UNCW Magazine Fall 2022

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Science in Hollywood Welcoming Chancellor Volety Home Alumni-Owned Businesses

FALL • 2022

Veterans Hall


UNCW had much to celebrate in September. The university was ranked #1 in North Carolina and 15th nationally on Military Times’ list of “Best for Vets: Colleges” list. Also, the Office of Military Affairs hosted a celebration ceremony at Veterans Hall, complete with a flyover performed by the Bandit Flight Team. “It’s in our university’s DNA, since we started as a GI Bill school in 1947, to serve those who have served and their families,” said Bill Kawczynski, director of military affairs. More than 2,100 military-affiliated students are currently enrolled at UNCW.

Gunnery Sergeant FM Hooper Jr. attended the Veterans Hall celebration ceremony. Hooper was a Montford Point Marine during WWII. He is 94 years young.


Jennifer Glatt ’21M


Shirl New


Kyle Prey


Jeff Janowski


Joe Browning

Caroline Cropp ’99, ’06M

Sarah Fetters

Venita Jenkins

Krissy Vick

Andrea Monroe Weaver


Jade Nelson

J.R. Pawlik

Bradley Pearce

Smithsonian MarineGEO


April Lepak


Caroline Cropp ’99, ’06M

Division for University Advancement


Missy A. Kennedy ’01

Eddie Stuart ’05M

Andrea Monroe Weaver


Kelly Baker

UNCW Magazine is published for alumni and friends of the university by the Office of University Relations, University of North Carolina Wilmington, 601 S. College Rd., Wilmington, North Carolina 28403. Correspondence may be directed to uncwmagazine@uncw.edu.

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The opportunity to serve as UNCW’s next Chancellor is a dream come true for my family and me. I was first drawn to the university’s strengths and potential years ago, when I came here to serve as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Executive Director of the Center for Marine Science. Since returning in July, I have been energized daily by the students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors and friends who have made our institution like no other for 75 years.

One of my priorities has been to meet with as many members of the UNCW community as possible. I have heard a few common themes during these conversations, whether I am talking with a current student, a Wilmington College graduate or Seahawks from any era in between:

 UNCW has always been a student-centered place and it needs to stay that way. Rest assured, that’s not going to change on my watch.

 Teaching, mentoring, research and service are among UNCW’s strengths.

 UNCW is an anchor institution in North Carolina’s fastest growing region –a coastal area committed to strategic growth opportunities.

 Diversity, equity and inclusion efforts are an essential part of creating and sustaining a sense of belonging across our campus and in the community.

 Robust athletics, arts and community engagement programs are critical to the university’s ongoing success.

 Resources and support are needed for students, faculty and staff as well as current and new programs and services.

Where are we going in the next 10 years? That’s for all of us to decide. I have tasked a representative campus group with taking these concepts and many other themes, and shaping them into a strategic plan for review and approval by the Board of Trustees.

I look forward to sharing more details with you in 2023, when the UNCW community’s plan has taken shape. In the meantime, learn more at uncw.edu/strategicplan

Thousands of you have demonstrated your pride in UNCW by supporting Like No Other: The Campaign for UNCW. Our most ambitious fundraising effort in university history has already surpassed its original $100 million goal, thanks to you, and we have stretched our goal to $125 million. Your generosity is positioning UNCW to make important things happen, including a new Ph.D. in pharmaceutical chemistry, scheduled to launch in fall 2023. The program, supported by a historic $5 million gift from Quality Chemical Laboratories; its founder, former faculty member and current UNCW Trustee Dr. Yousry Sayed and his wife Linda ’78, ’85, will focus on the study of medicines and their development. Several Cameron School of Business programs connected to Congdon Hall, formally dedicated in October, have been enhanced by the incredibly generous $10 million gift from Helen and David S. Congdon ’78, executive chairman of Old Dominion Freight Line. These are just two examples of the difference the campaign is making for students, people, programs and facilities at UNCW.

Thank you for welcoming me back to UNCW. It feels good to be home. I plan to continue listening to and learning from UNCW students, faculty and staff for as long as I serve as Chancellor. If you have thoughts that you want to share with me about enhancing the UNCW experience now or in the future, please reach out at chancellor@uncw.edu. I value your viewpoints and welcome your input.

In Seahawk spirit,

Aswani K. Volety


Produced by the Office of University Relations

Did you know that a sapling that survived the bombing of Hiroshima is planted on campus? Have you walked the 10-acre Herbert Bluethenthal Memorial Wildflower Preserve where Venus flytraps flower? Do you follow @geeseofuncw on Instagram?

The 2022-23 academic year is a time for Seahawks to reminisce and celebrate all things UNCW as the university commemorates its 75th anniversary. Established in 1947 as Wilmington College, the institution opened its doors as an educational center for veterans returning from World War II on Sept. 4, 1947, to 238 students.

By 1969, the college had grown significantly and joined the University of North Carolina System, changing its name to the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Today, the Seahawk community includes nearly 2,500 faculty and staff, almost 18,000 students and more than 100,000 alumni. The physical campus includes the main campus on South College Road, an extension campus in Jacksonville, NC, and the Center for Marine Science near Myrtle Grove.

Long recognized as a cornerstone of the greater Wilmington community, the New Hanover County Commissioners adopted a proclamation in recognition of UNCW’s 75th anniversary and officially welcomed Chancellor Aswani K. Volety as the institution’s seventh Chancellor in August 2022.

Visit uncw.edu/75 to read more about how Wilmington College evolved into UNCW, browse a collection of 75 Seahawk Snippets, see photos from then and now and more.

– Caroline Cropp ’99, ’06M

Celebrating 75 Years of Service to the Wilmington Community.


UNCW Recognizes Faculty for Excellence in Teaching, Research and Service

Each year, UNCW recognizes faculty who have made significant contributions in teaching, research and service. These individuals distinguished themselves within the university and in the broader community. Nineteen faculty were honored during the annual fall faculty meeting held on Sept. 15. Provost James J. Winebrake and Faculty Senate President Nathan Grove announced this year’s award recipients

Dr. Kathy Fox, professor in the Department of Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle, Literacy and Special Education, received the Distinguished Teaching Professorship Award and the Board of Trustees’ Teaching Excellence Award, the most prestigious award conferred at UNCW. She was also one of two recipients of the Distinguished Teaching Professorship Award, presented to faculty who have made a profound contribution to higher education through their dedication and service to students.


Dr. Jacquelyn Lee, associate professor in the School of Social Work, was the second honoree of the Distinguished Teaching Professorship Award.

Dr. David Webster, senior associate dean of graduate studies, research and innovation in the College of Arts and Sciences, received the J. Marshall Crews Distinguished Faculty Award by the Alumni Association. The award honors a faculty member who exhibits leadership in the areas of service, student support, community service and outreach efforts.

Dr. Brian Arbogast, a professor in the Department of Biology and Marine Biology, was recognized earlier this year as a recipient of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors’ Award for Excellence in Teaching. He was among 17 outstanding university faculty members throughout the UNC System recognized for their extraordinary contributions.

In addition, full-time faculty members who have been at UNCW for 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 years were honored for their years of service.

The following awards were also presented:

Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award

Dr. Maria Cami-Vela, World Languages

David Gessner, Creative Writing

UNCW Distinguished Scholarly Engagement and Public Service Awards

Dr. Kimberly Cook, Sociology and Criminology, Senior Faculty recipient

Dr. Josalin Hunter, School of Social Work, Rising Faculty recipient

Dr. Jennifer Le Zotte, History, Rising Faculty recipient

Graduate Faculty Mentor Award

Dr. Narcisa Pricope, Earth and Ocean Sciences

Lecturers of the Year

Sara Miller, Health and Applied Human Sciences

Amy Van de Motter, School of Social Work

Dr. Carol Plautz, Biology and Marine Biology

Part-time Lecturer of the Year Richard Davis, Sociology and Criminology

Chancellor’s Teaching Excellence Awards

Cameron School of Business

Dr. Stephen Hill, Congdon School of Supply Chain, Business Analytics and Information Systems

College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Nathan Crowe, History

Dr. Stephanie Kamel, Biology and Marine Biology College of Health and Human Services

Dr. April Matthias, School of Nursing

Watson College of Education

Dr. Shelby Morge, Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle, Literacy and Special Education

Front row (L to R): David Webster, Sara Miller, Kimberly Cook, Kathy Fox, Maria Cami-Vela, Amy Van de Motter, Josalin Hunter, Provost Jamie Winebrake

Back row (L to R): Aswani K. Volety, Shelby Morge, Richard Davis, Stephanie Kamel, Nathan Crowe, Carol Plautz, Jacquelyn Lee, Brian Arbogast


Support for Clean Oceans

“Sitting, Waiting, Wishing” may be one of Jack Johnson’s best-known songs, but he’s doing nothing of the kind when it comes to cleaning up the world’s oceans. For the third time, the musician's philanthropic foundation has made a gift to the Plastic Ocean Project. The Johnson Ohana Foundation matched donations to the local nonprofit group up to $2,500 in the fall, while also giving an additional $500 and two tickets to a Johnson concert.

