Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Changing Course & Paying it Forward

Cecil Reynolds ’75 had two desires as a youth – to attend the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis and to play professional baseball. In the summer of 1969, he had to choose between his two passions: He earned a presidential appointment to the Naval Academy and was drafted by the Mets.

Two weeks before Reynolds was to report for duty at Annapolis, he withdrew from the Naval Academy and signed with the Mets. After four years toiling in the minor leagues and making several all-star teams, Reynolds suffered a career-ending injury the year of his first major league contract, which set him on a new career path – research and child development.

It was a psychology course at UNCW that sparked his interest in the field, he recalled.

Today, Reynolds is a leader in the fields of school and educational psychology. He is a distinguished research scholar, and professor emeritus of educational psychology and neuroscience at Texas A&M University. He’s also the editor-in-chief of Archives of Scientific Psychology and associate editor of Journal of Pediatric Neuropsychology. He is the author of more than 300 scholarly publications and author or editor of 55 books.

Reynolds was named the 1984 UNCW Distinguished Alumnus of the Year and a 1998 UNCW Razor Walker Award recipient for his contributions to the field. In an effort to help future researchers pursue their passion, Reynolds endowed a scholarship honoring psychology professor Robert Brown, whom he described as an excellent teacher, mentor and lifelong friend.

“We want to support opportunities for post-secondary and graduate education where and when we can. One of our hopes is that by modelling such support by giving back and not just talking about it, others will be inspired to give back as well. Giving back creates a rising tide, and it is true, a rising tide lifts all boats.”

Read more at We Are UNCW.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Transfer, Temp to Full Time

In just six years, Lauren Auton ’12 has gone from a UNCW transfer student to a full-time staff member and graduate student at the university.

“I started out in the Office of the Dean of Students as a work-study student, became a temp after graduation and then a full-time staff member,” she says. She currently serves as the assistant for student conduct and community standards in that office.

Auton graduated with a degree in sociology and criminology and is currently working on a master’s in conflict management and resolution. She credits her education from UNCW for preparing her to work well with diverse populations – a big part of her role now.

Read more at We Are UNCW.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Artist Turned Administrator

Donna Moore ’81 already possessed artistic talent when she enrolled at UNCW, but she credits her time at the university with opening her eyes to art’s broad influence on humanity and society. Today, as director of the Museum School at the Cameron Art Museum, she helps others develop their own special relationship with art.

“I started my studies with a personal connection to art, but I graduated from UNCW with a strong awareness and commitment to the life-changing power the arts can bring to everyone, everywhere,” she said.

As a work-study student at UNCW, Moore was given the job of assisting legendary Wilmington artist Claude Howell in the art department. He was a demanding mentor, but she learned much from him.
Read more at We Are UNCW.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Wilmington College Reflections

Almost 50 years later, Shirley Zeznock recounts the story of the impact Wilmington had on her and husband Eugene ‘67. 

“In 1965, my husband Eugene and I moved our young family to Wilmington, North Carolina and settled on Harbor Island. Eugene planned to finish a bachelor degree in Accounting that he had starting working on years before at what was then known as Wilmington College, now UNC Wilmington. The original college buildings sat across from New Hanover High School on Market Street. At the time, Wilmington College only offered associate degrees and a large percentage of the student body was comprised of enlisted service men returning from the Korean War.

Our return to Wilmington was very exciting. We had previously lived in Wilmington in 1956 to 1957 and at that time I was a new Registered Nurse working the night shift at James Walker Hospital on Rankin Street.

During our second two years living back in Wilmington, 1965 to 1966, I had the best job ever at Babies Hospital. This children’s hospital originally opened in 1920 and was located on the banks of the Intracoastal Waterway just before the first bridge to Wrightsville Beach. I had returned to Wilmington as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) and was the sole anesthetist in the hospital. I previously had worked in a large and busy operating room so this new job felt almost like a vacation.

I lived five minutes from Babies Hospital. The daily schedule usually was finished by late morning and even though I was on standby six days a week for emergencies, I had lots of time to… take a few college courses. All the new-found free time gave me the opportunity to work with the Wilmington College Marine Biology department which was right next door to Babies Hospital. They were doing a wide range of studies that I found very interesting and they even had an adopted seal named Lucille on site.

