Meet the 20 Under 40

Meet the 20 Under 40

Job Title: Deputy Director of Elections, Arlington County, Virginia

Current City/State: Alexandria, Virginia

Bio: Tate Fall currently serves as the Deputy Director of Elections for Arlington County, Virginia where she oversees all aspects of the Election Officer (Poll Worker) Program. With close to 170,000 registered voters, each election is staffed with up to 750 Election Officers. The Commonwealth of Virginia’s unique election calendar ensures that every year is an election year with at least two elections and up to six. Prior to joining Arlington County, Tate worked for the United States Election Assistance Commission (EAC) as the Communication Specialist where she worked with the Director of Communications on managing media relations, communications strategy, and supporting the commissioners and EAC staff. Before the EAC, Tate worked for Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program as the Voting Rights Advocate. While she was there, she worked alongside election administrators to help ensure that their poll sites were compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). Tate has her B.S. in Rehabilitation and Disability Studies, a Master of Public Administration and a Graduate Certificate in Election Administration all from Auburn University. In addition to her professional career, Tate also volunteers as a National Advisory Consultant (NAC) to Arnold Air Society and Silver Wings which is a national collegiate organization with over 3,000 members nationwide. Tate was asked to join the NAC team after serving as the National President for Silver Wings during her second year of graduate school with a staff she put together representing Auburn University. In her free time, Tate enjoys spending time with her friends and family, exploring DC and Northern Virginia, and going on walks with her husband, Wesley, and two golden retrievers, Elle and Gunner.

Favorite Auburn Memory: My favorite Auburn memory is getting engaged on Samford lawn in August of 2019 where my now husband, Wesley, proposed with our puppy Elle. Shortly after saying yes, a biker rode by shouting “War Eagle and Congratulations!” A (very) close second would be the Kick Six which I witnessed in the stands during my sophomore year!

Fun Fact: One of my hobbies is making personalized koozies, and I also collect them – I own over 100! Needless to say, I never have a problem with keeping my drinks cold.

Job Title: Deputy Director of Elections, Arlington County, Virginia

Current City/State: Alexandria, Virginia

Bio: Tate Fall currently serves as the Deputy Director of Elections for Arlington County, Virginia where she oversees all aspects of the Election Officer (Poll Worker) Program. With close to 170,000 registered voters, each election is staffed with up to 750 Election Officers. The Commonwealth of Virginia’s unique election calendar ensures that every year is an election year with at least two elections and up to six. Prior to joining Arlington County, Tate worked for the United States Election Assistance Commission (EAC) as the Communication Specialist where she worked with the Director of Communications on managing media relations, communications strategy, and supporting the commissioners and EAC staff. Before the EAC, Tate worked for Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program as the Voting Rights Advocate. While she was there, she worked alongside election administrators to help ensure that their poll sites were compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). Tate has her B.S. in Rehabilitation and Disability Studies, a Master of Public Administration and a Graduate Certificate in Election Administration all from Auburn University. In addition to her professional career, Tate also volunteers as a National Advisory Consultant (NAC) to Arnold Air Society and Silver Wings which is a national collegiate organization with over 3,000 members nationwide. Tate was asked to join the NAC team after serving as the National President for Silver Wings during her second year of graduate school with a staff she put together representing Auburn University. In her free time, Tate enjoys spending time with her friends and family, exploring DC and Northern Virginia, and going on walks with her husband, Wesley, and two golden retrievers, Elle and Gunner.

Favorite Auburn Memory: My favorite Auburn memory is getting engaged on Samford lawn in August of 2019 where my now husband, Wesley, proposed with our puppy Elle. Shortly after saying yes, a biker rode by shouting “War Eagle and Congratulations!” A (very) close second would be the Kick Six which I witnessed in the stands during my sophomore year!

Fun Fact: One of my hobbies is making personalized koozies, and I also collect them – I own over 100! Needless to say, I never have a problem with keeping my drinks cold.

Job Title: Principal

Current City/State: Birmingham, AL

Bio: Amanda Loper, AIA, LEED AP, is a Principal at David Baker Architects, a progressive, award-winning architecture and urban design firm known for combining social concern with a signature design character. Amanda leads the southeastern office in Birmingham, Alabama, which she established in 2016. Her work integrates architecture and urban design so that each project is a “small but mighty act of urbanism.” Since the completion of her Bachelor of Architecture and Bachelor of Interior Architecture at Auburn University, Amanda has contributed to solving affordable housing crises in San Francisco and throughout the Southeast. She adapts these solutions to help other cities across the country address their own affordable housing crises and enhance livability. A strong “architecture communicator,” Amanda also shares her experiences, innovations, and philosophy widely with designers, students, developers, and the public through lectures and writing. Amanda was awarded a 2021 AIA Young Architects Award, a national honor that recognizes individuals who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and made significant contributions to the architecture profession early in their careers.

Favorite Auburn Memory: Some of my favorite memories at Auburn were made in the long and late nights I spent at Dudley Hall in Architecture Studio with my fellow peers. Those many hours not only formed the architect I was to become but were full of laughter, music and more than a few shenanigans.

Fun Fact: After living in San Francisco for 10 years post graduation, she and her family relocated to Birmingham where Amanda and her husband Brandon opened up a wine shop with Trent and Chere Stewart called Golden Age Wine in Mountain Brook, AL.

