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S pring 2012

An Individualized Instruction, Journalism III Project, California University of Pennsylvania

From soldier to classroom By Sarah Osko

Walking into Professor Susan Morris-Rutledge’s 12:30 p.m. Supporting the English Language Learner class on a Tuesday, one sees a woman in simple black pants and white tutleneck, but her clothes are almost completely covered with a colorful smock adorned with silver and white stars and moons.

Volume 7 No.1

See Morris-Rutledge, Page 6

Photo from Cal U website

Professor Susan Morris-Rutledge

Photo from Cal U website

Professor Caryl Sheffield

People person,

prof, mentor By Arielle Alexander

There is only one department chairman who is an African-American woman at California University of Pennsylvania: Her name is Caryl Sheffield.
 Sheffield, professor of education and multicultural education, has worked at Cal U since 1991. For the last 10 years, she has been an education chair and now presides over the elementary/early childhood/special education department.
 Because of recent cuts to programs throughout the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE), Sheffield has encountered several difficulties, such as cooperating with the new state programs and merging the special education and elementary/early

See Sheffield, Page 4

Photo by Deven L. Bourquin

Gabriel Robertson studies athletic training.

At the Underground, a beat-boxing star brings ‘something extra’ By Deven L. Bourquin

At 5’10” and able to bench 325 pounds, the formidable Gabriel Robertson, 23, appears to be just another college student. He goes to class and hangs out with his friends. He enjoys music, beat-boxing and performing at times at California University of Pennsylvania’s Underground Café, as well as playing sports. Music and sports both are passions for him and the latter influenced his decision to major in athletic training at Cal U.

See Robertson, Page 5

Inside * Page 2: * Art professor focuses on pottery * Music professor directs Cal Choir * Page 3: * Biology prof specializes in warblers * Com Studies professor tracks hurricane p.r. * Page 4: * Education chair inspired by mom * Page 8: * Student helps El Salvador kids * Page 9: * Student takes mission to Kenya * Page 12: * FOX News welcomes Cal grad * Page 13: * Footlights glow for Cal alum * Page 14: * Flyers’ player finds rivalry * Page 15: * Baseball captain likes to win * Page 16: * The Cal Corner staff

Spring 2012 C Art and design professor captivated with campus and friendly students


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By Julian Sepesky

California University of Pennsylvania has many professors determined to shape people’s lives, to make a difference in the world. Richard “Duke” Miecznikowski is one of them. Miecznikowski is a professor of art and design at Cal U and has been with the university since 1988. Throughout his 23-year career at Cal U, he has helped students increase their knowledge of ceramics and has helped attract students to the art program. His curiosity in arts and pottery began when he was a student in high school in his hometown, New Kensington. “I was always drawing and painting. That’s what I was really interested in at the time,” he said.

Miecznikowski started his collegiate career by attending Indiana University of Pennsylvania. “I thought I was going to become a painter, until the first time I ever saw a professor at Indiana work with pottery,” Miecznikowski said. Frank Ross, one of his college profes-

sors, is credited by Miecznikowski as his most inspiring teacher. “He may have been the reason I wanted

to teach,” Miecznikowski said. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree from IUP, Miecznikowski continued his education by obtaining a master of fine arts degree from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. The school is rated among the top art and ceramics schools in the nation. After graduation, Miecznikowski taught at Fairmont State in West Virginia and at Davis and Elkins College in Elkins, W.V. But returning to Pennsylvania “felt right” for Miecznikowski, who took the job at Cal and resides in Monessen, a close commute to campus, he said. Miecznikowski said he loves teaching at Cal U. “There are excellent students at this

Professor devoted to music, family By Hannah L.R. Lovejoy

Yugo Ikach is late for his own interview. At 1:30 p.m., he bustles into his office and practically throws his briefcase down, stripping off his black jacket and loosening his tie. He collapses into his chair and automatically puts his feet – clad in scuffed, vintage-looking leather shoes – on the chair next to him. With a quick glance at this author’s T-shirt, Ikach says, “Does ‘Got Lines’ refer to cocaine or am I reading it wrong? Oh – acting. I understand now.” To Kirill, the Russian exchange student hovering in the doorway, he says, “Don’t worry, professor so-and-so will understand. Tell him, ‘Remember me? I’m Kirill. I have an awesome Russian accent and you should let me go to Nashville with the choir because they need accents.’” Such is the personality of “Dr. I,” the jovial professor of music and voice at California University of Pennsylvania, a position he has held since 2004. Before 2004, Professor Ikach spent 20 years performing in various musicals and

Photo submitted by Yugo Ikach

Yugo Ikach directs the Cal Choir.

plays across the United States and Canada. Ikach is now the director of Cal Choir, a group that has sung for the pope in Rome, as well as at the White House, St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, and Walt Disney World in Florida. “I didn’t plan on being a music professor, actually,” he recalls. “I had always liked music – I was in band in junior high and high school and could read music – and I was in musicals. But it wasn’t until the summer after my first year of college (at Carnegie Mel-

See Art, Page 7

lon University) that I realized music was something I could see myself doing professionally.” Ikach remembers the day he discovered how much he loved music. “I was in a musical and I needed to sing high notes for a role,” he said. “I couldn’t sing the notes, so I went to a vocal coach who taught me technique. I took music courses and realized how much I loved it. I still love it.” His education has been far and wide: He has degrees from Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and West Virginia University in Morgantown. The entire time he was performing, he adds, he was also learning. “I was originally a computer science major at Carnegie Mellon because my dad worked with computers and I was good at math,” Ikach said. “But I figured, hey, I might as well get paid for something I love doing – and I decided to go into music. I got my bachelor’s, master’s and finally my doctorate degree in voice performance.”

