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Fall 2016 | Ventures

Date: Aug 11, 2016

Night at Camden Yards

An Orioles victory over Los Angeles was celebrated by alumni, faculty, staff, and friends of SU on Saturday, July 9 during Stevenson Night at Camden Yards. Prior to the start of the game, guests mingled on the upper deck concourse enjoying food, drinks, and a visit from the Oriole Bird.


Marie Feild Ford is living in Woodstock, Ga. She is very active with the Woodstock Senior Center and enjoys going on day trips, playing bridge, and going to the movies. She has two sons, Michael and Patrick. Marie is the 10th of 11 children, with one sister and brother living in Baltimore and another brother in North Carolina.


Carmela “CeCe” DiGiorgio Brooks Hilte enjoyed a family reunion trip to California and spent time horseback riding through the vineyards of Napa Valley with her granddaughter, Maddie Helmstetter. Maddie’s mom is CeCe’s daughter, Molly Brooks Helmstetter ’90, and her dad is Glenn Helmstetter ’90, who passed away in 2014.


Susie Wu is retired and enjoying life as grandma to four wonderful grandchildren who keep her young at heart and staying active. She loves photography and painting and tries to find some free time to enjoy these hobbies. Whenever she is in Maryland, Susie drives to campus to reminisce about “the good old days” and to visit the brick that she bought in memory of her parents, Jean and Jimmy Wu.


Andrea “Angie” Tyler Haggens is celebrating the birth of her first grandchild, Devin Aljanon Graham, born on April 8. The proud parents are Angie’s daughter, Kandace, and her husband, Rodney.


Lori Schemm Wooldridge ’92 ’97 writes that her son, Kyle, began studies at SU this month as a freshman student and a member of the class of 2020. He is planning to major in business administration-sport management and plans to play basketball and football for the Mustangs. Lori and her husband, Tom, are very happy that Kyle selected Stevenson for his college experience.

Christine Henry Jones is the executive assistant to the CEO at the International Fund for Animal Welfare World Headquarters in Yarmouth Port, Mass. In late March she left for Rome, Italy, on holiday. During a two-hour layover at the Brussels Airport, two bombs went off in the departure area. Thankfully, she was able to escape unharmed and eventually made her way to a hotel in a small town outside of Brussels. Christine writes that the local residents were all wonderful, particularly the taxi driver who refused to accept payment when he found out she was coming from the airport. Because the Brussels airport remained closed for several days, she never made it to Rome, instead exploring Belgium, Amsterdam, and Tuscany.


Divita Washington is the Director of Client Relationships for a non-profit organization in Rockville, Md., that assists individuals who are homeless or have been involved in human trafficking and who need a safe place to stay.


In the fall of 2015 Jennifer “Jenny” Peddicord Gordon started work on a master’s degree in contemporary communications at Notre Dame of Maryland University.

Steve Morrill is the Director of IT and Cyber Science at Loyola Blakefield and was recently recognized as the nation’s first cyber teacher. Steve says that integrating cyber topics into all courses within a school is important, mainly because cyber is in every aspect of society today. He invests a lot of time in helping students experience the many exciting opportunities that a cyber-focused STEM education can offer, and he is already seeing many of his students continuing and excelling in university cyber security programs.

Alexandra Newman started working at Baltimore County Public Schools in Dec. 2015 as an Administrative Secretary. She has a grandson, Mason, who turns 2 in September.


Dottie Hudson Barber and her husband, Erik, welcomed their second son, Henry, born on April 15, 2016.


Cari Baker Biscoe and her husband, Robert Biscoe ’02, welcomed a son, Sullivan Thomas, on April 30, 2015. He has three older sisters: Addison, 9; Molly, 7; and Gianna, 4.


Valerie Tighe ’03 ’13M and her husband, Michael, both retired on July 8. After taking their grandchildren to the Grand Canyon, Sedona, and Las Vegas, the couple headed to Anna Maria Island in Florida to enjoy some beach time. Valerie writes that even though she is retiring from a nursing career spanning 38 years, she will always be a nurse.

Irvin Davis retired two years ago after working at the Social Security Administration for 42 years.

Robert Lin is employed as a Senior IT Analyst at Duke University in Durham, N.C.

Jeannie Sikorsky Dunphy and her husband, Nick Dunphy ’03, are proud to announce the arrival of their first child, Liam Joseph, born on April 10. The couple began dating in 1999 while students at VJC, and they were married in 2007.


Shayla “Shay” Bryan Powers and her husband, Mark, are expecting a second daughter in August. Brynn Marie will join big sister Amaya, who turned 3 in June.


