Page 1

Celebrating a Golden Jubilee:

The Class of 1969 is recognized at Commencement in May n PAGE 3

The magazine for alumni, students and supporters of Trocaire College



The college launches programs in Cybersecurity and Data Analytics within the new Trocaire College Technology Institute n PAGE 8

GLOBAL ACHIEVEMENT PROJECT: International students find

support and comradery in GAP n PAGE 4

MEET SANDY BARAUSKAS ‘19: Age is just a number for this recent grad, who earned her Nursing degree at 52 n PAGE 7

THE MAGAZINE OF TROCAIRE COLLEGE Vol. 5, Issue No. 1 The Trocaire Trailblazer is for alumni and friends of Trocaire College, a private, career-oriented Catholic institution that strives to empower students toward careers of achievement and lives of purpose through our supportive environment and hands-on programs in healthcare, business, hospitality and technology. It is published once a year by the Office of Communications within Institutional Advancement. For more information, email communications@trocaire.edu or call 716-827-4340. EDITOR & WRITER Kristy Holfoth ART DIRECTOR/DESIGNER Julie Cioccio


BOARD OF TRUSTEES Thomas H. Waring, Jr. Chair Sister M. Jeanne Thomas Danahy RSM, ’67 Vice Chair Alicia J. Thompson Corp. Secretary Montique V. Williams Treasurer LaVonne E. Ansari, Ph.D. Justin P. Azzarella Sister Anne Curtis, RSM Bassam M. Deeb, Ph.D. Sarah E. Gilson Tara Jabbaar-Gyambrah, Ph.D. Lisa M. Kirisits, CPA Teresa M. Majors, CPA Sister Lisa Mary McCartney RSM, Ph.D. Tracey A. Maw ’94 James Notaro, Ph.D. Thomas J. Quatroche, Jr., Ph.D. Jeffrey Rubin, DMD

n president’s message


lthough Trocaire as an institution is always evolving as our “Best in Class” Strategic Plan goal demands, this year especially has seen tremendous transformation across multiple areas of the college. In this edition of our annual Trocaire Trailblazer magazine, we’re excited to give our wider community of alumni, friends and supporters a glimpse of some of our most exciting recent developments. Perhaps the biggest change of all has been the creation of the Trocaire College Technology Institute (TCTI) and introduction of two new programs, Cybersecurity and Data Analytics.

Trocaire’s leadership team is always evaluating the needs of the Buffalo-Niagara region’s employers, looking for new opportunities for our students to fulfill a need in the local workforce. The technology industry is booming in Western New York, and it intricately intersects in multiple ways with other sectors in which Trocaire is already renowned, like healthcare and hospitality. These two new programs were a natural fit. Funded in part by the New York State Higher Education Capital Matching Grant program, the TCTI is a state-of-the-art, technology-focused facility that will house the new programs, as well as our other technology offerings. It is located at our Transit Road site, completely renovated and ready for the Fall 2019 semester. Massage Therapy is also celebrating some big news—in Spring 2019, it unveiled a new format that makes Trocaire’s program the fastest path to MT certification in Western New York. Students can obtain a certificate in just 10 months, with no reduction in hands-on experience or clinical opportunities.

Finally, our commitment to “meet the unmet need” as our founding Sisters of Mercy did before us is as strong as ever. One example of that is the Global Achievement Project (GAP), led by Sister Marian Mullen RSM, ’67, which works to address and alleviate the unique issues faced by Trocaire’s international and refugee students. Check out stories about all the above and much more in the following pages. We’re looking forward to the upcoming year, and can’t wait to see the fruits of these new initiatives as they take root and flourish. Thank you, as ever, for your support of Trocaire College and its students as they pursue careers of achievement and lives of purpose.

Robert Swann ’96 Mark F. Wachowiak William Barrett Wadsworth Lisa M. Wheeler ’95 Sean Willett

Bassam M. Deeb, Ph.D. Trocaire College President





hank you to all who gathered and helped us celebrate at Trocaire’s 2019 Spring Soirée, held at Shea’s on Seneca May 3, 2019. The event raised more than $90,000, which directly impacts students by providing financial support in the form of Trocaire grants.

Honorees included: Distinguished Alumni Award: Patrick M. Weisansal II ’12, RT (R) (ARRT) Trocaire College President’s Award: Community Health Center of Buffalo, Inc. and Erie Niagara Area Health Education Center Outstanding Student Rose Hussain (Nursing)








everal years ago, Sister Marian Mullen RSM, ’67, noticed a concerning trend among the international students she advised at Trocaire—many of them didn’t seem to graduate, and if they did, their achievement came after significant academic challenges.

