Chris Paul '01 and Anna Bauer '01 celebrate Paul's doctorate in public policy.


Then and now: Class of ’01 alumni couple reflects on NCSSM’s impact

Classmates Anna Bauer and Chris Paul met at NCSSM but didn’t start dating until they arrived at Duke University. Chris works as an assistant professor of public administration at North Carolina Central University, while Anna is a doctoral candidate in epidemiology at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Global Public Health. One month before their 15th reunion, we asked the couple about their Unicorn memories.

What surprised you the most about attending Science & Math?

Chris: How much it made me fall in love with our State of North Carolina as a whole.

Anna: I’d agree with Chris on this one — falling in love with North Carolina. I also remember being amazed about the abundance of opportunities that NCSSM had to offer both academically and socially.

Chris Paul ’01 at his graduation with Steve Warshaw, who retired in 2015 as vice chancellor for academic programs, and Leslie Brinson, former science instructor.

Favorite teacher and/or class?

Anna: John Woodmansee, who taught me for both American Literature and WRRD (Wisdom, Revelation, Reason, and Doubt). As an introvert, I always appreciate teachers who have a quiet and gentle yet creative approach to teaching. I feel that I learned just as many life lessons from him as I did literary theory. And I definitely use the writing skills I learned on a daily basis!

Chris: Leslie Brinson, Environmental Science. She brought so much passion and energy to the classroom I also went on Mini-Term with Ms. Brinson to Costa Rica, where we had all sorts of adventures, from volcanoes to tropical rivers.

What’s the best piece of advice you would give to today’s Science and Math students?

Anna: NCSSM offers so much. Take the opportunity to explore those things you have a hint of being interested in but are unsure about — a class, an activity, a sport, a trip. Doing so may become more challenging, and NCSSM is such a forgiving environment for experimentation. You might discover a hidden interest or talent.

Chris: Take every opportunity NCSSM affords — there is no other experience like it! One of the most impactful on my life was doing Mentorship with a researcher at Duke, leading all the way to my Ph.D. fifteen years later in the same department.

Any fun Unicorn connections over the years that have surprised you, running into classmates in surprising places?

Chris: Having married a 2001 classmate, our NCSSM community has been central to our friends and life. The more advanced I get in my career, the more I find these relationships matter on a professional level, too.

Anna: The most fun was the day our oldest daughter was born. The wonderful midwife who delivered her was a fellow Unicorn, Jenny Cox ’91!

Anna Bauer ’01 hanging out with friends, below ground in the student-painted tunnel, in 2000.

What was your most memorable moment or time at school?

Anna: I have fond memories of spending time hanging out with my Reynolds 2C girls in the hall after check. So much went on there — studying for our weekly Advance Bio tests, impromptu dance parties, sharing stories that brought both laughter and tears. That time has definitely had a lasting influence on me!