Alum Profile: Dave Scarnato (’12)

Profile by Dominic Behler (’17)Dave

Dave Scarnato, Photojournalist/Producer
WNEP News, Scranton, PA

A World in Pictures

“Anyone can take pictures,” Dave assures me. As a photojournalist at WNEP News, nothing could be closer to the truth. Using only a camera, Dave tells a story, moment to moment, in pictures. No words. The inherent challenge of this explains why Dave dislikes “Camera Man” and “Photographer” as titles. “As a producer, I rely on writing skills that are simple, clear and concise. In live TV, you get one chance to get it right.”

Time Well Spent

Dave’s favorite memory of the English Department was “[t]he people. The department is so close and so supportive of each other. It is a family.”  Dave recalls, “That’s definitely what makes the English department, especially at Marywood, unique. If it wasn’t for the support from my peers and professors, I don’t think I’d be where I am at today.”

Internships were discussed as well, with Dave advising as many as three or more. “English is such a versatile subject that you can utilize in almost any field,” Dave says.

Most importantly, Dave emphasizes personal motivation: “Always want more of yourself and what you’re studying.”

 Running into the Future

Outside of Photojournalism and Producing, Dave has several hobbies, including marathons, and baseball. For students at Marywood, Dave suggests that they acquire a minor. In fact he recommends, “Heck, pick up a few minors.” Strangely, Dave isn’t much of a reader.“I like simple stories from magazines, newspapers, news websites, etc.,” he explains, though he does love to read the latest novels from the great Mitch Albom. “That man is a genius and knows how to pull you in,” he observes.




Alum Profile: Jessica (Beavers) Smith (’10)

Profile by Matt Pelucacci (’18)


                  Jessica Smith, United States Army Intelligence Officer   

Lacing Up Her Boots

Jessica graduated Marywood in a position which many college graduates find themselves in:  unsure of what direction to head in.  She did, however, possess an urge and passion to see the world.  She didn’t want a normal career where she would become stagnant.  “I graduated from Marywood and traveled abroad heavily for about a year.  I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life but I definitely didn’t want to stay in one place for too long,” she explains. She eventually chose a career of service through the United States Army.  Jessica found her specialty in the critical field of Intelligence.  She draws on skills such as analysis, organization, written and verbal communication, leadership, and an understanding of how other cultures operate in order to serve and defend our nation.  These skills were all developed through the study of English.

Marching Forward

Jessica’s experience at Marywood helped her become what she is today.  She learned how to analyze and deconstruct texts through classes such as Dr. Conlogue’s Literary Criticism class.  “[The class] was so fascinating, and I became quite obsessed with deconstruction theory for a while afterwards,” she recalls.  Close reading and interpretation skills helped her to refine her skills in Intelligence.  She found English to be more than meets the eye.  As an Intelligence Officer, Jessica benefits from the diverse strengths the study of English can build: “The interdisciplinary nature of studying English breeds more opportunities than studying a single-scope subject.  Because of that, English allows you to be a chameleon in the workplace.”  English helps her understand the culture, history, philosophy, and anthropology of another society, allowing her to interpret and analyze enemy information and counter enemy tactics.  It also gives her diverse capabilities, rendering her able to handle many different professional responsibilities and personal interests.

At Ease

Outside of her duties, Jessica enjoys exploring the world and continues to live a high speed lifestyle.  She travels whenever she can for both leisure and business.  Her hobbies are mostly fitness- and travel-related.  She competes in half marathons, enjoys exploring craft breweries wherever she can, and also continues to educate herself when she finds time.  She likes to find a quiet, calm nook to learn how to code or read a story from one of her favorite books, The Collector of Treasures and Other Botswana Village Tales by Bessie Head.  She is studying code to potentially transition to a new field of technology and design, never slowing down and always moving forward.

