Young alumni excellence recognized with Top 10 Under 10 Awards

The awards program highlights and celebrates alumni who have graduated within the past decade and who are distinguished in their professions and invested in the future of Elon and their community.

{l-r} Back row: Rob Marnell ’06, Al Drago ’15 and Reginald Hall ’07. Front row: Lauren Durr Emery ’08, Kristen Kennedy Howard ’08, Julie Morse ’13, Ana Marie Jaramillo ’08, Amanda Clark ’11 and Damon Ogburn ’07.

Surrounded by family, friends and their Elon mentors, 10 extraordinary young alumni were recognized April 1 for their professional achievements with the 2017 Top 10 Under 10 Alumni Awards.

In its seventh year, the program highlights and celebrates alumni who have graduated within the past decade and are distinguished in their professions and invested in the future of Elon and its community. This year’s recipients join a cohort of 60 previous winners who are doing great things in their communities, work and life.

Recognized were:  

Rob Marnell ’06
Broadway actor

New York, New York

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 
Broadway actor 
New York, New York

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

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

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

Washington, D.C.

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

Columbus, Ohio

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

New York, New York

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 
Reporter, WKYT-TV

Lexington, Kentucky

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
New York, New York

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
New York, New York

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
Chapel Hill, North Carolina

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.