2019-20 Mentors

Merritt Atkins

Merritt Atkins serves as the marketing manager of Holt Brothers Construction. Atkins joined Holt in January 2017, returning to the A/E/C industry after a few years of exploring real estate and law. She is a Past President of the Society of Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) Research Triangle Chapter and a member of the Triangle Chapter of the American Marketing Association and she received a Bachelor of Science degree in business management from NC State University.

Dr. David Banks

Dr. David Banks serves as the director of SAMSI. Dr. Banks obtained an M.S. in Applied Mathematics from Virginia Tech in 1982, followed by a Ph.D. in Statistics in 1984. He won an NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in the Mathematical Sciences, which he took at Berkeley. In 1986 he was a visiting assistant lecturer at the University of Cambridge, and then joined the Department of Statistics at Carnegie Mellon in 1987. In 1997 he went to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, then served as chief statistician of the U.S. Department of Transportation, and finally joined the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2002. In 2003, he returned to academics at Duke University.


Chelsea Berg

Chelsea Berg is an environmental scientist with a background in outdoor education, art, and storytelling. Her current research focuses on the intersection of public health and ecosystem services, but she’s put it aside for three months to man the helm of EPA’s Community Engagement and STEM Education Program in RTP. Both of her jobs emphasize communication, and she’s had the opportunity to participate in Alan Alda workshops, an Edward Tufte course, and the National Academy of Sciences’ Science of Science Communication meeting. Her previous work at EPA focused on maps for community use. Ask her about data visualization, poster design, systems science, scuba diving and the difference between science translation and translational science. Prior to joining EPA, Berg worked as an outdoor educator in Tennessee and the Florida Keys, a watershed association fellow in Maine, and a graduate research assistant in New Hampshire. She earned a BS degree in Environmental Studies with a Biology Concentration and an MS degree in Environmental Science & Policy from Plymouth State University, NH.

Greg Boehm

Greg Boehm serves as the general manager of TEAM Industries, a market leader in drive train technology that offers a complete range of services that includes everything from collaboration on product designs to manufacturing to your specifications. TEAM Industries designs and manufactures systems that take power and puts it to work quietly and efficiently.

Dawn Braswell

Dawn Braswell serves as the head of Siemens Apprenticeship for North America and also serves as the Training Manager for Siemens Charlotte Energy Hub. Dawn has worked with Siemens since March 2011. As the Head of Siemens Apprenticeship, she is responsible for developing and leading an integrated apprenticeship strategy, in collaboration with key Siemens stakeholders and external partners across their multiple operating companies. Dawn serves on several boards including the North Carolina Business Committee on Education and the Central Piedmont Community College Foundation Board. Prior to joining Siemens, Dawn spent ten years in higher education, working as an Associate Dean within the North Carolina Community College System. She earned her undergraduate degree from UNC-Charlotte and a master’s degree from N.C. A&T State University. In her free time, she enjoys traveling with her husband, Scott, and their 13-year old daughter, Bailey.

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.

Lee Clark-Sellers

Ms. Clark-Sellers serves as an Innovation Officer at (Corner Stone Building Brands) 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.

Mike Cothran

Mike Cothran is the Director of Manufacturing North America for Coats, a leading industrial thread business, harnessing talent and technology in textiles to enhance people’s lives.

Christopher Cox

Christopher Cox serves as the manager of Chemical Research at LORD Corporation, 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. For more than 90 years, LORD has worked in collaboration with its customers to provide innovative oil and gas, aerospace, defense, automotive and industrial solutions.

Shannon Davis

Shannon Davis serves as the Youth Sales Account Manager at Carowinds, a 400-acre amusement park. Davis began at Carowinds in 2014 working in Festival of Music after staying home with her three daughters for 13 years. She stayed on after the Festival of Music ended and worked in the call center for a few months and then moved into the Group Sales Coordinator position and followed by the Youth Sales Coordinator position. She left briefly to take a full-time job in 2017 and returned full time in January 2018 as the Youth Sales Account Manager.

Taylor Fish

Taylor Fish serves as the PR coordinator for the Wayne County Farm Bureau.

