APPLES Internships Offer New Summer Experiences

Eve Elliott, APPLES Summer Fellow

As every Carolina student knows, summertime brings many familiar things: sunshine, hometowns and hopefully a few months of fresh watermelon and ice cream. But for 40 Tar Heels, this season will be the start of something else. During the first weeks of summer, these students began service-learning internships with nonprofits and other organizations in the Triangle area and across the state.

These internships are part of the APPLES Service-Learning program through the Carolina Center for Public Service. Through this program, students engage in an immersive professional experience with local nonprofits, government agencies and other service organizations while receiving a stipend and course credit. The internships present students with the opportunity to explore a variety of fields including public policy, education, environmental sustainability and the arts. Funding for the internship program is provided by student fees, community partner funds and support from private donors and campus partnerships.

Interns also enroll in an online course relating to their service through the William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education and in partnership with the School of Social Work.

Eleanor Murray, a sophomore from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, just began her internship with the Campus Y at UNC-Chapel Hill. She will work closely with the CUBE, the Campus Y’s social venture incubator, to create tools, modules, and programs for student social entrepreneurship programming.

“My favorite part of my internship so far has been meeting and collaborating with the many amazing people who focus on social entrepreneurship for their careers,” Murray said.  “They have most definitely inspired me to question how I can make my own mark on campus.”

This year, APPLES also worked with UNC-Chapel Hill’s Institute of Politics (IOP) to help facilitate public service internships with political organizations and elected officials.

Caroline Carpenter, a junior from Elon, North Carolina and IOP internship coordinator, is excited about combining the goals and opportunities of these programs.

Carpenter said, “Both programs focus on creating public service opportunities and experiences beyond what you can obtain in a classroom setting, so it made sense to combine the two programs. We can offer students options in a wide array of areas that they might not be aware of if they just applied to one program. For example, those interested in environmental studies could apply to both the North Carolina Botanical Gardens and the City of Raleigh Sustainability Office.”

Sara Lafontaine, a junior from Cary, North Carolina, is one of the interns who found an opportunity with the IOP and APPLES. Hoping to learn more about environmental health policy, Lafontaine just started her internship with the City of Raleigh’s Office of Sustainability. Specifically, Lafontaine will be focusing on advocacy and policy service as she works to support the Community-wide Climate Action Plan (CCAP).

“I will be providing research to analyze the CCAP and determine if there are any alternative policies that could improve the plan,” said Lafontaine. “Furthermore, I will create an inventory of dates of meetings within every department, such as Waste, Energy and Carbon, to increase the efficiency within the Office of Sustainability.”

Lafontaine sees the internship as an opportunity to provide context to her environmental health policy studies at Carolina.

“I can apply service-learning ideas to my internship to understand from a people perspective the effects that the CCAP will have on those living in Raleigh and surrounding areas. I am interested in environmental health policy, and seeing the change that will happen this summer with the CCAP will be instrumental in helping me understand how policies are enacted in cities.”

Interns like Lafontaine will complete more than 300 hours of service and share their experiences with poster presentations at the end of the summer. Follow @unc_apples on Instagram for internship updates and spotlights.

 

Fifteenth class of UNC Buckley Public Service Scholars honored at graduation event

Chapel Hill, N.C. – The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will honor 322 seniors who dedicated themselves to service during their time at Carolina as Buckley Public Service Scholars (BPSS) from 5 – 7 p.m. on Friday, May 10 at a pre-graduation ceremony in Memorial Hall. All graduates will receive a Carolina blue and white cord to wear at commencement on May 12 to represent their achievement.

The Buckley Public Service Scholars program, led by the Carolina Center for Public Service, supports and strengthens Carolina students’ commitment to service by providing a framework to make a positive impact. BPSS participants build portfolios reflecting their learning and unique experiences throughout North Carolina, the nation and the world; connect with others who care about similar issues; and are involved in training and coursework designed to make their service more effective. More than 10 percent of Carolina undergraduates are currently enrolled in the BPSS program, representing 52 out of 77 majors on campus. The 2019 Buckley Public Service Scholars come from 53 North Carolina counties, 23 other states and three other countries. The 322 students graduating in the 2019 class of Buckley Public Service Scholars reported more than 161,000 hours of service in partnership with more than 1,000 organizations such as the Campus Y, the Compass Center for Women and Families and Carolina For The Kids. The students being honored join the 2,720 past BPSS graduates since 2004, bringing the total number of scholars to 3,042.

