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 SRU Alumni Association dinner salutes students, alumni 




April 1, 2009

Contact: K.E. Schwab  



SRU Alumni Association dinner salutes students, alumni 


SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - The Slippery Rock University Alumni Association will honor this year's Outstanding Senior Man and the Outstanding Senior Woman, the 2009 Young Alumni Award Recipients and 18 scholarship recipients at its annual recognition awards banquet Saturday.

            The 5 p.m. event is in the Russell Wright Alumni House and Conference Center.

            The senior woman award will be presented Kathryn George, geology major from Wooster. The senior man award will go to Larry Brink, finance major from Uniontown.

            George was cited as "one of the most motivated students in the geography, geology and the environment department." A nomination noted, "Katie is a dedicated, hard working student who has successfully complete challenging projects for her academic classes. She has good oral communication skills and effectively delivers presentations in class, at student meetings and at professional organization conferences. Katie has the motivation, enthusiasm, ability, leadership skills and natural desire to learn, which will allow her to successfully complete her academic and professional goals."

            As a dean's list student, George participated in geologic and atmospheric field experiences that took her to Puerto Rico, New Mexico and Oregon. Her research work, which extended beyond her required course work, allowed her to participate in a research experience as an undergraduate. Some of her research included both geologic and atmospheric field experiences. 

           She was president of the Sigma Gamma Epsilon, the geoscience honor society, and the Environmental Geosciences Student Club at SRU. She represented SRU at the SGE national meeting and was cited as an important contributor to the rewriting of a portion of the society's constitution. 

           Julie Snow, associate professor in the department, cited George for her work on her research project at Mt. Bachelor Observatory in Oregon, writing, "Katie has been an influential member of my research group due to her strong academic background and diligent work ethnic�much of the success of the expedition belongs to Katie.

           She was also nominated for her work with the EGSC including organization activities for Earth Day speakers, ethnic dinners, educational movie nights and other community service projects.

            Brink, a consistent dean's list student, served two terms as president of the Slippery Rock University Student Government Association and is only the second student from SRU to serve on the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education board of governors. He also serves as president of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Board of Student Government Presidents.

            He was nominated for his self-confidence, leadership and maturity in working with fellow students and the University administration. "Larry has been a very positive role model for his peers in and out of the classroom. His ability to problem-solve and think critically has motivated organizations and classmates with which he interacts. His initiative, determination and integrity make him a strong candidate for the Outstanding Senior Man Award," noted one nomination letter. 

            Brink, a student athlete on the cross-country and track and field teams, was described as a "student leader with the skills to lead, organize and conduct Senate meetings with maturity that allowed for orderly, productive discussion." Nominations noted his work in expanding the shuttle bus service, construction of the new pavilion on the Bailey Library Quad and work in rewriting the SGA Constitution. He also helped formalize rules and polices for Cooperative Activities, oversaw purchase of new trees for campus and presented SGA projects to various University administrators and the Council of Trustees. He served on the task force dealing with construction of SRU's new University Union. "He is a bright, analytical individual. He thoroughly investigates issues and looks at all possible solutions before making a decision," concluded another nomination letter.  

           The alumni association's Young Alumni Award was created in 2005 to recognize alumni from each of SRU's four colleges - Education; Humanities, Fine and Performing Arts; Health and Environmental Science; and Business, Information and Social Sciences. The criteria for the awards are that SRU graduates must have graduated within the past 20 years; demonstrated a commitment to success in his/her chosen career; community service; and service to the University and philanthropy. 

           Award recipients are nominated by fellow SRU alumni, faculty or staff through the Office of Alumni Relations. 

The 2009 recipients are: 

         Mara Kudrick, '98; - College of Business, Information and Social Sciences

         Jacob Right, '04 - College of Health, Environment and Science

         Nichole Campbell, '96 - College of Humanities, Fine and Performing Arts

         Erica Wolfe, '07 - College of Education

           Kudrick received her Bachelor of Arts degree in communication with a minor in Spanish in 1998. An alumni relations professional, Kudrick works for the University of Pittsburgh's Alumni Association as the associate director of membership. Before that, she worked at the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh as a membership associate and the U.S. Daily Export Council as a marketing coordinator.
            Kudrick is a member of the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education and the Council of Alumni Association Marketing and Membership Professionals. Last summer, the University of Pittsburgh hosted the CAMMP Conference and she was instrumental in planning and hosting the event. Kudrick was also instrumental in launching the Pitt Employees Adopt-a-Soldier program in 2008. Her brother, a Navy petty officer has been stationed in Iraq since last summer. The PEAS program is designed not only to send comfort items to American soldiers, but also to connect soldier's friends and relatives with each other as a means of support while away from their loved ones. Within weeks, 220 people signed up, and 147 soldiers and sailors were enrolled, including those serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and Korea.
            Kudrick recently completed her Master of Arts degree in higher education administration at the University of Pittsburgh.
            Right received his Bachelor of Science degree in resort recreation management/tourism with a minor in leadership from SRU in 2004. Right is owner of Pittsburgh Boot Camp LLC, with nine locations around the region and Philly Boot Camp in Philadelphia. The businesses offer four-week, outdoor fitness programs for women that include motivational training and nutritional counseling. 

