Where are they now? Catching up with CCU graduates

For The Sun NewsSeptember 30, 2013 

Ongoing efforts to connect Coastal Carolina University with the community continue as plans for the complete renovation of Atheneum Hall are set to begin in 2014.

Jean Ann Brakefield, director of Alumni Relations at Coastal, explained that the new alumni center will be focused on bringing alumni – as well as the community – to campus. The goal of creating a universally friendly atmosphere for students, former students and residents to view CCU as “their university” includes featuring a conference center, Coastal memorabilia and much more.

Brakefield, a 1984 graduate of CCU, served as a board member of the Alumni Association and stayed involved at CCU after graduation. She began working at the university as the director of Alumni Relations in May 2007.

“It’s so great to be a part of such a growing and vibrant institution. I love my alma mater and am so proud of the great things that Coastal is doing every day,” she said.

The Coastal Carolina University Alumni Association was founded in 1976 as a unified effort to maintain contact with and plan activities and services for former students of what was then Coastal Carolina College, a branch campus of the University of South Carolina, according to Coastal’s website.

Brakefield added that one of the most important focuses of the association is keeping up with former students and planning events that encourage participation.

“We do our best to stay in touch with each and every one of our graduates!” she said.

The Sun News caught up with some of those graduates recently.

Lisa Sharpe

Lisa Sharpe, a 2005 graduate with a bachelor of science degree in biology, is a biotechnology professional who has worked at DSM NeoResins as a SHEQ manager manufacturing chemist and a manufacturing chemist at Quadra Spec.

A non-traditional student, Sharpe was elected to Coastal’s Student Government Association as treasurer and served from 2003-2005. Her duties included allocating funds to clubs and organizations.

She now lives in Rossville, Ind., with her daughter Hannah, a senior in high school. She has worked at Purdue University in Lafayette, Ind., and, after a serious illness forced Lisa to rethink life’s possibilities, she now serves as an advocate to others facing similar life-altering circumstances.

Allanah Dobson

Allanah Dobson graduated from CCU in 2006 with a bachelor of science degree in health promotion and from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in 2009 with a master’s in Public Health.

She has taught middle and high school and now lives in her hometown, Hampton. She is currently head athletic trainer for her former high school, Wade Hampton. In addition, she is the founder of Absolute Wisdom of Empowerment, which allows her to tutor and mentor young people for profit.

Leslie Moore

Pawleys Island resident Leslie Cavin Graves (now Leslie Moore) graduated magna cum laude from USC Coastal Carolina College in 1993 with a degree in English said she “loved every minute of her time at Coastal, even the semester she spent pregnant with her second child!”

Her first job after graduation was with Hospice of Georgetown County (now Tidelands Hospice) where she was the volunteer coordinator/development director. She then became executive director of Habitat for Humanity Georgetown County.

During her time with the nonprofit, Leslie lost her 40-year-old husband to a sudden heart attack, leaving her with a 10-year-old son and a 19-year-old daughter in college.

In 2004, after a serious illness nearly left her children orphans, Leslie decided to leave her position. After what she described as “a blissful year off” she took the job as editor for Strand Media Group. After eight years, Leslie said she still loves this job where they pay her to “read, write and flex her creative muscles.”

The company publishes Sasee, Charleston Gateway, Strand and several private publications, and manages the Pawleys Island Festival of Music & Art. In 2007, she remarried and continues to live in Pawleys Island. Her son is a senior at USC in Columbia and her daughter is married and just had her first child. When she isn’t busy with nonprofit work, writing grants or planning the new issue of Sasee, Leslie is enjoying life as a grandma.

Mark Singleton

Mark Singleton attended CCU (then Coastal Carolina College) from 1977-1981 as an enlisted Marine. He was promoted to sergeant in 1979 and graduated in 1981. He majored in political science with a minor in history. He has taught politics at Coastal Carolina University and currently serves as an adjunct professor at Horry-Georgetown Technical College, teaching politics and U.S. history.

He served as an officer of Marines for nearly 29 years before retiring at the rank of lieutenant colonel in 2004 and he was selected for commission through the United States Marine Corps Platoon Leaders Class PLC program (attending 10-week Officer Candidate School at Quantico, Va., in June 1980). He was the third graduate to be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. Counter-Terrorism /SWAT Advisor to the Horry County Police Department Chief Sniper Instructor

As an internationally recognized expert in counter-terrorism and anti-terrorism, seven years of experience in special operations, a DOD-certified sniper and sniper instructor, Mark has trained more than 2,500 law enforcement and other professional personnel in myriad academic environments.

Rob Shelton

Rob Shelton graduated from CCU in 1997 with a degree in political science and from the USC School of Law in 2000. He has been with the Bellamy Law Firm since 1998, first as an intern, now as a litigation attorney for private property owners.

He is active in the Coastal community, has taught political science as an adjunct and serves as a board member with several organizations, including the Athletic Foundation and the Board of Visitors.

He said he’s enjoyed “watching the community/city of Conway grow to embrace the Coastal Carolina community.”

Shelton and his wife Tabby (also a CCU alum) started the local nonprofit organization “Fostering Hope.” Fostering Hope is a program that provides clothing and school supplies to more than 100 children each month in Horry and surrounding counties.

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