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ARTS SCIENCES CAROLINA

SPRING

Change Agents

TA R H E E L S N A V I G AT E A B E T T ER TO M O R ROW T H E

U N I V E R S I T Y

O F

N O R T H

2019

ALSO INSIDE: • Epic Ice • A Magical Life • Think, Speak, Argue • A New Dean and Chancellor C A R O L I N A

A T

C H A P E L

H I L L


FROM THE DEAN

Following our compass

I am a Raleigh native, a Carolina alumna and a member of the faculty since 1987 — Tar Heel born and bred! Thus I am especially delighted that this issue is devoted to Carolina students, faculty, staff and alumni who are making the world a better place in ways large and small. My predecessor, Kevin Guskiewicz,

Kristen Chavez

loves saying that Carolina is “passionately public” — meaning that it is in our DNA to give back to others, to make a difference. (Kevin, if you have not heard, is now our interim chancellor. You can Interim Dean Terry Rhodes

read more about his transition — and mine — on page 26.) Making a difference can

take many forms, from running a charity that corrects clubfoot in children to developing tools to identify at-risk teens to helping North Carolina newcomers overcome language and social barriers. Our cover package that starts on page 2 is merely a jumping-off point; there are many other stories of Carolina change agents throughout this issue. I am especially proud of the role that the College’s Humanities for the Public Good initiative [page 4] is playing in connecting our faculty, staff and students to the wider community, so that we can exchange ideas, information and energy. As senior associate dean for fine arts and humanities, I was the principal investigator on this four-year grant funded by the Mellon Foundation. It is through efforts like these that we demonstrate the value that the arts and humanities play in our lives. They provide us with the tools and knowledge we need to grapple with the many large and complex societal issues we face today. Sincerely,

CAROLINA ARTS & SCIENCES | SPRING 2019 | magazine.college.unc.edu

Director of Communications: Geneva Collins Editor: Kim Weaver Spurr ’88, Associate Director of Communications Staff Multimedia Specialist: Kristen Chavez ’13 Editorial Assistant: Lauryn Rivers ’21 Designer: Linda Noble Carolina Arts & Sciences is published semi-annually by the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and made possible with the support of private funds. Copyright 2019. | College of Arts & Sciences, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Campus Box 3100, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3100 | 919-962-1165 | college-news@unc.edu

College of Arts & Sciences • • • • • • •

Terry Rhodes, Interim Dean Chris Clemens, Senior Associate Dean, Research and Innovation Rudi Colloredo-Mansfeld, Senior Associate Dean, Social Sciences and Global Programs Elizabeth Engelhardt, Interim Senior Associate Dean, Fine Arts and Humanities Abigail Panter, Senior Associate Dean, Undergraduate Education Robert J. Parker, Jr., Senior Associate Dean, Development, and Executive Director, Arts & Sciences Foundation Kate Henz, Senior Associate Dean, Administration and Business Strategy

Arts & Sciences Foundation Board of Directors, Spring 2019 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Sunny H. Burrows ’84, Atlanta, GA, Chair M. Steven Langman ’83, London, UK, Vice Chair Terry Rhodes ’78, Chapel Hill, NC, Interim President TBD, Chapel Hill, NC, Vice President Robert J. Parker, Jr., Chapel Hill, NC, Executive Director and Secretary Manish Kumar, Chapel Hill, NC, Treasurer Eileen Pollart Brumback ’82, New York, NY Thomas C. Chubb III ’86, Atlanta, GA G. Munroe Cobey ’74, Chapel Hill, NC Ann Rankin Cowan ’75, Atlanta, GA William R. “Rusty” Cumpston ’83, Monte Sereno, CA Joseph W. Dorn ’70, Washington, DC Luke E. Fichthorn IV ’92, Brooklyn, NY Druscilla French ’71, ’78, Chapel Hill, NC J. Henry Froelich III ’81, MBA ’84, Charlotte, NC Cosby Wiley George ’83, Greenwich, CT John C. Glover ’85, Raleigh, NC Henry H. Hamilton III ’81, Katy, TX William T. Hobbs II ’85, Charlotte, NC Steven H. Kapp ’81, MBA ’90, Philadelphia, PA Leon O. Livingston ’91, Memphis, TN Alexander D. McLean ’92, Memphis, TN John T. Moore ’88, Saint James, NY Andrea Ponti ’85, London, UK John A. Powell ’77, New Orleans, LA R. Alexander Rankin ’77, Goshen, KY Ashley E. Reid ’93, Greenwich, CT David S. Routh ’82, Chapel Hill, NC Linda C. Sewell ’69, Raleigh, NC Tready Arthur Smith ’92 BSBA, Tampa, FL Benjamin J. Sullivan, Jr. ’75, Rye, NY Patricia Rumley Thompson ’66, Atlanta, GA Marree Shore Townsend ’77, Greenwich, CT James A. Wellons ’86, Philadelphia, PA Elijah White Jr. ’84, Houston, TX J. Spencer Whitman ’90, Charlotte, NC Cecil W. Wooten III ’68, ’72, Chapel Hill, NC Alexander N. Yong ’90, New York, NY


TABLE OF CONTENTS

18

2

Tar Heels’ True North

In casual parlance, “true north”

refers to finding the right path on

life’s journey. Our cover package

features five stories of Tar Heels

who directed their compass toward

creating a better tomorrow.

Kristen Chavez

More features: 10

Eye-Opening Ice

16

Milestone Moments in the College of Arts & Sciences

23 Kate Harris

Plus:

Departments

The magical duo behind the

Magic Tree House books, a

graduating senior who’s won three

Purple Hearts, internship support

for budding entrepreneurs,

a historian’s two Grammys and

a book examining how LGBTQ

politicians are changing the world

Cover Illustration

With UNC-Chapel Hill at the center,

our compass contains five compart-

The Scoop

ments, each one illustrating a story

35

Carolina Quoted

in our cover package of Tar Heels

36

Chapter & Verse

making the world a better place —

through creative ideas, research

inside back cover

Finale

and outreach.

(Illustration by John Roman)

18-25

Student, Faculty and Alumni Up Close

26-34

Stay Connected to the College via web, social media Magazine: magazine.college.unc.edu News: college.unc.edu Social media: @unccollege

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Tar Heels’ Illustrations by John Roman

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IN OUR COVER PACKAGE: In casual parlance, “true north” refers to finding the right path on life’s journey. Herein are five stories of Tar Heels who directed their compass toward creating a better tomorrow: A Carolina alumna who founded a nonprofit to cure clubfoot around the world. An undergraduate student who launched a cooperative to help refugee women in the Triangle share their food and culture. A graduate student whose research targets troubled teens. A scholar who studies artists’ representations of immigration issues as a means to transform prejudice into understanding. A program that bridges the town-and-gown divide through humanities scholarship for the public good. Find more stories about inspiring Tar Heels throughout the magazine, including an alumnus who is a leader in fighting doping in athletes, an undergraduate who’s a decorated military veteran, an alumni couple who ignite a magical spark in young readers and a faculty member whose continued research may speed disaster recovery efforts worldwide and at home.

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BRIDGING OUR SILOS

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graduate students or staff involved in these projects are collaborating with 18 community organizations, including international ones. All told, these projects will touch the lives of 40,000 people — some as near as the Triangle and others as far away as Chile, India and the United Kingdom. They include: • Partnering with Carolina Public Humanities to fund lectures, film talks and panel discussions at four

By Geneva Collins

Donn Young

Donn Young

obyn Schroeder oversees an initiative at Carolina that has the loftiest of names and the ring of a rallying cry: Humanities for the Public Good. As initiative director, Schroeder oversees the four-year, $1.5 million effort funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

community colleges. One Launched in 2017 to build example: “At a Stranger’s upon the strong public Table: A Discussion of humanities record of the the Latino Migrant Farm University, the initiative is Workers Plight in Eastern now roughly at its halfway North Carolina” at Pitt point, with ambitious Community College in projects underway, some Winterville, North Carolina. lessons learned and plans Following the panel for programming extending discussion, attendees ate a into 2021. meal of locally grown food “Public humanities, picked and processed by at its simplest, is bridging TOP LEFT: The National High School Ethics Bowl received a Latino migrant farm workers. knowledge between grant from Humanities for the Public Good to help increase • Funding for the academics and communities,” participation from students in rural communities. TOP RIGHT: National High School Ethics said Schroeder. Students debate real-life ethical issues at the bowl, held annually Bowl, which is based in That bridge handles twoat UNC. BOTTOM: A Red Record, which maps historical lynchings the Parr Center for Ethics way traffic: Public humanities in North Carolina, also received funding from the initiative. in the College of Arts & is more than mere outreach Sciences. The ethics bowl — it is an exchange of ideas is a competitive yet collaborative annual event at UNC-Chapel and synergies, with academics and audiences learning from one Hill in which students discuss real-life ethical issues. It teaches another, both sides enriched by the experience. ethical awareness, critical thinking, civil discourse, civic In its first year alone, Humanities for the Public Good engagement and an appreciation for multiple points of view. The invested in 25 public humanities projects large and small — funding will go toward creating a database of case files and to representing at least 15 academic departments in the College build capacity for students in rural communities to participate. and 11 centers, institutes or other campus units. The faculty,

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• Supporting the Southern Oral History Program’s Stories have shaped our local, national and global landscapes,” Terry to Save Lives project, a research initiative to collect oral Rhodes, interim dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and histories in rural communities to inform health care research, principal investigator on the Mellon grant, said of the Critical practice and policy. [See Carolina Arts & Sciences’ fall 2018 Issues Project theme. “We want to connect campus and issue for more on this project.] community research endeavors on this subject. This process • Funding for 12 graduate students to pursue applied hudeepens our understanding of these difficult topics and manities research at cultural organizations in the United States, strengthens our communities.” Guatemala and India. Following their summer of research, the students will take a fall course taught by Schroeder to polish their skills in communicating with diverse audiences. One example: By Cyndy Falgout Abigail Lee, a Ph.D. candidate in English and comparative literature, ne in 800 children worldwide is developed a version of UNC’s “Compoborn with clubfoot, a birth defect that sition and Rhetoric” course (known to causes one or both feet to turn inward every first-year student as ENGL 105) and upward. to be taught in correctional settings, in For children in developed partnership with the William and Ida countries, the treatment is routine, safe, Friday Center for Continuing Educaeffective and inexpensive. Doctors place tion’s Correctional Education Program. a series of plaster casts on an infant’s Although Humanities for the legs over a three-month period to correct Public Good funds an array of the condition. The child wears proposals, perhaps its signature braces at night for several years effort is the Critical Issues to prevent relapse. Project Fund. The central But children born with theme of the first two rounds clubfoot in developing countries of funding was “Migration and mostly go untreated, leaving Mobility.” Applicants were them with a painful disability required to be collaborative that makes walking difficult. teams consisting of faculty from Chesca Colloredo-Mansfeld at least two campus units, plus is on a mission to change that. at least one community partner. Since she founded MiracleFeet A digital humanities component in 2010 with a small group of was encouraged. parents and surgeons, the nonOne of the five Critical profit organization has worked Issues projects to receive with clinical partners around funding in Year One was A Red the world to help more than Chesca Colloredo-Mansfeld ’87 founded MiracleFeet, Record, a visual representation 33,000 children avoid this fate. a global nonprofit focused on treating children of historical lynchings in “What we are doing is who are born with clubfoot. North Carolina. The content making sure that any child born (see lynching.web.unc.edu) was based on original research by with clubfoot in a low-income country can get the treatment UNC undergraduates beginning in 2015 in classes taught by they need to live with dignity and live a productive life,” said American studies professor Seth Kotch. Colloredo-Mansfeld, now executive director of MiracleFeet. Humanities for the Public Good funding will move A Red For Colloredo-Mansfeld, a Morehead-Cain Scholar who Record beyond the Carolina classroom into the public realm, graduated from UNC in 1987 with majors in political science and creating lesson plans and training modules for high school economics, MiracleFeet fulfills a lifelong dream to make a difteachers to cover this deeply disturbing but essential history. ference, particularly in Africa, where she was born to an English The Critical Issues Project theme for 2019-21 is diplomat father and mother who always helped those around her. “Reckonings and Reconciliation,” which will support projects examining racial violence and exclusion and reconciling them “In this world, you’ve a soul for a compass with present-day norms. and a heart for a pair of wings.” “The humanities provide us with the tools to understand — MARY CHAPIN CARPENTER continued how practices of prejudice, discrimination and racial violence

MAKING MIRACLES HAPPEN

Donn Young

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Courtesy of MiracleFeet

Courtesy of MiracleFeet

LEFT: Colloredo-Mansfeld visits with families waiting for treatment appointments at MiracleFeet’s partner clinic in Monrovia, Liberia. RIGHT: On a visit to northern India, Colloredo-Mansfeld plays with a patient waiting for his appointment at a partner clinic. Untreated clubfoot is a major issue in India, where 35,000 children are born with the condition each year.

