The 2017 Honorees
The 2017 Forty Under 40 Honorees were recognized and celebrated at the Forty Under 40 Alumni Awards Gala held on Saturday, April 8th, 2017. Family, friends, and fellow alumni gathered to honor WSSU's "40 Under 40" Class of 2017. Forty distinguished young alumni, who are making exceptional contributions to their professional fields and their communities, were celebrated during this special occasion. The honorees raised monies which will be used to support student scholarships at WSSU. Special thanks to the 40 under 40 committee for their tremendous leadership in this effort.
Dr. Anderson attained a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from WSSU and began her career as a registered nurse. She has an extensive academic career having received a Master of Science in Nursing with a concentration in nursing administration from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro; a post-graduate certificate in nursing education from East Carolina University; and a Doctorate in Nursing Practice from Chatham University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Part of her research was based on statistical data surrounding SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) in the African American Community and how to reduce it.
Her career trajectory in nursing includes working in various health care roles at Brenner Children’s Hospital at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, the Davidson County Health Department, and Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools. Dr. Anderson is an instructor in the nursing program at WSSU. She also is a part-time clinical instructor at Forsyth Technical Community College. Her ultimate goal as a nurse educator is to cultivate competent, professional registered nurses who have the ability to thrive and make impactful contributions in the field of healthcare.
Dr. Anderson is also owner of an event planning company. She is actively involved in community service projects, academic and professional organizations, her church, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Ms. Benton attained a Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems from WSSU. She currently works in the human services field as a case manager for Career Team, LLC, a workforce development vendor. In this role, she provides support for low-income families and connects them to the resources they need to become self-sufficient.
Ms. Benton also owns a bakery business called Lexi’s Sweet Cakes where proceeds and decadent desserts are donated to charities and various causes in Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina.
She enjoys organizing and participating in community service projects, attending networking and professional development events, and previously served on the WSSU National Alumni
Association Atlanta Alumni Chapter as president and later, treasurer. Her favorite quote is, “Everyone can be great, because everyone can serve” by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Mrs. Bowers earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from WSSU and a Master of Business Administration/Master of Science in Leadership from Pfeiffer University. She is an assistant vice president, program manager of Engagement, Portfolio and Program Management in Risk and Technology at Bank of America. She is also the founder of Destined Image, Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization committed to promoting emotional independence by teaching leadership skills and providing a support network.
For the past 13 years, she has been committed to helping individuals and families achieve self-sufficiency through designing and facilitating community workshops, service campaigns, and building critical support groups. Also, she led several committees and participated in corporate networks designed to help individuals strengthen their work/life balance techniques while advocating on behalf of low-income community workforce development needs. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Dr. Bryant graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. Post-graduation, she attained an Education Specialist degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus in reading, and a Master of Science in Educational Technology and Online Instruction from Liberty University. After receiving a graduate certification in the area of academically/intellectually gifted education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a special endorsement in computer education from East Carolina University, Bryant completed her academic trajectory with a Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction at Liberty University.
She is an assistant professor of elementary education and a licensure-only coordinator at Shaw University. Bryant also is the program director of a children’s literacy initiative within MyDTouch Inc., a nonprofit organization. Previously, Dr. Bryant worked within Durham Public Schools as an elementary teacher, reading specialist and gifted education facilitator.
Dr. Bryant is a member of several professional organizations within the education field and an advocate for students’ needs.
Ms. Byrd earned Bachelor of Science degrees in Political Science and History from WSSU and a Master of Business Administration with a human resources concentration from Strayer University. She is a human resource professional with over 12 years of experience in the higher education and local government industries. She owns BYRD & Co., Inc. and Byrd Staffing, located in Salisbury. She is also the founder of several nonprofit organizations targeting fifth- to 12th-grade boys and girls and college females.
She was recently elected to the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education Seat 5 after running for the first time and will serve in this capacity for the next four years. She is also involved with the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce as a member of both the board of directors and steering committee.
