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School of Arts and Sciences

Education Success Stories

Meet our Education Alumni and Students

In the profiles below, meet undergraduate and graduate alumni and students from Point Park University's various education programs. These alumni and students talk about why they chose Point Park University and how earning or pursuing a degree is helping them reach their career goals.


Pictured is Breigh Svonavec, a 2008 Point Park education alumna and sixth grade English teacher for Somerset Area School District. | Photo by Sheena ZollaBreigh Svonavec

B.A. in Elementary Education, 2008
Sixth Grade English Teacher, Somerset Area School District

"I truly enjoyed being a teaching assistant for Dr. Darlene Marnich’s University Experience class. I learned so much from her teaching techniques, and the opportunities she provided for me were extremely beneficial as a classroom teacher."

"I thoroughly loved my time as a Point Park University student. I learned so much from my professors, and all of the experiences I had helped shape me into the person and teacher I am today."


Pictured is Amanda Trainor, elementary education alumna and English as a Second Language elementary teacher at Chartiers Valley. | Photo by Chris Rolinson Amanda Trainor

B.A. in Elementary Education, 2011
Literacy Intervention/Science Teacher, D.C. Preparatory Academy

"Point Park’s education professors really care about their students. Because the class sizes are smaller, they get to know you on a personal level and are there to help you out."

"Also, the professors put a lot of time into their students and their lessons. Their teaching plans were laid out thoughtfully, which turned out to be very helpful when you were ready to begin student teaching and pursuing a full-time teaching position."


Pictured is 2010 education alumnus Michael Suppa, literacy intervention/science teacher at D.C. Prep Academy. | Photo submitted by Suppa Michael Suppa

B.A. in Elementary Education, 2010
Literacy Intervention/Science Teacher, D.C. Preparatory Academy

"My teaching career has been fast tracked largely because of the quality of the education program at Point Park University. The nature of my student teaching evaluations at Point Park gave me an edge over other first-year teachers and ultimately, led to the unlikely promotions and success of my first year."

"Not many people can hit the ground running on their first day in the real world. Point Park made sure I was ready to do so."

Pictured is secondary education alumna and communications teacher, Alicia Lyons. | Photo by Chris Rolinson Alicia Lyons

B.A. in Secondary Education (Mass Communication/English, 2013
Communications Teacher, Belle Vernon High School

"I love everything about broadcasting and video production but what I love more is being able to teach those skills to kids. In doing so, i have the best of both worlds and gain so much fullfillment in working with kids every day."

"I did my student teaching at Franklin Regional High School under Mrs. Becky Magness and had an incredible experience with the district and the kids. I learned so much there on how to teach lessons in my concentration and what it means to be a true educator."

Pictured is Justin Morgan, a secondary education alumnus and English teacher at Central Catholic High School. | Photo by Chris Rolinson Justin Morgan

B.A. in Secondary Education/English, 2010
English Teacher, Central Catholic High School

"My favorite experience as an education student at Point Park was student teaching. I was paired with the best supervisor ever to grace the halls of Point Park University, Mr. Feinert. Mr. Feinert taught me two of the most important lessons all educators must learn. First, how to properly write on a chalkboard;
and second, to always have a sense of humor."

"Without the guidance of my student teaching supervisor and the support from
the education professors, I would have never achieved the level of excellence needed to be a part of Central Catholic High School."

Pictured is Jonathan MacDonald, Point Park secondary education alumnus and English teacher at Oakland Catholic High School. | Photo by Chris Rolinson Jonathan MacDonald

B.A. in Secondary Education/English, 2008
English Teacher and Forensics Coach, Oakland Catholic High School

"I liked the environment of the campus. As a commuter student, I felt that the campus was easy to get to and offered a wide variety of opportunities and activities for all students. Additionally, the class sizes were just the right size — I liked being able to establish relationships with my fellow classmates and the feeling of camaraderie we shared within our classes with our professors."

"Trust in your skills — Point Park University does a wonderful job of preparing a student to teach, but the power to inspire, encourage and engage every student in your classroom is in your hands!"

Pictured is Daniel Pomposelli, Point Park education alumnus and middle school business and math teacher for North Allegheny School District. | Photo by Chris Rolinson Daniel Pomposelli

B.A. in Elementary Education, 2007
Business and Math Teacher, Carson Middle School, North Allegheny School District

"The connections and references the education faculty at Point Park provided me were outstanding and really helped me. The numerous types of positions Point Park education alumni have always amazes me, too."

"Whether I was playing baseball or learning in the classroom, I will never forget the awesome personal relationships I formed at Point Park. The faculty treated you like a real person and always had your back. I’m not sure I would have had that kind of experience at a bigger school."

Pictured is Kayla Holjencin, 2009 secondary education alumna and English Teacher at Pittsburgh Taylor Allderdice High School. | Photo by Chris Rolinson Kayla Holjencin

B.S. in Secondary Education English, 2009
English Teacher, Pittsburgh Taylor Allderdice High School

"Growing up in a rural town in Pennsylvania, I wanted to find an urban campus that offered access to successful professionals from the education field. When I visited Point Park for an open house, I fell in love with it because it is in the center of the city. My parents said, 'We can see you here.'"

