Class Notes

Where We Are & What We Are Up To

Winter 2021


VINCENT T. MARCHESE (Sociology) was inducted into the New Jersey Drum Corps Hall of Fame. Vincent has participated as a drummer with many area drum and bugle corps for most of his life, including the Hawthorne Caballeros which he helped found. A resident of Paterson, Vincent is an educator with the Paterson public schools and a photographer. He is active with the College alumni association.


DAVID CAVANAUGH (Chemistry) has retired from General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems, where he worked for ten years as a program manager and test director for ballistic missile systems.  Previously, he was an electro-optical scientist and engineer for the U.S. Navy, McDonnell Douglas, Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Surface Optics Corporation. He received his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Utah. He is married with two children and lives in San Diego, Calif.


RON CEPHAS JONES (Fine Arts) won his second Emmy Award in September 2020. The award was presented for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for his portrayal of William Hill in the episode “After the Fire” on the NBC television program This is Us. Ron won his first Emmy Award in the same category in 2018, also for This is Us. Ron’s daughter, Jasmine Cephas Jones, won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Actress in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series for playing Tyisha in #FreeRayshawn on Quibi. Ron and Jasmine became the first father and daughter to win Emmys in the same year.


RICHARD REISENAUER (Business Administration) joined Lakeland Bank as senior vice president, team leader of the N.Y. commercial lending team based in Highland Mills, N.Y. He was most recently executive vice president of middle market lending at Provident Bank and prior to that, senior vice president of commercial lending at Valley National Bank.


MARY M. VINEIS (Psychology) retired as director of community response and education for NewBridge Services, Inc. Mary began working for the social services agency soon after graduation. She is a certified disaster response crisis counselor and has been coordinator of the Morris County Traumatic Loss Coalition since 2008. Mary serves as chairperson of the Pequannock Township municipal alliance committee and is active in Community Partners for Hope. She will continue to conduct mental health first aid and suicide prevention training for NewBridge and serve as crisis response coordinator for the Traumatic Loss Coalitions (TLC) in Morris and Passaic counties.


WILLIAM T. THOMPSON (Chemistry) received the Des Goddard Award from the Society of Cosmetic Chemists at its 73rd Annual Scientific Meeting and Technology Showcase. The award recognizes the most innovative paper on the topic of polymer science related to cosmetics or personal care. Bill’s paper was published in the Journal of Cosmetic Science. Bill is senior staff scientist at Ashland Inc.

SCOTT B. PIEKARSKY (Business Administration) joined the law firm of Phillips Nizer LLP in Hackensack as a partner in its Litigation Department. Scott is a member of the N.J. Supreme Court committee on women in the courts. He is a master in the Justice Robert L. Clifford Inn of Court and a former barrister in the Morris Pashman American Inn of Court. He served as a law clerk to the Honorable Peter Ciolino, assignment judge of the Superior Court, Bergen County.


DAWN A. ZIMMER (Marketing) has joined the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) as the new executive director for information technology experience and engagement in the Division of Information Technology. Previously, Dawn served as director for business partnership services at the Federal Aviation Administration; she had a 15+ year career at the agency. She also held strategic leadership roles at the U.S. Department of Justice and at General Electric.


PATRICIA WADORS (Management) recently joined Procore Technologies in Carpinteria, Calif. as chief people officer, where she supports the company’s focus on employee experience and growth. Pat was chief talent officer of ServiceNow and prior to that, she was senior vice president, global talent organization at LinkedIn. Pat has also held human resources leadership positions at Plantronics, Yahoo!, Align Technology and Applied Materials. She serves on the boards of directors at Zenefits, Accolade and El Camino Hospital.


MICHAEL PLICK (Business Administration) was promoted to chief executive officer of Ammon Labs in Linden.

KIMBERLY F. JAKUBOWSKI (History), senior product manager at CGI Inc., was named to the inaugural list of the “25 Most Influential People in Roaming and Interconnect” by ROCCO, a research firm serving the telecommunications industry. Kim has had a long and successful career in telecommunications and in wired and wireless technology.