Ms. Byrd received the 2015 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Service Award for contributions to her community. She is a self-published author of two books and a 365-day journal, as well as a member of the board of trustees and financial secretary at Dorsett Chapel United Christian Church
Mr. Cureton graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Foreign Languages from WSSU, and a Master of Arts in English Literature and African American Studies from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. He is a corporate English instructor for Learnlight, an educational technology company in Barcelona, Spain. He is also a freelance language consultant, copywriter and journalist. Several international news outlets have featured his op-eds on topics such as color revolutions, historical materialism, international law and political economy.
Even while abroad, Mr. Cureton furthered his education by studying Middle East and African Politics at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul, South Korea, as well as Chinese at Fudan University in Shanghai.
He has remained an expatriate for almost a decade, having lived in four countries (South Korea, China, Italy and the United Kingdom) and traveled extensively through more than 20 others.
Ms. Davis earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from WSSU and a Master of Science in Education with an emphasis on curriculum and instruction from North Carolina State University.
She is a career and technical education-marketing teacher for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. In her over 12 years of experience in marketing and education, she has educated students on the importance of obtaining global business knowledge; helped pilot new curriculum for the state of North Carolina with the Department of Public Instruction; and presented at the state level. She also serves as the professional learning community chair for fashion merchandising within CMS schools and team lead of her school’s college preparedness group, where she strongly encourages them to consider HBCUs, and WSSU in particular.
Ms. Davis enjoys volunteering with The Junior League of Charlotte and serving as the advisor for DECA, an international marketing program that prepares high school and college-aged emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Ms. Davis entered WSSU a first-generation college student and departed as a magna cum laude alumna, earning Bachelor of Science degrees in Accounting and Management Information Systems. She is an administrative/technical specialist for the Department of the Navy, NAVY SEA (Naval Sea Systems Command).
She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and is an active member of the Fort Washington Alumnae Chapter. She spends time volunteering with toy and clothing drives, feeding the homeless, as well as serving as leader for the Accokeek Academy Girl Scouts troop, to name a few. Each year, she prepares tax returns at no cost for 10 elderly and 10 low-income families.
Ms. Davis highly regards the education attained and life lessons learned at WSSU, and hopes being the first college graduate in her immediate family will serve as an example to the younger generations.
Mr. Ferguson graduated from WSSU with Bachelor of Science degrees in Accounting, Finance, and Economics, and a minor in Chemistry. He works for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) as a senior capital markets and securities specialist.
Mr. Ferguson enjoys traveling and learning about other cultures and has driven to all of the Lower 48 states, Alaska, nine Canadian provinces, and one Canadian territory. He is a sports fanatic, and volunteers as a CIAA blogger on D2Football.com, where he prompts weekly discussions, makes predictions, and engages with coaches and players at various schools, including WSSU.
Dr. Freeman obtained a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy from WSSU and Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry from Hood Theological Seminary. He serves as pastor of Trinity African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church and an independent occupational therapy contractor at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., where he provides consultation services for a fall management program targeting the geriatric population. His research interest at Hood was developing a model for grief management to promote spiritual maturity.
Through his ministry, Dr. Freeman has organized and led feeding programs; developed partnerships with nonprofits to expose children and youth to various career paths and resources for scholarships; and improved community relations among local residents, to name a few.
He firmly believes that WSSU was the catalyst that developed him into the leader he is today.
Dr. Gillette, a former Chancellor Scholarship recipient and Lady Ram Softball player, graduated from WSSU with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. She later completed her Ph.D. at The Ohio State University in the Biomedical Graduate Program, with an area of emphasis in immunology and microbiology. Her research focused on ways harmful bacteria take advantage of defects in the human primary immune response. She began post-doctoral work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in similar studies.
At Duke University, she is the director of the Biosciences Collaborative for Research Engagement (BioCoRE) program within the School of Medicine at Duke University, managing the $2.1 million NIH grant that supports administrators and underrepresented students, and a lecturer for the Pathways to Biomedical Research Freshman Seminar course.
