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2021 Orientation Pod Captains and Mentors

Meet your Pod Captains and Mentors for the 2021 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 2025 has been assigned to a pod.  Each pod has a Captain and 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 2021 Orientation

DeSales Orientation Parade of Pods

Orientation Team

Liv Craig

Olivia (Liv) Craig—Orientation Team Co-Coordinator

Major: Physician Assistant Program

Hometown: Sicklerville, NJ

Advice for Class of 2025:"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, so you are not alone! Be patient with yourself, ask for help, and branch out of your comfort zone. Before you know it this place will become your home!"

Travis Fenstermacher

Travis Fenstermacher—Orientation Team Co-Coordinator

Major: Accounting

Hometown: Whitehall, PA

Advice for Class of 2025: "Don't be afraid to go out of your comfort zone and meet new people. College flies by, so make the most of it!"

Zac Gutherman

Zachary (Zac) Gutherman—Orientation Team Videographer

Major: TV/Film

Hometown: Langhorne, PA

Advice for Class of 2025: "Take advantage of every opportunity that college gives you and make the most of your 4 years."

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Jacob Metzger—Orientation Team Videographer

Major: TV/Film

Hometown: Allentown, PA

Advice for Class of 2025: "Just do what you want. Your true friends will find you."

Nicollete patala

Nicolette Patala—Orientation Team Co-Coordinator

Major: Physician Assistant Program

Hometown: Staten Island, NY

Advice for Class of 2025: "Make sure to take care of yourself both mentally and physically. While your studies are important, remember to keep in touch with your friends and family from home, and continue to do what makes you happy and what you are passionate about outside of school. It's so important to not lose what you love doing & what makes you happy just because you feel like your studies or other school commitments take up all of that time. Take care of yourself and check up on others around you! We're all in this together."

Ira Patel

Ira Patel—Orientation Team Co-Coordinator

Major: Physician Assistant Program

Hometown: Breinigsville, PA

Advice for Class of 2025: "Be patient with yourself and the process! It takes time to find your place on campus, so don’t feel discouraged if it takes a little longer than expected. Most importantly, enjoy every little moment, college will be over before you know it!"

Mason Trauger

Mason Trauger—Orientation Team Co-Coordinator

Major: Health Science/Physical Therapy

Hometown: Allentown, PA

Advice for Class of 2025: "Get involved early! There are plenty of opportunities out there to make friends and have some tremendous opportunities, but the longer you wait, the more difficult it'll seem to get around to it."

Liz Wantz

Elizabeth (Liz) Wantz—Orientation Team Co-Coordinator

Major: Physician Assistant Program

Hometown: York, PA

Advice for Class of 2025: "Use this transition as a fresh start; be who you want to be, not who you think you are supposed to be based on your high school experiences. Please understand that if you are having trouble in the beginning, DeSales is full of resources to help with almost any difficulty. Over time, you will find friends that become a second family and learn to rely on one another."

 

Pod 1

Frank Tiano

Captain Frank Tiano

Major: Nursing

Hometown: North Wales, PA

Advice for Class of 2025:"Be yourself and never set a limit on your abilities. Reach for the sky and never settle for anything less. You are all an amazing creation to this world, so show your personality to everyone because we are all so excited to get to know you!"

Shea Elliott

Shea Elliott

Major: Catholic Theology, Minor in Education

Hometown: Bethlehem PA

Advice for Class of 2025: "Say hi to your peers during orientation! You never know which hello may lead to a life-long friendship."

Mia Gallagher

Mia Gallagher

Major: Criminal Justice

Hometown: Allentown, PA

Advice for Class of 2025: "Don't be afraid to ask for help. Everyone is here to help you."

Xavier Gordon

Xavier Gordon

Major: Business Administration

Hometown: Northampton, PA

Advice for Class of 2025: "Be Yourself! Do not let anyone tell you how to live your life."

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Brenna Johnson

Major: Dance/Psychology

Hometown: West Wyoming, PA

Advice for Class of 2025: Don't overstress yourself. Take opportunities. Have fun!"

