It’s about you.
It’s about you doing something you care about.
It’s about you being someone you’d like to hang out with.
Emory & Henry won’t give you answers–Emory & Henry will push you to find your own answers.
You will read. You will work in the community. You will meet interesting people. You will confront difficult issues. You will be enlightened, intrigued, challenged, encouraged, guided, and set free to explore. You will share and talk and explain your point of view.
At Emory & Henry you will learn to be a contributing member of your community. You will find your place in a global society.
You’ll discover that learning doesn’t begin or end with school: it is a lifelong pursuit. And those who join that pursuit are the ones who live the best lives.
Are you ready to live your best life?
Did you know you can find E&H alumni in every corner of the world making every imaginable contribution to society?
Government? Get to know Toni Atkins (E&H ’84) in the California Assembly or Fred Parker (E&H ’73) who is Washington County (Va.) Treasurer. Or Israel O’Quinn (E&H ’01) who serves in the Virginia legislature.
Counseling? Get to know Randall Meadows (E&H ’88), a psychotherapist in Los Angeles.
Thinking outside the box?
How about the world where food and culture intersect with art? Meet Emily Wallace (E&H ’04).
How about planning events for country music superstars? Get to know Erick Long (E&H ’91).
Meet Our Alumni
- <span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/profiles/1744-melvin-dillon" title="Melvin Dillon" aria-label="Melvin Dillon"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/346,345,1076,1074/3151_dillon.rev.1518206768.jpg" alt="Melvin Dillon" title="Melvin Dillon" class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/346,345,1076,1074/3151_dillon.rev.1518206768.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/346,345,1076,1074/3151_dillon.rev.1518206768.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1432" data-max-h="1074"/></a></span><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_profiles_headline"><a href="/live/profiles/1744-melvin-dillon"><p> Melvin Dillon is part of the Vinyl Revival</p></a></h4><div class="lw_profiles_description"><p> Melvin Dillon (E&H ’06) is a musician himself, and used to play at venues in the Emory area while a student to make a little extra money. But as he got to know the industry, there were things that bothered him about the business of music. Says Melvin, “Soul Step Records is known because of our unwillingness to do business that serves our bottom line. We do everything in service to our artists. I think that’s why we’ve grown in such a short time.”</p><p> According to the Soul Step Records website, Melvin’s goal was simple; he wanted to give artists the ability to make vinyl records (so that music can be “listened to the way music should be…”). The thing that sets him apart from other music companies is that Soul Step pays all the upfront costs, and then profits are split evenly between the company and the band. “Our number one goal with each release is to have enough to fund another record. I have yet to take a dime from sales; every profit for Soul Step goes back into building up for another release. …Our relationship with our artists is paramount to us.”</p><p> And his good intentions are resulting in good business.</p><p> One of his current artist/clients is starring in <em>Hedwig and the Angry Inch on Broadway</em>, and most of the music he is recording is currently featured in TV and film. Another client is Holy Ghost Tent Revival, and he says getting to know them years ago, and seeing the struggles they had with traditional means of recording, served as much of the inspiration for his company.</p><p> Because he loves the artist aspect of the music business it allows him some great opportunities, including the fact that with each release they do 100 vinyl records in a special color – while the rest of the run is in the traditional black vinyl. One album garnered particularly interesting success with the cover art. “When I was releasing my third album, Matt Duncan’s <em>Soft Times</em> I saw the artwork that was done by Robert Beatty. It was this psych-tarot card freaky artwork. Truly beautiful …After seeing the tarot card artwork - I went to the pressing plant I was using and said I wanted to put a tarot card INSIDE the record. After much trial and error, and even going as far as accidentally setting a pressing machine on fire, we were able to conjure a way to make this happen. The results were stunning and we had mentions from tons of music and vinyl publications. These 100 records we made for that project will pop up on eBay – typically going over a hundred dollars. Crazy.”</p><p> </p><p> Melvin says his time at E&H helped prepare him for a business model that breaks the mold. “The big keyword is service. It’s hard to be a student of Emory and not have service of others instilled into you. The heart of this company is service. I think that Emory helps you understand the value in giving back. Many of my fellow alumni who are in position to do so find some way to give back. It’s something that I’m proud of. I’ve been very fortunate to find a job with a phenomenal company that puts me in the position to do this. I feel that it’s my duty to find a way to give back. I’m happy that Soul Step fills that need.”</p><p> </p><p> Melvin spends only part of his week with Soul Step, and is also a manager for Apple Computer.</p></div><a href="/live/profiles/1744-melvin-dillon" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div>
