Challenges, Spring 2023, Vol. 22, No.2

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CHALLENGES in theory & practice

VOL.22 NO.2 SPRING 2023

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.

The Edward R. Leahy, Jr. Endowment

was founded in 1995 by Edward and Patricia Leahy to honor the life and memory of their son, Edward R. Leahy, Jr., whose personal disabilities were attended to with compassion and skill by many health professionals over the course of his life. The Leahy Endowment provides financial resources to support theoretical and applied research, faculty development and support for programs that advance the cause of disabled persons who need long-term assistance. The endowment supports the work of persons practicing in physical and occupational therapy, nursing science and related health care areas, with particular interest in individuals and groups that approach their practice as scholars, teachers and practitioners. Primary recipients are University of Scranton faculty from the Panuska College of Professional Studies, consisting of the Departments of Counseling and Human Services, Education, Exercise Science and Sport, Health Administration and Human Resources, Nursing, Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy. The endowment was established and is supported, in part, by the Leahy family and is enriched annually by gifts from corporations and individuals who wish to support the work of the Edward R. Leahy, Jr. Endowment.


3 Message from the Dean

4 Community

• The University of Scranton Job Club

• Virtual Caregiver Support Group

• Bucktown Blood Drive

• Naturalization Ceremony

• Handwritten Messages

• Student Run Leahy PT Clinic

8 Core

• Edward R. Leahy Award

• Frank O’Hara Award

• Maguire Scholars

• PCPS Lady Royals

• Rose Kelly Award

• Social Responsibility Award

12 Commitment

• U.S. Navy’s Junior Sailor of the Year

• Distinguished Military Graduate Status

• Red Bank Regional Teacher of the Year

VOL.22 NO.2 SPRING 2023



Kristi Klien, Editor Creative Services, & Printing and Mailing Services, The University of Scranton


Victoria Castellanos, Ph.D., Dean

Kevin Curry, M.S., Assistant Dean, Director of Advising Center

Mary Jane Di Mattio, Interim Associate Dean

Raymond Schwenk, M.S., Assistant Dean

Kristi Klien, Coordinator for PCPS Academic Affairs

Dolores Rozelle, Secretary for Field Placement and PCPS Support


Barbara Bossi

Melinda C. Ghilardi

William Grant

Monsignor John W. Jordan

Edward R. Leahy

Timothy Mooney

Gerald Savitsky



Dear Friends and Family of PCPS, May is a wonderful time of year at the University. In May, we get to celebrate the culmination of the hard work of our students, faculty and staff through the awarding of degrees and in the pomp and circumstance of commencement ceremonies. We also are reminded to thank the families of our students for all that they have invested and sacrificed to both prepare their children for higher education and support them though completion of their degree programs. Achievement of a college degree requires the commitment of many stakeholders who believe in the value of higher education, both for the students as individuals and for society as a whole. PCPS has many supporters, to which it owes much thanks, who contribute their time, talent and resources to make it possible for PCPS to offer a transformational learning experience.

In this issue of Challenges, we are celebrating the accomplishments of some of our current and former PCPS students. As this issue brings into focus the contributions of our students, we can see in them the manifestation of the Jesuit values that are integrated into our curriculum, Community Based Learning activities and the rich learning environment within the PCPS community.

As it does for me, I hope that reading about our students’ accomplishments renews your own energy and commitment to being men and women for and with others.

Warmest regards,

Founder’s Society • $5,000 and more Benefactor’s Circle • $2,500-$4,999 Patrons • $1,000-$2,499 Friends • up to $999
The Edward R. Leahy, Jr. Endowment



The University of Scranton Job Club has been running each semester facilitated by students from the Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling graduate program and program director Dr. Rebecca Spirito Dalgin. The six-week program will run again this spring with transition-age young people with autism, ages 16-22. Some attendees are still in high school and are exploring careers and learning pre-employment skills, some are out of school and looking for work, and some have jobs and are working on employment maintenance skills. The sessions run in the evening on campus, and we adjust the curriculum each semester to meet the needs of the attendees.


The virtual Caregiver Support Group is a psychoeducational support group for adults, 18 years or older, who identify as a caregiver, specifically for a loved one with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The support group focuses on improving the mental health and well-being of caregivers in Northeastern and North Central Pennsylvania through the implementation of evidence-based research and an innovative facilitation model. Through the utilization of the “Caring for You, Caring for Me” curriculum from the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving, these group meetings are designed to further enhance understanding of caregiver-related topics such as self-care strategies, problem-solving skills, building cooperative relationships, accessing resources, and ultimately

graduate students enrolled in counselor training to observe and co-facilitate group meetings for educational purposes. In collaboration with Dr. Bordonada, students are responsible for planning discussion questions that prompt participants to further elaborate on their role as caregivers.

