Back to School After 25: Non-Traditional Students at YSU

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ON THE COVER Cary Dabney, 34, a non-traditional student at YSU majoring in philosophy and religious studies, is profiled in this edition of YSU Magazine. Students over 25 comprise about one-third of YSU’s total enrollment, and the numbers are expected to grow. Our cover story (Pages 10-17) looks at non-traditional students, the challenges they face and the strengths they bring to the classroom.

YSU President

Cynthia E. Anderson, ’73

YSU Board of Trustees Chair Scott R. Schulick Vice Chair Sudershan K. Garg Millicent Counts Delores Crawford Larry DeJane John R. Jakubek Harry Meshel Leonard Schiavone Carole S. Weimer Secretary Franklin S. Bennett Jr. Student Trustee Ryan Meditz

Magazine Editor

Cynthia Vinarsky

Director of University Communications

Ron Cole

Executive Director of Marketing & Communications

Mark W. Van Tilburg

Renée Cannon, ’90

Layout Design Artist

Photographers Bruce Palmer Carl Leet

Graduate Assistant

Andrea Armeni, ’10

Interim Director, Office Jacquelyn LeViseur, ’08 of Alumni and Events Management Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications

Jean Engle, ’86

Sports Contributor

Trevor Parks

Chief Development Officer

Paul McFadden, ’84

Youngstown State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association. Youngstown State University – A Magazine for Alumni and Friends (ISSN 2152-3746), Issue 8, Spring 2011, is published quarterly by the YSU Office of Marketing and Communications, One University Plaza, Youngstown, OH 44555. Periodicals Postage Paid at Youngstown, Ohio. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Youngstown State University, Office of Marketing and Communications, One University Plaza, Youngstown, OH 44555. Direct letters to the editor, comments or questions to the address above, call 330-941-3519 or e-mail Youngstown State University is committed to a policy of nondiscrimination on the basis of race, color, age, religion, sex, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, or identity as a disabled veteran or veteran of the Vietnam era, in respect to students and/or to applicants for employment, and to organizations providing contractual services to YSU. 8-001



Send your letters to: universitymagazine@ysu. edu or YSU Office of Marketing and Communications, One University Plaza, Youngstown, OH 44555.

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Around Campus – The latest campus news and photos. Sorority Volunteers Aid Cancer Research – Zeta Tau Alpha sisters donate breast tissue to be used in the effort to cure breast cancer.

Student Success Stories – A regular feature highlighting the achievements of YSU students. COVER STORY: Back to School After 25, YSU’s Non-Traditional Students – Taking a look at the growing number of nontraditional students at YSU, the strengths and challenges they bring to the classroom, and how the university is working to assure their success. YSU’s Ultra-Athletes – Two YSU staffers who take marathon running to the extreme. Faculty Photo Feature – Introducing Tim Wagner, chemistry professor and director of YSU’s Center for Excellence in Materials Science and Engineering. with Hugh Earnhart – 20 Q&A A YSU professor emeritus, now

Q&A 27

president of the national Gardeners of America, shares some insights on gardening.

Alumni Spotlight – Profiles of three exceptional YSU alumni: Larry Davis, ’76; Hollie Kelleher, ’98; and Wilford Payne, ’73.

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President’s Message University Development News Penguin Sports News Alumni News YSU Foundation News Class Notes

Check out YSU Magazine's online edition at

Goo Goo Dolls at Covelli Centre Fans enjoy their front row seats at a Goo Goo Dolls concert cosponsored by YSU Penguin Productions on April 12 at the Covelli Centre in downtown Youngstown. In top inset photo, Goo Goo Dolls lead singer John Rzeznik performs to the appreciative crowd. In lower inset photo, the opening band, Jordan DePaul and the Reputations, includes YSU students, from left, Joey Verzilli on guitar, a sophomore pre-communication studies major, Michael McGiffin on bass, a counseling/student affairs leadership graduate student, and singer Jordan DePaul, a junior prebusiness marketing major.


President’s Message

A safe campus — Making it personal

Cynthia E. Anderson President

The winter edition of YSU Magazine was at the printer and about to be mailed when YSU student Jamail Johnson was shot and killed at a residence off campus on Feb. 6 – Super Bowl Sunday. So, here we are, more than three months later, and it is my first opportunity to share with you my thoughts on this tragic event. I will not review the specifics of that day; it was well documented in news media accounts around the nation. And my purpose in writing this today is not to dwell on what certainly was one of the saddest days in the university’s proud history. I do feel that it is important, however – as part of the university’s grieving process, if nothing else – not to shy away from the fact that we lost that day a wonderful young man with a bright and promising future. It is equally important that we understand that the incident here has – as at other universities that have experienced similar incidents – raised questions about the safety of the campus. I have worked and lived on this campus for more than 30 years – early morning, afternoon and late into the evening – and I have always, always felt safe and secure. Surveys of our current students, residential students, prospective students, parents and alumni reveal that they also feel safe at the university. Crime statistics reported by the federal government show that YSU is one of the safest university campuses, if not the safest, in the state of Ohio. We have one of the most active and engaged campus police forces in the nation, dedicated to maintaining a safe environment to learn, work and live. Our campus police take it personally when that environment is violated, as do I. Shortly after the shootings on the campus of Virginia Tech University, YSU began a concerted process of reviewing our emergency response procedures. In the four years since, we have instituted several programs to help prevent such incidents and to help better respond in the event that they do occur. We established a Student Threat Assessment Team to diffuse problems before they turn violent. We started the YSU Alert text-messaging and email emergency notification system. YSU was hailed recently in a national brochure for implementing state-of-theart technology that allows us to broadcast customized voice messages into every building on campus – an effective and efficient tool in the event of an emergency. But we cannot rest on our laurels; we are committed to being ever vigilant to making our campus safe and sound for all. In early May, we planted a tree on the core of the campus in memory of Jamail Johnson. For me, the tree is a lasting reminder of an exceptional student who positively influenced so many in such a short time. It is also a reminder that all of us – in every city, every college and university campus across the nation – must rededicate ourselves to do what we can to ensure that such senseless violence does not happen again. Sincerely,

Cynthia E. Anderson President



Around S


The Williamson College of Business Administration has been re-accredited by the prestigious AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, placing WCBA among the top business schools in the world. “AACSB accreditation is an external validation of program excellence and the outstanding education that students receive in the Williamson College,” said Provost Ikram Khawaja. Fewer than 5 percent of business schools worldwide have earned AASCB accreditation. To maintain accreditation, business programs undergo an extensive internal review every five years and must demonstrate continued commitment to 21 quality standards. WCBA Dean Betty Jo Licata said the college’s faculty and staff work to provide students with an exceptional business education, always emphasizing applied learning and the importance of professional experience and engagement with the community. The YSU Williamson College of Business Administration has more than 1,800 undergraduate students and 90 MBA students enrolled. To learn more, visit

Parking, parking, parking. It may not be the most exciting part of campus, but it’s certainly a vital element to Lincoln Deck Closing for Repairs the day-to-day operations of the university. Parking at YSU will take a step forward over the next several months as major renovations are completed on the M-2 parking deck at the corner of Lincoln and Fifth avenues. The 40-year-old deck, with nearly 1,300 parking spaces, closed April 18 and will reopen for the start of fall semester classes on Aug. 29. The deck will undergo a complete structural and cosmetic overhaul. “When these improvements are completed, the result will be a safer, more modern and attractive place to park for years to come,” said Danny O’Connell, YSU director of Support Services. During construction this spring, the university made arrangements for students, employees and others to park at the Covelli Centre in downtown Youngstown and ride shuttle buses to and from campus. The work done this spring and summer is the first of two phases. The second and final phase will take place during summer 2012. Details on that phase will be revealed at a later date. In addition to improvements to the Lincoln Avenue deck, YSU Parking Services will this summer complete construction of a new, 126-space surface parking lot along Fifth Avenue next to the Beeghly College of Education and will add 160 parking spaces to the M-26 surface lot behind Smith Hall on the west side of Fifth Avenue. YSU

Workers began renovations on the Lincoln Avenue parking deck in mid-April.

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Enrollment continued on the upswing this spring semester, up more than 400 students from last spring semester. Since 2000, the number of students on campus during the spring semester has increased by 3,381, or 31 percent.

Spring enrollment up 31% since 2000




Major Improvements Planned for Campus Parking Deck








Williamson College Maintains Prestigious Business Accreditation

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Around Campus

National Safety Brochure Features YSU YSU’s emergency response preparedness is featured in a six-page, full-color brochure recently produced by SimplexGrinnell, a national leader in security communications systems. The brochure says YSU’s approach to emergency communications is a model for other universities nationwide, as it works to be proactive in creating the safest possible environments for students, faculty, staff and campus visitors. YSU installed a SimplexGrinnell notification system about three years ago that allows the university to quickly communicate messages through speaker systems in campus buildings in the event of an emergency. The university also created a threat assessment team that constantly reviews operations and systems and discusses potential problem areas. To view the brochure, visit edu/ta/download.cfm?id=1389.

Nurse Practitioner Degree Option Added YSU’s master’s degree program in nursing will begin this fall to offer a new family nurse practitioner specialty option to prepare students for one of the fastest growing fields in health care. The new FNP program is approved by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission. YSU now offers five specialty options for nurses seeking a master’s degree – chronic illness clinical nurse specialist, nurse anesthetist, school nurse, nurse educator and family nurse practitioner. Patty Hoyson The FNP curriculum option includes 52 credit hours of study over five full-time semesters. A part-time study option will be available. Graduates will be eligible to sit for national certification as an FNP. The number of nurse practitioners nationwide has increased 75 percent in the last five years, said Patty McLean Hoyson, professor and chair of YSU’s nursing department. New state laws expanding the scope of practice, prescriptive authority, thirdparty reimbursement and the national effort to improve health care access have resulted in an expanding role and increased demand for nurse practitioners, she said. “We are very pleased and excited to bring this educational opportunity to YSU and our surrounding health care community,” Hoyson added. Family nurse practitioners are advanced practice nurses prepared to function collaboratively with physicians and other health care disciplines in providing primary health care in a variety of ambulatory settings. For more information, contact Nancy W. Mosca, 330-941-1793 or

In Memoriam ...


John Yemma, 77, former dean of the Bitonte College of Health and Human Services at YSU, died Jan. 24, in the Cleveland Clinic. A native of Youngstown, Yemma earned a bachelor’s John Yemma degree in education from YSU in 1961, a master’s degree in biology from Vanderbilt University and a doctorate in cytochemistry from Pennsylvania State University. He joined the YSU biology faculty in 1971, was the first chair of the Allied Health Department when it was formed in 1976 and served briefly as dean of the former College of Applied Science and Technology before it was restructured. He was dean of the Bitonte College from 1992, the year it was created, until he retired in July 2008. He had published 37 scholarly articles and was awarded 11 research grants. Recognized repeatedly for his service to YSU and his discipline, Yemma was named a YSU Distinguished Professor three times, received the Watson Award for Outstanding Administrator, was named to Who’s Who in Science and received a National Science Foundation Fellowship. He was also recognized as a distinguished graduate faculty member. The family has requested that donations be made to the American Diabetes Association.

Fine Arts Event Scheduled July 9 & 10 YSU’s annual Summer Festival of the Arts is set for July 9 and 10 on the YSU Campus. More than 70 artists participated in the juried art show and sale last year. The event also includes music, dance and theater performances, an ethnic festival, food and family activities. Lori Factor, festival coordinator, said the event showcases and celebrates the local and regional arts community as an outreach of YSU’s College of Fine and Performing Arts.