- <span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/profiles/2706-zach-hupp" title="Zach Hupp" aria-label="Zach Hupp"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/438,0,1298,859/6403_IMG_3293.rev.1558644302.JPG" alt="Zach Hupp" title="Zach Hupp" class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/438,0,1298,859/6403_IMG_3293.rev.1558644302.JPG 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/438,0,1298,859/6403_IMG_3293.rev.1558644302.JPG 3x" data-max-w="2048" data-max-h="1367"/></a></span><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_profiles_headline"><a href="/live/profiles/2706-zach-hupp"><p> Zach Hupp is a public affairs specialist for the U.S. Coast Guard.</p></a></h4><div class="lw_profiles_description"><p> Zach Hupp is a Petty Officer 3<sup>rd</sup> Class for the U.S. Coast Guard and serves as a Public Affairs Specialist.</p><p> “I work in the Public Affairs office of the First Coast Guard District with two other petty officers, and the three of us are the primary spokespeople for the Northeast region of the U.S., including Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, most of New York and parts of northern New Jersey. My team is responsible for telling the Coast Guard story; some days that means taking photos or videos of our cutters and stations around the Northeast, some days we are doing live on-camera interviews about cases involving the Coast Guard, and some days we are flying on helicopters as part of a response to a national disaster. With each of those things, we are the ones that make sure the Coast Guard looks good.”<br/><br/> Zach is no stranger to military service; his grandfather retired from the U.S. Marine Corps in 1970 after serving for over 20 years. “When I was in high school, I thought it would be cool to follow in his footsteps. But when I told him my plan, he sat me down and said, ‘I have seen what the Marines can do to a young boy, and I want more than that for you.’ To me, that meant I was going to college instead!”</p><p> So he landed at Emory & Henry, but his junior year he decided to join the Coast Guard. But there was a hitch: he was carrying a little too much weight to meet the Coast Guard’s physical qualifications.</p><p> So, he finished his Emory & Henry Mass Communications degree, and then worked for awhile as a financial analyst for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission as a team-member of CGI Federal. He loved the work and his team, but he never stopped thinking about the Coast Guard, so he got in shape– and lost about 75 pounds.</p><p><a href="/live/image/gid/68/height/667/6402_IMG_3288.JPG" class="lw_preview_image"><img width="500" height="667" alt="Zach Hupp at his military advancement ceremony with his daughter Lennox, wife Olivia, and frat..." src="/live/image/gid/68/width/500/height/667/6402_IMG_3288.rev.1558644278.JPG" class="lw_image lw_image6402 lw_align_left lw_column_width_half" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/500/height/667/6402_IMG_3288.rev.1558644278.JPG 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/500/height/667/6402_IMG_3288.rev.1558644278.JPG 3x" data-max-w="2400" data-max-h="3200"/></a>In the Coast Guard, he has served on an 87-foot patrol boat (Coast Guard Cutter HERON) in Virginia Beach, VA. He has done a lot of Search-and-Rescue and Law Enforcement work and eventually was sent to school at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Charleston, SC to train and qualify as a Coast Guard Boarding Team member. “That qualification was my first real step towards law enforcement. I was also taking every opportunity to become as knowledgeable as I could about the Coast Guard.”</p><p> He was eventually deployed to Patrol Forces Southwest Asia (PATFORSWA), which is a forward-deployed unit consisting of six 110-foot patrol boats and a shoreside support unit based in Manama, Bahrain. Zach says he didn’t know what to expect there. “There is no real way to describe how hot it gets in the middle east, short of experiencing it first-hand. While there, I was stationed on Coast Guard Cutter MAUI with 21 other crew members. We patrolled the Arabian Gulf, often making stops in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Qatar, and Oman. Some of our missions there included escorting Army and/or Navy vessels through the gulf, interdicting migrants and drugs, collecting pattern-of-life data, and building community with the local fishing fleet.”</p><p> Zach liked law enforcement, but he found himself taking pictures and videos in his spare time until one day he left the Middle East and went to the Defense Information School located in Fort Meade, Maryland. He took a course to become a Public Affairs Specialist, and transferred to Boston, Massachusetts, and that’s where he is stationed now.</p><p> “Being in public affairs for the Coast Guard is important to me because it lets me use my skills to tell people all of the great things that the smallest branch of the armed forces does. I have been able to meet senators, congressmen, and many other prominent political figures just in the first six months of being in Boston. I have prepared senior officers for on-camera interviews on national television. I get to write the press releases, take the pictures, and go on camera for major events in our area. I spent two weeks as gathering information and imagery during and after Hurricane Florence, traveling between the storm-ravaged Conway, South Carolina and the flooded towns of eastern-North Carolina. All of that comes back to being able to be a story teller, to be a voice when otherwise there may not be. I love being able to use my skills in a way that makes a difference, and as cliché as it sounds, I get to highlight the great things that the men and women of the Coast Guard do every day.”</p><p> And it all started with a little Mass Communications 101 course at Emory & Henry.</p><p> “When I was at Emory, I started as a math major. It wasn’t until my 4<sup>th</sup> semester that I took MCOM-101 with Dr. Teresa Keller and found out that communications was pretty fun! I switched majors. Because the classes at Emory make you so well rounded, I attribute a lot of my success in press releases to the fact that Dr. Kasoma never gave me an easy grade in Writing, Reporting, and Editing. I attribute my love for making videos to Dr. Keller always driving me to do better. I am thankful every day for the education I was able to get at Emory & Henry; from the professors who always saw through my excuses and knew I could give more effort, to the lifelong friends I met along the way. I always tell people that an education from Emory is more than ‘paying for a degree,’ but rather it’s the experiences of a small school in a beautiful area that makes it so unique. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words: In the end, my degree is but a few lines of text culminating from a million memories.”</p></div><a href="/live/profiles/2706-zach-hupp" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div>
