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Alumni Spotlights



Photo of Tom Toronto

Tom Toronto ’79

Changing the Landscape for Those in Need

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Takeem Dean ’03, ’11 MA

On a Mission to Transform Lives

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Dwana Young ’04

On a Mission to make New Jersey a Healing-Centered State

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Gregory A. Shanaphy ’91

Brings Financial Expertise to the Montclair State University Foundation Board

Alumni pose with student and scholarship check

Reynaldo Acevedo ’95

Being involved in so many organizations at Montclair State made the now assistant principal a natural leader and mentor, something that he takes pride in today.

Anthony Bowens '13

Anthony Bowens ’13

The professional wrestler turns dedication and hard work into success in the ring, on the screen and in life.

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Conrad Schmitt ’58

Alumnus had a passion for languages that led him not only to a teaching career but coincidentally to a successful career in publishing as both an author and editor and marketing manager.


Antoinette Baskerville-Richardson ’74

The community activist is in the forefront of the fight to end State control of the Newark school system, and she is not stopping her endeavors anytime soon.

Seth U. Nwosu '06

Seth U. Nwosu ’06

The certified paralegal is on a mission to ensure that everyone has access to quality legal services. Through his paralegal services company, which now has three locations in the U.S., he helps people navigate the legal system effectively, and affordably.

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Megan Eitel ’17 Au.D

The audiologist owes her success in helping conduct research on TBI in the military population to the connections she made at Montclair State, and encourages students everywhere to remember that no one started as an expert in their field.

Nicole Romero ’20

The Independent Short Film award winner’s professors urged her to talk about her experiences as an undocumented immigrant, and with it came many accolades.

Allison Perrine Larena ’01 MA

President and CEO of the Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC) urges colleagues and students alike to remain positive and make opportunities in these hard times, and to look at the current affairs as great opportunities to create.

Marisa Sweeney

Marisa Sweeney ’08

The 2019 “Nutrition Entrepreneur of the Year” owes her success to a professor who inspired her to change her major, and encourages current students to get to know their professors for a lifelong opportunity of mentorship.

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Dr. Eugene “Gene” Kutcher ’01 MA

Dean of the Norm Brodsky College of Business at Rider University still looks at success as a research study, and he has found a lot of good material to work with over the years.

Nel Noddings ’49

Nel Noddings ’49

Alumna of Montclair State, Rutgers and Stanford has proven to have had an extensive career in education– even 22 years after her retirement.

Amanda Frazao ’11, ’19 MA

North Arlington teacher puts her tools to the test to make sure her young students know that education still matters during a pandemic.

Anca D. Basturescu ’04

Partner for Yorktown Partners LLC reflects on the important relationships she made in college that lead to her many accomplishments.

Taras Petryshyn ’14 MEd

Assistant principal of Clifton Public Schools proves that achieving the American Dream is possible with hard work and determination, plus good insight from some pretty great teachers.

Nicole Silva ’05

2018 Milken Educator Award recipient continues to make sure her students know that they can do anything and are the leaders of their own destiny.

Glenn Tynan ’80

Musician-turned-accountant credits his alma mater for laying the foundation for his future career: being the vice president and CFO of a multi-billion dollar corporation.

Ni’Kita Wilson ’99

Vice president of Ideation and Innovation at Voyant Beauty proves how passionate she is about helping increase the quality of life for women and men from her time in the lab.

Leonard Blessing ’50, ’51 MA

At 99, curiosity and a forward-looking interest still propel an accomplished alum, now as ever.

Newman H. Rochester, Jr. ’00

Vice president of Business Development in Individual Life Insurance at Prudential Financial never imagined that majoring in philosophy would lead him to a career in finance, but he owes it all to his experiences at Montclair State.

Linda Obenauer-Kutner ’80, ’83 MA

Pharmaceutical scientist at Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) incorporates Montclair State in her extensive professional career that has prioritized advocacy and giving back to the science community.

Nick Iannitelli ’99 and Jill Iannitelli ’00

Montclair State Athletics Hall of Fame inductee and Managing Partner at New York Life found love at Montclair State, and they advise current students to take in the college experience while they can.

