Mercyhurst Magazine Fall 2017

FALL 2017




A MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT Innovative, action-oriented, committed: these are key characteristics of people who are engaged in the world around them. Throughout this issue of Mercyhurst Magazine , we highlight examples of our students, faculty, staf and alumni who epitomize engagement as they infuence a better world through education, leadership and service. our cyber and data science programs and, in time we hope, segue into local jobs and future investment in our city.

In this issue, we’ve taken a look at some of our young alumni, who have parlayed their Mercyhurst education

In the 24 months since I assumed the Mercyhurst presidency, I have been witness to a highly engaged community—individuals who, through their discretionary efort, contribute in diverse ways to the well-being and success of our university. Our people are the common denominator in the health of our institution and, clearly, our alumni are reaping the rewards and delivering on them. Our cover story casts the spotlight on Christina Carbone Marsh ‘88, chief community and economic development ofcer at Erie Insurance, who is part of a growing network of business, community and academic leaders intent on transforming downtown Erie into a vibrant and thriving region. What resonated with me more than anything else was Marsh saying that the Mercy charism isn’t far from her thoughts when doing the work she does. “I do feel, when we do this work in the community, that we are keeping a compassionate eye on our community members,” she said. “I think that is something I learned from being at Mercyhurst. Having a servant heart guides me in the diverse experiences I’ve had in my career and in life.” In her role with Erie Insurance, Christina supports her alma mater in its leadership of the Downtown Erie Innovation District, which you’ll be hearing more about in the near future. Clearly, in creating opportunities for the growth and vitality of our university, we are further empowering our town-and-gown relationship. Together, we hope to do great things. As you peruse your magazine, do check out the story on new developments in our Ridge College of Intelligence Studies and Applied Sciences. Not only have we hired three high-profle faculty leaders, but we have received a $1 million investment from Cleveland-based national technology company MCPc to build a cybersecurity lab and operations center in Hammermill Library, a move intended to accelerate

into successful careers in short order. You’ll also read about signifcant changes in the way we manage our Mercyhurst Institute for Arts & Culture, intended to bring in top names while, at the same time, making performances accessible to broader audiences. And, speaking of accessibility, please see a series of vignettes on how Mercyhurst North East provides life-altering opportunities to a diverse and engaged student body. I am so grateful to all the people of Mercyhurst for their commitment to our mission, and I would like to take this opportunity to particularly thank our alumni. Through your engagement with your alma mater, we yield global perspectives that infuence our curriculum, internships, jobs and robust learning experiences.

Pride in our afliation with Mercyhurst drives our forward progress, innovation and success. Your engagement in our future is essential.

Until next time, Carpe Diem .

Michael T. Victor, J.D., LL.D. President, Mercyhurst University

ON THE COVER: Christina Carbone Marsh ’88 is pictured in her ofce at the Erie Insurance Group. Now the company’s chief community and economic development ofcer, she draws inspiration for her work from the Don W. Lord oil painting of the City of Erie that hangs behind her. Photo by Jeremy Hewitt ’07. Read more about Marsh on page 14.

The Ofce of Marketing and Public Relations publishes Mercyhurst Magazine twice a year.

Magazine Editor Susan Hurley Corbran ’73 814-824-2090 Design Jeremy C. Hewitt ’07 814-824-3022 Contributing Writers Susan Hurley Corbran ’73 Deborah W. Morton Jennifer Smith



Contributing Photographers Jeremy C. Hewitt ’07 Curtis Waidley ’19 Angela Zanaglio ’16

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Printing Leader Graphics, Erie, Pennsylvania


Director of Alumni Engagement Lindsay Cox Frank ’12 ’14M 814-824-2330

Class Notes Editor Courtney F. Olevnik ’08 ’13M 814-824-2246 Send changes of address to: Alumni Relations Mercyhurst University 501 East 38th Street Erie, PA 16546

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A $1 million investment by national technology company MCPc will take the Ridge College of Intelligence Studies and Applied Sciences to the next level by accelerating the expansion of its innovative cybersecurity program. The Cleveland-based company, with ofces in Erie, will create a cyber lab in Hammermill Library that will be used by the Ridge College to educate students in the high-tech cyber feld. Adjacent to the lab, MCPc will create and manage a high-security Network Operations Center that will employ Mercyhurst students. MCPc CEO Andy Jones joined President Michael Victor in making the announcement on July 25. At the same time, Victor announced the naming of a new dean for the Ridge College, and two other faculty leaders, charged with taking the Intelligence Studies program into a new era of growth and innovation. (See story at right.) Former Pennsylvania Governor and the nation’s frst U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, after whom the Ridge College is named, said, “Mercyhurst University’s Intelligence Studies program enjoys a global reputation for world-class research, exceptional teaching and

student outcomes. The construction of new cyber training facilities and today’s introduction of three new leaders make for a potent combination that will ensure Mercyhurst remains the vanguard of the feld.” Mercyhurst Provost David Dausey said MCPc’s expertise in cybersecurity “will build upon Mercyhurst’s strengths as a leader in the feld of intelligence studies, and develop a pipeline of work-ready talent to meet the nation’s cyber needs.” Today, Mercyhurst Intelligence Studies graduates are employed in all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies, scores of law enforcement organizations and a broad cross-section of corporate America, including a number of Fortune 500 companies. “From terrorism, to the world of cybersecurity and big data, to corporate risk management, we continue to up our game to ensure that our Intelligence Studies majors emerge as the best-equipped graduates in the feld,” President Victor said.

