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Young alumni excellence celebrated

Ten alumni who graduated in the past 10 years were recognized with the Top 10 Under 10 Alumni Awards on April 14 for their professional success, service as difference-makers in their communities and loyal support of Elon.

From left: (back) Daniel Brown ’09, Andie Diemer ’10, Bernie Coston II ’08, Greg Honan ’14 & Ryan Guthy ’09; (front) President Connie Ledoux Book, Molly Heffernan ’11, Jasmine Turner ’15, Stephanie Marken ’08 & Stephanie Robinson ’11.

Surrounded by their family, friends and Elon mentors, 10 young alumni were honored Saturday night as the recipients of the 2018 Top 10 Under 10 Aluni Awards. 

Established in 2011, the awards recognize alumni from the past decade who have achieved major professional success, serve as difference-makers in their communities and loyally support Elon as partners, advocates and investors.

"When you listen to the collective stories of our alumni success, you can see the ingredients of that success," said President Connie Ledoux Book during her celebratory remarks. "I'm enormously proud of our alumni accomplishments and of our faculty and staff when I hear those stories of taking time, one at a time, with students and making a difference in their lives and setting a trajectory for their careers.

"I'm very proud of what you reflect."

Honoreed were:

Andie Diemer ’10
Digital photo editor, GQ & Kazoo magazines
Brooklyn, New York

Despite her best intentions, Andie Diemer can’t seem to quit the news and politics beat. After years of cutting her teeth at The Pendulum covering the campaign and election of Barack Obama, Andie began focusing on photography and photo editing before being tapped to oversee the visuals for GQ.com’s culture and news coverage.

Andie was brought on to GQ in 2016 to head the visuals for their web series “The Closer” with Keith Olbermann, which launched for a second season after the election as “The Resistance.” The 187-episode series garnered 385 million total views, which means Andie has sorted through roughly 20,000-plus photos of Donald Trump so far. In 2016, Andie also helped launch Kazoo magazine, a quarterly print magazine that aims to empower young girls.

Andie graduated from Elon in 2010 with a degree in journalism and minors in African studies and art. During her time at Elon, she studied abroad in Ghana and was instrumental in shaping The Pendulum’s digital coverage. She was the newspaper’s editor in chief when it won the coveted ACP National Pacemaker Award in 2009. She was also a Periclean Scholar, Communications Fellow and member of communications and leadership honor societies. Andie has previously worked as a photo producer and editor for numerous magazines, including Martha Stewart Living, Travel + Leisure, Food & Wine, ELLE and Cookie, as well as Martha Stewart’s line of books.

She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with husband Dan Rickershauser ’10, whom she met at Elon, and their two cats, one of which she also met at Elon.

Daniel Brown ’09
Biology instructor, North Carolina School of 
Science and Mathematics
Durham, North Carolina

Daniel Ross Brown’s curiosity for learning traces back to his time at Elon. As an Elon Honors Fellow, Daniel investigated the impact of early life developmental exposure to toxic chemicals in zebrafish under the mentoring of Associate Professor of Biology Linda Niedziela.

This work sparked his interest in environmental toxicology and led him to apply to the Integrated Toxicology and Environmental Health Program for his doctoral studies at the Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment. He also participated in Duke’s Certificate in College Teaching and Preparing Future Faculty Programs, which allowed him to return to Elon to complete a year-long teaching apprenticeship with his former Elon mentor.

After obtaining a doctorate in environmental science in 2015, Daniel received the UNC SPIRE Postdoctoral Fellowship, which allowed him to continue conducting research while gaining valuable teaching training and classroom experience. In addition to writing nine research publications, Daniel has mentored eight undergraduate research students through summer and semester-long research projects. Daniel has also served as a visiting assistant professor of biology at both Durham Technical Community College and North Carolina Central University. He now works at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics as a biology instructor, teaching topics ranging from climate change biology to AP environmental science.

Daniel is excited to be serving the state of North Carolina while teaching at one of the nation’s best residential math and science high schools, and he looks forward to teaching at the Kamnoetvidya Science Academy this summer in Thailand as part of a science teaching exchange program.

Bernard “Bernie” Coston II ’08
Lead business initiatives consultant, Wells Fargo Commercial Distribution Finance
Tyrone, Georgia

A native of Charleston, West Virginia, Bernard “Bernie” Coston II graduated from Elon in 2008 with a degree in business administration and double minors in accounting and jazz studies. While at Elon, Bernie was a three-year member of Elon’s marching band, the Fire of the Carolinas, a four-year member of the Elon Jazz Ensemble, and a member of Alpha Kappa Psi, the oldest and largest professional business fraternity in the country.

After graduation, Bernie maintained his Elon roots by diving in and working with the diverse alumni network, allowing his school pride to flourish. Bernie has served on the Atlanta alumni board since 2012 and has held a leadership position on the board since 2014. Most recently, he was a three-year member of the Young Alumni Council. Bernie lives in Atlanta, where he recently received his MBA from the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Scheller College of Business with a concentration in global business management.