- <span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/profiles/2547-christian-tripp" title="Christian Tripp" aria-label="Christian Tripp"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,855,832/6009_tripp.rev.1551228791.jpg" alt="Christian Tripp" title="Christian Tripp" class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,855,832/6009_tripp.rev.1551228791.jpg 2x" data-max-w="855" data-max-h="832"/></a></span><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_profiles_headline"><a href="/live/profiles/2547-christian-tripp"><p> Christian Tripp is honing his acting craft.</p></a></h4><div class="lw_profiles_description"><p> Christian Tripp (E&H ’18) finished up his senior year at Emory & Henry in the usual way: plenty of studying, time with friends, and a ton of theater auditions. Well….maybe everyone doesn’t finish out college with auditions, but you do if you’re a theater major.</p><p> To his delight, he was offered several jobs. Instead of stressing about finding a job, he was worried about how to choose between many great options. So he gave himself a deadline. “I told myself I would pick one on Friday. On Thursday I got emailed by the head of acting from the University of Alabama. He asked to see my audition package, I sent it via email, and the next day he gave me a full ride scholarship.”<br/><br/> He has also been offered two summer acting positions — one in Flagstaff, Arizona with the Flagstaff Shakespeare Festival (he’ll be Daniel De Bosola in <em>Duchess of Malfi</em>) and another in Camden, Maine with Camden Shakespeare Festival (he’s playing Horatio in <em>Hamlet</em> and Lucentio in <em>Taming of the Shrew</em>). So in the summer of 2019, he’ll be playing three supporting leads. Then he’ll head back to Alabama to start his second year of graduate school.<br/><br/> Christian is a true success story for the E&H theater department, and he’s grateful for the experiences he gained as an undergraduate.”I feel that my time at Emory & Henry really prepared me to handle anything. I will be playing pretty heavy roles this summer back to back to back, and normally someone might pause at that. For me I see it as a great challenge I’m more than capable of handling.”</p></div><a href="/live/profiles/2547-christian-tripp" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div>
- <span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/profiles/1443-israel-oquinn" title="Israel O’Quinn" aria-label="Israel O’Quinn"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,12,240,254/2357_Israel_OQuinn.rev.1516296415.png" alt="Israel O’Quinn" title="Israel O’Quinn" class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" data-max-w="240" data-max-h="320"/></a></span><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_profiles_headline"><a href="/live/profiles/1443-israel-oquinn"><p> Israel O’Quinn is a member of the Virginia House of Delegates.</p></a></h4><div class="lw_profiles_description"><p> Delegate Israel O’Quinn was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates on November 8, 2011. He represents the 5th House District which is comprised of Bristol City, Galax City, Grayson County, Smyth County (part) and Washington County (part). <br/><br/> As an advocate for Southwest Virginia, Israel works to ensure the 5th District is well-represented in Richmond. Israel serves as Deputy Majority Whip and his legislative committee assignments include Commerce and Labor, Privileges and Elections, as well as Militia, Police and Public Safety. He serves as the Chairman of Subcommittee Number Four in the Privileges and Elections Committee and he also serves as Chairman of Subcommittee Number Three in the Commerce and Labor Committee. Israel is a member of the legislative Coal and Energy Commission and he serves on the Board of Directors for the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center.</p><p> As a citizen legislator, Israel is employed by K-VA-T Food Stores, the parent company of the Food City retail supermarket chain. He currently directs the company’s Office of Strategic Initiatives, in addition to chairing the company’s Energy Conservation Committee, which has implemented a number of energy conservation measures throughout the K-VA-T distribution center and numerous stores. Prior to joining the K-VA-T team in 2006, Israel served in various roles in government and campaigns. He spent two years in the office of Attorney General Jerry Kilgore and worked on a number of political campaigns, including those for Governor, Attorney General, US Senate, House of Delegates and various local offices.</p><p> Israel is Past Chairman of the Bristol Chamber of Commerce, which has Five Star accreditation from the US Chamber of Commerce. Israel is a recipient of the Business Journal’s Top 40 Under 40 award, as well as Emory & Henry College’s Young Alumnus of the Year award. While at Emory & Henry College, Israel played on the varsity baseball team and graduated with degrees in Political Science and History. Israel is also a graduate of Patrick Henry High School in Glade Spring, Virginia.</p><p> Israel and his wife, Emily, reside in Washington County, Virginia. Emily works as a corporate communications professional and she is an avid supporter of community organizations at both the state and local levels. Over the years, her service on a number of boards has focused on various business and philanthropic initiatives including expanding educational opportunities for children and increasing access to the arts.</p></div><a href="/live/profiles/1443-israel-oquinn" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div>
- <span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/profiles/718-" title="Fallon Walker Grindstead" aria-label="Fallon Walker Grindstead"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,975,975/437_unnamed.rev.1502370732.jpg" alt="Fallon Walker Grindstead" title="Fallon Walker Grindstead" class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,975,975/437_unnamed.rev.1502370732.jpg 2x" data-max-w="975" data-max-h="975"/></a></span><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_profiles_headline"><a href="/live/profiles/718-"><p> Fallon Walker Grindstead, ’13 leads in Chilhowie </p></a></h4><div class="lw_profiles_description"><p> Fallon Walker Grinstead is a 2013 graduate of Emory & Henry from Chilhowie, Virginia. Fallon majored in our teacher preparation program in Health & Physical Education. She is entering her 5<sup>th</sup>year of teaching and her 9<sup>th</sup> year of coaching volleyball at Chilhowie Middle School. In 2014-2015, she helped create the Health and Physical Education curriculum for Smyth County Schools and last year she was honored as Teacher of the Year for her school. In addition, the past two years, the Chilhowie JV Volleyball team has won the Mountain West Conference Championship. Fallon says her overall goal is to “help each student find something active they enjoy.”</p></div><a href="/live/profiles/718-" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div>
