Melissa Will Banta '04 G'06
Inpatient therapy manager, Sheltering Arms Rehabilitation Hospital
A graduate of Elon's undergraduate and graduate programs, Melissa has distinguished herself as a leader not only in her workplace, the Sheltering Arms Physical Rehabilitation Center, but also the greater field of stroke rehabilitation.
A doctor of physical therapy and inpatient therapy manager of the facility, Melissa led Sheltering Arms' efforts to achieve Stroke Center Certification from the Joint Commission. The process included the development of Sheltering Arms' iWALK Recovery Center, which uses state-of-the-art technology to help patients, especially those recovering from stroke, to learn to walk again. The program is regarded as one of the first of its kind in the country, and Melissa was invited to present about the success of iWALK at the National Physical Therapy Conference in Chicago earlier this year. She also wrote an article about the program for Advance for PT Magazine.
Grateful to Elon for helping prepare her for her career, Melissa regularly hosts Elon DPT students for clinical rotations.
Dominic Barrett '06
Executive director, Shalom Farms
From a six-acre organic farm in Goochland, Va., about 40 minutes outside of Richmond, Dominic touches thousands of lives in the city. As executive director of Shalom Farms, he oversees production of more than 35,000 pounds of produce destined for "food deserts" in Richmond each year, including after-school programs, food pantries, soup kitchens and youth-run farm stands.
At Shalom Farms, Dominic leads programs that teach more than 2,000 adults and children sustainable agriculture skills annually and engages more than 1,500 volunteers - all of whom have helped make the project one of Richmond Magazine's "50 Things We Love About Richmond."
Dominic, who worked in a similar capacity for the Palmetto Project in Charleston, S.C., before moving to Richmond in 2010, has been named one of Bread of the World's 75 Hunger Justice Leaders under 30. Last year, the Richmond Times-Dispatch profiled Dominic and Shalom Farms for its "Making a Difference" series. Outside of work, Dominic serves on advisory boards for Richmond Public Schools, and volunteers wiht Big Brothers/Big Sisters and the YWCA.
James Black '09
U.S. Army Specialist, psychological operations
"Not many recently graduated economids majors decide to join the army," wrote a nominator, but James isn't most economics majors. Less than two years after Commencement, he was deployed to Helmand Province, Afghanistan, as a psychological operations specialist in the U.S. Army. He quickly observed that the substandard level of education made the local population susceptible to manipulation by the insurgency, and that children were the most significantly affected.
In August 2011, James reached out to his Elon network, soliciting more than 800 pounds of school supplies from the university and its surrounding community and an additional 500 pounds of supplies from the U.S. Marine Corps. The items were distributed to more than 200 students throughout the province, prompting a colleague to say James' efforts helped "turn the tables in his area of deployment."
James' project earned him the Army Commendation Medal and consideration for the Navy Achievement Medal. Though he returned to the United States in January, James' efforts live on: the success of the project has been used to promote other outreach efforts in Helmand Province.
Stephen Charles '03
Director of medical education, University of Kansas School of Medicine
Since graduating from Elon in 2003, Stephen has worked tirelessly to help his students take advantage of their educational opportunities. Early in his teaching career, Steve was recognized as the Guilford County (N.C.) Rookie Science Teacher of the Year and was selected by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction to redesign the state's physical science curriculum and testing instruments. In the latter role, Steve began carving out a nice that would hold his future career.
While pursuing a master's degree in adult education from North Carolina Agricultural & Technical University, Steve served as a curriculum facilitator for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's School of Medicine. Later, he worked in a similar capacity at the University of South Florida's College of Medicine while pursuing a second master's degree and a doctorate in curriculum and instruction.
In July 2011, Steve was hired to be the director of medical education at the University of Kansas School of Medicine in Wichita, where he is tasked with redesigning the medical education program, overseeing the standardized patient center, implementing an expanded four-year medical school and working with faculty at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.