He added, “We all recognize the widespread incidence of cyber threats


around the world. We understand the seriousness of these threats and the need to guard against them. We also know that jobs in cybersecurity are growing at a robust pace.” Noting that a recent report from Cisco puts the global fgure of cybersecurity job openings at 1 million, with demand expected to rise to 6 million by 2019, Victor pledged, “Mercyhurst will be ready.” The cyber lab will include 20 work stations and be used as a teaching facility by Mercyhurst Intelligence Studies faculty and students. The operations center will accommodate at least 16 student-employees. An MCPc associate will oversee the students, whose customers will be actual MCPc clients. Victor said the commitment from MCPc is closely aligned with Mercyhurst’s goal of preparing students for real-world job experiences. About a third of the fve-year commitment from MCPc includes stipends that will pay students at industry rates for their services in the center. “What better way to prepare students for the workforce of tomorrow than placing them in those very jobs while they are students?” asked Jones in his remarks during the announcement. Added President Victor, “The operations center will provide a hands-on learning opportunity second to none, and will put Mercyhurst in the fortunate position of being one of a handful of universities in the country to have this kind of capability on campus.“ Victor credited Dausey for his role in facilitating the MCPc partnership, and Cal Pifer, vice president for external relations and advancement, for his part in bringing the project to fruition. Kidder Wachter Architecture & Design of Erie has done the architectural work, with construction beginning this fall. The cyber lab and Network Operations Center are expected to be ready by spring semester 2018. Creation of the cyber lab will require relocation of other resources that had occupied that space, including the university archives, which will move to Hammermill’s third foor. These changes are all part of a major reshaping of the library made possible by a pair of generous gifts. A $500,000 gift from alumna and retired trustee Ellen Ryan and her husband, David, will allow for a complete redesign of the library’s main foor, intended to increase efciency and create more learning spaces. Among the renovations are an updated library circulation desk and technology assistance area, state-of-the-art computers, tables and seating for study spaces, and much more. Also underway is the Ridge Reading Room, made possible by a $250,000 gift from the Henry L. Hillman Foundation.The space augments the library’s collection of the Thomas J. and Michele Ridge archives.

Clockwise from top left: McGill, Upal, Danzell, Grifn


Following a national search, Mercyhurst has chosen Lt. Col. U.S. Army (Retired) Duncan E. McGill, Ph.D., of Manassas, Virginia, as dean of the Ridge College. McGill has spent more than a decade in various academic and administrative leadership capacities at the National Intelligence University (NIU). Most recently, he served as associate dean of the NIU’s College of Strategic Intelligence. He replaces James Breckenridge, Ph.D., who recently became provost of the U.S. Army War College (USAWC) in Carlisle. Tapped to lead the college’s cyber initiatives, including the new MCPc Cyber Lab, is U.S. Navy Cyber Analyst Chad Grifn, whose expertise included providing IT, cybersecurity and intelligence analysis to the U.S. Navy and U.S. Pacifc Command. Charged with heading the college’s data science program is M. Afzal Upal, Ph.D., a former senior data scientist for Canada’s Department of National Defence. He combines many years of experience as a data scientist supporting intelligence analysts with a proven track record in scholarship and peer-reviewed publications. Also new this year to the intel team is Benjamin Baughman, Ph.D., a former detective and crime analyst with the Raleigh, North Carolina, Police Department, and an instructor in disciplines blending psychology and criminal justice.

Orlandrew Danzell, Ph.D., was promoted last spring to chair the undergraduate Department of Intelligence Studies.



residential, academic and social aspects of students’ lives.”

experience. “Everything about Warde’s design encourages interaction,” explained Dr. Laura Zirkle, vice president for student life. “That’s what you want for freshmen, to draw them out of their rooms and help them get to know each other, to make friends and to feel comfortable in their new environment.” So, while Warde features spacious rooms with private baths, it also includes lots of common areas including lounges, a media room, a kitchen, an exercise facility, and even a small convenience store. The new building project is being overseen by the Westminster Group, the same developer that constructed Warde Hall. Just

Students had barely moved out after graduation in May before crews moved in to demolish six apartment buildings at the south end of the upperclassman housing area between Briggs and Lewis avenues. By fall 2018, a brand-new residence hall for sophomores will rise on the site. Built in a U-shape opening toward 38th Street, it will house about 350 students. The 148,000-square-foot building will be four stories high, set into the natural grade of the hill below East 41 st Street. It will be named Ryan Hall, recognizing the longstanding philanthropy of Ellen Hammond Ryan ’64 and her husband, David, of Naples, Florida, and Petoskey, Michigan.

