Dedicated to serving the needs of African Americans and leveraging resources for organizational growth, Jennifer Slaton Anderson joined the Alabama State University Development team in 2012. During her time with ASU, she has served as the Director of Development and the Executive Director of the ASU Foundation. While at ASU, Jennifer has supported the University's fundraising growth, increasing donations by 200%. She is most proud of her team's development of ASU's 50 Under 50 Alumni Recognition Program and securing the University's largest amount of donated stocks in a calendar year. Although committed to the ASU Hornet's forward growth, Jennifer remains a loyal AMAU Alum. Mrs. Anderson has served and serves her University and the Alumni Association as the 2010 AAMU National Alumni Association Conference Co-Chair, coordinator for the 2013 President's Tour Alumni Reception, committee member for the inaugural Montgomery Area Chapter Christmas Scholarship Gala, secretary for the Department of Community Planning and Urban Studies Alumni Association, mentor for Urban Planning students and Class Agent for her ten-year class reunion. Jennifer embodies that Ole' Bulldog spirit and has not missed a homecoming game since she graduated. Mrs. Anderson is pursuing a doctorate degree and is married to her Bulldog Sweetheart Kindell C. Anderson. She is the mother of a future Bulldog, STEM major, and astronaut, 6-year-old Slaton Anderson.
Patrick Bynum exemplifies all the qualities and characteristics for selection as an Under 40 Champion. Giving back to the community through selfless service has continuously been a priority for Patrick, especially as it pertains to the youth. He has been an active member of the AAMU Alumni Association since moving to Michigan in 2015 and served as the Detroit Chapter President for over a year until relocating to Atlanta. He is actively engaged in leadership roles in multiple professional organizations including the Leadership Development Institute of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Eastern Region; a Campaign Volunteer with the Marietta School Election Board; Moderator for GEM Lab; and the Back to School Supply Drive Coordinator of the Elizabeth Baptist Church. Most prominently, Patrick has served as a chaperone for the last 7 years of the 8-day Eta Theta Lambda Annual HBCU College Tour. He is a Systems Engineer for Thales where he supports a private cloud solution for international customers and mitigates cyber security threats. Patrick is also the founder of Instant Digital Solutions, LLC. The mission of his company is to fill the IT needs of small and medium sized businesses.
Quentin T. Carter’s instinct to blaze trails has made him an award-winning entrepreneur and community influencer. Mr. Carter is the owner of Better Living, LLC, which has diversified divisions in real estate, travel, apparel, scholarship fundraising, and several other growing commercial sectors. He is a licensed realtor in partnership with Barnes & Associates REALTORS®, an active brother of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. and serves on local non-profit boards. As a member of Phi Beta Sigma, Quentin finds joy in spearheading many of the chapter’s leadership and service initiatives, including mentoring young men. A true servant-leader, he was recently chosen as a fundraising ambassador for the Alabama Leukemia and Lymphoma Society through their Man of the Year Campaign. After graduating from Alabama A&M in 2003, he was eagerly sought after by AmSouth Bank’s Management Training Program, now Regions Bank. During his ascension up the corporate ladder he continued to understand the importance of education, completing his MBA. Quentin is a long-time member of the Greater Birmingham Alumni Chapter and is most proud of being selected as a recipient of the Alabama A&M University Alumni Association’s Under 40 Champions Award.
There are few people who can match the drive and enthusiasm for social and community organizing that Atlanta native Cynthia Daniels has. As a community advocate always looking to promote positive influence and change to make a better Memphis, she has built an empire of opportunities to make an economic impact in the city. Because of her work around economic empowerment, Cynthia has been featured in national publications Black Enterprise and Essence Magazine. Under Cynthia Daniels and Co., she created Memphis Black Restaurant Week to bring awareness around local minority-owned eateries. It has now expanded to minority restaurants in multiple cities across the country. Cynthia Daniels & Co. also launched a Black Christmas Expo, where 50 minority businesses participated, and patrons spent more than $115,000 during the two-day event for 2 consecutive years. Cynthia continues to impact her community through beneficial connections to support the efforts of building up Memphis, including: MLK Soul Series, a free outdoor concert series for the community, in partnership with National Civil Rights Museum; the Level Up Conference, Black Bridal Expo, Elixir Social Event and Soulful Food Truck Festival; and the Top 40 Under 40 Urban Elite Professionals to celebrate and retain African-American young professionals. She was recently awarded an HBCU Award by the Memphis Grizzlies for her work in the Memphis community and donated her award money to AAMU to students in need of tuition assistance
EDDIE DAVIS, JR.
