The Online Edition

Class Notes – Spring/Summer 2016

Undergraduate Degrees


Peter Gale practices law in New York City. After going to graduate school in mathematics, he became a lawyer. In his spare time, Gale is helping with the Bernie Sanders campaign.


Richard Owen Burns was sworn in as a trustee for the Village of Piermont, N.Y., and is on the board of directors of Meals on Wheels. Burns and his wife of 48 years, Lynda, live in Piermont, and they have three children and six grandchildren. He practices law in Chestnut Ridge, N.Y.

Gary Einhorn has expanded his business consulting practice to full-time in Ashland, Ore., with a new name, The Entrepreneurial Ear.



Philip Cheifetz retired from Nassau Community College in New York after a 49-year career. In 2008, he received the State University of New York’s prestigious Distinguished Service Professorship. A writer of materials for the Harvard Consortium and a spokesperson for Harvard Calculus, he helped to systematically change calculus instruction in the United States. He played a seminal role in the creation of the American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges, serving as its president in 1978 and its executive director from 1979-1983.


Hedy (Wrightson) Rittenmeyer was named a board member of KERA Public Television in Dallas-Fort Worth and chairs the development committee.

Ronald Rittenmeyer was named chairman of Millennium Health Corp. in San Diego, Calif. He continues to serve on the boards of AIG, Avaya, IMS Health and Tenet Health Care. He also is on the board of the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., and the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. He also was named to the foundation board at the Church of the Incarnation in Dallas, Texas.



Marie Stolarick is manager of donor relations in the division of university advancement at Misericordia University. She lives in Nanticoke, Pa.


Doreen Wickiser Dzoba retired from teaching after 34 years. The first 28 years were at St. Jude School in Mountain Top, Pa., and the last six years were in Orange County, Fla. She resides in Orlando, Fla., with her husband, Tom Dzoba.



Linda (O’Boyle) Zaneski MHA ’02 was promoted to associate chief of nursing services for geriatrics and extended care at the VA Medical Center in Wilkes-Barre. She has a certification in gerontological nursing and case management and a nursing home license. She resides in Edwardsville, Pa., with her husband, Stan ’90, and their children, Rebecca and Stanley.


Karen (Schiavo) Ayers of Redlands, Calif., is executive director of the Fontana Chamber of Commerce. She previously served as the marketing manager for Visterra Credit Union in Moreno Valley, Calif. Ayers also serves on the board of directors for March Field Air Museum in Riverside, Calif.

Catherine (Heaman) Weaver was elected to the board of directors of the Delaware Valley Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. Weaver is chief executive officer of CSG Global, a regional provider of next-generation business collaboration and communication solutions.


Cara (Smigiel) Reed MS ’04 has joined Allied Services Integrated Health System as a clinical nurse specialist at Allied Services Skilled Nursing and Rehab Center. Reed also is helping to launch the nonprofit health system’s on-site certified nurse aide training.



Pluskey_McClain Weckesser wedding party

Lauren Pluskey McLain MBA ’10 married Scott McLain on Dec. 20, 2014. The bride says that her bridesmaids were her “something blue,” each wearing a different shade of blue symbolizing the lasting friendships she made at Coughlin High School and at Wilkes. Both schools have school colors that include blue. Wilkes friends wearing blue included Janell (Chwalek) Starlin ’06, Tiffany Duda ’06, Megan Mance ’06, Kathy (Moran) Houlihan ’95, and Kristin (Pissano) Koulik ’07. Wilkes was evident at the wedding in other ways: The bride’s mother is Wilkes alumna Lois (Enama) Pluskey ’79. Photos were taken by Laura Gleason-Ancherani ’09, and entertainment at the reception was provided by comedian Terry Granihan ’94. The couple currently reside in Plains, Pa. McLain is director of development for the F.M. Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre and Scott is employed at MTI as an Inspector in Clarks Summit, Pa. The wedding party, pictured here in Weckesser Hall, from left, are Stacie Malenovitch, Nicole Grimm, Lisa McLain, Sara Moore EdD ’15, Lauren Pluskey McLain MBA ’10, Scott McLain, Matt Pisko, Jason Pluskey and Ryan McLain


Joy Anne Kurlandski and Matthew David Check were married June 20, 2015, at Holy Family Parish in Luzerne, Pa. The bride is a nurse at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital. The groom works for Tobyhanna Army Depot. They live in Pittston, Pa.


Megan Broski married Lee Comstock on Aug. 8, 2015. The wedding was held at St. Faustina Church in Nanticoke, Pa. She is employed as a licensed professional engineer at Susquehanna Nuclear in Berwick, Pa. The groom is a licensed professional engineer at PPL in Wilkes Barre. They reside in Hunlock Creek, Pa.

