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2020 Orientation Pod Captains and Mentors

Meet your Pod Captains and Mentors for the 2020 Character U Season!

Character U is the First Year Experience Program at DeSales University.  The goal of Character U is to facilitate the adjustment, development, and success of first-year students through an experience of character traits relevant to our namesake, St. Francis de Sales: gentleness, humility, patience, generosity, and love of learning.  Each member of the Class of 2024 has been assigned to a pod.  Each pod has a Captain and 6 or 7 Peer Mentors.  Each Peer Mentor has been assigned 10-12 students to guide and assist throughout their first year at DeSales University.

Learn more about 2020 Orientation

DeSales Orientation Parade of Pods
Madison Mittenzwei

Madison Mittenzwei

Orientation Student Coordinator

Francesca Kaspar

Francesca Kaspar

Orientation Student Assistant

Travis Fenstermacher

Travis Fenstermacher

Orientation Student Assistant

Jacob Metzger

Jacob Metzger

Orientation Student Videographer

Pod 1—The 2000s

2020-Pod1-Asad

Mohammad (Mo) Asad

Major: Biology

Hometown: Allentown, PA

Advice for Freshmen:"DeSales is a university that is best enjoyed when you are involved as much as possible on campus. My first semester, I didn’t really do anything other than attend my classes and go home. As a commuter, I didn’t give much emphasis to staying on campus longer than I had to, and that caused me to miss out on some amazing opportunities. If there was one thing I wish I had known as a freshman, it would be that being involved on campus would have made my experience as a DeSales student more enjoyable than it already is."

2020-Pod1-Billings

Laura Billings

Major: Sport & Exercise Physiology, Minor in Psychology

Hometown: Coopersburg, PA

Advice for Freshmen: "Coming into DeSales I wish I knew how much time management becomes crucial with being a student athlete. Know that classes are your first priority and always make time for that before anything else. Many coaches are very understanding that school comes first so don't be afraid to talk to them if you are struggling with grades or time management throughout your season. They can give you advice on what you should do, give accommodations , and point you in the right direction to get help."

Ira Patel

Ira Patel

Major: Medical Studies

Hometown: Breinigsville, PA

Advice for Freshmen: "It definitely takes time to find a solid friend group so don't feel discouraged if it doesn't happen right away! Sometimes you click with people instantly, and sometimes you don't. Just remember to be yourself and be around people that motivate and encourage you! Also, remember these friends aren't limited to your major, the people you share common interests with could be studying something completely different from you and you can still have fun together."

Sabrina Ricciardi

Sabrina (Sab) Ricciardi

Major: Psychology, Minor in Biology

Hometown: Staten Island, NY

Advice for Freshmen: "Before coming to DeSales I wish I would have known all the free time I had. It was hard for me to adjust with the free time to figure out when to study, socialize, go to practice, etc. As I am entering my senior year, I am now well aware of all the amazing resources we have like the ARC and CDC who are there to help us. It is important to know that even as a first year student these resources are here for you."

Harrison Sloan

Harrison Sloan

Major: Healthcare Administration

Hometown: Abington, PA

Advice for Freshmen: "Incoming students should know about the many options and opportunities DeSales offers, not just through Character U, but with the many other resources at DeSales. Thanks to orientation, I learned very quickly all of the different opportunities DeSales has and the freedom and choices we have available to us."

Elizabeth Wantz

*Captain* Elizabeth (Liz) Wantz

Major: Medical Studies

Hometown: York, PA

Advice for Freshmen: "College is not high school. This is a chance for you to start from scratch. That can be very scary, but it can also be the best thing to ever happen to you if you stay open to new experiences and people that may become lifelong friends."

 

Pod 2—The 1920s

Olivia Craig

*Captain* Olivia (Liv) Craig

Major: Biology

Hometown: Sickersville, PA

Advice for Freshmen: "Transitioning to college and changing from what you are familiar with at home is tough. It is NORMAL if you feel homesick. It is OKAY to not love every aspect of college right away. It does not mean college isn't for you. It does not mean you have to give up. There are so many people who had trouble with the transition too and there are many who can help you through yours (like mentors, RA's, professors, etc), so you are not alone. It may not happen overnight, but DeSales will become a home to you just like it has for every other upper class man student. Take your time with the transition and do not be afraid to ask for help if you need it!"

