OUR STORIES


Military Injury Leads Veteran to Choose Plan B(TAS)

Trumbull U.S. Army veteran Richard Lehman earns a Technical & Applied Studies degree

Richard LehmanAfter an active service-related injury sidelined his military career, Richard Lehman Jr. began exploring his options and working on “Plan B”. And for this college-bound veteran, Kent State University’s BTAS degree would be there for him when the unthinkable happened.

Lehman joined the Army in 2010, deploying to Afghanistan twice just a year later and, then again, in 2014. Just before Christmas 2015, Lehman left the Army on a medical discharge after he sustained injuries while loading 30mm ammunition onto an AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopter. 

He returned to the United States, settling in Diamond, Ohio, with his wife, Desiree, and two daughters, Arianna and Arabella. Lehman quickly pivoted and planned his next steps. 

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From Here, Anywhere is Possible!

East Liverpool's Maia Amato harnesses power of Regional Campus System

Maia AmatoIf given an opportunity, Maia Amato is going to make the most of it.

Kent State University provided Amato with opportunities from the time she was a student at Wellsville High School, and the university continues to do so as she prepares for graduate studies.

Amato began her journey with Kent State University through the College Credit Plus program on Columbiana County’s East Liverpool and Salem campuses. She graduated from high school in 2019 with enough credits to begin college as a sophomore.     

In 2020, she earned an associate degree in business and will graduate this summer with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

Because of the network created through the Kent State Regional Campus System, Amato discovered opened doors — and opportunities. 

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From Ashtabula to East Liverpool, Flexible Course Offerings meet Students Where They Are

Dr. Omid Bagheri reaches Regional Campuses using Zoom Technology

Omid BagheriWhen Dr. Omid Bagheri, assistant professor of economics, came to the Kent State Columbiana County campuses in 2017, he helped launch a “new” way of teaching that helped strengthen the connection between the Regional Campuses.

“I was among a few faculty members who started the Zoom technology/classrooms in my courses,” said Bagheri, who teaches courses like the principles of microeconomics and macroeconomics to students throughout Northeast Ohio — from the East Liverpool Campus, along the Ohio River, to the Ashtabula Campus on the shores of Lake Erie.

Bagheri has been teaching all of his face-to-face classes in this setup since then. Thanks to top-of-the-line Zoom classroom technology, he explained that all faculty can teach students across the Regional Campus System — no matter where they call home. 

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From Immigrant to Design Engineer, Student Finds Success at Regional Campuses

Geovany Itzep-Santiago earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Kent State Tuscarawas 

Geovany Itzep-SantiagoGeovany Itzep-Santiago has made a habit of opening closed doors.

When he arrived in the United States, he didn’t speak English. But this Guatemalan immigrant teenager was intent on overcoming obstacles and achieving his dreams. Today, he is a Kent State University at Tuscarawas Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology graduate and a design engineer at ProVia in Walnut Creek.

Itzep-Santiago began his education at Kent State Tuscarawas as a College Credit Plus (CCP) student while a senior at Dover High School. It was during this time that he made a pivotal decision about his future.

“I told myself I had to make an intentional change in my life,” said Itzep-Santiago. “I told myself that I needed to make it a habit to embrace situations where I was uncomfortable, because I knew that there was some kind of reward behind each door.”

Itzep-Santiago realized that when he embraced stepping out of his comfort zone — when he dared to open a seemingly closed door — he received unexpected rewards.

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Geauga Student Researcher Identifies Potential Alternative to Antibiotics

Lauren Petrick Isolates Promising Bacteriophage in SURE Project

Lauren PetrickDuring a summer research project at Kent State University at Geauga, nursing student Lauren Petrick succeeded in isolating a bacterial virus that shows promise as an alternative to antibiotics in fighting off intestinal bacterial infections such as urinary tract infections, GI tract infections and even pneumonia.