Megan Harrell ’06 ’08M and Jeffrey Mahaley ’08 were married on May 13 at the Valley Country Club in Towson, Md. The couple honeymooned in Laguna Beach, Calif. and Las Vegas, Nev.

Lori Lang Lee and her husband, Eric Lee ’03, welcomed their second daughter, Ella, in December 2015. She joins big sister Clara, who was born in December 2013.


Christina Kramer was promoted to the position of Program Expert at the Social Security Administration in Woodlawn, Md. She previously held the positions of Claims Authorizer and Operations Analyst.

Andrew “Andy” Levy and his fiancée, Kelly, are the proud parents of a son, Andrew James-Wayne, also known as A.J., born on May 9. A.J.’s parents are both studying for graduate degrees at Stevenson. Kelly is enrolled in the healthcare management program and Andy in the business and technology management program.

Lesley Lookingbill and her husband, Ron, welcomed two grandchildren this year. Mason, son of their daughter and son-in-law, was born on June 10 and Marcus, son of their son and his wife, was born on June 24.


Diana Davis ’09M is the program director for Langton Green, a nonprofit organization that provides assistance to adult individuals with developmental or intellectual disabilities. She is also a live-in counselor at one of the Langton Green residences in Annapolis, Md.

Ashley Ward has joined the Baltimore law firm of Goodman, Meagher & Enoch, LLP, where she practices in the areas of litigation, personal injury, workers’ compensation, and family law.


Megan Kane Karcher and her husband, Justin, welcomed the arrival of their first child, Grant Anthony, born on Jan. 28.

Kimberly “Kim” Moxley is working as an Addictions Counselor at Carroll Hospital Center in Westminster, Md.


Katie Street McMichael ’11 ’13M and her husband, Mark, welcomed their second son, Landon Tyler, on March 22. He joins big brother Sawyer, who turns 3 in October.

Arden Haley has been working for five years as a graphic designer and web specialist for What’s Up? Media, a magazine publishing company for the Annapolis, Eastern Shore, and West County areas in Maryland. The entertainment guide covers activities, sports, restaurants, special events, lifestyle, and more.

Reginald Jordan received a law degree from St. Thomas University School of Law and is working at the Law Office of Rhonda Framm in Owings Mills, Md.

Jo-Ann Middleton recently completed the Master of Science degree in Nursing from Simmons College in Boston through their online FNP (family nurse practitioner) program. She took the FNP certification exam during the summer to practice in Maryland. Jo-Ann credits the wonderful faculty at SU who propelled her forward to maximize her potential and her love of working with patients to achieve their health and happiness.

Suzanne Packard graduated summa cum laude with a Master of Science degree in Information Assurance from Capitol Technology University in May. She works as an Alternate Information Systems Security Manager at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.

Jennifer Cecchetti Whitfield and her husband, Bryan, welcomed the arrival of their first child, Lucy Harper, on March 23.


Megan Andrews officially launched her small business in January. Here Comes The Bling, LLC is an online boutique that specializes in custom rhinestone clothing, gifts, and accessories for everyday fashion, brides, sports teams, special events, and more. She is hoping to expand the business into some local retailers. Megan writes, “Whether it’s a bridal party, business, or sports team looking for some sparkle, we have them covered for all things bling!”

Maria Disogra is the Assistant Residential Director for HopeWorks in Howard County, a program assisting survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and human trafficking. She graduated in May from the University of Maryland, Baltimore with a master’s degree in social work. In June, she passed the social work boards and is now a licensed social worker in Maryland.

After almost 11 years of dating, Renae Hunter and Brian Diller became engaged on May 7.

Oyinade Koyi recently accepted the position of Assistant Media Manager at The Museum at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) in New York City.

Kayla Wilson completed her first year at Michigan State University College of Law in May. She writes that it was a challenging year and has been interesting to experience life outside of Maryland on a Big Ten campus.


Rajkumar Baldeosingh graduated in May from the University of Maryland, Baltimore with a Master of Science degree in Molecular Medicine. He is working in a research lab at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins and plans to pursue a doctorate degree.

Yanita Boayue writes that she is having a great year. She enjoyed a trip to Las Vegas and the Dominican Republic, and she was promoted to Lead Therapist at B.A.S.I.C.S. ABA Therapy.

Justine Bugaoisan recently graduated from Northern Illinois University College of Law and took the Illinois Bar Examination at the end of July. While in school she was an editor for the Northern Illinois University Law Review. Justine plans on being a trial lawyer, either as a state’s attorney or defense counsel. During the summer of 2015, she was a law clerk at the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Committee in Chicago. In 2014, she was a judicial intern at the 18th Judicial Circuit Courthouse in DuPage County, as well as a legal intern at the Kane County Public Defender’s Office.

