APPLES recognizes 2014 service-learning award recipients

2014 APPLESAwardsGroupExtending learning beyond the boarders of the classroom is the essence of service-learning. Every day, UNC students, faculty, staff, alumni and local community partners put this concept into practice making a difference in the lives of individuals and the communities they serve. To honor their work, each year the APPLES Service-Learning program recognizes those individuals and organizations who have exhibited a sustained and deep involvement in service-learning at Carolina. This year, Hannah Smith, One Act, Hannah Gill, Robyn Fehrman and Clair Lorch received awards for their outstanding contributions to service-learning at the annual APPLES award brunch held Friday, April 11.

Hannah Smith – Undergraduate Excellence Award

Hannah Smith, a graduating senior majoring in Health Policy and Management, is honored for her involvement with the Samaritan Health Center over the years. Her work reflects a sustained and ongoing commitment to the community, while demonstrating genuine and valuable contributions to the organization. Her work has extended to her honors thesis project where she is researching patient satisfaction and health care access.

One Act – Community Partner Excellence Award

One Act is honored for its sustained and ongoing commitment to interpersonal violence prevention and the development of unique and valuable trainings to build awareness among students. The unique work of One Act integrates education, service, reflection and social action which provides students with particularly meaningful and transformative learning experiences. Through One Act’s partnership with service-learning, students have been included in significant work on campus, and in the community.

Hannah Gill – Teaching Excellence Award

Hannah Gill is selected based on her work with the Latino Migration Project and the APPLES Guanajuato course, where she has continued to deepen students’ understanding of local migrant perspectives over the years. Her teaching has strengthened the quality of learning in these courses through local and global community-based experiences combined with challenging critical reflection.

Robyn Fehrman – Outstanding Alumni Award

Robyn Fehrman is a 2000 and 2004 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a former APPLES organizer. She is honored for her efforts and contributions toward social change in the roles she has served in for various nonprofit organizations, including Planned Parenthood, Triangle Community Foundation and Teach For America of Eastern North Carolina. Robyn’s work reflects a passion for working with individuals and communities with the goal of increasing capacity building and social change

Claire Lorch – Service-Learning Award in honor of Ned Brooks

Claire Lorch is celebrated for her deep commitment to building community through service and ensuring food access to University employees. Through Claire’s determination, the Carolina Campus Community Garden (CCCG) has become a thriving part of our campus. She has sustained long-term partnerships with various APPLES courses, enriching the education and experience of Carolina students, while making a substantial impact impact on the lives of University employees and their families. Before her work with CCCG, Claire’s career at Carolina in various roles has reflected a genuine and meaningful connection with individuals and communities.

“Service is at the heart of APPLES and the same can be said of the Community Garden,” Claire Lorch said. “This garden is so much more than vegetables; it’s being involved in something bigger than all of us. It brings the campus and community together for a common goal…. APPLES allows students to take a deep dive into the workings and needs of the garden. There is only so much I as the garden manager can do. We are able to do so much more because of the students’ and their professors’ commitment to this work. It is our hope that the garden is a meaningful experience for them and one they will continue to benefit from in years to come.”

Early action can help with autism

Linda R. atson

Autism Researcher, Linda R. Watson

By Linda R. Watson

One in 68 children show symptoms of autism spectrum disorder by the time they reach 8 years of age, according to statistics released last week by Centers for Disease Control. The meaning of these numbers is highlighted for me as I hear more and more stories from friends and acquaintances whose families include a member with ASD.

As an autism researcher, I am asked many questions about autism for which we continue to lack definitive answers, including, “Why is autism increasing so much?” But I welcome these hard questions, because they open conversations about some of the important progress we have made in understanding this neurodevelopmental disorder.

One important advance is much more knowledge of the early risk markers for ASD. This has led to improvements in our ability to identify toddlers with ASD. Through early identification, we increase the chances that these toddlers and their families will have access to early intervention programs.

Although good intervention programs at all ages can improve functioning for individuals with ASD, the most dramatic improvements have been seen among toddlers and preschoolers who participate in intensive intervention programs. Improvements include better language and cognitive skills and fewer problem behaviors, which are associated in turn with better school performance and a greater likelihood of independent living as adults. For these reasons, early identification of children with ASD is a priority for the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics, among other organizations.

Through the Program in Early Autism Research, Leadership and Service at UNC-Chapel Hill, my colleagues and I are examining the risk markers for ASD in infants and young toddlers.

