2020 Top 10 Under 10 Alumni Award Recipients
Meet the Recipients
Jay Reno ’10
Founder and CEO, Feather
A business administration graduate, Reno is the founder and CEO of Feather, a next-generation furniture rental company for city dwellers focused on keeping furniture in homes and out of landfills. Since graduating from Elon, he received a master’s degree in climate and environmental science from Columbia University. Reno is recognized as one of Inc Magazine’s “Rising Stars,” and has been featured in the New York Times, ABC News, CBS News, Forbes, Vogue, and most proudly, his hometown newspaper, the Concord Monitor.
Emily Adams ’11
Eastern and Southern Africa Science Coordination Lead, NASA SERVIR Science Coordination Office/Research Assistant with The University of Alabama in Huntsville
A biology and environmental studies graduate, Adams’ interest in biology, environmental science and international development came together during her second Winter Term at Elon, when she took a field biology study abroad course in Peru. She now works at SERVIR, a partnership of NASA, USAID and leading technical organizations around the world that develops innovative solutions to improve livelihoods and foster self-reliance in Asia, Africa and the Americas. Emily is directly responsible for supporting and/or coordinating the direct science support, capacity building and service planning activities for the SERVIR Eastern and Southern Africa Hub, based at the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development in Nairobi, Kenya. She is also a research associate with The University of Alabama in Huntsville.
Nick Dyer ’11
Head of Digital, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon
A broadcast & news media graduate, Dyer began his career in the television industry at Comedy Central’s parent company, Viacom. Over the past eight years, he has worked across a variety of TV series including The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, South Park, Key & Peele, Tosh.0, Nathan For You and more. Over the next four years Dyer led digital efforts for the channel’s news and stand-up programming – a role that earned him and The Daily Show an Emmy award in 2017 for “Outstanding Short Form Variety Series,” recognizing the team’s online video content supplementing the late-night television program. He has received a collection of industry accolades throughout his career including two consecutive Emmy nominations for “Outstanding Interactive Program” and the Outdoor Lions Grand Prix award at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Dyer currently serves as the Head of Digital at The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, where he oversees the development of digital content, strategy, and production for the late night program.
Kristin Kostka ’11
Associate Director of OMOP Data Networks – Americas at IQVIA
An exercise science graduate, Kostka’s passion for outcome research started in 2009 when she received IRB permission to conduct her first correlational case study examining alcohol education initiatives in NCAA Athletes. With the help of her mentor, Professor Amanda Tapler, Kostka got her first taste of presenting research at the APHA 138th Meeting & Exposition. Kostka is currently an Associate Director running the OMOP Data Network at IQVIA. She also sits on the Steering Committee within the Observational Health Data Sciences & Informatics (OHDSI) community – a global, multi-disciplinary open source community of more than 200 organizations aimed at improving patient outcomes through large-scale analytics. In her work, Kostka collaborates with hospitals, payers and healthcare providers to help institutions connect and run research within the world’s largest observational health data network. In 2020, Kostka spearheaded a research network of 23 data partners from 8 countries to respond to COVID-19. This work has culminated into more than 18 papers on COVID-19 trends in real world data.
Allie Solender Boyd ’12
Physics teacher, Apex Friendship High School
A physics and secondary science education graduate, Boyd teaches physics at Apex Friendship High School in Apex, North Carolina, where she has built the physics program from the ground up. In 2017, she was named National PhysTEC Teacher of the Year for her service to physics education and work within her classroom, after she increased physics enrollment not only throughout the school, but especially among young women. Boyd is committed to being a leader in her field through speaking at conferences such as the American Association of Physics Teachers, APS Conferences for Undergraduate Women in Physics and Bridging the Gap. She was also responsible for rewriting Wake County’s physics curriculum and serves on the Science Core Leadership Team to help support other science teachers within the county.
Alex Dempsey ’12
Associate, Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners
A finance and accounting graduate, Dempsey’s dedication to service started early in his life and permeated through his time at Elon and his career. While at Elon, he served as the President of the campus Habitat for Humanity chapter, participated in two Hurricane Katrina relief trips, and was Philanthropy and Service Chairs for his fraternity, Sigma Phi Epsilon. Since his time at Elon, Dempsey has dedicated his career to stopping Climate Change. While at York Capital, he helped finance over $1 billion of renewable energy projects across the globe. After leaving York for the World Bank Group, Dempsey worked on projects that preserved forests and animal sanctuaries in Kenya, distributed clean cook stoves to remote areas of Rwanda, and helped the solar energy sectors in India and Brazil. He graduated with an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in May of 2020. Currently, he works as an Associate at Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners in Houston, Texas where he is investing in renewable energy and net zero carbon infrastructure projects.
Ryan Keur ’12
Managing Partner, Knuckleball Entertainment
A sports and event management graduate, Keur has spent the first decade of his career post-Elon in the sports and entertainment industry. In 2013, he was named the General Manager of the Burlington Royals and was the youngest GM in professional baseball at the age of 24. In each subsequent season, the team achieved record highs in total attendance and revenues. Keur was awarded the Appalachian League Executive of the Year for each of the three seasons in 2014, 2015, and 2016. Following the 2016 season, Keur was recruited to Daytona Beach where he became the Team President for the Daytona Tortugas, a High-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. After his inaugural season with the Tortugas, Keur was awarded with national recognition by Baseball America and Ballpark Digest as the overall Minor League Baseball Executive of the Year in 2017. Currently, he and his wife, Brittany, both live in Raleigh where they own two baseball teams, the Burlington Sock Puppets and the Danville Otterbots, and have the greatest ballpark dog, Barley.
Brenna Humphries ’13
Management Consulting Manager, Accenture
A business administration graduate, Humphries has dreamed since she was young of serving others through leadership. She began actualizing these dreams at Elon University, where she was an Isabella Cannon Leadership Fellow, resident assistant and member of the Elon University Gospel Choir. Upon graduation in 2013, Humphries joined Oracle as a software consultant in her hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. She then pursued an MBA from Washington University in St. Louis. While there, Humphries was named one of the “Best and Brightest MBA’s of the Class of 2018” by Poets & Quants, an honor only given to 100 student leaders from the world’s top MBA programs. She now lives in Philadelphia and works in healthcare management consulting with Accenture. In that role, she leads her team to optimize clients’ business processes using innovative technology and attributes Elon University as the launchpad for her leadership and career achievements.
Heather Harder ’14
Marketing & Communications Director, RSE Ventures
A strategic communications graduate, Harder began writing when she was 6 years old and never stopped. A Communications Fellow at Elon, she was the winner of the 2014 Arthur W. Page Case Study competition, served as president of the Public Relations Student Society of America and graduated as the Outstanding Strategic Communications Senior. Harder was also elected National President of PRSSA, overseeing communications and programming for 10,000 student members across the country. After a brief stint of speechwriting at ExxonMobil, Harder joined Ketchum in Raleigh, North Carolina, before moving to New York City to do financial communications at Prosek Partners, with clients such as Ernst & Young and Travelers. In 2018, she was recruited to oversee communications at RSE Ventures, an investment firm led by CEO Matt Higgins and real estate billionaire Stephen Ross. In this role, Harder splits her time between managing the CEO’s brand and working with RSE’s extensive portfolio of consumer and entertainment companies.
Fergie Philippe ’17
A music theatre graduate, Philippe first caught the theatre bug at the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center where he learned about, auditioned for and got accepted to New World School of the Arts in Miami, Florida. It was there he learned of his future alma mater, Elon University. Philippe currently plays the roles of Hercules Mulligan and James Madison in the Broadway production of “Hamilton.” He is also a writer, dabbling mostly in screenwriting and poetry and hopes to soon produce his own works with his newly created production company “Et Toi Productions.”
2019 Top 10 Under 10 Alumni Award Recipients
Emily Favret '09
Director of global communications, Nike
A life-long athlete and sports fan, Emily Favret has built a career in sports communications that has spanned the globe. For nine years she worked at top global lifestyle and communications agencies in New York and London, where she specialized in sports marketing and media and influencer relations.
Throughout her career, Emily has led global communications campaigns across five continents in more than 100 markets. This includes working on global brand campaigns for the Olympics, World Cup, UEFA Champions League, Formula 1, various other endurance events and all major U.S. sports leagues for top brands.
In 2017, Emily joined the Nike Global Communications team as a director of global employee communications. In this role, she leads a team that looks after the experiences, editorial and communications that keep Nike’s global employee base of 73,000 team members engaged in the brand, the products, the athletes and sport moments they love.
During her time at Elon, Emily majored in strategic communications and was actively involved in various campus organizations, including the Isabella Cannon Leadership Fellows Program, Phoenix Phanatics, New Student Orientation and First-Year Summer Experience. She participated in club and intramural sports and also served as an admissions tour guide. Following graduation, she was an active member of the New York City Alumni Chapter and helped start the first international alumni chapter in London.
In addition to her professional work in sports, Emily is an endurance athlete and yoga enthusiast. She lives in Portland, Oregon, and is most frequently found training for her next Ironman or marathon.
Wyn Ferrell, Jr. '09
Owner, Mile High Spirits Distillery and Tasting Bar
Wyn Ferrell worked in the finance industry while attending and after graduating from Elon University, but soon realized his career path was going to be different.
