WCU junior Thanh Tram (right), who is majoring in computer information systems, recently returned to campus after enjoying an internship experience with CNN in its Washington, D.C., bureau. Tram worked alongside Krissy Mabry ’93, supervising manager of VIP support for the network’s broadcast engineering and systems technology division. During her time in Washington, Tram was part of a team working on several high-priority projects, including CNN’s coverage of the Supreme Court’s historic ruling on same-sex marriage. “She was a wonderful intern for us, and we were lucky to have Thanh on our IT team,” said Mabry, a Sylva native who visited campus over the fall as a guest speaker for computer information system students in the College of Business.
Ray D. Carpenter, who was known as Douglas while at WCU, has written an autobiography, “Scribbles,” about his life as a Graham County farm boy, growing up in a family of 12 children. Carpenter currently is working on his second book. A U.S. Navy veteran, he served on the USS Coral Sea and USS Midway and visited many countries around the world.
Leroy Holden of Cornelius, longtime coach and athletic director at North Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte, has been inducted into the North Carolina Athletic Directors Hall of Fame. A Charlotte native, Holden coached almost every sport the school offered during his 38 years there. He retired in 2009. He was best known for his boys’ basketball teams that won 464 games, made six regional appearances and reached the 1987 4-A state final.
The basketball court at Camden (S.C.) High School now bears the name of coach Michael G. Culp, who died in 2010. A native of Charlotte, Culp led the varsity girl’s basketball team to a state 3-A championship and also coached a North-South All-Star game. He coached the team for 34 years and taught history at the school. Culp was married to the former B.J. Preslar.
After 21 years in Santa Monica, Calif., Myles Cabot MA ’72 is returning to North Carolina to become a professor of biochemistry at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University. In Santa Monica, Cabot was chief of the breast cancer research program and director of experimental therapeutics at the John Wayne Cancer Institute. A cell biologist and lipid biochemist, he is a past recipient of the American Cancer Society’s Science Writers Award for his investigations of tumor resistance to chemotherapy.
Ron Black is serving as chairman of the board of directors of the North Carolina Bankers Association. Black has more than 40 years of banking industry experience and has served as president and chief executive officer of the Bank of Oak Ridge since it was founded in 2000. The Bank of Oak Ridge is a community bank with locations in Greensboro, Summerfield and Oak Ridge.
Martha Roberts is the head of human resources at RTI International, a nonprofit research institute located in Research Triangle Park. Roberts joined the institute in an entry-level position more than 30 years ago.
Jeanette Beaudry MAEd ’79, former member of the alumni board of directors, recently ran for office on the Graham City Council. A flight attendant for 25 years for US Airways, Beaudry has served on the Graham Board of Adjustments, the Graham Historical Commission and the Alamance Beautiful Commission.
Wayne Beam MAEd ’77, Alamance County school principal for many years, has opened a store in downtown Burlington. Wayne’s Attic Treasures and Collectibles carries vintage jewelry, North Carolina pottery, old tools, advertising collectibles and painted furniture. Beam is a former owner of the Alamance Antiques Mall in Burlington and has been interested in collectibles since he was a boy playing in his grandmother’s attic. He is married to Brenda Taylor Beam ’75.
When the Great Smoky Mountains brook trout makes a permanent comeback in the region’s wild streams, Steve Moore will be remembered for his decades-long effort to make it happen. As National Park Service fisheries biologist, Moore has led aggressive efforts during his 30-year career to restore habitats for the native species and to create refuges where the trout can survive. Brook trout nearly disappeared because of logging and clear-cutting that eroded mountain streams a century ago. The restocking of streams with non-native fish, including rainbow and brown trout, created further problems for the native brook. Moore, a Waynesville native, has won both the Aldo Starker Leopold Medal and the Trout Conservation Professional Award from Trout Unlimited. His work received national attention in recent articles in Trout and National Parks magazines.
After more than 50 years of stage work, Jonathan Ray and his passion for the theater are still going strong. Ray directed the October production of Agatha Christie’s murder mystery “And Then There Were None” at The Green Room Community Theatre in Newton. He became interested in directing while a student at WCU under the tutelage of the late Josefina Niggli, a playwright and faculty member who worked in Hollywood before she came to Cullowhee. After graduating, Ray directed professional touring companies and taught for more than 30 years at Appalachian State and Lenoir-Rhyne universities, Catawba Valley Community College and Catawba County and Newton-Conover City schools.
