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Preview: Westminster College: leading liberal arts college, New Wilmington, PA

Westminster College: leading liberal arts college, New Wilmington, PA

Founded in 1852 and related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Westminster College is a top-tier liberal arts college and a national leader in graduation rate performance, according to U.S. News Best Colleges guide. Westminster is also ranked as the num

Last Build Date: Sun, 17 Dec 2017 16:50:09 EST

Copyright: Copyright 2017 Westminster College, New Wilmington, PA

Robison, Clark-Williams '17 and Johnston '14 Represent Westminster at International Conference

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 16:16:00 EST

(image) Westminster College was represented at 2017 The American Society of Criminology Conference (ASC) by senior sociology major and 2017 Drinko Summer fellow Alicia Clark-Williams; associate professor of sociology & criminal justice Studies Dr. Kristenne Robison and alumna Tricia Johnston '14. This year's conference was held in Nov. 15-18 in Philadelphia, PA.

"Every year outstanding senior sociology and criminal justice studies majors make the trip to The American Society of Criminology to present their research," added Robison. 

Clark-Williams presented her capstone research titled "Citizen Perceptions of Citizen-Police Interactions," a study that analyzed people's perceptions and attitudes towards police officers in a city nicknamed "Steel Town". Clark-Williams said attending ASC really helped her decide to continue her research and pursue new research in the future.

"I loved ASC," said Clark-Williams. "I was complemented by many for my research and because I was an undergrad presenting at an international conference!"

After presenting, Clark-Williams and Dr. Robison sat on a roundtable about their experiences with the Inside-Out program. Dr. Robison also presented her research entitleed "Negotiating Hope and Frustration: Volunteer Experiences on a Prison Television Channel." Her research was featured during one of three panels on "The Penal Voluntary Sector".

Alumna Tricia Johnston '14 also presented at the conference. She presented her research titled "Community Structure and Property Crime: Does Social Disorganization Matter?" Johnston is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Georgia State University in Atlanta.

For more information, contact Tom Fields at or 724-946-7190

Collaborating for Success: Launch of the Environment Project Management Academy

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 14:19:00 EST

To ensure Westminster College graduates are well-prepared to operate in highly technical workplaces, professors Dr. Helen Boylan, Dr. Alison DuBois, and Brian Petrus are using a combination of their respected expertise to launch the Environmental Project Management Academy (EPMA) at Westminster. As the world continues to make great technological and scientific strides, those trained to work in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) remain in high demand. But many employers have expressed concerns that STEM undergraduates, while well-versed in their disciplines, lack the critical soft skills to be successful in the workforce. STEM employers, on the other hand, are concerned about non-STEM majors lacking the basic scientific literacies necessary to succeed. With this in mind, and after Boylan—professor of chemistry and program coordinator for the environmental science major— witnessed the positive results of environmental-science based service learning in her classroom, Boylan approached colleagues DuBois and Petrus and the concept for EPMA was born. And over this past summer, the trio learned they received a grant of more than $200,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to fund EPMA over the next three years. Under EPMA, sophomores and juniors pursuing either STEM or business majors will work together on a semester-long service learning project with a community partner. Boylan will lead the development and delivery of STEM educational content and hands- on experiences for the students. DuBois, professor of early childhood education, special education and counseling, is tasked with aligning the educational content and hands-on experiences with student learning objectives, directing instruction, and mentoring students on intangible skills. She will ultimately conduct the final assessment to determine the program for efficacy. “Effective communication is critical during implementation of a project,” said Dubois. “Students will participate in a leadership seminar to develop their communication microskills—active listening, paraphrasing, questioning, and providing feedback.” Petrus, assistant professor of business administration, will oversee student recruitment and developing the content for the project management aspect of the program for students. Using his 10+ years of business management and consulting experience, Petrus will also serve as mentor to students on business/project management. Due to its interdisciplinary conception, EPMA naturally took shape as a cluster course—a combination of two courses from different disciplines addressing the same topic. Students in the program will take a semester-long cluster course including an existing 100-level environmental science course (Principles of Environmental Science) and a new 200-level project management course (Principles and Practices of Project Management). “The cluster course requirement is one of the best examples of Westminster’s commitment to interdisciplinary approaches to education,” said Boylan. “Our students get the experience of approaching a topic or problem from multiple perspectives and disciplines. This is a valuable skill that puts Westminster students ahead of their competition in the workforce.” In addition to the taking the cluster course, students will participate in a service learning project with a community partner—the first being a collaboration with the New Wilmington Borough. Students will complete a feasibility study on the implantation of solar energy in the borough. “Because the borough sells electricity to its residents, it is uniquely situated to adopt green energy technologies,” said Boylan. “The students will use solar energy and weather data available at the College’s Field Station to make predictive models about the effcacy of using solar as a major energy source in this region.” In year two, [...]

Final Touches: Stephanie Dorsch ‘18

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 14:04:00 EST

(image) Like many Westminster seniors, fine arts major Stephanie Dorsch is putting the final touches on her capstone project. Drawing inspiration from studying abroad in Costa Rica and Spain, her love of psychology and nature, Stephanie’s artwork was created to communicate what she describes as the common human experience.

“I was really reflective during my time abroad when I started creating the idea for my project,” Stephanie explained. “I was really inspired by the consequences of being human like language, vulnerability, narrow-mindedness, freedom, rights, senses and brainpower.”

Since traveling and meeting people from around the world, Stephanie’s love for psychology really blossomed into passion and essentially became the backbone of her capstone project. During her internship in Seville, Spain at BarroAzul Ceramic Studio, Stephanie recalls feeling like she saw humanity from a new perspective for the first time. In between translating and assisting with classes and studio work, Stephanie was able to collect different human experiences that she would later bring to life as she created her capstone project.

Though the undergraduate capstone process can be demanding, Stephanie is grateful to have a mentor in Professor Summer Zickefoose. Capstone truly challenges students to integrate all of the skills they have developed over the years and apply what they have learned. Fortunately for Stephanie, she feels like this process has allowed her to set the foundation for what kind of artist she strives to be in the future.

“I have so much respect and appreciation for Professor Zickefoose,” Stephanie shared. “She has provided so much guidance, professional critique and opportunities for me to learn and grow as an artist and student. She really challenged me to expand my project and directly influenced the overall evolution of the project.”

With capstone finally behind her, Stephanie’s next project is focusing on life after graduating this coming Spring. After graduation, she plans to take a year to apply for graduate programs in the psychology fields, specifically program that combines her interests in art therapy and its relation to neuropsychology. She is also interested in different international programs like the Peace Corps for example.

“As a fine art major, psychology minor, and biology minor, I often have a hard time narrowing down my interests,” Stephanie said. “It is amazing how a community so small like Westminster can be filled with so many opportunities. The most fascinating part about a college of this size is that, if you really wanted to, you can basically try it all.”

Humans of Westminster: Meet Megan

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 12:06:00 EST

(image) Crunch Time

This time of year, the campus is an oxymoron. On one hand, the buildings are beautifully decorated for Christmas, and there's a tangible excitement for the upcoming break. At the same time, there's a tangible feeling of anxiety as deadlines approach and finals loom over our heads. However, there's really no better time of year because it's during this time that I'm able to not just witness but to also be a part of such a close-knit community.

Professors serve us breakfast for dinner at Cram Jam, and time is taken out of schedules for tree lightings and Christmas Vespers. Professors leave Christmas wishes in your mailbox, and clubs use meetings to write cards to each other or random strangers. The library becomes a hub for both work and play, but it's really the people who surround you that get you through these last weeks. The anxiety is balanced by a community that isn't afraid to go out of its way to accommodate the stress of the season. Even though we can't wait to be done with the end of the semester, the Westminster Community makes it tough to want to leave when it's over.

Megan Simpson is a junior public relations major. 

Westminster Students and Faculty Send Letters to Congress Regarding Tax Policies for Grad Students

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 13:34:00 EST

(image) Westminster College students and faculty were given a chance to express their concerns regarding proposed changes to how graduate students may pay taxes. The version of the tax bill that was recently passed by the House of Representatives would significantly increase the tax burden on many graduate students. RESPAC, Westminster College's professional advisory committee for students interested in research and graduate school, organized a letter writing campaign for students and faculty members last week. The committee plans to send the letters to each participants’ respective hometown representatives.

"We felt it was important to raise awareness of this issue, since it could so strongly impact our undergraduates who have hopes of attending graduate school," RESPAC member and assistant professor of neuroscience Dr. Deanne Buffalari said. " I'd hate to see any of our students miss out on such an amazing opportunity due to their economic circumstances. It was great to see students get involved [with the writing campaign]."

Senior psychology major Katie Shaw was eager to write her letter because her long-term goal is to attend graduate school for occupational therapy.

“I have put in a lot of time and hard work to prepare for these plans,” Shaw said. “As graduation is fast approaching and I am beginning to apply to graduate schools, I would hate for these tax changes to prevent me from achieving my dreams."

The writing campaign produced nearly 100 letters that will be sent representatives.

