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Carol Pochiro Ramsay of Perry, Ohio, ’64 BS in Education, recently retired as a professor emerita from Lake Erie College, concluding her 55-year career as an educator. Her work history includes teaching in the Youngstown City Schools, serving as principal at Youngstown Christian Schools, serving as a professor at Grove City College and 26 years as associate dean and professor at Lake Erie College. She earned an MS in Education at Westminster College and a doctorate at the University of Akron. Lake Erie College is making plans to dedicate two smart classrooms in honor of Ramsay’s retirement.

Mitchell Joseph of Irvine, Calif., ’69 AB in Sociology, was honored as Business Professional of the Year at the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber’s Salute to Business 2017. Mitchell is chairman and chief executive officer of Joseph Company International, which is building a $20 million plant on Youngstown’s East Side to manufacture the world’s first commercial self-chilling beverage container. The company expects to create 250 jobs at the facility. Joseph was featured in the Spring 2017 edition of YSU Magazine.



Diana Getsey-Holiday of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., ’73 Nursing Diploma, has been selected to join the Nursing Board at the American Health Council, where she will share her expertise in behavioral health and addiction. Formerly chief executive officer of The Phoenix Group in Hollywood, Fla., she has more than 40 years of experience in the field of behavioral health and addiction and holds certifications as a behavioral/chemical dependency nurse, an addictions professional, a behavioral health therapist and a clinical hypnotherapist.

Mark R. Eichinger of Havelock, N.C., ’74 BSBA in Advertising and Public Relations, is owner and founder of International Human Resources Coaching and Consulting LLC, and the former vice president of Human Resources, Asia Pacific Region, for Eaton Corporation, Shanghai, China. Previously, he also served as vice president, Human Resources Operations and International, for Eaton’s World Headquarters in Cleveland. His corporate career spans 35 years, with domestic and global responsibilities involving 20 plants, 13 countries and 13,000 employees.

Betty Maybee (Harakel) Loyd of Deerfield Beach, Fla., ’76 AAS and ’78 BS in Nursing, is working as a consultant after recently selling Brookfield Professional Care, the assisted living and group home she owned and operated for 10 years in Brookfield, Ohio. She continues to serve as a nurse volunteer for church sponsored mission trips abroad, including Kenya, Honduras and the Dominican Republic, and recently served on a mission to Cuba. Among the proudest accomplishments in her award-winning nursing career was helping to establish a Peer Assistance Program for Nurses impaired by alcohol or drugs that was adopted by the Ohio Nurses Association and later became a model for similar programs nationwide.

Sandra Nelson of Red Wing, Minn., ’79 AAB, ’81 BSBA in Accounting and ’94 MBA, was named community banking president for Wells Fargo’s Red Wing branch. Previously, she was community banking manager and district manager for Associated Bank, and she has 24 years of experience in the banking industry. Besides her YSU degrees, she also holds a certificate from the Ohio State University Academy of Financial Executives.



John Park of Austin, Texas, ’80 BSBA, was hired as director of business development for FirstClose, a provider of technology solutions for refinance and home equity lenders nationwide. Formerly a vice president of consumer lending for Dollar Bank, Pittsburgh, Park has more than 25 years of experience in the mortgage finance industry.

Dina (Novak) Ruden of New York, N.Y., ’80 BA in English Literature, has been appointed senior vice president of Communications and Public Relations for Travel Leaders Group, the largest traditional travel agency company in North America. Previously, she was director, Public Relations and Communications, for the National Treasury Employees Union in Washington D.C., the nation’s largest independent federal employee union, winning major awards and recognition. Before that, she held executive positions in the travel industry and editing positions with travel publications. She earned a Certified Travel Counselor executive designation and also holds a master’s degree in Communications from the University of Hawaii.

Larry “Bat” Cross of Mesa, Ariz., ’81 BE in Mechanical Engineering, has earned a Master Certificate Flight Instructor designation, one component of his training requirements to qualify as an Upset Prevention & Recovery Training expert. Cross is an advanced instructor pilot for Aviation Performance Solutions, headquartered in the Phoenix-Mesa area, and has more than 40 years of experience in aviation. Previously, he was a career Air Force pilot, most recently on staff of the Air Force Combat Command Inspector General, assessing combat readiness of all USAF operational tactical aircraft.

