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
Layla Dowdy | Director
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.
She relishes in promoting the diversity of research at Carolina. When she’s not immersed in communicating science, she can be found spending time cheering on the Tar Heels with her family.
Alyssa LaFaro | Editor
On any given day, Alyssa LaFaro can be found photographing the effects of climate change, inquiring about the formation of our universe, or writing furiously in her office. As the editor of Endeavors, she’s produced upwards of 60 multimedia stories on multiple topics including genetics, art history, nuclear physics, business, and health humanities.
When she’s not behind a camera or a computer, she’s meeting with communicators, students, and faculty from across campus to learn about new research projects and unlock opportunities for collaboration.
Megan May | Photographer & Videographer
As a communications specialist for UNC Research and Endeavors, Megan May splits her time between photographing, producing video, and writing to highlight the variety of research projects both on and off campus. With a background in photojournalism, she has a passion for using visuals as a medium to connect people in unexpected ways.
Corina Cudebec | Graphic Designer
Corina Cudebec 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 the look and branding for UNC Research and the Endeavors digital magazine. She enjoys thrifting, snuggling with her two cats, Pixel and Archer, true crime documentaries, and has recently gotten into women’s rugby (GO ENO RIVER WOMEN’S RUGBY!).
Darren Abrecht | Webmaster
Darren Abrecht is the webmaster of endeavors.unc.edu and research.unc.edu. A lifelong learner, his career as a web producer has been split between online journalism and university research support. He lives in Durham with his son.
Emily Davis | Communications Intern
Emily Davis is an environmental studies major and journalism minor. She is combining her interests in science and writing through the environmental communications dual-degree program. As an Endeavors communications intern, she writes feature stories and assists with social media. She enjoys engaging with researchers and going out into the field. As a student, she has contributed to research with the Tampa Bay Aquatic Preserves and in the Galapagos. Prior to joining Endeavors, Emily has written for the Daily Tar Heel and North Carolina Health News. In her free time, she likes to make art, read, and run on local trails.
Matthew Westmoreland | Communications Intern
Matthew Westmoreland is a senior photojournalism major studying at UNC’s Hussman School of Journalism and Media, interested in documenting scientific research to make new discoveries and ways of thinking more accessible to the general public. He is fascinated by how new technologies like automation, augmented reality, and virtual reality can be used to make that information accessible and bring audiences and media creators closer to the story than they ever have been before. To get out of his comfort zone, Matthew enjoys traveling to new places and seeing what visual stories can be told there, always lugging more camera equipment than he probably needs.