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Entrepreneurial Spirit, Penguin Style

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O N T H E COVER Tom and Katie Phibbs, entrepreneur business owners, show off lettuce grown in a hydroponic system they designed for growing food indoors year round. Read about the Phibbs and other YSU alumni entrepreneurs in our cover story, "Entrepreneurial Spirit, Penguin Style," starting on Page 8.

YSU President

James P. Tressel

YSU Board of Trustees Chair Carole S. Weimer, ’89 Vice Chair Leonard Schiavone Charles R. Bush, ’71 Delores Crawford, ’68 David C. Deibel, ’75 James B. Greene John R. Jakubek, ’79 Harry Meshel, ’49 James Roberts, ’70 Secretary Franklin S. Bennett Jr. Student Trustees Samatha Anderson Bryce A. Miner Associate Vice President, Shannon Tirone, ’94 University Relations Director, Office of Catherine Cala Alumni Engagement ———————————

Public Information Officer

Magazine Editor


Sports Contributor

Layout Design

Ron Cole Cynthia Vinarsky Joel Lewis Trevor Parks Web & Creative Services

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 22 online edition, Fall 2015, is published twice a year by the YSU Office of Marketing & Communications. For address changes, letters to the editor, ideas and comments: Call 330-941-3519 Email universitymagazine@ysu.edu Or mail to: Youngstown State University Office of Marketing & Communications One University Plaza Youngstown, OH 44555 Youngstown State University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and/ or expression, disability, age, religion or veteran/military status in its programs or activities. Please visit www.ysu.edu/ada-accessibility for contact information for persons designated to handle questions about this policy. 8-001



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Around Campus – Some exciting improvements are in the works for the YSU campus over the next 12 months. The story leads our university news roundup. COVER STORY: Entrepreneurial Spirit, Penguin Style – Meet some amazing YSU alumni entrepreneurs whose business ventures range from giant helium balloons to hydroponic gardening to New York City shopping tours.


Mortarboards with a Message – It’s a commencement tradition: new grads hand-decorating their graduation caps with messages of humor and inspiration. Check out the latest in this photo collage.


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

18 Lab Pairs Art with Engineering Preparing metal alloys in YSU’s Launch Lab at Bliss Hall are Ed Stride, left, and Walt Whitman, of Fireline, Inc., a Youngstown company. Launch Lab is a partnership between the university’s visual arts and engineering programs and includes an induction furnace donated by Ajax Tocco Magnethermic Corp. in Warren. The lab was created by Greg Moring, professor and chair of the Art Department, and Brian Vuksanovich, assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering Technology, to bring students from the two disciplines together to collaborate on various projects. Fireline, which has a long-standing research partnership with YSU, was using the equipment to prepare metallic alloys for its product development efforts.


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Investing Real Cash – Examining the growth and history of YSU’s Student Investment Fund, a unique learning tool for students that reached $1 million this spring. Hubble at 25 – Reflections of a Stargazer – Astronomy and Physics Associate Professor Pat Durrell reflects on his work with the Hubble Telescope, now celebrating its 25th anniversary. Alumni Spotlight – We profile four exceptional grads from diverse career fields. Meet Chris Geidner, ’05 BA, attorney and legal editor for Buzzfeed, an Internet news outlet; Robert Clark, ’01 MS, assistant special agent with the FBI in Los Angeles; Jennifer Roller, MSEd ’95 and BA ’91, president of the Wean Foundation; and W. Jeffrey Hurst, ’75 MS, principal scientist for the Hershey Co.

Passing of the Torch Freshmen members of YSU’s new Honors College march along Wick Avenue, carrying the college’s new banner for a “Passing of the Torch” ceremony outside the Pollock House in August. The event marked a new era in honors at YSU – the YSU Board of Trustees approved formation of the Honors College last December. YSU’s honors student enrollment hit 424 this fall, up 30 percent from a year ago. In the photo at far left, engineering students work together on a design project as part of IGNITE, a new two-day experience designed to help first-year students adapt to campus life. The university welcomed 2,125 freshmen this fall, up 17 percent from a year ago.

DEPARTMENTS 2 27 30 32 34

President’s Message Alumni News Penguin Sports Philanthropy at YSU Class Notes

FALL 2015


Shaping the futures of our students

James P. Tressel President

Journalists and editors know that there’s a story behind every story, and such is the case with the cover story in this edition of YSU Magazine. The article by our magazine editor, Cynthia Vinarsky, explores entrepreneurship – Penguin style – by focusing on several YSU alumni who, through hard work and determination, have gone on to create some unique professional and business ventures. Their stories are fascinating; we encourage you to take the time to read them. But here’s the story behind the story: in their interviews with Cindy, all of these Penguin entrepreneurs mentioned, by name, specific YSU faculty members who played vital roles in their success. Several also shared with Cindy that, because of YSU’s relatively low cost and the great scholarship support provided by the university, they were able to graduate with little or no loan debt. That meant that they had the financial resources to move forward, innovate, take risks and seek out entrepreneurial opportunities. What a wonderful story about the important role Youngstown State University plays in shaping the futures of our students. Those stories are not unique. Over the course of more than a century, the people of this institution have consistently and persistently worked to open doors for our students and to better our community. In this year’s State of the University address to kickoff the 2015-16 academic year, we shared dozens of such stories – of students participating in and winning national competitions, of faculty earning patents for new inventions and setting ever-higher research milestones, and of alumni, like the entrepreneurs in this edition of the magazine, making their marks on the world. So, while all of us in higher education face many challenges, we look to those individuals as the true measurement of our progress, and we confidently declare the State of the University to be strong. And, as we seek MACTE VIRTUTE – increased excellence – we look forward to many more successes to come. Go Penguins,

James P. Tressel, President



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Campus Gets Facelift with Upgrades, New Construction

Wick Avenue improvements

Get ready for some exciting changes on and around the YSU campus over the next few months. Main thoroughfares leading into and around campus will get major upgrades as part of four campus improvement projects, all set for completion by the start of Fall Semester 2016. Among the projects are major upgrades to Wick Avenue, including new pavement, buried utility lines and improved lighting. “Our students, parents, alumni, faculty and staff who come to campus a year from now will see an unbelievable esplanade, if you will, that we hope brings Wick Avenue back to the grandeur that Wick Avenue had historically,” President Jim Tressel said. “It will be the kind of entrée that this wonderful university deserves.” Jones Hall green space

The biggest project begun in the summer involves renovations to Melnick Hall. The $4.65 million improvement will allow for the relocation of the YSU Foundation and WYSU 88.5 FM to the building, said Rich White, director of Planning and Construction. Construction is set for completion by year’s end. In Moser Hall, space on the first floor is being renovated for an advanced manufacturing lab. White said the project also includes new office construction on the third floor of Moser, where offices for Physics faculty will move from their current location on the lower level of Ward Beecher Hall.

The Lincoln Avenue corridor, another core crossroad of the university, will also undergo improvements, including resurfacing, new sidewalks and lighting. The Wick and Lincoln projects are both under the auspices of the City of Youngstown. In addition, new green spaces are being created across from Jones Hall on Lincoln Avenue and next to Sweeney Hall near Elm Street. This summer, crews were also busy across campus working on more than $12 million in improvements, from restroom renovations and roof replacements to expansion of the electrical substation and creating new lab space in Moser Hall. The vast majority of the repairs are funded through state capital dollars.

Lincoln Avenue Corridor

Sweeney Hall green space

FALL 2015


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Elder Volunteers Can Earn Free College Tuition Volunteers age 60 and older can earn free college tuition under a groundbreaking initiative launched this summer. The GIVE back. GO forward. program provides an opportunity for elders in the Youngstown region to “give back” by volunteering at least 100 hours per year at any of three local organizations. It is a joint initiative between the Ohio Department of Higher Education and the Ohio Department of Aging. In exchange for 100 hours of volunteer service, participants will earn a three-credit-hour tuition waiver at YSU or Eastern Gateway Community College that they can use themselves or gift to a student to help him or her “go forward.” Ohio Director Bonnie K. Burman, director of the Ohio Department of Aging, said the initiative aims to make Ohio’s elder population feel valued in their community while they experience the health benefits that come with volunteering and helping others. Participation is open to 100 new volunteers in its first year; YSU and Eastern Gateway each will provide 50 three-credit-hour tuition waivers for those volunteers. To learn more about GIVE back. GO forward., visit www.ohiohighered.org/gbgf

Spring Commencement Celebrates First School Psychology Grads Nine graduates awarded Educational Specialist degrees in School Psychology were the first to complete YSU’s new graduate-level school psychology program at YSU’s spring commencement ceremonies in May. Eric Spiegel, president and chief executive officer of Siemens Corp., and Randall Craig Fleischer, music director of the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra and the Hudson Valley Philharmonic and the Anchorage Symphony, were featured speakers at the morning and afternoon ceremonies, and each was presented an honorary degree. The following graduates received EdS degrees in School Psychology, the second of two degrees awarded under the three-year program: Anna Adams, Canfield; Sarah Brocker, Canfield; Elizabeth Coloutes, Poland, Ohio; Melanie Evans, Ashtabula; Brian Glenn, Youngstown; Stephanie Gordon, Eric Spiegel Liberty Township; Carl Scott Keller, Willoughby, Ohio; Elizabeth Pugh, Youngstown; and Melanie Shipman, Greene, Ohio. YSU created the program in 2012 to address a critical shortage in school psychologists locally and across the nation. It is one of only nine school psychology programs in the state, and the EdS degree is the first ever degree at that level to be offered Randall Craig Fleischer at YSU.



Father-Daughter Grads Robert Fusco and his daughter, Brooke Fusco, graduated together at Spring Commencement in May – he was awarded a Bachelor of General Studies, she earned a BA in Psychology. Robert Fusco, who operates an Allstate Insurance office in Austintown, Ohio, had been a nontraditional student taking courses for years, but he stepped up the pace so that they could complete their degrees at the same time. Brooke Fusco is pursuing a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology at Ball State University, where she was awarded a graduated assistantship.

In Memoriam

Joseph Nohra

Joseph S. Nohra, 79, of Liberty Township, a former member and chair of the YSU Board of Trustees, died April 6. He was 79. Nohra earned a BSBA in accounting from YSU and worked for 44 years at The Cafaro Company, retiring in 2000 as vice president of finance, chief financial officer and a member of the board of directors. He also served on the YSU Foundation Board of Trustees and its distribution committee and was a member of the Higher Education Funding Commission of the Ohio Board of Regents. Contributions may be made in his memory to The Joseph S. and Betty C. Nohra Scholarship at The YSU Foundation, 606 Wick Avenue, Youngstown, Ohio 44502. Arrangements were handled by Schiavone Funeral Home.

Freshmen GPAs, ACT scores break records

Gov. John R. Kasich has appointed two new members to the YSU Board of Trustees. Dr. Charles R. Bush, a retired cardiac thoracic surgeon and YSU alumnus, will serve a nine-year term, and Samantha Anderson, a junior Finance and Business Economics major, will serve two years as a student trustee. Dr. Bush, who lives in Powell, Ohio, outside Columbus, replaces Dr. Sudershan K. Garg, who left the board earlier this year after a decade of service. A Youngstown native, he graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School, earned a bachelor’s degree in Biology from YSU in 1971, and completed his medical training at The Ohio State University. He practiced medicine in Columbus for 28 years, performing more than 10,000 open-heart surgeries and starting four open-heart programs in Ohio, retiring in 2008. Married with three grown children, he divides his time between residences in Powell, Ohio, and Florida. Anderson resides in Poland, Ohio, the daughter of James Anderson and Barbara Rogers. She is a Leslie H. Cochran Scholar at YSU, vice president for Financial Affairs in the YSU Student Government Association and founder/president of Farm to YSU. She studied abroad in South Korea this summer and, in her time at YSU, has completed more than 650 hours of volunteer work.

Average ACT Score, Freshmen

2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010

21.19 21.09 20.48 20.17 20.02 19.75

Average HS GPA, Freshmen


Governor Appoints New YSU Trustees

But in his State of the University address, Tressel said attracting more and higher quality students is not enough. The key is retaining those students and providing Jim Tressel them the resources to be successful and to graduate in a timely fashion. “If we continue to attract more and retain more, we’ll be able to reach the goals we have in mind,” he said. Tressel added: “We’re going to work every single day to increase our excellence … Great things are on the horizon at YSU, and I’m proud to be a part of it.”


Larger. Higher test scores. More diverse. Those are the buzzwords surrounding this year’s freshman class at YSU, the class of 2019. Preliminary numbers show a 17 percent increase in freshmen on campus this fall compared to last year, from 1,821 to 2,125. Their average ACT scores (21.15) and high school GPAs (3.14) are the highest in the university’s history. This year’s freshman class has representation from 423 high schools (303 last year) and 53 Ohio counties (37 last year). Nearly 350 are from out of state (up 62 percent) and nearly 500 are multicultural students (up 47 percent). In addition, residence halls are at capacity at 1,383 (up from 1,143 last year) and the new Honors College has 162 freshmen (up from 96 last year). “We have made tremendous strides in the past year to recruit students with increased academic credentials and from an expanded geographic region,” President Jim Tressel said.

2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010

3.14 3.12 2.97 2.88 2.87 2.81

YSU ranked Best Online College for 2015 Affordable Colleges Online ranks YSU one of the best online colleges in 2015. The university ranks 11th out of the more than 116 colleges in Ohio that offer full online programs, according to ACO, a national organization that provides data and information about pursuing an affordable higher education. “These schools set the bar,” said Dan Schuessler, founder and chief executive of Affordable Colleges Online. “These programs have made attending college accessible and affordable while maintaining rigorous academic standards of excellence and providing support services for their students.” YSU offers several bachelor’s and master’s degree programs online. For more information, visit www.ysu.edu.de.

FALL 2015


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Trustees Agree to Freeze Tuition, Expand College Credit Plus The fiscal year 2016 budget the YSU Board of Trustees approved this summer includes no tuition increase for undergraduate students and expands the College Credit Plus dual enrollment program into Pennsylvania. The freeze in undergraduate tuition for next academic year assumes a 1 percent increase in enrollment and a 9 percent boost in state funding appropriations. Full-time in-state undergraduate tuition will remain $4,043.64 per semester, the lowest among the state’s 11 largest public universities and $1,620 below the statewide average.

Tuition for out-of-state undergraduate students living in the 23-county Affordable Tuition Advantage area will remain at $4,163.64 per semester, well below tuition at competing universities in western Pennsylvania. Graduate tuition will increase 3.6 percent. The budget plan also calls for a 4 percent increase in room and board rates at the university’s residence halls. Meanwhile, the board also agreed to pursue expanding College Credit Plus into the Keystone State, at the request of several Pa. school districts. The program that allows school districts to offer college credit classes for high schools students has grown from 56 students to nearly 1,000 in the past decade. The board also entered into an energy performance contract with Johnson Controls Inc. that is expected to cut utility costs by at least $2 million annually. The $16 million project will be funded with those savings through a financing package with PNC Equipment Finance.

