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Ventures Summer 2019

Ventures Summer 2019

Date: Jun 2019

Carolee Martelle ’63 ’89 ’97 and scholarship recipient Jillian DiOrio ’19.

Carolee Martelle ’63 ’89 ’97 believes in the power of education and the potential of Stevenson’s students. In 2016 she created an endowed scholarship fund that will assist deserving students in perpetuity. To further ensure her impact into the future, she joined the Great Oaks Society by making provision for the university in her estate planning, strengthening her legacy of giving. Here, Martelle shares her reasons for this dedication.

“I am proud of what Stevenson University has become. It has grown from a two-year, all girls commuter college to a four year university with a diverse student body, offering a multitude of degree programs. In my opinion, sustaining this growth is critical to the university and taking it to the next level. As a result, contributions will play a significant role.

“As a student, I developed a deep appreciation for Stevenson University. The education I received at SU played a major role in my life. As a result, I wanted to share some of my personal success with the university and as they say, ‘pay it forward.’

“Due to the high cost of education, it is becoming prohibitive for some students to pursue their dream of a higher education. Even with help from grants and scholarships, student debt is at an all-time high, making some people question, ‘is it worth it?’ This not only has a direct impact on an individual but also our society. Without young people obtaining a higher education, where will the next innovators, scientists, contributors to society, and leaders come from that are so important? Anyone who has the desire to pursue a higher education should be able to do so without a lifetime of student debt. In essence, it shouldn’t be free, but needs to be affordable.

“I have always believed people should be charitable where they can. In my case, I feel I am helping young people, in some small way, achieve their goals. At the same time, given the opportunity, I would like to think that they will do the same for those who come after them.

“At various Stevenson events, I had the opportunity to talk to many students. While I always found these conversations to be enjoyable and interesting, there were two consistent messages. One, they were very happy to be attending Stevenson and two, they were extremely grateful for the financial assistance they received. In my mind, it was quite clear these students would not be able to pursue a degree or, more importantly, obtain one without financial support.

Philanthropy not only helps the students but also the university in its basic needs. As alumni we should all be willing to give something back to our university. There is no contribution too small.”

For information about the Great Oaks Society and planned giving options, contact Chris Vaughan, Vice President for University Advancement, at or 443-334-2624, or visit

Several alumni pitched in to help on the MIH spring 2019 service trip. Left to right: Dominic Rybak ’10, Mark Wunder ’14, Kat Thompson ’17, Emily Iseman ’18, Danny Sloan ’13, Morgan Somerville ’14M, Aaron Milam ’13 ’18M, KJ Renfroe ’17 ’19M, Matt Piluk ’17 ’19M, and Naomi King ’18.

10 years. 21 trips. 700+ participants.

These numbers represent countless hours of service rebuilding homes, reviving communities, and offering hope. This year, Mission: I’m Home (MIH) celebrated its 10th anniversary as the university’s only alternative break program on its March 2019 trip to New Orleans. Co-founded by Stevenson staff member Morgan Somerville ’14M and faculty members Art Fifer and Romas Laskauskas, MIH launched its first trip in 2009 and now runs four trips each year to a variety of locations that have been severely impacted by extreme storm events, including Baton Rouge, La.; Staten Island, N.Y.; Monmouth County, N.J.; Houston, Texas; and the one that began it all— New Orleans.

This year, 10 alumni were proud to join students, faculty, staff, and friends of SU who worked on three homes, completing more than 1,000 hours of service. The dedicated group spent seven days living and working in communities that are still feeling the effects of Hurricane Katrina, nearly 14 years after the Category 5 storm made landfall along the Gulf Coast. They worked on site with SBP (formerly St. Bernard Project), their community partner of 10 years. SBP is a national nonprofit organization focused on shrinking the time between disaster and recovery. Volunteers worked on Opportunity Housing, new builds or rebuilds that are sold to the public at a reduced price with affordable financing options to help revitalize the New Orleans Housing Market post-Katrina.

