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Alumni Spotlight

Once a Bobcat, always a Bobcat! Below you'll find our most recent alumni interviews. Explore the successes of our alumni even deeper by clicking on one of the decades below!

1960s/1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s

Alumni Spotlight: Sal Molitierno '02

Sal Molitierno photo

Sal Molitierno graduated from Pitt-Greensburg in 2002 with a BS in management.

What brought you to Pitt-Greensburg?

I applied to the Oakland Campus late and was referred to several branch campuses. I was enamored by the beauty of the Greensburg campus during my senior year at Greensburg Central Catholic when I attended a musical competition there.

Were you a commuter or a resident?

Resident

What activities were you involved with as a student?  

I was involved with men’s soccer and the UPG Press for four years. I participated in student theater for two years.   As a member of student government, I spent two years as a senator and was the first student elected president for a year.

Did you have a favorite professor, staff member, coach, or mentor that really impacted your life?

Dr. Kimberly Jew encouraged me to participate in student theater, and Drs. Kerry Manning and Donald Gibson inspired me to become interested in politics and showed me new perspectives. Dr. Parris Carter was a great life coach for my junior and senior years.

Of all the classes you took, what is the one class you would recommend everyone take? Who taught the class? Why would you recommend it?

Although being a business major has great practical employment applications, I would recommend Acting and Theater. It's analogous to a total body workout as it serves as a confidence booster, public speaking class, physical work out, and memory test all in one.

What do you remember most vividly from your time at Pitt-Greensburg?

Serving as the first Homecoming King; being the first student elected Student Government president; being the first four-year graduate from the pioneering 1998 men's soccer team; and making the Dean’s List multiple times.

What have you been up to since graduation?

I served as the general manager of the Salvatore Puccini Hair Design located on the Oakland campus for 15 years before purchasing the business in 2019.

How did your experiences and education at Pitt-Greensburg prepare you for life after college?

The ability to learn, ask questions, and continue in personal development was huge. In a way, being completely involved in college is harder than in the real world where you only need to focus on one job.

As an alum, how do you support Pitt-Greensburg?

I attend alumni events and performed live music at the coffee shop and dining hall whenever I’m asked.

What advice do you have for your fellow Bobcats?

You are paying for an education so make sure you get your money’s worth. Be involved in as many activities as you can reasonably commit to. If you can’t be involved in activities, then consider taking on as many credits as you can without an overcharge and add a minor.

For fun:

What is the last book you read?

I read The Harry Potter Series over quarantine. It was a nice diversion from tax and business reading, lol.

List 3-5 fun facts about yourself that most people probably wouldn’t know.

  1. In spite of being only 5'6" I can palm a basketball.
  2. I can rap, sing, and play the guitar, which I implement in my songwriting.
  3. I have had two ACL replacements in my left and right knee, and I had shoulder surgery. Overcoming each injury at important parts of my life taught me valuable lessons. One was right before attending Pitt Greensburg in 1998, and I learned to focus on academics.  The other was in 2004, and I learned that I'm not a college athlete anymore. In 2017, the final one taught me to be careful when climbing ladders.
  4. I love interacting with people, and pre-pandemic, I interacted with close to 1,000 people per week at my salon, but at night I enjoy quiet time to recover.
  5. My experiences at Pitt-Greensburg gave me an appreciation for being well-rounded and pursuing many different endeavors.

Alumni Spotlight: Billy Lesnak '16

Billy Lesnak photo

Billy Lesnak graduated from Pitt-Greensburg in 2016 with a BS in biological sciences.

What brought you to Pitt-Greensburg?

At first, the proximity to where I was living. It was close to home, and I was able to commute while also studying what I wanted to study. What kept me from transferring were the staff and faculty.

Were you a commuter or a resident?

Commuter

What activities were you involved with as a student?

I was president of the Theta Pi chapter of Beta Beta Beta and a member of Sigma Alpha Pi. I was a math and computer programming tutor, a PittPAL, a Presidential Ambassador, a Peer Leader, a Student Advocate, a chemistry lab teaching assistant, and a biology lab and lecture teaching assistant. I worked part-time in the Pitt-Greensburg Office of Admissions and the Pitt-Greensburg Office of Student Services. I also assisted with the QUEST summer camps. I either lead or was a part of thirteen separate community service and volunteering programs while playing and managing the college hockey program, which won a league title and a national title under my management. I was named to the Dean's List for seven semesters and was the 2016 recipient of the Jack D. Smith Award.

Did you have a favorite professor, staff member, coach, or mentor that really impacted your life?

