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ON THE COVER YSU's Department of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences has alumni in leadership positions at law enforcement agencies across the region and around the country, as represented by this collage of police department patches on display at the department’s offices in Cushwa Hall. Read more in our cover story, starting on Page 10.

YSU President

Cynthia E. Anderson, ’73

YSU Board of Trustees Chair Sudershan K. Garg Vice Chair John R. Jakubek, ’79 Millicent Counts, ’63 Delores Crawford, ’68 David C. Deibel, ’75 Harry Meshel, ’49 Leonard Schiavone Scott R. Schulick, ’94, ’96 Carole S. Weimer, ’89 Secretary Franklin S. Bennett Jr. Student Trustee Ryan Meditz Joshua Michael Prest


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

Photographer Bruce Palmer

Graduate Assistant

Robert Merz

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

Jean Engle, ’86

Sports Contributor

Trevor Parks

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 2152-3754), Issue 12 online edition, Spring 2012, is published quarterly by the YSU Office of Marketing and Communications, One University Plaza, Youngstown, OH 44555. Periodicals Postage Paid at Youngstown, Ohio.

Azalea Crossing Bright pink azaleas and other flowering spring plants brighten the walkways for students outside Kilcawley Center.

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 email universitymagazine@ 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.

in this




Around Campus – The latest in campus news and photos.


Faculty Photo Feature – Introducing Stephen Chalmers, an assistant professor of photography whose recent photo exhibition has gained international notice.


Student Success Stories – A regular feature highlighting the achievements of YSU students.


COVER STORY: Criminal Justice Grads are Top Cops Here and Abroad – YSU’s Department of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences has an impressive list of alumni, including some of the region’s “top cops.” We get the facts on law enforcement education and training at YSU and profile some of the program’s proud graduates.

18 26 27

with Love – Two Russian 17 ToboysRussia came to the U.S. in wheelchairs

and left walking, thanks to the director of Protestant Campus Ministries at YSU.

Entrepreneurs Reflect Spirit of ‘Grow Home’ – Read about two entrepreneurs, both YSU grads, whose businesses are flourishing in the Mahoning Valley. Hospice Care Study Gets National Attention – Work by a YSU gerontology professor may lead to a larger national study. Alumni Spotlight – Profiles of three exceptional YSU alumni: Peyman Givi, professor and rocket scientist, ’80; Adam Post, artist and sculptor, ’06; and Amy Beth Williams, ’97, screenplay writer and marketing executive.

DEPARTMENTS 2 20 22 23

President’s Message Penguin Sports News YSU Foundation University Development 24 Alumni News 30 Class Notes



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President’s Message

Alumni: YSU’s link to the world

Cynthia E. Anderson President

In my nearly two years as president of YSU, I have spent much time meeting alumni – from Youngstown to Las Vegas, Sarasota to Phoenix. Everywhere I go, people want to know about their alma mater, what’s new, how the campus has changed. And they love – absolutely love – to tell stories, share memories and talk about how Youngstown State has influenced their lives. Listening to these stories and watching the faces of alumni as they recall their time at YSU is one of the best parts of my job. YSU today boasts more than 93,000 alumni in 65 countries across the world, from Australia, Laos and Kenya to Venezuela, South Korea and the Netherlands. Ninety-four alumni live in Thailand, 25 in India, 19 in Greece, 18 in Taiwan and 16 in Saudi Arabia. We have graduates in all 50 states, including more than 3,000 in Florida, nearly 1,300 in Texas and about 1,200 in North Carolina. We even have 39 graduates in Hawaii and 35 in Alaska. There’s virtually no place in the world you can go where you can’t find a Penguin – a YSU Penguin, that is. One of the purposes of this magazine is to keep all of our diverse alumni up-to-date on their alma mater and to allow graduates to share their successes and tell their stories. In this edition, in particular, we feature an outstanding group of alumni from our criminal justice program (Pages 10-16), who today are making their mark on law enforcement around the world. I also invite you to read the Alumni Spotlight features (Pages 27-29) and Class Notes (pages 30-32). The stories of alumni success are amazing. Please consider becoming more involved in your YSU Alumni Society. Alumni make up the history and tradition of the university and can be a voice to shape YSU’s vision. I invite you to invest in the university’s future by reconnecting and joining the Alumni Society. Find out more about the “Your Membership Matters” campaign on the inside back cover of this magazine. Nearly 1,300 students walked across the stage May 19 at commencement in Beeghly Center and joined the ranks of proud YSU graduates. The education and experiences, as well as the friendships, that they received while at YSU will carry them far and will last a lifetime, no matter where they are in the world.

Have a great summer!


Cynthia E. Anderson President 2


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Auditoriums to Get a Facelift



Auditoriums in DeBartolo and Cushwa halls will be getting major overhauls starting this spring, the first phase of an effort to improve academic buildings across campus. “Over the course of the next several months, we are embarking on a plan that will result in noticeable improvements to the living and learning environment in our academic buildings,” said Gene Grilli, vice president for Finance and Administration. Two auditoriums in Cushwa and one in DeBartolo will undergo major renovations,




including new seating, wall and floor finishes, technology and audio-visual equipment and lighting. An auditorium in Ward Beecher Hall will also receive technology and cosmetic upgrades. The projects are funded through a bond issue approved by the YSU Board of Trustees. Among the other construction projects on tap for this summer: • Improvements to nearly 40 small practice rooms in Bliss Hall. • Upgrades to two elevators in Cushwa Hall and one in Kilcawley House. • The final phase of improvements to the M-2 Lincoln parking deck. • Completion of Pollock House, which is being refurbished as the home for the university president. • Construction of athletic fields (soccer/ softball/track) west of Fifth Avenue across from Stambaugh Stadium.

General chemistry class, Cushwa Hall

Leck, McBriarty Receive Heritage Awards Glorianne Leck, retired professor, and Charles McBriarty, retired dean and vice president of Student Affairs, were presented Heritage Awards, the university’s most prestigious honor for former faculty and administrative staff. The awards, presented at a dinner May 4, are determined annually by a 16-member committee of faculty, staff, administrators, alumni and retirees. Leck came to YSU in 1974 as an associate professor of Education and was promoted to professor Glorianne Leck in 1980. During her 30-year tenure, she served as acting chair and chair of the Department of Foundations of Education, and chair of the YSU OEA Grievance Committee, Graduate Council and Graduate School Policy Committee. The YSU Board of Trustees conferred upon Leck the title of Faculty Emeritus in recognition of her long and meritorious service prior to retirement in 2002. McBriarty, known as Charlie, also joined the university in 1974 as dean of Student Affairs. Eventually becoming vice president for Student Affairs, he served under presidents Coffelt, Humphrey and Cochran, and helped shape the development of the student affairs area. Later, he was appointed special assistant to the president, the position he held until his retirement in 2000. Upon his retirement, following 26 years of service, the Board of Trustees bestowed upon McBriarty the title of Administrator Emeritus for his Charles McBriarty long and outstanding service to the university.

Campus to Open June 18 for

Crash Day”

What if prospective students of all ages had a day to tour the YSU campus, sit in on some classes, try out the Rec Center and sample the food for free? That’s what Crash Day is all about – a day for anyone considering college, along with their parents and friends, to explore, ask questions and generally enjoy the campus atmosphere. Set for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday, June 18, it’s a new event open to prospective traditional-age students and non-traditional students alike. Starting off with a meet-and-greet at YSU’s new WATTS center, participants can also sit in on classes in a variety of subjects, eat lunch at one of four campus dining venues, work out at the Andrews Student Recreation and Wellness Center, take a bus tour through Mill Creek Park or play video games at Kilcawley Center. Those attending may also enter to win one of three $1,500 YSU scholarships to be awarded at the end of the day. Registration is requested to accommodate planning for food and refreshments. Sign up at or contact the Office of the Registrar, 330-941-3178, for more information.



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Cooper to Umpire Little League World Series

Chet Cooper

Biology professor and veteran baseball umpire Chet Cooper has been chosen to officiate the Little League World Series in South Williamsport, Pa., this summer, fulfilling a longtime dream. Appointment to the umpire crew is the highest honor Little League Baseball and Softball can bestow on an umpire, according to a league press release. Cooper is scheduled to officiate games the week of Aug. 16 through 26. The Little League World Series is one of eight sponsored by Little League International at different levels for both baseball and softball. Cooper describes his selection as “icing on the cake” for an umpire. “I am overwhelmed not only to be given this opportunity, but also to work with literally a world-class group of individuals,” he said. “To be included among these outstanding umpires is truly humbling and thrilling at the same time.” Cooper began his career as an umpire about 18 years ago, and since then he has umpired as many as 70 or 80 Little League, high school and college-level games a year. In 2005, Cooper was the home plate umpire for the Little League Mid-West Regional championship game that was televised on ESPN.

Program Enhances Student Success

University officials are encouraged by the preliminary results of an “early alert” program called Starfish that aims to improve the academic success and retention of students, a cornerstone of YSU’s 2020 Strategic Plan. The program helps identify students who are not progressing satisfactorily in a class, directing them to an appropriate campus service for help. “This is the most delightful way I have seen to give students holistic support from faculty, advisors, administration and campus support centers,” said Jonelle Beatrice, associate executive director of Student Life. Starfish was introduced this spring semester, and by next spring the system will be in place for all courses on campus. “With state funding relying more heavily on retention and graduation rates, more and more universities have been looking into this type of retention software,” said Jeanne Herman, YSU registrar. Before implementation of Starfish, Beatrice said, the Center for Student Progress struggled to form an effective student-faculty-advisor-CSP communication network. The new software has resulted in a 100 percent participation rate by faculty in the pilot courses, she said, and a high percentage of positive student responses.

Judy and Reid Schmutz

Reid and Judy Schmutz: Friends of the University Reid and Judy Schmutz, lifelong Youngstown residents and YSU supporters, were presented with this year’s YSU Friends of the University Award in recognition of their leadership and contributions to YSU and the community. Reid Schmutz, a graduate of Brown University, retired this year as president of the YSU Foundation, where he helped grow the foundation’s assets to more than $180 million and helped implement the YSU University Scholars program. Previously, he worked 25 years at the Standard Slag Company, leaving in 1989 as vice president of operations. He also served as president of the Mahoning Valley Historical Society, the Youngstown Rotary Club and the YSU Penguin Club. He is a member of the 1985 inaugural class of Leadership Mahoning Valley. Judy Schmutz serves on the board of the Mahoning County Libraries and is a sustaining member of the Junior League of Youngstown. She previously served on the board of the Boardman Methodist Preschool and the Boardman PTA. In 1997, after 22 years of service, she received a lifetime 4


membership in the Ohio PTA. Together, they are founding members of the Boardman High School Swim Team Boosters and supporters of YSU Mad about The Arts, the Watson and Tressel Training Site, the Schmutz Family Lobby in Stambaugh Stadium, and the Schmutz Family Classroom in Williamson Hall. Endowments established are the Schmutz Family Scholarship Fund and the Schmutz Athletic Facilities Support Fund.

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Turtle Research Studies Muscle Contraction

Biological sciences graduate student Brett Aiello has been studying the movements and muscle actions of turtles for nearly a year and is already coming to discoveries he did not expect to find. “These guys are a lot faster than their reputation gives them credit for,” Aiello said about the four South Carolina native turtles he’s using for his master’s thesis research. Aiello, of Poland, Ohio, is working with Michael Butcher, assistant professor of Biological Sciences, on research that investigates the muscle contraction activity of the turtles. Butcher and Aiello are using the data to evaluate how the limb muscles affect bone strain and movement, an area that is not well understood. Butcher said the research makes a significant contribution to understanding the evolution of bone loading from animals of a sprawling position, like turtles, to those in upright stance. It could also ultimately lead biomedical engineers to design new materials for prosthetics or develop other bone repair and reinforcement materials. The team plans to publish an article detailing the research in the Journal of Experimental Biology. Aiello, who earned his bachelor’s degree in zoology

College in ool High Sch

Michael Butcher, Brett Aiello and one of their turtles.

from Miami University of Ohio, said he’s worked with birds before but never with live turtles. “Turtles have more personality than birds,” he said. “It’s rare you get to work hands-on with any live animals, though, so I’ve Visit for been grateful for the video of the turtle research. opportunity here.”