For more information, contact Buffalari at or 724-946-7358.

*Photo provided by NY Daily News

Humans of Westminster: Meet Cait

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 15:13:00 EST

(image) A Family Affair

Westminster runs in my family’s DNA. From my grandparents who worked here years ago, my mom currently working here and my mom, dad and sister all attending here… it’s safe to say Mother Fair and my family are well acquainted. Ever since I was first introduced to Westminster at 9 years of age, I was made to feel like I belong. Although the school is small, the people here make you feel big and that you matter. Students here are not just a number or statistic at Westminster, we are faces and names that professors can remember outside of class, walking down the sidewalk. Mother Fair will always have a place in my heart and my family lineage.

Cait DeSantis is sophomore Marketing major.

Gaining a Global Perspective: Teresa Whetstone ’14

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 10:56:00 EST

(image) College is a time where most people learn to navigate the world around them and map out the different routes towards a successful future. While the journey to success is full of winding turns, a strong moral compass usually leads us to where we are meant to be. After graduation, alumna Teresa Whetstone ’14 soon discovered her compass pointed towards China.

Whetstone enlisted in Peace Corps China and spent two years serving in Wanzhou (wahn-joe), Chongqing (chohng-cheeng) in the People's Republic of China. There she spent most of her time teaching in the classroom or on-campus activities with students, many of whom have never interacted with someone not from China.

“Serving in Peace Corps China was a life changing experience,” Teresa shared. “Westminster promotes a culture of service and philanthropy which prepared me mentally to get through a lot of the struggles I faced over there.”

For Teresa, getting acclimated to life in China required some time to adjust to her new surroundings. After some in-country training, she found herself alone at her site and was reminded every time she stepped out of her apartment that she was a foreigner. Fortunately, the loneliness did not last long and she soon made many friends who were Chinese or foreigners like she was.

“Every excursion was a learning experience,” she said. “Most people, strangers, were kind and patient and helpful.”

Beyond her many learning experiences, service and teaching, Teresa gained valuable language and life skills that she brought home with her to the states. Teresa currently resides in the Cleveland, Ohio, area completing a pre-med post baccalaureate program at Cleveland State University. She plans to start medical school by the fall of 2020.

Teresa claims it was a Westminster connection that set her on the path to medical school.

“Several years ago, I had the opportunity to serve as a translator for a medical mission in Guatemala thanks to Ben Nelson ’06 connecting me to the Mission of Love,” she explained. “It completely changed my life. His mother, Dr. Kathie Nelson, encouraged me to look at becoming a doctor and over the past three years, that seed of a thought has grown into a sprout.”

As she continues to blossom, Teresa is grateful for the roots she planted at Westminster. Even though she is not pursuing a career directly related to her fields of study, Teresa hopes to employ her liberal arts training to work with immigrant and migrant populations in the U.S. Most importantly, Teresa says the most inspiring experience she had at Westminster was studying under so many strong and intelligent women who are completely unafraid to call “it as they see it.”

“In a world where strong women are told that they should sit down and be quiet, studying under and working alongside professors like Drs. Shannon Smithey, Bethany Hicok, Kristianne Vaccaro and Kristenne Robison was truly inspiring,” Teresa noted. “They work hard and demonstrate what is it to be unapologetic for being the outspoken, well-read women that they are.”

*photo courtesy of Teresa Whetstone

ENACTUS Hosts Holiday Event with The Confluence in New Castle, PA

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 09:10:00 EST

(image) Westminster’s chapter of ENACTUS is doing their part in spreading holiday cheer by hosting a holiday event with The Confluence coffee shop in New Castle, PA. On Friday, Dec. 8, “Westminster Wonderland” will take place to drive traffic to small businesses in New Castle and give students some reprieve from a long semester. 

For just $5, students can purchase a ticket to the event in New Castle. Each ticket includes ice skating, a viewing of Home Alone at the Warner Cascade Theatre Museum, live musical entertainment and holiday trivia. The event runs from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm, and shuttle services are being offered for students.

“Westminster Wonderland is an amazing opportunity for students to release some stress before finals week and explore the city of New Castle,” ENACTUS vice president Erin Keich said. “We are happy to be able to provide this opportunity and support local businesses.”

ENACTUS is an organization that empowers organizations through entrepreneurial actions to shape a more sustainable world. The club meets weekly to develop their business-oriented service projects and works closely with The Confluence, a sister brand of Cray Youth and Family Services.

“We are proud to be working with Cray Youth and Family Services and The Confluence and helping them make a difference,” Keich said. “We love everything they are doing for the community and hope to continue our partnership.”

Westminster Wonderland will be part of the string of holiday events happening in New Castle during December to stimulate the local economy. Tickets will be sold during lunch hours in McKelvey Campus Center all week, and alumni and faculty are encouraged to participate. 

For more information, contact Keith Bittel, School of Business faculty and advisor of ENACTUS, at

Psychology and Neuroscience Seniors Prepare Capstone Presentations, Dec. 11

Mon, 04 Dec 2017 10:50:00 EST

(image) Eighteen psychology and neuroscience majors, including one research scholar, will present their senior capstone projects from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 11 in Hoyt Science Resources Center rooms 150, 152 and 166.

Faculty advisors for the capstone projects are: Dr. Deanne Buffalari, assistant professor; Dr. Mandy Medvin, professor and coordinator of the program; Dr. Sherri Pataki, associate professor; Dr. Jessica Rhodes, assistant professor; and Dr. Sandra Webster, professor.

Capstone is a course that provides an opportunity for students to conduct in-depth research in their major. After completing their research project proposed during the spring semester of the junior year, the psychology and neuroscience students will present their research findings and discuss the implications of their work.

“I believe this opportunity to conduct undergraduate research with faculty is one of the greatest strengths of our program,” says Pataki. “This experience provides great preparation for graduate school and related careers, and our alumni often reflect back on how valuable this experience was to them following their graduation from Westminster.”

For more information, contact Pataki at or 724-946-7361

Senior Social Science and Humanities Majors Prepare for Annual Capstone Poster Session

Mon, 04 Dec 2017 10:33:00 EST

(image) Join senior criminal justice studies, history, international studies, political science and sociology students as they present their capstone research on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017 from 4 – 5:30 p.m. in the Witherspoon Rooms of the McKelvey Campus Center. 

The Capstone Poster Session will highlight research projects carried out over the past year by senior majors in the afforementioned programs. Topics will range from reactions in the Pittsburgh area press to WWII Japanese internment, analysis of pro-life issues and political party identification, the use of the word” feminism” in major U.S. newspapers during the women’s liberation movement, to college students’ attitudes toward prison conditions and prisoners’ rights.

Light refreshments will be served during the poster session. 

For more information, contact Dr. Timothy Cuff at

Westminster College Christmas Vespers Scheduled for Dec. 10

Fri, 01 Dec 2017 10:21:00 EST


Westminster College’s Christmas Vespers service will be held on Sunday, Dec. 10 at 4 p.m. in Orr Auditorium. The service is open to the public, and all are welcome to attend.

The annual worship service includes lessons and carols with familiar Christmas music performed by Westminster choral and instrumental ensembles; lighting of the advent candles; scripture readings; and a message delivered by Rev. James R. Mohr II, Westminster College chaplain. This year’s message is entitled “Expectant Waiting.” Senior students have the honor of sharing the readings and prayers during the service.

The Westminster Cable Network (WCN) will telecast the Christmas Vespers service live on cable television over Armstrong (Ch. 72, New Wilmington; Ch. 204, Grove City) and Comcast (Ch. 183, New Castle) Cable systems. The service will also appear live online at, and will be archived for on-demand viewing at

Following the service, the Chapel Staff will host a cookie reception and time of fellowship in Orr Lobby.

Contact Westminster’s Chapel Office at 724-946-7117 or for additional information.

Liberal Arts Living: Margaret Portmann ’19

Wed, 29 Nov 2017 16:17:00 EST

(image) The beauty of a liberal arts college is that students are not only able to try their hand in different disciplines, but they are encouraged to do so. Junior English major and marketing minor Margaret Portmann embodies the essence of Westminster’s liberal arts curriculum by letting her different interests complement one another.

Name it, and Margaret is probably involved in some way. She is a residence assistant, English desk operator, percussionist in the jazz ensemble, wind ensemble, captain in the marching band, an active member of Sigma Tau Delta, Mortar Board and sometimes a helping hand in the theater department. She even finds time to expand her musical passion by playing at independent gigs with different bands. 

“Because drums are my life blood, it only made sense that I continue [playing],” she said.  “If I’m not studying English or doing marketing, I have to have some sort of creative output, and I think that music is similar to how your head has to work whenever you write papers.”

As if her involvement with music and her major aren’t enough to keep her engaged on campus, Margaret is currently taking advantage of another campus opportunity outside of her discipline. She interns for Dr. Russell Martin, professor of history and editor in the chief of the Canadian-American Slavic Studies Journal, where she helps edit authors’ articles to go into the journal.