Eddie Davis, Jr. is the first person to write a complete and comprehensive biography on the founder of Alabama A&M University, Dr. William Hooper Councill entitled, William Hooper Councill-The Greatest Negro the Race Ever Produced. For this scholarly work he has been recognized by many organizations and groups and has served as a guest lecturer in many cities across the country. For this undertaking, he received the Arthur Pillar Award given by the Alabama A&M University Alumni Association. Also from the books research, an historic marker has been erected by the State of Alabama in the city of Stevenson, Alabama to serve as an historic memorial of the once former slave village where Dr. Councill would first become educated, then later began teaching the freemen in the town known then as Averyville. This experience would be the seeds sown and would help him to establish the school we know today as Alabama A&M University. Mr. Davis has begun the research of a second book that will highlight a deeper look into the philosophies and strategies of Dr. Councill. Eddie Davis Jr. is a former president of the Normal Historic District Preservation Association; a former National Alumni Board of Directors member; and remains an active Alabama A&M University Alumni Association member.
As a former SGA President, Brandon Gilmore has been known to organize and strategize all while promoting Alabama A&M University. After graduation, he took several principles and life lessons that could only be acquired from the Hill. After his career as an IT Project Manager lead him to Atlanta, he realized just how much he missed Alabama A&M University and wanted to create opportunities for younger alumni network and be a valuable resource to our alma mater. Targeting many graduates and former Alabama A&M students in Atlanta, Brandon created a group called “From the Hill to ATL.” Through this following, Brandon is able promote and encourage younger alumni to be a part of the Association and to participate in the various University drives/initiatives. The Hill to ATL” is the first step at keeping Normalites bonded after graduation and to collaborate with the Alabama A&M University Alumni Association, Inc. by increasing membership and ensuring the Association is the primary organization for collaboration with the University. Mr. Gilmore is the current IT Program Manager for Home Depot and is a member of the Metro Atlanta Alumni Chapter.
Ciji Griffin has made extraordinary efforts to reach Alabama citizens to improve their quality of life. During her services with Alabama A&M University, Cooperative Extension System she has provided an array of resources, valuable information, and educational classes to parents, grandparents, families, and youth of underserved populations as they seek to plan for the future. In December 2010, she began working as an Urban Regional Extension Agent for Family and Child Development with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. In this position, she delivers educational research and developmentally appropriate programs throughout Alabama through oral presentations, classroom instruction, after school initiatives and the distribution and creation of publications. She has presented workshops and trainings on the state, regional and local levels. As an Extension Agent, Ms. Griffin worked on several interdisciplinary programs with colleagues in Family and Consumer Sciences, Agriculture and Natural Resources, and Horticulture, as well as collaborated with numerous community agencies. In February 2013 she was award Future Family and Consumer Sciences Award through the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences. Ciji Griffin has a passion for working with youth, senior citizens and families. She considers herself truly fortunate to work in a career field that allows her to fulfill her passion.