Bob Downey ’91 and Cheryl Downey ’91

Alumni couple credits Montclair State for helping them achieve their individual successes, along with their 27 year-long marriage.

Victoria Ankrah ’06 MA

Executive director of the Acelero Learning Camden Philadelphia Head Start attributes her passion for nurturing young children to her early childhood education instructor from her days at Montclair State.

Tosan Boyo ’11 MPH

Montclair State’s first Master of Public Health graduate and the son of health care professionals decided to make a career in hospitals while growing up in Nigeria, and has since made a significant impact in the San Francisco community.

Aldo Scrofani ’73

Multiple Tony-Award winner never expected his education in business administration and accounting would lead him to the entertainment industry, but he soon discovered his passion was in the field all along.

Talena Lachelle Queen ’95

Poet, activist and fifth-grade language arts teacher still uses her college lessons of empowerment and tries to pass them on in everything she does.

Jim Benson ’86

President/CEO of Vision Quest Productions, Inc. and second-generation alum of Montclair State owes his extensive career in television production to the opportunities he took advantage of in college.

Patrick Coyle ’13 MBA

Vice President/CFO at Eisai Inc. has been able to achieve his dream of supporting patients while contributing to society in a meaningful way, and his alma mater played a pivotal role in his journey.

LaTarika Pierce ’15

Alumna who switched her major from Dance to Business Administration finds her way back to the stage, and her determination made her a Rockette.

Donor Spotlight: Rose Cali ’80

Alumna’s loyalty and love for Montclair State is now a legacy, and she is forever grateful for the adventure her alma mater has given her.

Darren Groh ’94, ’03 MA

Principal of Catham High School still appreciates the relationships he made during his time at Montclair State for aiding his successful career in education.

Johna Mailolli ’09

The award-winning dietician credits Montclair State University’s Food Science and Nutrition Department, as well as perseverance, for the keys to achieving her dream of becoming a retail dietician for Shoprite, and then some.

Medinah E. Muhammad ’16

The Chief of Staff to New Jersey Assemblywoman Britnee N. Timberlake proves to be a great example of how the connections students establish can result in big post-graduation opportunities.

Carlos E. Gonzalez ’11

The award-winning performer is set to appear in Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” and the film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “In The Heights”– and he’s just getting started.

Marianne Elkovich Autorino ’68

Montclair State was the catalyst for the couple’s careers, she as a Home Economics teacher and her late husband as an Industrial Arts teacher. Together, they would go on to serve a combined 75 years of teaching and give back to the university that gave them each other, and so much more.

Jan Price ’74, ’77 MA

The now-retired national director of Medical Science Liaisons for Women’s HealthCare and Neurology at Bayer HealthCare looks back at the impact she made at Montclair State as an undergraduate student, and the impact it has made on her in return.

Matthew Khan ’15, ’17 MS

By being exposed to research and understanding scientific literature, as well as preparing presentations, the biologist built a solid foundation at Montclair State to perform his public outreach responsibilities all along the east coast.

Kristen Olsen Campbell ’10 ScD

Campbell, who started her undergraduate years as a Chemistry major and then became an audiologist, encourages current students to keep an open mind as they go through their academic career and life.

Jim Dorey ’92

Learning the value of customer relationships translated into opportunity for Price Rite president.

Tara Henderson ’04

The actress and singer is ready to be the first queen to be featured as the ruler at Medieval Times, and she is definitely reigning the rest of the theater world supreme.

Donor Spotlight: Kevin Bradley ’84

Making good decisions comes with the territory of being an effective corporate leader. For the U.S. Steel Executive Vice President and CFO, it was key to his start as he chose to attend Montclair State.

Helen Archontou ’91

The CEO of YWCA Bergen County has always made it her mission to help the people around her, and through her history of advocacy and community service, she is continuing to pave the way for future generations.

Christopher Catching ’99

The vice president for Student Affairs at Stockton University is passionate about providing students with access to the same transformative learning experiences that he experienced as a student, and his longtime work in higher education proves it.