In his position as lead business initiatives consultant for Wells Fargo Commercial Distribution Finance, he oversees the data enrichment and document remediation efforts tied to federal government consent orders as well as the implementation and analysis of data-related project initiatives for the Motorsports Vertical of Commercial Distribution Finance Outside of Elon activities, Bernie is a member of the Black Graduate Student Association at Georgia Tech. When he is not focusing his efforts on his school, work or city, Bernie spends his time enjoying concerts, attending sporting events and traveling abroad.

Ryan Guthy ’09
Co-founder and co-owner, Wicked Weed Brewing
Asheville, North Carolina

Ryan Guthy graduated from Elon in 2009 with a degree in business and soon after launched his professional career traveling the country doing tournament operations for the PGA Tour. He has always been passionate and motivated to work within the sports and craft beer industries, so when an opportunity came knocking to go into the latter, he didn’t think twice.

On Dec. 28, 2012, Ryan, along with parents Rick and Denise and lifelong friends Luke and Walt Dickinson, opened Wicked Weed Brewing in his hometown of Asheville, North Carolina. The idea was to introduce innovative and inspiring beer styles to customers and become a national destination for craft beer drinkers. Since then, Wicked Weed has become one of the premium breweries in the state, showcasing more than 600 different beer recipes. It has also been named the Best Brewery in the South four years in a row.

With four facilities in Asheville and 230 employees, the business has seen incredible growth in the past five years. In June of 2017, it partnered with the largest brewery in the world, Anheuser-Busch, which has allowed the company to continue its path towards quality and innovation.

Ryan serves as president and oversees the national distribution and sales team for Wicked Weed. Its products can now be found all around the southeast as well as in key craft beer markets like Washington, D.C., Boston, Philadelphia, Denver, Austin, Houston and New Orleans, with many more locations to come in 2018.

Stephanie Bement Gronewoller ’12
Software developer, Johns Hopkins University 
Applied Physics Laboratory
Hanover, Maryland

Stephanie started her time at Elon as a mathematics major. She always had a liking for logic puzzles and algorithms so, after one semester, she decided to add computer science, perfectly exercising her enjoyment for both. That decision is what kick-started her career in software development.

Stephanie has worked at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, since 2010. She started as an intern in the research department and then transitioned to the Asymmetric Operations Sector, which specializes in designing and deploying solutions for domestic and international threats against the U.S. In her role as software developer, Stephanie has served on several projects in the area of wireless tactical networks for different sponsors within the Department of Defense, including the Navy, Army and Missile Defense Agency.

Primarily, Stephanie serves as senior technical lead for a project that provides protected satellite communications for high priority users that relies on network jamming and nuclear scintillation. The system is being used at five sites around the world and will continue to be deployed at new strategic locations over the next 10 years. As part of the project, she manages more than 12 developers in the design, implementation and testing of the software that monitors and controls the satellite network.

In 2014, Stephanie earned her master’s degree in computer science from Johns Hopkins University. She and husband Brendyn live in Hanover, Maryland, and are expecting their first child.

Molly Heffernan ’11
Manager of digital and marketing, 
The Tory Burch Foundation
New York, New York

Molly Heffernan has a passion for telling powerful brand stories and leveraging business for social good. Through her work as manager of digital and marketing at the Tory Burch Foundation, she is empowering women with the launching of the ultimate digital destination for women entrepreneurs—ToryBurchFoundation.org. She also leads the site’s editorial content.

In 2017, Molly conceived and executed the global campaign #EmbraceAmbition, encouraging women and girls to own their power, drive and dreams. The initiative has received global response from more than 192 countries and continues to be a driving force in the women’s empowerment community. She also launched the Foundation’s inaugural Fellows Competition and the Seed Box, a Today Show-recommended holiday gift that gives back.

Molly graduated from Elon in 2011 with a degree in public administration and went on to receive her master’s degree in public administration and nonprofit management from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. She began her career working in nonprofit programming but transitioned to the brand-marketing and communications side of the industry in 2013, serving as digital marketing manager for the Stephen Siller Foundation and later as director of special events for the YMCA of Greater New York.

During her time at Elon, Molly helped brand and grow the campus peer education group SPARKS, was selected for the university’s pilot Social Entrepreneurship Scholars Program and held various leadership roles in her sorority, Alpha Chi Omega. As an alumna, Molly has been active in the New York alumni chapter and joined Elon’s Young Alumni Council in 2018. She lives in New York City, is an avid equestrian and enjoys traveling.

Greg Honan ’14
Research assistant for David Gergen, Harvard Kennedy School
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Greg Honan graduated from Elon in 2014 with a degree in political science. An Elon College Fellow and Lumen Prize recipient, he spent a semester studying international relations at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. He was also a member of the Model United Nations team, an executive intern in the Office of the President and the founder of Elon Politics Forum, which brings students, faculty and community members together for non-partisan political discussions on important issues of the day.

