Scholarship students work to save shorelines
Alumni, assemble! Help forge UNCW’s future
WINTER • 2021
Watson College offers lifeline for teachers
New “Nests” for Seahawks....8 Suite-style residence halls Loggerhead Hall and Terrapin Hall, for freshmen and sophomores, will be ready for occupancy in the fall of 2021. The residence halls replace the former University Apartments, which were demolished after sustaining insurmountable damage from 2018’s Hurricane Florence.
Winter 2021 Volume 30 Number 2
18 FROM THE CHANCELLOR COVID-19: SPRINGING TOWARD A VACCINE GROWING WITH CARE A GRADUATION LIKE NO OTHER CELEBRATING DECADES OF CONNECTION SEAHAWK SNIPPETS ENTREPRENEURIAL PAIR FEEDS A COMMUNITY NEED
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ACTUALLY, IT IS ROCKET SCIENCE
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LIFTING SPIRITS A FUTURE LIKE NO OTHER. THE CAMPAIGN FOR UNCW CLASS NOTES
Produced by the Office of University Relations
EDITOR Jennifer Glatt ART DIRECTOR Shirl New DESIGN Kyle Prey PHOTOGRAPHY Jeff Janowski CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Joe Browning Caroline Cropp ’99, ’06M Kristin S. Hanson Venita Jenkins Amy Mangus Lily Pezullo-Frank Robin Post Tricia Vance Tracy Vogel Andrea Monroe Weaver CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Kathy Davis Tyler Gampp Bradley Pearce CONTRIBUTING DESIGNER April Lepak CLASS NOTES Caroline Cropp ’99, ’06M Division for University Advancement WITH SPECIAL THANKS TO UNCW Athletics EDITORIAL ADVISORS Missy A. Kennedy ’01 Eddie Stuart ’05M BUSINESS MANAGER Kelly Baker
DEAR SEAHAWK COMMUNITY, It is a new year, and a new hope has emerged in our global fight against the COVID-19 virus – several companies have developed vaccines that, if all goes well, will alter the course of the pandemic and offer all of us new opportunities in the year ahead. As outlined within in the pages of this newest issue of UNCW Magazine, our faculty, staff, students and alumni never lost hope in the power of their goals and dreams. Instead, you morphed and changed your research, business models, community projects and artistic endeavors to adapt to the situation at hand, and, like the Seahawks you are, continued rising to the challenge. I invite all of you to join UNCW in a new challenge – one with the potential to strengthen and sustain the university’s mission far into the future. This month, we launched Like No Other. The Campaign for UNCW, the goal of which is to raise $100 million and inspire 50,000 alumni gifts. In this issue you’ll learn about some of the extraordinary students, faculty, programs and facilities you can support during the campaign. You’ll see how your gift to the university – no matter the size – makes you an active participant in our work to produce local, statewide and global solutions, driving progress in areas like health care, education, sustainability, and diversity, equity and inclusion like never before. This year, Kenan Auditorium celebrates its 50th anniversary; the Upperman Center marks its 25th year; Centro Hispano, its 15th anniversary; and the Mohin-Scholz LGBTQIA Resource Office, its 10th year. These milestones reflect the commitment that generations of Seahawks have invested in the artistic and cultural diversity of our campus and community, and their success will inspire us to continue growing these programs far into the future. Thank you for the support you have given to our campus this past year. With your continued involvement in the life of the university, our students, faculty and staff will continue to lead, to discover and to serve for generations to come.
EDITOR EMERITA Marybeth Bianchi
With best regards,
Jose V. Sartarelli Chancellor 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 email@example.com. UNC Wilmington is committed to and will provide equal educational and employment opportunity. Questions regarding program access may be directed to the Compliance Officer, UNCW Chancellor’s Office, 910.962.3000, Fax 910.962.3483. UNCW does not discriminate on the basis of sex. Questions regarding UNCW’s Title IX compliance should be directed to TitleIX@UNCW.edu. 102,000 copies of this public document were printed at a cost of $55,488 or $0.544 per copy (G.S. 143-170.1). Printed by Hickory Printing Solutions, an RRD Company. Some images included in this issue were taken prior to the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19: Springing Toward A Vaccine The global pandemic tested UNCW in countless ways last year, but the Seahawk community refused to give up or give in. With effective vaccines on the horizon for spring, the university plans to enhance its health and safety protocols by adding return and surveillance testing requirements and recommendations to its plans.
The university will continue to follow the health and safety protocols that proved effective in the fall, including flexible course scheduling available in online, hybrid and in-person formats; remote work approved for many employees to support de-densification efforts; physical distancing measures; and extra cleaning regimens.
Details about the national rollout of the vaccine were not fully formed at press time, but the UNCW Student Health Center will be ready to assist when the time comes. SHC has experience operating vaccination clinics, said Katrin Wesner-Harts, interim associate vice chancellor for student affairs.
“We know from our own experiences on our campus that the 3Ws work,” Wesner-Harts said, “and we will continue to encourage the Seahawk community to protect themselves and each other by wearing face coverings, waiting at least 6 feet apart from people outside their ‘bubble,’ and washing their hands frequently.”
“In 2009, UNCW administered H1N1 immunization clinics, and we look forward to collaborating with local and state health officials to support their efforts to enhance our community’s public health by offering COVID-19 vaccines,” she said.
– Andrea Monroe Weaver
Visit uncw.edu/bestnest for the latest information.
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among the Top 100 Public National Universities for 2021
Growing with Care and Quality UNCW set another enrollment record in fall 2020 – despite the pandemic – while continuing to shine in national rankings in keeping with the strategic goal of growth with quality. The university welcomed 17,915 students in the fall semester, including a record 3,265 total graduate students. Growth at the graduate level is in the double digits, and UNCW led the UNC System in enrollment growth from 2009-2019 at a rate of 35%. Even as enrollment increases, UNCW, a doctoral-level, high-research university (R2), continues to be recognized by prestigious ranking organizations. U.S. News & World Report ranked UNCW 95th and one of only three UNC System schools among the Top 100 Public National Universities for 2021. U.S. News lists also rank UNCW 8th nationally (tie) on U.S. News’ list of “2020 Best Online Bachelor’s Programs” and 6th nationally (tie) among “Best Online Programs for Veterans.” Four programs – part-time MBA, education, public administration and social work – are represented on the publication’s list of “2021 Best Graduate Schools.” Additionally, UNCW was named a “Best Southeastern School” among 142 colleges that made the list of “2021 Best Colleges: Region by Region” by The Princeton Review. – Tricia Vance
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A Graduation Like No Other For years to come, UNCW will remember the Class of 2020 as a legendary flock of Seahawks. Graduates reached new heights, earning their degrees despite countless challenges caused by a global pandemic. To honor the Class of 2020, UNCW sent celebratory commencement gift boxes to these outstanding graduates in November, and in December, the university hosted its first-ever virtual commencement ceremonies. Thanks for showing us how it’s done, Seahawks. – A.M.W.
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Decades of Connections The pandemic may have hampered celebrations of UNCW Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion units’ milestone anniversaries, but their work to support, educate and advocate for diverse students and the communities they serve has not slowed for a moment. The Mohin-Scholz LGBTQIA Resource Office, Centro Hispano and the Upperman African American Cultural Center, founded 10, 15 and 25 years ago respectively, continue to build upon programs and services to help students reach their educational goals and provide valuable resources to communities that extend beyond the Cape Fear region. In recent years, the units have worked together to design programs that recognize the intersection of multiple identities of students who walk through their doors. Since taking over as program coordinator of the Mohin-Scholz LGBTQIA Resource Office four years ago, Brooke Lambert has
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Each Office of Diversity and Inclusion center honors an anniversary this year. By Venita Jenkins
focused on creating a community for individuals who identify as LGBTGIA+. She revamped the office’s Safe Zone training and created new programs such as “Building Q*mmunity,” in partnership with the Counseling Center, that allows LGBTQIA- identifying individuals to engage in conversation; and “Queer Culture: Queer Connections Series,” which examines queer history and discusses community building and activism. “I want them to see this as a space where we are cultivating leaders,” said Lambert. “I hope our students feel supported, nurtured and that the entire campus is a space for them, that they do belong here. We’re on our way to that, but I don’t think we’re there quite yet.” The office underwent an expansion during the summer, creating flexible programming space to serve more students. The project was funded by a major gift commitment from alumnus John Scholz ’84 and his spouse, Dr. Anil Mohin.
