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alvernia

magazine

PORTRAIT OF A HIDDEN FIGURE

NASA PIONEER KATHERINE JOHNSON INSPIRES ALVERNIA STUDENTS TO SHOOT FOR THE STARS photo by ANNIE LEIBOVITZ


Summer 2017

‘IT’S OUR ORDINARY’ With an abundance of joy, faith and coffee, Tim ’09 and Monica (Fritz) Chrusch ’10 embrace raising their six young children.

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THIS PAGE: THEO ANDERSON; COVER: ANNIE LEIBOVITZ/VANITY FAIR/TRUNK ARCHIVE


INSIDE On Campus

Clark named football coach Stadium renovations Philly reserve chief speaks

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Periscope

Faculty making a difference 

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Features

Forward march  Color her fully alive Portrait of a hidden figure Meeting of the minds Solar plexus

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Alumni Class Notes

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Free speech and inclusivity Today’s campus is far from a cocoon removed from the real world. A residential university campus is (and should be) a microcosm of our society.

Thomas F. Flynn, Ph.D. President

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Those of us who have devoted our lives to educating college students cringe when people refer to the rest of society as “the real world.” For many students, “the best years of their lives” require them to work one or more jobs, incur debt and financial worry, and juggle academic demands with busy schedules of service and other commitments. Adult students, now a majority, are often raising families. Today’s campus is far from a cocoon removed from the real world. A residential university campus is (and should be) a microcosm of our society. This is perhaps most apparent with the current tensions throughout the country between advocates for free speech and inclusivity. From John Henry Newman’s “Idea of the University” to present-day pundits, all agree that the university should be a place where ideas of all kinds are advocated, scrutinized and debated civilly within a collegial community open to divergent views and respectful toward all. Easier said than done! And never more urgently needed. Alvernia and other Catholic universities have a special opportunity to be laboratories dedicated to the twin ideals of free expression and inclusive communities at a time when both are under attack. Sadly, on campuses from New England to California, speakers have been shouted down. Graduation honorees have been disinvited after being assailed from the left or the right. Students have demanded the removal of what they deem to be offensive slogans displayed on posters or on social media. Students and faculty have debated the merits of “trigger warnings,” which alert students that a provocative, potentially troubling issue will

be covered in class. Many not only are disinterested in genuine dialogue, but also refuse to consider free expression as an important right. Yet even passionate defenders of free speech concede that the situation is hardly simple. Some speech is problematic, often denigrating and even hostile to some who acutely feel their minority status. An inclusive campus requires not merely that students of diverse backgrounds be admitted for study, but also that they can flourish and be both supported and challenged. Being required to reflect on a disturbing text or consider an ethical position at odds with one’s beliefs is part of the critical inquiry at the heart of a university education. Today’s students need to get comfortable with being made uncomfortable intellectually. But being subjected to bigotry or disrespect because of one’s identity is quite another matter. Feeling threatened or afraid goes far beyond mere discomfort. Having your race or religion or sexual orientation disparaged is far different from having your opinions challenged. Faculty and administrators must help students understand this distinction. And equally important to what we say is how we say it! Listening open-mindedly


and speaking respectfully, especially to those from different backgrounds or with whom we disagree, are preconditions for living harmoniously in a residential hall, or in a democracy. Recently, as our nation has become increasingly polarized with disturbingly frequent incidents of public bigotry, I have initiated conversations with faculty, staff and students about the kind of community we seek to be. These stimulating conversations are ongoing, but some themes have emerged. Colleagues envision Alvernia as a place where students develop skills of critical and ethical thinking by considering issues from multiple perspectives. Unlike in our national politics, differences and disagreements should be engaged directly at a university, yet civilly and charitably. And all should recognize that such dialogue must never become personal — never degenerate into attacks on an individual or a group. We have a model for this locally in the Common Heart, an interfaith initiative sponsored by Alvernia and whose founders were recognized this year with the university’s Franciscan Award. Elsayed Elmarzouky, Rabbi Brian Michelson and Fr. Phil Rogers offer empathetic insight into the shared and distinct perspectives of their three faiths. The programs provide superb education and a striking example of how free speech and inclusivity ought both to be celebrated. No surprise. Our Bernardine Franciscan Sisters and modern-day patron, Pope Francis, along with the Franciscan ideal of “knowledge joined with love,” are our touchstones. The pursuit and expression of “knowledge” must be undertaken with what we honor as our core values: contemplation, humility, a spirit of collegiality and a commitment to peacemaking and service. In this way, as we aspire to be a “Distinctive Franciscan University,” Alvernia can be an inspirational model for the (all too) “real world”!

THEO ANDERSON (2)

Peace and all good,

Go to alvernia.edu/realworldlearning for more.


On Campus FLYNN COMPLETES COMMITTEE TERMS Early this spring, President Thomas F. Flynn, Ph.D., finished his terms as both vice chair of the board for the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU) and chair of the Committee on Accountability as a member of the Executive Committee of the board for the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU). The ACCU serves as the collective voice of United States Catholic higher education, and the NAICU is the national public policy association for the nation’s private, nonprofit colleges and universities. The NAICU focuses on policy issues with the federal government, such as student aid, taxation and government regulation. The organization’s Committee on Accountability is responsible for the development, implementation and oversight of NAICU’s agenda in federal policy areas related to accreditation and regulatory/reporting requirements. Flynn served two terms on the boards of both organizations.

VOTER-FRIENDLY CAMPUS Alvernia University is one of only 83 campuses across the country designated as a “Voter-Friendly Campus” by national nonpartisan organizations Campus Vote Project (CVP) and NASPA (Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education). CVP and NASPA held participating institutions accountable for planning and implementing practices and vote in the 2016 general election and future elections. Over the last year, Alvernia collaborated with the League of Women Voters and targeted voter education and encouragement through voter registration campaigns, activities and publications.

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Left to right, President Flynn, Coach Clark and Athletic Director Bill Stiles.

LEFT: KATIE YOHE; TOP: THEO ANDERSON

that encouraged students to register


For more news, visit alvernia.edu/news

SPRING COMMENCEMENT SPEAKER John Carr, director of the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown University, was awarded an Honorary Degree of Humane Letters before offering remarks to the Alvernia University Class of 2017 at Commencement this May.

Angelica Park bridge work completed Angelica Park renovations were completed early this spring. The improvements included additional street lighting throughout the park, enhanced pedestrian walkways and replacement of an aging bridge. “This is exciting news that will have a large impact on making Angelica Creek Park more accessible to those living in Reading,” said President Flynn. The new bridge can accommodate future access to BARTA buses, as well as emergency fire vehicles, which were previously restricted for weight.

In his role at Georgetown, Carr seeks to share Catholic social thought more broadly and reach out to a new generation of leaders to help them become “salt, light and leaven” in public life. He is also a Washington correspondent of America Magazine and writes its Washington Front column. Carr served for over 20 years as director of the Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, represented the bishops before Congress, at the Vatican, across the U.S. and around the world. In addition, he assisted the bishops on a wide range of statements, including Faithful Citizenship, Communities of Salt and Light and documents on economic justice, healthcare, environment and climate change, criminal justice and the death penalty, religious liberty and war and peace.

EXPLORING SOCIAL JUSTICE

Clark named Head Football Coach Ralph Clark was named Alvernia’s inaugural head football coach earlier this spring. Alvernia football will officially kick off in fall 2018. Coach Clark comes to Alvernia from Seton Hill University with 19 years of experience, including serving as defensive coordinator at the NCAA Division I-FCS, Division II, and Division III levels, as well as a stint as a high school head coach. His coaching stops include Saint Francis (Pa.), Northeastern and Georgetown Universities. In addition to his role as Seton Hill’s defensive coordinator, Coach Clark also served as the Griffins’ recruiting coordinator and has significant high school recruiting experience with high academic expectations for student-athletes.

President Flynn spoke highly of Clark’s background and his enthusiasm for the university’s mission to be a “Distinctive Franciscan University” committed to the community. “It’s evident to me that there is a family component that connects everyone at Alvernia,” Clark said. “That is something that you do not find everywhere and quite frankly was important for me to see, because next to my faith, family is the most important thing to me, and it is something that I will be stressing to student-athletes as we begin recruiting. They’re not just joining a football program, they’re joining our family.”

Social justice has been a major area of focus for Alvernia’s Campus Ministry department this spring, beginning with an early semester immigration panel that offered differing viewpoints on paths to citizenship and information on the U.S. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. Other awareness and discussion events throughout the semester included equal pay, human trafficking and the immigration executive order. Students were challenged to take a mini citizenship test to win an American flag and to elevate the Lenten experience through Operation Rice Bowl.

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On Campus NEWMAN CIVIC FELLOW NAMED Alvernia University student Ashley Tomlinson, of Mountville, Pa., has been named a Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact. As a 2017 Fellow, she is part of the first cohort to benefit from a completely redesigned fellowship experience emphasizing personal, professional and civic growth. Highly involved in service leadership through the university’s Holleran Center for Community and Global Engagement, Tomlinson is a junior working toward her Master of Science in Occupational Therapy degree. She has directed a variety of community engagement activities for campus peers and has been highly involved in the South Reading Youth Initiative, Alvernia’s mentoring and leadership development program for inner-city youth. For her Senior Scholar project and honors thesis, she worked to create an HIV and AIDS prevention education program for the community. “Ashley is an inspiring young woman with clear ability in civic engagement and a sincere desire to seek long-term solutions for social issues,” said President Flynn.

PHILLY RESERVE CHIEF SPEAKS ON CAMPUS This June, Alvernia University hosts top economic researchers and scholars taking part in the 2017 Pennsylvania Economic Association (PEA) Annual Conference. The keynote speaker is Dr. Patrick T. Harker, president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. Dr. Harker and several other Federal Reserve speakers will exchange and share new ideas and research results about economics and related fields in business.