- <span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/profiles/793-joe-shortt" title="Joe Shortt" aria-label="Joe Shortt"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/213,0,1089,877/563_Joe_Shortt.rev.1505400886.jpg" alt="Joe Shortt" title="Joe Shortt" class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/213,0,1089,877/563_Joe_Shortt.rev.1505400886.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/213,0,1089,877/563_Joe_Shortt.rev.1505400886.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1200" data-max-h="877"/></a></span><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_profiles_headline"><a href="/live/profiles/793-joe-shortt"><p> Joe Shortt has been inducted into the American Saddlebred Horse Association of Virginia’s Hall of Fame.</p></a></h4><div class="lw_profiles_description"><blockquote><p> Joe Shortt is a 2017 inductee into the Hall of Fame of the American Saddlebred Horse Association. </p></blockquote><p> Joe Shortt was a STEM guy before STEM was cool. He graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in chemistry with minors in math and physics. And while his career utilized his science background, it was his sideline that has recently garnered him recognition.</p><p> A well-known horse-trainer, Joe was inducted into the American Saddlebred Horse Association of Virginia’s Hall of Fame in 2017.</p><p> Through the 1970s he trained a host of champion horses with names like Prince Magic, Drum Chant, Bourbon’s Curiosity, Katy Vanguard and Boomerang. He told the Smyth County News and Messenger that his love of horses took shape while he was still in high school. “As a sophomore in high school I began working during the summer at Nancy Brown’s training stable in Seven Mile Ford. This is what encouraged me to begin a professional training career.”</p><p> But he started riding much earlier. “I began riding at about eight years old on my Shetland pony named Nubbins, and showed him for the first time at the Rich Valley Fair the following year.”</p><p> Joe worked with horses in Virginia until he moved to Sevierville, Tennessee, with his company, Blue Circle Cement.</p></div><a href="/live/profiles/793-joe-shortt" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div>
- <span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/profiles/2044-dr-beverly-clark-iii" title="Dr. Beverly Clark III" aria-label="Dr. Beverly Clark III"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2273/4094_Clark-ShawLab.rev.1524861196.jpg" alt="Dr. Beverly Clark III" title="Dr. Beverly Clark III" class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2273/4094_Clark-ShawLab.rev.1524861196.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2273/4094_Clark-ShawLab.rev.1524861196.jpg 3x" data-max-w="3200" data-max-h="2273"/></a></span><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_profiles_headline"><a href="/live/profiles/2044-dr-beverly-clark-iii"><p> Dr. Beverly Clark is studying the effects of microplastics on the environment.</p></a></h4><div class="lw_profiles_description"><p><strong>Dr. Beverly Clark, III </strong>is an Associate Professor of Physics at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina. He has focused his research on combining nanoscience and microscopy. His work has focused mostly on using microscopy techniques to design methods for measuring electronic properties of nanostructures like capacitance, surface charge and resistance. </p><p> Beverly is currently doing research on the environmental impacts of microplastics. His work focuses on characterizing microplastics using microscopy and spectroscopy and the environmental impacts of microplastics on low income and minority populations. </p><p> Beverly is a native of Java, Virginia, but has lived in the Raleigh, North Carolina, area for over fifteen years. At Emory & Henry, he was a student athlete lettering in football and earned a B.S. degree in Physics. He also earned a Master’s and Doctorate in Physics from North Carolina State University. In July 2018, he left Raleigh to take the position of Dean of Instruction, Academic Education at Central Community College in Grand Island, Nebraska. In his spare time, he enjoys playing music, cooking, and gardening. </p></div><a href="/live/profiles/2044-dr-beverly-clark-iii" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div>
- <span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/profiles/1745-becky-edmondson-pretzel" title="Becky Pretzel" aria-label="Becky Pretzel"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/198,324,1490,1615/3152_edmondsonpretzel-1122.rev.1518207187.jpg" alt="Becky Edmondson Pretzel" title="Becky Edmondson Pretzel" class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/198,324,1490,1615/3152_edmondsonpretzel-1122.rev.1518207187.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/198,324,1490,1615/3152_edmondsonpretzel-1122.rev.1518207187.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1500" data-max-h="2250"/></a></span><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_profiles_headline"><a href="/live/profiles/1745-becky-edmondson-pretzel"><p> Rebecca Edmondson Pretzel (E&H ’82) is the Associate Director of the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities (CIDD) at UNC Chapel Hill. </p></a></h4><div class="lw_profiles_description"><p> Rebecca Edmondson Pretzel (E&H ’82) is the Associate Director of the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities (CIDD) at UNC Chapel Hill. </p><p> The CIDD is a comprehensive program for services, research, and training relevant to individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. The CIDD provides for clinical services that range from complex interdisciplinary evaluations on-site to more limited and selected clinical services. They also provide training in all 100 counties in North Carolina. (<a href="http://www.cidd.unc.edu/">CIDD website</a>)</p><p> According to a press release, Becky is a “psychologist and Associate Professor of Psychiatry at UNC. At the CIDD, she serves as the Associate Director of our federally-funded University Center of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) program, Director of Clinical Services, and Psychology Section Head. In addition, she is an investigator on a variety of research and training grants and supervises numerous graduate students and junior faculty.</p><p> Through her longstanding experience working with many N.C. service agencies (e.g., the Department of Public Instruction, Early Intervention Branch and Division of MH/DD/SAS), Dr. Pretzel has played an important role in raising the level of care for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families in the state. Dr. Pretzel is currently serving as Act Early Ambassador in North Carolina, a program directed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention designed to improve early identification of young children with or at risk for developmental delays.”</p><div id="social-sharing-links" class="right clearfix"><div class="muted"/></div></div><a href="/live/profiles/1745-becky-edmondson-pretzel" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div>
