Alumni Spotlight

Five Questions with Amy Hartzell Pszczolkowski ’91 P’24


While studying at Allegheny, Amy was a psychology major and French minor. She was involved as a Kappa Alpha Theta and as a Resident Advisor in Ravine and Resident Director in Caflisch. In her position as Associate Director of Career Development and Alumni Relations for the School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, Amy works with graduate students in the School pursuing a Masters in Public Policy, Masters of Public Affairs or a PhD. In addition to being a proud alum, she is also mom to current student Joel ’24, and serves on the Parent & Family Council.

How has Allegheny prepared you for where you are today?

Allegheny gave me the well-rounded education that I hoped for and led me to my career in higher education. During my senior year, I was deciding whether to pursue a Masters and work in administration or go on for a PhD and hope to become a professor. Through much soul searching and discussions with mentors at Allegheny, I decided to go to University of Miami of Ohio for my Master in Science in Higher Education Administration with a wonderful advisor, Dr. Marcia Baxter Magolda. This decision set me on my career path and led me to many wonderful opportunities.

Could you identify an individual professor or administrator at Allegheny who was especially influential to you? How do you see their influence on you today?

David McInally’s leadership and student-centeredness had a lasting impact on me as a student, as did Linda Palmeiro who served as a Kappa Alpha Theta advisor. I have enjoyed seeing Linda at Allegheny reunions over the years!

What is one item on your bucket list that you would be willing to share?

My only regret from my college experience is that I didn’t take time to study abroad. As a French minor I would have benefited immensely from a semester or year abroad. I had too much FOMO (fear of missing out) as an undergrad student and had so much I wanted to do on campus. This is all a long way of saying I would love to travel to all over Europe when I have time!

Why is it important to you to support Allegheny as a volunteer? What do you hope to accomplish through your service in the Parent & Family Council?

I have always believed in giving back to the organizations and institutions that have shaped who I am. Volunteering as a Reunion Committee Co-Chair has been a great way to reconnect with Allegheny and my classmates. Now serving on the Parent & Family Council is an opportunity to connect with other Allegheny parents and help share information and resources to support our students and the college. I am most excited about the new opportunity for parents to get involved in career education at Allegheny and support students through advice, networking, job shadowing, and internship and job opportunities.

What about Allegheny today makes you especially excited?

I’m excited to see more diversity on campus today than in my time at Allegheny. I am also excited to see the opportunities that are there for students to pursue research, student abroad, internships and other experiential opportunities to complement what they are learning in the classroom.

Alumni Spotlight: Five Questions with Will Tolliver, Jr. ’14


While studying at Allegheny, Will was an Environmental Studies major, involved in Creek Connections and Student Experimental Theater. Will works for Public Broadcasting Services (PBS) as the Associate Director of Audience Engagement.

How has Allegheny prepared you for where you are today?

Allegheny prepared me for where I am today in so many ways. Overall, Allegheny taught me how to understand ecosystems and how all things are connected and that helps me understand workflows, processes, and collaboration. My time at Allegheny also taught me how to interact with people from different walks of life and how to empathize and try to understand differing perspectives. Going into Allegheny, I was a kid from the city with a family that didn’t have a disposable income, and I met students with vastly different experiences, including access to wealth and traveling the world. That was all new to me. My Allegheny experience helped me understand what I wanted and didn’t want for my life, my career and my family.

Could you identify an individual professor or administrator at Allegheny who was especially influential to you?

You know, there were really two people who influenced me during my time at Allegheny. The first being my advisor and good friend TJ Eatmon. TJ really helped me see my pathway through Allegheny and understand the possibilities of being a Black man in academia and the world. There were very few Black professors at Allegheny, and without TJ I am not sure anyone would understand my experience, perspective, and the obstacles I faced at my time at Allegheny, TJ was in my corner and I am not sure I would have made it without him.

The second person that had a huge impact on me is Wendy Kedzierski, the Director of Creek Connections. When I arrived at Allegheny, Wendy reached out to me to ask me to work for Creek Connections. Wendy played a large part in making sure I felt included at Allegheny and really built a community of students through the program. While working with Wendy over my four years, I was able to learn about leadership, project management, and education by observing Wendy be empathetic, knowledgeable and organized. Creek Connections, Wendy, and her leadership have helped me become the leader and professional I am today.