Through establishing initiatives that promote student development, scientific excellence and diversity in the biomedical sciences, Dr. Gillette continues to advocate for those with diverse backgrounds on local, regional, and national levels. She also mentors over 100 students. Her hope for being honored as a “Forty Under 40” inductee is that her story will serve as a catalyst to get minority scientists to believe they are more than a statistic. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Mr. Hamiel graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Music Business and a licensure in music teacher education. Later, he completed his Master of Science in Music Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He is a music education teacher and band director for R.J. Reynolds High School in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School System. In his 15 years of being a public school teacher, he has been named Teacher of the Year twice and Band Director of the Year.
At WSSU, he was a member of the “Red Sea of Sound” marching band.
During his career, he increased marching band programs, participation and won countless awards for performance throughout the Southeast United States. Under his tutelage, the band performed in a short film and played for the ACC kickoff on ESPN’s 1380 AM. He established a leadership camp for high school students called Project L.E.A.D., which taught students how to conduct music, properly line the field for marching and leadership skills. He also began Creating A Spark, a program designed to expose local elementary students to different band instruments and generate interest in band.
Mr. Hamiel is a member of the North Carolina Music Educators Association (NCMEA) State Board and Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Band Fraternity. He credits WSSU for instilling in him the work ethic needed to be successful and a culture of winning and excellence.
Mr. Hargrove obtained a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Master of Science in Computer Science and Information Technology from WSSU. He is assistant manager of Technology Support Services at WSSU and an adult education instructor at Guilford Technical Community College. During his tenure at GTCC, Derrick developed the Adult Education Program’s GED Online Course, which afforded students the opportunity to pursue their GED while at home.
In 2016, he received the Chancellor’s Achievement Award for working with the Staff Senate Community Service Committee on the Staff Senate Food Drive. He currently serves as area director for the northwest area of the association of NC Alphamen. He oversees four college chapters and two alumni chapters. He is a member of various university committees at WSSU, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County National Pan-Hellenic Council.
Mr. Howard graduated from WSSU with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a minor in Elementary Education. Later, he received his Master of Arts in Management and Leadership from Liberty University.
He is the executive director of the YMCA Northwest North Carolina’s Child Care Services/Youth Development branch. He oversees all youth development programs and initiatives, and collaborates with other family and youth organizations, in efforts to strengthen families and communities in the City of Winston-Salem, specifically lower income areas.
Mr. Howard is excited to be a “Forty Under 40” honoree and looks forward to networking with other young alumni professionals to ensure that the work that has begun continues in the community of Winston-Salem.
Mr. James attended WSSU on a band scholarship and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications. He is a production associate for the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools television channel (Cable 2) and owner of Flow Child Entertainment, a company that films and edits commercials and short films. Broadcasting companies such as HBO, MTV, BET, ESPN, and others have called upon him to complete editing projects. Additionally, James has covered the Big East Conference and released commercials for brands like Pepsi, Le Bleu, WSSU (Homecoming), National Black Theater Festival, area concerts and much more, as well as video projects for NC A&T. He has won over 30 broadcast media awards from the North Carolina School Public Relations (NCSPR).
He serves on the board of directors, as well as, mentor for My Brother’s Second Chance Mentoring Program. He is an active member of the Prince Hall affiliated Free Masons.
Mr. Johnson holds a Bachelor of Science in Sports Management and Business Administration from WSSU. He is a senior middle market underwriter for The Hartford, where he manages and grows a $12 million book of business in the Washington, D.C., beltway for over 50 independent agencies.
He is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., and active with Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina and Junior Achievement of Central Carolinas, an organization designed to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy. He also mentors young employees and dresses up as Santa Claus for The Hartford’s holiday party for children in the local community.
Mr. Jones holds a Bachelor of Science in Marketing and Finance from WSSU. While matriculating at the university, he was a student-athlete and received an academic scholarship through the Chancellor Scholarship program.
