Discover the inspiring women of King's College—trailblazers who shattered barriers and left an indelible mark on history. From Nancy Fairchild, the first woman to register in 1970, to a myriad of exceptional talents across diverse fields, their stories celebrate empowerment and resilience, transcending time and inspiring generations.
Theodora Abah '21Jenna Emery '25
Theodora Abah '21 graduated from the Physician Assistant Program and is no stranger to hardships, as her family immigrated from Nigeria to Georgia when she was young. Theodora gained a passion for the medical field after an experience with her father. She claims King's offered everything she was looking for in a college—a small school where she believed she would be seen and heard—and sees King's as the springboard that helped her get to where she is now.
Theodora Abah graduated from King's College in the Spring of 2021. However, her story hardly started when she came to King's. Her family immigrated from Nigeria when she was young, and they settled in Georgia. Theodora's family was always supportive of her education and pushed her to pursue greatness. Theodora was always a high achieving student, so this was not hard for her to do, especially since she had already set her sights on a dream to become a doctor. Specifically, she wanted to be an Orthopedic Surgeon after an experience she had when she was little.
At a young age, her father was injured at work and had to undergo back surgery. So, during this time she was in and out of the hospital, watching the orthopedic surgeon work with her dad. It fascinated her, and she fell in love with the specialty. She saw the impact the doctor had on her dad and how they helped him recover, and she knew that she wanted to help people like that one day and make a difference. When it came to applying for college, Theodora had med school in mind but didn't want to put all her eggs in one basket, so to speak. Afterall, she knew how rigorous the application process was and wanted a backup plan. In her search, she came across the King's College Physician Assistant program.
Not only was the PA program a good plan B for her, but King's offered exactly what Theodora was looking for. She wanted a small school and a place where she thought she would be seen and heard, and King's offered just that. Once she enrolled in King's, she didn't hesitate to get involved. She joined the King's Theater Club and the Student Government Association, and eventually became the Student Government President. In addition to clubs and activities, Theodora was part of a medical intercollegiate program which exposed her to medicine and the field she was interested in. Theodora is forever grateful for the opportunities she was offered in her time here at King's. She sees King's as the 'springboard" that helped her get to where she is now.
As she puts it, King's fosters the drive you need to be successful by offering numerous volunteer and leadership opportunities. She credits her interpersonal communication and leadership skills to King's and says they have only brought her further in her professional life. Unfortunately, she was at King's during the Covid-19 pandemic and admits that it was difficult to maintain communication while everything was locked down. However, as SGA president at the time, she did her best and was able to push through. Her resiliency proved to make her a better leader and taught her a lot about herself. Although the covid-19 years were her last memories at King's, she still looks back at her time here with a smile. She is grateful for all the friendships she has made and experiences she has had. To students reaching towards a dream, Theodora advises that they never give up. Just as she has experienced, there is always a way to reach your goal, no matter how impossible it seems.
Theodora is one of the many incredible women who King's has been lucky enough to have. She demonstrates resilience, intelligence, and kindness which make her one of the many reasons to celebrate 50 years of women at King's.
Mary Beth Bowler Chambers '83Sasha Seiwell '25
Mary Beth Bowler-Chambers '83 graduated with a degree in early childhood education and was a star athlete during her time at King's. She set many records during her basketball playing days, and Mary Beth still pursues that passion by coaching basketball (outside of her job as a high school math teacher) at St. Rose High School in Belmar, New Jersey.
It is incredible to believe that a woman who holds the women's basketball NCAA Division III all-time leading score of 2,024 points (the third highest total in MAC history) and continues to be the only player in King's women's history to have even reached the 2,000-point plateau went into college with no expectations of the accomplishments she would achieve in her years at King's College. Mary Beth Bowler- Chambers is a 1983 graduate in Early Education and is the namesake of the Mary Beth Bowler-Chambers Award at King's, an award that is annually presented to the top graduating senior of the women's basketball team at King's.
Mary Beth lives her passions everyday by teaching high school level math and coaching high school girls' basketball at St. Rose High School in Belmar, New Jersey. She walks into work every day loving what she does. She always knew she wanted to teach and coach, and it was just by chance that she met the men's King's College basketball coach in the late 70's during a high school basketball camp, where she would be introduced to the name of the college that would be her home for four years.
While she was being Mary Beth Bowler, the 5'4" powerhouse on the court, she was also training everyday with the professors of the King's teaching department to become the passionate teacher she is today. The department was different than what current students may know it as. Mary Beth reminisced how the department was small and primarily women. Even though this may seem like a lack of diversity, Mary Beth never felt any issues with gender. Her time at King's was memorable and terrific.
Mary Beth loved King's, and looking back at her college days, has no regrets. If she could, she would do it all over again. After the fun of college friends and basketball, Mary Beth found herself to be a well-prepared 1983 graduate. She was able to secure a job quickly and easily after graduation, and soon to follow, came her career in coaching basketball. Passion is an understatement when it comes to teaching and (especially) basketball for Mary Beth. After decades of playing and coaching, awards and state championships, Mary Beth feels no exhaustion or burn out. It is no doubt that the girls' basketball team at St. Rose Highschool in Belmar, New Jersey are reoccurring state champs and have been in the ranks for top 20 best girls' basketball teams numerous times. Their coach is a Mid- Atlantic Conference 2012 Hall of Fame inductee, who also owns the highest all-time-career points per game average in MAC history as well as the second highest, third, sixth, and seventh highest averaging between 23.9-25.9 points per game. In 1980 Mary Beth set King's single game record with 44 points against Lycoming, a record that still holds second highest in MAC history.
She never had plans to leave behind the legacy she did, nor did she expect to become such an influential and successful teacher and coach. Even after the basketball season ends, Mary Beth continues to coach at basketball camps. She loves to see kids glow with passion for the sport the same way she did and knows that her work is successful when she hears, 'thank you" and sees smiles from her players. It does not seem like Mary Beth's flame of passion for basketball is burning out anytime soon, though she said if she does lose her passion, or if she cannot help her players anymore, she will walk away. Until then, she will continue to be Mary Beth Bowler-Chambers, a talented and successful woman who graced the courts of King's College 40 years ago. Not many can say they live their passions every day, nor can they say that they continue to pass milestones and earn accomplishments in their lives at the same caliber as Ms. Mary Beth Bowler-Chambers.
Dr. Margaret CorganAnne Massey, Associate Professor of Spanish
Dr. Margaret Corgan was a tour de force at King's College, serving in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures (now the Foreign Language Department) from 1965 until her retirement in 2012. She was the first female faculty member at King's and greatly influenced the language department we know here today. Sadly, Dr. Corgan passed away in March 2013, but her legacy is remembered through the annual National French Exam and accompanying French dinner.
Dr. Margaret Corgan was a tour de force at King's College, serving in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures (now the Foreign Language Department) from 1965 until her retirement in 2012. After graduating from Marymount College, she studied in France at the University of Rennes, was a Fulbright scholar at the University of Paris, and earned her doctoral degree in French from Fordham University. She was the first female faculty member at King's, the first woman to earn tenure and the first to be promoted to the rank of Professor. Dr. Corgan chaired the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures from 1977 through the end of her career. She also served as Faculty Council chair for three terms, received the prestigious Rosenn Award for Faculty Excellence, and co-founded the Northeastern Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of French (AATF). In 1969 she initiated the French Exam at King's, which eventually became part the National French Exam. The competition brought area high school students to campus to demonstrate their language skills and compete for awards. In 1977 Dr. Corgan expanded the French Exam to include the French Dinner, an annual ceremony, complete with authentic French cuisine, for regional winners on the local and national levels.
Dr. Corgan's accolades reflect her impact on both the College and the community, an impact often realized through the less-well publicized challenges and triumphs that punctuated her career. Dr. Corgan recalled sitting on committees in her early days at King's. Her male colleagues made her the de facto secretary until she challenged their implicit assumptions about female roles and moved from taking minutes to leading the committees.
