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magazine

Challenging question complicated answer

Beast or Brother?


the

TIES THAT bind

For Mary Ann Berger, the

Carolyn Holleran, right, and Mary Ann Berger

Bernardine Sisters and Alvernia are the

As Sarah Keinard ’12 strode to the stage in Alvernia’s Physical Education Center to receive her undergraduate degree in accounting last December, her grandmother, Mary Ann Berger, looked on

linking forces

proudly from the top of the grandstands.

that connect her

She was there with hundreds of proud parents, grandparents,

roots and family

siblings, families and friends, each there to celebrate the success of a loved one. But for Mary Ann, as she watched the ceremony with her

to the past,

daughter Christine, and granddaughter Melisa, (a first-year student at

present and future.

Alvernia), it was more than just a graduation. It was, in a very personal and profound way, a homecoming. Half a century earlier, she herself had arrived on what would become Alvernia’s campus to begin a new phase in her own life and education. But not by choice. Mary Ann Grossman was only 6 years old, and she was coming to live at St. Francis Orphanage. 

By Jack Croft

Alvernia University Magazine

17

16 | The Ties That Bind An Alvernia legacy connects Mary Ann Berger’s past and future.

C H E C K

26 Alvernia University Magazine 30

Real-world, experiential learning is giving college students the types of know-how employers are looking for, and students the skills and training they’ll need to succeed.

In an Association of American Colleges and Universities

By Julia VanTine

national survey, more than 75 percent of employers said they wanted colleges to put more emphasis on five key areas including critical thinking, complex problem solving, written and oral communication and applied knowledge in real-world settings.

30 | Reality Check Real-world, experiential learning in action!

Body

“ I thought, the earth is round and the penguins are on the south side … they are supposed to fall off, but yet they survive … But then I discovered penguins didn’t fall due to gravity. From then on, I wanted to know more …”

Mind

Morality

Bongrae Seok

Bongrae Seok

delves into how basic moral abilities

M

are built into our physical bodies … and why penguins don’t fall off the

38 Alvernia University Magazine

By Elizabeth Shimer Bowers

top right: thEo AndErSon

South Pole.

any children have trouble sleeping because of visions of four-eyed monsters hiding in the closet. But when Bongrae Seok, Ph.D., associate professor of philosophy at Alvernia, was young, he lay awake thinking about penguins. “I thought, the earth is round and the penguins are on the south side of the earth — they are supposed to fall off, but yet they survive …” he recalls. “But then I discovered penguins didn’t fall due to gravity.” That was the end of Seok’s nighttime worries, and the beginning of his passion for philosophy. “From then on, I wanted to know more, and ask more and more questions,” he says. Seok says one of the things he loves about philosophy is its focus on excellence. By forcing us to ask questions and fight the status quo, it helps us become better and better human beings every day. His latest philosophical question gets at the heart of what makes us good people — our moral consciousness. From the time we are young, most of us learn we have the power to choose between right and wrong, and that we make moral decisions after thinking about them carefully, and weighing pros and cons in our minds. But according to the theory Seok proposes in his new book, there may be another critical factor at play in moral decision making — how we feel physically.

The book, “Embodied Moral Psychology and Confucian Philosophy,” combines ancient Chinese philosophy and contemporary cognitive neuroscience to deliver the message that our basic moral abilities are built into our physical bodies. “We, of course, need careful analysis and deliberation for complicated moral issues. But for our everyday dealings with other people, we are very much moral animals as we are social animals, and our bodies tell that to us,” Seok says.

The power of other people’s pain Seok uses horror movies to explain the connection between how we feel emotionally and how we feel physically. “When we see other people suffering with physical pain (in these movies), we experience physical changes, such as perspiration, increased blood pressure, shortness of breath, etc. — and we feel as if we have similar pain in our bodies,” Seok says. “Brain scans show that the areas of the brain active in a person’s pain experience are generally the same as the areas of the brain active when we watch other people suffer. That is, we mirror other people’s pain,” he says. Seok says this mirroring of others’ pain is important for two reasons. “One, this mirroring experience is supported by brain regions that typically process information Continued on page 57

Alvernia University Magazine

41

40 | Body, Mind, Morality Professor Bongrae Seok delves into basic moral abilities.

Also inside:

6 | On Campus News from around Alvernia. Cover & Page 22; Jumpstart Studios/Getty; right: Theo Anderson

14 | B  log-on The best of the university’s blogs.


Summer 2013

Toddler Today, Tolstoy Tomorrow? When should parents and teachers begin to nurture writing skills in young children?

Find out on p. 20.

22 | Beast or Brother?

38 | For the Love of Ethan

Challenging question, complicated answer.

Love for a son conquers all.


Valuing the liberal arts

Thomas F. Flynn President

4 Alvernia University Magazine

Most of us can’t recall our college graduation speaker, let alone anything he or she said! But occasionally a speaker leaves graduates with a memorable anecdote or a provocative question. Melissa Jamula, our honoree last December, had the advantage of having spent a distinguished career around students as a devoted educator and superintendent of two school districts, including in her hometown of Reading. She noted the dramatic changes in the careers available for graduates and reminded Alvernia’s newest alumni that, according to the latest federal statistics, they would likely have seven different professions — not jobs — in their lifetime. She then posed a series of challenging questions to our graduates and to all of us: How can universities prepare students for jobs, even careers, which have yet to be created? How can teachers help students develop the ability “to solve problems that have yet to be identified?” These questions are timely as well as provocative. From federal and state politicians to the media and the general public, many are mistakenly narrowing the purpose of higher education to purely economic benefits, even equating a college education with job preparation. Take, for instance, the White House’s oversimplified College Scorecard, recently introduced to enable students to “compare schools based on a simple criteria (sic) — where you can get the most bang for your educational buck.” With a focus on financial outcomes, the scorecard ignores student learning outcomes, student satisfaction with their experience and measures of long-term student success. It also ignores the central (and traditional) civic purpose of higher education. And it fails also to acknowledge the potential moral purpose of a university like Alvernia: a transformative role in shaping students’ personal and ethical development. For those with this view, higher education is just another commodity to be purchased, preferably at a low cost and with maximum convenience, with the tangible results of practical skills and a good first job. Make no mistake: a college education has — and should have — economic impact. Countless studies affirm that college graduates earn considerably more than high school graduates and far more even than those with one or two years of higher education. Universities have a responsibility to help prepare graduates for the world of work, especially during turbulent economic times. But universities must prepare their graduates to be engaged citizens in a free society, not just worker bees. The capacities for critical reflection and problem solving; for creative, innovative thinking; for sophisticated written, oral and auditory communication skills are essential for lifelong learning and lives of purpose and meaning. Tomorrow’s graduates also require global perspective, rooted in knowledge of diverse cultures and beliefs, along with the capacity to clarify their own values while finding common ground with others. Both for successful work and for active citizenship, our graduates not only need the ability

to work effectively in teams but also a strong sense of social responsibility to the common good. And, to say the obvious, they must know how to think and act ethically. Consider this: Nearly 90 percent of corporate executives emphasize that their employees need good verbal and written communication skills; 75 percent seek graduates who understand ethical decision-making; and 70 percent say they need creative and innovative workers. How can universities best address these needs? Put simply, our nation’s students need a liberal education, centered on the liberal arts and sciences. They need well developed habits of the mind, habits of the heart and habits of the soul. Alvernia students whom I interviewed two years ago praised humanities courses, for example, as helping “to open my mind,” “to walk a mile in another’s shoes,” “to push me outside my comfort zone.” Or as one older student put it: The posing of uncomfortable questions “made [him] squirm” and forced him to question unexamined assumptions. At Alvernia, we combine a values-based liberal education with professional preparation and feature real-world, hands-on learning. Our students are made to “squirm” by learning outside as well as inside the classroom. Internships, clinical assignments, research studies and community service projects provide opportunities for students to grow both personally and professionally. An inner-city clinical assignment or an Alternative Break trip to Appalachia is often life-changing. To be clear, I am not suggesting that the pursuit of narrow technical training is without merit. Nor that universities can be indifferent to workforce needs. Yet it is foolhardy to ignore the intrinsic — and practical — value of the liberal arts and the duty of higher education to promote the common good as well as individual opportunity. It is also shortsighted. Tomorrow’s graduates and citizens need knowledge, skills and attitudes to guide them throughout a lifetime of careers. Careers that change. Careers that evolve. Careers that, as Melissa Jamula points out, may not yet exist. Peace and all good,

right: Theo Anderson

“... our nation’s students need a liberal education, centered on the liberal arts and sciences. They need well-developed habits of the mind, habits of the heart and habits of the soul.”


Daniel Kwasniewski ’13

Biochemistry/chemistry major

Feel the Power of experiential, real-world learning Discovering the real world has never been easier, thanks to Alvernia’s popular approach to out-of-the-classroom experiential learning that offers students hands-on educational opportunities in nearly every area of study! It’s an approach that delivers the practical know-how prized by employers, while allowing students to develop the essential skills needed to succeed in that all-important first job. Just ask organizations like the Washington Redskins, Disney Resorts, ESPN, Ernst & Young, GlaxoSmithKline, Kellogg’s, CNN and Children’s National Medical Center — they have all hired our real-world trained graduates. Want to know more? Check us out at alvernia.edu/getreal Alvernia University Magazine

5


On Campus A campaign to remember Values & Vision, the institution’s first-ever comprehensive fundraising campaign, will conclude this June having raised more than $30 million against a $27 million goal! Thanks to the generosity of many, the campaign has played a vital role in the transformational growth at Alvernia, an accomplishment for which the university and its community can take great pride. A formal celebration of Values & Vision is planned for the fall.

Thinking about med school? Alvernia initiated an exciting partnership with the nation’s largest medical college, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, this spring. Through this initiative, Alvernia graduates can gain early acceptance into the college’s medical, pharmacy and dental schools. Students pursuing the pre-med, prepharmacy and pre-dental tracks, who meet academic requirements while earning their undergraduate degrees at Alvernia, will be guaranteed acceptance into Lake Erie College’s graduate medical program at its campuses in Florida and Pennsylvania.

Loga named Newman Civic Fellow Brandi Loga, a junior biology major, was honored as a 2013 Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact. The national award recognizes inspiring demonstrated a commitment to changing communities. Loga led a team of students who designed a campus-wide science, technology, engineering and math program delivered to 270 middleschool Girl Scouts. She recruited several dozen fellow students to serve as instructors and led members of Alvernia’s faculty in designing the curriculum and organizing the program. Loga was among 181 college students from 36 states chosen by member college and university presidents for the honor.

6 Alvernia University Magazine

Vatican II: 50 years later Marking the 50th anniversary of Vatican II, Alvernia continues its series of events honoring the historic gathering of the world’s bishops in 1962. As part of the series this October, Dr. Catherine Clifford from the University of St. Paul, Ottawa, will speak about the Council’s impact on dialogue among Christian churches. In October 2014, Boston College’s Dr. Richard Gaillardetz will address the theology of baptism and its relation to Vatican II. The series continues in spring of 2015 with Dr. Massimo Faggioli from the University of St. Thomas, who will address the issues of interpreting Gaudium et Spes, one of the Council’s most important apostolic constitutions. The series will conclude in the fall of 2015 with a presentation by Dr. Angela Camara of Seton Hall University, who will explain a half-century of work based on the Council’s declaration of religious liberty.

TOP: Theo Anderson

college student leaders who have


For more news, visit alvernia.edu/news

Physical Therapy Doctorate to launch

Christopher Wise, director of Alvernia’s doctorate of physical therapy program.

Well poised for a future in a field that is already booming, Alvernia is adding several new opportunities in healthcare, complementing established programs in nursing, occupational therapy and athletic training. The new programs are preparing students for careers in high-demand areas within healthcare and include an associate degree in medical imaging, in conjunction with Reading Health Systems, and a bachelor’s degree in healthcare science. The latest addition is the doctorate of physical therapy (DPT). Currently in “pre-candidacy” phase, the DPT will be the second doctoral program offered by the university and the latest addition to a thriving health sciences curriculum for a growing healthcare field in Berks County and beyond. “We’ve been working with several key organizations in the area to make sure we’re filling the greatest needs of trained healthcare workers,” said Karen Thacker, dean of Alvernia’s College of Professional Programs. Dr. Christopher Wise, recently named director of the DPT program, is hard at work developing the curriculum. “The expectation is that candidacy will be achieved and students will begin to enroll for the professional, postgraduate phase of the program in fall 2014.” Dr. Wise is a practicing physical therapist and owner of a private practice with a long-standing academic career and a history of conducting research.

Malone honored at graduation More than 425 Alvernia seniors walked across the stage at Reading’s Sovereign Center in May to receive the coveted degrees they worked so hard to achieve. The ceremony featured commencement speaker Dr. Beverly Malone, who received an honorary doctorate of humane letters. Dr. Malone is the chief executive officer of the National League for Nursing. She is among America’s most vocal leaders in the national conversation about the nursing and nurse educator shortages and the role of nursing in ensuring access to safe, quality, culturally competent care to diverse patient populations. Dr. Malone has worked as a surgical staff nurse, clinical nurse specialist, director of nursing and assistant administrator of nursing.

Carpenter Camp expands Alvernia and Carpenter Technology have expanded the Carpenter Science Camp to give 150 Berks County kids free, hands-on experiences in chemistry, physics and applied mathematics this summer. Organized by the Holleran Center for Community Engagement and the Alvernia Science Department, the annual camp provides field trips and hands-on educational activities taught by a team of Carpenter scientists and Alvernia faculty.

Interfaith event finds common ground

right: Carey Manzolillo

Once a teacher …

Alvernia played host to “A Common Heart” event this spring to

Alvernia’s President Thomas F. Flynn, a former

explore Jewish, Muslim and Christian

English professor, had a unique occasion to

perspectives of God. Sponsored by

return to the classroom this spring to teach a

the Holleran Center for Community

three-week course in Alvernia’s Seniors Col-

Engagement, the program attracted

lege. The college offers individuals ages 55

a crowd of nearly 200 to the McGlinn

and older the opportunity of lifelong learning.

Conference Center. The event featured

Building on previous readings of Huck Finn and

remarks by Rabbi Brian Michelson

“The Great Gatsby,” Flynn’s class “War, Peace

of the Reform Congregation Oheb

and Love in Hemingway,” explored a few of the

Sholom; Rev. Philip Rodgers from St.

writer’s works from the Nick Adams stories be-

Benedict Roman Catholic Church; and

fore discussing another of Hemingway’s great

Dr. Khalid Blankinship, professor of

American novels, “A Farewell to Arms.”

religion at Temple University.

Alvernia University Magazine

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On Campus Honors Convocation Alvernia honored more than 50 students during its annual Honors Convocation in April. The Franciscan Peace and Justice Award was given to senior Thomas Hall, who demonstrated a spirit of service and leadership. Junior Justin Padinske received the Fromm Interfaith Award for his efforts to encourage interfaith understanding. The Senior Scholar Award, which includes a $10,000 scholarship, was presented to Alexandra Aloia. Congratulations to all recipients!