Patricia Gilmore

Patricia Gilmore serves as the VP of Diversity and Inclusion for Holt Brothers Construction and has more than 15 years of experience in the construction industry in the areas of supplier diversity and project management. She identifies diverse contractors and vendors for projects, establishes internal program goals, tracks program results, monitors contract compliance, and maintains relationships with clients and members of the local community. She is also part of the firm’s business development team. In recognition of her work, she has received the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce Circle of Influence Diversity Award, the NC Department of Administration Office of Historically Underutilized Business Industry / Agency Individual Award, and a 2015 40 Under 40 Award from Triangle Business Journal.

Melody Hamilton

Melody Hamilton serves as the Office Manager at Mertek Solutions, an independent family/group-owned company that specializes in machine design for manufacturing, automation, and manufacturing equipment design.

Nicki Heath

Nicki Heath is Director, Learning Delivery within Fidelity’s Workplace Investment group. As a learning and development professional, Heath leads teams of facilitators and instructional designers/developers across three geographical regions. She leads efforts around learner experience including technology exploration, platform adoption, artificial intelligence and virtual reality immersion in training. She has been in this role since January of 2015 and holds her FINRA Series 7 General Securities and Series 24 Supervisory Principal licenses. Prior to Fidelity, Heath worked for Apple, Inc. where she held multiple roles in the areas of talent acquisition, learning and development, and general management. Heath holds Bachelors degrees in Elementary Education and English Literature, graduating with Summa Cum Laude distinction from Fitchburg State University. Additionally, she served as her school’s Kappa Delta Pi Vice President, a National Honors Society in Education.

Jennifer Heiss

Jennifer Heiss is a Communications Specialist with North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives in Raleigh. In this role, she works directly with North Carolina’s 26 electric membership cooperatives on their community-facing programs and partnerships, including the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership, as well as the Bright Ideas Education Grant Program, N.C. Youth Tour and Touchstone Energy Sports Camp Scholarship Program. Prior to joining North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives in 2018, Ms. Heiss worked for three years as a Communications Specialist and Social Media Manager with Wake County Government where she coordinated communications and media relations for one of the fastest growing counties in the nation. Ms. Heiss also worked for nine years as a Communications Officer with the N.C. Department of Transportation in Raleigh where she led communications and media relations for transportation projects and initiatives in northeastern North Carolina. Ms. Heiss earned a Bachelor of Science in Communications, Public Relations, from Appalachian State University in 2005. In 2019 she will pursue a Master of Arts in Digital Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ms. Heiss and her husband, Karl, live in Raleigh.

Stephanie Helms Pickett

Stephanie Helms Pickett holds a Bachelor’s degree in Radio & Television Broadcasting from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale; and a Master’s and Doctorate degree in Higher Education Administration from NC State University. She has worked at private, public, single-sex, predominantly White and historically Black institutions of higher education, in residence life, commuter life, multicultural affairs, orientation, leadership, international student affairs, disability services, academic support services and as an Education Consultant with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. Most recently, Dr. Helms Pickett was appointed as the Associate Vice Provost for Diversity Engagement, Training and Education in the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity at North Carolina State University. Prior to the appointment, over the last 12 years, she served as the Director of Assessment and Professional Development, as well as the Director of the Women’s Center in the Division of Student Affairs at Duke University. Dr. Helms Pickett has held faculty appointments at Bennett College for Women, Walden University, Duke University, and Grand Canyon University. Her research interests are in the areas of higher education policy, women’s engagement, cultural competency, and leadership.

Mike Hess

Mike Hess serves as the ‎Sr. Mgr. of Science and Technology at ‎Novozymes, a company which is unique in its dedication to enzymes and microbes. For more than 70 years, their work with these biological problem solvers has made a big difference in the world.

Sarah Hutcheson

Sarah Hutcheson serves as an employee HR manager with GE Aviation. She has more than 10 years of experience as an HR professional in roles with increasing responsibility in various industries. In her current role, she is responsible for hourly employee relations and staffing, furthering the apprentice program, strategic workforce planning, fostering positive community relationships, and contributing to the overall HR strategy at the site.

Lindsey Listrom

Lindsey Listrom is the media relations and communications manager for North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives. In this role, she enjoys sharing the cooperatives’ story and finding new ways to connect with members as the industry evolves. In addition to helping advance community programs such as Bright Ideas education grants, she leads the co-ops’ engagement with the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership. Ms. Listrom joined the state’s electric cooperatives in 2011 after working in communications and development for a non-profit political research organization. She earned a double major in Journalism and Spanish from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2005 and obtained a graduate-level Certificate in Digital Communication from the nationally acclaimed UNC School of Media and Journalism in 2015. She also has earned the Certified Cooperative Communicator designation.


