Public health students score multiple hits

Four public health students tapped for Golden Fleece

Gillings School of Global Public Health students are amazing. I know that, and our faculty members and staff know that, but I love it when our students get recognized by others. It was really fun and gratifying last Friday when four of our students were tapped for the Order of the Golden Fleece, UNC’s highest honor society. A person could get exhausted just reading the accomplishments of the students selected from across UNC: kudos to them all. Special congratulations to our students. Thanks to Mackenzie Thomas for sharing the biographic information.

  1. Russell Maxwell is a model scholar in the Gillings School of Global Public Health biostatistics department and in the College of Arts and Sciences’ chemistry and mathematics departments, as well as a UNC S.M.A.R.T. II Scholar and a William Pritchard Scholar. Beyond his excellence in research, Russell uses his analytical ability for mentorship and public service. He has played an integral role in the development and success of Building Bonds, Breaking B.A.R.S (Barriers Against Reaching Success), organizing a mentorship program to provide positive black role models for students of the C.A. Dillon Youth Detention Center, as well as successfully leading the annual book drive to provide over 700 new volumes to the Center’s library. Russell also plays on the club handball team and tutors Hispanic immigrants with LINC (Link Immigrants to New Communities).
  2. Camille McGirt (Health Policy and Management) is co-founder of Healthy Girls Save the World, a non-profit organization providing girls ages 8 to 15 with the tools and knowledge to developand sustain healthy and well-rounded lifestyles. Under McGirt’s strategic leadership, Healthy Girls Save the World organizes free events for young women to visit UNC, gain mentorship from our world-class female varsity athletes, engage in physical activity, hear from nutritionists in the School of Public Health, and learn about respectful and positive relationships through interactive activities. A former Division I basketball player, Camille has received national, state and local recognition for her social venture and is cited as a role model for other UNC students interested in tackling social complexities. In addition to her work with Healthy Girls, Camille is a UNC-Duke Kenan-Biddle Partnership Grant Awardee, a participant in the Robert E. Bryan Fellowship for APPLES Service Learning, an Admissions Ambassador, and a dedicated member of the Multicultural Student Recruitment Committee (MSRC).
  3. Madhu Vulimeri (Health Policy and Management) was cited for her sincere efforts in fostering sustainable social justice and global health development at UNC. As Director of Development for the Campus Y for the past two years, Madhu successfully crafted and implemented the YFund, a student-run micro-grant system that disburses funds to social justice ventures via a rigorous and competitive process. Madhu’s focus on establishing deliberate mechanisms of accountability within the YFund has transformed the entire Campus Y culture into one that embraces innovative, sustainable project development.  Her passion for justice transcends the Campus Y, as she has served as the Co-Chair of SPH’s Student Global Health Committee. Additionally, Madhu has channeled her commitment to the arts while at Carolina, sharing her beautiful, velvety voice with fans for three years through Cadence, one of UNC’s all-female a capella groups.
  4. Dane Emmerling is a Health Behavior student who was recognized for his leadership of the APPLES Service-Learning program at UNC. Dane has helped to develop and lead what many throughout the United States rank as the country’s top alternative break program. As the Alternative Breaks Coordinator for the past three years and instructor of the corresponding course, titled “Critical Approaches to Service-Learning,” through which he teaches more than 50 students. He is the leader of one of the University’s most engaging and impactful service opportunities for undergraduate students. He guides his students through their work to aid hundreds of community organizations each year, while encouraging meaningful, thoughtful reflection on service leadership.

This is awards season, and I will share other School- and university-wide awards as they are announced. Our students are fabulous, and they do great things while students here. We may be disappointed that the Tar Heel men did not make it to the Sweet 16, but there’s still a lot for which to be thankful in spite of that. Best of luck to our Tar Heel women!

Happy Monday.

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