Based on her observations and anecdotal stories from students, she proposed a concentrated effort to look into these issues to Trocaire President Dr. Bassam Deeb. Thus, the Global Achievement Project (GAP) was born. “I told him that I think something is going on—whatever it is, it’s not deliberate, it’s just something we’re not aware of,” Sister Marian, who leads GAP, said. “What I wanted to do is to find the gaps in our systems. What’s not happening, or what is, for international students? What are we inadvertently doing or not doing that influences their success?” Research GAP launched in Fall 2017 with a semester of research. Sister Marian looked into national-level studies concerning the issues international and refugee students face when they enroll in an English-speaking institution, and the results reflected the experiences Trocaire students reported.

One of these challenging settings is timed testing. Until the students can “think” in English, they have to run the questions through several languages in their minds, which takes up precious minutes. They often can’t finish within the allowed time, leading to failing grades even if they know the material. “Our students were saying these things to me—and it was backed up by research,” Sister Marian said. Awareness Another aspect of GAP’s work is awareness. Sister Marian has conducted six faculty and staff workshops, sharing her research on language proficiency, differences in teaching and learning models throughout the world and cultural bearings on learning. “If someone has only been in the U.S. for five or six years, they’re probably not at that proficiency level that would allow them to excel in our academic programs, especially ones with very complex material like nursing. It’s rigorous for even a native English speaker,” she explained. The workshops helped increase campus awareness of what international students’ educational and cultural backgrounds have been, and differing expectations they have for interacting with teachers and others in positions of authority. Their personal determination, self-reliance and struggle to get this far may sometimes impact their willingness to accept outside help when it’s offered.

For instance, there is a documented hesitancy to ask questions in class among students who don’t speak English as their first language. Sister Marian says it comes from both a cultural place (not wanting to disrespect the teacher by What I wanted to do is implying they haven’t made themselves clear) and a lingual one—formulating complex ideas to find the gaps in our in English in a way that gets their question across clearly, and fearing mockery from classmates if systems. What’s not they get the semantics wrong. More than 40 countries are represented by Trocaire’s roughly 70 international students (see sidebar), and some, especially those who have been refugees, have moved from place to place and know up to five languages in addition to English. “When you think of what it took to learn those languages, you’re talking about some bright students,” Sister Marian said. “Having fluency in multiple languages is a gift, but it can become a challenge in some academic settings.”




happening, or what is, for international students? What are we inadvertently doing or not doing that influences their success?

Sister Marian said awareness of international students has greatly increased among faculty— whereas they might have once thought a quiet student who wasn’t asking questions must not have any issues with the coursework, they now recognize that might actually be a sign these students are struggling. “There’s been a shift in cultural awareness,” she said. “They’re elevating these issues and trying to find solutions.” She also acts as an advocate for this student population, when needed. She invites them to meet with her—about 20 do so regularly—and provides guidance and support, sometimes working with their advisor if an academic warning is issued to try and find solutions.






Community Sister Marian also organizes at least two informal gatherings for international students per semester, and one for new nursing students to meet with those already in the program. These allow the students to get to know one another, communicate frustrations and experiences and share tips on how to succeed. GAP student study groups have formed, which allow them to review material at a more manageable pace, and Sister Marian

said she’s seen an increase in confidence and camaraderie in many of the students. “Rather than struggle alone and sit in class silently thinking they’re the only one, now they can look around and recognize the other students who are sharing the same journey,” Sister Marian said. Some major roadblocks in the system—such as timed testing, a necessary skill to pass licensing exams—are still in need of a longterm solution, Sister Marian said. Next steps could include additional programming to

How did you end up in Buffalo? My family and I moved to the USA in 2006, when I was 11 years old. My parents migrated here just so we children could have a better education and make a better/safer living for ourselves. They sacrificed all the comfort and luxury of life in Bangladesh to move here and worked hard to raise us. We moved twice before settling in Buffalo in 2015.