In her microbiology class with Kent State Geauga Associate Professor Sanhita Gupta, Ph.D., Petrick became intrigued by a problem that plagues modern medicine: antibiotic-resistant bacteria that won’t respond to the medicine. While antibiotics were once considered miracle medicines, their effectiveness has waned over time and a new alternative is needed to replace them.

The grant-funded program provides selected students and their faculty mentors the opportunity to pursue eight-week research projects that hone the student’s research-related skills, including critical thinking, problem-solving, hypothesis development and usage of proper research methodology.

Petrick’s SURE challenge was to isolate bacteriophages from sewer water. Bacteriophages are viruses that use bacteria as their hosts, explained Gupta. “Phages may be found where their host is prevalent. So, sewer water is a very good source of phages that infect bacteria present in the human intestine.

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Former Miss Ohio Turned Entrepreneur found Success at Regional Campus

Kent State Trumbull Graduate now helps Small Business Owners
 
Deneen WiersDeneen (Penn) Wiers’ journey has been anything but average. A former Miss Ohio, now entrepreneur, helps small business owners through her work at Sutton Bank, one of Ohio’s top small business and agricultural lenders.

As payments marketing and event coordinator at the bank’s headquarters in Attica, Ohio, she said her education and experiences at Kent State University at Trumbull has helped her excel.

Before graduating with her degree in business administration in 2019, the Maplewood High School graduate became Miss Ohio Collegiate America (2017) and then Miss Ohio USA (2018). She used what she learned in class to launch her own honey business. In her spare time, Wiers served as a campus ambassador and visited local schools to present workshops to show students how they could become entrepreneurs, too.

“My experiences in class, on campus, and in the different competition platforms gave me great insight into the business world and the belief that I can walk into meetings with managers and directors and be confident about my talents,” Wiers said.

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From Ashtabula to the new Titletown, Alumna Cara Hudak '16 is in her Field of Dreams

Kent State Ashtabula Graduate finds Success with Hospitality Management Degree

Cara HudakWith three major sports championships in the past two calendar years, one could easily argue that our nation’s capital is becoming the country’s new “title town.”  The NHL’s Washington Capitals (2018 Stanley Cup), the WNBA’s Washington Mystics (2019 Finals) and, most recently, Major League Baseball’s Washington Nationals (2019 World Series) have all recently hoisted world championship trophies, and Kent State University at Ashtabula graduate Cara Hudak ’16 has had one of the best seats in the house to enjoy those title runs.

Hudak, a Cuyahoga Falls native and Hospitality Management program alumna, is in her second year as the Suites Sales Manager for Aramark at Capitol One Arena in Washington, D.C., home of the Capitals and the NBA’s Washington Wizards, and has been on the Washington sports scene for almost four years after starting her career with the hometown teams in Northeast Ohio.

While she has seemingly found the industry that’s right for her in a field she loves, Hudak initially came to this career path almost by accident.

“I was originally studying another major at an out-of-state school and came home after my first year looking for a summer job,” she said.  “I found an entry level position with Delaware North Sportservice at Progressive Field that summer and it was the management team there that steered me toward hospitality management.”

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Daring to Dream: A Metamorphosis

Kent State Stark's Jennifer Daring Graduates with Environmental Studies Degree

Jennifer DaringThe sun was setting over a little Stow neighborhood in 1995. Eight-year-old Jennifer Daring knew it meant she would have to go inside soon. That was her mother’s rule: be home by dusk.

But Daring was always pushing it. Just a little later. Just a little more time. Just a few more minutes outside to catch the lightning bugs dotting her grandma’s front yard at dusk. Just a second more to collect caterpillars and watch them become something new.

For Daring, outside felt like home. And some things never change.

At 34, Daring is still always outside – hiking, biking, rock climbing, kayaking. And, in May 2021, she will earn her Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies with minors in biological science and geography from Kent State University at Stark, which will put her right where she wants to be.

But, getting here took some time. Like the caterpillars she found as a curious little girl, Daring would go through a metamorphosis, too.

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