In addition to her many opportunities to grow at Westmister, Margaret says that the Westminster’s intimate community has enabled her to make connections with her professors so that she may receive the hands-on experience she needs to progress professionally.

“The intimacy is good from the professors, and I think that you can find ways to challenge yourself, and the professors are really good about accommodating that,” Margaret said. “You truly do get out what you put in, and Westminster gives you a good chance to do that.”

Living by the Nelson Mandela quote, “It always seems impossible until it’s done,” Margaret looks forward to expanding her English research through her capstone thesis even though she knows it will be anything but easy.

“Every time I have an assignment I think, ‘How am I going to finish 60 pages worth of papers,’ but then you do it and you realize that you really did,” she said.  “I’m proud of myself for that, and I just want to continue to push myself.”

Written by Megan Simpson

Westminster College Hosts 10th Annual Student Symposium on the Environment

Wed, 29 Nov 2017 10:33:00 EST

(image) Westminster College will host the 10th Annual Student Environmental Symposium from 5:30-9:00 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 7, in McKelvey Campus Center. Sponsored by Westminster’s Environmental Programs and the Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition, the event is free and open to the public.

Seventy-five student researchers from Westminster College, Allegheny College, Chatham University, Geneva College, Saint Vincent College, Slippery Rock University, University of Pittsburgh, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Youngstown State University, Struthers High School and Greenville Sr. High School will present their research posters from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in the Witherspoon Rooms and will present oral presentations at 7:30-9 p.m. in Mueller Theater.

“The Symposium highlights student work in the region that relates to the environment, with student researchers from high school through Master's level,” said Dr. Helen Boylan, professor and program coordinator of Westminster’s environmental programs. “We would like to encourage those who are interested in the environment to come network with—and support—the student presenters.”

For additional information, contact Boylan at 724-946-6293 or or visit here.

Dr. Diana Ortiz, Dr. Tuesdae Stainbrook '91 & Erin Hassett '17 Present Research at ASTMH Conference

Tue, 28 Nov 2017 16:34:00 EST


Dr. Diana Ortiz, assistant professor of biology, and Westminster alumni Erin Hassett ’17 and Dr. Tuesdae Stainbrook ’91 presented a research poster at the annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH) in Baltimore, MD earlier this November. The group presented their research on clinical and demographic characteristics of human Lyme disease in cases in Western PA.

“This study was conceived after Erin completed my epidemiology course (BIO 467) and wanted to expand on her research experience in epidemiology through an independent study project," said Ortiz. "Right around that time, Dr. Stainbrook gave a presentation for the biology program on her clinical work in infectious diseases." 

After discussing their common interest in Lyme disease, Ortiz, Hassett and Stainbrook teamed up to develop an epidemiological study to examine the clinical and demographic characteristics of human Lyme disease cases in Western Pennsylvania. During the study, Hassett was able to access electronic medical records, collect, and analyze epidemiological data for 109 patients. The success of her study resulted in a poster presentation at ASTMH, an international conference on infectious diseases.

In addition, Hassett presented a second research poster at ASTMH as a result of her summer internship at the Tennessee State Laboratory in Nashville. She was involved in both laboratory and field studies examining the distribution of container breeding mosquitoes and disease transmission risk in Tennessee. She was invited to continue her work in Tennessee for the next few months before attending graduate school in the fall.

“Successful collaborations and valuable internship experiences are great examples of the high-quality undergraduate research that Westminster students are capable of conducting. It also shows the impact that our alumni can have on their career paths. I am very proud of Erin’s work and persistence, and also very excited for her future contributions to public health,” said Ortiz.

The Ten Tenors Spend the Holidays with Westminster College

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 10:31:00 EST

(image) The Ten Tenors are returning to the United States this December for an 18-date tour of the East Coast and Midwest. On Monday, Dec. 11, the Ten Tenors will bring their seasonal spectacular, “Home for the Holidays,” to Orr Auditorium. Show time is 7:30 p.m.

The Australian vocal group, whose voices generate "pure electricity and undeniable drama" according to the Los Angeles Times, are performing selections from their Billboard charting album, Our Christmas Wish. Proceeds from their album sales goes to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, an organization leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

Our Christmas Wish features traditional standards such as "Joy to the World" and "O Holy Night," as well as holiday classics such as John Lennon and Yoko Ono's "Happy Xmas (War Is Over);" "Feliz Navidad" by José Feliciano; Irving Berlin's "White Christmas;" and Mariah Carey’s evergreen hit "All I Want For Christmas Is You.”

Now enjoying their 20th year together, The Ten Tenors are known for their playful blend of rock, pop and opera. Variety describes the vocal group as "truly incandescent when performing at the full strength of 10" and The New York Times says their "unique mix of the traditional and unconventional offers a fresh and highly-original take on the staid traditions of opera." The Ten Tenors have appeared on The Today Show, Oprah's Australian Adventure and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, among others. More than 90 million people worldwide have attended their live performances, and they have shared stages with Lionel Richie, Rod Stewart, Andrea Boccelli, Willie Nelson, Alanis Morissette and Christina Aguilera.

The Ten Tenors appearance at Westminster is sponsored by UPMC Jameson/Horizon.

For more information or to order tickets, contact Georgene Gib by calling 724-946-7354 or online at

Dr. Darcy Otto to Deliver 32nd Annual Woods Memorial Lecture, Nov. 30

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 10:29:00 EST

(image) Dr. Darcy Otto, professor of philosophy at Quest University Canada, will deliver the 32nd annual Woods Memorial Lecture on Nov 30 at 7 p.m. in the Phillips Lecture Hall located in the Hoyt Science Resources Center. Otto’s lecture, "The Promise of Quantum Computing," is open to anyone interested in learning more about quantum computing. No knowledge of mathematics or quantum physics is needed to attend.

“Quantum computing is a very timely topic,” added Dr. Robert Knop, associate professor of physics at Westminster College. “In the next few years, you will be seeing more and more news stories about it."

During his lecture, Otto will lead a conversation on the quantum computing technology currently revolutionizing the computing industry. Otto’s lecture will provide insight into how quantum computers can possibly perform tasks such as cracking some of the most widespread encryption schemes; mapping the interactions between molecules; searching enormous databases; or even discovering how to play the perfect game of chess.

In addition to being a professor and published author, Otto is researching the limits of computation and how those limits are challenged by quantum computing as a visiting scholar at Carnegie Mellon. At Quest University, Otto teaches courses in mathematics, computer science and philosophy. He has published papers that apply formal logic to questions in metaphysics and he also published a translation of Socrates' speech in Plato's Symposium.

The Woods Memorial Lecture honors Dr. Robert M. Woods, professor of physics at Westminster College from 1947-1972. The Woods Memorial Lecture is made possible by a gift from the Woods family that has been supplemented over the years by gifts from friends and alumni.

For more information, contact Doreen Matune at or 724-946-7284.

Office of Faith and Spirituality Encourages Campus to Give this Holiday Season

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 11:52:00 EST

(image) As the holiday season draws near, we’re all reminded why this time of year is so special—quality time with family and friends; festive decorations and yummy food; and the spirit of giving takes over. At Westminster College, the Office of Faith and Spirituality is sharing the spirit of giving by encouraging the campus to purchase Christmas gifts for local youth. The “Angel Giving Tree” is now on display in the McKelvey Campus Center in front of the Student Affairs office.

Participation in the Angel Giving Tree is simple. Feel free to take a tag from the tree; purchase a gift based on the suggestions listed on the tag; place the tag on the gift; and return your gift to the Office of Faith and Spirituality, located in McKelvey Campus Center room 223, by Friday, Dec. 8.

This year’s angel tree supports youth through Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Walker House, the PA Homeless Children’s Initiative and the Bair Foundation.

For more information, contact Diane Gabriel at

Westminster Celebrates Diversity Month

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 10:04:00 EST

(image) November is Celebrate Diversity Month, and the students from on-campus organizations such as Black Student Union (BSU), ALLIES and the Disability Awareness Club (DAC) came together to plan a month-long string of events to bring light to prevalent issues among minority communities in society.   

Celebrate Diversity Month has been recognized for over ten years. This year, the students of the three organizations hope to increase awareness of inclusivity during a time when these matters have been heightened in our country.

“The goal is to provide the entire campus with educational workshops and events to help inform, inspire and educate our community about issues that are prevalent within minority and underrepresented communities,” Director of Diversity and Inclusion Jeannette Hubbard said.

Black Student Union kicked off the first week of the celebration with a series of events stressing fellowship and education. On Nov 9, guest speaker Mark Weir led a discussion on what it means to “Take a Knee” in today’s society. At the end of his discussion, he opened the floor for open discussion after his presentation.

“Mark talked about taking a knee and why people within this social climate do so,” BSU Vice President Antonia Thompson said. “It was enlightening.”

On Nov. 13, BSU, Allies and DAC presented “Dear Westminster,” a presentation from different students about their experiences as diverse individuals on campus. The following day, ALLIES and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and WHIG hosted Ted Hoover from the Persad Center in Pittsburgh to discuss LGBT in history.

