Class Notes

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Summer 2021

See 1950–60s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s, 2020, Weddings and Engagements, Babies, or Seen on Social

2021 Anchor Awards

The Anchor Awards are the University of Hartford Alumni Association's most prestigious award. Recipients of the 2021 Anchor Awards will be honored on Thursday, Oct. 14 during Hawktober RE:Connect.

See 2021 Anchor Award Recipients.

Do you have news to share?

Maybe you recently got married or had a baby, celebrated a promotion or professional milestone, or had a gathering with some UHart friends. Whatever your news may be, share your UHart pride with your fellow alumni by submitting a class note, tagging us on social media, or using the hashtag #UHartAlumni. Select news and posts may be published in a future issue of H magazine.


1966 | John Capen

Reverend John Capen (A&S) has joined Shady United Methodist Church as their pastor. Capen has been in pastoral ministry for 55 years, starting at the age of 29.

1960 | Chet Reneson

Chet Reneson (C HAS) was featured in an article by On The Water. Reneson creates water color and acrylics paintings focused on fishing and hunting scenes from his own outdoor experiences. Read more about Reneson in On The Water.

1968 | Alfred Treidel

Alfred Treidel (A&S; M'70 ENHP; P'02, '09) was a speaker during the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) Distinguished Speaker Series. Treidel presented on “The Ritchie Boys: America’s Jewish Secret Weapon During World War II,” about a group of young men who were instrumental in defeating the Nazi’s. Before retiring, Triedel worked as a public school administrator and teacher on all levels of public education and at the university level for more than 50 yea

1969 | Diane Nathanson


Diane Nathanson (Hartt, M'79 Hartt) and her daughter De-siree Nathanson were featured in the Atlanta Jewish Times in an article about their shared love of physical fitness. Before COVID-19, Nathanson was a member of the ATL Silver Classix Crew, the over 50 dance crew for the Atlanta Hawks, and has sang the national anthem twice at a Hawks game. Read more about Nathanson and her daughter in the Atlanta Jewish Times.

Image from Atlanta Jewish Times


1973 | Wendy Hersh

Wendy Hersh (A&S) has been announced as the 2021 Woman of Distinction for the 29th Senate District in New York, an award that highlights outstanding women living and working in New York State whose contributions enrich the quality of life in their communities. Hersh is the president of the Roosevelt Island Disabled Association (RIDA).

1974 | Kathleen Saufl-Harvey

Kathleen Saufl-Harvey (ENHP) is currently working as a clinical master social worker in Farmington, Maine. Saufl-Harvey previously worked in public education for 43 years in various roles, including teacher, consultant and director of special education, assistant principal and principal.

1978 | Jodie Katzman

Jodie Katzman (A&S) is an award-winning event professional, Jodi has produced and managed just about every type of event, exhibit and production imaginable, from large-scale events and immersive experiences with tens of thousands of attendees to television, film and theatrical productions, to intimate meetings with a handful of guests. The Olympic Games, Super Bowl, Grammy Awards celebration, Presidential Conventions and 9/11 Memorial Commemorations are just a few of the events she has orchestrated. In 2020, she embarked on a journey to educate herself on the challenges the pandemic poses within the events space and become a thought leader in the areas of COVID-19 compliance and safety. She is one of the most highly decorated COVID-19 compliance leaders in the country and holds 20 COVID-19 health and safety certifications, including OSHA Production Infection Control, Safe Sets International COVID-19 Level A Certification for Production and Level B for Leadership, Johns Hopkins Contract Tracing, COVID-19 Awareness, and Event Safety Alliance’s Event Safety Access training certification. Katzman completed WHO’s Covid-19 Mass Gatherings Risk Assessment training and she serves as Leadership Chair of Risk Assessment and  Safety Protocols for the Live Events Coalition. Prior to the pandemic, Jodi “ate, lived and breathed” events and production work. Since the pandemic, her passion has been health and safety, COVID-19 compliance, and helping the live events industry move forward.

1971 | John Jiler


John Jiler (A&S) latest play, Under Big Piney, was performed virtually as a benefit for the Souther Poverty Law Center. He developed the play about an inter-racial romance that throws a small southern town into chaos at the Actor's Studio, and most recently with director Leah Gardiner.



1973 | Peter Waite

Peter Waite’s (HAS) acrylic paintings were featured in the Real Spaces exhibit by Winston Wächter Fine Art in New York. The exhibit showcases a series Waite has worked on since 2018, featuring typically populated places void of people. Read more about Waite and his artwork.

1974 | Lynn Visgusin Gotler 

Lynn Visgusin Gotler (A&S) has happily retired from her career in nursing. She is now traveling, hiking, and spending time with her family and friends.

1977 | Nancy Pantirer

Nancy Pantirer (HAS) was featured in PAPER Magazine. The article highlights Pantirer’s work that was used as the backdrop for a PAPER fashion shoot with photographer Kimber Capriotti. See the artwork in PAPER.