Nia (Gregnia) Hines graduated from Alabama A&M University and earned a a Master of Science in Engineering Management and completed a Graduate Certificate Program in Operations Leadership and Organizational Management from Drexel University. Ms. Hines credits Alabama A&M University’s collegiate environment, curriculum, and faculty/staff for equipping her for a journey in engineering. Nia excelled in her career by obtaining senior leadership roles at Fortune 500 companies to include Lockheed Martin, General Electric, and General Motors. While with Lockheed Martin, Nia was selected by executive leadership to serve as a panelist for the Black Engineer of the Year Award (BEYA) STEM Global Competitiveness Conference. With General Electric, Nia was the African American Forum Chapter President for General Electric in Grand Rapids, Michigan and led the chapter to win its first GE ICON Award. In addition to these professional accomplishments, Nia also prides herself in giving back to the community. She was a charter member and head coach for the FIRST Robotics team at Martin Luther King Leadership Academy in Grand Rapids. Nia recently transitioned from her career in engineering to full-time entrepreneurship, leveraging all the skills she attained during her academic career at Alabama A&M University and her corporate career. Nia started her company, Notiq Agency, in 2012 to offer destination wedding and travel services discerning clientele. She has been able to make major life transitions while still being an active member of the Association, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, and other professional organizations.
RUSSELL JACKSON, JR.
When the annual scholarship fundraising event began to diminish in ticket sales and attendance, Russell Jackson, Jr. stepped in and revitalized our annual event. The Metro Atlanta Chapter’s Continuing the Legacy Scholarship Gala and other chapter events are held for the primary purpose of raising funds for metro Atlanta students attending Alabama A&M University. The revived scholarship gala had an increased profit margin of almost 50% from the prior year’s event and the number in attendance increased by approximately 60%. In addition to playing an integral role in enhancing the chapter’s scholarship fundraising efforts, Russell has used his sphere of influence to increase membership with younger graduates of Alabama A&M University. He currently chairs the Metro Atlanta Chapter’s Young Alumni Committee with the responsibility of recruiting and retaining a more youthful and energetic group of former students and graduates to support the efforts of the Association and advance the University. Mr. Jackson continued his education by obtaining a Master of Business Administration from Columbia Southern University. He is currently employed as the Vice President, Business Banking Relationship Manager of the Fifth Third Bank. Russell has worked in the banking industry for several years excelling in the areas of financial analysis, cash flow and asset-based lending, commercial underwriting and customer retention management. Russell Jackson is the devoted husband of Kayla, also an Alabama A&M University graduate. The couple has one son, Elijah.
J. PATRICE MARBRY
For the past thirteen years, J. Patrice Marbry has worked to instill a love of learning in students in grades seven through twelve. She feels that it is her responsibility as an educator is to create productive members of society. She has served in the following schools, Lovejoy Middle (Clayton County, GA), Vestavia Hills High (Vestavia Hills, AL) and Vincent Middle High (Vincent, AL). During her time in the classroom, Ms. Marbry was nominated for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Education; What's Right in Our Classrooms; recognized by the National Council of Quality Teachers; and received several other recognitions. Outside of the classroom her dedication to education remains. This is evident by her participation in the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) College and Career Ready (CCRS) Science Implementation Team and the collaboration of ALSDE and NASA to create lessons to support College and Career Standards. In 2016 she left the classroom and went to work for the Alabama Math, Science, Technology Initiative (AMSTI) as a science curriculum specialist for Region Seven. In this position, Ms. Marbry works with 100+ teachers to implement best practices in instruction. She was selected to train at The Smithsonian Institute and facilitate instructional workshops in Washington D.C. and Aurora, CO and selected for the Item Writing Team to author questions for the soon to be implemented Alabama Comprehensive Assessment Program, the State Monitoring Assessment. It is Patrice’s great pleasure to be named an Under 40 Champion.
DR. ALEXIS T. MASON
After growing up in a rural town with limited medical services and almost losing her limb in a lawn mower accident as a child, Dr. Alexis T. Mason knew she wanted to become a medical professional to provide health care to rural America. Following her tenure on the Hill, Dr. Mason continued studies in medicine at the Rural Medical Scholars Program at the University of Alabama and the University of Alabama School of Medicine, where she received her medical degree in 2012. She currently serves as a board member for the Medical Association of the State of Alabama and is a recipient of the University of Alabama Medical Alumni Association’s 2018 Young Alumni Award. She merges faith and medicine as a vehicle of the Lord for healing the body, mind, and soul. Not only is Dr. Mason active in the medical field, she gives back to the community in other ways. She is an active member of Holy Temple in Decatur, Alabama. She has a good-grade incentive program and has started a scholarship fund to help the youth in the congregation. Dr. Alexis T. Mason is a member of the Tuscaloosa Alumni Chapter and is a proud HBCU product and alumna of Alabama A&M University.