“We have turned families from dreaming of going to college to actually making it happen.” – Edelmira Segovia ’98, ’12Ed.D., Centro Hispano director
To add your financial support, visit giving.uncw.edu/diversity.
Centro Hispano was established as UNCW’s Hispanic/Latino academic, cultural and community resource; UNCW psychology professor Antonio Puente was tapped as the center’s founding director. Now fifteen years later, Centro Hispano continues to strengthen the Latinx community through education and service.
physician and community leader Dr. Leroy Upperman, his goal was to re-position the center as a place of learning and student support. Today, the Upperman Center averages 40 programs a semester and oversees 15 active Black student organizations as well as a literary magazine.
“The primary goal of assisting Latinx families is to fortify our entire community – to try to find the best fit for our Latinx youth and to help them to see themselves as future professionals,” said Edelmira Segovia ’98, ’12Ed.D., Centro Hispano director. For the past decade, the center’s staple program, MI CASA, has helped high school students become compelling candidates for college admission and scholarship through mentoring, college preparation seminars, tutoring, community service and cultural enrichment activities.
“Over the last four years, we have taken it as a mandate to reinvigorate Black student life as a functioning part of all student life,” said Palmer. “This is a critical moment for us because people have decided that across the country, centers like ours matter. For us, capacity is a big issue. We’ve reached the capacity of what we can do in the spaces that we have. We need more staff because the university needs us to help with bridge programs and living/learning communities and similar initiatives, in addition to being a support mechanism for the community. We need to do that work.”
“We have turned families from dreaming of going to college to actually making it happen,” said Segovia. “Now that it has been 10 years, we have a huge group of professionals who are serving the community. They want to build their communities better because somebody helped them to achieve their dreams and invested in them.” In the years ahead, the center will continue to focus on identity development, internships, mentoring and graduate school opportunities. When Sean Palmer took the helm of the Upperman African American Cultural Center, named in honor of Wilmington
The work of UNCW’s cultural centers supports campus-wide efforts to create an environment where each student feels a sense of belonging. “That sense of belonging is critical as we navigate face-to-face and virtual environments,” said Interim Chief Diversity Officer Donyell Roseboro. “With each upcoming center anniversary, we renew our commitment to students and will continue to design programming that will integrate the rich diversity of our campus community.”
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New “Nests” for Seahawks The fall 2020 school year ushered in the completion and opening of Sandpiper Hall and Pelican Hall, pod-style residence halls for first-year students. Suite-style residence halls Loggerhead Hall and Terrapin Hall, for freshmen and sophomores, will be ready for occupancy in the fall of 2021. The residence halls replace the former University Apartments, which were demolished after sustaining insurmountable damage from 2018’s Hurricane Florence. The idea for the new units, as well as their unique names, was developed under the leadership of the late Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Pat Leonard and supported by campus leadership. “New students enjoy numerous benefits when they live on campus. The goal was to build a new residential quad not only to provide rooms for students, but to build on the first-year experience that makes the collegiate experience special,” said Peter Groenendyk, director of housing and residence life. The new residence halls combine residential and retail spaces, including a provisions on-demand store and a Port City Java, and feature a greenspace connecting the buildings. UNCW has made a significant investment in the student experience by expanding and improving its on-campus housing offerings. Starting in the fall of 2021, first-year students will have a two-year residency requirement. Main campus transfers who have fewer than 60 hours will have a one-year residency requirement. – Caroline Cropp ’99, ’06M
50 Years of
Kenan Auditorium Sarah Graham Kenan Auditorium first opened its doors on December 3, 1970 to host the New York Electric String Ensemble. An official dedication ceremony was held on March 26, 1971.
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Spotlighting Injustice Theatre has an important role to play during times of upheaval and crisis, especially when it comes to making more visible the injustices that have been strategically hidden from view. Attending school in the city known for the Wilmington massacre of 1898, one of the most brutal coup d’etat in our country’s history, students from the Department of Theatre, led by Director Robin Post, made it their mission to give voice to the Black experience as told by the students themselves, their friends and family, university professors and Wilmington community members. After numerous interviews centered on race and the Black experience, a tapestry of voices was weaved together to create the new devised production, “Am I Next? Voices from Wilmington, NC.” Due to the COVID-19 restrictions and the limitation of an in-person audience, the theatre department made it possible to livestream each performance. More than 900 people viewed the production via streaming – some internationally. As we embarked on an unprecedented school year challenged by COVID-19 and a national reawakening about systemic racism, we were in a unique position to hold ourselves accountable, to center the Black experience and the impact of systemic racism on our students and the Wilmington community. – Robin Post
In the decades since, the 1,000-seat event space has become a cornerstone of the campus and community, hosting popular performance series such as UNCW Presents and Lumina Festival; celebrity guests Frank Capra Jr., David Sedaris, Danny Glover, Joyce Carol Oates and John Updike; and serving as the stage for countless internationally acclaimed performers. While the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of live scheduled events, the show went on in the form of virtual programming and Curbside Cinema, the popular drive-in cinema series. Jeanine Mingé, Associate Vice Chancellor for Community Engagement and Applied Learning and Executive Director of the Office of the Arts, is hopeful it will be possible to host an event in March 2021 to coincide with the anniversary of the auditorium’s dedication. Plans to modernize the space are also currently being considered.
“Kenan Auditorium has been a mainstay for the community for half a century,” said Mingé. “We are proud to have been able to offer our audiences a range of artists and performers from all genres on that stage. We’re excited for what’s ahead.”
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A Place of Grace Brian Davis ’17 tragically passed away while scuba diving off the coast of North Carolina just six weeks after graduating from UNCW. This past July, a former U.S. Coast Guard cutter, rechristened “The Brian Davis,” was sunk east of Wrightsville Beach to create an artificial reef in his honor. His family, friends, fellow divers and UNCW alumni worked with the Division of Marine Fisheries to honor Davis’ life in this way. The reef (officially called AR-368), located at coordinates 34°09.514’ N, 77° 25.782’ W, is a living memorial offering structure and covering for sea creatures. The site also invites spearfishermen and divers to explore the site for their own recreation, as it will be there for generations to come. A Raleigh native, Davis’ love of outdoor life emerged at a young age. His passion for marine life was nurtured through attending UNCW’s MarineQuest programs. As a freshman at the university, he co-founded the Spearfishing Club. Learn more about “Brian’s reef” at briandavisartificialreefmemorial.org. To give to UNCW in Brian Davis’ memory through support of Marine Quest youth scholarships, make a gift to the Academic Youth Programs Trust Fund online at giving.uncw.edu/youthprograms. – C.C. Photos courtesy of the Davis family
Cacok Caps Storybook Season with Title Devontae Cacok enjoyed a storybook season with the Los Angeles Lakers by wrapping his arms around the National Basketball Association’s coveted Larry O’Brien Trophy. Cacok, who joined the Lakers in the NBA’s bubble in July and played a role in the storied franchise’s 17th title, became the first UNCW alumni to win an NBA championship. Wings up! – Joe Browning
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BREATHING EASY: CHHS TO LAUNCH RESPIRATORY THERAPY PROGRAM The College of Health and Human Services will launch its newest degree program, a Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy, in fall 2021. “This program follows CHHS’s model of preparing students to enter a career where they will make a positive impact on the health and quality of life of residents in the state of North Carolina and beyond,” College of Health and Human Services Dean Charles Hardy said. The coronavirus has demonstrated that respiratory therapists are frontline workers and play a critical role in treating COVID-19-positive patients. Their expertise ranges from assessing blood gases and assisting with intubations and bronchoscopies to ventilator management. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of respiratory therapists is projected to grow 19 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Growth in the middle-aged and elderly population will lead to an increased rate of respiratory conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and pneumonia. “We are fortunate to have recruited Jamy Chulak and Thomas Nietman, two leaders in the field of respiratory care, to join our team,” said School of Health and Applied Human Sciences Director Steve Elliott. “They are working extremely hard to develop a program that will provide
students with the knowledge, skills and dispositions to have successful careers in this field.” Chulak and Nietman serve as program coordinator and director of clinical education, respectively.
