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Class Notes


Jan Rygert (A&S 1969) writes, “my husband and I recently took a genealogical journey through the Baltics, including Latvia. We visited a ‘haunted prison,’ used in the early 20th century, where many people perished under the Nazis, communists and others. Prisoners were tortured, killed and hanged there. This prison was even featured on Ghost Hunters International. Very spooky, cold and damp!” Now living in the Atlanta area, Rygert was raised in McKeesport and graduated from Point Park in 1969. She says, “I am a member of Point Park’s Founders Society and an avid supporter of the University!” Where have you been in your Point Park gear? Send us a photo, and tell us your story, at thepoint@pointpark.edu.


Kim Payne (COM 1979) received his M.B.A. degree, with a marketing concentration, from Saint Leo University in Saint Leo, Fla. last May. He earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism and communications at Point Park in 1979. (Editor's Note: This Class Note was incorrectly reported in the print edition of the fall 2015 issue. The Point regrets the error.)

Karen Rushe (Kosinski) (COM 1974) has been elected to the board for the Western Colorado Writer's Forum in Grand Junction, Colo. Rushe, who earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism and communications in 1974, later received a master’s degree in the Beatles, Popular Music and Society from Liverpool Hope University in Liverpool, England. “She writes, “besides my studies, I worked part-time at The Beatles Story located at Pier Head, which is the second Beatles Story site (the first is Albert Dock).  Albert Dock is a permanent exhibition about the Beatles [and] each of the Beatles’ solo careers. The Beatles Story I worked at had a floating exhibit. While I was there, we had the John Lennon exhibit followed by “Elvis and Us” - which was the first Elvis memorabilia [exhibition] outside of Graceland).” 

George C. Schirm (A&S 1970, 1979) is a project manager at Raytheon, a defense firm. He began his studies at Point Park in 1964, and later earned his B.S. in business management in 1970 and a B.S. in mechanical engineering technology in 1979. During his time as a Point Park student, he served as secretary of Alpha Kappa Psi/Theta Upsilon fraternity.


David Perozzi (COM 1988) is now a senior editorial producer at ABC News. In July 2014, ABC News re-hired Perozzi after a seven-year departure. He writes that he is “working closely with television legend Barbara Walters on a six-part series ABC News is producing for ID Discovery. The series revisits and updates some of Ms. Walters’ biggest crimes stories with fresh interviews and new updates. The series is called American Scandal and is scheduled to air in September, 2015.”

Janice Repka (COM 1983) has been promoted to chair of the School of English, Communication, and Language Studies at Lake Superior State University. After earning a law degree in 1987 and practicing law for many years, she returned to school to get an M.A. in English and M.F.A. in Creative Writing in 2010. She is the author of two books, one of which was recently optioned for film, and numerous published short stories and poems. She was hired by Lake State as an assistant professor of English and creative writing and recently promoted to associate professor. At Lake State, she teaches fiction, poetry, and performance writing, and is the coordinator of the Superior Children’s Book Festival and the Visiting Writer Series. She twice has been nominated for the Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award.


Pamela J. Walaski (A&S 1995) has accepted a position as director of health and safety for GAI Consultants, Inc., an engineering, planning, environmental, and economic consulting firm.

Sonya Toler (COM 1995) was honored with the Communicator of the Year Award at the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation’s 2015 Robert L. Vann Media Awards. Toler is the public information officer for Pittsburgh’s Public Safety Department, where she is responsible for media relations for four bureaus: police, fire, emergency medical services, and animal care and control. She previously served as incoming Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto’s communications manager (on an interim basis) and prior to that was communications director for the People for Peduto mayoral campaign. Raised in Pittsburgh, Toler is a former executive director of the Pennsylvania Governor’s Commission on African American Affairs during the administration of Gov. Ed Rendell. She has been a journalist for the New Pittsburgh Courier and the Pittsburgh Business Times and served as director of communications for the Allegheny Conference on Community Development. 

Juli (White) Flasker (COM 1992), who has worked for Mission Health System, Inc. in Asheville, N.C. since 2009, was recently promoted to Executive Assistant III in Administration, working with the firm’s vice president/corporate compliance officer and the senior vice president/general counsel. A certified health care administrative professional, she has served as president of the North Carolina Health Care Administrative Professionals (NCHAP) from 2013-2015 and is also a member of the national Association of Health Care Administrative Professionals (AHCAP). She has been married to Paul Flasker for 20 years and has a 17-year-old daughter, Sierra, and a 14-year-old son, Connor.


Sam Kantrowitz (A&S ’00) has been named principal of College Road Early Childhood Center in Wilmington, N.C. He was previously the assistant principal at Myrtle Grove Middle School and, prior to that, served as an assistant principal at Murrayville Elementary School and as a teacher at Williston Middle School. In addition, he taught at Jefferson Davis Middle School in West Palm Beach, Fl. Kantrowitz received his bachelor’s degree in education at Point Park in 2000 and later earned his master’s degree in school administration from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

Max Hurwitz (COPA ’03) writes, “I recently completed my studies at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and [received] my Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree in June. Following graduation, I will complete my intern year at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh. From there I will move to Seattle to complete a residency program in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) at the University of Washington. Hurwitz earned a degree in dance at Point Park in 2003.

Ashley Laverty (COPA ’09) authored an original play for young audiences, Nadine's Coloring Book, which was one of three plays selected for a week of workshop development at New York University's New Plays for Young Audiences annual festival in June 2015. Fellow alumnus Travis Kendrick (COPA ’08) directed the rehearsed reading. Laverty earned her degree in theatre arts at Point Park.