Away from the job site, there was time to explore exhibits and locations marking the historic storm’s impact, and each day concluded with meaningful reflections lead by both student leaders and alumni. Lighter-hearted fun was also to be had with ice-breakers, an exciting St. Patrick’s Day parade, and a traditional crawfish boil that concluded the week, at which Aaron Milam ’13 ’18M and Danny Sloan ’13 were recognized with Outstanding Alumni Awards for their dedication to fostering relationships with current and future students within the organization. SBP also recognized Somerville with the Louisiana Volunteer Service Award.

MIH resonates with our community as well, and many of you have made gifts to support this worthwhile program. Each year donations have increased, thanks to grassroots fundraising, with students, alumni, and other participants sharing their passion with friends and family. With your help, we are touching lives across the country and we are making a difference in the world.

We asked some of our alumni participants to share their thoughts: Matt Piluk ’17 ’19M, KJ Renfroe ’17 ’19M, and Danny Sloan ’13.

SU: What does Mission: I’m Home mean to you?

MP: MIH IS my Stevenson community. When I think back to my time as a student at Stevenson University, I first think of my experiences with the Mission: I’m Home organization and its members.

KR: Mission: I’m Home to me means family, togetherness, and support. This organization not only helps our community by volunteering, but we help each other grow, and ultimately become our best selves. Mission: I’m Home is simply the best thing that could ever happen to anyone.

DS: Mission: I’m Home to me is a chance for students, alumni, and faculty to be plunged into a world of compassion for others. There aren’t too many other instances in my life where I’ve been able to see first-hand, and make an impact on, the poverty and destruction that natural disasters cause. In many cases, we forget that once the chaos subsides, the lingering effects of a disaster are there for a decade to come. Yet the world seems only to rally behind the cause for so long. In short, it means compassion, family, love, and returning people to the places they call home. $77,395 raised to date 199 Gifts from Students and Alumni 84 Gifts from Sponsors

SU: How has your experience as alumni changed because of MIH?

MP: MIH has given me an opportunity to stay involved with the students of Stevenson University and see just how the university has grown from my time as a student.

KR: It’s changed my perspective when going on these trips. Before, my main goal was to help our communities and make new friends. Now my view of these trips is centered around my personal growth, helping those in our MIH family grow and learn through meaningful conversations, inspirational words and quotes, and inspiring through my actions. I saw MIH as a club, but now I see that it’s more than a club, it’s my family. MIH is what kept me involved with the Stevenson community.

DS: Without MIH, I wouldn’t be active as an alumnus at all, as much as I’d hate to admit it. I had a great four years at Stevenson, but without MIH I know I wouldn’t have the same bond with the students and faculty, both past and present. Because of MIH, I have a strong emotional attachment with the school, and in turn that makes me want to be as involved as possible in all things SU.

SU: What do you think underclassmen learn from alumni participants?

MP: Through alumni participation, underclassmen can see how a Stevenson University education impacts a person’s career path, and they are given an opportunity to develop a nontraditional mentormentee relationship.

KR: I think underclassmen learn why we continue to come back for our 7th, 8th, and 9th trips. They are able to experience the love we have for MIH as a club, for our community, and for each other. They’re able to learn life lessons, and gain tips that we could’ve used or that we were given when we were underclassmen. Overall, I think that they are able to see the passion we have for helping others.

DS: Underclassmen without a doubt have the greatest benefit from MIH. They are able to find out about this amazing club early and get involved throughout their time at SU. They’re able to come on these trips with 30-40 strangers and acquaintances, and come back to campus with 30-40 close friends—friends that will solidify their love for the university and their involvement on campus. They also learn so many skills while rebuilding, that I think it’s safe to say anyone who has been on an MIH trip could be hired as a contractor’s assistant tomorrow!

