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Advisory Board

Advisory Board

Advisory Board Mission Statement

The purpose of the Board is to contribute professional expertise, community and alumni perspective, financial support, and to advise the Dean, the faculty and students to accomplish the stated mission and goals of the Honors College:  providing talented students with a place where they can flourish and grow, a real learning community of teachers and students.

Members

Valerie Howell, Chair
Chris Permenter, Vice Chair
Brad Banias
David Cohen
Garth Cook, Consultant
Elizabeth Crotty
Jerry Crotty
John Culhane
Dianne Culhane, Consultant
Sara DeWolf
Emily Giarrocco
Sarah Permenter Hays
Kalen McNabb

John Newell
Brooke Falk Permenter
Jack Siemsen
Sam Stafford
Steve Swanson
Derrick Williams

Biographies

Valerie Howell, Chair

Valerie began working at Automated Trading Desk as a proprietary trader in May 2000 as a rising junior at the College of Charleston. After graduating magna cum laude from the Honors Program in 2002, she continued working for ATD.  In 2004 she switched positions within the company to help build out the market making business and became a licensed principal for the new business unit, Automated Trading Desk Financial Services.  In 2005 she became Head Trader and Managing Principal of Automated Trading Desk Financial Services.  ATD was acquired by Citi in late 2007.  In 2008 Valerie relocated to London to help a team manage the build out of Citi’s electronic trading strategies in Europe, where she worked until early 2010.  Valerie returned to Charleston with the firm but left to spend time with her children.  Since leaving ATD/Citi, Valerie has worked as an editorial intern at Charleston Magazine as well as a freelance marketing/web writer for several local small businesses.

Chris Permenter, Vice Chair

Chris is a 2005 graduate of the College of Charleston Honors College with Degrees in Biochemistry and Political Science. Chris is currently Head of Operations for Tower Research Capital’s Lone Palm trading group based in Mount Pleasant, SC. Chris is responsible for maintaining relationships with the stock exchanges and other trading partners as well as managing projects for the group as they continue to expand their operations. In addition, Chris is responsible for keeping abreast of all market structure and regulatory changes that might impact their business. As a sophomore at the College of Charleston, Chris was hired by Automated Trading Desk Financial Services, a trading and technology firm in Mt Pleasant that specializes in fully automated algorithms that trade the U.S. stock markets. Chris was with the firm for 11 years until joining Tower Research in May of 2014. At ATD (now a subsidiary of Citi), Chris was most recently the President of the US Equities wholesale market maker and before that, he was Head of Operations for the same group.

Brad Banias

Brad graduated from the Honors College in December 2003.  He then graduated summa cum laude from the Charleston Law School in 2007 with a juris doctorate, and later graduated as a Stone Scholar from Columbia Law School in 2009 with a masters of law.  After clerking for the Honorable G. Ross Anderson and the Honorable Dennis W. Shedd of the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, respectively, Brad worked as a trial attorney for the Civil Division of the United States Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.  Today, Brad works with Barnwell, Whaley, Patterson & Helms, LLC, focusing his legal practice on immigration law, administrative law, and civil litigation.  Brad also teaches immigration law and administrative law as an adjunct at the Charleston School of Law.

David Cohen

David Cohen served as the dean of the School of Languages, Cultures, and World Affairs at the College of Charleston from 2006 to 2014.  Cohen is also a dean emeritus of the library, where he served as dean from 1982 to 2012 overseeing the Marlene and Nathan Addlestone Library, the Marine Resources Library, the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture, the John M. Rivers Communications Museum and the Lowcountry Graduate Center library. With a background in library science and research interests in 18th- and 19th-century France, Cohen has presented his work at annual meetings of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences and the American Library Association, and many of his articles have been published in academic journals such as Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Journal of Academic Leadership, Library High Tech, The Serials Librarian and Library Trends. Cohen has consulted for the Pennsylvania Commission for the Humanities, the Philadelphia Club, Randolph Macon Woman’s College, Johnson and Wales University, NetGen, Francis Marion University and more than 15 other universities. Cohen is past-president and current member of the South Carolina Library Association and has served on the advisory board of the Gale Corporation and as chairperson of the Southeastern Library Network’s board of directors, treasurer for the Jewish Historical Society of South Carolina, executive committee member for the Library Directors Forum and chair of the Council on Library and Information Resources’ College Library Committee. He is a longstanding member of the American Library Association and currently serves as a board member for the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston. At the College, Cohen has served on a long list of committees – including the curriculum committee as well as the Academic Affairs Organization Study Committee and the Ad Hoc Committee on Academic Computing Needs, both of which he chaired. In 2008, he led the effort to gain approval for a new Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies. In 2011, Cohen worked with Honors College Dean John Newell to launch the International Scholars Program, which is designed for students who are committed to finding solutions to critical global issues and who want to be comfortable moving between different cultures and languages.