In Memoriam: 1978 | Anna Bigazzi

Anna Bigazzi (A&S) passed away in early June. Bigazzi spent 35 years working in a number of library-related roles at UHart. Born in Pisa, Italy, she received her bachelor’s degree from UHart’s College of Arts and Sciences in 1978, and at the age of 70, received her master’s degree from Central Connecticut State University. She retired from UHart in November 2014, six months after her 80th birthday.

1979 | Bob Kaufman


John Jiler (A&S) latest play, Under Big Piney, was performed virtually as a benefit for the Souther Poverty Law Center. He developed the play about an inter-racial romance that throws a small southern town into chaos at the Actor's Studio, and most recently with director Leah Gardiner.



Brian Romano  '83

1983 | Brian Romano

Brian Romano (CETA) has been promoted to director of technology development at the Arthur G. Russell Co., Inc., a growing automation engineering and technology company in Connecticut.

1986 | Patricia Buxton

Patricia Buxton (ENHP, M’89 ENHP, D’16 ENHP) has been named executive director for The Lutz Children’s Museum—Connecticut’s oldest children’s museum. In the role, Buxton will oversee day-to-day operations, fundraising, marketing, and community engagement.

1987 | Vish Govindasamy

Vish Govindasamy (CETA, M’89 Barney) has been selected as the chairman of the Ceylan Chamber of Commerce, one of the oldest business chambers in Sri Lanka, during their 182nd Annual General Meeting. Govindasamy is the managing director of Sunshine Holdings PLC.

1988 | George Banaszak

Gregory Banaszak (Hartt) is the recipient of the 2021 Hartt Alumni Award. Banaszak is a leading saxophonists and one of the few saxophonists active in both the classical and jazz mediums, and has performed as a soloist at concert halls throughout the United States and the world. Read more about Banaszak and the award.

1980 | Andrew Pakula

Andrew Pakula (Barney) was interviewed on the The Net OGs podcast. In the podcast, Pakula discusses his career and how he played an integral part in the early days of Internet marketing and advertising. Pakula is currently the CEO of WiOffer.

1982 | John Elsesser

John Elsesser (M Barney) was a guest speaker at the CT Green Bank 2021 Earth Day Conversation Webinar where he spoke about the green projects and initiatives for the town of Coventry, Conn. Elsesser has served as the town manager of Coventry since 1988.

1982 | Steven Brown


Steven Brown (CETA) is celebrating 39 years of employment with Hewlett-Packard Enterprise. He is the assigned account support manager and support services team lead for the U.S. region, which is part of a major global banking customer.


1982 | Patrick Tannock


Patrick Tannock (Barney) was featured in an article about how a scholarship from the International Companies Division of the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce, now The Association of Bermuda International Companies (AIBC) lead him to get an education at UHart and become eventually a CEO. Tannock is currently the CEO of AXA XL’s Insurance Operations in Bermuda and the chairman of AIBC. Read more of his story on BerNews.

Image from BerNews. 

1985 | Anthony Susi

anthony-susi-85.jpgAnthony Susi’s (Hartt) composition Hymn to Healthcare Heroes and his march First Responders was performed by the Capitol Symphonic Winds from the Hartt Community Division at their May 15 concert.


1986 | Barbara Bergren

barbara-bergren-86.jpgBarbara Bergren (M Barney) wrote Witness for My Father: A WWII Story of Loss, Hope, and Discovery about her father’s experience during the Holocaust. The book was published in January 2020 and has won awards from the National Indie Excellence Awards and the Florida Writers Association. Learn more about the book at 


1986 | Richard Aronwald


Richard Aronwald (Barney) has been inducted into the Guardian Life Insurance Company of American Hall of Fame, which honors Guardian’s top leaders. Aronwald is a financial representative at Certified Financial Services (CFS), a financial services firm located throughout the tristate area of New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut.

Image from Advisor Magazine. 

1986 | Annette Lawrence


Annette Lawrence (HAS) was a visiting lecturer during the Hixson-Lied Visiting Artist Lecture Series presented by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s School of Art, Art History and Design. Lawrence is currently a visiting faculty member at Bennington College in Vermont.

Image from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln


1988 | Saadi Zain

Saadi Zain (CETA) will be playing bass this summer in the show Little Girl Blue: The Nina Simone Musical at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, Conn. Zain has performed in numerous Broadway pits, national tours, commercials, and other media. Learn more about the musical at Goodspeed Musicals.

1988 | Todd Goodall

Todd Goodall (Barney, M'95 Barney) will be inducted into the Plainville Sports Hall of Fame in November 2021. While at Plainville High School in Connecticut, Goodall was a two sport athlete in golf and soccer—serving as captain of both squads. Read more about Goodall’s athletic accomplishments in the Bristol Press.

1989 | Gary Albertson

Gary Albertson (CETA) has been promoted to president of Suez North America’s Utility Division. Albertson brings more than 30 years of utility experience to this position ranging from engineering, technical solutions, capital planning, project management and business development.

1989 | Jolie Rocke

Jolie Rocke (Hartt) recently released her production Remembering Juneteenth, a historical account of the emancipation of enslaved African Americans through the narratives and spirituals of former slaves from Texas. Learn more about Juneteenth.