He is a senior marketing representative at John Deere. His work travels have taken him to 46 states and afforded him the opportunity to learn about agriculture, ranching, and how rural Americans provide food, fuel and fibers for the world.
Mr. Jones spends time volunteering with several organizations his company partners with Habitat for Humanity, Boys and Girls Club, Harvesters Food Bank and Backsnack program. He has also worked with The Hope Center to lead projects that revitalized the school and activity center and led initiatives to increase the amount of funds raised for the John Deere Olathe United Way committee.
Mr. Jones graduated from WSSU with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. He works for Schreiber Foods, Inc. as the team leader of global sales and business development for Asia, Middle East, Africa and Australia, an area responsible for over $165 million in company revenue around the world. His career has given him the opportunity to travel to five continents and over 50 countries where he speaks on behalf of the United States Dairy Council and has forged relationships with U.S. ambassadors of South Korea, Vietnam and Cambodia.
Mr. Jones is the co-chair of the African American Dairy Professionals of Wisconsin, a group that supports, nurtures, and grooms young African American talent in the dairy industry.
Dr. Kenon holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from WSSU; Master of Science in Nursing from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte; and a Doctorate in Nursing from Chatham University of Pittsburgh. He furthered his education with a post-doctoral study at the University of Tennessee with an emphasis on hermeneutic phenomenology.
He is senior health scientist and reproductive health advisor at the United States Agency for International Development in the Office of Reproductive Health and an adjunct professor in WSSU’s nursing faculty. At USAID, Clifton is Senior Advisor on the Maternal Child Survival Program, The Flagship United States Foreign Aid, a $500 million program that alleviates disparities related to maternal child survival in developing countries.
His domestic and international research efforts explore reproductive health, education, and racism. His research and expertise areas are in breastfeeding, family planning, health care policy and education.
In three years, Dr. Kenon was awarded five national awards for his outstanding leadership in shaping healthcare, and utilizing evidence, and innovation to improve the lives of American Indians and Alaska Natives. This is a federal record that is still held by him. He has been honored with numerous regional and national accolades, including the Woodville Award of which he was the youngest to ever receive it. He spoke at the White House on the importance of breastfeeding and childhood obesity after accepting an invitation from Former First Lady Michelle Obama.
In addition to being the first African American to hold an international director seat for the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners, he has also been appointed to the national committees; is published in multiple scientific journals; speaks at numerous conferences; mentors adjunct faculty; and runs a clinic for vulnerable breastfeeding mothers that are unable to afford lactation care at no charge.
Ms. Lewis received her Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications with a minor in Spanish from Winston-Salem State University and her Master of Arts in Journalism and Public Affairs from American University in Washington, DC. Currently, she is a fifth grade teacher and media liaison for Lawton Public Schools. Lewis also provides consulting work and most recently worked with KSWO Channel 7 News in Lawton-Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and as Assistant News Director at WTVM News Leader 9/WXTX Fox 54/Bounce TV (Raycom Media) in Georgia.
Within her 15-year career, she has had the privilege to interview (then senator) Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, as well as, other political figures, media moguls and entertainers. Lewis has been named and portrayed in the Columbus magazine Top 5 Under 40, a “Young Professional on the Move” in the Courier Eco Latino Magazine, presented the Courier-Eco Latino Community Service Award; named a top Urban League of San Diego County’s “40 Under 40” Inspired Leaders of Tomorrow to watch, is Emmy nominated and has won several media honors.
Ms. Lewis started a nonprofit journalism organization and holds/has held several positions on national and local boards, including NABJ (National Association of Black Journalists), the Society of Professional Journalists, CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocates), Garinger Education Foundation, the American Red Cross, United Way, a mentor in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, and adviser with the NAACP Columbus, GA, to name a few. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Dr. Love earned her Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology from WSSU and her Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from Wake Forest University.
She is currently teaching in her seventh year as a biology instructor and serving in her third year as the dean of First-Year Students and Advising Services at WSSU. Her research interests involve collecting and analyzing data to help determine factors that lead to academic success for first-year students.
