Clemson Young Alumni Council names 2017 ‘Roaring 10’

The Roaring 10 are (front row, left to right) Connelly-Anne Bartle Ragley, Elizabeth Armstrong Boylan and Suzanne Pickens Alvarex; (back row) Joseph Cyrus Semsar, Steven McMillan Highes, Kevin Michael McKenzie, John Mark Hendrick III, Capt. Kevin Joseph Fitzsimmons, Adam Thomas Haldeman and Mark Nicholas Ziats.
Image Credit: Clemson Alumni Association

CLEMSON, South Carolina – The Clemson Young Alumni Council has named 10 alumni to its “Roaring 10,” recognizing these outstanding young alumni for their influence in business, leadership, community, education and philanthropic endeavors. The honor is given to individuals who exemplify Clemson University’s core values of honesty, integrity and respect.

The 2017 Roaring 10 are:

Suzanne Pickens Alvarez, ’11, of Charlotte, North Carolina

A double-major in communication studies and business management, Alvarez works as a senior account executive in the Client Services Team at Luquire George Andrews in Charlotte. Her charitable work has raised more than $150,000 for the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Comprehensive Cancer Center; she was membership chair of the junior committee of the Shepherd Center Society; and she created an endowment to benefit Student Affairs at Clemson University. She serves on advisory boards for Greek life and student affairs at Clemson, as well as supporting Tiger Brotherhood and Blue Key.

Elizabeth Armstrong Boylan, ’08, of Houston, Texas

A political science major with a career in government affairs, Boylan is currently the government and public affairs manager for North America at Solvay. She has volunteered with the Junior League of Houston; the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo; and the Former Texas Rangers Association. Boylan was president of the Houston Clemson Club for four years where she developed a scholarship for local students. She has supported Clemson’s Washington program in the political science department; the study abroad “Democracy Building in Post-Conflict Societies” course; and she co-founded, and is now chair of, the Clemson Balkan Foundation.

Capt. Kevin Joseph Fitzsimmons, ’08, of Swansboro, North Carolina

After graduating with a political science degree, Fitzsimmons joined the Marine Corps, serving in 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, and was deployed twice to Afghanistan. He was selected as the top lieutenant in the battalion and was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal; Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal; and the Combat Action Ribbon. He was then selected to serve as an instructor at The Basic School and Infantry Officers Course. Fitzsimmons is currently the weapons company commander for 2nd Battalion 6th Marines. He has volunteered for the Marine Corps Marathon and supports the Clemson chapter of Sigma Nu.

Adam Thomas Haldeman, ’09, of Seneca

After majoring in ceramics and materials engineering, Haldeman joined Tetramer Technologies where he has led the development of more than 100 new advanced polymer materials. He co-founded H2 Home Help LLC, which rebuilds homes to restore families and revitalize communities in Upstate South Carolina and serves as an elder at United Assembly of God in Seneca. Haldeman has mentored Clemson students through internships, co-ops and the National Science Foundation’s Research Experience for Undergraduates program. He serves on the Undergraduate Curriculum Advisory Board for Clemson’s materials science and engineering department and collaborated on research with Clemson’s Center for Advanced Fibers and Films.

 John Mark Hendrick III, ’08, of Chapin

Director of governmental affairs for the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce, Hendrick, a political science major, has worked on local, state and national political campaigns. He served as an aide to the lieutenant governor of South Carolina and as the director of public policy for the South Carolina Baptist Convention. A captain in the South Carolina State Guard, Hendrick also serves on the national council for the American Israel Public Affairs Commission and on the board of directors for the Coastline Women’s Center. He volunteers with the Lexington Sertoma Club; Katrina’s Kids; Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Columbia; and First Baptist Church of Columbia. He is a past member of the Clemson Young Alumni Council and participates in the Second Century Society.

Steven McMillian Hughes ’17, of Columbia

A management major, Hughes founded and is director of program development for Know Money Inc., a nonprofit organization that educates millennials on managing and growing their money. He also has a weekly money segment on the CBS affiliate in Columbia. Hughes has partnered with Transitions South Carolina to help homeless clients build a financial foundation and become house-secure. Selected by the World Economic Forum to lead a global initiative called the Global Shapers Community, he is the founding curator of the Columbia hub. Hughes has worked with Clemson’s Emerging Scholars, Omega Psi Phi fraternity and the Clemson Career Workshop. He has also helped to start an endowment at Clemson to create scholarships for minority students.

Kevin Michael McKenzie, ’97, M ’01, Ed.D. ’10, of Chesapeake, Virginia

With degrees in management, industrial management and career and technology education, McKenzie is vice president and chief information security officer of Dollar Tree Stores Inc. Formerly Clemson’s chief information security officer, McKenzie serves on the Strategic Advisory Board for the International Consortium of Minority Cybersecurity Professionals. He was previously a state constable reserve police officer; was named the Volunteer of the Year for Clemson University’s Police Department; and he serves as a deacon in his church. McKenzie taught courses at Clemson in information systems and has collaborated on numerous federal research grant proposals with Clemson faculty. He currently serves on Tidewater Community College Technology Advisory Board.

Connelly-Anne Bartle Ragley, ’05, M ’08, of Columbia

With a double-major in political science and communication studies, Ragley is a government relations associate at Denny Public Affairs. She is involved with the Junior League of Columbia and serves on the board of directors for Senior Resources Inc. Ragley has mentored students in Clemson’s College of Business and at the University of South Carolina while participating in Columbia College’s Institute for Leadership and Professional Excellence. Ragley has served as an at-large member of the Clemson Young Alumni Council and sponsored Clemson’s 2016 Fall Band Party in Greenville. She also hosts a luncheon each fall for the Clemson delegation of the South Carolina Student Legislature, in which she participated as an undergraduate.

Joseph Cyrus Semsar, ’09, of Washington, D.C.

Deputy chief of staff for the United States Office of Personnel Management, Semsar oversees organizational and operational effectiveness. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Clemson and a Master’s of Public Administration from the University of Pennsylvania’s Fels Institute of Government. Semsar began his career with Teach for America as a corps member and national staff member. Named Teacher of the Year, he helped bring NBC to his school for a $3 million renovation. A Coca-Cola Scholar, Semsar stays involved with the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation through coaching new scholars and training at the Leadership Development Institute. He served as president of Clemson’s Young Alumni Council and is now a board member of the Alumni Association.

Mark Nicholas Ziats, ’07, of Dexter, Michigan

Ziats is a resident physician in a combined internal medicine–medical genetics training program at the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan Health System. He holds a B.S. in biochemistry from Clemson, an M.D. from Baylor College of Medicine and a Ph.D. in human genetics from the University of Cambridge. Ziats has published more than 20 journal papers and started a biotechnology consulting firm. He co-founded Autism Explained, an organization that produces a podcast to explain scientific findings about autism to a lay audience. He is a long-time volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and has been active on Clemson’s College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences’ Alumni Board. He mentors Clemson students in the Calhoun Honors College and through the Tiger Ties program.

The 2017 Roaring 10 recipients were honored at a ceremony on Oct. 6 held under Library Bridge on Clemson’s campus.

The Roaring 10 award program was developed in 2012 by the Clemson Young Alumni Council (YAC). The primary mission of Clemson YAC is to support the goals of the Clemson Alumni Association, specifically on matters pertaining to Young Alumni. Clemson YAC exists to connect Young Alumni with the University, assist Young Alumni in the transition from active student to alumnus, facilitate fellowship, personal growth and professional development opportunities for young alumni and formally represent Young Alumni interests to the Clemson Alumni Council. Learn more at alumni.clemson.edu/young-alumni.