Job Title: President, Eye Cloud Pro and Practice Director EHR

Current City/State: Auburn, Alabama

Bio: Emily (Wood) Traylor is originally from Vestavia Hills, Alabama, and is a third generation Auburn University graduate. She graduated from Auburn in 2010 with a degree in Wireless Software Engineering and again in 2021 from Auburn’s Executive MBA program. Traylor is currently President of Eye Cloud Pro and Practice Director EHR, two Fullsteam portfolio companies. In this role, Traylor leads these companies in developing electronic medical record and practice management software for the eyecare industry. Prior to this, Traylor worked for Fullsteam corporate and was responsible for the technical integration and operational success of the Fullsteam payment processing platform across the organization’s portfolio of software company acquisitions. Prior to joining Fullsteam, Traylor worked for Equifax where she served as release engineering leader and deputy director of the Equifax Auburn Technology Center. In this role, Traylor helped establish an Auburn talent incubator for the company, hiring nearly 50 recent graduates and leveraging a pipeline of Auburn alumni talent for the organization’s technology transformation. Traylor’s Auburn experience is “never-ending,” and she remains a dedicated supporter of the university through alumni involvement, mentorship, and speaking with classes and student organizations. She was the keynote speaker at the 2021 Auburn Engineering Student Leadership Development Conference and will serve as the keynote speaker for the 2022 MADE (Making a Difference in Engineering at Auburn) event. Traylor is the current Chair of the Auburn Engineering Young Alumni Council, a member of Auburn’s Wireless Engineering Advisory Board, a 100+ Women Strong member, and she was a recipient of the Outstanding Young Auburn Engineer Award in 2020. In addition, Traylor and her husband, Tommy, have endowed two scholarships to support first generation students in engineering as well as students with a financial need in computer science and software engineering. Emily resides in Auburn along with her husband and two rescue dogs. She and her husband are life members of the Auburn Alumni Association, as well as members of the university’s Foy society and the College of Engineering’s Ginn and EAGLE societies.

Favorite Auburn Memory: I attended the 2013 Iron Bowl with my younger sister (a 2016 Auburn pharmacy grad). My husband was a manager with the football team at the time and was on the sideline. After the game, my sister and I rushed the field along with thousands of other Auburn fans, because we wanted to find my husband. However, as self-proclaimed rule followers, we still say this is the most rebellious thing we have ever done, and my husband was so surprised to see us!

Fun Fact: I come from an “Auburn engineering family.” My grandfathers, uncles, and parents were all Auburn engineers, and I have a cousin who is an Auburn engineer as well. Starting with my grandfathers, that’s 8 Auburn engineers in the family!

Job Title: Managing Partner

Current City/State: Dallas, TX

Bio: Allison received a Bachelor of Arts degree with a concentration in Finance and served as co-founder of The Auburn University Real Estate Society in 2007. After graduation in 2009, Allison returned to Dallas and began her career in commercial real estate. Actively involved in a variety of organizations and charities, Allison is a current board member of The Real Estate Council, The Real Estate Council – Associate Leadership Council Class of 2018 Alumni, Big Brothers Big Sisters and 4word Dallas Christian Women’s Group. She founded an organization in 2012 called Ladies in Commercial Real Estate which has grown to over 700 members and was featured on NBC5 News Dallas in a special segment of women empowering women and gaining success in business as well as a feature article in D CEO magazine. Allison also founded The Barking Project which is an annual event to bring Animal Rescues Groups and shelters in DFW together to promote adoptions and minimize the overcrowding of local shelters. In 2019, Allison received the prestigious North Texas Commercial Association of Realtors – Young Citizen Award in addition to receiving the 2022 CoreNet Global Young Leader Award given to an emerging young leader in the Dallas Fort Worth commercial real estate industry. She was also named a D CEO Magazine Power Broker from 2019-2022.

Favorite Auburn Memory: My favorite Auburn memory was my first visit to Auburn and first Auburn football game. My mom is an Auburn grad and took me to the 2004 Auburn/Georgia game for a college visit. I was already committed to go to the University of Oklahoma at the time, but my mom wanted me to go and see her beloved alma mater just once. I will never forget watching the eagle circle the stadium before kick off and looking over at my mom as a tear was falling down her cheek. It was that light-bulb type of moment where I just knew that Auburn was the school for me. While Auburn was a lot further away from Dallas than Oklahoma, I have zero regrets about my decision to be an Auburn Tiger. I was fortunate to be part of the Tigerettes program recruiting under Coach Tuberville which was definitely a big highlight of my Auburn career.

Fun Fact: I love helping animals and have been active in animal rescue. We have fostered over 40 dogs saving them from euthanization to-date.

Job Title: Vice President, Global Supply Chain

Current City/State: Atlanta, Georgia

Bio: Meghan Nicholas is a global supply chain, operations, and analytics leader with expertise in the retail and e-commerce channels. She has performed leadership roles for companies such as Peloton Interactive, Dollar General, The Home Depot, Unisource Worldwide, and J.C. Penney. Most recently, Meghan has led Peloton as the Global Head of Supply Chain. Outside of her day job she serves as an advisor to several startup companies focused on driving growth and scale within their supply chains. Throughout her career, Meghan has headed large-scale initiatives and driven supply chain transformations with systemic process and corporate culture change. She is also known for leading digital change in the supply chain focused on improving customer experience. She has been featured several in major Supply Chain industry publications and was ranked #12 Top Women in Supply Chain by Supply Chain Digital (2021). Strongly committed to advancing women’s leadership, she has served on the board of the Network of Executive Women for both the Nashville and Atlanta Regions. She is passionate about Employee Resource Groups and most recently was the executive sponsor for the Peloton’s Women’s Alliance and served on the board for Dollar General Young Professionals. Meghan proudly holds a degree from the Harbert College of Business at Auburn University in International Business with a concentration in Supply Chain Management.

Favorite Auburn Memory: It is so hard to pick just one favorite Auburn memory! However, rolling Toomer’s Corner after we won the BCS National Championship is something I will never forget.

Fun Fact: I love to travel and one day hope to visit all 7 continents! I have been to 5 of 7 so far!

