2016-17 Mentors

Dr. De Anna Beasley

Dr. Beasley is a postdoctoral research scholar at N.C. State University. She received her PhD in biological sciences from the University of South Carolina in 2013 (advisor: Professor Tim Mousseau). Her research focuses on the impacts of human-driven environmental change on insect development, physiology and behavior. Her research interests are grounded in her dissertation work on the environmental consequences of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.


Dr. Jason Bourke

Dr. Bourke is a vertebrate paleontologist interested in the functional morphology of extinct reptiles. His research looks at reconstructing soft-tissue anatomy and physiology in extinct animals using computer modeling and engineering-based approaches.


Dr. Lisa Brown Buchanan

Dr. Brown Buchanan is an Assistant Professor of Elementary Education in the Watson College of Education at UNC-Wilmington. She teaches a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses. Her teaching and research is primarily dedicated to elementary social studies and literacy.


Dr. Pam Carpenter

Dr. Carpenter is the director of education programs for the FREEDM Systems Center at N.C. State University. Her role is providing leadership for pre college through graduate programs. Dr. Carpenter has developed and led programs in renewable energy and alternative transportation with a focus on and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) concepts at N.C. State for several years. She has a passion for developing educational and training programs that provide 21st century skills relevant to today’s needs in industry and learning experiences that engage and immerse students in these topics through real-world application and hands-on projects. She received her doctorate in Technology, Engineering, and Design in the College of Education at N.C. State where she is also an adjunct associate professor.


David Catt

Mr. Catt serves as the Plant Manager at Keihin Carolina System Technology, an electronic assemblies manufacturer in Tarboro. The company uses advanced robotics technologies and automated manufacturing processes to lead the industry in quality performance and to provide world-class products.


Ashley Chin-Baarstad

Ms. Chin-Baarstad is a Postdoctoral Research Scholar in the lab of Dr. Reade Roberts at NC State. She completed her doctorate in the Department of Biological Sciences at Purdue University.


Lee Clark-Sellers

Ms. Clark-Sellers serves as an Innovation Officer at Ply Gem. She is accomplished in Innovative Engineering Leadership and Business Development in the Telecommunications, BioScience, Computer, and Building Products Industry and has a successful track record in multi-site technology development, R&D Effectiveness, along with delivering superior customer value as well as international experience in developing R&D capability, strategic partnerships and M&A activity.


Wim van Dam

Mr. van Dam serves as the Plant Manager at Hyster-Yale Group, an independent public company which, operating through its subsidiary, Hyster-Yale Group, Inc. and its subsidiaries, designs, engineers, manufactures, sells and services a comprehensive line of lift trucks and aftermarket parts marketed globally primarily under the Hyster® and Yale® brand names.


John Garner

Mr. Garner serves as the Interim Research Operations Manager for the Horticultural Crops Research Station on a 60- acre tract on Highway 133, six miles north of Wilmington.

Many N.C. State University scientists, including experts in horticulture, plant diseases and genetics conduct research at the Horticultural Crops Research Station at Castle Hayne.


Jacob W. Giddens

Mr. Giddens serves as the District Conservationist at the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in Kenansville. Giddens began working at the Natural Resources Conservation Service in 2008.


Ashley Haynes

Ms. Haynes serves as the media contact and spokesperson for Pee Dee Electric, a member-owned cooperative that provides reliable electricity and related services while focusing on value, quality customer service, and enhancing life in the communities we serve.


Melissa Hight

Ms. Hight serves as a board member of the New Hanover County Farm Bureau. She is also a member of the 2016-17 North Carolina Farm Bureau Women’s Committee, a life-long educator and retired from NC Cooperative Extension. The not-for-profit New Hanover County Farm Bureau Federation is dedicated to Agriculture promotion and education.


Krista Horne, MSN, RN

Ms. Horne serves as the Director of Patient Care Services, Education at Vidant Duplin Hospital.

She oversees and coordinates the assessment of educational needs, the planning of programs to meet those needs, the implementation of those programs, and the evaluation of the effectiveness of offerings for hospital employees, students, volunteers and diverse community members.