Giulia C. Kennedy of San Francisco, ’81 BS in Medical Technology, is the chief scientific officer at Veracyte Inc., headquartered in San Francisco, and has overseen the development of three commercialized genomic tests that aim to improve disease diagnosis methods. She holds a PhD in Biochemistry from Case Western Reserve University and completed postdoctoral training at the University of California at San Francisco. She has published more than 50 articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals and is a co-inventor on more than 20 patents. Her husband, William Anthony Kennedy, is also a YSU graduate.

Mary DeGenaro of Poland, Ohio, ’83 BA in Economics and Combined Business, was appointed in January to the Ohio Supreme Court by Gov. John Kasich. She replaces Justice Bill O’Neill, who resigned to run for governor, her term expires Jan. 1, 2019 and she will seek election to the seat in November. Justice DeGenaro had served on the 7th District Court of Appeals since 2000. She earned her law degree from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law and worked 14 years in private practice. She was featured in the Spring 2015 edition of YSU Magazine.

Art Byrd of Boardman, ’85 BS in Telecommunications, ’92 AAS in Business Management, took first place in the Youngstown Chapter of Toastmasters Executive 408 Table Topics contest last fall. A Toastmaster since 2009, he earned the Distinguished Toastmaster designation in 2016, which is the highest award given by Toastmasters International.

Karen Dannessa of Downingtown, Pa., ’85 BM, is a professor of Music and Clarinet at West Chester University in West Chester, Pa. She has performed internationally in Greece, the Czech Republic, Mexico and England, as well as in numerous international, national and regional festivals. As a clarinetist in Quintsylvania Winds, the faculty wind quintet at WCU, she performed a New York debut recital in Carnegie Hall. She is also principal clarinet in Liberty Winds and a regular freelancer with other orchestras. Her research has been published in the International Clarinet Association Journal and translated to Dutch for the Netherlands clarinet journal. She earned her master’s degree from Michigan State University and holds a doctorate from Florida State University.

Andrea Wasko of Los Osos, Calif., '86 Psychology, has developed a new product, called The Quick Pickle Kit, with an innovative pickling process that is faster and easier than traditional pickling techniques. She said independent labs approved by the USDA and the FDA have tested and approved the process. Wasko is also president of Connoisseur Creations Inc., which markets the Quick Pickle Kit and other products. Also a business strategist and executive coach, she earned an MBA from Golden Gate University and a PhD from Pacific Graduate School of Psychology.

Michael Tortora of Philadelphia, ’87 BFA, was named eastern regional sales manager for Acclaim Lighting of Los Angeles. Previously, he was solutions sales manager for Acuity Brands Lighting in Atlanta and served as northeast regional representative for several of the company’s brands. He also holds an MFA from Wayne State University.

Jerry Wiant of New York, N.Y., ’89 BSBA in Accounting, has joined Lazard Ltd. as a managing director in Financial Advisory, based in New York. He will focus on client coverage of U.S. regional and community banks. Lazard is a large independent financial advisory and asset management firm. Wiant began his professional career in 1989 as a CPA with Deloitte & Touche. Most recently, he was managing director and co-head of the RBC Capital Markets U.S. Financial Institution Group.



Michael Scudier of Chester, W.Va., ’90 BSBA, joined Farmers National Bank of Emlenton as branch manager of the Chester, W. Va., office. Formerly a branch manager at PNC Bank in Columbiana, Ohio, Scudier has more than 17 years of managerial experience in the financial and customer service industry with emphasis in human resources and operations management. He also holds an MBA from Malone University, Canton, Ohio. His wife, Mary Kathleen, is also a YSU alum.

Laurie Brlas of Miromar Lakes, Fla., ’92 BSBA in Accounting, was elected to the board of directors for Albemarle Corp., a global specialty chemicals company, and will also serve as a member of the board’s audit and finance committee and its nominating and governance committee. The former executive vice president and chief financial officer of Newmont Mining Corp., Brlas has more than 20 years of experience as a leader in industry, and is a CPA and a Certified Management Accountant.

