Faculty Scholars Program

The Carolina Women’s Center (CWC) offers UNC-Chapel Hill faculty an opportunity to serve as Faculty Scholar at the CWC for one academic year. The CWC Faculty Scholar works on a research project for publication, presentation, exhibition, composition or performance that is related to the mission and and/or activities of the Carolina Women’s Center. Projects that have the potential to engage other campus units and/or students are especially favorably considered.

Scholars receive funding of up to $10,000 to support their project, and they have the opportunity to participate in CWC events and to meet with CWC staff, former CWC Faculty Scholars and invited scholars from other centers/departments. They also make a public presentation about their project during the award semester and write a column about their work for the CWC newsletter.

Find more information about the grant and application HERE.

Current Faculty Scholars (2020-2021)

Abbie E. Smith-Ryan, Ph.D., CSCS*D, FNSCA, FACSM, FISSN is an associate professor in the Department of Exercise and Sport Science, where she serves as the Director of the Applied Physiology Lab. She is also an adjunct associate professor in the Department of Nutrition and Allied Health Sciences. Her research interests center around exercise and nutrition interventions to modify various aspects of body composition, cardiovascular health, and metabolic function.  She is an active researcher in the field of metabolism, sport nutrition and exercise performance, in both healthy and clinical populations, leading projects funded by the National Institutes of Health and international and national industry sponsored clinical trials.  Dr. Smith-Ryan contributes to the current body of scientific literature with over 130 peer-reviewed manuscripts; a number of scholastic books and book chapters; and international/national presentations. Dr. Smith-Ryan currently serves as a University liaison for the ‘Working on Women in Science (WOWS)’ initiative, Faculty Athletics Committee, and the Institutional Review Board. She has a passion for improving the health and quality of life of others through evidenced-based research. In her research project funded by CWC, her goals are to “comprehensively evaluate body composition, metabolic parameters, and exercise capacity in women at all stages of the menopause transition” and “identify relationships between body composition, lifestyle factors, physical activity, and metabolism through the progression of menopause.”


Julia Gibson is the head of the Professional Actor Training Program at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill where she is an associate professor in the Department of Dramatic Art and a resident acting company member of PlayMakers Repertory Company.  She has performed as an actor on and off Broadway and at major theatres across the U.S. as well as on TV and film.  She has directed at the Rattlestick, Chautauqua Theatre Company, Portland Stage, Gulfshore, and other theatres, as well as Juilliard, NYU, SMU and Stella Adler.  She received her MFA from New York University, is a founding member of The Actors Center in New York City, and the National Alliance for Acting Teachers, and is a Fox Fellowship recipient.  Julia has narrated over 160 audio books.  She has written two full-length plays, one of which was a semi finalist for the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, and is currently working on her third, which she started with the assistance of a Junior Faculty Development Award.  She just completed a year with the Center for Faculty Excellence’s Leadership Fundamentals Program. In her CWC-funded research project, she aims to “fully shine the spotlight on mature women, provide roles for older actresses, tell their stories and give them visibility” in the world of theater.


Sarah E. (Betsy) Bledsoe is associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social Work and an associate at the Family Informed Trauma Treatment Center in Baltimore, MD. Her training includes a doctorate in social work from Columbia University, a master of social work from the University of Pittsburgh, and a bachelor of arts in psychology from the University of Tennessee. Her research has long focused on the emotional health and wellbeing of women with a special focus on mothers. She has spent over 20 years working to understand the best practices for supporting the mental health and wellbeing of mothers and their children. This work has led her to projects focused on adapting evidence-based interventions for low-income, racial/ethnic minorities and other disenfranchised groups of mothers, to studies aimed at better understanding the impact of traumatic and violent experiences on subsequent mental health and wellbeing, and most recently to community based research with mothers, colleagues, and community partners here in NC aimed at understanding the strengths, challenges, and gaps in services around maternal health and wellbeing. Her CWC-funded research will “address gaps in services and support for rural mothers with a focus on improving maternal mental health and addressing associated disparities in maternal and child health to increase health equity.”




Previous Faculty Scholars

Please (when possible) click on the award year to see a description of that year’s projects.

2019-2020: Drs. Sarah Birken (School of Global Public Health), Mara Buchbinder (Social Medicine), and Dr. Whitney Robinson (School of Global Public Health), Dr. Marc Callahan (Music), Dr. Kate Weisshaar (Sociology)                                                                      2018-2019: Dr. Rebecca Kreitzer (Public Policy), Drs. Melissa Munn-Chernoff and Jessica Baker (Psychiatry), Dr. Sarah Treul Roberts (Political Science)
2017-2018: Dr. Melissa Geil (Kenan-Flagler Business School), Dr. Barbara Friedman (School of Media and Journalism), Dr. Liana Richardson (Sociology)
2016-2017: Dr. Elizabeth Dickinson (Kenan-Flagler Business School), Dr. Michelle T. King (History), Dr. Kavita Singh Ongechi (Gillings School of Public Health), Dr. Michelle Rivkin-Fish (Anthropology)
2015-2016: Dr. Jocelyn Chua (Anthropology), Dr. Tanya Shields (Women’s and Gender Studies), Dr. Kumarini Silva (Communications)
2014-2015: Dr. Joanne Hershfield (Department of Women’s and Gender Studies), Susan Harbage Page (Department of Women’s and Gender Studies), Dr. Mary H. Palmer (School of Nursing)
2013-2014: Dr. Karen Booth (Department of Women’s and Gender Studies), Dr. Jan Bardsley (Department of Asian Studies), Dr. Lauren Leve (Department of Religious Studies)
Spring 2013: Dr. Nadia Yaqub (Department of Asian Studies)
Fall 2012: Dr. Emily Burrill (Department of Women’s and Gender Studies)
Spring 2012: Dr. Minrose Gwin (Department of English and Comparative Literature)
Fall 2011: Dr. Miriam Labbok (School of Public Health)
Spring 2011: Dr. Sahar Amer (Department of Asian Studies)
Fall 2010: Dr. Mimi Chapman (School of Social Work)
Spring 2010: Dr. Rebecca Macy (School of Social Work)
Fall 2009: Dr. Pika Ghosh (Department of Art)
Spring 2009: Dr. Jeanne Moskal (Department of English and Comparative Literature)
Fall 2008: Dr. Kia Caldwell (Department of African and Afro-American Studies)
Spring 2008: Dr. Ming Lin (Department of Computer Science)
Fall 2007: Professor Francesca Talenti (Department of Communication Studies)
Spring 2007: Dr. Kimberly Brownley (Department of Psychiatry) and Dr. Maxine Eichner (School of Law)
Spring 2006: Professor Diane Kjervik, Senior CWC Faculty Scholar (School of Nursing)