Along N. 13th St. – Albright College

Along N. 13th St.

In an email to campus on Nov. 30, President Fetrow announced the following administrative and leadership restructuring changes to four divisions:

Student and Campus Life. The Student Affairs Division is renamed the Student and Campus Life Division. Samantha Wesner was promoted from associate dean of students and director of the Gable Health Center to vice president of student and campus life and chief health officer.

Communications. College Relations and Marketing is renamed Communications. Jennifer Stoudt, acting assistant vice president for college relations and marketing, has assumed the role of acting vice president for communications.

Advancement. The Advancement Division, including Alumni Relations and Development, has been restructured. Christy Agnese, leadership gifts officer, has  assumed the role of interim vice president for advancement.

Digital Strategies and Infrastructure. The Information Technology Services Unit is renamed Digital Strategies and Infrastructure. Rashmi Radhakrishnan, chief technology officer, is promoted to vice president for digital strategies and infrastructure and chief information officer.

In Albright’s new administrative structure, these four divisions will join the current Cabinet and administrative structure, which includes Mary McGee, vice president for academic affairs and provost; Greg Fulmer, vice president for administrative and financial services; Paul Cramer ‘88, vice president for enrollment management and dean of admission; and Kathy Cafoncelli ’99, chief of staff and director of commencement.

As part of this restructure and in rethinking the responsibilities of each position, Deborah McCreery, J.D., vice president for advancement, and Gina Crance, Ed.D., vice president for student affairs and dean of students, are no longer at Albright College. The College is tremendously grateful for their work and accomplishments during their tenure at Albright. Under McCreery’s leadership, That Their Light May Shine: The Campaign for Albright College, the most ambitious and successful fundraising initiative in the College’s history, finished with almost $59 million raised, a total more than 7 percent over the campaign’s goal of $55 million. In an effort to support a growing need for residential student space on-campus, Crance instituted Affinity Housing to provide flexible, themed living environments for upper class students wanting to experience transitional, independent housing. We thank them both for their dedicated service to Albright.

Five new full-time faculty members joined Albright College this year from around the world.

Jonathan Geruntho, Ph.D. ’10, visiting assistant professor of chemistry, earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Albright and a doctorate in chemistry from Washington State University where he developed a linker for cancer therapeutics that results in controlled release dependent on pH. This graduate research was the subject of several publications and a patent application. He held a postdoctoral position at the University of Pittsburgh testing the viability of linked prostate cancer inhibitors using a model system.

Chloé Anne Grosse, visiting instructor of French, a Fulbright award recipient, received both a bachelor’s degree in English literature and civilization, and a master’s degree, from the Sorbonne in Paris. Grosse spent a year in England as a French teaching assistant and taught for one year in a high school in Paris. Last year, she returned to the Sorbonne to earn a higher English teaching diploma called the agrégation.

Luca Bazzi Otero, visiting instructor of Spanish, a Fulbright award recipient, received a bachelor’s degree in translation and interpretation with a specialty in English and French from the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, Spain, and a master’s degree in teaching Spanish as a foreign language at the Universidad Nebrija in Madrid. Otero has worked as a Spanish teacher in Paris, Martinique and Madrid.

Adam Owenz, MBA ’03, visiting assistant professor of marketing, earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Albright, and a master’s in business administration from Kutztown University. Owenz is a creative marketer, manager and educator with 12 years of experience in marketing, sales, business development, fundraising, communications and team leadership. He has taught at Florida International University (FIU) and Millersville University. He has also worked in the area of development and alumni relations at FIU and Pepperdine University.

Artress White, Ph.D., visiting assistant professor of American cultural studies, received a master’s degree in creative writing and American literature from New York University, and a doctorate in English from the University of Kentucky. For more than 10 years, she served on the faculty at Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tenn. White is the author of Fast Fat Girls in Pink Hot Pants, a collection of her poems, and her poetry has appeared in many journals and collections. She received the Mary Hambidge Distinguished Fellowship from the Hambidge Center for Creative Arts for her nonfiction, and the Mona Van Duyn Scholarship in poetry from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference.

Two Albright juniors received early acceptance into the Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey.

Tyler Kiwak of Shillington, Pa., and Rebecca Morgis of Glen Lyon, Pa., have been admitted into the Early Assurance Program, an agreement between Albright and Hershey. Albright students with a high grade point average and standardized test scores, who have also completed required premedical coursework, can receive early acceptance to the medical school during their junior years through this agreement.

Hershey’s Early Assurance Program is highly competitive and open to candidates from a small number of Pennsylvania colleges and universities. Students must demonstrate strong clinical experiences and effectively articulate their motivation for pursuing careers in medicine.

Hershey’s Early Assurance Program is highly
competitive and open to candidates from a small
number of Pennsylvania colleges and universities.

While at Albright, both Kiwak and Morgis have had numerous opportunities to gain hands-on experience in the medical field.