Devonna Butler is employed as a Medical Social Worker II at St. Agnes Hospital in Baltimore and is working toward the Licensed Certified Social Worker-Clinical licensure (LCSW-C). She received a master’s degree from the University of Maryland, Baltimore in 2015 and returned to Stevenson this semester to study for a second master’s degree in healthcare management.

Jennifer DeHoff and Daniel Tobon ’12 first met at SU through Service Corps and became engaged in October 2015. The couple was married on Aug. 12.

Amber Hall Olsen and her husband, Carleton, purchased their first home last November and now reside in Nottingham, Md.

Jordan Wright has been working in California for the past three years, serving at-risk youth growing up in the Watts community of Los Angeles. In August he returned to Baltimore to pursue a master’s degree in communications studies from Stevenson and will be shifting his focus to serving at-risk youth in Baltimore City.


Melanie Bishop-Crouch ’14 ’16M is a staff auditor in the Office of Legislative Audits in Baltimore. In May she received a master’s degree in forensic studies from SU.

Malcolm Broadnax and his wife, Najla, welcomed their second child, a daughter, Sonjai, born on June 15. Big brother Brycen was born in July 2015.

Nicole “Nicky” Costabile is a Graphic Designer for Syncopated Engineering where she is responsible for the design and development of the company brand, marketing, product, and recruiting materials as well as engineering services and product websites. She also serves as a front-end web application developer responsible for the design and development of Syncopated’s product application interfaces and user experience. She is pursuing a professional graduate certificate in web development and technologies at the Harvard Extension School.

Alex Zeidler started a new position in May as a Retail Marketing Coordinator at the Under Armour Global Headquarters in Baltimore.


Chelsea Clough is working with Abel Communications as a Multimedia Content Creator. She initially joined the Abel team as a freelancer but is now a full-time employee. She has taken photos and created videos for clients including STX, First Mariner Bank, and Point Breeze Credit Union. While a student at SU, Chelsea won the 2015 Excellence in Cinematography Award and received first place honors in both the 2014 and 2015 Stevenson University Online Film Festival. Her work has been published in The New York Times, People Magazine and Yamaha, among other publications.

Kia Dawkins has written a book of poetry, notes, and motivations for those who dream entitled, To Be Drenched in Dreams, Delights, Downfalls, and Dos. The title was self-published in April with Createspace.

Colette Farhat was accepted to the Charleston School of Law in South Carolina and begins her studies in September.

Alexandra “Alle” Friend completed her first semester as a graduate student at University of Baltimore in the nonprofit management and social entrepreneurship program. She has started a full-time job as a Youthworks supervisor and a part-time position with the Friends of Patterson Park as a Community Outreach Specialist.

Alyssa Henry is studying for a doctorate degree in school psychology at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Ashley Shelton is employed as a Clinical Assistant at Kennedy Krieger Institute and is pursuing a master’s degree in forensic psychology at Southern New Hampshire University’s online program.

Lauren Speiser was featured in a May article in The Baltimore Sun discussing her experiences as a first-year kindergarten teacher at Hammond Elementary School. She says that she owes the faculty of the School of Education a huge thanks for believing in her and pushing her to be the best teacher possible. Lauren adds that she went into her first year not wanting just to survive, but wanting to show what a Stevenson alumna can really do. “I could not have succeeded this year without the tools provided me throughout my years at Stevenson.” Beginning in September, Lauren will teach kindergarten at Forest Ridge Elementary School in Laurel, Md.

Nefertiti Victor is working as a teaching assistant at Y.A.L.E. School in New Jersey, which serves students with social, emotional, learning, and behavioral disabilities who need a specialized setting in order to benefit from education. She is also studying for a graduate degree in applied behavior analysis from Rowan University in New Jersey.

Avery Yancey ’15 ’16M is headed back to school working on a doctorate degree in business administration with a specialization in information technology management, with an anticipated completion date in late 2018.


Ian Eberly is working as a Software Engineer at Leidos, a defense company headquartered in Reston, Va., that provides scientific, engineering, systems integration, and technical services.

Kevin McDonough accepted a job as a Marketing and Communications Specialist for the MD DC Credit Union Association where he will help with media placements, internal and external communications, social media, events, and more.

Megan McSwain has joined the Chesapeake Conservancy to work with the National Park Service Chesapeake Bay to develop public awareness of conservancy issues.