We previously developed a research version of a questionnaire for parents of 12-month-olds that identifies about half of the children who will be diagnosed with ASD as preschoolers. Many parents of children eventually diagnosed with ASD express concerns about their child’s development by the child’s first birthday, but the risk markers at this age are often subtle. Thus, both parents and physicians are hard-pressed to know how seriously to take the concerns in the absence of a good screening tool.

Our questionnaire, the First Year Inventory, provides information on whether a 12-month-old is at high risk for ASD or other developmental problems sharing some of the same early risk markers.

This questionnaire also has made it possible for our team to begin evaluating interventions with 1-year-olds and their parents prior to the time that autism symptoms have fully emerged. Our hope is that starting appropriate interventions at such a young age will be especially effective because the brains of infants and young toddlers are growing rapidly and are very “plastic,” meaning that their future brain growth can be altered by their early experiences.

This month, 40,000 families in North Carolina will be asked to assist in the very early identification of children at risk for autism and other developmental problems. These are families who have infants between the ages of 9 and 16 months, as identified through public birth records in our state.

Parents will receive a postcard early this month inviting them to participate in the North Carolina Developmental Survey online or by mail. Our PEARLS team is doing this survey to improve our parent questionnaire and adapt it for a broader age range of infants. Through these changes, we aim to make the questionnaire useful for pediatricians and other community professionals who see infants and young toddlers and talk with parents about their child’s development. The more responses we receive to the North Carolina Child Development Survey, the more confident we can be about what behaviors are typical for infants in this age range, and what behaviors best identify infants likely to have later developmental problems, including ASD.

April is Autism Awareness Month. Without question, the awareness of autism is at an all time high. As a society, we face a major public health challenge of how we will respond to the increasing prevalence of ASD. Early detection and early intervention are important components of a comprehensive approach.

North Carolina is at the forefront in our country in lowering the age at which ASD is diagnosed, but the average age of diagnosis in our state is still a relatively old 46 months. Thus, many children are being diagnosed too late to participate in early intervention. We can do better. The North Carolina Child Development Survey provides an opportunity for North Carolina parents to help meet this challenge.

Linda R. Watson is a clinical associate professor of speech-language pathology in the Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences, Department of Allied Health Sciences at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine.

Originally appeared in The News & Observer.


Sandra and Stephen Rich: A golden opportunity


Sandra and Stephen Rich on their wedding day and in 2012.

Stephen and Sandra Rich love living in Chapel Hill, just off campus. These members of the Class of 1964 moved back from Atlanta, Ga., in 2003 and have immersed themselves in campus and town life.

“Being back here has felt like home more than anywhere else,” Stephen said.

“It’s so easy to become involved here,” Sandra said. “We are willing and want to help.”

And when they become involved, they jump in with both feet.  They’ve given tours for Preservation Chapel Hill. They’ve pulled weeds at the Coker Arboretum. And they also give generous contributions to many areas. Stephen is retired from The Coca-Cola Company, which has a matching gift program for its employees and retirees, so their dollars go further.

Their first gift was to create a fund for Jewish Studies in the University Library. Though North Carolina’s Jewish population is small, the Riches said, it is inspiring to have Carolina teaching many students, Jews and non-Jews, about Judaism and its rich history and culture. “We are glad to be a part of that,” Sandra said.

Plus, being donors gave them a close view of how their money made a difference. “The Library tailored the arrangement to make it very meaningful for us,” Sandra said. “But as we learned about more campus areas, centers and such—there is often something we find compelling.” They’ve also supported the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, the College of Arts and Sciences, the N.C. Botanical Garden, N.C. Hillel and more.

They find the work being done at the Carolina Center for Public Service very compelling. Stephen said they are inspired by the words of Edward Kidder Graham, who once said: “We hope to make the campus co-extensive with the boundaries of the state.”

“He was speaking about public service,” Stephen said. “He meant that the University should serve all the people of North Carolina.”

So in 2013, on the occasion of their golden wedding anniversary, Sandra had an idea to direct any presents coming their way to the center, to fund its First-Year Service Corps. More than 30 friends—some of whom had never given to Carolina before—made a gift in honor of the Riches’ milestone. “It was a wonderful surprise,” Stephen said. “Half of the people had no connection to Carolina.”