Kiwak, a biochemistry and Spanish major, conducted an externship in Reading Hospital–Children’s Health Center, shadowing pediatricians. Since 2017, he has worked as a lab technician/phlebotomist at Penn State Health St. Joseph. And last summer, Kiwak interned in Reading Hospital’s surgery department, where he observed operations, and had a chance to hold the retractors and cut sutures under the direction of the attending surgeon. Through the experience, Kiwak has fallen in love with orthopaedic surgery.

“That’s where my talents can best be used, and the type of surgery I enjoyed working with the most,” said Kiwak.

Likewise, Morgis, a biology major, has gained experience in the field by volunteering at the Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center in her native Luzerne County, shadowing and serving as a student extern at Reading Hospital, and scribing at All About Children Pediatric Partners in West Reading. She also conducted research for a retrospective study at Reading Hospital.

As for the kind of medicine Morgis wants to pursue, she says, “I am not sure of a specialty yet. However, I look forward to gaining more experience.”

Although accepted to the Early Assurance Program, Kiwak and Morgis must still complete their undergraduate requirements with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.3 and earn at least Hershey’s average score on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). The students also have the right to withdraw from the agreement if they choose to go elsewhere or not attend.

But Kiwak says he’s thrilled to be accepted into the medical school he’s dreamed of attending. “After going to Penn State College of Medicine for Primary Care Day my freshman year, I knew that was where I wanted to go for medical school. It is almost like a dream that I have received early acceptance into the medical school that I really wanted to go to.”

Despite the work still ahead of them, both Kiwak and Morgis say their early acceptances are a huge weight off their shoulders.

“It has allowed me to focus more on the next task—the MCAT,” said Morgis.

Thirty-three Albright graduates have entered Hershey’s medical school through the Early  Assurance Program since the inception of the agreement in 1996.

Last spring, Albright and the World Cycling League (WCL) announced the WCL’s intention to build an indoor velodrome on a tract of land the College owns, behind the Wawa, on Rockland Street. The 2,500-seat facility will be the first world-class indoor cycling track on the East Coast, and only the second in the entire country. Once complete, the velodrome will host year-round cycling programs, pre-Olympic training camps and events, collegiate events, and a variety of other sporting events and special programs. It will also serve as the WCL’s global headquarters.

The WCL, which is responsible for all costs of construction, operation, and maintenance of the new $25 million multipurpose cycling and events center, announced in September the formation of the Velodrome Development Foundation, a nonprofit organization with a mission to support the development of the velodrome and the sport of track cycling for the benefit of youth, amateur cyclists, Albright, and the Greater Reading and Berks County community.

The Velodrome Development Foundation board includes many local community leaders and is led by Albright President Emeritus Lex McMillan. The board will significantly enhance the WCL’s private fundraising efforts.

“We are working on several fronts to put
together the needed financing, and expect to
begin construction in the spring,
with grand opening in 2019.”

“I am truly honored to have been asked to serve and have been enjoying my visits to friends and colleagues in the Greater Reading community over the past several months,” said McMillan. “The enthusiastic response to the project from all quarters of the community has been encouraging. Earlier this month, we received our first local commitment of $100,000 from a prominent community leader, and we expect several more in the coming weeks.”

Working with Spillman Farmer Architects, the WCL completed preliminary building design for the velodrome in June. In addition to a 200-meter track, the development will include a cycling performance center, a pub and restaurant, a gift shop, and a limited number of commercial leasing opportunities for health and cycling-related businesses. The College and the WCL have been working with local City officials, including the Zoning Hearing Board, to file for the necessary project approvals. The WCL  has also reached an agreement with the Reading Parking Authority to provide offsite parking during times of peak velodrome activity.

McMillan added, “We are working on several fronts to put together the needed financing,  and expect to begin construction in the spring, with grand opening in 2019. I continue to believe that this exciting and visionary project will be a big win for our community, for the College, and for cycling in the USA.”

Scott Keaton ’88 of Lansdale, Pa., was appointed to the Albright Board of Trustees in October. He will serve a three-year term.

Keaton, who earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and communications from Albright, is chief financial officer at Bracalente Manufacturing Group, a global supplier of metal components, which has precision machining facilities in Pennsylvania and China. He worked in financial operational management roles at Precision Castparts Corp. for 20 years, after starting his career at Ernst & Young.

Keaton credits the interdisciplinary, international, creative, and leadership experiences he had at Albright for inspiring him to pursue job roles requiring cross-functional responsibilities, and to work and live overseas.

He currently serves on several community organization boards, and served on the Albright Alumni Association Board from 1999 to 2008, including two years as board president.

Albright College researchers want to help ensure every dog has its day – for adoption.

With millions of dogs entering animal shelters annually, and hundreds of thousands ultimately euthanized, alumna Sara Isgate ’16, and associate professor of psychology Justin Couchman, Ph.D., teamed up to look at how marketing and advertising dogs through photographs may help these pups find new homes. The researchers wondered if a dog’s pose in a photograph – especially for breeds stigmatized as aggressive – influenced how the pooch is perceived? And is there a favored pose to make the dog more appealing and thus more adoptable?

