Student news, spring 2016

Health behavior students are talented, engaged and committed. Each class of new students bring a wide variety of experiences and perspectives into the programs. Then they expand their experience through studies, practica, research and service as they pursue issues they care about while acquiring the skills they need to become successful public health professionals. Many students have been recognized for outstanding achievements.

Featured in the school news | UNC Diversity Award, student category | Student awards


Featured in the school news


May Chen selected as 2016 Point Scholar

May Chen

May Chen

The Point Foundation, the largest scholarship-granting organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) students, has announced its 2016 Scholars. May Chen, doctoral student of health behavior at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, has been named the Janssen Therapeutics Point Scholar.

Chen is one of 22 students hailing from across the United States who run the gamut of domestic and international backgrounds. Half belong to underrepresented ethnic groups, 36 percent are first-generation college students and 41 percent identify as gender non-conforming. What all the Point Scholars have in common is identifying as either LGBTQ or allies, and showing strong academic achievement, a record of leadership and active work for the betterment of the LGBTQ community.


Liz Chen and Cristina Leos selected as Innovation Next award finalists

Elizabeth Chen and Christine Leos

Elizabeth Chen and Cristina Leos

Liz Chen and Cristina Leos are among the finalists for the 2016 “Innovation Next” project, an award that includes $80,000 in development funds and the opportunity to work the renowned global design company IDEO to refine and execute their proposal.

Created by a grant from the U.S. Health and Human Services Office of Adolescent Health, Innovation Next is designed to find creative, interactive technology interventions for preventing teen pregnancy. Ten teams out of 127 entries were chosen as finalists in this year’s competition.


UNC’s Diversity Award, student organization category recognized the Minority Health Conference Organizing Committee


Some of the health behavior students on the organizing committee of the award-winning 2016 Minority Health Conference pose.

Some of the health behavior students on the organizing committee of the award-winning 2016 Minority Health Conference pose.

Chaired by health behavior students Anna Dardick and Giuliana Morales, and with many other health behavior students working on committees, the Minority Health Conference committee received one of the Eighth Annual University of North Carolina Diversity Awards, in the “student organization” category. The awards recognize individuals and groups who have invested time and energy to further diversity and inclusion at UNC-Chapel Hill and in the surrounding communities.

Health Behavior Students Involved in the Minority Health Conference * indicates committee co-chair

Conference Co-chairs: Anna Dardick and Giuliana Morales; Planning Committee Coordinator: Eyerusalem Tessema; Communications Committee: Steffani Bangel,* Katie Byerly,* Sruthi Cherkur, Marisa Martini; Evaluation Committee: Julia Hill,* Elizabeth Sager, *Ania Berchuck, Ashley Crawford, Ida Griesemer, Alexis Hoyt, Juliette Price; Exhibitors Committee: Lillie Armstrong,* Humberto Rodriguez,* Chris Moore, Whitley Raney: Fundraising Committee: Angela Hensel; Posters Committee: Waru Gichane,*Jani Radhakrishnan,* Ida Griesemer, Alexis Hoyt; Speakers Committee:Joy Martin,* Ashley Crawford, Adela Del Valle, Chris Moore; Webcast Committee: Christin Stewart,* Christina Villella,* Ryan Drab, Claire McLendon, Emily Pike, Chen Zhang: At-Large Volunteer Coordinator: Amanda Kong

Watch Miriam Zoila Pérez speaking at the 2016 Annual Minority Health Conference.  


Health Behavior Student Awards (April 2016)


Departmental Awards

Marisa Martini – Harriet Hylton Barr Memorial Award
Rebecca Hershow – Dorothy Dunn Scholarship
Camille McGirt  – Hatch-Barnhill Scholarship
Natalie Blackburn – Godfrey and Lore Hochbaum Award
Jessica Tufte – Ethel J. Jackson Health Education Practice Award
Lindsay Bailey Thompson– Kathryn J. Kerr Memorial Scholarship
Bridget Hochwalt – Lansky Family Scholarship in Health Behavior
Ashley Crawford, Camille McGirt and Whitley Raney Lucy S. Morgan Fellowship Award