“These students came together to ensure they work harmoniously to get the message of inclusivity across campus,” Hubbard said. “They’re being progressive to get the message out through workshops and activities that will help educate and empower the campus about salient issues in today’s society.”

The campus organizations, under the advising of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, encourage the campus to get involved.

“I became informed by going to different events on subjects I never knew about, and I got the groups' perspective on what’s going on,” BSU member Jay’Kayla Samuels said. 

Most importantly, Celebrate Diversity Month is about getting the campus engaged and better informed about issues every year. Through the events, students are not only able to learn about the subject matters at hand but are also given the opportunity to discuss them openly.

For more information, contact Tom Fields at or 724-946-7190

Written by Megan Simpson

Dr. Deanne Buffalari presents research at Millersville University

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 09:56:00 EST

(image) Dr. Deanne Buffalari, assistant professor of neuroscience, recently gave a talk at Millersville University regarding her recent research. Buffalari was invited by the psychology department at Millersville to discuss the research she has been conducting in the neuroscience laboratory at Westminster College with undergraduate students. In particular, this talk highlighted the work of three students—senior Katelynn Morrell and alumni Anthony Sloan '15 and Sarah Waszyn '16. Morrell, Sloan and Waszyn were interested in using animal models to study behavioral and cognitive disorders. This work included studies of what factors might contribute to the progression and symptoms Parkinson's disease and possible treatments for Parkinson's, as well as how individuals with ADHD might react to certain combinations of drugs. A portion of this work was published by Sloan and Buffalari last year. This work is ongoing and provides an exciting and clinically relevant field of research for undergraduate students.

"This talk was particularly exciting for me because it was based solely on the work of our undergraduates. It's great to see their work come together to create a great scientific story. I feel lucky to work with such talented and hard working students. They are making valuable contributions to the field," said Buffalari. 

For more information, contact Buffalari at

Chemistry Students Present Results of Service Learning Project for Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 09:03:00 EST

(image) Seven Westminster College chemistry and biochemistry majors presented the results of a service-learning project at a meeting of the Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition (SRWC) on Oct. 12 at the Jennings Environmental Education Center.

The project was completed as part of an advanced laboratory class and mentored by Dr. Helen Boylan, Westminster professor of chemistry. They collaborated with the SRWC to test the passive water treatment system for treating abandoned mine drainage at the DeSale Restoration Area Phase I site in Butler County.

As part of the five-week project, students studied background literature on abandoned mine drainage, went on a field trip to the sites to do field tests of the water and collect water samples, and used standard methods to analyze various water quality parameters in the lab setting.

“Not only did this project teach us how to create our own methods, it taught us how to use new instruments that are widely used in the field of chemistry,” said student Matt Ford.

Students presented results of the field and lab tests at the SRWC meeting. Their findings confirm that the passive treatment site is working well. Through this collaboration, the SRWC was able to obtain lab-quality data on its passive treatment sites that the non-profit organization would not otherwise be able to afford.

"Despite the rainy weather and attack by yellow jackets, the students were able to use the chemistry that they are learning in the classroom in a real-world scenario,” Boylan said.

Contact Boylan at 724-946-6293 or email for additional information.

Westminster Honors Students Eat Churros with the President

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 13:07:00 EST

(image) Over the weekend, Dr. Hicok and the Honors students partook in the annual tradition of attending President Richardson’s home to enjoy an evening of dinner and fellowship. For some students, this was their final visit to the President’s home as their time at Westminster slowly winds down.

“This marks the beginning of all of the lasts I will be experiencing as a senior. Looking back at all the opportunities made possible by Westminster, I am glad to have chosen such a great college,” senior Jarret Vrabel stated.

On the other hand, some students are still experiencing their firsts here at Westminster. First-year Stephen Barr is only starting to discover the amazing benefits of attending Westminster and being part of the Honors program. He would have to say that his first experience with the president was pretty memorable. 

"President Richardson was extremely hospitable, and walked around with a tray of churros at the end of the dinner to make sure that everyone had gotten as many as they wanted," he said. 

For more information, contact Dr. Hicok at

Humans of Westminster: Meet Andrew '19

Tue, 14 Nov 2017 08:52:00 EST

(image) Gone Fishin’

I have made some special friendships that will most certainly last for years to come. If you ask anyone that knows me what my passion is they’ll most certainly say fishing. If anything, the people here at Westminster have made my passion for fishing stronger. Two of my best friends on campus happen to be avid fisherman, themselves. Over the years together we have spent countless hours on the stream helping each other improve and master our craft. Therefore, as a commuter for my first 2 years who is now staying on campus this year, I can say that there are definitely ways that Westminster makes you feel like you belong here even compared to your own home. Just having this big interconnected web of people you know makes you always feel like you belong, because you do.

Andrew Kearney is a junior environmental science major. 

Perry Encourages Faculty Social Media Use in Podcast Interview

Tue, 14 Nov 2017 08:31:00 EST

(image) Westminster Graduate School Assistant Director Dr. Eric Perry was a featured guest on the Oct. 31 episode of the “The Faculty Meeting” podcast. Perry, who also serves as the Counselor Education Program Coordinator, offered ideas on how college faculty members can best make use of social media in the classroom and in their professional lives.

He was interviewed by Dr. Marty Jencius of Kent State University and Dr. Eric Baltrinic of Winona State University. The pair of counselor educators launched their biweekly podcast this year as a forum to “discuss topics related to being a faculty member at the university level,” such as faculty roles, responsibilities and lifestyle.

Perry said during the podcast that it’s important to incorporate social media into the classroom, as today’s students are “digital natives” who regularly communicate through these channels.

“They’ve grown up with technology. It’s not foreign to them, and so we have to think about how they connect with one another and how we’re going to best connect with them,” he said.

“I’ve such a huge increase in participation,” Perry noted, after describing his classroom use of Poll Everywhere, a live interactive audience participation tool. “It seems like for students who are more tied into technology, they’re more drawn to this form of communication. This is how they’re comfortable communicating, and I want to give them that forum.”

Using examples from his introductory counseling course, Perry explained that it’s best for a faculty member to determine what his or her needs are before choosing a social media tool — such as Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn — to incorporate into classroom use.

“Many of these were not designed as pedagogical tools. They were designed for broad public social interaction,” Perry said. “Once faculty members have a good idea of how information is shared on there, and what the purpose of the tool is, you can start talking about how it might fit into a course.”

To listen to the entire free audio podcast, listen through iTunes at:,1,WjBlpHomVEOUWeaCUzDFf3rp1pqztP4_rgN4yvf_D7XbpQ0aEOPHDmwJNPp9vUVYO7r_OkSWz6TLjwClPm7uCdWuQwJ-pLDW6CkbTDnYm2hSrc_MxmI,&typo=1

The podcast is also available on Stitcher, Google Play, TuneIn or at:,1,NvV17PpqMdX9GhOY6mqtlbvLC7-0ZW7aEnox5H0xHJosl4rJvjIvBqzJhsPI_cnKi3iLN2YchfW2kdYR8naxFpghKVGIBtqBcK1Gqw,,&typo=1

Written by Jessica Shelenberger

Internationally Acclaimed Storyteller to Speak at Westminster College

Thu, 09 Nov 2017 15:03:00 EST

(image) Westminster’s Office of Faith and Spirituality welcomes Tracy Radosevic, internationally-acclaimed storyteller and educator, to campus on Nov. 12 and Nov. 13 to guest speak at Vespers on Sunday night and lead bible study/speak at chapel the following day.

During Vespers at 7:00 pm in Wallace Memorial Chapel, Radosevic will draw on her biblical knowledge and storytelling abilities to help attendees answer the question, “How Does YOUR Garden Grow?”

On Monday, Radosevic will host “The Word Made Flesh: Enlivening Bible Study and Sharing,” from 8:00 am to 11:30 am in the Witherspoon Maple Room. Attendees will explore the basics of story internalization and proclamation and learn how to interpret and teach stories of faith. The cost is $10.00 per person, but if five or more people from the same church attend each person will only have to pay $8.00.

Following the bible study, Radosevic will move to Wallace Memorial Chapel and be the Chapel Speaker at 11:40 am. Her topic of discussion is “Preparing the Way.” Attendees who paid for the program are invited to lunch at 12:15 following the chapel service.

Radosevic is the Director of Christian Education at First Methodist Church in Cherryville, NC, and an adjunct professor at East Tennessee State University. She is a member of the National Storytelling Network and is now the Dean of the Academy for Biblical Storytellers.

Radosevic has traveled across the United States and to several foreign countries to speak to audiences about faith and the power of narrative. She has performed for schools, libraries and civic groups and uses a wide-range of story genres to convey her message to people of all ages. 

The public is encouraged to attend the Office of Faith and Spirituality’s events and learn the power of biblical narrative from Radosevic, an acclaimed biblical scholar.  

For more information, contact Diane Gabriel at or 724-946-7117.

