CVPA Celebration

CVPA Spring 2024 Celebration

Join us to celebrate the faculty, staff, and students in the College of Visual and Performing Arts. The celebration will be held on April 25th from 4 to 5 pm at the Wells Rapp Center for Mallet Percussion Research.

Student and Faculty Excellence Awards

The College of Visual and Performing Arts is happy to announce the following recipients of excellence awards. Information on each recipient will be posted to CVPA social media sites on Friday, April 28. Follow along on Facebook and Instagram. Congrats to all awardees!

Faculty Excellence Awards

The award recognizes two College of Visual and Performing Arts faculty members whose professional accomplishments are melded with their pedagogy to positively impact the quality of students' experiences at KU. 

Dr. Julie Hovanec Headshot
Holly Tienken

Art & Design

Professor Holly Tienken is the long-time instructor of record for CDE 398 Professional Practices, a course that focuses on professional practice and business issues in the Communication Design field. She presented “Listen, Research, Personalize, Practice, Socialize: Teaching Professional Practices for Designers” at the Design Incubation Colloquium 4.4 held at Parson’s Integrated Design, NY. She also was an invited panelist, “Portfolio Success: Strategies for Professional Development”, at the Type Director’s Club, NY. Fellow panelists included design professionals and educators. In addition to her research work, Professor Tienken’s service to CVPA is outstanding. Most notable in her college service is her involvement as the co-chair of the Common Portfolio Review Committee which was developed as part of a Dean’s initiative to create common portfolio standards and guidelines for incoming CVPA visual arts students. As part of this crucial initiative, Professor Tienken Professor, along with Professor Doll-Myers, developed application processes to streamline portfolio submissions and reviews, create training sessions for all visual arts faculty to be “certified” to review portfolios, developed review rubrics and generally took a highly inconsistent and reorganized practice and brought cohesiveness, orderliness, and strategic thinking to the portfolio review process as a whole. In addition, Professor Tieknen co-created and co-presented a Visual Arts Portfolio Prep workshop for potential incoming visual arts majors and is the organizer for Design RX, a collaborative Communication Design and Studio Arts event for students to educate about and assist with Studio Arts students branding and self-promotion. 



Daniel Neuenschwander Headshot

Art & Design

Dr. Pierette Kulpa represents the ideal blending of academic scholarship, pedagogy, and service directed towards education that a university like Kutztown represents. In addition to being one of the most dedicated, thoughtful, and collegial professors on campus, she has worked tirelessly to provide rich, multifaceted engagements with art history that apply classroom learning to active learning and pre-professional opportunities. She remains a dynamic and innovative instructor, utilizing new technologies, social media, and assessment data to enliven the field and engage students, while building life-changing experiences for our students. Dr. Kulpa’s led the “decolonization” of our Art History curricula at KU, a series of revisions at the programmatic and course level that replaced an outdated Western-bias with global perspectives for our course offerings and checksheets. She directed the revision of our three-part sequence of Art History surveys, incorporating non-Western material into the official course syllabi for each class (these course “updates” were approved by UCC). As the result of these efforts, the curricula of Art History fully embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion at all levels. As such, the scope of Art History at KU has been enlarged and enriched through Dr. Kulpa’s meaningful commitment to DEI and the student experience.

Daniel Neuenschwander Headshot
barbara Schulman

Art & Design

Barbara Schulman continues to positively impact the lives of KU students through her consistent involvement and dedication. She officially served KU and its students from 1992-2011 as the Professor of Art and Head of the Fibers Program. Today, she continues to share her enthusiasm with our budding textile artists through consistent interaction. Her connections to the local art scene have also positively benefited our students. In her retirement, she has been a volunteer with the Kemerer Museum in Bethlehem. She is an avid supporter of our clubs as well. She has attended all of our club-driven fashion shows at KU and supports the club on social media. Currently, the Textiles & Weaving Club is working with Barbara and the Kemerer on a large hand-dyed silk installation that will be on view in the museum, MusikFest, and the Blueberry Festival. The Textiles & Material Studies program is still benefiting from her knowledge, kindness, and skills today.



Staff Excellence Awards

The award recognizes a College of Visual and Performing Arts staff member whose work ethics, positive attitude, and professionalism impact the administrators, faculty, and students at Kutztown University on a day-to-day basis. 

Deb Mengel Headshot
Deb Mengel


Deb Mengel personifies excellence in everything she does as the gatekeeper for the Visual and Performing Arts Division. The exhaustive list of her responsibilities to keep VPA running like a well-oiled machine are evident, from distributing all the SRI’s to all the Departmental PET Chairs, organizing schedules for the Dean and Associate Dean, and maintaining an impossibly-crowded administrative schedule for several faculty. When you combine all of that and more, Deb’s efforts are nothing short of Herculean. Even though she is retiring at the end of this academic year, her presence at VPA has been steadfast and assured, leaving impossible shoes to fill, but reassuring the faculty and students of VPA that her years of foundational service to KU have elevated the Visual and Performing Arts division to the highest of standards, all while providing decades of service with the utmost devotion and integrity.



