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Chowa honored with prestigious Hettleman award

UNC School of Social Work Assistant Professor Gina Chowa is one of four highly promising Carolina faculty members awarded the 2014 Phillip and Ruth Hettleman Prizes for Artistic and Scholarly Achievement by Young Faculty.

The Hettleman Prize, which carries a $5,000 stipend, recognizes the achievements of outstanding junior tenure-track faculty or recently tenured faculty. Phillip Hettleman, who was born in 1899 and grew up in Goldsboro, established the award in 1986. He earned a scholarship to UNC, went to New York and in 1938 founded Hettleman & Co., a Wall Street investment firm.

Chowa is known as a rising star within the field of asset building because of her groundbreaking work in examining the effects of asset ownership on youth and families in developing countries.

With her background as a practitioner working with poor families in Africa, Chowa saw how families with few resources struggled with keeping their children in school and envisioned a future of poverty, while people who owned assets invested in their children’s education and planned for the future. She found that this same pattern is repeated in future generations.

Chowa, who came to Carolina in 2008, has designed experiments and randomized controlled trials in four countries to test the impact of assets on a range of development outcomes for young people. One leader in the field said Chowa’s knowledge and experience in asset building was unparalleled within the field of social work.

“Dr. Chowa is truly a change-maker in international social work, and I have every expectation that she will continue along this exceptional path,” said Jack Richman, dean and professor in the School of Social Work.

The recipients will be recognized at the Sept. 19 Faculty Council meeting. In addition to Chowa, they are Mark Holmes, associate professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management, Gillings School of Global Public Health; Cary Levine, associate professor in the Department of Art, College of Arts and Sciences; and Garret Stuber, assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine.

From the University Gazette/Patty Courtright