Brianna Holodinski

Brianna Holodinski

Major: Psychology

Hometown: Hillsborough, NJ

Advice for Freshmen: "I wish I would've known that classes and grading is so different from high school, and that there is an adjustment period. What I was used to in high school is not what DeSales was like, and it took me a little while to figure things out. I wish I would have known this so I wasn't so hard on myself my first semester!"

Emma Jendrek

Emma (Em) Jendrek

Major: Nursing and Theology

Hometown: Pasadena, MD

Advice for Freshmen: "Everyone is just as scared and nervous as you are but this will be okay. Be open to new experiences. I want more freshmen to know about Pre-O."

Therese McCormick

Therese (Tess) McCormick

Major: English STEP

Hometown: Lehighton, PA

Advice for Freshmen: "I wish I knew that I was more capable than I thought I was. I was pretty stressed about going to college for the first time because I didn't have as much faith in my abilities as I do now."

Nicolette Patala

Nicolette (Nico) Patala

Major: Medical Studies

Hometown: Staten Island, NY

Advice for Freshmen: "Going into DeSales my freshman year, I really didn't acknowledge the fact that everyone was going through the exact same thing that I was. I wish I had embraced the journey (even the awkward and scary moments) because all of those moments have gotten me to where I am now and have made me the person that I am today. I want freshmen to know that everything isn't going to be perfect and that you're going to experience a lot of different emotions when you first come into college. Embrace all of the emotions you feel and remember that everything happens for a reason (and that you're going to be just fine!!)"

Frank Tiano

Frank (Frankie) Tiano

Major: Nursing

Hometown: North Wales, PA

Advice for Freshmen: "I wish I knew before entering DeSales as a freshman is how friendly and welcoming everyone is. I want the freshman to know that we are all a family, do not be scared and have the best 4 years of your life!"

Christopher Yang

Christopher (Chris) Yang

Major: Medical Studies

Hometown: Albany, NY

Advice for Freshmen: "Prior to coming to DeSales, I wish I knew how the printers worked. I want all the Freshman to know how to manage my Dining Dollars properly so that they can maximize the amount of food they get and do not run out before the semester is over."

 

Pod 3—The 1990s

Elizabeth Andrewcavage

Elizabeth (Liz) Andrewcavage

Major: Biology

Hometown: Fracksville, PA

Advice for Freshmen: "You might think you have everything for your dorm, but trust me you don’t- don’t room with your friend from high school, it is better to branch out-Get involved from the start-don’t be afraid to say hi to random people when you Get there, it is How you will make friends-How to properly time manage-it is going to go by faster than you can think-don’t procrastinate because if you do you may not be able to take up a fun opportunity-not every friend you make is going to be a long term friend."

 
Kyle Chorzewski  

Kyle Chorzewski

Major: Medical Studies

Hometown: Concord, NH

Advice for Freshmen: "Just relax and have fun. Things will work out and as long as you work hard and designate times for that, you can relax and have fun quite often. Just manage your time efficiently and everything will be fine."

Molly Dew

Molly Dew

Major: Criminal Justice

Hometown: Flemington, NJ

Advice for Freshmen: "Take advantage of the tutoring center early in the semester so that you can learn what tutor works best for you before any major exams."

 
Kaitlyn Klosz
 

Kaitlyn Klosz

Major: Medical Studies

Hometown: West Milford, NJ

Advice for Freshmen: "I wish I knew how many opportunities there are at DeSales. There are so many different clubs and groups that you can be a part of that I didn't know about until after freshman year. I wish I had gotten more involved in my first year because I didn't until sophomore year. "

Theresa Tangradi

Theresa Tangradi

Major: Nursing

Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

Advice for Freshmen: "Don't be afraid to be yourself and get involved!"

