES has provided unique opportunities for students, faculty and communities to engage in sustained and mutually beneficial relationships through service. During the last 25 years these opportunities have grown to include alternative breaks, the Service-Learning Initiative, internships, courses and social innovation fellowships.

APPLES will celebrate these milestones Feb. 27 and 28 with a weekend of activities for students, staff and alumni.

Sherpa Fellowship honors pioneering conservationist

By Laura Fisher

The late Mingma Norbu Sherpa was a pioneering conservationist in the Himalaya who believed that “saving nature should not take place at the expense of the people.” His work inspired Donald and Karen Wagoner to create the Sherpa Fellowship at the Carolina Center for Public Service for students motivated by Sherpa’s life story and willing to make a similar commitment to conservation. The Wagoners, who are both graduates of Carolina’s MBA program, believe the university’s global reach for study and research in environmental areas made UNC the perfect place to establish the Sherpa Fellowship. Their own public service supporting environmental and other causes made the Carolina Center for Public Service the obvious home for the fellowship.

Billy Gerhard in labThe inaugural Sherpa Fellowship was awarded to William Gerhard ’14, a biology major from Charlotte, for his work evaluating the effectiveness of new drinking water infrastructure systems on the Galapagos Island of San Cristobal. After an initial summer gathering data from the distributed water of old and new drinking water plants, Gerhard continued this study for a second year by spending six weeks performing microbial, chemical and physical analyses of the new distribution system. The results of the study can help local government more efficiently allocate resources to providing clean drinking water to the 7,000 residents of San Cristobal. In addition, Gerhard worked with local scientists to create a lab that can assess the effectiveness of water treatment and distribution systems on the island for years to come. There is also evidence that the new treatment plant and distribution systems have had a positive impact on human health. With plans to return to the Galapagos for a third summer, Gerhard and fellow scientists working at the Galapagos Science Center hope to provide additional insight about the correlation between quality of drinking water and health on the island of San Cristobal.

Billy Gerhard and Donald WagonerThis past summer, Donald Wagoner spent time in the Galapagos with Gerhard to observe his work and learn about the area. “From my brief stay and observation, Billy has done a masterful job of addressing these social issues and in educating, involving and building the confidence of the people so that the project will go on,” said Wagoner, who understands the importance of the Galapagos residents support in the success of the project’s implementation. “We could not be more pleased with the selection of the study of drinking water and pathogens in the Galapagos,” Wagoner added. “This is precisely the sort of project we envisioned when we conceived of the fellowship, and Billy Gerhard is a most worthy, inaugural recipient.”

The fellowship, to be awarded annually, provides $1,250 to support field study and engaged research in environmental areas at field sites, preferably abroad. Preference is given to students participating in the Buckley Public Service Scholars program who are majoring in business, environmental science or economics. For more information, visit Sherpa Fellowship.

Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars Class IV graduate

Nine Carolina faculty members have been honored for their engaged scholarship over the past two years. As part of the Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars program, these professors worked to strengthen university-community partnerships through such work as training teachers to integrate experiential learning into their classrooms.

Tamera Coyne-Beasley, Barbara Fedders, Jocelyn Glazier, Leigh A. Hall, Jill B. Hamilton, Brian Hogan, Shawn M. Kneipp, Linda Watson and Ted Douglas Zoller were recognized as graduates of Class IV of the Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars program during a lunch celebration at the Carolina Inn Friday, Aug. 22.

The program, an initiative of the Carolina Center for Public Service, brings together selected faculty from across campus to engage in a two-year experiential, competency-based curriculum designed to advance their engaged scholarship. Scholars participate in sessions in community settings to learn from Carolina faculty and their community partners. While developing individual projects, each class of scholars forms a learning community along with the faculty and community course directors to support one another’s projects and community partners. The growing network of Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars reports outcomes including new interdisciplinary collaborations, successful grant applications and both traditional and innovative products of their scholarship.

“Participating in the Faculty Engaged Scholars program has enabled me to better understand the concept of engaged scholarship, particularly its multiple and varied forms. There’s no one way into and through engaged scholarship,” said Jocelyn Glazier, associate professor in the School of Education. “Hearing about my colleagues’ work has really expanded my understanding of the extensive and limitless boundaries of engaged scholarship.”