Jacqueline Schmitt

Jacqueline (Jacqui) Schmitt

Major: Early Elementary Education

Hometown: Stanhope, NJ

Advice for Class of 2025: "Do not be afraid to ask questions. Everyone at DeSales has been in your shoes and wants to help you have the easiest transition to college possible."

Lucy Specht

Lucy Specht

Major: Medical Studies

Hometown: South Abington Township, PA

Advice for Class of 2025: "Just try to take in the moment. Your freshman year of college goes fast. Make sure to stay on top of your academics, of course, but also make sure to relax and have fun."

Kevin Valdes

Kevin Valdes

Major: Medical Studies

Hometown: Mahopac, NY

Advice for Class of 2025: "Although we are slowly moving out of COVID times and becoming more open with in-person interactions/events, I am sure it will be difficult or awkward for some to adjust back to going to events, or communicating between peers. Make the transition at your own pace, immersing yourself into campus life and community wherever and however you please. At the same time, just try to take the initiative as much as you can when going to campus events and meeting new friends or professors. Take the courage to introduce yourself or start a conversation."

 

Pod 2

Lynsey Hunt

Captain Lynsey Hunt

Major: Marketing & Healthcare Administration

Hometown: Staten Island, NY

Advice for Class of 2025:"Give Orientation a chance! It may be very easy to think that it's not for you or that it isn’t cool, but Orientation is a lot of fun when you sit back, relax, and be yourself. As the year goes on, don’t be afraid to utilize your mentor and reach out if you need help with ANYTHING! They’re here to help you every step along the way."

Lucas Acosta-Morales

Lucas Acosta-Morales

Major: Computer Science and Mathematics

Hometown: Chalfont, PA

Advice for Class of 2025: "Get to know your professors. They will be your biggest resource and are always looking to help you both in the classroom and with your personal and career goals."

Mo Asad

Mohammed (Mo) Asad

Major: Biology, Minor: Neuroscience

Hometown: Allentown, PA

Advice for Class of 2025: "Try to make a difference. As intimidating as college can be, being active on campus dramatically helps in boosting familiarity and self-confidence. Working with your peers towards a bigger goal helps you come out of your shell and develops the skills you need to be successful and make the most out of your college experience."

Megan Brubaker

Megan Brubaker

Major: Medical Studies

Hometown: Thompsontown, PA

Advice for Class of 2025: "Don't be afraid to put yourself out there to meet new people or go to new events. It takes effort to make college feel like home, but it's so worth it once you get there."

Dylan FIrestone

Dylan Firestone

Major: Finance and TV/Film

Hometown: Saylorsburg,, PA

Advice for Class of 2025: "College goes by fast, take every moment as you can and enjoy every bit of it, ups and downs."

Bri Holodinski

Brianna (Bri) Holodinski

Major: Forensic Psychology

Hometown: Hillsborough, NJ

Advice for Class of 2025: "Get involved, take every opportunity given and give it your all! The time here will pass by even quicker than high school, so savor every minute!"

Alexys Vernier

Alexys Vernier

Major: Early Childhood Education

Hometown: Tabernacle, NJ

Advice for Class of 2025: "Be yourself and step out of your comfort zone. Taking the next step out of your comfort zone will not only open up to new opportunities but allow you to meet new people."

Gianna Zongora

Gianna Zongora

Major: Business Administration

Hometown: Bethlehem, PA

Advice for Class of 2025: "Allow yourself to embrace the unknowns of college. Be your authentic self, step out of your comfort zone and utilize a growth mindset about what is to come in your next few years at DeSales. It is important to remember that you are not alone in the process and have so many people cheering you on. Everything will fall into place when the timing is right. Always keep in mind that adversity is a catalyst for success."

 

Pod 3

Liz Andrewcavage

Captain Liz Andrewcavage

Major: Biology

Hometown: Frackville, PA

Advice for Class of 2025:"Never be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. This is a time for you to potentially recreate who you want to be. Join the club that peaks your interest because you never know how much of an impact that it will have on you. This is your chance to be who YOU want to be so make the most of it while you still can!"

Sarah Beard

Sarah Beard

Major: Early Childhood Education

Hometown: Reading, PA

Advice for Class of 2025: "Come in with a positive attitude and do not be afraid to just be yourself."

