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The Carolina Center for Public Service Announces 10 Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars for 2021-2023

CHAPEL HILL, NC (OCT. 25, 2021) – A new class of 10 Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars (FES) joined together with peer faculty who are diverse in their research areas and backgrounds. The eighth class of scholars will support each other in scholarship that engages with community throughout the next two years.

The Carolina Center for Public Service leads the initiative from selection of members to programming to staying engaged with the growing network of scholars. FES is supported through the Chancellor Holden Thorp Endowment Fund.

FES are awarded $5,000 per year for each of the two years to support their initiatives. Since its inception in 2007, a total of 73 faculty members have been selected for the program from all professional schools and the College of Arts and Sciences at UNC.

Congratulations to the 2021 class of Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars:

      • Sarah (Betsy) Bledsoe, Ph.D., associate professor in the School of Social Work
      • Helyne Frederick, Ph.D., clinical associate professor in the School of Education
      • Rachel Goode, Ph.D., assistant professor in the School of Social Work
      • Eric Hodges, Ph.D., associate professor in the School of Nursing
      • Andrea Hussong, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience in the College of Arts and Sciences
      • Rhonda Lanning, Ph.D., clinical associate professor in the School of Nursing
      • Lauren Leve, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Religious Studies in the College of Arts & Sciences
      • Brenna Maddox, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry, TEACCH Autism Program in the School of Medicine
      • Kimberly Sanders, Pharm. D., assistant professor in the Division of Practice Advancement and Clinical Education in the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and Division of Comprehensive Oral Health in the Adams School of Dentistry
      • Angela Stuesse, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Anthropology in the College of Arts and Science


    Learn More About the Scholars

Class VIII at a Glance:

Sarah (Betsy) Bledsoe, Ph.D.
Associate Professor in the School of Social Work

In her research, Bledsoe collaborates with Robeson County Healthcare Corporation, Health Department, Healthy Start, Nurse Family Partnership and community mothers to develop equitable interventions to high-risk, marginalized populations. Her focus is on families impacted by depression, anxiety and trauma, as well as fundamental causes of disease with an emphasis on pregnancy and early childhood. Her research investigates how poverty and marginalization increase the risks of disease. Bledsoe looks forward to Thorp scholars supporting and sharing in her community-engaged scholarship and research and learning best practices for developing her own community-based participatory research projects to enhance the critical work being done in rural Robeson County and beyond.

 

Helyne Frederick, Ph.D.
Clinical Associate professor in the School of Education

Frederick researches ways to improve sexual health care for Black women and adolescents in the region by addressing their higher rates (when compared to white women) of preterm birth, several sexually transmitted infections and reproductive health challenges. With the Thorp funding, Frederick will look to fellow scholars to learn best practices for building trust and partnerships with community stakeholders and families in communities surrounding UNC. She hopes to form partnerships with women leaders in Durham to help break the taboo around talking about sexuality to form partnerships and more effectively disseminate information to Black women and adolescents to improve their sexual health care.

Rachel Goode, Ph.D
Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work
Goode plans to design and develop a culturally-relevant and remotely-delivered diabetes self-management education program for African Americans with type 2 diabetes. Her current research concentrates on the eating behaviors of Black women and developing digital health treatment programs for binge eating, obesity and type 2 diabetes. Goode aims to increase her knowledge on how to collaborate with community partners on research projects to prevent and treat the chronic disparities of obesity and type 2 diabetes, and to design interventions that improve health equity.

 

Eric Hodges, Ph.D.
Associate Professor in the School of Nursing

The Thorp scholarship will enable Hodges to pull together collaborative community-engaged advisory boards of interdisciplinary faculty and community partners that will work together to achieve safer development options for children in central North Carolina and especially underserved families. Tapping into his developmental psychology training during his doctoral program, Hodges’ research brings nursing and nutrition disciplines together to develop a framework of understanding for feeding interactions during infancy, which shape the development of the young child’s self-regulation of feeding.

 

Andrea Hussong, Ph.D.
Professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience in the College of Arts and Sciences

Hussong aims to create programs that focus on increasing gratitude in children and supporting them through challenges associated with parental drug addiction. She will collaborate with community partners on program development benefiting these children and will investigate ways to develop connective character (things like gratitude, generosity, empathy, and compassion that bind us to one another) to build resilience and support recovery from trauma.

 

Rhonda Lanning, Ph.D.
Clinical Associate Professor in the School of Nursing

Lanning will help address the needs of pregnant and postpartum individuals and families within area refugee and immigrant communities by collaborating with the Refugee Community Partnership (RCP) to identify and train individuals from the community to serve as birth and postpartum doulas and patient navigators. She also plans to focus on collaborating with RCP to address the language barriers local refugee and immigrant communities face when trying to access reproductive and maternal-newborn health services.

 

Lauren Leve, Ph.D.
Associate Professor in the Department of Religious Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences 

Leve appreciates the interdisciplinary spirit of Thorp Scholars and looks forward to the experience exposing her to innovative ideas and methodologies for collaborating with partners beyond UNC. Using this inspiration, Leve intends to use the funding to extend her research on Buddhist understandings of nature and best practices for natural scientists working in the region. She will also continue her work with Newar Buddhist stakeholders and cultural heritage activists on decolonial methods of representing Buddhism, collecting and curating an oral history archive to accompany the 3D mapping project.

Brenna Maddox, Ph.D
Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, TEACCH Autism Program in the School of Medicine

Maddox aspires to improve mental health services for autistic individuals by partnering with autistic people, their family members and other key stakeholders. With this collaboration, Maddox wants to improve the quality of care that suicidal autistic individuals receive, decrease their risk of related injuries and prevent devastating and premature deaths.

 

Kimberly Sanders, Pharm. D.
Assistant Professor in the Division of Practice Advancement and Clinical Education in the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and Division of Comprehensive Oral Health in the Adams School of Dentistry

With her scholarship, Sanders looks to leverage her interdisciplinary research to bridge community dental providers and oral health organizations and educate and encourage pharmacy partnerships for the benefit of patient populations. Sanders will employ previous pilot intervention models within the academic clinical setting and partner with community dental and oral health providers to educate and encourage pharmacy partnerships for the benefit of patient populations.

Angela Stuesse, Ph.D.
Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology in the College of Arts and Sciences 

For her Thorp project, Stuesse aims to flip the power dynamic of social scientists and their communities of research in her pursuit of completing a draft of her book that will be co-authored by and featuring the story of one UNC student’s journey as an undocumented person in the United States. Stuesse also aims to devote some of her Thorp scholarship to UndocuCarolina trainings to work towards institutional stability for the program. UndocuCarolina is dedicated to increasing the visibility, support and resources for members of the Carolina community living with the effects of undocumentation.

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