AADS Alumni Stories | African American & African Diaspora Studies

AADS Alumni Stories

Bird LogoAADS alumni include a range of brilliant, hard-working and caring professionals, including elected officials, teachers, doctors, attorneys, scholars, actors, administrators, and entrepreneurs, working in diverse industries and contributing in a host of ways to their communities, the nation, and even internationally. Here are some of our wonderful graduates …



Preston Blakely

Mayor of Fletcher, NC 

Born in Asheville, Preston grew up in Fletcher with deep family roots in Western North Carolina. He earned his B.A. at UNC Greensboro, double majoring in African American & African Diaspora Studies and Political Science. He went on to earn his Master of Public Affairs degree from Western Carolina University, where he was named the Outstanding Public Affairs Student in Public Management. Wanting to serve the community, he ran and was elected as Mayor of Fletcher, NC, and was subsequently appointed by North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper to the Statewide Taskforce for Racial Equality in Criminal Justice.



Stephanie Orosco

History Teacher & Department Chair, Goldsboro H.S.

Stephanie graduated cum laude from UNC Greensboro earning a bachelor’s degree in African American & African Diaspora Studies. She began teaching history at Goldsboro High School where she was awarded Teacher of the Year three different times. She also serves as the head coach for women’s cross country and the assistant coach of women’s basketball and soccer. Stephanie now serves as Goldsboro High’s History Department Chair. She was selected to be a member of Wayne County Public School’s Social Studies Super Core and is also a part of the inaugural Rural Teacher Leader Network where a diverse group of educators collaborate to strengthen professional practices and cultivate leadership that focuses on equity, trauma-informed practice, and global education. In 2021 she was selected to be a Southern Cohort Principal Fellow at North Carolina State University, where she is pursing her master’s degree in education.



Tiffany Atkins, Esq.

Assistant Professor, Elon Law School

Assistant Professor of Law at Elon University School of Law, where she teaches Legal Method and Communication, Race and the Law, and Public Interest Drafting. Prior to joining Elon Law, she successfully passed the North Carolina Bar Exam on her first attempt and became the youngest attorney to join the Greensboro Office of Legal Aid of North Carolina, where she practiced family law and public housing law, among other areas of civil litigation. She received her law degree from Elon University School of Law and her B.A. in African American & African Diaspora Studies and Political Science from UNC Greensboro. Professor Atkins was also the 2011 recipient of the David Gergen Award for Leadership and Professionalism. 



Charles Chavis, Jr., Ph.D.

Director & Assistant Professor, George Mason University

Founding Director of the John Mitchell, Jr. Program for History, Justice, and Race at George Mason University’s Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution, where he is also an Assistant Professor of Conflict Analysis and Resolution and History. He received his B.A. in African American & African Diaspora Studies at UNC Greensboro, where he was in Lloyd International Honors College. The author of The Silent Shore: The Lynching of Matthew Williams and the Politics of Racism in the Free State, he also edited For the Sake of Peace: Africana Perspectives on Racism, Justice, and Peace in America. Dr. Chavis received his M.T.S. in Black Church Studies from Vanderbilt University and Ph.D. in History from Morgan State University.



Tiera C. Moore 

International Marketing Consultant, Artist, Educator
Tiera is a spoken word artist, writer, co-producer and a community organizer with interdisciplinary interests in the histories, cultures, literatures, and philosophies of African peoples. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of The University of North Carolina Greensboro, where she received her B.A. in African American and African Diaspora Studies and her M.A. with a focus on Global Studies, Tiera has served in multiple roles at UNC Greensboro including Coordinator of Programing in Lloyd International Honors College at UNC Greensboro,  Lecturer of the AADS Program’s introductory course, and co-director of Community Play!/All Stars in the Warnersville neighborhood of Greensboro. She has conducted graduate-level research in her family’s homeland Onitsha, Nigeria and The University of Cape Town, South Africa, which led to her 2019 TEDxUNCGreensboro Talk “Higgler is the New Hustle: Lessons from Igbo Women Entrepreneurs.” Currently Tiera works in consulting and strategy development for companies entering new African markets and lives in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico where she enjoys frequently traveling and visiting historical sites of the world.



Cameron H. Wynn, M.D.






Nique Williams, Esq.

Veteran’s Affairs Attorney 

Nique double-majored in African American & African Diaspora Studies and Political Science at UNC Greensboro and was one of the first AADS Whitty Ransome scholarship recipients. She interned with the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, North Carolina State Senator Gladys Robinson’s office, and Legal Affairs of North Carolina while pursuing her law degree. She received her J.D. from North Carolina Central Law School and worked in Washington, D.C. with the VA Board of Veteran’s Appeals and later returned to graduate school and received an M.A. from Shaw University. Her area of law is in veteran’s affairs, representing veterans and their families for disability compensation before the VA.




Tanae Downing

Actress, Health Coach, and Yoga Instructor

Born in Charlotte, North Carolina, Tanae double-majored in African American & African Diaspora Studies and Media Studies at UNC Greensboro, specializing in electronic news documentary. She was one of the stars of the film The War Room, in which she performed the role of Veronica Drake. She also appeared in Running in Place and  Box Brown, among other productions. In  addition to her acting career, she is a certified health coach and yoga instructor.




