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Alumni Profiles

Swain Hall lab named for candle chemist

Image of Teresa Reed-Barnette cutting ribbon at the dedication of new microbiology lab in Swain Hall.

When she was a biology major at Coastal Carolina University back in the mid-1990s, Teresa Reed-Barnette felt that she was “having to take way too much chemistry.” But, today, she says, “I realize it worked out to my advantage.”

After graduating in 1997, she got a job as a chemist at Bath and Body Works’ main lab in Reynoldsburg, Ohio. There was an opening in the candle research department, where she did extensive research on soy candles. After three years at Bath and Body Works, Reed-Barnette opened her own business, Teresa’s Candles and Scents, in 2000. The thriving online business offers a variety of products, including more than 60 types of fragrant candles made from soy wax. In addition to her online store (teresascandles.com), her products are being sold in several locations around the United States.

Recognizing that the origins of her successful business were in the science labs at CCU, Reed-Barnette decided to donate $30,000 toward a laboratory in the new Kenneth E. Swain Hall science facility. The Teresa Reed-Barnette Microbiology Lab was officially dedicated on Nov. 1, 2013. Her gift will provide funds to purchase equipment and technology for the lab for many years to come.

 “Those were good years at Coastal,” she recalls. “I got a lot of one-on-one, personal attention as a student. I really felt that the faculty loved their jobs, cared about you, and wanted you to get the most out of your education.”

Reed-Barnette lives in Hoover, Ala., near Birmingham, with her husband Doug Barnette, a sports agent with Player Management International. They have three children, J.D., D.J. and Lauren.

 

For Love and Money: faculty alumnus creates scholarship

Chad Casselman ’98 doesn’t exactly look the part of a successful business entrepreneur. He occupies one of a row of faculty offices in the Coastal Science Center, where he works as a lecturer in the Department of Computer Science. He wears jeans and T-shirts (the one he wears today quips  “We never really grow up we only learn how to act in public”), and his desk is adorned with assorted brain teasing puzzles and nerdy toys, including a plastic Brain from Pinky and the Brain fame.

“I went two days without food to buy this Pinky when I was in grad school,” says Casselman, who is doing well enough now that he recently gave $30,000 to CCU to establish a scholarship for students majoring in computer science and information systems.

Creating a scholarship at CCU is something he decided to do back when he first started earning money in his career.

“When I was at Coastal I was on a ton of small scholarships,” says Casselman, who was born in Andrews, grew up in Myrtle Beach and graduated from Socastee High School. “My mother and I were making it on $11,000 a year and living at Lakewood Campground. I wouldn’t have anything today without those scholarships.”

Image of Chad Casselman sitting at his office desk.

After graduating from CCU in 1998 with a degree in computer science and a minor in math, Casselman earned his master’s degree at N.C. State in 2000 and worked as a software consultant before returning to teach at CCU six years ago. His “side” businesses are the source of his financial success, however. When he was still an undergraduate, he started Casselware, a software development company. In November 2011, he and two partners founded JVZoo, an online marketplace for sellers of information products, and the company has become highly profitable.

Teaching, however, is clearly where Casselman’s heart is. “Nothing can compare with the opportunity to positively change a person’s life forever,” he says. “I keep explaining to my partners: This is what I want to do when I retire, and I’m already doing it!”