Program Growing Fast

Fifty-six teachers from 29 Mahoning Valley high schools took part in YSU’s College in High School this year, a program that has more than tripled in size since it began six years ago. “YSU is committed to providing programs necessary to ensure student success and to increase education levels in the region, and College in High School is a prime example of an initiative that does just that,” said YSU President Cynthia E. Anderson. CHS allows qualified high school juniors and seniors to earn college credit while taking classes in their home high schools as part of the regular school day. The classes, which range from pre-calculus and general chemistry to American literature and physics, are modeled after first-year classes at YSU and are taught by high school teachers with the oversight of YSU faculty. Credits earned are transferable to any Ohio public university. This year, 394 students from 29 school districts are enrolled in nearly 2,600 credit hours in CHS classes. That’s up from 104 students in 12 school districts and 600 credit hours just two years ago. The number of high school teachers participating in CHS has increased from 18 to 64 in two years. Teachers are considered part-time YSU faculty; they do not, however, receive any additional compensation. “Research shows that these types of programs have a positive effect, not only on high school graduation rates, but also on college enrollment rates, college grades and progress toward obtaining a college degree,” said Karla Krodel, director of YSU Metro Credit, which oversees CHS.

Melnick Museum Launches    Channel The Rose Melnick Medical Museum at YSU recently launched a YouTube channel with videos highlighting exhibits in the museum. Videos were filmed by Dan McCormick in YSU’s Department of Media and Academic Computing and feature Cassie Nespor, museum curator, explaining the history of various items in the museum. Video topics include the museum’s wooden X-ray machine, amputation kits, an iron lung and a 19th century tapeworm remedy. Founded in 1985 by Youngstown radiologist John C. Melnick, the museum was named in honor of Melnick’s mother, Rose, and is located in Melnick Hall on the YSU campus. It houses thousands of medical artifacts documenting the history of medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and nursing with a local focus. Visit for video of the Melnick Museum.



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Companies Donate Equipment for Art-Engineering Collaboration

Two local companies have donated equipment for student projects in the university’s Collaborative Learning Laboratory, or CoLab, a joint venture between YSU’s fine arts and engineering programs in the colleges of Fine & Performing Arts and STEM. Ajax Tocco Magnethermic Corp. of Warren designed and installed a new induction furnace for use by the departments of Art and Mechanical Engineering Technology. Students and faculty are using the furnace to collaborate on several projects, including creation of metal sculptures and machine parts. The furnace and installation are valued at about $150,000. Ajax Tocco Molten metal is poured from a furnace during a news conference in designs and manufactures induction heating YSU’s Collaborative Learning Lab. and melting equipment for various industries and CoLab was created in Bliss Hall four years ago by applications throughout the world. Greg Moring, professor of Art, and Brian Vuksanovich, Fireline, Inc. of Youngstown provided the metal vessels assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering Technology, for the high-temperature furnace and has made a committo bring students from the two disciplines together in a ment to YSU to continue supplying them as needed. Fireline cross-disciplinary learning environment. Inc. manufactures high-performance ceramic shapes used in a variety of molten metal applications.

English Festival Celebrates 34 Years

Gary Salvner was there when it all began. In the fall of 1977, fresh out of the University of Michigan and a new member of the YSU English faculty, Salvner joined fellow professors James Houck, Gary Salvner Janet Knapp, Thomas and Carol Gay in a small conference room to begin to create one of the most successful and enduring events in the university’s history – the YSU English Festival. The festival celebrated its 34th year in March, with Salvner as the only member of the founding committee still actively involved in the event. Over the course of 34 years, nearly 100,000 students from more than 300 junior and senior high schools came to the YSU campus from across the region and from as far away as Kentucky and Michigan to participate. The festival has earned its share of national recognition, including the Intellectual Freedom Award from the National Council of Teachers of English, and five endowments have been created to help finance the event. “We always wanted this to be a celebration of reading and writing,” Salvner said. “It’s a euphemism, I know, but we wanted to encourage and reward reading and writing among young people. And I think we have been pretty successful at doing just that.” Salvner retires this summer after 35 years at YSU, including the last 14 years as chair of the English Department, but he will continue to co-chair the English Festival with Associate Professor Jeff Buchanan. 6


Lincoln Avenue Garden Spot

Celebrating the creation of a new garden recently on Lincoln Avenue on the YSU campus are, from left, Sarah Springston of East Liverpool, a senior environmental sciences major, and Derek Scott of Cortland, a junior environmental sciences major. They also serve as treasurer and president, respectively, of the Youngstown Environmental Studies Society. Formerly the site of the Sacherman House, YSU planted seven trees and several shrubs on the site after workers demolished the house. Longer-term plans include installation of a walkway and a seating area. Carol Sacherman and members of the Campus Beautification Working Group and the YSU Campus Grounds Department were on hand for the planting, which also celebrated National Arbor Day and YSU’s third consecutive certification as a Tree Campus USA.


If you cannot see it, you have to imagine it. That’s the goal of YSU photography assistant professor Stephen Chalmers. He looks for essence. Chalmers believes a landscape can heal, but that spaces sometimes remain “psychologically charged.” That is the premise behind his recent photographic project, “Unmarked,” which has been featured on National Public Radio, in The Daily Mail in the United Kingdom and in Photo ART magazine in Thailand. Chalmers’ photographs show apparently tranquil landscapes that are actually “dump sites,” areas where murderers disposed of their victims. The collection of about 250 photographs is Chalmers’ response to the way the news media presents murder to the masses. “They elevate the perpetrator; I never mention the murderers,” he said. “The only information people have is to see a series of landscape images. Hopefully, they find them beautiful and quiet, then slowly realize by seeing the names and ages of the victims, that the work has a second level to it.” His expository journey began in 2006, after a hike with a girlfriend through Washington State’s Tiger Mountain State Forest. They unwittingly trekked through the graveyard of Ted Bundy’s victims. “That changed our understanding of what was a beautiful, romantic day,” said Chalmers.

Chalmers took an opportunity, while visiting Boston later the same year, to photograph sites where some of the Boston Strangler’s victims had been left. He found they did not have the same aura as Tiger Mountain, so he began researching pastoral locations that he felt might share the Tiger Mountain aesthetic. This theme fueled other ventures between 2000 and 2005, including photos of makeshift memorials for deceased auto accident victims, and most recently, a project documenting vacant lots across the Mahoning Valley where family homes once stood. “There is a sort of energy on these sites from what is no longer there,” said Chalmers. He will complete the project this fall. Chalmers earned bachelor’s degrees in fine art photography and psychology from the University of Louisville in 1993 and a master’s in cinema and photography from Southern Illinois University in 1999. He has works on display at the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, the Polaroid Collection in Waltham, Mass., and the J. Paul Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles, to name just a few. Recent exhibitions of his work include the Kala Art Institute in Berkley, Calif., and the Toot Yung Gallery in Bangkok. To view Chalmers’ photographs, visit Profile by Robert Merz



s s e c c Su STUDENT

Highlighting the achievements of exceptional YSU students


Biology Major Creates Worldwide Backup Buzz

Ismail Jadun wanted to get noticed, and he did – from the United States to Guam. A junior biology student at YSU, Jadun was looking for a way to showcase his small web design and marketing firm called “614a.” After striking out in his attempts to help some local organizations upgrade their websites, he decided to “go bigger.” The result: World Backup Day. Jadun, who lives in Canfield, Ohio, came up with the idea to create a day in which computer users around the world would backup their important files. He created a Twitter feed and a website, and World Backup Day was launched on March 31, 2011 – the day before April Fools’ Day. Jadun celebrated the second World Backup Day on March 31, 2012. “So far, it’s been quite the success in the backup industry,” said Jadun, who has a partner in Australia working with him. He’s been quoted in articles in MSNBC, CNET, Engadget,

Information Week and even Guam’s News Network, and has been interviewed by reporters from Australia to Brazil. He even lined up sponsors such as major storage and backup companies Backblaze, Western Digital, MiMedia, LaCie and Idealstar. For more on Jadun’s World Backup Day, visit his website at

Grad Student Earns Regional Honor

It’s a long way from Australia to YSU, but graduate student Olivia Arnold says she’s glad she made the trip. Arnold, now pursuing a master’s degree in Health and Human Services with a concentration in health care promotion, was presented the 2011 Outstanding Graduate Student Award by the Great Lakes Association of College and University Housing Officers. Only one nominee in each of four states – Ohio, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan – is selected for the honor annually. As a graduate assistant, Arnold helped to implement campus programs for Safer Sex Week and Alcohol Awareness Week. She researched ways university programs can affect the health and well-being of international students, and her master’s thesis examines how sleep impacts the academic success of undergraduates. Arnold came to YSU as an undergraduate in 2006 when she was recruited to join the YSU swim team. She set school records in swimming and earned 2008/2009 Student Athlete of the Year accolades. Arnold completed her master’s degree this spring.

Team Excels in Cyber Defense Contest

Students representing YSU brought home a second-place finish in the state qualifier for the 2012 Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition. Open to all two- and four-year colleges and universities, the competition tests students’ ability to operate, secure, manage and maintain a corporate network. Team members and their majors are: Steve Mesik, Austintown, computer information systems; Johnathan Eddy, Canfield, computer information systems; Michael Caldwell, Champion, computer information systems; Nathan Miller, team captain, East Palestine, graduate student in computing 8


and information systems; Chris Lozano, Petersburg, Ohio, information technology; Michael Chuey, North Lima, information technology; Jacob Swank, Hubbard, information technology; and Mike Harris, Niles, computer information systems. Teams start with identical hardware and software and are scored on their ability to detect and respond to outside threats, maintain services and respond to requests. A volunteer group of security professionals attempts to breach team defenses so that the students can match their defensive skills against live opponents.

Student Success

Nursing Student Chosen for Summer Externship

Junior nursing student Benjamin Roberts will be spending his summer in Houston at Methodist Hospital, one of the world’s largest medical centers, as part of its Methodist Advancement into Professional Practice program. Roberts, one of 16 externs chosen from across the United States for the eight-week, paid summer position, will work with organ transplant patients and their families. In addition, he will conduct nursing research aimed at improving patient outcomes. Roberts said he was nervous but confident during the qualification interviews. “I just kept telling myself that the YSU nursing program has given me the tools to think critically for any scenario.” He is the recipient of the Traditional Nursing Student Scholarship from the Ohio Nurses Association, the Maria Loconte Hackman Nursing Scholarship, the Mary E. Pinney Nursing Scholarship, the Hynes-Finnegan Scholarship, the Health O-Rama Scholarship through the Bitonte College of Health and Human Services and the YSU Trustee’s Scholarship for Graduating Valedictorian from Jackson-Milton High School. In his spare time, Roberts volunteers at Trumbull Memorial Hospital in Warren and enjoys travel. In April, he was scheduled to participate in a medical mission trip to Baja, Calif., to work with the indigent Mexican population there.