Garth Cook, Consultant

Garth Cook has been the Boeing South Carolina (BSC) Education Relations leader since August, 2010. In this role, he oversees the site’s Integrated Education Strategy, ensuring alignment between our Site, K-12 and Higher Education partners throughout South Carolina. Garth joined the Boeing South Carolina team in August 2008 as Director of Quality, mid body assembly & integration for Boeing South Carolina. Prior to moving to South Carolina, Garth served as a Senior Manager of Manufacturing in Boeing Commercial Airplanes Operations in Auburn, Washington, from August 2004 to August 2008. Garth is Boeing’s Executive Focal Delegate to The College of Charleston, and serves on their School of Business Board of Governors, to include Chair of the Nominating & Governance Committee. He also serves as an adjunct professor, teaching Business courses at their North Campus, having previously taught at Seattle University prior to relocating to Boeing South Carolina. Garth holds a Bachelor of Science and Master’s degree in Business Administration from City University in Seattle, and a Doctorate of Educational Leadership from Seattle University, and served in the U.S. Marine Corps, before joining Boeing in 1988.

Elizabeth Crotty 

Elizabeth is a National Board Certified Elementary School teacher with almost 30 years’ experience in six different grade levels, eight schools and three states.

She currently teaches Third Grade at William Reeves Elementary School, her third school in Summerville’s Dorchester District II. She was Summerville Elementary School’s Teacher of the Year in 2007 and a District Honor Teacher in 2008. She has served on countless school and district committees and task forces, presented at District and Regional educational conferences, supervises student teachers and mentors new professionals.  She has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education from Clemson University and an M.Ed from the University of South Carolina. She is a native of Camden, South Carolina. Elizabeth and her husband Jerry have two children in the Honors College. Their daughter Kathleen (CofC Honors '17) is an International Scholar and William Aiken Fellow and Patrick (CofC Honors '20) is a freshman Beatty Business Scholar and William Aiken Fellow. 

Jerry Crotty 

Jerry Crotty works for the Scientific Research Corporation developing and editing training material for the US Navy.

Before joining the government contracting world in 2010, he served more than 30 years in a variety of higher education administration roles, including Director of Saint Leo University’s Savannah Campus, Assistant Dean of Students at the College of William and Mary, the University of South Carolina, and Florida State. He was the Director of New Student Orientation and the Student Conduct Officer at the University of Arkansas and worked in housing administration roles at the University of North Carolina Charlotte and Central Methodist College in Fayette, Missouri.

Through his college administration career, he was recognized for pioneering work the development and use of values statements or creeds at colleges and universities and as a founding member, board member and newsletter editor for the national student judicial affairs association. He was a consultant, invited speaker, frequent conference presenter, officer and board member of several national, regional and state professional associations.

He is a Florida native with an undergraduate degree from the University of South Florida and an M.Ed from Missouri University.  Since moving to Summerville with his wife and two children in 2002, he’s published a book about Summerville history, served on the downtown preservation and promotion group’s board and the local museum board. Jerry and his wife Elizabeth have two children in the Honors College. Their daughter Kathleen (CofC Honors '17) is an International Scholar and William Aiken Fellow and Patrick (CofC Honors '20) is a freshman Beatty Business Scholar and William Aiken Fellow. 

John Culhane

Having graduated St. Peters College in 1968 and Fordham Law School in 1973 with Honors, John enjoyed a long career practicing law, both within law firms and within large publicly traded corporations.  He most enjoyed his time at The Coca-Cola Company where he progressed from being their senior global M&A legal counsel to working as General Counsel across North America and greater Europe. He ended his career at The Coca-Cola Company in 2008 by serving as Executive VP and General Counsel to the independent, publicly traded Coca-Cola Enterprises, which was Coke's largest bottler at the time. John has also taught throughout his career, beginning with 11th and 12th grade during law school, corporate law at Emory Law School while working at The Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta, and most recently in the Honors College at the College of Charleston.     