- <span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/profiles/1229-michael-payne" title="Michael Payne" aria-label="Michael Payne"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,270,270/1710_michael_payne.rev.1513720647.jpg" alt="Michael Payne" title="Michael Payne" class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" data-max-w="270" data-max-h="324"/></a></span><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_profiles_headline"><a href="/live/profiles/1229-michael-payne"/></h4><div class="lw_profiles_description"><p> Michael is a licensed and Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC) working through Doctors Hospital of Augusta, Georgia. As part of an outreach program, he works mostly with the athletes at a 6A high school in Georgia, but also work through the Physical Therapy Department with prehab patients. As an athletic trainer, he is responsible for collaborating with physicians to provide preventative services, emergency care, clinical diagnosis, therapeutic intervention and rehabilitation of injuries and medical conditions in the athletic setting.</p></div><a href="/live/profiles/1229-michael-payne" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div>
- <span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/profiles/2451-david-bledsoe" title="David Bledsoe" aria-label="David Bledsoe"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1024,1365/5644_David_Bledsoe.rev.1541708682.jpg" alt="David Bledsoe" title="David Bledsoe" class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1024,1365/5644_David_Bledsoe.rev.1541708682.jpg 2x" data-max-w="1024" data-max-h="1365"/></a></span><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_profiles_headline"><a href="/live/profiles/2451-david-bledsoe"><p> David Bledsoe started making headlines before he ever graduated from law school.</p></a></h4><div class="lw_profiles_description"><p> David Bledsoe is an associate attorney for Breeding Henry Baysan PC that dedicates his practice to a variety of legal fields including criminal defense, business litigation, personal injury, and general civil litigation.</p><p> Mr. Bledsoe is originally from Big Stone Gap Virginia and subsequently received his undergraduate degree from Emory & Henry College located in Emory, Virginia, where he majored in Business Management and subsequently graduated Magna Cum Laude.</p><p> After obtaining his undergraduate degree, Mr. Bledsoe attended law school at Lincoln Memorial University where he graduated 6<sup>th</sup> in his class with the honorable distinction of Cum Laude. Mr. Bledsoe was awarded the Justice Gary R. Wade Award in his second year in law school, which is given every year to one law student who demonstrates outstanding academic performance and an unwavering dedication to the community. Mr. Bledsoe was also awarded the Lincoln Memorial University Lincoln Lawyer Award, a faculty-voted award given to three students annually who demonstrate strength in legal writing, oral argument, and leadership. Mr. Bledsoe was also a member of the Duncan School of Law Mock Trial Team, where he competed as both a witness and as an attorney in both civil and criminal cases. Mr. Bledsoe received a CALI award in his Federal Income Taxation class, an award given to the student with the highest overall grade in a class for that semester.</p><p> David has worked in a variety of areas and has achieved a variety of notable accomplishments since he began working in the legal field. One of which was clerking for his father, where he successfully assisted in writing an appellate brief to the Virginia Court of Appeals, which subsequently received a favorable reversal on an underlying felony conviction. He has interned for the Washington County Commonwealth Attorney’s office in Virginia, clerked for the Honorable Judge Tim Irwin of Knox County Juvenile Court, worked as a research assistant to various law professors in academic writing, and clerked for other esteemed criminal defense attorneys in Knoxville.</p></div><a href="/live/profiles/2451-david-bledsoe" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div>
- <span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/profiles/1815-christina-druen" title="Christina Druen" aria-label="Christina Druen"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/233,0,1593,1361/3301_IMG_2692.rev.1518713658.JPG" alt="Christina Druen" title="Christina Druen" class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/233,0,1593,1361/3301_IMG_2692.rev.1518713658.JPG 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/233,0,1593,1361/3301_IMG_2692.rev.1518713658.JPG 3x" data-max-w="2048" data-max-h="1361"/></a></span><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_profiles_headline"><a href="/live/profiles/1815-christina-druen"><p> And on top of all this….she can really sing!