ODU Alumni Association Announces Its 40 Under 40 2022 Class

Old Dominion University Monarchs are some of the most impactful leaders in their communities and across the globe. They are trailblazers in their respective careers and serve their communities with passion and innovation ultimately solving issues that affect our world today. They have forged exceptional achievements and will leave an indelible mark before the age of 40. For those reasons, the Old Dominion University Alumni Association created the 40 Under 40 Alumni Recognition Program in 2020 to help highlight this group of Monarchs.

Today, the ODU Alumni Association is pleased to announce its 40 Under 40 Alumni Recognition Program Class of 2022. These individuals represent the very best in achievement and service across a diverse array of fields.

  • Elena Agaragimova ’10, ’11 MS
    Co-Founder, Bessern
    College of Arts & Letters/Darden College of Education & Professional Studies
  • Patrick Austin ’09
    Attorney/Advisor, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Information Policy
    College of Arts & Letters
  • Danielle Brown ’08, ’09 MS
    Professor of Fashion Design, Bowie State University & Founder/CEO, Silk Iron, LLC Fashion Agency
    Darden College of Education & Professional Studies
  • Mitch Brown ’15
    Sports Director, WDKY Fox 56 
    College of Arts & Letters
  • Brett Carey ’07, ’10 DPT
    CEO and Co-Founder, Kalo Physical Therapy Multispecialty Group
    College of Sciences/College of Health Sciences
  • Keith Darrow ’05
    Civil Engineer IV (Project Manager), City of Norfolk Department of Transit
    Batten College of Engineering & Technology
  • Dena Dempster ’08, ’19 MPA
    Operations Manager, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center
    College of Health Sciences/Strome College of Business
  • Lauren DeVera ’10
    Mental Health Artist
    College of Arts & Letters
  • Matt Fanghella ’21
    Civil Engineer and Project Manager, Hampton Roads Municipality
    Batten College of Engineering & Technology
  • Candice Gerstner ’11 PhD
    Applied Research Mathematician, National Security Agency
    College of Sciences
  • Christel Ghattas ’11
    Director of Corporate Communication and Digital, Showtime Networks
    College of Arts & Letters
  • Jennifer Goff ’09, ’10 MSEd, ’16 PhD
    Executive Director, REACH, Inc. (Reading Enriches All Children)
    Darden College of Education & Professional Studies
  • James Ryan Grizzle ’04, ’06 MA
    Foreign Service Officer, U.S. Department of State
    College of Arts & Letters
  • Joshua Howell ’08 MA, ’20 PhD
    Assistant Professor of English, College of the Albemarle/Adjunct Faculty of Higher Education, Brenau University/Adjunct Faculty of Higher Education, Old Dominion University
    College of Arts & Letters
  • Eric Ingram ’13
    CEO and Co-Founder, SCOUT, Inc.
    College of Sciences
  • Michael Kalkbrenner ’17 PhD
    Associate Professor of Counseling and Education Psychology, NM State University
    Darden College of Education & Professional Studies
  • Hamdi Kavak ’15 ME, ’19 PhD
    Assistant Professor for Center for Social Complexity, George Mason University
    Batten College of Engineering & Technology
  • Ryan Kletz ’05
    Vice President, Classic Air Care, LLC
    College of Arts & Letters
  • Cole Kupec ’13 PhD
    President, CE Solutions, Inc.
    Darden College of Education & Professional Studies
  • Vann Lassiter ’12 PhD
    Chief of Staff, Pacific South District, Department of Defense Education Activity
    Darden College of Education & Professional Studies
  • Aaron Littman ’12
    Owner/Operator, Sunrise Cycles
    Strome College of Business
  • Christopher Lynch ’11, ’12 MS, ’19 PhD
    Lead Project Scientist, VMASC – Old Dominion University
    Batten College of Engineering & Technology
  • Faisal Mahmud ’10, ’13 ME, ’18 PhD
    Director for Digital Learning and Co-Director for the Stearns Center for Teaching and Learning, George Mason University
    Batten College of Engineering & Technology
  • Joshua Marsh ’10 MS
    Instructional Designer, NC Agricultural and Technical State University
    College of Sciences
  • Ashray Mathur ’09 MS
    Senior Director, Software Engineering, Salesforce, Inc.
    College of Sciences
  • Trey Mayo ’06, ’08 MS
    Director of Graduate Programs – Department of Computer Science, Virginia Tech
    College of Arts & Letters/Darden College of Education & Professional Studies
  • Donald Motley ’10
    Personal Finance/Nutrition and Wellness Teacher, Kings Fork High School Darden
    College of Education
  • Kasey Nelson ’08
    Nuclear Medicine Technologist, Wake Radiology – UNC Rex Healthcare
    College of Health Sciences
  • Allison Nemcosky ’12
    Photo Imaging Operations Integration Manager, Walt Disney Company
    College of Arts & Letters
  • Corey Pleasants ’12, ’14 MPA
    Director of Medicaid Regulatory Affairs, Aetna/CVS Health
    College of Arts & Letters/Strome College of Business
  • Kaitlin Roberts ’14
    MPA Senior Regional Development Director, ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
    Strome College of Business
  • Adam Samson ’09
    Lieutenant Commander, U.S. Navy
    College of Arts & Letters
  • Ashley Smith ’10
    Anchor/Reporter, 13News Now (WVEC)
    College of Arts & Letters
  • Gianina Thompson ’11, ’12 MA
    Head of Communications, The SpringHill Company
    College of Arts & Letters
  • Sheree Tucker ’08
    Senior IT Consultant, IBM
    Strome College of Business
  • Desmond Tutu ’10
    Author and Center Director, Fairfax County Government
    Darden College of Education & Professional Studies
  • Allen Walker ’17, ’19 MS
    Systems Design and Security Engineer, The Boeing Company
    College of Arts & Letters
  • Charles Walls ’12, ’19 MPA
    Director of Player Personnel, Philadelphia Eagles
    Darden College of Education & Professional Studies/Strome College of Business
  • Tara Welborne ’09, ’11 MEM
    Associate Director of Quality Engineering, Becton Dickinson
    Batten College of Engineering & Technology
  • Harold Williams ’07, ’21 MEd
    Director of Annual Fund, Old Dominion University
    College of Arts & Letters/Darden College of Education & Professional Studies