“Having grown up in low-income countries in Africa and Asia, it was very hard not to be affected by the obvious differences in opportunity and privilege that I had compared to 99 percent of the people I was surrounded by,” she said. “I had written about wanting to make a difference in Africa in my Morehead-Cain application, but I got sucked into business and other things.” Those “other things” included earning an MBA from Stanford University, working as a financial analyst for an investment bank, reporting on Afghan refugee projects in Pakistan for a relief organization, volunteering for CARE in Ecuador and working for several startups in the early days of the Internet boom. She was directing a program at the University of Iowa in 2005 when a philanthropist colleague who knew of her passion for Africa and background in business strategy walked into her office. A doctor with a revolutionary treatment for clubfoot needed help taking his technique to the developing world. “I felt someone had handed me this opportunity on a platter,” she said. The treatment her colleague described was the cast-and-brace system called the Ponseti Method, developed by Dr. Ignacio Ponseti. MiracleFeet uses this nonsurgical method to treat children in developing countries for $250 a child. “It seemed like one of those no-brainer issues,” she said. “It’s not expensive, it’s not risky, and it completely changes the trajectory of the child’s life.” Colloredo-Mansfeld began strategizing with some parents of children with clubfoot that she had met. They settled on a plan to create a nonprofit. In 2008, she returned to UNC with her husband, Rudi Colloredo-Mansfeld, now senior associate dean for social

sciences and global programs in the College of Arts & Sciences. After working briefly in business development for Kenan-Flagler Business School, she launched MiracleFeet in 2010 with the parent group. Today, the nonprofit is helping partners in 25 countries across Africa, Asia, and Central and South America treat children with clubfoot. The group partners with local doctors and hospitals and provides training, technical and financial resources to set up high-quality clubfoot clinics. It helps partners expand awareness through education campaigns and added clinics to reduce travel time for families, and it works with ministries of health to endorse and embed clubfoot treatment into public health systems. MiracleFeet also collaborates with medical device and technology innovators to improve treatment. A MiracleFeet team worked with Stanford University to develop a groundbreaking brace specifically designed to meet the needs and challenges of families in developing countries. The nonprofit is using a $1 million Google.org Impact Challenge Grant to develop a suite of technology tools, including a mobile app for managing patient records, SMS to communicate with families and online training for local clinicians. Colloredo-Mansfeld credits UNC for kickstarting this journey — providing a liberal arts education, social justice experiences through the Campus Y and the many benefits of her MoreheadCain Scholarship, “I feel like I was given an enormous opportunity and have been so lucky — with all that I know and the networks I’ve been exposed to,” she said. “I feel like I would be falling short if I didn’t do something to make a difference in other people’s lives.” ➤ Learn more at www.miraclefeet.org.

“Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations.” — MAE JEMISON

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OVERCOMING BARRIERS THROUGH FOOD

“Refugee women often find it difficult to enter the workforce because they need to stay at home with children, lack transportation or face language By Cyndy Falgout barriers,” said Imran. “They also face a lot of social isolation because of those num Imran ’21 learned about same issues.” the economic and social struggles of Traditional Kitchens addresses immigrant families while growing those issues, providing an opportunity up in Concord, North Carolina, for women to share their stories through with parents and grandparents who food, earn a living and connect with had come to the United States from their community. Last July, the women Pakistan. launched their new venture as a “My mother was very young, program of RCP. and my grandfather was Traditional Kitchens a businessman,” said has already gained Imran, now a sophomore attention, with a writeup in double majoring in political The News & Observer and a science and statistics and Community Impact Award analytics. She is co-founder for Imran from the North and director of business Carolina Campus Compact, development for Traditional a statewide network of Kitchens, a refugee womencolleges and universities led cooperative cookery in with a commitment to civic Chapel Hill. engagement. “I did not experience With initial success those hardships, but as I got in the form of a couple of older, I learned about all of catering jobs each month the things my family and and some sold-out pop-up grandfather went through to events, Imran is helping her keep his business running. refugee artisan colleagues Language barriers were just Anum Imran ’21 founded Traditional Kitchens, develop a business plan. one of the biggest issues they a refugee women-led cooperative cookery in Chapel Hill. They are also exploring faced,” she said. offering a weekly subscription meal service. The knowledge and compassion she felt for her own “Our goal is to bring in more women and, perhaps, expand family’s struggles led to assisting other immigrant families. to serve refugees across the Triangle. But that must come after In high school, for example, she helped refugee women in we are absolutely certain we are sustainable. I don’t want to Charlotte sell their hand-knit and embroidered caps to local bring on any other team members until we know we can help university students. them sustain an income,” Imran said. Imran was thus primed for social entrepreneurship when “I feel very passionate about supporting their economic she arrived at UNC-Chapel Hill in fall 2018 and ended up in a development — not by providing resources and jobs, but first-year seminar on “Creating Social Value,” taught by public supporting them in creating opportunities for themselves. The policy adjunct professor of the practice Melissa Carrier. idea of economic equity is important to me, and business is a The course, designed to “immerse students in the process way to achieve that.” of designing innovative solutions for social change,” helped ➤ Learn more about Traditional Kitchens at bit.ly/2T7x3H3. Imran focus her ideas and apply for entry to CUBE, the Campus Y’s social innovation incubator. There she received coaching “You don’t have to do great things, from seasoned entrepreneurs and connections to resources and but the little things you are doing in the networks. sphere of [your] influence can be done Among those connections was Refugee Community with great conviction, great wisdom, Partnership, a nonprofit focused on providing a comprehensive great beauty and great love.” support infrastructure for refugee families. Imran met three — R U T H K R E H B I E L J AC O B S women through RCP — two from Myanmar, one from Syria. They were interested in food entrepreneurship and looking for an avenue to pursue it. Imran was looking for a way to help. continued Kristen Chavez

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EXAMINING WHAT DIVIDES US

we’re able to see the effects of social violence in a completely different By Patty Courtright way,” Medel said. “It’s in the absence (B.A. ’75, M.A. ’83) of bodies that we get the deeply haunting aspect of social violence.” rt can be a powerful change A first-generation college agent. It can help transform prejudice graduate, Medel came to Carolina in into understanding by changing the 2015 as a postdoctoral scholar and ways in which we see and the senses joined the faculty two years later. through which we feel, and make us This semester, she is teaching an more empathetic in the process. advanced course examining political That’s a central tenet of China and cultural performance of Latinx Medel’s current work, which focuses communities in the United States, on the plight of and her first-year migrants at the United seminar on the States’ southern border. U.S.-Mexico border In her upcoming has had such book project, Spectral overwhelming Aesthetics: Media interest that she and Alternative wants to create an Visibilities at the U.S.upper-level course Mexico Border, the on the topic. assistant professor She brings a of communication personal perspective examines how film, to these issues. visual media and digital “My father is performance art shift Mexican, my mother the focus from race to is white, and I grew emptiness, invisibility up in a very white and disappearance as a place in southern way to call attention to Idaho. There were migrant violence and China Medel examines how film, media and digital performance art at most three other death. Portraying spaces can call attention to issues that immigrants face at the U.S.-Mexico border. mixed-race families, instead of people allows so many of my these “spectral aesthetics,” as Medel calls them, to generate new intellectual projects have been about teaching myself things insight. I wasn’t able to learn at school or in the community,” said “The border is widely understood through a recognition of Medel, who also is a member of the UNC Latina/o Studies racial difference,” she said. “I see these artists and filmmakers as Program advisory board. visualizing new ways of recognizing the violence that happens Passing that knowledge on to her students, some who around migrant death and disappearance through modes that are from similar backgrounds, is highly motivating. So is her don’t focus on race.” work with SONG — Southerners on New Ground. For instance, Susan Harbage Page, an assistant professor Through that organization, which has chapters across the of women's and gender studies at UNC, photographs found South, Medel is working to end the system of incarcerating objects, the belongings that migrants leave behind at border people who can’t post bail. Many haven’t been convicted of crossings. “They’re beautiful, haunting, tactile images of a crime, yet spend several years in jail, she said, noting that everyday occurrences at the border,” Medel said. people of color are disproportionately affected. By design, the facelessness of the images that Page captures For Medel, blending activism with academics is vital. makes this a broadly encompassing human issue. One informs the other in creating a broader perception of Spectral aesthetics incorporate all the senses: an image migration and migrants. of a hillside covered with backpacks as far as the eye can see, “It’s really about changing our modes of thinking and the mournful sound of a child crying, a sculpture depicting an creating awareness before we can imagine ways that the entire wall of empty chairs. border will no longer be a place where so many migrants die “When we take away the way that race codifies who in their pursuit of a better life,” Medel said. is valuable and who isn’t, who is a criminal and who isn’t, Donn Young