Around Campus

Construction Continues on WATTS Center

Ribbon-cutting ceremonies will likely be scheduled sometime this summer for the Watson and Tressel Training Site, an $11.4 million indoor practice facility now under construction along Elm Street and the Madison Avenue Expressway. The center will be used primarily for YSU’s intercollegiate athletic teams, accommodating team practices, intramural sports, campus-wide activities and special events. The WATTS is named after Jim and Ellen Tressel and Ellen’s parents, Frank and Norma Watson, who donated a combined $1 million toward the project in 2007. The track and lobby will be named in honor of the Cafaro family, which donated $1 million in 2010.

Meshel Donates Sculptures to YSU Jazz Studies

Harry Meshel, a member of the YSU Board of Trustees, former president of the Ohio State Senate and a longtime fan of jazz, has donated sculptures of three legendary musicians to the Jazz Harry Meshel Studies program in YSU’s Dana School of Music. The sculptures by artist Ed Dwight depict Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis and will be on display at the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown. “This gift is symbolic of two of Sen. Meshel’s great passions in life – YSU and jazz,” YSU President Cynthia E. Anderson said at a May 7 unveiling ceremony, adding that the gift demonstrates his “continued generosity and unfailing support of YSU and its students.” Meshel, a 1949 graduate of Youngstown College, said the donation is his way to pay tribute to the many talented faculty and students who have been associated with YSU’s jazz program. He’s made other gifts to the Jazz Studies program and also established the Senator Harry Meshel Jazz Scholarship. At the unveiling, Meshel and Ken Engelhardt, associate professor and Jazz Studies coordinator, also announced the establishment of the Jazz Visitors Fund to bring regional and national touring jazz musicians to the YSU campus.

Judge Jones Honored as Friend of the University

The Honorable Nathaniel R. Jones, retired judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, was presented with YSU’s annual Friend of the University Award, an honor initiated in 1997 to recognize alumni, friends and donors who have had a significant impact on YSU. Previous recipients include the Schwebel and Beeghly families, Tony and Mary Lariccia, Frank and Norma Watson, and John and Denise DeBartolo -York. Jones, a Youngstown native and Army veteran, earned two degrees from YSU – his AB in 1951, and his LLB in Nathaniel R. Jones 1955. He was appointed judge to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in 1979 and retired in 2002. He has taught at several law schools throughout the nation and has been awarded 18 honorary degrees. An internationally renowned civil rights activist, Jones played an important role in furthering the abolition of apartheid in South Africa.

Memorial Tree

The campus community celebrated the planting of an oak tree in early May in memory of student Jamail Johnson, 25, who died Feb. 6 during a shooting at a house located off campus. Pictured in front of the tree are Johnson’s parents, Sidney and Shirlene Hill, and President Cynthia E. Anderson. Johnson was a member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity and was scheduled to graduate this spring. The tree was donated by the Campus Beautification Initiative in partnership with members of Omega Psi Phi. The fraternity, Woodrow Wilson Middle School and the YSU Student Government Association also dedicated a plaque in Johnson’s memory.

Visit for video on Meshel’s gift to YSU.



Around Campus

Notable Speakers on Campus YSU’s Rich Center for the Study and Treatment of Autism presented a lecture by Temple Grandin, a renowned animal scientist and one of the world’s most accomplished people with autism, on May 17. Free screenings of the award-winning HBO film Temple Grandin were also presented in April. Georgia Backus, director of the Rich Center, said Grandin’s life is an inspiration for people with autism and those who live with, work with and care for them. Temple Grandin

Eric Schlosser, investigative journalist and author of Fast Food Nation and Reefer Madness, was the YSU Skeggs Lecture Series speaker on March 2. Fast Food Nation, published in 2001, helped to change how Americans think about what they eat. It has been translated into more than 20 languages, was on the New York Times bestseller list for two years, and was made into a feature film in 2006.

Author Eric Schlosser is interviewed in the studios of WYSU 88.5 FM by Sherry Linkon, left, professor of English and co-director of the YSU Center for Working Class Studies. Jackie LeViseur, interim director of Alumni and Events Management, center, was part of the audience.

The annual YSU English Festival featured young adult fantasy fiction author Megan Whalen Turner, best known for The Queen’s Thief series of novels, and Wendy Glenn, associate professor in English Education at the University of Connecticut and the author of Sarah Dessen: From Burritos to Box Office. About 3,000 high school students from across the region participated in the event, held April 6, 7 and 8 in Kilcawley Center on the YSU campus.

Scholarship Honors Retired History Professor

A scholarship endowment has been created to honor Saul Friedman, a retired YSU history professor who founded the university’s Judaic and Holocaust Studies program. The Youngstown Zionist District of the Zionist Organization of America created the Dr. Saul Friedman Scholarship in Jewish Studies endowment. It will award scholarships to qualified YSU students engaged in studies focusing upon Israel, the Holocaust and Jewish history. Friedman, a professor emeritus of history and the former Clayman Family Professor of Judaic and Holocaust Studies, has been awarded the YSU Distinguished University Professor Award six times, the Ohio Humanities Council Lifetime Achievement Award, the Zionist Organization Branckis Award, and five regional Emmys for Public Television documentaries. He has published 10 books on Jewish history and the Holocaust. Gifts may be made to the Office of University Development, YSU, One University Plaza, Youngstown, OH 44555. To contact the Youngstown Zionist District, call 330-501-0975. 6


New Sculpture Donated Internationally known artist Betty Gold, left, poses behind her sculpture, titled Mallorca VII, with Marty and Sue Solomon of Vienna. The Solomons donated the red, six-foot-tall hand-welded steel sculpture to YSU. Permanently installed on the lawn between Bliss Hall and the McDonough Museum of Art, the sculpture was unveiled at a ceremony April 28. Gold's art is exhibited in parks, university campuses and city centers around the world.

YSU senior LesleyAnne Roddy didn’t hesitate for a minpeas—that is stored in liquid nitrogen tanks. ute when an opportunity to drive six hours to Indianapolis to “I think we were a little nervous because we didn’t know donate breast tissue for cancer research presented itself five what to expect. We were prepared, though,” said Roddy. “If months ago. it hurt, it hurt. No one thought about backing down because In fact, her passion for the project inspired a busload of of that.” women from all over the Mahoning Valley to join her for a The procedure, as it turned out, was “virtually painless,” second donation trip in April. according to Roddy, who attributed the biggest discomfort to “I’m young, I’m able to do it, so of course I wanted to bandage removal the following day. get involved,” said Roddy, an international student who hails When they returned from the first trip, the Zeta sisters from Belfast, Northern Ireland. extended an invitation to all women in the Mahoning Valley Roddy and six other YSU students – Courtney Gobel, to participate in the bank’s final donation day of the year. So Nicole Horvath, Emily Hudak, Emilie many responded Hall, Erin Hall and Alyssa Krumpak, that the ZTA all members of YSU’s Zeta Tau Alpha organizers were sorority chapter – took part in the able to secure a Susan G. Komen for the Cure Tissue coach, donated by Bank’s first donation day in January. the Komen Tissue Their efforts generated such a positive Bank. They filled response in the community when they the seats with returned that they decided to organize nearly 40 women, a bus trip back to the tissue bank and including a YSU participated in its second donation day and Zeta alumna, on April 30. Krista Cunning“A lot of women were coming up ham, who drove to us and saying, ‘I had no idea you up from Columbus could do that!’ ” said Roddy. “They just to make the wanted to help, and we wanted to get trip. the word out.” “Women can Funded by a $1 million grant from only donate twice the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the in their life, so Komen Tissue Bank at the Indiana donors are always University Simon Cancer Center is needed,” noted unique in its approach of collecting Roddy, whose aunt healthy breast tissue. The samples was diagnosed allow scientists to study normal cells with breast cancer as they work to discover what constitwice and expetutes abnormal, cancerous cells. The rienced a double bank seeks donations from all stages mastectomy. of breast development – from puberty VolunteerMembers of YSU's Zeta Tau Alpha chapter who traveled to Indianapolis to menopause – and makes samples ing year-round to donate breast tissue for cancer research are, from left, front row, accessible to researchers around the for the cause, the Emily Hudak, LesleyAnne Roddy and Erin Hall; back row, Emilie Hall, world for study. Youngstown ZTA Courtney Gobel, Nicole Horvath and Alyssa Krumpak. Passionate about their sorority’s chapter is known national philanthropic focus on breast cancer awareness and for its Pink Ribbon Cheer Classic, a cheerleading and dance education, the seven ZTA sisters initially traveled to the tisexhibition held every fall to raise money for breast cancer sue bank as a project of their own. After filling out a medical research. Last year’s event raised $115,000. In addition, questionnaire and having blood drawn, they donated tissue the sisters regularly attend sporting events to hand out pink through a breast biopsy, a 15-minute procedure that includes ribbons, and they plan to participate in the Susan G. Komen a needle and a local anesthetic to numb the site. The biopsy Race for a Cure in Columbus this spring. removes almost 1 gram of tissue – about the size of two

Story by Andrea Armeni



s s e c c Su STUDENT

Highlighting the achievements of exceptional YSU students


Grad Student’s Research Named “Best in Conference”

Graduate student Amar Shukla received a Best in Conference award recently at the 2010 Ohio University Transportation Centers Student Research Conference in Akron. His presentation, “Causes of Bumps at Pavement-Bridge Interface,” was based on his research that focused on analyzing bumps at points where pavement and bridge meet and offering possible solutions to reduce them. Shukla hails from New Delhi, India, where he earned an undergraduate degree in civil engineering in 2007 from the Zakir Hussain College of Engineering and Technology at Aligarh Muslim University, India. Now living in Youngstown, he will graduate from YSU with a master’s degree in civil and environmental engineering.

Soccer Scholar Earns District Honors

YSU junior Kelsey Kempton of Strongsville, Ohio, was named ESPN / CoSIDA Academic All-District IV First Team, recognition that qualifies her for academic all-America honors. Kempton, who carries a 3.9 GPA with a major in exercise science, is the first YSU women’s soccer player to be named to the first team and just the second player in history to earn academic all-district honors. Honorees were selected by members of the College Sports Information Directors of America, and the team members were announced recently by the Academic All-America Committee. Kempton was a women’s soccer team captain in 2009 and 2010. A defender, she ranked third in the team for scoring this past season, with two goals and an assist for five total points. Kempton was a member of the 2008 Horizon League All-Newcomer Team and has started in 54 consecutive matches at YSU.

Telecom Major is Video Virtuoso

Corey Baker of Andover, Ohio, joined the YSU community just two semesters ago as a freshman telecommunications major, and already he’s making strides in his field. Baker won a $1,000 scholarship, placing third out of several hundred entries in the 2010 Take Action Video Contest, sponsored by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and the Ohio Council on Economic Education. Baker worked with teammate James Tabor to produce a video promoting Internet safety and identity protection awareness. Baker also placed in the SkillsUSA competition “Video Product Development,” taking home first place in both the regional and state levels and fifth at nationals with teammate Jeff Hogan, also a YSU student.



Human Ecology Graduate Honored

Senior Kristine Beauchamp was named Outstanding Human Ecology Student for the 2010-11 academic year. This award is determined by a faculty vote and presented annually to a graduating senior who exhibits the highest excellence in the major. Set to graduate summa cum laude this spring with a bachelor’s degree in human ecology, Beauchamp has already landed a sales associate position with EMC, a data storage company that Business Week magazine listed among its “best places to launch a career.” She will move to Boston in June to begin work at EMC, ranked second only to Apple on Electronic Design’s list of best employers for electronic design professionals. Beauchamp received the Dean’s Award in Health and Human Services at 2011 QUEST. A University Scholar, she is also a member of Golden Key and Phi Kappa Phi, two international honor societies, and served as president of the Bitonte College of Health and Human Services Ambassadors. Active in community service, she volunteered at the St. Vincent DePaul soup kitchen and has sponsored a child in Rwanda since 2006.

