Posts Tagged ‘Alumni Affairs’

How Nice to See You Again, Mr. Nash

Cal Armistead interviews Graham Nash in 1980 for The Campus.

Not many people get to relive signature moments in their lives. But Cal Claypool Armistead ’80 was lucky enough to do just that. As a senior at Allegheny, she interviewed future Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Graham Nash when he came to perform in concert on the Meadville campus. She got to do it all over again 37 years later when the rock legend appeared at a summer music festival in Massachusetts.

Much has transpired in Armistead’s life: After getting her start in journalism writing for The Campus newspaper, she has written for publications such as The Chicago Tribune and Shape Magazine, and is the author of the novel Being Henry David, a book used in schools to introduce pupils to Henry David Thoreau within a contemporary story. She’s married to Tedford Armistead ’79, who works in information technology for the commonwealth of Massachusetts. They live in Acton and have two grown daughters.

Here is the link to Armistead’s article about twice interviewing Graham Nash, formerly of the Hollies and Crosby, Stills & Nash. The story appeared in The Boston Globe this past summer.

American Colors Inc. Prefers Blue and Gold

By Kathleen Prosperi ’11

Jim Wible ’71, co-founder and president of American Colors in Sandusky, Ohio, has long believed in the potential of Alleghenians. Not only does he advocate for students as a College trustee, he believes the Allegheny graduate to be a quality investment for his company, having recruited and hired Gators since the company’s inception in 1975.

“I know that the skills it takes to handle the pressure of getting a degree from Allegheny apply to the business world as well,” says Wible. His company provides high-quality liquid pigment systems and other products to the coatings, composites, plastics and allied industries. It serves customers from two manufacturing facilities, one in Sandusky, and the other in Lebanon, Tenn.

Finding committed, long-term employees has produced challenges, and a need for change has blossomed into what appears to be the next revolutionary idea in corporate recruitment.

Jim Fitch, assistant director of career education at Allegheny, explains: “Jim (Wible) came to me and proposed hiring a group of graduating seniors as a team, interviewing and hiring them as one unit … a unit with a variety of majors, skills and talents.”

The hope is to promote future success and satisfaction at American Colors through pre-existing, forged relationships while nurturing a critical mass of Allegheny alumni who contribute as employees.

Invited to apply as a group, Tyler Hogya ’14 (Economics/Computer Science), Jordan Encarnacion ’14 (Chemistry/Economics), John O’Donnell ’14 (Economics/Communication Arts), RC Kunig ’14 (Biology/Economics/Psychology), and Elliott Hasenkopf ’14 (Chemistry/Economics/Biology) were one of four cohorts to express interest.

“Over the past four years, we have become great friends through living, working and playing together,” said Hasenkopf.

“Being able to come right out of college and enter the real world with four of your best friends seemed surreal. I was extremely surprised to hear of this opportunity, mainly because I’ve never heard of such a strategy before. It was new to all of us,” O’Donnell added.

The idea was new to everyone involved, including the hiring team, which was comprised of Wible, Matt Kosior, chief operating officer, and Kayla Beatty ’12.

“We saw huge, exceptional talent,” says Wible. “This group, the one we chose, was the most enthusiastic and seemed to have a cohesiveness that I liked.”

The benefits will be twofold—for the graduates and for American Colors.

“Over the last few years, after we hired students from Allegheny, we noticed they would say, ‘I came here [to Sandusky, Ohio] and didn’t know anyone. I’m having trouble getting involved in the community and finding it tough to meet people,’” says Wible.

Although other Allegheny graduates were pleased with American Colors, assimilation in other areas of their lives proved to hamper their overall happiness. That won’t be the case with this group. “These graduates will now get to go into the real world with an immediate support system. We hope this will provide them with a smooth transition into the workplace with a sense of belonging,” Wible says.

The students also see the benefits: “When entering the professional workplace, it is essential, not only that you have many positive relationships, but that you continue to build upon them while continually adding new ones. Our pre-established relationship will also allow us to feel comfortable more quickly in our working environment,” says Kunig.

“We see this as a potential for longevity for the company, as well,” Wible adds. “We are hoping that all five of the new hires will like and form a long relationship with American Colors.”

