251 Warren Service Drive
Harrisonburg, VA 22807
Leila Aridi Afas graduated summa cum laude from JMU as an Honors Scholar in 1998 with a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and English. She went on to earn her Master’s degree in International Economic Policy from Columbia University. Currently, Leila is the Director for Export Promotion at the U.S. Trade and Development Agency where she helps U.S. companies export goods and services for priority development projects in emerging economies. She previously served as USTDA’s Country Manager for the Middle East and North Africa and oversaw a multimillion dollar portfolio of projects throughout the region. Leila has also worked in the public and private sectors in London, Casablanca, New York, and Switzerland in diverse fields ranging from parliamentary aide to management consulting to banking.
Kelly Brown is originally from Delaware. She fell in love with JMU on her first visit while touring colleges. In 2006, she graduated Magna Cum Laude from JMU as a Political Science major and a Writing and Rhetoric minor. Kelly was a subject-area (now designated Track II) honors student. Following graduation she attended the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, for law school. Graduating from William and Mary in 2009, she currently practices disability law for the federal government in Arlington, Virginia. Her fiance is also a proud JMU graduate.
Steve is the Vice Chair of the HAC. Steve graduated from JMU in 1984 with a degree in public administration and political science. Steve received his Juris Doctorate degree from Brooklyn Law School in 1990. Steve is a labor and employment lawyer with LeClair Ryan in Richmond, Virginia. Steve has tried numerous cases on behalf of employers in state and federal courts all over the United States. Steve provides legal and strategic advice to employers on discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wage and hour, trade secret, non-compete, employment agreements, severance agreements, FMLA, labor and employment due diligence and workplace violence matters. Steve has served on numerous community boards over the years and when he was the Chair of the Board of the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, the Food Bank was recognized in 2009 as the food bank of the year in the United States. Steve lives in Richmond with his wife Alice ('83) and two children, Trish and Danny. Trish is a sophomore honors student/Dingledine scholar majoring in communication sciences and disorders. Danny is a sophomore in high school.
Jim and Susan Burroughs
Jim graduated from JMU in 1977 with a degree in Political Science. From 1978-1982, he served on the JMU Board of Visitors. He earned graduate degrees in public administration and policy from George Mason and Virginia Tech. After earning his law degree at William and Mary, Jim worked as an attorney for the Federal government handling regulatory and legislative matters. He spent eight years as legal counsel for the National Propane Gas Association. Since 2000, Jim has been at George Mason University where he teaches graduate public administration and undergraduate law classes.
Susan Burroughs graduated from JMU in 1981 with honors in chemistry and biology. She attended Medical School at the University of Virginia where she also did her residency in Family Medicine. Since 1988, she has worked at Fairfax Family Practice Center where she is Deputy Director of the Family Medicine Residency Program. She is a Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at the Medical College of Virginia. Susan has been named as one of the region’s top doctors by the Washingtonian Magazine.
Jim and Susan live in Oakton with their two daughters, Virginia and Meredith. Virginia hopes to attend JMU after graduation from community college. Meredith is a senior at Oakton High School.
Anne Collins is a retired high school honors history teacher who taught for 36 years on the Eastern Shore of Maryland near her hometown. Ms. Collins received her BS in 1967 and MA in 1978 from the College of Arts and Letters at Madison. She maintains a close relationship with the History Department and serves on the recruitment committee of the Honors Advisory Council.
Scott C. Ford
Scott graduated magna cum laude from JMU in 1991. He received his Bachelor of Science with a major in political science and minor in public administration. He subsequently earned his Juris Doctor from Washington and Lee School of Law in 1995 graduating cum laude. Scott lives in Richmond, Virginia and works as a trial lawyer for the law firm of McCandlish Holton. He chairs the litigation practice and workers' compensation practice groups at the firm. Scott handles all aspects of commercial litigation and frequently represents employers and carriers with matters before the Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission. He also currently serves as president of McCandlish Holton.
David graduated from UVA in 1976 with a degree in Nuclear Engineering with Distinction. He is a local business man serving as Manager for Enlow, LLC and President of Agwater Technologies, an agricultural water treatment company. David is also involved in residential real estate development in the local Harrisonburg community. David co-founded the Hunter McGuire School in Verona, VA, and currently serves as Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors for Stuart Hall School in Staunton, VA. He and his wife, Monica, have devoted a substantial amount of their time over the years to helping numerous civic organizations, such as the Free Clinic, Rockingham Memorial Hospital Foundation, Rotary, the local American Cancer Society chapter, the Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center Foundation, and the American Frontier Culture Museum Foundation, to name just a few.
