Penn State Hazleton holds spring 2018 commencement

Seven smiling graduates in caps and gowns

Penn State Hazleton business graduates prepare for the start of the commencement ceremony.

Credit: Penn State Hazleton

HAZLETON, Pa. — Penn State students received degrees and awards Friday evening, May 4, during Penn State Hazleton's 48th annual commencement ceremony, held in the Dr. Thomas M. Caccese Gymnasium in the Physical Education Building.

Director of Academic Affairs Elizabeth J. Wright presented the candidates to Chancellor Gary M. Lawler who conferred associate, baccalaureate and master’s degrees to students completing programs of study at Penn State Hazleton and other Penn State locations who chose to participate in the graduation ceremony.

Amie Yenser, senior instructor in anatomy and physiology and president of the Penn State Hazleton Faculty Senate, served as the faculty marshal and led the academic processional.

Dixie J. McCoy, president of Student Government Association and baccalaureate degree recipient, offered remarks to her fellow graduates.

Gordon L. Bigelow, president of the Penn State Hazleton Council, extended greetings and congratulations from the campus advisory board.

Rocco Formica Jr., president of the Greater Hazleton Chapter of the Penn State Alumni Association, inducted the new graduates into the Penn State Alumni Association.

Commencement speaker
Delivering the commencement address was Assistant Professor of Biology Carl S. Frankel, who has been an integral part of the Penn State Hazleton campus and area community since 1974. He is the longest-serving faculty member in campus history and will retire at the end of this semester after teaching courses in biology, human genetics, biochemistry, physiology and more.

He instituted many new laboratory studies as part of science courses at Penn State Hazleton and helped to develop a successful model of team teaching, first with Assistant Professor Emeritus of Biology David Orbin for about 30 years and most recently with Associate Professor of Biology Christopher Goguen.

Outside of the classroom and laboratory, Frankel has worked with many student groups as an adviser, including the Discussion Club, Biology Club, Outdoors Club and Allies, and directed plays at the campus for several years. He is also a long-standing adviser to students performing undergraduate research and participating in the annual Undergraduate Research Fair, along with serving as a judge for the research and STEM fairs.

“Graduation is a big experience in students’ lives and such a milestone for them. I always enjoy supporting student activities and I am honored to have the opportunity to be this year’s speaker,” said Frankel, who attends and helps plan many student activities throughout the year.

Frankel initiated the popular summer “Critter Camp” at the campus to share his love of nature with elementary school students. During the camp, students explore the outdoors and use the laboratories at the campus to find and learn about a variety of creatures and plants.

He is passionate about the outdoors, sustainability, outdoor recreation and art. He is active in the Greater Hazleton community as a member of six local organizations: the Hazleton Art League, Greater Hazleton Rails to Trails, Friends of the Nescopeck, Beth Israel Temple, the Greater Hazleton Concert Series and the Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress. Frankel has volunteered for about 30 years with the art league, where he serves as co-president and developed the Art Youth Expo (now in its eighth year), which provides local youth with the opportunity to display their talents and win prizes.

Frankel holds a bachelor’s degree in genetics from McGill University in Montreal and a doctorate in genetics from Michigan State University.

Degrees conferred

Associate degrees
Associate in Science in Business: John Ndikwiki, Tamaqua.

Associate in Science in Information Sciences and Technology: Dury Martin Jr., Sugarloaf.

Associate in Science in Medical Laboratory Technology: Krystina Banks, Nuremburg; Colin Biglin, Moscow; Olivia Kassandra Huk, Kingston; Kaitlyn Nystrand, Bangor; and Hetal Patel, Scranton.

Associate in Science in Physical Therapist Assistant: Katlynn Balser, Zion Grove; Nicole Barnes, Susquehanna; Deanna Clarkin, Albrightsville; Melissa Clugston, Philadelphia; Janelle Crites, Hanover; Chad Dubosky, Summit Hill; Thaddeus Dziedzic, Wyoming; Breann Fetterman, Mountain Top; Erika Fisher, Bloomsburg; Daniel Gaughan, Courtdale; Ariane Hilborn, Nazareth; Jena Koppenhaver, Myerstown; Nicole Krzywicki, Wilkes-Barre; Luis A. Luna, Allentown; Julie Maroni, Pittston; Meghan McGlynn, Drums; Brody McGlaughlin, McClure; Matthew Meadows, Beaver Meadows; Saige Miller, Lehighton; Jade M. Mingle, Hughesville; Ashley Neas, Upper Black Eddy; Heather Ney, Berwick; Katelyn Oldziejewski, Wilkes-Barre; Krishna Patel, Voorhees, NJ; Taylor Pavlick, Shavertown; Candice Purnell, Mountain Top; Lara Ringgold, Odenton, MD; Lori Rockey, Danville; Kenneth S. Rossi Jr., Pottsville; Liberato Sperrazza, Exeter; Gerald J. Vitale Jr., Mountain Top; John Walton, Conyngham; Andrea Webber, Auburn; Sierra Werley, Hamburg; and Olivia Witmer, Strasburg.