The Faculty Engaged Scholars program was established in 2007 as an initiative of the Carolina Center for Public Service to advance faculty involvement in engaged scholarship. In 2013, an endowment honoring UNC’s former chancellor H. Holden Thorp was established to support faculty in the program. Selected through a competitive process, Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars learn about and pursue community engagement through scholarly endeavors during the two-year program. Since its inception, 43 faculty members from nine schools and 21 departments have been selected to participate in the program.

“The Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars program opened my eyes to the dramatic needs of the state of North Carolina and the importance of core economic insights to unlock its long-term economic prosperity,” said Ted Zoller, director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and associate professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at the Kenan-Flagler Business School. “This experience served to raise the stakes and motivate my work at a higher level to make sure that it wasn’t just another unread analysis, but instead a call to action. I learned that sound research can result in important insights and be a tool of transformation. This project served to distill in me a passion to serve our citizens by promoting the economic prosperity of the state of North Carolina.”

Faculty Engaged Scholars 2014 Graduation Program.

The graduates and their work

These nine faculty members have distinguished themselves as engaged scholars through their commitment to serve others and strengthen university-community relationships.

Dr. Tamera Coyne-Beasley, professor of pediatrics, established the North Carolina Child Health Research Network as part of the North Carolina Translational and Clinical Science Institute to build partnerships among community organizations, community-based and ambulatory practices, and research communities. As the network director, she engages in multiple projects with adolescents in western and central North Carolina. Coyne-Beasley focuses on testing the effectiveness of school-based telemedicine programs, texting and social media for increasing knowledge of human papilloma virus disease and related-cancers, and increasing adolescent access to healthcare including human papilloma virus vaccination.

Barbara Fedders, clinical assistant professor in the School of Law, teaches and supervises law students who represent youth in North Carolina delinquency cases. Her scholarship focuses on improving policies, practices and legal representation for young people in the child welfare and delinquency systems. She serves on the advisory board for the Equity Project, a national organization promoting policy and practice reforms for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth in the juvenile justice system, and helped produce a report for stakeholders. At the state and national level, Fedders trains lawyers on incorporating clients’ educational histories and using education law in delinquency representation. In collaboration with an education lawyer, she is producing a practitioners’ manual based on those trainings.

Jocelyn Glazier, associate professor in the School of Education, focuses on exploring the impact of experiential pedagogy on teacher and student learning, particularly with regard to minority populations. Glazier worked with teachers from different schools in what she has called a Teacher Collaborative (TC), a space where teachers work with one another to study experiential teaching and learning in their own classrooms. In addition to honing practice, teachers in TCs learn together how to assess the impact of these approaches on their students and share their findings with colleagues and stakeholders, empowering both each other and their students in the process.

Dr. Leigh A. Hall, associate professor in the School of Education, addresses issues relevant to adolescents’ literacy development and particularly those who have been labeled as having reading difficulties. Her project centered on creating an online community for teachers to help them examine how patterns in their teaching did or did not support students’ academic literacy development and how to reconfigure their instruction in ways that would do so. Teachers received regular input and feedback on their ideas from each other, Hall and graduate assistants. As a result, teachers engaged professional development that was meaningful and connected to the issues in their own practice.

Dr. Jill B. Hamilton, former assistant professor in the School of Nursing (now at Johns Hopkins University), is published on topics related to social support, religion and quality of life among African-American cancer survivors. She was a Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Cancer Scholar from 2003-2007 and a Faculty Scholar at the Center for Spirituality, Theology & Health at Duke University. Hamilton’s research interests include health disparities, social and cultural factors that influence health, and the coping strategies used among older African-American cancer survivors and their families. She has developed measures of preferred coping strategies and spirituality, and is exploring the sociocultural factors that influence how older African-Americans use social support and religion/spirituality as mental health promoting strategies when there is a diagnosis of cancer.

Dr. Brian Hogan, a research assistant professor in the Chemistry department, is the academic director for the Scholars’ Latino Initiative, a program dedicated to increasing college access for Latino high school students. Dr. Hogan’s research focuses on increasing the number of Latino and Latina students graduating in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. He helped build “SLIence,” a collaboration between McDougle Middle School and the Scholars’ Latino Initiative. Each week, Latino science majors work with the middle grades after-school program Las Guapitas y Los Caballeros Guapos to bring STEM outreach and mentoring.

Dr. Shawn M. Kneipp, associate professor in the School of Nursing, conducts research of health disparities and social determinants of health. Her work focused on health conditions and unmet needs of women in welfare-to-work programs in the United States, where symptoms associated with chronic health conditions pose significant barriers for women as they attempt to become economically self-sufficient. In collaboration with community partners, her current projects focus on improving longer-term health and employment conditions using peer-mentored problem solving methods and examining the role of minor criminal offense charges as both barriers to self-sufficiency and social determinants of health.