Job Title: President & CEO SC Events & Communications

Current City/State: Montgomery, AL

Bio: Susan Scott Carothers is a leader in the fields of corporate event planning and communications. Throughout her career, she has been called upon by Alabama’s largest and most respected companies and nonprofits, as well as The Business Council of Alabama and local chambers of commerce to elevate and advance their corporate event and communications programs. Through her experience, she has had the opportunity to host and work with some of our nation’s top political leaders and celebrities including President George W. Bush and Peyton Manning. Susan is a published children’s author and is currently in discussions about her second book. She has worked as a video spokesperson and on-air personality for international companies and athletic organizations. Susan is President and CEO of SC Events and Communications and holds a degree from the Harbert College of Business at Auburn University in Marketing. Susan loves singing, traveling and collecting art. She and her husband Alex live in Montgomery, Alabama with their two sons, Scott and Holt.

Favorite Auburn Memory: Susan’s favorite Auburn memory is traveling with War Eagle Girls and Plainsmen, representing Auburn University at every football game (home and away) during Auburn’s undefeated football season in 2004. She loved being a War Eagle Girl so much that she made it her goal to build a career with similar elements and experiences.

Fun Fact: In 2015 Susan published her first children’s book, “‘Twas the Night Before Gameday,” a story about uniqueness and camaraderie among all of the SEC mascots. The book’s publicity tour included game day book signings on campuses around the SEC and interviews on the Rick & Bubba and Paul Finebaum shows.

Job Title: CEO

Current City/State: New Orleans, LA

Bio: While studying at Auburn, Christa Cotton helped her parents open Thirteenth Colony Distilleries, Georgia’s first legal distillery since Prohibition. After a stint in advertising in New Orleans, Christa started her own company and purchased the El Guapo trademark. Specializing in zero-proof bitters, El Guapo has expanded into syrups and mixers and is Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) certified. Christa is a 6x Good Food Award winner, LEE Initiative mentor, Les Dames d’Escoffier Legacy Award: Fine Spirits recipient, and a Fellow in both the Tory Burch Foundation and the James Beard Foundation. She’s successfully raised seven figures in investment capital and is currently in the process of opening a bitters brewery, the first of its kind in America.

Favorite Auburn Memory: 2010 National Championship weekend in Arizona

Fun Fact: My original dream was to be a Rockette, but I was too short to try out when I turned 18.

Job Title: Psychologist

Current City/State: Atlanta, GA

Bio: Dr. Mosley graduated from Auburn University Summa Cum Laude with Honors, obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and minor in Spanish. She was a member of Alpha Xi Delta. After graduating from Auburn University, Dr. Mosley pursued her Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology at Palo Alto University. Dr. Mosley focused her studies in Child Psychology. Throughout her graduate experience, she used her clinical and research training to learn to improve the lives of children, adolescents, and their families. After completing her training, Dr. Mosley obtained her license to practice as a psychologist in the state of Georgia. She became employed as a clinician for Anxiety Specialists of Atlanta, focusing her therapeutic work on children, adolescents, and young adults with anxiety-related, Obsessive-Compulsive-related, and disruptive behavior disorders. Dr. Mosley has also worked as an Adjunct Professor for Mercer University’s College of Health Professions, teaching within the Psychology (Psy.D.) program. Since entering the field of Psychology, Dr. Mosley has authored 15 professional works, including publications, book chapters, and posters. As a psychologist, Dr. Mosley is passionate about improving access to quality mental health care. Dr. Mosley uses social media, blog writing, and advocacy efforts to enhance the understanding of mental health principles and access to care for the general public. As an alumna of Auburn University, Dr. Mosley regularly attends campus events, such as football games and gymnastic meets. Dr. Mosley enjoys giving to unique projects on Tiger Giving Day each February. Dr. Mosley engages as both an alumna of Auburn University and Alpha Xi Delta in Auburn and the Atlanta area.

Favorite Auburn Memory: My freshman year, we won the National Championship and Cam Newton won the Heisman trophy. That entire football season was a fantastic memory!

Fun Fact: I won my school Spelling Bee in the 5th grade.

Job Title: Director of Public Affairs at PLUS Communications

Current City/State: Washington, D.C.

Bio: Cody Sanders is a seasoned strategist and communications professional who currently serves as a director of public affairs for Washington, D.C.-area based consulting firm—PLUS Communications. With experience and expertise in strategic communications, foreign affairs, homeland security, government relations and crisis management, Cody has attained prominence in both the public and private sectors as a leader in his field. Prior to joining PLUS, Cody spent nearly four years serving at the White House under former President Donald J. Trump’s administration, including a role with the National Security Council. Additionally, he has held positions as a defense contractor with Northrop Grumman and as an aide in the United States Senate to former U.S. Senator Luther Strange. During his tenure at the White House, Cody worked alongside other aides to the President and staff at federal agencies to advance policy initiatives and produce messaging content that highlighted the administration’s priorities and achievements. While at the National Security Council, he worked under the strategic engagement directorate, helping bolster national security through intelligence analysis and strategic communications. Outside of work, Cody is an avid outdoorsman and traveler, spending most of his free time hiking and backpacking, duck hunting and finding new happy hour and dinner spots around D.C. In 2021, Cody competed in his first amateur boxing match through USA Boxing and Haymakers for Hope, where he raised nearly $20,000 for cancer awareness and Coach Bruce Pearl’s AUTLIVE program. Cody is a native of Eufaula, Alabama, and graduated from Auburn University in 2014 with a bachelor’s in political science and in 2016 with a master’s in public administration. He currently resides in Washington, D.C.