“I believe our team chemistry will translate into a professional environment seamlessly. Not only are we able to achieve goals together, but we also challenge each other. I think the ability to bring in five new workers who already work well together will serve American Colors well, especially in project-oriented tasks,” says Hasenkopf.

American Colors wiblepic_web

At this point, the future of group recruitment can only be imagined. After all, it is not the norm. The benefits can be seen as huge, though, for all parties involved.

“We’re hoping that it can become a model … that other employers who can do this will think, ‘What a great idea. …Why don’t we do this too?’” says Fitch. “If we had 20 employers who did that, we would have huge diversity in the types of job opportunities we are providing to students.”

President James H. Mullen, Jr. adds: “Jim is a great Alleghenian who has long been committed to affording opportunities to our students. In hiring this very talented group of our graduates from diverse disciplines, he is at once implementing a very innovative business approach and reinforcing the strength of Allegheny’s liberal arts curriculum.”

No matter what comes from this unique hiring strategy, the future is bright for American Colors’ new team. The team began its first day at American Colors. Each person had their own job description: Encarnacion, Kunig and Hasenkopf are project chemist trainees and Hogya and O’Donnell are operations trainees. However, it should be pointed out that they will have the opportunity to work on a project together as a team, to exhibit abilities learned at Allegheny.

As graduation day approached in May, Hasenkopf reflected, “As graduation is upon us, everyone has started to say goodbye to Allegheny and the friends they have made here, but we have this amazing opportunity which will allow us to see our closest friends every day. We are all very excited to hit the ground running and apply our Allegheny College educations to our endeavors with American Colors.”

Using Her Gifts

As published by

Allegheny backstroke specialist Joan Lange made big waves in 1976 when she became one of the first two women to win an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship – as a captain of the Gator men’s swim team, six years before the Association began sponsoring competition for women.

She and SMU diver Christine Loock each received a $1,500 scholarship, joining 862 men who had been honored in the then 12-year-old program.

Lange put the funds to good use, graduating with honors from the Dartmouth School of Medicine in 1979, and she eventually became a prominent consultant to companies and international travelers on threats posed around the world by outbreaks of diseases.

But Lange made her first splash athletically, when she capped her freshman year with a sixth-place finish in the 100-yard backstroke at the Presidents’ Athletic Conference championships – making her the first woman to score at the meet.

A year later, Allegheny began sponsoring a women’s swim team, but Lange opted to continue competing with the men. Through her career, she collected 14 first-place finishes in dual meets and placed in the PAC – the league in which the current North Coast Athletic Conference school competed at the time – all four seasons.

Alongside those athletics honors, she maintained a near-perfect grade-point average at Allegheny and was active in campus activities, including serving as Panhellenic vice president. Her classmates took notice, electing her homecoming queen. She was escorted at her coronation by teammate Marty Pfinsgraff, a Division III all-American swimmer and her future husband.


For the past five years, she has served as an independent medical consultant, describing herself in a biography as interested in “bringing innovative therapies to patients who have serious health problems and few therapeutic options.” She previously was director of health intelligence for iJet, where she helped clients cope with such travel health risks as SARS, avian influenza and H1N1 pandemic influenza.

The Pfinsgraffs remain prominent at their alma mater, supporting participation by Allegheny students in science internships.

Joan Pfinsgraff also remains active athletically at age 60, participating in U.S. Masters Swimming as a member of the Terrapin Masters Club. She swept backstroke events for her age group in March at the Carol Chidester Memorial Swim Meet in Maryland and again in April at the Colonies Zone Championships in Virginia.

Today, 87 women annually receive NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships, along with 87 men. The program seeks to identify “individuals whose dedication and effort are reflective of those characteristics necessary to succeed and thrive through postgraduate study in an accredited graduate degree program.”

There isn’t much doubt – after a career in intercollegiate athletics that remains noteworthy four decades later, as well as academic success and professional achievement – that the first woman scholarship recipient in Division III lived up to expectations.