Dr. Corgan and her colleagues saw the language department through some difficult times. In the 1980's, colleges across the nation were making significant reductions in language offerings. At the same time, King's was overhauling the 1972 curriculum. A key component of the revisions was to eliminate standard offerings and design new courses geared towards a novel instructional model. Traditional language courses were threatened on two fronts. At one point language faculty worked for some months with no contract and had a portion of their teaching duties replaced with responsibilities outside their discipline. Dr. Corgan continued to teach French but spent part of her day assigned to the library. However, under Dr. Corgan's leadership, the department successfully responded to the changes, developing foreign cultures courses taught in English and substituting some of the literature classes with those, such as a translation, that highlighted the more pragmatic uses of language.
Sadly, Dr. Corgan passed away in March of 2013, but her influence in the community continues through the regional administration of the National French Exam and the French Dinner still held annually at the College.
Vittoria DeGiosio '15Beth Admiraal, Professor of Political Science
Vittoria (Tori) DeGiosio '15 pursued a double major in Mass Communications and Political Science while at King's and often found a welcoming environment here where there was a strong sense of empowerment for females. The extensive network and unique experiences at King's have led Tori to greatness in her professional life, helping her secure jobs such as a Digital Strategist for Mothership Strategies in D.C. and as Digital Director for former Governor Tom Wolf and Governor Josh Shapiro. Today, she works as Director of Fundraising at Ascend Digital Strategies in PA.
Vittoria DeGiosio-Tori to her family and friends-wasn't expecting to come to King's. The fact that her mom attended the college made it too obvious to bother with. She did agree, though, to visit with her dad, and she found herself on a tour of campus with two guides who were warm and welcoming. Peering into a broadcast studio that looked intriguing, feeling that this could be a home. The warmness of King's peaked for Tori during the evacuation of the school and city during her sophomore year, when Hurricane Sandy propelled the community to rally together in a time of high anxiety. She recalls out-of-town students receiving a dozen invitations to weather the storm at a local's home.
As a female student, Tori found a welcoming environment where there was a strong sense of empowerment for females. Women got elected to positions on Student Government. Teachers and classmates, even in her second major, Political Science-dominated by male students, valued women's voices in the classroom. Women could also go to staff members, including the priests and brothers, and find support. There were frank discussions about the whole range of thorny issues, including gender issues, in Theology classes.
As a double major in Mass Communications and Political Science, Tori found herself with numerous opportunities to build her professional resume. One experience stands out for her: the National Model United Nations competition in New York city in which she participated three times, the third time as head delegate and a delegate to the Security Council (SC). The SC required rapid response moments, with breaking news prompting delegates to pivot quickly, reframing their positions and rewriting their speeches. These experiences, alongside her double majors, gave her both essential and unique skills for the job market.
The King's network turned out to be critical for landing her first job after graduating in the spring of 2015. A staff member at King's, Patrice Persico, heard that Tori wanted to be in DC more than anywhere. The King's network was activated: Patrice connected Tori to someone in DC who offered her a position as a Digital Strategist for Mothership Strategies, where she helped raise money for campaigns, ballot initiatives, and organizations. Pennsylvania soon pulled her back in, however. Building on the skills she learned in DC, she found a job that truly brought together her Mass Comm and Political Science majors-serving as Digital Director for former Governor Tom Wolf. After successfully helping get him elected, she turned to other positions that lined right up with her skills, including Digital Director for Let America Vote and Digital Director for Shapiro for Pennsylvania. She got certified in Web Design and Development at Cornell University along the way. All this training and experience prepared her well for her current job: Director of Fundraising at Ascend Digital Strategies. More than just a job or a career, this new position brings her full circle back to her days at King's College, whre she researched and presented her Senior Seminar paper on ending Citizen's United. Today, Tori spends her days actually trying to end it, working to end the playing field against large corporations and fighting for the little gal. A true Monarch.
Marisue Elias-Newman '84Michael Little, Associate Professor of English
Marisue Elias-Newman '84 says her time at King's has informed her entire professional career. Her law degree, according to her, was a natural next step after studying English and History. Marisue now works at Berkshire Hathway GUARD Insurance Companies and is still an active and distinguished member of the community with being a member in various organizations and societies.
Marisue Elias-Newman (King's '84) says her time at King's has informed her entire professional career. After earning her JD from the Dickinson School of Law, Marisue's career has been split almost evenly between, at first, practicing law and then, working in the workers' compensation industry. Her law degree, she says, was a natural next step after studying English and History, and the legal skills help with licensing and regulatory work. It's her education at King's that has been the basis for the professional choices she has made. Her job as the Assistant Vice President of Regulatory Affairs at Berkshire Hathaway GUARD Insurance Companies requires her to package the company and communicate to regulators, the government, and various other stakeholders; it's skills she developed at King's that provide the foundation.
King's was the only local school to which she applied, and she was drawn by the opportunities presented by the Center for Independent Learning. During her time at King's, she worked with several professors to whom she still feels particularly indebted, including Dr. Ed Naperalski, Dr. Edward Hanlon, Dr. Donald Stevens, Dr. George Hammerbacher, and Mr. John Ennis. Her distinct and formative experiences range from small seminars and customized classes to traveling with Dr. Rudolph Schleich to a meeting of the Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society where she presented her paper, 'Theodore Roosevelt's Venturesome Foreign Policy with Japan" at a meeting of the Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society-a paper that was also published in the society's quarterly journal, The Historian. She even had the privilege of interning on Capitol Hill. It's all a testament to her own self-motivation but also the school and the professors that provided her with such unique opportunities.
Even though Marisue attended King's as part of one of the early female cohorts, she says she felt no novelty or uniqueness as a woman on campus. In fact, she was surprised to learn recently that King's had allowed women to matriculate for just a few years before she went to school. Nevertheless, she was well aware of the male-only history of King's since her father had been a student at King's while her mother was a student at female-only College Misericordia. The two met at one of the regular mixers the schools used to hold. In that respect, Marisue feels uniquely aware of the weekends-only co-mingling that once regulated the social life of the two campuses.
Marisue's professional accomplishments are notable-in addition to everything else, she was recently elected Chairperson for the National Worker's Compensation Reinsurance Association Board of Directors-but she still finds time to engage in her deepest, maybe, earliest passion. She lives in Wilkes-Barre with her husband, but since she was eight years old, England has called to her-specifically Tudor England, from the War of the Roses through the death of Queen Elizabeth I in 1603. She recently returned from a ten-day Tudor pilgrimage with her husband and youngest daughter, Sarah, a rising sophomore at American University in DC (oldest daughter Emily lives in Philadelphia with husband Mark Henry, another King's alum; middle son Jackson lives in Pittsburgh where he works for Tri-State Capital, which was founded by King's alum Jim Getz). And, ever the historian, she's already planning her next trip, concentrating on the War of the Roses.
Mollie FarmerRegan Reitsma, Professor of Philosophy
Mollie E. Harris Farmer served as director of the Study Abroad Program from 2001-2014, and many of her colleagues recall her passion for the job. She did her research to ensure the programs at King's would offer a fantastic educational and cultural experience for those participating and also led some programs herself. Mollie attended Brown University and the State University of New York at Postdam and later went on to continue her studies in Université de Poitiers in Tours, France.
Through her ardent dedication, Mollie E. Harris Farmer enlivened, enlarged, and professionalized the Study Abroad Program at King's. From 2001-2014, Mollie served as this program's director, a position into which she threw her heart and wisely directed its energies.
As her colleagues have remarked, Mollie, 'always did her homework." Her attention to detail and careful study of successful Study Abroad Programs at other universities not only helped King's program quickly grow from a few students a year to dozens, it constructed sure and lasting foundations for King's current Study Abroad programming, especially its short-term, King's faculty-led, academic summer excursions. Mollie herself led summer trips for faculty to Mexico and Peru, ventures which spurred a burgeoning array of King's teachers to create and lead their own Study Abroad expeditions (to countries such as Bulgaria, Uganda, Czechia, Slovakia, Poland, India, England, Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and Costa Rica).