Ms. Horne holds a B.S. and a M.S. in Nursing from UNC-Chapel Hill and is a member of Beta Nu Chapter, Sigma Theta Tau, International Honor Society of Nursing. She was is a 2005 recipient of the UNC Healthcare Nurse of the Year Award: Medicine Service.


Julie Horvath, Ph.D.

Dr. Horvath is the director of the Genomics & Microbiology Research Laboratory at the Nature Research Center of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. She is a comparative evolutionary genomicist interested in understanding the evolutionary forces that have shaped primate genomes and that cause human disease.


Jesse S. Jur, Ph.D.

Dr. Jur is an assistant professor at the North Carolina State University College of Textiles. His research in the field of nanotechnology focuses on the development and modification of unique nanostructures of conductive and insulating materials by atomic layer deposition. These nanostructures are used in various applications including textiles and photovoltaics.


Roland Kays, Ph.D.

Dr. Kays is the director of the biodiversity lab at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. He is a zoologist with a broad interest in ecology and conservation, especially of mammals. He seeks out questions that are scientifically interesting but also have real-world relevance through educational or conservation value.


Carl Kirby

Mr. Kirby serves as the District Conservationist at the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in Greene County. He provides opportunities for farmers and landowners to participate in USDA offered programs to apply conservation on the land.


Lisa Lassiter

Ms. Lassiter serves as the  Administrator of Vidant Health Careers. Vidant Health is a regional health system serving 29 counties in eastern North Carolina.


Lindsey Listrom

Ms. Listrom serves as the Manager of Communications for North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives, which provide reliable, safe and affordable energy and related services to more than 950,000 households and businesses from the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Outer Banks. She also coordinates the Bright Ideas grant program that awarded to K-12 teachers for innovative classroom projects.


Danielle Mayber

Ms. Mayber is in Corporate Communications at Bayer. She works internally with subject matter experts and externally to communicate about Research and Development efforts. She studied Public Relations at NC State.


Tia McLaurin Bethea

Ms. McLaurin Bethea is a Community Impact Manager for Google Fiber. She is formerly the Assistant Director of Development for the Kenan Fellows Program, the Alumni Relations & Development Director for Leadership North Carolina, and the Director of Corporate & Community Partnerships for Boys & Girls Clubs. She has an M.A. in Predictive Analytics and a B.A. in Sociology from North Carolina State University.


Dr. Alex Nevzorov

Dr. Nevzorov is an Associate Professor at NC State’s Department of Chemistry.  He has an M.S. in Physics and Applied Mathematics from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Moscow, Russia, and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ. Previously, he was an Assistant Project Scientist at the University of California, San Diego, CA.


Cathy Page

Ms. Page has served as the Director of Customer Service at Pee Dee Electric for seven years. She also served as a business education teacher in Stanly County Schools for 10 years. Pee Dee Electric is a member-owned cooperative that provides reliable electricity and related services while focusing on value, quality customer service, and enhancing life in its communities.


Dr. Christina Phillips

Dr. Phillips is the Director of Production Research for the Smithfield Hog Production Division (formerly named Murphy-Brown). She received a B.S. in Animal Science and a M.S. in swine nutrition at N.C. State University, and she completed her Ph.D. in 2012 at the University of Minnesota with an emphasis in swine management and well-being.


Michele Reedy

Ms. Reedy works as the Director of Ag in the Classroom for North Carolina Farm Bureau. Her educational background includes an undergraduate degree in Animal Science and a master’s degree in Adult Education with a concentration in curriculum and instruction. She grew up on a 4th generation farm in southeast Virginia where peanuts, corn, soybean, corn, beef cattle and market hogs were produced. Her professional experience includes working for Murphy Brown, Southern States, teaching in K-12 schools, and teaching preservice teachers at Chowan University.

She finds her current position with NC Farm Bureau extremely rewarding as all of her experience and education fits this one role. She feels that educating K-12 students on the importance of NC agriculture is vital to the growth of this state as well as meeting the needs of a growing world population.