After each group meeting, Dr. Bordonada debriefs with students to provide feedback on their counseling skills and offers guidance for the upcoming group meeting. Additionally, students are encouraged to exchange feedback with each other. Although one hour each week may not be nearly enough time for what these dedicated caregivers deserve, we continue to provide a meaningful, reflective, and productive experience for them to connect with others and feel supported.

sharing common concerns and joys with others. The support group has been offered since Fall 2019 and continues to provide a weekly space for connection and community for participants during both fall and spring semesters. As part of the group experience, Dr. Bordonada invites both undergraduate and

Top row from left, Tara James (SC), Laurie Joseph (CMHC), and Nina Pascolini (CMHC); middle row from left, Kristen Kondrosky (CMHC), Dr. Tiffany Bordonada, associate professor (CMHC), and Annie Lefler (CMHC); bottom row from left, Natalie Gray (CMHC) and Mei Lin McElhill (CMHC); not pictured, Rachel Millan (CMHC) and Izabella DeNaples (CHS). Left to right, Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling students in Practicum: Chris Zinkle, Zackary Nearhoff, Emily Howells, and Kate Dalrymple.


Each year for the last three years, many of the University’s nursing students have given both their time and a blood donation to support “Jack Attack,” a blood drive held in honor of Jack Callahan, who was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia just after his first birthday.

On March 4, 2023, University of Scranton nursing students once again joined the Callahan family at the Bucktown Blood Drive, held at Dunmore Jr./Sr. High School in Dunmore, Pennsylvania. The Jesuit education provided by the University challenges the students to seek out opportunities to be men and women for others. Our Royal nursing students have found a perfect match with the Callahan family. During Jack’s very intense treatment, Jack was dependent upon blood transfusions. Since Jack’s remission, Molly and Dan Callahan have found ways to give back, like this annual blood drive. We are proud to help support this local family and others who will benefit from the blood donations.

Being a part of the Bucktown Blood Drive, sponsored by Jack Attack, gives the students an opportunity to practice family-centered care outside of a hospital setting. It is meaningful for them to know how important community blood drives are and they will gain a different perspective when caring for patients in their future careers as Royal RNs.


The concept of “glocalization” (thinking globally and acting locally) was operationalized when nine students from Dr. Tata Mbugua’s PreK-4 Social Studies course attended a naturalization ceremony at the William J. Nealon Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Scranton. The students witnessed the legal act of people from 57 different countries acquiring citizenship of the United States of America.

The purpose of this authentic experiential learning activity was aimed at Praxis — linking theory and practice

through field trips in social studies. This served to foster students’ conceptual understanding of social studies content and concepts through interactions within our local and global community. Two essential highlights involved 1.) a unique opportunity for community-based learning where students welcomed new Americans by providing each of them with a copy of the American flag and U.S. Constitution and, 2.) an engaging Q&A session with both Honorable Chief Magistrate Judge Karoline Mehalchick and Honorable Judge Jennifer P. Wilson.

Nursing students, left to right: Emma Coyle, Deanna Anzalone, Laurie Valunas (faculty), Sofia Dedaj, Molly Gerasci, and Brigid Gage. Left to right: Aidan Saigh, Dan Callahan (father of Jack), and Abbey Knight Seated from left: Kelly Bierals, Jessica Notari, Bridget Warren and Andrea Filachek: standing from left: Michael DiMarco, Honorable Chief Magistrate Judge Karoline Mehalchick, Emily McMillan, Anna Trojan, Danielle Raffa, new U.S. citizen, Honorable Judge Jennifer P. Wilson, Karen Degnan and Dr. Tata Mbugua


Veronica Romanek ’23 is a physics and Hispanic studies double major in the College of Arts and Sciences. During the Fall 2022 semester, after distributing nearly 50 containers of books to local agencies, PCPS had 2 remaining containers full of books written in Spanish, without messages. After a brief search, Veronica, who is fluent in Spanish, contacted us and volunteered to handwrite messages in Spanish in these children’s books before they were donated. Over the course of a month, Veronica came to the Panuska College of Professional Studies Dean’s Office every week, on her own time, to write positive messages about reading to Spanish-speaking children and their families. Once the messages were completed, the books were donated to Valley Santa in time to be distributed to Spanishspeaking families for Christmas.