Area leaders tapped for AU board Seven distinguished community leaders have joined Alvernia’s Board of Trustees that provides oversight for university planning and fiscal operations. New members include Thomas Beeman, president and CEO of Lancaster General Health; Robert Davis, CEO of VIST Bank; Angel Helm, former senior vice president of Wells Fargo Securities; Carl Herbein, CEO of Herbein & Company; Dr. Rachel Maher ’94, owner of Dentistry for Children; Christopher Pruitt, executive

Eboo Patel coming in fall Eboo Patel, named by U.S. News & World Report as one of America’s Best Leaders, will deliver the keynote address at Alvernia’s Founders Day lecture this September. An acclaimed author and president of Interfaith Youth Core, an organization focused on building the global interfaith youth movement, Patel will share his perspectives on religion as a bridge of cooperation rather than a barrier of division. Patel’s two books, “Sacred Ground” and “Acts of Faith,” are the featured reading for 20132014 First Year Seminar classes as well as world religion courses. He is a regular contributor to the Washington Post, USA Today, Huffington Post, NPR and CNN. He holds a doctorate in sociology of religion from Oxford University and has served on President Obama’s inaugural Advisory Council of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. As an Ashoka Fellow, he was recently awarded the Guru Nanak Interfaith Prize, given to an individual who enhances awareness of the crucial role of religious dialogue. Patel’s Muslim faith, Indian heritage and American citizenship serve as inspiration for him to speak about religion as a bridge of cooperation.

“How America engages its own religious diversity, and how it encourages interfaith cooperation for the rest of the world, matters a great deal right now.” Eboo Patel

vice president of sales, finance and administration for East Penn Manufacturing Co., and C. Thomas Work, chair of the estates and trusts practice group at Stevens & Lee.

Alvernia’s new Campus Commons

Alternative Breaks inspire service Instead of heading home or to the beach for spring break, a group of committed Alvernia students spent their time off doing service to help those less fortunate. Some students stayed Reading, where they assisted a range of nonprofit agencies that serve local populations. Another group of students traveled to Tennessee, where they repaired trails and provided support for indigenous people.

8 Alvernia University Magazine

left: Theo Anderson

close to campus, working in the city of


For more news, visit alvernia.edu/news

Rivals share the stage When it comes to rivalries, they don’t get any better than the feuds fueled by crosstown competitors Alvernia and Albright College. But the two schools joined forces this spring for a most extraordinary revival of Shakespeare’s classic King Lear in Francis Hall Theater and Recital Hall. The production received rave reviews and acclaim for setting the stage to build theatrical partnerships within higher education. The production featured the talents of many Alvernia and Albright students.

Top Honors Slated Olivet Boys & Girls Clubs and the Honorable Linda Ludgate ’77 will be the recipients of the university’s highest honors at the President’s Dinner in October. The Pro Urbi Award, literally meaning “for the city,” will be presented to Olivet Boys & Girls Clubs of Reading recognizing its significant service to the community. The Franciscan Award, presented to those who selflessly give of their time, talents and resources for the betterment of others, will be given to Ludgate. In addition, the university will present its top alumni awards during the evening: The Distinguished Alumni Award will be presented to George Rice ’85 and the Ellen Frei Gruber Award given to Sharon Danks ’03, M’04.

New Commons a hit The highly anticipated new Campus Commons opened its doors early this spring, creating an important nexus for residential and commuting students with student services, student leadership,

Three nationally known comedians had Alvernians in stitches this spring. Michael Ian Black, Vanessa Bayer and Kate McKinnon all graced the stage for this year’s Spring Fling, organized by

campus ministry and student activities all

the Student Government Association.

available under one roof. Home to a two-

Black is co-founder of “The State,”

story fitness center, dance and aerobics right: Carey Manzolillo

Spring Fling headliners

which had a successful run on MTV. He

studio, computer center and campus

also co-created the Comedy Central

“living room” that can accommodate

television series “Viva Variety.” Bayer

more than 100 students, the facility was

and McKinnon are best known for

an immediate hit with students. Pictured

their sketch work on “Saturday Night

right, President Flynn is joined by faculty, staff, students and board members at a ribbon cutting for the facility.

Live.” Josh Rabinowitz, proclaimed by Comedy Central as a “Comic to Watch” in 2011, hosted the evening.

Alvernia University Magazine

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theater

q Brian Prather, MFA

Assistant Professor of Theatre Design

Prather received the prestigious Jeff Equity Award for Best Scene Design-Midsize for his design of the production “Freud’s Last Session” at the Mercury Theatre, Chicago. He was also selected to design an off-Broadway production, “The Memory Show,” in the spring of 2013, and will be designing productions for the New York Fringe Festival as well as productions in Los Angeles, Florida, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Delaware.

q Theresa M. Adams, Ph.D., RN, CSN Assistant Professor of Nursing

nursing

Adams published her doctoral dissertation “The Evaluation of Service-Learning as an Innovative Strategy to Enhance BSN Students’ Transcultural Self-Efficacy.” This nonequivalent, multiple-year, quasi-experimental research study evaluated service-learning as an innovative teaching strategy to change pre-licensure baccalaureate nursing students’ perceived transcultural self-efficacy in providing culturally competent nursing care to diverse populations.

 Notable Several faculty members received awards during the annual Honors Convocation this spring. Award recipients included:

Dolores Bertoti, MSPT

Peggy Bowen-Hartung, Ph.D., CTS

Judith Warchal, Ph.D.

The Lindback Foundation Award for Excellence in Teaching is awarded to a fulltime tenured faculty member with at least 10 years of full-time teaching at Alvernia.

The Sister Mary Donatilla Faculty Award is awarded to a full-time faculty member who has given long service to the university in teaching, advising, service and support.

The Holleran Center for Community Engagement’s Faculty Award for Exemplary Service-Learning is an annual award given to a full-time faculty member who demonstrates excellence for incorporating service-learning pedagogy into their curriculum.

Associate Professor of OT/AT Lindback Foundation Award

Associate Professor of Criminal Justice Sister Mary Donatilla Faculty Award

Professor of Psychology Faculty Award for Exemplary Service-Learning


Periscope

q My Turn

Gender wars?

Alvernia’s faculty making a difference

psychology

q Erin Way, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Psychology

Dr. Way has authored a number of important papers recently, including “Psycho-Social Characteristics of Children with Prenatal Alcohol Exposure, Compared to Children with Down Syndrome and Typical Children,” published in the Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities. This article focused on the behavioral issues and social skill deficits of children with prenatal alcohol exposure.

For more news, visit alvernia.edu/news/faculty_scholarship

q Mary Ellen Wells, JD, LLM

Wells’ article “The Supreme Court as Prometheus: Breathing Life into the Corporate Supercitizen,” co-authored by Robert Sprague, was published in the American Business Law Journal. The article examines the corporate personhood approach taken by the Supreme Court in the Citizen’s United case. Wells, who has been certified by the Massachusetts Bar Association for many years, recently passed the Pennsylvania Bar examination and was admitted to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for the practice of law in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

business

Carey Manzolillo (1); THEO ANDERSON (3)

Associate Professor of Business

Gender inequity in schools is a serious matter, regardless of whether it impacts the achievement of a 7-year-old boy or girl. While bias against girls has received a lot of press in the past, particularly in subjects such as math and science, attention has turned to bias against boys. As many educators know, girls are outperforming boys in grades, advanced Elizabeth placement and college Matteo attendance. assistant If one were to only professor of psychology read some recent book titles (e.g., “The End of Men and the Rise of Women” and “The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism is Harming Our Young Men”) they might be inclined to wonder what in the world is happening. While I get the value of hyperbole and understand why authors and publishers prefer terms like WAR, ASSAULT and CRISIS for marketing purposes, I’m not sure how I feel about it in this case. I fear it may polarize groups who are equally passionate about fairness, as well as thwart dialogue necessary for widespread reform. This issue came to my attention after I read a wonderful New York Times opinion piece by Christina Hoff Sommers titled “The Boys at the Back.” Sommers, who also wrote the provocative book “The War Against Boys,” is revising the subtitle of her book set to be reissued this summer. Instead of blaming feminism for the downward trends in male achievement, Sommers is now implicating “boy-averse” educational policies such as the decline in recess and zero-tolerance disciplinary practices. Sommers cited a recent study comparing grades and achievement scores in a sample of elementary students. The researchers of the study concluded that across multiple grades and subjects, boys’ grades were lower than their achievement scores would have predicted. The explanation offered for this finding: primary school teachers (the majority of whom are female) generally grade boys lower than girls because they factor behavior into grading. Apparently girls, and a subset of boys, tend to benefit from having qualities such as persistence, eagerness to learn and Continued on page 60

Alvernia University Magazine

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Recker Lands with NY Mets Former Alvernia baseball standout Anthony Recker made the move from the Windy City, where he played with the Chicago Cubs, to New York, where he has claimed a spot as the Mets’ backup catcher. Recker, who graduated

Sports The Who, What and Why of Crusader Sports

For more news, visit athletics.alvernia.edu

in 2005, spent seven years in the minor leagues before the Oakland A’s bumped him up to the big leagues last year and eventually traded him to Chicago late in the season. The Mets claimed Recker off waivers from the Cubs last October.

Anthony Recker ’05

Men’s cagers dominate Alvernia’s men’s basketball team enjoyed one of its most successful seasons in history. The Crusaders finished as the top-ranked team in the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Region and won the program’s second MAC Commonwealth Conference Championship in three years, while earning an automatic berth in the NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Championships. The Crusaders made it to the second round before being knocked out by St. Mary’s College in a close contest. The team expects to return all but one senior to next year’s squad.

Melissa Fellenbaum


Spring sports flee to warmer climates Instead of heading home for spring break, many athletes fled to warmer climates in other states and countries. Alvernia’s baseball, softball and women’s lacrosse teams headed to Florida, where they competed in several games. Men’s and women’s golf teams set out to Myrtle Beach, S.C., to practice, while the tennis teams competed in the same state at Hilton Head. Playing two high-level English squads, the men’s soccer team traveled to the United Kingdom,

Alvernia men’s and women’s indoor track and field squad enjoyed record-breaking seasons this spring. The women were ranked as high as #4 in the Mid-East Region by the U.S. Track & Field Coaches Association, while the men enjoyed a #11 ranking — both for the first time in school history. Senior pole vaulter Melissa Fellenbaum, ranked as high as #2 in NCAA Division III, became the first All-American in program history by finishing sixth at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships. Fellenbaum won the Middle Atlantic Conference Pole Vault title for the second straight time. Her jump of 3.82m not only gave her gold but also set a new meet record. “It was never my goal to break records or to get a certain place at meets. My goal is just to do what I know I am capable of doing and not let challenges get in the way. When I do that, the rest tends to follow,” said Fellenbaum. Freshman Sarah Garner also came home from the meet with a medal, taking second place in the 60m hurdles. The women’s team placed sixth overall, tallying 38 points on the day. In May, Fellenbaum won her fourth gold medal to lead Alvernia to a sixth place finish at the women’s MAC Track and Field Championships (outdoor.) She currently holds both the indoor (3.90m) and outdoor (3.75m) school pole vault records.

attending a live FA Cup match.

Alvernia’s men’s soccer team in the U.K.

McCloskey Court Dedicated A ceremony held between the men’s and women’s basketball games against Albright College dedicated the Jack McCloskey Court in Alvernia’s Physical Education Center. The former men’s basketball coach, who passed away in 2012, was instrumental in building the program. McCloskey was the head coach from 1991 to 2004 and remains the school’s winningest men’s basketball coach.

Lutz notches #700 With a 6-4 win over Widener University, Alvernia baseball coach Yogi Lutz celebrated his 700th win. Now in his 27th season, Lutz is ranked 12th in the NCAA Division III among active coaches in wins and is the 23rd coach in the division to reach 700 career wins. He earned his first win in a doubleheader split against Lebanon Valley on March 21, 1987.

main image: Theo Anderson; inset left: AP images

Track team sets records; Fellenbaum goes All-American

where the highlight of the trip included

Alvernia University Magazine

13


What’s hot on our blogosphere

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Neither rain nor … This past week I had the pleasure of attending the annual conference for Sigma Tau Delta (the English honor society for colleges and universities) in Portland, Ore. I was part of one of two groups from Alvernia that were chosen to present a creative roundtable discussion during the conference. The conference itself was a great time. Being in massive rooms full of fellow English nerds is something I never expected I would be able to experience. Once we stepped outside the hotel and the conference, things got interesting. My group and I traveled about 10 blocks from our hotel to Powell’s Books one day when we had some free time. Had we known it was going to hail like crazy while we were walking back, maybe we would have waited until the next day, but it all just added to the experience. Now that I think about it, I probably would have walked through a blizzard to get to Powell’s. If you are ever in the Portland area and you have any infatuation with books WHATSOEVER, you must go. The store is so massive and just walking through it (or running around, in my case) is a great experience …

Andrew Kaucher ’15 President of the Kappa Pi Chapter of Sigma Tau Delta

ls all e v a r t e h ’12 as y e n r e N n a r the o f l l a b t Follow Bri e k ing bas y a l p d l r Harlem o w e h e t h f t o r l e a v v o , arch ri s l a r e n e G n s tell the o t o h Washingto p f o dreds n u H . s r e t t Globetro rney. u blr.com o j m s u ’ t . y 2 e 1 n r ner ney stor y of Ne He chose Francis By now you have read plenty about Cardinal Bergoglio, now Pope Francis I, so this brief note will not present you with any new facts. Perhaps a personal reaction, impressionistically written. I was at my hotel in Baltimore. I had just driven down from Philly to attend the annual meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Region of the American Academy of Religion, specifically to participate in a session on religion and leadership. Although part of the Sheraton line, this Starwood was poorly maintained. At least I got a king-sized bed. I had bought some pretzels in the hotel store, and the TV announcer was saying that a new pope had been elected. Already? It was only 3 p.m. in the afternoon, U.S. East Coast time on Wednesday. Who? I thought I heard “Franciscum” after “Habemus papam,” but was unsure. Upstairs to the room and on with the TV. He’s Latin American. Wow. And not the Latin American who had been discussed as a front-runner. He’s a Jesuit, the first. And after all the static unfairly raised about the Jesuits, double wow …

Is it moral, ethical or legal? An 87-year-old woman living in a retirement facility collapses and needs CPR. The facility’s policy states emergency personnel should be immediately notified; however, the policy also states that nurses working there are not to administer CPR. When the dispatcher on the phone said, “Anybody there can do CPR. Give them the phone please. I understand if your facility is not willing to do that. Give the phone to that passerby, that stranger … this woman is not breathing enough. She’s going to die if we don’t get this started …

Mary Arbogast Nursing and Healthcare Outreach Coordinator

Pope Francis I

Gerald S. Vigna Associate Professor of Theology

main image: Library of Congress; Left: corbis; ABOVE: Getty Images

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the

TIES THAT bind

For Mary Ann Berger, the Bernardine Sisters and Alvernia are the linking forces that connect her roots and family to the past, present and future.