Boats Building Kids

As published in Allegheny Magazine, Spring 2014

Travel north on Interstate 79 as far as you can go and you’ll find yourself on the Bayfront Parkway in Erie, Pa. After passing a steady backdrop of highway billboards and exit signs on the drive, this view is much more scenic. Presque Isle Bay lies to the north with boats dotting the landscape. Soon you’re on Holland Street, home to the Bayfront Maritime Center, the legacy of Allegheny College alumni Amy and Rich Eisenberg.

Bayfront Center

Photo by Kathleen Prosperi

The facility’s campus is located on the water’s edge and is eye-catching. After passing through its secure entrance, you walk along walls of windows installed to engage the outside world. Boats hang from the ceiling to showcase history and accomplishments. Open spaces accommodate learning and creativity. Throughout the school, classrooms of every imaginable configuration exist, from the traditional to a fully equipped boatbuilding shop and the floating classrooms – the Bayfront Maritime Center’s vessels.

Amy describes it as the “new face of education.”

It’s hard to package the center neatly, to describe it down to a tee – what it does is so much more than its various educational and vocational programs suggest.

Rich’s words to describe what happens here, “boats building kids,” seem to say it best.

In 16 years of existence, the center has worked with approximately 16,000 people, mostly youngsters, to create positive learning experiences through sailing, building boats, studying navigation, learning about the environment, and rowing and paddling, while enjoying scenic Presque Isle Bay and Lake Erie.

Rich is executive director of the center, and Amy is the executive assistant. They took a roundabout course to find their way here, some 45 miles north of Meadville.


Rich and Amy Eisenberg

After Allegheny, Rich ’75 and Amy ’76 headed west, looking for adventure. Upon landing on the coast in northern California they worked for a short time in Sausalito and San Francisco, Rich in a boat yard and Amy in an art gallery. Rich and Amy’s work moved north into coastal Marin. Rich’s employment evolved into various construction projects, most notably the award-winning Briarcombe, featured in Fine Home Building and Sunset magazines. Amy continued to focus on her artwork while employed in various boutique craft cottage industries.

Several years later, the couple visited friends in Maui, Hawaii, and found a new home. Rich ran projects for Greater Pacific Construction, primarily commercial medical remodeling, but also a few custom homes and other special projects. Amy managed the Maui Crafts Guild and Maui Child Toys and Books. Then, in 1986, their son, Ivan, was born.

“A new family and quality schools eventually led us back home to Western Pennsylvania,” says Rich. That was in 1994, after 11 years on Maui.

A few years later, their second “child,” the Bayfront Marine Center, was conceived and born.

“I met Jim Stewart, co-founder who left the center in 2004, and we started talking about how kids never get out onto the water, they never get a chance to experience it, to use it,” says Rich.

“Our son had been enrolled in the sailing school at the Erie Yacht Club at the time. We wanted to give opportunities to kids who couldn’t do that, to create ‘The People’s Yacht Club,’” Amy adds.

Bayfront Center

Photo by Kathleen Prosperi

The center has evolved since then. A lot. In 1998, it started out in a temporary pole structure on the deserted Holland Street Pier that was built to outfit the Brig Niagara. When that sailing ship moved to another mooring in Erie, the Bayfront Maritime Center began. The center finally got its permanent home in 2003, a Western Pennsylvania Port Authority Building constructed specifically for the center and its innovative programming.

Amanda Loose, Project SAIL coordinator, reflects: “When I first started here, we were pouring concrete at the old McAlaster building [the second location]. I’m amazed at how much we’ve grown. Now, we have more staff, kids and community involved … people are more aware of what we’re doing.”

Finding a place to settle down was instrumental in allowing them to expand as an actual school, giving Rich and Amy an opportunity to use their Allegheny educations as a guide.

“I am somewhat of a non-traditional learner myself, and the small class sizes and individual attention I received from some of my professors at Allegheny helped prepare me to think outside of the box, and to develop an educational approach that utilizes non-traditional classrooms and techniques,” says Rich.

Bayfront Alternative Education Program

The term “alternative education” can evoke a variety of images. Some, presumably, think of “troubled” kids being punished as a result of disruptive behavior and moved to an undesirable location to learn in a separate setting. Rich and Amy are challenging that stereotype, taking the status quo and turning it on its head.

