Milad Minooie spent five years working as a journalist and news editor in Iran. Bryan Bozung has spent the last three summers excavating an ancient synagogue in the village of Huqoq in northern Israel. Rebecca Whitaker served, for the past five years, as director of health policy and governmental affairs for the N.C. Community Health Center Association. Scott Davis co-wrote the book An Illustrated Dictionary of Behavioral Economics for Healthcare Professionals.
These four accomplished University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill doctoral students join 25 other talented students as the newest five-year fellows within the Royster Society of Fellows. The Graduate School’s select interdisciplinary fellowship program, the Royster Society attracts exceptional graduate students from around the state and the world to pursue their doctorates at Carolina.
“We see, within the Royster Society, the qualities that make graduate students indispensable within our research university: They are innovative, collaborative and deeply committed to addressing major challenges in our world,” said Steve Matson, dean of The Graduate School. “The new Royster Fellows have already distinguished themselves as student leaders at superlative universities throughout the world – including UNC-Chapel Hill.”
A committee of UNC-Chapel Hill faculty selects applicants to be offered the fellowships based upon their academic performance, research, work, service and life experiences, and their potential for leadership in the future.
“We welcome the new Royster Fellows and look forward to the valuable contributions they will make that will benefit UNC-Chapel Hill, and our state’s citizens and economy,” said Sandra Hoeflich, associate dean for interdisciplinary education, fellowships and communication at The Graduate School.
Following is brief information on the 2014-15 class of five-year Royster Fellows:
Kristin Bedell, education: Bedell was twice named a North Carolina finalist for the Presidential Award in Excellence in Math and Science Teaching and received the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ Educational Activities Board Pre-University Educator Award for 2014. She received her bachelor’s degree in theater and speech from the College of William and Mary and her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from North Carolina Central University. She has lived in Efland, N.C., since 2004, working as a teacher in kindergarten through eighth grade during that decade.
Bryan Bozung, religious studies: Bozung received his bachelor’s degree in economics from Brigham Young University and his master’s degree in religion from Yale University (concentrated in Second Temple Judaism). Previously of Highland, Utah, Bozung has spent the last three summers excavating an ancient synagogue as a part of the Huqoq Excavation Project, led by Jodi Magness, the UNC-Chapel Hill Kenan Distinguished Professor for Teaching Excellence in Early Judaism.
Christina Chauvenet, maternal and child health: Originally from Winston-Salem, N.C., Chauvenet most recently lived in London and Washington, D.C., where she was a field associate at Share Our Strength, a national anti-hunger organization. Her work included performing data analysis of participation rates in federal nutrition programs. Chauvenet received her bachelor’s degree in political science from Wake Forest University and her master’s degree in Latin American politics from the University of London.
Alyssa Cozzo, nutrition: Cozzo received her bachelor’s degree in physiology and metabolism from the University of California, Berkeley. She is previously of the San Francisco Bay Area, where she worked as a research assistant at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Scott Davis, pharmaceutical sciences: Originally from Winston-Salem, N.C., Davis received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago and his master’s degree from Boston University. Afterward, he returned to Winston-Salem, where he worked as assistant director of the Wake Forest School of Medicine’s Center for Dermatology Research and co-wrote An Illustrated Dictionary of Behavioral Economics for Healthcare Professionals.
Carlee Forbes, art history: Forbes recently was part of the team to organize the exhibition and publication of Kongo across the Waters, featuring pieces from the Royal Museum of Central Africa in Tervuren, Belgium, and U.S. collections. She received her bachelor’s degrees in history and arts and humanities from Michigan State University and her master’s degree in art history from the University of Florida.
Isaura Godinez, anthropology: Originally from Mexico, Godinez moved to the United States in 2003. She received her bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Latin American studies with a minor in biology from the California State University at Chico. She spent the last six months working at a medical practice in California.
Laurie Graham, social work: Graham received her bachelor’s degree in sociology with a second concentration in psychology and her master’s degree in social work from UNC-Chapel Hill. Previously of Charlotte, N.C., Graham spent the past three years as the crisis response coordinator and then programs director for the Orange County Rape Crisis Center in Chapel Hill. The N.C. Coalition Against Sexual Assault recognized her in 2013 for being lead author of a manual on best practices in developing support group programs for survivors of sexual violence.
Anna Grummon, health behavior: Grummon received her bachelor’s degree in human biology from Stanford University, with university distinction and departmental honors. She lived previously in San Francisco, where she conducted community-based interventions at the University of California, San Francisco to promote healthy beverage consumption among children and adolescents.
Mejs Hasan, geological sciences: Originally from Concord, N.C., Hasan spent the past three years working as an associate ecosystem modeler with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Chesapeake Bay Office. She received her bachelor’s degree in economics and her master’s degree in environmental science and engineering from UNC-Chapel Hill.
