Wilkes

The Online Edition


Leave a comment

Many Happy Returns

Faculty Pay Forward Their Wilkes Experience in the Classroom

By Helen Kaiser, additional reporting and research by Francisco Tutella and Bill Thomas ’13

TOC_FacultyLike the theme from the television show “Cheers,” Wilkes is a place where everybody knows your name according to assistant professor of nursing Joyce Chmil ’87, MHA ’91, M.A. ’07, M.S. ’10

Wilkes was—and is—a comfortable place. “Faculty talked to you like you were made to be here,” she says, recalling her student days.

She’s not alone. For about three dozen faculty members who earned their undergraduate degrees here, there’s just something about the university that creates a striking affinity—so striking that it drew them back to campus to continue the relationship with their alma mater.

Matthew Sowcik ’00, assistant professor in the Jay S. Sidhu School of Business and Leadership – who served as student government president during his undergraduate days – says, “I have seen many wonderful universities, but this has always been home to me. The things I love about it have always just felt right . . .”

These faculty are forging links with today’s generation of students in hopes of giving back some of what they received when they were students. They remember the positive experiences they had with accessible professors in a welcoming atmosphere.

Unanimously, the returnees recalled faculty who made a difference in their lives and inspired them to achieve success in their careers. Now, they emulate them in their own approach to teaching today’s students.

Several of these alumni share thoughts about their return – and about the “aha moment” when they knew college teaching was their calling.

Continue reading


Leave a comment

The Fine Art of Humor

Joe Dettmore ’76 Makes The Daily Show A Visual Masterpiece

By Jacqueline Lukas ’11

Joe Dettmore '76 relaxes during a lull in production on the set of The Daily Show, where he's left his mark as creative director. PHOTOS BY DAN Z. JOHNSON

Joe Dettmore ’76 relaxes during a lull in production on the set of The Daily Show, where he’s left his mark as creative director. PHOTOS BY DAN Z. JOHNSON

It was Friday afternoon and most of Joe Dettmore’s co-workers had left. He was relaxing in the break room when a visitor asked for directions.

The man, a little disoriented, said, “How do you get out of here?”

It was only later that Dettmore realized he’d just spoken with one of the most influential filmmakers in history: Martin Scorsese.

It’s all part of a typical day for Dettmore ’76, creative director at The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

During his decade on the satirical entertainment news show, he’s turned around while at his desk and seen J.K Rowling, Christopher Walken, Billy Crystal, Robin Williams, Steve Jobs and President Barack Obama. However, that hasn’t made him star struck. “It’s just regular people doing their jobs,” says Dettmore. Continue reading


Leave a comment

Engineering Diplomacy

Randa Fahmy ’86 Negotiates in the International Arena

By Geoff Gehman

Randa Fahmy pauses in front of the White House - a familiar part of the landscape in her career in government and as a consultant in Washington, D.C. PHOTOS BY STEVE BARRETT

Randa Fahmy pauses in front of the White House – a familiar part of the landscape in her career in government and as a consultant in Washington, D.C. PHOTOS BY STEVE BARRETT

Randa Fahmy ’86 was working overtime to broker a deal between her client, a well-known American maker of highly sensitive defense equipment, and a Middle Eastern country well known for working with Americans. Along the way the international strategist discovered a fairly odd obstacle. Middle Eastern officials, she learned, were reluctant to award a contract to an American corporation that sent them representatives from their European branches.

She ordered her client to fly a half-dozen American employees, including a receptionist, to meet the Middle Eastern leaders the next day. Then she moderated two days of intense discussions, insisting to her hosts that her nearly century-old American client could indeed obtain a large number of complex U.S. government licenses to sell its equipment.

The project ended up taking six years, a dozen flights and all of Fahmy’s skills as a boots-on-the-ground business negotiator and diplomatic translator. Getting all sides to speak the same language–even when they speak the same language–is her specialty as founding president of Fahmy Hudome International, a consulting firm that specializes in market-entry strategy and energy policy. She succeeds by combining comprehensive knowledge, fierce logic and feisty humor. Continue reading


Leave a comment

Humanitarian Effort

Dr. Thomas J. Kaschak ’75 Heals with the Vietnam Medical Project 

By Rachel Luann Strayer MFA ’12

Dr. Thomas Kaschak '75 practices podiatry in Fresno, Calif. PHOTO COURTESY KAISER PERMANENTE. OTHER PHOTOS BY CISSY KASCHAK

Dr. Thomas Kaschak ’75 practices podiatry in Fresno, Calif. PHOTO COURTESY KAISER PERMANENTE. OTHER PHOTOS BY CISSY KASCHAK

When Dr. Thomas J. Kaschak ’75 was invited to join colleagues and residents from the Stanford University School of Medicine on a 1998 trip to Vietnam, he thought it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Kaschak, now a podiatrist with Kaiser Permanente Medical Group in Fresno, Calif., recalls thinking, “When am I ever going to do this again?”

He now knows the answer: In May 2015, Kaschak will make his 15th trip there. Trips are now made under the auspices of the Vietnam Medical Project, the humanitarian group he directs.

On that first trip, Kaschak was awed by the landmarks he recognized from news coverage of the Vietnam War. Arriving at the Da Nang Orthopedic and Rehabilitation Center, wonder turned to shock when his first patient walked in on his hands and feet because his knees bent forward instead of back. Continue reading

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.