Master’s students

Lillie Armstrong – Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship: Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies
Steffani A. Bangel – Irma M. Isaacson Memorial Scholarship, National Council of Jewish Women
Dirk A. Davis – Foreign Language and Areas Studies Fellowship: Portuguese and Latin American Studies
Michael DeFranco – B. Erik and Mabel S. Johansson Scholarship
Christina Galardi –Frank Porter Graham Graduate and Professional Student Honor
Society Inductee, UNC-Chapel Hill
Casey Leo – Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship: K’iche’ Maya
Camille McGirt – CBC Spouses Education Scholarship
Joy Martin – Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship: Japanese
Giuliana J. Morales – FHI 360-UNC Public Health Fellow; Graduate School Leadership Development Scholar, UNC-Chapel Hill
Em Pike – Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship: Japanese
Whitley Raney – Lettie Pate Whitehead Public Health Scholarship
Christin Stewart – Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship: Haitian Creole
Eyerusalem Tessema – MHIRT Summer Fellowship
Lindsay Bailey Thompson – Whitehead Scholarship, Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation
Jessica Tufte – North Carolina Public Health Association Graduate Degree Scholarship; MGMA Fellowship; Richard L. Davis, FACMPE and Barbara Watson, FACMPE National
Scholarship Recipient; Health Behavior Travel Award, spring 2016; UNC Graduate School Travel Award, spring 2016
Christina Villella –  IntraHealth Summer Fellow, 2015; Koch Travel Award, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health
Eleanor Wertman – Health Behavior Travel Award, spring 2016

Doctoral students

Leslie Adams – Carolina Center for Public Service Community Engagement Fellow; Sheps Center for Health Services Research National Research Service Award (NRSA) Predoctoral Training Award; UNC Summer Research Fellowship, Summer 2016; Graduate School Leadership Development Scholar, UNC-Chapel Hill; Institute for Minority Excellence Travel Award

Natalie Blackburn – Gillings Annual Fund Scholarship

Christine Agnew-Brune – Jessie Ball DuPont Dissertation Fellowship for Adolescent Studies (Dissertation completion fellowship); Pilot Program Grant, The North Carolina Translational and Clinical; Sciences Institute; Jamie Kimble Scholarship for Courage, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health; Royster Society of Fellows, Invited Member; John D. Butts Scholarship for Excellence in Using Data to Prevent Injury, UNC Injury Prevention Research Center; Student Research Grant, UNC Injury Prevention Research Center; UNC Graduate School Dissertation Completion Fellowship

Gabriela Arandia – Research Supplement to Promote Diversity in Health-related Research, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute

Elizabeth Chen – Innovation Next Finalist; Student Abstract Award Winner, School Health Education and Services Section, American Public Health Association Annual Meeting; Robert and Kristen Greczyn Scholarship

Michael Close – Research Supplement to Promote Diversity in Health-related Research, National Cancer Institute

Leslie Cofie – UNC Graduate School Dissertation Completion Fellowship

Melissa Cox – Gillings Dissertation Award; UNC Graduate School Dissertation Completion Fellowship

Meridith Eastman – UNC Graduate School Dissertation Completion Fellowship

Ida Griesemer – Gillings Merit Scholarship

Anna Grummon – Health Behavior Travel Award, fall 2015

Marissa Hall – Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA); Individual Predoctoral Fellowship, National Cancer Institute; Marci Kramish Campbell Dissertation Award Supporting Research Excellence in Cancer and the Population Sciences; Anne Cynthia Price Award; Health Behavior Travel Award, spring 2016

Jayne Kristin Jeffries – Tanner Graduate Teaching Assistant Award for in Undergraduate Teaching, Office of the Chancellors, UNC Chapel Hill; Undergraduate Teaching Award, UNC Student Undergraduate; Teaching and Staff Awards; Elizabeth Reaves Martin Moore Scholarship Recipient, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health

Catherine L. Jo – National Research Service Award (NRSA) Fellowship (F31); NIH – National Institute on Drug Abuse

Cristina Leos – Gates Millennium Scholarship; Innovation Next Finalist

Yesenia Merino – Graduate School Leadership Development Scholar, UNC-Chapel Hill

Marta Mulawa – National Research Service Award Fellowship (F31); NIH – National Institute of Mental Health

Brooke T. Nezami – Graduate School Impact Award; UNC Graduate School Dissertation Completion Fellowship; Health Behavior Travel Awards, fall 2015 and spring 2016; Koch Travel Award, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health 

Allison Pack – Gillings Merit Scholarship

Allison M. Schmidt – Pre-doctoral Fellowship at the Center for Regulatory Research on Tobacco Communication

Andrew Seidenberg – UNC Lineberger Cancer Control Education Program Predoctoral Fellowship; Center for Regulatory Research on Tobacco Communications
Predoctoral Fellowship; Cancer Outcomes Research Program Travel Award, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center; Third Place at the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center Scientific Retreat Poster Contest

Rebeccah Sokol – Koch Travel Award, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health 

Laura Villa Torres – CONACyT (Mexican National Council for Science and Technology) Scholarship; Mellon Dissertation Award; Research Program on Migration and Health Dissertation Award

Delta Omega Theta Chapter

Melissa Cox
Christina Galardi
Giuliana Morales
Brooke Nezami
Christina Villella
Eleanor Wertman

Delta Omega Theta Chapter: Service Award

Katie Byerly

Delta Omega Theta Chapter: Academic Excellence Award

Genevieve Olson


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