KEIA E. PEEPLES
Keia Peeples was a student athlete and Presidential Scholar during her tenure at Alabama A&M. She earned a M.S. in Human Resources from Purdue University in 2005. Mrs. Peoples has been employed with Kraft Heinz (formerly Kraft Foods) for 15 years and is a well-established Human Resources (HR) professional responsible for providing strategic and tactical leadership. Her leadership experiences have ranged from being an Assistant HR Manager of the largest Southeastern Distribution Center; Labor Relations Manager of Nabisco Bakery; HR Plant Manager in Fort Smith, AR; a Corporate Employee Relations Manager; and Global HR Business Partner of IT and Global Business Services. Today, Keia is the HR Lead supporting the US Retail Sales Team. In 3 years’ time the US Retail Sales team grew from a pilot project with 26 sales reps to more than 300 reps across 5 regions resulting in one of the fastest growing divisions since the company’s merger in 2016. Throughout her career, two priorities remained constant: to help advocate and increase diversity representation in corporate America and foster educational outreach for the community members. As such, she is the HR Sponsor for the African American Business Resource – HBCU Recruitment team and a former Diversity Council Chair and Partners in Educations Sponsor/ Lead. With these positions, Keia was able to help create programs that drove company diversity initiatives and promote mutually beneficial relations between Kraft Heinz and the community.
LEAH M. SLONES
Leah M. Slones is an educator in the Dekalb County, Georgia School System. A teacher of the 3rd grade, she is committed to the success of her students inside and out of the classroom. She is vital member of the school’s Continuous Improvement Plan Committee. Leah was charged with re-vamping her schools reading curriculum which lead to a 10% increase in student achievement. This accomplishment made a notable improvement on the state-wide test scores. Additionally, Ms. Slones supports students with of her school’s Technology Club. Leah is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc where she chaired the I Love My HBCU Committee. She notably recognized her beloved AAMU and ensured her University’s participation for Georgia high school students to consider as a choice for higher education. Leah continues to be a cheerleader for AAMU, often sporting paraphernalia and keeping the University at the forefront of her educational and civic circles. After graduating from Alabama A&M University she earned a M.S. in Special Education from Cambridge College in Massachusetts. Leah is most proud of being a mother to a future Bulldog, Mariah.
SHAWN R. SMITH
Shawn Smith is a first-generation college graduate from Alexandria, Virginia. After her high school chemistry teacher told her that girls should not study science, an internal light was ignited in Shawn and she set her sights on obtaining a degree in physics. After graduation from Alabama A&M University, she began her career as a Health Physicist at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in Maryland. Shawn is currently a Senior Physical Scientist for International Programs at NRC. In this role, she is responsible for the management and implementation of NRC’s international technical cooperative and assistance activities regarding radioactive sources, radioactive waste management, nuclear fuel cycle facilities, and nuclear decommissioning. She frequently travels overseas to represent the U.S. government as a senior technical expert and liaison, where she is usually the youngest and the only African American, or women of color, at the table. Shawn takes great pride in being able to represent women of color at global meetings around the world, with full embodiment of the AAMU motto, Start Here, Go Anywhere. Shawn is also a dedicated member of the Washington DC Metro Area AAMU Alumni Chapter. She has served on the Chapter Executive Board, leads annual fundraisers, serves as a recruiter at college fairs, and has organized several social activities for the Chapter. In 2018, she received the William Hooper Councill Service Award for her service to the Chapter.
TONY STANFORD, JR.