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FROM MATH TO MENTAL HEALTH

One study, involving teens in rural North Carolina schools, found that 25 percent of respondents were at risk for selfBy Laura J. Toler ’76 harming behaviors (such as cutting) and 8 percent had a high risk of suicide, Prinstein said. atthew Clayton changed his career track to psychology If teens appear to be in danger of harming themselves or after observing unmet mental health needs among high school others, Prinstein informs the parents. He encourages them to teens during his Teach for America stint. talk to their children and provides lists of therapists, mental A year after he graduated from Duke University as a health services and online resources. Schools receive overall Robertson Scholar, Clayton headed to southeastern Arkansas results on the number of students who are at risk so they can in 2013 to teach high school math. He quickly realized his design intervention programs. Prinstein has worked with limitations in dealing with students’ emotional health needs guidance counselors and mental health staff on approaches to and was frustrated with the lack of resources available in the treatment. small community. Clayton said he finds the work rewarding: “It is great “Teaching exposed me to the experiences and struggles to continue to engage with kids and adolescents. While our that youth face today, from academic, mentoring and personal studies are not intervention-focused, participants have told us perspectives,” Clayton said. “I spent a lot of time providing their engagement with the research is helpful in making mental guidance to individual students toward their personal, health issues feel more ‘normal.’” academic and extracurricular goals, which inevitably led to Clayton’s own research focuses on why some teens imitate discussions around mental health and self-care.” self-harming behaviors of their friends and some do not. In 2016, Clayton returned to “The next question is, ‘What are academia as a project coordinator the things that are happening that in the Peer Relations Lab of make it more likely to be passed on?’” Mitch Prinstein, John Van Seters he said. Distinguished Professor of Psychology In his spare time, Clayton plays and Neuroscience. The lab focuses on tennis, runs four to five miles at a teens and mental health. stretch and is the bassist in the local Last fall, Clayton enrolled in the rock band Noise! Lights!, which has six-year graduate program in clinical performed at Cat’s Cradle and other psychology, which grants a master’s local venues. degree in the first two to three years, “Matt has an extraordinarily rare then a doctorate upon completion of a combination of talents,” Prinstein dissertation and a one-year internship. said. “He is brilliant, passionate about Clayton was awarded a fellowship social justice, determined and attuned in 2018 from The Graduate School’s to diversity issues. I am so excited to Royster Society work with him as he of Fellows. The begins an exciting award recognizes and impactful outstanding academic, career.” professional and Clayton said personal experience he looks forward and achievement, to a future serving the diversity that adolescents and recipients bring uniquely vulnerable to Carolina and populations. their potential for “It is encouragengagement with ing to know that our the community. research is progressClayton works ing the field of adowith Prinstein on lescent mental health, studies examining particularly toward teens’ depression, those suffering with self-harming issues surrounding behaviors and depression, self- Graduate student Matthew Clayton (right) and his adviser, suicidal thoughts. injury and suicide.” Mitch Prinstein, conduct studies focused on teen depression. Kristen Chavez

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Andrew Opila

After spending two months on a research expedition in Alaska last summer, a UNC junior shares her story of field-based discovery.

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EYE-OPENING ICE B Y C A R LY O N N I N K ’ 2 0

The Gilkey Trench of the Juneau Icefield, where the Gilkey and Vaughan-Lewis glaciers carve a path through a deep valley, shows off repetitive, wave-like “ogives” created by the ice falls.

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Andrew Opila Courtesy of JIRP

Andrew Opila Andrew Opila

Clockwise from top left: • On mini-expeditions away from established camps, JIRPers camp on the ice field in tents. • Carly Onnink and other skiers in a mass balance team carry shovels they will use to dig through the annual snowpack layer. • Onnink prepares to collect snow samples. • Students receive an outdoor lecture at Camp 18, learning about glacier dynamics with a view of an ice fall.

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he evening light encircled us in a 360-degree sunset of pink and orange over a mountain horizon, a brilliant display against the stark-white ice field in August. We nursed mugs of hot Tang, crowded together on our sleeping pads in a dug-out bench in the snow. As the evening grew cooler, we started to shuffle toward our sleeping bags and tents. But then someone asked, “Who’s up for a night ski?” We all buckled up our ski boots and took off, kicking and gliding as the sunset darkened into the night sky. We trekked to a crest with a view of crevasses leading into an ice fall, and watched the moon rise between two mountain peaks as lightning flashed

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among storm clouds too distant to hear — the perfect end to an exciting day collecting ice cores on Alaska’s Juneau Icefield. The Juneau Icefield Research Program (JIRP) has over 70 years of history, making it one of the longest continuous glacier monitoring programs in the world. During a two-month expedition each summer, a team of scientists, students and safety staff from around the world traverses the 1,500-square-mile expanse between Juneau, Alaska, and Atlin, British Columbia.

Technical tasks JIRP gives students an immersive and unparalleled field experience.

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Founded with the principles “books, nature, action,” it teaches students through fieldwork and nightly academic lectures. Students work in teams to conduct a research project with a faculty mentor, and in the process they experience a remote, ever-changing landscape firsthand. The ice field is beautiful but hazardous. Students get hands-on safety training from an expert mountaineer and practice rescuing each other from crevasses. Students also learn skills such as walking on ice in crampons, skiing while tied to a rope team and stopping a fall with an ice axe. My research team’s project was to identify the origin of the ice in the Juneau Icefield. Before it fell as snow, this water evaporated from somewhere


Andrew Opila Andrew Opila

Andrew Opila

Clockwise from left: • Onnink in front of Battle Glacier, taking a break from her ski boots after a well-worth-it hike. • The ablation zone, where the glacier loses more mass than it gains and the terrain is blue ice. • Students exercise their mountaineering skills, hiking in a rope team up a peak dubbed “Sunstorm.”

in the ocean. To find this location, we use several sets of clues, one of which was the temperature at which the water first evaporated. But how can we find that? We used water isotopes — forms of the same element that have different masses — as a related parameter for temperature. The ratio of heavy to light isotopes changes as water changes phase. Lighter isotopes will more readily evaporate from the ocean; heavier isotopes will more readily precipitate from clouds. Using a computer model, we translated the isotope ratios from snow samples collected during the 2017 field season into their original evaporation temperatures. Next, we identified where

these temperatures could have occurred over the surface of the ocean, then mapped how wind could have carried the moisture to Juneau Icefield. Understanding water transport to Juneau Icefield is important in predicting the future snow accumulation and health of Alaskan glaciers, which are rapidly declining and contributing to rising sea levels.

Fieldwork, teamwork and tough terrain My team’s fieldwork included collecting surface samples. This meant long ski days, stopping every kilometer to scoop snow into a bottle, maneuvering around crevasses along the way. Gathering data sometimes required

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traveling far from our base camps and spending several nights in tents on the ice field. An expedition like this requires perseverance — and a lot of foot care. Eight or so hours a day in ski boots can take a toll. JIRPers were encouraged to treat problem-spots before they developed into blisters, then debilitating sores. This was not a place to try to tough it out. My personal challenge was tendonitis, which snuck up on me during my second hike. The field medics and safety staff taught me how to tape my ankles for better support, and I picked rest days strategically before full-day traverses. Whatever our aches or pains, we made long journeys across the ice field, continued

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Andrew Opila Andrew Opila

Andrew Opila

Clockwise from left: • A view of the shelters at Camp 18. Clouds are obscuring the Gilkey Trench, hinting at the wet weather that the ice field is famous for. • The mesmerizing view of blue glacier ice inside a crevasse, taken during a rappel. • A temporary campsite, glowing at night.

such as a two-day, 30-mile trek between our first and second camp, despite wet weather and soggy socks or in mist with 10-foot visibility. But reaching our destination as a team was always deeply rewarding, especially climbing the last 100 feet as the first trail party danced and cheered us into camp.

Many facets of discovery JIRP is also an area of intersection between art, writing and science. Our expedition included a faculty artist, and we learned how to field-sketch and create cyanotypes, which are photographic prints that turn blue with UV light. Art is a wonderful opportunity to depict the ice field and communicate an understanding of our natural

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surroundings. I was able to use the expedition as fuel for my creative writing and set aside time to work on poetry each day. I embarked on JIRP as a biology major with research experience in a nutrition laboratory, but I wanted to experience true field research. In JIRP, faculty are passionate about understanding the landscape around them and fuel curiosity in students. I love being immersed in the field. I’m excited to learn more geology and build on what I’ve learned during the remainder of my academic career at UNC. Special thanks go to my research partners, Nadia Grisaru and Scott Lakeram; our mentor, Bradley Markle of the University of California Santa

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Barbara; and the entire JIRP staff and faculty. The 2018 field expedition included two fellow Tar Heels, Eric Zhu and Zac Horine. Read a poem about Onnink’s experience in our Finale feature on the last page of this issue.

What is an ice field? An ice field is a network of interconnected glaciers. Glaciers are found in areas with high snowfall in the winter and cool temperatures in the summer, the combination of which allows for more snow accumulation than melt. Over time, enough snow in one location will compact into ice and slowly flow under its own weight.


Turning Talents Into Strengths Frances Duffy

French Fellow Public Policy

“This university is a three-legged stool. You need faculty and you need undergraduate students, but you also need graduate students. The stool collapses without all three being strong and sustained. Financial support provides opportunities for graduate students to focus completely on their education.” - Druscilla French, Ph.D. (B.A. English ’71, M.A. Communication ’78)

The Druscilla French Graduate Student Excellence Fund helps the College of Arts & Sciences prepare the next generation of superlative teachers, researchers and scholars.

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UNC-Chapel Hill UNC-Chapel celebrates its Hill celebrates centennial,its centennial, confers its confers its to first Ph.D. first Ph.D. to William Battle William Phillips. Battle Phillips.

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Yackety Yack yearbook.

Illustration from 1935 Yackety Yack yearbook. Illustration from 1935

Hinton James is Hinton the first James studentis the first student to arrive at UNC. to arrive at UNC.

Faculty Faculty 13

Undergraduate Majors Undergraduate 4 Majors

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Students Students 207

in the College of Arts & Sciences

Milestone Moments Moments Milestone in the College of Arts & Sciences

Carolina celebrated its 225th anniversary this academic year. The College of Arts & Sciences used the occasion to mark several milestone moments in its own history, including its origins in 1795 with the hiring of three faculty and the adoption of its modern-day name in 1935.


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University celebrates University celebrates its bicentennial. its bicentennial. Department of Department of Communication Communication Studies, Center Studies, Center for European for European Studies established. Studies established.

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*undergraduates in College of Liberal *undergraduates in Applied College of Liberal Arts and School of Science Arts and School of Applied Science

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Today, the College is also home Today, the College is also home to Honors Carolina, study abroad, to Honors Carolina, study abroad, PlayMakers Repertory, three ROTC PlayMakers Repertory, three ROTC programs, programs, BeAM and BeAM and six global six global area studies area studies centers. centers.

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Students 14,965 14,965

College College of of Arts Arts & & Sciences Sciences is is formally formally established. established.


STUDENT UP CLOSE

Kristen Chavez

spent 11 years serving in the military. His interest was sparked by his close relationship with his grandfather, who served in World War II. “I just knew at a young age that I would join the military because of who he was and what he meant to me,” he said. Competition was an integral part of Rhyner’s childhood. From his participation in team sports to daily backyard football games with his four siblings in his hometown of Medford, Wisconsin, Rhyner was driven to challenge himself physically. He knew he wanted to belong to a community of highly motivated individuals, so he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in • “Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there” is Zac Rhyner’s 2004 with the intent advice to veterans who want to return to school. He’ll graduate of going into special from Carolina in May. operations. He deployed to Afghanistan in 2008, where he took part in the Battle of Shok Valley. For his actions, he Carolina senior and decorated received the prestigious Air Force Cross military veteran Zac Rhyner urges and is the first living combat controller to students to step outside their receive it. comfort zones in pursuit of their The award citation reads: “Despite a dreams. gunshot wound to the left leg and being trapped on a 60-foot cliff under constant BY LAURYN RIVERS ’21 enemy fire, Airman Rhyner controlled more than 50 attack runs and repeatedly Decorated military veteran Zac repelled the enemy with repeated danger Rhyner ’19 is the recipient of close air strikes, several within 100 meters three Purple Hearts, a Bronze of his position.” Star and the Air Force Cross. Rhyner said winning the Air Force He has been deployed to Iraq and Cross was a humbling experience. Afghanistan six times and been involved “No one serves in the military in humanitarian relief efforts in Haiti. He’s expecting or aspiring to achieve medals,” also a dad and a Carolina biology major he said. “I don’t think that my actions were who urges students to step outside their necessarily extraordinary in relation to any comfort zones in pursuit of their dreams. other combat controller that would have Before enrolling at Carolina, Rhyner been assigned to the mission.”