Mason Trauger

*Captain* Mason Trauger

Major: Health Science/Physical Therapy, Minors in Behavioral Neuroscience and Biology

Hometown: Allentown, PA

Advice for Freshmen: "I wish I knew how many opportunities there were to get involved on campus. There are a host of clubs that meet at so many different times, and they're always accepting new members - even if you don't sign up during Orientation or your first semester. "

Danielle Wachter

Danielle Wachter

Major: Nursing

Hometown: Roxbury, NJ

Advice to Freshmen: "Before coming to DeSales as a freshman, I wish I would have known how many clubs and activities there are to get involved in. There are so many great clubs and groups to join where you can meet friends and gain leadership experience."

 

Pod 4—The 1940s

Zachary Azar

Zachary (Zach) Azar

Major: Marketing

Hometown: Royersford, PA

Advice for Freshmen: "Do not look at the weekends as an opportunity to go home. Use the weekends as an opportunity to get more acclimated to DeSales."

 
Margaret Bielic

Margaret (Maggie) Bielic

Major: Medical Studies

Hometown: Millstone, NJ

Advice for Freshmen: "Show up to class and get involved. It truly is a privilege to be able to attend college, so take advantage of your time here. There are so many clubs and organizations on campus both run by students or faculty the possibilities are endless! Trust me, you’ll be glad you did! "

 
Emily Bielski

Emily (Em) Bielski

Major: Accounting

Hometown: McVeytown, PA

Advice for Freshmen: "Take full advantage of the friendly relationships that professors and advisors provide. They can help you figure out not only your classes, schedules and majors but aid in helping you figure out what you truly want to get out of life."

 
Christian Bryson

Christian Bryson

Major: Sport & Exercise Physiology

Hometown: Bridgewater, NJ

Advice for Freshmen: "Don't be afraid to get out there and show everyone who you are. Each person is so unique and brings things to the table that nobody else can so enjoy each moment and 'be who you are and be that well.'"

 
Mary Bushner

*Captain* Mary Bushner

Major: Nursing

Hometown: Blue Bell, PA

Advice for Freshmen: "Class of 2024 be brave, by bold and be you! These next four years of college make new friends, try new things and become the person God intended for you to be. Make your college experience your own!"

 
Gianna DAcunto

Gianna D'Acunto

Major: Elementary Education

Hometown: Staten Island, NY

Advice for Freshmen: "Take each day at a time, and focus on the present rather than the future. Don't stress about the little things and try to find a positive in each day."

 
Miranda Koch

Miranda Koch

Major: Nursing

Hometown: Schuylkill Haven, PA

Advice for Freshmen: "Trust yourself and the process when entering this new journey into college. Everything will work out one way or another and you have to remind yourself of that!"

 

 

Pod 5—The 1950s

Kade Adomanis

Kade Adomanis

Major: Sport & Exercise Physiology, Minor in Psychology

Hometown: Red Lion, PA

Advice for Freshmen: "Everything happens for a reason. Think positively and don't let the disappointment from HS carry into college. This is a new start!"

Abigail Chisdak

Abigail (Abby) Chisdak

Major: Early Childhood Education

Hometown: Fogelsville, PA

Advice for Freshmen: "I wish I would have known that I have the freedom to be whoever I want to be to this new crowd of unfamiliar faces. I was shy and quiet when I first came to DeSales but now I feel like a completely new person. Most of all remember that they are not alone, there are so many others going through the same exact process."

Erik Kleinfelder

Erik (Da Figs) Kleinfelder

Major: Criminal Justice

Hometown: Bensalem, PA

Advice for Freshmen: "Know how to do your own laundry. I suggest doing it on Wednesday nights because everyone tries to do theirs on the weekends."

Laura Mezzetta

Laura (LOM) Mezzetta

Major: Medical Studies

Hometown: Danbury, CT

Advice for Freshmen: "The adjustment to college may seem overwhelming at first and it's so easy to feel discouraged, but if you're patient for just a little while longer... it will all work itself out! Getting involved on campus whether it be with a sport, a club, or even finding a work study on campus will make the adjustment that much easier. The more people you get to know, the more comfortable you feel and the bigger your second family will get!"

Meghan Pineau

Meghan (Meg) Pinneau

Major: Medical Studies

Hometown: Shelton, CT

Advice for Freshmen: "The transition to college is always tough, especially for them since we're under very different circumstances, but put yourself out there and be active on campus and try to meet as many new people as possible."

