Thursday, July 14, 2016

Distinguished Alumni Achievement Awards for Excellence in Teaching

A passion for teaching and a desire to help future educators are two things Frances Bessellieu ’82, ’99M and Sueanne McKinney ’82 have in common. The lifelong educators spent much of their careers helping at-risk or special needs children and preparing teachers.

They were honored by the Watson College of Education for their efforts to make a difference in the lives of young people and the advancement of teacher education. Bessellieu, a former teacher and consultant with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and McKinney, an associate professor of elementary education at Old Dominion University, were recipients of the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award.

“I was well-prepared for the classroom and working with diverse populations,” McKinney said. “The number and quality of my field experiences gave me a realistic picture of the demands of teaching.”

Read more about Frances and Susanna at We Are UNCW.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Researching Issues Close to Home

Mount Everest may draw hundreds, if not thousands of people to Nepal each year, but it was the more remote regions that influenced Janardan Mainali '16M to study earth sciences. Nepal’s treacherous terrain affects more than just mountain climbers; it also impedes villagers’ access to basic elements like water. For his studies, Mainali was specifically interested in dynamics of natural resources and their inherent link to the people who live in the place he calls home.

Mainali, a Fulbright Scholar, began his master’s studies at UNCW in August 2014, and received a grant from the International Foundation for Science to fund his fieldwork in Nepal. “I was born and raised in a remote, hilly region of Nepal in an agrarian family,” he said, “and grew up observing change in the forests and farms around my house.” Following landslides, he said, “those barren lands were protected under the community forest regime and they are now full-fledged forests. That helped local people as they no longer had to walk long distances to collect forest products.”

As part of his master’s thesis in geoscience, Mainali collected data from 10 villages in his native Nepal to assess socioeconomic drivers of drought vulnerability in the Ramechhap district. “Thank you so much, UNCW and Wilmington, for being so accommodating to international students,” he said. “Thank you for making this journey so memorable. I will miss UNCW and Wilmington.”

Read more about Janardan at We Are UNCW.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Meet the new members at-large of the Board of Directors

The UNC Wilmington Alumni Association welcomed four new members at-large to our Board of Directors. These individuals will provide leadership and guidance to the association during their three-year term of service.

Danielle Bryant ’02 earned a bachelor’s in Business Administration and now lives in Raleigh, NC, serving as Human Resources Manager at Amec Foster Wheeler. There she is responsible for implementing human resource management strategies and acts as a strategic partner to the executive management team. Additionally, Danielle volunteers as a Meredith College Business student mentor, Chair of a Human Resources Construction Council and member of the Raleigh Wake Human Resources Association.
Deborrah Newton ’83 earned a bachelor’s in English and is currently an attorney, licensed to practice law in both state and federal court. Owner of Newton Law Firm, Deborrah litigates trial and appeal cases, with a concentration in State and Federal Criminal Law. She has served as both Secretary and President of the Wake County Academy of Criminal Trial Lawyers and is currently a member of Governor McCrory’s Mental Health and Substance Use Commission. Deborrah’s daughter Brittany is also a UNCW alumna, carrying on the UNCW legacy.

Cedrick Barrett ’00 attended UNCW on a full academic scholarship and earned a bachelor’s in Business Administration. Cedrick works as the Finance Director for the YMCA of Wilmington, Inc. where he is responsible for the fiscal management of the organization. Cedrick is currently a board member and past treasurer of DREAMS of Wilmington, and won the New Hanover County Partnership for Fatherhood Award in March 2016. He has remained actively involved with UNCW by attending alumni events and creating opportunities for students through partnerships with the career center and the Upperman African American Cultural Center.

Louis “Gus” Fennell, Jr. ’00 earned a bachelor’s in Business Administration, while serving on the Student Government Association as the Junior Class Senator and Senator at Large. Currently, Gus lives in Charleston, SC, and is a Vice President at BlackRock, Inc. where he works with investment professionals in North and South Carolina. Additionally, he serves on the Advisory Board for the Cameron School of Business Economics/Finance department.

Additionally, the board welcomed new chapter representatives:
· Joey Morganthall ’07 – Charlotte Area President
· Will Owens ’98 – Triangle Area President
· Juliana Nesbit ’06 – Watson College of Education President
· Jamie Thompson ’03 – Communications Studies President

To learn more about the role of the Alumni Board of Directors, and renewing members Brian Cruz and Dawn McKernan, visit