“Never has the role of a respiratory care professional been more important than it is today with the COVID-19 pandemic. There is a need for more respiratory care professionals and we believe that the timing of our new program will provide a much-needed service to society,” Elliott said. Kevin Briggs, New Hanover Regional Medical Center’s administrator of laboratory and respiratory care services, says the respiratory therapist is often one of the top vacancies in health care. “We’re very excited to not only have that additional resource from a workforce standpoint, but to have quality graduates who have studied the theory and cardiopulmonary science of respiratory care.” CHHS collaborated with Cape Fear-area employers, respiratory therapists and representatives from community college programs to develop the BSRT program. It will be delivered as a four-year residential program and as a degree advancement online accelerated program, specifically designed for respiratory care therapists in the workforce. – Amy Mangus
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Take a Hike What’s the best way to nurture a love for nature? A group of UNCW alumni recommends a tromp through the woods. Nature Connect was founded by Brinkley Hutchings ’12 in 2016 with a mission to encourage children to explore the great outdoors and study plants and animals up close. Through the Farm & Forest School, outdoor preschool and homeschool enrichment programs, children develop an appreciation for each other and the natural world so that they grow into dedicated leaders and environmental stewards in their communities. Alison Gordon ’20 serves as the director of the farm school and family programs; Britt Carpenter ’09 is lead facilitator; Kathryn Sisler Waple ’07 directs the homeschool and internship program; and Katie Edson ’20 has graduated from intern to a program facilitator. Though the spring 2020 programs were canceled because of COVID, they were able to offer summer and fall programs, and offer classes scheduled well into 2021. Learn more at natureconnectnc.org. – C.C.
Weathering Change Seahawks are at the forefront of a plan to help the university reduce its impact on climate change and build resiliency against flooding and stronger storms connected to global warming. UNCW’s Climate Resiliency and Action Plan calls for achieving climate neutrality, or zero carbon emissions, while adapting to the challenges posed by rising seas, stronger hurricanes and other effects of a warming world. Graduate and undergraduate students are taking the lead in research and development of specific, measurable goals. The plan will complement the existing UNC System sustainability policy. “This plan will benefit future generations, so it made sense to allow those in our community who will be most affected by its implementation to have a strong voice in its development,” said Kat Pohlman ’11, UNCW’s chief sustainability officer. “The students involved have already created innovative solutions beyond expectations.” Learn more at uncw.edu/ sustainability. – Tricia Vance
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(L to R back row) Jordan McMullen, Emily Brown, Kylie Stoker, Bethany Bradley, Amy Garrett Dikkers, Ali Moore, Denise Ousley-Exum, Kelly Griffin, Rachel Seijo, Peyton Perry, Stephanie Knighton, Kim Boughman, Arvis Boughma (L to R front row) Harrison Grim, Tyler Gampp, Tim Roney Photo: Tyler Gampp
Serving the Underserved An interdisciplinary study abroad program shows participants a whole new world In a small classroom at the Ithaka Newcomer School in Utrecht, Netherlands, a group of Syrian refugee teenagers gathered around Kirsten Abel ’20 Ed.D. They shared stories of struggle, and details about living in refugee camps and the families they left behind in war-torn Syria. One student worried what would happen to him if he wasn’t granted asylum. Beyond backpacks and books, students carried a multitude of concerns, “adding to the trauma and stress these students brought with them to the classroom,” Abel said. Abel met the refugees nearly two years ago as part of the Refugee and Immigrant Experiences of Children and Youth in the Netherlands field experience, offered by the Watson College of Education. The interdisciplinary study abroad program was developed by associate professors Amy Garrett Dikkers and Denise Ousley-Exum to explore P-12 education and teacher training programs that aid refugees and immigrants. By touring schools and meeting Dutch leaders, Garrett Dikkers and Ousley-Exum hope UNCW students will gain knowledge that can help school districts and communities in the U.S. better serve large migrant and immigrant children populations. The study abroad program began in 2016, and the first group of UNCW students traveled to the country in the summer of 2017. A June 2020 visit was canceled due to the coronavirus
pandemic, but program plans have students returning to the Netherlands in the summer of 2021. Students will shadow educators in an international school in Amsterdam that serves immigrant and refugee students from around the world. “Our focus is on tolerance and opportunity for immigrant and refugee youth who may otherwise be underserved in schools and communities,” said Garret Dikkers. “When I think about experiences of children who come into the U.S. not knowing English, typically they come in at the elementary school level, where we have so much support with ESL teachers and programs with cultural liaisons. But many of our schools do not have the capacity to serve 13-, 14-, 15-year-old kids.” The Netherlands’ educational system does a great job providing wrap-around services for students, whether it is an academic, social or behavioral approach, said Ousley-Exum. “Studying newcomer education in the Netherlands heightened my awareness of the educational, social and emotional needs for immigrants and refugees here in the United States,” Abel said. “It is my hope that through study abroad experiences like this, students and educators will develop a deeper understanding about how we can support newcomers in our country as they navigate a new culture, a new language, and adjust to a new and typically different educational system.” – Venita Jenkins
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E N T R E P R E N E U R I A L PA I R
FEEDS A COMMUNITY NEED
By Lily Pezzullo-Frank
Cameron Executive Network mentor and Liz Roesel ’07 and CSB alumna Arianne Branch ’17 can add “launched a new business” to their list of accomplishments for 2020, despite the pandemic. Based in Wilmington, SEA Level Social offers marketing services for school district nutrition departments. “While this industry may be stereotyped as ‘lunch ladies serving mystery meat,’ that could not be further from the truth,” said Roesel (above right). “We help schools’ nutrition programs educate their communities about what they bring to their district, and in turn, feed more students and fuel them for academic success.” Roesel and Branch met at the Cameron School of Business through the Cameron Executive Network, a program that pairs CSB students with local business executives who serve as mentors. The two met at a mixer event and were matched as each other’s top choice. From there, the mentor/mentee relationship blossomed into a friendship and, ultimately, a business partnership after Branch graduated. Roesel, who had been establishing a presence in the school nutrition industry for a decade prior, saw immediate potential in Branch.
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“Arianne stood out among the crowd by truly understanding what it meant to be a marketer,” she said. Branch credits CEN with providing exposure to some of the critical skills she relies on in her new position, especially the importance of networking. Though starting a business together felt like a natural progression for the team, doing so at the onset of a global pandemic was not the intention. They quickly adapted to the challenges the school districts faced and began offering creative solutions to unprecedented needs. “We started creating video content, designing free marketing resources, hosted webinars for the National School Nutrition Association, and host weekly virtual meetups on Facebook Live to combat the fact that we can’t travel to network and generate leads,” Roesel said. K-12 school nutrition programs lost money – more than $1 billion dollars nationwide – due to schools closing because of the pandemic. (School nutrition programs are not funded like K-12 education – they rely heavily on federal reimbursements based on the number of meals they serve, Roesel explained.) Funds to support services like SEA Level Social’s are dwindling quickly. In response, the company is currently building a low- cost subscription marketing materials service. SEA stands for “Serve, Engage, Attract,” which is exactly what the duo hopes to do for their clients. “Just like the CEN, the school nutrition industry is a community of people who just want to help and support one another,” Branch said. As the company grows, Roesel has already identified students she mentored that she wants to bring into the company fold. “We can’t wait for the day when we can create internships and job opportunities for fellow CSB alumni while helping school nutrition programs feed more children.”
