Golden Bear Alumni Profiles
Meet some of our proud alumni and learn where KU has taken them after graduation!
Olivia Hovanec - Glen Gardner, NJ - ART EDUCATION - Class of 2019
I chose Kutztown in 2015 because of how at home I instantly felt during my campus tour. Without realizing it, the students and staff I met during my tour would soon become my friends, colleagues, and family. Being at Kutztown with that support system inspired me to graduate with a degree in Art Education and go on to obtain my Master’s in Art Education (in progress).
When I was an undergrad, I was involved in Greek Life while working as a campus tour guide, student mentor for the Veteran Affairs office, student library worker, and studio monitor for the photography studio classes. Kutztown is where I learned to set and achieve big goals and how to advocate for myself.
I am currently working as a high school art teacher and volleyball coach close to Kutztown. With my education at Kutztown and involvement with the campus, I was able to obtain a full-time art teaching position before I finished my senior year. My job is exactly what I want to be doing and without the outstanding art education program at Kutztown, I don’t think I would have been as ready as I was to start teaching.
Kutztown prepared me for all aspects of my life. Without the support from the Kutztown faculty, I would not have graduated or gone back to get my Master’s. Without the involvement opportunities from Kutztown, I would not have the job, motivation, or network that I have now. Without the people from Kutztown, I would not have the friends and family that I am blessed with today. I really am grateful for the years Kutztown has given me and will always be proud of being golden.
Felix Alberto - Philadelphia, PA - BUSINESS MANAGEMENT - Class of 2020
As a first-generation student from North Philadelphia, the conventional route of going to a university was a long shot for me. However, after discovering different ways to help fund my education and being convinced that college was a real possibility, I toured Kutztown. I fell in love with the award-winning campus the second I laid eyes on it! Kutztown has provided me with many great memories and opportunities. Studying abroad in Spain allowed me to grow my network, all the way to my career in finance at Vanguard. Kutztown has given me all of those amazing things, but the relationships I have been able to build throughout my studies have been what I’m most grateful for!
Joe Scoboria - Reading, PA - SECONDARY AND SPECIAL EDUCATION - Class of 2016
Attending KU, majoring in education, and serving as Student Body President prepared me for serving others in the workforce. Following graduation, I taught special education and history in the Reading School District and coached basketball. I currently serve as Assistant Principal at Daniel Boone Area High School in Birdsboro, PA. Each day, I use the skills I learned and developed as a KU student. My professors, advisors, and mentors encouraged me to advocate for those who need our help and service. As I pursue my doctorate and serve as a public school official, I will continue to lead and give back to my community.
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.
Maria Sunick - South Abington Township, PA - ART EDUCATION - Class of 2019
Choosing KU was a simple decision after I saw the Sheridan Arts Building. Instantly, I knew I had to pursue the arts as a career. My advisors at KU helped me declare Art Education as a major and since then I have found my passion in my work. I currently teach high school, middle school, and elementary art in Wicomico County Maryland. My student teaching experience opened endless doors for me in my field. With the help of encouraging professors and talented colleagues, I have become an early leader in art education as I pursue a master's degree in curriculum development. Thanks to KU, I have a path in life that I love.
Dr. Carl S. Moore - Norristown, PA - ELECTRONIC MEDIA - 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!
Todd Sykes - Scranton, PA - ART EDUCATION
I feel it is important not only for the Educator to establish the benefits and modes of self-expression and creativity, but also to be a personal example.
In the 35 years of teaching at Scranton Preparatory School, I have nearly single-handedly built an arts curriculum within the school. I delight in shaping young minds. I regularly prepare my students for gallery shows and teach art education on the level of other disciplines at the school.
Why is it important to teach the arts at a college preparatory school like Scranton Prep? It’s the classics. You have Greek and Latin, but it was a big void in the program. The theater program was big, but visual arts is as important. It’s the right brain the creative side. It’s a gateway to the left. What is in the Prep arts program today? Metalsmithing, printmaking, architecture, and fashion design, interior design, film, digital photography, stained glass, painting, drawing, and advertising.
I have earned an associate degree from Keystone College, a bachelor’s degree from Kutztown University, and a master’s degree from Marywood University. I have been married to my wife Maria for 34 years and we have two daughters, Lindsay, and Loren. I maintain an art studio in Dunmore, PA where I continue to explore my artistic roots by delving into any art medium I can get my hands on. I love working with oil or acrylic paint. How I go about utilizing color on paper, canvas, or other material is the challenge I have set for myself. In the past, I have spent time participating in and serving as a judge in several local art shows and helped organize the Scholastic Art Competition in the Scranton area.
