The UNC Bear Den

Over the years, Dick Monfort (BA-76) has pursued his passion for athletics in many different arenas: first as a fan, then as a competitor on UNC’s Hall-of-Famer ‘72/’73 Swimming & Diving Team, and now as owner and CEO of the Colorado Rockies. With pro baseball just starting to get into full swing, Mr. Monfort took some time to give us an exclusive look into the team’s approach to the 2014 season and explain how his time at UNC was instrumental in shaping his professional philosophy.

Are there any key takeaways from last season that have really helped shape your approach to this season?

After the season, you always take some time to reflect on what went well and what you need to improve on for next year. Then, when you’ve finished that assessment, it’s time to dive right in and take action, start making definitive steps toward the place you want to be.

It’s my belief that, at our core, we’re a strong offensive team. We’ve done a good job of showcasing that in our home games, but that talent hasn’t always shone through on the road. So we’ve spent a lot of time working on a new approach to get that consistency we’ve been looking for. Things like getting more ground balls, having more power arms in the bullpen, and pitching to contact have been major areas of focus for us.

What are you most excited about this season?

The development of our players. We have several extremely talented, young guys on our roster who are ready to step up to that next level and start playing to their true potential, so I’m really excited to see how that plays out on the field. Our third baseman, Nolan Arenado, and our catcher, Wilin Rosario are going to be players to watch. I also think our starting pitching this year is some of the best in our team’s history.  Some of our other young guys—Tyler Chatwood, Chad Bettis, and Juan Nicasio—are all showing a lot of promise in that respect.

What would you say are some of the qualities that really define the Rockies as an organization and set them apart?

I think we’re more fan-driven than any other team in the sport. We think of every one of those 3 million people that come through the gate as our very best customers and we try to make sure that we have everything in line so they can have the best experience possible—from the quality of our park to the character of our players.

That attitude of respect and support is reflected in our interactions within the organization as well: everybody calls each other by their first names, nobody is afraid to approach a colleague to work out a solution to a problem, and we just have a tremendous amount of trust in each other. The same goes for our approach to advancing the development of our players. It’s a long-term commitment. We don’t trade away our young guys just to get somebody that can help us out for a month. We try to keep them within our system where they can truly progress and grow.

Are there elements of your own experience as a student-athlete at UNC that inform the Rockies’ commitment to their players?

You know, I had a great experience at UNC and I think so much of what I did there, inside and outside the classroom, has had a lasting impact on who I am today.  I competed as a collegiate swimmer and played just about every intramural sport I could. Now those are different games and different levels of play, but I think having that opportunity to experience athletics from the standpoint of a competitor has been hugely beneficial.

Nobody likes to talk about it, but nervousness, and making mistakes are all a part of playing the game. I felt those butterflies first-hand when I was competing. Being able to understand what it’s like to compete under those conditions is a huge asset, because if you think of your players as robots who can just go out and make it happen every time without fail you’re never going to take the necessary steps to prepare them for those high-pressure situations. With coverage of games and commentary on individuals’ performances extending into more and more media platforms that anxiety isn’t going away. Baseball has increasingly become a game of confidence and the mentorship and leadership structures we’ve set in place are going to keep us out ahead of that.

Do you see that same ethic of support reflected in your relationship with UNC and your ongoing Bears fandom?

Like I said, I loved UNC as a student, as an athlete, as a fraternity president, and as a member of the community. I still love it today. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished by embracing who we are and leveraging those unique qualities into some of our biggest assets. That approach takes a lot of hard, coordinated effort and I’m always excited to see what we’ll be able to do next.

Thank you for taking the time to share these insights with us! For more information on Mr. Monfort and his ongoing work as chairman of UNC’s Board of Trustees, visit the board’s homepage here.

Has all this talk about UNC and the Rockies made you want to get together with your fellow Bears for a day at the ballpark? You’re in luck! Registration is now open for the UNC Alumni Association’s Second Annual Picnic at the Rockies on 6/8.

Get registered now  for a day of good food, fellowship, and family-friendly fun!  You can check out our photo gallery from last year’s event to get a sneak peek into the excitement that’s in store for you.

Looking for a meaningful way to make your mark on UNC athletics? Our 6th Annual Women’s Walk on 4/26 isn’t just a critical fundraiser supporting student-athletic scholarships, it’s a chance for you to personally interact with all the players, coaches, and staff who make our programs great.

Get signed up here, then head over to the UNCAA Facebook page to browse our official photo gallery from the 2013 event.

A dedication to service and community engagement has been at the core of our university’s identity from the day we were founded in 1889. Since UNC’s beginnings as a teacher’s college, we’ve created a culture that’s encouraged students to use what they’ve learned to engage and benefit the people around them.
Now, as the UNC community celebrates its 125th anniversary, we here at the Alumni Association are working hard to provide all our graduates with fun and fulfilling opportunities to carry on this proud legacy of service. Here are just a few of the upcoming and ongoing ways you can get involved: 
Join our Day of Service on 4/12 – spend an afternoon with your fellow bears, helping to beautify one of the neediest neighborhoods in Evans and assisting victims of the 2013 floods. All participants will receive UNC gear and free food, generously provided by Noodles and Company! You can register individually or as a group by clicking here. Want to help, but live too far away to take part? You can help us spread the word by tagging your friends on our official Facebook post and encouraging them to join the excitement. 
Complete our official volunteer interest form – no matter where you live or what your interests are, we want to help you find a satisfying volunteer opportunity that lets you share your special talents with the entire Bear community. Click here to get started.
Share your service stories, kick off #125YearsOf – our anniversary was just the beginning!  Each month from now until next April, we’ll be celebrating a different, longstanding point of pride for our university. We’re kicking off this month with #125YearsOf Service, so share your favorite memory of UNC service activities on our Facebook page. More of a visual person? You can share pictures of past or present service activities with us on Instagram using the hashtags #UNCBears125 and #DayOfService. The content you share can serve as an inspiration to others and it may even be expanded into a feature interview on the Bear Den blog!
ZoomInfo
A dedication to service and community engagement has been at the core of our university’s identity from the day we were founded in 1889. Since UNC’s beginnings as a teacher’s college, we’ve created a culture that’s encouraged students to use what they’ve learned to engage and benefit the people around them.
Now, as the UNC community celebrates its 125th anniversary, we here at the Alumni Association are working hard to provide all our graduates with fun and fulfilling opportunities to carry on this proud legacy of service. Here are just a few of the upcoming and ongoing ways you can get involved: 
Join our Day of Service on 4/12 – spend an afternoon with your fellow bears, helping to beautify one of the neediest neighborhoods in Evans and assisting victims of the 2013 floods. All participants will receive UNC gear and free food, generously provided by Noodles and Company! You can register individually or as a group by clicking here. Want to help, but live too far away to take part? You can help us spread the word by tagging your friends on our official Facebook post and encouraging them to join the excitement. 
Complete our official volunteer interest form – no matter where you live or what your interests are, we want to help you find a satisfying volunteer opportunity that lets you share your special talents with the entire Bear community. Click here to get started.
Share your service stories, kick off #125YearsOf – our anniversary was just the beginning!  Each month from now until next April, we’ll be celebrating a different, longstanding point of pride for our university. We’re kicking off this month with #125YearsOf Service, so share your favorite memory of UNC service activities on our Facebook page. More of a visual person? You can share pictures of past or present service activities with us on Instagram using the hashtags #UNCBears125 and #DayOfService. The content you share can serve as an inspiration to others and it may even be expanded into a feature interview on the Bear Den blog!
ZoomInfo

A dedication to service and community engagement has been at the core of our university’s identity from the day we were founded in 1889. Since UNC’s beginnings as a teacher’s college, we’ve created a culture that’s encouraged students to use what they’ve learned to engage and benefit the people around them.

Now, as the UNC community celebrates its 125th anniversary, we here at the Alumni Association are working hard to provide all our graduates with fun and fulfilling opportunities to carry on this proud legacy of service. Here are just a few of the upcoming and ongoing ways you can get involved: 

Join our Day of Service on 4/12 – spend an afternoon with your fellow bears, helping to beautify one of the neediest neighborhoods in Evans and assisting victims of the 2013 floods. All participants will receive UNC gear and free food, generously provided by Noodles and Company! You can register individually or as a group by clicking here. Want to help, but live too far away to take part? You can help us spread the word by tagging your friends on our official Facebook post and encouraging them to join the excitement.

Complete our official volunteer interest form – no matter where you live or what your interests are, we want to help you find a satisfying volunteer opportunity that lets you share your special talents with the entire Bear community. Click here to get started.

Share your service stories, kick off #125YearsOf – our anniversary was just the beginning!  Each month from now until next April, we’ll be celebrating a different, longstanding point of pride for our university. We’re kicking off this month with #125YearsOf Service, so share your favorite memory of UNC service activities on our Facebook page. More of a visual person? You can share pictures of past or present service activities with us on Instagram using the hashtags #UNCBears125 and #DayOfService. The content you share can serve as an inspiration to others and it may even be expanded into a feature interview on the Bear Den blog!