Born in 1945 in Kingston, PA, Mollie received her B.A. in French from Brown University and M.A. from the State University of New York at Potsdam. Following out her heart's desire for travel, Mollie continued her studies at the Université de Poitiers in Tours, France.
In the 1990's, Mollie joined the faculty of King's as adjunct instructor in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature. During this period, Mollie's beloved husband, Donald W. Farmer, Ph.D., was an especially effective and deeply respected Vice President for Academic Affairs. Mollie and Don were central fixtures within the College's academic and cultural life. When Don passed away, Mollie took up the task of building up the Study Abroad Program.
Mollie greatly benefited both from King's College and her wider community. For many years, Mollie volunteered for community arts programs and tutoring, for which she was duly named Volunteer of the Year by the Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce. Mollie had many close friendships and a wonderfully rich family life. She truly exemplified King's mission, living a life of both professional and personal success.
Gloria GalanteJames Wallace, Professor Emeritus of English
After earning a master's degree in English from John Carroll University, and completing visiting professor appointments at Kent State and Seton Hall, Gloria Galante joined the King's English Department. Consisting of eight men, she served as the sole female full-time instructor in the department for nearly twenty years. During her time at King's, Gloria served as a chair of Faculty Council, as department chair, and as Associate Academic Dean (now Associate VP of Academic Affairs).
In 2023, seven of the nine full-time members of the King's College English Department were women. Seven of nine. Fifty-five years earlier, in 1968, the number of women in the department was the same as it had been since the school's founding: none. That remarkable increase-from zero to nearly 80 percent in a short half-century-began with the arrival of Gloria Galante, a native of New York City who had moved to Northeastern Pennsylvania at age 11 after the death of her father. After earning a master's degree in English from John Carroll University and completing visiting professor appointments at Kent State and Seton Hall, Gloria joined a department of eight men, serving as the sole female full-time instructor in the department for nearly twenty years, until Mildred Lawson was hired in 1987. Gloria was not only among the first women to teach at King's in any department, but during her tenure she also witnessed the transformation of King's from a fully male-dominated institution to a college whose prominence and excellence are due in large measure to the presence of women.
Gloria would probably caution against reading purely negative connotations into the word 'male-dominated." True, a few of her colleagues were skeptical of her ability, too focused on her appearance, and given occasionally to sexist terms of address such as "sweetheart." But she fondly recalls how her skill as a teacher and her love for the profession grew under the influence of a number of men whom she considered friends and mentors-Bob Alexander, Don Farmer, John Ennis, Fr. Don Grimes, Ed Hanlon, and Frank Vacante. Each, Gloria recounts, treated her with great respect, recognized and nurtured her talents as a teacher and leader, and encouraged her to conquer her shyness and involve herself more fully in the life of the College. She took their advice to heart. During her tenure at King's, Gloria served on numerous committees, including as chair of Faculty Council and as department chair. For several years, she served as Associate Academic Dean (now Associate VP of Academic Affairs), the only woman in King's history to hold that position. John Ennis once cheerfully imitated the leader Gloria became by joking, "Give me that microphone! I have something to say!"
Two years after Gloria's appointment, King's began enrolling women. It was a pleasure welcoming women into her literature and writing classes, Gloria recalls, but she made no changes to her pedagogy. She wanted the women in her classes to receive the same rigorous level of instruction she had customarily provided her male students. Gloria was determined to develop in her new students the communication skills and sensitivity to language that would help them secure jobs in an economy increasingly open to women. The classroom and campus dynamic had changed, for sure, but women were now investing their money in King's for a good education, and Gloria was committed to ensuring that they received one.
Gloria helped inaugurate the dramatic changes in the gendered history of King's and, herself, negotiated those changes with humor, grace, and a practical sense of how people can get along and get work done. Over the years, her students found in her not only a dedicated, demanding teacher but also a witty, bright, inspiring, cosmopolitan woman who spent a semester at Oxford, traveled widely in Italy, taught in Naples, studied for a year at the University of Florence, and pursued a life-long interest in Italian art, language, and literature. Her varied interests and abilities, her notable classroom skills, and, perhaps most important, her remarkable good nature and ability to work so well with her colleagues made her the perfect choice to be the English department's first female professor.
Cecilia Galante '95Angelina Marchozzi '23
Cecilia Galante '95 credits her support system at King's College as being a vital steppingstone in her journey as a writer, teacher, mother, and woman. Since leaving King's, she has written twelve books, including her most successful, "Patron Saint of Butterflies," which was selected for Oprah's Book Club.
Cecilia Galante graduated from King's College in 1995. Before her time at King's, Cecilia had only dabbled in being a writer. Her experiences at King's College had a profound impact on Cecilia, solidifying her desire to pursue a career as a writer and exposing her to different writers from around the world. She took literature courses and even submitted some of her own poetry to The Scop. This was a significant step for her in taking herself seriously as a writer.
Despite facing personal challenges during her time at King's, including becoming a single mother her sophomore year, she found the community to be incredibly welcoming and supportive. Cecilia mentioned that Father Lackenmier helped her considerably during her time at King's, and she felt that there was no pressure if she made a mistake. The support system at King's leant to her feelings of being believed in as a woman, person, and writer, and the King's support system helped her see it through to graduation with her daughter on her hip and a heart full of gratitude.
Since leaving King's, Cecilia has gone on to achieve incredible success in her career. She has written twelve books, including her most successful, "Patron Saint of Butterflies," which is loosely based on her experiences growing up in a religious commune in upstate New York. The book went on a national tour and was even selected for Oprah's book club. Currently, Cecilia is working on a memoir about her experiences in the commune, which will be a full circle moment for her after 15 years of writing fiction. The memoir will be a significant departure from her previous work as she will be sharing her experiences as they truly happened, but she feels ready to take on the challenge.
Cecilia is also a teacher at Wyoming Seminary and teaches eighth grade English. She now lives with her husband and has three successful children. She is proud of not only her own accomplishments since graduating from King's, but also of the accomplishments of the other women who graduated before, with, or after her. She is excited to see what they have all accomplished. Cecilia's experiences at King's College have had a lasting impact on her life and have shaped her into the person she is today. King's college was a critical steppingstone in her journey as a writer, teacher, mom, and woman. Cecilia continues to inspire others through her work and her dedication to making a difference in this world.
Denise Goodwin Pace '75Julia Freund '26
Denise Goodwin Pace '75—a member of the second class of women to graduate from King's—often felt intimidated by the male-dominated student population, but she credits her experiences as a woman at King's for shaping her mindset to thrive and compete alongside men. She has had many career successes since graduating and is currently the executive producer at Looking Up Productions in New York City.
Denise Goodwin Pace graduated from King's College in 1975 as part of the second class of women to do so. Initially intimidated by the male-dominated campus, Pace eventually found attending King's to be empowering. She recalls an incident where she was walking to Towny Café, now known as Susquehanna Place, and caught the attention of "200 men," making her feel like she stuck out. However, being one of the few women on campus taught her to compete with men, an experience she now appreciates.
Pace earned a bachelor's degree in English with a minor in Communication while at King's and worked as Editor of The Crown. Pace was also a part of Pi Delta Epsilon, Aquinas Society, and Delta Epsilon Sigma. After graduation, she secured a job in investigative journalism that helped her advance her writing career. Pace is a firm believer in the value of lifelong learning, and she enrolled in courses at the New School in New York City following her college graduation. Currently, Pace is the executive producer at Looking Up Productions in New York City. Pace is also a founding partner of The Halo Group, which is a marketing communications and branding agency.