Don Nail has been appointed director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Program. Nail will oversee statewide highway safety initiatives and work with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to help further safety for North Carolina’s motorists and pedestrians. Nail joined the Governor’s Highway Safety Program in 1985 and has held several positions during his tenure. He was instrumental in the “Click It or Ticket” and “Booze It and Lose It” campaigns that are now national standards. He is married to Diana Powell Nail ’83.
David A. Kahn completed his doctoral degree in counselor education and supervision at the University of South Carolina in 2012. Kahn is president of the Counseling Center of Florence, S.C. He is a former WCU student body president.
Page Norris Mikol MAEd ’85 is serving as president of the North Carolina Augumentative Communication Association. Mikol is a speech-language pathologist for the North Carolina Assistive Technology Program in Greensboro. She is married to John Mikol ’85 and has two daughters, Adrian and Brianna Mikol ’12.
Mike Soots received the NASA Johnson Space Center Director’s Commendation Award in July. Soots is the manager of the cost and schedule analysis office at Johnson Space Center, where he leads a team of 10 mathematicians, parametric modelers and performance assessment analysts. Soots, who has been with NASA for 31 years and participated in four manned spaceflight programs, got his start with the agency as an intern in WCU’s cooperative education program. Former astronaut Ellen Ochoa, director of the Johnson Space Center, presented the award. A Kernersville native, he is married to the former Rebecca Anne Patterson.
Lila Buchanan was honored for her many years of service to Mountain Heritage Day when she received the Eva Adcock Award during the annual festival held Sept. 28 in Cullowhee. Buchanan, who handled the budget for Mountain Heritage Day for many years, continues to volunteer to help administer festival activities even after her retirement from the WCU staff following more than 30 years of service. The award was presented to Buchanan by Scott Philyaw ’83, director of WCU’s Mountain Heritage Center. It is named for the longtime WCU music professor who passed away in 1999. Adcock was one of the early planners for Mountain Heritage Day and added the traditions of square dancing and shape-note singing to its activities.
Christopher K. Beachy MS is the new head of the Department of Biological Sciences at Southeastern Louisiana University. Previously a professor of biology at Minot (N.D.) State University, where he chaired the biology department for four years, Beachy also has been on the faculties of Clarke College in Dubuque, Iowa, and Jamestown College in Jamestown, N.D. At WCU, he was a visiting instructor, adjunct member of the graduate faculty and researcher at Highlands Biological Station. Beachy specializes in herpetology with a particular interest in salamanders. He lives in Hammond, La.
Franklin native Shirley Parks MAEd EDS ’04, a teacher and administrator in Macon County for 29 years, is the school system’s 2013-14 “Principal of the Year.” Parks taught at Otto School, Union Elementary, South Macon Elementary and Cartoogechaye Elementary, where she was also assistant principal. She has served as principal at East Franklin Elementary School since 2011.
Sheila Pressley has been appointed to a two-year term on the environmental health committee of the National Association of County and City Health Officials. The nation’s 2,700 local health departments make up the membership of the NACCHO. Pressley is an associate professor in the Department of Environmental Health Science and chair of the faculty senate at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Ky.
Capt. Mike Parker is serving in Japan as commander of the U.S. Navy’s Fleet Air Forward and Task Force 72, a command that covers half the globe, ranging from the Kamchatka Peninsula in the north to the Antarctic Ocean in the south and from the mid-Pacific Ocean all the way to the east coast of Africa. Parker entered the Navy’s officer candidate school in Pensacola, Fla., after graduating from WCU and has served with distinction and earned numerous decorations for his service, including combat operations as a flight officer in the Bosnian conflict and several missions in Oman, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. He also was commanding officer on missions from Central America to the Horn of Africa involving anti-piracy, drug interdiction and support of U.S. forces in the Middle East. Prior to his current command, he was on assignment at the Pentagon in the Office of Chief of Naval Operations. He is married to the former Heather Albritton. One of their daughters, Dailey, is a student at WCU.
