Advisory Board

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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

Kalen McNabb, Chair
David Adams, Vice Chair
Emily Giarrocco, Secretary
Ron Alston
Stacey Alston
Chris Bailey '12, '15
Mary Conley '94
Elizabeth Crotty
Jerry Crotty

Carolyn Feinberg Draisin
Neil Draisin '65
Trey Eppes '05
Mindy Hong

Keith Kirkland
Anna Musselman '92

Mark Musselman '93
Isaiah Nelson '12
John Newell

Sam Stafford '68
Steve Swanson '89
Derrick Williams '99 

Biographies

Kalen McNabb, Chair

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.

David Adams, Vice Chair

David B. Adams is Distinguished University Professor of Surgery at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). He is a 1969 Cum Laude graduate of the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Connecticut and was named a Morehead Scholar at the University of North Carolina and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Chapel Hill in 1973. He obtained his medical degree at the Medical College of Virginia in 1977. After completing his internship and residency in surgery in 1982 at the U.S. Naval Hospital, Portsmouth, Virginia, he was named Chief of Surgery at the U.S. Naval Hospital, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In 1983 he returned to the continental United States to the U.S. Naval Hospital, Charleston, South Carolina where he was named Chief of Surgery prior to joining the faculty in the department of MUSC in 1986. He has authored over 150 publications in the surgical literature related to his research interests in gastrointestinal and pancreatic surgery. He has served as Medical Director, One West Trauma Center, Program Director of the General Surgery Residency training program, Chief of the Division of Gastrointestinal & Laparoscopic Surgery, Interim Chair of the Department of Surgery and Co-Director of the Digestive Disease Center. He was the Course Director of the Medical University Department of Surgery Annual Postgraduate Course in Surgery for two and a half decades. He has served as President of the Waring Library Society, South Carolina Surgical Society, South Carolina ACS, Southeastern Surgical Congress, and the Halsted Society. His has been named as the Best Clinical Instructor in General Surgery, U.S. Naval Hospital Charleston, MUSC Faculty member Alpha Omega Alpha, MUSC Faculty Excellence Award, the Paul H. O’Brien Resident Teaching Award three times, the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award, and the MUSC Health Sciences Foundation Outstanding Clinician Award. He has been awarded the U.S. Navy Letter of Commendation from the U.S. Naval Hospital Guantanamo Bay and Charleston, South Carolina.

Emily Giarrocco, Secretary

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 an adjunct professor in the Department of Biology at the College. She lives in Mount Pleasant with her husband and two kids. 

Ron Alston

Ronald E. Alston is the Atlanta Market President for Truist Financial Corp.  In this role, he leads the team of commercial bankers that provide banking services to privately held companies with annual revenues between $5-75 million located in Fulton and DeKalb Counties.  Previously, Ron was a senior vice president, Not-for-Profit & Government Banking at SunTrust Bank. In this role he managed the banking relationships of not-for-profit organizations in the educational, charitable, social service and cultural sectors as well as municipalities within the state of Georgia.  He advised clients on their credit, treasury, deposit, and investment needs to help them meet their financial goals.  Prior to that role, Ron was a Credit Risk Manager in SunTrust’s Corporate & Investment Banking Division with geographic responsibility over the Northeast and Southeast regions and industry responsibility over the Insurance industry.  Ron began his banking career with SunTrust in 1987 progressing from management trainee to various positions before assuming the Credit Risk Management role.

A native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Ron earned his B.B.A. in finance from Northeastern University and his M.B.A. also in finance from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. 

An active community volunteer, Mr. Alston serves on the boards of Drew Charter School (Board Chair), Agnes Scott College, the YMCA of Metro Atlanta, the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, Early Learning Property Management, Partners for Home and RSF Social Finance (Board Chair).  He is a 2008 graduate of Leadership DeKalb and a 2018 graduate of Leadership Atlanta.  He and his wife Stacey are the parents of three grown sons.