Dr. Linda Watson, a professor in Allied Health Sciences, focuses her scholarship on autism research, addressing issues of early development, early identification and social-communication interventions. She sought to increase engagement with varied stakeholders across multiple projects. One project is collaboration with public school educators to test the efficacy of a school-based intervention for preschoolers with autism. Watson also worked on a collaborative effort with stakeholders in Bolivia with an interest in improving autism services there. Watson and a Bolivian collaborator began preliminary planning for sustainable ways to address community-identified needs for greater autism awareness and expertise in Bolivia.

Ted Douglas Zoller is director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and associate professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at the Kenan-Flagler Business School. Zoller is the founding instructor of Launching the Venture, a start-up creation program that increased the number of spin-offs from UNC-Chapel Hill. Zoller’s project entailed developing a comprehensive analysis of the social capital of the Research Triangle Park and the engagement of the network of UNC entrepreneurial social capital in the North Carolina economy. The Blackstone Foundation recognized this work as the basis of a new intervention to increase the performance of regional entrepreneurial networks through the Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network (BEN) in Research Triangle Park. Based on project outcomes, the Blackstone Foundation issued UNC a $1.1 million grant to replicate the network nationally.

Outward Bound participant broadens perspective of service

Each summer, the Carolina Center for Public Service awards North Carolina Outward Bound School (NCOBS) scholarships to participants in the Buckley Public Service Scholars program, Carolina Leadership Development and the School of Education to spend 28 days on-course at NCOBS. Austin Gragson ’17, a Buckley Public Service Scholar participant, recently returned from Outward Bound School and shares his reflection of the experience.


What started as initial excitement and wanderlust for the impending adventure quickly faded to soreness and frequent, periodic thoughts of “how am I going to survive this?” With time, I learned to appreciate the opportunity that was given to me. I made it my mission to learn a lesson or two before I was free from what I believed would be never-ending waves of challenges.

However as the days passed what started as impossible tasks became old tricks. I started to internalize Emerson’s quote that has become an old mantra of Outward Bound – “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

The daily challenges presented to my crew were no longer a matter of if our bodies could make it through but rather if our minds could. This subtle switch in perspective provided for an incredible improvement in performance as I realized what was holding me back was not what my body couldn’t withstand but what I thought I couldn’t withstand.

Through my experience I learned to meet challenges with a smile and jumped into uncomfortable situations instead of running away from them. I was also challenged to broaden my perspective of service. My instructors expanded my definition of service beyond a “big picture” point of view. They encouraged me to look for “micro-service” that benefits those around me. We are always able to give back to others around us and we don’t have to purposely seek out a new environment in order to serve others.

Learn more about the Center’s Outward Bound scholarships.

APPLES summer intern works to give back to the community

2014 APPLES summer intern MarrowFor many students, internships are all about gaining valuable experience. But for Raisa Marrow, ’15, an APPLES Service-Learning summer intern at Kidzu Museum in Chapel Hill, that experience also comes with an added benefit of impacting the community.

“I was attracted to the APPLES internship program because I knew it would provide me with an opportunity to do work in which I felt I was giving back to the community,” Marrow said. “I have received so much help throughout my career at Carolina and it has really made such a difference. I wanted to be able to do the same for others.”

APPLES internships are unique, intense experiences in service during either the spring semester or summer. Students intern at a variety of nonprofit and governmental agencies, receive funding ($1,200 for spring and $2,500 for summer) and participate in a service-learning course.

Marrow, an elementary education major from Jackson, North Carolina said, “The idea of service-learning interests me because it is easy to sit in the classroom and brainstorm ideas about how to tackle social issues and help communities, but going out into the field, interacting with people and having your own firsthand experiences provides insight into the issues and helps cultivate new ideas in a more authentic manner. That is why service-learning is so important.”

Because the achievement gap is an issue close to her heart, Marrow chose to intern at Kidzu to gain varied experience working with children in the community in which she lives and where she will also be student teaching in the fall. “So many children do not receive an adequate education because of race, socio-economic status and other factors. In my opinion, every chance I get to work with children is a chance for me to help close [this gap].”

As a Kidzu intern, Marrow has done worked on many tasks including creating lesson plans for field trips, working in The Makery (arts and crafts center) and attending outreach events.