See Music, Page 7


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Biology professor works with endangered species By Taylor Brown

When she was 9, she would hike on her grandfather’s land in New York, the dirt beneath her feet, and a salamander in her hand. One day she made her way to a waterfall and spent the day diving into a deep pool. It was then that Carol Bocetti realized she wanted to do something to make sure the waterfall would always be there. Today Bocetti is a professor of biology and environmental science at California University of Pennsylvania and has been active in Kirtland’s warbler recovery projects. As she tells it, “I knew when I was 9 that I wanted to do something with the environment, and when I was 13, I wanted to be a wildlife biologist,” Bocetti said. Having grown up in a supportive and academically enriched household, Bocetti recognizes the role her father played in her interest all those years ago. “My father had a tremendous appreciation for nature. I feel like that is where this [interest] was born,” Bocetti said.

See Bocetti, Page 10

Photo submitted by William Rapai

Carol Bocetti has been active in Kirtland’s warbler recovery projects and enjoys sharing her love for the outdoors with students of all ages.

Professor studies Hurricane Irene communications By Lauren Turosik

When Communication Studies Professor Susan Jasko took her cheery smile away from her students at California University of Pennsylvania in the fall of 2011, it was to follow the destructive path of Hurricane Irene. The public relations professor was appointed to one of three teams that studied how the National Weather Service had reacted to the catastrophe. The Weather Service wanted to learn how to communicate more effectively and “that’s why they brought me on to the team of scientists, government safety officials, and meteorologists,” Jasko said. Jasko and her team canvassed Long Island and Manhattan, where they interviewed over 120 people about the natural disaster.

Photo by Lauren Turosik

Communication Studies Professor Susan Jasko studied hurricane public relations.

See Jasko, Page 10

Spring 2012 4 C alorner Sheffield: Mother inspired success, positive attitude Continued from Page 1

with herself, and I think that’s what allows her students to connect with her and be who they are.”

education departments. “It has been challenging, but we find ways to work it out,” Sheffield said, smiling. “I’m a happy person,” she said. “It’s in my nature.” For Sheffield, who comes from humble beginnings in New Brighton, school was always a top priority and hard work was second nature.

“My mother was a saint. She had a way of making everyone feel special, and that’s not easy with 21 kids, but she did it.” -- Caryl Sheffield

Professor of Education and Multicultural Education

“Going to college was the next step for me. The question wasn’t: ‘Am I going to go?’ It was, ‘Where am I going to go?’” -- Caryl Sheffield Professor of Education and Multicultural Education

After graduating from high school in 1969 as the only black female and ranked ninth in her class, Sheffield went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in special education from Cal U.
 “Going to college was the next step for me. The question wasn’t: ‘Am I going to go?’ It was, ‘Where am I going to go?’” she said. She added a master’s degree in educational psychology degree from Slippery Rock University and her doctoral degree in instruction and learning/instructional design/technology programs from the University of Pittsburgh.
 After working in the Pittsburgh Public School System, Sheffield decided to work with higher education and landed her job at her alma mater, Cal U. “Oh, she’s just phenomenal,” said Gwen Perry-Burney, Sheffield’s good friend and colleague.
 Perry-Burney began working at Cal U 10 years ago, which is when Sheffield first reached out to her.
 “She took me under her wing,” PerryBurney said. “She really looked out for me.” Sheffield even helped Perry-Burney prepare her tenure proposal, “which no one else did,” Perry-Burney said. The two became close and have remained good friends.
 “I just try to treat others how I like to be

So how does Sheffield intend to keep her students and faculty connected with all of the financial stress the department is experiencing? “We’ve had to cut back, cutting courses and teaching larger classes,” Sheffield said. Sheffield is up for the challenge.
 “I want to be something for all people,” she said. “I’m really about everybody, just people,” she said. Photo by Arielle Alexander

Caryl Sheffield chairs elementary/early childhood/special education.

treated,” Sheffield said. Growing up with 20 brothers and sisters, Sheffield gives credit to her family for her positive and sympathetic attitude, but admits her mother is her biggest inspiration.
 “My mother was a saint. She had a way of making everyone feel special, and that’s not easy with 21 kids, but she did it,” Sheffield said as her eyes began to water. In fact, Sheffield credits her mother for her success and positive attitude. In 2000, Sheffield carried that attitude to Kingston, Jamaica, where she spent six months as a Fullbright Scholar, teaching at the University of the West Indies.
 Today, at 60, Sheffield still models her mother by living by the “Golden Rule.” 
 “That’s just her style,” said Amy Alexander, who describes Sheffield as elegant, gracious and approachable. Alexander, a former Cal U student to whom Sheffield served as a mentor, explains that Sheffield has an easy-to-relateto persona and is “confident and happy

Photo from Cal U website

Caryl Sheffield is among the alums who teach in classrooms they once sat in.


5 Robertson: Venting frustrations through sports, music Spring 2012

Continued from Page 1

Robertson, who was born and raised in Claremore, Okla., is not about to let his disease, Tourette Syndrome, stand in the way of what he wants to do. Tourette’s is a neurological disorder characterized by both vocal and motor tics. Doctors still do not know what causes this disorder. Robertson also has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, a learning disability. When Robertson was growing up, “Homework was a challenge,” his father, Reginald Regi Robertson, said. “I remember coming back home at 3:30 p.m. and seeing him doing homework,” Reginald said. “Then I would go take a nap and around 7 p.m., I checked in on him again. He was still doing homework. Not only that, but he was only on problem four,” Reginald said. Robertson was often frustrated and the simple things to most soon became a challenge to him. “No one knows what it’s like to have a major disability until they have one,” Robertson said while shaking his head. It wasn’t just homework that became a problem. Robertson’s behavior gradually took a change for the worse. He found himself often bullied. But when he was in middle school, he picked up the saxophone and trumpet to play in the school’s band. Music, as well as the sports that he continued to play on the side (football, soccer, and baseball), gave him a sense of relief. Robertson started to use sports and music as a way to vent his frustration. Before that, he used to punch holes in the wall. “My dad had to buy a lot of spackling,” Robertson said, laughing. He recalled being kicked out of libraries on multiple occasions. Often, he would go to the library to do some schoolwork. However, at a time when his Tourette’s involved more vocal expulsions, he was asked to leave. “It got to the point that I would notice people rolling their eyes when I walked in,” he said. “Some of the people would even leave.” Even though his Tourette’s, vocally, has calmed down considerably, he still finds himself uncomfortable and self-conscious when he walks into a library, he said.

