May 02, 2007

Forty-nine students from the School of Public Health were among those honored at the 9th annual Graduate Student Recognition Ceremony on Thursday, April 12, at the George Watts Hill Alumni Center on the UNC campus.

The event, sponsored by the Graduate School, was a celebration of the contributions made by graduate students across campus in the areas of research, teaching and service.

Graduate School Dean Linda Dykstra joined other speakers, including Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Bernadette Gray-Little, in greeting faculty, family and friends who had come to honor the award recipients.

Members of the Graduate Education Advancement Board (GEAB), a group of distinguished businesspeople, educators, legislators and others whose support helps provide funding for the annual GEAB Impact Award, were on hand to view poster displays highlighting research conducted by the awardees.

The Impact Awards recognize and encourage graduate students whose research has a particular impact on people and policy in North Carolina.

Three of the ten awardees were from the School of Public Health – Danielle Haley (health behavior and health education), Lynette Phillips (epidemiology) and David Rosen (epidemiology).

The GEAB also presented its Recognition Awards. School of Public Health students were selected for two of these ten awards. Winners include Emily Bobrow (maternal and child health) and Melissa Roche (health behavior and health education) for a joint project and Katherine Karriker-Jaffe (health behavior and health education).

Sheryl Wallin Abrahams, master’s student in the Department of Maternal and Child Health, was recognized as one of 15 campuswide inductees to the Frank Porter Graham Honorary Society. The selection committee recognized her “many contributions to improving health care and child care” and praised her work with the Student Global Health Committee, her department, the Student Health Action Coalition and the Peace Corps as having “a lasting effect on the university, local and international communities.” A research assistant in the department’s Center for Infant and Young Child Feeding and Care, Abrahams also was awarded the Center’s first annual scholarship last year, an honor that made note of her service and leadership.

As many as 25 faculty from the School were in attendance to honor and support the awardees. Dr. Felicia Mebane, assistant dean for students at the School, was ebullient in her pride for our students’ achievements. “These awards represent a lot of hard work,” Mebane said. “The funding of student research brings national and other attention to the University and allows us to maintain our reputation for being a world-class academic institution.”

More than 40 other graduate students at the School were recognized for receiving important fellowships and other external awards. The full list appears below.

GEAB Impact Award winners

  • Danielle Haley (Health Behavior and Health Education) – “Release programs for HIV-infected inmates: implications for North Carolina”
  • Lynette Phillips (Epidemiology) – “Hormonal and reproductive risk factors and breast cancer”
  • David Rosen (Epidemiology) – “Mortality among North Carolinians with a history of incarceration”

GEAB Recognition Awards

  • Emily Bobrow (Maternal and Child Health) and Melissa Roche (Health Behavior and Health Education) – “Intimate partner violence in health care settings”
  • Katherine Karriker-Jaffe (Health Behavior and Health Education) – “Neighborhood and family effects of youth aggression”

Frank Porter Graham Honorary Society

  • Sheryl Wallin-Abrahams (Maternal and Child Health)

Additional honors, by department

Environmental Sciences and Engineering

  • Treavor Boyer, American Water Works Association, Abel Wolman Doctoral Fellowship, EPA-STAR (Science to Achieve Results) Fellowship
  • Angella D. Coulliette, National Estuarine Research Reserve System’s Graduate Research Fellowship
  • Mark Elliott, EPA-STAR Fellowship
  • Maiysha Jones, American Society of Microbiology Travel Scholarship
  • David Love, National Estuarine Research Reserve System’s Graduate Research Fellowship
  • Brian Pachkowski, EPA-STAR Fellowship
  • Benjamin Stanford, NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program
  • Courtney G. Woods, NRSA Fellowships for Minority Students, NIH-National Institute of Environmental Health


  • Christy Avery, American Heart Association Pre-doctoral Fellowship
  • Theresa Cruz, Dissertation Grant Award for Violence Research in Minority Communities
  • Anca Dragomir, NIEHS Epidemiology Branch Pre-doctoral Fellowship
  • Sangmi Kim, American Gastroenterological Association Foundation for Digestive Health and Nutrition
  • Hoa Le, Vietnam Education Foundation (VEF) Fellowship
  • Nghia Nguyen, VEF Fellowship
  • Quoc Nguyen, VEF Fellowship
  • Brian Pien, VA Special Fellowship Program in Health Services Research and Development

Health Behavior and Health Education

  • Pamela Diggs, 2007 University Day Research Award Winner, best poster

  • Benyamin Margolis, SOPHE/CDC Student Fellowship in Injury Prevention
  • Kathryn Martin, American College of Rheumatology Health Professional Graduate Student Research Preceptorship, Arthritis Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Award for Arthritis Health Professionals
  • Anna Schurmann, Rotary World Peace Fellowship
  • Thang Trinh, VEF Fellowship
  • Lara Vaz, NRSA Fellowships for Minority Students (F31) NIH-National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

Health Policy and Administration

  • Jennifer Bonds, Triad Hospitals, Inc., Corris Boyd Scholarship
  • Wendy Chen, AHRQ grants for Health Services Research Dissertation (R36)
  • Luong Nguyen, VEF Fellowship
  • Jeongyoung Park, Mathematica Policy Research Summer Fellowship
  • Lauren Romano, Foundation of the American College of Healthcare Executives Foster G. McGaw Graduate Student Scholarship
  • Justin White, Population Fellows Program Graduate Applied Project Mini-Grant
  • Elizabeth Wiley, PEO Scholarship

Maternal and Child Health

  • Renee Ferrari, Triangle Community Foundation George H. Hitchings New Investigator Award in Health Research
  • Nidhi Khosla, Rotary World Peace Fellowship
  • Isabelle Michaud-Letourneau, Rotary World Peace Fellowship
  • Lucy Wilson, Population Fellows Program Graduate Applied Project


  • Sara Benjamin, Child Care Bureau Research Scholarship
  • Darren Dahly, Gerber Foundation Pre-doctoral Fellowship
  • Raymond Givens, NRSA Fellowship (F31) NIH – National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
  • Emily Miller, American Dietetic Association Foundation Marie & August LoPresti Memorial Scholarship
  • Tuan Nguyen, VEF Fellowship
  • Alexia Smith, ASN Proctor and Gamble Young Investigator Award
  • Anna Tseng, American Dietetic Association Foundation Fuschia Lucille Johnson Memorial Scholarship
  • Joanne Watters, National Cancer Institute Cancer Prevention Fellowship
  • Daisy Zamora, NRSA Fellowship (F31) NIH-National Institute of General Medical Sciences

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UNC School of Public Health contact: Ramona DuBose, (919) 966-7467 or



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