Dean’s Advisory Council

Roles and Responsibilities

The Honors College Dean’s Advisory Council is composed of Honors College alumni and friends who provide a high level of volunteer service to the Honors College and the University.  The members of the Council serve at the invitation of the Dean.  The Council’s role is to:

  • Advise the Dean on strategies for improving the quality of the Honors College experience at UD.
  • Advise and assist the Dean on matters related to nurturing relationships between the Honors College and its graduates and the wider community.
  • Advise the Dean regarding the development priorities for the Honors College.
  • Help ensure that the Honors College has the resources to achieve its strategic planning goals and commitments to academic excellence by being a source of financial support to the Honors College and by helping the Honors College engage new donors and pursue important new partnerships.

Council Members

Alaina Brown, M.D.


UD Honors B.S. ’04 | Physician

Alaina currently works for the Pediatric Associates of Charlottesville. She spent a year working as a newborn nursery physician in Durham, NC before joining Pediatric Associates in 2012.

Alaina earned her undergraduate honors degree at UD in 2004, majoring in biology. She finished medical school at the University of Virginia in 2008. Alaina then went on to Duke University and completed her pediatric residency in 2011.  Alaina is an avid Washington sports fan. In her spare time, she enjoys singing, playing soccer and volunteering at the Charlottesville Free Clinic. She has two toddler Godchildren that she loves to dote on.

She joined UD’s Honors College Dean’s Advisory Council in 2017.

Joan Digby, Ph.D.


UD M.A. ’64 | Retired director of the Honors Program, Long Island University

Joan has been a Professor of English at Long Island University for 51 years, and served as Director of the Honors Program at Long Island University for 41 of those years.

Joan received her M.A. degree from UD in 1964, majoring in English. She received her Ph.D. in 1969 from NYU.  Joan has been very engaged in the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC), having been a past president in 1999. She has had continued involvement on the Publications Board (Co-Chair) and Partners in the Parks Committees (a program that she developed).  Joan developed and edited four editions of Peterson’s Guide to Honors Programs and Colleges, a resource book for The National Collegiate Honors Council.  In 2018 Joan won NCHC’s Founders Award, the society’s highest honor.

She joined UD’s Honors College Dean’s Advisory Council in 2020.

Steve Esser, Ph.D.


UD Honors B.S. ’85 | Retired Investment Manager

Steve is currently the Associate Director for the Philosophy for the Young Project at UPenn. Steve is a retired investment manager, last working as a partner at Permit Capital in West Conshohocken, PA.  Prior to this he worked as managing director for Morgan Stanley Investment Management; partner at Miller, Anderson & Sherrerd; and assistant vice president at Kidder Peabody.

Steve earned his undergraduate honors degree at UD in 1985, majoring in business administration (finance concentration) and economics. Following a successful career in business, Steve went back to school and earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania in 2014 and 2018 respectively.  He is a long-time member of the Board of Governors of the Greater Philadelphia Philosophy Consortium.  Steve lives in Villanova, PA with his wife Dana.

He joined UD’s Honors College Dean’s Advisory Council in 2017.

Brenna Trout Frey, Esq., J.D.


UD Honors B.A. ’07 | Attorney

Brenna currently works as a Litigation Associate for Skadden, Arps, Meagher, and Flom LLP. She specializes in the area of mass torts, insurance and consumer litigation in the Washington office.  Prior to joining Skadden, Arps, Meagher, & Flom LLP, Brenna was a Litigation Associate at Weil, Gotshal, & Manges LLP in NY.

Brenna earned her undergraduate honors degree at UD in 2007, majoring in political science. She received her J.D. degree from NYU in 2012.

She joined UD’s Honors College Dean’s Advisory Council in 2020.

Teagan Gregory, Esq., J.D.


UD Honors B.A. ’09 | Attorney

Teagan is an Associate at Williams & Connolly LLP in Washington, D.C.  At Williams & Connolly, Teagan’s practice focuses on complex civil litigation, including intellectual property, antitrust, and general commercial disputes.  Teagan has particular experience in pharmaceutical patent infringement litigation.  He has represented clients as a member of multiple trial teams, including in the first “pay-for-delay” antitrust case following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in FTC v. Actavis and in a multi-week murder trial.

