From Penn State Alumni Association's AlumnInsider
12 Penn State Trailblazers
They work for nationally recognized companies such as ESPN, Goldman Sachs, 20th Century Fox and Tyson Foods. Some started their own companies or have competed in the Olympics. What do these young Penn Staters have in common? They are some of Penn States brightest young stars.
These 12 Penn Staters are the latest group of young alumni to be recognized with the Alumni Achievement Award
, presented by the Penn State Alumni Association.
These prominent young alumni, 35 years of age and younger, are nominated by an academic college or campus and invited by the president of the University to return to campus to share their expertise with students and the University community. Alumni Achievement Award recipients demonstrate to students that Penn State alumni succeed in exceptional fashion at an early age.
Each award winner will receive a commemorative medal designed by internationally recognized artist and 2007 Alumni Fellow Jeanne Stevens-Sollman ’72g at an April 8 dinner ceremony at The Nittany Lion Inn. Award recipients will also attend an event Thursday night for students, sharing insight on their successes in life and business.
This year’s Alumni Achievement Award recipients:
Shaun Anderson ’01
is co-founder/president of Diversity in Aquatics
, a non-profit organization dedicated to decreasing the rate of drowning worldwide by helping to create, promote and support programs aimed at increasing diversity within the aquatic community and curbing drowning disparities. In 2009, USA Swimming named Anderson a diversity consultant, giving him responsibility for developing programs for underserved communities throughout the country. He has also assisted with swimming clinics throughout the world. As an undergraduate, Anderson was a three-year member of Penn State’s track team and a four-year member of the swim team, which won the Big Ten Championship in 1999.
Allison Baver ’03
is a short track speedskating national champion, three-time Olympian and bronze medal winner, and the founder of “Off the Ice”
, an educational foundation that uses skating and sports as a catalyst to inspire values, goal development and healthy lifestyles in children. “Off the Ice” implements cutting-edge programs around the world by providing skates, facilities, educational programs and scholarships. Baver began her college career as a traditional Penn State Berks student, and then finished her degree in business through World Campus courses as her skating career began to take off. Baver stands among the world's preeminent female short track speedskaters of the 21st century.
Vivian P. Chang ’01g
is the national accounts division manager for food safety and quality assurance with Tyson Foods, Inc.
, she works with one of the company’s largest customers, Wendy’s, to assure food safety and quality compliance in Wendy’s products at its more than 6,500 restaurants throughout the United States and the world. Chang is also the division manager of the quality assurance departments for five Tyson Foods production locations. While studying at Penn State, Chang worked as a graduate research assistant, where she participated in and lectured for Penn State sanitation and food microbiology short courses.
Patrick J. Flynn ’01, ’03g
is an environmental engineer with Environmental Resources Management
(ERM), a leading global provider of environmental, health and safety, risk and social consulting services, and is the founder and CEO of Enersol, Inc. Flynn is recognized throughout the hydrogen community as a pioneer in the field of hydrogen leak detection and in the development of the scientific fundamentals for odorizing hydrogen for fuel cell systems. As a graduate student, Flynn co-developed intellectual property that involved technology for odorizing hydrogen in a manner analogous to the way natural gas and propane are odorized for leak detection. He transformed this development into Enersol.
Jeremy E. Frank ’97, ’01g, ’05g
is president and co-founder of KCF Technologies, Inc.
, a dynamic technology company that develops and commercializes products and solutions for industry and the military. KCF Technologies is a world leader in energy harvesting wireless sensors, underwater navigation and smart material devices. The company recently secured more than $4 million in funding from the Army to develop and commercialize self-powered prosthetic limb technology to help wounded soldiers. Frank serves as a mentor for students at Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity and with Penn State Schreyer Scholars who work for KCF Technologies. Frank is a Penn State Schreyer Honors Scholar alumnus.
