Golden Bear Alumni Profiles
Meet some of our proud alumni and learn where KU has taken them after graduation!
Jenna Kanyak - Hazleton, PA - CHEMISTRY - Class of 2020
I chose KU for a number of reasons, such as the beautiful campus, affordability, proximity to home, accredited programs, and the incredible opportunities.
During my time at Kutztown, I was involved in a number of clubs and activities, including the Honors Program, Chemistry Club, Hall Council, and Bearfest. I was also a Community Assistant for over 3 years through Housing and Residence Life and a General Chemistry 1 Supplemental Instructor for 2 years.
I participated in a number of research projects with the Chemistry faculty, both during the school year and over summers. I received two Kutztown University Bringing Experience About Research in Summer (KU BEARS) grants, where I was able to live on KU's campus for free, earn a stipend, and work 1:1 with a professor on a project. These enriching experiences inevitably helped me be selected for a competitive Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) fellowship at The Pennsylvania State University. Because of the positive experience I had with the REU, I will be attending Penn State to earn my Ph.D. in Chemistry.
My best advice for high school students who are just starting the college search process is to do your research and determine your priorities. Can you major be accredited; if so, does the University you're looking at have the accreditation? What scholarships do you qualify for (or are close to qualifying for? Retake the SATs/ACTs until you get your desired score - that's what I did and I'm so glad I didn't give up!). Once I did my research and determined my priorities, it was a no brainer. I applied to 11 universities (a mix of private and state) and Kutztown completely exceeded all of my expectations.
Zachary Young - Lititz, PA - CRIMINAL JUSTICE - Class of 2020
During my time at KU, I was a part of the Ice Hockey team for two years. I was a member of the Criminal Justice Association (Vice President as a sophomore and President as a junior), National Criminal Justice Honors Society (Secretary for the Kutztown Chapter), and the National Society of Leadership and Success.
I chose Kutztown simply because it was the perfect fit for me. I was looking for an institution that gave me the tools and resources necessary to be successful in my field of study and obtain a career. After visiting, I learned that Kutztown, specifically the Criminal Justice Department, was able to provide me with the education in which I desired. This, combined with the beautiful campus and location, made it an easy decision.
During my senior year, I interned with the United States Marshals Service. The Marshals Service is part of the United States Department of Justice that is well-known for apprehending wanted fugitives. I worked out of the Federal Courthouse in Harrisburg, PA. This internship provided me with skills, knowledge, and experience that can simply not be taught in a classroom. It also provided me with many references that I was able to use in my search for a career. My internship was easily the highlight of my time at college.
In my opinion, you get out of college what you put into it, and the more successful you are during college, the more successful you will be in your career. At KU, I found my passion for criminal justice. I attended all events related to my major. This included speakers that work in the field. I was able to network and find what aspects of the field I was most interested in. I joined clubs and pushed myself to be the best student I could be. This ultimately led me to my internship, which was my first stepping stone into the criminal justice field. In conclusion, your time as college is short so make the most of it.
Theresa Higgins - Sewell, NJ - SPORT MANAGEMENT - Class of 2020
I graduated from Kutztown University in 3.5 years Magna Cum Laude. I am currently continuing my education at Neumann University in their Sport Business Master’s Program.
I chose KU because I thought the campus was beautiful and loved the small-town feel. I was debating on majoring in either Sport Management or Elementary Education. I knew Kutztown had a strong Sport Management program and a well-recognized Education program at an affordable price which is what won my family and me over. Kutztown was a natural fit for me.
My favorite thing about Kutztown is the professors, especially in the Sport Management department. These professors show genuine concern for their students and want to see them succeed. The professors are always willing to help and have given me all of the tools needed to succeed in my future career path. Continuing my education at KU and majoring in Sport Management was the best decision I could have made.
While at KU, I was involved in the National Society of Leadership and Success, Love Your Melon, and Chi Sigma Mu.
I gained valuable experience through a game day position with the Philadelphia Phillies, a Community Relations internship with the Reading Fightin' Phils, and a Ticket Services Internship with the Philadelphia Phillies. All of these experiences helped me expand my network and gain a deeper understanding of the different job opportunities in the sports industry.
My advice for high school students is to pick a school that is the best fit for you. It is okay if you do not know what you want to major in. You will figure it out down the road. I went into Kutztown unsure if I wanted to major in Education or Sport Management. I was undecided for my first two semesters and was still able to finish my Bachelor’s degree a semester early.
Dr. Carl S. Moore - Norristown, PA - CINEMA, TELEVISION, AND MEDIA PRODUCTION - Class of 2003
I graduated KU in 2003 and I still draw on mental, social, and emotional muscles I built as a student and student leader there. The size, location, and unique context of the school served as the perfect place for me to plant seeds for my future that is still blossoming.
