Alumni Board Prospectives
The bios listed here represent those alumni who have been nominated for open positions and re-elections on the Alumni Board beginning in 2021.
Khaled Ashraf ‘20
Nomination Statement: Rosemont College has been a part of my life for more than a decade. The impact that
both of my degrees and certificate have had is incredible. I want to give my time
to Rosemont to ensure that future students can have the best of experiences that I
was fortunate to have.
Cynthia La Faye Bennett ’00, M.Ed.
Bio: Cynthia recently received her Doctor of Education degree with a concentration in Educational Leadership from Gwynedd Mercy University. She earned her Master of Science degree in Education at Saint Joseph's University and her Bachelor of Arts degrees in English Literature and Women's Studies at Rosemont. In addition, she received associate degrees in Paralegal Studies and Liberal Arts from Delaware County Community College. Currently, Cynthia is adjunct instructor at Harcum College and an adjunct/dissertation advisor and ambassador mentor at Gwynedd Mercy. During the past few years, she has served as an adjunct professor at Delaware County Community College and Widener University. She is also a semi-retired elementary school teacher from the School District of Philadelphia.
Outside of her professional life, Cynthia loves to read. Her favorite book is The Color Purple by Alice Walker. As a college student, she wrote numerous essays implementing several
themes from Walker’s novel. She believes that laughter is good for the mind, body,
heart, and soul. Much of her weekends are spent watching comedy shows. She is the
mother of a 29-year-old son who once loved running around Rosemont’s campus and attending
Oktoberfest. Water aerobics, aqua Zumba, and aqua kickboxing are among Cynthia’s favorite
exercises. Her belief in God is strong and she always has an optimistic frame of mind.
Her favorite affirmation comes from Mark 11:24: “Therefore I say unto you, whatever
you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you,
and you will get it.”
Nomination Statement: Rosemont College is a valuable institution that has always presented academic excellence for its students. It is imperative that this tradition continues, and I would love to be a part of that.
Jennifer Beronio ’85 (Re-Election)
Nomination Statement: I have recently completed serving my first term on the Alumni Board and would love the opportunity to continue contributing my voice and services to my alma mater.
Sula Cottman-Carlton, MA, M.Psy ‘16
Bio: Sula is a life coach and experienced therapist who has been working with individuals, groups, and couples since 2004. She earned her master's degree in Counseling of Psychology from Rosemont, with certificates in Addictions and Forensic Psychology, and earned her bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Health & Human Services from Philadelphia University.
As a coach and psychotherapist, Sula specializes in counseling with adults in the areas of improving mental health, self-esteem, trauma, healthy relationships, domestic violence, parenting issues, substance abuse, and personal success coaching. Sula practices from an empowerment perspective that all people can regain their lives to change and create more happiness in their lives. Her therapeutic approaches include Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Solution-Focused Therapy, and Narrative Therapy. She uses a professional, caring, and compassionate approach to help clients gain insights into the thoughts and emotions that may be holding them back from the happiness they desire and shares tools to help facilitate change.
She founded Regaining My Life Coaching and Counseling in 2016, inspired by her passion for helping people create change in their lives. Sula serves as the chief executive officer and psychotherapist, providing agency oversight, clinical direction, supervision, and direct services. Prior to founding the organization, Sula has worked in administrative roles, as a counselor/therapist, and as a specialist at other community social service and mental health agencies.
Nomination Statement: I want to serve to contribute to my alma mater, which I truly admire and value. I also want to expand my network and meet influential, intelligent, and well-connected people.
Kenneth Carpenter ‘15
Nomination Statement: I would like to have an impact on the direct flow of information that comes into the College and is communicated by the College.
Anne L. Cobourn ‘97
Bio: Anne graduated from Rosemont with a bachelor’s degree in History and has since earned
her master’s degree in Criminal Justice/Intelligence and Crime Analysis from Saint
Joseph’s University, and a paralegal certificate from the University of Delaware.
Anne has worked as a litigation paralegal for 20 years and is currently employed by Morgan & Morgan in the company’s Mass Tort Department. She has also owned her own life coaching business since 2018, receiving her Certification in Life Coaching in 2017. A breast cancer survivor, Anne beat Triple Negative Breast Cancer in 2019. The experience led her to earn her Certification in Holistic Cancer Coaching the same year, in order to help others successfully beat their illnesses. She is currently leading an alumni group for the Rosemont College Movie Club and has served as her Class Representative since 1997. Currently, Anne is working with her fellow alumni to plan their 25th class reunion in 2022. Anne resides in Wilmington, DE.
Nomination Statement: I have been re-engaged with Rosemont through the Alumni Movie Club and I would like the opportunity to serve on the Alumni Board again.