Photo from Cal U website

The Underground Café, is a popular spot for evening nonalcoholic entertainment.

When he was 14 and had just started high school, he joined the choir and school football team. After testing his vocal range, the teacher told him that he was a tenor, and he quickly became a vital part of his choir. When he moved to Lancaster in 2007, people at his new school commented on his disabilities. He immediately joined the football team and choir to provide himself with something that comforted him with familiarity.

“Proving people wrong, even when they tell you that you can’t, is the best feeling,” Robertson said. Robertson attended Harrisburg Community College of Lancaster before transferring to California University in 2010. Chairman of the Theater and Dance Department Michael Slavin said Robertson “is a very consistent, focused performer. He takes direction very well.” The first time Slavin met Robertson was at an audition. “He walked into the audition and by the end, I was wowed,” Slavin said. Slavin said that Robertson’s conditions “added to the show because he is a real person portraying a human. Anything that can be added brings the character alive,” Slavin said. “I think he found a home here and he is more than welcome to come back!” the

theater chair added. Zack Hough, a member of the board of the Underground Café, said that Robertson is “original��� and “brings something extra each week.” For Robertson, the most rewarding part of his beat-box performances are the “people who appreciate it. I just want appreciation. I love when people come up after a show just to shake my hand,” Robertson said. Beat-boxing is using one’s lips and tongue to make successive sounds. Gregory London, 18, never thought that he would meet someone who beat-boxed when he came to college because the last time he had seen it was on TV. “When he performs, you do not notice the Tourette’s at all,” London said. “You seriously have to focus on his Tourette’s if that’s what you want to see. When he’s performing, you can’t help but see him as a performer, not just some man with Tourette’s,” London said. Robertson’s mother, Doris, sees that her son’s “curses are his gifts. “Without his hardships, he would not be the driven, compassionate and intelligent young man he is,” she said. Robertson said he feels, “I am better off because of my disabilities. If I didn’t have them, I would probably be the laziest person. I would not be who I am today.”



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Morris-Rutledge: From the desert to Cal U Continued from Page 1

Unlike some professors, MorrisRutledge treats every individual as both a friend and student. During the first 10 minutes of class every day, she carries on a conversation with anyone whose topic of conversation catches her attention. She then claps her hands and uses her everyday attention grabber, “5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0, all eyes on me, please.” Unlike in most rowdy college classrooms, as soon as the class hears these words, all eyes snap to the front and the class quiets down immediately. “She’s really helpful and has a very different teaching style. She really does get you to focus and concentrate. I feel like I learn more in her class than any other class because she’s so active about it,” student Marissa Deluca said. Half the time, Morris-Rutledge speaks English and the other half she speaks one of the four languages she knows. “I know German fluently, Chinese enough to yell, Japanese enough to be polite, and Spanish enough to say hello,” Morris-Rutledge said. On her way to Cal U, Morris-Rutledge took a detour to Iraq in 2004, as a company personnel secretary. Inspired by her father, Morris-Rutledge joined the Army Reserves in 1992. Although her position kept her safer than most, she still lived in fear. “I was a single parent in a country where the people hated me because I was an American,” she said. “...[E]veryone assumed that because I was the one who had dealt with ELLs (English Language Learners) and people of other ethnicities that I was going to hop off the plane and say, ‘Hi,’ to everyone I saw. That was not the case. The only words I learned meant, ‘Get the hell out of my way.’” Her company employed 120 people, 17 of whom were women. When Morris-Rutledge returned from Iraq, she enrolled at a school with an unusually high population of Islamic students. This made Morris-Rutledge uneasy. “I had to realize that every Islamic

Photo by Sarah Osko

Professor Susan Morris-Rutledge has traveled as a student and in the military.

person I saw was not going to shoot at me,” she said. She fought past this fear and continued toward becoming an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher. It took her about 1-1/2 years to get comfortable in the United States again, she said. “When I first got back, it was tough. I couldn’t stand noises or long lines. I didn’t even want to be a mother anymore,” she said with tears in her eyes. But even after all of this, she said she misses it. “People don’t understand. I had a sense of freedom over there. I didn’t have to take care of anybody. I got to go to the movies. I got to go out to eat. I didn’t have to go to school. I just worked,” she said. Over the years, Morris-Rutledge settled down with a man she met who is also in the Army Reserves on active duty. Motherhood got easier and traveling with her children is one of her favorite things to do, she said. She took her son, Jordan, with her to Taiwan when he was just 1. She said she thinks such experiences are good for her children to become well-rounded and understand how other cultures live. “In certain respects, I miss Taiwan,” she said. “My access to medical care was better, and the group taking care of the children was so important to me. That’s what I miss

the most,” she said. She also lived in Germany as a student and studied abroad. “It was a great experience,” she said. “I would just skip class and take a train and go sight-seeing. Living abroad makes you aware of who you are and what you are capable of,” she said. Because of her various travels and experience overseas, her job as an ESL teacher is more fulfilling, she said. Reflecting on United States citizens’ fears of Islamic people, she told of an instance when her patience as an ESL teacher was tested. “At one school I was teaching at, we were required to let all parents know of any meetings or upcoming events,” she said. “Because of this rule, we had an Arabic poster up for the Islamic parents. Another parent got upset that the poster was up and demanded that the secretary take it down. “I was not informed of this until after I noticed that the poster was missing. It was frustrating because people are still so scared. The fear is still there,” she said. She has used her experiences to her advantage by letting them teach her that people deserve to be treated equally. Morris-Rutledge exemplifies someone who came out of a situation with a positive attitude and learned from it. “Being in the Army made me appreciate life more, a hell of a lot more,” she said. “It made me realize that if I could survive 365 days in the desert, I can do anything,” she said.