Shane Messick has had a life-long desire to work in the entertainment industry. After graduation, he drove across the country to live in Los Angeles where he is actively searching for the right career opportunity that combines his passion for the world of entertainment with his college background in public relations, publicity, and marketing.

Ashley Mil is working at the Padonia Park Club as the Events Manager. Padonia Park Club is a 30- acre privately owned club that offers year-round catering in addition to a swim club and day care facility.

Sydney Rebechi has accepted a position as a Business Developer at Element Fleet Management in Sparks, Md. She writes, “I feel more prepared than other people in my position.” Alison Smith accepted a job at Stanley Black & Decker as an Associate Product Manager, where she will work with the brand Porter Cable, overseeing the process of creating new products from the beginning stages all the way to production.

In Memoriam:

Ebony Short '15 on June 14, 2016
Cynthia Stein Tannebaum '78 on Jan. 28, 2013
Andrea Graf Velasco '09 on July 28, 2011

Alphonso Mayo

Mentor on a Mission

“I think the most important thing in life is integrity. You build your own character,” says Alphonso Mayo ’14, a recent human services graduate with a passion for giving back to both his community and his alma mater.

“We wait for someone else to take the next step,” he adds. “I didn’t want to wait for someone else because what if that person never steps? What if 1,000 people never step? I want to motivate others to take that step. I want to motivate others to support one another.”

Growing up in Baltimore City, Mayo found himself seeking out male role models, such as his high school football coach. This led him to realize his life’s goal: helping others and creating opportunities for success.

Although he left Baltimore after his 2006 graduation from high school to play football at North Carolina Central University, he learned soon afterward that he was going to be a father. He returned home and found it challenging to find steady employment without a college degree, so he made a promise to his grandparents that he would create a positive legacy for his family by returning to college.

He chose Stevenson after hearing about the launch of its new football program. As someone searching for an opportunity to change his life, Mayo says, “I didn’t have anything to believe in but I believed in Stevenson’s values.”

As a student-athlete, Mayo's experience was different from that of other students, juggling academics, football, family, and work. Yet he gained a sense of community, and that inspired him to give back.

After graduating from Stevenson as the first member of his family to earn a college degree, Mayo accepted a full-time position with Service Coordination as a Case Manager assisting and advocating for individuals with disabilities. He simultaneously began developing his own organization, Mentoring Mentors, to support underserved youth in his community. Its goal is to provide teens and young adults with opportunities to develop life skills and give back to their community through volunteerism. Mayo also visits schools and other organizations as part of his Words Change initiative, which promotes a sense of support and community for youth in the Baltimore area.

In addition, Mayo is an advocate for the campaign for increasing alumni participation. “I truly believe that it is better to give than it is to receive. If you have an opportunity to help someone, why wouldn’t you?” he asks.

Megan Lanasa

Megan Lanasa '09 (front row, second from left) and her BricknFire Pizza Co. staff welcomed customers into the company's first brick-and-mortar restaurant in July 2016.

Thinking Outside the Diploma

From a young age, Megan Lanasa ’09 admired the entrepreneurial spirit of her parents, who own The Breadery in Catonsville, Md., and it sparked her interest in owning a business. She attended Stevenson University to pursue a degree in business communication. Thanks to the tough love and constant consideration of Stevenson faculty, she says her college experience became one to remember.

Armed with a bachelor’s degree and familiarity with the restaurant industry, Lanasa wanted to start something of her own. “Why work so hard and not reap the benefits?”

At 27, she embarked on her first business venture to launch BricknFire Pizza Co., a mobile brick oven food truck. For months, she made appearances at farmers’ markets and special events, delivering wood-fire pizza and growing the BricknFire brand.

Lanasa has never shied away from opportunities to promote her company. “It’s amazing that we willingly put ourselves in the position to do things that scare us,” she says.

In June 2015, BricknFire entered the Baltimore Marriott Inner Harbor’s Canvas competition, a contest for entrepreneurs to submit business proposals to be evaluated by a committee of local restaurant and hotel owners, industry experts, and foodies. Upon her selection as a finalist, she participated in day-long competition that included rapid-fire questioning in true “Shark Tank” fashion.

Lanasa won the competition, giving her the opportunity to work with a panel of mentors as she designed the company’s first brick-and-mortar space in the hotel’s location near Camden Yards. Turning the food truck reins over to her Mobile Operations Manager gave Lanasa time to focus on generating interest in the restaurant and leading her growing staff of 15.

She also finds time to return to campus, sharing her story with Stevenson students interested in starting their own businesses. Lanasa recently served as a panel member during Adulting 101: Thinking Outside the Diploma, an event sponsored by the Senior Class Council.