Stacey Alston

Stacey was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. She received her B.A. in Psychology from Harvard University, and her MBA in Marketing from Georgia State University. Stacey has more than 35 years of professional experience in managerial and administrative roles in the non-profit and education sectors. Her past non-profit work includes the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta, the Family Connection (a community initiative based in the Decatur public school system), and the American Red Cross. For the last twenty-one years, Stacey has served in the capacity of Enrollment Director at The Waldorf School of Atlanta. She is deeply committed to the Waldorf philosophy and enjoys sharing the benefits of Waldorf education with others. Stacey, and her husband, Ron, have 3 sons, all of whom graduated from the Waldorf School and went on to attend Academe of the Oaks, the local Waldorf High School. Ron and Stacey live in Atlanta and enjoy their frequent trips to Charleston to visit their youngest son, Brandon. He is a sophomore in the College of Charleston Honors College, majoring in Theatre with a concentration in Costuming.

Chris Bailey

Chris graduated summa cum laude from the College of Charleston Honors College in 2012 with a B.S. in International Business, a B.A. Spanish, and a minor in Mathematics. He also attended graduate school at College of Charleston, earning an M.S. in Environmental Studies, an M.P.A. (Master of Public Administration), and a graduate certificate in Urban Planning in 2015. Chris worked for the Honors College from 2012-2020, serving in various roles including the Director of Marketing and Admissions. In 2015, Chris founded Without Limits Charleston, an endurance sport coaching business with a goal of promoting health, wellness, and performance through quality coaching, mentorship, and teamwork. In January 2021, Chris joined the coaching staff of the College of Charleston cross country and track & field teams. Chris served on the CofC Alumni Board of Directors from 2017-2021.

Mary Conley

Mary graduated cum laude from the College of Charleston Honors College in 1994 with a degree in Marine Biology and a minor in Geology. She then completed a master’s degree in Marine Science, with an emphasis in benthic ecology, at the University of Texas. Mary has used her educational background in marine science to engage in coastal and marine management activities across the Atlantic coast and Gulf of Mexico. She has expertise in strategic planning, facilitation, training, and partner engagement. For the past 16 years, Mary has served as The Nature Conservancy’s Southeast Director of Marine Conservation. She currently leads the Ocean and Coast Network where she guides regional (Virginia to Texas) coastal and marine conservation initiatives focused around ocean protection, coastal resilience, and sustainable fisheries. Prior to joining the Conservancy, Mary worked in Maryland for the state’s Coastal Zone Management Program and the Chesapeake Bay Program.

Elizabeth Crotty 

Elizabeth is a National Board-Certified Elementary School teacher with more than 30 years’ experience in various grade levels at multiple schools in three states. She is currently an English as a Second Language specialist serving three schools in Summerville’s Dorchester District II. Through her career, she has been recognized as a Teacher of the Year, a District Honor Teacher, served on countless school and district-wide committees and task forces, presented at District and Regional conferences, supervised student teachers and mentored new professionals. She has an undergraduate degree 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 are parents of two Honors College graduates, daughter Kathleen ('17) a PhD candidate at UMass Amherst, and son Patrick ('20) who is in his last term as a Masters candidate at Duke University.

Jerry Crotty

Jerry Crotty works for the Scientific Research Corporation. Before joining the government-contracting world, he served more than 30 years in a variety of higher education administration roles on seven different campuses. Through that career, he was recognized for pioneering work in the development and use of values statements or creeds at colleges and universities, and as a founding member, board member, and newsletter editor for a national association of student conduct officers. 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 living in Summerville, he has published a book about its history, and served as a volunteer, officer, and board member several civic organizations and institutions. Jerry, and his wife Elizabeth are parents of two Honors College graduates. Their daughter Kathleen ('17) is a PhD candidate at UMass Amherst, and Patrick ('20) is finishing his Masters at Duke University.

Carolyn Feinberg Draisin

Retired teacher Carolyn Feinberg Draisin taught elementary school children in three states over the course of her more than 20-year career as an education. Draisin was born and raised in Opelika, AL, where her parents, Sidney and Francis Feinberg, instilled in her and her siblings a great appreciation for education and respect for educators. After graduating from the University of Alabama with a Bachelor of Science degree in education, Draisin taught elementary school children in Atlanta, GA, for three years. She then moved to Pennsylvania, where she was a grade school teacher in the Cheltenham Township School District for three years. Relocating to Charleston, SC, she held a teaching position at Orange Grove Elementary Charter School. Her longstanding connection to the College of Charleston began by mentoring student teachers. Growing up in the South during segregation and bearing witness to the fight for civil rights, Draisin aimed at creating a level playing field in the classroom. She not only helped shape future educators, she sought to support her own thirst for professional development with continued education, taking graduate courses at the College of Charleston. Draisin and her husband, Neil, have three children, Alison, Leslie, and David.

