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.

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

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will honor 307 seniors who dedicated themselves to service during their time at Carolina as Buckley Public Service Scholars (BPSS). Chancellor Carol Folt will address the group at a pre-graduation ceremony 5 – 7 p.m. Friday, May 11 in Memorial Hall. All graduates will receive a Carolina blue and white cord to wear at commencement on May 13 to represent their achievement.

The Buckley Public Service Scholars program, part of 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 65 out of 77 majors on campus. The 2018 class of Buckley Public Service Scholars represents 49 North Carolina counties, 20 other states and eight other countries. The students being honored join the 2,419 past BPSS graduates since 2004, bringing the total number of scholars to 2,726.

“BPSS allowed me to use my position as a young woman of color coming from poverty to the benefit of my community,” public policy major Tiffany Turner said. “I developed a voice which I was able to use in communications and marketing for TABLE, the Jamie Kirk Hahn Foundation and Pupusas for Education.”

The 307 students graduating in the 2018 class of Buckley Public Service Scholars reported more than 130,800 hours of service. 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.

Since its inception in 2003, 9,678 students have participated in the BPSS program, contributing 1.8 million hours of service. This year, participating students reported service with more than 1,000 organizations including the Campus Y, Compass Center for Women and Families, and Carolina For The Kids. Of the hours reported by this year’s graduates, 78 percent was performed in North Carolina, 11 percent in other states and 11 percent in other countries.

“The 2018 Buckley Public Service Scholars embody what it means to be a public servant,” said Lynn Blanchard, director of the Carolina Center for Public Service. “For example, over the course of this school year, helping those affected and displaced by natural disasters was a top priority. Students continuously rose as leaders for disaster relief as well as so many other service areas. I am certain they will carry these civic values with them after graduation and will continue to affect positive change in their communities.

BPSS is supported by the Walter White Buckley Jr. Endowment.

Learn more about each graduate in the 2018 BPSS bulletin.

2018 Buckley Public Service Scholar graduates by North Carolina county, state and country:

Photos available by request.

Alamance – Natalie R. Charamut, Barbara Cronin, Alexander Murphy Mebane III, Haleigh Elizabeth Prysock

Bladen – Hayley Merrell Hall

Brunswick – Amber Nicole Fulford, Carly Michelakis, Lindsey Diane Welch

Buncombe – Travis Broadhurst, Janki Paresh Desai, Leah Grace Everist, Calli Gabrielle Hamrick, Anna Sophia Whelchel

Burke – Christina Adkins, Anna Lynn Jacks

Cabarrus – Kaylee Kristine Clary, Hiwot Abena Ekuban, Jamie Lynn Gate, Alison Hollis, Emily Hollis, Courtney Ann Nelson, Laura Michelle Perrotta, Sophie Roseanna Plott

Caldwell – Samantha Morgan Houston

Carteret – Marissa Elardo

Catawba – Jennifer Elaine Craft, Sara Carson Edwards, Rachael Sarah Hamm, Jaclyn Tina L’Amoreaux

Chatham – Lindsey Holloway, Leslie Morales, Dana Leah Walker

Craven – Kennedy Jade Adams, Meredith Medlin, Kimlynn Mylan Ngo, Austin Tyler Seamster

Cumberland – Su Hyun Cho, Brian Michael Fields, Linh Huynh, Hanna Kim, Caroline Madison Pope

Davidson – Olivia Marie Bruff, Logan Hartley, Sarah Eva Thomas Sturdivant

Davie – Sydney Caroline Browder

Durham – Chloe Adrianna Brown, Jeliyah Shaquan Clark, Julia Elaine D’Amico, Sreepriya Gayam, Claire Leadbetter, Kevin James Parham

Forsyth – Brittany Jane Aves, Kalli Elainia Bunch, Elizabeth Comtois, Amanda Drabble, Ryan Chandler Fuller, Lauren Marie Gebbia, Mary Elizabeth Johnson, Vanessa Luo, Layla Namak, Sophie Rupp, Deanelle Thompson, Madeleine Valier, Ryan James Weisner

Franklin – Anna Dodson

Gaston – Clara Jane Davison, Erica Allison Day, Rachael Madison Purvis

Granville – Lawrence Alsthon Bacudio, Alexandra Bruton Chura

Guilford – Lauren Elise Beane, O’Malley Bentson, Saumya Goel, Neil Harwani, Jordan Dace Hennessee, Simran Khadka, Rachel Susannah Lempp, Isabelle Rose Morgan, Mona Sajjad, Alexa Pearl Schleien, Clare Mangan Schmedes, Rayad Bin Shams, William Clayton Swords, Tiffany Marie Turner, Treasure Williams, Jessie Winfree, Shan Yu