For more information, visit sealevelsocial.com.
Actually, It IS Rocket Science Bound for NASA, Jasmine Gaston ’19M launches the next phase of her career By Tricia Vance
For much of her life, Jasmine Gaston ’19M has been an outlier. She was the only woman in most of her undergraduate engineering classes. The only Black woman in her mechanical engineering graduating class. The only Black engineer at the company she worked for after earning her undergraduate degree. “There is value in being unique, but sometimes it’s hard,” said Gaston. “There is a huge need for minorities and women within STEM fields, not just to fill the increasing number of roles, but to improve the quality of the work. Diversity is crucial to the evolution of science and technology. Just as all possibilities are considered when solving a problem, all perspectives need to be involved to ensure the best outcome.” In December 2020, Gaston, who directed UNCW’s youth engineering programs, took her unique perspective to NASA, where she is an aerospace engineer in the Propulsion Systems Division in Huntsville, Alabama. Her new role entails working on engine systems for NASA’s commercial crew program, which partners with companies such as SpaceX to develop safe, cost- effective flights to and from the International Space Station. As a child, Gaston said she loved math, logic puzzles and brainteasers. By sixth grade, she was taking high school math courses and, later, physics. When it came time to apply for college, she chose mechanical engineering – a field well-suited to problem solvers – at North Carolina State University.
“Engineering applied my interests and challenged my curiosity for innovation,” she said. While in college, she found joy working with children and teens through the National Society of Black Engineers. Graduation in 2014 led to a job with a manufacturing company. Two years later, Gaston came to UNCW, where she began coordinating K-12 engineering programs and worked to earn an M.S. in Mathematics. Among the programs she created was Rocket Girls, an all-female summer camp exploring aerospace topics. “My favorite part of this job was seeing the students’ excitement while they were working on the engineering design challenges. Students had so much fun at our programs that they would return each month for our series and multiple weeks during the summer.” As for her next frontier, Gaston is content to keep her feet on Earth as she supports NASA’s missions. “This is a dream job that aligns with my background and aspirations,” she said. “I’m looking forward to helping support space exploration, and NASA is committed to educational outreach, so I know I’ll still be able to be involved in similar youth programs. I am beyond excited.”
“There is a huge need for minorities and women within STEM fields, not just to fill the increasing number of roles, but to improve the quality of the work.”
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Rallying Allies The Queer Voices Project inspires support for LGBTQIA+ Seahawks By Venita Jenkins
Audrey Schumacher ’20 had not come out to her professors, but that changed when she noticed one simple detail on sociology professor Ann Rotchford’s email: her pronouns. “That was my immediate cue of inclusion and that maybe she is a safe space for me,” recalled Schumacher, an interdisciplinary studies major. “I thought maybe I can talk to her about topics that I am passionate about and I can bring up queer things to her and she won’t discriminate against me by failing me.” The simple act of including one’s pronouns in an email signature is one of many suggestions offered on a new resource website to aid faculty and staff in fostering a more inclusive environment on campus. The comprehensive website (uncw.edu/lgbtqia_ resources) was developed by Schumacher; Rotchford; Meg Robertson ’20M, a graduate assistant in the Mohin-Scholz LGBTQIA Resource Office; and English assistant professor Addie Sayers over the summer. The site serves as a one-stop shop for tools and resources.
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The Queer Voices Project was inspired by UNCW’s Safe Zone training, which helps campus allies foster an atmosphere of support and safety for LGBTQIA-identifying individuals at UNCW, said Rotchford. Schumacher was awarded a Summer Undergraduate Research and Creativity Awards grant, provided by the UNCW Center for Support of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships, to fund the project. “I realized after the training that if you want to be an ally, there’s a lot of information that would be great to have in one place,” said Rotchford, who approached Mohin-Scholz LGBTQIA Resource Office coordinator Brooke Lambert about the project. The resource site is populated with information based on feedback and narratives collected during interviews of 26 current students and alumni about their experiences at UNCW. While the data showed progress in serving the LGBTQIA+ community, there was still room for improvement.
The team plans to share data from their research with divisions across campus as well as in publications and presentations. “What’s beautiful about this particular project is that it is blending activism, science, pedagogy and community,” said Sayers. For Robertson, the creation of the site means that “for the first time, LGBTQIA-identifying students are being heard, seen and asked to share their experiences by the institution as a whole.”
(L to R) Meg Robertson ’20M, Addie China, Ann-Rotchford and Audrey Schumacher ’20
Resources to support queer faculty, staff and students and housing and classroom practices were common themes among participants. Volunteers also spoke of the need for representation in faculty, curriculum and intersectionality among resource offices on campus. “Students sometimes feel like they have to check a certain identity at the door depending on where they are,” Schumacher said. “There’s a need for intersection between resources because not all of our students are going to fit in certain boxes. We are all different and have different needs.”
“By UNCW allowing the website to be an official page, a door has been opened for so much more progress that is driven by LGBTQIA-identifying students, the individuals who should have a say in their education, in the resources that they need and in the change they wish to see,” she continued. “This page is only a starting point, the most basic information students feel that faculty and staff need to know, but it takes pressure off students to expend that energy of having to explain and justify themselves. It’s a first step in the right direction that will hopefully encourage faculty and staff to continue to learn, change, and challenge other ideologies and practices that limit student potential.”
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Lifting Spirits Raising a bottle looked much different than the End of Days Distillery owners anticipated their first few months in business. By Venita Jenkins
During the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the End of Days Distillery was a shining example of community spirit. The distillery quickly shifted its operations from producing spirits to making hand sanitizer. The coronavirus was taking hold in the U.S and hand sanitizer was scarce. Distillery co-owner Oliver Earney ’07, ’08M, founders Shane and Beth Faulkner, and co-owner Rhonda Pederson, along with Chief Finance Officer Camron Faulkner ’10, ’11M, discussed pausing production of rum, vodka and gin in an effort to address the shortage. End of Days, which opened in February 2020, had been in operation for just four weeks before the pandemic forced states to issue stay-at-home orders. “I did not expect to be researching World Health Organization formulas for hand sanitizer when we started,” said Earney, a licensed CPA. “We did the research to figure out whether or not it was something we could produce rapidly. We realized that we had the ability to make it and that it was something we needed to do for the community.” Faulkner reached out to vendors to secure bottles, which was a challenge because of shipment shortages, said Earney. When the demand became greater, several Wilmington breweries and fellow Seahawks came to their aid. Tama Tea, co-founded by UNCW alumni Rocco B. Quaranto III ’08, Kelly McKenzie Struble ’08 and Raimond “Wells” R. Struble ’07, donated bottles, and local breweries provided mash bill – ingredients used to produce the wort that is fermented into alcohol.
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Free hand sanitizer was distributed to local healthcare professionals, and EOD owners later offered complimentary sanitizer to residents who brought their own bottles to the distillery. “The appreciation was so overwhelming,” Earney said. “We had businesses reach out to us when they were in short supply, and they were willing to purchase it from us. This allowed us to keep all of our employees employed bottling sanitizer.” The distillery extended a helping hand to bars and restaurants struggling to find sanitizer in order to keep their businesses open, Earney continued. “We told them that we were willing to provide hand sanitizer to them at no cost to help them reopen safely,” he said. “It gave us an opportunity to introduce them to our products. There’s a lot of competition in the spirits industry, so getting your name out there is really important. People wanted to check into our other products after they saw what we were doing in the community.” In March 2020, End of Days was among distilleries worldwide featured in Forbes for making a difference by producing and donating hand sanitizer during the height of the pandemic. “We were focused on the community’s well-being,” said Earney. “Hopefully, we will continue to operate through whatever crisis we face in the future.”
Distillery co-owner Oliver Earney ’07, ’08M said the shift from producing spirits to hand sanitizer allowed End of Days to care for its community during the height of the pandemic.
