Alynn Greene (Early Childhood Education) reports, “I've moved back up north after 30 years in South Florida, 15 of which were as a snowbird. I'm living at my condo in Monroe Township, New Jersey. I'm in good health, but my sons felt I should be near family. This will be my first northern winter in 30 years! Oh, well, they tell me to dress in layers! At least I'm closer to New Paltz when I'm here.”
Robert Mahoney (Elementary Education: Biology) was cited as a Red Cross Blood Hero at the Cape, Islands & Southeast Massachusetts Heroes Breakfast in April 2019. Robert first donated blood on July 7, 1961, and has since donated 248 pints. His dedication to donating was strongly influenced by the birth of his daughter, who needed a complete blood exchange only 36 hours after birth. He still gives regularly and plans to continue as long as he is qualified to do so.
Steve Hartman (Biology) is the author of the new book “Life is Short/Death is Forever - Finding joy and pleasure in each day without hurting anyone along the way,” now available on Amazon. The autobiographical self-help book mentions experiences he had while a student at New Paltz.
Gloria (Neita) Gifford (Political Science) recently directed the dining and theatrical production of “The Art of Dining” at the Gloria Gifford Conservatory in Los Angeles.
Eileen Cowin (Visual Arts) was recently commissioned to create public art for the Los Angeles Metro's Crenshaw/LAX line. Her work is a series of film strip narratives that invite commuters to participate in visual storytelling. The images she captured feature residents photographed along the Crenshaw corridor in Los Angeles.
Edward Metzendorf Ed.D. (Secondary Education 7-12: Chemistry) is the current president of the Osher Life Long Learning Institute (OLLI) at Stony Brook University. He retired in 2009 as principal of Plainview-Old Bethpage Middle School and has been a member of the OLLI program for six years. The program offers approximately 80 workshops for seniors in a variety of subject areas.
Russell La Valle (Secondary Education 7-12: English) ’74g (English) published his second novel, “Here Comes the Sun: The Summer of ’69.” Released in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Woodstock Festival, it follows a group of recent college graduates who hear the siren song of the Woodstock Festival and are inspired to join the voices of a new generation. A veteran writer, Russell has written for major newspapers and magazines, penned films for cable television and was a former contributing editor to a philosophical think tank. He currently writes political commentary and is working on the screenplay adaptation of his new novel. La Valle is the author of the 2017 novel “Underground Dreams.” He is married to Robin Cohen-La Valle ’77 (Psychology) ’82g (Psychology), the current dean of students at SUNY New Paltz.
Robert Ginsberg (English) founded Forever Family Foundation in 2004, a not-for-profit organization that educates the public about scientific and anecdotal evidence suggesting that we are more than our physical bodies (foreverfamilyfoundation.org). He is the editor of Signs of Life Magazine and writes a blog at beyondthefivesenses.com.
David Rappaport (Economics) exhibited “The Changing Face of Courage,” at the Women In Military Service For America (WIMSA) Memorial in Arlington, Virginia. The exhibition was comprised of 40 derivative monochrome watercolor paintings of women in the military and will be rededicated in early 2020 with the addition of a portrait of Shannon Kent, a Navy cryptologist who was killed in January 2019. As one of a selected group of artists to be represented in Monhegan Island's Quadricentennial Art Exhibit in 2014, Rappaport’s land and seascape paintings can be found at the Lupine Gallery on Monhegan Island in Maine. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
Edward Killar (Philosophy) reports, "In 1989 I won the International Drag Bike Association (IDBA) world finals in Atlanta, Georgia. I set both the elapsed time (E.T.) 7.61 seconds and the mph record of 174 mph, both world records for dragracing motorcycles. I would like to thank my family, especially, my wife for her support. This was a culmination of many years of research and effort. I wrote a book about my adventures called ‘Nitrous Wars: The Black Book of Nitrous Oxide Racing.’”
Eric Gray (Political Science) published his first book, “Bases to Bleachers: A Collection of Personal Baseball Stories from the Stands and Beyond.” One day during an afternoon at the ballpark, Gray asked his wife, daughter and friend to identify their favorite game. Little did he know that simple question would soon take on a life of its own. As the question made its way to family members, friends, friends of friends, strangers and beyond, it gave way to a surprising and diverse collection of stories and perspectives.
