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University Gazette

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Three honored with advancement of women awards

Three people will receive University Awards for the Advancement of Women on March 21 at the Campus Y in honor of their dedication to the empowerment of women.

The awards, created in 2006, honor individuals who have mentored or supported women on campus, elevated the status of women or improved campus policies for them, promoted women’s recruitment and retention, or promoted professional development for women.

The three winners – one faculty member, one staff member and one student, graduate student or postdoctoral scholar are eligible – receive a monetary award ($5,000 for the faculty and staff winners, $2,500 for the student scholar).

This year’s honorees are Camille McGirt, a senior majoring in health policy and management in the Gillings School of Global Public Health; Kelli Raker, rape prevention coordinator at Campus Health Services; and Jenny Ting, William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, co-director of the Inflammatory Diseases Institute and program leader at Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

McGirt

Advocacy comes naturally to McGirt. One nominator commended her for serving as a mentor and role model, providing key advice about both social entrepreneurship and the field of health policy and management.

As a Bryan Social Innovation Fellow with Carolina’s APPLES Service Learning Program, McGirt turned her commitment to preventative health measures and helping others into something tangible.

She established Healthy Girls Save the World, a program designed to fight obesity and promote healthy lifestyles for girls ages 8 to 15 in the Chapel Hill area. The program organizes free events focusing on nutrition, physical activity and positive relationships, and it gives participants a chance to interact with college athletes.

“Camille’s efforts to help women on this campus and girls in this community are astounding,” a nominator said. “There are very few college students in this country who work as hard as she does to make a positive difference.”

Raker

Although Raker has not been at Carolina long, she already has made a significant impact through her work with One Act, a four-hour training program led by peer educators for students who want to help prevent interpersonal violence.

“In only about a year-and-a-half, Kelli has made One Act grow and improve enormously, making UNC significantly safer as a result,” a nominator said. “Today, One Act boasts a steering committee, an enormous number of peer educators and thousands of ‘Trained Tar Heels.’ The curriculum is constantly being improved.”

One Act, a student-led collaboration with Campus Health Services’ Student Wellness, works toward a safer campus environment by providing the knowledge, skills and confidence people need to recognize the early warning signs of interpersonal violence and take the necessary steps to prevent it in their lives.

“Kelli’s passion, enthusiasm and leadership in developing and growing this program has been absolutely inspiring,” a nominator said.

Ting

Among the more than 85 graduate students, postdoctoral scholars and clinician scientists trained by Ting, many have become career scientists.

“Women mentored by Jenny Ting find themselves lifted and supported to the place where they thrive as professors in colleges, researchers in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry, and staffers in scientific public policy,” a nominator said.

Ting, an internationally recognized leader in her field, has been called the medical school’s “go-to” person in providing career advice for women. Not only did she advocate successfully for a formal maternity leave policy in the school, a nominator said, she also has applied a portion of grant funding toward maternity leave for a number of the women she mentored.

“She has quietly, but very effectively, worked within the School of Medicine to ensure the retention of numerous talented women faculty,” a colleague said. Another praised Ting for mentoring trainees long after they leave her lab.