The Robert E. Bryan Public Service Award honors the memory and accomplishments of alumnus Robert E. Bryan ’26 of Newton Grove, N.C., who worked his way through the University to become a successful businessman, entrepreneur and public servant.

Five Bryan Awards will be given for a specific effort (rather than an overall record) exemplifying outstanding engagement and service to the state of North Carolina that is characterized by:

  • working in partnership with community members,
  • inspiring and involving others, and/or helping others to serve,
  • responding to a practical problem, issue or concern of the state and
  • working to assure the impact in the community is lasting.

Bryan awards will be given to recognize an outstanding

  • undergraduate student,
  • graduate student,
  • faculty member,
  • staff member and
  • officially recognized student organization.

Recipients receive a $500 award and recognition at the annual Public Service Awards ceremony. Self-nominations and previous recipients of this award are not eligible. To view a list of past recipients, click the “Previous Award Recipients” button at the bottom of this page.

Nominations for the 2020 Robert E. Bryan Public Service Award open Nov. 1 and close Feb. 14. Apply online through the CCPS Application and Nomination Portal.

2019 Award Recipients

Emma Ehrhardt, a junior chemistry and psychology major, received the undergraduate award for her work as founder and co-chair of Stage Play, an organization within the Campus Y. Stage Play provides acting classes for children with autism. The program uses research-based techniques to teach children the skills they need to feel more at ease in social situations now and later in life. Ehrhardt is in the process of disseminating a manual to help form Stage Play organizations across North Carolina.

Leah Chapman, a PhD student in the Gillings School of Global Public Health’s Department of Nutrition, received the graduate student award for her research project in partnership with Just$ave store management to encourage selection of healthy snacks. By increasing purchases of nutritious items, Chapman’s research project is helping to improve dietary patterns among rural North Carolinians and contributing to evidence-based efforts to reduce the prevalence of diet-related chronic diseases in rural North Carolina.

Patricia Harris, the Director of Recruitment in the School of Education, received the staff award for her work with the “EduConnections” program. This program engages with students from underrepresented groups to cultivate their interest in becoming educators, with a goal of creating a workforce reflecting the full diversity of the student population. The program created affirming spaces for students and helped strengthen relationships with historically black colleges and universities and other programs across the state that promote access to higher education and diversity on college campuses.

Katie Brady, a clinical instructor in the Department of Psychiatry’s TEACCH Autism Program, received the faculty award for her initiative in collaboration with the Museum of Life and Science to create more inclusive spaces, exhibits and events for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other sensory challenges. This project promotes everyday accessibility for all individuals with various abilities at the museum and includes providing training and consultation for staff on understanding guests and planning ongoing special museum events.

The Christian Legal Society, a student organization within the UNC School of Law, received the campus organization award for its work to provide legal assistance to refugees and immigrants in partnership with Apex Immigration Services. Since April 2018, the Christian Legal Society has done three projects under the supervision of practicing attorneys: drafting humanitarian parole applications for children and teenagers who came to the United States under the Central American Minors program, assisting Burmese and Karen refugees who suffered severe trauma from Burmese militia groups and organizing a clinic to assist clients with renewing their Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status, in partnership with El Refugio, a Latino resource center in Sanford, N.C.