Kent Daniel ’18

An associate’s degree in fashion, as well as losing his job, motivated the entrepreneur and supervisor of the Transportation department at Montclair State to go back to school for his Bachelor’s degree as an adult, and it definitely payed off.

Emma Kaptein ’13

The production assistant for the New York Giants credits her past internships and Montclair State’s Center for Career Services for letting her realize that sports and broadcasting were her passions all along.

Ron Silverman ’84

The president of Client Experience at Vista Global Holding Limited credits his education and experience at Montclair State as the launching point for his successful career in the aviation industry.

Ebone Lawrence-Smith ’11

The fourth grade Literacy Teacher and Head Reading teacher at Gregory Elementary School in Long Branch (N.J.) has had a lifetime of experiences in volunteering and teaching students, ultimately preparing her to live out her dream.

Edward Gero ’76

Award-winning actor, associate professor and head of performance at George Mason University is still loving the process of learning a complicated craft, and still effectively shows that in his performances and lectures.

Emanuel Scrofani ’61

Alumnus’ college experience as a player and aspiring teacher laid foundation for distinguished career in education.

Michele Ansbacher ’80

Training program launches 34-year career, and instills commitment to alma mater for the retired leader at Prudential.

Daniela Gioseffi ’63

The award-winning poet looks back on the experiences that cultivated her love of the written word, and inspired her to do it all in her extensive career in literature, performance and teaching.

herman meyers

Herman “Bud” Meyers ’65

The former SGA president remembers Kennedy assassination on its 50th anniversary and how it encouraged him and his generation to take responsibility for the late President’s legacy.

Tom Kaminski ’84

Broadcaster of the Year Award (2011) Goes to Tom Kaminski ’84

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Kristin Kehoe ’06

The Family and Child Studies program at Montclair State was the foundation for the alumna’s career of helping one million hungry New Yorkers each year.

Chris Lighty

Chris Lighty ’07, ’12 MA

The Family Services Specialist with the Division of Child Protection and Permanency of New Jersey credits several professors and courses at Montclair State for his continued love of social work.

Pooja Patel

Pooja Patel ’12

When Patel graduated, she was ready for the challenges her career would bring. She’d already had to work hard, budget time and put in long hours. When she accepted her dream job at a Big Four accounting firm, Patel was ready to give it her all.

Melba Moore

Melba Moore ’70

The R&B Hall of Fame inductee reflects on her numerous accomplishments in her trailblazing and multi-dimensional career, and thanks her degree in music education for getting the ball rolling.

Michael Price ’81

Co-producer and writer of “The Simpsons” proves that childhood hobbies and odd jobs can lead to a more rewarding destination than your wildest dreams could ever imagine.

Tobin Bell

Tobin Bell ’70 MA

Long before this actor was torturing people on the big screen as the psycho killer John Kramer, aka “Jigsaw,” in the Saw horror film series, he was earning his master’s degree in Environmental Studies at Montclair State.

Tamour Kousha

Tamour Kousha ’05

The chief financial officer of Liberty Science Center reminisces on his time at Montclair State and advises current students to never stop learning.

Kathleen Flynn

Kathleen Flynn ’79

The Chief Marketing and Business Development Officer had plans of becoming a journalist and going to law school– now, she has no regrets about the great journey her career actually took her on.


Lauren Charles ’14

Charles credits Montclair State for exposing her to the political process in ways that help her respond to challenges that she faces at work each day, and advises current students to stay enthusiastic about their goals.

Hank Gola

Henry “Hank” Gola ’76

After a successful and award-winning career in sports journalism, this writer hopes his experience can help inspire current journalism students at Montclair State.

Daniel Infanti ’76

The now-retiree credits his education at Montclair State University as the launching point for a successful 40 year executive career in the marketing, communications and advertising field, as well as giving him the confidence to pursue his professional and family dreams.

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Allison Strong ’12

From the age of nine, this alumna had dreams of performing on Broadway. Those dreams soon became a reality after attending an open call in Manhattan her freshman year.