“He's from Hawaii, so he actually witnesses the barrage of plastic that washes up on their beaches,” said Bonnie Monteleone ’11M, executive director and co-founder of the Plastic Ocean Project. Monteleone’s group, which focuses on eliminating plastic waste and the threat it poses to the oceans, was among those to receive donations from the foundation previously in 2014 and 2017.

The Plastic Ocean Project also held a fundraiser in October to support its feature-length documentary now in production, If the Ocean Could Talk: A Voice for the North Atlantic. Johnson is one of the celebrities who has agreed to participate in the film by answering the question, “If the ocean could talk, what would it say?” Monteleone, an adjunct instructor in environmental sciences, said the goal is to finish the film by World Ocean Day, June 8.

University Establishes Asian Heritage Cultural Center

Asian and Pacific Islander students now have a place to gather and find additional support and resources with the recent establishment of the Asian Heritage Cultural Center, one of four centers that support the university’s diversity and inclusion efforts through teaching, service and outreach.

The Asian Heritage Cultural Center, located in Fisher University Union, is an inclusive space that supports students’ engagement and facilitates their connections across campus and in the community. It also provides co-curricular educational programming that enriches the understanding of Asian American and Pacific Islander cultures and histories, said Interim Director Patti Schulz ’11M. The center opened in August.

“With our focus on global diversity, opening an Asian Heritage Cultural Center provides new opportunities for us to design programming that expands our knowledge of other cultures,” said Dr. Donyell Roseboro, UNCW’s chief diversity officer. “We’re excited about the possibilities for learning with community members who share a deep desire to understand more about the people and histories that shape who we are.”

The center includes conference room space, student computer workstations, virtual meeting capabilities and a gathering space for students to interact. Members of the Asian Student Association petitioned and advocated for the space and worked with the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion in its planning and opening.

– Stacie Greene Hidek

“The Asian Heritage Cultural Center will serve to help and support students of Asian heritage and any others who wish to aid in our mission of spreading awareness and culture,” said Brienna Rafferty, president of the Asian Student Association. “We would like the center to become a place where students, faculty and peers from various cultural groups can come together to address any challenges they face in everyday life.”

The center was also a vision of past Student Government President Robby Fensom ’22, who researched similar centers and spoke with student leaders affiliated with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“This center speaks to the power of administrative response to students and the shared campus responsibility for working alongside each other to secure change,” said Fensom. “My hope is that the space embodies that history and reminds students of the power they hold.”

Arbor Day Foundation Designates UNCW a “Tree Campus Higher Education University”

UNCW’s efforts to sustainably manage and preserve its natural areas and to replace lost trees due to storms and construction have earned the Arbor Day Foundation’s “Tree Campus Higher Education University” certification.

“UNCW actively maintains our natural areas for the benefit of our students, faculty and staff as well as the community,” said Roger Shew ’76, senior lecturer in Earth and Ocean Sciences and Environmental Sciences, who applied for the designation on behalf of the UNCW Sustainability Program. “The natural areas serve as outdoor classrooms for students and educators, recreational areas for walkers and bikers, and habitats for wildlife.”

The university has more than 200 acres of forested lands on the main campus, including 190 acres of longleaf pine and 10 acres of mixed hardwoods and pines in the Bluethenthal Wildflower Preserve. The university also has 57 acres of forest and salt marsh along the Intracoastal Waterway at the Center for Marine Science and 174 acres of mixed pine/oak and bottomland hardwood forests in the Ev-Henwood Preserve in Brunswick County.

The Tree Campus Higher Education program “celebrates the unique role that anchor institutions play within their community forest,” according to the foundation. More than 400 universities nationwide are participants.


On Your Mark. Get Set. Go!

Racing fans don’t have to travel to Charlotte or Daytona to see UNCW in the fast lane.

The Seahawks have a car in the eNascar College iRacing series, being driven by history major Skyler Berry ’26. UNCW’s car was designed by Jacob Shorba, who makes custom schemes for iRacing.

Esports are competitive video games in which users compete in high stakes events that are streamed on platforms such as Twitch and YouTube Gaming. According to Ray Pastore, professor of esports, instructional technology and online teaching and learning, the industry is expected to grow 8.7% and generate $1.38 billion dollars this year alone.

To meet the demands of this growing industry, UNCW introduced the Seahawk Esports and Gaming Club in 2019. In fall 2020, UNCW introduced an esports academic certificate program for gaming, streaming and other esports career options. The program, open to undergraduate and graduate students, was the first in the state. These programs flourished through the COVID pandemic and are designed to help students have academic and competitive experiences aligned with the industry.

“We’re in the process of setting up an esports lab at UNCW and will have a full wheel/cockpit in the room later this fall,” said Pastore. “For now, the students are doing this all at home. We will have small esports/gaming events all semester and are planning a much bigger one for December.”

– C.C.


Esports Facts

Jobs in the field are expected to grow 35% year over year for the foreseeable future (Goldman Sachs, 2018)

 In 2022, the global esports market was valued at just over $1.38 billion U.S. dollars, and is forecast to grow to as much as $1.87 billion U.S. dollars in 2025 (Statista)

Viewership of the 2019 League of Legends championship peaked at 100 million viewers

Streaming esports platforms Twitch and YouTube Gaming each have more subscribers than HBO, Netflix and Spotify

Sponsors for esports-related events include Nike, Coca-Cola, Mercedes Benz and the U.S. Army

Hands-On Fun

Director Heather McWhorter. Her team also represented CIE’s Alliance for a Blue Economy (All Blue) and the careers in technology and ocean science that support economic growth based on the sustainable use of ocean resources.

Visitors to the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher enjoyed learning from experts working in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields during the “Women in Science” event in September. Faculty, staff and graduate students representing the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the Center for Marine Science and various departments from the university provided an inside view of STEM careers alongside many others from the community.

“We talked about entrepreneurship as a career path, women in entrepreneurship and the variety of CIE programs that people can get involved in,” said CIE

“It’s important for young girls to see someone like themselves in STEM fields,” said Unique Experiences Coordinator Gail Lemiec, who organized the event for the aquarium. “Women in Science” was first held in 2019, but this year was only the second time the event was held in person. UNCW took advantage of the hands-on opportunities.

“There were snails you could hold, a toxic algae computer game, sieving for shells in the sand and fossils,” said Dr. Andrea Hawkes, professor of Earth and Ocean Sciences. “Everyone did an awesome job.”

– S.G.H.

“It’s important for young girls to see someone like themselves in STEM fields.”

Filmmaker Jordan Peele needed a biologist to help his team create a creature for his third film, “Nope.” Luckily for Kelsi Rutledge ’16, a consultant on Peele’s creative staff recommended her for the job.

In 2019, Rutledge discovered a new species of ray called a guitarfish – a relative to the stingray that lacks a stinger. The guitarfish was not found in the water, oddly enough, but among the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles’ and the University of California Los Angeles’ fish collection.

“These specific fish were collected in the 1950s, put on a shelf and never looked at again until I examined them,” said Rutledge, a doctoral student in UCLA’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

Her discovery led to an interview with Peele and being hired as a consultant for the movie. Rutledge, along with other scientists, advised Peele and his team on the biological aspects of the creature for “Nope,” a film that blends science fiction and horror. The film was released in July 2022.