Shortly after moving to Denver in 2009, Wyn started his first business as a “sweat equity” partner selling indoor gardening supplies. Three years later he sold his portion of the company to focus on the growing distillery business he had started in 2011. Since then, and with a passion for quality, value and community in an exciting and growing industry, Wyn and his partners have grown Mile High Spirits into a household name in Colorado and have already expanded to 18 states from coast to coast.
More importantly, the business has given Wyn the opportunity to do much more than produce award- winning bourbon. He has built one of the most popular bars and music venues in the city of Denver, where he produces and hosts an annual music festival for more than 5,000 attendees, and he manages 50-plus employees with leadership, teamwork and respect.
From essential marketing, management and critical thinking skills learned in the classroom and during summer internships, to event production and relationship management that he learned through Sigma Pi, Wyn is thankful to Elon for shaping him into a well-rounded person, ready to take on one of the most aggressive industries in the world. Outside of his work, Wyn is an adventure photographer, guitar builder, woodworker, welder and loving husband.
Sam Slaughter '09
Food and spirits editor, author, The Manual
Sam Slaughter has been publishing fiction, creative nonfiction, critical essays and journalistic pieces since 2009. In that time, he’s written for a variety of outlets, from local newspapers to international magazines.
While at Elon, Sam was the leader of SHARE and spent time playing with puppies as he volunteered with the local animal shelter. He was also a member of Sigma Tau Delta and Alpha Kappa Delta. After graduation, he tried many roles including winemaking, newspaper writing and AmeriCorps before graduating with a master’s degree in English literature
from Stetson University in 2013. Since then, he has published short fiction, critical reviews and creative non-fiction in a variety of places, which culminated in two collections of short stories: “When You Cross That Line” and “God in Neon.”
In 2017, Sam moved back to his home of New Jersey to work full-time as a spirits writer at the men’s lifestyle magazine The Manual. He was promoted to spirits editor, then food and drink editor and has traveled the world, drinking and eating widely and interviewing a variety of celebrities including Jonathan Goldsmith (the world’s most interesting man), famous rapper and former chef Action Bronson and his personal idol, the late Anthony Bourdain.
Sam’s spirits work has appeared in Maxim, Bloomberg, The Bitter Southerner, Thirsty, The Bluegrass Situation, Chilled, Supercall and Edible, among others. His first cocktail book, “Are You Afraid of the Dark Rum?: and Other Cocktails for 90s Kids,” is scheduled to be published in June by Andrews McMeel Publishing. Sam lives in Greenville, South Carolina, with his partner, Amy, and their dog, Tina.
Hannah Lane '11
Postdoctural research fellow, University of Maryland School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics
As a biochemistry major and Honors Fellow with a public health minor, Hannah Lane cultivated unique interests while at Elon, which led her to pursue a career in public health research.
After graduation, she completed a Master of Public Health degree from George Washington University and a doctoral degree in community and behavioral science from Virginia Tech. She is now finishing a postdoctoral fellowship and preparing to transition to assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.
As a researcher, Hannah has partnered with organizations focusing on young people in underserved communities, from a coal town in Appalachian Virginia to the neighborhoods of West Baltimore, to evaluate innovative policies and programs designed to increase access to healthy foods, opportunities for physical activity and health literacy skills among hard-to-reach children. Through her research, she aims to provide all children with opportunities to be healthy, active and free of chronic disease.
Hannah is the youngest member of the founding Board of Directors for IQ Community Solutions Institute, a nonprofit that collaborates with community-based organizations to address health issues in the Washington, D.C. area.
She and her husband, Geoffrey Hall ’11, who is also dedicated to improving the health of children as a pediatric resident, live in Baltimore.
Josh Norris '11
NFL writer and podcaster, NBC Sports and Rotoworld
Since the Panthers played their first game in 1995 in Charlotte, North Carolina, football has dominated Josh Norris’s interests. He’s gone from being an excited 8-year-old inside Ericsson Stadium (now Bank of America Stadium), to obsessing about random player facts while in high school, to becoming an NFL writer and podcaster.
While pursuing a broadcasting degree at Elon University, Josh and a friend created their own show on Elon’s student-run radio station, WSOE 89.3. A few years later, he was a consistent face in One on One sports, and helped the television show produce their first simulcast of an NFL draft.
Those student media experiences propelled him to land summer internships at WFNZ in Charlotte after his first year, Fox Sports Radio in Los Angeles after his junior year and a scouting assistant role with the St. Louis Rams (now Los Angeles Rams) prior to graduation.
Now working out of NBC Sports headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut, Josh focuses on football year-round. What started as a job with a “writer” title has morphed into on-camera work on countless live television shows, hosting and producing NBC Sports’ most successful original podcast and anchoring weekly football shows during football season on NBC digital platforms. He lives in South Norwalk, Connecticut, with his dog, Zap.
Barrett Wilbert Weed '11
Since as far back as she can remember, theater has been an important part of Barrett Wilbert Weed’s life. A native of Cambridge, Massachusetts, she started performing with the Boston Children’s Opera when she was 5.
She later attended Walnut School for the Arts, where her passion for the craft was solidified.
But it was at Elon where Barrett gained many technical skills as well as the self-confidence to trust herself and jump into a professional career. After graduating with a musical theatre degree in 2011, she moved to New York City. She soon made her Broadway debut as an understudy for several of the female roles in “Lysistrata Jones.” She played Nadia in the Off-Broadway production of “Bare: The Musical” and later originated the role of Veronica Sawyer in the Los Angeles premiere of “Heathers: The Musical,” a performance that earned her Lucille Lortel Award and Drama Desk Award nominations in 2014 and set the tone for future strong female roles.
Barrett played Denise in the Off-Broadway musical “FOUND The Musical” before playing the role of the vivacious Sally Bowles in the Signature Theatre production of “Cabaret,” which earned her the prestigious Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical in 2016.
She is now playing the rebellious Janis Sarkisian in Tina Fey’s Broadway smash “Mean Girls.” Her performance of “I’d Rather Be Me,” one of the show’s tunes, on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” last spring earned her a standing ovation. If her dreams come true, you can expect to see Barrett playing more young adult characters on TV and in films soon.
Jasmine Gregory '12
Associate attorney, Payne & Associates, PLLC
Jasmine Gregory has always had a passion for giving a voice to the voiceless. She earned a degree in strategic communications with minors in African- American studies and history at Elon before pursuing a law degree from Wake Forest University School of Law in 2015.
During her undergraduate years, Jasmine was heavily involved in several campus activities and organizations, including Alpha Kappa Alpha, Lamda Pi Eta, Phi Alpha Theta and the Black Cultural Society. She also served as a tour guide for the Office of Admissions and contributed to the opinions section of The Pendulum, the student-run newspaper.
After graduating, she worked with the United Way of Greater Greensboro, where she became acquainted with the work of Legal Aid of North Carolina, an experience that led her to pursue a law degree with an emphasis on criminal procedure, family law and child advocacy.
While at Wake Forest, Jasmine worked part-time for the Adam Foundation in Winston-Salem, where she served as the foundation development specialist raising money and planning events for LGBTQ initiatives in the area. She also led the school’s robust Pro Bono Project during her final year of law school, managing a board consisting of law students and community projects designed to increase access to justice among low-income populations.
Jasmine graduated from Wake in 2018 and received the North Carolina State Bar Student Pro Bono Service award for outstanding pro bono service in the Winston-Salem area. She is now a member of the Forsyth County Bar Association and serves as a family law attorney at a small private practice specializing in high conflict custody battles, divorce proceedings and domestic abuse cases. In addition to her private practice work, she also does court-appointed work in Stokes County, North Carolina, representing poor parents in juvenile abuse cases. Jasmine lives in Winston-Salem.
Tyler Marenyi '13
DJ and electronic dance music producer, NGHTMRE
Tyler Marenyi, a finance graduate better known by his stage name NGHTMRE, ascended to the upper echelons of dance music stardom in what he describes as a dream-like experience. His meticulous production and pulsating performances have cemented him as both a festival mainstay and dance music tastemaker.
In the last year alone, Tyler produced a slew of successful music and star- studded collaborations, including his exploratory “Magic Hour” EP with Pell, the trippy “Another Dimension” with Dillon Francis, “Save Yourself” with The Chainsmokers, “Like That” with Big Gigantic and “TTM” with Whiz Khalifa and PnB Rock. NGHTMRE is a household name at the world’s best clubs and festivals, driving crowds into a frenzy at EDC Las Vegas, Tomorrowland, Creamfields, Coachella, Amnesia Ibiza and more.
Tyler rounded out 2018 with his “NGHTMRE Before Xmas” tour, which sold out shows in both San Francisco and Los Angeles with 8,500 and 6,300 people in attendance, respectively. He also added “label owner” to his resume with the launch of “Gud Vibrations” as an official record imprint alongside best friends Derek and Scott of SLANDER.
The label further heightens the global brand the trio have built around the “Gud Vibrations” live event series, which has included massive shows at the Hollywood Palladium, Red Rocks amphitheater, Miami Music Week and throughout Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Tyler is based in Los Angeles, California.
Alanna Vagianos '13
Women’s reporter, HuffPost
Alanna Vagianos has always been a champion for women’s rights, but she didn’t realize she could turn her passion into a career until she arrived at Elon University in 2009. With the help of her mentor, Associate Professor of Religious Studies Amy Allocco, Alanna independently majored in women’s and gender studies, graduating in 2013.
