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Bryan Public Service Awards


Lydia Rowen

Winner of the Undergraduate Bryan Public Service Award

Lydia Rowen, a ‘24 Robertson Scholar with a major in environmental science and a GIS minor, Rowen received the award in recognition of her work with the ReCYCLEry, a nonprofit community bicycle shop serving the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Community. After joining the ReCYCLEry as an intern her first year at UNC, Rowen has become a vital member of the organization. As a MacDonald Fellow, she partnered with the ReCYCLEry to increase the shop’s Spanish-language accessibility. She also works with the WTF Wrench nights, workshops for women, trans, femme, non-binary and gender non-conforming community members. One of her nominators, Richard Giorgi, wrote, “Lydia came to us as an intern and immediately stepped into the role and took responsibility for many aspects of our community workshop. She stepped up in many instances for the community, assuming leadership and opening our services to people who may not feel comfortable in a larger workshop setting. Having this opening is vital for helping serve all community members.”  .

Margarett McBride

Winner of the Graduate Bryan Public Service Award

Margarett McBride is a Ph.D. candidate in the department of Developmental Psychology at UNC. McBride was recognized for her work with Cities United, an organization dedicated to “reducing gun violence and creating better lives for young Black men and boys, their families, and their communities”. As a mentor for the Young Leader Fellowship, McBride has mentored more than 30 young leaders, and she aided Cities United in developing their storytelling and narrative change initiatives—a vital aspect of the violence prevention movement to create lasting change in how individuals see Black men and boys. As a member of the UNC community, McBride has also provided leadership through several graduate school initiatives, including groups such as Diversity Student Success, Institute of Minority Excellence and the Black Graduate and Professional Student Association. 

Roy Zwahlen

Winner of the Staff Bryan Public Service Award

Roy Zwahlen received the award in recognition of his service and leadership at the Eshelman Innovation Institute. As Chief Strategy Officer, Roy focuses on expanding the efforts of the institute across the campus, beyond the School of Pharmacy, and directing innovations towards the most impactful science for patients in need across NC and beyond – in particular, the development of a “Therapeutic Accelerator” developing new drugs and a “Digital Health Venture Studio,” launching new digital health startup companies across the state. One of his nominators, John Bamforth wrote, “Roy was instrumental in re-designing the drug development process within the Institute. He and his team not only built an extremely robust diligence process to identify projects with high therapeutic potential but also a team of project managers to manage the work. … The accelerator now has an extensive portfolio of new drugs across oncology, neuroscience and infectious disease.” 

Dr. Evan Ashkin

Winner of the Faculty Bryan Public Service Award

Dr. Evan Ashkin was presented the award for his work in improving the health of incarcerated individuals. Dr. Ashkin founded the North Carolina Formerly Incarcerated Transition (FIT) Program in 2017 to connect formerly incarcerated individuals with healthcare and other reentry services. The program is now partnered with several health centers across the state and serves six counties in North Carolina. One of his nominators, Theodore Zarzar, wrote, “NC FIT is now an integral part of aftercare planning for hundreds of people released from incarceration. I cannot overstate the impact NC FIT has had on the lives of people returning to North Carolina communities from jails and prisons. People whose transitions to the community have historically been fraught with poor continuity of care and a lack of access to essential health services … have been able to work with peer navigators to get connected to potentially lifesaving treatment. Dr. Ashkin is a mentor to many, both at UNC and with his community partners, who advocate for the health of incarcerated individuals.” 

The Middle East Refugee Aid Organization

Winner of the Bryan Public Service Student Organization Award

The Middle East Refugee Aid (MERA) Organization received the award in recognition of their continued work of providing equitable access to medical and dental aid for Middle Eastern refugees. UNC seniors Bilal Azzam and Tala Jazairi established MERA as a nonprofit in 2022, and MERA provides health services for Middle Eastern refugees, both locally and globally. They recently held a health fair in Durham, North Carolina, and provided translation and healthcare services to everyone in attendance. They have also distributed dental health resources to refugee camps in Palestine and Jordan and are coordinating efforts to distribute humanitarian aid in Sudan and Gaza. 


The Office of the Provost Awards


Dr. Kristin Papoi

Winner of the Office of the Provost Award for Engaged Teaching

The the award was presented to Dr. Kristin Papoi for her work with DREAM (Diverse and Resilient Educators Advised through Mentorship), a program through the UNC School of Education, which provides academic and professional support to UNC graduates to prepare them for three years of full-time teaching in Durham Public Schools. One of her nominators, Fabiola Salas Villalobos, wrote, “I have seen Dr. Papoi invest countless extra work hours, engage in constant reflection to improve the project, and balance these efforts with teaching responsibilities and family commitments. … Dr. Papoi is a problem solver and strategic thinker who prioritizes human relations and the well-being of program participants.” 

Dr. Antwain Hunter

Winner of the Office of the Provost Award for Engaged Research

Dr. Antwain Hunter, assistant professor of history, received the award for his research with the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources and the staff of Fort Macon. Fort Macon, a popular historic site in Carteret County, has lacked a comprehensive narrative about its diverse history. Throughout 2023, Dr. Hunter spent countless hours in partnership with the staff of Fort Macon, Carteret County community members and the Department researching and advising on updates to the site, providing a fuller and more accurate historical record. One of his nominators wrote, “despite the risks of engaging with the public during a time of divisive rhetoric about history and race, he exemplifies a belief that public service beyond the walls of the University classroom is a crucial part of an academic historian’s work. He brings a genuine passion for ensuring people well beyond the university develop a more comprehensive understanding of North Carolina’s Black history.” 

UNC Cares

Winner of the Office of the Provost Award for Engaged Partnership

UNC Cares, the Center for Aging and Adult Research and Educational Services at the UNC School of Social Work, was recognized for their outstanding efforts in championing the rights and well-being of older adults and individuals with disabilities across North Carolina. They were also recognized for their work with “Rethinking Guardianship NC,” an initiative to advocate for the rights and dignity of older adults and adults with disabilities. 


The Ned Brooks Award for Public Service

Dr. Lisa Carey

Winner of the The Ned Brooks Award for Public Service

The Ned Brooks Award for Public Service was presented to Dr. Lisa Carey, the L. Richardson and Marilyn Jacobs Preyer Distinguished Professor for Breast Cancer Research at the UNC School of Medicine, the Deputy Director of Clinical Sciences at UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Director of the UNC Lineberger Center for Triple Negative Breast Cancer. Dr. Carey has served in many roles during her time at UNC, and she was recognized for her long and sustained record of service. Her work focuses on reducing the disparate outcomes between black women and others with breast cancer. This includes her outstanding clinical and translational research to characterize the molecular subtypes of breast cancer that has helped develop better prevention and treatment strategies. One of her nominators, Anita Brown-Graham, wrote, “In a world of often inexplicable health care outcomes, Lisa Carey’s star shines bright”. 

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