2018 Alumni Achievement Awards

District 128 Foundation for Learning Alumni Achievement Awards, established in 2014, are presented annually to individuals who graduated from a District 128 high school at least five years prior to nomination, and who have made significant contributions, and demonstrated leadership and character in his/her field and to his/her community. Nominations are accepted on an ongoing basis and remain active for three years. The Foundation for Learning Board of Trustees comprise the selection committee.

2018 Honorees

Chris Bryant and Raghu Mirmira

Chris Bryant has spent most of his adult life in the Carolinas. He attended Duke University School of Law, where he was elected the first African American Editor in Chief of the Duke Law Journal. While in law school, Chris volunteered as an intake intern for Legal Aid of North Carolina, represented clients as a student attorney in the Start-Up Ventures Clinic, participated in Moot Court, and won 1st place in the Louis Jackson National Student Memorial Writing Competition in Employment and Labor Law.

After law school, he clerked for Judge James A. Wynn, Jr. on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and Judge Richard M. Gergel on the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina. He initially planned to work for a large law firm in Los Angeles after his clerkships, but after his experience clerking for Judge Gergel during United States v. Dylann Storm Roof he decided to stay in South Carolina and represent individuals and small businesses harmed by the actions of others.

Chris serves on the board of Charleston Legal Access, a nonprofit law firm representing modest-means clients who do not make enough to pay standard rates for an attorney. Chris is also on the Duke Law Alumni Association Board of Directors.

Chris is a member of the bars of South Carolina, U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and he passed the July 2016 California Bar Exam.

Before law school, Chris attended Duke University as a Reginaldo Howard Scholar, where he received an A.B. in Economics. Upon graduation, Chris joined Teach for America (TFA) and worked in Durham Public Schools as a 7th-grade special education teacher and an assistant baseball and soccer coach. After completing his two-year TFA commitment, Chris worked for a year at a K-8 public charter school in Durham, where he managed a small special education caseload and founded and ran the school’s first music program for its 300+ students.

Dr. Raghu Mirmira graduated from The University of Chicago in 1986 with Honors in Chemistry. He then entered the MD-PhD program, also at The University of Chicago. During his Ph.D. training, he worked under the mentorship of Dr. Howard Tager studying insulin-receptor interactions. His work during this time set the foundation for the development of ultra-rapid- and ultra-long-acting insulins that are widely in use today to treat all forms of diabetes. He received his Ph.D. degree in 1991, followed by his MD degree in 1993. Raghu subsequently completed his residency in Internal Medicine and subspecialty training in Diabetes and Endocrinology at the University of California at San Francisco. During his subspecialty training, Raghu did his research in the laboratory of Dr. Michael German, where he studied the regulation of genes in the insulin-producing β cell. During this time, he held the prestigious Physician Postdoctoral Fellowship Award from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, a JDRF Career Development Award, and later a Research Career Award from the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Mirmira then joined the faculty at the University of Virginia in 2000, where he continued his studies on the regulation of genes in insulin-producing cells. For his work, he received the prestigious Thomas R. Lee Career Development Award from the American Diabetes Association and was honored in Washington, DC in 2004 with the Discovery Channel Medical Honor, along with Surgeon General David Satcher.

Raghu moved to Indiana University in 2008 to assume directorship of the burgeoning Diabetes Center. He is currently the Eli Lilly Professor in Pediatric Diabetes, Director of the Indiana University training program for MD/ Ph.D. (MSTP) students, the Director of the NIH (P30)-funded Indiana University Center for Diabetes and Metabolic Disease, and Director of the Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research. He is a dedicated researcher, clinician (still seeing patients with diabetes), teacher, and administrator. He is also a Professor in the Departments of Pediatrics, Medicine, Cellular and Integrative Physiology, and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and has a National Institutes of Health-funded research lab of 12 scientists. He has published over 120 scientific papers in prestigious journals and is an international thought leader in the field of diabetes. He is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, an elite group of U.S. physician-scientists recognized for their contributions to medical research and patient care.