A STUDENT PERSPECTIVE: Siddika Choudhury ’19 Program: Nursing Country of Origin: Bangladesh Languages Spoken: English, Bangla, Hindi and Urdu

What were some challenges you encountered at Trocaire as an international student? After a few weeks of school, I took my first exam in Nursing, and like they all say the first exam is always the hardest. For the first time in life, I failed an exam by 5 points. The instructor said anyone who got below an 80 should drop the program because this was the easiest exam, and from here on it will only get harder. I was devastated—I needed someone to speak to, someone who could tell me if I should be in the program or drop out. I’m a first-generation college student and the very first one to study science, so family wasn’t much help when it came to education. I remember meeting Sister Marian and just opening myself up. I told her everything that was bothering me and asked for advice. She, like always, listened to me very attentively

Afghanistan Bangladesh Belarus Bulgaria Burundi Canada China Democratic Republic of the Congo Dominican Republic Eritrea France Germany Guatemala Guyana Haiti India Iran Iraq Ivory Coast Jamaica Kenya

Liberia Myanmar (Burma) Nepal Nigeria Philippines Poland Puerto Rico Romania Russia Rwanda Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Sierra Leone South Korea Thailand Trinidad and Tobago Uganda Ukraine United Kingdom United States Vietnam Yemen

bridge the cultural and language readiness gap that international students face. For now, she’ll support the students however she can. They deserve it. “If I ever made a list of what I’ve learned from these students, it’d be enormous,” she said. “There is so much they bring to this college—perseverance, strength of character, the ability to see that there’s more than one way to accomplish so many things. They will be a gift to the Buffalo community when they leave here.” n

and gave me courage, confidence and mostneeded support that helped me get through this program. How has working with GAP helped? I loved the get-togethers Sister Marian arranged for the international students. Even though there weren’t many of us at Trocaire, knowing that you aren’t the only one brought a great deal of peace to my heart. I always tried to attend and meet my fellow students, make new connections and help out in any way possible. Sometime I would attend both the days and evening. I love meeting new people, so this was a great way! What were your interactions in GAP like? I came across a few international students who thought they weren’t good enough or their accent wasn’t good enough for them to speak out in class, with the fear that their peers will make fun of the way they speak or not understand, or that they are not smart enough for nursing or other fields. I loved talking with them, and reassuring them that others understand this is our second language and if anyone makes fun of you, just ignore them as they are nothing but a fool. n







thle a K





1969 Golden J U B I L E E

rocaire’s second Golden Jubilee took place May 15, 2019 at the college’s spring Commencement ceremony. An event for members of the 50th reunion graduating class, the Jubilee aims to help alumni re-connect with the college; honor them for living the Mercy values instilled at Trocaire; and welcome them to leave a lasting legacy on the school community.

Five members of the Trocaire College Class of 1969 gathered to celebrate the Jubilee and participate in the Commencement proceedings in person, while all were honored in the program.


Participating were:

Ms. Kathleen Anne (Zimpfer-Setter) Danni, Nursing Mrs. Mary (McCrory) Kluczycki, Medical Secretarial Ms. Darcy Martinez, Liberal Arts Mrs. Carol (Busch) Shawcross, Nursing Mrs. Lynda (Ignasiak) Stevens, Liberal Arts

SAVE THE DATE, CLASS OF 1970! The 2019 Golden Jubilee will be held on May 13, 2020.






AT 52

Meet Sandy Barauskas ’19


andra Barauskas had it all planned out. Her AAS in Nursing degree at Trocaire should have taken two years to complete—January 2016 to December 2018—even while working full time. However, as it so often does, life got in the way. During Sandy’s last semester, her oldest daughter got married, her husband was dealing with a serious illness, she lost several pets, and the condition of her ailing mother, who lives with them, was worsening. It was a tumultuous time, and passing the semester came down to her last exam—to complete her degree, she had to pass her final. She didn’t. “It was a hard few days, with a lot of tears,” Sandy said. “But the more I looked at it, I realized there were things that truly needed my attention that last semester, so my attention was where it should be. School took a hit.” She went and talked to one of her Nursing instructors, Margaret “Meg” Poole, MS, RN, the same day grades posted, and Mrs. Poole told Sandy to not waste any time mourning this new development.

She worked full-time at a local dermatology office for the last six years, and her employer allowed her to work 8 a.m.-4 p.m. so she could get to her night classes at Trocaire by 5 p.m. Although getting another degree took many sacrifices from her family— which in addition to her three adult daughters and husband includes a step-daughter and a 2-year-old grandson— Sandy says she’s amazed at her classmates who pursue their degrees while balancing the care of minor children, or who are working on degrees in a completely different field than what they’re currently working in. “I know how hard that is—it was just me and my girls when I got my medical assisting degree back in Michigan,” she said. What’s next? Sandy said she’d love to work on a general medical-surgical floor at a local hospital, to learn all she can before transitioning into a specialty. She also plans to obtain her Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing as soon as she can. n

“She told me, ‘Get back in there, and don’t mess around. You will be better for it.” Sandy said. “She was there at my lowest point to pick me up and dust me off.” With that encouragement propelling her, Sandy enrolled for classes this spring and crossed the stage to get her diploma in May—just one semester later than originally planned. “I just took a different path than I expected,” she said. Sandy is originally from Michigan, where she worked as a medical assistant at a dermatology practice, assisting with Mohs micrographic dermatologic surgeries. When she moved to New York, she realized that the higher-level, hands-on clinical experiences she loved were not available to those working as medical assistants in her new home state. She needed a nursing degree.