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“When I think of UNCW, it’s where I received my start. I’ve benefited from the relationships I developed over the years inside and outside of the classroom, with faculty and administrators, and with other alumni and the community,” says Malcomb Coley ’86, ’89M, Campaign Executive Cabinet member. “It’s incumbent upon us, as alumni, to pave the way for those who come behind us.”
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A Future Like No Other Newly launched university campaign seeks to enrich and expand what makes UNCW unique
What do you love most about UNC Wilmington? Maybe it’s our sense of family,
Maybe it’s our future, vast as the
evident in the smiling faces and helpful hands
horizon on a clear morning at Wrightsville
at Move-In, or the lifelong friendships formed
Beach – and your chance to play an active
with classmates and professors.
role in making our university more inclusive
Maybe it’s our location, where the sea,
than it’s ever been before.
sun and sky come together – an environment that
It’s hard to put your finger on, but you could
inspired your research or formed the backdrop
summarize it this way: UNCW is a place
of your student organization retreat.
like no other.
As a Seahawk, you can help nurture the unique institution you love during Like No Other. The Campaign for UNCW. The campaign went public on Feb. 2, aiming to raise $100 million for the university and reach a participation goal of 50,000 alumni gifts.
When you give to UNCW during this campaign, you can support: Students Like No Other
Programs Like No Other
As we welcome more Seahawks than ever before, we want to ensure they have the support they need to succeed. Investments in scholarships, applied learning awards and fellowships (see p. 26) will not only set new standards for academic excellence – increasing the value of your degree – but also enrich our university’s culture.
We are well-equipped to build a future-ready workforce not just for the Cape Fear region but for North Carolina, the country and the world. Philanthropic support will enhance and expand experiential learning programs (see p. 30) that arm our graduates with the skills they need to succeed in today’s economy and the character traits they need to serve their communities.
Faculty Like No Other
Facilities Like No Other
As UNCW evolves, we must attract faculty to reflect our changing student body and the citizens of our region. Philanthropy can help recruit these seasoned professionals and acclaimed scholars, allowing them to mentor our students (see p. 28), explore creative ideas and new technologies, and develop solutions to the challenges of our time, all from our campus.
If you haven’t been back to campus in a while, it’s worth taking a (for now, virtual) tour. State investments in new buildings – such as the newly opened Veterans Hall (see p. 32) – have transformed our campus. But private giving maximizes the opportunities those spaces can provide, giving our students, faculty, studentathletes and community partners a competitive edge.
To learn more about Like No Other. The Campaign for UNCW, please visit uncw.edu/give.
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The articles that follow highlight just a handful of the people, places, programs and partners that make UNCW an institution like no other. You’re invited to read these stories, reminisce about your own UNCW experience and join us as we lay the foundation for our university’s next great chapter.
“As alumni, we are the heart and soul of UNCW,” says Donis Smith ’86,’94M, chair of the UNCW Foundation Board of Directors. “Giving helps foster the connection between alumni and the university, and helps inspire current students to make a difference in the lives of others.”
“A Beautiful Way to Give Back to North Carolina” Drew Davey and Mariko Polk conduct research designed to protect the state’s coastline –and its people By Kristin S. Hanson
By Kristin Hanson
Water has long loomed large in Drew Davey’s life. He grew up along North Carolina’s Outer and Inner Banks. In high school he restored a sailboat, then started living on it. “I got an up-close look at coastal morphology [how the beach changes over time] and the consequences hurricanes are having on our coast,” Davey says. “That’s what got me interested in coastal engineering.” That interest led him – like many others – to UNC Wilmington, where a unique blend of expertise, infrastructure and location provide a perfect launch pad for research and careers in marine science. For Mariko Polk ’15M, the potential to make discoveries that can help protect and preserve our coastal resources brought her to UNCW not once, but twice. She received her M.S. in environmental studies in 2015 and returned in 2018 to study coastal ecology with Professor Martin Posey and Assistant Professor Devon Eulie. If a passion for the sea is a common thread that brought Davey and Polk to UNCW, so too is a resource that has helped keep them here: scholarship support. Davey received the LS3P Scholarship in Coastal Engineering, and Polk received the Francis Peter Fensel Sr. Memorial Scholarship Endowment. Increasing scholarships and other student support resources is a top priority of Like No Other. The Campaign for UNCW. Scholarships provide students – both undergraduate and graduate – financial relief that allows them to focus on big-picture questions they want to answer through experiences and research. “I can say from my own experience and other students I’ve talked to in my field, we’re asking these questions because
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we’re passionate about marine science,” Polk says. “We’re going to make a difference with the research we’re doing.” Polk’s dissertation centers on how shoreline management strategies protect coastal communities and how they affect the delicate ecosystems where the water meets the land. The capabilities of living shorelines – which can involve native vegetation and, sometimes, a variety of sustainable materials constructed by humans but do less damage to the intertidal habitat – are fairly unexplored, and that’s where Polk hopes to provide a contribution through her dissertation. “We recently discovered that living shorelines have less lateral erosion, or even experience growth, during storm events” when compared with natural, unaltered shorelines, she says. “Next we’re exploring how living shorelines affect the ecosystem services salt marshes provide, and we are exploring how past coastal management decisions affected the level of damage caused by Hurricane Florence.” Once her dissertation is complete, Polk hopes the research can help empower coastal managers, marine contractors and homeowners in shoreline management decision-making that benefits both coastal communities and ecosystems. Davey has similar aims for the research he’s been conducting with Ryan Mieras, an assistant professor and the first full-time, tenure-track faculty member hired for UNCW’s new B.S. in coastal engineering program. Last year, Davey joined Mieras’ team in work supported by a Summer Undergraduate Research and Creativity Awards grant to test a new tool, CCP+, that can help observe and quantify geomorphic changes in coastal environments.
“We don’t have a good understanding of sediment transport in the swash zone (the sand moving in between each wave). The CCP+ allows us to study that,” Davey says. He’s also helping Mieras test a low-cost Light Imaging Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) device that can be deployed during storms to quantify the rapid changes that happen on the beach during those events. “After Florence and many other recent hurricanes, we’re in desperate need of more accurate predictions of geomorphic change so we can improve response and recovery to storms on our barrier islands,” he says. “Devices like the CCP+ and LIDAR can provide data to guide policy advice about coastal construction and protection measures.” Davey plans to continue research on the project next summer during an internship with the Naval Research Laboratory, an opportunity he wouldn’t be able to take advantage of without the support of his scholarship. Down the road, he looks forward to paying back that support by establishing a career in service to the place he grew up. “I live in Edenton on the Albemarle Sound, and it’s a relatively poor area,” he says. “I thought this would be a beautiful way to give back to North Carolina, by getting into coastal engineering, and being able to help protect them from the impacts of hurricanes.” Visit uncw.edu/give to learn more about how you can support students like no other through scholarships at UNCW.
Photo courtesy of the Coastal Sediments and Hydrodynamics Laboratory Photo courtesy of Mariko Polk and Mackenzie Taggart
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Table Stakes for Today’s Workplace Applied learning experiences give Cameron School students a decisive edge in an increasingly competitive job market By Kristin S. Hanson
After graduating from the Cameron School of Business in 2013, David White didn’t head to New York to start climbing the ladder of a well-known investment fund. Instead, he stayed in North Carolina and started his own. What made White – and his clients – confident that such a young man could deliver a strong return on their investments? As an undergraduate, White took part in the Student Managed Investment Fund, a real-dollar portfolio established at UNCW in 2011. Students involved with the fund spend half a semester learning how to evaluate securities and the other half applying what they’ve learned. “Resumes of 21-year-olds have a tendency to look the same. There aren’t many differentiators, but the Student Managed Investment Fund is one,” says Professor Bill Sackley, who teaches the class connected with the fund. The fund – and other applied learning opportunities like the Cameron Executive Network, Fed Challenge and the Center for Sales Excellence and Customer Delight – give UNCW alumni significant advantages in securing internships and employment after graduation. Increasing access to these programs for students is a top priority of Like No Other. The Campaign for UNCW. “Hiring and training sales professionals is very expensive for organizations. Students who have taken sales courses and demonstrated what they’ve learned in competitions stand out,” says John Reed, director of the sales center. Tom Eggleston, head of talent for Live Oak Bank – a top employer of Cameron School graduates – agrees.