In 2008, Pace received the King's College Alumni Award for Professional Achievement, an event that was particularly meaningful since her father had also attended King's. After serving in the Korean War on the GI Bill, her father studied at King's for two years before dropping out to start a family. He often tells Pace King's was the happiest years of his life. In addition to her successful experiences at King's, Pace also met her husband there. They went on to have two accomplished children and four grandchildren. Pace expressed her pride in her legacy stating "King's gave me wonderful gifts."
Pace supports and hopes all current and future women graduating from King's remember that life is messy, and the world is constantly changing. Instead of striving for perfection, she encourages them to pursue excellence and reminds them that women can have it all-but not all at the same time.
Maureen Hanlon '87Robyn Snyder '97, Academic Advisement Office
Maureen Hanlon '87 is a trailblazing woman whose humble roots in Wyoming propelled her towards a celebrated legal career. From her transformative experience at King's College, she emerged as a confident and assertive professional, determined to challenge the inequalities faced by women in her field. Through mentoring, personal resilience, and a dedication to work-life balance, Maureen has become a driving force in shaping a more inclusive professional landscape for women.
When I opened my interview with the accomplished and distinguished Maureen Hanlon '87, I first asked how she prefers to be addressed. She responded simply and with a warm smile, "Maureen."
I then asked, before I delved into my questions for her as a deservedly celebrated woman of King's College, if she had anything she wanted to share with me first. She chose to talk about her humble local roots.
Born and raised in the Wyoming area, Maureen comes from a family where she and her siblings were first-generation college students. She explained that when she moved on to Columbia Law School after King's, she primarily was surrounded by ivy-league graduates. Yet, she never felt 'less than" anyone. King's had prepared her to be knowledgeable, assertive, and strong, due to the small classes, 1:1 attention, and encouraging classroom environments. Self-admittedly shy among unfamiliar people or situations, King's helped prepare her to speak up and be confident.
I inquired about what advice she would share with women to help guide them to be emphatic but professional. "Know how to read the room," she said. Maureen also elaborated how important it is to take context into consideration as well. Understand that speaking up for oneself may entail strategy that is much different than an approach needed when speaking up for someone else.
In the early 1990's, when Maureen started her career working in law firms, there weren't a lot of women. When women did speak up, they were perceived differently than when men did the same-flippant, women would be called. This didn't sit well with Maureen. "It's not a different message just because a man said it." She also experienced different expectations of women who were working on earning Partner status in law firms; demands for perfectionism were much greater of women than of men for the same type of work.
I asked how she navigated the waves of inequality. She learned that you can't let personal agendas overtake professional goals. At the age of 40, she was the oldest on her team, so she placed a priority on mentoring those women younger than her. Female colleagues didn't realize it was a fight to get where she was. "Age needs to reflect your interior." Delivery is important, and so is balance.
Eventually, female colleagues would express how impactful her actions, words, and leadership have been on them. As she continued to build her success, she helped influence and shape a professional landscape where there are more and more women lawyer partners, financiers, executives, etc. all around her.
When asked how she has managed such a robust career and a personal life, 'It doesn't have to be either/or; it can be both," she explained, "but you have to strike a good balance." The two-time survivor of breast cancer built her own family later in life and is a stepmother to three children.
As we wrapped up our engaging discussion, I let her know that I wanted to close with what I understood was a very controversial topic, and that I would understand if she preferred not to answer. But like a true professional, she didn't hesitate.
I posed to her, "What is the best pizza in Northeastern PA?"
"Sabatini's. And Pizza L'Oven."
Jocelyn Hook, '76, '77
Jocelyn Hook, MPAS, PA-C, made King's College history as a member of the first graduating class of the Physician Assistant program. She recalls the struggle of earning respect as a PA when she first started, as the job was just being introduced into the medical field; yet she claims there were several mentors that helped her succeed. Hook has remained an active member in the physician assistant community.
Jocelyn Hook, MPAS, PA-C, made King's College history as a member of the first graduating class of the physician assistant program. For over forty-five years, she has dedicated her career to women's health and continues to practice per diem at Geisinger Wyoming Valley. Throughout her career, she has not only touched the lives of countless patients, but also inspired the King's students who have followed in her footsteps.
Hook earned her bachelor's degree in biology in 1976 and her physician assistant certificate in 1977. In the early days of the program, Hook was one of only seven students in her class. At that time, King's did not offer didactic training on campus and partnered with Hahnemann Medical College (now Drexel University College of Medicine) in Philadelphia. Hook and her peers spent eight months studying at Hahnemann, then returned to King's for their rotations.
Even as a student, Hook knew that she wanted to pursue women's health. One day, she walked into the Kingston office of Dr. Harry Reich, a world-renowned gynecologist and a pioneer in laparoscopy. She asked if he would be willing to take her on rotation, and he gladly accepted. After graduation, Hook continued to work full-time with Reich.
"I would put in fifteen-hour days with him," she recalled. 'I would come home at nine or ten o'clock at night, and we would do it all over again. He was so enthusiastic about women's health and teaching women about their bodies. It just overflowed on me."
Hook was also greatly inspired by Dr. Robert Paoletti, her undergraduate advisor. He mentored her throughout her time at King's and later recruited her for the Health Professionals Advisory Board for the March of Dimes.
As a woman at King's, Hook always felt welcomed and accepted by her classmates and professors. Earning respect as a physician assistant, however, was sometimes a challenge, especially in the '70s when the profession was just starting to rise in the medical field.
"It was something brand new," explained Hook. 'The patients accepted us very well, as a matter of fact. We explained to them what we were all about. Some of the physicians felt a little threatened by us, and some did not even want to think about PAs. It's completely different nowadays. It was an uphill battle."
Despite the obstacles, Hook earned her master's degree from the University of Nebraska in 1999 and worked in several OB-GYN practices throughout the Wyoming Valley. She is also a distinguished fellow of the American Academy of Physician Associates, a fellow of the Pennsylvania Society of Physician Assistants, a member of the Physician Assistant Educators Association, and a faculty member of Certified Medical Instructors. Most recently, she taught women's health at Misericordia University in 2023.
Hook never forgot her roots at King's and returned to serve as a clinical coordinator and clinical professor in the Department of Physician Assistant Studies. With her vast experience in the field and her passion for her alma mater, she mentored hundreds of students until she retired from the role in 2021.
Outside of work, Hook has always loved dancing, singing, and music. As a King's student, she was part of the women's choir, Les Chanteuses, and had the chance to perform in Rome, Florence, and Milan during Easter.
Today, Hook resides in Swoyersville with her husband, Jerry. She is an active member of her community and enjoys spending time with her two adult children and four grandchildren. Her other hobbies include fitness, gardening, and reading.
Dr. Oluwatayo Ikotun '05Marissa Jason '24
Dr. Oluwatayo Ikotun '05 is a successful and passionate woman in the field of chemistry. After earning her doctorate in organic chemistry, she excelled in research roles at leading biotech companies. Now a professor at the University of California Los Angeles, Dr. Ikotun focuses on molecular imaging for disease understanding. She fondly recalls the College's supportive community and credits King's for nurturing her love for chemistry and empowering her as a female scientist.
Dr. Oluwatayo Ikotun, a 2005 graduate of King's, is one of the college's finest examples of a successful, passionate, and fierce woman. The daughter of immigrants, Ikotun moved to the United States when she was 14 years old and is the oldest of four siblings. When she decided to attend King's in 2001, it was because she was initially drawn to the community feel she experienced at an Accepted Students' Day. Upon meeting professors and students, she decided the small class sizes, especially in the sciences, would be a good fit. Ikotun started out in the biology department on the pre-med track, but in her sophomore year, she switched to the chemistry department, partly due to the great support the department offered her.
Following her undergraduate education at King's, Ikotun attended graduate school at Syracuse University and earned her doctorate degree in organic chemistry. While getting her doctorate, Ikotun engaged in biological and cancer research as a graduate research assistant, and in her post op at Washington University, she focused her research on nuclear imaging.