“Jordan had a clear vision for what he wanted the creature to look like, but he wanted to incorporate elements that made sense scientifically,” Rutledge said. “I provided reference photos and inspiration for many marine and land creatures to design and validate the creature’s concept.”

Peele and his team used features from marine life such as cuttlefish, jellyfish, the sand dollar, Giant Larvacean and octopus to create the creature.

Science in Hollywood

Kelsi Rutledge ’16 blends science with fiction to bring a creature to life on the big screen

When Rutledge isn’t involved in filmmaking, she researches the morphology (shape) and fluid dynamics of fish olfaction. She examines stingrays’ nose design and how they smell underwater.

“Stingrays’ noses have evolved solely for smell; there is no pump-like mechanism to bring odors and water into their nose,” she said. “Understanding this system could help inform the design of underwater aquatic sensors, making them more efficient by changing their design.” Rutledge shared that the U.S. Navy is funding her Ph.D. due to their interest in her research.

Rutledge has been involved in research since her freshman year at UNCW, where she volunteered in labs and served as a research technician at the Center for Marine Science Benthic Ecology Lab. She completed her honors thesis under Troy Alphin and conducted independent research that was published in a scientific journal. Rutledge earned her marine biology and environmental science undergraduate degrees at UNCW and is currently a visiting researcher at Caltech.

She said she never would have imagined she would apply her undergraduate and Ph.D. research experiences to the film industry. “It was such a unique experience. I loved being creative but remaining within the realm of scientific plausibility.”

– V.J.
Jade Nelson

Athletic Director Jimmy Bass to Retire

Director of Athletics Jimmy Bass, who has overseen significant athletic and academic achievement for UNCW Athletics, is stepping down, effective April 1, 2023. Bass is the second longest-tenured athletic director in the history of the program behind the legendary William J. “Bill” Brooks.

Under Bass' leadership, the Seahawks have captured 31 Colonial Athletic Association championships and UNCW teams have advanced to the NCAA post-season 32 times. In addition, 37 individuals have competed in NCAA championships during his time with the program. The 2022 Cushman & Wakefield AD of the Year Award (Division I-AAA) recipient also oversaw the two highest annual scholarship fundraising totals in Seahawk history during the 2017 and 2021 fiscal years, with more than $1 million raised each year.

“I’m grateful for the hard work of the thousands of studentathletes and coaches who made it possible for us to be successful over the past 12 years,” said Bass, a native of Dunn, NC. “They've been so supportive and embraced my family in this tremendous journey as we’ve grown the program.”

Bass has overseen several improvements in UNCW athletic facilities. Trask Coliseum has received several upgrades, including the installation of a large video board and construction of a control room eight years ago and the expansion of the Student-Athlete Support Services center. The women’s basketball locker room was renovated and a new locker room for the volleyball team came online three years ago.

In the classroom, Seahawk student-athletes have been among the UNC System’s top academic performers during Bass’ tenure. During the spring 2022 semester, the university’s 311 student-athletes compiled a cumulative 3.394 grade point average and 61 student-athletes achieved a perfect 4.0 GPA.

Bass steered the program through some turbulent times as well, helping the program navigate COVID-19 protocols and numerous hurricanes during his time in southeastern North Carolina.

Bass by the Numbers  12 Years at UNCW  5 Chancellors  15 New Head Coaches  30 CAA Championships  29 NCAA Team Appearances  35 NCAA Individual Appearances  43 NCAA Public Recognition Awards


New Chancellor Aswani K. Volety is thrilled to be home.

Because of his passion for research and teaching, Dr. Aswani K. Volety turned down numerous opportunities to take on leadership roles during his academic career. However, mentors saw his potential. “Sometimes in life, people recognize that you have certain attributes and qualities. They will tap you on your shoulder, ask you questions that make you think and push you in directions that will open doors.”

He first joined the university in 2014 as the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, a position he held for five years before accepting the job as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Elon University in Elon, NC. In July 2022, he returned “home.” Becoming chancellor of an institution he loved was an “opportunity of a lifetime,” said Dr. Volety.


Sweat Equity

“This role allows me to give back to an institution that has given and taught me so much,” he said. “I have an emotional connection with UNCW. I started several programs in the College of Arts and Sciences in collaboration with faculty and staff. There's a lot of sweat equity invested into the institution. There's also the familiarity with the place and the people. It seemed like everything was aligned.”

A contributing factor in his decision to return to UNCW is the faculty’s and staff's passion and pride for the university.

“They make this a great place,” he said. “They are dedicated and passionate working with students, helping ensure that engaged learning is a part of our DNA. While we are a regional institution, the aspirations are beyond. The research conducted by faculty, staff and students exceeds far beyond this region, the state and the nation. Another thing I love about UNCW is the healthy balance between teaching, scholarship and service.”


During his time as CAS dean, Dr. Volety guided the implementation of several innovative programs, expanded the number of experiential learning opportunities, funded faculty professional development initiatives and increased the college’s fundraising efforts. Through his collaborative efforts with the Chancellor's Office and the Division for University Advancement, Dr. Volety secured a $5 million gift from Quality Chemical Laboratories in 2018, the largest corporate donation in UNCW's history at the time.

Dr. Volety is spending the first six months of his tenure learning about the institution from the perspective of its top leader, as UNCW has grown and evolved since he left in 2019.

“I knew the institution in a different capacity and a different time,” he explained. “I have changed over the last three years, and so has UNCW. I need to understand the institution, what we’re doing and why we’re doing those things.”

Shortly after arriving on campus in July, Dr. Volety spent time visiting with students, faculty and staff to hear their goals and aspirations for UNCW. His listening sessions also included the broader community and business leaders. The region has shifted from an agriculture and tourism-based economy to more tourism and knowledgebased, said Dr. Volety, and it’s important to learn how UNCW can support the changing economy.

“We need to make sure that we are creating programs that meet the region’s economic needs. That means starting new programs like allied health, analytics, computer science and cybersecurity,” he continued. “How can we serve the region’s economic needs and create community engagement opportunities for its citizens?”

Providing constituents a seat at the table to discuss UNCW’s future is important to the chancellor. He described his leadership style as “participatory governance,” where he will seek broad feedback. His decisions will be driven by the best interest of the students, faculty and staff who are “the life of the institution,” he said. Dr. Volety will also draw from his broad experience as a faculty member and scientist.

“It’s good for me to consider these multiple perspectives, coupled with my experiences, and make decisions in the institution’s best interests,” said Dr. Volety. “I always give the reasons behind my decisions. I hope that even if you disagree with the decision at the end of the day, we appreciate each other's perspective.”

Being a parent of teenage daughters also gives Dr. Volety insight into the needs of students and their parents. “I have a sense of what they are going through,” he said. “I’m more understanding and empathetic.”


Humble Beginnings

Dr. Volety came from modest means. He and his brother grew up in a one-room house in the port city of Visakhapatnam, India. The room served as the bedroom, sitting room and study. He began his education at age two and finished high school at 15, obtaining his bachelor’s (at 18) and his master’s degree in zoology from Andhra University in India (at 20), and his Ph.D. from the College of William & Mary in Virginia.. He intended to follow in his aunt's footsteps to become a medical doctor, but missed the medical entrance exam by a single point.

“As a first-generation student who comes from a low-income family, what made a difference in my life was my education and the support of my family, friends and mentors,” he said. “Doors were opened for me. It didn’t just change my life; it changed the trajectory of my family. My kids can dream of possibilities because of the education my wife and I had and the opportunities we were given by this great country. That’s what education does.”

Dr. Volety began his academic career in 1999 as an assistant professor of marine science at Florida Gulf Coast University. He spent 15 years there as a prominent researcher and educator. Former Florida Gulf Coast President Wilson G. Bradshaw was among Dr. Volety's mentors who encouraged him to take on leadership roles. He became a department chair, director of the Vester Marine and Environmental Sciences Field Station, and later interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

“President Bradshaw and Provost Ron Toll mentored me and wanted me to stay at Florida Gulf Coast, but I felt it was time for someone else to take the place to the next level. I applied to UNCW as the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and it was a great fit given my marine science background and the university’s student-centered focus,” said Dr. Volety.