Baccalaureate degrees
Bachelor of Arts in Administration of Justice: Johnathan Kenny, Lehighton.

Bachelor of Arts in Corporate Communication: Kristen Karmonick, Hazleton; and Halle Orlove, Nanticoke.

Bachelor of Arts in Letters, Arts, and Sciences: Cora Emmet-Fleury, Norristown; Haley Filbert, Drums; Dixie J. McCoy, Watsontown; and Michael Principe Jr., Lake Harmony.

Bachelor of Arts in Psychology: Glenn Blessington, Lords Valley; Alyssa Buck, Wapwallopen; Thirza Buell, Albrightsville; Briana Chapman, Kulpmont; Taylor Kozie, Frackville; Kimberly Miller, Hazleton; and Jeremy Nenstiel, Sugarloaf.

Bachelor of Science in Engineering - Alternative Energy and Power Generation from the College of Engineering: Steven Michael Baksa, Hazleton; David Bonczek, Mountain Top; Derek Geake, Wind Gap; Albert J. Kauker, Lehighton; Daniel A. Lanphear, Moosic; Maria Magabo, Hazleton; and Raiana Nichols, Waynesboro.

Bachelor of Science in Administration of Justice: Paul Figas, Sugarloaf; Alec Ryne Haines, Bloomsburg; Ryan Johnson, Drexel Hill; Matthew John Manbeck, Girardville; Mitchell O’Donnell, Drums; Benjamin T. Pasukinis, Benton; Alexander Rankovich, Lehighton; and Michael Ace Saleeba Jr., Drums.

Bachelor of Science in Business: Louis Alexander Duncan, Sugarloaf; Richard Edward Facyson Jr., East Stroudsburg; Katherine Ferrer, Drums; Ryan Hanrahan, Clifton Heights; Ian Hornick, Drums; Victor Luna, Hazleton; Paulo Roque, West Hazleton; Cody Ryba, McAdoo; Paige Steigerwalt, Lehighton; and Gary Young, San Diego, CA.

Bachelor of Science in Information Sciences and Technology: Joseph Cuono, Mountain Top; Jonathan R. Fogarty, Hazleton; Terry Helmer, Beaver Meadows; Marielle Lithgow, Hazleton; Corey Travelpiece, Nescopeck; Arabelle Williams, White Haven; and Gabriel Ynoa, West Hazleton.

Bachelor of Science in Psychology: Sean Giedosh, Hazleton; Alyssa Hyduk, Drums; and Christian Rutkoski, Nesquehoning.

Bachelor of Science in Rehabilitation and Human Services: Paige Baker, Ringtow; Rebeca Chiesa, Effort; Briona Deeter, Ashland; Jordan Devitt, Nesquehoning; Francheska Diaz, Hazle Township; Gabrielle Freed, Tamaqua; Samantha Koch, Tamaqua; Zachary Kovaleski, Richmondale; Emily Kramer, Ashland; Nicole Orth, Hazle Township; Rachel Marshall, Roaring Branch; Yessica Polanco, Hazleton; Yelisa Rodriguez, Hazleton; and Kristina Schreck, Catawissa.

Bachelor of Science in Science: Alec Niemiec, Wilkes-Barre.
Master of Education in Higher Education: Patrice Marie Lombard, Drums.

Graduation with Honors
Students who are in the top 12 percent of their graduating class in their college and who have completed the required number of credits at the University receive special recognition. The 12 percent is divided into 2 percent “summa cum laude”; 4 percent “magna cum laude”; and 6 percent “cum laude.”

Graduating “summa cum laude” were: Steven Michael Baksa, Hazleton; Maria Magabo, Hazleton; and Paige Steigerwalt, Lehighton.

Graduating “magna cum laude” were: Glenn Blessington, Lords Valley; Janelle Crites, Hanover; Louis Alexander Duncan, Sugarloaf; and Sierra Werley, Hamburg.

Graduating “cum laude” were: Krystina Banks, Nuremburg; Chad Dubosky, Summit Hill; Jonathan R. Fogarty, Hazleton; Derek Geake, Wind Gap; Alyssa Hyduk, Drums; Samantha Koch, Tamaqua; Nicole Kryzwicki, Wilkes-Barre; Heather Ney, Berwick; Saige Miller, Lehighton; and Benjamin T. Pasukinis, Benton.

Frank C. Kostos Awards
Dinesh “Dan” Patel, assistant professor of chemistry, announced the Frank C. Kostos Award recipients who achieved the highest grade-point averages in their respective degree programs: 

— Leah Searfoss, an animal science major with a business management option from White Haven, received the honor for the full-time sophomore enrolled in a Penn State degree program.

— Steven Michael Baksa, Hazleton, who earned a bachelor of science degree in engineering during the ceremony, was honored as the graduate earning the highest grade-point average in a Penn State Hazleton baccalaureate degree program.

— Krystina Banks, Nuremburg, who earned an associate degree in medical laboratory technology, was recognized for the highest grade-point average of a graduate in a Penn State Hazleton associate degree program.