Dianne Culhane, Consultant

Dianne Culhane spent most of her career with The Coca-Cola Company as a corporate executive in marketing, communications, public affairs, strategic planning, organization development, culture change and capability building.   She is now in private practice with clients in Europe and the USA.  Dianne serves The College of Charleston as Executive-in-Residence to the President, on the Executive Committee of the School of Business Board of Governors, as Chairperson of the Communications Committee, and as a member of the Graduate School Advisory Board. She divides her time between Charleston, SC, Atlanta, GA, and Eton-Windsor, UK.  She graduated with degrees in Journalism and Political Science from Marquette University. 

Sara DeWolf

Sara is a 2002 graduate of the Honors College at the College of Charleston. She received her Juris Doctor in 2008 from Duke University School of Law. Sara has practiced in the areas of civil litigation and appellate law at both Pratt-Thomas Walker, PA and McCullough Khan, LLC. Prior to law school, she taught middle school and early childhood classes in Charleston and Chicago. Sara lives on Daniel Island with her husband, Ben, and young daughters, Bridgette and Amelia. 

Emily Giarrocco

Emily graduated cum laude from the Honors College in 2010 with a B.S. in Biology.  She continued her education at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in the Marine Biomedical and Environmental Sciences Program and graduated in 2013 with a M.S. in Biomedicine.  During her time at MUSC, she worked as a Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) Fellow, a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellow, and a Trainee of the Oceans & Human Health Initiative Graduate Training Grant (NOAA).  With a passion for education, she received the NSF Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship and pursued a Master of Arts in Teaching in Secondary Education Science.  She is currently teaching science at Wando High School.   

Sarah Permenter Hays

Sarah Permenter Hays graduated from the College of Charleston Honors College in 2003 with a degree in International Business and minor in Spanish. She was awarded a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship to study in Mexico at ITESM in Monterrey where she earned a dual MBA from both the Mexican institution and the Belk College of Business at UNC in Charlotte. She returned to Charleston in 2006 to serve as the Assistant Director of International Business at the SC World Trade Center and in 2007 left to assist a start-up e-commerce firm pursuing operations in Latin America. In 2009, she launched YuDu Concierge Services, a personalized concierge service for businesses and busy individuals. Sarah currently lives in Mount Pleasant with her husband Josh '03 and two children.

Kalen McNabb

Kalen graduated summa cum laude from the College of Charleston Honors College in 2010 with dual degrees in Historic Preservation & Community Planning and Geology. He received his Master of Science in Historic Preservation from the University of Pennsylvania in 2012. During his time at UPenn, Kalen researched the deterioration and consolidation of an argillaceous limestone column at Mission San José in San Antonio, Texas.  Since 2013, Kalen has been employed as an Architectural Conservator with Meadors, Inc. in Charleston, SC.  He specializes in the conservation of architectural stone and has worked on multiple nationally registered sites throughout the United States.  In 2016, Kalen became an adjunct professor at the American College of the Building Arts co-teaching courses on using the scientific method within the building environment. Kalen lives in downtown Charleston and is currently restoring an 1891 single house with his partner, Dr. Alex Tillotson

John Newell

John H. Newell Jr. taught history at the College of Charleston for more than 20 years and served as the first dean of the Honors College from 2005 to 2012. The medieval European scholar joined the College’s history department in 1978, and has taught courses that include Women and Love in the Middle Ages; Witches, Saints and Heretics in Medieval and Early Modern Europe; Plague, War and Schism; and In Search of King Arthur and the Holy Grail. Newell is a frequent speaker on medieval studies and on the function of honors classes at universities, and has spoken several times to both the Southeastern Medieval Association and the National Collegiate Honors Council. He has served the Southeastern Medieval Association in a variety of capacities – including president, vice president and member of the executive council – and is the past secretary and past-treasurer to the Southern Regional Faculty and Instructional Development Consortium. He served on the editorial board of Medieval Perspectives for many years, and on the executive boards of the College of Charleston Phi Kappa Phi chapter and the Lowcountry Phi Beta Kappa chapter. He joined Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi in 1968, when he was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow and graduated cum laude from the University of Georgia’s honors program. After that, he served in the Air Force until 1972. Newell a longtime member of the American Historical Association, the Medieval Academy of America, the National Collegiate Honors Council and the Southern Regional Honors Council. He speaks German and is able to read Latin, German, French and Italian. In 2011, Newell worked with LCWA Dean David Cohen to launch the International Scholars Program, which is designed for students who are committed to finding solutions to critical global issues and who want to be comfortable moving between different cultures and languages.