I am currently the Assistant Chief Academic Officer at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC). I serve as Certificate faculty in Temple University’s Teaching in Higher Education Certificate program, teaching faculty for USC’s Equity, and a workshop facilitator for the Online Learning Consortium. I am also an invited speaker and consultant on inclusion, leadership, and faculty development and teaching and learning related topics. I hold a Doctorate in Urban Education from Temple University and a Masters of Arts from The Ohio State University in Higher Education Administration. I have been teaching for over 14 years.
Alongside my career in academic affairs, I have served in a number of student services leadership roles charged with enhancing student success. These roles entailed work in advising, retention, multicultural affairs, and TRIO programs. I describe myself as a “techie” and advocate for mission alignment the sum of my passions lie in leveraging technology to enhance student outcomes at the course and institutional levels. It all started at KU!
Kylea Smith - Mertztown, PA - BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION/ACCOUNTING - Class of 2019
My success at KU helped me to find the courage within myself to take the next step!I am currently a Juris Doctorate for the year 2022 at Widener University Delaware Law School. After taking some undergraduate courses that were rooted in law, I was encouraged by a professor to consider law school. He said that he saw the potential in me for a career as a lawyer. The connections with faculty through small classes allowed my professors to get to know me as a person and not just a face in the classroom.
Dinnette A. Medina - Bethlehem, PA - GENERAL STUDIES with minors in Sociology, Spanish, Criminal Justice, and Clinical Psychology - Class of 2005
Kutztown University became my second home and provided me with all the social, emotional, and academic support that I needed to succeed. KU allowed me space to not only be who I was as a student but to also grow as a professional. In addition to my Bachelor's degree, I completed a Master of Arts in Professional Counseling at Kutztown University. I currently work as a medical case manager/counselor at Novus ACS.
KU prepared me to engage the population in my community that feels vulnerable and are most in need of support, and it provided multiple platforms for me to gain experience. Thanks to KU, I have been in my profession for over 15 years!
Heriberto Salcedo - Reading, PA - BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION/MARKETING - Class of 2007
I am currently the Senior Director of Advertising Insights & Measurement for NBC Olympics. KU for me was like an incubator where I can apply what I was learning in classrooms in a real-world setting. It also taught me the true meaning of accountability.
Alexis Williams - Clayton, DE - COMMUNICATION STUDIES- Class of 2019
I came to Kutztown in 2015 because of the welcoming environment and supportive staff that greeted me at various Admissions events during my senior year of high school. Little did I know that that same welcoming environment would inspire me four years later to continue at KU for graduate school, pursuing a Master’s degree in Student Affairs in Higher Education.
When I was an undergrad, I was involved in the KU Honors Program. I took challenging classes, worked with many empowering faculty, and met wonderful friends who have since become my second family. During my sophomore year, I became involved in the Honors Club (the student-run side of the Program) and worked my way up to being President when I graduated. I became a student worker for the Honors Program during my senior year, where I met Dr. Schlegel, our Honors Program Director, who inspired me to apply to graduate school.
I am currently a Graduate Assistant for the Honors Program while pursuing my Master’s degree. I get to work with the coolest students on campus (though, I may be a little biased). I am grateful for the opportunities that I had in undergrad to work with various offices on campus, including being an Admissions Tour Guide, a Tutor, and a student worker for the Honors Program – all of which inspired me to be where I am today.
I chose KU the first time because they cared about me. I chose it again because I cared about KU.
Arielle Thomas - Aston, PA - CINEMA, TELEVISION, AND MEDIA PRODUCTION - Class of 2017
My main reason for choosing KU was that my major required an internship in order to graduate. That internship set me up for the rest of my career and forced me to step out of my comfort zone to learn more than I could in the classroom. Getting that hands-on experience 30+ hours a week helped me apply what I had learned while also setting me up to learn about what working in the real world is like. I can honestly say I don’t know if I’d be where I am today without that internship.
The Cinema, Television, and Media program is absolutely phenomenal. The professors genuinely want to see you succeed, which motivated me to do my best. I could go on and on, but the main thing I would recommend is to get involved. I got almost every single one of my jobs throughout and after college from networking through friendships I made. Getting involved at KU made me CRAZY busy at times, but provided me experiences and friendships that I will forever cherish.
