2020 Top 10 Under 10 Alumni Award recipients announced

The honorees, young alumni who have achieved major professional success, serve as difference-makers in their communities and loyally support Elon as partners, advocates and investors, will be recognized at an April 18 ceremony.

The Office of Alumni Engagement and the Young Alumni Council have announced the 2020 Top 10 Under 10 Award recipients. These honorees will be celebrated at an on-campus ceremony Saturday, April 18.

This year’s recipients are outstanding young alumni who have achieved high levels of success, continuously work to elevate their communities and are loyal alumni role models. They are:

Jay Reno '10
Jay Reno ’10

Jay Reno ’10, founder and CEO of 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

Emily Adams ’11, Eastern and Southern Africa Science Coordination Lead for NASA SERVIR Science Coordination Office

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
Nick Dyer ’11

Nick Dyer ’11, director of news and stand-up at Comedy Central

A broadcast and 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. In his role as director of news and stand-up at Comedy Central, he leads the development of digital content, strategy and production for all of 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.

Kristin Kostka ’11
Kristin Kostka ’11

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 began conducting her first correlational case study examining alcohol education initiatives in NCAA athletes. With the help of her mentor, Senior Lecturer in Public Health Studies Amanda Tapler, Kostka got her first taste of presenting research at the APHA 138th Meeting & Exposition. She is now an associate director running the OMOP Data Network at IQVIA. She also sits on the Steering Committee within the Observational Health Data Sciences & Informatics 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.

Alexandra Solender Boyd ’12
Alexandra Solender Boyd ’12

Alexandra Solender Boyd ’12, physics teacher at 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
Alex Dempsey ’12

Alex Dempsey ’12, MBA Candidate at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School

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. At York Capital, he helped finance over $1 billion of renewable energy projects across the globe. At 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. Now pursuing his MBA at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, he is focusing on finance, energy, environment and innovation.

Ryan Keur ’12
Ryan Keur ’12

Ryan Keur ’12, President of Daytona Tortugas

A sports and event management graduate, Keur serves as president for the Daytona Tortugas, the High-A Affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. In his first season, the team saw a 21 percent increase in attendance and Keur was named the 2017 National Minor League Baseball Executive of the Year by both major media publications, Baseball America and Ballpark Digest. In the subsequent two seasons, Keur has helped the Daytona Tortugas to record-high revenues and increased local, regional and national attention for the team. He is an active participant on many local boards in Central Florida and has been recognized in both 2018 and 2020 as Volusia-Flagler’s Business 40 Under 40.

Brenna Humphries ’13
Brenna Humphries ’13

Brenna Humphries ’13, Management Consulting Manager at 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

Heather Harder ’14, Marketing and Communications Director at 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

Fergie Philippe ’17, Broadway actor

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.”

For more information about the awards, please contact Mary Chayse Haithcock, coordinator of alumni engagement and special events, at mhaithcock@elon.edu.