De Marco receives Provost Engaged Scholarship Award for research

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Tony Locklear, Molly De Marco, Daniella Uslan, and Alexandra Lightfoot celebrate De Marco's award for engaged research

Tony Locklear, Daniella Uslan, Molly De Marco and Alexandra Lightfoot celebrate De Marco’s award for engaged research

Molly De Marco, PhD, Research Fellow and project director in the UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (HPDP) and research assistant professor of nutrition at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, has received the 2016 Office of the Provost Engaged Scholarship Award for engaged research.

The award is one of several public service awards presented on March 30th by the Carolina Center for Public Service in a ceremony at the Carolina Club.

De Marco directs the U.S. Department of Agriculture-funded “SNAP-Ed UNC: Healthy Food for All in North Carolina” project, which provides nutrition education to people eligible for SNAP benefits (formerly known as food stamps) in  Duplin, Orange, Lenoir, Sampson, Rockingham and Warren counties. She leads interventions that include the implementation of 18 community gardens and collaborates with three farmers markets to remove barriers to customers’ using SNAP benefits. She also works with the farmers market to increase the number of sites serving summer meals to children and families.

“Molly’s work is the ultimate example of engaged research,” said Alice Ammerman, DrPH, professor of nutrition and HPDP director. “She has a multitude of community partners who seek her collaboration, and she never fails to include input from these partners in her efforts. She is a master at balancing rigorous research principles with meaningful community engagement.”

De Marco, who came to UNC eight years ago for a post-doctoral appointment in community-based participatory research, said she was humbled by the award. “I stand on the shoulders of so many amazing mentors, including Alice Ammerman, Alexandra Lightfoot, Eugenia Eng, Rev. William Kearney, Melvin Jackson, Naeema Muhammad, David Caldwell and Tony Locklear.”

Locklear, a HPDP community partner and current Access to Recovery Services Coordinator and Lumbee Tribal Liaison for the American Indian Center and North Carolina Tribal Nations, received the Partnership Award in the ceremony.

Chancellor Carol L. Folt, who presented the awards, said she was proud to recognize the awardees’ innovativeness, scholarship and dedication.

“The University’s three-part mission to research, educate and serve our local communities, state, nation and world is truly enhanced by our unwavering commitment to public service,” Folt said. “The recipients of this year’s Public Service Awards prove that public service and engaged scholarship enhance the research conducted, lessons taught and knowledge used to serve the public good at this University.”

Other winners include Rhonda Lanning, clinical assistant professor in the School of Nursing, and the American Indian Center and N.C. Tribal Nations (Office of the Provost Engaged Scholarship Awards); Beverly Foster, clinical associate professor and director of undergraduate education in the School of Nursing (Ned Brooks Award for Public Service); undergraduate student Gayatri Rathod, graduate students Catherine Schricker and Korry Tauber, staff member Christopher Wallace, clinical assistant professor of social work Josh Hinson, MSW, and campus organization Student Health Action Coalition (Robert E. Bryan Public Service Awards).

Read more about the awardees on the Carolina Center for Public Service website.

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