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“Applied learning experiences aren’t electives anymore, they’re critical elements to entering today’s job market,” Eggleston says. “Experience with real-world tools accelerates the learning curve for new employees and enhances early engagement. The faster you can get a new college graduate engaged, the better.” The Cameron School’s applied learning programs provide as realistic an environment as possible for students, sometimes without even requiring them to leave campus. In Sackley’s class, students are assigned one of the financial markets’ 11 sectors and expected to make investment recommendations for the portfolio to the entire class. “You’re reading annual reports and looking at financials, then it turns into more of a discussion-based class, where you’re bringing your hypotheses and debating them with other students and Dr. Sackley,” says White, who co-founded Bradford Tolson Consulting with fellow alumnus Scott Tolson ’13. “I still use the process of diligently thinking through any investment by a dialectic method. We use it to find flaws and poke holes in our reasoning, just to make sure we’re making strong decisions.” In the Center for Sales Excellence and Customer Delight, students have access to the Sales Lab, which features two conference rooms outfitted with two-way mirrors and video equipment that records both the seller and the buyer during a hypothetical sales interaction. “It’s a bit scary the first time you’re in there,” says Frauke Schiefner ’20 of the Sales Lab, which she used both in her classes and as a member of one of the center’s sales competition teams. “You’re challenged to go out of your comfort zones in those experiences. There is plenty of room to make mistakes because you learn from all of them.”
That practice paid off when Schiefner’s team succeeded at the 2019 Pi Sigma Epsilon National Convention, where a company in attendance noticed her performance. Rite-Hite, an industrial equipment manufacturer in Wisconsin, sought her out for an interview and eventually offered her an internship at their Milwaukee headquarters. When she returned to her native Germany after graduation, that internship and her training as a Cameron School sales student helped her land position as a marketing and sales trainee at genua GmbH and a master’s student at Wismar University. “When I interviewed for the job I have now, I talked about being in the U.S., doing sales competitions with UNCW and being so involved in the sales industry,” Schiefner says. “They were amazed. The U.S. is the sales country, having so much support is awesome. I’d never have gotten that kind of experience here [in Germany].” Speaking of experience, students involved in the Student-Managed Investment Fund last fall had a veritable crash course in crisis financial management. They were tasked with steering the fund’s more than $1.8 million portfolio to safety amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, episodes of civil unrest and a contentious presidential campaign. At the time of the writing of this article, Sackley’s class was preparing for its final exam: a presentation of recommendations to the fund’s advisory board. “This is fully realistic, and it’s something some of these students will be expected to do in their first jobs after graduation,” Sackley says. “Time will tell how their decisions play out, but I’m proud of what they’ve done.” Visit uncw.edu/give to learn more about how you can support faculty and applied learning experiences like no other at UNCW.
“You’re challenged to go out of your comfort zones in those experiences. There is plenty of room to make mistakes because you learn from all of them.” – Frauke Schiefner ’20
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A Lifeline for Local Teachers Watson College outreach programs provide educators vital guidance through the pandemic By Tracy Vogel
Donelle Pistorino ’21 was worried. With COVID-19 driving classes online, she was about to meet her fall semester tutoring student for the first time through a computer screen. A teaching assistant for the past decade, Pistorino is working toward her master’s degree in the Watson College of Education with a goal of becoming an elementary school teacher. She knows how important it is to connect with a young student on a personal level. “It’s definitely easier when you’re sitting next to someone,” she says. “I’m always looking for characters on backpacks and shoes and clothes, and when you only see them from the neck up, it’s hard.” Despite observing social distancing measures, Pistorino wasn’t on her own to find a way forward. She was working through WCE’s Betty Stike Education Laboratory, whose staff showered Watson student participants with resources, including crash courses in how to use Zoom and its best features. They pointed out where to find online children’s books and how to create personal interest inventories to help make those connections. “I didn’t know you could share a computer mouse and play video games online with students,” Pistorino marveled. “They really set us up for success.” For Pistorino and hundreds of other teachers and teachers in-training, the COVID-19 pandemic has clearly demonstrated the tangible impact the Watson College has on the local education system through programs like the Ed Lab and the Professional Development System. It’s a role the Watson College has played for educators and schools for more than 30 years.
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“We use our partnerships not as a one-way street but as a way we can create mutually beneficial and sustainable impact over time,” says PDS Director Somer Lewis. “At a lot of institutions, that work is very one-way: ‘I’m a faculty member and I need this kind of data, so I’m going to give you my expertise for a time, then leave.’ That’s not how it is here at UNCW.” The pandemic also illustrated the Watson College’s flexibility in responding to a rapidly changing environment for teachers and students alike. For example, the PDS assessed educators’ needs early in the pandemic. They then held a conference in April that tackled topics like the basics of online teaching and how to provide feedback in virtual environments. It was a natural move for a system focused on the practical needs of educators. “I think for the teachers, PDS allows them to feel this kind of continuum of support,” says Erin Green ’08M, a former high school teacher, current doctoral student and graduate assistant in the PDS office. That’s particularly important during a pandemic, when teachers are balancing a multitude of professional and personal tasks. Because of its longstanding partnerships in the school systems of New Hanover and the surrounding counties – in part because of the many Watson College graduates who work in them – the PDS has a finger on the pulse on the needs of teachers like no other organization. That knowledge benefits not only practicing teachers but also pre-service teachers enrolled in the Watson College.
“Education is constantly changing,” says Dorian Barnes ’04, ’10M, a PDS master teacher, instructional coach and site coordinator. “You can talk about it and teach about it all you want from behind a desk, but if you’re not out there in the field, you don’t have a leg to stand on.” Expanding the depth and reach of programs like the PDS and Ed Lab is a key priority of Like No Other. The Campaign for UNCW. Philanthropic support enables these programs to provide rapid and robust support for the education community in times of crisis. In calmer times, it can help teachers attend conferences and training and bring Watson College faculty into the community instead of requiring them to travel to Wilmington. For Pistorino, the Ed Lab’s resources have already made a world of difference, allowing her and her tutoring student to make progress during these unusual times. After creating a series of slides to help uncover her student’s interests, Pistorino bonded with the 7-year- old over her stuffed dragon, Miles. “We had to do a writing piece so, obviously, we had to write about Miles. It was really a lot of fun,” she says. And her student isn’t the only one benefiting from their lessons. “I think what I’ve learned in the Ed Lab, including how to utilize different websites, is a great skill set to bring to the classroom,” Pistorino says. “The face of education is going to change after this pandemic.” Visit uncw.edu/give to learn more about how you can support community engagement programs like no other.
Did you know: Each year, the Ed Lab serves
400+ Watson College
and community students, and the PDS serves
throughout North Carolina.
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Where Transformation Happens New lab spaces in Veterans Hall give health and human services students real-world experiences –without ever leaving campus By Tracy Vogel By Tracy Vogel
Benjamin Williams ’21 is in awe of Veterans Hall, the building that became his educational home in August 2020. He marvels over the rehabilitation lab, which is set up just like a real clinic with adjustable high-and-low tables, and another area that houses an underwater treadmill. He revels in the virtual cadaver lab, equipped with Anatomage tables that function like giant iPads that he can use to examine virtual human skeletons and muscular systems. “I’m still trying to wrap my mind around it,” said Williams of the new hub for the College of Health and Human Services. “UNCW was always on the map, but this building puts us on the front page.” Veterans Hall was built with funds from the 2016 Connect NC bond referendum and provides nearly 150,000 square feet of much-needed space for students and faculty in the schools of health and applied human sciences, nursing and social work. But as with many university buildings, philanthropic investment will maximize the opportunities such an expansive new building can provide. Improving and enhancing facilities across campus is a key priority of Like No Other. The Campaign for UNCW. In the case of Veterans Hall, gifts made during the campaign will help outfit the many applied learning laboratory spaces the new building has created, including what, when fully funded, will be the region’s only human cadaver lab and an Interprofessional Teaching Clinic. Students in the college have long worked in simulated emergency rooms and with high-fidelity manikins and volunteer actors who portray patients. But both the cadaver lab and the Interprofessional Teaching Clinic will fully embed students and faculty into real situations, right on campus.