Favorite Auburn Memory: I have so many fond memories of my time at Auburn that it is incredibly difficult to narrow it down to a singular answer. There were more than a fun memorable game days and spring parties at the Sigma Nu house, as well as a few eventful road trips to away games (including upsetting Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M in College Station in 2013). However, I think the obvious answer here is the Kick Six. It was my last home football game in Jordan Hare as an undergrad and goes down as the indisputable greatest moment in college football history. Witnessing such a historic game with my closest college buddies will always be one of my most cherished memories

Fun Fact: In 2021, I decided to get in the ring (literally) and fight cancer. Through Haymakers for Hope, I registered with USA Boxing and competed in my first amateur bout. In addition to being streamed through a pay-per-view service, the fight took place in front of an audience of nearly 5,000 people at The Anthem in D.C. It was a charity match and I raised nearly $20,000 for cancer awareness. A large portion of the funds raised went to Coach Bruce Pearl’s AUTLIVE foundation. If you are not familiar with the great work Coach Pearl is doing off the court, I highly encourage you to do some research and get involved.

Job Title: Research Scientist

Current City/State: Indianapolis, Indiana

Bio: Zachary Jones is a native of Spring Garden, Alabama and a 2013 graduate in Agronomy and Soils. While at Auburn Zach was involved in several organizations, including leadership roles in the Crop, Soils, and Environmental Sciences Club and his fraternity. Following graduation from Auburn, Zach completed a Masters and Ph.D in Plant Breeding and Genetics at North Carolina State University. Zach is currently a Research Scientist in Corn Breeding at Corteva Agriscience, where he contributes to product development and plant breeding strategy to produce corn hybrids for the Deep South. In his role, Zach also leads Corteva’s white corn breeding evaluation zone where he and team produce high milling quality hybrids for use in products like cornmeal, tortillas, chips, and everyone’s personal favorite, grits. Zach was recently named a Corteva Associate Laurate in recognition for his scientific contributions to the organization. Zach is also active in several professional organizations, including the American Seed Trade Association and holding several committee leadership roles in the National Association of Plant Breeders. Zach is an active Auburn Alumni member where he previously severed as Co-President of the Triangle Area Auburn Club, established alumni association scholarships, and was awarded Auburn Alumni Association Club Leader of the Year in 2016. Zach currently resides in the Indianapolis, Indiana area with his wife, Kathryn.

Favorite Auburn Memory: 1) Waking up early for Barbecue House breakfast with classmates before big tests in Funchess Hall. 2) Watch parties with the Triangle Area Auburn Club: It was so impressive to see how strong the Auburn Family’s connection can be, even several hundred miles from Auburn.

Job Title: Co-Owner of the Thomas Twins Team – Nashville Realtors ®️ at PARKS Real Estate

Current City/State: Nashville, TN

Bio: Originally from Dothan, Ala., Evan graduated from Auburn in 2007 with a degree in communication.​As a student, Evan was involved in FarmHouse Fraternity, Auburn University Singers, Concert Choir and served as a Plainsman. From 2004-2006, he was a “Friend of Aubie,” winning the title of UCA National Mascot Champion in 2006 and concluded his final semester in NYC as an intern for NBC TODAY Show.​Since graduation, he has lived in Nashville, Washington, D.C. and back in Auburn, where he worked as the first in-house recruiter for the College of Liberal Arts and as the Development Associate for the College of Architecture, Design, & Construction.​In 2018, he returned to Nashville – for good – to join his twin brother, Elliott, in real estate. The Thomas Twins Team has now grown to three agents, one admin assistant, and a transaction coordinator. They are a multi-year award-winning real estate team, the top producing agents in their office, and in the top 10% of their company and the Greater Nashville Realtors Association. In May 2019, Evan became the President of the Greater Nashville Auburn Club and won Auburn Alumni Association’s Club Leader of the Year in February 2020. His branding, graphics, and communication skills have helped earned GNAC the Most Outstanding Marketing & Communication Award for THREE consecutive years. Additionally, for every Auburn alumni that uses the Thomas Twins Team when buying and selling real estate, Evan donates a portion of his commission to the Greater Nashville Auburn Club’s Endowed Scholarship. To date, he has helped over 20 AU clients and donated over $5,000. In his free time, he enjoys karaoke, exploring Nashville’s exceptional & growing restaurant scene, and sitting around a fire with wine & friends. Evan lives in the Gulch with his goldendoodle, Django.

Favorite Auburn Memory: Helping AUBIE the Tiger win his 6th UCA National Championship at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports/Disney World in 2006.

Fun Fact: If you put an H in front of my name and an H in front of my twin brother’s name, you get… (H)Evan & (H)Elliott; This was not intentional

Job Title: Assistant Professor of Ruminant Nutrition in Forage Systems

Current City/State: Opelika, AL

Bio: Dr. Brandon Smith (’12) is an Assistant Professor of Ruminant Nutrition in Forage Systems in the Department of Animal Sciences at Auburn University. A native of Slocomb, AL, Dr. Smith received dual bachelor’s degrees from Auburn University in animal sciences and agronomy and soils in 2012, a master’s degree from the University of Arkansas in animal science in 2014, and a doctoral degree from Texas A&M University in agronomy in 2017. After graduation, Dr. Smith was hired by Tarleton State University (Stephenville, TX) as an Assistant Professor of Animal Science; he served in that position from 2017 to 2021. In 2021, Dr. Smith joined the faculty at Auburn University, pursuing research in better understanding the digestive physiology of beef cattle on pasture. Dr. Smith is a highly decorated leader in higher education. The American Society of Animal Science designated him as the Southern Section Emerging Scholar in 2017. He was named the Outstanding Junior Faculty Member for the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at Tarleton State University in both 2019 and 2020, and also received the university-level award in 2020. In 2021, Dr. Smith received three different awards in recognition of his teaching efforts: the NACTA Educator Award from the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture; the Outstanding Early Career Animal Scientist Award in Education from the American Society of Animal Science; and the Distinguished Young Educator Award for Non-Land-Grant Agricultural and Renewable Resources Universities from the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities. Dr. Smith and his wife, Katie Williams Smith (’10, ’12), live in Opelika, AL.