Religious Studies Major Featured in Podcast YSU junior Cary Dabney was featured in a recent online episode of “Say Something,” a podcast of the internationally-read publication The Chronicle of Higher Education. In the segment, Dabney shared a story about a life-changing experience – one that led to his passion for working in the field of religious studies. The episode features a sound clip of Dabney relating an incident that happened to him during the 9/11 tragedy. Dabney was also featured in the spring 2011 edition of YSU Magazine. He and his family were profiled as part of a cover story on non-traditional students at YSU.

Business Students Attend International Forum Alexandria Airhart, an advertising and public relations major from Warren, and Kevin Bell, an accounting major from Austintown, represented YSU’s Williamson College of Business Administration at the Beta Gamma Sigma Student Leadership Forum in Charleston, S.C. The event brings together student members from colleges and universities around the world for a chance to improve their leadership skills with team-building exercises, social activities, networking and other activities. Membership in Beta Gamma Sigma is the highest recognition a business student can receive in an undergraduate or master’s program at a school accredited by AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Only 5 percent of business schools worldwide have AACSB accreditation. Since the YSU Beta Gamma Sigma chapter was installed in 2000, 491 business students have been inducted into the organization.

Alexandria Airhart

Kevin Bell



YSU grads who recently landed three of the top law enforcement positions in the Mahoning Valley are, from left, Youngstown Police Chief Rod Foley, YSU Police Chief John Beshara and Mahoning County Sheriff-Elect Jerry Greene.



CRIMINAL JUSTICE GRADS: Top Cops Here and Abroad By Cynthia Vinarsky

John Beshara, Rod Foley and Jerry Greene have been buddies since high school. They all grew up in Youngstown, earned criminal justice degrees at YSU, started careers as police officers and worked their way up into management. Now, they’ve landed three of the Mahoning Valley’s top law enforcement jobs: Beshara is YSU’s new police chief; Foley took over as chief of the Youngstown Police Department in September; and Mahoning County Sheriff-elect Greene takes office in January. For Patricia Wagner, who chairs YSU’s Department of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences, it’s no surprise that the Valley’s top cops are Penguin alumni. In fact, their predecessors – retired YSU Chief Jack Gocala, retired YPD Chief Jimmy Hughes, and soon-to-be-retired Mahoning County Sheriff Randall Wellington – are also YSU grads, reflecting the longevity of the university’s influence on law enforcement agencies across the region. “If you look around at the upper echelon of criminal justice in this area – so many of the police chiefs, the top people in the courts and in corrections – they all have one thing in common, and that’s YSU,” she said. “YSU’s criminal justice department has a huge footprint in this community.” YSU criminal justice grads are also making their mark nationally, even internationally, serving in high profile, leadership roles in other local, state and federal police agencies. Some examples: • Len DeCarlo, ’75, is on the front lines of the “war on terror” as a supervisor for the Federal Air Marshals Service, an arm of the Department of Homeland Security. Previously, he guarded five U.S. presidents during his 20 years as an agent for the Secret Service. • FBI assistant special agent Robert Clark, ’99 and ’01, supervises 300 agents and task force officers for the agency in Los Angeles. He started his career as a Youngstown police officer and later tracked down violent gang members as part of an international FBI unit. • Dwight Pierce, ’99, is stationed in Afghanistan as a special agent for the U.S. State Department. He protects ambassadors, embassy personnel and other

VIPs in a job that has taken him all over the world. YSU’s position in the center of northern Ohio’s “legal and correctional core” has helped the criminal justice program to flourish, said Wagner, because it means opportunities for internships and other work experiences, for student and faculty research, and of course, for jobs. “Justice is a product, and people don’t realize how much we have going on here related to justice. There is no better place than YSU to research or train in the field of criminal justice,” Patricia Wagner she said. “The Mahoning Valley is the home of two federal courthouses, the seat of the Ohio Seventh District Court of Appeals, more than a dozen state and local trial courts, five major detention centers (including the state’s only supermax prison), and more than 50 local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.” The department has a robust internship program that encourages students to find practical work experience in their chosen field of law enforcement, and classes often visit courtrooms and tour correctional institutions. “We want them to have hands-on experience,” Wagner explained. “They’re not just reading about it in books. They’re living it.”

How It All Began Law enforcement was considered more of a trade than a profession in 1964 when YSU first began offering a bachelor’s degree program in what was then called Police Science, said Jim Conser, a professor emeritus and former assistant dean who now teaches criminal justice part time. Most of the 30 students enrolled in that first class were members of the Youngstown Police Department, and all of them were men. An associate degree program was added three years later, and by 1969 enrollment had grown exponentially to more



Rita Tate Corrections Officer – Ohio State Penitentiary, Youngstown. ’07 AAS, ’11 BS, both in criminal justice at YSU. Corrections work runs in the family for Rita Tate, a corrections officer in Youngstown’s Ohio State Penitentiary, better known as the “supermax.” Her husband, a daughter, two sons-in-law and a sister-in-law all work in penitentiaries as well. Tate says she’s never allowed herself to be intimidated by the idea of working with serious offenders in the all-male prison. “You go in with the mindset that you’re not going to be a judge, jury or executioner. They’ve already been to court,” she said. “You’re just going to uphold the policies and procedures, remain firm, fair and consistent. Prisoners respect that.” Tate was a state employee working in a therapeutic program for clients with mental disabilities when she decided to start college in her late 20s. She transferred to the prison in 2006, where she also sits on the rules infractions board and serves as a crisis negotiator. It took Tate 16 years to complete her two degrees at YSU as a non-traditional student, raising a family and working full time while taking classes part time. She was 44 when she finished her BS, and has since begun coursework toward a master’s degree, also in criminal justice. She’s proud to say that all four of her children have also earned degrees, one from YSU. “YSU was a great school for me, and I liked the fact that a lot of the teachers had plenty of experience in law enforcement,” she said. “Nothing beats experience for a teacher. If you’ve been through it, you can teach it.”

Chris Meditz Investigator – Mahoning County Coroner’s Office, Youngstown. ’10 BS in biological anthropology, criminal justice minor with forensics emphasis, YSU. As a self-proclaimed “puzzle person,” it should come as no surprise that Chris Meditz found the perfect professional fit for himself after graduation. With a degree in biological anthropology, a minor in criminal justice, an emphasis in forensics and a concentration in psychology, the Pittsburgh native is piecing all areas of his education together as an investigator at the Mahoning County Coroner’s Office. “I love my job,” Meditz said. “Every day is a new puzzle, something to figure out.” Meditz takes a resourceful approach to problem solving, working with police, fire and medical professionals to determine autopsy needs, and ultimately to identify the causes of untimely deaths in Mahoning County. “This job is unique in that I come across something new every single day. You need the tools to be able to learn, and YSU’s criminal justice program does a good job teaching that,” he said. Meditz joined the criminal justice program as an undergraduate through his minor. He completed a baccalaureate in biological anthropology at YSU in 2010 and is now pursuing a second bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, also at YSU. But a second degree will not complete Meditz’s career puzzle. What makes his job so rewarding for him is the final piece that comes with closing each case. “Yes, my job is of public interest,” he said. “But for me, if I can bring closure to one person or a family in the end, then I did my job.”



than 350 students, enough to justify creation of a new Department of Criminal Justice. The master’s degree program was approved in 1971, YSU’s Peace Officer Training Academy was created in 2000, and the Forensic Science degree was added in 2003. YSU was a trailblazer in the field from the beginning, Conser said, and the first public university in Ohio to offer associate, baccalaureate and master’s degrees in criminal justice. Today, criminal justice is the largest department, by enrollment, in the Bitonte College of Health and Human Services, with 772 students registered in associate, baccalaureate and master’s degree programs this spring. Women were scarce in the program’s early years, but now they comprise about 40 percent of the total enrollment. Data compiled by YSU’s Office of Institutional Research shows the bachelor’s degree in criminal justice has also been among the top three degrees awarded at YSU every year for the past decade, and totaling between 5 and 6 percent of the degrees awarded. Government officials and law enforcement leaders have been talking about a national standard requiring college degrees for law enforcement officers since the late 1960s, when a presidential commission made the recommendation. It still hasn’t happened. “Police work has obviously become more complex and very demanding, and most departments require at least some college, or military experience,” said Conser. “But the educational requirements have not progressed as quickly as many of us would like. Right now, there are only about a dozen police departments in the whole U.S. that require a bachelor’s degree.” YPD Chief Foley said his department prefers to hire officers who have degrees, for a variety of reasons. “They usually do better in the interview process, they’re more articulate, and they score higher on civil service exams. It just gives them an advantage,” he said. “In the last group we hired, probably 80 percent had degrees or were working toward them. It’s becoming a standard.” Foley was a captain and chief of detectives when he was appointed YPD chief, and he also oversaw YPD’s internal affairs division at one point in his 20-year career on the force. There, he said, he noticed that degreed officers seemed to adapt better in high-pressure situations and seemed to receive fewer citizen complaints. A two-time YSU graduate with bachelor’s (’89) and master’s degrees (’95) in criminal justice, Foley was the first in his family to earn a college degree. Two of his mentors at the university, retired YSU

Dwight Allen Pierce State Department Special Agent – Diplomatic Security Service in Kabul, Afghanistan. ’95 BA in philosophy and history; ’99 MS in criminal justice, both from YSU. Dwight Pierce spent the past nine months living in rustic conditions in Kabul, Afghanistan, his latest assignment as a special agent for the Diplomatic Security Service, the security and law enforcement arm of the U.S. Department of State. Pierce started with the DSS in September 2001 – coincidentally, just a week after the 9/11 terrorist attacks – completed a rigorous seven-month training program, then began a series of assignments that have taken him all over the world. As a DSS agent, he’s responsible for protecting U.S. ambassadors, foreign dignitaries, VIPs and embassy personnel, as well as investigating passport and visa fraud cases. He acknowledged that his job assignments can be perilous. “That’s why I’m here,” he said. “Sure, it can be dangerous, but there are embassy staff here, and it’s my job to make sure they’re safe.” The son of Allen Pierce, a YSU professor emeritus of criminal justice and former police officer, Dwight Pierce pursued a master’s degree in criminal justice for purely practical reasons – to get a job. Once he got into it, he found YSU’s program and the work fascinating. “I love what I do. I enjoy the travel, learning about other cultures, the adventure of it, and I like all the variety of work we do as DSS agents,” he said. This summer, Pierce moves on to his next assignment in Mauritius, an island nation in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Africa. “It looks a lot like Hawaii,” he quipped. “That’s why my wife and I bid on it. I think we’re ready to live near the beach.”



Chief Gocala and Professor Allen Pierce, encouraged him to pursue the MS degree. “I was the kind of person who always wanted to be on the front lines, taking calls, doing all the grunt work,” he said. “Now I realize that working on an advanced degree helped open my mind to what was happening behind the scenes in police departments, made me open to new ideas about how to do things.”

Job Prospects The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that law enforcement jobs will increase by 7 percent in the 10-year period between 2010 and 2020, considerably less than the 14 percent average projected increase for all occupations. YSU Chief Beshara expects those numbers to be higher for Ohio and for the Mahoning and Shenango Valley area, however, based on improving economic conditions and the increased number of job postings he’s been noticing across the state. Nevertheless, Beshara said new law enforcement graduates should expect to gain experience, as he did, working in

unpaid or part-time auxiliary and reserve positions at first. “Even way back then, it was a way to get your foot in the door,” he said, remembering how he started his career at age 21 as an unpaid reserve sheriff’s deputy, also working as a furniture mover and at a tool and dye shop to pay the bills. Two years later, he was hired as a full-time Mahoning County deputy. Beshara earned his associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminal justice at YSU and spent nearly 23 years with the Sheriff’s Department. He rose to the position of captain and worked in a variety of positions before he was selected to lead YSU’s Police Department. “I’m a big believer in education for police officers; I think it’s critical as a way of selecting and training police personnel,” he said, adding that he’d like to eventually require that YSU police officers have completed a bachelor’s degree or be willing to pursue one. The department’s most recent posting for four new officers required that applicants have at least an associate degree. On a personal level, Sheriff-elect Greene credits his YSU degree for giving him the confidence to consider testing for management positions, and eventually, to run for sheriff.

