RTI University Scholars Program

Since 2014, UNC Gillings faculty have participated in the RTI University Scholars Program which provides partial support for distinguished academic researchers to spend scholarly leave time at RTI, actively collaborating with RTI experts. The ideal Scholar is a tenured or research-track faculty member at the Associate Professor level or higher with a commitment to collaboration and a strong research record in a field that aligns with RTI’s practice areas and services and capabilities.

2022-2023 Cohort

Dr. Courtney Woods

Dr. Courtney Woods

Courtney Woods, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Evironmental Sciences and Engineering

Courtney G. Woods, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, will study rural water quality and risk perception associated with solid waste landfills.   

RTI Collaborators: Crystal Lee Pow Jackson, Ph.D., research environmental scientist in the Center for Environmental Health, Risk and Sustainability; Brian Southwell, Ph.D., senior director, Science in the Public Sphere, Center for Communication Science; and Rohit B. Warrier, Ph.D., research environmental engineer, Center for Environmental Health, Risk and Sustainability  

Woods and collaborators will apply community-based participatory approaches to research on the effect of landfill contaminants on environmental and human health, measuring private water quality at residences near a major North Carolina landfill. Research will inform a framework for investigating risk perception among private well users who live near landfills. “Private well users across the country continue to be underserved and at the biggest risk for hazards in their drinking water,” noted RTI collaborators in their support for Woods’s research. “We believe that our collaboration with Dr. Woods will advance scientific stature through innovative research.” 

Explore Other Cohorts.

Student Engagement

By mentoring the brightest undergraduate and graduate minds in a variety of disciplines at the North Carolina headquarters and other offices in the United States and around the world, RTI helps to expand public health research and capabilities, while also creating a vibrant network of intern alumni who go on to assume roles at the institute and elsewhere.  

The following Gillings students participated, or are currently participating, in RTI’s Internship Program from October 2022 through September 2023: 

Xiaorui (Jessica) Qu  

Food Environments Internship
MPH, Nutrition and Dietetics, UNC-Chapel Hill, 2023
BS, Applied Nutrition Science, NC State 2019 

Jessica interned with RTI’s global Public Health Impact center to support personal food environment studies to assist in the design of market systems and nutrition programs in three African countries and carrying out an evaluation of a food systems program aimed at improving nutrition. 


Samantha Feinstein 

Innovation Consulting Internship (Sustainability)
MSPH, Environmental Sciences & Engineering, UNC-Chapel Hill, 2023
BA, Chemistry, BA Romance Studies-French, UNC-Chapel Hill, 2020 

Samantha interned with RTI’s Innovation Advisors to help address sustainability challenges for commercial and federal clients. In this role, she assisted with market research by conducting research using secondary resources as well as primary resources when needed, and developed marketing descriptions of new technologies and conducted research in a wide range of technology areas and industries.  


Poonam Rawat 

Substance Use, Gender & Applied Research Summer Internship
MPH, Maternal, Child, & Family Health, UNC- Chapel Hill, 2024
BA Biology, BA Political Science, St. Olaf College Minnesota, 2021 

Poonam interned with the Substance Use, Gender, and Applied Research (SUGAR) Program. In this role, Poonam assisted the SUGAR team with research related to tasks on HIV prevention studies, by conducting literature reviews and drafting background sections of scientific manuscripts.  


Caroline Hoch 

Proposal Development Internship 
MSPH, Global Health, UNC-Chapel Hill, 2024
BS Neuroscience, Biology, UNC-Chapel Hill, 2020 

Caroline interned with the Proposal and Capture Team at RTI. In this role, she assisted proposal teams who support multiple efforts across RTI by reviewing proposal/application requests, collaborating with staff on various stages of business and proposal development, and assisting with documentation of discussions, decisions, and action items during proposal meetings.  


Neharika Kodali 

RTI Global Gender Center Research Assistant Internship
B.S. Biology, B.S.P.H. Pre-Health Policy and Management, UNC-Chapel Hill 2026 

Neharika interned with RTI’s Global Gender Center, and assisted with keeping the externally facing website updated, wrote gender-related blog posts and project impact stories, and organized databases.  


Claire Chu 

Biostatistician Internship
BSPH, UNC-Chapel Hill, 2024 

Claire interned with the Center for Clinical Research Network. In this role, she helped advance project and research efforts in the areas of clinical trials, epidemiological studies, and public health research. Claire reviewed protocol and data collection forms, tracked metrics and generated reports, and collaborated on statistical research and analysis.  


Ryan Moore 

Biostatistician Internship
BSPH Biostatistics, UNC-Chapel Hill, 2024 

Ryan interned with the Center for Clinical Research Network. In this role, Ryan helped advance project and research efforts in the areas of clinical trials, epidemiological studies, and public health research. Ryan reviewed protocol and data collection forms, tracked metrics and generated reports, and collaborated on statistical research and analysis.  


Amanda Coleman 

Research & Marketing Internship
MPH, UNC-Chapel Hill, 2024
BS Public Health, Virginia Tech, 2022 

Amanda Interned with RTI’s Innovation Advisors. Amanda was responsible for IA’s social media presences, and contributed to the ongoing growth and success of RTI’s innovation by planning and implementing social media campaigns, creating social media templates and assets, and brainstorming with RTI colleagues to create marketing content.  


