Monday, November 29, 2010

Goodbye student years. Hello alumni friends!

These last four years have been some of the best years of my life; college is an experience unlike anything else. It seems like just yesterday I was moving into Graham/Hewlett dorm and now I am preparing for Commencement just next week. Although the job market is quite frightening, I will take what I have learned with me throughout my future endeavors. Between my studies and social experiences I have gained the most invaluable education which helped shape me into the person I am today. I have learned much about responsibility, respect and determination, and many more of the skills that will assist my future in the professional world.

My internship with the UNCW Alumni Association has been unlike any other. I have not only had the opportunity to network with alumni professionals throughout the world, but also work with a truly amazing office. I have gained significant experience in marketing, writing and event planning. Through these experiences, I have developed into an educated individual, ready to conquer what comes next. The thought of graduating college is quite bittersweet; I am both excited to start a career but afraid to leave the comforts of college life. As I become an alumna, I will stay in touch with the university through the friendships and mentors I have established. I feel that I am ready to take the next step in life and see what the future holds.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

We are thankful for... you!

In the Alumni Relations office we are lucky to be working with and meeting UNCW alumni every day. Since 1947, UNCW (formerly Wilmington College) has produced more than 55,000 alumni who soar higher every year. We are thankful for each and every one of you. Here are a few who work hard to make a difference and we're proud to call them UNCW Alumni:

Dr. Rhett King ’03 furthered his education after attending UNCW and recently opened a local chiropractic office, King Chiropratic. Rhett is also the founder of Wilmington Health Nuts, a group who organizes and participates in various activities every other Saturday to showcase different fitness and exercise opportunities available in the area.

Bonnie England ’05 was a double art major who has been working to develop the creative arts community in Wilmington over the past few years. As former owner of Bottega Gallery & Art Bar, and originator of Diva Made, a creative women’s exchange, Bonnie’s new venture is an all-encompassing art center and lounge named Projekte.

Dawn Carter ’89 received her degree in Psychology and currently manages volunteers and fiscal support as the Director of Resources for the Good Shepherd Center in Wilmington. The center provides meals and beds for homeless in the area and transitions as many as 100 homeless men, women and families back to housing and independence each year.

Harrison James Sasser '09 attended UNCW as a business major and has an eye for style and opportunity. The recent graudate just opened a new men's clothing store, The Gentlemen's Corner, in Lumina Station.

Ray Buchanan '72 received his degree in Philosophy and Religion before continuing his studies and later forming Stop Hunger Now in 1998. Working with international partners, the organization has provided more than $70 million in direct aid and 34 million meals to 72 countries world wide.

Jason Nista '08, Rocco Quaranto '08 and Wells Struble '08, pooled their cash soon after graduation to open Fuzzy Peach, a self-serve frozen yogurt bar in Wilmington. The trio has already explored additional locations and franchising opportunities.

Kimberly Stokes '91 majored in Special Education and is currently the UNCW Site Lead Teacher for the Transition Program for Young Adults. This community-based program, for people 18 years or older with moderate to severe disabilities, teaches skills for their transition from student to real world independence.

Meredith Sullivan '01 &  Kristen Beckmeyer '01, completed their degrees in business and after turning down other opportunities, returned to Wilmington to deliver yummy treats. They opened Coastal Cupcakes, first with a downtown location and soon after, a tasty spot near Wrightsville Beach.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Seahawks Soaring on Capitol Hill

Students attend UNCW for a variety of reasons, whether it’s the academic programs, the location or the size of the institution. After graduation, many choose to travel to different parts of the world. Internship opportunities brought Jon Thompson ‘07, Kaitlin Helms ‘08, and Walter Zaykowski ‘07 into the political field. Jon, now a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, handles the radio and television duties, which includes working closely with Republican Congressmen and candidates to appear on national television and radio interviews. Kaitlin is currently the Executive Assistant to Congressman Mike McIntyre, where she has seen him through a full election cycle. Walter has the role of Investigator working for Senator Burr in his capacity as Ranking Member of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee. He conducts oversight duties over the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and advises the Senator on necessary actions with regards to the agency.