Bernard J. Hershberger ’02, ’07g
is president and owner of Stoltz Mfg., LLC
, one of the premier designers and manufacturers of specialty spreading equipment for the agriculture and construction industries. Stoltz was one of the nation’s pioneers in the design and manufacture of agricultural lime spreaders, which made possible the application of inexpensive stockpiled agricultural lime. In 2009, Hershberger became the third generation of his extended family to run the company. He initiated an aggressive product improvement program and expanded the company’s international market by signing on new dealers in Australia, Africa, Central America, the Middle East and Indonesia.
Ryan Hockensmith ’01
is a general editor for ESPN The Magazine
, the nation’s second-largest sports magazine, coordinating coverage of three sports, generating story ideas, directing writers and photographers and playing a role in the magazine’s special themed issues. In addition to the magazine, Hockensmith works across several media platforms, serving as a conduit for ESPN’s story coverage online and on television. “It Happens,” a story he edited, was the most popular viral story to date on ESPN.com, with more than 3,000 comments posted on Facebook. As an undergraduate, Hockensmith was a national finalist in the William Randolph Hearst Foundation’s Journalism Awards Program.
Maggie Ann Jeffries ’99
is an anesthesiologist with Avalon Anesthesia in Fernandina Beach, Fla. She is also the coordinator of Evidence Based Anesthesia Practice at Baptist Nassau Medical Center, insuring all policies and procedures conform to known standards of care. She has presented research at national anesthesia meetings throughout the country and has published articles in Anesthesiology News
, Journal of Cardiothoracic Anesthesia, The Neurologist
and Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine.
Jeffries also works with local high school and college students, allowing them to shadow her at her practice and in the operating room. Jeffries previously served on the Eberly College of Science Alumni Society Board (2000–03).
Seth E. Miller ’01
is the executive director for Innocence Project of Florida, Inc
. The group’s mission is to free innocent individuals in Florida prisons through DNA testing, and through his efforts, five people who spent a combined 95 years wrongfully imprisoned in jail have been released. The organization also helps freed individuals rejoin society, locate housing and receive job training. In addition, Miller collaborates with law enforcement, prosecutors, and educational and government entities to institute criminal justice reforms to bring greater reliability to Florida’s criminal justice system. He speaks to a variety of groups to raise awareness about the persistence of wrongful convictions and how they can be prevented.
Ryan L. Newman ’01
is a vice president in the Investment Management Division of Goldman Sachs
, a leading global investment banking, securities and investment firm. Newman advises clients of the firm, which range from Forbes 400 families and Fortune 500 CEOs to founders of closely held private companies and non-profit institutions. Newman co-leads a team that oversees approximately $3 billion in client assets, providing advice on portfolio construction, asset allocation, single-stock risk management, wealth planning and portfolio hedging. Newman is active on a number of boards and groups at Penn State, including serving on the Schreyer Honors College External Advisory Board and as a regular presenter at Smeal's Wall Street Boot Camp.
Melissa Hayes Shirey ’97
is an attorney and founding member at The Family Law Group, LLC
, in Erie, Pa., which focuses on family law matters, including adoptions, surrogacy matters and guardianships. She has successfully litigated cases at both the Pennsylvania trial court level and before the Pennsylvania Superior Court. One of Shirey’s cases established Pennsylvania law regarding the custody rights of a biological parent versus a surrogate. Shirey is an adjunct lecturer in political science at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College and serves on Behrend’s Political Science Advisory Board. While a student, Shirley was selected as a Truman Scholar, the first student from Behrend and the second university-wide to receive the award.
John B. Stewart Jr. ’01
is executive director of International Digital Cinema Operations for 20th Century Fox
in Los Angeles. He is responsible for managing the company’s changeover from film projectors and reels to digital servicing and movie distribution. Stewart’s responsibilities also include negotiating contracts with various international partners and designing the company’s strategy and implementation plan in more than 65 markets around the world. He has a leadership role in this industry-wide change that is driving digital adoption at both film studios and theatres worldwide. Several studio heads have declared this to be the single greatest change to the film industry since sound was widely introduced nearly 70 years ago.
More information on these honorees, past recipients and the Alumni Achievement Award is online