Hobbies or special interests that you are currently pursuing:

I have really been getting into directing, producing, and editing music videos! It is a new skill I have been working with and I have teamed up with pop/R&B artist Samuel Mancini to produce some really cool videos. You can check out these videos on Youtube by searching for Samuel Mancini’s official videos for Infatuation and Undone (Summer of ‘87).

What about Allegheny today makes you especially excited?

One thing that excites me right now about Allegheny is the Pittsburgh Alumni Chapter. I am part of the board and we have some really cool and unique things brewing, and I am excited to share about them when details get firmed up. It has been a joy to connect with folks around our shared experience and the hope to grow and network together within the Pittsburgh region.

Do you have a favorite saying, mantra, or piece of advice you’d be willing to share?

This too shall pass.

Alumni Spotlight: Five Questions with Jennifer Haddox-Schatz ’00


While studying at Allegheny, Jennifer was a computer science major, with minors in mathematics and political science. She went on to receive her master’s in computer science from The College of William and Mary and currently works at Daniel H. Wagner Associates, Inc. Jennifer served as president of Allegheny’s student chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery during her junior year.

How has Allegheny prepared you for where you are today?

The education I received from Allegheny set me on a wonderful path for my 20-plus year career. The Allegheny computer science curriculum’s focus on problem solving, analytical skills and other foundational concepts fully prepared me to both quickly learn and effectively utilize new tools/technology at certain points during my career, and also modify/debug decades-old legacy code at other points. Additionally, the communication skills emphasized by the College in general and the Computer Science Department in particular have been equally important. Critical aspects of my job include documenting algorithms and debugging efforts, writing user guides and software specifications, and remotely troubleshooting software problems for clients. All of the aforementioned tasks depend on my ability to communicate complex technical concepts both orally and in writing.

Could you identify an individual professor or administrator at Allegheny who was especially influential to you?


The late, great, Dr. Robert “Cup” Cupper taught me as much about the importance of building strong relationships based on mutual respect with colleagues/classmates as he did about computer science. The spirit of camaraderie that Cup fostered and promoted among the department’s students has lived within me and guided me for the last two decades. It has served me well by leading me to a small company with a family-like atmosphere in which the employees not only work well together, but also genuinely care about and advocate for each other. About six years ago, Cup’s influence motivated me to launch an informal mentoring program pairing new software developers with senior employees so that our youngest colleagues feel welcome and supported. It also prompted me to work with several colleagues to propose to our company’s senior management team that we modernize our leave policy.

Why is it important to you to support Allegheny as a volunteer and what do you hope to accomplish through your service on the Alumni Technical Advisory Board (TAB)?

I hope in some small way to give back to a college and a department that have blessed me so much, both professionally and personally. I met my husband of 20+ years interning as a software developer at a Northern Virginia firm founded by an Allegheny alum who recruited Allegheny computer science students. Thus, I have Allegheny to thank for both a satisfying career and very happy personal life with my husband and our 5-year-old daughter! Through my work on the computer science department’s TAB, I’m hoping to motivate fellow computer science alumni to also give back to the department and hopefully be able to continue mentoring current Allegheny computer science students.

What about Allegheny today makes you especially excited?

I am absolutely thrilled to see Professors Greg Kapfhammer ’99 and Janyl Jumadinova and their colleagues leading the Computer Science Department today with the same care, dedication, and enthusiasm as Bob Cupper, Mary Bivens and Robert Roos did 20-plus years ago when I was a student. I therefore have every confidence that today’s Allegheny computer science students will be quite successful in the technology field in the years to come.

What book would you recommend today?

How Is This My Life: Confessions of a Sane Single Woman by J.R. Mason. This humorous read chronicles the author’s stranger-and-more-hilarious-than-fiction dating life. It was the perfect medicine during the pandemic when I was isolated at home and really needed something to provide an escape and make me laugh. Full disclosure: I’ve known the author for 35 years and she asked me to serve as an unofficial proofreader/editor for this book. I happily volunteered, and certainly utilized my liberal arts education in this endeavor!

