Spotlight on Alumni - Fall 2011

Photo by Linda Davidson

Students graduating from the College of the Arts go on to pursue successful careers as actors, dancers, directors, choreographers, technicians, producers, filmmakers, teachers and arts administrators, among others. The alumni are part of our extended family and their successes are our successes. And, those successes are numerous as evidenced by the following achievements of our distinguished alumni in their respective fields.

Alumnus Scott Schneider Honored for Giving Back

Scott Schneider, who graduated with a BFA in Design and Technical Theater in 1990, received the Leonardis Distinguished Alumni Award for all his contributions to Montclair State at the College of the Arts’ Convocation on May 14. Despite the demands of his profession, Schneider stays true to his roots by giving back to the community in offering his services to his church, local high school and college alma mater. Named for Tom Leonardis, an esteemed alumnus, the Leonardis Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes the accomplishments of alumni who have gone on to achieve significant success.  Read the full article.


Campus Visit of Award-winning alumnus Michael Price, writer/producer on The Simpsons

Michael Price, Montclair State alumnus and an Emmy and Writer’s Guild award-winning writer/producer currently working on The Simpsons, visited his alma mater March 8. He held a question-and-answer session at in Life Hall with students earlier in the day and, later that evening, was the featured speaker in the Department of Art and Design's "Film Forum" series. Price was also the College of the Arts’ Convocation speaker and Leonardis Distinguished Alumni Award winner in 2010. Read the full article for more about Price.


Art and Design

AMER KOBASLIJA (MFA, 2005) had a solo show at the George Adams Gallery in Chelsea.

ADAM HAYES (MFA, 2006) had his second solo show at his gallery in the Lower East Side at Number 35 in NYC.

ALEX PACULA (MFA, 2006) received a 2010 fellowship from The New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), and the Robert Sterling Clark Visual Art Space Award, as well as having a solo show at Mighty Tanuka Gallery, in Brooklyn, N.Y., and receiving the Marie Sharpe Foundation award last year.

WILLIAM POPE L (BFA) currently has a piece in a show at the MoMA – The Museum of Modern Art in NYC.

NATHAN SKILES (MFA, 2006) will have a solo exhibition at the Hunterdon Museum from January to March 2012.

ANASTASIA CHAPLYGINA (2009 BA in Fine Arts, Art History concentration) was accepted into the Ph.D. program in Ancient Near Eastern Archaeology at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia after completing an M.A. in Humanities at the University of Chicago and an internship at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

FRANK GAVERE (MFA in Studio Art) was commissioned to create a modular painting to serve as a backdrop for a dress by designer Brittney Banks at the Barami store in NYC.

VANESSA JUAREZ (2010 BA in Fine Arts, Art History concentration) has taken a position in Community Outreach at the Rubin Museum of Art following an internship.


  • KELLY JONES: Production assistant, CBS Evening News
  • JOHN TEJADA: Production assistant, Ad Age
  • SAMANTHA MCALLISTER: Freelance production assistant, CNN, N.Y.
  • STEVEN MILONE: Video EVS Operator, YES Network
  • NELSON DEPASQUALE: Sports editor, North Jersey Media Group’s Community Newspapers, Nutley
  • JAMES CAROLAN: Technial Production Manager, Metropolitan Multimedia, N.J.
  • JON FAZIO: In-Game Logger, MLB Productions, N.J., Temp Logger, MSG Varsity, N.J., and Highlight Editor, Westwood One Radio Sports, N.Y.
  • JOSH KNOBLE: Videographer and Editor, MSG Varsity, Hoboken
  • ADAM KOWALCZYK: Freelance Videographer, XOS Digital, Bergen County
  • BRIAN LUTZ: Freelance media operations technician, CNBC, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.
  • PHIL MCCRICKARD: Production assistant, ITV Studios, N.Y.
  • CLAUDIA SAVELLI: Production assistant, The People’s Court Production, N.Y.
  • STACEY SOMMER: Digital Media and Webcast Production Specialist, The Conference Board, N.Y.


ANDREW PECOTA (BMus ’04; MA ’11) performed as soloist in the Mozart Bassoon Concerto with the Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey in January.

PAULA UNSAL (MA 2008), board-certified music therapist, received the annual Health Care Advocate of the Year Award as music therapist for Hudson Milestone's adult clients with developmental disabilities on March 26, 2010.  This was the first time in the institution's 60-year history that this award had been given to any professional other than a doctor, dentist, or nurse. After taking a new direction a little over a year before to use a music therapist with their Performing Arts program and then expanding this service to their group homes, Hudson Milestones stated that this change had had an outstanding impact on the health and well-being of their clients.

Theatre and Dance

MIDGE GUERRERA (BA and MA Theatre, 1971) had her play, E-Mail: 9/12, produced this fall by Project Rushmore Theatre Company (N.Y.), Black Box Theatre of Asbury Park (N.J.), Union County Performing Arts Center with the Alliance Repertory Theater (N.J.), Somerset Valley Players (N.J.) and Company Theatre (Philadelphia).

LISA PELUSO (BFA Dance 2004) was recently selected as understudy/apprentice for the Elise Monte Dance company. Her choreographic work was accepted at WestFest dance festival at Merce Cunningham Dance Space with over 250 applicants. 

LISA GREENBERG (BFA Dance 2010) was also selected for an understudy/apprentice position with the Elise Monte Dance Company.

NICOLE SMITH (BFA Dance 2007) is having a banner year. She is currently working and training with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. This year, she is also touring with Doug Elkins & Friends as a Maria/Swing, in Fraulein Maria, as well as performing with Donna Scro/Freespace Dance.  She recently presented her Dreamtime in the Cool NY Festival. 

Freespace Dance, directed by DONNA SCRO (class of 1991), performed at St. Marks Church in NYC  June 23, 24.

MAUREEN GLENNON (BFA Dance 1991) and her company, moe-tion dance theater, had a very successful launch of Maureen's new venture, Project Support at Montclair State University this past October.  A recent breast cancer survivor, Glennon is now committed to help promote breast cancer awareness. 
TIM KOTCHKA (BFA Dance 2009) is a member of the Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company.

RACHEL GALLART (BA Dance Ed 2009) started a new dance program at Jefferson Township Middle School in fall of 2010.

MEGAN FIBKINS (BA Dance Ed 2010) holds a full-time teaching position at Mary Help of Christians Academy in North Haledon. She is teaching math and dance.

MICHELLE PARADISE (BA Dance Ed 2010) holds a full-time teaching position in dance at Lincoln Avenue Elementary School in Orange.

TIFFANY ROLSING (BA Dance Ed 2009) is the Dance Director for Studio 691, The Visual and Performing Arts School of the Wyckoff YMCA.

ALYSSA STROMAN (BA Dance Ed 2010) keeps busy teaching 22 dance classes a week at two private studios, three recreation programs and an afterschool program.