Order of the Chocolate Fish

The Order of the Chocolate Fish was established in 2003 back when we were the UNC Eating Disorders Program to recognize individuals who go beyond the call of duty in service of the program. I am excited to announce the first inductee of 2013 and the first since we have become the UNC Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders. The OCF recognizes people from within the center as well as people outside the center who demonstrate extraordinary dedication to our mission.

I am pleased to induct Ms. Lauren Janson into the Order of the Chocolate Fish. Lauren came to us first with an eye toward helping out with background research and writing. For any of you trekkies out there, I always think of Bones, when he opens his black bag and says, “I can fix that!” when I think of Lauren. Only with her, she opens her bag of skills and says, “I can do that!” Always up for a new adventure, Lauren has risen to every challenge we have thrown her way, and to those challenges that she has pitched to herself. Since coming to us, she has worked tirelessly on our CBT4BN clinical trial, has served as project coordinator for our Encourage trial (Encourage is our new app), and she is now also coordinating a biomarkers study. If that sounds like a woman of many trades, it’s true. But a glimpse into her educational past reveals how she can be prepared to take on these diverse roles. Lauren graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.A. from Georgetown University with a major in psychology and minors in biology and linguistics. She then received her M.Sc. with First Class Honours in Health Psychology from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Something tells me she’s not done yet. I see more degrees in her future.

Lauren has become an invaluable part of our team. She is not one to shout her accomplishments from the rooftops, so we need to do that for her. You will often see her helping VHPs, answering questions from other staff or patients, and generally spreading her positive energy around the lab. She has an infectious giggle. Reading her CV, I figured something important out. Lauren has a unique talent for color coordination. She can put colors together effectively in ways that the rest of us wouldn’t dare. (N.B., I would make this observation whether she were a woman or a man, so those of you who think that I am being sexist in my remarks can just rest assured that this talent is remarkable regardless of your sex!) In Lauren’s case it all became clear when I read that she used to do butterfly research in an entomology lab. Who can do colors better than butterflies? At first I thought I was reading it wrong. Maybe there was a typo in her CV. A linguistics minor working in an entomology lab—surely she meant an etymology lab! But alas, butterflies it was, and mystery of the fierce color coordinating talent solved.

As anyone who knows the UNC team is aware, another skill we value is moves on the dance floor. Here Lauren truly excels. You name it, she can dance it. ImageBTW, just wait until you see what she has cooking for all of us during National Eating Disorders Awareness Week! Stay tuned for more on that as the dates near (February 24-March 2).

So please, if you bump into Lauren in the halls, or on twitter @laurenjants, shout out a congratulations for being the first 2013 inductee into the Order of the Chocolate Fish!