Alumni return for Panel and Networking Night


On February 16, College of Liberal Arts students and fellow alumni gathered in the conference room on the top floor of Anderson Hall for a Career Panel and Speed Networking Mixer.

In attendance were five prominent graduates of CLA: Carlos Beato, Robert Giampietro, Jeffrey Reinhold, Carol Veizer and Gerald Vigna. The event began with a panel discussion where the distinguished practitioners discussed possible career paths and networking strategies and gave advice to motivated Owls.

The discussion was followed by a speed networking session where attending students had the opportunity to connect directly with the speakers in smaller groups. The alumni in attendance were from all different industries and were able to give aspiring professionals valuable career advice.

Carlos Beato (Sociology and Psychology ’01) was not new to giving undergrads advice at CLA networking events, as he has attended prior sessions CLA has hosted. Beato has a vast background working in law offices and counseling several different types of corporations and companies. Beato currently provides counsel to the Speaker of the City of New York’s Council on State and Federal issues. He also has had employment working in the government relations sector where he worked with labor unions, fortune 500 companies and large non-profits.  The former Owl also served as a social worker where he counseled victims of domestic violence and other crimes.

Giampietro graduated from CLA in 1972 with a degree in English and now owns his own consulting firm, Giampeitro Consulting, LLC. He previously worked as president for Trend and Innovation at Toys and Babies RUs. Giampeitro also served as the vice president of Strategic Alliance and New Business for Target for 23 years, during which he introduced SuperTarget and worked on target.com. His extensive experience in Business Development and Strategic Consulting in HR, Property Development, Marketing, Product and Brand Development and merchandise presentation make him an ideal networking opportunity for students interested in communications.

Reinhold obtained an Economics degree from CLA in 1979 and returned to Temple in ’86 to get his masters in Finance. His company, Reinhold Residental, owns and manages 13 properties located in the Philadelphia, West Chester and Pittsburgh regions.Three of Reinhold’s buildings, The Packard, Metropolitan and Old Quaker, previously won “Top Ten” awards from the Apartment Association. The former chief financial officer of New York Stock Exchange listed Checkpoint System, Inc., Reinhold has had major exposure to both the real estate and finance industries. The distinguished alum is an active member of the Philadelphia housing community and serves on the Board of Visitors for CLA.

Veizer received a degree in English in 1973 and founded the NJ Center for Healing Arts in 1989. The center is now accredited as being one of the first integrative mental health centers in the country. Veizer also co-founded the International Network of Integrative Mental Health. She is a professor, practitioner and still maintains an active integrative psychotherapy practice. Veizer thanks her early education in humanities and the arts, saying “it gave me a wider lens through which to look at science in the context of social and cultural expression.” She has boundless knowledge to share with students about mental health and the changing paradigms of the field.

Vigna (Religion ’73) was president of the CLA Alumni Association (CLAAA) in which he was responsible for restructuring and establishing four working communities. He has dedicated immeasurable hours giving back to Temple by serving as a member on the TUAA board, Alumni Engagement Committee and Community Service Committee. Vigna has also held mock interviews for the Temple University Career Center. Now a professor at Alvernia University, Vigna has served as the director of the masters program in Community Leadership and also founded Alvernia’s Center for Ethics and Leadership. Vigna has also worked as the treasurer for the College Theology Society and was their vice president for two years. 
The professor has a lengthy resume dealing with aspects of Religion and Theology.

The CLA Career Panel and Speed Networking Mixer was a success in allowing students to network and create relationships with outstanding alumni in various fields one can enter upon graduation from Temple.

The next networking event will take place on April 15th. To find out more information click here.

OwlTalks to connect CLA students with alumni


College of Liberal Arts students now have the opportunity to network in a matter that is more familiar to them—in text-based chats.

On April 15th, all CLA majors are invited to participate in OwlTalks and connect with past alumni in a virtual networking event. During the one hour session, students will have the chance to receive advice and guidance in the form of several 10-minute text based chats with experts in their field.

