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People Briefs

For immediate use:

Nov. 20, 2007

Archeological Institute honors UNC’s Magness

Jodi Magness, a religious studies professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has won the Archaeological Institute of America’s Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award.

The institute presents the award annually to an individual who has demonstrated excellence in the teaching of archaeology and has developed innovative teaching methods or interdisciplinary curricula.

Magness, Ph.D., is the Kenan Distinguished Professor for Teaching Excellence in Early Judaism in the College of Arts and Sciences. She is a leading expert on the archaeology of ancient Palestine, including the site where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. She has led UNC students every summer since 2003 in excavations of a Roman fort dating to ca. 300 A.D. at Yotvata, Israel. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in early Jewish history, literature, religion and archaeology.
Magness’ book, “The Archaeology of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls,” was selected as an Outstanding Academic Book for 2003 by Choice magazine and won the 2003 Biblical Archaeology Society’s Award for Best Popular Book in Archaeology. She was also awarded the 2006 Irene Levi-Sala Book Prize in nonfiction for her book, “The Archaeology of the Early Islamic Settlement in Palestine.”

Magness will receive the award at the institute’s meeting in Chicago on Jan. 4.

Photo: For a photo of Magness, visit:

College of Arts and Sciences contact: Kim Spurr, (919) 962-4093,


Anthropology professor named a Fulbright Scholar

Arturo Escobar, a Kenan Distinguished Professor of anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant to research and lecture at the National University of San Martin in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Escobar’s work will focus on alternative development in Latin America and assessing recent transformations in development there.

The Fulbright Program, America’s flagship international educational exchange activity, is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields.

Escobar joined the UNC faculty in 2003, after teaching anthropology at Amherst and Smith colleges and serving as a visiting professor at universities in Spain, Colombia and Finland, among other places. He has received awards from the Rockefeller Foundation and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

He is on research leave for the 2007-08 academic year. His Fulbright is effective February through May 2008.

UNC has been selected to host three Fulbright Visiting Scholars for the 2007-08 academic year. Maria Carmen Marcos Mora, a journalism professor at Pompeu Frabra University in Barcelona, Spain, is researching information systems design through December 2007. Amal Wagih Hamdy Mostafa, a lecturer in library information at Cairo University, is researching automatic metadata generation through May 2008. Adelheid I. Soubry, an independent scholar from Bellem, Belgium, is researching cancer-related cell dynamics through September 2008.

College of Arts and Sciences contact: Dee Reid, (919) 843-6339,
News Services contact: Clinton Colmenares, (919) 843-1991,


Lineberger Cancer Center announces 2007 nursing and service awards
UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center recognized the hard work and dedication of four staff members with the 2007 Oncology Nursing Excellence Awards and the Clinical Services Excellence Awards.

Angela Spruill and Rachel Phipps each received a 2007 Oncology Nursing Excellence Award. Kelly Kivette and Jennifer Rittelmeyer each were recognized with a Clinical Services Excellence Award.

Spruill has worked in the bone marrow transplant unit for more than five years. She serves on several nursing committees. Her nominators said she constantly looks out for the best interest of the patients and is an advocate for them. One nominator said she calls Spruill her “Super Nurse.” She currently is pursuing a master’s degree in nursing at UNC.

Phipps is the oncology research nurse clinician in the clinical protocol office working with women’s cancers. Her nominator said Rachel “made an immediate and positive impact to the productivity and performance of the group” and has raised public awareness of breast cancer in the community. She has 21 years of experience in acute medicine, 10 years in the medical/surgical intensive care unit and six years in a general surgery office.

Kivette, a recreational therapist in the bone marrow transplant unit, has worked at Lineberger for seven years. One of her nominators said, “Kelly’s role in motivating our patients to get out of bed and do something is an integral part of their recovery.” She writes for the unit’s newsletter, mentors new recreational therapists and coordinates the Relay for Life event in Pittsboro. 

Rittelmeyer has been as an administrative assistant in clinical cancer genetics for six years. Her nominator said “Jennifer is the prototype of what UNC should seek in its team members,” and that she alleviates patients’ fears and provides a sense of caring. She is responsible for administering the cancer genetics clinic.

Award winners receive a $1,500 stipend for professional education activities. The Oncology Nursing Excellence Award, in its sixth year, is presented in memory of Charmayne S. Gray, an outstanding oncology nurse practitioner who died in an auto accident in 2002. The Clinical Services Excellence Awards have been awarded for the past four years.

Lineberger contact: Dianne Shaw, (919) 966-5905,


Carolina Women’s Center announces faculty scholars
The Carolina Women’s Center recently announced its faculty scholars for the spring 2008, fall 2008 and spring 2009 semesters. Dr. Ming Lin from the department of computer science (spring 2008), Dr. Kia Caldwell from the department of African and African-American studies (fall 2008) and Dr. Jeanne Moskal from the department of English and comparative literature (spring 2009) were awarded funding under the CWC Faculty Scholars program. Each scholar will make a presentation about her research during the semester in which she receives funding.

Lin will work on a project that responds to the disproportionately small presence of women in computing.  She will design a new course to integrate cutting-edge research into the undergraduate classroom and include women undergraduates in research opportunities.  She will also be working to engage in outreach to area middle schools as an early recruitment strategy, and to enhance mentoring and advising efforts in her department.

Caldwell will examine governmental and public health initiatives addressing HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment for African-descendant women in Brazil and the United States. The project offers a comparative examination of these initiatives, as well as the efforts of health activists in each country to address the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

A literary history of women missionaries is the project of Moskal, who will analyze the writings of 40 Protestant women missionaries from 1792 to the present using the conceptual framework of transatlantic and diasporic theories.  Her analysis includes an exploration of the power relationships between these missionaries and the objects of their missionary zeal.

 “Our faculty scholar position encourages the creation of robust relationships between academic departments and the Carolina Women’s Center, which enhances the center’s contribution to the intellectual life of the campus,” said Donna M. Bickford, the center’s director.  “The applicant pool was extremely strong, and we are very pleased to be able to support these three projects.” 

The Faculty Scholars program is funded through the Office of the Provost and provides course replacement money for one course during the award semester.

Carolina Women’s Center contact: Donna M. Bickford, (919) 962-8305 or
News Services contact: Susan Houston, (919) 962-8415 or