Measuring Success

The excitement of making a difference is what drives Dr. Volety each day. “I want to make sure every student at UNCW has opportunities and experiences similar to those that made a difference in my life,” he said.

Dr. Volety turns to his hobbies – gardening and cooking – to relax and process his day. Those activities, along with spending time with his family, help him stay grounded.

“I have to balance multiple perspectives and competing interests, but at the end of the day, I don’t take anything personally and I don’t take it home,” he said. “I’m dealing with these things as the person in the position. When I go home, I’m a dad, I’m a husband, and so I want to be present.”

Dr. Volety noted he doesn’t measure success by his achievements but by how he and others equip students with the skills they need to achieve their dreams.

“Every student who works with me, I tell them, ‘I measure my success based on your success. I don't want you to be like me; I want you to be better than me.’”

About Chancellor Aswani K. Volety

 Former Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Elon University

 Former Dean of UNCW’s renowned College of Arts & Sciences and the Executive Director of the Center for Marine Science

 Recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship to France

Family: Wife, UNCW Associate Professor of Oceanography Dr. Ai Ning Loh, and two children, Uma and Mia

What’s on his playlist: Various podcasts, including “Hidden Brain” and “A History of the World in 100 Objects”

Books: Anything from mystery to macroeconomics and geopolitics

Hobbies: Cooking and gardening

Learn more about Chancellor Volety at uncw.edu/meetchancellor-volety


Believing They Belong

Coastal ROOTS initiative jump-starts new Seahawks’ college experience

Aniya Harvey, a UNCW freshman from a rural high school in Dudley, NC, was motivated to attend college to set an example for her four siblings. The first in her family to attend college, Harvey said she felt a sense of obligation to her family, despite her fears and financial barriers.

“This program has helped me see and get a taste of what the next four years will be like while also getting a jumpstart on my classes and GPA.”
– Aniya Harvey

“I was concerned about the leap from high school to college, but I wanted to make my family proud and show my brother, who has a disability, that he can do whatever he puts his mind to,” Harvey said.

UNCW helped Harvey and a handful of other new freshmen embark on their college journey through the Coastal ROOTS (Restoring Our Opportunities Toward Success) initiative, a new pilot program established in 2022 to support UNCW students with wraparound services to help them be successful.

“It is important that each ROOTS scholar begins to feel like a Seahawk,” said College of Health and Human Services Assistant Dean for Student Success and Coastal ROOTS Institute program coordinator Sheri Shaw. “ROOTS is the intentional jump-start to UNCW and the next phase of their education. It’s vital that they understand the importance of relationships and connections as well as the resources available to them for identity development and for personal and academic success.”

Coastal ROOTS’ mission is to enhance the new student experience by fostering a sense of campus and cultural belonging, promoting student engagement, providing educational enrichment, and encouraging personal empowerment to ensure student success at UNCW and beyond.

Coastal ROOTS supports incoming first-year students from the following backgrounds: first-generation students, students from rural counties, students who identify in a marginalized group (BIPOC), students who are Pell Granteligible, student-athletes and out-of-state students.



Currently, five staff members from the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, the College of Health and Human Services Student Success Center, Admissions, Financial Aid and the University Learning Center oversee Coastal ROOTS; however, the program is widely supported by partners in nearly every facet of campus including the Chancellor’s senior cabinet, Housing and Residence Life, Transition Programs and the Division for University Advancement.

The program has two phases: Summer Enrichment Experience Developing Scholars (SEEDS) and Students Headed Into New Endeavors (SHINE). SEEDS begins the summer before freshman year, and SHINE begins in the fall of freshman year and continues throughout the college experience. Shaw, a UNCW and Clocktower Society member, is hopeful SHINE can fold into current campus initiatives to help further integrate campus resources and opportunities such as learning communities, research, scholarships and more.

The first cohort of students, fondly nicknamed “The Talented 12” by program leaders, participated in the four-week SEEDS summer session this past July to prepare for their freshman year. During the jam-packed month, the students lived in a residence hall, completed two classes – earning six required academic credits in Math 111 and English 101 – participated in study halls twice a day and learned about resources on campus such as the University Learning Center, the Career Center and Randall Library.

Program themes include financial literacy, career preparedness and networking, cultural awareness, social and community engagement, academic excellence, critical thinking, writing and study skills, time management and mindfulness, and research and scholarship.

“It’s critical that students believe in themselves,” explained Dr. Donyell Roseboro, UNCW chief diversity officer. “We want to build their confidence so they feel strong enough and talented enough to believe they belong here and then can mentor someone else. Once they learn these skills, they have a responsibility to help someone else, and they will feel equipped and have the leadership skills to do it.”

Joandy Martinez-Reyes received the email to apply for Coastal ROOTS in May, and he knew right away he wanted to participate.

“The only thing that came to my mind was opportunity,” Martinez-Reyes said. “To have the chance to get ahead in classes, network, grow and progress as a student—to me, it is honestly just amazing.”

Martinez-Reyes attended a small high school in Columbus County, where he developed a passion for being a leader and role model. He plans to become involved in UNCW’s Centro Hispano and aspires to become student body president.

“The entire college process has been a barrier for me because I’ve had to navigate most of the process on my own,” said Martinez-Reyes. “I was worried that it would be incredibly difficult – applying for financial aid, completing college applications and living away from home – but as long as I kept at it, I found a way, and thankfully I made it here.”


“Coastal ROOTS set a standard of how I need to manage my time. When I started freshman year, I felt 10 times more comfortable that I could make it work.”

The SEEDS summer session also included enrichment opportunities from community partners like Live Oak Bank and the YWCA. Live Oak Bank donated laptop computers to the program and met with students weekly

about financial literacy, budgeting, and nurturing their talents and ideas for small businesses. The YWCA provided a case study that the students collaborated on to gain real-world experiences with problem solving, resume building and work experience.

For Ethan Newsome, a student-athlete and member of the UNCW Men’s Soccer Team, Coastal ROOTS appealed to him because he needed to build better habits and learn time management before embarking on his freshman year.

“I did not do well with COVID,” explained Newsome, who explained that poor decision making, lack of motivation and difficulty navigating online learning all contributed to poor habits. “Coastal ROOTS set me on better footing for how to manage my time juggling athletic practices and academics. I feel ahead of the game by knowing campus resources I can utilize, professors and mentors like Ms. Sheri that I can talk to, and I already have friends within the group.”

When Newsome aced his first two math quizzes during the summer session, he said it built his confidence and calmed his doubts about being college-ready.

“I felt confident that I wouldn’t start school as an average freshman feeling lost or scared or anxious,” Newsome said. “Coastal ROOTS has given me the tools to be successful.”

“A program like Coastal ROOTS is incredibly helpful to those who don’t have that push from family and mentors to go through the college process.”
– Joandy Martinez-Reyes

Different Disciplines, One Goal

Interdepartmental research team seeks to understand how sea sponges affect their environment

Off the coast of Belize lies a little postage-stamp sized island called Carrie Bow Cay. There, the Smithsonian Institution’s Caribbean Coral Reef Ecosystems Program is providing opportunities for UNCW students and faculty to further their cutting-edge research on sea sponges and how they affect the overall health of coral reefs.


An interdepartmental seven-person team representing UNCW’s Center for Marine Science and the departments of Biology and Marine Biology; Chemistry and Biochemistry; and Earth and Ocean Sciences will embark on an expedition next spring to gather sponge and water samples from the Mesoamerican Caribbean barrier reef next to Carrie Bow Cay.

The research, federally funded by a new National Science Foundation grant of nearly $1 million, is at the forefront of coral reef ecology exploration. UNCW scientists want to know more about what sea sponges are doing to their environment as they process the large volumes of seawater they pump every day.

“This work represents leading research to address basic but unknown questions about how reef ecosystems –which are critical for biodiversity – function,” said Dr. Ken Halanych, executive director of UNCW’s Center for Marine Science. “One of the novel aspects of this grant is scientists from several different disciplines are coming together to address the same issue from multiple different angles.”