“These outstanding graduates have made service an integral part of their college experience by engaging with communities in ways that both contribute to those communities and enhance their own learning,” said Lynn Blanchard, director of the Carolina Center for Public Service. “They have made a difference for untold individuals and organizations, and I have no doubt they will take their commitment and what they have learned and continue their contributions far beyond their time in Chapel Hill.”

To receive formal recognition, BPSS participants must have a minimum GPA, document at least 300 hours of service, take one service-learning course, attend four skills-training workshops and complete a final reflection activity. Many of this year’s graduates surpassed these requirements; 10 students completed more than 1,000 hours of service and one student completed more than 2,000 hours of service.

Alexandra Braccia, a graduating scholar majoring in health policy and management reflected on her experience, noting that “[t]hrough the BPSS program, I have realized the inequalities in my own community and have used it as a driving force to better the lives of those who are marginalized. I now see service as a long-term impact instead of a one-time event. My ambition to impact the lives of others led me to the BPSS program. My aspiration to be a thoughtful leader led me to my lifelong commitment to public service.”

BPSS is supported by the Walter White Buckley Jr. Endowment. Learn more about each Buckley Public Service Scholar in the 2019 BPSS Bulletin.

About the Carolina Center for Public Service
The Center engages and supports the faculty, students and staff of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in meeting the needs of North Carolina and beyond. The Center strengthens the University’s public service commitment by promoting scholarship and service that are responsive to the concerns of the state and contribute to the common good.

Carolina Center for Public Service contact: Lynn Blanchard, (919) 843-7568, blanchard@unc.edu

2019 Buckley Public Service Scholar graduates by North Carolina county, state and country:

Photos available by request.

Alamance – Evan Walker Davis, Angelica Maria Villanueva

Alexander – Cere Elizabeth Poovey

Beaufort – Taylor Jane Abele

Bertie – Emma Hughson

Brunswick – Callie O’Quinn Hucks

Buncombe – Casey Aurora DeMarco, Suhani Gupta, Briana Juanita Humes, Raquelle LeBlanc, Pooja Patel, Jacob Carter Richardson, Seth Jordyn Weir, Nicholas Wells, Anne Worth, Jane Jung-Ah Yang
Burke – Savannah Kate Putnam, Ciara Marie Smith, Lourdes Velasquez

Cabarrus – Austin Alpern, Evan Joshua Alpern, Mikayla Bowen, Anna Catherine Fowler, Amber M. Goodwin, Madison Brooke Jenkins, Taylor Janvier Medlock, Arnoluck Lucky Prachith, Lily Marie Schwartz, Anna Catherine Silver, Rachel Anne Silver, Katherine Anne Thayer, Lauren Avery West

Camden – Megan Shanell Griffin, Lydia Shiel

Caswell – Jonathan Rashad McCain

Chatham – Marissa Nicole Devine, Yeimi Tomas Garcia

Cleveland – Marian Gabrielle Knotts

Craven – Tala Hong Dunn

Cumberland – Krupa Kaneria, Farial Rahman, Stephen Xiao

Dare – Mary Alice Blackstock

Davidson – Mabry Joye Harrison, Spencer Waters Cooke, MaryKate Murray

Durham – Jordan Rose Bermudez, Laurina Bird, Kendall Conder, Hannah Factor, Mary Katherine Falgout, Alyson Jordan, Leah LeClair, Anna Lin, Sofia Ocegueda, Nadezhda Parashkevova, John Brent Roberson, Mitchell Slentz

Forsyth – Kendall Marie Anderson, Carly Bess Cannoy, Javier A. Chacon, Megan Cruz, Sarah Nicole Kelly, Stephanie Elizabeth Martin, Kelly McNeil, Richard Denton Ong, Corinne Nicole Spencer, Tess Everton Stogner, Anjali Venkat, Israa Wajih