Tom Berg III

Thomas Berg III (TB3)

Major: Biology/STEP Education

Hometown: Cliffside Park, NJ

Advice for Class of 2025: "The most important thing is to strike a balance between school, social life, and athletics if the person is a student-athlete. It is important to dedicate time to having fun and playing a sport so you do not burn yourself out from school all the time. However, it is of the utmost importance to focus on school and to understand when you have to dedicate a lot of time to studying or doing papers/projects. Ironically, it goes by very fast, so it is important to enjoy every day with no regrets."

Mason Everett

Mason Everett

Major: Medical Studies

Hometown: New Tripoli, PA

Advice for Class of 2025: "College is more than just school. Take some time to yourself and do something you enjoy. Mental health is so important!"

Mary Cris Guerin

Maria (Mary Cris) Guerin

Major: Nursing

Hometown: Chester Springs, PA

Advice for Class of 2025: "Set achievable goals for yourself so that one step at a time you start becoming the person you were meant to be."

Erik Kleinfelder

Erik Kleinfelder

Major: Criminal Justice, Minor in Homeland Security

Hometown: Whitehall, PA

Advice for Class of 2025: "Don’t be afraid to go up and introduce yourself to people, most likely they’re in the same boat as you. This is a new experience for everyone, so make the most out of it."

Sarah Peterson

Sarah Peterson

Major: Sports and Exercise Physiology

Hometown: Harpursville, NY

Advice for Class of 2025: "Make as many connections as you can."

Erin Wang

Erin Wang

Major: Medical Studies

Hometown: Downingtown, PA

Advice for Class of 2025: "Figure out what your priorities are and create plans to achieve them and finding the balance between working and having fun is crucial to success."

 

Pod 4

Mary Bushner

Captain Mary Bushner

Major: Nursing, Minor in Theology

Hometown: Blue Bell, PA

Advice for Class of 2025:"This is a fresh new start and my advice would be to make the most of it. This is a chance to become the person you want to be. Get involved early and remember that these next four years will help you create your future."

Alex Abouafech

Alex Abouafech

Major: Biology

Hometown: Allentown, PA

Advice for Class of 2025: "Take on life one day at a time. Be positive and win the day!"

Grace Bowmaster

Grace Bowmaster

Major: Musical Theatre

Hometown: Harrisburg, PA

Advice for Class of 2025: "Go for every opportunity that you are able to. College is an experience where you can be independent but you still have people to help you along the way. Also look at the events happening and have fun with friends, it isn't always about academics."

Gianna D'Acunto

Gianna D’Acunto

Major: Early Childhood Elementary Education

Hometown: Staten Island, NY

Advice for Class of 2025: "Freshman year is about discovering who you are and who you want to be. Get involved and try new things. It is okay to not enjoy everything you try, but find your niche and run with it. Step out of your comfort zone and make the most out of the opportunities DeSales offers."

Nate Estock

Nathaniel (Nate) Estock

Major: Medical Studies

Hometown: Bethlehem, PA

Advice for Class of 2025: "If you have any questions, ask anyone. Most people will help."

Joanne Gemperline

Joanne Gemperline

Major: Sport and Exercise Physiology, minors in Psychology/Biomechanics

Hometown: Springfield, VA

Advice for Class of 2025: "If there is an opportunity you're hesitant about, DO IT! There will always be people who can assist you with it."

Kim Lemke

Kimberly (Kim) Lemke

Major: Communication

Hometown: Lower Nazareth, PA

Advice for Class of 2025: "Get involved, meet people, and keep an open mind!"

Hayden Pletscher

Hayden Pletscher

Major: Nursing

Hometown: Coopersburg, PA

Advice for Class of 2025: "Try to take time for yourself and don't take life too seriously!"

 

Pod 5

Abby Chisdack

Captain Abigail (Abby) Chisdak

Major: Elementary Education

Hometown: Fogelsville, PA

Advice for Class of 2025:"Take in every moment here on campus, the good and the bad, because it all goes by so fast."

Alex Harvey

Alexandra (Alex) Harvey

Major: Medical Studies

Hometown: King of Prussia, PA

Advice for Class of 2025: "Believe in yourself! College can be scary but it can also be the most exciting years of your life! Having the confidence and a positive attitude that you can achieve your goals will help you much more than you think."