Maria Teresa Interiano '07
Reporter and producer, Telefutura/Univision Network
Maria Teresa has come a long way from her days as a reporter for Phoenix14News and has steadily advanced at Univision Communications and Telefutura, the leading media company serving Hispanic America.
As an entertainment producer and reporter, Maria Teresa has served as the main correspondent for Univision and Telefutura's most prominent live shows, including "Premio Juventud," "Premio lo Nuestro," "Latin Grammy" and the reality show "Nuestra Belleza Latina." She has produced and anchored several popular entertainment segments through which she has interviewed movie stars including Hugh Jackman, Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp. The experience no doubt contributed to her selection as Telefutura's main correspondent for the April 2011 Royal Wedding of Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.
Most recently, Maria Teresa was tapped as a producer and reporter for "Tombola," a quick-hitting entertainment and news show. She also has joined Univision's morning show, "Despierta America" as an entertainment reporter, and some of her assignments have included reporting from the Golden Globe Awards and the Oscars. Outside of work, Maria Teresa is a passionate supporter of Teleton Mexico, which aims to bring together the international community with the goal of enhancing the quality of life for children and young people with disabilities.
Erin Lawless '03
Senior partnerships director, Atlas Service Corps.
Erin was an avid volunteer during her Elon years, and she continued her goodwill pursuits long after Commencement. She completed a master's degree in public health from Boston University and volunteered with the Peace Corps in Uganda, working in a small village to raise awareness about AIDS while helping its residents lead healthier lives. Moved by her experience, Erin founded a nonprofit organizaiton there called Hope of the Generation Uganda, which she continues to lead today.
Erin applied the knowledge she gained from her years in Africa as a program volunteer manager for Rebuilding Together, a national nonprofit organization that works to provide affordable housing and assist in community revitalization efforts. In 2010, Rebuilding Together promoted her to associate director for national service preograms, a role that required Erin to manage the organizatio's nationwide AmeriCorps volunteer program, which included 65 members at 33 host sites in 20 states.
In 2011, Erin was hired by Atlas Service Corps as its senior partnerships director. She serves as the organization's primary recruiter and liaison between its headquarters in Washington, D.C., and more than 30 host organizations nationwide.
Jay Perry '03
Owner, Seal Pros, Inc. and Pothole Pros, Inc.
Jay purchased Maryland-based Seal Pros, a pavement company in 2001 as an Elon sophomore. He'd previously worked as a foreman in the company, which at the time employed just two people and owned one maintenance truck. Jay paid off his bank loan by scheduling jobs from Elon during the week, then traveling to and from Maryland during the weekends to finish the work. Fast-forward a decade, and Seal Pros is flourishing with more than 20 employees during its peak season to serve residential, commercial and municipal clients.
Last year, Jay and a partner founded Pothole Pros, a company that uses state-of-the-art infrared technology to repair asphalt - a method that's faster, cheaper and more durable and environmentally friendly than traditional methods. Pothole Pros was asked to present on its infrared technology at the National Association of Power Engineers in September, and Jay is working with state and local governments to make infrared technology the preferred method of repairing roadways in Maryland.
Jay adn his wife, Shannon Courtney Perry '03, live with their two children in Brandywine, Md., where Jay serves as head of the youth group at Christ Church Accokeek.
Elizabeth Schrauder-Ermis '04
Instructional technologist, High Point University
High Point, N.C.
Elizabeth's professional accomplishments are impressive; for example, while studying for a master's degree in instructional technology, she entered and won the 2009 Association of Educational Communications and Technology/PacifiCorp Instructional Design and Development Competition, defeating doctoral teams from leading universities in the process. Today, she serves as the only instructional technologist for High Point University, a rapidly growing liberal arts institution just west of Elon.