Aminah Isiaq 

SUGAR Internship
MPH, Health Behavior, UNC-Chapel Hill, 2024
BS, Public Health and Psychology, Tulane University, 2020 

Aminah interned with the Substance Use, Gender, and Applied Research Program at RTI. In this role, Aminah assisted with research study evaluating implantation strategies for the delivery of medication for black cis- and transgender women in the United States through qualitative data collection and analysis.  


Brooklyn Story 

Environmental health Outreach and Education Internship
MPH, Environmental Health Solutions, UNC-Chapel Hill, 2024
BS, Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University, 2022 

Brooklyn interned with RTI’s Environmental Health and Water Quality group. In this role, she contributed to program visibility and recruitment, helped develop written outreach and education materials, and collaborated with the program team.  


Gugma Vidal 

Technical Writer Internship
BPH, UNC-Chapel Hill, 2025 

Gugma interned with Lab 58. In this role, she refined Lab 58 technology and marketing, as well as researched and wrote articles and recorded podcast videos. 


Abigale Hughes 

ACO Shared Savings Program Practicum Internship
MPH, Public Health, UNC- Chapel Hill, 2023 

Abigale interned with the Comprehensive Health Innovation, Research & Policy (CHIRP) program. In this role, she supported quality management activities and a quality management strategy, as well as managed program data by conducting analyses to inform program administration.  


Chelsea Ducille

Maternal and Child Health: Global Health Intern
PhD, Maternal and Child Health, UNC-Chapel Hill, 2023
MSPH, Population, Family, and Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins, 2017
BA, Pre-Medicine/Pre-Medical Studies, Duke, 2015 

Chelsea interned with the Biostatistics and Epidemiology Division. In this role, she conducted mapping exercises of active demographic surveillance systems, assisted with synthesizing site-specific study protocols for prenatal study, and assisted with data harmonization and data analysis activities 


Caroline Ha

Biostatistician Internship
MS, Biostatistics, UNC-Chapel Hill, 2023
BSPH, Biostatistics, UNC-Chapel Hill, 2021 

Caroline interned with the Biostatistics and epidemiology Division. In this role, she worked on tasks that advanced project or research efforts in the areas of clinical trials, epidemiological studies, and public health research. 



RTI PHield Trip Flyer 2024

RTI Phield Trip

The RTI-UNC Gillings PHield Trip will take place on February 27, 2024, from 9:30 am-1 pm. Open to students, staff, and faculty, this event allows participants to learn about projects happening at RTI, see the facilities, and enjoy a networking lunch with RTI staff. Transportation and lunch will be provided. See the agenda for more information.

To register, click here. Space is limited and registration closes at 12 pm on Friday, February 2, 2024.



Health Policy and Management Capstone Class

The Health Policy and Management Capstone Class allows students to engage with RTI’s Health Advance unit on a public health research innovation and commercialization project. The project supports RTI-HA’s initiative to advise private sector healthcare clients. The spring 2023 capstone team of Jessica Uba, Sherry Ma, Ethan Phillips, & Chloe Stiles conducted research and analyses to help RTI- Health Advance understand how their clients can use social risk adjustment tools, specifically focused on their internally developed Rarity tool, to address health equity for their beneficiaries and patients.

Adjunct Faculty

Andrews, Elizabeth BEpidemiologyAdjunct Associate Professor
Biemer, Paul PMaternal and Child HealthAdjunct Professor
Casanueva, Cecilia EugeniaMaternal and Child HealthAdjunct Assistant Professor
Caspar, Rachel AHealth Policy and ManagementAdjunct Assistant Professor
Dickinson, Denise MHealth BehaviorAdjunct Instructor
Flax, Valerie LynnNutritionAdjunct Assistant Professor
Gabel, TimothyPH Leadership ProgramAdjunct Professor
Graham, Phillip WMaternal and Child HealthAdjunct Professor
Helwig, AmyHealth Policy and ManagementAdjunct Professor
Holden, Emery WayneHealth Policy and ManagementAdjunct Professor
Kahwati, Leila CFamily MedicineAdjunct Associate Professor
Layton, James BradleyEpidemiologyAdjunct Assistant Professor
Lewis, Megan AHealth BehaviorAdjunct Assistant Professor
MacDonald, Pia DEpidemiologyAdjunct Associate Professor
McClure, Elizabeth MaryMaternal and Child HealthAdjunct Associate Professor
McCormack, Lauren AnnHealth Policy and ManagementAdjunct Associate Professor
McLeod, Lori DavisHealth Policy and ManagementAdjunct Associate Professor
Olich, Jacqueline MariePH Leadership ProgramAdjunct Associate Professor
Rouse, DorisMaternal and Child HealthAdjunct Professor
Southwell, Brian GHealth BehaviorAdjunct Associate Professor
Strazza, KarenHealth BehaviorAdjunct Instructor
Van Vliet, Gretchen LynnPH Leadership ProgramAdjunct Assistant Professor
Viswanathan, MeeraPH Leadership ProgramAdjunct Assistant Professor
Wechsberg, Wendee MMaternal and Child HealthAdjunct Professor
Williams, AaronHealth Policy and ManagementAdjunct Professor
Are you interested in exploring ways to become involved with the IMPACT Partnership?
Contact Anne Glauber (aglauber@unc.edu) or Katie Bowler Young (kbyoung@rti.org).