Honors Program

Honors Alumni 2000-2016

Evan Skloot '16: Evan currently serves as a Chapter Development Consultant for the International Headquarters of Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity. He travels around from campus to campus working directly with student leaders, campus professionals, and alumni at 21 universities mostly in the Western US, helping members of the local chapter develop as leaders, build relationships, and gain the most out of their college experience. The Honors Program taught him to not tackle each situation the same way, but to identify, articulate, and leverage the differences in ideas, beliefs, and context. This has had a tremendous impact on his work with students and groups, and being able to facilitate cahnge specific to the campus, the culture, and the people he is supporting.

Jill Capotosto '14: After graduation, Jill moved to Hanoi, Vietnam as a Princeton in Asia fellow to work for TRAFFIC, an international nonprofit that monitors the trafficking and trade of wildlife. As the organization's communications officer, she wrote and designed publications for national and regional initiatives to reduce demand for rhino horn and other illegally-traded wildlife. At the end of her two-year fellowship, Jill moved back to the US, and she now works for The Institute for Sustainable Communities, an international nonprofit that fosters locally-driven initiatives to establish climate and economic resiliency at the community level. She added, "Every day at work, I draw on lessons I learned from writing my thesis. I'm very grateful to have had that opportunity to explore and solidfiy my career and research interests, and to have been able to work with faculty who were, and continue to be, great mentors."

Kim Lilienthal '14: Kim graduated from NC State in May 2016 with an MA in English Rhetoric and Composition, where she did research about wiritng in co-curricular and experiential programs. In June, she began working at Elon in the office of New Student & Transition Programs in an interim position through the end of the fall semester. In August, she and fellow Honors Fellow alum, Stephen Ferguson '11, become engaged at Elon in front of friends, colleagues, and 140 Orientation Leaders!

Cleo Dan ‘14: Immediately after graduation, Cleo interned in the Capitol for US Senator Warner, providing an eye-opening opportunity to witness how our government truly works (and doesn't work!). She currently serves as the Director of Strategic Communications and Support for a tech startup in Richmond, VA, called Muster. The software platform allows government relations professionals, trade associations, and advocacy organizations to increase civic engagement rates among their members and influence public policy at a local, state, and/or federal level. So far she and her group have been able to successfully aid organizations influence the Virginia General Assembly through our platform. She added that "Thanks to the Honors Program, I have been able to leverage the value of my liberal arts degree in the technology world. The variety of coursework that I took as an undergraduate truly developed my learning agility, and taught me how to apply my skills in a new industry area. It has been incredible to be a part of an early-stage tech company, and I know that my undergraduate career at Elon gave me the tools to succeed in the “real world”!"

Kyle Whitaker ‘14
Kyle currently teaches at SMK Padang Tengku, a public secondary school located in Kuala Lipis, Pahang, as part of his Fulbright ETA grant. He works with over 300 children to build their English language skills through innovative pedagogies. His work allows him to apply his Elon education and Honor research in practical and creative ways. In fact, he recently presented the findings of his Honors Thesis research at the Pekan International Education Conference in Pekan, Malaysia. Kyle writes: "Without the Honors Program I definitely would not have been given this Fulbright, seeing as the application and interview process was nothing compared to the feat that was finishing my thesis. You prepared me so incredibly well, and I'm very thankful."

Ashley Fowler ‘14 After graduation, Ashley accepted a position with the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for LGBT individuals. She works with HRC Global, the new international initiative of HRC. Since joining the team a little over six months ago, she has had the opportunity to meet and work with incredible activists from the US, as well as from all around the world. She notes: "This position aligns perfectly with my thesis/Lumen work and has propelled me into the work that I hope to continue to pursue. I've never been happier and I can't imagine a more appropriate start to my career!”

Nathan James '14: After graduation,Nathan moved to Hoboken, NJ to pursue a career with UPS Capital. At UPS Capital, the financial services arm of UPS, Nathan work as a consultant to help businesses mitigate supply chain risk and improve their cash flow. In the near future he plans on pursuing an MBA and launching an investment real estate operation, while his long-term goal is to expand his skills as an entrepreneur.

Julia Schast '14 is a recipient of the 2014 Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship grant for graduate study and is currently pursuing a law degree at the University of Virginia with the ultimate aspiration of practicing criminal law as a State or Federal prosecutor. During her senior year at Elon, Julia presented different sections of her Honors Thesis (on the ratification process of multilateral treaties in the United States) at three professional academic conferences: International Studies Association – South, Georgia Political Science Association, North Carolina Political Science Association. After graduating, Julia successfully published an article on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in Papers and Publications: Interdisciplinary Journal of Undergraduate Research. Her research paper on the Law of the Sea Convention – a condensed version of a case study in her thesis – has been published Questions in Politics, an internet-based archive of peer-reviewed scholarly papers sponsored by the Georgia Political Science Association. In her spare time, Julia serves as a co-founder and Board Member for a non-profit organization based in North Carolina called Model Washington whose mission is to provide college students with an experiential approach to understanding the roles and responsibilities of the United States Federal Government.