When asked what inspired or motivated her to get involved with writing these messages to children in our local community, Veronica replied, “I was looking for ways to use Spanish to serve the community, and my professor informed me about this opportunity. I think it is important to use our talents to give back to others.”

Aside from Veronica’s studies, she is also a member of the University’s Honors Program, World Language

Honor Society, Physics Honor Society, and the Engineering Honor Society. Veronica is a peer health educator with the Center for Health Education and Wellness (CHEW), and a Zumba instructor at the University. She is also the president of W3USR Amateur Radio Club, vice president of IEEE, and secretary of the Astronomy Club.

We asked Veronica, with everything else you are involved in, how did you find the time to write these messages? Veronica’s response was simple:

If there is something you really want to do, you will find a way to make time for it. I enjoy speaking Spanish and helping the community. This was a very fun way to do both, and I did not mind volunteering my time to help out.


One of the strengths of The University of Scranton’s Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program is the student-run Leahy PT Clinic. The mission of the clinic is to deliver patient-centered care grounded in the Jesuit tradition of educating “men and women for and with others” by providing pro bono physical therapy services to uninsured and underinsured residents of our local community. This is achieved through collaboration, peer-mentorship, and evidence-based practice.

Our clinic is led by the DPT Student Administrative Team with primary goals to provide leadership and oversee the operations of the PT clinic during the academic calendar year (i.e., fall and spring semesters). Our team typically consists of three positions, including: clinic student director, operations/public relations coordinator, and patient/ PT staff coordinator. As a unit, the student team works to coordinate patient care, communicate with student volunteers and faculty preceptors, mentor peers, develop/ implement initiatives, and facilitate community outreach programs. The student team receives direction, oversight, and support from the chair of the PT Department, Dr. Renée M. Hakim. Each week, our student-run clinic enables dozens of DPT students to engage in experiential learning as they provide meaningful service.


During Spring/Fall 2022, Briana Abrams (G’23), Alesia Heimes (G’23), and Hailey Kenyon (G’23) served as the student administrative team with added responsibility for development and implementation of a community outreach program for Bhutanese and Congolese refugee groups. They recently presented their project titled, “Providing Culturally Sensitive Health Screening and Education to Local Scranton Refugee Communities,” at the 2023 Pro Bono Network Conference at Widener University. The student team addressed the unique needs of local refugee groups with a successful program that included training of student volunteers, ordering supplies, creating educational materials with translations, and coordinating monthly health fairs. This program also helped student volunteers gain a greater understanding of the impact of forced relocation and trauma on members of our local community.

This spring, our new administrative team includes Nick Mohr (G’24), Matthew Moran (G’24) and Kathryn Kwapniewski (G’25). They plan to continue the Refugee Health Community Outreach Program and assist with the transition to a sustainable, interdisciplinary model. They are also working to expand patient referrals to the Leahy PT clinic from local health care providers.

As each year passes, DPT students, faculty, and patients alike continue to express their support for the Leahy PT Clinic with gratitude for the services provided. This student-run pro bono framework provides our students with valuable experiential learning opportunities and exposure to social and cultural determinants of health. Ultimately, our DPT students experience both personal and professional growth as they prepare for careers in a helping profession in the context of Jesuit tradition and spirit.

Former Student Team: Standing left to right, Alesia Heimes and Briana Abrams. Seated, Hailey Kenyon Current Student Team: Left to right, Matthew Moran, Nick Mohr and Kathryn Kwapniewski


Edward R. Leahy Award Winner, TAYLOR MAXSON ’24

Taylor Maxson of Honesdale, Pa was recently awarded the 2023 Edward R. Leahy Award. This award is given annually to a rising junior or senior in the Panuska College of Professional Studies (PCPS) at The University of Scranton, who has achieved academic excellence in his or her field of study and participates in related extracurricular activities, demonstrating the commitment and promise to become a model leader in their field. The Edward R. Leahy Award was established by an anonymous donor in Mr. Leahy’s honor and is accompanied by a monetary stipend.

Taylor’s GPA puts her within the top of her nursing class. The Department of Nursing describes Taylor as a motivated and eager learner. Her commitment to learning is reflected in her grades, which have qualified her for Dean’s List several times. She actively participates in class, simulation, and laboratory. In addition to her academic achievements, Taylor is an involved student both on campus and in the community. Her service activities are diverse in nature contributing to Taylor’s well-rounded professional development.