Spring 2012

Art: Made pottery for White House Continued from Page 2

university,” Miecznikowski said. “I don’t know whether I’m just very lucky or if they are just good students,” he said. Along with the close commute and good students, Miecznikowski said he knew from his interview that Cal U was the place for him. “I was waiting to have my interview with the dean and I was sitting outside in the middle of the campus. It is such a beautiful campus and all the students who inhabit it were so friendly, so I said to myself, if they had a good pottery program, this would be my last teaching stop,” he said. The job requires hard work and patience, but Miecznikowski said it is made easier with student helpers and janitors who are always willing to help with his heavy material in the shop. “There are good people all over this beautiful campus,” Miecznikowski said. In addition to serving as a professor and a mentor to college students, Miecznikoski

Music: Ikach proud of family accomplishment Continued from Page 2

Ikach’s devotion to music is only eclipsed by his devotion to his wife and children. He is the father of Savannah, 8; Arwen Eve, 5 – “From ‘Lord of the Rings,’ of course,” he quips; Isaac, 4; and Isabelle, 2. His dedication to his family is evident throughout his office. A glimpse of his computer screen reveals a picture of two of his daughters sleeping, and his children’s drawings cover the walls. The picture that takes center stage is one his wife snapped: The four children are looking up into the camera, all with blond hair inherited from Ikach, and bright blue eyes. “I just hope they won’t end up almost bald like me,” he said with a laugh, running his hand through his thinning hair. He met his red-headed wife, Charmaine,



has received impressive accolades for his work in ceramics. He was honored by his alma mater, IUP, with the Ambassador Award from the Young Alumni Achievement Award in 1967. He was the first art graduate bestowed the honor. Miecznikowski’s biggest achievement includes the White House. According to Miecznikowski, “I got the call the Saturday before Easter and the woman who called didn’t tell me whom she worked for at first. She just complimented my work with dinnerware sets at first.” She then inquired if Miecznikowski could have a dinnerware set completed and delivered within six weeks. “Unless you’re some kind of big shot, six weeks isn’t enough,” Miecznikowski said, laughing. The woman then went on to explain that she was a secretary to the President of the United States’ wife, Eleanor Rosalynn

Carter. “I was a little suspicious when she told me,” Miecznikowski said. “I could not tell anyone. I began to think it was one of my old buddies pulling a prank on me,” he said. It was no joke; Miecznikowski was one of only 12 people from around the country to make pottery for the White House. To this day, Miecznikowski is recognized in the ceramics and art community for his contributions to art. His pottery is sold on websites.

when she was 22 and he was 30. “We were in a lot of shows together,” he said, his eyes brightening at the memory. “I was a singer who could move well, paired with a dancer who could sing – she had the undesirable role of trying to teach me to dance. All the guys were in love with her, and I was the lucky guy who got her. But it blossomed. It wasn’t instant. I didn’t have to duel the others for her hand or anything.” Charmaine begs to differ. “We were performing in a big-band show together. We were rehearsing a dance number for the show and he had to flip me over. When he flipped me over, my knee hit his eye and he made a big deal about it. I was kind of shy and quiet, so it embarrassed me when he made the big deal of it!” she said affectionately. In his spare time – if he has any left after chasing after his children and teaching – Ikach conducts the Washington Symphony Orchestra and serves as music director at the Immaculate Conception Church in Washington, Pa., where he sings at weddings and funerals. “His professional and personal lives are

always colliding,” his wife said. “Oftentimes, he’s asked me to choreograph things for him at Cal U and the church, or perform with him for the Washington Symphony. In order to do that, I have to bring the kids with me, and they will play with college students or we’ll have someone come to baby-sit them while we work.” Charmaine also volunteers her time as a choreographer for the three subdivisions of Cal Choir: Cal Singers, A Capella Stella and Vulcanize. “[My husband’s] best qualities are that he is very upbeat and motivated. He doesn’t sweat the small stuff. He’s very sensitive. He always has a positive attitude and sees the glass as half full,” she said. “He’s really a wonderful man and husband and father.” Ikach muses, “My proudest accomplishment would have to be having a healthy family. I want to be the best dad. Professionally, it would be that I was able to make a career out of something I love, especially out of all the others in the world who want to do what I do. I wouldn’t change any of it for the world. I’m happy.”



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Two students, two missions, El Salvador trip led Chad Tipton to find a way to inspire kids and his mother By Timothy Tyree Kicking a soccer ball around with children in front of an orphanage is not how you envision an 18-year-old high school student spending his summer. Chad Tipton strives to differentiate himself from many young adults and not follow friends and the latest trends. Instead, he says he prefers to “lead by example.” Through childhood friend Taylor Clayball, Tipton was involved in a church group, Training Leaders through Athletics, and was one of four athletes who took a mission trip to San Salvador, El Salvador. While on the mission trip, Tipton and the group worked with a local church that ran an orphanage in one of the poorest parts

See Chad Tipton on the court. Page 11

Photo submitted by Timothy Tyree

Chad Tipton worked at an El Salvador orphanage in one of the poorest parts of San Salvador. The children were thrilled to go to the beach and take hikes.

“It’s amazing to see how happy the kids were to experience something we may take for granted in the States.”