Grants Boost Hybrid Manufacturing, Purchase Additional 3D Printer Two major federal grants will reinforce YSU’s position as a leader in the field of additive manufacturing research and development. As part of the Consortium for Advanced Hybrid Manufacturing–Integrating Technologies, YSU and its partner, North Carolina State University, received a $495,910 federal grant. Congressman Tim Ryan announced the award, which came from the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Philip Singerman, associate director for Innovation and Industry Services for NIST, visited YSU in July and offered advice on how to grow and sustain the consortium. The funds are to be used to help develop a plan for integrating additive and subtractive metal manufacturing technologies, more commonly referred to as “hybrid manufacturing.” YSU was also selected, after a highly-competitive grant process, to receive a $365,000 grant from the Department of Defense for the purchase of a new 3D printer under the Defense University Research Instrumentation Program. In all, DoD received nearly 700 proposals, but only 111 academic institutions received awards. “With this new equipment, YSU students and faculty will have access to six of the seven types of processes either here at YSU or at America Makes,” said Brett Conner, YSU associate professor of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering. 6


Martin Abraham, YSU provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, said the new printer will give access to additive manufacturing technology “unmatched by any other university in the nation.” The grants were part of $4.6 million in external funding received by YSU faculty and staff in fiscal year 2015.

Philip Singerman, associate director for Innovation and Industry Services for the National Institute of Standards and Technology, tries out some equipment in YSU's Launch Lab; observing are, from left, student research assistants Libby Urig and Alec Marsili and graduate research assistant Ashley Martof.

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Engineering Professor Awarded University's Second Patent Ganesh Kudav, a YSU professor of Mechanical Engineering, was awarded a federal patent for an invention that will help prevent solar panels from being blown off rooftops. It is YSU’s second patent in less than a year. Physics Professor Tom Oder received a patent last fall for a method he devised that improves the performance and reliability of semiconductor devices. Kudav received the patent along with Yogendra Panta, former YSU assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering. Their invention deflects wind from solar panels installed on flat rooftops, keeping them in place without weighing them down. “We believe this design helps resolve one of the biggest issues facing the solar panel industry today,” Kudav said. “Overall, it makes the installation of roof solar panels safer and more economical.”

Grant Will Fund Moral Psychology Institute The National Endowment for the Humanities awarded a $155,747 grant to Deborah Mower establish a summer institute on moral psychology, co-directed and managed by Deborah Mower, a YSU professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies. “For a YSU faculty member to be selected as the co-director of such an Institute is a remarkable accomplishment, and a very clear indication of the very high status that Deborah has achieved in our profession,” said Bruce Waller, chair of the YSU Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies. The four-week long Summer Institute for College and University Teachers on “Moral Psychology and Education” is set for June 2016 at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Mich. In addition to co-directing the Institute and managing the grant project, Mower is also president of the Society for Ethics Across the Curriculum, working with directors of ethics centers nationally and internationally to integrate ethics within courses and university curricula.

Mechanical Engineering Professor Ganesh Kudav, left, explains the solar panel wind deflector he designed to YSU President Jim Tressel.

Brothers, Khawaja receive Heritage Award Two respected, long-time faculty members and administrators were presented the Heritage Award, recognizing their exemplary service and considered the most prestigious honor available to former YSU faculty and staff. The recipients are Barbara Brothers, former chair of the English Department and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and Ikram Khawaja, former chair of Geological and Environmental Sciences, provost and interim university president.

Dr. Ikram Khawaja

Dr. Barbara Brothers

WYSU sets all-time highs WYSU-FM set lofty goals for its two fund drives this past academic year, and surpassed both with flying colors. In all, the station raised more than $264,000 in the Fall and Spring campaigns. Gifts came from nearly 2,200 listeners. “These fund drives have been such a fabulous affirmation of the importance of public radio to our personal lives, to YSU, and to the community,” station Director Gary Sexton said. More at www.wysu.org.

FALL 2015


Entrepreneurial Spirit, Penguin Style Alumni owners of seven small businesses talk about the highs and lows of entrepreneurship. By Cynthia Vinarsky

Roxanne Hauldren



People tell Roxanne Hauldren that she has a dream job, and the New York City entrepreneur agrees. She’s a professional shopper, scouring exclusive designer showrooms to find fashion bargains for her clients from around the globe. “People think my job is awesome,” says the ’09 YSU alumna and founder of a shopping tour business she named Shop With Rox. “What they don’t see when they meet me now are the years of pounding the pavement it took to get here, and never giving up.” Hauldren remembers how tough it was, the winter after her first bustling Christmas holiday shopping season, when the phone stopped ringing and the emails dried up. “In January the whole city falls asleep, nobody has money to spend,” she said. “It can be very scary, not knowing where the next paycheck is coming from.” That experience taught the Shop With Rox owner that an entrepreneur can’t sit back and relax when business is going strong. She works every day, even when no shopping tours are scheduled. “Fifty percent of your business is generating new business,” she said. “If you stop trying to grow the business, it will die.”

SHEER DETERMINATION Ramesh Dangol calls that “sheer determination.” An assistant professor of Management at YSU, he talks about qualities like determination, passion and persistence when teaching Entrepreneurship and Opportunity Recognition courses in the Williamson College of Business Administration. Opportunity recognition is the entrepreneur’s first task, Dangol explains, and it means finding new ways to solve problems or add value for customers. Next comes the implementation stage, moving from concept to reality, he said, and that’s when the entrepreneur will need determination and persistence. “Ninety percent of the difficulty is in the implementation stage. Things don’t always go as expected, and the product is only a small part. You have to understand the business side.” Most students enroll in his classes believing that entrepreneurship is all about small business, but Dangol encourages them to gain experience first by working for someone else, using their entrepreneurial mindset

to benefit their employer. “That’s called ‘corporate entrepreneurship,’ working with an established business to add value for its customers in new ways.”

KEEP THE DAY JOB The professor has practiced corporate entrepreneurship himself, introducing new processes when he was working in the private sector before joining the YSU business faculty. “I want to open students’ eyes to realize that they can be entrepreneurs at work,” he said. “On the side, they can do the thing they are passionate about. It’s less risky.” HaSheen Wilson (’98, ’09) is following Professor Dangol’s advice. He’s keeping his day job as a network administrator for YSU while spending nights and weekends on the business start-up that he considers a calling, Crawling to Destiny Preschool and Learning Center in Boardman. He’s hired an administrator to run the center.

Crawling to Destiny – Giving Children a Positive Start HaSheen Wilson, ’98 BS, ’09 MS HaSheen Wilson is a techie kind of guy – he’s a network administrator at YSU with a master’s degree in Computing and Information Systems. It was what he calls an “aha-moment” that pushed him far outside his technology comfort zone to open a faith-based preschool and learning center in Boardman, bordering Youngstown’s South Side. The life-changing moment came in a conversation with ....his son, then 18, who had been raised and educated in a suburban environment. “I’m passionate about our city and our Valley, but in that moment I realized that, for children raised in the suburbs, there’s a disconnect,” says Wilson. He decided to “be the solution” by opening the Crawling to Destiny Preschool and Learning Center, HaSheen Wilson nicknamed C2D, at 11 Overhill Road. Wilson plans to offer the basics of any good childcare facility – a clean, safe, secure, loving and educational environment – with an emphasis on diversity. “The real intent here is to build bridges,” he said. “It’s a challenge. When people hear ‘diversity,’ they think race, but it’s so much deeper than that. We want to engage children in developing good character, principles, values and respect for themselves and others.” He spent more than two years researching state and local laws and regulations for daycare facilities, visiting other centers, finding a building, getting it furnished and hiring staff. To house the center, Wilson purchased a 5,300-square-foot, two-story office building, the former headquarters of the late Valley Congressman James Traficant. He bought the building through a sheriff’s sale and refurbished the ground floor with classrooms, a computer lab, a front office and reception area. He paid for most of the project himself, with some help from a small business loan from the Mahoning Valley Economic Development Corp. C2D is now open for children ages 2 ½ to 12, and Wilson plans to open the lower level of the building soon to accommodate infants. He’s hired an administrator experienced in the childcare business to help him run the center, but Wilson intends to stay closely involved in his new venture. “I consider it an assignment,” he said, “this is our noble attempt to make our Valley more significant.”

Wilson said he experienced some discouragement, disappointment and self-doubt in the process of finding a suitable, affordable building for the center – his implementation phase. Several attempts failed, but in the end he believes he found an ideal location for an excellent price. “It was taxing and frustrating. There were times I wondered if it was supposed to happen,” he recalled. “You do the best that you can with your due diligence, but you’re always going to find obstacles and financial surprises. Be ready with prayer, persistence and a lot of hard work.”

NEED TO NETWORK Ryan Alter (’98) likes to joke that an entrepreneur has to be “borderline insane” because of the hard work and the risk involved, but says he wouldn’t trade the lifestyle for any other. You could call Alter a “serial entrepreneur.” He’s launched several business enterprises since relocating to Montana after completing his YSU degree in environmental science. Now, he’s pursuing his passion for the environment by marketing an award-winning Automated Bear Trap that he designed, but he’s also following Professor Dangol’s

practical advice – his day job as president of an information technology consulting business pays the bills. Alter is part of a networking group with fellow entrepreneurs, and their support, advice and insight have been invaluable for him as he’s faced the ups and downs of business start-ups. “It all boils down to your tolerance for risk, ” he said. “It’s a lifestyle that you have to seriously consider before you jump into it. Some are cut out for it, some aren’t.”

SURVIVING A CRISIS StarBound Entertainment founder and president Toni McKay (’70, ’84) is no stranger to business challenges. She said she’s had to “reinvent” herself many times since she started her giant helium balloon company in New Castle, Pa., more than two decades ago. “An entrepreneur is someone who jumps off a cliff and builds an airplane on the way down,” she quipped. “I’ve built a lot of 747s.” One of the worst crises the successful balloon entrepreneur encountered came four years ago when a national helium shortage caused prices to triple overnight.

The Automated Bear Trap – Email from the Wilderness Ryan Alter, ’98 BS Inventors always try to “build a better mousetrap.” Ryan Alter took it a step further – he built a better bear trap. Living in Missoula, Mont., where bears are often a problem for wildlife managers, Alter’s patented Automated Bear Trap captures and safely contains even the largest bear. “I’ll never forget the first bear we caught – a 700 lb. grizzly,” he says with a laugh. “I welded that trap together myself, and I was thinking, I sure hope I did a good job!” His bear trap was named one of the Top Five Innovations of the Year at the 2014 Niagara Summit business conference in Las Vegas. Alter said he built the trap, with funding assistance from an anonymous environmentalist donor, to help park managers who complained of wasting countless hours, driving hundreds of miles to check bear traps. Equipped with webcams and monitors, the trap emails wildlife managers when a trap door is tripped and they can check the webcams to see if it’s caught the bear they’re after; if not, they can trigger a remote Ryan Alter poses outside his Automated Bear Trap with a release to set the unwanted target free. Alter said one park ranger testing tranquilized grizzly bear. out the trap reported that it saved him 150 work hours and $5,000 in gas in a year. But here’s the rub: Alter hasn’t sold a trap yet. He calls it “a solution waiting for its time,” and feels confident that parks and wildlife managers around the world will eventually start ordering. “The bear trap was never about money,” he says. “It’s about progressing technology in the environmental arena. It’s my way of giving back.” Fortunately, the bear trap is just one of several entrepreneurial ventures for Alter. He created Inspired Classroom, a company that provides virtual field trips for schools, and sold it in January. Alter also has a natural aptitude for technology that is invaluable to him as president and founder of Alter Enterprise, an information technology consulting firm, now serving 50 business clients. “As an entrepreneur, at some point you have to put your flag in the ground and say, ‘This one,’” he said, “but I’m always looking for new projects. It’s the driver in me.”



The skyrocketing costs could have grounded StarBound’s giant 40 and 50 ft. balloons, but McKay found a solution: she created cold-air inflatable balloons, which can actually be safer and cheaper than helium-filled versions. “The helium crisis is over, but now I do both helium and cold-air inflatables,” she said. “A lot of businesses would have gone under. You just have to keep getting up when you fall and not be afraid to follow your dreams.”


Heidi Giusto (’03, ’04) had a dream of becoming a history professor. She had completed BA and MA degrees in history at YSU and was pursuing a PhD in Duke University’s prestigious doctorate program when she realized that her dream had changed. She finished her PhD but, instead of working in academia, chose to start her own business, Career Path Writing Solutions. Based in Apex, N.C., Giusto’s business works with clients who need writing assistance to apply for law school, medical school, graduate school and doctoral programs, as well as resumes and cover letters. To build her credibility, in addition to her PhD and other degrees, she researched her field and earned additional credentials, becoming a Certified Professional Resume Writer, a Certified Employment Interview Professional, a member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches and a Career Thought Leaders Associate. “I would say, learn what you need to do to succeed and do it,” she advised. “That doesn’t necessarily mean another degree. Do some research, do what it takes. Beyond that, you just have to believe in yourself.”

A ‘KILLER’ IDEA Jim Cossler, “chief evangelist” and entrepreneurial expert at the Youngstown Business Incubator, believes entrepreneurship is easier than most people think. “I get so tired of people telling me that they’ve had a great idea for five years and they just haven’t figured out what to do with it,” he said. “I think the biggest barrier to entrepreneurship is the unhealthy, unrealistic fear of how hard it is. The hard part is coming up with a killer idea.” But how do you know you’ve got that “killer idea”? Most start-up owners ask friends, family, neighbors and co-workers. That won’t work, said

StarBound Entertainment – Giant Balloons for the World Toni McKay, ’70 BS, ’84 MSEd Picture Pete the Penguin as an enormous, 50-foot helium balloon. It may not be as farfetched as it seems, because Pete is on Toni McKay’s “bucket list.” McKay is founder and president of StarBound Entertainment, a helium balloon company based in New Castle, Pa., that creates and supplies giant character balloons for parades and other events worldwide. In May, she was named Lawrence County’s Rotary Club Entrepreneur of the Year. In her 20 years in business, she’s flown StarBound balloons at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Toni McKay the Kentucky Derby, the Super Bowl, the Indy 500 and Disney World, to name a few, and in cities around the globe. “My company has made history so many times,” she said. “We flew the first balloons in Paris, in London, in Oklahoma. I did the first African American balloon, and then Latinos and Asians. I just love bringing smiles to people all over the world, and giving people a voice.” Equipped with two YSU degrees and a second master’s degree from Westminster College, McKay began her career as an educator and then became a mental health therapist. As a single parent determined to give her daughter “a phenomenal life,” she began contemplating a business start-up and talked with a potential partner about a helium balloon company. “He laughed in my face. That happens to a lot of entrepreneurs, but it only made me more determined,” she said. She flew her first giant helium balloon in 1987 for the Kaufmann’s Parade (now Macy’s) in Pittsburgh and still uses the same creative process. First, McKay draws the design, often modeled after a recognizable animated figure, and gets the original artist’s approval – over the years she’s developed friendships with some of the nation’s most renowned cartoonists. Next, her local supplier creates a clay model, vinyl fabric pieces are cut to duplicate the model and heat-sealed together. StarBound has an inventory of 450 balloons, ranging in size from giant, (40 to 50 ft.) to ornamental or logo balloons (10 to 14 ft.). “I tell people not to be afraid to follow their hearts,” McKay says. “I’m the only woman in the world doing what I do, and it wouldn’t have happened if I’d let fear stop me.”