Roger Raimond (Political Science) was appointed managing partner at the Manhattan law firm Robinson Brog Leinward Greene Genovese & Gluck P.C., where he has served as a partner in the litigation and dispute resolution department since 1992. His practice focuses on complex commercial litigation with a specialty in property, environmental and commercial foreclosure matters as well as business law. He was a lecturer at the New York State Bar Association Business Law Committee and published in the New York State Business Law Journal. In addition, Raimond has served on the New York State Bar’s Executive Committee and has served as co-chair of the organization’s Environmental Law sub-committee on ethics.
Audrey Cohen (Music Therapy) joyfully announces her retirement from the New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities. Cohen initially practiced music therapy for eight years at the Hunterdon Developmental Center in New Jersey. She took a break to raise her two children and developed a private piano practice. She returned to Hunterdon in 2004 as a plan coordinator and ended her state service with New Jersey Department of Developmental Disabilities Community Services. Cohen is a radio host on WDIY-Community Public Radio in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and looks forward to playing music around Lehigh Valley.
Robert Sommer ’78g (English) won the 2019 Thorpe Menn Literary Excellence Award, sponsored by the American Association of University Women in Kansas City, for his essay collection, “Losing Francis: Essays on the Wars at Home.” “Losing Francis” chronicles the story of his son's deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan as an Army infantryman and return home to civilian life. Whitney Terrell, author of “The Good Lieutenant,” describes “Losing Francis” as “a vibrant, indispensable document of life in our time.” Sommer teaches part time at Avila University in Kansas City and works for the Sierra Club's Kansas Chapter in support of its mission to explore, enjoy and protect the planet. He and his wife Heather make their home in Olathe, Kansas.
Kathryn (Cederle) Defillippo (Elementary Education Pre K-6: Psychology) was re-elected in November 2019 to serve another term on the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders. She works with many of the non-profit groups in the county in her role as human resources liaison and is proud of the work she has done to create the Family Justice Center in Morristown, New Jersey. The center provides residents who have experienced domestic violence with a place to stay and helps them receive immediate access to emergency and other support services.
Robert Holtzer (Business Administration) organized an alumni gathering in Boca Raton, Florida, in January 2020. A great time was had by all!
Ellen (Diprizito) Zabriskie (Sociology) reports that she acted in three movies this year and recently wrapped the Hulu movie, “Binge,” with Vince Vaughn, which will be released June 2020. She also appears in “Karen or Bust,” released by the IFC Channel in March 2019. Ellen is currently working on a new role (to be announced). She reports that she “loves living in Saratoga Springs, New York.”
Glenn Hoagland assumed a new role, effective Oct. 1, 2019, as the president and chief executive officer for The Seeing Eye Inc. He previously served for 26 years as president of the Mohonk Preserve, New York State’s largest non-profit nature preserve. The Seeing Eye is a New Jersey nonprofit and internationally recognized dog guide school for people who are blind. https://www.seeingeye.org/about-us/leadership.html.
Connie Winston (Theatre Arts) recently had an encore performance of her docu-drama, “American Captives: Lena Baker & Sandra Bland,” presented during the 10th anniversary season of the United Solo Theatre Festival in New York City.
Pedro Gonzalez (Sociology) is living and working in Knoxville, Tennessee, as director of career management for the top-ranked MBA program at Haslam College of Business, University of Tennessee. He is a career development expert to young and experienced professionals.
Kelli Meland Ph.D. (Psychology) has accepted the position of chief psychologist for Hudson Valley Developmental Disabilities Service Office Operations, New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities.