HERMAN WEISS (Philosophy) is the new chief executive officer and executive director of Claves Life Sciences Limited; he also serves as senior medical advisor of Aptorum Group Limited. He is a physician at Maccabi and Meuchedet Kuppot Health System and chairman of the board of directors of Todos Medical in Israel. Dr. Weiss previously held senior roles at Juniper Pharmaceuticals and Teva Pharmaceuticals. He earned an M.B.A. from the George Washington University and an M.D. from the Ohio State University College of Medicine.

BRIAN P. REGAN (Political Science) was promoted to captain of the Franklin Township Police Department. Brian earned a master’s degree from Seton Hall University. He is a 20-year member of the department. He first served in the investigative division as a detective, was later promoted to detective sergeant and was promoted again in 2016 to lieutenant and midnight shift commander within the patrol division.

RICHARD MAINARDI, JR. (Political Science) has been re-elected as vice president of the Boys & Girls Club of Paterson and Passaic. Richard is vice president and broker of record for Mainardi Management Company.

KELLY RAMSEY GOOCH (Accounting) is the new executive vice president, client relationship officer at Ultimus Fund Solutions’ LeverPoint, the firm’s private fund administration services group. The company is headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio and provides fund administration, accounting and investor services. Kelly earned an M.S. in leadership from Duquesne University and is pursuing a doctorate degree in Strategic Leadership.


BRIAN BRENNAN (History) has joined Intelligent Waves LLC, headquartered in Reston, Va. as senior vice president of client operations. The company provides government IT systems solutions, including cloud computing and managed services and cyber and security architecture. Brian holds a master’s degree from The George Washington University.

THOMAS AMMAZZALORSO (International Business) was named an “Outstanding Educator” by the University of Chicago. He was nominated by a former student who was recently accepted into the University’s undergraduate program. Thomas teaches social sciences for the Prince George’s County Public Schools in Upper Marlboro, Md.


TIMOTHY J. KUNZIER (Political Science) was appointed to the Personal Care Attendant Workforce Council (PCA Council) of the State of Massachusetts. The Council provides information and support for consumers to hire and train personal care attendants. Tim is a former member of the Developmental Disabilities Council, and he was a Gopen Fellow at the Institute for Community Inclusion. From 2000 to 2010, he served on the board for the Boston Center for Independent Living, Inc. Tim earned a master’s degree in education, disability, health and leisure from Boston University.


JASON MARTIN (Biology) is the new executive director at the Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College. For the past four years, Jason served as senior project manager and ecologist for Kleenco Maintenance and Construction in Alexandria, Ind. He received a master’s degree in natural resources and environmental science from the University of Illinois and a Ph.D. in wildlife ecology and conservation from the University of Florida.

ELIZABETH MAGENNIS (Psychology) was named a Crain’s New York Business 2019 “Notable Woman in Banking and Finance” for her professional, philanthropic and civic achievements. Elizabeth is executive vice president, chief lending and relationship officer at ConnectOne Bank. She recently joined the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors.


LARA S. HAMWEY (Communication Arts) is the new director of the Department of Parks and Recreation for the city of Tucson, Ariz. Lara comes to Tucson from the City of Miami, Fla. where she had been director of the Parks and Recreation Department since 2019; she served as its deputy director for the previous five years.

STEVEN BREEMAN (Economics) has been promoted to senior vice president, team leader, asset-based lending at Lakeland Bank. Steven joined the bank in 2009 as vice president, relationship manager for the asset-based lending team. He is a graduate of the inaugural Lakeland Bank LEAD class.


GILBERT BANKSTON (Communication Arts) was promoted to director of property management for CBRE Triad and CBRE Raleigh in North Carolina. He holds the International Council of Shopping Centers Certified Shopping Center Manager “CSM” certification.

