University of Scranton Graduate Students Earn Awards

Jan 9, 2013

Ten graduate students at The University of Scranton were named recipients of Frank O’Hara Awards, which recognized students with the highest grade point average at approximately the mid-point of their master’s degree programs in each of Scranton’s graduate programs. The award is named in honor of the late Frank O’Hara, who served the University for 53 years in various administrative positions.

Samer Bandak, Walnutport, is currently pursuing an MBA in operations management. He graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in international business with a minor in Arabic from The University of Scranton. He is a graduate assistant in the admissions office and the International Programs Department. He serves as president of the International Club, and is also a member of the President’s Cabinet, International Business Club, MBA club, Marketing Club and the Mountain Sports Club. He has volunteered with the American Red Cross. 

Alycia Crilly, Wanaque, N.J., is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in physical therapy. She graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science and a concentration in nutrition from The University of Scranton, where she was a member of Phi Epsilon Kappa (the exercise science honor society), Alpha Lambda Delta (the national honor society for freshman) and Alpha Sigma Nu (the national Jesuit honor society). A recipient of the Rose Kelly Award, she has volunteered with Camp Acorn and the Mary Therese Rose fund for children with disabilities, named after her sister. A graduate assistant for physical therapy, she was also involved with the University Mission and Ministry, Physical Therapy Club and the University’s Christian Life Community organization.   

Nicole Giorgio, Dunmore, is pursuing a master’s degree in education as a reading specialist. She earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary education in English from Marywood University and is a member of the National Council of Teachers of English, for which she presented at the Nov. 2012 Conference in Las Vegas, Nev. A member of Lambda Iota Tau (the English honor society), she is also a graduate assistant in the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence. She has volunteered with Dunmore Youth basketball, football and cheerleading.  

Daniel Jackowitz, Avoca, is pursuing a master’s degree in software engineering. He graduated summa cum laude from The University of Scranton with a triple major in computer science, computer engineering and electrical engineering. A graduate assistant for the Computer Science Department, he is a member of the Upsilon Pi Epsilon (computing sciences honor society) and the Association for Computing Machinery professional society. He was also involved with the Institute of Electric and Electronic Engineers Club (IEEE) and was a two time presenter at the Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges Eastern Conference.

Kimberly Kowalik-Smith, Milford, is pursuing a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling. She is concurrently pursuing a certificate in Arabic Language and Culture and a master’s degree in applied criminology online from California University of Pennsylvania,, California, as well as a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Marywood University. She received her undergraduate degree in history with a minor in psychology from Dominican College, Orangeburg, N.Y. A former probation officer and corrections officer, she also has certifications from the FBI Behavioral Science Unit and the Office on Violence Against Women. 

Cristinal Miinea, Ph.D., Easton, is pursuing a master’s degree in healthcare administration. He earned his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from the University of Bucharest, Romania, a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Houston, Houston, Texas, and a post-doctoral fellowship at Dartmouth School of Medicine, Lebanon, N.H. He has been published in peer-reviewed journals, and has worked with biopharmaceutical firms such as ISS Pharmaceuticals, Celldex Therapeutics and Avantor Performance Materials. He is the vice president and international relations liaison of the American College of Healthcare Executives at the University.   

Kyle Randall, Henderson, Nev., is pursuing a master’s degree in nursing as a family nurse practitioner. He received a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Southern Utah University, Cedar City, Utah, and is a certified nurse in Utah and Pennsylvania. A graduate assistant for nursing, he is a member of Sigma Theta Tau (the international honor society of nursing), the American College of Nurse Practitioners and the Utah State Fireman’s Association. He has worked in the emergency room at hospitals locally and in Utah.    

Julianna Runyon, Modesto, Calif., is pursuing a master’s degree in human resource management. She received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of California at Davis.   

Christopher Toomey, Coopersburg, is pursuing an MBA. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Lafayette College, Easton. Currently, he works for an international company in Bethlehem that provides equipment and engineering services for the global cement and minerals industries. He is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and has a professional engineering license in Pennsylvania. He has worked with the DaVinci Science Center in Allentown and the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science at Easton High School, Easton.

Alissa Valiante, Hillside, N.J., is pursuing a master’s degree in educational administration. She graduated from Kean University, Union, N.J., with a bachelor’s degree in music education with a voice concentration. She earned a master’s degree from Marygrove College, Detroit, Mich. She is currently employed in Hillside, N.J., as the general music teacher. A member and former president of Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity, she serves on the Board of Directors for the Mystic Vision Players theatre company. She is a member of the New Jersey Education Association, the New Jersey Music Educators’ Association and the American Choral Directors’ Association.  

Grad Photo

Recipients of The University of Scranton’s Frank O’Hara medals from the College of Graduate and Continuing Education pictured with W. Jeffrey Welsh, Ph.D., (seated far left) dean of the College of Graduate and Continuing Education, are, seated from left, Kyle Randall and Daniel Jackowitz. Standing are, from left, Nicole Giorgio, Kimberly Kowalik-Smith, Alycia Crilly, Alissa Valiante, Cristinal Miinea, Ph.D., and Christopher Toomey.
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