Yet it's Elizabeth's service pursuits that are especially notable. Last year, Elizabeth received the President's Award from the March of Dimes as a top-100 national individual fundraiser. The March of Dimes' mission to support research about premature birth and birth defects hits home for Elizabeth, whose younger brother died after being born nearly 10 weeks premature and whose own son, Daniel, was born with a major congenital heart defect. She has served on the March of Dimes' Triad steering committee and ranked as the area's top fundraiser for two years running. Elizabeth also participates in the local chapter of Mended Little Hearts, a national support group for families of children with heart defects.
Jamie Sclater '02
U.S. Navy lead petty officer, hospital corpsman and sniper
Twentynine Palms, Calif.
Jamie never intended to dedicate his career to the United States military. Yet admiration for his Navy SEAL roommate's service inspired him to enlist in the Navy in 2003, and he's never looked back.
In his more than eight years of service, Jamie has been deployed to war zones four times: in 2006, as a corpsman in Kunar Province, Afghanistan; in 2007, as an assistant sniper team leader in Haditha, Iraq; in 2009, as a trauma corpsman and anesthesia technician at the Multi-National Role III trauma center in Afghanistan; and last year, as a lead petty officer in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
Before his last deployment, Jamie was promoted to lead petty officer just a day prior to departing with his men, and he was placed in charge of all medical and administrative needs for a battalion of mroe than 1,000 Marines. Under Jamie's leadership, his battalion experienced a killed-in-action ratio of less than half a percent, and more than 30 of his junior sailors earned nominations for awards ranging from the Bronze Star to the Navy and Marine Corps commendation medals.
Jamie has received numerous honors, including the Army Commendation Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps achievement medals and the Navy and Marine Corps commendation medals. He currently is in training to operate in clandestine operations, and the results of this training will determine his future in military service.
Summur Shaikh '03
Producer, ABC's "The View"
New York, N.Y.
In fewer than 10 years, Summur has achieved the kind of career success that takes most people in the entertainment industry decades to accomplish. In April 2011, she was promoted to producer of ABC Television's hit talk show, "The View," which has her working intimately with the show's five household names: Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Sherri Shepherd and Barbara Walters.
Nearly all of Summur's professional life has been spent with "The View," for which she interned as an Elon student in 2001. Hired after her graduation, she moved from temporary receptionist to full-time tape coordinator to associate producer in just two years. Since 2005, she has been writing scripts, editing segments, interviewing celebrity guests and, in short, playing a critical role in the production of one of TV's most popular programs.
A loyal Elon alumna, Summur is a role model for communications students. She makes herself available to speak with students interested in working in broadcasting and in New York City, and her connections have helped open doors to internships at ABC Television and elsewhere for Elon students.
Ian Baltutis’ drive to “improve the world around him – through volunteering, creating new products, or by just being friendly – is intoxicating,” wrote a nominator. “Ian is always innovating.” That drive prompted Ian to turn a patented material developed by his parents – Sorbothane – into vibration-dampening coasters for the feet of washing machines.
Along with two fellow Elon students, including R.J. Yozwiak ’08, also a Top 10 Under 10 Award recipient, Ian formed The Vibration Solution, LLC, to market the product, “Silent Feet.” The product won the 2008 Evansville New Venture Creation Competition grand prize and the 2009 Reed Business Design News Golden Mousetrap Award. As co-owner of The Vibration Solution over the past three years, Ian has helped guide the company to 300 percent growth.
Ian’s innovative spirit and sharp business acumen – he has Six Sigma Black Belt certification from both NC State University and Alamance Community College – have been put to use at Honda Power Equipment Manufacturing in Swepsonville, N.C. As an ERP Ordering Improvement Project Leader, Ian has successfully implemented new manufacturing technologies that have resulted in multimillion-dollar savings for the plant.
Yet Ian’s biggest impact may come through his service to his community. An Eagle Scout, Ian works closely with the Alamance District of the Boy Scouts of America. As the district’s Camporee chair, he facilitates fun and educational experiences for the county’s youth. He also advises Elon’s chapter of Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity, of which he was a member, and tutors students weekly at Alexander Wilson Elementary School in Graham, N.C.