Principal investigator Dr. Wendy Strangman, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and her team, Dr. Joe Pawlik, Frank Hawkins Kenan Distinguished Professor in Marine Sciences; Dr. Winifred Johnson, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry; and Dr. Ralph Mead, professor of Earth and ocean sciences; collaborated on the research proposal.

“We know that sponges are taking over the reef as coral health declines,” Dr. Strangman said. “Caribbean reefs of the future are likely going to be dominated by sponges, so we are trying to understand their impact on the nutrition in the seawater around the reefs.”

PHOTO: Courtesy of Smithsonian MarineGEO A giant barrel sponge pumps fluorescein dye on a reef in the Bahamas Islands. SmithsonianMarineGEO
“This work represents leading research to address basic but unknown questions about how reef ecosystems – which are critical for biodiversity – function.”
– CMS Executive Director Ken Halanych

The team will gather water samples before and after they are processed by sponges and bring samples back to the CMS labs to learn more about what dissolved compounds the sponges are absorbing and what effect it is having on nutrients and other chemicals in the water column.

Dr. Pawlik compares these dissolved compounds to sugar added to a cup of hot coffee. The sugar dissolves; however, the compound still exists in the liquid and can be absorbed as food, measured and analyzed. In previous studies, Dr. Pawlik’s students determined that most of the diet of giant barrel sponges on Caribbean reefs is made up of dissolved compounds, but the identity of these compounds remains largely unknown.

“Any information we can gather about the identities of these compounds will be new information to science,” said Dr. Pawlik, one of the world’s leading sponge ecologists. “Until recently, we haven’t had the techniques to answer these questions.”

The team will also develop an outreach component of the project that will share their marine science knowledge with Wilmington community groups such as UNCW MarineQuest summer programs.

Each of the four investigators brings a different set of skills to the project. For example, Dr. Strangman specializes in isolating and identifying more complex dissolved compounds in the seawater mix, while Dr. Johnson uses new techniques to quantify the simpler compounds that may play the largest role as food for sponges and other members of the reef environment.

The researchers will also study the role of seaweeds, or algae, on the reef. Algae produce a complex mixture of dissolved compounds, and the researchers want to determine the role of sponges in removing these compounds as they pump reef seawater.

Previously, Lauren Olinger, a Ph.D. student working for the last five years in both Drs. Strangman and Pawlik’s labs, discovered for the first time that sponges

can absorb compounds called organohalides, often made by bacteria and algae. Organohalides include the elements chlorine and bromine, and many of these compounds are toxic. The team will continue building on Olinger’s breakthrough research to better identify these compounds and where they come from.

“I’m excited to see this research expand to our new collaborators,” said Olinger. “I’m also looking forward to transitioning from the role of student to one where I get to be a part of this team as a mentor to incoming graduate and post-doctoral scholars. Not many students get to be a part of a team that crosses departments. To go from chemistry to ocean science to biology is challenging but also really interesting and insightful.”

“The UNCW team’s Caribbean sponge research stands out as a collaborative project,” said Stuart Borrett, associate provost for research and innovation. “One of the best ways to discover new knowledge is to approach existing questions from many angles. This project will help us better understand our oceans, the systems within it, and human impact on those systems.”

While at Carrie Bow Cay, the research team will live in breathtakingly beautiful but primitive conditions—an open-air shack outfitted with four-inch mattresses on boards, a basic roof and the option of a composting toilet or an outhouse at the end of a small dock. Common sights during their two-week stay will be sea turtles nesting on the beach, fist-sized land hermit crabs that form a living carpet on the sands at night, numerous sharks that regularly bump into scuba divers while they work underwater, and unforgettable views of some of the most pristine reefs in the Caribbean.

“Once we return to the CMS labs at UNCW,” Dr. Strangman said, “then the real work begins: running samples through our analytical instruments and diving into the data that we generate to turn that into information we can use.”


SEA Sponge Research Team

“The UNCW team’s Caribbean sponge research stands out as a collaborative project. One of the best ways to discover new knowledge is to approach existing questions from many angles. This project will help us better understand our oceans, the systems within it, and human impact on those systems.”
– Stuart Borrett, Associate Provost for Research and Innovation
(L TO R) Ralph Mead, Wendy Strangman, Joseph Pawlik, Lauren Olinger and Winifred Johnson are collaborating to learn more about sea sponges.


The largest and most ambitious campaign in UNC Wilmington history, Like No Other: The Campaign for UNCW, has surpassed its initial goal and is stretching to $125 million.

Scan QR Code to see howcampaigndonors aremakingadifference.

At the onset of the campaign, which publicly launched in February 2021, the initial goals were to secure $100 million and 50,000 alumni gifts. Both of those marks have already been surpassed.

“It is our confidence in our alumni and donors, and our shared commitment to a powerful student-centered experience, that has emboldened us to stretch the campaign goal to $125 million,”
Chancellor Aswani K. Volety said. “The UNCW experience is truly like no other, and together we will make it more accessible and affordable for future Seahawks.”

New Scholarships Established

243 + 114




“When I learned I was the recipient of a donor-funded scholarship, I was overjoyed. I was, and still am, extremely thankful and humbled by the generosity of someone who doesn't even know me. It is making a huge difference in my education. I will never forget the generosity of a stranger.”

~ Sarah Johnson, 2021-22 recipient of the New Hanover Regional Medical Center Auxiliary Scholarship


Participation is Critical

 

Alumni giving improves the university’s ranking in U.S. News & World Report, making every graduate’s degree more valuable.

Every gift matters! 86% of campaign gifts are less than $250, and each one adds up to make a big impact.

Since 2015, $40.2 million in new gifts have been added to the endowment. At the start of the campaign, UNCW’s endowment was $86 million. As of June 30, 2022, $156 million.


Donors are always encouraged to give to the area of the university that is personally meaningful. Of the $100,994,089 raised, donors directed their dollars accordingly:

Paying It Forward

“We know we have been very fortunate to have the opportunity to go to a place like UNCW, play on a scholarship and use that as a catalyst to put us on a successful career path. That success needs to be given back to others. Vaughn and I looked at what really helped us during our time at UNCW, and a huge catalyst for us was having a scholarship.”

~ Krista Reynolds, ’99 The Vaughn and Krista Reynolds Athletics Scholarship in Business

Arts and Sciences Health and Human Services Unrestricted Support Athletics Other (including scholarship support) Education Business 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 44% Friends 40% Alumni 1% Other 4% Corporations 7% Parents 2% Employees 2% Students
UNCW has raised nearly $101 million to date from more than 32,000 donors since the campaign began in 2015

Recruiting and Retaining Top-Notch Talent is Key

UNCW faculty place the highest value on teaching, research and service. As mentors during a student’s time on campus and well beyond, faculty serve as a critical link binding our strong Seahawk family.

“I have so enjoyed my time in the department and the honor of being a distinguished professor. It has been a dream come true; I have been able to do everything I've wanted to do. I found a group of colleagues who are extremely supportive.”

~ Dr. Joseph Pawlik, UNCW Frank Hawkins Kenan Distinguished Professor of Marine Biology

We’ve leveraged our unique strengths to chart our future by raising more than $100 million. And we're not done yet! Give now at giving.uncw.edu.

9 New Distinguished Professorships have been established in these areas: Psychology Pharmaceutical Chemistry (2) Business Business Analytics Supply Chain Information Systems Accounting Marine Biology
you for your support!

Coffee Talk

With two locations within walking distance of campus, Social Coffee & Supply Co. brings Seahawks together.


Owners Rachel ’14 and Giovanni Ellzey ’15 have a passion for gathering people. With their business, Social Coffee, they hope to make a difference one cup of coffee at a time.

The two opened their first café on Wrightsville Avenue in a former residential home in February 2019. When it came time to open a second location, another residential home became available and the welcoming, community feel continued when the café on Oriole Drive opened in April 2022.

The couple enjoys serving and employing many UNCW students while remaining connected to the university.