Presley Gillespie of Pittsburgh, ’92 BSBA in Organizational Communication, president of Neighborhood Allies in Pittsburgh, was selected by Smart Business Magazine as a Smart 50 Awards Honoree. The award program recognizes top executives of 50 companies across the region for their ability to effectively build and lead successful organizations. Under his leadership, Neighborhood Allies has quadrupled its funding sources and invested more than $6.5 million into neighborhoods, in addition to providing advice, training and support. Gillespie began his career in banking and made the move to nonprofit leadership in 2014.

Jennifer Anspach of Medina, Ohio, ’93 BSBA in Marketing Management, was named an HR Executive of the Year finalist in the private companies category for Crain’s Cleveland Business 2017 Archer Awards. Anspach is assistant vice president of human capital for Safeguard Properties, a mortgage field services industry company.

Dr. Meera K. Atkins of St. Charles, Ill., ’93 BS in Combined Sciences, was named chief medical leader for CoreSource, a large employee benefit administrator. Board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology, she has practiced medicine for 20 years as a physician and surgeon and recently served as medical director for Aetna’s Great Lakes Region. She earned her medical degree from Northeast Ohio Medical University and has an MBA from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Peggy DeBartolo of San Antonio, Texas, ’93 BSBA in Accounting, has been named vice president for Finance and Administration at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio. Previously, she was a finance consultant for Resources Global Professionals in Cleveland, and she served as controller and assistant treasurer at Marietta College and the College of Wooster. She is a certified public accountant with an MBA from Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts.

Eric Wellington of Aston, Pa., ’94 AB in Speech Communication, was named dean of the Division of Business and Information Management at Neumann University. Previously, he was chief academic officer and associate provost at Delaware Community College in Media, Pa. He also has an MA from West Chester University and a doctorate in Higher Education Administration from Capella University.

Jay Williams of Hartford, Conn., ’94 BSBA in Finance, recently accepted a position as president of The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, a philanthropic organization serving Hartford and 29 surrounding communities. Previously, Williams served as mayor of Youngstown, the city’s first African-American mayor and the youngest mayor in its history. He moved his family to Washington D.C., in 2011 to head the Office of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers for the U.S. Department of Labor, and later was appointed by President Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as assistant secretary of commerce in the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration.

Dani Kakascik Carroll of Richmond, Ohio, ’95 BS in Music Education, ’00 MM, was named Teacher of the Month in November at Edison High School, where she is in her 19th year as vocal music teacher in the Edison Local School District. She teaches choir, chamber ensemble and a College Credit Plus course in music appreciation. She also directs the high school musical and co-directs the junior high musical productions, having led or co-led 26 productions.

Shannon Durkin Barnes of Bay Village, Ohio, ’97 BS, ’00 MS in Biological Sciences, is communications director at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute and an adjunct assistant professor of Molecular Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University. Previously, she was employed at the University of Pittsburgh. She holds a certificate in Public and Professional Writing from the University of Pittsburgh and is certified by the Board of Editors in the Life Sciences.

John Caplinger of Decatur, Ga., ’99 BS in Combined Sciences, ’01 in Chemistry, was promoted to chief customer service officer for Bridgevine Inc., an e-commerce solution provider. He came to the company from Benchmark Brands, where he was vice president of operations, and has more than 16 years of global leadership experience. He has an MBA in business from Georgia State University.
Kimberly D. (Blasko) Johnson of Hamilton, Ohio, ’99 BS in Nursing, has been elected president-elect of the Ohio Emergency Nurses Association. She is employed by the University of Cincinnati where she is an assistant professor in the College of Nursing at the University of Cincinnati. She earned a PhD from Case Western Reserve University.



Heath G. Gasier, of Bethesda, Md., ’00 BSA in Food and Nutrition Dietetics, participated in a bicycling benefit in 2017 that raised $545,000 for wounded veterans. He also had an opportunity to place a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. The 310-mile, 3½ day bike benefit was sponsored by Ride Allegheny, a cycling group that raises funds to support wounded veterans through Operation Second Chance. Gasier is a physiologist for the Department of Military & Emergency Medicine’s Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. He also holds an MS from Case Western Reserve University and a PhD from Texas A&M.

