On the Move: Spring 2023

News & Spotlights | June 13, 2023
Top row, from left to right: Joe Nail ’18, Laura Alexander-Elliott ’81, Joey Blake ’15, and Catherine Varner ’04. Bottom row: Janora McDuffie ’99, Mike McIntyre ’78, Nakisa Sadeghi ’17, and Tre’ Williams ’18.

Morehead-Cain Alumni landed new jobs, received accolades, earned advanced degrees, and more. Here’s who made a move this spring.

  • Dave Davis ’59 became the longest practicing psychiatrist in Georgia and the longest practicing physician at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital. The medical director has served the hospital for 54 years.
  • Rich Leonard ’71, dean of the Campbell University Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law, has published a memoir, From Welcome to Windhoek: A Judge’s Journey, published by LM Press. The alumnus was once the nation’s youngest U.S. District Court Clerk. Rich has also served as a special consultant to the U.S. Department of State.
  • Larry Robbins ’74, an attorney in Wyrick Robbins Yates & Ponton, LLP, has received the 2023 Life Sciences Lifetime Achievement Award from the Triangle Business Journal.
  • Charles Bowman ’78 has joined UNC Charlotte as an executive-in-residence. The alumnus is a retired Bank of America executive. Charles serves as chair of the YMCA of Greater Charlotte Board of Directors, on the Atrium Health Executive Committee, and on the North Carolina Railroad Board of Directors.
  • Mike McIntyre ’78 received an honorary degree (Doctor of Laws) from the University during commencement on May 14. Mike is an attorney and politician who served North Carolina’s 7th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives for 18 years.
  • Laura Alexander-Elliott ’81, executive director of Soaring Unlimited Haiti, led the launch of a women’s health and birth center in Limonade, Haiti. The facility includes exam and birth rooms, a recovery area, lab, pharmacy, and dormitories for onsite midwifery staff and visiting medical professionals from the United States.
  • Caleb King ’82 delivered the James P. Elder Lecture at Elon University in April.
  • Jerry Blackwell ’84 became a United States District Judge for the District of Minnesota. Jerry is the founding partner of Blackwell Burke P.A., one of the oldest and largest Black-owned law firms in the country.
  • Jonathan Reckford ’84 received an honorary degree (Doctor of Laws) from the University during commencement on May 14. Jonathan is the CEO of Habitat for Humanity.
  • Brad Ives ’86, executive director for the Center for the Environment at Catawba College, led the college’s successful push to be certified as carbon neutral by Second Nature, a non-profit that seeks to accelerate climate action in and through higher education. Catawba College is the first campus in the southeast and the 13th college in the United States to achieve net-zero emissions. North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper ’79 celebrated the announcement in April.
  • Annie Towe Egan ’87 has been appointed to the board of directors at Wolfson Children’s Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida.
  • Heather Brown Smith ’89 has been appointed faculty director of the Levine Scholars Program, UNC Charlotte’s merit scholarship program. Heather is a professor of geography and interim chair of the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences. The alumna will begin the role in July.
  • Michael Hinshaw ’90 has joined Green Circuits, an electronics manufacturing services company, as CEO.
  • Mike Ferguson ’92 has been appointed to the UNC–Chapel Hill Board of Visitors.
  • Jim Copland ’94 has been elected to the UNC General Alumni Association Board of Directors. Jim is a senior fellow and the director for legal policy at the Manhattan Institute and vice chairman of Copland Fabrics
  • Locke Karriker ’95 was installed as vice president of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians on March 7.
  • Stacey Brandenburg ’96, an attorney at ZwillGen, has been appointed to the board of trustees at the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation in Washington, D.C.
  • Pam Alston Oliver ’96 has received the Donna Lambeth Children’s Champion Award from the Child Care Resource Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
  • Cristy Parker Page ’96 served as the keynote speaker for the International Women’s Day event hosted by The Inspiration Lab in Wilmington, North Carolina. The alumna is executive dean of the UNC School of Medicine.
  • Sean Wiswesser ’96 received his master’s in strategic studies from Air War College, the senior Professional Military Education school of the U.S. Air Force. His master’s thesis paper on the war in Ukraine was publishedin the Journal of Small Wars & Insurgencies (Taylor & Francis Publishing, UK).
  • Graham Cosper ’97 has been appointed to the UNC–Chapel Hill Board of Visitors.
  • Ashley Parrott Dunham ’98 has been elected to the UNC General Alumni Association Board of Directors.
  • Christian Charnaux ’99 has been appointed to the UNC–Chapel Hill Board of Visitors.
  • Janora McDuffie ’99 delivered the keynote address at UNC–Chapel Hill’s Lavender Graduation on May 7. The ceremony celebrates the achievements of LGBTQIA+ and allied students. The alumna also delivered a TEDx Talk at the North Carolina School of Science and Math in Durham. Janora is a voiceover artist and actress based in Los Angeles. She was the live announcer for the 94th Academy Awards and currently stars as “Aunt Liz” in the movie Praise This streaming on Peacock.
  • Emma Richardson ’01 joined the United Nations Division of Global Affairs Canada to represent Canada on the executive boards of UN Women and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Emma is an assistant professor at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. The alumna co-authored a paper, “Preparing for the United Nations Security Council: Canadian approaches to policy development,” published by SAGE in November 2022.