FALL 2015


Cossler, because people don’t want to hurt the business owner’s feelings and they don’t want to listen to a sales pitch. Instead, he tells entrepreneurs to find out what people really think of their product idea or service concept by doing a telephone survey of potential customers – at YBI, surveys are usually conducted by YSU students. “You have to know if there’s a market for your product or service, so you ask people to be brutally honest,” Cossler said. Three recent YSU engineering grads who founded JuggerBot 3D, a 3D printer design manufacturer and YBI company, followed Cossler’s advice by conducting their own customer phone survey. The process took several months, but the results were promising 95 percent of the companies surveyed responded positively. One of the three partners, Dan Fernback (’14), said they’ve realized the need to get out of the office and make connections with other business owners and entrepreneurs in the community. They’ve been attending business networking and informational events, such as the NASA Roadshow that brought NASA-Glen experts to the YSU campus to consult

with manufacturers this spring. “We’re surrounding ourselves with great people, and we’re getting a lot of support from the community,” he said. “We really feel like people want us to succeed.”

RECRUITING INVESTORS Tom (’11) and Katie Phibbs, owners of The Lettuce People and its spinoff company, Lettuce Do Good, say they’re also planning to conduct a market survey sometime soon to gauge consumer demand for their three-tiered hydroponic growing system. They designed the system for efficient indoor farming without soil, and the volume of phone and email inquiries they’ve received makes them feel that there’s a strong demand among home hobby growers and educators. The couple started out with a traditional farm in Kinsman, Ohio. When flooding destroyed most of their crop that first season, they switched to growing food indoors without soil. Neither had experience in hydroponics, and they

Career Path Writing Solutions – High Stakes Writing Expertise Heidi Giusto, ’03 BA, ’04 MA Heidi Giusto worked long and hard to earn her PhD, but ironically it was a student job as a writing tutor that provided the entrepreneurial skills that propel her business. That’s where Giusto discovered how much she enjoys working one-on-one with people and helping them succeed at crucial times - writing a cover letter for their dream job, for example, or a critical law school application. “I like working with people before they hit ‘submit,’ when the stakes are really high,” she said. Now living in Apex, N.C., Giusto has watched her client list grow steadily since she started her nationally recognized consulting firm, Career Path Writing Solutions, in the spring of 2013. About half her clients are from North Carolina; the rest come from Heidi Giusto across the United States and internationally, as far off as Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Japan and South Korea. Giusto is gaining credibility as a professional writer and editor. She’s been quoted in US News & World Report, featured in The PhD Career Guide and interviewed for VITAE, career hub for the Chronicle of Higher Education. Always a history lover, Giusto was preparing to become a history professor when she completed bachelor’s and master’s degrees in History at YSU and then enrolled in Duke University’s highly-selective PhD program. She began to rethink that plan, however, as a doctoral student working in Duke’s nationally recognized Writing Studio – she conducted more than 1,200 tutoring sessions with writers there – and later, as an application reader in the school’s Office of Admissions. “I realized that writing personal statements to apply for grad school, medical school or law school is a specialized genre of writing,” she said. “I liked providing guidance and the one-on-one interactions, and I decided I wanted to start a business around that.” She launched Career Path Writing Solutions soon after completing her PhD and never looked back. The business is a one-person shop now, but Giusto’s client list is growing rapidly, along with the number of glowing testimonials on the company website. She is considering the addition of a part-time employee and adding self-study courses to accommodate more clients. “You figure it out as you go along. That’s what I’ve done, and it’s working,” she said. “This is my career path. This is my Plan A.”



wanted to make their operation as efficient as possible, so they videotaped their research and posted their trials and errors on YouTube. In all, more than 250,000 viewers around the world watched, many commented, and some even contributed useful suggestions. Now headquartered at YBI, the Phibbs are ready to start recruiting investors to help with their manufacturing start-up costs. “We’ll do the telephone survey first,” Tom Phibbs said. “We want to be able to prove to our investors that the demand is there, that the market has been verified.” (Profiles continued on Page 14.)

The Lettuce People – Growing Food Without Soil Tom Phibbs, ’11 BA, and Katie Phibbs Businesses often keep secrets – they don’t want competitors stealing their ideas. Tom and Katie Phibbs took a different approach when they started The Lettuce People, a hydroponic farming business that grows food in water without soil. The couple created a YouTube channel in 2012 and posted videos of their research for all the world to see. “I wanted to encourage people to share their ideas with me, and they did. I was blown away by how many people watched,” says Katie Phibbs. The Lettuce People began as an urban indoor farm, supplying fresh lettuce to Youngstown area restaurants year round. After much trial and error, Katie Phibbs designed a three-tier growing system equipped with LED lighting that makes maximum use of space and recycles water and fertilizer. Compared to traditional farming, she said, their hydroponic system uses 60 percent less energy, 90 percent less water and 70 percent less fertilizer. And while traditional farmers might have two lettuce harvests a year, the Phibbs can have as many as 21. Serendipitously, the couple realized that their hydroponic growing system was highly marketable. “Demand for lettuce is huge, and we can’t keep up,” Tom Phibbs said. “But ultimately we’ve decided that our main goal is to educate people on how to grow their own food indoors, year round, and to provide the equipment they need to do it.” The Lettuce People will continue to produce lettuce for a select group of commercial customers, but the Phibbs have created a second business, Lettuce Do Good, to focus on selling hydroponic systems for home and classroom use. Their business was accepted as a Youngstown Business Incubator portfolio company, and the

Phibbs are working closely with YBI as they prepare to manufacture and sell their growing systems. Katie Phibbs said she has a passion for educating people about healthy foods, so she was thrilled when they started getting calls from school districts in the region, wanting to incorporate hydroponic growing into their science, technology and math curriculums. Requests to order the home hobby hydroponic systems have been coming in too, from drought-stricken California and other states, and from countries such as Vietnam, Iraq, Australia, Saudi Arabia and Germany. At first, the couple will manufacture the systems themselves at their Trumbull County home, with plans to hire help as business grows. “We’re starting out of the garage, just like Google,” Tom Phibbs quipped. (Editor’s note: Katie and Tom Phibbs dated through college, he graduated and she was in her final semester at YSU when Tom became ill. He needed a kidney transplant and Katie was a willing match.“After that, life happened,” the couple said. She dropped out of school for the surgery, gave birth to their second child and they started the business. She hopes eventually to complete her degree.)

Tom and Katie Phibbs

FALL 2015


Shop With Rox – Shopping Tours in the ‘Big Apple’ Roxanne Hauldren, ’09 BFA When country music duo Thompson Square needed help creating a new wardrobe for the stars’ summer performing tour, they called Roxanne Hauldren, a YSU grad and founder of Shop With Rox, a shopping tour business based in New York City. Working with a generous budget, she gave the Thompson Square couple a fashion tour of the city and helped them find an array of show-stopping outfits at discount prices. “I got them some great deals,” Hauldren says. “It was the high point of the year for me.” Hauldren arrived in New York six years ago, fresh out of college, dreaming of a stage career. She worked as a waitress and bartender to make ends meet and trolled designer showrooms in the garment district, looking for eye-catching fashion bargains to wear for auditions. “Everyone in New York is dressed to the nines. It’s a very intense, competitive marketplace, and clothing is so very expensive,” she explained. Before long, she had a steady stream of friends and family visiting her in New York for personalized shopping tours, and she realized that she had developed a talent for finding style at a bargain. She worked to become a certified NYC tour guide, printed up some business cards, created a website – and Shop With Rox was born.

That was almost four years ago. Since then, “Rox” has provided personalized shopping tours for more than 500 clients – NYC professionals on a budget, plus shoppers from almost every state and at least 10 foreign countries. “I’ve had everything, from moms and daughters from Ohio shopping for $20 sweaters, to high-end diamond-shopping clients from Dubai,” she said. “I always tell people, it’s bigcity fashion without the big city attitude. It should be fun.” And Shop With Rox is Roxanne Hauldren expanding. Hauldren has added a consulting division to work with developers and businesses, such as L’Oreal – the cosmetic giant recently sent a team to spend a day with her, touring the city for ideas on store designs and retail displays. Writing music is still a passion – she has an album on iTunes, titled “Roxy Dillon – Youth,” and performs often at bars and clubs around the city. “Shopping tours started off as a day job,” she said, “but it’s evolved into a dream gig.”

JuggerBot 3D – Rethinking the 3D Printer James D’Andrea, ’14 BE; Zachary DiVencenzo, ’15 BE; Dan Fernback, ’14 BE Just a little over a year ago, three YSU engineering students were collaborating on a school assignment – a permanent 3D printing kiosk for Moser Hall – and hatching a business start-up plan. Now, newly minted YSU grads James D’Andrea, Zachary DiVencenzo and Dan Fernback are entrepreneur-partners and founders of JuggerBot 3D, a business housed at the Youngstown Business Incubator. Their goal is to design and build a desktop 3D printer that is better than anything now commercially available. The company name, JuggerBot 3D, is a variation on the word “juggernaut,” meaning mercilessly destructive and unstoppable. YSU engineering students get plenty of exposure to the new technology. “We got a lot of 3D printing experience at YSU, but we saw where the machines were lacking,” D’Andrea recalled. The partners have three major improvements in mind for the JuggerBot 3D printer they’re designing, Fernback said. Now housed in the Youngstown Business Incubator, the company has already applied for several patents. For now, JuggerBot 3D is a second job for all three partners. Fernback is a supplier development engineer for Delphi Packard in Warren; DiVencenzo is an industrial engineer for Commercial Metal Forming in Youngstown; and D’Andrea is a product engineer for Shaefer Equipment in Warren. But the young entrepreneurs have high hopes for their venture. “Eventually, we’re hoping to file an IPO,” said DiVencenzo with a grin, “and turn Showing off an early prototype of the 3D printer they’re designing are JuggerBot 3D JuggerBot into a multi-national organization.” partners, from left, Dan Fernback, James D’Andrea and Zachary DiVencenzo.






Mortarboards with a Message YSU grads just can’t resist using their mortarboards to send a message, and every commencement brings a new creative display. Most of these decorated cap photos were captured at the spring 2015 commencement ceremonies. The university conferred 2,270 degrees in the 2014-15 academic year, the most in more than three decades; the number of baccalaureate degrees totaled 1,682, a 41-year high.

FALL 2015


s t u d e n t

success S T O R I E S Highlighting the Achievements of Exceptional YSU Students

Kristi Cosette Yazvac

Grad Wins

PRESTIGIOUS PHI KAPPA PHI FELLOWSHIP New graduate Kristi Cosette Yazvac of Boardman, Ohio, was awarded the prestigious $5,000 Walter and Adelheid Hohenstein Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship to pursue a master’s degree in Economics at YSU. She earned a BS in applied mathematics from YSU in May and was awarded the fellowship as the top candidate from the 10-state North Central Region. As an undergraduate, Yazvac was student vice president for Chapter 143 of Phi Kappa Phi at YSU. Phi Kappa Phi is the nation’s oldest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines. This summer, Yazvac participated in the ForumNexus Program, which involves extensive travel in Europe. She also was selected for a prestigious Department of Homeland Security Summer Internship.



BUSINESS MAJORS SERVE INTERNSHIPS ACROSS OHIO Students from YSU’s Williamson College of Business Administration gained work experience through internships across Ohio this summer as part of the Ohio Export Internship Program. They are, from left: standing, Daniel Hess, Conner Kesner, Mohammed Yusef, Silviu Mistreanu, Tibor Baki and Robert Grahovac; seated, Jana Janson, Benjamin Smith and Hailey Strutz. WCBA’s Center of International Business and Ohio State University’s business college were the only participants in the program, with support from the Ohio Development Service Agency.

TWO WIN SCHOLARSHIPS TO STUDY ABROAD Carmen Moradian of Boardman and Ashley Orr of Columbiana received the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to study abroad this summer. Moradian, a senior at YSU studying biology pre-med, studied at the University of Nicosia in Cyprus. Orr, a senior mathematics major, studied at the London School of Economics and Political Science in the United Kingdom. The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs sponsors the Gilman program.

Football Players Assist with Equine Therapy YSU Penguin football players took a break from the gridiron this summer to volunteer at Focus Hippotherapy Equestrian Farm in Berlin Center. Dawn Speece, a physical therapist and program manager, with her husband, Chuck Joseph (’70), work with volunteers from the football team, as well as Exercise Science and Physical Therapy students. Volunteers support clients with disabilities who find that riding horseback has many benefits, including core strengthening and improved balance. In the photo, helping a farm client to mount a therapy horse are, from left, Derrick Rivers (YSU football), PT student Chelsea Leson, Eric Myers (YSU football and volunteer coordinator), Dr. David Brys, PT assistant Chris Gaca, volunteer David Vlosich and horse leader/YSU freshman Leah Rohan.


Sculpture Displayed at Tod Hall Dan Newman, a West Middlesex, Pa, native majoring in Art 3D studies, created a steel rod sculpture he titled “Interpreter,” now on display on the YSU campus. Newman designed the sculpture to resemble a half-man, half-parakeet. YSU President Jim Tressel noticed the work this spring at the McDonough Museum and asked that it be placed on temporary display in Tod Hall.

Students Serve in Haiti MathFest Team Wins Accolades YSU’s MathFest team earned five awards for excellence at the annual mathematics competition in Washington, D.C., more than any other university competing. Members of YSU’s team are, from left: front row, Crystal Mackey, Josiah Banks, Eric Shehadi, Emily Hoopes, Gabrielle Van Scoy, Jenna Wise and Monica Busser; second row, Mathematics Professor Jacek Fabrykowski, Michael Baker, Megan Chambers, Richard Elrod, Mathematics Professor and Chair Angela Spalsbury, Associate Math Professor Tom Wakefield, Eric Stone, Zack While and Math Professor George Yates. The event is sponsored by the Mathematical Association of America and Pi Mu Eps.

