C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n magaz in e
For Professor Phil Manning, the beauty of the natural world is rooted in the past.
Art and Science
Lulie Martin Wallace â€™09 paints the perfect picture of where a liberal arts education can take you.
S UM M E R 2 01 7
Summer 2017 Volume XXI, Issue 2 Editor
Mark Berry Art Director
Alfred Hall Managing Editor
Amanda Kerr Associate Editors
Alicia Lutz ’98 Ron Menchaca ’98 Photography
Mike Ledford Reese Moore Contributors
Hannah Ashe ’12 Kip Bulwinkle ’04 Dan Dickison Maura Hogan ’87 Liz Howell Erin Perkins ’08 (M.P.A.) Darren Price Mike Robertson Alumni Relations
Karen Burroughs Jones ’74 Contact us at
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ATTN: College of Charleston Magazine College of Charleston Division of Marketing and Communications Charleston, SC 29424-0001 College of Charleston Magazine is published twice a year by the Division of Marketing and Communications. With each printing, approximately 69,000 copies are mailed to keep alumni, families of currently enrolled students, legislators and friends informed about and connected to the College. Diverse views appear in these pages and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editor or the official policies of the College.
[ table of contents ]
AROUND THE CISTERN
BY MARK BERRY
The crushing weight of addiction can leave a long trail of destruction in its wake and the road to recovery can be fraught with obstacles. Launched last year, the Collegiate Recovery Program, a first for the Palmetto State, offers students in recovery support as they pursue their academic goals.
FOSSIL FUELED BY AMANDA KERR
Defined by their gigantic size and predatory nature, dinosaurs are often viewed as longlost creatures from another time and place. Geology professor Phil Manning sees it differently. For Manning, the bones of these prehistoric beasts are the window from which to catch a glimpse of our planet’s natural history.
BY ALICIA LUTZ ’98
LIFE ACADEMIC 8 MAKING THE GRADE 14 TEAMWORK 20 POINT OF VIEW
CLASS NOTES MY SPACE
Tabetha “Tabby” Boyajian ’03 may be the namesake of what’s been dubbed “the most mysterious star in the universe,” but this astrophysicist knows there’s an explanation for this astronomical anomaly — and that it’s grounded in science.
A NEW DAWN
BY RON MENCHACA ’98
College students have had the opportunity to study abroad in Cuba since the program was first established in 2000. But with the easing of U.S. sanctions and the death of Fidel Castro, students on this year’s trip saw history unfolding as the communist nation undergoes unprecedented economic and social change.
on the cover: Phil Manning photo by Diana Deaver
AROUND the CISTERN
The Suite Life WE ALL KNOW THAT BIG THINGS COME in small packages. And, at the newly renovated Rutledge Rivers Residence Hall, what has come out of these “tiny” living spaces is a pretty big deal. As one of the country’s first student residences to follow the tiny living model, the new Rutledge Rivers is doing more than setting standards for the latest in architectural trends: It’s cutting back on operating costs for the College, lowering the cost of living for its residents and reducing the carbon footprint for the campus as a whole. The biggest impact of the residence hall’s new layout, however, is happening
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on the inside: It’s building a sense of community. “We wanted to best utilize the existing building and develop a setup that would encourage social interactions and enhance the community and the student-living experience,” says Melantha Ardrey ’02, director of residence life at the College. “It’s a cutting-edge design approach to encouraging relationships among students and creating a community within their own homes.” And that’s no small matter – especially for today’s students, many of whom spend more time on social media than they do in social settings.
“Students today spend a lot of time on their devices, in front of screens,” says Ardrey, adding that, despite that trend, students report they’d like more opportunities to socialize face to face. “They want their own space, but they also want more social interaction. Rutledge Rivers gives them both: They get privacy in their sleeping pods, but the layout forces them to come out and be part of the larger community.” That little push is often exactly what students need, especially at first. “One of the biggest challenges for new students on college campuses is meeting new people,” says Rutledge
AROUND the CISTERN
the doubles – the bedrooms aren’t meant for hanging out anyway. “The sleeping pods are really just that: places to sleep and keep your privacy when you need it.” What the sleeping pods lack in sunlight and space, however, they make up for in convenience. Everything is right there,
And, according to the ones living there now, the students are loving it. “This is where everyone wants to live,” says freshman Rutledge Rivers RA Kionnie Epps. “It’s new and clean, and it’s just a really cool layout. You have your own space, but you also have a lot of areas you
built in for efficiency: shelving, hanging clothing storage, chest of drawers and desks – and, of course, the ladders that lead to the lofted twin beds, which are extra long and have outlets and USB ports within reach, an idea the architects took from students involved in the design process. “We engaged students from the Residence Hall Association during the design phase to get their feedback and ideas,” says Orr. “Ultimately, the students are the ones who matter here – they’re the ones who have to live there.”
can go and hang out. All my friends in the other residence halls are jealous.” “This is where everyone wants to be,” agrees Ardrey, adding that Rutledge Rivers is especially attractive to the most sustainability-focused students. “It’s not just a pretty space that builds community. It’s an environmentally friendly and sustainable space that provides an opportunity for intentional, sustainable living. And that’s something that this generation of students is aware of.” Indeed, for this generation and many more to come, that’s a pretty big deal.
| Photos by Mike Ledford |
Rivers Residence Hall Director Lillie Chamblee. “Tiny living offers a solution to this struggle by arranging on-campus residents in close living proximity and creating useful, comfortable and stylish areas for mingling.” Rutledge Rivers certainly offers plenty of flexible gathering areas, including a community room, a laundry room and a room for RA programs – none of which was part of the original building. Even so, while typical on-campus student apartments average 350 square feet per student, Rutledge Rivers’ apartment-style living and public spaces average out to 252. “We’ve managed to maximize the use of the square footage while still making it a comfortable, open-feeling place to live,” says Ardrey, giving credit to Little Diversified Architectural Consulting, the firm tasked with not just bringing the 27,800-square-foot Rutledge Rivers up to code with ADA-compliant features and renovations to the plumbing and HVAC systems, but also redesigning the 1973 residence hall for the modern student. “Their approach makes the most of the footprint of the existing building while also increasing the number of students we can accommodate.” In fact, the number of beds in Rutledge Rivers increased from 103 to 109: a feat accomplished by using every available square inch in the common areas and within the living suites themselves. The 890-square-foot, five-person suites have two double bedrooms and a single bedroom, and the 1,085-square-foot, sixperson suites have two doubles and two singles. Each suite has two bathrooms and a kitchenette with a two-burner induction stovetop, a sink and a full-size fridge. And don’t forget the living rooms. With all the bedrooms oriented around it, the living room is designed to be the center of life for each suite, lending it that sense of community, warmth and comfort, too. “It is totally intentional that the living rooms all feature big windows to make them bright and sunny,” says Amy Orr ’95, director of business and auxiliary services, explaining that while some of the sleeping pods don’t have windows, they are situated to get sunlight from the living room instead. And that’s OK, she says, because – at 75 square feet for the singleoccupancy rooms and 115 square feet for
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| Before and After: a new version of the College’s seal regained visual details that had been lost over the last century. |
Sealed in History TIME TAKES ITS TOLL ON JUST ABOUT everything. It dulls the once refined edges of youth, wears down the sharp corners of grand buildings and washes away the brilliance of colorful art. And the College’s seal of 174 years is no different. It, too, softened over time. The College tasked freelance artist Allston McCrady with restoring the rendering to something closer to its original design. But a return to the vivid seal of our earlier days turned into a quest for the origins of the image’s history. The original artist of the College’s seal is unknown and there’s no official decree outlining required elements of the insignia. “It’s kind of amazing how little is known,” says McCrady. What is known is this: In 1843, the College of Charleston’s Board of Trustees
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adopted a plan to create a seal following a request for an official CofC emblem from the Class of 1842. A short time later, a Roman-inspired rendering made its debut. McCrady examined four examples of the 19th-century seal housed within the College’s Special Collections, including the actual metal stamp used to impress the seal on college diplomas from the time period. Each image depicts a woman wearing robes and a mural crown sitting on a traditional Roman chair. In one hand, she holds a scepter, while bestowing a wreath upon a graduating student with the other. Randolph Hall of 1828 rises in the background with a fence, bush and wall dividing the space. Many of those details were lost, McCrady says, sometime in the 1910s or 1920s. The Roman chair disappeared, the
three-story Randolph Hall looked more like a one-room schoolhouse and the bush behind the woman turned into an “amorphous blob.” “When you’re dealing with a historic image, you’ve got to be as true to it as possible or else it will keep being reinterpreted and reinterpreted,” McCrady says. “That isn’t against the law, but it depends on whether you want to be true to what was intended.” That’s why the Board of Trustees voted last fall to return to an image more closely resembling our intended seal. After all, it is the traditions and history of those who came before that make the educational journey of the College unique. That’s why we’ve dusted off the dullness of time and returned our seal to its roots.
AROUND the CISTERN
APRIL HENRY ’16 AND BLAIR HEALEY ’16 have been in the Mercedes-Benz Vans pipeline since they were undergrads. “We were in at the ground floor,” says Healey. Both supply chain management majors in the School of Business, the two students were named the first recipients of an upperclassman scholarship offered by the automotive manufacturer, which operates an expanding van assembly plant in North Charleston. Then, they earned internships with the company. But it didn’t stop there. They met the CEO of the facility, who sat down with them for dinner for three hours. And, when they graduated, both had job offers in hand. “We had a week off after graduation,” says Healey. Henry and Healey are among a host of students who have benefitted from increasing partnerships between the College and Mercedes-Benz Vans, which announced in 2015 that it was expanding its Sprinter van assembly plant and bringing more than 1,300 jobs to the Lowcountry by 2020. Some of those jobs will likely go to CofC grads from the School of Business – a sign of the blooming relationships between the College and German-American businesses in the Palmetto State. Alyssa Bean, a spokeswoman for Mercedes-Benz in Charleston, says the company has been working with the College for several years and is a contributor to the School of Business’ Dean’s Excellence Fund. The company has also established a scholarship for rising juniors or seniors majoring or minoring in finance, global logistics and transportation, and/or supply chain management. “We really see the value of the students that are coming out of CofC,” Bean says. After earning the scholarships, Henry and Healey went to a dinner with the former CEO of the facility along with engineering students from Clemson University, which has a similar scholarship arrangement with Mercedes. “We were there for three hours talking with the CEO, who was asking about school and talking about our plans,”
| Photo by Mike Ledford |
The Fast Track
| from left: April Henry ’16, Katherine Linn, Erik Markert ’17, Dean Alan Shao (School of Business), Michael Balke (MBV CEO), Brenna Jozwiak ’17, Paige Weiss ’17 and Blair Healey ’16 at the Mercedes-Benz Vans plant |
ambassadors for Mercedes-Benz Vans for those students” “April and Blair really were
– Alyssa Bean
recalls Healey. “He was legitimately interested. It was really cool and really unexpected.” Now the pair are helping to bring new CofC students into the fold. Healey and Henry were among several employees to welcome a group of Cougars when they toured the facility last fall. “April and Blair really were ambassadors for Mercedes-Benz Vans for those students,” says Bean. Henry says it wasn’t just an opportunity to put on a good face for the company – she viewed it as a chance to size up her next wave of co-workers: “They’re eventually going be working next to me.” The College connects students with careers, says Bean, whether through embracing corporate partners like Mercedes for scholarships, internship
programs or career events such as the German-American Business Summit, which brought German businesses operating in South Carolina to TD Arena. “The College does a really good job encouraging students to take advantage of those opportunities,” she says. “It’s really neat to see that level of initiative.” Healey and Henry say they’re glad the College presented them with opportunities that turned into vibrant first jobs. They’ve gotten to travel across the globe in their roles for Mercedes – but they also get to work and make a living in a city they love. “It’s really neat to work across so many cultures and ideas and to come out of CofC,” says Henry. “If you want variety, you’re absolutely going to get that experience at Mercedes-Benz.”
SUMMER 2017 |
AROUND the CISTERN
RAIN OR SHINE For the first time in 49 years, Commencement moved indoors this year after Mother Nature rained on our parade. But the Saturday ceremonies at TD Arena were still filled with the beauty and spirit of our usual Cistern Yard backdrop: the traditional white attire, the red roses and the pride and hope exuding from our newly minted graduates. Degrees granted: 1,469 Master’s degrees and graduate certificates awarded: 96 Commencement speakers and honorary degree recipients: Dr. Sam Stafford III ’68 (Mt. Pleasant Dermatology), Elizabeth Colbert-Busch ’79 (Clemson University Restoration Institute) and John Alessi ’98 (Whip-It Inventions) Honorary degree recipients: Harry and Reba Huge, Kenneth “Mace” Brown, Edward L. Thomas Jr. ’76 (posthumously) and James L. Felder
| Photos by Reese Moore |
Through the Looking Glass THE GLASS IS ALWAYS HALF FULL FOR Allison Sterrett-Krause. And, in her case, it’s filled with answers about what life was like during the ancient Roman Empire. Sterrett-Krause is one of just a handful of academics in the United States that study ancient glass fragments. From her windowless lab tucked deep within the Bell Building on St. Philip Street, the Classics professor and her student volunteers spend hours upon hours peering at bits of glass, recording each |
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shard’s weight, dimensions, color and other distinguishing characteristics. At first glance, these fractured bits don’t look like anything special. The odd-shaped chunks appear to be the kind of broken glass one can find in the bottom of any trash can in a random King Street restaurant. They are not. The latest batch of seemingly random scraps of glass are believed to be 1,500 to 2,000 years old, hailing from an
archaeological site of an ancient Roman circus turned cemetery in modern-day Tunisia. With so much history wrapped up in each piece, even a tiny sliver can speak volumes. “When we study ancient glass, we can really see the physical remnants of people,” Sterrett-Krause says. “Most glass began to be blown during that era when we switched from B.C. to A.D., so when we look at this blown glass, we actually see the breath of Roman people captured
in the glass. We are studying real people and real people’s lives.” On a sunny Friday afternoon in January, the student volunteers slowly stream into the lab one by one. With soft music playing in the background, the students greet each other with warm smiles and easy conversations. Minutes later, it is time for work. Each student picks up a worksheet and a small plastic sandwich bag packed with fragments of glass. Then, they settle in and begin the slow process of carefully documenting the contents. As an anthropology and archaeology double major, Molly Van Ostran, a senior from West Lafayette, Ind., confesses that she’s in the lab “because I have to develop some skills.” With a goal of becoming a Paleolithic archaeologist, Van Ostran knows that this type of research will help her when she attends graduate school next year. And that’s what makes Sterrett-Krause’s work so rewarding. She gets to pass on her love of ancient glass to a new generation of students. “I have a great advantage here at the College of Charleston of working with a very strong archaeology program,” she says. Archaeology students are required to do field work at least once during their four years at the College. Sterrett-Krause says the students may learn how to properly conduct an archaeological dig, but they sometimes don’t understand the research that must be done after the items are out of the ground. That part of a student’s education comes every Friday at 3:00 p.m., when Sterrett-Krause opens up the glass lab. Her army of glass scholars are not just archaeology or Classics students, instead coming from a wide range of disciplines on campus. “We train people from start to finish,” she says. “They come in and may not even know how glass is made in the modern world. By the end of the training, they are ready to get to work.” Once they’re trained, the work begins. And like everything in her world, Sterrett-Krause’s work as an expert in ancient glass fragments began with – what else – a box of broken glass. As an undergraduate, Sterrett-Krause began looking for a research project to complete her honors thesis while working on her
first field excavation. Wanting to limit the damage an overly ambitious undergrad could do to priceless historical artifacts, the leaders of the excavation handed over a container of already damaged goods: broken glass. “They said it was already broken, so you cannot hurt it,” she recalls.
always fit together. “It can be very easy sometimes, but most of the time it is not,” she says with a laugh. “It can be pretty challenging at times.” Using modern technology, SterrettKrause and her colleagues can determine the chemical makeup of the object and ascertain not only how the glass was
Carrying the little box of broken bits home, Sterrett-Krause wondered what on earth to do with these odds and ends. She spent the next year and a half trying to figure it out. The answer eventually became crystal clear. It turns out there were many ways to study the colorful shards. Not only could you assess the evolution of glass production, but you could also evaluate the scientific elements of the glass itself. By graduate school, Sterrett-Krause had an inkling her expertise in ancient glass was rare. Soon, she became the “go-to” expert when her fellow scientists found any glass on their archaeological digs. It didn’t take her long to realize she’d found her life’s calling. Since then, the curious and inquisitive professor has built a window into the lives of the ancient Romans from her many boxes of glass. But researching glass that is several millennia old is like trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle with parts that don’t
made, but also the region from which the sand and salt in the glass originated. All of this information helps shed light on a myriad of mysteries ranging from ancient regional trade patterns to the type of windows and tiles (even plates and cups) that adorned a house during that time period. “Our goal is not only to reconstruct what the objects are, but also how they were used,” she says. For students like Van Ostran, the magnitude of the history wrapped up in these forgotten bits of glass generates a deep respect for the objects they are studying. “The first time I was in here, I was really struck by this,” Van Ostran says. “It is just so strange to think that I cannot make something like this (piece of glass), but someone 1,500 years ago could.” And that’s the point. Sometimes a fresh perspective can make something old new again.
SUMMER 2017 |
| Photo by Mike Ledford |
Foreign Exchange WHEN THERE’S A 14TH-CENTURY ARABIC sex manual on the syllabus, there’s got to be some connection. That’s exactly what Garrett Davidson hopes for his students: that they come to see what they have in common with a people and a culture that are so foreign to them. He wants those connections to lead his students to a more informed understanding of the Arab world and its cultures as a whole. “It is very rewarding to see students engage with a text across so much time and space and connect with their verydistant authors and realize they have more in common with them than they first imagined,” says Davidson, assistant professor of Arabic and Islamic studies in the College’s Asian Studies Program. This past semester, he taught courses on Arabic cinema and Arabic literature – both with the same ultimate goal: to foster
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connections with a part of the world that students might otherwise not know. “This is a region that’s very misunderstood,” says Davidson, adding that 21st-century American cinema hasn’t helped the matter. “Arabs tend to be villainized and dehumanized in Hollywood films. So, one of the goals is to humanize them for these students – to connect them to these societies in a way that challenges their perceptions.” And what better way to make that connection than with movies? “This course explores political and social issues that are very foreign to students – and in a very foreign environment. So, using a medium that they are so familiar with – that they are comfortable with – makes it more approachable,” says Davidson, noting that the course includes films from all over the Arabic world, from Morocco
to Iraq, providing the perfect channel for exploring any number of political, historical and cultural issues. “These films are exposing them to important themes in modern Arab societies and cultures in ways they really connect with.” Davidson knows that this kind of exposure to an unfamiliar world can change everything for a student. It’s what motivated one former student to follow up his Arabic cinema course with a semester in Morocco. It’s also what led Davidson himself to his passion for Arabic studies, particularly Arabic manuscripts. “My interest started when I was an undergrad at the University of Washington. I became friends with some international students from Kuwait, and that exposure kind of led me to take a course in Arabic,” says Davidson, who went on to study at the University of Kuwait and the American University in Cairo and then live all over the Middle East – from Jordan and Saudi Arabia to Turkey and India. “Part of that was necessity: The manuscripts I study are primary sources that aren’t reproduced, so you have to go to them.” But, as much as he treasures holding those 800-year-old texts in his own hands and following the handwritten histories scribed in the books’ margins, Davidson understands that sometimes you have to bring the text to the people. And that’s what he does for the students in his Arabic literature class. “This course introduces students to Arabic literature with a survey of mostly classical works, with a little modern in there, too. It explores the more salient themes in Arabic literature in relation to their greater cultural and historical contexts,” he says. “It uses the text as a mirror of the society that produced it.” And, sometimes what these texts reflect comes as a surprise to his students. Like that 14th-century sex manual, for example. “It’s interesting to see how people in a different time and place thought about sex and their bodies,” says Davidson. “This text shows students that Arab culture was in many ways more open and honest about sex than even contemporary American culture is.” It also shows students that Arab stories are human stories. And that is the fundamental connection.
| Photo by Reese Moore |
In Good Company
DO A SEARCH FOR “ECOPRENEURSHIP” online and chances are your eye will be drawn to the Wikipedia entry for that word. You can thank entrepreneurship professor David Hansen for that. It was actually a student from his ecopreneurship course last spring that contributed this to the Web. Hansen has been teaching this unique course in the School of Business for the past eight years. The class grew out of his interest in bringing together environmental studies students and business students so that they could interact and begin to understand each other. “At that time,” Hansen explains, “I’d been thinking about how people in business and those working with the environment traditionally saw each other as enemies. My thought was, if you bring them both together, a lot can happen.” And a lot has happened for Hansen and his students. For one, they’ve established a novel approach to learning. “We work on projects collectively, as a whole class,”
he says. “Our work is fundamentally about developing business models for solving environmental problems. We hash those out in discussion, but we’re in a classroom surrounded by white boards, so the next step is mapping out those ideas there and iteratively developing them.” In addition, Hansen’s class sessions regularly feature guest lectures and discussions led by such luminaries in the field as Tom Szaky (the founder of TerraCycle), Lia Colabello (the director of community and partnerships for the environmental nonprofit Five Gyres) and Stuart Williams (the College’s social and environmental entrepreneur in residence). “We begin by understanding environmental problems,” Hansen explains, “which takes place through discussions and presentations. Then, we find companies that are addressing those problems, and that work occurs in small teams of students. At that stage, we narrow down our list of problems and
begin focusing on them as a whole class. That’s when we switch to working on developing new solutions.” Among the solutions that Hansen’s students have developed and explored are a business that uses mealworms and other organisms to consume certain types of plastic, an anti-evaporation hydroponic growing system for lakes in droughtstricken areas and a business that warms discarded plastics and fashions them into modular building blocks. This last concept has become the basis of a startup company by former student Joshua Weston ’17, who has dubbed his enterprise Green Blox. “The big takeaway from this class,” says Hansen, “is the idea that you can be environmentally responsible and make a profit. It’s a perfect fit for the College’s new Quality Enhancement Plan emphasizing sustainability literacy. And the students are starting to get it. If only a small percentage of them go on to make these businesses manifest, we’ll be moving toward a more secure future.”
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INSIDE THE ACADEMIC MIND: GABRIELLE PRINCIPE Since 2013, psychology professor and department chair Gabrielle Principe has been opening the eyes (and minds) of her students on social cognitive development. We caught up with Professor Principe to learn more about her groundbreaking research on memory in young children, the importance of unstructured play in childhood and the most frequent question she gets as a psychologist. HOW HAS YOUR HOMETOWN INFLUENCED YOU? I grew up in Reading, Pa. It’s a small city to the west of Philadelphia that gave its name to the Reading Railroad in Monopoly. One of the greatest things about where I grew up is that my house was across the street from a city park known as Pendora. There were massive woods and this great stream, and a field house, swing sets and a small pool. It was the kind of place that you didn’t leave until the streetlights came on and your parents expected you home for dinner. It was heaven in the middle of a crowded urban town. I’m sure this place had something to do with my thinking and writing as an adult about the benefits of unsupervised time and outdoor play during childhood. IN YOUR WRITINGS, YOU HAVE DESCRIBED THE MODERN CHILDHOOD AS SOMEWHAT COUNTER TO HOW THE HUMAN MIND BEST DEVELOPS. PLAY THE FUTURIST HERE: WHAT ARE THE LONG-TERM RISKS FOR THIS TYPE OF CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT? In my book Your Brain on Childhood: The Unexpected Side Effects of Classrooms, Ballparks, Family Rooms, and the Minivan, I work through a range of features of modern childhood that are unhelpful and even harmful to healthy development. One example is that we are reducing children’s play time and replacing it with more structure and more academics. More and more parents are buying their children “brain-boosting” products like smart toys, early learning laptops and educational apps – and enrolling them from early on in academic programs or other structured activities. Likewise, educators are eliminating recess and giving more in-the-seat instruction and homework. This trend is worrisome because the scientific literature tells us that most of the social and intellectual skills needed to succeed in life and work are first developed during childhood play. Play improves self-control and emotion regulation, it builds working memory and sustained attention, it boosts creative thinking and problem-solving skills, and it teaches children how to negotiate and cooperate with others. There’s no tech toy, classroom lesson or workbook that can teach this. IN YOUR OPINION, HOW ARE TODAY’S STUDENTS HANDLING THE PRESSURES OF COLLEGE? Some students talk about feeling burnt out from their overscheduled and hyperstructured lives before college. Some attribute it to needing to keep themselves competitive for college admissions, scholarships or sports. So the focus is on college as the prize. But there’s also a yearning for more down time. Whenever I hear this from students or grumblings about the stresses of being a college student, I’ll dole out some
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playdough during class and take a break to play “the floor is lava” or encourage students to play a round of capture the flag with each other. When we regroup, this invariably leads to a fruitful discussion of how “doing nothing” only looks like a waste of time if you don’t know that it fuels healthy social and cognitive functioning, even during adulthood. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE TOY AS A CHILD? My favorite childhood “toy” was this backyard clubhouse that my dad built out of a mix of wood scraps, extra shingles and a metal roof. It had windows that opened, a front door that locked, wood paneling (it was the ’70s) on the walls and a linoleum floor. It was the spot to meet up with friends, plan our great adventures and generally hang out without interference from our parents (though my mom was known to deliver a tray of sandwiches during the summers right around noon). WHAT OBJECT IN YOUR OFFICE IS YOUR STATEMENT/ CONVERSATION PIECE? My kids’ artwork fills my office. I have a finger-painted giraffe, a dog in acrylic and a decoupage heart. My research focuses on social-cognitive development in preschoolers – so the artwork definitely gets me in the right frame of mind for thinking and writing about issues of early development. However, my favorite thing in my office is this Volkswagen ’60s camper van that my son made out of Legos. It’s probably the closest I’ll come to owning a real VW camper. AT A DINNER PARTY, WHEN PEOPLE DISCOVER YOU’RE A PSYCHOLOGIST, WHAT IS THE MOST COMMON QUESTION YOU GET? Once we get past the usual, “Oh, you’re a psychologist so you must be analyzing me,” and I share that I study development, the most common question I get is one that Jean Piaget called the “American question” – or the question of how to speed up development. So parents often ask about ways to get their children to reach developmental milestones sooner – to count quicker or read earlier. There’s this belief that the sooner that children get to higher levels of functioning, the better. But research on both humans and animals tells us that it’s usually not a good idea to try to speed up development. Just like you would never try to get a caterpillar to fly before it developed its wings, there’s no reason to push a child to read before he/she has developed the neurological sophistication in the range of brain areas that coordinate to make reading happen. Childhood — and the immaturity that comes with it — is a purposefully long developmental period, so there is every reason to let childhood simmer. So my answer is to tell folks that there is no reason to push development and every reason to enjoy all of the silliness and slowness that comes with childhood. HOW DO YOU UNWIND AND HAVE FUN? I’m a distance runner – so my favorite way to unwind is a long run in the woods. I just did my first ultramarathon since moving to Charleston. It was a 50k in the Francis Marion Forest – what a gem! I also discovered oyster roasts about a year ago. There might just be no better way to unwind than with a couple of buckets of oysters and some friends.
• With his work published | Brent Munsell | in Nature magazine earlier this year, Brent Munsell (computer science) collaborated on research that offers a groundbreaking new method for predicting whether a child is at risk of developing autism. Munsell developed a computational model that uses MRI scans to detect abnormal brain overgrowth in infants, which correlates to a higher risk for autism. • Rene Mueller (management and marketing), director of the international business program, received a Fulbright grant to teach marketing and international business at the University of Applied Sciences’ Management Center Innsbruck in Austria. • Gibbs Knotts (political science) co-authored The Resilience of Southern Identity: Why the South Still Matters in the Minds of Its People. • The National Women’s Studies Association has established a new book prize named in honor of the late Alison Piepmeier (women’s and gender studies and English), who passed away last summer following a long battle with a brain tumor. • Matt Nowlin (political science) and adjunct faculty member Susan Lovelace (environmental studies program) received a grant for $260,000 from the National Academy of Sciences’ Gulf Research Program to measure public opinion in South Carolina regarding coastal resource management issues, such as sea level rise, environmental health and biodiversity. • Jennifer Wilhelm (psychology) earned a grant from the National Institutes of Health for $430,000 to find the most effective treatments for peripheral nerve regeneration after injury, with the hope of improving surgical interventions, rehabilitation outcomes through physical therapy and pharmaceutical options for those patients unable to exercise.
SUMMER 2017 |
MAKING the GRADE AS HE STOOD BEFORE THE CROWD assembled for his military retirement party in 2012, Col. John Nerges ’17 scanned a sea of familiar faces. Seated among his family and friends were legions of soldiers and civilians he’d served with throughout his distinguished 30-year career as a critical care nurse in the U.S. Army. But there was one face in the hotel banquet room in Columbia, S.C., that he didn’t recognize: an African American man, wearing glasses and an Indian kurta, with waist-length dreadlocks. Until the moment that Quentin Baxter ’98, a celebrated jazz musician and adjunct professor of music at the College, stood and walked to the front of the room to be introduced, he and Nerges had never met. Baxter had been invited to the event to surprise Nerges, a jazz fan who knew of Baxter’s sterling reputation as a percussionist and performer. Amid the celebration, as people clapped and cried in response to the gesture, Baxter casually leaned over to Nerges and offered to take him on as a drum student. Although he’d already earned a graduate degree in nursing, Nerges had been thinking about returning to school. He had a gnawing feeling as he left the Army that his mind wasn’t quite right, and he hoped some art and music classes might do him some good. “I came home a little nuts, and I didn’t really know it,” Nerges says. “I just knew that I was different when I came back.” For military doctors, nurses and medics who care for the casualties of war, the unrelenting pace of saving lives and treating injuries – everything from stubbed toes to catastrophic wounds – doesn’t end when they return from combat. Many of these professionals often resume their duties at stateside military hospitals, where they continue to deal with the same tragic and heartrending cases.
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Back in Rhythm
MAKING the GRADE
“My job didn’t end when I came back. In some ways, the deployments were easier,” Nerges says. “That’s the thing about medical types – they don’t always experience the door-kicking trauma, but what we went through never ended.” Nerges’ service included two combat deployments and multiple posts at U.S.
soldier whose legs had been blown off by an IED, or the one felled by a sniper’s bullet. He was bothered by things that others didn’t seem to notice. Like an unattended backpack, innocently placed on a chair while its owner ordered coffee nearby, but which he imagined was concealing a bomb.
him that he’d spent decades perfecting his skills as a nurse. Learning, like healing, Baxter told his student, would take time. “As brave as this guy has proven to be as a soldier, the real brave side is starting something new and really stepping into a brand-new world as a grown man,” Baxter says.
military hospitals, including Walter Reed Army Medical Center, ground zero for some of the most critically injured from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Triaging a constant flow of incoming patients, tending to traumatized family members and orchestrating a complex system of people and equipment, Nerges existed in a heightened state of awareness for years on end. He rarely, if ever, paused to acknowledge his own emotions or to assess his own wounds – hidden ones festering deep inside. It wasn’t until he became a student at the College in late 2012 that he began to recognize the extent of the trauma he’d accumulated throughout his career. Strolling through campus, feeling like he didn’t belong, he carried around memories of past patients – like the
“I was trained to be afraid of those types of things, and it was hard to turn that off,” he says. He had an exam on April 15, 2013, the same day as the Boston Marathon bombings. The injuries he saw on the news were virtually the same as those he’d treated in the Army. Experiences he’d forgotten or suppressed came rushing back. His test went horribly, and he began to question whether he could stay in school. “That put me in a tailspin,” he says. “That was a day I almost quit.” But whenever Nerges had doubts – about being a student or learning to play music – he could trust that Baxter’s friendship and mentorship would be there, steady and strong as a drum beat. Whenever Nerges grew frustrated by the pace of his progress, Baxter reminded
Reluctantly, Nerges reveals that he eventually sought professional help to deal with the trauma he experienced in the military. “The only reason I share that is to encourage others to get the help they need,” he says. Nerges believes he also received healing from his education at the College and the students, staff and professors he has come to know, especially people like Baxter and Scott Woolum, the College’s veterans affairs coordinator. And as he prepared to graduate this spring with a degree in music, Nerges found himself reflecting on the many bits of wisdom he’s gleaned from Baxter, including one pearl that is particularly appropriate at the end of this journey: In order to play music, you have to have your mind right.
SUMMER 2017 |
| Photo by Kip Bulwinkle �04 |
SOMETIMES IT’S THE SMALL MOMENTS that change everything. For Honors College student Sierra Small ’17, it was a bus ride that transformed her worldview. Sure, she knew that some people didn’t have as much as others. She knew that some were rich, some were middle class and some were poor. And in the back of her mind, she knew having less had consequences. But Small hadn’t ever really thought about those consequences or the ripple effect they can have on a person’s life. Not until a bus ride across town. Amid the rise and fall of the bus engine’s hum, Small shuttled from downtown Charleston to Mt. Pleasant, first taking in the affluent areas South of Broad, then in stark contrast, the public housing neighborhoods off of America Street, and finally watching a view of East Cooper’s prosperity unfold from the Ravenel Bridge. Suddenly, she had an epiphany. “I just remember thinking, Wow, this is like night and day,” she recalls.
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Small took that bus ride as part of an assignment for her Honors academic writing course aimed at getting students to think about health disparities and how income status impacts opportunities. The exercise hit close to home for Small, who was contemplating a career in medicine. After that, the public health major and chemistry minor spent much of her college career researching how poverty, low educational attainment, race and community sex ratio (the ratio of men to women) affects the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS. “It’s basically the social side of sexual behavior,” she says of her research. Small began her research during her sophomore year under the tutelage of former CofC public health professor Matt Page. With funding through the College’s Summer Undergraduate Research with Faculty (SURF) program, she continued her investigation into the effects of demographic variables such as income,
education and racial distribution have on the transmission of STDs and HIV/AIDS. Her findings, however, only led to more questions. Although Small’s research didn’t reveal a statistical association between the community sex ratio and the transmission of STDs, it did show that in predominantly African American communities in the Southeast, the community sex ratios were often more imbalanced, with a ratio of less than one indicating the presence of fewer men than women. That makes sense, Small says, when you account for African Americans making up a smaller portion of the overall population, but a majority of the prison population. But, Small wondered, in South Carolina communities with a higher rate of incarceration among African American men, are the incidents of STDs and HIV/ AIDS also higher? Not one to let something linger, she decided to seek out that answer, too, making that question the subject of her bachelor’s essay. What she found confirmed her suspicions – namely, that there’s a strong correlation between the percentage of black inmates and the prevalence of HIV in the black population in the communities from which the inmates came. “There’s so much research on how your socio-environmental factors impact your behavior in general,” she says, noting that if you grow up in a low-income, high-crime area, you’re more likely to commit a crime yourself. “But I also believe your environment impacts your sexual behavior.” As a future doctor headed to the Medical University of South Carolina this fall, Small insists that being intuitively aware of how social status and health disparities impact public health is essential to improving health outcomes. And recognizing how poverty, lower educational attainment and higher incidents of incarceration among African American men can increase incidents of sexually transmitted diseases is all part of the equation. A complex equation that, for Small, started with a simple bus ride around Charleston.