1989 | Jerry Kelly


Jerry Kelly (Barney) won the American Family Insurance Championship at the University Ridge Golf Course in June 2021. With the win, Kelly became the first back-to-back champion of the American Family Insurance Championship. 



Lauren Bernofsky '98

1990 | Lauren Bernofsky

Lauren Bernofsky (Hartt) had a concert of her chamber works, entitled Im Fokus: Lauren Bernofsky, performed by the Alte Schmiede Kunstverein Wien in Vienna, Austria. Bernofsky’s music has been performed throughout the United States as well as internationally—including in major venues like Carnegie Hall in New York City and Grieg Hall in Bergen, Norway.

Image from

Selette Jones-Jemison '90

1990 | Selette Jones-Jemison

Selette Jones-Jemison (Barney) successfully defended her doctoral dissertation and will be receiving a doctor of business administration in finance degree from Sacred Heart University.

1993 | Laurie Levesque

Laurie Levesque (Barney) was inducted as a fellow of the Eastern Academy of Management. This past spring the fellows nominated Levesque and EAM’s Board of Directors confirmed her as the newest fellow. This recognition is based on a member’s cumulative impact and contributions to sustain and grow the organization, with an expectation of continued involvement. Levesque is an associate professor of management and program director, master in management and organizational leadership at Suffolk University in Boston.

Vin Baker '93

1993 | Vin Baker

Congrats to Vin Baker (A&S) and the Milwaukee Bucks on winning the NBA Championship. Baker is an assistant coach for the Bucks. During the playoffs, Baker was featured in an LA Times article that detailed his journey.

Image from Milwaukee Bucks

1993 | Kristie Mayes Borges

Kristie Mayes Borges (A&S) recently left the television industry. She was a news producer for 28 years. Borges worked in Boston, Providence, Baltimore and Hartford TV Markets. Borges is now a senior associate at CJ Public Relations in Southington, Conn. She is also a member of UHart's Alumni Board.

Vivian Almario '97 and her son, Leonardo Marquez

1997 | Vivian Almario

Vivian Almario (ENHP) and her son Leonardo Marquez were featured in an article in CT Latino News on their work to educate and build trust among the Latino community in the fight against COVID-19. Almario is a nurse with the Infectious Disease Unit at Hospital for Special Care in New Britain, Conn.

Joanne Miller M'98

1998 | Joanne Miller

Joanne Miller (M ENHP) was named interim chief nursing officer at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Mass. Miller brings more than 30 years of hospital operations experience to the role, most recently serving as the chief nursing officer and vice president at Carson Tahoe Health in Carson, Nev. and as interim CEO/CNO at Jupiter Medical Center in Jupiter, Fla.

1991 | Heather Piteo


Heather Piteo (Barney) has joined NBT Bank Connecticut as vice president and cash management sales representative. Piteo has more than 20 years of experience in the financial industry, most recently in the position of treasury management sales officer for People’s United Bank in Hartford.

Image from


1991 | Lisa Quadrini


Lisa Quadrini (M Barney) joined Brandywine Oak Private Wealth as a partner and private wealth manager. Quadrini brings more than 35 years of experience in financial services to the position, previously working at Wells Fargo, UBS, Merrill Lynch, and Cigna.

Image from Brandywine Oak Private Wealth

1993 | Joan Brothers


Joan Brothers (M Barney) was presented with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award by Marquis Who’s Who. Brothers has nearly 30 years of experience in the real estate industry and is the founding partner of Manhattan Boutique Real Estate, a full-service firm in New York City. Read more of Brothers’ accomplishments.


Image from

1993 | Kim Gokce

kim-gokce-93.jpgKim Gokce (Barney) joined Pfizer, Inc in April 2021 to accelerate the company's agile and digital transformation after completing a similar mission at The Coca-Cola Company. Kim has been a longtime advocate for equity in public education for immigrant children in his region. His efforts garnered recognition as he was named an Olga C. Goizueta "Pacesetter" Award by The Latin American Association.


1994 | A.J. Vittone

A.J. Vittone (A&S) co-produced Sorority Sister Killer, a thriller movie that premiered on Lifetime Network. Vittone is credited as an associate producer on the film and works for K5IVE Media, a Los Angeles-based production company responsible for creating and developing Sorority Sister Killer. Watch the network promotion of the film.

1995 | Ellen Paolino

Ellen Paolino (ENHP) has been appointed principal of Hayestown Elementary in the Danbury Public School system. Previously, Paolino served as principal of the Walsh School in Waterbury and as the interim principal of Rotella Interdistrict Magnet School prior to that.

1995 | Olivia Schmidt

olivia-schmidt-95.jpgOlivia Schmidt (M Barney) has joined Kymera International as their chief commercial officer. In this role, Schmidt will be responsible for leading global sales and marketing efforts.



1996 | Utku Ogrendil

utku-ogrendil-96.jpgUtku Ogrendil (Barney, M'98 Barney) has been appointed CEO of PayPoint Romania. Ogrendil brings over 15 years of experience in the financial banking industry to the role, where he will be focused on innovation within the company.