Aislinn Roth

*Captain* Aislinn Roth

Major: Sport & Exercise Physiology

Hometown: Berkeley Heights, NJ

Advice for Freshmen: "I wish I had known that everyone on campus really is as friendly as they are when you come to visit! The entire faculty and staff really want to see each student succeed. They will do their best to support you however you need, and go the extra mile to help you out. I have never felt alone at DeSales, there is always someone who is willing to listen to you and help you figure things out."

 Melissa Schoen

Melissa (Mel) Schoen

Major: Medical Studies

Hometown: Stillwater, NJ

Advice for Freshmen: "Being in the Valley, we can have some breezy weather on campus. I would recommend bringing a waterproof raincoat, waterproof shoes, and/or a durable umbrella that can withstand some wind."

 

Pod 6—The 1960s

Erin Chioffe

*Captain* Erin Chioffe

Major: Nursing

Hometown: Jamison, PA

Advice for Freshmen: "Be the one who is willing to try new things, embrace change, and inspire others with your smile. "

Shea Elliot

Shea Elliot

Major: Theology

Hometown: Bethlehem, PA

Advice for Freshmen: "Get involved on campus! You never know who you're going to meet and what opportunities it will open up, so step out of your comfort zone."

Ciarrah Holmqvist

Ciarrah (Cici) Holmqvist

Major: Biology

Hometown: Bangor, PA

Advice for Freshmen: "Time management is key! I'm sure this sounds repetitive, but once you prioritize your work you will find that you have spare time to do fun activities with your friends and potentially meet new people."

Jareb Keyock

Jareb (Jeb) Keyock

Major: Marketing and Healthcare Administration

Hometown: Bethlehem, PA

Advice for Freshmen: "Embrace orientation. When I look back to my freshman orientation I really wish I embraced it more than I did. You only get to participate in freshman orientation once, you are surrounded by people that are just as uncomfortable as you... so why not embrace being uncomfortable and make some new friends?"

Brianna Lonergan

Brianna (Bri) Lonergan

Major: Medical Studies

Hometown: Little Egg Harbor, NJ

Advice for Freshmen: "Challenge yourself to try things outside of your comfort zone. College is a time to learn and to grow and to cultivate your own interests. Get involved early, even if you think you can't handle it with your major or need time to adjust, life moves fast and college flies by!"

Catherine McClain

Catherine McClain

Major: Early Childhood Education

Hometown: Mullica Hill, NJ

Advice for Freshmen: "Remember to have fun. School and studying are very important, but so is making memories with friends! Don't hesitate to go on a CAB trip and go to a sports game! That is when you will make your best memories with your friends!"

Isabelle Meckes

Isabelle (Belle) Meckes

Major: Accounting

Hometown: Lehighton, PA

Advice for Freshmen: "Don’t be afraid to be yourself and try new things."

Michael Robinson

Michael (Mike) Robinson

Major: Health Science and Physical Therapy, Minors in Psychology and Business

Hometown: Staten Island, NY

Advice for Freshmen: "Try new things! There were a lot of split-second decisions during my freshman year that ended up having a profound, positive impact on my life at DeSales. Many of those decisions involved stepping outside of my comfort zone, and all of those decisions I do not regret for a second. DO take chances, DON'T let opportunities pass you by!"

 

Pod 7—The 1970s

Savanna Buchinsky

Savanna (Sav) Buchinsky

Major: Nursing

Hometown: Lehighton, PA

Advice for Freshmen: "Study hard, make it your first priority but don't forget to make friends and enjoy yourself as well."

Grace Denarski

Grace Denarski

Major: Sport & Exercise Physiology

Hometown: Lawrenceville, NJ

Advice for Freshmen: "I wish I knew more about tutortrac and how to specifically book a tutor. They are very helpful for the transition from high school writing to college writing and help make it way less overwhelming!"

Dylan Firestone

*Captain* Dylan (Pip) Firestone

Major: Finance, Minor in Economics

Hometown: Saylorsburg, PA

Advice for Freshmen: "When it seems that times are getting hard or you have questions or just need to talk, please reach out and tell someone. Everyone is willing to help and everyone wants to see you succeed."