MAKING the GRADE
IT IS EASY TO UNDERSTAND WHY IT’S taking Wendell Roberson so long to finally finish his pleasure reading of Ernest Hemingway’s novel For Whom the Bell Tolls. As a student ambassador with the College’s admissions office, a member of Leadership CofC, the public relations co-chair of the South Carolina Alliance for Minority Participation (SCAMP), a member of the Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society, a student employee in the Addlestone Library and Campus Recreation Services, Roberson doesn’t have a lot of free time. That doesn’t even factor in the many hours he spends every week studying and researching as an astrophysics major. It is beginning to look like Hemingway will remain on the shelf for a while. Roberson has been busy since the day he first stepped foot on campus three years ago. He only intended to stay one semester at the College and then transfer to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida. After talking with his father during that first semester, however, he decided to stay a little bit longer. That was all he needed. “After my second semester, I loved the College and wanted to stay,” he says. Growing up on Lady’s Island, S.C., Roberson discovered early what he wanted to do with his life. “I have always been fascinated with space itself, and since I also love to work with my hands, astrophysics seemed like the natural fit,” explains Roberson. “My dream is to make something that leaves the surface of the earth and explores the stars.” He’s on the right trajectory. Last year, Roberson took first place in the astrophysics section of the Georgia Tech Research Bound Poster Session. His research, funded through SCAMP and the College’s Summer Undergraduate Research with Faculty (SURF) grant, looked at how planets outside our solar system formed over millions of years. He also won an Excellence in Collegiate Education and Leadership (ExCEL) award, being named the School of Sciences and Mathematics’ Outstanding Student of the Year for the 2015–16 academic year.
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In His Orbit
And he hangs out with College of Charleston President Glenn McConnell ’69. As a freshman, he was looking to make the most of his time at the College and decided to sign up for the mentor-mentee program. As it turns out, he was paired up with the president of the College. Even today, Roberson and McConnell meet several times a semester to talk. “Wendell is a bright and driven young man who carries himself well on campus and in the community,” says McConnell. “He exhibits great character and integrity and is seen as a leader by his peers. Whenever I see Wendell on campus, he has an infectious smile on his face and is full of great energy. It has been
a great joy to counsel him on a number of topics, guide him on his college journey and watch him grow personally and professionally as a student.” Even though he still has a year left before graduation, Roberson is already looking to the future. He is leaning toward the prospect of joining the military after graduation and enrolling in the Marine Corps Officer Candidates School. He hopes this will eventually lead to a career as a pilot and an engineer. If that doesn’t work out, he hopes to go to graduate school for aeronautical engineering. Maybe, after all of that, he can finally sit down and find out how that Hemingway story ends.
SUMMER 2017 |
Java Script FOR MOST PEOPLE WITH HER WORKLOAD, a steady stream of caffeine is a necessity. So, it’s a good thing that Laura Westby Cannon ’09 is a co-owner of a coffeehouse. Her schedule on Wednesdays, her busiest day, illustrates her breakneck pace. She opens up the Orange Spot Coffeehouse in North Charleston’s eclectic Park Circle neighborhood at 5 a.m. She works the espresso machine, takes orders from customers looking for a morning pick-me-up, and makes sure the place is humming along until 11 a.m. By noon, she’s got to make it down to the College’s downtown campus – that includes finding one of those mythical downtown parking spots – for a graduate assistantship that lasts until 4 p.m. She gets an hour break, and then it’s off to
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more than six hours of writing workshops and poetry survey classes. She wraps up her day at about 10 p.m. Somewhere in there, she’s still got to find time to work on her novel. “I have to have a very regimented schedule,” she says. “But it’s a means to an end and I’m able to do what I love and am passionate about.” Cannon is one of 12 writers in the College’s new M.F.A. program in creative writing, which held its first classes in the fall of 2016. It’s the College’s first and only terminal degree program to date, and has already proven a valuable gateway for Cannon and others into the literary world. “Our horizons have been expanded,” she says. Cannon graduated from the College in 2009, majoring in English with a
concentration in creative writing, but she didn’t immediately pursue an M.F.A. workshop outside of Charleston. She opted instead to start up the Orange Spot with her husband, Matthew, and friend Julie Simuang in 2013. The small cinderblock coffeehouse isn’t much larger than a couple of rooms in a Charleston carriage house, but its quirky decor, excellent coffee and tasty brunches quickly made it a go-to spot for java lovers in North Charleston and surrounding areas. Among the regulars was one of Cannon’s former English professors, Bret Lott. Lott and his faculty colleagues had been trying to launch a creative writing M.F.A. program for many years, but creating the College’s first terminal degree program – that is, one above the master’s
level that allows for recipients to pursue tenure-track positions at universities – didn’t come easy. The first big break came in 2001, when the College took over production of Crazyhorse, a world-renowned literary journal founded in 1960 in Los Angeles by poet Thomas McGrath and included works from Pulitzer Prize–winning authors such as John Updike. Then, Lott says, about five years ago, the College created a committee to explore the possibility of creating an M.F.A. program. It looked plausible, so the department aimed to accept its first dozen students for the fall 2016 semester. Lott was at the Orange Spot when he told Cannon about the program. She’d been in his undergraduate workshop classes and he recalled one of her essays, “Danger in the Valley,” about growing up in North Dakota. “I remembered her from my classes that even then, she had something that was really on the ball,” he says. “She has a really good voice for storytelling.” Cannon blustered at first because the M.F.A. program focused on fiction and she prefers writing nonfiction. But Lott persisted, telling her that both forms of writing employ the same tools. “I told her the things we’re teaching here will apply to your creative nonfiction as well,” he says. Cannon – with the support of her husband and business partner – decided to take Lott up on his offer and applied to the program. She was not only accepted into the program, but was one of two students in the program to receive the Woodfin Scholarship, a $5,000 award given to the two best creative writing portfolios submitted by students accepted into the M.F.A. program. The scholarships, the other of which was awarded to Nick Plasmati, were made possible through the extraordinary generosity, vision and goodwill of an alumnus and are designed to attract the very best writers from across the country to come study at the College. These awards, which help to offset tuition costs, will be available for renewal for the second year of study. After only one semester, Cannon could tell she’d grown as a writer, even finding a new love for fiction. And she’s embarked on writing a novel about
| Photos by Mike Ledford |
MAKING the GRADE
| English professor Bret Lott helped launch the College's M.F.A. program in creative writing, which enrolled its first students in fall 2016. | shifting family dynamics through traumatic experiences. The plot follows two children transitioning to adulthood after their father sustains a brain injury that affects how his body and mind age, putting extra pressure on their mother. But Cannon admits she’s already making big structural revisions based on feedback and techniques she’s learned in her workshops. “I want to explore lost childhood, a family unit’s response to unexpected tragedies like this and the question of how to care for both parents in these types of situations as they age,” she says. “That’s the crux, but we’ll see what happens.” The new program has also afforded Cannon new ways to interact with the creative communities in Charleston and across the country. She certainly engages with writers and creatives at her coffee house in North Charleston, but through the M.F.A. program, she’s been able to go on retreats across the country with other writers, attend literary conferences in Washington, D.C., and sit in on campus talks through the College’s Crazyhorse Lecture Series. Among the professional writers who have embraced the program is popular Lowcountry fiction author Dorothea Benton Frank (and the parent of two CofC
alumni), who has hosted the College’s M.F.A. writers on several occasions. “These experiences weren’t possible before this program was here,” says Cannon. Lott says that Cannon’s growth as a writer – and that of all the students in the program – is astounding. It’s a little different from undergraduate workshops, where students have to balance writing with assignments and classes in other disciplines. In the master’s program, he and his fellow M.F.A. professors get to see what happens when a dozen writers sit together and hammer away at the creative writing process for 15 hours a week. “Just to bring seven people, ten people into a room and concentrate on one thing and focus on it for a semester, and see how much can happen,” he says. “This is a cool thing … who knows what we will have at the end of two years?” Cannon says that everyone in the program, from the writers to the professors, shares a passion for writing. That passion has drawn them together for constructive workshops and pizza parties at the Orange Spot after a long week. And it’s pushed her to sip a cup of coffee before each 15-hour Wednesday. “Passion plays a big part in this program,” she says.
SUMMER 2017 |
| Photo by Mike Ledford |
Strength in Numbers
MATT ROBERTS IS A NUMBERS GUY. You’d expect that from a university athletics director. Sports are statistical by nature: wins, losses, personal record times, free-throw percentages, batting averages, shots on goals, servicebreak opportunities. Every moment of competition seems to have numerical significance, but that’s not the kind of number Roberts thinks about first. Rather, the number he prioritizes is 358. For Roberts, 358 represents everything about the College’s true purpose and its ultimate success: 358 is the number of student-athletes that proudly call themselves Cougars. “As a university, we must be focused on our student-athletes and their development … their complete development on the playing field and in
the SPORTSTICKER |
the classroom,” says Roberts, his voice betraying a soft North Carolina accent. “That is and will be our guiding principle.” As might be expected, Roberts, the College’s new athletics director who joined the College in January, speaks with a coach’s intensity as he maps out the future of the Cougars. He stresses integrity, innovation, inclusion, respect and teamwork – lessons and traits he learned at his previous institutions: the University of North Carolina, the University of Oklahoma and Southern Methodist University. Whether leading sports marketing for the Tar Heels, fundraising for the Sooners or the day-to-day athletics operations for the Mustangs, Roberts understands the importance of creating a plan and how it shapes a culture of success.
“But our plan cannot be just words on paper,” he points out. “We, as an athletics division, as a university, must live it. We must lock arms and be bound together for one common goal.” That common goal, in Roberts’ estimation, is simple: “We will be the best overall program in the Colonial Athletic Association. It’s my charge that every team, every office, every service be the best in the league. If we are already there, let’s stay there; if we’re not there yet, let’s get there. By designing our culture around the student-athletes and their success both on and off the field – that’s how we make their experience extraordinary and unforgettable, that’s how we take care of our 358.” And, as Roberts knows, numbers don’t lie.
Several tennis players received All-CAA honors: Mara Argyriou ’17 (women’s first team singles), Liza Fieldsend ’17 (women’s second team singles), Juan Estevarena (men’s first team singles and doubles), Rodrigo Encinas ’17 (men’s first team doubles) and Benedikt Henning (men’s first team singles). + After winning its fourth CAA championship, men’s golf swept the top conference honors: William Rainey ’17 (golfer of the year), Michael Sass (rookie of the year) |
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A NAME EMBOLDENED Breanna Bolden ’17 will leave the College as one of the best women basketball players in school history. In four short years, Bolden set school records in just about every major category since the College switched from NAIA to NCAA Division I in the early 1990s. And her numbers are amazing. She set school records for the most points scored in a career (1,672), the most field goals (634), the most field goal attempts (1,608), the most total rebounds (845), the most defensive rebounds (561) and the most career steals (333). A public health major, she was also named the CAA Defensive Player of the Year for three consecutive seasons and made the All-CAA First Team her senior year. Her coach Candice Jackson says Bolden is one of a kind: “There’s so much you can say about Bre as a player and as a person. Every game that we’ve played, she’s put her whole heart into it. She’s the ultimate competitor who practices the way she plays, and as a coach, you enjoy that because that’s what you want to see in all of your players.” Bolden, it seems, is in a league all her own.
and Mark McEntire (coach of the year). + Ereven Roper ’17 (baseball) earned the J. Stewart Walker Cup, the highest award given by the athletics department. + Laura Fuenfstueck ’17 earned her third CAA women’s golfer of the year. + Earl Grant (men’s basketball) was named CAA coach of the year and several players took a variety of CAA awards: Joe Chealey (first team), Jarrell Brantley (second team and alldefensive team), Cameron Johnson (all-defensive team), Grant Riller (all-rookie team) and Evan Bailey (Dean Ehlers Leadership Award). SUMMER 2016 |
POINT of VIEW [ student ] In a Lather Often, it’s the little things that matter most. That is certainly true when it comes to the economic impact of washing – or not washing – your hands. Soap and water seem like an obvious fix to what ails you, but it’s not quite that simple. BY ZACH STURMAN ’17 DOCTORS DO IT. NURSES DO IT, TOO. SCHOOLCHILDREN LINE UP AT the classroom sink every day before lunch and again after recess to do it. Each week you refill the hand soap and hang a fresh towel in the bathroom in anticipation of the scrubbing that’s to come. And the signs posted pretty much everywhere in hospitals and nursing homes prompt us to rinse a little bit longer. Everyone knows that we should all wash our hands regularly and often. But why? A simple game of “what if” paints a convincing picture. What if no one washed their hands? The outcome could be dire; the ripple effect infinite. Illness and disease could take hold; doctors’ offices could be swamped with hordes of people with runny noses, stomach bugs or worse. And the economic cost from a flood of insurance claims, medical bills and hours
lost at work would likely be exponential. A few extra seconds and a squirt of soap are all it would take to stop this potential pandemonium in its tracks. There’s no question that washing your hands – or not – has a cost and a benefit. And, as I found out researching the subject for my bachelor’s essay, the simple behavior of hand-washing isn’t as simple as it seems. I stumbled into the world of behavioral economics in the spring of my junior year when I took Principles of Microeconomics, taught by Daniela Goya-Tocchetto, adjunct professor of economics. Suddenly, a whole new world that synthesized so many of my varied interests unfolded before me. Economics drew out plausible cause-and-effect relationships from everyday phenomena. Instead of relying on mere opinion-based rationale, economics seemed to provide new tools for understanding the costs and benefits of particular problems or policies. It unleashed quantitative theory onto a seemingly nonquantitative world of human decisions. As I delved deeper into this introductory course, I was thirsty to explore each new concept. Podcasts, videos and outside texts started to populate my free time. Then, in the summer after my microeconomics course, I read a macroeconomics textbook at home and even took a standardized CLEP (College Level
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POINT OF VIEW
Proper hand-washing can save more than one million lives annually ... Even so, hand-washing rates remain demonstrably low and are largely unaffected by traditional education and advocacy measures.
Examination Program) test through the College Board to get CofC credit for the material. Every new concept seemed to open up another set of doors to explore. Then, I had a bold idea. I was already required to engage in a yearlong research project as part of the Honors College. I thought, instead of sticking to my political science, astronomy, or Spanish foundations, why not venture into an economics research project? I contacted Professor Goya-Tocchetto about the idea; she was completely on-board, and even agreed to serve as my research advisor. Amid a torrent of all sorts of new material, Professor Goya-Tocchetto mentioned a completely foreign concept to me she thought I might find interesting – behavioral economics. She insisted I look at Cass Sustein and Richard Thaler’s Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness; Dan Ariely’s Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions; Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow; and a host of other academic articles. I went from drinking water out of a straw to drinking out of a garden hose: I was absolutely flooded with new ideas that started to forever change the way I thought. To say the least, I was sold. In the months that followed, my fascination with behavioral economics grew as Professor Goya-Tocchetto encouraged me to explore my own interests and ideas on the subject. The insights from behavioral economics had wide-ranging applicability. It became clear that the slightest interventions could affect the decisions people make, such as a healthy choice or an unhealthy choice. For instance, one study showed that where an item appears on a food menu affects how often it is ordered. Want to get people to eat healthier options? You might want to start by displaying those items before the unhealthy ones. The same holds true in the school cafeteria. If salty snacks and cookies are the first choices elementary-schoolers see, they will be more likely to choose those options. In a world where systems appear to be well designed and where we seem to act with complete rationality, the opposite is often true. Instead, how we set up seemingly arbitrary systems can often have significant, measurable effects on human decision-making. In that sense, it is possible to become “choice architects” as Sustein and Thaler describe, and design nudges that affect actions. Based on this concept, we could venture to become our own choice architects and try to strip away some of the potential nonarbitrary choices in real-life settings. All of that is to say my list of ideas for potential research topics started out very long. Eventually, Professor Goya-Tocchetto and I settled on a niche topic: hand-washing. I liked the idea of looking at the behavioral forces behind handwashing for a number of reasons. First, the data generation was
relatively clean, neat and vast. There are several ways you can look at how often people wash their hands: stealthy in-person observations, surveys or indirect means. Based on previous studies, we decided that an indirect proxy, which compares relative soap usage per person, seemed like the best course of action for our sanitary sleuthing purposes. By setting up inconspicuous infrared sensors at the entrances to on-campus restrooms, we were able to get a reading of how many people enter each restroom for a time interval of our choosing. Then, with the help of custodial services and some on-campus partners, we were able to gain access to the soap dispensers and be solely responsible for refilling those machines when necessary. By counting the number of people who used a restroom and comparing that to the amount of soap used for the same time period (by measuring the weight-based amount of soap used), we were able to get a reliable proxy for approximate handwashing practices. Another reason I was attracted to hand-washing was its importance. Proper hand-washing can save more than one million lives annually. Conversely, suboptimal hand-washing practices are a leading cause of death in health care facilities in the developed world, and they are a leading cause of respiratory-induced and diarrhea-related child mortality in the developing world. Even so, hand-washing rates remain demonstrably low and are largely unaffected by traditional educational and advocacy measures. This interdisciplinary public health topic is ripe for the field of behavioral economics. Certainly, there are psychological forces at play that contribute to the frequency and specific practices of hand-washing. Better understanding of those underpinnings may unlock previously overlooked or undiscovered hand-washing influences that have more general applicability. Perhaps an existing structure in the natural setting of existing restrooms could have an influence on hand-washing frequency. Or perhaps we could introduce an easily deployable design feature that increases hygiene compliance. Whatever the case may be, these questions drive us to keep searching and to keep prodding for answers. In the meantime, I am just so thankful and fortunate to have such a talented, understanding and helpful advisor in Professor Goya-Tocchetto, the support and wisdom of my co-advisor, economics department chair Calvin Blackwell, and to have the possibility of making a contribution in this crucial topic. Hopefully, I can help come up with the next big hand hygiene intervention. Until then, wash your hands. – Zach Sturman ’17 graduated in May with degrees in political science and Spanish. He served as president of the Student Government Association in 2015-16.
SUMMER 2017 |
POINT of VIEW
[ faculty ]
Let the Numbers Speak Language is a gift that gives voice to our innermost hopes and dreams. How we acquire those words, however, remains a bit of a mystery. And the unlikeliest of champions, a math professor, is using equations to unlock the biological origins that turn gibberish into prose. BY GARRETT MITCHENER WHEN I INTRODUCE MYSELF AS A MATHEMATICIAN, I USUALLY follow up by saying that I specialize in dynamical systems and probability, with applications to biology and linguistics. After an awkward pause and a glassy-eyed stare comes the inevitable question: “How do those subjects go together?” The biology part is normally no surprise, since the study of life involves taking measurements and managing data. The linguistics part, however, stirs up a lot of conversation. After all, language is human, ubiquitous, natural and familiar. Math is formal and abstract. So how do they go together? Linguistics is inherently an interdisciplinary field. It involves the study of literature, culture, social forces and cognition. The anatomy of the vocal tract, ears and brain are all important, too. So are social networks (physical and digital) as well as slang. In some ways, language is very precise. For example, native speakers of English would agree that this sentence is a decidedly wrong way to ask who went to the store with Chris: Who did Chris and go to the store? In other ways, language is kind of fuzzy. Think about how different English is when spoken with a Charleston accent compared to the English you might hear in Mumbai. Ancient English texts look like they’re written in a foreign language. My friends and I will even turn on subtitles to better understand some TV shows from the BBC. Yet, it’s all English somehow. To those who don’t use mathematics on a daily basis, it may not be immediately clear what the study of numbers, quantity and space has to do with linguistics. However, in many ways, mathematics is a natural tool for understanding both the precise and fuzzy aspects of human language. Formal languages are the vehicles that mathematically represent the form and meaning of highly structured data (think computer programming languages). And these technical languages have long been used as models for the more precise aspects of natural speech. Time-frequency analysis of sound data is an essential mathematical tool for helping computers translate natural speech into commands and
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data they can understand. Ever heard of Watson, Siri, Google Assistant and Cortana? Probability theory is a great tool for modeling random variation within language, such as whether you say it isn’t or it’s not. They mean the same thing, but you have to mentally flip a coin to decide which to say. One of my projects, for example, looks at whether multiple versions of a language can coexist within a population. This includes the possibility that individual speakers may randomly use more than one variant in their speech – and even change the rates at which they use each one over the course of their lives. Mathematics can help us delve deeper into the science of language (its structure, its form, its function), which in turn can tell us more about how we communicate and how we share our perspectives. For example, until recently, it was widely accepted that children only use positive information when they begin acquiring their native language. That is, they hear utterances that adults find meaningful and try to speak the same way – mimicking at its finest. However, that isn’t the whole story. My linguist colleague Misha Becker at the University of North Carolina found that children sometimes do something a little unexpected as they seek to understand and use certain verbs. Take the verb seem, for instance. As a raising verb, seem has no semantic subject, but borrows the subject of the phrase it modifies when syntactically necessary: It seems that Charleston is a beautiful city. Charleston seems to be a beautiful city. On the other hand, try is a control verb, which means it has a semantic subject that is also the semantic subject of the phrase it modifies: The mayor tries to be polite. Becker discovered that young children will use control verbs in circumstances that don’t make sense: The door tries to be purple. Children assume the word try can be used like a raising verb, but once they’ve heard it used often enough, they learn not to use it in these nonsense ways. This is a very difficult challenge for kids to overcome. So, how do they do it? To answer that, we applied several advanced statistical methods to two sets of natural speech. Although children probably don’t use a learning process quite like the statistical methods we tried, we were able to determine a likely explanation for how our little ones gather and process the information that helps them master these verbs. We discovered there are enough clues in whether the syntactic subject is animate or not for children to eventually catch on to the proper use of each type of verb. And that’s huge. Why? Because this discovery shows the acquisition of language is a
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| Illustration by Adam Koon |
Mathematics can help us delve deeper into the science of language (its structure, its form, its function), which in turn can tell us more about how we communicate and how we share our perspectives. more complex process than was originally thought. Children apparently need to keep track of several potential meanings for words and filter out the ones they never hear. But the relationship between equations and words goes even deeper than that. Mathematical methods can help shed light on the biological origins of human language. Because the fossil record gives very little information on how and when the cognitive and physical capabilities for language evolved in hominins, researchers often use mathematical models and simulations to test their hypotheses of when our ability to communicate first emerged. Iâ€™ve used dynamical systems theory to understand when one form of language faculty might edge
out another. Eventually, I hope to use computer simulations to understand the evolution of neural networks and learning mechanisms to unlock new insights into the origins of our intellectual capacity for language. Although linguistics and mathematics might at first glance seem about as compatible as oil and water, they really do have a lot to offer each other. There are plenty of interesting mathematical problems hiding in human language, and plenty of mathematical tools that can shed light on the hidden stories of our words. â€“ Garrett Mitchener is an associate professor of mathematics.
SUMMER 2017 |
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[ alumni ]
Cape Crusader Life’s hectic undertow can shift in the blink of an eye, with no warning or care. For this alumnus, a rare encounter with a leatherback sea turtle reminded him that when you’re thrown off course, sometimes all you can do is wait for help. BY LUKE REIN ’15 2015 WAS AN EXCITING YEAR. AFTER I GRADUATED FROM THE College, won a national championship in rowing, and then bicycled from Rhode Island to California as a fundraiser for the climate action group 350.org, a lot of people asked me what I had planned for 2016. Surely, I’d had enough adventure for a while – wasn’t it time to do something normal for a change? No. For someone who grew up beside the ocean, spent four years studying marine biology and had a penchant for outdoor living, the obvious next step was to move to a deserted island and spend the summer working as a wildlife biologist for the Massachusetts Audubon Society. A deserted island: Most people’s conception of the term involves palm trees, tropical latitudes, coral reefs and being hundreds of miles from civilization. Monomoy Island, the location of my scientific exploits, is a barrier island off the coast of Massachusetts. It’s less than 80 miles from Boston, has an average summer temperature of less than 75 degrees and frequently is shrouded in fog for a few hours a day. Not a single parrot or boa constrictor can be found there. But without any year-round human inhabitants, only one permanent structure and daunting natural obstacles preventing most humans from reaching the island (it’s likely the least-visited part of Cape Cod), it’s the closest thing to a deserted island that you’ll find in Massachusetts. This desolation is what brought us biologists to Monomoy in the first place. With minimal human interruption, the island offers a perfect haven for a huge number of animals. Seals and great white sharks are probably some of the island’s best-known inhabitants. And clams, striped bass and bluefish are some of its most delicious. But the most ubiquitous animals, and the real reason we spent our summer on Monomoy, were the birds. Tens of thousands of birds representing hundreds of species pass through the eight-mile spit of an island each summer. Some just use the island as a rest stop in their multi-day flights up and down the coast. Others, like the terns and plovers, make
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their summer homes there, taking time to raise a family before departing for the winter. The prospect of spending the entire summer on the island, working closely with scientists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to observe and document the birds nesting there, was enticing. This was certainly going to be my greatest adventure yet. Indeed, it lived up to – and even exceeded – my highest expectations. Whether we were under attack from overprotective seabirds, stalking squid and dogfish across the mudflats by the light of our headlamps, watching whales feeding just yards away from us in the surf or keeping our eyes peeled for the telltale fin of a great white hunting for seals, life on Monomoy was a nonstop thrill, a relaxing retreat, a months-long logistical challenge and a full-time job. As if the entire summer was scripted by some omnipotent author, the last day of my employment at Monomoy served as a perfect finale to the incredible experiences of the summer. That day, August 19, 2016, was marked by the arrival and departure of one of the ocean’s most awesome animals. It was the day we rescued a leatherback sea turtle. Few people will ever have the chance to see a leatherback; fewer still will encounter one on the beach. And, of that number, only a minuscule percentage will be fortunate enough to help orchestrate the rescue of such a magnificent and mysterious creature. The rescue almost didn’t happen at all. When we found the stranded turtle after a quahogger’s tip, our first reaction was to call the professionals – the teams from the New England Aquarium and International Fund for Animal Welfare – to come to the aid of our reptile in distress. Monomoy’s relative inaccessibility, though, meant it could take all day for help to arrive, and that might be too long for the turtle to be slowly roasting under the August sun stuck on the baking sheet of a beach. It was obvious that if the turtle was going to make it back to its ocean home, we would have to be the ones to get it there. Stranded high above the tide line, the turtle had left a trail of flipper marks that clearly defined its struggle after it washed ashore in the shallow tidal flats. Calm and warm, Nantucket Sound extends to the west of Monomoy Island. The shoreline has many sandbars and shallows, great places, as it happens, for a turtle to get stranded. From its tracks, it looked like the turtle had tried to make its way over the beach toward the sound of the waves crashing on the distant Atlantic Ocean side of the island. Ultimately, it only made it a few yards toward its destination before succumbing to the obstacles it faced. Unsure of what to do, we started our rescue by cooling the turtle with water dipped from the ocean. Then we fashioned a makeshift sling out of a tent’s ground cloth snatched from
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| Illustration by Kate Waddell |
our camp. Manuevering the turtle, some five feet in length and weighing in the neighborhood of 400 pounds, into the sling was a painstaking operation of digging, sliding and wriggling. Initially wary of its huge flippers, we soon discovered the ordeal had so exhausted the turtle that it was almost powerless to move, let alone harm us. Deciding against releasing it back into Nantucket Sound, where it was likely to be stranded again, we opted, instead, to introduce it directly to the deeper and cooler Atlantic Ocean. The hurdle preventing us from attainting this goal, however, was the more than 100 yards of hot, sandy beach that lay between us and the Atlantic. Half carrying, half sliding the sling over the beach, we maneuvered the exhausted turtle toward the ocean. For the most part, the turtle put up no real struggle. Perhaps its massive size, coupled with the discomforts of being stranded out of its environment for so long, had left it drained with nothing to do but wait for good luck to come its way. As the rescue party crested the berm and finally began heading downhill toward the surf, our large reptilian friend showed the first signs of renewed life and intent since we found it. As if suddenly realizing how close it was to the cool ocean waters, the turtle began its own clumsy sprint towards freedom, flapping its massive flippers and wriggling its body against the constraints of the giant sling. Gathering momentum as we moved down the intertidal zone, the whole party – rescuers, turtle and sling – raced together into
the surf. As the sling drifted to the bottom and the turtle floated, recovering, at the surface, I took a moment to reflect. Leatherback sea turtles virtually never come ashore. The females land every two to three years to lay their eggs; males, once they’ve hatched, will spend their whole lives, up to 100 years, plying the oceans. This turtle was a small one by leatherback standards, and, if all goes well, it will still be traversing the oceans for 75 more years. Hopefully, it will never have to encounter another human. But if it does, I wonder if it will remember the day it met us. Sometimes, the unpredictable can happen to a turtle: They’re searching for food, get caught in a current and end up stranded and helpless. It’s then that they must rely on an outsider to save them. The truth is turtles and people are a lot alike. No matter how independent and capable the human or reptile, sometimes unforeseen challenges land you in a situation you’re not prepared for. When they do, all you can do is look – or sometimes simply wait – for help in order to get yourself back on track. And your saving grace might just come from an unexpected source. – Luke Rein graduated in 2015 with a degree in marine biology. He currently resides in Philadelphia, where he is living a life of passion and service. You can read more about his adventures – including rowing, biology, travel and entrepreneurship – at lukerein.com.
SUMMER 2017 |
UNWRECKED BY MARK BERRY
» PHOTOS BY KIP BULWINKLE ’04
This past year, the College formally established the Collegiate Recovery Program with the hiring of Director Wood Marchant ’89. Powered by philanthropy and student action, this program supports students in recovery from addictive behaviors and is the first of its kind in South Carolina.
t’s way too easy to focus on the negative. The broken pieces. The sharp shards of destructive behavior strewn figuratively and literally across our country. For too many of us, addiction and its inevitable fallout is like observing a car wreck on the side of the highway. You can’t help but strain your neck, with macabre fascination, hoping/not hoping to catch a glimpse of something terrible. And then you pass by, relieved it’s not you and letting the horrific memory fade like yesterday’s grocery list, reassured by the thought that that was someone else’s problem, someone else’s misfortune. But that line of thinking goes beyond naïve. In fact, the car wreck is not on the side of the road, but tumbling along the highway, crisscrossing lanes and wreaking havoc and chaos with everything – and everyone – it touches. Whether you like it or not, addiction is a national problem, one that affects rich, poor, old, young – an equal opportunity menace. And, in many ways, it always has been. Since the first grape was fermented into wine and early grains brewed into beer, humanity has enjoyed substances that deliver consumers into different states of consciousness. And some have found that they preferred that “elevated” state above all else. Literature, across the ages, is populated with characters and stories linked to some form of addiction. They are, at times, funny, tragic, relatable, despicable: Greek mythology’s Dionysus, Shakespeare’s Falstaff, The Simpsons’ Barney, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, Breaking Bad’s Jesse Pinkman, to name but a very few.
FRIDAY-TO-SUNDAY FUN SEEPS INTO MONDAY AND MAYBE LONGER. OR MAYBE, IT DOESN’T EVEN STOP.” – ISAAC WATERS
Ernest Hemingway famously quipped that “A man does not exist until he is drunk.” As any person in recovery will tell you, that type of bravado is the addict’s false shield in the battle of dependence. And, unfortunately, society all too often hides behind that same logic. But things have changed quite drastically in recent years. Technology is not only a disruptor in the business world; it has also played an outsized role in the creation of new drugs, such as opioids, a class of drugs that are powerful pain relievers (think codeine, fentanyl and oxycodone). So what, you might ask. This is happening to other people. Bad families, absentee parents, wayward children. Except, it’s not. Talk to any teenager today and you will reconsider the “bad family” proposition. The rebelliousness of youth – a standard myth we all share in American society – may explain away the need for experimentation. However, this rite of passage is being undertaken today in a much more dangerous setting than the seemingly carefree days of pot and beer buzzes. Compared to the mix of marijuana and cocktails of 50 years ago, the combination of today’s more powerful drugs with alcohol is like comparing the weaponry of the American Revolution with World War II. Today’s synthetic drugs are almost nuclear in their capacity to hook users. In this new world, a little becomes a lot in hyper drive. As you might guess, the statistics are disheartening. According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 2015, the number of overdose deaths (52,404) eclipsed the number of people who died in car
“THROUGH THE IMAGES AND VIDEOS BEING SHARED ON SOCIAL MEDIA,
IT DOESN’T LOOK LIKE ANYTHING IS GOING WRONG. THIS LIVING LIFE TO THE EXTREME SOMEHOW LOOKS FUN AND SAFE.
BUT IT’S NOT.”