Kristen Pavkovich Operations Officer – Federal Air Marshal Service, Pittsburgh. ’95 BS in criminal justice, YSU.

“Get plugged in. Nothing is out of reach; it’s worth the risk.” So says Kristen Pavkovich, an operations officer for the Federal Air Marshal Service in Pittsburgh and a devoted Penguin alumna. Pavkovich started her career as a special agent with the Federal Aviation Administration in 1996. In the aftermath of 9/11, she transferred to the Air Marshal Service, where she is responsible for scheduling air- and ground-based missions as well as information dissemination. “From day one I have believed in the mission,” she said. “This is a vibrant, changing organization, and this is where I’m going to be for as long as the FAM is here.” The Brookfield native made YSU her college of choice and has not regretted it for one moment. “For me, YSU was a great school, and the Criminal Justice program was wonderful,” she said. “The faculty and staff were great. They encouraged me to get real world experience, which separated me from other applicants against whom I was competing.” Pavkovich said she worked full time as an undergrad and took every opportunity she could to get outside experience and internships. “I would tell every criminal justice student that there are lots of opportunities available – really go for it! Get that experience while you are in school.”



He wasn’t committed to a law enforcement career when he first started college in the mid-1980s, and he dropped out for a few years after completing YSU’s Peace Officer Training Academy and finding employment in the Sheriff’s Department. “After I started working as a deputy, that’s when I realized that it was important to finish the degree.” Greene finished his BS as a non-traditional student in 2000 and took his first promotional exam soon afterward. He believes he did well because his years as a student taught him discipline and good study habits. In his 20-year career with the Sheriff’s Department, he won promotions to sergeant, then captain, and he’s now serving as director of support services for the department until he takes office. “If you would have told me 10 years ago that I would ever be sheriff, I would have laughed. There was no way,” he said. “The bottom line is, my degree got me started. It gave me the study skills I needed to take the sergeant’s exam and start moving on the management track.”

Streetwise Faculty One quality that faculty and alumni often cite as a strength of the Department of Criminal Justice is that most of its instructors are veteran police officers, judges, attorneys, corrections officers and other law enforcement professionals. Wagner, the department chair, is an attorney who practiced criminal and corporate law in Chicago and Youngstown before joining the faculty six years ago as an assistant professor. She teaches courses in criminal law and judicial administration. “Our students are not just interested in theory,” she said. “They want to hear from professors who have had experience in the criminal justice system.” Mill Creek MetroParks Police Chief Jim Willock also teaches part time in YSU’s criminal justice department. He speaks from experience when he advises students to be persistent about finding internships and work experience – Willock completed two internships during his undergraduate years, and the work experience helped him secure a full-time patrol officer position in Goshen Township right after graduation. He encourages students to talk with police officers in their communi-

Robert W. Clark Assistant Special Agent in Charge ­– FBI, Los Angeles. ’93 BS, ’01 MS, both in criminal justice, YSU.

In 1994, Robert Clark was a five-year veteran of the Youngstown Police Department assigned to its violent gang task force, working on his master’s degree in criminal justice at YSU and making plans to attend law school. Then the FBI came calling. In the 18 years since, Clark’s ever-rising career in the FBI has taken him around the world, from protecting Attorney General John Ashcroft in the months and years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks to hunting down violent MS-13 and 18th Street gang members in Central America as part of an international gang unit. Today, Clark supervises 300 agents and task force officers as Assistant Special Agent in Charge of gangs, violent and organized crime activities for the entire Los Angeles region. “It’s a big job,” Clark said from his office in the L.A. federal building. “It’s been an interesting and rewarding career.” Law enforcement has always been in Clark’s blood. “I never wanted to do anything else,” he said. Clark is now studying for a Ph.D. in criminal justice and public safety at Capella University, and his dissertation examines the relationship between gang membership and illegal immigration. A 1984 graduate of Cardinal Mooney High School and former YSU linebacker, Clark credits his time policing the streets of Youngstown and his education at YSU, especially from Professor Jim Conser, for his success in the criminal justice field. “He [Conser] was absolutely the hardest professor I had,” Clark recalls. “He pushed me outside of my academic comfort zone. He taught me how to think analytically.”

Jim Willock



ties and on campus to get the straight story on what a law enforcement career is like. Willock, who also earned his BS (’97) and MS (’04) degrees in criminal justice at YSU, noted that classes can double as networking opportunities when the teachers are working police officers. “I tell students to take classes from people who are working in the field and find a way to be seen as a person they can trust, a hard worker,” he said. “I’ve hired quite a few of my students. It makes me feel good to see my students doing well.” Former YSU Police Chief Gocala, who retired in January after a 40-year career in law enforcement, teaches in YSU’s Police Academy and previously served as limited-service faculty. Gocala said he likes to temper his instruction with facts about the realities of the profession. “It Jack Gocala might be raining and cold, muddy, wet. You go out there. You have a job to do,” he said. “And you don’t solve things quickly, like they do on TV. Sometimes you have to sit down and talk to people. You need a little bit of psychology, a little bit of counseling and a little bit of divine intervention.” Gocala earned both his bachelor’s (’74) and master’s (’83) degrees in criminal justice at YSU and worked undercover investigating organized crime in his early years at the Youngstown Police Department. Later, he served as an administrative aide under three police chiefs before taking leadership of YSU’s police department. He is most proud of the 21 years he spent making safety a priority on campus by initiating numerous crime prevention initiatives. When he talks to students, Gocala emphasizes character as much as grades. “We need good, educated law enforcement officers; the program at YSU is a great program, and certainly that education is going to polish you and make you stand out from the rest,” he said, “but the most important ingredients we’re looking for are common sense, integrity and a good work ethic.”



Len DeCarlo Supervisor – Federal Air Marshals, Pittsburgh. ’75 BS in Law Enforcement Administration, University of Maryland; ’00 MS in criminal justice, YSU. Len DeCarlo began his foray into law enforcement in 1970 when he joined the uniformed division of the Secret Service. The sun is now setting on a distinguished 42-year career in federal law enforcement and security service, as he plans to retire in July. DeCarlo spent 21 years in the Secret Service, serving in both the criminal division and on the White House Security Detail, where he protected five U.S. presidents and countless heads of state and foreign dignitaries. He also served on the agency’s organized crime task force in Buffalo, N.Y., and later spent 11 years as head of security for the DeBartolo Corporation’s shopping malls and hotels nationwide. In the wake of 9/11, DeCarlo applied to the Federal Air Marshal Service. “At the time of that event there were only 33 air marshals in the entire service,” he said. “Now there are thousands.” He has served in his capacity as supervisor and squad leader in Pittsburgh for 11 years. At 50, DeCarlo came to YSU to pursue an MS in criminal justice. In his second year as a graduate student, he started teaching security classes, he was hired as an adjunct professor after graduation and continued teaching for another year. “My loyalty is to YSU. I loved the students, and I enjoyed my time there; I made some great friends. Someday, maybe I can get back there to teach again.”

To Russia With Love

‘They Arrived in Wheelchairs … Went Home Walking’ She’s been leading teams of YSU students, faculty and calls To Russia With Love just a year later and has completed other volunteers on humanitarian mission trips to Russian 19 Russian trips since then, the most recent in December. orphanages since the mid-1990s, so the Rev. Kathryn “I wanted to make powerful, life-changing experiences Adams has worked with hundreds of children with available for YSU students, and that’s why I started taking physical disabilities. teams to Russia,” she said. “The children in those governmentBut somehow, the director run homes are abandoned, of Protestant Campus Ministhey‘re not wanted because of tries at YSU couldn’t forget their disabilities, but they are two boys she met six years inspiring. We play with them, ago at Renewal Orphanage bring school supplies and other near Moscow. things they need, sometimes do One was Vlad Makarov, work projects, and let them 16, who lost the lower part know that they are loved and of both of his legs in a train not forgotten.” accident when he was 12. The Christine Shehadi of other, Kolya Deykin, just 6 at Boardman, a registered nurse the time, was born without legs who earned her BS in nursing at below the knee and with only YSU in 2010, met Deykin when one arm. she joined the To Russia with “So many of the children Love mission team the winter need multiple surgeries, or before she graduated. “The they have complex probmedical care is not what we’re lems,” Adams explained. used to in America,” she said, “But we all looked at recalling how the boy struggled those two boys and to walk at the time using crude, thought the same wooden prosthetics. “We tried thing – if we could to help; we spent a lot of time get them to the United playing with the children. States, we could help Mostly, we just provided them. We could get that human interaction that The Rev. Kathryn Adams attends a Penguin basketball game with Vlad Makarov, right, and Kolya Deykin. them prosthetic legs.” they so craved.” Fast forward to 2012. Nataliya Dunbar Adams organized a series Makarov, now 21, and Deykin, of fundraising events to help pay for the boys’ trips to the U.S. 11, have both shelved their wheelchairs. “It’s been an and some of their medical expenses. Craig Svader, a certiincredible success story,” Adams said. “They arrived in fied prosthetist for Advanced Anatomical Design in Canfield, wheelchairs, and they went home walking.” donated his time and expertise to create the boys’ prosthetics. With financial support from caring donors and hefty Ron Santiago, a physical therapist for Youngstown Orthopaedic contributions from three Youngstown-area businesses, Adams Associates, Canfield, has provided physical therapy when they was able to provide the young Russians with customized visit, and Boardman Medical Supply donated wheelchairs and prosthetic legs. They came back to Youngstown for a visit other equipment when needed. in February, for needed adjustments to their prosthetics and On a personal level, Adams and her husband, the Rev. Rusphysical therapy. sell Adams, have forged close relationships with both Deykin “They were abandoned. They had no chances,” said and Makarov, and they look forward to housing them in their Nataliya Dunbar, a YSU student and native of Ukraine who Canfield home whenever they need adjustments and therapy. served as an interpreter during Makarov and Deykin’s recent “I feel like I’m their American mom,” she said, grinning. visit. “This has changed their lives, and they never dreamed She plans to continue leading teams of students, faculty that it could happen.” and community volunteers to the state-run orphanages in Adams has built a strong support network since she was Russia. And there’s one more boy in the Renew Orphanage, a named director of Protestant Campus Ministries in 1995, a po7-year-old with just one leg, who has been on Adams’s mind sition independent of the university that requires her to raise lately. Maybe, when he’s a little older, she’ll find a way to her own support. She founded the ministry for orphans she change his life, too.




