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Alumni Accomplishments

Renaldo Thompson

B.S.I. Educational Psychology

I began my journey at Coastal Carolina University as an Early Childhood Education major. After switching my major, I applied to the Interdisciplinary Studies program with a concentration in Educational Psychology. 

I started at the Boys and Girls Club of the Grand Strand as just intern and it opened numerous doors for me during my last year as an undergrad. I was given the opportunity to work with children between the ages of 6-12 where I promoted and enhanced the development of the children by installing a sense of belonging, usefulness, influence, and competence. I was asked to work as a peer counselor for the 2nd grade classroom.

After a 6 month internship, I was offered a full-time position at Pepper Geddings Recreation Center in Myrtle Beach, SC, as a camp counselor working with children of ages 6 and 7. With networking and meeting new people, I was blessed with the opportunity of traveling to New York City as a sports instructor with CampAmeriKids. I plan to become the executive director of my own camp in the future, giving each child the opportunity to D.R.E.A.M. 


Brooke Donaldson

B.A.I. Ethology (Animal Behavior)

As an IDS student I was allowed to study and learn about topics that interested me. I had always had a fascination with animal behavior and wanted to pursue an education that truly inspired me to learn. With a concentration in ethology (animal behavior), I was able to challenge myself by focusing on both fields of biology and psychology.  These academic pursuits blended seamlessly and granted me a well developed understanding of ethology.

After graduation I was offered a position as an instructor at The Seeing Eye. As an instructor, I am responsible for training Seeing Eye dogs for the blind and visually impaired as well as instructing those people who receive Seeing Eye dogs. I have been able to apply my education in numerous ways specifically when training the dogs. Having a decent understanding of animal behavior has helped me to apply different training methods in my work, such as operant conditioning, ultimately resulting in a successful guide dog.  Being an IDS major was the best decision I made at Coastal Carolina University.


Brian Carey

B.S.I. Cellular Biology & Organic Chemistry‌

I moved from Pennsylvania to South Carolina in March 2008 to work as a firefighter/paramedic. During my time on the job, I decided to further my education and enroll at Coastal. Originally a bio major, I found myself taking classes that didn’t pertain to my aspiration of biodefense research so I approached Melissa Paschuck who was the interdisciplinary studies advisor at the time. I told her my goals and she helped me design a program that fit perfectly. I graduated in December 2012 with a Bachelor of Science Interdisciplinary with a concentration in Cellular Biology/Organic Chemistry.

In August 2013 I will leave the career I’ve known for the past five years and move to Long Island to start work on my PhD at Stony Brook University. While at Stony Brook I will be working rotations in three different labs. I will be lucky enough to work with Dr. Peter Tonge in a dual role as a synthetic organic chemist and microbiologist researching novel drugs for Tuberculosis. I also get to work in a Hanta virus lab with Dr. Erik Mackow and learn how a Hanta virus interacts with the human immune system. My final rotation will be with Dr. James Bliska researching the plague (Yersinia pestis) and the secretion systems in the cell membrane. Once I finish all three rotations, I will choose the lab to perform my dissertation research.

The interdisciplinary education I received at Coastal was perfect for the path I have chosen. My wife of almost 4 years, Stephanie, and my beautiful 1 year old daughter, McKenna, will be joining me in New York. Stephanie earned her Master's of Nursing in May and will be working as a Family Nurse Practitioner. After graduate school, I hope to work for the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Disease (USAMRIID) as a researcher.


Gwen Browning

B.A.I. Faith Based Organization & Leadership

When I arrived at CCU my freshmen year, I was a Resort Tourism Major with the dream to be the GM at a Resort Hotel one day. The summer after my freshmen year I worked as a camp counselor at a local missions based camp here in Myrtle Beach: Sea Palms Summer Outreach. There, my heart quickly changed and I knew I wanted to pursue a career in ministry instead. I then switched to major in Communication until I heard of the opportunity to combine various aspects of programs offered at CCU. I became an Interdisciplinary Studies major, combining Communication, Business Administration, and Religious Studies.

Since my sophomore year at CCU I have been involved with college ministries on campus, traveled on mission trips to as far as Bihar, India, and have been given the opportunity to learn core disciplines I will apply to my future. I am currently the Administration Coordinator at Cornerstone Church. It has been the perfect place to learn and grow in various ministries; youth and children’s ministry as well as administration have led me to look excitedly to the future. My ministry focus will be for youth and foreign missions. After December 2013 graduation, I hope to serve at Kids Across America summer camp or be a missionary for the International Mission Board (IMB). My ultimate goal is to serve in a position that I will serve God through serving others. 

Contact Information

Matthew Wood
Academic Advisor

Office: Kearns 213 C
Phone: (843) 349-5089
E-Mail: mwood@coastal.edu

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