This youthful couple just keeps finding inspiring programs on campus and would tell any alumni to join them. “There’s no lack of things to be involved in,” Stephen said. They especially treasure any involvement that means they can meet current students. “We don’t get to meet ‘the kids’ enough,” Sandra said. “If more alumni got to meet the students, they would find it hard not to get involved!”

Article by Claire Cusick. Originally appeared in Carolina Connections.


UNC students to spend spring break serving the community

By Laura Fisher ’15

2013 civil rights alternative spring break.

2013 civil rights alternative spring break.

While their peers venture off to tropical destinations for spring break, 60 UNC students will instead dedicate their time to giving back to the community. Through the APPLES Service-Learning Alternative Break program, students will spend eight days focusing on civil rights and disaster relief or characteristics of Latino, urban and rural communities. Students spent the semester preparing for the break experience through the two-credit hour class HBEH 610, Critical Approaches to Service-Learning. Classroom interaction focused on theories and experiences relevant to social action and community development, and the alternative spring break experience will allow them to apply what they have learned through service and advocacy work.

Between March 7 and 15, some APPLES students will travel to Birmingham, Ala., or Atlanta while others work in the North Carolina communities of Burgaw, Dunn, Durham, Charlotte, Clinton, Lumberton, Pembroke, Raleigh, Rocky Point and Swan Quarter. Each group will engage in direct and indirect service with community partners in the area, gaining a deeper understanding about the assets and challenges of those communities. Following the experience, emphasis is placed on reflection to encourage active citizenship beyond the break experience when they return to Chapel Hill and their home communities.

“It has been interesting to learn about civil rights in a classroom setting,” said Amy Kalinowski ’15, a student traveling to Birmingham to address civil rights issues in the community. “I am looking forward to directly applying everything we’ve learned so that I can gain a more personal connection to the issue.”

All APPLES alternative breaks are student-led experiences in which students travel outside of Chapel Hill to engage with a community, performing service while learning about a pertinent topic reflective of that area. Each year, more than 168 UNC students give their time to serve through APPLES alternative break programs, working with community partners that have established relationships supporting these breaks year after year.

For more information on APPLES alternative spring breaks, visit

Katie Weinel learns most from service work

By Deborah R. Meyer – The Chapel Hill News

Buckley Public Service Scholar and Bryan Social Innovation Fellowship recipient Katie Weinel shares her experience with service and its impact on her life

Brushstrokes: Students take arts into the community

Katie Weinel, Mary  - BPSS Musical OutreachKatie Weinel knew that a stellar GPA was key to getting into medical school.

“But I think that while I was an undergraduate at UNC-Chapel Hill, I learned the most not from my classes, like biochemistry or molecular biology, but from leading Musical Empowerment,” said Weinel, who is in her first year at the UNC School of Medicine. Musical Empowerment matches UNC students with children in the community to give them private music lessons.

“Music taught me perseverance and how to have confidence when playing in front of an audience,” said Weinel, who plays the flute and violin. “These are skills that you carry with you always.”

“I think the arts, and music in particular, are amazing tools for social change, bettering a community,” she said. “It is a language that everyone understands.”

Her senior year Weinel learned from her faculty adviser, Emil J. Kang, UNC’s executive director for the arts, that there was talk of forming a new service group related to the arts which would be a subset of the Carolina Center for Public Service’s Buckley Public Service Scholars program. The BPSS program gives UNC students who want to be involved in public service a framework. Undergraduates pledge to do at least 300 hours of community service. Weinel asked to help push this arts initiative to an immediate reality.

With a lot of hard work from key players, including Ryan Nilsen and Lynn Blanchard at the Carolina Center for Public Service; Aaron Shackelford, a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at Carolina Performing Arts; Weinel and Kang, the new program, Arts in Public Service Fellows recently accepted its first 20 students. Two weeks ago, they began journeying out, volunteering at arts organizations, and exploring how the arts can be a tool for social change.

Some of the groups they are working with are Hidden Voices, Sacrificial Poets, The ArtsCenter, Durham Arts Council, Theater Delta, Boston Urban Music Project, and Triangle ArtWorks.

‘A huge challenge’

After Kang began at UNC in 2005, he took the Tar Heel bus tour, which is a five-day trip across North Carolina.

“I realized from this trip that the university’s commitment to the state was such a big part of what makes up the university,” Kang said. “It seemed to me like a huge challenge – what could we do at Carolina Performing Arts that has some connection to this commitment that did not seem contrived or fly-by night?”

