Montpelier: James Madison University Magazine



Grammy Nominee

Alumni News After just 10 years ill the music industry, Julian King ('88) has achieved a resognitinn that most recording engineers still dream of. King attended this year's Grammy Awards as a nominee for his work on Toby Keith's Dream Walkin'. The album was nominated at the 40th annual Grammy Awards in February 1998 for the best engineered album, nonclassical.

"It was a thrill," he says. "I was co- nominated with some of my idols and placed among the legends of recording." He says attending the televised awards ceremony was "a lot of fun. A trip to New York City was exciting and provided a chance to soak it all in.

King, who studied music industry at JMU, is a recording engineer in Knoxville, Tenn. "It's great firn to be around so many creative people," he says. "So much creative energy is combined in one place.

The Grammy nomination "has not really had an impact on what I do in terms of work. I'm busy enough as it is." King says." It is nice to hear the congratulations and have your friends tell you they are proud, he chuckles.

Hesitant to comment on his recent fame, King instead recounts a lesson he learned from JMU professor Jim Cleazner, "who instilled in us that it was important to apply yourself outside of music also, do your best work and keep your mouth shut. You don't run it about great performances. Instead you show your attributes by the work that you do."

Julian and Jenifer ('89), who studied early childhood education, say they take life day by day in Brentwood, Tenn.


Step Aside, Jerry Maguire

Alumni News Greg Abel ('92), pictured above with NHC sportscaster and former Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Ahmad Rashad, has the insider's view of Jerry Magulre's fastpaced sports promotion world.

Abel is director of corporate and athlete communications for Advantage International, the world's second-largest athlete management and event marketing firm.

Two-and-a-half years ago, he joined Advantage as a public relations account executive. He publicized the golf and tennis events owned and operated by Advantage, wrote releases, promoted tournaments and managed the media center on-site at events all over the country.

"I just got a promotion to essentially be the PR director for the management division of our company," Abel says. That means working with all the 'Jerry Maguires' of our company and trying to help their clients with publicity, some media training and generating some appearances for which they receive fees.

"I also handle corporate PR for instances when we acquire other companies or events, sign new athletes, that type of thing.

"It's pretty fun because it's sports and travel and lots of high-profile events," Abel says. "But I do miss the creativity in writing. ... I never really intended to get into PR. It just fell into my lap here, and they seem to think I'm good at it."

Abel's keeping his hand in writing, however. The former Breeze sports editor and Montpelier intern has written this issue's sports copy on JMU's up-and- coming pro football players.


Charter Schools International

Alumni News Aaron Peebles ('92) went international with his own concept of charter schools.

Peebles went to Poland through World Teach, an organization that places college graduates in schools as teachers of conversational English. But during his second year in Poland, he and several Polish colleagues started their own school. They established an English-teaching organization "concentrating on offering native speaking Anncrican teachers who could improve students' speaking skills," he says.

In February 1994, the American Academy of English started out in two rooms in downtown Katowice with an enrollment of 30 students. Today, the organization has grown to seven schools offering three programs: Young Learners, General English and Business English.

"As far as rewards from the work I do here," Peebles says, "it's very nice to see students actually learn English and realize that they know more than when they started with us," AAE employs sever-al JMU graduates. loining Prehles are his brother, ('95), Sean Desmond ('95), Carrie Desmond ('93), Eric Maier ('92) and Keith Humphreys ('91). Since 1995, AAE has been part of the JMU International Internship Program.


Today's Future Leaders

Alumni News Ebony Magazine named Rhonda K. Wilson ('94) one of the "30 Young Leaders of the Future" in its December 1997 issue.

"It was truly an honor and a surprise," Wilson says.

"At the same time, it was nice to be rewarded for what you are trying to do. Wilson is national director of ACT-SO, the NAACP's Afro-Academic Cultural, Tech- nological and Scientific Olympics Program.

It is "a program that strives to reward and recognize young African-Americans who excel in the humanities and in the arts," she explains. "We want to show students that success is not always judged by how well they dribble a basketball. Success can be found beyond sports and athletics." The community-based enrichment program focuses on high school students, raising their standard of excellence and creating heroes of academic achievement."

Wilson, who studied human communications and interned with Montpelier interned at the White House in the presidential personnel office. She started her career on Capitol Hill as a legislative assistant to U.S. Rep. Donald Payne and then moved to ACT-SO, where she felt she could help encourage future leaders.

"I saw this job as an opportunity to Impact young people, to impress upon them the importance of academics," she says. And it's working: Ninety-eight percent of the students involved in ACT-SO have gone on to college, she says.

Wilson is a youth ministry leader at the Christian Life Church, a volunteer for Hands On Baltimore and co-founder of Sisters Triumphing Over Adversity With a New Direction mentoring program.


Human Rights and Stampeding Hippopotamuses

Alumni News Shortly after graduation, Robin Gulick ('97) jumped right into a life both exotic and meaningful. Gulick moved to South Africa, found a place to live with 11 roommates and began work for the Human Rights Committee of South Africa at its head offices in Johannesburg.

Gulick got the position through a volunteer program called Visions in Action and chose it, she says, because it "was not affiliated with the government or any religion."

The anthropology graduate researches human rights abuses and writes reports for the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission headed by Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Through her research into abuses like intimidation, stock theft, murder and gun running, Gulick sees much of the ugly side of human nature. The legacy of apartheid still exists, she says, demonstrated in living patterns and job opportunities.

Yet, she explains, day-to-day life in the new emerging South Africa is a balance of new opportunities and daily struggles for its people.

In the midst of the political scene, Gulick has had some personal adventures. She has learned Zulu, traveled to Zimbabwe and Swaziland, escaped a hippopotarnus stampede in Botswana, and met Winnie Mandela-Madikizela.

"I try to take advantage of every oppor- tunity that comes my way" Gulick says.


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