She serves on the grant-writing committee and is a current member of Women’s Fund, a nonprofit devoted to improving the economic security and well-being of women and girls in Forsyth County. Dr. Love also is a senior mentor for youth through a partnership with Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce and East Forsyth High School. She also has worked with the Davidson County Democratic Party to help register voters.
Dr. Love is dedicated to helping students stay excited and curious about the natural world and the value of science and believes WSSU helped her develop a vision of life-long public service.
Mrs. Manns graduated magna cum laude from WSSU with Bachelor of Science degrees in Business Management and Economics. While attending WSSU, she was in the Honors College and a Dean’s Scholar, as well as captain of the women’s track team. She works as a data governance risk manager for Ally Financial where she is responsible for partnering with multiple business functions and IT teams to help advance and evolve data governance capabilities across the company. She is also the company’s intern recruiter for WSSU.
Because of her passion for financial literacy and management, she is a trained facilitator for Ally Financial free financial education program Wallet Wise. Mrs. Manns also is the volunteer lead for activities within the company to provide assistance in the classroom on the economy, personal finance and entrepreneurship and food drives which includes Thanksgiving meals for children/families in need. She is a member of the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA).
Major McAdoo graduated from WSSU magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Rehabilitation Studies and a minor in Military Science. Additionally, she holds a graduate certification in leadership and is pursuing a Master of Science in Administration with a concentration in public administration, and a graduate certification for human resources from Central Michigan University.
She is a human resources specialist for the U.S. Army Regional Health Command - Atlantic. Throughout her military career, she has received several medals: Bronze Star, Meritorious Service, Army Commendation, Army Achievement, National Defense Service, Afghanistan Campaign, Global War on Terrorism Service, Overseas Service Ribbon and NATO. She has held multiple leadership positions while being stationed throughout the country. In 2016, she retired as a major from the U.S. Army while serving in Fort Belvoir, Virginia.
Major McAdoo enjoys volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club of America and serving on fundraising committees for two youth sports leagues. She is a member of the Prince William Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Mrs. McCormick-Smith graduated from WSSU with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She is a senior nurse case manager for Liberty Mutual Commercial Insurance. She is a Certified Case Manager (CCM), Qualified Rehabilitation Professional (QRP), Georgia Catastrophic Supplier, and mentor to new nurses and adjusters. She is currently pursuing a career in legal nurse consulting specializing in medical malpractice.
She enjoys mentoring youth, organizing local community events and volunteering with nonprofits like Urban Ministry Center. She also volunteers at Nana's Place Learning Center where she reads books to pre-school children. She is a member of the North Carolina Association of Rehabilitation Professionals which provides continuing education and networking opportunities in the field of rehabilitation, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Lancaster Alumnae Chapter, Life Member of WSSU National Alumni Association, WSSU NAA Charlotte QC Rams Alumni Chapter, where she has held positions on the executive board, and currently serves as vice president.
She enlisted several nursing alumni to establish the WSSU Alumni Mahoney Nursing Scholar Scholarship in which the first scholarship was awarded December 2016. She credits her successful 15-year career to the instruction and nursing degree she received from WSSU.
Mr. Murray graduated from WSSU with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Management Information Systems. He also holds a Master of Science in Business Administration from Strayer University.
He is a retail retirement manager at Vanguard where he leads a team of retirement specialists. In his local community, he mentors youth from his church congregation. He also coordinates and facilitates an open dialogue for men of all ages called Barber Shop Talk. As a proud Ram alumni, he co-founded the WSSU Young Alumni Council and serves on the WSSU NAA Charlotte QC Rams Alumni Chapter executive board.
Mr. Murray believes that as the university continues to evolve as a top performing academic program, it is imperative that alumni utilize their respective platforms to encourage and influence other young alumni to get more involved.
Ms. Myers received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, with honors, from WSSU and a Juris Doctorate from The Ohio State University. She is a labor and employee relations specialist for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, where she is responsible for handling various administrative law and policy matters. She is the chief legal officer for the company she founded, Be Bossy, LLC, which assists small businesses, entrepreneurs, and artists with their legal needs. She also owns an event planning company, Cordially Invited Events.