Maura (McLaren) Badji (Sociology) ’03g (Special Education) was nominated for a Pushcart Prize by the editors of Aeolian Harp (Vol. 5, Glass Lyre Press) in November 2019, for her poem “Beautysick,” part of a folio including “Pieds A Terre,” “That Summer,” “These Southern Afternoons,” and “Stage Struck.” Maura's 2019 publications also included “Auto(Immune)” in The Deaf Poets Society (Issue 8); “Live At The Flame” in Rogue Agent (Issue 56); “Kintsukuroi” in The Phoenix Soul (November 2019); “Neo-Nero Fiddles” in The Skinny Poetry Journal (Sept 2019); and “Beloved Exile” in The Skinny Poetry Journal Anthology (Cherry Castle Publishing, 2019). Maura was the guest poetry editor for The Deaf Poetry Society's Issue 9, January 2020.
Robert Naughton (Computer Science) was recently elected as the New Canaan, Connecticut, Town Official to the Board of Education. He has been Educational Records Bureau’s (ERB) chief technology officer and vice president of operations since 2009, building on over 20 years of leadership experience in the field of technology and education. Prior to joining ERB, Naughton has been an executive in several internet advertising and database marketing companies.
Luba Havraniak (Finance) reports, “I grew tired of not getting raises for more than 10 years as a North Carolina public school teacher, and so I left the profession and became a human resources recruiter – and I love it! I still may consider teaching in another state in the future. In addition, my benefits are actually better now than they were in public schools.”
Lisel Doreste-Hamilton (Business Administration) reports that after 10 years in the fitness industry, at the age of 50, she received an education degree from Daytona State College. She is now in her fourth year of teaching elementary physical education in the Volusia County School District in Florida. She also has a self-published book titled “Christmas in Islamabad,” chronicling her eight years as a flight attendant for Tower Air.
David Scarlino ’91g (Special Education) is entering his fifth year of retirement as a special education teacher from the Utica City School District. He spends winter snowbirding in Florida and keeps busy substituting and coaching in surrounding school districts.
Geoffrey Detrani (Philosophy) ’96g (Painting-Drawing) announced his most recent solo exhibition, “Time-Space Compression,” presented at Real Art Ways art space in Hartford, Connecticut. The exhibition included paintings and drawings of mixed media on paper. From his artist statement: “The imagery that I use explores a hypothetical intersection between the natural world and the built environment. I am interested in a representation of the natural world that is spun from a conflation of imagination and ideology, a symbolic rendering, rather than one that mimics our visual/optical experience of it.”
Margaret (McHale) Kohler (Accounting) was recently promoted to United States CFO at Dentsu Aegis Network.
Thaddeus Scott (Visual Arts) was recently promoted to principal design manager working on Microsoft Teams, a chat-based collaboration tool included in Microsoft Office 365. He manages the user experience team that oversees the core features of the app, including messaging, teams and channels, and overall framework. He has been working on the product for nearly five years and was a member of the original group of designers, developers and program managers that invented Teams. Prior to this, he was a UX Designer on Skype and Microsoft Surface Hub.
Jason Finkelman (Music) was selected as a winner of a 2019 Arts, Culture and Education (ACE) Award. He earned the Advocate ACE Award for consistently advocating for, creating and nurturing remarkable partnerships and collaborations between multiple institutions, organizations, programs, and local, national and international artists. The award acknowledges his work to support our cultural community across all boundaries with passion, conviction and creativity.
Sherry Saturno (English) was among the recipients of the United Way of Westchester and Putnam Emerging Leaders Alliance’s United We Rock award in October 2019. The award honors community-minded and philanthropic young professionals. Saturno is currently executive director of Gramatan Village in Bronxville, New York. She wrote and produced a national award-winning documentary short film titled “Human Investment,” which explores what drives individuals to invest themselves in the humanity of care.
Panagiotis (Panos) Lazaretos (Computer Science) was recently appointed as a director and elected to the board of SPAR Group. Panos has more than 15 years of international business development experience. He is a co-founder and, since November 2017, has been chief executive officer and chairman of the board of directors of Thenablers, a non-operational international business development organization that is focused on the design and execution of new market strategies for its clients.
Benjamin Bragg ’02g (Humanistic-Multicultural Education) has been appointed to a new leadership role as principal of Catskill High School in Catskill, New York. He previously served as the principal of St. Andrew's Public Middle School and Cario Middle School in Charleston, South Carolina, and before that as middle school principal at Goshen Central School District, dean of students at Highland Central School District, and physical education teacher and coach at Wappingers Falls Central School District.