Gaston – Derrick Kane Cooper, Kaelan Patrice Forbes, Adina Girmay

Guilford – Annie Chen, Susan Chen, Angelica Ford, Hannah Godat, Hannah Harrington Gray, Eric Seokjin Hong, Asia DaShay Moore, Pooja Parvathaneni, Ayashe Ramey, Mickaela Kenshe’ Smith, Sarah Elizabeth Smith, Grace Stafford

Harnett – Andrea Doni Hawley, Madalyn Q. Marshall

Haywood – Madison Ryan Robinson

Henderson – Maliha Khan, Mary Claire McCarthy, Janki Patel

Iredell – Addison Elizabeth Troutman

Jackson – Kaitlyn Karcher, Samantha M. Zarnick

Johnston – Jessica Joyce Mencia, Neal MacKendrick Quinn, Kayli Watson

Lincoln – Finn Loendorf, Taylor Brooke Stamey

Martin – Bailey Nelson

Madison – Anna Lynne Zimmerman

Macon – Margaret McAllister

Mecklenburg – Sanah Ahmed, Savannah Jaye Barnwell, Alexandra L. Braccia, Emma Burri, Amy Christine Burton, Abigail Cmiel, Anna Rose DeGrauw, Grace Catherine DeSena, Aanini Dwivedi, Allison Jane Eidson, Laleh Emadi-Paramkouhi, Hope McCleese Gehle, Lauren Glaze, Ana Karen Guerrero De Lerma, Katherine Heffner, Erica Hennes, Jane Elizabeth Henriques, Hira Javed, Ashe Jones, Theresa Marie Jones, Esther Lee, Eleanor Grace Lewis, Christopher Anh Huy Ly, Jodi-Ann McDonald, Kathryn Otto, Asha Patel, Bryanna Patterson, Sonia Payerpaj, Elissa Scherer, Haley Schilly, Mary Selzer, Molina Shah, Sarah Lucille Thames, Jordan Thomas, Thi Vu, Kathryn Ann Wright, Aliyah Hadiya Young

Montgomery – Tania Vargas

Nash – Deshawn Dazevedo, Alexia Lucas

New Hanover – Victoria Drake, Aisling Spencer Henihan, Cecilia Ann King, Maura Lee Kitchens, Evan Linett, Mary Elizabeth Pasquariello

Northampton – Kayela Elizabeth Buffaloee

Onslow – Jerry Fung, Magdalene Christine Horzempa, Hannah Mae John

Orange – Christian Cook, Emma Deschene, Elizabeth Kendrick Essen, Micah Holzer, Grace Seeun Jung, Anna Knotek, Elspeth McWilliam-Grench, Quinn Soleil Osment, Vatsal Parikh, Austin Elizabeth Regnerus, Blaire Sobolewski, Maya Ziva Stang Weinberg

Pasquatonk – Herminio J. Nunez

Pender – Gladys Sanchez, Cole Dalton Smith

Person – Heather Ashley Victoria Swain

Pitt – S. Jessica Bolin, Alexis Hawk, Meghan Aileen Moloney, Amanda Elie Osta

Polk – Sarah Jean Phipps

Randolph – Hanan Raji Alazzam, Manuel Badillo, Miles Farlow, Faith Kidd, Matthew S. Queen, Anne Thomas Whitener

Robeson – Sara Lindsey Barfield

Rowan – Erin Kathleen Ansbro, Caroline Mae Billingsley

Rutherford – Assem Manoj Patel

Scotland – Katie Ashlyn Collins

Stanly – Cassie Briann Almond

Surry – Mackenzie Delaine Ammann, Mary Beth Browne, Jai Angeli Daniels

Union – Sierra Kay Dunne, Mariah Caroline Harrelson, Esther Youjin Lee, Jennifer Yijun Na, Meera Parikh, Lacey Frances Rowan