Then in 2007, Kang went to a presentation by students involved in the Carolina Center for Public Service, which Blanchard leads. “I asked Lynn if there was any way that we could create a dedicated program that looks at the arts in public service. She thought it was a great idea,” Kang said. But the barriers that often exist for new ideas, including funding, were there.

In 2013, the perfect storm occurred. Weinel got involved, and seed money became available via The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to create and support the Arts@TheCore program that puts the performing arts at UNC’s core. Shackelford agreed to create and teach a course as part of this new program. Service-Learning in America, offered through the American Studies Department, explores how the arts are tools of social change in our country. Course requirements include the students doing service hours in art organizations.

“We are approaching it as an historical overview and looking at a number of different movements,” said Shackelford. Movements since abolition are explored. The last three weeks of the course focus on Art and Social Change in North Carolina.. “We will look at Moral Monday and how North Carolina musicians have responded to this movement.”

Last year, a choir visited an American Studies classroom. “They talked about how their music is an expression of their faith, and started singing a hymn. Members of the choir and students started crying from the sheer beauty and power of the moment,” Shackelford said. “I had no idea of the religious convictions of the students, but it tied the entire room together in a way that no lecture could accomplish.”

Premed dancer

The 20 students who were accepted into the APSF had to first be Buckley Scholars, like Aditi Borde, a UNC junior chemistry major.

Like most of her fellow students, Borde does not intend to make her living in the art world. She chose to do her service hours with Carrboro’s nonprofit Art Therapy Institute..

“I thought volunteering with this group would relate back to my premed background and my interest in the arts.” said Borde, who is on a UNC dance team. “This has offered more connections in my life and opened my eyes to what is out there in ways to give back to the community.”

Though it took several years to happen, Kang is thrilled that this idea is now making its first ripples in the community.

“I like to think that we had to wait for the right set-up. We had to have Aaron and Katie here for it to work,” he said. “We see great potential.”

Fedders submits brief to N.C. Center for Safer Schools

FES Barb Fedders law school orientationUNC School of Law clinical assistant professor Barbara A. Fedders co-authored an issue brief submitted May 7 to the North Carolina Center for Safer Schools, a state program created in March 2013 that is currently seeking public comment on school safety issues. The brief, endorsed by 56 organizations in North Carolina and across the country, provides a comprehensive, research-based approach to the issue of school safety, according to Fedders.

Fedders developed the brief with attorneys from Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Advocates for Children’s Services project. She says they drafted the response out of concern that the school safety debate that has emerged after the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., is too narrowly focused on physical security. To better inform the debate, Fedders says the brief provides important and often-overlooked facts about school safety, recommendations for proven methods of ensuring student well-being, examples of reforms from other cities and states, and an extensive bibliography of literature on the issue.

Read more about Fedders in Carolina Law.

Students address community issues through popular service-learning course

By Nicole Beatty ’15

Pozefsky - s-l course Braille SquadUNC offers many courses for students interested in learning more about public service and civic responsibility. APPLES service-learning classes bring the two together by extending learning outside the classroom to collaborate with community organizations. One service-learning course in particular is in high demand: not only by students but by organizations in the community as well.

During the fall semester, 39 UNC students experienced service-learning in a unique way under the instruction of Dr. Diane Pozefsky. Students in COMP 523, Software Engineering Lab, created software for real-life problems, meeting the needs of clients in the community. To accomplish this, students had to understand the users’ needs and then design an appropriate system for each client.

“The most challenging parts of the course were that students learned new systems on their own and dealt with the problems of designing and implementing a system that has not been vetted to avoid problems,” said Pozefsky.

Throughout the semester, students worked on 12 different projects including one with MyHealthEd where students created an online sexual education course for the organization. MyHealthEd offers online courses to students in North Carolina’s rural areas where school districts are not always able to hire qualified teachers. Students also worked with Braille Squad, led by Diane Brauner, an orientation and mobility teacher for visually impaired children. Here students built an application to teach blind children how to use a refreshable Braille display, which aids them in typing, reading and learning braille on a computer. Unlike other courses, Pozefsky says she never knows what problems the class will encounter while working on projects with clients.

“I had a team working with a refreshable Braille display attached to an iPad, and they tried to use specific features that the client, who works with this device regularly, had never seen used before,” she said. “Not surprisingly, they ran into some technical issues.”