During her time at Elon, Alanna was involved with Spectrum, the university’s queer-straight student alliance, and was also part of the Zeta Tau Alpha fraternity. She studied abroad with the Semester at Sea program and traveled to India for a Winter Term course. She concluded her senior year with an internship at Lillian’s List, a political nonprofit supporting pro-choice women in office and writing a 50-page research paper on India’s surrogacy industry. After two short stints at Ms. and BUST magazines, Alanna landed an editorial fellowship at Huff Post and was hired months later as an associate editor. She was later promoted to editor of Huff Post’s women section and wrote and edited daily news pieces.
Today, Alanna is a women’s reporter on Huff Post’s national news desk, with a focus on gender issues, sexual violence and social justice. She has extensively covered sexual assault cases including former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar and comedian Bill Cosby, as well as reporting on the #MeToo movement.
She has also interviewed many powerful thought leaders including feminist Gloria Steinem and Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors. She was the co-host of a weekly Facebook Live series that discussed the intersections between queer and feminist news and has appeared as an expert on Al Jazeera English, BuzzFeed’s AM to DM and Refinery29.
Alanna lives in New York City with her boyfriend, Brendan, and their dog, Donut.
Zora Stephenson '15
Anchor/reporter, KDVR – Fox 31/KWGN – Channel 2 News
Zora Stephenson was in high school when she first appeared on camera during a morning show more than 10 years ago, and she hasn’t turned back since.
Zora always had a knack for public speaking. Even in grade school she was often called upon to do the presentations. That continued at Elon University, where she was captain of the women’s basketball team and worked on a number of shows, including what was then Elon Local News and Elon Phoenix Weekly. At football games, you could see her as the in- game host on the big screen. Zora also welcomed visitors to campus as an admissions tour guide.
Now, as a professional journalist, Zora gets to combine her presentation skills with a love for storytelling. She is an anchor and reporter at KDVR TV station, the Fox affiliate in Denver, Colorado. Zora covers everything from breaking news to enterprise stories. Before moving to Denver, Zora was a reporter at WNCT in Greenville, North Carolina. In 2017, she was recognized for her work in eastern North Carolina as the RTDNAC Division 2 News Reporter of the Year.
In addition to her news job, Zora is a sports broadcaster working as an analyst and reporter for various outlets. Always willing to give back, she enjoys helping young journalists and other professionals whenever possible. When she is not working, Zora enjoys attending various sporting events, spending time with friends and family and trying out new restaurants.
2018 Top 10 Under 10 Alumni Award Recipients
Daniel Ross Brown '09
Biology instructor, North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics
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
Business initiatives consultant, Wells Fargo
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
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.
Andie Diemer '10
Digital photo editor, GQ Magazine
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.
Stephanie Bement Gronewoller '12
Software developer, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
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, Tory Burch Foundation
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
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
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
Greg lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and enjoys baseball, playing the saxophone, listening to jazz, running and reading in his spare time.
Stephanie Marken '08
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 post-doctoral fellow, U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs
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.
Jasmine Turner '15
Reporter, WWBT News
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.
2017 Top 10 Under 10 Alumni Award Recipients
Rob Marnell ’06
Musical theatre alumnus Rob Marnell has built a robust career as a professional actor since he graduated from Elon University in 2006. He made his Broadway debut in August 2015 in “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre.
The New York native comes from a long line of family musicians, songwriters and performers. During his years at Elon, he performed in many plays on and off campus, including “Jekyll and Hyde,” “West Side Story,” “Anything Goes,” “Damn Yankees” and “South Pacific.” Rob originated the character Alex the Lion in the Dreamworks National Tour of “Madagascar Live,” starred as Bob Gaudio in “Jersey Boys” at the Paris Las Vegas and played Joe Long in the Clint Eastwood feature film adaption of that play. While in Las Vegas, Rob began production on a self-titled EP for which he played each instrument.
In 2014 Rob married Laurel Harris, a fellow Broadway star and high school sweetheart, in Raleigh, North Carolina. In addition to performing on Broadway, Rob enjoys creating comedic digital shorts and playing the drums for the New York City-based cover band “Poppy’s Suitcase.”
Ginna Claire Mason Moffett ’13
A Nashville native, Ginna Claire Mason Moffett joined the first national tour of “Flashdance the Musical” after graduating from Elon University in 2013 with a music theatre degree.
Soon after she was cast as the understudy to the lead, Katherine, in the original touring cast of “Newsies.” She then created the role of Korie Robertson in “Duck Commander Musical,” which premiered in Las Vegas. In the fall of 2015, Ginna Claire made her Broadway debut as the Glinda standby in “Wicked” at the Gershwin Theatre.
In January of this year, Ginna Claire starred in the World Musical Concert alongside fellow alumnus Adam Kaplan ’12. The production made stops in Toyko and Osaka while touring Japan. Upon her return, she accepted the offer to play Glinda in the national tour of “Wicked,” where she is currently traveling by “bubble.” Ginna Claire is forever thankful to Elon’s William S. Long Professor and Professor of Performing Arts Cathy McNeela, her voice teacher and friend, and the rest of her Elon professors for preparing her for these wonderful opportunities. Ginna Claire and her husband, Eric, are based in New York City.
Amanda Clark ’11
Internal medicine resident, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
After graduating from Elon University with a biochemistry degree in 2011, Amanda Clark attended medical school at the University of Rochester in her native New York. She was a Lumen Scholar, an Elon College Fellow and a member of Phi Beta Kappa at Elon, where she also started a chapter of Global Medical Brigades.
A family history of cardiovascular disease inspired Amanda to conduct her undergraduate and graduate research, studying the development of blood clots in pulmonary and deep venous vascular systems. She spent her summers during her time at Elon doing research at the University of California, San Francisco and the University of Texas-Houston. She continued to develop her passion for research first in Rochester, where she was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society, and then at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she is an internal medicine resident. At the latter, she has worked to develop a registry of heart failure patients who have undergone transplants or mechanical intervention to evaluate the effects of socioeconomic status on outcomes.
Amanda is applying to a fellowship in cardiology and is pursuing a career in academic cardiology. She and her fiancé live in Chapel Hill.
Al Drago ’15
Photojournalist, The New York Times
Al Drago first picked up a camera more than 10 years ago while on a family trip to Boston. After combining photography and journalism in high school, Al was shooting professionally and hit the ground running when he came to Elon University in 2011, photographing his own Move-in Day.
During his time at Elon, he was involved with The Pendulum and Elon Local News. He also worked as a photo intern at The Herald-Sun (Durham), The Times-News (Burlington), The News & Observer (Raleigh) and The Baltimore Sun and spent a semester studying international journalism in Morocco. Now a contract press photographer for The New York Times, Al covers the White House, Congress and national politics. He has covered the final months of the Obama presidency, the presidential transition, inauguration and first 100 days of President Donald Trump. He is one of three photographers at The Times that follows the president everywhere he goes, whether it’s in the motorcade for a speech down the street or traveling on Air Force One to accompany the president on a weekend trip.
Al also shoots 360 VR and helps run the NYTIMES Snapchat and Instagram accounts. He is based in Washington, D.C.
Lauren Durr Emery ’08
Assistant attorney general, Ohio Attorney General’s Office
Lauren Durr Emery graduated from Elon in 2008 with a degree in religious studies. She received her Master of Divinity from Duke University in 2011, and her Juris Doctor from Wake Forest University in 2016, before beginning her role as an assistant attorney general in the Charitable Law Section of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
While at Elon, Lauren was an Elon College Fellow, a Periclean Scholar and a member of the Student Government Association. She also served as coordinator for the EV! Coaches program and director of the Service Learning Community. An ordained United Church of Christ minister, after graduation Lauren worked as a chaplain at UNC Hospitals and High Point Regional Hospital, providing spiritual and emotional support to patients, families and staff. She then returned to Elon for a year to serve as the interim assistant chaplain in the Truitt Center for Religious and Spiritual Life. At Wake Forest University, she served as an editor of the Law Review and a teaching assistant. She was also a member of the Moot Court Board and participated in three legal clinics.
Despite her many accomplishments, Lauren is most proud of being declared cancer-free in November after undergoing six months of chemotherapy treatments. She and husband Matt live in Columbus.
Reginald Hall ’07
Senior venture architect, BCG Digital Ventures
A business administration graduate, Reginald Hall began his career as an investment banking analyst on Wall Street advising Fortune 500 technology and media clients. Now a senior venture architect at BCG Digital Ventures, a corporate investment and incubation firm, he is responsible for defining the field of opportunities and scope of ventures as well as developing the operational blueprint to commercialize and scale new products and businesses.
Prior to joining BCG Digital Ventures, Reginald was a founding team member and head of finance and strategy at Nanowear, a wearable technology company, where he was responsible for defining the strategic vision of the company, leading corporate development and marketing efforts, and managing all financial aspects of the business. Reginald holds an MBA from UCLA Anderson School of Management. Besides obtaining a degree in business administration with concentrations in finance and marketing from Elon University, he was also a two-year starter at running back for Elon’s football team and served as secretary and treasurer of the Nu Theta chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. In 2016 he joined the Elon President’s Young Leaders Council.
Reginald and his wife, Lauren, live in New York City, where they enjoy attending sporting events, Broadway plays and everything else the city has to offer.
Kristen Kennedy Howard ’08
Kristen Kennedy Howard found her love of news at Elon University, where she served as anchor and reporter for the weekly student newscast. As a student, she also had the opportunity to travel the world, taking classes in Hawaii and London, where she worked in NBC’s London bureau.