My internship actually created a position for me so that I could stay full-time as a producer immediately after graduation. I stayed for about 9 months until I was blessed with the job I have now as a video producer at ReminderMedia. At ReminderMedia, I have produced a variety of content including Podcasts, recipe videos, social media content for the president of the company and (my personal favorite) editorial pieces. The video team had the opportunity to travel across the country to tell incredible and inspiring stories from people like Liz Climo (illustrator and previous animator for The Simpsons) and Richard Turner (a blind magician who fooled Penn and Teller). Getting to travel and tell stories is my passion, and I feel so incredibly blessed to have such an amazing opportunity so soon after graduating.
Brian T. Butler - Bensalem, PA - SECONDARY EDUCATION - Class of 2007
Kutztown University provided me with the skills necessary to compete in a highly competitive teacher market. With the assistance of my professors and the Career Development Center, I was able to perfect my resume and attend a teacher job fair while still in school. Following the job fair, I was offered a teaching position with the Central Dauphin School District which allowed me to pursue my dreams of becoming a school administrator.
Colton Sterner - Kutztown, PA - PHYSICS/ENGINEERING - Class of 2018
In my time at KU I learned that I was not just a number but a name to each and every professor due to the small class sizes.
I graduated in 2018 with a degree in Physics (Engineering Track) and a minor in Chemistry. The degrees I received from Kutztown opened doors for me to pursue further education. Currently, I am finishing up my Master’s degree at Lehigh University in Mechanical Engineering while working as an engineering intern at East Penn Manufacturing Company.
Coming from a small high school (Kutztown HS), these smaller classes made me feel at home. My advisors, Dr. Sudarshan Fernando and Dr. Rolf Mayrhofer, made my time at KU seem so much simpler My major included a difficult curriculum, but with the great help and advice they supplied, I was able to succeed. I was even inducted into the National Honors Society of Physics! KU was the catalyst that allowed me to further my education in a field I am passionate about.
Taishay Gordon - Norristown, PA - SOCIAL WORK - Class of 2016
I am currently the OST Site Director at St. Martin de Porres Catholic School. Being a part of Kutztown’s Social Work Department has impacted my career by giving me all the professional development experience I needed in the social work field. As I continue to grow as a professional, I relate everything I have learned through my years at Kutztown and apply them to my everyday experiences with the students I work with.
Braden Luancing - Easton, PA - COMPUTER SCIENCE - Class of 2019
I chose KU because of its small class sizes and well-structured but flexible Computer Science program.Through the KU BEARS grants, I had the opportunity to spend 2.5 years of my academic career pursuing my passion for game development research to create an ambitious video game set in Kutztown University. Without the grants, I would never have had the opportunity to learn in-depth about game development, project management, and public speaking.
The communal air of friendliness and cooperation, from both KU students and faculty, gives a great sense of belonging and enables students to overcome challenges with the support of their peers.
I chose to stay at KU to complete the advanced standing Master's degree program in Computer Science. The program is challenging my existing skills in completely new ways, which will allow me to perform well in any career position in the future. Additionally, I'm able to specialize in my preferred area of computer science, so I'm not only learning things I'm passionate about but also preparing to excel if I were to start a career in that same area.
Taylor Schlemmer - York, PA - ELEMENTARY EDUCATION - Class of 2014
Immediately driving onto Kutztown's campus, I felt at home. It was beautiful and I liked how the academics and housing portions of the university were separated by Main Street. Kutztown also gave me the best opportunity as an education major to learn and grow as a future educator.
The most rewarding part of my Kutztown experience was meeting the incoming freshman and transfer students through the New Student Orientation Program and remembering being in their shoes. It was an honor to get to be one of the first people they met and helping with their transition to the university. It also made my experience at KU worthwhile because I knew that I was impacting incoming Golden Bears while being able to grow as a person. I have KU and all the friends I made to thank for the person I am today!
Since graduating, I have returned to my hometown of York, PA and am currently in my second year of teaching kindergarten in my alma mater. I also currently enrolled in a Master's program called "Diversity and Student Resilience" in order to learn more ways to support my students of all backgrounds, upbringings, and stories.
Steve Snisky - Quakertown, PA - SECONDARY EDUCATION/MATHEMATICS - Class of 2016
As I toured colleges, Kutztown was the only one that caught my eye. The campus is beautiful and has the perfect sense of home, and novelty that I didn't know I was looking for. It was also a good distance from home. I could be away and learn to thrive on my own, but also had the security to drove home if I needed to.
Kutztown taught me to stop flying under the radar and have pride in who I am and what I can offer. I was active in a lot of housing groups, from hall council, RHA, NRHH, care bears, FAC, and Friends of Rachel, I had several jobs in residence life, and New Student Orientation.
I have been working as a learning support math teacher at Reading High School for three years. I am trying to help students build the same courage I saw in myself through advising project peace at work. I am pursuing a Master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction through KU.