Six YSU students spent a week serving in Haiti this spring as part of a course, “Service Learning and Community Engagement,” taught by Sheri Harper Woods, director, Upward Bound. Haiti team members are, from left, Sidney Snyder, Troyia Woods, Kaitlin Lehner, Brandon Mitchell, Danielle Dutton, A’ja Glover and Sherri Woods. They provided a wide range of services to people in St. Louis, Haiti, including health and hygiene workshops, story times for children, self-defense classes for youth and visiting prison inmates.

FALL 2015


Investing Real Ca$h

Student Investment Fund Tops $1M

Ryan Foht had an ace in the hole when he interviewed for a position with a New Castle, Pa, financial group in the spring. His secret? Still in school at the time, a senior majoring in Business Administration, Foht was also president of YSU’s Student Investment Fund club. Prospective employers were fascinated. “They asked some basic questions, of course,” he said, recalling his interviews at Treloar & Heisel Inc., “but what they really wanted to talk about was the Investment Fund. I think they were impressed that we were investing real money. It is a huge responsibility, one I’m really proud of.” Foht got the job – it probably didn’t hurt that the fund topped $1 million in February while he was at the helm. Faculty advisors say, however, that his experience has been repeated dozens of times with other employers and interviewees who listed experience with YSU’s Student Investment Fund on their resumes. Peter Chen, associate professor of Accounting and Finance and a Ryan Foht fund club adviser, said the fund was established in 2010 with $250,000 in seed money from the YSU Foundation. “We were discussing an investment club with no money. We thought about simulation,” he said. “Then the Foundation approached us about giving a quarter million dollars to start. It was pretty amazing.” In total, the Foundation has contributed $550,000, and YSU alumnus Alan Cope added 593 shares of John Deere Co. stock. All profits go back to the Foundation, to be used for scholarships and other philanthropic purposes. Many universities have student investment clubs, but few are managing real money, said Jill McCullough, assistant



professor of Accounting and Finance and also a club advisor. “Our students attend financial management conferences every year,” she said, “and they say students at other universities, even those much larger than YSU, are envious that we have a fund of this size, real money to invest.” At first, YSU’s fund club membership was limited to junior and senior business majors, said Chen, but the Foundation asked that the criteria be expanded. “They wanted us to include as many students as possible, and they wanted to emphasize education, giving more students experience in investing.” Now, participation is open to any major and any class level. Typically, there are 25 to 30 active members per semester, and officer election has become highly competitive. Students make all the decisions, and so far their results have topped the Standard & Poor 500 Index year after year. “We never get involved, and we don’t intervene,” Chen said of the advisors. “It’s a highly democratic process.” The fund has been an invaluable tool for teaching students real-world investment principles, said McCullough. Most people have misconceptions about investing in the stock market, she said, and think frequent buying and selling of shares is the way to make money. “We don’t teach that. We follow a value approach – if they choose a stock, they should be willing to hold it long term. We’re not doing a lot of trading,” she said. “The students understand that the money they are investing represents somebody’s hard work and sweat. This is not a game.” The club follows the Buffett-Hagstrom Approach, named after renowned investor Warren Buffet, which advocates investing in companies that demonstrate good management, little debt, consistent earning power and good return on equity. “We tell them to buy companies they know and understand,” said McCullough.

For example, students researched and made a presentation promoting the purchase of Buffalo Wild Wings – a favorite with the college crowd. The club voted to buy the stock about two years ago at $73 a share, and since then its value has more than doubled. “They did the analytics, they knew the value, they liked the model. They did their homework, and it turned out to be a good decision,” McCullough said, and then confided, “I’ve even made some personal investment decisions based on student recommendations.”

YSU Student Investment Fund vs. Standard & Poor 500

This chart, part of the YSU Student Investment Fund 2014 Annual Report, shows that the fund has consistently outperformed the Standard & Poor 500, an index of 500 stocks commonly used as a benchmark for the overall United States stock market.

Faculty advisors and new officers of YSU’s Student Investment Fund in the Williamson College of Business Administration building. They are, from left: Peter Chen, associate professor of Accounting and Finance and club advisor; Christopher Shannon, treasurer; Brad Dofka, secretary; Simon Rafidi, president; and Jill McCullough, assistant professor of Accounting and Finance and club advisor.

FALL 2015


Hubble at By Patrick Durrell, Associate Professor, Astronomy


The year 2015 marks a quarter century since the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope – a school bus-sized orbiting telescope that has revolutionized astronomy. The number of discoveries made using data from the Hubble is vast, resulting in a much deeper understanding of the universe in which we live. This includes breathtaking new insights into how stars form and die, the evolution of galaxies, planets beyond our Solar System and even the discovery that our universe is accelerating outwards. When it was launched, I was just finishing up my undergraduate degree in astronomy at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada, with the plan to go to graduate school in the fall of 1990. Indeed, one of my hopes was to potentially use Hubble data for my research. That opportunity came only a few years later. My first analysis of deep Hubble images – photographs of a small dwarf galaxy located 50 million light years away – was in 1997. Nearly 20 years later, my colleagues and I (including John Feldmeier, also an associate professor of Astronomy here at YSU) continue to contribute to the wealth of great science that has been carried out with Hubble data over the past 25 years. I have been a co-investigator on seven successful projects



Reflections of a Stargazer

to acquire and analyze Hubble data, five of which occurred while I have been at YSU. Hopefully, that is not all – I still have a lot of interesting science I would still like to do using Hubble before it has run its course! That so many scientists continue to propose to use the Hubble, even after 25 years, is a testament to its incredible legacy as a front-line scientific instrument. The beautiful images that routinely come from the data are nothing short of mesmerizing; some of these truly blur the line between science and art. The telescope is still under exceptionally high demand. Scientists worldwide submit over a thousand proposals annually, all with the hopes of obtaining a few orbits of time to take imaging or spectroscopic data. The demand is still so great that only one out of every four to eight proposals can be accepted. Certainly, I have had droughts of a few years where I was not part of any successful proposal – but when a proposal does get accepted, all is good. Indeed, in September 2015, I will be analyzing deep imaging data from a new project that was accepted last fall. The Hubble is no longer being serviced in its orbit around the Earth. Like many, I keep hoping that it will last as long as possible.

Patrick Durrell, a native of Canada, earned a bachelor’s degree in Astronomy from the University of Victoria and master’s and PhD degrees in Physics from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. He was a research associate at Pennsylvania State University before joining the YSU faculty in 2004. He also is director of YSU’s Ward Beecher Planetarium.

The background photograph on these two pages was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope and shows a dwarf galaxy that Professor Durrell helped discover. The inset photo at left shows the Hubble telescope.

FALL 2015





Featuring Four Exceptional Grads That Are Making YSU Proud This edition of Alumni Spotlight profiles four Penguin graduates, each an example of excellence in their diverse career fields. Chris Geidner is an attorney and award-winning journalist living in Washington, D.C.; Robert Clark has won accolades for his Geidner, BA work as an assistant special agent with the FBIChris in Los Angeles; Jennifer’01 Roller heads a foundation that annually distributes $2.2 million in grants across the Mahoning Valley; and W. Jeffrey Hurst is principal scientist for The Hershey Company.

Chris Geidner




Alumnus Leads Coverage of Same-Sex Marriage Ruling Chris Geidner, ’01 BA Call it the “tweet” heard around the world. At 10:01 a.m. employment and made plans to move to Washington, D.C. on June 26, Chris Geidner believes he was the first journalist The timing was right for a young attorney/writer, well to tweet news of the Supreme Court ruling declaring sameversed in the history of LGBT news, he said, and he quickly sex marriage a constitutional right. established himself as a “go-to” person on those issues. One minute later, the first story on the ruling was posted New to D.C., Geidner was asked to freelance for Metro online by BuzzFeed, the fast-growing Internet news outlet Weekly and was soon working full time as a political writer where he is employed as legal editor in Washington, D.C. and editor, reporting on national issues. “The hate crimes law “I was sitting in the Supreme Court press office the passed, I covered the end of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ It was a morning the marriage equality decision was announced,” said great opportunity to dig in as a new journalist.” Geidner, a YSU alum recognized as BuzzFeed’s bona fide Two years later, in 2012, BuzzFeed opened a D.C. expert on LGBT issues. “It was an bureau and offered Geidner amazing privilege to be there at that a position as LGBT reporter. moment.” Others appreciated that “Not many mainstream media he was there, as well – his tweet publications had a person dedicated was re-tweeted 3,000 times, and to LGBT coverage,” he said. “We more than a half-million people were ahead of the curve.” read the story. Since then, Geidner has Reporting on the high crisscrossed the country for court’s groundbreaking decision BuzzFeed, following major court culminated years of covering LGBT cases and human-interest stories. He news for Geidner, who was named remembers sitting at a Panera Bread Journalist of the Year in 2014 restaurant in his Ohio hometown by the National Lesbian & Gay on Christmas Eve, 2012, writing Journalists Association. Starting about the seven states likely to see – Chris Geidner out as an independent blogger, marriage equality the following he advanced to freelance writer, year. “Voters in three states had to reporter and editor for Metro approved marriage equality that Weekly, Washington, D.C.’s leading magazine for the gay, November, and I covered the next 41 for BuzzFeed,” he said. lesbian, bisexual and transgender community, and finally, to He’s especially proud of an in-depth profile he did BuzzFeed. on Jim Obergefell of Cincinnati, the lead plaintiff in the Geidner grew up in Austintown and was planning Supreme Court’s landmark marriage equality case. Geidner to go to law school when, after some time at American spent a full day with Obergefell and his attorney, and his University in D.C., he started at YSU as a Political Science article attracted 175,000 views. major. He remembers the mentoring he received from Poli But why work for BuzzFeed instead of a more traditional Sci professors Paul Sracic and Bill Binning and Journalism news outlet? “Because I think we do it better,” Geidner professor Dale Harrison. After completing his baccalaureate said, citing the staff’s comfort with technology and change, in 2001, he earned a law degree at Ohio State University, and its expanding coverage of news worldwide. “I also like where he was editor of the OSU Law Journal, then went to our intentional commitment to diversity, making it a core work for a Columbus law firm. mission. It’s the moral and right thing to do,” he said. “It also At the firm, Geidner gained experience with complex allows us to generate better stories, stories that aren’t told in constitutional litigation, so he was well prepared when he other newsrooms.” began working with Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann in 2006, and later, with acting AG Nancy Rogers. Profile by Cynthia Vinarsky As a law student, he started a blog called Law Dork where he often reported and editorialized on LGBT issues. He took a hiatus from blogging while working at the AG’s office but started writing again when he left public

“Not many mainstream media publications had a person dedicated to LGBT coverage. We were ahead of the curve.”

FALL 2015



FBI Agent Brings Health, Healing to Los Angeles Robert Clark, ’93 BS, ’01 MS ■ Six thousand, seven hundred. It’s a number that Robert Clark takes very seriously. Clark, who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Criminal Justice from YSU, estimates that the crime-fighting programs he helped initiate since joining the FBI in Los Angeles eight years ago have resulted in more than 6,700 arrests. That’s a lot. But, for Clark, it’s only a number. “I could sit behind my desk, just based on that number alone, and people would say, ‘Robert – career well done,’” he says. “But, I don’t care about that. I care about returning health, healing and reclamation to these communities. “When we have returned playgrounds to kids, made bus stops safe, neighborhoods safe so kids can actually play outside in their yards and families can walk to church and walk to work – those are some of the marks of success in my career.” And that’s exactly what Clark has done since moving to Los Angeles in 2007. For those efforts, the Los Angeles Police Department this year awarded Clark its inaugural Southwest Broome Award, presented to individuals who have provided substantial contributions to the development of the young men and women of SW Los Angeles. As FBI assistant special agent in charge of the Los Angeles Field Office, Clark and his staff of 350 agents and others oversee gangs, violent crime, organized crime, crimes against children and drug cartel activity in a sprawling 900-square-mile stretch of southern California. But it was on the streets of Youngstown’s South Side that Clark cut his teeth. He spent much of his youth – from age 4 to 12 – in foster care. In 1980, Clark’s father, who operated the mob-owned Casablanca Nightclub, was murdered. “A drug disagreement, and he lost,” Clark says. His mother, whose family Clark says also had some connections to organized crime, worked as a dancer, leaving young Clark at home many days and nights to take care of his younger sister. “I was in and out of trouble a lot,” recalls Clark, an outside linebacker at Cardinal Mooney High School who went on to YSU to play for the Penguins as a walk-on. A year later, he left school for the Ohio Police Academy, graduated, worked as a reserve for the Austintown Police and then, in 1989, joined the Youngstown Police Department, 24


where he initially worked cocaine undercover operation. “I loved it,” he remembers. He worked six years in the YPD’s Special Investigations Unit, building a reputation as a budding expert on the burgeoning gang problems facing the city. That’s when he attended an FBI recruiting event on the YSU campus. “I walked up to this agent and he handed me his business card,” Clark said. “It had an embossed FBI seal on it. I rubbed my thumb over that seal and thought, ‘Man, one day, my name is going to be on that card.’” By 1995, he was a special agent, first in Chicago, then on protection detail for the attorney general in Washington D.C. – his second day on the job was Sept. 11, 2001. In 2004, he was promoted to FBI headquarters and the MS-13 National Gang Task Force. Three years later, he was assigned to Los Angeles to help fight the infamous MS-13 gang. In the ensuing eight years, Clark has overseen eight major initiatives, from developing a trans-national anti-gang unit in Robert Clark Central America to a program in which police and agents return to neighborhoods after gang busts to clean alleyways of trash and graffiti and offer mentoring programs for at-risk youth. Through it all, Clark has learned one thing: it’s all about relationships. “I know what it’s like to be that kid whose parents are absent or not involved, who can’t go outside and play because it’s too violent, can’t go to the playground because there are too many gangs or violent influences, or can’t walk down the street to their community center or city pool or school because you have to walk through three different gang neighborhoods and get challenged and probably assaulted. I’ve lived it and know how fear can control your education, development and abilities to dream. “So, when I talk to kids, I always tell them that hurt people – hurt people. But that hurt people hurt themselves the most. I also share with them that healed people have a responsibility to heal people. I have chosen to use my pain and my hurt as motivation to make a difference in the lives of others, not to impress them about what ‘I’ve done,’ but inspire them to dream about what they can accomplish.” Profile by Ron Cole


Foundation President Channels Opportunity to Region Jennifer Roller, ’91 BA, ‘93 MA

