Alumni Profiles

Alumna Kyra RicciKyra Ricci, '20

Kyra is a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Wisconsin – Madison in the Department of Wildlife Ecology. Her work focuses on assessing how art impacts student learning and perceptions of science through outreach, education, and community engagement initiatives. She aims to improve the effectiveness of communication and education about global change while building strong relationships between scientists and community partners. 

While at CCU, Kyra received the College of Science Dean’s Excellence Award, the HTC Honors College Academic Excellence Award, and the Distinguished Undergraduate Student Award. She majored in biology with double minors in chemistry and psychology.  

As a graduate student, Kyra was awarded the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. 

Maeve SnyderMaeve Snyder, '14

Maeve is Coastal Training Program Coordinator at the North Inlet - Winyah Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR). Through education and outreach, she helps decision-makers apply scientific information to support evidence-based policies. The overall goal of her program is to support healthy coastal ecosystems and communities.

Prior to this role, Maeve worked as an Environmental Education Intern at Bald Head Island Conservancy, a Marine Education Fellow at UGA Marine Extension / GA Sea Grant, and a Marine Ecology Instructor for Duke TIP. She graduated from CCU with a B.S. in biology and earned a M.S. in biological sciences from University of South Carolina.

Courtney EllitonCourtney Elliton, '13

Courtney is an Oceanographer in the Division of Environmental Assessment for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) headquarters in Sterling, Virginia. She has a M.S. in oceanography and coastal science from Louisiana State University.

Prior to working for BOEM, Courtney was an Environmental Analyst for the U.S. Coast Guard through FedWriters and an Oceanographer/Science Assistant in the Physical Oceanography Program of the National Science Foundation.

While at CCU, Courtney received the Ronald D. Lackey Service Award and the Faculty’s Distinguished Student Excellence Award. She majored in marine science with double minors in biology and psychology.

Honors Alum Tom FernandezTom Fernandez, '13

Tom Fernandez currently works at Fernandez Law LLC, a personal injury, workers compensation, medical malpractice, and constitutional law firm in Summerville, S.C. In just 4-years of practice, Fernandez has rapidly grown and achieved $3.6 million in annual settlements.

Fernandez received his J.D. from Charleston School of Law and MBA from The Citadel. During his time as a student in CCU's Honors Program, Fernandez majored in political science and was published in CCU's Bridges: A Journal of Student Research.

Jessica Cinardo StevensJessica Cinardo Stevens, '12

After graduating from CCU's Honors Program in 2012 with a major in communication and a minor in journalism, Jessica started as a News Content Specialist at WMBF News. She spent over nine years working in news, and eventually worked her way up to being an Executive Producer with WMBF.

In spring of 2021, Jessica left the news industry and joined Lakewood Camping Resort as an Executive Administrative Assistant. She serves as the general manager's assistant and helps with marketing campaigns and projects, including managing the Lakewood Camping Resort app, which she helped launch in May 2021. 

Justin Harnett, '11

Justin HarnettJustin is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability at The State University of New York College at Oneonta. Before working as an Assistant Professor, he was a lecturer in the Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability at the same college from 2017-2020.

Justin has a B.S. in Marine Science with a minor in Physics from Coastal Carolina University, a M.S. in Environmental Science and Policy from the University of Southern Florida, and a Ph. D. in Geography from Syracuse University.

One of Justin’s favorite memories as an honors student was working on his honors thesis with Dr. Paul Gayes at the Center for Marine and Wetland Studies. During his thesis, he studied sea level changes along the coast of South Carolina through climate and ocean modeling, which spurred an interest in hurricanes, and ultimately led him to pursue a M.S. at USF.

Keith GarramoreKeith Garramone, '04

Keith is the Chief Financial Officer for The Colt Group, which focuses on industrial leak repairs. Before joining The Colt Group, Keith was the Vice President of Finance at Brace Industrial Group, an Associate of Industrials Global Corporate and Investment Banking at Deutsche Bank Securities Inc., and a part of the Finance Leadership Development program at Rolls-Royce Corporation.

After studying business administration with concentrations in finance and accounting at CCU, Keith earned a MBA from the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbuilt University.

Ala'a El MasriAla’a El Masri, '02

Ala’a El Masri works as the Senior Director and Head of Risk Analytics and Reporting for the Public Investment Fund of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Prior to this role, he was a technology consultant for Ernst & Yong in Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain and for Deloitte Consulting in Arlington, Virginia.

Ala’a has a M.S. in information technology from UNC Charlotte and a Ph.D. in information technology from George Mason University.  While at CCU, Ala’a majored in computer science with a minor in business administration.


  • El Masri, Alaa, et al. "Active authentication using scrolling behaviors." Information and Communication Systems (ICICS), 2015 6th International Conference on. IEEE, 2015.
  • El Masri, Ali, et al. "Identifying users with application-specific command streams." Privacy, Security and Trust (PST), 2014 Twelfth Annual International Conference on. IEEE, 2014.
  • Sousa, Joao Pedro, Vasilios Tzeremes, and Ala'a. El Masri. "Space-aware TeC: End-user development of safety and control systems for smart spaces." Systems Man and Cybernetics (SMC), 2010 IEEE International Conference on. IEEE, 2010.
  • El Masri, Alaa Aref, and João Pedro Sousa. "Limiting Private Data Exposure in Online Transactions: A User-Based Online Privacy Assurance Model." Computational Science and Engineering, 2009. CSE'09. International Conference on. Vol. 3. IEEE, 2009.
  • Henshaw, Sylvia M., Alaa El-Masri, and Philip A. Sage. "Restructuring ontologies through knowledge discovery." E-Commerce Technology and the Fifth IEEE Conference on Enterprise Computing, E-Commerce and E-Services, 2008 10th IEEE Conference on. IEEE, 2008.

Dr. Colleen E. BryanColleen E. Bryan, '01

Dr. Colleen E. Bryan works as a Research Biologist for the Inorganic Chemical Metrology Group in the Chemical Sciences Division of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the U.S. Department of Commerce. She has been with NIST since 2003 when she began working there as a Biological Science Trainee.

Dr. Bryan has a M.S. in marine biology from College of Charleston and a Ph.D. in Marine Biomedicine and Environmental Sciences from the Medical University of South Carolina. While at CCU, she double majored in marine science and biology with a minor in chemistry.

Stacey AltmanStacey Altman, '94

After graduating with a B.A. in political science, Stacey obtained a M.Ed. from University of Georgia and a J.D. from University of Alabama. She has spent two decades at Eastern Carolina University (ECU) where she currently works as an Associate Professor of Sport Administration/Law and as the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Academic Affairs in the College of Health and Human Performance.

Prior to these roles, Stacey was the Department Chair for the Kinesiology Department and Associate Dean for the College of Health and Human Performance at ECU.