Halifax – Grace Guo

Haywood – Bailey Garrett Hill, Chloe Elise Zacher

Henderson – Emily Hagstrom, Hollie Anne Rutledge 

Iredell – Hanna Brooks, Philip John Helderlein, Haley Alexis Leazer, Niraja Pancholy, Vinya Posham

Lee – Priya Desai

Lincoln – Rachel Frances Dango, Brittany Dove

Madison – Anna Lynne Zimmerman

Macon – Margaret McAllister

Mecklenburg – Alaowei Amanah, Kimberly Elise Baudhuin, Alison Noel Bonner, Tonesha D’Shelle Curenton, Lillian Ruth Dillard, Caroline Taylor Frame, Alexandra Gaines, Heather Marie Grace, Jacob Ian Greenblatt, Danielle Hall, Emily Hightower, Marquitta Howard, Kay Soonmin Hwang, Olivia Jackson-Jordan, Pambu Kali, David William Katibah, Hariklea Vasilike Kokenes, Jill Catherine Levinson, Allison Marvin, Kavya Lakshmi Menon, Taylor Caroline Newsome, Marissa Marguerite O’Neill, Juhi Shilpesh Patel, Vishwa Ashokbhai Patel, Madison Quigley, Emily Reader, Adam Tucker Sheinhaus, Gwendolyn Renee Smith, Ella Marie Smoak, Katherine Jill Starr, Domenica Kamille Vargas Bitar, Emma Watts, Kristin Weiss, Tori Wentz, Laura Elizabeth Wenzel, Claudia Yatzkan, John Paul Zalaquett

Moore – Christiana Boals

New Hanover – Elaine Marie King, Joseph Francois Marie Maitre, Mimi Tran, Aidan Ray Walker, Helen Xiao 

Onslow – Kalina E. Taylor

Orange – Agustin Baler, Sarah Costello Dwyer, Erika Rubi Franco Quiroz, Nico Christian Krachenfels, Samuel Elliot Krause, Emily Kupec, Doreen Edith Nalyazi, Grace Porter, Nathaniel Pritchard, Frances Reuland, Alexa Schulte, Jasmine K. Sun, Claire Elizabeth Weintraub, Sarah Judith Wright

Pasquatonk – Anna Elizabeth Robertson

Pender – Patricia Whalen

Person – Princess Ariana Majors

Pitt – Ashish Thakurdas Khanchandani, Erin Kelly Naziri, Abigail Rae Needell, Karen K. Saeed, Jacob Benjamin Stocks, Ushma Uday Vaidya

Polk – Bridget Grace Gallagher

Robeson – Yasmin Hill, Danielle Renee Smith

Rowan – Rebecca Marie Agner, Alex Billingsley, Katelyn Laine Buffett, Katherine Lukens Grant, Victor Pereira, Jordan Wise

Stanly – Adrienne Soraya Hill

Surry – Nicole Ashley Defreitas, Emily Grace Lowe, Chandler Jayne Musson, Sydney Anne Peavy

Union – Megan Balentine, Adrienne Solange Bonar, Mishelle Angela Duran, Desirae Delgado Fewell, Madeline Claire McGee, Meredith Blake Sumrell 

Wake – Keerthi Surej Anand, Aditya M. Anerao, Rachel Anne Bailey, Olivia Grace Bane, Sarah Bass, Mary Grady Burnette Bell, Laura Elizabeth Brady, Emily Browning, William Michael Buddendeck, Samuel Kevin Chao, Elizabeth Ciociola, Madeline Cooke, Cayla Lauren Culbreth, Anne Yichen Feng, Andrea Marie Fitzgerald, Miranda Hope Foster, Alexander James Gartland, Sarah Elizabeth Gee, Abby Gostling, Pallavi Gulati, Shelly Guo, Anne Marie Hagerty, Emily Haston, Charlotte Hopson, Allison Horn, Rachel Eve Horowitz, Jessica Hongchelle Hu, Vishal Iyer, Nupur Jain, Kaelin Elizabeth Kennedy, Charity Lackey, Naomi Lahiri, Kelsey Leigh Mason, Griffin Andrew Morehead, Aimee Qin Murphy, Ami Patel, Paulina Powierza, Arunima Punjala, Sahana Raghunathan, Carolyn Day Rapp, Megan Frances Sefler, Shatakshi Shekhar, Jonathan Smith, Rachel Tan, Shannon M. Thompson, Nelya Topa, Paige Emily Trexler, Roshni Verma, Luyu Wang, Meghan Whitney

