Alumni in Action

Kori Needham

"Eckerd is a springboard for lifelong success."

Kori Needham
Class of 1996
Majors: Computer Science and Math
Minor: Physics
Where are you now and what are you doing?

I currently live in Durham, North Carolina, with my wife Michelle, daughter Shaun, and son Marcus. I moved here after graduating from Eckerd to attend grad school at UNC Chapel Hill. One thing led to another and eventually I decided to stay in the Triangle area and start a family.

What does your job entail and how has your Eckerd experience impacted your career?

My job involves providing marketing guidance and Go To Market strategy to global sales account teams who are responsible for leveraging video portfolio products to enable Service Providers to deploy personalized video services. I attribute my Eckerd experience of working, living, and playing with classmates from diverse cultural backgrounds for giving me the level of confidence and comfort to uniquely relate to all my international customers and colleagues.

What unique or special opportunities did your Eckerd education provide and how have they impacted your life?

Attending Eckerd College afforded me opportunities to study in a traditional classroom environment as well as an independent study course. Both experiences helped push my boundaries regarding how to learn about different topics and communicate with a variety of people, which has served me greatly since graduation.

Describe some of your best memories or favorite traditions from your time at Eckerd.

My fondest memories at Eckerd include getting to build an artificial intelligence controlled Lego robot during an independent study course, playing basketball with the natural science faculty during lunch, and playing soccer with the international students in the academic quad. Certainly getting to meet Danny Glover, Elie Wiesel and Ben & Jerry (yep the ice cream gurus) face to face on campus were also unique experiences I'll always treasure.

What makes Eckerd so special or why does it stand out to you as a great college? What does it mean to you now that you have been away for awhile?

Eckerd is special to me because it brought together everything I needed in a single package. The academic environment was challenging and prepared me for grad school and the corporate world. The social life was intimate, yet provided me ready access to sports, events and other extra curricular activities that I would not necessarily have been able to take advantage of at other institutions.

Describe some of the people who had a profound impact on your Eckerd experience.

Dr. David Kerr taught me that being a mathematician didn't have to equate to being stuffy. He made learning and applying math practical and fun. I never forget his "mind's eye" segues whenever he needed to explain a complex math principle or derivation.

Dr. Walter Walker showed me how to achieve the work/life balance. He pulled me into the student/faculty lunch bunch basketball games to relieve stress, while still being relentless in pushing me to strive for academic excellence.

Dr. Ed Gallizzi was the epitome of the elder statesman. Although he was clearly held in high regard by his colleagues nationally, he remained approachable and paved the path for several computer science opportunities for me, most notably interning at AT&T/Lucent Bell Labs during my final 2 summers at Eckerd.

Dr. Junevicus impressed me because although he was a gifted mathematician, he always captivated me with deep intellectual discussions about life.

Are there core Eckerd values you see in most Eckerd students and graduates?

To me, the typical Eckerd graduate comes across confident, well-informed, relatable, driven, adventurous and responsible.

What activities were you involved in while at Eckerd and did they influence what you are involved in now?

While at Eckerd I was involved in International Student Services, African American Society, and Student Government... all of which continue to influence my life today.

Why did you choose Eckerd? What advice would you give students who are considering Eckerd?

I chose to attended Eckerd because it was intimate, it was well-known for preparing students to succeed in grad school, and it afforded me the well-rounded science and liberal arts education I was seeking.

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