Jennifer Roller

■ Jennifer Roller can pinpoint moments that have served as guideposts in her professional life. And they all involve people. From a YSU professor who invited her to sit on a national conference panel to the former supervisor who encouraged her to reframe her work strengths, Roller remembers people who have flipped a switch to help her advance her career. “Even with this position,” said Roller, president of The Raymond John Wean Foundation in Warren, Ohio, “it wasn’t something I planned to pursue.” It took others in the organization who recognized Roller’s potential before she did. “Having someone open you up to an opportunity like that – it’s the kind of force I try so hard to be for others now.” Roller’s commitment has been the driving force behind her success in many previous positions, but especially in the last year and a half as the leader of a $70 million foundation. Graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a master’s in Education, both from YSU, Roller started her career as a case manager in Youngstown. The first role she felt at home with, however, was back at the university for 10 years as director of the Upward Bound and SCOPE college prep programs. “I loved working at YSU because it was such a good fit for me,” said Roller. “I realize now that my personal purpose

has always been to serve as a resource to others, so it was very much aligned with Upward Bound’s mission to open the door to higher education for high school students.” Finding an authentic fit with an organization has always been central for Roller, and her next career stop was no exception. In 2007 she became program officer at the Wean Foundation, moving up to vice president in 2013 and president a year later. She is now charged with upholding the Foundation’s vision of empowered residents creating a healthy, vibrant, equitable and economically stable Mahoning Valley. A staple to the Warren and Youngstown communities for nearly 70 years, the Wean Foundation maintains a strong focus on community revitalization and economic and educational opportunity in the Valley. With a total of $2.2 million in grants distributed each year to local organizations, Roller says the goal is to not only fund projects but to also be a resource to communities as they build their infrastructure and leadership capacities. “The Wean Foundation shows up in the Valley in an impactful way,” she said. “We are very deliberate and intentional about the work we do.” One initiative that’s been Roller’s baby since 2008 is the Neighborhood SUCCESS and Leadership program. The effort trains resident leaders from Warren and Youngstown in aspects of community building with the goal of getting them more involved in local decision-making processes. With more than $1 million put on the ground in seven short years for projects like block watch clean ups, after school programs and enrichment activities, Roller says residents now have the opportunity to contribute more directly to their communities and play at the same table with local leadership. Along with strengthening strategic partnerships with Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative, Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp. and Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership, Roller has made sure the Foundation remains rooted to its mission. “I want to stay thoughtful about where I am in the present,” she said. “I’m part of a truly amazing team and try to be the best resource I can be for people. I’m energized by that type of work here.” Roller lives in Liberty Township with her husband, Jason, and their son, Trey, who starts his first year at Thiel College this fall. Profile by Andrea Tharp

FALL 2015



Hershey's Chocolate Geek: Making a Career in the Sweet Sciences W. Jeffrey Hurst, ’75 MS

W. Jeffrey Hurst

“I enjoy chocolate, but everything in moderation.”

■ W. Jeffrey Hurst has – W. Jeffrey Hurst spent the last 39 years of his life working for The Hershey Company and analyzing the science and history of everyone’s favorite guilty pleasure – chocolate. “I’m the chocolate geek,” he says of the title he holds proudly as principal scientist at Hershey. Hurst started his career at the cocoa kingpin after graduating from YSU with a master’s in Chemistry in 1975. Ten years later, while working on his PhD and employed as an analytical chemist at Hershey, he got the assignment that would shape his research for the next three decades. “We got a phone call from the University of Texas,” Hurst recalls. “A team of anthropologists there had opened a tomb in northeastern Guatemala and found vessels bearing the hieroglyph for the Mayan word kakawa and containing residue of what they thought could be cacao, the main ingredient found in chocolate.” Known for his problem-solving skills, Hurst was assigned to determine whether the ancient residue could be some form of ancient chocolate. Using high-performance liquid chromatography – a chemical analysis technique that separates, identifies and quantifies each element in a mixture – Hurst found that the vessel residue was indeed a signature of cacao. His team would be the first to prove that "chocoholics" might have existed as far back as 600 B.C.



“This was liquid chocolate used only by the elite,” Hurst explained. Cacao beans were also used as currency, he said, and later to create “the first energy bar,” a substance resembling a hockey puck that Mayan warriors took with them when exploring new territory. Hurst would work with the University of Texas again years later to find evidence of Mesoamericans drinking a form of liquid chocolate – a discovery that received as much press and interest as his first find. Hurst’s studies on the ancient treat led him to coauthor a book, Chocolate as Medicine: A Quest over the Centuries, published in 2012. Its focus reveals applications of chocolate as medicine by Mesoamericans for alleviating fatigue, treating snakebites and even preventing heart ailments. Hurst’s latest book, Chocolate as Health: Chemistry, Nutrition and Therapy, is a follow up to the historical account and looks at various aspects of the nutritional value of cacao. It’s his eighth book, in addition to several hundred other publications and presentations he’s made on his favorite sweet topic. But Hurst says that all of his research on ancient chocolate is actually a sideline for him. On a dayto-day basis, as principal scientist for Hershey, he is primarily responsible for providing technical assistance to the company’s regulatory affairs group and monitoring developments in new analytical technologies used, for example, in determining food allergens – a subject that he focused on in his master’s degree studies at YSU. In addition, Hurst is active in teaching and serves as treasurer for the International Society of Chocolate and Cocoa in Medicine. In his spare time he volunteers for two taste panels, including one for chocolate liquor that involved three years of training. He lives in Mount Gretna, Pa., with his wife Deborah. They have two daughters and a grandson. He continues to see more opportunities ahead, but the real question is – how much of a sweet tooth does Hurst himself have for the substance that has accounted for a career of nearly 40 years? “I enjoy chocolate,” he says, smiling, “but everything in moderation.” Profile by Andrea Tharp

alumni news

Legacy Scholarships

A Benefit of

Alumni Society Membership

Four YSU Alumni Society members have another great reason to celebrate their memberships this fall – their children are the latest recipients of $1,000 academic scholarships awarded annually by the YSU Office of Alumni Engagement. This year’s recipients are: t Rachel Briach of Canfield, daughter of George and Loretta Briach. t Michael Carney of Poland, son of Michael Carney. t Erik Engartner of Canfield, son of Christopher and Catherine Engartner. t Claire Tevis of New Castle, Pa., daughter of Michael Tevis. The Office of Alumni Engagement awards four $1,000 academic scholarships annually to children of current members of the YSU Alumni Society who are also graduates of YSU or any of its predecessors. Current

YSU students must be attending full-time and maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA to be eligible for the award; incoming freshmen must be registered full-time. Applicants are required to submit an essay as part of their application. For more information about the benefits of Alumni Society membership, including an application form for the Legacy Scholarship, visit www.ysu.edu/alumni. The scholarship application deadline for the Fall 2016 academic year is February 19, 2016. One-year, four-year and lifetime Alumni Society memberships are available. Some membership benefits include use of Maag Library and the Ohio LINK Central Catalog, members-only discounts on alumni events, a 10 percent discount on YSU apparel at the YSU Bookstore and Campus Book & Supply and the opportunity to network with the other alumni. New members will also receive a YSU Alumni Society tote bag.

A PENGUIN Returns Scott R. Roloff, artist and 2000 YSU alumnus, returns the restored Penguin Parade sculpture he created for display on University Plaza, where it is has become a favorite photo backdrop for visitors to campus. The icon had been removed temporarily so that the artist could repair damage caused by 11 years of exposure to Northeast Ohio weather. Roloff’s sculpture, titled Foreshadows Past, was part of a collaborative public art project in 2004 presented by YSU and the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley.

Scott R. Roloff

Guzman-Dolan YSU alumna Angela Guzman was in search of a unique spot for photos when she married Eric Dolan on May 9, and they thought YSU’s Ice Castle would be ideal. The happy couple and their wedding party posed for photos on the field and in the walkways leading into Stambaugh Stadium. Guzman-Dolan, ’02 BA in Spanish, was director of operations for Apprisen at the time of the wedding, but she was awarded a BRIGHT New Leaders for Ohio Schools fellowship and resigned her position in June to pursue an MBA at Ohio State University; her husband is a business operations associate for Skyline Exhibits of Central Ohio. They live in Columbus.

FALL 2015


alumni NEWS




Pete’s Pride Tops 1,000 members Pete’s Pride, a YSU volunteer initiative President Jim Tressel launched last summer, reached its first year goal of 1,000 members on July 11 during Summer Festival of the Arts, exactly one year after its member recruitment campaign began. Now boasting 1,077 members in 30 states, Pete's Pride has the volunteer resources to make an even greater impact on recruitment and retention efforts in its second year. For more information, or to join, email petespride@ysu.edu or call 330-941-1591.

e v a S ! e t a D THE

Saturdays, Sept. 19, Oct. 10 & 17, Nov. 7 & 14 – Tailgate and Terrace dinners, hosted by the Office of Alumni Engagement before each home football game this season. We’ll have an Alumni Hospitality Tent in the M-7 Tailgate lot before the first four home games of the season; sit-down buffet-style luncheons on Stambaugh Stadium’s south terrace are planned for the November games. Reservations required, call 330-941-3119.

Bahamas Adventurers Reminisce Alumni who participated over the years in YSU Geography Professor Ron Shaklee’s study tours to the Bahamas had the opportunity to reminisce about their adventures at a reunion Aug. 1 at Cassese's MVR. Forty attended the event, including Shaklee, who founded the Bahamas Travel/ Study Program in 1988. Reunion participants included, from left: front row, Alexandra Lincoln, Sharon Stringer, Steven Campbell, Cory Merlo, Mandy Forgac, Ashley Hudzik, Elisabeth Winston, Sarah Roscoe, Ron Madeline, Greta Frost and Amber Bibey; middle row, Kim Bernier, Marie Adams, Michael Slavens, Alexa Kensinger, Zaakiyah Cua, Professor Shaklee, Elaina Bella, Jessica Delvaux, Brian Delvaux, John Majcher and Joan Majcher; back row, Tom Delvaux, Judy Delvaux, Don Bernier, Moris Jadue, Tim King, David Parker and Peter Zelinka.

Sunday, Oct. 11 – Saturday, Oct. 17, 75th Annual YSU Homecoming, culminates Saturday with a parade at 2 p.m. featuring past Homecoming Kings and Queens, and football game at 4 p.m. vs. South Dakota State. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 6-7 – Fourth Annual Veterans and ROTC Alumni Reunion, includes dinner Friday at the Williamson College of Business Administration Atrium, and a reunion picnic Saturday at the Veterans Resource Center, followed by the YSU vs. Missouri State football game. Keynote speaker at dinner, George L. Hammar IV, ‘95, LTC, US Army, highlighting his deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq. Invitations will be mailed. Tickets are $40 for dinner, $10 for the picnic lunch. For more information, contact Heather Belgin, habelgin@ysu.edu or 330-941-1591. Friday, November 27 – NYC Alumni Reception, prior to the YSU Wind Ensemble’s 8 p.m. performance at Carnegie Hall. Invitations will be mailed to New York City Metro-area alumni. Concert tickets available online beginning Oct. 1 at www.carnegiehall.org. For more information on the pre-concert alumni reception, contact Catherine Cala, cacala@ysu.edu or 330-941-2752. Saturday, November 28 - Dana School of Music’s first All-Alumni Reunion, dinner, cash bar, live music by Ovation and dancing in the newly-restored ballroom of Stambaugh Auditorium. Tickets $50 per person, proceeds benefit the Dana Alumni Scholarship Endowment. Invitations will be mailed. For more information, contact Catherine Cala, cacala@ysu.edu or 330-941-2752.



Summer Reunion for Theta Chi Alumni More than 60 Theta Chi alumni, representing graduation classes from the 1950s through 2005, participated in a summer weekend reunion on campus in July. Timed to coincide with YSU’s annual Summer Festival of the Arts, the reunion included golf, breakfast at the Golden Dawn, tours of the Watson and Tressel Training Site and the Andrews Rec Center, and a dinner in the Atrium of the Williamson College of Business Administration. Alumni attending included, from left, Tina Carbon; William J. Gambrel, ’71, event organizer; Samuel J. Carbon, II, ’09; Jason Mays, ’03, ’05; Charles K. Brown, ’81, event organizer; David M. Toohey, ’98; and Ruthann Demechko, ’89.

Cheering on the Pirates Alumni and Pittsburgh Pirates fans attending the YSU Alumni event August 5 at PNC Park are, from left, Michelle Adger, Kimberlee Kmetz, ’91; Stacey Adger, ’88; and Susan Moorer, ’89.

It’s All in the Family!

Half-Century Reunion Celebrates

Class of ’65

Twenty-one alumni from the class of ’65 celebrated their Half Century Reunion with a champagne brunch July 12 in Kilcawley Center. In all, 80 alumni attended the event on YSU’s beautiful summer campus. Anthony A. Petrarca, ’65 BS in Civil Engineering, founder and president of the Akron-based Cedarwood Companies, was the featured speaker. A member of the YSU President’s Council, he and his wife, Lenora, have maintained strong ties with YSU through their volunteerism and philanthropy. New members of the YSU Half Century Club attending the reunion are, from left: seated, Linda Cope, Thomas Grimmett, Gloriajoy Polisso, Sherwood Stephens and John MacIntosh; second row, Robert Mikush, Mary Ann Glista, Betty Jean Bahmer, Phyllis Chila, Roseanne Volpini, Patricia Caldrone and Anne Bunofsky; back row, Anthony Petrarca, Daniel Donatelli, Lewis Drake, Kenneth Hopkins, John Perrott, Paul Wozniak, Robert Hovis, Joseph Edwards and YSU President Jim Tressel.

Members of the Hungerford family of Las Vegas posed for an “alumni reunion” photo while visiting YSU in June. They are, seated, from left: Christine Notareschi (’81, ’87) and Rey Notareschi (’79) of Poland, Ohio, Roger Self, Christine Hungerford Self (’94, ’00), Dan Hungerford (’99) and Emily Hungerford, all of Las Vegas. Standing, from left, are Luke Politsky (’13, ’15) of Poland, Ohio; Sam Self, Nicole Self, Tommy Hungerford, Ben Hungerford, Lisa Hungerford, Rosemary Notareschi Hungerford and Roy Hungerford, all of Las Vegas.

YSU’s beloved Pete the Penguin mascot has been all over the world since YSU Magazine began asking alumni to take him along on their vacations and to send us photos of their experiences. Pete and Penny took a 15-day tour of the Mediterranean in May with J.P. Daliman, ’79, and his wife, Jean Daliman, ’80, of Canfield. The photo they sent, far left, was taken in St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican, but their visit also included Rome, Capri, Florence, Majorca, and the Cannes Film Festival. J.P. Daliman is an attorney and serves as chief legal counsel for Windsor House Inc.; Jean Daliman recently retired as a sales consultant at La-Z-Boy. Jeff Perrotta, ’98, of Hubbard, top right, took Pete to Panama in the spring, when he visited a resort there as part of an employee rewards program offered by the wholesale division of Flynn’s Tire Group. Perrotta joined Flynn’s seven years ago and in that time the company previously sent him to the Caribbean once before, and to Dublin, Ireland. Emily Marshall of Atwater, Ohio, ’11, took Pete to Barcelona, Spain in June for a vacation and to visit friends. Pictured with the YSU mascot at Park Guell in Barcelona are, from left: Anna Magazzeni, ’11 of Cleveland; Marshall; Katie Petrosky, ’12, of Cortland, Ohio; and Carol Feret Magazzeni, ’82, of Brimfield, Ohio.