</p></a></h4><div class="lw_profiles_description"><div> Christina Druen currently works as a graphic designer for K-VA-T Food Stores, Inc. In this role, she creates various print materials, social media graphics, videos and other materials for the Food City stores and events they sponsor including the Food City Family Race Night, Food City 500/300, and their Annual Golf Tournament. Before coming to K-VA-T, Christina worked as a Marketing & Design Coordinator for Southwest Virginia Community Health Systems (SVCHS) where she aided in the re-branding of the organization, designed print materials and helped manage their website and social media. Right before graduation, she landed a job working for a NASCAR K&N team, Martin-McClure Racing as their Public Relations Representative. In this role, she managed the team’s social media accounts, escorted drivers to all appearances and helped manage the “Racing for 90.7 and Emory & Henry” project. Simultaneously, she worked for Dogwood Marketing located in Abingdon, Virginia, as a graphic designer and sales representative before coming to SVCHS. </div><div><br/> In her spare time, Christina works as a Marketing & Design Consultant to help smaller local businesses and non-profits with their marketing needs. She has completed work for Family Promise of Bristol, Garic Stephens and Lavelle Manufacturing, Borderline Billiards, Apple Ridge Photography, First Bank & Trust, Emory & Henry College, Clinch Valley Printing, and more. </div><div><br/> Christina also serves as a board member for the American Advertising Federation of Southwest Virginia. As the Communications Team Leader, her responsibilities include getting information out about their events, managing and updating their website, creating graphics and content for their social media platforms, writing press releases, creating email campaigns and aiding in planning events. </div><div><br/> During her time at Emory & Henry, Christina worked as an Events and Operations Intern for the Academy of Country Music in Los Angeles, California, and a Volunteer Captain for the Annual Academy of Country Music Awards in Los Vegas. She also interned for a popular local band, Annabelle’s Curse, as well as Family Promise of Bristol as their Communications Intern. On campus, she was the Director of EHC-TV, President of Alpha Psi Omega, President of the E&H Choral Department, Treasurer and Founding Member of the AAF Student Chapter, Business Manager of the Whitetopper, Manager of The Sphinx, House Manager and Volunteer Coordinator for the McGlothlin Center for the Arts, Graphic Design Intern for the Admissions Office, and Writer for The Odyssey Online. </div><div><br/> Christina resides in Abingdon, VA. When she’s not working, you can catch her at Borderline Billiards bar-tending and shooting pool. </div></div><a href="/live/profiles/1815-christina-druen" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div>
- <span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/profiles/2855-bradley-seay" title="Bradley Seay" aria-label="Bradley Seay"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/36,0,588,551/6565_Bradley_Seay.rev.1563898067.jpg" alt="Bradley Seay" title="Bradley Seay" class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/36,0,588,551/6565_Bradley_Seay.rev.1563898067.jpg 2x" data-max-w="709" data-max-h="551"/></a></span><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_profiles_headline"><a href="/live/profiles/2855-bradley-seay"><p> Bradley Seay is an arborist who is committed to knowing not only the trees but also their environs.</p></a></h4><div class="lw_profiles_description"><p> If you follow Bradley Seay’s Facebook page, you might wonder if he’s in a Disney nature documentary. Little birds sit on his shoulder. He gets up close and personal with frogs and turtles. And he’s Bradley-on-the-spot when it comes to naming plants and wildflowers.</p><p> Bradley lives in Maryland, and is an arborist with Bartlett Tree Experts. He says his time in the forest has solidified his passions for the outdoors and turned him into a true nature buff.</p><p> He left Emory & Henry with plans of being a nature photographer. He had dreams of being one of those guys who set up in a remote and wild region of the world, hiding under a shrub, looking patiently through the viewfinder for hours until he caught a breathtaking shot that would be seen around the world. What really happened was that he ended up at Kmart doing family portraits. “It just wasn’t what I had in mind.”</p><p> As he began to put aside dreams of becoming a nature photographer, he had the opportunity to join the crew of Schiller Trees in Charlottesville. He soon felt like this was a different, but important, way that he could be connected to nature. He soon joined Bartlett, and now, all these years later, he seems so suited for the role that it’s hard to imagine him as anything else.</p><p> His duties are varied, and include everything from evaluating the health of trees to offering consultation on best use of forested property to trimming older trees correctly to finding the right spot for new trees. </p><p> He emphasizes that it is really important to evaluate whether you’re putting in a tree that is suited for the region and the climate where it is being planted. “A tree is an investment of time and energy as well as money – so we want to make sure a property owner will spend the next 10 years watching a tree flourish, not watching it slowly die. Some of the most emotional discussions I have to have are when I have to tell someone that a beloved tree is not going to make it.”</p><p> So, while Bradley isn’t making a living taking photos of his beloved natural surroundings, he is making sure everything is picture perfect for those who love trees.</p></div><a href="/live/profiles/2855-bradley-seay" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div>
- <span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/profiles/1916-eric-scott" title="Eric Scott" aria-label="Eric Scott"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,11,312,323/3451_eric_scott_4.rev.1520287120.jpg" alt="Eric Scott" title="Eric Scott" class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" data-max-w="312" data-max-h="478"/></a></span><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_profiles_headline"><a href="/live/profiles/1916-eric-scott"><p> Eric Scott is an Emmy award-winning photojournalist for WJZ-TV, channel 13, a CBS owned-and-operated station in Baltimore, Maryland.</p></a></h4><div class="lw_profiles_description"><p> Eric Scott is an Emmy award-winning photojournalist for WJZ-TV, channel 13, a CBS owned-and-operated station in Baltimore, Maryland.</p><p> </p><p> As a photographer for the TV newsroom, Scott is prepared to shoot multiple stories each day – everything from a news conference, to a school play, to a crime scene.</p><p> “I’ve covered every kind of story you can imagine,” he said. “I cover politics, crime, riots, sports events, you name it. I’m the reporter <em>behind</em> the camera. I tell stories with video.”