SAMI ASAAD (Law and Society) has joined FordHarrison LLP as partner and chair of the home healthcare practice group in its Hartford, Conn. office. FordHarrison is a large labor and employment law firm. Previously, Sami was a labor and employment attorney with McCarter & English, LLP and before that, he was a labor and employment attorney with Brody and Associates, LLC. He earned a J.D. from Quinnipiac University Law School. He serves as president of Rebuilding Together Hartford, Inc. which helps low-income homeowners make repairs and revitalizes area communities.


CHRISTOPHER S. MARINO (Communication Arts) joined Everest Insurance, part of Everest RE Group, Ltd., as a senior underwriter in its casualty excess group. Most recently, Christopher served as an excess casualty underwriter at Crum & Forster and before that, he spent ten years at AIG.


ROBERT L. TRUITT, III (Economics) is now chief financial officer of Amerifirst Home Mortgage, a division of Amerifirst Financial Corporation headquartered in Kalamazoo, Mich. Rob has served as CFO of Flagstar Bank’s mortgage division, and before that, as senior vice president at Citizens Bank. He holds an M.B.A. in finance from the University of Connecticut.

SCOTT STANCHAK (Communication Arts) has been named a 2020 “Leader under 40 in Sports” by the Leaders in Sports organization. Scott is vice president of emerging technology at the National Basketball Association (NBA). Scott also teaches e-commerce and digital marketing within the graduate program at New York University. Scott resides in Wayne with his wife and two young children.

JENNIFER M. QUINN (Music) was named to the “40 under 40” list for 2020 by NJBIZ. Each year, the magazine recognizes New Jersey’s next generation of business leaders. Jen is marketing director of Fantasy Island Amusement Park and its sister company, the Wireless Experience Group. Previously, Jen served as marketing and promotions director at iPlay America. She holds an M.A. in communication and public relations from Montclair State University.

LAUREN A. HENDERSON (Business Administration) has been named to the “40 under 40” by StarNews Media and the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce. The award recognizes outstanding young professionals in the Wilmington, N.C. area who are also committed to serving the community. Lauren is chief financial officer at CastleBranch, Inc., a consumer reporting agency. Lauren earned a professional M.B.A. at UNC-Wilmington. She volunteers with the Good Shepherd Center, the Women’s Impact Network of New Hanover County, the UNCW Cameron Executive Network, the CFCC Accounting advisory board and Wilmington Business Development.


WILLIAM T. SKAGGS (Political Science) was recently appointed public information office for the City of Trenton. He is the former spokesman for the New Jersey Treasury and for U.S. Attorney’s Office. William holds a master’s degree in public relations and corporate communications from New York University.

CHRISTY E. O'CONNOR (Visual Arts) had a solo art exhibition at ChaShaMa’s Space to Present in Matawan, titled “Victim Shame, Body Blame.” Her works analyze victim shaming tropes that are promulgated via social norms, pop culture and societal institutions. Christy’s artwork has been exhibited regionally in several galleries. She has also curated exhibits throughout the state of New Jersey.


ROSS SWITKES (Communication Arts) joined the law firm of Norris McLaughlin P.A. as a partner in the Bankruptcy & Creditors Rights Practice Group. Ross is vice-chair of the lawyer’s advisory committee for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of New Jersey. He also is a trustee of the Mercer County Bar Association and co-chair of its bankruptcy, budget, and golf committees. In 2018, Switkes was honored with a New Jersey Law Journal Professional Excellence Award as a “New Leader of the Bar,” and he was recognized by the Mercer County Bar Association as “Young Lawyer of the Year.” Ross has also been recognized by New Jersey Super Lawyers as a “Rising Star” in the area of bankruptcy practice. Ross earned his J.D. from Seton Hall University.

MEGAN KNOWLTON BALNE (History and Theater), an attorney and partner at Hyland Levin Shapiro LLP, has been appointed chair of the legal and legislative committee for the Human Resources Association of Southern New Jersey. She was also recently named to the “40 under 40” list for 2020 by NJ Biz.