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Holly P. Gera ’79

On her first visit to campus as a potential student, she was struck by the friendly, welcoming environment that greeted her. It was what convinced her to choose Montclair State University for her undergraduate education, and what has kept her here for an impressive 30 years as a staff member.

Jason Velante

Jason Velante ’00

Before graduating, this proud Red Hawk would have never imagined spending the next 17 years as an educator, where he would accomplish many milestones he never even believed before.

Jennifer Skomial

Jennifer Skomial ’08

The 2018-2019 New Jersey State Teacher of the Year knew she always wanted to be a teacher, and advises current students to research their own dream career paths.

Jenn Winski Colodney ’02

Since graduation, this alumna has held various creative titles. However, if asked as a freshman if she saw herself pursuing any of those career paths – her answer would have probably been “no”.

Alfred Bundy ’75, ’81 MA

Alfred Bundy ’75, ’81 MA

The president of Alfred Bundy Productions reflects on his years at Montclair State, and advises current students to always truly believe that the best is yet to come.


James W. Merli ’83

The Margaret and Herman Sokol Award for Alumni Achievement and Civic Engagement recipient takes time to give back to his alma mater.

Barbara Sholz McCarthy ’71

The actress and President’s Club member has always loved the theater and it was that love that brought her to Montclair State, as well as pushed her to give back to its arts program.


Jim Bartek ’92 & Sharon Gaglione ’85

When it comes to Montclair State University, this alumni couple are all in. Both attended the Feliciano School of Business to earn degrees in Business Administration – Accounting, and now they are directly involved in ensuring success for future graduates.


Judy Graef ’66, ’69 MA

This traveler, photographer, published author, donor and former teacher’s path has led her along many exciting adventures, and Montclair State University was the first step.

Marc Fanelli '93, '99 MA

Marc Fanelli ’93, ’99 MA

The Group Vice President of Audience Solutions at Acxiom owes his early success to Montclair State, which motivated him to return for his Master’s degree that would eventually lead him to helping change the world for good.


Andrew Fede ‘78

Adjunct professor at Montclair State and lawyer reflects on his career beginnings and how it lead to him diving deeper into the field from a wider social context.

Hakika DuBose '06

Hakika DuBose ’06

The youngest female franchisor in the United States may have started her career as a professional dancer, but a desire to create the perfect role to match her individuality lead her to a future career beyond her dancing dreams.

Joseph Pasquino ’11

Joseph Pasquino ’11

So Young Baek '14

So Young Baek ’14


Peter McGuigan ’81

Andrew “Andy” Timm ’88 and Michele Samarya-Timm ’88, ’01 MA

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Denise Rover ’84

Lori McSorley ’86

Dr. Sportelli

Dr. Domenick Sportelli ’00, ’03 MS

Kurt Mussina '88

Kurt Mussina ’88

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Trina Parks ’96

John Quimby

John Quimby ’81

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Autumn Turner ’14

Al Fatale III

Al Fatale III ’04


Joan McGeough ’80


Niki Russo ’16, Avis Spirit Award Winner

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Joe Redmon ’15, General Manager, New Jersey Jackals

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Tom Toronto ’79

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Louis D’Amico ’73

Drums of Thunder


Antoinette Baskerville-Richardson ’74

Chief Education Officer for the Mayor Baraka’s Office of Comprehensive Community Education

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Stephanie Guzman ’06

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Wendy Gillespie ’73

Broadway Producer

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Ihor Andruch ’99

Career Counselor at Berkeley College

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Jesse Schwartzman ’11

Legal Assistant at malpractice and personal injury law firm in Bergen County

Feature image for Melanie Murphy '97, '00 MA

Melanie Murphy ’97, ’00 MA

Data Driven: Alumna turns love for statistics into successful career in analytics