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Senior Admitted to Prestigious Ph.D. Research Program James Aldridge, a senior chemical engineering student at YSU, will be starting Case Western Reserve University’s Ph.D. program in macromolecular science and engineering this August, where he’ll be working with the prestigious and internationally recognized Baer and Hiltner research group. Aldridge, who lives in Brookfield, Ohio, worked as a summer intern at Case previously, completing a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program in 2009 analyzing and structuring the fabrication process for multi-layered organic films. After graduating from YSU this spring, he’ll complete a second REU with Case in July before starting the Ph.D. program. He eventually plans to work in a research lab as a managing scientist of research teams. Starting out in construction just a few years back, Aldridge only had a faint idea of where a future college experience could lead him. “I got bored with my job, but I was good at it,” said Aldridge. “I wanted to see what else I could do along those lines.” He taught himself algebra, tested into a college-level math course and began to work his way up, excelling in his major. “When you’re determined,” he said, “you can do anything.”


Student’s Ad Campaign Wins People’s Choice Award YSU graphic design major Chris Leson of Boardman beat out some of the top advertising professionals in Northeast Ohio when he took home Gold and Silver Awards in the student category and the overall People’s Choice Award at the 2011 Akron ADDY Awards. The prestigious Akron event is the first of a three-tiered national competition sponsored by the American Advertising Federation. Considered the largest and premiere advertising competition in the world with more than 40,000 entries, the ADDY Awards recognize the highest achievement in creativity and excellence in the industry. “I went with simple, universal designs that could be understood anywhere in the world,” Leson said, describing his award-winning entries. Leson’s campaign design for Purell was chosen for the People’s Choice Award over all entries in both the student and professional categories. His Purell entry also earned a Gold Award in the student category, and his magazine ad for Volkswagen won a Silver Award. Leson is working on his second YSU degree. He graduated in 2010 with a double undergraduate degree in advertising and marketing.






Back to school By Cynthia Vinarsky

Cary Dabney’s two daughters like to call him a “nerd” and a “bookworm.” His 10-year-old son prefers to compete with him for the most A’s – and so far, Dad is winning. Dabney, 34, married and the father of six, is a non-traditional student at YSU majoring in philosophy and religious studies. Despite the rigors of a full-time class schedule, a part-time job on campus and a busy family life, he’s maintained a 3.9 GPA. “My children are watching,” he says. “I can’t allow them to get better grades than I do.” Studying at the dining room table in his Youngstown home, at left, is Cary Dabney, a non-traditional student at YSU. Above, Dabney talks with his wife, April, while their son, Aaron, naps on her shoulder.

abney is part of a growing segment of YSU’s student

demographic – non-traditional students, adults between the ages of 25 and 65, have consistently comprised about onethird of the university’s enrollment over the past decade. And the numbers have been steadily rising. There were 5,102 non-traditional students on campus this fall, up 6.6 percent from the previous academic year and nearly 30 percent more than a decade ago.



Nationally, the over-25 student ratio is even higher. Almost 40 percent of students enrolled in degree-granting institutions are of non-traditional age, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics. That percentage is expected to climb much faster over the next decade than the number of traditional-age college students between 18 and 24. “We look at statistical information, and the biggest student growth area in Ohio is going to be in non-traditional students,” confirmed Sue Davis, YSU’s director of Undergraduate Admissions. “There are 1.3 million adults in Ohio who have completed some college without earning a degree. That’s 22 percent of the total adult population.” Enrollment of non-traditional students tends to rise even faster than traditional student enrollment when there’s an economic recession, with a resulting increase in unemployment. “When the economy gets bad and people get laid off, they have to find a new life,” Davis explained. Sue Davis Undergraduate Admissions sees plenty of over-25 walk-ins at its office in Sweeney Hall, she said, and YSU admissions counselors also maintain a full calendar of outreach events to recruit prospective nontraditional students. They host two open houses a year for non-trads and participate in education fairs set up by large employers, such as General Motors, that offer tuition reimbursement as part of their employee benefit packages. Davis

said the admissions office also reaches out to adults trying to make a new start: laid-off workers who qualify for federal training dollars because an employer went out of business; students working on their GEDs; and military veterans looking to finance their education through the G.I. Bill.

As a Marine veteran, Cary Dabney qualified for some tuition benefits through the G. I. Bill, but he postponed college because he and his wife, April, already had two children by the time he completed his military duty in 2001. Until two years ago, he was working 60-hour weeks as an assistant manager for a big-box home improvement store in his hometown, a suburb of Flint, Mich. But he wasn’t happy, and his wife encouraged him to consider college. “She knew I wanted a career, not a job,” he said. Dabney did some research on universities offering degrees in philosophy and religion, the subjects he wanted to study, and was impressed to learn that YSU’s Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies includes nationally known and respected faculty. YSU became his first choice, and April liked the idea because she grew up in Austintown and has family in the area. They moved to Youngstown, bought a home near scenic Mill Creek Park and enrolled their four older children – Ashley, Abbie, Austin and Ayden – in the Austintown Local Schools. Alec, age 4, and Aaron, 7 months, are in day care. April landed a full-time position as a medical reimbursement specialist, and Dabney found work on campus as a peer mentor in YSU’s Center for Student Progress, helping other non-traditional students to adjust, adapt and succeed at college life.

New Citizen, Determined Student Ziba Naseri, Biology

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When Ziba Naseri left her home in Iran 10 years ago, she already had a bachelor’s degree in biology and the start of a master’s degree under her belt. And she didn’t want to stop there. “From the first minute I came here, that’s what I wanted,” she said. “To go back to school.” Naseri, 35, is now a senior biology major at YSU, but getting to this point wasn’t easy. Settling first in New York, she had to put her education plans on hold to secure her citizenship, tackle the language and become a self-sufficient single mom. Transfer complications and refresher course requirements also led to another setback: she would have to start from scratch to re-earn her bachelor’s degree. “I found this out,” she said, “your plans don’t always work. Your life changes, your ideas change, and all you can do is try to adjust and find the best fit for your situation.” She moved to Hubbard to be closer to relatives, earned a certification from the School of Nuclear Medicine at St. Elizabeth Health Center in 2005, then

Besides scheduling work, school and study time, the couple juggles drama, dance, softball and soccer schedules for their busy school-age children. “I live and die by my schedule,” said Dabney. “I schedule free time, study time, church, time to take the kids to activities, helping them with homework. My schedule is on the refrigerator, and the kids respect it. It may sound restrictive, but it’s the only way.”

Students in their 30s, 40s, 50s and older add new dimensions to the learning environment at YSU, said Jack Fahey, interim vice president of Student Affairs. “They come here with years of life experience, and that affects their values, what’s important to them, their learning styles,” he said. “They add another dimension to the diversity on campus because Jack Fahey they see things so differently.” But Fahey acknowledged that coming back to class for the first time in years, even decades, can be scary. “Probably the most typical concern is a fear of having been out of the student mode for so long. It can be a difficult and challenging transition, especially after 20 or 30 years,” he said. “And of course, technology can be daunting. Math can be daunting.” The Dabney family stays organized by posting report cards, work, school and game schedules on their refrigerator. At right, Austin, 10, reaches into the freezer for a snack.

enrolled at YSU to pursue better career opportunities. She works per diem as a nuclear medicine technologist at TTG Nuclear Solutions and takes classes part-time, juggling her responsibilities to spend as much time as possible with her eight-year-old daughter, Sogol. By necessity, she’s developed her own efficient study methods. “I get most of the notes down during class because I know I won’t have a lot of time later to study,” she explains, adding that her system of absorbing material in class has been a success so far. But despite her best efforts, Naseri still faces challenges daily as a non-native, non-traditional student. “With the language, you always feel like you’re trying to catch up,” she admits. “And I’m the type of person who doesn’t just want to catch up with everyone else – I want to top them!” Scheduling for classes has been a challenge because her other responsibilities afford her limited flexibility. Online courses have been a help, and she hopes to see more distance

learning and online course options offered in the future to accommodate non-traditional students. But the sense of self-fulfillment that comes with being back in college is worth everything else for Naseri, who appreciates that school helps her to stay current with technology and new developments in her field. “Everything is changing constantly, and I want to be part of that process,” she said. “Life’s like that, too; if you want to keep up, you have to keep going.” Living by this philosophy, Naseri makes sure to include time for cooking, basketball and bike riding with her daughter in her already-packed schedule. And she doesn’t plan to slow down. “I would go on to get my master’s and maybe even more. I feel like I’ve been in school forever anyway,” she said, laughing. “And I like it. There are still things I don’t know, words I don’t know, but I’m trying my best and hoping my daughter will see and decide to do the right things in life.” Profile by Andrea Armeni



The university offers a network of support that begins at the one-day student orientation and registration program, better known as SOAR, when every new student is assigned a peer mentor employed by YSU’s Center for Student Progress. For students 25 and over, that peer mentor is also a non-traditional student. Peer mentors keep in touch with their assigned students through postcards, weekly emails and phone calls, said Jonelle Beatrice, center director. When classes start, mentors set up one-on-one and group meetings with their

Did You Know Fast Facts About Non-Traditional Students


At YSU, undergraduate students over 25 years of age are considered “non-traditional” and have comprised about one-third of the student population over the past decade.

In the 2010-11 academic year, the number of nontraditional students at YSU went up 6.6 percent from the previous year, totaling 5,102.

Of students earning bachelor’s degrees between 1998 and 2009, 13.36 percent were over 25 when they first entered YSU.

The median time for non-traditional students to earn a bachelor’s degree at YSU was 8.5 years, compared to 4.33 years for traditional age students.

The maximum time for a non-traditional student to earn a bachelor’s degree at YSU between 1998 and 2008 was 43.67 years; compared to 7.25 years for traditional age students.

Nationally, 23 percent of all undergraduates are 30 or older; 17.3 percent are between 24 and 29.

Looking ahead, enrollment of students 25 to 34 in all degree-granting institutions nationwide is projected to increase 28 percent between 2008 and 2019.

Enrollment of students 35 and over in degreegranting institutions is projected to grow 22 percent nationally between 2008 to 2019.

Nationwide, the number of students 18 to 24 will climb 12 percent between 2008 and 2019. Sources: YSU Institutional Research; Chronicle of Higher Education; National Center for Educational Statistics.


Jonelle Beatrice


assigned students to help them navigate the ins and outs of student life and to find help with any problems that arise. The Center for Student Progress has added several new services and programs since it was founded in 1996, including a collaborative program with the Department of Mathematics and Statistics in which the center sponsors a pair of algebra courses taught by Math faculty and specifically designed for students over 25. Mathematics course requirements have often been a stumbling block for non-traditional students, Beatrice explained, but the new math courses allow them to learn at a slower pace, dramatically increasing their success rate. The Center for Student Progress is a busy place. Last year, its professional and student staff saw more than 4,000 students and recorded 30,000 visits, said Beatrice, and 42 percent of all YSU undergrad students used at least one of its eight services. Statistics prove that the center is an effective tool for student retention, she said, citing a 2010 report that shows an 86-percent retention rate for YSU students who took advantage of center services at least 10 times, compared to a 65-percent national average retention rate for openadmission, 4-year public universities.

