Six graduates of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, including a graduate from Indiana County and a Cambria County native, will be honored with the 2008 Young Alumni Achievement Award on Nov. 10.

Indiana native Kirk D. Fleming, a 1994 communications media graduate of IUP's College of Education and Educational Technology, and Carrie Popovich-Ortsey, originally of Johnstown, a 1999 dietetics graduate of the College of Health and Human Services and a 2000 graduate of IUP's master's program in industrial and labor relations, join four recent graduates chosen for this honor.

The Young Alumni Achievement Award was created to recognize recent IUP graduates identified as outstanding in their professions and to present these alumni to current IUP students as examples of exceptional achievement.

IUP graduates of fewer than 15 years are eligible for this award. Recipients are selected by the deans of their colleges.

The award recipients are invited to hold seminars, presentations and panel discussions on topics related to their profession for current IUP students.

Members of the community can meet the recipients at a public reception from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at the Crimson Event Center in Folger Hall.

This year, Young Alumni Achievers will participate in the university's IUP Plays Pittsburgh concert and dessert reception at Heinz Hall on Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. The event is sponsored by Massaro Corp. of Pittsburgh, general contractor for IUP's $270 million Residential Revival student housing project.

Fleming, now of Hatboro, is the son of Don Fleming, Sleepy Hollow Road, Indiana, and Gayle Kubeka, Welington, Fla. He is a training manager, benefit risk management, for Global Pharmacovigilance Education, a Johnson & Johnson company. His work includes client management, needs assessment, instructional design and development, evaluation and leadership development.

He previously worked at Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. in Princeton, N.J., as a manager in instructional design and organizational development and at Capital One Services Inc. of Richmond, Va., in the organizational effectiveness and learning innovation program. He began his professional career as a performance consultant and instructional designer for Digital Equipment Compaq Computer Corp. of Nashua, N.H.

He has won a number of professional awards and has been an invited presenter for many professional conferences and events. In addition to his degree from IUP, he has a master's degree in education (instructional systems design) from Florida State University, an M.B.A. from the University of Richmond and is working toward a doctoral degree from Penn State University in adult education.

Popovich-Ortsey, now of Mars, works as manager of human resources for Eaton Corp. While at IUP, she received the David A. Williard Memorial Award for Academic Achievement and Professional Promise. Popovich-Ortsey began her career with Aramark Corp., working in human resources. She also worked at Diageo, a premium drinks business, as a plant human resources director and director of organizational effectiveness. She is active with Junior Achievement and is a member of the Women's Leadership Council for the Pittsburgh United Way.

Other award recipients are as follows:

  • Seema Batra, of Murrysville, a 1994 marketing graduate of the Eberly College of Business and Information Technology. Batra is a regional manager of Laurel Highlands in western Pennsylvania market and vice president of PNC Bank. Batra completed her studies at IUP as a nontraditional student and did a marketing internship with the Jimmy Stewart Museum in Indiana. She has also been an active member and officer of the IUP Women's Club.

    She began her career at PNC Bank in 1997 as a part-time financial service consultant in Pittsburgh. She has worked in a management role at five different PNC branches, including PNC's branch at its headquarters at One PNC Place, before being selected for her current position, which oversees 14 branches in four counties, including Indiana, and 130 employees. She is the recipient of the 2008 Great Gallup Workplace Award, recognizing managers who excel in creating and sustaining customer and employee engagement in the workforce. She also is the 2007 and 2003 recipient of PNC's Annual Circle of Excellence Award, representing commitment to excellence in sales and leadership and the 2007 Customer Advocate of the Year Award, a service excellence award. She received performance award nominations in 2005 and 2002.
  • Dr. Laurie Cannady, of Avis, formerly of Portsmouth, Va., a 2006 doctoral graduate in the English literature and criticism program, College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Cannady is an assistant professor of English at Lock Haven University. While a student at IUP, she was a member of the English Graduate Organization, was selected as the student commencement speaker for the 2006 midyear graduate commencement ceremony and was chosen for membership in Phi Kappa Phi honor society. She also worked as a graduate assistant in the English department.

    At Lock Haven University, she is a member of several professional organizations and is the adviser for three student groups. In her adviser role, she was responsible for directing students in the planning and execution of the first Women's Conference and is working with another group organizing Lock Haven's first male empowerment conference. Cannady also serves as a mentor in Lock Haven's presidential mentoring initiative. She is a member of the Lock Haven University Women's Commission and serves on the faculty of the women's studies program.

    Two of her papers have been selected for publication in professional reference books. Cannady completed her bachelor's and master's degrees from Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, Tenn. She is a veteran of the U.S. Army.
  • Jamie Littlefield Kasper, of East Berlin, originally of Clarendon, a 1999 music education graduate of the College of Fine Arts. Kasper works as a fine arts and humanities adviser for the Pennsylvania Department of Education's Bureau of Teaching and Learning Support, Division of Standards and Curriculum. Before this work, she was a music educator in the Prince Georges County (Virginia) public schools, the Fairfax County (Virginia) public schools and the Bermudian Springs School District in York Springs. She completed the Governor's Institute for Arts Educators in 2005. She has also led the first- and second-grade arts standards writing project for the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
  • Dr. Christa Ziegler, of Spring, Texas, originally of Lanoka Harbor, N.J., a 2001 geology graduate of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. Ziegler is an exploration geoscientist with ExxonMobile of Houston. While at IUP, she was selected for the Sigma Xi student research award and the geoscience department award for outstanding research. In addition to her IUP degree, she has a doctoral degree in earth sciences from Boston University. She is a member of the American Geophysical Union, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists and the Association of Women Geoscientists.