A.L. Mitchell Young Alumnus Award
2023: Ali Singleton Reilly
Ali Singleton Reilly, E&H Class of 2018, is the program coordinator for Blue Ridge Discovery Center in Konnarock, Virginia. She recently led a team of volunteers to transform a contaminated brownfield back into the vibrant, healthy wetland that originally existed there. Within two years, the land has been restored to health, and the biodiversity of that location is flourishing. Ali is also a committed educator who does a wide array of presentations to community groups about the importance of wetlands and native plants.
2022: Stephen and Jessica Curtis Callahan
Stephen and Jessica are both 2011 graduates of Emory & Henry. With degrees in Biology and Chemistry the two started their careers in a lab setting, but soon realized they wanted to indulge their entrepreneurial spirits. In 2016, they opened Tennessee Hills Distillery in Jonesborough, Tennessee, and the business has since grown into a much larger franchise including a new “brewstillery” in Johnson City.
2021: Kishanna Caesar Heyward
Kishanna, E&H Class of 2008, is a realtor in Fayetteville, North Carolina, owning her own company, ASAP Home Investments. The Young Alumna Award has been granted for a recent project. She created a coloring book that teaches children about how credit works. She says she got the idea when her 4-year-old daughter started asking questions about how to buy houses and cars and she found that there were not good resources for teaching children about the joys of good credit and the perils of bad credit. There are two versions of the coloring book, one with a shero and one with a hero: “Credit is Queen, Charlene” and “Credit is King, Kareem.”
2020: Josh Stamper
Josh Stamper (Class of 2007) is currently serving as assistant principal at Virginia Middle School in Bristol. He is the author of Ugly Me, a fictional book that highlights the real impacts of childhood trauma on a student’s ability to learn.
2019: Meghann Cotter
Meghann C. Cotter (’04) majored in mass communications and public policy and community service. She is the executive servant leader of Micah Ecumenical Ministries in Fredericksburg, Va., an umbrella organization for a collaboration of churches that cultivate community and care for neighbors who find themselves homeless. Cotter was named by the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star as a 2018 “Difference Maker.”
2018: Andrew Winz
Andy Winz (’03) is the GIS manager for the City of Portsmouth, Virginia, and is the youngest municipal GIS Manager in the Commonwealth of Virginia. He is a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, serving as Division Chief of the International Affairs Directorate, and as the Public Affairs Officer for Sector Hampton Roads, 5th Southern District. He is assistant cub master for Boy Scouts of America Pack 57. He is a certified Geographic Information Systems Professional and has received awards including the Auxiliary Achievement Medal, the Coast Guard Unit Commendation, and has twice won the Auxiliary Commandant’s Letter of Commendation. He is a geomentor for the Association of American Geographers, and has served as an adjunct professor of GIS at Tidewater Community College (TCC) and guest lecturer for TCC and Portsmouth Public Schools.
2017: Te-Kai Shu
Te-Kai graduated from Emory & Henry in 2004 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science. For the past 10 years he has held a variety of positions at the Strongwell corporate headquarters in Bristol, Virginia. He currently serves as the Social Media and Business Development Manager. He is a strong community volunteer working with LEAD Bristol, Bristol Regional Speech and Hearing, Imagination Library, and Family Promise. In 2013 he was named United Way of Bristol Volunteer of the Year, in 2014 he was awarded the Bristol Chamber of Commerce Leadership Service Award, and in 2016 he was named to the Tri-Cities 40 Under 40 list in the Tri-Cities Business Journal. He and his wife Ashleigh Norris-Shu have a daughter Grace Ann Shu.
2016: William Reisinger graduated magna cum laude from Emory & Henry in 2005 and earned his law degree at Ohio Northern University’s Claude W. Pettit College of Law in 2008. He works for the Richmond law firm GreeneHurlocker, PLC, with a practice focused on energy law, utilities regulation, and commercial litigation. Before joining GreeneHurlocker, Will served for over four years as an Assistant Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Virginia. He is a member of the governing board of the Virginia State Bar’s Administrative Law Section and serves as a Distinguished Visitor in Natural Resources Law at the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Virginia. In 2015, he was appointed by Governor McAuliffe to serve on Virginia’s first Executive Committee on Energy Efficiency. Will regularly offers pro bono work at legal aid offices in Richmond.