For more information about Mission: I’m Home, contact Morgan Somerville, Director of Student Engagement, at or 443-352-4445. If you would like to make a gift, visit

Stephanie Giles Suit '05

Many of us hope to leave something meaningful behind when we’ve passed on. While some may be able to ensure that during their lifetime, others are remembered by family and friends who work to build a legacy on their behalf. Stephanie Leigh Giles Suit graduated from Stevenson University, formerly Villa Julie College, in 2005 with a Medical Laboratory Technology degree and later earned a master’s degree in Biotechnology from Johns Hopkins University. During her time at Villa Julie, Suit was a member of the women’s basketball team, competing in games during all four years of her college career. Following graduation, she put her degree to excellent use at Becton, Dickinson and Company in Sparks, Md. She was an extremely talented scientist and supported the launches of various molecular products in both the Quality Management and Research & Development groups.

In the fall of 2018, Suit tragically passed away. To honor her memory, the Stephanie Giles Suit ’05 Scholarship Fund was created and is being funded through gifts from family and friends along with members of the Stevenson community whose lives she touched during her time as a student. This annual scholarship will benefit students with financial need who are pursuing a degree within the Beverly K. Fine School of the Sciences, or a degree in Medical Laboratory Science under the Sandra R. Berman School of Nursing and Health Professions.

Suit was a beloved mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, and colleague and will be remembered for her infectious laugh, kindness, intelligence, and willingness to do anything to help those around her. She was very proud of her education and would be thrilled to be a part of furthering the education of a student with her same passion for the sciences.

If you would like to contribute to the Stephanie Giles Suit ’05 Scholarship Fund, visit


Our condolences to Jo-anna Salemi Conrey '62 '86 '92 on the passing of her husband, John, on March 27.


Our condolences to Frances "Fran" Flannery Gunshol on the passing of her husband, Lou, on Nov. 19, 2018.


Shirley Will Matlock and her husband, Gary, enjoyed a two week safari in Kenya and Tanzania, seeing beautiful landscapes and a variety of wild animals.


Our condolences to Michele Hopkins on the passing of her father, John, on Jan. 27.


Tim Richardson was promoted to Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations for The Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering in Dec. 2018. He's been at JHU for more than five years, spending the last three at the Whiting School as the associate director for corporate and foundation relations. His efforts have been central in Hopkins Engineering creating partnerships with the likes of Amazon, Lockheed Martin, and Johnson & Johnson.


Our condolences to Ricky Sanchez on the passing of his father, Dr. Joseph Manuel Sanchez, on Oct. 26, 2018.


Angela Meola Lippy is in her third year of teaching at Liberty Christian Academy in Richlands, N.C. She began her career as a pre-K teacher and is now teaching fifth grade. At the end of January, after being nominated by a parent, she was named "Teacher of the Week" by local television station WITN.


Congratulations to the following alumni who were inducted into the Dick Watts Athletics Hall of Fame for 2018: Jamie Hershner Elwood '01 for women's lacrosse; Steve Montalvo '02 for men's soccer; Dan Velez '03 for men's lacrosse; Anthony DeFrancisco '05 for baseball; Cara Hill '07 '10M for women's basketball; and Tonia Cristino Ramsel '08 '10M for women's soccer and basketball. Jeb Barber '02 was inducted as a contributor, and the 2006 women's soccer team was recognized as a Team of Tradition.


Blake Ulam was recently promoted to Partner and Chief Operating Officer at Weyrich, Cronin and Sorra, a local accounting firm. He has over 18 years of experience in public accounting, technology, and managing operations. Blake joined the firm in 2000 as an intern while studying at SU and was hired full time in the spring of 2002 after graduation. He obtained his CPA license in June 2007.


Renee Rubeor Cummings is working as a registered nurse at St. Charles Medical Center in Bend, Ore.

Ebony Hypolite has been honored by the Maryland Association of CPAs as one of Maryland's "Women to Watch" for 2018. She received the award in the "Emerging Leader" category in September. She is a Senior Manager in SC&H's Business Performance Management practice where she oversees the implementation of Oracle-Hyperion Enterprise Performance Management and Business Intelligence solutions for clients across all industries, including Fortune 1000 enterprises.