She is a mentor for young girls ages 11 to 18 and co-creator of the M.A.D. Girl Conference, a free, one-day event designed to empower young women. She serves on the board for the nonprofit PC Group 365 and is chair of the board for Mikey’s Miracle Foundation. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Myers mentors young women in a program through Delta called Delta Academy/G.EM.S.
Ms. Nimmons, a Chancellor’s Scholarship recipient while at WSSU, graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science and a minor in Speech Communication. She went on to obtain her Juris Doctorate degree from North Carolina Central University. She works for the Trauma Center Association of America as the director of government affairs. Ms. Nimmons also founded CLN Consulting, a boutique firm that offers business development, social media management, media relations and communications services.
Ms. Nimmons is a member of the Charlotte Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Her involvement in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community is displayed through her work with organizations such as Deltas of Charlotte Foundation, the Central Piedmont Community College Advisory Committee and Carolinas Care Partnership, where she serves as vice chair of the board of directors. She led social media and marketing efforts on behalf of the campaign for Mecklenburg County District Court Judge Aretha Blake.
Ms. Parsons earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from WSSU and Master of Science in Social Work from the University of Maryland, Baltimore. She is an adjunct professor in the Department of Social Work and campus counselor at Johnson C. Smith University, as well as an adjunct professor in the Department of Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Parsons is a licensed clinical social worker with areas of interest and philanthropic work include suicide prevention and awareness, foster care, human trafficking, immigrants and refugees, veterans, adoption and mental wellness. Ms. Parsons has completed SAMHSA Addressing Health Disparities Leadership Program; the National Council of Behavioral Health, Healthy Youth Leadership Institute; Veteran Cultural and Clinical Competence (VC3) Learning Series in Mecklenburg County. She is also a certified QPR instructor that enables her to raise awareness regarding suicide prevention.
She serves on various advisory boards for organizations that mentor teenage girls and is chair of the I Am My Sister, NC, which empowers youth to lead, innovate and serve. Parsons began an inspirational business called Pick-Me-Ups. The organization is an outreach effort intended to help uplift the lives of others through the art of “random acts of kindness” to lift and empower others during tough times.
Ms. Parsons enjoys mentoring youth, volunteering at the Charlotte Rescue Mission, and assisting the homeless. Her overall goal is to empower others, across many different settings, as they discover their inner strength so that they are able to experience brighter days.
Mr. Perry received a Bachelor of Arts in English and a minor in Political Science from WSSU. While there he won the Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Leadership. He obtained his Juris Doctorate degree from North Carolina Central University. He is an attorney advisor for the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit at the Office of the Inspector General in Washington, D.C. As co-founder of Inspire The Pride, he promotes cultural awareness in children through interactive playgroups that assist families of color by providing a safe outlet for them to learn and grow.
Throughout his career, Mr. Perry has served as an Assistant Public Defender, Criminal Defense Attorney, assigned council for mentally ill patients involuntarily committed to institutions, Adjunct Professor at Vance Granville Community College and St. Augustine’s University.
Mr. Perry has served as a member of the Board of Directors for his local Boys and Girls Club. He is a member of the North Carolina State Bar Association and the Durham County Bar Association.
Dr. Perry received his Bachelor of Science in Sports Management from WSSU; Master of Science in Sports Studies from High Point University; and Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership and Management with a concentration in athletic administration from Drexel University. He is an instructor in the Sport Management Department at East Stroudsburg University and the Hospitality and Recreation Management Department at Cheyney University of Pennsylvania.
His research interests include sport management experiential learning programs, HBCU sport management curriculum, and diversity in sport administration. In 2017, Dr. Perry will present his current research at the North American Society for Sport Management Conference in Denver, Colorado.
Dr. Perry previously served as chair of the Sports Management Department at Saint Augustine’s University in Raleigh. He enjoys volunteering in the community, engaging and mentoring students, coaching and organizing youth sports, and supporting church-based outreach initiatives.
