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Press Release
May 27, 2009

Liz Izenas                    Juley A. Alford
724-983-2906                  724-983-2905      

Penn State Shenango Students and Faculty are Honored at Banquet

Sharon, PA—On May 1, Penn State Shenango held its annual 2009 Honors Convocation
and Recognition Banquet to honor and give recognition to its finest students, faculty, and
staff. This event recognizes the outstanding achievements and services of many
individuals, clubs, and organizations.

The presenters at the ceremony included Stephanie Chastain, associate director of Student
Affairs, several faculty and staff who had served as club advisors or taught honor classes
throughout the year, Dr. Fred Leeds, chancellor, Dr. Ira Saltz, director of Academic
Affairs, and Dr. Philip Nash, associate professor of history.

The following students received this year’s President’s Freshman Award from Penn
State Shenango for receiving a 4.0 grade-point-average in the first semester of full- time
study: Ashley Bacich of Sharpsville, Holly Beck of Greenville, Carl Frank of Sharon,
Barbara Higgins of Brookfield, OH, Amanda Querio of Hermitage, Sara Sutton of
Masury, OH, and Leah Vuich of Hermitage.

The President’s Sparks Award, presented annually to those sophomore undergraduate
degree candidates who earned a 4.0 cumulative grade-point-average based on at least 36
Penn State credits completed by the end of the fall semester of the academic year the
award is given, was presented to Steven Mitchell of Hadley and John Shelby of West

The Robe rt Weber Mathe matics Award, presented annually to the most promising
Shenango campus mathematics student, was presented to Richard Love of Warren, OH.
The Robert Weber Mathematics Award honors the late Robert Weber who taught
mathematics at the Shenango campus.

The Robe rt Weber Scholars hip, traditionally awarded to the highest ranking,
continuing, full-time mathematics student, was presented to Peter Paoletta of Sharon.

This year’s Ame rican Chemistry Society Award was presented to both Ryan Albert of
Hermitage and Mayonta Jefferson of Farrell.

Dr. Saltz presented the Acade mic Achievement Awards, which are given to those
students in each college or degree program who have achieved the best cumulative grade-
point averages during the academic year. Priority is given to students who have been in
their major for three semesters. These recipients included, beginning with baccalaureate
seeking students, Martin Pitzer of New Castle-Agriculture; Danielle Curtin of Greenville-
Business Administration at Shenango (FT); Teresa Decker of Grove City-Business
Administration at Shenango (PT); Natalie Burich of Sharpsville-Communication
Sciences and Disorders; Kristin Delmonaco of Hermitage-Division of Undergraduate
Studies; Jonathan Martin of Hermitage-Engineering; Michelle Bellucci of Hermitage-
Health & Human Development; James Jackson of Hermitage-Human Development &
Family Studies (FT); Larry McNeish of Mercer-Human Development & Family Studies
(PT); Michelle Miller of New Castle-Humanities and Social Sciences; Steven Mitchell of
Hadley-Information Sciences & Technology; Nicole Odem of Sharon-Liberal Arts;
Elisabeth Desilva of Greenville-Letters, Arts and Sciences at Shenango; Kelley Younkins
of Warren, OH-Nursing at Shenango (PT); and Brian Burnham of Leavittsburg, OH-

Those students seeking associate degrees who were chosen for this year’s Academic
Achievement Awards included Brittany Bates of Stoneboro-Business Administration;
Jannitta Sellers of Sharon-Human Development and Family Studies (FT); Lisa Michael
of Hermitage-Human Development and Family Studies (PT); Debra Williams of Farrell-
Information Science Technology; Nicholas Koukis of Sharpsville-Letters, Arts and
Sciences (FT); Linda McGrath of Warren, OH-Letters, Arts and Sciences (PT); Andrew
Marburger of Atlantic-Mechanical Engineering Technology; and Donald Gearhart of
Transfer-Physical Therapist Assistant.