Ikotun has worked for Amgen, one of the largest biotech companies, and it was there that she used molecular imaging to support cancer programming.
Following her employment at Amgen, she became a Senior Research Investigator at Bristol-Myers Squibb. In this job, she used translational imaging to understand pharmacokinetics, which is how the body responds to drugs.
Ikotun then decided to pursue academia, becoming a professor at the University of California Los Angeles in Molecular & Medical Pharmacology. Ikotun's program focuses on molecular imaging to drive understanding of disease. Her entrance into academia derived from a desire to mentor students and engage in science on her own terms.
Upon reflecting on her time at King's, Ikotun recalled the always supportive community, calling it a great place to become an adult and build the bricks of who you will become. From a professional standpoint, Ikotun credits King's with being the place she figured out her love for chemistry. She says it is also where she learned that it's important to be where you are accepted, which was instilled in her by many of the professors in her department that made an impact on her time at King's through their support, enthusiasm, and patience. She looks back on King's as the place where she was able to learn about science surrounded by people who believed in her.
Although the chemistry department had all male faculty at the time of Ikotun's attendance, she never felt intimidated as a female scientist or that gender prevented her from doing anything. She recalls proudly that, in her graduating class, the chemistry department consisted completely of female graduates. Outside of her department, Ikotun also fondly remembered the influential women that inspired her, especially as a part of the Monarch Dancers. She is grateful for the perseverance the mentors of the dance team taught her, which she has taken throughout her career, always remembering to fight for her space. King's is proud to have an unapologetic, strong, and successful woman like Dr. Ikotun as an alumna and looks forward to her continued success.
Stephanie Jallen '19Laurie Sterling, Professor of English
Stephanie Jallen '19, a two-time Paralympian, discovered her passion for adaptive skiing at age nine, finding freedom and power in the sport. After making her Olympic debut in 2014 and earning bronze medals, she enrolled at King's College, where she found a supportive and inclusive environment. Now a human resources generalist at St. Joseph's Center, Stephanie credits King's with providing her professional direction and newfound confidence.
Two-time Paralympian Stephanie Jallen (2019) had a transformative experience at the age of nine when she attended an adaptative ski camp for children. Not only did she 'truly fit in" and feel at home, when she clicked into the ski, she felt something profound: "It was the power it gave me to move because movement as a kid. . . was tough." Stephanie was born with CHILD syndrome, which left the left side of her body underdeveloped and necessitated the amputation of her left leg when she was small. In ski camp she discovered freedom of movement, but she had no idea just how much movement the sport would provide her. Just five years later, Stephanie was competing on the international level, and in 2014 she made her Olympic debut in Sochi, Russia where she claimed bronze medals in both super-G and super combined.
Though the Sochi games coincided with her senior year in high school, Stephanie managed to keep up with both her training and her schoolwork because she was determined to pursue skiing as well as college. In 2014, after medaling in Sochi, Stephanie enrolled at King's, where she also felt 'at home." "I was blessed to be part of a generation that didn't experience a lot of the bias that women did in the past. But, as a disabled woman, I feel that King's did awesome." She adds, 'I have heard horror stories from fellow disabled athletes who [attended] college. It was nightmarish for them." Stephanie's experience was very different, and she credits the faculty, staff, and especially the Academic Skills Center: "They answered questions I didn't even know to ask. . . I [said], 'I'm getting a big dog so he can carry all my books.' And Sheri [Yech] said, 'Well, you know I can put them on a flash drive, right? Let me make your life a little easier.'" And she did just that. "There were issues with my schedule-going from McGowan to Hafey three times a day. Ten minutes was not enough to navigate the narrow hallways . . . so, they reorganized my schedule; they gave me the best parking; they let me have my service dog, Parker, who was a godsend." Still traveling and training with her eyes on the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, Stephanie 'didn't run into a single person who [said], 'No.' Everyone was like, 'Oh, this is going to be hard, but let's figure out what we're going to do.'"
"During that time, I traveled and trained a ton," Stephanie explains, "but then when it came close to the games, I didn't want to miss so much school." She took time off before the games, and after PyeongChang she retired from skiing and returned to King's. She credits King's with helping her find professional direction and, perhaps surprisingly, confidence. 'I was confident in skiing, but. . . the real world is terrifying," she laughs. 'Fantastic professors" like Dr. Christopher Alexander and Mr. Mark Leffler changed her 'entire outlook on life." King's 'definitely broadened my mind to both the Catholic religion and to the world," she says. 'I think it was being surrounded by a lot of like-minded people who had the intention of growing you. It gave me the foundation and, quite frankly, a lot of confidence." Currently a human resources generalist at St. Joseph's Center in Scranton, a resource and a home for people diagnosed with intellectual disability, Stephanie's professional life is built upon the core values of her King's College education. She says, "When I left King's, I [thought] 'Yeah, I can do this!'"
Amy Jo Kane '03Jennifer Hart '03
Amy Jo Kane (née Mitchell), a devoted lover of language and compassionate soul, graduated cum laude from King's in 2003 with a BA in English. Tragically passing away in 2012, her legacy endures through her two daughters, Lara and Lillian, who reflect her traits: Lara's humor and Lillian's determination. Remembered by her professors and peers for her inspiring strength and writing prowess, Amy's creativity shone in her poetry and children's stories, while her selflessness and faith left an everlasting impact on her community.
As an avid lover of language, Amy Jo Kane (née Mitchell) graduated with cum laude distinction from King's in December 2003 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and started a master's program in creative writing before she joined the Lord on October 22, 2012. Amy embodied the true spirit of King's—she was led by her Catholic faith, devoted her time to volunteering and charity, and lived a life rooted in morality and love. She married the love of her life, Sean Kane, in 2005 and was the mother of two girls, Lara Alison (17) and Lillian Grace (15). Amy's spirit lives on through Lara and Lillian who reflect her in many ways: Lara exhibits Amy's soft and humorous nature, and Lillian applies Amy's determination to all that she does.
Amy's unparalleled tenacity across all areas of life was often balanced by her sense of grace. As a student, she pursued academics with zeal and curiosity and had a profound effect on her fellow classmates and professors during her time at King's. “Although Amy was a student in my writing classes almost 20 years ago, I still remember quite clearly many of the beautiful stories she wrote. She was remarkable in and out of the classroom, with a bright, engaging spirit and inspirational strength. If the English Department had a Hall of Fame for our alumni, Amy would without a doubt be one of its most celebrated inductees,” says Dr. Jennifer McClinton-Temple, one of Amy's former English professors.
Amy was endlessly creative, a gifted writer, and inspired many through her words. Her passion for writing often translated into poetry where her talent knew no bounds. In addition to poetry, she also enjoyed creating children's stories and hoped to pen many kids' books throughout her life. Amy also extended her talents to the King's community as a tutor in the Writing Center on campus where she worked one-on-one with students to provide support, feedback, and develop others' writing. Her lifelong devotion to God, family, friends, and to helping others left an eternal imprint on the hearts of many.
FOR AMY—and for those who live with her memory.
Thank you for the joy, love, and light that you brought to so many lives. We are forever grateful for you, and you're an inspiration to us still.
Katheryn Kotch '13
Katheryn Kotch '13 graduated with a dual major in computer science and professional writing and a minor in mathematics and went on to work for MCA Connect. Kotch often felt threatened being one of the only women in the computer science field, but she has had many-such as professors at King's and coworkers at MCA Connect-to encourage her and help her persevere. Kotch also writes in her free time and has self-published two novels, Reckoning and The Fiddler of Dawn and Dusk
When she arrived at King's in 2009, she was the only female computer science major. "I was always surrounded by the guys," she explains. 'The imposter syndrome was real."