Alumni Spotlight: Five Questions with Rachel Kreiss ’95


While studying at Allegheny, Rachel was a psychology major, with a concentration in music theory and history. She interned at Vallonia Industries, a nonprofit organization that provides a comprehensive vocational rehabilitation program to individuals with disabilities. Since then, Rachel has been a special education teacher for 25 years, and she let us know that she wears a tutu every Tuesday to school! Rachel has served as a Gator Greetings writer to prospective students for 13 years in a row.

How has Allegheny prepared you for where you are today?

After graduating, I spent a year abroad before attending graduate school. When I began my graduate studies, I was anxious that I would not be able to keep up with my peers, but quickly realized the academic foundations that I received from Allegheny truly prepared me for life as a graduate student. Professionally, as a special education teacher, so much of what I learned in the classrooms of Carnegie Hall play an integral role in my teaching career.

Could you identify an individual professor or administrator at Allegheny who was especially influential to you?

Dr. Rodney Clark was my professor for many behavioral psychology classes and my Senior Comp advisor, but his impact on me was more like that of a mentor. What I learned from him both in and outside of the classroom helped me excel as a student but more importantly has had a direct impact on my day-to-day life as a special education teacher.

Why is it important to you to support Allegheny as a volunteer?

I have been writing Gator Greetings for the last 13 years. It gives me such pride as an alumna to write to prospective students about my experiences at Allegheny. I believe it is important to be a voice for the College and maintain a bridge between alumni and future Gators.

What is one item on your bucket list?

I want to hike the Inca Trail up to Machu Picchu. I have been fortunate to travel throughout Europe and South America is the next continent I would love to explore.

Do you have a favorite saying, mantra, or piece of advice you’d be willing to share?

“Living the Dream!”

Alumni Spotlight: Five Questions with Xun “X” Li ’09


While studying at Allegheny, X was a neuroscience and psychology double major. His interests and skills span the entirety of surgical spinal care, from pediatric and adolescent scoliosis, to adult spine tumors, to degenerative spine conditions. X has volunteered as a Reunion Committee member, Class Agent for the Class of 2009, and now as a member of Allegheny’s Alumni Council.

How has Allegheny prepared you for where you are today?

Allegheny nurtured my budding interest in the human nervous system, encouraging me to explore it from both a biological and a psychological perspective with its emphasis on having a major and minor from different concentrations.

Could you identify an individual professor or administrator at Allegheny who was especially influential to you?

Dave Roncolato was the first person I met after arriving on campus. Being a Bonner Scholar in its inaugural class, I would not have been able to accomplish half of what I did during my time at Allegheny without his constant encouragement, optimism, and enthusiasm to see each and every one of us succeed.

Why is it important to you to support Allegheny as a member of the Alumni Council?

I hope my role on the Alumni Council helps to break barriers to higher education. Coming from a middle-class family of first-generation immigrants, higher education was prohibitively expensive. Allegheny was one of the few colleges that worked with me to resolve the financial challenges I faced and gave me the opportunity to attend college.

What about Allegheny today makes you especially excited?

Witnessing the “Our Allegheny: Our Third Century Quest” campaign fulfill its goal last year excites me. I am thrilled to see the transformation Allegheny is poised for over the next 100 years.

Do you have a favorite saying, mantra, or piece of advice you’d be willing to share?

“Fall down seven times, get up eight.”

Alumni Spotlight: Five Questions with Nikki Hawk ’18


While studying at Allegheny, Nikki was a biology major, with minors in Spanish and global health studies. She participated in the health coaching program as well as an experiential learning term in Nicaragua. Nikki now volunteers as a Class Agent representing the class of 2018, encouraging involvement and philanthropic support from her classmates.

How has Allegheny prepared you for where you are today?

Allegheny has prepared me for where I am today by pushing me to work hard and to step outside of my comfort zone. I had amazing professors and friends that would always help me to reach my fullest potential. During my time at Allegheny, I was able to learn so much about science, public health, Spanish, communication, relationship strengthening and building, and so much more. After graduation, I felt very prepared going into the world on my own and tackling grad school. I have lived on my own ever since graduation, and I am currently fulfilling my second graduate program — all thanks to Allegheny for giving me the knowledge, resources, skills, and confidence to accomplish whatever I put my mind to!

