Alumni Spotlight


Natalie Shammas, APA ’14, Duke ’18, returns to Parrott as Cum Laude Society speaker

Natalie ShammasNatalie Shammas, Duke University ’18, returned to her alma mater to speak to the new class of Cum Laude Society inductees.  In her address, she stressed three lessons that she learned since her induction her junior year at Parrott.  In her own words…

1) Embrace uncertainty. Everyone’s journeys after high school will not and should not be straight paths. They should allow their paths to be convoluted and give themselves grace in being undecided.


  • “For those of you who think you 100% know what you want to do, you’d be doing yourself a disservice by not exploring different areas and having an open mind. For those of you who were lost like I was, you should not be stressed. Embrace your uncertainty because there is no better place to experiment with your passions than college. Along the way, you will start to find what makes you tick. If I had let my anxiety over my unconventional route affect me, I wouldn’t have majored in Psychology, I wouldn’t have discovered my interest in consumer psych, and I wouldn’t have found connections between consumer psychology and marketing that ultimately led me to Google. My first piece of advice is to embrace uncertainty) Failure is not final; it is simply feedback to direct you along another path.


2) Failure is not final; it is simply feedback to direct you along another path.


  • “As you embrace uncertainty and begin carving your own path, you will quickly learn that missteps, roadblocks, and failure will be inevitable. It is misleading, in my opinion, to talk about success without referencing failure. I know of no one who has achieved something significant without also experiencing their share of hardship, frustration, and regret. Here’s the truth, throughout college, you will fail, and you will likely fail often. It may be painful and it may be discouraging, and at times it will test you–as it has tested me–to your very core. However, please believe me when I tell you that failure isn’t final and it isn’t fatal-it is simply feedback to direct you along another path.”


3) Take things step-by-step and day-by-day. Don’t let your end goals blind you from becoming all you’re meant to become.


  • “As I previously mentioned, when I first got to Duke, I put immense pressure on myself to discover what my “big thing” was. I quickly realized when I came home feeling empty after my freshman year, that I was blinded by focusing on what was at the end of my path, rather than the small steps I needed to take to get there. With all the time spent trying to figure out what my “big thing” was going to be, I passed over a lot of small things that could have really added up. College has the potential to be one of the most trans-formative periods of your life. No matter if you go to a small private university or a large state school, you will be presented with opportunities you’ve never been exposed to, you will be surrounded with people who are different from you, and you will be part of a community that is bigger than yourself. What a shame it would be if you are so blinded by your end goals that you didn’t take advantage of all that your new home has to offer.”

APA Student Returns to Work With Art Students

Alumni Spotlight

Sara Fallin, NC State Fashion Design student,  returns to APA to work with art students

In her own words…

I met with a group of students in the fine arts department who were interested in creating their own tracksuit and wanted to learn about the process that goes into saraFallincreating a garment. I basically gave them an overview of the entire process and introduced them to the various areas/different paths of apparel development. I brought in different items and examples from my projects to allow them to visualize everything that goes into developing a piece from idea to final garment. I briefly went over each step which included concept creation, different seam/stitch types, pattern making, cutting, basic sewing terminology, prototypes and the final pieces that I had made for my senior collection. I also brought in textile fabrics that I had designed on different computer software programs (mainly Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop) that I had printed onto fabric to introduce them to textile design. When most people think of fashion design they mostly think about the sewing stage, which actually is one of the smaller stages in development- so my main goal was to show them all of the stages and different possibilities in fashion design because it’s something I wish I had been introduced to before I had gone to college. The students were awesome-they had really neat ideas and showed a lot of interest!


Sara will graduate in Spring, 2018 from NC State with a   degree in Fashion and Textile Management.  She graduated from Parrott in 2013.  We appreciate her visit to campus to work with our students!


