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A Dose of Success


By Patty Pologruto


Daniel Longyhore, associate professor of pharmacy practice, standing center, works with students in the CVS Pharmacy Care Lab. The Care Lab, an integral part of education in the Nesbitt School of Pharmacy, was renovated and rededicated to marks the school’s 20th anniversary. Photos by Earl and Sedor Photographic.

You won’t find the drugs produced by Lanier Evans PharmD ’04 in your local pharmacy. That’s because they include low doses of radioactivity used by hospitals for high-tech scans that help diagnose a variety of medical conditions, from cancer to heart problems.

It’s a career Evans never dreamed of when he first entered Wilkes’ Nesbitt School of Pharmacy in 2000. He learned about being a nuclear pharmacist from Bernard Graham, founding dean of the Nesbitt School, who had once worked in the field himself.

“If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” says Evans, who is manager of a nuclear pharmacy in Atlanta, Ga., for PETNET Solutions, a division of Siemens Medical Solutions Inc. “He introduced this world to me.”

At the time, only two pharmacy schools in the United States offered classes leading to nuclear certification. Because Graham and other faculty tailored classes to help prepare Evans for his field of interest, he didn’t need to invest more time and money after graduation. “When I came out of school, I had all of the requirements for the nuclear medicine certification. I was offered a position with PETNET, the company I’m still with,” Evans says.

Evans’ experience in the pharmacy school reflects its strengths: close relationships with faculty, a personal approach to pharmacy education and – perhaps most importantly – a school that continues to adapt its curriculum to meet the rapidly changing field of pharmacy. As Nesbitt celebrates the 20th anniversary of its first entering class, it continues to evolve. Continue reading

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Head of the Class


By Kelly Clisham MFA ’16


Melanie Wiscount works in a new high school in Washington, D.C. Photos by Stephen Barrett.

One glance at Melanie Wiscount EdD ’15’s résumé and you understand why she won a Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics and Science. She’s snagged major honors ever since she switched careers to teach computer science at the middle- and high-school levels. During her 13-year teaching career, Microsoft selected her as a Partners in Learning US and Global Educator. Siemens honored Wiscount as a STEM Institute fellow. Now there’s the presidential honor, a national prize that comes with $10,000 from the National Science Foundation.

Still, when Wiscount talks about her work with the District of Columbia Public Schools, she doesn’t highlight her expertise or honors. She brags about her students, who team up to develop award-winning mobile apps and land prestigious internships with the likes of Microsoft, Lockheed-Martin, Accenture, World Bank and NASA. Continue reading

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By Geoff Gehman


Bonnie Culver, director of Wilkes graduate creative writing program, prepares to recognize Anna Arnett as the University’s oldest graduate.  Photos by Linh Lam.

Kathleen “Kat” Ethington issued a gentle ultimatum in December 2013 to her then-89-year-old mother, Anna Arnett M.A. ’16.  It was high time, she told her mom, to write a book about her late Mormon parents, a pair of potato-farming school principals with a pioneer zest. She needed to preserve her tales on paper for her seven children, 28 grandchildren and 49 great-grandchildren.

That day Arnett at her Mormon church in Chandler, Ariz., she learned about the Wilkes Weekender Program in creative writing at the nearby Mesa Center for Higher Education. For once, Arnett – who describes herself as a “procrastinator from the word go” — defied her tendency to dillydally, driving that same day to the center. Learning that her late husband’s military benefits would pay for the degree, she enrolled. Two years and many written pages later, she became the oldest graduate in Wilkes history, earning her master’s degree in creative writing at 92. In the process she completed a memoir of her parents’ early lives called Forever Endeavor. Continue reading

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Viva Panamá, Go Wilkes!


By Francisco Tutella MFA ’16


Celebrating Panamanian culture with Wilkes friends are, from left, Henry Barrera, Raquel Cardenas, Wilkes intensive English teacher Dee Balice, Abdel Arauz, Keisy Gonzalez, Wilkes President Patrick Leahy, Panama Education Minister Marcela Paredes de Vasquez, Wilkes intensive english teacher Vito Balice, Alexis Anderson and Carmon Rodriguez. Kneeling in front are, left, Liriola Smith and Mariela Benitez.

The dance is called Congo. A woman and a man step close then twirl apart. She wears a multi-colored dress sewn in different patterns, he a colorful, tattered costume. Panamanian high school teacher Ana Aizpurua explains that his outfit, stitched from discarded strips of fabric, mocks the former Panamanian slave owners. The dance itself is a continual exchange of seduction and rejection accompanied by clapping and the occasional cheer.

Spectators watching the dance in the Henry Student Center cannot resist Congo’s allure. The dancers are joined by Wilkes President Patrick F. Leahy, Panamanian Minister of Education Marcela Paredes de Vásquez, and Laura Flores, permanent representative of Panamá to the United Nations. University faculty, staff and administrators join the Panamanian teachers to form a giant conga line, kicking their feet and waving their arms as they circle the floor.

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A Passion For Place


By Kelly Clisham MFA ’16


Photographer Sandy Long explores the banks of the Delaware River in Lackawaxen, PA. ©2015 Dan Z. Johnson

Browsing the work of photographer Sandy Long ’86 is like taking a nature walk with the best possible tour guide, one who not only knows the area, but has a deep knowledge built on love. When Long visits a location, she doesn’t merely take pictures. Instead, she engages the area in conversation, using camera and pen, to learn about what she calls the particularities of place. Someone viewing her work is just as likely to see the wonder of mushrooms growing on a mossy log as the majesty of a vast landscape.

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Control-Room Quarterback

Brian Nalesnik ’90 Directs “Face the Nation” with efficiency, savvy and humor

By Geoff Gehman


Brian Nalesnik with a member of his crew before the airing of “Face the Nation,” the weekly public affairs show he directs. PHOTOS BY STEVE BARRETT

Brian Nalesnik ’90 was a Little Leaguer when he earned the big-league nickname “Nails,” a simplification of his last name and a description of his hammer-tough character. Steely nerves have served him well during a 20-year career as a director of live television shows about sports, finances and politics. His latest job is perfect for a control-room quarterback who loves hard news.

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Memorable Moments

Athletics Hall of Fame Inductees Recall Their Favorite Memories

The last time an athlete walks off Wilkes’ athletic fields or exits the gym, he or she takes a host of memories and lessons. It’s true for the six alumni inducted this year into the Athletics Hall of Fame. Honored during a January ceremony following a Freedom Conference basketball double header, the 23rd class of inductees represents six sports.

Here they share memories and talk about the lessons they have carried forward into their lives after Wilkes.

Brian Gryboski ’99 — Men’s Basketball


Brian Gryboski ’99 MEN’S BASKETBALL

Where he is now: Gryboski is a territory manager for Boston Scientific Neuromodulation, a medical device company.

Colonels sports career: Gryboski was an integral part of three Middle Atlantic Conference Championships and four straight NCAA tournament teams, including a Sweet 16, Elite 8 and Final 4 run. An All-ECAC selection, he stands as the all-time leader in games played with 116 and career wins. He ranked seventh in field goal percentage (50.1), sixth in free throws with 313 made and 11th in rebounds with 623. He finished his career with 1,120 points, good for 25th on the school’s all-time scoring list.

Most memorable Wilkes moment: “My most memorable moment as an athlete was during my junior year basketball season when we defeated Rowan and Hunter on consecutive days at the Marts Center to earn a spot in the Division 3 Final Four for the first time in school history.” Continue reading