This is why they started the Bayfront Alternative Education Program (BAEP), an innovative collaboration between the Bayfront Maritime Center, the Sarah A. Reed Children’s Center and the Erie School District, providing effective, safe and therapeutic learning opportunities for students (ages 15 to 18) in serious risk of not graduating. “These are the kids who are slipping, sometimes plummeting, through the cracks. We need to be able to reach each of these students, individually, in an effective manner that has meaning, and an application that they are able to grasp,” says Rich.

The alternative education program’s academic component is a blend of traditional and Web-based curriculum, hands-on maritime projects and other activities aligned with Pennsylvania Department of Education standards. It becomes all the more impressive when you realize it’s accomplished under the auspice of the “Sanctuary Model,” a treatment philosophy focused on helping injured children recover from the damaging effects of interpersonal trauma. A full system approach, it requires extensive leadership involvement in the process of change, people who are committed to creating a non-violent, democratic and productive community to restore children’s sense of safety and self-efficacy, while using the “7 Commitments of Sanctuary.” Mentors ask “What happened to this kid?” versus “What’s wrong with this kid?” Adopted for use with two nonprofits and a school district, the Bayfront Maritime Center is regarded as a pioneer in the field for taking this approach to learning.

On any given school day, about 25 to 35 students are on campus, although within a year, staff will see a total of about 90, which speaks to its relatively temporary nature: “Goals are created, short- and long-term, to get the kids thinking about positive future outcomes for their own lives. The primary goal is to have these students return to their home schools, be successful and graduate, ready for further education or employment,” says Rich.

Regular education classes are provided to Bayfront Alternative Education Program students on a daily basis through the Sarah A. Reed partnership.

For one student, Mike, the small class size and individual attention helps: “Science is one of my favorite parts of being here,” he says. “You get more help doing what you need to do.”

Chad Gustafson, a social studies teacher, talks about the process: “We try to modify student behaviors as best as possible … we go through a lot of adaptations. A lot of times, we meet in the middle and do the best we can. We … get the job done.”

Project SAIL

Project SAIL is the center’s other active program during the school year. Addressing the need for positive after-school activities, approximately 30 apprentices experience maritime-based educational and vocational training twice a week, for three eight-week sessions.

“After school is when teens are most likely to engage in risky behaviors and be subjected to violence and abuse,” says Rich. “Project SAIL apprentices are getting outside, sailing, rowing and learning to use real-world tools while engaged in boatbuilding and other construction projects, and improving their chances of finding employment through resume writing, learning how to fill out applications and interview preparation.”

Walk into the boatshop here and you can feel the buzz, an excitement for learning of which students aren’t yet aware they’re developing. This is where students, apprentices from both programs, use the center’s ShopBot CNC digital fabrication equipment to build boats. A majority of the center’s programming, especially in project SAIL, happens here.

The CNC machine is situated to the left, and a small group of teenagers checks out someone’s latest project. Proud of their work, students are quick to share. They design and build a plaque to take home – and an education to last a lifetime. Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) components are woven into the daily training.

The center’s STEM Director Harold Rinn, maritime educator and CNC specialist, emphasizes its popularity: “They (students) almost fight over their time on the computer.”

In the boatshop, students work with their hands and think on their feet with Jodi Carpenter, educator and boat builder. They are working on their latest project, the St. Ayles Skiff, which will be part of Erie’s first-ever Community Rowing Program when finished this summer.

One vessel already is built, sitting across the room. Rich says that it takes about a school year to construct a 22-foot skiff. This group is seemingly on task, having completed three-quarters of their vessel.

“When they first come in, especially the students in BAEP, they say, ‘We’re never going to build this boat. You’re crazy!’ But then, as they gain confidence, they come up with good ideas … they’re able to problem solve on their feet, which is so exciting. They learn so much, they find out what they’re good at because there’s so many things that go into building a boat,” says Carpenter.

Small groups work together. Their current job is to finish some last-minute gluing and sanding. “They get a lot of satisfaction in seeing what their team has done,” says Rinn.

