Scholarship Recipients

More Who Inspire

Letecia Garcia '15Letecia Garcia '15, Change in Prison Outcomes

As a senior at Kutztown University, I'm truly excited about my opportunities-while I'm here and for my future. So many things make me proud to be a KU student!

The University's courses are outstanding for what I need to learn in criminal justice and my chosen field, developmental psychopathology, in which I intend to get my Ph.D. And the award-winning campus is enduringly beautiful all four seasons of the year.

My aim is to work for the Federal Bureau of Prisons in a super-max prison as a supervising psychologist.  I chose a double major in Psychology and Criminal Justice, with a minor in Biology.  I truly want to help people — and have from an early age-so, while inmates serve their sentences, I would like to develop programs that help them leave better off, not worse than they came in. We pay more than $36,000 a year for each inmate, and they need to learn a different way to be, to be able to better live in society when they're released.

My internship advisor helped find the setting I wanted — an internship in Berks County Prison.  My classes had helped prepare me for a prison setting, taught me how to deal with all kinds of people and gave me an understanding of prison structure and prisoner needs.

Through my life experiences, I've found that educating myself is a good way to get through difficult situations.  What you can fathom the least, you study the most.  I couldn't understand why someone would be able to hurt other people, so I pursued that question.  I'm fortunate right now to have the Jaymie B. Creitz Scholarship, renewed annually.  It's based on past work with animal welfare and rights at a number of organizations.  I received it because I got an award in high school from peta2, the youth division of PETA, and worked with our principal to draft prohibitions against events that exploited and profited from animal use.

For me, there's no better place to get my education and base my learning experience than Kutztown University!

Briana Koert '14Briana Koert '14, First Recipient of Enlightened Leaders Scholarship

When Briana Koert ’14 found out that she had won the Enlightened Leaders Scholarship—a full, four-year scholarship to Kutztown—she couldn’t believe it. She was at work when she got the call, a month before the start of the fall semester, and she excused herself to a quiet backroom. When Dr. Anne Zayaitz notified her of the scholarship decision, Briana was so surprised by the news that she replied, “Are you joking?” Remembering that day, Briana says she was close to crying because she was so happy. “All my co-workers gathered around me to see my reaction,” she says. “They were so excited for me."

Alison Duffy '13For Alison Duffy '13, Teaching Is the Only Way

Kutztown University is known for its education program; students come from far and near to attend KU because of its reputation. The College of Education boasts a competitive curriculum and knowledgeable faculty, so it is no surprise that Alison Duffy travelled from Maryland to come to Kutztown University for elementary education, pre-k to grade 4.

As a senior, Alison has seen a lot of what Kutztown has to offer. What she likes most about Kutztown is its “education program, the people, the beauty of the campus, the great professors, and the content of the curriculum.”

Colby Wolford '13Colby Wolford '13, A Born Teacher

Colby Wolford, a junior at Kutztown University, was born to be a teacher. As a young child, he would constantly help those around him, and when he grew up, that trait stuck with him. He taught American Kenpo Karate for six years and thoroughly enjoyed it. In addition, Colby is a former Marine and, during his time in service, he taught new Marines specific duties and procedures. His passion for teaching continued and Colby decided to come to Kutztown University to major in Secondary Education with a concentration in English.

Colby’s love for English is evident in his everyday life at Kutztown: he works in the English department office, he is the vice president of the English club, and he was awarded the Ruth Bonner Scholarship due to his excellence in English.

Christa Bardar '13Christa Bardar '13, Teaching in South Africa

Christa Bardar '13, an early elementary education major, spent a few weeks this past summer teaching, as a volunteer, at Christian David Moravian Primary school in Muizenberg, South Africa. Christa agreed to sit down for an interview to discuss her amazing experience and what she learned while in South Africa.

How did you decide to go to South Africa to volunteer?

I knew for a while that during the summer before my senior year I wanted to volunteer abroad somewhere. I just didn't know where. The decision to go to South Africa came with a lot of help from Jenn Topp.

Peter Koufalis '13Peter Koufalis '13, Present for Historic Moment

Peter Koufalis '13, a mathematics and physics major at KU, was present among 300 of the world's foremost scientists at CERN, the European nuclear research center near Geneva, for the announcement of the discovery of the Higgs boson. This particle is also dubbed the "God particle," as scientists believe it holds the key to explaining the origin of life in our universe.

"We had, undoubtedly, just experienced an historic event," Koufalis told the Reading Eagle in an interview, referencing the moment of the announcement. "My heart skipped a few beats."

Kulsum Soonasra '12Kulsum Soonasra '12, Keystone Writer, Annual Fund Caller

Kulsum Soonasra '12, an English and secondary education major, won the Keystone Newswriting Scholarship--an award presented by the KU English Department--at the end of her senior year. Kulsum also worked for the KU Annual Fund as a student caller, raising funds for the areas of greatest need at the University. This young alumna agreed to sit down for an interview and gave some wonderful answers about her time at Kutztown University, why she loved writing for the Keystone, and what it was like to work at the Annual Fund.

Brooke Ann Coco '13Brooke Ann Coco '13, Talented Percussionist and Caring Volunteer

Brooke Ann Coco ‘13, a recipient of the Reid Lessig Scholarship for Bands, devotes a lot of time to music. Not just to studying it, but also to playing it. She has been involved with the University Orchestra, the Concert Band, the Marching Band, and she’s part of three different sections of the Percussion Ensemble, two of which explore percussion music and instruments from around the world. “Right now in the African drumming ensemble, we’re learning about the drumming styles of the Ewe people, who are located primarily in Ghana. Some of the patterns are really interesting,” Brooke says.

Alexa Flinn '12Alexa Flinn '12 in Rome, Paris and Kutztown

Alexa Flinn ’12 is pretty widely traveled for a college student. She went to Paris last spring, as part of the College of Visual and Performing Arts’ Dean’s Scholars Program, and says it was one of the best things she’s ever done. “Just a completely different experience,” she says. As a communication design major, Alexa had studied many great artistic works in class, but, she says, “Seeing things in person is so much different. It’s a little surreal."

Maria Stayer '13Maria Stayer '13 Helps Students Obtain the Right Information

Many Kutztown students participate in academic or special interest clubs, or devote their free time to community service, but only a few can boast of being as deeply involved as Maria Stayer '13. The sophomore library science education major, who's also a multiple scholarship recipient, is the president of Alpha Beta Alpha (the library science fraternity), a volunteer at the Heritage Center Library and a tutor in the America Reads program. How does a college sophomore have time to do all this? "Time management is one of my better skills," Maria says, "but it also helps to get up early in the morning."

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