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Director

Laura Kuizin

Laura KuizinLaura Kuizin serves as the Director of the Master of Professional Studies (MAPS) program in The Graduate School. In this position, Laura is responsible for developing, directing, and managing all programmatic functions associated with the Master of Applied Professional Studies (MAPS) interdisciplinary studies degree program. Laura also teaches the Introduction to MAPS course and the Capstone course for the MAPS program.

In her role, Laura is available to meet with prospective students to answer questions and will work closely with MAPS students from admissions through graduation, including curriculum planning, registration, student support, and applying to graduate.

Prior to coming to The Graduate School, Laura served as an Assistant Dean for the Academic Advising Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and served as Director for the SMART Center and the McNair Achievement Program at Arkansas State University. Laura earned her BA in Psychology at the California State University, Sacramento, her MA in Counseling Psychology from the University of San Francisco, her Ed.S. from Arkansas State University, and her Ed.D. from Arkansas State University.

Advisory Board

Sarah Jacobson (ex officio)

Sarah JacobsonSarah Jacobson manages the office of admissions and enrolled students services, and serves as ETD Site Administrator, providing statistical information and responses to inquiries regarding admission, enrolled student services and graduation.

Amy Locklear Hertel (ex officio)

Amy Locklear HertelAmy Locklear Hertel is a citizen of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina and a descendent with close ties to the Coharie Indian Tribe. She is currently the Executive Vice Provost at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Clinical Assistant Professor at the UNC School of Social Work.

Hertel’s research and practice centers indigenous knowledge and values as an asset to inform social and political action, leadership and community development, as well as inclusion and engagement across cultures. Her work is informed by the worldview of the indigenous communities she is from as well as those she has partnered with over the years in North Carolina and beyond.

Formerly serving as Chief of Staff to two chancellors at UNC Chapel Hill, Hertel was appointed as a co-captain to the first strategic initiative in the university’s strategic plan, Carolina Next: Innovations for Public Good. That strategic initiative, called Build Our Community Together, reflects her experience in bringing people together in community around a common self-determined goal.

Before joining the Chancellor’s Office, Dr. Hertel served as the second director of the UNC American Indian Center where she collaborated with faculty across a variety of disciplines to participate in meaningful and reciprocal community engagement as well as research with native nations. Dr. Hertel attended UNC Chapel Hill where she earned a BA in Communication Studies and Washington University in St. Louis where she earned her MSW, JD and PhD in Social Work.

Christian Lundblad

Christian LundbladChristian Lundblad is the Richard Levin Distinguished Professor of Finance and the Senior Associate Dean for Faculty and Research at the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School.  He earlier served as the Chair of the Finance Area and the Associate Dean of the Ph.D. Program.  He is also a Senior Fellow at the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise.  Finally, he holds a courtesy appointment as a Special-Term Professor at the People’s Bank of China School of Finance, Tsinghua University in Beijing, China.

His research spans asset pricing, investment management, and international finance, with a specialization in emerging market development. His research has been published in top academic journals such as the Journal of Finance, the Review of Financial Studies, and the Journal of Financial Economics.  He served as an Associate Editor for the Journal of Finance, and now serves at the Journal of Banking and Finance and Financial Management.

He also served as a financial economist at the Federal Reserve Board in Washington, D.C., where he advised the Board of Governors on international financial market developments. He is the recipient of Weatherspoon Award for Excellence in Research and the MBA for Executives and OneMBA Teaching Excellence awards.

He received a PhD in financial economics and a master’s degree in economics from Duke University. He earned his BA in economics and English literature with highest honors from Washington University in St. Louis.

Elizabeth Mayer-Davis (ex officio)

Elizabeth Mayer-DavisElizabeth “Beth” Mayer-Davis, Ph.D., RD, is the dean of The Graduate School and the Cary C. Boshamer Distinguished Professor of Nutrition and Medicine. She has focused her career on diabetes, including the epidemiology and natural history of type 1 and type 2 diabetes in children and adults. Throughout her career, Dean Beth Mayer-Davis has mentored numerous graduate students. She is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion and ensuring that our graduate students have access to professional development and mental health and well-being tools to support them during their time at Carolina.

Formerly the chair of the Department of Nutrition at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, she also co-directs the Nutrition Obesity Research Center. An accomplished scholar, she is the principal investigator for the Carolina site of the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth study, and she serves as the national co-chairperson for a large multi-center study. She has served on the University’s Faculty Executive Committee for several years. Dean Mayer-Davis serves as principal investigator for a National Institutes of Health Nutrition for Precision Health Consortium initiative and has received additional funding from the NIH to promote diversity in nutrition, obesity, and diabetes research. She is active in the American Diabetes Association and was the 2011 president for Health Care and Education for the Association.

Dean Mayer-Davis was recently appointed to the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee by the Secretary of the USDA and the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She has also served as an appointee of President Obama on the Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion and Integrative and Public Health.

Dean Mayer-Davis holds a Ph.D. in Epidemiology from the University of California, Berkeley, a Master of Public Health (with honors) from the University of Colorado School of Medicine, and a B.S. in Dietetics from the University of Tennessee.

Rob Palermo

Rob PalermoRob is the Director of the Carolina Veterans Resource Center, where he also serves as an instructor for UNC’s Green Zone training. Before his current role, Rob was an Academic Advisor at the Hardin Hub for Career and Academic Advising. Before working in higher education, Rob served in the United States Coast Guard (USCG) for eight years, where he received numerous awards for his service. After serving in the USCG, Rob worked as a New Orleans Health Department paramedic. Rob has extensive experience supporting veteran students and military-connected students, along with leading numerous workshops and trainings at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Rob was awarded the Mickel-Shaw Excellence in Advising Award (2018-2019) for his achievements and contributions to supporting students at UNC Chapel Hill. Rob earned a master’s degree in history from the University of Notre Dame and a bachelor’s degree in history from San Diego State University.

