Young alumni making advances in their fields, communities

UNC Charlotte’s young alumni are making advances in their fields and communities. Ten outstanding alumni were recognized at the fifth annual 10 Under Ten Awards ceremony sponsored by the UNC Charlotte Young Alumni Chapter Thursday, Oct. 20. The ceremony, which was part of Niner Nation Week and Homecoming 2022, was held at the UNC Charlotte Marriott Hotel & Conference Center.

The 10 Under Ten Awards recognize alumni who have graduated within the past 10 years and who are succeeding in their professional lives and are actively involved in community volunteerism and philanthropy.

2022 10 Under Ten Recipients

Brandt Bronico ’17 was the third player to sign on Charlotte FC’s inaugural roster. He was a starting midfielder and played the most minutes of any field player. Bronico was drafted in the third round of the 2017 MLS Superdraft to the Chicago Fire and played in the Windy City for four years. He started his own brand, B-B-13, has a mental strength blog with Soccer Resilience and is giving back through a new fundraiser to support Queen City charities. Bronico completed a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the Belk College of Business. As a student-athlete, he was an integral part of the men’s soccer team’s success during his four-year collegiate career. As co-captain his senior year, Bronico was named Conference USA Player of the Year, conference Offensive MVP and earned the conference’s Golden Boot Award for the most points scored in a season.

Rose Brown ’17 is an educator and researcher dedicated to making life more equitable for underrepresented communities. She considers herself a code-switching researcher and is using her findings to gently remind people that language matters. Brown earned bachelor’s degrees in psychology from the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and in business administration from the Belk College of Business. She also holds a master’s degree in nonprofit leadership, an organizational leadership in social work professional certificate from the University of Pennsylvania and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in social and personality psychology as a Dean’s Scholar at Cornell University. Before joining Cornell, Brown leveraged virtual reality technology as a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Fellow at UNC Chapel Hill’s Reese Innovation Laboratory.

Will Foster ’17 works for Guidepoint as a research manager and serves as president of Hospitality House Young Professionals, a group of young professionals who volunteer their time to support and grow Hospitality House of Charlotte. Since he took over the program, over 30 new members have been added and annual fundraising goals have been greatly surpassed. Foster also serves on the Board of Directors for Hospitality House. In addition, he is an avid music lover and sings with Charlotte’s Carolina Voices Choir. Foster completed a bachelor’s degree in communication studies and public relations with a minor in journalism from the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.

Courtney R. Hunt ’18 is the event coordinator at The Dubois Center at UNC Charlotte Center City, where she helps schedule academic classes and leads the Center City events team. She served a four-year term on UNC Charlotte’s Young Alumni Chapter Board of Directors as a member, chair, president and past-president and is a proud Alumni Campus Employee. Earlier this year, Hunt won UNC Charlotte’s Staff Employee of the Year Award for Community and Public Service. She has a bachelor’s degree in marketing analytics from the Belk College of Business with a minor in American Studies and completed an MBA from UNC Wilmington.

Sara Karimipour ’16 is a writer on an unannounced show at Netflix/DreamWorks. Previously, she was a writer on Disney Jr.’s “Alice’s Wonderland Bakery” and has written freelance episodes for Nickelodeon, Netflix, Disney Junior, Sesame Workshop, Peacock, Moonbug and Atomic Productions. As a first-generation Iranian-American, Karimipour takes great pride in connecting with her Persian roots and strives to bring more accurate representation to the forefront of mainstream media. She completed a bachelor’s degree in political science and mass media from the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and a master’s degree in film production from Florida State’s College of Motion Pictures.

Samantha Pagnatta ’18 is a marketing manager for Northwood Office, where she has instituted a partnership between Northwood Office and OneBlood that has helped save and sustain more than 200 lives. She has leveraged her leadership and academic skills to give back to the greater Charlotte community, raising more than $7,500 for local organizations, including Camp CARE, Levine Children’s Hospital and Hope of Mooresville. Pagnatta also launched a sustainability initiative to help improve the conditions of the greenways around Charlotte. She earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the Belk College of Business.

Diane Phillips ’17 is a staff attorney for the Innocence Project Clinic at the University of Virginia School of Law, where she supervises more than 60 law students as they investigate the cases of Virginians who claim they were wrongfully convicted and advocates for policy reform in the General Assembly. She gives back to UNC Charlotte by speaking at events for pre-law students and advising numerous students on the law school admissions process. Phillips completed a bachelor’s degree in English literature from the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences; her law degree is from UVA Law, where she was executive editor of the Virginia Law Review, a legal writing fellow and director of the Virginia Law Prison Project. She also clerked for judges on the Virginia Supreme Court and Court of Appeals.

Nicholas Sulak ’17 is a lead scrum master at Method and is the founder of One Chaptr, a collegiate merchandising service company. He is dedicated to giving back to his alma mater, serving on several boards, including the Young Alumni Council Chapter Board and the Belk College of Business Alumni Council. Sulak is the youngest member of the Bonnie E. Cone Society, UNC Charlotte’s planned giving society. He has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the Belk College of Business.

Haley Sutton ’19 runs Box Babe Gift Company, a multimillion dollar gifting business, handling everything from small birthday gifts to large corporate events. The business has given her the opportunity to support minority-owned businesses during the pandemic: 100% of gifts are sourced from women-owned businesses. Sutton earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the Belk College of Business

Ghada Ternanni ’16 joined Bank of America in 2015 while an undergraduate business student through the Applied Technology Program. She then continued developing her business acumen with the bank’s Finance Management Analyst Program. Ternanni currently serves as a senior financial analyst and business finance officer for the Global Corporate Banking line at Bank of America, chairs the Bank of America UNC Charlotte Alumni Network, facilitates employee engagement and workplace excellence initiatives and assists in the Finance Management Analyst Program and the UNC Charlotte Campus Programs Recruiting Team. She also serves as a member for the Belk College Alumni Council and as a Women in Business Associate Member in the college. Ternanni earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the Belk College of Business.

Photo: Left to right are Josh Englund, UNC Charlotte assistant director of early engagement, Diane Phillips, Haley Sutton, Sara Karimipour, Will Foster, Samantha Pagnatta, Nicholas Sulak, Ghada Ternanni, Courtney Hunt, Rose Brown, Adam Wassell, interim executive director of alumni engagement, and Brandt Bronico.