Sandy and her family, celebrating after her Nursing Pinning Ceremony in May.





Cybersecurity, Data Analytics Programs Launch Fall 2019


bold, fresh look, high-tech equipment and new programs awaited students arriving at the new Trocaire College Technology Institute (TCTI) in August. The space has been completely transformed in order to house the college’s new Associate in Applied Science degree programs in Cybersecurity and Data Analytics, in addition to Trocaire’s other technology offerings. The Facility What those inaugural students and all technology students at Trocaire will now get to experience is a totally renovated, state-of-the-art space for learning about, with and through the latest technologies in both hardware and software. “While many schools have repurposed a lab for these types of degrees, the TCTI is a unique space designed specifically for Trocaire’s technology programs,” said Vice President for Academic Affairs Allyson M. Lowe, Ph.D. “In addition to offering our students a distinctive learning space unlike any other in Western New York, it also allows us to engage the community in workforce development and welcome community partners for learning initiatives.” Located on the second floor of Trocaire’s Transit Extension Center in Lancaster, the TCTI involved a $1.68 million construction investment. The New York State Higher Education Capital Matching Grant program provided $420,000, while Trocaire funded the rest of the project. The space features separate labs for computer networking, data visualization, data analytics and cybersecurity, as well as faculty and student “sandbox” areas that allow for testing, training and interaction.




The Programs In addition to the new AAS programs in Cybersecurity and Data Analytics, the TCTI will also house certificate programs in Applied Analytics and Fundamentals of Data Analytics; a suite of technology certifications through the college’s Workforce Development arm; and Trocaire’s existing tech-focused academic programs: Healthcare Informatics, Health Information Technology and Computer Network Administration. Leading industry experts developed the curriculum of the new offerings, and the TCTI’s new director, Dan Neville, will bring to Trocaire a wealth of both industry and higher education experience when he begins Oct. 1 (see below). The college also utilizes advisory boards of business, community and industry representatives to ensure the skills being taught continue to be innovative and current with industry standards. Prioritizing hands-on learning in TCTI labs and classrooms, the programs also will facilitate student internships at businesses and

organizations deploying these technologies—meaning students will have industry experiences at sites at which they could very well be future employees. Technology is a crucial element of almost every industry in 2019, and Lowe said the new program offerings fit the needs of both Trocaire students and the region’s employers, who are facing a shortage of educated, tech-savvy applicants when they go to make new hires. Both the AAS programs and certificates are offered in an evenings/weekend format to make it as easy as possible to hold a job while pursuing a new degree. “Technology proficiency is key to helping students get a great first job or change and advance their careers with the enhanced opportunities these skills provide,” she said. “In addition to growing tech-centered industries, our new programs and certificates allow working professionals to upskill in fields from compliance and insurance to banking or population health. Our TCTI graduates will be highly employable in whatever field they pursue.” n

MEET TCTI DIRECTOR DAN NEVILLE Education: MS, Computer Information Systems, University of Phoenix; BS, Computer Information Science, Florida Metropolitan University

Specialties: Cybersecurity, analytics, workforce development, certification-based career/technical education, project-based learning Most Recent Position: Information Technology Program Director at Bryant & Stratton College (Rochester, NY area)

I identify with Trocaire students because I was one of them. I went back to school at 32 because I was tired of working at a hardware store and delivering pizzas. I knew there had to be a better way to make a living for my family. The decision to go back to school changed my life, and now I get to help others do the same thing. 2019





for Western New York

Every year, Trocaire College educates more than 1,200 Western New Yorkers to fill local jobs in healthcare, business, hospitality and technology. Nearly all of them are low to medium income, and many are mothers. About half attend part-time because they are working or raising a family. And every single one is pursuing an opportunity to change the trajectory of their lives while seeking careers of achievement and lives of purpose. Yet, the gap an average Trocaire student faces—after all financial aid

such as grants, loans and scholarships is applied—is over $6,000. This can be insurmountable when also trying to juggle a family’s rent, childcare, transportation and grocery costs. It might be the obstacle that keeps them from completing the degree they’ve worked so hard for. Trocaire’s Board of Trustees and executive team have identified alleviating this financial gap as a priority in the 2020 Strategic Plan. We intend to fund the pipeline of low to medium-income students who are so

willing to work hard and improve their lives locally. Over the next year, Trocaire is seeking support from the community to FUND THE FUTURE FOR WESTERN NEW YORK. We believe in our Mercy tradition and education as a means to solve family poverty. Trocaire doesn’t just transform lives. It transforms communities. WILL YOU JOIN US? For more information, contact the Office of Institutional Advancement at 716-827-4340 today!