 The above class will be honored Summer 2022. A full list of the winners with bio information can be found at odualumni.org/40under40.

Getting to Know…Elizabeth Manor Golf & Country Club

The annual Old Dominion University Alumni Association Golf Tournament is one of the association’s longest running Signature Events, raising money each spring for the ODUAA Scholarship Fund and alumni programming. Now in its 20th year, this year’s tournament will take place on May 20 at Elizabeth Manor Golf & Country Club in Portsmouth — a new venue for 2022.

Interested in finding out more about the new home of the ODUAA Golf Tournament? Here are a few facts about Elizabeth Manor Golf & Country Club:

  • It is the home of the Eastern Amateur. Hosted at Elizabeth Manor Golf and Country Club since 1957, the Eastern Amateur Golf Tournament is one of the oldest continuous amateur events held attracting premier amateurs from across the country and worldwide.
  • Elizabeth Manor is a private club. In addition to golf, offers several family-friendly, resort-like amenities such as tennis, swimming, culinary delights and memorable social events.
  • The club was originally founded in 1948. A small group of golf enthusiasts discussed starting a new country club and formed a charter on May 14, 1948. Three years later, the course was finished and Elizabeth Manor opened on August 15, 1951.
  • Elizabeth Manor is currently owned by ODU honorary alumnus Dwight Schaubach. After purchasing the club in 2019, Schaubach and his team have committed to restoring Elizabeth Manor’s history, modernizing the course and amenities while maintaining its original character. Course renovations were designed in consultation with World Golf Hall of Fame member and two-time Eastern Amateur Champion Ben Crenshaw.
  • The club’s address honors one of its founding members, Clarence “Ace” Parker. In addition to being a founding member of the club, Parker was the oldest living Pro Football Hall of Famer at the time of his death in 2013 at the age of 101.

For a chance to experience Elizabeth Manor for yourself, register now for the 20th Annual ODUAA Golf Tournament.

ODU Day at Nationals Park

After a two-year hiatus, ODU returns to the Washington Nationals’ College Day Series lineup! The Nationals will host Old Dominion University Day on Saturday, August 13, when they take on the San Diego Padres. 