-- Chad Tipton Cal U basketball forward, volunteer

of San Salvador. The orphanage operates through donations. Many of the children have been born to prostitutes. There are usually 13 to 15 children in the orphanage. Most of El Salvador’s beaches are private, but the church group took the children of the orphanage to one of the local beaches. Tipton said, “It’s amazing to see how happy the kids were to experience something we may take for granted in the States.” Besides the beaches, El Salvador is also known for its beautiful mountain ranges. The church group designed a retreat for the children to hike through the mountains

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one world Ashley Szala’s Christmas gift was seeing how a little meant a lot on African journey By Tyler Kimmel Christmas break was just a few months ago for the students of California University of Pennsylvania. Most of them spent their time relaxing with their families and catching up with their high school friends. Others went back to jobs to make some extra cash before spring semester. Ashley Szala, a 19-year-old sophomore from South Park, did something a little different: She went to Africa. It was Szala’s first mission trip. When she got off her third plane of the 23-hour trip, she wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but right away, she knew she had made the right decision by spending 13 days of her break to go to Thika, Kenya. Within the first five minutes of being in the village, Szala noticed two small and see amazing sites they might not otherwise see. But the mountains are not the only spot where there are sights to see. When Tipton’s on the Cal U basketball court, the 6’5” forward prefers to let his game do the talking. The smooth strokes of this model shooter show Tipton’s dedication to the game. Teammate Ryne Nemic said, “If the game’s on the line, you want Chad shooting it.” Tipton led Cal U this year in shooting percentage and placed eighth in the PSAC in his senior season. Richard Wall, a sophomore sports management major, said, “If I just could shoot like Chad, I would be great at basketball.”

Photo by Lori Szala

Ashley Szala (left) poses with one of the children she met on her mission in Africa. She was surprised at the level of poverty she witnessed while on the trip.

children walking without shoes and with dirt and cuts on their feet. “It felt as if I were part of the commercials I had always seen on television,” Szala said. “I asked the pastor we were working with if there was anything I could do to help these two children. He drove to the market and bought them shoes for me with my money. When I presented the shoes to the mother of the children, she looked at me with the biggest smile on her face and said, ‘God bless you!’”

Tipton is a member of the athletic department honor roll and of the Student Athletes Activities Committee. Graduate assistant of the California University of Pennsylvania basketball team Kellen Holmes said, “Tip’s the kind of kid you want in your program.” Instead of returning home for the summer like most college students, Tipton took his second mission to El Salvador. This time, working with the same group, he helped organize sports tournaments for the orphans. “I really loved seeing the kids learn and play and have fun,” Tipton said. Tipton and the group also delivered the materials and manpower to help the

Szala and her church were busy while they were in Kenya. They helped remodel a church by laying a cement floor, mending holes in the tin roof, and providing windows, doors, painted pews, and new Swahili Bibles. In addition to rebuilding the church, the team also played with the children and taught them Bible stories. The trip not only changed the lives of the children Szala worked with a bit, it also

See Szala, Page 11 church build a roof. Tipton has inspired his mother, Mona Tipton, to take a mission trip of her own with a different church group. However, Tipton devoted the summer of 2011 traveling and playing basketball in Europe with other college players from the region. Tipton plans to play basketball overseas after graduation in May. He also said he plans more mission trips. Former teammate Anthony Vaughn said of Tipton, “He’s the type of person you want to model your kid(s) after.” Does he see himself as a model student athlete? Tipton replied, “I just want people to follow me, whether on or off the court.”

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Bocetti: She’s devoted her life to wildlife Continued from Page 3 After graduating from the University of Florida from the school of Forest Resources and Conservation with a bachelor of science degree, she pursued her doctoral degree from Ohio State University. She then became interested in meeting people involved in the recovery program for Kirtland’s warbler. This resulted in her meeting Jerry Weinrich, a wildlife research biologist who would become one of her greatest mentors. “It seemed like he knew every bird,” Bocetti said. “He didn’t, of course, but it was his commitment and understanding of the subtleties of dealing with people that guided me in a huge way,” she said. Bocetti was involved with the Kirtland’s warbler recovery program throughout the duration of her college career, up to and including her graduate education at the Ohio State University. There she would receive an opportunity through a career enhancement program, done through one of 43 national co-op units aimed at recruiting women and minorities and getting them involved with environmental science, primarily fish and wildlife. “I think my passion for what I do comes through,” she said. “I am deeply committed to the environment.” After she obtained her doctoral degree, her co-op with USDI Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Maryland would be

Photo by Joel Trick, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

A male Kirtland’s warbler perches on a jack pine. The birds migrate from Michigan, Wisconsin, and Canada to the southeastern coast and winter in the Bahamas.

converted to a full-time position. This could be considered her “big break” into the field that she had been so passionate about for many years. In 2006, Bocetti was appointed team leader of the Kirtland’s warbler recovery program. “I have made a difference in the existence of a species, and I think that is pretty cool,” Bocetti said with a smile. Another thing she is proud of is mentoring her students.

“You see, teaching is the latter part of my career. This is my time to give back and to train future generations,” Bocetti said. The success that Bocetti has experienced throughout her life can be accounted to passion, luck, hard work and dedication to a greater cause. “I wouldn’t change a thing,” she said. Will she return to the research field after she retires? She answers, “Of course I will. It is in me.”

communication in the public interest and a doctoral degree in communication theory from Ohio State University. She received a mentoring award in 2008 from the New York State Communication Association for the help she gives to Cal students and for her longtime participation in the association. The professionalism she displays in the field on research projects carries into her Cal classrooms and as adviser of the Cal U chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America. For Cal public relations student Gloria

Stone, “Dr. Jasko always takes the time to ask you how you are doing. “… And she does not ask only to make conversation; she truly cares,” Stone said. Another communications student, Lauren Snyder, said, “Dr. Jasko makes me feel at home in the classroom. She always encourages you to remain motivated,” Snyder said. And just as she keeps her students motivated, Jasko keeps herself motivated. “This is how I am,” Jasko said. “I never stop going.  I am constantly working on something and I like it that way,” she said.

