SILS Undergraduate Student, Kristen Bowen, Receives Public Service Award

April 16, 2012

Service projects in North Carolina and in faraway Uganda and Bosnia received awards from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill at an annual awards ceremony Wednesday (March 28).

School of Information and Library Science undergraduate student, Kristen Bowen, is one of the recipients of the Robert E. Bryan Social Innovation Fellowship for her work on "Healthy Girls Save the World" project. The project focuses on reducing childhood obesity by promoting healthy bodies, healthy minds and healthy relationships for girls ages 8-15 in North Carolina’s fourth district. Bowen worked on the project along with Camille McGirt ’13, Jillian Griffith’14 and Reena Gupta ’15. 

The Carolina Center for Public Service honored 20 individuals and organizations. Awards went to students, faculty and staff members from eight of Carolina’s 13 schools and more than 30 different 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 Lynn Blanchard, the center’s director. “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 Ronald W. Hyatt Rotary 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 senior Elizabeth Cotton of Battleboro, junior Alecia Westphalen of Raleigh and junior Gabrielle Neri-Mynatt of Waynesville for their work with Ugandan HIV-positive youth in their initiative Empowerment Through Technology.

The Davis Projects for Peace Award, funded by philanthropist Kathryn W. Davis, provides $10,000 to support the Zenica Peace Alliance, developed by seniors Amna Baloch, Sarah Mohamed and Morgan Smallwood, all of Raleigh. The project will create a safe space in which children from diverse backgrounds in the Bosnian city can develop relationships to overcome dangerous ethnic divisions.

The center honored Shirley Ort, director of the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid, and Fred Clark, academic coordinator for the Carolina Covenant Scholars Program, 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 has promoted the involvement and guidance of others. In their work for Carolina Covenant, a landmark program that provides debt-free education to youth from low-income families, Ort and Clark have helped improve the lives of thousands of Covenant Scholars.

Three campus units received Office of the Provost Engaged Scholarship Awards: Carolina Navigators, a service-learning program 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 the Community-Based Participatory Research Core of the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, for the project Community Engagement Consulting Models: Taking Them to Scale.

The Robert E. Bryan Public Service Award recognizes individual students and faculty for exemplary public service efforts. This year’s Bryan awards went to three individuals and one organization: 

  • Allison Norman, a senior majoring in psychology from Charlotte, for her work with Students Working for Environmental Action and Transformation (SWEAT), a Campus Y group committed to defending social justice through environmental initiatives.
  • Jeanne Cross, a masters student in the School of Social Work, for her work raising awareness and fighting human trafficking, providing anti-trafficking community education through her speaking and fundraising efforts in the state and developing an international field placement in India to serve women and children rescued from human trafficking and sex trade.
  • Nicole Hurd, executive director and founder of the National College Advising Corps, for her work with the corps, a program housed at UNC that places recent college graduates as college advisors in high schools in high-need areas.
  • Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute at the Gillings School of Global Public Health for its Breastfeeding-Friendly Healthcare Project and Carolina BEBES (Birth and Breastfeeding: Evidence Based Education and Support). The Breastfeeding-Friendly Healthcare Project supports N.C. hospitals’ efforts to implement the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding program. Carolina BEBES is the institute’s student organization arm, which provides an opportunity for students to learn more about breastfeeding and advocates for supportive breastfeeding practices on campus, locally, nationally and globally.

The following projects received Community Engagement Graduate Student Fellowships:

  • Growing Safer Gardens - Kristina Alnajjar and Ashley Chaifetz,
  • Latino Men in North Carolina and Their Participation in Reproductive Health Promotion Programs - Paul Fleming, Chelly Richards and Laura Villa-Torres,
  • Supporting North Carolina Families Affected by Cancer - Alison Doernberg and
  • Toward Successful Integration: Partnering with Local Schools to Assist Refugee Students - Amy Lerner.

The following projects received Robert E. Bryan Social Innovation Fellowships:

  • El Fondo de Apoyo Comunitario Internacional, affiliated with the Campus Y - Santiago Beltran ‘13, Caleb Dagenhart ‘14, Jaime Ruiz ‘12 and Gautam Sanka ‘14,
  • Healthy Girls Save the World - Kristen Bowen ‘13, Jillian Griffith ‘14, Reena Gupta ‘15 and Camille McGirt ‘13,
  • HOPE Cooks, affiliated with the Campus Y - Alex Biggers ‘13, Jessica Richardson ‘13 and Meg VanDeusen ‘14 and
  • Technology Education in Chapel Hill, affiliated with the Campus Y - Patrick Heenan ‘13 and Joe Sircar ‘12.


Adapted from the news release from the Carolina Center for Public Service.