"When I received an envelope in the mail with Point Park's letterhead on it, my emotions were overwhelming. I was accepted as a presidential scholar and on my way to my dream of becoming a teacher."

Pictured is Phylicia Joy, a Point Park secondary education alumna and high school math teacher. | Photo by Jim Judkis Phylicia Joy

B.S. in Secondary Education Mathematics, 2012
Mathematics Teacher, Crestview High School

"I have always found joy in helping others and math has been a passion of mine since the third grade. I have made it a goal to make a positive impact on the lives of others, whether it is through mentoring people or striving to instill in them a love for mathematics. A career in education allows me to reach both aspects of that goal."

"Point Park offered small classes and opportunity. After receiving the Presidential Scholarship, it was clear that I was meant to be at Point Park."

Pictured is Angel Mahnick, an instructional studies major and teacher's aide for the Western PA School for the Deaf. | Photo by Jim Judkis Angel Mahnick

Pursuing B.A. in Instructional Studies
Teacher's Aide, Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf

"I liked that Point Park is a private university with a small student-to-faculty ratio and that all of my credits from the Community College of Allegheny County were accepted. It’s been a learning experience for me but I am definitely becoming a city girl."

"Point Park has helped to meet my needs by providing me with interpreters. The supportive services and tutoring center have helped me a lot. Also, Dr. Vincenne Revilla-Beltrán has been especially great. She knew what I needed from day one."

Pictured is Point Park education alumnus and high school English teacher Gary Smith. Gary Smith

B.A. in English and secondary education, 2001
English Teacher, South Fayette High School

"Personally, I loved the idea that I could be close enough to my home that I could go there if I needed, but I was far enough away that I could live in the dorms and begin to grow as an individual. On top of that, I could live in Downtown Pittsburgh — Point Park was too good to pass up!"

"The education program was excellent; I had a wide array of classes that focused on both the theory and practicality of teaching, and my professors were so diverse that I was able to begin to see my future career from many different angles and consider what it truly meant to be a teacher."

Pictured is Point Park elementary education alumna and kindergarten teacher Kelly Cortazzo. Kelly Cortazzo

B.A. in elementary education, 2012
Kindergarten Teacher, West Elementary School in Arcadia, Fla.

"Nothing can prepare you for the 'real world' completely but Point Park did a great job of giving me an educational background that made me feel confident about my level of knowledge and experience when I entered my career. The level of field experience I gained at Point Park gave me an excellent view on how various educational systems operate."

"My favorite part about teaching kindergarten is that every day is interesting and full of activity. I am always on my feet and being challenged on a daily basis. Students at this age are so eager to grow and learn and their lively spirits are contagious."

Pictured is Point Park elementary education alumna and fourth grade teacher Jasmin Hain. Jasmin Hain

B.A. in elementary education, 2012
Fourth Grade Teacher, West Elementary School in Arcadia, Fla.

"I liked Point Park’s small, intimate classes and the personable professors. I’m glad I stayed because I gained a lot of unique experiences at Point Park."

"Teaching is one of the most gratifying careers you can have. All the hard work you put into your lesson planning and teaching is evident when your students discover something new. An excited student is the best feeling in the world! There is nowhere else I’d rather be than in the classroom!"

Pictured is Pre-K through 4th grade education major Elizabeth Cole. Elizabeth Cole

Pursuing B.A. in Elementary Education, Pre-K through 4th grade K-8 special education certification
Expected graduation: May 2014

 "Choosing Point Park was very easy. I love being in the city. There is always something to do and always somewhere to go. As a Point Park student, I am lucky to have Pittsburgh be my campus. I am also lucky to be a part of such a great school with wonderful people."

"I knew the moment I stepped onto Point Park's campus that this school was for me. Walking into a classroom at Point Park is not intimidating. The environment is so welcoming."

Pictured is elementary education alumna and third grade teacher Elisabeth Jensen. Elisabeth Jensen

B.A. in elementary education, 2012
Third Grade Teacher, West Elementary School in Arcadia, Fla.

"I am so thankful to professors like Dr. Suzanne Miller and Dr. Christal Chaney. They both gave me a practical look into education and allowed for first-hand experiences in their classes. Their knowledge was irreplaceable and they were both great inspirations. Another fantastic component of my education was my student teaching experience."

"College was such a great experience. I’m so glad I went to Point Park. I got a practical education and had so many fantastic experiences on the way!"


Pictured is Simon Huff, a 2014 Master of Arts in Secondary Education alumnus and high school teacher in Goodnews Bay, Alaska. | Photo by Christina HuffSimon Huff

M.A. in Secondary Education English, 2014
High School Generalist Teacher, Lower Kuskokwim School District

"I chose Point Park as an undergraduate student for its generous scholarships, campus location in the heart of Downtown Pittsburgh and intimate class settings. The quality of the education I received brought me back for more as a graduate student looking to make myself more marketable."

"Every department at Point Park has leaders in their respective fields who have given me the knowledge and skills I needed to meet the diverse needs of my students. 