Favorite Auburn Memory: My favorite Auburn memory would have to be my first Iron Bowl. I grew up an Auburn fan from birth, but I had only been to Auburn’s campus a handful of times before I enrolled as a student. As it would happen, my first football season was the year that ESPN College Gameday came to campus, and Tommy Tuberville got his sixth straight win over Alabama. I stood in line to get into the stadium from 10 AM that morning, even though the game didn’t kick off until 7 PM. For a small town boy from Slocomb, AL, the stage didn’t get any bigger than that!

Fun Fact: I have quite an impressive collection of bowties. When my wife and I were dating, she bought me a bowtie because I had been ruining several of my ties while working cattle in the field. She thought that the bowtie would allow me to dress the same, but keep me from getting anything on it. I really liked the tie, so I started wearing it, and she started getting me more and more. By the time I had finished my first semester of teaching at Tarleton State University, I was known campus-wide as “Doc Bowtie.” You will never find me teaching class without one! In fact, to this day, I have an Auburn coffee mug in my office personalized for “Dr. Bowtie.”

Job Title: Associate Regional Counsel, Office of Regional Counsel, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4

Current City/State: Decatur, GA

Bio: Stephen currently serves as Associate Regional Counsel for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4, Office of Regional Counsel, in Atlanta, GA, where he specializes in environmental cleanups of heavily contaminated properties, oil spills, and emergency responses throughout the Southeast, as well as other important waste- and water-related environmental actions. Stephen has been and continues to be a regional and national leader in the environmental field with special emphasis in complex, multi-layered environmental cleanups with all stakeholders at the table, including the impacted communities, governmental entities, and regulated industry. Stephen is a proud alumnus of Auburn University, graduating magna cum laude in 2006. He is one of five siblings to attend Auburn—two currently in school—and a generational Auburn fan with both parents attending Auburn and his dad being a member of the 1972 Auburn Amazin’s football team. Stephen is very active in his Atlanta community, making personal commitments to reduce homelessness, improve early childhood education, and find common ground in the areas of race and equity. Stephen currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors for Trinity Community Ministries, a transitional housing and rehabilitation facility located in downtown Atlanta supporting the successful recovery and transition of Atlanta’s homeless and veteran community. He is also the Immediate Past Chairman of the Board for Avondale Elementary School Education Foundation, which creates opportunities to thrive for underserved students at Avondale Elementary School, a Title I school in DeKalb County, GA, as well as Trustee of the Hopeful/Honest Initiative on Race and Understanding which creates platforms for hopeful and honest conversation on the topics of race, equity, and reconciliation. He is a graduate of the Atlanta Federal Executive Board’s Leadership Government Class of 2014, Leadership Atlanta’s LEAD Atlanta Class of 2017, and Leadership DeKalb’s Class of 2020, in addition to being a recipient of the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s “40 Under Forty” in 2019. Beyond this, family is his priority, including his wife, three sons, and family bird dog.

Favorite Auburn Memory: First and foremost, it’s meeting my wife, Kathleen. We had an atypical, yet whimsical, start and have been loving and learning together ever since. Beyond that, the 2004 LSU game still comes to mind when I think about Auburn memories. I can still feel the chills from the pregame flyover and game-winning TD catch by Courtney Taylor. I’m very thankful for my experience at Auburn.

Fun Fact: I worked on offshore oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico during my summers at Auburn, which I now credit for my career in environmental law. I also have five brothers—four of which attended or currently attend Auburn (as mentioned in my bio). We are six sons from two different moms/marriages and ages spanning 43 to 18. The four oldest have pursued very different, yet successful careers—one as an artist/professor, another as a pastor, me as an attorney, and another as a professional athlete—with the two youngest still pursuing their own passions at Auburn.

Job Title: Assistant Clinical Professor, Auburn University College of Nursing

Current City/State: Auburn, AL

Bio: Chris Martin graduated from Auburn in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Beginning his career as a coronary care nurse, Chris developed a passion for nursing and graduated from Samford University with a Master of Science in Nursing in 2015. Later in 2015, he helped launch Hospitalist Services of Alabama as its founding director. In 2016, Chris began serving as Cardiac Clinical Excellence Coordinator at Grandview Medical Center in Birmingham, successfully guiding the facility through Chest Pain Center accreditation from the American College of Cardiology. Chris was later promoted to Director of Nursing Education and Staff Development where he successfully re-established the Nursing Education Department and oversaw a 200% increase in nursing recruitment activities. In 2018, Chris was recognized as the Grandview Medical Center non-clinical manager of the year. Today, Chris is an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Auburn University College of Nursing where he sits on the Undergraduate Admission, Progression, and Graduation Committee and chairs the Diversity & Inclusion committee. In 2020, he was voted Outstanding Faculty Member by graduating seniors. In April 2022, Chris successfully defended his doctoral dissertation for the PhD in Nursing Education and Administration at William Carey University. Now known by his students as “Doc Martin,” he is blessed to be able to teach and mentor the next generation of Auburn nurses. An active member of the American Association of Men in Nursing, he is also a member of SIGMA International Honor Society for Nursing, the Auburn Alumni Association, and the Alumni Advisory Council for the Auburn University College of Nursing. Chris is happily married to Jennifer, who is also a nurse, and a loving dog dad to their golden-doodle Blanche. Chris enjoys traveling, Auburn sports, and good food.

Favorite Auburn Memory: Being in the Auburn University Marching Band during the amazing 2010 National Championship football season.

