Three Gillings staff members receive Employee Forum peer recognition awards

June 12, 2019

Three UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health staff members have received 2019 Peer Recognition Awards from UNC-Chapel Hill’s Employee Forum. They are among 13 staff members to receive awards this year.

The awards are given to staff whose peers feel that they deserve special recognition for the work they do at Carolina. There were approximately 140 nominations submitted to the Forum this year from staff across campus.

Beverly Garcia wins the 3-Legged Stool Award

Beverly Garcia

Beverly Garcia

Beverly Garcia, MPH, managing director of research at the UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (HPDP), is the sole recipient of the “3-Legged Stool Award,” which recognizes contributions by an individual who promotes cooperation, collaboration and harmony within the University community.

Garcia was nominated by Alice Ammerman, PhD, Mildred Kaufman Distinguished Professor of nutrition at the Gillings School and director of HPDP. Ammerman joined HPDP in 2004 and has worked alongside Garcia ever since.

“Beverly Garcia has worked at our center for more than 20 years, first as an absolutely stellar project manager and now as a research coordinator,” Ammerman said. “Her roles have required fostering, promoting and maintaining collaborations among faculty, staff, students and community partners from all levels of the University and all walks of life.”

Ammerman also described Garcia as efficient, exceptionally patient and able to balance the needs of many.

“With Beverly’s leadership, we have designed and tested public health interventions that contribute to the health of all North Carolina citizens and beyond,” added Ammerman.

“I am honored to receive this award,” Garcia said. “I share it with my esteemed colleagues who make HPDP a wonderful place to work.”

Angelica Figueroa named Staff Member of the Year

Angelica Figueroa

Angelica Figueroa

Angelica Figueroa, executive assistant in the UNC Gillings Dean’s Office, is a recipient of the “Staff Member of the Year” award. This award is given to staff who consistently exemplify the University’s mission of integrity, collaboration, respect and high-level customer service.

Figueroa was nominated by Karissa Grasty, associate dean for advancement at the Gillings School, who said: “Customer service should be Angelica’s middle name. If everyone at Carolina had the dedication and work ethic she demonstrates daily, it would be an even more efficient and collaborative place.”

“Angelica is always willing to lend a helping hand — often before being asked — and she shares advice and best practices in a gentle and collaborative manner that lets you know that she’s on your side but always has the University’s best interests in mind,” Grasty added. “She’s supportive, intelligent and empathetic, and I’m proud to call her my colleague.”

Figueroa said it is an honor to be recognized by a group as talented as her Gillings School colleagues: “I am still in disbelief about having won this peer recognition award! I love working at the Gillings School because the people here are amazing. I truly believe we have the most dedicated, caring, bright and hardworking folks around.”

Teri Smith earns the Professional Excellence Award

Teri Smith

Teri Smith

Teri Smith, senior accountant in the Gillings School’s Finance Office, was selected as a recipient of the Professional Excellence Award, which recognizes staff members for exceptional execution beyond their assigned duties and for supportive interactions within and beyond their department.

She was nominated by Doris Dworschak, director of departmental finance and administration in the School’s Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering.

“Teri is the most wonderful person to work with,” said Dworschak. “She consistently goes beyond her duties to help me and my team when there are issues we cannot fix. She is the best resource and shares her extensive knowledge.”

Smith explained that she enjoys the challenge of helping to solve problems: “Working alongside others to help them figure out tricky situations always teaches me something new. I love working at the Gillings School. I’m proud of what we stand for and I truly appreciate all those who I work alongside!”

Recipients of the 2019 Peer Recognition Awards were honored at a banquet held June 12 at UNC’s Sonja Haynes Stone Center, accompanied by their nominators and supervisors.

Contact the Gillings School of Global Public Health communications team at

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