Neil W. Draisin

Dr. Neil W. Draisin is an optometrist who is board certified in children’s vision and visual perception and development, as well as the treatment and management of eye disease. An authority in vision therapy and rehabilitation, Draisin has maintained a private practice in Charleston since 1972. He is a fellow and pas president of the College of Optometrists and of the South Carolina Optometric Association and past president of the Southeastern Council of Optometrists. He established the Head Start Vision Screening program in Charleston in 1976. He serves on the College of Charleston Foundation Board of Directors and was elected to the National Academy of Practice in 2011. He was named Alumnus of the Year for the Pennsylvania College of Optometry in 2001, was awarded the American Optometric Association’s Optometric Recognition Award for Excelling continuing education from 1990 to 2016. Draisin was recognized by the College of Charleston as the 2011 Alumnus of the Year.

Draisin graduated in 1965 from the College of Charleston with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and is a graduate of the Pennsylvania College of Optometry. He completed his residency in pediatric optometry and vision therapy at State University of New York.

Trey Eppes 

Trey is a 2004 graduate of the Honors College with a degree in Political Science and a minor in Communication. He also received his MBA with concentrations in Finance and Strategy from the Duke University Fuqua School of Business. Trey is an Executive Director at J.P. Morgan Private Bank’s Financial Sponsors Group in Boston where he leads our private equity coverage across New England. 

Prior to joining the Boston office in 2015, Trey spent five years as a Banker on the Private Bank’s Financial Sponsors Group in New York, where he provided investment, banking, wealth planning, and credit solutions to private equity firms, their principals, portfolio company executives, and senior leadership. The Financial Sponsors Group currently works with over 900 private equity principals and 100 firms, overseeing approximately $70 billion in client positions. Before joining JP Morgan, he worked on Capitol Hill covering economic, tax, and judiciary policy with the U.S. Senate Republican Policy Committee under Senator Jon Kyl and as a consultant in Charleston, South Carolina leading fundraising campaigns for non-profit institutions across the Southeast. 

In addition to serving on the Honors College Advisory Board, Trey serves on Fuqua’s Alumni Council and was a founding member of the Fuqua Finance Practitioners Group. He also serves on the Board of Overseers of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay. Trey lives in Boston’s Back Bay with his wife Caitlin (Also Fuqua ’11) and two children.

Mindy Hong

Mindy Hong received her Bachelor of Arts from Barnard College, Columbia University, a Master of Arts from New York University in English Literature, and a Masters of Education from Harvard University. Mindy Hong‘ Doctorate in Education from the University of Pennsylvania explores how cognitive measures of attention, working memory, and emotional well being correlate to academic achievement.  She is currently teaching a colloquia at the Honors College based on her doctoral research.  Mindy Hong is an educator with 30 years of experience in independent and public schools. Mindy Hong was the Head of School for a PreK through 12th grade International Day and Boarding school in England.  She has led departments and divisions in several independent schools in key areas of professional development, faculty recruitment, curricula design and pedagogy, marketing, admissions, advancement, finance, and strategic growth.  Most recently, Mindy Hong’s work has focused on institutional transition and transformation, especially in areas of arts education and strategic planning for diversity, equity, and inclusion. In addition to the Advisory Board at the Honors college, she also serves on the Gibbes Museum Board of Trustees and the Waring Historical Library Board of Charleston, South Carolina.

Keith Kirkland

Keith is a Dentist who has been in private practice for thirty-five years in the Charleston area.  He is a member and past president of the Harleston Village Neighborhood Association, Charleston Consortium of Peninsula Neighborhoods, City of Charleston Recreation Commission, and other various committees of the City of Charleston.

A native of Columbia, SC, Keith earned his ABS degree in Pre-Professional Health from Clemson University and his DMD from the Medical University of South Carolina. He and his wife, Guerry, are the parents of three children. Both his son Bailey ’17 and daughter Mary Geer ’20 are graduates of the College of Charleston Honors College. Both were also part of the William Aiken Fellows Society (now the Charleston Fellows Program) and International Scholars Program. Their oldest daughter, Patricia, is a graduate of Washington and Lee University.