Last week, UNC alumna and world-class clarinetist Luci Disano (MM-13) got to fulfill one of her longtime dreams: suiting up in her very own President’s Own Marine Band uniform. Since its establishment in 1798, “The President’s Own" has been one of America’s premier ensembles, performing at every presidential inauguration since Thomas Jefferson and establishing the careers of musical legends like John Philip Sousa. Amidst preparations for her full-time engagement with the Marine Band, Luci took some time to talk with us about her graduate education at UNC and the experiences that prepared her for this next big step in her performance career.
What attracted you to UNC’s music program for your graduate studies?
I followed a somewhat unique path to UNC. Though I didn’t attend UNC at the time, School of Music Professor Lauren Jacobson was helping me prepare for my Navy Band audition at the end of my senior year. I learned so much for her! I didn’t know it then, but that would end up being the first audition where I advanced past the preliminary round. When she invited me to be her teaching assistant at UNC it was a no-brainer. I also thought that it would be a fantastic adventure to move to Colorado, and it certainly was.
I owe so much to Professor Jacobson’s guidance during my graduate studies. She really helped me find my voice and always encouraged me to be more musically outgoing. I tend to be very concerned with technical correctness in my playing and she helped me see how important the expressive, musical side is too. I’m also very grateful to Dr. Singleton and Dr. Mayne in the band department for their support while I was at UNC. They were constant champions of my efforts to get into the Marine Band.
How did you get ready for the big audition?
I’ve actually been auditioning for the Marine Band since I was an undergraduate, so you might say I’ve been working my way toward this opportunity for years now. The President’s Own Marine Band is one of the nation’s premiere ensembles and gives high-profile performances across the country. Readying myself for this round of auditions meant preparing my audition excerpts months in advance. I also owe a lot to my teacher, Tom Martin, and Charles Peltz, the wind ensemble director at NEC, for running through several mock auditions with me ahead of time.
What was the actual experience of auditioning like? 
Auditioning is always a very draining experience. You spend months preparing for a performance that’s usually over in less than five minutes. You only get one shot at it too, so you have to put your whole heart and soul into the audition if you want to have any chance of winning. One little lapse in concentration can send you home.
On top of all the usual stress, this particular audition took place in the middle of Winter Storm Dion. I had to drive down the day before from DC to Boston in heavy snow. That trip, which should have taken me about six hours, ended up lasting nearly twice that long. I have a whole set of things that I would normally do to prepare the night before an audition, but I was so exhausted that I just crashed in my hotel room and treated myself to some room service.
And how did you react when you heard you’d been accepted? 
I was in such shock at first I think I hardly reacted at all. As a musician you get very used to rejection, so it took a really long time—I’m talking days—for it to sink in. My mother’s reaction was priceless though. When I told her I had won, she just screamed for what must have been a solid minute-and-a-half before she could speak again.
What do you most look forward to about performing with the President’s Own Marine Band?
I look forward to learning from my colleagues every day and just generally being surrounded by such high-level musicians.This will be my first experience performing full-time with a professional ensemble, so I’m sure that I will grow a lot in the next few years.
Thus far in your career, what have been your favorite parts about performing across the country and abroad?
The wonderful thing about being a musician is that it’s given me the opportunity to travel all over the world, sharing my passion. I think you could write a whole article just about my favorite tour stories. But if I had to choose just one, it would be an experience I had while touring China with the UNC Wind Ensemble.
I had been exploring Beijing with a few other members of the band when we stumbled upon a tea shop run by a woman who called herself Miss Alice. She invited us in, prepared all kinds of different teas, and talked with us for hours and hours about China and Chinese culture. It was such an amazing experience that I kept bringing new people back to meet her over the next few days.
By the time of our concert she was practically a celebrity within our group, so the directors ended up getting her and her husband front-row tickets. I could see them both throughout the concert and they were wearing these huge smiles the entire time. Clearly moved, she came up to thank us after the performance. It was only then I found out that this was the first time in her entire life (she must have been in her late 40s or early 50s) that she had been inside a concert hall. To share that experience of the thing that I love with another person from the opposite end of the globe was simply amazing.
What advice would you offer to other students and alumni who share your passion and want to follow your professional path?
Work harder than anyone else. Read, listen, and absorb everything that you can from your colleagues and mentors. This is a very competitive profession, but I believe that anyone who truly wants it and is willing to log the necessary man hours is capable of achieving success. 
Thank you, Luci, for taking the time to share your insights with us!
Of course, after all this discussion of music, what you really want is to hear Luci play, right? You’ll find a lovely sampling of performance videos on her Youtube channel, including this virtuosic rendition of Nielsen’s Clarinet Concerto recorded in UNC’s very own Milne Auditorium. The President’s Own Marine Band also has an incredible collection of videos, including this collaboration with legendary film composer John Williams (E.T., Star Wars, Indiana Jones.)
Are there other highly accomplished UNC alumni you’d like to see profiled on the Bear Den? Tell us about them by commenting below or on the Alumni Association Facebook page. 
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Canon EOS 50D

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100

Aperture

f/5.6

Exposure

1/160th

Focal Length

77mm

Last week, UNC alumna and world-class clarinetist Luci Disano (MM-13) got to fulfill one of her longtime dreams: suiting up in her very own President’s Own Marine Band uniform. Since its establishment in 1798, “The President’s Own" has been one of America’s premier ensembles, performing at every presidential inauguration since Thomas Jefferson and establishing the careers of musical legends like John Philip Sousa. Amidst preparations for her full-time engagement with the Marine Band, Luci took some time to talk with us about her graduate education at UNC and the experiences that prepared her for this next big step in her performance career.

What attracted you to UNC’s music program for your graduate studies?

I followed a somewhat unique path to UNC. Though I didn’t attend UNC at the time, School of Music Professor Lauren Jacobson was helping me prepare for my Navy Band audition at the end of my senior year. I learned so much for her! I didn’t know it then, but that would end up being the first audition where I advanced past the preliminary round. When she invited me to be her teaching assistant at UNC it was a no-brainer. I also thought that it would be a fantastic adventure to move to Colorado, and it certainly was.

I owe so much to Professor Jacobson’s guidance during my graduate studies. She really helped me find my voice and always encouraged me to be more musically outgoing. I tend to be very concerned with technical correctness in my playing and she helped me see how important the expressive, musical side is too. I’m also very grateful to Dr. Singleton and Dr. Mayne in the band department for their support while I was at UNC. They were constant champions of my efforts to get into the Marine Band.

How did you get ready for the big audition?

I’ve actually been auditioning for the Marine Band since I was an undergraduate, so you might say I’ve been working my way toward this opportunity for years now. The President’s Own Marine Band is one of the nation’s premiere ensembles and gives high-profile performances across the country. Readying myself for this round of auditions meant preparing my audition excerpts months in advance. I also owe a lot to my teacher, Tom Martin, and Charles Peltz, the wind ensemble director at NEC, for running through several mock auditions with me ahead of time.

What was the actual experience of auditioning like? 

Auditioning is always a very draining experience. You spend months preparing for a performance that’s usually over in less than five minutes. You only get one shot at it too, so you have to put your whole heart and soul into the audition if you want to have any chance of winning. One little lapse in concentration can send you home.

On top of all the usual stress, this particular audition took place in the middle of Winter Storm Dion. I had to drive down the day before from DC to Boston in heavy snow. That trip, which should have taken me about six hours, ended up lasting nearly twice that long. I have a whole set of things that I would normally do to prepare the night before an audition, but I was so exhausted that I just crashed in my hotel room and treated myself to some room service.

And how did you react when you heard you’d been accepted? 

I was in such shock at first I think I hardly reacted at all. As a musician you get very used to rejection, so it took a really long time—I’m talking days—for it to sink in. My mother’s reaction was priceless though. When I told her I had won, she just screamed for what must have been a solid minute-and-a-half before she could speak again.

What do you most look forward to about performing with the President’s Own Marine Band?

I look forward to learning from my colleagues every day and just generally being surrounded by such high-level musicians.This will be my first experience performing full-time with a professional ensemble, so I’m sure that I will grow a lot in the next few years.

Thus far in your career, what have been your favorite parts about performing across the country and abroad?

The wonderful thing about being a musician is that it’s given me the opportunity to travel all over the world, sharing my passion. I think you could write a whole article just about my favorite tour stories. But if I had to choose just one, it would be an experience I had while touring China with the UNC Wind Ensemble.

I had been exploring Beijing with a few other members of the band when we stumbled upon a tea shop run by a woman who called herself Miss Alice. She invited us in, prepared all kinds of different teas, and talked with us for hours and hours about China and Chinese culture. It was such an amazing experience that I kept bringing new people back to meet her over the next few days.

By the time of our concert she was practically a celebrity within our group, so the directors ended up getting her and her husband front-row tickets. I could see them both throughout the concert and they were wearing these huge smiles the entire time. Clearly moved, she came up to thank us after the performance. It was only then I found out that this was the first time in her entire life (she must have been in her late 40s or early 50s) that she had been inside a concert hall. To share that experience of the thing that I love with another person from the opposite end of the globe was simply amazing.

What advice would you offer to other students and alumni who share your passion and want to follow your professional path?

Work harder than anyone else. Read, listen, and absorb everything that you can from your colleagues and mentors. This is a very competitive profession, but I believe that anyone who truly wants it and is willing to log the necessary man hours is capable of achieving success. 

Thank you, Luci, for taking the time to share your insights with us!

Of course, after all this discussion of music, what you really want is to hear Luci play, right? You’ll find a lovely sampling of performance videos on her Youtube channel, including this virtuosic rendition of Nielsen’s Clarinet Concerto recorded in UNC’s very own Milne Auditorium. The President’s Own Marine Band also has an incredible collection of videos, including this collaboration with legendary film composer John Williams (E.T., Star Wars, Indiana Jones.)

Are there other highly accomplished UNC alumni you’d like to see profiled on the Bear Den? Tell us about them by commenting below or on the Alumni Association Facebook page

Dr. Heather Beck (MA-96) describes her career trajectory from educator to Chief Academic Officer of Jefferson County Schools as “typical,” but her reputation as a forward-thinking, collaborative, results-driven administrator suggests that her passion for the field is anything but ordinary. While preparing to take another leap forward in her career as superintendent of Lake Oswego Schools in Oregon, Dr. Beck took some time to look back with us on all that she’s accomplished so far and the role her extended studies at UNC played in making her a well-rounded education professional.

How did you realize that you wanted to pursue a career in education?

I’ve been in education for almost 20 years because, like everyone who goes into this field, I want to make a difference. Prior to my work in education I had been a paralegal. One day I happened to strike up a conversation with a client who was struggling with some issues her children were having in school. There was something about talking through the issues of education with another parent that really sparked my interest. I decided to go back to school to get my teaching license, jumped right in, and never looked back.

Why did you decide to pursue your MA in Special Education at UNC?

As a teacher you strive to meet the needs of every single child in your classroom, but there were a few kids that I felt I just wasn’t able to reach as effectively. These were children with special affective needs. When they were upset or frustrated I found myself really struggling to communicate with them in a meaningful way. So when our school received a flier from UNC advertising their grad program in special education it struck me as a great opportunity to address these issues head-on.  Also, as a single mother and full-time teacher, being able to complete my degree close to home in the Denver area made a huge difference.

And how has your degree served you in your career as an educator and education administrator?

One portion of my studies at UNC dealt with the specific laws and policies that define special education in our public school system. This has been helpful because, as Chief Academic Officer, I’m responsible for a very broad domain. I essentially help to oversee every aspect of our students’ academic lives: from curriculum to teacher training to classroom technology. So, a detailed knowledge of special education has certainly served me well in a big picture sense.

Another major aspect of my Master’s degree consisted of strategies for ensuring that each student is able to engage with our lessons, regardless of their needs. On one level, these strategies give you the ability to address the particular needs of particular students—working with a child who has a reading disability is obviously going to involve different strategies than a child who has emotional outbursts. However, at their core these techniques are also just generally useful classroom management skills. As a teacher, I’d use them with all of my students and the uptick in engagement was truly remarkable.

What are the most challenging and rewarding parts of your job?

The main challenge of being a chief academic officer in a school district with 85,000 students is that there are 85,000 needs. Understanding how to allocate resources appropriately and maximize the return on your investment for the people you’re serving is the eternal challenge we’re up against.

Hearing success stories from parents and teachers, finding positive results in our data analyses—those are the moments we really get to feel successful at what we do. I say “we” because, as different as this job can be from day to day, working with my support team has truly been a constant source of joy for me. At a certain level in education administration it’s impossible to be an expert in every area you’re responsible for, so having an amazing team is both a practical necessity and a supremely satisfying perk of the position.

What excites you most about your new position as superintendent of Lake Oswego Schools?

Becoming a superintendent has been a dream of mine ever since I did my doctoral internship with Dr. Jane Hammond. When you’re a teacher your world is those 30 kids sitting in front of you. Working with Dr. Hammond, I saw education from a whole new vantage point as something that encompassed policy, establishing priorities, and helping to develop the entire community that’s touched by the work we do. 

I hope to continue this work, providing opportunities for involvement and building the capacity of community leaders in my new position at Lake Oswego. They believe in their system they’re eager to work toward the same goals of increasing student achievement that all educators dream of. Basically, a perfect opportunity came my way and I’m just excited that I’m the one they selected to lead it forward.