J. Mark Rhyne

Mr. Rhyne has served as the Director of Engineering & Operations at Pee Dee Electric for 19 years. Pee Dee Electric is a member-owned cooperative that provides reliable electricity and related services while focusing on value, quality customer service, and enhancing life in its communities.


Dr. Reade Roberts

Dr. Roberts is an Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences at NC State. Research in the Roberts laboratory examines the genomic basis of adaptation and speciation, with focus on dietary adaptation, host-microbiota interactions, sex determination and sex differences, and complex behavior.


Dr. Stephanie Schuttler

Dr. Schuttler is a mammalogist interested in the intersection of animal behavior, conservation biology, and ecology. She is working with North Carolina teachers under the Students Discover program to implement eMammal, a citizen science camera-trapping program, into the curriculum of middle school classrooms and will use the student-collected data to study urban mammals. She also studies social behavior in mammals, specifically the social structure of African forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis).


Dr. Richard L. Smith

Dr. Smith is a Mark L. Reed III Distinguished Professor of Statistics and Professor of Biostatistics in the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He is also Director of the Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute, a Mathematical Sciences Institute supported by the National Science Foundation.


D. Magdalena Sorger

D. Magdalena Sorger, a post-doc in the Dunn Lab at NC State University, is fascinated with ants. She studies their natural history, taxonomy, distribution, behavior, and life history traits.


Dr. Julia Stevens

Dr. Stevens is a microbial ecologist and molecular biologist studying the dynamic relationships between hosts and their microorganisms. Her particular interest lies in the bacteria and fungi associated with invasive species. By using an integrative approach, she uses both traditional microscopy and culturing methods to supplement next generation sequencing and bioinformatic approaches. Recently, she has began participating in science outreach through Citizen Science, popular science writing, and public speaking.


Nancy Turner

Ms. Turner has served as the Program Assistant at Vidant Health Careers for four years. Prior to that she served as the Administrative Secretary for the Pitt Memorial Hospital Foundation.  Vidant Health is a regional health system serving 29 counties in eastern North Carolina.


Julie Urban, Ph.D.

Dr. Urban is the assistant director of the Genomics & Microbiology Laboratory at the Nature Research Center of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. She is an evolutionary biologist whose primary interests focus on planthoppers, a diverse and often morphologically bizarre group of sap-feeding insects in the Order Hemiptera.


Dr. Elena Veety

Dr. Veety is the Education Director for NC State’s ASSIST Center. She helps manage the ASSIST undergraduate and graduate education programs, including minors, certificates, undergraduate research, and the Translational Engineering Skills Program (TESP). Her research includes the investigation of effective strategies for teaching soft, global, and translational engineering skills, and their impact at both the graduate and undergraduate level.


Dr. Wade O. Watanabe

Dr. Watanabe is currently a Research Professor with the Center for Marine Science at UNC-Wilmington where he is Coordinator of the Center’s Aquaculture Program. Dr. Watanabe is also Mariculture Program Leader for MARBIONC, a private-public business incubator at UNCW-CMS. His background is in the area of general finfish aquaculture. He has published extensively in the areas of controlled breeding, larval culture, and juvenile growout of various freshwater and marine finfish species. He has conducted research in Asia, the Pacific, the Caribbean as well as in the US and with a variety of species.


Dr. Ami E. Wilbur

Dr. Wilbur’s research at UNC-Wilmington focuses on the application of modern molecular techniques to basic and applied questions in shellfish genetics and mariculture. She is particularly interested in the development and application of genetic markers to resolve issues in the design, implementation, and evaluation of culture efforts, and fisheries management practices involving marine bivalve molluscs.


Dr. Thomas Witelski

Dr. Witelski is a professor of mathematics at Duke University. He is an Associate Director of the Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute, which is a Mathematical Sciences Institute supported by the National Science Foundation in the Research Triangle Park. He focuses on using differential equations to describe dynamical behaviors occurring in fluid flows and other complex physical systems.


Lindsay Zanno, Ph.D.

Dr. Zanno is the Director, Paleontology & Geology Research Laboratory at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Her primary interest centers on the anatomy, phylogeny, and paleoecology of theropod dinosaurs—a group that includes the iconic megapredator T. rex as well as living birds.