We left after the Wilmington College graduation ceremony in 1967 for improved job opportunities near Philadelphia but throughout the years our connection to the area remained strong… and after our retirement in 1995, we permanently moved back to Wilmington. We still remember and cherish all the opportunities made possible for us here."

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

An Advocate for Equitable Education

As a young man growing up in rural North Carolina, Sherick Hughes ’97 experienced inequities and opportunities at the intersection of race, class, gender, education and desegregated schools. He later witnessed those same inequities and opportunities while working with urban and rural public elementary school youth in North Carolina and Ohio.

His experiences sparked a desire to advocate and seek solutions that would provide equitable educational opportunities to all.

Over the years, Hughes’ work has aided in the advancement of education. His research was applied to a N.C. Supreme Court case involving schools; to rural extension education efforts in Pennsylvania; urban education policy efforts in Indiana; and, most recently, his research on the myth and math of affirmative action was requested by national- and local-level legal advisors. “It has the potential to be used in pending cases regarding race-conscious college admissions,” he said.

Read more about Sherick at We Are UNCW.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Meet the New Chapter Leadership

Joey Morganthall – Charlotte Area President
Grad Year: 2007
School & Major: Cameron School of Business, Business Administration & College of Arts and Sciences, Communications Studies
Current Employment: Broker, MPV Properties
Activities as a student: Vice President – Delta Tau Delta Fraternity, 4 Years- Club Soccer Team
What motivated you to get involved with the Alumni Association?
I wanted to give back to UNCW because of the quality experience I had at UNCW.  I want to ensure that my education at UNCW is a long term investment, and that Alumni continue to give back and help raise the standards of the University. 

Juliana Nesbit – Watson College of Education President
Grad Year: 2006
School & Major: Watson College of Education, Social Studies Certification,  B. A. in History, 
Current Employment: Social Studies Teacher at Topsail High School
Activities as a student: NC Teaching Fellow
What motivated you to get involved with the Alumni Association? I enjoy being able to give back to the university and the Watson College. I like the networking opportunities, building connections between the university and community, and having an inside look at how certain things at the university are run.

Will Owens – Triangle Area President
Grad Year: 1998
School & Major: College of Arts & Sciences, Sociology and Criminology  
Current Employment: Attorney/Partner, Owens & Miller, PLLC
What motivated you to get involved with the Alumni Association?
I gained a lot from my experience at UNCW, and want to give back to the extent I am capable from 120 miles west of Wilmington.  Through the Alumni Association, I've been able to both reconnect with former classmates, and also meet other alumni from other classes and even other generations.  We've formed good friendships and even a few business relationships.  By volunteering with the alumni association, I'm hopeful of helping other Seahawks foster the same positive experience. 

Jamie Kury Thompson – Communications Studies President
Grad Year: 2003
School & Major: College of Arts & Sciences, Communication Studies and French
Current Employment: Development Director, Coastal Horizons Center
Activities as a student: Alpha Phi, French Club, Study Abroad in Marseille and Paris
What motivated you to get involved with the Alumni Association?
I have had the pleasure of working with interns from the Communications Studies department over the last 8 years. It has been an incredible experience and it made me realize that I really enjoy staying involved with UNCW. It is so wonderful to see how much the department has grown since I was an undergrad and I want to find ways to be of service to a university that did so much for me as a student and now as a professional.   

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Lifelong Marine Biology Dreams Realized

Madeline Marens ’12 knew at the age of 5 that she wanted to be a marine biologist – a dream she never outgrew. She majored in marine biology and achieved her goal, landing a job as an aquarist at the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher.

“I really enjoy the aquarium setting and feel like I can be engaged in shark conservation initiatives there,” she said. “The aquarium serves as an instrumental public agency to inspire and commit to the conservation of the environment. I enjoy the hands-on aspect of it.”

Marens credits several UNCW professors – Fred Scharf, Tom Lankford, Ann Pabst and Marcel Van Tuinen – for her passion for conservation.

“The education I received as an undergrad and now as a graduate student has helped me achieve the career I dreamed of as a child,” she said.

Find out more about Madeline at We Are UNCW.