What skills do you feel people really need to succeed in your field?

You have to be people person. Obviously there’s a lot of knowledge that goes into being a great educator, but when you put all of that information away, stop talking strategies, and quit quoting research the bottom line is that this whole educational process is about giving everything you have to help others grow. You have to have a true, abiding interest in the wellbeing of your fellow citizens if you’re going to sustain an entire career in education.

This is an incredibly rewarding profession, but it’s demanding as well. Professionally, physically, emotionally: you’re going to have bad days. That’s why building a support network is so essential. Professional organizations, colleagues in your immediate area and even across systems—these are the people who are going to give you the support that you need to support others. Aspiring educators and new teachers who build these networks early on will be much happier and more effective in the long run.

Thank you, Dr. Beck, for sharing your insights with us!

Speaking of professional support, did you know that the Office of Career Services offers programming and other opportunities that are available to all alumni? Visit their homepage and follow them on Facebook for news on their latest events, including their upcoming Teacher Employment Days.

Have you ever considered following Dr. Beck’s route, pursuing extended studies as a means of enhancing your professional skills and opportunities? Not only does our university offer courses at three different UNC Centers throughout the state of Colorado, its online programs have been nationally recognized for their quality and affordability. General information on all of UNC’s graduate programs can also be found on the Graduate School homepage.

On April 9th at 10:10AM in Kepner Hall Rm. 1030, UNC alumnus Brandon Barnholt (BS-81) will deliver a presentation to students in the Monfort College of Business. President and CEO of KeHE Distributors, LLC—the second largest distributor in the natural products industry—Mr. Barnholt will be joined by Director of Talent Management Rusty Bland to discuss the intersections between job opportunity and corporate culture.

Since earning his degree in finance and economics from UNC, Barnholt has maintained close ties to the university through a combination of service and philanthropy. In addition to serving as director of the MCB Dean’s Leadership Council and vice chairman of the University of Northern Colorado Foundation, he spearheaded the establishment of the KeHE Distributors Scholarship and Garth Allen Distinguished Chair through corporate and private donations.

I grew up in Denver and I was able to graduate from UNC thanks in part to funding from state grant programs,” Barnholt says. “I feel a sense of duty to pay it back, pay it forward, and make it possible for others to have the same opportunity that I had.”

Barnholt enrolled at UNC as a recreation major, but quickly made the switch over to business after taking courses in MCB which sparked his passion for finance. His first full-time job following graduation stemmed from a marketing internship at Conoco he had secured with the help of a Northern Colorado alumnus in his senior year. Working his way up over the course of a career spanning more than three decades, Barnholt served 11 years at Conoco before taking on the key leadership roles at Clark Refining & Marketing and White Hen Pantry that led to his current position at KeHE.

A college degree establishes that initial foundation: gives you a new vocabulary, equips you with important skill sets,” says Barnholt. “Once you’re launched, your professional life continues to be a constant, everyday learning process.”

Barnholt’s presentation will provide an overview of job opportunities at KeHE with an eye toward illustrating the links between a company’s values and employee success. Corporate culture is a point of differentiation for KeHE, an employee-owned company guided by a set of core values which emphasize giving and serving others.

Corporate culture is something I stress to every business student because job opportunities often entail a significant life commitment,” says Barnholt. “To decide whether or not a position is right for you, it’s essential that you do your research, carefully examine a company’s overall mission, and get a sense of how they’re going to help you to grow as an employee.”

According to Barnholt, it’s UNC’s culture that has made him such a staunch supporter of our institution. The university’s commitment to student persistence and success evidenced through programs like CHE and Cumbres—combined with its established record of serving first generation students—resonate with his idea of “potential” as a long-term resource that deserves to be cultivated.

Throughout my career, I’ve never been given the number one company in its space or the number one set of assets. I’ve always had to find the promise, develop the opportunity, and then turn it into something that has a lot of value,” Barnholt says. “I think the same can be said of connecting with young people at UNC who have a lot of promise. They just need that big break, a chance to pursue their own development.”

Many thanks to Mr. Barnholt for taking the time to talk to us about his ongoing work with our university.

Have you considered making a gift to support UNC students, but you’re unsure where to begin? Visit our official giving homepage and you’ll find a helpful FAQ, a comprehensive list of our 850+ funds, and even a handy search engine that will give you all the information you need to secure a matching donation from your employer. You can also explore on- and off-campus service opportunities by filling out this Volunteer Interest Form on the alumni website.

Interested in attending future presentations at the Monfort College of Business? You can find a detailed calendar of upcoming speakers on the MCB homepage

