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The Carolina Women’s Leadership Council honored three University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill professors Feb. 24 for mentoring: Michele Tracy Berger, Mark Fraser and Gregory Forest. The Faculty Mentoring Awards, established in 2006, recognize faculty who mentor undergraduate students, graduate students and junior faculty. Award recipients receive a $5,000 stipend funded by the council. The council has collectively given more than $500,000 to endow the Faculty Mentoring Awards.

Faculty Mentoring Award winners Michele Tracy Berger, M. Gregory Forest and Mark Fraser
Faculty Mentoring Award winners Michele Tracy Berger, M. Gregory Forest and Mark Fraser

Michele Tracy Berger received the Faculty Mentor Award in the Faculty to Undergraduate category. Berger is associate professor in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies. She holds an adjunct appointment in the Department of City and Regional Planning.  She received a B.A. in political studies from Bard College, a certificate from the Women’s Studies Program at the University of Michigan and her doctorate in political science from the University of Michigan. She came to UNC in 2004 after accepting the role of Faculty Fellow at the Center for Urban and Regional Studies.

During her 14 years at Carolina, Berger has mentored many undergraduate students. She has taught a variety of courses ranging from large-enrollment undergraduate classes to upper-level seminar style courses to graduate courses. Additionally, she regularly supervises interns in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies.

One nominator praised Berger as “the epitome of professionalism; always prepared for her classes, going the extra mile, performing her role for all her students to see what can be done, so they can follow in her footsteps and at the same time take minority women seriously.” Another noted, “As one of the few faculty of color, Dr. Berger is aware of her responsibility towards minority students as a role model. However, she is also conscious of the burden of being a model of what African American women can accomplish in academia, or by extension in any profession, if they are taken seriously…”

Mark Fraser received the Faculty to Graduate Mentoring award. Fraser is the John A. Tate Distinguished Professor for Children-in-Need at the School of Social Work, a position he has held since joining the University in 1993. He received a B.A. in history from DePauw University, his Master of Social Work from the University of Denver and his doctorate from the School of Social Work at the University of Washington.

According to one nominator, Fraser’s mentoring of students begins “soon after their enrollment, treating them as colleagues and friends from the first encounter” and “his own enthusiasm and creativity inspire his students to greater efforts.” Another nominator wrote, “Dr. Fraser is a great scholar, a wonderful teacher, and more important, a very kind person. …Dr. Fraser is my role model and will continue to be my role model.”

Gregory Forest received the Faculty to Junior Faculty Mentoring award. Forest is Grant Dahlstrom Distinguished Professor in the Department of Mathematics, holds joint appointments in the departments of biomedical engineering and applied physical science, and is director of the Carolina Center for Interdisciplinary Applied Mathematics. Forest received a B.S. in mathematics from the University of New Orleans, a M.S. in mathematics from the University of New Orleans and his doctorate in mathematics from the University of Arizona. He came to UNC in 1996 from Ohio State University.

One nominator described Forest‘s commitment to collaboration and diversity as follows: “In his 20 years at Carolina, Greg has been the founding developer, senior figure, and intellectual leader of the Applied Mathematics group within the Department of Mathematics, building it up from nothing to a group currently numbering 10 other core faculty … the department is highly regarded for its collaborative interactions across campus and international research profile.” Forest has, “…worked tirelessly to promote the excellent interdisciplinary research of these faculty, bringing in experts from other departments and schools across campus.”

According to another nominator, Forest is “a powerful force in increasing the number of female faculty in our department through both regular hires and the provost’s diversity faculty hiring program.” Forest is “one of the strongest advocates in the department for using the diversity hiring mechanism and for recruiting women faculty.” Another female faculty member noted that, “Professor Forest is constantly pushing for change when he sees a need” and is “a great role model for young faculty members.”

UNC Development contact: Holly Graham, (919) 962-6620,

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