           An infantry first lieutenant in the Army National Guard, Right recently completed a 12-month deployment in Iraq, where he served as a platoon leader and earned his Combat Infantry Badge and Bronze Star. He is also a certified personal fitness trainer with the International Sports Science Association and a certified outdoor boot camp instructor with National Exercise and Sports Trainers Association.
            Right contributed $25,000 to build an endowment supporting the annual Mr. SRU Bodybuilding and Ms. SRU Figure Champion competitions. His gift will provide cash awards to the competition winners. "I competed in the Mr. SRU competition in 2002; and I know that the preparation for a fitness show is not an easy or cheap one. I hope to encourage more students to participate in the competition. I am passionate about health and fitness, but that passion started at SRU. I am the owner of a successful fitness business and it would be easy for me to make up numerous excuses not to give, but none of them would be any good because I believe that you must give to receive," he said.
            Campbell received her Bachelor of Science degree in English writing in 1996. A public relations professional with more than a decade of experience, Campbell has helped Fortune 500s, technology start-ups, small businesses, educational institutions and non-profits achieve greater awareness in the marketplace for their products, services and organizations. She is a senior public affairs manager for GSP Consulting and oversees the public affairs practice for the 30-person firm. 

           She came to this position after more than six years of operating her own public relations consulting business. She started in public relations at Ketchum Inc., and rose to the post of media relations manager where she was part of the firm's national media relations strategy group. From planning local press conferences to managing national public relations campaigns, Campbell's media relations expertise has led to story placements and appearances for her clients with Time, Newsweek, Fox News, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, CNBC, Good Morning America, National Public Radio, Fox & Friends, Business Week, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Entrepreneur Magazine and many more. 

To gain a better perspective, Campbell worked as a freelance writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and her other writing has been published in local and national publications.
            Because of her professional success and dedication to promoting women in business, she was recognized in 2006 as one of Pennsylvania's 50 Best Women in Business commitment to the community. In addition to her professional experience, she is also a board member for Crisis Center North; a member of the Women's Business Network Seven Fields Chapter, Cranberry Area Chamber of Commerce and SRU English Department Advisory Council.

           Wolfe received her Bachelor of Science in Education degree in elementary education with a minor in exceptionalities in 2007. She is a first-grade teacher in the Richland Elementary/Pine Richland School District where she was nominated for Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year.  She was also a camp counselor at the Butler County Summer Treatment Program/Butler Memorial Hospital, an intensive program for children and adolescents with ADHD and other disabilities. 

            In her spare time, Wolfe served as a choreographer for the Jeter Backyard Theatre production of "Sleeping Beauty" and volunteers as a jazzercise fitness instructor. Her professional memberships include Kappa Delta Pi, the international education honorary; National Science Teachers Association; Pennsylvania State Education Association; National Education Association; International Reading Association.
            Her additional volunteer experience includes serving as a personal tutor for first- and third-grade students and children at the I Care House in New Castle, Special Olympics, Lawrence County Reading Line, and a teacher at the SheLor School of Dance. She has presented at professional conferences, including the Keystone State Reading Association Conference and Pennsylvania Science Teachers Association.

            This year's award selection committee included Mimi Conner, associate director of first-year recruitment; Dick Manning, alumni association president; Tina Moser, assistant to the president; Ruth Purcell, director of University Advancement; Mark Shotwell, associate professor of biology; and Mike Saraka, director of alumni relations.

            The dinner will also award 18 SRU scholars presented $16,300 in scholarship funding.

Recipients include:

           Teresa DeBacco, a dance major from West Sunbury who will receive the $1,500 Carl and Norma Watson Laughner Scholarship.

            Receiving $1,000 Maree McKay/Esther Smiley Scholarships are (by major and hometown):

           Lindsey Hamilton        Secondary education                     Strattanville

           Krystina Herman         Elementary education                   Morrisdale

           Megan Irwin                 Elementary education                 Altoona

           Bethany Kling              Elementary education                  Jamestown, N.Y.                      

           Marissa Lang                Dance/Business administration   Beaver

           Jessica Sackin               Elementary education                 Bessemer

           Ashley Sieczkowski     Exercise science                          Lower Burrell

           Seth Sykora-Bodie       Political science                            Harrisville

           Emily Wells-Pratt        Creative writing                            Slippery Rock

            William Elliott, a health and physical education major from Sarver, and Sean Murphy, a music education major from Cranberry Township, will receive the $1,000 Madeline Farnen Scholarship for Education Majors.

           Christine Bette, a health and physical education major from, Cicero, N.Y., will receive the $1,000 Eisaman Alumni Scholarship for Sophomore Students.

            Michelle Fetzer, a psychology major from Clarion, will receive the $800 Maggie Meise Fellowship for Graduate Students.

           Shari Bauer, an elementary education major from Wexford, will receive the $500 Anna Brua Williams Scholarship for Women Elementary Education Majors.

            Heather Herbert, an elementary education major from Wexford, will receive the $500 Hallie Dugan Smith/Nancy Smith Angell Scholarship.

          The $500 Watson Family Scholarship, presented to current high school students who have been accepted by SRU for the fall, will go to Alexandra Vuletich, a current senior at Slippery Rock High, and Katherine Sopczynski, a senior at South Park High School.

           Members of this year's scholarship and awards committee were: Patrick Mooney, '61, who served as chairperson; Bill Byrnes, '61, Lorraine Troiano-Barron, '57; Bruno Raso, '61; Bonnie McElhanney Lukasik, '63' Linda Williamson, '73; and Robert Watson, '70.


SlipperyRock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.

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