ALUMNI Excellence Awards

The award recognizes alumni of the College of Visual and Performing Arts whose professional accomplishments and continued interactions with KU positively impact the quality of students’ experiences. 

Elizabeth Rega Headshot



Dr. Marietta Dantonio-Madsen (Art Ed, class of ’76) is the Chairperson of the Humanities Department at Cheyney University. She is an Art Educator, Art Therapist, and Artist. Additionally, she is the Outreach Coordinator for the Survivors Art Foundation. She has exhibited her artwork in both solo and group shows nationally and internationally, and coordinating multiple opportunities for her Cheyney University students to be involved in community outreach programs showcasing their art and uplifting the community, most recently with the Gun Violence Survivors Project. In 2007, she received the Citation Award for Service and Distinguished Professional Achievement from Kutztown University, which is the university’s highest award given for service and distinguished professional achievement.



Student Excellence Awards

This award recognizes one student from each of the six departments in the College of Visual and Performing Arts: Art, Art Education, Cinema, Television and Media Production, Communication Design, Communication Studies, and Music.

A ZEGESTROO headshot
Aubrey Zegstroo

Aubrey is the best! She is a student in the CD program and a Sharadin Champion in many ways. Professor MacIlwraith wrote “Aubrey has helped tremendously with the VPA High School Recruitment committee." She created a fun illustration that is being turned into sweatshirt for Tour Guides. She worked on this project over winter break. Aubrey's personality sets her apart. She is outgoing, upbeat, and 'keeps it real'. This past fall she volunteered to help with the annual Design Day Camp where once again she extended her design expertise and welcoming personality to the students who attended. Aubrey works in both the Sharadin print lab and the idea lab as a monitor and is currently training in letterpress and silkscreen.  Aubrey along with peer Mike Strain helped Professor Cunfer hang a beautiful illustration show in the Sharadin atrium gallery. She is often asked to help with various tasks. She brightens the halls of Sharadin daily!


Bethany Sherman

Bethany Sherman is a deeply caring reflective practitioner soon to graduate from the Department of Art Education. Ms. Sherman holds tight to her core a notion from American author, educator, and social critic Bell Hooks, “To teach in a manner that respects and cares for the souls of our students is essential if we are to provide the necessary conditions where learning can most deeply and intimately begin” (1994, p. 13). Within Ms. Sherman’s pedagogical practices, there is a daily commitment of care to genuinely see each learner, and a promise to engage each learner in considering and connecting with their unique being even when it is difficult for the learner to face one’s complicated self.

Carmen Popovici Headshot
Kristy jo Mahoney
DEPARTMENT OF Cinema, Television, & Media Production

Kristy Jo Mahoney is a talented and dedicated CTM student. In her first year, Kristy Jo has thrown herself into every aspect of the major – focusing on and excelling in audio production, cinematography, and color correction. Kristy Jo is also a gifted student leader. She renewed the Video Vixens, a CTM student club dedicated to supporting female-identifying filmmakers and serves at the Video Vixens president. Kristy Jo was also awarded a KU Bears grant to work with Prof. Johnston on a new short film this summer. Kristy Jo has boundless creative energy. We look forward to seeing all her future work.


Madeline Koch headshot
Joey Strain headshot
Avery Meiners

Avery Meiners is the Communication Studies Department student for our CVPA award for many reasons. It isn't just that she has an excellent GPA. She maintains academic standing while also participating in three different sports at Kutztown. She reads, prepares, and has notes and questions ready for class. She's willing to put something into the conversation just to get things rolling. She’s incredibly supportive of her classmates, she thinks of the folks around her, how to bolster their ideas, and how to move everyone toward understanding.

tara Rothrock
DEPARTMENT OF Social Media Theory & Strategy

Tara Rothrock is a hard-working student who takes pride in the work she does for her classes. She is a SMS major who is also wrapping up minors in Public Relations and Communication. One trait that stands out about Tara compared to many of her peers is her willingness to take initiative. Tara shows signs of leadership qualities, and she has a bright future ahead.

Vincent Ruggiero
DEPARTMENT OF Social Media Theory & Strategy

Vincent Ruggiero is an easygoing and friendly student. He started his KU journey as a Computer Science major, but he became an SMS major. His success doesn’t come solely from what he accomplishes individually. During the highly technical Social Media Analytics class, Vincent is often willing to help his peers with the complexity of content. In addition to his helpfulness, Vincent is hard-working. He has the personality and focus to go far in life.

Matthieu maier

Matthieu Maier is a senior music education major focusing on the saxophone at Kutztown University. At KU, he has served as one of the marching unit’s drum majors for two years and has played saxophone in the top wind band and jazz ensemble. In the Spring of 2022, the Kutztown University Music Department named him a Presser Scholar, which “honors exceptional students pursuing studies in music.” Currently, Matthieu is conducting his student teaching at Fleetwood Area High School and Northwestern Lehigh Elementary. Matthieu is also serving as a student conducting intern for the Reading Philharmonic Orchestra. He wishes to teach band in public schools while progressing as a jazz and classical saxophonist.

Douglas McCaskey Headshot

Thank you for joining our virtual celebration of the College of Visual & Performing Arts!