Undergrads and recent graduates from the College are highly encouraged to sign up for OwlTalks to seek useful advice about their major and possible career paths.

“This is an excellent opportunity for students to ask alumni questions about their experiences in certain occupations, industries and fields,” said Tina Vance Knight, Senior Associate Director of Alumni Career Services.

Upon entry, participants will be asked to pick a particular sector in which they are interested in. Past choices have been in the art, communications, business, non-profit and STEM industries. By narrowing the fields, Alumni can provide fellow Owl’s career advice about their particular job search approaches, networking strategies and professional development.

Students are advised to sign up for this event to build personal and professional relationships within the greater Temple community. Since it is text-based, one can make useful connections and build a greater network from anywhere– making this session convenient and easy from anywhere.

When registering, participants can choose to sign up with their LinkedIn account. This will allow Alumni to view their profile and resume during the one-on-one chat. Although a LinkedIn is encouraged, it is not required. After the event, all connections and chats will be saved allowing attendees to easily follow up and reconnect at a later time.

To register for OwlTalks or to find out more information, click here.

Philly Urban Creators recruiting for Intentional Housing Program

The continuing expansion of Temple into North Philadelphia neighborhoods leaves a greater need for a unified community between students and local families. Now more than ever, students are moving to off-campus locations where developing complexes are beginning to dominate the area. Although growth is exciting, the result of this gentrification is a rising tension between local families and students.

Tenants of the area are now experiencing the rate of development affecting their housing prices and leading to higher monthly rents. Many long-term residents of the surrounding Temple area feel they are being pushed out.

To foster a stronger sense of inclusion and connectivity between the two groups, Philly Urban Creators (PUC) is offering students the ability to take part in an Intentional Housing Program.

PUC is now recruiting individuals who are interested in living, working, and joining a movement which aims to desegregate communities and build healthy relationships amongst neighbors.

Instead of creating even more new housing, PUC aims to house “social and environmentally active tenants” who wish to be a voice and participant in strengthening the relationships that make up the areas landscape.

Teaming up with landlords in the area, Urban Creators offers students a chance to become a part of an “intentional community.” Chosen tenants of the housing program agree to and are responsible for five hours of street cleanups, community building workshops, and maintenance of urban gardens each month.

In addition to affordable housing, the Intentional Housing Program allows students to receive credit for living and working as an intern with PUC. Internships range from maintaining and developing farms/gardens to behind the scenes management, market research and outreach initiatives. Students are not limited to picking just one and can create a hybrid internship between the several different options offered.

To help desegregate communities and build mutual respect, PUC is now accepting applications to their program. More information can be found here.

Economics Department receives donation from renowned alumnus

The Department of Economics within the College of Liberal Arts has received two donations this year from Dr. Lacy Hunt, a successful and internationally respected economist.
The author of books and numerous articles in both the popular press and scholarly journals, Hunt is often asked to comment on global economics by national and foreign news programs. Although he is a world renowned professional, Hunt still feels it is important to support the progress taking place in the Economics program at Temple, said Michael Bognanno, Chair of the Economics Department.

Dr. Hunt contributed $10,000 in the fall of 2014, followed by another $10,000 donation this spring, Bognanno said. The contributions by Dr. Hunt will be used to aid summer research scholarships for Economics doctoral candidates. The donations, combined with a recent endowment from Dr. Jeffery and Elizabeth Coons, will allow the department to support up to four doctoral candidates this summer. In addition to financial aid, the assistance from Dr. Hunt will go toward bringing two high-profile scholars to campus to share their research with students and faculty.

Dr. Hunt received his Ph.D. in Economics in 1969 and has maintained a long term commitment to Temple since finishing his schooling. He served on the Board of Trustees from 1987 to 2010 and is now an Honorary Life Trustee. Dr. Hunt is currently the Executive Vice President of Hoisington Investment Management Company.