Stacey Klima joined Harford Mutual Insurance Company as a marketing communication specialist with a focus on employee relations and community outreach. She will oversee Harford Mutual's community activities in support of its corporate social responsibility mission, as well as developing and fostering employee engagement and volunteer efforts for the company's 160 employees. Prior to joining Harford Mutual, Stacey spent more than five years in marketing and event coordination roles for Baltimore area accounting firms.

Congratulations to Amy Hollomon Rogers '06 and Ashley Nelson-Raut '13 who were both recognized as 2018 Daily Record Leading Women honorees. The Leading Women Award celebrates extremely accomplished successful women who are 40 years and younger for accomplishments they have made thus far in their career. They were judged on professional experience, community involvement and a commitment to inspiring change. Amy is employed as the Development Team Director at Havas Helia. Ashley is an associate in the Wealth Preservation Group at Pessin Katz Law.


Marc Grossblatt recently traveled to Key West, Fla., and Havana, Cuba. He plans to apply for a service trip to return to Cuba this year and hopes to see more of Havana as well as Santiago de Cuba.

Christina Kramer is a Program Analyst at the Social Security Administration in Woodlawn, Md., where she has been employed for eleven years.

Andrew Levy '07 '18M and his wife Kelly Dukes Levy '18M welcomed their second child in 2018, a son named Jax born on May 30, 2018. Andrew works at Ripken Baseball as the National Sales Manager for youth baseball programming between Aberdeen, Md., Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Pigeon Forge, Tenn. Kelly is a radiation therapist at The Kaufman Cancer Center at Upper Chesapeake Hospital.

Colleen Stafford was promoted in August 2018 to Director of Finance at Oak Crest, an Erickson Living retirement community. In her new role she is responsible for day to day supervision of strategic financial management and budgeting. Stafford joined Erickson Living as senior internal auditor in Nov. 2011 and transitioned to senior financial analyst in a regional role. Since 2017, she has served as Assistant Finance Director at Charlestown, a sister Erickson Living community. She previously worked for RSM (formerly McGladrey) as a financial statement auditor, specializing in the nonprofit and health care sectors, and is licensed as a certified public accountant by the State of Maryland.

Chris Warren traveled with Steph Curry on the basketball superstar's seven-day Under Armour tour of Asia, including stops in the Philippines, China, and Japan. Chris is an Under Armour employee and is part of the team that works to brand and market the Steph Curry name and line of apparel. He also works with other athletes such as Bryce Harper, Cam Newton, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, and Anthony Joshua.


In January, Robert Carter was promoted to partner at Hertzbach, an independent, full-service accounting firm. He joined the firm in 2007 and manages the Litigation, Forensic, and Valuation Department. His areas of expertise include business valuations, litigation consulting, forensic accounting, fraud investigation and exit planning.

Jessica Hoffman Murphy is working at The Johns Hopkins Hospital as a Pediatric Oncology/Bone Marrow Transplant Nurse Practitioner.


Our condolences to Alix Sandler on the passing of her father, Dave, on March 14.


Ronnie Lordi is making a name for himself in the world of stand-up comedy in New York City where he performs at clubs six or seven nights a week. For the past three years he has been producing and hosting "Live at the Barbershop," an offbeat comedy club in the East Village. During the day it is a traditional site for a shave and haircut but is transformed into a small club for evening events. Ronnie usually performs a quick opening set before introducing five or six comics a night.

Lynn Walters and Justin Roberts '12 are engaged and planning a June 29, 2019 wedding.

Kayla Wilson passed the Maryland bar exam after graduating from the Michigan State School of Law in May 2018, and was sworn in as an attorney on Dec. 12.


Abbey Degitz and Adam Bosse '12 are engaged and plan to be married on June 1, 2019.

