Phonyiam named inaugural Diane Berry Mentors Scholar 

Ratchanok Phonyiam
Ratchanok (Noon) Phonyiam

In 2021, the family of the late Dr. Diane C. Berry, Jane Sox Monroe Distinguished Professor of Nursing, established a generous scholarship to carry on her dedication to nursing research and to mentoring nursing PhD students in their academic careers. 

This fall, the School of Nursing awarded the first Diane C. Berry Mentors Scholarship to Ratchanok (Noon) Phonyiam, a Carolina Nursing PhD student who, fittingly, had the privilege of being mentored by Dr. Berry before she passed away. 

“One of the reasons I wanted to establish this fund as soon as possible after her passing was so that some of the people Diane mentored might become some of the first people considered for becoming Berry Scholars and Mentors,” said Grant Berry, Diane’s husband. 

Like Dr. Berry, who was a world-class researcher in Type 2 diabetes, Noon’s research interests involve the management of Type 2 diabetes during pregnancy, community health nursing, breastfeeding practices and racial and ethnic disparities in health care.  

“Back in 2019, I applied to the PhD program at Carolina Nursing because I firmly believe it an outstanding school of nursing that is committed to cultivating nurse leaders who advance health care to improve lives, as well as to innovate research into better practice and systems of care,” said Noon. “I was so honored to be mentored by Dr. Berry, who was recognized as a leader in my areas of research interest. 

“Diane had me under her wings in the community fields,“ Noon said. “We had so much joy when we collected data with moms and children; working with her was one of the most enjoyable learning experiences for me.” 

“Diane taught me to be humble and demonstrated how important it was to have the Principal Investigator in the field to support the team. She inspired me to help improve people’s health and well-being, especially underserved populations.” 

“Diane prioritized her mentees and students in addition to her full responsibilities as a research and professor. She guided me to excel in research and she always empowered me to guide and mentor others on our research team and in my future nursing career.” 

“I am greatly humbled to be the first Diane C. Berry Mentors Scholar,” said Noon. “It will be my honor to carry on her legacy as a brilliant researcher and thoughtful mentor. I am very thankful to the Berry family for their generosity in creating this award and the opportunities this scholarship offers me.” 

As a Berry Mentors Scholar, Noon receives full financial support for the year, and her mentors likewise receive a total of $5,000 in return for their mentorship and support of Noon. 

To learn more about the Diane C. Berry Mentors Scholarship, please read here
To learn more about Dr. Diane Berry’s life and work, please read here.  
To donate to the Diane C. Berry Mentor’s Scholarship, please click here