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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.

2018 award recipients

Joseph Nail, a political science and economics major in the College of Arts and Sciences, received the undergraduate student award 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, received the graduate student award for her work as a founding member of The White Coats Black Doctors Foundation (WCBD). 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.

Bryan Giemza, director of the Southern Historical Collection, University Libraries, received the staff award 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 received recognition from the Rare Books and Manuscript Section of Carolina’s Wilson Library and the Society of American Archivists for its innovation and creativity.

Brian Hogan, a teaching associate professor in the Department of Chemistry, College of Arts and Sciences, is also the director of the Carolina Covenant. He received the faculty award 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.

Law Students Against Sexual and Domestic Violence, a student organization within the UNC School of Law, received the campus organization award 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.

2017 award recipients

Alexander Peeples, a history and political science major and Bonner Leader, received the undergraduate student award for his work with Heavenly Groceries, a local food bank that provides quality produce and grocery items to underserved communities. For the past three years, Peeples served as a link between St. Joseph C.M.E. Church, which houses the food bank, and the Jackson Center, which facilitates student involvement. One of Peeples’ contributions was securing grant money for a new van to make operations easier.

Brittany Brattain, a law student and member of the UNC School of Law Pro Bono Program, received the graduate and professional student award for her work with the UNC Cancer Pro Bono Project. Students in this program, supervised by volunteer lawyers, talk at the cancer center with patients and their families about financial and health care powers of attorney and living wills. In her role as special projects coordinator, Brattain recruited student and attorney volunteers to serve at clinics; developed training protocol for student volunteers; created client files for clinics; and developed an institutionalized and automated system that will ensure the longevity of the project.

Matthew Mauzy, manager of Emergency Response Technology, received the staff award for his work with the North Carolina Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team (NCHART) response to Hurricane Matthew. As chief of the South Orange Rescue Squad, Mauzy ensures that his team is ready for hurricanes and for the resulting damage. In the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, Mauzy contributed countless volunteer hours with the NCHART group to ensure North Carolina residents affected by the hurricane received the support they needed during the critical weeks following the storm.

Marsha Penner, a lecturer in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, received the faculty award for her commitment to the course PSYC 424 Neural Connections: Hands-on Neuroscience. The class is dedicated to teaching neuroscience through hands-on activities in the community. Students in the course develop neuroscience activities that include a detailed manual and tool kit and deliver them to educators for their use teaching in schools. Penner has been devoted to making science accessible to the public.

The Refugee Health Initiative (RHI) received the campus organization award for its outreach to refugee families who have settled in the local community. Founded in 2009, RHI has provided a sense of belonging in the community as well as access to needed services, including healthcare and social resources. This year, RHI matched 66 undergraduate and graduate students with 32 refugee families across Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Durham. As RHI pairs students with refugee families, students are able to regularly meet with and serve refugee families and ease the burden on local resettlement agencies.

2016 award recipients

Gayatri Rathod ’16, a biology major in the College of Arts and Sciences from Charlotte, received the  undergraduate student award for work with Tar Heel TABLE, an organization that provides healthy, emergency food aid to hungry preschool, elementary and middle-school children living in Chapel Hill and Carrboro. In her two years as co-chair of Tar Heel TABLE, Rathod launched social media photo campaigns, food drives and news interviews to increase TABLE’s outreach and involvement. In all of her efforts, Rathod has emphasized involvement in TABLE with the hope of combatting hunger.

Catherine Schricker ’18 and Korry Tauber ‘18, both graduate students in the School of Dentistry, received the graduate student award for their work with North Carolina Missions of Mercy (NCMOM) Patient Oral Health Education Program. Tauber and Schricker created and implemented an oral health educational program to supplement the North Carolina Dental Society’s portable free dental clinic. They collaborated with community partners and UNC faculty mentors to develop their oral health education program, which is now a permanent component of the NCMOM clinics. Student volunteers provide personalized dental health instruction using visual aids in combination with interactive demonstrations.

Christopher Wallace, program coordinator at the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture & History, received the staff award for his work with the Communiversity Youth Program. Communiversity draws on existing UNC resources and coordinates them so they can serve local children more effectively. The program exposes kindergarten through fifth-grade students to a college environment and provides them with academic and cultural tools to improve their performance in the classroom, social outlook and likelihood of success in a college environment.

