December BPSS graduate reflects on the impact of being a SMART mentor

Hope Gehle, a senior biology major at UNC-Chapel Hill, creates sidewalk art with the eighth grade student she has worked with since 2017 as a part of the SMART Mentoring program.

By Rowan Gallaher and Sarah Leck

As Winter Commencement approaches, senior students find themselves preparing for a new chapter in their lives as college graduates. Among the hundreds of Carolina undergraduates who will receive their diplomas on Sunday, Dec. 16, Hope Gehle, a biology major from Charlotte, North Carolina, is one of the 14 who will graduate as Buckley Public Service Scholars (BPSS).

The BPSS distinction goes beyond the blue and white cords that scholars wear around their necks on graduation day. Graduating as a service scholar means a student has obtained a GPA of 3.0 or higher, attended skills trainings and service-learning courses and performed more than 300 hours of public service during their time at Carolina.

For many graduates, including Gehle, it also means something deeper.

“My mission as a Buckley Public Service Scholar is to be a continuous and overflowing vessel of love,” Gehle said.

For Gehle, many of her service hours happened through her involvement with SMART Mentoring, a BPSS program that facilitates mentoring relationships with local middle-school students from low-income communities through its partnership with Volunteers for Youth. It was a perfect fit for Gehle, who knew she wanted to get involved with service even before she arrived at Carolina.

“As I watched my friends tutor and lead high schoolers through other organizations, I sought out opportunities to care holistically for another student,” she said. “SMART Mentoring was the perfect program.”

By May 2019, Gehle will have worked with her mentee from sixth to eighth grade. Executive Director of Volunteers for Youth Susan Worley noted that this consistency is the key to a successful mentoring relationship.

“Hope’s dedication over these last years has been so instrumental in her mentee’s life, who said she didn’t know who she would be without Hope as a mentor,” Worley said.

In addition to her mentoring responsibilities, Gehle also served as a co-chair for the organization. Gehle and her SMART peers worked to create a safe environment where mentees could share and verbally process life’s challenging situations, ranging from body image issues to “far-fetched scientific curiosities.”

Gehle’s experience with SMART Mentoring and BPSS has helped to cultivate her passion for service and inspire her to enter the medical field. Following graduation Gehle will work as a lab assistant in Chapel Hill and hopes to eventually enroll into the UNC School of Medicine.

“I hope to administer my gifts and talents for the entirety of my life— in my relationships and my career. There is always reason to serve and I hope that I would lead my neighbors to serve from the heart as well,” said Gehle.

Together, all 14 BPSS graduates have completed nearly 400 projects with more than 150 community partners. The Carolina Center for Public Service (CCPS) congratulates the BPSS December 2018 graduating class on their hard work and dedication as service scholars.

Anum Imran Honored for Community Service


By Tyler Toohey, Campus Y

UNC-Chapel Hill student Anum Imran has been recognized for outstanding leadership and service by North Carolina Campus Compact, a statewide network of colleges and universities with a shared commitment to civic engagement. Imran is a recipient of the network’s Community Impact Award, which honors one student leader at each school.

Read more about Anum, a Buckley Public Service Scholars participant.

Finn Loendorf: Commitment to service

By Rowan Gallaher

Finn Loendorf, a senior physics major from Denver, North Carolina, loves science and serving in the community by working with youth. Thanks to the MacDonald Community Fellowship, Loendorf brought these interests together during summer 2018.

Loendorf, a member of Carolina’s inaugural class of MacDonald Community Service Scholars, participated in the Buckley Public Service Scholars program and the First-Year Service Corps through the Carolina Center for Public Service. These experiences led Loendorf to launch an independent service project designed to increase the exposure and interest in science topics among underserved youth in the Chapel Hill area.

Alumnus Scott MacDonald ’72 M.R.P. created the Scott D. MacDonald Community Service Scholarships and the MacDonald Community Fellowship in 2015. The Fellowship provides specialized training and funding for students to identify and implement a public service project with a community partner.

“I believe everyone who has received education and is successful, has an obligation to help others who follow,” said MacDonald. “I also believe people who are in need would benefit from the efforts of socially motivated university students…”

Loendorf agrees. “Helping others is just the right thing to do. It’s everyone’s responsibility to do what they can to make the world a better place.”