Always an avid reader, Cary Dabney was taken by surprise at how much study commitment is required to achieve high grades on a college level. “You might be asked to read a quarter of a book in one night, and this is not casual reading. You might have to read it twice to really understand it,” he said. Generally, he spends two hours of study for every hour of class time, and he doubles his study time for difficult subjects, such as the Introduction to Classic Greek course he took this spring. When he started at YSU, Dabney planned to earn a bachelor’s degree and find work in a church, but his goals have changed. Now he’s determined to work toward a Ph. D. so that he can teach on the college level, and he knows he’ll need top grades to get into graduate school. “It’s so competitive. I’ve got to be the cream of the crop,” he said.

A good share of non-traditional students are also parents, and often they are highly motivated to learn because of their children, said Karen Becker, coordinator of YSU’s Reading and Study Skills Center. Affiliated with the Beeghly College of Education, Counseling and Special Education, the center provides

Karen Becker

courses, workshops and one-on-one tutoring in subjects such as time management, speed reading and computer skills. It served 1,400 students this year. Becker did her doctoral dissertation on non-traditional students attending a community college in the Columbus, Ohio, area, and her research confirmed what she observes daily in her work with students over 25. “The desire to earn a degree is out there for them, but they’re also thinking about their kids. They want to pass along what they’re learning about how to study, what they’re learning in their classes,” she said. “And that’s a great thing, because the best way to learn is when you have to make something make sense to someone else.” On the downside, child care can become an issue for students juggling work and class schedules. It’s not unusual, Becker said, to see a non-traditional student on campus with a baby in arms or in class with a child coloring or playing on the floor nearby. Kids on campus have become more common during daytime hours, she noted, because non-traditional students now take classes at all hours, not just at night. Technology can be another major obstacle for students in their 30s, 40s, Angela Messenger 50s and 60s, even in this age of smart phones and social networking, said Angela Messenger, coordinator of the YSU Writing Center. Funded by the English Department, the center offers individualized assistance with all types of writing assignments, as well as workshops on computer basics such as Microsoft Word, Power Point, YSU’s portal and the Blackboard course management system.


Starting Over at 55 Tom Yeager, Power Plant Technology When Tom Yeager started at YSU last summer as a 55-year-old non-traditional student, he used computers mainly for email. He’d never heard of a flash drive, was perplexed by the university’s website portal and marveled at younger classmates who carried only laptops to class. “No pens, no notebooks, no textbooks,” he said, shaking his head. “I couldn’t understand how they did it.” But Yeager was determined to grasp the technology that seemed to come easy for his 20-something peers. He signed on for computer workshops at the YSU Writing Center and learned to navigate the website, where professors often post grades, the class syllabus and even quizzes. “I also found out that a flash drive is a helpful little tool,” he said with a grin. Yeager is halfway through the classes he needs to earn an associate degree in power plant technology. He chose the field because it’s high paying and more than 50 percent of its work force is eligible for retirement benefits, so there should be plenty of job openings over the next few years. Yeager’s work life has been a roller coaster of highs and lows. He was married at 19, joined the Air Force to support his family, and had three daughters by the time he got out of the service. An uncle advised him to stay in California where he was stationed with the military, but Yeager and his wife, Dianne, moved back to the Mahoning Valley to be close to his nine siblings and their families. He landed a job with Youngstown Sheet and Tube, bought a house in Austintown and was furloughed just one month later, one of the tens of thousands left jobless when the region’s steel industry crumbled in the late 1970s. By 39, Yeager had held more than 30 jobs, many paying little more than minimum wage. He often worked 12 to 16 hours a day, combining two or more part-time positions to make ends meet, but the couple soon found themselves deeply in debt. Through a series of circumstances that Yeager and his wife considered miraculous, he was hired at the General Motors Fabrication Plant in Lordstown in 1995. Overtime was plentiful, and they paid off all their debts, even their mortgage, in less than three years. “I owed everybody; it felt so good to be debt free,” he said. Yeager and his wife were able to build a healthy nest egg, so he took a buyout from GM in 2006 and both planned to work for their inner city Youngstown church as community service volunteers. That dream fell apart, however, when they lost almost all of their savings in the stock market. Yeager found part-time work as a consultant at GM Lordstown and decided to train for a new career in the power plant industry. He expects to graduate next spring. “My competition will be 30 years younger than me,” he acknowledged. “But I’m experienced, fit, and I know how to work with my hands. I think that will give me an advantage.”



Pursuing a Passion for Writing Alanna McBride, Professional Writing and Editing Alanna McBride has a new mantra this year. “I am not a quitter! I am not a quitter!” has been her recurring Facebook status since fall, when the former stay-at-home mom with three children decided to go back to YSU to pursue a college degree. “It was a hard adjustment,” McBride, 34, admitted. “Our daily lives are so busy. I get up, get the kids to school, go to my classes, leave campus to pick up my oldest son and take him to work, pick up my other son and daughter – all three go to different schools. And then I get home and it’s four o’clock and there are dance and violin lessons to get to, and housework. It’s nonstop.” McBride changed the family’s status quo last fall when she enrolled as a full-time student in YSU’s professional writing and editing program. Until then, she’d stayed at home to raise her children – Tyler, 15; Kaileigh, 8; and Dylan, 7 – and managed their home in Austintown while her husband worked, traveling often as a district manager with Acuity Brands, a leader in the lighting industry. “It just hit me. I’d lost myself somewhere along the way and became ‘Mom’ all the time, 24/7. I wasn’t me anymore,” said McBride. “I didn’t go back to school on a whim; it was something I had to do for myself.” Transitioning back to school after some time away wasn’t a new experience for McBride. Fifteen years ago, she started YSU as a business administration major. A single mother at the time, she left without finishing her degree two years later to accept a management position at KB Toys in Boardman, where she worked until marrying her husband, John, in 2001. McBride says it wouldn’t be feasible for her to return to management now. Instead, YSU’s professional writing and editing program is letting her pursue her passion for writing while giving her opportunities to fit her lifestyle. She plans to do freelance technical writing for Acuity Brands after graduating, which would allow her the flexibility to work from home. She also wants to get started on her own “storybook cookbook” soon, combining her talents for creative non-fiction writing with her love for cooking. Despite the challenges she faces balancing housework, homework and family life, and the difficulties of learning new technology for her major, McBride loves being back. As a non-traditional student, she says she’s more focused on learning for its own sake now. “I used to see learning as a way to get a job. Now that I’m older, it’s more about having that education and the ability to do what I want to do, learn what I want to learn – that’s what I appreciate,” she said. And she knows she’s made the right choice by coming back. “I would never change the course of my life. Ever. But I’m doing something for me now, too,” she said. “You really can have it all.” Profile by Andrea Armeni




“Traditional students have tons of experience with computers, but non-traditional students don’t. Some have problems doing even the simplest things,” Messenger said. “We don’t put them down for asking what they think are dumb questions. We have some non-traditional students who bring their laptops in and work right here so they can get help if they need it, and that’s OK. We try to make this a safe, inviting place.” Generally, it takes non-traditional students two to four years longer than traditional-age students to earn a bachelor’s degree, based on YSU data from the past decade analyzed by Becky Geltz, director of Institutional Research.

Dabney takes time to practice math facts with sons Alec, left, and Ayden; and, in the photo below, he tries to coax a smile from their younger brother, Aaron.

In the period she studied , Geltz said, students over 25 – often juggling the responsibilities of school with work, home and raising a family – took about eight years and six months to complete a bachelor’s degree, nearly twice as long as traditional-age students. YSU has programs in place and plans in the works that will help by providing some nontraditional students with “a shorter Becky Geltz path” to a degree, reports Fahey, the interim vice president of Student Affairs. Newcomers to YSU who attended college for a year or two in their youth, or who have had years of successful work experience, may qualify to convert their previous college work and employment into college credits under the General Studies Program. The university’s strategic plan also calls for a substantial increase in YSU’s online and distance learning courses. “That is going to happen very quickly, certainly by fall 2012,” said Fahey. “And we know that people over 30 are the ones who are most interested in online courses. These are people with families, they may be working, and they need to be able to do their school work when they can do it. It doesn’t work for them to be in the same place every Monday.”

As a husband and father, Dabney admits that he sometimes questions whether he’s doing the right thing for his family. There are financial sacrifices. The GI Bill is paying part of his college costs, but he needs loans to pay the rest, and he has several years of school ahead if he sticks to his plan to pursue a Ph. D. “We are by no means swimming in money,” he said. “In these economic times, you’ve got to wonder sometimes.” His wife, April, encourages him to stay the course. “She always asks me, why turn around and swim back when you’ve already made it halfway across,” he said. “I’m blessed to have a wife who supports me.” Knowing that his children are watching his progress is a big motivator for Dabney, too. “They’re proud of their father,” he said. “My 10-year-old son especially. He tells people, ‘My Dad is going to be a professor one day.’”



P U S H I N G T H E M S E LV E S T O “ C R A Z Y L I M I T S ”

They Take Marathon Running to the Extreme


ne trip around the track

inside YSU’s Andrews Student Recreation and Wellness Center on campus amounts to oneeighth of a mile. Now run around that track ... 800 times. Add in some blustery wind, cold temperatures, an occasional rain shower, darkness and choppy dirt trails, and you have some idea what Dan Kuzma’s world is like. That’s what Kuzma, a YSU graduate and manager of the YSU Recycling Program, essentially did last December when he ran the Bartram Forest 100-Mile Race. That’s right – 100 miles through the Bartram State Forest in Milledgeville, Ga. That’s nearly four marathons combined. It’s like running from Youngstown to Erie, Pa. Or from New York to Philadelphia. Or from Miami to Fort Lauderdale and back – twice. Let’s just say it’s a heck of a long way to run. With a time of 19 hours, 24 minutes and 22 seconds, Kuzma finished first in the Georgia race, besting his closest competitor by more than 90 minutes. And, as if that’s not enough, YSU’s own Gary Sexton, director of WYSU-FM, ran in the 100-kilometer (about 62 miles) portion of Taking a spring run on campus are Dan Kuzma, left, and Gary Sexton. the same race, placing second with a time of 11 hours and 18 minutes. “I guess we represented YSU well,” Kuzma said. on the “very hilly” Highland Sky 40-Mile Trail Race in West The Bartram run is one in a series of ultra-marathons Virginia in June. that Kuzma and Sexton have participated in. Between them, Kuzma has also been running since high school and ran they’ve run nearly two dozen 26-mile marathons and even his first marathon in May 2004, the same month he earned a more 5- and 10-kilometer races. Kuzma has now run five bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from YSU. “That 100-mile races, as well as one 70-mile competition and seven kind of got me hooked,” he said. 50-mile races. And Sexton’s resume now includes one 100He’s been upping the ante ever since. mile race, one 100-kilometer run and five 50-mile competiHis latest challenge was a 135-mile race on Jan. 31 in tions. temperatures dipping to -35 F across northern Minnesota, from “I like the challenge,” said Kuzma, 28. “There’s a certain International Falls to near Tower, Minn. Runners followed freedom to being outside and running loose. It’s pretty intersnowmobile trails and pulled sleds containing up to 40 pounds esting what you can ask your body to do.” of survival gear. “I’m in it for the edge – pushing yourself to crazy lim“In a nutshell, it was extremely cold, long and difficult its,” said Sexton, 54. – would you expect anything less?” he said. After about 65 Sexton has been running since high school; his first 50miles, an aching Achilles tendon flared and Kuzma did not mile race came in 2005 as part of a fundraising challenge for finish. WYSU that raised $38,000 for the station. His latest race was “I have not been to New York City or Los Angeles, but I the Land Between the Lakes 50-mile Trail Race in Kentucky have now been to International Falls, and I plan on going back in March. “I was hoping to run under nine hours, and I ran every winter that I can. I will be back.” under eight hours instead,” finishing fifth overall and first in For more details on Kuzma’s trek through the Minnesota the over-40 category, he said. Sexton has now set his sites wilderness, visit



