2017-18 Mentors

Creighton Blackwell

Mr. Blackwell is an accomplished financial professional and financial education advocate for more than 18 years on a local as well as national level. He serves as the Vice President of Branch Networks and Community Engagement at Coastal Federal Credit Union and has held upper level management positions at RBC Bank such as Director of Sales Communications, Community Development Specialist, Manager of Business Banking Strategy, Chapel Hill Market Executive and Banking Center Manager of nine different locations.

Dawn Braswell

Ms. Braswell is the Training Manager for Siemens Charlotte Energy Hub in Charlotte, NC. She has worked with the facility’s training department since March 2011. As the Training Manager, she oversees all learning and development for the more than 1,600 employees in this advanced manufacturing environment. Ms. Braswell serves on several boards in the Charlotte area including the Steele Creek YMCA, Olympic High School Advanced Manufacturing Curriculum Board, Southwest Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, and works as a mentor in the Ruth G. Shaw’s Women’s Leadership Program at Central Piedmont Community College. Prior to Siemens, Dawn spent 10 years in higher education, specifically serving as an Associate Dean with the North Carolina Community College System. She holds a BS in Criminal Justice, a MS in Adult Education, and is currently pursuing her Ed.D. in Leadership, Policy, Adult and Higher Education at NC State University. In her free time, she enjoys traveling with her husband, Scott, and their 11-year old daughter, Bailey.

Dan Allen

Mr. Allen is the Vice President Customer Services for the Four County Electric Membership Corporation. Four County EMC is member owned and provides safe, reliable electric service, innovative energy solutions and outstanding services to members and communities. The cooperative serves over 32,500 services in Bladen, Duplin, Pender, Sampson and a lesser degree in Columbus and Onslow counties, which include residences, farms, businesses, industries, churches, and schools.

Randal and Susan Barnes

Randal Barnes is the President of Wilson County Farm Bureau, and Susan Barnes is the Chairperson of the Wilson County Women’s Committee. Mr. Barnes is a retired farmer of 37 years and Mrs. Barnes is a retired educator.

Phaedra Boinodiris

Ms. Boinodiris is IBM’s global lead for serious games and gamification. Since the start of her career at IBM she has incubated a game development ecosystem on IBM’s cloud, and IBM’s first serious games practice solving complex problems across industry. She is also the author of “Serious Games for Business” published in 2014 by Megan-Kiffer press. Her earlier work in serious games are being used in more than 1,000 schools worldwide to teach students the fundamentals of business optimization. Ms. Boinodiris was honored by Women in Games International as one of the top 100 women in the games industry. Prior to working at IBM, she was a serial entrepreneur for 14 years where she co-founded WomenGamers.Com, a popular women’s gaming portal. There she subsequently started the first scholarship for women to pursue degrees in game design and development in the US. In November of 2015, she was elected as a member of IBM’s Academy of Technology and has six patents in the gaming space. She happily mentors business school students at her alma-mater UNC-Chapel Hill where she is also UNC’s 2016 Social Entrepreneur in Residence.

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.

Dr. Ashley Elias

Dr. Elias is a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellow working in the lab of Dr. Reade Roberts at NC State. She completed her doctorate in the Department of Biological Sciences at Purdue University. Currently, Dr. Elias is using genomic approaches to explore sex determination and differences in cichlid fish.

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.

Alyson Davis

Ms. Davis serves as the University Relations and STEM Manager at LORD Corporation. She manages university partnerships and programs, including LORD Corporation’s internship and co-op program, as well as Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) outreach/activities for its United States facilities. LORD Corporation is a diversified technology and manufacturing company developing highly reliable adhesives, coatings, motion management devices, and sensing technologies that significantly reduce risk and improve product performance.

Ashley Feldhaus

Ms. Feldhaus serves as the Associate Manager of Corporate Communications at Bayer. She is a communications professional with more than decade of experience in creating goal-driven communications
strategies and materials in the areas of internal and external communications. She has a B.S. in Communications/Public Relations from East Carolina University.

Jess George

Ms. George is the Community Impact Manager for Google Fiber in Charlotte, North Carolina. Prior to joining to joining the Google Fiber team, she worked for 15 years in the nonprofit field. She most recently served as the Executive Director of the Latin American Coalition, North Carolina’s largest Latino immigrant integration and advocacy organization. As Community Impact Manager, she works with community leaders, organizations and neighborhoods to address issues of access, opportunity and digital inclusion. Originally from a tiny town in central New York state, she got her BA in International Politics from Penn State University. She has called Charlotte home for 18 years.