By Jack Croft


Carolyn Holleran, right, and Mary Ann Berger

As Sarah Keinard ’12 strode to the stage in Alvernia’s Physical Education Center to receive her undergraduate degree in accounting last December, her grandmother, Mary Ann Berger, looked on proudly from the top of the grandstands. She was there with hundreds of proud parents, grandparents, siblings, families and friends, each there to celebrate the success of a loved one. But for Mary Ann, as she watched the ceremony with her daughter Christine, and granddaughter Melisa, (a first-year student at Alvernia), it was more than just a graduation. It was, in a very personal and profound way, a homecoming. Half a century earlier, she herself had arrived on what would become Alvernia’s campus to begin a new phase in her own life and education. But not by choice. Mary Ann Grossman was only 6 years old, and she was coming to live at St. Francis Orphanage.  Alvernia University Magazine

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Sitting in the conference room in Francis Hall, it dawns on Berger that she has been there before, a long time ago. It was in December 1951, her first day at St. Francis Orphanage, and — along with older sister Rita and older brothers Frank and Leonard — she was saying goodbye to her father. “He gave each of us a silver dollar,” Berger recalls. Her whole family — there were nine children in all — had been living together the previous two years at a house on Plum Street in Reading that two of her older sisters bought. Her brother Joseph — some 10 years older, who lived in the orphanage off and on from the time he was 27 months through the eighth grade — wrote a detailed account of his recollections, some of which were published in the 2008 book “Designed to Serve: The Place and Persons of Francis Hall” by Sister Mary Pacelli Staskiel, OSF. His account of the Plum Street home, which was not included in the book, is about as far from the 1950s Norman Rockwell ideal of domestic tranquility as you can imagine: “Our house was a former house of prostitution, and up a block from ours was an active house, also called a cat house in those days. Ours was a small house, three small bedrooms,

“I told Mother Superior that I wanted to be a nurse. I wound up in the infirmary with Sister Conrad. She was very bright.”

no closets, a living room, dining room and a kitchen. No bath or hot water, an outhouse in the backyard, but this was all my sisters could afford. My Mom and Dad moved in shortly after the house was bought, but my Dad continued his drinking, and since he worked as a junk man, he made very little money, and what he made went largely to support his drinking. In one of the bedrooms upstairs was what I thought was a closet, but it was really an exit door that led into the house next door, in case the house was raided.” “My father was an alcoholic,” Berger says, her voice soft. “My mother was a very good woman, but she was not a very good disciplinarian. She let us run free.” That is until the court intervened, taking the younger

18 Alvernia University Magazine

children away from their parents and placing them in St. Francis Orphanage, run by the Bernardine Franciscan Sisters. “I remember being in court. It was hard. I was 6 years old,” she says, then pauses, “but it was for the best.” Francis Hall was her home until 1958, when the Bernardine Sisters decided to convert the site to a college that has grown into today’s Alvernia University. It has undergone extensive renovations since Berger lived there, and the Alvernia campus bears little resemblance to the grounds she roamed as a child. But modernization is no match for memories. Berger had an inquisitive spirit, and as she walks the halls of the building where she grew up, she recalls all the places she snuck into during times when she wasn’t supposed to be there. The theater, which is still there, in which she performed in numerous plays. The art classroom, which hasn’t been used in many years, up in the tower. A “snake path” outside, long gone, that wound through a wooded area between the sisters’ infirmary and the grotto, where she ventured a few times after dinner — until she was caught and got in trouble. “I was always a person to ask a lot of questions,” she says. And then there was the time she snuck into the bathroom when the nuns were inside — something specifically verboten. “I had to see if the nuns had legs,” she says impishly. “They always wore those long black robes.” Berger had her favorite nuns, as well as her favorite places. As she walks past Room 214, Berger exclaims, “That was the infirmary!” She spent considerable time there helping Sister Conrad, who cared for generations of children in the orphanage. Sister Conrad was easy to remember. She stood about 4 feet tall, and was smaller than many of the older children. But the lasting impression she made on Berger stemmed from her compassion and intelligence, not her diminutive size. “I told Mother Superior that I wanted to be a nurse. I wound up in the infirmary with Sister Conrad,” she recalls. “She was very bright.” There, Berger learned how to take children’s temperatures and care for the sick. She cherished her time helping in the infirmary so much that years later, when she was 16, she brought her future husband to meet Sister Conrad and show him where she had grown up. Twelve years later, she returned once again to introduce Sister Conrad, who was retired by then, to her four children. “She was so happy to see us,” Berger recalls. “She told me she missed the children. Everything was so different and too quiet.” Her other favorite nun was Sister Anita, her fourth-grade art teacher. The classroom was up in the tower and had a beautiful view of the surrounding countryside. Not that the view was the main attraction for Berger. Sister Anita was a talented and creative artist, and instilled in her young pupil a love for art that has lasted a lifetime. “I was actually afraid of heights,” Berger says. “But for that, it was worth it.”

For children accustomed to almost no structure or discipline, St. Francis Orphanage strictly imposed both. Up early to make the bed. Breakfast. Chores. Class. Lunch. Class. Playtime. Dinner. Wash the dishes. (The girls did the dishes after breakfast and dinner, the boys did the dishes after lunch.) Homework. Bedtime. And the next day, do it all again. “It was ritual,” Berger says. Asked if she grew to welcome the structure and discipline,


left: Courtesy of Marry Ann Berger; right and previous spread; Theo Anderson

Mary Ann Berger with her granddaughters Sarah ’12 and Melisa Keinard ’16.

Berger replies simply: “You adjust.” Not that it was all ritual. There were outings to nearby Reading Indians minor league ballgames (once, Berger was chosen to speak on the radio broadcast, asking for donations to help the children) and even to Atlantic City once or twice. They would walk from Francis Hall over to the lake at Angelica Dam to swim (the dam — and the lake it formed — are now gone, and the area is being converted back to wetlands). Not all of the children who attended the school lived in Francis Hall, though. Some lived at home, and only attended school there during the day. “The Outsiders, we called them,” Berger says. “We were the Insiders.” And while some of the children who lived at the orphanage went home regularly for weekends and holidays to visit their families, that usually wasn’t in the cards for Berger and her siblings. Sometimes, she would go home with another child. On occasions when she was allowed to see her mother, it upset her greatly. “I was very close to my mother. It was very traumatic being away from her.” When she had to leave at the end of a visit, she would cry. “Finally, they told me that if I didn’t stop crying, I wouldn’t be able to visit anymore,” Berger says, before adding softly: “You adjust.” But even those precious visits were more than the young girl could count on. “There were times we went home and my mother wasn’t there. She had moved,” Berger says. She recalls walking

through the neighborhood on those occasions, looking for her lost mother.

Mary Ann Berger grew up to have four children of her own, as well as 14 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. She married in September 1963, just three months after graduating from Central Catholic High School. She had gone to live at St. Catharine’s after St. Francis Orphanage was closed, and rode a bus an hour each way to attend Holy Guardian Angels Regional School in Temple for a year before she was able to get into Central Catholic. Influenced by Sister Conrad, Berger thought about becoming a nurse, and even worked at St. Joseph Hospital, where her aunt worked, for two years during high school. (Her great-niece Lynn Stubblebine is currently a nursing student at Alvernia.) But after high school came the wedding and three children in quick succession. She raised her family. Then, at the age of 32, her husband died from a heart attack. Berger remarried in 1991, and her second husband died last year. Over the years, she did housekeeping, and in a simple twist of fate, found herself working for Jerry and Carolyn Holleran at Cedar Hill Farm — the historic property the Hollerans, both emeritus Continued on page 52

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Toddler Kathleen Muzevich is helping chart a path

today

for talented writers beginning in … gulp, kindergarten.

Young students from the Alvernia Montessori School develop their writing skills.

positions, including assistant principal and principal, believes strongly in the importance of assessing children to determine which teaching steps should be engaged in to maximize classroom instruction. An important part of this assessment is an evaluation of writing. After all, says Muzevich, recognition of early writing aptitude is important because the sooner teachers can nurture this talent, the better. And the sooner problems are identified, the sooner they can be addressed. “Some early signs of writing talent will be quick understanding

of the mechanics of writing, such as capitalization, punctuation and spelling,” says Muzevich. “On a higher level, these children will demonstrate their giftedness through advanced vocabularies and the way they form sentences — what we refer to as ‘voice’ and ‘tone.’” Muzevich’s specific ideas for how to assess writing come from her practical experiences working with teachers and students as well as her in-depth research into emergent writing processes. Through her experiences working with teachers and students, Muzevich

Theo Anderson

By Elizabeth Shimer Bowers

When she first started working as a reading supervisor in a public school district in eastern Pennsylvania nearly two decades ago, Kathleen Muzevich, Ed.D., assistant professor of education at Alvernia, loved watching children’s language develop. “Language acquisition of children, both oral and written, fascinates me — how writing emerges from scribbles to words, to phrases and then to sentences,” Muzevich says. “At the kindergarten and first-grade age, children are just so interested in language, and they grow by leaps and bounds as they work to acquire the conventions of the English language,” she says. But despite her fascination, Muzevich, who now teaches reading and language arts methods courses at Alvernia, noticed a problem: In public school, students did not receive a formal writing assessment until fifth grade — years after they dotted their first I and crossed their first T. “Fifth grade is just too late for a first writing assessment — children destined to become talented writers will show evidence of their gifts as young as kindergarten and first grade,” she says. And so the wheels began to turn. Muzevich, who has taught at the elementary, middle and high school levels, and held various administrative


Tolstoy

tomorrow?

“On a higher level, these children will demonstrate their giftedness through advanced vocabularies and the way they form sentences — what we refer to as ‘voice’ and ‘tone.’” Kathleen Muzevich

started to shape a rubric that would become her research focus for years to come; a tool that fills the need for an effective assessment of children’s writing early in their educational careers. The culmination of Muzevich’s experience in teaching, administration and research on the best ways to measure writing skill is a new book, “Evaluating Children’s Emergent Writing.” “Teachers can use the book to assess their K-1 children’s writing and guide their teaching, as well as to help them share information with parents in easily understood terms,” Muzevich says.

Support for children’s writing Muzevich says children progress in writing at their own pace, so her rubric helps teachers quantify individual development and present it from a positive perspective rather than to point out errors. It helps teachers determine next steps so they can best support students in their writing. With an extensive background in teaching and administration, Muzevich says she created the tool described in “Evaluating Children’s Emergent Writing” out of a need. “There were no commercial products

on the market to help assess children’s writing,” she says. “I saw teachers and schools trying to develop their own rubrics without having the time or expertise to determine if they were valid.” In her work, Muzevich has identified seven essential components, or domains, of emergent writing and how to assess them — letter formation, capitalization, punctuation, spacing, spelling, style and content. Each domain consists of six score points to Continued on page 59

Alvernia University Magazine

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S BEA T BROTHER? or

Challenging question | Complicated answer


By Lini S. Kadaba Animals have complicated relationships with their human counterparts. Sometimes, they are treated as endeared companions that provide priceless emotional and physical support. Sometimes, they are test subjects for important research that helps save lives. In other settings, they become indentured servants, forms of entertainment or perhaps the evening meal. Whatever the arena — laboratory or factory farm, racetrack or home — how animals are used has turned into a growing source of controversy … and a thorny moral dilemma. In 1903, Thomas Edison famously challenged the safety of alternating current over his own invention of direct current by performing a simple experiment. He electrocuted an elephant. The bicycle-riding Topsy lived at the zoo on Coney Island and was on death row because she had crushed three handlers, including one who had tried to feed her a lit cigarette. Her owners wanted to publicly hang her, but that plan was thwarted by the objections of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). According to reports, Edison had already subjected stray cats and dogs as well as horses and even an orangutan to electrocution; Topsy was his coup d’état. On the day of the execution, wooden sandals with copper electrodes were placed on the restrained elephant’s feet. While 1,500 spectators watched, a 6,600-volt AC charge coursed through Topsy’s body. The elephant toppled over in a haze of smoke and was killed within seconds, as footage Edison filmed starkly shows. Nowadays, the macabre spectacle would no doubt raise a host of ethical questions. Did Topsy’s poor treatment by her keepers play a role in her seemingly brutish behavior? Was electrocution, used in human executions since the late 1880s, more humane than

the proposed hanging? Should elephants be confined in zoos and circuses in the first place? And on and on. “We’re dealing with a lot of controversial issues and strong feelings on both sides of the arguments,” says Dr. Donna Yarri, an associate professor of theology at Alvernia who has written extensively on animal ethics. Whatever the arena — laboratory or factory farm, racetrack or home — how animals are used has become a growing source of controversy and moral concern. To get at some of the most pressing questions, Yarri created a new, thought-provoking course at Alvernia — “The Ethical Treatment of Animals: With a Gaze Toward the Animal.” In the honors, seminar-style class developed with the backing of a faculty excellence grant, assumptions are challenged. “What is it about animals that enables us to use them in a way we would not use humans?” Yarri asks her students. “Part of the enterprise of ethics is really to look at all sides of an issue. You need to understand the reasons for the positions people take.” Should we eat animals? Should we keep them as pets? Should we use them in experiments? “Virtually all of us are affected by animals in some context or other,” says wildlife 

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and Ethics” at Alvernia and directs campus ministry,“ give that intellectual footing for all people who are willing to inquire into these questions.”

 Most people in the United States eat meat and seafood. Most likely spend little time pondering how that appetizing food gets to their dinner table. Any discussion of animal ethics forces a head-on confrontation with that issue. “The primary issue is food,” says ethicist Joel Marks, a professor emeritus of philosophy at the University of New Haven and a scholar at the Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics at Yale University. “The reason is the sheer number of animals involved.” Each year in the United States, 10.2 billion land animals — chickens, cows, pigs and others — are slaughtered for food that makes its way to the table, according to the United States Department of Agriculture’s data. Sea animals add several billion more to the tally. A diet that includes meat has its benefits. It contains large amounts of protein, important for the health and well-being of humans, as well as vitamins and minerals necessary for basic functions. Ethical concerns usually revolve around how the animal was raised and slaughtered and, for many, whether killing another sentient being for a human’s benefit is morally right. Factory farms, which dominate U.S. food production, have come under criticism for crowding large numbers of animals into small cages and sheds, and using hormones to boost production. But there are alternatives. Grass-fed cattle are growing in popularity, with chains such as Whole Foods stamping its meat packages with an animal welfare scale. “If one is focused on the animal and eliminating pain, distress, giving the animal a reasonable quality of life, it is possible to envision a world where animals are humanely cared for and humanely slaughtered, and used by humans,” says James Serpell, a professor of animal welfare

getty images (2)

Dog racing — entertaining competition or cruel activity?

expert Richard Botzler, co-editor of the college textbook “The Animal Ethics Reader,” which Yarri uses. “There are a lot of everyday ethical issues that come up.” As part of the class, students volunteer as cat socializers, dog walkers or kennel cleaners at the Humane Society of Berks County to make the ethical issues “more tangible,” Yarri says. “The hours at the shelter have been very eye-opening to me,” says Kathleen Fitzharris, 20, of Smithtown, N.Y., a pre-veterinary sophomore studying biochemistry. She, like her peers, was struck by the sheer numbers — more than 2,000 a year — of abused and neglected animals left at the shelter. “It’s so rewarding to work with the cats and dogs, and see them get adopted. And you know you played a part in giving that animal a better life.” “The Ethical Treatment of Animals” also explores a variety of perspectives, including that of animals. Students write essays from, say, a dolphin’s or hamster’s viewpoint — as well as that of organizations such as the ASPCA and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). They also have spent considerable time discussing the person and theology of St. Francis, the patron saint of animals and the environment. Clearly, animal ethics raises a host of crucial, complex questions. “Courses such as the one Yarri’s offering,” says Scott Davidson, who teaches “Green Theology


What constitutes ethical treatment of animals is often defined by the individual.

at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania who teaches a veterinary ethical issues class. “Really, the ethical issues pertain to the quality of one’s life and one’s death,” he says. Groups such as PETA, however, take a much more radical view that advocates for animal rights not unlike the fight for civil rights. In fact, Katie Arth, a campaigner with PETA, considers animal ethics “the most important social justice issue of our time … The more we find out about animals, the more we find out that they’re more complex and deserve more consideration for their suffering every day.”