Mia Gallagher

Mia Gallagher

Major: Criminal Justice and Psychology

Hometown: Allentown, PA

Advice for Freshmen: "I wish I would have known how much stuff I needed to bring to school. You don't need to bring as much stuff as you think."

Hayden Pletscher

Heyden Pletscher

Major: Nursing

Hometown: Sellersville, PA

Advice for Freshmen: "One thing I wish I knew before coming to DeSales is that you really can't park many other places than your dorm if you are a resident on campus. You'll be walking everywhere, all the time."

Mark Stenske

Mark Stenske

Major: Medical Studies and Biology

Hometown: Allentown, PA

Advice for Freshmen: "Lean on each other. Your friends and your family are there for you. It's not always going to be easy, but it's an experience you''ll love and never forget. Getting involved brings you closer to so many people. Don't underestimate how much the faculty and staff want to help, they are always there for you, use that resource."

Jean You

Jean You

Major: Medical Studies

Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA

Advice for Freshmen: "make sure to take care of yourself mentally and physically. College is a time of adjustment and along the way, it's common to feel overwhelmed and unsure at times. During those times, make it your priority to take care of yourself and really tune in to your thoughts and figure out ways to relax and nurture your health. I know in my experience, taking care of myself when I felt stressed and overwhelmed, helped make me feel more positive, energized, and motivated to get back to work."

 

Pod 8—The 1980s

Adrian Anatalio

Adrian Anatalio

Major: Sport & Exercise Physiology

Hometown: Whitehall, PA

Advice for Freshmen: "Don’t try too hard to be unique. You will stand out from the crowd to those who matter simply by being who you are, and being that well. If you have not yet encountered this pithy quote by St. Francis de Sales, be prepared to hear it incessantly during your college experience. Also, never forget that this quote continues, to give glory and honor to the Master Craftsman whose work of art you are."

Mason Everett

Mason Everett

Major: Medical Studies

Hometown: New Tripoli, PA

Advice for Freshmen: "Failure is an inevitable part of life, so don't be afraid to take chances. Never stop trying new things and follow your dreams no matter what gets in your way!"

Martha Giletto

Martha Giletto

Major: Chemistry

Hometown: Whitehall, PA

Advice for Freshmen: "During orientation, soak everything in and ask questions about anything."

Alexandra Harvey

Alexandra (Alex) Harvey

Major: Medical Studies

Hometown: Pottstown, PA

Advice for Freshmen: "There are always people here for you! So many different people have reached out to me as a freshman offering help when I needed it. Also remember you are not alone! There are hundreds of new freshmen all experiencing the tough adjustment to college. You can always talk to someone and most likely they will understand what you are going through! I didn’t realize how many unique opportunities DeSales has. I attended FLS and Outreach, which were incredible experiences. They allowed me to build great relationships and learn so many new things. I think emphasizing all the great programs/clubs the school has would be great. People may think that since we’re a smaller school we may have less activities, although it’s the opposite!"

Lynsey Hunt

Lynsey (Lyns) Hunt

Major: Marketing

Hometown: Staten Island, NY

Advice for Freshmen: "Utilize your mentor! If you have any questions, big or small, your mentor is here to help you every step of the way!"

Kathryn Kmetz

Kathryn (Katie) Kmetz

Major: Biology, Minors in Psychology, Ethical Leadership, and Behavioral Neuroscience

Hometown: Stroudsburg, PA

Advice for Freshmen: "Find fun, healthy ways to de-stress. CAB has a ton of great events to take a break from studying and go to!"

Kelly Mulhern

*Captain* Kelly (Kel) Mulhern

Major: Medical Studies

Hometown: Downingtown, PA

Advice for Freshmen: "I wish I knew how fast time really goes by. I wish I knew an easier way to access work study positions. I wish I knew how hot Dooling gets and how ice cold Gambet/Hurd are. I wish I knew how many places there are to explore off campus. I wish I knew how helpful the CDC is. I wish I knew super cool and efficient ways to get crafty with meals in the microwave."