For Monica O’Campo (BS-08), undergraduate life at UNC was a time of self-discovery. As a student she realized her passion for therapeutic recreation and became a deeply involved member of the campus community. Now, thanks to her work with the charitable outreach organization SHE Thailand, she’s living in the Thai province of Phuket and helping some of the region’s poorest residents get the education they need to discover their full potential. Ms. O’Campo recently took some time to talk with us about the joys and challenges of her work abroad.
What first attracted you to UNC for your undergraduate studies?
I was really excited about the wide range of student activities and organizations offered by UNC, especially Center for Human Enrichment (CHE) and the President’s Leadership Program (PLP). Those two programs were hugely influential in shaping who I am today. They didn’t just support me academically and financially, they fostered my individual development and genuinely helped make me into a better person.
How so?
Well, ideally college is a time for personal as well as intellectual growth. In addition to all of the knowledge I was gaining in the classroom, PLP and CHE gave me so many opportunities to learn and grow in the world at large. Whether I was doing team-building activities on rope courses with my fellow PLP members or serving as a student advisor for incoming freshmen in CHE, I was constantly engaged with my community. It was an honor to study, volunteer and live alongside those students for four years. I also owe so much to the leaders of those programs: John Bromley and Amy Smart from PLP (both of whom, sadly, have since passed away) and Julie Trujillo and Libby Davis of CHE.
Following graduation, how did you begin to apply the things you learned and experienced at UNC to professional life?
The focus of my Bachelor’s degree from UNC was Therapeutic Recreation. This has allowed me to take on jobs where I help individuals who are living with disabilities and other challenging circumstances to improve their independence and quality of life using goal-oriented recreational activities as therapy. Recreation Therapy can be applied to their lives in core areas such as Arts and Culture; Sports, Fitness and Aquatics; Social Enrichment; Community Integration/Leisure Education; and Outdoor Adventures.
I’ve been able to apply these skills in a wide variety of positions as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist for the city of Colorado Springs, and, after returning to school to receive a specialized endorsement to my degree, teaching Special Education in a low-income Colorado school district.Today I continue to use many of those same principals in my work with SHE Thailand.
Generally speaking, how would you describe the purpose of your work in Thailand?
Here in Phuket, each day is different, but I help lead a Thai Bible study in the mornings, work on projects for SHE during the day, and in the afternoons or evenings, go into the red light districts and build relationships with people working on the streets and in the bars. As a faith-based foundation, we believe that each person has great worth and we hope to help them find freedom and personal fulfillment. 
Although some individuals work in the red light district by choice, many others are trafficked—deceived, sold into it by a friend or family member, or enslaved by a previous debt. Whatever their reasons for working there, many of the women and men we encounter on the streets and in bars say they feel broken, lost, and confused due in no small part to all the physical and emotional abuse they’ve suffered. 
My main project for SHE over the next two years will be opening a drop-in resource center and coffee shop where these men and women can receive job training, English instruction, counseling, and all manner of resources to help them transition out of the commercial sex industry and into a profession that will allow them to realize their full value as a person. I’m also exploring how therapeutic recreation—cooking, dance, journaling, art and music therapy—can be used to help them through the long-term struggles of this process.
What makes you so passionate about this work?
Education is a central part of our outreach here and my experience in Thailand has shown me what an incredible gift that can be. Many young girls and boys in Thailand—especially from Isaan, the poorer northeastern region of the country—do not have the opportunity to receive a full education. Very often, these children start working at an early age to help bring in more money to support their family. Ultimately, the majority of them either remain in these same jobs for the rest of their lives or are sold off to traffickers for more income. 
About 90% of the women working in the bars we visit are from Isaan and a large number of them have essentially grown up in the sex industry. Many come to the big city looking for better opportunities, but a lack of education keeps them locked into the only work they’ve ever known. At SHE, we’re trying to equip them with the knowledge and skills they need to reach their full potential.
Are there particular skills or values that have served you well in your work with SHE?
Determination and passion are key. During my time at UNC, I juggled work, school, my personal life, and other extracurricular activities including PLP and CHE because I was determined to make the most of my college experience. At times it was tough, but I loved it, and I managed to get good grades while I was at it. Once you have a vision, you’ve to stick with it through thick and thin. 
There have been times where I have been discouraged for one reason or another, but I’ve continued to press on in order to realize my goals! Learning the Thai language, for example, has been a significant and ongoing challenge, but sticking with it has enriched my relationship with nearly everyone I encounter here.
What advice would you offer to other students and alumni who are considering following your professional path? 
I would tell students to get involved in the UNC community as much as they can, whether it’s through volunteering with organizations they care about or participation in academic clubs, sports, and faith organizations. These were essential experiences for me at UNC and they really helped me to discover my calling.
I would also highly encourage current students who have an interest in studying abroad to go for it! Fear held me back from studying abroad myself, so it wasn’t until my junior year at UNC that I discovered how much I absolutely love traveling! Ever since 2006, I have been traveling the world, and now I can’t seem to stop!
Thank you, Monica, for sharing your insights with us!
If you or another Bear you know is considering study abroad as an option, be sure to check out the official Facebook page. They’ve got information on scholarships and awesome galleries of UNC students all around the world.
For more information on the programs that were so meaningful to Monica’s UNC experience—CHE and PLP—visit their respective homepages here and here.
Did you study abroad at UNC? Are there other international alumni you’d like to see featured on the Bear Den? Tell us your thoughts and ideas in the comment section below or on the Alumni Association Facebook page. 
Top photo by Daniel Fava of He Loves Photo. All other images courtesy of Monica O’Campo and SHE Thailand.
ZoomInfo
For Monica O’Campo (BS-08), undergraduate life at UNC was a time of self-discovery. As a student she realized her passion for therapeutic recreation and became a deeply involved member of the campus community. Now, thanks to her work with the charitable outreach organization SHE Thailand, she’s living in the Thai province of Phuket and helping some of the region’s poorest residents get the education they need to discover their full potential. Ms. O’Campo recently took some time to talk with us about the joys and challenges of her work abroad.
What first attracted you to UNC for your undergraduate studies?
I was really excited about the wide range of student activities and organizations offered by UNC, especially Center for Human Enrichment (CHE) and the President’s Leadership Program (PLP). Those two programs were hugely influential in shaping who I am today. They didn’t just support me academically and financially, they fostered my individual development and genuinely helped make me into a better person.
How so?
Well, ideally college is a time for personal as well as intellectual growth. In addition to all of the knowledge I was gaining in the classroom, PLP and CHE gave me so many opportunities to learn and grow in the world at large. Whether I was doing team-building activities on rope courses with my fellow PLP members or serving as a student advisor for incoming freshmen in CHE, I was constantly engaged with my community. It was an honor to study, volunteer and live alongside those students for four years. I also owe so much to the leaders of those programs: John Bromley and Amy Smart from PLP (both of whom, sadly, have since passed away) and Julie Trujillo and Libby Davis of CHE.
Following graduation, how did you begin to apply the things you learned and experienced at UNC to professional life?
The focus of my Bachelor’s degree from UNC was Therapeutic Recreation. This has allowed me to take on jobs where I help individuals who are living with disabilities and other challenging circumstances to improve their independence and quality of life using goal-oriented recreational activities as therapy. Recreation Therapy can be applied to their lives in core areas such as Arts and Culture; Sports, Fitness and Aquatics; Social Enrichment; Community Integration/Leisure Education; and Outdoor Adventures.
I’ve been able to apply these skills in a wide variety of positions as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist for the city of Colorado Springs, and, after returning to school to receive a specialized endorsement to my degree, teaching Special Education in a low-income Colorado school district.Today I continue to use many of those same principals in my work with SHE Thailand.
Generally speaking, how would you describe the purpose of your work in Thailand?
Here in Phuket, each day is different, but I help lead a Thai Bible study in the mornings, work on projects for SHE during the day, and in the afternoons or evenings, go into the red light districts and build relationships with people working on the streets and in the bars. As a faith-based foundation, we believe that each person has great worth and we hope to help them find freedom and personal fulfillment. 
Although some individuals work in the red light district by choice, many others are trafficked—deceived, sold into it by a friend or family member, or enslaved by a previous debt. Whatever their reasons for working there, many of the women and men we encounter on the streets and in bars say they feel broken, lost, and confused due in no small part to all the physical and emotional abuse they’ve suffered. 
My main project for SHE over the next two years will be opening a drop-in resource center and coffee shop where these men and women can receive job training, English instruction, counseling, and all manner of resources to help them transition out of the commercial sex industry and into a profession that will allow them to realize their full value as a person. I’m also exploring how therapeutic recreation—cooking, dance, journaling, art and music therapy—can be used to help them through the long-term struggles of this process.
What makes you so passionate about this work?
Education is a central part of our outreach here and my experience in Thailand has shown me what an incredible gift that can be. Many young girls and boys in Thailand—especially from Isaan, the poorer northeastern region of the country—do not have the opportunity to receive a full education. Very often, these children start working at an early age to help bring in more money to support their family. Ultimately, the majority of them either remain in these same jobs for the rest of their lives or are sold off to traffickers for more income. 
About 90% of the women working in the bars we visit are from Isaan and a large number of them have essentially grown up in the sex industry. Many come to the big city looking for better opportunities, but a lack of education keeps them locked into the only work they’ve ever known. At SHE, we’re trying to equip them with the knowledge and skills they need to reach their full potential.
Are there particular skills or values that have served you well in your work with SHE?
Determination and passion are key. During my time at UNC, I juggled work, school, my personal life, and other extracurricular activities including PLP and CHE because I was determined to make the most of my college experience. At times it was tough, but I loved it, and I managed to get good grades while I was at it. Once you have a vision, you’ve to stick with it through thick and thin. 
There have been times where I have been discouraged for one reason or another, but I’ve continued to press on in order to realize my goals! Learning the Thai language, for example, has been a significant and ongoing challenge, but sticking with it has enriched my relationship with nearly everyone I encounter here.
What advice would you offer to other students and alumni who are considering following your professional path? 
I would tell students to get involved in the UNC community as much as they can, whether it’s through volunteering with organizations they care about or participation in academic clubs, sports, and faith organizations. These were essential experiences for me at UNC and they really helped me to discover my calling.
I would also highly encourage current students who have an interest in studying abroad to go for it! Fear held me back from studying abroad myself, so it wasn’t until my junior year at UNC that I discovered how much I absolutely love traveling! Ever since 2006, I have been traveling the world, and now I can’t seem to stop!
Thank you, Monica, for sharing your insights with us!
If you or another Bear you know is considering study abroad as an option, be sure to check out the official Facebook page. They’ve got information on scholarships and awesome galleries of UNC students all around the world.
For more information on the programs that were so meaningful to Monica’s UNC experience—CHE and PLP—visit their respective homepages here and here.
Did you study abroad at UNC? Are there other international alumni you’d like to see featured on the Bear Den? Tell us your thoughts and ideas in the comment section below or on the Alumni Association Facebook page. 
Top photo by Daniel Fava of He Loves Photo. All other images courtesy of Monica O’Campo and SHE Thailand.
ZoomInfo
For Monica O’Campo (BS-08), undergraduate life at UNC was a time of self-discovery. As a student she realized her passion for therapeutic recreation and became a deeply involved member of the campus community. Now, thanks to her work with the charitable outreach organization SHE Thailand, she’s living in the Thai province of Phuket and helping some of the region’s poorest residents get the education they need to discover their full potential. Ms. O’Campo recently took some time to talk with us about the joys and challenges of her work abroad.
What first attracted you to UNC for your undergraduate studies?
I was really excited about the wide range of student activities and organizations offered by UNC, especially Center for Human Enrichment (CHE) and the President’s Leadership Program (PLP). Those two programs were hugely influential in shaping who I am today. They didn’t just support me academically and financially, they fostered my individual development and genuinely helped make me into a better person.
How so?
Well, ideally college is a time for personal as well as intellectual growth. In addition to all of the knowledge I was gaining in the classroom, PLP and CHE gave me so many opportunities to learn and grow in the world at large. Whether I was doing team-building activities on rope courses with my fellow PLP members or serving as a student advisor for incoming freshmen in CHE, I was constantly engaged with my community. It was an honor to study, volunteer and live alongside those students for four years. I also owe so much to the leaders of those programs: John Bromley and Amy Smart from PLP (both of whom, sadly, have since passed away) and Julie Trujillo and Libby Davis of CHE.
Following graduation, how did you begin to apply the things you learned and experienced at UNC to professional life?
The focus of my Bachelor’s degree from UNC was Therapeutic Recreation. This has allowed me to take on jobs where I help individuals who are living with disabilities and other challenging circumstances to improve their independence and quality of life using goal-oriented recreational activities as therapy. Recreation Therapy can be applied to their lives in core areas such as Arts and Culture; Sports, Fitness and Aquatics; Social Enrichment; Community Integration/Leisure Education; and Outdoor Adventures.
I’ve been able to apply these skills in a wide variety of positions as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist for the city of Colorado Springs, and, after returning to school to receive a specialized endorsement to my degree, teaching Special Education in a low-income Colorado school district.Today I continue to use many of those same principals in my work with SHE Thailand.
Generally speaking, how would you describe the purpose of your work in Thailand?
Here in Phuket, each day is different, but I help lead a Thai Bible study in the mornings, work on projects for SHE during the day, and in the afternoons or evenings, go into the red light districts and build relationships with people working on the streets and in the bars. As a faith-based foundation, we believe that each person has great worth and we hope to help them find freedom and personal fulfillment. 
Although some individuals work in the red light district by choice, many others are trafficked—deceived, sold into it by a friend or family member, or enslaved by a previous debt. Whatever their reasons for working there, many of the women and men we encounter on the streets and in bars say they feel broken, lost, and confused due in no small part to all the physical and emotional abuse they’ve suffered. 
My main project for SHE over the next two years will be opening a drop-in resource center and coffee shop where these men and women can receive job training, English instruction, counseling, and all manner of resources to help them transition out of the commercial sex industry and into a profession that will allow them to realize their full value as a person. I’m also exploring how therapeutic recreation—cooking, dance, journaling, art and music therapy—can be used to help them through the long-term struggles of this process.
What makes you so passionate about this work?
Education is a central part of our outreach here and my experience in Thailand has shown me what an incredible gift that can be. Many young girls and boys in Thailand—especially from Isaan, the poorer northeastern region of the country—do not have the opportunity to receive a full education. Very often, these children start working at an early age to help bring in more money to support their family. Ultimately, the majority of them either remain in these same jobs for the rest of their lives or are sold off to traffickers for more income. 
About 90% of the women working in the bars we visit are from Isaan and a large number of them have essentially grown up in the sex industry. Many come to the big city looking for better opportunities, but a lack of education keeps them locked into the only work they’ve ever known. At SHE, we’re trying to equip them with the knowledge and skills they need to reach their full potential.
Are there particular skills or values that have served you well in your work with SHE?
Determination and passion are key. During my time at UNC, I juggled work, school, my personal life, and other extracurricular activities including PLP and CHE because I was determined to make the most of my college experience. At times it was tough, but I loved it, and I managed to get good grades while I was at it. Once you have a vision, you’ve to stick with it through thick and thin. 
There have been times where I have been discouraged for one reason or another, but I’ve continued to press on in order to realize my goals! Learning the Thai language, for example, has been a significant and ongoing challenge, but sticking with it has enriched my relationship with nearly everyone I encounter here.
What advice would you offer to other students and alumni who are considering following your professional path? 
I would tell students to get involved in the UNC community as much as they can, whether it’s through volunteering with organizations they care about or participation in academic clubs, sports, and faith organizations. These were essential experiences for me at UNC and they really helped me to discover my calling.
I would also highly encourage current students who have an interest in studying abroad to go for it! Fear held me back from studying abroad myself, so it wasn’t until my junior year at UNC that I discovered how much I absolutely love traveling! Ever since 2006, I have been traveling the world, and now I can’t seem to stop!
Thank you, Monica, for sharing your insights with us!
If you or another Bear you know is considering study abroad as an option, be sure to check out the official Facebook page. They’ve got information on scholarships and awesome galleries of UNC students all around the world.
For more information on the programs that were so meaningful to Monica’s UNC experience—CHE and PLP—visit their respective homepages here and here.
Did you study abroad at UNC? Are there other international alumni you’d like to see featured on the Bear Den? Tell us your thoughts and ideas in the comment section below or on the Alumni Association Facebook page. 
Top photo by Daniel Fava of He Loves Photo. All other images courtesy of Monica O’Campo and SHE Thailand.
ZoomInfo

For Monica O’Campo (BS-08), undergraduate life at UNC was a time of self-discovery. As a student she realized her passion for therapeutic recreation and became a deeply involved member of the campus community. Now, thanks to her work with the charitable outreach organization SHE Thailand, she’s living in the Thai province of Phuket and helping some of the region’s poorest residents get the education they need to discover their full potential. Ms. O’Campo recently took some time to talk with us about the joys and challenges of her work abroad.

What first attracted you to UNC for your undergraduate studies?

I was really excited about the wide range of student activities and organizations offered by UNC, especially Center for Human Enrichment (CHE) and the President’s Leadership Program (PLP). Those two programs were hugely influential in shaping who I am today. They didn’t just support me academically and financially, they fostered my individual development and genuinely helped make me into a better person.

How so?

Well, ideally college is a time for personal as well as intellectual growth. In addition to all of the knowledge I was gaining in the classroom, PLP and CHE gave me so many opportunities to learn and grow in the world at large. Whether I was doing team-building activities on rope courses with my fellow PLP members or serving as a student advisor for incoming freshmen in CHE, I was constantly engaged with my community. It was an honor to study, volunteer and live alongside those students for four years. I also owe so much to the leaders of those programs: John Bromley and Amy Smart from PLP (both of whom, sadly, have since passed away) and Julie Trujillo and Libby Davis of CHE.