Yarri explains that animal-rights supporters often make the Darwinian argument that humans also are animals. “The traditional way of understanding animals both in the Christian tradition and philosophical tradition have been more of a hierarchical model,” she says. Humans are on top — the book of Genesis says man has “dominion” over animals — and insects are at the bottom, with various species in between. In the West, dogs and cats would be higher up than say, rabbits, than rats, than fruit flies. “Charles Darwin was one of the people who really began to challenge that idea,” 

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similar humans and other animals are, has increasingly dominated the debate. “At stake is the treatment of literally billions of animals in our world,” she says. Public opinion may well be shifting. For example, vegetarianism and more recently veganism, which additionally shuns animal products, have grown from the fringes to one more option on restaurant menus or college campuses. According to food services provider Bon Appétit Management Company, the number of vegetarian and vegan college students has grown significantly. In a 2006 survey of students on campuses it oversees, about 8 percent identified as vegetarian and less than 1 percent as vegan. By 2010, vegetarians had increased to 12 percent and vegans to 2 percent.

 In many ways, the scientific use of animals, particularly to find cures for devastating human diseases, is perhaps the hardest to oppose. Already, research on animals has led to

Theo Anderson

Alvernia students Kathleen Fitzharris and Casey Green lend a hand at the Humane Society of Berks County.

says Yarri, whose forthcoming book is titled “God, Darwin and the Origins of Life.” “Is there still something special about humans? Well, yes. But is it as special as we originally thought? Probably not.” This perspective has been employed to ethically challenge the use of animals for food. “In the killing of animals,” Marks says, “we’re talking about the killing of sentient beings who are in most respects like us.” Concern for animals has a trajectory that dates to ancient cultural traditions around the world. But it was the publication of philosopher Peter Singer’s book “Animal Liberation” in 1975 that revolutionized both academic and popular thinking on the subject. “If we’re really concerned about cruelty to animals, it doesn’t just apply to dogs and cats and horses,” Marks says of “Animal Liberation,” dubbed the Bible of the animalrights movement. “Pigs, cows, sheep, goats, chickens, these are all sentient beings, just like dogs and cats and horses. They are being treated far more cruelly.” In the past 40 years, Yarri says, advocacy for rights, driven by the belief of how


Student Matt Stauffer and a four-legged friend go for a jog at the Humane Society of Berks County.

a multitude of discoveries that changed the course of human history. Included on the list is the development of vaccines for smallpox (cow), anthrax (sheep), rabies (dog, rabbit), polio (mouse, monkey) and tetanus (horse) and the discovery of insulin (dog, fish) and organ transplant techniques (dog, pig, sheep, cow), among many others, according to the Foundation for Biomedical Research. Federal legislation also assures basic standards for the humane treatment of lab animals. “Almost all research scientists agree that animal research is critical to understanding basic biology, discovering new treatments for human (and animal) diseases, and maximizing the safety of new medicines, while minimizing their harm to humans,” writes D. Eugene Redmond Jr., a professor of psychiatry and neurosurgery at Yale’s School of Medicine. He was a contributor to a 2012 special report on the ethics of medical research on animals by The Hastings Center, a nonprofit bioethics institute. Not all, however, find the practice ethical, depending on your view of moral theories. Those who embrace Utilitarianism seek the greatest good or happiness. “The ends

justify the means,” says Marks, who also contributed to the Hastings report. From this point of view, if medical research on animals provides more benefit than cost, it would be condoned, even obligated. On the other hand, supporters of Kantianism, based on the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, hold that one should never use a rational being as merely an end. Kant excluded animals, which he did not consider capable of reasoning. Still, animal-rights advocates often latch on to his notion of treating others with respect, as an end to itself, rather than as a means to an end. Taking this view, animals should not be experimented upon, even if a greater good is achievable. “You are treating them merely as a means,” Marks says. “If you could ask them for consent, they would not give it.” The same logic could extend to other arenas of animal use. “Animal-rights folks believe we should just leave other animals alone,” he says. “In the end, the best situation would be for all other animals to be wild animals.” So, where does this extreme stance leave Continued on page 54

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project in the MBA program. “I was using skill sets I was learning (in the MBA program) to set up this new corporation,” says Brown, who today also serves as medical director of the Cancer Center at Reading Hospital, and is a Fellow in the Society of Surgical Oncology, the American College of Surgeons and the American Society of Clinical Oncology. He also serves as Cancer Liaison Physician to the American College of Surgeons. Brown knew he would need to spend more time managing the new Spring Ridge Surgical Specialists (he estimates he spends 75 percent ecovery is painfully if not tragically slow in the poor of his time on medicine and surgery, and 25 percent on administration). He also understood island nation of Haiti. More than three years after the that management required a different skill set than being a surgeon, one that would equip tiny country was devastated by an earthquake while still him “to sit at the table with administrators.” recovering from the 2008 tsunami and hurricane, reconstruction “The strong part of the program was really strategic planning,” Brown says of his Alvernia is negligible. More than 350,000 Haitians are languishing in experience. “That, to me, was the core of the tent camps. Earlier this year, Dr. Michael T. Brown MBA ’07—a program, in being able to set out a strategic plan — set out a vision, break it down into manageable founder of Spring Ridge Surgical Specialists in Wyomissing, Pa., steps, and have strategic implementation so that you actually achieve your goal.” who specializes in surgical oncology — joined a weeklong medical It also provided an excellent grounding in mission trip to northern Haiti, lending his considerable skills to relieve finances, accounting, statistics and leadership, Brown says. “Alvernia was teaching us to be leaders, not bosses. And there’s a suffering there. He went with a group of 22 physicians and healthdifference,” he says. care providers from Reading, Connecticut and California. Calling on Franciscan values, the program stressed the need to It had been at least six months since any of the locals had seen a respect workers as individuals and bring the team along to reach a doctor, according to Brown. “There is some medical care, but you goal that everybody has in common. have to pay for it. And since they can’t afford it, it’s like it doesn’t “In order to be successful, you have to be successful the right way,” exist for most of the people.” “We saw 1,400 patients and did 108 operations,” Brown says. All, it Brown says. “And how you treat people is very important because that’s the foundation of your business, the foundation of your should be noted, at no cost to the recipients. reputation, the foundation of your character. Taking shortcuts and Operating under conditions that tested even the most skilled climbing over co-workers isn’t going to get you where you want to be surgeons and often using only local anesthesia, Brown performed if you’re leading an organization.” mastectomies and hernias. A mission trip to the Dominican Republic was a key part of It’s unlikely any of those receiving medical aid would have gotten Brown’s MBA experience. The whole class went to a school and the care they so desperately needed if it were not for an inspired “call to serve” felt by each of the doctors. For Brown, who was on his third convent, operated by the Bernardine Sisters who founded Alvernia, and put together from scratch a successful fundraising program that trip, that call first came in 2007 when he made his initial overseas raised more than $100,000 to build a second floor on the facility. mission as part of Alvernia’s MBA program. “I always had an inclination to do an overseas mission trip,” Brown The Philadelphia native, who graduated from the University says. “The MBA class gave me the opportunity.” of Scranton and Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson He has since gone back to the Dominican Republic on a Faith Care University, was already an accomplished surgeon active in the cancer mission trip, in addition to his recent Haiti trip. field. When Brown decided to get his MBA, he was president of The son of a Philadelphia Fire Department battalion chief, Brown Wyomissing Surgical Clinic, a practice with three doctors. One of his always had a penchant for science in school and discovered his partners, Dr. Joseph R. Levan, had earned his MBA at Alvernia and interest in medicine in the Boy Scouts, where he rose to the rank of recommended the program to Brown. Eagle Scout. At the time, Wyomissing Surgical Clinic was planning to merge with Reading Surgical Specialists, headed by Dr. Thomas C. Beetel, and Brown used the formation of the new group as his capstone Continued on page 60

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Theo Anderson

R


Renowned oncology surgeon Dr. Michael T. Brown came to Alvernia for an MBA to learn how to effectively manage an organization. He left with much more than a degree, having discovered the true meaning of leadership and the rewards of using life-saving skills to help those most in need.

Saving

lives Serving others

By Jack Croft

Dr. Brown during a recent mission trip.


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C H E C K

Real-world, experiential learning is giving college students the types of know-how employers are looking for, and students the skills and training they’ll need to succeed.

By Julia VanTine


In an Association of American Colleges and Universities national survey, more than 75 percent of employers said they wanted colleges to put more emphasis on five key areas including critical thinking, complex problem solving, written and oral communication and applied knowledge in real-world settings.


Alvernia students Eric Schweitzer and Ashley Bauscher developed valuable skills, while making a positive impact in the community by helping Reading, Pa., citizens prepare tax forms.

M  assive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) allow academic rock stars to share their prerecorded lectures with students on campuses across the nation and even with yak herders in Tibet. (Really.) There’s intense debate as to whether the rise of the MOOCs heralds the collapse of higher education, or its renaissance. But as

32 Alvernia University Magazine

traditional academics turn a skeptical eye, a growing number of campuses are signing on with the companies (both for profit and non profit) that offer them.  More and more professors armed with webcams and a belief in active learning are “flipping the classroom.” With this model, they put their lectures online, which frees up class time for guided discussion, debate and reflection.  Conferencing systems and virtual learning environments such as Blackboard are making it easier for professors and students to connect online. With such tools, busy distance-learning students can study when it suits their schedules — the “different time, different place” model of communication called asynchronous online learning — or “meet” as a class in real time for streaming video lectures, online labs and chat-room discussions (the “same time, same place” synchronous model). There is no question online learning can increase access to higher education and lower costs — definite advantages in a down economy. But no matter how interactive, it robs students of direct face-to-face interaction and the opportunity to learn by doing.

Hands-on learning: always in style At Alvernia, experiential learning, which turns the whole world into a classroom, gives students the hands-on experience and skills employers demand. The university’s broad mix of learn-by-doing opportunities includes internships, field work, work/ study, study-abroad programs as well as service learning, a hybrid of experiential learning and community service. “Our ‘learn by doing’ philosophy blends professional skills development with opportunities for community service,” says Provost Shirley Williams. “That helps students discover — and pursue — their passion, while providing meaningful opportunities to make a positive difference in the lives of others.” Williams says Alvernia’s faculty members understand that students learn best when lessons come alive through out-of-the-classroom experiences and that real-world learning helps students develop capabilities that enable them to thrive in the uncertain circumstances of life. Service learning fosters a deeper understanding of subject matter than classroom learning alone and aligns with Alvernia’s Franciscan tradition of “knowledge joined with love.” Teamed with the university’s community partners — more than 50 in all — students use what they learn in real workplaces, while serving their neighbors. “Students get hands-on experience, and connections for internships and jobs.

Theo Anderson

I

f you remember buying your first record album, you probably watched “The Paper Chase,” a TV drama about first-year students at Harvard Law School. In the character of Professor Charles W. Kingsfield, Jr., actor John Houseman gave the American public its most enduring visual cliché of higher education: the cantankerous professor at the lectern, dispensing wisdom and withering glances to a room of silent students. But to today’s generation of academics and students, that image is going the way of the yellow highlighter. At Alvernia, students do as much learning off campus as on, and “class” might meet at the nearby police academy, an area hospital, TV station or elementary school, an organic farm in Kutztown or even the floor of Parliament in London. Meanwhile, on other campuses across the nation, the opposite is occurring, and “going to class” increasingly means firing up a laptop:


Community partners get the help they need. It’s a win/win,” says Jodi Radosh, Ph.D., associate director of the Holleran Center for Community Engagement, who oversees Alvernia’s service-learning curriculum. Professor Radosh, also an associate professor of English and communication, should know. Her students hone their writing and reporting skills at area TV stations and PR firms, and have landed internships and jobs at national media outlets, including CNN and ESPN, as well as local and national corporations and public service institutions. The university promotes its approach to real-world learning through a new program called “Get Real” that helps students understand the opportunities and benefits afforded to them through outside-theclassroom learning options. “Real-world learning is a powerful way for students to get all they can from their Alvernia experience,” says Brad Drexler, Alvernia’s vice president for marketing and communications. “Experiential learning opportunities allow students to translate theory-based concepts from the classroom into practice and offer the chance to “reality-check” possible careers before students complete their degree.” Each year, more than 1,300 Alvernia students participate in some type of experiential-learning initiative. From presenting at national conferences and leading student organizations, to using stateof-the-art laser equipment and treating patients. Alvernia students have their sleeves rolled up as they engage in hands-on learning programs that give them a taste of the real world. They are experiences that provide them with skills that are tested, and proven, in actual work environments. And experts see experiential and service learning as more vital than ever. Their support comes at a critical point: “the confrontation of higher education and diminishing resources intersect as we hear increased calls for excellence,” says Ashley Finley, Ph.D., senior director of assessment and research at the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). The Obama administration’s call for civic participation has “encouraged learning that connects to the community and fosters citizenship,” says Patrick M. Green, Ed.D, director of the Center for Experiential Learning at Loyola University Chicago. These twin appeals for excellence and civic engagement come not just from advocates of higher education, but business leaders. In a 2013 survey of business and nonprofit employers, more than 75 percent said they want more emphasis on five key areas including: critical thinking, complex problem solving, written and oral communication, and Continued on page 58

Aspiring marketing pros ‘Get Real’

Alvernia’s Marketing and Communication Association has undergone a redesign: It’s morphed from a student-led club to a student-run marketing agency, called Professional Edge, where tomorrow’s marketing and communications pros are gaining real-world experience in the field today. Sophomores Deven Samson, pictured above, and Shannon Browne led the club’s transformation, guided by advisor Audrey Hoffman, marketing coordinator for the marketing and communications department, and Brad Drexler, the university’s vice president of marketing and communications. The agency’s first client was the Jesuit Center in Wernersville, a national destination for retreats and spiritual development. At an initial meeting last fall, Samson, Browne and Hoffman met with Jesuit Center Marketing Director Pam Kubacki to trade ideas. Since then, the agency has “hired” managers for marketing research, advertising, graphic and web design, and social media and recently met at the Center for an in-depth brainstorming session. “Our main focus is the beauty of the Jesuit Center’s grounds,” says Samson. To showcase this beauty, the agency may create a virtual tour. Also in the works: a new logo, website redesign, increased social media presence and an analysis of the center’s demographics with the goal of attracting more Catholic high school and college students to its retreats. “We will be developing new ways to share the center’s core assets … its talented spiritual leaders, gorgeous facility, picturesque grounds and the amazing testimonials of its past guests,” said Samson. “Our goal is to not only to create new ways to advertise and market the Jesuit Center, but to train the Center’s staff on how to continue to use new techniques and technologies moving forward.”

The Professional Edge team in action at The Jesuit Center.