Jasko: Studied Weather Service response to storm Continued from Page 3 “Inside of 24 hours, we were functioning as a team,” she said. “In 48 hours, we were a family,” she added. The experience helped her to appreciate the role that meteorologists play. “They take on the responsibility of reporting severe weather to the public in enough time for everyone to remain safe,” she said. “And while they are stuck on the set, they have families in areas under severe weather warnings,” Jasko said. Jasko earned a master’s degree in

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Szala: Mission to Africa gave Cal U student a gift of lifetime Continued from Page 9

changed her world perspective. “I learned to appreciate the smaller things in life,” Szala said. “I realized I don’t always need a new pair of shoes or another new outfit, when just $5 can feed a child for an entire week. Most important, my relationship with God became stronger,” she said. Szala knew she was entering a different world when she signed on to do the mission trip, a world without cell phones, Facebook and Twitter. It is a world that many college and high school students couldn’t imagine. But she knew she was doing something for the greater good, and so did her friends. “I thought it was a great experience for her to go to Africa,” said Anthony Borsuk, Szala’s boyfriend. “Even though I was going to miss her for a few days, I knew she was doing something good,” he said. Borsuk wasn’t the only one who approved of her decision. “When Ashley told me she was going to Africa, at first I couldn’t believe it,”

Photo submitted by Timothy Tyree

Chad Tipton takes a shot during a home game. Tipton, a senior, led Cal in shooting percentage this past year.

Photo by Lori Szala

Part of Ashley Szala’s mission involved visiting local schools to teach the children. Szala, a Cal U sophomore, addresses a classroom of children in Kenya.

Szala’s roommate, Alex Record, said. “I couldn’t be more proud of her for doing something so big like that for her church,” he said. Volunteering and helping others isn’t new to the education major, who is specializing in math and science. Szala has volunteered at the Pregnancy Resource Center of the South Hills for several years. It is a nonprofit organization where her mother, Lori, is the executive director. It’s a group that cares for young mothers and families who can’t afford the help. “I learned so many things from working at the Pregnancy Resource Center,” Szala said. “I’ve learned how every single decision you make can affect your future. I should never make a decision in the moment, but instead, make decisions that are best for me,” she said. Szala is also a peer mentor at Cal, a member of STAND, and a church member. She said she looks up to NFL star Tim Tebow, whom she said she admires because he is “so open about his faith and spreading it with children all over the world.” Szala also aspires to be more like her mom, who is a veteran of six African mission trips. Szala said she would be “so

happy if I grow up to be half the woman she is today. She has taught me everything that I know and how to learn and grow from my mistakes,” Szala said. “She has an awesome relationship with God and I want to have the same,” Szala said.

“I learned to appreciate the smaller things in life.” -- Ashley Szala Cal U sophomore, volunteer “I couldn’t ask for a better mom or role model,” Szala said. Szala plans on graduating and teaching in Pennsylvania or somewhere in the South with a beach close by, she said. She also plans to earn her master’s degree while she is teaching. And after having a great time on her first mission trip, she plans on taking another one soon. “I encourage anyone to go on a mission trip if they get the opportunity,” Szala said. “It was an amazing experience. Not one day has gone by that I haven’t thought about the trip and all the lives that we touched there,” she said.

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Alumna joins FOX News in Hoboken, N.J. By Ashley Arnold

For many college students, it has been hard to get a good job, let alone a job after graduation. California University of Pennsylvania’s alumna Shendy Hershfield has been one of the lucky ones. Through networking, she now is a Web show page producer with FOX News in Hoboken, N.J. “Originally, I wanted to be an anchor,” she said. “Then I started doing editing and production work and that solidified my interest,” she explained. Hershfield, who grew up in Irwin, started her undergraduate education at Mercyhurst College in Erie. During her education there, Cal U alumnus Jim Lokay told her about the TV/ radio program at Cal U, and she became a student soon after. She credits some Cal U professors as big influences. “Dr. Susan Jasko made quite an impact on me, and Dr. Rick Cumings was really great with his students and built long-lasting relationships with them,” Hershfield said. “I also loved Dr. Melanie Blumberg’s political science classes because of her thorough instruction and passion for teaching,” Hershfield said. During her time at Cal U, Hershfield was active on campus. The university’s College Republican group grew under her leadership as president. Many events were held on campus from voter registration drives to debatewatch parties during the 2008 presidential election. One of the bigger events on campus was a debate against the College Democrats. “It ended up being a big hit,” Hershfield said. “Lots of students and locals came to see what both sides had to say on specific issues affecting the nation,” she said. Hershfield found a summer internship with Sean Hannity at the FOX News Channel and lived in a dorm at New York University while working at FOX. During her time at FOX, she assisted in editing packages for “Hannity,” as well as researched and booked guests for the show. Her last semester at Cal U was the fall of

Photo submitted by Shendy Hershfield

Shendy Hershfield met the late conservative activist Andrew Breitbart.

2009, and one month before graduation, she was offered a job at FOX News. Three weeks after graduation, she packed up and headed to Hoboken to move into her apartment and start her career as a FOX News employee. In Hoboken, Hershfield produces content for and edits content for the websites of: “America Live with Megyn Kelly,” “Your World with Neil Cavuto,” “Fox Report,” “Hannity,” “America’s News Headquarters,” and “Fox News

“Even though the economy is at an all-time low, there is optimism that your dreams are reachable.” -- Shendy Hershfield Cal alum and FOX employee Watch.” “Mondays and Fridays are the busiest because I’m either preparing for the weekend shows or working on adding content to the pages from the weekend,” Hershfield said. She said her job is stressful and there can be a lot of pressure. “You always have to be on your toes because news can break at anytime,” she said. During work, she uses an instant messaging system to talk and get direction from co-workers and her boss, who is

based in Los Angeles. Hershfield said that since she has worked at FOX, she has met many athletes and stars, such as Keyshawn Johnson, Martha Stewart, and Kid Rock, and politicians, such as Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin and the late conservative activist Andrew Breitbart. Hershfield recently attended the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C. She got to speak to Breitbart after his speech at the conference. Hershfield said one of her favorite moments was when “Hannity” producers needed segment ideas for their healthcare special. “I pitched something and the next thing I knew, my thoughts came to life on air. It was such an amazing experience,” Hershfield said. “In the two years I have been there, I have seen FOX grow so much,” she said.“Everyone doubted them and never thought they would be No. 1 in cable news and now I’m a part of that,” Hershfield said. Hershfield said she’d like to stress that students should do an internship. “You can have good grades, but without an internship, you are less likely to get a job, especially in this industry,” she said. “Even though the economy is at an all-time low, there is optimism that your dreams are reachable,” Hershfield said.