Teagan earned his undergraduate honors degree at UD in 2009, majoring in international relations and minors in philosophy, East Asian studies, and religious studies. While at UD, Teagan was a Eugene du Pont Memorial Scholar and served in several student government roles, including as SGA Vice-President and later President.  At graduation, he received the East Asian Studies book award and the Alexander J. Taylor Sr. Award.  Teagan received his J.D., magna cum laude, from the University of Michigan School of Law, where he was a Clarence Darrow Scholar.  He also served as a Contributing Editor on the Michigan Law Review and published a note in that journal titled “Unclaimed Property and Due Process: Justifying ‘Revenue Raising’ Modern Escheat.”  Following law school, Teagan served as a law clerk to the Honorable Gregory M. Sleet, U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware.

He joined UD’s Honors College Dean’s Advisory Council in 2020.

Lou Hirsh


Retired Director of UD Admissions

Lou retired as director of the Admissions Office at UD in 2012. He had been with the university since 1984, previously serving as deputy director and senior associate director of the Admissions Office. Lou was also Assistant Director for Honors Admissions, University Honors Program, 1984-86. In 2017, Lou was recognized with a UD Medal of Distinction. 

Lou earned his A.B. with Honors (English) from Brandeis University and an M. Phil. (British Literature) from Columbia University.

He joined UD’s Honors College Dean’s Advisory Council in 2018.

Thomas Isherwood


UD Honors B.A., M.A. ’06 | Partner, McKinsey & Company

Tom currently works as a Partner with McKinsey & Company based in the Middle East. He is a core leader of McKinsey’s Public Sector Practice—supporting government leaders in more than 10 countries across Europe, Asia, and the Middle East on topics related to economic development, government finances, labor markets, and building effective education systems. Independent of his client service, Tom has led multiple global research efforts on a variety of topics including linkages between education systems and labor markets.

Tom earned his undergraduate honors degree at UD in 2006, majoring in economics and international relations. He concurrently earned an M.A in political science at UD. While at UD Tom was awarded a Marshall Scholarship, a Truman Scholarship, and UD’s Alexander J. Taylor, Sr. award.  After completing his B.A. and M.A. degrees, Tom studied at Oxford University where received an MPhil with distinction in Modern Middle Eastern Studies from.

He joined UD’s Honors College Dean’s Advisory Council in 2020.

Staci Julie, Esq., J.D.


UD Honors B.A. ’96 | Attorney

Staci is the Senior Vice President and Chief IP Counsel for Teva Pharmaceuticals. She and her global team are responsible for all of Teva’s IP and regulatory law support for its specialty, generic, biologic/biosimilar, and API products. Prior to assuming her current role, Staci was Vice President and General Counsel of IP Litigation for Teva. Before joining Teva in 2004, Staci was an Associate at Fish & Neave. In 2015, Staci was named an Emerging Pharma Leader by Pharm Exec magazine.

Staci earned her undergraduate honors degree at UD in 1996, majoring in chemistry. She then went on to law school and received her J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center in 2000.  Staci and her husband Rich have twin twelve-year-old daughters, who spend every free moment they can in the dance studio.  In her free time, Staci enjoys crafting, baking, solving jigsaw puzzles, and watching American football (Go E-A-G-L-E-S!!!).  

She joined UD’s Honors College Dean’s Advisory Council in 2017.

Katharine Carter Kerrane


Retired Senior Associate Director, UD Honors Program

Katharine retired as Senior Associate Director of the Honors Program in 2013, after working at the University of Delaware since 1981.  Then Katharine served for five years as Special Assistant for the Fulbright Initiative in the Institute for Global Studies.  In 2005, Katharine was named an Outstanding Truman Advisor by the Truman Foundation, and the university was named a Truman Honor Institution.

Katharine earned her bachelor’s degree in English language and literature with distinction, and a master’s degree in counseling, both from the University of Virginia. Katharine also has a master’s degree in liberal studies from the University of Delaware.

She joined UD’s Honors College Dean’s Advisory Council in 2018.

Audrey Murrell, Ph.D.


UD M.S. ’85, Ph.D. ’87 | Professor and Dean

Audrey has been on the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh since 1987.  She is currently Acting Dean for the University of Pittsburgh Honors College, Professor of Business Administration and Senior Research Fellow for the David Berg Center for Ethics and Leadership at the University of Pittsburgh. Previously, she served as the Associate Dean of within the College of Business Administration and as the Director of the David Berg Center for Ethics and Leadership. 