Alexander “Webb” Bond, a nominator wrote, “would be the first to tell you that he is living his dream by building his professional career to support his family and give back to his community.”
Professional success came early and naturally for Webb, who began work at Brown and Brown Insurance in Tampa, Fla., just nine days after graduating from Elon in 2008. He thrived as a commercial account executive, receiving Brown and Brown’s Rookie of the Year Award in 2009, and has quickly become one of its top producers.
But Webb wasn’t satisfied to succeed on his own; he wanted to share his expertise with others to help them succeed, too, and now leads Brown and Brown’s New Producer Training Program.
Webb brings the same selfless vigor to his myriad service pursuits in the greater Tampa- St. Petersburg area. He co-chairs the St. Petersburg Rotary Club’s Rotary-in-Action committee, helping to determine where the club’s time and financial resources are spent. A faithful parishioner at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in St. Petersburg, he teaches pre-kindergarteners through first-graders in Sunday School.
He remains active in his collegiate fraternity, Kappa Alpha Order, as a chapter adviser, alumni chapter treasurer and deputy province commander. He also is a member of the Freemasons. The St. Petersburg Times recognized Webb’s outstanding professional and service accomplishments in 2010, when the newspaper featured him as one of the area’s “Rising Stars.”
Bruce Cameron is at the heart of business and economic development in his hometown of Wilmington, N.C., one of the state’s up-andcoming business centers. As a partner of Shelter Creek Capital and vice president of Shelter Creek Lime and Stone, Bruce is rapidly becoming one of the region’s most influential leaders in attracting businesses.
Bruce played a key role in developing the North Carolina Logistics Park, a 50-acre tract designed to draw new businesses to the Wilmington region. He was instrumental in attracting Novant Health to renovate and expand Brunswick Community Hospital with a new 74-bed medical center, expanding much-needed health care services to a growing population. Before joining Shelter Creek Capital, Bruce was a principal with Cameron Management and held several responsibilities at Brunswick Forest, one of the premier residential and mixed use developments in the North Carolina coastal region.
While at Brunswick Forest, Bruce worked closely with the developer, Lord Baltimore Properties, assisting in the planning and administration of the property’s infrastructure development. During his tenure there, he oversaw the completion of several neighborhood developments as well as the Cape Fear National Golf Course. Prior to working with Brunswick Forest, Bruce spent several years at Funston Company, a heavy construction company focusing on site work, grading and paving.
As the executive director of Healthy Alamance, a nonprofit affiliate of Alamance Regional Medical Center and the Alamance County Health Department, April Durr carries a weighty responsibility. She’s tasked with coordinating the Alamance County Health Assessment, which is used by nonprofit and government agencies to plan policies and programs that affect Alamance’s more than 150,000 residents.
It’s been a natural progression for April, who as an Elon human services major “became aware of the needs of this community and made a decision to dedicate her career to Alamance County and particularly to the neighborhoods that received fewer resources than others,” a nominator wrote.
Upon her graduation from Elon, April remained in Burlington, N.C., serving as a community outreach coordinator for CrossRoads Sexual Assault Response and Resource Center. She later worked as a youth director for Mosaic Rural Wellness Center, Inc., in Saxapahaw, N.C., before moving on to lead Healthy Alamance.
April’s dedication to making a difference in her community isn’t limited to her working hours. She maintains close ties to Elon, mentoring students in the human service and public health studies programs and sitting on the advisory board for the Kernodle Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement. April continues to volunteer for Crossroads, as well as Play on Productions, an organization supporting women’s athletics, and the Guilford Green Foundation, which promotes diversity and inclusiveness for lesbian, gay, transgender and transsexual citizens in the greater Piedmont Triad region. Recently, April played a key role in North Park in Motion, a revitalization effort in one of Burlington’s struggling neighborhoods.