Calorner 13 Theater grad seeks a few more ‘yeses’ Spring 2012

By Marlee Shaulis

When he was a child, California University of Pennsylvania alumnus Allen Pines volunteered to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the opening of his small New Jersey town’s Little League baseball tournament. Pines remembers stumbling to the pitcher’s mound in an oversized jersey and scruffy cleats. Surrounded by an army of teenage baseball players, he belted out the lyrics to the national anthem, off-key and ad-libbed. After holding the last word of the patriotic song for as long as his wavering breath could handle, he pressed the microphone to his lips and said, “Hope you liked the show because someday, I might be famous.” With the same kind of confidence he displayed at the baseball field 16 years ago, 24-year-old Pines is determined to find fame as an actor in New York City. After graduating from Cal with a bachelor’s degree in theater, Pines is trying to find a “yes” in a world full of “nos.” He tells of one audition for which he dashed out the door of his Fair Lawn home in Bergen County, N.J., wearing an unbuttoned dress shirt and five o’clock shadow and carrying a portfolio and a chocolate glazed doughnut. He was running late for the audition. After a nail-biting taxi ride into the city, the yawning and rushed actor finally opened the door to his audition. Pines, with a pleasant, yet anxious smile, greeted the talent scouts who wore black suits and Rolex watches. The first scout asked, “Can you sing for us?” “If you don’t mind me being off-key,” Pines said jokingly. “I will act like I can sing for you.” The talent scouts recognized the honesty and humor, but after 15 minutes of performing, Pines left with another “no.” Pines traces his struggles in the arts back to high school. “I never acted prior to my freshman year,” Pines said. “Many people had more experience than I, and they got the roles to show it.” He received roles of five lines or less throughout his four years of high school,

Photo from Allen Pine’s Facebook page

Allen Pines, left, performs. The Cal U alum stays upbeat about his future as actor.

and upon graduation, he applied to Cal U. “Cal U accepted me right away and they had a first-year show for freshman theater students,” Pines said. It did not take long for Pines to become a part of the Cal U theater family. While helping move the theater to the new Steele Hall, Pines became acquainted with Professor Malcolm Callery of the theater and dance department. Callery offered Pines work in the theater shop, building sets and setting up for plays. “Allen never complained and he worked hard,” Callery said. “We became quick friends.” In addition to working in the shop, Pines performed in many shows, including “Story Theater,” “Three Sisters,” “One Acts,” “Inspector Hound,” and “The Christmas Carol.” “The play ‘Inspector Hound’ was my favorite that Allen did,” Callery said. “It was all around a good show and revealed to many that Allen was special.” Pines also directed “Judgment Call” and “The Game” while at Cal U. “I got to act and direct while at Cal U and learn so many new things,” Pines said. His success at Cal U is what has kept Pines going in the world of acting. After graduation, as Pines struggled with trying to find success as an actor in New York City, he continued to audition for

Web series, student films and plays. Eventually, he snagged a role. Pines can recall sitting on the cold, concrete steps of his front porch, rehearsing his lines for an upcoming performance in William Shakespeare’s “The Comedy of Errors.” As he clutched his worn-out and crinkled script, Pines said his cell phone erupted in vibration. He glanced at the number on the screen and quickly answered a call. It was a casting director, asking Pines to be in his show. “That pushes me up at two yeses,” Pines said excitedly. “And still a whole lot of nos.” Pines admits that being turned down is always discouraging, but he also knows that it only takes one person to see something unique, and it only takes one great play to bring success. “One day, someone is going to see something special in me,” Pines said. “And that small step will turn into a giant leap.” Pines would like to one day snag his dream role of Eugene in “Brighton Beach Memoirs” and become a notable actor. He would also like to direct his own plays and maybe even make it on Broadway. “I hope that everyone enjoys watching me perform,” Pines said. “Someday, I might be famous.”

Spring 2012 C Overcoming more than just rivalry


al orner

By Jessica Adams

Toronto is where the journey began for Philadelphia Flyers right wing Wayne Simmonds. “I used to go watch my brother play all the time,” Simmonds said. “That’s when I started wanting to play.” At 6, Simmonds played his first season on the ice.

“I used to go watch my brother play all the time. That’s when I started wanting to play.” -- Wayne Simmonds Flyers player

As he became more involved with hockey, he started to realize a key difference between himself and the other players: He was smaller. As Simmonds grew, he continued to play hockey. He says he was a “late bloomer.” He began in the Junior Leagues at 17, while most kids start as early as 15 or 16.

Photo by Jessica Adams

Wayne Simmonds was a ‘late bloomer.’

Photo from Flyers’ website A Penguin and a Flyer scuffle on the ice during an intense playoff game.