A life of service

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Rhyner was also awarded a Purple Heart for his heroic actions in Shok Valley. His second Purple Heart was from an explosive device in August 2009. He received a third Purple Heart from a gunshot wound that shattered his right femur and hip during his deployment to northern Afghanistan in 2013. His story has been featured in national media outlets including NBC’s The Today Show. After sustaining wounds in 2015 that resulted in a permanent injury below the right knee, Rhyner medically retired from military service. That’s when he found a new calling based on two years of intense physical therapy: He decided he wanted to go back to school to help others suffering from debilitating injuries. After earning an associate’s degree from Sandhills Community College, Rhyner transferred to Carolina in fall 2017 because of the strength of its biology program. While many Carolina students enjoy socializing and spending time on Franklin Street during their free time, Rhyner balances his academic career with his responsibilities to his family — his wife, Jillian, and sons, Wyatt, 4, and Jameson, 2. After coming home from classes, he spends time with his boys. He wakes up early to study before class. “I love it, and I wouldn’t change it, but I definitely have some unique challenges that most students don’t have,” he said. Rhyner encourages veterans to go back to school to pursue or finish their college education. “The first step is the hardest, but don’t be afraid to put yourself out there,” he said. When he walks across the graduation stage in May, Rhyner will accomplish another step in his journey of serving others. He’ll begin the Duke University Doctor of Physical Therapy Program in August. ”You can really change people’s lives by enabling them to do incredible things despite their limitations,” he said.


Donn Young

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• Computer scientist Cynthia Sturton shows how a research tool she developed analyzes hardware designs to find vulnerabilities.

Carving out a niche

Cynthia Sturton has found her place researching computer hardware security. Now she’s helping the next generation of computer scientists find theirs. BY BRETT PIPER ’13

In 2018, the public was made aware of a flaw in many common computer processors that makes computer hardware vulnerable even when it is running secure software. Multiple attacks exploited this vulnerability, with ominous names like Spectre, Meltdown and Foreshadow. Cynthia Sturton, assistant professor of computer science and Peter Thacher Grauer Fellow, had already been developing ways to prevent attacks like these. Her project, Coppelia, analyzes the operation of a computer’s processor to identify vulnerabilities that could enable unauthorized access to the machine. It then automatically generates attacks to exploit them

and helps researchers test whether the vulnerabilities have been fixed. Sturton’s research has helped establish a growing branch of computer science that stems from the idea that a processor does not need to be tampered with to be vulnerable; a computer can be exploited while running exactly as intended. “The field of hardware security, and especially my area of focusing on hardware vulnerabilities that aren’t caused by malicious attacks, was very small when I first started,” Sturton said. “It’s grown a lot.” Prior to her work in hardware security, she worked on projects that sought to verify that electronic voting machines would perform as users expect. This work led to new designs that facilitate consistent operation and testing. At the same time, Sturton undertook research in software security, analyzing software using symbolic execution — a method of working through code lineby-line to find conditions that will cause the software to run differently. In developing Coppelia, Sturton has applied the skills she learned working in these disparate areas to her current

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work. She now leads a research group in hardware security. In addition to her research, she has made an impact through her ability to help students feel like they belong. According to the National Center for Women in Technology, women earn 57 percent of all undergraduate degrees but only 18 percent of all computer and information science degrees. The Carolina computer science department has been working to make the field more inclusive, and Sturton is a big part of that effort. As the faculty adviser for both the Women in Computer Science and Graduate Women in Computer Science clubs, Sturton directly and indirectly mentors a large number of women, helping to foster a community where women empower and support one another. “Cynthia acts not only as an academic adviser to her students, but as a personal mentor as well,” doctoral student Alyssa Byrnes said. “It’s really nice to have an academic adviser that asks how I’m doing emotionally in addition to talking about my research.” Doctoral student Marie Nesfield said the course she took with Sturton featured more participation than any other class she has taken. Nesfield attributed that to Sturton’s focus on respectful dialogue and her encouragement of all students. “If I could steal personality traits from Cynthia,” Nesfield said, “two of them would be the way she always asks the right questions and the way she sees value in people and encourages them.” Sturton grew up in New York City and also lived in Milwaukee, Phoenix and Berkeley. She never imagined herself settling in a small town in the South, but says she is now here to stay. She and her husband own Gray Squirrel Coffee Company in Carrboro. “I always thought I would settle in a big city,” Sturton said, “but now I can walk to work and to get groceries, everything is green, and I get to know my neighbors here. I appreciate that.”

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“That first trip really confirmed my interest in developing countries because there was so much to be curious about,” she said. “Indonesia is incredibly rich in cultural and ecological diversity. I found it fascinating and wanted to go back.” Frankenberg joins UNC after stints at global think tank Rand Corporation and academic appointments at UCLA and Duke University. She continues to study the province of Aceh, Indonesia, producing research on disaster recovery after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Her work has helped this developing area of the world and has the potential to benefit North Carolina. • Elizabeth Frankenberg leads the Carolina Population The population center Center, which conducts path-breaking research on is home to numerous global population issues around the world. projects directed by UNC faculty. Faculty fellows, students and professional staff work together on path-breaking research to address population issues in 85 countries, Elizabeth Frankenberg is applying across the United States and at home lessons from her research on in North Carolina. At both CPC and in disaster recovery in Indonesia to the sociology department, Frankenberg hurricane-affected communities values the collaborative interdisciplinary in the Tar Heel State. atmosphere. “For me, the lines between the BY DIANNE GOOCH SHAW ’71 different social sciences should be somewhat blurry. A lot of sociologists Alumna Elizabeth Frankenberg care about economics, and population ’86 has come full circle. As a geographers care about social issues, junior, inspired and mentored by so I don’t see hard walls between these her geography professor, she spent disciplines,” she said. “UNC is very good a summer in Indonesia conducting at teamwork. There’s a generosity of research for her honor’s thesis on spirit here. It’s exciting when you work transmigration. Now, over three with a group of people who don’t know decades later, she has returned to everything about each other’s area. her alma mater to head the Carolina They learn and think about things in a Population Center (CPC), teach in the new way.” department of sociology, continue her After the devastating 2004 tsunami research on Indonesia and expand her that killed an estimated 160,000 people work into her home state. in Aceh — 5 percent of its population —

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Frankenberg co-led a team of U.S. and Indonesian colleagues that collected longitudinal data from individuals first interviewed before the disaster, documented the damage and detailed the rebuilding in the region. The team has published results from STAR (Study of the Tsunami Aftermath and Recovery) in a number of papers, which analyze how individuals, families and communities recovered from the disaster. STAR is regarded as the strongest large-scale study ever done to measure population-level response to a disaster over an extended period. “You go to Aceh now and have to look really closely to realize that a massive disaster took place,” she said. “It’s a tremendous testimony to the resilience of the human spirit, the Acehnese communities and the hard work of the Indonesian government.” Frankenberg is hoping to apply some of the scientific methods used in the Aceh project to research on how exposure to extreme events affects communities in North Carolina and elsewhere in the United States. She is working with other UNC scientists to develop a project that will focus on measuring damage and recovery in eastern North Carolina associated with major hurricanes, with the goal of helping state and regional agencies address the needs of hard-hit communities. “Some of the issues are certainly similar: Where should people rebuild? How do you best help them regroup and put their lives back together after losing property? How to accommodate changes in agricultural productivity or the ability to make a living by fishing?” she said. Frankenberg is the second in her family to teach at UNC. Her late father, Dirk Frankenberg, was a renowned professor and former director of the Institute for Marine Sciences. “I love the state of North Carolina, so the opportunity to come home to Carolina was incredibly tempting.”


Kristen Chavez

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• “I teach people that it’s important to think about all sides of a question … and then learn how to move beyond the intractable fights that we see,” says Christian Lundberg, who has advised politicians on matters of rhetoric.

Think, speak, argue

Christian Lundberg teaches students the valuable skills of how to think critically, communicate effectively and negotiate conflict. BY MICHELE LYNN

During a time when public dialogue is increasingly fractured, the work of Christian Lundberg is more critical than ever. Lundberg, associate professor of communication and rhetoric, said he is passionate about strengthening the ability of his students to participate effectively in democracy. “I think our political and public cultures are broken,” said Lundberg. “People have a hard time listening to each other, so we are challenged in thinking about how to move forward when people have radically different viewpoints.” He believes that students on the campus of a public university like UNC need to be able to have robust conversations about controversial issues. To further his commitment to help students participate in productive dialogue, Lundberg teaches courses on

debate and public speaking and leads the popular first-year seminar, “Think, Speak, Argue.” During the “Think” part of the seminar, Lundberg teaches students informal logic and argument. “I want students to figure out how they can read and think about arguments and ideas in a manner that demands evidence and highlights rigor,” he said. “We read texts by scholars of argument to learn what makes evidence credible. Our contemporary public culture has lost regard for the truthfulness of claims.” During the “Speak” section, students participate in a simulation during which they debate and represent a position that may not reflect their beliefs. “The goal is to take insights from the tradition of rhetoric and help people communicate what matters to them,” Lundberg said. “You may have your claims lined up logically, but it’s also important to learn

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how to make a good argument that is persuasive to your audience.” Lundberg added that this skill is crucial “not just for training folks for their own good but for their success in the workplace and our broader democracy.” In the last section of the seminar, students weave together what they have learned by participating in an extensive series of debates about a public policy issue. “I teach people that it's important to think about all sides of a question, to listen to and sympathize with arguments on opposing sides, and then learn how to move beyond the intractable fights that we see,” he said. In addition to sharing those lessons with Carolina undergraduates, Lundberg has taught members of the broader community, including elected and appointed officials in North Carolina, through workshops at UNC’s School of Government and visiting international students at the School of Media and Journalism. “As we have become more fragmented in terms of where we live and the media we consume, the divisions that folks feel have gotten more and more intense,” he said. “I'm really committed to the idea of teaching listening and taking the perspective of different sides.” Lundberg said that he regularly hears from students about how significant they find his classes. “Students realize that they were not intent on evaluating the evidence behind a lot of their beliefs,” Lundberg said. “They see that there is almost always a reasonable story of what the different sides in a dispute believe, and they start to come to a sense that it's possible to work through them.” “Of all the skills that employers say they want from people coming out of college, the biggest gap in the American workforce is not a lack of STEM skills,” he added. “It's that people come to the workforce and are not able to communicate effectively, work in teams or negotiate conflict. I like helping people find their voice and use it.”

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Carl Cox

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• USADA CEO Travis Tygart and runner Emma Coburn, an Olympics bronze medalist, testify at the White-House Anti-Doping Summit in October 2018.

