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Westminster honors distinguished alumni during Homecoming

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Posted on Monday, October 15, 2018

NEW WILMINGTON, PA – Five Westminster College alumni were honored at the annual Alumni Awards Reception and Dinner during Homecoming festivities on Friday, Oct. 12.

Alumni Citation Awards, given to alumni who have made significant accomplishments in their professions or made meaningful contributions to the community or Westminster, were presented to James A. Giel Jr. ’74, Jacqueline J. Jaros ’92 and Mark A. Longietti ’85.

Stephanie Martin Kerns ’07 took home the Outstanding Young Alumni Award, which recognizes alumni of 15 years or less who are making significant contributions as they build careers and serve their communities or Westminster. Current Westminster senior Vanessa Restifo ’19 was awarded the Rising Titan Award, which honors an up-and-coming student who showcases the ability to be a leading alumnus.

Giel, vice president of human resources and benefits at Dollar Bank, has held senior management positions in a number of Fortune 500 companies in Pittsburgh over the years. He has been an active volunteer for Westminster. He is past president of Westminster’s Alumni Council and also served as an associate member on the College’s Board of Trustees. He earned a master’s degree in personnel and industrial relations from St. Francis University. He resides in Glenshaw.

Jaros, currently a middle school counselor with the Deer Lakes School District, has been involved with Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) since 1996, completing a term as co-director at the Westminster site. Working with student leadership through the Pennsylvania Association of Student Councils, she has been honored at the local and regional levels. She was recognized in 2015 as the National Association of Student Councils Warren E. Shull Middle School Advisor of the Year. She holds a master’s in elementary and secondary counseling from Duquesne University. She resides in West Deer Township.

Longietti has been a Democratic member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives since 2006, representing the 7th District. He currently serves as Democratic chair of the House tourism and recreational development committee, co-chair of the House/Senate early childhood education caucus and member of the House education committee. During his tenure, he has served on numerous committees and been honored for his work in education. Longietti earned a law degree from Boston College Law School and practiced in Sharon prior to his election. He currently resides in Hermitage.

Kerns, who currently serves as assistant principal and third grade teacher at The Huda Academy, a private Islamic school in Little Rock, Ark., began her career teaching second grade in Norfolk, Va. She earned a master’s in elementary education and literacy from the University of North Florida while teaching in Jacksonville and has taught in New York City and Savannah, where she was recognized as 2015 Teacher of the Year. She resides in Little Rock.

Restifo, a senior honors student in public relations and Spanish from Lisbon, Ohio, is assistant layout editor for the Argo, Student Government Association senator (2017 Senator of the Year) and member of Sigma Delta Pi Spanish honor society. She has served summer internships with Awana Kancha in Peru, Arts & Education at the Hoyt in New Castle, and Ketchum in New York, as well as being a global ambassador for the International Studies Abroad program.

Pictured top from left: James Giel, Jacqueline Jaros, Mark Longietti. Bottom from left: Stephanie Kerns, Vanessa Restifo