Dr. Matt Koci

Dr. Koci is an associate professor of poultry science at NC State University. His laboratory works to understand the immune mechanisms which allow an animal to recognize, respond, eliminate, and develop resistance to pathogens. He has a B. S. in Biology from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA; an M.S. in Infectious Diseases and a Ph.D. in Pathology from the University of Georgia, Athens, GA.

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.

Amy Maddox

Dr. Maddox is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at UNC-Chapel Hill. Her lab uses high-resolution microscopy, quantitative image analysis, cell biology, genetics, biochemistry, and developmental biology to study cell division.

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.

Stefano Menegatti

Mr. Menegatti is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at NC State University. He earned his Ph.D. at NC State in chemical and biomolecular engineering with a minor in biotechnology. His doctoral work was focused on the development of peptide-based affinity ligands for the purification of biotherapeutics and the design of novel and inexpensive in vivo and in vitro diagnostics.

Morgan Pennetti

Ms. Pennetti serves as the Youth Sales and Event Manager at Carowinds. She is responsible for developing, managing, and increasing sales within the youth business segment. Carowinds offers various educational opportunities for students to visit the park.

Dr. Balaji Rao

Dr. Rao is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at NC State University. His lab works on engineering proteins to quantitatively study and ultimately control molecular interactions that govern stem cell fate. His degrees are: Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, MIT (2004); M.S., Chemical Engineering, MIT (2001);and B.ChE. UICT (formerly UDCT), Mumbai, India (1999).

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.

Andy Rindos

Mr. Rindos is the Program Director for Ecosystem, Partnerships and Industry Collaboration within the IBM Watson and Cloud Platform business unit. He also heads the Research Triangle Park Center for Advanced Studies (CAS; IBM North Carolina university relations) and the IBM Cloud Academy. Additionally, he leads WW CAS (representing nearly 30 centers across the globe) and US university relations. He has previously headed the Emerging Technology Institute for IBM Cloud and the WebSphere Technology Institute, as well as performance for the Tivoli and Networking Hardware divisions. He is an IBM Senior Technical Staff Member, as well as an NC State Adjunct Associate Professor. He joined IBM in 1988, after receiving his PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland. Prior to IBM, he was a Neurophyisologist at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda MD.

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.

Mark Rohlinger

Mr. Rohlinger is responsible for the Technical Operations at the Bosch Rexroth Charlotte facility and for the Linear Motion and Assembly Technologies product lines. He began his career with Bosch Rexroth in 1994 as a Product Manager for Ball Screws, and spent his first 10 years in different manager and then director roles associated with Product Management, Application Engineering, and Customer Service. In 2005 he moved into the operations side of the business as Director of Manufacturing Operations. He was part of the effort in growing and doubling the size of the business and eventually became the Director of Technical Operations in 2010. He has received an Associates of Applied Science Degree in Product Development, a Bachelors of Science Degrees in Industrial Technology from the University of Wisconsin – Stout, as well as a Masters of Science degree in Industrial Technology from Northern Illinois University. He has a patent in his name for a ball recirculating element used in a ball screw, and has had a journal article published relating to chaos theory. He is involved heavily in the local community supporting STEM and work force development initiatives. Mr. Rohlinger is married and has three children ranging in age from 12 to 18 years old.

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.

Clifton Vann

Mr. Vann is the CEO at Hyde Park Partners, the holding company that owns and provides corporate services for Livingston & Haven, MRO Stop and American Engineering Group. The company’s desire is to provide unlimited advantage to its customers and associates.

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.

Heather Willoughby

Ms.Willoughby is a North Carolina native and grew up in Alamance County. Her father is a nurseryman and her family farms tobacco, beef cattle and row crops. She is an NC State University graduate with a background in biology and horticulture. After working in horticulture for seven years, she joined the North Carolina Farm Bureau Federation in August 2015. She works as a program assistant for the Ag in the Classroom program under director, Michele Reedy.

Vaughn Willoughby

Mr. Willoughby is owner of Pritchett Farms Nurseries in Elon, N.C. They produce greenhouse and nursery crops. He is a graduate of N.C. State University. Mr Willoughby is a regional represenative of the N.C. Green Industry Council and serves on the Greenhouse and Nursery advisory board for N.C Farm Bureau. As a member of the Altamahaw Civitan Club he has served as club president. Mr. Willoughby is the president of the Alamance County Farm Bureau, having held that position for 8 years.

Kelly Witter

Ms. Witter is an Environmental Engineer in the EPA Office of Research and Development in Research Triangle Park, NC. She directs the K-12 Environmental & STEM Outreach Program at RTP. Through our program, the EPA connects the needs of the community with the expertise of its employees to inspire and educate in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).