Penn State Hazleton celebrates graduates at 53rd annual commencement

Female students in caps and graduation gowns smiling outdoors.

Penn State Hazleton celebrated graduates at its 53rd annual commencement ceremony on Friday, May 5.

Credit: Dekka Studios

HAZLETON, Pa. — Penn State Hazleton conferred degrees to its class of 2023 during its 53rd annual commencement ceremony on Friday, May 5. 

Joined by their families friends, and members of the faculty and staff, graduates gathered in the Dr. Thomas M. Caccese Gymnasium to walk across the stage and receive their degrees. 

Chancellor Elizabeth J. Wright applauded students, many of whom saw their college experience impacted by COVID-19, for their perseverance and commitment to learning. 

“You wouldn’t be here tonight had you not decided to continue your education in the midst of a pandemic,” Wright said. “And to do so, to figure out how to learn remotely, took tremendous courage. And at the same time, you reminded each of us about the power of education.” 

Commencement speaker Jennifer Malaga, a campus alumna and Penn State graduate who serves as a student success coach at Penn State Hazleton, shared her story of immigrating to the United States with her family in 2007. She told students that she was able to overcome challenges she faced as a student, including struggles learning to speak English, through the support of her family and members of the Penn State community. 

“Something that you always should keep in mind is that not everyone’s path will look the same. Some are a straight line, some are a zigzag line, some even might be parallel lines, like mine,” Malaga said. “As long as you are working hard to achieve your goals and dreams, keep at it.” 

Class of 2023 graduates and their degrees conferred were:  

Associate in arts in multidisciplinary studies: Phillip James Crabb, Dulles, Virginia. 

Associate in science in business administration: Natasha Liz Feliciano, Cainovas, Peru; and Jeny Rivera, Las Piedras, Peru. 

Associate in science in medical laboratory technology: Alyssia Bailey, Hazleton; Nicholas Killian Coit, Jim Thorpe; Dylan W. Everhart, Bloomsburg; Zachary D. Kreis, Catawissa; Elizabeth Sterowski, Mountain Top; and Brendan Varela-Keen, Lancaster. 

Associate in science in physical therapist assistant: Halle Madeline Cox, Elysburg; Breann Lynnette Darkins, Willis, Michigan; Meghan Riley Darrough, Drums; Macrina Lynady Demko, Berwick; Madison Entz, Williamsport; Yvanka Figueroa Ortiz, Shenandoah; Linsey Renee Fisk, Millville; Shawn Edward Houser, Shenandoah; Corey Michael Klinger, Berwick; Aniuska Montano Morejon, Drums; and Raven Steele Van Gogh, Landisville. 

Bachelor of arts in administration of justice: James Christian Conza, Bushkill. 

Bachelor of arts in corporate communication: Garrett Walter Engler, Nescopek; Kiera Elizabeth Hinkle, Mountain Top; Mark J. Kokinda, Lansford; Faith Christina Letcher, Hazle Township; Jewel Newbern, Philadelphia; and Jordan Joan Woitko, Hazle Township. 

Bachelor of arts in criminal justice: Jayla Abrianna Irvin, Bethlehem. 

Bachelor of arts in psychology: Christie Marie Arias Rivera, West Hazleton; Kayleigh Bellido, Berwick; Kahlan Ciardullo, Brownstown; Savannah Ariana Cothron, Summit Hill; and Tiffani Alexis Sabolchick, Hazle Township. 

Bachelor of science in middle level education: Bethany Gavlick, Hazleton. 

Bachelor of science in engineering: Paul R. Kramer, Kunkletown; Sidney Roberta Pryzbylski; and Logan Jonathan Yaletchko, Nottingham. 

Bachelor of science in biology: Ashlyn Thuringer, Hazleton. 

Bachelor of science in management: Ricky Montero, Hazle Township. 

Bachelor of science in business: Ashley Amigon, Wilkes-Barre; Franny Marinel Bautista Lopez, Beaver Meadows; Kaitlyn Marie Bolinsky, Bloomsburg; D’dsyrre Najee Khadora Coleman, Stroudsburg; Bryce Andrew Dalpiaz, Liverpool; Ian James Hudock, Beaver Meadows; Aaron G. Kellmer, Hazle Township; Shawn Christian Lindsey, Freeland; Kyle E. Pacheco, Stroudsburg; Angelina Lucia Schianodicola, Hazleton; Kevin Christopher Tanribilir, Berwick; and Ryan Scott Wingerter, Dingmans Ferry. 

Bachelor of science in criminal justice: Jennifer Arevalo Moya, Hazleton; Colton Paul Musolino, Drums; David Leonard Zaleski, Jr.; Ringtown. 

Bachelor of science in health policy and administration: Heather Ann Lorah, Ringtown. 

Bachelor of science in information sciences and technology: Caitlin E. Croke, Mountain Top; Lauren Nicole Gombeda; Hazleton; and Frank Anthony Prisinzano, Albrightsville. 

Bachelor of science in project and supply chain management: Ashley Amigon, Wilkes-Barre; and Kevin Christopher Tanribilir, Berwick. 

Bachelor of science in psychology: Rainy Duran, Oneida; and Depinder Singh, Hazle Township. 

Bachelor of science in rehabilitation and human services: Justine Lisa Bernazeau, Trellisac, France; Vincent Joseph Castrine, Germansville; Jocelyn E. Hafer, Lansford; Tabatha Mary Kanuck, Freeland; Bryan Anthony Kelly, Pittstown, New Jersey; Erick Montero, Hazle Township; Courtney Evelyn Stone, Mountain Top; and Caitlyn Rose Williams, Kingsley. 

Graduation with honors 

Students who are in the top 12% of their graduating class in their college and who have completed the required number of credits at the University receive special recognition. The 12% is divided into: 2% summa cum laude, 4% magna cum laude, and 6% cum laude. 

  • Graduating summa cum laude was Lauren Nicole Gombeda, Hazleton. 
  • Graduating magna cum laude was Elizabeth Sterowski, Mountain Top. 
  • Graduating cum laude were Aniuska Montano Morejon, Drums; and Angelina Lucia Schianodicola, Hazleton. 

Recognition of military service 

Students who have honorably served, are serving, or are commissioned to serve in the U.S. military are awarded a red, white, and blue honor cord in recognition of their duty and sacrifice. The student recognized for military service was: 

Ricky Montero, Hazle Township. 

Frank C. Kostos Award

Winners of the Frank C. Kostos Award achieved the highest grade-point averages in their respective degree programs:  

  • Kevin Lowen, a microbiology major from Jonestown, received the honor for the highest grade-point average in Penn State course work and enrolled in a baccalaureate degree program at the end of their second year. 
  • Lauren Nicole Gombeda, of Hazleton, who earned a bachelor of science in information sciences and technology, was honored as the graduate earning the highest grade-point average in a Penn State Hazleton baccalaureate degree program. 
  • Elizabeth Sterowski, of Mountain Top, who earned an associate in science degree in medical laboratory technology, earned the highest grade-point average for a student in a Penn State Hazleton associate degree program.