When President Michael Victor announced a new housing policy that will require out-of-town students to live on campus, he said he was committed to reimagining the university’s residence halls to better meet the needs of today’s students. This project—the second major capital project during his tenure following renovation of the campus dining hall—shows how serious he was about that promise. “It’s all about the experience,” Victor said. “Mercyhurst is a beautiful residential college and we believe strongly that living on campus promotes health and safety, facilitates diversity and inclusion, and integrates the

While most colleges still mix all students in large residence halls, Mercyhurst takes a diferent approach, ofering a variety of options to meet the needs of students of diferent ages. Freshmen live in traditional residence halls right in the heart of campus, with staf members living on each foor to help students adjust to college life. The staf also ofer frequent programs addressing freshman concerns. Warde Hall, the last residence hall built on campus, opened in 2009 and was designed specifcally to enhance the freshman



as it did with Warde, Mercyhurst opted for durable steel and concrete construction and a traditional brick look that coordinates with other campus structures. This time they’re using a suite-style model. Each suite will accommodate four students in two bedrooms with two full baths, a common living room and a snack prep area. The needs of sophomores are slightly diferent, Zirkle pointed out. “By their second year, students have usually established a network of friends,” she said. While they still need support, they also need more freedom as they begin exploring majors and getting involved with clubs and organizations. A sense of community remains important, though, so the frst foor of Ryan Hall will feature a large common space, including a new dining facility. Students are helping to decide what options should be available in that facility, the frst on the east side of campus. Gathering most sophomores in a single building allows hall staf to target programming to that class. Upperclassmen live in apartments and townhouses on the outskirts of campus, which ofer greater privacy. “By the time they reach their junior year, most students are starting to look forward to life after college,” according to Zirkle. “The responsibility of living independently really helps them prepare for that transition.” Ryan Hall will cost an estimated $25 million, but the project is made possible by the unique economics of college housing. The building is being fnanced through bonds, and revenue generated from the students who live in the building will be used to retire the bonds.






If you need proof that Mercyhurst students take to heart the constant exhortation to “Seize the Day,” you’ll fnd it in the pages that follow.

In this issue, we profle a handful of 21 st -century Mercyhurst graduates who’ve wasted no time making their marks on the world. We could have written dozens of similar stories. While this issue focuses on post-2000 graduates, Mercyhurst Magazine will continue to feature alums of all generations who are doing interesting things, on the job or in their communities. If you have a story to suggest, email editor Sue Corbran at . JENNIFER MOBILIA ’03

Jennifer Mobilia ’03 distinctly remembers being glued to the TV—at age 6—watching coverage of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. “At that moment I realized the importance and power of journalism and the great responsibility journalists have,” she says. “I knew there was nothing else in this world I wanted to do more.” Jennifer got her wish. After getting her start at Erie’s WJET-TV, she moved on to larger markets in Fort Myers, Florida; Bufalo, New York; and Providence, Rhode Island. Today she anchors the 7 and 11 p.m. news on News10NBC in Rochester, New York, and anchors breaking news at 5 and 6. Social media and 24-hour news channels have changed the way TV stations deliver news, she notes. “Our focus used to be our on-air newscasts. While our newscasts are still very important, we also now focus on getting breaking news and new information to viewers through our website, social media and push notifcations through our mobile app.” She regularly hosts “Jen at 10,” a Facebook Live show. Journalists also face the challenge of fake news, particularly on social media, Jennifer says. She’s doing her part in that battle with a new segment called “News or Noise.” She invites viewers to submit stories circulating

on social media, and then investigates to fnd out where the story falls on her “news to noise” meter. She’s covered major stories like New York’s frst same-sex marriage, Hurricane Sandy, the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the Boston Marathon bombing, the arrest of New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, and countless blizzards and snow storms. But, Jennifer adds, “The work I’m most proud of is my coverage of Erie’s Pizza Bomber bank robbery. I’ve always had an interest in criminal cases, but this bizarre case was full of twists and turns that were just fascinating to me.” “I love working in local news because it gives you an opportunity to become a part of the community you live and work in,” she says. “Network reporters are always on an airplane, sleeping in hotels and away from their families. That’s defnitely not for me.” A North East native, she bucked her family’s Penn State tradition to enroll at Alabama but she wasn’t happy in Tuscaloosa and quickly returned home. She took some business courses at Mercyhurst North East. “I unexpectedly fell in love with the school, the professors, the Catholic values and the beautiful campus. Mercyhurst instantly felt like home—that’s why I stayed to get two degrees.”

as well. Her grandfather, father and uncle planted and maintained the vineyards on the Redemptorist Seminary property for many decades. Her parents, who now operate Arrowhead Wine Cellars, were also among the original donors who raised $500,000 to help Mercyhurst turn the seminary property into a college campus. After receiving an associate degree in Business Administration at North East, Jennifer headed to the communication department at the Erie campus. “Nothing can prepare you for some of the horrifc things you’ll see, the stories you’ll cover or the stress of working in television news,” she says. “However, Mercyhurst taught me the importance of compassion for all, fairness, accuracy and honesty.” Outside the TV world, Jennifer is the proud mother of a white standard poodle named Anna and operates a small online jewelry store, . In her free time, she enjoys running, spending too much money in New York City, cheering on the struggling Bufalo Bills and being with her family.

