Honors Advisory Board

A team of community partners, alumni, faculty, and friends, this group of lifelong supporters of the Sokolov Honors College helps us continuously improve so that we may better support student success, academic excellence, and community engagement.

Rashid Abdu, Retired Surgeon

Dr. Rashid Abdu, MD is a retired general surgery specialist in Youngstown, Ohio, and has been practicing for 54 years. He graduated from the George Washington University School of Medicine in 1960 and specializes in general surgery. Dr. Rashid Abdu was the 2017 ACCESS recipient of its Arab American of the Year Award. Dr. Abdu is currently affiliated with St. Elizabeth Health Center and St. Joseph Health Center. Dr. Abdu has also dedicated his life to the fight against breast cancer through his establishment of the Joanie Abdu Comprehensive Breast Care Center in 2011 (named after his late wife, who lost her battle with breast cancer in 1994). Now retired as a surgeon, Dr. Abdu serves as emeritus director of surgical education at St. Elizabeth Health Center and professor emeritus of surgery at Northeast Ohio Medical University.

Abdou Ayoub

Abdou Ayoub is the managing director of Paragon Shift, a data analytics and AI solutions firm which he founded in 2010. Abdou started his career with Deloitte Consulting out of the Cleveland office, working with clients in the Americas and Europe. He later transferred to the Deloitte Middle East practice where he was based in Beirut and served clients across the Gulf region and in multiple industries. Abdou holds a Masters of Engineering and Management from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University and Bachelor of Engineering from Youngstown State University.

Amanda Gerstnecker, Esq.

Amanda graduated from Youngstown State University in 2006 with a BS in Business Administration. While at YSU, she served as the vice president of the Student Government Association, was a University Scholar, and was active in her sorority, Zeta Tau Alpha. In 2009, she graduated from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and is currently a corporate attorney at the Pittsburgh-based law firm of Cohen & Grigsby, P.C. In that capacity, Amanda serves as legal counsel and strategic business advisor to a variety of the firm’s clients. She works closely with in-house teams of large, international clients, and serves as outside general counsel for several of the firm’s US-based clients. She is actively involved in many corporate organizations and has been selected to the Pennsylvania Super Lawyers Rising Stars list from 2015 to 2019. In 2020 Amanda will return to Pitt Law as an adjunct professor, teaching Legal Writing for the Transactional Lawyer. She serves on the Children’s Home of Pittsburgh & Lemieux Family Center Board, a specialty pediatrics hospital and adoption center in Pittsburgh. Amanda lives in Freedom, Pennsylvania, with her husband, Bert, their son, Bert, and a very ornery dog, Dr. Indiana Jones.

Kevin Goodman, Esq

Kevin entered Youngstown State University in 1995 as part of the Leslie H. Cochran University Scholar Program and received his Bachelor of Engineering with honors from YSU in 2000. After graduation from YSU, Kevin was employed by General Electric in a variety of manufacturing and technology-based roles. He subsequently received his Juris Doctor from the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in 2005. Kevin is currently a partner at a mid-size IP boutique law firm in suburban Cleveland. He helps large and small businesses establish, maintain, and improve their intellectual property position, both domestically and abroad. Kevin does this by obtaining patents and trademarks for his clients in a variety of technologies which allow his clients to benefit from their innovation. Kevin also works with clients to arrive at creative solutions when they are confronted with competitors that are trying to stifle growth in the marketplace. Kevin is a member of the Ohio Bar and is admitted to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. Further, Kevin serves as a member of the Lake County Bar Association Grievance Committee and the City of University Heights Board of Zoning Appeals. He also serves as a volunteer judge for invention convention for Willoughby-Eastlake Schools.

Josh Hiznay, Esq.

Josh entered Youngstown State University as part of the 10th class of the Leslie H. Cochran University Scholar Program. While at YSU, Josh served on multiple student organizations including Student Government, the Scholar Trustees, and the political science honorary society. After graduating in 2006 with a BA in Political Science, he earned his Juris Doctorate at the University of Akron School of Law. In 2009, Josh established his private practice in Boardman and currently practices in probate, estate planning, and real estate law. He lives in Poland with his wife, Olivia, and their son, Jack.

Darren Hudach, President

Darren is an innovative and entrepreneurial business leader with a proven record of driving profitable growth. His career has been spent leading, growing and scaling businesses across multiple markets. Darren is a lifelong Northeast Ohio resident that is passionate about his family and his community. Darren spent over 12 years at PerkinElmer where he was vice president of three business units. Darren spent the next 3 years of his career as chief operating officer for Cleveland HeartLab, helping drive a successful exit to Quest Diagnostics. In January, 2018 Darren accepted a role as chief growth officer for Incept and in October 2019 was promoted to president. Darren holds a MBA (Organizational Leadership) from the University of Findlay and a BS (Computer Science) from Youngstown State University.

