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2019 Award Recipients

Undergraduate Excellence Award – Sofia Ocegueda
Sofia Ocegueda, a senior from Durham, N.C., is honored for her service and continuous dedication to the APPLES program and community. As co-director of SOAR, a program serving Latinx students by providing resources, mentorship, exposure to STEM fields and an environment for character development, she hopes to influence the personal and professional growth of Latinx youth. Sofia has participated in an Alternative Fall Break, a Bryan Fellowship, 4 APPLES courses, and an APPLES summer internship with Student U. She also serves as a mentor through the Scholars Latino Initiative and Carolina Covenant.

Community Partner Excellence Award – Kidzu Children’s Museum
Kidzu Children’s Museum in Chapel Hill focuses on inspiring children to learn through creative, purposeful play. It is a hands-on, interactive museum space, for kids to make, build and explore. Programs such as Kids in the Kitchen, Junior Gardeners, and Steam’d Up introduce children to enriching concepts that help them develop as young people. APPLES has worked with Kidzu for several years through service-learning courses and internships. The Kidzu team helps APPLES and UNC students have a unique experience based on the things they want to learn and the areas in which they want to grow.

Teaching Excellence Award – Marshele Carter
Before coming to teach at UNC, Chapel Hill-native Marshele Carter led a successful career in the nonprofit world, owning a nonprofit that served military service members and their families and advocating on issues through keynote speaking and authoring books. We recognize her for her work with APPLES courses, Public Relations Writing and Cause Communications, service-learning experiences that help prepare media and journalism students to launch into careers that use their communications skills for good, just as she has. Marshele is dedicated to providing students with quality service-learning experiences and help them connect the practical skills from the classroom to serving the community’s needs.

Outstanding Alumni Award – Jon Young
Class of 2010 UNC Alumnus, Jon Young, is currently the co-director of the Community Empowerment Fund (CEF), which works to eliminate homelessness and poverty in the Orange County and Durham County regions. He has created software specifically for CEF in order to better the work of the program. As a passionate advocate for mental health, Jon is always willing to hold space and lend a listening ear and thoughtful presence to members of the community. CEF has continuously hosted APPLES interns and course volunteers to work alongside them towards their overall mission and we are grateful for Jon’s contributions.

Service-Learning Award in honor of Ned Brooks – Micah Gilmer
In 2005, Micah co-founded Frontline Solutions, a Black-owned and -operated consulting firm that works with nonprofits and philanthropic foundations across the country. He has made an incredible impact on over 30 APPLES Bryan Fellowship teams and numerous public policy students in the ten years he has spent teaching at Carolina. Micah developed the project management course that has substantially shaped the APPLES Bryan Fellowship program since 2012 and has contributed to teaching not only that course, but also the public.

2018 Award Recipients

Undergraduate Excellence Award – Joyce Yao
Joyce Yao is honored for her visible leadership and substantial contributions to the campus and community. As an advocate for the Community Empowerment Fund, Yao helps community members experiencing homelessness reach their goals of securing affordable housing, financial independence and health insurance. Yao also works with The Marian Cheek Jackson Center to serve and preserve the Northside community and strengthen relationships between the Northside community and students.

Community Partner Excellence Award – Volunteers For Youth
Volunteers for Youth (VFY) empowers youth with tools to become responsible adults. VFY started the Juvenile Community Service and Restitution Program where youth who have broken a law are assigned community service hours. Volunteers for Youth also runs Teen Court, where student attorneys present the facts of a case, and a peer jury is responsible for rendering a constructive sentence benefitting the defendant and community. Volunteers for Youth is a long-time partner with the Buckley Public Service Scholars and APPLES Service-Learning programs and provides Carolina students mentoring opportunities through SMART Mentoring.

Teaching Excellence Award – Amy Cooke
Associate Professor Amy Cooke is honored for her dedication to Edible Campus UNC, which facilitates student engagement in sustainability by maintaining edible gardens on campus. Cooke developed and currently teaches an APPLES Service-Learning course that works to sustain the community gardens. As the director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Environment and Ecology, Cooke supports a wide range of food initiatives and inspires students to work toward food justice.

