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Shelley Golden, (’99 MPH; ’13 Ph.D.), an associate professor in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, has received The Graduate School’s 2021 Faculty Award for Excellence in Doctoral Mentoring. Golden also serves as the vice chair for academic affairs for the Gillings School’s Department of Health Behavior.

Shelley Golden ('99 MPH; '13 Ph.D.)
Shelley Golden (’99 MPH; ’13 Ph.D.)

“The Faculty Mentoring Award recognizes a commitment to mentorship of graduate students as they seek to obtain their doctoral degrees and begin their careers,” said Suzanne Barbour, dean of The Graduate School. “Dr. Golden’s outstanding commitment to graduate student success has not gone unnoticed. She serves students with a high standard of mentorship and encouragement. Her leadership at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health exemplifies the tenets of this award.”

Golden said it’s an honor to be recognized with the award.

“I have been lucky to work with amazing students at Gillings who are passionate, brilliant and incredibly hard-working,” she said. “They challenge me to think about public health in innovative ways, and I love seeing their research unfold. Mentoring is one of the best parts of my job.”

Golden’s research focuses on the role of economic and social welfare public policies on health-related behaviors, with a particular emphasis on smoking and alcohol use. Specifically, she examines state-level public policies and contexts that influence changes in behavior; how people adopt to and share health-related laws; and how changes in labor market conditions influence health behaviors and policies.

In an award nomination, colleagues highlighted Golden’s commitment to her students’ careers, including her dedication to fostering external collaborations and professional development opportunities. The nomination also distinguished the difference between an advisor and a mentor.

“An advisor oversees progress and signs important paperwork, but not all advisors become mentors,” the nomination read. “A mentor is someone who teaches, encourages, supports, provides opportunities and collaboration, gives constructive feedback to foster scholarly development, advocates, and helps ensure the wellbeing of their students. Dr. Golden is a mentor. Her public health brilliance and exceptional drive to champion doctoral students while supporting their wellbeing and mental health is unmatched.”

The annual award recognizes a faculty member who encourages students to establish their own record of scholarly activity or performance; provides a supportive environment that facilitates the development of best performance and talents from individual graduate students; and achieves a successful record of graduate degree completion among the students they have advised.

Presentation of this award takes place at The Graduate School’s annual doctoral hooding ceremony, which was held online in 2021 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Graduate School, founded in 1903, supports more than 160 degree-offering programs in a variety of disciplines. Suzanne Barbour, Ph.D., serves as dean of The Graduate School and is a professor in the UNC School of Medicine Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics.

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