A teacher from East High recommended Project SAIL to Saraswati, a recent immigrant from Nepal. “It’s fun. My favorite part is working with Miss Carpenter building a boat,” Saraswati says.

“These are great kids. We have seen some miracles working with these young adults,” Rich says. “One now is in the U.S. Coast Guard stationed in Kodiak, Alaska, one is a sophomore in Maine Maritime Academy, one works with us and just passed the Coast Guard Masters License exams, others have been the first in their family to attend college.”

Former Bayfront student Eric, who is still in high school, is back to help.

“I found out about Project SAIL and asked Rich if I could come back to help. I know the stuff and how it works and can help someone if I see them doing it wrong,” says Eric.

For him, it’s just an easier way of learning: “I like doing hands-on work. I don’t like sitting in a class. If I have to sit there listening to a teacher talk or a presentation, I end up falling asleep,” he says.

Referring to both groups of students, Rinn adds: “I hope they show up in the summer time when we put it in the water. That’s the fun part.”

Fun, yet educational: an underlying theme to all activities at the center. Summer is the time when students get out on the boat, the “big math, science and social studies classroom” to which Rich often refers. His passion for the water and its educational benefits is evident.

In fact, the center sponsors two entirely different programs during the warm weather months: the Bayfront Migrant Summer Program and the Erie Adaptive Sailing Experience.

A summer school program of sorts, the migrant program provides much-needed educational opportunities to the children of migrant workers and recent immigrants who speak English as a second language. Focusing on language arts and literacy, the students (grades K-9) also receive instruction in math, computer skills, science and art while learning about water safety, boat handling, analytic thinking and teamwork, often in a boat they have built themselves.

The adaptive sailing program, EASE, is the only one in Pennsylvania, allowing community members, primarily youths, with physical and mental disabilities to sail independently on Presque Isle Bay. For some, this is a purely recreational activity that they can enjoy while their families network with others in similar circumstances. Some participants are learning the sport of sailing. All learn teamwork and perseverance.

During the course of a day, it appears as though Rich and Amy never stop.

“Rich has tremendous energy and a whatever-it-takes attitude. He is quite a phenomenon. He puts in endless hours and still wakes up happy,” Amy observes.

Klaus Kirschner, AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer, and Jodi Carpenter describe the couple’s partnership: “Amy is the yin to Rich’s yang. Rich is incredibly active, and Amy is the anchor that brings everything back to center. Together, Rich’s ingenuity and Amy’s foresight and pragmatism make for smooth sailing at BMC.”

The Future

The Eisenbergs are always thinking. In addition to the community-rowing program, the groundwork is being prepared to establish Veterans at EASE, a unique approach to help veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder to readjust to civilian life. Using the forum of sailing as a therapeutic approach, Veterans at EASE will foster experiences of empowerment, mastery and successful social interaction, as veterans work together as a team to achieve reconnection, resocialization, and personal growth and hopefully have some fun, in the process. Veterans at EASE is modeled after a successful program operating in Charlestown, S.C., called Veterans on Deck. Veterans will sail on the center’s vessels along with Veterans Administration counselors and the center’s sailing staff. The sailing component of the program will begin this spring; the center continues to seek funding for this important new initiative.

“I think people want to do well, yet sometimes they just don’t know how to do it. BMC allows people to give back,” says Rich.

Those interested in helping can contact Rich Eisenberg at (814) 456-4077 or Volunteers are also welcome.

“It’s amazing to me how people are continually coming through the door to make it all happen,” he says.

For more information about the programs, please visit

Environmental Science Researchers Present Results at Forest Soils Conference

Professor of Environmental Science Richard Bowden and Lauren Deem ’12 co-authored an invited presentation, “Litter Controls on Soil Carbon Quantity and Quality in an Eastern Deciduous Forest,” at the North American Forest Soils Conference.

The research, conducted at the Bousson Environmental Research Reserve, examines the ability of soils to help reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide increases that lead to climate change.