Claire Grainger-Valvano, LCSW ‘84
Bio:Claire is employed as a clinical supervisor at CancerCare, a nonprofit organization that offers support services to anyone impacted by cancer. Claire is alicensedclinicalsocialworkerwho loves her job so much thatshe hardly feels like she is going“to work.”She has been able to travel, give presentations,write articles related to cancer,and haswrittena bereavement book for children. She notes that her psychology background from Rosemont has greatly contributed to her work.Claire lives with her terrific husband and her mother-- who is 98 and still awesome, readingfourbooksperweek and playing bridge!Pre-COVID, Claire loved to travel, spent much of her time in New YorkCity, takinginthe museums, plays,concerts, and swimming a mile every night in the summer. Since COVID, she hangs out with her dog and cat.
Nomination Statement: I’ve felt that Rosemont was my second home, and I am still connected by the heartstrings to my dear college. I’ve been involved in all the reunions (minus one), contacting friends and remaining in contact with many. I’ve donated to Rosemont within a few years of graduation, never missing a year. I would greatly welcome the opportunity to serve on the Alumni Board to build interest for the College, as well as to learn from others.
Shakira Hansley ‘11
Bio: Shakira is a past board member of the Girls Justice League and an active member of the Junior League of Philadelphia. Additionally, she has served Rosemont as a 2011 Class Representative and First Year Connection Seminar (FYCS) Alumni Volunteer. While at Rosemont, Shakira co-founded the Pre-Law Society, was a resident assistant, and served in many positions within the Student Government Association.
After graduating from Rosemont with a Bachelor of Science degree in Forensic Sociology and Criminology, Shakira earned her Juris Doctorate at the University of the District of Columbia, David A. Clarke School of Law (UDC-DCSL). At UDC-DCSL, Shakira completed 850 hours of pro-bono clinical work as a student attorney in the Special Education Law Clinic and General Practice Clinic. Additionally, she was president of the Black Law Student Association’s William C. Pryor Chapter (BLSA). As BLSA president, Shakira implemented the law school’s inaugural Legal Life Skills Program at a D.C. public school.
Shakira is passionate about working to ensure youth experiences within systems are restorative and healing, instead of retributive and traumatizing. Currently, Shakira works as a case supervisor for CASA Youth Advocates, a nonprofit organization that helps abused and neglected children to live well, to achieve academic excellence, and to experience the joys of childhood by providing them with trained volunteer advocates who speak for their best interests. She also serves as a CASA Youth Advocates representative on the Equity in Child Welfare Task Force of Delaware County.
Shakira has a strong belief in the power of diversity and is eager to bridge classes
past, present, and future to work together to ensure the success and community impact
of the College. Shakira believes her past experience serving as a board member, her
membership in charitable organizations, and her connection and dedication to the College’s
success will make her an asset to the Alumni Board of Directors.
Nomination Statement: I would like to give back to Rosemont College for being transformative in my life. I have a strong belief in the power of diversity, and I am eager to bridge classes past, present, and future to work together to ensure the success and community impact of the College.
Noelle Jones ‘10
Nomination Statement: I received three degrees from Rosemont, and I love everything about the College. Each experience was amazing. If I can support the institution in its mission of providing excellent educational programs, I would love the opportunity to do the best of my ability.
Olesya Kuchma ’13 (Re-Election)
Bio: Olesya studied Chemistry and Biology before pursuing her MBA. While in graduate school, she volunteered her time with Medical Ophthalmology Mission Trips to the Dominican Republic with the Institute for Latin American Concern (ILAC) to help locals with their eye health. She then began a career in sales and project management for Physician Recommended Nutriceuticals, a pharmaceutical company that focuses on natural products produced for ophthalmologists working with ocular disorders. In addition to working full time, Olesya proceeded to receive a doctorate degree in Health Sciences from Jefferson College of Health Sciences. She was promoted to supply chain and logistics manager and is currently volunteering on the board of an annual Ski-a-Thon to raise money for a school that serves children with special needs. She also currently holds a senior management position at Acumen Health Holdings, a pharmaceutical company, and owns a successful tennis training company. Olesya’s involvement with Rosemont also continues through her adjunct professor position. Olesya said her overall success began with Rosemont College, as it opened the doors to a love of education.
Nomination Statement: The strong values and principles of Cornelia Connelly and the Sisters of the Holy Child were able to lead me towards prosperity. I would like to continue to serve the Alumni Board to ensure that the values and philosophy of Rosemont College continue opening doors for students to thrive and grow with a superior education and unforgettable experiences.
