Joanie Vandenberg Philipp ‘84, chief operating officer at Discovery Place, has been elected to the board of directors for the Giant Screen Cinema Association (GSCA), an international organization and leader in the giant screen industry.

After graduating from Belmont Abbey College with a degree in Human Biology, Joanie began her career with Discovery Place, turning down an offer from then start-up Apple, which she calls the “best decision I ever made!”

Joanie began her two-year term on the board of directors in January 2019. The GSCA aims to facilitate communication, information sharing and the development of best practices to support the production and exhibition of original, high quality, educational and entertaining giant screen cinema experiences.

Discovery Place is a science and technology museum for visitors of all ages located in the Uptown area of Charlotte, North Carolina, which is among 260 organizations in 20 countries to have GSCA membership, which supports the efforts of its IMAX© Dome Theatre located at Discovery Place Science in Uptown Charlotte.

“It is an honor to be elected and to serve on the GSCA board of directors,” said Joanie, an avid proponent of giant screen films. “The amazing thing about these films is that they allow people access to places they may never get to go. They are shot in powerful and emotional ways that have a lasting impact on the people who come to see them. It is such an immersive experience and each film has its signature, awe-inspiring moment.”

For more about the IMAX Dome Theatre or to see what films currently are showing, visit

Mary-Kate Reid, Class of 2016, currently works as Social Media and Content Manager for Skipper, an on-demand dog-walking startup in Charlotte. She was recently featured in an in-depth profile on the Hygge blog, to read it, click here.

Class of 2018 Alum Cierra Lipscomb will be attending North Carolina Central University to study Physical Education and Education Administration. Cierra is the daughter of CCPS alum, Gina Lipscomb ’15 and Kevin Lipscomb ‘17.

Former Motorsports Management Major,Tom Dano ’18, has accepted a job offer with Levine Family Racing.

A graduate of the biology major ’18, Jesse Kooistra, will be continuing his education at Winthrop University in Rock Hill where he will study cell and molecular biology. Jesse is a native of Michigan and represented Belmont Abbey on the cycling team, taking third place at road nationals and second place at the William & Mary Tidewater Winter Classic.

Recent Abbey Alum, Kyle Fitzsimmons ’18, will be working for the Compass Group in Charlotte. As a student at Belmont Abbey, Kyle played Lacrosse, served as a head residence assistant, and majored in accounting.

Recent class of 2018 graduates from the accounting major and members of the Hintemeyer Catholic Leadership program, Rachel McCormick (Top) and Nicole Osmera, will be working for top 3 accounting firm KPMG. Nicole will be based out of Washington, DC while Rachel will work in Norfolk, VA.

Women’s Soccer player Nicole Ferren is graduating with her Bachelors of Arts in Accounting and a minor in Information Systems.  Nicole begins her career with the Big 4 firm, Pricewaterhouse-   Coopers (PwC) in New York City as a Core  Assurance Intern.

Once Nicole completes the last few credits to sit for her CPA exam, she hopes to be offered a full-time position in PwC’s growing Charlotte location.  Nicole learned of the position through networking with a family friend who worked for PwC.  Nicole’s network helped her determine her best path towards her goals and connected her with the hiring manager.

Nicole advises other students, “always have your elevator speech ready. You never know who you will meet and what will come from that meeting, which is how I found all my internship opportunities. Through speaking about my future plans with family friends, many offered to help and inquired within their companies while others connected me to contacts within their organizations.”

Baseball player Michael Cole is graduating in May with his Bachelors of Arts in Business Management.  Michael will start his career with multinational software company Citrix Systems in Ft. Lauderdale, FL as a Sales Support Specialist.

Mike first learned of Citrix when he was high school and knew then that he wanted to be a part of this organization.  Through his research, he located a Belmont Abbey alum working at Citrix and reached out.  The alumnus put Michael in touch with the recruiter and after three phone interviews, he was flown to the office for an on-site interview and was later offered the position.

Michael advises students “don’t wait!  Begin networking and applying early; you will have a greater chance of landing a lucrative career.  Use LinkedIn effectively to connect with people and the latest opportunities.  Allow the Career Services Office to assist you in the process.”