– JOHN NIX ’16
crashes (37,757) or were killed by guns (36,252). The CDC has also stated that opiate addiction costs the American economy $78.5 billion per year. This rise in usage is particularly relevant for higher education, as the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports that college students are the fastest-growing segment seeking substance abuse treatment, with a 1,143 percent increase in the past decade. Journalist Christopher Caldwell, in his article “American Carnage: The New Landscape of Opioid Addiction,” asserts that the current opioid crisis is claiming five times the number of lives than the crack epidemic of the 1980s, which launched the country’s first War on Drugs. A war that was never won. DWELLING ON THE POSITIVE Wood Marchant ’89 is an optimist and a realist. An odd combination, to say the least. His voice is soft, reassuring, earnest. His reddish beard streaked with white is a fitting representation of his youthful outlook intertwined with his hard-knocks wisdom. Marchant is not shy with his own story, his own struggles with addiction; nor is he some brash evangelist telling everyone how to live his or her life. To be clear, he is not proud of his yearslong dependence on alcohol and marijuana, but neither is he embarrassed by it. He understands that addiction is not a sign of weakness or inability. Addiction is not who he is as a person, just as melanoma is not the defining trait of a cancer survivor. “From about 20 to 31, I was a daily pot smoker,” says Marchant, who graduated with a degree in English from the College. “I found that marijuana calmed me down and allowed me to focus – or so I thought. Actually, working or studying is the last thing you want to do after you get stoned. Marijuana was a great de-motivator in
my life, and that certainly had an impact on my attempts at being a journalist and later as an advertising copywriter.” Marchant, who worked for several years on the sports desk for The Post and Courier, moved to Atlanta for graduate school in order to pursue a career in advertising. “I blamed Charleston for my problems. On some unspoken level, I moved to Atlanta to get sober,” Marchant explains. “However, I learned quickly that the habits I had formed in Charleston went with me. Charleston, in my mind, was a party city, a party culture – well, all that existed in Atlanta, too. So, those habits traveled with me.” But that wasn’t the kind of baggage that would outfit him for success: “My notion of graduate school was wrapped up in a romance of the ad world catering to hard living – a vision of Mad Men before there was a Mad Men television show. But I learned that I couldn’t do the creative work to be successful. I didn’t have the follow-through. Eventually, I hit the point where I was so depressed that I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror.” All that changed on August 10, 1997, when Marchant chose sobriety, and two years later, he returned to Charleston: “I wanted to be stable in my recovery before I came back here, making sure that I had built the proper foundation of support. To be honest, I was nervous about coming back, but I knew my life was better. I was thinking clearly and I was a whole lot less depressed. I missed Charleston and I knew I had to come back, in part to come to terms with my past. I had some ghost busting to do in this haunted house, if you will – making amends and making things right.” Back in Charleston, he completed his master’s in social work while commuting to Columbia and teaching fifth and seventh graders and running an afterschool program at a downtown school. After that, he focused on his counseling career: doing SUMMER 2017 |
social work in a psychiatric ward; providing support in an HIV/ AIDS clinic at the Medical University of South Carolina; going into private practice as a therapist for several years; working as a counselor at the Charleston Center, a 28-day traditional inpatient rehabilitation center; and, most recently, serving as a faculty member at MUSC’s Center for Drug and Alcohol Programs, its outpatient drug treatment center. “When this position at the College became available,” Marchant says, “I knew that this was the perfect job for me. I know how to be sober. I know how those of us in recovery need a community, need support and need to stay together. And I knew that this was how I could best serve my alma mater.” In November 2016, Marchant became the first director of the first collegiate recovery program in South Carolina. “But let me be clear,” Marchant says, “I am only here because of the amazing work that John and Isaac, among many, many others, did. They started something really special.” ROAD TO RECOVERY Students John Nix and Isaac Waters knew that the College of Charleston needed a recovery program on campus. Veterans of Charleston’s extensive recovery community, they saw an opportunity for the College to be a leader in an area that is growing in need and relevance. They had both seen firsthand the devastating effects of addiction. They knew how quickly things could spiral out of control for young people, and they wanted to make a difference. “Addiction is rampant,” Nix says. “Drugs and alcohol affect every socio-economic group. In a way, it’s normalized on college campuses. Through the images and videos being shared on social media, it doesn’t look like anything is going wrong. This living life to the extreme somehow looks fun and safe. But it’s not.” Waters agrees: “You probably don’t want to hear this, but in some ways, the Baby Boomers and Gen Xers set up this mentality of work hard, play hard. Call it the weekend binge drinkers at the neighborhood barbeque. However, as the millennials try to emulate their parents, the play is much harder today because the substances at hand are much stronger. Now, that Friday-toSunday fun seeps into Monday and maybe longer. Or maybe, it doesn’t even stop. Today’s substances can intoxicate you for 24 hours at a time, and it’s impossible to get away from. As I learned even in middle school, drugs don’t stop at a school’s front gates.” However, hope is not all lost. Both Nix and Waters believed that there was a space for students in recovery at the College, and so they got to work. Through their network in the Charleston recovery community, they met Steve Pulley, an MUSC graduate student, at the time, who told them about a similar program in Georgia. With the help of teacher education professor Genny Howe Hay ’82, they were able to talk to Dean of Students Jeri Cabot about bringing this concept to campus. Starting in the fall of 2015, Nix, Waters and Dean Cabot began meeting weekly to flesh out the idea. Every Monday, the three would get together and figure out short-term action items and the different community members to involve. One of the critical pieces to fall into place was the support of Judge Brucie Howe Hendricks ’83, Genny Hay’s sister and a Greenville, S.C.–based federal judge who started the state’s BRIDGE Program, a drug court established to help drug
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offenders overcome their addictions and stay out of jail. Judge Hendricks (the 2015 recipient of the College’s Distinguished Alumna Award) understood how important a program like this could be and was an early champion. But a program like this also needed a champion on the inside – someone inside Randolph Hall to truly make a difference. When College President Glenn McConnell ’69 learned of the idea, he quickly recognized the possibilities – how it meshed with the College’s public mission, how it could be a program of distinction and how it, if fully implemented, could better serve the College’s student population as a whole. As a priority of the president’s office, the dominoes started falling quickly – with Nix and Waters meeting with campus leadership in student affairs, specifically Executive Vice President Alicia Caudill (on her second day of the job, no less), and later the College’s Board of Trustees. But an idea is only as good as the resources supporting it. Nix, Waters and Dean Cabot secured a $10,000 grant from Transforming Youth in Recovery and a $25,000 grant from the S.C. Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services to get the ball rolling, but they needed more help. Working in concert with the student affairs staff and the College’s development office, Nix and Waters connected with Patty Scarafile ’66, former CEO of Carolina One Real Estate, who made a significant lead gift and then hosted a networking event at her home to inspire others to give. Soon, more than $250,000 was raised to launch the program and hire its first director. Nix, who graduated in spring 2016 with a degree in finance, is still amazed at how everything came together: “The Collegiate Recovery Program represents a lot of hard work by a lot of people. It is one of my proudest achievements, seeing everyone working together, all the wheels spinning at the right time.” PILLARS OF SUPPORT “Let me tell you what we are not,” Marchant says. “We are not a treatment program. Our students have already gotten sober and are living lives in recovery. We are an abstinence-based program. Think of it as a sober fraternity-sorority with a focus on community service, mutual support and leadership.” But the program also serves as a resource to the campus at large. This spring, Marchant began hosting an open forum for the rest of campus who might be interested in sober living. In these meetings, students who may be having difficulty with drugs and alcohol or other addictive behaviors can hear stories from those in recovery as well as find out about ways to seek help. “Collegiate recovery programs are trying to show other students that it is OK to hit bottom at this age,” Marchant explains, “and we have a better way. As I tell them, it is never a bad idea to get sober. Your grades will get better, your health will get better. “I can’t tell you how encouraging it is to see our recovery students,” Marchant continues, “who have been sober for a few years working with some of the newer students who are just now getting sober or in the process of making that decision to become substance free. The peer-to-peer support is key. They can tell students what sobriety is and, more importantly, what sobriety isn’t. While I may still think of myself as a 20-year-old college student walking around this campus, I know in reality I am a 50-year-old guy – not as relatable as I think I am. When I see our students bridging that gap, and being able to say, ‘I remember this
is what I did in early recovery’ – it’s neat to observe these authentic connections and to see how this is going to grow and thrive.” One of those students serving as a model for sober living is Brittany Vannort, a 29-year-old psychology major. However, as Vannort will tell you, looks can be deceiving. “This is what a junkie looks like now,” Vannort says, pointing to herself. “It’s not someone holding a paper bag and living under a bridge. It’s someone 29 years old, 22 years old, 19 years old. It’s your next-door neighbor, it’s your best friend, it’s your sister, it’s your cousin.” Vannort’s own 12-year struggle with addiction reads like a made-for-television cautionary tale. An honor roll student and cheerleader starts experimenting with marijuana at age 13, then becomes a daily drug user in high school; by college, she is using harder drugs and fails out, falling deeper into addiction. Car crashes, relapses, jail sentences and near-death overdoses served as the milestones that marked her early 20s. “Addiction doesn’t pick and choose the way parents may want to believe,” Vannort observes. “But somehow, I survived and found help and a new life through recovery. I am here to serve as an example that it’s OK to hit rock bottom. Actually, most times, it’s not the end of the world. Yes, it’s scary, but if you face it head on, it gets better and the more likely you’ll have a chance to succeed.” And through the College’s Collegiate Recovery Program, students can find that safe haven and network of support, both on peer-to-peer and administrative levels. “What I love most about the College,” Vannort says, “are its unique campus and unique programs. And I can tell you that you don’t have to choose between the school you want and being in recovery. You can come here and be confident that you will be safe and healthy and supported and have fun while you’re doing it. We have a very unique thing going on here.” And that is exactly what Waters, a business administration major, envisioned in those early planning sessions just two years ago: making the College more accessible to students serious about learning and growing. “What most people don’t realize is that people in recovery get to live two lives,” Waters says, “with that second one being an amazing, miraculous life.” Marchant smiles that knowing smile in thinking about the miraculous lives he’s observed in the recovery community and the potential for this program, with thoughts of scholarships and sober living facilities on campus in the not-too-distant future. But, more importantly, Marchant believes in how this program can be more than a lifeline, but an incredible launch pad: “About every family today knows someone who has a substance abuse problem, and we, at the College, now have a program for the student who is in recovery and who wants a safe environment. We know why we love this school and love this town. Now, we can better share that with students who want the same thing. We have a safe place for them to come to school and turn them into leaders and prepare them for what comes next – as is the charge of this great school.”
Learn more about the College of Charleston Collegiate Recovery Program and ways to provide support at deanofstudents.cofc.edu/ collegiate-recovery-program/.
SUMMER 2017 |
FOSSIL Dinosaurs are the stuff of prehistoric legend, beasts from a long bygone era. But for one professor of geology, the study of the Jurassic giants is the jumping point from which to celebrate the beauty of the natural world.
by AMANDA KERR
| imagery by DIANA DEAVER
n odd-shaped hump pokes out just above the horizon. If you didn’t know what you were looking at, you would think it’s just part of the rocky, rugged terrain of this part of northwest Wyoming. It’s not. Braving bitterly frigid December temperatures, a trio of geologists trudge across the treeless, icy landscape of the Morrison Formation with tools and tarps in hand, determined to inspect the uneven mass of land. As they make their way across this lonely, bleak landscape, a biting wind washes across their faces. It’s cold. Really cold. Despite his physical misery, Phil Manning is like a “kid in a sweet shop.” Sure, these are long days of digging, measuring, studying and planning. It’s all worth it, though, because of the promise of what lies within the dirt. “This is one of the most pristine, beautiful, desolate, remote, wonderful places on the planet,” says Manning.
The geology professor, his wife and colleague, Victoria Egerton, and College of Charleston alumna Lauren Humphreys ’13 are there to assess this square-mile site, which holds the secrets of the past, present and future. The treasures they’re there to protect are dinosaur bones, which in Manning’s mind can unlock the mysteries of the world for children and college students alike. “This new dig site is going to have a stack of stegosaurus material,” Manning says, his British accent inflecting with excitement. “There’s already a big stegosaur pelvis slap bang next to one of the sauropod dinosaurs.” In these early days of winter in the American West, the doggedly persistent professor is dreaming of the endless possibilities these ancient reptile fossils can offer his students. But before the gigantic bones can be unearthed the following summer, Manning has to cover them up one more time. Even old bones need protection from the wrath of Mother Nature.
| Photo by Mike Ledford |
A little boy runs along the banks of a stream bed at the bottom of his mother’s garden. Hunting for frogs and newts to examine and release, the child’s eyes suddenly dart to a rock jutting out of the ground outside his home in the rural English countryside. Bright-eyed and curious, the boy abandons his pursuit of the amphibians and makes a beeline for the rock. Crouching down, he meticulously examines a stony shell, turning it over and over in his hands. A slight glint in the earthen formation catches his eye as he brings the baseball-sized hunk close to his ruddy face. The shiny shape within the mineral enraptures the boy, sending his imagination into overdrive. Years later, Phil Manning would learn that what he had discovered tucked in the dirt outside his Somerset home was a fossilized gastropod (a giant marine snail) forever preserved in mudstone and sparry calcite. “It’s pretty,” he says, adding “it stays with me.” As a child, he didn’t dream of traveling the globe and unearthing behemoth beasts from the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous Periods. He didn’t envision leading groundbreaking research using synchrotron light to reveal new details of the biochemistry of long extinct animals. And, he hadn’t yet developed a taste for storytelling that would land him on the likes of the BBC and the National Geographic Channel. He just wanted to play outside. “I don’t know what I really wanted to do as a kid,” he says, his voice lilting slightly. “I think I was just inquisitive. I loved being outside. I loved the environment. I used to love just traipsing up river beds, looking for stuff and hunting for fossils. I just loved getting out there and exploring the world.” That pretty much sums up Phil Manning: a student of the world who is always on a quest to see something new, unearth a new detail of life’s long history and celebrate those wonders with whoever will listen. ◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊ Students slowly trickle into a classroom in the School of Sciences and Mathematics Building on a cool November morning. Buzzing about a paper due that day, one student proclaims, “Is today the day?” Not dwelling on the much-anticipated assignment, students chat with geology professor Phil Manning about their weekend adventures and their growing stress as the semester inches to a close. One student jokingly inquires why Manning is “so scruffy today,” noting the professor’s unshaven face. “The reason I’m scruffy today is to feel at one with all of you who are also scruffy today,” Manning quips before clarifying that he’s preparing to do fieldwork in the frigid Bighorn Basin of Wyoming. “The air temperature at the moment is in the low twenties. So, to put it in British, that’s minus 10 to minus 15 Celsius I’ll be working in. So, I’m going to grow any facial hair I can since I’ve got no hope of growing any on top of my head.” Then, it’s down to business as Manning delves into the day’s lecture, working through the dinosauria (that’s the scientific term for dinosaurs) based on their key physical characteristics. The centerpiece of the day’s discussion explores the armored dinosaurs, including “two major groups we all know and love,” says Manning, “stegosaurs and ankylosaurs.” Manning describes ankylosaurs as “dumpy-sized beasties with
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their origins in the late Jurassic Period.” But the Stegosaurus needs no introduction, with the profile of the creature’s iconic armored plates extending up along its spine well known to anyone who’s seen such dino movie classics as Jurassic Park or The Land Before Time. “They’re a curious group – the stegs,” Manning notes, before launching into a geography lesson on where various types of stegosaurs have been found throughout the world, what period they come from and the importance of assessing the evolution of dinosaurs with a paleobiogeographic approach. “It’s all about why these animals are where they are when they are in time.” That’s the thing about Manning’s GEOL 333 class. Although his specialty is dinosaurs, this class, which focuses on paleobiology, is an investigation of the record of all past life on Earth. Its aim is to help students connect the evidence of previous life in the fossil record with patterns of evolution. Heady stuff. An intersection of multiple disciplines, geoscience and paleobiology is an amalgamation of chemistry, physics, biology, art, engineering, computer science and mathematics – to name but a few of the fields that intersect within the earth sciences. Manning’s expertise in paleontology, the study of the fossil remains of plants and animals (particularly dinosaurs), seamlessly dovetails with what geology and environmental geosciences department chair Tim Callahan sees as the goals of
| Left: photo provided by Phil Manning |
the program, mainly to educate students and the public on the importance of earth science and how the planet’s systems affect us every day. “From the amazing landscapes around the world that continue to change and affect human civilization, to our place in the spectrum of evolution of life and how things have come to be, we stand humbly in wonder of the universe and strive to understand our place in it,” says Callahan. “We nurture that mindset in our students, who then carry forward their knowledge and excitement for science.” And, in Manning’s class, the students are up to the challenge. They love learning how fossils can reveal clues about the world of long-extinct creatures. And more to the point, what that says about our environment today. “You can tell, for instance, from the chemistry of some specimens if the atmosphere was oxygenated or what the temperature was like,” says Michel Cuvillier, a senior majoring in geology. Senior Laura Schramm, who is also a geology major, says the course paints a great picture of uniformitarianism, the theory that changes in the Earth’s crust over geological history have resulted in continuous and uniform processes. “The present is the key to the past,” Schramm says, “especially right now when there is so much misunderstanding about climate
change. The ability to understand and have evidence for how our earth has changed over time is, I think, of key importance.” Manning thinks so, too. ◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊ A rich voice, thick with the flourishes of a Shakespearean actor, floats across the living room of a home in rural Somerset, England. Describing, in exciting detail, the behavior of this episode’s creatures, a young David Attenborough enthralls audiences with up-close encounters of monkeys in South American rain forests, jelly fish in southern Australia and singlecell organisms in a backyard pond. Attenborough proclaims: “There are some four million different kinds of animals and plants in the world; four million different solutions to the problems of staying alive. This is the story of how a few of them came to be as they are.” That is the opening monologue to Attenborough’s groundbreaking 1979 television series Life on Earth. Growing up in a tiny village of just a few hundred people, Manning had a limited view of the world. Documentarians, like the famed Sir David Attenborough, gave the dewy-eyed child a window to a world much bigger than the one he knew. “He was my hero,” says Manning. “I remember as a kid
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watching documentaries and them giving me this broad love of the natural world.” So, when the opportunity for Manning to be on camera in an educational documentary about geology knocked, he answered. At the time an assistant curator at the Museum of Isle of Wight Geology on Isle of Wight (after a year of working in the print industry just out of college), he jumped at the chance to unleash his inner Attenborough when a crew from London showed up wanting to add some “texture” for their program on the natural world. “Having been inspired by Attenborough, I took my first tentative steps into the world of television,” says Manning, who, along with his older brother, was one of the first in his family to graduate from college. “I thought it would be great fun. I got the go-ahead from the boss and so I filmed this thing with kids from London who had never been to the seaside before, talking about geology, talking about the history of the earth, talking about how coastal processes had changed the shape of the Isle of Wight through time.” And, something clicked. Media crews kept contacting the budding natural historian and geologist to do spots on their shows and documentaries as he pursued his career in academia, first earning his master’s in paleontology from the University of Manchester in 1993 and then his doctorate in paleontology from the University of Sheffield in 1999. In 2002, he shot an episode of Horizon, the U.K.’s equivalent of Nova, and his demand in the natural history entertainment sphere exploded. He started doing educational science shorts for the BBC, and later the series Fossil Detective. In 2011, he signed on to do the series Jurassic CSI for the National Geographic Channel. Then in 2013 Manning contributed to Dinosaur 13, the Emmy award–winning documentary about the battle between scientists at the Black Hills Institute, the United States government and Native American tribes (among a host of others) over ownership rights of the largest, most complete T. rex skeleton ever found. “I’ll never forget the first time I met him,” recalls Dinosaur 13 director Todd Miller. Miller was doing research at the Black Hills Institute when a dusty car rolled up, a bunch of pelican cases precariously stacked on the vehicle’s roof. As if in a Muppets movie, a flood of dirty grad students began pouring out of the sedan. Eventually Manning made his way out of the packed car, too. “I just remember him barking orders at all the grad students, trying to get the specimens under lock and key. It was weird to see a British guy just barking orders at everybody in the middle of South Dakota.” Struck by Manning’s ability to effectively and succinctly communicate the universe of paleontology, Miller later asked the then University of Manchester professor of natural history to share his knowledge of the Hell Creek Formation where “Sue,” the T. rex, was found for the documentary. The pair are now in the process of developing a science-based series with a major American television network that would feature Manning as the host of the show. “Our goal is to try to make educational and entertaining pieces of media (about the natural world) and there’s nobody better than Phil at doing that,” says Miller, whose independent film production company, Statement Pictures, would produce the new science series. “I’ve never seen him say the same thing twice. He’s
always thinking of a different way of communicating what he does to as many different, diverse groups of people as possible. And I think that’s what separates him from the rest.” Manning says his hope for every science documentary he does is simple: “If we can recreate something that inspired a kid in Somerset to sit down for an hour and be utterly gobsmacked about how wonderful this world is, both past and present, then it’s effort well spent.” ◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊ After more than 20 years climbing the academic ladder of paleontology and natural history in the United Kingdom’s higher education system, Manning was ready for a change. He and his wife, Victoria Egerton (who is also a geology and paleontology professor), wanted to be closer to their beloved dinosaur fossils in the Badlands and Hell Creek Formation of South Dakota and Wyoming. They wanted to be closer to the synchrotron light at Stanford University, where they work with colleagues on deciphering the chemical properties of fossils, including mapping melanin within ancient bird feathers and dinosaur bones (research that offers a roadmap to understanding the biochemistry of human ailments like melanoma). And they wanted to be closer to Egerton’s family (she’s American) who live in Mississippi. The pair settled on opening the next chapter of their lives on the East Coast because it was about halfway between the dinosaurs in the Midwest and the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis (in Indiana), where they are both Extraordinary Scientists-in-Residence, and the U.K., where they continue to serve in various capacities at the University of Manchester, the institution where Manning spent the bulk of his academic career. The College of Charleston, however, wasn’t really on Manning’s radar. He’d heard of the renowned Southern city, but had never visited. Then in the wee hours of the morning on a spring day in 2015, he turned on the television to a show featuring an English fisherman fishing his way through North America. And, on this particular episode, he was casting his reel in Charleston, S.C. “And literally an hour before, when I was going through highered jobs, I’d spotted the position at Charleston, and I thought aww, that’s weird,” Manning recalls. “So I went and had a chat with my wife, woke her up actually, and said, ‘What do you think of Charleston?’ and she said, ‘Oh, it’s really nice.’” As an undergraduate at Mississippi State University in the early 2000s, Egerton had encountered longtime CofC geology professor Jim Carew and a group of his students during a research trip to San Salvador Island in the Bahamas. “The students really loved the program, and I remembered that, even after so many years,” Egerton recalls. “So, when Phil mentioned the College of Charleston, I looked into it again and said, ‘Yeah, let’s go for it.’” By November of that year, the couple had purchased a comfortable home in Mt. Pleasant, packed up their lives in England, reassured their miniature schnauzer, Plumbum (Latin for lead), that a trans-Atlantic flight would be a grand adventure, and told Manning’s two college-age daughters that trips to see dear-old dad would take a new and fun twist. When January 2016 arrived, Manning was settling into his
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new job as a geology professor and director of the Mace Brown Museum of Natural History at the College. He quickly ensconced himself in his second-floor office within the School of Sciences and Mathematics Building on Calhoun Street, packing the room’s bookshelves with nearly every dinosaur book imaginable – from Make Your Own Dinosaur Out of Chicken Bones and A Practical Guide to Vertebrate Mechanics (both by his good friend, zoologist Chris McGowan), to his own title, Grave Secrets of Dinosaurs. A variety of odds and ends of fossils dot Manning’s office shelves, too, including the gastropod fossil he found as a boy in the garden of his childhood home. And what would a paleontologist’s office be without the requisite two-foot-tall plastic dinosaur foot sitting in a corner of the floor? Coming from the world of a large research university in the U.K. to that of a smaller liberal arts and sciences college in the Southern United States has been a bit of an adjustment, says Egerton, who also secured a position as an adjunct professor in the College’s geology department. But the couple both wanted to spend more time in the classroom, working to empower and excite undergraduate students. “When you’re an undergraduate, you’re more enthusiastic, you’re ready, you’re curious, and as teachers, you just want to grab |
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onto their curiosity early on and make them reconsider what they had always thought,” Egerton says. If you’re in Manning’s class, that might mean holding a fossilized dinosaur skull, watching a video of a cassowary and pondering how the anatomy of that bird relates to its dinosaur ancestors or watching a BBC video of Manning and some of his paleontology buds playing “turkey tennis” with a mechanical ankylosaur tail designed to test the function and power of the clubbed appendage. ◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊ On a chilly January afternoon, a gaggle of students and professors bob around the base of “Bucky,” the 37-foot Tyrannosaurus rex, which has spent the last year standing guard at the entrance to the School of Sciences and Mathematics Building. Swarming like flustered ants, the students dart around wrapping four-foot ribs and hauling off sections of the T. rex cast’s spine as one student cracks a joke about “chasing tail.” A research student, clad in a lab coat and purple latex gloves, pushing a cart stocked with lab supplies, pauses to gape at the spectacle. “It’s a decapitated dino,” she says, noting the absence
of the tyrannosaur’s skull, before continuing on her way. Even the College’s fire marshal, Capt. Tim Agee, has come by to witness the dismantling of the Jurassic beast. As passersby mournfully inquire if Bucky is departing the College, geology student Kylie Beard hints that he won’t be gone for long, saying mysteriously, “It’s kind of like hide-and-seek with a dinosaur.” Indeed, Bucky would reemerge a month later at the Marlene & Nathan Addlestone Library, complete with his own informational display urging the curious masses to stop by the Mace Brown Museum of Natural History across the street. At both the dismantling and reconstruction of Bucky, geology professors Norman Levine and Mitchell Colgan worked alongside Manning and Egerton to take Bucky apart and put him back together again. In between dismantling bone segments and unhinging the beast’s head, Colgan takes the opportunity to chat with onlookers, pointing to skeletal structures of the massive dinosaur that are similar to that of its modern bird relatives. Later, as Levine helped put the final pieces of Bucky together in the library, he whistled the theme song to Jurassic Park while hauling a piece of clavicle across the library’s first floor, joking that the bone looks like a Klingon sword from Star Trek. “Dr. Manning has integrated himself into the department, bringing a seemingly boundless energy and enthusiasm that is only surpassed by his breadth and depth of knowledge in paleontology, geology, chemistry and physics,” says Levine, an associate professor of geology and environmental geosciences as well as the director of the Santee Cooper GIS Laboratory, the Lowcountry Hazards Center and the S.C. Earthquake Education and Preparedness Program. “Phil understands that excellence in teaching requires excellence in research and that translating his passion for the research and science into the classroom is key to developing students in our discipline. He works to develop opportunities not just for himself and our students, but for his colleagues as well creating interdisciplinary teams of researchers working at the highest level.” Sometimes those opportunities mean backbreaking work dismantling and hauling a dinosaur skeleton across campus and putting it up again. It’s hard work, but it’s hands-on work that generates goodwill and camaraderie between students and professors (and the community at large). And Bucky has indeed done his job, garnering new interest for the Mace Brown Museum by getting kids and grown-ups alike primed and ready for learning about the facility’s 1,000 plus fossil specimens on display (not to mention the 20,000 lurking in the museum’s collections). “Many families who had visited the museum before returned to see Bucky,” says Sarah Boessenecker, collections manager for the Mace Brown Museum. “And he’s a fun stopping point for tour groups. We had people who had never visited the museum before or didn’t know about it come take a tour because of Bucky.” Everyone, it seems, loves dinosaurs. ◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊ Teaching and paleontology are what he lives for. So, it’s no surprise that Manning brings excitement and energy wherever he goes. “Some people have a work-life balance, and you have a work-
life balance if you work for a living,” he says. “We don’t work for a living. We live for work. That’s the difference.” Egerton agrees that theirs is a “lifestyle” that wraps work, play and personal time all into one. “Genuinely we love our work and we live it,” she says. And she means it. The couple deferred their honeymoon when they got married in 2013 and instead went on a research trip with four colleagues to scour the hot and humid island caves of Cayman Brac for fossils. Hardly romantic, but these two wouldn’t have it any other way. “I don’t know many people, male or female, who would be like, ‘yes, our honeymoon is going to be a group trip for research,’” Egerton laughs. “But, I couldn’t imagine, honestly, a better one because we got to hang out with friends.” That kind of passion and dedication is why, after only a year, Manning is already adding his brand of excitement to the geology department. In addition to securing Bucky on loan from the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, the always ambitious professor is building upon his relationship with that museum, which controls the new site in Wyoming, to provide field opportunities for CofC students. Starting in summer 2017, undergraduate students will have the opportunity to dig up dinosaurs in Wyoming through two new summer courses: GEOL 395, dinosaur paleontology for geology majors, and GEOL 240, dinosaur hunting for nongeology majors. By Manning’s estimation, the site will offer students the opportunity to discover dinosaur fossils for the next 15–20 years. Egerton says the opportunities the Wyoming site will provide students extends beyond just digging in the summer, as Manning and his team begin to bring fossils back for preparation within the labs of the College’s Mace Brown Museum. The specimens are destined for a diplay at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. “Even if (students) can’t go out with us, they can have the experience of working on dinosaur bones in the future,” says Egerton. And Manning is developing a science communications course aimed at offering passionate science students the tools for effectively sharing the stories of the natural world to the masses through documentaries. In his mind, Earth’s future hinges upon communicating a better understanding and appreciation for the wonders of the planet. “The Earth is beautiful, and it will continue to be beautiful, but we all need to see that beauty,” he says. The opportunities, resources and expertise Manning offers students and the geology department as a whole, Callahan says, are wide and far reaching. “In geology, we strive to communicate the importance of science and scientific discovery,” the department chair says. “Manning and his colleagues do this through the curation of materials and working with private, public and nonprofit groups, by focusing on the most amazing of all ancient animals, the dinosaur. We’re always happy to offer a wider variety of opportunities to our students, taking advantage of the diverse talents, specialties and interests of our faculty.” And for a professor like Phil Manning, who aims to inspire those around him, shining a light on fossils isn’t just about digging up interesting facts from the past. It’s about opening the door to understanding the present and maybe even the future. That perpetual intrigue is what keeps Manning searching for bones.
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ALICIA LUTZ '98 PHOTOGRAPHY BY KENNY MORRISON BY
Twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I wonder what you are: When most of us gaze up at the night sky, we do so with wonder. When astronomer Tabetha “Tabby” Boyajian ’03 looks at the stars, she always knows exactly what she’s looking at. Until this. Known as the most mysterious star in the universe, Tabby’s Star has everyone perplexed, giving rise to scientific discussion among astronomers and excited speculation among journalists, talk show hosts, alien hunters and the public at large. It’s also given Boyajian the spotlight, and she’s using her newfound star power to get answers. She’s using it for science. Because, after all, this is where she shines her brightest.
USA Today, The Washington Post – all of them. Stephen Colbert discussed it on The Late Show. Michael Che reported it on Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update. TED wanted her to give a talk, and billionaire Yuri Milner invited her to a dinner. Boyajian had stumbled into stardom. And now that all eyes were on her, she knew she couldn’t falter. She couldn’t let it flare up or fade out – whatever was going on with this star was too meaningful to sensationalize but too momentous to deny. She had to keep the attention on what was really at stake here: finding answers through scientific discovery. “Reflecting on it, there’s no such thing as bad publicity,” says Boyajian, who harnessed the public’s excitement with a Kickstarter campaign to fund further observations of Tabby’s Star – something that in of itself marks a significant milestone in the way scientific research is funded. And, as the first woman to have a star named after her, she also embraced her starring role in the media as an opportunity to expose people (especially young girls) to women in STEM professions. “There’s a lot of good that can come from this kind of visibility.” Indeed, being a star comes with a lot of responsibility. But Boyajian is unwavering, committed, purposeful. She’s a scientist. She’s methodical, patient. With her kind of forethought, confidence and focus, Tabby’s Star burns bright. This was completely new – and there was no way to explain it. Trust her: Tabby Boyajian ’03 has tried. “Every scenario we came up with was disproved,” says the Louisiana State University assistant professor of physics and astronomy, who was working at Yale University when the data about this star (at that point, named KIC 8462852) was first flagged in 2012. “It landed on my desk and just kind of stayed there. I didn’t know what to do with it. Nobody did. Every once in a while, someone would take another stab at it, but every explanation fell flat.” This much was clear: Something was blocking this star’s light. WTF: That’s what they called it (short for “Where’s The Flux?”), and – three years later – that was still the best title for their scientific paper. They had looked at every possible theory they could think of – and, while nothing they came up with seemed likely, there were a few they couldn’t write off. One of them was alien megastructures. First proposed in 1960, Dyson spheres are hypothetical energy-harvesting megastructures that, in theory, advanced extraterrestrial civilizations with escalating energy needs might build in order to survive. And, because these megastructures would have an unnatural and abnormal dimming effect as they orbited their stars, they’d also serve as indicators of this advanced intelligent life. It couldn’t be ruled out. Not without further observation. And when the proposal to use the world’s biggest radio telescope for that observation was leaked to The Atlantic by one of Boyajian’s colleagues at the Berkeley SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Research Center in October 2015, it couldn’t be snuffed out. “It just blew up from there,” says Boyajian, whose name became inextricably hitched to the star and the mystery behind it. “Things just kind of exploded.” Suddenly, Tabby’s Star was all over the news. It was all over the Internet. Everyone had questions: CNN, NPR, Fox, Al Jazeera,
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STAR QUALITY Even from an early age, Tabby Boyajian stood out. For one, she had a miniature horse. Even kids with horses don’t have miniature ones. Of course, most kids don’t grow up in a houseful of margays, ocelots, caracals, servals, lynxes and bobcats, either. “Wait, what?” Laura Penny was sure she’d misheard the student standing in the doorway of her office in the Rita Liddy Hollings Science Center. “I’ve got to go home and take care of the baby lynx,” Boyajian repeated, pulling her waist-length dreadlocks up into a gigantic pile on the top of her head and – Penny noted – somehow making it look adorable. “It took me a minute, but then I was like, Of course she has a baby lynx at her house. Why wouldn’t she?” reflects the physics professor with a laugh. “This is Tabby we’re talking about. She’s always been her own person. She’s very much an individual. From the very beginning, she just stood out. Nothing should have surprised me.” Actually, it kind of made sense that she was the daughter of exotic cat breeders whose Buckhead, Ga., home was filled with dozens of wild cats. “It says a lot about her: It shows her parents didn’t pressure her to fit in,” says Penny. “Her parents raised her to be very independent, not to go with the flow, to question things. And that kind of mind does very, very well in physics and astronomy: inquisitive and detail-oriented, but still open-minded and free thinking. The sky was never the limit for Tabby. Anything is possible. To Tabby, it’s like there is no such thing as status quo.” That’s why there was never any question in her mind she’d not only go to college, but she’d be the first in her family to graduate from college, too, making quite an impression during the process. “She had this confidence – this maturity – about her. Even when
she first came to the College, she had this old soul,” says Penny. “She was kind of out there, in an oddly grounded sense.” Jim Neff recognized potential in Boyajian very soon into her first semester, when she took his Intro to Astronomy class. “Tabby was one of those students who just stood out. She just sat quietly in the front row – very unassuming. She wasn’t looking to be singled out or anything. She wasn’t trying to be a star in the class,” says Neff, who taught in the College’s Department of Physics and Astronomy for 16 years and is now the director of the Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Grants program in the National Science Foundation’s Division of Astronomical Sciences. “She had the highest test scores I’d ever seen in the class. And she was loving the material.” When Neff pulled her aside and urged her to take another physics class and to consider it as a major, Boyajian took him up. “I didn’t have a lot of focus at that time, so this gave me some direction,” says Boyajian, who quickly became involved in various research opportunities in the department, working in labs as a research fellow and as a teacher’s assistant – all in addition to her full-time job delivering pizzas for Papa John’s. “I always say, if astronomy doesn’t work out, I’ll go back to delivering pizza.” Astronomy has been working out so far, though. “Nothing along the way said, ‘Ah, this isn’t really for you,’ so I just kept going with it,” she says, noting that if there were obstacles, she didn’t see them that way. Things like paying for her own education, pressure from her family or the demands of motherhood were mere inconveniences, really. In college, she scraped by with the money she made at work and the money she saved by investing in a triplex on Chapel Street and renting out two of the units to cover the mortgage. After college, she kept on going: “My family didn’t really understand the whole concept of going to graduate school, and they didn’t really like the idea of me going through so much. But I knew what I wanted to do – I wanted to do astronomy.” And so that’s what she did. And she didn’t stop: not after graduate school, when it meant towing her two young children along on her research excursions, and not after her postdoctorate work, when it meant speaking in front of a room full of her colleagues – all of them male. Nothing could stop her, because – let’s face it – when it comes to science, this star’s light can’t be dimmed.
STARDOM It takes a lot of character to be a star. Tabby Boyajian knows this – in fact, it’s kind of her specialty. Boyajian began her work characterizing exoplanets and their host stars as part of her Ph.D. thesis at Georgia State, where she continued the work for three additional years as a Hubble Fellow. (Note: It’s highly unusual for recipients of this competitive fellowship to stay at their home institutions. But, as we know, Boyajian does what she wants.) Now considered the leading expert in using a special instrument called an interferometer to gather high-precision data about the fundamental properties of stars, Boyajian didn’t waste any time becoming a star in the scientific community. “The interferometry work is kind of like the bread and butter of my research,” says Boyajian, explaining that, when she first started working with the interferometer, it was newly commissioned – and therefore really exciting. “It allowed me to do some really cool and exciting physics. And that really appealed to me. That’s what drives me to be a scientist – to be able to say something new for the first time. So it’s been really exciting to introduce that to a community of people who are very excited about it, too.”
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“That’s what she’s known for – and she’s in high demand in this community,” adds Neff. “That’s the really big thing she’s done as a scientist.” And that’s what landed her a postdoc position in the Department of Astronomy at Yale, where she was introduced to Planet Hunters, a project that enlists the public’s help sifting through the extensive data collected by NASA’s Kepler space telescope to find periodic dimming in starlight due to a planet moving in front of a star – what astronomers call a transit.