Meredith Petschauer

Meredith PetschauerMeredith Petschauer, PhD, LAT, ATC is Associate Dean for Undergraduate Curricula for the College of Arts and Sciences and a Teaching Professor in the Department of Exercise and Sport Science.

Dr. Petschauer received her PhD from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro in Biomechanics, her Master’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Athletic Training and her bachelor’s degree from The College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio.

Dr. Petschauer teaches Biomechanics, Emergency Care of Injuries and Illness, Advanced Orthopedic Assessment and Functional Anatomy. In addition to her teaching responsibilities she is the Director of the Undergraduate Studies for EXSS and serves as the Head Athletic Trainer for the Women’s Volleyball team. As an athletic trainer she has worked with the field hockey and women’s gymnastics teams during her time at UNC. Her research interests include prehospital care of the cervical spine injured athlete specifically considering lacrosse and ice hockey equipment and emergency care of the equipment laden athlete.

She and her husband Greg have two children, Madison and Grant.

William Rivenbark

William RivenbarkBill Rivenbark joined the School of Government in 1999. Prior to that, he worked for the city of Greenville, South Carolina, in various management positions. His research at the School of Government primarily involves performance and financial management in local government and has appeared in Public Administration ReviewGovernment Finance ReviewJournal of Government Financial ManagementJournal of Public Affairs EducationJournal of Public BudgetingAccounting & Financial ManagementPopular GovernmentPublic Administration QuarterlyPublic Finance ReviewPublic Performance & Management Review, and State and Local Government Review. He also is co-author of Performance Budgeting for State and Local Government (M.E. Sharpe, 2003). He helped to develop the County and Municipal Fiscal Analysis tool, a web-based dashboard designed to help North Carolina local governments analyze their fiscal condition. He served as director of the MPA program at the School of Government from 2011 through 2021. Rivenbark earned a B.S. from Auburn University, an M.P.A. from Auburn University at Montgomery, and a Ph.D. from Mississippi State University.

Brian Rybarczyk (ex officio)

Brian RybarczykBrian Rybarczyk, Ph.D. is the Associate Dean for Professional Development and Funding. He oversees implementation of professional, career development, and fellowship programs administered by The Graduate School. He develops and implements graduate funding policies and oversees the review processes for a dozen fellowships, awards, plus several grants, scholarships and assistantships annually administered by The Graduate School, including the Royster Society of Fellows and Weiss Urban Livability Fellowship. He also oversees initiatives supporting graduate students receiving external fellowships and grants from private foundations and federal agencies, including the National Science Foundation. Rybarczyk serves as Chair of the Fellowship Committee of The Graduate School Administrative Board. In collaboration with the director of fellowships, he manages the Graduate Funding Information Center and initiates innovative programs to meet the changing needs of graduate students.

Additionally, Rybarczyk directs the Preparing International Teaching Assistants Program (PITAP) which provides training for graduate student instructors new to the U.S. classroom and serves as co-administrative lead and a member of the leadership team for the international network Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL). He is an active member of the Graduate Career Consortium, a professional organization that advances graduate and postdoctoral career and professional development. His campus-wide service includes the Leadership Educators Group, the Carolina Career Community and serving as the program coordinator for the SPIRE Postdoctoral Fellowship program.

Stephanie Schmitt (ex officio)

Stephanie SchmittStephanie Schmitt is the Associate Dean for Academics in The Graduate School. In this position, she is responsible for administrative oversight for graduate education assessment efforts such as the campus-wide Program Review Process. This includes approximately eight external reviews each year and an equal number of closure meetings and midpoint evaluations for prior reviews. The review process is conducted for all undergraduate and graduate programs at the university in concert with the Provost’s Office and includes the preparation of a self-study, a site visit by external reviewers from peer institutions, and extensive follow-up from the recommendations such as program responses and midpoint progress evaluations.

Schmitt also has collaborative oversight for several academic initiatives, including The Graduate School’s academic policy interpretation, admissions and enrolled student services for graduate programs, academic and professional development for graduate students, international collaborations and initiatives, and major data collection and reporting initiatives within The Graduate School. Other academic initiatives falling within the scope of Schmitt’s responsibilities include facilitating new and revised degree/program requests for graduate studies at Carolina, overseeing the graduate certificate policies process, chairing the Academic Policy Committee of The Graduate School’s Administrative Board, maintaining the university’s polices on graduate faculty designation, and updating academic policies like the Graduate Handbook relevant to graduate education.

Schmitt also represents graduate education interests on various university-wide committees, including the Student Data Stewards, Friday Center Advisory Board, International Advisory Council, Curriculum Committee, Diploma Task Force, and Academic Planning Task Force.

Prior to coming to The Graduate School Schmitt was an executive with a management consulting firm and served as a nonpartisan policy analyst with the North Carolina General Assembly. An alumna of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Schmitt earned her BA in International Studies and Political Science, her MPA from the School of Government, and her PhD in Public Policy. She has participated in and worked closely with programs at Carolina Leadership Development, Carolina Women’s Center, and the Graduate and Professional Student Federation, for which she was inducted into the Order of the Golden Fleece honor society and the Frank Porter Graham Graduate & Professional Student Honor Society.