What kept Kotch in the program is the strong support she received from professors, particularly Dr. Maria Jump. "Dr. Jump was really encouraging," Kotch says. "If I didn't have her as a female role model, I don't know if I would have stuck with it. I remember sitting in Dr. Jump's office and telling her I wanted to be just as good as the guys-I always felt they were better programmers, better developers. She said, 'Why be as good as them? Why not be better?'"
Kotch was a recipient of the Monsignor Andrew J. McGowan Hispanic Scholarship. As a recipient of the scholarship, Kotch was asked to serve in the Hispanic Outreach Program where she both helped with language learning and babysat ESL students' children. This gave her the opportunity to be in a more diverse environment than she had been in high school. 'The only Spanish speakers in my high school were related to me-my siblings, my cousin. This was the first time many of the students at Hanover had encountered a Spanish speaker," she explains. 'It was nice going from where I had no Spanish-speaking friends to King's. It was nice being with the other McGowan Scholars, to have that level of connection."
Kotch graduated from King's in 2103 with a dual major in computer science and professional writing and a minor in mathematics. Within two months of graduating, she took a job at MCA Connect, the company for whom she still works, partly because of how supportive they have been to her as a woman. 'They are a great company to work for and have been very supportive of me during my pregnancy," she notes. 'You hear horror stories about some companies, and you wonder how this is going to change my career trajectory, but I knew they always had my back." In her time with the company, she has gone from software developer to lead developer to product manager. 'Once I was established," she notes, 'being a woman has not affected my career."
Kotch offers this advice to women entering the work force: "Don't be afraid to ask for help and to ask questions. Dr. Jump taught me that. The ability to ask questions has carried over to my work and it has helped me succeed. There's only so much I can do on my own. As a woman, it's hard to do this. There's no such thing as a dumb question."
In addition to being a working mom, Kotch also writes in her free time and has self-published two novels, Reckoning and The Fiddler of Dawn and Dusk. She serves on the King's College Alumni Writing Retreat Board and has been knitting for the past three years. Katheryn lives in Downingtown with husband Eric, daughter Sophia, and dog Ada.
Jennifer Mantini '94John Grebeck '25
Jennifer Mantini '94 is now a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, where she leads practices in the United States and Mexico. As an advocate for gender equality, Jennifer mentors young female professionals to achieve work-life balance and break stereotypes. Her King's education fostered a sense of community and critical thinking, shaping her successful career as a partner.
Jennifer Mantini graduated from King's College in 1994 with a degree in accounting. She currently resides in Philadelphia and works as a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, one of the big four accounting firms and the second largest professional services network in the world. As a partner, Jennifer works in financial due diligence and leads practice in the United States and Mexico. She also mentors a dozen female professionals a month, mostly young women with an interest in rising to the partner level in their careers. In this mentorship, Jennifer teaches them how to achieve an ideal work life balance as a successful professional and break the stereotype that women cannot be as dedicated to their work as their male counterparts and simultaneously raise a family.
She works as an advocate for women in the workplace and strives to make professional spaces more inclusive in a still male dominated career. In her career, Jennifer points out having been overlooked for social events with clients because her male counterparts assumed she was too busy with her family to attend. Instances like this motivated her to be a mentor to young women and to promote a more inclusive work environment.
She credits her dedication to inclusivity to her education at King's, where her Catholic, liberal arts education helped make her the professional she is today. The intimate class sizes and even split between male and female students fostered a culture of respect and community to her. Because of this sense of community and the Catholic tradition, female students were always encouraged to share their opinions and knowledge in an environment that promoted collective learning. Jennifer credits her role model at King's, Janet Mercincavage, for setting a positive example and being one of the few female professors in the business school at the time. Jennifer also credits her liberal arts education for making her a successful partner. Taking classes outside of her major promoted critical thinking and made her a more well-rounded professional that can look beyond just the business dealings of her job.
Jennifer emphasizes humanizing the accounting profession because it is easy to crunch the numbers and forget the people behind that work, and she credits her education at King's for aiding in this humanization. From the moment she stepped on campus for an overnight stay as a high schooler, Jennifer described King's always feeling like home with a community of bright minded students all dedicated to their pursuit of knowledge and mutual respect for each other.
Katie McCarthy Lambert '83Jennifer McClinton-Temple, Professor of English
Katie McCarthy Lambert '83, CFO of McCarthy Tire Services, credits her King's College education for her success. Starting from an entry-level position, she rose to the top with financial acumen and strategic thinking. Committed to ethical leadership and community service, she serves on multiple non-profit boards. Lambert's achievements exemplify the College's values and make her a proud alumna.
Katie McCarthy Lambert is the Chief Financial Officer of McCarthy Tire Services, which is headquartered in Wilkes-Barre and is the fifth largest independent commercial tire dealer in the United States. With more than 70 service locations and 13 Bandag retread manufacturing plants up and down the East Coast, McCarthy is a thriving, complex business with over 1,500 employees. What does it take to be the CFO of such an organization? As with the role at any large company, it takes financial acumen, strategic thinking, and excellent communication skills. For this family-owned business, though, it also takes an ethical heart and a desire to give back to the community. McCarthy's Chief Financial Officer, Katie McCarthy Lambert, believes that King's College gave her the skills and knowledge she needs to succeed in this important role.
Lambert did not begin her career at McCarthy Tire at the top. Part of the McCarthy-family ethos requires knowing the business in a personal way, and the only way to do that is to understand it from top to bottom. For Katie, that meant starting at the sales counter in high school and continuing that work during college. After graduation, she became a Certified Public Accountant and worked for a large firm for two years. She then began her professional career at McCarthy Tire, but in keeping with family tradition, she started in an entry-level position in the accounting department. From there, she gradually earned promotions up to and including her current position as CFO.
Along with the values instilled in her by her parents, Cece and Jack McCarthy, Lambert's King's College education guides her work on a daily basis. She graduated from King's with a degree in Accounting and Business Administration in 1983. She remembers her time as a King's student as one in which the people around her-the faculty and staff-were deeply invested in her success. Accounting and math faculty such as Ann Manno, John McGowan, Janet Mercincavage, and Bill Davis steered Lambert and her peers to master the skills they needed in the business world, but also to hold themselves to high standards in all things, not just in their accounting skills. A few decades after her graduation, Lambert still sees the fruits of the liberal arts education she received at King's in her ability to write effectively, to speak persuasively, and lead her organization. She credits courses she took at King's outside of her business classes, in subjects such as English and Oral Communications, as being important components of her success. She sees those fruits in her children-Gary, Mary Kate, and Tim-as well. They are all proud King's alumni and use their talents to drive the family business.
King's seeks to instill in its graduates a desire to serve others, emphasizing the importance of supporting and giving back to the communities that nurture us. Katie Lambert, along with the rest of McCarthy Tire Services, is committed to this principle as well. Currently, Lambert contributes her talents and skills to several non-profit boards, including Northeast Sight Services, the Beatrice Eck Foundation, and King's College, where she serves as Vice Chair. Over her career, she has also supported community organizations such as Fork Over Love, the Osterhout Library, the St. Vincent DePaul Soup Kitchen, and the Diocese of Scranton. As proud as she is to be a King's College alumna, it's easy to see why King's is equally as proud to call her one of ours.
Gert McGowan '92Brandi Naprava '25
Gert McGowan '92 graduated summa cum laude with a double major in English and business and later attended law school to become a superstar legal consult with an impressive resume. Gert was, and still is, an active member of the community at King's and attributes a lot of her current success to learning balance between a professional and social life at King's.
"I'm a nerd," says Gert McGowan, King's class of 1992, "I'll admit to my nerdiness." Touting a double major in English and Business, graduating summa cum laude, and later attending law school to become a superstar legal and regulatory consult with an impressive resume, this nerdiness seems to have worked out perfectly fine for Gert.