Think of it as crowdsourcing for scientific data. “I didn’t know about citizen scientists until I got to Yale and started working with it, but it was absolutely amazing to see how it works,” says Boyajian, who served on the Yale Exoplanet Group’s Planet Hunters science team for three years and continues to work with the project. “We’re getting real, solid science out of it – they’ve discovered dozens of planets. It’s pretty brilliant.” “I think it’s the perfect approach for astronomy especially, because astronomy is the kind of science that we all can get excited about,” says Penny. “It allows a lot more people to be involved in science – and in discovery. And without them, who knows when we would have come across Tabby’s Star.” After all, no one was looking for this. “It’s one of those things that doesn’t happen if you’re looking for a needle in a haystack,” says Neff. “You’ve got to look for whatever is in a haystack, and the needle pops out.” What popped out to the citizen scientists was that the transit for this star lasted almost a week (most transits last a few hours). Later, they noticed the star’s light drop by 15 percent (the biggest planet only makes a 1 percent drop). Then, in 2013, they saw a series of dips with different shapes, depths and durations – an event that lasted for a hundred days. The deepest drop in brightness this time was over 20 percent – indicating that whatever was blocking the light had an area of over 1,000 times the area of Earth. It was huge, whatever it was. It meant something new was at play. Something was going on out there that no one understood. It was a mystery. And, it was fascinating. “There’s always that burden of knowledge, right? The more you know, the more you want to know,” says Boyajian. “When you find a project like this,” says Penny, “it’s like a book you can’t even begin to put down.” And Boyajian had the starring role. “Especially when it was first leaked out, Tabby was the big name in the news every night,” says her husband, Alex Mazingue ’01, who met Boyajian when he was double majoring in physics and mathematics at the College. “It’s been a whirlwind. As I tell people, ‘My wife? She’s kind of a big deal.’” He isn’t wrong. Boyajian is a superstar. Yet she has never let the bright lights of stardom blind her to what matters. She remains humble, grounded, determined not to let the spotlight wander. “Whenever aliens come up in interviews, Tabby is really good about turning the conversation around and saying, ‘Yeah, it can be fun! Let’s engage people, but then let’s walk
by the people is especially cool. I really believe in this kind of scientific outreach.” She also believes in the kind of outreach that starts early – bringing science to schoolchildren and getting them excited about it, invested in it. Especially for young girls. “From my own experiences as a parent, seeing how kids’ ideas develop and how they perceive the world around them, I know those ideas of gender roles start early,” says Boyajian, who often visits local schools to help ignite children’s interest in the sciences – and to showcase herself as a woman scientist. “They just need that little bit of extra exposure to women in STEM careers. That’s something we can address right now.” That’s the kind of difference you can make when you’re a star: People look up to you. You help them see themselves in a different kind of light. You show them their own possibilities – that anything is possible. “If I have the power to help encourage women in STEM, that’s my responsibility to the future of science,” says Boyajian. Stars give us all something to look up to – whether it’s for It is, says Neff, perhaps the most critical role of a scientist: answers, for guidance, for hope, for strength. The brightest stars “Ultimately, it all comes down to setting the stage for the next give us light that we didn’t know we were lacking – they show us generation of scientists – giving them a new starting off point something we hadn’t even been looking for. They lead us to so that they can take what you’ve done and run with it,” something new – something bigger, better. Something he says. “This unique thing Tabby has got going that ignites our own inner light. can go on to get kids excited and inspired. Her Tabby Boyajian has used her starlight to work makes a great promise to the future of do just that – to fuel the enthusiasm for science – that is certain.” scientific research among people around Still uncertain, of course, is the world and get them invested in the what’s behind Tabby’s Star. Or, as it science around them. were, in front of it. What will future “For the general public, it’s hard observations find? And where will it to get behind some lofty discovery lead us? made by some scientist. But if they “The nice part of being a scientist can take ownership of it, it means is you don’t have to have answers so much more,” says Boyajian, who right away,” says Penny. “We can harnessed the citizen scientists’ happily live with empty space until enthusiasm from the very we figure out how to fill the space.” beginning by including them as “That’s what motivates a good contributors to the findings. “This scientist: an appreciation for is something that everyone can what you don’t know,” says Neff. contribute to, really.” “I think Tabby picked up early on “That’s the part that’s been in her career that science isn’t really transformational: this about knowing the answers, it’s about global community surge in interest posing the right questions and exploring in science. And the crowdfunding the possibilities.” approach just made it even bigger,” says Those possibilities are what motivate Mazingue, noting that, after Boyajian’s Boyajian, too: They just mean there’s more Kickstarter campaign, he spent entire days to discover. at a time packaging up and sending the WTF TABBY BOYAJIAN ’03 “I mean, science is fun because it’s all pretty T-shirts and mugs they’d made as thank-you gifts. much unknown stuff,” says Boyajian. “I suppose “People were excited! This is something people really science just has a way of putting us back in our place – wanted to get behind.” keeping us grounded.” The energy behind crowdfunding scientific research is no small That is the power of Tabby’s Star. It gives us a new sense thing. As grant support from the National Science Foundation of wonder, of possibility. It’s given us something new to continues to plummet every year, public support for scientific explore. It’s given us an excited glow – a glimmer of something research is increasingly important. beyond ourselves. “This really could be a transformative time for scientific But, mostly, it’s given us a sense that we are part of some- funding – and this project was the perfect prototype for it because thing bigger – a sense that, no matter who we are, we are a part it started with the public – it was crowdsourced from the very of science. beginning,” Boyajian says. “So, that it continues to be supported it back to the real science,’” says Mazingue, now the president of Atlanta-based Premier Metal and Glass, which he cofounded with fellow physics major Greg Cottone ’02. “There’s a delicate balance between the media and academics, and Tabby has done an incredible job navigating that.” “Tabby has always been good at setting boundaries for herself and her research – she doesn’t get caught up in projects that aren’t going to serve the true goals,” says Penny. “She has managed to stay in control and use the publicity to fund and inform science. That’s no small task.” It takes a lot of confidence, a lot of purpose, deliberation and foresight. It takes a sense of command. And, for Boyajian, it takes science. Because, ultimately, science is power: She’s just there to make it shine.
“FOR THE GENERAL PUBLIC, IT’S HARD TO GET BEHIND SOME LOFTY DISCOVERY MADE BY SOME SCIENTIST. BUT IF THEY CAN TAKE OWNERSHIP OF IT, IT MEANS SO MUCH MORE.”
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A tourist in Havana who savors a mojito, smokes a cigar and rides in a coco taxi may never truly appreciate the city and its people. By embedding students with a host family in a neighborhood for 10 weeks, the Collegeâ€™s study-abroad program ensures that students not only experience the real Cuba, but comeaway forever changed.
n the early morning darkness, before Havana fully wakes, there’s a stillness. Soon, the heat and humidity, the cacophony of exhaust-spewing engines and honking horns, and the crush of humanity will descend upon the day and bombard the senses. But in the waning moonlight, it’s quiet enough to hear waves crashing rhythmically against the city’s famed sea wall, el Malecón. The streets are so empty that a lone 1957 Chevy slowly rounding a curve, its headlights as dim as candles in the gauzy twilight, takes on a dream-like quality. Standing side by side atop the raised wall of the arcing promenade, fishermen are like sentries silhouetted on the horizon; the anglers’ only movements are the well-practiced snaps of their rods. Behind them, the imposing stone fortress of El Morro Castle guards the entrance to Havana Bay as morning’s first lavender-blue hues bleed across the eastern edge of the island. The sun rises slowly, illuminating the waterfront’s pale pastel buildings in brilliant shades of pinks, yellows and greens. It’s the beginning of a new day in Cuba’s capital city. And in many ways, at least symbolically, it’s the dawn of something much more profound. REVOLUTION In all of Cuba’s long and tumultuous history of foreign occupation, dictatorships, revolution and the relentless struggle for freedom, there has never been a time quite like now. In the wake of renewed diplomatic relations with the U.S. and loosened restrictions on travel and trade, Havana is experiencing something of a boom. There are signs of change everywhere: towering construction cranes, historic restoration projects, hordes of tourists, Wi-Fi hotspots, cruise ships and the first American-owned hotels in more than a half a century. Even a Hollywood movie has just wrapped filming on the island. Where it will all lead, no one knows for sure. But to see the transformation in progress is to witness history up close, to watch the slow thaw of a country long frozen in time. The import of this unprecedented moment is not lost on a group of 10 College of Charleston students who find themselves living and learning in the midst of what could arguably be described as a revolution. Just three months after the death of Cuba’s longtime leader Fidel Castro and mere weeks into the presidency of Donald Trump, the students arrived in Havana in mid-February for a 10-week stay as part of a College study-abroad program. The eight women and two men represent a cross section of the student body: There are sophomores, juniors and seniors with majors such as Spanish, Latin American and Caribbean studies, biology and political science. They hail from Rhode Island, Arizona, Pennsylvania and Georgia and from just across the Cooper River in Mt. Pleasant. They came to Havana for adventure, culture, education, immersion and connection. And they are acutely aware of the political dynamic that hangs in the humid air as their plane touches down at José Martí International Airport about 10 miles outside of Havana. In fact, for some, it’s the uncertainty of what comes next for Cuba that has brought them here now. As Honors College sophomore Hannah Jane Dantzscher puts it, “before there’s a Starbucks on every block.” Despite the reforms negotiated by President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro in 2014, the Caribbean nation remains mainly off limits to American tourists. That makes this particular study-abroad trip at this precise juncture an extraordinary privilege, or, to use an apt cliché – the opportunity of a lifetime.
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Everybody wants to see the old cars – the Chevys and Fords and Oldsmobiles of a bygone era. In America, these automotive treasures would be locked away in private garages, rolled out cautiously only for car shows and Sunday-morning drives. In Cuba, they are everyday means of transportation and a magnet for tourist dollars. For every immaculate cherry-red convertible cruising on white-walled tires along the Malecón, there are a dozen coupes coughing and chugging up and down the side streets. They show their age – ripped seats revealing rusty springs, toxic fumes seeping into the cabins through holes in the floorboards, doors and windows welded shut by decades of exposure to the salty air, faded paintjobs and tarnished chrome bumpers. Hang on tight, the seatbelts, if there are any, might not latch. The driver will gun it on the straightaways, but the needle on the broken speedometer won’t know.
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The front door is open and everyone seems welcome. A game of dominoes is played at a large wooden dining table in the kitchen. On a console television in the living room, a baseball game between Canada and the Dominican Republic is under way. A bottle of Havana Club Rum makes the rounds. The whirring blades of a fan circulate the humid air inside. Outside, the idling engine of an old Chevy coupe coughs and sputters.
“Fortunately, or unfortunately, however you see it, Fidel Castro just passed away,” says Sarah Owens, professor of Spanish and director of the College’s study-abroad program in Cuba. “People are going to mark time in the future before and after Fidel. So probably for the rest of our lives, we are going to say we went there a few months after Fidel passed away. Or we went there right after Donald Trump became president. I think it’s a really, really interesting time. And Cuba is changing by the day, by the minute.” BECOMING A FAMILY The students signed on for an authentic experience, the chance to live as Cubans live, or at least a close approximation. This aspect of the program, embedding students with host families in the Havana neighborhood of Vedado, is the program’s defining feature. The casas particulares, or private homes, where they live with ordinary Cuban families, offer the students more than just a place to sleep and store their belongings. The nature of their accommodations – and the relationships they forge with their hosts – has an enormous influence on their stay, affecting their daily routines, their diets, how they get around, how they spend their free time and how they interact with other Cubans and each other. “It really is your first point of integration into the culture,” senior Kelty Carson, a double major in international studies and religious studies, says of her host family. “And you learn through them. It’s almost like having that second set of parents because you are like a baby learning how to move through the social norms. They’ve made me feel like a big part of the family. They’ve allowed me to become a little more Cuban.” Separated from the cloistered confines of the city’s tourism infrastructure, the students are forced to rely on their wits, their Spanish and their youthful confidence to navigate the city and its customs. They know their class schedules and the dates of group excursions and activities, but they enjoy ample free time to lounge on the beaches, dance in the nightclubs, watch live music, explore museums and historic sites and hang out with their host families. Tom Millington, resident director for Spanish Studies Abroad, the company that organizes the CofC study-abroad trip in Havana, says the program is designed to build bridges and form friendships between Americans and Cubans. University students from the States are particularly well suited to serve as ambassadors because they instinctively crave authentic experiences and human interaction, he says. “They are very enthusiastic. They are very excited. They are very flexible, curious. And they are willing to try new things,”
says Millington. “It’s not just me, it’s not just the professors at the university, but every single person in this community has something to teach you.” That open-mindedness and adaptability help newly arrived students overcome the initial culture shock of having little or no access to Internet and email, no Target stores for one-stop shopping, no frappuccino. For a generation raised in an alwaysconnected, get-it-now culture of instant gratification, adapting to the Cuban way of life, which places less emphasis on time and immediacy, requires a period of adjustment. In Cuba, things will happen when they happen. Another glaring difference the students encounter is the lack of choices available to most Cubans – whether it be food, transportation, housing or employment. There’s a saying that Americans are unhappy with what they don’t have, while Cubans are happy with what they do have. It seems that whatever Cubans have is valued, protected and cared for. An old Soviet-era Lada sedan is miraculously kept running decades past its prime, and a pair of new sneakers are cleaned meticulously. The food on the dinner table is treasured. Many Cubans recall the “special period” following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989, when food shortages triggered an epidemic of malnutrition across the island. Most of all there is reverence for the large and diverse networks of family and friends who form the very foundation of what makes Cuba so unique – its people, all 11.3 million of them. The students quickly become part of these networks, growing close to not only their immediate host families, but also the cousins, in-laws, friends and random neighbors who flow in and out of the seemingly always-open front doors. After a couple of weeks, they are like members of the family, speaking in Spanish, sipping rum and trading good-natured put-downs in a heated game of dominoes or cards. The host families, in turn, grow fond of their guests. Rodolfo Luis Rodriguez Trejo has been hosting groups of students in his home for the past few years. At first, he confesses, it was more of a business transaction, a way to earn extra income. But over time, the experience for him and his family has become more personal, more gratifying. Through the students, he says, he and his family have become “tourists of the world.” Speaking in Spanish translated by one of his guests, Trejo says he’s not sure he can teach the students anything valuable in terms of historical facts or details about Cuban life. What he can and does offer them is a permanent place in his heart. “It’s about expanding your family,” he says.
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CITY OF CONTRASTS The country itself is also a teacher, and it doesn’t take long for the students to recognize that Cuba is a country of stark and perplexing contrasts. Away from the tourist district of Havana Vieja, average Cubans live lives of remarkable simplicity, their options only as diverse as those stingily doled out by their country’s socialist government. While a tsunami of tourists has created some opportunities for Cuba’s people – namely an increase in government-issued licenses for Cubans to operate B&Bs and restaurants catering to foreigners – the reality is that everyday Cubans subsist on an archaic government-run food rationing system, receive sanitized news from state-controlled media outlets and can be jailed for engaging in political dissent. In the shadows of the swanky government-owned hotels – with their gift shops full of expensive Cuban cigars and bottles of Havana Club rum – most Cubans live in densely packed neighborhoods where power blackouts, streets strewn with waist-high piles of trash, a disturbing number of stray dogs and cats and a crumbling infrastructure are a way of life. And yet, they are an enormously proud and resourceful people, optimistic, friendly and gracious. “Everything that they have is turned into some positive light,” observes junior Jack Feeney. “There’s no negativity. And that radiates in all different aspects – in culture, in music, in dance, in food. Life here is just happy.” For one student, in particular, the harsh and controversial legacy of the revolution that brought Castro to power hits painfully close to home. Maggie McCartin, who is of Cuban descent, grew up hearing her Cuban grandmother tell stories about Castro’s government seizing her family’s property and leaving them little choice but to flee their homeland and build a new life from scratch in the United States. “Being here in Cuba, I’ve been able to find out a lot about the circumstances people were under as a result of and prior to the revolution,” McCartin says. “A lot of the wealthier people in Cuba were harshly affected by the revolution. They came in and took a lot of their property from them. My abuela [grandmother] told me that they gradually came in and said this property is for the Cuban people.” Given her family history, McCartin says she has struggled to understand why many Cubans still seem to revere Castro and his fellow revolutionaries. Even in death, his image and his defiant chants of “socialismo o muerte” grace murals and buildings along the country’s highways. COUGARS IN CUBA College of Charleston students have been studying abroad in Cuba since 2000. The program offers students an immersive experience in a culture that most Americans have been denied access to for more than 50 years. The students on this year’s trip attend classes at a cultural center called the Centro de Estudios Martianos, located a short walk from their houses. The center is devoted to the study of José Martí, a revered freedom fighter who led the battle that won Cuba’s independence from Spain. His name and likeness are ubiquitous throughout the city; he is Cuba’s Abraham Lincoln. In addition to Owens, the students also have two Cuban professors affiliated with the nearby University of Havana who teach classes speaking in English. Courses in Latin American studies and political science are held on weekday mornings and early afternoons. The students generally have their weekday evenings and weekends free.
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THE JOURNEYMAN Collin Laverty ’06 understands the allure of Cuba. After visiting Cuba through the College’s study-abroad program in 2005, he embarked on a career path that ultimately led him to start a business that helps other Americans visit the island nation. Launched in 2012 with alumnus Adam Linderman ’06, Cuba Educational Travel organizes custom trips to Cuba ranging from family excursions to corporate retreats to political delegations. The company has put together trips for Netflix and Spotify, and last spring it helped arrange a free concert along Havana’s famed Malecón by electronic music DJs Diplo and Major Lazer that drew upwards of 500,000 people, mostly Cuban teenagers. “Over the last two and a half years, business has been booming,” says Laverty. “Everyone wants to travel to Cuba.” The roots of the company can be traced back to Laverty’s college experience. In addition to his 10-week trip to Cuba during his senior year, he participated in a semester-at-sea cruise as a sophomore that included a stop in Cuba, and he went to Santiago, Chile, his junior year. These trips awakened a passion in him, and he knew he wanted a career involving international affairs and travel. Following graduation, he took an internship with the Center for Democracy in the Americas, a Washington, D.C., think tank focused on U.S.-Cuba relations, where he worked his way up to become director of the center’s Cuba program. Over the next three and a half years, he became deeply involved in policy research and advocacy efforts aimed at restoring normalized relations between the U.S. and Cuba.
After leaving the center in 2011 – he’s still on its advisory board – to earn a master’s in international relations at the University of California San Diego, Laverty began thinking about how he could put the contacts, knowledge and insights he’d gained into a business tied to Cuba. Within a matter of months, he had obtained a license from the U.S. government to organize travel to the Caribbean nation, launched the company and moved to Havana. Business was good, and it got even better after President Barack Obama restored diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba in 2014. But the election of Donald Trump has raised concerns that things could swing back in the other direction. “There are threats to kind of cut off travel and trade and investment opportunities, which will be bad for business,” says Laverty, who also runs a boutique consultancy called Havana Strategies, which helps U.S. companies enter the Cuban market. While his livelihood is dependent on Americans visiting Cuba, Laverty recognizes that unrestricted trade and travel could kill the goose that laid the golden egg. He’s spent enough time in the country and has enough relationships with Cubans – his wife is Cuban – to understand there must be a balance. “I think the Cubans understand the old city is a jewel, and the fact that there aren’t billboards and mass consumerism is something that’s appealing. And I think they understand that they need to retain that,” he says. “The U.S. can lift the embargo tomorrow, that doesn’t mean they have to allow McDonald’s in, and it doesn’t mean they have to allow 10 million Americans a year. Ultimately, it will be up to Cubans to manage that challenge.”
The classroom is narrow and cramped with white walls, pinkish tile floors and tiny desks, but a breeze blowing through an open window soothes the overcrowded feeling. Clutching backpacks and wearing tank tops, shorts and running shoes, the students look just as they would back on campus in Charleston. The sheer normalcy of the scene is reinforced by the professor’s announcement of a pop quiz. Most of the students did not know each other before the trip. But, as is often the case when a group of strangers is thrown together in unfamiliar circumstances, close bonds are formed. “Everyone gets along and we all vibe really well together,” says junior biology major Shea Held. “Going through this and being in a different country with these people, you experience things in a different way than if I would have met them in the United States. You are forced to have the same life here and do the same things. You can share opinions about something that you never would have talked about before.” During a coffee break between morning classes, the students discuss their social plans for the evening. Underscoring the notion that they genuinely seem to like one another, they will all head out together to a waterfront nightclub later that evening. Even for a city that’s as vivacious and alive during the day as Havana, nightfall introduces a whole other level of energy. Latin beats drift from open doors, forming a continuous, reverberating soundtrack along neighborhood streets. The music is occasionally punctuated by the unmistakable tinkling sound of ivory-like dominoes being scooped into a pile – signaling the end of another spirited game. Shot glasses of Cuban rum and teacups full of sugarsweetened coffee fuel the festivities and conversation into the wee hours of the morning. But the students won’t partake on this night. They have an early wake-up the next morning for an all-day excursion to Las Terrazas, a former coffee plantation and UNESCO Biosphere Reserve located in the mountains of Cuba’s Artemisa province. The excursion will offer the students a respite from the intense sensory stimulation of the city. A couple of the students will brave a zipline that offers a thrilling ride over the forest canopy and panoramic views of the region. Others will go kayaking and horseback riding. Later, they’ll all swim and jump from rocks into the Baños del San Juan, a swimming hole whose mountainfed spring water is said to have healing qualities. In the weeks to come, the students will also spend a few days in Cienfuegos, a stunningly beautiful city situated along a natural bay on Cuba’s southern coast, and Trinidad, a colonial city whose opulent buildings stand as monuments to the region’s history as a hub for sugar production. Back outside the nightclub, their stay in Havana not yet half over, the students know there will be plenty of other chances to stay out late and socialize, to soak in the richness and splendor of a city unlike any they’ve ever seen or visited. One after another, they retire and drift away toward their casas. The day’s searing heat has dissipated and given way to a refreshing breeze of salty ocean mist. Out on the Malecón, the patient sea continues its unrelenting churn on the aging iconic barrier, its restored walls holding back the surge of nature. But there are other equally powerful forces nipping away at Cuba. Politics, commerce and culture are converging to form what may be a historic wave of change. The students bid adios to Havana in late April and return to their lives in Charleston, resuming the business of earning a degree. Forever changed and awakened by the experience, most will rank it as the highlight of their college careers, if not their entire young lives. Some of them may return to Cuba. And if they do, neither will be the same as before.
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Events in Cuba tend to unfold naturally. Itâ€™s best to go with the flow. It will happen when it happens. No one seems to be in any particular hurry except the taxis, which fly along the winding waterfront at dizzying speeds, offering warning honks to pedestrians considering whether to cross the street. Yet, there never seem to be any serious accidents.
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PHILANTHROPY Thinking Ahead IF ONE WORD COULD SUM UP THE beguiling life and times of Hilda Debacker, that word may well be brainpower. After all, the professor emeritus at the Medical University of South Carolina enjoyed a career powered by the brain, teaching neuro anatomy for almost 30 years. In that role, she guided medical students through the dense and intricate central nervous system housed in that most complex of organs. What’s more, Debacker herself is in possession of a decidedly powerful brain. In fact, while still a teenager in her native Romania, she had already wrapped her head around five languages: Romanian, French, English, German and some Spanish. “I like to say I know four and a half languages,” Debacker demurs. She then trained her sizable intellect on pursuing a degree in chemistry from Cornell University, and later a Ph.D. in her chosen field of anatomy from MUSC. “Many of us at MUSC admired Hilda’s smarts,” says Edward Hogan, former chair of the neurology department. “She not only impressed us with her facility as an anatomy professor, she also did so with her prescient real estate dealings around downtown Charleston.” At 92 years old, Debacker continues to crackle with sharp observations, holding forth with wry wit on life and career as well as the entwined roots of the extended family she and her late husband, Rene, established in their beloved adoptive city of Charleston. Recently, she has also focused her thoughts on supporting the College of Charleston. Honoring the wishes of her husband, who died in 1997, she announced the Rene and Hilda Debacker Endowed Scholarship, a legacy commitment to the College. “Rene wanted to start a scholarship to go to students of Charleston County,” says Debacker, explaining that the couple shared the desire to support their home terrain in their philanthropic |
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endeavors. Part of a legacy plan, the scholarship does just that, providing merit-based support for students from Charleston County, S.C. When they moved to Charleston in 1952, the Debackers brought to their chosen community a wealth of knowledge and a global perspective. Hilda Debacker emigrated from Romania with her family to New York City during World War II. Rene Debacker came to New York from Lille, France, in 1946. There, he met and married Hilda. According to one member of their extended family, Stafford Green, Rene called Hilda his “bride” for the rest of their many years together. It was in their new home of Charleston that Rene changed career tracks, shifting from his background in textile and chemical engineering, to working nights to earn an accounting degree through correspondence school. “When we moved to Charleston, it was a very different place than today,” Debacker says. “Then, there were two restaurants in town; now there is one per person.” From her Rutledge Avenue home, she has witnessed Charleston, come hell or high water, as the local saying goes. “I watched from my window as the Charleston Museum burned down,” she
| Photos by Kip Bulwinkle ’04 |
| Cistern Society Luncheon (spring 2017): President Glenn McConnell ’69 recognizes Hilda Debacker for her endowed gift to the College. | Hilda Debacker’s dear friends who became a part of their extended family. “Because of this, I majored in computer science in school, and had no problem finding a job after graduating.” And, Hilda Debacker knows firsthand how scholarships can transform the lives of those students who need them. When she first arrived in New York and was finishing high school, a homeroom teacher
My father had two daughters and he was delighted. My husband thought, if anything, women were superior. And then I worked for Dr. Knisely,” she says, referring to Melvin Knisely, the acclaimed anatomist who served as former chair of MUSC’s anatomy department. “He had the good sense to know that for the same money he could get two superior women.”
“When we moved to Charleston, it was a very different place than today. Then, there were two restaurants in town ; now there is one per person.” remembers. “It looked like the scene of Atlanta burning in Gone with the Wind.” However, through Charleston’s highs and lows, the couple flourished. While Hilda untangled the nervous system for nervous new medical students, Rene Debacker worked to co-found the accounting firm Schleeter, Monsen and Debacker CPA, before retiring in 1989. According to his family – which the couple defined as their network of close friends – Rene Debacker’s commitment to education was evident long before the announcement of a scholarship. “Uncle Rene would take me to the office with all the big computers and teach me things,” recalls Green, the son of one of
asked the class if anyone was interested in the Regents Scholarships, New York State’s merit-based scholarships. “I said, ‘sure,’” muses Debacker. Winning the prestigious and highly competitive scholarship enabled her to attend Cornell. She won an additional scholarship as well, and thus covered all of her tuition and costs. With those credentials, she was primed to continue her studies in Charleston, and eventually embark on a long and deeply rewarding teaching career there. “People ask me sometimes if I had problems being a woman,” she says, referring to the challenges many professional women confronted at the time she was working. “I never did.
– Hilda Debacker Many years after retiring from teaching, Debacker still enjoys frequent interactions with students from decades ago. “I was at a high school graduation recently in Winston-Salem, N.C. I was admiring a woman’s ash blonde hair. She turned around, and it was a former student!” she says, her eyes sparkling as she relives the chance reconnection. Like the network of nerves branching out from the brain, the network the Debackers created throughout their lives continues to reach far and wide. As beloved partners, committed mentors and considerate philanthropists, the Debackers have much to teach us about family, living and giving.
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Speaking Volumes unblinking eye on our country’s history, with the mission of helping us all gain understanding of the challenges we face today by tracing the roots of the divide. “Ta-Nehisi Coates is one of the leading voices on race and the black experience in America,” says Williams-Lessane. “His words echo the ethos of the 21st-century black American, and like the writers before him, such as Baldwin, Ellison, Lorde and Bambara, Coates reminds us of the pain of the past, the problems of today and the possibilities for the future.” During the event, the author noted Charleston’s place in this country’s past.
| Photos by Leslie McKellar |
support for this groundbreaking initiative will enable the project to sustainably implement educational outreach, research projects and programming that together generates fundamental change. “The effect on the Charleston community has been profound and moving,” says Patricia Williams-Lessane, executive director of the Avery Research Center. “And we are all the more hopeful that, thanks to Google, this meaningful, transformational conversation will continue.” Through RSJI, we have spoken of the future. Launching the series in March 2016, civil rights activist and children’s
| Photo by Mike Ledford |
AS IT CONTINUES, THE CONVERSATION deepens. After the tragic mass shooting at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in June 2015, which counted among its nine casualties longtime College librarian Cynthia Graham Hurd, the pressing need for galvanizing talk on the country’s racial divide was painfully clear. Immediately following the horrific event, Google was moved to support a new initiative promoting frank and open talks about race, reconciliation and social justice. To do so, the company found a fitting lead partner in the College’s Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture.
| From left: Patricia Williams-Lessane (Avery Research Center) and Ta-Nehisi Coates; Marian Wright Edelman; Bryan Stevenson | In collaboration with the Avery Research Center, the Lowcountry Digital History Initiative and numerous community partners, the inaugural program of the Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI) presented a series of talks led by prominent national figures who are celebrated for their work in social justice. The goal was as ambitious as it was hopeful. The result realized its ambitious mission, while affirming its stance of hope. And, now, we take those talks further. With the generous support of Google, this truthful, complex and all-important exchange will continue in the year to come. The company has renewed – and increased – its commitment to the Race and Social Justice Initiative. The ongoing |
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advocate Marian Wright Edelman offered forward-looking, poignant words to a packed audience at Sottile Theatre, with the goal of guiding our children on a path toward self-empowerment and success. We have talked about today. Later that same month, acclaimed lawyer Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, addressed another standing-roomonly Sottile crowd, serving up sobering statistics on the race-related implications of our criminal justice system, as well as what we can do about it. We have faced down the past. Culminating the inaugural series, in March 2017, Ta-Nehisi Coates, the author, journalist and winner of the 2015 National Book Award, cast an
“I am so happy to be here in Charleston,” he says of his first visit to the city. “I feel like I am right here walking in the midst of history. I have written a lot about Charleston. How can you write about being black in America and not write about Charleston?” Coates then called for each of us to strive today to clearly see our collective yesterday. Today, the recent tragic events that have reverberated throughout our city and our nation remain ever-present in the minds and hearts of the community. Together, we can find encouragement and new direction through efforts like the Race and Social Justice Initiative. And, with this meaningful talk, we can help create a model for change.
ASK ANY GEOLOGIST: IF SOMETHING has strength and staying power, it is frequently built on a rock-solid foundation. So, it goes to follow that when a group of geologists joined forces to give back to their alma mater, they knew how to lay down a formidable base of philanthropy, one that will significantly shore up fundraising efforts. Such is the promising start of the Geology Alumni Endowed Fund, the brainchild of three Houston-based alumni. The fund was established by Emily Sekula ’05, Michael Passarello ’08 and Karen Black ’10, all geology majors who collectively pledged the requisite amount to establish an endowed fund. By doing so, they have primed the gift to grow and gain momentum. After all, all three of them view their geology studies as the bedrock of the successful careers they have each established in the field. The Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences is one of the largest on the East Coast, graduating more majors each year than all of the other schools in South Carolina. Key to the program is an emphasis on field work and professional development in addition to the classroom experience. Why the fund? These three benefactors know firsthand how field studies and travel deeply enhance the learning experience. Sekula, one of the three founders of the fund, has leveraged that experience to now work as a geologist at ExxonMobil: “From pore water sampling at the College’s Dixie Plantation to monitoring greenhouse gas emissions in Francis Marion Forest, the geology department is where I received my first real taste of independent research.” With that appreciation in mind, the fund will provide awards to students who conduct undergraduate research or field studies, or who travel to national or international conferences sanctioned by the department. “Professional development is a term thrown about quite a bit. Students hear that term a lot, but may not know what it’s all about,” says Tim Callahan, chair of the Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences. “Thanks to
| Photo by Mike Ledford |
| From left: Emily Sekula ’05, Jim Weeg ’03 (M.S. ’05), Karen Black ’10, Tim Callahan (Geology and Environmental Geosciences) and Michael Passarello ’08 | this support, we’re able to get students out in the field to see what it’s like being a geologist. We’re also able to fund travel to top conferences and workshops, which puts them so much further above the crowd when it comes to applying for jobs and graduate school.” Geology majors have been able to visit geologically significant places across the United States through the program, as well as go to places like South Africa and India. They have also had the opportunity to present their own work, an experience that bolsters their science literacy, which is essential to applying classroom knowledge to the professional world. “The geology department is unique in its ability to foster a strong sense of community and encourage their students to fully pursue their academic interests,” says Passarello. “I give in order to honor
their commitment to investing in each and every student as well as my hope that others will have similar opportunities which will ultimately lead them to their full potential.” Such opportunities are game changers for students today and for years to come – and may even have a positive impact on the planet Earth. Geology major Jen Soto has been able to present her own research at conferences in the Southeast, and to travel to learn about emergent water systems through the support of philanthropic gifts like these. “I have realized the only way we can keep surviving and thriving in this world is to create sustainable, resilient systems so that we can support our population,” says Soto. “I think geology can provide me with those answers to, well, help the world.”
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CLASS NOTES 1958 Sylvia Craver Harvey is the chair
of the Charleston School of Law Foundation. Sibby is a CofC Board of Trustees emerita.
1965 Neil Draisin received the Clarence
L. McEachern Hall of Fame Award from the S.C. Optometric Physicians Association. Neil is the owner of Draisin Vision in Charleston and serves on the College’s Foundation Board and Board of Advocates for the College’s School of Sciences and Mathematics.
1966 Dan Moore is the author of Promise
Lost: Stephen Joyner, the Marine Corps, and the Vietnam War, detailing the life and death of Dan’s friend and fellow Marine officer who died in battle in 1968.
1967Johnny Warren was included in the 2017 The Best Lawyers in America rankings. Johnny is a partner with Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice in Charleston.
1968 Vic Rawl is the chairman of
Charleston County (S.C.) Council. Vic has served as an assistant solicitor, legislator and circuit court judge. Paul Sandifer is a member of the College’s School of Sciences and Mathematics Board of Advocates. He recently retired as a senior advisor to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and had a 31-year career with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources. He and his wife, Betty Watkins Sandifer ’84, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last year.
1972Audrey Dingle Cooper has retired
from the Fluor Corporation as an acquisition verification services manager. Bud Ferillo was a recipient of a 2016 Governor’s Award in Humanities. Bud coordinates the S.C. Collaborative for Race and Reconciliation at the University of South Carolina. Dan Festa received an award in 2015 in recognition of 25 years since he founded the Good Grief Conference at Virginia Commonwealth University Health System. In March 2016, he published his first book: Through the Eyes of the Heart: Stories of Love and Loss.
1973 Bubba Taylor, owner of Fat
Cat Productions, was one of the music professionals included in the first Lowcountry Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
1975 Greg Phelps is chief medical officer
at a hospice in Chattanooga. Greg and his wife, Gayle, have three grandchildren, all legacies from their two College of Charleston graduate children. Brad Rustin has retired after working 10 years with Wachovia Bank and Trust and 31 years as president and chief executive officer of Latitude 32 Federal Credit Union.
1976 Nancy Kay, CEO, president and
founder of organ donation organization LifePoint, has retired after 32 years of service to patients needing an organ transplant.
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Susan Clark Marlowe was elected to the National Special Forces Charitable Trust Board of Directors in Washington, D.C. Charles Marshall has retired from Mappus Insurance after more than 30 years in the insurance industry.
1977 Leeann Atherton is an active
musician, has completed eight recordings and teaches music in public schools in Austin, Texas. Kathleen Baldwin, a facilities manager for buildings and grounds maintenance at Stanford University, won an Amy J. Blue Award, which honors staff who are dedicated and passionate about their work. KB is also a printmaker for the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Ron Burch is a biopharmaceutical executive with more than 25 years of experience and is an advisory planner for Relmada Therapeutics. Michael Covington is the managing director of Speedwell Group, a government relations firm in Columbia. Helen Swain Stine is the author of The Truthful Story, her debut novel, which is set in the Lowcountry in the 1960s. Ted Zorn is the dean of business and deputy vice chancellor at Massey University in Auckland, New Zealand. He and his wife, Brenda Shute, have one daughter, Andrea. Ted earned both his master’s and his Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky.
1978Ray Blouin is the music program
coordinator at the Virginia Program for Aging Services. Before coming to the College, Ray was with the Wayfarers (RCA Victor recording artists). After two retirements, Ray is still writing, performing and recording folk music with the group B Squared +2. Chris Cochran is a director of project management and business development for Redan Construction in Charleston. Deborah Deas, dean and CEO for clinical affairs at the University of California, Riverside, was appointed to the governing board of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. Deborah earned a master’s in public health from the University of South Carolina and her medical degree from MUSC. Larry Gale is a senior systems engineer and data architect for MUSC. He is also an awardwinning photographer and plays percussion for the North Charleston Pops.