Temple alumni create Fly in 4 scholarship

Fly in 4 has energized the Class of 2018. Now two alumni and longtime Temple supporters are giving the program a major boost.

The Alan and Deborah Cohen Goldman Sachs Scholarship Fund was established through a generous $350,000 grant recommendation made by Alan M., CLA ’72, and Deborah Miffoluf Cohen, FOX ’72. This school year, the scholarship was awarded to two students—one in the College of Liberal Arts and one in the Fox School of Business—who signed up for Fly in 4, Temple’s innovative plan to fast-track students’ futures and limit their debt.

“We feel like we were given a huge gift to get a high-quality education and pursue our dreams, so this is our way of giving back.”
— Deborah Miffoluf Cohen, FOX ’72

“The Fly in 4 aspect of the scholarship was especially compelling,” said Alan M. Cohen, executive vice president and global head of compliance at Goldman Sachs, who recently became a member of Temple’s Board of Trustees.

Temple President Neil D. Theobald “showed us the data that giving people the opportunity to graduate in four years is a tremendous economic advantage,” Cohen added. “The true cost of extending college for an extra year or two is a bad trade-off economically, but that isn’t obvious to most students at the time.”

Fly in 4 launched this school year to an energetic response from Temple students. About 88 percent of freshmen and new transfer students signed up for the program.

In many ways, Fly in 4 was designed to help students who are like the Cohens.

“Both of us were in the first generation of our families to attend college, and that was largely because Temple was so affordable,” said Deborah Miffoluf Cohen, who had a long and successful career in merchandising before retiring. “We feel like we were given a huge gift to get a high-quality education and pursue our dreams, so this is our way of giving back.”

The Cohens’ grant was made at their recommendation by Goldman Sachs Gives. Their contribution was matched by Temple University.

The gift is already having a major impact on this year’s two scholarship recipients.

Melanie Tucci, Class of 2018, is an international business major from northeast Philadelphia. Like the Cohens, she’s part of the first generation in her family to attend college.

Tucci said she was working three jobs this past summer but, because of the scholarship, has been able to reduce her work hours to about 12 per week, giving her more time to study.

Tucci added that the scholarship will help her save money for a study abroad trip to Rome next year in pursuit of her goal of working for an international corporation.

“Receiving the scholarship was amazing,” she said. “It lightened my burden significantly.”

Brianna Seay, Class of 2018, is a psychology major from Philadelphia’s University City neighborhood. Her long-term goal is to become a dentist, but earlier this school year, she was worried she wouldn’t be able to afford to register for the spring semester.

When Seay learned she had received the Alan and Deborah Cohen Goldman Sachs Scholarship, she was “overjoyed and shocked.”

The Cohens “released a true burden off of me,” she said. “I’m really thankful.”


A Hooded Scarf making Real Magic

Photo caption: Avi Loren Fox models her Wild Mantle on Eighth Street. Her Wild Mantle business raised money on Kickstarter. TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer

Avi Loren Fox’s entrepreneurial endeavor with a hooded scarf started where so many efforts to find oneself do – at a bar.

The place: McShea’s Restaurant & Bar in Narberth. The time: September 2013.

Fox’s dilemma: The Narberth native and 2010 Temple University graduate with a degree in environmental studies had just closed a photography business she and her brother Nikolai operated for three summers. “I decided to enter that terrifying space of taking a year without any plans,” Fox recalled, citing her mother, Teresa, a meditation instructor, as the inspiration for that timeout. So to McShea’s Fox went, wearing a hooded scarf she had made out of old sweaters. “All of a sudden, I realized everyone was looking at me,” Fox said. “That’s where the Wild Mantle story started.” Wild, indeed.

