Edward Tester

Major: Geology
Minor: Geography
Gold Medal Winner: Chambliss Academic Achievement Award
Graduate Plans:
Pursue a Master's Degree and Ph.D. in Geology

Amanda Geisinger

Dual Major: Art Education, Communication Design
Gold Medal Winner: Chambliss Academic Achievement Award
Graduate Plans: Work Full-Time for Nickelodeon

If you ask Ed and Amanda what Kutztown University means to them,
they’ll tell you it means challenging themselves to some pretty lofty goals.

For Ed, it means presenting geological research papers at symposiums around the country and working in gold exploration in Nevada. For Amanda, it means working as a graphic designer for Nickelodeon in New York while maintaining a full-time class schedule.

And they’re not alone—every day, thousands of Kutztown students are pushing the boundaries of their educational experience as they lay the foundation for a successful future.

Learn how you can make a difference today.
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Kutztown University has awarded 11 students with the Dr. Carlson R. Chambliss Academic Achievement Award.

The Academic Achievement award was established through a donation provided by Dr. Carlson R. Chambliss, KU faculty member from 1970-2003. The purpose of the awards is to recognize the exceptional individual achievements of a select group of KU graduating seniors. Specially designed coin medallions of gold, silver, and copper were presented to the 11 students.

Faculty members nominate students after they have met one or more of the six areas of achievement. Areas in which achievement can occur include: successfully completed research projects, original artwork of high quality, artistic performances (music, chorus, drama, etc.) of high quality, original writing in literature or meritorious writing in other fields, noteworthy athletics, and outstanding service to the KU community.

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Amanda L. Geisinger

Amanda L. Geisinger (Stowe, Pa.; Boyertown Area HS), communication design major, received a gold medal based on her outstanding artwork and participation in the professional and academic spheres. Besides producing outstanding design pieces, Geisinger also participated and led several university events.

In spring of 2007 she was the only design student nationwide to be offered an internship with Nickelodeon Online in New York City, N.Y., where she completed two consecutive internships, and was then offered a position as a design assistant, a truly rare occurrence at the company. Geisinger is currently a full-time student at KU, and commutes to New York City three times a week to her job at Nickelodeon.


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Edward W. Tester

Edward W. Tester (Haskell, N.J.; Lakeland Regional HS), geology major, was honored with a gold medal for his outstanding research in geology. Last July, Tester traveled to Utah to map geologic features of the area. He later examined dinosaur and non-dinosaur tracks, and was able to document them as some of the first to be recognized from the Late Cretaceous period in that area. He presented these findings at the Rocky Mountain GSA meeting in St. George, Utah last spring.

Tester also worked at Columbia University on a meteor impact at the Gulf of Carpenteria. After graduation, Tester hopes to attend graduate school and continue his studies.


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Caitlin M. Nolan

Caitlin M. Nolan (Middleton, Del.; Garnet Valley HS), dual major in art education and studio art/printmaking, received a silver medal for her outstanding examples of artwork and community service. She has already participated in numerous exhibitions and won awards for her original approach to printmaking, including traveling to Japan for the 7th Kochi International Triennial Exhibition of prints, a highly competitive international exhibition.

Nolan worked as a volunteer at Eckhaus Gallery in Kutztown, and served as its director for a time. After graduation, Nolan hopes to attend graduate school for a M.F.A. degree in printmaking. Her long-term goals include continuing her printmaking efforts and teaching.


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Emily P. Hammel-Shaver

Emily P. Hammel-Shaver (Barto, Pa.), an English/Professional Writing major, was presented with a silver medal for her outstanding achievements in writing and community service. Hammel-Shaver has served as co-managing editor of KU’s literary magazine, Shoofly, since its creation four years ago.

Under her guidance, Shoofly has generated much interest and has been an outlet for KU students to publish their original works of poetry, art, and prose. Currently interning with FCF Schmidt Publications in Philadelphia, Pa., Hammel-Shaver also completed volunteer internships with the Goggle Works Center for the Arts in Reading, Pa. and the Hill School in Pottstown, Pa.


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Emily P. Hammel-Shaver

Jessica K. Pietruch (Reading, Pa., Reading HS), a chemistry major, received a silver medal for her outstanding research work in chemistry. She has forged new ground in the chemistry field by synthesizing and purifying gold nanoparticles, an extremely challenging and time-consuming feat.

After graduation, Pietruch plans on entering medical school to pursue a research-based medical degree.


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Erin J. Waters

Erin J. Waters (Waymart, Pa.; Western Wayne HS), an English/professional writing major, was recognized with a silver medal for her outstanding writing, research, and athletic achievements. Waters is a participant in the KU honors program with local, state, and regional-recognized performance in the KU women’s volleyball team.

Her interest in politics led her to compose an honors thesis, suitable for publication, examining the current Democratic primary race using professional and scholarly resources over a time period of three semesters. Waters also became an intern at the Pennsylvania Democratic Legislative Communications Office in Harrisburg, Pa.


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Trystin S. Bailey

Trystin S. Bailey (Harrisburg, Pa; Bishop McDevitt HS) a theatre major, received a copper medal for his high quality artistic performances. Bailey is involved in all aspects of the theatre program at KU. He wrote and directed a production of Peter Piper which toured schools in the area with the KU Sunshine Players, a student group dedicated to bringing the performing arts to area schools. During his time as director, he oversaw over 20 students from auditions to the final show.

Bailey was also selected to attend the regional American College Theatre Festival sponsored by the Kennedy Center for the Arts. After graduation, Bailey will continue his work as a playwright and theatre artist.


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Alexandra J. Cavallaro

Alexandra J. Cavallaro (Wakefield, R.I.; South Kingston HS), an English major, received a copper medal for her achievements in writing, literature and community service. Cavallaro has written numerous papers and presented at local and state-level conferences.

She has been the recipient of numerous awards and scholarships, including the Outstanding English Major award in 2007, the Dietrich Scholarship for a Secondary Education/English student in 2006, and the PASSHE Summer Study Abroad Scholarship for study of the Renaissance and Reformation. Cavallaro plans to continue her education after graduation and has applied to several Ph.D. programs, in hopes of someday becoming a college professor.


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Sarah E. Gersbach

Sarah E. Gersbach (West Lawn, Pa., Wilson HS), studio art/painting major at KU was awarded a copper medal for her outstanding service to the community. As the manager for Eckhaus, the student-run art gallery, Gersbach has worked tirelessly with students, faculty, and town officials to foster good relations between the university and the town. She runs weekly meetings, and has also overseen numerous events at the gallery, including programs that serve as alternatives to drinking and drugs.

Not only does Gersbach run Eckhaus, she was also one of its founding members in 2005.


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Deanna Marie Smith

Deanna Marie Smith (Wescosville, Pa., Allentown Central Catholic), philosophy major, received a copper medal for her achievements in research.

Smith completed a large project based on her own original idea, which used medieval theories of individualization to solve a current problem in aesthetics. She will be presenting her paper at a state-level conference this spring. Smith plans on attending graduate school and continues to work on more philosophy research and theorization.


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Aaron D. Smyk

Aaron D. Smyk (Douglassville, Pa, Daniel Boone HS), English major, received a copper medal for his consistent and original graduate-level writing in literature.

Choosing to pursue the more difficult facets of literature, such as critical theory, post-modern and contemporary fiction, Smyk further involved himself in the university community by creating a petition, and eventually a film documentary, on the pedagogical solutions for the challenges brought about by the new academic forum. Smyk plans on pursuing his Ph.D. with the ultimate goal of becoming a college professor.