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The Governor’s Awards for Excellence, established in 1982, is the absolute highest honor a state employee is eligible to receive.  To be nominated for the award is a tremendous achievement. In 2021, Carolina had four employees nominated.  We thank you for your effort and dedication to the Carolina community and state of North Carolina.

Governor’s Awards for Excellence Categories and Nominees

Efficiency and Innovation

Employees nominated in this category improved the efficiency of state government services by establishing new and/or improved methods, practices, plans or designs resulting in innovation, savings and/or efficiencies.

Katie Bowler Young, Global Relations

Nominated for developing the University’s first-ever Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) courses, with over 450 students enrolled so far.

Steven T. King, Hussman School of Journalism and Media

Nominated for his leadership and central role in successfully mitigating the risks of COVID-19 exposure at UNC using emerging technologies to create the HallPass system and Health Greeter Kiosks.


Outstanding Government Service

Employees nominated in this category exhibited unselfish devotion to duty far and above the normal requirements and contributed significantly to the advancement of state service to the citizens of North Carolina.

Laura Respess, Friday Center for Continuing Education

Nominated for her devotion to the Correctional Education Outreach Program, which offers hundreds of North Carolina inmates the opportunity to take classes from UNC-Chapel Hill to prepare them for a better future when they are released from prison.  During the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic, Laura continued to put students first by continuing to work on-site, putting course packages together and proactively picking up and providing program materials to students so that their education wasn’t interrupted.


Public Service

Employees nominated in this category made outstanding contributions by participating in or implementing community and public service projects (such as volunteering with various non-profit organizations).

Melissa Miller, School of Medicine, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Nominated for her tireless efforts at the national and state level to develop a rapid and accurate COVID Testing program, performing over 300,000 COVID test while facing many challenges such as staffing and supply shortages, and serving as consultant to the White House and US Customs & Borders Protection.


Thank you for nominating your fellow Tar Heels and supporting this wonderful program. Award winners will be announced in the fall.

Learn more about the Governor’s Awards for Excellence.

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