Alumni News

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Where they are now accolades for our alumni.
 
sarah-hendricks-we-are-wings

SARAH HENDRICKS HER FUTURE IS BRIGHT (AND TASTY!)

 
Sarah Hendricks, who graduated from Johnson & Wales University in 2023, secured her dream job as a part of the culinary team at The Katherine, an upscale French restaurant located in Winston Salem, NC.  She will work under the executive chef and sous chefs to learn all aspects of restaurant operations and advance her skills. Her desire is ultimately to be the restaurant's pastry chef, which is her passion.

Prior to graduation, she had the opportunity to work as a pastry chef creating desserts at Shelton Vineyards in the Yadkin Valley of North Carolina. In addition, Sarah earned the honor of being selected for the second year in a row to be on the pastry team for The Master's Golf tournament in Augusta, GA, in 2022 and 2023. This prestigious opportunity was only available to a select few.

Sarah received her bachelor's degree in Restaurant/Food Service Management in 2023 and her Associate's Degree in Baking and Pastry Arts, also from Johnson & Wales University in 2022. Her goal is to eventually open her own bakery. Her proud mentor while a Scholar was Niki Simmons.
 
WINGS Teresa Shelton

TERESA SHELTON CONGRATS TO THIS WINGS ALUMNUS

 
One of our inaugural scholars chosen in 1995, Teresa Shelton, has retired after 22 years with Novant Health Medical Center. She shared her news with this to say about WINGS. "Without the love, and guidance of my mentor, Mary Bruce and all the other founders of the WING Scholarship program, Jill and Gloria to name a few, I'm positive my life would be different today. I would just like them to know that I achieved yet another milestone as a result of their dream, dedication, kindness, and time!" Bravo to Teresa for soaring into retirement! We applaud you! Teresa graduated in 2000.
 
WINGS Jennifer Dimola

JENNIFER DIMOLA (2021 GRADUATE) -
SCHOLARSHIP & EMPLOYMENT WITH MECK PRE-K PROGRAM

 
Teaching and inspiring young minds is at the very core of what inspires and impassions Scholar Jennifer DiMola. As a recipient of the Meck Pre-K Program Scholarship, WE is also excited to announce that she has also gained employment in the Mecklenburg Pre-K Program. Her degree from UNC-Charlotte in Child and Family Development with a minor in Children's Literature will contribute to her successes in her professional endeavors. Jennifer's proud WINGS mentor is Maggie Norris.
 
ZuleymaAmbriz

ZULEYMA ARREOLA AMBRIZ (2021 GRADUATE) -
QUEENS UNIVERSITY STUDENT BUSINESS WOMAN OF THE YEAR AWARD

 
You may have noticed Scholar Zuleyma Arreola Ambriz's smiling face on billboards and advertising throughout the Charlotte metropolitan area. She  was honored by the Queens Business School faculty as one of three female students to be honored with their Student Business Woman of the Year award. Her honor included being featured in their advertising campaign for adult continuing education. Billboards include featuring Zuleyma with proclamations of "I am turning my Associates into a Bachelors" and "Classes work with my schedule, not against it." Zuleyma's mentor is Laura Lawrence.
 
WINGS April Edwards

CATCHING UP WITH APRIL EDWARDS (2018 GRADUATE)

 
Scholar April Edwards graduated in 2018 from Johnson C. Smith University with her bachelor's in social work.  As a first generation to earn a degree in her family, April continued her education, earning her Masters in Social Work in 2020.  Within the same year, she received her Licensed Clinical Social Worker Associate (LCSWA) designation. She currently works for Hope House Foundation, a transitional living facility for women and their children, as a social worker. She also serves as a therapist with Within U Solutions and an employee relations investigator with Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools. Her mentor was Regina Wharton.
 
WINGS Mimi Christensen

CATCHING UP WITH MIMI CHRISTENSEN (2018 GRADUATE)

 
Scholar Mimi Christensen graduated Cum Laude from Queens University of Charlotte in 2018 with a bachelor's degree in English and Creative Writing. What makes this significant is that shortly after being accepted as a WINGS scholar, she was diagnosed with cancer, and continued as a full-time student amidst multiple surgeries and chemo treatments. Today, with her cancer in remission, she enjoys multiple creative outlets including painting, tailoring her own clothing, composing classical music, and working on the manuscript for her first book, which will share her journey with cancer through the lens of humor and enlightenment, and hopefully helping others with their own journey through cancer.
 
WINGS Shontea Smith

CATCHING UP WITH SHONTEA SMITH (2008 GRADUATE)

 
Scholar Shontea Smith graduated in 2008 with a BS in Religious Studies at UNCC and went on to two Masters Degrees from UNCC and Duke Divinity School. Shontea serves as Ministry Coordinator with St. Paul's AME in Chapel Hill as well as Executive Director of United Voices of Efland Cheeks Community Center. Shontea's WINGS Mentor was Cindy Quinlan.
 
WINGS Doni Shepard Steele

CATCHING UP WITH DONI SHEPARD-STEELE (2008 GRADUATE)

 
Scholar Fridonna (Doni) Shepard-Steele graduated in 2014 with a Bachelor's Degree in Sociology, and minors in Public Health and American Studies. She was selected as a scholar while attending CPCC and ultimately earned her four-year degree at UNCC. She is currently earning her Masters in Social Work from Capella University, where she was recently accepted into the Phi Alpha Honor Society. In addition to serving on Capella's Social Work Leadership Group, she serves on the professional service boards of the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics, and the North Carolina Substance Abuse Professional Practice Board. She is the proud grandmother of first grandchild, born in January of 2021, and is looking forward to beginning her first practicum with the Indian Health Service working with the Navajo Tribe, allowing her to give back and honor her Native American heritage. Her WINGS mentors were Pam West and Frances Queen.
 
sharon-floyd

CATCHING UP WITH SHARON FLOYD (2000 GRADUATE)

 
Kudos and appreciation to Community Champion Goodwill and their partnership with Indeed Essentials to Work Program, a GII Program that supports jobseekers with essential supports such as computers, WiFi and Lyft rides. 2022 Graduate Sharon Floyd recently received a laptop and Wi-Fi hotspot for one year as she pursues employment opportunities. This program is managed by the GISP Career Center Team and Family Stability Services. A demonstration of partnership and collaboration at its best!! Another example of how our WINGS Scholars benefit long after they graduate thanks to our community of champions and connections.