Nicole Imbriano

Nicole Imbriano

Major: Sports Management, Minor in Marketing

Hometown: Verona, NJ

Advice for Class of 2025: "Get involved!"

Jeb Keyock

Jareb (Jeb) Keyock

Major: Marketing and Healthcare Administration

Hometown: Bethlehem, PA

Advice for Class of 2025: "Be sure to embrace orientation! You only get one and you may make friends that will last beyond DeSales."

Brandon Rank

Brandon Rank

Major: Accounting (Data Analytics Track)

Hometown: Center Valley, PA

Advice for Class of 2025: "Make the most of your time here at DeSales, and always remember that one bad grade, one bad day, doesn't define the rest of your academic and post-academic career, and it certainly doesn't define who you are as a person."

Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez

Major: Healthcare Administration, Minor in Data Analytics

Hometown: Bear, DE

Advice for Class of 2025: "Have fun and enjoy your first year of college and get involved!"

Theresa Tangradi

Theresa Tangradi

Major: Nursing

Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

Advice for Class of 2025: "There are always so many people to support you! Everyone here wants to see you succeed! Don't be afraid to reach out to your friends, mentor, RA, faculty, or anyone else on campus if you ever need anything. Everyone is here to help you."

Paige Thompson

Paige Thompson

Major: Medical Studies

Hometown: Doylestown, PA

Advice for Class of 2025: "Expand your horizons and try not to stress about all the little things during freshman year. It is easy to freak out since this may be your first time away from home, but everyone is in the same boat and everyone needs a friend as well."

 

Pod 6

Kyle Chorzewski

Captain Kyle Chorzewski

Major: Medical Studies

Hometown: Concord, NH

Advice for Class of 2025:"Just relax and enjoy the opportunities you get at DeSales. Yes, you will have to work hard for classes, but express yourself and have fun. Things will work themselves out, so find your happiness and don't worry too much about everything else. It will all work out."

Zach Azar

Zachary (Zach) Azar

Major: Marketing

Hometown: Royersford, NJ

Advice for Class of 2025: "Manage your time wisely and make a to-do list to stay organized. Also use the weekend as a time to get to know your neighbors and other classmates!"

Nolan Beck

Nolan Beck

Major: Accounting (Data Analytics Track), Minor in Music

Hometown: Mifflinburg, PA

Advice for Class of 2025: "Try to meet everybody - fellow freshmen, mentors, professors, staff members, etc."

Sophie Cebenko

Sophia (Sophie) Cebenko

Major: Nursing, Minor in Spanish

Hometown: New Tripoli, PA

Advice for Class of 2025: "Push yourself out of your comfort zone by trying new things because this will lead to growth and confidence."

Emma Jendrick

Emma Jendrek

Major: Nursing

Hometown: Pasadena, MD

Advice for Class of 2025: "Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone, amazing things can happen."

Kay Metschulat

Kirstin (Kay) Metschulat

Major: Early Childhood

Hometown: Moscow, PA

Advice for Class of 2025: "Stay true to yourself! Don't worry about what other people think of you, keep your head up, be considerate and kind, get involved and try new things, do what makes you happy!"

Shay Slozer

Shaylynn (Shay) Slozer

Major: Business Administration

Hometown: Kernersville, NC

Advice for Class of 2025: "Put yourself out there and step out of your comfort zone."

Abby Vernon

Abigail (Abby) Vernon

Major: Musical Theatre, Minor in Business Management

Hometown: Allentown, NJ

Advice for Class of 2025: "Don’t be afraid to get involved! The more you push yourself out of your comfort zone, the more fun you will have and people you will meet."

 

Pod 7

Meg Pineau

Captain Meghan (Meg) Pineau

Major: Biology

Hometown: Shelton, CT

Advice for Class of 2025:"Put yourself out there and don't be afraid to make new friends or try new things. This is where you'll figure out what you truly love to do, and the best way to do that is to do anything that interests you."

Sav Buchinsky

Savanna (Sav) Buchinsky

Major: Nursing

Hometown: Andreas, PA

Advice for Class of 2025: "Study hard and make it your first priority, but do not forget to enjoy yourself and make friends."

