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University Gazette

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Carolina honors 9 individuals and groups for public service


Lucy Lewis was honored for her commitment to social justice and social innovation.

Social justice initiatives, community-based services for the elderly and a refugee health program were some of the projects recognized on April 5 at the 2017 Public Service Awards celebration.

The annual event is held by the Carolina Center for Public Service.

“Service to others is at the heart of how a great public university engages with and serves its communities,” said Chancellor Carol L. Folt. “The recipients of this year’s awards exemplify the best of blending public service and engaged scholarship to serve the public good. I am honored to recognize their meaningful and profoundly impactful work.”

04Lucy - Campus Y TshirtLucy Lewis, retired assistant director of the Campus Y and director of the Bonner Leaders Program, received the 2017 Ned Brooks Award for Public Service honoring her commitment to social justice and social innovation. Lewis led the Bonner Leaders Program, a Campus Y social justice scholarship program that supports 50 undergraduates from lower socio-economic backgrounds to serve with different community partners. Lewis also serves as a key mentor and advocate for both students and community partners.

In her nominating letter, Lewis was recognized for her dedication to developing the values and skills of a new generation of social justice leaders who have left an indelible imprint on the University, the state and the country.

Three others received Office of the Provost Engaged Scholarship Awards, which honor individuals and campus units for public service through engaged teaching, research and partnership. The winners are:

Hann04HannalGillah Gill, director of the Latino Migration Project, won engaged teaching for her work with the APPLES Service-Learning Global Course Guanajuato. The spring semester course trains bilingual students to understand the contemporary and historical complexities of immigration through research, service learning with immigrants in North Carolina and travel to communities of migrant origin in Guanajuato, Mexico. The program fosters bi-national relationships with migrant families, secondary schools and foundations in Mexico. In 2015, the success of the course sparked the creation of a new UNC Service-Learning Study Abroad Exchange program with the Universidad de Guanajuato.

04GaryCuddebackGary Cuddeback, distinguished term associate professor in the School of Social Work, won for engaged research through the partnership between the Mental Health and Criminal Justice Evidence-Based Intervention Collaborative Organization and the North Carolina Department of Public Safety. Cuddeback led a team of educators and researches and combined rigorous research methods and community engagement strategies to improve the lives of people with mental illnesses who are involved in the criminal justice system. He developed a series of mental health training modules to educate all probation officers across the state. The research program has also developed treatment manuals focused on implementing an adaptation of an evidence-based practice for people with co-occurring illness and substance use disorders in mental health courts and probation settings.

Jennifer Womack, clinical professor in Allied Health, won the partnership award for her work with the Orange County Department of Aging (OCDOA). Womack has worked with individuals, organizations and health-delivery systems to develop community-based services focused on three key issues affecting the quality life of elders: driving, falls and dementia. She collaborated with the OCDOA on two successful grants – one funded a senior transportation coordinator, the other developed services and practices to build a dementia-capable community. Her efforts have impacted the aging community and empowered older adults and their families to utilize resources, programs and services in Orange County.

Winners of the Robert E. Bryan Public Service Award, which recognizes individual students and faculty for exemplary public service efforts, are.

Brit04BrittanyBrattainDSC_2782tany Brattain, a law student and member of the UNC School of Law Pro Bono Program, received the graduate student award for her work with the UNC Cancer Pro Bono Project. In her role as special projects coordinator, Brattain recruited student and attorney volunteers to serve at clinics; developed training protocol for student volunteers; created client files for clinics; and developed an institutionalized and automated system that will ensure the longevity of the project.

Alexander Peeples, a history and political science major, received the undergraduate student award for his work with Heavenly Groceries, a local food bank that procures fresh produce. For the past three years, Peeples served as a link between St. Joseph C.M.E. Church, which houses the food bank, and the Jackson Center, which facilitates student involvement. One of Peeples’ contributions was securing grant money for a new van to make operation easier.

Marsha Penner, faculty lecturer in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, received the faculty award for her commitment to the class PSYC 424 Neural Connections: Hands-on Neuroscience. The class is dedicated to teaching neuroscience through hands-on activities in the community. Students develop a neuroscience activity that includes a detailed manual and tool kit and delivers them to educators who need them. Penner has been devoted to making science accessible to the public.

Matthew Mauzy, Information Technology Services control center operations manager, received the staff award for his work with the North Carolina Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team (NCHART) response to Hurricane Matthew. As chief of the South Orange Rescue Squad, Mauzy ensures that his team is ready for hurricanes and for the resulting damage. In the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, Mauzy contributed countless volunteer hours with the NCHART group to ensure North Carolina residents affected by the hurricane received the support they needed during the critical weeks following the storm.

The Refugee Health Initiative (RHI) received the campus organization award for its outreach to refugee families who have settled in the local community. Founded in 2009, RHI has provided a sense of belonging in the community as well as access to needed services, including healthcare and social resources. This year, RHI matched 66 undergraduate and graduate students with 32 refugee families across Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Durham. As RHI pairs students with refugee families, students are able to regularly meet with and serve refugee families and ease the burden on local resettlement agencies.

For the complete list of awards, see