2015: Eric McClure (’00) graduated from Emory & Henry with a bachelor of arts degree in mass communications in the year 2000. Immediately after graduation, he accepted a position at Morgan-McClure Racing, a company founded by his family in 1983, and bought his first race car. In 2003, he made his NASCAR Xfinity debut at Rockingham. In 2004 he competed in his first NASCAR Sprint Cup race driving a second entry for Morgan-McClure Motorsports, where he qualified at 35th, led a lap, and finished in the 26th position. In 2006, he secured Hefty brand as a sponsorship partner and began a full-time presence in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. In 2011, he added Reynolds Wrap as a sponsorship partner. In 2014 he finished 19th in driver standings and completed his ninth consecutive season in the #24 Hefty/Reynolds Wrap – the longest active streak in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
2014: Emily E. Wallace, (’04) was a double major in creative writing and art at Emory & Henry, and then earned a bachelor of fine arts degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She earned a master of arts degree in folklore from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She currently serves as the Director of Communications for the Center for the Study of the American South, and is the Deputy Editor for their academic journal, Southern Cultures. She is a chief contributor to IndyWeek and has written and illustrated for the Oxford American, the Washington Post, GOOD, Culture, Gravy, and Our State. In 2013 she was a judge for the Book Awards Committee of the James Beard Foundation. In that same year she was the illustrator for the Southern Foodways Alliance symposium.
2013: Jay Webb graduated in 1999 with a major in Mass Communications. He trained in meteorology at Mississippi State University. His first job was producing the morning show at WCYB-TV 5 in Bristol, Virginia. He also served at WHSV in Harrisonburg before attaining his current position of weekend meteorologist for WDBJ7 in Roanoke, Virginia. In 2008, he won an Emmy award for outstanding program achievement.
2012: Tarah Taylor, E&H 2003, is the morning and noon anchor for WCYB TV-5 in Bristol, Virginia. She is a volunteer for the March of Dimes, Girls, Inc., United Way, the American Cancer Society, and the Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion. Tarah has also volunteered for Emory & Henry, through the 175th Anniversary Public Relations Committee, the alumni/student Speed Networking event, the Benefactor’s Luncheon, and the Mass Communications Department.
2011: Robert Thomas, E&H 2001, is a manager in the U.S. Secretary of State’s 24/7 Operations Center. He has served with the U.S. Department of State since 2001, serving in locations that include Nouakchott, Mauritania, and Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. Robert is a member of the American Foreign Service Association of Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies, and he has been published in the American Foreign Service Journal, a publication of the American Foreign Service Association.
2010: Dr. Jeff Bary, Class of 1995, is currently an assistant professor of Physics and Astronomy at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics and Mathematics from Emory & Henry, and received his Ph.D. in Physics from Vanderbilt University in 2003. He received the National Science Foundation Graduate Teaching Fellowship for in 2002 and 2003, and the National Science Foundation Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral fellowship from 2005-2008. He was the American Association of Physics Teachers teaching assistant for the year in 2002.
2009: Chris Kolakowski, Class of 1999, received a bachelor of arts degree with a double major in history and mass communications. He finished his master’s in public history at the State University of New York at Albany in 2004. Mr. Kolakowski’s career has included work at the Civil War Preservation Trust in Washington, D.C., and the Perryville Battlefield Preservation Association, Perryville, Kentucky, where he served as executive director from 2005 to 2008. He is currently the chief curator for the National Museum of the Army Reserve in Fort McPherson, Georgia.
2008: Luke Grooms, Class of 2001, was a music major at Emory & Henry with a minor in theatre. He also played football as an undergraduate and sang in the E&H Concert Choir. Mr. Grooms received a master’s degree in music from the University of Cincinnati. He resides in New York, New York.