</p><p> Along with the day-to-day assignments, Scott has experienced many “wow moments” during his career. He’s met presidents, vice presidents, mayors and governors. In 1998, he covered the Olympics in Japan. A year later, he traveled to Havana, Cuba when the Baltimore Orioles played the Cuban All-Stars in an exhibition game.</p><p> He’s worked on assignment with the military reserves at Camp Pendleton in California.</p><p> “My job is similar to a classroom. I meet new people and learn new things every day. It gives me a completely different view of the world.”</p><p> From time to time, his video clips make it to the CBS Evening News and CNN broadcasts. “For example, if they’re doing a story on the weather throughout the country, I may see some of my work on the national news.”</p><p> Scott said he shot the footage for a reporter at the Baltimore news station who won an Emmy for her investigative reporting. “But, the best story I’ve ever done was watching a baby being born. It was for a new-age dad story. I see death a lot in my work, but seeing new life was something different for me.”</p><p> Scott knew he wanted a career in the media as early as high school. “As a basketball player, I was always interested in sports. I thought I wanted to be a sports anchor, but I had no idea the path God would lead me to,” he said.</p><p> “I fell in love with photojournalism as a student intern at WCYB-TV in Bristol, and I forgot all about being in front of the camera. The first time I saw my video air on a broadcast, I fell in love with it because everyone got to see how I created it. That hooked me.”</p><p> After graduating from Emory & Henry, Scott went to work as a manager of circulation for a newspaper in South Carolina. “I never quit anything in my life, but the job was not for me.”</p><p> Scott accepted a photographer position at WCYB-TV while visiting friends in the region. When he was offered a job at Virginia Beach more than a year later, he moved again. Known for his creative work, he later was offered a position at the TV station in Baltimore where he has worked for the past 22 years.</p><p> “And, the rest is history as they say.”</p><p> Scott said his college education taught him many things, including independence and decision-making. He’s never forgotten about making a D grade in a Mass Communications class taught by Dr. Teresa Keller.</p><p> “It was the only D I made at Emory & Henry. She said I could do better and I set out to prove her right. Dr. Keller became a mentor and friend. To this very day she still is someone I communicate with regularly and consider a member of my family,” he said.</p><p> “The late Coach Bob Johnson was another influence on my development. Discipline, detail, accountability, promptness, leadership, and love of my school and country were powerful things I learned from him.”</p><p> Scott said his greatest honor at Emory & Henry was being the co-captain for the men’s basketball team. “During my senior year we finished 16th in the nation.”</p></div><a href="/live/profiles/1916-eric-scott" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div>
- <span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/profiles/683-" title="Victor Trussell" aria-label="Victor Trussell"><img src="/live/image/gid/2/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,33,533,566/322_Victor_Trussell.rev.1499440958.jpg" alt="Victor Trussell" title="Victor Trussell" class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" data-max-w="533" data-max-h="800"/></a></span><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_profiles_headline"><a href="/live/profiles/683-"><p> Victor Trussell ’13 starting acting on a whim – and now he’s acting professionally.</p></a></h4><div class="lw_profiles_description"><p> Victor says he started acting his freshman year of high school, enjoyed it so much he majored in theatre at Emory & Henry, and now he on the stage all the time.</p><p> “I have been performing with a variety of different professional theatre companies since graduation. I have toured the country multiple times with companies like Bright Star Touring Theatre and The National Theatre for Children, both listed by Backstage as ’12 Touring Theater Companies That Make a Difference.’” Not only has acting become his vocation, but he is proud of the impact he is having on school kids. “These experiences have allowed me to perform for thousands of children, educating them on a range of topics spanning from historical figures like Martin Luther King, Jr. to the importance of energy conservation.”</p><p> His range of theatre involvement shows an amazing array of skills. He has performed with <em>Trumpet in the Land</em>, a historical outdoor drama in New Philadelphia, Ohio, that tells the story of frontier Ohio. And he has also been in <em>Hairspray</em>, <em>Les Miserables</em>, and even <em>Winnie the Pooh</em>.</p><p> In the summer of 2016, Victor will be performing at the Tecumseh Theater in Ohio doing Shakespeare. “Either <em>The Tempest</em> or <em>Macbeth</em>, or both!”</p><p> Victor is also a playwright. His one-act play <em>Millennial Show</em> has been published in the first edition of <em>Young Scribblers</em>, a publication started by fellow E&H alum Forrest Williams (E&H ’16). “The play, in the form of a variety show, pokes fun at generational stereotypes as well as challenges the ‘problems’ young people face today. Taken from real interviews, <em>Millennial Show</em> also features commentary on related topics addressed within the play.”</p><p> Victor ended up at Emory & Henry because he “loved the intimacy of the campus and classes. I had a ton of hands-on experience in the theatre department.” He is planning to use that experience to keep on writing and performing and inspiring others.</p></div><a href="/live/profiles/683-" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div>