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For more news, visit alvernia.edu/news

HILL NAMED MARKETING AND COMMUNICATION VP Deidra W. Hill, Ed.D., has been named Alvernia’s new vice president of marketing and communications. She will report to university President Flynn. “After a national search with a very talented pool of applicants, we are thrilled to welcome a chief marketing and communications officer with exceptional and widely varying experience, especially at institutions strongly committed to civic engagement,” said President Flynn. Hill’s extensive background includes nearly two decades of achievement in a variety of higher educational institutions, most recently as vice president for communications and marketing at City College of New York, which has 16,000 students representing more

Stadium Renovations

than 150 nationalities. In addition to a doctorate in higher education administration from Morgan State University, Hill holds a master’s degree in journalism and public affairs from American University and a bachelor’s degree in English from South Carolina State University. “Her references strongly emphasized her collegiality and professionalism as well as her talent and skill as an executive. It is unsurprising that she was unanimously recommended

Outdoor renovations over the course of the next year will provide support to Alvernia’s expanding athletics program. Beginning with the expansion of Alvernia’s stadium, all additions are planned to serve multiple audiences and provide a better experience for all in attendance. A new press box and hospitality suite will house two coaches’ boxes, an area for the media, a filming platform and a suite for invited guests. “The press box and hospitality suite will allow for additional opportunities for web streaming and radio broadcasting, while also providing appropriate space for game and event operations,” said Athletic Director Bill Stiles.

New grandstands will include seating to accommodate approximately 1,000 fans and handicapped-accessible areas. A new plaza will link the area to the Physical Education Center. An annex, accommodating both Alvernia athletes and visiting teams’ athletes, will include two 60-athlete home locker rooms, one 72-athlete visitor locker room and two uniform storage rooms. For equipment, an additional 1,000 square feet of storage will be added near the field. “These projects will enhance the experience of our student-athletes and spectators in what is already a spectacular setting to watch a game,” said Stiles.

by our search advisory committee and was enthusiastically received by the many faculty and staff who participated in her campus visit,” said President Flynn.

INCLUSIVE EXCELLENCE GRANT Alvernia has been awarded a Bringing Theory to Practice grant to support five campus dialogues that advance action items conceptualized in the university’s Inclusive Excellence Plan. The Campus Dialogue Grant program supports projects that facilitate learning and discovery, well-being, civic engagement and preparation for living meaningfully in the world.

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On Campus UNIVERSITY NICKNAME CHANGING Alvernia announced this spring that it will change its nickname, which has been “Crusaders” since the 1970s. “The decision to choose a new institutional nickname and athletic mascot is the result of thorough reflection, guided by our Franciscan core values,” said President Flynn. “We are excited about the opportunity ahead, especially since there is such widespread support for making this change.” Prior to making this decision, President Flynn consulted widely. Student and alumni leaders unanimously supported the change, as did the Faculty Council and the Board of Trustees. A key factor was the strong, unanimous advocacy for the change by the leadership team of the university’s sponsors, the Bernardine Franciscan Sisters. A task force of students, faculty, staff, alumni, trustees, and Bernardine Sisters has coordinated a process inviting submissions for a new nickname from the entire university community. The task force has identified several options and will consult widely before recommending their top choices to

Reading Scholars program expands Now in its third year, Alvernia’s Reading Collegiate Scholars Program (RCSP) has grown to include nearly 30 full-scholarship students at the university, while supporting hundreds of high school students throughout the City of Reading. Of the 63 Reading seniors who participated in the RCSP’s College Readiness program last year, all successfully graduated from high school, and 59 entered college. Alvernia has expanded the College Readiness Program and now offers after-school programming four days per week at Reading High School and Reading Intermediate High School. The College Success program — aimed at Reading Collegiate Scholar students at Alvernia — provides intensive cohort support through the help of faculty, student and community mentors. Each volunteer community mentor is a member of the local professional community and is assigned to assist one scholar in adjusting to college life, securing internships and exploring career paths. “The Reading Collegiate Scholars Program is a significant commitment for Alvernia, but the potential to change lives is even more significant,” said President Flynn, “And the return on investment for our community is, frankly, unmatchable.”

President Flynn who will announce the decision in mid-June. Visit alvernia.

REUBEN EARNS WEITZMAN AWARD Deanna Reuben ’79 was honored with the 2017 Rabbi Alan Weitzman Award at a Seniors College reception this spring. The Rabbi Alan Weitzman Award recognizes civic mindedness and those who encourage others to give of themselves through exceptional service to the community, in honor of Rabbi Weitzman’s remarkable lifelong commitment to addressing the needs of others. Inspired by the Bernardine Sisters who impacted her life while she was an adult student at Alvernia, Reuben has made serving the community a life priority, in addition to balancing dual careers in music and real estate.

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New award honors Albert Boscov Alvernia University has announced a prestigious award honoring the late Albert Boscov. The top graduating senior of the university’s Reading Collegiate Scholars program will be presented the Albert Boscov Community Engagement Award annually, beginning next year. “The Albert Boscov Community Engagement Award will honor the memory annually of a Reading legend, by recognizing an honors student who has been a campus leader devoted to service and who is committed to community engagement following graduation,” said President Flynn. Among other impressive achievements, Boscov founded Our City Reading to restore abandoned houses in downtown Reading and opened the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts, the GoggleWorks apartments and a five-star hotel. All of these efforts were designed to bring people back into the city he loved. “Three years ago, Albert Boscov helped Alvernia financially launch a special full-scholarship program for students from the City of Reading,” said Flynn. “Since then, the Reading Collegiate Scholars Program has helped scores of students get into colleges of their choice, including three cohorts that are doing remarkably well at Alvernia.” The Reading Collegiate Scholars Program offers intensive college readiness for high school students and full scholarships to attend Alvernia. The program is unique in that it provides a solid bridge for students throughout their college careers, empowering them to thrive in college and graduate to become successful professionals and committed servant-leaders in the community.

THEO ANDERSON

edu/news for up-to-date information.


For more news, visit alvernia.edu/news

Reading Collegiate Scholar Kirsy Rosario, left, speaks with her community mentor Andi Funk, CEO of Cambridge-Lee Industries.

O’PAKE INSTITUTE EXPANDS LEADERSHIP VISION The O’Pake Institute for Ethics, Leadership and Public Service at Alvernia is expanding its scope to house the university’s Department of Leadership Studies, the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership and Leadership Berks. In addition to continuing its important partnership work with community organizations, the O’Pake Institute will oversee the university’s Expert in Residence programs, which bring business executives, public officials and educators to campus to engage in classes, lectures and student workshops. The university’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership and the Leadership Berks program will move under the umbrella of the O’Pake Institute, continuing their missions to engage the business community and local leaders serving on nonprofit boards and committees. The O’Pake Institute will continue to provide mentoring support and programming for all on-campus Reading Collegiate Scholars, as well as programs offered through Alvernia’s Washington Center partnership. It also will coordinate leadership programs sponsored by university life and athletics, including the Ignite and Athletic

Holleran Center centralizes real-world experiences Alvernia University’s Holleran Center is expanding to offer its students a centralized hub to explore a wide range of real-world learning experiences. To reflect the center’s new purpose, the Holleran Center for Community Engagement has been renamed the Holleran Center for Community and Global Engagement (HCCGE). Now under the umbrella of the HCCGE are the specialties of community engagement, service-learning, career development, multicultural initiatives, sustainability and global learning. “There are many different types of real-world experiences offered at Alvernia, so it makes sense to consolidate them into one hub,” said

Jay Worrall, director of the HCCGE. “The new design will help us to more easily connect students with meaningful learning activities that further their careers and their personal goals.” Now in its 10th year, the Holleran Center continues to cultivate and sustain strategic partnerships locally with programs like the South Reading Youth Initiative and Reading Collegiate Scholars Program, and globally in places like Ireland and China, in order to strengthen campus and community life. “We want the Alvernia experience to be transformational — to help students turn what they love into a lifetime of career success and personal fulfillment,” said Worrall.

Progressive Leadership programs. The popular leadership film series and annual O’Pake and Batdorf ethics lectures will continue to be offered by the Institute, free and open to the public. Now integrated into the Institute, Alvernia’s Department of Leadership Studies continues to sponsor both undergraduate leadership programs and Alvernia’s four graduate programs: the Ph.D. in Leadership, and Master of Arts programs in Educational Leadership, Organizational Leadership and Sustainable Communities. “The work of the O’Pake Institute as a whole is designed to enhance support for students and develop ethical leaders with moral courage,” said Director David Myers.

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On Campus PHYSICAL EDUCATION CENTER RENOVATIONS

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Men’s volleyball serves up inaugural CVC season Men’s volleyball completed its inaugural season this spring with Head Coach Deb Schlosser, who began building the program only a year ago. Tabbed seventh in the Continental Volleyball Conference (CVC) preseason poll, the team opened with a 15-man roster, led by upperclassmen Evan Bulcavage, Justin Gibbs and Craig Grohoski. Freshman Collin Welteroth was a guest on the conference’s “Chat” feature, in which he discussed building the program, the team’s work ethic and his plans to take advantage of Alvernia’s medical school partnership with Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine.

“Being part of a brand-new program is incredible,” said Welteroth during his CVC interview. “Each day during preseason, we walked through the gym doors, knowing that the day was going to be tough but realizing that the team was making history playing a sport we all know and love.” Welteroth said it took a little while to adjust to the team because of the different environment compared to established programs with trained upperclassman that lead the way. “Coach did an awesome job, recruiting some really great players around the team that she knew would mesh well to create a family or brotherhood,” he said.

JENNA HARPER ’17

With the addition of seven new sports over the last eight years, Alvernia boasts nearly 200 student-athletes and a bustling intramural program. Renovations to the university’s popular Physical Education Center (PEC), planned for this summer, are designed to accommodate growth and enhance services to all student-athletes, teams and fans. The existing team and general locker rooms on the first floor will be reconfigured into three separate team rooms. Each new locker room will include new lockers, stools, audiovisual equipment, private showers and toilets. And in-season athletic teams that previously used public restroom facilities will now occupy private locker rooms. Visitors and fans will miss less game action with new men’s and women’s public restrooms being added to the gym level. The university’s Athletic Training program will have more room to grow with nearly three times the existing training room space. Eight additional taping tables, two private exam rooms and additional spaces for therapeutic modalities and rehabilitation will be provided for students and staff. In addition, a new hydrotherapy area is expected to accommodate up to eight student-athletes at a time.