There are so many faculty and staff members who made a significant impact on my college experience, especially Leigh Hoffman, Prof. Jen (Paul) Ingram, Dr. Matt Luderer, and so many other members of Student Services, the Admission Office, and the science department.

Of all the classes you took, what is the one class you would recommend everyone take? Who taught the class? Why would you recommend it?

Scientific Writing. When I took it with Dr. Olivia Long during my final year, I learned more real-world writing techniques and applications — outside of science-specific writing — that I still use to this day.

What do you remember most vividly from your time at Pitt-Greensburg?

The people. People make the difference. Whether it's school or work, when you're surrounded by good people, it makes all the difference in the world. Pitt-Greensburg has good people.

What have you been up to since graduation?

I'm currently the marketing coordinator for one of the largest sports card and collectibles retailers in the world, Steel City Collectibles. I started out managing their retail store and was able to work my way up through the company. I'm lucky enough to have combined my scientific background with my passion and experience working with sports and collectibles into a job that I genuinely love. I've gotten to work directly with my favorite professional athletes, travel all over the country, and participate in amazing one-in-a-lifetime events. I look forward to work every day and have done so for four years now. I hope that everyone can find a career that they love as much as I do mine. It's a dream come true.

How did your experiences and education at Pitt-Greensburg prepare you for life after college?

The activities outside of the classroom are really what made a lasting impact. Everyone you're going to school with are taking classes just like you, so you need to set yourself apart. If you only focus on in-classroom work, you'll only reach half of your potential. You won't always know what's out there to try or to be a part of. Always look to try something new every semester. If I hadn't joined the clubs and sports and activities that I had, I doubt I'd have the career that I have now.

As an alum, how do you support Pitt-Greensburg?

I've donated autographed memorabilia for fundraising events, and would gladly continue to do so if asked. I will always make myself available for any Pitt-Greensburg student looking for advice or potential professional growth opportunities

What advice do you have for your fellow Bobcats?

Just because you're in one field of study doesn't mean that your skills, education, and talent can't transfer to another field about which you're more passionate.

For fun:

What is your favorite food? Chicken Parmesan — dinner, pasta, sandwich — doesn't matter to me!

List 3-5 fun facts about yourself that most people probably wouldn’t know.

  1. I was part of the 2020 Topps Million Card Rip Party, a world record setting event for the most baseball cards ripped at once.
  2. I have a massive personal collection of autographed and game-used hockey memorabilia.
  3. I'm a season ticket holder for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
  4. I attended my first autograph signing when I was only 158 days old. It's crazy to think that sports marketing is now my career 27 years later. Since 2016, I've set up and conducted over 30 events, and I'm thankful do love what I do and do what I love.

Alumni Spotlight: Carissa (Hardy) '15 and Chris '15 Speranza

Chris and Carissa Speranza photo

Carissa (Hardy) and Chris Speranza graduated from Pitt-Greensburg in 2015 with a BA in visual arts and performing arts and a BA in Communications respectively.

What brought you to Pitt-Greensburg?

Carissa - When I was applying to college, I lived in the Philadelphia area, but I had a sister who lived in Pittsburgh, which was the perfect distance away from home – not too far. My goal was to attend the Oakland campus, but I was accepted at Pitt-Greensburg. I planned to go to Pitt-Greensburg for a little and then transfer. However, I stayed because I was so involved and gained so many opportunities that I knew I wouldn't get at a larger campus. That was the best decision because it really allowed so much more room for growth as a person. Someone advised me with the saying, “It's better to be a big fish in a small pond; than a small fish in a big pond.” They were right. And, I also fell in love.

Chris - I applied to and toured many colleges in the Pittsburgh area and wasn't really getting a good vibe from any of them. However, when I toured Pitt-Greensburg, it just felt right. They had the communications major I was looking for, and I was positive this was the campus I wanted to be at after talking to the tour guide.

Were you a commuter or a resident?  

Residents

What activities were you involved with as a student?

Carissa -. I was in chorale all four years; Chris was in only two years. Aside from that, we were both involved in the theater productions. I was the President of Delta Psi Omega and Vice President of the Performing Arts Society. Chris was a sports broadcaster/videographer for basketball, hockey, volleyball, and baseball. Our favorite show we did together was A Very Potter Musical where Chris played Voldemort, and I played Luna Lovegood. It was our favorite because the show was hilarious, and we got to perform it with all of our friends.

Did you have a favorite professor, staff member, coach, or mentor that really impacted your life?

Carissa - Dr. McAlister was probably one of my favorites because she connected so many different chapters of art history in a way that really told a great story about the evolution of art. My favorite thing was to follow her around the museums on the annual Fall Arts trips because I wanted to hear everything she had to say.