Watauga – Maia Ravyn Yarborough

Wayne – Lindsay Ann Player, Myra Noor Waheed

Wilson – Michael Hayden Vick, Shelby Victoria Anderson


Arizona – Radhika Arora, Gabrielle Rose Geenen

CaliforniaCaeli Morgan Harr

Colorado – Allison Karen DeSarro, Cesar Victor Rodriguez

ConnecticutAlexis Lin, Mark Molinaro

Florida – Lorena Gan, Melissa A. Holmes, Niveditha Jagadesh, Martina Knechel, Terri Long, Analisa Sorrells, Alex Sun

Georgia – Mackenzie Bogiages, Isatta Feika, Bridget Evelyn Johnson

Illinois – Marisa Sclafani

Indiana – Lindsey Faye Wells

Kentucky – Caroline Christine Folz

Maryland – Andrea Jacqueline Barnes, Sarah Ann Benecky, Aryana Bolourian, Adrianna Lopaczynski, Holly E. Ozgun, Carolyn Reuland, Alexus Roane, Kathryn Ashley Turner 

Missouri – Justin David Cole

New Jersey – Snehal Parik

New York – Lindsey Elizabeth Barden, Claire Boyd, Samantha Espada, Ruby G. Patel, Michela Jaye Schillinger

Pennsylvania – Kristen McGreevy, Nyla Numan, Saleha Rana, Caitlin Ann Rosica

Rhode Island – Magdalena Alexandra Rainey, Nicole Trupiano

South Carolina – Ariana Janae’ Rivens

Tennessee – Kelly Liu

Texas – Shelby Victoria Anderson, Catrin Corrie, Karla Guadalupe Garcia, Daverian Travun Williams

Virginia – Nia Fay Cox, Nicholas Robert Jennings, Holly Elizabeth Johnson, Kaelah Sheldonia Pou, Natalie Morgan Radford, Klio Nicolette Stroubakis, David Bao Tang 

West Virginia – Jamie Rose


Brazil – Andre Ceccotti

United Kingdom – Lauren Eaves

South Korea – Grace Han

Canada – Renuka Koilpillai

China – Xiaoqian Niu

Russia – Olga Prokunina

Germany – Cathleen Annelies Rueckeis

Italy – Emily Ann Venturi


Anna Agbe-Davies is preserving African-American women’s history through archaeology – one house at a time

By Becca Kronebusch

For anthropology professor and Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholar Anna Agbe-Davies, archaeology is not digging through dirt searching for bones. Her work at the Pauli Murray House in Durham has her preserving and contextualizing the childhood home of Murray, a lawyer and co-founder of the National Organization for Women and unsung hero of the Civil Rights Movement.

Now a National Historic Landmark, the Pauli Murray House will soon give visitors an opportunity to lean in and explore Murray’s life of civil and women’s rights activism. Agbe-Davies is passionate about this project because her work showcases the contributions of African-American women in America, which she said are historically overlooked and overshadowed.

Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholar Anna Agbie-Davies“What I do is public archaeology,” Agbe-Davies said. “For me, archaeology is a way to understand our humanness. There are interesting archaeological problems everywhere, and I didn’t need to go to a far-off place to find them. It was important to do work that would benefit those around me.”

In addition to the inspiration from the historic women she studies, Agbe-Davies credits the Carolina Center for Public Service’s Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars (FES) program with helping her branch out and interact with scholars in various disciplines. FES brings together selected faculty from across campus to engage in 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 learning community to support one another’s projects and community partners.

“The key thing for me about Faculty Engaged Scholars is talking to people in other disciplines about what their engaged scholarship looks like,” Agbe-Davies said. “It has helped me see possibilities I hadn’t envisioned before and made me think more explicitly about what makes archaeology different. Interacting with scholars across disciplines helps me see what makes the work I do unique and how it contributes to the broader conversation to make the world better.”

Before signing onto the Murray project, Agbe-Davies worked in Chicago as an archaeologist for the Phyllis Wheatley Home, which was established in 1896 as a resource for African-American women who were moving from the South to the North. The home provided these women migrants with lodging, educational programs, work assistance and other opportunities. The Chicago home, as well as others across the country, was named for Phillis Wheatley, the first African-American and U.S. slave to publish a book of poetry.