Tim Wagner, Chemistry Professor and Director, YSU Center of Excellence in Materials Science and Engineering Tim Wagner has a standard line for students who feel uncertain about their majors. “I always tell them: ‘Your major will choose you,’” said the YSU chemistry professor and director of the university’s Center of Excellence in Materials Science and Engineering. He speaks from personal experience. Growing up in a small farm town near Madison, Wis., Wagner planned to be a veterinarian and majored in biology as an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin at River Falls. “I didn’t like the biology classes, and I wasn’t thriving,” he recalls. “What I really liked was chemistry.” Wagner’s college advisor helped him to discover his niche – materials research and development – and the exceptional research program at Arizona State University where he earned his Ph.D. in chemistry. “He showed me what an important role an undergraduate advisor can play in a student’s career,” said Wagner. He did postdoctoral research at Northwestern University and served two years as a visiting professor at Illinois Institute of Technology before finding what he calls “a perfect fit” for himself at YSU in 1992. “I like the combination of teaching and research, and our philosophy in the Chemistry Department is very hands-on,” he said, noting that even freshmen get research experience. Wagner has excelled at winning research funds for YSU. He was awarded $2.1 million through Ohio’s Third Frontier Initiative in fiscal 2009 to create the Center for Advanced Materials Analysis, partnering with Fireline TCON (FTi), a Youngstown manufacturing firm. Last year, he received a $1.2 million federal appropriation through a partnership with the Army Research Labs for continued work with FTi. “Everybody’s looking for ways to get research funding. I think the secret to success these days is collaboration and teamwork,” he said, describing another new initiative he’s working on with the Army Labs, Carnegie Mellon, Iowa State and the University of Central Florida. Wagner is married to Patty Wagner, an attorney and chair of YSU’s Department of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences. They live in Boardman with their children, Sarah, 16, and Jake, 14. While he admits to loving research to the point of being a workaholic, Wagner said he also enjoys following his children’s musical and sports activities. “I try never to miss a performance or a ballgame,” he said.




‘Whatever You Do, Teach Your   Grandchildren to Garden’ Q: You describe your involvement in gardening as “a vacuum cleaner.” Would you expand on that? A: All the time I was at YSU, I farmed part time on 100 acres we had in Leetonia – beef cattle, and corn and hay to keep them fed. But when our youngest daughter, who had been my right-hand helper on the farm, went to college, we sold the place and moved to Poland. Then, when I retired from teaching, I made the mistake of taking a Master Gardener class. From then on, I was hooked. That was the vacuum that swept me in. Q: You’re well known in area gardening circles for your dahlias and daffodils. What is it about all those daffodils? A: First of all, I want to see if I can do it. And number two, I haul them to a show to see where I stand. The petals have to overlap in a symmetrical way, you want to see the trumpet part come out just right, and you have to look at color. I’ve had trouble getting my pinks; I just couldn’t get that brilliant color. I emailed a man in New Zealand who had been very successful with this. He said, “Add a little Epsom salt to the soil.” Q: What other gardening tricks do you have up your sleeve?

Hugh Earnhart

YSU Professor Emeritus President, Men’s Garden Clubs of America During his 37 years as faculty in YSU’s Department of History, Hugh Earnhart specialized in the American Civil War, often leading tours to Civil War battlefields and assuming the dress and persona of his hero, Abraham Lincoln. Earnhart retired from YSU in 1995, and in 2002 was presented the Heritage Award, the university’s highest honor. But the multifaceted Earnhart has always been an avid farmer and gardener and is now president of the Gardeners of America/Men’s Garden Clubs of America, a 2,800-member national organization. Also a past president of the Men’s Garden Club of Youngstown, he grows vegetables for food and daffodils and dahlias for their unrivaled beauty.

A: I give a talk on container gardening, and I tell people: “You get out of the top what you put in the bottom.” I tell them to add a little Epsom salt, a little sugar, and a little seaweed, but go easy on the bone meal. Bone meal breaks down so slowly, it often locks up other nutrients the plant needs. Q: The Men’s Garden Club of Youngstown is known for its fabulous bulb plantings in the Fellows Riverside Garden. What other activities is the club engaged in? A: We have a lot of projects, always. Two years ago, several members took on an experimental planting of elm trees down along Western Reserve Road. The specially selected trees are part of a federal/state test planting to determine if they can survive the Dutch elm disease that killed almost all the mature elms in the United States during the 1950s and ’60s. We also operate a greenhouse at the Mahoning County Adult Services Corp. on Bev Road. We start seedlings there in the late winter and sell them as a fundraiser for the club in late May. And we conduct electronic tree surveys that tell us what trees are where, their size and general condition. People are finally becoming aware of how much trees are really worth when you consider the value they provide in energy savings from their shade, carbon offsetting, runoff absorption and aesthetics. Q: You’re a historian. What’s your perspective on the past and current state of gardening and agriculture in this country? A: Whatever you do, teach your grandchildren to garden. When we left the Victory Garden projects of World War II and went through the next five decades, we produced two generations of people who do not know how to plant beans! Now we’re trying to get that back. We have more farmers’ markets, because we don’t know where most of our food comes from. No other country in the world has the soil, the climate, and the space to grow food that we have in the U.S. If we would tie our agriculture to foreign policy, we’d be a lot better off. Essentially, we could trade wheat for oil. That would go a long way toward solving some problems. Interview by Jean Engle



Scholarship to Aid Domestic Violence Victims

For nearly 40 years, YSU alumna Carolyn Bell Murphy secretly endured an abusive marriage. She felt trapped until she completed her bachelor’s degree in 1989. Then finally, confident that the degree would help her to support herself and her family, she was able to break free. Now Murphy has established a YSU scholarship to help other women use education as a means of escape from domestic abuse. The $1,000 Women of Excellence Carolyn Bell Murphy Not Without a Struggle Scholarship is renewable for up to four years. Social service agencies and shelters in the Youngstown-Warren area may refer candidates for the scholarship. “So many women have told me they stayed in abusive relationships because of their lack of skills,” Murphy explained. “That is the reason for the scholarship. I want to help women to improve their skills so that they can become independent of their abusers.” A native of Livingston, Ala., Murphy moved to Youngstown with her husband and four children in the late 1960s. She worked as a day care center administrator and then at General Motors Lordstown Assembly Plant, all the while attending classes at YSU. After earning her degree, she advanced through the ranks at GM to become a supervisor and a safety engineer, retiring in 2003 and relocating to Upper Marlboro, Md., to be closer to family. In 1998, Murphy founded Women of Excellence Not Without a Struggle, a nonprofit organization, to battle domestic violence through the power of education. She is chief executive of the organization, which she said has chapters in Youngstown, Arizona, Maryland, Alabama, the Philippines and El Salvador. It has established scholarships at three universities, including YSU. Women of Excellence is also working to make domestic violence education a part of school curriculums, starting in middle school. “Abuse doesn’t discriminate. It affects all education levels, all income levels,” Murphy said. “We want girls to understand at an early age what love is and what love is not.” For more information about the Women of Excellence Scholarship, or to inquire about establishing a scholarship, contact the YSU Development office, 330-941-3119. (Editor’s Note: Murphy recounts her personal battle with abuse in her book, Women of Excellence, Not Without a Struggle, which also includes lesson plans and advice for incorporating domestic abuse education into school curricula. The book is available at

University Development



The UAW People’s Store, a retail shop inside the General Motors Lordstown plant that awards scholarships annually, presented 12 students with $500 awards this year. In total, the store’s fund has presented $150,000 in scholarships since 1991. YSU President Cynthia E. Anderson and Jim Graham, president of United Auto Workers Local 1112, presented the awards Feb. 3 to the following recipients: Andrea Altier of Niles; Conor and Andrew Banyon, both of McDonald; William Chachko of Fowler; Michael Conway of McDonald; Taylor Daugherty of Youngstown; Dominic Dionisio of Hubbard; Krystle Kimes of Warren; Shelby Kolat of Austintown; Jessica Mittal of Sharpsville, Pa.; Marissa Rose of Niles; and Eric Sargent of Canfield.


Reaches Out to Alumni, Friends YSU students, faculty, staff and community volunteers participated in the annual Phone-A-Thon spring fundraiser, an eight-week effort that runs from early February through April. The callers, who represented 21 departments and colleges on campus, set up shop in the press box at Stambaugh Stadium. Alumni and friends contacted by the Phone-AThon callers pledged $64,000 to the Annual Fund in 2011.




sports news

Diver Takes Home Horizon League Title

Casey Hill

Sophomore diver Casey Hill won the three-meter diving event at the Horizon League Swimming and Diving Championships in Cleveland this season, becoming the first YSU Penguin to take home an individual title from the league championship since 2005. Hill, of Bethlehem, Pa., achieved a six-dive score of 284.20 to win the three-meter, earning the right to represent YSU at the NCAA Zone C Diving Championships for the second consecutive year. She’s also one of only three divers in YSU history to break 300 points in the three-meter dive, scoring 308.80 at this year’s Clarion Diving Invitational.

Brandi Brown Boasts Outstanding Season Penguin forward Brandi Brown of Pomona, Calif., had one of the best seasons in the history of the YSU women’s basketball program in 2010-11. Named Second-Team All-Horizon League after finishing the regular season as the league’s top scorer, Brown averaged 19.9 points overall and 22.6 points during league play. Only two other players in school history have won conference scoring titles. The sophomore was named Horizon League Player of the Week three times during the season and scored 597 points, the fifth-highest single-season total in YSU history. She scored 939 points in her first two Brandi Brown seasons on campus, the highest two-season total ever, and ranks 18th on the Penguins’ all-time scoring list. She also averaged 9.2 rebounds per contest. Brown tied a school record by going 12-for-12 from the free-throw line against UIC on March 3, and she finished the season by making 35 of her final 36 attempts from the charity stripe. She also ranked fourth in the Horizon League in rebounding, fourth in field-goal percentage and tied for tenth place in free-throw percentage. 22


Attention: Penguin Sports Fans There are several ways that Penguin fans can get instant updates on their sports teams: • Follow YSU on twitter@YSUsports. • Become a fan of the Penguins on Facebook at ysusports. • Sign up for text alerts at • And coming soon for smart phones, look for QR codes about the Penguin Club and YSU Athletics.

Penguin Sports News

Bobby Grace

Kaitlyn Griffith

Katrina Rettburg

Ciara Jarrett

Alexis Hall

Five Win Events at Track and Field Championships YSU athletes won five events at the 2011 Horizon League Indoor Track and Field Championships in February, with YSU serving as the official event host. From left, the winning athletes were: Bobby Grace, a sophomore from Middleburg Heights, Ohio, winner of the men’s shot-put with toss of 16.03 meters; Kaitlyn Griffith, a sophomore from Orrville, Ohio, who took second in the weight throw and won the shot-put with a personal-best mark of 14.29 meters; Katrina Rettburg, a freshman from Canton, Ohio, who took home

the league’s Field Athlete Newcomer-of-the-Year honor and won the high-jump competition with a leap of 1.64 meters; Ciara Jarrett, a freshman from Milwaukee, Wis., who won the 200 meters in a time of 24.75 seconds, placed third in the 60 meter with a time of 7.86 seconds and was a member of the second-place 4x400 meter relay team; and Alexis Hall, a senior from Austintown, Ohio, who had a first-place toss of 18.25 meters in the weight throw.

