Spotlight on our Honors students from 2005-2010

Jonathan Mahlandt ’10

Jonathan Mahlandt, a Fellows student doing psychology research with a computer program he helped develop.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

Lumen Scholar Christopher Staskel leads a rehearsal in Yeager Recital Hall.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

Brian BeatyBrian 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

Tori DavisTori 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 on E-net.

Breanna Detwiler ’09

Breanna "Bre" Detwiler '09 works in the Community Garden behind the Truitt Center for Religious and Spiritual Life.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

Larissa FerrettiLarissa 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 KnorrAlyse 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

Amy Reitnouer ’09

Amy ReitnouerAfter 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, 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 MorsePatrick 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.