The class worked on a testing project for Tar Heel Reader, created by UNC’s Dr. Gary Bishop, a Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholar. Bishop developed a website dedicated to helping people learn to read. While the website was originally designed for teens and adults who never learned to read due to disabilities or lack of opportunity, it is now also used to assist people wanting to learn English. The student team assigned to this project created a way for Bishop to automatically test changes in the program before introducing them to the program users.

COMP 523 has come a long way since its inception almost 50 years ago. Dr. Frederick Brooks, founder of the Department of Computer Science, created the course. While working at IBM he was challenged by the company’s CEO to understand what made managing software hard. Brooks developed the book “Mythical Man-Month” and the COMP 523 course in response to his inquiry. Pozefsky took this course from Brooks when she was a graduate student and after working at IBM for 25 years, returned to UNC to teach. Pozefsky has been the course instructor for 10 years and has found that her industrial background made COMP 523 a natural course for her to teach.

Taught by Pozefsky in the fall and Professor David Stotts in the spring, this service-learning course offers a unique learning experience for students, so it’s no surprise that it is in high demand. Pozefsky says she typically has three times as many project proposals than the course can support. To make the course feasible for instructors to teach, class size is capped at 40 students per semester.

“As our department has grown and requests from clients have grown, it no longer was possible to contain it to a single semester,” Pozefsky said. “There is a huge demand for the course.”

With this course having been taught in the computer science department for almost 50 years and a service-learning course since 2010, it is a good example of how learning in the classroom blends with real-life application in the community.


APPLES Service-Learning student teaches healthy eating habits to community in Ecuador

Watching a student become a teacher is a teacher’s best reward.

So says Alice Ammerman, DrPH, professor of nutrition at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and director of the UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (HPDP).

Ammerman recently heard from Cate Parker, her former student in Nutrition 245, “Sustainable, Local Foods and Public Health.” The course, co-developed and co-taught by Ammerman and Molly De Marco, PhD, research fellow and project director at the UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, which Ammerman directs, was offered through the Carolina Center for Public Service’s APPLES Service-Learning program.

Parker, who earned a double major in global studies and geography at UNC, is now program director for Manna Project International, a holistic community development nonprofit organization based near Quito, Ecuador.

Parker’s work, focused on preventive health, includes teaching four nutrition classes to 145 sixth- and tenth-graders – challenging work, she says, that she “absolutely loves.” She wrote to Ammerman and De Marco to let them know how she was sharing with her students the knowledge she acquired from her UNC coursework.

“I really enjoyed your class,” Parker wrote, “and just wanted you to know how far the information has spread.”

There is no standard nutrition curriculum in Ecuador, Parker said, so her class is likely the only nutrition education the children receive.

“Previously, the class had been taught using the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s somewhat outdated food pyramid models,” Parker said. “We gave a quiz at the beginning of the semester, and it was shocking to learn how skewed these kids’ nutritional beliefs are – especially in a country with such an abundance of fresh and healthy food.”

Parker redesigned the curriculum, basing it on the Harvard Healthy Eating Plate and the work she had done in Nutrition 245.

She and fellow students had used the Healthy Eating Plate concept to develop a class presentation for employees of Weaver Street Market, a cooperative grocery in Carrboro, N.C., that sells local, sustainable foods.

“The employees of the market tend to have varying degrees of knowledge about nutrition,” Parker said. “Our presentation allowed them to learn some new information and become better able to educate their customers.”

In her classroom in Ecuador, Parker teaches the basics of the Healthy Eating Plate (whole grains, healthy proteins, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and water) and then covers topics such as the importance of learning about nutrition as a young person, the value of learning to cook, the connection between food and the environment, and ways to make healthier substitutions for traditional ingredients in Ecuadorian recipes.

“It is always heartwarming to hear about the good things our students are doing with the knowledge they gained from our courses,” Ammerman said. “We’re proud of all Cate is accomplishing in her classroom.”

Posted from the Gillings School of Global Public Health

Scholars reach out through art

By Zhai Yun Tan, The Daily Tar Heel

Students interested in merging the worlds of arts and public service can now do so through the Arts in Public Service Fellows program.

Offered by the Carolina Center for Public Service (CCPS) and Carolina Performing Arts (CPA), this program aims to support students who want to direct social change through the arts. It will welcome the first batch of students in spring 2014.

