UNCG Campus Weekly

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Gabriela Livas Stein and Melanie Carter on All-SoCon Faculty & Staff Team

Photo of Stein and Carter Ask Melanie Carter and Dr. Gabriela Livas Stein about their individual achievements, and the conversation soon turns to why service is important to them.

“To me it’s really important to give everyone a chance at life,” Stein says, “If I could be in a position where I can help people find the way they want to impact the world, that is such an awesome opportunity.”

Stein is an associate professor in the Psychology Department, while Carter is a Business Officer and Office Staff Manager in the same department. Together they have been named to the Southern Conference All-Southern Conference Faculty and Staff Team. Two representatives from all of the SoCon’s member schools were chosen to recognize their service to their institution and contributions to both campus life and the local community.

At the heart of both their work is the idea that helping someone can turn into a larger, sustained difference that goes beyond the individual. Though Stein still works as a clinical psychologist, and has done important work on psychology and ethnic minorities, she views one of her primary roles as faculty as a mentor. As she says, “being able to form relationships with people and help them find what they want to do” is one of the most rewarding parts of her job, and she’s seen the effect it can have. As Carter points out, Stein still hears from many of her former students, who have spread out across the country doing important work in a variety of fields of psychology. It makes clear that the impact of service is well beyond just one person.

Carter works as Psychology Department staff, but her involvement on campus goes well beyond her job description. Students come to her for advice and guidance. Just recently, Carter met with a student who was looking for an Honors Thesis adviser. She connected this student and Stein, and ensured they were able to start fruitful work on the student’s thesis. It’s creating these connections between people that forms the core of her work. “I do a lot of paperwork,” Carter admits with a hint of self-deprecation, “but I meet a lot of people, talk to a lot of people, point them in the right directions.”

Carter and Stein have both seen firsthand the effect service can have, to the institution and to the larger community. Carter has volunteered at Potter’s House Community Kitchen and spent time working with Greensboro Urban Ministries on their Project Independence program, which helps clothe and house the homeless. Her impact on Project Independence was enough that, when Urban Ministries moved to a new building, she was asked to give a dedication.Stein is vice president of programming for the Society of Research on Adolescence and provides training to mental health providers working with Latinx communities.

Although the recognition the SoCon award represents is an honor, being nominated together is what makes it truly impactful for Carter and Stein.

“I don’t get tearful,” Carter says,” but just being able to share this with Gaby is one of the best moments of my life. I see what she does. She doesn’t tell it all, but I’ve seen what Gaby does. Gaby, her hands reach far and they reach wide. She does a lot of things. She is a key role model in our department.”

Stein echoes the sentiment.

“When I found out I got this award, getting it with her was really special. I know the impact she has, that she makes in the department, and that she makes in the lives of real students, in a quiet way. I think she doesn’t advertise it, people aren’t aware of it, people don’t know.”

The SoCon award will be presented during the men’s basketball game vs. Samford at the Greensboro Coliseum tomorrow night (February 7, tip-off is 7 p.m.). John Iamarino, SoCon Commissioner, will be in attendance, and will present the awards during a scheduled break in the game.

By Avery Campbell