O’Leary Family and Miladores Named OF THE YEAR Drs. Michael and Dianne Miladore and the Marilyn and Robert O’Leary family were honored as the 2011 Penguins of the Year at the annual YSU Scholarship Ring Banquet. The Miladores’ contributions to YSU and the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics include the Miladore Family Penguin Club Loge in Stambaugh Stadium and the Drs. Dianne B. & Michael J. Miladore Scholarship endowment, awarded alternately to male and female student-athletes majoring in premedical studies. Both are lifetime members of the YSU Alumni Association, and they have been active members of the Penguin Club. Michael Miladore has served as a team physician for the Department of Athletics since 1989 and has been a member of the YSU President’s Council since 1997. Dianne Miladore was a member of the Penguin Club Board of Trustees from 1992-97, was appointed to the YSU Board of Trustees by former Governor Bob Taft in 2005, and now serves on the university’s 2011-20 Strategic Planning Committee and the University Housing Corp. The O’Learys are lifelong Penguins sports fans that show their support in numerous ways. They’ve been YSU basketball season-ticket holders for more than 50 years and have held football season tickets for more than 30 years. Robert O’Leary is a member of the Penguin Club Board of Trustees and serves as a trustee for the YSU Foundation. The two are also Champion Level members of the Penguin Club – the highest donor level possible within the organization. In the photos at right, Ron Strollo, executive director of athletics, presents Penguin of the Year awards to Drs. Dianne and Michael Miladore (top photo) and to Marilyn and Robert O’Leary.



Alumni News Nursing Major Chosen for Arizona Alumni Scholarship For the third time in its nine-year existence, the Arizona Alumni Chapter is giving back to YSU. The group has chosen sophomore nursing major Gina Schiavone to receive a $2,000 scholarship. “Many alumni groups just get together to talk and reminisce. This group does something for the future by helping students,” said Atty. David White, ’64, of Scottsdale, Ariz. He and his wife Sally, ’85, are among the Arizona group leaders. Schiavone was eligible to apply for the scholarship because her uncle, Frank Manolio, is a member of the Arizona Alumni Chapter. Scholarship applicants are required to write an essay as part of the qualification process; the selection committee also considers applicants’ financial need and grade-point average. Schiavone says the scholarship will allow her to work less and volunteer more in the medical field. She said she chose nursing because of the promise of patient contact. “As a nurse, you are on a more familiar basis with your patients.” A true “people person,” Schiavone enjoys tutoring in the YSU Center for Student Progress. “I love to help people, and it’s rewarding to see students do well,” she said. The Arizona Alumni Chapter also awarded scholarships in 2005 and 2008. Ed Stizza, ’60, of Fountain Hills, Ariz., is the founder and chair of the scholarship committee. “We’re pleased to do this for YSU – being this many miles away, we still feel a strong connection to the university,” he said. Stizza said he still appreciates the assistantship that allowed him to complete his studies in the 1950s. The chapter’s $20 annual membership dues are used exclusively for the scholarship fund. Prospective new members


A r i zo n a 7 4 8


Arizona is home to 748 YSU alumni, and most live in the metropolitan areas surrounding the state’s two largest cities: Phoenix, with 546 Penguin grads, and Tucson, with 126. The city and metro area surrounding Flagstaff has 49 YSU alumni residents.


Gina Schiavone

are invited to the next meeting on Sunday, May 22 at the Phoenix Country Club. Doors open at 5 p.m., and a buffet dinner will be served at 6 p.m. Dinner is $25. Please RSVP to the Whites,

M A R K YO U R CA L E N DA R Streetscape 2011: Flower Power!

A YSU Alumni group will participate June 4 in Youngstown’s annual beautification effort. Alumni will meet for breakfast at 7:30 a.m., and for lunch after the planting. For details, contact Heather Belgin, 330-9411591 or

Pittsburgh Gallery Crawl

Pittsburgh-area alumni are invited to join a “Gallery Crawl” in the cultural district July 15, starting with light appetizers at one of the museums at 4:30 p.m. The event is free for Alumni Society members, $5 for non-members, and paid reservations are due by July 8. Contact Mollie Hartup, 330-941-3086 or

National Networking Day

Would you like to connect with other Penguins where you live? Why not host a networking reception in your city on July 21, National Networking Day? The YSU Alumni and Events staff will provide the tools you need to make it a success. Alumni living in the Youngstown area are invited to attend the local networking event at 5 p.m. July 21 at Cassese’s MVR. The event is free for Alumni Society members, $5 for non-members, and paid reservations are due July 14. Contact Mollie Hartup, 330-941-3086 or

Alumni News

Take Pete Al o ng ... on Your Summer Vacation!

If you’re taking a summer vacation this year, why not bring Pete along! YSU’s Alumni Society will post your travel photos with Pete on the YSU Alumni and Events Facebook page, and we’ll award a prize to one lucky participant. Visit for a printable version of Pete to include in your travel photos, or use a Pete bobble head or stuffed Pete of your choice. Feel free to include “future Penguins” in your family photos with Pete. Email photos of yourself with Pete to Mollie Hartup in Alumni and Events at by July 31. Emails should include the date and location of photo, the YSU grad’s name, graduation year and city of residence, and the name, address and phone number of the person submitting the photo. By submitting a photo, you are granting YSU permission to publicly display that photo. Alumni who email photos will be included in a prize drawing for a free one-year Alumni Society membership and one free ticket to attend an Alumni Terrace Dinner prior to a home football game of their choice this season. Check YSU’s Alumni & Events Facebook page often to see all the great places Pete visits!

Bitonte College Honors Outstanding Alumni

Nine outstanding alumni were honored when the Dr. Dominic A. and Helen M. Bitonte College of Health and Human Services celebrated its second annual Alumni Recognition Dinner on Feb. 11. The 2010-11 alumni honorees are: • Roseann Baca, ’82, laboratory manager of microbiology,    Humility of Mary Health Services (honored   posthumously). • Judge Gene Donofrio, ’75, Seventh District Court of   Appeals. • Dr. Jacob Haus, ’01, Department of Pathobiology,    Lerner Research Institute, Cleveland Clinic. • Dorothy McLean, ’00, registered nurse and clinical    director, Home Care with Heart. • Mary Angela Miller, ’78, director of nutrition    services, Ohio State University Medical Center. • Carl Nunziato, ’61, retired attorney and Army Major,    former vice president for National City Bank Trust. • Colleen Flynn Paventi, ’01, corporate director of    rehabilitation, Briarfield Health Care Centers. • Jane Peachey, ’96, bereavement supervisor, Hospice   of the Valley. • John J. Yemma, ’61, Dean Emeritus, Bitonte College   (honored posthumously). .

STEM College Honors Six The College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics paid tribute to six individuals at its Annual Awards Dinner Feb. 17. The honorees and the categories in which they were recognized are, from left: Gary Wakeford, outstanding community partner; Dr. Sean McCafferty and Joseph Lepley, both outstanding alumni; STEM Dean Martin Abraham; YSU President Cynthia E. Anderson; Richard Zitto, outstanding education leader; Hollie Kelleher and Benu Mehra, both outstanding young alumni.

Youngstown Day Draws a Crowd in Sarasota, Fla.

The 27th annual Youngstown Day on March 13 in Sarasota, Fla., drew more than 400 YSU alumni and friends. Among those who enjoyed the fun and conversation at this year’s event are, from left, Bill Isaly, ’65, of Palm Harbor, Fla., George Vukovich of Fort Myers Beach, Fla., Frank Valenzisi of Youngstown, and Judge Robert Milich, ’66 of Youngstown.



YSU Foundation

Family’s Scholarship Benefits Students Majoring in Medical Fields Jason Anderson, a senior chemistry major from Austintown who plans to pursue a doctorate in pharmacy, is this year’s recipient of the Dr. Donald R. and Marjorie H. Dockry Memorial Scholarship. Anderson expects to complete his YSU undergraduate degree in the fall. Marjorie Dockry established the scholarship in 2008 at the YSU Foundation to honor the memory of her husband, a well-known Jason Anderson Youngstown-area doctor who had served as a general surgeon on staff at St. Elizabeth Health Center for more than 30 years, then worked in emergency medicine there for another decade. When Mrs. Dockry died in October 2010, the couple’s nine children immediately decided to amend and expand the scholarship endowment to honor both of their parents. Mrs. Dockry was a registered nurse and a YSU alumna, graduating cum laude in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in health education. “We are so thankful to the university for helping our mother to set up the scholarship just the way she wanted it,” said Ann LaCivita, one of the Dockry siblings and a two-time YSU graduate. A YSU scholarship was especially appropri-

ate, she noted, because eight of the nine Dockry children are YSU alumni. “There’s a comfort to knowing that the scholarship will go on forever, a lasting legacy that will honor our mother and father,” she said. “This will endure after all of us are gone. That’s just so heartwarming to us.” The scholarship is awarded annually to a YSU student pursuing a bachelor’s degree and majoring in a medical field, such as nursing or pre-med. Applicants must have completed at least 24 semester hours and have achieved a 3.0 or higher grade point average. Only Austintown Fitch High School graduates are eligible for the award – that was important to Mrs. Dockry, LaCivita explained, because the family lived in Austintown and Dr. Dockry was the Fitch High School team doctor and school physician for many years. The scholarship is non-renewable and can cover the cost of tuition, books and supplies for one year. Applicants must also have completed the Federal Application for Financial Assistance (FAFSA). Financial need will be considered if all other factors are equal. For more information, contact the YSU Foundation, 330-941-3211 or

Spending Tradition Preserves Assets for Future Generations By C. Reid Schmutz, President, YSU Foundation



“scholarship search.”) Looking to the future, we expect to see increased demand for scholarships of all types. Students and their parents are feeling the impact of the recession, some have lost jobs, many work more than one job, and Ohio’s budget problems will likely result in higher tuition. For more information about how to establish a named scholarship endowment or to donate to the YSU Foundation Scholarship Fund, call the Foundation office at 330941-3211. YSU FOUNDATION DISTRIBUTIONS












When Youngstown College President Howard W. Jones collaborated with 37 other community leaders to establish the YSU Foundation in 1967, he challenged the group to ensure that its endowment would endure and remain significant. Today, that principle is known in financial circles as “intergenerational equity.” It means administering and preserving assets Reid Schmutz in trust for future generations. We at the YSU Foundation continue to believe that endowments should maintain their significance, providing at least the same value after 20 or 40 years that they did when first established by the donors. To accomplish that goal, we have a longstanding tradition of spending only current income, a practice that has allowed the Foundation to sustain its support for university programs. Even amid the recent economic recession, the Foundation reduced its contributions by less than 10 percent. We suspect that other institutions of higher learning that are asset-based spenders have been forced to cut distributions much more. The Foundation designates 82 percent of its budget for scholarships, maintaining more than 400 scholarships funds and programmatic endowments. (To search for available scholarships, visit and enter the words

1,000,000 $0 2006

2007 2008 2009 FISCAL YEAR


Through donor contributions, the YSU Foundation is able to provide scholarships and to help fund university programs.

