Each year, The Graduate School honors graduate students in programs throughout our University for their powerful discoveries that contribute to a better future for people and communities in North Carolina. We're pleased to present 17 Graduate Education Advancement Board Impact Awards for 2016.

Doctoral and master's students, working in close collaboration with their faculty mentors, pursue promising new ideas. They then apply their new knowledge to improving human health, strengthening communities and creating greater understanding of our world's biggest challenges. That innovation is something to celebrate. We hope you enjoy reading about the inspiring discoveries of our 2016 GEAB Impact Award recipients.

View all of the 2016 Impact Award winners and their projects

Creating Better Oral Health Outcomes for Young Children

Jacqueline Burgette, Health Policy and Management

Jacqueline Burgette

“Jackie's study informs state strategies for extending effective oral health services to children attending private early education and childcare programs in addition to the publicly funded Early Head Start program, thus potentially reaching thousands of preschool-aged children in the state.”

Gary Rozier, D.D.S.

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Improving Accessibility and Quality of Sprayfield Data

Elizabeth Christenson, Environmental Sciences and Engineering

Elizabeth Christenson

“The result of Elizabeth's work is the first comprehensive spatial database of swine farms and their sprayfields. This database will be made available to the public, so that any stakeholder can have access to it.”

Marc Serre, Ph.D.

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Anna Cope

“From the moment I met Anna, she expressed an interest in research opportunities to help identify successful strategies to improve the health of people living with HIV in North Carolina.

William Miller, M.D., Ph.D.

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Gregory DeCandia

“It is Greg's intention, using the tools of theater, to bring to the stage the voices of veterans of the armed forces so that their particular stories may be told. Silhouettes of Service promises to be the capstone on an exceptional record of achievement for this outstanding student.”

Ray Dooley, M.F.A.

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Luke Dodd

“Luke's graduate work has already yielded both high-impact scientific contributions and information that is critically important to coastal decision-making.

Michael Piehler, Ph.D.

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Homeownership and Asset Building in the 'Great Recession'

Ahmed Rachid El-Khattabi, Economics

Ahmed Rachid El-Khattabi

“The recent financial crisis has called into question whether homeownership provides the financial security that has long been associated with it. Rachid's research sheds light on this timely question and shows that, even during the crisis years, homeownership provided a financial cushion for low-income households.

Lutz Hendricks, Ph.D.

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Will Hall

“His findings from teachers and administrators across North Carolina demonstrate that implementation as intended is rare and that many teachers are not fully informed on who should be protected by the law and how to protect them.

Mimi Chapman, Ph.D.

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Childhood Exposure to Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

Sarah Hatcher, Environmental Sciences and Engineering

Sarah Hatcher

“Sarah's research is highly significant to the global study of antibiotic-resistant bacteria while contributing to the well-being of communities in rural North Carolina.”

Jill Stewart, Ph.D.

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Using 3-D Printing to Improve Medication Compliance

Ashley Johnson, Biomedical Engineering

Ashley Johnson

“Ashley collaborated with my startup company Carbon3D, providing key insights for biomedical engineering applications and demonstrating the ability of this new approach to 3-D printing to have a resolution 10 times better than traditional technologies.”

Joseph DeSimone, Ph.D.

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Does Ozone Contribute to Diabetes?

Desinia Miller, Toxicology

Desinia Miller

“The incidence of diabetes has been rising in the U.S., and especially in North Carolina. Her research will have paramount impact on identifying the contribution of environment in growing crises of diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease.

Urmila Kodavanti, Ph.D.

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Cellular 'Debris' Discovery May Lead to More Effective Lupus Treatment

Andrew Monteith, Biochemistry and Biophysics

Andrew Monteith

“Genetic manipulations by Andrew showed that events not previously associated with lupus have a profound effect on the disease, making this defect a good target for therapeutics.”

Barbara Vilen, Ph.D.

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Brooke Nezami

“Brooke's work has had a positive and significant impact on the families who participated, and because the intervention she developed uses innovative technology, it has the potential to impact significantly more mothers, children and families upon dissemination.”

Deborah Tate, Ph.D.

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Testing Muscle Vibration's Ability to Improve Knee Function

Derek Pamukoff, Human Movement Science

Derek Pamukoff

“In addition to reducing the cost of rehabilitation, the portable nature of this new technology could have substantial implications for individuals with osteoarthritis in rural areas who have limited access to health care facilities.”

Troy Blackburn, Ph.D.

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Justin Ridge

“Justin presents centimeter-scale digital elevation models that show exactly where different parts of the reef grow or erode through time across areas with different tidal regimes. No other research group is collecting these types of data.

Antonio B. Rodriguez, Ph.D.

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Pasquale Rummo

“Pasquale is drawing attention to critical barriers faced by low-income individuals, minority subpopulations, particularly Latinos, and older adults. His work will ultimately help find policy targets that could be used in policy-level efforts to reduce health disparities by income, race and ethnicity, and age.

Penny Gordon-Larsen, Ph.D.

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Invasive Shrubs and Their Influence on N.C. Forests

Dennis Tarasi, Environment and Ecology

Dennis Tarasi

“Dennis is providing comprehensive and compelling evidence as to the impacts of exotic plant species and the pattern of these impacts across the Carolina landscape. This is work that advances our conceptual framework regarding the impacts of invasive species and, in addition, helps inform managers as to where and how to focus their efforts to control invasive exotics.

Robert Peet, Ph.D.

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Christine Tucker

“North Carolina is confronted with high rates of preterm birth (12 percent), higher than the national average. In a time of increasing mandates for efficiency and effectiveness of state dollars, Christine's work will help to address North Carolina's high rate of preterm birth by ensuring that patients with highest risk are prioritized for pregnancy care management.

Carolyn Halpern, Ph.D.

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