Chapel Hill, N.C. – A community-based partnership to reduce heart disease, a mentorship program for high school students and a program to protect victims from their abusers are some of the projects recognized at UNC-Chapel Hill’s 2018 Public Service Awards celebration on April 9. Seven individuals and two organizations received awards for their work at the annual event is hosted by the Carolina Center for Public Service.
“Service to others is at the heart of how a great public university engages with communities and addresses issues of shared concern,” said Lynn Blanchard, director of the Carolina Center for Public Service. “Recipients of this year’s Public Service Awards exemplify the best of how Carolina serves the public good. We are honored to recognize their meaningful and profoundly important work.”
Dorothy Holland, Boshamer Professor of Anthropology Emeritus in the College of Arts and Sciences, received the 2018 Ned Brooks Award for Public Service recognizing her long commitment to building collaborations between the University and the community that create new opportunities and generate academic excellence. Holland co-founded the Center for Integrating Research and Action (CIRA) and the Graduate Certificate in Participatory Research (GCPR). CIRA took its social change research to grassroots organizations in the state, spurring new conversations about the best ways to advocate for issues. The GCPR creates opportunities for graduate students to develop research skills in partnership with communities and provides them with substantive collaborative research experiences. Holland also served as chair of the Anthropology Department from 1996 – 2001.
The Office of the Provost Engaged Scholarship Award was established in 2000 by then Provost Dick Richardson to recognize extraordinary public service and engaged scholarship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Three awards were presented this year for engaged teaching, research and partnership.
- Alice Ammerman, professor of nutrition in the Gillings School of Public Health and director of the UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (HPDP), was recognized for engaged research for the Heart Healthy Lenoir Project. This NIH-funded project was a community-based partnership between HPDP, Lenoir County and East Carolina University to reduce heart disease in what is often called the stroke belt. Ammerman and her team worked with primary care practices to help patients control their blood pressure; understand genetic risk for heart disease. The project also focused on improving physical activity and diet, including innovative recipes for heart-healthy barbecue and hush puppies.
- Jean Davison, associate professor in the UNC School of Nursing, was recognized for engaged teaching for developing a service-learning course focused on migrant-Latino/a health in North Carolina. The course teaches fundamental concepts of global health and included clinical teaching in North Carolina, Honduras and Nicaragua. Davison received an APPLES Service-Learning grant in 2015 and has expanded her local and global outreach course activities as a result.
- Project READY: Reimagining Equity and Access for Diverse Youth received the engaged partnership award. Project READY is a grant-funded initiative of the UNC School of Information and Library Science partnering with the Wake County Public School System and North Carolina Central University. These partners implemented a yearlong professional development series for school librarians and educators working with them focused on racial equity. Librarians have since created innovative programs focused on educational racial equity in local classrooms.
The Robert E. Bryan Public Service Award recognizes undergraduate and graduate students, staff and faculty for exemplifying outstanding engagement and service to the state of North Carolina.
- Joseph Nail, a senior political science and economics major in the College of Arts and Sciences, is recognized for his work as co-creator of FairEd, a nonprofit that uses mentorship programs to provide high school students from low-income backgrounds resources and support during the college application process. Since its inception nearly four years ago, FairEd mentors have worked with more than 5,000 high school students. Nearly three-quarters of those served are now attending a college or university, including more than 100 who have attended UNC-Chapel Hill.
- Celeste Brown, a fourth-year medical student in the UNC School of Medicine, is a founding member of The White Coats Black Doctors Foundation (WCBD). She received the award in the graduate student category. Brown and four other medical students created the foundation in 2015 to address the significant deficit of African-American physicians in North Carolina and the rest of the country. To encourage aspiring black medical students, WCBD hosts networking and speaking events, conducts a mentorship program and offers a scholarship that offsets the cost of medical school applications.
- Brian Hogan, a teaching associate professor in the Department of Chemistry, College of Arts and Sciences, is also the director of the Carolina Covenant. Hogan was recognized for his leadership of three mentorship programs for North Carolina middle and high school students. SOAR provides near-peer mentors to young Latino/a students and encourages involvement in science and mathematics. SUCCEED bolsters STEM education in North Carolina schools by donating science experiment kits to classrooms. GLOW works to increase access to higher education among young African-American girls through positive role modeling and academic help. Hogan was a member of the Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars Class IV.
- Bryan Giemza, director of the Southern Historical Collection, University Libraries, was recognized for his work partnering with community members in western North Carolina to create Maya from the Margins, a program educating Latino/a and indigenous students about the history of their roots and culture. The program paired North Carolina students with families in Yucatan, Mexico, and implemented an exchange program to give students a first-hand experience with the land of their ancestors. Maya from the Margins culminated with a showcase of student research and work, which was displayed in both North Carolina and Yucatan. The program is the subject of an upcoming presentation on diversity to the American Library Association’s Rare Books and Manuscripts Section, and has attracted interest from a number of institutions as a creative and innovative way to engage new audiences in archival discovery.
- Law Students Against Sexual and Domestic Violence, a student organization within the UNC School of Law, is recognized for its work to protect victims from their abusers through the Ex Parte Project, including its partnership with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. These students believe that the law has the power to bring about meaningful social change and that battling domestic violence is an important step toward ending violence against women. Each semester, Law Students Against Sexual and Domestic Violence sponsors a series of panel discussions and research projects to educate the community about the domestic violence epidemic.
Eduardo Fernandez and Jacob Stocks were recognized as recipients of the 2018 Davis Projects for Peace Award for their Child Nutrition and Health Care for Women project in Lawra, Ghana. Catherine Alves was recognized for receiving the 2018 Mingma Norbu Sherpa Fellowship for Survey of fisher livelihoods and perceptions: A Belizean case study. Ronald W. Hyatt Rotary Public Service Awards went to Michaela DuBay for Foundations in Autism Bolivian Video Series, and Emily Zalimeni and Alex Miles for Square One: A Novel Healthcare Delivery Model for Tattoo Removal.
Also recognized at the event were 18 students who received Robert E. Bryan Fellowships, nine graduate students who received Community Engagement Fellowships and 11 students who received Thomas James Outward Bound Scholarships.