Entrepreneurs Reflect Spirit of

‘Grow Home’

People often ask Shawn Lawless why his company manuare responsible for design, research, development, final factures parade float chassis in the Mahoning Valley. After all, assembly and testing – the partner businesses provide Disney is his biggest customer, so the ’89 YSU alum and his fabrication, machining, customized tires and components crews spend many months at the entertainment giant’s theme the company needs. parks in Florida and California. “There’s no better place to build the type of products we Likewise, Rhonda Chicone could have easily moved to make,” said Lawless. “If we were in Florida or California, we California’s Silicon Valley to launch the could never find the kind of talent and the strong, research and development arm of Notify dependable manufacturing base we have here.” Technology Corp., a company headquartered A family-owned business founded by Lawin San Jose. Instead, the ’85 grad chose to less’ father, David, in 1971, Lawless Industries start and grow the R&D division right here, started out as a maker of heavy-duty industrial in Canfield. trailers and rail cars. Shawn Lawless joined the Lawless and Chicone are successful en- BRINGING YSU ALUMNI BUSINESSES company in the mid-80s while pursuing his YSU TO THE MAHONING VALLEY trepreneurs who aptly reflect the philosophy degree in business administration, but sales were behind “Grow Home,” a campaign that YSU sluggish so he encouraged his father to invest launched with U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan four years ago, in partnermore money in advertising. A Disney executive spotted the ship with the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber, and company’s ad in a trade publication in 1987 and picked up the more recently, the Youngstown Business Incubator. phone. “That’s how we got our foot in the door,” Lawless said. Grow Home aims to encourage new and expanding busiSince then, the small Poland company has become Disnesses in the Mahoning and Shenango valleys by recognizing ney’s global supplier for parade float chassis – the motorized business owners and decision-makers who start and grow their companies here. The campaign celebrates individuals like Lawless and Chicone and their commitment to the region by featuring their stories in YSU Magazine and on the Grow Home website. “It’s so great to see people using their knowledge and abilities to build businesses here at home that hire employees, buy raw materials and invest in our communities,” said Barb Ewing, chief executive officer of the Youngstown Business Incubator. “There’s an incredible network of customer and supplier relationships here that validates the entrepreneurial and technical expertise of the region.”


Powering Disney’s Parades What keeps Lawless Industries firmly planted in Poland, Ohio, its owner said, is the army of small and medium-sized businesses in the region and their skilled workers that partner with the company to produce motorized parade chassis for Disney and other parks all over the world. Lawless and his 12-person staff 18


Shawn Lawless

platforms used to move enormous parade floats through the streets of Walt Disney World, Disneyland and other Disney parks in Paris, Hong Kong, and Tokyo. Lawless Industries has also supplied parade vehicles for other big-name customers, including Universal Studios in Florida and Japan, Sea World in Australia and Orlando, and a theater production on Broadway. Looking ahead, Lawless has high hopes for growth in the lawn and garden business with an all-electric, emission-free riding mower he designed and is introducing in the resort market this season. The mower drew crowds when first displayed at a national lawn and garden show in Kentucky, and he expects it to become another big seller for the company. “We’ve had a lot of ups and downs, but right now the business is as strong as it’s ever been,” he said. “We’re doing things we never even dreamed of doing.”

Rhonda Chicone

Keeping Data Secure What Rhonda Chicone likes most about her role as vice president of engineering and product development and chief technology officer for Notify Technology Corp. is that she gets to employ a staff of 60 educated and talented people, many of them YSU graduates, at the company’s Canfield office. “I see employees putting their roots here, raising their families here, and I love that,” she said. “We don’t have a lot of turnover, and we don’t outsource anything. We have plenty of talent to choose from right here.” Computer and tech jobs were scarce in the Youngstown area when Chicone completed her YSU bachelor’s degree in computer science in 1985, so she signed on as a software engineer for a Cleveland firm. Later, she went on to earn a master’s degree in technology from Kent State University and a Ph.D. in applied computer science from Northcentral University. Desperate to get back home to her close-knit Italian family, she found work locally as a software engineer in 1989. Soon after, she gave birth to a daughter, quit her full-time job to do freelance work at home, and over time, began doing software engineering work for Notify Technology. In 1998, Notify’s founder and chief executive officer persuaded Chicone to join his staff and asked her to consider setting up an R&D division for the firm. “He knew how committed I was to my family, so he knew I wasn’t about to leave

the Mahoning Valley,” she said, adding that the region’s low cost of living and proximity to YSU helped her build a case for starting the division here. Now based in a modern, sky-lit building on Seville Drive in Canfield, Notify’s R&D division has created three software programs – NotifyLink, NotifySync and Notify MDM – all designed to help corporations using mobile devices to keep their data secure. Its customer list is global and includes top tech firms such as Novelle Corp. and Oracle. Employees at the Canfield office enjoy a casual dress code, monthly pizza luncheons, summer picnics and other perks. “I really try to treat people the way I like to be treated,” said Chicone. “I believe that when you’re comfortable, you can be more productive.” To learn more about Grow Home and the services the Regional Chamber offers YSU graduates and others looking to contribute to the economic vitality of the region by starting or expanding a business in the Mahoning Valley, visit Story by Cynthia Vinarsky




sports news

Sophomore Sensation Earns League Honors

Penguin guard Kendrick Perry of Ocoee, Fla., became just the second player in YSU men’s basketball history to earn first-team Horizon League honors for his efforts during the 2011-12 season. Perry was also recognized as a secondteam All-District 12 pick by the National Association of Basketball Coaches. A sophomore, he led the Horizon League in points per game throughout the season and led the conference slate by averaging 16.8 points per contest. During the league campaign, Perry became just the fifth player in conference history to lead all players in scoring and steals; he also set the YSU single-season record with 74 steals. Perry joins one other Penguin player who was named first-team all-league – Quin Humphrey was a two-time selection (2005-06 and 2006-07). He is also the only YSU sophomore to be named to the league’s first team. Perry scored a team-high 521 points and became the first player to score 500 points in a season since Humphrey in 200607. He is also the first YSU sophomore to eclipse the 500-point mark since Reggie Kemp in 1989-90. This past season, he led the league with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.9, led the league in minutes played per game (34.8), ranked second in steals per game (2.4), ranked fourth

in assists per game (3.9) and ranked ninth with 1.7 threepointers made per game. As a team, YSU set a school record with 10 wins in Horizon League play, posted its first winning season since 2001-02 and won a postseason conference tournament game for the first time since 2007.

GOLF OUTING RAISES SCHOLARSHIP FUNDS The 25th annual Penguin Club Scholarship Golf Outing is set for Wednesday, June 13 at Oak Tree Country Club in West Middlesex, Pa. Participating golfers will get a chance to interact with YSU student-athletes, meet coaches from all of YSU’s intercollegiate sports and win door prizes provided by event sponsors. The golf outing was created in 1988 in memory of the late coach Bill Dailey. He was named the Penguin men’s 20


basketball coach in 1987 but died in August of that year before taking over the program. YSU’s Penguin Club created the outing in his honor the following year to help raise funds for athletic scholarships, and the event has been held at Oak Tree since 2005.   To participate, contact Tom Morella with the YSU Penguin Club, 330-941-2351 or or visit the Penguin Club webpage at

Penguin Sports News


Dennis and Janet Haines Diehard Penguin fans Dennis and Janet Haines were honored as the 2012 Penguins of the Year at the Penguin Club Scholarship/Ring Dinner in February. A YSU sports fan for nearly 60 years, Dennis Haines saw his first Penguin football contest in the early 1950s at Rayen Stadium when he climbed through a hole in the fence to watch the game. Since then, the couple has seen many YSU athletics milestones, including: the Penguins’ first FCS National Championship victory over Marshall in 1991; the women basketball team’s first NCAA Tournament game at Penn Dennis and Janet Haines State in 1996; and the Penguin baseball team’s Horizon League Championship at Eastwood Field in 2004. They sponsor the Haines Family Player of the Game as selected by the YSU Radio Broadcasters, have created an endowment to fund the Attorney Dennis and Janet Haines Athletic Scholarship, and contribute to the YSU athletics program in many other ways. Dennis Haines is managing partner of the Youngstown law firm Green Haines Sgambati Co., L.P.A. The couple has two daughters, Julie and Jill, and three grandchildren, Adam, Allie and Ryan.

WATTS is Site for League Track and Field Championships The Youngstown State women’s track and field team placed second and the men’s squad placed third when YSU hosted the Horizon League Track and Field Championships for the first time ever at the new Watson and Tressel Training Site. The $12 million indoor practice facility was completed last summer and is now used for intercollegiate athletic team practices, intramural sports, campus activities and special events. YSU is already scheduled to host the Horizon League’s 2013 indoor track and field meet and may become the permanent host for the championships. Athletes who won events for YSU were: Kaitlyn Griffith of Orrville, Ohio; Ciara Jarrett of Milwaukee; Katrina Rettburg of Canton, Ohio; Michael Davis of Vienna, Ohio; and

John Seaver of Canfield. Griffith was a two-event winner, finishing first in the shot put and weight throw; Jarrett, Griffith and Rettburg were all repeat winners in their events from the 2011 championships. In overall team performances on the women’s side, Milwaukee won with a 137 while the Penguins came in second with 111 points. On the men’s side, the Milwaukee Panthers scored 125 points to earn the title while the Loyola Ramblers were second with 98 and YSU was third at 93. It was the second straight year the women placed second and is the third time in the past four indoor meets that they were runner-ups.

Freshman Swimmer Is Horizon League Champ Freshman Ashley Dow of Houston, Texas, swam her way to a conference championship and became a league and school record holder in the process at the Horizon League Swimming and Diving Championships in Milwaukee. Dow is the first Penguin Horizon League swimming champion since 2004. The Penguin swimmer finished first in the 100 backstroke with a time of 54.83 seconds, and she placed second in the 200-yard backstroke with a school-record time of 1:59.54. For her efforts at her first Horizon League Championships, Dow was named the co-Newcomer of the Year, with Green Bay’s Amanda Walker.

Ashley Dow



YSU Foundation

The Legacy of Howard Jones

Impactful Philanthropy Through Endowed Scholarships By Paul McFadden, President, YSU Foundation Philanthropy has grown exponentially in the United States over the past 25 years. With this growth has come increased awareness and scrutiny by donors as to the impact of their generosity and the efficiencies of the nonprofits they support. Former Youngstown College President and YSU Foundation founder Howard Jones saw this coming, and through his vision, positioned the Paul McFadden foundation to serve our students for generations. Jones established the YSU Foundation in 1966 with $9 million. That original investment to this day pays all the operating costs associated with the day-to-day activities at the foundation. When a donor decides to establish and fund an individual endowment, 100 percent of those funds are applied to the donor’s account. There are no fees, so the gift is pure philanthropy, providing students the assistance that is becoming increasingly important to fund their education. In fact, one could argue that the full value of one’s gift to an endowed scholarship exceeds the original gift, in that endowment is for generations. Over the life of an endowment, funding to students will far exceed the amount of the original contribution. A named endowed scholarship can be established in a number of ways. Here are some examples: • Donor family gives $2,000 a year for five years to establish a named scholarship in memory of, or in honor of, a friend or loved one. The total of $10,000 would fund a scholarship of between $400 and $500* annually

for perpetuity. (*Amount varies, depending upon market performance.) • Donor makes a one-time gift of $10,000 or more of appreciated securities; funds are used to establish an endowed scholarship for perpetuity. • A gift of $10,000 or more Howard Jones from the donor’s estate plan could be used to create a scholarship endowment for perpetuity. Scholarship endowments offer a way for donors to continue their legacies by selecting criteria that best exemplifies the values and interests of the person they are honoring, such as a student in a particular academic major. Endowment is a multiplier of philanthropic investments at the YSU Foundation. For more information, contact Paul McFadden or Elinor Zedaker at the YSU Foundation, 330-941-3211 or Catherine Cala at the Department of University Development, 330-941-3119.

Charitable Gift Annuities Can Provide Lifelong Income


A charitable gift annuity in the amount of $10,000 or more will generate income for life for the person named as the annuitant. Here are some sample annuity payment rates: Annuitant’s Age

Payment Rate

Annual Payout

4.2 % 5.8 % 7.8 % 9.0 %

$470 $580 $780 $900

65 75 85 95

(This information is meant to illustrate general information and not to be considered legal or financial advice.)

For more information on how to establish a charitable gift annuity at the YSU Foundation, contact Paul McFadden or Elinor Zedaker, 330-941-3211.