Taylor serves as a student representative on The Department of Nursing’s Undergraduate Nursing Resource Com -

mittee. She assumed this leadership role to better understand the resources available to the undergraduate students. As a Royal Ambassador, Taylor exemplifies the values and expectations of a University of Scranton student while meeting with new students and their families. Taylor has been an active member in the Student Nurses’ Association since her first year at Scranton. She is also an active member of Colleges Against Cancer, a nationwide collaboration of college faculty, staff, and students dedicated to the elimination cancer through programs sponsored through the American Cancer Society. This activity is particularly meaningful for Taylor, as a family member was recently diagnosed with cancer. She also participates in intramural sports on campus to increase her camaraderie with other students outside of the nursing program and to be a fully involved resident student. Taylor has also volunteered for the United Neighborhood Food Pantry, Griffin Pond Animal Shelter, Vascular Center, and an annual blood drive.

For over a year, Taylor has been working as a Nursing Assistant at Geisinger Community Medical Center, Scranton. Her professors say she applies didactic and clinical learning easily in her work setting. This experience has helped Taylor learn to balance the demands of being a capable student with a strong work ethic. Taylor says her experience also allows her to develop professional behaviors as she looks to the RNs on her unit as role models.


Rosa M. Azzato of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Elizabeth D. Behling of Raritan, Pa., and Priyal Patel of Mountain Top, Pa., were among The University of Scranton Panuska College of Professional Studies students who received Frank O’Hara medals, which were presented to University students with the highest grade-point averages in their first, second and third year for the 2021-22 academic year. The awards, named in honor of the late Frank O’Hara, who served the University for 53 years in various administrative positions, were presented at a ceremony held recently on campus.

Rosa Azzato received a medal for academic achievement for her junior year. A Dean’s List student at Scranton, she is currently a senior majoring in occupational therapy with a minor in psychology and a concentration in lifespan development. She is a member of the Psychology Honors Society.

On campus, she serves as vice president of AFYA: The Global Health Club, as secretary and social media representative of the Student Occupational Therapy Association, and as the social media representative for the Students for Life Club. She is a peer mentor and a teaching assistant for the occupational therapy Anatomy and Mechanics of Human Movement course. She also participates in the University’s Performance Music choir and steel drum band, and the University’s music ministries choir, and the Praise and Worship Club. Azzato volunteers with service programs offered through the University’s Center for Service and Social Justice. In the greater Scranton community, she volunteered at the Lackawanna Blind Association.

Elizabeth Behling received a medal for academic achievement for her sophomore year. A Dean’s List student at Scranton, she is currently a junior and is majoring in occupational therapy. On campus, she is a member of the Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA), where she served as a delegate for the Class of 2024 on SOTA’s executive board and currently serves as the club’s vice president. She also serves as a teaching assistant for a second-year occupational therapy anatomy course, and served as a tutor for several anatomy courses.

Priyal Patel received a medal for academic achievement for her first year. A Dean’s List student at Scranton, she is currently a sophomore majoring in health administration with a minor in business. Off campus, she volunteered with the Special Olympics of Pennsylvania.

From left: Victoria Castellanos, Ph.D., dean of the Panuska College of Professional Studies, and O’Hara Award recipients Elizabeth Behling, Priyal Patel and Rosa Azzato.

The University of Scranton recently celebrated its 15 current Maguire Scholars at a gathering on campus. Of the 15 students celebrated, five are Panuska College of Professional Studies students.

Maguire scholarships are funded by the Maguire Foundation, founded by philanthropists James J. and Frances Maguire. The scholarship program provides graduates selected from 41 Philadelphia-area high schools (many of which are Catholic schools) with “last-dollar” financial support for four years of college at one of 28 partner institutions. Scranton has been a partner school since 2015.

Maguire Scholars, selected by their respective institutions, must maintain a G.P.A. above 3.0, be an active participant in school and/or community volunteer extra-curricular activities, and meet other requirements of the program.

The following are personal messages from each of the five Panuska College of Professional Studies students receiving support from the Maguire College Scholars Program.

Major: Occupational Therapy

Hometown: Willow Grove, PA

I would like to express my gratitude to the Maguire Foundation for allowing me to attend my fourth year at The University of Scranton. I am currently a senior occupational therapy major, and I would not be here without the support of the Maguire Foundation. Attending The University of Scranton has provided me with numerous opportunities that have furthered my academic and personal growth.

Approaching my final semester of undergraduate school, I am extremely thankful for and proud of the things I have accomplished. I have maintained excellent grades and applied my knowledge in the clinical setting as I participated in two fieldwork experiences in the areas of pediatrics and mental health. I have one more Level 1 fieldwork rotation approaching this January, where I will be shadowing an occupational therapist in the field of physical rehabilitation at an assisted living facility.