A lifelong community servant Tony Stanford, Jr. is always seeking out ways to give back. His interest in the literacy campaign of First Book Charlotte was peaked while searching for Hornets basketball tickets. Intrigued by their mission to help children from low-income families read and have their own books, Tony joined the advisory board and took on the role as website manager and marketing committee co-chair. Since joining First Book Charlotte, he has supported granting 500,000 books to schools and organizations that support children within Mecklenburg and Union Counties. Tony is a member Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., active in the Epsilon Upsilon Chapter where he previously served as Treasurer and now the Scholarship Committee Chair. In 2012, he was recognized by the Chapter for Outstanding Service. In March of 2015 Tony helped introduce the Omega Mentoring Program to students at Charlotte’s Piedmont Middle School. This program prepares students in grades 7th – 12th for college while developing their life skills. In addition to working in the community, Mr. Stanford plans vacations for his clients of TLS World Travel an independent travel agency he started 4 years ago. The agency combines his two biggest passions travel and helping people. He is an active member of the Charlotte Queen City Alumni Chapter. He recently completed an MBA degree with a concentration in Entrepreneurship at North Carolina State University.
Dr. Adrienne Starks is named an Under 40 Champion because of the work accomplished through her nonprofit, STREAM Innovations. She has worked tirelessly for years to provide opportunities for students across Jefferson County, AL to consider a field in STREAM (Science, Tech, Reading, Engineering, Art, and Math) as a career choice. She has been selected as a national IF/THEN AAAS STEM Ambassador to serve as a role model for girls across the country. She was recently selected as a Vulcan Spear Awardee and the 2019-2020 class for Alabama Leadership Initiative. Dr. Starks also started the Future Physician's Society while attending AAMU before making a career change to the science field. Dr. Starks represents a life where “Service is Sovereignty” to support the next generation of Normalites and innovators.
DR. LINWOOD WHITTEN, JR.
Dr. Linwood B. Whitten was recently appointed to serve as the Interim Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs at Alabama State University (ASU), where he is the Director of Diversity and International Affairs and Title IX Coordinator. As the Chief Diversity Officer, he develops and implements diversity and inclusion initiatives to ensure equity and access for all underrepresented students, faculty, and staff. Prior to returning to the Southeast, he was a Sr. Human Resources Consultant (Immigration Partner) at the prestigious Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Dr. Whitten is featured as a national Marquis Who’s Who recipient and Who’s Who by RSVP Montgomery magazine. As a result of his unwavering commitment to student success and development he was featured in the Journal for Blacks in Higher Education for being the 2020 recipient of the Outstanding Contribution to Student Engagement Award. He also received the 2020 SAEOPP TRIO Achievers Award for being a first-generation college student who has made outstanding professional accomplishments in higher education. Dr. Whitten is active in the community as a Board member for each of the following: Alabama Coalition Against Rape ASU Friends of the Theater, and the Lions Club International. Dr. Whitten is a Life Member of the Alumni Association (Metro Atlanta) and a dedicated participant of the University’s Youth Motivation Task Force. In his spare time, he enjoys mentoring young adults, presenting at conferences, and traveling with his wife Dr. Melanie C. Whitten as they continue to expand their list of 25 countries and 4 continents.
DR. MELANIE C. WHITTEN
Dr. Melanie Crutchfield Whitten received her bachelor’s degree in Biology from Alabama A&M University in 2004 and her Medical Degree from Rosalind Franklin University School of Medicine and Science in Chicago, Illinois. She trained in general surgery at Cooper Medical School of Rowen University/Cooper University Hospital and further training in breast surgical oncology at University of Southern California/Keck School of Medicine and Hoag Memorial Hospital in California. Dr. Crutchfield Whitten currently works as a breast surgical oncologist where she specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of benign and malignant breast disease. She has participated as team captain at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Atlanta Georgia, as well as been a featured speaker at the American Cancer Society Relay For Life. Dr. Crutchfield Whitten is a member of the American College of Surgeons, American Society of Breast Surgeons, National Medical Association and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. As a member of Metro Atlanta chapter, Dr. Whitten has sponsored high school students from the Clayton County, Georgia School District for the chapter’s high school senior day bus trip. One of her proudest moments was speaking at Alabama A&M’s freshman orientation to provide insight and guidance to new Bulldogs beginning their tenure on the Hill. Dr. Whitten will soon begin private practice at Regency Surgical Specialties in Phoenix, AZ.