After graduation, Kristen worked as a reporter for the ABC affiliate KAMC 28 News in Lubbock, Texas. There she covered the nationwide salmonella scare originating at a local peanut production plant, as well as the end of “prohibition” in Lubbock, when the city changed the rules to allow beer and wine sales in stores. In June 2010, she moved to Kentucky to work for the CBS affiliate WKYT in Lexington. In her nearly seven years at WKYT, she’s served as a general assignment reporter, investigative reporter, weekend anchor and “Alert Desk” anchor. Nominated for several Emmy awards, Kristen has been recognized for her news reporting by the Kentucky Associated Press in 2014 and 2015.
In addition to her role as an anchor and reporter for WKYT, Kristen is the youngest-serving board member of GreenHouse17, a nationally-recognized nonprofit that serves Central Kentuckians who have experienced intimate partner abuse. Kristen helped develop and launch the organization’s signature fundraising event. Kristen and husband Lee K. live in Lexington with their six-month-old girl, Margaret Bly, and dog Cooper.
Ana Marie Jaramillo ’08
Vice president, Global Business Transformation, J.P. Morgan Asset Management
A business administration alumna, Ana Marie Jaramillo worked in both leadership development and business services at BB&T and as a senior associate at KPMG Advisory before taking on her role as vice president in global business transformation at J.P. Morgan Chase in New York.
In her current role, Ana Marie leads projects to enhance client and advisor experiences, participates in the planning and implementation of the strategic roadmap for digital wealth management globally, and leads the company’s first e-Sign capabilities, a program she implemented. She is currently working to design and create a digital platform for clients that encompasses the entire mortgage process—from application to closing.
Always looking for ways to support and inspire professional women, Ana Marie was a member of KPMG’s Hispanic Latino Network and the KPMG Network of Women. At J.P. Morgan, she is involved with the Women’s Interactive Network and Adelante, the company’s Latino/Hispanic business resource group. A native of Panama, Ana Marie lives in New York.
Julie Morse ’13
Producer, Breaking News and “The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” – MSNBC
A Communications Fellow, Julie Morse first joined the “NBC Nightly News” family as a desk assistant after graduating from Elon University with a journalism degree. She later served as production assistant and associate producer, performing an array of duties, from gathering footage for news packages to conducting in-depth research for producers on deadline.
Armed with the knowledge these experiences provided her, Julie transitioned in November 2015 to MSNBC as a breaking news producer. Due to the nature of her work, Julie’s schedule is unpredictable and the stories she covers vary from politics and business to natural disasters, crime and international news. During the 2016 political campaign season, Julie was a part of the MSNBC team that produced live, primetime coverage of primaries, debates, conventions and other campaign-related events. Since September 2016, she has also taken on the role of producer on the political show “The 11th Hour with Brian Williams,” where she produces the final segment on a nightly basis.
Home is a relative term for Julie—growing up she lived in Florida, Maryland and New Jersey—but she considers New York her home for now. When she is not working, she enjoys rooting for her beloved Baltimore Ravens.
Damon Ogburn ’07
Doctoral candidate (epidemiology), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
A Cincinnati, Ohio native, Damon Ogburn is a doctoral candidate of epidemiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After graduating Elon University with a degree in biology in 2007, he moved to Durham, where he received his master’s degree in public health in epidemiology in 2012.
An Elon College Fellow, Damon’s research centers around HIV in North Carolina. He has conducted HIV vaccine research and development at Duke University’s Human Vaccine Institute. As a doctoral candidate, he is assessing the impact of structural factors on delayed entry into HIV medical care and depression among HIV-infected persons living in the state. Damon is also a researcher at the UNC Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases. In his local community, he volunteers his time educating minorities about HIV clinical trial opportunities.
As a member of the Elon 1889 Society, Damon is committed to contributing to the development of Elon’s student experiences. He is an active Homecoming attendee and provides insight to students interested in public health. He also sits on the Elon Black Alumni Network leadership board, serving as co-chair of the mentorship committee.
2016 Top 10 Under 10 Alumni Award Recipients
Tyler J. Brandt ’06
Real Estate Acquisition Representative, Murphy Oil USA
Tyler’s childhood was anything but typical. He spent the first eight years of his life in Bougainville, a small island in the South Pacific that makes up the nation of Papua New Guinea. After five years on the island, his family moved to Perth, Australia, before settling in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1998.
It was there he discovered Elon University, graduating in 2006 with a degree in business administration. He later obtained a master’s degree in real estate development from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He has worked for several corporations, including CBRE Group, Colliers International and Murphy Oil USA, where he is currently one of six real estate representatives driving the Fortune 200 Company’s land acquisitions and site selections across the United States.
In 2010, Tyler became involved with the Charlotte Alumni Chapter and three years later, he assumed the role of president. He held that position until 2015, when he was elected to serve as president of the UNC-Charlotte Masters of Real Estate Alumni network.
Tyler and his fiancée, Alysa Wayland, live in Charlotte.
Hallie Kilmer Cornetta ’09
Vice President of Human Capital, Red Ventures
A 2009 Elon University corporate communications major and leadership studies minor, Hallie has been a key driver of Red Ventures’ exponential growth and international expansion.
After spending five years in marketing roles within the company, the Davenport, Iowa, native joined the senior leadership team last year where she now leads all things people, including: talent acquisition, talent evaluation, resource allocation, learning and development initiatives and the Community Involvement Program.
Always ready to take on leadership positions at Elon, Hallie served as program coordinator for New Student Orientation, treasurer for Omicron Delta Kappa and chaplain for Alpha Xi Delta. She was also an Isabella Cannon Leadership Fellow and a tour guide for the Office of Admissions. At Red Ventures, Hallie is tasked with two primary goals: grow the marketing company’s talent base by at least 25 percent a year while also growing and cultivating the company culture, known to be its key ingredient for success.
Hallie married Sal Cornetta in fall 2015 and is actively engaged in the community and her church in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Justine M. Davis ’08
Doctorate Student and Ford Fellow, University of California, Berkeley
Originally from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Justine graduated from Elon University with a degree in international studies with a concentration in Africa.
After obtaining a dual-language master’s degree in international affairs, conflict resolution and civil society development from the American University of Paris and the Université de Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, she completed a Fulbright-Clinton Public Policy Fellowship in Côte d’Ivoire. There she collaborated with the country’s Ministry of Education on the implementation and evaluation of a newly instated human rights and citizenship education curriculum for elementary and middle school-level students.
With funding from a West Africa Research Association Pre-Dissertation Fellowship and a University of California Human Rights Fellowship, Justine returned to Côte d’Ivoire in the summer of 2015 to conduct a research project on popular perceptions of nongovernmental organizations and electoral preparation for the October presidential elections.
Her doctoral work at Berkeley concentrates primarily on Sub-Saharan Africa. She is interested in examining the role of civil society organizations in shaping citizens’ political behavior in newly democratizing settings.
Clint R. Irwin ’11
Professional Soccer Player, Toronto FC
As a Liverpool FC fan, Clint grew up watching some of the greatest soccer stars in the English Premier League. Little did he know that one day, he would be sharing the pitch with some of them.
Clint graduated from Elon University in 2011 with a degree in political science and a minor in philosophy. He played four years of varsity soccer leading the Phoenix to an undefeated conference record and conference championship in 2008. After spending the past three seasons with the Colorado Rapids Major League Soccer team, Clint joined the Toronto FC earlier this year. A headline-maker throughout his professional career, he was named to the 2015 AT&T MLS all-star team in 2015 and won the Colorado Rapids’ Fan Favorite Award in 2013 and 2015.
But Irwin’s accomplishments don’t end after the final whistle blows. As a representative for the MLS Players Union, he took part in the recent Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations that resulted in free agency for the first time in the league’s history and significant salary increases for the players. He also writes for various publications, with works appearing in The Daily Telegraph (United Kingdom), Sports Illustrated and Pacific Standard.
Adam S. Kaplan ’12
Adam has found many successes in the performing arts in the few years since graduation, lighting up the stage on Broadway in “Newsies!” and at many regional theatres, and now starring as Charlie Price in the National Tour of “Kinky Boots.”
Originally from Westport, Connecticut, Adam started performing at an early age. In high school, he performed with the prestigious Staples Players. He continued sharpening his skills at Elon, where he had leading roles in many shows including “She Loves Me” and “Hair” before graduating in 2012 with a music theatre degree.
He was a finalist in the 2012 New York Music Theatre Festival’s Next Broadway Sensation competition, and soon after made his Broadway debut in Disney’s “Newsies!,” performing the leading role of Jack Kelly numerous times. He was in the New York Philharmonic’s “Show Boat,” which was subsequently broadcast as part of PBS’ Live at Lincoln Center series, and has been a part of many concerts and productions across the country, including a recent performance at the White House.
Besides performing, Adam teaches frequently in New York City and across the country, serving as a mentor for young people who want to pursue professional theater.
Amanda Brown Marusiak ’10
Epidemiologist and Infectious Disease Control Program Coordinator, ExxonMobil Corporation
Amanda was always good at math and passionate about service, but it wasn’t until she came to Elon that her interests and skills collided, guiding her to a career in a field she didn’t even know existed.
