New members join UNCP Alumni Association Board

Amber Locklear

The UNC Pembroke Alumni Association recently welcomed four new members to its Board of Directors. Vanessa Gonzalez ’07, Amber Locklear, Chris Lowery ’13 and Christina Theodorou ’05 joined the board on July 1 and will each serve a two-year term.

“I am excited about the diverse background and depth of experience these newest members bring to the UNCP Alumni Board,” said Dr. Rebekah Lowry, director of Alumni Affairs. “They are passionate about our university and the opportunity to strengthen the relationship between our alumni and UNCP. They also represent various professional sectors and share a commitment to community service, traits which will serve the alumni association and UNCP well throughout their service on the board. Along with the entire alumni board, I look forward to working with them.”

Gonzalez is an immigration attorney and president of The Law Office of Vanessa A. Gonzalez PLLC, a firm specializing in immigration law with offices in Wilmington and Raleigh. She holds bachelor’s degrees in political science and Spanish from UNCP, where she worked with the Spanish department to seek additional resources for students from immigrant families in Robeson County.

Encouraged by her UNCP professors to consider law school, Gonzalez graduated from the University of North Carolina School of Law in 2011. She completed more than 100 pro bono hours as a law student, finding her niche in immigration law.

Gonzalez is active in the Wilmington community, serving on several boards. She has been honored on North Carolina’s “Legal Elite” list in the field of immigration law and recognized on Wilmington’s “40 Under 40” list in 2021. A single mother and first-generation college student, Gonzalez volunteers in local schools and is a grassroots organizer.

Locklear attended UNCP from 2000 until 2003 in the Pre-Pharmacy program before earning a Doctor of Pharmacy from Campbell University in 2007. Her career has focused on small, independent community pharmacy practice. She has been a pharmacy owner since 2016 and owns Old Main Pharmacies, which has locations in Pembroke, Rowland and Red Springs.

Locklear is certified in vaccinations, medication therapy management, asthma, diabetes and point-of-care testing. She played an essential role during the COVID pandemic, providing testing, vaccinations and treatments to underserved communities. Locklear serves as the healthcare representative on the Robeson County Disaster Recovery Coalition board.

Locklear has three children. Her oldest daughter, Nakiya, also completed pre-pharmacy requirements at UNCP and is currently enrolled in pharmacy school at Campbell.

Lowery graduated from UNCP with a degree in biotechnology. He gained valuable experience as a student, working as a supervisor in the Sartorius-Stedim Lab. Lowery began his career in 2014 as a laboratory operations manager at Campbell Soup in Maxton.

In 2021, he joined the City of Fayetteville as a strategic and performance analytics manager. Lowery leads efforts to implement strategic planning and performance reporting across city departments, overseeing data analytics, developing citywide performance metrics and advising senior management on strategy and policy.

Active in various community activities, Lowery serves on the Robeson County Community College Foundation and Elliott’s Embrace boards.

Theodorou earned a degree in American Indian Studies from UNCP. An Alpha Sigma Lambda Honor Society member, her senior project was a video documentary titled A Healing Faith: American Indian Women Breast Cancer Survivors Stories.

Her professional background includes extensive experience in tribal relations, program management, organizational development and financial funding support. Theodorou is a program manager with the AICER project at the Kenan Institute on Private Business Enterprise at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Previously, Theodorou was a regional tribal coordinator with the CDC Foundation in Atlanta, supporting COVID-19 pandemic response efforts in tribal communities nationwide. She has also worked in tribal relations roles at Maximus Corporation, the American Indian Center at UNC-Chapel Hill and the North Carolina Indian Economic Development Initiative. She is active in numerous civic and community organizations, including Backpack Buddies of Robeson County, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the City of Raleigh’s inaugural Powwow planning committee in 2021.

The UNC Pembroke Alumni Association is committed to strengthening the bond between the university and more than 30,000 alumni. The association works in partnership with the Office of Alumni Affairs to keep alumni informed and involved in the life of UNCP.

Led by a Board of Directors, the association also represents the interests of alumni to university leadership in key matters, promotes the university and its alumni to the wider world and helps recruit prospective students to UNCP.