Doris Perry

Helping mothers to pursue or complete their college degrees has always been a priority for Women Hand in Hand, a Youngstown-based women’s group. Now the organization has partnered with the YSU Foundation to create a scholarship endowment so that its work continues for generations to come. The newly established Women Hand in Hand Scholarship will benefit AfricanAmerican women who are

University Development

Remembering Jessica

Scholarship Honors Graphic Design Student Jacqueline DeChant of Girard is the first recipient of the Seminary High School in 2007. Weaver originally established a Jessica C. Porcase Memorial Scholarship in Graphic Design, memorial scholarship at her daughter’s high school. established to honor the memory of a YSU graphic design About a year later, faculty members in YSU’s Department student who died suddenly at the age of 20. of Art assembled and wrapped some art projects that Porcase Christa Weaver, a postmaster had completed in her university with the U.S. Postal Service, said classes, attached a note, and mailed she created the scholarship to honor the artwork to her mother. Touched her daughter, Jessica C. Porcase. by the gesture, and knowing that YSU A talented artist and competitive had been important to her daughter, athlete who was pursuing a degree Weaver contacted YSU and began the in graphic design at YSU, she colprocess of establishing the scholarship lapsed unexpectedly in November at the university in 2010. 2008 and died just two hours later, Weaver’s colleagues in the Nathe victim of a rare autoimmune tional Association of Postal Supervidisease called Takayasu’s sors, a professional organization for Arteritis Vasculitis. Post Office managers, have been “Jess was so full of life, she sponsoring a yearly scholarship golf loved graphic design, and being outing to add to the Porcase Memorial here at YSU was her dream,” Weavendowment. This year’s event is set er said. “We decided that a scholfor Saturday, Sept. 8 at Bedford Trails arship to help other YSU graphic Golf Course in Coitsville, Ohio. design students would be the best To apply for the annual scholway to keep her light shining.” arship, students must be female, DeChant, a senior majoring enrolled full time in the graphic design in graphic design, was selected to program at YSU, with a minimum receive the first $1,000 award. Set 3.0 GPA. Preference will be given to to graduate in spring 2013 with a students who played a sport in high Bachelor’s in Fine Arts degree, she school, and who have demonstrated Christa Weaver, right, who founded a scholarship in her said she’s had creative opportunithe ability to balance college classes daughter’s memory, meets with Jacqueline DeChant, the ties and gained experience working first recipient. with part-time employment. with clients as a student employee For more information on the at Graphic Services in Kilcawley Center. Porcase Memorial Scholarship or how to establish a Porcase was a varsity athlete as well as an artist, lettering scholarship endowment, contact the Department of in both track and basketball before graduating from Poland University Development, 330-941-3119.

to Benefit African-American Women also mothers and students at YSU. The group contributed $25,000 toward the new scholarship and the YSU Foundation matched the amount to create a $50,000 endowment. Founded by Doris Perry in 1986, Women Hand in Hand’s primary function has been to provide educational opportunities for mothers who want to attend college but lack the financial resources to do so. Dr. Ruth Quarles, president, said the greater part of Women Hand in Hand’s contribution toward the new scholarship endowment came from gifts made in memory of Doris Perry’s late husband, Dr. Earnest Perry, who was a prominent local surgeon, community leader and former member of the YSU Board of Trustees. Since its inception, said Quarles, Women Hand in Hand has raised more than $225,000 to fund scholarships for

women in the Youngstown, Warren and Campbell areas. Its main fundraiser is a spring luncheon, usually held in May. “Women Hand in Hand is the vehicle by which intelligent mothers have been able to transform their lives and the lives of their children through education,” Quarles said. “We help change our community, and the world, one mother at a time, because one woman saw a need and extended her hand to make a difference.” Applicants for the Women Hand in Hand Scholarship must be full- or part-time students with GPAs of at least 2.2. Sophomores, juniors and seniors are eligible. The scholarships will be renewable for up to four years. Recipients will be selected by the group’s executive committee. For more information about the new scholarship, call 330-716-4020.



Alumni News Alumni Artist Draws A Crowd Internationally renowned artist and YSU alumnus Al Bright demonstrated his unique style of performance art as the featured guest at an event kicking off the Akron Art Museum’s 90th anniversary celebration. Bright, ’64 BSEd in art and a professor emeritus of art at YSU, is considered a pioneer in creating artwork in front of an audience. Bright’s performance was initiated by another YSU alumnus, Chris Ross of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, ’03 BFA, assistant preparator at the Akron Art Museum. Ross suggested leading off the anniversary celebration by featuring Bright, and he raised $5,000 in contributions to help support the special event. Bright’s Sunday afternoon presentation in early February drew a crowd of 2,500, more than twice the number usually attending Sunday events at the museum. In photos, at left, Bright creates a painting for the Akron Art Museum audience; and in the larger photo, Bright stands in front of his completed painting with fellow YSU alumnus Chris Ross.

Visit for a video on the Akron Art Museum.

New Lecture Series Promotes Lifelong Learning

The Office of Alumni and Events Management is introducing a new program, the Alumni Lecture Series, designed to build alumni connections and enhance lifelong learning. Sessions will include lectures or panel discussions presented by faculty members, alumni or community leaders, along with networking opportunities. The Alumni Lecture Series began April 19 with a presentation and panel discussion led by Bryan DePoy, dean of the College of Fine and Performing Arts, titled “The Role of Arts and Culture Organizations in the Economic Revitalization of the Valley.” The second session May 9 featured a panel discussion, “Exploring Timely Trends in Education,” on critical issues facing educators today such as bullying, teacher evaluation systems and dual enrollment. Alumni Lecture Series programs are $5 for Alumni Society members and $7 for non-members. Reservations are required. Information about upcoming programs may be obtained by visiting or by contacting 330-941-1591 or

Las Vegas-area Alumni Enjoy Dinner, Social Hour YSU alumni living in the Las Vegas area celebrated the arrival of spring with a social hour and dinner in late March at Sam's Town Hotel. Among those enjoying the evening were, from left, Marcia Rose Walker (’95), Darryl Walker (’99), Renee Lewis Brodeen (’81), and Richard Brodeen, all of Las Vegas. The event attracted close to 50 alums, and YSU President Cynthia E. Anderson was on hand to update the group on the latest developments on the YSU campus. Participants are making plans for future activities, including National Networking Day on June 28. Details will be emailed to alumni in Nevada.



Mark your calendar for upcoming Alumni Lecture Series programs: College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences “Characteristics of American Organized Crime” Fred Viehe, Ph.D., Professor of American Urban History Thursday, July 12 College of STEM “X-Planes and Hypersonic Transport” Peyman Givi, Ph.D. (BE ’80) Thursday, September 20 Williamson College of Business Administration “Competing in the Global Market: Opportunities for Regional Businesses” Panel Discussion Thursday, October 18 Bitonte College of Health and Human Services “Public Protection: The Role of Certification and Licensure From a National Perspective of 25 Years in Emergency Medical Services” William E. Brown, Jr. (BSAS ’77, BSN ’77) Wednesday, October 24

Alumni News

Alumni Society Launches Membership Campaign

Your membership matters. That’s why the YSU Office of Alumni and Events Management is launching a campaign to reconnect graduates with the Alumni Society. “Being an Alumni Society member is a way to stay connected to your alma mater while helping future Penguins fund their education,” said Jackie LeViseur, interim director of Alumni and Events Management and a YSU graduate. “We want to reach out to our graduates, so more alumni have that experience.” Dues start at just $30 per year, but there are several options, including life membership. Anyone joining or renewing a membership during the campaign will receive a special gift. Member dues also help to provide scholarships to students. Other benefits are hotel, car rental and YSU Bookstore discounts. For more information about membership in the Alumni Society, visit or call 330-941-3497.




7, 3 6 2  

Akron 2,199

Canton 1,287

YSU has 7,362 alumni living in the greater ClevelandAkron-Canton area, the largest concentration of Penguins outside the Youngstown-Warren-Western Pennsylvania region.

Save ate! D the

May 24 – YSU Greater Atlanta Alumni dinner and networking, 6 p.m. at Cheeseburger in Paradise in Dunwoody, Ga.

June 2 – Help beautify downtown Youngstown as part of Streetscape. Alumni volunteers will meet for breakfast at 7:30 a.m., planting and lunch to follow. June 2 – YSU Columbus Alumni lunch and bowling at AMF Sawmill Lanes, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Bowlers and non-bowlers welcome. June 27 – YSU Alumni Night at the Scrappers, picnic at 5:30 p.m., game at 7 p.m.

Hockey Entertains Cleveland-Area Alums

June 28 – National Networking Day local event at 5 p.m., L’uva Bella Winery, Lowellville; other events being planned around the country.

Attending a YSU Alumni Night with Lake Erie Monsters Hockey in Cleveland are, from left, Brian Pinkerton (’99), holding his young daughter Brooke, both of Wadsworth, and Amory Starkey (’01,’04) of Richmond Heights. They were among Cleveland-area alumni participating in the March outing, which included time for networking, socializing and cheering for a win on the ice. For more than a year now, YSU grads in the Greater Cleveland area have been organizing regular alumni events.

Visit or call the Office of Alumni and Events Management at 330.941.3497 for more information.

Floridians Gather for Youngstown Day There was no shortage of school spirit at the annual Youngstown Day celebration, held in March at the Hyatt in Sarasota, Fla. Sharing their Penguin Pride with YSU President Cynthia E. Anderson, center, are Naples, Fla. residents, from left, Pucci Castor (’87), Christine Bezjak (’90), Anderson, Denise Grace-Lindheim (’86) and Carol Grace-Mullen (’92). The event typically draws hundreds of former Youngstown-area residents, including many YSU alumni, who have relocated to Florida or live there for part of the year.



Hospice Care Study Gets National Attention What began as a local pilot study on hospice care no one who can benefit from this care will go without.” by Associate Professor Daniel Van Dussen of YSU’s The study, co-authored by 2009 YSU master’s graduate Gerontology Department may lead the way for the and current University of Akron doctoral student, Krystal university to spearhead a larger national study. Culler, and John Cagle from the University of North CaroVan Dussen is the principal author of a 2011 study lina’s Institute on Aging, also found that older and Africanpublished in the American Journal of Hospice and PalliaAmerican respondents were more likely to view hospice care tive Medicine and titled “Perceptions About Hospice From a as “giving up.” Community-Based Pilot Study: Lessons and Findings.” “Some of today’s diseases cannot be cured, or by the The research has gained the notice of the Hospice time the illness is discovered it is too late for curative care,” Foundation of America, which has pledged $100,000 toward explained Van Dussen. “Hospice is more to treat pain and a nationwide survey. Van Dussen hopes to find the additional keep patients comfortable. Ultimately, we would like to $300,000 in grant reduce the amount funds needed to of unmet need and complete a nareduce unnecestional study, which sary suffering at would poll some the end of life, 2,500 to 3,000 which is why I people. got into this in For the study, the first place.” Van Dussen He said surveyed 168 YSU’s Gerontolparticipants in the ogy Department Mahoning Valis fully behind the ley to find their idea of a national attitudes and study, and that it perceptions of would benefit the hospice care. The university as a study showed that whole. People will just 40 percent of start seeing YSU individuals eligible as an important refor hospice care in search university. the Valley reAccording ceived it. Patients to 2010 Census are considered data, more than 39 eligible for hospice million Ameriservices when they cans aged 65 or are deemed to have older make up 13 six months or less percent of the U.S. to live. population. Aging “There is a lot A recent study by YSU alumna Krystal Culler and gerontology faculty member Daniel Van Dussen “baby boomers” of unmet need – an has caught the attention of the Hospital Foundation of America. will swell these awful lot of pain ranks further over people go through unnecessarily,” said Van Dussen, who the next four decades, making end-of-life care even more joined the YSU faculty six years ago to help coordinate and important. build the university’s gerontology program. He holds a bachA 2010 study by the National Hospice and Palliative elor’s degree from Mount Union College, a master’s from Care Organization found American hospices provided service the University of Akron and a Ph.D. from the University of to 1.5 million people in 2008, but that many who qualified Maryland Baltimore County. did not receive those services. The same study found that 35 “The study shows that most people don’t realize the percent of patients entering hospice died within seven days – funding sources available for hospice care,” he added. “Many at least 30 days are needed to provide maximum benefit. nonprofit hospices treat patients even if they can’t afford to Story by Robert Merz pay – it’s part of their mission. They want to make sure that 26