About Face

Jessica’s path has shown her the world, pushed her limits, and led her to a career of adventures, experiences, and duty.  She offers the following inspirational advice to current and aspiring English Majors: “Don’t pigeonhole yourself into a teaching or an editing gig (unless of course that’s what you really want).  English majors are chameleons—we can blend in and bring value to any organization.”  She has learned and demonstrated the multifaceted capabilities of the English major.  Jessica recommends always pursuing new experiences that allow you to see the world, such as studying abroad or traveling.  She has been driven by passion, and we can all take a tip from Jessica’s personal philosophy: “I believe in studying what you love.  Everything else will fall into place.”

Alum Profile: Molly Boylan (’13)

Profile by David Kruman (’18)


Molly Boylan, Lead Editor
The reThink Group, Cumming, GA

Molly Boylan, Marywood University Class of 2013, graduated with a degree in English Literature.  Molly graduated from Scranton High School and attended Eastern University for her freshman year of college.  She enrolled at Marywood as an English major because she wanted a better understanding of reading, writing and critical thinking.  Molly’s interest developed after having a positive experience taking English classes in high school.  Her intentions with a degree in English Literature were to be an editor and eventually a publisher.

Molly was the Editor-in-Chief at The Wood Word, Marywood University’s school newspaper, and worked in the Writing Center, tutoring other students.  At the Wood Word, Molly gives credit to Dr. Wotanis for teaching her to edit properly.  A couple of Molly’s favorite classes were World Literature with Dr. Conlogue and Young Adult Literature with Dr. Bittel.  In World Literature, students are taught about different literature written in different parts of the world in different time periods.  Molly was fascinated by the impact that culture, language and time have on the way literature is written.  In Young Adult Literature, students learn a different style of writing, written for a younger audience.  In Molly’s last year at Marywood, she wrote her senior capstone paper on two different Young Adult novels.

After graduating from Marywood, Molly found employment here in Scranton at NeighborWorks NEPA.  At this non-profit,  she worked in communications, where she had the opportunity to utilize the critical thinking skills she learned from Marywood’s English department.  Almost a year and a half later, in January 2015, Molly found employment in her field: “The job description was the same as my dream job.”  Molly moved to Georgia to work for a company called The Rethink Group or Orange.  Orange is a company that makes Sunday School curricula for pre-school through high school.  Molly is the lead editor for elementary school curricula.   At Orange, she practices the critical reading and writing skills she learned at Marywood.  Molly still enjoys reading in her spare time and has had some experience blogging as well.

Molly’s most memorable experience at Marywood was when she studied abroad with Dr. Wotanis and Dr. McMillan in Ireland.  “I put pen to paper about what I was experiencing in creative ways.  I had a better experience because I was recording what I was learning and experiencing,” she notes.  In Marywood’s English classes, students are taught to put themselves in the character’s shoes to fully understand the characters themselves.  Studying abroad allowed Molly to be her own character.

At the end of the interview, I asked Molly for a few words of advice for all of Marywood’s future English majors.  “Think about what interests you and take classes based on what you like, get involved in something you are interested like extracurricular activities and stick with them,” she recommends.  Molly tells a story of success and hope for all students and faculty alike.


Sneak Peek! Senior Seminar Conference 2016

Eleven extremely thoughtful English majors will be presenting their research at a department conference on Thursday, 5 May 2016 in the Swartz Center Rooms C & D at Marywood University.


Front: David, Diane, Marilyn, Elise, Amanda, Jamie; Back: Nicole, Paul, Jessi, Kathleen, Riley

If you’d like a sense of their work, check out their blogs (linked just below). You will find an abstract for each conference presentation, and you can even peruse each student’s blog to discover more about what they’ve been thinking about over the course of the semester.

And if you’re looking for someone to hire, be sure to check out their resumés!