What book is on your nightstand today?

A book that is always on my nightstand is Gmorning, Gnight!: Little Pep Talks for Me & You by Lin-Manuel Miranda. It has so many encouraging words and nuggets of wisdom filled within it, and I highly recommend for everyone to read it! You can read it cover to cover, or you can just open it up to a random page every day for a little pep talk!

Why is it important to you to support Allegheny as a class agent?

Being a class agent is important to me because I am able to help get fellow alumni more involved in Allegheny and its mission to the community and its students. It is exciting to be able to connect with classmates regularly and to be involved in events, such as Gator Give Day and GivingTuesday. I hope to continue spreading the word about Allegheny and get more of my classmates involved with me, whether that be through donations or volunteering their time!

What is one item on your bucket list?

One item on my bucket list would be to travel to Australia to see the Great Barrier Reef, one of the seven wonders of the natural world. I would absolutely love to see all of the beautiful marine life in the world’s largest coral reef.

Do you have a favorite saying, mantra, or piece of advice you’d be willing to share?

A mantra that I always repeat to myself is “just be.” It helps me to refocus and recenter when life gets hectic and busy. A quote that I have always loved since I first saw it on a Dove chocolate wrapper is “You are the star for which all evenings wait.” It just makes me feel so happy and at peace.

Alumni Spotlight: Five Questions with Keith Steiner ’73


While studying at Allegheny, Keith was a history major, a student athlete competing in Track and Cross Country, and a member of Delta Tau Delta and Interfraternity Council. Additionally, he was a sports writer for The Campus Newspaper. Keith has served on Alumni Council, Reunion Committees, and as the campaign chairman for the Delta Tau Delta Sesquicentennial Campaign. Keith now volunteers as a Class Agent representing the class of 1973, encouraging involvement and philanthropic support from his classmates.

Can you identify someone from Allegheny who still influences you today?

History professor “Skipper” Knights led me and advised me through my Senior Comp. His high standards and encouragement pushed me to put in my best effort at Allegheny. My topic was “A History of Alpha Chapter of Delta Tau Delta,” and during the course of research, I had the opportunity to travel and meet personally with many alumni of Allegheny and Delt Chapters of other schools. With Skipper’s guidance, I documented the Allegheny Chapter’s role in the history of the College, as well as the Chapter’s leadership in inclusive membership in all of Delta Tau Delta.

After graduation, my Comp led to twelve years on the Delta Tau Delta Headquarters staff. This experience working with non-profit organizations enabled my subsequent thirty-five year career with UBS advising other fraternities, sororities, charitable and health benefit funds.

Why is it important to you to support Allegheny as a class agent?

Through my service, I hope to help encourage more donations to advance the educational mission of the College.

What about Allegheny today makes you especially excited?

How Bentley Hall has been transformed into a beautiful, useful and carbon neutral building.

What hobbies are you pursuing?

As the world reopens, my wife and I will resume traveling in 2022. Possible destinations include the Panama Canal, Switzerland, Spain and the Baltic countries.

What book is on your nightstand today?

This year’s books include Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr, Sooley: A Novel by John Grisham, 1941: The Year Germany Lost the War by Andrew Nagorski, Facing the Mountain: A True Story of Japanese American Heroes in World War II by Daniel James Brown, The Black Church by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and The Last of the Tin Can Sailors by James D. Hornfischer.

And of course I read Nature’s Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation That Starts in Your Yard by our own Doug Tallamy, Allegheny ’73 and Delt pledge brother!


Alumni Spotlight: Five Questions with Zack Rearick ’10


Zack leads teams within Brian Communication, supporting clients on a variety of strategic communications and public relations needs. In his work, he partners with brands on media relations and integrated marketing, as well as crisis management, stakeholder relations, issue advocacy, and more. Zack started his career in organized labor and political action, and now brings a campaign-style approach to his work. While studying at Allegheny, Zack was a Communication Arts and Political Science double major.

Why is it important to you to support Allegheny as a career resource for students?

There are challenges that come with being a first-generation college student, but I always felt supported at Allegheny. Professors and staff were generous with their time, and alumni were generous in offering guidance and helping to make connections. Supporting current students is a small way to pay it forward and stay active in a community that I love.