“I’m now working on a project that brings these two sites together and understand more broadly the impact of African-American women in America,” she said. “It came together when I needed it to come together.”

Agbe-Davies said her discipline is increasingly aware of the need to do more work that matters to society at large and not just to archaeologists. Her work with the Murray House is one example of the way that she and other archaeologists can use their passion to preserve pieces of history and give more representation to underrepresented peoples.


Doing more: Zaynab Nasif’s journey through service-learning

By Catie Armstrong

Zaynab Nasif, a senior global studies major from Raleigh, was already service-minded before she attended her first APPLES Service-Learning Alternative Spring Break trip in 2016. In high school, she was involved in service organizations that connected her to the community, but the experience left her yearning to do more when she came to Carolina.

2018 Alternative Spring Break participants at Foodbarn“Service, as I had known it before, was merely direct; I tutored elementary school students, which was one of my favorite experiences, but it didn’t go further than that,” she said. “With APPLES, I was able to discuss my service experiences more in-depth and critically think about why I was doing service and how it can expand toward advocacy and greater institutional change.”

APPLES offers alternative spring break experiences, providing students with opportunities to perform service activities across North Carolina, the Southeast and the mid-Atlantic during fall, winter and spring breaks. The student-led groups work collaboratively to engage in focus areas and learn more about their destination community before the trip occurs. Once at the destination, students explore a new culture and carry out meaningful community service.

During her sophomore year, Nasif’s first ASB was to Atlanta to learn about poverty and homelessness in a larger urban area. She was thrown out of her comfort zone; an experience she said allowed her to grow and inspired her to become more involved in service. Two years later, Nasif has expanded her engagement with ASB to co-lead the urban alternative spring trip to Atlanta.

“When I went on my ASB trip in 2016, there were times I was uncomfortable and out of my element,” Nasif said. “That’s what I wanted my participants this year to feel, because I think that’s when the most growth happens.”

Alongside co-leader Cameron Cooper, Nasif wanted to provide their participants with a well-rounded and meaningful break, similar to her first experience.

“As leaders, it was a totally different experience throughout because we realized we had to step back at times and let the participants feel that discomfort for themselves,” she said.

At times, this meant exposing the nine participants to situations that may be uncomfortable but would result in incredible learning experiences.

“We knew that the work the community partners were doing was difficult and often emotionally taxing, but also had a positive impact on the community,” Nasif said. “So we wanted our participants to see what it takes to be a community asset.”

One of the community service partners the urban communities ASB served this year was Re:Loom, a subset of the Initiative on Affordable Housing in Atlanta, which aids the community by employing individuals to turn recycled materials into clothing and accessories.

“From this year’s trip, I loved going to Re:Loom,” Nasif said. “The whole group ended up cutting up this giant festival poster to into small pieces to turn into bags, and we all bonded as we were helping out.”

2018 ASB participants in AtlantaShifting roles from serving as a participant to co-leader meant Nasif was able to take the elements she loved from her first ASB experience and supplement them by personalizing this year’s trip. Nasif designed the ASB experience to encompass everyone’s unique service interests, a quality she adopted from her former break leaders.

She highlighted the connection she felt when her team visited DeKalb International Student Center, a transition school for refugees. “I never saw a school operate the way it does,” she said. “Learning about the circumstances that many of the students were living in was also hard to dissect. It was the community partner that had the biggest impact on me personally, and I wanted others to feel that sense of connection and passion for a cause or organization.”

Nasif has always been interested in working in nonprofit settings and serving communities in need. Leading this alternative spring break reinforced her passion and opened her eyes to the reality of her future field.

“As a senior graduating in less than two weeks, I remember thinking ASB would be a one week experience, but I left feeling motivated to do more,” Nasif said.

She also emphasized the importance of the sustainable relationships APPLES breaks program has built with its community partners, particularly in Atlanta. Many of the community partners ASB serves have been partners for years, meaning participants have been able to see their impact grow.

“We know that a week of service will not alleviate all the problems that some of the communities are facing, but I think it is important to be exposed to what the partner is doing, how they are doing it, and what service-oriented leaders can do to help either in the moment or in the future.”


Tiffany Turner’s journey from needing food to a life passion for alleviating food insecurity

By Charlotte McArthur

Tiffany Turner works to alleviate food insecurityMost Mondays for the past four years, Tiffany Turner could be found sorting cans and packing food boxes at TABLE. She did this because alleviating food insecurity is a passion born from personal experience. Now a senior majoring in public policy and minoring in social and economic justice, and marine science, Turner exemplifies the essence of Carolina community involvement through her passions for service, teaching others the value of healthy eating, and providing scholarships and opportunities to undocumented students.

