Where Are They Now?

Student Entrepreneur of the Year

2015 Anthony Dellinger

Dr. Anthony Dellinger was the first recipient of the Jerry McGuire Student Entrepreneur Award in 2015. It was his research at the Joint School of Nanotechnology and Nanoscience  with Dr. Christopher Kepley that facilitated in naming him President and Scientist at Kepley BioSystems, Inc. Dr. Dellinger’s expertise includes attractant molecular matter and chemistry, facilitating the invention and engineering of synthetic agents. He holds a B.Sc. in Forensic Molecular Biology with a Minor in Chemistry and a Ph.D. in Nanoscience.  Dellinger and his team at Kepley BioSystems continue to focus research and commercialization efforts on improving wild capture fisheries sustainability and vibrancy.  With gracious funding from the National Science Foundation, One Fund North Carolina and the NC Sea Grant, the team has established a sustainable model for maintaining a captive horseshoe crab population. Recently, the team has made a significant breakthrough that allows for the use of Limulus amebocyte lysate in clinical specimens. Their work is especially timely, as co- / secondary infections associated with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have a massive impact on patient morbidity and mortality. Anthony has also been recognized for numerous awards, including but not limited to, Invited Speaker & Travel Grant Award American Academy of Immunologists, 2014; Capital Connects, Triad Pitch Night, Peoples Choice Award for Innovation and of course the Inaugural Winner of UNCG Entrepreneur Award.


2016 Naomi Thomas

Naomi Thomas is an entrepreneur and advocate for diversity and inclusion in the tech industry. She is the CEO of Boss Business Market, a creative development company committed to driving global change through a marketplace of innovative brands — Currently the makers of First Class HQ, a luxury personal branding service for execs/industry leaders, The STEM Station, where her team creates innovative learning experiences to attract and retain minorities and women in STEM, and DigiHouse – social media marketing for small/mid businesses. Her most successful clients vary from political analysts that have increased their impressions by 2 million since working with them, to multimillion dollar tech consultancies that have reached their communities online in creative ways.
Throughout college, Naomi remained active in the startup scene and placed in several competitions including the WBENC National Student Entrepreneurship Program in Austin, Texas and winning UNCG’s Entrepreneur of the Year. 
Naomi has been honored as Charlotte’s Top 30 under 30, 2018 and is extremely passionate about using her voice and past experiences as a guide to help encourage other young women to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

2017 Tyler Freeman

As an Enlisted Marine who rapidly transitioned into higher-ed, Tyler learned how challenging it was to adapt to college after service. Tyler’s experience and motivation have carried him from Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. to VETLANTA where he held a CMO position, then back to continue his education. Most of his work in the community focuses on veterans in higher-ed. Tyler is passionate about giving veterans access across the educational spectrum and using the benefits they earned through service. Tyler recently completed his MBA/JM dual degree at Emory University, focused on Finance and M&A from both the business and legal perspectives and will begin his post-grad school career at McKinsey & Company as an Associate. Tyler’s awards of note include: Heart of Emory Award, Student Organization of the Year – Emory Veterans Association, Student Veteran of the Year Finalist, Guilford Rotary Student Veteran Scholarship, UNC Greensboro Jerry McGuire Student Entrepreneur of the Year and Triad Business Journal 40 Under Forty Honoree.