Melodee Holsinger Bridges (COPA ’01), a children’s entertainer who performs and teaches as Miss Melodee, released her second album, Find Your Melody, in July 2015. Based in Tarzana, Calif., the singer, songwriter and dance teacher for children says she produced the collection of fun pop songs and ballads in an effort to “inspire each child to discover their own melody inside.” Songs on the album include: “Let it go,” “Star Tonight,” “Find Your Melody” and “You Can Dance Anywhere.” Miss Melodee, whose style has been described as “Snow White meets Katy Perry,” creates songs and lessons that encourage children to gain confidence by using their imaginations to explore creative movement and dance. “There's no better way to be healthy and have fun than dancing to a good pop beat,” she says. Her own Miss Melodee Studios, a fast growing studio in the San Fernando Valley, has more than 500 students. Her debut album was nominated for an Independent Music Award for Best Children’s album in 2012. To learn more, visit www.missmelodee.com.

In Memoriam

Kelly C. Malloy (BUS ’07) passed away on September 17, 2014. She graduated from Point Park with an M.B.A. in 2007. Her mother writes, “Kelly always spoke highly of Point Park. She had many goals [but] unfortunately due to illness was not able to attain those dreams. On January 18, 2015, [I joined] friends and relatives to present the grassroots benefit "Open Arms," a night of karaoke and fun to raise money for the International OCD Foundation. The evening defined Kelly, her love for singing, and her lifetime battle with OCD. This is a devastating disease that needs to be brought to the attention of all those that have contact with young children. We need to recognize the signs so that it's not passed off as a phase, but dealt with properly to avoid the severity of how it can take over your life as an adult. Please consider donating to IOCDF in memory of my beautiful daughter Kelly.”


Colston Cooper (A&S ’15) is an engineering technician with Murray Associates, Inc. in Pittsburgh. He graduated with a B.S. in civil engineering technology in May 2015. The former Honors Program student and disc jockey for WPPJ Radio says “I learned that Murray Associates already employed two Point Park alumni, one of which I knew personally from my surveying class. The company was looking to hire another Point Park graduate — which put me at the top of the list of candidates. I felt Murray Associates was the right fit for me because it was a small company and it was highly recommended by my advisor.” Cooper says “I selected Point Park first and foremost because it had the major I wanted, which was civil engineering technology. I also liked Point Park because it was a small school where I could receive individual attention from all of my professors if necessary.”

Karl Palvisak (BUS ’11), chief financial officer with the national engineering and environmental consulting firm GAI Consultants, Inc. received a 2015 "C-Level" Award from the Orlando Business Journal. The annual awards celebrate Central Florida's top CIOs, COOs, CFOs, CMOs, and CXOs of distinction. Palvisak earned his M.B.A. from Point Park in 2011.

Isabel Power (COPA ’10) writes, [I am] embarking upon my third contract performing and traveling with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. Will be spending the six months on board the Adventure of the Seas porting out of San Juan, Puerto Rico and traveling all over the Caribbean! A resident of Florida, Power earned a degree in dance at Point Park in 2010.

Christina M. Beltran Revilla (BUS ’15) received a promotion from business proposal intern to proposal associate at ERT, a health care technology company in Pittsburgh. A graduate of Point Park’s International Business program, she previously worked at Chatham University as an administrative assistant in the university’s student affairs office.

Christine Schell (BUS ’15) is a special events associate and social media associate at The Andy Warhol Museum and Peony Entertainment. She recently graduated with her B.S. in Sports, Arts and Entertainment Management. According to Schell, “at the Warhol Museum, I manage weekly events on site from set-up to tear down. The events range from weddings to corporate functions to sweet sixteen parties. For Peony Entertainment, I manage all of their event social media platforms. I develop content, maintain and schedule posts as well as engage with our following and surrounding trending discussions. Most recently, I worked on the EQT Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta.”

Haleigh Kopinski (A&S ’15) is an e-commerce content coordinator for Dick's Sporting Goods in Pittsburgh. She earned her B.A. in creative writing/English with a minor in psychology in May 2015. The former president, campus correspondent, staff writer and photographer for Her Campus (Point Park) says “my experiences at Point Park, both in and out of the classroom, helped me to not only gain this position but also to excel in it … Dick’s Sporting Goods is a company that really stood out to me because it is based close to home yet has a national footing.” Kopinski says that Point Park Professors Sarah Perrier and Karen Dwyer “really pushed me to do the best I could. They were very open and honest and at times hard on me, but it helped my writing in the long run. There was a lot of free rein in the program, which allowed me to take my writing to places I would not have been able to otherwise.”

Victoria Blackburn (BUS ’15) is an e-commerce content coordinator, athletic apparel and accessories, for Dick's Sporting Goods in Pittsburgh. She earned a B.S. in Sports, Arts and Entertainment Management (SAEM) in May ’15. According to Blackburn, who says she learned about the opportunity through Point Park’s Career Development Center, “As an e-commerce content coordinator, I work on the web content for the athletic apparel team products in the accessories division. My role is to write unique copy for each piece and then edit and upload product images from this division to the public website.” Blackburn “took a nontraditional route with education by pursuing a career in ballet after high school. When I decided to go back to school, I knew I wanted to attend college in a city that had a strong connection to the arts … After talking with a former ballet teacher who had been an instructor in the Conservatory of Performing Arts, I became very interested in the SAEM program. As a dancer, I had always heard great things about Point Park and was excited to learn about the other programs the school had to offer. Overall, Point Park had everything I was looking for so it was the perfect fit for me.”

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