Chris - Dr. Prellwitz was my favorite professor because he was extremely passionate about helping his students succeed and always made me feel like he truly believed we could do anything.

Of all the classes you took, what is the one class you would recommend everyone take? Who taught the class? Why would you recommend it?

Carissa - We both loved Dr. Kimball's U.S. history class! We didn't take it together, but we both remember the awesome energy he brought to class, and he was so brutally honest about our history which is why I think we liked it so much. We spend most of our lives being told sugar-coated versions of history, and Dr. Kimball tells it like it is.

What do you remember most vividly from your time at Pitt-Greensburg?

Carissa -  We would both have to say the amazing memories of our relationship. One of the first times we met was the start of classes freshman year at Campana Chapel for our first chorale rehearsal. We were waiting in the lobby for our turn to sing for Chris Bartley. We were all nervous so Chris and I along with our very good friend (to this day) Emily Stark ’15 played rock, paper, scissors to see who would go next. I remember the moment I knew I loved Chris was when we and his roommate Jeffrey “Ziggy” Grantz ’16 were playing video games in their dorm in Robertshaw.

Chris – Or, when I saw Carissa eating by herself at the Bobcat and I went to sit by her because I thought she was cute. Definitely our shared love for theater, and getting to spend so much time with our closest friends during rehearsals, and all the great memories that happened backstage.

What have you been up to since graduation?

Carissa - We stayed in Pittsburgh after graduating, just working and figuring out life. We lived with our best friend Ziggy for awhile. In April 2020, we made a big decision to move to Indianapolis to change up the pace and to start fresh in a new city. Chris has been working for the company Fastenal, which is an industrial wholesale supplier.

Chris - Carissa is an Early Childhood Music Teacher at a childcare center called The Play School. She is also in the middle of getting her Master’s Degree in Social Practice Art at the University of Indianapolis.

How did your experiences and education at Pitt-Greensburg prepare you for life after college?

Carissa - We both agree that the experiences we had that prepped us most for real life did not happen in the classroom. It was all the extra stuff, like the productions, clubs, and volunteer work, where we gained the most real life experience. It taught us how to work with different kinds of people.

As an alum, how do you support Pitt-Greensburg?

Carissa - By sharing our story on how Pitt-Greensburg changed our life. In 2020, I was a panelist on a career webinar to give advice to students. For a few years after graduating, we both still attended many of the theater productions and chorale concerts to show our support.

What advice do you have for your fellow Bobcats?

Carissa - Do as much as you can while you're there. Do not just go to class and go home. I still have some of my leadership roles that I held on my resume.

Chris - Take in as much as you can in those four years because you will wish for them to be back.

For fun:

What series do you recommend alumni binge watch?

Carissa- The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

 Chris- How I Met Your Mother

List 3-5 fun facts about yourself that most people probably wouldn’t know.

1. We started a podcast called Nerd Mouse about our love for the Disney parks.
2. We have a pet turtle named Franklin and a new puppy named Eliza!
3. Three of our best friends whom we met at Pitt-Greensburg were also in our wedding.
4. We once tried writing our own musical that included an entire song about buying beer.


Alumni Spotlight: Faryaal Alam '20

Faryaal Alam photo

Faryaal Alam graduated from Pitt-Greensburg in 2020 with a BA in biological sciences/healthcare management.

What brought you to Pitt-Greensburg?

The friendly atmosphere of the campus brought me to Pitt-Greensburg. When I toured it, all of the students, faculty, and staff were so eager to help out and answer all of my questions.

Were you a commuter or a resident?

Resident

What activities were you involved with as a student?

As a student, I was involved in the Student Activities Board and Health and Rehabilitation Science Club. I was also a Pitt Pal in the Office of Admissions.

Did you have a favorite professor, staff member, coach, or mentor that really impacted your life?

Each and every professor and staff member who I came across during my time at Pitt-Greensburg has really impacted my life, gave me valuable advice and were excellent mentors to me.

Of all the classes you took, what is the one class you would recommend everyone take? Who taught the class? Why would you recommend it?

I would recommend everyone take Special Topics of Healthcare with Ron Ott. It is a great way to learn more about the challenges facing healthcare systems.

What do you remember most vividly from your time at Pitt-Greensburg?

The thing that I remember most vividly from my time at Pitt-Greensburg would be how caring and genuine all the staff and faculty members were. I also recall all the excellent events I attended such as Up All Night, the Moonlight Breakfast, and Career Panels from the Career Services Division.

What have you been up to since graduation?

I am currently pursuing my master’s degree at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

How did your experiences and education at Pitt-Greensburg prepare you for life after college?

My experiences and education at Pitt-Greensburg have helped prepare me to be a well-rounded student and to always take advantage of each and every opportunity.