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“From a learning perspective, that’s where the transformation happens,” said Ashley Wells, CHHS’s assistant dean for community engagement and impact. “You have to think critically and put the things that you’ve learned into practice. That causes you to then have this deep learning experience where you can see yourself in action and see how well you respond to a situation.” For Steve Elliott ’96, professor and director of the School of Health and Applied Human Sciences, the difference in the applied learning opportunities students had before Veterans Hall and now is like moving from up from a traveling fair to Disneyland. “This will provide an invaluable experience for students in programs such as respiratory therapy, public health, athletic training and exercise science,” Elliott said. For Williams, an athletic training major, working with real human bodies in a cadaver lab will offer training that even the impressive new Anatomage tables can’t replicate. “It’s about having the opportunity to experience the effects of diseases on the human body and how bodies can be different, providing a hands-on opportunity to gain that knowledge,” he said. “It’s going to be an amazing opportunity for learning.” The Interprofessional Teaching Clinic (see rendering on p. 33), expected to open later this year, will merge hands-on learning with community benefit. Although the educational strategy for the clinic is still in development, the goal is to have as many students as possible rotate through, giving them the opportunity to work with practicing professionals and serving real patients and clients.
Interprofessional Teaching Clinic rendering courtesy of CHHS
“Not only will the students be learning from working professionals, but those professionals will be learning from students as well. They’ll get to see things through different eyes,” Wells said. “You can’t help but learn when you’re on a university campus. We’re all uplifted when we work together in these spaces.” Even the name of the building is a nod to UNCW’s community-focused ethos. The university has a history of serving members of the military and their families. Veterans Hall houses UNCW’s Office of Military Affairs and features a gathering space for military-affiliated students. “Giving back, being of service, being helpful, learning from patients – it goes both ways. Students are going to be learning from patients as much as applying their problem-solving skills,” Wells said. “It’s the interaction, the experience, learning what someone’s life is like. And that’s transformational.” Visit uncw.edu/give to learn more about how you can enhance facilities like no other at UNCW.
“You can’t help but learn when you’re on a university campus. We’re all uplifted when we work together in these spaces.”
– Ashley Wells, CHHS assistant dean for community engagement and impact
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Greta Lint ’79 received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award, one of the highest honors a North Carolina governor can confer. Claire H. Primrose ’83, ’14M established the Hugh Primrose Memorial Scholarship for Golf to honor her late husband Hugh Primrose III, a member of the UNCW golf team from 1974-77. After 34 years of service, Natalie Davis ’84 retired as farm loan manager with the United States Department of Agriculture, Farm Service Agency, for Columbus, Bladen, Brunswick, Pender, New Hanover, Harnett and Onslow counties. Greg Marinich ’84, an E.L. White Society member, UNCW Society member and 1983 NSCAA All-South player at UNCW, returned to his alma mater as a volunteer assistant with the women’s soccer program. Ellen Milligan ’84, ’94M was elected chair of the Brunswick County Board of Education.
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John A. Scholz ’84, an E.L. White Society, UNCW Society and Clocktower Society member, and spouse Anil Mohin, established the Mohin-Scholz LGBTQIA Resource Office Fund to bring needed resources to UNCW’s efforts to uplift diversity and inclusion on campus. James “Alan” Moore ’85 joined Alkermes, a global biopharmaceutical company, as associate director of health systems training. Benny Thigpen II ’86 is superintendent of Jones County Schools (NC). Keith Moore ’87 was presented the Charlie Adams Distinguished Service Award by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association for the New Hanover region. Dave B. Allen ’88, an E.L. White Society member, along with his spouse Judy C. Dew, established the Brad Allen and Judy Dew Scholarship in Chemistry Endowment.
Mathew Shanklin ’88 became a partner with Accelerate Sports Ventures, a college athletic consulting company focused on providing comprehensive solutions for athletic departments in managing name, image and likeness. Sammy Kinlaw ’92 was appointed senior vice president of Endpoint Solutions for the company’s Americas region. Laura Medlin Forrest ’93 joined the law firm of Goldberg Segalla, LLP as a partner in their Raleigh office. Seth Sjostrom ’93 released his ninth novel, Back to Carolina, in June. Chase Brockstedt ’96 was chosen by Delaware Today magazine as one of its Top Lawyers 2020. Karen Hicks ’96, ’18 was named as one of the 100 Great 100 NC Nurses for 2020 by the nonprofit The Great 100. Lynn Whitesell ’97M, an E.L. White Society, UNCW Society and Clocktower Society member, is chair of UNCW’s Alumni Association Board of Directors.
Charles “Hal” Wilson Jr. ’97, a UNCW Society and Clocktower Society member, was chosen for the National Association for Kinesiology in Higher Education’s Engaged Scholar Program. Kelly Brett ’00 and husband Jason Brett ’01, ’11M established The Kelly and Jason Brett Applied Learning Award in Leadership Studies in recognition of the invaluable experiences Kelly gained as a leadership studies minor and the role those experiences played in her professional success. The scholarship will be used to assist students pursuing a minor in Leadership Studies within the Watson College of Education. Shane Fernando ’00, ’08M was appointed vice president of advancement and the arts at Cape Fear Community College. Erika Thorsell ’00 served as a volunteer for the Peace Corps in South Africa. Bethanne Tobey ’00, ’09M earned the Quality Matters “Making a Difference for Students: Outstanding Impact by an Individual in
Higher Education” award. QM is a globally recognized organization leading the way in quality assurance in online and innovative digital teaching and learning environments. Rebecca Carroll ’01 passed the CPA exam. Andrew Cohen ’01 was elected president of the American Chiropractic Association Sports Council. Tammy Hyde ’01 joined the Child Advocacy Center in Fayetteville, NC, as communications/community engagement coordinator. Genia Montford ’01, associate director of athletics at the University of South Carolina-Beaufort, was recognized with a Charles Morris Administrator of the Year Award (Sun Conference). The award is presented by the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. Todd Weinstein ’01 won a seat on the Warren Township School Board of Education in New Jersey. Rebecca Allan ’03, who goes by the stage name Beck Black, teamed up with music industry legend and former Beatles drummer Ringo Starr for the recent song, “Who’s Gonna Save Rock N Roll?” Nolan D. Smith ’04M is division vice president, Global Supply Management Business Operations, for Corning Inc. Javier Guevara Jr. ’05 was awarded the degree of Fellow for the American Academy of Family Physicians for his contributions to the specialty and the academy. Bradley Ballou ’06, an E.L. White Society, UNCW Society and Clocktower Society member, was honored with a “40 Under 40” award by StarNews Media and the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce. The award recognizes young professionals serving others to make a difference in the Wilmington community.