Her interest in global development led her to become a Periclean Scholar. Her cohort’s project was to sustainably support the construction of a health center in rural Ghana, which inspired her undergraduate research in mathematically modeling the spread of malaria. Thanks to faculty mentors, study abroad and research experiences, as well as the Periclean and Lumen Scholars programs, she found her calling in public health.
After graduation, Amanda obtained a master’s degree in epidemiology at the University of Texas at Houston, and for the past five years, she has worked to prevent infectious disease illness and outbreaks from affecting ExxonMobil workers through data-driven public health programs. Focusing on malaria, tuberculosis and infectious disease outbreaks like avian flu and Ebola, her team provides public health support to the company’s global operations. She returned to Texas in 2015 after spending two years in South Korea, where she worked with the recent Middle East Respiratory Syndrome outbreak.
Kendra Nickel-Nguy ’08
Associate Attorney, K&L Gates LLP and Board President, AWAKE
An accomplished attorney, Kendra is a founding board member of AWAKE: Alliance of Women Achieving Knowledge and Excellence, a Washington nonprofit that provides educational programming and support to professional women.
After graduating from Elon University in 2008 with a degree in corporate communications, Kendra served as an AmeriCorps volunteer in Helena, Montana, before pursuing a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and a master’s degree in social policy from the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice. She was a law clerk to the Hon. Chief Judge Marsha J. Pechman of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington before joining K&L Gates LLP in Seattle.There she engages in litigating cases and advising clients on matters involving intellectual property law, data privacy and security, social media, commercial disputes and municipal law, among other areas.
Always passionate about service and leadership, Kendra often volunteers with Seattle-area charities and serves on committees. She maintains an active pro bono practice and also represents clients through the K&L Gates Cyber Civil Rights Project. At Elon, she was recognized in 2008 with the North Carolina Campus Compact Community Impact Student Award for her significant, innovative contributions to campus-based efforts to address community needs.
Mitch K. Pittman ’09
There are reporters who just cover stories. Then, there are reporters like Mitch, who invite viewers into the stories to help them better understand the issues.
After graduating from Elon University in 2009 with a communications degree, Mitch joined WFFF/Fox 44 Local News in Burlington, Vermont. After working there for two years, he made the jump to Minneapolis’ KSTP, the 15th largest market in the country. While there, his quality multimedia reporting earned him three Upper Midwest Regional Emmy Awards. For the past two years, Mitch has worked as a photographer and reporter at KOMO-TV in Seattle, where he has won a fourth regional Emmy. In addition to those honors, he has received two national awards from the National Press Photographer’s Association.
An avid outdoorsman, Mitch has reached major mountain summits in Washington, including Mount Rainier. Combining his passions of the outdoors and visual storytelling, he has become a social media influencer within the outdoor community. He is also active in the Elon Alumni Chapter in Seattle and often mentors broadcast students and critiques their work. As an expert in his field, Mitch was recently asked to help write a chapter of a journalism book that will help educate broadcast students at universities across the country.
Garrett A. Turner ’08
Vice President of Global Strategy, Liberty Port, LLC
Garrett’s professional career at Liberty Port, LCC, has yielded impressive results for one of the country’s most prominent telecommunications firms.
Soon after joining the company in 2008 as a marketing and sales associate, he instituted a national rebranding campaign in conjunction with NASCAR to help generate brand awareness within rural telecom markets throughout the United States. This market exposure allowed Liberty Port to develop a new sales division dedicated to hardware asset recovery and resale. The following year, Garrett joined Liberty Port’s Technical Services Division to spearhead the implementation of a $6-million end-to-end long-haul transmission project in the Middle East, which provided users with high-speed Internet and data services. In 2012, he co-founded LP NETCOM, a systems integration and telecommunications resale firm that has earned more than $5 million in sales revenue within the enterprise and IT telecom sector.
In 2014, he founded The Garrett A. Turner Foundation, which is dedicated to addressing the financial needs of various nonprofit organizations through the allocation of funds and volunteer resources. Since its inception, the foundation has raised more than $250,000 within the fields of higher education, childhood development, animal conservation and medical research. For his philanthropic endeavors, Garrett has been recognized by the Baltimore Business Journal and Art Center Sarasota.
J. Parker Turner IV ’06
President, Liberty Port, LLC, and Managing Partner, Roundtree Valley Enterprises
A natural-born leader, Parker oversees Liberty Port, LLC, one of the country’s most prominent telecommunications firms.
Shortly after graduating from Elon University in 2006 with a degree in political science, Parker joined the company as director of strategic projects. He spent several years leading a company expansion abroad, primarily in the Middle East. In 2008, he was charged with establishing a new corporate division dedicated to training and engineering services. The paramount feature was a multi-million dollar datacenter, lab and training facility based in Sarasota, Florida, which today serves as Liberty Port’s international headquarters. Parker led further expansion into five additional U.S. states and three foreign countries.
Parker was appointed president of Liberty Port in 2012 and is responsible for instituting corporate strategy and implementation across all business divisions with oversight to human resources, finance, vendor relations, supply chain/logistics, operations and legal processes. He is also a managing partner in Roundtree Valley Enterprises, a real estate investment firm he co-founded in 2013. Parker received his MBA from the Warrington College of Business at the University of Florida. He serves on the board of trustees at Maryland’s Saint James School and the Elon President’s Young Leadership Council.
2015 Top 10 Under 10 Alumni Award Recipients
Erica Ayala ’08
Youth Leadership Development Associate, Children’s Defense Fund
Erica graduated from Elon University in 2008 with a degree in political science and a minor in African-American studies. As a student, she represented the Elon softball team as an Arthur Ashe Sports Scholar in 2006 and served as president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.’s Omicron Epsilon Chapter. She also served on the Young Alumni Council after graduation. Erica is pursuing a master’s of public administration degree at New York University Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service.
In her role as youth leadership development associate at the Children’s Defense Fund-New York office, Erica manages the CDF Freedom Schools® program and the internship program in the state. She also manages the CDF-NY Education Justice portfolio, where she focuses on the research, training and facilitation of restorative justice practices for the NYPD School Safety Division. In 2014 the Parent Action Committee honored her with the Outstanding Ally Award for her support of community-led workshops for School Safety Agents in the Bronx.
Prior to joining the CDF-NY staff full-time in August 2013, Erica committed seven years of service to the CDF Freedom Schools® program. She has served as a national curriculum trainer, project director of the Norfolk CDF Freedom Schools in Virginia and site coordinator of the Grace CDF Freedom Schools in Mount Vernon, N.Y. She was also active in the CDF Young Advocate Leadership Training (YALT) program and was instrumental in launching satellite rallies in support of the CDF-Minnesota 10-10-10 rally for children organized by college students and young professionals.
Shea Coakley ’07
Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, LeanBox
Shea graduated from Elon University in 2008 with a degree in leisure/sport management and a minor in business administration. He is the co-founder and chief executive officer of LeanBox, an innovative corporate food service solving the problem of access to healthy food in the workplace. He focuses on strategic partnerships, marketing and operational activities at the company.
Shea serves on an economic advisory council to the Mayor of Boston, focusing on issues impacting the 20-34 year old population. He is the co-founder of Perks, an annual conference and professional organization that brings non-traditional office benefits under one roof. He is thankful to Elon for opening his eyes to thinking about the world in a really unique way. “It taught me that the world is a place that can be changed for the better,” he says. “It was never about the numbers and letters at Elon, it was about how the lessons can translate into improving the lives of people around you.”
He also gives back by staying involved with the Elon Boston Alumni Chapter and as an Elon Career Mentor. Outside of work, Shea has a passion for sports. A former college lacrosse player, Shea focuses his competitive side on squash, poker, skiing and his self-described “work in progress” golf game. Shea lives in Charlestown, Mass., with wife Liz Coakley ’07 and dog Logan.
Phil Collins ’08
Associate Account Director, Imagination
Phil’s career path has been unusual, to say the least. Born and raised in Tennessee, he spent time in Brazil completing an internship before moving to Asia, where he has been working for the past six years. Along the way, he has visited fascinating places and learned valuable lessons about the right ways to do business. “I’ve come to understand the importance of having the right attitude, and I’ve interacted with clients and colleagues from across the world, gaining insight into what makes people work better, faster and happier,” he says. “Fundamentally, I believe the key to success is to understand the person, understanding the problem and then combine original creative thought with common sense to reach the right outcome.”
A passionate international marketer and communications specialist based in Hong Kong, he has worked on some of the world’s biggest brands, including Ford, Lincoln, GE, adidas, UBS and Suntech, in some of the world’s fastest moving and most dynamic markets in Asia and the Middle East. He has built a proven track record of success, which he attributes to his strategic thinking and personable attitude.
Mark Horsburgh ’07
Manager for Live Events, Turner Sports
A former Business Fellow, Mark graduated magna cum laude from Elon University in 2007 with a degree in business administration. He serves as manager for live events at Turner Sports in New York City.
Always committed to making a difference in his community, Mark is a founding member and committee chair for Fresh Connections, an NYC-based company that encourages and enables young professionals to become active in their communities through service, leadership, professional development and events. At Elon, Mark has been an active partner, advocate and investor. He has remained involved in different volunteer roles since graduation, including being a former Young Alumni Council member and a current President’s Young Leaders Council member.
In honor of his commitment to education and his alma mater, his parents, Kip and Jean Horsburgh, established the Mark A. Horsburgh Study Abroad Scholarship to provide a study abroad scholarship for a deserving student in the Business Fellows program in the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business. Mark is a member of the 1889 Society, the giving society that honors sustaining alumni donors at Elon.