A

Bringing his

I

t’s a tough time to be an administrator in a Catholic school system. For decades, since enrollment peaked at 5.2 million students in almost 13,000 Catholic schools nationally in the 1960s, administrators have been faced with closings and consolidations. By 1990, Catholic schools were down to just 2.5 million students — less than half the number they educated at their peak. Following a slight upward trend in the 1990s, Catholic schools have lost more than 651,000 students — a precipitous 24.5 percent fall in enrollment — across the nation since 2000. Among dioceses in Pennsylvania, only one showed enrollment gains during the current school year — the Diocese of Allentown, where Philip Fromuth, Ph.D. ’12 is superintendent. Fromuth has made many key decisions during his decade as secretary of education and superintendent of schools for the diocese. He’s closed schools and merged others, and launched a pair of key leadership programs. Last year, he was part of a diocesan team that helped halt the long decline in enrollment for the diocese, which has nearly 12,300 students at 48 schools in five counties. In 2012-13, the Allentown Diocese gained about 50 students, ending a decade of annual 3-4 percent decreases. Fromuth attributes the rise in enrollment to careful planning, the leadership of Bishop Barres and the Bishop's Commission on Catholic Schools, as well as the efforts of dedicated pastors, principals, teachers and parents. “If you’re not looking ahead, you’re going to be mired in the day-to-day,” he says. “I think we can be satisfied in the present. But we can be fulfilled in the future.” Fromuth’s job is both familiar and familial. He grew up in the Allentown Diocese. He attended Central Catholic High School in Reading, where as a senior he averaged 10 points a game as a basketball forward. His mother was a homemaker and teacher; his father was a junior high school principal. Fromuth’s diocesan career began in 1980 as a teacher at St. Catharine of Siena School in Mount Penn, a Berks County borough. Four years later, he became principal of Holy Guardian Angels School in Reading. Over the next 16 years, he supervised a wide range of changes, including a large building project. For most of those years, he doubled as the regional chairperson of Catholic principals in Berks County and tripled as a basketball official. He insists that running the court, making calls and ignoring catcalls helped reduce his stress as an educational point guard. Fromuth retired as a referee in 2000 to protect an old damaged disc and prepare for a new role as the Allentown Diocese’s assistant superintendent of elementary education. Two years later, he became the diocese’s chief of education. In his first year,

34 Alvernia University Magazine

As a former referee,

Philip J. Fromuth, Ph.D. ’12

has a lot of experience making tough calls. Now, he’s doing it for 12,000 students in 48 schools in the sprawling Diocese of Allentown. Theo Anderson

Continued on page 53

GAME

By Geoff Gehman


peaceful

ambitions

With knowledge comes the power to change — and even save — lives. That’s a lesson Kate Roesch ’12 applies every day as a Peace Corps volunteer in the East African nation of Uganda. 36 Alvernia University Magazine


By Geoff Gehman Each year, malaria kills 12 of every 1,000 Ugandans, including 16 percent of children under the age of 5. In 2011, the Peace Corps launched an initiative called Stomping Out Malaria in Africa that seeks to eradicate the disease by 2015. It’s an ambitious goal. And to achieve it, the Peace Corps is going to need more recruits like Kate Roesch ’12. Roesch, an elementary education graduate, has been in the Ugandan city of Mbale since November, educating college students on how to teach primary school children. She wasted no time in applying her talents to an anti-malaria crusade, compiling a book with treatments and tools, including medicines and mosquito-net hammocks. Her “big book” was distributed in April during Malaria Awareness Month, a “very cool” coup for a young American new to Africa. For even more exposure, her students also took part in a two-weeklong malaria scavenger hunt created by Roesch. Malaria is “very preventable,” says Roesch from a Mbale café with an Internet connection strong enough for a Skype conversation. “Once people have that knowledge, they have the power. But there has to be 100 percent participation. One sick person can spread a lot of sickness.” Her main job in Mbale is teaching science courses at a government school, ranging from Electricity and Magnetism to “The World of Living Things.” She didn’t know she would also be teaching a computer class, but as it turns out, the art of surprise and

Kate Roesch, upper right, is spending her first three years after graduation helping educate Ugandan children as a Peace Corps volunteer.

flexibility are Peace Corps staples. Luckily for her, her lessons have been popular and include practical tips like turning the computer on and off; creating a document and typing as accurately as possible. In addition to aiding the campaign to stomp out malaria, Roesch also is trying to boost Uganda’s literacy rate, which is 73 percent among those 15 and older. Roesch and her site partner, Eric, have been teaching the building blocks of visual language — sounds, shapes, meanings and associations — by reading aloud. She is even planning a workshop on the topic for future use. Her goal is to get her students, and their students, “to not just memorize, but really think critically.” And as if teaching college students and combating malaria and illiteracy aren’t enough, Roesch also hopes to work in the arts and crafts club extending a fondness for the area, confirmed by her nickname — “Krafty.” Either way, she’ll be working with the Integrated Production Skills (arts) tutor to create and teach instructional materials. Roesch caught the volunteering bug from a high school ceramics teacher. At Alvernia she expanded her mission, serving at a food bank in York County, traveling to Ecuador with Rostro de Christo for an Alternative Break, and helping the nuns with their ongoing mission in the Dominican Republic. She did most of her good deeds at the South Reading Youth Initiative, a branch of Alvernia’s Holleran Continued on page 53


For the love of F

“When Ethan was born via C-section, my husband passed out as soon as he saw him,” recalls Abraham, who graduated from Alvernia in May with a bachelor’s degree in behavioral health. Ethan’s condition, tibial hemimelia, made his right leg crooked and four centimeters shorter than his left. “Every doctor I saw told me I needed to amputate … but as a mother, I knew deep in my heart I could not let someone cut my baby’s leg,” she says. Plus, experience was on her side. It was only a few years earlier when doctors had told Abraham that her older son Jayden would never walk or talk. “He’s doing both now, so I was less willing to believe the doctors who told me they couldn’t save Ethan’s leg,” she says. So Abraham and her husband hunted for and eventually found a surgeon in New York willing to operate on Ethan. The decision meant multiple rounds of painful surgery and treatments for Ethan, and extensive financial hardship for the family. Endless surgeries, physical therapy sessions, medications and trips back and forth from Berks County to New York City have taken their toll, financially and physically. But it’s all been worth it for the resilient family. Today, although he still faces additional surgery, Ethan is walking, and Farah is poised for a promising future.

A desire ‘to do more’ As she pursued her degree, it wasn’t

38 Alvernia University Magazine

unusual to see Abraham toting her boys along with her on campus to the library or writing lab. The daughter of a Haitian mother who worked hard her whole life as a nursing assistant, Abraham juggled a full class schedule as an undergraduate student and an internship while caring for her two young boys with special needs. Her love for her sons guided many of her decisions, including her choice to attend Alvernia. “I was working in a nursing home — a job all my family members have held — and I thought, ‘I want to do more,’” she says. “I want my boys to say, ‘English wasn’t her first language, but my mommy still went to school to better herself.’” Having obtained her general equivalency diploma and achieved remarkable grades, Abraham was accepted into Alvernia’s behavioral health program. And so with the financial and emotional support of her husband, whom she calls “her rock,” Abraham started her education at Alvernia and has never looked back.

Making it count In the midst of late nights spent studying and holed up in writing labs developing term papers — which involved writing in her native language of French Creole and then translating to English — Abraham admits many times she was ready to quit. Continued on page 56

Theo Anderson

By Elizabeth Shimer Bowers

arah Abraham knows about adversity. Four years ago, when her son Ethan was born with a rare genetic disease that left him without a right tibia, Abraham made one of the most difficult decisions of her life — to save Ethan’s leg.


Ethan

“I want my boys to say, ‘English wasn’t her first language, but my mommy still went to school to better herself.’ ”

Farah Abraham ’13


Body

Mind

Morality Bongrae Seok

delves into how basic moral abilities are built into our physical bodies ‌ and why penguins don’t fall off the South Pole.

38 Alvernia University Magazine

By Elizabeth Shimer Bowers


“I thought, the earth is round and the penguins are on the south side … they are supposed to fall off, but yet they survive … But then I discovered penguins didn’t fall due to gravity. From then on, I wanted to know more …” Bongrae Seok

top right: Theo Anderson

M

any children have trouble sleeping because of visions of four-eyed monsters hiding in the closet. But when Bongrae Seok, Ph.D., associate professor of philosophy at Alvernia, was young, he lay awake thinking about penguins. “I thought, the earth is round and the penguins are on the south side of the earth — they are supposed to fall off, but yet they survive …” he recalls. “But then I discovered penguins didn’t fall due to gravity.” That was the end of Seok’s nighttime worries, and the beginning of his passion for philosophy. “From then on, I wanted to know more, and ask more and more questions,” he says. Seok says one of the things he loves about philosophy is its focus on excellence. By forcing us to ask questions and fight the status quo, it helps us become better and better human beings every day. His latest philosophical question gets at the heart of what makes us good people — our moral consciousness. From the time we are young, most of us learn we have the power to choose between right and wrong, and that we make moral decisions after thinking about them carefully, and weighing pros and cons in our minds. But according to the theory Seok proposes in his new book, there may be another critical factor at play in moral decision making — how we feel physically.

The book, “Embodied Moral Psychology and Confucian Philosophy,” combines ancient Chinese philosophy and contemporary cognitive neuroscience to deliver the message that our basic moral abilities are built into our physical bodies. “We, of course, need careful analysis and deliberation for complicated moral issues. But for our everyday dealings with other people, we are very much moral animals as we are social animals, and our bodies tell that to us,” Seok says.

The power of other people’s pain Seok uses horror movies to explain the connection between how we feel emotionally and how we feel physically. “When we see other people suffering with physical pain (in these movies), we experience physical changes, such as perspiration, increased blood pressure, shortness of breath, etc. — and we feel as if we have similar pain in our bodies,” Seok says. “Brain scans show that the areas of the brain active in a person’s pain experience are generally the same as the areas of the brain active when we watch other people suffer. That is, we mirror other people’s pain,” he says. Seok says this mirroring of others’ pain is important for two reasons. “One, this mirroring experience is supported by brain regions that typically process information Continued on page 57

Alvernia University Magazine

41


After two tours of duty in Iraq, Brian Johnson has a new focus: helping other veterans

productive civilian lives. Time is a thief, so some would say. But when first-year student Brian Johnson returned home from Iraq in 2008, time became his menace. “As a Calvary Scout, I went from working 48 to 72 hours nonstop to having all this downtime at home — and I was left with all the experiences playing over in my head. “In some instances, there are big chunks of missing time because so much happened at once, and I have a hard time processing it,” he says. “These lingering thoughts are one of my biggest struggles right now …” A veteran Army Scout who toured Iraq twice between 2005 and 2012, Johnson enrolled at Alvernia last winter with the goal to pursue a degree in communication and to assist fellow armed forces veterans with the same struggles he is facing. “When I came back from my first deployment …, which was the rougher of the two, one of the hardest things was when people would say, ‘I know how you feel,’ when really, they couldn’t,” he says. “We all appreciate hearing ‘thank you for your service,’ but I don’t really like when people who’ve never served tell me they understand what I’m going through,” he says. “If you haven’t experienced war firsthand, in real time, you cannot possibly understand.” So to give veterans the kind of assistance they really crave — support from those who’ve gone through the same thing — Johnson is setting out to create a nonprofit organization that provides help to vets, from vets.

A different kind of training Compared to many typical college

42 Alvernia University Magazine

students, Johnson has lived an action-filled life, traveling the world, seeing different cultures up close and experiencing armed combat firsthand. He admits that, despite being caught up in the horrors of war, his seven years in the Army provided him many valuable lessons. “(My time in the military) taught me to be disciplined, to have good time management skills and to be prepared for anything, because there were a lot of situations I didn’t expect to encounter,” he says. “Overall, it made me a better person.” In preparation to develop his nonprofit program concept to help veterans, Johnson found an academic home at Alvernia. “Plus, the degree is something I just want to do for myself,” Johnson says, who, in addition to being a college student, is also a stay-at-home dad. “I was pretty much sold on Alvernia after the campus tour, and I chose communication because the curriculum really interested me.” One thing Johnson didn’t expect was an injury between his first and second deployments to Iraq, for which he

By Elizabeth Shimer Bowers

required surgery. “The doctors told me I needed to stay back and heal for three to four months after my unit left for Iraq, but somehow I was sent with everyone else.” As a result, the surgery didn’t heal correctly, and Johnson got to the point where he could barely walk. “I still have some physical issues as a result of that injury, which will require additional surgeries, as well as some herniated discs in my lower back,” he says. “But all and all, I am up and moving around, and that is always a plus.” Johnson says he developed the idea for the nonprofit while he was stationed in Fort Carson, Colorado, in 2010. “Every year, they had a drive for the homeless and less fortunate veterans in the area. The Department of Veterans Affairs would be there to follow up on any medical care they needed and basically just to give them a helping hand,” he recalls. “I saw a lot of veterans there who weren’t doing very well.” The experience made Johnson think, Continued on page 60

Theo Anderson

make the transition back into


Blood Profile Brian Johnson

Alvernia University Magazine

45


Making Sense It’s springtime in Nigeria and construction abounds, with all the traffic snarls you expect in any major metropolitan environment. Lagos, Nigeria’s most populous city with nearly 8 million residents, bustles with thriving commercial and tourism trades. The city is also home to the country’s top financial institutions and major corporations, and has one of the highest standards of living in Nigeria. Famous throughout Africa for its music scene and as the center of the Nigerian movie industry, Lagos is sometimes called ‘Nollywood’ — short for Nigerian Hollywood.

44 Alvernia University Magazine

quieter, there was a lot more foliage, and people were a lot friendlier there than in Lagos,” he recalls. “Sure, the phone signals weren’t as good, but I enjoyed having a lot more room to roam and have fun. Plus, the food tasted a lot better and didn’t smell like exhaust fumes.”

Preserving his Igbo culture Njoku-Browne left his home country six years ago with his aunt and uncle, who moved to the United States for better opportunities and to pursue an American education. Before enrolling in Alvernia, he spent some time in a boarding school in Maryland and admits that making sense of America came with its own set of challenges. For one, he had to adapt to a much more technologically based society. “Electronics are a lot bigger part of society here than in Nigeria, and I had to learn all these new things when I got here, like Internet terms and Internet culture in general,” he says. “The food, accents and social norms were also adjustments. “Some of the challenges for me included dealing with people’s different views from my own, the different spellings of words such as favour and favor, and people calling football soccer!” he says. When it came time for college, Njoku-Browne chose Alvernia because he wanted a small, quiet campus that would allow for more one-on-one Continued on page 55

Theo Anderson

Although it’s a scene 5,300 miles away, it is one that is quite familiar to Chidumebi Ikechi NjokuBrowne, who hails from the Igbo Tribe in Nigeria. The first-year Alvernia political science major came to the United States in 2007 after spending most of his life in the former Nigerian capital. His mother is an executive with a Nigerian oil company; his father a member of British Parliament. “My life in Lagos was always full of noise, mostly from the heavy traffic,” says Njoku-Browne, who is only half Igbo, the other half English. “There was never a dull moment there — one day, I would be walking to school and see birds flying overhead, and the next, I would come across a random camel outside someone’s gate,” he says. “Sadly, there is lots of corruption in the Nigerian government, and the North is dealing with its own branch of Islamic terrorists who call themselves Boko Haram — their agenda is to impose Sharia (Islamic) Law on the entire country and get rid of Western education,” he says. A seasoned world traveler who has been to every continent except Antarctica, and is fluent in no less than five languages — Ibo, Hausa, English, Yaruba and French — Njoku-Browne recalls fondly some of his time in Nigeria. “I had lots of friends but tended to spend most of my time buried in books, whether novels … on history or science,” he says. To balance the hustle and bustle of city life, Njoku-Browne’s family spent some time in their rural ancestral village. “The village was a lot


of America

By Elizabeth Shimer Bowers

“My life in Lagos was always full of noise, mostly from the heavy traffic I would always see during the day.” NjokuBrowne


Alumni Class Notes Ginny Chudgar ’69 is a mentor for Mentors for Berks Youth. She was featured in the Merchandiser with her mentee Paula Beltron, a junior at Alvernia University who won an essay contest for valuing her mentorship with Ginny.