She had a family connection at North East


THOMAS REZNIK, M.D., MPH ’01 Thom Reznik ’01 has a master’s degree in public health from Johns Hopkins, a medical degree from the University of Maryland, and a specialty that marries both felds: primary care internal medicine. After earning his Biology degree at Mercyhurst, Thom began his career as a research assistant and earned his MPH in 2006 while working on campus. He continued on to the University of Maryland to complete his M.D. in 2010. Thom completed his internal medicine residency at Brown University. With an eye toward broadening his impact, Thom stayed in Rhode Island to work in primary care for the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Providence. This ofered opportunities to blend his passion for patient care with broader interests in public health. “I like building relationships and taking care of people one on one,” he explains. “But public health is a feld that can make a diference on an enormous level. Public health can afect thousands or millions of people.” Thom immersed himself in the VA patient culture and immediately recognized the burden of chronic pain and overreliance on pain medication for treatment. Though the opioid epidemic hadn’t yet become well-known, the VA was evaluating and reforming pain treatment and prescription practices. Thom’s dedication and background led him to be named co-chair of the hospital pain committee, Primary Care Pain Champion and the Providence representative in opioid safety and pain management within the New England VA Health Care System. Leading pain initiatives now flls as much as half of Thom’s time. He developed and launched an Interdisciplinary Pain Clinic in which primary care internists, acupuncturists, pharmacists, psychologists, physical and occupational therapists, and nurses all meet to listen to a patient’s pain story. This collaborative approach ofers patients a personalized comprehensive plan. Thom also became a Medical Acupuncturist last year and opened the Providence VA’s frst acupuncture clinic. Thom notes the VA has deployed a primary-care-based acupuncture procedure called “battlefeld acupuncture”—which places fve needles in each ear to control pain—as another tool available for pain treatment. “In the early 1990s, physicians became very aggressive in using opioids to treat pain,” he notes. “Today the pendulum has swung too far the other way suggesting opioids have no place in chronic pain management. My experience in primary care has shown that patients live somewhere in the middle, where things aren’t so black and white.” Beyond the VA, Thom lends his experience to Rhode Island state initiatives, including the Department of Health’s work to improve primary-care-based pain management and as part of the Rhode Island Governor’s Opioid Overdose Task Force. “The VA is at the forefront of rewriting the playbook for chronic pain management by focusing on the complex causes of chronic pain and partnering with veterans on what works for them, relying less on medications and procedures.” “We’re flling a gap, and I hope it will grow so we can change things for as many people as we can,” he says. 7

ANNIE DEMEO REZNIK ’02 Annie DeMeo grew up on college campuses, including Mercyhurst where her dad, Tony, started the football program. When she visited Mercyhurst in April of her senior year, it felt like home though it had been years since her family moved from Erie. Now, as the frst executive director of the Coalition for Access, Afordability, and Success, Annie is working with a group of the country’s leading colleges and universities encouraging lower- income, frst-generation, and other under-served students to aim for college. The coalition’s members serve students from low-income backgrounds, ofer responsible fnancial aid packages, and ensure positive graduation outcomes for students from all backgrounds. “Through the coalition, colleges are working together to eliminate barriers to college for lower-income and frst-generation college students in an unprecedented manner,” Annie explains. The coalition ofers free college-planning tools, including a private online storage space for students to begin assembling materials they’ll need as they apply to college. “The colleges developed resources for students who don’t have support. The tools are for students like my husband, or father, and many of my college friends, who were the frst in their family to go to college,” says Annie. An English major and Religious Studies minor, she credits mentors like Dr. Heidi Hosey and Dr. David Livingston for teaching her how to think through complicated ideas and analyze problems from many diferent angles—skills she uses daily at the helm of a brand-new organization. Annie says she can’t imagine a place where she could have become as immersed in the community as she was at Mercyhurst. She was an Ambassador, Merciad editor, student government ofcer, and a lead student fundraiser for the annual phone-a-thon. At graduation, she was honored with the Sister Carolyn Herrmann Service Award, celebrating Annie “selfessly giving her time, energy, loyalty and talent to the campus community.” Annie is once again giving her time, energy, loyalty and talent, only this time to the many college communities of the coalition. Annie and Thom Reznik were married in 2004 and have four children: Caroline, 10; Anthony, 8; Catherine, 4; and Grace, 3. (Read Thom’s story at right.)

Learn more about the coalition at .