Turner, a 2018 graduate from Greensboro, North Carolina, spent her time at Carolina serving the community as a Bonner Leader and Buckley Public Service Scholar participant and was awarded an inaugural Scott D. MacDonald Community Service Fellowship. Since July of 2017, she has served as the executive director for the nonprofit Pupusas for Education. Pupusas for Education is the sister venture to So Good Pupusas, a food truck and catering company started by a UNC alumna that uses its profits to provide scholarships to undocumented students.

“Nonprofits touch every person’s life in some way, shape or form, and for me, they had a particularly strong impact,” Turner said. “When I was younger, I had a big sister from the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America program and received weekly food bags from food pantries. As soon as my family was in a more financially stable situation, I began to do my part to pay it forward and help organizations think through how we could take their impact to the next level.”

Turner said that while she is grateful for the role nonprofits played in her life, she often felt frustrated about the lack of representation in their staff and the way in which nonprofits approached their work.

“Many of the food pantries that served weekly meals were not thinking much about culturally relevant and appropriate foods, and I wanted to change that thinking,” Turner said. “Once I started this work, I knew it was the work that I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”

Tiffany Turner volunteers at TABLEIn addition to participating in the Buckley Public Service Scholars program, Turner served in the Campus Y’s Bonner Leaders program where she worked with community partner TABLE to alleviate food insecurity in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro community. In the summers after her sophomore and junior years, Turner was a fellow in the Jamie Kirk Hahn Foundation Fellowship and later served as the food systems team senior fellow. In class, Turner connected the dots between her community work and academics through two APPLES Service-Learning courses, Nonprofit Consulting and Public Policy Clinic, and Philanthropy as a Tool for Social Change.

“If it were not for the Buckley Public Service Scholars program and the Bonner Leaders program, I may not have settled on a major course of study that aligned with my values and passions — public policy,” Turner said. “I can attribute much of my success in college to these two programs and the people behind the scenes who believed in me and encouraged me.”

Turner added that she is happy to have helped change the dominant narrative in the spaces that she has been in and has worked to ensure that the voices that needed to be at the table were heard. The community was always at the forefront of her work.

“Overall, I think I have grown so much from these experiences,” Turner said. “In teaching others about healthy eating, I also learned about it myself. In working to fight for equity in education for undocumented students, I’ve grown closer to the students we’ve worked with and learned much about mentorship. In all of these things, I have become more vocal and less afraid to speak up for what I believe in.”

After graduation, Turner plans to stay with Pupusas for Education for the summer to pilot a Summit and Fellowship program for undocumented students. In August, she will move to New York City to conduct a yearlong fellowship at FoodCorps, a nonprofit on a mission to work with communities to connect kids to healthy food in school, through the Newman’s Own Foundation Fellowship program. Turner plans to return to North Carolina after her fellowship year with hopes of continuing her work with Pupusas for Education, taking part in another nonprofit program or attending graduate school.


Individuals and organizations recognized at 2018 Public Service Awards

2018 Public Service Award recipients

Chapel Hill, N.C. – A community-based partnership to reduce heart disease, a mentorship program for high school students and a program to protect victims from their abusers are some of the projects recognized at UNC-Chapel Hill’s 2018 Public Service Awards celebration on April 9. Seven individuals and two organizations received awards for their work at the annual event is hosted by the Carolina Center for Public Service.

“Service to others is at the heart of how a great public university engages with communities and addresses issues of shared concern,” said Lynn Blanchard, director of the Carolina Center for Public Service. “Recipients of this year’s Public Service Awards exemplify the best of how Carolina serves the public good. We are honored to recognize their meaningful and profoundly important work.”

Dorothy Holland, Boshamer Professor of Anthropology Emeritus in the College of Arts and Sciences, received the 2018 Ned Brooks Award for Public Service recognizing her long commitment to building collaborations between the University and the community that create new opportunities and generate academic excellence. Holland co-founded the Center for Integrating Research and Action (CIRA) and the Graduate Certificate in Participatory Research (GCPR). CIRA took its social change research to grassroots organizations in the state, spurring new conversations about the best ways to advocate for issues. The GCPR creates opportunities for graduate students to develop research skills in partnership with communities and provides them with substantive collaborative research experiences. Holland also served as chair of the Anthropology Department from 1996 – 2001.