Lowest private college tuition in WNY.

of Trocaire Students qualify for financial aid.




Trocaire’s 6-year graduation rate is 12% ABOVE the national average for schools like ours.

of Trocaire Alumni are employed in their field or continuing their education.

of graduating students surveyed were satisfied or very satisfied with their overall experience at Trocaire.




Placement rate of Trocaire students 6-months after graduation.(We have data on 55% of graduates)








rocaire’s Student Life division, along with Academic Affairs and Human Resources, launched an ongoing effort in February 2019 to increase cultural competency across the college community. The Cultural Competency Certificate Program—C3 for short—is open to both employees and students. So far, 23 employees and five students have signed up to participate. “This was designed with the purpose of increasing cultural awareness not only in our professional lives, but also in our personal lives,” explained Director of Student Engagement and C3 Co-chair Tom Vane. “Participants will learn the skills to participate in a diverse workplace, care for the whole person, and how to communicate effectively across cultural differences.” The program’s key components involve knowledge gathering, skillbuilding, and integration. To attain a C3 certificate, participants attend three mandatory sessions and choose four additional sessions from a list of offered workshops, over the course of one or two years. The workshops are led by experts in their respective topics, which include racial and social justice, LGBTQ+ competency, women in the workplace, and more. Sixteen sessions have been held so far, and all members of the Trocaire community may attend any of the sessions, even if not participating in the certificate program. n



Trocaire conducted an in-depth mission self-study process, followed by an external CMHE site visit in fall 2018. The CMHE review typically is scheduled just before the Middle States Commission on Higher Education regional accreditation process and informs that process, especially as it relates to the MSCHE’s first standard, Mission.


The visiting team had many positive comments for Trocaire, culminating in this quote from its summary report: “We affirm and commend President Deeb, his Cabinet, the Trocaire College Board of Trustees, and the faculty and staff for deliberate efforts to be guided by the Mercy heritage and values in service to your students, and we encourage you to continue your intentionality as a College focused on the four pillars of academics, careers, community and heritage.” n


Trocaire’s grant program has been christened the Interpersonal Violence Intervention and Prevention (iVIP) program. One of Hanesworth’s first moves was forming a coordinated community response team comprised of Trocaire faculty and staff, the Buffalo and Lancaster police departments, and representatives from the Pride Center of WNY, Haven House and Crisis Services. As for programming, in addition to educating the Trocaire community on how to identify signs of interpersonal violence and how to intervene appropriately, Hanesworth said she hopes to offer self-defense classes and other hands-on trainings. “We have a really unique opportunity, because most of our students are going into the medical field,” she said. “So they’ll enter their individual career paths and know how to identify these issues and intervene. That’s probably one of the most exciting things: our reach will be so much larger than just Trocaire.” n


The sisters founded the CMHE in 2002 as they looked at how to best manage their various ministries and maintain Catholic and Mercy values in colleges and universities founded by the Order, especially as the number of sisters on those campuses dwindled. CMHE’s duties evolved to include conducting a decennial peer review process of mission integration at member institutions.

s w e N NT

The grants—distributed to 57 schools across the United States— are intended to reduce sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking on campus. Although Trocaire is a nonresidential campus, the majority of its student population is female and at risk for experiencing these types of crimes at home.


rocaire’s affiliation with the Sisters of Mercy goes back to its founding in 1958. That Mercy heritage was reaffirmed this past fall when the Conference for Mercy Higher Education (CMHE) visited the college and gave Trocaire high marks for its treatment of its Catholic identity and Mercy mission.


rocaire was awarded nearly $300,000 from the federal Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women last September. With the first year consisting entirely of implementation trainings, planning and preparation, Grant Coordinator Jillian Hanesworth is looking forward to kicking off oncampus programming for students, faculty and staff.




rocaire’s on-campus food pantry, Catherine’s Cupboard, is celebrating one year of helping students alleviate food insecurity for themselves and their families.