ANNA PATRICK ’07 A Kentucky native, Anna recalls visiting campus as a child with her parents, Peggy and Guy Patrick, who had both worked in Campus Ministry at Mercyhurst during the 1970s. “I can always remember loving the feel of the campus,” she says. When she enrolled, she chose a Political Science major and a Spanish minor. About two years after her Mercyhurst graduation, Anna headed to the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. Then, with an M.A. in international development in hand, she moved to the nation’s capital. She’s held a number of jobs in Washington, but for the past four-and-a-half years has been a public afairs specialist in the Ofce to Monitor and Combat Trafcking in Persons at the U.S. Department of State. The ofce leads diplomatic engagement on human trafcking and produces the annual Trafcking in Persons Report. She works with the private sector, NGOs and others to look at how human trafcking intersects with global supply chains and afects the products we all buy. She also does research, drafts fact sheets, writes speeches and gives presentations to raise public awareness about human trafcking. A soccer player during her frst two years, Anna cut her athletic career short in order to study abroad in Costa Rica. Living in a foreign country and experiencing a diferent language and culture was just one of the Mercyhurst experiences that she says expanded her world view. “In attending speaker series and events at Mercyhurst I heard from a variety of academics with diferent, and sometimes opposite, ideas from my own. In taking courses with professors who challenged what I thought to be true, I learned to see things from another perspective. It would be hard to move through the world today without these experiences; they prepared me well and I continue to carry them with me today.” On a practical level, the hours and hours she spent at the library researching, reading, writing, analyzing and preparing for presentations proved excellent preparation for her work today. This summer Anna married Sherilyn Fraser ’08 in a ceremony performed by Karen Eade ’07. Sherilyn is a director of fnancial analysis at the University of Maryland, University College. They both love to travel, including an excursion to Machu Picchu and a sailing trip in the Greek islands. Closer to home they enjoy rock climbing, exploring farmers’ markets, and discovering what Washington, D.C., has to ofer.

SARAH KEENE ’08 It was during her senior Social Ethics class that Sarah Keene connected the dots and realized what she wanted to do with her life: to use her languages to help others fnd their voices. A French major and Russian Studies minor, she worked frst helping newly resettled refugee and immigrant families in Pittsburgh toward self- sufciency. It was rewarding, but immensely challenging work, she says, adding, “I learned more about resiliency from these families than from any other previous experience.”Then she managed a food pantry for needy families in the South Hills. In 2013, she signed on for the Peace Corps and headed to the Central African nation of Cameroon. Her primary project was teaching English to more than 400 students aged 10-22, but she also cultivated friendships between more than 30 American students and her Cameroonian students through a pen-pal program. She’s particularly proud of a weeklong youth empowerment camp she ran for 35 girls aged 10-14, which included a panel of positive female role models from the community. Returning to America when her two-year assignment ended, Sarah remained with the Peace Corps and now works at its Washington headquarters as a program analyst for recruitment and diversity. Along the way, Sarah’s passion for languages and cross-cultural exchanges has led her to learn Mandarin Chinese, Bamvele, Fulfulde, Swahili, Kirundi, Burmese—and her newest language, SQL coding. Eventually, she’d love to get back into the feld. She hopes the combination of her foreign languages and newly developed data science skills will lead her to a long life of working in international development agencies in D.C. and abroad. Sarah says she spends most of her time trying to conquer new languages and building up her savings and vacation days so she can travel to new places. She also enjoys playing on a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV) community softball team, learning guitar, and taking advantage of all the fun, free events that happen every day in Washington. She says Mercyhurst provided the foundation on which she has continued to build and she’s grateful for “the friends I made, experiences I had, and the classes that exposed me to new perspectives and challenges.” Best memories? Her study-abroad term in Aix-en-Provence, France; her 2005 alternative spring break trip with Habitat for Humanity (“a great group of people working together for social good”); and her service as a Mercyhurst Ambassador, sharing her passion and love for Mercyhurst.


PATRICK D. LYNCH ’07M Patrick Lynch’s master’s degree in Applied Intelligence has propelled him to the front lines of the efort to improve the security of nuclear power programs around the world.

began in 1992, Pat was part of the frst cohort once a full-fedged master’s program was launched. He says the “applied” part of the title is what made it valuable to him.

During Professor Kris Wheaton’s class in Advanced Analytical Techniques, Pat became fascinated by what analysts could learn from commercial satellite imagery. Hired by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as soon as he fnished his coursework, he spent a year in Vienna, Austria, using satellite data to monitor nuclear programs. He then moved to the IAEA’s Nuclear Power and Engineering Section. The frst non-nuclear scientist hired by that section, he helped evaluate potential nuclear power programs—using open source data to review everything from political and fnancial stability to power grid connectivity. Returning to the States in 2009, he joined the Global Security Directorate at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where he’s responsible for a $12 million portfolio of U.S. State Department programs that help technical staf, academic leaders and governments around the world improve the safety and security of Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) facilities. He focuses particularly on the human element, ensuring that individuals with access to sensitive information and materials aren’t vulnerable to being exploited, reducing the risk of insider threat. He’s currently working with about a dozen nations and spends much of his time traveling.