Richard Leone of Smithville, Ohio, ’01 BSEd, has completed his seventh year as director of Secondary Education for the Wooster City School District. An educator for 17 years, he has been a school administrator for a decade.

Adrienne Unertl of Evanstown, Wyo., ’01 BS in Secondary Education Comprehensive Science, was named the 2017 STEM Elementary Teacher of the Year in Wyoming and was recognized at the state’s 2017 STEM Conference. She has been in her current role as assistive technologist with the Uinta County School District #1 in Evanstown since 2015. A native of Orangeville, Ohio, she taught in the Youngstown City Schools for two years after earning her degree, then relocated to Wyoming. Unertl is responsible for locating specialized hardware, software and other equipment to assist students with special needs.

Jason Gray of Warren, ’02 MSEd in Educational Administration, superintendent of the Trumbull County Career and Technical Center, was one of seven named to the Champion Schools Alumni Association Hall of Fame. He earned his undergraduate degree from Clarion University and previously taught at Lordstown High School and at the TCTC. In 2014 he was nominated for Superintendent of the Year by the National Association of School Superintendents.

Jesse V. McClain of Canfield, ’02 BS and ’06 MS, both in Nursing, was named president of the Ohio Association of Advance Practice Nurses Board. An advanced practice registered nurse, he is certified as an Adult Clinical Nurse Specialist and also holds certifications in critical care, multiple sclerosis and stroke. He has both an inpatient and an outpatient practice in general neurology, and his research is focused on how advanced practice registered nurses can reduce 30-day hospital re-admission rates for stroke patients. Recently, YSU’s Department of Nursing honored him as a distinguished alumnus.

Katie Solvesky of Boardman, ’03 BS in Business Administration, and William Miner of Lowellville, ’03 BS in Finance and ’05 MBA, were recently recognized by Forbes magazine in a list of America’s Top Next Generation Wealth Managers. Solvesky holds Certified Private Wealth Advisor and Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor designations and is a certified financial planner. Miner holds a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor designation. Both are financial advisors in the Canfield office.

Eric Golubic of Indianapolis, ’05 BS in Business Administration, is self-employed and the creator of Clear View Products, a program that teaches automotive skills, such as vinyl wrap and auto detailing, to adult and young adult learners. Classes provide both hands-on training and classroom instruction to help students to become job-ready. Clear View is working with non-profit organizations, including the Boys & Girls Club, and with local school districts.

Aliyah Sabree of Detroit, Mich., ’06 BS in Biology, was appointed Judge of the 36th District Court in Detroit. She must seek election in November for a full term. Previously, she was associate general counsel for the Detroit Water & Sewerage Department and liaison to Detroit City Council for the mayor’s office. She holds a law degree from Michigan State University College of Law.

Michael Schrock of Canfield, ’07 BSBA in Human Resources, was promoted to Chemical Bank’s Regional President of the Mahoning Valley. Schrock has more than 28 years of banking experience and has worked in human resources, branch management and mortgage lending. He was also named in January to the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber’s Board of Directors.

Hanna Kassis of Lakewood, Ohio, ’08 BSBA in Accounting, ’09 MA in Financial Economics, is founder and chief executive officer of OAREX Capital Markets Inc., a non-bank financing institution. The company closed on a $10 million line of credit last fall from a group of lenders led by a New York-based global investment firm. The company provides financing for digital publishers such as websites, app developers and advertising networks. Kassis also earned a law degree from the John Marshall School of Law in Chicago.



Kellie Brautigam of Lancaster, Ohio, ’10 BSEd in Integrated Language Arts Education, participated last summer in Miami University’s Earth Expeditions global field course in Paraguay. An environmental educator and coordinator at Camp OtyO’kwa and General Sherman Junior High in Lancaster, Ohio, she took the graduate course in pursuit of her master’s degree from Miami University’s Global Field Program.