Periscope Alvernia’s faculty making a difference

Vera Brancato, Ed.D, MSN, RN, CNE Professor of Nursing The Pennsylvania League for Nursing (Area II) has named a new annual scholarship in honor of Dr. Brancato. The Vera Brancato Nursing Education Award will be offered to a graduate-level nursing student. Brancato’s

Bongrae Seok, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Philosophy Dr. Seok published a book, “Moral Psychology of Confucian Shame,” through Rowman and Littlefield International, spring 2017. In the book, Seok analyzes shame from the perspective of moral psychology. Using textual sources, cultural psychology and techniques of digital humanities, Seok explains that shame is an important moral emotion and moral disposition in Confucianism.

ILLUSTRATIONS BY KYLE HILTON

SISTER DONATILLA FACULTY AWARD Karen Thacker, Ph.D., RN, CNE Dean, College of Professional Programs and Associate Professor of Nursing Recipients of the Sr. Donatilla Faculty Award are chosen by peers who are members of the university’s Honors and Award Committee. The award is offered to full-time faculty members who have given long service to the university in teaching, advising, service and support.

FACULTY AWARD FOR EXEMPLARY SERVICE-LEARNING Ana Ruiz, Ph.D. Professor of Psychology The Holleran Center for Community and Global Engagement award is given to full-time faculty members who demonstrate excellence for incorporating servicelearning pedagogy into their curriculum and for using service as an innovative teaching tool to engage students in civic learning.

work as an academic reviewer and textbook contributor has helped advance nursing education over the past 35 years, and her ongoing work in interdisciplinary research, education and healthcare practice is on the cutting edge of changes in higher education. Elena Lawrick, Ph.D. Director of Multilingual Support Services, Associate Professor of Education Dr. Lawrick authored two chapters for the book “Russian English: History, Functions, and Features.” Cambridge University Press describes the book as a “fascinating” and “engaging” collection of sociolinguistic studies that explores the multifaceted presence of English in Russia.

Jodi Radosh, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Communications Dr. Radosh co-authored “Shoot, Edit, Share” through Focal Press, spring 2017. The book offers an interactive, accessible introduction to video production techniques, concepts and terminology. Covering preproduction, production, editing in post and distribution, the book shows readers how to produce video quickly and effectively for a range of clients, from commercial firms to community service organizations. QR codes throughout the text link to videos that demonstrate techniques and concepts outlined in the book. ST. BERNARDINE FACULTY AWARD Jonathan Kurland, Esq. College of Professional Programs Deborah Motika College of Arts & Sciences Debra Stavarski, Ph.D. School of Graduate and Adult Education

TEACHING EXCELLENCE AWARD Suzanne Mader, MSN Assistant Professor of Nursing Nominated by students or alumni, this full-time faculty member is recognized for excellence and innovation in teaching.

The award recognizes part-time adjunct instructors for excellence in teaching.

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BY

DANIEL MARTIN ’17

SENIOR BIOCHEMISTRY MAJOR

Sometimes there’s more in a can of soda than what’s listed on the label. For me, there was quite a bit more: the opportunity to collaborate with an Alvernia University professor on research and present the findings at the national American Chemical Society (ACS) Conference in San Francisco. Last summer I conducted research under the guidance of Dr. Rosemarie Chinni, professor of chemistry and forensic science, and chair of the Science and Mathematics Department. I did the research under Alvernia’s Student Undergraduate Research Fellows (SURF) program, which enables Student Fellows to collaborate with Faculty Scholars. Over a 10-week period, I analyzed 51 beverages for the presence of caffeine and the artificial sweeteners saccharin, aspartame and acesulfame potassium. The beverages ranged from name brand to store brand and from regular to diet, and included seltzer waters and single to-go packets.

ROSEMARIE CHINNI, Ph.D.

SURF scholars work with faculty team members — like Dr. Rosemarie Chinni — to pursue 10-week summer projects, culminating in a presentation of findings, or a summary of completed work, and an understanding of how work relates to a larger scope of existing research.

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This kind of analysis is performed through a technical process called high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). HPLC injects a small sample of liquid in a column at high pressure to separate, identify and quantify each component in a mixture. The column consists of microparticles, and the component separation is caused by interactions between the component molecules and the microparticles. The molecules are then detected by a photodiode array detector (PDA). By analyzing the liquids in this way, I was able to calculate exactly how many milligrams per bottle were present in the beverages. Understanding liquid components isn’t just academic; knowing what’s in a drink can allow people to make more informed choices about what they want to consume. Dr. Chinni felt that my findings were compelling enough to present at a national conference. So she helped me apply for internal development and research funds that allowed me to attend the ACS National Meeting and Exposition in San Francisco in April. I presented my findings as part of the ACS Undergraduate Program, along with 1,500 other students. Conducting the research and presenting my findings were life-changing experiences for me. Doing hands-on, independent work engaged me in a way that classroom learning never could. I learned how to develop, run and analyze a research project. I gained experience in keeping a professional lab manual. And I grew in my ability to manage my time and work independently. Attending the ACS conference provided more new experiences. For one thing, it was the first time I had traveled by plane and had been far away from my family. It was also interesting to share my research with chemists of different ages and experiences and to see how they responded to it. I’m grateful for the experience, which was something I’ll never forget. I’m now looking at the possibility of getting the research published. And I’m thinking I’ll want to go on to graduate school, all because I wanted to find out what was in my can of soda.

ILLUSTRATION BY KYLE HILTON; RIGHT: THEO ANDERSON

REFLECTIONS


SWEET TALKIN’

REFLECTIONS


REFLECTIONS

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40 YEARS OF NURSING

THEO ANDERSON

T

he 40th anniversary of Alvernia’s nursing program is a significant milestone, offering an opportunity to reflect upon our past journey and more importantly, to look ahead to a vibrant force shaping our next generation of entrylevel, midlevel and advanced-practice nurses. The most compelling history of Alvernia’s nursing is told through stories of our faculty and graduates’ responses to the ever-changing needs of healthcare. Alvernia’s story unfolded in the mid-1970s when Sr. Mary Stella was asked to open a collegiate Catholic nursing program in Berks County. After several tumultuous events, including overcoming a moratorium on all new nursing programs in Pennsylvania, Sr. Stella prevailed by eliciting a multistakeholder coalition from the surrounding community and state government. “Throughout this drama, there prevailed a sustaining pillar of faith and hope in a ‘seed’ biding its time to germinate,” said Sr. Mary Stella in 2001. Meanwhile, a parallel story was unfolding throughout the greater nursing profession. The Vietnam War influenced new standards in emergency and perioperative care, while ICU and specialties further developed. Nursing science grew in both breadth and depth. Alvernia responded. The 1980s ushered in a severe nursing shortage, increased federal regulation, the AIDS epidemic and a plethora of new drugs. Alvernia’s nursing program responded by hiring highly qualified faculty, updating the curriculum and achieving a national benchmark upon receipt of NLN Accreditation in 1985. The stories of Alvernia’s early graduates offer much insight into the quality and ideals of the program. They were valued by employers and provided nursing care across our community, including specialties requiring national certification. Alvernia’s nursing graduates emerged as leaders ready to manage the changing environment. Nursing field growth continued during the

1990s. Alvernia responded. The Nursing Resource Center was remodeled with new classrooms and specialty teaching spaces that supported a complex healthcare environment needed for highly qualified entry-level nurses. Nursing education was developing a researchbased pedagogy that demanded measurable outcomes in the classroom, laboratory and clinical settings. Nursing faculty accepted the challenge of higher expectations and began engagement in doctoral studies and advanced clinical specialty certification. Stories of success flourished in the RN to BSN Completion Program students’ professional lives. Graduates found that once they received their BSN, they were able to advance faster, with many of them accepting leadership responsibilities in our region. Built upon a firm foundation of success, Alvernia’s nursing program continues to respond to current and emerging workforce needs. Poised as a leader in nursing education, Alvernia has expanded programming and met subsequent faculty needs. After four decades and tremendous growth, all levels of programming continue to center on Alvernia’s mission, guided by Franciscan values. From Pre-Licensure BSN through Doctor of Nursing Practice degree earners, Alvernia nursing alumni have become front-line professionals who directly impact the health of citizens. The collective stories from Alvernia’s 1,000-plus nursing graduates illustrate a major influence on patient and family care from the moment of injury or illness through multiple surgeries or treatments, critical and acute care and on to rehabilitation and home care. Our graduates are active in prevention initiatives across many community-based agencies including schools, clinics and employee health. Alvernia nursing graduates have responded to our nation’s healthcare needs by becoming highly skilled, highly educated values-based practitioners and leaders at all levels in the healthcare continuum. Our future is bright.

BY

KAREN S. THACKER Ph.D., RN, CNE DEAN, COLLEGE OF PROFESSIONAL PROGRAMS, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF NURSING

REFLECTIONS


FORWARD MARCH

USING HIS EXPERIENCE SERVING AT GUANTÁNAMO BAY, ERIK SAAR, Ph.D., ’17 WROTE HIS DOCTORAL DISSERTATION ON WHAT TODAY’S MILITARY LEADERS BELIEVE MOTIVATES THEIR SUBORDINATES.