This academic year has been full of hard work and success, pushing me closer to becoming an occupational therapist. I am excited to continue my education in graduate school, where I will further my education to receive a master’s degree and continue to serve the community as I participate in more service opportunities. I am extremely grateful to The University of Scranton and the Maguire Foundation for providing me with the opportunities necessary to move toward success.

Major: Nursing

Hometown: Drexel Hill, PA

I would like to express my gratitude to the Maguire Foundation for this amazing scholarship and the continuing support through my years at college. I can attend The University of Scranton because of this generous gift, and I will forever by thankful. This university has provided me with so many opportunities to grow in my studies, in my faith, and as a person.

I am now in my junior year, and it is the most challenging year yet. I am a nursing major, and we started our full clinical rotations this semester. We had two rotations, medical-surgical and mental health. Along with learning from the nurses and our clinical instructors, we were able to care for the needs of our patients and make them feel more comfortable as they were recovering. I learned so much from being in the hospital, and I am excited about my career as a nurse.

Along with our clinical rotations and classes, I was able to stay involved on campus and in my major. I joined the Students Nurses’ Association and attend meetings monthly. I was elected by my classmates to be the junior representative on one of the nursing department committees. I serve on the Undergraduate Evaluation Committee. I have received so many amazing opportunities at Scranton and I am very thankful to the Maguire Foundation for providing me with the financial assistance to attend this university.


Sarah E. Baker ’25

Major: Occupational Therapy

Hometown: Yardley, PA

I would first like to express my utmost gratitude to the Maguire Scholarship Foundation for investing in my future and myself. Their generous grant has given me the ability to pursue my dream career and have the financial help to do so. They have also presented various service opportunities I love to partake in, which fulfill my desire to help others while I am at school. I am studying occupational therapy as my major and have a minor in psychology as well. With this, I plan to obtain my doctorate degree in occupational therapy here at The University of Scranton. This semester has presented many challenges, yet I have been able to persevere through them with the help of resources such as the Counseling Center, and Student Life, along with my friends and family. I hope to implement the importance of mental health into everything I do with my career and to ensure the well-being of all people in every aspect.

Again, I sincerely thank the Maguire Scholarship Foundation for their financial support and for shaping me into the person I am today.

Anne C. Coll ’26

Major: Kinesiology

Hometown: Oreland, PA

I am extremely thankful for the Maguire Foundation’s investment in my future. Due to their generosity, I can fulfill my academic career at The University of Scranton. I’m a first-year student majoring in kinesiology. I’m also a part of the field hockey team at the University. I appreciate the opportunity to play the game I love while also pursuing my education. I have met a lot of great people so far during my first semester through my classes, my field hockey team, and the other Maguire scholars. I have also had the opportunity to perform several service opportunities this semester. I, along with fellow Maguire scholars, made greeting cards which we included in Thanksgiving packages and wrote affirmations paired with cookies to hand out to students during finals week. Scranton has made it such and easy transition into college life with the support from my professors, coaches, teammates, and friends.

Again, thank you so much for this amazing opportunity and for aiding in my attendance at The University of Scranton.


K. Fleming ’26

Major: Nursing

Hometown: Warminster, PA

Throughout my first semester at The University of Scranton, I involved myself in several service activities. I spent many hours volunteering at the Clothesline for Men houses. Here I organized donations and packaged clothing orders for men in need. This opportunity has shown me the importance of giving back to the Scranton community. Additionally, I took part in the WE CARE program, where I packed food and made cards for the poor. I was moved by the volume of donations and the resources we have to help those less fortunate; I am so grateful for these opportunities that have positively impacted my life. Furthermore, I joined the Student Nurses’ Association (SNA) at the beginning of the semester. This association is a great way for me to become involved with other nursing students while we participate in service activities. I am excited to learn more about the mission of this professional club! Each of these experiences has opened the doors for me to learn about other service opportunities available in the future. I believe that it is my duty to give back to the community just like the Maguire Foundation is so generously giving back to me and all of the amazing scholarship recipients!

I would like to express my utmost gratitude to the Maguire Family and the Maguire Foundation. Their generosity has supported me in fulfilling my dream of attending The University of Scranton. I am blessed and thankful for this scholarship and I will undoubtedly continue to serve the Scranton community and beyond. As I serve others, I will continue to reflect on Mr. Maguire’s inspirational words: “Just Show Up Every Day!”