You won’t want to miss this special event as ODU alumni, students, parents, faculty and fans take over Nats Park for a day. Tickets are on sale now, and the first 1,500 fans who purchase a ticket through this offer will receive a limited edition co-branded ODU/Nationals hat.

Full information regarding Old Dominion University Day and the hat pick-up will be emailed to all special ticket event buyers 24 hours prior to the game.

For more information or to purchase a group of 13 or more, please contact Adam Dantus at 202.640.7695 or email adam.dantus@nationals.com.

Nominations for ODUAA 40 Under 40 Alumni Recognition Program now open

40 Under 40 logo

The Old Dominion University Alumni Association (ODUAA) is excited to announce the second year of its annual 40 Under 40 Alumni Recognition Program. The program was developed in 2021 to spotlight exceptional alumni that represent the very best in achievement and service before the age of 40. To date, Old Dominion University has approximately 160,000 alumni.

Consideration for the award must meet the criteria of attendance at ODU with a minimum of 60 undergraduate level credit hours or 30 graduate level credit hours and be under the age of 40, as of April 15, 2022. Nominees must also have made an impact in business, research, entrepreneurship, leadership, community, educational, and/or philanthropic endeavors; examples of this are board service, elected office and/or national media coverage. Members of the Old Dominion Board of Visitors, the Old Dominion University Alumni Association Board of Directors and the Old Dominion University Office of Alumni Relations staff will not be eligible for award nomination.

Nominations for the 2022 class of 40 Under 40 Alumni Recognition Program will be accepted online only January 31, 2022, through February 28, 2022. Winners will be notified on April 15, 2022, while a public announcement will be made May 16, 2022. The selected honorees will be recognized at the annual ODUAA Alumni Honors Dinner taking place in fall 2022. The Old Dominion University Alumni Association is excited to celebrate another class of individuals that represent the very best in achievement and service.

Nominations for the 40 Under 40 Alumni Recognition Program can be made at www.odualumni.org/40under40nomination.

Wellness in the New Year

January 2022 marked the debut of the ODU Alumni Association’s Monarch Wellness Series, featuring virtual events designed to get your mind, body and spirit primed for a healthy new year.

In connection with the Monarch Wellness Series, we turned to alumna Lauren DeVera ’10 for valuable tips on how to be happy and healthy in the new year. DeVera is a wellness educator, certified life coach, choreographer and host of the Thrive and Thread podcast. She presented a vision board workshop earlier this month and will host a cardio dance class on January 26.

Woman writing in journal

Enjoy DeVera’s advice for starting out the new year right:

  • Develop a morning routine that sets the tone for the day and gets you excited. Don’t overcomplicate it by trying to do EVERYTHING – select a few rituals that bring you energy and get your mind right for what’s to come.
  • Listen to your body – for everything. When it’s telling you to rest, when it’s telling you to move and create, when it’s telling you to not do something – our body never lies.
  • Stop judging yourself. We average 12,000 – 60,000 thoughts a day, and, more often than not, they’re either worrying about the future or ruminating on the past. Come back to the present moment, take a breath and love on yourself with kind thoughts. Speak to yourself the way you would to a loved one during a hard time.
  • Audit your calendar, relationships and media consumption. Remove what doesn’t align with you and make room for the good, for your passions and for thriving relationships. This is perfect to do at the end of each month: reassessing and reflecting to ensure you’re setting yourself up for health and success.
  • Create better habits, not goals. Habits make up our life and if we get into a rhythm of doing things that are healthy and productive, we don’t have to worry so much about meeting a “mark.”

You got this!

Holiday Greetings from your ODU Alumni Association!

December regularly gives rise to a sense of nostalgia over the year that is quickly coming to a close. We hope that the end of 2021 has provided you with many reasons to ruminate and celebrate, as it has for your ODU Alumni Association! In transitioning from virtual back to in-person events, we were constantly reminded of the endless support we receive from you. We are so very thankful for YOU, our alumni, who make all of our success possible.

This has truly been an extraordinary year, and we have so much to celebrate. Please enjoy this holiday video featuring our high points of the past year to help you reminisce about all the Monarch fun that was had.

