Monday, September 20, 2010

Meet Triad Area Alumni Chapter President: Brian Cruz ‘96

Regional Alumni chapters allow graduates to stay connected to UNCW wherever they are. Chapter functions involve reunions, networking socials, mixers and sporting events. Brian Cruz ’96, lives in Greensboro and has been the President of the Triad Area Alumni Chapter since 2009.

Brian began his undergraduate studies at Embry-Riddle in Florida on a full ROTC scholarship for Aeronautical Engineering. After a year of intense studies and training, he decided to return to the Crystal Coast. Upon his return, he worked full-time and attended night classes at Carteret Community College so he could transfer to UNCW. After graduation, Brian stayed in Wilmington and reconnected with his college sweetheart, Shannon Davis ’94, who was visiting the beach.  He decided to move to Greensboro, her hometown, so they could get married.  Currently, Brian is a general manager for Starbucks at University Commons (near Elon). This is the second store location he’s opened, his first being Mayfaire Town Center on Military Cutoff Rd.

Brian and wife, Shannon, at the 2009 Triad Alumni Chapter Fall Dinner

Being a leader in the community and helping to support his alma mater is something Brian takes pride in. He has a wealth of knowledge, energy and passion that he enjoys sharing with others. He explains that, “Volunteerism is a great outlet for me and is quite fulfilling.”

One of his favorite aspects of getting together with fellow alumni is to see the breadth and scope of their diversity. Making new friends and learning about different experiences alumni had at UNCW and since graduation is a benefit of every alumni gathering. Currently, the group is excited about their Triad Alumni Chapter Fall Dinner on Thursday, September 30th at the Greensboro Country Club. “I enjoy the fellowship and the opportunity to see old friends, make new friends and share with fellow supporters of UNCW,” says Brian.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

UNCW Student Today, Alumni Tomorrow

I’m Chelsey, a UNCW student and new intern here at the Alumni Relations Office. I came to UNCW in the fall of 2006; and as a fifth year senior I am proud to say that I will be graduating in December! Graduating college... WOW, I cannot believe that my childhood dreams of being a college girl are about to end. Let me first say that I enjoy college and sometimes wish I could remain a student forever. I have wonderful friends, amazing mentors, a great sorority, and an awesome major in communications studies.

Chelsey Allen (right) with sorority sisters.
During my junior year, I contemplated adding a professional writing certificate to boost my journalism minor. All I needed was an internship and 2 credits, so I made a list of pros and cons. Ultimately, my plan was to earn my degree from UNCW then move to NYC and get some type of adult job that you see in the movies. After the economy shift and the reality that I will not be safely submerged in classes forever, I became nervous about my approaching graduation.  Deciding to add the writing certification eased my fear of graduation by giving me more time to figure things out, and making me more competitive in my field.

Job searching is a challenging time for fresh graduates and landing that first “real world” job can be especially daunting. Yet I know that with my ambitious nature and experiences through my internship, I will succeed. Stay tuned for more updates about the final months of life as a UNCW student and the transition to alumni!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Traveling Seahawk Stays in Touch

As many UNCW graduates emerge into a world full of unknowns, staying connected to former classmates remains helpful. Graduation opens the gate of endless opportunities and experiences to explore, many of which are guided by UNCW and friends.  Katie Childs ’02 received degrees in both Business Administration – International Business and Spanish - a language, culture, and history that she loves.  Passionate about UNCW since childhood visits to Wilmington, Katie explains that “UNCW provided me with the opportunity to learn amongst top faculty and peers, and provided me with the trip of a lifetime to study abroad in Quito, Ecuador.” Katie is still close with many UNCW alumni and faculty, as well as classmates from Ecuador.

However, upon graduation Katie faced some challenges as she moved west to Los Angeles, California in search of her dream job. After the incidents of 9/11, there were sparse jobs available for a recent graduate like Katie, with an interest in International Business. She worked hard to find a job, and remained connected with her networks for help. “Using the network of friends, alumni, and professors for references and referrals for job openings I have found that we are all willing to aid our fellow Seahawks however we can,” recalls Katie. 

Traveling to places like Mexico, Ecuador and more recently Spain, where she met her Australian fiancĂ© is one of the things Katie enjoys most. She now lives in Brisbane, Australia and she still stays involved with the Alumni Association when she can. The internet has made staying connected much easier; she has even met a few Seahawks living in Australia. Katie even says that she hopes to get an alumni group going on this side of the world. “That’s next on my list – what a great opportunity to keep us all involved, even from afar!” Although Katie has finally found a place to call home; many Seahawks travel to new areas where they are faced with uncertainties. Moving away from what they know can be a frightening challenge; fortunately staying connected with fellow alumni provides friends in all places.

Read more about alumni who are making an impact in Wilmington, and all over the world during the Seahawk Summer Feature. Learn about Ryan Kawamoto '08 who works with the Ellen DeGeneres show. Check out the posts on Justin Queen '04 owner of an advanced technology web marketing company, or Lindsay Rowe '08 teaching in South Korea,  Brad Knighton '06 who plays in MLS with the Philadelphia Union and Ryan Crecelius '06 whose real estate business is helping to shape Wilmington's future.