Written by Megan Simpson

Running with the Best: Keilah Ireland '17

Tue, 07 Nov 2017 14:06:00 EST

(image) After graduating last May with a degree in mathematics, Keilah Ireland is already racing towards a successful future. Keilah currently works as an analyst in the conversions department of BNY Mellon in Pittsburgh putting the critical thinking and analytic skills she learned at Westminster to good use. BNY Mellon is a renowned banking firm that connects clients to financial opportunities in 100 markets across 35 countries. As an analyst, it is her job to ensure clients are able to move their assets when they need to. 

Although starting a new career can be intimidating at first for some recent graduates, luckily Keilah is part of a team with seven other people who are always willing to lend a helping hand. 

"My favorite part about work is my coworkers," said Keilah. "They are always eager to help when I have questions and some of them have even become people that I hang out with outside of work."

Being a team player has always been one of Keilah's strengths. Aside from being actively involved within the math department at Westminster, Keilah was a contributing member of the women’s indoor and outdoor track and field teams, scoring in her events throughout her tenure with the Titans. Keilah said being part of the track team led her to different experiences and people that have all impacted her life—including her track coach, Tim McNeil. 

“McNeil is always working hard,” she said. “Even on a bad day, McNeil is enthusiastic."

"He has taught me a number of life lessons and continuously pushed me to be better. He had a major impact on my life in college, and was one of the people that made Westminster feel like home. He is my role model and I aspire to be as hardworking, strong and determined as him.”

Happily running with a new team at BNY Mellon, Keilah left Westminster feeling well-prepared and equipped with the necessary skills to take on her job.

“The math department thoroughly prepared me for this job by teaching me to have a competitive, problem-solving mindset, which has driven some useful improvements to the company process," she said. “The rigorous curriculum and coding skills gave me the stamina and skills I need to perform on a daily basis.”

Westminster gave Keilah the means to discover her strong suits and run with them, both on the track and in the office. It’s evident to her that Westminster is not a place she will forget anytime soon.

Written by Megan Simpson

Alumni Hosts Free VIP Viewing of Kraynak’s Holiday Display

Tue, 07 Nov 2017 10:59:00 EST


Alumni George and Penny Rice Kraynak ’75 are hosting a free VIP viewing of Kraynak’s Holiday Display for Westminster alumni, family and friends! The viewing is Dec. 9 from 8-9 a.m. at Kraynak's (located at 2525 East State Street, Hermitage, PA 16148).

At the end of Christmas Lane, children and families will have the opportunity to take a professional photo with Santa before he departs for the North Pole!

For additional information, please contact Nicole Hunter at or 724-946-7373.

Reservations due by Friday, December 1, 2017

View last year's photos here.

Dr. Alison DuBois and Dr. Molly Mistretta (SRU) Present at 20th Annual Fall for Education Conference

Tue, 07 Nov 2017 10:14:00 EST

(image) Dr. Alison DuBois, associate professor of education and counseling, and Dr. Molly Mistretta (Slippery Rock University) were invited to present at the 20th Annual Fall for Education Conference at the University of Wiconsin-La Crosse in La Crosse, Wisconsin. This year's theme for the conference was "Mental Health and Trauma in PK-12."  

During their session entitled "When Caring Hurts: Identifying Signs of Burn-out and Compassion Fatgue in Education," DuBois and Mistretta discussed diagnostic criteria for burnout and compassion fatigue to an audience of pre-service teachers, graduate students, professional educators, school psychologists and administrators. The session also included constructive coping strategies to employ when experiencing the effects of burnout and compassion fatigue along with further discussion pertaining to DuBois and Mistretta's current research in the field of special and early childhood education regarding burnout and secondary trauma.

For more information, contact DuBois at or 724-946-6039.

*pictured above from l-to-r: DuBois, Dr. Laura Kestemberg (Malloy College), Dr. Molly Mistretta (SRU), and Dr. Jeffrey Kottler (Baylor School of Medicine).

Dr. Alison DuBois and Alumnae Reunite for 2017 Kappa Delta Pi National Convocation

Tue, 07 Nov 2017 08:43:00 EST

(image) Dr. Alison DuBois, associate professor of education and counseling, along with alumnae Katelynn Jones '17, Jennifer Rodgers '17 and Mandy Magnotti '17 attended and presented at the 2017 Kappa Delta Pi National Convocation in Pittsburgh on Oct. 28. The group delivered a 60 minute presentation entitled "Caring at a Cost: Helping Young Teachers Identify Burnout and Secondary Trauma," in which they discussed factors that increase the likelihood of secondary trauma in young, inexperienced teachers and practical ways to mitigate burnout and secondary trauma. 

Jones, Rodgers and Magnotti worked with Dr. DuBois on two research studies, over a one year period, examining the effects of burnout on pre-service teachers and also shared their findings during the presentation. The Kappa Delta Pi convocation marked their third national presentation together. 

"In the education department at Westminster, we were encouraged by all professors to take part in meaningful research that would impact our profession as educators," said Rodgers. "I am incredibly grateful for the support I received as a student and continue to receive as a new educator. Westminster College professors and faculty are second to none."

According, Kappa Delta Pi (KDP) is an "International Honor Society in Education founded in 1911 to foster excellence in education and promote fellowship among those dedicated to teaching. Using a variety of programs, services, and resources, KDP supports and advances educators throughout the phases and levels of their teaching careers."

For more information, contact DuBois at or 724-946-6039.

Women’s Soccer: Titans Claim Spot in ECAC Tournament, Will Travel to Frostburg State

Tue, 07 Nov 2017 08:24:00 EST

(image) The Westminster College women’s soccer team has been selected to compete in the 2017 Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III Women’s Soccer Championship Tournament.

The Titans (10-8), the No. 3 seed in the third pod, will play at No. 2 seed Frostburg State University (9-8-2) in Frostburg, Md. on Saturday, Nov. 11 at 2 p.m. in the 15-team tournament. The winners of the first two games of the third pod will play on Sunday, Nov. 12. The winners of each pod, will go on to compete in the semifinal rounds on Saturday, November 18.    

Established in 1938, the ECAC is the nation's largest Conference, ranging in location from Maine to Georgia, and westerly to Missouri. The ECAC hosts numerous championships in men's and women's sports across Divisions I, II and III, offering opportunities for thousands of student-athletes. For more information, visit 

Click here for the complete bracket. 

For more information, contact Nathan LaRiccia at

Senior Broadcasting and Media Production Students Prepare for 2017 Documentary Showcase

Mon, 06 Nov 2017 15:10:00 EST

After spending two semesters working hard on their capstone projects, seniors Emiley Westfall, Brad Kolesar, Troy Jackson, Charles Borges and Justin Wilson are officially ready to debut their short-format documentaries during the 2017 Westminster College Documentary Showcase. The showcase takes place on Nov. 18 at 1 p.m. in Mueller Theater, located in the McKelvey Campus Center. All are welcome to attend. For broadcast communication and media production students, the senior capstone project experience culminates during the course Documentary Production. Over the span of the two-semester course, the students move through the process of conducting research and conceptualizing their documentaries before launching into production and post-production. The students are able to choose their own topic, and are responsible for conducting interviews and shooting/editing their documentaries. With the amount of work that goes into video production, this year’s senior capstone cohort all agree that shooting as much footage as possible over the summer before the last semester of capstone is the critical to being successful. "Always make sure you’re professional and that you manage your time," said Emiley Westfall. "It will sneak up on you, and you don't want that to happen.” For Troy Jackson, flexibility and adaptability are other key skills to keep in mind throughout the process of capstone. While shooting his project, Troy’s project started to change as soon as he started shooting.  “I found out new things that didn't appear in my research,” said Troy. “What the experts told me in interviews was so much different than my online research." Because capturing video footage and interviews can be unpredictable at times, Charles Borges encourages students to be assertive throughout the process. “When you're doing interviews or shooting your b-roll, tell [your interviewees] what you need,” Charles said. “It's your movie. It's your documentary. It's what you make of it. Be a director." Justin Wilson advises future capstone students to choose a topic that is challenging to them. "Don't pick something easy that you can just get way with in this process,” Justin said. “Pick a project that you like. If you feel it in your heart, go for it." Links to the trailers for each student’s digital film can be found below: Emiley Westfall: "Tutus, Pink Shoes, & Baby Blues" Brad Kolesar: "Hitting the Red Line" Troy Jackson: "Ghost Witch" Charles Borges: "A Chance to Play" Justin Wilson: "Tiny Living" For more information, contact Brad Weaver at 724-946-7238 or [...]

Westminster College Student Named Winner in Retro Renegade/Power Up National Sweepstakes

Mon, 06 Nov 2017 11:24:00 EST


Morgan Sesler, a student at Westminster College, was recently selected as one of eight lucky winners in Sodexo’s Power Up Retro Renegade National Prize Sweepstakes. Sesler received an Atari Flashback 7 Classic Game Console and a $200 Best Buy gift card.

The Power Up promotion was part of an ongoing resident dining campaign sponsored by Sodexo, the dining services company at Westminster College.