As a first-year student, Loendorf tutored with Boomerang Youth Inc., and noticed how tutoring supported students in both their schoolwork and personal lives. During summer 2018, Loendorf continued this work with seven middle-school students by implementing a week-long program, Full STEAM Ahead, that involved coding activities, science experiments and literary arts.

“The students explored science through different exciting activities, such as an aluminum foil boat-making competition, coding LEDs with an Arduino microcontroller, and making rock candy. The students also completed a project where they built a volcano and used scientific properties learned throughout the week to make them erupt,” Loendorf said.

Tami Pfeifer, Boomerang’s executive director, saw Loendorf’s ability to make science engaging for the students and create enthusiasm for the upcoming school year.

“Finn is an outstanding Boomerang volunteer who provides academic support to our students during the school year,” Pfeifer said. “Through Finn’s dedication, commitment and access to resources from the [MacDonald] fellowship, we were able to carry that academic connection into the summer.”

The students ended the week-long camp with a renewed sense of excitement for learning and an even stronger support system. On the surface level, constructing paper-mâché volcanoes is a fun activity, but Loendorf also highlights the value of teamwork and self-expression that the camp facilitated.

“No gesture is too small. The ripple effect of kindness and caring for others can spread in unpredictable and wonderful ways,” Loendorf said.

225 years of Tar Heels: Marjorie Buckley

marjorie buckley headshotMarjorie Buckley co-founded the Carolina Center for Public Service in 1999 to continue the University’s tradition of giving back to the state.

By University Communications

Carolina has a long and proud history of public service, and for the past nearly 20 years, the Carolina Center for Public Service has been at the heart of that effort.

One of the forces behind the center was Marjorie Bryan Buckley, who co-founded CCPS in 1999. CCPS offers programs that support service and engagement, providing students, faculty and staff with ways to explore opportunities, learn new skills and link their academic endeavors to making a difference across North Carolina and beyond.

In 2004, Buckley received the General Alumni Association Distinguished Service Medal, which honors alumni and others who have provided outstanding service to the GAA and/or the University.

“The center is dear to Marjorie because it teaches Carolina students and faculty a truth that has been central to her own life: Each person has talents and resources they ought to offer their community in service,” the award citation noted.

Buckley, who graduated from Carolina in 1962 with a bachelor’s degree in education, was also instrumental in establishing the North Carolina Outward Bound School in 1967. She still serves as an honorary board member. Because of her work with the school, Buckley received the Kurt Hahn Award in 1992, Outward Bound’s highest form of recognition.

Buckley also received an honorary degree from Carolina in 2014.

Helping our Neighbors after Hurricane Florence

More than a dozen Carolina students spent their fall break helping in the recovery efforts in some North Carolina communities that were among the hardest hit by Hurricane Florence.

By Aaron Moger, University Communications

The students assisted in food and water distribution centers and helped clean flooded homes.

“The Carolina community has proven time and again that they are willing and ready to assist our neighbors who are going through this recovery process,” said Becca Bender, student programs officer at the Carolina Center for Public Service. “I think the fact that Carolina students and staff are willing to give time over the break to travel to other communities and help, shows that Tar Heels understand the impacts of these disasters and that it is a responsibility to our state to assist in the recovery.”

Bender spent fall break leading a group of students to Pollocksville, North Carolina, where they worked at a water and meal distribution center. In the days following Hurricane Florence, four feet of water covered the town’s streets.

“Pollocksville is a tiny town in eastern North Carolina that was severely affected by Hurricane Florence and does not have much infrastructure to bounce back quickly,” Bender said. “I think it is important for UNC volunteers to see a small community’s relief efforts.”

More than two hours west of Pollocksville, another group of Carolina students were helping a community in any way it could.

As part of the Carolina Center for Public Service’s APPLES Service-Learning program, a group of Tar Heels spent three days in Robeson County volunteering in relief centers and assisting in repairing houses damaged by flooding.

“We originally came to Lumberton because it’s a place where APPLES has continuously gone for each break,” said group co-leader Amy Cockerham, a junior. “This year we’re doing disaster relief because that’s what’s relevant.”

Initially, the service trip to Robeson County was scheduled to work with members of the Lumbee Tribe to learn about issues facing the area, but the storm quickly changed the students’ plans to help community members in need.