Following graduation, how did you begin to apply the things you learned and experienced at UNC to professional life?

The focus of my Bachelor’s degree from UNC was Therapeutic Recreation. This has allowed me to take on jobs where I help individuals who are living with disabilities and other challenging circumstances to improve their independence and quality of life using goal-oriented recreational activities as therapy. Recreation Therapy can be applied to their lives in core areas such as Arts and Culture; Sports, Fitness and Aquatics; Social Enrichment; Community Integration/Leisure Education; and Outdoor Adventures.

I’ve been able to apply these skills in a wide variety of positions as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist for the city of Colorado Springs, and, after returning to school to receive a specialized endorsement to my degree, teaching Special Education in a low-income Colorado school district.Today I continue to use many of those same principals in my work with SHE Thailand.

Generally speaking, how would you describe the purpose of your work in Thailand?

Here in Phuket, each day is different, but I help lead a Thai Bible study in the mornings, work on projects for SHE during the day, and in the afternoons or evenings, go into the red light districts and build relationships with people working on the streets and in the bars. As a faith-based foundation, we believe that each person has great worth and we hope to help them find freedom and personal fulfillment. 

Although some individuals work in the red light district by choice, many others are trafficked—deceived, sold into it by a friend or family member, or enslaved by a previous debt. Whatever their reasons for working there, many of the women and men we encounter on the streets and in bars say they feel broken, lost, and confused due in no small part to all the physical and emotional abuse they’ve suffered. 

My main project for SHE over the next two years will be opening a drop-in resource center and coffee shop where these men and women can receive job training, English instruction, counseling, and all manner of resources to help them transition out of the commercial sex industry and into a profession that will allow them to realize their full value as a person. I’m also exploring how therapeutic recreation—cooking, dance, journaling, art and music therapy—can be used to help them through the long-term struggles of this process.

What makes you so passionate about this work?

Education is a central part of our outreach here and my experience in Thailand has shown me what an incredible gift that can be. Many young girls and boys in Thailand—especially from Isaan, the poorer northeastern region of the country—do not have the opportunity to receive a full education. Very often, these children start working at an early age to help bring in more money to support their family. Ultimately, the majority of them either remain in these same jobs for the rest of their lives or are sold off to traffickers for more income. 

About 90% of the women working in the bars we visit are from Isaan and a large number of them have essentially grown up in the sex industry. Many come to the big city looking for better opportunities, but a lack of education keeps them locked into the only work they’ve ever known. At SHE, we’re trying to equip them with the knowledge and skills they need to reach their full potential.

Are there particular skills or values that have served you well in your work with SHE?

Determination and passion are key. During my time at UNC, I juggled work, school, my personal life, and other extracurricular activities including PLP and CHE because I was determined to make the most of my college experience. At times it was tough, but I loved it, and I managed to get good grades while I was at it. Once you have a vision, you’ve to stick with it through thick and thin. 

There have been times where I have been discouraged for one reason or another, but I’ve continued to press on in order to realize my goals! Learning the Thai language, for example, has been a significant and ongoing challenge, but sticking with it has enriched my relationship with nearly everyone I encounter here.

What advice would you offer to other students and alumni who are considering following your professional path? 

I would tell students to get involved in the UNC community as much as they can, whether it’s through volunteering with organizations they care about or participation in academic clubs, sports, and faith organizations. These were essential experiences for me at UNC and they really helped me to discover my calling.

I would also highly encourage current students who have an interest in studying abroad to go for it! Fear held me back from studying abroad myself, so it wasn’t until my junior year at UNC that I discovered how much I absolutely love traveling! Ever since 2006, I have been traveling the world, and now I can’t seem to stop!

Thank you, Monica, for sharing your insights with us!

If you or another Bear you know is considering study abroad as an option, be sure to check out the official Facebook page. They’ve got information on scholarships and awesome galleries of UNC students all around the world.

For more information on the programs that were so meaningful to Monica’s UNC experience—CHE and PLP—visit their respective homepages here and here.

Did you study abroad at UNC? Are there other international alumni you’d like to see featured on the Bear Den? Tell us your thoughts and ideas in the comment section below or on the Alumni Association Facebook page

Top photo by Daniel Fava of He Loves Photo. All other images courtesy of Monica O’Campo and SHE Thailand.

Sue Vaughn’s (BA-72) love of languages has taken her to many exciting places: from Grenoble, France to the Dallas World Trade Center. Following graduation, Mrs. Vaughn began applying her linguistic expertise to translation work in the import-export business. Since 2007, Sue has taken her passion for service, outreach, and making connections across boundaries even further, volunteering as a clown at Dell Children’s Hospital in Austin, TX. Mrs. Vaughn recently took some time to talk with us about the impact of her study abroad experience at UNC, her work as a language professional, and how she was initiated into the world of “caring clowning.”

How did you come to pursue language studies at UNC?

In my junior year of high school I decided to try my hand at a French class, and I ended up absolutely loving it!  I could almost always count on an A in French, so naturally it became my favorite subject, and eventually my college major. 

German became my minor because of a very good friend, classmate, and Delta Zeta sorority sister of mine, Terry Pierce. She was majoring in German and convinced me to give it a try. The senior German professor at UNC, Mr. Frank Keppler, had a love for the language and a way of relating to students that made him a truly remarkable instructor. Herr Keppler knew how to make learning fun and he was always able to keep students on their toes with his rapid-fire questions. I think he was a major reason why so many students enjoyed and persevered with German at UNC. 

What were some of your favorite learning experiences?

One of my most exciting experiences as a UNC foreign language student happened during the winter of my Junior year: I studied abroad for three months in Grenoble, France with a group of fellow French students. It was a great opportunity to be totally immersed in the language and culture!  A native-speaking French woman taught us conversation and our professor from UNC taught us about France’s history, art, architecture, literature, and much more.  There were lots of educational outings, and our teacher’s favorite thing was to lead us through knee-deep snow up to the top of a mountain to the remains of an old fortress.  We would build a fire there, grill and eat our lunch, and learn all about the French Revolution. 

Of course, there were a few minor moments of culture shock. A funny thing happened one time as our group in Grenoble entered a public cafeteria. The people inside began pointing at us, pounding on the tables, and shouting, “Chapeau! Chapeau! Chapeau!”  That was their way of embarrassing us for coming inside with our hat—or chapeau—on! Suffice it to say that was a faux pas we never made again!

After graduation, how did you begin to make your transition into the professional world?

The time after graduation turned out to be a major crossroads in my life as I began to assess my job opportunities as someone with expertise in French and German.  My brother Jerry, a POW in Vietnam for seven years and one of my biggest heroes, suggested that I consider making a move down to Dallas, TX where he and his wife were living. There are many international companies based out of Dallas, so I decided to give it a shot. I headed down to Texas with snow tires on my car and a dog in the front seat, a sight that was met with more than a few puzzled expressions as I made my way south.

I felt a bit out of place at first, but the move turned out to be a great choice. Not only did I get a chance to deepen the relationship with my brother, but a new faith journey began for me through the church he and his wife attended, where I also met my husband Andy.

And what was it like to start using your knowledge of languages professionally?

Soon after I moved to Dallas, a job opened up at Behgooy Export/Import Corp., a family business that deals in hand-made oriental rugs.  One of the family members was German-speaking and needed a translator, so I went to work in the office doing accounting, dealing with customers in the showroom, and generally doing whatever else was needed. There were challenges as expected: translating phone calls, documents, and conversations with clients. Once I even got called in to translate at the scene of an auto accident. (Thankfully, there were no injuries.) Eventually, I found myself thinking in German as often as I would in English. I even started picking up some basic Farsi from listening to the Behgooys. And having a showroom in Dallas’s World Trade Center meant that I got to be immersed in international business every day.

What are some important things that students and alumni should know if they’re considering a career as a language professional?

If you’re interested in a career utilizing languages, but you’d like to do something other than teaching, it’s helpful to combine language studies with another specialized skill set, like international business.  Also, be aware that one of the biggest challenges of using a foreign language professionally is the amount of industry-specific terminology you have to familiarize yourself with. One of the first jobs I applied for was in the oil industry and I was asked to translate a document containing a massive amount of technical jargon. After devoting so much time and effort toward attaining fluency in a language, an experience like that can really throw you for a loop.

Flash forward to the present. You’ve moved to Austin, raised two sons, and taken on several different volunteer causes. How did you get involved in “caring clowning?” 

I had encountered several stories of caring clowns in various books and newsletters and I was struck by the diversity and creativity clowns were bringing to their work in hospitals across the country. My good friend, Bev Harstad (aka Apples the clown) happened to be volunteering at Dell Children’s hospital and she offered to take me under her wing. Studying under Apples, I began to develop a clown character named Sudsy who loves to give bubble showers, make butterflies appear, and give free eye exams. It’s immensely rewarding to see the kids’ faces light up and their parents appreciate the opportunity to see their children laughing and playing. Usually by the time we leave, everyone in the room is wearing a red sponge clown nose and a smile. 

What was the learning curve like?

On the first hospital visit Bev taught me one simple trick, “the magic coloring book.” It’s really easy to perform and always a big hit with the kids.  But I was pretty nervous, so on that first outing I mostly ended up just observing Bev and trying to learn what I could.  

Soon, though, I realized that you don’t need to have a whole routine planned out to engage with these children. Just having a clown around is enough to bring them joy. It also dawned on me that, when you’re working with a population with such a wide range of limitations and health restrictions, spontaneity and the ability to improvise are going to serve you better than a carefully prepared act. I’ve learned from watching Bev that the art of caring clowning lies in finding a way to let each child interact with you. For example, if a child has impaired vision, you find ways to use your other senses to connect with them: talk to them, let them feel your face, your clown hair and your shoes.

What advice can you offer to other Bears who are interested in applying their creativity to volunteer work?

You need to maintain an awareness of the population you’re serving. To be effective, we need to check our motives: remember it’s not about what we want out of the interaction, it’s about the needs of others. In clowning, we’re there to bring joy and remind these kids that they’re important, that others care about them and how they’re feeling.  However you approach volunteering, it’s essential to make that connection so we can continue learning, growing, and working together.

Thank you, Sue, for taking the time to share your insights with us!

If you’d like to read even more about the international adventures of UNC’s Modern Languages alumni, be sure to check out these exciting profile features on the department’s homepage.

Another of UNC’s longstanding Modern Language-based traditions, World Language Day, is coming up soon on 4/16. You can see videos and photo galleries from this event’s 40+ years of history on its official website.

If you’re looking for ways to serve the UNC community as a volunteer, the Alumni Association is happy to help. Just fill out this brief form so we can connect you with an opportunity that is best suited to your interests.