1979 Steve Dykes is one of Charleston
Business Magazine’s 50 Most Influential for his role in attracting the $500 million Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van assembly plant. Steve serves as executive director of Charleston County Economic Development. Kim Moorer McDermott has published two novels since retiring: Hiding (a suspense romance that won a Daphne du Maurier Award) and Abbey’s Tale (a historical fiction).
1980 Chuck Baker was included in the
2017 The Best Lawyers in America rankings. Chuck is the managing partner at Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice in Charleston.
Guy Carpenter is a business and fiber expert and was appointed to the N.C. Industrial Hemp Commission. He owns Cape Fear Apparel in Wilmington. Frank Gadsden is the vice chair of the College’s Board of Trustees. Frank is the executive vice president and chief information officer of Clover Community Bank. Gretchen Stringer-Robinson teaches history at Central Carolina Technical College and online at Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College. She has also written a book titled Folly Beach: A Brief History.
1981 Carol Brittsan earned her master’s
in physician assistant studies from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in 2016. David Hay is the chair of the College’s Board of Trustees. David is a past president of the College’s Alumni Association and has also served on the Foundation Board. He is president and co-founder of Hay Tire Company in Charleston. Renee Buyck Romberger is the secretary of the College’s Board of Trustees. Renee is vice president of community health policy and strategy at Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System in Greenville, S.C. She is also a fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives. Molly Alford Thomas is a registered paraplanner for Abacus Planning Group in Columbia.
1982 Julie Johnson Armstrong is
president of the S.C. Association of Counties for 2016–17. Julie has served as Charleston County clerk of court since 1992. Bart Blackwell was elected to the S.C. House of Representatives for District 81 in November. He and his wife, Paula Epting Blackwell ’82, live in Aiken. David Collins was included in the 2017 The Best Lawyers in America rankings. David is an attorney with Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice in Charleston. Fran Mixon Kunda was honored by the S.C. Academy of Family Physicians as the 2016–17 SCAFP Family Physician of the Year. Kitty Shertzer Robinson was one of Charleston Business Magazine’s 50 Most Influential in January. Kitty is the executive director of the Historic Charleston Foundation.
1983 Susan Olson Hilsman represented
the College at the presidential inauguration for Spartanburg Methodist College. Susan is a staff physician at Spartanburg Regional Wound Healing Center and has been a teacher of undergraduates, medical students and residents for 26 years. Angela Stephenson Lindner serves on the College’s School of Sciences and Mathematics Board of Advocates. Angela is an engineering professor at the University of Florida. Rahul Mehra serves on the College’s School of Sciences and Mathematics Board of Advocates. Rahul is a psychiatrist and CEO and CMO for MehraVista Health in Tampa. Rahul also serves on the College’s Alumni Association Board of Directors. Gary Thomas is the president of the S.C. Oncology Society. Gary is an oncologist on Hilton Head
Island. He also serves on the College’s School of Sciences and Mathematics Board of Advocates.
1984 Lori Lester Lyles is an OB/GYN
in Mt. Pleasant. She serves on the College’s School of Sciences and Mathematics Board of Advocates. Barbara Kim Miller is the director of administration for the Patrick Henry Academy in Estill, S.C. Kim earned a J.D. from the University of South Carolina and practiced law in Walterboro before her career in education. Kirk Moore is the president and CEO of TW Metals, a specialty metals distributor and O’Neal Industries affiliate. Elaine Parshall is an engineering instructor at the S.C. Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics in Hartsville, S.C. She received her M.S. from the University of Arizona and her Ph.D. from Tufts University. Betty Watkins Sandifer (see Paul Sandifer ’68)
1985 Ernest Andrade was named one
1986 Scott Adams is chair of the board
of directors for the homeless shelter One80 Place. Scott is a founder of Adams & Wilson Development in Mt. Pleasant. Zac Collins is a vice president, commercial and industrial lender for Bankwell in New Canaan, Conn. Zac earned his M.B.A. in finance from Vanderbilt University. Barry Coyle is a physicist for NASA’s lasers and electro-optics branch in Greenbelt, Md. Lori Gehring is a mortgage loan officer for Fifth Third Mortgage in Atlanta. Mitsy Mangum represented the College at the inauguration of Emory University’s 20th president. Mitsy is the managing director of Lakeview Capital Partners in Atlanta. Swain Banks Marion is a sales associate for Lowcountry Styles in Charleston. Chuck Spell is a section chief for the U.S. Treasury Department and lives in Charlotte. Chuck earned his master’s in computer science from UNC Charlotte in 1994. John Tisdale is a member of the College’s School of Sciences and Mathematics Board of Advocates. John is a lead researcher and physician at the National Institutes of Health.
1987Michele Gaetan Miller is a Realtor
in Spring, Texas, who earned a Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Silver Award in 2014 and 2015 and the Gold Award for 2016.
Michelle Adkins Patterson is a board member for Novant Health Rowan Medical Center in North Carolina. Michelle and her family own and operate Patterson Farm, a commercial fruit and vegetable farm and distribution center in China Grove, N.C. Brian Rutenberg’s new book, Clear Seeing Place, was a No. 1 Amazon bestseller in art essays and art business. Brian recently opened a solo exhibit at the Forum Gallery in New York.
1988 David Duncan is a senior physician
advisor for Inova Health System, a nonprofit health care system in Falls Church, Va. Hank Futch is the bassist for the Blue Dogs, a Charleston-based roots rock group. Hank is also the owner of Hank Futch Real Estate in Mt. Pleasant. Jeff Gardner received the Mastership Award from the Academy of General Dentistry. Jeff lives in Mt. Pleasant. Ashley Harding Gess earned a Ph.D. in integrative STEM education from Virginia Tech and is an assistant professor of STEM education at Augusta University in Augusta, Ga. Ben Glass, managing shareholder of the Charleston office of Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., was again listed in Best Lawyers in America. Elizabeth Collier Inabinet is the managing partner at McGregor and Company, a regional accounting firm based in Orangeburg, S.C. Jennifer “JJ” Jahn Larson is an associate director of student services at Richland College in Dallas, Texas, where she oversees counseling services, disability services and a behavior intervention and threat assessment program. Anthony Meyer is the director of development at Our Lady of the Lake University of San Antonio.
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of Charleston Business Magazine’s 50 Most Influential. Ernest is founder and executive director of the Charleston Digital Corridor. Liz Boyer Caldwell was awarded the 2016 Christie’s International Real Estate Luxury Specialist at the annual agents conference in Washington, D.C. Liz is an estate agent with Premier Estate Properties in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Oliver Fetzer is the CEO of Synthetic Genomics and was appointed to the board of directors of Arena Pharmaceuticals in San Diego. Oliver also serves on the College’s School of Sciences and Mathematics Board of Advocates. Howard Hall is the director of the University of Tennessee Institute for Nuclear Security in Knoxville and is a senior fellow and director of
global security policy programs at the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy. Scott Smith is a principal at GEL Geophysics and a Charleston-based senior project manager of the GEL Group subsidiary. Melissa Commander Zanni is president of Zanni Inc., a medical consulting firm.
| The College’s Board of Trustees elected new leadership last fall with the selection of (from left to right) David Hay ’81 (chair), Renee Buyck Romberger ’81 (secretary) and Frank Gadsden ’80 (vice chair). | SUMMER 2017 |
Wayne Morgan celebrated 25 years of his criminal defense law firm in Richmond, Va. Wayne is married and has a 10-year-old daughter. Leon Stavrinakis was re-elected to the S.C. State House of Representatives for District 119. Leon and his wife, Anne Heinsohn Stavrinakis ’00, live in Charleston, where Leon practices law.
1989 Athan Fokas is an executive
officer of the Greater Charleston Restaurant Association. He is the owner of Old Towne Grill & Seafood in downtown Charleston. Dave Lobo is one of the inventors of the Business Directory Assistance VIA STB. Dave is an adjunct professor of digital marketing at Collin College in Frisco, Texas. Steve and Emily Molony Swanson are recipients of the 2016 Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Low Country Chapter Philanthropists of the Year award. In 2012, Steve and Emily established the Swanson Scholars Program in the Honors College. They continued their philanthropic support through the College’s BOUNDLESS Campaign. Steve was selected as one of Charleston Business Magazine’s 50 Most Influential and serves as the inside director of operations and strategy at SnapCap in Charleston. He serves on the Board of Advocates for the College’s School of Sciences and Mathematics, the Honors College Advisory Board and the School of Business Board of Governors. Paige Reese Whitaker is a superior court judge in the Atlanta Judicial Circuit. Paige earned her J.D. from Duke University.
1990 John Culbertson is a senior vice
president of acquisitions for the Brennan Investment Group. Ian Hamilton is president and CEO of the Hamilton Port Authority in Ontario, Canada. Wendy Caldwell Richardson is a professor of Spanish at Francis Marion University. Last summer, she participated in the 2016 Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in Vermont. Brad ’92 and Ellen Hankin Rickenbaker are the owners of Joint Venture Estate Jewelers in Charleston, which recently celebrated 26 years of business on King Street. David Seay earned his J.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1994 and owns a law practice in Greenville, S.C. Mijanou Malise Sprudle is first vice president, senior portfolio manager and branch manager for Morgan Stanley. Mijanou lives with her husband and son in Miami.
1991 Jonathan Bruckner is market vice
president of the Florida and Texas markets for Tiffany and Co., overseeing 17 Tiffany and Co. store locations. Richard Freeman is a C-17 instructor and evaluator pilot for the 300th Airlift Squadron at Joint Base Charleston and is a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserves. Richard is also a pilot for American Airlines. He and his wife, Karen, have two daughters: Stella and Calista. Joe Keadle is the chief operating officer at Automotive Finance Corporation in Carmel, Ind. Nancy Terry Lucas is the webmaster for E. Boineau and Co., a marketing and public relations firm. Nancy and her husband, John, live in Charleston. Adam Mersereau is a sports attorney at PGA Tour Inc. He and his wife, Kristen, live in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., with their two daughters: Emma and Mary. Barclay Randall Murphy is a military and community liaison for Military Community Connection in North Charleston. She received |
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a master’s in nonprofit leadership from New England College. Cindy Pittman Santa Ana is an integrative nutrition health coach at her company, Unlock Better Health. Cindy authored Unprocessed Living to help families learn how to transition away from processed foods. She graduated with honors from the Academy of Culinary Nutrition and is a lead health coach at Amen Clinics in Reston, Va.
1992 Peyton Bradham is a senior network
engineer for the Department of Defense (U.S. Navy) in Charleston. John Coleman is the director of career development at Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C. Kari Maastricht is the volunteer and program coordinator for Engaging Creative Minds in Charleston. Terence O’Donnell (formerly Terence Brunner) is a lieutenant in the New York City Fire Department for Division 7 in the Bronx. Brad Rickenbaker (see Ellen Hankin Rickenbaker ’90) Patrick Ryan is a vascular surgeon and founder of Nashville Vascular and Vein Institute. Patrick serves on the Society for Vascular Surgery’s Quality Performance and Metrics Committee. Jody Stallings won an award for being the middle school teacher who had the most students participate in the Moultrie News Constitutional Essay Contest. Jody teaches English at Moultrie Middle School in Mt. Pleasant. Betsy Haywood Sullivan is an associate professor of accounting at Rider University in Lawrenceville, N.J. She received Rider’s Distinguished Teaching Award and also Outstanding Student Advisor Award.
1993 Chip Hunnicutt is the director of
marketing at Arcus Hunting in Covington, Ga. Chip earned his M.S.S. degree from the U.S. Sports Academy. Forest Mahan is a board member for Citizens for Nuclear Technology Awareness for 2017–18. Forest became the fifth president of Aiken Technical College in 2016. Alicia Seay is the Eastern U.S. sales manager for Elizabeth Spencer Winery in Rutherford, Calif. Jennifer Streaks is a financial and affordable lifestyle expert, writer and commentator. Jennifer is involved in philanthropic endeavors in Washington, D.C., and New York. Jennifer earned her J.D. from Howard University and her M.B.A. from Johns Hopkins University.
1994 Roland Cruickshank (M.P.A. ’96)
is the president of the Vintage Hospital by St. Luke’s Health in Houston, Texas. Richard Gilbert is a senior loan officer at Shelter Lending Services in Charleston. Cherisse Jones-Branch (M.A. ’97) is a professor of history at Arkansas State University. She is also the director of the newly established ASTATE Digital Press. Alex Mundin is the national sales manager for PayLease, which provides online payments, resident billing and management tools to HOAs. Thorsten Path is a financial advisor based in Asheville, N.C. Tracy MacKay Ratliff traveled the country curating her journey as a creative from Florida’s Treasure Coast to Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. She has settled in Columbia, S.C., with her husband, Chris, and their two children, Kenzie and Seamus. Tracy works as a graphic designer through her company, MacRat – Creative Design Services. Brian Shealy is a senior account executive with
Infor. He and his wife, Mary, are the parents of three sons: Evan (12), Harrison (11) and Victor, born last August.
1995 Johnathan Bailey announces
the birth of his son, George, born in May 2016. Johnathan is a principal at Health System Advisors. Russell Crawford earned his Ph.D. in psychology from Grand Canyon University in 2016. His dissertation was “The Impact of Ocean Therapy on Veterans with Post Traumatic Disorder.” His practice is located in Virginia Beach, Va. Mason Crews is the owner and executive chef of Crews Cuisine, a catering business. Mason is also chef de garde manger at Cannon Green in Charleston. Clay Grayson is a partner in the Charleston law firm Grayson Thomas and is an expert in intellectual property law. Clay earned his J.D. and master’s in international business from the University of South Carolina and his L.L.M. from New York University. Frank Herrera and Koy Matta ’15 traveled to Nicaragua to attend the Puro Sabor Nicaraguan Cigar Festival in Esteli. Frank is the owner of H New Media Law and represents Koy’s company, RoMa Craft Tobac. Marty Huggins and his artificial turf company, Palmetto Moon Synthetic Turf, was featured in the summer issue of Charleston Style and Design magazine. Jason Hustedt represented the College at the presidential inauguration for the University of Delaware in December. Jason is an associate professor in human development and family studies and is the graduate coordinator at the University of Delaware. He is also the research director for the Delaware Institute for Excellence in Early Childhood. Jason earned both his master’s and Ph.D. in developmental psychology from Cornell University. Michael Scarafile, president of Carolina One Real Estate Services, has been named by the Swanepoel T3 Group as one of the top 200 most powerful people in residential real estate for 2016. Michael earned his J.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1998, and joined Carolina One as general counsel in 2005. He and his wife, Julie, have two sons and live in Mt. Pleasant. Stephanie Leonard Yarbrough was included in the 2017 The Best Lawyers in America rankings. She is a partner in the Charleston office of Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice.
1996 Melissa McCants Azevedo is the vice
president of special events for the Charleston RiverDogs. She and her husband, Tyson, have a daughter, Brynlee Rose (4). Ni-cole Mullinax Bernier is the organizational excellence director for MUSC University Finance and Administration. She also established the wellness blog Salt Air Exchange. Fred Brown earned his Ph.D. in educational administration from the University of South Carolina in 2014 and teaches science at Chapman High School. He also earned an Ed.S. in educational administration from S.C. State University and an M.Ed. in secondary natural science from Converse College. Sue Mills Campbell is a licensed real estate professional with Matt O’Neill Real Estate in Charleston. Jeannie Chapman and Traci McSwain were married in May 2016. Jeannie is an associate professor of biology and chair of the natural sciences and engineering division at USC Upstate in Spartanburg. Stephanie Gause Flynn is a litigation attorney
[ alumni profile ]
MITCHELL LEVERETTE ’85 GREW UP SITTING on a gold mine. Literally. As a child living in McCormick, S.C., Leverette was always curious about what lay below the ground. After all, McCormick’s town slogan is “We’re Sittin’ on a Gold Mine,” a reference to the gold that was discovered there in the 1850s. There’s even an annual gold rush festival to celebrate the town’s golden history. “I would read a little bit as a kid about the underground gold mines and I was always fascinated and curious about how gold had developed underground,” Leverette says. So, it isn’t all that surprising that he ended up making a career out of studying and managing minerals, climbing the ranks of the Bureau of Land Management. But as a CofC freshman in 1981, he was unsure what his future profession might be. “During that first semester, I was just kind of thinking of what I should major in and I was thinking maybe premed,” recalls Leverette. “It took several semesters before I took geology as a science course. I remember taking it and liking it. Thinking about home, I thought, Why not try this as a major?” Leverette, who was the College’s first African American graduate from the geology program, went on to earn his master’s in geology/geochemistry at Sul Ross State University at the encouragement of a CofC professor who had a connection to the West Texas institution. In 1987, Leverette began his career with the Bureau of Land Management, a federal agency within the Department of the Interior. He started as a geologist based in Sacramento, Calif., and went on to hold a variety of positions, doing everything from interpreting guidance and policies from bureau leadership, to drafting and co-authoring mineral reports and completing mineral exams, to conducting site inspections and program reviews. In 2004, he rose to the rank of deputy division chief for solid minerals (making the move to Washington, D.C.) before taking the post of division chief in 2008. In that role, Leverette oversees five programs, including mining law, coal, non-energy leasable minerals (such as sodium, phosphate and potassium),
| Photo by Gately Williams |
mineral materials (sand, gravel, rock, stone, etc.) and oil shale and tar sands. Much of the division’s work involves the development of policies that are to be used in regulating and providing oversight of private mining activities on BLM lands. Over the last five years, the division has generated more than $4.5 billion in royalties, rent and bonus payments to the U.S. Treasury and state governments. Nearly 30 years into his career, Leverette says he’s still passionate about the far-reaching impact minerals have on everyday life. “From the car you drive, to the house you live in, to the toothpaste you used this morning, to the eyeglasses you have on, to the electricity that powers your home, to the minerals that are in your cell phone – the list just goes on and on,” he says. In recent years, Leverette has reconnected with the College, serving on the Alumni Association Board of
Directors and the School of Sciences and Mathematics Advocacy Board (and as an Alumni Association mentor), among other College organizations. In 2013, the College awarded Leverette the Eddie Ganaway Distinguished Alumni Award, which recognizes alumni who are trailblazers and loyal supporters of the school. Leverette credits the rigor of his geology studies at the College with preparing him for his future career, noting that he would periodically visit his old geology professors Jim Carew and Robert Nusbaum during trips to Charleston. “I think the College of Charleston, being a liberal arts and sciences school, helped to shape me to be a better manager in my profession, and also helped me in my ability to communicate technically those things I need to communicate in my job,” he says. It seems Leverette has struck oil and found gold on his way to the top of the geology world.
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with Smith Moore Leatherwood in Greenville, S.C. Stephanie received her J.D. from the University of South Carolina. Michelle Thrasher Hess is a quality assurance specialist in research and development at SoftPro. Michelle and her family live in Raleigh. Alema Galijatovic Idrizbegovic is a director with Merck & Company in Philadelphia. She leads a group of scientists in investigative toxicology and toxicokinetics in support of preclinical development. Alema graduated from MUSC with a Ph.D. in pharmacology in 2001 and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in toxicology at the University of California San Diego. Patrick Manning is the database administrator for The Citadel Foundation. Kathy Twombley was awarded the Outstanding Clinician Award by the MUSC Foundation. Kathy is the medical director for the pediatric kidney transplant program and division chief for pediatric nephrology.
1997 April Corley earned her M.D. from
MUSC in 2003 and works as a physician at Novant Crown Point Family Physicians. She and her husband, Nicolas Cruz, live with their family in Matthews, N.C. Heather Crosby, adjunct professor of history at the College, spent the summer teaching sailors American history onboard the USS San Jacinto, deployed to the Middle East. Elizabeth Grow Devolder earned a J.D. from Western Michigan University in Tampa Bay, Fla., in 2016. She and her husband will practice law together. B. DaNine Jenkins Fleming (M.Ed.) is representing MUSC in Leadership South Carolina’s Class of 2017. DaNine was also awarded the 2016 Dr. Earl B. Higgins Diversity Achievement Award and was selected as one of the Top Ten to Watch from the Summerville Journal Scene. DaNine is an associate professor at MUSC. Lisa McMillan Garvin is an office manager in Berkshire Hathaway Southern Coast Real Estate’s West Ashley location. Lydia Kikunda Masao is an author for Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group. Lydia earned her master’s in child development and education from Oxford in 2014. Addie McLaurin is a consultant for North Highland Consulting in Charlotte. She earned her M.B.A. from The Citadel. Beth Pierce Meredith is the director of technical solutions for cyber security and health IT for KBRwyle, which offers specialized engineering and scientific technology to the U.S. Department of Defense, NASA and a variety of other federal agencies. Beth and her husband, Rob, live in Mt. Pleasant. Brandi Reddick is the curator and artists manager for Miami-Dade County Art in Public Places. She was featured in an article by The Huffington Post on women in the art world. Brandi earned her graduate degree from the Savannah College of Art and Design. Robert Rowe lives in Columbia with his wife, Jackie, and 4-year-old twins. Robert is a family physician with Palmetto Health-USC Medical Group at its Lakeview Family Medicine location in Lexington. Vivianne Henrick Smiler is a senior manager of communications at Deloitte in Atlanta. She and her husband, John, have one son. Janne Vara is the chief financial officer at Nanocomp Oy Ltd. in Finland.
1998 Randy Adkins (see Sherlonda Peake Adkins ’99 [M.P.A. ’03]) Chad Carithers, the most decorated men’s soccer
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player in the College’s history, was inducted into the College of Charleston Athletics Hall of Fame in January. Jason Davis is an associate professor of biology and associate director of the Honors Academy at Radford University in Radford, Va. He and his wife, Sarah Foltz, are the parents of Esmé Grace (2). Jordan Jaskwhich Elm is an associate professor of biostatistics at MUSC. She received a Ph.D. in biostatistics at MUSC in 2009 and a master’s in psychology/neuroscience at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Bob Fairbairn is a benefits advisor, focusing on large group benefits, with McLaughlin & Smoak Benefits in Mt. Pleasant. David Greene received the International Fire Service Journal of Leadership and Management Annual Research Symposium OSU Student Presentation Prize in Tulsa, Okla. David is the deputy chief with Colleton County (S.C.) FireRescue. He holds a Ph.D. in fire and emergency management administration from Oklahoma State University and an M.B.A. from the University of South Carolina. Randy and Caroline Evangelista Harbeson live in Summerville, S.C., with their two sons: Dylan (13) and Riley (10). Caroline has a master’s in biomedical science from MUSC and recently earned a nursing degree. She works as a nurse at MUSC Children’s Hospital. Michael Hickerson is a member of the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Charleston Class of 2017. An attorney with Smith Moore Leatherwood, Michael was recognized for three consecutive years as a South Carolina “Super Lawyer.” Carter McCoy and Heather Moffat were married in November 2016. Carter earned his M.Ed. in Montessori integrative learning from Endicott College in 2015. Jennifer Barnes Miotke is a professional matchmaker for One on One Matchmaking in Atlanta. Kimberly Butterfly Rudd is a psychiatrist in Columbia, focusing on geriatric psychiatry. She is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. Kamil Sykora is a senior escalation engineer with Microsoft. Kamil, his wife, Monika, and children, Maggie and Jacob, live in Charlotte. Colleen Thompson is the executive assistant to the CEO at Incapital in Boca Raton, Fla. William Turkett is an associate professor of computer science at Wake Forest University. William and Carla Flowers were married in August 2016. Scott Warren is a senior commercial relationship manager with TD Bank in Charleston. Laura Flinn Whitworth is a postdoctoral scientist at the University of Cambridge. She also completed a postdoc at the University of Sheffield. Laura, her husband and children (Rosie and Andrew) have lived in the U.K. since she earned her Ph.D. in biology at the University of Washington in 2006.
Directors. John is a senior credit officer at ServisFirst Bank in Charleston. John Duckworth was the featured artist at a new pop-up gallery in the Wedge Building in Asheville’s River Arts District. Erin Elliott and Steve Anthony were married in October 2016 and live in Columbus, Ga. Brian and Amanda Heller Farnum are the owners of Wehgo, a company that focuses on creating and designing modern souvenir paint-bynumber kits. Craig Furlano is a managing partner within the IT division of New Directions in Mt. Pleasant. Craig lives on James Island with his wife, Jaci, their three children and two dogs. Eric Kasimov is founder and president of KazSource, a Charlotte-based marketing company that facilitates content creation and distribution for business owners. Rich and Alice Bickley Light ’03 announce the birth of their second daughter, Wells, born in April 2016. Rich earned his architectural hardware consulting credential through the Door and Hardware Institute and is a door security and safety professional. He is also an end-user sales manager at Skyline Door & Hardware in Roanoke, Va. Matt Lynch is the executive director at Venue Inc. in London. He and his wife, Keisha, have two sons: Liam and Noah. James and Jaime Westendorff McBride announce the birth of their second daughter, Julia, born in July 2016. Jaime is the operations director for NCR Carolinas in Charleston. Jeanie McAdams Moore is a senior advisor for private sector initiatives at the Department of Homeland Security. She earned her master’s in national and homeland security studies in 2014 from the Naval Postgraduate School. Carey Lucas Nikonchuk (M.A. ’02) is a Realtor for the Brennaman Group and was named an East Cooper Top Producer and a Realtor of Distinction for 2013 and 2014. Carey lives in Mt. Pleasant with her husband, Eric, and their two daughters: Lily and Evelyn. Heather Parker Pound is the coastal S.C. corporate underwriting manager for SCETV, S.C. Public Radio, PBS and NPR. Heather and her husband, Teddy, live on James Island with their daughter, Parker (12), and their son, Cooper (8). Alexandra and Robert Ricks (M.P.A.) own a restaurant in Fryeburg, Me., called D’s Catering. Robert retired from the U.S. Army in 2015 and is pursuing a master of jurisprudence in energy law at the University of Tulsa. He was also appointed to the Town of Fryeburg Planning Board. Nicole Scheman is the owner of EZ FingerPrints in Largo, Fla. Marie Majarais Smith is the director of the Family Bridges program at Pendleton Place in Greenville, S.C.
1999 Sherlonda Peake Adkins (M.P.A. ’03)
Daniel were married in June 2015. Jessica is the senior media director for Christian Dior in NYC. Ray Berrouet is the director of sales for the King Charles Inn in downtown Charleston. Andrew Colvin is the director of legal affairs at Gildan Activewear and earned his M.B.A. and J.D. from the University of South Carolina. Alicia Garcia De La Rosa is the co-vice president of recruitment at Achievement First, a network of K-12 public charter schools in Connecticut, New York and Rhode Island. Damon Fordham (M.A.) is an adjunct professor of history, public speaking and critical thinking at Virginia College in Charleston. Damon also teaches a yearly seminar in African American
graduated from the physician assistant program at MUSC in 2014. That same year, she and her husband, Randy Adkins ’98, established the Sherlonda T. Adkins and Family Scholarship at MUSC to assist nontraditional students. Aaron Berger was featured in the Jewish Times for his work at Atlanta’s Breman Museum, where he is the executive director. Matt Czuchry rejoined the cast of Gilmore Girls as Logan Huntzberger in a four-part miniseries: Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. John Douglass is the Cougar Club representative to the College’s Alumni Association Board of
2000 Jessica Bangs and Christopher
and U.S. history at Charleston Southern University. He is the author of three books: True Stories of Black South Carolina, Voices of Black South Carolina and the novel Mr. Potts and Me. He was a featured author at the first Black Ink: The Charleston African American Book Festival in September. Margaret Seeley Furniss is the co-owner/founder of gourmet market and cafe Caviar & Bananas. Margaret is a 2017 Forty Under 40 in the Charleston Regional Business Journal. Peter Gremillion is the regional practice group leader at SpenglerFox, a global talent consultancy in Germany. Jacob Jordan and Stephanie Lu Gallman were married last November and live in Atlanta. Jacob is an editor with the Associated Press. Jordan Johnson Kuhn published her first collection of poetry: A Hard Love. Suzanne Nebesky and Michael Donovan were married in April 2016. Suzanne is an assistant U.S. attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice. Karen Earley Parker is the owner of Hickory Bluff Berry Farm near Holly Hill, S.C. Anne Heinsohn Stavrinakis (see Leon Stavrinakis ’88) Pamela Czerepuszko Wilcoxson is the media and sourcing director with VantagePoint Marketing in Greenville, S.C.
2001 Lara Caulder Byrd is the U.S. Navy
command chaplain aboard the USS San Antonio LPD-17. Laura received her master’s of divinity from Emory University. Julien Charpentier is a senior manager at BeringPoint, a consulting firm in Paris. Stephen Christanthus is an associate director of the Delray Beach Marketing Cooperative and associate editor of Frequent Flyer Magazine. Jim Clement (M.A. ’05) is an interim priest at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Sycamore, Ill. Jennifer Arato Crabb is a senior vice president at the Bank of South Carolina, where she heads the credit department. She received her M.B.A. from The Citadel. Kellie Dickerson was elected vice president of the Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity Housing Corporation board of directors last summer. Kevin Flarisee is the coordinator for executive, program and department support for the S.C. Arts Commission. Keisha Boyd Hawes is a human resources assistant at ISHPI Information Technologies Inc. and has been a spokesperson for heart disease prevention in women, including the Go Red for Women campaign. Keisha was featured as a Health Care Hero in the Charleston Regional Business Journal last December. Leslie Johnson Howder was named assistant principal of the year by the Berkeley County (S.C.) School District. Leslie is an assistant principal for Sangaree Middle School. She earned her master’s and specialist’s degrees from The Citadel in educational administration and her Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina. She and her husband, Connor, live in Summerville with their daughter, Adeline. Chip Howell is a project architect at PFA Architects in Asheville, N.C., and does outreach work with several local nonprofits. He also serves as co-chair of the board of directors at Green Opportunities. Chip and his wife, Sarah Lulavage Addy, have a daughter, Charlotte. Jay Karen (M.A.) and Carrie Lyndrup (M.P.A. ’04) were featured in The Daniel Island News. Jay is the CEO of the National Golf Course Owners Association, and Carrie is an independent college counselor and managing partner of Carnahan Lyndrup. They have two children: Marley and Jonah. Kenneth Melton is a farmer and owner of Lowland Farms on Johns Island, S.C.
Richard Pierce is a vice president and portfolio manager for BNC Bank in Charleston. He was selected as one of the Forty Under 40 for 2017 by the Charleston Regional Business Journal. Sean Raftree is the vice president of business development at RedAwning.com, which helps facilitate hotel reservation booking for guests. Kristina Riegle is a professional actor and singer living in Rochester Hills, Mich. She is a voice instructor at Expressions Music Academy and a standardized patient teaching associate at Wayne State University’s Medical School. Mary and Ellis Roberts announce the birth of their son, Bert, born in September 2016. The Roberts family lives in Mt. Pleasant. Ellis is an attorney with McLeod Law Group. Margaret Anne Florence Siachos is the female lead in the new CMT television series Sun Records. Margaret Anne and her husband, Peter, welcomed their first child, Quinton, born in October 2016. Proud grandmother is Hope Morris Florence ’70. Justine Wells is an assistant professor of English at New Mexico State University. She earned graduate degrees in philosophy and psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, followed by a Ph.D. in composition and rhetoric from the University of South Carolina in 2015. Christi Wickliffe-Bessinger is the advertising and marketing manager for Garden City Realty Inc. in Garden City Beach, S.C. Anna Williams has been recognized as a distinguished professional in her field through Women of Distinction Magazine.
2002 Josh Zaslow and Nadeen Bir
announce the birth of their second child, Elby Bir-Zaslow, born in August 2016. Nadeen is a Southern Foodways Alliance Fellow. Amity Sullivan Edmonds earned her J.D. at the Charleston School of Law in 2012 and is an associate attorney at Gallivan, White and Boyd, P.A. in Greenville, S.C. Christiane Gaul has studied and worked abroad in the United States, Chile, Brazil, Spain and Qatar. She graduated with an M.B.A. and M.A. in Latin American and Caribbean studies from Florida International University and completed her Ph.D. in management sciences at the University of Latvia in 2016. She is now living in Germany. Matt Griesemer is a territory manager for Abbott and is based in Charleston. Dana and Matt Hagan announce the birth of their second child, Zachary, born in June 2016. Matt is the manager of investments for Regency Centers Corporation in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Sue Harris is the owner and designer at Beezie Glassworks in Charleston. Sue makes custom fused glass cabinet hardware along with mirrors, picture frames and wine stoppers. Shawn Holland was inducted into the T.L. Hanna High School Hall of Fame in Anderson, S.C., last September. Shawn was a pitcher for the Cougars and is now the vice president of City Glass & Mirror Company in Anderson. He and his wife, Emily, have one son, Beckett. Gabriel and Lesslie Martin Mack live in Tega Cay, S.C., with their three daughters: Cydney, Kayla and Madyson. Gabriel is a regional manager for Masco Cabinetry, and Lesslie is a vice president and branch manager for Park Sterling Bank in North Carolina. Julia Jaskwhich Rodriguez is a psychiatric nurse practitioner and the artistic director/principal choreographer of Buen Ache Afro-Latino Dance Company in Charleston. Megan Griffith Sandefur is an interior designer at CHD Interiors in Mt. Pleasant. Megan and her husband, Joseph, have two children: Lily and Jackson. Megan earned her J.D. from Florida Coastal School of Law in 2006.
Patrick Schlebrowski is the director of global biosimilars at STADA, an international company that focuses on the health care market. Patrick is based in Germany. Jamie Self and Seth Gadsden ’03 announce the birth of twins, Holt and Seta, born in November 2016. The twins’ grandparents are Frank ’80 and Lisa Alexander Gadsden ’78. Alan Shirey received the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ 2015 Science, Technology, Engineer and Math Outstanding Team Achievement Award. Alan lives in Charleston. Megan Underhill completed her Ph.D. in sociology at the University of Cincinnati in 2016 and is an assistant professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina Asheville. Stewart Vernon, founder and CEO of America’s Swimming Pool Company (ASP), is also an entrepreneur-in-residence at Mercer University. Katie McDonald Windham is the librarian, director of after hours, and co-director of Camp Crusader at St. Louis King of France School. She and her husband, Justin, live in Metairie, La., with their four children: Juniper, Mabel, Atticus and Keats.