Alumni S T potligh


Around the World with Disney Larry A. Davis ’76 BFA It all started with an order for 50 bronze Mickey Mouse statues. Larry Davis was a graduate student living in California when he landed that freelance job casting figurines for Walt Disney. The YSU alumnus never guessed that the Mickey Mouse assignment would launch an exciting and challenging 25-year career with Disney. Growing up in Salem, Ohio, Davis dreamed of becoming a rock star, and he was the drummer for a local rock band when he enrolled as a freshman biology major at YSU. He had dropped out of school to focus on the band when he discovered his artistic talent by chance – he painted on the walls of the old house that he rented with friends, and people loved his work. “Reality set in. I changed my major to art, went back to school full time, and that’s when college became fun for me,” he said. Davis enjoyed everything he tried – painting, photography, weaving, jewelry making – but he found his niche in sculpture. Richard C. Mitchell, a YSU art professor who is now faculty emeritus, was the mentor who encouraged Davis to go on to graduate school after earning his BFA at YSU in 1976. He applied at several universities – and received some rejections. “Finally, I just packed up my rusty Ford Pinto and drove to California,” he said. He didn’t find out until he arrived that he’d been accepted at California State University’s fine arts graduate program in Long Beach. As a sculptor, Davis liked combining metals and exotic woods, and he became adept at the multi-step bronze-casting process. A Cal State professor who worked for Disney recognized his talent and recruited Davis for the Mickey Mouse figurine project. That job was followed by other work with the entertainment giant, and soon after earning his MFA degree, he was on Disney’s payroll. Davis collaborated on development of the Epcot theme park in Disney World for its opening in 1982, then spent 12 years as a Disney store art director, designing and opening new retail centers in Paris, London, Tokyo, New York and other major cities across the world.

Larry Davis

When Disney sold all its retail stores, Davis was facing a job loss, but he quickly landed another position at Disneyland, renovating retail shops at the theme park, which turned 50 that year. Later, when Disney bought back its retail stores, he created fresh store prototypes and in just 18 months opened 28 new stores in the U.S. and Europe. This January, Davis was promoted to senior show producer for Disney Imagineering, the theme parks’ and resorts’ creative arm, charged with assembling creative teams for new development at the Disneyland Resort properties in Anaheim. “I guess I’ve made myself valuable to the organization,” he said of his Disney career. “It’s a lot of fun, but it’s not all happy-happy. There’s a lot of work, a lot of responsibility.” Davis has always managed to balance his work responsibilities with fun-filled and lucrative side jobs. For example, he created props and worked as an assistant art director for TV ads and sitcoms, furnishing his downtown L.A. loft with their cast offs – kitchen cabinets from the set of the comedy “One Day at a Time,” a table from a Whirlpool ad and carpet from a Kraft Macaroni and Cheese commercial. In the mid ’80s, he was commissioned to create a series of ornate boxes for the King of Saudi Arabia and others involved in a multi-million-dollar mosque-rebuilding project. And he created a 17-foot-tall steel and copper sculpture weighing just over a ton that stands on the plaza outside a new building on Burbank Boulevard in downtown Burbank. Davis, who lives with his wife, Maureen, just north of downtown Los Angeles, still enjoys creating sculptures. His latest work, titled “The Jawless Series,” features fantastical, three-dimensional creatures comprised of bones, machined parts and other materials he’s collected over the years.



Alumni Spotlight

Monitoring African Oil Fields - in Texas

Visit for video on Hollie Kelleher.

Hollie A. Kelleher ’98 BE ExxonMobil has hundreds of oil wells churning out crude on the plains of Chad in north central Africa. The landlocked, mostly undeveloped country could produce a billion barrels of oil over the next 20 years. It’s YSU alumna Hollie Kelleher’s job to see that it works out that way. Kelleher, who earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering at YSU in 1998, is a reservoir simulation engineer for ExxonMobil’s production in Chad. Based at the company’s Upstream Research Co. in Houston, Texas, she works with computer models to determine the most efficient ways to keep the wells performing long-term. “In Chad, what we’re trying to do is to maximize production out to 2030,” she said, describing the massive oil field – 725 wells, each one on an 18-acre site, with a 663-mile pipeline that transports the oil to a marine terminal off the coast of neighboring Cameroon. “My job is trying to figure

Providing a Health Care Wilford Payne was a young man, not long out of graduate school, when he landed the top job at a Pittsburgh nonprofit called Primary Care Health Services. He didn’t yet realize that the small agency had some big problems. Just a month after Payne’s arrival, PCHS ran out of money – and there were other issues, too. “I didn’t know if we could even make payroll,” he recalled. “I was asking myself why I ever took this job.” But the YSU alumnus stayed on, determined to turn things around. Now, 33 years later, PCHS is one of the largest health care providers in the greater Pittsburgh area, with 13 medical offices and 25 physicians on staff. As executive director, Payne has grown the agency’s annual budget from $1 million to a $12 million and stayed true to its mission to serve as a health care safety net for underserved and poor people across Allegheny County, Pa., regardless of their ability to pay. Payne has a heart for the poor and homeless, but he’s a shrewd businessman as well. He’s expanded the agency’s reach by creating innovative new services that benefit the community while producing more revenue for PCHS. For example, the nonprofit bought two apartment buildings to provide temporary housing for 28

Hollie Kelleher

Alumni Spotlight

out where to put the wells, how many wells, and the best way to get the oil and gas out of the ground.” Kelleher hasn’t visited Chad in person yet. The single mother of a 5-year-old son, she prefers to stay at home in Houston when members of her work team travel there, as they will later this year. But she’s had plenty of hands-on experience in her chemical engineering career so far, starting with her first assignment at ExxonMobil when she worked in a laboratory researching core analysis techniques to access hard-to-reach oil and gas locked in sand or rock. A native of Boardman, she came to YSU under the University Scholar program founded by former YSU president Leslie H. Cochran. The program awards full tuition, room and board and a book allowance for four years to students who qualify. Kelleher said the hands-on research experience she had as an undergraduate at YSU proved invaluable when she went on to graduate school at the Georgia Institute of Technology, earning a Ph.D. in 2004. “I remember as an undergrad at YSU, working on a research project on remediation of the Mahoning River with Dr. Jeanette Garr. We went down to the river in old clothes one day and brought up a 50-gallon bucket of nasty, muddy sludge,” she recalled with grin. “It was a fantastic research opportunity, and when I got to

graduate school, I knew what to expect.” Many of her fellow graduate students at Georgia Tech came from Ivy League schools and larger state universities. “Some people were questioning at first, because I was from a school that was not as well known,” Kelleher said, “but my YSU education gave me all the skills I needed to succeed. At first, I think my professors at Georgia Tech were a little surprised at what I knew.” Kelleher focused her Ph. D. research at Georgia Tech on computer microchip fabrication, and the work earned her co-inventor status on five U.S. patents for devices that use air-gap technology, as well as an Intel Ph.D. fellowship. She has authored or co-authored several journal papers and conference presentations on ways to use air as an insulator in computer chips. She lived in Atlanta for six years, and Kelleher says that was long enough to make her an avid NASCAR fan. She tries to attend one or two NASCAR auto races a year and also enjoys outdoor activities, visits to the zoo and the park with her young son. She travels to Northeast Ohio regularly to visit her parents and her sister, Dr. Carrie Priebe, a 1998 graduate of Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine who is now a pediatrician on staff at Akron Children’s Hospital. Wilford Payne

‘Safety Net’ in Pittsburgh

Wilford Payne ’73

female clients trying to kick a drug habit. “It’s working,” he said, explaining that recovering addicts are more successful when they can avoid the neighborhoods where their addictions began. PCHS also operates a 30-day shelter for homeless people trying to get back on their feet and recently began offering federally funded health care services in homeless shelters around the city. Payne grew up on Youngstown’s East Side, the son of a laborer. “We were poor, but there was always food on the table,” he said. His parents were leaders in the community, and his mother was the first African-American to serve as president of the Youngstown Schools PTA and as a judge in the Youngstown Vindicator Spelling Bee. “My parents set a high bar for me,” he said. He went to Bluffton College as a math major right out of high school but quit to join the Air Force. After four years in the service, he enrolled at YSU with the GI Bill to help pay his tuition costs, changed his major and earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology in 1973. Payne got his first experience in community health as a YSU undergrad, working for the nonprofit Model Cities program, and the experience helped him to decide on his career goal. He went on to Ohio State University, where he earned a master’s degree in hospital administration. Now living in Penn Hills, a Pittsburgh suburb, he drives to Youngstown often to visit his mother. His hobby is colProfiles by Cynthia Vinarsky

lecting, framing and selling African-American art. Payne is driven by a sense of obligation to his parents and to other AfricanAmerican leaders of the past. “My generation owes a lot to those who went before us in the Civil Rights movement, all those who created opportunities for us to go to college and do whatever we wanted to do,” he said. “I feel like I want to give back, and this job lets me do that.” OSU recognized him last fall for leadership in health care management, and its alumni society nominated him for Modern Healthcare magazine’s list of the top 25 minority health care executives in the nation. His greatest honor came in 1992 when the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health presented him with The Porter Prize, a national award given annually for exemplary performance in health care. Other recipients include Bill Cosby, U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop and Fred Rogers of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. “To see my name listed with the others in that group is an honor for me that words cannot express,” Payne said.



class 40s John Maluso of Youngstown, ’49 BA, recently presented Mill Creek Metro Parks with a framed copy of an essay that he wrote about the park’s Old Mill when he was a Youngstown College freshman in 1943. A World War II veteran, Maluso also earned a master’s degree in education from Kent State University and a master’s in speech pathology from the University of Pittsburgh. He served 35 years in the Youngstown City Schools as a teacher, a principal of Rayen and Chaney high schools, and director of pupil personnel. He also served eight years on the Youngstown Board of Education. John Maluso

50s Thomas Fabek of Lakewood, Ohio, ’50 AB, was recently recognized by the Korean War National Museum in Chicago for contributions he has made since 2005. Fabek served in the U.S. Navy from 1944 through 1946, and he said he supports the museum because he has friends who served in the Korean War. He retired in 1961 from Ohio Bell, where he had been employed for 40 years. Michael LaCivita of Youngstown, ’51 BSBA, has had his book titled Rag Man, Rag Man, a personal memoir, added to the book collection at the Harry S. Truman Library in Independence, Mo. LaCivita’s book was also one of five books included in the archives of the national Order Sons of Italy in America, which is part of the Immigration History Research Center in Michael LaCivita Minneapolis.

60s Bill Hallock of Havre de Grace, Md., ‘64 BS in education, was inducted into the Harford County Public Schools Hall of Fame. Hallock began his career as a teacher in the Western Reserve and Youngstown City school systems, then joined the Harford County system in Maryland where he




served as a teacher and administrator for 37 years. He currently supervises student teachers and administrative interns for Towson University in Baltimore.

70s Mark A. Schmitt Sr. of Lyndhurst, Ohio, ’74 BS in criminology, retired in January as a senior detective in the Cleveland Heights Police Department where he served for more than 36 years. He spent more than 30 years assigned to the detective bureau, often investigating major cases. Since 1985 he was also an instructor for the Cleveland Heights Police Academy and well known for his crime scene investigation classes. Schmitt has been awarded 10 medals over his career for bravery and performance in the line of duty, including the Combat Cross, the highest honor an in-service police officer can receive. In 2008 he was presented the Cuyahoga County Police Officer of the Year Award. He received awards from every Federal Law Enforcement Agency during his tenure. Angelo L. Ciavarella of Poland, Ohio, ’77 BS in education, is an operating partner in Fulham & Co., a position he has held since 2000. He joined the firm in 1997 as president of the Holman Cooking Equipment Co. in Saco, Maine. Previously he worked for Tenneco Automotive, a $3 billion automotive component division of Tenneco Inc., where he managed operations at facilities in the United States and Australia, and at Roth Steel Tube in Cleveland, where he was a tube mill superintendent. David Z. Paull of Austintown, ’78 BSBA, was named an independent non-executive director for Farmers National Banc Corp. and Farmers National Bank of Canfield. Paul is vice president of human resources operations and labor relations at RTI International Metals, where he has been employed for 32 years. He serves on the board of directors for the Regional Chamber, where he is a member of the executive committee, and of the Humility of Mary Center for Learning.