The champion

Travis Tygart is the CEO of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and on Sports Illustrated’s list of the 50 “Most Powerful People in Sports.” BY PAMELA BABCOCK

Travis Tygart ’93 is on a mission to clean up the use of performance-enhancing drugs in sports. His work helped get Russia barred from the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, exposed U.S. schemes to pump athletes with supposedly undetectable steroids and revealed the drugs that fueled cyclist Lance Armstrong’s superhuman success. “You can’t let those prosper who are trying to stop the principles or the rule of law from prevailing,” said Tygart, the CEO of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). He was named one of the 50 “Most Powerful People in Sports” in 2013 by Sports Illustrated. “Sometimes you have to be tough and willing to muster up the courage to do the right thing for those the rules are there to protect.” Since joining USADA in 2002, Tygart has testified globally to stop drug misuse. Under his leadership, the USADA investigated the Bay Area Laboratory

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Co-operative, which provided banned steroids to professional athletes, including baseball player Barry Bonds and others. Tygart led the investigation that exposed Armstrong’s fraud. Tygart grew up in Jacksonville, Florida, and while not Tar Heel born, is Tar Heel bred. Family alumni include his father, S. Thompson “Tom” Tygart ’62, and sister, Lindsay Tygart ’02 (both attorneys); and an uncle, Frederick Tygart ’67, a retired judge. His met his wife, Niki (journalism ’94), at UNC. He first came to the Carolina campus as a kid to one of Dean Smith’s summer basketball camps. He returned for baseball camp as well. “I saw how to compete firsthand — the right way — how to win by giving it your all but still keeping the sportsmanship lessons that we were taught.” After graduating with a philosophy degree, Tygart earned a law degree from Southern Methodist University. He began as outside counsel to USADA when it was formed in 2000, became director of legal affairs in 2002 and was named CEO in 2007. The Colorado Springs-based nonprofit tests for the UFC’s global program and 48 Olympic and Paralympic sports, including USA track

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and field, basketball, swimming and other sports. The 2002 BALCO investigation demonstrated how normalized doping had become. “For the first time it showed that drugs had infiltrated sports in a really big way,” Tygart said. In 2012, Armstrong received a lifetime ban from cycling and was stripped of his seven Tour De France titles. Tygart received death threats but was unyielding: “Our job is not to promote sport, it’s to protect clean athletes and the integrity of the sport — even when it’s tough and the public may not want you to.” Last October, Tygart and more than a dozen athletes and anti-doping officials from several countries gathered at the White House to call on the World Anti-Doping Agency to ensure drug-free global competition. The summit was in part a response to WADA’s September reinstatement of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency after a three-year ban for statesponsored doping. In January, after a statement by Tygart, in which he admonished WADA to “stop being played by the Russians” and reinstate a ban on the country’s athletes, made the news, he got a text from a friend in Europe: “You better invest in your Kevlar wardrobe!” In a recent profile in his hometown newspaper, a childhood friend and attorney described Tygart as intense and competitive, but said he doesn’t bring a big ego to his role. Would Tygart say that’s accurate? “I pray to God it is,” he said. “You have to be scrappy and a little tenacious. Those are traits I learned playing baseball and other sports growing up. And they’re still good characteristics to have for success.” In 2010, Tygart earned UNC’s Distinguished Young Alumni Award. Despite his hectic schedule, he continues to give back to Carolina. He currently serves on the College of Arts & Sciences’ Dean’s Think Tank. “It’s been extremely exciting and rewarding, and I was thrilled to be asked to be part of it,” he said.


Mel Yule

Kate Harris

ALUMNI UP CLOSE

Lost and found on the Silk Road On a bicycle journey across the “world’s oldest superhighway,” writer-wanderer Kate Harris sought out ancient routes and a world not yet paved over. BY KIM WEAVER SPURR ’88

Kate Harris ’05 once longed to visit Mars, but in recent years she has come to realize that Earth is a pretty marvelous place. For one, there’s the breathtaking view of the Juneau Icefield from the window of her off-the-grid log cabin in Atlin, British Columbia. It served as the perfect inspiration to document her epic journey of 10 months, 10 countries and 10,000 kilometers (over 6,000 miles) by bicycle with her best friend Mel Yule across the Silk Road, a network of ancient trade routes connecting Europe and Asia. The result is her insightful 2018 travelogue, Lands of Lost Borders: A Journey on the Silk Road, which has garnered praise and prizes in her native Canada and the United States. Her appetite for exploration began early, with a childhood fascination with Marco Polo. Thanks to the MoreheadCain Scholarship and various fellowships, Carolina became a “launch pad” that fueled her wanderlust. She explored and conducted research in places far and wide

• The real value of exploration “lies in how it expands our consciousness, our sense of connection with each other and the universe of which we’re a part,” says Kate Harris, who explored the Silk Road by bicycle.

— Alaska, Antarctica, Borneo, Mongolia and the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah. She majored in biology and minored in geology, won a Rhodes Scholarship to study the history of science at Oxford University and continued to set her sights on the “red planet.” In 2006, she and Mel took a fourmonth journey by bike across a portion of the Silk Road, sneaking through a military checkpoint, making their way to the Tibetan Plateau, the highest region on Earth. Some day they vowed to return, and in 2011 they did, this time for a nearly yearlong bike trek through some of the most remote places on Earth, through tiny villages and across vast mountain ranges, from Turkey to Tajikistan to Tibet and beyond. Harris had become disillusioned with Polo’s true motives for exploring the Silk Road — fame and fortune — and vowed to experience it anew. The journey was both disheartening and uplifting. One of the surprises along the way was the connections she made not only with the land but its people. “I set off in search of wildness, but what made the trip so wonderful was people — complete strangers who had no obligation to treat us like lost family,” Harris said. In the book, she writes that “travel is perhaps one part geography, nine parts imagination.” She began to realize that Earth could be just as fulfilling as Mars. “My impression of the world from

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books and atlases was that so much had already been explored and paved over, but coming into contact with the actual world changed me,” she said. “There is so much wonder out there.” Wonder in places like a highway lit with stars in Uzbekistan (captured in a photo for the book cover) or the Juneau Icefield, a place she first discovered as a young Carolina undergraduate researcher and vowed someday to live near its borders. With oodles of instant noodles and flat tires behind her, next up for Harris is to earn her pilot’s license. “Flight lets you see the world in its totality from above, where you get a sense of its scale and grandeur,” she said. Harris urges Carolina students to go beyond the confines of Chapel Hill, to add “explorer” to their undergraduate resumes. In retrospect, she said she was so singlemindedly focused on academic success that she almost didn’t take a semester off to do research in Antarctica. “The fact of it is I wouldn’t be who I am if I hadn’t taken what looked like detours at the time, but were in fact part of the destination. “Expose yourself to the unfamiliar as much as possible. You might fall in love with something you’ve never encountered before.” ➤ Read a Q&A with Harris at magazine.college.unc.edu. Learn about another student’s Juneau Icefield research expedition on pages 10-14.

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few years when they run into grown-up Magic Tree House readers, Will said — young adults who were first exposed to the books in the early ’90s. “We can often spot them. We’ll check into a hotel, and we’ll see a likely candidate and ask, ‘By any chance did you happen to read the Magic Tree House books when you were growing up?’ Then Mary will admit she wrote them,” Will said. “It just tickles us to death.”

Wendy Carlson

That Carolina connection

• Together Mary Pope Osborne and Will Osborne oversee the Magic Tree House enterprise. A young reader once wrote to them, “If you didn’t [write] the Magic Tree House books, I would go nuts!” Thankfully for their fans, they don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

A magical life

For 27 years, Carolina alumni Mary Pope Osborne and Will Osborne have taken children on journeys across time and space through The New York Times bestselling Magic Tree House chapter book series. Their body of work includes companion research guides, musicals, planetarium shows, curriculum material for teachers and more. BY KIM WEAVER SPURR ’88

The real magic in the beloved Magic Tree House children’s book series doesn’t involve time travel with brother-sister protagonists Jack and Annie — it’s actually the connection that author Mary Pope Osborne and her husband, Will Osborne, an actor and playwright, have with young readers. They’ve journeyed together to visit dinosaurs and pirates and mummies and even to the moon. They’ve met famous people like Jackie Robinson and William Shakespeare and Clara Barton. Mary will publish the 60th book in The New York Times bestselling series next January on whales called narwhals. The creative duo, who graduated

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from Carolina in 1971 and now live in Massachusetts, cherish the time they get to spend with their biggest fans. Mary said of her loyal 6- to-8-year-old followers, “We’re there at the sweet spot of life.” “The irony is when Random House approached me, I was just going to do four Magic Tree House books, but I spent five to seven years visiting schools all over America, and I found a calling,” Mary said. “Since then, whatever role I’m supposed to play, to get kids to love reading became my destiny.” (She’s done that all over the world, as more than 143 million copies have been sold in 35 languages.) It’s been particularly fun in the last

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Despite sharing a love of theater and the same graduation year, the Osbornes barely knew each other when they were students at Carolina. They like to say they were “ships passing in the night.” Originally a psychology major, Will got interested in theater after a fraternity brother encouraged him to try out for The Taming of the Shrew, and he shifted his major to dramatic art. Before college, Mary was heavily involved in the Fayetteville theater run by former Carolina Chancellor Holden Thorp’s mother, Bo, and she even babysat Thorp when he was a toddler. She entered UNC intent on majoring in dramatic art, but a class taught by professor emerita Ruel Tyson helped to ignite a great interest in world religions, and she switched to religious studies. After graduation, she backpacked across Europe and Asia for nearly a year. It wasn’t until four years later that deep Carolina ties would prove serendipitous. Both were in Washington, D.C. Mary was working for the Russian Travel Bureau. Will was starring in the Ford’s Theatre production of Diamond Studs: The Life of Jesse James, written by Carolina alumni Jim Wann and Bland Simpson, who is today a longtime creative writing professor. “I fell in love from the balcony, and I went backstage and met Will,” Mary said. “They say timing is everything because at that point in our lives, it was an immediate attraction, and we’ve been together ever since.” They were married in 1976.


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A family affair The Magic Tree House enterprise has grown to include companion research guides, musicals, planetarium shows, curriculum materials and a philanthropic arm. Will launched and co-wrote the Fact Trackers series, nonfiction research companions to Mary’s fiction books, in 2000. After the first eight books, Mary’s sister, Natalie Pope Boyce, took over the nonfiction series, and has authored more than 30 of them. Meanwhile Will has branched out in other interesting creative directions. Remember the Holden Thorp connection? When Thorp was director of the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center (2001-2005), his young son read the Fact Trackers companion book to Midnight on the Moon and told his dad that it would make a good planetarium show. Will wrote Magic Tree House: Space Mission, along with several other shows narrated by William Shatner and the late Walter Cronkite. In 1995, the planetarium awarded the Osbornes the Jupiter Award for Outstanding Contributions to Science Education. Space Mission has been among Morehead’s most popular shows since its premiere in 2004 and is now available to other planetariums. “For a playwright, it was an amazing and challenging experience. You have to write in 180 degrees, which is a wonderful canvas for a writer to paint on,” Will said. Will also teamed up with best friends Jenny Laird and Randy Courts

to write multiple touring musical productions based on the books. The five members of the creative team talked for the first time about their shared work in January at the Normal Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. And let’s not forget the dogs! Joey, Bezo and Little Bear — all 15 years old — are the stars of Mary’s Instagram account. Kristen Chavez

Mary said her sister, her two brothers and all of their spouses attended or graduated from Carolina. “I was telling a friend recently that on that first day of college at Carolina, I wished I would never have to leave,” said Mary, who received an honorary doctor of letters at UNC’s 2013 graduation ceremony and a 1994 Distinguished Alumna Award. “I felt like I had landed in heaven.”

• More than 143 million copies of the Magic Tree House books have been sold in 35 languages. Book No. 60 is in the works.

“They have different handicaps, and we say we’re running an assisted living home for elderly dogs, but we couldn’t love them more,” Mary said.