As an undergraduate, Greg worked for two summers as an intern to David Gergen, CNN senior political analyst and professor of public service at the Harvard Kennedy School. After graduation, he worked at Harvard’s Institute of Politics where he designed and led the first White House Crisis Simulation for Harvard undergraduates, which featured President Bill Clinton.

In 2015, Greg rejoined Gergen’s team at the Harvard Kennedy School as his research assistant. In his current role, he conducts research for Gergen’s speeches, publications and media appearances. In addition, he coordinates Gergen’s appearances on CNN and has traveled with him to the Democratic National Convention, CNN’s 2016 election night coverage in Washington, D.C., and the 2016 presidential inauguration.

Greg lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and enjoys baseball, playing the saxophone, listening to jazz, running and reading in his spare time.

Stephanie Marken ’08
Chief methodologist, Gallup
Washington, District of Columbia

Stephanie arrived at Elon in 2004 with a passion for politics and soon became fascinated with public opinion polling. In 2006 she began interning for the Elon Poll where she worked on state and regional polls covering current political events.

Upon graduation in 2008, Stephanie pursued a master’s degree in survey research from the University of Connecticut, where she studied qualitative and quantitative research methods. Today, Stephanie is chief methodologist of the Gallup Poll at the Gallup organization. In that role, she is responsible for the sampling design and data collection approach for Gallup’s largest public release studies covering social and political issues in the U.S. Stephanie specializes in designing studies that include interviews with particularly hard-to-reach populations and a combination of data collection methods including web, telephone and mail methodologies. As such, she is the sampling and design architect for Gallup’s largest public release studies, including the Gallup-Purdue Index and Gallup-Strada Education Consumer Pulse.

Stephanie’s work is regularly featured at the annual meeting of the American Association of Public Opinion Research, where she presented yearly between 2014 and 2017. In recognition for her contributions to the field of public opinion research, the University of Connecticut’s Department of Public Policy awarded Stephanie the 2017 Distinguished Alumni award.

Prior to joining Gallup, Stephanie was a research associate at Westat and worked in the education division designing and implementing complex, large-scale research designs for the National Center for Education Statistics at the Department of Education. She lives in Washington, D.C.

Stephanie Robinson ’11
Associated health postdoctoral fellow, U.S. Department 
of Veteran Affairs
Brighton, Massachusetts

Stephanie Robinson started juggling her passion for psychology and health care more than 10 years ago, when she pursued a psychology degree while fulfilling pre-med requirements.

At Elon, she began her training in psychological research during an Empirical Research Seminar in the Department of Psychology. With the help of her mentor, Associate Professor of Psychology Amy Overman, she expanded her classwork into her own undergraduate research project that focused on strategy use and memory. After Elon, she completed a master’s degree in psychology at Catholic University of America, where her research continued to focus on memory. Simultaneously, she worked at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Washington, D.C., helping conduct neuropsychological research in patients with multiple sclerosis.

In 2013 Stephanie moved to Boston to complete her doctoral degree in social developmental psychology at Brandeis University, where her research examined psychosocial predictors of healthy aging, such as physical activity. She has been featured by the Gerontological Society of America’s Emerging Scholars and Professionals Organization and has authored several first-author publications and book chapters. She was eager to continue her research in an applied and interdisciplinary environment and is now a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Healthcare Organization and Implementation Research at the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital for the Department of Veterans Affairs. Her research has been funded by the National Institute on Aging and the Boston Roybal Center for Active Lifestyle Interventions. She is also a Suzanne Feld Zalk Memorial Endowed Fellow.

Her current research focuses on technology-centered health services to promote healthy behaviors in patients with chronic disease.

‚ÄčJasmine Turner ’15
Reporter, NBC12 WWBT TV 
Richmond, Virginia

 

Jasmine Turner was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, and has always known a job that entailed telling powerful stories and learning about her community was what she was meant to do. People, and a relentless pursuit of the truth, drive her passion.

Jasmine joined Elon Local News as a first-year student at Elon. Though at first nervous to dive in, the encouragement of a fellow classmate led to a passion for making a difference through journalism. While at Elon, Jasmine served as an anchor and reporter for ENN and ELN Morning. She was a part of two College Television Awards Emmy-winning teams in 2014 and 2016. Just a week after graduation, she started her career as a multimedia journalist and weekend anchor at WECT News, the NBC affiliate in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Jasmine served as a youth trustee on the Elon University Board of Trustees from 2015 to 2017, an experience that further fueled her passion for Elon. After a little more than a year in Wilmington, Jasmine moved back to her hometown, where she is a reporter for NBC12 News, the NBC affiliate in Richmond. While at NBC12, Jasmine has covered a variety of stories and events, including the violent alt-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017.

When she is not working, Jasmine is active in her community serving on several boards, but she also enjoys spending time with family, friends and her rescue dog, Libbie.

Keren Rivas,
Staff
4/16/2018 8:45 AM