Carolyn Klasnick ’09
Co-Owner, Producer and Videographer, Post Script Productions, LLC
After graduating from Elon University in 2009 with a degree in broadcast communications, Carolyn moved back home to the South Hills of Pittsburgh and started a business, Post Script Productions, LLC, with Michele Hammerbacher ’08.
The two are growing the business into a team of passionate, creative storytellers with a mission to produce engaging films that move hearts and minds. The team has had the opportunity to work with a wide variety of clients including nonprofit organizations, a mission in Haiti and power plants. They recently moved into a new location in the South Side of Pittsburgh and launched a new brand and website.
At her alma mater, Carolyn served on the Young Alumni Council for a three-year team. She also started the Elon Pittsburgh Alumni Club and currently serves as its president. In her community, Carolyn is an active member of her home church, Westminster Presbyterian Church in Upper St. Clair, where she serves as both a media consultant and Confirmation mentor to female confirmands. She is also an active member of the Women’s Business Network (South Hills Chapter), the International Special Events Society and the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Chatham University.
Mark Schwartz ’06
President, The Richmond Group USA
After graduating from Elon University in 2006 as a Jefferson Pilot Business Fellow with a degree in accounting and a minor in Computer Information Systems, Mark moved back to his hometown of Richmond, Va., where he worked for KPMG LLP for two years in their IT Risk Advisory practice.
Following his time with KPMG LLP, Mark joined the Richmond Group USA, one of the nation’s leading providers of staffing solutions, where he represents a third generation in the business. As president and a shareholder of The Richmond Group USA Family of Companies, Mark leads a staff of professionals who provide permanent, contract, recruitment process outsourcing, and management consulting staffing/human resource services. The Richmond Group USA consistently ranks as one of the top firms in their field nationally and has experienced substantial growth since Mark joined the firm.
Outside of work, Mark and wife Meredith, who graduated from Elon in 2008, support several local charitable organizations and consistently give back to their alma mater.
Amanda Taylor ’06
Founder and Chief Executive Office, DanceOn
Amanda, who graduated magna cum laude from Elon University in 2006 with a degree in musical theatre, is part of a new class of entrepreneurs. She is not only aggressive and self-educating, but, more importantly, tech-savvy and cultured. After managing choreographers and dancers in New York City, she founded DanceOn in 2010.
Amanda started the company with a very simple thought: dance is a universal passion that had no specific “channel” dedicated to it. She made a pitch to create a dance channel to Google and two things happened: the company awarded her a significant grant to start the business to participate in YouTube’s premium $100 million, 96-channel initiative, and introduced her to Madonna, who happened to be pitching the same idea. And so the two became co-founders of DanceOn.
Listed on YouTube since 2007, DanceOn receives an average of 30 million monthly views. To attend to this growing demand, Amanda employs a full-time staff of 20 to manage and deliver fresh episodic and tutorial content across the DanceOn Network, which includes House of Crews, Just Dance News, the incredibly successful Dance Showdown, among others. In January 2012, Amanda moved the company to Los Angeles.
Lace Varn ’07
Vice President of Brand Partnerships, DanceOn
Lace graduated from Elon University in 2007 with a degree in music theatre and a minor in English. She values her study abroad in London and the overall experience and connections made at Elon, particularly meeting future business partner and DanceOn chief executive officer, Amanda Taylor ’06.
The two started DanceOn in their living room in the Lower East Side in New York City, when inspired by the popularity of TV shows like “Dancing with the Stars” and the viral nature of dance videos on the Internet, the roommates came up with the idea for an online “programming brand exclusively dedicated to dance.” Upon moving to Los Angeles three years ago, the company has flourished with co-founder Madonna and AMC Network support.
Lace created DanceOn’s brand partnerships department and launched the first-ever premium YouTube partnership with Coca-Cola.
Andrew Wilen ’08
Owner, Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen
An energetic and creative leader, Andrew grew up in Baltimore, Md. He graduated in 2008 from Elon University with a degree in corporate communications and double minors in sports marketing and business management.
Following graduation, Andrew worked in marketing and media relations for the Carolina Panthers and later managed promotions for Bank of America’s Global Sponsorship Marketing events. He continued his career path in event planning at LivingSocial Adventures as the Charlotte events manager. In 2013, Andrew and his girlfriend, Alyssa Gorelick, decided to fuse their talents and ideas to begin Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen. The pair runs hands-on cooking classes inside Atherton Market focusing on healthy and sustainable cooking with local ingredients.
Besides running his own business, Andrew also works part-time for Charlotte Center City Partners in South End and is a member of the Governance Committee for the Piedmont Culinary Guild in Charlotte. Additionally, he serves on Elon’s Charlotte Alumni Chapter and works with the nonprofit Common Grounds, where he has directed three separate festivals to benefit the Urban Ministry Center in their efforts to end chronic homelessness in the Queen City. Each event has raised more than $25,000.
Christine Winans ’10
Senior Sourcing Associate and Co-Op Manager, Bristol-Myers Squibb
Christine is passionate about helping young leaders reach their highest potential by leveraging global experiences and cultural awareness.
While studying business administration at Elon University, Christine spent her junior year studying abroad in Beijing, China. While there she learned to speak Mandarin Chinese and interned at the American Chamber of Commerce, PRC. Leveraging her international experiences, Christine returned to the United States to begin her professional career in the Aerospace Defense industry at Boeing Military Aircraft and earned a Masters of Business Administration degree from Drexel University. After five years of increasing responsibility at the Boeing Company, Christine moved to the biopharmaceutical industry and joined Bristol-Myers Squibb.
Christine has remained involved with Elon since graduating. For two years, she served as the president of the Philadelphia Alumni Chapter and its 1,100 members. While employed at Boeing, she built a strategic partnership between the company and the university to develop successful new hires and currently serves as an Elon Career Mentor. Over the years, Christine has helped more than 30 Elon students gain full-time employment.
2014 Top 10 Under 10 Alumni Award Recipients
Nichole Allem ’08
Foreign affairs officer, Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State
“[Nichole] is quickly beginning to own her corner of the world and demonstrates frequent and consistent growth in her career.”
Nichole is a foreign affairs officer at the U.S. Department of State,specializing in public diplomacy and public affairs.
Based in the Bureau of International Information Programs, she is responsible for the recruitment and programming of American experts to engage on a variety of foreign policy issues with audiences across the Middle East and North Africa. Prior to assuming that role, she served as senior adviser for public affairs in the State Department’s international disability rights office.
Nichole graduated from Elon in 2008 with a degree in corporate communications and received master’s degrees in international relations and public relations from Syracuse University in 2010. While at Syracuse, she published several research papers, including a co-authored chapter on Islam and global media.
A native of Canton, Ohio, Nichole is a certified Level II U.S. masters swimming coach for the DC Triathlon Club Masters Swim Team, and a member of U.S. Masters Swimming and the American Swimming Coaches Association.
Mark Bender ’06
Owner/managing partner, Grand Medical Center
“Dr. Bender is extraordinary because of his dedication and work ethic and his drive to continue with his education no matter what the cost.”
Mark learned the value of education from an early age, but finding a career path did not come easy for the Miami native who spent his adolescence between schools in the Florida Keys and New Jersey.
After considering different programs, Mark graduated from Elon with a degree in chemistry in 2006 and later attended Palmer College of Chiropractic, graduating in 2010 with a doctorate in chiropractic. He started practicing in South Florida shortly after. During his time at Palmer, Mark participated in two Doctors Without Borders trips, was elected as a delegate to the World Congress of Chiropractic Students and wrote several research papers.
After taking some time off from the profession, Mark opened a multidisciplinary practice in 2012, Grand Medical Center, where he serves as a spinal triage specialist and works as a post-surgical rehabilitation coordinator. He has been accepted into the Morsani School of Medicine at the University of South Florida and is expected to graduate in 2018.
Mark attributes much of his professional success to his family and Elon professors.
David Douglas ’06
Field producer, Al Jazeera Media Network
“David embodies the Elon spirit. [He] has always been hardworking and optimistic about the future. He’s inspired many of Elon’s most successful journalist alumni in their careers.”
David is a storyteller. The focus of his work as a producer with Al Jazeera America is to give a voice to those who might otherwise go unheard.
Based in Chicago, he has recently worked with the network’s correspondents and crews to break news on the West Virginia chemical leak that contaminated the drinking water for 300,000 mountain state residents. He has also helped document the fears of parents in Chicago’s South Side who had to send their children to school through rival gang turf and captured the concerns of Native Americans worried the Keystone XL pipeline will spoil the Great Plains.
Working as a freelancer prior to joining Al Jazeera, David produced an Emmy-winning election program,“Swing State Wisconsin,” for the CBS station in Madison, WISC-TV, and shared stories from the Midwest with the world for Agence France-Presse. Previous duty stations as a reporter included WISCTV and WVIR-TV.
A 2006 communications graduate, he was instrumental in the creation of Elon’s weekly student-produced newscast Phoenix14News, which later became Elon Local News.
Nneka Enurah ’11
Segment producer, POPSUGAR Studios
“Nneka’s natural leadership ability, creative eye and solid work ethic make her a wonderful asset no matter what she works on.”
A natural leader, Nneka was involved with Residence Life, the Multicultural Student Council and Greek Life during her years at Elon. She also worked as tour guide and multicultural ambassador for the Office of Admissions.