BRIANA VANNOZZI (Communication Arts) recently became the anchor of the weeknight newscast, “NJTV News with Briana Vannozzi.” Brianna had been the interim anchor since March 2020. She joined NJTV News in 2012 and held several roles, including general assignment and multimedia correspondent, senior correspondent and sub-anchor of the newscast. Her work has earned awards from the New Jersey Society of Professional Journalists and the Philadelphia Press Association, and she has received multiple Emmy nominations.

SHARON M. SCHWARZ (Literature ’02; MSET ’08) received the N.J. Governor’s Educator of the Year Award for her work as a teacher at the Christopher Columbus Middle School in Clifton; she has worked for the Clifton Public School District for 18 years. She teaches 8th grade language arts and serves as an advisor to the Gifted and Talented Middle Grades Literacy Program. Sharon is married to fellow alumnus, MARK SCHWARZ ’03, who is superintendent of the Madison Public Schools. The couple has two sons, Kyler and Brayden. The family lives in Sparta.

CHRISTOPHER A. JEUNE (Psychology) has been appointed the executive director of student services at Brookdale Community College in Lincroft.

THERESA M. BUTLER (MSET) was chosen by her peers as Kittatinny Regional High School as “Teacher of the Year.” Theresa has taught science at the school for 17 years. She earned her bachelor’s degree at Castleton State College (now Castleton University) and received her teaching certificate from William Paterson University. She is enrolled at Rutgers, pursuing additional certification as a teacher of students with disabilities.

ASHLEY BLUM (Law and Society) joined the law firm of Buist Byars & Taylor LLC in Mount Pleasant, S.C. as a senior associate specializing in commercial real estate. She holds a law degree from the Charleston School of Law.


LINDA LEE (Contemporary Arts) joined the law firm of Giordano, Halleran & Ciesla P.C. in Red Bank. Linda is an associate handling development, environmental compliance, land use, zoning and other business counseling matter. She previously clerked for Judge Marianne Espinosa in the state Superior Court’s Appellate Division. Linda earned her law degree from Rutgers School of Law-Newark, where she was the editor-in-chief of the Rutgers Law Review.

THOMAS W. LANZA (Sociology) was ordained to the priesthood of the Roman Catholic Church by the Diocese of Metuchen in August 2020. Father Lanza earned a master’s degrees in divinity and sacred theology from St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore, Md. He will serve at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, Bernardsville and will teach at Immaculata High School in Somerville.


JENNA L. DELLEDONNE BALLARD (Psychology) was honored as Livingston Park Elementary School’s “Educator of the Year.” Jenna teaches fourth grade in the North Brunswick school.


SANDRA M. BRIGHT GRANITO (Nursing) was recently inducted into the nursing honor society, Sigma Theta Tau. She is pursuing a master’s degree at Maryville University of St. Louis to become an adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioner. Sandra is an intensive care unit nurse at Spartanburg Regional Medical Center in South Carolina.

DANA M. GENATT (Psychology) became director of curriculum at the Robert L. Craig School in Moonachie. Dana had been a 3rd grade teacher at the school. She earned a master’s degree in education leadership, management and policy from Seton Hall University.

REBECCA AILEY (Psychology) was named “Teacher of the Year” by the students and faculty at the Highland Park Middle School where she teaches mathematics.


DANIEL A. SNOW (Biology) is chief executive officer and founder of the Snow Agency, a performance and social media marketing agency. He was recently interviewed by Thrive Global and featured in an article about leadership and the lessons he has learned while founding and running his company.

CANDACE MITCHELL (Communication Arts and Literature) was named by Editor & Publisher to its”25 under 35″ list as a rising star in the news industry. Candace is director of digital production for and The Record. As a student, she served as editor-in-chief and news editor of the Ramapo News.

KRISTI M. INTORRE (Law and Society) has joined the law firm of Harwood Lloyd, LLP as an associate where she practices family law and general litigation. Kristi earned a J.D. from Pace University. She is a member of the Bergen County Bar Association, the New Jersey State Bar Association and Women Lawyers in Bergen.


