Five Gillings student selected to receive 2021 Impact Award, Horizon Award for research benefiting North Carolina

January 15, 2021

Five students from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health are among sixteen UNC-Chapel Hill graduate students and recent graduate alumni who have been selected to receive The Graduate School’s 2021 Impact Awards and Horizon Awards.

Impact Awards, made possible through the generous support of the Graduate Education Advancement Board, recognize discoveries of direct benefit to North Carolina. Horizon Awards recognize research likely to make a significant longer-term contribution to the state.

Students from 27 different academic programs were nominated this year, said Jennifer Gerz-Escandónassociate dean for interdisciplinary education and fellowship programs within The Graduate School.

“Within this group of nominees,” she added, “reviewers identified a particularly large number whose research is on the cusp of statewide impact. This demonstrates the commitment graduate students and recent graduate alumni have to advancing research that helps the people and communities of our state. More than 300 individuals have received these awards over time, and we are pleased to recognize graduate students and alumni for their important work.”

The awardees from the Gillings School are:

Connor Drake, doctoral student, health policy and management, Impact Award

Lauren Eaves, doctoral student, environmental sciences and engineering, Impact Award

Caroline Efird, doctoral student, health behavior, Impact Award

Elizabeth Kamai, doctoral student, epidemiology, Impact Award

Gretchen Mason, master’s student, public health, Horizon Award

Graduate students and recent graduate alumni apply for the annual awards and are nominated by their academic departments. A cross-disciplinary team of faculty members reviews the nominations and selects award recipients based on the significance of their work to North Carolina and on their ability to effectively communicate their research.

Contact the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health communications team at

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