Fun Fact: As a child, I struggled with a stutter while speaking. Thanks to a great team of speech language pathologist, I learned different techniques to speak clearly. Now as a professor, I pretty much get paid to talk to students every day.

Job Title: Digital Commerce Senior Analyst

Current City/State: Atlanta, GA

Bio: Sami Peck graduated from Auburn University’s College of Agriculture in 2014 with a BS in Animal Science-Equine and is originally from Winter Springs, FL. During her time at Auburn, she held several officer roles in Alpha Xi Delta and followed her passion for animals by started the Loving Listeners program for children to read to therapy dogs at the local Auburn Library. She also was lucky to have her first and last year at Auburn flanked by the 2010 and 2013 National Championship games. After graduation, she moved to Atlanta where she met her husband and fellow Auburn graduate, Troy. They enjoy going to as many home games as they can and try to make it to an away game each year. Sami currently works at Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health and leads their digital commerce capabilities where she can continue to advocate for animals and the human-animal bond. She also is a volunteer puppy raiser for Canine Companions, a non-profit organization that provides service dogs to adults, children and veterans with disabilities free of charge. In total, she has helped raise 8 dogs for this organization and hopes to continue raising these life-changing pups for years to come. In her free time, Sami enjoys spending time with friends and family, traveling, and is currently attempting to learn golf.

Favorite Auburn Memory: Like many others, Sami’s favorite Auburn memories revolve around football. From the first Auburn game she attended in 2009 that made her fall in love with the Auburn family to one of her last games as a student, the famous 2013 kick six game where she stormed the field with thousands of other fans.

Fun Fact: Every summer since she was 8, Sami has gone camping in Canada’s Killarney Provincial Park in Ontario.

 

Job Title: CEO at Financial Media Corp

Current City/State: Jacksonville Beach, Fl

Bio: Morgan graduated from Auburn University School of Business with a degree in Finance with a Minor in Economics in 2005. After college, Morgan and his wife, Melanie, moved to Mobile, Alabama where Morgan went on to develop a financial educational website. The website was acquired by Financial Media Corp, which was located in Jacksonville, Florida. Morgan eventually purchased the company and became CEO, evolving it into the digital marketing and publishing firm it is today. With Morgan at the helm, FinMC employed over 100 people in 5 countries. In late 2021, a German Digital Publishing company (VNR Verlag) purchased a majority stake in FinMC. Morgan has also been active in launching a Law Enforcement de-escalation training portal and has helped provide seed stage funding to over 20 startups. Morgan and Melanie have two children, Olivia (10) and Charlotte (6). They live in Jacksonville Beach, Florida and are involved in multiple organizations including Wolfson Children’s Hospital, their children’s school, the Bolles School, and their church, River Rock Church. Morgan is a member of the CEO Leaderboard Roundtable, which is the go-to group for anyone seeking political office in the community and state. He is also on the board of Light of the Village, a ministry located in Pritchard, Alabama. In his free time, Morgan enjoys spending time with his family, especially at the beach. They enjoy swimming, paddleboarding and fishing. Morgan is also a long standing, overly optimist and long-suffering fan of the Chicago Cubs.

Favorite Auburn Memory: Finally convincing Melanie to be my date to a football game after asking 3 times. We ended up dating throughout college and got married right after graduation. We’ve been married 16 years.

Fun Fact: I am a picky eater and not one to experiment. I’ve never eaten an Oreo or had a cup of coffee!

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Holiday Tradition: The Big Question

Holiday Tradition: The Big Question

What is your favorite holiday tradition?

Big Question header

“We always let the kids open one present on Christmas Eve and it’s usually matching PJs.”

MARY ’10 AND DANIEL GAINOR ’09

My great-uncle and I build and decorate a gingerbread house together every year. It is the highlight of my Christmas season and he enjoys it as well!”

ANNA NELSON ’17

drawing of a RV

“Ready the motorhome for a trip to Disney or Dollywood for Christmas.”

KEN HAMMETT ’64

“Going to our church’s candlelight service and then coming home to a tortellini dinner.”

DONNA PRITCHETT ’20

bowl of tortellini
4 women kneeling around a yellow table

“My family’s favorite holiday tradition is meeting at DeSoto State Park for Thanksgiving. My grandparents lived in Fort Payne, Ala. and as the family grew the overflow started staying at DeSoto. My grandmother died in 2000 and now 20-plus years later my family still goes to DeSoto for Thanksgiving. We rent lodge rooms and cabins and have a wonderful time hiking the trails, eating at their beautiful lodge and building campfires, etc. Since we have a few that went to that other school, we make sure to split up before the Iron Bowl!”

SUSAN BELL PENDLETON ’76

“As a family with a 5-year-old and a baby, we are still feeling out our own traditions. We’re fortunate to host our family’s Thanksgiving. My in-laws
and my parents come over for a meal prepared by all. It may not seem like the most exciting ‘tradition’ per se, but to have both sides of our family come together to celebrate is a blessing. And as a house divided, I’ll always cherish any extra Auburn influence over my children from my mom, Diane Hines ’76.”

KATIE BROWN ’09

AU Gingerbread house graphic

“I started a Christmas Eve tradition with my own now-adult children of letting them open a Christmas ornament (or the like) that has the year and their initials/name on it (even if I wrote it on the bottom myself). They loved seeing them every year when it came time to decorate. And when they got married, they got to take their personal collection so they had ornaments/decor to start with. They still get them and now I also have the same tradition for the six grandchildren! Needless to say, there are a few Auburn-themed ones in the mix!”