GRANT D. KORTEN (Sociology) was sworn in as an East Brunswick police officer on January 4, 2021. Grant graduated from the Cape May County Police Academy and worked part time for the Avalon Borough Police Department before accepting a full-time position with the Collingswood Police Department. He is studying towards a master’s degree from the University of Cincinnati. In his off time, Grant coaches soccer at East Brunswick High School.


KELLY HUIE (Psychology) is completing a master’s degree in forensic psychology at John Jay College and has been accepted to a Ph.D. program at Queen’s University Belfast, Ireland.

SUSAN FJELDAL (MSET) is a Livingston Public School “Teacher of the Year” for 2019-2020. Susan teaches second grade at the Burnett Hill Elementary School. She has been teaching in Livingston for two decades. Susan earned a bachelor’s degree from Kean University.

ANDREW A. ANNUZZI (Environmental Science) was sworn in as an Old Bridge Township police officer on December 31, 2019. After his swearing in, Andrew completed training at the Cape May Police Academy.

KRISTINE MCCORMICK (Business Administration) was promoted to assistant treasurer, digital marketing specialist at Lakeland Bank. She joined the bank in 2017 as a marketing intern and transitioned to marketing assistant. She was promoted to digital marketing and graphic design assistant in 2019.

LEAH MARTOCCI (Communication Arts) works for Trillium Brewing Company in Boston, Mass. as a graphic designer. She handles design, branding and digital/printed media.


SIRHAN ABDULLAH (MSET) was promoted to assistant professor of health services and has been granted tenure at Hudson County Community College in Jersey City. Dr. Abdullah has taught at HCCC since 2011. He holds a Doctor of Medicine degree from Avalon University (formerly Xavier Medical College). He is health care safety certified and is a national safety compliance instructor for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and HIPAA. Dr. Abdullah previously taught at Bergen Community College and at William Paterson University.


KAREN M. MASTRIANO (Contemporary Arts) has joined DMR Architects in Hasbrouck Heights as director of business development. Karen has also served as a councilwoman and council president for the Borough of Saddle River and as clerk to the Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

RYAN GREFF (Business Administration) chairs the economic recovery task force initiative for the New Jersey Small Business Development Center. The SBDC, located at Ramapo College, is a federal-state-education partnership, primarily funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration. It provides small business owners and entrepreneurs with no-cost business management counseling and information services. Ryan is also a member of the RCNJ Alumni Association board.

KAELEA COMPOSTO (Biology) was recently featured in a CBS-TV News story about her work at Hackensack Meridian Health Center for Discovery and Innovation in Nutley. Kaelea is one of the Center’s research technicians testing for the new U.K. variant strain of the coronavirus that has been recently detected in the United States.


THERESA (Communication Arts, 2007) and ADAM BAKER (Music, 2007) welcomed their first son, Nathan Lawrence, on September 28, 2019.

HEATHER L. FELLIN (Communication Arts, 2009; MSET, 2016) and her husband, Scott, welcomed a son, Carter Michael, on May 12, 2020. Heather teaches first grade at Franklin Elementary School in Westfield, where she has taught for 11 years. As a student, Heather founded and served as president of Kappa Delta Pi, worked in the admissions office, served as an admissions ambassador and was involved with numerous student government activities.


“Handsome Jim”

James Willis on motorized scooter

Photo by Joshua McCoy/Courtesy of University of Mississippi

James Willis (Social Science), a U.S. Navy veteran who passed away in July 2019 at the age of 77 was awarded a posthumous degree by Ramapo College in October 2019. At the time of his death, “Handsome Jim,” as he was known, was taking classes at the University Mississippi to finish his Ramapo College degree. The College determined that Jim’s work warranted a posthumous diploma which his family received on Ramapo College’s behalf during a ceremony at the University of Mississippi.  Jim served in the Navy during the Vietnam War and was a fixture at Ole Miss’s Veteran’s Resource Center; he was also active in the local recovery community, having proudly achieved more than 25 years of sobriety. Jim was a native of Jersey City who moved to Oxford three years ago to be closer to his family.