Dr. Perry is a member of the North American Society for Sport Management (NASSM) and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. He views his induction into the “Forty Under 40” as an opportunity to bring awareness to the institution that empowered and enabled him to strive for excellence and be of service to those around him.
Ms. Rutledge earned a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from WSSU and is pursuing a master’s in healthcare administration, also from WSSU. She is employed at Home Instead Senior Care as a staffing coordinator. Her philanthropic efforts include volunteering with WSSU athletics and admissions departments; and tutoring at Guilford Child Development in reading, spelling, and basic math.
She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., the WSSU Young Alumni Council, Piedmont-Triad Alumni Chapter and WSSU National Alumni Association, as well as Former Vice-President of the WSSU NAA Atlanta Alumni Chapter.
Mr. Small graduated from WSSU with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications with a minor in Radio and Television. He is a television producer for his own company, Domino Effect Productions, LLC. He strives to hire people from within his local area and mentor youth who are interested in the video production industry.
He is passionate about circulating money within the Black community, in efforts to produce a strong economic base. Instead of lecturing youth about practicing group economics, he is producing a solutions-based documentary on how we can rebuild Black communities called, “The Melanin Code.” To him, being selected as a “Forty Under 40” Alumni Award recipient means that he is impacting his community and also an inspiration to others who desire to change their communities in a positive way that will benefit others in generations to come.
Mr. Strayhorn received a Bachelor of Science in Sports Management from WSSU after serving our country for a year as a United States Marine Corps reservist. He was also a student-athlete on the football team.
He is a regional sales coordinator for Speedway LLC. Formerly, Mr. Strayhorn was with Wilco-Hess as a lead district manager. During the transition to Speedway, he was recognized for his unwavering passion and commitment to the coaching and development of his teams. He oversees 10 district managers.
In the community, Mr. Strayhorn volunteers with Speedway for Habitat for Humanity of Kent County, Michigan, and the Children’s Miracle Network. Mr. Strayhorn is a co-founder of the Dudley-Smith High School Alumni Association, which hosts an annual flag football game to raise money and collect nonperishable food items for families in Guilford County.
His experience as an intern motivated him to facilitate the Speedway Internship Program with WSSU. Mr. Strayhorn is grateful for the leadership skills he learned while at WSSU that have helped him become an effective husband and father in the home, mentor and manager, outside the home.
Ms. Sutton obtained Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and English from WSSU prior to receiving a Master of Arts in Counseling from Liberty University. Her graduate certifications are in the following areas: women’s and gender studies, substance abuse prevention, and adult education. She is an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) counselor and Title IX investigator for Lenoir Community College and involved with various outreach programs that aid to the needs of the elderly, homeless, and victims of neglect and abuse.
By being named a “Forty Under 40” honoree, her hopes are that the young women she mentors will see that living humbly, serving your community, and being career oriented, can generate positive recognition.
Ms. Sutton is a first-generation college student whose academic pursuits inspired two of her family members to follow in her footsteps. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., the Lenoir County Chapter of the NAACP and president-elect of the Kinston/Lenoir County WSSU NAA Alumni Chapter.
Mrs. Talley-Riley received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in marketing from WSSU. She oversees the Northern Charlotte, Lake Norman, Mooresville and Statesville regions as director of operations for Food Lion – Ahold/Delhaize America. The 2014 “Top Women in Grocery” honoree is a spokesperson for Food Lion at annual CIAA tournaments and events such as job fairs. She also participates in the Food Lion Feeds campaign, and assists people with disabilities in gaining employment in Food Lion stores.
She started an event called “Giving Spree” where donations are gathered and distributed to the less fortunate. Annually, Mrs. Talley-Riley leads a community initiative that encourages people to visit with the homeless and offers words of encouragement, as well as monetary donations.
Mrs. Talley-Riley wrote her first book titled, “From Journey, Not Arrival,” designed to help readers understand that there will be highs and lows in life, but encouraging them to focus on the lessons learned along the way.