Featured at more than 600 college and university campuses managed by Sodexo nationwide, Power Up was a lively promotion designed to leverage the popularity of today’s gaming culture, while focusing on delicious foods that will help any student power through his or her busy day. This was the perfect platform to highlight the excitement and variety found in the college's dining program.

For more information, contact Mona Moufid at or 724-946-7703.

The Man with the Camera: Brad Kolesar ‘18

Mon, 06 Nov 2017 08:50:00 EST


Freshman year of college can be daunting, for the number of study options often outweigh students’ understandings of their life callings. However, senior broadcast major Brad Kolesar did not let the different possible career pathways deter him from pursuing his passion for cameras.

Having originally thought his career path would lead him to photography throughout high school, his interest transitioned into video—which ultimately led him to Westminster. At Westminster, Brad’s options for videography and similar disciplines were plenty. He had the option to explore TV news, video production, film making and broadcasting remote production.

“Westminster has shaped me into a well-rounded person,” Brad said. “I am not just smart in a certain area or skill set. When I leave Westminster, I know I will be prepared for whatever lies ahead.”

After graduation in May 2018, Brad plans on pursuing a career in remote broadcast after gaining valuable experience during his on-campus job organizing all remote broadcast. Brad broadcasts various events on campus to be available to the public at home. If it was not for the hands-on experience that Westminster’s broadcasting program requires, Brad asserts he would not be graduating in the spring with as nearly as much confidence.

“Westminster has prepared me by giving me the hands-on experience of understanding my major,” he said. “Many schools teach theory, and you don’t get a chance to get your hands dirty working on things. But Westminster allowed me to jump right on in my freshmen year and prepared me for my future ever since.”

In fact, broadcasting majors are required to create their own documentaries before graduating. Brad’s documentary, “Hitting the Redline,” debuts Nov. 18 during the 2017 Westminster College Documentary Showcase. The documentary follows the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix, a ten-day celebration that pays tribute to the world of vintage cars and vintage motorsports racing. His documentary will be available online a couple of weeks later for the public to view.

“Westminster has put me on the path for success and I’m excited to see where the journey leads me.”

Written by Megan Simpson

Westminster College Wind Ensemble presents Young Conductors Concert, Nov. 17

Fri, 03 Nov 2017 11:46:00 EST

(image) Under the direction of Dr. R. Tad Greig, the Westminster College Wind Ensemble presents their annual "Young Conductors Concert" on Nov. 17 at 7:30 p.m. in Orr Auditorium. Admission is free and open to the public.

Young Conductors Competition winners Allison Clutter, Olivia Schmidt and Angela Renninger will all be highlighted during the first half of the concert. Dr. Greig will conduct the Wind Ensemble on the second half of the concert.

Together the ensemble will perform works by Boysen, Grainger, Delo-Joio, Giroux and Tchaikovsky.

For more information, contact Greig at 724-946-7279 or

Confident in a Successful Future: Nataleigh Kerr '18

Fri, 03 Nov 2017 09:14:00 EST

(image) Graduating from college is typically paired with an uneasy feeling of not knowing exactly where the next step may lead. However, senior business and accounting major Nataleigh Kerr has utilized the resources at Westminster College to make her transition in May one that will be filled with confidence in a successful future.

By combining academics, service and community at Westminster, Nataleigh mastered her abilities to speak, write, analyze and make impactful differences on a global scale. She serves as the treasurer of the Student Government Association, Student Alumni Association and her sorority, Alpha Gamma Delta. She is also the president of Enactus, a business-oriented service organization.

“Enactus has allowed me to experience the importance of incorporating a service-minded approach within a business,” she said. “It is important to me to align my personal values with my professional career, and being a part of Enactus has given me the tools to find a need and utilize entrepreneurial skills to help solve problems and promote sustainability.”

Nataleigh chose business and accounting for the flexibility that the disciplines allowed. This way, she will be able to use her skillsets anywhere long term—whether it’s for her family’s business or a Fortune 500 company. After graduation, Nataleigh will start studying and testing to become a Certified Public Accountant and will start her career as an Assurance Associate for Pricewaterhouse Coopers in Pittsburgh next Fall.

Regardless of what the future holds, Westminster College has been a vital part of developing Nataleigh and what her future will look like.

“I now have a strong care for the importance of a community and how we can all do our best to support one another, which is vital wherever life may take me,” she said. “My favorite thing about Westminster is the genuine compassion and connection that is shared between everyone on this campus.”

Nataleigh will graduate in the spring with a feeling of accomplishment and pride for both herself and her alma mater. She looks forward to being an active alum at the college she chose to attend just four years ago. 

“Rather than choosing to come to a college, I was choosing to come home.”

Brandon Bennett Brings Electrifying Elvis Tribute to Westminster College

Wed, 01 Nov 2017 14:38:00 EST

(image) You do not want to miss the highly acclaimed Brandon Bennett in his spine-tingling tribute to Rock ‘n Roll legend Elvis Presley. Simply titled “Elvis My Way,” Bennett will take Orr Auditorium stage to honor “The King of Rock ‘n Roll” on Nov. 18 at 7:30 p.m. at Westminster College.

Bennett’s pure-bred southern charm, powerful voice, and scandalous moves scored him the title “Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist” by Elvis Presley Enterprises at Graceland. A native son of Ponchatoula, Louisiana, Bennett’s southern roots, God-given talent, and natural resemblance to Elvis allow him to uniquely evoke the unmistakable essence of Elvis's famous onstage charm.

Including all-time favorite hits such as “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” and “Suspicious Minds,” Bennett’s must-see show traverses Elvis’ career from the Rock n’ Roll nativity of the 50s to the iconic comeback television concert of the 60s and legendary jumpsuits of the 70s.

Known for his performance in Chicago’s Million Dollar Quartet, Bennett has also appeared on The Late Night Show with David Letterman and The Rosie O'Donnell Show. He has been honored to sing alongside music legends such as The Jordanaires, DJ Fontana, and The Sweet Inspirations, as well as open for Diamond Rio, Ronnie Millsap, and Chuck Berry.

Bennett’s appearance at Westminster is sponsored by Springfield Restaurant Group. Tickets start at $30.

For more information or to order tickets, contact Georgene Gib by calling 724-946-7354 or online at

H. Vail Barrett '73 Presents 'A Voice Among the Silent' Documentary & Talk, Nov. 7

Tue, 31 Oct 2017 09:55:00 EST

(image) All are welcomed to the showing of "A Voice Among the Silent,” a documentary featuring the story of James G. McDonald who met and warned the world about Adolf Hitler and his threat to civilization. A brief introduction to the film will be provided by H. Vail Barrett, Ambassador McDonald's grandson and a 1973 graduate of Westminster College. Barrett will also make a series of in-class presentations during his two-day stay at Westminster.

The documentary will be shown Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. in the Witherspoon Lakeview room located on the third floor of the McKelvey Campus Center

"A Voice Among the Silent" is the first documentary to shine a light on McDonald's remarkable efforts to warn the world of Adolf Hitler's plan for the Jews. McDonald's foresight was almost lost to history until his meticulously kept diaries were discovered in 2003. He was one of the first Americans to meet Hitler, face-to-face, in 1933. Shocked by Hitler's threats, McDonald worked tirelessly to find safe havens for refugees fleeing Nazi Germany when he served as High Commissioner for Refugees in Europe in 1933 under President Franklin Roosevelt. He repeatedly warned leaders, including President Franklin Roosevelt and future Pope Pius the XII of the looming threat. In 1948, President Truman appointed McDonald the first U.S. Ambassador to Israel. McDonald's bravery is a model for human decency and courage that is as relevant today as it was 80 years ago.

For more information, contact Dr. Timothy Cuff at or 724-946-6152.

*photos courtesy of

Westminster College to Host Veterans Day Ceremony, Nov. 9

Mon, 30 Oct 2017 11:09:00 EST

(image) Westminster College welcomes all to the annual Veterans Day Ceremony on Nov. 9 at 12:30 p.m. in Orr Auditorium. Music will be provided by the New Wilmington Area High School Band and the Westminster College Concert Choir.

This year’s guest speaker is Brigadier General (BGen) Dave Papak, US Marine Corps (retired).

BGen. Papak is a native of Monongahela, Pa. and a 1971 graduate of Mon Valley Catholic HS. He was commissioned in the US Marine Corps following graduation from the US Naval Academy in 1976. He also earned a Master’s of Science degree from the University of Southern California in 1986. BGen. Papak was designated a Naval Aviator and a CH 53 helicopter pilot in 1979.

During his 33 years of dedicated and honorable service, he has held numerous aviation command and staff assignments— including deployments in support of Operation Desert Storm and the most recent Global War on Terror. Subsequent to his 2009 Marine Corps retirement, he continues to work in the corporate world as a senior level sales and business development executive.

He also dedicates his energy and time to the Travis Manion Foundation serving as a veteran presenter for the Foundation’s Character Does Matter Program in addition to being an advisor for local community 9/11 Heroes Runs honoring local Veterans and first responders.

He and his wife Kate enjoy 3 children and 6 grandchildren and currently reside in Monongahela, Pa.