Honored Alumnus S. Kato Crews (BA-97) has never been one to rest idly on his credentials. Since receiving his undergraduate degree from UNC in Journalism and Public Relations, Mr. Crews had gone on to attain a J.D., found two law firms, and earn 5 consecutive “Rising Star” titles from Colorado Super Lawyers Magazine. In addition to all of his professional accomplishments, Mr. Crews is known throughout the state for his intense commitment to public service. He’s maintained a deep connection to UNC and his local community through a wide variety of mentorship programs, community service projects, and public outreach initiatives.  As someone who has successfully balanced professional and charitable work for well over a decade, we were curious to get Mr. Crews’ perspective on what it takes to be an effective and fulfilled volunteer.

What first attracted you to UNC?

I visited campus and was impressed by what I saw there: the community was the right size and it reminded me of home in a lot of ways. It just felt right. I also knew that I was planning to study journalism and I discovered that, coming to UNC, I would have the opportunity to work in an editorial capacity for a new newspaper that was being put out through the Marcus Garvey Cultural Center. The opportunity to dive right into a leadership role on a major project like that was very attractive to me.  

After you began your studies here, were there any people or organizations that helped jumpstart your involvement in the UNC community?

My undergraduate fraternity, Iota Phi Theta, exposed me to several facets of the campus that I otherwise may not have known.  Our guiding principle was, “Building a Tradition, Not Resting Upon One.” We were founded with the mission of creating an inclusive environment for students who would typically be identified as “non-traditional”: older students, first generation students, students with families. Our brothers were involved in many different areas of the university, including athletics, residence life, the University Program Counsel, and the UNC Police Department.

Being part of such an active and diverse group brought community involvement to the forefront of my mind. It was a natural thing for us to support one another in our various projects, organizations, and community endeavors.  Through that support, you’d get to experience a whole new aspect of the university.

Did that experience help shape you into the service- and community-oriented person you are today?

Yes.  I’ve always had an interest in giving back to my community, but my experience with Iota Phi Theta really served as the model for how I try to give back my community today.  It molded my understanding of the types of contributions I was capable of making and enhanced my notions of leadership.  One of the great things about UNC being such a tight-knit community is that we were often able to see the immediate impact of our volunteer work on campus and in the larger Greeley community.  It’s so fulfilling to witness those results and know you’ve made a difference.

How do you apply your experiences from UNC to your work in the legal field?

As an undergrad I studied journalism with a public-relations emphasis.  I was interested in how companies attempt to manage their public relations crises when they arise.  My studies in that realm have proven to be very useful in my work as an attorney.  For many clients, a lawsuit can be a major public relations crisis if not managed correctly. 

For example, in my work as an employment lawyer I represent employers and advise them on their pre-termination decisions in an effort to place them in the best possible position should they have to defend their conduct in court.  Any lawsuit has public relations ramifications because it’s an open process.  When I’m addressing a jury with an opening statement, or introducing evidence, or giving a closing argument, those are all opportunities to shape the jury’s (and the public’s) perception of your client and their credibility.

What do you consider to be the most rewarding aspects of your career?

I believe that we have an affirmative obligation as lawyers to be involved in our communities. I’ve found that one of the greatest rewards of having my J.D. degree is that it seems to give me a seat at the table of organizations that have the power to affect positive change. Non-profits and charitable organizations are often eager to have attorneys serve on their boards.  I sometimes think that if I had chosen a different field I may not have been presented with the many opportunities I’ve had to be involved with stellar community organizations like the CHOICE Education Foundation or the Colorado Beautillion-Cotillion, Inc.

It’s also extremely gratifying when I’m asked to speak at different events.  When doing so, it’s always my hope that some of the young people out there will come away with an expanded view of their opportunities for success.  I’m particularly passionate about engaging young African American students who may not have had the chance to know black business professionals in the communities where they grew up.  I think that giving our youth the opportunity to engage with black professionals in their home state and their own communities can allow them to see what they’re capable of accomplishing.

And how have you translated those values into your ongoing volunteer work at UNC?

I’ve been working with a wonderful group of fellow grads, the Alumni Association, and Ty’Ray Thompson of the Marcus Garvey Cultural Center to form an active African American alumni network.  Our primary focus so far has been supporting UNC in its efforts to recruit and retain African American students.  One of our first projects was to retool “Welcome Black Week,” an orientation program for African American students that takes place in the week before classes. Historically, this had been more of a social event, and we wanted to round it out with a focus on giving incoming freshman some practical skills and insight on how to succeed at UNC.  For example, we had arranged to have the students attend a sample lecture with Dr. Hermon George so they could familiarize themselves with the experience of sitting in a college classroom, listening to a professor lecture, and taking good notes. Facilitating those kinds of first-hand experiences is really essential to effective mentorship and retention.

What advice would you give to students and alumni who are interested in becoming more service- and community-oriented, but aren’t quite sure where to start?   

For younger people, like undergraduates, my advice is to start small. Don’t let your volunteering get in the way of your studies and your grades because that’s where the majority of your focus needs to be. So maybe that means looking for a position on the student council or some sort of student organization that you feel passionate about. By getting involved and going to the meetings you can start to build those connections that will lead to other opportunities either later in your college career or after you’ve achieved your degree.

For alumni who are already pursuing their own professional lives, it’s a matter of just taking that decisive first step to get involved in something that has meaning for you.  Because we can all be so busy with our careers and families, one mentor of mine recommended that you only get involved in an organization where you’d be ready to assume a primary leadership role.  That way you can avoid being a “joiner” and make more meaningful decisions about the scope of your community involvement.  But once you’ve made that decision to participate—as another mentor of mine says—“Suit up, show up, and do the next right thing!”  I think those are words to live by; once you commit to the endeavor, you have to show up and get the job done if you’re going to make any meaningful impact at all.

Thank you, Mr. Crews, for taking the time to share those wonderful insights with us!

If you’re looking for ways to get more involved with the UNC community, the Alumni Association is happy to help. Just fill out this brief form so we can connect you with an opportunity that is suited to your interests.

Curious to find out more about UNC’s African American alumni network? You can contact the Garvey Center’s staff for more details here. You can also stay up-to-date on the Center’s latest events—including their ongoing Black History Month programming—by following them on Facebook

86 years ago today, on January 25, 1928, Gunter Hall was officially welcomed into the UNC community.
Amidst all the beautiful buildings on UNC’s campus, old and new, there’s just something about Gunter Hall that makes it stand out. Former UNC President George Frasier referred to Gunter as “an architectural marvel” and at any given alumni gathering, you’re guaranteed to hear Bears swapping stories about the nail-biting games and life-changing performances they witnessed there. 
But how did this beloved building come to be? Creating a facility of Gunter’s size, and with such a distinctive style, was certainly no small undertaking. In fact, Gunter gets its name from the man who helped make the whole project possible: Colorado governor Julius C. Gunter. Basically, in 1917 Governor Gunter helped the university secure the state funding it needed to expand its campus and serve the needs of its growing student population. That funding proved to be essential nine years later when our university began construction on its first major sports facility, a roughly $270,000 undertaking. (That may not sound like much, but it’s roughly equivalent to 3.6 million in today’s dollars.)
Financial matters aside, anyone who’s been to Gunter can see that it has a grandeur that goes beyond the realm of pure practicality. Gunter was designed to have a high-impact appearance because, in a way, this “Hall of Health” was meant to be an unforgettable expression of the university’s new athletic ambitions. Pre-WWI, collegiate sports facilities weren’t always optimally designed for competitive play. Visiting basketball teams often complained that UNC had an unfair advantage because the rafters above the court were so low that their shots would get deflected before they could reach the net. With Gunter Hall, UNC was entering a new era in athletics and they needed a building that would showcase that fact: a professional facility with beautiful maple floors, one of the highest seating capacities in the state, and, most importantly, very, very high ceilings. The student body took great pride in their new digs and basketball game announcements in The Mirror often came with a reminder for fans to wipe their feet on the way in so as not to damage the hardwood. 
Today, Gunter serves a very different purpose, though certainly one its founders would respect. With other athletics facilities on campus having taken on many of its old roles, it was decided in the mid-90s that Gunter should become the new home of the College of Health and Human Sciences. Charged with preserving the facility’s iconic exterior, Construction Service manager Scott McLean described the remodeling project as “building a building within a building.” Those high ceilings came in handy yet again as Gunter was reconfigured into its current three-floor design. The end result? Prestigious programs like nursing and audiology which had once been spread out across 5 different buildings now had a centralized facility they could call home. Its athletic past hasn’t been abandoned though. Classic sports memoribilia is still displayed proudly in Gunter’s halls and the center court hardwood is in the same place it was when UNC played their first exhibition match against the University of Colorado in 1928. (Incidentally, UNC won that game 34-28)
86 years of history and more being made every day! We’ve just scratched the surface with this blog feature. The building itself is only half the story—we need to hear about your experiences in Gunter to get the complete picture. Share your stories with us in the comment section below or on the Alumni Association Facebook page. You can also browse through more cool, archival photos from Gunter’s construction and remodeling in our Flickr gallery.
Want to learn even more Gunter’s history, including the fate of its famous bells? Check out this in-depth article from the College of Natural and Health Sciences.
All photos courtesy of the UNC Archives.
ZoomInfo
86 years ago today, on January 25, 1928, Gunter Hall was officially welcomed into the UNC community.
Amidst all the beautiful buildings on UNC’s campus, old and new, there’s just something about Gunter Hall that makes it stand out. Former UNC President George Frasier referred to Gunter as “an architectural marvel” and at any given alumni gathering, you’re guaranteed to hear Bears swapping stories about the nail-biting games and life-changing performances they witnessed there. 
But how did this beloved building come to be? Creating a facility of Gunter’s size, and with such a distinctive style, was certainly no small undertaking. In fact, Gunter gets its name from the man who helped make the whole project possible: Colorado governor Julius C. Gunter. Basically, in 1917 Governor Gunter helped the university secure the state funding it needed to expand its campus and serve the needs of its growing student population. That funding proved to be essential nine years later when our university began construction on its first major sports facility, a roughly $270,000 undertaking. (That may not sound like much, but it’s roughly equivalent to 3.6 million in today’s dollars.)
Financial matters aside, anyone who’s been to Gunter can see that it has a grandeur that goes beyond the realm of pure practicality. Gunter was designed to have a high-impact appearance because, in a way, this “Hall of Health” was meant to be an unforgettable expression of the university’s new athletic ambitions. Pre-WWI, collegiate sports facilities weren’t always optimally designed for competitive play. Visiting basketball teams often complained that UNC had an unfair advantage because the rafters above the court were so low that their shots would get deflected before they could reach the net. With Gunter Hall, UNC was entering a new era in athletics and they needed a building that would showcase that fact: a professional facility with beautiful maple floors, one of the highest seating capacities in the state, and, most importantly, very, very high ceilings. The student body took great pride in their new digs and basketball game announcements in The Mirror often came with a reminder for fans to wipe their feet on the way in so as not to damage the hardwood. 
Today, Gunter serves a very different purpose, though certainly one its founders would respect. With other athletics facilities on campus having taken on many of its old roles, it was decided in the mid-90s that Gunter should become the new home of the College of Health and Human Sciences. Charged with preserving the facility’s iconic exterior, Construction Service manager Scott McLean described the remodeling project as “building a building within a building.” Those high ceilings came in handy yet again as Gunter was reconfigured into its current three-floor design. The end result? Prestigious programs like nursing and audiology which had once been spread out across 5 different buildings now had a centralized facility they could call home. Its athletic past hasn’t been abandoned though. Classic sports memoribilia is still displayed proudly in Gunter’s halls and the center court hardwood is in the same place it was when UNC played their first exhibition match against the University of Colorado in 1928. (Incidentally, UNC won that game 34-28)
86 years of history and more being made every day! We’ve just scratched the surface with this blog feature. The building itself is only half the story—we need to hear about your experiences in Gunter to get the complete picture. Share your stories with us in the comment section below or on the Alumni Association Facebook page. You can also browse through more cool, archival photos from Gunter’s construction and remodeling in our Flickr gallery.
Want to learn even more Gunter’s history, including the fate of its famous bells? Check out this in-depth article from the College of Natural and Health Sciences.
All photos courtesy of the UNC Archives.
ZoomInfo
86 years ago today, on January 25, 1928, Gunter Hall was officially welcomed into the UNC community.
Amidst all the beautiful buildings on UNC’s campus, old and new, there’s just something about Gunter Hall that makes it stand out. Former UNC President George Frasier referred to Gunter as “an architectural marvel” and at any given alumni gathering, you’re guaranteed to hear Bears swapping stories about the nail-biting games and life-changing performances they witnessed there. 
But how did this beloved building come to be? Creating a facility of Gunter’s size, and with such a distinctive style, was certainly no small undertaking. In fact, Gunter gets its name from the man who helped make the whole project possible: Colorado governor Julius C. Gunter. Basically, in 1917 Governor Gunter helped the university secure the state funding it needed to expand its campus and serve the needs of its growing student population. That funding proved to be essential nine years later when our university began construction on its first major sports facility, a roughly $270,000 undertaking. (That may not sound like much, but it’s roughly equivalent to 3.6 million in today’s dollars.)
Financial matters aside, anyone who’s been to Gunter can see that it has a grandeur that goes beyond the realm of pure practicality. Gunter was designed to have a high-impact appearance because, in a way, this “Hall of Health” was meant to be an unforgettable expression of the university’s new athletic ambitions. Pre-WWI, collegiate sports facilities weren’t always optimally designed for competitive play. Visiting basketball teams often complained that UNC had an unfair advantage because the rafters above the court were so low that their shots would get deflected before they could reach the net. With Gunter Hall, UNC was entering a new era in athletics and they needed a building that would showcase that fact: a professional facility with beautiful maple floors, one of the highest seating capacities in the state, and, most importantly, very, very high ceilings. The student body took great pride in their new digs and basketball game announcements in The Mirror often came with a reminder for fans to wipe their feet on the way in so as not to damage the hardwood. 
Today, Gunter serves a very different purpose, though certainly one its founders would respect. With other athletics facilities on campus having taken on many of its old roles, it was decided in the mid-90s that Gunter should become the new home of the College of Health and Human Sciences. Charged with preserving the facility’s iconic exterior, Construction Service manager Scott McLean described the remodeling project as “building a building within a building.” Those high ceilings came in handy yet again as Gunter was reconfigured into its current three-floor design. The end result? Prestigious programs like nursing and audiology which had once been spread out across 5 different buildings now had a centralized facility they could call home. Its athletic past hasn’t been abandoned though. Classic sports memoribilia is still displayed proudly in Gunter’s halls and the center court hardwood is in the same place it was when UNC played their first exhibition match against the University of Colorado in 1928. (Incidentally, UNC won that game 34-28)
86 years of history and more being made every day! We’ve just scratched the surface with this blog feature. The building itself is only half the story—we need to hear about your experiences in Gunter to get the complete picture. Share your stories with us in the comment section below or on the Alumni Association Facebook page. You can also browse through more cool, archival photos from Gunter’s construction and remodeling in our Flickr gallery.
Want to learn even more Gunter’s history, including the fate of its famous bells? Check out this in-depth article from the College of Natural and Health Sciences.
All photos courtesy of the UNC Archives.
ZoomInfo