Elizabeth Kamai, epidemiology: Originally from Corte Madera, Calif., Kamai received her bachelor’s degree in environmental studies, cum laude, from Dartmouth College. She has spent the last few years working in environmental and epidemiological research, most recently in the department of environmental health at the Boston University School of Public Health.
Corinna Keeler, geography: Keeler received her bachelor’s degree in geography, with honors, from Grinnell College. Previously of Northampton, Mass., Keeler spent the past few years working at Smith College, where she developed geographic information system (GIS) teaching materials to incorporate spatial thinking across the curriculum, among other outreach.
Aubrey Lauersdorf, history: Lauersdorf received her bachelor’s degree in history and anthropology with comprehensive honors from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her undergraduate research focused on the sociopolitical roles of Iroquois women in early America.
Nicholas Levis, biology: Levis, originally from Ohio, received his bachelor’s degree from Miami University; The Journal of Experimental Biology published his undergraduate honors thesis, recognizing him as the lead author. He received his master’s degree from Western Kentucky University, where he was presented the John D. Minton Award for outstanding graduate student.
Meredith McCoy, American studies: McCoy received her bachelor’s degree in anthropology and music with a minor in Native American studies from UNC-Chapel Hill and her master’s degree in education from Lipscomb University. Before returning to Chapel Hill, she spent four years teaching economically disadvantaged students literacy, Spanish, and social studies in Nashville and Atlanta.
Brian McPhee, classics: Previously of St. Petersburg, Fla., McPhee received his bachelor’s degree in classics and religious studies from the University of South Florida. He recently received the 2014 John J. Winkler Memorial Prize, sponsored through Oberlin College and presented to scholars who pursue under-studied areas of classics, for an interpretation of the puzzling puer-scene from Plautus’ Pseudolus.
Milad Minooie, mass communication: Minooie worked five years as a journalist and news editor in Iran. He received his bachelor’s degree in English literature from Damavand University and his master’s degree in communication from the University of Texas at Arlington.
Kyle Onda, city and regional planning: Originally from Denver, Colo., Onda received his bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering from Stanford University and master’s degrees in city and regional planning and environmental sciences and engineering from UNC-Chapel Hill.
Madelyn Percy, geological sciences: Percy received her bachelor’s degrees in geology and anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin. She has been a public high school science teacher since 2009, and she has worked with a geology educational outreach program called GeoFORCE Texas.
Gabrielle Scronce, human movement science: Originally from Vale, N.C., Scronce received both her bachelor’s degree in women’s studies and her doctorate of physical therapy from UNC-Chapel Hill. During her physical therapy education from 2011-2014, Scronce participated in service and research projects to improve the lives of older adults in North Carolina.
Carter Smith, marine sciences: Smith worked as a marine science educator for the Catalina Island Marine Institute in California for three years and as an educator and mountain guide for the National Outdoor Leadership School for five years. She received her bachelor’s degree in theater arts from Wesleyan University.
Maximilian Spiegel, communication studies: Spiegel, originally from Austria, received his diploma degrees in political science and history from the University of Vienna. His upcoming book on gender and politics in American free folk musics will be published in Löcker Verlag’s Cultural Studies series (Vienna).
Nithya Srinivas, pharmaceutical sciences: Originally from Bangalore, India, Srinivas received her bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from the Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences in Bangalore.
Min Tang, philosophy: Previously of Zhanjiang and Beijing, China, Tang received her bachelor’s degree in mathematics and applied mathematics from Zhanjiang Normal University, and her doctorate in the philosophy of science and technology from Renmin University of China.
James Taylor, chemistry: Taylor received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where he was also a Meyerhoff Scholar.
Kimber Thomas, American studies: A native of Jackson, Miss., Thomas received her bachelor’s degree in English from Alcorn State University and her master’s degree in Afro-American studies from the University of California, Los Angeles. She previously worked as an oral historian for the Southern Foodways Alliance, where she documented Jackson, Miss., restaurants owned by African Americans.
Paul Treacy, public policy: Previously of Washington, D.C., Treacy spent six years with the U.S. Department of Labor, including two years helping to write and implement rules and policy related to wage and hour laws. He received his bachelor’s degree from Rice University, his master’s degree in industrial and labor relations from Cornell University and his master’s degree in public policy from Georgetown University.
Rebecca Whitaker, health policy and management: Whitaker received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Princeton University and her master’s degree in public health from UNC-Chapel Hill. For the past five years, within the N.C. Community Health Center Association, Whitaker provided strategic direction for health centers in North Carolina, identifying new opportunities and new partners for improving health and health care in the state.
Joseph Zabinski, operations management (business): A native of New York’s Capital District, Zabinski received his bachelor’s degree in physics and German studies at Boston College and his master’s degree in engineering management from Dartmouth College. He received a Fulbright Research Grant to Vienna, Austria, to study the philosophy of physics. He has also studied industrial engineering at the doctoral level at the Georgia Institute of Technology.