Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Good Mojo and Great Friends

Seahawks came to the Quintile Wrightsville Beach marathon
in support of Sam Shelby.
The word “cancer” isn’t a good one. For most of us, it means a disease that kills a lot of people. But when the doctor looks at you and says “cancer,” the word takes on a new meaning.

This is what Sam Shelby ‘93 experienced on December 1st, 2014. He had a bad feeling about this appointment – his doctor and friend had called him two days earlier than scheduled. Here was a healthy, active, slim, non-smoker with stage four cancer in his lung? But being a man of action, Shelby only paused a few moments before asking “what’s next?”

Since then, Shelby has not only kept an upbeat and hopeful mindset himself, but inspired positivity in others as well.

“Bummin’ around isn’t gonna do me or anyone else any good. I want to convey confidence, but also a bit of goofiness and levity,” Shelby said. He is using his blog, Mojo Warriors, to keep his friends and family updated about his fight against cancer, but also to keep them cheerful.

“I didn’t have the energy to write or call everyone in my world,” Shelby said. “It made sense to use [the Mojo Warriors blog] and social media to brief everyone.”

Cancer can negatively influence the way one perceives the day-to-day. However, that isn’t the case for Shelby. He has continued to be as hopeful and as charismatic as usual. In fact, based on the content of the Mojo Warriors blog, you might say the Shelby has become more positive.

Alumnus (and Shelby's old suitmate) Rick Civelli '94 with his WB Surf Camp in Costa Rica.
Mojo Warriors is a hybrid of posts from Shelby about his treatment with funny videos and pictures. His posts range from news about his chemo appointment, to Seinfeld references and stories about ice cream. Regardless of the content of the posts, they are always entertaining to read.

“My entire career has been in digital media, so I’m familiar with online publishing and have done some writing in the past,” Shelby shared.

His professionalism shines through. Many of the posts from the “Update from Sam” section of the Mojo Warriors blog have dozens of messages of support, encouragement, and praise. The comments mention how much enjoyment readers get out of his posts – not just the ones sharing good news, but the ones that simply brighten readers’ days with funny stories or memories.

Even the name of the blog is optimistic: “Mojo” to represent all the good vibes and love coming Shelby’s way, and “Warriors” to represent the battle Shelby and his support group are fighting. The Mojo Warriors even have a sign: three fingers up, three fingers down to make “MW.”

Former UNCW point guard Drew Phillips '94 and his son's hoops squad showing their love for "MW."
And the good mojo just keeps flowing. Shelby is surrounded by people who are rooting for him. He has a support system in Wilmington and Chapel Hill, and it’s only growing. Friends from UNCW have been large supporters of Shelby.

“I am only a small part of the support that Sam has received,” said Adam Keen, a friend of Shelby’s for five years. “From the locals of Wrightsville Beach and Wilmington, to individuals across the US, Sam has been encouraged by many and has inspired many more.”

Just a few weeks ago at the Quintiles Wrightsville Beach Marathon, the Mojo Warriors gathered in support of Shelby. That’s in addition to the calls, text, cards, gifts, and donations that Seahawks have sent.

“I can’t thank them enough and I’m super grateful to have such caring and supportive people on my side. They are true friends of 25 years now, and will be for another 25 plus.”

UNCW Alumni Relations/Christine Schulze '15

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Introducing UNCW dubrai$er: Chris Shaw ’16

UNCW junior Chris Shaw is perfect proof that the dubrai$ers program can prove useful across a variety of areas. Double-majoring in English and creative writing, Shaw is applying his call center experiences to his life as an aspiring writer.

“Not every person I call is able to say yes, so this job has taught me how to persevere,” he said. “This has helped a lot in my writing.”

His favorite thing about working as a dubrai$er is making connections with the numerous alumni and parents of students he calls every week. On these calls, Shaw encourages them to participate in UNCW’s various fundraising programs. During his time as a dubrai$er, Shaw has secured more than $14,500 in gifts.

Shaw, 21, is a transfer student who was drawn to UNCW because of its successful creative writing department and great location. He joined the dubrai$ers program because he wanted a campus job, but stayed because the position “really helps the university, which makes it more meaningful than other jobs.”

When he’s not in class or at the call center, Shaw enjoys reading, working on his various writing projects and playing basketball. In the future, he plans to attend graduate school in creative writing; his long-term goal is to become an author.

Gifts generated by the dubrai$ers provide funding for equipment and services across campus, including supplies for student research projects; resources for student travel; textbooks for students in financial need; and scholarships for high-performing students.

Fulfill your gift before May 9 help the dubrai$ers make a difference at UNCW. Visit or call 910.962.7613.

 UNCW/Davis McKinney ’15 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Working at Your Dream Job? This Alumna Is.

“I volunteered at an orphanage, spent time with the locals and talked to NGOs (non-governmental organizations),” Natasha Davis '12M recalled about her time in southeast Asia. “That’s when I realized that there was a great need for people with business knowledge in the nonprofit world. I decided that if I was going to work 60 to 80 hours a week, then I wanted to make the world a better place.”

“As soon as I could come back to Wilmington, I did. This place is home to me. UNCW is home to me,” she said. In 2012, Davis earned Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree with a concentration in nonprofit management from UNCW. Now she's the director of UNCW’s Quality Enhancement for Nonprofit Organizations (QENO).

Find out more at WE ARE UNCW.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Introducing UNCW dubrai$er: Jason Walsh ’15

UNCW senior Jason Walsh has lived his college life to the fullest, engaging in a variety of extracurricular activities from club ice hockey to studying abroad in both Morocco and South Africa. But Walsh has participated in one activity that stands out from the others: the dubrai$ers program.

The “dubrai$ers” are a team of UNCW students who call alumni and parents of students to inform them of recent UNCW news and events and, most importantly, encourage them to participate in the university’s fundraising efforts. During his time on the dubrai$ers team, Walsh has personally raised more than $7,000 in gifts to the university, a very impressive number, as the average gift ranges from $25 to $50.

Walsh, who is double-majoring in environmental science and economics, plans to attend graduate school after graduation in May 2015. Later, he hopes to pursue a career in environmental evaluation for large businesses and companies. He feels that his time on the dubrai$ers team will serve him well in the professional world.

“This job has made me more confident with speaking to people in the science field,” he said. “I think that experience in fundraising will prove useful while asking for money for scientific projects.”

Walsh is very proud to be a dubrai$er, but also to be a student at UNCW, saying that this university provides him with a “hands-on learning experience” that he feels he couldn’t get elsewhere.

Gifts generated by the dubrai$ers provide funding for equipment and services across campus, including: supplies for student research projects; resources for student travel; textbooks for students in financial need; and scholarships for high-performing students.

Want to help the dubrai$ers make a difference at UNCW? Consider contributing to a scholarship or program that is meaningful to you. For more information, visit the Office of Annual Giving or call (910) 962-7613.

UNCW/Davis McKinney ’15