Catherine’s Cupboard was launched in the Fall 2018 semester after an on-campus survey of 104 Trocaire students reflected national and regional trends: 33 percent of participating students identified as food insecure. The pantry—named after Sisters of Mercy founder Catherine McAuley—is open several days a week and provides microwavable and non-perishable food items to students, for immediate use or to take home. Personal supplies like toothbrushes, feminine hygiene items and diapers are also available, and all is provided freely and discretely to any student who needs them. Sister Marie André Main RSM, ‘62, who acted as the pantry’s coordinator for the first year of operations, also shared community resources that could further assist students in need. On-campus food drives and employee and student donations support the pantry. It has also benefited from generous community donations, such as $2,000 from the HOPE (Help Our People Everywhere) Committee of St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Martin of Tours churches in South Buffalo. n




or Stephanie Knapp ’18, LMT, a degree in Massage Therapy wasn’t the end of her career exploration. It was just the beginning.

A 2009 graduate of Lake Shore High School, Stephanie spent her first six years out of high school working in childcare and cosmetology. Her mom had also been a cosmetologist, so she had grown up familiar with that field. However, massage therapy had always been in the back of her mind. “I liked making people look good, but I wanted to make people feel good too,” she said. It was actually a nannying job that led her to Trocaire College. Her employer was a Radiologic Technology student and brought Stephanie to an Open House. Stephanie couldn’t do the program that semester because she had made a commitment to watching the student’s son during the day, but “she said when I graduate, it’s your turn.” Stephanie started at Trocaire in the Fall 2016 semester and hasn’t looked back since. “Trocaire changed my whole life,” she said. “Before I went to school, I didn’t have a lot of confidence or motivation. Trocaire gave that to me, and made me realize I could do anything I put my mind to.” Thanks to the support she got from college staff and guidance from her professors, Stephanie thrived in her two years at Trocaire and passed her New York State licensure exam on the first try. Stephanie’s favorite part of the program was the many hands-on opportunities she experienced. In addition to externships, in which she worked on patients and clients under supervision at both Sisters of Charity Hospital and Spa 400, she and her classmates volunteered at community and senior centers, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, and PATH of WNY (People Against Trafficking Humans).

She continues to volunteer at PATH, inspired by their mission to help those affected by human trafficking. “We were all over Buffalo,” she said of her community experiences. “Our program director made sure we got our hands on as many different types of people as possible in different settings. The program makes you feel confident when you get out in the real world, because you’ve already been out there.” Stephanie is currently employed at several spas in Western New York. She loves the variety that comes with her work. “Teenagers who are athletes, mothers who are exhausted, men who work out a lot and need the relief for sore muscles, people who just want to take an hour out the day for themselves,” she said, detailing some of the people she works with. “I don’t have the same thing over and over—it’s a different experience with every client I have.” She also hopes to eventually break into the medical side of massage, working on maternal, cancer and post-surgery patients referred by their doctors. Stephanie has kept learning since graduation, a facet of a massage therapy career that she loves. She continues to explore the dozens of massage-related certifications and specialties that exist, including reiki (an energy healing technique) and reflexology. She also has plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree, with the goal of someday teaching massage therapy herself. “I didn’t fully realize the benefits of massage therapy until I actually joined Trocaire’s program,” she said. “It just gives you a new respect for the human body, and a whole new perspective about holistic healthcare. I’m proud to be a part of this field.” n

Become a

MASSAGE THERAPIST in just 10 months.

Learn more at one of our events:

trocaire.edu/visit 2019



We are pleased that Trocaire’s commitment to continuous improvement and institutional excellence has been reaffirmed.



rocaire College received official notice in July from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) that it has reaffirmed the college’s accreditation. The MSCHE is a voluntary, nongovernmental membership association that performs peer evaluation and regional accreditation of colleges and universities in the Mid-Atlantic United States.

With this reaffirmation of accreditation, Trocaire’s next on-site evaluation is scheduled for 2027-2028.

The reaffirmation comes following a two-year self-study process involving participation from staff, faculty and administration across all divisions of the campus, as well as a multiple-day, on-site visit from an MSCHE evaluation team in April. Professor of Biology and Faculty Senate President Dr. Jennifer Blickwedehl and Senior Vice President Dr. Richard Linn led the process, as well as a 20-person steering committee.

“The Trocaire community was meticulous as it took on the self-study process, readily engaging in a sweeping evaluation of the college’s mission, institutional priorities, practices and outcomes across all areas,” said President Dr. Bassam Deeb. “We are pleased with the Commission’s assessment that we are complying with all its standards and that Trocaire’s commitment to continuous improvement and institutional excellence has been reaffirmed.” n



ach year, Trocaire College recognizes faculty and staff with annual excellence awards, in honor of their commitment to our students and their educations, both in and out of the classroom.