Kali Geskus’ involvement with Family Abuse Services of Alamance County, Inc., dates to her Elon days. While studying human services at Elon, Kali interned and volunteered with the agency, which supports victims of domestic violence. Family Abuse Services hired Kali immediately after her graduation in May 2007. Within a year, she was promoted to Court Advocacy Program coordinator where, a nominator wrote, she “was instrumental in turning the program from a grassroots effort into a highly professional and quality service to help clients get their lives under control after serious abuse.”
Kali developed the Family Justice Center Collaborative, which brings together Alamance County’s judicial, social service, law enforcement and related nonprofit agencies to better coordinate services for individuals and families. She attended domestic violence court weekly to support her clients, led crisis counseling intervention and managed the agency’s relationships with county officials and offices. In recognition of Kali’s achievements, Family Abuse Services promoted her to director of client services, where she continues to oversee the Court Advocacy Program and manages the agency’s supervised visitation program.
Constantly seeking to improve services for her clients, Kali has completed training in a variety of areas, including address confidentiality, court advocacy, danger assessment and domestic violence. In 2010, she applied and was accepted to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s highly competitive master’s program in social work.
When he returned to Elon’s campus in 2007 after completing his master’s degree in education at Clemson University, Darris Means couldn’t have imagined the impact he’d have on the dozens of Alamance County high school students who would one day enroll in the Elon Academy. But four years later, Darris, the academy’s assistant director, “makes dreams come true,” wrote a nominator. “For many of these students, he is the first to believe in them and the first to ever tell them that they can attend college.”
Darris oversees many of the Elon Academy’s day-to-day operations, such as hiring staff and recruiting participants. With the first class of Elon Academy students in their first years of college, Darris has spent significant time traveling to visit the academy’s 21 alumni at 13 campuses across the country, providing academic, social and emotional support.
He has shared his experiences and research with colleagues in more than 20 presentations at the local, regional and national levels, two peer-reviewed journal articles and his membership in professional organizations such as the American College Personnel Association, National Partnership for Educational Access and North Carolina College Personnel Association. Darris has received numerous awards for his work, including the 2010 North Carolina College Personnel Association’s Committee Member of the Year Award, the 2010 Phi Kappa Phi Love of Learning Award and mention in the 2008 “40 Leaders Under Forty” feature in The Business Journal of the Greater Triad Area.
In 2010, Darris began work toward his doctorate in educational research and policy analysis at NC State University and expects to graduate in 2014.
During his four-year career as an investment advisor in Winston-Salem, N.C., George Memory successfully led his clients through the recession, he earned a sterling reputation among his colleagues and his loyal client base. “In his financial planning team,” wrote a nominator, “he distinguishes himself with independence and self-confidence.” Recently, his partnership, The Sullivan Memory McCulloch Group of Winston-Salem, joined a boutique investment firm, Stephens Private Client Group.
Equally devoted to his community, George has been a longtime volunteer for Habitat for Humanity of Forsyth County. He has served on the organization’s board of directors since 2008 and, in 2009, he co-founded Habitat’s Young Professionals, which has raised more than $100,000 to build homes in Winston-Salem. In 2010, he served as chairman of the committee.
George also holds juvenile diabetes charities close to his heart. Since his diagnosis of Type I Diabetes in 1993, he has taken leadership roles in the American Diabetes Association through his involvement with Camp Carolina Trails, a diabetic-only overnight camp at Camp Hanes in King, N.C. He also leads an overnight camping trip at Hanging Rock State Park with high school-age diabetics.
An alumnus of Elon’s men’s tennis team, George stays active in the sport, competing in statewide tennis competitions. He takes advantage of occasional opportunities to teach tennis to young people, having received his United States Tennis Professional Association Certification in 2006.