“We wanted to be close to campus because we loved being in coffee shops as students,” Rachel said. “We wanted to serve that same community.” The cafe location happened to be a home, and that became part of their branding and atmosphere. “This is who we are,” Rachel added. “We want people to feel like they're at home when they're hanging out with us.”

“Our favorite thing about coffee is the way it can bring people together. We wanted to make a place where people belong.”

Talking Shop

The Alumni-Owned Business Directory is one way the UNCW Alumni Association connects the Seahawk family and makes it easier to support each other across town, throughout the country and around the globe. Relaunched in the summer of 2022, the directory allows users to search by industry or state. It now contains more than 150 entries (feel free to add your own!).

“The UNCW Alumni-Owned Business Directory was initially published in fall 2020 as a way to support alumni and their businesses, as well as encourage people to #ShopSeahawk for Small Business Saturday,” Assistant Director of Alumni Engagement Samantha Cleary ’15 said. “During the past few months, our team has updated the directory and featured

you want to #ShopSeahawk? Support local businesses? Simply cheer on UNCW alumni in their professional

alumni-owned businesses in the Cape Fear region as part of our Seahawk Showcase. We’ve highlighted Social Coffee & Supply Co., The Barkington, N. Sea Oyster Company and Coastal Pines Dental. We are looking forward to featuring more each year and showing Seahawk spirit in entrepreneurship.”

Rachel ’14 and Giovanni Ellzey ’15 are the owners of Wilmington’s Social Coffee & Supply Co., which opened its second location in April (see page 28 for more on this business).

“We wanted to be close to campus because we remembered how much we loved being in coffee shops as students,” Rachel said. “We want to serve that same community.”

Alumni-owned businesses cover event services, retail, surfing lessons, construction and much more, including Wilmington’s first luxury dog hotel.

“The Barkington experience mimics home for a dog,” said Lourdes Perez-Montes ’15, ’20M, co-owner of The Barkington. “The dogs are completely spoiled, like they should be. Owners feel completely settled, like they should. It works out for everybody.”

Whether it’s supporting Small Business Saturday, looking for a Seahawk date night restaurant or wanting another way to connect with UNCW, the Alumni-Owned Business Directory is the place to start!


class notes 1960s

Ellen Dunn Wells ’69, a UNCW Society member, established The Ellen Dunn Wells Scholarship in Education to assist students pursuing a degree offered by the Watson College of Education.


Matt Wight ’81, ’92M retired from the Wake County Public School System in June 2022. A principal since 1999, he earned WCPSS Principal of the Year in 2008 and was the North Central Region Principal of the Year in 2009.

Ashley McCumber ’84 is president and CEO of the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina.

The RSM Scholarship in Accounting was created by Morris B. Marshburn ’85 and the RSM US Foundation to recognize the long-standing relationship between the donor, RSM and the Cameron School of Business. The scholarship will be used to assist students pursuing a degree offered by the Department of Accountancy and Business Law.

Towana Moore ’85, ’93M is vice president for administration and finance at James Madison University (VA).

Caroline ’85 and Ralph Reda established The Caroline '85 and Ralph Reda Scholarship in Engineering to assist students pursuing degrees offered in Coastal Engineering or Intelligent Systems Engineering.

Board of Trustees member Malcomb Coley ’86, ’89M, a Wilmington Society, UNCW Society and Clocktower Society member, is the central region private leader and Charlotte managing partner for Ernst and Young. He is a member of the Charlotte Business Journal's inaugural Power 100 class.

Todd Yeatts ’87 was named executive vice president of manufacturing advancement by The Institute for Advancing Learning and Research in Danville, VA.

Lloyd Hinnant ’88, a member of the UNCW and Clocktower Societies, was appointed to the UNCW Alumni Board of Directors.

Shannon Penberthy ’88, ’91M was part of Operation Warp Speed, whose efforts made COVID-19 vaccinations nationwide.


Edward Davis ’91 was named a 2022 Distinguished Store Director by Harris Teeter Supermarkets Inc.

David Smith ’92 was the 2021-22 Teacher of the Year at Hough High School in Cornelius, NC. The award capped his 30th year as a teacher and coach.

Robert Tripp ’92 accepted a position as curriculum coordinator with UNCW's University College.

Lisa Gallagher Esposito ’94 was promoted to director of human resources for CPA.com. Based in New York, CPA.com is a leading developer and distributor of innovative technology solutions for CPAs and businesses.

Donna Chadwick ’95 was named Onslow County School’s Assistant Principal of the Year for 2020-21. She is the principal of Summersill Elementary in Onslow County for 2022-23.

Brock Hochhalter ’95 is area general manager at Marriott International in Santo Domingo.

Wanda Coley ’96, a UNCW Society member, was appointed to the UNCW Alumni Board of Directors.

Heather Starck ’96 is executive director of CORAL Reef Alliance, a nonprofit that works at local, regional and global levels to keep coral reefs healthy.

Amy Hardison Tully ’96 was named Texas Christian University’s Teresa Ann Carter King Dean of the College of Fine Arts. Tully is the inaugural holder of the endowed deanship, named in honor of Teresa King, a lifelong supporter of the arts at TCU.

Craig Irwin ’97 is vice president of global sales for PKWARE, an enterprise data protection software company headquartered in Milwaukee, WI.

Sarah Rideout ’97 is the program director of Community Care of the Lower Cape Fear. She is overseeing a Healthy Opportunities pilot project, the nation’s first comprehensive program to test and evaluate the impact of providing evidence-based, non-medical interventions related to housing, food, transportation and interpersonal safety and toxic stress to high-needs Medicaid enrollees.

Jeff Bell ’98 is director of the North Carolina Arts Council. He is the executive director of the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park and Museum and Arts Innovation Coordinator for the city of Wilson, NC.

Travis Humble ’98 was named director of the Quantum Science Center, headquartered at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (TN). The QSC spans industry, academia and government institutions to unlock the full potential of quantum materials, sensors and algorithms.

Cynthia Najdowski ’98 received the American Psychological Association's Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest. She is an associate professor and director of the social and personality psychology doctoral program at the University at Albany.

Jorge Gomez Tejada ’98 was the April cover story for Forbes Ecuador. The first LGBT CEO of a major Ecuadorian institution, Tejada is president of the University Promotion Corporation, the not-for-profit corporation that created Universidad San Francisco de Quito, where he is a professor.


Sean Dyer ’00 was promoted to director of health and safety for DeAngelis Diamond Construction, an awardwinning construction management firm headquartered in Naples, FL.

Cameron Pearson ’00 joined Union Home Mortgage in Wilmington as branch manager.

Lisa Wurtzbacher ’00, ’01M is assistant county manager for New Hanover County.

Joshua Little ’02 was named Sales Producer of the Year for Under 65 Products with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina for the third consecutive year and fifth time overall.

Amanda McGann ’02 is pursuing a doctorate in social work at Simmons University in Boston. She graduated with a master's in social work from Hunter College in 2011.

Melissa Singler ’02, ’04M, president of Robeson Community College, was featured in a Trailblazer Profile for EdNC. The features highlight and celebrate the work of Asian, Black, Indigenous and Latin leaders in the North Carolina Community College System.

Stephanie Lanier ’03, ’07M, a Clocktower Society member and past chair of the UNCW Alumni Association, launched a podcast, “The Inspiration Lab.”

Drew Pittman ’03, a member of the UNCW and Clocktower Societies, and Keith Beatty founded the Beatty Pittman Team, a Wilmington real estate agency.

April Query ’03, ’06M, ’17EdD was promoted to assistant vice president of college access and community outreach at the College Foundation of North Carolina, where she has worked for 16 years.

Lolita Bryant ’04, ’11M, a member of the UNCW Society, was recognized as the 2022 UNCW Alumni Association Distinguished Citizen of the Year.

Mandi Campbell ’04 is principal of Kannapolis Middle School in Kannapolis, NC.

Troy Carlton ’04 wrote and directed Birdies, a golf comedy filmed in Wilmington.

Michael Conley ’04 is assistant city manager of Cayce, SC.

Matthew Heald ’04 was appointed to the Board of Visitors by the High Point University Board of Trustees.

Bradley Hutchens ’04 is a dental practice sales specialist with 3M. His territory covers the eastern half of NC.

