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Pitt-Johnstown Alumni Share Success Stories and Discuss Real-World Experiences

Pitt-Johnstown Alumni Share Success Stories and Discuss Real-World Experiences

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     Five University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown alumni are returning to campus to discuss their successes in the field of Geography as part of the campus’ 21st annual Geography Awareness Week.  The event, sponsored by the UPJ Geography Department, will be held Monday, November 12 through Friday, November 16.

     “The event highlights a number of our geography graduates who return to campus to discuss the many job opportunities that are available in geography.  We try to bring back graduates who are living in the greater Johnstown area to discuss the exact nature of these jobs,” said Dr. William B. Kory, UPJ associate professor and chair, Geography Department.

     The week-long events begin at noon Monday, November 12 with the presentation, “Geography in Local Government,” by Bradley A. Zearfoss, director, Somerset County Planning Commission.  Mr. Zearfoss received a bachelor’s degree in geography from UPJ in 1983 and a master’s degree in geography from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

     At 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Joseph Matthew Sernell, watch officer, City of Johnstown, will discuss “Geography and Emergency Management.”  Mr. Sernell is a 2006 UPJ graduate.

     At 11 a.m. Wednesday, Brandi Nagle, policy analyst for environmental credit corporation, will discuss “Geography and the Environment.”  Ms. Nagle earned a bachelor’s degree in geography from UPJ in 2003 and a master’s degree from the Pennsylvania State University.

     At 2 p.m. Wednesday, Melissa Reckner, director, Kiski-Conemaugh Stream Team, will present, “AMD and Water Quality Issues in Local Watersheds.” Ms. Reckner earned her bachelor of art’s degree in environmental studies from UPJ and minored in geography.

     At 11 a.m. Thursday, Craig A. Minnick, attorney with the Federal Government, will discuss “Job Opportunities in the Federal Government.” Mr. Minnick earned a bachelor’s degree in geography in 1986 from UPJ, a master’s degree in geography from Michigan State University, and a jurist doctorate from George Washington University.  He is a lieutenant-colonel in the Army Reserve and a veteran of Operation “Iraq Freedom.”

     A Geography Open House will be held Friday in the Geography Department, Krebs Hall.

     The UPJ Geography Department has been holding Geography Awareness Week since 1987 when President Ronald Regan signed into law legislation designating a week in November as the Geography Awareness Week. 

     Additional information on any of the week’s events may be obtained by contacting Dr. William B. Kory at 814-269-2994 (

     UPJ is a vital knowledge center defining excellence and a foremost contributor to the area’s educational, social, cultural and economic environment through:  excellent faculty teaching, scholarship, and service, as well as enriching faculty-student mentorships and collaborations in scholarship, research, and creative activity; operating as a top employer and key partner in shaping the economic future with an annual impact exceeding $60 million; engaging the community through exceptional volunteerism by faculty, staff, and students; expanding the workforce capacity by linking theory to practice through experiences such as internships and service learning projects; exceeding the  national averages of student graduation and retention rates of similar institutions; a tradition of athletic excellence, with nationally recognized and award-winning programs; 17,000 alumni making a difference throughout the community and world; and by growing partnerships with businesses in areas such as healthcare, education, commerce, technology, and the arts.

Posted by Sernell, Jeff on 11/12/2007 9:00:00 AM