Vance – Dan’Tayia Kyanna Marable, Justin Lee Williford

Wake – Elijah Allen, Sarah Arney, Azraa Samin Ayesha, Alexander Paul Bianchi, Zachary Burk, Richard Chen, Amy Cohen, Adelaide Rosalie Cooke, Christiana Maria Cornea, Molly M. Crabb, Jonathan Michael Daw, Ashley Morgan Dibbert, Zareen Farooqui, Erin Nicole Floyd, Meghana Ganapathiraju, Katherine Nicole Gora Combs, Atiyah Javeé Hamilton, Kristina Massey Heyward, Isabelle Hirschy, Kylie Marie Hodge, Madison Hurst, Ebahi Ikharo, Vishal Iyer, Pooja Joshi, Muznah Khan, Hoon Kong, Milena Korobkina, Sean Michael Fassberg Kurz, Victoria Kwon, Brennan Lewis, Sabrina Corin Madrigal, Meghan Alyse Malone, Jordan Mareno, Kristin Elizabeth Olson, Kasie Omile, Arielle Patra, Madeline Ray, Robert Gabriel Richter, Ryan Rinehart, Zachary Ripberger, Carolena Robertson, Lyndee Yi Shi, Margaret Smith, Sumati Sridhar, Joanne Mary Thayil, Michael Ward, Shannon Wu, Luann C. Zhao, Xueqi Zhu

Wayne – Natalie Elyse Brown, Jessica Youngeun Lee

Wilson – Brianna Elizabeth Small

STATES:

Arizona – Srinithi Suresh

California – Anna Claire Boyce, Briana King

Colorado – Isabella Courtenay-Morris, Elizabeth Manguso, Courtney Elisabeth Oran, Nikola Yager

Connecticut – Jessica Grace Chen, Alexis K Hartigan, Olivia Ilse O’Malley, Allison Savino, Caitlin Young

Delaware – Derek Mann

District of Columbia – Cassandra Mason

Florida – Dhanesh Rishi Budhram, Erica Maria Garcia, Sarah Sinclair Green, Cassidy Hampton, Valeria Infante, Sancia Noriega, Molly Riesenberger, Eryn Upton

Georgia – Margaux Madison Johnson-Green, Esther Hyeyoung Kwon, Viviane Mao, Vishnu Ramachandran, Isabella Reiss, Rida Shams, Smriti Singh

Hawaii – Tianzhen Nie

Illinois – Zoe Ellyce Brown, Elizabeth Ann Clifford, Keely Ann Kriho, Carolyn Anne Niersbach

Kentucky – Nicole Moore

Maryland – Rachel Allen, Allison Blair, Angum Whitney Check, Lauren Demko, Cassidy Allyn Lynch, Genevieve India Victoria Molyneaux

Massachusetts – Elizabeth Doyle, Bianca Vanessa Rosato

Minnesota – Maureen Desmond, Polly Sjoberg

New Jersey – Ayana E. King, Adesh Ranganna

New York – Anish Bhatia, Mia Collins, Julia Corbett, Jacquelyn Rose Elizabeth Melinek, Olivia Sedita, Kat Tan

Ohio – Allison Anne Carter

Pennsylvania – Pragnya Dontu, Jamie Hutchison, Amanda Claire Simmons

South Carolina – Sarah Dunn Wade

Texas – Alexis Elder, Justin James Pacher

Virginia – Anita Bhavesh Amin, Sreya Atluri, Brandon Randolph Ivey, Sarah Victoria Modlin, Evan Myers, Caroline Elizabeth Taheri

West Virginia – Emilee Nicole Armstrong, Noah Mancuso

Wisconsin – Shivani Kumar

INTERNATIONAL:

China – Yirun Li, Jiacheng Liu, Zeyun Xue

United Kingdom – Constance Elizabeth Longmate, Beni Mathieu

South Africa – Michelle Hugo

-Carolina-

Building Community

A member of the first cohort of the Carolina Center for Public Service’s MacDonald Community Service Scholars program, graduating senior Hanan Alazzam has spent more than 1,000 hours over the past three years putting others before herself.

By Brandon Bieltz, University Communications

Hanan Alazzam’s time at Carolina has never been solely about her.

It’s been about the 6-year-olds she has tutored for hours at the Hargraves Community Center. It’s been about setting an example for her sister by becoming the first person in their family to graduate from college. It’s been about all the children she plans to help as a pediatrician.

Alazzam has spent more than 1,000 of hours over the past three years putting others before herself.