Yasmine Farley ’07 was named director of career services at Fayetteville State University. Stephen Fife ’07 is president and chief financial officer of Bladen County Hospital in Elizabethtown, NC. Catherine Christ ’09 teaches middle school English at The O’Neal School in Southern Pines, NC. Travis Lile ’09 is America’s Manager of Transaction Management at FIS, a financial tech company headquartered in Jacksonville, FL. Sarah Williams ’09M was sworn in as town clerk/human resources specialist for Emerald Isle, NC. Seth E. Barefoot ’10, ’12M was selected as the primary Fuels Compliance attorney for Marathon Petroleum at their world headquarters in Findlay, Ohio. Anika Nathan ’10M was hired as director of finance for the College of the Arts at the University of Florida. Angela Roberts ’10, ’13M and her husband, Nick Roberts ’12, welcomed their son, born 15 weeks early, home after 139 days in the NICU. Byron Schueneman ’10M is chief financial officer for Clarke County School District in Watkinsville, GA. Mary Cullen ’11 is the ASPIRE program coordinator in Craven County (NC). Rigel Kishton ’11M is senior director of Novel Combination Immunotherapies at Lyell Immunopharma, a biotechnology company in San Francisco, CA. Michelle Vollman ’11 is principal of St. Michael Catholic School in Gastonia, NC. Bobby Guntoro ’12, a UNCW Society member, was hired as the head coach of the UNCW swimming and diving team.
Jason Mott ’06, ’08M is slated to have his fourth novel, Hell of a Book, published by Dutton in August 2021.
Will Taylor ’13, ’15M and Meghan Taylor ’14, welcomed a daughter, Claire Patricia Taylor, on April 4, 2020.
Allen Rawls ’06, ’08M was promoted to senior manager of software development at IBM.
Sonia Granado ’14 was named 2019-20 N.L. Dillard Middle School Teacher of the Year (NC).
Rebecca Dassau-Grant ’07 and husband Lucas welcomed a son, Levi David, in April.
Fidias Reyes ’14M, UNCW director of arts engagement, was selected as the 2020 “WILMA Women to Watch” winner in the arts category.
In Memoriam Alumni Frederick B. Sternberger ’50
Linda M. Flowers ’89
M. Dean Sidbury ’56
Daniel R. Waltman ’89
Garland B. Garrett Jr. ’63
Rita I. Bailey ’91
Robert B. Eakins Jr. ’66
Elaine K. Shappell ’91M
Jerry D. Randall ’66
Janice M. Dimiceli ’93
Edward H. Rivenbark ’67
Randolph Foy III ’93
Barbara J. Knowles ’70
Richard P. Hall ’94
Darrell L. Rivenbark Sr. ’71
Leigh Ann M. Snead ’95
Katherine B. Moore ’73
Laura A. Juckett ’96
Mark A. Downing ’74
Kimberly J. Sabbagh ’98
Patricia M. Hubbard ’76
Terry D. Kennedy ’00
Harvey N. Waite ’76
Jeffrey T. Eason ’01
Paul M. Laird ’77
G. Dianne Matthews ’01
David C. Monaghan ’77
Vladimir A. Vasquez ’01
Ronnie M. Watson ’77
Leslie N. Blaylock ’02
Elsie E. Watts ’77
Jeffrey S. Fisher ’02
Dorothy S. Deshields ’81M
Sonja V. Henry ’02
Marcia M. Grant ’81
Julie L. Overman ’02, ’07M
Clyde A. Galloway ’82
Brian G. Whitaker ’02
Margorie L. Way ’82M
Rosemary D. Lloyd ’06
Anthony B. Mann ’83
Karen E. Ragazzo ’07M
William G. Miller ’83
Taylor M. McAuliffe ’10
Tracy L. Stefansky ’83
James M. Weaver ’13
Rebecca P. Howard ’84
Mitchell R. McInnis ’14M
Barbara F. Garrison ’85
K. Nicole Ottaway ’14
Julie A. Hieronymus ’86
Rigoberto Castellanos ’16
Scott C. Utah ’86
Kylie N. Foster ’20
Donald M. Richardson ’87
Andrew W. Mayes ’88
Friends Mike S. Adams
Charles Albert Lewis Jr.
Carolyn Edmonds Bancroft
John Walker Myers
Richard Dowell Barrow Sr.
August “Carl” Nelson
Deborah Ann Dowd
Frederick “Fred” Anthony Formichella
Delean Longley Gardner
Elizabeth Harriss Sprunt
Charles Whitney West Jr.
Mary Ann Hogue
Lucile Bethea Whedbee
Patricia “Pat” Lynn Leonard
Lawrence “Allan” Wilson Sr.
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Calling all Seahawks!
classnotes Steven Rhodes ’14 was hired as the assistant coach of NC A&T University women’s basketball team.
Luke Bradshaw ’16 was hired as associate attorney at Warrick, Bradshaw and Lockamy P.C. in Clinton, NC.
Joshua Woodfox ’14, a Clocktower Society member, finished fourth in the Wilmington City amateur golf tournament.
Nico Mancuso ’16 is an associate at Capitala Group, an asset management firm that provides capital to lower and traditional middle market businesses throughout North America.
Riley Stephenson ’15, E.L. White Society, UNCW Society and Clocktower Society member, Cameron School of Business Alumni Chapter president, was honored with a “40 Under 40” award by StarNews Media and the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce. The award recognizes young professionals serving others to make a difference in the Wilmington community. Graydon Balch ’16 graduated magna cum laude with a Doctor of Pharmacy from Campbell University.
Jake Connor ’17, ’19M joined the accounting department at Thomas Construction in Wilmington, NC. Tiffany Erichsen ’17, coordinator for the Center for Workforce Development in UNCW’s College of Health and Human Services, was a finalist on WILMA’s “Women to Watch” list in the education category. Kenan Lanier ’17 married Mercedes Burnette ’17 on June 13 in Clinton, NC.
Ashleigh Bryant Phillips ’17M published her debut short story collection, “Sleepovers.” Nathan Verwey ’17 completed a mural of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Princess Street in Wilmington, NC. Brandy Wrenn ’17 was selected as the 2020 Elizabeth Dole Foundation Caregiver Fellow for the state of North Carolina. Gloria Abbotts ’18M is a planner for the Town of Carolina Beach (NC). Marlow Artis ’18M is creator and chief content purveyor for Tar Heel Teachers, which encompasses a website, panel talk show, videocast, travel and micro-series. Devontae Cacok ’19 plays for the Los Angeles Lakers, the 2020 NBA championship team.
You can support the Seahawks of tomorrow through your planned gift to UNCW today. To learn more, please contact Tim McClain, Director of Legacy Gift Planning firstname.lastname@example.org | uncwlegacygift.org
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Share your news at uncw.edu/ alumniupdate Tammy Needham ’19 is chief nursing officer at UNC Rockingham Health Care, a medical center in Eden, NC. Agustin Savarino ’19 is a graduate assistant coach of the George Washington University tennis team. Jessica Aguilar ’20, Juntos 4-H Pender County coordinator and program assistant for UNCW’s Centro Hispano, was a finalist on WILMA’s “Women to Watch” list in the “Rising Star” category. Jessica Allison ’20M joined Realty Executives of Hickory, NC. Bailey and Seamus Donahue ’20 each received the Richard Sheirer Memorial Scholarship Award. The Class Notes are compiled by the Division for University Advancement.
We asked, you answered! On Facebook and Instagram, we asked #UNCWalumni to tell us how they remember a UNCW experience like no other.
Here’s what you had to say:
@uncw.alumni Take a minute to reflect back to your time on campus. How would you describe your Seahawk experience in one word?
Clock Tower Blanket “I worked in the Sponsored Programs office for several years and when I graduated, they gifted me this blanket. It’s been well loved in the years since then.” – Kristen Aycock Thurnau ’07, ’09M
@annaplyler Transformative @lrvsmith Memorable @maliklalene Breathtaking @bobbua Epic!!! @johnwdennehy Inspiring
Have you seen our Instagram takeovers? Follow us on Instagram to see a day in the life of Seahawk alumni. Did you miss a takeover? All
Golf Club Headcovers
takeovers are docked in a highlight
“My Seahawk golf club headcovers.” – Jeff Jones ’00
on our profile to view at any time! Visit https://alumni.uncw.edu/ instagram-takeover for more information.
@uncwalumni Pen Holder, Circa 1994-1995 “Best pen holder ever! May have a pep band jersey somewhere too!” – Brian Sauls ’97
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