Meet Our Staff

Honors College staff support high achieving students across campus in a variety of roles. We provide advising for those planning to enter pre-health professions or who want to apply for prestigious awards and fellowships such as the Truman or the Goldwater. The “Honors Is” faculty development series offers workshops designed for faculty who work with high achieving students. Directors of honors programs and members of the Honors Faculty receive administrative support for honors events and programming, as does the Honors Council, for faculty governance of honors. We schedule interdisciplinary seminars and honors sections of general education courses for all honors students on campus, and administer the Application to Candidacy process required of all honors students for graduation with honors distinction. And, we coordinate the University Honors Program, the oldest and largest honors program on campus, open to students of any major.

We invite you to be in touch with us. In contacting the staff of the Honors College, we ask that you please not select more than one method of communication, or communicate the same question to more than one individual, as this slows our response time and creates confusion.  Thank you for your understanding.

Malin Pereira
Malin Pereira, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Honors College

A Professor of English, Dr. Pereira joined the Honors College in 2012 after chairing the Department of English. Her vision is to make honors available to all qualified students; to that end, she provides support to all honors programs on campus. Her favorite honors course to teach is titled “Reading in Slow Motion.” She eagerly awaits the 2016 opening of Levine Hall, which includes both a residence hall for all honors students as well as an administrative wing. 


Cherese Childers-McKee
Cherese Childers-McKee, Ph.D.
Faculty and Curriculum Development Coordinator

Dr. Childers-McKee joined the Honors College in July 2016. Before coming to UNC Charlotte, her research involved youth of color, interracial/intercultural relations, and women’s and gender studies. With a background in teaching and research, she looks forward to working with curriculum, honors students, and honors faculty across the campus. 


Elizabeth Hanie
Elizabeth Hanie, D.V.M., M.S.
Pre-Health Professions Advisor

Dr. Hanie came to the UNC Charlotte and the Honors College in 2005 to help students plan, prepare, and apply to graduate programs in the healthcare professions (medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry,  pharmacy, physician assistant, and many others).  With a background in veterinary medicine and advanced training in equine surgery, she brings personal experience to her work with pre-health students.


Karen James
Karen James, J.D., M.A.T.
Associate Director for Scholars Advising

Ms. James came to UNC Charlotte and the Honors College in 2013 from the Morehead-Cain Foundation in Chapel Hill. Ms. James advises students in pre-health professions, the University Honors Program, Crown Scholars, as well as students preparing to apply for prestigious awards and fellowships such as the Truman or the Goldwater. She is happy that she has now worked with college students more years than she practiced law, but she keeps her law license active just in case she needs to put it to a good use.


Jennifer Warner
Jennifer Warner, Ph.D.
Teaching Professor and Director, University Honors Program

Dr. Warner was Vice Chair of the Department of Biological Sciences before joining the Honors College in 2014 to direct the University Honors Program. She enjoys teaching a variety of courses for the Honors College and the Department of Biological Sciences. She looks forward to working with honors students across the campus to continue to strengthen the University Honors Program.


Shannon Zurell-Carey
Shannon Zurell-Carey
Administrative Associate

Mrs. Carey has worked at UNC Charlotte for over 14 years, joining the Honors College in August 2013. She provides administrative support for all Honors College programs, courses, and events. She enjoys attending her kids extracurricular activites, bowling, reading, and cooking.


Gretchen Bagley
Gretchen Bagley, NCCP
Administrative Assistant to Merit Scholars Programs and the University Honors Program

Mrs. Bagley joined the Honors College in early 2015 from the legal industry. She provides administrative support for the University Honors Program, as well as other Honors College programs and events. Mrs. Bagley is a North Carolina Bar Certified Paralegal and a North Carolina Notary Public.


Reuben Howden
Reuben Howden, Ph.D.
Crown Scholars Program Faculty Fellow

Faculty Fellow for new Crown Scholar students, Dr. Howden is an Associate Professor in the Department of Kinesiology, where he has been a faculty member since 2008.  He is Director of the Laboratory of Systems Physiology and Group Leader of a busy research team investigating cardiovascular health.  Dr. Howden serves on the Kinesiology Honors program committee and the Honors Council, as well as supervising research projects of Honors and Scholar students.


Jeffrey Leak
Jeffrey Leak, Ph.D.
Martin Scholars Program Faculty Fellow

Dr. Leak recently joined the Honors College as the Martin Scholars Program Faculty Fellow. A Professor of English and African American Literature, he joined the faculty in 1998. He is the former director of the Center for the Study of the New South in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and, most recently, served as UNC Charlotte's Faculty President (2015-2016). He values the opportunity to engage with a range of students and looks forward to working with them as they enter the Martin Scholars Program.