Outstanding Alumni Award – George Barrett
During his senior year at Carolina, George Barrett served as an APPLES Service-Learning volunteer at The Marian Cheek Jackson Center. Now the Jackson Center’s associate director, Barrett has connected more than 480 students and nine APPLES courses with the Jackson Center. He is currently organizing a porch revival tour that contextualizes the significance of Northside porches. In 2017, Barrett partnered with the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life on an initiative that reduced noise complaints in the Northside and Pine Knolls neighborhoods by 60 percent.

Service-Learning Award in honor of Ned Brooks – Theater Delta, in memory of Ben Saypol
Theater Delta is recognized in memory of its founder, Ben Saypol. Saypol promoted social progress with interactive theater that challenges others to look inward to change their perspectives. Across the country, Theater Delta is lauded for using theater to unpack a range of complicated social issues. At Carolina, undergraduate students have seen the legacy of Theater Delta through the interactive play at orientation, which was written by Saypol. Nationwide, Theater Delta has been shared with more than 65,000 audience members.

2017 Award Recipients

Finn Loendorf, a sophomore physics major, received the 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.

Sonda Oppewal received the Teaching Excellence Award for her development and teaching since 2010 of 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.

Robeson County Church and Community Center was honored with the 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 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 Outstanding Alumni Award. One of the visionaries and members of APPLES’ founding team, Michael 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 has stayed 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.

Patricia Parker, department chair and associate professor of Organizational Communication, was awarded the 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.

2016 Award Recipients

Service-Learning Award in Honor of Ned Brooks: Mae B. McLendon
APPLES Community Partner Excellence Award: Farmer Foodshare
APPLES Teaching Excellence Award: Dr. Sarah Dempsey
APPLES Undergraduate Excellence Award: Luis Acosta ’17
APPLES Outstanding Alumni Award: Alexandra Zagbayou ’09

2015 Award Recipients

Service-Learning Award in Honor of Ned Brooks: Donna Lefebvre
APPLES Community Partner Excellence Award: Community Empowerment Fund
APPLES Teaching Excellence Award: Rachel Willis
APPLES Undergraduate Excellence Award: Reena Gupta ’15
APPLES Outstanding Alumni Award: Cindy Cheatham ’91

2014 Award Recipients

Service-Learning Award in Honor of Ned Brooks: Clair Lorch
APPLES Community Partner Excellence Award: One Act
APPLES Teaching Excellence Award: Hannah Gill
APPLES Undergraduate Excellence Award: Hannah Smith
APPLES Outstanding Alumni Award: Robyn Fehrman ’00, ’04

2013 Award Recipients

Service-Learning Award in Honor of Ned Brooks: Student U
APPLES Community Partner Excellence Award: North Carolina Campus Compact
APPLES Teaching Excellence Award: Maggie O’Shaughnessey
APPLES Undergraduate Excellence Award: Wendy Song
APPLES Outstanding Alumni Award: Jason Langberg ’04

2012 Award Recipients

Service-Learning Award in Honor of Ned Brooks: Episcopal Farmworker Ministry
APPLES Community Partner Excellence Award: The Arc of Orange County
APPLES Teaching Excellence Award: Tiffany Washington ’00
APPLES Undergraduate Excellence Award: Maggie Peng
APPLES Outstanding Alumni Award: Jatin Desai ’05

2011 Award Recipients

Service-Learning Award in Honor of Ned Brooks: Dr. Ron Strauss
APPLES Community Partner Excellence Award: North Carolina Botanical Garden
APPLES Teaching Excellence Award: Della Pollock
APPLES Undergraduate Excellence Award: Lauren Brown

2010 Award Recipients

Service-Learning Award in Honor of Ned Brooks: Campus Y
APPLES Community Partner Excellence Award: BounceBack Kids
APPLES Teaching Excellence Award: Dr. Darcy Lear
APPLES Undergraduate Excellence Award: David Baron