Congratulations to the Lady Royals on their unbeaten season of 27-0. Making their 35th overall tournament appearance in program history, Scranton swept the major Landmark Conference Awards for 2023. With PCPS’s very own Maddy Ryan (junior, early primary education) receiving Second-Team honors, she became the second student in the program’s history to receive the Defensive Player of the Year Award and is currently ranked seventh in the Landmark Conference in rebounds and 11th in scoring. Kaci Kranson (freshman, kinesiology) was selected to the All-Conference First Team and received Rookie of the Year accolades and is ranked top seven in the Landmark Conference in scoring and top two in free throws. Hannah Angelini, senior guard, ranks among the Landmark leaders in assists, rebounds, and steals. Both Karya Quigley and Angelini are captains of the Lady Royals and senior kinesiology majors. Other team members on the rise are kinesiology majors Morgan Brewer (sophomore) and Allie Lynch (junior), Mackenzie Steele (junior), occupational therapy, and Ashlen Bender (sophomore), nursing.

Hannah Angelini ’23


Senior, Kinesiology


All Landmark Conference Second Team ’21

Landmark Conference Academic Honor Roll ’21/’22

Scranton Athlete of the Week ’22

Ashlen Bender ’25 Sophomore, Nursing

Morgan Brewer ’25 Sophomore, Kinesiology

Kaci Kranson ’26

Freshman, Kinesiology


Landmark Conference Athlete of the Week ’23

Co-Scranton Athletes of the Week ’23

Rookie of the Year ’23

MVP honors ’23

Allie Lynch ’24

Junior, Kinesiology


Landmark Conference Academic Honor Roll ’22

Karya Quigley ’23


Senior, Kinesiology


Landmark Conference Academic Honor Roll ’21

Maddy Ryan ’24

Junior, Early and Primary Education


Defensive Player of the Year ’23

Mackenzie Steele ’24

Junior, Occupational Therapy



The University of Scranton recognized students and their elementary or high school teachers, who they credit for contributing to their success, with Rose Kelly Awards at a recent ceremony held on campus.

The Rose Kelly Award was established by University of Scranton alumnus Joseph Wineburgh, Ph.D., to link the efforts of educators to the achievements of college students. The award is presented jointly to a student in each of the University’s colleges who has completed two years at Scranton and to the teacher whom he or she recognizes as having a great impact on his or her life. Students are selected based on exemplary achievement in both academics and general campus involvement.

Kathryn Moore, Oyster Bay, New York, received the Rose Kelly Award for the Panuska College of Professional Studies. Kathryn honored Rebecca Lieberman, her guidance counselor at Oyster Bay High School. Moore is a counseling and human services major at Scranton enrolled in the University’s accelerated graduate program for clinical mental health counseling. A Dean’s List student at Scranton, she is a member of the National Human Services Honor Society and the International Psychology Honor Society.


Alexa Cardella, Diana Franceschelli, and Sarah Gordon, third-year DPT graduate students, received special recognition at the American Physical Therapy Association Combined Sections Meeting in San Diego. Every year at CSM, the Global Health Special Interest Group of the Academy of Leadership and Innovation awards ribbons to poster authors doing work in social responsibility. Cardella, Franceschelli and Gordon’s poster, ‘The Impact of Exercise on Physical Health Outcomes in Incarcerated Women: A Systematic Review,’ was acknowledged as one of the top three posters representing social responsibility. Students presented their work at a special reception that highlighted their work to interest group members. The students were joined on this project by Class of 2022 DPT program alumni

Dylan Kane, PT, DPT, Nicholas Linko, PT, DPT, and Mark Merli, PT, DPT, and faculty advisers Dana Maida, Nicholas Rodio, and Jennifer Schwartz.

From left: Diana Franceschelli, Alexa Cardella, and Sarah Gordon, third-year DPT graduate students who received the Social Responsibility Award at the American Physical Therapy Association Combined Sections Meeting in San Diego. From left: Victoria Castellanos, Ph.D., dean of the Panuska College of Professional Studies, and Rose Kelly Award recipients Kathryn Moore and her guidance counselor from Oyster Bay High School, Rebecca Lieberman.


“I would tell other women and minorities that the military needs to see more of us. Junior sailors need to see people who look like them, and who have similar backgrounds to them in the military, succeeding and doing great things,” said Kery Ferrell, an active-duty sailor serving in Asia.

