Faces of Kent State

Carl Walz

Carl Walz, ’77

Inspired by early astronauts from Ohio, such as John Glenn and Neil Armstrong, Carl Walz, ’77, was captivated by the idea of space exploration. Carl transferred from John Carroll University to Kent State University to join the U.S. Air Force ROTC and pursue a physics degree.

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Ann Mariko Walter, ’96, M.Ed. ’19

Ann Mariko Walter, ’96, M.Ed. ’19

Ann Mariko Walter, ’96, M.Ed. ’19, knows that inspiration can strike in unexpected ways. When reading a Seventeen magazine article about fashion design, she realized her passion could become a career. That led her to Kent State University, and eventually, a degree that enabled her to live and work in New York City. After designing for major brands and retailers for 14 years, she was offered a teaching position at Kent State NYC Fashion, which changed her life’s trajectory once again when she discovered she loved it.

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Will Matthews, ’19

Will Matthews, ’19

Will Matthews, ’19, grew up around food, which was a huge part of the culture in his hometown of New Orleans. He chose to major in entrepreneurship because of his parents, both of whom ran their own businesses. With the idea for the Southern Comfort Kitchen and the support of mentors Mary Hielder, associate lecturer in the Department of Marketing and Entrepreneurship, and Mike Beder, an entrepreneur of several businesses in Kent, Ohio, Will brought his dreams of running a business to reality while still a student at Kent State.

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Danny Pellegrino, ’07

Danny Pellegrino, ’07

Danny Pellegrino, ’07, is no stranger to the spotlight. He started dabbling in television broadcasting as a member of TV2 at Kent State, but he was primarily behind the scenes then. Now, 17 years later, he’s the author of “How Can I Unremember This?,” a New York Times bestseller, and the host of the podcast “Everything Iconic,” which boasts more than 50 million downloads and features interviews with celebrities ranging from Andy Cohen and Drew Barrymore to the incomparable Miss Piggy.

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Isaac Arthur, ’01

Isaac Arthur, ’01

Isaac Arthur, ’01, loves to discuss the infinite possibilities of space. His enthusiasm has led him to more than 767,000 subscribers and 600 videos on his YouTube channel “Science & Futurism with Isaac Arthur.” He attracted the attention of the National Space Society, winning its Space Pioneer Award for Education via Mass Media in 2020 and taking on the role of president for the organization in 2023.

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Victoria Humphreys, ’13

Victoria Humphreys, ’13

When Victoria Humphreys, ’13, started her undergraduate education at Kent State, it was by no means her first experience on campus. Victoria grew up learning alongside her mom, who was studying at Kent State in the early 2000s.

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Bill Hoover, '71'

Tom Batiuk, ’69

From the time he was a young child, Tom Batiuk, ’69, knew he wanted to be a cartoonist. The Funky Winkerbean creator drew inspiration for his characters and storylines from his real world, including his time at Kent State.

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Bill Hoover, '71'

Bill Hoover, ’71

While studying sociology as a graduate student at Kent State, Bill Hoover, fellow student Gail Pertz and Dolores Noll, Ph.D., assistant English professor, came together to form the Kent Gay Liberation Front (KGLF) - now the KSU LGBTQ+ Center. Despite the stigma surrounding the gay community at the time, the KGLF encouraged others to “come out, come out, wherever you are,” realizing that the increased visibility would further the mission to create a safe haven for gay individuals.

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Lillian Kuri

Lillian Kuri, BS ’93, BARC ’94,

From studying architecture to pursuing a career in the nonprofit sector, Lillian Kuri, BS ’93, BARC ’94, credits her experience and education at Kent State for her foundation as a dynamic leader. She has touched many aspects of the foundation, from city planning to fundraising, and now she’s leading the organization with the skills and tenacity she cultivated at Kent State. Get to know Lillian in her own words.

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CHRIS, ’17, AND KIMBERLY ROHR, ’04, MBA ’07

Chris, ’17, and Kimberly Rohr, ’04, MBA ’07

When Chris and Kim started dabbling in winemaking, they uncovered a passion that would change the course of their lives. In April 2022, they made moves to open a winery situated on their own property with the vision of sharing the beautiful land that they had painstakingly cleared and the many history-rich wines they vinted.

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Marvin L. Logan Jr., ’15

Lisbeth (Betsy) Justice, ’70, MA ’83, Ph.D. ’08

As a triple alumna, Betsy Justice has deep ties to Kent State with decades worth of experiences. Born and raised in New Jersey, something about Kent, Ohio, and the people here captured her heart. She remains connected to the university as a part-time faculty member teaching psychology courses, but the majority of her time and focus is devoted to LoveLight, Inc., a nonprofit that she and two others founded in 1995.