During her time at King's, Gert juggled the honors program, her two majors, writing for the newspaper and yearbook, as well as actively participating in the Pre-Law society and a variety of business honors societies while maintaining a job. She attributes a lot of her current success to learning balance between a professional and social life at King's, as well as to the climate of the school itself. The main advantage of King's, she asserted, is the small class size, with the sense of personal commitment giving her a leg-up in both law school and the rest of her life. She recalls Fr. O'Hara's American Government class, in which he asked her to be a tutor for other students due to her stellar performance, as the perfect demonstration of what makes King's so special. 'The fact that he called on me specifically made me realize there were people specifically looking out for and watching me," Gert said. The relationships built at King's are ones she carries to this day, keeping close contact with former classmates and professors, and her classes taught her important skills she consistently uses. 'If you don't get anything out of King's," she insisted, 'it means you didn't put anything into it."
Gert's family has a long, proud history with King's College, with several of her close relatives also being graduates of the school. She initially planned to move away from the area to attend college but found herself drawn to King's after completing the college discovery program in high school. This connection to King's has remained throughout her life. She served as a member of the Board of Directors at King's for an impressive sixteen years from 2002 through 2018. During this time, she served under both Fr. O'Hara and Fr. Ryan and in a variety of areas, such as development and student life. 'I learned a great deal," Gert said of the experience, citing her work in student life as the most interesting due to the increased involvement of students with volunteer activities in Wilkes-Barre itself.
Gert lives with her husband, a King's graduate with a major in computer information technology, and she has two children, one pursuing an information technology degree and the other in pre-medical school. She often reflects fondly on her time at King's, and when she recently attended the funeral of a King's college alum, her brother turned to her in the car and told her, 'You know, I really regret not going to King's. All of you King's grads really stick together and talk so positively about your experience."
For Gert McGowan, this is nothing short of the truth.
Valerie Musto '82Jessica Gittens '26
Valerie Musto graduated from King's College with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and is now the biology laboratory director here at King's. When asked about what womanhood means to her within her professional life, Mrs. Musto explained how empowering it feels to be a leading figure to her students. Mrs. Musto also established the King's College Blood Council and was awarded the Red Cross Hero Award.
Mrs. Valerie Musto is the biology laboratory director here at King's College and an important woman on campus. To celebrate the history of women within the King's College community, Mrs. Musto described a little bit about what it means to her to be a woman at King's. When asked about what womanhood means to her within her professional life, Mrs. Musto explained how empowering it feels to be a leading figure to her students, especially to the women she teaches who view her as a role model. Mrs. Musto described her journey with womanhood resulting in the way she carries herself professionally by emulating strong women. Mrs. Musto utilizes her motherly instincts to pay great attention to each individual student she works with. Mrs. Musto followed in her father's footsteps, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Biology from King's College. Though she followed her father's career path, she states that her mother's relationship to her career is what emboldened Mrs. Musto to go out into the workforce and effectively take charge. Mrs. Musto never let being a woman hold her back from taking charge of her future or her career. When Mrs. Musto was asked what her time as a student at King's as a woman was like, she stated that it was a fantastic experience and, she saw no difference on account of being a woman. She had a great connection to her peers and mentors and received ample support. Mrs. Musto's time at King's had a great effect on her professional life. During her time in school, she was a student aide and president of the biology club. With great enjoyment of the academic atmosphere, Mrs. Musto immersed herself in the biology department. After graduation, Mrs. Musto took the lab director position at King's College, which has continued to shape her professional life. Mrs. Musto established the King's College Blood Council, an experience she describes as very rewarding. Originally, Mrs. Musto spent much time at the Center City Blood Council in Wilkes-Barre, however when this became defunct, she founded a college-wide blood donation council at Kings. Because of her commitment and dedication to blood drives and donations for over three decades, Mrs. Musto was awarded with the Red Cross Hero Award, honoring and recognizing her important work.
Linda Nestor '76Brandi Naprava '25
Linda Nestor was a member of the third class of women to graduate from King's, and she claims the stares from male peers alone were enough to foster a solidarity among the girls. Linda pursued a major in Special Education at King's in addition to a few minors, and she has worked as a special educator in both schools and with agencies for developmentally disabled adults, a curriculum writer, and a professor of computer science at community colleges.
"When you walked into the cafeteria, there were so few of us, and we were only the third class of women… every head would turn." For Linda Nestor and the other women attending King's in the seventies, with the college only having only recently opened its doors to female students, the stares alone were enough to foster a sense of solidarity among the girls.
The male students were not the only ones who seemed to be in a state of shocked disbelief. "I had one elderly priest. He only taught astronomy, and I was the only girl in the class," Linda recounted. "He would be talking, and looking around, and he would look at me like he'd seen a ghost. He must've done that all semester. He was just so blown away by having a girl in his class."
This would be the likely setup for many of the classes at King's: one or two women per class, as the number of them was so little. 'There were two floors of women at East Hall," Linda said. "That was it." These floors weren't even full. Despite their low numbers, the girls at King's weren't afraid to be themselves, with hijinks ranging from streaking incidents to city-wide snowball fights.
"The schools weren't prepared for these attitudes," Linda said, attributing this to the nature of the 70's. 'The war in Vietnam hadn't ended yet, so there were a lot of protests and events that they didn't really know how to deal with."
The college wasn't just unprepared for these new ways of thinking. It was also unprepared for the rise of Special Education, Linda's major at King's. She was part of the first class to graduate with a degree in Special Education, as it hadn't even existed until her junior year. Intent on studying the sciences, Linda found that her psychology and science credits, which she turned into her minors, fit right into the flexible requirements for a Special Education major. The newness of the field gave the students a lot of leeway, Linda said, and the lack of formality meant that, "The informal education we got from that was really useful, at least for me. It prepared me for being on my own, because once I got into the school systems, they didn't know what they were doing either."
Linda found the non-classroom education to be more helpful at King's than the classroom instruction. Born into an abusive household, Linda said that, "King's was the first time I had examples of how it could be better. It gave me a safe place to figure out who I was, which I had not had until that point." She considers herself extremely lucky in her choice to attend King's, considered that this immense change to her life came from the result of a coin-flip.
After graduating from King's College, Linda has worked as a special educator both in schools and with agencies for developmentally disabled adults, a curriculum writer, and a professor of computer science at community colleges. She lives with her husband, who she met at King's. A writer since high school, she has a science fiction series spanning five books in process and has published a variety of newspaper articles.
Katlin Spear '13Tristin Milazzo '19
Katlin (Michaels) Spear '13 showed early commitment to athletics and athletic training by combining the two. Women's Basketball at King's College surrounded Spear with a large, positive community in which she created lasting friendships, and her mentors in the male-dominated profession of athletic training made Spear more confident as she chased her passion and dreams. Spear now works as an Orthopedic Physician Extender—a slowly growing role—at the Florida Medical Clinic.
If you step into the Florida Medical Clinic with an appointment to see an Orthopedic Physician Extender, you'll likely see Katlin (Michaels) Spear: Pennsylvania transplant and King's College graduate who is paving the way to help a little-known role become more prevalent.
A 2013 graduate of King's College, Spear showed early commitment to athletics and athletic training by combining the two. Spear played on the Women's Basketball team. While most students dream of playing Division 1 sports in college, for Spear- who did not plan to play professionally --, Division 3 athletics were the ideal way to help her face adversity. Women's Basketball at King's College surrounded Spear with a large, positive community in which she created lasting friendships.
Spear's dedication carried through to her life off the court, too. Athletic training is a male-dominated profession, but Spear's mentors instilled confidence in her to chase her passion and dreams. She quickly learned that she could do anything she put her mind to. She trained with some of the best female athletic trainers that she ever worked with.
Her experience at King's College in and out of the classroom allowed her to form relationships with her preceptors, professors, coaches, and teammates. Spear's network at King's helped her on her journey to Hawaii for graduate school. She continues to thank the Women's Basketball coach, Caitlin Hadzimichalis, for helping her on that journey. Coach Hadzmichalis is not only a great coach, for the record; she also officiated Spear's wedding and continues to be an important part of Spear's life, years after graduation.
