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FacultyWho knew that world events, specifically the war in Afghanistan, occurring literally on the other side of the globe, could or would have such a profound, direct effect on the IUP journalism department and our students?  Well, the war has.  Dr. Michele Dougherty Papakie, a 1993 graduate of our department and a member of our faculty since January 2007, will be deployed to Afghanistan in early April.  Michele, a lieutenant colonel in the 171st Air Refueling Wing of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard, will serve on active duty for six months as an equal-opportunity director.

“I have been in my unit for 23 years,” she said, “and I’ve never been deployed for more than 15 days at a time.  I feel like I’ve spent my career always training for the ‘big game’ but then sitting on the bench.

“I’m looking forward to taking my turn to serve, but I will really miss my students, family and friends.  With Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and e-mail, I’m hoping to stay as connected as possible while I’m away so no one forgets about me.”

Meanwhile, here on the home front, the remaining faculty will be holding down the fort (how’s that for a cliché?) as the 2010 spring semester has begun.  And with the start of a new term, it’s time – actually, past time – for another edition of the Newslitter and time to catch up on bits and pieces of alumni news, even some dated info perhaps.   I apologize if anything is even slightly out-of-date.   Please send me your latest news.

Let me start with a year-old item but one that still is interesting and noteworthy for our grads.  Michael Henninger (2006), a staff photographer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, covered President Barack Obama’s inauguration last January.  His photo of the president’s swearing-in made the front page of his paper the next day.   Another recent graduate, Stephanie Mlot (2008), working as a reporter for the Frederick (Md.) News-Post, also covered the big doings in Washington that day.

When I think of Washington, D.C., the names of many former journalism majors come to mind.  Here’s one whom I heard from fairly recently:  Mike Gazda (1998), who sent a picture posing with President George W. Bush, when the Washington Nationals’ new baseball stadium opened.  Mike has been the media relations director for the baseball team for two years or so.  He really worked his way up, starting with an internship with the Pittsburgh Pirates, working in minor-league baseball PR with the Lake Elsinore (Calif.) Storm and the Sacramento River Cats and making the big leagues with the Florida Marlins.

Adjacent to the District of Columbia in northern Virginia, you’ll find Lisa O’Donnell Connors (1984).  For many years she was the editor of the employee newsletter at The Washington Post but left that position to work closer to home at the Fairfax (Va.) County Office of Public Affairs.

Two states to the south, Allison Galbraith Guilfoyle (1997), according to most recent information, is the events coordinator for Newell Rubbermaid.  Allison had worked for more than a decade in marketing, training and event planning for several companies including a golf course.  Then, there is Sandy Scherer (1986) in Raleigh, N.C.  Sandy’s career includes communications positions with Allegheny Valley Hospital in Natrona Heights and Kaiser Permanente and an HMO called WellPath, both in North Carolina.  Now, she has her own communications consulting business, primarily writing and project management.

“I’m one of the lucky people whose education was in an area of passion, and I’ve actually used it in my career,” she said.  “And I still have that damn AP Stylebook memorized, thanks to you.”

Sandy also reported on her sister, June Scherer Matt (1989), who became an elementary-school teacher with her master’s degree as a reading specialist.  She lives in Seal Beach, Calif.

Sandy is among a number of journalism grads who have started their own businesses in one area of communications or another.  For example, Tim Hayes (1982) is the founder of his own consulting firm that operates out of the Pittsburgh area.  I just read a pertinent blog essay that he wrote all about lying.  He said the most popular question he receives when speaking to college journalism students – at least the most popular after “How much do you make?” – is “Have you ever had to lie?”  After comparing and contrasting his experiences both as a reporter and as a PR professional, he concluded with the following:  “I can sleep at night knowing that anything I’ve ever written for an employer or client has been accurate and truthful….”

Two other former majors, Kris Rinaldi Levan (1997) and Stephanie Sherry Rosenberger (2004), are just in the process of starting their own firm here in Indiana.  They had worked together for a national company that had its PR/marketing operation on Philadelphia Street.  When that division closed and they lost their jobs, thanks to the recession, they decided to form their own business, which is called Big Girl Marketing.  Their company offers a variety of services including advertising, promotions, market research, branding, company name, logo selection, PR and event planning.  Kris is married to Jason Levan (1997), the news editor at The Indiana Gazette.

It’s wonderful and interesting and nostalgic for me to read about and hear about and hear from graduates of the IUP journalism department.  I feel a re-connection, so to speak, with those individuals and those years, whether they be from the 1980s or ‘90s or, now, the most recent 10 years.  None of us was ever very good at math, right?, but all of us can figure out that 2010 marks the 30th anniversary of the founding of this department by Craig Swauger and David Truby.
Within this past year, a member of the Class of 2009, Kristen Stormer, who was from Hollidaysburg, died when she was hit by a truck while crossing a street in Ocean City, Md., where she was working for the summer.  For your information and reflection, here, according to the IUP alumni records, are the names of the journalism alumni who have died:

Paul Krueger   (1975)                         David Rovnan  (1984)
David Schwartz   (1976)                      Patsy Marcoccia  (1984)
Julie Brink   (1979)                             Cheryl McGaffin  (1984)
Jeffrey Howells  (1980)                       Angela Fought Orndorff (1987)
Jim Connelly    (1981)                         Avril Barwick   (1987)
Mark Ballantine  (1982)                       Marilyn Healy Anderson  (1988)
Brian Bouren   (1983)                         Beth Ann Principe Barker (1988)
Tammy McClellan Sadeik (1983)           Delphine Douyere  (1992)
Theresa Ellison  (1984)                       Nancy Scott   (1992)
Lisa Daniels Roach  (1984)                   Patrice Gates   (1993)
                                                       Melissa Turley  (2006)

Time certainly marches on.  Another new year.  Another new semester.  Another year living on the academic calendar.  Another new group of students, of journalism majors.   And, sometimes, a new generation.

Last year, 2009, brought two delightful surprises to our department, to my classroom.  When the student told me her last name was Flinchbaugh, I had to ask her whether her father was Tim Flinchbaugh, IUP journalism Class of 1982.   Katherine Flinchbaugh of York, Pa., said, “Yes.”

And when Beth Proffitt of Kirkwood, Pa., told me her mother was a journalism major from Oxford, Pa., I guessed and guessed correctly:  “Debbie Chase, Class of 1983.”

Well, that’s it for this edition.  Please keep the e-mails coming with the latest.  I appreciate everyone’s staying in touch.

Journalistically yours,


  • Journalism and Public Relations Department
  • Humanities and Social Sciences Building, Room 404
    981 Grant Street
    Indiana, PA 15705
  • Phone: 724-357-4411
  • Office Hours
  • Monday through Friday
  • 7:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
  • 1:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.