But for one day this weekend, it’ll be all about her. On Sunday morning, Alazzam will celebrate her own successes as she graduates from Carolina with a bachelor’s degree in biology and minors in chemistry and Spanish for the profession.

“I feel so accomplished,” Alazzam said. “My parents worked so much to get this for me. I will be the first person in my family to have a college degree, and it’s from the University of North Carolina. That’s crazy.”

Graduation will also be a celebration of all the ways Alazzam has given back to the Chapel Hill community during her time at Carolina.

She is part of the first cohort of the Carolina Center for Public Service’s MacDonald Community Service Scholars program, which helps students increase their commitment, knowledge and skills related to community service. As a MacDonald Scholar, Alazzam engaged in more than 1,000 hours of community service, including building a literacy program at a community center and providing Spanish translation services for local nonprofits.

“It was such a great experience,” she said. “It definitely defined my experience here at Carolina. It changed me into the person I am. I’m not the same person I was when I was in high school. All of the mentorship and assistance I received from the program was incredible.”

MacDonald Scholars enroll in various courses on leadership and service and are required to conduct 1,000 hours of community service while in college. Alazzam had already completed her general education requirements before she enrolled at Carolina so she had just three years to complete her service hours.

“A thousand hours of community [service] is very daunting at first,” she said. “I really needed to hit the ground running.”

With aspirations of becoming a pediatrician in her hometown of Asheboro, Alazzam knew she wanted to spend her time volunteering with children, gaining experience communicating with her future patients.

Her service-based work in the Chapel Hill community began through the Campus Y’s Helping Youth by Providing Enrichment program, which connects UNC-Chapel Hill students with underserved community centers throughout the area.

Alazzam was assigned to the Hargraves Community Center, where she tutored elementary school students. Those hours each week, she said, were her “time to let loose” and step away from her coursework.

“Through this fellowship and all the community service, I got to see the true heart of the Chapel Hill community,” she said. “It helped me be a part of something bigger than myself.”

When she learned the center lacked the necessary reading materials to support the students who attend programs there, Alazzam launched a project to provide audio players, audiobooks and physical books for the center, giving young students access to challenging books and making literacy materials more accessible.

Over her three years at Carolina, she picked up other service projects including volunteering at a pediatrician’s office and working as a Spanish specialist and translator with Volunteers for Youth in Carrboro.

“There’s always room for improvement anywhere you go,” she said. “Even if something is fine and good, you can always do something to help make it better. It makes me feel incredible that one person can make a big difference.”

As she prepares to graduate this week and looks toward medical school, Alazzam is also saying goodbye to the community that has helped shape her for the past three years.

“I’m so excited to see what it is they’re going to do and who they’re going to become,” she said of the students she’s tutored. “I’m so sad to see them go because I feel like they’re my little siblings.

“I really built my small community and my family here.”

CCPS Director Lynn Blanchard receives prestigious Massey Award for meritorious service

By University Gazette

lynn blanchard sitting at desk

In recognition of her “unusual, meritorious or superior contributions,” Lynn White Blanchard, Director of the Carolina Center for Public Service (CCPS) will receive one of six 2019 C. Knox Massey Distinguished Service Awards. Chosen from campus-wide nominations by Interim Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz, recipients will be honored at an April 27 awards luncheon. Each winner receives a $10,000 stipend and an award citation.

“These amazing colleagues who, through their dedicated work and commitment to excellence, continually up the pace of progress at the Carolina we cherish and love,” Guskiewicz said. “We thank them for their service to our University and our state. They are the soul of this most public of the public universities.”

The late C. Knox Massey of Durham established the award in 1980. In 1984, Massey joined the families of his son, Knox Massey Jr., and daughter, Kay Massey Weatherspoon, to create the Massey-Weatherspoon fund. Income from the fund supports the Massey Awards and Carolina Seminars. This year marks the award’s 40th anniversary.

