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School of Arts and Sciences

Humanities and Social Sciences Success Stories

Meet our Humanities and Social Sciences Alumni and Students

In the profiles below, meet undergraduate and graduate alumni and students from the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences. These alumni and students talk about why they chose Point Park University and how earning or pursuing a degree is helping them reach their career goals.


Pictured is political science alumnus Anthony Costulas, program analyst for the U.S. Government Accountability Office. | Photo by Nicollette Costulas

Anthony Costulas

B.A. in Political Science, 2012
Program Analyst, U.S. Government Accountability Office 

"Today, I work directly for Congress, and classes such as Constitutional Law and various American government courses I took while at Point Park helped provide me with tools that I use today while preparing for tasks such as briefing congressional staff."

Point Park’s political science program also helped prepare me for graduate school at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where I studied public policy. The professors in the political science program at Point Park were an incredible resource. I was able to establish a foundation that I have been able to put to good use throughout my career."

Pictured is Orlandria Smith, psychology alumna. | Photo by Arthur Alexander

Orlandria Smith

B.A. in Psychology, 2016
Pursuing M.A. in Clinical-Community Psychology
Executive Director, Connect With Your Heart

"While completing my undergraduate degree in psychology at Point Park University, I fell in love with the program’s ideology and holistic approach. I found myself to be both inspired and motivated to further my education within the University that has molded my beliefs of humanistic psychology so I decided to enroll in the M.A. in clinical-community psychology program."

"I have been inspired by all of my professors at Point Park. In their own unique ways, they have all offered me opportunities to examine foundational and current theories and gain knowledge of human thoughts, feelings and behaviors."

Pictured is Nina DelPrato, liberal studies alumna and program assistant for Amizade. | Photo by Arthur Alexander

Nina DelPrato

B.A. in Liberal Studies, 2016
Program Assistant, Amizade

"My professors in the global cultural studies program always encouraged critical thinking regarding social and economic disparity. They provided us with a background on how hundreds of years of systemic racism, classism and sexism shape the increasingly global world that we live in today."

"One of my favorite professors, Dr. Ross, would always say, "Education is like a gym membership. You have to keep up with it and work at it — it shouldn't stop just because you have a degree."

Pictured is Laier-Rayshon Smith, political science graduate and fellow for CORO Pittsburgh. | Photo by Shayna Mendez

Laier-Rayshon Smith

B.A. in Political Science, 2015
Coro Fellow in Public Affairs, Coro Pittsburgh

"Throughout my political science classes, and some of my history classes, we considered the actions, personalities and effectiveness of individuals or groups as they attempted to make an impactful influence in communities, pass legislation or ignite a movement."

"As a Coro Fellow, I constantly think about this because we are trying to make impactful differences in Pittsburgh and we can only do this by building inclusive relationships in the city."

Pictured is Chivas Whipple, a liberal studies alumnus, veteran and assistant mens basketball coach for Westminster College. | Photo by Tiffany Jackson

Chivas Whipple

B.A. in Liberal Studies, 2010
Assistant Men's Basketball Coach, Westminster College

"Point Park University played an integral role in the person I am today. As a student and basketball player, I was challenged to grow and develop communication, networking and leadership skills. I still use and instill those same core values in our athletes at Westminster College."

"I received much support from many people at Point Park including President Dr. Paul HenniganDr. Darlene MarnichProfessor Edward Meena and many more. They cared about my well-being and because of their mentorship, I did not want to disappoint any of them."

Pictured is Courtney Mahronich, political science and M.S. in environmental studies alumna and director of development for Friends of the Riverfront. | Photo by Olivia Ruk

Courtney Mahronich

B.A. in Political Science, 2011
Director of Trail Development, Friends of the Riverfront

"My studies at Point Park have helped me greatly in this role. My classes in political science have helped me with working with municipalities, county government and state agencies. All of my professors had life experiences to share with their students."

"I am very grateful for the opportunity to be able to work on trails, connecting communities together and people to nature. Also, I am thankful for the education and experience I gained at Point Park University, which has prepared and helped me achieve so much in my career."

Pictured is psychology alumna Kerry Glova, a graduate student who works for The Academy Schools, City Parks Alliance/RAND Corporation and Allegheny HealthChoices, Inc. | Photo by Shayna Mendez

Kerry Glova

B.A. in Psychology, 2015
Graduate Student, Weekend Activities Coordinator, Data Collector and Quality Improvement Intern
University of Pittsburgh, The Academy Schools, City Parks Alliance/RAND Corporation and Allegheny HealthChoices, Inc.

"The research and writing I did at Point Park really benefited me, along with the support and guidance I received from faculty in the Department of Humanities and Human Sciences."

"The University offers a lot of flexibility for students regarding course selectiontransfer credits and campus living."