Andy Almeter ’05, ’09M is president of Wilmington-based human resources consulting firm Leath Consulting Group LLC, parent company of Leath HR Group.

Dana Cronkhite ’05, ’13 was named economic development director for Dickenson County, VA.

Donald Hall ’05 was appointed to the University of North Carolina at Pembroke Board of Visitors.

Anna Kooiman ’05 returned to her hometown of Charlotte, NC, to host a “female-focused” lifestyle show at WCCB and Bahakel Communications. She is the founder of Strong Sexy Mammas, a fitness coaching business.


class notes

René Lewis ’05, ’07M was named second year co-director for the Academy for Teaching and Learning Excellence at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Atlas Cheek III ’06 founded Lady Bird Mixer Co., a non-alcoholic sparkling mixer company based in Austin, TX.

Eric Veal ’06 became owner and president of Interactive Knowledge Inc., a Charlottebased digital firm focused on web development, content strategy, visual design and social media management.

Crystal Howard ’07M, ’15EdD is principal of White Oak Elementary School in Cape Carteret, NC.

Haleigh Beyer Hughes ’07 was named events manager at Apiture, a Wilmingtonbased fintech firm that supports financial institutions across the nation.

Amanda Knauff ’07 was selected to be a part of this year's WILMA Leadership Institute and opened a new physical therapy practice in Hampstead, NC.

Jennifer Beninate ’08, ’14M, a third-grade teacher at Four Oaks Elementary, was named the 2022 Johnston County Teacher of the Year.

Rachel Davis ’08, ’13M purchased Advance Mechanical Inc. Heating and Air, an HVAC contractor in Pitt County, NC.

Miriam Parker ’08M, a member of the UNCW and Clocktower Societies, published Room and Board (Penguin, 2022), a novel about unexpected second chances. The book follows a high-powered publicist who, after the sudden implosion of her career, takes a job as a dorm mom at a Sonoma boarding school, her alma mater.

Amelia Morris ’09M was recognized for her novel Wildcat (Flatiron Books, 2022), about mean girls and motherhood in the Instagram age.



the Outer Banks (The History Press, 2022). The book shines the spotlight on seven littleknown, impactful women in the history of the Outer Banks, from the arrival of the first Europeans to the recent past.


Nicole Yatsonsky ’09 was accepted into UNCW’s MFA in creative writing program.


Matthew Powell ’10 is a member of the Wor-Wic Community College Foundation Board of Directors. The college is located in Salisbury, MD.

Bunn West published her latest Remarkable Women of
GIVING HAS NEVER BEEN EASIER. The UNCW experience is truly like no other. Together we can make it more accessible and affordable for future Seahawks. Now accepting Google Pay, Apple Pay, Venmo and PayPal *Payment options available based on access within your device. uncw.edu/giveonline 34 UNCW MAGAZINE

Michael Powell ’10 and his business partners opened two new locations of Drift Coffee and Kitchen (downtown Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach). The group hopes to open more locations in North Carolina and along the coast.

Daniel Bowling ’11, a doctoral student at NC State University, will study oyster habitats over the next two years as a Margaret A. Davidson Fellow recipient at the North Carolina Coastal Reserve and National Estuarine Research Reserve. The fellowship provides funding to graduate students to conduct estuarine research within one of the 30 reserves in the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s National Estuarine Research Reserve System.

Nicholas Corak ’11 received the North Carolina Space Grant and North Carolina Sea Grant Graduate Research Fellowship. Through partnerships with coastal agencies, including The Nature Conservancy and the Audubon Society, he will identify coastal study sites where prescribed burns occur regularly. Using satellite remote sensing from NASA and on-site measurements, he will record the growth stages and recovery of vegetation before and after prescribed fires in coastal North Carolina.

Lindsay Wright Garcia ’11 joined the Blowing Rock Tourism Development Authority as a content manager. She focuses on promoting local activities, businesses and mountain lifestyle through various platforms.

Lauren Henderson ’12M is director of finance and administration for the Good Sheperd Center in Wilmington, NC.

Cristobal Montero ’12, ’16M, a member of the Clocktower Society, received the 2022 UNCW Alumni Association Distinguished Diversity Award.

Caitlin Northcutt ’12, ’14M was named a 2022 Association for Psychological Science Rising Star, which recognizes the innovative work of members in the early stages of their post-Ph.D. careers.

Kayla Anderson ’13, ’17M, a third-grade teacher at Meadow View Elementary School in Onslow County, was named Teacher of the Year.

Ashley Beavis ’13 earned a Ph.D. in infectious diseases from the University of Georgia.

Sarah Marriott ’13, ’15M was a finalist for the highly competitive 2023 John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship Program, which gives professional-level students hands-on experiences transferring science to policy and management through one-year appointments with federal government offices in Washington, D.C. She is currently finishing her Ph.D. at the University of Southern Mississippi.

Jamin Stover ’13 accepted the position of afloat recreation specialist with the U.S. Navy.

Peter Baker ’14M released his first novel, Planes (Knopf, 2022).

Michael Bracy ’14EdD is serving as interim superintendent of Pender County Schools.

Anna Chastain ’14 is ranked among the top 10 ultimate frisbee players worldwide. She was a member of the mixed men’s and women's Team USA in the 2022 World Games in Birmingham, AL.

Lilia Aghzafi ’15, ’16, ’21M was hired as the executive coordinator for Florida-based Keepin' It Real Entertainment, LLC.

Nicole Bravo ’15 is a clinical trial administrator with PSI CRO, a pharmaceutical company in Durham County, NC.

Michelle Either ’15M is the Atlantic Beach planning director.

D'Aja Fulmore ’15 signed a major film deal with Homestead Entertainment, a global distribution company with offices in Los Angeles and New York.

Dina Greenberg ’15M published her debut novel, Nermina's Chance (Atmosphere Press, 2022), about Bosnian women and trauma from war.

Jason Hess ’15M, a children’s librarian with Forsyth County Public Library in Winston Salem, was profiled by WHQR’s “Where Are They Now?” feature.

Carynne Jarrell ’15, a member of the Clocktower Society, graduated from The Ohio State University's John Glenn College of Public Affairs with a Master of Public Administration degree.

James Potter McNab


James McNab, who served UNCW in many capacities, passed away in 2022. During his tenure from 1989-2006, he chaired the Foreign Languages Department and served as the assistant provost for international programs in addition to teaching classes in French.

A native of Scotland, he received an honors degree in languages (German and French) from the University of Edinburgh, becoming the first member of his family to earn a university degree. After graduation from Edinburgh, he taught at the University of Nice. Afterward, he accepted a one-year appointment at Virginia Tech and traveled to America for the first time. He then enrolled in a three-year Ph.D. program in French with a German minor at Duke University.

He returned to VT in 1971 and in 1975 became the head of its foreign language department. Three years later, he accepted an offer from Guilford College to chair its foreign language department.

He served as review editor for French Review, the official journal of the American Association of Teachers of French, head of the Foreign Language Association of North Carolina and the North Carolina Association of Teachers of French and lectured internationally.

He leaves behind his wife of 58 years Babette, sons Alec and Julien and five grandchildren.


class notes

Alicia Mills ’15 is assistant director of career development at Elon University School of Law.

Riley Stephenson ’15, who serves on the UNCW Alumni Board of Directors and is a member of the UNCW and Clocktower Societies, works with the Decision Point Wealth Consulting team at UBS Financial Services Inc., Wilmington. He received his CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation.

Samantha Taylor ’15 joined Tonkin Torp Litigation Department, a law firm in Portland, OR.

Samantha Athey ’16, ’18M was the founding president of the UNCW Plastic Ocean Project student chapter in 2015. She completed her Ph.D. at the University of Toronto and was recently hired as scientific education and outreach coordinator for POP.

Rachel ’14 and Giovanni Ellzey ’16 opened a second location of Social Coffee and Supply Co. in Wilmington (see story p. 26).

Christopher Jelley ’16 joined Monumental Sports and Entertainment as a graphic designer for the Washington Capitals and Wizards after working with the Charlotte Hornets for more than six years.