Jennifer Lynch

As Vice President of People and Learning for Gaia Herbs, Jennifer Lynch is responsible for the overall employee experience including best-in-class recruitment, training and onboarding, employee engagement and relations, learning and development, performance management, compensation and benefits, and employee recognition programs. Jennifer is a visionary leader who works to create strategic business solutions that focus on the development and wellness of our people. A seasoned Human Resources leader with over 20 years of experience, Jennifer has worked with leaders in many Fortune 500 and Fortune 50 companies throughout her career. Jennifer is proud to be working for a company that focuses as much care and attention on the wellness of its employees as it does in creating world-class natural products that help people live better lives.

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.

Paul Maddox

Dr. Paul Maddox is an assistant professor and William Burwell Harrison Fellow in the Department of Biology at UNC-Chapel Hill. His research in his lab focuses on cell division specifically Mitotic Mechanisms and Chromosome Dynamics.

Teresa Mallonee

Teresa Mallonee, MPA, PHA, SHRM-CP, is the Vice-President of Human Resources at TekTone Sound & Signal Mfg., Inc. She has been an HR professional for more than 20 years working in non-profit human services, the hospital industry, and private business. She is very community-minded and has or is serving on the Board of Directors for many agencies including a board member for KIDS Place, Inc., Angel Medical Center, Southwestern Child Development, and Smart Start among others. She is married to Chuck Mallonee and has two grown children. In her free time, Teresa likes to kayak, hike and go camping. She enjoys CrossFit and other physical activities as well.

Alfred Mays

Alfred Mays serves as the program officer for the Burroughs Wellcome Fund. In his role, he oversees the Science Education and Diversity in Science Programs: Student Science Enrichment Program, Career Awards for Science and Mathematics Teachers, Promoting Innovation in Science and Mathematics and Postdoctoral Enrichment Program. Mays was the founder of EdSync Strategies, Inc., an education contract service that provided assistance to NC eLearning Commission, NC STEM Learning Network, rural NC public school systems and the Public School Forum.  From 2007-2011, he served as the assistant director of the Collaborative Project, an initiative that “sought to strengthen participating school systems serving low-income students in rural areas of the state.” Mays has also worked with the UNC General Administration, serving as the director of information resources and director of special projects.

David C. Muddiman

David C. Muddiman is the Jacob and Betty Belin Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Director, Molecular Education, Technology, and Research Innovation Center (METRIC) at NC State University in Raleigh, NC. Prior to moving his research group to NC State in 2006, Dr. Muddiman was a Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Founder and Director of the Proteomics Research Center at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, MN. Dr. Muddiman was born in Long Beach but spent most of his formative years in a small town in Pennsylvania. He received his B.S. in chemistry from Gannon University (Erie, PA) and his Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh in 1995 under the auspices of David M. Hercules. Dr. Muddiman is Editor of Analytical and Biological Chemistry as well as on the Editorial Advisory Board of Mass Spectrometry Reviews, Molecular and Cellular Proteomics, Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, and the Journal of Chromatography B.

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.

Lorenda Overman

Lorenda Overman graduated with an associate degree in science from Mount Olive College. Afterward, she and her husband, Harrell, formed a corporation with his mother and father. Overman and her husband have worked with swine and row crops for 34 years. Their farm is diversified with row crops of corn, wheat, and soybeans. She is a member of the  Women’s Committee for the Wayne County Farm Bureau, the current past chair for the NC Farm Bureau State Women’s Committee, and serves as a member of the American Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee – representing the Southern Region. Through the Farm Bureau “Ag in the Classroom” program, she helps educate community children about agriculture. She is a member of the Wayne County Agricultural Board and works with the Wayne County Extension Service on the “We Dig It” campaign for Wayne County agriculture.

Ibrahim Ozkan

Dr. Ibrahim Ozkan serves as Senior Research and Development Engineer at Cornerstone Building Brands Foundation Labs (formerly Ply Gem Insight Center) responsible for developing new products adding to diverse exterior building product portfolio consisting of windows, vinyl siding, insulated metal panels, metal roofing, wall systems, and metal accessories. Dr. Ozkan has a Ph.D. in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology.