1997 | Sarah Graumann

Sarah Graumann (Hartt) was interviewed on GoLocal LIVE about the foundational principles that leaders need to develop for high achievement. Graumann is a faculty member at Providence College School of Continuing Education, where she teaches “Leading Teams.” The course is a foundational course in the school’s Leadership Development degree and certificate programs. Watch the interview with Graumann.

1999 | Shel Frolich-Tscherne

Shel Frolich-Tscherne (ENHP) has been accepted into the EdD in Educational and Professional Practice at Antioch University. Frolich-Tscherne will be part of the first EdD cohort specializing in Waldorf education.


2000 | Mark Garcia

Mark Garcia (M Barney) has been announced as the chief financial officer at Arctaris Impact Investors, LLC, a Boston-based impact investment firm. Garcia joins Arctaris after 13 years at Thomas H. Lee Partners where he served as co-chief financial officer.

cover of It Seems to Me You Can Be

2004 | Jennifer Kaufman

Jennifer Kaufman (A&S) recently wrote a children’s book titled, It Seems to Me You Can Be. The book gives children ideas of different jobs they can be when they grow up.

Jeffrey Welsh

2007 | Jeffrey Welsh

Jeffrey Welsh (Hartt) was interviewed by StupidDope on his passion for music and his legal career in the cannabis and entertainment industry. Welsh is a partner at Vicente Sederberg LLP and focuses his practice on advising companies and brands on how to navigate the California cannabis market. Read the interview with Welsh.

Patrick Dunn '08

2008 | Patrick Dunn

Patrick Dunn (Hartt) won the 2021 Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest held at Graceland. The first place prize was $20,000 and a year-long contract with Elvis Presley Enterprises. Dunn is also a Broadway actor and has appeared in productions of The Phantom of the Opera, Waitress, and Jesus Christ Superstar.

Image from Visit Graceland

2000 | Sean Burton

Sean Burton (Hartt) has been appointed as the Orchestra Director at East High School in Sioux City, Iowa. Burton previously has worked in higher education, ascending through faculty ranks as assistant, associate, and full professor with tenure and administrative appointments at the department and division levels. Burton remains grateful to all his teachers at Hartt as he returns to the sphere of school music education.

2000 | Seth McClellan


Seth McClellan (Hartt) newest documentary, Others Before Self, will be exclusively streamed in the Gene Siskel Film Center’s virtual cinema. Others Before Self documents the lives of Tibetan refugee children at the Tibetan Children’s Village, a boarding school started by the Dalai Lama for refugees from Tibet and their children. Watch the trailer.


2002 | Kaitlin Walsh

Kaitlin Walsh (A&S, M'04 A&S), received the 2021 President's Team Recognition Award for Inspiring Staff Excellence at the University of Saint Joseph (USJ). She is an instructional designer and program coordinator for the Digital Media major at USJ.

2002 | Eric Stegmaier


Eric Stegmaier (HAS) recently spent two months with the St. Eustatius Center for Archaeological Research (SECAR) in the Caribbean Netherlands to illustrate an 18th and 19th-century burial site containing the remains of enslaved individuals from the Golden Rock Plantation. The project was commissioned by the Government of Sint Eustatius.


2003 | Douglas Bielmeier


Douglas Bielmeier (Hartt) has released his third full-length album, Ambient Works. The album is a compilation of Bielmeier’s work throughout the last 15 years. Bielmeier is currently a professor at Northeastern University. Read more about Bielmeier and Ambient Works.

Image from


2005 | Perquida Payne

Perquida Payne (A&S) recently wrote a book, Hey Mom! What’s This?: 13 real-life tips to talking sex and sexuality with kids, for parents to talk to their children about sex and sexuality. Payne is the founder and owner of Queen’s Poise Love Coaching, LLC.

2005 | Meghan Glynn

Meghan Glynn (Hartt) made her debut with the Connecticut Theatre Company as Sarah Brown in the production “Guys and Girls.” Read more about the production.

2005 | Marlon Guild

Marlon Guild (A&S) has joined the Binghamton University men’s basketball program as an assistant coach. Guild has over 10 years of experience coaching at the Division I level, most recently coaching at Rider University.

2006 | Lynn Merritt


Lynn Merritt (M A&S) has been appointed as the new chief people officer at New Directions Behavioral Health. Merritt brings over 15 years of human resources experience in the healthcare industry to this role. Previously, Merritt was the vice president of learning and development at Healogics.

Image from PR Newswire


2006 | Emma Asante

Emma Asante (M A&S) was the 2021 Humanitarian Honoree at the 27th Annual Women of Achievement Awards Dinner. Asante is the vice president, special projects and community relations at NBC 5, Telemundo Chicago, NBC Sports Chicago.

2007 | Ashanti Dwight Williams


Ashanti Dwight Williams (A&S) has been appointed as a city councilor in Biddeford, Maine. Williams will fill the Ward 4 council vacancy and will be in the role until early December. Williams works as a reserve officer at York County Jail and manages Martini’s on Main in Biddeford.

