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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Two from UNCP named to ‘40 Under Forty’ list

Two members of the UNC Pembroke community have been named to the Fayetteville Observer’s 40 Under Forty list. The list honors rising leaders from eight southeastern North Carolina counties.

Dr. Marian Wooten, a professor in the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, and Heather Scarboro, a graduate student in clinical mental health counseling, will be honored at an awards event on May 18 and in a special “40 Under Forty” newspaper publication.

The Observer identified Scarboro and Dr. Wooten as dedicated professionals who use their skills to lift up their communities. Scarboro aspires to earn a Ph.D., while Dr. Wooten has used her doctorate to advance the development of recreation, tourism and health.


“I’ve always worked in recreation, and loved it,” she said. “A job in a museum caused me to realize the connection between tourism and recreation.”

Dr. Marian Wooten in the gym kids and working on a research project with graduate student Jason SmithDr. Wooten’s love of recreation has led her to some interesting and diverse research projects. “Lately, I’ve been consulting with a really successful senior travel program in Florence County, South Carolina,” she said. “We studied why they were so successful and presented our research to other groups who want to start a travel program.”

Her research also focuses on health.  Dr. Wooten is working with colleagues to study body composition of college athletes. With obesity on the rise, the topic is an important one.

“Research is lagging behind for body composition verses BMI (body mass index),” Dr. Wooten said. “We’re using our Bod Pod with college athletes to test their body composition, and we’re using it with the kids in our Brave Club program.”

The Braves Club is a recently launched after-school and summer recreation program for children enrolled in the Lumbee tribe’s Boys and Girls Club in Pembroke.

“The kids really enjoy it and can literally run the Bod Pod themselves,” Dr. Wooten said. “It works with the health and nutrition part of the program. We give the kids and their families some nutritional options for healthy living.”

Dr. Wooten also coordinates an annual triathlon and a 5K run to benefit a scholarship honoring the late Mary Guy Beaver, who was a long-time member of UNCP’s faculty in the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation.

About the award, Dr. Wooten said she is flattered that anyone thinks enough of her work to nominate her. “I want to congratulate Heather too,” she said. “She’s a great ambassador for the university.”


Heather Scarboro is a graduate student at UNCP in clinical mental health counseling. Her extraordinary work with Alzheimer’s patients as well as her dedication to cancer patients, the Humane Society and community service earned her a spot on the 40 Under Forty list.

Heather Scarboro still finds time for music, her major at UNCPA 2006 graduate of UNCP, Scarboro did not set out to become a counselor; initially she was enrolled in a graduate-level music composition program. Her career change is the result of a quirky experience with an Alzheimer’s patient she met while working in a part-time job at a senior living facility.

“I really loved working with the residents; it’s a special group to work with,” Scarboro said. “There was one patient….”

Scarboro went on to describe a resident who, earlier in his life, had conducted symphony orchestras. “I was supposed to write his individualized life plan, but he could no longer communicate in English,” Scarboro said. “One day, I brought him a conductor’s baton. He snapped it up and began conducting and directing me—in English.”

Enrolling in UNCP’s graduate counseling program was like coming home for Scarboro. She had moved to Laurinburg to work in the church where her mentor, the late Dr. Gary Wright, a member of UNCP’s music faculty, was music director. Even now she sings in the choir, plays hand bells and works in the church’s children’s ministry.

Her dedication to service is expansive. At UNCP, Scarboro works as a graduate assistant tutoring students working to pass the Praxis teacher certification exam. All five of her recent pupils passed the exam after just a few months of one-on-one tutoring.

“I think that surprised some people,” she said. “The way I look at it is that we are not practicing; I am helping them improve their ‘I can’ skills.”

Scarboro also dedicates her time to the American Cancer Society, serving with the Cancer Action Network. She is also helping organize Relay for Life events for UNCP and Scotland County this spring.

This year is not the first time that people from UNCP were placed on the Fayetteville Observer’s 40 Under Forty list.

Last year’s list included Wendy Lowery, UNCP’s vice chancellor of the Office for Advancement, and Lorna McNeill, who is an entrepreneur, a former Miss North Carolina and a UNCP trustee. Both are UNCP graduates and both earned master’s degrees at the university.

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