Turns out the answer is yes. The researchers found that regardless of breed, a dog sitting alone is considered a more favorable pose. The findings, recently published in the  Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, could have significant implications for advertising and marketing dogs in animal shelters, said Isgate and Couchman.

“I think online marketability is one of the strongest assets shelters may be able to use when advertising adoptable animals,” said Isgate. “If shelters can come up with more creative, approachable ways to pose their animals, especially those that may be considered ‘bully breeds,’ it may be the difference between life and death for dogs in overcrowded shelters.”

The study focused on four breeds—Doberman pinscher, pit bull, rottweiler and golden retriever. The former three are often stereotyped as aggressive. The dogs were  photographed in four different positions – sitting alone, standing alone, sitting with a male handler, and walking on a leash with a male handler.

Human participants then examined each set of photos on a computer screen while infrared beams tracked their eye movements, measuring where they looked, for how long, in what order, and how often. The four most prominent areas of interest to participants were the human’s head, and the dog’s face, eyes and mouth.

“There is a lot of research showing that what you look at is what you’re thinking about,” said Couchman. “There’s the suggestion that whatever you look at longer is what you’re more attracted to.”

Participants also rated each photograph on the characteristics of friendliness, aggressiveness and adoptability.

Based on the ratings and data from the eye scans, the researchers found that overall the golden retriever was viewed as most adoptable. But the results also indicated that pose made a significant difference in people’s perception of the other breeds, with particular appeal for dogs sitting alone. Pose, it turned out, was more significant than breed.

“Specifically with the pit bull, the highest rating was sitting alone with mouth closed. It had the highest adoptability and lowest aggression,” said Couchman, who believes that a dog sitting alone may imply discipline and obedience. The walking-on-a-leash pose received the highest aggressive ratings.

Isgate, who devised the research while studying psychobiology and evolution and animal behavior at Albright, was inspired by the photography of Sophie Gamand, who is famous for adorning the heads of pit bulls with flowers in an attempt to expose the prejudice the breed faces.

“By producing high-quality images that elicit an emotional response, I think shelters may  be able to resonate more with the public to place more dogs in loving homes,” said Isgate.

photo of a dog

Recognizing the increased need for substance abuse counselors, driven in large part by the opioid crisis, Albright College will soon begin offering an online minor and certificate program in addiction studies.

The new offerings are part of Albright’s School of Professional Studies (SPS), and are available to adult students in the accelerated degree program. The courses begin in January, and allow for flexibility to take courses around work and family schedules.

“A lot of our students, especially in the organizational/ applied psychology program, are interested in working in the addiction field,” said Wendy Bartkus, program coordinator for SPS’ organizational behavior/applied psychology program.

The opioid crisis, said Bartkus, has hit home for many students, who have specifically requested such a program. “There’s a growing need for addiction counselors,” she said.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the employment of substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors is projected to grow 20 percent from 2016 to 2026. In Pennsylvania, substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors is listed on the 2017 high priority occupations list for many counties, including Berks.

Albright’s 5-course, 300-hour program enables students pursuing a bachelor’s degree through SPS to complete a minor in addiction studies. The minor will likely be of particular interest to students in the organizational behavior/applied psychology program or the crime & justice program, but it is open to any bachelor’s degree-seeking student within SPS. Non-bachelor’s degree-seeking students can complete a certificate of professional studies in addiction studies.

All courses are offered online and taught by existing SPS faculty. The program covers a range of addiction-related topics, including theories and treatments of addiction behaviors, treatment planning, psychopharmacology, and addictive behaviors among special populations (adolescents, veterans, the elderly, etc.).

The courses fulfill the educational requirements needed to become certified as an alcohol  and drug counselor (CADC), or associate addiction counselor (AAC) by the Pennsylvania Certification Board. Students would still need to complete industry-wide
exams and work experience requirements to be certified as counselors.

“We are meeting one of the puzzle pieces to certification – the education piece,” said Kevin Ezzell ’03 M’12, director of SPS.

The addiction studies program is the first fully online program offered by Albright. “We are adapting and evolving to meet the needs of today’s adult learners,” said Ezzell

Jacques Berlinerblau, who delivered the 2015 Hurwitz lecture, recently authored a new book, Campus Confidential: How College Works, or Doesn’t, for Professors, Parents, and Students. In the book, he laments how, at many schools, professors don’t teach underclassmen. Berlinerblau points to the small liberal arts colleges as a counter to this phenomenon, where the emphasis is on teaching, and briefly mentions Albright College as an example. He writes that he was surprised by “how robust its commitment to the arts was,” and talks of the opportunity at places like Albright for “undergraduates  to forge meaningful relationships with their professors.”

New York Times review of Berlinerblau’s book also mentioned Albright, saying that Berlinerblau suggests prospective students search course catalogs for the proportion of classes taught by full-time professors and seek out schools with more small seminar classes. Such criteria, he suggests, might lead students to consider Albright over Yale.