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Six UNC employees recognized for their service and contribution to the University

Six UNC employees were selected for the 2018 C. Knox Massey Distinguished Service Awards. The recipients were selected by Chancellor Carol Folt from campus-wide nominations. Each faculty or staff member was chosen to be recognized for their remarkable achievements, ranging from years of dedicated hard work day in and day out, to innovative contributions to the University and beyond. 

Courtesy: UNC-Chapel Hill

Martina Ballen stays busy with her various positions as UNC's senior associate athletic director of Athletics for Business and chief financial officer where she oversees the finances for Carolina Athletics. She also supervises human resources for the department, is the sport administrator for the UNC gymnastics team and is a secondary administrator for women's basketball. She also serves as the chairperson for the athletic department's diversity committee. Ballen also started Tar Heel Trailblazers, an organization on campus that recognizes African-American student athletes who came to the University and carved a path for future athletes. 

“I'm still in the clouds,” Ballen said in response to receiving the award. “It is such a significant honor that I am just humbled and just truly appreciative to be recognized in this way.” 

Courtesy: UNC-Chapel Hill

Daryl Odom loves hot rods, re-sanding old furniture and watching basketball. So when he received the Massey Distinguished Service Award, he said he felt honored. 

“That was big to me,” Odom said. “I put my plaque up already.” 

Odom works for housekeeping and has been at UNC for 30 years. He has watched the University change over the years, but said he still enjoys the people he works with and sees every day in the Kenan Center. He said working in the Kenan Center is never dull, noting the number of events and his service as a team member. 

Courtesy: UNC-Chapel Hill

Gregory Gangi works as both the associate director at the UNC Institute for the Environment and as a teaching associate professor in the Curriculum for Environment and Ecology. Gangi aims to connect students with internships and jobs. He said he enjoys the opportunity he has to work with students and help develop their career paths. He said he feels he is having an impact on students' lives. 

“(I feel) very grateful," he said. "It was a wonderful surprise.”

Moving forward, Gangi said he hopes to continue to build collaborations between UNC, industry and government around the issues of clean tech in the Research Triangle Park area and the wider state. 

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Courtesy: UNC-Chapel Hill

Ronald Mangum, clinical assistant professor in the School of Social Work, works as the coordinator for the North Carolina Certified Peer Support Specialist Program, where he helps individuals get certified to aid others with mental illness or substance abuse disorder. Mangum is officially retiring this June. 

He described receiving the Massey Service Award as the "crown jewel" of the end of his career.

“I'm truly honored to receive the award; it came as a total shock,” Mangum said. “I was totally surprised. As a matter of fact, I almost deleted the email because I thought it might be one of those phishing scams through campus email.” 

Post-retirement, Mangum plans to continue volunteering with men and women coming out of prison as they reintegrate into society.

Courtesy: UNC-Chapel Hill

Barbara Polk has been working with the University for over 30 years. She is the deputy director and senior associate director in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. She said her love for her career at UNC comes from the opportunity to help families navigate the transition into college. She said she hopes to ease families’ anxiety in the college search, especially considering today’s frenzy for admission. 

“I hope I'll continue to be an advocate for students as they make the transition from high school to college, and continue to make the University find ways to bring bright, excited students to campus — students who will add and enhance the experience that all of our students have,” Polk said. 

Courtesy: UNC-Chapel Hill

Nan Kham has spent 11 years working for UNC as a housekeeper in Taylor Hall. She works to keep the University clean in order to create positive spaces for students to learn and live. But beyond her day-to-day work and activities, Kham helps the facilities services with recycling during student move-in day. She aids in staff activities and volunteers in the Carolina Campus Community Garden. Her effort doesn’t go unnoticed, as dozens of her colleagues attest to her hard work and kindness. 

 “I feel so happy," Kham said after receiving the award.