I. Of Demigods, Dystopias, & Dastardly Dames: Stretching Gender Roles in Literature & Film

Nicole Meshko: “‘Are You a Boy? Or Are You a Girl?’: An Analysis of Gender in The Lightning Thief”
Marilyn Anderson: “She’s the Man Coerced into Womanhood and She’s the Girl Transformed by Manhood: The Hunger Games and Divergent
Elise Cargan: “The Not-So Villainous Villainess: How Traditional Gender Roles are Challenged and Combined in Disney’s Maleficent

II. The Maniacs, the Deafies, & the Homies: Representations of Minorities in Popular Culture

Diane Congdon: “This Playbook is a Handbook for Mental Awareness”
Amanda Thornley: “The Silence is Deafinitely Getting Louder: Deafness and Deaf Culture in Switched at Birth
Kathleen Blazosek: “Yo, Son, You Catch Last Night’s Episode? Slang and Stereotypes in Law and Order: Special Victims Unit

III. Harry Potter and the Sounds of Silence

Riley Covaleski: “Harry Potter and the Fountain of Youth: Categorizing the Kid Wizard”
Paul Capoccia: “‘They don’t understand, do they?’: Screaming, Sound, and Silence in Our Town and Death of a Salesman

IV. Is What You See What You Get? Social Critique in 19th- and 20th-Century Fiction

Jamie Linde: “‘The Constraint of Day’: Observing the Body in Tess of the d’Urbervilles
David Burns: “Monstrous Behavior: Investigating the Normal in Grendel
Jessi Terry: “A Corrupt Society: Discovering the Effects of Consumerism and Media in White Noise”

We look forward to seeing you at the conference!

Alum Profile: Josh Frank (’05)

Profile by Matthew Murphy (’18)


Josh Frank, Project Lead/User Experience
for AdjustCreative (Chicago, IL)


Josh Frank started as an undergrad at a small liberal arts college in Illinois. After 3 1/2 years, he stopped and joined the workforce before continuing his schooling at Marywood University. Throughout Josh’s life he always worked with children, whether it was with Children and Youth Services, being a swim coach, or working at a group home for kids with behavioral disorders. This, along with his love for reading, is what led him to pursue an English Secondary Education major. However, Josh realized that he did not want to teach, but he still wanted to work with children in his church’s youth group, so he dropped his Secondary Education and finished as an English major. During Josh’s time at Marywood, he had a lot of great relationships with some of the teachers, and some led to great friendships later in life. Josh really enjoyed all of the different ways the teachers taught, especially when they involved exploration of spirituality within literature.

Adjust Creative

Before starting Adjust Creative, Josh Frank designed for print and for the web during his undergrad years in Illinois. He continued to do designing in both media all through his life and still does it today. For a short period in his life, he worked with many designers on different projects and eventually started Adjust with a few designers he had worked with in the past. When Adjust Creative was finally born, he became a founder, a Project Lead, and a User Experience expert for the company. Being an English major helped him tremendously with his work for Adjust Creative. From being an English major, Josh learned how to think critically with logic, reason, empathy, and emotions. After learning this it helped him think and communicate clearly with his clients in both writing and speaking. It also allowed him to understand people’s problems and think of ways to fix them. He said that detailed but precise communication is critical for him and his coworkers, along with his clients.

Adjust Creative will be 2 years old in July and is only going to grow a bit more in the future. In the future, he sees Adjust getting a little bit bigger and forming more “teams.” Josh wants the company to be, “not well known, [but] in charge of [their] own destiny.” He also hopes to continue working “behind the scenes for projects to get into foreground working with interesting people.”


There are two pieces of advice Josh has for current and upcoming majors at Marywood. First he said, “[do] not hesitate at all. Engage and take advantage of resources with [your] professors. They are very remarkable resources.” He then finished by saying,Life does not have to start after college. Start looking for internships and part-time work as early as possible.”