The following students were recognized for their high academic achievement with
cumulative grade-point-averages of 3.8 and above. They included Amber McConahy of
Girard, OH-3.99; Barbara Allison of Greenville-3.99; Robyn Bennington of Mercer-3.98;
Deanna Straniak of Greenville-3.98; Kristin Blakesley of Mercer-3.95; Candace
Strautnieks of Mercer-3.86; Elaina Richards of Sharon-3.95; Darla Anselmi of
Hermitage-3.94; Jennifer O’Rourke of Sharpsville-3.93; Shelley Sacik of Mercer-3.91;
Jean Morocco of Farrell-3.92; Aric Renzo of Mercer-3.92; Gary Gault of Greenville-
3.89; Richard Hanna of New Castle-3.84; Lisa Hoodin of Sharpsville-3.91; Rachel
Dickey of Hermitage-3.86; Melissa Krepps of Masury, OH-3.87; Annette Williams-
Bishop of Girard, OH-3.87; Ryan Albert of Hermitage-3.83; Ashley Delfratte of
Hermitage-3.84; Charity Gramsky of Masury, OH-3.83; and Michelle Manilla of

Also acknowledged were the 22 Shenango campus students who were nominated for,
“Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges.” Those nominated
received their award certificates during the evening’s program including Maria Ashby of
Sharon, Nicole Clawson of Jamestown, Rico Cruz of Hermitage, Greg Curtin of

Greenville, Thomas Dean of Farrell, Shelly Findley of Sharpsville, Amber Hoover of
Mercer, Buffi Kennedy of Sharon, Sara Liska of Hermitage, Allison Marzano of West
Middlesex, Linda McGrath of Warren, OH, Scott McKinley of Greenville, Michelle
Miller of New Castle, Brittany Rhodabarger of Mineral Ridge, OH, Lana Ruffo of
Sharpsville, Laura Sanders of Sharon, Debra Sernik of Greenville, Lindsey Sherrod of
New Castle, Amanda Stumpf of Niles, OH, Teresa Vamosi of Sharpsville, Holly Vuich
of Hermitage, and Rosanna Weaver of New Castle.

This year’s prestigious Eric and Josephine Walker Award was presented to Buffi
Kennedy of Sharon. The award recognizes University campus students whose
outstanding qualities of character, scholarship, leadership, and citizenship have been
directed into programs and services that have positively influenced fellow students and
have contributed to the prestige and well-being of their campus.

As a non-traditional student, Kennedy has served Penn State Shenango as a leader and
student representative. Since the fall of 2007, she has served as an orientation leader,
Student Government Association president and was the dance support person for Thon.
As a result of her presidency of the SGA, she served on the Penn State Shenango
Advisory Board, the McDowell Committee, the Shenango Faculty Senate, the Student
Technology Fee Committee, and the Student Activity Fee Committee.

In Kennedy’s pursuit of high academic standards, she has become a member of the Phi
Theta Kappa Society and has been awarded many scholarships, including the Paul and
Eleanor Chadderton Scholarship and the Osher Reentry Scholarship. At the end of this
year’s spring semester, she graduated from Penn State Shenango with a bachelor of
science degree in business. She is the daughter of Donald and Marilyn Carroll of
Florence, Oregon, and the proud mother of Airron, Hunter and Gennaveve Kennedy.

Her nominator had this to say about her, “During her tenure at Penn State Shenango,
Buffi Kennedy has not only been an outstanding student in the classroom, she has also
been an outstanding student on campus and in the community. I can state, without a
doubt, that her presence this year has increased student engagement, has aided students
individually and campus wide, and has made my job much easier.”

This year’s recipient of the Outstanding Adult Student Award was Cecily Garner of
Farrell. The Outstanding Adult Student Award recognizes a student over the age of 21
who has completed at least 36 credits and who is distinguished by scholarship, service
and success in coping with numerous roles and overcoming difficult circumstances in the
pursuit of education.

Garner, who was born in 1973, is the mother of two young boys. She has achieved a lot
during her three and half years at Penn State Shenango while balancing school, work, and
a home. She is a preschool Sunday school teacher and the children’s choir director at the
Hour of Power Full Gospel Tabernacle in Farrell. Garner’s hard work can be seen in
action as a part-time Salvation Army Thrift Store cashier or her work in the Student

Affairs O ffice, where she puts in twenty hours a week while completing her internship
for Career Services.

