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2021 Award Recipients

Undergraduate Excellence Award – Cate Byrne

Cate has participated in APPLES since her first year at UNC as a participant on an alternative break leader. She then led a break the following year and then took on a leadership role as alternative break co-chair, where she helped mentor other break leaders through this experience. In her senior year, Cate was selected to serve as Vice President of APPLES where she helped integrate more focus on racial equity, community building, and reflection. Her nominator said, “[Cate] has been vocal about transitioning the organization to be more active in racial and social justice movements, resulting in the creation of impactful opportunities like the racial justice stipend that will help students enact the change that is most needed. She wants only the best for this organization and her community, utilizing critical reflection skills to better both.” Cate is graduating in May 2021 with a double major in Political Science and Economics and a minor in Environmental Studies.

Community Partner Excellence Award – Edible Campus UNC

Edible Campus UNC is a program of the North Carolina Botanical Garden that creates working landscapes across UNC-Chapel Hill to facilitate campus community engagement in topics of food and agriculture sustainability. Started in 2015, Edible Campus has been a partner of APPLES for several years. They host numerous service-learning volunteers and interns throughout the year and provide an opportunity for students to learn more about gardening practices, food justice and systems through their satellite gardens on campus.

Teaching Excellence Award – Dr. Chérie Ndaliko

Dr. Ndaliko is a professor of music and geography. She applied for an APPLES Course Development Grant in 2020 for her course GEOG 232 Freedom Farming. Through this experiential learning course, students the explore the relationship between farming, health, and social justice among Black communities throughout the African diaspora. Participants investigate the history of agriculture’s place in Black liberation movements; engage theories that orient these movements; and contribute to a local freedom farm, the Uzuri Sanctuary. One of Dr. Ndaliko’s students said “She fosters a compassionate and rigorous learning environment that has connected me and my classmates to the history of freedom farming, to one another, and to the collaborative process of nurturing our futures together, even amidst a pandemic.”

Outstanding Alumni Award – APPLES Senior leaders class of 2020

In 2019-2020, APPLES celebrated it’s 30 Anniversary. Our Cabinet team of 2020 tirelessly planned a celebration event, art installation, and opportunities to celebrate service at UNC – all of which was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. APPLES wanted to highlight the work of our 2020 senior leaders, who showed great dedication to APPLES throughout their time at UNC and were not able to have the opportunity to celebrate and be celebrated as they deserved. We look forward to welcoming them back to UNC and the APPLES office and are grateful for the foundation of leadership they set during their time at Carolina! APPLES Senior 2020 leaders include: Zoie Albrecht, Nicole Cervi, Peter Cohen, Tyler Eaton, Emma Ehrhardt, Izzi Hinks, Sydney Lopez, Andrew McKinnon, Lucy Min, Mohit Patel, Kaila Umstead, Emma Wilson, Bianca Wu, and Cameron Yap.

Service-Learning Award in honor of Ned Brooks – Ryan Nilsen

Ryan is a senior program officer for community engagement with the Carolina Center for Public Service and adjunct instructor in education and public policy. Ryan works closely with fellowships and scholarships at the Center, specifically with the MacDonald scholars and fellows, Community Engaged Fellows, and the APPLES Bryan Fellowships. He served as APPLES staff advisor for several years, before transitioning to other programs within the Center. He remains a constant and committed resource for APPLES students, and many others, and continues to directly advise Bryan Fellows and teach the Public Policy course associated that program. One of Ryan’s students said, “He continuously teaches for the purpose of promoting not only service learning but also for personal and communal growth.” Ryan shows a daily commitment to service, community and students that often goes unrecognized and APPLES is grateful for his leadership, guidance, and mentorship!


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