George Brosi MAEd is the co-editor of a new book, “Appalachian Gateway: An Anthology of Contemporary Stories and Poetry,” published by the University of Tennessee Press. The book features the work of 25 of the region’s best-known fiction writers and poets, including WCU English professor and best-selling author Ron Rash and Kathryn Stripling Byer, former poet-in-residence at WCU and former N.C. poet laureate. Brosi is a staff member at Berea (Ky.) College, where he is editor of Appalachian Heritage, a literary quarterly.
Bryan Queen MPA ’94 has joined WIS Television of Columbia, S.C., as news content director. Queen moved to South Carolina from Rochester, N.Y, where he was news director for WROC/WUHF for the past two years. He started his television career more than 20 years ago as a reporter covering Upstate South Carolina for WLOS in Asheville. He also has worked at the NBC News Channel in Charlotte and NBC News in New York City, as well as Time Warner Cable, where he helped with the expansion of its 24-hour news channel, News 14 Carolina, throughout North Carolina.
Cal Reighley has been promoted to captain in the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division. Based in Columbia, S.C., Reighley has been with SLED for 15 years.
Former National Football League tight end Andrew Jordan has joined the football staff of Earlham College in Richmond, Ind. Jordan is working with Earlham’s wide receivers as part of the NFL Players Association Internship Program. He played in the NFL from 1994 until 2001 for the Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Philadelphia Eagles.
Joe Price MA is a member of the compliance and regulatory affairs staff of Galen College of Nursing in Louisville, Ky. Price joined the college as a librarian in 2008. His wife, Chris, former English teacher at Smoky Mountain High School in Sylva, is a literacy coach for Oldham County (Ky.) schools. They have three sons.
James “Bo” Taylor is the new executive director of the Museum of the Cherokee Indian in Cherokee. Taylor has been serving as Tribal Council representative for the Big Cove community for the past two years and also is a cultural ambassador for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. He is known for his work in preserving and perpetuating Cherokee culture and has lectured around the country and appeared in documentary films.
Kristy Maddy, supervisor of WCU’s water treatment plant, recently won the North Carolina Waterworks Operators Association’s “A-Surface Operator of the Year” award. Maddy has served as a water plant operator since 1999 and supervisor since 2007 at WCU’s nearly 50-year-old water treatment plant, which repeatedly has exceeded federal and state regulations for water quality. The award recognizes her commitment to continuous improvements, updates and major repairs to the plant. A Sylva native, Maddy earned a degree in environmental health and after being hired at WCU, went on to earn licenses as a C-Surface, B-Surface and A-Surface operator, as well as a license to work as a wastewater treatment operator. State officials describe her as a shining star in the industry.
Sam Chontos of Roswell, Ga., has led missions two years in a row for high school students traveling to South Africa. In July, Chontos and the students served in the township of Khayelitsha, just outside of Cape Town. His work is part of the Globalx mission program of Northpoint Community Church of Alpharetta, Ga. The students who participated were from schools in the North Metro Atlanta area.
Will Talley, band director at Asheville High School, is the 2014 Teacher of the Year for Asheville City Schools.
Natalie Sipe Campbell MS ’04 and her husband, Tate, welcomed their third daughter, Madison Tate, born Jan. 27. She joins big sisters Neeley and Elizabeth.
Juanita Wilson has joined the staff of WCU’s Division of Educational Outreach as director of the Western North Carolina Leadership Initiative. The initiative includes two programs funded through the Cherokee Preservation Foundation that are now being administered through WCU, the Cherokee Right Path Program and the new Coulter Regional Leadership Program. Both programs are focused on helping area residents develop leadership skills. Wilson is an enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
Aaron D’Innocenzi is the afternoon drive time radio disc jockey for Whistle 100, a heritage country station in Greenville, S.C., where he is on the air from 3 until 7 p.m. D’Innocenzi, whose on-air name is Aaron Michael, also can be heard on 99.9 Kiss Country radio station in Asheville from 7 p.m. until midnight on a show he does from Greenville. Both stations are owned by Clear Channel Media and Entertainment.