Keyona (Osborne) Jones '12 recently accepted a job offer with Mecklenburg County as a Strategic Planning & Evaluation Analyst. Keyona has lived in Charlotte, NC since graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Statistics, concentrating on social sciences. She has continued to build her skills and experience in quantitative and qualitative analysis over the last 4 years, and is finally in a role that more closely aligns with her passion for empowering others, particularly young African American youth. While at elon, Keyona helped rebirth the campus-wide celebration of Black History month. After Keyona graduates with her MBA, which she is studying at Queens University of Charlotte, Keyona plans to continue with that passion by founding a non-profit organization.

Tyler Zoda ’12
currently works as a Financial Consultant in Wholesale Banking at Wells Fargo in Charlotte, North Carolina. He assists with Wells Fargo’s ongoing Capital & Liquidity work in response to Basel III, as well as helping develop models used to forecast deposit balances and yields in a rising rate environment, and helping with Wells Fargo’s efforts to pass the annual Federal Reserve Stress Test.  In August of 2015, Tyler earned the right to use the Chartered Financial Analyst® designation and became a member of the CFA Institute. He passed all three examinations on his first attempt. Tyler got married on August 1, 2015 to his college sweetheart, Kelsey Thompson, ’12.

Danie Baquet '12 worked for Americorps and their Maryland Conservation Corps program for almost a year after graduation. He is currently in a Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Medical Program at Johns Hopkins University preparing to apply to medical schools over the next year.

Jess McDonald '12: Upon graduating, Jess accepted a position with Campus Pride, a national organization for students and campus groups committed to creating safer, more LGBTQ-friendly colleges and universities. Since then, Jess has been invited to Vice President Joe Biden's house as part of the White House Emerging LGBT Leaders Day, assisted in the co-founding of a LGBTQ community archives project in Charlotte, NC, and co-authored a book chapter titled "Landscaping Classrooms Toward Queer Utopias" with former Elon professor Dr. Kai Rands and Lauren Clapp '13. Jess was also awarded the 2013 Thomas Barnett "Breaking Down Barriers" scholarship from Elon University for work completed as part of a group project; the scholarship was used to bring queer trans disability activist and author Eli Clare to Elon in January 2015. In May 2015, Jess received an M.Ed. in Social Justice Education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with focuses on intergroup dialogue and serving LGBTQ populations in higher education and student affairs.

Chris Jarrett '11 received a Fulbright U.S. Student Grant for research in Ecuador. As part of his project, Chris will live and work among the Amazonian Kichwa people of the Napo province, interviewing community elders and documenting cultural narratives (stories, songs, dream interpretations and life lessons) associated with their guayusa tea ritual. These narratives will be written in Kichwa, translated to Spanish and English, and made into two small books with the goal of preserving cultural knowledge associated with the guayusa ritual. You can follow Chris' progress by visiting his blog.

Kiva Nice-Webb '11: After graduation, Kiva accepted two year-long terms in Chicago with the faith-based nonprofit DOOR. DOOR promotes cross-cultural learning through urban immersion experiences while living at the poverty line and serving as a full-time volunteer at a local nonprofit. Her thesis, entitled ‘The Hybrid Saint: Reading Brigit through a Postcolonial Lens,’ explores how different perspectives and notions of authority shape understandings of religious figures and narratives. A religious studies major, Kiva has had the opportunity to present her research at the Southeastern Commission for the Study of Religion conference in 2011 and will also have her research published in the Journal of Theta Alpha Kappa in 2013, both opportunities also resulting in awards for Best Undergraduate Submission.

Jonathan Mahlandt '10 conducted research on implicit learning while at Elon and during a semester abroad at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. Jonathan is pursuing his Ph.D. in experimental psychology and neuroscience at the University of California at San Diego, one of the most competitive and highly ranked programs in the field.

Chris Staskel '10 wrote, directed and staged the musical, “i.d.,” which tells the story of a woman with dissociative identity disorder. He is now a graduate student at New York University in the Tisch Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program.


Brian Beaty '09 conducted his honors thesis research on understanding how cells in the body determine when to proliferate and when to undergo programmed cell death. He is now an MD-PhD student at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, NY. Brian’s PhD thesis focuses on the mechanisms of breast cancer cell metastasis and was recently selected as a highlighted article in the cell biology journal Molecular Biology of the Cell. He plans to specialize in oncology when he graduates from medical school in June 2016.

