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End-of-Year Holiday Party Highlights

The department of Biochemistry and Biophysics gathered on December 13, 2022, to celebrate our accomplishments over this past year. We had a large turnout of around 160 individuals including guests and children for this fantastic event culminating in 2022.

panoramanic photo from holiday party 2022

dining at carolina club

The evening began with a sit-down formal dinner and meet and greet in a gorgeous ballroom at the Carolina Club on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus.

winter party table photos






cookie timeThe evening continued with cookie decorating for the children and a build your own candy bags.

Jean Cook speaks at the holiday party giving thanks



Followed by a welcome message from our chair Dr. Jean Cook. Special thanks went out to the event organizers: Rhonda Strickland, Holly Shepherd, Lynn Ray from our administrative office, and graduate student Amelia McCue from the Kuhlman lab.


Awards ceremony

Jean Cook presented the 2022 Staff Excellence Awards for dedication, service, and commitment to the department.

The Department’s Staff Recognition Program was established to annually recognize staff members for their outstanding achievement and service. Nominations are made with the following criteria in mind: teamwork, creativity and innovation, positive attitude, enthusiasm, productivity, flexibility, and leadership.

Each year there are two awards given out for research administration and office administration excellence. This year we added an additional award for Lifetime Achievement for Administrative Excellence. Our 2022 awardees are Garrett Chappell, Rhonda Strickland, and Lynn Ray.

2022 Staff Excellence Awards

quotes from nominators

Garrett Chappell holding award
Research Excellence – Garrett Chappell, Research Technician
in the Berlow lab

Garrett Chappell – research administration excellence

Garrett is an instrumental member of the team responsible for getting the Berlow lab established at UNC. He was praised for demonstrating initiative that went above and beyond the duties of a research technician. One example was his designing the entire Berlow lab website from scratch. Garrett brings so much enthusiasm, motivation, and positive energy to everything he does in the lab and he never hesitates to go above and beyond to assist others with their projects. Garrett has made countless contributions to our research program already and his suggestions of alternative approaches to challenging experiments continue to drive our research forward.


Rhonda Strickland and Jean Cook with award
Administration Excellence – Rhonda Strickland, Executive Assistant to the chair

Rhonda Strickland – office administration excellence

Rhonda was particularly praised for her help with arrangements for the student-led seminar series. Rhonda was also singled out for her instrumental contributions toward organizing the BCBP retreat. She is generally cheerful and welcoming to all students. Also noted was her work in promoting and sustaining the DEI effort in our Department.



Lynn Ray – Lifetime Achievement for Administrative Excellence

Lynn Ray at 2022 December party
Lifetime Achievement for Administrative Excellence – Lynn Ray, Associate Chair of Administration

We are all going to miss Lynn when she retires. Lynn combined all the most desirable qualities necessary for success as a Departmental Associate Chair for Administration without suffering any of the potential liabilities that may emerge in this position. She efficiently and rapidly solves major and even minor problems we bring to her. In this regard, she has an unerring second sense of what faculty, staff, and students all need and sees to it that these are provided. Lynn thinks affectionately of the entire Department without favorites, which is a very rare quality. She has always had a positive attitude and worked long hours to get the Department to run smoothly. She never says no. As a co-worker and as a human being I admire her and often say to myself I wish I could be like Lynn.

Congratulations to all of our awardees!

We wrapped up our holiday party with exciting raffle prizes and closing remarks by Jean Cook. We are grateful to all who came to enjoy the festivities and to our event organizers.

prize timeleah holding prize for football raffleprize time nc shirt

Laura with candle raffle prizechristmas party 2022 group at carolina club

Have a safe and wonderful season!

click to download a zip file of our event photos from this 2022 end-of-year party