Image from the Portland Press Herald


2009 | Doug Lyons


Doug Lyons (Hartt) who has performed on Broadway in Book of Mormon and Beautiful, will be returning to Broadway as a playwright with Chicken and Biscuits, set to debut this fall for a limited run. A feel-good comedy and “multi-generational Black play,” Chicken and Biscuits will feature performers including Norm Lewis, the first African-American performer to star in Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, and Michael Urie of Ugly Betty.


2009 | Lauren Aldred

Lauren Aldred (ENHP) has joined the UMass Amherst women’s soccer team coaching staff as an assistant coach. Aldred previously was the girls regional director of coaching for the New England Futbol Club.


2011 | David Cyzak

David Cyzak (Hartt) received the Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) College of Liberal Arts Faculty Student Success Award for his contributions to student success, an Instructional Enhancement Grant, and an Open Educational Resource Grant to create a free world-wide accessible resource for students to advance their knowledge of reed making and oboe pedagogy. He served as the sponsor for his freshman oboe student's Undergraduate Research Experience and Creative Activity Grant for research in combining oboe reed construction and process management techniques to enhance assessment and efficiency of reed making. As coordinator of the MTSU Music Industry program, he successfully guided the Bachelor of Music in music industry degree through the NASM review process creating two new courses—Foundations in Music Industry and Music Industry Seminar. He premiered his composition "Apogee" for oboe and piano on his faculty recital.

2011 | Shannen Hofheimer 

Shannen Hofheimer (Hartt) wrote an article in Love Inc. with tips and tricks on how to preserve wedding accessories. Read Hofheimer’s article.

Christopher Troxell M'08

2011 | Christopher Troxell

Christopher Troxell (M Barney) has been named to the Hartford Business Journal’s 2021 40 Under 40 list. Troxell is the senior vice president and general auditor at Liberty Bank. Read more about Troxell.

Image from Hartford Business Journal.

2014 | Kalena Bovell 

Kalena Bovell (M Hartt, GPD’15 Hartt) had her conducting debut at BBC Proms—a classical music festival held every summer at the Royal Albert Hall in London. The BBC Proms is one of the largest and most prestigious classical musical festivals in the world.

2014 | Sara Mellas 

Sara Mellas (Hartt) recently wrote and performed her first TED Talk, title “Creating Your Life’s Work” at TEDxGainesville. Watch Mellas’ TED Talk.

Justin Wilcox M'14

2014 | Justin Wilcox

Justin Wilcox (M Barney) has been named to the Hartford Business Journal’s 2021 40 Under 40 list. Wilcox is the youngest partner at the accounting firm FML, one of the largest accounting firms in Connecticut. Read more about Wilcox.

Image from Hartford Business Journal.

Chen Yi '14

2014 | Chen Yi

Chen Yi (Barney) was one of two distinguished guest composers for the 2021 Mizzou International Composers Festival. As a distinguished guest, Yi gave individual composition lessons, gave presentations on her music, and consulted with the ensembles who performed her works. Yi is a professor of composition at the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Frank Finelli '15

2015 | Frank Finelli

Frank Finelli (Barney) was featured in an article in the CT Insider about his company, Doughwich, a premium cookie dough ice cream sandwich. Read more about Finelli and Doughwich.


Karishma Pinto '17 M'18

2017 | Karishma Pinto

Karishma Pinto (A&S, M’18 A&S) has been named to the Hartford Business Journal’s 2021 40 Under 40 list. Pinto is the web and marketing associate with The Connecticut Convergence Institute for Translation in Regenerative Engineering at UConn Health. Read more about Pinto.

Image from Hartford Business Journal.

Lisa Wisniewski D'17

2017 | Lisa Wisniewski

Lisa Wisniewski (D ENHP) was interviewed by MetroHartford Alliance in their Homegrown CT feature. Wisniewski discusses building her career and her business in Connecticut. Read more Wisniewski’s interview.


Daniel Burger '18

2018 | Daniel Burger

Daniel Burger (CETA) has joined OMG Roofing Products as a product engineer for the company’s solar business. In this role, Burger is responsible for creating and managing technical support rooftop solar as well as the voice of customer feedback.

Crystal Gonzalez M'18

2018 | Crystal Gonzalez

Crystal Gonzalez (M Barney) has been named to the Hartford Business Journal’s 2021 40 Under 40 list. Gonzalez leads Small Commercial at U.S. Arch Insurance. She is the board president for Prospanica Connecticut and serves on the advisory council for Connecticut College’s Hale Center for Career Development. Read more about Gonzalez.

Image from Hartford Business Journal.

2018 | Sharale Mathis

Sharale Mathis (D ENHP) has joined Holyoke Community College as their vice president of academic and student affairs. Prior to this role, Mathis was the dean of academic and student affairs at Middlesex Community College, where she was previously served as a tenured professor of Biology, a course coordinator, department chair, and STEM division director.

