Our annual holiday party was held at the home of program director Jim Dobbins. Approximately 70 people came to enjoy the food, beverages, and good company. The highlight of the evening was the charity auction organized by Ph.D. student Vorakarn Chanyavanich, who also served as the auctioneer. Students and faculty helped to donate over 20 items or services. Together, we helped to raise over $1200 for the Durham Food Bank and the Durham Rescue Mission.
The variety of auctioned goods and services included Thai, Russian, and Chinese gourmet dinners, salsa dancing lessons, a wine tasting event, holiday baked goods, event photography, a fishing trip, a sailing excursion, a commissioned oil painting, personal training, and a family history search. The highlight of the live auction were two live giant lobsters, won by Josh Wilson and Dr. Ehsan Samei.