Some special reasons we are celebrating 2021:

  • To begin 2021, we hosted a succession of successful virtual experiences including the VIP Chefs’ Cooking Series (allowing for a donation of $2,500 to the Monarch Pantry), exclusive Earth Day-focused opportunities, our second Monarch Mad Dash Virtual 5k and BAC What’s Next panel.
  • We had the honor of welcoming ODU’s ninth President, Brian O. Hemphill, PhD, to ODU with a tour around the Commonwealth and hosting nearly 1,000 alumni and friends of the University.
  • From ODU Baseball’s Conference USA title, to the 2021 C-USA Champion ODU Women’s Soccer team, to Ricky Rahne’s immense first season with ODU Football (which led to a Bowl Game!), University Athletics shined ever so brightly in 2021.
  • It was a record-setting year for our three ODU Alumni Association Signature Events, which brought in over $75,000 to the ODU Alumni Association Scholarship Fund and alumni programming.
  • Finally, we decided to cap off our year by welcoming almost 2,000 new alumni into the Alumni Association and then continued the celebrations earlier this week with the tailgate to end all tailgates at the Myrtle Beach Bowl, boasting over 800 attendees!

Season’s greetings from your friends at ODU Alumni Association. We wish you and your family a happy holiday season and a roaring new year!

Tips for Managing Holiday Stress

Do the holidays have you stressed out? Check out these tips from Jason Parker, senior lecturer of psychology at Old Dominion University, for advice on banishing burnout, managing stress and finding the joy of the season.

Original article written by ODU Director of News & Information Amber Kennedy

The Monarchs are Bowl Bound!

Old Dominion football will play Tulsa in the Myrtle Beach Bowl on Monday, December 20. ODU and Tulsa will meet at Coastal Carolina’s Brooks Stadium at 2:30 p.m. in a game to be televised nationally on ESPN.

“We are thankful for the opportunity to play in the Myrtle Beach Bowl,” ODU head coach Ricky Rahne said. “This is the perfect spot for our fans to celebrate a fun season and gives our players a final chance to go 1-0!”

The Bowl Central Page includes ticket information, travel options, a listing of on-site bowl events and much more information for fans planning to attend the bowl game.

Fans can click here to purchase tickets and enter promo code “ODU21.” By doing so, fans are assured they will sit on the ODU side of the stadium and will receive Old Dominion Athletic Foundation priority points. Purchasing tickets with the ODU21 code also ensures the ODU athletic department receives a greater portion of bowl revenue and will enhance ODU’s chances of landing future bowl bids.

To read the full announcement regarding ODU’s bowl invitation, visit odusports.com.

Your Guide to Safe Online Shopping

It’s Cyber Monday, and that means an increase in online holiday retail sales. As you’re shopping for your loved ones from the comfort of your home, be sure to take steps to stay safe from cyber threats.

Among the threats to watch for:

  • Fake products
  • Claims of unauthorized credit card activity
  • Fake shipping details for products
  • Extracting personal and financial information through fake charities or websites

What can you do to protect yourself from these threats? Follow these tips from the Old Dominion University Information Technology Services (ODU ITS) Information Security Office:

  • Think before you click: Watch out for ads and emails encouraging you to click on links. Instead, go directly to the company’s website to verify the offer is legitimate.
  • Consider your payment options: Using a credit card provides users more financial protection than using a debit card. You can also use third-party payment services to purchase gifts and other goods.
  • Keep tabs on your bank and credit card statements: You should frequently check your accounts for any unrecognized activity. Most credit cards allow a cardholder to place alerts for activity on a card. Monitoring and good recordkeeping go together with protecting your personal information.
  • Use a secure Wi-Fi: Using public Wi-Fi to check your shopping list or compare some prices is convenient but is not cyber safe. Instead of public Wi-Fi, use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or your mobile phone as a hotspot.

Should you fall for a scam or trick, report it to local law enforcement.

Information for this post was taken from a university announcement from the ODU ITS information security office.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! During this season of gratitude, we would like to give thanks for you, our Monarch family! It is our hope that you're surrounded by heartfelt joy, well-being and love today -- and throughout the year. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. ODU Alumni Association