“The hurricane came out of nowhere and there’s a lot of disaster relief projects to be done. We shifted half of our trip to do so,” said Michelle He, a co-leader of the APPLES group. “There’s so much disaster, and there’s so much help that is needed. It’s worth giving up my fall break to help everyone.”

Ten faculty members selected for Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars program

Ten faculty members at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill were recently selected for the seventh class of Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars (FES). These scholars will develop projects in partnership with community programs like the North Carolina Treatment program and the National Child traumatic Stress Network. These organizations are working to help implement various therapeutic practices and further advance research methodology.

Leaders in their respective fields, these 10 faculty members will participate in the two-year program sponsored by the Carolina Center for Public Service. The program brings together selected faculty from across campus to engage in an experiential, competency-based curriculum designed to advance their engaged scholarship. The ten faculty members selected are:

• Cheryl Bolick, associate professor, School of Education
• Jada Brooks, assistant professor, School of Nursing
• Shauna Cooper, associate professor, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
• Sarah Dempsey, assistant chair and associate professor, Department of Communication
• Amelia Gibson, assistant professor, School of Information and Library Science
• Byron Powell, assistant professor, Department of Health Policy and Management
• Danielle Spurlock, assistant professor, Department of City and Regional Planning
• Jessica Williams, assistant professor, School of Nursing
• Amy Wilson, assistant professor, School of Social Work
• Courtney Woods, assistant professor, Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering

Every other year, eight to 10 faculty members are selected to participate in the program aimed at understanding and pursuing community engagement through scholarly endeavors. During the two-year program, scholars participate in sessions in community settings focused on exemplary University-community partnerships. While developing their own projects with community partners, scholars form a learning community with the course directors providing guidance and support. Dr. Ronald Strauss serves as faculty director and Melvin Jackson as community director.

In 2013, the Chancellor Holden Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars Endowment was established at the Carolina Center for Public Service. The endowment was created with a $1 million gift from an anonymous donor to name and support the Center’s Faculty Engaged Scholars program.

Since the program began in 2007, 63 faculty members have been selected from 12 schools and 21 departments to participate in the program. The growing network of Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars reports outcomes including new interdisciplinary collaborations, successful grant applications and both traditional and non-traditional products of their scholarship. Through these efforts, the program continues to build strong university-community relationships.

Eighty students reach more than 500 service hours through SLI

SLI fall 2018 studentsService is interwoven into the Carolina experience. So much so that over three days before classes even start, 80 students – 62 first-year students and 18 student leaders – have already given more than 500 hours of service working with 13 organizations in the Chapel Hill – Carrboro community.

Through APPLES Service-Learning Initiative (SLI), a unique student-led introduction to service-learning and the local Chapel Hill-Carrboro community, incoming first-year and transfer students learn about and work with APPLES community partners, become more aware of local social justice issues, form lasting friendships with other engaged students and are introduced to reflection as a tool for making meaning out of service experiences.

“SLI isn’t just learning about public service at Carolina. It’s a deep dive into what service-learning means and the start of a community that stays with you throughout your time at UNC,” said Andrew McKinnon ’20, a computer science major from Greenville, North Carolina. “This year, 62 incoming first-years served with 13 local community organizations, many of which were sustainable APPLES community partnerships.”

SLI participants worked on service projects related to organization, beautification and local advocacy topics. Students also spent time preparing for and facilitating summer camp activities at Kidzu Children’s Museum, delivered meals with TABLE and Meals on Wheels, completed landscaping projects with Wildwoods Farm and assisted teachers with setting up classrooms at McDougle Middle and Elementary Schools. Through their work, participants and their fellow student leaders fostered a lasting impact with community partners in the Chapel Hill- Carrboro area.

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UNC faculty recognized for engaged scholarship; work connecting with the community

Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars class VIChapel Hill, N.C. – Nine Carolina faculty members were recognized as Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars for their community engagement through scholarly endeavors. Anna Agbe-Davies, Antoine Bailliard, Leisha DeHart-Davis, Kimon Divaris, Julia Haslett, Coretta Jenerette, Alexandra Lightfoot, Enrique W. Neblett Jr. and Rachel Willis will be honored as graduates of class VI of the Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars program during a lunch celebration at the Carolina Club in the George Watts Hill Alumni Center.