After graduating from Elon in 2011 with a media arts and entertainment degree, Nneka joined POPSUGAR Studios in Los Angeles, first as a production coordinator/executive
assistant to the president and more recently as segment producer. In that role, she produces entertainment and lifestyle content from celebrity interviews, fitness tutorials, behind-the-scenes specials and live award season coverage. She also serves as one of the segment producers for POPSUGAR NOW!, TVGN’s daily entertainment news television show.
Always connected to her alma mater, Nneka serves as Homecoming chair for the Elon Black Alumni Network and will serve on the Los Angeles Alumni Chapter’s leadership team. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and a volunteer at LA Team Mentoring, where she works with young people.
Carson Foushee ’07
Co-pastor, Kanazawa International Baptist Church
“Carson has been engaged in lifelong learning and sharing his passion for social justice and the creation of a progressive, forward-thinking ministry in Japan.”
Carson has a passion for helping to meet the physical and spiritual needs of people around the globe.
He and wife Laura live in Kanazawa, Japan, where they are field personnel members of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, or CBF for short, working alongside the Kanazawa Baptist Church and Toyama Koizumi-cho Church to minister to Japanese and internationals through English language ministries and community involvements.
Since graduating from Elon in 2007, Carson has assisted with CBF ministries and projects in the United States, China, Romania, Ethiopia, Uganda, Mexico, Nicaragua and Indonesia. He obtained his Master of Divinity from Mercer University’s McAfee School of Theology with a track of study in global christianity and was ordained by the First Baptist Church of Elon, N.C., in 2011.
Raised in Statesville, N.C., Carson is an avid college basketball fan and a “Phoenix Phanatic” through and through.
Kelsey Glover ’11
Founder and chief executive officer, KLG Strategic Solutions LLC
“Kelsey loves working in multi-cultural contexts and on deadline in a fastpaced environment—the perfect recipe for success in the world of political communication.”
Kelsey’s interest in international relations and communications has taken her around the world, in particular to the Middle East and South/Central Asia.
At Elon, she focused her studies on the Middle East, the Arabic language and other social movements in the region for her Honors Fellows thesis.
After graduating in 2011 with degrees in strategic communications and international studies, and having to forgo a professional opportunity in Cairo, Egypt, due to political unrest, Kelsey took on various communications roles in the Washington, D.C. area. She served as director of media and public affairs at the Embassy of Afghanistan and worked directly with the ambassador and other senior Afghan and U.S. officials. Kelsey recently founded her own company, KLG Strategic Solutions LLC, and currently serves as an adviser and the spokeswoman for the Coalition for Afghan Democracy.
In her spare time, Kelsey enjoys working with the Digital Diplomacy Coalition—a group of public affairs officials who provide leadership in the growing field of digital diplomacy. She also stays actively connected to Elon serving as the young alumni coordinator for the Washington, D.C., Alumni Chapter.
Sara Gould ’09
Lead teacher and fifth grade chair, KIPP DC: WILL Academy
“[Sara] is the kind of teacher we all wish we had … the one who loves what they do, and makes it their mission to help you succeed and cheer with you when you do.”
A passionate educator, Sara began working at KIPP DC in the summer of 2011.
In her relatively short tenure with KIPP, a nationally recognized network of public charter schools that is raising the expectations of public education in underserved communities, Sara’s dedication to the school’s mission and her ability to translate the KIPP vision into results with her students has set her apart from her peers. She has been promoted into multiple leadership roles, most recently accepting the fifth grade chair position.
As a proud Elon elementary education graduate, Sara has leveraged her personal experience to motivate and inspire her students. She shares her passion for Elon through photos and posters in her classroom and Elon prizes like T-shirts and stickers. One of her proudest moments at KIPP DC was taking 45 sixth graders on an overnight trip to Greensboro, N.C., where they were able to take a day trip to tour Elon’scampus. Prior to teaching at KIPP, Sara spent two years teaching fourth grade in DC Public Schools.
Jennifer Heilman ’07
Digital communications lead and media relations specialist, Arlington County Government
“Jennifer is a leader and continually contributes and serves professionally, in her community and with Elon University.”
In her role as the digital communications lead and media relations specialist for the largest department at Arlington County Government, Jennifer is often the community’s virtual face and spokeswoman for all capital infrastructure projects, environmental sustainability and public works and transportation services.
A journalism major at Elon, Jennifer first landed a job in Washington, D.C., at the National Museum of Health and Medicine at the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Shortly after she obtained her master’s degree in journalism and public affairs from American University while transitioning to work in the nonprofit sector. She continues to provide consulting services to area nonprofits in digital communications and event planning.
Jennifer is the president of Elon’s D.C. Alumni Chapter where she’s increased programming by hosting nearly 30 events a year and continues to make it the most active chapter in the country. In the past year, the chapter has been the recipient of two awards, including a $2,000 scholarship from the Capital Alumni Network—a network composed of more than 250 D.C.-based alumni clubs.
Jennifer also volunteers as a disaster digital volunteer for the American Red Cross by monitoring social media, and engaging and reporting on activity during widespread disasters.
Brian McGuire ’04
Vice president of treasury management services, Private Bank of Buckhead
“Brian’s dedication, drive and selfless characteristics make him a true, authentic leader.”
Brian is vice president of treasury management services at Private Bank of Buckhead.
The Marietta, Ga., native joined the bank five years ago and has worked in Atlanta banking for the past 10 years. Before transitioning into banking, he worked for Intuit, Inc.
Brian earned his undergraduate degree in business administration from Elon in 2004 and his MBA from Georgia State University in 2010. While at Elon, he participated in the Elon Enterprise Academy, a program that provided students with real world organizational experience.
An active member within the Atlanta community, Brian is the incoming president of the Buckhead Business Association and serves on the board of directors for the Rotary Club of Midtown Atlanta and the funding advisory board for Lekotek of Georgia, a small nonprofit that helps mentally disabled children through play. He is also a member of the Virginia-Highland Civic Association.
Jarvier “Jay” Young ’08
Business manager and chief operating officer, Wells Fargo Middle Market Investment Banking
“[Jay’s] success has allowed him the opportunity to role model for younger generations from his hometown and the Elon community.”
Since joining Wells Fargo in 2008, Jay has worked in both client facing roles and key support areas.
In his role as business manager and chief operating officer, he oversees all business activities, planning, reporting, projects and internal functions for Middle Market Investment
Banking. Prior to joining Wells Fargo, he interned at Honda of North America’s Divisional Headquarters in their Corporate Finance division.
Jay graduated from Elon in 2008 with a business administration degree. A former football player, he is an active volunteer in the community, serving as a Clean Air Carolina planning committee member, Hands on Atlanta volunteer and member of the Wells Fargo Volunteers network. He has been nominated two times to receive the Wells Fargo Service Excellence Award and received numerous Wells Fargo Shared Success awards.
Jay was born in Charleston, S.C., and grew up in Norfolk, Va. In his free time, he enjoys visiting family, attending sporting events and traveling. He is a huge fan of the Boston Celtics, Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Braves and all Elon University sports.
2013 Top 10 Under 10 Alumni Award Recipients
Brett “Coop” Cooper ’05
Political director, Patriot Majority USA
“We have never met a person that embodies the characteristics of a partner, advocate and investor for Elon University more than Brett Cooper.”
Brett has been engaging people in the political process since his days as an undergraduate student at Elon.
A political science major, Brett spent two summers interning in the N.C. House of Representatives. He also worked with Harvard University to create the National Campaign for Political and Civic Engagement. After graduation, Brett returned home to Virginia Beach to work for the Democratic Coordinated Campaign of Virginia. Following that campaign, he moved to Washington, D.C., to work as a field organizer for the Foundation for Virginia and a staff assistant for the National Committee for an Effective Congress. After working for several political campaigns in New Hampshire, Colorado and Washington, Brett is now political director for Patriot Majority USA, an independent-expenditure nonprofit that promotes discussion of national economic issues.
Despite a busy schedule, Brett remains involved with his alma mater. He is a founding member of the Elon University Young Alumni Council and an active member of the Elon D.C. Alumni Chapter.
Hilary Corna ’07
Author and speaker
“Hilary has taken her experience of living and working in Asia and transformed it into a teaching and learning opportunity for others.”
When Hilary was 20 years old, she bought a one-way ticket to Singapore to pursue her dream of launching a post-college career in Asia.
Successfully landing a job with Toyota in Singapore as a senior executive officer, she served the company for three years as a kaizen leader, working with dealerships in Asia—with the Philippines and India being her main projects—to improve operations and share best practices. After returning to the United States in late 2010, Hilary wrote her first book, One White Face, a narrative nonfiction account of her time abroad. Since its release in September 2011, One White Face, which is being adapted into a screenplay, has been featured in The New York Times and ForbesWoman.
Hilary, who graduated from Elon with degrees in international business and Asian studies, is now on a nationwide book tour sponsored by Toyota Motor USA. She has spoken at TED and been featured in Pearson’s 2011 Business Communication college textbook.
Ashley White Creech ’03
Attorney, McGowan Hood & Felder LLC
“Ashley has a passion for serving and seeking justice for underrepresented populations, working hard and going the extra mile for clients.”
A history major at Elon, Ashley obtained her law degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 2007. Shortly after, she landed a job at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough and devoted two years of pro bono work to a class action suit representing mentally ill inmates in the South Carolina Department of Corrections. The case has been tried and the results are pending.
