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Davidson Discovery Initiative

The Davidson Discovery Initiative builds a two-way dialogue between the college and alumni, giving alumni an opportunity to share their perspectives and ideas and to help shape the future of Davidson.

Through this program, our Alumni Engagement Student Ambassadors conduct brief visits with alumni across the country and world during academic breaks or while studying abroad. Students ask alumni questions about their life since graduation and their perception of Davidson, field questions about Davidson today, and share information about how alumni can participate in the life of the college.

The program, started in 2014, has resulted in more than 200 student-alumni engagement visits to date.

2017-18 Alumni Engagement Ambassadors

Jose Balcazar '19

Jose Balcazar '19
Miami, Fla.

I am a mathematics and computer science double major. I am a volunteer at the Ada Jenkins free clinic as a Spanish translator and lab assistant, and am a member of Davidson's Men's Diving. When I am not on campus, I can be found at the Sustainability Co-op.

Neesha Basnyat

Neesha Basnyat '18
St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minn.

I am an environmental studies and biology double major with an interest in marine biology and conservation. I am on the Environmental Studies Steering Committee, lead trips for Davidson Outdoors, and work for the Sustainability Office where I run Davidson's composting program.

Anna Buser

Anna Buser '18
Northern Va. and Washington, D.C.

I am a biology major following the pre-medicine track. In addition to running on the Davidson Cross Country and Track team, I serve on the student planning committee for Reformed University Fellowship, volunteer at the Davidson Community Gardens, and am a member of Turner House. 

David D'Amico

David D'Amico '19
Pasadena and Los Angeles, Calif.

I am a junior political science major with a minor in Hispanic studies, and I recently spent this past fall semester studying abroad in Madrid. On campus, I volunteer at Davidson Elementary School where I teach Spanish classes to elementary school students, and I am a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.

Olivia Daniels

Olivia Daniels '19
New York, N.Y. and Wilmington, N.C.

I am a history major with a minor in English. Currently, I lead the College Democrats and serve as the News Editor of The Davidsonian. I am also a hall counselor for a group of first year women and work as a library information and research assistant. After Davidson, I am planning to attend law school and pursue a career in civil rights or constitutional law.

Sydney Fox

Sydney Fox '19
Saint Louis, Mo. and Kansas City, Kan.

I am a political science major interested in attending law school in the future. This past semester I studied abroad in Athens, Greece and also taught English to unaccompanied male teenage refugees while there. On campus I enjoy giving tours to perspective students, attending the Davidson basketball games, and being involved in my eating house. I also help plan the Women’s Leadership conference annually, am a member of the Pre-law society, and work in the Office of Admission and Financial Aid.

Bethany Kirkpatrick

Bethany Kirkpatrick '19
Nashville, Tenn.

I'm a junior history major and education minor planning to pursue secondary education and education policy. I studied abroad in France during the fall 2017 semester. On campus I serve on honor council and on leadership for the DuBoisian World Scholars Society and the Women's Leadership Conference. I belong to Turner Eating House and am a tour guide.

color head shot of Sierra Ponthier

Sierra Ponthier '18
Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.

I am an Environmental Studies and East Asian Studies double major with a particular interest in the restaurant industry. I spent my sophomore spring semester studying in Taipei, Taiwan and hope to work abroad after graduation.  When I am not competing with the varsity cross country and track team, I am often spending time at the Davidson Community Garden or with Theresa at the Farm at Davidson.

color head shot of Sara Reiling

Sara Reiling '18
Boston, Mass.

I am a senior anthropology major and economics minor pursuing a career in the not-for-profit sector. At Davidson, I work in the Office of Alumni and Family Engagement, am an active member of Mindfulness Club, and am co-president of Special Olympics. Last spring, I studied abroad in Edinburgh.

Jonathan Sheperd-Smith

Jonathan Sheperd-Smith '18
Atlanta, Ga.

I am an economics and anthropology double major with interests including educational equity and entrepreneurship. On campus I am a captain of the football team, vice president of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., a Bonner Scholar and a Terry Fellow.

color head shot of Natalie Skowlund

Natalie Skowlund '18
Portland, Ore.

I am a senior political science major with a minor in Hispanic studies. I tutor at Ada Jenkins Center once a week, lead trips with Davidson Outdoors, and am also an Assistant Teacher with the Hispanic Studies department. I spent this past summer conducting research and volunteering with Roma populations in Spain, and studied abroad in Bolivia during my Junior fall. My career interests include international relations, policy, journalism and human rights.

Tony Solis

Tony Solis '19
Chicago, Ill.

I am a junior educational studies and public policy major through the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies. On campus, I am involved in the Student Initiative for Academic Diversity (SIAD) and am a Chidsey Leadership Fellow, a resident at the Sustainability Co-Operative, and the Secretary of the Activities Tax Council.

Severine Stier

Severine Stier '19
New York, N.Y.

I am a junior English major with a minor in Francophone Studies hoping to pursue a career in publishing or marketing and advertising. On campus, I am involved with the Chidsey Center for Leadership Development, Hobart Park: Davidson's Annual Literary Review, Turner Eating House, and French Club. In addition, I am a student employee at the Carnegie Guest House.  

Isabelle Swearingen

Isabelle Swearingen '18
Dallas, Texas

I am a senior psychology major. I am involved with Ada Cooks, a healthy cooking and nutrition education program, and am also a member of Warner Hall eating house.

Grace Woodward

Grace Woodward '18
Washington, D.C.

I am a sociology major with a minor in economics. On campus I am a Chidsey Leadership Fellow, Treasurer of Connor House, and President of College Republicans. I am actively involved in Interfaith initiatives and I volunteer twice a week at a mentoring program in Charlotte. 

For more information about the Davidson Discovery Initiative, contact Ashley Neff, associate director of Alumni and Family Engagement, at