Spear did not begin working with a renowned doctor straight out of school. She first worked in a traditional athletic training setting at a secondary school for seven years before being hired at the Florida Medical Clinic as an Orthopedic Physician Extender.
Although Spear works a normal 8-5 role today, her day is anything but repetitive. Spear works in the clinic three days a week - rooming patients, evaluating sports medicine injuries, bracing, casting, splinting, and reviewing radiographs - and in the operating room two days a week. In the operating room, Spear is a surgical assistant for Dr. Brian Domby, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers team orthopedic. It is Spear's job to position, drape, suture, and pass instruments.
The title of Orthopedic Physician Extender is not a well-known one - at least not yet - but Spear is part of a new sector of Athletic Training that will only become more prevalent with time, especially in her current state of Florida. The role is not that of typical athletic training, but Spear said it best herself: "I love how I am paving the way for my profession."
Spear hasn't forgotten her roots in athletics now that she is a working professional, though. She continues to act as a liaison to high school athletic trainers that refer their athletes to be seen.
As Spear stated, "I would like to tell King's College students to take advantage of what the school has to offer, no matter what department, and put yourself out there. Even if you don't realize it while you are enrolled, you will eventually understand the opportunities that King's presents to its students."
Rachael Stark '17Carly Shire '25
Despite initial doubts about the location of King's College, Rachael Stark `17 found a supportive environment for women in STEM. Now, in her job with the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, she combines her love for the outdoors with her non-profit expertise, hopeful for a future of gender equality in the workforce.
Rachael Stark graduated in 2017 with an Environmental Science degree. According to Stark her decision to transfer and enroll at King's was very last minute and she was hesitant due to the negative perception she had of Wilkes-Barre, PA. However, once she stepped foot on campus, her unease disappeared. “I felt an instant connection to the campus, professors, and my fellow students, even though I had missed a semester prior,” Stark explains. One of the advantages of going to a small, private institution like Kings is that real connections are made between the students and staff.
“I always felt like King's was a safe place for women,” Stark recalls. The environmental science major at the time was evenly divided between men and women with eight other students in the major. Her professors never made her feel less capable because she was a woman in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) program. Instead, they made her feel empowered to be a woman in a challenging science major. Stark recollects her time in Dr. Mangan's environmental science class as they grew vegetables in the greenhouse, caught bugs, camped at the Susquehanna Riverlands, and visited the Adirondacks. “These active and engaging classes allowed all nine of us in the environmental science/studies, class of 2017, to become extremely close friends, and we still attempt to get together at least once a year. I genuinely enjoyed every single class that I took, and I loved that King's offered unique core classes that fit my interests. King's is where I became enthralled in the environmental realm and I'm still here loving it!”
Stark explained that she was apprehensive about where she would find a job after graduation. “A lot of people in my life were telling me I was never going to find a job in my field, which wasn't great for morale.” However, she first found a job with the Boy Scouts of America and enjoyed working there for four years. “I never lost interest in the natural world, though, and Covid really amplified my urge to get into a job that allowed me to explore my passions.” In 2021, Stark was offered a position with the Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) which combined her non-profit experience with her love of the outdoors. This job also allowed her to stay in Wilkes-Barre just two minutes away from campus. She expressed her love, appreciation, and overall gratitude for her job as she's watched her field “absolutely explode” since she started learning environmental science at King's in 2014.
At King's, Stark was in an environment where she became confident in her education, talents, abilities and who she was as a person. “That confidence I learned at King's played a key role in both jobs that I landed after school, and I never felt like gender had anything to do with it. Sexism is alive and well, but I think we are inching towards true equality. With more women in the workforce advocating for change, empowering other women, and absolutely 'slaying' in their positions, I'm really hopeful that the next generation won't have to experience any setbacks based on their gender identity.”
Linda A. Stesney, Esq., '79Stephanie Dunlap '26
Linda A. Stesney, Esq., '79, a graduate with bachelor's degrees in French and political science from King's College, thrived both academically and in community engagement during her time at the College. Despite King's being new to coeducation at the time, Stesney felt supported by her professors and embraced on campus, leading to increased confidence and a stronger work ethic.
Linda A. Stesney, Esq. graduated from King's College in 1979 with bachelor's degrees in French and Political Science. As a local resident, Stesney decided to attend King's after participating in seminars and competitions for high school students learning French, led by Dr. Margaret Corgan. Stesney was the second King's student to receive a Fulbright Scholarship, and she used this opportunity to complete a one-year program at the College of Europe in Belgium. She then went on to obtain a Juris Doctor degree at American University, which she used to practice law for six years before moving into an in-house position. She later took on managing roles at a financial company for credit rating.
Stesney was a member of the Honor's Program and participated in the French Club, Model UN, and choir. She also worked on the Carter Campaign with fellow students. King's is special to Stesney, who always felt supported by her professors and welcomed on campus despite the College's newness to coeducation. "King's was such an interesting place for me because I felt like I had such a personal connection with professors," Stesney stated. 'They really encouraged me, both in my majors and other classes. They took a personal interest." Stesney says that her time at King's helped her have more confidence in her ability to succeed and strengthened her work ethic. She loved that King's encouraged education without negative competition; that all students were supported and cared for by the College community. Stesney married her husband at the Chapel and continues to keep King's College in her life. "I still have my books from King's on my bookshelf."
Rev. Jennifer "Jo" VonRue '14Janice Thompson, Professor of Theology
Rev. Jennifer "Jo" VonRue '14 studied Catholic theology at King's and says her time at King's still shapes her professional life, especially in her ability to read and write critically, but also as a part of her own human journey that helps her connect to others. She went on to complete her graduate degree at the Meadville Lombard Theological School and is now Minister at May Memorial UU Society in Syracuse.
Rev. Jennifer "Jo" VonRue, '14, is the settled Minister at May Memorial UU Society in Syracuse, NY. Rev. Jo, (also known as "JRev"), studied Catholic theology at King's, and then completed her graduate degree in the Unitarian Universalist theology of her own tradition at Meadville Lombard Theological School. Rev. Jo reports that her time at King's still shapes her professional life, especially in her ability to read and write critically, but also as part of her own human journey that helps her connect to the human journeys of others.
Rev. Jo ministers to a lot of people struggling with their insecurities and has recently been addressing these issues in her preaching. In a recent sermon, Rev. Jo describes a vivid memory. To complete her arts requirement in her last semester at King's, she signed up for a ballet and hip-hop class. As a non-traditional student, she felt significantly older than the other students and uncomfortable with the size of her body. Jennifer remembers walking into the dance class wearing her ballet tights and feeling that, "suddenly my fat body was on full display." She had encountered the judgments of others before-such as judgments that fat bodies should not be seen and could not dance. However, the teacher, "never blinked an eye." In that class Jennifer discovered that she could do everything that the others could do. The experience gave her confidence that she could face her fears and, she could embrace her own body without judgment. Rev. Jo finds that being open about her own journey helps her connect to the struggles of others. So many people feel like they are not good enough or like they do not belong. In her own life, Rev. Jo learned to refuse to let the word fat be used to shame and instead reclaimed the word for herself with pride. In her ministry, Rev. Jo works to identify and disempower harmful judgments and to accept and strengthen uniquely beautiful human lives.
Reflecting on her experience as a woman at King's, Rev. Jo felt strengthened by the examples of other amazing and accomplished women at King's, especially women who were teaching. She thought of how the women who came before her-'whose shoulders I've been standing on"-helped her reach where she is today. She expressed gratitude for these women as her ancestors.
Rev. Jo describes herself as, "a queer, femme, fat liberation warrior [who] is passionate about leading an ordinary life of extraordinary love, continually working towards justice, equity, and compassion for all". Jo and her husband Isaac divide their time between NY and PA and have a sweet and equally passionate hound dog Eleanor. Jo is an avid musician, equestrian, quilter and outdoor enthusiast.