Alumni Feature #6


Chatham Charter is proud of the successes of its alumni and how they can inspire current and future students. Over the course of the summer of 2023, Knight News will feature alumni from its 2016-2022 graduating classes. These are only a sample of the incredible achievements Chatham Charter graduates are finding as a result of the opportunities they made the most of before and after high school graduation. Staff would enjoy highlighting additional alumni. Contact Beth McCullough ( to share good news about graduates.

In case you missed any previous sets of alumni features, you can still read them here. Feature #1 Feature #2 Feature #3 Feature #4 Feature #5

Dalton Suits (Class of 2017)

Andrew Bassett (Class of 2017)

“I am currently working on my Master of Computer Science degree at NC State with an anticipated completion date of spring 2024. Meanwhile, I am working full-time at Diveplane, a Raleigh-based Artificial Intelligence startup.  We are building AI systems on top of a groundbreaking Machine Learning algorithm that challenges the status quo of the industry. The mission of the company is to bring explainability and auditability to Artificial Intelligence; by this, I mean the basic ability to tell why an AI takes a certain action, makes a certain decision, or says a certain thing. Due to the structure of the most popular algorithms used today, this is almost completely impossible, which — considering the growing role that AI plays in our lives — is troublesome, to say the least. Not only are we just building some really cool stuff, but the mission of bringing accountability into an area where there currently is none is tremendously exciting.”

Lane Crowder (Class of 2021)

“Currently, I’m living in West Lafayette, Indiana full-time right by Purdue. I work as a forklift driver receiving freight at Menards (a home improvement store chain) and I’m taking Electrical Engineering Fundamentals II online over the summer. I moved into my now apartment about a year ago, and love living on my own! I bought my own car and it’s nice being independent, though I miss my family 14 hours away. I’ve gotten to do some really cool things here, like get some flight lessons or building an audio equalizer from scratch. It’s crazy how different living in a bigger city is—even more so being so close to major ones like Indy and Chicago. I had some health issues my freshman year, but I made it through and am still chugging through my Computer Engineering degree with only 2 years left. I have a super support group here with my friends, and I’m so blessed with the life I have right now.” 

Dawson Purvis (Class of 2018)

Dawson Purvis is a 2018 Chatham Charter graduate. He spent his 8th-12th grade years there. This is also where he met his high school sweetheart and now fiancée, Rachel Smith. They both attended UNCW where Dawson focused on a degree in Environmental Science with a concentration in Biology. (Note: Rachel will be one of the alumni highlighted in the 7th segment of the summer alumni series.)

While at UNCW, he was a Fire Ecology Research Assistant where he studied the history of fire in the long leaf pine ecosystem. In doing this research, he discovered his passion for Wildland and Prescribed Fire Management. During his senior year, he was offered a position to work as a prescribed burn crew member at The Nature Conservancy. This job consisted of timber stand improvement and restoration projects, one of the methods being prescribed burning.

He then pursued a position within the NC State Parks as a Prescribed Burn Crew Technician. While working with the State Parks, Dawson was stationed at Cliffs of the Neuse and traveled all across the state working on similar restoration and controlled burn projects within the NC park system.

In 2021 he left the State Parks and became the Durham and Orange Assistant County Ranger (ACR) for NC Forest Service. He now has transferred to the Chatham County ACR position. His duties include responding to wildfires across the state and country, conducting controlled burns, assisting private land owners with forest management, and educating the public about forest management. Dawson was dispatched in early August of 2023 to support the state of Washington on an engine crew, working on wildfire response and support.

“Only you can prevent wildfires.”
        ⁃   Smokey Bear

Posted in