The program, a product of a discussion between Emil Kang, CPA’s executive director for the arts, and Lynn Blanchard, the director of CCPS, was made possible by funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for the CPA Arts@theCore program.

“We’re trying to support students who are trying to make connections between their public service work and art — we want to affirm the place that arts have within the sphere of public service and social justice work,” said Ryan Nilsen, a student services specialist at CCPS.

Katie Weinel, the former senior co-president for the student-run organization Musical Empowerment, was heavily involved in planning the Arts in Public Service Fellows program. Musical Empowerment pairs UNC students with underprivileged children to offer free music lessons. Weinel is now a first-year medical student at UNC.

“We came up with this separate track for people like me to get recognized for doing service in the arts,” Weinel said.

“I think in general, music and arts are a huge part of people’s lives, so I think this is a good way to keep being involved in the arts.”

Kang also said Weinel was an integral factor in planning the program.

“(This program) speaks to this larger mission that we have that looks at how the arts can relate to every student’s life, doesn’t matter what their major is,” Kang said.

“I’m also the faculty adviser for Musical Empowerment and the person who was the president last year, she was the one who wanted this to happen — but you see, she’s not a music major. She’s, to me, the embodiment of the potential of all Carolina students to have … very wide-ranging interests, to be able to stitch together an education that has meaning beyond the subject area.”

Students involved in the Arts in Public Service Fellows program will have to take a service-learning course in the spring semester and complete 30 hours of service within the semester. As this program is under the CCPS Buckley Public Service Scholars, students who meet the other program requirements will graduate as Buckley Public Service Scholars with another distinction offered by CPA.

Aaron Shackelford, CPA’s Mellon postdoctoral fellow, will be teaching the service-learning course. The class will examine the role of arts in social movements throughout the history of the United States.

He will also help students search for service opportunities, although students are encouraged to develop their own partnerships.

“I made contact with several different agencies both around the campus and around the Triangle community to give students some ideas about the organizations that are eager and willing to work with students for their community service,” Shackelford said. “But the students themselves are going to have the freedom to identify.”

The deadline for applications is Nov. 15. Those who are interested can apply online through the CCPS website.

“Students who care about being involved with communities off campus and want to be involved in public service groups with an emphasis on arts (should apply), particularly the ones who don’t know how to bring those worlds together,” Nilsen said.

Kang hopes that the future Arts in Public Service fellows will represent the significance of arts in invoking social change.

“It’s not really what I hope to see in scholars — it’s more on what I hope others will see in them, because they already know they can change people’s lives through the arts and public service,” Kang said.

“My hope is that the rest of the campus will understand and acknowledge how art can actually be a great vehicle for this kind of engagement of change.”

UNC-Chapel Hill senior Shannon Smith honored for her work supporting students

Shannon Smith - Campus CompactShannon Smith ’14 received a 2013 Community Impact Student Award. Given by North Carolina Campus Compact, an association of colleges and universities committed to fostering campus-community engagement, the award recognizes one outstanding student on each campus for making a difference in the community. Smith is one of 19 students across the state to be honored.

As president of Tar Heel Transfers, a student-led organization that assists incoming transfer students as they adjust to life at Chapel Hill, Smith is an advocate and community-builder who raises issues important to transfer students and finds new ways to address their concerns. She also serves as director for Leadership and Organizational Sustainability on the executive council of Carolina Firsts, an initiative encouraging the enrollment, retention and graduation of first-generation college students. Smith is a public policy major who calls both Elizabethtown and Fayetteville home.

Smith and other award winners were honored recently at North Carolina Campus Compact’s annual student conference. Now in its 20th year, the conference was held Nov. 2 at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte. Nearly 200 student leaders from 28 campuses in three states attended. Several other students and staff from Chapel Hill led workshop sessions during the conference. Melissa Hornbeck ’14 and Olivia Karas ’15 shared their work with the Community Empowerment Fund, and Abby Dennison ’15 and APPLES staff member Ryan Nilsen discussed the Robert E. Bryan Social Innovation Fellowship.

Learn more about Shannon Smith.

North Carolina Campus Compact is a statewide association of nearly 40 colleges and universities that seek to develop civically-engaged students and strengthen communities. Presidents and chancellors commit their institutions to being “engaged campuses” that enhance a student’s sense of responsibility, citizenship and leadership, and impact the community by partnering with local organizations to address real needs. For more information about the Compact or the student conference, visit