2003 Robin Franco Bromberg co-founded
the law firm Langley & Bromberg in January 2016. Robin earned her J.D. from Tulane University. Robin and her husband, Clayton, have a daughter, Zoe (2). Michael Burd is the group sales manager at The Dewberry Charleston. Brad Burns was the technical lead overseeing high-resolution imaging systems monitoring the Rio Olympic Games from the sky. Brad is the director of engineering and science at Logos Technologies and earned his Ph.D. in physics from Georgetown University. Olga Chajewski is an assistant professor of pathology at MUSC. She graduated from MUSC in 2007 and completed her residency and fellowships at Baystate Medical Center and Johns Hopkins Hospital. Angharad Chester-Jones is the director of public relations and marketing at Regan Communications. Angharad was a speaker at the 2017 Center for Women Conference. Jessica Pease Clarke-Pounder is a board-certified neonatologist at Levine Children’s Hospital at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte. After graduating from MUSC in 2007, Jess and her husband, Ian, moved to Baltimore, where Jess completed her residency and fellowship at Johns Hopkins University. Jess and Ian have two sons: Matthew and Henry. Rhetta Simon Cloyd is a senior vice president of sales and marketing at iHeartMedia Inc. Rhetta is also a Cougar Club Board member and an advisor for Alpha Delta Pi. Brendan Connor is the owner and executive chef at Whisk Gourmet Food + Catering in Miami, Fla. He and his wife have two children: Madison and Quinn. Wayne Culpepper is the owner of the photo and video production company Wayne Wandering Productions. He spent a month in Argentina with Michael Youngblood ’07, producing videos for Michael’s travel start-up, Unsettled(Ad)ventures. Wayne also competed on two seasons of American Ninja Warrior. Jack Daniels is the director of operations at Mahaffey Tent & Event Rentals in Memphis, Tenn. He also owns EventOps, a corporate event management company. Jack and his wife, Lindsey, have a son, Jackson (9). Natalie Foertch Flores is a member of the internal training team for merchandising training at Zappos. Natalie and her husband, Derek, were married in 2014. Seth Gadsden (see Jamie Self ’02) Rebecca Suarez Guthrie is the founder and
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CEO of Preclose, a real estate app that was a finalist at the Realogy FWD Innovation Summit. Rebecca is also the founder and CEO of Sweet Spot Operations. Trey Jameson was selected as one of the Forty Under 40 for 2017 by the Charleston Regional Business Journal. Trey is an attorney with the Jameson Law Firm. Alice Bickley Light (see Rich Light ’99) Amy Falkingham Pillé is an analyst specializing in computer network defense at Athena Consulting Group. Amy is a Certified Ethical Hacker and a Certified Information Systems Security Professional. She is also a licensed member of the S.C. and federal bars with extensive experience in corporate defense. Alex Pellegrino Rogers (M.A. ’15) is a publishing project manager at Advantage Media Group in Charleston. Helen Kimsey Rogers is the assistant director of conservation and stewardship for the Lowcountry Land Trust in Charleston. She earned her master’s in landscape architecture from Clemson University in 2008. Helen and her husband, David, have one son, Sam, born in October 2015. Crystal Smith-Connelly’s short play, Playing Doctor, was performed during 2Cents Theatre’s Acting Out INK Fest in March at the Hudson Theatre in Hollywood, Calif. Crystal also wrote, directed and filmed the Godly Acres web series, which premiered at AtomaCon in November. Marjan Stojiljkovic is a project manager and an energy finance expert at the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management in Germany. Garron Wright is a bioinformatics group lead at the David H. Murdock Research Institute in Kannapolis, N.C. Garron earned his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in bioinformatics. He and his wife, Sarah, have three children: Katie, Mikaela and Kaeden.
2004 Leila Benoit is the principal of
Archbishop Chapelle High School in Metairie, La. Leila earned a master’s in education from Dayton University. Fabiana Claure and William Villaverde have moved to Corinth, Texas. Fabiana earned her D.M.A. at Miami University and is the director of career development and entrepreneurship in music at the University of North Texas. William has also earned his doctorate and runs remotely their Superior Academy of Music in Miami. Brandi Elkins is the membership development manager for the South Carolina Association of Nonprofit Organizations. Jennifer Fernandez and Mike Woodward were married in October 2015. Jennifer earned her M.D. from MUSC in 2008 and works at Memory Center Charlotte. Travis and Hillary Rich Fowler are the owners of Nook and Cranny Company: Antique and Heirloom Restoration, based in the Carolinas. Rose Beth Grossman is an attorney with Robertson Hollingsworth & Flynn in Charleston. Rose Beth and Trevor Smith were married in May 2016. Evan Guthrie is a member of the Dorchester County (S.C.) District 2 School Board. His law firm, Evan Guthrie Law Firm, was awarded a seventh Star of the Quarter Award by the S.C. Bar Young Lawyers Division. Michelle Quaranto Kramer is a project specialist with Palmetto GBA. She and her husband, Glen, have two sons and live in Mt. Pleasant. Michelle was awarded senatorship from the Jaycees in 2016, having served as president of the Charleston Junior Chamber Jaycees since 2013. Eliza Lacey is a branch manager at South State Bank’s Broad Street location in Charleston. |
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Carrie Lyndrup (M.P.A.) (see Jay Karen ’01) Meike McDonald (M.Ed. ’05) received her doctorate in education from Walden University in 2016 and is a teacher at Mont Kiara International School in Malaysia. Michael Ann Mullikin and Sean Wilson were married in July 2016 and live in Seattle, where Michael Ann is the company manager for Pacific Northwest Ballet. Summer Pettigrew is an innovation coach for the Charleston County School District’s Department of Innovation and Digital Learning. Timmons Pettigrew is the director of group operations for Edmund’s Oast in Charleston. Bryan Pittman is a capital sales manager at Medtronic Early Technologies and lives in Mt. Pleasant. Catherine Mahrer Rogers is a medical social worker for the palliative care team at MUSC. She and her husband, James, have a son, Henry Barnes (2). Lauren Beddia Rust is the founder of the Lowcountry Marine Mammal Network, which aims to protect marine mammals. Christy Sadreameli is a physician at Johns Hopkins University specializing in pediatric pulmonary medicine. Christy earned an M.D. from MUSC in 2008 and a master’s in health science from Johns Hopkins in 2013. Christy and her husband, Brett, live in Baltimore. Caitlin Shockley is the founder and owner of The Creative, a company that supports fashion brands. With offices in both New York City and Los Angeles, The Creative works with brands in strategy and positioning, event concepting and runway show orchestration. Kelly Smith is the music editor for the Charleston City Paper. Martin Tomlinson is a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Division. He and his wife, Maddy, live near Washington, D.C. Abby Henry Walker is the program assistant at Charleston Promise Neighborhood. She is also the program coordinator with Courtney Howard in the College’s Afterschool and Summer Learning Resource Center. Boo Walker released his third novel, Red Mountain. Boo lives in eastern Washington and sells and markets globally for Hedges Family Estate.
2005 Thad Beckner is a vice president
at Inroads Realty, a Dallas-based retail real estate company. Thomas Bullington earned his Ph.D. in British literature from the University of Mississippi in 2016. Keely Clarke Burd works for Re/Max Advanced Realty in Charleston. Victoria and T.J. Clayton announce the birth of their second son, Cannon, born in April 2016. The Clayton family lives in Columbia, where T.J. is an assistant vice president at Colonial Life. Virginia Bell Flynn is an associate with Troutman Sanders in Richmond, Va. She earned her J.D. from Washington and Lee University. Dominique Fortune is the manager of the MidAtlantic region for Building Hope, a nonprofit that supports charter school growth. Brett Gardner became the first Cougar alumnus to win the Rawlings Gold Glove Award and was named the American League’s top defender in left field. Brett is a charter member of Taylor Hooton Foundation’s Advisory Board to educate youth on performance-enhancing drugs. He also supports the Ronald McDonald House in S.C. and N.Y. Matthew Graham is the dean of students at the Shenyang Pacific Academic Academy in Shenyang, China. Stacey Barber Hollings (M.S. ’06) is a senior tax manager at Elliott Davis Decosimo. She also
serves on the College’s Alumni Association’s Board of Directors. She and her husband, Robbie, announce the birth of their second child, Ellie, born in December 2016. Megan Hubbard is the principal and founder of Lee Montessori Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. Nick Jenkins is a genre-defying, Charleston-based musician. Nick is currently working on music for a puppet show and curating a multimedia group art show in Columbia. Carolina Davila Jewett is a sales associate for Carolina One Real Estate in Mt. Pleasant. Victoria Jones and Benji Welch were married in 2013, and they announce the birth of a daughter, Charlotte, born in June 2016. The Welch family lives in Lake City, S.C. Michael Kalista is an operations assistant for St. Jude Farms in Green Pond, S.C. Michelle Kerner is an external relations specialist at McKinsey & Company in Madrid, Spain. Michelle has spent the past five years in Singapore and Hong Kong. Shannon Madden (M.A . ’09) earned her Ph.D. in composition, rhetoric and literacy from the University of Oklahoma in 2015 and is an assistant professor in the Department of Writing and Rhetoric at the University of Rhode Island. Sylvia Maddox is an associate focusing on construction law with Young Clement Rivers. Rachel Mast works for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. Rachel was appointed by the governor to the Georgia Commission for Service and Volunteerism. Rachel and her husband live in Decatur, Ga. Gray McDowell is a training and development specialist for Hyundai MOBIS in Plymouth, Mich. He earned his M.P.S. in human resources and employee relations from Penn State. Andrew Millikan and Amanda Clayton announce the birth of their son, Lawson, born in November 2016. Andy earned his M.B.A. from UNC Charlotte in 2008. Tom and Amy Speck Moffett announce the birth of their son, Sullivan, born in 2015. Amy is a pediatric nurse practitioner at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio. Brandon Norwood and Jessica Forman ’07 were married in October 2016 and live in Raleigh. Jessica is an associate manager of investment management with Coleman Research, and Brandon is a registered financial services representative with New York Life Insurance Company and NYLIFE Securities. Emily Oye Sealy is an assistant attorney general for the state of Virginia. Emily and her husband, Jon Sealy, have a daughter, Helen Ann, and live in Richmond, Va. Faisal Siddiqi is a pulmonary and critical care fellow at Mount Sinai Beth Israel in New York City. He graduated from MUSC in 2011 and completed his internal medicine residency at MUSC in 2014. Faisal was also chief resident at the Charleston Veterans Administration Hospital. Nasar Siddiqi is a physician specializing in pulmonary disease and critical care medicine with Coastal Pulmonary Medicine at New Hanover Regional Medical Center. Nasar and his wife, Kate, live in Wilmington, N.C. Nasar graduated from MUSC, where he completed his medical residency and pulmonary and critical care fellowship.
2006 Tim Rankins and Kristen Booros
announce the birth of their daughter, Audrey, born in August 2016. Kristen earned a dual J.D./ M.B.A. from the University of Richmond and is an international tax manager with Deloitte Tax in New York City.
| Photo by Gately Williams |
[ alumni profile ]
Clearing the Air YOU MIGHT ASSUME THAT MANAGING major initiatives for a renowned think tank would be worlds apart from studying political science as a college student. And you’d be right. But there is a connection. Just ask Jackson Ewing ’03. As the director of Asian sustainability for the Asian Society Policy Institute in New York City, Ewing navigates the realm where international relations, environmental change and policymaking intersect. You’ll find his writings published in a range of journals and he’s a regular contributor to radio and television. “Our business in the think tank world,” Ewing explains, “is to feed policy ideas to those in a position to turn them into concrete policies. My work involves promoting environmental cooperation, responsible resource development and progressive climate change policies in Asia and the U.S.” Ewing’s outlook on natural resource use took shape during his time at the College when he participated in a sustainable renovation of the political science offices.
“We got to decide how to use the funds from a small grant, so we did some painting, insulating, changing out fixtures and windows, etc. We also monitored the electricity used in the building several times a day over the span of months to derive a base metric that could be correlated against the renovations,” he recalls. “It was a real, hands-on learning experience regarding sustainability.” These days, much of Ewing’s time is occupied by attempting to spur cooperation between China, Japan and South Korea on their respective climate-change-mitigation strategies. “Our organization provides forums through which these nations can discuss cooperation on carbon market mechanisms and emissions trading schemes,” says Ewing. “Effectively, we’re helping them find ways to collaborate on trading emissions credits across linked markets in Northeast Asia.” Ewing and his institute colleagues bring together people from the World Bank (who have experience growing carbon
markets), academics (who have expertise in this field) and government officials who have gone through that process. “Europe already has linked carbon markets,” he explains, “so by bringing all these different people together and fostering structured conversations among them, I hope we can make similar progress in Asia.” This is complex work, involving slowmoving processes. Consequently, these kinds of conversations can take a long time before results become manifest. “We often think in horizons of multiple years,” Ewing says. “But we call ourselves ‘a think and do tank’ because we measure our success by our tangible impacts, and so we look for ways to be impactful in the short and longer terms.” Impact in this sphere requires diplomatic expertise, something Ewing developed and honed as a graduate student in Australia at Bond University, where he received his Ph.D., and at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, where he later worked for nearly four years. Those experiences, he says, “ultimately strengthened the bond I have with that part of the world.” A particularly formative experience was the year he spent in the Philippines, studying the ongoing conflict between the government and separatist forces in the country’s southern regions. “I developed a historical overview of the root causes of the conflict and I argued that an overlooked driver was the desire by all parties to profit from the area’s resources,” he says. “The environmental destruction that was taking place as those resources were developed also reduced opportunities for local citizens and added to their grievances.” Just as formative for his career, Ewing says, were the courses he took and the professors he had at CofC: “They opened my eyes to many trends and developments in the political world, ultimately steering me toward international affairs and diplomacy. My interest in the relationship between social systems and the natural world began then, and I furthered it through graduate school and pragmatic policy work, winding up where I am now.” And therein lies the connection – not worlds removed from a college classroom, not even continents apart. – Dan Dickison
SUMMER 2017 |
Adam Briskin-Limehouse is a research analyst at Optimal Solutions Group in College Park, Md. Adam earned his M.P.P. at Johns Hopkins University and lives in Silver Spring, Md., with his wife, Laura. Sarah Brosch is a nurse clinician at New York University’s Langone Medical Center. Sarah earned her nursing degree from NYU and a master’s in health education from the Teachers College of Columbia University. Margaret Burruss and James Ruebush Lamb ’08 were married in October 2016 and live in Richmond, Va. Nate Chapman earned his Ph.D. in sociology from Virginia Tech in 2015 and completed an edited volume on the craft beer movement – Untapped: Exploring the Cultural Dimensions of Craft Beer. Nate is an assistant professor of sociology at Arkansas Tech University. Lauren Diamant is a veterinarian in County Galway, Ireland. Lauren and Kieran Donohue were married in October 2013 and have a daughter, Adelynn (2). Dickie Dyas is the director of federal government sales at Comcast Business in Washington, D.C. Joseph Garcia is a senior associate attorney with Buist Byars & Taylor on Johns Island, S.C. Joseph earned his J.D. from the University of South Carolina. Claire Gatlin is a school counselor at Wando High School in Mt. Pleasant and is a 2017 Forty Under 40 in the Charleston Regional Business Journal. Morgan Murphy Glass is a pediatrician with Sweetgrass Pediatrics in Moncks Corner, S.C. Morgan earned her M.D. and completed a pediatrics residency at MUSC. Morgan and her husband, Robert, have a son, Garrison (3). Ty Gorman is a senior energy efficiency specialist at Ecova in Portland, Ore. Sylvia Loadholdt Hanckel is a senior simulation specialist at HealthCare Simulation South Carolina in Charleston. Leandra Hill is the owner of Leandra Hill Metal Works in Greenville, S.C. She uses traditional goldsmithing methods in making jewelry. Christopher Holland is a claims specialist for the Social Security Administration and lives in Maryland with his wife, Tamara, and two children: Christia and Maddox. Claire Jarvis founded Claire Drennan Knitwear, a slow, sustainable company in Houston, Texas, where she designs and makes hand-loomed sweaters and accessories. Michelle Mapp (M.P.A.) is one of Charleston Business Magazine’s 50 Most Influential in 2017. Michelle is the CEO of the S.C. Community Loan Fund. Bryan Mayer earned his master’s of divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary in 2016. Bryan and his wife, Lynn, live in Pasadena, Calif., with their two children. Amy Melia is an associate attorney at Kubicki Draper in Miami. Amy received her J.D. from Florida Coastal School of Law in 2009. Brittany and Griffin Morrow announce the birth of their son, Finn Morrow II, born in November 2016. Griffin is a private client advisor with Mappus Insurance Agency in Mt. Pleasant. Andrew and Ali Fisher Muller ’07 announce the birth of their daughter, Poppy, born in September 2016. Andrew is the owner of Mappus Insurance Agency in Mt. Pleasant and was named Young Agent of the Year by the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of South Carolina. Ali is the owner of A. Caldwell Events. Kome Oboh and Timothy Jaeger were married in July 2016. Jennifer Shannon Pyne is a general dentist and
| C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n m agazin e
managing partner for Locust Lane Dental Group in Harrisburg, Pa., and was named one of Central Pennsylvania Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 for 2016. Doug and Heather Brady Rozelman announce the birth of their daughter, Hetty, born in August 2016. Katie Sticca is the managing editor and assistant fiction editor of Salamander Magazine. Katie and Julian Zabalbeascoa were married in August 2015 and live in Boston. Nichole McCullough Watson is a family medicine physician at Park West Family Practice in Mt. Pleasant. Nichole completed her medical residency in Bethlehem, Pa., last year. She and her husband, Marcus, have a son, Thomas. Ali Whitten and Lee Von Hofe were married in September 2016 and live in Greenville, S.C., where Ali is a physician assistant for the Greenville Health System. William Wright earned an M.D. and completed his residency and fellowship in 2016 in addiction psychiatry at MUSC, where he served as chief resident in psychiatry. Will and his wife, Lauren, have three sons: Liam, Declan and Kellan.
2007 Andrew and Emmie Douglas were married in 2009 and live in
Aghapour Durham, N.C. Emmie is a senior associate in tax at PricewaterhouseCoopers. Andrew is a Ph.D. student in religious studies at UNC Chapel Hill. Andrew is also the school director at DSI Comedy Theater. Skylar Curtis Bader is a teacher and writer at New York’s Betzelem Elokim, and also has her own blog, You’re Not Crazy, a guide to understanding the orthodox Jewish community. Skylar earned her J.D. from the University of the Pacific. She and her husband, Sidney, announce the birth of their daughter, Sylvia, born in February 2016. Melissa Barbour (M.S.) is a tax manager for WebsterRogers and is one of the 2017 Forty Under 40 in the Charleston Regional Business Journal. Kristin Barcak and Leif Dormsjo were married in April 2015. Heather and Will Beam announce the birth of their daughter, Hannah Beth, born in August 2016. Will is a hospitalist at Oconee Memorial Hospital. He completed his residency in internal medicine in Greenville, S.C., in 2016 and earned his M.D. at USC in 2013. Kristen Munsey Beckham is one of Business Monthly Columbia’s Best and Brightest 35 and Under and is also a member of Leadership South Carolina. Kristen helps lead the external affairs initiatives of Dominion Resources in Georgia and South Carolina. She is also a member of the College’s Alumni Association Board. Brandon Belk is the owner of Wich Cream, a “farm-to freezer” ice cream company that uses locally sourced ingredients. Sally King Benedict has earned a national reputation as an artist, becoming a favorite of regional publications like Garden & Gun and Southern Living, and landing on the cover of last summer’s Domino. She was also featured in Atlanta Magazine last August. Jessica Berry and John Skinner Jr. were married in May 2016 and live in Charleston. Max Blachman is a global business manager with Wipro. He earned his M.B.A. from Emory University in 2016. Shari Broomfield is a home purchase coach for Family Services Inc./Origin SC, a nonprofit providing financial and housing counseling. Barbara Carter is president of the Charleston Association of Legal Assistants. She is a
paralegal with Richardson, Patrick, Westbrook & Brickman in Mt. Pleasant. Tim Chapin is a mechanical and electrical specialist for Hilti Inc. in Atlanta. Phillip Chisholm is a second-year fellow at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He earned an M.D. at Washington University and completed his residency at Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. Josh Cockrell and Brooke Prinzi were married in February 2016. Josh earned his master’s in public policy from Jacksonville University in 2016. Neal and Amanda Kilbane Cook announce the birth of their son, Beau, born in February 2016. The Cook family lives in Charleston. Joann Cummings and Eddie Pickett were married in June 2015 and live in Medford, Mass., where Joann is employed by Tufts University. Patrick and Melissa Rhoderick Dwyer announce the birth of their son, Luke, born in April 2016. Melissa, a CPA, earned a master’s in accounting at the University of Virginia and is the CFO of Mater Dei School in Bethesda, Md. John Florence and Tara Bush were married in September 2016. John practices law in Charleston and Tara is a loan officer with Midland Mortgage Corporation. Rachel Folk and Alex McCracken were married in September 2016 and live in Louisville, Colo. Rachel is a recruiter for AmeriCorps NCCC. Jessica Forman (see Brandon Norwood ’05) Emily Franklin and Christian Smith were married in 2015 and live in Richmond, Va., where Emily is a travel consultant for Divine Destination Weddings & Honeymoons. Morgan Freitag is the co-founder of Chicagobased Rekroot, which provides personalized analysis of a company’s recruitment and selection process. Lindsay Gregg was named 2016 Recruiter of the Year at StraussGroup, an executive search consulting firm in Buffalo, N.Y. Amanda Stevenson Grover is the owner of Grover Web Design in Columbia. Charles Gubman and Natalie Gordon ’08 were married in August 2016. Natalie is an account executive of marketing solutions for LinkedIn, and Charlie is a business analyst at Legal and General Investment Management America. Ansley Hunt is a refugee officer for the Refugee, Asylum and International Operations Directorate of the Department of Homeland Security. She earned her master’s in human rights and international politics from the University of Glasgow in Scotland in 2015. Vincent Ingold and his wife, Krystal Pendarvis, announce the birth of their son, Oliver, born in 2015. Vincent works on Verizon’s global talent acquisition team and is completing his M.B.A. in human resources management. The Ingold family lives in Ladson, S.C. Allison Kay is a medical device sales representative. Allison and Michael McLaurin were married in 2014 and live in Raleigh, N.C. Kyle Keepers is a fourth-year Ph.D. student in ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado Boulder. Ben Kradin is the corporate manager of information security and data privacy at Osram Sylvania in Boston. Ben earned his J.D. from Suffolk University and a master’s in environmental law and policy from Vermont Law School. He also holds a master’s in international business economics from the University of London. Denny and Christina Callison Kubinska announce the birth of their second child, Halina, born in January. Jonathan Lane works for McAngus Goudelock &
[ alumni profile ]
WHEN HUNTER STUNZI ’07 TRANSFERRED to the College in 2003, he didn’t know he’d be graduating into an economy in freefall. “About $115,000 in student loans and no job,” he says. “It was a difficult time for me. I was torn between staying in Charleston and finding a decent job.” But Stunzi ended up starting his own business – and thriving – right here in Charleston. Stunzi is the founder and president of SnapCap, a technologyenabled business lending startup that has connected and funded thousands of businesses with more than $250 million in loans since 2012. A New England transplant, Stunzi made his way to CofC “sight unseen” from the University of Vermont to join the College’s sailing team. It didn’t take long for him to fall in love with the city. “Right off, I fell in love with the town and the people,” he says. “I even ended up meeting my wife (Danielle Hershon Stunzi ’06) on King Street.” He excelled at sailing and planned to go pro after graduation. But that all changed after he fell one point short of making the U.S. Olympic Team ahead of the Beijing Games in 2008. “I had all this debt, no job and was supposed to be on the team – it all felt sort of tragic,” he recalls. Stunzi, who majored in political science, returned to Charleston and took the only jobs he could get, working as a hotel bellhop and selling credit card readers door-to-door. Then, in early 2010, he got an entry-level job with Wells Fargo Financial Services in nearby Summerville. There, he learned the ropes of consumer finance and quickly became one of the top salesmen in the Southeast. But two years after Stunzi joined, the 14,000-employee division shut down in a single afternoon. “I couldn’t believe it,” he says. “Here I am working for a great company, moving up, and boom – I’m unemployed.” Later that year, he landed a job at Merrill Lynch and trained to be a financial advisor. It was there he got the idea for what would become SnapCap. “While researching options for a client, I did a quick Google search for ‘small business loans,’ and there was nothing reputable,”
| Photo by Reese Moore |
Start Me Up
he says. “I knew at that moment there was a business opportunity.” While most industries have been revolutionized by technology, business borrowing is still an analog process awash with paperwork and timeconsuming in-person meetings. And with major banks consolidating and community banking in retreat, it only reinforced the business case for SnapCap. “The process of borrowing is complex and inefficient,” Stunzi says. “When was the last time you actually went into a bank branch for a loan or anything?” Stunzi and partner Chris Mettler pooled some money and launched SnapCap in 2012. The business started as an aggregator or matching service, connecting small businesses with fastmoving non-bank lenders. But, by 2014, the company was putting its own money to work in loans in nearly every state. SnapCap differs from banks in a number of ways. For one, the company’s practice is almost entirely online. Businesses can apply online and complete an application in minutes, with a decision in hours. Fast and accurate risk decisions are made possible by technologies developed in part to serve
the very banks they compete with: online bank fraud-detection and credit data all make this possible. “You can learn so much about your customer without ever meeting them,” he says. “For example, how many banks do you think are reading Yelp reviews or looking at Facebook likes when they underwrite a loan to a new restaurant? There is more information out there than ever before about our customers. It’s actually scary. The trick for us has been piecing it all together quickly to make a smart risk-based decision.” The novel approach to lending has paid off. His business grew from a “small shoebox office” to more than 22 employees. And he remembers his roots at the College, crediting those connections for some of SnapCap’s successes. “My connections to the College have afforded me the ability to raise money and build this business,” he says. “To me, college wasn’t about the classes or grades; it was about learning to take responsibility for my future and seeing the world differently. The College shaped my perspective of the world, and I’m grateful.” – Darren Price
SUMMER 2017 |
Courie, a regional insurance defense firm in Charleston. Jonathan earned his J.D. from the Charleston School of Law. Philip Levi opened Burlingame Fitness in California and hosts a podcast on obstacle course racing (OCR) called The Obstacle Order. Philip and his wife, Liz, are both OCR athletes. Lynn Mandeltort is a visiting assistant professor of chemistry at Bates College in Lewiston, Me. Lynn earned a Ph.D. in physical chemistry at the University of Virginia in 2012. David and Amanda Jenkins Marancik live in Grenada, where Amanda is an assistant professor at St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine. Amanda earned her doctorate at the University of Georgia. Dan McCurry is a musician, songwriter, indie label executive for Hearts and Plugs and veteran music scenester. Stephen and Charlotte Gettys Meade announce the birth of their son, Samuel, born in February. Ali Fisher Muller (see Andrew Muller ’06) Justin and Erin Glaze Nathanson opened The Southern, a contemporary art gallery in downtown Charleston. Sarah Pariser is the director of grants and programs at the Women’s Fund of Central Ohio. Daniel Powell and Sarah Milligan were married in August 2016. Daniel earned a Ph.D. in English early modern studies and the digital humanities at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada, in 2016. Daniel is a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellow in the Digital Scholarly Editions Initial Training Network and an early stage researcher in the Department of Digital Humanities at King’s College London. Stephanie Pridgeon earned her Ph.D. in Spanish from Emory University in 2015, after completing a master’s in Spanish at the University of Virginia. She is a visiting assistant professor of Spanish at Bates College in Lewiston, Me. Wade Reardon is an ophthalmologist at Southern Eye Associates in Greenville, S.C. Wade and his wife, Jennie, have a daughter, Lottie (2). Megan Long Remley is a registered nurse at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, Md. Alix Grimley Rexford is a postdoctoral fellow in biochemistry at Florida State University. She earned her Ph.D. in biochemistry at FSU. Daniel Rodriguez is an attorney with Watt, Tieder, Hoffar & Fitzgerald. Daniel is also a volunteer attorney advisor with the U.S. Department of Commerce, where he trains and coaches law students in the Middle East, North Africa and Afghanistan to compete in the Willem C. Vis International Arbitration Moot Competition. Daniel, an alumnus of the competition, coached a team of four women from Kabul University, the first team to ever compete from Afghanistan. Daniel and his wife live in Washington, D.C. Lindsay Stuber is the preservation and programs director at Historic Rock Hill (S.C.). Kaley Ruebush Thomas is the designer and co-founder at Go Bigfoot Designs. She and her husband, Taylor Thomas ’08, have taken their businesses fully mobile and are exploring the United States. Kate Tiller (M.P.A. ’10) is the College’s director of student-athlete academic services. Erin Marie Ulmer (M.A.T. ’11) is the executive director of Camp Rise Above. Erin is a 2017 Forty Under 40 in the Charleston Regional Business Journal. Michael Youngblood (see Wayne Culpepper ’03)
2008 Sarah Harvey Ali earned a
master’s in Arab studies from Georgetown
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University. She and her husband, Nabil, and their daughter, Savannah, live in northern Iraq, where Sarah is a program manager for education and child protection with Catholic Relief Services. Hillary Amoyal is a senior event planner of corporate events at T. Rowe Price in Baltimore. In this role, Hillary is working with the lead manager of corporate events, Faith Hubbard ’01. Trevor Baratko is the managing editor of the Loudoun Times-Mirror in Northern Virginia. He frequently serves as an anayst on D.C. news stations, and his work has been featured by Politico, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post and The Hill. Robert and Liz Jewett Becker announce the birth of their daughter, Ryland, born in March 2016. Liz is a registered nurse in Richmond, Va. Ted and Kathryn Pedings Behling announce the birth of their twins: Violet and Carson, born in May 2016. Matt Bloomingburg is a project manager at Cullum Constructors. Jessica Bower opened Steluta, a clothing and accessory boutique near Nashville, Tenn. Jessie earned a master’s in arts management from Carnegie Mellon. Johnny Caldwell is the co-founder of Cocktail Bandits, a lifestyle brand that provides a feminine, urban perspective on the spirits industry. Johnny was a speaker for the 2017 Center for Women Conference. Emily Cloessner is a first-year medical student at MUSC. She was a fellow with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention after earning her master’s in public health from Johns Hopkins University. Sara Colbert and Barrett Edmondson were married in May 2016. Sara is a family nurse practitioner at MUSC. Brendan and Riley Duke Connick ’09 announce the birth of their son, Paul, born in 2015. Riley works for the ReNEW Schools in New Orleans. Cullen Cooke earned a master’s in speech pathology from S.C. State University in 2016. He is a clinical fellow at the Piedmont Regional Feeding Clinic in Danville, Va. Jessica Cox and Oliver Davis-Urman were married in October 2016. Jessica is an operations manager for Apple in Austin, Texas, overseeing the introduction of new products. Katie Davis received the Optometric Horizon Award from the S.C. Optometric Physicians Association. Katie is an associate optometrist and director of vision therapy at Draisin Vision in Charleston. Jarryd de Boer is a third-year law student at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. Erin Delaney is a senior digital sales specialist at Live 5 News in Charleston. Celeste DeVera is a bilingual teacher for Vamonos NOLA, a bilingual program that teaches Spanish to children in New Orleans. She is also an adjunct Spanish instructor at Delgado Community College and a Spanish instructor at Casa de Espana. Heather Gantt is an AAP completions procurement specialist for Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation. Heather and Dave Schafer were married in 2010 and live in Pooler, Ga. Laura Liady Gaskins is the co-owner of Marigolds, a home decor and gift store in Summerville, S.C. Natalie Gordon (see Charles Gubman ’07) Brandon and Carolyn Lamparelli Hall announce the birth of their daughter, Paige, born in June 2016. Carolyn earned her doctorate from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in 2012 and is a clinical pharmacist at UMass Memorial Medical Center.
Emrys Jaskwhich Hamidi earned her M.D. from MUSC in 2016 and is a medical resident in Florence, S.C. Katie Heath is the director of alumni relations and events for Porter-Gaud School in Charleston. Will Herring is the new business account executive for the Atlanta Braves and SunTrust Park. He oversees corporate sales of premium seating and suites for the Atlanta Braves at the new ballpark. Vic and Ashley Stokes Hitchcock announce the birth of their son, Victor, born in June 2016. Lauren Johnson and William Grimmer were married in September 2016 and live in Alexandria, Va. Sophie Katz is the chief medical resident at St. Christopher’s Hospital in Philadelphia. She earned an M.D. from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center. James Ruebush Lamb (see Margaret Burruss ’06) Beth Landy and Travis Hyman were married in 2015. Beth, who earned her master’s in health administration from MUSC, is an implementation analyst for Conway (S.C.) Medical Center. Clay Lifton graduated from MUSC in 2014 and is a medical resident in emergency medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School. Sarah Coulter McKenzie graduated from Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Denver, Colo., and will complete her residency in OB/GYN in 2017. Marianne McNeeley is an on-premise sales representative for Southern Wine and Spirits representing the Beam-Suntory brand. Marianne and Matthew Seel were married in 2015. Natalie Nance is a web marketing specialist for the American Bible Society in Philadelphia. Brooke Nicholls is a nurse practitioner at One Community Health, a clinic in Hood River, Ore., serving most of the local Hispanic community. Brooke earned her M.S.N. at Duke University and a B.S.N. at the University of Portland. Katie Cleary Parrish is the founder and director of the Ph.D. Swim School in Durham, N.C. Katie earned a Ph.D. in neurobiology at UNC Chapel Hill and lives in Durham with her husband, Seth. Andrea Peterson earned her M.D. and an M.S. in clinical research from MUSC. She is a first-year OB/GYN medical resident at the University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas. Samantha Friedenberg Pittenger earned her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2016. She is a postdoctoral fellow at Yale. James and Noelle Radcliffe Price announce the birth of their daughter, Mia, born in June 2016. Noelle is a licensed attorney and freelance legal writer. She is also a travel consultant with Newsome Travel. Liz and Sean Quinn announce the birth of their son, Porter, born in August 2016. The Quinn family lives in Rockville, Md. Brady Quirk-Garvan is in business development with Money With a Mission. He is a 2017 Forty Under 40 in the Charleston Regional Business Journal. Brady serves on the College’s Alumni Association Board of Directors. Henry Riggs was the curator of the comedic series Rip City CHS, a variety show featuring sketches, live music and art. Henry is also onehalf of the comedy duo Nameless Numberhead. Hallie Ritzu is an associate at McDermott Will & Emery in Chicago. She earned her J.D. from Northwestern University in 2014. Greg Rockwell and Robyn Haarland were married in April 2016. They became social media stars last year when a tweet of Greg’s proposal to Robyn in the Washington Metro station went viral and was covered in The Washington
Post. Greg earned a master’s in social work at the University of South Carolina and is a community relations manager with Thrive DC. Kathryn Rogers is a London-based retail operations manager for the Anthropologie brand at Urban Outfitters Europe and Asia. Cole Spradling is a senior pricing analyst with KBRwyle in North Charleston. Cole has started a new business, STRYKE LURES, which specializes in designing and selling offshore fishing tackle to sporting goods retailers. Sarah Straub earned her doctorate in education from the University of Houston in December. She is an AP Spanish instructor, athletics director and study-abroad coordinator at YES Prep Public Schools in Houston. Taylor Thomas (see Kaley Ruebush Thomas ’07) Maggie Trela is a copyright specialist for a Portland, Ore.–based educational nonprofit and lives in St. Augustine, Fla., with her husband. Jessica Trombetta-eSilva is a postdoctoral fellow at Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry. Jessica graduated from the MUSC College of Dental Medicine with a D.M.D. and the MUSC College of Graduate Studies with a Ph.D. in molecular and cellular biology and pathobiology in 2016. Jessica and her husband, Pedro, have three children, Gabriella, Giovanny and Mackenzie (born in 2016), and live in Dallas. Jasmine Utsey is a project manager at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. She earned her master’s in public humanities from Brown University in 2012. John and Molly Spence Ward ’10 announce the birth of their son, Campbell, born in March 2016. The Ward family lives in Charlotte. Lauren Wegmann and Alston Walker were married in December 2016. Lauren earned her M.B.A. from Tulane University, where she also works.