Pictured is Taylor Goska, psychology and dance alumna of Point Park and Baltimore area dance teacher and job coach. | Photo by Sarah Koch Taylor Goska

B.A. in Psychology and Dance, 2015
Job Coach, Jewish Community Services of Greater Baltimore
Dance Teacher, Bel Air Dance Academy and Supernova Dance Company

"Through my psychology course work, I became more aware of the experiences and emotions of others, which I believe has instilled in me a broader, more understanding perspective and compassionate approach to working with clients at Jewish Community Services as well as my dance students."

"Also, I had some great professors in both psychology and dance who were truly passionate about what they were teaching me."

Pictured is Casy Stelitano, global cultural studies alumna and fellow for PULSE Pittsburgh. | Photo by Laura Frost, Ph.D. Casy Stelitano

B.A. in Global Cultural Studies, 2014
Program Coordinator, Pittsburghers for Public Transit - fellowship through PULSE Pittsburgh

"I think the critical thinking skills and eagerness to fight for social justice issues that I developed during my time as a global cultural studies major really helped me land this fellowship. The GCS professors teach you how to ask the hard questions, combat societal injustices and relate personal struggles to social issues."

"I also served as president for the Honors Student Organization. This position taught me a lot about being an effective leader, team member and a million other things."

Pictured is Brian Smith, a psychology major and intern for GNC. | Photo by Victoria A. Mikula Brian Smith

Pursuing B.A. in Psychology
Rent/Administration Intern, GNC

"Point Park's psychology program faculty do a great job of teaching class in a variety of ways. Just about all of my professors lecture, but they have also illustrated ideas through the use of film, literature and music."

"I would just like to say that Point Park is a great university to attend, especially if you like being in the middle of the action. The faculty members here do a great job of guiding the students in the direction they want to go."

Pictured is Ashleigh Henry, a 2010 political science alumna and staff attorney for the Ohio Board of Regents. | Photo submitted by HenryAshleigh Henry

B.A. in Political Science, 2010
Staff Attorney, Ohio Board of Regents

"I chose Point Park because it was immersed in Downtown Pittsburgh, but it wasn't intimidating as other campuses. What also attracted me was that the professors had real-life experience in the subject matter, which was really important to me." 

"My bachelor's degree provided me a foundation not only in substantive knowledge of government processes, but also a greater knowledge of the world around me."

Pictured is Hana Valle, global cultural studies and psychology double major. | Photo by Amanda Dabbs Hana Valle

Pursuing B.A. in Global Cultural Studies and Psychology
Speaker and panelist at Third Annual Storytelling and Human Rights Symposium

"One of my friends in Hawaii told me about Point Park. He said I would probably enjoy the psychology program. I applied to several schools in the Northeast region and chose Point Park because it offered me the best scholarship. It worked out. I love Point Park."

"Many of the professors in the HHS department will come and talk to you personally … I’m amazed by how much my professors know about their subjects. It’s impressive."

Pictured is psychology student Calla Kainaroi, volunteer for the Pittsburgh Action Against Rape organization. | Photo by Chris Rolinson Calla Kainaroi

Pursuing: B.A. in Psychology
Volunteer, Pittsburgh Action Against Rape

"I chose Point Park because the urban atmosphere appealed to me, and it wasn’t too far from home. I was also drawn to the idea of attending a liberal arts school, where the focus is placed on the humanities."

"The program is unique in that it views psychology as a human science, rather than a natural science. To put it simply, emphasis is placed on the individual and his or her experience, rather than attempting to find answers in the brain or some ultimate truth about existence."

Pictured is Melissa Ferraro, B.A. in behavioral science alumna and development director for Sisters Place, Inc. | Photo by Jim Judkis Melissa Ferraro

B.A. in Behavioral Science, 2011
Development Director, Sisters Place, Inc.

"I transferred to Point Park from another institution because I wanted to be in Downtown Pittsburgh closer to my workplace at the time. Soon after starting at Point Park, I fell in love with the school. There is something special about going to school Downtown when you've grown up in Pittsburgh. What I’ve come to love about Point Park is the diversity of the student body and the integrity and knowledge of the faculty."

"During my undergraduate studies, I really enjoyed the course in abnormal psychology with Dr. Fessler and all of the sociology courses with Dr. Corado."

Pictured is Melissa Bender, psychology alumna, occupational therapist, yoga instructor and fitness blogger. | Photo by Chris Rolinson Melissa Bender

B.A. in Psychology, 2007
Occupational Therapist, Masonic Village of Sewickley

"To this day, I love Point Park’s psychology program. I learned so much about the different psychological approaches and philosophies. The teachers presented the material in a way that offered more than rote memorization. They fostered understanding and learning."