First came 50 orders from McShea’s patrons and acquaintances for Fox’s head-and-neck covering – called the Mantle; the company name is Wild Mantle – which required her to solicit on Facebook for seamstresses to help make them. They sold for $144 – the price settled on by Fox after she consulted a numerology psychic, who advised that 44 was her career number, success her trademark, and “to take what’s in your heart and make it bigger.” To accomplish the latter, Fox needed to find a U.S. manufacturer willing to work with a start-up to sew hoods made of alpaca from Peru and lined with fleece. (Clothing dependent on scavenged material, such as used sweaters, is hard to scale in quantities to meet the kind of wholesale demand Wild Mantle will need to grow into the sustainable business Fox envisions, experts said.) She found Ice Box Knitting Mill in Longmont, Colo., which required a minimum order – 144. Talk about karma.

Then this fall came the real magic, as Fox put it: Wild Mantle launched a Kickstarter campaign Nov. 20 to raise $30,000 in 34 days to cover the cost of the first batch of Mantle hooded scarves. Fox raised more, $39,827. She attributes that to some high-profile Twitter promotions by actress Kat Dennings, who stars in the CBS series 2 Broke Girls and, as a Bryn Mawr native, was home-schooled with Fox. The first batch of scarves, expected by March or April, primarily will go to Wild Mantle’s (www.wildmantle.com) Kickstarter backers. Fox hopes to have hoods to offer retailers by fall. They will retail for $280, dictated by the price of alpaca, and, she added, “I want to pay people fairly to manufacture in the U.S.A.” Among those she has consulted for advice are Dave Neill and Jacob Hurwitz, the Wynnewood cofounders of American Trench L.L.C. They raised $19,108 on Kickstarter in early January 2013 to help launch their Made-in-the-U.S.A. line of trench coats, currently retailing for $785.

But the outerwear market has proved an expensive one – involving much capital to purchase materials and meet manufacturer minimums. So, Hurwitz said, American Trench has turned its focus to socks and caps it has made in Reading and North Carolina while the company nears profitability and can better support its coat line. He called Wild Mantle’s Kickstarter performance “totally awesome and really the testament to America’s support of entrepreneurs.” As to Wild Mantle’s prospects, he said the world outside crowdfunding required “adjustments along the way to a more commercial environment where you have to find the right price.” “She’s either going to find boutiques” that will carry a $280 scarf, Hurwitz said, “or she’s going to have to come up with a garment that’s less expensive.” As a college student, Fox, now 28 and living in Ardmore, was honored by the Society of Women Environmental Professionals for founding and running for three years Narberth Greens, a grassroots organization dedicated to encouraging and supporting environmentally friendly living. Among its accomplishments was a flower and vegetable exchange for farmers to swap surplus crops, and an energy challenge for the borough.

Sustainability remains a priority for Fox. She is a member of the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia, where her hooded scarf was little more than a concept at the time of the support group’s main annual networking function in 2013, the Social Venture Institute. Yet “there was a buzz through the conference from some of the other entrepreneurs, even experienced ones, that, ‘Hey, I think this woman is on to something!’ ” executive director Jamie Gauthier wrote last week in an e-mail. She has been impressed with Fox’s progress. “Think of all the young people who have had trouble lately finding gainful employment,” Gauthier said. “Avi is an example of how you can employ yourself and do it on your own terms and according to your own values.” Fox named her scarves Mantle because, in the Golden Compass young-adult books, it meant a role or responsibility and, in ancient times, a loose-fitting cloak, she said.

She hopes to have enough capital to open a studio by summer or fall, to afford employees in 2016 – and possibly influence an industry. Said Fox: “It’s really a medium for me to figure out what the next cutting edge is of social and environmental change within the manufacturing realm.”

Source: A Mantle Piece


Holiday book drive to benefit neighborhood elementary school

Over the summer, the CLA Alumni Association hosted a successful supply drive to benefit our neighborhood elementary school, Tanner Duckrey. For the holiday season, the CLA Alumni Association is following that up with a new and gently used children’s book drive to benefit the school’s very small library.