1970s

SR. ROSEMARY STETS, OSF ’71 was featured in the Reading Eagle about the life of her spiritual director, the Rev. Walter J. Ciszek. Sr. Rosemary reflected on Ciszek’s life during a presentation for about 45 people at the McGlinn Conference Center. Judge Linda K. (Mowson) Ludgate ’77 retired at the end of 2012. Subject to the state’s mandatory retirement at age 70 for judges, Ludgate will continue to work as a senior judge for up to 10 days a month. For her dedication and contributions to the community, she recently received the top award from the Berks County Bar Association: the Justice William Strong Award. Charles R. Broad ’78, M’06 is a commissioner for the Hawk Mountain Council of the Boy Scouts. Cheryl (Reid) Callahan ’79 was featured in the Reading Eagle’s “Campus to Career” section. The article discussed how Cheryl ended up in her current position as president and owner of Profiles Encourage Inc., after graduating from Alvernia.

46 Alvernia University Magazine

1980s

Steven Keiser ’80 was featured in a Reading Eagle article about rising housing costs. Many people can’t afford to pay rent, even when they work. Steve is president of the Berks County Real Estate Investors Association and an Alvernia trustee. Mary Lou Kline ’81 was featured in the Reading Eagle’s “Campus to Career” section, which focuses on alumni from local colleges and universities in Berks County. David Yoch ’82 has been a Wyomissing police officer for 27 years with the last 14 years as a detective. He is also on the District Attorney’s major crimes and drug task force, is a negotiator with the Berks County Emergency Response Team, teaches law enforcement and fire training classes, and is currently serving as captain of the Shillington Fire Department.

Col. Deborah Geiger ’83 received special recognition at the Business and Professional Women of Pennsylvania’s annual dinner. Kevin Georgetti ’85 is the Director of Compliance for Investors Bank in Short Hills, N.J.

Jeffrey Gregro ’88 is a deputy chief of juvenile probation. Jeffrey has served 18 years in juvenile probation, including four as deputy chief; and was a former youth care worker at Berks County Youth Detention Center. Kimberly (Bodick) Nicolas ’88 was named the director of sales for Courtyard by Marriott in Coatesville, Pa. She has nearly 25 years of hospitality experience and will be responsible for the total sales efforts at the Courtyard Coatesville, including developing and maintaining new accounts, supervising sales-related personnel, and implementing sales and marketing strategies so as to maximize profits of the hotel while maintaining guest satisfaction. Peter Champagne ’89 has been named broker of record at Keller Williams Realty Elite, Spring Township. He is responsible for directing and supervising the activities of the licensed real estate agents within the company. Peter will also be responsible for remaining current on real estate law, disclosures and contracts, and updating the staff and licensed agents about any changes in laws or licensure requirements. He was named president of the ReadingBerks Association of Realtors for 2013. Dwayne Salem ’89 has been hired as a crop insurance sales representative for Mid Atlantic Farm Credit’s Penn region. Dwayne’s responsibility will be business development and acquiring new crop

Theo Anderson

1960s

Timothy Daley ’79 was featured in the Reading Eagle’s “Faces in the News” section for his position as executive director at Habitat for Humanity of Berks County.


insurance customers throughout the 15-county territory in southeastern Pa., which makes up the Penn region.

1990s

Lori (McIntosh) DiGuardi ’90 is attending Neumann University’s Master of Science in Organizational and Strategic Leadership.

Patrick J. Palmer ’90 passed away suddenly on Feb. 7, 2013, in the Pottstown Memorial Medical Center. He is survived by his wife Joanne and children Keith, Kelly and Allison. Lisa (Vogel) Duffy ’91 was promoted to director of marketing and development and community health improvement at Hanover Hospital. She will continue to be responsible for the coordination of all promotional advertising activities for the hospital and its operating units, and will now also oversee the planning process for the hospital’s annual golf tournament. She will be responsible for employee wellness programming and working with community businesses to help them reduce employee health expenses. Deborah (Rios) Reinbold ’92 is currently enrolled in the healthcare administrative program at York College. Lori (Reedy) Hagy ’94, M’95 was one of approximately 500 financial advisors who were selected by their firms to attend the seventh annual Barron’s

Winner’s Circle Top Women Advisors Summit, hosted by Barron’s magazine to promote best practices in the industry and the value of advice to the investing public. The invitationonly conference was held at The Breakers in Palm Beach, Fla. Elizabeth (Kocher) Bentz ’95 and her husband, David Bentz ’94, were part of the Shillington Tree Advisory Committee that helped plant 45 trees in Shillington Park. Elizabeth is a borough council member who oversees the committee. Sgt. Mark German ’95 is now assigned to Operations Division 1st Patrol Platoon of the Bethlehem Police Department. Sgt. German joined the department in January 1999. He was assigned to the Patrol Division and has worked with the department’s 4th Platoon for the past 14 years. He is the recipient of seven letters of commendation and four unit citations. Yvonne Frey Oppenheimer ’95, M’01 was named as one of the “2013 Take the Lead” honorees by the Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania. Yvonne was selected by a group of peers for being a positive role model for girls in her community. Andrea Marie Fisher ’96 works as a litigation paralegal at Orlans Moran PLLC, in Boston. Orlans Moran primarily works with real estate, foreclosures, evictions and bankruptcies. Andrea has been named co-chair of the Massachusetts Paralegal

Follow Alvernia alumni on

Steven Keiser ’80 was featured in a recent Reading Eagle article about rising housing costs.

Association and is a member of the American Freelance Paralegal Association. Anthony Gudoski ’96 is currently enrolled in the Medical University of South Carolina’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program to be completed in May 2015. Amy (McDonald) Tripple ’97 and her husband Tom welcomed their third daughter into the world on December 18, 2012. Violet Rae weighed 10 pounds, 2 ounces, and was 22 inches long. She joins big sisters Ava and Lily. 

twitter.com/Alvernia_Alumni Alvernia University Magazine

47


Mitchell Less ’98 and his wife Megan welcomed Brayden David Thomas Less into the world on March 22, 2013. Brayden weighed 8 pounds, 12 ounces, and was 19 inches long.

2000s

Kevin DeAcosta ’00 was named president of The Highlands at Wyomissing. Kevin has been both the interim president and chief financial officer for the past year. John Gallagher ’00 is director of student involvement at Merrimack College. He has two children: a daughter Angelina (born May 2010) and son Charles (born June 2012). He and his family live in Boston, Mass., where his wife Kristen works for Harvard University.

Dr. Charles F. Barbera M’01, chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Reading Hospital, was elected to a three-year term on the Pennsylvania Trauma Systems Foundation board of directors as a representative of the Pennsylvania

48 Alvernia University Magazine

Join Alvernia on

Marianne Sharon ’08, M’11 was featured in the Reading Eagle for starting Berks County’s first pet loss bereavement support group.

Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians. Barbera is also a trustee at Alvernia. Kevin Quimby ’01 is the head basketball coach at Tulpehocken School District. The team is hoping to go to Florida to take part in the KSA Basketball Tournament at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World. Sarah M. (Hirneisen) Grace ’02 passed away on January 9, 2013.

Jodi (Harner) Moore ’02 has been named a loan administrative assistant at the Wyomissing Loan Office of Victory Bank. Sharon Danks ’03, M’04, vice president of Tweed-Weber Inc., is a 25-year veteran of the training and consulting industry. She also creates marketresearch projects for clients and associations across the United States, and recently discussed how to give a powerful presentation

Just another way to stay connected

theo anderson

Christine (Brown) Anderton ’01 was featured in the Reading Eagle’s “Faces in the News” section for her job as a volunteer executive director of the Gilmore Henne Community Fund. Christine is responsible for managing the day-to-day operations, replying to requests for park revitalizations, program planning, and growing and expanding the fund. She is also a juvenile probation officer. Christine said she was attracted to volunteering as a complementary method of deterring negative behavior in children.


and “not lose your cool” at a Women2Women event sponsored by Greater Reading Area Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Lauren (Phillips) Korejwo ’03 and her husband Christopher welcomed Cara Elizabeth into the world on Jan. 30, 2013. Cara weighed 6 pounds, 4 ounces, and was 19 inches long. Denise Pasko ’03 was selected as one of this year’s Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce and Industries “Rising Stars.” The Chamber hosts a reception to recognize all of the award winners at the Meet the Stars Under the Stars event at the Reading Public Museum’s Planetarium. Nathan Reich ’03 and wife Catherine welcomed Claire Isabel Reich into the world on Sept. 9, 2012. She joins big brother Nicholas. Amanda Boyle ’04 and Michael Searfoss ’01 were married in 2012 in Tamaqua, Pa. They currently reside in Exeter Township where Amanda is a fifthgrade teacher at St. Peter’s School and Michael is a general manager for Valenti Management. Debbie Emes ’04 is a youth development specialist with Abraxas Academy in Morgantown. Stacey (Westley) Katrinak ’04 was named a social media manager at Reese, a marketing and advertising firm in Wyomissing, Pa. She will manage social media tools for the agency and its clients. Tara (Yoh) Kuebler ’04 and her husband are expecting their

first child this September. Bethany (Kraycik) Slaymaker ’04 was promoted to manager in the audit services group at Reinsel Kuntz Lesher. Bethany is responsible for providing auditing and other professional services to credit union, manufacturing and service industry clients. Leo Lubinsky ’04, M’06 is a location manager for Lowe’s in Brownsville, Tenn. Ryan Trupe ’04 is engaged to marry Kelly Bohn. Ryan is employed by the Eastern Lancaster County School District. Julie Angstadt ’05 was one of the distinguished honorees recognized by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Berks Regional Chapter at its annual National Philanthropy Day Breakfast. She was nominated by Alvernia for her dedication to the university and the community. Margo (Ruth) DeRouchie ’05 was promoted to national sales director at the Greater Reading Convention and Visitors Bureau. Margo is responsible for marketing and selling the Greater Reading area to group tour operators as well as sports, meeting and convention planners. She also supervises the production of promotional materials to support group travel in the region. Margo was previously the member relations coordinator. Shari Widlund ’05, ’07, ’08 was featured in the Reading Eagle’s “In Our Schools”

section. Shari is an autistic support teacher at Reading High School. Her classroom is part of the Pennsylvania Autism ABA Supports Initiative. Approximately 200 classrooms across the state participate in this initiative. Robert C. Barnes ’06 and Katie McDade were married last year at St. Malachi Church, in Doe Run, Pa. The couple honeymooned in Montego Bay, Jamaica. They reside in Coatesville, Pa. Dana Damato M’06 is an executive assistant in the commercial real estate industry. He once operated Damato Consulting aimed at startup businesses and later operated Damato Property Management. Christine (Rivera) Keller ’06 is a mental health therapist. She recently received her master’s degree in counseling studies. Christine has two daughters, Madison (5) and Avery (2). Carey (Douglass) Manzolillo ’06, M’07 was featured in the Reading Eagle’s “Faces in the News” section. As a communications specialist at Alvernia, Carey keeps tabs on everything going on at the university, heading up all internal and external communications. She said, “Everything I liked about Alvernia as a student was just compounded working in public relations.” John McCarthy ’06 general manager of asset management at GE Healthcare was published in an article titled “5 Heartbreakers for Hospital CFOs” in Healthcare Finance News.  Alvernia University Magazine

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Paul Sadaphal ’06 and his wife, Sonia Topiarz ’07, are the proud parents of Mary Yvonne Sadaphal. Mary was born on October 25, at 6:38 a.m. She weighed 8 pounds, 8 ounces and was 20 inches long. Pamela Wagar ’06 and Adam Smith are engaged to be married. Brandon Ballantyne ’07, M’11 was featured in “Counseling Today,” a publication of the American Counseling Association. Brandon is a licensed professional counselor at the Reading Hospital. Originally an aspiring tornado chaser, Brandon now counsels teens. He incorporates music along with other creative interventions such as art and journaling to help his adolescent clients express difficult thoughts, feelings and experiences. Brad Binder ’07 was featured in the Reading Eagle’s “In Our Schools” section. He is the primary emotional support teacher at Shiloh Hills Elementary in the Wilson School District, and the JV baseball coach at Wilson, which allows him to combine his passion for baseball and love of teaching.

“Faces in the News” section for his job as Berks County’s register of wills. Larry is increasing the automation of his office, including working on putting the estate records on the Internet. The office plans to input 10 million documents on the Internet, amounting to 260 years worth of records, within the next year. Kyle Keller ’08 and Erin Hoffert ’10 were married last year at Trinity United Church of Christ, in Mount Penn, Pa. Amy (Sikorski) Klatt ’08, M’09 was promoted to marketing manager at Herbein + Company, Inc. Tara (McCullough) Koppenberg ’08 and her

husband were featured in the Reading Eagle for their story on the difficult process of adoption. Tara and Joel have been looking into adopting children for about two years. Heather Leader ’08, M’11 is engaged to marry Christopher Reed on Oct. 12, 2013, at the Abraham Lincoln Hotel. Kristin Moyer ’08 is engaged to marry Ralph Kabakoff. Michael Senick ’08 was featured in the Reading Eagle’s “In Our Schools” section for his job as a kindergarten teacher at Millmont Elementary School. Michael said if he wasn’t an educator, he would definitely be doing something in the sciences. He enjoys space and evolution.

Mark Your Calendar!

Beth (Soja) Callen ’07 is currently a stay-at-home mom to her 20-month-old daughter. Sarah Jones ’07 is married to Adam Shoemaker. Adam proposed to Sarah at Citizens Bank Park on May 22, 2011, and the wedding was May 4. Ben Leisawitz M’07 joined the law firm of Leisawitz Heller as an associate attorney. He will focus his practice in the firm’s business, estate and trust groups. Larry Medaglia M’07 was featured in the Reading Eagle’s

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August 9 Alvernia Night at the Reading Fightin’ Phils

September 18 Founders Day

October 11-12 Homecoming and Family Weekend

October Literary Festival

Visit Alvernia’s alumni website: alumni.alvernia.edu


Marianne Sharon ’08, M’11 was featured in the Reading Eagle for starting Berks County’s first pet loss bereavement support group, as a part of fulfilling her graduation requirements for her master’s degree in community counseling at Alvernia University. The free support group meets in the community room at the Wyomissing Public Library every first and second Monday of the month. Brenda Williams ’08 graduated from the Frank J. Tornetta School of Anesthesia at LaSalle University in November 2012. Christina (Kleist) Alspach ’09 and her husband Josh welcomed Abigail Mae into the world on March 7, 2013, at 1:17 a.m. Faron (O’Shea) Bollendorf ’09 is married to Alan Bollendorf. The couple has two sons: Miles Jackson (born July 30, 2010) and Braylon William (born Dec. 10, 2011). Faron works as a registered nurse at All About Children Pediatrics in West Reading. David Bott II ’09 and Jaime Hench are engaged to be married. A July wedding is planned. Matthew J. Cain ’09 passed away in April 2012.

Audrey Hoffman ’09, M’10 got engaged to Stephen Krupiak on March 2 on a ski slope in Killington, Vt.

Felicia Kollintza ’09 is engaged to marry Nicholas Lambros.

Barbara Holley intern in Gettysburg College’s Musselman Library. Elizabeth A. Miller ’10 passed away on October 19, 2012. She is survived by her husband G. Robert Miller and son Joshua Robert Miller.