Melissa Faetz MAEd ’13 has been named Macon County’s “Teacher of the Year” for 2013-14. Faetz has been on the faculty of South Macon Elementary in Franklin for the past 10 years and currently teaches first grade.
The Laurel Park Town Council announced in September that Alison L. Melnikova MPA ’06 has been named town manager. A Franklin native, Melnikova has been serving as the assistant town manager for Waynesville since 2008. The town of Laurel Park is in Henderson County.
Kyle Bewsey MA received his doctoral degree in clinical psychology from the University of North Texas during the spring 2013 commencement ceremony. Bewsey has accepted a position as clinical psychologist with the Department of Veterans Affairs of the Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System in Biloxi, Miss.
Tina Evans MAT is living in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and teaching English at the GEMS World Academy, an international school for students from prekindergarten through 12th grade.
Carrie F. Vickery and Phillip W. Skipper Jr. ’07 were married June 1 in Lexington. The bridal party included several Catamounts: Adrienne Bumgarner ’06, maid of honor; Benji Sheehan ’08, best man; and Joshua Gentry ’07, groomsman.
Mitchell Hutchings is the 2013 second-place winner nationally in the opera division of The American Prize in Voice, Friedrich and Virginia Schorr Memorial Award. The prize recognizes and rewards the best performances by classically trained American vocalists based on their submitted recordings. Hutchings has been a resident artist of the Pensacola Opera, Opera Saratoga, Ash Lawn Opera, DiCapo Opera Theatre, the Opera Theatre and Music Festival of Lucca, the Czech-American Summer Music Institute and Opera Tampa’s V.O.I.C.Experience. In 2014, he will make his Carnegie Hall debut singing the bass solos with the National Sacred Honor Choir. Hutchings and his wife Sarah Hutchings live in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Artist Grayson Bowen MFA and his paintings were featured in the May 2012 issue of North Carolina Health News. In the article, Bowen said that his work has been influenced by the diagnosis he received as a teenager of schizoaffective disorder. His said that his painting has been an important part of his ability to achieve recovery. Bowen is a peer-support specialist at Wellness City Recovery Innovations in Durham and teaches several art classes to people who are working to recover from mental illness.
Jill Ingram MA has returned to her hometown of Greensboro as part of a two-person communication and marketing team in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Ingram is a former staff member in the Office of Public Relations at WCU, where she served as an associate editor of the university magazine.
Brian Cody Walker has been promoted to assistant vice president of commercial banking at Hibernia Bank of New Orleans, where he is active in the community and recently served as a coordinator and coach for the Children’s Hospital Miracle League of Greater New Orleans.
Ashley Warner and her husband, Walt, have a new baby girl, born April 3. The child weighed 3 pounds, 3 ounces, and had to stay in the hospital for 44 days, but came home on May 17 and is now growing and healthy.
Lindsay Marie Carter won a $5,000 fellowship from the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi to help finance her graduate studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The prestigious national award is one of 51 presented this year to members of the honor society who are doing graduate work. While at WCU, Carter was a member of the Honors College and the soccer team for four years before graduating with highest honors. She expects to graduate from UNC with a doctor of pharmacy degree in 2017.
Amanda Ellis Kouri spent her summer on the stage performing in the historic Theatre By The Sea in Warwick, R.I., where she was a member of the cast for “Legally Blonde The Musical,” presented by Ocean State Theatre Company. Kouri, who lives in Narragansett, R.I., also has performed in “Man of La Mancha,” “The Drowsy Chaperone,” “Hairspray” and “A Chorus Line” at the Theatre By The Sea.
As a student, Tyler McKenzie, a musical theater major from Long Island, N.Y., used to go to New York whenever he could for auditions. McKenzie told friends he was looking forward to a professional stage career. Within a few months of his graduation last May, he landed a role in the ensemble cast for the 2013-14 national tour of the Broadway musical “Mamma Mia!” The show will travel to Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Nevada, New York, Virginia and North Carolina, where performances will be at the Durham Performing Arts Center in May 2014. McKenzie is a singer, dancer, actor and choreographer and was a recipient of the Josefina Niggli Scholarship at WCU.