86 years ago today, on January 25, 1928, Gunter Hall was officially welcomed into the UNC community.

Amidst all the beautiful buildings on UNC’s campus, old and new, there’s just something about Gunter Hall that makes it stand out. Former UNC President George Frasier referred to Gunter as “an architectural marvel” and at any given alumni gathering, you’re guaranteed to hear Bears swapping stories about the nail-biting games and life-changing performances they witnessed there. 

But how did this beloved building come to be? Creating a facility of Gunter’s size, and with such a distinctive style, was certainly no small undertaking. In fact, Gunter gets its name from the man who helped make the whole project possible: Colorado governor Julius C. Gunter. Basically, in 1917 Governor Gunter helped the university secure the state funding it needed to expand its campus and serve the needs of its growing student population. That funding proved to be essential nine years later when our university began construction on its first major sports facility, a roughly $270,000 undertaking. (That may not sound like much, but it’s roughly equivalent to 3.6 million in today’s dollars.)

Financial matters aside, anyone who’s been to Gunter can see that it has a grandeur that goes beyond the realm of pure practicality. Gunter was designed to have a high-impact appearance because, in a way, this “Hall of Health” was meant to be an unforgettable expression of the university’s new athletic ambitions. Pre-WWI, collegiate sports facilities weren’t always optimally designed for competitive play. Visiting basketball teams often complained that UNC had an unfair advantage because the rafters above the court were so low that their shots would get deflected before they could reach the net. With Gunter Hall, UNC was entering a new era in athletics and they needed a building that would showcase that fact: a professional facility with beautiful maple floors, one of the highest seating capacities in the state, and, most importantly, very, very high ceilings. The student body took great pride in their new digs and basketball game announcements in The Mirror often came with a reminder for fans to wipe their feet on the way in so as not to damage the hardwood. 

Today, Gunter serves a very different purpose, though certainly one its founders would respect. With other athletics facilities on campus having taken on many of its old roles, it was decided in the mid-90s that Gunter should become the new home of the College of Health and Human Sciences. Charged with preserving the facility’s iconic exterior, Construction Service manager Scott McLean described the remodeling project as “building a building within a building.” Those high ceilings came in handy yet again as Gunter was reconfigured into its current three-floor design. The end result? Prestigious programs like nursing and audiology which had once been spread out across 5 different buildings now had a centralized facility they could call home. Its athletic past hasn’t been abandoned though. Classic sports memoribilia is still displayed proudly in Gunter’s halls and the center court hardwood is in the same place it was when UNC played their first exhibition match against the University of Colorado in 1928. (Incidentally, UNC won that game 34-28)

86 years of history and more being made every day! We’ve just scratched the surface with this blog feature. The building itself is only half the story—we need to hear about your experiences in Gunter to get the complete picture. Share your stories with us in the comment section below or on the Alumni Association Facebook page. You can also browse through more cool, archival photos from Gunter’s construction and remodeling in our Flickr gallery.

Want to learn even more Gunter’s history, including the fate of its famous bells? Check out this in-depth article from the College of Natural and Health Sciences.

All photos courtesy of the UNC Archives.