Peyton Derrow ’17 joined Cranfill Sumner LLP's Wilmington office as an associate attorney. He focuses on civil litigation with an emphasis on admiralty and maritime law and construction law.

Myles Dillard ’17 received a master’s from NC State in May and works for the school's athletic department as an assistant academic coordinator.

Haley Haynes ’17 graduated from Campbell University law school in May 2021 and was commissioned as a JAG officer in the United States Army in January 2022.

Colby Sawyer ’17, ’20M was named public information officer/emergency management coordinator for the town of Pittsboro, NC.

Sabrina Steigelman ’17M was listed in the Fayetteville Observer’s 40 Under 40 Class of 2022.

Angela Thomas ’17M earned a Ph.D. in Behavior Analysis from Western Michigan University.

Kinza Kirkman ’18 and Mallory Knight joined forces as artists and mothers to form a business dedicated to encouraging artistic expression.

Chris Ladner ’18M was promoted to CFO at Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage.

Arely Ramirez Diaz ’19 was recognized with the 2022 UNCW Alumni Association Distinguished Young Alumna of the Year award.


Shareeka Brunson ’20M was listed in the Fayetteville Observer's 40 Under 40 Class of 2022.

Bailey Donahue ’20, ’21M was featured in an article on Children of Fallen Patriots, a nonprofit organization that provides financial and educational support to military children who have lost a parent in the line of duty in their college years.

Grey Oakes ’20 released his first album, Introvert, inspired by his drives back and forth from the Triad to UNCW.

Julia Singer ’20 was the May 2022 commencement speaker at American University's School of Public Affairs ceremony.

Maurice M. Martinez

June 20, 1934 - September 12, 2022

Maurice M. Martinez Jr., UNCW professor emeritus, poet, musician, writer and documentary filmmaker, passed away on Sept. 12, 2022 at 88.

He was born in New Orleans to Mildred and Maurice Martinez Sr., founders of the Martinez Kindergarten School in the 7th Ward, the first for Black children in Louisiana. Wynton Marsalis, Sidney Barthelemy and Andrew Young are among its former students.

He earned a bachelor’s from Xavier University of Louisiana, a master’s and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. He taught for 51 years – eight in New Orleans at J. S. Clark and Carver Senior High School, 24 at Hunter College and 19 at UNCW –before retiring.

Maurice left his mark on Wilmington’s cultural scene, organizing and participating in poetry readings on campus and around town. He hosted “North Carolina Blue Notes,” a 15-part series on National Public Radio about jazz, blues and R&B musicians born in North Carolina. He took second

place at Wilmington's North Carolina Black Film Festival for “The Piano Entertainer: Stompin’ Grenoldo Frazier,” a documentary about the late Wilmington music legend.

His 1976 film “The Black Indians of New Orleans,” based on a book he authored, screened internationally. Spike Lee used footage from the documentary in his 2006 film, “When the Levees Broke.”

Survivors include his wife of nearly 50 years Marjorie Lu Martinez, sons Maurice Miles Martinez and Torin Joseph Martinez, sister Josepha Weston and many grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

Donations in his memory may be made to the Dr. Maurice M. Martinez Music Scholarship Fund at the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music, 1901 Bartholomew Street, New Orleans, LA 70117 or online at ellismarsaliscenter.org/donate

Photo: The New Orleans Tribune

Jenn Slade ’20 is a manual therapist and owner of Three Waves Bodywork in Wilmington. She helps her clients understand the importance of fascia, a thin casing of connective tissue that surrounds and holds every organ, blood vessel, bone, nerve fiber and muscle in place.

Audrey Harding ’21 was nominated for NCAA Woman of the Year.

Riley Lewis ’21M was appointed as White Oak Waterkeeper by the Coastal Carolina Riverwatch Board of Directors.

Karly Lohan ’21M was a guest speaker for the Enrichment Lecture Series at the St. James Community Center. She presented “Offshore Wind in North Carolina,” providing a brief history of offshore wind and detailing the status of current wind generation projects off the shores of North Carolina, which are expected to grow in the coming years.

David Reese ’21, ’22M is a social worker with the Jacksonville Police Department.

Alma Sherwin ’21 welcomed a baby girl to her family in the spring of 2021.

Logan Thomas ’21 is the new owner of the 24/7 on-water boat towing and assistance company, TowBoatUS Lake Wylie. Thomas, who is also a credentialed boat surveyor and a Chapman School of Seamanship alumnus, was formerly a hired captain for the towing service.

Allison Browning ’22 is economic development coordinator for the town of Newport, NH.

Zach Kilby ’22 joined The Brunswick Beacon as staff writer and photographer.

Charity Moorhous ’22M is Wilmington’s first social worker in veterinary medicine to graduate from UNCW.

Jaylen Sims ’22 signed a training camp contract with Charlotte Hornets.

The Class Notes are compiled by the Division for University Advancement.

*Giving society recognition reflects the Feb. 1, 2022 – Sept. 30, 2022 time period.

George D. Greene ’55

Kenneth H. Bishop ’57

P. Alex Robbins ’57

Elwood E. Sanders Sr. ’57

Thomas L. Bancroft ’58

Walter T. Stephenson ’61

Isabell L. Foushee ’62

Benny E. Malpass ’62

A. Lawrence Cheek III ’63

Barbara B. Dannaher ’65

Lenwood M. King Jr. ’69

Thomas H. Walton ’70

Brenda R. Best ’71

Mary M. Southerland ’71

Christopher P. Speciale ’71

Johnny L. McGee ’72

William M. Mansfield Jr. ’73

Gregory A. Willett ’73

Bruce R. Failing ’74

Catherine R. Heglar ’74, ’91M

David E. Bellamy ’75

William A. Jackson ’75

R. Leigh Tabor ’76

James M. Deaton III ’77

Sylvia M. Elkins ’77

Thomas L. Massingale ’77

Kevin G. Walker ’77

In Memoriam


Greta A. Lint ’79

Edwin L. Finch ’80

Theodore J. Kort ’80

Donald C. Long ’80

Larry W. Williamson ’80

Thomas O. Rhyne ’81

Valerie N. Watkins ’81

Steven D. Hopp ’82

Hannah F. Ungaro ’82

Ellen C. Brown ’83

Margaret C. Ciardella ’84

Kay M. Bowman ’85

Judith L. Clark ’85

Karen B. Ferguson ’85

Constance M. Williams ’85

Donna B. Lindquist ’88M

Douglas A. Schulz ’88

Jane E. Brown ’89

Margaret E. Shoulars-Bass ’89

Joseph F. Jarman ’90

Joan M. Lynch ’90

George A. Katabian ’91

Steven D. Parker ’91

Kelly G. Petrill ’91 M. Edward Heyworth ’92

Mary R. Pyland ’93 Betty D. Murrell ’97

Daniel A. Brisson ’98

Casey E. Skudin ’00

Billy R. Wingard Jr. ’00

Jeremy S. Simpson ’01

James H. Van Dis ’01

Wade H. Plummer ’02

Joshua D. McCall ’03

David S. Mickey ’03M

Miranda J. A. West ’03

Howard L. Johnson ’04

Erica C. Ransom ’05

Dean R. Ab-Hugh ’06M

James T. Alvey III ’10

Nelyssa L. Crews ’10

Ryan B. Heffernan ’10

Stephanie A. M. Fulcher ’12

Jennifer L. Riedel ’12

Victoria A. Koller ’14, ’15

Alison M. Maultsby-McKusick ’14 William Edd Jr. ’15

Kathryn D. Meyers ’17M

Alexandra F. Gillikin ’18

Brittany M. Hammond ’18M Sherri M. Guinn ’21

Kaylah W. Russ ’21

Irving E. Fogler (non-degree) Howard Lashon Coleman II ’25


Annette C. Anderson

Maurice M. Martinez – see page 36

James P. McNab – see page 35

Jean E. Bridger

Doris C. Briley

Grace M. Burton

Thomas G. McMillan

W. Carter Mebane III

Betty J. O'Steen

Virginia F. Ono

Jeryl W. Peebles

George F. Syles

Ronald “Ron” Whittaker

at uncw.edu/alumniupdate
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