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Crimson Core: Alumni Association Board Officers, and How They Got That Way

By Marilyn Kukula
November 30, 2012
Appeared in the
Fall-Winter 2012 issue of IUP Magazine

Mike Staub ‘80, Phil Carrai ’83, Sandy Koeppl Barsotti ’87, and Matt Konetschni ’95, ‘98M took different roads to one destination: a deep commitment to serving IUP.

Alumni Board Officers

Alumni Association board officers, from left, Matt Konetschni, Phil Carrai, Mike Staub, and Sandy Koeppl Barsotti. Photo: Keith Boyer

While many people don’t like to be volunteered to do things, it turned out well for Sandy Koeppl Barsotti ’87, and even better for IUP.

About 10 years after graduating, Barsotti got a call from a friend, a fellow alumna. “I hope you don’t mind, but I signed you up for an IUP committee I’m on,” she remembers her friend saying.

Barsotti, a Journalism graduate who lives in Pittsburgh, hesitantly agreed to go to the meeting, thinking it might be a good way to network. From that call, Barsotti went on to devote more than a decade to the IUP Alumni Association, which she now helps to lead as vice president. She also serves on the Foundation for IUP board of directors and on several university committees. Twice, she’s been asked to speak at graduation.

“It’s been terribly rewarding,” said Barsotti, who is marketing director for Direct Response Technologies in Pittsburgh. “I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Everybody on the alumni board has this same warm and fuzzy spot in their heart for IUP.”

While all IUP graduates have automatic membership in the Alumni Association, the group’s board of directors actively works to establish ways for alumni to stay connected.

Joining Barsotti in leading the Alumni Association are Mike Staub ’80, president; Matt Konetschni ’95, M’98, secretary; and Phil Carrai ’83, treasurer. The officers, who took on their new roles in July, each followed a unique path through the organization.

Board president Staub’s fond memories of his days living in Shafer Hall were what introduced him to the Alumni Association. The Criminology graduate had kept in touch with friends from the seventh and eighth floors of the residence hall for several years. About 15 years after graduation, he called the Alumni Relations office at IUP for help in arranging a reunion.

After organizing a few reunions, he became involved with the Admissions office by representing IUP at college fairs and signing recruitment letters. He was also involved in the Harrisburg alumni chapter.

In 2002, Staub received the IUP Distinguished Alumni Award. At that time, he was in charge of all agents in the state environmental crime effort for the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General. He’s now deputy chief of the Bureau of Investigative Services within the office’s Criminal Law Division.

“I’m happy and proud to be an IUP graduate,” he said. “I think it’s important for the alumni to stay involved and voice their opinions on what’s happening on campus. I think alumni have an important part to play in the future of the university.”

Carrai started out by attending a few Alumni Association events in the Washington, D.C., area. When a board member encouraged him to become more involved and visit campus, he discovered that he enjoyed reconnecting with IUP.

“Getting back to campus and seeing how it’s grown got me re-energized about IUP,” he said. “I really look forward to being on campus. It’s inspiring seeing the students again and remembering how IUP provided the foundation for my career and was a big part of my life.”

“I think alumni have an important part to play in the future of the university.”

At IUP, Carrai had a double major in Management Information Systems and Accounting. He later earned a Master of Business Administration from Carnegie Mellon University. The Eberly College of Business and Information Technology recognized him for his entrepreneurship and inducted him into its Hall of Distinction earlier this year. He currently serves as president of Technology and Training Solutions for Kratos Defense and Security Solutions, Inc.

Both Carrai and board secretary Konetschni travel from Washington, D.C., to IUP a few times a year for alumni board meetings and events such as Homecoming.

Konetschni first became involved with the Alumni Association even before he was an alumnus—it was during his sophomore year at IUP. In 1993, he was one of the founding members of the IUP Ambassadors, a student organization that serves as a link between alumni, current students, prospective students, and the rest of the university community.

While studying for his master’s degree in Student Affairs in Higher Education at IUP, Konetschni worked as a graduate assistant in the Alumni Relations office, where he took on the role of advisor for the Ambassadors.

In addition to serving as a board officer, Konetschni has helped host events in the D.C. area, where he works as a director of event programming for a global business travel association.

“I consider it a privilege and a great opportunity to give back to my alma mater,” he said. “I think there’s a greater need for alumni now—giving time, financially, and by networking—to help current and prospective students and the future of the university. To play a role in all that is personally fulfilling.”

Breezedale Alumni Center

Breezedale, home to IUP alumni services

IUP volunteers can be found across the nation and around the world. Explore the possibilities of how you can get involved with the IUP Alumni Association.

IUP Alumni Association Board of Directors

Mike Staub ’80: president
Sandy Koeppl Barsotti ’87: vice president
Matt Konetschni ’95, M’98: secretary
Phil Carrai ’83: treasurer
*Tim Burns ’90
Thomas Costello ’88
Sandra Hoover Diefenderfer ’67
Micah Johnson ’85
*Ward Johnson ’80
Florence Mauchant M’85
*John Ninosky ’93
Dave Reed ’00
Ryan Renz ’05
Elaine Tselepis Sheetz ’71
Pamela Sledge-Coley ’97
Rebecca Pounds Szwalek ’01

*New member this year

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Several principles will guide us as we formulate together our vision of the future IUP.

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Photo Gallery | In Brief | Letters to the Editor

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