The school’s librarian reports that there is an immediate need for multi-cultural picture books, third- and fourth-grade fiction and non-fiction books, and children’s reference books.

New and used books for children grades K-8 will be collected through December 31 in the box in the reception area at the Dean’s Office (Anderson Hall, 12th floor) or at the Provost’s Office (Sullivan Hall, Ground Floor, Room G17). Online, you can make your gift via a dedicated Amazon Wish List. Gift cards will also be accepted if you’d prefer not to shop yourself.

Questions? Contact Kristin Grubb.

Thanks in advance for considering Tanner Duckrey this holiday season.


CLA Helps Local Tanner Duckrey Elementary

On September 5th, the College of Liberal Arts (CLA) donated school supplies to local Tanner Duckrey Elementary School in North Philadelphia to help their neighbors kick off the new school year. CLA’s School Supply Drive raised a large number of essential supplies for the underfunded public school. The mood was festive as teachers mingled with CLA staff who organized the drive, which is intended to become an annual effort.

Signs and notices for the School Supply Drive were posted all around campus and donations poured in over the weeks preceding the start of the school year. Last Friday, the culmination of that effort paid off when representatives from CLA and the CLA Alumni Association delivered the supplies to Duckrey students and teachers.

The supplies were distributed in the school’s cafeteria, where teachers and students lined up to “shop” for classroom supplies. Teachers perused through the donations and snatched up everything they needed.

“The school district gives us $100 a year (for classroom supplies),” said one science and math teacher, “and that always goes fast.” He added “it usually lasts a couple months.” After that money runs out, teachers have to begin buying classroom supplies themselves. Another 3rd grade teacher “easily spent over $1,000 on supplies last year, but now this doesn’t come out of our pockets. I don’t have a family yet, but most of my colleagues do and this saves us money and planning time.”

The excitement among teachers was palpable. “This is what it looks like when teachers win the lottery! Thank you so much!” said a first-year teacher. “They gave me an empty classroom, but it’s not empty anymore! Thank you so much!”


CLA Alumni Association member Kristin Grubb helped organize the drive from her position as manager of operations in the Office of the Provost. Photo by Betsy Manning.

Principal David Cohen echoed the gratitude expressed by the teachers and students. “I can’t explain how helpful it truly is. We now have all the stuff you’d assume schools would have, regular stuff like paper and pencils that just get cut out of the budget.”

Principal Cohen described the excitement perfectly. “Did you ever see National Geographic, with the lions feeding, and then it’s gone like that!” he says while snapping his fingers. “That’s what it’s like, gone in a flash.

The Supply Drive marks the start of a partnership between The College of Liberal Arts and Tanner Duckrey Elementary. The annual drive aims to expand and provide more to the elementary school through donations by Temple Alumni, students, faculty, and local neighborhood contributions.

Students arrived at Duckrey the following Monday, prepared for their first day of school. “Learning is the biggest thing going on here,” says Principal David Cohen. In large part thanks to the CLA School Supply Drive, students and teachers can spend less energy worrying and more time learning.

Teachers shop for supplies.

Teachers “shop” for supplies at Tanner Duckrey. Photo by Betsy Manning.

Joyce Rasing was awarded the SIG (Straw into Gold) Scholarship, endowed by Ronnyjane Goldsmith, CLA ’68, ’70, ’82, and given to a student in the College of Liberal Arts who has lost one or both parents, “in order that their personal dreams and professional aspirations may come true.”

CLA student turns hardship into service

Renee Cree

Growing up, Joyce Rasing, Class of 2015, did not know her father. And for years, she lived in an abusive household with her mother and stepfather. When she was about to graduate high school, she experienced parental abandonment. Rasing was able to stay with her grandparents for a while, but was soon homeless. The weekend just before her first semester at Temple, she was finally able to secure housing.