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Marvin L. Logan Jr., ’15

Gordon Stumpo, MA ’16

For Gordon Stumpo, MA ’16, education is not something to leave behind after graduation. His eagerness to learn new techniques and hone his skills has propelled him forward in his career. With nearly a decade of fashion industry experience, Gordon has worked for designers like Zac Posen, Patrik Ervell and Naeem Khan, experiences that provided opportunities to create custom patterns seen on A-list celebrities including Oprah, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry and Mariah Carey.

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Marvin L. Logan Jr., ’15

Marvin L. Logan Jr., ’15

Marvin L. Logan Jr., ’15, knew at 13 years old that he wanted to run a nonprofit that would change lives and make communities stronger. As a Kent State student, he developed his leadership skills as president of Undergraduate Student Government and Black United Students, competed as a student-athlete and honed his storytelling craft through student media. Seven years after graduating, he’s living his childhood dream and inspiring other children to dream big as well.

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Kathryn Tschiegg, ’92

Kathryn Tschiegg, ’92

Kathryn Tschiegg, ’92, is the founder and executive director of Central American Medical Outreach (CAMO), a nondenominational, Christian-based, humanitarian organization that brings medical services, education and community development to Central America. While she founded CAMO shortly after graduating from Kent State in 1993 with a Bachelor of Business Administration, the inspiration for this organization was sparked long before she even enrolled at the university.

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Daniel Wolfe, ’82

Julianna Medina Politsky, ’02

Julianna Medina Politsky, ’02, is an award-winning executive producer and co-owner of Redbird Entertainment. She leveraged a strong work ethic and other lessons learned from her Midwestern upbringing to achieve success in Hollywood, where she worked on films such as Godzilla, Dune, 42, Kong: Skull Island and more. Now she is using the power of film to share the stories and amplify the voices of women and members of the Latine, BIPOC and LGBTQ+ community.

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Daniel Wolfe, ’82

Brandon Lazenko, ’16

Brandon Lazenko, ’16, found a way to provide an unusual opportunity for Kent State film students to learn outside of the classroom through his upcoming project, “October Roses.” He and fellow Kent State graduate Shelby Wyant, ’18, wrote the 40-minute film adapted from Stephen King’s short story “Nona.” The alumni pair got permission to create their adaptation of the short story from King and his team through his Dollar Baby Program.

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Alexander Evans, BBA ’14, BS ’14, MBA ’15,

Alexander Evans, BBA ’14, BS ’14, MBA ’15, M.GISc ’19

After more than two years of a global pandemic, most everyone knows what an epidemiologist does. Alexander (Alex) Evans, BBA ’14, BS ’14, MBA ’15, M.GISc ’19, an epidemiologist at Franklin County Public Health, spent the first 18 months of the pandemic on call, working seven-day, 60-hour weeks on its COVID-19 response. Learn more about this four-time alumnus, who also serves on the Kent State Alumni Association Board of Directors, below.

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Randi Woods, '03

Randi Woods, ’03

In 2016, Randi Woods, ’03, owner and founder of Goods, began a pursuit of better personal care products. As someone with sensitive skin and hair, she struggled to find affordable products for herself and her daughters that contained natural ingredients. Randi began working with a naturopath to understand the effects that different ingredients and chemicals can have on the body, and she started experimenting with high-quality, organic ingredients to create her own beauty line.

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Lacy Talley, ’18 Header

Lacy Talley, ’18

For Lacy Talley, ’18, the animations she saw and illustrated books she read in her childhood would spark a career-defining passion. Her dream of becoming a graphic designer led her to Kent State University, where she studied visual communication design and Pan-African studies. While at Kent State, she found the Marcus Graham Project, which supports and develops aspiring marketing and media professionals. Lacy serves as an art director through the project’s iCR8™ program!

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CHUCK MILEY, ’65 Face

Chuck Miley, ’65

Chuck Miley, ’65, has always been an artist. He remembers his mother providing the paper and crayons he used to create some of his first drawings as a preschooler, and since then Chuck has used art as an outlet for creativity. His artistic journey has exposed him to new ideas and cultures different from his own. Through these discoveries, he created some of his most profound work, “Why Reparations” and “Black Lives Matter Martyrs,” featured in the February 2022 Studio Montclair Black History Month exhibition.

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Daniel Wolfe, ’82

Daniel Wolfe, ’82

From a young age, Daniel Wolfe, ’82, vice president and general manager of Nationwide Aviation Business Center, was infatuated with airplanes after admiring his father’s service in the Air Force. He turned his love of aircrafts into a successful aviation career, beginning with the Kent State flying team. As a competitive person, this program was his favorite way to team up with other high achievers and represent the university in what he deems to be the best collegiate flight team in the nation.

