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Students walking on campus walkways surrounded by fall colors.
Fall campus scene on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. December 3, 2019.
(Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)

Sixteen UNC-Chapel Hill graduate students and recent graduate alumni, within a variety of academic programs, have been selected to receive The Graduate School’s 2021 Impact Awards and Horizon Awards.

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

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

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

The awardees and their academic programs are:

Brittney Chesworth, doctoral student, social work, Impact Award

Sarah Donaher, recent master’s graduate, marine sciences, Impact Award

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

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

Caroline Efird, doctoral student, health behavior, Impact Award

Shiwei Fang, doctoral student, computer science, Horizon Award

Matthew Glasscott, doctoral student, chemistry, Impact Award

Alina Hamilton, doctoral student, pathology, Horizon Award

Diamond Ebanks Holloman, doctoral student, ecology, Impact Award

Elizabeth Kamai, doctoral student, epidemiology, Impact Award

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

Alison Mercer-Smith, doctoral student, pharmaceutical sciences, Horizon Award

Alexandra Odom, doctoral student, history, Impact Award

Emily Ozpinar, doctoral student, biomedical engineering, Horizon Award

Gabriela Torres, doctoral student, biomedical engineering, Impact Award

Rachel Woodul, doctoral student, geography, Impact Award

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

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