As an alum, how do you support Pitt-Greensburg?

I participate in many of the events through the Pitt-Greensburg Alumni Association such as serving as a judge for the resume contest and participating on career panels.

What advice do you have for your fellow Bobcats?

I recommend all students to get involved in leadership on campus and to seek out internships.

For fun:

What is your favorite food?

Pizza

List 3-5 fun facts about yourself that most people probably wouldn’t know.

  1. I love to watch movies on Netflix.
  2. I read and do arts and crafts in my free time.
  3. My favorite color is pink.

Alumni Spotlight: Jared Hoffman '20

Jared Hoffman photo

Jared Hoffman graduated from Pitt-Greensburg in 2020 with a BA in Communication.

What brought you to Pitt-Greensburg?

I came to Pitt-Greensburg as a transfer student. After my first year of college, I felt really defeated and lost. I looked up communication programs since I knew that was the major I wanted and saw that Pitt had a great program. Knowing that I did not want to go to a large campus, I looked at Pitt-Greensburg. One day I was driving home from my previous college and decided to stop at Pitt-Greensburg. I walked the entire campus myself, and it just felt like home. I came to campus without an official tour or really meeting with anyone, but an admissions counselor. To this day, it was the best decision I have ever made. Pitt-Greensburg gave me a great degree and a place to call home for the rest of my life!

Were you a commuter or a resident?

Resident

What activities were you involved with as a student?

Pitt Pal, Presidential Ambassador, Lambda Pi Eta, Ski Club, and Study Abroad.

Did you have a favorite professor, staff member, coach, or mentor that really impacted your life?

There were so many people who impacted my experience. I am not sure I could narrow it down to one favorite. The people who impacted me the most are Dr. Ghilani, Dr. Prellwitz, Dr. Czerwinski, Dr. Underwood, Dr. Kimball, Dr. Confer, and Joani Pletcher, who was my supervisor in the Admissions office!

Of all the classes you took, what is the one class you would recommend everyone take? Who taught the class? Why would you recommend it?

American Revolution and History 1865 to Present with Dr. Kimball. These classes taught me more about the history of our country than any other history class I have ever taken. Dr. Kimball focuses on challenging your beliefs on what you have learned in the past, and shows you many truths. Everyone should take one of these history classes because not only will you know much more about the history of the United States, but you will be equipped with knowledge that will forever impact your future and how you perceive the United States.

What do you remember most vividly from your time at Pitt-Greensburg?

All the leadership opportunities I had on campus. I served as a Pitt Pal for two and a half years, which helped me impact so many different students’ lives. It was the best thing to know you made a difference when you saw a student who was on your tour of campus. I also got the honor of being a presidential ambassador which I loved because I was able to develop great relationships with both Dr. Smith and Dr. Gregerson. These were invaluable. On top of that, it was the best feeling to put on that blue blazer and represent campus. I met my best friend Brandon through that program as well. I also had the opportunity to lead a club and to study abroad which equally shaped my experience. I loved talking with other students about different opportunities and trying to make a difference in our community.

What have you been up to since graduation?

Since graduating, I started working as a recruiter for a local business; however, I just recently landed my dream job of being an educational tour consultant with Education First Tours in Denver. I will now be able to bring the world of going abroad to high school students across the United States. Without Pitt-Greensburg, this dream would have never been a reality.

How did your experiences and education at Pitt-Greensburg prepare you for life after college?

Pitt-Greensburg helped me get where I am today. It taught me passion for study abroad. Finding that passion and now working with in the educational travel field has changed the game for me. Pitt-Greensburg also taught me to be a leader through many professional development programs offered through Career Services and my major. These skills have helped me to excel in the workplace. I think the biggest takeaway is that many of our professors teach us to be resilient and adaptable.  That has been ever important during the Covid-19 pandemic.

As an alum, how do you support Pitt-Greensburg?

Right now, I am still learning about how I can support Pitt-Greensburg; however, I hope to get involved with the alumni association and would love to be a resource in any way possible in the future.

What advice do you have for your fellow Bobcats?

Take all the leadership opportunities that you can, and study abroad. There are so many resources for the program at Pitt-Greensburg, yet so few people do it. I assure you that if you study abroad, it will broaden your horizons and give you a whole new outlook on life.

For fun:

What series do you recommend alumni binge watch?

The Office

List 3-5 fun facts about yourself that most people probably wouldn’t know.

  1. I am an avid lifeguard who has still worked after college.
  2. I am moving to Denver without ever going there!
  3. I am a huge local news junkie (My favorite reporter is Mike Holden).
  4. I have watched The Office series from start to finish more than ten times!