BY

LINI S. KADABA

Erik Saar was nervous. This spring, the onetime military intelligence analyst at Guantánamo Bay was tackling another harrowing assignment. He was defending his doctoral dissertation. At the start, the 42-year-old candidate in Alvernia’s Doctor of Philosophy in Leadership program quipped that this moment before the three-person committee — all sitting in the front row, Saar’s wife and in-laws nearby — was proving more nerve-wracking than anything at Gitmo. That included a 2 a.m. call the sergeant got 16 years earlier to help question a possible suspect in the 9/11 attacks. “I knew the detainee wasn’t there to judge me,” said Saar, an amiable father of two boys, during a break from putting the finishing touches on his 133-page dissertation at the Franco Library. Saar successfully defended his dissertation and received his doctorate in community leadership in May. In many ways, the reference to Gitmo that day was particularly apt. The Lower Heidelberg Township resident served as an Army intelligence linguist specializing in Arabic while at the controversial facility for six months starting in late 2002. The questionable — and at times deeply disturbing — situations that Saar

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experienced in a corner of Cuba forever shaped him and pushed him to pursue his Ph.D. While Gitmo certainly held some bad guys, Saar argues that many detainees were in the wrong place at the wrong time, swept up by militia bounty hunters looking for a payout. None of the 600plus detainees at the time had been charged or allowed to see a lawyer, arguably contradictory to American values. Interrogators, not bound by the Geneva Conventions, used what Saar called “creative” methods on detainees. Ambiguity was the order of the day. He wondered how much useful intelligence was resulting from the raw tactics. “The poor leadership I saw there made me think by the time I left that we were doing more harm than good,” said Saar, co-author of the 2005 book “Inside the Wire: A Military Intelligence Soldier’s Eyewitness Account of Life at Guantánamo.” “It was one of the things that led me to the study of leadership.”

EXPLORING MOTIVATIONAL BELIEFS BEYOND GITMO Over the past several years, Saar has been taking courses and doing research on military leaders and their


“IN A LOT OF WAYS, WHAT I EXPERIENCED WAS REALLY ANTITHETICAL TO ARMY VALUES. THE BIGGEST THING WAS A LACK OF MORAL CLARITY AS TO WHAT WAS ACCEPTABLE AND NOT ACCEPTABLE. THE AMBIGUITY WAS THE BIGGEST RECIPE FOR FAILURE, IN MY VIEW.” ERIK SAAR

20 Alvernia University Magazine


skills were in high demand. With the United States motivational beliefs. This included two classes a threatening to invade Iraq, Saar volunteered to go week for four-and-a-half years and two years of to Guantánamo Bay in 2002. “I volunteered because dissertation research. Meanwhile, he worked fullI thought I was going to a place where we were time, most recently as a cybersecurity contractor for holding the worst of the worst,” he says. the Defense Department in Fort Meade, Md. Instead, Saar found a dysfunctional operation with For his thesis, Saar asked current and former no clear rules. “In a lot of ways, what I experienced military leaders how strongly they agreed with was really antithetical to Army values,” he says. various statements that corresponded to four “The biggest thing was a lack of moral clarity as theories of motivation. They included methods that to what was acceptable and not acceptable. The rely on a worker’s innate need to achieve and seek power (achievement motivation) or a prescribed mix ambiguity was the biggest recipe for failure, in my view.” of rewards and punishments to influence behavior. One of the most shocking incidents occurred A more recent theory, popularized in Daniel H. toward the end of his stay. A female interrogator Pink’s 2009 New York Times best-seller “Drive,” tried to sexually arouse and argues that the best leaders create humiliate a detainee suspected of a workplace environment where TUFAN involvement in 9/11. She went as people are intrinsically motivated TIGLIOGLU, Ph.D. far as to remove her blouse, rub because they have a sense of her chest on his back and spread autonomy, a sense of relatedness to red ink — which she told him was other people in an organization and menstrual blood — on his face. The a sense of individual competence. It goal was to make him feel dirty is known as the self-determination and unable to pray and thereby theory, and Saar hypothesized that prevent him from relying on his military leaders would favor it. faith for strength. “I thought it was consistent As a practicing Christian, Saar with military culture,” he says. says the whole incident was “pretty And his research proved him disturbing.” But Saar didn’t object right. But when Saar examined only on moral grounds. He had military training manuals, strategic concerns. “What we were self-determination theory was doing there was counterproductive overlooked and not taught as a in the greater counterterrorism leadership doctrine. “In short,” effort,” he says. Particularly bad he wrote in his dissertation, “O ur Franciscan in that respect, the misconduct — “as theories of motivation have heritage is the eventually leaked to the media — evolved, military doctrine and served as a “significant recruitment leadership training have not kept foundation. It is a tool” for our enemies, he says. pace.” values-centered Since leaving the Army in 2004, Saar’s adviser, Dr. Scott education … we Saar has continued to work in Ballantyne, associate professor intelligence, earned a master’s of business, praises the research want our students degree in public policy from as “eye opening. … If you have to be role models.” George Mason University (2007) a better understanding, a better and consulted with the National grasp of what motivates different Joint Operations and Intelligence Center. He also employees, you have a better job of improving efficiency and overall outcomes of the organization.” teaches intelligence studies for the online American Military University. He expects Saar’s work to result in at least a few One of the high points, Saar says, has been the publications. “He is the absolute expert,” Ballantyne pursuit of his doctorate. He especially enjoyed the says. “He knows more about this subject than program’s cohort structure that creates a diverse anyone else on this planet.” community. “That made the experience much more Back in 2002, though, Saar never expected to be enjoyable,” he says. “We created lasting bonds.” an expert on motivational theories. He was eager to Dr. Tufan Tiglioglu, director of the Ph.D. do his part in the war on terror. Five years earlier, program in leadership and associate professor the marketing graduate of King’s College in Wilkesof business, says Saar exhibited his own style of Barre was working sales at UPS. After a year, the leadership in class as he shared his experiences Middle East political junkie talked to the Army. It both in and out of the military. “Our goal is to offered to train him in Arabic — giving him an in create ethical leaders with moral courage,” he says. with the national security sector — and forgave his “Our Franciscan heritage is the foundation. It is student loans. Win-win. a values-centered education, and we want our In August 2001, Saar the linguist was assigned students to be role models.” to assist the FBI in New York. When the horrific Certainly, Saar is one such example. 9/11 attacks occurred the next month, his Arabic


COLOR HER

FULLY ALIVE NELLY TOLL, WHO FIRST STARTED PAINTING AS A CHILD HIDING FROM THE NAZIS, BOLDLY CAPTURES HER LIFE u

BY

GENE UNDERWOOD PHOTOS BY

THEO ANDERSON

22 Alvernia University Magazine


Alvernia students contemplate the artwork of Nelly Toll in the university’s Miller Gallery.


“I looked for the future,” Dr. Nelly Toll answered when an Alvernia student asked what she thought about as a six-yearold hiding from Nazi soldiers during World War II. From this octogenarian artist, it’s a characteristically simple answer that needs to be unpacked. For “a bratty little kid,” as she described her young self, it must have been a hard task to perform every day during a year and a half of being virtually imprisoned in 1943 and 1944. HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT Toll and her parents were forced with other Jews to live in Poland’s Lwów Ghetto when the Germans occupied the area. Her father hid his wife and child in an apartment with a Catholic couple eager to repay him for providing lodging when they were destitute. Together, they constructed a “secret room” by bricking up a street-facing window and hanging a kilim carpet on the inside. The shallow windowsill provided a fragile shelter for the mother and child when Germans came to search the apartment for Jews. “Even a little breathing might have made the carpet flutter and given us away,” Toll said. “The whole time we were in hiding, we had to whisper. ‘The walls have ears,’ my mother warned me. You see, anyone might have betrayed us.” Unable to let her child leave the room, play with other children or even be seen at the window, Toll’s mother did her best to comfort the child. “She was my mother, my doctor, my sister, my friend,” Toll wistfully recalled about what was an incredibly fearful time. The Catholic woman who helped hide them supplied her with books and, most importantly, a watercolor set. Toll busied herself for hours by illustrating stories she made up and then sewing the illustrations into little booklets. “These characters became my friends,” she said. ”The art kept me satisfied.” Today, her fanciful, brightly colored paintings of princesses, schoolgirls and families give no hint of the difficulties she faced each day,

24 Alvernia University Magazine

until the Russians finally liberated the town. Sadly, Toll’s father never returned for her and her mother, and they moved to Paris and Czechoslovakia and then settled in Amsterdam, where Nelly, then a teenager, studied fashion illustration. Her mother had remarried, and her new husband’s brother in New York helped the family make its way to America. Toll studied at Glassboro State College (now Rowan University), Rutgers University, where she earned a master’s degree, and the University of Pennsylvania, where she obtained her doctorate.

EXHIBITED FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION Forty-eight framed images exhibited in Alvernia’s Miller Gallery this spring “were part of the largest extant body of work from one child during the Holocaust,” noted Peter Rampson, associate professor of graphic art, who first read about Toll in the New York Times last year and was instrumental in bringing the exhibition to Alvernia. “It’s remarkable. We installed it so viewers could look at the work first as art, and if they chose, also go deeper and learn about its context in history.” These days, Toll, who lives with her husband in Voorhees, N.J., is an adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania. She continues to paint, now in a bold, abstract style inspired by work she saw at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. Her recent work vibrates with color. “I like color,” she emphasized. You can hear the joie de


Speaking the same language Nelly Toll told her standing-room-only audience that she felt truly welcomed by the professors, students and staff at Alvernia. A special part of that welcome came from meeting Sister M. Jacinta Respondowska, OSF, professor emerita of philosophy, who greeted the artist in her native Polish tongue at the exhibition’s reception. Sr. Jacinta pointed out a difference in the two World War II experiences: “She grew up in Lwów, in southeast Poland, which was subjected to Nazi brutalities. I come from Glembokie, in the northeast. We experienced the Soviet Union’s cruelty.” Sr. Jacinta was exiled to Siberia when she was only nine, kicking off a long, difficult journey for her. She was separated from her family for years, often facing starvation, until she was brought as a refugee to Reading in 1947, aged 16, to begin a new life. Today, she considers herself to be “one of

“The whole time we were in hiding, we had to whisper. ‘The walls have ears,’ my mother warned me. You see, anyone might have betrayed us.” Nelly Toll

the happiest people in the world” and is quick to recognize the trait in others. “Most of [Toll’s] images are surprisingly upbeat,” said Sr. Jacinta. “Her mother prompted her to reflect on what was beautiful during those difficult times.”