Jarrod Rudd

Associate Director & Ph.D. candidate, Higher Education, UNC Greensboro 

Jarrod graduated with a B.A. in African American & African Diaspora Studies. After receiving his M.Ed in Education from UNC Wilmington, Jarrod was appointed as Assistant Director of Student Activities for Greek Life at Queens University of Charlotte. He later joined Elon University as an Assistant Director in student affairs. He returned to UNC Greensboro to pursue his doctorate in higher education while working as Associate Director of Leadership in the Office of Leadership and Civic Engagement. 





Andrea Jenkins

Senior Director, Major Gifts, Winston-Salem State University

Andrea earned her M.P.A. in nonprofit management from High Point University and holds a B.A. in African American & African Diaspora Studies and Political Science from UNC Greensboro.  She is a member of the UNCG Alumni Association board of directors, the advisory committee for the Black Philanthropy Initiative of the Winston-Salem Foundation, and a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. She is now Senior Director of Major and Planned Gifts at Winston-Salem State University.



Yasmeen Chism

Ph.D. candidate, Performance Studies, New York University

Yasmeen graduated from UNC Greensboro with a B.A. in African American and African Diaspora Studies and Women’s, Gender,  and Sexuality Studies. She earned her master’s degree in Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of Louisville and a second master’s in Performance Studies from New York University, where she is currently a Ph.D. candidate. Yasmeen’s dissertation, “Tracing Black Movements: Chor[e]ographing Displacements in North Carolina’s Piedmont,” has received funding from ACLS/Mellon, NYU’s Urban Democracy Lab, and the Andrew W. Mellon Public Humanities Fellowship. Her research interests include performance studies, black geographies, visual analysis, feminist jurisprudence, nineteenth and twentieth century black studies, and black feminist theories.


Mary Villano

Talent Acquisition Coordinator, JBC

Based in Lynchburg, Virginia, Mary received her B.A. in African American & African Diaspora Studies with a minor in Communication Studies at UNC Greensboro. She then worked as a Managing Consultant at UNC Greensboro’s Speaking Center before moving to Lynchburg, where she became Talent Acquisition Coordinator at JBC. Previous to this position she was a technical recruiter at Greene Resources and in customer service at Lowe’s  Companies Inc. 



Itané Coleman, Esq.

Civil Law Attorney

Itané graduated from UNC Greensboro with a B.A. in African American & African Diaspora Studies and Political Science summa cum laude and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. After graduation she served as a Middle School Social Studies Teacher with Teach for America in a Title I school and an Election Engagement Project Fellow before going to law school. She received her J.D. from Wake Forest University School of Law, where she was part of the Wake Forest Law Innocence Project and the Wake Forest Law Review. Itané did internships with both the Charlotte Mecklenburg District Attorney’s Office and the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education and was selected as a Fellow of The National Black Prosecutors Association. She passed the North Carolina Bar and now works as an attorney.



Eugenia Brown

Healthcare Professional and Entrepreneur

After graduating in African American &  African Diaspora Studies from UNC Greensboro, Eugenia worked at the university as an Accounts and Purchasing specialist. She then took a position as Quality Operations Manager with a non-profit in Charlotte called Inner Vision before working as Appeals and Grievances Coordinator with Cardinal Innovations Healthcare.  While  working as a healthcare professional she also founded her own company, Beer Chick LLC, a craft beer company. In the summer of 2020 she launched the “Road to 50,” with the goal of helping fifty Black women and women of color earn their Cicerone Certified Beer Server qualifications, the first step towards becoming a Certified Cicerone, or the craft beer equivalent of a sommelier. 



Zechariah Etheridge


After graduating in African American & African Diaspora Studies and Sociology at UNC Greensboro, Zechariah went to Elon Law School. He was a Law Clerk in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and was a Summer Associate at Allen, Stahl, and Kilbourne in Asheville, North Carolina. He is now preparing to take the North Carolina Bar examination.






Allyson Beatty

Museum Studies Graduate Student

She completed a degree in History with a minor in African American &  African Diaspora Studies. She served as an AADS Ambassador, a Research Assistant to Dr. Omar Ali on the Granville County African American Public History Project, and served as a chair of the UNC Greensboro History Club. Ally is passionate about her advocacy for positive change in all aspects of the community and is pursuing her graduate degree in Museum Studies at UNC Greensboro with aspirations of becoming a museum curator.




Dominick Hand

Trainer and Business Consultant

Dominick graduated with a B.A. in African American & African Diaspora Studies and an M.A. in Criminology and Sociology from UNC Greensboro. He is a trainer and consultant for the Racial Equity institute, training companies to advocate for racial equity. He is also the founder and lead consultant for the Intellectual Actionaire, an educational and digital marketing consulting company which strives to help young teachers, entrepreneurs, and other business consultants build business brands that innovate a new paradigm of leadership, education, and social impact. Dominick is also serving on the AADS faculty and is part of the Afro-Latin American/Latinx Studies Project.




If you are an AADS graduate and have an update or would like to be featured, please email Dr. Omar Ali at ohali@uncg.edu


Bird LogoAADS Graduates …