Charges against Rasing’s stepfather were filed, and he went to court eventually. At the end of the first semester of her freshman year, the verdict was announced; in the summer of 2011, he was sentenced to 12 to 24 years in prison.

Rasing’s adversity has fueled a passion for helping others that extends from studying political science to dedicating her time to several organizations across Philadelphia. She tutors math at a women’s shelter, serves as a hotline counselor and directs a site for an SAT-prep program for low-income high school students.

“It has been a long road,” Rasing said. “Finding opportunities around the city to give back is a part of the healing process.”

In May 2011, Rasing was awarded the SIG (Straw into Gold) Scholarship, endowed by Ronnyjane Goldsmith, CLA ’68, ’70, ’82. That award is given to a student in the College of Liberal Arts who has lost one or both parents, “in order that their personal dreams and professional aspirations may come true.” Rasing says that after struggling for so long, receiving the scholarship was an immeasurable gain.

“The scholarship alleviates a lot of stress for me,” Rasing said. “With that and my state grants, I don’t have to worry about tuition payments.

“Why Ronnyjane gives is so inspiring,” Rasing continued. “Despite her own hardships, she’s been able to move on and move up, and to help others. I hope I can be like her one day.”

After Rasing graduates in February 2015, she plans to use her political-science degree to begin a career in public service, following in Goldsmith’s footsteps of giving back.

For those who might be living through a situation like Rasing’s, she offers some advice: “Surround yourself with individuals who want to see you succeed and will motivate you to keep going for whatever it is you really want. And don’t forget to pass that favor on to others.”

While a student at Temple, Yaba Amgborale Blay, CLA ’04, ’07, traveled to Ghana, where she was inspired to learn more about those who embrace a black racial identity.

CLA alumna researches and writes about race and identity

When Yaba Amgborale Blay, CLA ’04, ’07, was growing up in New Orleans, she noticed that the light-skinned Creole population would sometimes segregate itself from the rest of the black community in school and in social situations. For example, Blay was excluded from a light-skinned classmate’s birthday party because she was “too dark.” As a result, Blay was conscious of her complexion and believed that those with lighter skin often received preferential treatment.

While a student at Temple, Blay traveled to Ghana to study both the trend of skin bleaching among Ghanaian women and the perceived link between beauty and skin color. She also examined skin-color politics among Creole women in New Orleans—a topic that hit close to home.

Blay concluded that there was a bias toward those with lighter skin—and that those who could “pass” for white would often do so. But a 2010 panel that included Blay and Green Party vice-presidential candidate Rosa Clemente, who self-identified as a “black Puerto Rican woman,” led her to think differently about her findings.

She was inspired to learn more about those who embraced a black racial identity. To do so, she launched the (1)ne Drop project in 2010. Blay describes it as an ethnographic and photographic study about black identity. She asked people she knew to share family stories and pictures. And after launching a Kickstarter fundraising campaign, people began contacting her in order to share their own experiences with race and identity.

Now, there are more than 40 (and counting) participants in the project. In January 2012, it garnered national attention when Blay appeared on CNN to discuss (1)ne Drop. It also was featured in a three-part series on CNN’s In America blog. And in December 2013, Blay published (1)Drop: Shifting the Lens on Race with BLACKprint Press.

After appearing on CNN, Blay connected with Soledad O’Brien, the host of the network’s Black in America series, and interviewed her for (1)ne Drop. Soon after, O’Brien asked Blay to help produce the next installment of the series, which aired in December 2012. It focused on the (1)ne Drop project, and Blay served as consulting producer. Her latest project, Pretty. Period., also has received rave reviews. It is an online collection of photos of black women designed to spark dialogue about what defines beauty.

An assistant professor of Africana studies at Drexel University in Philadelphia, she urges her students to explore the questions they have about the world.

“Whatever questions we have in our heads are worth asking,” she tells them. “Even if they’re personal. You never know who else will benefit from the answers you get.”

—Nikki Roszko, CLA ’07