The program, an initiative of the Carolina Center for Public Service, brings together selected faculty from across campus for a two-year experiential, competency-based curriculum designed to advance their engaged scholarship. Scholars participate in sessions in community settings to learn from Carolina faculty and their community partners. While developing individual projects, each class of scholars forms a supportive learning community. The growing network of Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars reports outcomes including new interdisciplinary collaborations, successful grant applications and both traditional and innovative products of their scholarship.

“The Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars program built my confidence, refined my approach and grew my skill set in conducting engaged scholarship,” said Enrique Neblett, an associate professor in psychology and neuroscience. “Through the program, I learned about how African-American youth and families in Southeast Raleigh view contemporary racism, the impact of these experiences on mental health and possible solutions to alleviate the suffering of those who experience racism and other social stressors. I will be forever grateful for the supportive community afforded by my fellow scholars and program colleagues, who sharpened my project and expanded my view – through sharing their own projects – of what constitutes effective, high-quality and high-impact engaged scholarship.”

Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars class VI visit CAARE in Durham, NC

The Carolina Center for Public Service created the Faculty Engaged Scholars program in 2007 to advance faculty involvement in engaged scholarship. In 2013, an endowment honoring UNC’s former chancellor H. Holden Thorp was established to support faculty in the program. Selected through a competitive process, Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars learn about and pursue community engagement through scholarly endeavors during the two-year program. Since the program began, 63 faculty members have been selected from 12 professional schools and the College of Arts and Sciences, representing more than 28 departments.

“The Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars training and resources enabled me to better access diverse stakeholders and places related to port planning for climate change,” said Rachel Willis, a professor in American studies. “It also facilitated me participating in technical summits with governments, observing for-profit enterprises, learning from nonprofit organizations on the environment, listening to global policy practitioners and engaging residents of North Carolina port communities. The result is the development of two new courses and significant progress on a manuscript. I am in debt to the Carolina Center for Public Service and the many Faculty Engaged Scholars who have shared their methodology, field sites and advice so generously.”

The graduates and their work

These nine faculty members have distinguished themselves as engaged scholars through their commitment to serve others and strengthen university-community relationships.

Anna Agbe-Davies, an associate professor in anthropology, has always approached her research program as “public archaeology”— engaged scholarship with results that matter for descendant communities, policymakers and the general public. Since 2016, she has conducted archaeological fieldwork at the childhood home of civil rights activist Pauli Murray in Durham, North Carolina where race, gender and civic activism are front and center. Her larger project brings together material and archival evidence to consider the circumstances within which African-American women developed and expressed their demands for a more just society. For Agbe-Davies, archaeology provides an opportunity to consider the actions by which ordinary people, day in and day out, responded to the challenges posed by the patriarchal and racist ideologies of their day. How did black women’s activism shape their communities in the first part of the 20th century? And what life experiences fostered the passion for equality that consumed Pauli Murray? By partnering with activists who see the importance of archaeology in their educational and social justice missions, Agbe-Davies addresses questions like these.

Antoine Bailliard, an assistant professor in Allied Health Sciences, collaborates with Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) teams and their clients. For his project, Bailliard partnered with individuals with mental illness to co-create adaptive strategies that they can integrate into their everyday lives outside of clinical settings. Using photo- and video-elicitation to highlight perspectives on how sensory processing deficits impact real-world participation in meaningful activities for adults with mental illness, the project aimed to use the data collected to co-create sensory modulation strategies that improve participation and quality of life for participants. This work fills research gaps on the impact of trait sensory processing deficits while acknowledging the expertise of adults with mental illness regarding their own lived experience.

Leisha DeHart-Davis, an associate professor, directs the UNC School of Government’s Local Government Workplaces Initiative, which taps an international network of public organizational behavior scholars to conduct research for North Carolina cities and counties. Participating cities and counties receive critical information about employees’ perspectives on a range of workplace issues, while participating academics receive on-the-ground data for pragmatic theory building and testing. Local governments serve as partners in the research, informing the development of survey instruments and interview protocols, providing feedback on study implementation and interpreting research results alongside study investigators. The Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars experience equipped her to build stronger relationships with local government partners and to expand her outreach to practitioners who can benefit from the research. For example, DeHart-Davis commissioned a visual identity for the initiative with input from local government partners that enabled a consistent image in their outreach efforts. Without the resources of the Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars program, she would not have fully understood the importance of developing community partners or communicating with them on a consistent basis.