“I feel I have made an impact by bringing the knowledge and perspectives of a future educator,” Marrow said. “I was able to align my lesson plans with NC Common Core standards, so students are able to learn through play at the museum in a way that connects to what they are being taught at school.”

Marrow’s work in the community is not the only impact made. She adds that her experience at Kidzu has influenced her as well by increasing her creativity and ability to quickly create and adapt ideas.

“Before my internship I would not have considered myself an artist, but working in The Makery and being in charge of creating crafts for our new themes has really pushed my creativity,” Marrow said. “I am also sometimes asked to do educational demos with the children which pushes me to think quickly. I know these skills will be useful in my future classroom. I could not think of a better way to spend my summer than working with amazing children and helping them learn and have fun even when school is not in session.”

Former APPLES organizer shares life story and passion for service

By Meghan Modafferi and Frank Stasio

Listen to Alexandra’s interview on The State Of Things

APPLES 20th  Zagbayou

For the first time, I recognized that some of my life experiences mirrored the lives of my students. Alexandra Zagbayou

Alexandra Zagbayou was born in Montreal but returned to her father’s homeland of Ivory Coast when she was 4 years old. Six years later, her family fled because they feared political persecution in the tense years before the country’s civil war.

“We thought we would be in the U.S. for a summer. The summer turned into 15 years,” she said.

The family moved to Raleigh, North Carolina, where Zagbayou learned English by reverse engineering her school’s French classes.

Later, her parents returned to Africa while she and her sister stayed in Raleigh with their aunt and uncle. A few years after that, their uncle was killed.

Zagbayou’s older sister became her primary guardian while she worked hard to finish high school and secure funding for college.

One summer, Zagbayou taught dance classes to homeless and displaced youth. This was when she first began to process her own challenging life experiences. She realized not only that she related to her students, but that she had come out the other side.

Today she helps run the Durham-based college-access organization, Student U. The program empowers students to pursue their own educational journeys despite diverse challenges.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Zagbayou, High School Program Director for Student U.

Cover photo courtesy of Student U.

Faculty Engaged Scholars receive national award

Professors Analyze Media Coverage of Sex Trafficking

By Maura Devetski for The Daily Tar Heel 6/30/2014

UNC professors Barbara Friedman and Anne Johnston were recognized for their work on the Irina Project with the Donna Allen Award for Feminist Advocacy by the Commission on the Status of Women.

The purpose of the project, co-directed by School of Journalism and Mass Communication professors Friedman and Johnston, is to analyze the media coverage of sex trafficking and promote the fair and accurate reporting of the issue.

“We came together as researchers with an interest in gender issues,” Friedman said.

Friedman said they noticed a trend of criticism in the media coverage of sex trafficking that lacked evidence, which inspired their first study of sex trafficking coverage in the media.

“We are not only talking about (sex trafficking) but linking it to how it is covered in the media,” Johnston said.

Friedman and Johnston collaborate with other groups involved in the movement against sex trafficking such as survivors, social workers and law enforcement officials.

The Commission on the Status of Women within Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication gives the Donna Allen Award to a woman or group that exemplifies the values of Donna Allen, founder of the Woman’s Institute of Freedom of the Press.

Chairwoman for the Commission on the Status of Women Spring Duvall said it was the dedication of its co-directors and the real world application of their research that set the project apart.

“All of the judges commented on (the impressiveness) of the scope of the work that Dr. Johnston and Dr. Friedman are doing,” Duvall said. ”(They recognized) how passionate and committed they are to the project.” 

Susan King, dean of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, said the award was an indication of how important the work of scholars is in the journalism school.

“It’s an affirmation that the work (of Johnston and Friedman) has real meaning and is a challenge for others,” King said.

She said Friedman and Johnston managed to identify an important issue in the country and receiving the recognition is an added bonus.

Friedman and Johnston were recently selected for the Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars program, which brings together faculty in the development of engaged scholarship projects, like the Irina Project.

Friedman and Johnston said they would like to develop a standing website that will be based on their research as well as contributions from other sources like journalists and healthcare professions.

“That will help us take the project where we want to go,” Johnston said.

Read more about Friedman and Johnston’s award and work at jomc.unc.edu.

Tenth class of UNC Buckley Public Service Scholars honored at graduation event


Chapel Hill, N.C. – Two hundred and fifty-one members of the class of 2014 will be honored as Buckley Public Service Scholars (BPSS) May 9 at a ceremony in Memorial Hall, highlighting their years of service while at Carolina. All graduates will receive a Carolina blue and white cord to wear at commencement on May 11 to represent their achievement. To commemorate the ten years of graduates, former provost Richard J. Richardson will address the graduates.