Coates and Alumni Published in the Journal Chemical Senses

Professor of Biology and Neuroscience Lee Coates and co-authors Jessica Kenemuth ’10, Shane Hennessy ’10, Ryan Hanson ’10, and Allison Hensler ’11 recently published the article “Investigation of Nasal CO2 Receptor Transduction Mechanisms in Wild-Type and GC-D Knockout Mice” in the journal Chemical Senses. This work reports results from the students’ summer research and Senior Projects.

Jessica and Allison are in dental school at the University of Pennsylvania, Shane is attending the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM), and Ryan is attending the Penn State Hershey College of Medicine.

Conklin Publishes in Two Professional Journals

Assistant Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience Sarah Conklin recently had two papers accepted for publication.

With her collaborators at the University of Pittsburgh Medical School and Graduate School of Public Health, she co-authored “Concurrent Physical Activity Modifies the Association Between Omega-3 Long-Chain Fatty Acids and Cardiometabolic Risk,” which reported that habitual physical activity may be necessary to unmask the salutary effects of omega 3 fatty acids on cardiometabolic risk and insulin resistance. It was accepted for publication in the Journal of Nutrition.

“Is the Association Between Depression and Blunted Cardiovascular Stress Reactions Mediated by Perceptions of Stress?” was accepted for publication by the International Journal of Psychophysiology. The paper reports data collected as part of the senior comprehensive project conducted at Allegheny by Ryan Brindle ’12, who is currently a doctoral student in the UK. Dr. Annie Ginty ’08 was also a co-author on the paper. The findings show that symptoms of depression are associated with reduced cardiovascular responses to a mental stressor and that the cardiovascular reactions may be task specific and mediated by perceptions of stress.

Junior Seminar Inspires Multidisciplinary Research

In June 2013, Max Lindquist ’14 attended the Association of Environmental Studies & Sciences Annual Conference where he presented a paper he co-authored with Assistant Professor of Global Health and Development and Environmental Studies Liz Olson, Associate Professor of Communication Arts Michael Mehler, Professor of Environmental Science Eric Pallant, Visiting Artist Tanja Beer, Theater Designer Leslie Fairman, Shannon Wade ’13, and Samantha Hoderlein ’15. The title of the paper is “Constructing Theater Scenery That Is Waste Free, Good for the Environment, and Good for People,” which was based on the spring 2013 Junior Seminar course taught by Professor Olson.

2013 Gator Innovation Challenge


Sixteen student teams participated in Allegheny’s Sixth Annual Gator Innovation Challenge on Saturday, April 27, in Quigley Hall.  The Gator Innovation Challenge is a competition designed to promote the spirit of entrepreneurship among Allegheny students. Each proposal focuses on an innovative project that could create wealth and/or address a community problem, bring together and/or create resources in creative ways and has the potential to make a lasting contribution to the well-being of society.


The first place trophy and a check for $750 was awarded to Allegheny sophomore Clayton Morris.  Clayton began developing his idea submitted for the Gator Innovation Challenge when he was a junior in high school. His proposed venture is Free Eyes, manufacturers of glasses that adjust with a simple twist of a pin. This innovative design allows wearers to utilize their frames longer or share them with others – adjusting for size and prescription changes. For every pair sold, the company plans to donate a pair to someone in need.

Free Eyes

Second place was awarded to sophomores Aaron Zimmerman and Patrick Payne.  There was a tie for third place between Allegheny’s Cory Rectenwald and Chap Cobb of Grove City College.

Allegheny alumni Greg Antoun ’73 of ChipBLASTER in Meadville, Pa., and David Wood ’91 of Foundation Investment Partners in Cleveland, Ohio, served as judges along with Prof. John Golden of the Economics Department and Yvonne English of the eCenter@ LindenPointe in Hermitage, Pa.


Allegheny Senior Elizabeth Moreno and Allegheny Sophomore Tori Delzer received special Awards of Merit for their work as interns in the Economics Department.  As part of their internship, Elizabeth and Tori handled all of the planning, marketing and logistics for the Managerial Economics Board of Visitors Meeting and the Executive Roundtable on April 7-8, 2013 as well as the Gator Innovation Challenge on April 27.  Tori and Elizabeth worked with Entrepreneur-In-Residence Chris Allison ’83, who served as their supervisor.