Dr. Beatrice Majka ‘00
Bio: Beatrice has been on staff with GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals (GSK) for 20 years, currently serving as the learning advisor for Talent Leadership and Organizational Development. As a part of Human Resources services, she creates curriculum, programs, and project managing for worldwide leadership, coaching, and development classes, as well as special programs for employees, such as Leading in Context and Accelerating Difference for Diverse Men. She also spent two years in bio-pharma at GSK as a supply chain analyst in the company’s Manufacturing Division. She is Six Sigma Green Belt Certified and completed herdoctorate degree at Drexel University in 2020. She graduated with an MBA in International Management from the University of Phoenix and a Bachelor of Science in Management, from Rosemont College (Magna Cum Laude) She has also served as anadjunctfacultymember for more than 15 years at Rosemont in the School of Graduate and Professional Studies(SGPS). She helped to recreate the International Studyclasses in Business, traveling with students to London, Ireland, and Scotland. She has previously served on the Alumni Board.
Nomination Statement: As an alumna of Rosemont and an adjunct faculty member who has also previously served on the board, I would love the opportunity to contribute to the College again. Serving on the Alumni Board as a member of SGPS ensured all voices were heard from all colleges. I enjoy helping to lead events for the school, as it keeps my relationship with the College and my fellow Rosemont friends fresh.
Kristin Laskas Martin ’72
Nomination Statement: After a successful career in education and the corporate industry, I am now retired and would like to pay it forward by serving the Alumni Board, Rosemont College, and today’s students.
Elizabeth Nolan McCluskey, EdD ‘95 (Re-Election)
Bio: Liz is a lifelong learner who found a volunteer position soon after graduation through Rosemont’s Response-Ability service program, serving in the Philadelphia inner city. The position involved coordinating the Providence Center’s after-school program for 100 students in grades 1-8 and teaching high school English to at-risk teens. She is forever grateful to Rosemont for guiding her there, and 26 years later she is still devoted to the same school. She has developed professionally to take on more complex tasks and is now an administrator, having earned a Doctorate in Educational Leadership in 2018. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband Jim, three teenagers, and their silver lab Wexford.
Nomination Statement: It’s been a great honor to have served on the Alumni Board for the past three years, and I would welcome the chance to continue my service. It has been very energizing and renewing to reconnect with the Rosemont community and mission during a time of transition in leadership, as well as during the undaunted planning of a milestone Centennial celebration amidst a pandemic. I served as a member of the Alumni Board’s Admissions and Student Programs Standing Committees, as well as on the Centennial Service and Spiritual Committee. As my beloved Class of 1995 prepares to give it a third-time-is-the-charm effort to celebrate our 25th anniversary in person at Rosemont this June, I, too, would be honored to continue my service during more typical times.
Catherine Marengo Nakonetschny, MA, MSW, LCSW, CDP, ‘97, ‘99 (Re-Election)
Bio: Cathy graduated from Rosemont College with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and in 1999 with a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology. She also holds a master’s in Social Work from Temple University and was awarded an honorary doctoral degree from Rosemont in 2018 for her work in elder and dementia care. She currently works as a licensed clinical social worker, providing psychotherapy to residents in long-term care communities in New Jersey. She has 22 years’ experience working with older adults. She has been an Alzheimer’s Association support group facilitator and volunteered as a domestic violence response team member in Burlington County. Cathy recently ended her first term on the Alumni Board, is a Rosemont College Alumni Book Club moderator, and serves as a member of the Rosemont College Centennial Education Committee.
Nomination Statement: I cherished the times that I had at Rosemont and want to ensure that future classes have access to the same support and exceptional educational opportunities that I treasure. I would like to continue to support the College through my participation on the Alumni Board.
Danielle Pettyjohn ‘21
Nomination Statement: I strongly feel that my experiences within Rosemont have served me with a great purpose that I would like to share with other students and alumni.
Dr. James E. Plummer ‘07
Bio: Dr. James Plummer is an experienced leader in healthcare and business. He is currently a group administrator for Axia Women’s Health Group. He is also adjunct faculty in Rosemont’s School of Graduate and Professional Studies and an adjunct facilitator at Eastern University’s College of Business and Leadership. He is also a 2021 election candidate for Upper Darby Township’s School Board of Directors. He recently graduated in December with two degrees simultaneously, a Doctorate in Management and Strategic Leadership from Thomas Jefferson University and a master's in Healthcare Law from the University of Oklahoma. He also has achieved an MBA - Healthcare Administration - from Eastern University, along with a Master of Science in Management and a Bachelor of Arts in Business Communication from Rosemont. He is a veteran of the United States Army and has been married to his wife Nancy for 43 years (who also has worked at Rosemont College for more than 25 years) while raising three children.
Nomination Statement: Rosemont has been one the most influential places on my life, and I credit the College with elevating me into a leader through my education. Leadership is a conglomeration of behaviors, competencies, knowledge, skills, and concepts, such as emotional intelligence. Organizations and institutions of learning have changed their nurturing leaders’ methods to accommodate the demand for leadership competency. With this understanding, I believe the Alumni Board at Rosemont College will continue to allow me to continue my passion for leadership and lifelong learning while being connected with the College in a way that will more positively influence our alumni and students. I wish to collaborate and affect change as needed, and to give back to the College as much as I can. I also believe that this role will help me to be a better leader in my career overall.