Jerry Pedley

Mr. Pedley is President/Owner of Mertek Solutions and oversees the day to day operation. Jerry also finds time to be very active in local groups and charities. He is on the Board of Capital Bank and a member of Manufacturing Makes it Real through NC State University.

Arlan Peters

Arlan Peters is the Head of Sustainability for Novozymes North America where he develops Novoyzmes’ regional sustainability initiatives, builds organizational capacity, manages Novozymes’ corporate citizenship programs, and engages with external stakeholders on issues relating to life-cycle impacts of biotechnology.

He has represented Novozymes in several organizations including the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, and the Sustainability Consortium where he served as co-chair for TSC’s Corporate Advisory Council.

Prior to his current role, Mr. Peters managed business development projects in animal health and regional marketing for bio-energy in Asia.

Before joining Novozymes, he coordinated community education programs for Japan’s Ministry of Education. He also worked on public-private partnerships for international development at USAID’s Global Development Alliance Secretariat.

He holds a BA in Biology from Oberlin College and was a recipient of the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship to study economic and environmental impacts of aquaculture in Latin America and Asia. He received his MBA from UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School where he concentrated in Sustainable Enterprise.

Lori Ray

Lori Ray, SPHR, serves as the Human Resources Manager for Eaton Corporation in Forest City, NC. Lori is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill with a BA in Industrial Relations and Central Michigan University with an MSA in Human Resources Administration. Her work experience has spanned the academic, healthcare and manufacturing fields for over 25 years in several locations abroad and in the US. Lori returned to her hometown to join Eaton Corporation in 2006 and enjoys working for a global company with high ethical standards and great community involvement.

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.

Laurel Rowe

Laurel Rowe is a Scientist at LORD Corporation, 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. For more than 90 years, LORD has worked in collaboration with its customers to provide innovative oil and gas, aerospace, defense, automotive and industrial solutions.

Marie Shelley

Marie Shelley is the Senior Vice President and General Manager for Fidelity’s North Carolina Participant Services team. She has 18 years of experience in contact center management, operations, and client management for large benefits outsourcing firms and has a proven track record of achieving business objectives through data-based analysis and driving high team performance. Shelley started her Fidelity career in 2006 managing Client Services and Operations in the Defined Contribution, Defined Benefit and Health, and Welfare products. She was promoted to Vice President in HW and DB Operations where she had operational responsibility for strategic client implementations like Disney, General Dynamics, and State Street Bank. She joined Participant Services in 2015 where she consistently delivered strong results while developing exceptional business performance and execution skills with her managers. She is a proud graduate of the UNC-Chapel Hill and currently holds the Series 7, 9, 10 and 63 security licenses. When she’s not working, she enjoys spending time with her family, cheering on Blake (age 14) and Mason (age 12) in their many sports, and fiercely supporting her UNC Tar Heels.


Luanne Sherron

Luanne Sherron serves as the Vice President of Key Accounts and Government Relations for Union Power Cooperative which is headquartered in Monroe. Union Power Cooperative is a member-owned electric cooperative committed to enhancing the quality of life and delivering on the promise to provide safe, reliable electric power and energy services to its members and the communities it serves within Union, Stanly, Cabarrus, Mecklenburg, and Rowan counties.

Michele Smoot

Michele Smoot has served as the director of the NC Farm Bureau Ag in the Classroom since May 2012. She grew up on a fourth generation farm in southeast Virginia. There her family grew peanuts, cotton, soybeans, wheat, and corn while raising beef cattle and market hogs on 1,500 acres. Currently, those farms are in full operation under her guidance. She received her BS degree in Animal Science from Ferrum College and later earned a Master’s degree in adult education with a concentration in curriculum and instruction. She has worked for Carroll Foods, known today as Murphy Brown and later began a career in feed sales and management with Southern States. In 1994, she began her teaching career and since then has taught grades three through 12 as well as college students receiving their BS degree in elementary education. Michele currently resides in Zebulon with her husband Les. She finds her position extremely rewarding as all of her experience and education fits into this one role. Michele believes that educating students and the general public on the importance of NC agriculture is vital to the growth of our nation as well as meeting the needs of an emergent world population.