Love what you’re doing; learn your craft Mary said she and Will have never had more fun than they’re having right now. “It’s always an adventure to learn about a new place and to start to live in that setting with my characters. I don’t know if I’ll ever stop writing the series —

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someone will have to stop me,” she said. Still, it took lots of hard work and toiling away at their respective crafts in New York City for many years to get to where they are today. “You have to be resilient and willing to fail,” Mary said in offering advice to students hoping to pursue artistic careers. “You have to keep working, keep trying, keep getting better.” “I tell young writers to write from their hearts. Don’t worry about getting published. Just write, study great writing, learn your craft and love the process. The rest will fall into place,” she said. “It’s important to expose yourself to other artists in your field so you can discover what you like,” Will added. “And while it’s good to be passionate about your own projects, don’t be so focused on your work that you leave out life experiences,” he said. “Your work is enriched when you bring those experiences to the stage and the canvas and the page.” Magical words indeed.

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• Two familiar faces for the chancellor’s and dean’s offices: Kevin Guskiewicz and Terry Rhodes.

Change at the top

the General Education curriculum that is currently underway. Under Guskiewicz’s leadership, the College has raised more BY GENEVA COLLINS than $400 million in the Campaign for Carolina, well over half of its goal of $750 n February, UNC System Interim million. President Bill Roper appointed Kevin M. A neuroscientist and internationally Guskiewicz as UNC-Chapel Hill’s interim recognized expert on sport-related chancellor, succeeding Carol Folt, who concussions, Guskiewicz joined served as chancellor from July 2013 Carolina’s faculty in 1995. He is the Kenan through the end of January. Distinguished Professor of Exercise and Guskiewicz had served as dean of the Sport Science and founded the Matthew College of Arts & Sciences since January Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain 2016. A few weeks later, Provost Robert Injury Research Center at Carolina. A. Blouin appointed Terry Rhodes interim Rhodes, the first dean of the College dean of the College. Rhodes had served to be named from the fine arts, has as senior associate dean for fine arts and championed the value of the arts and humanities since 2012. humanities to a well-rounded Carolina “It is an honor to be asked to lead education throughout her long career at the nation’s first public university into Carolina. the next chapter of its storied history,” “I look forward to advancing said Guskiewicz. “When I became dean, the great initiatives we already have I pledged to be ‘strategic, bold and underway in the College begun under student-focused,’ and those imperatives Kevin’s Road Map to Boldness strategic will continue to guide me in this role.” plan — as well as introducing new ones As dean, Guskiewicz prioritized that showcase our strengths and talents interdisciplinary teaching and research, in research and teaching across the active learning techniques and disciplines,” said Rhodes. experiential learning opportunities for Rhodes was first appointed senior students. He initiated the revamping of associate dean by Dean Karen Gil. A

Carolina gets an interim chancellor and the College an interim dean

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Carolina alumna and parent, she has been on the faculty of UNC since 1987. She has since served the University in a variety of roles, including as a member of the voice faculty, UNC opera director, chair of the music department and faculty marshal. She is the principal investigator on the Humanities for the Public Good initiative [see pages 4-5] from the Mellon Foundation, which seeks to bridge the silos between academic research, teaching and the communities they serve. She was co-PI on the Carolina Digital Humanities Initiative, also funded by Mellon, which created partnerships and programs that promote innovation, interdisciplinary connections and collaboration around digital teaching, research and outreach. In 2016-17, Rhodes led the steering committee for Carolina’s Human Heart: Living the Arts and Humanities, a yearlong celebration that showcased how the arts and humanities can help us address the major issues of our time. Rhodes has also worked closely with the College’s director of faculty diversity initiatives and the departmental diversity liaisons on matters of faculty recruitment and graduate student admissions. She received the University Diversity Award in 2011. A native of Raleigh, Rhodes earned her bachelor of music degree from Carolina and her doctor of musical arts and master of music from the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester. Rhodes, a soprano, has taught and performed throughout the Balkans and Eastern Europe, as well as in Spoleto, Italy, for the past 15 years. To fill her previous position, Rhodes named Elizabeth Engelhardt, John Shelton Reed Distinguished Professor of Southern Studies and chair of the department of American studies, as interim senior associate dean for fine arts and humanities. As chair, Engelhardt oversaw innovations in graduate education and collaborations with Wilson Library and the Ackland Art Museum, as well as the yearlong 50th anniversary celebration of American studies.


THE SCOOP

Faculty duo’s bequest will benefit graduate students in political science BY JOANNA CARDWELL (M.A. ’06)

UNC political scientists Liesbet

Kristen Chavez

Hooghe and Gary Marks may be leading experts on European politics, but their greatest legacy will likely be their extensive collaborative work with graduate students. The husband-and-wife duo have excelled in their careers with the help of an established network of current and former graduate students. Their • UNC faculty couple Liesbet Hooghe and Gary Marks have created a bequest to provide crucial office shelves are lined with cosupport for political science graduate students. They credit the contributions such students have authored works, and their calendars made to their research. are often filled with Skype sessions, phone calls and meetings with the students and scholars in that students that otherwise wouldn’t have been there,” Hooghe network. said. “It can be career-changing if they can have an extra It’s no surprise, then, that when Hooghe and Marks created semester off to focus on research or do fieldwork, to learn an a bequest for the College, they chose to create the Gary Marks extra language, to learn a method that puts them somewhere and Liesbet Hooghe Graduate Student Excellence Fund in higher up in the academic world.” Political Science. The fund will allow the department to provide Sara Niedzwiecki (Ph.D. ’14) started working with Marks crucial support to political science graduate students. and Hooghe in 2009 and co-authored a book and two articles Both Hooghe and Marks understand the importance of with them. Grant funding enabled Niedzwiecki to conduct field graduate students to a department’s success and the challenges research across Argentina and Brazil for 15 months. She says the students face. their mentorship was crucial in shaping her dissertation and “Over the years, having worked with a number of graduate strengthening her job prospects. students, it’s become more and more clear that the neediest “Liesbet and Gary showed me by example how academia group for additional funding are graduate students,” said could be a collaborative environment where young scholars Hooghe, who joined the faculty in 2000 and is the W.R. Kenan can thrive,” said Niedzwiecki, now an assistant professor at the Distinguished Professor of Political Science. “This is a research University of California, Santa Cruz. university, so we care a lot about giving our potential colleagues Jelle Koedam, a political science graduate student, has the best cards possible to make it in a pretty tough academic or worked as a research assistant for Marks and Hooghe the past professional world.” five years. Marks’ affinity for graduate students can be traced back to “They go out of their way to support their students, his experience as a graduate student at Stanford University. His including after graduate school,” Koedam said. “It is truly adviser was Seymour Martin Lipset, a noted American socioloamazing to see how they stay in touch with so many of their gist and political scientist, with whom he co-authored a book. former students, collaborating on projects and inviting them to “The experience of being a graduate student and having a panels or conferences they are organizing.” close and very creative, fruitful experience with my dissertation Both Hooghe and Marks credit the contributions that adviser really shaped my life, and I learned so much from him — graduate students have made to their research. not only intellectually but also how to go about doing research,” “The quality of our own research depends on the quality of said Marks, who has been at Carolina since 1986. He is currently graduate students,” Marks said. “We learn from them. Our field the Burton Craige Distinguished Professor of Political Science. is pretty technical, and they often come with new ideas and Hooghe and Marks have seen the benefits of graduate methods that can be really useful in getting in top publications.” funding firsthand, in their own work. In 2010, they received Ultimately, Hooghe and Marks enjoy being there for their a multiyear grant from the European Research Council that students. enabled them to provide funding to a number of graduate “Advising students is not just an intellectual exercise,” students. Marks said. “You’ve got to support them, and we find pleasure “We found that this opened up opportunities for these in that.”

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Courtesy of Laura and Mike Grace

Ted Richardson

THE SCOOP

ABOVE: Mike and Laura Grace want students to know it’s OK to ask for help. RIGHT: The Graces’ gift will establish the Learning and Writing Center Relocation Fund, which will make the center’s offerings more accessible to students.

Gift will help Learning and Writing Center improve access, reach more students BY ERIN KELLEY ’13

Laura and Mike Grace first discovered the Learning and

Writing Center at a first-year orientation session for their son, Patrick, now a Carolina senior, and it lit a spark that has stayed with them these four years. The Learning and Writing Center provides personalized coaching and resources to help students from all backgrounds and abilities find success both in and out of the classroom. Programs include writing and academic coaching, peer tutoring, study groups, test prep, online resources, English language support and more. Their belief in the center’s mission of helping students succeed is what ultimately led the couple to make a generous commitment to establish the Learning and Writing Center Relocation Fund. The fund jump-starts a partnership between the Learning and Writing Center and University Libraries to strengthen the center’s offerings and improve accessibility for students.

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In addition to providing support to help move the center to a more central location on campus, the fund will also help meet the growing student demand. It will support staff recruitment, technology and innovation, curriculum development and more. The center’s message of inclusivity, collaboration and assistance aligns with the couple’s core values, and was a message instilled in Laura Grace at a young age — from her father, who was grateful for the opportunity to go to college. “I feel fortunate that I grew up in a family that was very open-minded and truly believed that we are all created equal and all have a variety of gifts to share,” she said. Despite a family history of notable Notre Dame alumni on Mike’s side — Patrick decided to follow in Laura’s father’s footsteps (and those of other family members) and attend UNCChapel Hill. He’s majoring in history and peace, war and defense. Laura serves on the Learning and Writing Center Advisory Board, collaborating with campus leaders, donors and others with a vested interest in the center to sustain and enhance the mission of accessibility and achievement. “The reason we support the center is the leadership,” she said. “They love and know the students and embody its mission. Their passion is having the best possible experience for all students, and that trickles down through the student’s educational experience.” Laura hopes to use this platform to promote the center’s activities and create a universal message for students that it’s OK to ask for help. “A large population of UNC students use these services, no matter their major, program or how they’re doing in school,” she said. “The center understands what it takes to educate our world now. We’re in a diverse learning and cultural environment, and there’s nothing more important than improving how we communicate, being open to working with others and appreciating our strengths and weaknesses.” Kim Abels, director of the center, said private support like the Graces’ gift empowers students to succeed. “We are so grateful for Laura’s leadership on our board and her family’s commitment to making the center’s services more accessible,” Abels said. “We look forward to working together with University Libraries to build a model of innovative and inviting academic support at Carolina.”

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Courtesy of the Monk Family

THE SCOOP

important for each student to learn and explore where their path is going to take them, and to do that in the real world.” “Practical application is important,” Aurelia echoed. Bill graduated from UNC in 1949 and worked in the family’s Farmville tobacco business, A.C. Monk and Company, founded by his father. The company became one of the world’s largest tobacco processors and was a significant employer and economic presence in the small town.