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Tony Carlino ’77

Maritza Rivera

The Heartwarming Story Behind This N.J. Mom’s Graduation

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Norman Eckstein ’98

CFO and Tax Collector in Boonton Township

Feature image for Joseph Christensen '09, 15 MA

Joseph Christensen ’09, 15 MA

Communications in the STEM Sector

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Melissa De Feo ’06

New York City Department of Education

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Zalaya Ivy ’11

Medical Student at Meharry Medical College

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Kristian Dyer ’03

Writer for USA TODAY and On-air Personality on MSG

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Paul Rodriguez ’06

Deputy Counsel to NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio

Steve Pepe '65 with fellow alumni Pamela Portin '77 and Michael Finnegan '76

Stephen Pepe ’65

Owner, Clos Pepe Vineyards LLC

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Matt Barbiere ’10

The co-founder of Two Ton Brewing participated in the first ever Homecoming Beer Garden at Homecoming 2015, and he was proud to be pouring his product at his alma mater.

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Jessica Marini ’06

Assistant Research Scientist at The College Board

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Marilyn Moya ’98

Assistant to the Associate Vice President for Development Seton Hall

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Ian Honauer ’10

Fleet Supervisor at Enterprise Rent-A-Car

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Lester Vrtiak ’09

Program Associate and Pianos Project Leader at Sing for Hope

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Kimberly Moreno ’06

Health Sciences Teacher at Union City High School and winner of the Milken Educator Award for NJ

Feature image for Bonnie J. Mizdol '79

Bonnie J. Mizdol ’79

The Honorable Bonnie J. Mizdol ‘79, A.J.S.C; Assignment Judge of Bergen County

Feature image for Richard A. Volkert ’84 MA

Richard A. Volkert ’84 MA

Leading Expert in the geology of New Jersey

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Lauren D’Imperio ’14

Musician and Founder of #ProtectOurFutures

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Andrew R. Freeman ’84

President, Andrew Freeman and Co. Restaurant and Hospitality Consultants

Feature image for Cathy Madalone '99, '04 MA

Cathy Madalone ’99, ’04 MA

Chief, Bergenfield Police Department

Feature image for Anthony Scriffignano ’82, ’85 MA

Anthony Scriffignano ’82, ’85 MA

Senior Vice President, Chief Data Scientist, Dun and Bradstreet

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Susan Head ’75 MA

Senior Vice President and Senior Philanthropic Specialist, Wells Fargo

Feature image for Eugene Dermody '75 MA

Eugene Dermody ’75 MA

2014 Tom Waddell Award Recipient

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Meredith Bishop ’90

Principal Development Scientist, ConAgra Foods Company

Feature image for Takeem L. Dean '03, '11 MA

Takeem L. Dean ’03, ’11 MA

Dean of Students, Allen University

Disnalda Vargas ’09

Audit Senior, Deloitte

Minal Shah ’14

Project Coordinator, Kallman Worldwide

Robert Minervini ’98

President, Art Emphasis Designs LLC

Clifford Swisher ’48, ’51 MA

Historian, Little Falls Historical Society

Douglas Piekarz ’08 MS

President and CEO, the Akron Zoo

Kimberly Miller-Olko ’90

The senior vice president of video programming and development at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia has enjoyed the roller coaster ride of the ever-changing media industry and is proud to say she is a Montclair State alumna.

Joanne Swanson Barry ’77

Executive Director and CEO of the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants

Larry Hazzard ’73, ’80 MA

Commissioner, New Jersey State Athletic Control Board

Lester Taylor ’97

Mayor, East Orange, NJ

Susan O’Leary Giordano ’99 MBA

Chief Nursing Officer, Hackensack University Medical Center at Pascack Valley

Louise Worthington ’80

Principal, John T. Baker Middle School

ellan white

Ellan Ben-Hayon ’96

Chief Financial Officer, Lightyear Capital

liza offreda

Liza Offreda ’10

Women’s Head Soccer Coach at Gallaudet University

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David Wertheim ’79

The VP and general counsel of Ferrari North America extends his gratitude to his alma mater that gave him so many opportunities.

Tracy Doyle ’87 & Angela Fiordilino ’87

Through the years, these college best friends and co-founders of Phoenix Marketing Solutions, LLC climbed from the staircase on Valley Road to landing at top leadership positions within the medical communications industry.

Kristin Barber ’93 ’02 MA