Upperman African American Cultural Center

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BrandonBrandon Bell, Program Advisor

Brandon Bell is a two time alum of UNC Wilmington (2011, 2014) with a bachelor's degree in Sociology and a Master's Degree in Higher Education Administration. Serving as the Excellence Project Coordinator, Brandon oversees the academic excellence campaign of the Upperman African American Cultural Center with a cohort of 60 students. He supervises a staff of eleven peer mentors and implements the academic and leadership development programs for the students. Brandon's professional strengths lie in academic advising and mentoring, program development, crisis management and intervention, identity development, diversity, equity and inclusion.

Peer Mentors

Ashley HindsName: Ashley Naomi Silk Hinds
Major: Public Health Studies, Minor: French
Year: Senior
Hometown: Brooklyn, New York

Returning as the Lead Peer Mentor, Ashley has worked with the Upperman African American Cultural Center and the Excellence Project for the past three years. An active member of the UNCW community she serves as the Vice President of Eta Sigma Gamma, was a 2015 Orientation Leader, and works as an Event Manager & Technician for Campus Life. She enjoys music, dance, cooking, travel, Netflix binging, and spoken word poetry.


Advice for New Students:  Don’t be afraid to explore new opportunities in spaces that are unfamiliar. The best learning experiences come from people and places that you didn’t expect. 

Isaiah StrozierName: Isaiah Strozier
Major: Communication Studies
Year: Senior
Hometown: Goldsboro, North Carolina

Isaiah transferred to UNCW his junior year and is a first year Peer Mentor in the Excellence Project. He enjoys sharpening his skills in music, film, and media production. While attending UNCW Isaiah has hosted a campus radio show, won UNCW's “Hawk It Out: dance competition, and has become a successful Youtuber. 

Advice for New Students: Explore your hobbies by getting involved in student clubs and organization.

Tyler YoungName: Tyler Lorenza Young
Major: Communication Studies, Minor: Journalism
Year: Junior
Hometown: High Point, North Carolina

A newly recruited Peer Mentor, Tyler is eager to apply his experiences as a student of color at UNCW to his position with a spirit of excellence. A devoted movie buff, he enjoys spending his free time watching films and immersing himself in the local film community through volunteering in festivals and participating in clubs such as the Flicker Film Society and the Reel Teal Film Festival.

Advice for New Students: Don’t waste time; it’s never too early to begin looking forward to a potential end game and work backwards. Establish a strong foundation for your collegiate career out the gate.

JamielName: Jamiel Baker Shipman
Major: Psychology, Minor: Leadership
Year: Senior
Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina

As a first time Excellence Project Peer Mentor, she has decided to extend her on campus involvement to the Upperman African American Culture Center. She is a CARE Peer Educator as well as an Operations Supervisor at UNCW’s Student Recreation Center. Outside of her campus involvement she is a lover of everything Disney, an avid reader, and enjoys a good Netflix binge.

Advice for New Students: My advice to incoming freshman and transfer students is to get involved! There are so many opportunities for involvement on this campus that it is always easy to find something to do and a way to meet new people.

Marquis DuncanName: Marquis Duncan
Major: Criminology and Sociology
Year: Senior
Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina 

As a new member of the staff, Marquis serves as the undergraduate intern for the Upperman African American Cultural Center. His roles on campus include President of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated as well as the Liaison for the National Pan-Hellenic Council. Outside of his involvement on campus, he enjoys spending time with his friends, playing tennis, and listening to music.

Advice for New Students: Be fearless in your pursuits of success during your time here.

Laura DantzlerName: Laura Renee Dantzler
Major: Business Administration, Concentration: Human Resources
Year: Senior
Hometown: Fayetteville, North Carolina 

As a transfer student, this is Laura’s first time working as a Peer Mentor through the Excellence Project. She is the Director of the Leadership and Membership Development of Black Student Union while serving in the United States Army National Guard as a Finance Specialist. She enjoys singing and hanging out with her friends.

Advice for New Students: Never give up and always push yourself to your fullest potential.

Manny LloydName: Manuel Christopher Lloyd
Major: Political Science
Year: Senior
Hometown: Wilmington, North Carolina

Having enrolled as a mentee in his first year at UNCW, Manny joined the Peer Mentor team to bring the same enriching experience he gained in the program to his incoming freshmen. A Marvel superheroes aficionado and Black Student Union Director of Communications and Media, he spends his time away from school listening non-stop to the Hamilton musical, making music in GarageBand and being unable to stop dancing when that beat drops.

Advice for New Students: Buy insurance for Chancellor’s Walk. Outside of that, keep your head up on Chancellor’s and know where you’re going, people are constantly moving.

DequanName: Dequan Mitchell
Major: Business Development and Entrepreneurship
Year: Senior
Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina

A second year Peer Mentor and the Black Student Union President, Dequan enjoys working at the Upperman African American Cultural Center in roles allowing him to be intentional with his involvement in the UNCW Black community. As an aspiring traveler and lover of fellowship, Dequan spends time with friends, late night walks at Wrightsville Beach, and continuously looking for his next place to travel.

Advice for New Students: Be teachable and be intentional that your college experience develops you in all areas.

Ashley GeorgeName: Ashley George
Major: Political Science
Year: Junior
Hometown: Hickory, North Carolina

This is Ashley’s first year as a peer mentor and she is excited about the position. Ashley is a 2015-2016 Orientation Leader and is currently working as a Seahawk Link. Ashley enjoys engaging in community service projects and attending public events. She hopes to attend law school and pursue a career as a judge.

Advice for New Students: Utilize your professor’s office hours, that’s why they exist!