Magda (Vicente) Graciano ’09 is a human resource director at Welsh Mountain Health Center.

Amy Squibb ’09 is engaged to marry Brent Whary.

Audrey Hoffman ’09, M’10 and Stephen Krupiak are engaged to be married in March 2014. The engagement took place March 2, on a ski slope in Killington, Vt. Audrey currently works in the marketing department of Alvernia University.

Danielle Fitzpatrick ’10 will be working at Blythedale Children’s Hospital.

Marina Piccioni ’10 is engaged to marry Timothy Refi on June 29, 2013.

Laura Heffner ’10 is a library assistant in Alvernia University’s Franco Library. Following graduation, she served as the

Grant Reitz ’10 is a programmer/analyst at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. 

2010 s

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Lauren Rocchino ’10 and Daniel Wehry ’10 were married on November 24, 2012. Matthew Barber ’11 is engaged to marry Jaclyn Becker. Matthew is employed by the Reading School District and Jaclyn is employed by Lancaster General Hospital. Dr. Mary (Lynch) Barbera ’11 was featured in an article in the Reading Eagle about understanding autism. Mary will be the keynote speaker at the Berks County Medical Society Alliance conference, talking primarily on her experiences with autism and behavioral studies. Specializing in applied behavioral analysis, Mary works with local parents, schools, specialists and others to show them how children can learn new words and develop social and other developmental

skills that can improve their lives. Katlin MacHugh ’11 had her first book published through YouthLight Inc. The book “Ugly: The Story of a Bullied Girl,” details her experiences as a victim of bullying in middle school and high school. Katlin is currently traveling all over the country and speaking about her experiences to schools and at national conferences. Christy Yousaitis ’11 and James Austerberry ’08 are engaged to be married on July 6, 2013. Jamie Murtha ’12 got engaged to Joseph Leon on June 15, 2013, in Lancaster, Pa. Brad Shafransky ’12 is engaged to Karen Najda. A September 2013 wedding is planned.

Married? New job? Addition to the family? Have info for Class Notes? Submit it to: alumni@alvernia.edu

ties that bind | Continued from page 19

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own business on the side making jewelry and selling it online. Sarah now works for East Penn Manufacturing Co., in Lyon Station, Pa. But it turns out Sarah’s commencement ceremony wasn’t the first time Berger came back to Alvernia for a graduation last year. She was also there in June, when Berks Catholic (formerly Holy Name) High School held its graduation at Alvernia with Melisa as a proud member of the Class of 2012. Melisa is now majoring in political science at Alvernia, with an eye toward possibly going on to law school or working in public policy. “I am very proud of my grandchildren and their accomplishments,” Berger says. “It is so nice to return to the place where I grew up and see how beautiful it has become.” Thanks to their grandmother, Sarah and Melisa have a greater appreciation of Alvernia’s past than most of their classmates — many of whom are surprised to hear it was once an orphanage. “I tell them my grandma grew up here,” Melisa says.

When Sarah graduated from Alvernia, her grandmother gave her a gift. It was a portrait of Sarah that Berger painted herself, drawing on the skills and passion for art that were nurtured in Francis Hall five decades earlier. In that portrait can be seen Alvernia’s past, present and future, a painting done by a woman who grew up in Francis Hall, of a bright young woman ready to make her way in the world, armed with an accounting degree and a dream of running her own business, selling jewelry she makes herself. The brushstrokes of the painting hold the teachings and inspiration of a Franciscan nun who cared for children without families of their own. Undoubtedly, from her current perch far more exalted than the Francis Hall Tower, Sister Anita is pleased. Jack Croft is an award-winning writer and editor with more than three decades of experience across magazines, book publishing, newspapers and online. He lives in Lansdale, Pa.

Theo Anderson

trustees of Alvernia University, donated to the university in 2009 as the president’s house and retreat center. Berger still does housekeeping for the Hollerans in their new home. “They’re very lovely people,” Berger says. “It’s a blessing to me.” The feeling is clearly mutual. “Following the example of the Bernardine nuns who raised her, Mary Ann has lived a totally selfless life,” Carolyn Holleran says. “Since her husband died very young, she was faced with the challenges of raising four children by herself. She has dedicated her life to providing support to her mother, siblings, children and grandchildren. I truly marvel at her willingness to always provide help and comfort to everyone in her life. I have never known her to put herself first — even though I sometimes remind her to do it.” Like her grandmother, Sarah Keinard started out with an interest in nursing when she came to Alvernia. But she switched to accounting and graduated in just three-anda-half years, while managing to start her


‘A’ Game | Continued from page 34

peaceful ambitions Continued from page 37

Fromuth talks with students from Bethlehem Catholic High School.

he faced the decision to close St. Mary’s School, a venerable institution in Reading. A proud, passionate parish, he points out, it could no longer support only 70 students. Last year, Fromuth was an integral part of a diocesan initiative to start a program to help diocese schools survive and thrive. Composed mostly of lay people, these boards of limited jurisdiction are charged with improving enrollment, finances and community outreach. “It’s very important to have a local buy-in,” says Fromuth. “We have to make everyone feel as if it’s their school.” Fromuth sharpened his own admini­ strative skills as a charter student in Alvernia’s doctoral program in leadership. Dr. Tufan Tiglioglu, Ph.D., program director, says Fromuth’s work ethic and dedication were particularly impressive. “Through Dr. Fromuth’s work in our program, he showed how willing he was to put in the time and effort needed to promote social justice and social responsibility as a visionary leader in our contemporary and diverse society,” said Tiglioglu. He was inspired by his dissertation subject, Monsignor George Bornemann (1838-1924), a Berks County shepherd. Bornemann co-founded a hospital, united ethnic Catholic churches and empowered Catholic parishes in a highly Protestant region. He “was a simple man, but a man who got things done,” says Fromuth, “a man of his times and a man who changed his times.” Fromuth is helping to change his times

with a new diocesan academy that trains prospective principals, assistant principals, department heads, head teachers and other educators to be better leaders. The father of two college-age children is also encouraging leaders to groom younger leaders. One of his favorite exchanges took place during a transition meeting for the 2011 merger of two Reading high schools, Holy Name and Central Catholic — which happened to be Fromuth’s alma mater. At one point students and adults debated whether seniors should wear the uniforms of their old schools or the uniform of their new school, Berks Catholic. John Foster, an incoming senior, proposed a merger of traditions. Seniors should wear the new uniform, he said, to live the school’s motto, “Unum in Christo,” or “One in Christ.” Foster’s suggestion was accepted at Berks Catholic, which has nearly 20 more students than the combined enrollments of Holy Name and Central Catholic. According to Fromuth, the increase is rare among merged Catholic schools in America. Fromuth’s goals for the Allentown Diocese range from increasing enrollment by 2 percent in 2013-2014 to ministering to the growing and thriving Hispanic communities throughout the diocese. For him, there is no finer example of servant leadership than Jesus washing his apostles’ feet during the Last Supper. “Our purpose is to work with people to serve Jesus Christ,” he says. “I’m not sure how effective leaders can be if they’re not servants.”

Center for Community Engagement. There she fell under the spell of an elementary school student with a hemi-powered personality. “Jonathan was beyond energetic,” Roesch recalls. “He was a spunky, fun kid who was always making me laugh.” Roesch helped Jonathan with his homework, classroom confidence and maturity. “He was still crazy little Jonathan,” she says. “The difference was, he would stop and think before making a decision. It’s just a good example of the good that can happen when one person takes the time to say hello to a kid, or play a game or just sit and talk.” At times, Roesch has felt like a kid in Uganda. She admits it’s a bit daunting teaching students close to her age how to teach students close to Jonathan’s age. What makes it trickier are the stares and comments she receives as a rare white person in an overwhelmingly black society. She’d be happy if she never heard “mzungu,” which translates politely as “foreigner” and less politely as “aimless wandering person.” Good-natured kidding has made Roesch feel less like an outsider. She’s been ribbed for her skinny American diet (apparently, Ugandans eat heartier meals than spaghetti with garlic bread) and for her cooking misadventures on a cranky charcoal stove. “Oh man, that sigiri,” she says with a sigh and a laugh. “Let’s just say we made peace.” Let’s also say that she’s glad she has a gas stove. Roesch’s American care packages include stimulating, soothing emails from Kathy McCord, an assistant professor of education at Alvernia and a mentor. These “reality checks” reinforce lessons she learned in such key McCord courses as Assessment and Evaluation. After her Peace Corps hitch ends in 2015, Roesch doesn’t want to be a typical elementary school teacher. “It would just be too boring after teaching here,” she says. While she is considering teaching English at a Franciscan Sisters’ school in the Dominican Republic, she admits, “Whatever happens will be God’s decision. I know He has a plan for me.” Alvernia University Magazine

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“At stake is the treatment of literally billions of animals in our world.” Donna Yarri

beast or brother? | Continued from page 27

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the use of animals as pets is no less clear cut. Some are opposed to cosmetic alterations, such as snipping tails or ears, even spaying or neutering dogs — a practice with a much lower use in Norway than in the United States. Why? “Neutering can never be a substitute for proper training of a dog,” an animal welfare official in Norway has been quoted as saying. In the U.S., however, PETA campaigns for spaying and neutering to keep down unwanted animals that often end up euthanized, Arth says. What’s the bottom line? Does the owner/ pet relationship violate animal rights? Serpell, for one, does not think so, making an analogy to children. Not all are treated well. Yet no one argues that humans should not have children. The treatment of animals, he points out, is improving. Take, for example, the shift in the very language, from pounds, where animals are kept until they are euthanized, to animal adoption centers. “There’s definitely a trend in the sheltering community to say these animals are valued,” he says.

 Because of Alvernia’s heritage in large part, Yarri’s students spend considerable time on God’s perspective. Many of the world’s religions or cultural traditions support animal rights. In the East, the Confucian sage Mencius, who viewed animals as sentient, had the insight 2,300 years ago that when people see an animal suffering, they have an emotional response, says Dr. Bongrae Seok, an associate professor of philosophy at Alvernia who specializes in Eastern religions and philosophies. “That comes out of our heart,” he says, “and really motivates us to go out and help.” Buddhism and Jainism, which both grew out of Hinduism, focus on respect for all animals. This philosophy is rooted in reincarnation, in which rebirth can take animal, even insect, forms. Jain monks go as far as to wear a cloth mask over their faces to prevent them from accidentally inhaling flying insects. The origins of Hinduism itself included animal sacrifice, Seok says, but the religion

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pets? On this evening, students in Yarri’s class are discussing the Humane Society. “How do these animals wind up here?” Yarri asks. “Why do they wind up there? What happens to the animals that don’t get adopted?” Students grapple with issues of dog and cat abuse, discrimination against pit bulls and whether humans should even keep pets. “When you go there, you realize how many animals are abused and neglected,” says Casey Green, 20, of Ashland, Pa., a sophomore studying forensic science and criminal justice. “It’s an arguable point, whether pets in general are ethical,” adds Matt Stauffer, 22, of Reading, a junior in criminal justice with a minor in computer science. “We’ve domesticated animals and now created animals that can’t survive on their own.” “If you can properly love them, care for them, provide them with food, water, shelter, love, then I think it’s okay,” Fitzharris, the pre-veterinary student, offers. Inside this classroom, issues are viewed from every angle. Among animal advocates,


making sense | Continued from page 44 interaction between students and teachers. “Alvernia just seemed to be the most accommodating school on my list,” he says. To bring some of his native culture to Alvernia, he recently hosted a Nigerian cultural meal on campus, which consisted of jollof rice, plantains, bread and fruit drinks. Cooking his native foods helps Njoku-Browne feel more comfortable far from home. And he admits it’s sometimes hard not having people around him who understand and can talk about what life is like in his home country. To reconnect with his roots, despite the tense current political situation in Nigeria, NjokuBrowne says he goes back to visit as often as he can. His future plans include graduate studies and eventually, a doctorate in paleontology. “I am particularly interested in teaching people about the history of the Igbo people and their ancient religions,” he says. But for now his Americanization continues, and with it his appreciation for the country’s people, places and peculiar spellings!

has gradually adopted reverence for animals, including cows and elephants. The traditions originating in India do not “draw clear lines between humans and animals,” he says. “Abusing animals in a way is like abusing ourselves.” Western religions focus on animal welfare. According to the BBC, Islam calls for animals to be treated with kindness but views their existence to benefit humans. Both Islam and Judaism use ritual slaughter, which involves swiftly cutting the animal’s throat — a practice some animal-rights supporters find inhumane. Within Christianity, Franciscan theology provides a powerful lens. The natural world serves as “bread crumbs that lead us to the divine,” Davidson says, citing Franciscan writings. In St. Francis’ “Canticle of Creatures,” also known as the “Canticle of Brother Sun,” the Middle Ages friar clearly saw a relationship between the elements of the universe and God, unprecedented in Christianity. “Every creature is a brother or sister of God,” explains Brother William Short, Order of the Friars Minor, a professor of spirituality

at the Franciscan School of Theology in Berkeley, Calif. “We don’t treat other creatures in a way that’s disrespectful of their Creator.” But Short cautions that Francis’ ideas may not translate to modern times. For example, he forbade his brothers from riding horses, except in emergencies. A modern interpretation might assume he found horseback riding demeaning to horses. Instead, Francis wanted his brothers to be humble, and in his time, riding a horse was a symbol of the wealthy and powerful. Still, Francis clearly had an unprecedented affection for all creatures. Stories tell of him being moved by simply holding a fish or rabbit. Always, he would let them go. In another popular story, St. Francis goes to Gubbio, where a wolf is terrorizing the Italian city, and he discovers the animal has a thorn in its paw and removes it. Francis makes a deal with the grateful wolf to protect rather than terrorize the townspeople in return for food. “The wolf nods approvingly,” Davidson says. “And lo and behold, the wolf lives peaceably with the people. … It gets at

a perspective that’s very Franciscan: ‘Let’s make peace.’” What, then, would be the saint’s take on factory farms or eating animals? What would he say of the lives and deaths of lab rats? Or about shelters and neutering? What about the desire to keep pets? Or Edison’s experiment on Topsy? “You don’t necessarily get any definitive answers when those ethical questions are raised,” Davidson says. “I think more than anything, what the tradition holds out is an inspiration, a vision,” he continues, “and that vision can inform our actions.” Davidson is speaking specifically of Franciscan tradition, of course. But his words could embrace any number of the world’s philosophies or moral views, even the heart of Alvernia’s new course on the ethical treatment of animals. Lini S. Kadaba is a freelance writer based in Newtown Square, Pa., and former Philadelphia Inquirer staff writer who regularly contributes to Alvernia Magazine. Alvernia University Magazine

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for ethan | Continued from page 38

Farah and sons Ethan, left, and Jayden.