FALL 2015


penguin sports news

Event Honors Scholar-Athletes

Penguins’ New Football Coach Takes a Local Approach

Members of YSU’s 2014-15 Horizon League championship teams who received scholarships and/or achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or higher were honored at the Athletic Department’s Scholar-Athlete Awards Banquet. YSU won Horizon League titles in women’s cross country, women’s indoor and outdoor track and field, women’s golf and women’s tennis. Athletes recognized include, from left: first row, President Jim Tressel, Aislynn Merling, Marta Burak, Annina Brendel, Ana Stroe, Juliana Heino, Sofia Macias, Nehel Sahni, Dominika Lackova, Victoria Ferry, McKinsie Klim, Emily Dixon, Emily Rohanna, Mia Barchetti and Allison Mitzel. Second row: Amber Eles, Megan Gunther, Jayme Ritchie, Jessica Pietrasz, Courteney Lukac, Brittany Stockmaster, Jessica Parham, Ellie Pollock, Savannah Osborme, Leanna Hartsough, Ashley Smith, Courtney Shutt, Michelle Klim, McKenzie Sturtz, Libby Rogenski and Haleigh Guerrero. (Photo by YSU student-athlete Bec Stafford.)

New Coach to Launch Women’s Bowling Program Chelsea Gilliam, who in 2014 was named Mid-South Conference Coach of the Year, has been hired to coach YSU’s new intercollegiate women’s bowling program. Gilliam comes to Youngstown from Barbourville, Ky., where she spent three seasons as men’s and women’s head bowling coach at Union College. A breast cancer survivor, Gilliam was also chosen by the United States Bowling Chelsea Gilliam Congress as a “Fabulous Four” recipient in April, one of four women cancer survivors nationwide selected for the honor. The honor comes with a five-day trip that ends in Reno, Nev., where she will participate as a team member with the other Fabulous Four in the 2015 USBC Women’s Championships. Women’s Bowling is the YSU Athletic Department’s 19th Division I sport and the 11th women’s sport currently offered at YSU. The 2015-16 academic year will serve as a 30


“start-up” period for recruiting student-athletes, securing a facility and preparing a schedule to begin competition in 2016-17. Ron Strollo, executive director of Intercollegiate Athletics, said adding a bowling program provides an opportunity to add 10-12 students to YSU’s enrollment, helps with the gender equity numbers of the department and gives the Penguins a chance to compete for another national championship at the collegiate level. “We’re excited about this new opportunity to recruit high school students, primarily within Ohio. The Mahoning Valley has a rich tradition of bowling,” he said, calling women’s bowling “a natural fit” for YSU’s Division I offerings. Women’s Bowling is sponsored by the Ohio High School Athletic Association. YSU women’s bowling will participate in competition as a Division I independent and will not be affiliated with any league at this time. Nearly 40 Division I programs sponsor women’s bowling as an intercollegiate sport. (*Home Games.)



penguin sports news








Jake Andreadis

Tom Cullen

Matt Kempe

Missy Laforet

Jen Perugini

Justin Thomas

Six Penguin athletes who made their mark in football, baseball, men’s golf, women’s basketball and soccer are expected to be back on campus Nov. 7 to be inducted into YSU’s Athletics Hall of Fame. This year’s honorees are Jake Andreadis and Tom Cullen (football), Matt Kempe (men’s golf), Missy Laforet (women’s soccer), Jen Perugini (women’s basketball) and Justin Thomas (baseball). Jake Andreadis, a Cincinnati native, was a four-year letter winner for the Penguins from 1995-98 and ranks eighth in career rushing yards, 10th in both career attempts and career touchdowns. Tom Cullen played football for the Penguins from 1979-82 and was a member of the 1979 Division II National Runner-Up team. A native of Milford, Mass., he ranks among the leaders in school history in career tackles for loss (62) and fumble recoveries (seven). Matt Kempe was a three-time All-Mid-Continent Conference First-Team selection for the YSU men’s golf team from 1998-2001. A Youngstown native, Kempe is the only golfer in school history to finish in the top nine of three conference tournaments. Missy Laforet was a member of the inaugural YSU women’s soccer team in 1996 and the first athlete from that program to be inducted into the YSU Athletics Hall of Fame. An Ontario, Canada, native, Laforet still owns every career scoring record in school history. Jen Perugini made a huge impact on the women’s basketball program from 2001-05 and was the 2001 Horizon League Newcomer of the Year and an All-Horizon League First-Team selection in 2005. Also an Ontario, Canada, native, she scored 1,202 points during her YSU career and is one of five players in program history with at least 1,000 points and 900 rebounds. Justin Thomas was a standout for the Penguins’ baseball team from 200305 and was named the Horizon League Pitcher of the Year in 2005. The Oregon, Ohio, native helped the Penguins to their first NCAA Regional Tournament appearance after clinching the Horizon League Tournament championship in 2004. He was a fourth-round Major League Baseball draft pick following his junior year at YSU and pitched for the Mariners, Red Sox, Yankees and Pirates. The Athletics Hall of Fame induction ceremony and breakfast will be at 9:30 a.m., Nov. 7 in Kilcawley Center, and the inductees will be introduced during halftime later that day at the 2 p.m. Penguins football game vs. Missouri State. For more information on the ceremony, or for tickets, contact Emily Wollet, 330-941-7208.

Former Penguin Pitches for Texas Rangers Phil Klein, who set numerous school records pitching for the YSU Penguins, made a splash in his first career start for the Texas Rangers, earning a 2-1 victory over the Boston Red Sox in May. The game was played at Fenway Park and broadcast nationally on ESPN. It was the first time a former Penguin started on the mound in a Major League Baseball game since Brad Hennessey started for the Giants in 2008.

Phil Klein

Klein made his MLB debut in August 2014 against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. A native of Gahanna, Ohio, he finished his Penguin career ranking second in school history in career strikeouts with 258 and sixth in career innings pitched with 252. He also set YSU’s single-season record with 15 starts and recorded a Horizon-League leading 105 strikeouts, the secondhighest total for a season in school history, as a senior.

FALL 2015



YSU Foundation Fully Staffed for Expanded Role

The YSU Foundation has dramatically increased its workforce – growing from four employees to 13 – to accommodate its new role as the philanthropic entity of Youngstown State University. The YSU Foundation staff, photographed on the beautiful YSU campus, includes from The YSU Board of Trustees and the YSU left, front row: Paul McFadden, president; Kaitlyn Pinter, development associate; Mandy Foundation Trustees reached an agreement in Shina, database administrator; Heather Chunn, vice president; Lorrie Durkin, director of stewardship; and Chris Bosela, accounting liaison. Second row, also from left: Brian November 2014 that transferred all development Nord, development Officer; Diane Playforth, director of finance; David Lee Morgan, functions to the Foundation. University Jr., development officer; Brian Wolf, development officer; David Baker, annual giving Development employees were assigned to other coordinator; Chaney Nezbeth, development officer; Dan Kopp, development officer. departments within YSU – no positions were eliminated – and the change is expected to save the s David Lee Morgan, Jr. (’94), development officer – university $1 million a year. Formerly an award-winning journalist with the Akron Beacon Paul McFadden (’84) continues as Foundation president, Journal for 15 years, and author of seven books, including More along with three other veteran Foundation employees: Heather Than a Coach: What It Means To Play For Coach, Friend and Chunn (’98, ’03), vice president; Lorrie Durkin (’80), director of Mentor Jim Tressel. stewardship; and Diane Playforth (’00), director of finance. s Chaney Nezbeth (’93), development officer – Previously It’s important to note, McFadden said, that all members employed as a manager for Habitat for Humanity of Columbiana of the Foundation staff are proud YSU alumni. These new County. employees recently joined the Foundation workforce: s Brian Nord (’89), development officer – Previously taught

s David Baker (’14), annual giving coordinator – Earned a BSBA in Marketing and for the past three years has been JV boys basketball coach at Poland Seminary High School. s Christine M. Bosela (’05), accounting liaison – Formerly employed in YSU’s Department of University Development and in Payroll, she is a CPA. s Dan Kopp (’95), development officer – Served as an athletic administrator at John F. Kennedy High School in Warren, Ohio; was director of Football Operations at YSU from 2007-13; also a former branch manager and loan originator for First Place Bank.

mathematics at Poland Local Schools for 23 years, chair of the Math Department and coached several sports. s Kaitlyn Pinter (’14), development associate – Interned at Junior Achievement of the Mahoning Valley and graduated with a BSBA and a minor in Nonprofit Leadership. s Mandy Shina (’05), database administrator – Previously served as Business Services and Government Affairs coordinator at the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber. s Brian Wolf (’98), development officer – Spent 17 years in Florida as a manager in the healthcare staffing and recruiting industry, also a former loan originator for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage.

Chengelis Trust Creates Four New Scholarships


Nicholas Chengelis loved his family, his hometown and Youngstown State University – and he found a way to ensure that his family name will forever be synonymous with giving at YSU. Chengelis, a 1972 YSU graduate who died in February at the age of 65, had established a trust in his name prior to his passing. He was preceded in death by his parents, Theodore and Evelyn (Haritos) Chengelis, and his three siblings: Perry L., Dr. James and Patricia F. Chengelis. Now, thanks to the Nicholas Chengelis Trust Estate, the family’s philanthropy will continue for generations through four new scholarships established in April and named for Nicholas and each of his siblings. They are: sThe Dr. James T.E. Chengelis Memorial Scholarship sThe Patricia F. Chengelis Memorial Scholarship sThe Perry L. Chengelis Memorial Scholarship sThe Nicholas H. Chengelis Memorial Scholarship

The four new scholarships are in addition to another endowment, the Theodore P. and Evelyn H. Chengelis Memorial Scholarship, that Dr. Chengelis established in his parents’ memory several years ago. Nicholas Chengelis was a proud member of the inaugural class at Stadium Drive Elementary in Boardman and a 1968 graduate of Boardman High School. He graduated from YSU iin 1972 with a BS in Business Administration and made his home in Boston for many years, with his brothers, sister, and mother, before returning to Boardman in July of 2013. To apply for any of the four new Chengelis scholarships, students must be majoring in pre-med at YSU with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Applicants must also have completed 24 semester hours, including first year biology and chemistry sequences. For more information on the scholarships, contact the YSU Foundation, 330-941-3211.

Philanthropy Nursing Simulation Lab Named for Donors John and Dorothy Masternick The Masternick Family has a long history of supporting YSU and its nursing program, and the university recognized that generosity this spring by dedicating an innovative and highly technical hands-on nursing simulation laboratory in the family’s honor. The John and Dorothy Masternick Nursing Simulation Laboratory, located on the third floor of Cushwa Hall, was made possible by the Masternicks’ substantial gift to YSU’s Department of Nursing. Computerized manikins are featured in the lab, with programmable vital signs – heart rate and rhythm, respiration and blood pressure, coughing and respiratory distress – to offer nursing students a lifelike patient care experience. The largest and most advanced manikin is a high-fidelity adult version that nursing students have named “Windsor” in honor of the Masternicks’ business, Windsor House Inc. “This is the most advanced teaching manikin in Northeast Ohio,’’ said John J. Masternick, the couple’s son. “I really didn’t realize what a great teaching tool it would be. It is so gratifying to be able to give a gift like that to YSU.” The laboratory also includes classroom and seminar space, equipped with the latest in electronic media, and a row of medical exam tables where students can practice their patient assessment skills The late John Masternick, an attorney and a 1954 graduate of the Youngstown College of Law, founded Windsor House Inc. with his wife, Dorothy, in 1959. Their family-owned business now operates 11 skilled care facilities and four assisted living communities across Northeast Ohio and Northwest Pennsylvania that employ more than 1,500 people. “My father was a product of a poor but loving family,” said John J. Masternick, also an attorney and now president and chief executive officer of Windsor House Inc. “When my father was born, my grandfather vowed that my dad would go to college and become a lawyer. My grandfather died four years after my father was born, but my grandfather forged my father’s destiny. “If it wasn’t for Youngstown College making that happen and fulfilling my father’s destiny, my siblings and I wouldn’t be here,’’ he said. “The university has been a launching pad to our success, and that is very humbling.” The Masternicks are long-time supporters of YSU’s nursing program. In 2004 the family established an endowment for nursing students, and the John and Dorothy Masternick Foundation has made contributions to the university so far totaling more than $50,000.

Celebrating the dedication of the new John and Dorothy Masternick Nursing Simulation Laboratory are, from left, President Jim Tressel, Dorothy Masternick and her son, John J. Masternick.

Nursing students Joellin Chance, left, and Jamie Stellmar work with Windsor, a medical manikin in the new John and Dorothy Masternick Nursing Simulation Laboratory.

FALL 2015



class notes

Charles Darling of Poland, Ohio, ’53 BSEd, was presented the Paxton Award by the International Association of Torch Clubs for a paper he authored, titled “The Origins of American Involvement in Vietnam.” He also published another paper recently, titled “The Ballad World of Francis James Child,” in The Torch magazine.

’60s Bert Dawson of East Liverpool, Ohio, ’63 BE, Columbiana County Engineer since 1969 and the county’s sanitary engineer since 1990, has been selected to serve as chair of the Ohio State Board of Registration Bert Dawson for Professional Engineers and Surveyors. He began his second term on the board in 2012. A registered professional engineer in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania, Dawson was named Urban County Engineer of the Year by the National Association of County Engineers in 2007 and in 2014 received the Ohio Society of Professional Engineers’ meritorious service award. Don Bartelmay of Aiken, S.C., ’64 BA in History and Political Science, is presidentelect of Sertoma (Service to Mankind), an international service club with 13,000 members. The club sponsors Camp Sertomas across the country for children ages 7-13 with hearing disorders and provides hearing aids to economically disadvantaged people in many states. Bartelmay also sits on the board of directors of Hearing Charities of America, Inc. He is retired after an awardwinning 35-year career with JC Penney, where he worked in store, district and market management.

’70s Carol Ann Zink of Lincoln, Neb., ’70 BSEd in Elementary Education, received the outstanding educator award at the 13th Annual Beeghly College of Education Alumni Awards Dinner. Zink has been Carol Ann Zink employed as a teacher in the Lincoln, Neb., public schools for most of her professional life and has won numerous awards for her teaching. John F. Greenman of Columbus, Ga., ’72 BA in American Studies, retired this summer 34


from the University of Georgia where he was professor and chair of Journalism. Prior to entering academia, Greenman was an editor, publisher and corporate officer for Knight Ridder, where he reported from 25 countries on five continents and helped lead a team that won the Pulitzer Prize. He authored a book, Introduction to Travel Journalism: On the Road with Serious Intent, and directs a travel writing and foreign reporting study abroad program in Prague. He holds a master's degree in media studies from Antioch College. Greenman's wife, Mary Alice Budge, is an emeritus professor of English at YSU.