The Veterans Day Ceremony is sponsored in part by Central Heating and Plumbing Co., Westminster College and Wilmington Area School District.

For more information, contact Tom Fields at or 724-946-7190.

Humans of Westminster: Meet Jaevon

Mon, 30 Oct 2017 09:52:00 EST

(image) Titans Have Your Back

I chose Westminster primarily for football. Coach Haugh recruited me. When I took my official visit, I met my two soon to be very good friends Juju and Dom. During that visit, we decided we were going to make something special happen here at Westminster.

I like how gracious most of the Westminster staff are towards minority students. They really do their best to make sure we are on top of everything. The support has been amazing, especially after my recent injury. I still cannot believe how many people, including students and staff, who keep making sure that I am alright. They have helped keep my mindset in a good place through this troublesome time. Recovery is going to be hard. However, with everyone's support, I WILL bounce back better than ever! What makes Westminster “home” is the close network of friends I have here that make me comfortable.

Jaevon Hardy is a senior sociology major.

Cross Country: Camerlo, Morrell Place in Top Ten, Titans Compete at PAC Championships

Mon, 30 Oct 2017 08:39:00 EST

(image) The Westminster College men’s and women’s cross country teams competed at the 2017 Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC) Cross Country Championships on Saturday afternoon. Westminster was the host.

The Titan women finished third out of nine teams with a team score of 74, for Westminster’s best finish since 2011. Titan sophomore Morgan Camerlo (Freeport, PA / St. Joseph) placed second out of 118 runners with a time of 23:29.97. Senior Katelynn Morrell (Boardman, OH / Boardman) placed in sixth place, posting a time of 23:55.63. Titan sophomore Katie Schrantz (New Castle, PA / Neshannock) (21st/24:57.92), first-year Allison Hampton (Ten Sleep, WY / Ten Sleep) (22nd/25:02.54), and senior Paige Baierl (Bellevue, PA / Northgate) (23rd/25:05.67) rounded out the top five for the Titans.

The Titan men finished eighth out of 10 schools, scoring a team score of 208. Westminster senior Joshua McFall (New Castle, PA / New Castle) finished best for the Titan men, running a time of 27:40.74 to finish in 25th place. Freshman Harrison Keenan (Cranberry, PA / Cranberry) finished next with a 32nd place time of 28:00.68. Freshman Chase Waldschmidt (New Castle, PA / Shenango) (45th/28:53.23), freshman Adam Bettwy (Clarion, PA / Clarion) (51st/29:18.10), and junior Michael Peters (Pittsburgh, PA / Mount Lebanon) (55th/30:08.25) rounded out the top five for the Titans.

Westminster will next compete at the NCAA Regional Meet on Saturday, November 11. Start time is set for 11 a.m. 

For more information, contact Nathan LaRiccia at

Written by Nick Macdonald

Tunnel of Oppression Makes A Return to Campus

Fri, 27 Oct 2017 10:34:00 EST


Jeannette Hubbard and Faith Craig are co-coordinating a “Tunnel of Oppression” at Westminster College on Nov. 2 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. in Patterson Hall. The Tunnel of Oppression is an interactive tour that allows participants to fully understand various types of oppression experienced by different marginalized groups.

Participants will be given the opportunity to walk through spaces designed by campus organizations that cover issues such as racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, and more. The Tunnel of Oppression is designed to challenge people’s thoughts and perceptions about oppression and hatred.

While the Tunnel of Oppression is not a unique experience, it will be unique to Westminster because no two tunnels end up the same. Westminster held its last Tunnel of Oppression in 2013 and covered issues such as language barriers, sexism in the media, hazing and undocumented youth. This year, ALLIES is covering the transgender bathroom debate; Black Student Union is focusing on racism, stereotyping and white privilege; and Disability Awareness Club is covering campus barriers. Other groups involved with this year’s tunnel are Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, Greek Life, Student Government Association, Theatre Westminster and Alpha Psi Omega.

Although the Tunnel of Oppression is open to all, some scenes may contain sensitive content due to the seriousness of the topics.

For more information, contact Jeannette Hubbard at or 724-946-7119.  

Sigma Tau Delta & Scrawl Team-Up for Poetry Slam at Mugsies

Thu, 26 Oct 2017 14:12:00 EST

(image) Poetry slams have the reputation of being platforms for some of the rawest and most honest poetry ever shared. Imagine poets battling mic to mic for a shot at a grand prize; going round for round with clever metaphors and similes. Whether you prefer to witness or participate in this intense battle of wordplay, the energy of slams is pulsating and will leave your lyrical hearts thoroughly satisfied. Sigma Tau Delta and Scrawl’s 2nd annual Poetry Slam promises to do just that.

The slam goes down on Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. at Mugsies Coffee House (located at 139 S Market St, New Wilmington, PA 16142). Admission is free, and Mugsies refreshments and food will be available for purchase.

Signups for the slam are due by 5 p.m. on Nov. 2, and your poetry does not have to be submitted beforehand. Participants, be prepared to perform three poems between 1-3 minutes long. Email Marissa Miller at to sign up.

Additionally, there will be an open mic before the competition. Anyone is welcome to participate.

Sigma Tau Delta is the international English Honor Society. The society strives to confer a distinction for high achievement in English language and literature in undergraduate, graduate and professional studies. It provides cultural stimulation on the campus of Westminster College and promotes interest in literature and the English language in our surrounding community. 

SCRAWL is Westminster College’s Literary and Art Magazine. Since 1939, SCRAWL has been publishing opinions, short stories, poems, and artwork by WC Students, Faculty and Alumni.

For more information, contact Tom Fields at or 724-946-7190.

Volleyball: SAAC Honors Kendell Dickson as Titan Athlete of the Week

Thu, 26 Oct 2017 11:04:00 EST

(image) The Westminster College Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) today selected volleyball senior Kendell Dickson (Cochranton, PA / Cochranton) as its Titan Athlete of the Week.
Dickson registered her 1,000th career dig last week, ranking 18th in school history. She tied a team-high 28 digs for the week. Dickson also had 20 kills, which tied for second-best on the team.
The Titans will host Geneva College tonight at 7 p.m.

For more information, contact Nathan LaRiccia at

IQ: STEM Noyce Scholar Program Answers Demand for STEM Educators in High Needs Schools

Wed, 25 Oct 2017 14:34:00 EST

Teachers have the unique ability to make significant impacts in the lives of children every day of their working careers. With over 20 high-need schools in the greater New Castle area, Westminster answered the need for secondary STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) teachers in these districts by establishing the IQ: STEM Noyce Scholar Program at the College. The focus of the program is for Noyce Scholars to use experiential learning and practicum experiences to improve the quality of secondary (grades 7-12) STEM educators in high-needs areas. Once selected, Noyce Scholars receive $15,000 grants their junior and senior years to use for tuition, room and board and commit to two years of teaching in areas of high need. Students majoring in a STEM discipline with an interest in secondary education are encouraged to apply. “Those are the areas where you need the most qualified and motivated individuals,” said Dr. Amy Camardese, principal investigator of the grant program. “I cannot think of a better way than to provide our Westminster students who really get an excellent education and teacher preparation to go out and make a difference.” Noyce Scholars are also granted extra money to attend a conference their junior year and to present on a selected research topic at a conference their senior year. Many Noyce Scholars come out of school loan-free, but the grant money is not necessarily the main attraction of the program. “The Noyce Program has opened up a whole new world of teaching and learning that I had never seen before,” Noyce Scholar Jacob Stoyer said. “It has inspired a new-found passion for helping others that I had only just scratched the surface of prior to joining.” A sizable percentage of the nation’s schools are considered high-needs, and they do not just exist in inner-city areas where it is most evident. In fact, local schools such as Hermitage, Mohawk, Slippery Rock and Shenango are considered high-needs based on the percentage of children from families with incomes below the poverty line. Therefore, the IQ STEM Program has enabled students to realize the need for high-needs teachers and respond in a way that has been more than enthusiastic. “We keep in touch with those students who have graduated and are now teaching in areas of high need,” Camardese said. “They share with us the strengths, the benefits, low moments, but most of all their joy in teaching the students.” Noyce Scholars are given the necessary tools to explore a way to make an impact that hits close to home.  Their minds are opened to a new way of thinking regardless of whether they entered Westminster with intentions of teaching.  “By getting involved with the Noyce Program I have learned how to build relationships with people who have different life experiences than me,” Stoyer said. &[...]

Rising Above the Trend: Nate Cavlovic ‘18

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 16:49:00 EST

(image) Last year, Pennsylvania and Ohio legalized medical cannabis— a move that will contribute to the growth of the chemical cannabis industry in the next few years. Senior chemistry major Nate Cavlovic hopes to be a part of that trend. Recently, Nate received a research grant from the Drinko Center for Undergraduate Research to fund a drug testing chemistry lab that will create opportunities for Westminster students to study hemp products.