  • For International Women’s Day on March 8, Corrie White Conrad ’02 was featured on the NASDAQ Tower in New York City’s Times Square for the Pledge 1% display. Quotes and advice from trailblazing women were featured throughout the day.
  • Amy Rae Fox ’04 completed her PhD in cognitive science from the University of California San Diego this spring. The alumna has also received a joint fellowship from the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory METEOR Postdoctoral Fellowship Program and the School of Engineering Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, and she is a School of Engineering Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Her research centers on how diagrams, graphs, and data visualizations are used as tools for thinking.
  • Catherine Varner ’04 was appointed as deputy editor of the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), Canada’s top-ranked medical journal. Catherine is an emergency medicine physician, clinician scientist, and associate professor at the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto.
  • Ned Kelly ’05, a senior intelligence officer at the Defense Intelligence Agency Office of Technology and Long Range Analysis, served as a judge in the 2023 UNC Policy Brief Competition.
  • Virginia Weaver Schutte ’07 is headed to East Antarctica aboard an icebreaker, a ship designed for ice-covered waters, for a deep-sea research expedition. Virginia will serve as outreach and media lead to develop and share stories about the scientific work conducted on the expedition. The alumna is working on behalf of the Bik Lab, which focuses on microbes in marine sediments, at the University of Georgia.
  • Nick Andersen ’12 joined NPR’s Fresh Air as the first-ever archives producer. He left GBH’s MASTERPIECE in February 2022.
  • Patrick Gray ’14 was awarded a Zuckerman Postdoctoral Fellowship to continue his research into ocean optics and how ocean physics influence the diversity and productivity of marine life. The alumnus defended his PhD in Marine Science at Duke University.
  • Christy Lambden ’14 was selected by the National Trial Lawyers as a Top 40 under 40 civil plaintiff trial lawyer in Georgia.
  • Allen Champagne ’15 has earned an MD (followed by a PhD in 2019) from Queen’s University Faculty of Health Sciences in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. The alumnus will begin postgraduate training at Duke Orthopaedics in June.
  • Joey Blake ’15, a litigation associate at Winston & Strawn LLP, has been named to the National Black Lawyers’ ‘Top 40 Under 40’ list for 2023. The alumnus is based in Houston, Texas. His practice focuses on complex commercial litigation in the energy and infrastructure industry.
  • Neel Patel ’15 has been named vice president of strategy and growth at Church’s Texas Chicken.
  • Larry Han ’16 earned his PhD in Biostatistics from Harvard University in May. His dissertation was entitled, “On Causal Inference in Real World Settings.” The alumnus will join Northeastern University as a tenure-track assistant professor of health sciences in August.
  • Taylor Sharp ’16 and John Zimmerman have been inducted into the Southern Fly Fishing Hall of Fame for their humanitarian contributions within the sport. In 2012, they co-founded Casting for Hope, a nonprofit that supports women with ovarian and other gynecological cancers, which has since raised over $1,000,000 for its financial and emotional assistance, programming, and fly-fishing retreats.
  • Martha Isaacs ’17 was awarded a prestigious Schwarzman scholarship, which funds a master’s in global affairs at Beijing’s Tsinghua University. The alumna aims to create more equitable, participatory, and inclusive urban planning processes and projects. Martha is a project manager at the New York City Department of Transportation.
  • Laura Limarzi ’17 has been accepted into a PhD program at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.
  • Nakisa Sadeghi ’17 matched into medicine-dermatology residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Harvard Combined Dermatology Program in March.
  • Allison McGuire Baumgarten ’18 joined Learn to Win, a mobile learning platform co-founded by Andrew Powell ’15 and Sasha Seymore ’15, as a costumer support associate.
  • Anna Dodson ’18 matched into family medicine at the University of North Carolina Hospitals.
  • Caroline Folz ’18 will join Duke University as a neurosurgery resident.
  • Joe Nail ’18, co-founder and CEO of Lead for America, has been selected as a Knight-Hennessy Scholar at Stanford University. The scholarship will provide three years of fully funded graduate study, and he will be earning an MBA and a master’s in international policy. In May, the alumnus also qualified for the All-Guard National Marathon Team to represent the military at races nationwide for the next two years.
  • Tre’ Williams ’18 earned his MBA from the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School with an emphasis on strategy and marketing this past May. The alumnus is an account manager at Amazon Web Services.
  • Lauren Zitney ’19, a strategy and innovation project coordinator at RTI International, helped pass Ranked Choice Voting in Fort Collins, Colorado. The alumna served as treasurer for the issue committee that mobilized for its passing. Fort Collins is now the largest city in the state to use RCV, an electoral system that allows voters to rank candidates by preference.
  • recycleReality, a company co-founded by Sam Lowe ’20, Scott Diekema ’19, and Nicholas Byrne ’19, was awarded two OBIE Awards as part of the 2022 “Breakthrough Artist” ad campaign by Amazon Music and Overall Murals. The alumni won the OBIE Craft Award for Best Illustration and a Silver OBIE Award in the Billboards category. The awards are presented annually by the Out of Home Advertising Association of America. recycleReality makes bespoke design and software solutions with clients and collaborations in music, fashion, art, and architecture.

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