ELIZABETH PONDER ’83

“My kids bake a cake on Christmas Eve and then we sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to Jesus on Christmas morning before opening any presents!”
OLIVIA BRADFORD ’12
chocolate cake with sprinkles

“Throughout the year we keep a jar on our kitchen island, along with paper and pen, and each person in the family can write down ‘small memories/wins/ happies’ throughout the year and add to the jar. On New Year’s Eve, we sit down with bubbly (fruit cocktail for the kiddos) and take turns pulling memories from the jar and recalling our happy times from the year.”

DENISE HAYNES ’91

Holiday Guide 2020

Holiday Guide 2020

As the holiday season approaches, so does the annual conundrum—the quest for the perfect gift. This year, why not ‘check your list twice’ to ensure it includes unique selections from the following Auburn alumni. From nationally recognized best-selling author James Farmer, to local store owner (and current Auburn student) Sarah Jane Levine, there is something to appeal to everyone on your list!

Support the featured alumni by shopping the links provided

JAMES FARMER III ’04, GEORGIA | AUTHOR, SPEAKER, DESIGNER

jamesfarmer.com

Since his graduation, Farmer has firmly solidified his place in the world of design. From appearances on “The Today Show” to numerous features in national publications, his work has been nothing short of prolific.

Recently, he released his second interior design book, “Arriving Home” (pictured right) to national acclaim. The publication follows the work of his firm, James Farmer Designs, as featured in 10 different homes across the country. According to the author, “For my second interiors book, I wanted to inspire and illustrate how the graciousness of Southern style translates into warm interiors for our clients in homes across the country.” From cover to cover, readers will be treated to Farmer’s signature Southern style: spirited, bold, but still classic in nature.

Remarking on his time on the Plains, Farmer reflects, “I love Auburn—and as our creed states, I believe in Auburn, too. I believe in the Auburn Family who generationally shares stories of food, football and faith when gathered. The time I spent at Auburn helped set a course for my career and forever influenced my life. That is the Auburn I love.”

JESS JOHNSON ’00, ARIZONA | STYLIST, ANTHROPOLOGIE

@jessjohnsonstyle

Johnson currently enjoys helping clients in her role as a stylist for the national brand Anthropologie. Known for its quirky charm, the chain features
well-curated collections of clothing, home décor and more, as well as personalized shopping experiences for individual guests.

When asked what her perfect pick for the holidays might be, Johnson replied, “Why not consider the gift of a classic board game? Our reimagined editions offer a lovely way for young and old alike to spend quality time together. This season, Anthropologie is offering ‘Linen Book Editions’ of beloved classics, such as Candy Land (pictured far right) and other perennial favorites. Sure to delight recipients of all ages!

ANDREW LEE ’08, ALABAMA  | FINE ARTIST

andrewleedesigns.com

After graduation, Lee’s unique take on various wildlife imagery earned him acclaim throughout the Southeast. And while the bulk of his work continues to center around custom commissions, he has also recently launched a product line largely based on his own original art. Offering everything from handsome letterhead and stationery to signature shawls (pictured right), his online collection boasts something for everyone.

Recalling his time at Auburn, the artisan reflects, “I have loved Auburn as far back as I can remember. It is my home. I grew up here as a die-hard fan, then cherished my college years and eventually earned my degree here. Years later, I even opted to return to further myself professionally and personally. Auburn University always will be integral to my success—even now as I launch my own fine art and design business here in the Loveliest Village on the Plains.

REGAN THWING STANFIELD ’98, ALABAMA  | OWNER, REGAN ALLISON DESIGNS

ReganAllisonDesigns.com

Though her background is in corporate finance, Stanfield launched this creative endeavor to fulfill her own artistic passions while providing one-of-a kind pieces for discerning clients.

Stanfield confirms that the bulk of her pieces are “inspired by everyday life.” As such, she creates everything from casual piece to complement daily wear, to finer pieces perfect to pair with a cocktail dress. Her versatile collections truly offer it all.

BETH GAMBLE REGISTER ’06, ALABAMA | OWNER, ELISABET BOUTIQUE

shopelisabetboutique.com

This former Auburn cheerleader traded in her pom-poms for the busy life of a clothing boutique owner here on the Plains. In doing so, Register has made a splash with her innovation in online sales and attention to customer service. Her budget-friendly boutique offers an array of items perfect for any occasion or budget.

PHILIP SMITH ’10, WASHINGTON, D.C. | PHOTOGRAPHER

1lphoto.com/store

Everyday scenes of life take on a poignant, timeless quality in the muted photographic splendor of Philip Smith’s work (pictured left). A staff photographer with Auburn University for years, Smith recently moved to Washington, D.C. and took his camera out to find the beauty—and decay—of the modern world around him.

Whether it’s a quiet forest landscape or a tiger lapping up water, a foggy bridge at dawn or the gentle sway of Toomer’s Corner
after an Auburn victory, Smith’s gallery-quality fine art prints come ready to hang and add dimension and elegance to any space.

LYNTHIA EDWARDS ’00, ALABAMA | ARTIST

facebook.com/lynthiaedwards1

Decorate your home with stunning modern art from Lynthia Edwards ’00, a mixed-media artist and painter living in Birmingham, Ala. Through eye-popping color, swirling texture and evocative subject matter, Edwards’ work reflects her experiences as a Black girl raised in a small southern town, with the thoughts, emotions and ideas that animate her world.

While her subject matter might seem familiar to audiences, it is Edwards’ interpretations of everyday life that thrill the eye most. Her cut-paper collages, created as part of her “G.R.I.T.S” series, evoke moments of homemade vanilla ice cream, awkward childhood glasses, sibling rivalries and more.

SARAH JANE LEVINE ’20, ALABAMA | OWNER, LILY JANE BOUTIQUE

lilyjaneboutique.com

This enterprising fashion and apparel merchandising major is proving that one really can do it all! From her role as a full-time student to her position as a store owner, Levine juggles daily life with an easy grace and elegance—an aesthetic she also brings to the selections offered in her petite shop. There, she carries items ranging from “upcycled’’ designer wares to affordably priced accessory items of all kinds.