In 2011, Ashley moved to Rock Hill, S.C., where she joined McGowan, Hood & Felder LLC. Her practice is devoted to litigation and covers a variety of personal injury claims, ranging from product liability to medical malpractice cases. She also represents veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, who have been unable to receive the mental health care they need.
Ashley is an active member of her community, volunteering for various local organizations through the Junior Welfare League of York County. She also is a member of various professional organizations and attends Eternal Church.
Mark Hendrix ’04
Mobile sales and strategy lead, Google
“Mark is passionate about his work and has consistently been leaps ahead of everyone else in the marketing field, especially mobile marketing.”
As the person responsible for developing digital marketing strategies for the top 1 percent of Google’s clients, Mark never has a dull moment at work. He’s constantly challenging brands to think differently about the way they use new and emerging media platforms to reach consumers while promoting Google’s newest products and innovations.
Before joining Google in 2011, he effectively developed Bank of America’s mobile marketing presence. The results were so successful his work was featured in numerous publications including AdAge, U.S. Bankerand The Harvard Business Review. He frequently travels the country consulting and speaking with the world’s leading businesses. He also often talks with Elon students about the industry and potential career opportunities at Google.
But his passion for helping others goes beyond his profession. Mark is active with several nonprofit and community organizations in both North Carolina and Michigan and has held numerous leadership positions in his church. His service has not gone unnoticed and in 2011 and 2012 he received the President’s Volunteer Service award, one of the nation’s highest honors for volunteer service given by the White House.
David Morrow II ’07 L’10
Regulatory attorney, BuckleySandler LLP
“David is a natural born leader, proud Elon alum, successful attorney and cultural enthusiast. He always puts his best foot forward.”
David shows his passion and commitment to the study of law by participating in different initiatives and leadership roles. During law school, he clerked for the Hon. Patricia Timmons-Goodson of the N.C. Supreme Court and the Hon. James Wynn, then of the N.C. Court of Appeals. Following law school, David worked for the Hon. Anna Blackburne-Rigsby of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.
Since moving to Washington, D.C., David has remained active in his profession and community. He is on the board of the Washington Bar Association Young Lawyers Division and National Bar Association Young Lawyers Division. In 2012 David was selected by the American Bar Association for a Young Lawyers Division “Minorities in the Profession” Scholarship that provided funding to attend ABA conferences nationwide. He was also very active in President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign and served as a fundraiser for the Mid-Atlantic Finance Team, and a member of the Obama Victory Counsel, the voter protection arm for the Obama campaign.
A regulatory attorney with BuckleySandler LLP, David assists clients in the financial services industry in transactional, litigation, regulatory and compliance matters. He also remains involved at Elon. He is a past member of the Young Alumni Council and has co-chaired the Elon Black Alumni Scholarship Gala for three years.
Amy Reitnouer ’09
Editor-in-chief, The Bluegrass Situation
“Amy’s breadth and depth of experience, uncontainable energy and enthusiasm and cheerful generosity make her extraordinary.”
Amy spent her four years at Elon immersed in the film and television offices of the McEwen Communications Building. There, she served as executive producer at ETV, head of video services at Elon Television and co-director of Cinelon, Elon’s film society.
Following graduation, Amy moved to New York, taking a temporary position at the Museum of Modern Art. Less than a year later, she moved to the West Coast. She plunged headfirst into Hollywood, where she landed a position with former William Morris-Endeavor agency head Arnold Rifkin and later with Academy of Motion Pictures President Tom Sherak.
In her spare time, Amy launched BluegrassLA, a blog that allowed her to pursue and share her passion for bluegrass music in the Los Angeles area. The blog caught the attention of actor Ed Helms, who joined forces with Amy in 2012 to launch The Bluegrass Situation, a year round hub for the growing bluegrass, folk and Americana movement. As the site’s full-time editor-in-chief, she spends her time traveling between music festivals or at her company’s bases in Los Angeles and Nashville.
Katie Sherman ’04
Senior copy director, Vogue
“Katie’s endless appetite for making connections is what builds her roster of freelance advertising clients—and what she leverages for recent Elon graduates who move to NYC.”
In the last nine years, Katie has honed her content-creation skills at ad agencies, tech shops and publishers, not to mention all 23 Condé Nast magazines. In her role as Vogue’s senior copy director, she writes campaigns for high-end fashion and beauty clients.
Katie also does freelance work, writing social campaigns, digital ads and branded blogs. Her expertise in product naming resulted in new trademarks for Condé Nast in 2011. When she’s not writing for work, she’s writing for fun. Katie has performed quarterly poetry readings, self-published a poetry compilation and exhibited a solo show in New York City, titled The Loveworn Label.
Since graduating from Elon, Katie has been vital in guiding other Elon graduates toward jobs and city living. Last year she shared insights with students in Destination NYC via Skype, was a panelist during a Homecoming discussion and mentored the inaugural NYC bridges group. She is the president of the Elon School of Communication’s Alumni Network and is spearheading alumni review of student web portfolios prior to graduation.
Cecelia Thompson ’05
Director of projects, Action Greensboro
“Cecelia commits countless hours to passionately focus on efforts from diversity and inclusion, to leadership development for young professionals and leveraging a more dynamic food community and fundraising for local arts programs.”
A public administration and sociology major, Cecelia has committed herself to making Greensboro, N.C., a more vibrant place for all its residents.
In her role as director of projects for Action Greensboro, an economic development nonprofit focused on improving the city’s quality of life, she directs synerG Young Professionals, manages marketing efforts for Center City Park and Opportunity Greensboro, as well as leads projects for downtown enhancement efforts.
Prior to joining Action Greensboro in 2008, Cecelia served as executive director for the Guilford Green Foundation, where she provided leadership on the foundation’s operations including development, grant writing, event planning and marketing. In 2009, Cecelia launched Mod Meals on Mendenhall, a popular cooking and entertaining blog. Since then, Mod Meals has grown to reach broad audiences and gained a sponsorship by The Fresh Market. In addition to blogging, Cecelia contributes monthly to the News & Record’s Savor Section and teaches cooking classes at the Greensboro Children’s Museum Edible Schoolyard. She also serves as immediate past board president of Elsewhere, a living art museum and collaborative in downtown Greensboro.
Peter Ustach ’09
Business owner, The Fat Frogg and Pandora’s Pies
“Peter is extraordinary in that at a very young age, he has been able to create and manage three successful businesses in Elon. He is extremely hardworking and is an excellent role model for other young entrepreneurs.”
Before he came to Elon to pursue a degree in business administration, Peter knew all too well what it meant to be an entrepreneur.
When he was 10 years old, his parents, Joe and Nancy, fostered his entrepreneurial spirit, wasting little time to teach their son the lesson of a dollar, a lesson Peter learned by shelling and selling pecans on his front lawn. Once at Elon, he launched Elon Laundry, thanks to a $600 loan and a university-approved business plan. After graduation, Peter decided to make Elon his home. Two successful businesses off the ground later, he couldn’t have asked for anything more. He credits his past three years of success to his landlord-turned mentor and business partner-turned-best friend, Jeff MacKenzie ’79. Together, they opened The Fat Frogg Bar & Grill in 2009 and Pandora’s Pies in 2012, two restaurants that are not only profitable businesses but also the hub for many community charitable events.
As his businesses evolve, Peter has learned another valuable lesson: success isn’t always measured in dollar signs. “Sometimes, a growing community and new, smiling faces are all a young entrepreneur needs,” he says.
Christian Wiggins ’03
Chief operating officer, Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity
“Christian is focused on helping others find their true talents, all in an effort to create a better workplace, campus culture and global community.”
In his role as chief operating officer, Christian has helped Pi Kappa Phi become one of America’s leading fraternities.
After graduating from Elon with a degree in business administration, Christian joined Harrah’s Entertainment as a part of the hotel operations and revenue management team. Two and a half years later, he joined the Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity national staff as director of alumni services, where he was responsible for the information, interaction, involvement and investment strategy for the organization’s 90,000 living alumni. He was named assistant executive director in 2008 and in 2011 was promoted to chief operating officer. In this role, Christian is responsible for the leadership of the fraternity’s 36 full-time staff and 10,000 undergraduate members on 180 campuses.
Beyond his professional career, Christian has remained active at Elon. He is a past board member of the Elon Charlotte Alumni Chapter and founding member of the Young Alumni Council. He is now in his first year on the Elon Alumni Board. He is also active in the equality movement, serving on the board of directors for Campus Pride, an organization that supports LGBT student leaders and campus groups.
2012 Top 10 Under 10 Award recipients
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 economics 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 niche 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 and his wife, Shannon Courtney Perry ’03, live with their two children in Brandywine, Maryland, where Jay serves as head of the youth group at Christ Church Accokeek.
Elizabeth Schrauder-Ermis ’04
Instructional technologist, High Point University
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
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 more 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”
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.
2011 Top 10 Under 10 Award recipients
Ian Thomas Baltutis ’08
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 ’08
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 Barclay Cameron IV ’05
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.
April Lynn Durr ’01
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 Civic Life. 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 Jane Geskus ’07
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.
Darris Roshawn Means ’05
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.
George Kerr Memory ’06
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.
Gabrielle Lauren Raymond ’06
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.
MacKenzie Marie Stroh ’07
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.
Raymond Josef “R.J.” Yozwiak ’08
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.