Monk Family Fund will support internships in eastern N.C. and beyond BY MARY MOOREFIELD

Love of family, home and university runs deep for the

Monk family of eastern North Carolina. That’s what has led the family — William Monk Jr. ’86, his wife, Aurelia Stafford Monk ’85, and his sister Molly Monk Mears ’84, along with her husband, John — to give back to Carolina and to their home region. Their latest gift funds the creation of the Monk Family Internship Fund in the Shuford Program in Entrepreneurship. The gift reflects the family’s desire to honor the wishes of William and Molly’s parents, Agnes and William “Bill” Monk Sr. ’49. The endowment will provide support for entrepreneurship students seeking internships in eastern North Carolina and for students from eastern North Carolina desiring internships in other parts of the United States and world. “We’re a Carolina family,” William said. “Chapel Hill was always important to my dad, and we’ve been involved in different ways. I grew up in eastern North Carolina, and my parents grew up there, so we wanted to support UNC while helping the people of eastern North Carolina.” William and Aurelia learned about the minor in entrepreneurship when their son, William “Will” Monk III ’16, was a student in the program. “We love the whole concept of the program, and it’s more important than ever to have internships,” said William, who is a member of the Shuford Program Advisory Board. “It’s

Donn Young

ABOVE: The Monk family’s gift will support students serving in internships in eastern North Carolina and students from that region participating in internships elsewhere. Multiple generations of the family are represented in this photo. RIGHT: A student makes a final presentation in “Introduction to Entrepreneurship,” a required class in the Shuford Program.

“Connecting the University and eastern North Carolina through these internships will be meaningful for students and be something my dad would be very proud of,” Molly said. “We value the education we received at Carolina and hope this will honor our dad.” Bernard Bell, executive director of the Shuford Program, said internships are vital to the success of the program. “Many of our students are from eastern North Carolina, so the Monk Family Fund will allow those students, along with students who desire to work in that region of the state, the opportunity to contribute to a vital regional economy,” Bell said. With three generations of UNC alumni in the Monk family, it’s not surprising that William would call Chapel Hill “one of our favorite places on the planet.” “You still get tingles when you drive into town,” Aurelia said. Being students during the Michael Jordan and Dean Smith era, hanging out on Franklin Street or studying in the humanities room of Wilson Library are great memories of their time on campus, but the Monks have also developed a broader perspective and deeper appreciation for Carolina. “We treasure it even more now that we’re involved,” Aurelia said. “We realize what an amazing academic place it is — all of the opportunities it offers and its incredible reputation.”

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Go Anywhere

A new Honors Carolina initiative is high-tech and high-touch. BY NANCY E. OATES

Every time Amazon makes an

Donn Young

announcement, career paths change, said Todd Ballenger ’88, director of alumni and career networks for Honors Carolina’s Go Anywhere initiative. “Millions of jobs that exist today won’t be around in five to seven years,” Ballenger said. “And jobs that will be common in the future don’t even exist today. We have to teach students how to be flexible and adaptable as they move from college to career.” Back in the days when a career path was like a highway you could drive on for 30 years, many college students didn’t begin • The Go Anywhere initiative helps students explore career and academic opportunities. thinking about a career until their senior year. A recent Women’s Leadership Forum and Networking Reception connected students with At UNC today, the Go Anywhere initiative alumnae from diverse fields. begins laying the career-choice groundwork on following in the footsteps of his father, a surgeon. the summer before students enroll in Honors Carolina. Early on, he met with Go Anywhere coach Chad Collins, Alumni Chad and Blake Pike, who both graduated in 1993, who recognized that Asher wasn’t enthusiastic about the premade a gift that supports a team of experts and an online platmed courses he was taking. Asher had signed up for Chinese form where students can explore experiences and opportunities, connect with faculty and industry mentors, find internships to fulfill UNC’s foreign language requirement because it sounded like fun. and jobs, and reach out to students with similar interests. “I got my worst grade ever in Chinese 101, but it was my “The idea was simple — for Carolina people to help Carofavorite class,” Asher said. lina people,” Chad Pike said. “We hope Go Anywhere will allow Collins let Asher know about the Phillips Ambassadors students to identify an industry and sector they are passionate program, which enabled Asher to spend a summer in Beijing, about and to secure better internships and ultimately full-time jobs via the alumni network. We also hope students will actively where he learned a year’s worth of the language in two months. That fluency inspired him to add Chinese as a major, and participate in that network post-graduation.” Collins encouraged him to apply for Honors Carolina’s William Honors Carolina staff say students are motivated and D. Weir Fellowship, which sent him to China for a six-month curious, but often overwhelmed by choices about where they intensive language program and a summer internship with a want to go in life and how to get there. The Go Anywhere Chinese startup. initiative balances high-tech with high-touch. The online Collins helped Asher plan a couple of different career platform showcases the opportunities and resources, and new paths. Eventually, he switched to computer science, a major career and professional development coaches help students that better fit his interests and talents, and combined it with decide what to explore. continued study of Chinese. Asher has been accepted into The structure of Go Anywhere covers five career areas: UNC’s dual bachelor’s/master’s program in computer science. finance, technology, health care, business and law/governBut he has kept open the option of returning to China after ment/nonprofits. Each area is headed by an advisory council graduation and working there in the computer field. of alumni who are leaders in that particular sector. Each council Without Go Anywhere, Asher might never have learned is aided by industry ambassadors — alumni who open doors to about study abroad fellowships. He might not have paired internships and jobs, counsel on key industry trends, and menChinese with computer science. tor students toward career and life preparation. Each sector Ballenger calls that outcome a success. also has a coach — a full-time staff member who works directly “It’s not just about careers. The Go Anywhere initiative is with students to help them explore career opportunities. a guided journey toward a successful career and a purposeful Go Anywhere worked just as it was designed to for Kyle life.” Asher, who will graduate in May. Asher came to Carolina intent

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# T h r o w b a c k M I L I TA R Y

M A R C H

This 1942 photo, taken by famed photographer Hugh Morton, shows U.S. Naval Aviation Pre-Flight School instructors participating in a drill. After Pearl Harbor, the U.S. Navy realized the need to revitalize its training programs and set up pre-flight programs on college campuses. UNCChapel Hill was chosen as one of four such locations. Before the pre-flight school was formally decommissioned in 1945, two men who later would become U.S. presidents passed through it: Gerald R. Ford and George H.W. Bush. The Naval ROTC unit, which was established prior to the pre-flight school in the summer of 1940, is still going strong today. All three ROTC programs — Navy, Army and Air Force — are housed in the College of Arts & Sciences. Do you have memories of your time with Carolina ROTC? Email us your stories at college-news@unc.edu. (Photo courtesy of North Carolina Collection, University Libraries.)

What will be your Carolina legacy?

“In more than three decades at Carolina in the classroom and in administration, my wife and I have gotten to know the students, the faculty and the University very well. We have been very impressed at all levels, and we want to help Carolina continue to grow and provide the best possible opportunities for its students and faculty.”

Bruce W. Carney

Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Physics and Astronomy

Contact us today to learn how planned gifts, including bequests, charitable trusts and charitable gift annuities, can help you meet your financial goals while supporting the College of Arts & Sciences. 919.962.0108 | asf@unc.edu | college.unc.edu/pg

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Nobel laureate shares love of science and art

Theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate Kip Thorne combines a love of science and art in his work, and he shared that passion with a Carolina audience on Feb. 21. Thorne discussed “My Romance with the Warped Side of the Universe: From Black Holes and Wormholes to Time Travel and Gravitational Waves” as the 2018-19 Frey Foundation Distinguished Visiting Professor, one of the highest honors bestowed by the College to distinguished public leaders. Thorne, a professor emeritus at Caltech, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2017, along with Rainer Weiss and Barry C. Barish, for their contributions to the observation of gravitational waves. He was also an executive producer on Christopher Nolan’s 2014 film Interstellar. “The venue for Interstellar is the warped side of the universe — black holes, wormholes, singularities and

• Kip Thorne shared stories of winning a few astrophysics-related wagers with his friend Stephen Hawking and discussed the science behind Interstellar, on which he served as a scientific adviser.

gravitational waves,” said Thorne. “We built these phenomena, with the exception of gravitational waves, in the movie.” Thorne shared the excitement of making the “big discovery” in 2015 that led to the Nobel Prize. “1.3 billion years ago in a galaxy far, far away two black holes circled around each other …. They came crashing

Jon Gardiner

honors given to faculty members. Eble received the Thomas Jefferson Award, presented annually at a Faculty Council meeting to a member of the academic community who through teaching, writing and scholarship, as well as contributions to public education, exemplifies the • Bland Simpson received the Edward Kidder Graham ideals and objectives of Thomas Award at University Day. Jefferson. Last fall on University Day, Big wins for English faculty Simpson was awarded the Edward Kidder Graham Faculty Service Award, which aculty members in the department of recognizes outstanding service by a UNC English and comparative literature have faculty member. English department won major awards for their creative work chair Mary Floyd-Wilson said, “An awardand service to the campus community, winning writer, teacher and musician, the state and beyond. Bland Simpson exemplifies Graham’s goal • Connie Eble and Bland Simpson to extend the University’s service to the received two of the highest University state and beyond.”

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together and produced a huge burst of gravitational waves,” Thorne said. “It was the biggest, most powerful explosion except for the Big Bang, the birth of the universe itself.” These days, Thorne spends more time nurturing his artistic side. He is working on a book, The Warped Side of the Universe, that will feature his poetry.

• Michael McFee won two awards, including North Carolina’s highest civilian honor. He received the North Carolina Award for Literature, making him the eighth member of the English department to receive a North Carolina Award. The honor recognizes significant contributions to the state and the nation in the fields of fine arts, literature, public service and science. McFee also received the Thomas and Ellie D. Chaffin Prize for Appalachian Writing. Awarded annually by Morehead State University, the prize honors writers who inhabit and examine Appalachian landscapes in their creative work. • Daniel Wallace was recognized by his home state of Alabama with the Harper Lee Award. Presented annually by the Alabama Writers Symposium, it goes to “a living, nationally recognized Alabama writer who has made significant contributions to Alabama letters.”


THE SCOOP

Two gifts boost Chancellor’s Science Scholars program

Johnny Andrews

Johnny Andrews

thesis in mathematics. Lauren Gullet ’20 spends many afternoons collecting and analyzing data in Carolina’s Institute of Trauma Recovery. Daniela Alfaro ’22 plans to learn more about the factors, both biological and social, that caused her mother’s diabetes. Two generous contributions to the Chancellor’s Science Scholars program will enable more students like these to pursue degrees in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. The Sherman Fairchild Foundation recently gave $10 million to the program, which is a part of the College. The William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust pledged a $5 million grant, provided the University raises an additional $10 million in matching gifts by the end of 2023. “These gifts greatly enhance our competitiveness to recruit some of the best STEM scholars in the nation to Carolina,” said Thomas Freeman, the program’s executive director. “We will be able to provide robust and dynamic programming to nurture their scholarly and entrepreneurial pursuits, toward our ultimate goal of shaping the next generation of leaders in science and technology.” Designed to prepare students to pursue graduate degrees in STEM disciplines, the program offers merit-based scholarships, opportunities to participate in cuttingedge research, professional development, leadership training, mentorship and other programming. “Thanks to the contributions from the Sherman Fairchild Foundation and Kenan Charitable Trust, we welcomed a cohort of 40 scholars in 2018,” Freeman added. “We are very grateful to be able to attract top students to Carolina.”

Donn Young

Keshav Patel ’19 is finishing an honors

• A new grant will strengthen faculty mentoring in STEM fields like psychology and neuroscience, the academic home for teaching professor Jeannie Loeb.

