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Alumni Magazine

Inaugural COE Key Volunteers Day results in ways to advance NC State Engineering

Volunteer leaders meet to discuss strategies and share ideas in a large conference room seated at a series of tables arranged in a square.

Community and fellowship are the cornerstone of any successful volunteer strategy. In November, as part of Red and White Week, volunteer leaders from throughout the College of Engineering (COE) gathered to discuss strategies, share ideas and get to know each other better.

The College has 11 advisory boards, more than any other college or unit at NC State University. There are 174 advisory board members representing each of the nine academic departments and an additional 34 advisory board members representing young alumni and the Women and Minority Engineering Programs. Each advisory board or department sent a representative to the inaugural COE Key Volunteers Day.

“We all have a unique role for a common purpose: advancing the College of Engineering,” explained Hannah Kunkel, assistant director of development, alumni engagement & stewardship.

Advisory boards help reach alumni, who in turn can help the College and its students through their networks, talents and support. Volunteers shared initiatives that helped advance their home departments, including: starting mentorship programs, developing new slogans and refreshed marketing campaigns, helping students on their design projects and engaging advisory board members in department research.

David Whitley, electrical engineering ‘92 and chair of the development committee for the NC State Engineering Foundation Board of Directors, emphasized the need to pull together all the different specializations in the College.

“When I hire an NC State grad, I don’t know how to say it, other than they tend to be different,” he said. “There is a continual need to understand and learn and to make progress.”

To learn about opportunities to get involved with an advisory board, please reach out to the College’s advancement staff at

The representatives from each department in attendance were:

Laura Schranz, Joint UNC / NC State Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME), BME Director of Development

Russ O’Dell, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (CBE), CBE Director of Alumni Relations, Chemical Engineering, B.S. ‘75, Ph.D. ‘78

Tyler Highfill, Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering, Founding Manager and President of Highfill Infrastructure Engineering, Civil Engineering, BSCE ‘92, MSCE ‘94

Kim Calhoun, Department of Computer Science, Founder and CEO of Guardianator and Senior Executive Producer of MoneyMasters.TV

Sonali Luniya, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Vice President Corporate Development at Holmusk, Electrical Engineering, Ph.D. ‘06

Patrick Murray, Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE), Adjunct Lecturer; Industry / Executive Coach for ISE; retired from Intel, Industrial Engineering, B.S. ‘88

Juli Trexler, ISE, Vice President, Global Partner Ecosystem, IBM Technology Support Services, Industrial Engineering, B.S. ‘97

Sara Seltzer, Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE), MSE Director of Development

Doug Utley, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Owner of DEUtley LLC, Mechanical Engineering, B.S. ‘73

Lisa Marshall, Department of Nuclear Engineering (NE), NE Extension Assistant Professor, Director of Outreach, Retention and Engagement

Antonia Arnold-McFarland, Women and Minority Engineering Programs Manager, STEM Diversity Advancement at John Deere, Mechanical Engineering, B.S. ‘96

Alberto Quiroga, Young Alumni Advisory Board, Lead Commodity Specialist, Pegasus, Aerospace Engineering, B.S. ‘19