Currently, Garner is working toward her bachelor of science degree in business
administration, with a marketing and management option. She is slated to graduate this
coming fall. After graduation, Garner hopes to aide minorities and others in advancing
their goals and plans. She is also diligently working on writing her first amateur novel.

This year’s Ann Wansack Award was presented to Shelly Findley of Sharpsville. The
Wansack Award was made in the memory of Ann “Mom” Wansack who was an
employee at Penn State Shenango and devoted friend to the students of the Shenango
campus. The purpose of this award is to honor and recognize full- time students enrolled
at Penn State Shenango who are actively involved, through leadership or participation, in
the betterment of the campus.

Before attending Penn State Shenango, Findley graduated from the Shenango Valley
School of Business and worked for Penn Northwest Development Corporation, Shenango
Valley Chamber of Commerce Coil Coating, and Lewis and Ristvey, Attorneys at Law.

As a Shenango student, Findley has held numerous positions. More specifically, she was
treasurer of the PTA Club and a member of the Student Activity Fee Committee.
Currently, she is the Student Government Association (SGA) Treasurer, a two year
student orientation leader, and a member of the SGA Nominating Committee. She is a
twenty-year veteran Sunday school teacher, a leader in the church youth department, and
was involved in the conception of an Upward Soccer program which is now in its fourth
year. As part of her required business internship, she worked with the First Assembly of
God Church to create a daycare program.

Findley’s nominator had this to say of her, “….I have worked very closely with Shelly as
her SGA advisor, and I cannot say enough about how much time and effort she has gone
to above and beyond what would normally be expected of a student officer.”

Findley graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration this past spring.
She lives in Sharpsville with her husband, Craig, and their two children, Brittany, who
also attends Penn State Shenango, and Nathaniel, who attends Sharpsville Middle School.

This year’s Honors Program students were Erin Auld of Brookfield, OH, Lois Barlow of
Sharon (certificate), Kristi Barwell of Wheatland, Brittany Bates of Stonboro
(certificate), Kristin Blakesley of Mercer, Brian Burnham of Leavittsburg, Erin Champ of
Fowler, OH, Anne Churchman of Sharon, Dana Crocker of Sharon (certificate), Shannon
Davis of Greenville, Dorothy Dean of New Castle, Koann Eicher of Sharon (certificate),
Jennifer Flaherty of Clark, Cyndi Gajarsky of Brookfield, OH, Cecily Garner of Farrell,
David Gunia of Canfield, OH, Renea Ingram of Sharpsville, Tara Kennedy of New
Castle, David Killmeyer of New Castle, Melissa Krepps of Masury, OH, Michelle Leax
of Greenville, Blair Legg of Sharon, Richard Love of Warren, OH, Kristy Martell of
Hermitage, Allison Marzano of West Middlesex, Natalie McClure of Jamestown, Amber

McConahy of Girard, OH (certificate), Heather McFeaters of Sharon, Justin Meier of
Sharon, Leigh Ann Mike of Sharon, Steven Mitchell of Hadley, Christina Poschner of
Canfield, OH, Karen Protiva of West Farmington, OH, Aric Renzo of Mercer, Elaina
Richards of Sharon, Stephanie Samolis of Clark, Melissa Schuller of West Middlesex,
Tracy Snyder of Hermitage, Ross Stouffer of Mercer, Candace Strautnieks of Mercer,
Wendi Swartz of Greenville, Holly Vuich of Hermitage, Jakub Waksmundzki of South
West Warren, OH, and Debra Williams of Farrell (certificate).

As part of the 2009 Honors Convocation and Recognition Banquet, the Student Affairs
Most Outstanding awards were presented. These awards, which recognize leadership and
exceptional character, were awarded to Michelle Miller of New Castle for Most
Outstanding /Valuable Club Member (HDFS Club president and SGA sophomore
senator); Gail Mancuso of Sharpsville for Most Outstanding Club Advisor (Shenango
Women’s Commission organization); Vickie Davis of Sharon for Most Outstanding Staff
Member; and the Human Development and Family Studies Club for Most Outstanding
Club on campus (advisors Claudia Brown and Dr. William McGuigan).


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