Josh Hinson, clinical assistant professor in the School of Social Work, received the  faculty award for his work on UNC Global Transmigration – Refugee Mental Health and Wellness Initiative. This project began by training graduate students to use an evidence-based refugee mental health screening instrument and collect data on the extent of refugees’ mental health needs and the effectiveness of mental health treatment. In 2015, Refugee Wellness began contracting with the North Carolina Division of Health and Human Services’ Refugee Office to provide mental health services to refugees throughout Wake, Durham and Orange counties.

Student Health Action Coalition (SHAC) received the campus organization award for its work as a student-led organization whose mission is to provide free health services to local, underserved individuals and communities; partner with communities to develop and implement sustainable health programs; and create an interdisciplinary service-learning environment for students in the health science programs at UNC. Established in 1967, SHAC operates weekly interdisciplinary acute medical and dental clinics, as well as chronic care and referral services and home health services. SHAC serves more than 1,100 patients annually through these clinical services.

2015 award recipients

Hana Haidar, a senior English and sociology double major from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, received the  undergraduate student award for her work with the UNC chapter of Habitat for Humanity, a national organization that provides decent and affordable housing for low-income families. Haidar served as chair of the community outreach committee, developing relationships between UNC student volunteers and the families of Chapel Hill’s Phoenix Place. Haidar hosted several community initiatives to promote financial literacy, healthy eating habits, physical activity and art education. 

Kristin Black, a maternal and child health doctoral student from Sacramento, California, received the  graduate student award for her work with Accountability for Cancer Care through Undoing Racism and Equity. This study is a systems-change intervention that optimizes transparency and accountability to achieve racial equity in the completion of cancer treatment among patients with early-stage breast and lung cancer. Black monitored the logistical components of the study and trained others in the Undoing Racism approach that ensures a common language for examining racial disparities in the healthcare system.

Mathilde Verdier, program coordinator at UNC’s Social Innovation Initiative, received the staff award for her work with CUBE, the university’s on-campus social innovation incubator. CUBE helps its participants build critical knowledge through mentorship, expert feedback sessions and skills-building workshops that deliver critical information to early-stage social ventures. At CUBE, Verdier built strategic partnerships to support students, faculty and staff with ideas surrounding some of society’s most pressing issues.

Bebe Smith, clinical assistant professor in the School of Social Work, received the faculty award for her work as project director of Critical Time Intervention, a collaborative effort between the UNC School of Social Work and the UNC Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health. The project helps those with mental illness who are experiencing a critical transition – from homelessness to being housed, from hospital or prison to community, or to foster engagement in mental health treatment after emergence of severe mental illness. The program meets basic needs, aids in recovery and connects participants with appropriate treatment and resources. Smith also engages with state policy makers to expand the program to fill gaps in North Carolina’s mental health and homelessness service systems.  

Domestic Violence Advocacy Project Organization received the campus organization award for its work providing free legal services to survivors of domestic violence who seek protection orders. The Domestic Violence Action Project is a student-run program at the UNC School of Law where students work closely with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and the Durham Crisis Response Center to assist in filing motions for protection orders, accompanying clients to court and educating clients about court proceedings.

2014 award recipients

Zack Kaplan ’15, an American studies and political science double major from Philadelphia, received the undergraduate student award for his work at the Marian Cheek Jackson Center, a community center in the historic Northside neighborhood of Chapel Hill. Kaplan works with the advocacy and outreach team to involve student-residents of the Northside community in appreciating, celebrating and continuing the deep history of service and kinship that has been sustained in the Northside community since the founding of the University. Kaplan’s goal is to create a more unified neighborhood and alleviate the growing disconnect and discord between students and permanent residents in the Northside community.

Sarah van der Horst, a physical therapy doctoral student from Chapel Hill, received the graduate student award for her work with Amigas en Salud, a program that aims to advance the health and independence of underserved Latinas in the greater Triangle area by providing health literacy and other tools that lead to productive, healthy and injury-free lives. van der Horst assists in weekly exercise classes, provides nutrition information and offers free childcare for participating Latina mothers.

