Graduate School News

Dickinson, Liu Receive Boka Hadzija Awards for Commitment to Leadership, Scholarship, Service

April 24, 2014

Xin Liu, Leslie Lerea, and Alexandra Jazz Dickinson

Xin Liu, Leslie Lerea, and Alexandra Jazz Dickinson

Alexandra Jazz Dickinson, a doctoral student in chemistry, and Xin Liu, a doctoral student in Romance languages and literatures, have received the 2014 Boka W. Hadzija Award for Distinguished University Service by a Graduate or Professional Student.

The Boka W. Hadzija Award recognizes a graduate or professional student with outstanding character, scholarship, leadership and service to the university. Chancellor Carol L. Folt recognized the 2014 recipients, and other outstanding Chancellor's Award recipients, at an April 22 ceremony. The Graduate School recognized Dickinson and Liu at the 16th Annual Graduate Student Recognition Celebration, held April 24.

A nomination letter for Dickinson said the following: "In addition to her many academic achievements as a graduate student, Jazz has also been a campus leader who has dedicated her time to scientific outreach, providing leadership opportunities for graduate students, and improving the discourse about gender issues in science at UNC. Jazz formulated and cofounded Women in Science and Engineering at UNC-CH (WISE), an organization dedicated to promoting education about gender inequality in science."

A major goal of WISE is to bring women scientists together to serve as mentors to undergraduate and graduate students, the nomination letter said.

Other important WISE efforts have included outreach activities at the UNC Science Expo, the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, the Orange County Public Library system and local secondary school science programs. "All efforts are aimed at educating children and the public about the strong contributions of women scientists and the importance of a diverse scientific workforce," said Leslie Lerea, associate dean for student affairs at The Graduate School, in presenting the award to Dickinson.

Nomination letters for Liu described him as an extraordinary advocate for the needs of international students at UNC-Chapel Hill. "Upon arriving at Carolina from the People's Republic of China, Xin immediately deployed his many talents and placed them at the service of the UNC community," Lerea said in presenting the award to Liu. He came to Carolina as a member of the Royster Society of Fellows, The Graduate School's select interdisciplinary fellowship program.

Nomination letters mentioned that in less than four years at Carolina, Liu has served as graduate student representative on the International Affairs Advisory Council, the UNC Visiting Students Program Committee and The Graduate School Professional Development Advisory Council. He has just completed a term as vice president for external affairs for the Graduate and Professional Student Federation. In the words of one of his nominators, "Xin Liu is a standout as a global student who excels as a Tar Heel by choice."

Boka W. Hadzija was an award-winning professor in the Eshelman School of Pharmacy; she established the award in 2000 in honor of her students. Hadzija, who died in 2013, is remembered by students and faculty for her strong mentorship, her generous support of students and her outstanding leadership.