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Dedications of Bruggeworth Field and Nejib Flex Lab Highlight Homecoming

Bruggeworth Field at the Ralston Athletic Complex was dedicated on Saturday, Oct. 5, highlighting Homecoming weekend. The nearly $8 million project includes a multi-purpose turf field that will be used for men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s lacrosse and women’s field hockey. It
also includes a new turf baseball field, a scoreboard, press boxes, and stadium lights for evening competition. The project was made possible by a leadership gift from Bob Bruggeworth ’83.

The dedication of the field also marked the start of a new tradition: the ringing of a victory bell for winning Colonel teams at the field. Bruggeworth established the field in honor of his mother, who rang a bell to call the family together. Bruggeworth, who majored in electrical engineering at Wilkes, is president and chief executive officer of Qorvo, a global communications company headquartered in Greensboro, N.C.

In addition, the engineering flex lab in the Mark Engineering Center was dedicated in honor of the late Umid Nejib. Nejib, the founding dean of the School of Science and Engineering and professor of electrical engineering, joined Wilkes in 1965 and died in July 2002. Later in his career, he laid the groundwork for the establishment of the Nesbitt School of Pharmacy.

College of Science And Engineering Receives National Science Foundation Grant

Wilkes University’s College of Science and Engineering has been awarded a major research instrumentation award from the National Science Foundation. Totaling over $486,000, the award will help Wilkes acquire a high-performance computer cluster, a state-of-the-art tool that supports student-faculty research across a variety of science, engineering and mathematics disciplines. 

Acquiring the high-performance computer cluster will position Wilkes as the only institution in the region with such advanced computational facilities. 

The instrument will allow faculty and students to perform high-caliber research on the most demanding of computational problems, including climate and earthquake prediction, genomic analysis, artificial intelligence and drug design. Additionally, the equipment will allow melding of real-time modeling and simulation with classroom instruction, providing a more impactful student learning experience. The award will also support Wilkes in its outreach to high school students, promoting science to young people and instilling an interest in research and discovery.

“On the heels of being ranked a national university by U.S. News and World Report, this is just another example of the talent and breadth of Wilkes University’s faculty,” said interim President Paul S. Adams.

The proposal was crafted by a multi-disciplinary team of faculty members from the College of Science and Engineering with a common goal of integrating computational technology with teaching and research. The team was led by Henry J. Castejon, professor and chair of mechanical engineering, and included Del Lucent, associate professor of physics; Caroline Fortunato, assistant professor of biology; Bobak Karimi, assistant professor of environmental engineering and earth science; Sofya Chepushtanova, assistant professor of math and computer science and Abas Sabouni, associate professor of electrical engineering.

“Interdisciplinary learning prepares our students for fulfilling careers while helping to advance scientific discovery,” said interim Senior Vice President and Provost Terese Wignot. “This award will continue our educational emphasis on mentoring and hands-on learning.”

Nursing Dean Deborah Zbegner Keynotes International Conference

Deborah Zbegner, dean of the Passan School of Nursing, was a keynote speaker at the World Congress on Nursing in Healthcare, held in July in Rome, Italy.  Zbegner’s presentation, “A Dean’s Journey: Revitalizing A School of Nursing,” reviewed innovations and improvements that she has spearheaded since becoming dean in 2015.  The conference theme explored innovations in nursing and health care. The three-day event provides a platform for nursing students, faculty, deans, researchers, and leaders to collaborate on topics affecting nursing education. The event drew more than 300 attendees and included five keynote speakers and more than 60 other speakers, educational sessions and workshops.

Search Proceeding for Wilkes’ Seventh President

The search for Wilkes’ seventh president is continuing with the goal of having a new president in place by the start of fall semester 2020. Dan Cardell ’79, chairman of the University’s board of trustees and chair of the presidential search committee, updated the campus community in September about the status of the search.

The firm Park Square Executive Search, which has been engaged to assist with the search, created a position description that captured the necessary qualities and characteristics for Wilkes’ next president. The description was based on meetings it held with the campus community in spring 2019 and on feedback from the presidential search committee.  