2018 | Shaunna Monts

Jarrod Sutcliffe (CETA) was featured in an article in the The Registered Citizen. Sutcliffe shared his love for blacksmithing and how it has helped his physical and mental health following two tours in Iraq with the Navy. Read more of Sutcliffe’s story.

2019 | Emily Qualmann

Emily Qualmann (Hartt) will be starring as one of the principal roles, Tammy, in the Escape to Margaritaville Broadway National Tour. Read more about the tour.

Sarah Hanahan '19

2019 | Sarah Hanahan

Sarah Hanahan (Hartt) was interviewed profiled by on her musical career. Hanahan has been a standout performer in the Walk with the Wind concert series presented by Giant Step Arts at Summit Rock in Central Park. Hanahan plans to release an album of live recordings from the concert series in late 2021. Read more about Hanahan.

Image from

Jeffrey Severino '19

2019 | Jeffrey Severino

Jeffrey Severino (CETA) was featured on the latest episode of Houston We Have a Podcast, the official podcast of the NASA Johnson Space Center from Houston, Texas, home for NASA’s astronauts and Mission Control Center. Severino joined other fellow NASA interns on the episode to discuss his journey to working in the acoustics branch at NASA and how he found inspiration through his experience at UHart.

2011 | Julie Mangino

Julie Mangino (CETA) was featured in a Yale staff spotlight. Mangino is an associate project manager, where she oversees construction jobs on the Yale campus.

2011 | Margaret Sabatino

Margaret Sabatino (Barney) has joined ELPRO as the new key account manager. Sabatino brings more than six years of experience in the medical and surgical device industry.

2011 | Monica Brase


Congratulations to Monica Brase (D ENHP) for being honored as Windsor, Conn.’s educator of the year. In a year like no other, the alternative education teacher went the extra mile to engage with students in unconventional ways, mentoring students individually by phone and sometimes traveling to students’ homes—ultimately building stronger connections with students and families. Read more about Brase in the Journal Inquirer.

Image from the Journal Inquirer.


2011 | Jennifer de Warga

Jennifer de Warga (M Barney) has joined Whittlesey as a tax manager. De Warga has over 10 years of public accounting experience in tax, accounting, and advisory services for privately held companies and five years of experience in the private sector as a controller and assistant controller.

2013 | Paul Krause

Paul Krause (A&S) was promoted to Lieutenant at the Sikorsky Aircraft Fire Department in March 2020. With the promotion happening just a few weeks before the lockdowns, Krause has worked through the pandemic and gained a whole different level of experience as a leader.

2014 | Shayna Stahl


Shayna Stahl (M Hartt) has been announced as the first woman director of the Wildcat Marching Band at the University of Kentucky. Stahl will join the University as the director of Athletic Bands, assistant director of Bands in the School of Music, director of the UK Pep Bands and as the conductor of the UK Concert Band. Stahl brings 15 years of experience working with Division 1 athletic bands to the role.

Image from University of Kentucky

2014 | Guilherme Pinho

Guilherme Pinho (CETA) has been promoted to Senior Project Coordinator at Hoffman Architects. Pinto joined Hoffman Architects in 2019 as a project coordinator and will celebrate two years at the firm in August.

2015 | Danielle Wilken

Danielle Wilken (D ENHP) has been appointed as the twelfth president of the University of Bridgeport. Wilken has more than 20 years of experience in higher education and most recently served as the provost and dean of faculty at Goodwin University. 

2015 | Elizebeth Barnes

Elizebeth Barnes (Hartt) will perform at a Bastille Day dinner in mid-July. Barnes, a mezzo soprano, is a third-generation opera singer and also performs in new music and choral ensembles.

2015 | Shaunna Monts

Shaunna Monts (Barney) was named chief human resources officer for Wheeler. Monts brings over 20 years of experience centered on community-based organizations and health care to the role.

2015 | Justin Henry

justin-henry-15.jpgJustin Henry (Hartt), aka Owen H. Dunne, released his debut album, mine., on June 18, 2021. The album features emotion-packed vocals influenced by Sam Smith and Frank Ocean. Henry is a New Orleans native and is a multi-talented artist and performer.


2015 | Gabriel Mills

Gabriel Mills’ (HAS) work was shown at an Alexander Berggruen Exhibition in New York City. Learn more about Mills’ work and the exhibition.

2015 | Veronica Melendez

Veronica Melendez (M HAS) is featured in a Creating Casa’s newest exhibit, Siempre Aquí. The exhibit maps the memories of Latinxs in the Washington metropolitan area through the community’s personal photos. Read more about Melendez and the exhibit.

2015 | Todd Gazda


Todd Gazda (D ENHP) has been named the executive director of the Collaborative for Educational Services, a nonprofit agency that provides educational services to school districts and individuals in Hampshire and Franklin counties in Massachusetts.

Image from the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

2016 | Jenia Fridlyand

Jenia Fridlyand (M HAS) was interviewed by LenScratch about her book of art, Entrance to Our Valley. Fridlyand is also the co-founder of Image Threads, a non-profit collective that brings together creatives to exchange ideas and experiences with communities throughout the world. Read Fridlyand’s interview.