GREG CURTIS ’11, GEORGIA | AURBAN WOODWORKER

gpcurtis.com/shop

Add personality to your personal space with custom furniture from the “urban woodworker” Gregory Philip Curtis. The Decatur, Ga. native combines his love of the outdoors with rustic and industrial themes to create one-of-a-kind furniture pieces and home goods out of salvaged, eclectic and bespoke lumber.

Among the variety of items available on his site are wooden panel walls, modernist chandeliers, vanity mirrors, luggage tags (pictured right), portable floor tables and more. All of Curtis’ work is cut and crafted by hand, and he also offers custom design consultations to build anything from table goods to furniture according to client requests.

LAUREN JOHNSTON DUNCAN ’05, ALABAMA | FINE ARTIST & AUTHOR

@laurenjohnstonduncan

In her latest volume, Duncan channels her life-long passion for art into a book geared specifically to creative children. As she explains, the work encourages young children (especially girls) to simply “draw, sketch, imagine, explore, paint, smudge, color, write, but most importantly, to bring their ideas to life!” Duncan says the book’s intention is to remind readers that they are uniquely and wonderfully created, while also encouraging
them to explore and connect to their own creativity and spirituality. The result, “Made To Create,” (pictured above) is the perfect addition to any budding artist’s library collection.

With the holidays fast approaching, local designer Jess Margeson (Owner, Frou Frou, Inc.) shares her favorite tips and tricks for the season! Follow along for flawless packages, perfect presents and easy home décor ideas

1. Select an overall palette and stick to it!

This is where most mistakes are made (as related to both seasonal, event and home décor). To avoid a disjointed look, preselect a pleasing palette (limiting yourself to no more than three or four colors) and adhere to that when making small additions such as ribbon or wrapping paper. Incorporating metallic tones always lends elegance, especially when paired with the more expected tones of red or green. Here, I relied on more muted metallic tones.

2. Gather your supplies

As the season approaches, start stashing away cardboard boxes of assorted shapes and sizes. For instance, a box once full of tea packets now serves as a perfect gift box for a smaller item (like a man’s tie). This method reduces waste and pinches pennies—making it a double win!

3. Top it off!

When it comes to gift toppers, the only limit is your own imagination. Here, I fashioned present toppers out of coasters, old jar lids and even created paper pendants by hand. While ribbon always provides a rich accent, flat packages are perfect for stacking and packing, and paper toppers save cost (when compared to more costly ribbon).

4. Wrap packages just for décor

Gorgeous gifts double as great seasonal décor. Once your overall scheme is selected, purchase enough supplies to create gifts to double simply as accents. Pretty prewrapped packages are an easy (and budget-friendly) way to add accents to your holiday vignettes.

5. Splurge on staple items

Since you have saved on packaging where possible, go ahead and splurge on staple items. For instance, that wide roll of rich satin ribbon (especially in a neutral tone such as ivory or silver) is worth the cost. Here in the east Alabama area, Hall’s Wholesale has the best selection of solid-color satin ribbon. So go ahead and splurge on some classic satin ribbon, as well as some foiled paper (to create your tags and other accents) paired with thick wrapping paper. Sticking to a classic scheme ensures that you can reuse many of the supplies for years to come.

The holiday season brings many delights, but sadly, it can be a time of stress for some. Between moments marked with mistletoe, feelings can easily turn from merriment to exhaustion.

Dr. Barry Burkhart (licensed psychologist and retired Auburn professor) explains how best to handle it. Burkhart reminds us to begin with the basics. “The first rule is self-care. Both psychological and physical self-care are essential. This means exercise, eat well, get adequate sleep and think ‘approach coping,’ not avoidance. Drugs, alcohol and isolation are all avoidance coping and only serve to collect interest on the threat. By contrast, in ‘approach coping’ you move toward the threat and even the smallest step helps. Celebrate these small steps and, most importantly, share them with others. The most powerful antidote to stress is human connection. After self-care, connection with others is the second rule of stress detox. A final thought: when in doubt, be useful, playful and kind to yourself and others. We all share this difficult and toxic year. Try to make it easier to bear for all.”

Dr. Barry Burkhart, Ph.D., ABBP | Licensed Psychologist
Professor Emeritus | Department of Psychology | Auburn University

 

News Roll: Auburn Senior Becomes Town Mayor

News Roll: Auburn Senior Becomes Town Mayor

]Auburn senior Messiah Williams-Cole is the new mayor of Camp Hill, Ala., after defeating incumbent Ezell Woodyard-Smith in an Oct. 6, 2020 runoff election. The interdisciplinary studies major won by a margin of 259-156 in the small town located roughly 30 miles northwest of Auburn.

The 21-year-old, who is set to graduate in May 2021, celebrated the big victory with family and friends. “More than anything, I’m excited,” Williams-Cole said. “Just knowing I have the position I have and the chance to have input in my town, it’s overwhelming in a sense.”

WATCH VIDEO

https://www.waff.com/2020/10/14/auburn-university-student-set-become-camp-hills-youngest-mayor-ever/

Meatball Recipe

Meatball Recipe

Meatballs Recipe

meatballs in container

Ingredients:

2 lbs ground round

1 envelope dry onion soup mix

3 eggs

1 cup dry breadcrumbs

 

Mix well, form meatballs but do not brown

 

Sauce Recipe:

1 can sauerkraut – drained well

1 can whole cranberry sauce

1 bottle chile sauce

1 cup brown sugar

Mix above ingredients together for sauce

 

Place meatballs in 9×13 baking dish, pour sauce over meatballs

Bake at 350 for 1 ½ – 2 hours uncovered – ENJOY!