Brody School of Medicine Class of 2021

Parrott Academy proudly recognizes four members of the Brody School of Medicine Class of 2021.  Recent grads, Will Clark, Class of 2012, Spencer Jackson, Class of 2012, Andrew Piner, Class of 2010, Chelsea Viscardi, Class of 2009 received their white coats at the annual white coat ceremony at the Brody School on August 4th.  All 82 students in the Brody Class of 2021 are North Carolina residents.  The newly enrolled students were selected from over 1000 applicants and represent 30 counties.

Pictured left to right:  Spencer Jackson, Will Clark, Chelsea Viscardi, and Andrew Piner

Alumni Updates

-McLean Ellis, ’06 has been named chief resident for the Combined Internal Medicine-Pediatrics Residency Program at Virginia Commonwealth University Hospital.

-Tara Pilato, ’13 gave her senior viola recital at Notre Dame on March 26.  Orchestra instructor, Eulalia VonFossen attended and got the chance to catch up with sisters, Jackie and Tara.  Tara is heading to med school next year.

-Several Parrott alumni were recognized as up and coming movers and shakers in a new publication, My Lenoir Magazine. The cover story, “Become Your Own Best At-home Chef” is about current parent and alumna, Caroline Briley Roberts, ’01, and her family’s take on the boxed meal services. Other alumni were recognized in its “20 under 40 article:”  Keely Mills Koonce, ’08; Zacchaeus Rasberry, ’16; Nathan Perry, ’07; Rev. Thomas Paine Hopfengardner Warren, ’99; and current parent and onetime student, William Nelson Wilder, Jr.; Michael Reid Martin, current parent.

-Hadley Bryan, ‘13 has been accepted as a PhD candidate in Epidemiology and Human Genetics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine after graduating from NC State.

**Please send your updates to Mr. Pollock at

November ’16 Updates

Morgan Barbre, APA ‘15

Recent graduate and NC State Park Scholar, Morgan Barbre ’15 traveled to the fourth triennial Women Deliver global conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.  With nearly 6000 attendees from more than 150 countries, this gathering was the largest forum held in the last decmorgan-barbreade to discuss girls’ and women’s health issues and rights   Morgan felt the conference was, “a phenomenal opportunity to engage in the international conversation on global maternal health, sustainability, and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.”  During the four-day event, Barbre heard presenters such as Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Margaret Chan, and Melinda Gates of the Gates Foundation.  But the speaker who most impressed Morgan was a midwife from Nakaseke Hospital in Uganda.  The woman’s fierceness and dedication to her profession left their mark on Morgan. The entire experience inspired her to plan several speaker events this fall at NC State.

Morgan’s interest in global maternal health started in high school while a student at Parrott, when she spent time during the summer working at a home for special needs children in Antiua, Guatemala.  She learned that children’s disabilities-cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and other developmental and physical delays-were directly linked to mothers’ poor prenatal care or birth complications.  She began to see intersections between her interests in science, medicine, spirituality, and the psychology of healing, leading her to plan a career in social work and medicine in some capacity.

For the full article read here.


Amanda Cannon, APA ‘13

Amanda Cannon has been interested in the music industry since her time at Parrott, but she wasn’t sure how to translate that interest into a career.  Amanda enrolled at NC State as a Park Scholar in the fall of 2013. After spending the summer after freshman year in Nashville studying music copyright law and volunteering at the Country Music Association, Amanda realized that her dream of working in the music industry was a very real possibility.  Back at NC State Amanda served as the Union Acitivities Board Leisure and Entertainment Committee and is now the executive vice president of the organization.  She coordinated several entertainment events including the NC State’s Campout, an annual school spirit event that marks the beginning oamanda-cannonf Wolfpack basketball season.  This semester, Cannon planned PackHowl, NC State’s sold-out Homecoming concert.  Cannon also secured the Country Music Association’s endorsement to launch a chapter of its college outreach program, CMA EDU, at NC State.  Amanda spent this past summer interning in marketing at the Grand Ole Opry. After graduating from NC State in the spring of 2017, Amanda plans to relocate to Nashville and begin a career in the music industry.

For the full article read here.