Tori Davis ’09 is a Fulbright Scholar who researched Japanese Government rhetoric concerning Jietitai (Japan Self-Defense Forces) deployments at Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan. She obtained an MPhil in International Relations at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, spending several years thereafter as a Security Operations Analyst with Systems Planning and Analysis, Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based defense contracting company, supporting the DHS Office of Infrastructure Protection and the DOD Program Executive Offices for Aircraft Carriers and Submarines. Beginning in Fall 2016, Tori will enroll in the University of Southern California’s Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures doctoral program to pursue a PhD in medieval Japanese literature, focusing on political narratives surrounding the monstrous. Read more.

Breanna Detwiler '09
is a Truman Scholar, Udall Scholar and Mitchell Scholar. She has a master’s degree in environmental management from Queen’s University in Belfast and is the Environmental Policy Coordinator and Assistant to the President for the Airlie Foundation in Warrenton, Va.


Larissa Ferretti '09 is a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow pursuing her Ph.D. in human development at Auburn University. Her research is centered on understanding positive social-emotional, academic, and health outcomes among ecologically vulnerable children. She has had the privilege of presenting her work at the Society for Research in Child Development and the American Educational Research Association, among others. Her research has been published in the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology and Early Child Development and Care. While at Auburn, she has been the instructor of two courses: Child Development and Parent Education. In Fall 2014, Larissa will move to New York City where she will serve as a preschool teacher with Teach for America.

Alyse Knorr '09: Alyse is a poet and assistant professor of English at Regis University in Denver. She is the author of Super Mario Bros. 3 (Boss Fight Books 2016), Copper Mother (Switchback Books 2016), Annotated Glass (Furniture Press Books 2013), and Mega-City Redux, which was selected by Olena Kalytiak Davis to win  the 2016 Green Mountains Review Book Prize. She also authored the poetry chapbooks Epithalamia (Horse Less Press 2015) and Alternates (Dancing Girl Press 2014). Her work has appeared in Denver Quarterly, Columbia Poetry Review, The Greensboro Review, Hayden's Ferry Review, storySouth, ZYZZYVA, Caketrain, and The Southern Poetry Anthology: Georgia, among others. She received her MFA from George Mason University. She currently serves as a volunteer editor for My Kid Is Gay and as a co-founding editor of Gazing Grain Press, a publisher of inclusive feminist literary work. Visit her at http://www.alyseknorr.com.


Amy Reitnouer '09: After graduation, Amy worked at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and then moved to Los Angeles to take a position assisting Tom Sherak, president of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. While working with the Academy Awards, Amy fed her passion for bluegrass music, which began during her college years at Elon. She began a blog called BluegrassLA in 2011 and it gained popularity among old-time music fans in California. In 2012, Amy co-founded and became the Executive Director of The Bluegrass Situation, merging her blog with actor Ed Helms' music festival to form a joint venture and a website, www.thebluegrasssituation.com. Amy describes The Bluegrass Situation as "half editorial, half live activation," because they produce editorial content such as reviews, videos, and columns as well as put on festivals and shows. Amy attributes her ability to make the connections between roots music and the audience's lifestyle to the team-taught Honors courses she took during her time at Elon, as well as her liberal arts education. She says that coming from the Honors program and a liberal arts background, her career path "wasn't a crazy jump. It's the same skill set, you just have to shift your perspective."

Kristen R.R. Savell '09: Kristen graduated from Elon's Honors Program in 2009 with a BA in religious studies. Upon graduating, Kristen went on to North Carolina State University and graduated in 2012 with an MA in Anthropology. She recently rose to Ph.D. candidacy in the University of Tennessee Knoxville's biological anthropology program with a focus on the evolution of human limb and body proportions. Her first publication was recently released in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (Savell KRR, Roseman CC, Auerbach BM. 2016. Constraint, natural selection, and the evolution of human body form. PNAS 13(34): 9492-9497. doi:10. 1073/pnas. 1603632113). Kristen is hoping to graduate in the spring of 2018 with her Ph.D. in Anthropology and move into a teaching-focused tenure track position in anthropology (biological/evolutionary) or biology (human anatomy/human evolution). In 2014, she married Nicholas R. Savell, an Elon Honors Student from 2005-2006.

Patrick Morse '08: Patrick graduated from Elon's Honors Program in 2008 with a BS in psychology. Upon graduating, Patrick completed his Master's degree at Villanova University and his PhD at the University of California, Riverside. Finally wrapping up his schooling at the tender age of 30, Patrick joined the faculty in the Department of Psychological Sciences at Belmont University in the fall of 2016. The thought of becoming a professor had never crossed his mind until his honors mentor at Elon said it was within the realm of possibility, and Patrick has been in stubborn pursuit of that career since. Patrick is well aware of the fact that landing his dream job at a university would not have been possible without the guidance of his mentor, let alone Elon's Honors Program.

Rebecca Hewitt-Newson '07: Rebecca lives in Mission Hills, California and serves as the Senior Chaplain at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center.  She achieved board certification in November 2013.