School of Education alumnae Kelsie Rites '13, Sally Dawson '18, Becca Jenkins '18 and Megan Madigan '18 returned to campus recently to meet with current senior interns to provide job interviewing practice and advice.

Maura Kovalcik Winebrenner is the digital media specialist for the Girl Scouts of Central Maryland. She designed the graphics and content for an email marketing and social media campaign that earned an Award of Excellence from the Public Relations Society of America, Maryland Chapter. The campaign supported the 25th anniversary of the Girl Scouts Beyond Bars program.


Linda Goodman is the co-founder of ReaLifeSim, a small women-owned business that was named a 2018 Top 10 Healthcare Simulation Solution Provider by Healthcare Tech Outlook. The company's products provide safe, repeated skills practice on a live person, allowing the learner to interact as they would in a real life situation, creating a "train the way you treat" learning experience.

Morgan Leepa began a new job at the Community College of Baltimore County as Marketing Coordinator, Enrollment Communications. Previously she served as Acquisitions Creative Manager at NewMarket Group, an Agora company. Morgan is engaged to Brian Hushour '14 and the couple is planning to marry on Nov. 9.

Joseph Leif Lott is working as an MDS Coordinator in Seattle. MDS Coordinators, also known as nurse assessment coordinators, use results from the Minimum Data Set as a key tool in assessing the functional capabilities of residents of certified nursing facilities to formulate and implement individual care plans for residents.

Ricky Ruszin has completed his second novel entitled Showtime, a suspense thriller available on

Dan Scotten is the Director of Museum Education at the National Electronics Museum in Linthicum, Md. He is also enrolled in the Master's in Public History program at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.


Chris Ambrose is a residential life professional at The Johns Hopkins University, and in November he was honored as the Outstanding New Student Affairs Professional of the Year. He is the President-Elect for the Maryland College Personnel Association, which brings together student affairs professionals from across the state.

Andrew McGregor '15 '16M recently collaborated on an article published in the Journal of Forensic Science International: Synergy. The article was a result of his thesis work under Dr. David Rivers of Loyola University Maryland.

Kathryn Merrick married longtime boyfriend Casey Jendras on Sept. 1, 2018. She also completed her doctorate of physical therapy degree at the University of Maryland at Baltimore and is now a practicing physical therapist at Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital. She has also served on alumni panels for Stevenson Future Scholars Day.

In July 2018, Gail V. Tucker was appointed Executive Director of the Maryland Board of Morticians and Funeral Directors for the Maryland Department of Health. In addition to ensuring high quality standards and best practices in the death care industry for Maryland consumers, Gail is also in the final phase of writing a book.


Safietou Monica Dao is a pharmacy technician at a CVS Pharmacy in Baltimore. She writes that she misses being at SU and wishes she could come back as a freshman.

Megan Donovan and Patrick Curtis '17 got engaged in Aug. 2018 and are planning an Oct. 2020 wedding. Megan teaches third grade at West Towson Elementary School and is in her second year of a master's program majoring in instructional technology with a focus on library media science. Patrick is a firefighter and EMT for the Baltimore County Fire Department.

Nora Long was accepted into the Film and TV MFA Program at the Savannah College of Art and Design with an honors scholarship.

Our condolences to Matthew Myers on the passing of his mother, Teresa, on Jan. 30.

Emily Rosenthal is engaged to Braedon Alster and the couple is planning an October wedding.

Rojesh Shrestha was accepted into the Biological and Biomedical Science Program in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University and will begin studies in the fall of 2019.


John Backert '17 '18M is a forensic services technician for the Baltimore County Police Department.

Chris Daley '17M made the move to start his own company, Whirlaway, LLC, after more than 12 years at Maroon PR. His new communications agency offers companies and individuals customized public relations and marketing services to grow their brands. Chris is also an adjunct instructor in the SU Business Communication Program.

Kris Dejesus was ranked as #49 in The Dodgeball Tribune's Top 50 male players overall in the United States. Kris helped to establish a dodgeball club at Stevenson during his time as an undergraduate, and has played against the best players in the United States during Team USA tryouts and the Elite Nationals.

