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.
Mike Thomas - Atlanta, GA - CINEMA, TV, and MEDIA PRODUCTION - Class of 1987
Kutztown University prepared me by having great instructors but most importantly, giving me the hands on experience early on in my days in the program. Not only did it prepare to work in the field of Broadcast television, but it also prepared me to continue to keep up with this ever changing industry. I wouldn't be where I am today without the skills I learned at Kutztown University.
Justin Ramos - Washington D.C. - POLITICAL SCIENCE - Class of 2022
KU gave me the outlet to not only network with such amazing people, but it gave me the opportunity to grow into who I wanted to be and because of that I have been able to make it exactly where I wanted in my career. I look forward to paying it back by helping future KU students in any way possible.
Eric Wilson - Los Angeles, CA - CINEMA, TV, AND MEDIA PRODUCTION - Class of 2012
The organizations that I was a part of at KU gave me the freedom and experience to take risks, manage groups, and try new ideas. The faculty and staff encouraged me, and some are even the reason I found a job in LA to begin with! (shout out to Prof. Cotellese)
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.