NSF grant will strengthen faculty mentoring in STEM

A project led by researchers at Carolina will receive nearly $1 million in funding

over the next three years from the National Science Foundation to promote more effective faculty mentoring for women and underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. The UNC grant proposal, “Targeting Equity in Access to Mentoring (TEAM ADVANCE)” was among the eight grant proposals funded from 47 submitted, said Erin Malloy, the lead principal investigator for the grant. Co-PIs are Robert A. Blouin, executive vice chancellor and provost; Keshav Jaye E. Cable, chair of the environment, ecology Patel and energy program; Kia Caldwell, professor in the department of African, African-American and diaspora studies; and Kihyun “Kelly” Ryoo, an associate professor in the School of Education. “The University has applied for this grant several times in the past, and we are thrilled to have been funded,” Malloy said. “This is a grant that seeks to promote the success of women, and in particular women of color, in STEM fields across the University.” Lauren Gullet Malloy is director of the Center for Faculty Excellence, which will administer the grant in collaboration with the Carolina Women’s Center, the College and the Schools of Medicine, Public Health, Pharmacy, Library Science and Education.

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Entrepreneurship education earns top-tier ranking

Undergraduate entrepreneurship

Jon Gardiner

education at UNC-Chapel Hill has never been stronger, according to a new national ranking. U.S. News & World Report ranked UNC-Chapel Hill as the No. 4 undergraduate entrepreneurship program in the country. The ranking, which is the highest in the program’s history and is based on peer assessment surveys, signals the breadth, depth and diversity of Carolina’s entrepreneurship education. One of the most distinctive elements of entrepreneurship at UNC is the Shuford Program in Entrepreneurship, which is housed in the College. For 13 years, undergraduate students from any major across campus have been able to earn a minor in entrepreneurship. The Shuford Program not only involves coursework in the economics department, but also a summer internship with entrepreneurial firms in the local area, across the country or abroad. A generous $18 million gift

• Entrepreneurially minded students can take advantage of the BeAM makerspaces on campus. UNC’s undergraduate entrepreneurship education program was ranked No. 4 in the nation.

from the Shuford family in May 2017 has allowed the program to amplify the way it serves students. It’s now able to support additional faculty and internship opportunities to meet increasing student demand. Since 2005, more than 1,500 students have enrolled in the program. UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School

supports entrepreneurs through courses and many other forms of structured learning. Its entrepreneurship center allows both undergraduate and graduate students to enroll in entrepreneurship courses or pursue a concentration. The business school also provides special cocurricular offerings.

Jon Gardiner

Two Grammys for Bill Ferris

The pinnacle of many academic careers arrives with a Nobel Prize

Jon Gardiner

recognition in Sweden, but for William Ferris, that highlight moment came in California. Ferris, the Joel R. Williamson eminent professor emeritus of history, won two Grammy Awards at a February ceremony in Los Angeles. Ferris’ box set Voices of Mississippi: Artists and Musicians (produced by Dust-toDigital) won best historical album and best liner notes. The four-disc set features dozens of Ferris’ audio recordings of blues and gospel musicians, storytellers and documentary films. “When I heard I was a Grammy nominee, it’s to my world like a Nobel award because the Grammys are all about music and recordings, which is what my life has been dedicated to,” said Ferris, who is also senior associate director emeritus of the Center for the Study of the American South. ➤ See Ferris’ acceptance speech and learn more at www.dust-digital. com. Watch a video of Ferris at magazine.college.unc.edu. • Historian William Ferris won two Grammy Awards for his box set Voices of Mississippi: Artists and Musicians, produced by Dust-to-Digital.

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THE SCOOP

C A R O L I N A Q U O T E D

When national and international media need experts to comment on and analyze news and trends, they turn to Carolina faculty and alumni. Of course, College of Arts & Sciences faculty members often make news of their own with groundbreaking research findings. Here are just a few examples; see more at college.unc.edu. VOX

“Of the many factors that

PBS NEWS HOUR

“ Since the mid-’90s, these

make up your worldview, one is more fundamental than any other in determining which side of the [political] divide you gravitate toward: your perception of how dangerous the world is.”

storm events have increased both in frequency and also in severity. With all that rainfall, we’re obviously also getting a lot of nutrient discharge that’s coming out of the watersheds. ”

— Political scientists Marc Hetherington and Jonathan Weiler, authors of Prius or Pickup: How the Answers to Four Simple Questions Explain America’s Great Divide

— Hans Paerl, marine scientist, on why coastal Carolina may never recover from its intensifying hurricanes

CBC RADIO -CANADA

THE GUARDIAN

“IF YOU CAN CARRY ON

“ With the last couple of referendums, Ireland and Dublin

YOUR SHOULDERS THE VOICELESS PEOPLE WITH WHOM YOU'VE WORKED AND GIVEN THEM A VOICE AND ETCHED THEIR NAMES, AS FAULKNER WOULD SAY, ‘ON THE FACE OF OBLIVION’ FOR THE FUTURE THEN YOU'VE LIVED A GOOD LIFE AND YOU'VE DONE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE TO MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE.” — William Ferris, history professor emeritus, whose Voices of Mississippi: Artists and Musicians won two Grammy Awards

have embraced their new presentation as an inclusive, progressive and loving place. ”

— Andy Reynolds, professor of political science, on gay rights in Dublin and LGBT-friendly cities. Reynolds is the author of The Children of Harvey Milk: How LGBTQ Politicians Changed the World

W R A L-T V ( R A LE I G H )

“There are so many students that come into this

space and never thought they would learn to use a power tool. We call it an ‘empower tool’ because there's a personal growth that goes on when you are suddenly using something you were scared of. ” — Rich Superfine, BeAM faculty director and chair of applied physical sciences, on the maker movement at Carolina

NBC NEWS

“ Find a phrase that speaks to you to remind yourself that negativity cascades do end. ‘This too shall pass’ is one that can work in many different circumstances. ‘At least I’m not in this alone’ is another that fits in almost every circumstance.

— Barbara Fredrickson, Kenan Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, on things you can do to recover from setbacks

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Kristen Chavez

CHAPTER & VERSE

to understanding — and eventually to substantive political action. Andrew Reynolds explores the power of individuals like Milk in effecting social change and, in turn, public policy, in The Children of Harvey Milk: How LGBTQ Politicians Changed the World (Oxford University Press, 2018). Through the compelling personal stories of LGBTQ politicians worldwide, from the United States to the United Kingdom and Africa to Australia, the UNC professor of political science traces the major breakthroughs of the gay rights movement over the past 40 years. “On the surface, the book looks like it’s about • Visibility breeds empathy, Andrew Reynolds says of his politics, legislation and new book on LGBTQ politicians. elections,” Reynolds said. “But my view is that once you get into it, you realize the book is about love — both big love and smaller love.” Love and the fight for marriage equality are at the center of the book, but it isn’t only romantic or partnership love, he added, it’s general appreciation BY PATTY COURTRIGHT (B.A. ’75, M.A. ’83) and respect between individuals. That’s the smaller love: friendship When Harvey Milk won a between colleagues; respect and seat on the San Francisco empathy that develops between Board of Supervisors in 1977, legislators who sit across from one the needle on LGBTQ rights another; strength gained from seeing began to move. Milk, one of the someone like you in a position of first openly gay elected officials in the country, brought a recognizable face and responsibility. Milk was not the first openly gay passionate voice to a once-faceless issue. official. In the United States, Jerry As Milk spoke frankly about DeGrieck and Nancy Wechsler came out his experience with hostility and together in 1973 when serving on the discrimination, people began to grasp Ann Arbor City Council. Abroad, James the true, very personal impact of “Coos” Huijsen, who had been in Dutch homophobia. By injecting his personal Parliament in 1972-73, came out publicly narrative into the issue of gay rights, before running again in 1976 and being Milk broke down the barriers between elected. “us” and “them” and opened the door

New book tracks public shift toward LGBTQ politicians

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Milk, however, was an outspoken advocate that gay people needed to be an integral part of the political discussion. Within the past two decades, acceptance has increased considerably. Before 1990, the majority of LGBTQ officials came out after they had been elected, Reynolds’ research shows, but since 2000, most have been out when they were elected. Between 1976 and the beginning of 2019, 341 openly LGBTQ representatives have been elected to national parliaments in 48 countries, with more than 200 currently in office. Coming out is key, Reynolds believes. Barney Frank, the former 16-term congressman from Massachusetts, is a prime example. He did not want to be known as the gay politician, but as the first member of Congress to voluntarily come out as gay, he understood that he had that important voice in the room. In January, Reynolds met Ahmad Zahra, who had just been elected to the Fullerton City Council in historically conservative Orange County, California. Zahra, a Syrian-American married to a Mexican man, is the first out gay Muslim elected anywhere in the world, Reynolds said. Zahra worked in the school system and knocked on doors in his district, and in the process made friends with the community. “To them, he isn’t a Syrian or a refugee, he’s just Ahmad, who does school drives and works on local issues,” Reynolds explained. During his campaign, Zahra went door to door with Lisa Middleton, a member of the Palm Springs City Council and one of the only openly transgender women in office in America. “People fell in love with this incredibly unusual team who you would expect to be demonized in such a conservative area,” Reynolds said. All of these stories show how visibility breeds empathy. The goal, Reynolds said, is to get to a “state of grace” where we see the person, not the label. ➤ Find more books by College faculty and alumni at magazine.college. unc.edu.


FINALE

A View of Two Glaciers BY C A R LY O N N I N K ’ 2 0

A swath of snow smooths the Taku like a long blanket tucking in the mountains, sleeping in as the sun begins to sweat. An avalanche rumbles a tumbling snore. The sheet starts to spill, tilting over a dropoff. Its glass cracks, tension tearing as the surface splices, crevasses slashing through with razor-stabs of blue as Battle Glacier churns downward; chunks of ice restlessly tossed and up-turned, as if rough seas were glazed white and the waves frozen solid. At first I see chaos; then I see calm.

Onnink is a junior in UNC’s College of Arts & Sciences studying biology. She is also in the Creative Writing Program in the department of English and comparative literature and values the mentorship of Professor Michael McFee. Onnink was inspired to write this poem after participating in fieldwork last summer through the Juneau Icefield Research Program. Read a first-person essay about her experience on pages 10-14. (Photo by Andrew Opila)


NONPROFIT U.S. POSTAGE PAID UNC–CHAPEL HILL THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT CHAPEL HILL CAMPUS BOX 3100 205 SOUTH BUILDING CHAPEL HILL, NC 27599-3100

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THE COLLEGE OF ARTS & SCIENCES

A N N UA L F U N D

Every Tar Heel’s academic journey begins in the College of Arts & Sciences. Our students are ready to learn and explore all the opportunities the College can offer. Gifts to the Annual Fund afford them the tools they need to reach their greatest potential and encourage innovative thought and collaboration. Your gift to the Annual Fund will provide: • resources that enable our world-renowned faculty to inspire our students in the classroom every day; • firsthand experience for students in research labs, studios and workshops in disciplines across the College; • once-in-a-lifetime study abroad experiences that allow students to translate their knowledge into real-world achievements.

Make your gift today! Give online at: giving.unc.edu/gift/asf. You can also make a gift or learn more about the Annual Fund by contacting Ashlee Bursch, Director of Annual Giving, at ashlee.bursch@unc.edu, or 919-843-9853. ASF Annual Fund Ad 2.2019 v3.qxp_Layout 1 2/8/19 4:49 PM Page 1

Profile for UNC College of Arts and Sciences

Carolina Arts & Sciences spring 2019  

Carolina Arts & Sciences is the twice-yearly alumni magazine of the College of Arts & Sciences at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Carolina Arts & Sciences spring 2019  

Carolina Arts & Sciences is the twice-yearly alumni magazine of the College of Arts & Sciences at UNC-Chapel Hill.

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