Blanchard has elevated Carolina into one of the nation’s top universities for community engagement and service-learning. She earned a master’s and a doctorate in health behavior from Carolina, where she currently holds a faculty appointment in the Gillings School of Global Public Health. Since 2002, she has been director of the Carolina Center for Public Service. The center is home to APPLES Service-Learning, Buckley Public Service Scholars Program, Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars Program and coordination of the University’s disaster response. In the aftermath of Hurricanes Michael and Florence in 2018, Blanchard organized relief efforts that included more than 60,000 pounds of supplies delivered to affected areas. Throughout her career, Blanchard has been a champion of the role higher education can play in addressing society’s pressing issues and improving community through the concept of engaged teaching, research and service.

Congratulations to Lynn for this well-deserved honor!

Getting Ready for Alternative Spring Break

By Justin Williford

For many University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill students, spring break 2019 was a time to engage with the state and region that they call home. With APPLES Service-Learning, a program of the Carolina Center for Public Service, over 50 students participated in the Alternative Spring Break trip. The student-led, staff-supported program combines academic learning in the classroom with an immersive eight-day service experience during spring break.

Robert Pleasants, Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Gillings School of Global Public Health and instructor for the Alternative Spring Break course, says that the course is designed for students to reflect on their own definitions of service and what makes service effective. In the course, participants read literature and have critical discussions related to better practices in engaged service. Students approach their Alternative Spring Break experience through a lens of asset-based sustainable social change, with an emphasis on listening to the community-identified needs.

“[The course] allows you to think about what service means to you and find ways to lead a life of integrity where you put that into practice,” said Pleasants. Through an emphasis on group collaboration and hearing the perspectives of others, students take what they gain from their in-class dialogues, and apply them to their own philosophies of service.


Giving Back to North Carolina

student rebuilding house affected by hurricaneService-learning students spent their spring breaks providing community service throughout the state and the region.

Story by Emilie Poplett, University Communications
Video by Rob Holliday, University Communications

While many Carolina students spent spring break traveling to tropical destinations for a week of well-deserved leisure, others used the time off to serve the state and region they call home.

Through the APPLES Service-Learning program’s Alternative Spring Break course, five groups of students traveled across North Carolina and Alabama to help address social issues impacting communities firsthand.

Their projects ranged from assisting with hurricane relief in Belhaven to serving at a food pantry in Lumberton, but Robert Pleasants said all students should take away an understanding of how to help their communities effectively.

“The Alternative Spring Break course is designed so that students can really have a chance to reflect on what service means to them, and also to help them think about what effective service is, what good service is,” said Pleasants, who teaches the course at the Carolina Center for Public Service.

Throughout the semester, Pleasants guides students on how to build meaningful relationships with the communities they serve.

Jeremy Baslious, a junior business administration major who is co-leading a trip to Robeson County, North Carolina, said the Alternative Spring Break class has given him insight into the mutually beneficial nature of service.

“I’ve come to realize that genuine community service often serves those who do the service more than the people being served,” Baslious said. “It’s so interesting being able to look locally and say, ‘Wow, I’m an hour away from here by car, and there’s this entire world that I haven’t been exposed to and could really benefit from learning a lot about.’”

group of students waving to camera from work siteDuring the trip to Robeson County, Baslious’s group met with members of the Lumbee Native American tribe to learn about challenges they face as a community, including environmental degradation in the area and misrepresentations of their culture in the news media.

Another group visited Belhaven, North Carolina, to help homeowners who were affected by hurricane Florence. The team worked to stabilize homes’ foundations to prevent future damage.

“We hope that if future flooding comes, [the homeowners] are not going to have to go through this process again,” said Carol-Ann Smith, a junior economics major and co-leader of the trip.

While Baslious’s and Smith’s groups became acquainted with rural parts of the state, another group visited Charlotte — the most populous city in North Carolina and one of the fastest growing cities in America.

Erin Ansbro, a senior biology and environmental studies major and co-leader of the Charlotte trip, said the trip focused on some of the socioeconomic challenges Charlotte faces and allowed students to learn from the nonprofits that have risen to combat those challenges.

Ansbro said she hopes her classmates will learn how to build on a community’s strengths to help address widespread issues like poverty and domestic violence.

“I think the most successful nonprofits are the ones that are based in the community and created by local community members,” she said. “Those are the organizations that are most sustainable. You can feel the difference — you can tell they care. They see people suffering in their community, and they want to make a change.”