Kim Hahr works at the Maryland Center for Construction Education and Innovation (MCCEI), and in a podcast through LinkedIn, she recently discussed the efforts of the organization to encourage students to enter the construction industry. She is the strategic partnerships manager and affiliate director of the ACE Mentor Program of Baltimore.

Kaitlin "Kait" Kirkwood accepted a full time position at Discovery Inc. as the Global Talent Management and Operations Coordinator. She moved to the company's new operations headquarters in Knoxville, Tenn., to support the team that manages all of Discovery's on-air talent. Kait will mentor network on-camera talent, troubleshoot talent issues and focus on the business of talent branding, as well as facilitate communications, operations, and logistics across many projects for global on-camera talent.

Brendan Reynolds made a career change at WDVM-TV in Hagerstown, Md., moving from web producer to reporter. While a student at Stevenson, he was an editor-in-chief of The Villager and a member of the Anime Club.

Stephanie Schwarz welcomed a daughter, Adrianna May Taylor, on July 30, 2019. Steph is a Toddler Teacher at Advent Child Development Center in Forest Hill, Md.


Jamie Barthol had her work showcased in September at the Creative Alliance at the Patterson as part of the 6th Annual Best of Baltimore Student Film Festival.

Imani Chaney is working as a legal assistant in the Mecklenburg County District Attorney's Office in Charlotte, N.C.

Anita DiCarlo plans to begin studies in August at the University of Baltimore School of Law.

Devon Hightower is preparing for training camp with the Jersey Flight, a professional indoor football team based in Trenton, N.J., and a member of the American Arena League.

Krystine Hill is pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of Pittsburgh with a major in chemistry.

Caroline Izzi works for Tenable, Inc., and was sent to Houston to coordinate social media at the Grace Hopper Celebration, the world's largest gathering of women technologists. She writes that she has been given wonderful hands-on opportunities over the past months at Tenable, and she designed the giveaway tee shirts for the Houston event.

Angelica Lackey attended the 6th Global Symposium on Ketogenic Therapies for Neurological Disorders in Jeju, Korea, where she presented the independent research that she did during her senior year at SU in collaboration with The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. She learned about the individualization of ketogenic therapies and was inspired by the eager and gracious collaboration between diet centers and among countries. She plans to continue to pursue this field and believes that her success in large part comes from the education and support she received at SU.

Kendra Lyle is working as a Program Coordinator for the Urban Alliance in Baltimore.

Jahlivia Moore was accepted into the NYC Hospitality Industries Studies Master's Program.

Delaney Patterson is pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of Maryland College Park with a major in organic chemistry.

Stacey Wardenfelt is pursuing a Ph.D. at The Ohio State University with a major in chemistry and a focus in biology.

Kourtney Wells is working at Orisis Therapeutics as a manufacturing operator, helping in the manufacture of products made from donated placental tissue.

Ashley Wolfe is working as a Material Control Specialist at Northrop Grumman.

In Memoriam

Patricia Ann Emerson '55 on Dec. 1, 2018

Catherine "Kay" McMullen '56 on Nov. 20, 2018

Mary Henry Jacox '59 on Oct. 15, 2018

Eileen Tawney Nichols '64 on Feb. 26, 2019

Martha "Marty" Tezak '64 on Oct. 18, 2018

Shirley Caple Wrightson '70 on Nov. 8, 2018

Margaret Anne Byrnes '73 on Feb. 20, 2018

Suzanne Dugan Stylc '75 on Oct. 15, 2018

Dianne Griffin Stewart '79 on March 5, 2019

Marlene Goodman Greenebaum '83 on Dec. 23, 2018

  Jun 2019  


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Ventures is published two times each year by Stevenson University for its students, faculty, staff, alumni, friends, and benefactors. No part of this publication may be reproduced in print or digital form without prior permission from the publisher.

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