Park Square then engaged in an extensive national search to identify and recruit a diverse pool of candidates. In addition, members of the campus community nominated individuals who they felt would be a good fit for the position. In July and August, the search committee evaluated the entire list of qualified, interested candidates and narrowed the pool by identifying the candidates with the highest potential for success at Wilkes. Based on the advice of Park Square, a confidential search is being conducted to attract the best talent to Wilkes.

During the fall semester, semi-finalists participated in interviews with the search committee.  “From this group we anticipate asking two to three of these candidates to join us on campus as finalists for the position,” Cardell says. “While on campus, finalists will have the opportunity to meet with the presidential search committee, as well as leaders from various areas of campus, during confidential meetings.    

Although the process will be confidential, it will still be participative. Select members of the Wilkes community, representing various campus constituencies, will be asked to meet with finalists and then share their feedback with the search committee. Final recommendations will be made by the committee to the Board of Trustees for their consideration.  

Members of the presidential search committee are faculty members Karim Medico Letwinsky, assistant professor and chair of the doctor of education program, and Eric Ruggiero, associate professor of digital design and media art; senior administrators Jonathan Ference PharmD ’03, associate provost, and Janet Kobylski, assistant vice president of finance and treasurer; staff member Erica Acosta, associate director of diversity affairs; students Hunter Hughes and Caroline Rickard; and board of trustee members Laura Cardinale ’72, Chuck Cohen and Bill Miller ’81.

Kishan Zuber Named Vice President of Enrollment Management and Marketing

Kishan Zuber has joined Wilkes University as the vice president of enrollment management and marketing. Zuber oversees undergraduate and graduate admissions offices, enrollment services, financial aid and marketing. With her leadership, Wilkes will continue to advance its overall enrollment strategy, creating one of the finest doctoral universities in the country.

Prior to joining Wilkes, Zuber was the vice president of enrollment services at Wells College in Aurora, N.Y. At Wells, she developed a comprehensive recruiting strategy that consistently increased the number of first-year students and more than doubled the international student population. She previously served as the assistant dean of the graduate school at Binghamton University, State University of New York, where she grew graduate and international applicants and enhanced the academic profile of prospective students in over 90 academic programs.

“I am excited and grateful to join a nationally ranked institution known for its scholarly work, faculty-student research and civic responsibility,” said Zuber. “Wilkes University’s footprint extends well beyond the northeast region, educating students from across the country and around the world with premier undergraduate, professional and online programs. I’m proud to help promote Wilkes nationally and internationally.”

Zuber earned her bachelor’s degree in environmental studies and her master’s degree in student affairs and diversity from Binghamton University, State University of New York.

White House Photographer Pete Souza Visits Campus Launching Sordoni Exhibit

Legendary White House photographer Pete Souza spoke about his career as a chronicler of Presidents Barack Obama and Ronald Reagan in an Oct. 15 lecture at Wilkes. The speech was a prelude to the exhibition of his work, Two Presidents, One Photographer, which continues through Dec. 8 in the University’s Sordoni Art Gallery. showcases 56 of Souza’s photographs and favorite images taken during his tenure as chief official White House photographer for the two presidents.

President Barack Obama enjoys a personal moment with his wife, Michelle, under the watchful eyes of Secret Service members, The photo by presidential photographer Pete Souza is featured in the Sordoni Art Gallery exhibit.

Souza is a freelance photographer based in the Washington, D.C., area and is the former director of the White House Photography Office. He previously was a national photographer for the Chicago Tribune, a freelancer for National Geographic, and an official White House photographer for President Ronald Reagan. He is the author of six photography books, including, Obama: An Intimate Portrait, which debuted at Number 1 on The New York Times bestseller list. It is one of the best-selling photography books of all time. His new book, Shade: A Tale of Two Presidents, was published in October 2018.