She also hopes the trip showed students another side of the state they love, giving them the opportunity to experience and learn from communities different from their own.

Pleasants believes the class will inspire students to continue participating in community service in some way throughout their lives.

“[The class] really helps them think about what service means to them and find ways to then live a life of integrity where they can put that into practice,” he said.

Carolina honors 11 individuals and groups for public service

Chapel Hill, N.C. – Disaster preparedness trainings, pro bono legal assistance and a performance program for children with autism were some of the projects recognized at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s 2019 Public Service Awards celebration on April 1. The annual event is hosted by the Carolina Center for Public Service.

Della Pollock, professor in the Department of Communication, received the 2019 Ned Brooks Award for Public Service to honor her distinguished and sustained record of service to Carolina and the larger community. She has inspired students through innovative courses, mentorship and leadership. For more than a decade, her service-learning courses have connected students with community partners and often resulted in continued engagement long after the coursework is done. Pollock also serves as the founding Executive Director of the Marian Cheek Jackson Center, a nonprofit with the mission to honor, renew and build community in the historic Northside and Pine Knolls neighborhoods of Chapel Hill.

Winners of the Office of the Provost Engaged Scholarship Awards, which honor individuals and campus units for public service through engaged teaching, research and partnership, are:

  • Meg Landfried, assistant professor in the Gillings School of Global Public Health, was recognized for engaged teaching for her work to develop the Health Behavior Capstone course for the Master of Public Health program. This community-led, group-based service-learning course allows students to apply their academic training to community-identified public health projects in partnership with local organizations. Each team of MPH students works with a partner organization and its stakeholders to address an overarching goal and enhance the partner organization’s mission.
  • Meghan Shanahan, research assistant professor in the Gillings School of Global Public Health, was recognized as an engaged researcher for her work addressing major public health issues in North Carolina in collaboration with stakeholders and partner agencies from across the state. Her projects have included evaluating the implementation of federal legislation in North Carolina, informing strategies to prevent child maltreatment deaths, opioid use among formerly incarcerated individuals and helping ensure healthy development among the state’s public school children.
  • Stephanie Kiser, director of rural health and wellness in the Eshelman School of Pharmacy, received a partnership award for her disaster preparedness work with Buncombe County and the State of North Carolina. Over the past three years, this partnership has recruited students and faculty members to collaboratively design and implement annual disaster preparedness training for mass drug distribution and 2 vaccine administration, focusing on areas of need identified by state and county partners. The partnership has helped local public health departments meet training requirements, identify critical gaps, establish relationships for maintaining a trained volunteer workforce and ensure the county can respond effectively to public health emergencies.
  • Sonda Oppewal, associate professor in the School of Nursing, received a partnership award for her work to promote community partnerships over the past 17 years. These partnerships range from certification of Adult Day Centers to providing disaster relief in Biloxi, Miss. after Hurricane Katrina to Project Homeless Connect. Since 2009, Oppewal has also led an interdisciplinary service-learning course in Tyrrell County, N.C. with community partners to help students better understand the social determinants of health.
  • The Humanities for the Public Good initiative in the College of Arts and Sciences received Special Recognition from the Office of the Provost for its leadership in public service and engaged scholarship. Humanities for the Public Good is a four-year $1.5-million initiative intended to recognize and catalyze publicly engaged scholarly activity among humanists and humanistic social scientists at UNC-Chapel Hill. Initiated by Terry Rhodes, Interim Dean of the College, with support from the Institute for the Arts & Humanities and funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the initiative offers grants and programmatic opportunities primarily aimed at graduate students and faculty in partnership with cultural institutions within and beyond the academy.

Winners of the Robert E. Bryan Public Service Award, which recognizes students, staff and faculty for exemplary public service efforts, are:

  • 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 and professional 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 3 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.

-Carolina-

Uncovering histories

Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholar Anna Agbie-DaviesA past Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholar through the Carolina Center for Public Service and associate professor in the College of Arts & Sciences’ anthropology department, Anna Agbe-Davies works with community partners both in the Triangle and across the country to excavate history and share it with a broader audience.

Here she shares some of her most rewarding discoveries.

By Emilie Poplett, University Communications

What does a historical archaeologist do?