Nelly Toll’s artwork was showcased in Alvernia’s Miller Gallery this spring.

vivre in the voice of the artist whose life was threatened at an early age. In her work today, Toll strives for big effects and active surfaces. Restless, interlocking areas of color push the eye to explore the whole composition and travel with the viewer. Those who look closely will often see handwritten words energetically scrawled in the paintings. “Blue sky for everyone,” one painting proclaims. “Always see your life full,” another advises. Her collages feature images from famous painters’ works juxtaposed with reproductions from her

26 Alvernia University Magazine

childhood illustrations, as if the works are in a conversation. In her work, Toll often depicts clocks, a symbol she says she appropriated from American artist Robert Rauschenberg. When asked about the symbol’s meaning, she said, “The clock showed time going by.” Despite her stirring personal account of her early years and this exhibition of childhood paintings, Toll is not enmeshed in the past. For her, it seems to be “something that happened,” past tense. She chooses to be an active artist who clearly still has her eye on the future.


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K

atherine Johnson began breaking down barriers at age 10, as a brilliant student entering high school. Later, she was among the first black students to integrate West Virginia’s graduate schools. She continued her breakthroughs as a mathematician for NASA, where she crunched the numbers that launched the first Americans into space. Now 98, Johnson continues to inspire many — including, most recently, two Alvernia students, Sarah Verneret ’19 and ReJeana Goldsborough ’17.

PIONEERING WORK In the 1950s and ’60s, Johnson was part of a group of black women, known as “computers,” who calculated crucial mission details such as the precise distance between the Earth and the moon. Johnson’s work was so respected that when astronaut John Glenn learned that his 1961 Earth orbit was being calculated by a new-to-NASA IBM computer, he asked for a double-check of the numbers by Johnson. “If she says they’re good, then I’m ready to go,” Glenn told Johnson’s supervisor. Glenn returned to Earth safely, and Johnson went on to calculate crucial aspects of the first lunar landing. She later contributed to the Space Shuttle mission before retiring in 1986. For her pioneering work, in 2015, Johnson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor, by President

Barack Obama. But her story was largely unknown before the publication of the 2016 book “Hidden Figures” by Margot Lee Shetterly. The spotlight on Johnson’s accomplishments intensified when FOX released a hit movie of the same title on Christmas Day, 2016. The film captured the imagination of millions of moviegoers awed by the accomplishments of Johnson and her colleagues. The box-office blockbuster has grossed more than $200 million worldwide and was nominated for three Oscars, including Best Picture.

OPPORTUNITY OF A LIFETIME Fame has finally found Katherine Johnson. So have an overwhelming number of interviews, including one by Verneret and Goldsborough, both communication majors at Alvernia. The pair shared the opportunity of a lifetime when they met Johnson and her daughter, Joylette Hylick, at Johnson’s home in Virginia this spring. Verneret asked the questions, while Goldsborough handled videography. They spent hours talking about Johnson’s hunger to learn, a passion that continues to this day. They left inspired by her humility, independence and determination. “It opened my eyes to what I’m capable of,” said Verneret, a Reading Collegiate Scholar. “Usually when opportunities like this come up for me, I doubt myself. I think, ‘I’m not good at this.’ Being a part of this experience has taught me that I can do certain things. I should give it a shot. Everything I think I can’t do, maybe I can.”

BY

NASA (2)

ERIN NEGLEY


PORTRAIT OF A HIDDEN FIGURE NASA PIONEER KATHERINE JOHNSON INSPIRES ALVERNIA STUDENTS TO SHOOT FOR THE STARS

Alvernia University Magazine

29


Actress Janelle Monae, NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson and actresses Taraji P. Henson and Octavia Spencer pose backstage during the 89th Annual Academy Awards on Feb. 26, 2017, in Hollywood, Calif.

The students weren’t the only people inspired. “It’s an unbelievable story to tell,” said Dr. Jodi Radosh, associate professor of communication. “I’m grateful that we had the opportunity to have the students be part of the experience and tell the story.”

They engaged in a critical viewing of the “Hidden Figures” film. They separated fact from fiction. They read and watched interviews with Johnson to identify the interview questions and then traveled together for a visit with Johnson.

LEARNING EXPERIENCE

The video shoot itself presented challenges. It was the biggest project of Goldsborough’s academic career and the first time she worked solo with two cameras in an interview setting. While meeting Johnson and her daughter was thrilling, being part of the assignment was equally affirming. “We walked into the room, and everyone stopped and looked at me for direction,” said Goldsborough. “That was a really cool moment, because it felt like I was in charge.” Goldsborough set up the cameras and adjusted the lighting, which required some rearrangement of the room. Then, they had the chance to interview someone who had a front-row seat to history: Johnson’s daughter, Joylette Hylick. Hylick provided a unique perspective of her mother’s work. She said she didn’t appreciate the significance of her mother’s contributions until later in life. “Mom is very humble,” Hylick explained. “She says, ‘I don’t know what all the fuss is about. I was just doing my job.’” Hylick, a retired computer programmer now in her 70s,

30 Alvernia University Magazine

CHRISTOPHER POLK / GETTY IMAGES

Johnson’s connection to Alvernia began before her visit with Verneret and Goldsborough. Toni Eckert, director of Leadership Berks at Alvernia, suggested Johnson as the keynote speaker for the Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Women2Women spring renewal expo. Working directly with Johnson’s great-niece, Robin Allen, who is head of information technology at Alvernia, and Johnson’s daughter Joylette, she secured the interview as the highlight of the expo’s keynote address. In April, Allen facilitated a Q&A session about Johnson at the Women2Women Expo. Johnson’s age prevented her from traveling to Reading. But she was willing to participate in a video interview. “Dave Myers, Jodi and I worked together to turn the interview into a tremendous learning experience for the students,” said Eckert. The team had just a few weeks to research and prepare.

SHOOTING THE STARS


ReJeana Goldsborough, far right, handles the technical aspects of the interview with, left to right, Robin Allen, Joylette Hylick, Sarah Verneret, Toni Eckert and Karen Marsdale, president of the Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

shared her own advice for rising above challenges. “You have to be true to yourself,” she said. “You learn as much as you can, and if the people around you don’t appreciate it, then it’s time to look for another situation.”

TOP: JODI RADOSH; BOTTOM: ALEX WONG / GETTY IMAGES

SHARING THE STORY When she returned to Reading, it was Goldsborough’s task to edit the two-hour conversation into a compelling 30-minute video. “It has been the best real-world, hands-on experience I think the students can get,” Radosh noted. “I got to mentor them and show them what it’s like to be a journalist and a videographer on a real shoot. There’s no other way to get this experience than by doing it, especially with such an interesting topic.” But the video isn’t the only treasure Verneret and Goldsborough brought back from Virginia. Before the students left Johnson’s home, she and her husband agreed to briefly speak with them off-camera. They leapt at the opportunity. “She loves students,” Goldsborough said, describing the conversation. “People sometimes discount you because you’re a student or because you’re young. From her family, I didn’t get that vibe at all. She really admires learning and encourages it.” When asked what her mother hopes her legacy will become, Hylick responded: “She wants to be remembered as someone who wants to learn [and] is always prepared to take advantage of an opportunity when it presents itself.” Based on the reporting of Verneret and Goldsborough, it sounds like Johnson is still calculating the trajectory to the bright side of the moon.

Katherine Johnson was presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama on Nov. 24, 2015, at the White House in Washington, D.C.


MEETING OF

THE MINDS A CHANCE ENCOUNTER LEADS TO A NEW STUDY ABROAD PROGRAM IN IRELAND BY

SUSAN SHELLY


hat began as a conversation in an Irish pub has morphed into a unique, intercultural experience for students of Alvernia University. A chance meeting between Dr. Thomas F. Flynn, president of Alvernia, and Dr. Gerald Reid, professor of anthropology at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut, led to a partnership enabling Alvernia students to study in Dingle, Ireland.

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Students Nick Ferry (marketing) and Kelsey Farmer (occupational therapy) discuss Ireland with President Flynn.

Sacred Heart offers an Irish immersion program and has a campus in Dingle, a busy and exceptionally scenic fishing port on the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry. President Flynn met Reid while vacationing there. Their meeting resulted in two Alvernia students having the opportunity to spend two weeks in Dingle in January, studying with a group of Sacred Heart students. Another group of seven Alvernia nursing students traveled there for two weeks in May under the direction of Tracy F. Scheirer, instructor of nursing at Alvernia, who teaches a course in transcultural nursing.

AN IRISH IMMERSION The program gives students the opportunity to become immersed in Irish

34 Alvernia University Magazine

culture while gaining new perspectives from classes related to their major, said Melissa Manny, director of global engagement at Alvernia. “This is a fantastic experience for students to take a required course abroad and at the same time experience all of the benefits of living in a different culture,” Manny explained. “I enjoy seeing students grow and transform after experiences like this.” Kelsey Farmer ’20, who is majoring in occupational therapy and is part of Alvernia’s honors program, completed an abnormal psychology course in Dingle in January. She spent her free time mingling with residents of the little town and enjoying all it had to offer. “I was able to learn so much about a culture I knew little about simply by


Nursing instructor Tracy Scheirer led a group of transcultural nursing students to Dingle, Ireland, in May.

being immersed in it for two weeks,” Farmer said. “The people of Dingle were so kind and welcoming, and I loved the food, especially the fresh fish and chips! We experienced the pubs and the traditional Irish dancing and singing, and were able to take several sightseeing trips.” While she definitely enjoyed life outside the classroom, Farmer said the trip provided a profound academic experience as well. “I was able to gain different perspectives regarding disorders in Ireland as opposed to what I already knew about them in the United States,” Farmer said. “It was so interesting to hear the locals’ take on alcoholism and schizophrenia — a welcome addition to lectures on those topics.” In addition, her class participated in field trips, including one to a farm that housed people with intellectual disabilities.