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body, mind, morality | Continued from page 41 But Alvernia teachers and administrators kept her going. She received a remarkable amount of support from Sharon Helms in Alvernia’s registrar’s office, who she says has been like a mother to her and lifted her up during some of her lowest moments. “Whenever I would see Sharon, she would ask if I’m okay; sometimes, she would say, ‘you’re not okay, talk to me and tell me what’s wrong,’ and give me a big hug,” Abraham says. “When I was ready to quit, she handed me the application for graduation and said, ‘I have my money on you — you are going to be something, so we’re going to do it; we’re going to graduate,’ and from then on, whenever I have been struggling, I’ve thought of those words — we’re going to graduate,’ and stuck with it,” she says. In addition to Sharon, Abraham says she’s also gotten enormous support from others on campus. “The instructors at Alvernia aren’t just teachers — they are like parents. Every single instructor I had has touched my heart. They patiently repeated things when I didn’t understand, allowed me to call my kids to check on them while I was in class, and encouraged me to go on for my master’s.” She says even an employee cleaning a bathroom on campus who noticed she was crying stopped and said, “don’t worry — when you graduate, it will all be worth it.” When Abraham graduated this spring with her degree in behavioral health and a concentration in child welfare and mental health, she was set to enter the field she always dreamed of — social work. But before she can begin her career, she’ll take a big step toward an even more important goal — helping her son Ethan through another major surgery to further increase his chances of having full use of his right leg. Abraham and her husband also plan to construct a website documenting Ethan’s experiences, called “Ethan’s Journey” to give hope and support to parents of children with similar disorders. Abraham’s advice for other students who face challenges in their lives while trying to work toward graduation is the same advice she has for her sons: “No matter how hard things get, never give up. If you want something badly, you have to go for it no matter what it takes.”

about physical changes in our body,” he says. So when we empathize with others in pain, we feel it in our bodily senses. “Therefore, the body is an important and necessary medium and conduit of our moral experience,” he says. Secondly, when we mirror others’ suffering, we are naturally motivated to help them, Seok says. And this is the foundation of our basic moral motivation. So, in the end, empathy, physical sensations in the body and moral motivation to help others are combined. “This is my theory of embodied moral psychology,” he explains.

Crossing boundaries The inspirational forerunner for Seok’s theory was the ancient Chinese Confucian philosopher Mencius. “Mencius carefully observed and reported this amazing human sensitivity (embodied moral emotion), and he used it as one of the foundations of morality,” Seok says. “We have natural feelings toward others, and Confucian philosophers, particularly Mencius, believed these feelings are related to bodily changes — inspiration for the main idea of the book,” he says. “My education was a true interdisciplinary experience for me, and I was lucky to learn how to combine different academic disciplines to tackle challenging questions of the mind, including consciousness, emotion, memory and reasoning,” he says. “The book is a result of my interdisciplinary research on the nature of the moral mind.” Bongrae Seok This multidisciplinary research is limitless, and the book reflects the boundary-breaking efforts of philosophers. “Most things have boundaries, but true intellectual effort can transcend time, from ancient to contemporary, and space, from East to West,” he says. With respect to modern-day technology, embedded within Seok’s message about the connection between moral decisions and bodily sensations is the importance of physical presence and face-to-face connections in our increasingly online world. “Concrete physical interaction is the foundation of human existence, even though we spend more time in the bodiless cyberspace,” Seok says. “For example, the body is important as we know that online dating is not really dating.” Ultimately, “Embodied Moral Psychology” teaches readers that morality and ethics are not only topics for philosophical discussions; they are also practical and physical issues we can feel and vividly experience in our bodies.

“Concrete physical interaction is the foundation of human existence, even though we spend more time in the bodiless cyberspace.”

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Reality check | Continued from page 33 applied knowledge in real-world settings. “Companies need people who can synthesize information and apply it to business problems,” says Jeffrey Holmes, who leads the New York office of the worldwide architectural firm Woods Bagot. “Active learning and working environments, including internships, can develop students’ ability to communicate, collaborate and apply knowledge in the workplace setting — skills that are key to career success.” Further, a recent Association of American Colleges & Universities study identified both service learning and internships as “highimpact practices” that develop higher levels of learning and knowledge. At Alvernia, students perform at least 40 hours of community service before graduation; one service-learning class earns 10 hours toward that 40-hour requirement. Radosh, using criteria developed by the university’s Service-Learning Action Committee, reviews every class syllabus, ensuring that each class involves hands-on learning and helps meet a community-voiced need.

Turning theory to experience Experiential and service learning teach Alvernia students to “think outside the text” — to apply and reflect on what they learn in class. This spring, Mary Ellen Wells’ upper-level Federal Taxation class learned the basic theory and concepts of income taxation. But students who opted for the service-learning project prepared real returns for real people. They got certified through the IRS’ Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA) and prepared returns for area residents at sites set up by Berks Community Action Partners and Berks Encore. (Auditors reviewed studentprepared returns before they were filed.) “It was a wonderful opportunity to gain experience in a field related to my major,” says Ashley Bauscher, 27, who holds an associate degree from Reading Area Community College and plans to graduate from Alvernia with a bachelor’s degree in accounting in 2014. A few times, Bauscher had to prepare returns that required knowledge of tax situations Professor Wells hadn’t yet covered in class. “I got stuck two Saturdays in a row, but Jodi Readinger, director of BCAP’s VITA

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Professor Jodi Radosh works with students in Alvernia’s digital media suite.

initiative, helped me through. Then, in class on Tuesday, we covered exactly what I didn’t know on Saturday. When Professor Wells explained it, I had a solid foundation, already having worked through it.” Bauscher has also made valuable contacts who’ve offered to connect her to internships and jobs. Similarly, a service-learning project in Christine Poteau’s intermediate Spanish class allowed students to assist the English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers at the Berks Residential Family Center in Leesport. Run by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the center — one of only two facilities of its kind in the nation — keeps families together until their immigration proceedings are finished. Many of the families don’t speak English. As junior Kacie Tokarski expected, reading to the kids, assisting in the classroom and helping parents help their children with their homework sharpened the pre-med student’s Spanish. “But I didn’t expect these kids to touch my life the way they did,” she says. “They’ve made me thankful for what I have.” Karen Cameron’s OT-332 course introduces students to two core occupational therapy skills: helping patients adjust to their physical challenges (adapting) and making everyday activities easier or more challenging (grading). To put their classroom learning to use, this class serves the retired Bernardine Franciscan sisters who live near campus in St. Joseph’s Villa. The students plan and lead activities that range from wheelchairexercise sessions, which improve the mobility of sisters in wheelchairs, to Easter egg

hunts, which keep their minds sharp and their bodies mobile, especially if they use wheelchairs or walkers. For students in OT-502, an upper-level course that explores the use of technology in occupational therapy, the real-world learning was 7,500 miles away. A friend of Cameron’s — an occupational therapist and U.S. Army captain — was stationed in Afghanistan, where he evaluated servicemen with head injuries. “We Skyped him into class, and my students planned a service treatment plan, intervention planning and service activities. It was amazing,” Cameron says. Next fall, Radosh’s Broadcasting and Electronic Media class will team with the Berks County Community Foundation (BCCF) to produce content for BCTV.org. The BCCF worked with Radosh and BCTV to obtain a $52,000 Knight Foundation grant to help communities support local news and information. (BCCF is matching those funds.) The BCCF is in the process of identifying issues the community needs to know about, but that local media don’t cover. Once the foundation detects this “information gap,” Radosh’s students will fan out into the community to report on them, using traditional and social media. Students will get hands-on training as reporters, learn investigative reporting skills from working print and broadcast journalists in the region, and serve the community interest. Score that a win-win-win. Julia VanTine is a freelance writer who lives in Reading, Pa.


Dr. Muzevich spends time with a few emerging writers at Alvernia’s Montessori School.

Theo Anderson (2)

toddler to tolstoy | Continued from page 21 show incremental growth in writing. Muzevich admits her tool has been a work in progress. “Over the years, it went through many revisions, and working at Alvernia enabled me to conduct the inter-rater reliability studies on the rubric, continue to revise it and find an outlet for having it published in book form,” she says. “I couldn’t be more pleased with the final outcome; I never dreamed it would end up in a book of my creation.” So far, response to “Evaluating Children’s Emergent Writing” among kindergarten and first-grade teachers has been very positive. “The rubric enables me to quickly glance to see which and how many

students are struggling in a certain area, so I can focus either large group or small group instruction accordingly,” says one teacher. Muzevich also got positive response from the book at a reading conference she recently attended in Florida. “One attendee, a literary coach, remarked that the rubric was exactly what she needed because she didn’t have time to create one on her own for teachers to use.” At this point, Muzevich hopes to get her books in the hands of more teachers looking for an effective tool for assessing children’s emergent writing skills. “Only then will we see a difference,” she says. Alvernia University Magazine

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my turn | Continued from page 11 being able to sit calmly — skills that tend to develop later in boys. Solutions offered for this problem are reminiscent of the same ideas kicked around when the issue dealt with girl achievement in math and science: help boys to behave more like girls, bring in more male teachers and single sex education. In her New York Times article, Sommers hits on many other broader issues related to inequities in schools. I only wish she would have changed the entire title of her book to reflect her balanced perspective. Like Sommers, others acknowledge that inequities associated with achievement need to be considered in a broader context. This is not simply an educational problem; it is a societal one. Soraya Chemaly recently wrote on this topic for her blog in the Huffington Post. Chemaly argues that the “war” against boys in education is a symptom of the larger “crisis” faced by women in life. Her position is clear: If schools are biased in their evaluation of boys

saving lives

because standards are driven by an institutional structure that embraces “feminine” qualities, the situation tends to reverse as we look at the workplace. There, women continue to have to fit into male institutional structures in which wage gaps persist and males are disproportionally represented in leadership. She goes on to make cogent arguments for why male economic entitlement has helped to actually create “feminized” primary schools. So, in this case the problems of one gender are intertwined with the problems of the other. My wish is that people read beyond the inflammatory book titles and recognize that human achievement and flourishing are serious issues that should not simply be reduced to gender wars. Elizabeth Matteo, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of psychology at Alvernia. Her research subjects include prejudice, stereotyping, stigma, social identity and gender issues.

Continued from page 28 “It’s a profession where you can serve others and use your talents and you can see the benefits of what you’re doing,” Brown says. “You can see people getting better.” It was in medical school that he met his wife, Patti Brown M.D., who grew up in the Reading area and is now medical director of HealthSouth Reading Rehabilitation Hospital. The couple has four children. It was also in medical school that Brown discovered his passion for surgery. “I like solving problems Dr. Michael and fixing things. T. Brown Surgery seemed concrete. I liked working with my hands. I liked operating.” Solving problems, saving lives, serving others … for Michael Brown, it has been a winning combination.

“It’s a profession where you can serve others and use your talents and you can see the benefits of what you’re doing.”

Blood Brother | Continued from page 42 President Thomas F. Flynn, Ph.D. Publisher and Editor in Chief Brad Drexler Creative Director Steve Thomas Contributing Editors Carey Manzolillo ’06, M’07 Jack Croft Contributing writers Elizabeth Shimer Bowers; Jack Croft; Dr. Thomas F. Flynn; Geoff Gehman; Audrey Hoffman ’09, M’10; Lini Kadaba; Carey Manzolillo ’06, M’07; Laurie Muschick; Julia VanTine Contributing photographers Theo Anderson; Carey Manzolillo ’06, M’07

Alvernia Magazine is a publication of Alvernia University. Copyright 2013. All rights reserved. Correspondence should be addressed to 540 Upland Avenue, Reading, PA 19611, or email: magazine@alvernia.edu

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“I have a strong support system of family and friends, and even I have days that are so hard because of some of the things I’ve been involved in and had to do. So I can only imagine what it is like for people who don’t have that foundation. “I want to help veterans who have served, to give them what they need to become productive again,” he says. Johnson says a lot of what is missing is empathy for those who’ve served. “It is really easy to say, ‘this person is a substance abuser and doesn’t want to help himself.’ But it isn’t necessarily that the person doesn’t want to help himself, but that he doesn’t have the support necessary to do so.” Johnson plans to change that.


Reality Check

Discovering the real world has never been easier

EA L D L R O W L REA Erin Solley ’13

Sport Management major

At Alvernia, you’ll learn a lot from classroom lectures and course materials. You’ll learn even more when you apply that knowledge in real-life settings with real-life challenges. We provide many opportunities for students to venture into the real world and develop important capabilities through internships, field experiences, clinical assignments, research projects, community service and study abroad opportunities, among many others. Hands-on, real-world learning allows you to test your knowledge and know-how in real-life situations. You’ll apply the fundamentals and techniques you’ve learned in the classroom to help solve the critical challenges facing today’s organizations. Whether it’s consulting for a national destination, working for a minor league sports team, leading a student organization, treating patients or managing a marketing campaign, experiential and classroom learning at Alvernia prepares you for real-world challenges and opportunities. Want to know more? Check us out at

alvernia.edu/getreal

Alvernia University Magazine

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Embracing a bold

New World Consider this: It is estimated that 4 Exabytes — that’s 4 times 10 to the 19th

power — of unique, new information will be generated worldwide this year. That’s more information than was generated in the past 5,000 years! The amount of new technical information is doubling every two years. A week’s worth of news in the New York Times provides more information So, what does all of this mean? And all of that new information generates new How do we resolve that children are being prepared by vocabulary. Today, there are approximately 940,000 those who can’t begin to comprehend the world in which words in the English language — five times as many as in these young people will live? Shakespeare’s time. I love to read the Bard’s plays, and I How can teachers … faculty … prepare students for can testify that in not one did I ever read about a widget, a jobs that don’t yet exist; jobs that will require the use of web-surfer, an e-learner or a dot-comer! technology that has not yet been invented? How do we Today, our technology enables both old and new give students the capacity to solve problems that have yet information to be communicated at warp speed. Think to be identified? about this: When the radio was invented, it took 38 years How do institutions, like Alvernia, possibly prepare to reach a market audience of 50 million people. It took students, knowing that the U.S. Department of Labor Facebook two years. As a matter of fact, if Facebook were predicts that today’s learners will have seven different a country, it would be the third largest populated in the professions … not jobs, professions, in their lifetime? world, next only to China and India! What do we do now that we know we will never again Did you know that the number of text messages sent out-calculate a computer? and received each day exceeds the population of the I would argue that the only way we will effectively planet? It’s estimated that the average 21-year-old has sent prepare our students for their world will be to maximize or received 250,000 emails, instant messages or texts. their talents and tap It’s a changing into the multiple world. As we sit Melissa Jamula with President Flynn intelligences of each and here today, a super at the December ’12 Commencement. every learner. computer that exceeds And I believe that the computational the only hope we have capabilities of the of doing that is to be human brain is being willing to lay it all out perfected. And, it is on the table, jettison predicted that by the our comfort zones and year 2049, a $1,000 have the courageous computer will have conversations about greater computational what education really capabilities than the should look like today. entire human race.

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left: Carey Manzolillo

than a person in the 18th century was likely to come across in their lifetime.


After receiving an  honorary degree of humane letters in December, Melissa Jamula, Ph.D., spoke to the graduating class. These are excerpts of her remarks.

Friends, we live in the most intensely intellectually stimulating of times. More than ever before, we need to consider the skills that will be essential to thrive in this world. We need to embrace creativity, not conformity. We need to create environments that encourage, not quash, risktaking. Do you know that some studies show that 4-yearolds exhibit greater divergent thinking skills than 18-yearolds? Though we have the best of intentions, by honoring that concept of “one and only one right answer,” we have

beaten our kids into compliance. Are we up to the task? I’m not sure. In 2002, alone, Nintendo invested more than $140 million in research and development. The U.S. government spent less than half as much on research and innovation in education. Ten years later, perhaps we are witnessing the fruits of both levels of commitment.

 Jamula’s full remarks can be found at alvernia.edu/news/archive Alvernia University Magazine

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On point Tom Hall ’13 and Jessica Hardinger ’12 enjoy the dance studio in the new Campus Commons.

See page 8 for more.


Alvernia Magazine Summer 2013