Alum Profile: Erica Barone Pricci, Ph.D. (’03)

Profile by Elise Cargan (’16)

Currently serving as Lackawanna College’s Vice President of Academic Affairs, Erica Barone Pricci, Ph.D., is one of Marywood’s esteemed English department alumni. After her undergraduate studies at Marywood, Erica received her Master’s degree in English from Lehigh University and then returned back to Marywood to receive her Ph.D. in Human Development with a concentration in Higher Education Administration. When asked about how her studies as an English major helped prepare her for her career field, Erica can only rave about how beneficial studying English really is: “I learned to think critically and analyze problems in a logical, thoughtful way. My job requires me to communicate every day with a variety of constituencies, including students, parents, faculty, and staff, and my written and verbal communication skills were shaped by the strategies I learned as an English major.” Erica also cites the rhetorical situation— specifically Dr. Conlogue’s chalk-rendered version— as well as literary criticism and the importance of being a good reader as key to being a well-rounded professional.

Marywood Memories

Erica has many fabulous memories about her time as an undergrad at Marywood University. One of her favorite things to do in her English classes was to sit in a circle with her fellow classmates and discuss literature and writing. Through this process— one that is unique to schools like Marywood, which enjoy small class sizes— Erica was able to truly understand how literature helps make meaning out of life’s most complex situations, like giving new life to the tragedy of the 1930s and the Dust Bowl through John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. “When literature helped me understand society and culture in a way nothing else ever could, that was when some of my best memories were made,” she notes.

Advice for the Future

Like many seniors graduating from college, Erica experienced the same anxiety and dread as everyone else when looking for a start to her future career. Her advice for looking for a job is simple: find one that you are passionate about, and then figure out how your skills fit into it. She also urges current English majors to truly understand the versatility of an English degree: “English majors are great readers, thinkers, and writers, and the career opportunities for someone with those skills are endless . . . I am grateful to the Marywood English Department for giving me the foundation to pursue an educational and career path that I love!”

Alum Profile: Victoria Garafola (’13)

Profile by Sarah Wagner (’18)


Victoria Garafola, Freelance Writer
Osaka, Japan

Freelance Writing

As a freelance writer … I can make my own hours and work anywhere with an internet connection. It’s the perfect way to make money while traveling.

Victoria Garafola has spent the last two years living in Japan as a freelance writer. She is able to take on various writing projects as well as recreational writing. The hardest part of freelance writing, claims Victoria, is finding someone to work for. “I do almost all of my client sourcing on the internet. Once I find the client, I basically go back into ‘college mode,’ researching everything I can about the topic at hand,” she explains.

Victoria feels that living in Japan gives her an edge over others who want to write about Japan. In her time living there, she has seized the opportunity to try her best at learning the language. She studies how to read Kanji, the Japanese writing, for an hour everyday.

Victoria also enjoys exploring the country. She also believes that Japan has had a big influence on her poetry. “I believe we are a mixture of the people and cultures we surround ourselves in. So, in a way, I’ve adopted parts of Japan within myself and that is definitely noticeable in my creative writing,” she says.

Education at Marywood

I absolutely loved [Marywood’s] English department.I think their sense of detail and personal attention to academic progress instilled healthy research habits. My professors were always available to give individual guidance […] Marywood prepared me well because I was taught the tools I need to continue learning on my own.

Victoria graduated from Marywood in 2013 with a degree in English and four minors: Writing, Environmental Science, Women’s Studies, and Journalism. She felt that Marywood’s core curriculum really ignited her interest in these other subjects. Victoria has always loved the idea of adventure and traveling. It was even present in her capstone where she wrote about how traveling America is present in literature.

Victoria’s favorite memory at Marywood was when she went on a service trip to Guatemala. This was her first time traveling internationally. She feels that “walking through the colorful markets and ancient trails, witnessing another culture for the first time” had a huge influence on who she is today.

The most influential classes for Victoria included “Hunger in the 21st Century” and her senior seminar in the English department. “Hunger in the 21st Century” got her thinking about humanity’s problems at an international level, and her senior seminar gave her freedom to connect her literary studies with her own life and future.