The program, part of the Carolina Center for Public Service, supports and strengthens Carolina students’ commitment to service, connects them to others who care about similar issues and guides them through training and course work that make their service more effective. Launched in 2003, BPSS presently has 9 percent of Carolina undergraduates enrolled as participants. In 2011, the Center announced the establishment of the Walter White Buckley Jr. Endowment from an anonymous donor. This endowment ensures Buckley Public Service Scholars will graduate for generations to come.

To receive formal recognition, Buckley Public Service Scholar participants must have a minimum grade-point average, complete at least 300 hours of service, take one service-learning course and attend four skills-training workshops as well as complete a final refelction activity. Most of this year’s graduates exceeded these requirements, on average completing more than 450 hours of service. Fifteen students reported more than 1,000 hours each, and two students recorded more than 2,000. These students join the 1,365 past Buckley Public Service Scholars who have graduated since 2003.

“My experience in the Buckley Public Service Scholars program has been one of learning,” said graduating senior Emily Bushman. “I have learned that there is a deeper meaning of public service beyond simple volunteering. I have gained a strong sense of empowerment that comes from this deeper public service and have seen the communities and institutions I serve be empowered as well.”

Since the program’s inception, more than 5,635 students have participated, contributing 1.35 million hours of service. This year, participating students reported service with more than 1,000 organizations like UNC Hospitals, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Triangle, UNC Dance Marathon, Relay For Life and Student U. The 2014 graduating class of Buckley Public Service Scholars reported 113,400 hours of service as of March 2014. Of those hours, 85 percent primarily benefited North Carolina, 10 percent other states and five percent other countries. With this tenth graduating class, there are now 1,616 Buckley Public Service Scholar graduates.

“These exemplary students spent their years at Carolina strengthening the culture of public service and community engagement,” said Lynn Blanchard, director of the Carolina Center for Public Service. “Through their dedicated participation, they fostered connections among the University, its students and North Carolina communities. We are excited to see these students continue their commitment to public service after graduation.”

Learn more about the graduating class in the 2014 BPSS graduation bulletin.

2014 Buckley Public Service Scholar graduates by county, state and country:

Alamance: Jesse Crayle and Lenzie Purcell

Buncombe: Sean Langberg, Ivy Palas, Nabila Ratani and Julie Uffelman

Cabarrus: Hannah Burris, Suzanne Jasmine, Elizabeth Rossitch and Lauren Silver

Camden: Lauren Forbes

Catawba: Kelly Boyd, Timothy McEachran and Georgia Titcomb

Chowan: Katelyn Blanchard

Cleveland: Alex Ledbetter

Craven: Phillip Healy

Cumberland: Kehinde Adeoti, Ann Atienza, Tanisha Edwards, Julia Hah, Alexis Leca, Rebecca Lee, Jessica Milbern, Britt Sikora and Sheila Spence

Davie: Elizabeth Davis and Taylor Moore

Durham: Amelia Ahern, Keia Faison, Daniel Jourdan and Emily Palmer

Forsyth: Samantha Bauer, Olivia Eskew, Stefan Hansen, Courtney Harriott, David Hill, Nicole Lawing, Jiwon Lim, Samantha Luu, Caroline Porter and Brynn Smith

Gaston: Yvonne Nguyen

Granville: Joseph Konstanzer and Sharessa Royster

Guilford: Obafunbi Abimbola, Gabriel Baylor, Madiha Bhatti, Leslie Blake, Schara Brooks, Joël Hage, Jessica Jenkins, Devyn McDonald, Logan Nail, Emily Pelehach, Katherine Simkins, Wendy Song and Laura Wert

Halifax: Hinson Neville

Harnett: Benjamin Blue

Haywood: Meredith Corn

Henderson: Ashley Roy

Hertford: Allen Jones

Iredell: Elizabeth Davis, Savan Kothadia and Mary-Claire Spencer

Johnston: Kathryn Cook

Lenoir: Juliana Saracino

Lincoln: Shelby Sugierski

Macon: Gaitry Aruwani

Mecklenburg: Laida Alarcon, Caroline Conner, Hope Davis, Neelesh Dewan, Holton James Dunville, Katherine Dyer, William Gerhard, Laura Grier, Grant Heskamp, Adriana Iturbide Rodriguez, Katherine Johnston, Avery Keese, Lauren Kowadlo, Conor O’Neill, Neal Patel, Vishalee Patel, Portia Polk, Claire Powers, Lauren Salvia, Megan Salvia, Zainab Shams, Anna Sturkey, Neha Vennekkat, Nicole Welsh, Caroline White, Devin White, Kate Wilson and Amberli Young

