As ever, College alumni continue to produce amazing work that improves lives, betters the world and inspires joy. The ongoing Alumni in Action series highlights some of our outstanding graduates and their contributions to the places they live and work.
Daniel J. Watts ’04 becomes Elon’s first Tony-nominated performer
Daniel J. Watts ’04 became Elon’s first performer to be nominated for a Tony Award in fall 2020 for his portrayal of Ike Turner in “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical.” Watts, a music theatre program alumnus, had previously appeared on Broadway in musicals like “The Color Purple,” “Memphis,” “Hamilton” and “After Midnight.” Playing Turner was his first leading role on Broadway. During the theater shutdown Watts continued “The Jam,” his series of self-produced and -written shows, for online audiences. Watts returned to Elon to serve as the Class of 2021’s commencement speaker in May.
Chris Adamik ’20 helps develop Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine
Chris Adamik went directly from graduating Elon with a degree in biochemistry to working in Moderna’s DNA manufacturing lab in the summer of 2020. Cultivating DNA for the company’s mRNA vaccines, he was part of the team growing and purifying the DNA used to produce and test Moderna’s mRNA vaccine. That vaccine has been administered to millions since its release in December, a critical step in ending the pandemic.
Accidental journalist Alli Lindenberg ’17 spreads hope with podcast ‘Hope Starts Here’
Tired of the constant stream of “bad news,” human service studies alumna Alli Lindenberg ’17 created the “Hope Starts Here” podcast, guided by her desire to tell stories and help others. She looked to the community around her in the Raleigh, North Carolina, area, and found and told its stories of people moving ahead during the pandemic.
Hannah McHugh ’13 G’17 puts her patients and students first
Hannah McHugh ’13 G’17 wears many hats. An adjunct assistant professor of physical therapy at Elon, a senior physical therapist at Duke University Hospital, a guest lecturer at UNC’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program, and a lab assistant and researcher at Duke, she’s continued in those and other roles since the pandemic began. McHugh graduated with a degree in exercise science in 2013 and earned her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree at Elon in 2017.
Anna Slattery ’13 mitigates the impact of COVID-19 on at-risk communities
Anna Slattery ’13 is using her position as a communications officer for the Hunger Project to slow the global spread of COVID-19. Slattery graduated from the International and Global Studies program. The Hunger Project advocates for sustainable, women-centered strategies for ending global hunger and poverty. In February 2020, Slattery was assigned to the Hunger Project’s five-person Global COVID-19 Task Force, strategizing how to protect vulnerable populations from COVID-19. The project disseminated vital health information to 500,000 community leaders in 14,000 villages in Africa, Latin America and South Asia, reaching an estimated 16.5 million people.
Cecelia Thompson ’05 documents neighborhood life in the pandemic
A 2005 alumna of the sociology program, Cecelia Thompson contributed to a book collecting stories and photographs of Greensboro’s Westerwood neighborhood during the pandemic. Photos and stories came from front-yard conversations with people on their porches. The project preserved a moment in time and put her sociology skills to work in connecting with people and exploring what it means to be human.