The Office of the Provost Engaged Scholarship Award was established in 2000 by then Provost Dick Richardson to recognize extraordinary public service and engaged scholarship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Three awards were presented this year for engaged teaching, research and partnership.

  • Alice Ammerman, professor of nutrition in the Gillings School of Public Health and director of the UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (HPDP), was recognized for engaged research for the Heart Healthy Lenoir Project. This NIH-funded project was a community-based partnership between HPDP, Lenoir County and East Carolina University to reduce heart disease in what is often called the stroke belt. Ammerman and her team worked with primary care practices to help patients control their blood pressure; understand genetic risk for heart disease. The project also focused on improving physical activity and diet, including innovative recipes for heart-healthy barbecue and hush puppies.
  • Jean Davison, associate professor in the UNC School of Nursing, was recognized for engaged teaching for developing a service-learning course focused on migrant-Latino/a health in North Carolina. The course teaches fundamental concepts of global health and included clinical teaching in North Carolina, Honduras and Nicaragua. Davison received an APPLES Service-Learning grant in 2015 and has expanded her local and global outreach course activities as a result.
  • Project READY: Reimagining Equity and Access for Diverse Youth received the engaged partnership award. Project READY is a grant-funded initiative of the UNC School of Information and Library Science partnering with the Wake County Public School System and North Carolina Central University. These partners implemented a yearlong professional development series for school librarians and educators working with them focused on racial equity. Librarians have since created innovative programs focused on educational racial equity in local classrooms.

The Robert E. Bryan Public Service Award recognizes undergraduate and graduate students, staff and faculty for exemplifying outstanding engagement and service to the state of North Carolina.

  • Joseph Nail, a senior political science and economics major in the College of Arts and Sciences, is recognized 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, is a founding member of The White Coats Black Doctors Foundation (WCBD). She received the award in the graduate student category. 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.
  • Brian Hogan, a teaching associate professor in the Department of Chemistry, College of Arts and Sciences, is also the director of the Carolina Covenant. Hogan was recognized 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.
  • Bryan Giemza, director of the Southern Historical Collection, University Libraries, was recognized 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 is the subject of an upcoming presentation on diversity to the American Library Association’s Rare Books and Manuscripts Section, and has attracted interest from a number of institutions as a creative and innovative way to engage new audiences in archival discovery.
  • Law Students Against Sexual and Domestic Violence, a student organization within the UNC School of Law, is recognized 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.

Eduardo Fernandez and Jacob Stocks were recognized as recipients of the 2018 Davis Projects for Peace Award for their Child Nutrition and Health Care for Women project in Lawra, Ghana. Catherine Alves was recognized for receiving the 2018 Mingma Norbu Sherpa Fellowship for Survey of fisher livelihoods and perceptions: A Belizean case study. Ronald W. Hyatt Rotary Public Service Awards went to Michaela DuBay for Foundations in Autism Bolivian Video Series, and Emily Zalimeni and Alex Miles for Square One: A Novel Healthcare Delivery Model for Tattoo Removal.

Also recognized at the event were 18 students who received Robert E. Bryan Fellowships, nine graduate students who received Community Engagement Fellowships and 11 students who received Thomas James Outward Bound Scholarships.


Serving Latinx communities

Students from the Carolina Center for Public Service’s APPLES Service-Learning program spent their spring break in various communities around the country to see firsthand the range of issues impacting citizens.

By Gladys Sanchez

2017 APPLES alternative spring breakAs a Latina, leading the APPLES Service-Learning Alternative Spring Break: Latinx Communities was very important to me. I wanted the trip to encompass many Latinx communities, including those in urban areas, not just the usual presentation of Latinx communities as farmworkers.

For this trip, I traveled with my co-leader and 10 other participants to the North Carolina cities of Durham, Charlotte, Burgaw, Rocky Point, Atkinson, Wilmington, Raleigh and Dunn.

We learned about Latinx people who work in many sectors, such as business, construction, restaurants and contract work. We also learned about nonprofit organizations available in the area to help them.

While many Latinx communities face certain similar issues, there are many issues that arise depending on what kind of environment they are living in.

Organizations such as El Pueblo in Raleigh, Latin American Coalition in Charlotte and Amigos International in Wilmington are nonprofit organizations that offer immigration services, English classes, job-employment, Know Your Rights workshops, cultural festivals and so much more. Other organizations include Pender County Farmworker Health Program in Atkinson, Pender Christian Services in Burgaw, Episcopal Farmworkers Ministry in Dunn, which help the Latinx communities in rural North Carolina by providing immigration services and access to food and health services.