Moore: Emily Ott

Nash: Lein Soltan

New Hanover: Kaitlyn Brobst, Kathleen Hayes, Melanie Johnston, Abigail Terkeltoub and Lindsay Wright

Northampton: Kelsey Smith

Orange: Lisa Couper, Christopher Cunningham, Katherine Krantz, Hetali Lodaya, Robert Mook, Hoang My Huu Nguyen, Anneke Oppewal and Camille Sowder

Pender: Hannah Afify

Pitt: Jonathan Laprade and Lisa Owusu-Antwiwaah

Randolph: Rabiah Choudhary, Brooke Foster and Brittany Reeves

Richmond: Kiara Aranda

Rockingham: Lashawn Hart

Rowan: Mary Margaret Mills

Rutherford: Carsyn Butler

Stanly: Hope Wolf

Wake: Risikat Ademola, Natalie Allcott, Pooja Aphale, Swathi Ayyagari, Priya Balagopal, Minhaj Baqai, Ashley Beale, Mary Bitler, Sarah Broadwell, Shalini Chudasama, Jennifer Craven, Kenan Ender, Nora Fritz, Shyra Hall, Alexandra Hammer, Olivia Hart, Nariman Heikal, Anne Holmes, Nguyen Huynh An Le, Janice Lee, Meredith Lewis, Ceewin Louder, Alexandra Montaner, Renee Montpetit, Nikita Patel, Pooja Patel, Sheila Patel, Anna Perry, Grace Peter, Tyson Presnell, Sarah Pruteanu-Malinici, Julia Ramos, Christopher Rota, Matthew Ryan, Gautam Sanka, Farhana Shemna, Simone Trotman, Samantha Tulenko, Priscilla Tutu, Avani Uppalapati, Madhulika Vulimiri, Margrethe Williams, Caitlin Wood, Yiwen Wu, Linda Yang and Alekhya Yechoor

Washington: Sheev Patidar

Watauga: Aidan Berry, Emily Bushman, Kelsey Gustaveson and Emma Seagle

Arizona: Samantha Pfotenhauer

California: Carolyn Jeffries and Savita Senthil

Connecticut: Elise Hopkins, Molly Laux and Marisa Segarra

Florida: Elizabeth Ayers, Patricia Bajuelo, Michelle Bandklayder, Natalie Borrego, Paula Muñoz, Jennifer Neal, Julia Nething, Blake O’Connor, Myrna Perez and Shannon Steel

Georgia: Kelsey Aho, Sarah Barger, Mandy Eidson, Elizabeth Greenberg, Josephine Kooijman, Ellen McKnight, Matthew Meyers, Pooja Mohanty, Kelsey Pan and Courtney Sanford

Illinois: Kathleen Burch, Elizabeth Goslin, Anna Ollinger and Kyle Ann Sebastian

Kentucky: Raymond Barry

Maryland: Kristina Hsieh, Sara Robinson, Kristen Rosano and Margaret Vandeusen

Michigan: Kevin Claybren

New Hampshire: Kendall Nicosia-Rusin

New Jersey: Brittany Newman-Eckert, Kathleen Ughetta, Carlisle Uhlman and Rachel Uhlman

New York: Mykal Adams, Amanda Baldiga, Michelle Brant, Elke-Esmeralda Dikoume, Akilah Ffriend, Madeleine Hindenlang, Daranee Nasongkhla, Alexa Oyague and Rick Vavolizza

Ohio: Christopher Flesher and Hannah Smith

Pennsylvania: Christopher Felix and David Warner

Puerto Rico: Viviana Bonilla-Lopez

South Carolina: Kiaira Reed and Cheyenne Turner

Tennessee: Arthur Guyton and Anna Spickard

Texas: Niaisha Johnston, Ann Scavone and Zoe Wolszon

Utah: Zachary Alexander

Virginia: Samantha Halle, Kelly Mcdermott, Irene Newman, Katie Overbey, Taylor Price and Vishwajith Sridharan

Washington: Jasmine Kreig and Orlando Mendoza

Washington, D.C.: Lindsey Bargelt

Wisconsin: Liz Hawryluk

China: Chenxi Yu

Singapore: Gwen Hwarng