William Kane ’02g (MBA; Marketing) married classmate Chin-Cho Shih ’03g (Finance) on September 27, 2017 in Peace Park, New Paltz, New York.
Alison Morgenstern (Metal) married John Morgenstern in 2007. They live in Wilmington, Delaware. Alison teaches preschool and kindergarten art at the Tatnall School in Wilmington.
Etsuko Yokoyama (Accounting) an audit senior manager at Deloitte, most recently utilized Deloitte’s international mobility program to travel back to Tokyo, where she was able to connect with SUNY New Paltz International Recruitment Manager Amanda Stevens. The two discovered a network of several alumni living in the area, and together they facilitated a September 2019 gathering in Tokyo of 38 New Paltz alumni. Yokoyama also serves the New Paltz community as a director on the SUNY New Paltz Foundation Board, where her unique perspective as a former international student and alumna inspires new ways to reach students from around the world.
Alexander Marrero (Music History) is the new volunteer chairperson concerning the Committee on Cultural Inclusion for the College Music Society. Marrero's responsibilities as chair include appointing musicians and forming a new mission statement and vision statement. Marrero quoted Eileen Hayes, president of the College Music Society (CMS), vowing “I will charge the committee on cultural inclusion to carry out a demographic study or our membership so that CMS might attain data that will be informative as we address the needs of our members going forward.”
Stephanie Holden (Organizational Communication) and Erik Holden welcomed their second child, Savannah Rose, on Feb. 2, 2020.
Maria Mendoza (Communication) was presented with the annual Employee Recognition Award by Hunter College President Jennifer Raab. These awards were created to recognize staff members whose dedication and commitment have significantly improved how the college serves its students, faculty and staff.
Krista Svalbonas ’05g (Intermedia Design) was recently featured on a College Art Association Conversations Podcast in a discussion on “The Challenges of teaching Photography Today.” 06Jonathan Engel (History) announced, “My dad, Robert C. Engel, Sr. ’75g (Special Education) ’77cas (Instr Adm: Principal N-6) and I donated commercial property located in Newburgh, New York, to Access: Supports for Living. The property was where my family conducted its business, Engel Funeral Home, for four decades. Access: Supports for Living has dedicated the property The Engel Center and plans to use it to enhance and expand opportunities for learning and skill development in the treatment of people with a range of needs, including those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, Autism Spectrum Disorder, mental health and substance use disorders, and children and families experiencing and recovering from trauma.” Jonathan was also named to Who's Who in America (2020), and to both The National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40 and Top 100 for Civil Plaintiff Trial Lawyers in New York. He will be serving on the board for the Access: Supports for Living Foundation.
George Ramos (Psychology) and wife Anandy Germosen ’06 (Communication) welcomed their first child, Arya Camila Ramos, on Nov. 1, 2019. George reports, “Anandy and I met in high school, attended New Paltz together and married in 2009. Anandy was an orientation leader and resident assistant. I was a mediocre student and a part of the campus crisis hotline Oasis/Haven. We wanted to share our happy news!”
Rebekah Stoll (Psychology) ’09g (Humanistic Multicultural Education) has been named the 2019 New York State Association of Family and Consumer Science Educators (NYSAFCSE) Teacher of the Year. This award recognizes Stoll for making a significant contribution to the field of education through her effectiveness as a teacher and dedication to the profession of family and consumer sciences. Her creative and innovative teaching practices were highlighted as important contributors to her success. After winning FACS Teacher of the Year at the local level in the spring of 2019, Rebekah competed against FACS teachers from all across the state. She will be honored for her accomplishments by NYSAFCSE in May.
Kamal Johnson (History) was elected in November 2019 as the first African American and youngest mayor in Hudson, New York, history. He previously served as alderman of the city's 1st Ward. He has been working with the Galvan Foundation to discuss the affordable housing crisis and vacancy rates in the city, and has also met with officials from Columbia Memorial Health about keeping birthing services in the city. Another of his goals is to develop a closer partnership with the Hudson City School District to promote the Early Learning Literacy Network program. Johnson also serves as co-director of Greater Hudson Promise Neighborhood, as chairman of the Youth and Police committees of the Hudson Common Council, and as the coordinator of the POPs Fatherhood Initiative, which helps fathers connect to their families.