Whether it was the professors, the friends or even their studies, UNCW is what got these alumni to where they are today. Walter explains that “going to the school was the reason I was brought into Senator Burr’s office for an interview and preceding that, my friends and network from the university assisted me with moving to DC and defining a career path when I was first starting out.” Kaitlin shared that many of the theories and concepts she studied in college, are the same that she uses at work today. Jon feels that although he didn’t share the same political views with his professors, he learned that compromise and discussing the issues goes a lot farther than doing nothing. “Working in the political profession in Washington, DC now – what I learned in the halls of Leutze come in handy daily. In this tense political climate, I think more would benefit from similar teachings,” explains Jon.

Jon, Kaitlin and Walter are all excited for the UNCW Alumni Pregame Social coming up on November 29. This will be the first official alumni social in the DC metro area. Kaitlin explains that “A group of [alumni] have gotten together informally about once a month for a year now,” but she knows that “there are many Seahawks living in the DC metro area with whom we have yet to connect. This will be a great opportunity to get everyone together.” Jon shares that he is “looking forward to seeing the Seahawks make up for it this time around.”

As an alumnus now living in Washington, DC, having something familiar around provides comfort for these recent graduates. Walter knows many other alumni in the area, either neighbors or colleagues and even a Seahawk roommate. He explains that they get together “for drinks and to pine for the days of sitting on Wrightsville Beach without a care in the world. It’s nice to have a good representation of UNCW alumni involved in politics and to see a friendly face from our college days at UNCW.”

Monday, November 8, 2010

Meet UNCW's New Athletic Director Jimmy Bass, at the TEALgate!

UNCW's new AD, Jimmy Bass will be attending the Cape Fear Alumni Chapter's TEALgate on Nov. 18, before UNCW takes on Morehead State.

Bass was UNCW’s first full-time athletics fundraiser in 1986. He also served as Executive Director of the UNCW Student Aid Association (Seahawk Club), and Associate Director of Athletics. Bass has spent the past three years at East Carolina University, where he had great success as the Senior Associate Athletics Director for External Operations. Prior to his most recent position with ECU, he held other positions at Mississippi State, N.C. State, Pittsburgh, and Davidson. Bass also has experience in development, ticketing, marketing and Alumni Relations. At NC State, he served as the Associate Vice Chancellor for Alumni Relations and Executive Director of the Alumni Association.

The TEALgate is a great opportunity for alumni and friends to meet Jimmy, while enjoying food, drinks, games and Seahawk Spirit!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Meet Jensen Caudle ’05, Vice-Chair of the Charlotte Area Alumni Chapter.

Jensen Caudle ’05 attended UNCW for a few different reasons, one of those being his love of the coast. In middle school, he attended the summer camp Marine Quest at the university because he had a great interest in Marine Biology. Although the professional interest did not remain the same as he grew older, it gave him an early taste of UNCW. After graduating, Jensen now resides with his wife, Mallory Caudle ’05, in his hometown of Harrisburg, NC, located right outside of Charlotte.

The Alumni Association currently has regional chapters in the Cape Fear, Triangle, and Triad areas. Charlotte has over 3,000 alumni, making it the third largest concentration of UNCW graduates in North Carolina. Jensen volunteers for the Charlotte Area Alumni Chapter Steering Committee because he wants to build his network. “UNCW gave me a wonderful education and great memories, but it was the people that made it that way.  This is my way of saying thank you,” explains Jensen. There is an ever-growing knowledge and awareness of UNCW in the Charlotte area. Regardless of what school they attended, people always want to know about UNCW.

The Charlotte Alumni Chapter is hosting their first Alumni Interest Dinner on Thursday, November 11th. Jensen, the vice-president of the Charlotte Area Alumni Chapter Steering Committee, looks forward to meeting alumni who are from the area, as well as catching up with old friends. “I see UNCW stickers on cars all the time, I know there are a lot of Seahawks in this area and I hope to see a great turnout,” explains Jensen. The alumni chapter is a great way to reconnect with past friends and to build a social network. Jensen explains that with the “sheer numbers of alumni in the area, we are bound to be successful. It will be great to reconnect with old classmates and make new friends.”