In the fewer than five years since she graduated from Elon, Gabrielle Raymond has distinguished herself as a premier event planner and manager in New York City. Currently working in the cause marketing division of the Major League Baseball Commissioner’s Office, she manages initiatives for all 30 MLB teams involving the
league’s major nonprofit partners, including the Jackie Robinson Foundation and Susan G. Komen for the Cure. She has worked on several high-profile events surrounding the annual MLB All Star Game, including the All Star Charity Concert, which has featured Jon Bon Jovi, Sheryl Crow and Elvis Costello.
“Gabrielle looks at society’s ills and looks for ways to involve the corporate world in solving them,” wrote a nominator. To that end, in 2009, she lent her talents to the Stephen Siller Children’s Foundation, which she served as the inaugural gala chairwoman. The 2009 event, which honored former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, ex-NFL star George Martin and actor John Turturro, raised more than $140,000 for the pediatric unit of the NYC Firefighters Burn Hospital. She has since worked with the foundation’s annual Tunnels to Towers run and concert.
Seeking to engage fellow young professionals in New York City, Gabrielle founded NY Fresh Connections in May 2009. The nonprofit organization seeks to involve young adults in meaningful service through leadership, professional development and charitable events, such as frequent Habitat for Humanity service days throughout the city and a program cosponsored by designer Catherine Malandrino that raised more than $3,000 for the Adelphi NY Statewide Breast Cancer Hotline and Support Program.
In December 2010, the Greenville (Miss.) Arts Council promoted MacKenzie Stroh from director of operations to executive director, making her the youngest individual ever to hold the position. Yet the council had no reservations in placing such responsibility in MacKenzie’s hands, as she was no stranger to the council or the area.
MacKenzie first came to Mississippi after graduating from Elon as part of Teach for America. She taught visual arts at Madison Shannon Palmer High School in Marks, Miss., for two years, developing the curriculum for the school’s Art I and Art II courses. For her efforts, she was named Palmer High’s teacher of the month for May 2008. While teaching, she interned with the Greenville Arts Council as an arts education assistant. After working for a year at Washington & Jefferson College in Washington, Pa., MacKenzie returned to the Mississippi Delta in 2010 to become the director of operations at the Greenville Arts Council. In her roles with the council, she has worked tirelessly to bring art to the local community, especially underserved populations, by coordinating gallery shows, organizing student art outreach programs in area schools and developing summer art programs for children.
When her term as executive director concludes, MacKenzie plans to pursue a master’s degree in arts administration with an eye toward continuing her career in educational policy. Outside of work, MacKenzie remains active in Teach for America as a recruiter and mentor for the Mississippi Delta region and participates in shows with the Delta Center Stage Community Theater.
As an Elon senior, R.J. Yozwiak partnered with fellow Elon student and Top 10 Under 10 Award recipient Ian Baltutis ’08 to create The Vibration Solution, LLC, which designs, produces and sells vibration dampening coasters to reduce the structural noise of washing machines. The coasters, dubbed “Silent Feet,” won the grand prize award at the 2008 Evansville New Venture Creation Competition and the 2009 Reed Business Design News Golden Mousetrap Best Product Award. Over the past three years, R.J. has helped guide the company to 300 percent growth.
R.J. brings his entrepreneurial spirit and business development skills to bear as a channel sales executive with Tripp Lite Power Protection in Chicago. He manages more than 70 accounts that attributed for more than $3 million in annual revenue and is tasked with creating marketing initiatives to promote and sell Tripp Lite products. Before joining Tripp Lite in 2009, R.J. worked for The Ocean Agency, a boutique online marketing company based in Chicago. He helped grow the agency’s business and attract clients ranging from start-up entrepreneurs to multimillion-dollar corporations.
A proud Elon alumnus, R.J. has been an active member of the university’s Chicago Alumni Chapter, serving a term as its treasurer. He also volunteers with animal care at PAWS, Chicago’s largest no-kill shelter and humane adoption organization.