Ferrell personified her own words recently after being named the 2022 Junior Sailor of the Year (JSOY) by the U.S. Navy’s Commander Logistics Group, Western Pacific (COMLOG WESTPAC). Located in Singapore, COMLOG WESTPAC unanimously recognized Ferrell as the best amongst her peers after the Atlanta native closed out the year with a Master of Health Administration (MHA) from The University of Scranton and Junior Sailor of the Quarter (JSOQ) honors.

“I’m extremely proud of Kery’s accomplishments and accolades; I can’t ask for anything more. I mean, a graduate degree, JSOQ, and JSOY? I can’t wait to visit Singapore to give her a congratulatory hug,” said Ferrell’s father, a retired U.S. Air Force veteran.

His daughter Kery serves as an enlisted hospital corpsman for a military medical facility in Singapore, where her duties are comparable to medical administration. She manages the flow of traffic in and out of the medical clinic and ensures all service members are medically fit to perform their daily duties in support of missions in the Indo-Pacific mission.


Arguably one of Ferrell’s breakout moments of 2022 was when she was hand-selected to serve on the staff of the Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) during SECNAV Carlos Del Toro’s visit with service members in Southeast Asia. Despite her many accolades, Ferrell said she was still taken aback by the unforeseen recognition, stating, “I have never won any Sailor of the Quarter or Sailor of the Year boards before, so I am shocked and really appreciative that I was recognized. I’m just happy because I know I’ve made my parents proud; they have my diploma and put it in a nice frame back at our home in Georgia.”

During a 2022 Black History Month roundtable, Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) Lloyd Austin said, “I want to make sure I create the conditions that young people out there… can really relate to and say, ‘I can be him, or I can be very successful in the Department of Defense.’” In addition, around the same timeframe on Feb. 9, 2022, Bishop Garrison, the SECDEF’s adviser for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), said “The military must be able to attract, train and retain them [minorities] for the services to retain competitive edges.”

With such human capital strategies in place, Ferrell plans to help the Navy maintain its competitive edge by becoming a commissioned officer through the Navy’s Medical Service Corps in Service Procurement Program (MSC-IPP) to become a health care administrator. “I love advocating for my patients’ medical decisions, and I would love to continue that as an officer in the Navy,” she said. “I also plan to obtain my doctorate degree in health care administration or a related field.”

In the interim, Ferrell aims to focus on preparing for her next enlisted promotion for E-6 or Petty Officer First Class while “volunteering in the Singapore community more and utilizing my MHA to make an impact in the Navy medical field,” she said.

While the Georgia Peach has her sights on her next professional endeavor, she says she still enjoys the present with a work-life balance in sunny Singapore.

“I love meeting new people and experiencing new cultures in Singapore,” she said. “I love the ease of public transportation, or that I can walk around [outdoors] at 10 p.m. and feel completely safe,” she said. “I also love how close SG [Singapore] is to other Asian vacation destinations such as Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia.”

With Singapore being more than 10,000 miles and a 22-plus-hour flight from Atlanta, Ferrell encourages those back in her hometown to consider the Navy as a sustainable career path, yet “be prepared to be away from the familiarity of your hometown, family, and friends. You will create a new family of friends. Embrace change and diversity because you will meet people from all walks of life, good and bad. Take advantage of all the benefits the Navy has to offer [e.g., education, healthcare, travel, etc.]. And be prepared to enter as one person and emerge as a completely new person in a few years. The Navy is kind of like a rebirth.”

Located in the Northern region of Singapore, COMLOG WESTPAC/Task Force 73 is the U.S. Navy’s trusted maritime mobile logistics organization, charged with keeping deployed units fueled, armed, and fed throughout the Indo-Pacific Area of Operations. The tactical effort supports a larger U.S. strategy to help maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific to protect U.S. assets, regional partners, and allies.

For more information on sailors and Marines like Ferrell serving at COMLOG WESTPAC, visit:



Sarah G. Kern of Monroe, New York, and Zachary Turnitza of Cumbola, Pennsylvania, were among the six members of The University of Scranton’s ROTC class of 2023 who earned Distinguished Military Graduate status from the U.S. Army, which designates placement in the top 20 percent of Army ROTC graduates in the nation for this academic year. Their distinction is based on their placement in the Order of Merit List, which ranks graduating ROTC cadets from across the country. The designation requires a superior gradepoint average, strong performance on the Army Combat Fitness Test, and proven experience as an exceptional leader in college ROTC training.

Kern and Turnitza are nursing majors at Scranton.

“These cadets represent the next generation of our military leaders. They are ambitious, talented, intelligent and enthusiastic. The future of the U.S. Army is in good hands,” said Lt. Col. Jason Wenger, professor of military science and head of Scranton’s Army ROTC battalion. “Scranton’s ROTC program continually places in the top 25 percent in the country because of cadets like these.”