2017 | Mia Hawlk


Mia Hawlk (D ENHP) has been promoted to executive director of MBA programs at UConn, where she will supervise four graduate programs. Most recently, Hawlk served as director of the part-time MBA program and helped develop UConn’s new online MBA program.

Image from UConn School of Business

2019 | Robert Stone

Robert Stone (HAS) has graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) with his master’s degree in photography and related media. Stone’s master’s thesis focuses on how imagery can be used as a tool for communication. Read more about Stone’s thesis.

2019 | Emily Qualmann

Emily Qualmann (Hartt) and Gabrielle Filloux (Hartt) are currently in The Office!: A Musical Parody, which is now playing Off-Broadway. The musical is the first live musical to open in New York City after the pandemic. Read more about The Office!

2019 | Gabrielle Filloux

See Emily Qualmann '19

2020 and 2021

2021 | Traci Carter

Traci Carter (M A&S) was featured in Al Dia News about his non-profit organization, Anchors Camp. Carter tragically lost his younger brother Semaj to gun violence in July 2020 when he was walking home after playing basketball with friends. Wanting to make a difference and give Philadelphia youth hopes for a brighter future, he and his business partner Jimmy Newfrock founded Anchors Camp, in honor of Semaj. At Anchors Camp, young men have opportunities to gain confidence and develop professional and life skills in a camp atmosphere outside of the city. Read more about Carter and the Anchors Camp.

2021 | Christopher Clark

Christopher Clark (D Hartt) has joined Case Western Reserve University faculty as director of choirs and a full-time lecturer in music education. As a faculty member, he will also direct the Case Concert Choir and Case Men’s Glee Club, teach vocal skills and pedagogy, and mentor students in choral music education. Prior to this role, Clark served as the director of vocal music for the Southern Berkshire Regional School District in Sheffield, Mass.

Colin Whitehill '21

2021 | Colin Whitehill

Colin Whitehill (CETA) went to the Tokyo Olympics as an audio technician for NBC Sports Group. Whitehill was stationed in the International Broadcast Center (IBC) under NBC’s temporary headquarters in Tokyo. The IBC is also where the Primetime NBC Olympics Program is produced.

2020 | Gabriela Downey

Gabriela Downey (Barney) has been selected as an alternate on West Hartford’s Civilian Police Review Board. Downey was the 2019 recipient of the West Hartford Police Department’s Citizens Award and currently works at Collins Aerospace as an associate contracts administrator.

2020 | Amy Bovin


Amy Bovin (D Hartt) will make history at Texs A&M University’s Kingsville campus as the first-ever female band leader in school history. Bovin will serve as an associate director of the “Pride of the South” javelinas marching band and as an assistant professor of music.

Image from NewsTimes


Celebrating the Classes of 2020 and 2021

More than 2,300 University of Hartford students from the Classes of 2020 and 2021 celebrated the completion of their degrees in person or virtually during the University’s Commencement Weekend May 15–16. Graduates shared their excitement and future plans on social media—check out some of the posts below or see more celebratory posts

Ryan C. Biggs, MBA on LinkedIn: This past week I finally was able to walk the stage after earning my MBA from University of Hartford. Due to COVID, although some of us finished in 2020, we had our graduation pushed back to be conducted with the class of 2021. The greatest thing about this, is being able to do it with my family present!

Michele Yurgaitis on LinkedIn: My Class of 2020 Covid Grad, celebrating with the Class of 2021! The University of Hartford got it right! So proud of my Magna Cum Laude Honors, Visual Communications Major Graduate! Chase, you found your passion, your talents and you found your nitch in this world! Congratulations and we know we had the support of your Dad along the way! All those signs and 2 cardinals this morning, the ( David) speaker and messing up your name was brilliantly beautiful! Cheers to my first born... 2 down now .. 1 more to go! What a crazy but interesting 2021 so far! I love you ~Mom University of Hartford Chase Yurgaitis #graphicdesigner #art #communications #marketing #creativity

Caya Tull on LinkedIn: This Sunday I became an alumna of the University of Hartford - Hartford Art School, with a double major in Illustration and Visual Communication Design (VCD) and a Minor in Art History graduating Summa Cum Laude with University Honors and the distinction of Best Senior Portfolio in VCD. Walking across the stage at commencement was the culminating moment in a month where 4 years of hard work finally paid off. On April 17th I presented my design senior project, Tyro at our senior showcase (separate post coming soon). On the morning of May 1st, I attended my last closing circle after graduating from The Women's Advancement Initiative LEAD Program and receiving the Mims Butterworth "Just Say Yes" Award. And on that same evening, I presented my Illustration senior project. These 4 years have certainly not been easy, this most recent one especially so, but all I can say is - thank you, I did it, and please hire me!

