2018 UNCG Nominee

UNCG's 2015 Nominee Portrait

Dr. Matina Kalcounis-Rüppell

Professor and Department Head, Biology
UNC Greensboro

“Nature and wild spaces are important for all of us, and we can think about why at different scales. On a small scale, nature is important because it is the home for the distinct species of bats and mice that live in North Carolina. On a global scale, nature is important because it is where the biological and chemical processes happen that keep our air, soul, and water clean. These scales are connected and the work that I do in North Carolina has implications worldwide.”

Dr. Matina Kalcounis-Rüppell is engaged in biological research that is crucial for wildlife conservation. The professor and department head studies animals where they live in the wild and that work increases our understanding of how they function in natural environments. The subjects of her research, bats and rodents, are critical to Earth’s biodiversity because together they constitute the two largest and most diverse groups of living mammals.

A big part of Kalcounis-Rüppell’s research is recording the ultrasound communication of mice and bats. For her work on bats, she records bats at over 150 sites across North Carolina and is able locate particular bat species. For her work on mice, she records from particular individuals at sites in North Carolina and is able to study their use of ultrasound for acoustic communication. Both bats and mice perform important environmental services that other organisms depend on, including humans.

Kalcounis-Rüppell frequently shares the findings of her research with the public, translating its implications so that citizens can become aware of the animals around them and play a role in supporting wildlife conservation. Her work has global impact in biology, and also in expanding inclusivity in scientific fields. In her lab, she makes research opportunities available to a large variety of undergraduate and graduate students, particularly for women and other groups who are underrepresented in scientific fields.

Learn more about Kalcounis-Rüppell here

What is the Holshouser Award
for Public Service?

The UNC System Seal The Public Service Award was created in 2007 to encourage, identify, recognize, and reward public service by faculty of the University. Faculty of any of the 17 constituent institutions of the University of North Carolina are eligible. At its August 2013 meeting, the Board of Governors unanimously approved a resolution to rename the award after Governor James E. Holshouser, Jr.


Oliver Max GardnerJames Eubert Holshouser, Jr. (October 8, 1934 – June 17, 2013) was the 68th Governor of the state of North Carolina from 1973 to 1977. He was the first Republican candidate to be elected as governor since 1896, when Republican Daniel L. Russell was elected as a Fusionist candidate. Holshouser's election reflected the new political realignment of the South, in which former white Conservative Democrats shifted to the Republican Party.

We invite you to learn more about this great man of North Carolina by exploring him further here.

Click Here for the Holshouser Award for Public Service Online Nomination Form

For a complete listing of previous award recipients, click here for a PDF

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