Brooke Falk Permenter

A graduate of the Honors College, Brooke received a B.A. in Art History from the College of Charleston in 2006.  She continued her education at Rutgers University where she is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Art History. Her dissertation research focuses on Jewish-Christian relations during the medieval and early modern periods. At Rutgers, Brooke taught art history and writing courses.  She currently teaches Special Topics courses and is a member of the Western Civilization Colloquium team at the Honors College.  Her educational experiences at the South Carolina Governor's School for Arts and Humanities and the College of Charleston are to be credited for her commitment to interdisciplinary liberal arts education at the K-12 and college levels.  Brooke and her husband, Chris (CofC Honors '05) reside in Mount Pleasant with their two young boys, Tyson and Max. 

Jack Siemsen

Jack Siemsen is the president and CEO of the Harry and Reba Huge Foundation. Prior to joining the Foundation, Dr. Siemsen served as the Dean of University College at Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln, Nebraska. He has been involved in higher education for over 40 years. In addition to serving in a variety of administrative positions in higher education, Dr. Siemsen has held a number of faculty appointments. Dr. Siemsen holds a B.A. and M.A. in English Literature from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and a Ph.D. in English and American Literature from Washington University in St. Louis. He has taught in the English Departments of Washington University, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and the College of Idaho, where he held the Eyck-Berringer Chair of the Humanities. Dr. Siemsen has lectured widely on a variety of literary topics, has published numerous scholarly articles, has produced two book-length studies, and has successfully authored several grants. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Project Bridge in Omaha, Nebraska and is a member of the Board of Directors for the Harry and Reba Huge Foundation. He is married to Vicki Gale and has four children and two grandchildren.  

Sam Stafford

Sam is a member of the Alumni Association Board, Foundation Board, and School of the Arts Advisory Council, former member of the Board of Trustees, Past President of the Alumni Association. Stafford received his M.D. from the Medical University of South Carolina, and is partner at Mt. Pleasant Dermatology. Served in the United States Navy as a physician for over 20 years. Awarded the 2014 Alumni Award of Honor from the College of Charleston Alumni Association. Established the Dr. Sam and Nancy Stafford Scholarship for an education major at the College. Sam was a 2017 Spring Commencement ceremony speaker. 

Steve Swanson 

Steve Swanson graduated from the College of Charleston Honors College in 1989.  Steve has been an active member of the College of Charleston Foundation Board since 2003 and served as Board Chair from 2008 – 2010.  He is also a member of the School of Business Board of Governors.  For his leadership as an alumnus, Steve was recognized as the Howard F. Rudd, Jr. Business Person of the Year by the Alumni Association in 2008 and received the first Honors College Distinguished Alumni Award in 2010. Steve’s experience at the College provided a solid foundation for his success after graduation.  He was a co-founder of Automated Trading Desk, a pioneering electronic trading firm based in South Carolina.  As President and CEO, he grew the business from pure proprietary trading to a fully automated market maker servicing the broker-dealer community.  After its acquisition by Citigroup in 2007, Steve became the global co-head of trading for equities.  Steve is current the Inside Director for SnapCap, a web-based small business loan provider.

Derrick Williams

Derrick Williams graduated from the College of Charleston Honors College in 1999, earning a B.A. in English. While at the College, Derrick ran Cross Country and Track and served as team captain during his senior year. Derrick then earned his J.D. from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 2002, where he was a member of the South Carolina Environmental Law Journal. He currently practices with the firm of Mickle & Bass, where he is a partner with the firm.  His practice is devoted to representing injured workers, and he is also a certified mediator.  Derrick was one of the youngest commissioners to be appointed to the South Carolina Workers' Compensation Commission. He was appointed in 2007 and served until 2013, when he returned to prviate practice. He is responsible for spearheading the effort to make mediation of workers’ compensation available for complex injury by accident cases in South Carolina. In addition to this board, Derrick serves on the Executive Committee for the Riverbanks Zoo Society Board and the College of Charleston Alumni Board.  He is also an active member in the American Bar Association, where he is involved in the T.I.P.S. Workers’ Compensation Section.