- <span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/profiles/1433-toni-atkins" title="Toni Atkins" aria-label="Toni Atkins"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,56,800,857/2267_Toni_Atkins.rev.1516131104.jpg" alt="Toni Atkins" title="Toni Atkins" class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,56,800,857/2267_Toni_Atkins.rev.1516131104.jpg 2x" data-max-w="800" data-max-h="1054"/></a></span><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_profiles_headline"><a href="/live/profiles/1433-toni-atkins"><p> Toni Atkins is the leader of the California Senate – and is the first woman to hold this position.</p></a></h4><div class="lw_profiles_description"><p> Toni Atkins, E&H ’84, recently made history by becoming the first woman to serve as president pro Tempore of the California Senate. She has served as interim Mayor of San Diego, and was Governor of California for nine hours in 2014 – making her California’s first openly gay governor, and it also landed her a spot on the Jimmy Kimmel talk show.</p><p> </p><p> Below is an article by Lisa Renner written for Capitol Weekly in 2017:</p><p> State Sen. Toni Atkins has come a long way since she was a girl growing up poor without running water in rural Virginia.</p><p> This month, the San Diego lawmaker is set to replace Kevin de León as leader of the California Senate. She will be the first woman and first open lesbian to hold the position. She also will be the first person since the 19<sup>th</sup> century to hold both of the Legislature’s top jobs – Assembly speaker and Senate leader.</p><blockquote><p> “She came with a sense of wanting to make a difference but didn’t think she could make a difference because of her background.” — Stephen Fisher </p></blockquote><p> Atkins, 55, is a real coal miner’s daughter who grew up in a house without indoor plumbing or running water, and her mother cooked on a wood stove, according to her college professor and close friend Stephen Fisher. When Atkins and her family moved to the city of Roanoke, she was teased for her hillbilly accent.</p><div id="div-gpt-ad-1395717372217-22_container" class="idm_ad_unit"/><p> </p><p> Only two others have served as both Assembly speaker and Senate leader — Ransom Burnell (Assembly Speaker in 1861 and Senate pro Tem in 1864) and James T. Farley (Assembly speaker in 1856 and Senate pro Tem in 1871-1872), said Alex Vassar, author of <em>California Lawmaker: The Men and Women of the California State Legislature.</em></p><p> Fisher recalls that when she arrived at Emory & Henry College, where she ultimately majored in political science, she had a lot of “anger and shame” about her upbringing. “She came with a sense of wanting to make a difference but didn’t think she could make a difference because of her background,” he said.</p><p> But as she grew more comfortable, she became more confident in her skin. She was part of a group of students who asked Fisher to teach a course on feminism. He agreed if the students would help him create the course, including decided what texts do use and how the class would be structured. “It was a transformative experience for all of us,” he said, adding that Atkins wasn’t the only participant who went on to have great success in professional life.</p><p> Atkins also showed courage by helping arrange for a visit to campus by lesbian folk singer Holly Near in the early 1980s when the college “was not a safe place to come out in,” Fisher said.</p><blockquote><p> Atkins was elected to the state Assembly in 2010. becoming Speaker of the Assembly in 2014. </p></blockquote><p> But Fisher said he had no idea back then that Atkins would end up where she is now. “I knew that she was going to do well but I had no notion that she was going into public work.”</p><p> Atkins ended up continuing her education at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University before relocating to San Diego in 1985.</p><p> She initially served as director of clinic services of Womancare Health Center but soon began working for then San Diego City Councilmember Christine Kehoe, the city’s first openly gay elected official. Atkins’ first jump into elected office came on the San Diego City Council in 2000, when she replaced Kehoe after Kehoe moved on to the state Legislature.</p><p> Atkins was herself elected to the state Assembly in 2010. becoming Speaker of the Assembly in 2014. She set her priorities as access to health care, affordable housing and educational opportunities.</p><p> Among her achievements was getting the bipartisan support for a $7.5 billion water bond approved by voters in 2014. “That was a clear example of her leadership because folks believed it could not be done,” said Assemblymember Shirley Weber of San Diego.</p><blockquote><p> “She has that coal miner’s daughter perspective that comes out of that environment.” — Shirley Weber </p></blockquote><p> Weber also credits Atkins with getting her to run for office. Weber was recently retired after a long career as a professor of Africana studies at San Diego State University when Atkins asked her to consider running for the Assembly.</p><p> When Weber won the election and joined the Assembly in 2012, it was Atkins who opened doors for her and helped her make the transition. “She said I will help you do this and she did,” Weber said. “Other people say I’ll help you and you can’t find them. They don’t do anything for you.”</p><p> Weber said she is impressed that Atkins has been able to rise so far while keeping her dignity and maintaining her integrity.</p><p> “She has that coal miner’s daughter perspective that comes out of that environment,” she said. “You don’t get out of that environment if you don’t take what you have, make it better, learn from strengths and minimize your weaknesses.”</p><p> Atkins was elected to the state Senate in 2016 and was able to get all 12 bills she sent to the governor, signed and approved. In her December newsletter, she said she is especially proud of Senate Bill 2, which creates a permanent funding source for affordable housing and Senate Bill 179, which requires the state to legally recognize “nonbinary” as a gender for people who do not identify as male or female.</p><p> Rick Zbur, executive director for Equality California, said Atkins is one of the best advocates for the state’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community. He applauded her upcoming advance to leadership of the senate.</p><p> “It’s important that she has shattered yet another glass ceiling,” he said. “These kinds of achievements are important for LBGTQ people because we have been historically underrepresented in government.”</p><p> Through it all, she remembers her Virginia roots. She invited Cameron Chase, a 20-year-old Emory & Henry student, to Sacramento for a three-week internship with her earlier this year. “Sen. Atkins is literally so down to earth and so kind and generous,” he said.</p><p> In a 2014 statement to the Washington Post, Atkins reflected on her rise from poverty to high office in California. “What that says about our opportunities as Americans and our democracy is profound.”</p></div><a href="/live/profiles/1433-toni-atkins" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div>