“Without my decision to attend Stevenson University, and the skills I developed while I was there, I might not be where I am today,” Lanasa notes.

Alumni Awards

Left to right: tammy Schneider '98, Lauren Humphries '08, and Fran Gunshol '67.

Distinguished Alumni Award

This award honors alumni who demonstrate the Stevenson tradition of excellence through personal accomplishment, professional achievement, and humanitarian service.

Tammy Schneider '98

Since her graduation from Villa Julie College, Tammy Schneider has worked in public accounting for 20 years, rising to the principal level. In January 2016 she started her own firm, Taurus CPA Solutions, a boutique tax and accounting firm. Throughout her career, Schneider’s accomplishments have been recognized in publications such as The Daily Record, The Baltimore Business Journal, and most recently, Smart CEO Magazine. She is dedicated to increasing the role of women in business and has demonstrated her commitment to the greater community by serving on various local and national boards.

Schneider views Stevenson University as a strong institution and looks forward to seeing the continued commitment to students, to education, and to the community.

Alumni Loyalty Award

This award is presented to alumni who continually demonstrate loyalty and commitment to the Stevenson University community by devoting their time and talent to enhance the overall success of the University.

Fran Gunshol '67

Fran Gunshol’s decision to attend Villa Julie College was encouraged by her family. She was involved in various extracurricular activities and looks fondly upon her student experience, noting that her professors and the sisters affirmed her abilities and gave her great confidence. Throughout her career, Gunshol has been responsible for moving organizations forward, raising funds and friends for non-profits, and connecting people and projects. She returned to campus where she thrived in her role as the Director of Alumni Relations, serving as part of the team behind many major achievements for the University.

Gunshol is impressed with the growth of Stevenson and hopes that the University will continue to adapt, grow, and stay loyal to its mission as it has faithfully done since the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur founded VJC in 1947.

Young Alumni Award

This award recognizes graduates from the past 10 years who have achieved success while remaining engaged with the University.

Lauren Humphries '08

While attending VJC, Lauren Humphries was an accomplished and active student-athlete. As a graduating senior, she was the recipient of the Elizabeth McWethy Award, the Fighting Heart Award, and the NCAA Woman of the Year Award.

As a marketing professional, Humphries recognizes that the skills she acquired as a business communication major have served her well professionally and in her volunteer efforts. At the request of her college mentor, Chip Rouse, Associate Professor, Business Communication, and other faculty and staff, she has visited campus several times post-graduation to participate in panel discussions and networking events with current students.

Humphries has inspired others through her personal accomplishments. In 2015, she modeled in the first fashion show featuring women with dwarfism during New York Fashion Week and was the first person with dwarfism to run the Chicago Marathon.

Humphries appreciates the opportunities that Stevenson has created to engage alumni and values the importance of supporting future generations of Stevenson students.

School of Sciences

The female faculty and staff of the School of the Sciences have been honored with Insight Into Diversity magazine’s 2016 Inspiring Women in STEM Award. This recognizes remarkable women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) professions who make a significant difference and inspire others through teaching and mentoring, research, and other initiatives.

The School of the Sciences has a long history of engaging diverse students at all levels from elementary school through college in hands-on learning, original scientific research, and STEM career exploration. Previous Dean Susan T. Gorman, Ph.D., established many of the current initiatives for which the School is being recognized and oversaw tremendous growth in the sciences in the last several years. Current Dean Meredith C. Durmowicz, Ph.D., says, “These faculty and staff are strong, confident, smart, and accomplished women who are living, breathing examples to others that it is possible to be a woman and be successful in a STEM career. They are role models for all those who interact with them, including male students and colleagues.”

Read more about this story or check out a list of programs within the School of the Sciences and learn more, inquire, or apply.

John Buettner

Stevenson is pleased to announce the appointment of John Buettner as Vice President of Marketing and Digital Communications, effective since July 1, 2016. Buettner brings a wide range of expertise to the leadership responsibilities of his new role, which he served in an interim capacity for four months. Previously, Buettner was the University’s Associate Vice President for Digital Communications, overseeing the web team, the SU Now Portal, media relations, the video production team, and emergency digital communications. He originally joined the Office of Marketing and Digital Communications in February 2009 as the Assistant Vice President of Public Relations.

Buettner holds a bachelor’s from Washington College and a master’s from Villanova University. He has more than 20 years of experience in journalism, public relations, and marketing, with 16 of those years spent in higher education. He previously served as the Director of Media Relations for Washington College (2000-2006) and the Media Relations and Web Manager for the University System of Maryland Chancellor’s Office (2006-2009).


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Ventures, Fall 2016
Ventures, Fall 2016
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