 “Since cannabis chemistry is such an important topic in today's society, there needs to be a chemistry lab that exposes undergraduates to its analysis,” states Nate. “The lab would incorporate common laboratory techniques, including High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), and could provide direct experience for undergraduates to find a career in cannabis chemistry.”

Dr. Helen Boylan, professor of chemistry, is Nate’s mentor for this project. Nate says Dr. Boylan's limitless knowledge and enthusiasm for this project made working with her very enjoyable and rewarding.

“She really cares about seeing her students achieve their research goals, and it was a grand honor being able to work under her,” he added.

Nate’s biggest takeaways from this project is the confidence he gained as a researcher throughout this process and the experience of working independently on his own project. Nate believes that getting the opportunity to work independently and set his own pace and goals will be useful when he starts a chemistry career.

“I would like to go straight into working a chemical analysis job [after graduation],” said Nate. “My end goal would be to find a career in forensic analysis, working as a chemist in the criminal justice system. I think that my experience with my research project could easily land me a career in the continually-expanding cannabis chemistry industry, and I would not be opposed to that at all.”

DeMedal Takes on Leadership Role in Pittsburgh Education Recruiting Consortium

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 14:59:00 EST

(image) Katy DeMedal, director of the Career Center at Westminster College, was recently elected Member at Large and Co-Chair of the Educator Excellence Award Committee to the Pittsburgh Education Recruiting Consortium (PERC).

PERC is a non-profit organization with a consortium of 29 colleges and universities in Western Pennsylvania, Ohio and Northern West Virginia.The primary purpose of PERC is to sponsor an annual education job fair to provide their graduates with career opportunities.

According to DeMedal, Westminster College has been a member of PERC since the beginning of the organization.

“My [new] role supports PERC’s mission and helps ensure that the organization continues to thrive and offer teaching opportunities from around the country to our students,” said DeMedal.

Annually, Westminster students and other members of the consortium attend the PERC education job fair, a well-respected regional and national recruitment event. Representatives include 200+ employers of certified teachers from across the United States–including Pennsylvania. Participating employers interview and hire teacher candidates in all Pre K-12 disciplines as well as related certification areas such as counseling, therapies and administration.  

Learn more the PERC job fair here.

For more information, contact DeMedal at or 724-946-6338.

Foster Art Gallery to Host 'Hot-n-Ready: A Print Portfolio Exchange'

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 09:50:00 EST

(image) Westminster College’s Foster Art Gallery will host Hot-n-Ready: A Print Portfolio Exchange, an art exhibition organized by artists Nathan Pietrykowski and Robyn Wall. The exhibit runs from Oct. 23-Dec. 8., and there will be a gallery reception on Thursday, Nov. 2 beginning at 4:30 p.m.

The exhibition features the work of 23 artists with additional pieces by Pietrykowski and Wall. The theme of the portfolio exchange involved using an 11-inch medium size pizza box as a parameter on which the artists were encouraged to create a print about how they stay motivated through tedious tasks in their studio practices or daily obligations.

“There are a range of traditional printmaking techniques used: intaglio, etching, lithography and screenprinting,” explained Summer Zickefoose, assistant professor of fine art at Westminster. “Including a large number of artists allows us to see the multiple ways a single theme can be interpreted."

The Foster Art Gallery is located in Patterson Hall and is open on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information, contact Zickefoose at 724-946-7267 or

Passion for Research: Austin Arrigo '18

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 09:10:00 EST

As students progress through their selected programs, it’s hard for them to imagine ever getting out of the classroom and into real-world applications. However, through internships, Westminster students are not only able to get a taste of what they may want to do in the future but also make an impact in their respective fields.  Senior biology major Austin Arrigo spent his summer with the Hillman Research Institute in Pittsburgh conducting significant research on platelet interaction with cancer cells. As one of the recipients of Westminster’s Spencer Davis Scholarship for students with unpaid internships, Arrigo volunteered at the institute and made new findings in his research.  “So what we were looking at was platelet interaction with cancer cells because what happens is the platelets form a shield around the cancer cells and allows them to move through the bloodstream easier,” Arrigo said. Therefore, Arrigo was assigned to look how the metastasis—the movement of a tumor from its original location to another part of the body—of cancer takes place in the body.  “We know that they [cancer cells] interact with platelets, so if we can stop their interaction with platelets, then we can stop them from metastasizing.” He looked at specific proteins involved in the platelet cell cycle and how they activate cancer cells. By understanding the presence of these specific proteins, Arrigo manipulated protein expression in cells and fabricated platelets. From there, his research was to make cancer cells act like platelets in order to better understand metastasis.  A week before he left, Arrigo found a cancer cell that activated like a platelet would in his experimentations. Unfortunately, he ran out of time in his internship before he could finish the procedure. Nonetheless, Arrigo used his experience this summer to find a new interaction of cancer cells through the mechanism that he performed. “People already knew that the cells acted like platelets if you treated them like platelets,” he said. “So the use of cells as platelets was not necessarily new, but the specific interaction through the mechanism I used is new.” Arrigo attributed his abilities in the laboratory this summer to the experience he received in his classes at Westminster. All summer, he did specific functions such as Western Blots and micropipetting that he wouldn’t have been experienced in had it not been for his lab time in class. Through his internship, Arrigo was reassured that his interests in class align with the field of work he is looking to pursue upon graduation.  “I already knew I like research, but to do something like that it really put my feet to the fire and helped me realize that this is s[...]

Dr. R. Tad Greig Leads Clinics for Local Public School Music Programs

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 09:19:00 EST

(image) Dr. R. Tad Greig continues to be very active as a clinician in local public school music programs. On October 17, Dr. Greig visited Beaver Area High School where he provided a clinic for the high school and middle school bands—both instructed by alumnus J.P. Scanga. In addition to numerous guest conducting engagements and adjudicating at music assessment festivals, Dr. Greig commonly does four or five clinics per year.

"I enjoy getting out into the public schools and working with young musicians and my colleagues who do such great work," said Greig. "What made this clinic so special was working with one of our own graduates, Mr. J.P. Scanga, who is doing such an amazing job as a musician, educator and advocate for music. I worked with two ensembles full of engaged, articulate, inquisitive and talented musicians who were eager to learn and make wonderful music."

Greig has been with Westminster since 1993. As a professor of music and director of instrumental activities, he teaches courses in instrumental methods, band literature, and instrumental and advanced conducting. He oversees the Titan Marching Band and conducts the Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band.

For more information, contact Greig at or 724-946-7279.

Humans of Westminster: Meet Vanessa

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 14:40:00 EST

(image) A Worldly View

I went abroad the summer after my freshman year, eager to see the world and put into practice the Spanish skills I had been learning in the classroom. The experience not only gave me professional skills, but also grew my confidence and gave me a more global outlook. Since returning to Westminster, I applied and was accepted to be a "Global Ambassador" for ISA Study Abroad on Westminster's campus. I wanted to promote the company and its programs at Westminster so that other students could have the same life-changing experience I had. There is nothing better for me than the feeling of stepping out of your comfort zone and exploring the unfamiliar. Every time I travel, I always learn more about myself and the world in which I live.  Nothing expands your mind or makes you more of a well-rounded person that traveling and fully immersing yourself in an unfamiliar culture.

Vanessa is a junior public relations major and an All-College Honors student.

Dean Carllos Lassiter Responds to Student Concerns with a Series of Town Hall Meetings

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 11:25:00 EST

Dean Carllos Lassiter, vice president for student affairs and dean of students, held his first Town Hall meeting with the Westminster community on Oct. 12. Centered on diversity and inclusion, the meeting addressed the challenges some students face on campus and provided a space for them to share their experiences at Westminster so far. Sophomore biology major Antonia Thompson said the Town Hall meeting was enlightening. “I was able to voice my opinion about being a black female student [at Westminster]," Thompson said. "The population of black female students [on our campus] is a bit low, and we are typically forgotten about. Hopefully that will change.” The town hall meetings are part of Dean Lassiter’s initiative to improve the quality of student life at Westminster.  “I hope this will enable students to become empowered through self-advocacy while allowing them to be stakeholders in shaping what they would like for their campus experience to be at Westminster,” added Lassiter. Overall, the dean believes the first town hall event went well and was well received by students. “For the next one, we will allow students to submit comments and questions prior to the event to generate a more fluid conversation and to increase engagement among the students in attendance,” he mentioned. Future Town Halls will focus on the overall student life experience on campus. Dean Lassiter will be joined by SALT (Student Affairs Leadership Team—composed of all Directors and Associate Deans in Student Affairs) in addressing the issues presented by students. Already in his first four months at Westminster, Dean Lassiter is committed to and busy ensuring the “Westminster experience” is exceptional for all students. Over the rest of the year, Dean Lassiter and his team are working on implementing a system of “CARE” when working with students; creating more intentional campus programming, presentations and workshops from the Office of Diversity and Inclusion; and developing a culture of assessment for the student life experience of on-campus students. His other plans include addressing student transportation needs, student engagement on campus, customer service, the functionality of the McKelvey Campus Center and professional staff development. For more information, contact Tom Fields at or 724-946-7190. [...]