Heather Caban of St. Louis, Mo., ’10 BSBA in Sales and Marketing, was awarded Microsoft’s Circle of Excellence Platinum Club Award, the highest employee recognition available, in her first year with the company. The program honors top performing employees worldwide, and only 1 percent of employees will earn the award in their career. Caban joined Microsoft in February 2016 as a Global Black Belt in EMS Security. Previously, she worked for cybersecurity company Proofpoint.

James Vasconi of Sharon, Pa., ’10 MM in Piano Performance, was appointed an adjunct professor of piano, college organist and choral accompanist at Thiel College in Greenville, Pa., and began his new assignments in August 2017. He also teaches music theory at YSU’s Dana School of Music.

Brittany Wilkins of Terre Haute, Ind., ’10 BE in Industrial & Systems Engineering, recently accepted a position as lead process engineer for PPG Industries and is working at a powder coating plant in Brazil, Indiana. Previously, she was lead advanced development process engineer at the Delphi Champion Technical Center in Champion, Ohio, and was presented an Excellence in Action Award for outstanding leadership and coordination for the General Motors Chevrolet Volt manufacturing cell. She has established the Engineering Empowerment Foundation that encourages minorities to pursue careers in the STEM disciplines, provides project-based learning experiences and lectures for middle school and high school students.

Tegan (Anclade) Beese of Lake Villa, Ill., ’11 BA in Anthropology and Religious Studies, has been appointed to serve a three-year term on the Illinois School Library Media Association’s 2019 Lincoln Awards Nominations Committee. She is a young adult associate at the Lake Villa District Library in the Chicago Library System and is working toward a Master of Library and Information Science degree at the University of Illinois at Champaign. She was recently awarded the Anna Mae Koval Scholarship for Library Science students who have a research interest in youth services and literature.

Christina Mullen of Girard, ’13 BS in Telecommunications and Journalism, is a weekday multi-media journalist with WYTV News Daybreak, an ABC News affiliate in Youngstown. She started with Channel 33 in 2014 as a promotions producer.

Sean Ferguson of Youngstown, ’14 BS in Telecommunications, has joined the Houck Agency, a Youngstown public relations and marketing firm, as a content marketing strategist. He’ll serve in a range of copywriting, social media marketing, project management and video production capacities. Previously, he was social media reporter and video producer at The Vindicator Printing Co.
Dennis A. Hawkins Jr. of Reno, Nev., ’14 MM in Conducting, has joined the University of Nevada, Reno., as interim associate director of Bands and interim associate director of Athletic Bands. Hawkins earned a Doctor of Musical Arts in Wind Conducting from the University of Minnesota in 2017.

Charesse J. Hagan of Pittsburgh, ’15 BSBA in Finance, Certified Financial Planner track, is operations consultant and founder of a financial planners’ service company she launched herself, Charesse H. Hagan LLC. She started her career working for a large wealth management firm and started her business two years ago. She was an invited speaker recently at two financial planning events: the Financial Planning Association’s National Conference in Nashville and the TD Ameritrade Conference in Orlando.

Christopher Anderson of Boardman, ’16 BS in Marketing Management, was chosen as Ohio’s Young Democrat of the Year in November and was named to the Mahoning Valley Young Professionals’ “25 Under 35.” Anderson is social media director for Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC and the Mahoning County Democratic Party’s executive director for political affairs.

Kelli Johnston of Poland, ’16 BA in Communication Studies, recently joined Pecchia Communications in Canfield as a project manager. She leads social media programs and provides marketing and public relations services. Previously she worked in recruiting at Quicken Loans in Cleveland and in market research at the Youngstown Business Incubator. She is also the district chairperson for Rotary International’s short-term youth exchange program.

Mark Ragozine of Girard, ’16 BS in Political Science, is starting his first term as a 1st Ward councilman in the city of Girard. He is also general manager of Canterino’s Sports Bar and Grille in Girard, and is working toward a master’s degree in Public Administration from Ohio University.

Brian Lyons of Hubbard, ’17 BSBA in Marketing, has joined Cassidy Advertising and Consulting as an account manager and sales representative in the Canfield office. He served an administrative fellow/development internship at Akron Children’s Hospital in Boardman, and completed a marketing and sales internship at LED3.