Anna Musselman

Anna Musselman is the teacher-librarian at Fort Dorchester High School in North Charleston.  She graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Arts in Advertising and Public Communication, but after spending five years in that field, she returned to school, ready for a change.  In 1993, she earned a Master of Arts in Teaching from the College of Charleston.  For the next 25 years, she completely loved being a middle school science teacher, embracing the joy, moodiness, humor, sarcasm, and wonder of seventh graders.  Needing a change from classroom life, she started her second master’s degree at The University of South Carolina.  She will earn her Master of Library and Information Science degree in December of 2021.  She is pleased to note that 100% of her immediate family has degrees from the College.  Her husband, Mark, also has his Master of Arts in Teaching.  Her daughter, Olivia (CofC Honors, ’18, summa cum laude), has a degree in Biology, and her daughter, C. Genevieve (CofC Honors, ’20, cum laude), has a degree in Exercise Science.

Mark Musselman

Mark works as the sanctuary manager for the National Audubon Society’s 18,000-acre Francis Beidler Forest near Harleyville, SC. He grew up in an Air Force family traveling the globe and attending fifteen schools before arriving at the University of South Carolina with a NROTC scholarship. Graduating in 1985 with a degree in History and a commission in the US Marine Corps, he spent four years on active duty and two years in the reserves, including guarding the western front in Oahu, Hawaii during the First Gulf War. He received a Masters of Arts in Teaching (CofC ’93), taught middle school science for several years, was a stay-home dad for eight years, became the educator at Francis Beidler Forest, and subsequently the sanctuary manager. Mark and his wife Anna (CofC ’92) have two daughters, Olivia (CofC Honors ’18) and Genevieve (CofC Honors ’20).

Isaiah Nelson

Originally from Northern Virginia, Isaiah Nelson graduated summa cum laude from the College of Charleston in 2012. Isaiah was a recipient of the Bishop Robert Smith Award, highest honor an undergraduate can achieve at the College of Charleston and was active on campus in various organizations, most notably serving as Student Body President his junior year.  A White House intern during the summer of 2011, Isaiah followed his passion for politics by working various political campaigns after graduating, including President Obama's re-election in 2012, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards election in 2015, and various other races in South Carolina and throughout the South.  He is now a Principal at McKenna Media, a Baltimore based media firm that specializes in making TV and digital ads for candidates and like-minded organizations all over the country.  He currently resides in Washington, D.C. with his girlfriend and their dog, but is back in South Carolina and Charleston as often as possible!

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.

Sam Stafford

Sam is a member of the Alumni Association Board, Foundation Board, and School of the Arts Advisory Council, a former member of the Board of Trustees, and a 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 ALUMNI 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 currently the Inside Director for SnapCap, a web-based small business loan provider.

Derrick Williams

Former Commissioner Derrick L. Williams is one of the youngest-ever to be appointed to the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission.  He was appointed in March 2007, and he served until January 31, 2013, when he decided to return to private practice.  He is responsible for spear-heading the effort to make mediation of workers’ compensation available for complex injury by accident cases in South Carolina.

He began his legal career at a mid-size insurance defense firm, where his litigation background included defending workers’ compensation claims for insurance companies, and insurance defense litigation. 

Prior to joining the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission, he was an associate at a national law firm based in South Carolina.  He practiced in the areas of business litigation, franchise and distribution litigation, and labor and employment.

Derrick 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 earned a Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 2002, where he was a member of the South Carolina Environmental Law Journal.  He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English in the Honors Program at the College of Charleston in 1999. He ran Cross Country and Track for the College of Charleston, and he was the team captain of both his senior season.

Born in Florence, South Carolina he and his family moved later to Columbia, South Carolina, where he graduated from Dreher High School.  He is the Past President of the Riverbanks Zoo Society Board.  He is the first black President of the College of Charleston Alumni Association (currently serving) and also serves on the College of Charleston Honors College Advisory Board and the College of Charleston English Department Alumni Advisory 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. He is a member of the John Belton O’Neall American Inn of Court.  Derrick also serves on the South Carolina Board of Law Examiners. He also serves on the Executive Committee for the Richland County Bar Association.