Robert Pleasants, interpersonal violence prevention coordinator for Student Wellness and adjunct assistant professor of health behavior in the Gillings School of Global Public Health, received the staff award for developing and teaching his service-learning course, Leadership and Violence Prevention. Pleasants also created One Act, a bystander education program for violence prevention that is connected to his service-learning course. Each semester, Pleasants places students with community and campus organizations to further interpersonal violence prevention. Sites include the Orange County Rape Crisis Center, the Compass Center for Women and Families, the Carolina Women’s Center, the Chapel Hill Police Department, the UNC Hospitals Beacon Program and the UNC LGBTQ Center.

Kelly Hogan, a senior lecturer in the Department of Biology, received the faculty award for her biology service-learning course aimed to increase blood platelet donation awareness. Through work with the UNC Blood Donation Center, Hogan’s students focus marketing and education efforts on diverse student groups and the local community with a variety of events and activities to promote blood platelet donation.

Enrich ESL, a Campus Y committee, received the campus organization award for its work to provide English tutoring to Chapel Hill’s Latino community. The goal of Enrich ESL is not only to offer valuable English tutoring services, but also to foster connections and understanding across lines of difference to address injustices and building stronger communities. Enrich ESL connects community members and UNC students, making campus more accessible to non-native community members, and connecting community members to other student organizations.

2013 award recipients

Barbara Renner, library services evaluation specialist with the Health Sciences Library, received the staff award for expanding the reach of the YOUR HEALTH radio program, produced by the department of family medicine, through a dynamic website.

Camille McGirt ’13, Gillings School of Global Public Health, received the undergraduate student award for her work with Healthy Girls Save the World which promotes healthy bodies, healthy minds and healthy relationships for young girls in the Chapel Hill area.

Meriwether Evans, a student in the School of Law, received the graduate student award for her work with the Pro Bono Program which ensures that individuals who have neither economic nor political means have the opportunity to actually pursue legal claims and rights.

Charlotte Stewart, a student in the School of Law, received the graduate student award for her work to help found the Orange County Homeless Court, a statewide Veterans Legal Resource Network and the ACLU Voting Rights Education Project.

Judith Blau, professor emeritus of sociology, received the faculty award for founding the Human Rights Center (HRC) of Chapel Hill and Carrboro through her service-learning classes and connections with other campus organizations.

Helping Youth by Providing Enrichment (HYPE), a Campus Y committee, received the campus organization award for its work to promote higher learning and university exposure to under-served students in the local area.

2012 award recipients

Allison Norman, a senior psychology major, received the Robert E. Bryan undergraduate student award for her work with Students Working for Environmental Action and Transformation (SWEAT), a Campus Y group committed to defending social justice through environmental initiatives.

Jeanne Cross, a masters student in the School of Social Work, received the graduate student award for her efforts to fight human trafficking, providing anti-trafficking community education to  North Carolinians and UNC classmates, and building partnerships among Carolina graduate students, North Carolina citizens and sex-trafficking survivors.

Nicole Hurd, executive director and founder of the National College Advising Corps, received the staff award for her work with the Corps, a program headquartered at UNC that works to increase the number of low-income, first-generation college and underrepresented students who enter and complete higher education.

2011 award recipients

Dr. Laura Linnan, associate professor in Health Behavior and Health Education, received the award for her contributions to workplace intervention research.

Claire Lorch, community outreach coordinator at the North Carolina Botanical Garden, received the award for her outstanding dedication to the Carolina Campus Community Garden.

Dr. Jason Jolley, senior research director at the Kenan Institute received the award for his work for Chatham County economic development strategic planning.

Dr. Lynne Vernon-Feagans, William C. Friday Distinguished Professor in the School of Education, received the award for her Targeted Reading Intervention project.

Tucker LaPrade, an English graduate student instructor, received the award for his English 101 service-learning class with Eno River State Park.

Lisa Pelehach ’12, who studied psychology and sociology, received the Robert E. Bryan Public Service Award for her efforts to create the SMART Mentoring program.

2010 award recipients

Karen Erickson, a professor of Allied Health Sciences, was honored for her work with Orange County Schools in implementing a reading model that began in Efland-Checks School and has now been implemented system-wide.

Jordan Treakle ’10, who studied International Studies, was honored as a founding member of FLO (Free, Local Organic) Foods.

Maggie West ’10, who Public Policy and Latin American Studies, was honored for her work with the Hunger Outreach and Poverty Eradication Project (HOPE) committee of the Campus Y.

Megan Jones ’10, who studied Journalism and Mass Communication, was honored for the Build a Block program of UNC Habitat.