The outstanding education that I have received from Kutztown University allowed me to have a wonderful career.
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.
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!
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.
Nicole Wiltrout-Coatesville, PA- BS.Ed. SECONDARY EDUCATION MATHEMATICS - Class of 2012
Attending Kutztown University was life-changing for me. I always thought I wanted to go to big school, but as soon as I toured Kutztown, I knew this is where I would fit in. It was about an hour from my hometown, Pittston, PA, so I would have some newfound independence. Also, I was the only graduate of my high school to attend Kutztown University, so it really was a fresh start for me to make new friends and adjust to my new environment without anyone familiar.
The professors in the mathematics department were great teachers, all unique in their own ways, and spent a lot of time getting to know their students outside of class. I spent most of my days hanging out in Lytle Hall and building a rapport with them. Inside the classroom, I was challenged and pushed to always do my best and learned from making mistakes and never giving up, even spending hours on problems at times. I’m proud to say I was supervised by Professor Randy Schaeffer as a Secondary Education/Math student teacher. When I graduated and interviewed for jobs, school districts knew his name all the way down to South Carolina. The speculation is true: Kutztown has a national reputation for producing great teachers in their program.
After I graduated, I began teaching full-time at Oxford Area High School. I have been here ever since and teach Statistics, Geometry, and Algebra. In 2021, I won the Citadel Heart of Learning award for my school district. I credit and cherish my education and experiences from Kutztown for my teaching career successes.
I also furthered my education by completing a Master’s degree in Mathematics from West Chester University in 2016. Thanks to KU, I have a successful teaching career and a beautiful family as well. I met my future husband, Patrick, in MAT301 with Dr. McLoughlin during my junior year.
Thank you, KU, for all the great memories!
Paul Walsh-Bethlehem, PA- BS.Ed. SECONDARY EDUCATION ENGLISH (2011), M.A. ENGLISH LITERATURE (2018), Ed.D. TRANSFORMATIONAL TEACHING and LEARNING (2022)
The content I learned while at Kutztown University has been invaluable to me as an educator and an author. But it was more than the content that I learned that pushed me to attend Kutztown for all three of my degrees. It was the passion and dedication of the Kutztown faculty. The unwavering support I received from my professors gave me the confidence to attain my educational goals as an undergraduate and my professional goals while in graduate school. They provided for me shining examples of what it means to be an influential educator.
I currently teach English at Liberty High School in Bethlehem. Prior to this position, I was the Artistic Director of the Literary Arts at the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts in Bethlehem. I also started a company with two of my good friends called Soul Perspective LLC. We have created a series of children's books titled Simeon Bleeker's Magical Sneakers that teaches children the values of empathy, tolerance, and understanding. As a result of my doctoral degree from Kutztown, I have recently contributed a chapter to an upcoming book that will be published by Columbia University's Teachers College Press that discusses the whiteness of English education.
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 and 2021
I came to Kutztown in 2015 because of the welcoming environment and supportive staff that I met at various admissions events during my senior year of high school. Little did I know that that welcoming environment would inspire me to not only obtain my Bachelor’s of Arts in Communication Studies (class of 2019) but also to pursue and obtain my Master’s of Education in Student Affairs in Higher Education (class of 2021).
When I was an undergrad, I was involved in the KU Honors Program. As a graduate student, I served as the Graduate Assistant for the Honors Program. I would attribute many of my successes and much of my growth to my participation and involvement with Honors. From the strong academic and professional relationships with faculty and staff to the lifelong friendships I’ve established since arriving at KU, the Honors Program truly changed my life.
I am currently working at the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce as the Program Manager for The Partnership, the workforce affiliate of the Chamber. The Partnership oversees the Principal for a Day program, Superstars in Education, Intern Delaware, and the Delaware Young Professionals Network. My position allows me to work with students, businesses, and institutions across the state to attract and retain Delaware’s workforce.
KU not only prepared me both academically and professionally to be successful in the workforce but also personally. My graduate cohort successfully completed our program during a pandemic, facing modality transitions and struggles of existing virtually. KU taught me to be adaptable, empathetic, and socially aware. I am grateful for the six years I spent at Kutztown and look forward to forever being a golden bear. It truly is good to be golden.
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.
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.
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.
I recently graduated with my Master’s degree at Lehigh University in Mechanical Engineering while working as an engineering intern at East Penn Manufacturing Company. I was hired full time as a Project Engineer for East Penn Manufacturing Company after graduation.
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.