Working with these nonprofits, the Latinx trip gave hundreds of service hours to cities across North Carolina.

APPLES 2017 Latinx alternative spring break Our group created brochures for farmworkers and painted new workspaces for the Pender County Farmworker Health Program; organized the El Camino Community Center’s food pantry; cleaned and organized the entire facility of Pender Christian Services; created intake folders for immigration legal clinics at the Latin American Coalition; discussed the benefits of college with Latinx high school students in Pender County; and organized classrooms and workspaces for St. Martin’s Migrant Head Start.

We learned about day laborers, rights of farmworkers, the different types of farmworkers, legal cases involving the agribusiness and farmworkers, the state of DACA, Latinxs in business, Latinxs in the New South, the Latinx youth and their education, and the unification of all Latinos through cultural festivals.

All APPLES alternative spring break experiences have a class component that guides participants in understanding the work they will do in the communities — how every member of a community can be seen as an asset in their own way. We were able to see that in these communities, from the nonprofit organizations we visited to area businesses to the schools we visited.

Not only was I able to show other Carolina students the reality of the lives of Latinx communities as I led this alternative spring break, but the trip itself was also a re-affirmation for me.

I know I want to make a career out of aiding the Latinx community as much as possible. To be able to show the Latinx population in the New South was a life-changing experience because I was able to apply what I have learned in the classroom about Latinx communities to actual places and people for one week. I am very proud to have led this alternative break trip.


Seeking better connection

Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholar Associate Professor Dr. Coretta Jenerette For it to be — and do — any good, the relationship between a health-care provider and a patient must be built on trust. So, when Dr. Coretta Jenerette noticed that patients with Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) — 98 percent of whom are African-American — were being stigmatized as drug-seeking when looking for relief from their chronic pain, she took action.

Through her research and advocacy, she has become a champion for this often overlooked population, combating racial stereotypes in health care and developing practical tools for better communication between SCD sufferers and those who provide them care. Through an innovative iPhone app, Dr. Jenerette is transforming care for individuals and families touched by SCD by empowering them to clearly communicate their needs to health-care providers.

Dr. Jenerette advocates for more SCD experts in North Carolina, and has received multiple honors, awards and grants for her pioneering role in the field. And her research illustrates the importance of diversity in the nursing workforce, as unsatisfactory care all too often stems more from a lack of understanding than a lack of ability. Dr. Jenerette lives out Carolina Nursing’s core belief that every person deserves to feel understood by those caring for them.

Coretta Jenerette is a Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholar whose project focuses on improving the health outcomes of people living with and managing sickle cell disease. As a Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholar, she participates in a two-year experiential, competency-based curriculum designed to advance her engaged scholarship. She also receives a stipend to advance that research.

Carolina Stories

Passion for giving back connects student and alumnus on a common mission

By Catie Armstrong

Teaching, research and SERVICE. That is the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s mission. A commitment to this mission is what Tori Dunlap, a first-year student, and alumnus Donald Ubell have in common.

Don Ubell creates Ubell Community Service ScholarshipSince graduating from Carolina in 1967, Donald Ubell has been giving back to communities throughout the country and to Carolina. An attorney living in Charlotte, Ubell has spent his career working with state and local governments and institutions of higher education, including UNC-Chapel Hill as its bond counsel since 1986. “Community service is a subset of public service,” Ubell said. Now, he is building on his legacy as a public servant by establishing the Ubell Community Service Scholarship with hopes of inspiring fellow Tar Heels to find their passion, and skill, in service and then “multiply the effect.”

Community service scholarships are offered to a select group of service-oriented students who receive a $5,000 annual tuition scholarship. Through the Carolina Center for Public Service, scholars participate in the Buckley Public Service Scholars program which provides training, mentorship, opportunities and structure to build knowledge and skills related to their particular service interests.

The inaugural Ubell Community Service Scholarship went to Tori Dunlap, a human development and family studies major also from Charlotte. Long before Dunlap came to Carolina, she engaged in public service. But when tragedy struck her life, Dunlap said that she truly learned what it meant to rely on others for support.

Ubell Scholar Tori Dunlap“I became an orphan at the age of sixteen,” Dunlap said. “So I know what it looks like to rely on the community surrounding you for support in various areas of life.” Dunlap’s community gathered to support her. Today she gives back to honor the impact others had on her life.

Ubell, who also supports the Carolina Covenant, understands the importance of scholarship and service. “The Community Service Scholarship seemed to be something that went beyond the Covenant to inspire students to give back to the community. My thought was that Carolina was leading again by creating these scholarships to help train students in community service and to be leaders in community service once they graduated.”