He points, in particular, to the 10 weeks he and his classmates spent identifying trends in criminal activity and policing within the European Union. The research was commissioned by European Parliament member Bill Newton Dunn, who few to America to be briefed on what they found. “I’d never had the opportunity to supply something tangible to a decision-maker in a classroom setting,” he recalls. “After that I was prepared on my frst job to provide whatever my management would ask of me.” He says Mercyhurst also provided invaluable training in writing and presenting for decision-makers. “This Mercyhurst program has a tremendous reputation in Washington and other areas,” Pat notes. He himself has been a powerful ambassador for Mercyhurst, bringing Mercyhurst students to ORNL for internships and briefngs, and encouraging his coworkers to pursue online intelligence certifcates. Pat and his wife, Mary, live in Knoxville, Tennessee, with their daughters, Autumn and Nora. His mom, Mary Lee McGraw Lynch is a 1970 graduate, and his uncle, Joseph McGraw, graduated in 1985.

Though the Research/Intelligence Analyst Program (RIAP) at Mercyhurst

RYAN KERR ’10 With no immediate job prospects after graduation, Strategic Communication major Ryan Kerr took the proceeds from a summer spent waiting tables and jumped on a MegaBus to New York City. The gamble paid of big time. “Since moving here, I have done everything from selling T-shirts at Mamma Mia to being an Upper East Side nanny,” he laughs. But he soon got his foot in the door with a temp job at Forbes Media, which led to a full-time job managing conferences and events for the global media giant. “I’ve been pretty fortunate to see the country and meet many inspiring people along the way.” Today, as conference manager for The New York Times , his work focuses on “Live Journalism,” conferences that bring Times journalists together on stage with decision-makers in a given feld. There’s a live audience, but the presentations are also streamed online and covered in print editions. In July, he organized a “Cities for Tomorrow” conference in New York, inviting government ofcials, architects and others to discuss how cities are dealing with today’s pressing issues. The conference featured a screening of the documentary Citizen Jane: Battle for the City , a chronicle of activist Jane Jacobs’ fght to

save historic New York City from ruthless redevelopment in the 1960s, and a talkback session with director Matt Tyranuer. Other panels discussed what

cuts in federal funding could mean for nonprofts; the current heroin epidemic; and how food halls can help revive city neighborhoods. In May, college presidents, provosts, deans and chancellors took part in the Higher Ed Leaders Forum, and earlier he headed to the West Coast for “Get with the Times,” an efort to connect with college students and show them how to use their political voices, featuring an interview and performance by Hamilton’s Leslie Odom Jr. on the UCLA campus. “The purpose of these events is to engage in a new and exciting way in a time where factual news and action couldn’t be more important,” Ryan says. He says his well-rounded communication education gives him fexibility to grow and change with his career, adding, “I don’t really have a long-range career goal other than to keep growing and learning. I try to mix things up often and will always gravitate toward doing something new.” Along those lines, he says he tries to explore a diferent city for a long weekend somewhere every couple of weeks.



NICK ROBERTS ’10 Nick Roberts has been drawn to the sciences since his high school days in Tortola, British Virgin Islands. While attending community college there, he zeroed in on a specialty: toxicology. An internet search for schools with good forensic toxicology programs led him almost 1,900 miles north to Mercyhurst, where he majored in Applied Forensic Sciences with a concentration in chemistry/toxicology. Not surprisingly, his favorite course was Instrumental Analysis with Dr. Clint Jones, but he says the Mercyhurst program introduced him to other forensic felds as well. That well-rounded education earned him acceptance to a respected master’s program in forensic toxicology at the University of Glasgow in Scotland. He returned briefy to the Virgin Islands after earning that degree and taught physics and chemistry at the community college, all the while searching for a job that would get him back into the laboratory. He found it as a forensic scientist with the Massachusetts State Police Crime Lab, where he tests samples submitted by police departments around the state for the presence of drugs and alcohol. Most of the cases deal with sexual assault, poisonings and driving-under-the- infuence cases, so he’s called frequently as an expert witness in criminal trials. Is his work anything at all like what’s seen on TV? “I honestly don’t watch those TV crime shows,” he says. “But from what I have heard about them – no. Not at all. This is actually one of the frst things you learn in the Intro to Forensics course at Mercyhurst.” Eventually he’d like to manage his own lab, perhaps back in the Virgin Islands once more. Nick’s free time tends to focus on his love for cars, including attending car shows and track events. He’s also working on a car in his garage that he plans to enter in drag racing events.