Disadvantaged with less experience, he never permitted himself to use this as an excuse. Each year, Simmonds’ game improved tremendously. After playing two years for the Junior League team, the Owen Sound Attack, Simmonds was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings as the 61st pick in the second round. Simmonds played three years with the Kings. During his time with the Kings, the team went on to play in two playoffs in which Simmonds scored points for his team in both appearances. In the summer of 2011, Simmonds was to be transferred in the trade between the Los Angeles Kings and the Philadelphia Flyers in which the Kings received the Flyers captain Mike Richards and the Flyers received Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds. At 23, “The pressure was on,” he said, and he was ready to face it in his new home in Philadelphia. Unlike the fans in Canada, Flyers fans didn’t go bananas with Simmonds’ arrival. As the season began, he started to show the East Coast what he brought with him; he was consistently adding to points with either goals or assists to his new team-

mates. Because of Simmonds’ talent, Flyers fans adjusted to losing their former captain, Richards. At the time of this writing, fans were to experience Simmonds’ contribution to the team in an upcoming first round of the

“I think since Day One, the guys have told me that New York and Pittsburgh were our biggest rivalries, and you can definitely feel it in the games.”

-- Wayne Simmonds Flyers player

playoffs against the Flyers archrivals, the Pittsburgh Penguins. “Well, I haven’t been in Philadelphia long, but I know I don’t like them,” he said about the Penguins, while grinning. The feeling is mutual between Flyers’ and Penguins’ players and fans alike. “I think since Day One, the guys have told me that New York and Pittsburgh were our biggest rivalries, and you can definitely feel it in the games,” Simmonds said.

Calorner 15 Handza leads Vulcans in new season Spring 2012

By Scott Traverso

It’s six in the morning on a chilly fall Saturday. While most California University of Pennsylvania students sleep, the Cal U baseball team is running Montana Mountain, a steep hill near Route 43. It is a grueling workout to start the weekend. The team is led by senior captain and four-year starter, Troy Handza, a center fielder from Shaler who has put together quite the career at Cal U. He is a two-time member of the Tino Martinez Award Watch List, which is given to the most outstanding baseball player in National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II. Handza has been named to the All-Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference West team twice, won a Gold Glove, and has been named the PSAC West hitter of the week multiple times. And those are only some of the accolades Handza has earned in his career. Given his family’s athletic background, it is no surprise Handza has been successful. His uncle, Harris Price, played in the Chicago White Sox in the mid-’70s. His brother, Mike, played hockey at the University of Denver, where he helped the Pioneers win back-to-back national championships in 2004 and 2005. Mike then played for the Pittsburgh Penguins and Carolina Hurricanes. Handza first picked up a bat when he was 4 and hasn’t put it down since. He was a Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League Class AAAA All-Section at Shaler High School and decided on Cal U because of its winning track record, he said. “Winning is the most important thing to me and wherever I was going, I wanted to win,” Handza said. He isn’t just competitive on the field though, as his roommate and former teammate, Dylan DiDomenico, can attest to. “Troy is a very competitive person, whether it is this game of Xbox, a game of cards, or any other possible thing you can think of,” DiDomenico said. Handza’s competitiveness was evident while playing a video game, as he shouted at the television and his players. He lost, and, needless to say, he was not happy.

Photo from Troy Handza’s Facebook page

Troy Handza, senior captain of Cal’s baseball team, waits to steal a base.

Winning on the field, of course, does not come easily. A player pays the price. Along with the exhausting run up Montana Mountain comes the three-day-aweek morning conditioning in the fall, also starting at 6 a.m. But, for Handza and the Vulcans, that dedication and commitment has paid off over the recent years.

“Given the opportunity, I’d love to play professionally. Who wouldn’t?” -- Troy Hanza

Cal U baseball captain They have been ranked frequently in the polls, and, in 2010, they won the PSAC conference tournament, a moment that Handza said was the most memorable in his career. As a senior, Handza has his eyes on his future. A strong senior season could earn him a look by professional ball and he might follow in the steps of two former Cal U baseball players. Sam DiMatteo, an alumnus of the 2010 team, has played with the Ruidoso Osos of the independent Pecos League and recently signed with the Traverse City Beach Bums of the Frontier League. Former Cal U pitcher Randy Sturgill

played for the Lake Erie Crushers, also of the Frontier League. Both players have been looked at in Major League Baseball camps. “Given the opportunity, I’d love to play professionally. Who wouldn’t?” Handza said. “You dedicate your life to the game for that kind of chance.” But he also understands that getting a chance at the next level is no guarantee, so he does have a fall-back plan. A criminal justice major, Handza would like to work as a casino supervisor if he doesn’t have an opportunity to play baseball professionally. “I like the casino industry, and I think it would be something I would enjoy.” Handza said. “If you enjoy your work, then I don’t think it’s really work.” Handza still has unfinished business at Cal, though. The Vulcans will enter the Savannah Invitational with a record of 7-5, and they look forward to a strong showing to give them a boost as they enter conference play afterwards. The Cal team, which is accustomed to success, has one goal this year: Get to the World Series in Cary, N.C. Even with some personal school records in reach, the competitive Handza has only one goal for his senior year: “Win every game,” he said.

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Top left, Professor Margo Wilson and Lauren Burgess.

Class Photos byRobert Hennon

Clockwise from lower left, Taylor Brletich, Elise Duranko, Emily Martik, and Elisa Karafilis work on their layouts.

Journalism III, Individualized Instruction The Cal Corner is a publication of the students in Journalism III, Editing, at California University of Pennsylvania. Headed by Professor Margo Wilson, the class has focused on the process of editing stories from a Journalism II, Feature Writing class, as well as editing the images provided. The editing students also added entries to their individual blogs, and editing student Robert Hennon created a blog for the class. You can see the editing students and what they have to say about editing at: Here are some blog excerpts:

“The first time you see the entire finalized page you have designed, you kind of sit back and say, ‘Wow. I did that. And it looks pretty darn good.’” -- Elise Duranko “I give editor(s) a lot of credit for all the stresses they deal with, and on a daily basis.” -- Lauren Burgess

Cal Corner Spring 2012