Christopher Manning ’07g (Painting) announced, “In March 2020, my first monograph of manipulated Polaroid works, ‘Everything, As Perfect As It Seems,’ will be published by AINT-BAD, a publishing company and quarterly photography magazine based out of Savanna, Georgia. The book will feature essays by artist Randy Williams and Lizzie Stein of the Sackler|Freer at the Smithsonian Institute.” The launch took place in Houston, Texas, at the Society of Photographic Education during their annual conference in March. A launch in New York City is also expected with a date yet to be determined.
Victoria Weise (Psychology) was recently promoted to the position of group benefits operations manager at Walsh Duffield Cos., Inc., in Buffalo, New York. Weise has worked in various capacities within the Group Benefits Department since 2007.
Emily Palmerino (Communication Disorders) and Cohen Damon were married on Sept. 14, 2019, surrounded by friends and family and many New Paltz alumni.
Fiona Lee (Marketing) ’14g (Business Administration) and Colin Morrell ’12 (Physics) married on July 6, 2019, at Crested Hen Farms in High Falls, New York. They met at Crispell (now Ashokan) Hall in fall 2008, and after years of friendship and seven years together they tied the knot in the Mid-Hudson Valley. Both are SUNY New Paltz 40 under Forty awards honorees, and Fiona is a 2012 inductee into the School of Business Hall of Fame.
Ariana McGuire (English) married her longtime love, Rolando Saavedra, on Aug. 26, 2019, in New York City.
Matthew Perry (Marketing) ’16g (MBA) joined the full-time faculty in the business department at Brookdale Community College.
Nicole Brinkley (English; Journalism) was selected as a finalist in the Publisher's Weekly 2019 Star Watch. She also serves as co-chair of the New England Children's Book Association.
Jiries Meehan-Atrash (Chemistry) was among the winners of the 2020 ElSohly Award for his investigative research project, “Thermal Degradation of Cannabis Extract Constituents: What are the Risks?” He presented his work at the award symposium in March 2020. Jiries is also a Ph.D., candidate in chemistry at Portland State University.
Zahra Nazari ’14g (Visual Arts) was awarded the Creative Engagement Grant from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) in New York. Among thousands who applied, this distinguished grant was awarded to only 316 Manhattan-based artists and arts organizations. Within the visual arts category, only about 30 individuals and organizations in Manhattan were awarded. Nazari will use the grant to support an upcoming project, “Unification,” which is a series of metal and wooden sculptures shaped from the fragmentations of the 17th-century Persian architecture and contemporary architectural forms.
Katherine Carroll (Journalism) began her legal education at Touro Law Center in Central Islip, New York, last August. Her focus is on constitutional, immigration and criminal law. She hopes to graduate in 2022. She shares, “I could have never done it without the opportunities provided to me from my undergraduate education at SUNY New Paltz. I miss it every day and am reminded of my amazing time at New Paltz every time I step into a classroom.”
Ciarra Fragale (Theatre Arts) recently performed at Half Moon Books in Tivoli, New York, with New Paltz music professor Bob Lukomski. It was the debut of her new electronic persona, Mona Winona, which she said is comparable to “electro-depressed Madonna.” Lukomski is continuing his new cycle of music "Voice &...," using processing and vocoding as a vehicle for meditative and brooding 21st century art song.
Nicole Chaluisan ’19cas (School Leadership) was appointed assistant principal at Catskill High School in Catskill, New York. She previously served as an educator in the Enlarged City School District of Middletown, where she taught inclusion, regular and honors-level social studies to a diverse student population. She also taught business law at Middletown's Academy of Finance program. In addition, she served as the School Improvement Committee facilitator, Safe School Ambassador facilitator, teacher leader and team grade leader, community coordinator for the football team and staff adviser for the My Brother's Keeper program, where she identified and paired at-risk students with adult mentors from the community.