Together, the group of six Distinguished Military Graduates at Scranton know nine languages, including Mandarin Chinese, Arabic and Russian. They have won military awards and participated in ROTC enrichment programs, in addition to maintaining stellar G.P.As in their academic courses at Scranton. The group of six have had a total of 16 military internships.

Through these internships, the students not only gained experience in different aspects of military service and enhanced their leadership skills, but they also gained experience in their chosen professions.

Kern gained clinical experiences in military hospital environments that are not common in traditional rotations.

A Dean’s List student at Scranton, Kern has participated in several ROTC enrichment programs, including the Nurse Summer Training Program at Tripler Army Medical Center, Hawaii, and the Cadet Summer Training Senior position in the ROTC program.

Turnitza gained skills beyond the clinical aspects of nursing. “The ROTC program has developed my communication skills, not only in public speaking or in leading a group of cadets, but also with the more difficult conversations I will have to have with patients as a nurse,” said Turnitza.

A Dean’s List student at Scranton, Turnitza received the 2020 Frank O’Hara Award for highest G.P.A. in the Panuska College of Professional Studies.

Turnitza has participated in several ROTC enrichment programs, including the Nurse Summer Training Program at Tripler Army Medical Center, Hawaii; Air Assault School in Fort Benning, Georgia; and has a senior position in the ROTC program as cadet battalion commander.

Turnitza has received several awards, including PT Fitness Military Science Level II and III Male Cadet in Battalion (Iron Man Award) and the Military Order of the World Wars (ROTC Award of Merit).

In addition, Turnitza, along with Cadet Gasperini, became the first cadets to score a 600 of 600 (maximum score) on the Army Combat Fitness Test in our battalion.

’23 Zachary Turnitza ’23 Senior, Nursing



Jacqueline Carrigg has been named Red Bank Regional High School’s Teacher of the Year. She is a mathematics teacher in her 18th year at RBR.

Carrigg attended The University of Scranton, where she earned an undergraduate degree in secondary education mathematics and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction.

At the beginning of her career, she taught ninth and 10th grade algebra and geometry. For the past 10 years, her primary subjects have been honors and college preparatory precalculus.

In the summer following her first year at RBR, she was awarded a grant to study Spanish at El Sol in Lima, Peru. The grant was aimed at handling the increasing English Language Learner (ELL) population at RBR. In her second year at RBR, she taught six ELL courses. She continues to teach ELL geometry.

She received a second grant and attended the Puebla Institute in Puebla, Mexico. “It was a wonderful experience to immerse myself in the language and culture,” Carrigg said.

Carrigg was born in northern New Jersey, and the family relocated to Middletown shortly thereafter. She attended Middletown Twp. schools and graduated from Middletown High School North in 2001.

Athletics was a significant part of Carrigg’s youth. She played varsity soccer in high school and went on to continue in the sport at The University of Scranton. In her freshman year, the Royals advanced to the “Elite 8” in the national tournament. The following season, the program was ranked No. 2 nationwide.

The former soccer standout continues to stay conditioned through a regimen of long runs and participation in high-intensity interval training boot camp classes.

She currently resides in Belmar. “I love being blocks from the beach,” Carrigg said.

Jacqueline has an identical twin sister who also taught mathematics for five years before pursuing a career in accounting and finance.

“Teaching at RBR the past 18 years has been an amazing experience,” the recently named Teacher of the Year said. “I’ve grown professionally and personally through all the experiences I’ve had in this district. I’ve taught students from a variety of countries, learning their language and culture in the process. I’ve coached dedicated athletes and worked alongside passionate coaches in soccer and cross country. I’ve worked with some of the best, most caring, dedicated staff members. But most importantly, I’ve created lasting friendships with colleagues along the way and influential relationships with students who’ve reached out to keep me in the loop about their future endeavors.”


Panuska College of Professional Studies

800 Linden Street

Scranton, PA 18510-4670


The University of Scranton is committed to providing a safe and nondiscriminatory employment and educational environment. The University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion, age, veteran status, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, or other status protected by law. Sexual harassment, including sexual violence, is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. The University does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its educational, extracurricular, athletic, or other programs or in the context of employment. Inquiries regarding non-discrimination and sexual harassment and sexual misconduct policies may be directed to Elizabeth M. Garcia, J.D., Executive Director and Title IX Coordinator, Office of Equity and Diversity, (570) 941-6645.

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