Carrie Stroud

Carrie Stroud serves as the Vice President of Communications & Marketing for Union Power Cooperative which is headquartered in Monroe. Union Power Cooperative is a member-owned electric cooperative committed to enhancing the quality of life and delivering on the promise to provide safe, reliable electric power and energy services to its members and the communities it serves within Union, Stanly, Cabarrus, Mecklenburg, and Rowan counties.

Ronda Taylor Bullock

Ronda Taylor Bullock, a 2012 Kenan Fellow, is the co-founder and executive director of WE ARE. In 2018, she earned her doctorate at UNC-Chapel Hill in the Policy, Leadership, and School Improvement Program. Her research interests are critical race theory, whiteness studies, white children’s racial identity construction, and anti-racism. Prior to entering her doctoral program, Bullock taught English for almost10 years at Hillside High School in Durham. She is the wife of Dr. Daniel Kelvin Bullock and mother of son Zion and daughter Zaire.

Clifton B. Vann IV

Clifton Vann IV is CEO of Hyde Park Partners (HPP), the holding company for Livingston & Haven, MRO Stop, and AEG International (AEG). Vann was named CEO in 2015 after having served in various other capacities within the company since 1982, most recently as President of Livingston & Haven from January 1999 to May 2014. He was tapped to oversee the day-to-day strategy and operations of the four different HPP subsidiaries, which generate $75 million in annual sales, due to his visionary approach to the world of industrial manufacturing, technology, design, and engineering. His 30 years in the fluid power and automation industries have been propelled by his ability to dream big and motivate business leaders, educators, parents, and students to reach beyond traditional borders of the mind and jurisdictions. Through AEG, for example, he is currently championing off-grid solar power solutions that are fundamentally improving the lives of people in Tanzania – in homes, schools, and businesses.

Leslie Walden

Leslie Lillard Walden is Vice President, Regional Public Affairs for Fidelity Investments, one of the world’s largest financial services providers. She leads Fidelity’s government relations, community investing and civic efforts, for Fidelity North Carolina as well as New Jersey, New York, and Florida. She assumed this work in June 2006, as the company announced expansion plans in the Research Triangle. Walden established Fidelity’s public affairs function in North Carolina and serves on the regional leadership team that has supported the company’s efforts to more than triple its headcount in the region. She joined Fidelity in 1998 in the firm’s Corporate Affairs department in Boston, where she managed marketing communications launches for new products and services, including Fidelity’s retirement income planning program for Baby Boomers nearing retirement. She is an honors graduate and holds a B.A. in Political Science and Media Studies from Northeastern University in Boston, MA and is a master’s degree candidate at Suffolk University, also in Boston.

Benjamin Willis

Benjamin Willis serves as a Materials Science Research & Development Engineer for Ply Gem Industries Inc., an industry pioneer for 70 years that continues to lead and innovate through its unique ability to create “The Designed Exterior.” Working in research and development has provided him with years of experience in thermoset and thermoplastic composites research focused on applications development. Projects completed have concerned the following sectors: automotive, aerospace, defense, biomedical, infrastructure, and energy.

Heather Willoughby

Heather Willoughby is a North Carolina native and grew up in Alamance County. Her father is a nurseryman specializing in ornamental horticulture and her family farms beef cattle, and row crops. She’s an NC State graduate with a background in horticulture and biology. After working in the horticulture industry for seven years, she joined NC Farm Bureau Federation in August 2015. She works as a program assistant to the Ag in the Classroom program under director, Michele Smoot. Ag in the Classroom provides educational resources, teacher workshops, and ag-based materials to help educators introduce agriculture into the curriculum they are required to teach.


Kelly Witter

Kelly Witter, an Environmental Engineer, has worked in EPA’s Office of Research and Development in Research Triangle Park, NC since 1987. As the Director of EPA-RTP’s Community Engagement and STEM Education Program, she collaborates with schools and the community to develop and implement educational outreach programs, particularly in minority and low-income K-12 schools. During her career at EPA, Witter has also conducted research on indoor air quality in schools and on human exposure to pollutants. Previously, she worked as a Field Engineer for Inter-Mountain Engineering in Avon, CO. She holds a Masters of Business Administration from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, a Masters of Science from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Duke University in Clay Liners for Hazardous Waste Landfills, and a Bachelors of Science in Geology and Math from Duke University. She is an NC Certified Environmental Educator.