Brittany McCracken once thought she might follow her dad’s footsteps into a science feld, perhaps pharmacy school. But after completing her Mercyhurst degree in Business Marketing/Chemistry, she turned her full attention to business and never looked back. Today she’s president of FirstLink Research and Analytics, which helps clients explore the potential of new products and technologies they hope to bring to market. Brittany enrolled in the MBA program at Penn State Behrend right after graduation. Exempt from many classes because of the courses she’d completed at Mercyhurst, she fnished in just a year. She enjoyed a co-op assignment with General Electric in international feet program management, acting as liaison between international customers and GE engineers. Once she had her degree, the economy was in a tailspin and jobs weren’t easy to come by. But she soon landed a position as a market research analyst with FirstLink in Pittsburgh. She became a team leader within months, and general manager just a year later. For several years, she and boyfriend Jay Shafer had a long-distance romance. When they became engaged in 2012 and decided to settle near Jay’s job in Erie, she fgured she’d have to look for a new position. Instead, FirstLink’s owners named her president and encouraged her to move the operation to Erie. Today she oversees a staf of about 10 people, mostly analysts located in Erie, including two graduates of Intelligence Studies programs at Mercyhurst. They provide business case analysis and competitive landscape analysis to clients, primarily so far to the U.S. Departments of Defense and Homeland Security. Before leaving Pittsburgh, Brittany completed the Entrepreneurial Fellowship Program at Pitt. “I already had an MBA when I entered the program,” she explains. “However, the Entrepreneurial Fellowship Program took the MBA-type concepts that are relevant to the large corporate world and made them more applicable for rapid, entrepreneurial growth settings.” That certainly describes her company, which has been adding about one new person a year and showing revenue growth in the low double digits for several years. Going forward she hopes to diversify the company’s service oferings and client base to work more with universities, medical research centers and others in the private sector. “I love the fexibility I have to drive the strategy of this company,” she says, “but there are also downsides, things I’ve had to give up along the way – like free time!” She and Jay have a bichon frise named Zoey, and she has a passion for cooking and wines.


ADAM OLSZEWSKI, M.D. ’10 Adam Olszewski chose Mercyhurst for his Pre-Med studies because he thought a small school with a liberal arts orientation would best prepare him for a future medical career. The best part, he says, was that classes were relatively small, all were taught by actual professors, and those teachers were always accessible and approachable. For example, he wanted to get involved in research. “It was as easy as asking my advisor, Dr. (David) Hyland, to point me toward someone who was doing research,” he says. Hyland put him in touch with Dr. Steve Mauro and soon Adam was sampling Lake Erie waters to help with Mauro’s research on E. coli bacteria. Their work led to a paper that was published during his sophomore year, as well as an Environmental Protection Agency grant to continue the project. The prestigious grant, targeted to smaller universities without large research budgets, came with a scholarship and stipend for Adam. He spent his frst year after Mercyhurst in a pre-master’s program at Philadelphia’s Drexel University, sort of a primer for med school. The following year he entered Thomas Jeferson University Medical School, earning his M.D. in 2015.

he landed a second-year spot in the neurosurgery residency at Vermont Medical Center. He’s about a third of the way through the seven-year program now.

Though his preferences for a specialty are still evolving, he’s leaning toward skull base surgery, a

minimally invasive surgical technique for evaluating, diagnosing and treating benign or cancerous growths located on the underside of the brain, the base of the skull and the upper vertebrae of the spinal column. He says he can picture himself pursuing a fellowship after that and eventually teaching at an academic neurosurgery center. In May, Adam proposed to fellow Hurst alum Haley Bradstreet atop the Liberty One building in Philadelphia; they’re planning an October 2018 wedding in Vermont, an area they’ve both grown to love. They especially enjoy snowboarding, hiking and paddleboarding on Lake Champlain. A 2012 dance graduate, Haley has an administrative day job with the neuroscience grad program at Vermont, but she also teaches dance at four studios in the area and recently became involved with a start-up dance company.

After completing a yearlong general surgery internship at Jeferson,

ANDREA HASHIM HANSEN ’04 Andrea Hashim Hansen is using both her Dance major and her Political Science minor these days as founder and executive director of Kern Dance Alliance, a nonproft advocacy organization that promotes dance and the arts in her hometown of Bakersfeld, California. Her long-range goal is to build a vibrant and fourishing arts scene in central California’s Kern County, where just 10 arts organizations now serve close to 1 million residents. She says her next project will be implementing a bachelor’s degree program in dance at the Bakersfeld campus of California State University. Some might fnd her combination of academic programs at Mercyhurst odd, but she says it was one of the best academic choices she ever made. “The arts and politics often go hand in hand,” she notes. “Through my political science courses, I learned how to write persuasively, navigate political channels, write grants, and garner the confdence to speak to large crowds about my interests and passions.” A profle of the Mercyhurst dance program in Dance Teacher magazine frst put Mercyhurst on Andrea’s radar. The brutally cold temperatures that greeted her on her frst visit to Erie proved quite a shock to the California native, but Mercyhurst ofered a warm welcome. “The endless hours I spent in the danceSpace and the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center are some of my fondest memories,” she says. During her time here, she also did a summer internship with Ballet Concerto in Fort Worth, Texas; got professional performing experience during two seasons with Lake Erie Ballet; and taught open classes for non-majors.