Above: Taylor Swan, Cheryl Swain, Shawnté Wilson & Dr. Amy Breski Below: Thomas Mitchell

2019 Honors: Patricia A. Lavender Distinguished Educator of the Year AND Innovative Educator of the Year Amy Breski Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychology Part-time Educator of the Year Taylor Swan ’17, Adjunct Instructor, Surgical Technology Kevin Wise Legacy Award* Thomas Mitchell ’89, MS, Philosophy Instructor Staff Appreciation Award Cheryl Swain, Human Resources Generalist Staff Excellence Award Shawnté Wilson, Pathways to Nursing Success Program Coordinator




*This award honors of the memory of the late Kevin Wise, Ph.D., who was a professor of biology at Trocaire before he passed away suddenly in 2016. It is given to a faculty member who has made an enduring transformation to Trocaire College.



rocaire welcomed two new vice presidents to its leadership team during the 2018-2019 academic year.

Dr. Lowe most recently worked at Carlow University in Pittsburgh, a sister Mercy institution, for a decade. There, she served as dean of its College of Leadership & Social Change for four years, managing more than 20 graduate, undergraduate and certificate programs. A tenured faculty member, she also taught in and also previously chaired the university’s political science department. At Trocaire, Dr. Lowe’s first year has seen the rollout of two new program offerings, Cybersecurity and Data Analytics; the launch of the Trocaire Technology Institute at the college’s Transit Extension Center; and an administrative restructuring of the Division of Academic Affairs and Catherine McAuley School of Nursing.


of which were spent leading the Division of Professional Studies and International Programs. His leadership there resulted in profound growth in nontraditional and international academic programs and enrollment in both areas.

Gary Smith, Ed.D., Vice President of Innovation and Workforce Development, started at Trocaire in June 2019. His role formalizes the college’s renewed emphasis on identifying industry opportunities and partnerships for its academic and workforce development programs. Dr. Smith brings with him 25 years of expertise from his time at Keuka College in Yates County, New York, seven

Trocaire’s new Innovation and Workforce Development unit will focus on identifying new or existing market opportunities for both credit and non-credit offerings. Priorities include increased convenience-oriented program delivery; development of alternative delivery pathways for both credit and noncredit educational offerings; expansion of Trocaire’s geographic footprint, especially for the online RN to BS in Nursing degree; and expansion of existing and creation of new industry partnerships. n



Allyson M. Lowe, Ph.D., Vice President for Academic Affairs, joined Trocaire in September 2018. She oversees the college’s academic enterprise, leading the development of new programs, supervising and evaluating current academic offerings and their curricula, and ensuring a high-quality

academic experience for faculty and students.

How long have you taught at Trocaire? 1 year (I started in August 2018)

Courses Taught: BIO 105 (Human Biology), BIO 130 (Anatomy & Physiology 1), and BIO130L (Anatomy & Physiology 1 laboratory) Teaching Philosophy: My ultimate goal is to help my students learn how to work through problems and come up with educated and thoughtful solutions. I want students to leave my class at the end of the semester more prepared for their future careers by giving them the tools to use the content they’ve mastered to think critically about more complex problems. Favorite thing about teaching in general: I love that teaching means that I also get to learn new things all the time. I am truly a life-long student as well as a teacher.

Favorite thing about teaching at Trocaire: The campus community feels more like a family than a workplace. I have felt genuinely welcomed here since the moment I stepped on campus. Everyone is working together toward the goal of preparing our students for such important jobs—It’s very rewarding. Something a Trocaire student has taught you: Through my interaction with Trocaire students, I am constantly learning. It’s always exciting when students are curious to know more about the material and its real-life application. There are times when I don’t know the answer to a question, and it gives me the opportunity to learn something new and incorporate it into my teaching during subsequent classes, making the lesson more exciting for everyone.