The Sordoni Art Gallery is open Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit www.wilkes.edu/sordoniartgallery

Student Pharmacist Alexis Nicholson Named PQA CVS Scholar

Wilkes University fourth-year student pharmacist Alexis Nicholson of Breinigsville, Pa., was accepted in the national Pharmacy Quality Alliance (PQA) and CVS Health Foundation scholars program. Nicholson is one of just 15 student pharmacists across the nation to be accepted into the program based upon their research proposal.

Student pharmacists Alexis Nicholson was one of 15 student pharmacists in the country name to the Pharmacy Quality Alliance and CVS Health Foundation scholars program.

Mentored by Nicole Pezzino, director of community outreach in the Nesbitt School of Pharmacy, Nicholson’s research focuses on how pharmacists can best communicate with prescribers after identifying high-risk drug therapy problems, such as drug interactions and fall risk in the elderly, since the national response rate to this is 33 percent. Nicholson’s goal is to learn how to increase that response.

Her research will examine an important question: “What do we do if the pharmacist sees a real problem in the community and needs to reach out to a provider? A lot of the time, providers won’t get a direct message from the pharmacist,” Nicholson says.

As a PQA-CVS scholar, Nicholson receives funding to attend two national conferences and access to national mentors to assist in her research. PQA and the CVS Health Foundation provide a $1,250 stipend to each student within the mentor-mentee pair to support their expenses to attend and actively participate in up to two PQA live meetings. As part of the program, Nicholson also will present a poster detailing her project results and present it at the PQA annual meeting in May 2020.

News@Wilkes Offers Unique Perspectives on University Life
Take an insider’s tour of Wilkes interim President Paul Adams’ Weckesser Hall office. Get introduced to the Dogs of Wilkes – the canine companions of Wilkes’ faculty, staff and students. Grab a closer look at a campus head-shaving event that raised money for breast cancer research. These stories – and more – are featured on News@Wilkes, the official news site of the University. Check it out at http://news.wilkes.edu

Bierly Fellowships Fund International Health Care Experiences for Pre-Med Students

Students who study abroad in Greece might talk about visiting an historic site like the Parthenon as a highlight of their trip. When Wilkes junior Jason DeBoard talks about the time he spent in the Mediterranean country, and he remembers observing open heart surgery, plastic surgery and more. DeBoard was able to get an international health-care perspective through his participation in the Atlantis Fellowship. The fellowship is an intensive program abroad for American pre-med students. Fellows experience global healthcare through hospital shadowing rotations and prepare for medical school applications through reflective hospital observation, volunteering and medical humanities research.

Another Wilkes pre-med student, senior Amina Mustafa, also gained valuable experience examining international health-care issues through her study-abroad experience in Amman, Jordan. Mustafa spent seven weeks in the middle eastern country in the School for International Training’s program examining refugees, health and humanitarian issues. While staying in Jordan, she lived with a host family, enhancing her experience.

Mustafa completed two weeks of classes that examined topics related to Syrian refugees in Jordan. Her last five weeks were spent in an internship with the Eastern Medical Public Health Network, also known as EMPHNET. She helped to analyze data from a survey assessing women’s knowledge of health-care issues, such as breast cancer. The data, which was shared with UNICEF on completion of her assignment, will be used to determine what health education programs and services may be needed for a vulnerable population.

“It was such an invaluable experience,” Mustafa says of the internship. “There’s no way I would have learned what I learned in a classroom.” The experience has influenced her career plans. Mustafa is considering programs combining study to become a medical doctor with a master’s degree in public health.

Both DeBoard and Mustafa received the Bierly Fellowship to fund their study abroad experiences. The Bierly Fellowship is open to full-time undergraduate Wilkes students in any major. Students may receive the one-time award to fund study abroad in their sophomore, junior or senior year.  

Wilkes junior Jason DeBoard, pictured above fourth in the second row, earned a Bierly Fellowship at Wilkes to study health care in Greece in summer 2019.

New Trustees Welcomed

The Wilkes University Board of Trustees welcomed three new trustees at the October 4 meeting. Pictured from let to right are Paul S. Adams, interim president, new trustees William Hanbury ’72, Tara Mugford Wilson and Lisa Isbitski Goldem ’90, and Dan Cardell, chair of the board of trustees.