Dunlap added that the Ubell Community Service Scholarship enables her to attend UNC without the burden of financial worry. That, in turn, allows her to engage in public service at UNC, multiplying the effect. She is involved in the First-Year Service Corps and works with Student U, an organization in Durham that provides students with the resources necessary to help them excel in middle school, high school and college.

“I am passionate about community service because I have been extremely impacted and even reliant on acts of service in recent years,” Dunlap said. “I believe it is really important for people, who have the advantage of knowing the personal effects of reliance, to respond accordingly to needs in their communities.”


APPLES awards individuals and organizations for excellence in service-learning

By Charlotte MacArthur

Dedication to service-learning and a commitment to community – that’s what this year’s APPLES Award recipients have in common. From offering financial education to individuals in the community experiencing homelessness to supporting students’ efforts for sustainable gardening to promoting social change through interactive theatre, this year’s recipients have impacted the community in meaningful ways.

2018 APPLES award receipientsThe APPLES Service-Learning program recently honored three individuals and two community partners for providing significant contributions to service-learning at Carolina and support to APPLES.

Joyce Yao ‘20, a public policy major from Chapel Hill, received the 2018 Undergraduate Excellence Award for her leadership and substantial contributions to the campus and community through organizations such as the Community Empowerment Fund (CEF), a local organization offering financial support and education to individuals experiencing homelessness to help them secure their goals of affordable housing, financial independence and health insurance. Yao also works with The Marian Cheek Jackson Center to help honor and build community relations in Chapel Hill’s Northside neighborhood.

This past year, Yao became trained as a Certified Application Counselor. After this training, she was able to support CEF members as they navigated the health insurance marketplace and obtained health insurance during the open enrollment period.

Volunteers for Youth (VFY) received the 2018 Community Partner Excellence Award. Founded in 1981, Volunteers for Youth offers mentoring programs, community service and teenage outreach. VFY started the Juvenile Community Service and Restitution Program where youth who have broken a law are assigned community service hours. VFY is a long-time partner with the Buckley Public Service Scholars and APPLES Service-Learning programs, and provides Carolina students mentoring opportunities through SMART Mentoring.

“Volunteers for Youth is honored to receive this year’s Community Partner Excellence Award from APPLES and is inspired by the UNC students whose dedication and passion for community service make our work possible,” said Susan Worley, VFY executive director.

Amy Cooke received the 2018 Teaching Excellence Award for her dedication to Edible Campus UNC, which works to create working landscapes across the UNC campus and facilitate student engagement in sustainability. As the director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Environment and Ecology, Cooke developed and teaches an APPLES Service-Learning course that works to sustain the community gardens.

In addition to Edible Campus UNC, Cooke also supports other food initiatives, such as the Real Food Calculator, by providing interns and guidance.

George Barrett 2018 APPLES AwardsGeorge Barrett ‘13 received the 2018 Outstanding Alumni Award. During his senior year at Carolina, Barrett served as an APPLES Service-Learning volunteer at The Marian Cheek Jackson Center.

“Always volunteer,” Barrett said at the event. “You never know where it will lead you.” Barrett is now the Jackson Center’s associate director and continues his relationship with APPLES by connecting almost 500 students and nine APPLES courses with the Jackson Center.

“My mom taught me that the purpose in life is to help others,” Barrett said. “Everything I learned about service I learned from my mother.”

Theater Delta received the 2018 Service-Learning Award in Honor of Ned Brooks in memory of its founder, Ben Saypol. Saypol founded Theater Delta and promoted social progress with interactive theater that challenges others to look inward to change their perspectives. Theater Delta is lauded across the country for its scripted and improvisational audience participatory theater to foster dialogue and implement solutions that result in change in communities around the globe. Theater Delta operates on a pedagogy that recognizes when participants engage characters and conflict and take part in dialogue to process the issues, they are more likely to change personal attitudes and behaviors. Many UNC students have seen Saypol’s legacy; while working for Interactive Theater Carolina, Saypol developed the interactive play that is still used at each Carolina new student orientation. Saypol later founded Theater Delta to extend and continue this work beyond Carolina’s campus.

Lyn Dickinson, the current executive director of Theater Delta and Saypol’s widow, accepted the award on his behalf. She spoke to the audience about how her late-husband was a passionate teacher at heart. She said he was inspired to take the experience of interactive theater to the community, and Theater Delta continues to push his work and mission forward.