Joanna C. Hillman, Ph.D Go-to study/learning tip: Always read your textbook/ provided notes before you come to class and create at least 3 questions on something you don’t understand. Ask at least one of those questions during class time. Be curious, and take an active role in your education! Random fact about yourself: I have an extremely busy, but wonderful household. My husband and I have 2 children, 2 dogs and 3 cats. There is never a dull moment in the Hillman household. n


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360 Choate Ave. | Buffalo, NY 14220

n Alumni News and Notes Sister Marie André Main RSM, ’62 served as the inaugural coordinator of the newly opened Catherine’s Cupboard on-campus food pantry for it’s first year. An employee of the college since 1992, she previously worked within the Health and Wellness Records Office. Susan J. Stocker ’78, Ph.D., was renewed in July 2019 as dean and chief administrative officer at Kent State University at Ashtabula, in Ohio. The longest tenured dean in the Kent State system, Dr. Stocker has served as the dean on the Ashtabula campus since 2001. Additionally, in April 2019, she received the Gingy Harshey-Meade Excellence in Leadership Award from the Ohio Nurses Association. Thomas Mitchell ’89, MS, a professor of philosophy at Trocaire, was honored with the 2019 Kevin Wise Legacy Award, given to a faculty member who has made an enduring transformation to Trocaire College. Lisa Eimer ’92, BSN, RN, was named the Stroke Nurse of the Month at Mercy Hospital’s Comprehensive Stroke Center in May 2019. This award recognizes Mercy Hospital nurses providing exemplary care on the hospital’s designated 5 West and 5 East stroke care units. Stacy Bastian ’08, ’12, BSN, RN, LNHA, was recently appointed assistant administrator at Our Lady Of Peace nursing care residence in Lewiston. Tiffany Cole ’08, MSN, RN, was named to Buffalo Business First’s inaugural Excellence in Health Care list in February 2019. In addition to being a faculty member in the Trocaire Nursing department, she also works a nurse on the cardiac/neuro floor of Sisters of Charity Hospital.


Melissa Rackmil ’08, MBA, BSN, RN, was named chief nursing officer and vice president of Patient Care at St. James Hospital in Hornell, NY in October 2018. Amanda Cody ’10 MSN, RN, recently copublished an article in Nursing Education Perspectives, the research journal for the National League of Nursing. The article is titled “Developing System-Level Awareness Through Virtual Clinical Learning.” Annie Spano ’10, BSN, RN, was recognized by McGuire Group for 10 years of employment at McGuire’s Harris Hill Nursing Facility. Her title is director of subacute services. Patrick M. Weisansal II ’12, RT (R)(ARRT) was awarded Trocaire’s 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award. He has been employed by Kaleida Health’s Buffalo General Medical Center since he graduated from Trocaire’s Radiologic Technology program in 2012. Danielle Reusch ’12, BSN, RN, was recently promoted to assistant administrator/director of nursing at the McGuire Group’s Harris Hill Nursing Facility in Lancaster. Jacob Fisher ’14, MSN, RN, an assistant professor in the Nursing department at Trocaire, was nominated for the Professional Nurses Association of Western New York’s Nurse Educator of Distinction Award. He also recently co-published an article in Nursing Education Perspectives, the research journal for the National League of Nursing, titled “Developing System-Level Awareness Through Virtual Clinical Learning.” Aaron Mruk ’14, BSN, RN, was promoted to a clinical coordinator position in Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center’s inpatient behavioral health units. Janelle Ganje ’15, CST, received Kenmore Mercy Hospital’s Outstanding Surgical Technologist of the Year award in November 2018.




Taylor Swan ’17, CST, a clinical instructor and adjunct faculty member in the Surgical Technology program, was recognized with the Part-time Educator of the Year Award at Trocaire’s 2018-2019 employee appreciation event. Christina Butcher ’18, CST, a Surgical Technology graduate, was hired at the prestigious Cleveland Clinic in Ohio in September 2018. Mercedes A. Kalin ’19, who graduated in May with her AAS degree in Nursing, was selected to receive a scholarship from the Professional Nurses Association of Western New York. Safra Bacchus ’19 and Harpreet Khera ’19, graduates of the AAS in Nursing program, received $2,500 scholarships from the KeyBank New York Community Scholarship Trust, a charitable trust, in December 2018. Current student Felicia Herrmann also received one of the scholarships. Madalyn Concialdi ’19, Carly Meindl ’19, Gabrielle DiFlavio ’19 and Melissa Brockman ’19, graduates of the AAS in Surgical Technology program, were recently inducted into the Association of Surgical Technologists’ National Honor Society. Rose Hussain received Trocaire’s 2019 Outstanding Student Award. A recent Nursing student, Rose grew up in West Africa but became a refugee in the Liberian Civil War. In 2000 she immigrated to the US. A single mother of five children, she settled in Buffalo and opened her own hair salon, then enrolled in Trocaire’s Nursing program in 2016.




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Profile for Trocaire College

2019 Trailblazer  

The magazine for alumni, students and supporters of Trocaire College.

2019 Trailblazer  

The magazine for alumni, students and supporters of Trocaire College.

Profile for trocaire