Audrey conducts research, teaching and consulting that helps organizations better utilize and engage their most important assets – their human and social capital.  She is the author of several books including: “Mentoring Dilemmas: Developmental Relationships within Multicultural Organizations” (with Faye Crosby and Robyn Ely); “Intelligent Mentoring: How IBM Creates Value through People, Knowledge and Relationships” (with Sheila Forte-Trummel and Diana Bing); “Mentoring Diverse Leaders: Creating Change for People, Processes and Paradigms” (with Stacy Blake-Beard); and, the forthcoming book entitled, “Diversity Across Disciplines: Research on People, Policy, Process and Paradigm” (with Jennifer Petrie and Abdesalam Soudi).  Audrey received her B.S. from Howard University, majoring in psychology with a minor is sociology. She earned her M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Delaware. 

She joined UD’s Honors College Dean’s Advisory Council in 2020.

Dave Sang


UD Honors B.S., M.S. ’15 | Technology

Dave currently works at Google as a Senior Business Operations & Strategy Associate in Mountain View, CA. Prior to joining Google in 2017, David was a Business Analyst at McKinsey & Company in NYC with a focus on consumer technology.

Dave earned his undergraduate honors degree at UD in 2015, majoring in finance & accounting. He concurrently earned an M.S. in accounting with a finance concentration at UD. While at UD,
Dave interned at AstraZeneca, Morgan Stanley, and KPMG New Zealand. Dave was also president of the Blue Hen Investment Club and the national winner of PwC’s 2014 case competition.

He joined UD’s Honors College Dean’s Advisory Council in 2017.

Matt Scarborough


UD Honors B.E. ’96, M.A. & MBA ’97 | Business

Matt is CEO of Bridgeforce Data Solutions. He has spent his career at the intersection of business and technology, starting with MBNA in the 1990’s and helping to lead the bank’s early expansion into leveraging digital channels for generating new business. Although Matt has had many roles since, he has always focused upon the power of combining data, strategy, and decision processes. As part of this he has successfully developed and implemented data-driven strategies for lenders across six countries and many product types.

Matt was an Honors student and earned his undergraduate degree at UD in 1996, majoring in mechanical engineering. He earned an M.A. and MBA from UD’s Lerner College of Business and Economics in 1997.

He joined UD’s Honors College Dean’s Advisory Council in 2017 and has served as the council’s current chair from 2017 to the present.

Ami Schiess, Ph.D.


UD Honors B.A. ’97 | International Relations

Ami is an educator and literary scholar living in Oakland, CA. Prior to her doctoral studies, she worked as a K-12 teacher and non-profit educator in the Bay Area and in Somerville, Massachusetts. She currently offers no-cost writing coaching to East Bay public school students.  Ami received her undergraduate honors degree at UD in 1997, with a major in International Relations and a minor in Spanish (magna cum laude). She completed an M.A. at UMASS-Amherst in 2000 and a Ph.D. at Stanford University in 2020, both in the area of Latin American Literatures. She and her husband Andy spend loads of time watching basketball, from the Golden State Warriors to their sons’ AAU games.

She joined UD’s Honors College Dean’s Advisory Council in 2021.

Alison Spoonmore


UD Honors B.ChE. ’85 | Engineering

Alison is currently President of Sabbatical Solutions, a consulting firm that specializes in strategic planning, business transformation, process improvement, and career coaching.

Alison started her career at GE and continuing at Eli Lilly. She has been drawn to start-up and development projects throughout her career. In manufacturing, Alison was part of several new plant and new product development teams, including leadership of Lilly’s Fermentation Pilot Plant, developing scalable processes for new large molecule products. Transitioning to Human Resources, Alison worked on several strategic transformation initiatives across several organizations. Within HR, Alison developed myLilly, the global employee portal for access to information and services specific to employees and supervisors. Alison was also invited to be one of Lilly’s first Lean Six Sigma Black Belts, and achieved Master Black Belt status in 2005; in these assignments, she was instrumental in directing projects as well as mentoring and leading other black belts through process improvement programs across Global Services and Product Development.

Alison earned her undergraduate honors degree at UD in 1985, majoring in chemical engineering.  Alison and her husband Bob have three wonderful sons and a really lazy dog named (ironically) Nike. When not enjoying a Notre Dame football game or an IndyCar race, Alison enjoys baking, blogging, and home improvement projects. Alison and Bob are founders/sponsors of the High School Film Competition at the Heartland Film Festival, recognizing young filmmakers and their works for more than 10 years – ask her about it! 

She joined UD’s Honors College Dean’s Advisory Council in 2020.