2007: Dr. Phillip Hustad received a B.S. degree from Emory & Henry College in 1997 with a major in chemistry and a minor in mathematics. He later earned a master’s degree in chemistry and a Ph.D. in chemistry and chemical biology from Cornell University. His research experience includes work at Cornell, Brown, and Columbia universities, as well as Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the IBM Research Center in San Jose, California. He is currently Senior Research Scientist at The Dow Chemical Company in Houston, Texas.
2006: Israel O’Quinn is a 2002 E&H graduate. He is the political director for the Republican Party of Virginia and coordinates senatorial and congressional campaigns in the Commonwealth. Mr. O’Quinn is also the point of contact for nomination issues, conventions and the Republican political plan. He served in Attorney General Jerry Kilgore’s office as community outreach coordinator and worked as field director for Senator John Warner’s campaign for re-election.
2005: Paula Webber, Class of 1990, serves as program director for the Commonweal Foundation’s Pathways to Success Boarding and Day School Program. She formerly has served as project manager for the 21st Century Community Learning Center Program (funded by the U.S. Department of Education); Science, Engineering and Mathematics Student Support Manager for the Model Institutions for Excellence Program (funded by NASA); and Student Programs Coordinator for the Goddard Visiting Scientist Program. As a volunteer, Ms. Webber is involved with the National independent Living Association, Montgomery County Maryland Homeless Coalition, the House of Ruth Women’s Shelter, and the Orphan Foundation of America.
2004: Bonnie Widener Wood is a 1990 Emory & Henry graduate with a bachelor of arts degree in Mass Communications. Her impressive resume which includes work for the Richmond Times Dispatch, WTVR-6 in Richmond, and WJLA-7 in Washington, D.C. She is currently Promotions Producer for WJLA, and in 2003, she won two Emmy Awards for her creative work.
2003: Dr. Michael W. Lane graduated from Emory & Henry in 1995. He received his M.S. degree in Materials Science and Engineering from Stanford University in 1997 and his Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering in 1999. While in graduate school, he served as lab director for the Atomic Force Microscope and as a graduate research assistant studying interface fracture involving subcritical debond growth (failure), reliability and life prediction of multi-layer interconnect structures for applications in current and developing technologies in the microelectronics industry. Currently, Dr. Lane operates his own lab as a research staff member for IBM TJ Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, New York.
2002: Matt Hankins, E&H ’94, is a decorated former editor of the Clinch Valley News and the Richlands News Press. He served on the Richlands Downtown Revitalization Project Management Team and designed the group’s logo and coined their motto, “Back to Front,” a reference to the town’s main thoroughfare, Front Street. Currently, Mr. Hankins serves as the Public Information Officer for the City of Martinsville, Virginia. He is a certified Firefighter One volunteer and continues to serve as vice president and grant-writer for the Baptist Valley Volunteer Fire Department. Mr. Hankins is a graduate of the Republican Party of Virginia’s intensive campaign management academy, Campaign ACES.
2001: Doug Dalton, E&H ’94, has turned talent and good choices into an impressive career in a short amount of time. He worked for the George Mason International Institute and Global One before starting his own company, Inext, which was quickly purchased by Troy Systems. Mr. Dalton worked for Netscape Communications before becoming chief engineer and eventually vice president for Knowledge Universe. He left to join Gloss.com, which was recently purchased by Estee Lauder Companies. Mr. Dalton is now the chief technical officer for Estee Lauder Online, a Fortune 500 company.
2000: Rev. Stephen A. Rhodes, Class of 1983, currently serves as pastor of River Road United Methodist Church in Richmond, Va. In addition to his bachelor of arts degree from Emory & Henry, Mr. Rhodes holds a master of divinity degree from Candler School of Theology at Emory University where he studied as a Woodruff Scholar. He is the author of Where the Nations Meet: The Church in a Multicultural World.