UNC Alumni Pursue Their Entrepreneurial Ambitions
As Brian Wones (BS-10) and Sterling Engelhard (BS-10) field questions about their business plan for a line of high tech-integrated athletic gear, an inspirational message is projected onto the screen behind them. “Having a good idea is just the first step in a long journey.” For Wones, Engelhard, and the rest of the competitors in this year’s Monfort College of Business Entrepreneurial Challenge, a successful pitch to the assembled judges’ panel will represent a significant stride toward their long-term goals: up to $25,000 in start-up funds and the added exposure of having their business plan streamed to a live audience by 9News.
Despite the high stakes, Wones and Engelhard deliver their pitch with a calm and charismatic professionalism. They’ve been planning the roll-out of their Approach Gear brand for nearly a year now and their preparation shows. “We’ve already started working with a group of successful fund-raisers to set up a Kickstarter campaign so we can spread our vision and help others get involved,” said Wones, who studied Finance and Computer Information Systems at UNC. “We’ve also partnered with a design firm in California and a manufacturer in North Carolina to ensure that our products meet the needs of our clients while being produced domestically through sustainable processes.”
And the idea that set all of these wheels into motion? Like most stories of entrepreneurship, the creative spark struck while thinking over an everyday problem. “We noticed that people pursuing general fitness aren’t well served by technology, clothing, and training designed for professional athletes. Most of the big names in athletics gear like Under Armour and Nike focus their research and development on enhancing the performance of top-level competitors. Their advancements only reach the average person gradually through trickle-down marketing. With Approach Gear, we want to leverage innovative technology and professional trainers to help the ordinary person get fit.”
Dr. David Thomas, an Assistant Professor of Management responsible for the design and execution of the Entrepreneurial Challenge, says that giving promising professionals like Wones and Engelhard the opportunity to put their business plan to the test in front of a crowd of expert consultants and potential investors is precisely the reason this competition is held each year. “Fostering  economic growth in the Colorado business community is a significant element of MCB’s overall mission. That means we’re not just teaching the principles of entrepreneurship in the classroom, we’re creating practical living-learning experiences for students, alumni, and others who want to make their business ideas a reality. Simply by participating in this Challenge, competitors are getting so much expert feedback to improve their business model, a level of consultation that would typically cost you tens of thousands of dollars.”
But what if your big business idea isn’t developed enough yet to compete? Where can Bears who are just starting out on their entrepreneurial journey get guidance? Dr. Thomas, who is also an alumnus of UNC, stressed that there are a variety of free business development resources available to the university community year-round. “We have a cadre of professors, myself included, who are reaching out to the community and consulting on a pro bono basis.” This commitment to community outreach, combined with MCB’s long-standing partnership with the Colorado Small Business Development Center and UNC’s brand new BizHub small business incubator, ensures that our entrepreneurial alumni will never lack for professional guidance. “We want the idea people who are working away in their garage or home office to have a place to experiment and refine their long-term plans. Getting used to communicating your ideas effectively in this sort of environment is going to prepare you for the demands of the marketplace.”
Thanks to Dr. Thomas, Brian Wones, and Sterling Engelhard for taking the time to share their expertise with us.
Are you looking to develop a business plan, but you’re not quite sure where to get started? The Colorado Small Business Development Center has a great list of resources for entrepreneurs who are just starting out on their journey.
Have a business plan prepared already and you’d like to talk with a UNC faculty member about possible next steps? Contact Dr. David Thomas.  He’s issued an open invitation to our alumni to discuss consultation opportunities.
Are you farther along in your business plan and ready to explore more concrete development and partnership opportunities? Click here to complete the UNC BizHub “Incubator Application” or here to learn more about their upcoming programming.
If you have any comments or questions, be sure to share them with us below. Stay tuned to the Alumni Association Facebook page and Twitter account for updates on the MCB Entrepreneurial Challenge broadcast on 3/25. 
ZoomInfo
UNC Alumni Pursue Their Entrepreneurial Ambitions
As Brian Wones (BS-10) and Sterling Engelhard (BS-10) field questions about their business plan for a line of high tech-integrated athletic gear, an inspirational message is projected onto the screen behind them. “Having a good idea is just the first step in a long journey.” For Wones, Engelhard, and the rest of the competitors in this year’s Monfort College of Business Entrepreneurial Challenge, a successful pitch to the assembled judges’ panel will represent a significant stride toward their long-term goals: up to $25,000 in start-up funds and the added exposure of having their business plan streamed to a live audience by 9News.
Despite the high stakes, Wones and Engelhard deliver their pitch with a calm and charismatic professionalism. They’ve been planning the roll-out of their Approach Gear brand for nearly a year now and their preparation shows. “We’ve already started working with a group of successful fund-raisers to set up a Kickstarter campaign so we can spread our vision and help others get involved,” said Wones, who studied Finance and Computer Information Systems at UNC. “We’ve also partnered with a design firm in California and a manufacturer in North Carolina to ensure that our products meet the needs of our clients while being produced domestically through sustainable processes.”
And the idea that set all of these wheels into motion? Like most stories of entrepreneurship, the creative spark struck while thinking over an everyday problem. “We noticed that people pursuing general fitness aren’t well served by technology, clothing, and training designed for professional athletes. Most of the big names in athletics gear like Under Armour and Nike focus their research and development on enhancing the performance of top-level competitors. Their advancements only reach the average person gradually through trickle-down marketing. With Approach Gear, we want to leverage innovative technology and professional trainers to help the ordinary person get fit.”
Dr. David Thomas, an Assistant Professor of Management responsible for the design and execution of the Entrepreneurial Challenge, says that giving promising professionals like Wones and Engelhard the opportunity to put their business plan to the test in front of a crowd of expert consultants and potential investors is precisely the reason this competition is held each year. “Fostering  economic growth in the Colorado business community is a significant element of MCB’s overall mission. That means we’re not just teaching the principles of entrepreneurship in the classroom, we’re creating practical living-learning experiences for students, alumni, and others who want to make their business ideas a reality. Simply by participating in this Challenge, competitors are getting so much expert feedback to improve their business model, a level of consultation that would typically cost you tens of thousands of dollars.”
But what if your big business idea isn’t developed enough yet to compete? Where can Bears who are just starting out on their entrepreneurial journey get guidance? Dr. Thomas, who is also an alumnus of UNC, stressed that there are a variety of free business development resources available to the university community year-round. “We have a cadre of professors, myself included, who are reaching out to the community and consulting on a pro bono basis.” This commitment to community outreach, combined with MCB’s long-standing partnership with the Colorado Small Business Development Center and UNC’s brand new BizHub small business incubator, ensures that our entrepreneurial alumni will never lack for professional guidance. “We want the idea people who are working away in their garage or home office to have a place to experiment and refine their long-term plans. Getting used to communicating your ideas effectively in this sort of environment is going to prepare you for the demands of the marketplace.”
Thanks to Dr. Thomas, Brian Wones, and Sterling Engelhard for taking the time to share their expertise with us.
Are you looking to develop a business plan, but you’re not quite sure where to get started? The Colorado Small Business Development Center has a great list of resources for entrepreneurs who are just starting out on their journey.
Have a business plan prepared already and you’d like to talk with a UNC faculty member about possible next steps? Contact Dr. David Thomas.  He’s issued an open invitation to our alumni to discuss consultation opportunities.
Are you farther along in your business plan and ready to explore more concrete development and partnership opportunities? Click here to complete the UNC BizHub “Incubator Application” or here to learn more about their upcoming programming.
If you have any comments or questions, be sure to share them with us below. Stay tuned to the Alumni Association Facebook page and Twitter account for updates on the MCB Entrepreneurial Challenge broadcast on 3/25. 
ZoomInfo
UNC Alumni Pursue Their Entrepreneurial Ambitions
As Brian Wones (BS-10) and Sterling Engelhard (BS-10) field questions about their business plan for a line of high tech-integrated athletic gear, an inspirational message is projected onto the screen behind them. “Having a good idea is just the first step in a long journey.” For Wones, Engelhard, and the rest of the competitors in this year’s Monfort College of Business Entrepreneurial Challenge, a successful pitch to the assembled judges’ panel will represent a significant stride toward their long-term goals: up to $25,000 in start-up funds and the added exposure of having their business plan streamed to a live audience by 9News.
Despite the high stakes, Wones and Engelhard deliver their pitch with a calm and charismatic professionalism. They’ve been planning the roll-out of their Approach Gear brand for nearly a year now and their preparation shows. “We’ve already started working with a group of successful fund-raisers to set up a Kickstarter campaign so we can spread our vision and help others get involved,” said Wones, who studied Finance and Computer Information Systems at UNC. “We’ve also partnered with a design firm in California and a manufacturer in North Carolina to ensure that our products meet the needs of our clients while being produced domestically through sustainable processes.”
And the idea that set all of these wheels into motion? Like most stories of entrepreneurship, the creative spark struck while thinking over an everyday problem. “We noticed that people pursuing general fitness aren’t well served by technology, clothing, and training designed for professional athletes. Most of the big names in athletics gear like Under Armour and Nike focus their research and development on enhancing the performance of top-level competitors. Their advancements only reach the average person gradually through trickle-down marketing. With Approach Gear, we want to leverage innovative technology and professional trainers to help the ordinary person get fit.”
Dr. David Thomas, an Assistant Professor of Management responsible for the design and execution of the Entrepreneurial Challenge, says that giving promising professionals like Wones and Engelhard the opportunity to put their business plan to the test in front of a crowd of expert consultants and potential investors is precisely the reason this competition is held each year. “Fostering  economic growth in the Colorado business community is a significant element of MCB’s overall mission. That means we’re not just teaching the principles of entrepreneurship in the classroom, we’re creating practical living-learning experiences for students, alumni, and others who want to make their business ideas a reality. Simply by participating in this Challenge, competitors are getting so much expert feedback to improve their business model, a level of consultation that would typically cost you tens of thousands of dollars.”
But what if your big business idea isn’t developed enough yet to compete? Where can Bears who are just starting out on their entrepreneurial journey get guidance? Dr. Thomas, who is also an alumnus of UNC, stressed that there are a variety of free business development resources available to the university community year-round. “We have a cadre of professors, myself included, who are reaching out to the community and consulting on a pro bono basis.” This commitment to community outreach, combined with MCB’s long-standing partnership with the Colorado Small Business Development Center and UNC’s brand new BizHub small business incubator, ensures that our entrepreneurial alumni will never lack for professional guidance. “We want the idea people who are working away in their garage or home office to have a place to experiment and refine their long-term plans. Getting used to communicating your ideas effectively in this sort of environment is going to prepare you for the demands of the marketplace.”
Thanks to Dr. Thomas, Brian Wones, and Sterling Engelhard for taking the time to share their expertise with us.
Are you looking to develop a business plan, but you’re not quite sure where to get started? The Colorado Small Business Development Center has a great list of resources for entrepreneurs who are just starting out on their journey.
Have a business plan prepared already and you’d like to talk with a UNC faculty member about possible next steps? Contact Dr. David Thomas.  He’s issued an open invitation to our alumni to discuss consultation opportunities.
Are you farther along in your business plan and ready to explore more concrete development and partnership opportunities? Click here to complete the UNC BizHub “Incubator Application” or here to learn more about their upcoming programming.
If you have any comments or questions, be sure to share them with us below. Stay tuned to the Alumni Association Facebook page and Twitter account for updates on the MCB Entrepreneurial Challenge broadcast on 3/25. 
ZoomInfo

UNC Alumni Pursue Their Entrepreneurial Ambitions

As Brian Wones (BS-10) and Sterling Engelhard (BS-10) field questions about their business plan for a line of high tech-integrated athletic gear, an inspirational message is projected onto the screen behind them. “Having a good idea is just the first step in a long journey.” For Wones, Engelhard, and the rest of the competitors in this year’s Monfort College of Business Entrepreneurial Challenge, a successful pitch to the assembled judges’ panel will represent a significant stride toward their long-term goals: up to $25,000 in start-up funds and the added exposure of having their business plan streamed to a live audience by 9News.

Despite the high stakes, Wones and Engelhard deliver their pitch with a calm and charismatic professionalism. They’ve been planning the roll-out of their Approach Gear brand for nearly a year now and their preparation shows. “We’ve already started working with a group of successful fund-raisers to set up a Kickstarter campaign so we can spread our vision and help others get involved,” said Wones, who studied Finance and Computer Information Systems at UNC. “We’ve also partnered with a design firm in California and a manufacturer in North Carolina to ensure that our products meet the needs of our clients while being produced domestically through sustainable processes.”

And the idea that set all of these wheels into motion? Like most stories of entrepreneurship, the creative spark struck while thinking over an everyday problem. “We noticed that people pursuing general fitness aren’t well served by technology, clothing, and training designed for professional athletes. Most of the big names in athletics gear like Under Armour and Nike focus their research and development on enhancing the performance of top-level competitors. Their advancements only reach the average person gradually through trickle-down marketing. With Approach Gear, we want to leverage innovative technology and professional trainers to help the ordinary person get fit.”

Dr. David Thomas, an Assistant Professor of Management responsible for the design and execution of the Entrepreneurial Challenge, says that giving promising professionals like Wones and Engelhard the opportunity to put their business plan to the test in front of a crowd of expert consultants and potential investors is precisely the reason this competition is held each year. “Fostering  economic growth in the Colorado business community is a significant element of MCB’s overall mission. That means we’re not just teaching the principles of entrepreneurship in the classroom, we’re creating practical living-learning experiences for students, alumni, and others who want to make their business ideas a reality. Simply by participating in this Challenge, competitors are getting so much expert feedback to improve their business model, a level of consultation that would typically cost you tens of thousands of dollars.”

But what if your big business idea isn’t developed enough yet to compete? Where can Bears who are just starting out on their entrepreneurial journey get guidance? Dr. Thomas, who is also an alumnus of UNC, stressed that there are a variety of free business development resources available to the university community year-round. “We have a cadre of professors, myself included, who are reaching out to the community and consulting on a pro bono basis.” This commitment to community outreach, combined with MCB’s long-standing partnership with the Colorado Small Business Development Center and UNC’s brand new BizHub small business incubator, ensures that our entrepreneurial alumni will never lack for professional guidance. “We want the idea people who are working away in their garage or home office to have a place to experiment and refine their long-term plans. Getting used to communicating your ideas effectively in this sort of environment is going to prepare you for the demands of the marketplace.”

Thanks to Dr. Thomas, Brian Wones, and Sterling Engelhard for taking the time to share their expertise with us.

Are you looking to develop a business plan, but you’re not quite sure where to get started? The Colorado Small Business Development Center has a great list of resources for entrepreneurs who are just starting out on their journey.

Have a business plan prepared already and you’d like to talk with a UNC faculty member about possible next steps? Contact Dr. David Thomas.  He’s issued an open invitation to our alumni to discuss consultation opportunities.

Are you farther along in your business plan and ready to explore more concrete development and partnership opportunities? Click here to complete the UNC BizHub “Incubator Application” or here to learn more about their upcoming programming.

If you have any comments or questions, be sure to share them with us below. Stay tuned to the Alumni Association Facebook page and Twitter account for updates on the MCB Entrepreneurial Challenge broadcast on 3/25.