Victoria Today: Travel, Poetry, and Her Dog, Margot

Basically my biggest passions are language, travel, and culture, so I’m doing everything I can to live a lifestyle that allows me to enjoy those things.

Victoria still continues to travel, even beyond Japan. Last year, she visited six countries, Italy being her favorite. Her favorite Japanese treats include avocado sushi, fresh mochi, and vegetable ramen, although the most interesting thing she’s tried was a fried maple leaf, which evidently tastes very much like a funnel cake. She writes poetry in her spare time and loves hanging out with her dog, who was the only friend that accompanied Victoria on her move to Japan.

Lastly, Some Advice to Live By

Take (scary) chances. Try to do what you want to do, get rejected, and try again. And again, if necessary.

Alum Profile: Rebecca Zukauskas (’05)

Profile by Michael Smith (’19)


Rebecca Zukauskas, Senior Editor
Northeast Editing (Pittston, PA)


Today, Rebecca Zukauskas (’05) is a senior editor and a mother. She writes everything from SAT prep materials to library reference articles for Northeast Editing—arguably the perfect job for an English major. Before she landed her current job, she graduated from Marywood University with a major in English. And before that, she was an avid reader. Zukauskas related that her mother was—and is—a prolific reader who “instill[ed] a love of reading” in her and her brother as they were growing up. Her favorite books include Pride and Prejudice and Dracula. The latter became the subject of a paper, entitled “But … You’re Just a Girl: Representations of the New Woman in Buffy and Dracula”  which Zukauskas presented at the 2004 Slayage conference, which featured scholarship on the show Buffy the Vampire Slayer.


In a literature class with Dr. Bittel, she learned of the Victorian “New Woman,” exemplified by the character Mina Harker in Dracula. Zukauskas saw a parallel between this archetype and another female protagonist from a story involving vampires: Willow Rosenberg of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She described revising her paper to present it at the conference as a “back and forth process” of deciding what her paper was about within the limitations of the conference presentation time limit. She went on to present another paper, “Princess Lessons: Gender, Power, and The Princess Diaries,” at the 2005 Southwest Popular/American Culture Conference. Its topic was the Princess Diaries book series.


Zukauskas felt that the classes she took and the information she got at the career nights she attended prepared her well for her career. She started work at Northeast Editing in November 2005, the year she graduated, and has been there ever since. While Zukauskas uses the writing skills she learned from her English classes every day, each day brings new and unique challenges. Northeast Editing’s clients have diverse needs, and meeting them often requires her to conduct research outside of her area of expertise. Thediversity of her liberal arts education has proven to be a valuable asset in this, giving her the background knowledge required to research effectively. She’s seen a significant shift in the way assessment is conducted in the time she’s been at Northeast Editing—tests are increasingly taken on electronic devices as technology becomes more prevalent in education. Despite this change, however, she has found that “good writing is still needed, and good editing is still needed.”

Zukauskas’s advice to English majors is simple: keep your options open. There’s “so much the English major can do.”

Alum Profile: Noelle Kozak (’13)

Profile by Hannah Moore (’18)


Noelle Kozak (’13), Young Adult Program Coordinator
Pittston Memorial Library

Where Is She Now?

Noelle Kozak is currently working at the Pittston Memorial Library in Pittston, Pennsylvania as a Young Adult Program Coordinator. In this position, Noelle works primarily with teens and some adults to engage them in various aspects of English.

Noelle remarked that studying English has prepared her greatly for her current job. Not only does Noelle use her English degree in working with books every day, but she states that it has also encouraged her to “be an effective communicator and to imagine people complexly.” She mentioned that these traits help her interact with people daily and also help her lead book discussions. In addition, she uses this background of English to get teens interested in various subjects such as nerd culture and writing; in this realm, she has had great success. She has even been successful in starting a club, she reports, called The Fangirls Fan Club, which is “a celebration of sorts for nerd culture and fandoms.” This group discusses entertainment pieces such as Harry Potter, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and Doctor Who.