Brittney McKenzie on LinkedIn: So very thankful to have finally reached this point. I started in 2009 at the University of Hartford and can finally say I’ve graduated with my Bachelor of Arts in Paralegal Studies! #classof2021

Julia Nattila on LinkedIn: I am excited to share that I graduated from the University of Hartford with my Master's of Science in Organizational Psychology this past weekend. The last 1.5 years of balancing full-time school, work, and life have been an incredible growth experience. I am extremely grateful for my family, friends, and mentors who consistently encouraged and supported me. I wouldn't have gotten here without them! Congratulations to the class of 2021, we did it!

Christopher Nunez on LinkedIn: This weekend I was reminded how truly blessed I am. 11 years ago, I arrived to this country knowing very little English and having to go to an ESL school prior to transferring to a “real” high school. I vividly remember leaving the essay portion of the SAT’s empty, because I couldn’t understand the question nor properly write in English (and scoring the lowest score possible). Today, I am working at a corporation Pratt & Whitney Raytheon Technologies that paid for 100% of this Master while working full time. Thankful is an understatement. MBA completed at Barney School of Business University of Hartford!

Dion Q. Stovall on LinkedIn: Through hard work, discipline and most of all the grace of God, I finally crossed the finish line in completing my Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Management from the University of Hartford Barney School of Business “The marathon continues" #UHart #MBA #Management #business #Leadership #RTX

Weddings and Engagements

Lana Kessell '13 and wedding party

Lana Kessell '13 (A&S) married Gary Vasas on July 4, 2021 at the Woodwinds. While at UHart, Lana majored in secondary mathematics education, she is currently a math teacher at Manchester High School. She was involved in many groups during her undergrad year’s including Phi Mu Fraternity, RHA, and RFA. 

Left to right:

John Hushaw '13, Tara Zaretsky '14, Alana Hushaw (Zaret) '12, Amanda Maskell '13, Sarah Hoyng '13, Crystal Mastrianni (Uliano) '05, Groom—Gary Vasas, Bride—Lana Vasas (Kessell) '13, Megan Westcott '16, Erin Hawley (Gaynor) '14, Martin Hawley '13, Brittany Licht '16, Patricia Swanson '13, Staci Kolko (Bechard) '13, Kaitlyn Dobberfuhl '14.

Amanda (Ernest) Lusteg '14 (A&S) and Matthew Lusteg

Amanda (Ernest) Lusteg '14 (A&S) and Matthew Lusteg had a mini-wedding during the pandemic on May 23, 2020. Close friend and fellow alumni, Max Seinfeld '14 (HAS) served as their officiant. Amanda currently works at the Hartford Art School and Matthew is a self-employed artist. They currently reside in Westfield, Mass.

Ilana Weinberger '11 and wedding party

Ilana Weinberger '11 and Jason Mittleman '15 were married on Aug. 8, 2021 in Tintin Falls, N.J.

Mangual engagement

Astrid Mangual '18 M'20 (CETA, Barney) and Joe Colossale announced their engagement August 1, 2021 and are looking forward to planning a wedding in 2022.

Past Weddings and Engagements


Sophia Olsen Baby
Sophia Olsen Ponichtera M'16 (A&S) and Jason Ponichtera welcomed a baby girl Athena on Aug. 9, 2021.
Pollock baby

Jillian (Ziman) Pollock '07 (ENHP) and Steven Pollock welcomed a baby girl Audrey Marie on May 17, 2021. She joins her big brother Adam who is four.

Seen on Social

@Trey Anastasio: I’m thrilled to welcome the incredible Dezron Douglas to TAB. A longtime friend and collaborator of virtually every member of the band, Dezron is a master of reggae, funk and jazz bass. Russ, Ray, Dezron and I had some deep jams in the city recently, and Dezron’s playing is pure flow, heart, spirit and soul. We all can’t wait to get out on the road together. Thank you Dezron, Welcome to the Band! See you all soon! Trey "I am honored to have the opportunity to lead UB in this next chapter as we help our students grow both personally and professionally to achieve their goals,” said Dr. Wilken. Best wishes for success in your new role! #UHart #UHartAlumni #UHart4Life #doctorofeducation #exploreenhp

@nbcconnecticut: University of Hartford basketball player Traci Carter may have graduated this past spring, but he's not finished with his adopted community. The standout guard hosted an event at Keney Park in Hartford Saturday with food, a mobile vaccine clinic, and free school supplies. Visit the link in our bio to learn more. @glucivero #NBCCT #ConnectingYou #Hartford #Connecticut @hartfordhawks

@uhacetainfo: Special thanks to Douglas Graham ’82, M’97 who recently donated three sets of Mola Structural Model Kits to the civil engineering program at the University of Hartford. “The model consists of a set of modular pieces, allowing countless combinations,” he says. “With Mola, students can build different structural systems, visualize the movements and deformations of its elements and have a sensory experience with structural behavior using your own hands.” Dean Hisham Alnajjar and Civil Engineering Department Chair and Professor Saleh Keshawarz thank Graham for his continued support of the civil engineering program at the University. . . . #cetashare #uhart #universityofhartford #civilengineers #civilengineering #uhart4life #uhartalumni #donation #engineering #engineers @universityofhartford @uhartalumni @molamodel