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Brianna Johns and Heather Palmateer Named Spring 2020 Patterson Fellows


Brianna Johns

Brianna Johns presents research

Brianna is a committed student who admirably bridged her interests in the Natural and Social Sciences with double majors in International Studies & Zoology and a minor in Wildlife Science.

She captures Bob Patterson’s commitment to public education and service. Her founding of NC State’s Citizen Science club personifies her personal and academic commitment to promoting inclusive, dynamic, and diverse participation in the STEM fields.

She has devoted countless hours promoting Citizen Science on campus and in the region and played an instrumental role in hosting the national Citizen Science conference in Raleigh during the Spring 2019 semester.

She is tireless in her commitment to understanding undergrad experiences with Citizen Science and its potential for fostering an inclusive space for scientific inquiry and knowledge as exemplified in her Office of Undergraduate Research-funded research project, “Citizen Science and Inclusivity: A Study of Undergraduate Student Views.”

Brianna has developed a visible profile in the regional community, leading public workshops on Citizen Science for teenagers the NC Museum of Natural History, and presenting at undergraduate conferences.

She will carry this spirit forward after finishing her degree by working for the Smithsonian Institution’s public education and outreach initiatives in Washington, D.C. Brianna Johns’ willingness to learn from others, her teachability, and her unwavering desire to create a safe scientific space that values and includes diverse thought, embodies the teachings of Bob Patterson and the principles of the Bob Patterson award.

Heather Palmateer

Headshot of Heather Palmateer

As a double major in Interdisciplinary Studies (Women’s and Gender Studies concentration) and Social Work, Heather has combined her passion for social justice with hands-on work in the community to improve the lives of children and adolescents.

Since the spring of 2019, she has worked as a Student Life Counselor at Auldern Academy, a therapeutic boarding school for girls in Siler City, NC, counseling high school girls ages 13-18 about topics such as depression, anxiety, and fear of the future. She continues this work, providing care and supervision, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since 2017, Heather has served as a Guardian ad Litem, advocating for foster care children in the Wake County juvenile court system.

For her WGS internship, she volunteered at SAFEchild in Raleigh, and continued on after the internship ended. Her supervisor at SAFEchild, Ginger Espino, noted that Heather’s “nurturing presence made her a favorite volunteer both with our staff and the children.”

During her time at NC State, she has also volunteered for the Compass Center for Women and Families, Read to Lead, and the JC Raulston Arboretum Children’s Program. She was awarded the Abraham Holtzman Scholarship by NC State for volunteer work and service to the community in 2019.

In addition to her volunteer work, Heather also serves as a TA for an online WGS course. She is vice president of the Phi Alpha Honor Society for Social Work and is graduating magna cum laude.

In her caring, compassionate attention to the needs of others, she embodies the traits of generosity, empathy, and humility for which Bob Patterson is so widely known and loved. Her altruism and interdisciplinary pursuit of excellence honor the principles of the Bob Patterson award.