Nancy (English) Mace of Vero Beach, Fla., ’73 BS in Nursing, is a family nurse practitioner and manager of VNA Healthcare on Wheels, a mobile health care clinic. She retired four years ago as Navy Captain and holds an MS in Nursing from the University of Florida. James S. Armstrong of Kettering, Ohio, ’75 BS in Criminal Justice, received the 2015 Law Day Award for dedicated service and contribution to the Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Juvenile Division. James Armstrong A self-employed attorney, he earned his law degree from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in 1978 and has been engaged in the private practice of law in Dayton, Ohio, since 1980. Dr. Michele Trucksis of Boston, Mass., ’75 BS in Medical Technology, was named executive vice president and chief medical officer of Seres Health, Inc. of Cambridge, Mass., a leading biological research company. In her new position she will oversee clinical development and operations. Trucksis holds a PhD in biochemistry from Kent State University, earned her medical degree from Case Western Reserve University Medical School and is board certified in internal medicine and infectious diseases. Paul Denton of Orient, Ohio, ’76 BS in Criminal Justice, retired in June as Ohio State University’s chief of police, concluding a 37 year career in law enforcement. He Paul Denton served 28 years in the Columbus Police Department, reaching the rank of commander, before joining OSU in 2006. Under his leadership, the university police department was accredited by the

Commission on the Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. Denton holds master’s degrees in business administration from Xavier University and in Criminal Justice from Tiffin University. Jeffrey M. Ferezan of Dublin, Ohio, ’78 BSBA in Industrial Marketing, was recognized this spring at Franklin University’s 2015 Teaching Excellence Awards Ceremony. Ferezan is an adjunct faculty Jeffery Ferezan member in Franklin’s graduate-level Business Psychology program. He has a doctorate in leadership skills and systems from Union Institute & University in Cincinnati and an MBA in international management and finance from Franklin University.

Thomas A. Holliday

Executive by Day – Actor by Night Columbus theatergoers were treated to a performance by veteran actor Thomas A. Holliday, ’76 AB, who played the role of President Warren G. Harding in the world premier of a play presented by CATCO, the city’s primary professional theater company. “The Final Table” was written by Herb Brown, a former Ohio Supreme Court Justice, and staged in April at the Riffe Center Studio 2 Theater in downtown Columbus. Holliday pursues theater as an avocation. Professionally, his career in corporate communications spans 34 years, including more than 30 years for American Electric Power, where he is director of Internal Communications and Communications Services. Holliday started out as news and public affairs producer for WYSU-FM from 1978 to 1980. He lives in Columbus with his wife, Janet, also a ’76 graduate of YSU.

Class Notes

Twenty-Four Degrees and Counting Joseph R. Cochran, left, and his sister-in-law Candice M. Cochran, joined a long line of proud Penguins when they received master’s degrees at YSU’s spring commencement – together, their families have earned a total of 24 degrees from YSU. Joseph Cochran, who completed an MS in Mathematics in May, also earned a BS in Education in 2013. A native of Pulaski, Pa., he is pursuing a doctoral degree in operations research at Virginia Tech. His YSU heritage includes his grandmother, Marvel Grunenwald, ’72 MS in Education; father, James Cochran, ’87 MS in Mathematics; mother, Catherine Cochran, ’72 BS and ’75 MS in Education; uncles, Joseph Grunenwald, ’71 BS in Engineering; Patrick Burns, ’70 BS in Engineering; and James Grunenwald, ’72 BS and ’75 MS in Education; and aunts Kathryn Burns, ’68 BS and ’72 MS in Education; Michelle Grunenwald, ’72 BS and ’76 MS in Education; and Frances Burns, ’72 BS in Education. Candice Cochran was awarded an MS in Education Literacy in May and also earned a BS in Early Childhood Education in 2006. She lives in Austintown and teaches kindergarten in the Canfield Local Schools. Other YSU grads in her family include: her husband, Tom Cochran, Joe’s brother, ’05 BS and ’08 MS, both in Education; sister, Tiffany Soverns, ‘01 BS in Business Administration, Accounting; sister, Cheriese Farkas, ’04 BS in Education; brother Ronald Williams, ’10 BS in Education; brother-in-law, Bradley Soverns, ’03 BA in Computer Information Systems; sister-in-law Dina Williams, ’10 BS in Business.

Kathleen Nogay of Hermitage, Pa., ’79 MSEd, ’95 EdD in Educational Leadership, was honored with the Lifetime Educational Service Award at the 13th Annual Beeghly College Kathleen Nogay of Education Alumni Awards Dinner. Nogay, a retired superintendent of Slippery Rock Area Schools, is a Youngstown native and was in the first class to graduate with a YSU doctorate in educational leadership. She also served as assistant principal of Hubbard High School, taught biology and chemistry in Sebring schools and was principal of Hickory High School in Hermitage, Pa. Donald Terpak of Youngstown, ’79 AAS Respiratory Therapy, ’86 BSA in Allied Health, was honored at the Bitonte College of Health and Human Services’ Sixth Annual Alumni Donald Terpak Recognition Dinner. He is director of respiratory, renal and transplant services at St. Elizabeth Medical Center, where he has been employed since 1980.

’80s Kurt Kamperman of Hilton Head, S.C., ’80 BSEd in Health and Physical Education, is chief executive of Community Tennis for the United States Tennis Association. He has been a leader in the USTA’s effort

to increase tennis participation among youth ages 10 and under in the U.S. by amending the international and national tennis rulebook to allow youth tournaments that use smaller courts and racquets, lower nets and balls that bounce lower and slower. Brian A. Colella of Pittsburgh, ’81 BS in Law Enforcement Administration, was recently promoted to senior vice president of Airport Operations and Public Safety for the Allegheny County Airport Authority Brian Colella where he has been employed for 16 years. In April he earned a PhD in Public and International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. He also holds a master’s degree in Public Policy and Management from the University of Pittsburgh. Rick Dew of Lakeland, Fla., ’83 BSMET, recently accepted a position as technical sales branch manager for SMAC Moving Coil Actuators in Carlsbad, Calif. He will be responsible for sales and Rick Drew development in a six-state territory. Previously, he held similar positions, most recently as district manager for THK America Inc.

Matthew Manley of North Benton, Ohio, ’83 BSEd in Special Education, ’93 MSEd in Educational Administration, was recognized as outstanding educational administrator at the 13th Annual Beeghly College of Education Alumni Awards Dinner. He is director of professional development and principal at West Branch Middle School and Damascus Elementary. Previously, he served as assistant principal and principal for the Canfield School District and as a job training coordinator at the Trumbull County Career and Technical Center, where he received the Ohio Special Educator of the Year award. Brian C. Reeder of Morehead, Ky., ’83 BS in Biology, is a professor of Biological and Environmental Sciences at Morehead State University, where he was this year’s recipient of the Robert Lauderdale Award for Outstanding Contributions to Water Quality. He has received all three of MSU’s outstanding faculty awards, earning accolades for his teaching, research and service. In addition to his undergraduate degree from YSU, he has MS and PhD degrees in environmental biology from Ohio State University and an MA from Marshall University. Sabra Szczyglowski of Newburg, Md., ’84 BSEd in Secondary Education, was named Teacher of the Year by the St. Mary’s County Public Schools in Leonardtown, Md. A physical education teacher, she will represent the district in the Maryland State Department of Education’s Teacher of the Year program. She has a master’s degree from Towson University and been recognized with several other prestigious teaching awards.

FALL 2015


Class Notes

Stacie (Fedyna) Pleger of Green Bay, Wisc., ’86 AAS in Dental Hygiene, is a certified medical representative in specialty sales for Sanofi Pharmaceuticals, Stacie Pleger where she has been employed since 2008. She also holds a BS in Health Arts from St. Francis University in Joliet, Ill.

Alum Performs for First Lady, David Letterman When “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band marched onto the set of the David Letterman show on April 30, cornet/ trumpet player and YSU alumnus Master Gunnery Sgt. Andrew Schuller was front and center, performing for the late night talk show host and First Lady Michelle Obama, his featured guest that night. Schuller of Alexandria, Va., ’81 BM in music education, joined the Marine Band in 1986, was appointed trumpet section leader in 1998 and named high brass section commander in 2003. He has a master’s degree in conducting from George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., and performs with the Marine Chamber Orchestra and the Marine Chamber Ensembles at the White House and across the country during the band’s annual fall concert tour. The U.S. Marine Band is America’s oldest continuously active professional musical organization, and its primary mission is to provide music for the president and the commandant of the Marine Corps.

Brian Chermside of Petoskey, Mich., ’85 MBA in Marketing, was named president of Resinate Materials Group, where he continues as chief operating officer. The company uses recycled content to Brian Chermside produce coatings, adhesives, sealants, elasatomers and foams. Previously, Chermside served as corporate vice president and chief commercial officer for Dow Corning Corp. He holds a BSBA from Central Michigan University, is a strong supporter of Junior Achievement and has served as a member of its worldwide board of directors.



Andrea C. Wasko of Los Osos, Calif., ’86 BS in Psychology, a self-employed MBA business strategist, was named Woman of the Year for San Luis Obispo County, Calif., in recognition of Andrea Wasko her service to the region. Wasko, who also holds an MBA from Golden Gate University, has been the recipient of many other awards for her efforts to improve the lives of women and girls in California, including Special Congressional Recognition for community service. She was named to the Women’s Wall of Fame by the San Luis Obispo County Commission on the Status of Women. Michael Smith of Meadville, Pa., ‘88 BSAS in Mechanical Engineering, has joined Channellock Inc., a family-owned and operated plier and hand tool manufacturer, as vice president of manufacturing and engineering. Previously division manager of Associated Spring, Smith has an MBA from Pennsylvania State University and holds numerous certifications and training certificates that focus on manufacturing, safety and business leadership. Michael J. Yeager of Cleveland,’88 BE in Electrical Engineering, was named director of Technical and Lab Services for FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. He works on the company’s BETA Laboratory in Mayfield, Ohio, which provides services for FirstEnergy and for other commercial and industrial customers. Yeager’s career in the nuclear industry spans 26 years.

’90s Pat Billet of Youngstown, ’93 BSBA, was honored at the Bitonte College of Health and Human Services’ Sixth Annual Alumni

Pat Billet

Recognition Dinner. An Army veteran of South Korea, Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan, he is district administrator for the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s Northeast District Office.

Rocky L. Riviella of Apex, N.C., ’93 BSBA, is business manager for the McAllister Heart Institute at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. The Institute provides opportunities for basic scientists to Rocky Riviella interact with clinicians and researchers to advance the care of patients with diseases of the heart, blood, and circulation. Wendy Thomas of Boardman, ’94 BSN, ’11 MS in Nursing, was honored at the Bitonte College of Health and Human Services’ Sixth Annual Alumni Recognition Dinner. She is clinical nurse specialist at Wendy Thomas YSU’s Student Health Clinic and a nurse at the Mahoning Valley Birth Center. She is co-owner and lead trainer for Thomas Training Consultants, which offers training to local childcare and healthcare professionals in CPR, first aid and child abuse prevention. Susan Scavelli of Sanibel Island, Fla., ’94 AB, has joined John R. Wood Island Real Estate as a licensed real estate broker. She has 22 years of experience in real estate, previously operated her own realty firm and managed two large Coldwell Banker offices. Anne Ralston of Pleasant City, Ohio, ’96 BSA in Criminal Justice, was honored at the Bitonte College of Health and Human Services’ Sixth Annual Alumni Recognition Dinner. A lieutenant with the Ohio State Anne Ralston Highway Patrol, which she joined in 1998, she is assistant district commander at the OHP’s Cambridge District.

Class Notes

Markus T. Douglas of Youngstown, ’98 AB in Social Work, ’12 MSW, was named the Bitonte College of Health and Human Services Alumni of the Year in Social Work and was presented the Markus Douglas Emerging Leadership Award for Region IV at the national Association of Social Workers – Ohio Chapter’s regional awards banquet. The leadership award recognizes an outstanding NASW member who has been in practice for five years or less. Douglas is a social worker at the Cleveland Veterans Administration Medical Center in Youngstown, and is also a writer and playwright, creating plays that address addiction and other social problems.

’00s Dr. Allen Amorn of Columbiana, Ohio, ’00 BS in Combined Sciences, is a cardiologist who recently relocated from Los Angeles to join the staff at St. Elizabeth Health Center, where Dr. Allen Amorn he specializes in electrophysiology – diagnosing and treating health problems involving the electrical systems of the heart. Amorn earned his medical degree from Northeast Ohio Medical University. He was listed among “Leading Physicians of the World” by the International Association of Cardiologists and was included on a list of “Super Doctors Rising Stars” in a special section of Los Angeles Magazine. Marianne Lloyd of Maplewood, N.J., ’00 BS in Psychology, is an associate professor of Psychology at Seton Hall University and was recently awarded the 2015 Visionary Award by Collegium, a national organization of Catholic colleges and universities. Molly Maggiano of Fort Myers, FLa., ’00 BSBA, has joined the real estate team in the law firm of Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt, P.A. Her office is Molly Maggiano in downtown Fort Myers. Maggiano concentrates her practice in real estate matters. She previously served as in-house counsel to a national home builder and also worked with a management and financial consulting firm serving the real estate industry. She earned her law degree from the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.

Alison Straub Zabel & Stephanie Straub

Alison Straub Zabel, ’00 BSBA in Finance, and Stephanie Straub, ’00 BSBA in Accounting, both of Canfield, are sisters who founded a health training business, Two Trainers, on South Avenue in Boardman. Previously, they owned and operated a 10,000 square foot gym for five years, but they realized their true passion is working with clients to achieve a healthier lifestyle through fitness and nutrition. Francine Packard of Warren, ’01 MSEd in Counseling, clinical director at Trumbull County Children Services and a guest lecturer and adjunct faculty member at YSU, was recognized in the counseling category at the 13th Annual Beeghly College of Education Alumni Awards Dinner. She was appointed by the governor to the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker, Marriage and Family Therapist Regulatory Board, has provided crisis debriefing to Warren City Schools and has provided site supervision for YSU counseling students at multiple agencies. Leonard Perry of Canfield, ’01 AB in Biology, received a Dean’s Appreciation Award this spring at the Bitonte College of Health and Human Services’ Sixth Annual Alumni Recognition Dinner. In 2004, after Leonard Perry 33 years of service, he retired as director of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety at YSU. Shawn Reynods of Girard, Ohio, ’01 BM in Music Education, will return to YSU’s Dana School of Music this fall to begin serving as a professor of Oboe/English Horn. He is one of three Shawn Reynods band directors in the Howland Local Schools and previously served for the past 12 years as a professor of Oboe at Westminster College, in New Wilmington, Pa.

