Six Young Alumni Achievers Receive Awards

Posted on 11/7/2016 5:38:05 PM
Young Alumni Award - 2016 recipients

From left, seated, are Karen Marr Sudders '05, M'07; Jonneé Tonsel ’09; and Kimberley Miller '02. Standing are IUP President Michael Driscoll, Phillip Chavira '06, Robert Kervin '02, and Jennifer Swartz '07. 

Six alumni from the last 15 years returned to IUP to accept the Young Alumni Achievement Award November 6-7.

In addition to chatting with students during a reception and accepting their awards at a luncheon, each awardee visited classrooms to share with students insights on their careers.

The awardees represent each of IUP's six academic colleges.

Broadway producer Phillip Chavira earned his undergraduate degree in Theater at IUP in 2006 and then refined his resume with an MBA from Fordham University.  He cofounded Partly Cloudy People, which produces theater as a means to create awareness and to fundraise for a variety of nonprofit and education groups. In 2014, he joined Davelle and coproduced Danai Gurira's Tony Award-winning play "Eclipsed."

A geologist, Robert Kervin ’02 is executive vice president and cofounder of Rusk Energy Corporation. Before his work with Rusk, Kervin served as a geologist for four different companies and earned a reputation in the Houston area energy industry as a leader in developing new technologies that extend the lifespan and production of conventional oil and gas fields.

A graduate of IUP's accounting and management programs, Kimberley Miller ’02 is a tax manager at Sisterson & Company and has had significant experience in tax compliance and tax planning for closely held corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies, individuals, private foundations, and nonprofit organizations. Her for-profit clients span a wide variety of industries, including manufacturing, distribution, real estate, service, technology, and investment. She is a member of the firm’s active emerging growth and nonprofit niche teams as well as being a member of the performance management and development committee.

Karen Marr Sudders ’05 M’07 is clinical culinary and nutrition manager at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Her work has given her the ability to speak to a large audience of patients, caregivers and members of the community while exuding sympathy and empathy and facilitate the grieving process. She is well known within her organization for her dedication to patients and their families.

Today, Jennifer Swartz ’07 works in private equities and is a senior associate with Wilshire and Associates. She has obtained level 1 of the Chartered Financial Analyst designation. But, immediately after graduation, she took a position in the White House Office of Management and Budget, where she gained expertise in the complicated world of government procurement policies and regulations. As a student in IUP's Cook Honors College, she graduated with dual degrees in Political Science and Economics/Mathematics.

Jonneé Tonsel ’09 has leveraged her skills in promotions, media development, messaging, public relations, and economics to develop a successful career, first with Turner Broadcasting and now with Viacom’s Comedy Central Network, where she serves as project manager of brand creative. Her work currently focuses on marketing and advertising, specifically focusing on the creative and brand process, as well as overseeing project development, contracts, production timelines, and logistics.

During the awards luncheon, IUP President Michael Driscoll said, "Our aim is to provide our world with the best-prepared sets of minds and hands to be immediately productive but also able to meet future challenges that we can’t even predict right now. We recognize critical thinking and analytical skills, the ability to appreciate new circumstances, and the quality of being flexible and adaptable are as important to students as the course content they immerse themselves in. Naturally, our end game is to produce more and more students who are much like today’s awardees—high achievers thriving in diverse fields, with good connections out in the field. We always want you to feel as though you can come home to IUP, too, and be proud of your university and this lifelong network you belong to."

Learn more about the Young Alumni Achievement Awards program and how to nominate IUP alumni for consideration.