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Gary Pielak holds an awards certificate as he stands next to Beth Mayer-Davis.
Gary Pielak (left) with Beth Mayer-Davis, dean of The Graduate School.

Two faculty at UNC-Chapel Hill have received The Graduate School’s Faculty Awards for Excellence in Doctoral Mentoring. This year’s recipients have encouraged students to establish their own record of scholarly activity or performance; provided a supportive environment that facilitates the development of best performance and talents from individual graduate students; and achieved a successful record of graduate degree completion among the students they have advised.

Kumi Silva holds an awards certificate as she stands next to Beth Mayer-Davis.
Kumi Silva (right) with Beth Mayer-Davis, dean of The Graduate School.

The 2023 recipients are Gary Pielak, from the department of chemistry, and Kumi Silva, from the department of communication; both are part of the College of Arts and Sciences. Pielak has mentored more than 50 graduate students during his more than 30-year career at UNC-Chapel Hill.

One nomination for this award noted his ability to create a welcoming fun, and intellectually stimulating environment for pursing a Ph.D. Another noted his work as an “outstanding advisor who consistently provided exceptional support.”

Similarly, Silva has mentored dozens of graduate students and is committed to building community so graduate students can succeed. She is currently the acting director of the Asian American Center and came to Carolina in 2011. One nominee wrote: “Dr. Silva has been an immense support as I earn a doctoral degree while also parenting two young kids.” and “Dr. Silva has done everything in her power to support me. … She is the epitome of a caring mentor.”

By Elizabeth Poindexter, The Graduate School

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