Alumni S T potligh


Rocket Scientist is ‘Penguin at Heart’ Peyman Givi ’80 Peyman Givi

“I’m what you call a rocket scientist,” says Peyman Givi, an award-winning professor of engineering, “but at my heart, I’m a Penguin.” As a research scientist grantee for NASA and the United States Air Force, he works in the fields of theoretical propulsion, turbulence and combustion. Another pending project he hopes to participate in would involve mathematical modeling in the emerging field of quantum computing. “I love my research; I love what I am doing, and I cannot imagine doing anything else,” said Givi. “I am working on amazing things.” In the 32 years since leaving the YSU campus, Givi has amassed a long list of impressive accolades and awards. He is currently the James T. Macleod Professor of Mechanical Engineering and a professor of petroleum engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. In 2005, he received the NASA Public Service Medal, the agency’s highest civilian award; in 2007, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers named him Engineer of the Year in Pittsburgh; and he was selected as a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics in May 2010, the first Pitt faculty member to earn that honor. A native of Iran, Givi arrived in the U.S. in 1977, forced abroad by the tumult of the Iranian Revolution. “I had worked hard to be accepted into the best engineering school in Iran. I really did not want to leave my country, but with all the chaos, I had no choice. I left without actually completing any courses,” he recalled. Givi first attended Iowa State University, but the rural setting did not agree with him. After a semester he came east to visit Case Western Reserve University, but a fortuitous visit to the YSU campus was his epiphinal moment. “I honestly loved the campus so much; I said, ‘I am going to go here.’” He enrolled in YSU’s mechanical engineering program.

“I knew from the age of 12 that I wanted to be a mechanical engineer,” said Givi, “so, it was really an easy choice for me. I did not speak the language well, so I gravitated to the math and engineering courses. The professors I met in those classes were some of the best I ever had; some are still friends today.” Givi recollects a vibrant campus with exceptionally friendly students. “There were lots of parties in Kilcawley with disco music – seriously, I was a good disco dancer,” he said, laughing. “That was a time to show off a bit – those are great memories.” He finished his bachelor’s degree at YSU in 1980 and moved on to Carnegie Mellon University, where he earned both a master’s and Ph.D. by 1984. Since then, his engineering career in fluid mechanics, applied mathematics, propulsion and combustion has included more than 26 years of research for NASA’s space shuttle program, as well as research for the Air Force and work as a research scientist for Flow Industries Inc. in Seattle. Another role Givi takes seriously is recruiting students into the graduate program at the University of Pittsburgh. He proudly confides that he searches for “late bloomers.” “I personally feel that GPAs and test scores don’t give the whole picture. I’ve had to write special letters for some students to get into our program. Not everyone blossoms at the same rate, and intelligence is not dependent on the university you go to; it’s dependent on how you choose to use it,” he said. “It’s a blessing to watch these people come in, do some amazing things and succeed.” Givi will be back on campus this fall as a featured speaker in the YSU Alumni Lecture Series on Thursday, Sept. 20. Martin Abraham, dean of YSU’s College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, has invited him to lecture on X-planes and supersonic transport. (See Alumni News, Page 24, for more information on the lecture series.) Profile by Robert Merz



Alumni Spotlight

Fine Arts Grad Finds a Niche Sculpting Metal Adam Post ’06 Wendell August Forge President Will Knecht has extravagant praise for one of his company’s top artisans, YSU alumnus Adam Post. “He’s a star; we’re all bit players in the Adam Post story.” Post hears the comment, but sits, humble, immersed in the din of factory machination that comes with a thriving business, one he has contributed to in no small measure. Wendell August Forge is an American tradition, producing handcrafted giftware in aluminum, bronze, copper, stainless steel and pewter since 1923. It is the only remaining manufacturer of its kind in the United States. Post sits for his interview surrounded by more than a dozen pieces he designed for the company, which is perhaps Grove City, Pennsylvania’s most famous landmark. Those 12 samples are a mere smattering of the 75 to 100 distinct shapes he created for more than 300 products in the past year alone. Post’s designs are now on sale in 200 retail shops in 42 states, and the company expects to be in 500 retail locations within a year. Post was a skilled artisan when he joined the business, but he really began to shine after a devastating fire in 2010 claimed the entire 25,000-square-foot Wendell August factory.

The forge had received its largest single order in its 89-year history just days before. That 20,000-piece order, and the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team, helped save the company. According to Alex DeGroff, marketing and product manager, the Pens fronted funds for most of the contract so that the forge could more quickly get back on its feet. “We have a really close relationship with the Penguins,” said DeGroff. “If it wasn’t for them, things would have been much worse for us.” Leann Smith, director of marketing and design, said Post has been instrumental in transforming the company ever since. “He’s done nearly all of the sculptural design for pieces now being taken to the national market.” Post earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree with an emphasis in sculpture at YSU in 2006 and immediately began looking for a career in metal fabrication. It was his mother who suggested he apply to Wendell August; he has been there now for five and a half years. “When I interviewed here after graduation, I was told I was overqualified,” said Post, “but they needed someone, and I wanted to work here, so I started as a finishing craftsman and buffed metal all day.” Eventually, Post rose to the position of master craftsman. Now he’s a vital part of Wendell August’s creative team.

Amy Beth Williams

A Walk on the Red Carpet Amy Beth Williams ’97 Celebrity encounters are nothing new for Amy Beth Williams. As a marketing director for Entertainment Tonight and The Insider, two top-rated entertainment news magazine shows produced by CBS Television Distribution, the YSU alumna meets big-name TV and movie stars every day. But Williams got her own chance to walk the red carpet with cameras flashing when she won the Kairos Prize for Emerging Screenwriters earlier this year at the Movieguide Faith and Values Awards Gala in Hollywood. “I’ve been to other award shows, but it was surreal to be the one on the red carpet,” she said. “When they called my name as the winner, it was like a dream sequence. I couldn’t believe it was happening to me.” Her prize-winning screenplay, entitled Halo Theory and chosen from among 600 entries, is the story of a father and his 11-year-old son who mend their broken relationship while rebuilding a lighthouse together in Nantucket. It’s the sixth feature script Williams has written since completing graduate level coursework in screenwriting in 2006 at the University of California in Los Angeles. She’s hoping to see Halo Theory bought and made into a feature film. “I feel like there’s so much negativity that comes out of Hollywood,” she said. “My goal is to write something that 28


Alumni Spotlight

“Our team will come up with a creative vision and Adam just takes the metal and makes a prototype. He really is a very gifted metal artist; he can take an idea and transform it into something really beautiful,” said Smith. Post says his shapes are inspired by his experience as a sculptor and his work with bronze casting at YSU. “YSU also helped prepare me for my career here by teaching me to accept constructive criticism, which is just as important in a commercial environment as it is on a college campus,” he said. Post defines his workplace as “exciting and varied.” In his typical workday, he may handcraft pieces to shape or participate in the design process. “I am absolutely loving this work,” he said. “I love being here,

has a message, something positive and uplifting with a powerful takeaway. Not that I can change Hollywood, but maybe I can make it better.” A native of Austintown, Williams majored in marketing in YSU’s Williamson College of Business Administration and earned her bachelor’s degree in 1997. “YSU’s program gave me the skills and confidence to work in marketing in any industry. So many of the principles I learned there gave me the foundation for what I do at work every day.” Determined to land a job in either Florida or California, Williams sent her resume to film studios and athletic teams in both states. Just two days after graduation, she started a marketing internship with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a pro football team, and was later offered a full-time position. Williams enjoyed the world of pro sports and stayed with the Bucs for two seasons, but Hollywood still held an allure. With marketing experience under her belt, she tried the studios again and was hired in 1999 as an executive assistant at Paramount Television, now CBS Television. She advanced up the management ladder and is now in charge of promoting ET and The Insider through TV, radio, talent appearances and special events for the 200+ stations that air each show.

Adam Post

designing and working with my hands and all the different media. There’s nowhere I’d rather be.”

Profile by Robert Merz

At first, she was awestruck by showbiz celebrities and called her parents daily to report sightings of stars such as Tom Cruise, Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt. “Once, Kevin Costner walked up and asked me what time it was,” she said, laughing. “I was so shocked, I suddenly couldn’t tell time.” By now, however, many well-known entertainers have become friends. Two of her friends starred in The Help, an Oscar nominee for best picture, and the late comedian Steve Bridges, renowned for his presidential impersonations, was a close friend. Outside work and writing, Williams loves to travel and enjoys spending time on the beach near her home in Marina Del Rey, Calif. She recently began designing her own line of handmade leather wrap bracelets, – something to do while she waits for her screenplay to sell and plots out her next script in her head. But even if a major studio buys Halo Theory, Williams intends to keep her day job. “They say that, if you throw a stone anywhere in Hollywood, you’ll hit a writer or an actor,” she quipped. “It’s definitely an advantage that I have a fulltime job in Hollywood. Otherwise, I might be one of those starving writers you hear about.”

Profile by Cynthia Vinarsky




Michael Lacivita of Youngstown, ’51 BSBA, recently had his book, Rag Man, Rag Man, added to the library of the American Legion National Headquarters in Indianapolis. The book, Lacivita’s Michael Lacivita memoir, has also been added to the archive collections at the Harry S. Truman Library in Missouri, the University of Minnesota’s Immigration History Research Center in Minneapolis, the Motts Military Museum in Groveport, Ohio, the National WWII Museum in New Orleans, the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas, and the Butler Institute of American Art library in Youngstown.

’60s Tom McKinney of Dunwoody, Ga., ’67 BSBA in accounting, was recently elected president of Dunwoody’s Active and Retired Federal Employees Association. McKinney retired as auditor-in-charge of the U.S. Army Audit Agency and is currently employed as an insurance agent for Magellan Financial Planning Group Inc.

’70s Richard Hahn of Youngstown, ’70 BM, was recognized as the YMCA of Youngstown’s Volunteer of the Year for 2011. Richard Hahn The president of Keynote Media Group, a Youngstown marketing firm, Hahn is a member of the YMCA Board of Trustees, a founding member of YMCA Community Cup, founder and director of an annual New Year’s Eve volleyball tournament, and often donates his company’s video and marketing services to the Y. He is also active with several other community groups, including Rotary Club of Youngstown, CityScape and WYSU-FM advisory board. Sharyn Moreland of Ooltewah, Tenn., ’71 BSEd and ’75 MSEd, both in business and vocational education, was named director of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center, which 30

Sharyn Moreland



is operated by Chattanooga State Community College. Previously, she was director of sales development for Memorex Telex. She also ran her own training and consulting business. Sean S. Ennis of Berea, Ohio, ’73 BSBA, was inducted into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame, Class of 2011, which recognizes veterans for community service following their military service. Ennis, an Army veteran of the Vietnam War, was involved with the March of Dimes, is a board member and trustee of Honor Flight Cleveland, works as a volunteer at the Cleveland airport USO and as a goodwill ambassador for the airport, and is a volunteer in the Vietnamese Tax Clinic in Cleveland. Rev. Skip Jordan of Clinton, Md., ’75 BA, is working as a chaplain in the Washington, D.C. office of Capital Caring Hospice Services. He earned a master’s degree in Divinity from Rev. Skip Jordan Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, then completed a residency in clinical pastoral education at Washington Hospital Center from 20082010. Michael O’Brien of Warren, ’76 AAS, ‘78 BSAS, former mayor of the City of Warren, was named 2011 Public Elected Official of the Year by the National Association of Social Workers Ohio Chapter. He was recognized for his leadership in keeping city parks open for inner-city youth and in the city’s construction of a public amphitheater to house a summer music program. Previously, he also served as a Warren city councilman and as a Trumbull County Commissioner. Susan Abernethy Rebich of Charlotte, N.C., ’77 BS in special and elementary education, was awarded a Ph.D. in special education from the University of North Carolina Susan Abernethy Rebich in August 2011. Her research focus was early intervention and families. Susan is employed as a clinical assistant professor in the Special Education and Child and Family Development Department at UNC Charlotte where she teaches and supervises student teachers. 