Patricia Sciaretta of North Lima, ’01 BSW, director of social services at the Rescue Mission of Mahoning Valley, was named Social Worker of the Year for Region IV of the National Association of Social Workers – Ohio Chapter. She holds an MS in Social Work from Case Western Reserve University. At the Rescue Mission, she works with homeless clients and with clients with alcohol and other drug addictions, and she also works as a field educator and student mentor at YSU.

Harpist/Vocalist Releases Debut Recording Marian Mihas of Warren, ’93 BM in music education, has released her debut Christian music CD, titled “The Lord Reigns: Songs & Hymns to Live By,” and recorded in Nashville under the Living Hope label. The sound track is unique because it features the artist performing vocal selections while playing her concert grand harp. She co-arranged the music, to create an all-acoustic sound track with live studio musicians. As a classically trained soprano, Mihas has performed as a soloist across Europe and has been featured at church conferences and in musical productions. In addition to her performing career, Mihas teaches music and technology in the Warren City Schools and directs music programs at the Jefferson PK-8 building. She joined the school district in 1997. The Dana School of Music grad also holds a master’s degree in performance from Pensacola Christian College in Pensacola, Fla. Her CD is available at www.marianmihas.com, on iTunes, CDBaby and other digital platforms.

FALL 2015


Class Notes

Darren Allen of Rocky River, Ohio, ’02 BME, will be conducting the Cleveland Youth Wind Symphony’s first concert of the 2015-16 season on Nov. 11 in Severance Hall, home of the Cleveland Orchestra. Darren Allen The CYWS provides a venue for the most outstanding high school woodwind, brass and percussion musicians in Northeast Ohio. Allen is head band director at Bay High School in Bay Village, works with the CYWS as a coach, conductor and composer, and has performed extensively around the Cleveland area. Jim White of Virginia Beach, Va., ’02 BSA in Food and Nutrition, was honored at the Bitonte College of Health and Human Services’ Sixth Annual Alumni Recognition Dinner. A registered dietitian, nutritionist Jim White and health fitness specialist, he is a spokesman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and for the American College of Sports Medicine. He owns a chain of fitness facilities called Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studios. Julie (Chandler) Cramer of Munhall, Pa., ’03 BS, ‘05 MS in Biology, has joined NanoVision Diagnostics, a Pittsburgh-based startup company, as a scientist. Her multidisciplinary position involves measuring nano-scale optical biomarkers to better diagnose cancer and Julie (Chandler) Cramer

to predict its progression. Cramer completed her PhD from the University of Pittsburgh in 2014. Dennis M. Dlugosz of Avon, Ohio, ’03 BSBA in Accounting, is a CPA and a partner in Corrigan Krause, a regional accounting firm that was named one of The Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper’s Top Workplaces for 2015. The firm won the recognition, which is based solely on employee feedback, for the second consecutive year. Madeleine Haggerty of Canfield, ‘03 BSEd in Elementary Education, received a Dean’s Appreciation Award this spring at the Bitonte College of Health and Human Services’ Sixth Annual Alumni Recognition Dinner. She earned a PhD in Higher Education from the University of Pittsburgh and joined the YSU faculty in 1975. She served as chair of the Department of Allied Health and retired in 2013 as chair of the Dr. Madeleine Haggerty Dental Hygiene Program, which was renamed in her honor. Bill Sperlazza of Columbus, ‘03 BS in Political Science, was recently promoted to senior attorney at the Columbus City Attorney’s Office and received three awards: the Mayor’s Award of Excellence, Bill Sperlazza the Northland Community Council President’s Award and the Meritorious Service Award presented by Police Chief Kimberley K. Jacobs. Sperlazza, who earned his law degree from Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law, joined the City Attorney’s office as a law student and advanced through the ranks, now serving as a zone initiative attorney. Working with a team, he helped shut down six hotels that were operating as havens for drug trafficking and prostitution and persuaded the owners of two others to begin operating up to community standards.

Grad Awarded Educators ‘Oscar’ Second grade teacher and YSU alumna Angie Michelle (Henthorne) Wytovich, ’04 BSEd, was presented the Milken Educator Award this spring, an honor recognized by Teacher Magazine as “the Oscar of teaching,” along with $25,000 in cash. Wytovich teaches second grade in Buckland Mills Elementary School in Prince William County, Va., a school with 700 students and where more than 26 languages are spoken. Her passion is tailoring lessons to the needs of pupils who are new to the English language and working closely with their non-English speaking parents. The Milken Awards program was created by the Milken Family Foundation to provide public recognition and individual financial rewards for elementary and secondary school teachers, educational specialists and administrators who are furthering excellence in education. 38


Tony Orcena of Santa Monica, Calif., ’04 BA in Telecommunication Studies, an editor for the Emmy-winning television series Modern Family, helped to craft an iPhone episode that was shot entirely using Apple products. Hollywood Reporter interviewed him for an article discussing techniques used in the episode, which was titled “Connection Lost.” Christine Snipes of Mineral Ridge, Ohio, ’05 BS in Exercise Science, ’08 DPT, is a staff physical therapist at Hillside Rehabilitation Hospital in Warren and is the 2015 committee chair of the Ambassadors Christine Snipes to End Stroke, a committee promoting stroke education in the African American community. She was honored at the Bitonte College of Health and Human Services Sixth Annual Alumni Recognition Dinner. Robert Beachy of Tucson, Ariz., '07 BS in Language Arts Education, was recently named assistant principal of Sahuarita Middle School in the Sahuarita Unified School District #30, where Robert Beachy he taught high school for the past seven years. He holds an MEd in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University and in 2014 was named the school district’s teacher of the year. Mike Lyda of North Lima, Ohio, ’08 BA and ’10 MS, both in Civil Engineering with an emphasis on structural engineering, is employed as a structural engineer by G.W. Becker, a crane manufacturing company. He recently achieved his licensure as a professional engineer. He joined the company in 2012.

Class Notes

’10s Winter Woolston of Kent, Ohio, ’11 BS in Art History, is employed as a part-time faculty member in Kent State University’s School of Library and Information Science, where she Winter Woolston earned an MLIS degree in 2014 with a specialization in knowledge organization systems for cultural heritage objects. At KSU, she was awarded the Beta Phi Mu award in recognition of her scholarship, leadership and service. Woolston also holds an MS in art history from KSU with a specialization in Mesoamerican art. Erin Griehs of Boardman, ’12 BSBA in Accounting, is employed by Packer Thomas and recently passed the CPA exam to become a certified public accountant in the state of Ohio. Erin Griehs

Danielle Soubliere of Howell, Mich., ’12 BSAS in Family and Consumer Studies, was a recipient of the Thirty Under 30 Award from the American Volleyball Coaches Association. She is head women’s volleyball coach at Simmons College in Boston. Her passion for volleyball began as a student at YSU, where she was a volleyball team standout and served as the Penguins’ team captain her junior year. Andrew Thompson of Sarasota, Fla., ’12 BS in Criminal Justice, was recently promoted to senior case officer by the County of Sarasota. He has been employed by the county as a pretrial case officer since 2012. Molly Toth of Youngstown,’12 BA in Anthropology, recently accepted a position as an advocacy coordinator at the YWCA in Warren. She works with local, state and national officials and organizations to develop and advance progressive policy initiatives. Chelsey Zoldan of Canfield, Ohio, ’12 BA in Psychology, MSEd in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, is a medicationassisted treatment counselor at Meridian Community Care. She has been admitted to Chelsey Zoldan the doctoral program in Counselor Education and Supervision at the University of Akron and was selected as an Emerging Leader by the Association for Humanistic Counseling. She has had several


Jeffery Abood


“A Cloud of Witnesses: The Catholic Church’s Experience in the Holy Land,” is a new book authored by Jeffery Abood of Silver Lake, Ohio, ’85 BSAS, and published by Amazon. Abood calls the book a compilation of official Church statements, documents, articles and interviews spanning 70 years, compiled for the first time. “It is written for anyone looking to cut through all the spin and politics on what is actually happening in Palestine and Israel today,” he wrote. Abood is an anesthetist at Falls Anesthesia in Cuyahoga Falls. The book is available from Amazon and other online retailers.

Adam’s Book of Memories was a collaborative project for the editor, Anita DeVivo, ’57 BA in English, and the author, Adam F. Pivovar, both of New Castle, Pa. The book takes a lighthearted view of the western Pennsylvania region where Pivovar grew up, along with some of his world travel experiences. The author, 97, studied math and engineering at Youngstown College and is retired from dual careers as a B&O Railroad conductor and a wedding photographer. DeVivo retired as executive editor of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association and its journals and has authored three books.

Anita DeVivo

Kindergarten teacher Erin Clemmer of Columbiana, ’12 BSEd in Early Childhood Education, has published a children’s book, titled How Did I Get You? The book tells the story of 5-year-old Annah who starts kindergarten and then realizes that, as part of a blended family, her home life is different from many of her friends. The book was released in July and is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble online, or from Tate Publishing.

Erin Clemmer

John M. Burkey of Kent, Ohio, ’82 BA in Psychology, drew on his own personal experiences as an audiologist for 25 years, those of his patients dealing with hearing loss and their spouses, to create his new book “The Hearing Loss Guide: Useful Information and Advice for Patients and Families.” Published by Yale University Press, the book includes recommendations for those suffering hearing loss, their friends, families and co-workers, as well as treatment information. Burkey, who also holds a master’s degree in audiology from Kent State University, is an audiologist for the Lippy Group for Ear, Nose and Throat in Warren, Ohio. He also authored Baby Boomers and Hearing Loss and Overcoming Hearing Aid Fears: The Road to Better Hearing. Susan Farah of Versailles, Ky., ’87 AAS, has authored a third book, “The Barnabas Touch”: Three Secrets to Successful Leadership. The author draws on Biblical principles and her 29 years of coaching, mentoring and creating nurturing work environments in a book that aims to help readers find their leadership potential. Farah also accepted a position recently as in-home program director for the Lexington, Ky. office of Almost Family, a publicly traded home care company with operations in 15 states.

FALL 2015


Class Notes

peer-reviewed articles and book chapters published and has presented her research at both state and national conferences. Clay Colley, from Canfield, OH, ‘13 MM in Jazz Composition, is music director at Howland United Methodist Church. He recently collaborated with a group of YSU alumni and music students to produce a CD titled "Aspire". The production includes original compositions and instrumental music and is available through iTunes and Amazon. Corey Chadman of Windham, Ohio, ’13 MS in Mathematics, was named a 2014 Woodrow Wilson Ohio Teaching Fellow and will receive a $30,000 stipend while completing a master’s level teacher education program at Ohio University. Under the program, teacher candidates are recruited to teach math and science in high-need Ohio schools. Fellows commit to teach for three years in a high-need school, with ongoing mentoring and support. Jenna Hallapy of Cambridge, Mass., ’14 MS and BS in Mathematics, is a research engineer in the Ballistic Missile Defense Integration Group at the Massachusetts Institute Jenna Hallapy of Technology’s Lincoln Laboratory. She is developing software for large-scale ballistic missile defense systems. Lauren Eisenreich of Wexford, Pa., ’15 BM in music performance-jazz, and Christopher Rudzinskas of McCandless Township, Pa., ’15 BE in Chemical Engineering, collaborated with YSU alumni and music students to produce a CD titled Aspire. The production includes original compositions and instrumental music. Eisenreich has been accepted at the Eastman School of Music as a graduate student where she plans to continue her studies in classical performance. Rudzinskas is an engineer at Delphi Packard in Warren, Ohio, who minored in Music Performance. The CD is available on iTunes and Amazon. Peter Zelinka of Canfield, ’15 BS in Information Technology, submitted photographs that won first and second place honors in the Gerace Research Centre’s annual photography contest. The photos were taken during Zelinka’s recent trip to the center, which is located on San Salvador Island in the Bahamas and supports research and education in biology, geology, marine science and archaeology.




How We Met… Since summer of 2013, YSU Magazine has been inviting married YSU couples to share their love stories in Penguin Mates. We invite you to visit our magazine website, ysumagazine.org, to see each couple’s complete story and all their photos. Rick (McElhaney) Penniman, ’99 BS in Communications, and Wendy Gifford Penniman, ‘00 BS in Chemistry, were married June 14, 2013. They live in Broadview Heights, Ohio.

Chad Miller, '07 BA in Philosophy and Psychology, '10 MS in Chemistry, and Christy Leonard Miller, '09 BA in Professional Writing and Editing and Religious Studies, were married October 12, 2013. They live in New Haven, Conn.

Timothy Frey, ’09 BS in Earth Science, and Brittany Jones Frey, ’09 BSEd in Middle Childhood Education, were married July 12, 2014. They live in Tampa, Fla. Bill Rusu and Emily Russo Rusu, both ’11 BA in Telecommunications, were married May 10, 2014. They live in Canfield, Ohio.

If you and your spouse are both YSU graduates, we’d like to share your story in Penguin Mates. Tell us how you met, and a little about your life today, in 300 words or less, and email or mail with a current photograph and/or a wedding photo. Be sure to include your degrees, graduation years, city of residence, an email address and phone number so that we can contact you. Email to: cevinarsky@ysu.edu or mail to Editor, YSU Magazine, One University Plaza, Youngstown, OH 44515.

Help YSU Magazine share your career news in Class Notes. You can visit ysumagazine.org, click on the “Tell Us Your Story” icon and fill out the form online. Or, mail your news to: YSU Magazine, YSU Marketing & Communications, One University Plaza, Youngstown, OH 44555. Please include your degree, graduation year and an email address or telephone number.

Our new "That's What Penguins are Made Of" design was created by Allie DeLuco of Hubbard, Ohio, a Graphic + Interactive Design major and student employee in the Division of University Relations. Clip the cover for your own mini-poster, or visit www.ysumagazine.org to print a copy of the design.


... and that’s what Penguins are made of! YOUNGSTOWN STATE UNIVERSITY

Office of Marketing & Communications One University Plaza Youngstown, Ohio 44555 ELECTRONIC SERVICE REQUESTED

Welcome Freshmen, 1947 Youngstown College freshmen line up for a free hot dog lunch provided by the Phi Sigma Epsilon fraternity in this October 1947 photo, discovered in YSU’s archived University Photograph Collection. Robert Weyer, a member of the fraternity, is serving; others in the photo are unidentified. YSU has continued to find ways to make firstyear students feel welcome and this summer launched IGNITE, a new, two-day orientation program designed to help incoming freshmen feel connected to their university and the community.

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Ysu magazine fall 2015  

Ysu magazine fall 2015