We’re trying to understand the lives of individuals and societies in the modern period by looking at the things they left behind. It’s like a detective story. You’re putting together all these clues. It’s a lot like forensics in that sense. You look at all these bits of evidence, and you try to create a living picture out of them.

Why is archaeology an essential part of understanding history?

I think a big part of it is that if you’re trying to understand the past through the things that people write down, there’s this whole selection process. Some things might not be expressed candidly. People don’t censor the objects around them the way that they censor their language.

The material record is a great opportunity to just have a completely different perspective on the past. It’s an independent data source, and it has biases, but they’re different biases. Just like it’s important to have many different people trying to solve a problem, it’s important to have many types of data to answer a question.

Can you tell us a little bit about your Pauli Murray Project? What did you discover at her home?
Pauli Murray was fundamentally a human rights activist who was engaged in the struggle against racism and sexism in the 20th century. She got her start in Durham, where she grew up, but she had a global impact. She was an attorney, an author, and a priest and a poet, among her accomplishments, and she helped craft the arguments that were the basis of Brown v. Board of Education.

One of the things that we discovered at her home was the efforts of her family to try to mitigate some of the environmental racism they were experiencing. The home is near a cemetery, which is higher up on the hill than the house, and all the water ran through the cemetery directly into their foundation. So, at that time she saw how structural racism works in a pretty concrete way. We got to understand how they responded to that by tracking the record of her grandfather’s complaints to the city, but we also uncovered drains and brick features they put in place themselves to divert the water. Seeing the material evidence of what they did physically to their space to cope was really a revelation.

The folks at the Pauli Murray Project brought me on board when they realized that the city’s efforts to finally fix the drainage problem, and the Project’s plans to restore the house, might damage archaeological evidence that could speak to Murray’s life there.

How does your current research build on that work?

I’m combining the study of the Pauli Murray house with a project I did previously on the Phyllis Wheatley Home for Girls in Chicago. They’re both places where African-American women were engaged in or prompted to do civic activism.

In the case of Pauli Murray’s home, she wrote an autobiography, so we have a lot of insight into her perspective on her own life, and she talks about how segregated Durham didn’t provide a lot of resources for black people. The neighborhoods they lived in were underserved and often in very bad shape, so she gives a lot of descriptions about what life was like in her neighborhood and in her home. So, there are interesting comparisons and contrasts. [The Phyllis Wheatley Home] was a residence as well as a place where people had job placement assistance and vocational training — a whole suite of services that they felt that women new to the city would need. Black women founded it to serve other black women. So, these are both interesting places to learn about their ideas about rights and to observe the physical evidence of the world they lived in and were trying to transform.

How does your work fit into the larger mission of the archaeology department at Carolina?

A lot of my colleagues work internationally or elsewhere in the U.S., and my work adds to that by giving us a sense of what North Carolina used to be, what we are now, and what we might be in the future.

Another point is that a lot of times there are barriers to students participating in archaeology, so there are a lot of good social justice reasons for giving people a chance to try archaeology in a place that is convenient to them. And selfishly I feel so much more connected and rooted to where I live because I’m also exploring it as a research topic. There’s so much to learn about this area.

There’s a saying that goes, “Dig where you stand.” The person credited with coining it is a historian, but it works really well for archaeology! There are amazing stories wherever you are, and archaeology is just one tool among many to make those stories more obvious and available to the rest of the world. I have this skill set that involves taking sites apart — reconstructing people’s experiences through the things that they leave behind — and if I can then tell those stories or present them in a form that’s accessible to a broader audience, it’s an awesome opportunity. I get lost in it.

As we celebrate Black History Month, what do you want people to know about the history you’ve uncovered as an archaeologist?

I think the thing that I’ve taken away is the incredible resilience and creativity of people. My original training was working in the colonial period, so I’ve done a lot of work on plantations, which means confronting slavery. It’s important to lay bare the structural forces that allow that kind of exploitation. It’s also fascinating to see how people’s lives unfolded in that context and their individual humanity. They’re not just cogs in this terrible wheel called racism, and when you excavate sites where they lived and worked and you spend day after day with the things that they used, that really hits home.