2009 Courtney Drew Bailey is a third-
year OB/GYN resident physician at Houston Methodist Hospital. She is a 2014 graduate of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Courtney and Eric Bailey were married in 2014. Jillian Manna Barton is an attorney for Robertson Hollingsworth and Flynn in Charleston. She received her J.D. from the Charleston School of Law. Meghann Stubel Batchelor is the director of station relations at WFAE, Charlotte’s NPR news station. Seaton Brown is the assistant director of parent giving and programs and director of the Parent Advisory Council at the College. Lisa Buckley and Peter Kyle III were married in August 2016. Lisa is a talent manager for Georgetown University, where she is pursuing her master’s in human resources. Patti Byrd is a private banker at South State Bank in downtown Charleston. Carmen and Matt Casey announce the birth of Alejandro, born in May 2016. Anna Chard is a Ph.D. student in the environmental health sciences program at Emory University. Riley Duke Connick (see Brendan Connick ’08) Alexis Cunningham and Jacob Portrait were married in 2015. Alexis is the social media and digital marketing manager for Magnolia Bakery and JG Melon in New York. Meghan Dalton is an associate attorney for Clyde & Co. in Chicago. Meghan is also the president of the College’s alumni chapter in Chicago. Kristy Pierce Danford (M.P.A.) hosted a presentation at the College on improving the local justice system in Charleston. Kristy is a project director for the Charleston County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council. David Diamant earned his M.D. from St. George’s
University in Grenada in 2014. He is a medical resident in the Greenville (S.C.) Hospital System. Britt Foster is an integration project manager at Seamless Medical Systems and lives in Mt. Pleasant. Casey and Andrew Fyfe announce the birth of their daughter, Evie, born in November 2016. Monika Franczyk and Christian Gulizzi were married in December 2015 and live in Atlanta. Ben and Andrea Shipp Garrick graduated from MUSC in 2013. Ben completed his residency in emergency medicine at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University in 2016. Andrea is completing her OB/GYN residency at the Medical College of Georgia. Ben and Andrea announce the birth of a daughter, Amelia, born in February. Kelly Gayman and Ryan Wheeler were married in June 2015 and live in Benton, La. Kelly earned her master’s in kinesiology and exercise science from Auburn University and is a certified athletic trainer. Brad Gustafson works for Xero Accounting Software in Alpharetta, Ga. He and his wife, Jessica, were married in October 2014. Chip Hinnant is an attorney with Ted A. Greve and Associates in Charlotte. In 2016, the National Academy of Personal Injury Attorneys named Chip one of the top ten personal injury attorneys under 40 in North Carolina. Laura Hoover and Mark Chappell Jr. were married in July 2016. Austin Huff and Rusty Patrick were married in December 2016. Austin is the marketing project manager for ScanSource in Greenville, S.C. Jason Humphrey is director of client services for Amplo Advance, a tech software startup in Seattle that provides universities with online giving platforms. Brian and Elena Dowin Kennedy were married in 2012. The Kennedys live in Elon, N.C., where Elena is an assistant professor of entrepreneurship at Elon University, and Brian is an expedition coordinator and telepresence consultant for NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration. Valerie Kneece and Corbyn Harris ’10 were married in October 2016. Valerie is a certified wound care nurse at MUSC. Allison Lewis and Emmanuel Maniwang were married in March 2016. Allison earned her M.B.A. from Keller Graduate School of Management in September. Matthew (M.S. ’12) and Audrey Witt McCalley announce the birth of their daughter, Nadine, born in December 2016. Sharon McMullen is a Ph.D. student in geosciences at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Renee Mondore and Levi McCorvey were married in April 2015 and live in Leland, N.C., with their three children. Kelly Dewes Mooney is a human resources assistant at Augusta University in Augusta, Ga. Annie Chambers Myott is a luxury travel designer with the Chicago-based agency 6 Degrees. Annie is also the founder of California-based Beach House Branding. Haley O’Brien earned her Ph.D. in anatomical sciences and vertebrate paleontology at Ohio University. She is an assistant professor of neuroscience at Oklahoma State University’s medical school. Haley was previously a fellow of the Ohio Center for Ecology and Evolutionary Studies and a research associate at the National Museum of Kenya. She was awarded the Alfred Sherwood Romer Prize from the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology in 2016. Caitlin Patneaude and Ryan Davenport were married in November 2013. Caitlin is a property manager for Keller Williams at the Parks in Orlando. Andrew Philipp is practicing at Tidelands
Waccamaw Family Medicine on Pawleys Island, S.C., focusing on pediatrics, critical care and end-of-life care. Kora Phillips is a revenue coordinator for Cheval Residences Ltd. in London. Lewkora Phillips is the revenue manager and sales coordinator for Supercity Aparthotels. Natalie Quaranto is a budget analyst, working on K-12 education budget policy in the Georgia Senate. She earned a master’s in public administration with a concentration in finance and management from Georgia State University in 2015. Prior to that, Natalie served in the Peace Corps in Paraguay. David Rosansky is director of quality assurance and project management at Compassionate Home Health Care in Broomfield, Colo. Wilbert and Kelsey Crenshaw Sauceda announce the birth of their daughter, Evie, born in July. Bradley Saylors is completing his medical residency in dermatology at Tulane University after graduating from MUSC in 2014. Erica Scheldt and Capt. Stephen Wright (U.S. Army) were married in 2012 and live in San Francisco, where Erica is a psychiatric social worker at Saint Francis Memorial Hospital. Erick Sheftic graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Medicine in 2015 and is a second-year medical resident in psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. He and Ken Love were married in October 2015. Greg Smith earned his Ph.D. in physics from Wake Forest University and is a visiting professor at the College. His research in FIPEL lighting technology has been featured on news outlets including the BBC, Phys.org, The Engineer and Science Codex. Morgan Smoak is a customer success support manager for Benefitfocus in Charleston. Danielle Greeting Volandt graduated from MUSC in 2014 and is a pediatrics resident at UNC Chapel Hill. Josh Wagner is an executive assistant and program administrator for Engaging Creative Minds. Kyle and Grace O’Toole Walz live in Seattle, where Grace is a mental health therapist at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Grace earned a master’s in social work from the University of Houston.
2010 Dana Arnold and Jason Dickie were
married in October 2016. Dana is the royalty coordinator for Big Machine Label Group in Nashville, Tenn. Aaron Badway is a policy advisor in the United Kingdom. He earned a master’s in international economics and international relations from Johns Hopkins University in 2015. Chelsey Baldwin is a third-year medical resident at the University of Virginia. She graduated from MUSC in 2014. Lily Barkin and Evan Fatula were married in June 2015. Lily is a fourth-year medical student at the University of South Carolina in Greenville. Cory Barton earned a Ph.D. in geophysical fluid dynamics and a master’s in meteorology at Florida State University. Brittany Bayley is a graduate student in physics at Georgia Tech. Jonathan Boggs earned his doctorate from MUSC in 2016 and is a staff pharmacist at Rite Aid. He and his wife, Taylor, live in Florence, S.C. Caroline Burns was a Peace Corps volunteer in Swaziland. She is now a graduate student in the University of South Carolina’s international M.B.A. program. Holly Cian earned a master’s in English literature from Western Carolina University in 2016. Laura Cook earned a Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the University of Southern Mississippi and was a postdoctoral fellow at Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania. She is a pediatric psychologist in Lock Haven, Pa.
SUMMER 2017 |
Gillian Cote and Austin Kistler were married in September 2016. The bridal party included maid of honor Kaitlyn Stokes Ladnier ’12, Kelley Kroll van de Kamp ’11, Jennifer Darlak, Erin Wendel Player and Carrie Papa. Gillian is a librarian for the law firm Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough in Columbia. Leigh Dekle and Peter DuPuis were married in June 2016. Leigh and Peter were teachers in New Orleans after completing their Teach for America commitments and now live in Pittsburgh, Pa. Cecilia Menniti Derry teaches first, second and third grades at James Simons Elementary School in Charleston. She and her husband, Peter, were married in June 2015. Thomas Dunn is a senior IT project analyst with Nephron Pharmaceuticals in Columbia. He earned a master’s in health information technology from the University of South Carolina in 2016 and is finishing another master’s in health administration. Annie DuPre is a consultant for the Institute for Security Studies and earned a master’s in global policy studies from the University of Texas. She was recently published by the Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria, South Africa. She co-authored an article titled “Cooperation between African States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.” Danielle Ely earned her J.D. from George Mason in 2016. She works in the legal department at the National Music Publishers Association in Washington, D.C., where she helps represent songwriters and music publishing companies in the judicial system as well as before Congress and government agencies. Caroline Eubanks is a content creator in Atlanta and a member of the Society of American Travel Writers. Caroline’s recent clips include Google Trips, The Knot, BBC Travel and AAA. Chris and Alex Bahan Farish live in Augusta, Ga. Alex graduated from MUSC in 2014 and is a pediatrics resident at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University. Chris graduated from MUSC in 2015 and is a dentist at Edgefield Family Dentistry. They announce the birth of their son, Joey, born in September 2015. Portavia Featherstone earned her master’s in public health from the University of South Carolina in 2015. She published an article in the Maternal and Child Health Journal titled “Geographic Assessibility to Health Services and Neonatal Mortality Among Very Low Birthweight Infants in South Carolina.” Erin Finn is pursuing a master’s in applied linguistics at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va. Sarah Flick works for the Idaho Department of Commerce’s tourism development team. Jeana Jade Gidron is a real estate consultant for Weichert Realtors in McLean, Va. Caroline Loy Guthrie and Angus Hager-Guthrie announce the birth of their daughter, Dottie, born in March 2015. Caroline completed her master’s in media, culture and communication at New York University in 2012 and is pursuing her Ph.D. at George Mason. In addition to her dissertation work, Caroline teaches undergraduate courses in George Mason’s School of Integrative Studies. Stephen and Amber Reilly Harden announce the birth of their son, Benjamin, born in March 2015. Stephen is an anesthesiology resident at Yale University. Corbyn Harris (see Valerie Kneece ’09) Claire Hite is an account manager for IgnitionOne in Atlanta. She and Jake Verbiest were married in August 2016.
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Katherine Hoffman and William Gang were married in May 2016 and live on Long Island. Katherine is the assistant principal of the Success Academy - Springfield Gardens in New York. She earned her master’s in education and special education from Touro College. Liz Poore Humphrey is a marketing communications manager for the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish counties in Bellevue, Wash. Eric and Malia Brock Ketcham live in Atlanta, where they work with a nonprofit doing community development among international communities. Eric received a master’s of divinity from Regent University in Virginia in 2014. Malia also graduated from Regent University with a master’s in human services counseling in 2011. Hillary Beasley Kimsey is pursuing her master’s of divinity at the Seattle School of Theology and Psychology. Hillary also works as a mission coordinator for the YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap counties in Washington. Rebecca Kyle is an early childhood social worker with Healthy Families in Durham, N.C. She earned her master’s in social work from UNC Chapel Hill. Maggie Lyons and Dylan Cobb were married in July 2014. Dylan is a geologist with QEP and Maggie is a planner at the landscape firm Norris Design. Dylan earned a master’s in geology from the Colorado School of Mines. Maggie earned a master’s in urban and regional planning from the University of Colorado Denver. Jennifer Arnold Maxwell is the director of sales at Hilton Garden Inn Charleston/Mt. Pleasant and was awarded a Director of Sales Merit Awards in North America for 2016. Colie McClellan and Mark Kennedy were married in October 2016. Colie is a grant writer and speech coach in Manhattan and received her M.F.A. in acting from Rutgers University. She was the director’s assistant and had a role in the film Sophie and the Rising Sun, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January. Joshua McFadden and Kalyn Cogswell ’12 were married in September 2016. Kalyn is an occupational therapist at MUSC and Joshua is the manager of SK8 Charleston. Leslie McMurchie is a senior marketing analyst at Ancestry and is an M.B.A. student at the University of California, Berkeley. Meaghan Morrissey and Philip Johnson were married in June 2016. Farah Moustafa and Omar Badri were married in November 2015. Farah earned an M.D. at Wake Forest University in 2015. After completing her intern year at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, she is a dermatology resident at Brown University’s Alpert Medical School. Jon Napier is a third-year psychiatry resident at UNC Chapel Hill. He earned an M.D. from UNC Chapel Hill in 2014. Jon and Katie Branch were married in August 2016. Elizabeth Nicholson is an associate attorney with Rosen Hagood. Virginia Presher and Brandon Finn were married in June 2014, and Virginia is a kindergarten teacher at the Haynsworth Private School in Greenville, S.C. Christopher Pritchard earned his master’s in business psychology from the University of the Rockies. He is an employer account manager for Benefitfocus in Charleston. Caitlin Rice earned her J.D. from Temple University in 2015. She is an assistant district attorney in Chester County, Pa. Adrienne Rudkin and Robert DeSena were married in September 2016. Jesse Sandole was recognized by Zagat as one
of Charleston’s 30 Under 30. Jesse is CEO and operating partner at 167 Raw, a seafood and oyster bar in Charleston. Jamie Shafer and David Fronckowiak were married in June 2016. Jamie is a vice president at Gerson Lehrman Group in Washington, D.C. Ben Silverstein and Jeff Mangano are producers of the blog and podcast Daily Fantasy Guys, which is dedicated to fantasy football. Sophia Lee Sineath is the creator of Sophia’s Schoolhouse, an online learning tool for the Georgia Historical Society. Erin Smith and Paul Ainsworth were married in August 2013 and live in Knoxville, Tenn., where Erin works for the water quality program at Restoration Services Inc. Evie Smith and Banks Smither (M.A. ’12) were married in April 2016. Evie graduated from MUSC in 2014 and is a third-year internal medicine resident at Montefiore Medical Center. Banks is a book editor in New York. Anna Szymanowski graduated from MUSC in 2015. She, her husband and daughter live in Virginia, where she is an OB/GYN resident at Virginia Commonwealth University. Erin Laray Stubbs (M.A. ’16) is a digital editor for Cape Fear Publishing and Virginia Living magazine. James Tauscher is the conference services manager at The Hay-Adams, a hotel located across the street from the White House. Sam Theall is studying engineering (paper and printing science) at Western Michigan University and is an intern with Graphic Packaging International. She and Justin Schoenfelder were married in May 2016. Tracy Tholanikunnel earned an M.D. at MUSC in 2016 and is a resident physician in neurology at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Shaunie Tompkins completed her degree at Johns Hopkins University and is a pediatric nurse practitioner at Annapolis Pediatrics. Shaunie and Paul Fritz were married in 2015. Aaron and Kathryn Phillips Tripp live in Irmo, S.C., and have two children: Connor and Emma. Aaron graduated from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and is a family minister at New Heights Church in Columbia. Sarah Vining is an area director of marketing for Destination Hotels in Washington, D.C. Sara and Benjamin Crisafulli were married in September 2016. Zach Volousky is an investment consultant with South State Investment Services on James Island, S.C. He earned his M.B.A. from The Citadel and Series 7 and 66 Securities registrations through LPL Financial. Molly Spence Ward (see John Ward ’08) Sarah Frances Ward and Daniel Stern were married in October 2016. Daniel is the grandson of late CofC president emeritus Ted Stern. The wedding party included matron of honor Ashley Tanner Smithson, Lauren Boyce Del Duca, Gibbon Miler Ashley, Kera Jenkins Salzer, Kelsi Ward Molowa and Danielle Ely. Robbin Watson and Jeff Mangano were married in July 2016. Erin Wooten is an English teacher at Timberland High School in St. Stephen, S.C. She earned her master’s in teaching at The Citadel. She and Michael Larsen were married in December 2016. Ryan Yarrow is an attorney with Holland & Hart in Denver, Colo. He earned his J.D. from the University of Denver in 2016. Matt Zeleniak was recognized by Zagat as one of Charleston’s 30 Under 30. Matt is the head brewer at Freehouse Brewery.
2011 Nancy Austin received her B.S.N. from Bryan College of Health Sciences in
| Photos by Leslie McKellar |
[ alumni profile ]
Pet Project SOMETIMES IN BUSINESS, PASSION TAKES precedence over profits. That’s the case for Logan Honeycutt ’09 (above, right) and Michael Cody ’06 (above, left). Driven by their love of dogs and a mission to eradicate an invasive species of fish that’s devastating water habitats across the U.S., the Chicago entrepreneurs co-founded BareItAll Pet Foods. The roots of the company can be traced to Honeycutt’s junior year at the College in 2008. The economics major was taking a course on environmental economics that examined how the decisions companies make can have serious and lasting implications for the health of our planet. As part of the class, taught by economics professor and department chair Calvin Blackwell, the students learned about the introduction of Asian carp in the Southern United States in the 1970s. While the intent was to import the hungry carp to help control algae and parasites in fish farms, the carp quickly began competing with native fish for food. And they soon cut an environmentally and economically destructive path into the waterways of the Mississippi River basin. Today, the nuisance fish threatens the Great Lakes. “That’s something that really stuck with me,” says Honeycutt, who remembers thinking during the class that
there had to be a business opportunity hidden somewhere in the carp problem. Meanwhile, as an M.B.A. student at DePaul University, Cody had a similar epiphany when he learned about the threat Asian carp posed. After graduating and moving to Chicago to work in consumer and market research, Honeycutt was poring over economic data when he noticed that only one industry in the U.S. had survived the Great Recession without a decline: pet food. Reunited in Chicago, the former college roommates soon began discussing ways to exploit the abundant, protein-rich carp as a primary ingredient in pet food. “That’s why we knew the pet world was a perfect marketplace for it because you have nondiscerning customers – dogs physically eat anything – but it also helps that Asian carp is extremely tasty,” Honeycutt says. The partners spent several months doing research and whipping up recipes in Honeycutt’s kitchen before his wife, Erika Lindroth ’09, banished the fishysmelling entrepreneurs from the house. When it came time to test their allnatural creations, the founders, both owners of rescue dogs, had a ready stable of taste-testers. In 2015, after contracting with a local manufacturer, the company launched its
first product – a dog treat called goBARE Crunchers. Later that year, they released two more dog treats. Future plans call for expansion into dog kibble and cat treats. With products now in some 150 stores across the Midwest as well as in select retailers on the West Coast, BareItAll’s sales are healthy, Cody says. But their top priority continues to be decreasing carp populations. Partnering with local fishermen, they have already removed an estimated 50,000 pounds of Asian carp from the environment – a decent dent when you consider that a single carp can lay up to 4 million eggs in a year. By remaining true to a sustainability ethos (Honeycutt and Cody also donate their time and money to help find homes for shelter dogs as part of their company’s charitable program), they are confident they’ll achieve financial success by putting Mother Earth first. “Humans are very short-sighted,” Honeycutt says. “We think we have made the greatest decision, and then all of a sudden it backfires. Who cleans up the mess? We are trying to become a model for how you can leverage market-based solutions to actually fix environmental issues.” Now that’s a business model worth sustaining. – Ron Menchaca ’98
SUMMER 2017 |
December. She presented on the impact of shift lengths on the health of nurses at the National Student Nurse Convention in Orlando. Sean Bath (M.P.A. ’15/M.S. ’15) is a 2016 Sea Grant John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellow and was placed with the Office of the Oceanographer of the U.S. Navy at the Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C. Brianna Berry is the coffee director at Harold’s Cabin and was recognized by Zagat as one of Charleston’s 30 Under 30. Jessica Bialas is an M.B.A. student at Vanderbilt University. Eliza Bordley is the Durham (N.C.) urban agriculture manager for the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle. Brooks Bostick is the founder of On Sight, an ecommerce consulting firm. Brooks splits his time between Boulder, Colo., and Charleston. John Capelle earned an M.D. from MUSC in 2016. John is a first-year orthopaedic surgery resident at Saint Louis University. Charles Carmody is the director of the Charleston Music Hall and is a Parliament Charleston board member. Kelly Ciociola (M.S.) is senior conservator for Rosa Lowinger and Associates in Miami. Emily Britton Coleman is the director of partnerships with Tales of the Cocktail, an international festival in New Orleans. Candice Coulter is a child and adolescent therapist at Behavioral Health-Charlotte. She has also opened High Maintenance Boutique, a women’s clothing store. Kaylin Currie is a registered nurse in the intensive care unit at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She graduated from MUSC’s accelerated nursing program in 2013. Kaylin and Sam Centanni were married in September 2016. Andrew Dean is a graduate student studying real estate development at NYU. Sara Sprehn Diaz is a medical student at Northwestern University. Sara was a Fulbright scholar in Leon, Mexico, and earned a master’s in nutrition at Universidad del Valle de Atemajac. Sara and her husband, Jose, live in Chicago. Shea Diaz is a law student at Georgetown University. She spent the past summer working with the Southern Environmental Law Center in Chapel Hill, N.C. Stephen and Lauren Moore Evans announce the birth of a daughter, Agnes, born in June 2016. Lauren earned an M.F.A. at the University of Maryland, College Park and was awarded the International Sculpture Center’s Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award. Lauren is the visual arts coordinator for project art at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Hill Fleton is a medical student at MUSC. Kayla Glasscock is a consultant service desk analyst for Hospital Corporation of America. Kayla and John Abernethy were married in October 2015 and live in Salt Lake City, Utah. Stephanie Gregg is a speech-language pathologist at Therapy Solutions of Georgia. She earned her master’s in speech therapy at the University of South Carolina in 2013. Robert Heard is a Boston-based business development executive at Explorica, a company that creates educational tours across the globe. Alex Hennessey earned an M.D. from the University of Connecticut in 2016 and served as the student speaker at commencement. Alex is a resident in urology at the University of Connecticut. Elizabeth Cote Hiott is the volunteer coordinator and donor care officer for Water Missions International in Charleston.
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Laura Jane Houle is a fiddle player in the country band Flatland Cavalry, whose debut album reached No. 2 on the iTunes Country Music Chart just 12 hours after its release. Laura Jane is an intern at the Texas Music Office in the Office of the Governor, and she is pursuing her doctorate in music at Texas Tech University. Melissa Huber is a Ph.D. candidate in Classical studies at Duke University. Melissa and John L’Hereux were married in July 2016. Lily Hunt earned her M.A. at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, Scotland. She is teaching English in Guangzhou, China. Brittany Johnson is a doctoral candidate in computer science at NC State University and serves on the Board of Advocates for the College’s School of Sciences and Mathematics. Jimmy and Hannah Brewer Lynch announce the birth of their second daughter, Adaline, born in January 2016. The Lynch family lives in Charleston. Maeve McKenna and Matthew Gallivan were married in August 2016. Maeve works as a digital director for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Budget. She earned her M.P.S. at Georgetown University. Scott and Jan Gambardella Morris announce the birth of a daughter, Mary, born in May 2016. The Morris family lives in Charlotte. Andrea DeSantis Nelson is a Ph.D. student in NC State’s educational leadership, policy and human development program. She earned her master’s in educational studies from the University of Cincinnati in August 2016. Andrea and her husband, Nicholas, live in Raleigh, N.C. Kyle Norton is the co-owner of 167 Raw, a seafood and oyster bar in Charleston. Kyle was recognized by Zagat as one of Charleston’s 30 Under 30. Rainey Patterson and Austin Garland were married in May 2016. Rainey earned a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from the University of Florida in 2016 and is an analytical chemist at Eastman Chemical Company in Kingsport, Tenn. Austin is a captain in the S.C. Army National Guard. Caroline Rieger is an otolaryngology resident at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C. She earned an M.D. at LSU in 2015. Emily Rigsby is the director of arts at The Vendue hotel in downtown Charleston. Daina Riley is a staff attorney for S.C. Senate Research in Columbia. She earned her J.D. from the University of South Carolina in 2015. Stacey Sangtian earned a master’s in speech pathology from the University of South Carolina in 2016. She received the 2016 Outstanding MSP Student Award as well as a national award from the American Speech Language Hearing Association. Prior to attending USC, Stacey served as a Dominican volunteer in New Orleans and an NIH Postbac IRTA at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Eloise Smith received her master’s in social work from the University of South Carolina in 2016. Caroline Sydow (M.S.) works for the accounting firm Legare+Bailey+Hinske in Mt. Pleasant. Deanna Trimmer is a global quality manager at Benefitfocus in Charleston. Alex Verderber is a biomedical engineer with Intuitive Surgical. He earned a graduate degree in biomedical engineering at UNC/NCSU in 2015 and is the co-founder of Contour Surgical Inc., a company developing a novel surgical tissue retractor for cardiothoracic procedures. Claire Voegele is a dual degree student (J.D. and international M.B.A.) at the University of South Carolina, where she is the associate editor-inchief of the South Carolina Law Review. Claire
worked as a public interest fellow at Yale’s Veterans Clinic and has also served as a summer associate with Nelson Mullins’ Boston office. Ana Weiland is a second-year veterinary student at Lincoln Memorial University.
2012 Megan Alder is pursuing a career in
music performance in Hood River, Ore. Laura Allison is a teacher with STAR Education, teaching art, fashion, Legos and science in elementary schools in Los Angeles. Laura also creates and designs jewelry. Paul Appleton (M.P.A.) is a graduate student at John Marshall Law School. Maggie Bacon is a human resources business partner at SPARC in Charleston. Maggie and Cory Figueroa were married in May 2016. Adam Bailey is the owner of Three Rivers Carpentry, specializing in historic preservation in Charleston. Chris Bailey (M.P.A. ’15/M.S. ’15) won the 39th Kiawah Island Golf Resort Half Marathon with a time of 1 hr 11 min 19 sec. Chris is the associate director of recruitment and marketing for the College’s Honors College. Grayce Batson is a life enrichment director for The Crossings at Wescott Plantation. Samantha Berinsky and Tyler Hord ’13 were married in October 2016. Aaron Blackshaw earned an M.D. from MUSC in 2016. He is a first-year emergency medicine resident at the University of Virginia. Rob Boutote earned his master’s in exercise science and sports studies from William Paterson University and is an assistant athletic trainer at the University of Tampa. James Brock (M.B.A. ’16) is an associate development manager for Twin Rivers Capital in Charleston. Lindsey Brown is a dresses and sweaters assistant buyer for Versona, a division of the Cato Corporation. Kayln Cogswell (see Joshua McFadden ’10) Liam Duffy, an associate with Rosen Hagood, was recently named one of the Stars of the Quarter for the S.C. Bar Young Lawyers Division. Liam was recognized for his involvement as co-chair of the Courthouse Keys Committee. Courtney Gerstenmaier (M.S. ’15) was a Knauss Fellow in 2015–16 and worked with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. Today, Courtney is an education interpreter at the S.C. Aquarium. Lauren Ghelardini earned a master’s in public health from Columbia University in 2015. She works for Stephens Inc. in Little Rock, Ark. Corey Hall is the program coordinator at St. Petersburg Sailing Center in Florida, where she assists children in learning the fundamentals of sailing. Shateara Hall earned a master’s in public policy from Vanderbilt in 2015. She lives in Boston, where she is an equity research assistant for Leerink, a health care investment firm. Evvie Harmon is a yoga instructor in Easley, S.C., and was the global co-coordinator for the Women’s March on Washington. Justin Hendrix is pursuing a master’s in divinity at Samford University and is also teaching piano and violin. Justin was a Rotary fellow at the University of Sussex in England and earned a master’s in anthropology. He also continues working with Livada Orphan Care in Romania. Emily Hoeksema earned her doctorate from MUSC in May and is a staff pharmacist at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte. Caroline Horres earned a master’s in international studies from Johns Hopkins University. She works in the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis.
| Photo by Leslie McKellar |
[ alumni profile ]
Ringing Endorsement VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE, OR SO THE saying goes. That’s certainly been true for William Granberry ’10. As a student at the College, he started out as a music major, moved into theatre, thought about arts management and finally settled on communication. And, his professional life has followed the same trajectory, beginning with marketing and management in the music industry before evolving into branding and social media strategy as a senior content specialist for one of the largest influences on the Internet – Twitter. True to form, the Raleigh, N.C., native says he chose the College because of the variety of academic majors from which to choose. He wanted to have the freedom to explore what he was really passionate about after high school. “I wasn’t totally sure what I wanted to
major in, and CofC had a ton of different majors for me to explore and figure out what made sense for me,” Granberry recalls. Ultimately, it was his fascination with human behavior that drove him to settle on communication. “I’ve always been interested in people and what motivates them,” he says. “I was initially drawn to communication because of that innate curiosity.” And, it was a perfect fit for the inquisitive student, who says his communication coursework “taught me a strong understanding of how people convey meaning through words, signs and symbols.” The major opened up professional opportunities, too. Granberry participated in the Department of Communication’s internship program, securing placement with Gold Mountain Entertainment
(GME), an artist management company in Charleston. That led to a full-time job with GME as a junior manager following graduation. He then moved to Los Angeles in 2011 to work with The Collective (now called Studio 71) to help get their in-house record label off the ground. The company specialized in helping artists manage their Internet releases and content. “This is where I really got to sink my teeth into the digital space,” says Granberry. He managed online marketing campaigns for artists such as Alanis Morissette, the Counting Crows and Jimmy Cliff. “We ended up winning a Grammy for our Jimmy Cliff record titled Re.Birth,” he says, adding “I have a Grammy plaque that I’m proud of.” After his experience at The Collective, Granberry decided he wanted to focus his efforts on digital and social spaces. He then made the leap to Capital Brands, a company that manufactures healthcentric appliances such as the NutriBullet, where he maintained the brand’s identity across multiple social media platforms. With all his experiences in online marketing, Granberry took his career to the next level in 2015, when he landed at Twitter to work with Niche, a division dedicated to partnering big-name businesses with social media creators to produce custom, branded content. Granberry and other Niche team members work to find online influencers and help them to share information on new products and services that may resonate with their many, many followers. The concept follows industry studies that show oftentimes consumers rely on wordof-mouth reviews (like a celebrity’s Twitter endorsement of a laptop), instead of traditional advertising. “This, for me, was strangely perfect for my varied work history given that I had experience working directly with artists/ creators and in-house experience doing social media for a brand,” says Granberry. “Twitter gives everyone the opportunity to have their voice heard. As an employee, watching huge social, political and cultural movements happen on the platform is so exciting.” Every day brings a new story to tell and a new message to share. Indeed, in Granberry’s world, there’s plenty of variety to go around. – Erin Perkins ’08 (M.P.A.)
SUMMER 2017 |
Making a Production DESCRIBING HER BAND’S PATH TO success, Shovels & Rope’s Cary Ann Hearst ’01 once said, “The road is long, but it is narrow.” That sentiment certainly rings true for Darielle Deigan ’11 and Montgomery Mauro ’13. These one-time Theatre 220 board compatriates are part of a growing entertainment revolution happening outside traditional Hollywood studio lots. More and more actors, writers and directors are shedding their dependence on conventional filmmaking avenues, and instead creating their own opportunities with the rise of the web series. “My friends and I joke that a web series is the equivalent of eating popcorn; they’re so easy to binge watch,” says Mauro. And like most binge-worthy stories, Deigan’s and Mauro’s each began with an ambitious dream and the goal to get there. Deigan went first. After four years dedicated to studying theatre and gracing the stage at the College’s Simons Center for the Arts, she decided to wholly pursue acting. So, she packed up her life and said goodbye to the state she’d always called home to head west with a theatre degree, a well-loved car and just the right amount of optimism. Among the other things she carried with her was her sense of preparedness. Deigan is a planner – she always has been. “For a theatre major, I’m definitely very Type A in that sense – I like to have things organized,” she says. “I like to know what I’m getting myself into. That’s, in many ways, why acting is such an exciting challenge for me. I really have to push myself.” So when it came time to move to Los Angeles and pursue an acting career, the Myrtle Beach native was only as starry eyed as she needed to be to actually make the move. Deigan had a demo reel (of mostly College productions), professional headshots and a degree of self-possession that would set her apart as she auditioned for what she expected would be traditional roles: short films, TV pilots, police procedurals and so on. |
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But things in entertainment were changing. The web series had arrived, and some were finding incredible success. Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson of Broad City hit it big with their web series after it became a ratings goldmine on Comedy Central. Husband-and-wife team Ben Sinclair and Katja Blichfield followed suit when HBO picked up their web series, High Maintenance.
“I think saying
that you have a complete web series is much less intimidating than saying ‘I have this feature film I want you to watch.’ For a viewer who doesn’t know your stuff, that’s a big ask. But saying, ‘Please sit
down and watch six 10-minute episodes’: It’s much easier to commit to that.” – Montgomery Mauro ’13 In 2013, shortly after she moved to California, Deigan decided to join the movement, making her first foray into the web series world as the co-star of My Roomate: The Pregnant Teen. Her interest in the medium piqued, Deigan called her old friend (and also Hollywood-based) Baker Chase Powell ’12 to brainstorm how they could capitalize on the growing popularity of the web series genre. “We said, ‘OK, let’s make a web series; let’s show off our stuff,’” Deigan remembers. “It’s fun when you can work with your friends and make something you care about.”
In 2014, the two joined forces to create and star in their own web series, Dating Pains, about, well, dating pains – specifically those unique to millennials and Southern Californians. Dating Pains was indeed a labor of love. Deigan and Powell worked with a friend who edited the footage, and they counted on other friends and acting hopefuls to fill in any extra roles. “It was all out of pocket for Baker and me,” Deigan says. “We just kind of said, ‘We can’t pay you right now, but this is a project we’re really passionate about, and you can use it in your reel and on your résumé and you’ll get IMDB credits.’” Following Dating Pains, Deigan and a network of fellow Cougars created a second web series titled Standardized Patience, a mockumentary-style web series that follows three quirky standardized patients as they awkwardly work with medical students as “practice patients.” As Deigan’s journey into web series production took shape, Mauro was settling into his life in the New York City acting world. And, like his old CofC theatre buddy, he found himself wanting to do more than wait for his big break. Mauro, along with his brother, launched No2Mauro, a small film-production company, in 2015. He often doubles as both an actor and a screenwriter. And, he occasionally directs and edits projects, too. The Mauro brothers have developed a number of projects under their company’s mantle, including several webbased short films and a web series called The Show, a mockumentary-style show about producing a low-budget play. “I took a lot of experiences from working off Broadway, as well as things I learned from growing up doing theater and studying at the College,” says Mauro. Each of The Show’s six episodes lasts about 10 minutes, an intentional choice, Mauro says, to make them easily “snackable” for potential casting directors, agents or producers who may watch. If Deigan’s success is any indication, Mauro should have high hopes that his web series will open new doors (so far it’s been accepted to three festivals,
| Photos by Leslie McKellar |
[ alumni profile ]
and Mauro is waiting to hear from the remaining 10 to which he submitted The Show). Deigan has continued to land roles in other web series, TV series and short films. In 2016 the Los Angeles 48 Hour Film Project recognized Deigan as best actress for her role as Mary, a woman who can’t remember how she ended up on a strange man’s couch following a wild New Year’s Eve party, in the short film Three Point Tony. And that’s the beauty of creating your own content – you have a tangible way to
market yourself without waiting for a call from a casting agent. “I know a lot more about the process of creating a series and also of what to do with it once you’ve produced it,” says Deigan. “For example, you can shop your show to YouTube or submit them for festivals.” Plus, with so much media competing for the viewers’ attention these days, there’s something to be said for offering quick-hit shows that offer maximum entertainment in a minimal amount of time.