THEO ANDERSON (2)

CROSS-CULTURAL CONVERSATIONS Scheirer hopes that the May trip will result in new relationships and educational experiences for students. “I’m hoping that we can make some global connections,” Scheirer said. “Understanding the global impact of healthcare is extremely important for students who will be working in the field.” Part of the transcultural nursing course to be offered in Dingle will deal with the Irish Travelers community —

an ethnic minority sometimes referred to as “Irish gypsies.” “We hope to be able to meet with one or more Travelers to learn about their healthcare beliefs and traditions,” Scheirer said. “This can help us achieve a better understanding of health overall.” And spending time with the locals should help students learn to work with people of other cultures down the road. “Though English is actually the most used language throughout much of Ireland, Dingle is situated in Kerry County, an area in which the traditional Irish language is still spoken, along with 14 other languages,” explained President Flynn. “I expect that getting to know people from different cultures will provide new insights that will be beneficial throughout my career,” said nursing student Madeline Overby ’19, before heading to Dingle in May. “You can learn a lot from books, but when you can actually experience something firsthand in another country, it adds a whole other dimension.” That hands-on experience and intercultural immersion will result in realworld learning, a hallmark of an Alvernia education, explained Scheirer. “We want to meet Irish student nurses for cross-cultural discussions and live among the Irish,” Scheirer said. “We’ll have some of our meals in Irish pubs and travel on the weekends. I think we will all benefit greatly from this experience.”

Alvernia University Magazine

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‘I’m Just Curious’

A keen interest in helping others has taken Sister Brigid around the world BY

GENE UNDERWOOD

36 Alvernia University Magazine


Sr. Brigid reflects on her life’s work near the Mother Veronica statue at the McGlinn Conference Center.

S

ince January, 63-year-old Sr. Brigid Scott, OSF, has been residing in Reading. She is here on a short-term assignment, to translate some international meetings from Portuguese into English, in service to her congregation of the Bernardine Franciscan Sisters. At the same time, she has plunged in to help at the Mother Veronica Resource Center in urban Reading, where the sisters provide help and education to “all who come looking for a new way forward.” Sr. Brigid teaches in the GED program there, helping adults earn a high school equivalency credential. “I like translating, but I also like working vocationally with the people,” Sr. Brigid explains. “That’s what I did in Brazil for 11 years.” It’s mission work typical of the Bernardine Sisters who founded Alvernia.

THEO ANDERSON

A WORLD OF EXPERIENCES Born in Scotland, Sr. Brigid lived in Australia and then Canada, where French and English were both school requirements. A lover of languages, she says, “I also learned Latin, which I like and still review, because it helps in learning other languages.” The already well-traveled sister once spent six months on her own in the Dominican Republic, where she served as a layperson in a mission project. “I picked up the Spanish,” she casually says. In 2002, she worked under the auspices of the Comboni Fathers in Brazil, a program for Catholic laypersons of all ages looking for longer-term volunteer service. An intensive threemonth Portuguese language program undertaken in Brasilia equipped her to begin to work in several locations, including a library started and run by Sr. Claude Marie Jablonski, OSF (who is now in Reading) for children and adolescents in a very poor area of Fortaleza, Ceará. She enjoyed her work there, especially knowing “some of the children have no other access to children’s literature, and the library fosters a love for reading.”

“It’s because I had met her (Sr. Claude Marie) that I knew of the Bernardine Sisters,” Sr. Brigid remembers. “I applied to join them as what they call an ‘adult vocation’ 10 years ago this year.” She completed her novitiate in Joliet, Ill., by performing several internships. “When I took my first vows, in 2009, I went back to Brazil, doing vocational work in the northeast for two years and then in the south for five years. During that time, I lived at our provincial house in Porto Alegre.” Her work there included translation for the congregation. Also, at the request of the archbishop, she served with a mission project helping incarcerated youth, a population in dire need of the help. Sr. Brigid’s early life gave her a taste for experiencing cultures, which has stayed with her and grown through the years. “I’m just curious,” she says, “and want to know and understand. I like to be with the people.” Sr. Brigid believes she will be reassigned to Brazil in August. “I know I’m being helpful to the congregation here, and I’m needed for translating,” she says. “I’m happy to do that.” But she really enjoys being out in the field, interacting with people in different countries. Her “real dream” is to go to the mission in Mozambique and work with the women there. Sr. Brigid has already worked in Malawi, so it would not be her first time working in Africa.

WHAT’S NEXT When she looks back over her life, Sr. Brigid realizes that at times she has done things that others, including her mother, deemed “too adventurous.” But she believes, “You have to listen to what you really believe is right for you. I guess I would say you have to have the courage of your dreams.” Now, after a lifetime of courageous choices that have taken her to so many locations, she says, “You start to see the pattern, how God is leading you.” She finds that “comforting — and also I’m curious to see where this is going.”

Alvernia University Magazine

37


Crunch Time

BY

ERIN NEGLEY

38 Alvernia University Magazine


CALVIN MARTIN HELPS NESTLÉ MANAGE DATA FOR ITS 330,000 GLOBAL EMPLOYEES “My mama always said life was like a box of chocolates,” Forrest Gump told us. “You never know what you’re going to get.” If you don’t know what you’re going to get from a box of chocolates, then imagine figuring out what you’re going to get from the data of 330,000 employees. That’s the challenge facing Calvin Martin ’03, manager of Nestlé’s global business solutions time management. But it’s a challenge he savors. Nestlé, which celebrated 150 years of “Good Food, Good Life” in 2016, has 2,000 name brands and 418 factories in 86 countries. Many of its 330,000 employees punch a timecard or log hours on smartphones. Yet each plant has its own pay rules. Then layer on the laws from each country, and you get the impression that each location’s data speaks a different language. Martin is responsible for the systems that record employees’ time on the job and their activity. It’s his task to translate those languages and get everyone on the same system, so that Nestlé can see, analyze and ensure that all employees are paid correctly. In a short time, Martin has seen just how important that data is. For example, he aligned several of these time management systems and spotted a discrepancy. Several locations were paying bonus pay to second-shift workers the day before a holiday. “That’s $3 times 40,000 people for each holiday. That adds up,” Martin says. “We easily found savings with having that visibility and exposure to how we’re paying people.”

ILLUSTRATION BY KYLE HILTON

THE ROAD TO GLENDALE Martin has a long history with time management systems. His job is an exciting combination of business software and personal skills for Martin, who earned his bachelor’s degree in finance at Alvernia after more than a decade of night classes while juggling time with his wife, Ann, and sons Christian and Seth. “It’s been a great journey,” he says, from his childhood in Stowe, Pa., to his current home in Glendale, Calif. Martin held several jobs in finance while attending college and after he received his degree. He joined Nestlé in 1989 as a controller at its water

plant in Breinigsville. It was in his next role, as the regional operations manager there, that he dove into the time management systems — standardizing systems at five Nestlé plants — that now define his work life at the global level. When those systems were in place, he aligned Nestlé Waters’ 25 locations, from the distribution centers to sales departments and truck drivers. Next, Martin was asked to do the same throughout Nestlé USA’s more than 100 locations. In early 2016, he took on his current role, in which he is tasked with standardizing systems for Nestlé’s global brands across four different regions — North America, Latin America, EMENA (Europe, the Middle East, North Africa) and AOA (Asia, Oceania and Africa). Part of the challenge of his job is that he has to implement, rather than just set up, the new systems by stressing the importance of having them standard and streamlined. “I quickly had to learn: Anyone can implement a system. It’s tough, but it’s not that tough,” Martin says. “The challenge is trying to change people’s paradigms and trying to get them to go where you want them to go.” In his current role as part of the global organization, that challenge is tenfold. But it’s also the part of his job that he most enjoys, especially working with people around the world. He has enjoyed learning the cultural nuances of different regions. For example, he learned that in Switzerland, workers are guaranteed a 30-minute paid “daylight break.” During this past year, he has spent time traveling abroad and building relationships. Today’s technology enables employees to work with one another several time zones away. Working with people globally has stretched Martin’s perspective — and has also stretched out his workday. Luckily, he says, “God’s favor” allows his schedule to be flexible enough to have time for family and church activities. He became a licensed minister in 2009, thanks in part to his theology courses at Alvernia. “The world is becoming much smaller with social media and technology,” Martin says. “To see it and be involved with it is pretty exciting.”

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BY

JILL SCHOENIGER

PHOTOS BY

THEO ANDERSON

40 Alvernia University Magazine


‘IT’S OUR

ORDINARY’

WITH AN ABUNDANCE OF JOY, FAITH AND COFFEE, TIM ’09 AND MONICA (FRITZ) CHRUSCH ’10 EMBRACE RAISING THEIR SIX YOUNG CHILDREN u

Monica and Tim Chrusch with their children, left to right: Isaiah (9), Noah (6 months), Collins (5), Garin (3), Hope (8) and Brantley (4).


Whenever the weather permits, the Chrusch family spends time on their White Hawk Farm.

“It’s our ordinary,” explains Tim Chrusch when asked about the challenges of raising six children, all under the age of 10. “Maybe it takes longer when we want to do something like play in the snow, but it’s all we know.” While it’s all Tim and his wife, Monica, know, it is not quite what they expected. In the beginning, their life was going according to plan. Together since middle school, they wanted to stay local for college. “We went to a small school district and wanted the same experience for college,” Monica says. They both enjoyed the small classes at Alvernia, where Tim majored in business and Monica studied elementary and special education. After college, their plan was to start a family. Monica is a planner — almost obsessively so — by nature. But early on, she realized she needed to be more adaptable. In a May 2015 blog post, Monica explains how she came to understand this: “The plan. We all have one. This idea in our head about how our life is going to be. My plan was wonderful. I was going to marry the man of my dreams. We were going to get pregnant soon after with our first child and then, every two years or so after that, we would add another little person to our family until we felt complete. Perfection,

42 Alvernia University Magazine

right? But, you see, that was Monica’s plan, not God’s plan.”