Nicolette Gallo

Nicolette Gallo

Major: Criminal Justice

Hometown: Hellertown, PA

Advice for Class of 2025: "Remember you are not alone in anything big or small. Something I wish I had known as a freshman is you and so many other freshman students are experiencing the same adjustments to friend groups, college workload, prioritizing, etc. You might not feel acclimated to college life right away, and that is perfectly OKAY! Many others feel the exact same. DeSales has so many great resources and people in place to help you achieve your goals and ultimately help you become successful. Take this new chapter at your own speed, allow yourself to discover college life, allow your freshman year to be a growing experience, but most importantly don't forget to enjoy the journey."

Kathleen Maloney

Kathleen Maloney

Major: Communication, Minor in Marketing

Hometown: Kings Park, NY

Advice for Class of 2025: "Be open minded about getting involved in activities that you might think are not for you."

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Micheal Spear

Major: English

Hometown: Newburgh, NY

Advice for Class of 2025: "Get involved in school activities early on. Whether it's optional Orientation events, events hosted by the school, and especially clubs, these are great opportunities to become integrated to the school. It's an amazing way to meet new people outside of Orientation and it's something to look forward to and do in free time."

Chris Vibert

Chris Vibert

Major: Healthcare Administration

Hometown: Milford, PA

Advice for Class of 2025: "Be yourself."

Danielle Wachter

Danielle Wachter

Major: Nursing

Hometown: Succasunna, NJ

Advice for Class of 2025: "Be open to new people and new experiences. Some of your best memories may come out of an unexpected invite!"

Chris Yang

Chris Yang

Major: Medical Studies

Hometown: Niskayuna, NY

Advice for Class of 2025: "Work hard, play hard!"

 

Pod 8

Michael Robinson

Captain Micheal Robinson

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

Hometown: Staten Island, NY

Advice for Class of 2025:"BE YOURSELF! The motto of DeSales is, "Be Who You Are and Be That Well," isn't it? The light-hearted and open-minded culture of DeSales will enable you to be your most authentic self. Without a doubt in my mind, there is a place for everyone here at DeSales!"

Lydia Chrzanowski

Lydia Chrzanowski

Major: Early Childhood Education

Hometown: Matawan, NJ

Advice for Class of 2025: "Put yourselves out there and experience new things."

JJ Judd

Jordan (JJ) Judd

Major: Medical Studies

Hometown: Bethlehem, PA

Advice for Class of 2025: "College is a fresh start to be the best version of yourself. Take advantage of it! Get good grades, make new friendships, and do not be afraid to ask for help."

Ja Knepp

Joshua (Ja) Knepp

Major: History & Education

Hometown: Toledo, OH

Advice for Class of 2025: "Try anything and everything that interests you, even just one meeting, and there might be a lot you don't like, but that one thing you do fall in love with will be worth it!"

Nidhi Kumar

Nidhi Kumar

Major: Biology, Minor in Neuroscience

Hometown: Buzzards Bay, MA

Advice for Class of 2025: "If you need help, want something, or don't seem to understand something, just ask. There are so many people willing to help you and make your life easier, so ask for help. You'll find it."

Tess McCormick

Therese (Tess) McCormick

Major: English STEP

Hometown: Lehighton, PA

Advice for Class of 2025: "I was super stressed my first semester because I was in a major that didn't fit me and I had no idea what I wanted to do. I wish I didn't stress so much about it because it wasn't hard to change my major and I was able to figure out what I liked by taking classes and talking to professors and friends. I would tell others to not stress so much about whether or not they know what they want to do with their life and career because they'll naturally figure it out over time."

Staci Scheetz

Anastacia (Staci) Scheetz

Major: Criminal Justice

Hometown: Bethlehem, PA

Advice for Class of 2025: "Be yourself and don't change to please others."

Harrison Sloan

Harrison (Harry Styles) Sloan

Major: Nursing

Hometown: Abington, PA

Advice for Class of 2025: "Get involved on campus and try everything that interests you. Do not let any club or team intimidate you or scare you away, go for it, join it and try new things. It will make your DeSales Experience that much better. No matter what your interests are, there is definitely a place for you, and if you really can not find a club you like, start one!"