“I think saying that you have a complete web series is much less intimidating than saying, ‘I have this feature film I want you to watch,’” Mauro says. “For a viewer who doesn’t know your stuff, that’s a big ask. But saying, ‘Please sit down and watch six 10-minute episodes’: It’s much easier to commit to that.” Even the pickiest viewer can make that commitment. So tune in. It’ll be worth it. – Hannah Ashe ’12
SUMMER 2017 |
Tiara Jones earned a master’s in education from St. Catherine University and is a primary Montessori teacher for the Charleston County School District. Jacob and Shea Connell Jury ’13 live in Greer, S.C. Jacob is the manager and full-time instructor at The Cage (an indoor baseball/softball training facility), and Shea is the marketing coordinator for Infinity Marketing in Greenville. Kory Keefer is the co-creator of RAAD, an app that allows users to bypass lines at bars, clubs and restaurants in Charleston. Kelcie Keith is the Carolinas coastal beer ambassador for the Unknown Brewing Company. Kelcie lives in Charleston. Brooke King is a dental student at MUSC. Alexis Kocher and John Reynolds were married in June 2016. Among the bridal party were Catherine Cole Higgins, Callie Peele and Virginia Hirschey Cooke (M.A.T.). Alexis is a law student at the University of South Carolina. Shaun Kraisman is the 4 p.m. news anchor for WDSU New Orleans. Ross Kressel earned his M.B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh in 2016. Shaun Lally is the creator of Radtab, an app that automates payment of your restaurant/bar tab. Alyssa Leibman was recognized as Horry County (S.C.) Schools Tech Innovator. Alyssa is the gifted and talented coordinator for Myrtle Beach High School and serves on the Literacy Intervention Taskforce. Betsy Rickett Martin graduated from MUSC in 2015 and is a physicians assistant in Walterboro, S.C. Betsy and Daniel Martin were married in October 2015. Matthew McCalley (M.S.) (see Audrey Witt McCalley ’09) Jedd McLuen is one of only two College men’s golfers in program history to receive a PING All-American Honorable Mention. He holds many CofC records, including career scoring averages, career starts and career rounds played. Jedd was inducted into the College’s Athletics Hall of Fame in January. Michelle Miller and Stephanie Haney ’13 were married in October 2016. Bridesmaids included Lauren Stegeman, Madeline Huggins, Suzanne Sifri, Claire Sparks ’14, Kaitlin Lieck ’14, Melanie Holland ’13 and Emily Gooding ’13. Sarah Miller is the owner of Canvas Charleston, which provides personalized art gallery tours. She is also the 2017–19 president of the Charleston Gallery Association. Sean and Christine Chakides Monahan announce the birth of their son, Lincoln, born in October 2016. Rachel Morra is a graduate student at Stanford University studying civil engineering/ sustainable design and construction with a focus on energy. Cara Musciano is the director of operations at the Southern (and Charleston-based) food magazine The Local Palate. Emma Nash and Chase Mills were married in November 2016. Emma is employed by the Island School on Johns Island, S.C. Caroline Newman is a fourth-year medical student at UNC. Vinny Palmieri is a fourth-year medical student at MUSC. Sarah-Kate Magee Pease is pursuing a master’s in public administration with a concentration in nonprofit management at UNC Charlotte. Sarah-Kate and her husband, Joe, live in Charlotte, where Sarah-Kate is the patron engagement manager with the Charlotte Ballet. Thai Phi (M.B.A.) was recognized by Zagat as one of Charleston’s 30 Under 30. Thai is the
| C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n m agazin e
owner and chef for Pink Bellies Vietnamese restaurant in downtown Charleston. Guilherme Porto earned an M.D. in 2016 from MUSC, where he is a neurosurgery resident. Bobby Raidt and Emma Newberry were married in June 2015. Bobby is a fourth-year medical student at MUSC, and Emma graduated from the MUSC physician assistant program in 2016. Kimberly Renton earned her master’s in early childhood education in 2016 from DePaul University and works at Tutoring Chicago. Ricardo Robinson (M.Ed.) is an assistant principal for the Charleston County School District. Hampton Rosenzweig is the director of sales and marketing for Southern Trapper, a leather company based in Charleston. Donald Schneider is a senior economist for the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee. Donald was recognized as one of Forbes Magazine’s 30 Under 30 for being one of the most important players on Capitol Hill regarding tax policy. Jessica Schwartz is the program manager at Harvard Yard Child Care Center. She earned her master’s in curriculum and instruction from the University of Virginia in 2014. Colleen Sheridan earned her D.V.M. at Mississippi State in 2016. She is an intern at the University of Tennessee’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Whit Slagsvol is an associate attorney with the Lokey Law Firm in Charleston. Whit earned his J.D. from the Charleston School of Law. Kaitlyn Stokes and Kenny Ladnier were married in October 2016. Kaitlyn is the director of logistics for Hill and Brooks Coffee and Tea Company. Matt Sundberg (see Christina Zapolski ’14) Candice Ulmer was elected to the International Metabolomics Society’s Early Career Members Committee. Candice received her Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Florida in 2016 and is a postdoctoral research associate for the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Charleston. Janeen Vosseller is a CPA and senior associate with Johnson Lambert in Charleston. Elyse Chubb Welch is a brokerage associate with Colliers International in Charleston. She was elected sponsorship chair of the local chapter of Commercial Real Estate Women. Brooke Sensenig Winn is an associate director of annual giving and alumni engagement at Hood College in Maryland. Brooke is pursuing her M.B.A. in marketing and public administration. Kristen Wolfe is the director of special events for the Charleston RiverDogs baseball team.
2013 Caitlin Altman and Bryce Jordan
were married in August 2016. Caitlin is a graduate student in Francis Marion University’s physician assistant program. Lauren Bell is pursuing her master’s in Egyptology from the University of Birmingham (United Kingdom). Kayla Brown is the operations and development associate at the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life at the University of Texas at Austin. Kayla is also a dance company member with Chaddick Dance Theater. Dustin Burick (M.S.) is a senior accountant and staff assistant to the chief financial officer at Jupiter Holdings in Charleston. Jessica Cantrell earned a master’s in women’s and gender studies at Rutgers University and is teaching literacy classes for students in special education in Philadelphia. Cory Ciepiela completed his internship program at netGALAXY Studios in Charleston and is now a native app developer for the company. Olivia Cifaldi teaches English language arts at UP Academy Dorchester in Boston.
Chris Cimorelli is a copywriter for Agora, a financial media organization based out of Baltimore. Chris lives in Delray Beach, Fla. Seth Clare is a commodity associate with S&P Global Platts in Houston, Texas. Seth graduated from the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University in 2016. Will Crowell is a brokerage associate with Colliers International in Charleston. Dylan Fernandes was elected a state representative in Massachusetts. He represents Barnstable, Dukes and Nantucket. Before the election, Dylan was the digital director in the office of Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. Sallie Funderburk is the audience and growth manager at Charlotte Five, a division of The Charlotte Observer. Katie Gilmer is an assistant manager of groups and events at the Hilton Diagonal Mar in Barcelona, Spain. Stephanie Haney (see Michelle Miller ’12) Ben Hockett completed his Teach for America commitment in Charlotte, where he taught seventh-grade language arts and was the department chair at his school. He now lives in New York City, where he works for Uncommon Schools, a charter management organization with 44 schools in six regions. Tyler Hord (see Samantha Berinsky ’12) Anthony and Rachel Davis Horton live in Greenville, S.C., where Anthony is in his fourth year of medical school at the University of South Carolina and Rachel is a schoolteacher. Hannah Hughes is a fourth-year medical student at MUSC. Morgan Mikolajczyk Insley earned a J.D. from the Charlotte School of Law in 2016. Savannah Johnson James is a senior client advisor for Mappus Insurance in the Upstate. Shea Connell Jury (see Jacob Jury ’12) Marion Lake earned her master’s in social work from the University of South Carolina in 2016. Marion is a health science specialist/crisis line responder for the Atlanta Department of Veterans Affairs. Mary Mazcko is a project manager for Velis4, a business VoIP provider, and lives in Austin, Texas. Liana McNallan earned a master’s in social work from the University of Washington in 2016. She lives in Seattle and works for the state’s Children’s Administration. Erin McPherson and Thomas Bisca were married in May 2016. Erin is an intern at Dorchester Children’s Center and is pursuing a master’s in clinical counseling at The Citadel. Elizabeth McWhinnie is a graduate student in the dual degree program at American University and the University for Peace in Costa Rica, pursuing master’s degrees in international affairs and natural resources and sustainable development. Last summer, she interned with the Coral Restoration Foundation Bonaire. Ariana Megaro is the owner and founder of BlokRok, a company that designs no-mess applicators for sunscreen and body lotions. Damian Nelson is working on his M.A.T. at UNC Charlotte. Alex Pappas is the engagement coordinator for Lowcountry Local First, an entrepreneurial nonprofit organization in Charleston. Mollie Saunders and Thomas Oswald were married in May 2015. Mollie is the guest relations manager at Duck Bottom Plantation in Rembert, S.C. Brian and Barbie Kolar Schreiner (M.P.A.) announce the birth of their daughter, Bellamy, born in October 2016. Barbie is the College’s assistant director of corporate and foundation relations.
Georgia Schrubbe opened Holy City Salsa Dance Studio in Charleston. Peter Sennekamp (M.B.A.) is the assistant to the CFO at Uniper, a European energy company. Peter is also employed by E.On, a European electric utility service provider. Gretchen Shoemaker is a client liaison at Mappus Insurance in Mt. Pleasant. Sarah Stertz and Noah Winecoff were married in September 2016. Leanne Toumayan is a concierge for the Belmond Charleston Place. Davy Vanderweyen is a medical student at the University of Sherbrooke in Canada. Dyanne Vaught is a Ph.D. student in the University of Michigan’s economics program. Dyanne received a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship to support her studies. Madeleine Westerhout worked for the Republican National Committee as the assistant to the RNC’s chief of staff. After the presidential election, she was assigned the role of gatekeeper for dignitaries meeting with President Donald Trump in New York City, before taking a permanent role with the administration. Morgan Wetherington is a founder and vice president of sales and marketing for Spirits of Tennessee, based out of Fayetteville, Tenn. Liza Wood received a Fulbright Scholarship in 2013–14 to earn a master’s in sustainability science and policy at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands. The following year, she earned a master’s in organic farming and food production systems from Newcastle University in England. She now works with the College’s First Year Experience Office, coordinating freshman students and engaging in sustainability initiatives on campus. She led a First-Year Abroad course during spring 2017, teaching about sustainable food and development, and leading students through the Andes of Peru over spring break. Morgan Zipperly is pursuing a dual M.D./Ph.D. at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She completed the first two years of medical school and is beginning the first year of a Ph.D. program in cell, molecular and developmental biology.
2014 Erica Arbetter is the digital
director for the American Action Network and Congressional Leadership Fund in Washington, D.C. Sarah Baumgarten is a graduate student in Miami University’s global field program and participated in its Earth Expeditions global field course in Hawaii last summer. Thomas Brady is a data scientist for T and T Consulting Services in Washington, D.C. John Brooker is the program coordinator for MUSC’s sustainability and recycling department. Ashley Brooks earned her master’s in sociology from George Washington University and is the owner of Pounce Cat Cafe in Charleston. Erin Byrum and Matthew Riley were married in October 2016. Erin is a tax associate at Dixon Hughes Goodman in Charleston. Elizabeth Cardell is the director of communications and leadership development for the Columbia Chamber of Commerce. She earned her M.P.A. from the University of South Carolina in 2016. Caley Doud and Scott Ziegler were married in April 2016. Caley earned a master’s in education from the University of Cincinnati and she is a lead therapist at Carolina Coast Behavioral Services in Charleston. Maddi Edwards is a graduate student in Rutgers University’s college student affairs program. Mariah Fleming and David Nasrollahi were married in December. Mariah works at the North Charleston Coliseum and David is a law
student at the University of South Carolina. Annemarie Galasso graduated from the U.S. Air Force Officer Training School in 2016. She is a medical student at Georgetown University. Annie Galizio is a Ph.D. student in Utah State University’s behavior analysis program. Cassandra Glass-Royal is pursuing an M.F.A. in interior architecture and design at George Washington University. Adam Griffin and Jessica Simons were married in September 2016 and live in Mt. Pleasant. Adam is a commercial real estate associate for Colliers International. Rebekah Dunlap Hart owns SweetHartMonograms, an online shop on Etsy.com that specializes in personalized embroidered gifts. Molly Hatch works for a mergers and acquisitions consulting group at PricewaterhouseCoopers in New York City. Molly earned her master’s in international employment relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2015. Katie Hess is an events manager at the new Phoenix campus of Galvanize, an educational community for the tech industry. Kaitlin Hetrick is a customer service manager for Spoleto Festival USA’s box office in Charleston. Lauren Hurlock is the assistant director of marketing and communications for the College’s alumni affairs office. Elisabeth Kilroy is a Ph.D. student at the University of Maine’s biomedical science and engineering program, where her goal is to work toward a cure for muscular dystrophy. Julie Lench is a medical student at MUSC. Gretchen Lidicker earned a master’s in physiology and biophysics (complementary and alternative medicine) at Georgetown University in 2016. Lucia Mangione is a merchandising manager at European grocer Lidl. In the U.S., she manages store layout and product merchandising for new stores, and is based in Arlington, Va. Chandler Miler and Eric Rackley were married in August. Chandler is pursuing her master’s in public health at MUSC. Mike Palmer is a brokerage associate with Colliers International in Charleston. Rachele Palmieri and Jonathan Wilen were married in May 2016 and live in New York City, where Rachele is a senior analyst at Willis Towers Watson. Tyler Person is the owner of PHrontline Design, a freelance graphic design business. Bri Sanders is a field organizer with the National LGBTQ Task Force in Washington, D.C. Hillary Saunders is a payroll administrator for human resources at Xerox’s MRC Smart Technology Solutions in San Diego. Kathleen Anderson Schuler is the director of events at King Street Hospitality Group, a boutique hospitality management company. Brandi Schumacher and Max Curioz were married in October 2015. Brandi is pursuing her master’s in medical science at Methodist University in Fayetteville, N.C. Carly Snyder was the recipient of the 2016 EMT Excellence Award, presented by Overlook Medical Center in Summit, N.J. Carly is a member of the Long Hill First Aid Squad and is a special education teacher at the Developmental Learning Center in Warren, N.J. Mimi Striplin is the founder of the Tiny Tassel, a collection of handmade tassel jewelry and accessories, based in Charleston. Lindsay Stroda is the sales/marketing coordinator for Neighborhood Lender Inc. in Charlotte. Rebecca Szer earned a master’s in health advocacy from Sarah Lawrence College in 2016. She is pursuing a doctorate in osteopathic medicine at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine. Montgomery Taylor is a staff geologist at TERRY
Environmental Services. She is also a designer and founder of GARB Designs. Charles von Lehe is the chief technology officer at netGALAXY Studios in Charleston. Alaina Watkins is the executive coordinator at Artemis Capital Management in Austin, Texas. Dave and Kathy Seay Welborn (M.P.A. ’16) live in Pensacola, Fla., where Dave is a public health associate with the Centers for Disease Control and Kathy is a contract manager for Escambia County Healthy Start Coalition. Charlotte Westcob earned a master’s in health administration at MUSC in 2016. Andrew White is a dental student at the University of Minnesota. John and Emily Mecredy Wise live in Pittsboro, N.C. Emily is an English teacher at Chatham Charter School in Siler City, N.C. She earned a master’s in teaching from Duke University in 2016 and a master’s in literary studies from the University of Amsterdam in 2015. Christina Zapolski won the title of Miss South Carolina in 2013 and went on to compete in the Miss USA Pageant in 2014, finishing in the top ten. Christina competed on CBS’s reality competition Hunted with Matt Sundberg ’12. Matt is a leasing agent for WRS Inc. in Charleston. Christian Zastrau (M.B.A.) does production planning for Daimler Auto Group in Stuttgart, Germany. He is also a consultant for PEC project engineers and consultants for Daimler.
2015 Olivia Adams is an English teacher
at Ming Shi American English School in Fushun, China. Meghan Angelo is an English teacher for the Berkeley County (S.C.) School District. Carrie Bailes is a medical student at the University of South Carolina in Greenville. Christopher Bass is an analyst in Landmark Partner’s quantitative research group. Ginger Bauer is the guest service agent for Hyatt House/Hyatt Place in Charleston. Master Bines works in the Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage office in North Charleston. Joshua Bloodworth (M.P.A.) is the assistant director for administrative assessment and accreditation at the College. Aubrey Butcher and Jared Smith were married in July 2016. Leigh Chikos and Nic Allen were married in May 2016. Nic is a dental student at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in Bradenton, Fla., and Leigh works in customer service and shipping logistics. Emily Cisewski is a graduate student in The Citadel’s M.B.A. program. Chaisson Dangerfield is a benefits administrator at Benefitfocus in Charleston. Anna Dean was named a Health Care Hero by the Charleston Regional Business Journal for rescuing a child who was trapped in a tire sinking in a retention pond. Anna works in a doctor’s office and is also an athletic trainer and mentor for student-athletes at R.B. Stall High School in North Charleston. Deirdre Douglas-Hubbard is the co-organizer of the Charleston chapter of Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation. Rebecca Drewry is pursuing her master’s in higher education administration at Northeastern University. Ross Drummond is a development associate for the College’s Cougar Club. Alex Ellis is an assistant coach for the Cougars men’s golf team. Alex holds the distinction of being the only golfer in the program’s history to play in three U.S. Amateur Championships. Katie Fary is pursuing her doctorate of pharmacy at MUSC.
SUMMER 2017 |
TIME STAMPED TD ARENA, March 21, 7:23 p.m. The Race and Social Justice Initiative presents Ta-Nehisi Coates
Erin Francisco is an assistant executive housekeeper at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Greenville, S.C. Nora Grossman is a software engineer for Brigade in San Francisco. Allyson Hill earned a master’s in clinical research at MUSC in 2016 and is a medical student at MUSC. Allene Hope earned a master’s in bioarchaeology from the University of York (United Kingdom) in 2016 and is teaching English in Prague. Tristan Howard is an associate with Moody and O’Neal CPAs in Mt. Pleasant. Bryan Howe is a business development specialist at Allen Lund Company in Charleston. Drew Hyams (M.S. ’16) works for the accounting firm Ernst and Young in Baltimore. Bethany Jenkins is a former Miss College of Charleston and was crowned Miss South Carolina U.S. Supranational. Bethany will spend her time participating in community service projects until the national pageant this summer. Lisa Kasprzok is pursuing her master’s in conservation and preservation of cultural heritage at the University of Bologna in Italy. Amber Kemp is a marketing associate at CodeLynx. Peyton Lee is a technical communicator with Venmo in Chicago. Lawson Lloyd, the recipient of the Freud Scholar Fellowship, is pursuing a Ph.D. in physical chemistry at the University of Chicago. Juan Maegli is one of five new members to be elected to the World Sailing Athletes’ Commission. Juan is a three-time Olympian and former CofC All-American sailor. Graham Massell is an investment associate at Lee & Associates Commercial Real Estate Services in Atlanta. Koy Matta (see Frank Herrera ’95)
Georgia Maynard is pursuing a master’s in international development studies at the University of Amsterdam. Clifton McDaniel is the assistant director of creative services at Litton Entertainment. He was recognized at the Cynopsis Media 2016 Rising Star Awards in New York City for his accomplishments as one of the television industry’s next generation of leaders. Julia Moss is a medical student at the University of South Carolina in Greenville. Joye Nettles was featured as a STEM star in The Root magazine. The 2016 Young Futurist is a consultant at ThoughtWorks, a global softwaredevelopment firm in Dallas. Haley Pierce is a graduate student in art history at the Institute of Fine Arts at NYU. Michael Rentz (M.B.A.) is a global marketing and customer insights manager for Maersk Line. He was one of 200 people in North America selected for the Maersk Line Graduate Program. Stirling Rentz is a publications coordinator and admissions counselor at Lander University in Greenwood, S.C. Diana Rodriguez is an account manager for TTI Group NA in Anderson, S.C. Zoe Rosoff-Verbit is a clinical research assistant at the University of Pennsylvania. Hayden Smith works key account sales at Summerville-based Kion North America. Shelby Stewart is the owner of Shelby Belle Photography in Charleston. Kathleen Tuttle is earning her Ph.D. in Classics and Classical languages, literature and linguistics at Indiana University, where she is an associate instructor in the Department of Classical Studies. Zachary Waldman is a medical student at the University of South Carolina in Greenville.
Kate Werley is a staff assistant and legislative correspondent for U.S. Congressman Rep. Mike Doyle (Pa.).
2016 Caroline Agid is the assistant
director at Field Manor on Merritt Island, Fla. Dylan Applegate is the director of baseball operations for the College. Canyon Barry is a graduate student in the University of Florida’s nuclear engineering program. He also played for the Gators’ basketball team, helping them to an Elite Eight appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Canyon was named the SEC Sixth Man of the Year and the CoSIDA Academic All-America of the Year. Jane Hodge Batten (M.A.T.) is a special education teacher at Woodland High School in St. George, S.C. Niki Bedenbaugh is the development and operations coordinator for The Citadel Brigadier Foundation. Maddie Bonifield is a marketing assistant at Charming Inns of Charleston. Kelsey Booth (M.A.T.) put her graduate studies on hold to play basketball for Club Escola De Basquet Tordera in Barcelona, Spain. Andrew Braden is a commercial broker specializing in consulting and investment services for NAI Avant in Charleston. Hannah-Leigh Brooks is a human resources researcher for the LaSalle Network, a provider of professional staffing and recruitment services in Chicago. Anna Cunningham is an application consultant for Benefitfocus in Charleston. Angel Darrow is a registered behavioral technician at Carolina Coast Behavioral Services in Charleston.
[ passages ] Rosemary Nelson Hutto ’39
Charles Foster ’50
David Rickey ’73
Mary Mahony Smith ’41
Ruth Butler Mazyck ’51
Jeanne Wallace Connelly ’76
Jack Brickman ’42
William Pease Jr. ’51
Edward Thomas Jr. ’76
Mary Cisa Magee ’42
Patricia Runey Rowland ’52
Ann Delessline Leamond Thrower ’76
Lucille Passmore Bostwick ’43
Frances Sokol Halio ’54
Joseph Christie Jr. ’77
Betty Howard Luhn ’43
J. Crawford Cook ’56
Woodrow Brown ’78
Edwin Mohrmann ’43
Edward Blanton Jr. ’57
Susan Dodenhoff ’78
Ethel Seabrook Nepveux ’43
Constance Johnson Tucker ’57
Edward Frederick ’78
Mary Eileen Leonard ’45
Robert Seigel ’59
Karen Marcinak Hansen ’78
Peggy Kelly Geraty ’46
Stephen Thomas ’62
Elizabeth Long Sousa ’78
Edward Johnson ’48
Ellen Walker Smith ’63
Carlos Lindsey ’79
Joyce Conlon Dunaway ’49
Daniel Youngblood ’64
Miriam Miller Graminski ’80
Harold Ridge Jr. ’49
T. Phil Pitner ’67
Betty Lewis Brunson ’81
Nancy Lewis Wilburn ’49
William Fitzhugh ’68
David Lipman ’82
December 19, 2016; Charleston, S.C. April 14, 2017; Charleston, S.C. December 3, 2016; Charleston, S.C. October 16, 2016; Mt. Pleasant, S.C. March 3, 2017; Charleston, S.C.
January 15, 2017; Summerville, S.C. February 11, 2017; Charleston, S.C. March 21, 2017; Charleston, S.C.
November 19, 2016; Charleston, S.C. October 26, 2016; Charleston, S.C. January 16, 2017; Charleston, S.C. December 19, 2016; Charleston, S.C. April 5, 2017; Wadmalaw Island, S.C. March 13, 2017; Union, S.C.
| C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n m agazin e
September 30, 2016; Mt. Pleasant, S.C. January 28, 2017; Mt. Pleasant, S.C. April 13, 2017; North Charleston, S.C. October 28, 2016; Charleston, S.C. January 9, 2017; Charleston, S.C. October 16, 2016; Columbia, S.C. November 30, 2016; Charleston, S.C. January 2, 2017; North Charleston, S.C. November 14, 2016; Mt. Pleasant, S.C. March 1, 2017; Columbia, S.C. April 3, 2017; Hollywood, S.C. January 14, 2017; Columbia, S.C. November 20, 2016; Pittsboro, N.C. March 28, 2016; Port Townsend, Wash.
October 24, 2016; Pompano Beach, Fla. September 17, 2016; Greenville, S.C. November 13, 2016; Anderson, S.C. September 9, 2016; Charleston, S.C.
February 10, 2017; Summerville, S.C. September 29, 2016; Travelers Rest, S.C. March 4, 2017; Charleston, S.C. September 26, 2016; Charleston, S.C. September 1, 2016; Wake Forest, N.C. November 8, 2016; Ijamsville, Md. December 27, 2016; Greenville, S.C. September 10, 2016; Long Branch, N.J. October 2, 2016; Saint George, S.C. September 2, 2016; Thailand
Emily Deal is the brand marketing coordinator for Garden & Gun magazine in Charleston. Michael Del Vecchio (M.S.) is an instructor of mathematics at Francis Marion University. Zach Diamond is a sales and marketing manager for Zeta Compliance Technologies in Charleston. Clay Dustin is a Peace Corps volunteer living in Namibia, where he is teaching math and learning KKG, a language spoken by the Damara and Nama tribes. Catherine Elliott is a benefits administrator for Benefitfocus in Charleston. Ellie Flock is a graduate student at King’s College London studying global health with conflict and security. Brandon Folkman is project coordinator at Aloha Freight Forwarders in Compton, Calif. Jack Fultz is an associate account executive for Yelp in New York City. Grace Gardner is a graduate student in Virginia Commonwealth University’s occupational therapy program. Olivia Ghiz is a site director for the College’s iCharleston program in London. Katherine Gibbons works for Ernst and Young in Providence, R.I. Samantha Hord is a graduate student in the College’s accountancy program and a graduate assistant for the Department of Accounting and Legal Studies. Trevor Jones is a staff assistant in the Office of Congressman Jerry McNerney (Calif.) in the U.S. House of Representatives. Lucas Joseph is an intern for Liz Gilland, the arborist for the City of Camden, S.C. Robert Judy joined AgentOwned Realty on the Isle of Palms.
Wyman King is a graduate student in the University of Texas’s M.P.A. program. Taylor Klimek is a district account manager for Automatic Data Processing (ADP). Jared Kopelman and Hank Stocker are co-founders of Monotto, an automated savings tool for financial institutions. Ben Korren is the assistant director of basketball operations at the College. Danielle Lockemy is a graduate student in the University of Florida’s sports management program. She is also the ticket operations coordinator at the Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, Va. Jackie Luna-Castro is a professional basketball player for Kouvottaret in Finland. Jackie previously played for Soles de Ojinaga Femenil in Mexico. Grant Maddox is a service associate with Detterbeck Wealth Management in Charleston. Claire Newman is a graduate student in the University of Virginia’s exercise physiology program. Tyler Perini received a President’s Fellowship to pursue a Ph.D. in Georgia Tech’s operations research program. Christine Policastro is a client services coordinator at Focus Medical Communications in Parsippany, N.Y. She works for CofC alumna Anne Balart Michaels ’98. Abigail Reed is a constituent services representative for U.S. Senator Tim Scott in Greenville, S.C. Jamie Reynolds is a portfolio and systems analyst at Dividend Assets Capital in Ridgeland, S.C. Chris Robinson is a personal trainer and lifestyle coach at Pursuit Fitness in Mt. Pleasant. Chris has owned the company since 2009.
Shane Rogan is an assistant men’s golf coach at the College. Tim Rule (M.A.) is a marketing coordinator for the Charleston Symphony Orchestra. Charlotte Saxe is a member of the Citizens Bank’s Early Career Development Program for commercial bankers. Natasha Senken is an assistant swimming coach at Adelphi University in Garden City, N.Y. Eleanor Sheers is a graduate student in the Kellogg School of Management in Illinois. Becca Starkes is a Charlotte-based content marketing specialist for Blue Corona. Warren Steele is an intern at health education nonprofit Seed Global Health. Warren is also a graduate student in Boston University’s public health program. Brianna Stepney is a research assistant at MUSC. Steele Strauss is a sales and purchasing specialist at Manor House Builders in Charleston. Kathy Seay Welborn (M.P.A.) (see Dave Welborn ’14) Meghan White (M.S.) is an editorial intern at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Laura Wilkes is a law student at William & Mary. Ben Winckler is a residential and commercial Realtor at Carolina One Real Estate in Charleston.
2017 Michael Faikes is participating
in Norfolk Southern’s management trainee program in Atlanta. Jamelia Graham is pursuing a master’s in public health, specifically in health services policy, from the University of South Carolina. Quinton Meadors is a medical student at the University of South Carolina in Greenville.
Check out more stories and information about the College at today.cofc.edu.
[ passages ] Vergie DeAntonio ’85
Joel Kinder ’99
Zachary Bolt (student)
Herbert Butler ’86
Justin Lamb ’99
Ryan Kleeman (student)
James Coleman III ’87
Lisa DiFabio Tronco ’99
Jacob Oaks (student)
Melissa Mixon Allred ’88
Duane Lathan ’01
Robert Shaw (student)
Kristin Hoff Langdale ’89
John Keenan ’03
Ernest Rigney Jr. (faculty)
Sean Blacklocke ’90
Timothy Maahs ’03
Mohamed Alpha Bah (former faculty)
Sabrina Cannon Pringle ’90
Summer Jowers ’04
Cornelia Bowling Carrier (former faculty)
Jane Quattrochi ’90
Charles Payne ’05
E. Paige Wisotzki (former faculty)
Hazel Watson ’91
Amy Browning Buddin ’07
Rick Zender (staff)
Gina Hendricks Lawhon ’92
Christin Occhipinta-Benda ’08
Richard Bennett (former staff)
Ashley Guerry McLaurin ’94
Jonathan Sellitto ’08
John Davis (former staff)
Phebe Corckran King ’96
Charles Herbert III ’13
John Harden Jr. (former staff)
Paul Comer ’97
Michelle Barlow ’14
Barbara Pittillo (former staff)
Jon Woodrum ’98
Joseph Tate ’15 (staff)
Mark Tiedje (former staff)
October 26, 2016; Mt. Pleasant, S.C. April 7, 2017; Georgetown, S.C. September 9, 2016; Augusta, Ga. November 15, 2016; Mt. Pleasant, S.C. March 21, 2017; Walterboro, S.C. December 22, 2016; Dublin, Ireland March 25, 2017; York, S.C.
March 2, 2016; Mt. Pleasant, S.C. December 13, 2016; Latham, N.Y. December 9, 2016; Charleston, S.C. November 13, 2016; Potsdam, N.Y. November 7, 2016; Annapolis, Md. November 15, 2016; Daniel Island, S.C. December 22, 2016; Elkins, W. Va.
January 9, 2017; Aiken, S.C. January 10, 2017; Spartanburg, S.C. January 23, 2017; Daniel Island, S.C. July 6, 2016; Charlotte, N.C. November 19, 2016; Charleston, S.C. January 1, 2017; Hanahan, S.C. August 29, 2016; Marion, S.C. January 7, 2017; Newport, R.I. November 11, 2016; Summerville, S.C. January 28, 2017; Lexington, S.C. March 15, 2017; Naples, Fla. September 1, 2016; Charleston, S.C. December 14, 2016; Chicago, Ill. April 12, 2017; Charleston, S.C.
December 31, 2016; Anderson, S.C. August 30, 2016; Mt. Pleasant, S.C. December 12, 2016; Greer, S.C. April 14, 2017; Brookline, Mass. February 4, 2017; North Charleston, S.C. April 25, 2017; Washington, D.C. April 8, 2017; Charleston, S.C.
February 26, 2017; Charleston, S.C. March 14, 2017; Charleston, S.C.
September 4, 2016; Johns Island, S.C. December 15, 2016; North Charleston, S.C. March 6, 2016; California, Md.
February 16, 2017; Charleston, S.C.
February 26, 2017; Mt. Pleasant, S.C.
SUMMER 2017 |
[ faces and places ]
There’s always something going on at the College: 1 Charleston Bridge Program announcement: Catharine Almquist ’85 (vice president of academic affairs, Trident Technical College), Mary Thornley (president, Trident Technical College), President Glenn McConnell ’69 and Provost Brian McGee 2 Commencement speaker: John Alessi ’98 3 A Charleston Affair in the Cistern Yard 4 Office of Institutional Diversity: Mackenzie Geiger, Niki Patel, Averyona Gainey, Kimberly Gailliard and Kendall Deas 5 Department of Theatre and Dance’s performance of Rent 6 Commencement speaker: Elizabeth Colbert-Busch ‘79 7 ExCEL Awards: Lee Higdon (former CofC president, 2001–2006) and Jimmy Worthy ’17 8 Retirement recognition for Steve Osborne ’73 (business affairs): David Hay ’81 (chair, Board of Trustees), Osborne and Greg Padgett ’79 (Board of Trustees) 9 Commencement speaker: Sam Stafford ‘68 10 Yes! I’m a Feminist: Thetyka Robinson (Women’s |
| C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n m agazin e
and Gender Studies Advisory Board), Cara Delay (women’s and gender studies), Leigh Friar (Alison Piepmeier Scholarship recipient) and Amanda Bunting Comen ’01 (Women’s and Gender Studies Advisory Board) 11 German American Business Summit: Morgan Koerner (German and Russian studies) and Sam Moses (Parker Poe) 12 Endowed Donor Reception: Malcolm Clark (history), Maxx Bradley (music major) and Paula Ruth (development) 13 CofC Day at the S.C. State House 14 Deborah Chalsty Gallery dedication at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art: President McConnell ’69, Jennifer Chalsty, Deborah Chalsty and Mark Sloan (director and chief curator, Halsey Institute) 15 CofC Foundation Board reception, celebrating George Watt’s tenure: Watt (institutional advancement) and David Cohen (retired dean of libraries and School of Languages, Cultures, and World Affairs) 16 Foam-a-Palooza 17 An Evening with Kinky Friedman: Tim Johnson (Classics) and Kinky Friedman SUMMER 2017 |
| Photos by Reese Moore |
Harbor Walk, Room 319 FOR A STUDENT, SOME OF THE BEST places to work, study and dream are the residence halls, the library and the Cistern Yard. However, for me, the office of a teacher and mentor has become my go-to place to complete schoolwork while catching a glimpse of the lifestyle I hope to someday achieve. One of my biggest dreams has always been to become a college professor. So, you can imagine how happy I was when, during the first semester of my freshman year, computer science professor Lancie Affonso â€™96 offered me, along with another student majoring in computing in the arts, the opportunity to share his |
| C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n m agazin e
Harbor Walk office and get a firsthand look at life in academia. Being in the primary building for the offices of computer science faculty, this space strikes the perfect balance between the buzz of computer science classes happening in nearby hallways and a quiet place to work after the students file out for the day. In addition, right outside is a balcony that overlooks the beautiful Cooper River: any time I need a break from working, I can step outside and enjoy the view. Since the fall, we have been given access to the office to go in and out as we please, providing us with a quiet place to
do schoolwork, surrounded by the very professors we strive to be like. Every day that I stop by for an hour of peace and quiet to work, I get another view into my future. Each visit to this ordinary, yet extraordinary, office gives me further insight into how it will feel to be a professor. One day, maybe I will have an office like this of my own. â€“ Blaine Billings A William Aiken Fellow in the Honors College, Blaine Billings is a sophomore from Florence, S.C., double majoring in math and computer science.
HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT THE SUSTAINABILITY LITERACY INSTITUTE (SLI)?
SLI is the hub for sustainability literacy at the College. The institute will help students, faculty, staff and the campus community in general participate more effectively in the College’s Quality Enhancement Plan – Sustainability Literacy as a Bridge to Addressing 21st-century Problems.
WANT TO ENGENDER A MORE EQUITABLE SOCIETY? WANT TO ADDRESS BIG ENVIRONMENTAL CHALLENGES? WANT TO SEE GREATER JUSTICE IN YOUR COMMUNITY?
SLI, IT’S THE NEXT BIG THING ON CAMPUS – AND BEYOND. Find more information about SLI and the College’s QEP at
sustain.cofc.edu The College of Charleston Quality Enhancement Plan
Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage PAID College of Charleston Charleston, SC 29424-0001
Within these pages, you're going to find many stories showcasing the College of Charleston's dynamic and intellectually vigorous culture.We...
Published on Jun 26, 2017
Within these pages, you're going to find many stories showcasing the College of Charleston's dynamic and intellectually vigorous culture.We...