FOLLOWING GOD’S PLAN Early in their marriage, the couple tried to have children, but Monica miscarried several times (over the course of building their family, they would experience a dozen pregnancy losses). “Monica had no problem getting pregnant but couldn’t carry a baby full term. It was devastating,” Tim says. They tried infertility treatments for a short period and at the same time started the adoption process. According to both Tim and Monica, adoption was part of their plan after they had their own kids. “Tim talked about trying foster care, but I was scared about how I would react when the kids would go back,” Monica recalls. “But when we went to the classes and heard other people’s stories, it became more to us than just having a baby. We saw there was a need for this.” In early 2010, they received a call about a little boy named Gavin, who

was medically fragile. They had Gavin in their lives for a few months before he passed away that April. Later that same year, in July, two siblings, Isaiah (now 9) and Hope (now 8), were placed with them. They were adopted in October 2012. Monica felt their plans were finally coming to pass. Then came another twist: Shortly after the adoption, they learned that Monica was pregnant. This time, she was able to carry the child full term, delivering a baby girl they named Collins, who is now 5. With three young children, Monica quit her job as a teacher at a Montessori school. Tim, who describes himself as oldfashioned, became the sole breadwinner — which was according to his plan. “I see myself as a provider and a protector,” he says. “In today’s society, you often see two people working outside the house. I wanted Monica to be able to watch our children grow and be home with them.” And their family continued to grow. “After Collins was born, we tried again, and it didn’t work. When she was 14


months old, we put our names on the adoption list,” says Monica. “A few days later, we were picking up a new baby boy, Brantley.” And then came yet another plot twist: When Brantley was just 6 days old, they learned that Monica was pregnant again. Their son Garin arrived eight months later. A few years later, their sixth child, Noah (now 6 months) was born.

A GOOD ROUTINE AND A WHOLE LOT OF COFFEE As the oldest kids approached school age, the Chrusches decided to homeschool them. Their oldest, Isaiah, was diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome and has an intellectual disability. They initially sent him to school, but it wasn’t meeting his needs. “It was very stressful for all of us,” Monica explains. “Honestly, homeschooling was something we Continued on page 50


BY

KEVIN GRAY PHOTOS BY

After starting his first business in 1987, Greg Header ’97 caught the entrepreneur bug and never looked back.

THEO ANDERSON (2)

THEO ANDERSON


SOLAR PLEXUS AN ENTREPRENEUR AT HEART, GREG HEADER ’97 LEVERAGES THAT MINDSET IN LEADING SOLAR INNOVATIONS

I

f necessity is indeed the mother of invention, Greg Header ’97 has proven that creativity and drive are close relatives. Header, president of Solar Innovations, has combined a dogged pursuit of opportunity with the vision and ingenuity to meet client design challenges to create an international market for his products. Solar Innovations designs and manufactures high-end, sustainable products that increase the efficiency of residential homes and commercial buildings. These products include folding glass walls, multipocket doors, sunrooms, greenhouses, conservatories, skylights and more. Under Header’s direction, Solar Innovations currently holds more than 30 patents and pending patents on a range of products. The growing company anticipates having more than 200 employees by the end of 2017 and has set a goal to exceed $30 million in sales this year. But the prospects weren’t always so lofty. Upon graduating summa cum laude with a business degree from Alvernia University, Header founded Solar Innovations and became active in the glazing and fenestration industries. Running a business was not a new pursuit. A natural entrepreneur with a keen sense of nurturing an opportunity, Header launched his first business — the Header Trading Company — in 1987 and ran it

through college and beyond. Riding a favorable exchange rate, he built it into a multimillion-dollar operation that exported hides to Mexico, China and other international markets. Header still runs the company today.

NAVIGATING A NEW INDUSTRY AND NEW TECHNOLOGY Still, Solar Innovations presented a unique challenge because, in 1997, Header was so new to the industry. “In the beginning, it was about survival,” says Header, who devotes most of his time to product development and technical sales. “Not many people in the industry wanted to give us a chance. We were focused on getting orders and getting people to believe in us.” The original Solar Innovations offices were in a farmhouse, and the manufacturing operation was next door. In 2007, Header and his management team decided Solar Innovations needed a true professional business environment. It moved into a state-of-the-art 300,000-square-foot corporate office and manufacturing facility located on 24 acres in Pine Grove, Pa. “I made a large investment in the new facility because we knew that if we were going to create a professional culture and be taken seriously, we needed to have an integrated business,” Header explains. “That was a key for us, because when people started coming to our showroom — and they

Alvernia University Magazine

45


Ever innovating, Solar Innovations holds more than 30 patents and pending patents.

came from all over the country and the world — they could see our capabilities and we would make the sale. That’s really when we started gaining momentum.” But he also brought Solar Innovations to the world when he launched the company’s website. “We wouldn’t exist without our website,” Header says flatly. “Through our website, we started finding fringe customers who needed specialty help that no one else could provide. People come to us because we are known as the problem solvers in our industry. We never say no.” An offshoot of that “can do” approach is that in providing custom solutions, Solar Innovations has been able to develop new products and approaches. A project on a high-rise in Hawaii led Header to devote a great deal of time to designing and honing a new lift-slide door. “It took about a year of my life, but now we have one of the best lift slides in the world,” says Header. “It seals better than a sliding door and outperforms the design criteria for the water column by three or four times.” Because of its success on that project,

46 Alvernia University Magazine

Solar Innovations landed a large job in Boston. Header says that each project becomes a showcase — and yields its own stories. For example, there was the time when he found himself on scaffolding 40 feet in the air, trying to finish the installation of a custom dome on NBA star Antawn Jamison’s home before a party he was hosting started. Header credits his Alvernia experience with helping him stand apart and setting the foundation for his professional success. “My religion courses at Alvernia helped me develop my business ethics,” says Header, who is proud that Solar Innovations has never laid off its employees through all types of business cycles. “Alvernia stressed written and oral communication skills, which helps me when dealing with clients, and I learned a lot about researching, problem-solving and creative thinking there.” Just as he has done with opportunities, Header has grown these skills and used them to enhance his professional career. “This is what we mean by the dual effect of Alvernia’s mission,” explained Dr. Gerald


S. Vigna, a theology professor Header credits with challenging him. “The strong business skills taught in tandem with serious religion and liberal arts courses not only helped in generating creative entrepreneurial thinking, but did so within the context of one of our most important contemporary ethical issues, sustainability.” With Solar Innovations, Header has developed and installed 20-foot doors for LinkedIn and more than 30 stories of wood curtain walls for the Tower at PNC Plaza in Pittsburgh, a building that exceeds LEED Platinum certification and is called “the greenest office tower in the world.” “If you look at our history, it’s our ability to do these impossible jobs that brings clients to us,” Header says. “We make the impossible possible. We find opportunities in the work no else wants or no one else can or wants to do, and we turn them into more business. This is what sets us apart.”

GERALD VIGNA, Ph.D.

“T his is what we mean by the dual effect of Alvernia’s mission.”

ILLUSTRATION BY KYLE HILTON

Header’s state-of-theart corporate office and manufacturing facility is located on 24 acres in Pine Grove, Pa. — a great location to try out fly fishing gear produced by his Innovative Reel Technologies company.


Dec. 12, 2016.

Dr. Cynthia Mierzejewski ’81 was named superintendent for the Schuylkill Valley School District.

Raymond Melcher Jr. ’78 was named interim general manager of the Reading Royals. He was also recently elected to the Governor Mifflin Education Foundation board of directors and to the Alvernia University Alumni Council. He was a featured guest expert on a business radio news channel, Empire Broadcasting, which reaches 55 million listeners daily across the United States.

Diane (Smith) Allen ’79 completed her dissertation, “Keeping the Children: Nonviolent Female Offenders in Two Michigan Residential Programs,” as part of her course work at Walden University. It will be published on ProQuest.

48 Alvernia University Magazine

was elected to serve on the board of directors for Associated Builders and Contractors, Delaware chapter. Marie is a safety manager for Worth and Company, Inc. She is also a construction site safety master instructor for the National Center for Construction Education and Research.

Lori (McIntosh) DiGuardi ’90 is excited to announce that her first book, “Anger 101: The Healthy Approach to Being a Bitch,” has been published. Her book is the basis for her TED talk and the work she does in the world through life coaching and workshops. It is a book of stories, academic knowledge and practical steps that supports women to become revitalized with a new sense of energy about what’s possible for their lives and with clear and fulfilling life visions. Lori has helped women transform silence into self-expression, suppres-

Noelle CataldiFick ’03 was featured

March 11, 2017.

in the Reading Eagle’s In Our Schools section as a kindergarten and special education teacher at Oley Valley Elementary School.

Connie (DeBinder) D’Augustine ’95

Lynda (Hoffman) Coyle ’03 is happily

was named vice president, commercial lending officer for Riverview Bank. She will work in the Spring Township branch and serve all Berks region customers.

married with four beautiful children who keep her on her toes. As a member of the Alpha Delta Kappa teaching society, she participates in many altruistic activities. Lynda currently teaches middle school and serves as a literacy leader. In her spare time, she coaches her children’s sports teams and spends her best moments with her growing family.

Robert H. Grey Sr. ’93 passed away on Dec. 4, 2016.

Stanley Dieterly ’94 passed away on

1990s

burg Lutheran Seminary to become a Lutheran deaconess and earn a Master of Ministerial Studies degree.

Marie (Rebeiro) Wright ’88

1980s

Mary Louise (Bachman) Aims ’73 is attending Gettys-

Paul Klick ’91 celebrated 30 years of government service with U.S. Postal Service in March of 2017.

Sophie Guzowski ’08 married Ryan Cannon on Nov. 5, 2016, at St. John Baptist de las Salle, in Shillington, Pa. The pair took wedding day pictures at Alvernia’s Francis Hall. Sophie is an English teacher at Exeter Township Junior High School.

Tara Hallingse ’99 passed away on Oct. 22, 2016.

Diana (Rivera) O’Bryant ’00 passed away on Dec. 12, 2016.

Anastasia (Radkowski) Leiphart ’02 and her husband Brad opened Petite Milan Inc. in West Reading, Pa. The store sells children’s shoes and age-appropriate clothing for preteen and teenage girls.