Honors  Scholar, Vincent Ginski graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Government & Political Philosophy. An active member on campus, Vinny also was President of SGA and a Resident Assistant. Vincent begins his career with the Greater Gaston Development Corp., where he’ll pursue his dream job working in economic development. Vinny participated in several internships including working as a congressional intern for Congressman Patrick McHenry. This internship provided the experience he needed for his next internship with the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.      Vincent worked with this governmental think tank researching policies with the Center of Principles and Politics. Vincent obtained these opportunities by doing his homework, reaching out to these organizations and leveraging his connections. Vincent advises other students, “You can be the most qualified person, but that often doesn’t get you the job. Network! It’s a great way to learn about the people and the organization. Employers want to know that you’ll fit cohesively within their group.”

Outstanding Academic Accounting Student of the Year, Nicholas Carpenter is graduating with a Bachelors of Arts in Accounting.  Nick begins his career in Duke Energy’s Finance Rotational Program as a Finance Associate.

Nick obtained his position through the connection he made and his hard work while interning at Duke Energy.  Nick also credits several people both at the Abbey and at Duke for helping him prepare for this amazing opportunity,

Nick advises other students, “never give up pursuing your dream job. Always keep in mind to work, work, and work to achieve what God has given to you, and give Him the praise and glory. Once you do that and work very hard, everything will fall into place for what God intended.”

Kendall Ratliff, forward for the Belmont Abbey Basketball team, recently graduated with his  Bachelors of Arts in Business Management, concentration in Marketing. Kendall begins his career with Expeditors International as an Import Service Agent.

Kendall learned that Expeditors was hiring through a posting from Belmont Abbey’s Office of   Career Services and submitted his resume for consideration. After interviewing twice for two separate positions, Kendall received an offer.

Kendall advises other students, “schedule as many interviews as possible. Interviewing is a skill and can be nerve-wracking, however with more practice comes more confidence. Secondly, the importance of networking is crucial when searching for a career post-graduation.”

Grace Bruno is graduating with a Bachelors of Arts in both English and Government & Political Philosophy.  Not only is Grace an Honors Institute Scholar, but also is the Chapter President of    Sigma Tau Delta, International English Honor Society, and is a staff writer for the Crusader, the BAC newspaper. Grace begins her career in the U.S. Senate as a staff assistant to the U.S. Senate’s Budget  Committee. During the summer semester prior to her junior year, Grace interned as a legislative intern for     Senator Tillis where she researched upcoming legislation, wrote correspondence and bill recommendations. Grace credits the relationships she built over her internship that led to her new opportunity. Grace recommends to other students, “always reach out to your contacts; you never know who they might be able to connect you with. And always listen to Career Services!”

Four employees captured the most prestigious awards presented by Gaston County Schools during the 2016 Evening of Excellence ceremony. The program, sponsored by Wells Fargo Bank, was held Tuesday, May 3 at the Gaston Country Club.
McAdenville Elementary fifth grade teacher Elizabeth Crosby was named the Wells Fargo Teacher of the Year and Rebecca Huffstetler of Southwest Middle School earned the Wells Fargo Principal of the Year recognition. They will represent Gaston County in the regional competitions for 2016-2017.
Glenn Cook of Stuart W. Cramer High School received the Assistant Principal of the Year distinction, and Lisa Montgomery, the instructional technology facilitator for the Technology Services Department, was chosen the Central Office Administrator of the Year.
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BAC Alumni Jared Orton takes on the title of Team President and plans to bring a new minor league baseball team, the Savannah Bananas, to Savannah, Georgia this coming summer.

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Ron George Jewelers’ workshop, father and son work together to design anything from family crests to engagement rings.

This is what Ron George planned in 2014, when he closed his Severna Park storefront to focus on custom jewelry making at his Annapolis shop. He also wanted to teach the trade to his sons, John, 26 and Sam, 31. Now John is a master goldsmith and Sam handles the store’s photography and social media efforts.

John studied business and entrepreneurship at Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina. Now his tasks include taking into consideration a woman’s finger, the shape of her finger, the color of the metal and type of metal she wants before creating a custom piece.

“People think rings are rings and they just go on fingers,” John says. “They’re all different. There are different styles that look better or worse on different people…”

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Cathy W. Liles has joined American National Bank and Trust Company as senior vice president and chief accounting officer.

Liles began her new position Jan. 4 and reports to William W. Traynham, vice president, and chief financial officer of the bank, according to a news release from the bank.