Can you identify someone from Allegheny who still influences you today?

So many people at Allegheny have touched my life. I’m grateful for all of them. Professor Ishita Sinha Roy, in particular, has been an important influence. I’m still proud of the comp I wrote under her guidance, and I think often of her mentorship style. For me, she exemplifies the academic rigor and personal care and attention that are hallmarks of the Allegheny experience.

What book is on your nightstand today?

My favorite books this year were All the Young Men by Ruth Coker Burks; Good Strategy / Bad Strategy by Richard Rumelt; All That She Carried by Tiya Miles; and Darryl by Jackie Ess. I am currently re-reading Isabel Allende’s The House of the Spirits, which is an all-time favorite that I come back to periodically — always finding new layers.

What about Allegheny today makes you especially excited?

The jobs of the future will require a human touch: care, creativity, and insight that can’t be replicated by machines. More critically, the world needs leaders from diverse backgrounds who can work across disciplines to tackle big challenges. I can’t think of better preparation than a liberal arts education, and I truly believe that Allegheny is second to none in cultivating this kind of problem-solver.

What is one item on your bucket list?

Write a novel!


Alumni Spotlight: Five Questions with Afua Osei ’08


Afua is a social impact leader with global experience in securing high value partnerships, developing innovative entrepreneurship programming and leading high achieving teams. As a co-founder of She Leads Africa, Osei built a digital lifestyle platform for millennial multicultural women reaching more than 800,000 women across 100-plus countries. Before becoming a full time entrepreneur, Afua was a management consultant at McKinsey & Company, Fulbright Scholar in Malaysia and intern in the office of former First Lady Michelle Obama. Afua was a Political Science and Black Studies double major.

How has Allegheny prepared you for where you are today?

When I went to Allegheny College, I met people who had so many different types of experiences than I did, and it really pushed me to think about a world bigger than myself. To think about others’ backgrounds and life choices, and how those aspects influence why they make the decisions they do and how they show up in the world. It was a really interesting opportunity for me to step outside of myself and see where others are coming from. This has been so powerful to me throughout my career, from being a political consultant and communicating important issues to different constituencies, to being a management consultant and understanding how business decisions could impact different stakeholders, to being an entrepreneur and thinking about how to position products in front of a diverse audience.

Can you identify someone from Allegheny who still influences you today?

There are actually three people who were so impactful to my experience:

  • Dr. Richard Cook, who wrote my recommendation letter for me to become a Fulbright scholar in Malaysia. No one else I knew had a letter from their college president! That was such an incredibly unique thing about my Allegheny experience. The community was so close knit, and I felt deeply connected to Dr. Cook and his wife Terry.
  • Professor Bob Seddig of the political science department, who spoke with such seriousness and thoughtfulness. He held us to such a high standard and expected excellence. I also appreciated that he always emphasized research and critical thinking.
  • Dr. Terrence Mitchell, who was one of the first leaders in diversity and inclusion at Allegheny, and was so supportive of multicultural students. It was really great knowing that there was somebody looking out for us and cared about our wellbeing. I was 6 hours from home, but I knew I was going to be alright because there were people like him looking out for me.

What book is on your nightstand today?

SuperMaker by Jaime Schmidt, the founder of Schmidt’s Naturals. I really like to read about other entrepreneurs. People who had a vision in their minds and decided to turn it into something. It’s so powerful and encouraging because every single thing in the built environment around us came from an idea in someone’s head. It means that what we see right now doesn’t have to be our future; there is a lot more we can do with our skills and talents.

What is one item on your bucket list?

I definitely plan to go to Antarctica. I saw that National Geographic has cruises from South America to Antarctica and when I saw that, I knew I had to go.

What about Allegheny today makes you especially excited?

Two things: Dr. Link and the students. Allegheny is going to benefit tremendously from having Dr. Link as the new president, with all of the energy, vision and creative ideas that she brings from her breadth of experience. And this new generation of students who are concerned about new issues and are thinking about their college experience in a different way. It’s exciting to see how the College continues to evolve and change as the needs of the students continue to change. I am really optimistic about our future.