Outside of work, Noelle continues to actively read and writing; in fact, she mentioned that she even reads more now. She also participates in making literary-themed jewelry which she sells on Etsy outside of the workplace.

Experience at Marywood

Noelle, who graduated with her English degree in 2013, mentioned that studying at Marywood provided some of the best memories of her life. Specifically, she described the trip abroad to England and Ireland with Dr. Sadlack and Sr. Margaret Gannon as her finest Marywood moment. She mentioned that this trip provided her with new friendships and a surreal experience of these countries’ cultures—including finding herself in very close proximity with Queen Elizabeth! She explained that it was an amazing experience to “see what we were reading about.”

Words of Wisdom

When asked about advice for future majors, Noelle stressed the importance of getting involved on campus: “I would say do as much as you can. College is to be enjoyed. Take that class just for fun, you never really know what will end up being useful.” Noelle goes on to state that two classes she took while at Marywood, YA Literature and Children’s Literature, help her every day. She mentioned that her own experience in college was much more rewarding upon joining clubs such as Bayleaf and the English Club: “Having that sense of community really means a lot—especially post-graduation.”


Alumna Profile: Francesca Kester (’14)

Profile by Madison Galanti (’17)


Francesca Kester (’14); Pennsylvania State University,  Dickinson School of Law  (’17)

Marywood Memories                                                                   

Francesca transferred to Marywood University her sophomore year in college. Having lived in Northeastern PA her entire life, she found herself anxious to return to her family and friends after being away for a year. Francesca had been on Marywood’s campus numerous times growing up, but when she came back to look at the university as a possible location to continue her education, she immediately knew that Marywood was the right place for her. She appreciated the atmosphere of community that overwhelms the campus.

When asked about an influential professor or advisor,  Francesca named Sister Christine Mihelich, IHM. Francesca expressed that Sister Christine had a significant impact on her life during her time at Marywood University. Sister Christine was always supportive of her goals and helped her to remain focused on her dreams when the unpredictability of life would sometimes get in the way. During the fall semester of her junior year, Francesca had the opportunity to study abroad in England at one of Marywood’s partner schools, Queen Mary University of London. Francesca shared that it was an amazing experience, explaining how her journey around Europe really shaped her into the person she is today. Francesca is a strong believer that everyone should take the time to travel and explore during college and would recommend it to all students at Marywood.

Why English?                                                                               

Francesca has a love for literature, which led her into choosing to study English at Marywood. Early on, Francesca knew that she wanted to pursue a career in law, so during her time at Marywood she took courses outside of the English Department in social sciences and history as well. The history courses helped Francesca to apply context to court opinions from the 1800s. The social science courses have helped Francesca when studying the areas in which our current system of law often fails certain marginalized people. A particular writer who has influenced Francesca is Justice Antonin Scalia. Francesca shares that she admires how he writes with narrative flair that is persuasive and full of conviction.

Francesca shares that writing her capstone paper was one of her biggest accomplishments during her time in the English Department at Marywood. To this day, she looks back on her paper and remembers the time and dedication she put in throughout that year. Francesca expresses that she had encouragement from the faculty during her research and writing stages and submitted a significant piece of work that she is still proud of.

Where To?                                                                                    

Francesca is a second-year law student at Penn State’s Dickinson Law in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, currently working in a judicial clerking position for the Honorable Martin C. Carlson, Chief US Magistrate of the Middle District of Pennsylvania. She hopes to pursue a career in state level criminal prosecution after graduation. Francesca shares that her English degree has helped her writing skills immensely. As a judicial clerk, her job is to read briefs and memoranda and then draft a recommendation for the judge to order. Francesca also shares that the importance of clear and succinct writing in the world of law cannot be overstated.

One piece of advice that Francesca has for students in the English Department is to “experiment with different courses. Take something you do not necessarily think you will have an interest in. Take something you want to learn more about. College is one of the only times in your life where you really have the opportunity to do this–take advantage of it.”