Carolina honors those who excel in public service
Providing low-income students with access to higher education, defending social justice through environmental initiatives and closing the cultural gaps in classrooms are just a few of the public service projects honored by the Carolina Center for Public Service at its awards ceremony today (March 28).
Twenty individuals and organizations received awards, representing eight schools and more than 30 departments.
“The students, faculty, staff and University units being honored with these awards exemplify Carolina’s commitment to service and engagement across North Carolina and far beyond,” said center director Lynn Blanchard. “Their efforts demonstrate the interconnectedness of the University’s three-part mission of teaching, research and service. We are pleased to have such outstanding examples of public service and engaged scholarship to celebrate at UNC.”
The center honored Shirley Ort, associate provost and director of the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid, and Fred Clark, academic coordinator for Carolina Covenant, with the Ned Brooks Award for Public Service.
Named for Brooks, a faculty member and administrator at Carolina since 1972, the award recognizes a faculty or staff member who has built a sustained record of community service through individual efforts and promoted the involvement and guidance of others.
In their work for Carolina Covenant, a landmark program that provides debt-free education to low-income students, Ort and Clark have improved the lives of thousands of Covenant Scholars. Not only has the entire University embraced the Covenant Scholars, Ort and Clark have also led others to engage with low-income students, both at Carolina and in communities across the state.
The Ronald W. Hyatt Public Service Award, named for the late professor of exercise and sport science and longtime member of the Chapel Hill Rotary Club, honors innovative public service projects that exemplify the “service above self” motto of Rotary International. This year’s award went to students Elizabeth Cotton, Alecia Westphalen and Gabrielle Neri-mynatt for their work with Ugandan HIV-positive youth in their initiative Empowerment Through Technology.
The center presented three Office of the Provost Engaged Scholarship Awards, honoring service to North Carolina. Awards went to Carolina Navigators, which provides North Carolina teachers with cultural resources from Carolina students with international expertise; Steve Knotek, associate professor of education, for his work with Madres para Niños, a program for Latina mothers and their young children that addresses cultural gaps in the classroom; and Community-Based Participatory Research Core, for the project Community Engagement Consulting Models: Taking Them to Scale.
The Robert E. Bryan Public Service Award recognizes exemplary public service efforts. This year’s Bryan awards went to three individuals and two programs:
- Allison Norman, a psychology major, for her work with Students Working for Environmental Action and Transformation (SWEAT), a Campus Y group committed to defending social justice through environmental initiatives. Under Norman’s leadership, SWEAT tackled environmental injustices in Chapel Hill;
- Jeanne Cross, a masters student in the School of Social Work, for her work to fight human trafficking, providing anti-trafficking community education to hundreds of North Carolinians and dozens of UNC classmates through her speaking efforts;
- Nicole Hurd, executive director and founder of the College Advising Corps, for her work with the Corps, a program that partners with UNC to place recent Carolina graduates as college advisers in high schools across North Carolina;
- Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute for its Breastfeeding-Friendly Healthcare Project, which furthers statewide, national and global health and understanding and support for optimal infant and young child feeding in relation to maternal and child health; and co-winner Carolina BEBES, which provides an opportunity for interested students to learn more about breastfeeding and to advocate for supportive breastfeeding practices on campus, locally, nationally and globally.