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The UNC Public Service Award Recognizes UNC faculty, staff, students and organizations for outstanding contributions to the campus and broader communities.  

Intergenerational discussions about ethics, prevention of human trafficking and UNC Campus EMS services were just some of the efforts recognized at UNC-Chapel Hill’s 24th annual University Public Service Awards on April 11, 2023.

Hosted by the Carolina Center for Public Service, the event was held at the Carolina Club and included Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz and Provost Chris Clemens presenting the Ned Brooks Award for Public Service, the Office of the Provost Engaged Scholarship Awards and the Robert E. Bryan Public Service Awards.

Robert E. Bryan Public Service Award

Recognizing students, staff and faculty for exemplary public service efforts.

The Robert E. Bryan Public Service Awards celebrate a specific effort (rather than an overall record) exemplifying outstanding engagement and service to the state of North Carolina. The five Bryan awards recognize an outstanding undergraduate student, graduate student, faculty member, staff member and officially recognized student organization.

Ricky Pimentel, Doctoral Candidate in the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering at UNC-Chapel Hill and NC State University, was recognized with the graduate student Bryan Award for outstanding community engagement and contributions through his work at the ReCyclery, and his leadership in cofounding Latinx in Biomechanix.

ReCyclery aims to increase the use of bicycles for transportation and recreation. Pimentel instructs community members, especially those with limited budgets, on the repair and refurbishment of bicycles, and he has raised more than $20,000 since the height of the pandemic for ReCyclery to continue its mission.

Latinx in Biomechanix (LiB) increases the representation of Latinx individuals in the collective fields of biomechanics and movement science. Pimentel has organized numerous virtual and in-person social and networking events with international reach, written a successful grant to build capacity for LiB, organized a leadership retreat and established federal non-profit status for the organization.

Jason Franz, associate professor for the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering, said in his nomination, “Through both of these activities, Ricky has successfully established strong partnerships with community members, inspired others in their mission to serve, responded to urgent and significant needs and worked to ensure the sustainability of his significant service activities to our local, regional and global communities.”

CCPS is a pan-University unit that engages and supports the faculty, students and staff of UNC-Chapel Hill in meeting the needs of North Carolina and beyond. For the past 21 years, the Center has strengthened the University’s public service commitment by promoting scholarship and service that are responsive to the concerns of the state and contribute to the common good.

This article was originally published on April 11, 2023, by the Carolina Center for Public Service and can be found here. The article has been edited for relevancy to the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering.

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