Pictured is Alexa Tokarski, an English teacher at Pittsburgh Perry High School and a Point Park secondary education alumna and educational administration graduate student. | Photo by Jim Judkis Alexa Tokarski

B.A. in Secondary Education English, 2010
Pursuing M.A. in Educational Administration
English Teacher, Pittsburgh Perry High School

"I really enjoyed earning my bachelor’s degree at Point Park. Plus, I heard the University offered great master’s programs so I figured it made sense to continue on here. I passed my principal boards this past spring and feel that Point Park really prepared me for the test. 'The Principalship' class I took was especially helpful. It went over everything you need to be an effective leader in a school."

"The education professors are good people with strong backgrounds in the education field. They are so helpful with networking and are very supportive, flexible and inspiring toward students."

Pictured is Michelina Pollini, Point Park graduate education student, Pittsburgh Schweitzer Program Fellow and Programming Assistant for the Pittsburgh International Children's Theater. | Photo by Jim Judkis Michelina Pollini

Pursuing M.Ed. in secondary education
Fellow, Pittsburgh Schweitzer Fellows Program and Programming Assistant, Pittsburgh International Children's Theater and Festival

"What is truly beautiful about Point Park University’s education department is the viewpoint that current and future educators should respect and honor their students as individuals. I have observed the power of strong teacher-to-student interactions and how it creates successful cognitive learning."

"I hope to continue my development of innovative ways to communicate with students, parents and administrators as well as navigate the challenges of working in a public school throughout my pursuit of a master’s degree at Point Park."

Pictured is Dilworth Elementary science teacher and Point Park elementary education alumnus Clifford Perkins. | Photo by Jim Judkis Clifford Perkins

B.A. in elementary education, 2009
Pursuing M.Ed. in teaching and leadership
Science Teacher, Dilworth Elementary

"I chose Point Park for graduate school based on my positive experiences in the undergraduate program and for the small class sizes. A small classroom environment is where I learn best."

"My ultimate career goal is to become an administrator at some level. I’d like to be involved in the decision-making processes for classrooms using my experience as a guide. Long term, I'm also considering earning a doctorate degree in education."

Pictured is Michelle Graham, who earned a Master of Education in teaching and leadership and a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education from Point Park University. Michelle Graham

B.A. in elementary education, 2009
M.Ed. in teaching and leadership, 2011
Third Grade ELA Teacher and Clinical Resident Instructor, Pittsburgh King Pre-K through 8th grade

"The rigor of my bachelor’s experience and relevance to 21st century teaching brought me immediately back for my master’s degree."

"Point Park’s education professors are skilled, knowledgeable, experienced, amiable and extremely responsive to student needs. They know what skills are necessary for 21st century educators and mold each student individually to ensure they have attained those skills."

Pictured is educational administration and Pittsburgh Colfax K-8 principal Adam Sikorski. Adam Sikorski

M.A. in educational administration, 2009
Principal, Pittsburgh Colfax K-8

"I chose Point Park for its reputation. As I was considering options, I learned that there were successful former Pittsburgh Public Schools administrators on faculty at Point Park. Additionally, I knew students who were enrolled at Point Park. They spoke with me regarding the rigor of the program and the quality of professors."

"I would describe Point Park’s education professors as experienced. There is so much talent and knowledge on staff. The professors all have intimate knowledge of the necessary qualities to prepare future administrators.  The department is extremely responsive to student needs and provided me with real-world experiences which sculpted my ability to effectively lead a school."

Pictured is curriculum and instruction Point Park alumna Preeti Juneja. Preeti Juneja

M.A. in curriculum and instruction, 2010
Instructor of early childhood education, Community College of Allegheny County

"The curriculum and instruction program made me a better teacher. The professors were really nice and I loved the classes. Dr. Revilla served as a wonderful mentor to me and really helped guide me with my future goals."

“I liked the location of the campus.  It was convenient for me to get there by bus.”

Pictured is M.A. in curriculum and instruction alumnus Paul Cindric. Paul Cindric

M.A. in curriculum and instruction, 2006
Coordinator of curriculum, instruction and assessment, Allegheny Intermediate Unit

"I was impressed with the courses offered and the faculty in the program.  All of the faculty members had practical experience working in the education field as principals, administrators, or teachers. Their teaching style is based on their real-world experiences in school districts."

"By earning a master's degree from Point Park, I was also able to obtain my curriculum and instruction certification through the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This additional certification has opened doors for me that my administrative certificate alone could not."

Pictured is Chris Colonna, who earned a master's degree in secondary education is a seventh grade life science teacher. Chris Colonna

M.Ed. in secondary education, 2008
Seventh Grade Life Science Teacher, Carlynton Junior-Senior High School

"Ultimately, I chose Point Park for its extremely flexible schedule and very inviting faculty. When I visit Point Park, I still give my professors a hug. The personal relationships you develop with faculty at Point Park are second to none."

"Point Park’s teachings were spot on with trends in education. What I was learning at Point Park directly translated into the classroom where I was teaching.  It was great to be able to implement my new skills right away."