Chris graduated magna cum laude from JMU in 2009 with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Economics. He is a former JMU Honors Scholar and is currently a third year law student at Wake Forest University School of Law. Chris lives in Winston-Salem, NC, with his wife Kristyn, a 2010 graduate of JMU's communications program.
Tom holds a BS Biology from the University of Scranton and an M.D. from Penn State College of Medicine. He completed both his adult psychiatry and child and adolescent psychiatry residency from Georgetown University. Currently Tom practices full time in McLean and continues to teach and lecture, remaining on clinical faculty. He has given over 100 lectures in the areas of Mood, Conduct, and ADHD Disorders in Children and Adolescents and is a Past President of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Society of Greater Washington. Tom lives in McLean, VA with his wife Jennifer and two children Anna and Matthew. Anna Kobylski is presently a sophomore honors student/music major at JMU and Matthew is a senior in high school currently applying to JMU.
Sean serves as Senior Vice President at PharmaForce International, a global marketing and strategy consulting firm serving the pharmaceutical industry. In his current position, he serves as the executive in charge of all client relations and global project production for the firm, overseeing professional consulting teams on four different continents. A veteran of hundreds of global healthcare consulting projects, he has spoken at multiple industry conferences and has also been quoted in numerous industry publications, including The Wall Street Journal and The Future of Pharma.
In addition to chairing the Honors Program Advisory Council, he has served on the College of Business Executive Advisory Council and is a former president of the Philadelphia Chapter of the JMU Alumni Association.
A former Honors scholar, Sean graduated magna cum laude from JMU in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in Management. His senior honors thesis was titled, A True Mickey Mouse Operation: A Case Study of Successful Management Philosophies at The Walt Disney Company. He also holds an MBA in Marketing and Strategy from Tulane University.
Cara Ellen Modisett
Cara graduated in '96 and '98 with a B.A. in English education and a B.M. in piano performance, both summa cum laude, completing an honors project for her B.A. (Houseguest Temporary, a collection of poetry). She has lived in Roanoke since 1998, where she combines her training in music and writing: editor at large (former editor) of Blue Ridge Country magazine, an adjunct instructor in writing and music at the independent Community High School, a producer/reporter for WVTF public radio, music director of St. Elizabeth's Episcopal Church and a performing collaborative pianist. She is also involved in arts programming, organizing and curating events including readings, three concert series and an occasional exhibit. She will finish a Masters of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction at Goucher College this year, and shares a home with her husband, Phil Atkins, and their two cats.
Jill Conroy Norcross graduated from JMU in 1991 with a BA in Communication. She received a Master of Regional Planning from the UNC-Chapel Hill in 1996. Jill is the Executive Director of HAND, the Housing Association of Nonprofit Developers, a nonprofit organization focusing on affordable housing and community development issues in the greater D.C. metro area. Jill lives with her husband, Jimmy, a JMU grad (‘90) and her two sons in Reston, VA.
Julie Selby graduated from JMU in 1980 with an undergraduate degree in Business Administration. She is a CPA and works as a Financial Analyst for Frederick Memorial Healthcare System. Julie lives in Ijamsville, Maryland and has two children. Wil is a 2nd Lt in the USMC and is completing graduate work at MIT. Taylor is a rising junior honors student majoring in accounting at JMU.
Dr. Heather Tedesco was a member of the Honors Program during her time at JMU, where she graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in psychology. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Maryland at College Park. Heather currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Children's Science Center, an emerging science-focused children's museum in Northern Virginia. Previously, Heather worked for GE Global eXchange Services and the Census Bureau's Center for Survey Methods Research. Heather has presented original research on usability and survey design at national and international conferences and has won awards such as the Census Bureau's Director's Award. She lives in McLean with her husband, a fellow JMU grad, and three children.
Tomalei Vess (‘95) conducted undergraduate research on salamanders with Dr. Reid Harris (http://csm.jmu.edu/biology/harrisrn/site/Home.html) for three years at JMU, an endeavor that changed her career path from medicine to research and teaching. In 2002, Tomalei finished her PhD in Biology, studying ladybugs at Duke University. After a year of teaching high school at the North Carolina School of Science and Math, Tomalei returned to Duke as Director and then as Assistant Dean in the Graduate School. In 2009, she shifted her focus to undergraduate teaching and research as Education Director in Duke¹s Institute for Genome Science & Policy.
Tomalei joined Virginia Tech in July 2011 as the new and founding director of the Office of Undergraduate Research. She lives with her partner, 3 dogs, and 2 cats just west of Blacksburg in Newport, VA. She enjoys participating in sprint triathlons, kayaking, and feeding vanilla wafers to the neighbor’s seven (!) donkeys.