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Underwood brings broad experience to CCCC Board of Trustees

Click to enlarge Underwood brings broad experience to CCCC Board of Trustees

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Martha Underwood, of Sanford, has been appointed to the Central Carolina Community College Board of ... (more)

Click to enlarge Underwood brings broad experience to CCCC Board of Trustees

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Martha Underwood (left), of Sanford, shares a light moment with Charlee, Central Carolina Community ... (more)

07.19.2012College & CommunityCollege General

SANFORD - Martha Underwood, of Sanford, brings a broad background of vocational, educational, and life experience to her newest position: Central Carolina Community College trustee.

"I have a background in education, business, non-profits, and government, so I feel that I can make a serious contribution to the school," she said. "I've seen the whole picture."

The Lee County Board of Commissioners recently appointed Underwood to a four-year term as a trustee. She will be sworn in at the July 25 trustees meeting.

Among their many duties, the college's 17 trustees have the responsibility to establish the mission and goals of the institution, ensure it is well managed, approve the budget, obtain adequate physical facilities, and advocate for it. The college president serves under the board and reports to it.

"We are pleased to have a person of Martha's caliber appointed to the board," said Julian Philpott, board chairman. "Her background and experience will certainly benefit the board and the college. We look forward to working with her."

Underwood has worked in a variety of fields during her career. She worked in several hospitals during the summer and after college, using her technical expertise. She was employed at Princeton University's Plasma Physics Laboratory in an ancillary capacity and later headed up the information technology support for the New Jersey Division of International Trade. She also worked as a programmer and analyst for an international telecommunications company.

Underwood taught for 14 years, mostly math, physics and science - in Texas, Colorado, New Jersey, and Indonesia. Burdened by the lack of healthcare overseas, when Underwood returned to the U.S. she attended night school to become an emergency medical technician. She worked as a volunteer EMT while continuing to teach.

Both her vocations and her avocations are built around her love of life, she said, which makes her a lifelong learner who enjoys serving people and her community.

Now retired, she is a member of the Sanford Area Chamber of Commerce, sits on the Lee County Board of Health, and recently completed the Leadership Sanford program. She holds the Federal Communications Commission highest certification as an amateur radio operator and has volunteered in emergency communications following an F-5 tornado disaster in Texas.

Because of her background and desire to volunteer in meaningful ways, Underwood applied for appointment to the CCCC board.

"I've always had a heart for students, and I relate to the forward-thinking and high quality people and programs at CCCC." she said. "The school is very forward-thinking, staying ahead of the economic curve by asking, 'How can we better prepare people?' A lot of people must retread and find new ways to work. The college offers a great variety of possibilities they might not have thought of. They can get academic support and help to reach their dreams."

Pennsylvania-born, Underwood grew up in Westfield, N.J. She attended college for two years in Pennsylvania, but moved west to complete her education. She has her Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Idaho and her Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Washington.

She's always been interested in the hands-on, practical applications of engineering and technology that impact people's lives for good. That was another reason she was attracted to CCCC.

Her husband, Ed Underwood, is a Sanford native and a retired electrical engineer who also enjoys amateur radio. The couple has two children and six grandchildren. After retiring in Texas, the couple moved to Sanford five years ago, because her husband wanted to return to his boyhood home.