Kimon Divaris, an associate professor in pediatric dentistry, is also an oral and genetic epidemiologist and board-certified pediatric dentist. His expertise and current research cover a wide range of proximal and distal oral health determinants with the goal of improving young children’s oral health and reducing associated health disparities. His project explored avenues to increase the translation rate of oral health genomics information to the public, particularly to groups that are traditionally under-represented in this type of research. In partnership with parents, health care providers, community health workers and preschool teachers, Divaris conducted qualitative work to better understand the standpoint, readiness, receipt, appreciation and potential use of genomics to bring about meaningful improvements in North Carolina’s children’s oral health.

Julia Haslett, an assistant professor in communication and a documentary filmmaker, creates projects that respond to pressing social issues that impact underserved communities. Her films have explored healthcare inequities in the U.S., cross-cultural medicine, climate change in China, and the French social philosopher and activist Simone Weil. Haslett’s films have screened around the world at film festivals, theaters and universities, on television, online and in numerous community settings. Haslett’s project focused on creating a socially-engaged documentary film exploring family narratives of African-Americans living in North Carolina, specifically those that pertain to the transgenerational transmission of trauma dating back to slavery.

Coretta Jenerette, an associate professor in nursing, is committed to improving the health outcomes of people living with and managing sickle cell disease (SCD), a painful inherited hemoglobin disorder that causes less oxygen to reach vital organs and other parts of the body. Because many individuals in the sickle cell community have difficulty with finding the care they need when they seek pain management services, Jenerette worked with community partners in Durham and Wake counties to develop and test a web-based virtual training tool to help individuals living with SCD better communicate with their healthcare providers. Videos from the website depicting patient-provider scenarios have been shared with the sickle cell community and health care providers with the goal of helping individuals and families living with SCD achieve better healthcare outcomes, including relief from pain and symptoms.

Alexandra Lightfoot, a research assistant professor in public health, uses a community-based participatory research approach to address racial and ethnic health disparities with communities across North Carolina. As a Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholar, she worked on three initiatives. First, she enhanced her engaged teaching, incorporating participatory photography to facilitate explorations of racial identity with her public health students to help them develop an equity lens to bring to their work as practitioners. Second, she expanded her independent research, building a new collaboration with investigators and community partners in Western North Carolina to further adapt an adolescent sexual health intervention for public schools in a new context. Finally, she developed a new global partnership focusing on barriers to girls’ education in rural Nepal. Working with a Nepalese colleague, she is launching a participatory research program to engage rural girls and their families, gain better understanding of the barriers to girls’ education through their eyes, and identify strategies with them to increase school retention.

Enrique W. Neblett Jr., an associate professor in psychology and neuroscience, conducts research that examines the link between racism and health among African-American adolescents and young adults. He is particularly interested in the role of racial identity, racial socialization and Africentric worldview as cultural protective factors that mitigate the impact of racism on mental and physical health. Neblett’s project employed photovoice, group interviews and community engagement sessions to examine issues of racial equity and mental health care disparities for African-American children, youth and families in Raleigh, North Carolina. He aspires to develop interventions and life-based learning for black youth that may assist in negotiating the negative mental and physical health consequences of individual, institutional, cultural and structural racism in the community.

Rachel Willis, a professor of American studies, is a labor economist focused on access to work in the global economy. Her research on global freight transportation planning for climate change in port cities is a result of fellowships at the Institute for Emerging Issues, the Institute for the Arts and Humanities, and the Global Research Institute. Sea-level rise, drought, rising global temperatures and increased storm severity threaten port communities, influence migration, alter global foodsheds and impact future access to work through complex water connections related to infrastructure. The critical need for planning and action to meet the challenges of building resilient communities at local and global levels is central to her Water Over the Bridge project. Willis’ previous engaged scholarship projects on work access with respect to childcare, education, transportation and disability have resulted in long-term university/community collaborations across North Carolina.