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Allison Brager, Ph.D. ’11

Allison Brager, Ph.D. ’11

As a soldier and elite athlete, Dr. Allison Brager is familiar with pushing herself physically and mentally. As an athlete, she was interested in both human performance and sleep, but it wasn’t until she signed up for a course called The Psychology of Sleep that she discovered the connection between the two. She is now an Army neuroscientist who studies sleep, particularly in extreme environments and high-stress situations.

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Rosie Nix Left align

Rosie Nix, ’14

In 2010, Rosie Nix, ’14, was a freshman at Kent State and in his first season as a defensive lineman with the Golden Flashes football team. He quickly became an invaluable member of the team, and by his senior season, he was voted defensive captain by his teammates and was even selected to play in the Medal of Honor Bowl. Following his graduation from Kent State, Rosie made his way to the NFL in 2015 when he signed as a fullback with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

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Beverley Laubert, ’84

Beverley Laubert, ’84

Beverley Laubert, ’84, has spent decades improving access to quality care and in turn the lives of older adults. Beverley began her career at Kent State where she received a bachelor’s degree in gerontology. She went on to serve as an Ohio ombudsman for 33 years and the state long-term care ombudsman at the Ohio Department of Aging for 26 years. She was recently appointed as the National Ombudsman Program Coordinator at the Administration for Community Living.

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Tierra Haynes, ’06

Tierra Haynes, ’06

Tierra Haynes, ’06, used her own experiences as a parent to create an online community free of judgment for moms to support each other through the many challenges of motherhood. Her company, Mommy on the Move, started in 2016 after she decided to stay home and care for her three boys while her husband – a fellow Golden Flash alum - worked as a college basketball coach. Her podcast shares her journey through motherhood and her family’s multiple relocations around the world.

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Hoover Left align

Max Hoover

Max comes from a family of Golden Flashes. His parents, Erik and Stacey, ’93, both attended Kent State University. In 2015, his parents opened Cockeye BBQ, and they have since expanded the business to offer a sweet treat that would compliment their award-winning food - ice cream. Max is the owner and operator of Cockeye Creamery, a Warren, Ohio, staple offering unique ice cream flavors that showcase local and unexpected ingredients. Max uses his background as a KSU science major to experiment with innovative flavors for the creamery.

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Kira Krivosh, ’05

Kira Krivosh, ’05

Kira is dedicated to serving the needs of the youngest members of her community – the children. As a prosecuting attorney, she worked on child support cases, ensuring children received the care and financial support they deserved. In April 2021, she assumed a new position as magistrate for the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas - Juvenile Division, continuing her commitment to the youths in her county. Kira earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Kent State, with a concentration in international relations.

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Samory Uiki Fraga, ’19

Samory Uiki Fraga, ’19

Samory Uiki Fraga, ’19, began track at eight years old and has been on the run ever since. Samory came to Kent State University as an international track and field student-athlete in 2015, where he quickly established himself as a serious scholar and competitor. He earned a bachelor’s degree in international relations with a double minor in international business and political science. A three-time MAC Distinguished Scholar-Athlete, Samory still holds the KSU records for both the indoor and outdoor long jump.

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Larry Armstrong in right

Larry Armstrong, ’79, ’80

Lawrence R. Armstrong, ’79, ’80, is the epitome of a devoted Kent State University alumni, particularly of our architecture program. Larry is a native Clevelander (Painesville, OH), an architecture graduate and a member of one of the early student cohorts to study abroad with Kent State in Florence in 1979. After graduation, Larry went on to serve as President and CEO, and now Chairman, of Ware Malcomb – an international architecture, interior, civil engineering and branding firm.

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Sarah Shendy, ’06

Sarah Shendy, ’06

Sarah Shendy, ’06, found the passion that fueled her career in law enforcement during her time at Kent State University. Sarah is a police officer and proud Kent State alumna—and in June 2020, she became the first Director of the Ohio Office of Law Enforcement Recruitment, a newly established office in the state legislature. While studying criminal justice, one of Sarah’s professors recommended she attend the Kent State University Police Academy.

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John Pippin, ’04

John Pippin, ’04

John Pippin, ’04, is a visionary entrepreneur with an affinity for his alma mater—and a knack for pairing craft beers with donuts. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business, John entered corporate America. Ten years later, he and his wife Shelley decided to take a risk for love—the love of donuts, craft beer and Cleveland, that is. They opened Brewnuts in 2013, the first donut bar in the country serving craft beer-based donuts.

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