This year, UNC – Chapel Hill Nursing opened the first ever Hillman dedicated space for scholars – The Hillman Hub for Research and Innovation. Colloquially known as the H-Hub, this space is a three-room suite on the third floor of Carrington Hall (overlooking South Columbia street, a main campus thoroughfare) for scholars to study, decompress, prepare for class, work together on projects, or meet with their mentors.
Staying true to the innovative goals of The Hillman Foundation, the H-Hub isn’t just an ordinary study room one would see on a university campus. The H-Hub has yoga mats, exercise balls, and other accessories to promote relaxation and study breaks and to engage scholars’ creative side. Of course, there are computers too, fully stocked with necessary software for the scholars’ research, and a Hillman “Wall of Honor” to showcase scholar achievements. Scholars will never be at a loss in the H-Hub—there is a supply room chock full of pens, pencils, highlighters, sharpies, notebooks, legal pads, loose-leaf paper, post-its, paper clips, binder clips, staplers, tape, and more.
The furniture, computers, and equipment were a huge undertaking that required various electrical and structural changes to the space – all orchestrated by former Hillman Scholars Program Assistant Madeline Neal.
Andrew Mara-Williams, current Hillman Scholars Program Assistant, also has an office in the H-Hub. “From my office, I am lucky enough to see scholars on an almost daily basis,” he said in an e-mail. “Yesterday, nearly half the scholars came by the Hub for meetings, a quick hello, or to grab a pen or print a PowerPoint for class.” The response from students has been overwhelmingly positive. “I love the hub,” says Victoria Peterman, BSN, RN, “because it gives Hillmans a space to meet in small groups, whether it’s because we’re collaborating on a project or providing mentorship to newer students.” This dedicated space has truly fostered a familial environment of support between students. “I love walking into the Hub and seeing my other Hillman Scholars…,” mused Becky Fitzula, RN, BSN, “[it’s my] favorite place to catch up with everyone (and Andrew)!!!”