Renaldo Rivera of the Virgin Islands, ’79 BS in law enforcement administration, was among the commissioned officers recognized by U.S. Black Engineer and Information Technology Magazine in an article titled “Top Blacks in the Military.” Major General Rivera is a decorated Vietnam combat veteran who served in the Virgin Islands Police Department for 10 years and in the Virgin Islands National Guard for 22 years. He retired in 2002 and then was recruited as security manager of the Virgin Island Water and Power Authority.

’80s Timothy Womer of Pittsburgh, ’80 AAS, ’82 BSAS in mechanical engineering, has been named to the Plastics Hall of Fame in Washington, D.C. He is president of TWWomer and Associates LLC, a consulting business he started in 2011. He holds 15 patents and is a prolific author and lecturer. Previously, he was chief technical officer at Xaloy Inc. Alan Papa of Akron, ’82 BSBA, recently completed his first year as president of Akron General Medical Center, a 511-bed teaching and research hospital. Previously, Papa was president and Alan Papa chief operating officer at Mt. Carmel-West in the Columbus, Ohio, area, and before that he was senior vice president of network services and operations for more than eight years at Akron General. He holds an MBA from Cleveland State University. Ron Guido of Palm Harbor, Fla., ’84 AB in speech communications, has joined First Bank Mortgage as a vice president and area sales manager in the Florida market. He’ll be working in Ron Guido the Dunedin, Fla. branch. Guido has more than 20 years of sales, marketing and operations management experience in the services industry and more than five years of banking experience. Randy Love of Canfield, ’89 BS in computer science, has been named director of business development for GlobalWise Investments Inc. of Columbus, Ohio, and its wholly owned subsidiary, Intellinetics Inc. Previously, he was vice president of sales


Class Notes

and business development for an Ohio-based enterprise content management provider for 10 years. He is a Certified Document Imaging Architect. Patricia Mishic of Akron, ’89 BSBA, was appointed vice president and chief marketing officer of A. Schulman Inc., an international supplier of plastic compounds and resins. Previously, she served in a variety of global business development, marketing and business management positions for Dow Chemical Co., most recently as global director of marketing excellence for Dow’s Performance Materials and Performance Plastics divisions. She also has an MBA from the University of Akron and completed the Babson College and IMD executive management and entrepreneurial programs.


Waking Up and Changing My Life is the title of an inspirational self-help autobiography by Julia Fuhrman Davis of North Lima, Ohio, ’71 BSBA. The author said her book describes the first three years of her own journey into “awareness and self-care.” Fuhrman Davis, an inspirational speaker, licensed massage therapist and certified yoga instructor, holds a master’s degree in teaching from the University of Pittsburgh. Her book is available at, Barnes & Noble, or through the author’s website,

’90s Sherri Theaker of Bethany, W.Va., ’96 MSEd in early childhood special education, was appointed chair of the Department of Education at Bethany College, where she is an associate professor of edu- Sherri Theaker cation. She earned a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction and special education from Ohio University and also holds a BS in human ecology from Ohio State University. Previously, Theaker taught at OU for more than 10 years and served as a consultant to the Ohio Department of Education, Office of Early Learning and School Readiness. Bob Coury of Jupiter, Fla., ’97 BSAS in mechanical engineering technology, is a senior mechanical engineer at Lockheed Martin Corp. in West Palm Beach. Currently, he is working on the development and manufacture of remote mine-hunting vehicles for the Navy, as well as a magnetic communications system that will be used to allow trapped coal miners to better communicate with rescuers. That communication system is featured in the March issue of National Geographic magazine. Jason G. Beckham of Atlanta, ’98 BA in political science, was named to Georgia Rising Stars 2012, which includes attorneys 40 and under or who have been practicing law for 10 years or less. No more than 2.5 percent of attorneys in Georgia are named to the list. Beckham joined the law firm of Burr & Forman as an associate last year, working in the firm’s banking and financial services group. He earned a law degree in 2002 at Emory University School of Law.

Kaylyn Boca

Damon Patton

Kaylyn Boca of Pittsburgh, ’99 BA, has been elected a partner in the Leech Tishman law firm. Boca practices in the firm’s real estate and corporate practice groups and has focused her practice in the area of commercial real estate. She earned a law degree from Duquesne University School of Law in Pittsburgh and joined the firm in 2002. Damon C. Patton of Washington, D.C., ’99 MS in criminal justice, has joined the Washington law firm of Ackerman Brown PLLC as an associate in the firm’s trust and estate practice. He earned a BS in criminal justice from Ashland University and earned a law degree from Cleveland Marshall College of Law in Cleveland.

Thomas Welsh

Julia Fuhrman Davis

Closing Chapters: Urban Change, Religious Reform, and the Decline of Youngstown’s Catholic Elementary Schools, 1960-2006, is an historic narrative authored by Thomas G. Welsh of Youngstown, ’93 MA in English literature. Released in December 2011 by Lexington Books, the book examines the decline of Youngstown’s Catholic elementary schools and explores the impact of religious reforms. After completing his master’s degree at YSU, Welsh earned a Ph.D. in cultural foundations of education at Kent State University, and the book is a revised and expanded version of his doctoral dissertation. Closing Chapters is available through online booksellers.

By day, Brian T. Douglas of Ashland, Ohio, ’97 BS in Biology, is a group supervisor in the Bioanalytical Chemistry department at WIL Research in Ashland. After hours, he’s a writer. He released his first novel, Gone in the Blink of an Eye, in late 2011, published by Black Rose Writing. The book tells the story of a police officer who, while investigating the case of a missing boy, finds himself immersed in a nationwide manhunt to find the kidnappers. The book is available online at Barnes and Noble, Amazon and

Brian Douglas

When multiple sclerosis forced YSU alumna Loretta Ekoniak to retire early from her teaching career, she decided to pursue another passion, her Slovak heritage. Slovaks of the Greater Mahoning Valley, a book published by Arcadia Publishers as part of its Images of America series, was co-authored by Ekoniak of Beaver Township, Ohio, and Susan Summers of West Middlesex, Pa. The authors spent a year and a half researching their book and have included photos and stories from more than 100 families whose Slovak ancestors immigrated to the Mahoning Valley in search of a better life. Ekoniak earned a BS in medical technology in 1975 and worked in Youngstown area hospital labs. Later she earned a BSEd in comprehensive science in 1991 and a master’s in secondary educaLoretta Ekoniak tion in 1997 and taught chemistry, biology and environmental science at Poland High School. The book is available by contacting Ekoniak, 



Class Notes

’00s Brian Tusinak of Austintown, ’00 BS in nursing, has been named nurse manager for the surgical unit Brian Tusinak at St. Joseph Health Center in Warren. Previously, Tusinak was the nurse coordinator on the surgical unit and interim manager for the monitored unit at St. Joseph. Joe Gregory of Virginia Beach, Va., ’01 BSBA, has been named general manager of the Norfolk Tides, a AAA baseball club in the International League. He also serves as vice president of Joe Gregory the Norfolk Admirals hockey team. Previously, he was general manager of the Youngstown SteelHounds in the Central Hockey League, where he negotiated the team’s first National Hockey League affiliation and saw the team’s season ticket base grow by 70 percent. He also worked in management roles with the former Giant Eagle LPGA Classic in Vienna, Ohio, and as director of business development for the Mahoning Valley Scrappers baseball team. Ryan Ghizzoni of Fairview Park, Ohio, ’02 BSBA in accounting, was named the 2011 Outstanding Treasurer/ CFO of the Year by the

Ryan Ghizzoni

Ohio Association of School Business Officials. Ghizzoni has been treasurer and chief financial officer of the Fairview Park City School District since 2007 and has been the recipient of several awards, including the OASBO’s Meritorious Budget Award and its 2011 Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting award. Abigail Voigt of Gahanna, Ohio, ’02 BA in communication studies, is a lecturer at Ohio State University’s Newark campus. Previously, she earned a master’s degree in middle childhood education from OSU and taught for five years. Ting Ting Huang of Alfred, N.Y., ’03 MS in economics, has joined the faculty of Alfred University’s College of Business as an assistant professor of finance. She completed a Ph.D. in financial economics at the University of Pittsburgh in 2010, and also holds a master’s in mathematical finance from the same institution and a BA in finance from Nanjing Audit University in China. Previously she was a teaching fellow at Pitt, and she worked as a financial analyst for China Merchants Bank. Robert M. Brooks of Jackson, Miss., ’04 MBA and graduate certificate in health care management, was named chief operating officer of Central Mississippi Medical Center. He has more than 10 years of experience in health care, most recently serving as vice president of operations and centers of excellence for Methodist Healthcare in Memphis. He has a BS in nursing from Kent State University, has been a clinical instructor at Ross University School of Medicine in Edison, N.J., and served as adjunct faculty at the Memphis School of Public Health and at YSU’s Allied Health Program.

your story TELL US

’10s Mathew Pollock of Lowellville, Ohio, and Christy Niemeyer of Austintown, both ’11 BSBA in accounting, have been hired as staff accountants with the accounting firm of Novogradac & Company LLP based in San Francisco. They began their new positions in January and work out of the company’s Dover, Ohio, office.

Mathew Pollock

Christy Niemeyer

Stephanie Caruso of Mineral Ridge, ’11 BS in social work, was selected for the BSW Student of the Year award presented by the National Association of Social Workers Ohio Chapter. A licensed social worker, Caruso is enrolled in YSU’s advanced standing master’s degree program in Stephanie Caruso social work and is completing her field placement at Akron Children’s Hospital. Previously, she worked as an office manager for a local physician’s office where she established a patient medication assistance program.

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Jackie Giambattista and her son, Michael Giambattista, recipient of an Alumni Legacy Scholarship for Fall 2012.

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

Penguin Plunge,







Swim parties, like this one photographed at the Youngstown YWCA in the mid-1950s, were a popular pastime for Youngstown University students in the ’50s and early ’60s. The Neon, the university’s pictorial yearbook from 1931 to 1992, reported that students swam and dove at the nearby YWCA and at the Youngstown YMCA downtown in the early years, until the completion in 1972 of Beeghly Center, which includes an Olympicsize swimming and diving complex. Women’s athletics was first organized at Youngstown College in 1935 with the creation of the Women’s Athletic Association. By the 1970s, men’s extramural sports were administered by the YSU Athletic Department, while women’s sports came under the auspices of the Department of Health & Physical Education; women’s extramural sports were transferred to the Athletic Department in 1975.




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YSU Spring Alumni Magazine - 2012  

Criminal Justice grads are top cops

YSU Spring Alumni Magazine - 2012  

Criminal Justice grads are top cops