Michele Johnson, PharmD., MBA

Over the past fifteen years, Michele Theresa Johnson has served in various roles as a clinical pharmacist at Aetna CVS Health. Currently, Dr. Johnson is the Director of Aetna One Clinical Pharmacists managing a pharmacist team supporting Aetna One Care Management. Her team collaborates with an interdisciplinary care management team to help improve patients’ health journey, prevent hospital readmissions, reduce medical costs, and provide a personalized, educational health service. A graduate of the Doctor of Pharmacy program at The Ohio State University, Dr. Johnson holds certificates in Medication Therapy Management and Diabetes Care. Dr. Johnson is lead author of five journal publications and poster presentations, of which one received the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy’s (AMCP) highest honor and Utilization Review Accreditation Commission (URAC) Best Practices in Healthcare recognition. Dr. Johnson graduated from Youngstown State University with a Master of Business Administration (1998) and a Bachelor of Science (1997) with dual major in Combined Sciences (Biology/Chemistry) and Psychology. She is a 1997 recipient of the YSU Pin Award. As a YSU student, she was actively involved in the Student Government Association, executive secretary; Academic Senate committees; The Centurians, president; Zeta Tau Alpha; and Omicron Delta Kappa, founding member. Dr. Johnson has continued to give back to the university as a member of Pete’s Pride and by mentoring YSU students entering graduate and professional health science programs. She resides in Columbus, Ohio, and is actively involved as a lifetime OSU and YSU alumna.

Greg Malito, Retired Director of Guidance and Counseling Western Reserve Local Schools

Mr. Gregory Malito is a forty-one year veteran of public education. He has served his entire tenure at Western Reserve Local Schools as a science instructor for ten years and the director of Guidance and Counseling for thirty-one years. Throughout his service at Western Reserve, Mr. Malito was a testing director, curriculum specialist, director of College Credit Plus, and had also implemented a crisis intervention policy for the district. Mr. Malito also specialized in college and career searches for his students as well as scholarship research, applications, and awards. Several times throughout his career Mr. Malito's students had earned well over one million dollars in accepted scholarships for classes which average sixty graduating seniors per year. His affiliation with area and state colleges, as well as with their honors programs, is well established and well respected. Mr. Malito is also an active member, and past president, of the Youngstown Wolves Club organization which works hand in hand with Mr. Paul McFadden and the Youngstown Foundation to raise scholarship monies for students in good academic standing and in financial need who will be attending Youngstown State University in their future. Mr. Malito is a graduate of YSU and possesses two MS degrees in School and Community Counseling. He and his wife Sue reside in Austintown, Ohio, and have one son, Chris, who is also a proud YSU graduate.

Lisa Metzinger, Partner Cohen & Company

An accounting and auditing partner at Cohen & Company, Lisa works with some of the firm’s largest audit clients, primarily commercial and residential developers, and property management companies. Lisa’s attest work includes conducting HUD compliance audits and audits related to historic and new markets tax credits, and she is active in the firm’s Employee Benefit Plan Audit Group. Lisa received her undergraduate degree in accounting from Youngstown State University in December 2005 and completed her MBA in December 2007. A member of the Finance Committee for the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation and Board of Directors for REVITALIZE Home Mortgage, Lisa is also a member of the Ohio Society of CPAs and American Institute of CPAs. She has been actively involved in the community throughout her career including board positions with Beatitude House, Cardinal Mooney, and Homes for Kids as well as numerous volunteer activities with the United Way, the Junior League of Youngstown, and Youngstown State University. She is a 2013 graduate of Leadership Mahoning Valley and a 2016 Mahoning Valley 25 Under 35 honoree. She also received the Outstanding MBA Alumna Award in 2019 from the Williamson College of Business Administration. She lives in Boardman, Ohio, with her daughter, Hannah.

Ashley Orr

Ashley Orr is a PhD student and National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program Fellow in the Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University. She completed her Masters of Philosophy in Economics at the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. Her research interests span labor economics, mathematical modeling, inequality and poverty studies, public policy, development economics, urban economics, and econometrics. A first generation college graduate, she completed undergraduate degrees in mathematics (BS) and economics (BA) at Youngstown State University funded by the Leslie H. Cochran University Scholars Award. She has previously interned with the Fourth District of the Federal Reserve Bank in their research department, completed NSF-funded research at the Department of Mathematics at Texas A&M University, and served as student body president of YSU's Student Government Association. She enjoys teaching microeconomics and development economics. In her spare time, you might find her long-distance running, traveling, or playing board games with friends and family.

Torrian Pace

Torrian Pace graduated as an honors student from Youngstown State University with a bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice/Legal Process in 2013 and a master's degree in Criminal Justice in 2015. His master's thesis was entitled "The Influence of Social Media on Eyewitness Accounts." While at Youngstown State University, Torrian was a member of the YSU football team, the Student Athletic Advisory Committee, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Presidential Mentors, and various other organizations. Torrian completed an internship with the Department of Justice and is currently still interning with them as he nears the end of his PhD program. Torrian is attending the University of Florida completing his dissertation entitled "Causes and Consequences of Oversight of the FBI: 1976-2008." Upon his anticipated graduation in 2020, Torrian plans to pursue employment in the Intelligence Community while still staying connected to the university arena.