She headed to grad school at the University of Arizona after graduation, intending to become a college professor. She’s done some college teaching, including directing the dance department at Glendale Community College and teaching online dance humanities courses (including some for Mercyhurst). Today she’s focusing on Kern Dance Alliance and serving as vice president of the Fox Theater Foundation in Bakersfeld, but her most important role is as mom to Alexander (who’s about 2) and Hannah (four months). She and husband Michael Hansen are celebrating their fourth anniversary this fall. Andrea says she maintains relationships with many of her professors from Mercyhurst, noting that her dance teachers are still an excellent source of support and that her roommates and fellow dance majors remain her closest friends to this day. “We are all scattered across the country, but when we see each other it’s like we are living in Egan Hall all over again!” 11

MERCYHURST’S ‘FIRST LADY OF THE ARTS’ Sister Angelica Cummings found two vocations when she joined the Sisters of Mercy in 1922. founded its fne arts department. She would remain at its helm for nearly 50 years.

and launched Mercyhurst’s Junior Year Abroad program in Florence, Italy, she remarked, “I like to see a painting take form, coming to life from blank canvas, but at the same time I think I am primarily a teacher; there is something to taking a student and seeing her blossom in front of you.” Sister Eustace Taylor, the longtime English professor and former Mercyhurst president who was a close friend, noted, “For those who knew her well, Sister M. Angelica’s religious life and her career as an artist blended happily. No matter what the subject of her painting, it spoke clearly of beauty, truth and goodness.”

While guiding hundreds of art majors during those years, she never stopped creating her own art, a body of work that earned her recognition across the country and even in Europe. She strongly believed that art professors should also be artists. When it came time to design the art facilities in Zurn Hall, she ensured that faculty ofces could double as studios, large spaces with lighting from the north and west—and their own sinks. Sister Angelica clearly loved being both artist and teacher. In 1974, shortly after she stepped away from the department she had created

With the opening of Mercyhurst College just four years in the future, Mother Borgia Egan was already beginning to assemble her pioneer faculty. The young nun had taken secretarial courses in high school and was doing ofce work in Washington, D.C., when she recognized her calling to religious life. Surprisingly, her aptitude tests detected notable talent in art, so Mother Borgia sent her to the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh to study. When Mercyhurst opened in 1926, Sister Angelica


SISTER ANGELICA EXHIBIT PLANNED FOR SUMMER 2018 In the summer of 2018, works by Sister Angelica will fll the Mercyhurst art gallery that was dedicated in her honor just 12 days before she died in 1984. The gallery, originally on the third foor of Old Main, was then located in Hammermill Library. In 1995, when the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center was developed, a larger Cummings Gallery was created in the new building’s lobby. About a dozen Sister Angelica paintings from Mercyhurst’s permanent art collection now fll an alcove on the frst foor of Old Main. They’ll be included in next summer’s show, but we’d like to include as many of her works as possible. If you’re the lucky owner of an Angelica original that you’d be willing to loan for the duration of the show (May 21-Aug. 10, 2018), please contact Cummings Gallery Director Heather Dana (814-824-2092, ) to make arrangements.

REMEMBERING HIS MENTOR Dan Burke was Mercyhurst’s frst male graduate and he’s now been on the Hurst art faculty for just about as long as Sister Angelica was. He started taking art classes at Mercyhurst in 1966 through a Gannon University co-op program, and graduated soon after coeducation was approved in 1969.

Sister Angelica studied art all her life, refning her techniques at workshops around the country and on trips to Europe. She worked primarily in oils, applied with a palette knife, though she used watercolors to depict New England coastal scenes during a workshop at the Starr School of Painting in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Her subject matter was traditional, a mix of fgures, landscapes and still lifes. Fittingly, she also painted religious works, from a set of 15 paintings illustrating the Mysteries of the Rosary to a depiction of the Last Supper that still hangs in Egan Hall. In the late ‘60s, she began to explore abstract expressionism. Sister Angelica was never educated in abstracts, and she taught only realism to her students, Burke says. “She simply came to the style on her own.” Burke’s favorite Sister Angelica work comes from this period: an oil titled “Storm Clouds.” It perfectly captures the essence of thunderclouds over Lake Erie in a somber palette of ochres, browns, blacks and whites. Burke says Sister Angelica continued painting in a “garret” on Egan’s fourth foor—with its wonderful lake views— through the late ‘70s, before worsening health forced her to move up the hill to the Mercy Motherhouse.

“Sister Angelica was the frst person I met here,” he recalls. She was his teacher, his faculty colleague, and his friend and confdante from his senior year until her death in 1984. “In a selfsh way, I like to think she looked at me as someone who could carry out her legacy,” he says. “She ofered me a job here as soon as I graduated.” Hers are big shoes to fll. What set Sister Angelica apart, Burke believes, is that she was professionally trained, not just in college classrooms but also in art studios around the country. Burke owns several of his mentor’s works, including more than a dozen charcoal fgure drawings from her days at the Art Students League in New York City, one of the best-known art studios in the country. One is dated March 1931. “Can you picture it?” he asks. “This little fve-foot nun in full habit sketching live models?”

Bruce and Rochelle Bavol recently donated a pair of Sister Angelica paintings to Mercyhurst in memory of Bruce’s parents, Doris M. and Michael J. Bavol. Doris Bavol was the niece of Sister Loretta McHale, a former president and professor at Mercyhurst, who received the works from her friend Sister Angelica.


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