Our mission

A marine scientist flies drones off the coast of North Carolina to gather data on native bonnethead sharks. A psychologist offers treatment to women and children addicted to opium in Afghanistan. A historian leads the nation in biographies on Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

These are UNC-Chapel Hill’s researchers, and we are Endeavors — the publication that introduces you to them. Committed to showcasing Carolina’s best science, we use well-crafted stories and vibrant visuals to immerse you in our inspiring research.

Why is requiring police officers to wear body cameras more complicated than it sounds? What happens when a marine scientist teams up with a local fisherman? Why does a nuclear laboratory have a collection of empty champagne bottles? Can virtual reality change the way we communicate?

Browse through our stories and you’ll see why UNC-Chapel Hill is one of the leading research institutions in the nation. You’ll get a glimpse of the people who make Carolina research so special, and a new perspective on the way the world works. Thanks for reading.

-the Endeavors team

Meet the Team

Portrait of Layla Dowdy

Layla Dowdy | Director of Communications

Layla Dowdy develops and executes communication strategy for the Office of Research Communications, which publishes Endeavors. In her role as director, she oversees content production that aims to increase awareness of the value and impact of Carolina’s research accomplishments.

When she’s not promoting Carolina research, she’s dutifully fulfilling her unpaid role as a Little
League/musical theater/soccer/(reluctant) dance mom.

(919) 962-7765

Portrait of Alyssa Lafaro

Alyssa LaFaro | Editor & Lead Writer

Alyssa LaFaro oversees content creation for both the digital and print editions of Endeavors. She produces multimedia stories on a variety of topics, but especially enjoys writing about environmental science, culture and language, and passionate scientists.

She loves reading, cooking, vintage fashion and home décor, and lifting weights — and is overjoyed that she can almost do 10 pullups in row.

(919) 962-6136

Portrait of Darren Abrecht

Darren Abrecht | Webmaster

Darren Abrecht is the webmaster of endeavors.unc.edu, contributing to everything from backend administration to content editing.

He knows a little about lots of things and a lot about nothing. A fan of cool old junk, science fiction, the visual arts, and the outdoors, he lives in Durham with his son.

(919) 962-6137

Portrait of Carleigh Gabryel

Carleigh Gabryel | Communications Manager

Carleigh Gabryel helps manage communications from the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and contributes content ideas for the digital and print editions of Endeavors.

She loves being outdoors, traveling as often as possible and collecting new recipes to enjoy with her husband.

(919) 445-0488

Portrait of Megan Mendenhall

Megan Mendenhall | Photographer/Videographer

Megan is the lead photographer/videographer for the Office of Research Communications. She’s spent the past two decades in higher education, photographing everything from student life to athletics to research.

In her free time, she enjoys sketching, roller skating, exploring North Carolina’s beaches, and spending time with her family.

(919) 724-6360

Portrait of Corina Prassos

Corina Prassos | Graphic Designer

Corina Prassos has been designing since she was 14, after receiving her first design software. From illustrations to web design, layouts to infographics, Corina is in charge of branding for UNC Research and Endeavors.

She enjoys thrifting, making things with her hands, going on adventures with her wife, and snuggling her three cats, Archer, Milo, and Aspen.


Portrait of Reese Powell

Reese Powell | Writing Intern

Reese Powell is a third-year English and geography student at UNC-Chapel Hill. His interests include water resources, sustainability, mental health, and religious philosophy. When he’s not writing articles for Endeavors, he enjoys writing creatively, reading, and secondhand fashion. He is always on the lookout for stories that change the way people think about the world.