Mrs. Thomas-Corbett earned a Bachelor of Science in Sociology and Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling from WSSU. She is a social worker for the Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services, a mentor to new hires, and a national Certified Rehabilitation Counselor and Licensed Professional Counselor. Her skillsets learned in the social services industry were extended to her local community through initiatives she launched to empower others and collaborate with businesses and nonprofit organizations to build awareness regarding the needs of at-risk families. She has been actively involved in the Social Worker Appreciation Committee and serves on the Young Alumni Council’s Engagement Committee.
Mrs. Thomas-Corbett is acting partner of Da Lucky Spot Barbershop, Inc., a company that works toward rebuilding the community through acts of service and co-founded Brand New Direction, Inc., which provides life skills training, workforce readiness, and housing assistance to fathers with children. She is dedicated to rebuilding the community and exudes that commitment through her professional and personal endeavors.
Mrs. Toguchi received a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications and a minor in Spanish from WSSU. During her enrollment at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, she studied abroad and earned a diploma in Spanish from Forrester Instituto Internacional in San José, Costa Rica. She also has earned a Master of Arts in School Administration from Gardner-Webb University. She is the Dean of Students of Elementary Grades at Mountain Island Lake Academy, a pre-K to eighth-grade school.
Mrs. Toguchi leads a Girl Scout Troop of 18 girls and teaches them the importance of giving back to the community through organizing food drives and collecting winter items for them to distribute to those in need. During her vacation time in the summer, she enjoys volunteering at her school to help colleagues prepare for the upcoming school year and tutor students in Spanish.
Mrs. Washington graduated from WSSU with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and is pursuing a Master of Science in Adult Education from the University of Phoenix. She is an Advocate for the TECS team at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina. As a former WSSU Powerhouse Cheerleading Squad member, her experience led her to become co-owner/director of Powerhouse Spirit Competitions. The National Cheer & Dance Competition features battles between teams from North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Virginia. The competition has created a platform for Stomp-N-Shake style cheerleaders to showcase their talents.
Mrs. Washington is a member of Black Girls Run and a team lead for the Walk Before You Run Program (WB4UR), which encourages women to live healthier lifestyles. She has planned events and service projects through SU Mommies Group and was former president of the WSSU Cheer Alumni Chapter.
Mr. White graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in marketing from WSSU. His professional pursuits landed him with the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Central Kansas as the executive director of youth development. In two years, he took an organization that, for seven consecutive years, was operating on an annual average of $340,000 to netting over $952,000 in his first full year. He is one of the youngest Black executive directors in Kansas.
Mr. White participates in various leadership programs and is involved in several organizations, including board member for both the Child Advocacy Center of Sedgwick County and Wichita My VA Community, and member of the Wichita Police Department Captain Assessment Citizen Review Board. His passion for mentoring is displayed through his role as a “hero” in the Real Men Real Heroes youth mentoring organization and a Big Brother for the Big Brothers Big Sisters Positive Pathways Program. He is also an honorary commander for the 22nd Logistics Readiness Squad of McConnell Air Force Base.
Ms. Woodley received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a marketing concentration from WSSU. She is the visitor experience and volunteer manager at the Mint Museum. Under her leadership, the oldest art museum in North Carolina has won several local and national awards such as TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, 2016 Elevate Lifestyle – Best of the City award and sold a record number of memberships.
Her volunteer experience includes organizations such as: Harvey B. Gantt Center, Greater Mt. Sinai Baptist Church, and WSSU Young Alumni Council. She serves as a board member for Charlotte INROADS (Internship and Career Development Program) Alumni and is president of the WSSU NAA Charlotte QC Rams Alumni Chapter. The chapter actively recruits hundreds of future Rams at college fairs and awards $1,000 scholarships annually to three Charlotte-Mecklenburg students attending WSSU.
Recently, Ms. Woodley was selected as a member of Leadership Charlotte Class 38, a program created to enhance volunteer community leadership.