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APPLES intern strikes the right chord with Carolina Meadows

summer intern 2018Carolina’s Turner Medlicott is enjoying the opportunity to share his love of music with the residents of Carolina Meadows through an internship with the Music & Memory program

By Johnny Andrews, University Communications

This summer, a member of the Marching Tar Heels is bringing his love for music to residents of the Carolina Meadows retirement community in Chapel Hill, one playlist at a time.

As an intern with Carolina Meadow’s Music & Memory program, UNC-Chapel Hill junior Turner Medlicott is helping patients with dementia reconnect with the world around them through music.

“Studies have found that people with different forms of dementia are really helped by music to either just calm them or to bring them more into the present or connect with their emotions,” said Medlicott, a psychology major.

Medlicott’s internship is part of the APPLES Service-Learning program based out of the Carolina Center for Public Service. The student-led program pairs Carolina students with community or governmental organizations for a variety of internships in either the spring semester or during the summer.

Medlicott’s primary role is to create personalized playlists that are tailored specifically to a resident’s memories or interests.

“That requires me going in and talking to them and talking to their families about what music they enjoyed dancing to, what they enjoyed singing along to, maybe what they played at the wedding — songs that might have meant a lot to them,” he said.

The time and care he takes to create those playlists has made Medlicott an invaluable member of the Music & Memory team, said Carolina Meadows Volunteer Coordinator Kris O’Keefe.

“We really would not be able to keep it going if it weren’t for the interns from UNC-Chapel Hill,” she said.

Click here to watch Turner talk about his summer internship with Carolina Meadows.

Hiwot Ekuban: reflections on how service at Carolina led to a career helping others

By Hiwot A. Ekuban

Hiwot Ekuban in South AfricaBefore Carolina, my experiences with service were largely short-term endeavors, which I did in order to fulfill some sort of high school club requirement. However, as a soon-to-be Carolina alum, I can say with confidence that my philosophy of service has since expanded.

Not only should we serve, we must use our talents to fight systemic inequities, locally and globally. Service work should not be limited to well-intended “volunteerism” or mere conscientiousness. We all have a responsibility to eliminate structural inequality by targeting its root causes, not just treating the symptoms.

APPLES Service-Learning was key to transforming my perspective on effective community service.

APPLES is a student-led, staff supported organization that offers multiple programs to connect students to academic-enriched service experiences. Ultimately, APPLES championed my ideals of social justice while introducing me to new concepts regarding public service, such as the importance of community asset mapping, the role of policy in embedding social inequities, and the value of forming cooperative partnerships between multiple stakeholders.

I got involved with APPLES in my first year through the Alternative Break program. As a former APPLES Alternative Spring Break: Latinx Communities participant and break leader, I explored health disparities within the Latinx community that are inflated by a lack of immigration reform, ineffective labor laws, limited language access, racial discrimination and other forms of institutionalized bias.

Hiwot Ekuban on an APPLES alternative spring breakThe highlight of my experience was learning about the unique challenges that target migrant farmworkers’ access to health from Student Action with Farmworkers, a nonprofit organization in Durham, North Carolina. Despite contributing to a multimillion-dollar food industry, migrant farmworkers cannot afford the produce they harvest, much less health coverage. Their constant exposure to toxic pesticides puts them at risk for many chronic illnesses. Ineffective labor regulations, language barriers, lack of transportation and fear of deportation further marginalizes migrant farmworkers as a community and limits their access to health care.

By the end of the alternative spring break experience, I realized that the social determinants of health must be remedied in order to eliminate health inequities among marginalized communities. I decided to pursue a field that allows me to confront unethical public policy and empower vulnerable populations to sustain preventative health initiatives.

I was pleased to find the BSPH Health Policy and Management (HPM) program offered at the Gillings School of Global Public Health. The HPM program allowed me to study ways that policy enables health disparities and further stratifies the health of society by race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, documentation status, socioeconomic status, geographic location, religious affiliation and ability level.

Over time my approach to service has evolved to a systems-focused approach to eliminate social inequity, specifically health inequity. Once I graduate, I will return to my hometown of Concord, North Carolina to continue service at Cabarrus-Rowan Community Health Center, a clinic that offers sliding-fee payments to folks who cannot afford health services. One day, I envision incorporating my background in public health in my future career as a primary care physician.

Words cannot express my gratitude to APPLES for illuminating my true passions, and for the countless mentors, friends, community partners and educators for supporting me on this journey.