Liles most recently served as senior vice president and chief financial officer for Carter Bank & Trust…

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BETHESDA, Md., Jan. 11, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — EagleBank has responded to customers’ growing needs for expertise in the FHA Multifamily FHA commercial real estate industry with the creation of its new FHA Multifamily Lending Division.  The Bank has hired four highly-focused lenders with extensive experience and expertise in this specialized area.  The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) provides mortgage insurance to approved lenders, such as EagleBank, to make loans to borrowers for multifamily properties. These loans facilitate long-term, fixed-rate, fully-amortizing financing, and allow financing through the issuance of tax-exempt bonds and mortgage-backed securities…

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Robert Harbers

Crestmark Bank announced that Robert Harbers has been named national sales manager for its trade services division; he is based in Boynton Beach. Harbers has a bachelor’s of arts degree in business administration from Belmont Abbey College…

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Tom Vesey has been named Charlotte Motor Speedway‘s 2015 Employee of the Year. Presented annually, the award recognizes an individual who goes above and beyond the call of duty in executing his or her responsibilities.

The winner is determined by a vote of the speedway’s executive committee and is selected from Employee of the Month award recipients presented throughout the previous 12 months and voted on by their peers.

“Tom is one of the most dedicated and hard-working people at the speedway and is truly deserving of the Employee of the Year honor,” said Doug Cremer, vice president of events for Charlotte Motor Speedway. “His attention to detail and note-taking are second to none, and he always works to make each event better than the previous.”

A lifelong race fan, Vesey attended Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, North Carolina, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Management with a concentration in Motorsports Management in 2008.

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Former Belmont Abbey College basketball standout and coach Jeff Brookman was last month named head basketball at Anderson, S.C., University.

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The Hopewell City School Board unanimously appointed a interim superintendent this week. Melody Hackney will serve as the interim superintendent, replacing Dr. John Fahey who retired at the end of this school year.

Before arriving in the city, Hackney has served for 10 years as superintendent of Charlotte County Schools in Virginia and, most recently, served for two years as deputy superintendent in Mecklenburg County, also here in Virginia.

Hackney has her bachelor’s degree in special education from Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina, a master’s degree in business management from National Louis University, a master’s degree in education administration from Shenandoah University, and an E.D.D. in education leadership from the University of Virginia.

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Former Belmont Abbey women’s soccer goalkeeper Hannah Kohls has signed a professional contract with Dimas Escazu in Costa Rica. Dimas Escazu plays in the Primera Division of the Costa Rican Women’s Domestic League. The league runs from June 27-November 18.

In addition to her playing and training schedule, Kohls will be working with the youth teams within the club as well as some academic and social programs. Kohls finished her career fourth all-time in NCAA Division II annals in minutes played with 7,710:25, as she started all but one match in her career. A first team all-conference selection in 2013, Kohls also earned the Conference Carolinas Scholar Athlete of the Year award that season as well. She finished her Belmont Abbey career with 320 saves, a 1.05 goals against average and 38 shutouts, which is tied for tenth all-time in the history of NCAA Division II play.

The Cincinnati, Ohio native graduated with honors.

Where Some of Our Recent Graduates are Currently Employed:

3CiAtlanta, GA
Amerisource Bergen Speciality Consulting
Charlotte, NC
American National Bank and Trust CompanyWinston Salem, NC
Benetech, Inc.
Cornelius, NC
California State University, Northridge
Northridge, CA
Citrix SystemsFort Luaderdale, FL
Clemson UniversityClemson, SC
Crestmark BankBoynton Beach, Fl
Charlotte, NC
Duke EnergyCharlotte, NC
Eager Owl Marketing, LLC
Charlotte, NC
Expeditors International Charlotte, NC
Gaston County Economic DevelopmentGastonia, NC
Greater Gaston Development Corp.,Belmont, NC
Highgarden Real Estate
Charlotte, NC
Inlanta Mortgage
Sarasota, FL
Charlotte. NC
KPMGCharlotte, NC
Levine Family Racing Concord, NC
Mecklenburg County CourthouseCharlotte, NC
Merrill LynchNew York, NY
Monterey Consultants, Inc.
Dayton, OH
NASCARCharlotte, NC
New England Classical Academy
Claremont, NH
North Carolina Army National Guard
Belmont, NC
Pollart Electrical SalesBensalem, PA
Pricewaterhouse CoopersNew York, NY
Racing 2 Cure
Belmont, NC
Red Ventures
Fort Mill, SC
San Jose Catholic SchoolJacksonville, FL
Students for LifeArlington, VA
Trinity Teen Solutions
Powell, WY
UNC Charlotte
Charlotte, NC
U.S. Air ForceWashington, DC
U.S. Senate Budget CommitteeWashington, D.C.
Vodafone InternationalLondon, GBR
Wells FargoSan Francisco, CA
William Paterson University
Wayne, NJ