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Our Success Coaches

GEAR UP North Carolina has partnered with eight institutions of higher education to provide coaching for first-year students graduating from select North Carolina high schools.


Calvin Sutton

Calvin Sutton is currently the GEAR UP Success Coach at Lenoir Community College, located in Kinston, NC. In this role, Calvin’s focus is to proactively assist GEAR UP high school graduates navigate their first college experiences as a first-year college student. To address student needs he anticipates utilizing a combination of support avenues including high touch coaching, campus programming focused on academic preparation, financial literacy, and commitment to completion. He believes an effective and consistent implementation of these support measures will successfully aid the effort in boosting academic persistence, personal development, and semester to semester retention among the institution’s first-year students.

Prior to joining the GEAR UP team, Calvin served as the college advisor and liaison to the Lenoir County Early College High School. He has held positions with Lenoir County Public Schools: Dropout Prevention, CTE Business Teacher, and Transition Specialist under Federal Programs. As an Elon University student/athlete alum, he understands the balancing act that students must perform with academics and responsibility outside of the classroom. He is a supporter of professional, social, and civic engagement and utilizes a collaborative approach to design curated solutions that hopefully brings out the best in circumstance, himself and others.

Lenoir Community College
Meosha Draughn

Meosha currently serves as the GEAR UP Success Coach at Pitt Community College in Winterville, NC.  She strives to create meaningful and supportive relationships with first generation students as they transition from high school to post-secondary education. Prior to this role, Meosha has worked as an Admissions Specialist, Financial Aid Advisor, and Veteran Affairs Coordinator at Edgecombe Community College for over four years.  She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing from North Carolina Central University, where she is presently enrolled in the Higher Education Administration master’s program there.

Meosha practices transformative leadership with each student, building from the strengths and weaknesses they already possess to change a fixed mindset into a growth mindset.  She is passionate about allowing people to see their full potential and endless possibilities to achieve their educational and career goals.

Pitt Community College
Alyssa Meyers

More information coming soon…

Sandhills Community College
Dana Chandler

Currently, Dana serves as the GEAR UP Success Coach at Elizabeth City State University where she has worked for 3 years in multiple capacities. In the Success Coach role, Dana engages the experience of first-year Elizabeth City State University students. In 2018, Dana became an alum of the institution when she earned a B.S. degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in Mathematics. She is currently working on a master’s degree in Liberal Studies from UNC Wilmington. Dana is a first-generation college student which helps to fuel her passion for students fulfilling their purpose-driven goals. Dana has been a certified life coach for the last 15 years. Dana’s coaching philosophy is focused on person-centered attention, giving each student the space to express their thoughts and goals as she partners with the student to reach a greater reality.

Elizabeth City State University
Michelle Blount

Michelle Blount is the GEAR UP Success Coach at East Carolina University in Greenville. Prior to joining the GEAR UP team, she served as an Education Director with Boys & Girls Clubs of the Coastal Plain. She has also been a classroom teacher, instructional coach, and an assistant principal in school districts in North Carolina and South Carolina. She holds a BS degree from North Carolina State University in Textile and Apparel Management, a BS degree from East Carolina University in Mathematics, and a Masters’ degree from East Carolina University in School Administration.

Michelle has a passion for students. Her goal is to foster their growth and mold them to be responsible and successful. She strives to do this by helping students believe that they can achieve anything they dream of by offering the right support, motivation, and guidance.

East Carolina University
GEAR UP Success Coach

More information coming soon…

North Carolina A&T State University
W. Scott Holloway

W. Scott Holloway is currently the GEAR UP Success Coach at The University of North Carolina Greensboro in the Division of Student Success. Before joining GEAR UP, he served as the Assistant Director for Academic Success Coaching at UNCG. He is a native of Miami, FL and has lived in Greensboro, NC most of his adult life. His specialization is providing optimum level support that helps students capitalize on opportunities that benefit them academically, personally, and professionally. He is strategic at helping students resolve obstacles that threaten to hinder their success. Scott firmly believes that each student has the right to develop to her/his fullest potential. He is committed to a holistic, individualized approach that is specific to addressing the unique needs of each student. As a former first-generation college student himself, his overarching goal as a GEAR UP Success Coach is to support first year college students from target high schools through high quality, high touch coaching, providing accountability, and facilitating successful personal development that ultimately leads to college graduation. Presently, Scott possesses degrees in Master of Speech Communication, Bachelor of Communication Studies, and Bachelor of Psychology.

UNC Greensboro
Joel Lowry

Joel Lowry is the GEAR UP Success Coach at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Joel’s focus as a Success Coach at UNCP is to provide a smooth transition from the high school to the college atmosphere for the new generation of college students. He creates relationships with students and makes them feel welcome at the university. He also assists with on-campus events through the relationships he has built with various departments across campus. In 2022, Joel became an alum of the institution when he earned a B.A degree in History. After graduating Joel started teaching at South Robeson Middle School. He spent his days teaching social studies to grades 6,7, and 8. After school, Joel would spend time coaching the middle school teams alongside his co-workers. This taught Joel life lessons that benefitted him and his new position at UNCP. Being a local Native American from Pembroke, NC Joel understands what it takes to overcome obstacles. His goal is to help students overcome and outgrow obstacles, to help them succeed and thrive on UNCP’s campus.

UNC Pembroke