Dental Foundation

Alumna Featured in UNC ‘Power of One Person’ Effort

At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, one is a powerful number. The work of one professor, student or alumnus can reach thousands of North Carolinians.

Illustrating how powerful the work of one person at Carolina can be is the concept behind a new marketing effort that includes a Web site,, and public service announcements. The communications highlight Carolina people who are helping North Carolinians and, at the same time, helping to lead the state into the future.

Dr. Sharon Nicholson Harrell, a School of Dentistry alumna, is among the University people initially featured on Harrell is a dentist who works to meet the dental needs of low-income children in Moore, Hoke and Montgomery counties as dental director of the non-profit hospital network FirstHealth of the Carolinas.

“The University has so many compelling stories of people who make a real difference in the lives of others throughout North Carolina,” said Nancy Davis, associate vice chancellor for university relations. “We want the people of North Carolina to know about the great work of our faculty, students, staff and alumni.” features a cross-section of stories showcasing the work Carolina people do every day and its ripple effect around the state. The first person featured in the public service announcement part of the marketing effort is Dr. Howard McLeod, a professor and researcher in the Eshelman School of Pharmacy. McLeod directs the UNC Institute for Pharmacogenomics – the study of how people’s genes affect the way they respond to drug therapies.

His public service spot is one of two now posted at the Web site. These spots have begun airing during TV broadcasts of Tar Heel football and basketball games, as well as on the video boards in Kenan Stadium and the Dean E. Smith Center. In conjunction, print messages are being featured in football and basketball programs, on University Web sites and in other affiliated publications. All of these placements are free to the University.

“Given the University’s current budget situation, we know how important it is to stretch every dollar, so obtaining such high-profile coverage at no cost has been key throughout our planning,” Davis said. “But we also know it’s just as important now to communicate about the University as it is during good times. In fact, it might be even more important now.”

In addition to McLeod and Harrell, other University people initially featured on are:

  • Pharen Bowman, a 2008 Carolina graduate and Carolina Covenant Scholar who works with high school students in Charlotte as an adviser with the Carolina College Advising Corps, which helps low-income, first-generation and under-represented students apply for and attend college. (A TV spot featuring Bowen also is posted on the Web site.);
  • Dr. Jim Johnson, a professor at the Kenan-Flagler Business School who works to take kids “from the streets to the suites” through visionary educational programs such as the Union Independent School, which opened last August in Durham;
  • Dr. Hans Paerl, professor at the UNC Institute of Marine Sciences in Morehead City who developed a unique water-quality monitoring system that uses ferries to collect data from the Pamlico Sound, the second-largest estuary on the East Coast; and
  • Students in the Kenan-Flagler Business School who helped develop economic strategies for Spruce Pine in Mitchell County through the STAR (Student Teams Achieving Results) program, which matches top students with businesses in need.

The University is seeking help to identify other UNC alumni, faculty, staff and students who exemplify Carolina’s reach across the state.

“The University has a unique leadership position in North Carolina,” Davis said. “With expertise in health care, energy and the environment, K-12 education, economic development and social issues, Carolina people address so many pressing issues. We want to describe their stories.”

  • Contributed by UNC News Services