‘The Voice’s’ star featured at UNCP empowerment summit

By: Staff report

PEMBROKE — UNC Pembroke’s 2018 Women’s Empowerment Summit will showcase a group of professional women who are blazing trails in the fields of culinary arts, dentistry, music and higher education.

The summit, which features a sperformance by NBC’s ‘The Voice’ finalist Brooke Simpson, will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Givens Performing Arts Center on March 8.

The featured presenters along with Simpson are Miss North Carolina Victoria Huggins; Jane Fernandes, Guilford College President; Charly Lowry, singer and songwriter; Chef Judy McLean; Dr. Desirée Walker, owner of Lumber River Dental; and Nancy Crouch, UNCP’s associate vice chancellor for Technology Resources.

The theme of this year’s summit is Women Warriors: Leading the Way.

Simpson advanced to the finals on Season 13 of ‘The Voice.’ where she placed third. She became a symbol of pride for her hometown of Hollister, the Haliwa-Saponi tribe and American Indians across the nation.

Huggins, a proud UNCP alumnus, is in the midst of a statewide tour as Miss North Carolina. The St. Pauls native has traveled as a professional motivational speaker and vocalist since she was seven. After her reign, she will return to Wilmington where she works as a morning producer and reporter for WECT.

Recognized as one of the 20 most interesting college presidents by The Best Schools, Fernandes is president of Guilford College. She is the first deaf woman in history to head an American college and the first woman to lead Guilford College.

For more than a decade, Lowry has achieved regional and national success as a solo artist and lead singer of the spiritual rock and soul band Dark Water Rising. Lowry also performs with The Ulali Project and the British funk band The New Mastersounds. Like Huggins, Lowry appeared on ‘American Idol’ and was a semifinalist.

An entrepreneur, McLean is the owner of Let Me Cater To You, a catering service in Spring Lake. She is also the owner of Chef Judy’s Jaguar Grill. A former food service specialist in the U.S. Army, she has apprenticed under French Chefs, as well as Master Chefs on the U.S. Army Culinary Olympics Team. In 2013, she was a contestant on a special military episode of the Food Network’s ‘Chopped.’

Walker, a Fairmont native, is a two-time competitor on NBC’s ‘American Ninja’ Warrior, a two-time national fitness champion, and an adult gymnastics competitor. She is a Boston Marathon finisher, and has been ranked nationally as an amateur triathlete as well as a Crossfit champion.

In her role as head of the Division of Information Technology, Crouch plans, and executes comprehensive technology initiatives designed to complement the ideals of the university. She has 30 years of experience in building partnerships between educational, corporate and community institutions.

For tickets or to register, call 910-775-4000 or visit uncp.edu/rc.



Staff report