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Meet the fellows

The Graduate School is pleased to welcome the incoming 2022 cohort of its Weiss Urban Livability Fellowship. The one-year fellowship supports talented graduate students with an interest in urban livability. It also provides funding, learning opportunities, and practical experience. Fellows design a community project that impacts urban livability in Chapel Hill. Fellows also take part in discussion forums, guest lectures, and mentoring. The award is endowed through generous gifts from Professors Emeriti Charles and Shirley Weiss.

Eight students pose for a photo outside the Graduate Student Center; a brick building with white double doors.
Weiss Urban Livability Fellows; 2022 incoming cohort of students. Top row: Zari Taylor, Emily Chávez, Mackenzie Oglesby, and Nora Abbott. Bottom row: Isabel Soberal, Lindsey Jackson, Dahlia Boyles, and Miquell Shaw

Zari Taylor, Senior fellow

Zari Taylor is a fourth-year doctoral student in the Department of Communication, housed in the College of Arts and Sciences. Her research is in the intersection of race, beauty capital, social media, and algorithms. Specifically, she looks at techno-minstrelsy on TikTok and the ways in which influencers are racialized and gendered in particular ways. 

Nora Abbott

Nora Abbott was born and raised in Albany, New York. She is a master’s degree student in the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, housed in the Gillings School of Global Public Health. She is interested in environmental modeling, climate change, and global health. Abbott has previously studied biosand filters as a water remediation method and air quality and related health with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). She has also worked with the Royal Danish Consulate General and the Permanent Mission of Denmark to the United Nations as part of the Greening of the Blue Initiative.

Michael Beauregard ’22

Michael Beauregard ’22 is a master’s degree student in the School of Government interested in studying affordable housing, economic development, and zoning, and the intersection between those three subjects. Rust belt/post-industrial cities in the American Northeast and Midwest are of particular interest, especially Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Chicago, Richmond, and Boston. He hopes to one day establish a career in housing and community development, working to build new and affordable housing in an American city.

Emily Chávez

Emily Chávez begins her master’s degree in social work following a 15-year career in education. Chávez has served as a high school teacher, a program administrator, and an advocate for social justice education who has worked to create more equitable access to learning, particularly for students of color, low-income, undocumented, and LGBTQ+ students. She is the co-editor, along with Kia Caldwell, of Engaging the African Diaspora in K-12 Education, and she currently serves on the Durham Public Schools’ Board of Education. She plans to focus on intimate partner violence, housing, and the justice system. Ultimately, she aims to conduct community-engaged social work research that will inform policy and aid in alleviating social disparities. Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, she has lived in Durham for 18 years.

Dahlia Boyles

Dahlia Boyles, from Middletown, Connecticut, is a Ph.D. student and teaching assistant in the Department of Communication in the College of Arts and Sciences. She holds master’s and bachelor’s degrees in communication from Coastal Carolina University, where she taught persuasion for two years. A critical rhetorical scholar working from an intersectional feminist perspective, Boyles is interested in how power is socially constructed through communication. Her graduate work has focused on whiteness and (post)feminism in popular media. She has presented at regional, national, and international conferences.

Lindsey Jackson

Lindsey Jackson is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Geography and a recent graduate of Columbia University with a degree in climate science and policy. Their research interests include food security, climate change, human health, and extreme weather. They have previous work experience in youth environmental education and energy conservation.

Mackenzie Oglesby

Mackenzie Oglesby is a doctoral student in the Department of Religious Studies, part of the College of Arts and Sciences. She is an alumna of Virginia Tech. She has always been passionate about history and museum work, she hopes to stay in that industry in the future. Her research interests include American religions, Southern religions/mythology, Christianity, medieval Christian art, martyrdom, Lost Cause ideology, meaning making, and iconography.

Miquell Shaw

Miquell Shaw is a first-year American studies master’s-doctoral student hailing from New Haven, Connecticut. He is a recent graduate of the University of Richmond, where he worked together with four other undergraduates to establish the university’s first African-American studies program. During the summer of his senior year at UR, he interned with the commissioner of the Department of Human Rights and assisted in crafting a response to their pattern or practice investigation into a Minnesota police department over the murder of George Floyd. His research interests lie in understanding how our current moment is continuously being shaped by European colonial practices of domination and anti-Black violence on a global scale. He hopes to learn more and work toward critiquing and undoing what Sylvia Wynter articulates as the overrepresentation of Western Man as the only way of being human and the violence that comes alongside that, while also centering the ways in which Black people have resisted such physical and epistemological pressures throughout modernity.

Isabel Soberal

Isabel Soberal is an incoming master’s degree student in the Department of City and Regional Planning, part of the College of Arts and Sciences. Prior to attending UNC-Chapel Hill, she earned bachelor’s degrees in geography and Spanish from Grand Valley State University in Michigan. During her academic career, she developed research interests surrounding the intersection of sustainability, equity and planning.






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