80s Linda M. (Braund) Clark of Hubbard, ’80 BFA, demonstrated her mural painting techniques on WYTV Channel 33 in a broadcast segment titled

Linda Clark

“The Muralist” that aired Feb. 7. Clark’s business, Mural Mania, creates murals for hospitals, restaurants, day care centers and homes, and her watercolor paintings of homes and landmarks have been displayed at the Butler Institute of American Art and at the Lanterman’s Mill gift shop in Mill Creek Park, Youngstown. Her work can be seen at Greg Haggis of Dublin, Ohio, ‘81 AB in combined social sciences, is senior vice president of finance and chief financial officer for Wendy’s International based in Dublin, Ohio, where he is a recipient of the Dave Thomas Outstanding Management Award for business leadership. Haggis is also treasurer of the Wendy’s International Foundation, a charitable organization that supports Central Ohio groups Greg Haggis that benefit children and families. Alan Papa of Akron, ’82 BSBA, has been named president of Akron General Medical Center, where he previously served as senior vice president of network and service operations for more than eight years. He left that position in 2007 to serve as president and chief operating officer of Mt. Carmel-West, a hospital in the Greater Columbus area. After completing his undergraduate work at YSU, he earned an MBA from Alan Papa Cleveland State University. Dr. Mark L. Billy of Canfield, ’83 BS, is serving a one-year term as president of the Corydon Palmer Dental Society. A graduate of the Ohio State University College of Dentistry, his dental practice is with Mill Creek Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Associates, which has offices in Austintown and Boardman. Billy is chair of the department of dentistry and oral & maxillofacial surgery staff at Northside Medical Center in Youngstown and is Mark Billy

Class Notes

also a staff member at St. Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown and Boardman and Southwoods Surgery Center. He is on the teaching faculty in the general practice residency programs at ValleyCare Health System and St. Elizabeth. Rick Stine of Cincinnati, ‘83 BE in mechanical engineering, was named senior vice president of the newly established components sector for StandardAero in Cincinnati. Previously, he was senior vice president of technical operations for HEICO Corp., and before that he spent 12 years at General Electric Aircraft Engines. Stine earned an MS in aerospace engineering from the University of Cincinnati and an MS in management from Purdue University. Thomas Dangelo of Sylvania, Ohio, ’84 BS in computer science, has been named chief information officer for the law firm of Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP. He will be based in the firm’s Toledo office. Dangelo has more than 25 years experience in technology management, most recently as senior manager of information technology at NSG Group, a leading glass manufacturer. John R. Janoso of Youngstown, ’87 BSAS, ’90 MBA, has been promoted to chief operating officer and acting president of Sharon Regional Health System in Sharon, Pa. He joined Sharon Regional in 1999 as a vice president and chief operating officer and was named vice president of operations, ancillary and support services in 2006. He is board chairman of the Family Service Agency and also serves on John Janoso the boards of the Youngstown Air Reserve Base Community Council and the Lawrence and Mercer County Workforce Investment Board. Christine M. Oliver of East Montpelier, Vt., ’88 BSBA, has been appointed Commissioner of Mental Health for the state of Vermont. She had served as deputy commissioner of the state’s Division of Health Care AdChristine Oliver ministration since 2006, and before that served as executive assistant for Health and Human Services in Ohio and as general counsel for the Ohio Department of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities. She earned her law degree at Ohio State University College of Law.

Change of Guard at Youngstown YMCA

Cynthia A. Tyson of Columbus, ’88 BS in education, has been promoted to a full professor in the College of Education and Human Ecology at Ohio State University. She also received the American EducaCynthia Tyson tional Research Mid-Career Award and has published three books: Handbook of Research in Social Studies Education (Routledge, 2008); Charlotte Huck Children’s Literature: A Brief Guide (McGraw Hill, 2009); and Studying Diversity in Teacher Education (Routledge, 2011).

Ken Rudge of

Poland, ’69 BS in education, retired in December as chief executive officer of the Youngstown YMCA after 20 years at the helm. His replacement is another YSU alumnus, Tim Hilk, ’84 BSBA in marketing management, who was chosen for the top position after a national search.

Ken Rudge

Under Rudge’s leadership, the Youngstown YMCA constructed the $20 million D.D. & Velma Davis Family Branch in Boardman, completed $10 million Tim Hilk in improvements at Camp Fitch and $5 million in expansions and improvements at the downtown central branch.

Marc Malandro of Pittsburgh, ’89 BS, ’91 MS, is a recipient of the 2011 Carnegie Science Award: Catalyst, presented by the Carnegie Science Center. The award recognizes excellence in promoting public awareness of Marc Malandro scientific issues and advancing science in society to bring about measurable, beneficial change. Malandro is Associate Vice Chancellor for Technology Management and Commercialization at the University of Pittsburgh, where he also oversees technology commercialization and licensing for the Office of Technology Management and the Office of Enterprise Development. He is an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Medicine and co-director of the Catalyst Program. After earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at YSU, Malandro earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Florida College of Medicine and completed his postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Human Molecular Genetics at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

Hilk came to Youngstown from the YMCA in Saginaw, Mich., where he was president and chief executive and led a $5 million capital campaign to demolish, remodel and construct new facilities. He began his career as physical aquatic director at the former Eastwood YMCA in Niles

Alumni Author Alan F. Greggo of Mason, Ohio, ’80

BS in law enforcement administration, has co-authored a book titled Retail Security and Loss Prevention Solutions, published by CRC Press and available at The book uses case studies to help illustrate solutions for lossprevention challenges in the retail industry and provides step-by-step instructions for creating a loss prevention department and program.

Alan Greggo

Greggo is the principal, founder and chief executive officer of Profit Rx, a Cincinnati-based asset protection and fraud investigation firm that primarily serves optometrists and opticians. He has 28 years of loss prevention experience and was associate vice president of loss prevention for Luxottica Retail of Cincinnati before founding Profit Rx. SPRING 2011


Class Notes

Braving the Cold in Fargo, N.D.

Samuel Gugliotti of Cleveland, ‘06 BA in chemistry, is a chemist in the diagnostics division of MP Biomedicals in Solon.

Jim Costas of Elk Grove Village, Ill., was looking forward to a

winter conference in sunny Hawaii last December, but when he and fellow sales executives at the Just Born candy company narrowly missed their half-year quota, their conference was relocated to frigid Fargo, N.D. It was all part of a lighthearted company challenge, and Costas insists that the change of venue wasn’t a punishment. Costas said the Just Born employees made the best of their wintry visit and attracted extensive news coverage. “Fargo was tremendous,” he said. “The people there are some of the friendliest people in the United States, and they made us feel like celebrities.” Costas, ’76 BSAS in criminal justice, joined Just Born four and a half years ago and was recently promoted to channel team manager for military, vending, special markets and concessions. His career in the confection business spans 31 years, and in 1996 he was presented the Doc Reed Award, a prestigious honor in the confection industry.

90s Brian Jackson of Liberty, ‘92 BS in computer science, has been named to the board of directors for the Rich Center for Autism at YSU. Jackson has been Brian Jackson chief information officer at Farmers National Bank in Canfield for two years and recently led the bank through a comprehensive core-system conversion, an advanced technology that aims to enhance customerservice capabilities. Maria Carson of Warren, ’93 BSBA in accounting, retired in December from her position as financial director of Catholic Charities Regional Agency, where she served for 47 years. She started there as a secretary, worked as office manager while completing her degree, and had been fiscal director for the agency for the past 14 years. She was awarded the St. Louise de Marillac Award, an honor presented annually to one employee who exemplifies and shows dedication to the mission of Catholic Charities. Thomas Evan Green of Akron, ’93 BSE, was recently certified as a labor and employment law specialist by the Ohio State Bar Association and was named a 2011 Rising Star by Ohio SuperLawyers. He is an attorney with Kastner Westman & Wilkins, a labor and employment law firm in Akron. Green earned his law degree from the ClevelandMarshall College of Law at Cleveland State University. Robert Murnock of Cranberry Township, Pa., ’93 BS in criminal justice, was named regional sales manager for the eastern United States for BI Incorporated, a Boulder, Col., company that provides monitoring technology for community corrections agencies. 32


Murnock has more than 15 years experience in criminal justice. Before joining BI, he spent seven years as an assistant director for county probation offices in Pennsylvania, and he has presented at numerous regional and national trade association workshops.


Robert Murnock

Sarah Holowach Kollat of State College, Pa., ’03 BS in psychology, was recently promoted to senior instructor in Penn State University’s Department of Human Development and Family Studies. Sarah earned a Ph.D. in developmental psychology from Penn State in 2007. Nick Geidner of Columbus, ’05 BA in telecommunications, will join the faculty at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville this summer as an assistant professor in the School of Journalism and Nick Geidner Electronic Media. Geidner expects to complete his Ph.D. in mass communication at Ohio State University in June; he also earned a master’s degree in telecommunications at Ball State University. While studying at YSU he worked as a news director, promotions producer and news photographer at WYTV. He has published six scholarly articles, has four more under review, and has made nine conference presentations.

Kevin M. Freaney of Atlanta, Ga., ‘07 Samuel Gugliotti MBA, has been promoted to territory representative in a new division of EMC Corp., a leading information infrastructure technology company. Freaney joined the company two and a half years ago as an inside sales representative. He was a graduKevin Freaney ate assistant in the Accounting and Finance department while he was pursuing his MBA at YSU. Mary Corda of Akron, ‘10 BFA in studio art/ graphic design, has joined Marketing Resources & Results in Hudson, Ohio, as a graphic designer. As a student she was selected to create a graphic design for YSU’s College of Mary Corda Fine and Performing Arts, and she produced publications for several campus departments while working as a student employee in the Media and Academic Computing office.

GOT GOOD NEWS? Let YSU Magazine include your news in Class Notes. When you write, please include your YSU graduation year and degree, city of residence, phone number and email address. We’d like to include your photograph, too, if you’ll email it as a high-resolution jpeg. Email class notes to: or mail to: YSU Marketing and Communications, Youngstown State University, One University Plaza, Youngstown, OH 44555.

Penguin Plates. Penguin Pride. The YSU Alumni Society invites you to become part of the fleet! Purchase a YSU license plate when you renew your vehicle registration. The cost is $50 in addition to the regular fee. Of that, the YSU Foundation receives $25, all of which goes towards scholarships for YSU students. Join the 427 drivers who are already taking their YSU alumni pride on the road.

To purchase your YSU license plates online, visit the BMV website,; BMV deputy registrar offices around the state also accept orders for special plates. For general questions about the license plate program, please call the Office of Alumni and Events Management at 330-941-3497.



Office of University Development One University Plaza Youngstown, Ohio 44555-0001

First Penguin Golf Team, 1946 Members of the first Youngstown College men’s golf team posed for this 1946 photograph on the steps of a Wick Avenue mansion that was also used for classroom space. Joseph Smith, center, was the golf coach, as well as dean of men, professor of economics and head of social sciences. In Smith’s six years as coach, the golf team achieved a 52-17 win-loss record. Women were limited to physical education classes and intramural sports until women’s varsity sports became part of YSU’s athletic program in the mid-1970s. Women’s golf, established in 1996, is now one of 10 intercollegiate sports YSU offers for women.








(To browse additional historical photographs in the University Archives at Maag Library, visit


Send your letters to: or YSU Office of Marketing and Communications, One University Plaza, Youngstown, OH 44555.

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