Gabriel Rizzo ‘21
Bio: Gabe graduated from Rosemont College with his Bachelor of Science in Finance and International Business. On campus, Gabe was the Student Government Association president of his class, president and founder of the Business Networking Society, Captain of the cross-country team, and tutor for Economics. Gabe was also the recipient of Rosemont College’s Cornelian Scholarship, and upon graduation he received the College’s Presidential Medal. During his time at Rosemont, he successfully completed three internships: Accounting and Finance intern at A-G Administrators, Independent Advisors sales intern at SEI Investments, and, most recently, investment analyst intern at The Swarthmore Group. Gabe is currently employed by PNC Bank as a capital markets analyst in the firm’s Financial Institutions Group.
Nomination Statement: Throughout my time at Rosemont, I had the ability to meet many amazing people with such unique backgrounds. The Business Networking Society gave me the opportunity to meet so many amazing students, alumni, faculty, staff, and members of the Board of Trustees, who I still keep in contact with today. One of the proudest moments I have ever had was when the Business Networking Society managed to get 60 students to attend one of our monthly meetings. For the first time, I realized that my greatest joy lies in bringing people together. The Alumni Board and the Office of Alumni Relations both focus heavily on bringing the community together. If I am given the opportunity to serve on the Alumni Board, I will be doing what I love to do the most - bringing people together and giving back to the place that I owe everything to, Rosemont College. The nomination is an honor, and I would love to serve the College in this way.
Carrie Tann-Cooper ‘17
Nomination Statement: I would love to continue to be a part of and serve the Rosemont community.
Melissa Torbik ‘91
Bio: Melissa has worked as a sales representative for Johnson & Johnson for the last 16 years. More specifically, she sells products to hospitals and hospital systems. This includes not only understanding the science behind the product to benefit patients, but also a great deal of customer relations and understanding the ever-evolving hospital landscape. In her 20 years of doing this type of work in her career, the country has gone from mostly community hospitals, with a few systems, to almost all integrated systems. The learning curve and changes necessary are often swift and must be embraced to achieve success. Navigating with the changes takes quick thinking and setting goals that benefit the sales, the patient, the accounts, and the systems collectively. Melissa believes that her experience gives her valuable input into helping navigate the changes that Rosemont also faces.
Nomination Statement: My time at Rosemont was wonderful and the professors and fellow students were very instrumental in helping to develop my character, direction, and critical thinking. It is so appropriate that the College has selected “the Power of Small” as a mantra toward explaining one of its biggest strengths, as I believe Rosemont always had that power. It was very evident when it was all women, and we should all be encouraged that it remains.
Looking from the outside in, some attributes of Rosemont have likely been enhanced in the transition to co-ed. It is a remarkable time where voices need to be shared so that others can understand very different circumstances and experiences and encourage each other and embrace differences.
As the founder of the “I Went to Rosemont College When It Was All Women” on Facebook, I have also enjoyed the experiences and memories of alumnae. This too should not be overlooked. With more than 400 members, I was overwhelmed by the number of legacy alumnae! We have a member whose grandmother was part of the first graduating class! How timely in the College’s 100th year!
In seeking a position on this board, I would work hard to integrate the former to the current. The “Power of Small” is the common thread. How can we benefit the current students? What are shared experiences of Rosemont? What can we be taught?
I believe that those of us who graduated when it was all women might agree that alum reach out was never strong. Therefore, this is an old issue that I believe could be resolved with some work on part of the Directors -- to benefit the overall wellness of the College. And I promise to work hard and contribute.
Ashley Montecchio Vero ’13 (Re-Election)
Bio: Ashley Montecchio earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in the Humanities, and during her time at Rosemont held executive positions on the Student Government Association and RSAAC. She also graduated as the all-time leading scorer for the women’s basketball Program, having led the nation in scoring in 2013. After graduation, Ashley received her master's degree in Sports Management on a full scholarship from Ulster University in Northern Ireland. While living in Ireland, she was the captain of the Ulster Elks’ women’s basketball team and worked for the charitable organization Sport Changes Life, which aimed to raise the aspirations of at-risk youth through the medium of sports. Ashley has also worked in the Athletic Department at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA, before accepting her current position as club sports director at nearby Villanova University, where she is also currently pursuing her MBA. In 2016, she was awarded Rosemont’s Recent Alumni Achievement Award and has served on the Alumni Board since 2018.
Nomination Statement: I’d like to continue to serve on the Alumni Board for the opportunities it affords me to stay a part of the Rosemont community and to contribute toward continuous improvement for the College.