2000s

Doris Stapleton ’80 passed away on

1970s

ALUMNI CLASS NOTES

sion into strength and discomfort into power. Her work is based on being born into a life of abuse and violence, and then becoming an international empowerment leader in both the corporate and nonprofit worlds.

Karen (Burns) Hinkle ’04 works as an advocate for Crime Victims Council of the Lehigh Valley. She currently holds the position of executive secretary to the Crime Victims Alliance of Pennsylvania and is an active member of the rally committee.

The rally committee plans and hosts the State Rally at the Capitol Rotunda during National Crime Victims Week.

Lindsey (Dietz) Kurtz ’04 and her husband Andrew, along with big brother Cale, welcomed Alivea Freyá Grace Kurtz into the world on Aug. 11, 2016.

Susan TaylorHughes ’04 accepted a new position at Benecon, a private accounting firm located in Lititz, Pa. She previously worked for RKL Wealth Management for 12 years.

Robin Anderson M’05 was featured in the Reading Eagle’s TriCounty In Our Schools section as a kindergarten teacher at Lincoln Elementary, in the Pottstown School District.

Anita (Hayes) Heft ’05, M’09 is the owner of Himalayan Salt and Wellness Cave in Pottstown, Pa.

Danielle AhrensO’Brien ’06 was featured in the Reading


Haynes on Jan. 14, 2017. Marissa was also recently promoted at Seton Hill University to associate director for Alumni Communications and Stewardship.

Eagle’s Business Weekly section for her career in technology as a senior programmer and analyst.

Melissa Masone Ulmer ’09 was

Calista Boyer M’06 received the education award from the YWCA Tri-County Area Tribute to Exceptional Women in 2017. Calista is the principal at Lincoln Elementary in the Pottstown School District. She is known for her unorthodox actions to motivate students to succeed and fulfill their dreams.

Matthew Redcay ’06 was named the assistant principal for Wyomissing Area JuniorSenior High School.

Catherine (Wilson) Smith ’06 passed away on Oct. 29, 2016.

Alice Einolf M’07 was featured in the Reading Eagle’s In Our Schools section. Alice is the assistant principal for academics at Berks Catholic High School.

Lisa Richter ’07 started an art business called LaRe Creations Painting Parties in March 2014.

Rochelle Ruff ’07, M’09 passed away on Dec. 19, 2016.

Julia (Polyak) Sharer M’07 was featured in the Reading

Eagle’s Tri-County In Our Schools section. Julia is a first-grade teacher in the Boyertown Area School District.

Tiffany (Kaba) Witman M’07 received the Community Educator Award from The Twin Valley Community Education Foundation. She was honored for her role as a high school English teacher and adviser for the student council. Tiffany has been successful in getting students to give back to the community through service initiatives.

David Allen Long ’08 married Dana Marie Valinsky at Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church, New Philadelphia, Pa., on July 30, 2016. David is employed as a senior chemist data reviewer at Eurofins Lancaster Laboratories in Leola. The couple resides in Lancaster.

Kathryn Hummel ’09 and Dustin Orth were married on April 11, 2015. Kathryn recently graduated from

awarded the Rowan University 2016-17 Advisor of the Year Award at the university’s Celebrating Leadership Awards event. Melissa was one of seven advisers nominated by students to receive the award.

Daniel Wowak M’09 appeared on the History Channel’s documentary series “Alone.” The series is a winnertake-all competition with a $500,000 prize for the competitor who can outlast all others surviving in the Patagonia wilderness. Daniel lasted 50 days on his own in the wilderness, losing more than 50 pounds in the process. He was one of 10 contestants.

Mary Ann Killian ’10 retired in Jan. 2017 after working for more than 45 years.

James Stagg ’10 passed away on Dec. 29, 2015.

Kaitlyn Malyszko ’12 is engaged to Ryan Stubblebine of Wernersville, Pa. They are planning a wedding for the fall of 2017.

Cory (Marques) Mengel ’12 and Kevin Mengel ’13 welcomed Kinsley Kathleen Mengel into the world on Dec. 31, 2016, at 11:44 p.m. Kinsley weighed 6 pounds 11 ounces and was 19 inches long.

Gina Diefolf ’13 was transferred from Olivet Boys and Girls Club’s Mulberry Street to its newest unit in Pendora Park. Gina is a computer lab coordinator and oversees the homework center at the club.

2010s

St. Joseph’s University with a master’s degree in healthcare administration and informatics. She works at Reading Health System as an instructional designer.

Taylor Howard M’13 was featured in the Reading Eagle’s In Our Schools section as an eighth-grade U.S. history teacher at Boyertown Junior High East. After serving the City of Reading for more than 30 years in a variety of capacities related to business and fiscal management, Brenda

Adam Butler ’12

(Skimski) Kasprzewski M’13 resigned

relocated to Tempe, Ariz., and is a pediatric occupational therapist at Fiesta Pediatric Therapy. Fiesta is a medically based outpatient pediatric clinic located in Phoenix, Ariz.

as community development fiscal officer in June 2015. She is now with the Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Berks, Inc., in the newly created role of fiscal resource specialist.

Larry Lendo Jr. ’13 and Erin Neiman are engaged.

Rory Carter ’14 passed the Pennsylvania state exam for a Health, Life and Annuities license. Rory is the branch manager for Reading’s webuyanycar.com and also sells insurance.

Jacob Cotroneo ’14 was promoted to a buyer at Boscov’s Department Stores in Reading, Pa.

Megan Roda ’14 and Brock Cromleigh ’14 are engaged. A wedding is planned for May 2017.

Nicholas DiProfio ’14 is a program analyst for the U.S. Forest Service.

Laurie Kercher M’15 was named vice president, regional manager and regional lending officer for Riverview Bank in Berks County.

Daniel Myers ’15 and Jennifer Petrilla M’15 are to

ALUMNI CLASS NOTES

Marissa De Lucia ’12 married Matthew

be married on Sept. 1, 2018.

Jennifer Petrilla M’15 and Daniel Myers ’15 are engaged.

Kyle Fry ’16 passed away on Jan. 8, 2017.

Alvernia University Magazine

49


SPRING THEATRE This spring, Alvernia Theatre performed “It Can’t Happen Here” by Sinclair Lewis and adapted by Tony Taccone and Bennett S. Cohen.

‘IT’S OUR ORDINARY’ | Continued from page 43 President Thomas F. Flynn, Ph.D. Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Deidra W. Hill, Ed.D. Creative Director Steve Thomas Contributing Editors Carey Manzolillo ’06, M’07 Jill Schoeniger Contributing Writers Dr. Thomas F. Flynn; Kevin Gray; Anne Heck ’17; Lini S. Kadaba; Carey Manzolillo ’06, M’07; Daniel Martin ’17; Erin Negley; Jill Schoeniger; Susan Shelly; Karen Thacker; Gene Underwood Contributing Photographers Theo Anderson; Jenna Harper ’17; Ed Kopicki; Annie Leibovitz; Jodi Radosh; Katie Yohe Alvernia Magazine is a publication of Alvernia University. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved. Correspondence should be addressed to 540 Upland Avenue, Reading, PA 19611, or email magazine@alvernia.edu.

50 Alvernia University Magazine

always thought we would do.” Monica’s education degree has been put to good use. “In Pennsylvania, you don’t need an education background to homeschool, but it has been a reassurance to me that I know what I’m doing,” she says. The biggest challenge was establishing a routine. The kids have adapted well and are thriving. “Isaiah is much better. He is able to be himself at home,” Monica says. “He and Hope are in the second grade, and Collins is in kindergarten.” The family is a stickler for routine in other areas. Tim gets home from his job as a product manager at EnerSys every day at 4:45. The family owns a small farm and spend quality time together enjoying their horses, chickens, ducks and dogs. Tim relishes this and says the best part of being a dad is “watching your kids grow and being an important part of their lives and someone they look up to.” They put the kids to bed every night at seven so they can take time for themselves. Their family life works in large part because of the solid partnership Tim and Monica have nurtured. While Monica credits “a lot of coffee and the grace of God” for her being able to care for their family, Tim says it is because “she is the most caring and compassionate person I know.” Monica laughs when people tell her she must be so patient. Instead, she insists, Tim is the patient one. “Tim has this way of calming me down and making it all okay,” she says. “Every time there is a roadblock, he tells me it’s going to work out as it is supposed to.” And he has been right every time, she says, just as they planned.


A

lvernia will soon be home to a beautiful and consecrated Memorial Prayer Garden and Columbarium. Located just down the hill from historic Francis Hall, not far from the St. Joseph Villa, the tranquil location offers families a spiritual setting that may best fit their family plans. The Franciscan ethos of inclusivity welcomes family members of all denominations to be interred in the Alvernia Columbarium. Recently, the Vatican approved cremation as an appropriate direction for families mourning the loss of a loved one. The Catholic Church strongly recommends that the resting place for these final ashes should be a sacred place such as a columbarium — a consecrated area reserved for the interment of cremated remains. The Alvernia Columbarium provides a limited number of economical and environmentally friendly niches to help family members eternally rest in peace. Each niche can hold up to two urns. Twelve of the 51 niches have already been reserved. Construction on the Alvernia Columbarium is slated to begin in 2018.

The cost of a niche that can accommodate two urns at the Alvernia Columbarium is $5,000. Memorial engraving/plaque inscription is not covered in the cost of the niche. For more information, please contact Marlene Schutz in the Department of Institutional Advancement at marlene.schutz@alvernia.edu or 610.796.8259.


Alvernia University 400 Saint Bernardine Street Reading, PA 19607

Non-Profit Organization U.S. Postage

PAID

Burlington, VT Permit No. 155

alvernia.edu

K9 KUDOS Before Beamer helped hearing-impaired graduate Alexa Vath ’17 cross the Commencement stage in May, he was awarded an honor cord at Honors Convocation for his faithful service work. Vath earned a B.S. in management and human resource management, magna cum laude. Next, she plans to pursue an MBA while working as a graduate assistant in Alvernia’s ADA office.

Alvernia Magazine Summer 2017  

Alvernia Magazine Summer 2017

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