Gimble Photo 2

Lurena Gimble MS ’10 MS ’12 teaches special education in Northwest Area School District. In September 2015, she and five students – all of whom have cognitive or physical disabilities – took a dream trip to Walt Disney World. Through bake sales and fundraising, they collected enough donations to send each student with a guardian on the trip. The goal was not only to expose the students to opportunities to learn and generalize life skills, but to provide them with an opportunity to experience a trip of a lifetime that otherwise would not be feasible.


Alicia Mattioli accepted a position as an elementary school psychologist for the Parkland School District in Allentown, Pa.

Alison Woody of Old Forge, Pa., was appointed to the board of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Northeast Pennsylvania Chapter. She serves as the director of competitive grants for Geisinger Health System Foundation. Woody also volunteers with Leadership Lackawanna, Friendship House and the Arts on Fire Festival.



Bonnie Kerin Bawiec published a self-help workbook intended to help patients reflect on coping skills and create a plan for stressful situations through a seven-day program utilizing stress-management techniques.

Brittany Dougherty became owner of Magic World Child Care Center in Newport Township, Pa. Her twin sister, Brianne, is her partner in the business. The sisters have managed the center since 2011.


Nick Rosati purchased a historic seven-acre Miller Street property known as “the repository” in Wilkes-Barre. It once housed a bustling premier grain processing mill, and Rosati plans to open a distillery to make craft spirits. He is a resident of Moosic, Pa.


Jacob Parrick of Duryea, Pa., was one of the first recipients of a scholarship to The Commonwealth Medical College in Scranton through a Northeastern Pennsylvania Healthcare Foundation scholars program. He was recognized recently at a luncheon and awards ceremony at the Westmoreland Club in Wilkes-Barre. Patrick is finishing his first year of the four-year scholarship and plans to practice emergency medicine.

Graduate Degrees


William Jones MBA is the president and chief executive officer of the United Way of Wyoming Valley. He appeared on WBRE-TV as part of a panel about programs designed to help lift children from the cycle of poverty through early education and reading.


Janelle Kaczmarek MBA was named the chief financial officer at NET Credit Union. She fundraises for local charities such as Leadership Lackawanna and Make-A-Wish. She is a certified bank auditor and certified financial services auditor. She lives in Exeter, Pa.


Doreen Wickiser Dzoba – See Undergraduate Degrees 1978.


Linda (O’Boyle) Zaneski MHA- See Undergraduate Degrees 1991.


Cara (Smigiel) Reed MS – See Undergraduate Degrees 1995.


Dawn Leas MFA’s poetry book, Take Something When You Go, was published in April 2016 by Winter Goose Publishing.


Lurena Gimble MS ’10 MS ’12 – See Undergraduate Degrees 2008

Lauren Pluskey McLain MBA – See Undergraduate Degrees 2006



Karen Kuklewicz MBA was named vice president at Benco Dental, where she also serves as chief financial officer. She joined Benco in 1999 as a staff accountant and became interim chief financial officer in 2015.

Rachel Strayer MFA recently had her play, “Drowning Ophelia,” produced at the Gaslight Theatre in Scranton. The play had its world premiere at the Repurposed Theatre in San Francisco in 2013, and it was her thesis for her master’s degree in creative writing at Wilkes. Strayer teaches at Keystone College, where she will serve as head of theatre for the 2016-2017 school year.


Dawn Zera MFA, Forty-Fort, Pa., was one of 10 finalists for the prestigious PEN/Bellwether Prize for socially engaged fiction. Zera was recognized for her manuscript Earth Teach Me. The award, founded by novelist Barbara Kingsolver, is presented biennially to the author of a previously unpublished novel of high literary caliber that promotes fiction that addresses issues of social justice and the impact of culture and politics on human relationships. Zera is an adjunct professor of writing at the University of Scranton, Marywood University and King’s College.


Nichole Preistman Kanney MFA, a resident of Richmond, Ind., took first place in the family/animation short script category in the screenwriting competition at the 2016 Nashville Film Festival. Her original work “Fridge Mates” is a story about condiments coming to life behind closed refrigerator doors, embarking on a quest to save a friend from spoiling.

Michael Nixon MA of Washingotn, D.C., earned a fellowship with The Norman Mailer Center for summer 2016. The Norman Mailer Center and Writers Colony offers fellowships for writers  at Pepperdine University and the Ucross Foundation. Three applicants each from fiction and nonfiction and five from poetry were chosen based on merit for these residential programs.