"Point Park prepared me for graduate school. The educational foundation I entered grad school with, including my research and writing skills, helped set me up for success. I also utilize my background in psychology in both my blogging and my career as an occupational therapist."

Pictured is Emily Petsko, a 2013 journalism and global cultural studies alumna who landed a job as a staff writer at the Observer-Reporter. | Photo by Jim McNutt Emily Petsko

B.A. in Global Cultural Studies and Journalism, 2013
Staff Writer, Washington Observer-Reporter

"I’ve always wanted to be a writer of sorts, and I also sought a career where I could inspire positive change, so journalism seemed like the best of both worlds. I stumbled into global cultural studies when I took a modern language elective taught by Professor Channa Newman, Ph.D. and immediately loved it. Every class in the program was so thought provoking, and I knew it would help me become a more globally aware reporter."

"The global cultural studies program equipped me with critical thinking skills and the ability to delve deeper into issues that affect the communities I serve as a reporter."

Pictured is global cultural studies major Julia Franzen. Julia Franzen

B.A. in Global Cultural Studies, 2011
Logistics Coordinator, Back to the Roots

“I was so blessed at Point Park to have such stellar professors. They taught me to see the world through many different lenses and fostered in me a hunger for knowledge and truth."

"GCS opens a lot of doors. My educational background has given me a bigger vision for life than I could have ever imagined.  The global cultural studies degree has equipped me not just for my job, but for life.”

Pictured is psychology alumnus Dr. Nick Williams. Nick Williams, Ph.D.

B.A. in Psychology, 1998
Program Director, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic

Williams credits the humanistic style of psychology taught at Point Park for giving him a strong foundation in the field.

“The humanistic perspective taught me that psychology is at the heart of all inquiry, whether it’s in the natural sciences, computer science, social sciences and so on.”

“Being at Point Park was great. I got exactly the kind of exposure to psychology that I needed to get."

Pictured is psychology alumna Dr. Marcia Sturdivant. Marcia Sturdivant, Ph.D.

B.A. in Psychology and Behavioral Sciences, 1978
Deputy Director, Allegheny County Department of Human Services, Office of Children, Youth and Families

"I liked that Point Park offered small class sizes where you can get one-on-one attention.  Also, there was just something about the atmosphere at Point Park that intrigued me.  It was such an inviting, friendly environment and had a real 'family feel' to it."

"I got a good foundation at Point Park that encouraged me to continue my studies.  The professors were very forward thinking.  I believe positive undergraduate experiences encourage students to want to continue learning."

Pictured is global cultural studies alumnus Eric Probola. Eric Probola

B.A. in Global Cultural Studies, 2010
Administrative Assistant to Community Planning, Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh

"The staff at the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh liked that I had a degree in global cultural studies since they do a lot of work overseas.  My work-study job with Point Park’s Office of International Student Services also played a role in helping me to land the job."

"I had professors who really challenged me and took the time to give me real feedback, which definitely prepared me for my current job.  The professors are also a great intellectual resource."

Pictured is psychology alumna Veronika Panagiotou. Veronika Panagiotou

B.A. in Psychology, 2011
Graduate student in applied developmental psychology, The University of Pittsburgh

“My graduate advisor at Pitt was really impressed with my academic background and the practical experiences I gained at Point Park. Like Point Park, Pitt’s psychology program also teaches qualitative research methods.  Not many college programs teach this more humanistic style of research."

"Psychology has so many different niches. When you find the niche that is right for you, you'll know it because it will no longer seem like work."

Pictured is behavioral sciences alumnus Anthony Sanchez. Anthony Sanchez

B.A. in Behavioral Sciences, 1982
Attorney, Andrews and Price

"The small classes and personal attention from professors were important to me.  I first began to see myself as someone that could succeed professionally because of the encouragement of some of my professors.  I also learned a great deal from many friends that attended Point Park."

"Take advantage of the unique opportunities that Point Park provides – smaller classes, the opportunity to interact with your professors and make great friends, and the access to everything that Downtown Pittsburgh has to offer."

Pictured is global cultural studies student Holly Kuhl. Holly Kuhl

B.A. in Global Cultural Studies, 2012
Teaching English classes abroad

"The program (global cultural studies) facilitates the development of a critical lens that exposes the power dynamics that direct the formation and operation of these cultural constructs. It is a mindset and a lens that is relevant and applicable in all professions and fields of study."

"The professors are extremely intelligent and very engaging. Each professor has a very cultivated range of knowledge and applies it to a specific area that is unique to their interests."

Pictured is Carlene Morgan, global cultural studies student and intern for the Allegheny County Department of Economic Development. | Photo by Chris Rolinson Carlene Morgan

Pursuing: B.A. in Global Cultural Studies
Save Your Home Program Coordinator, Allegheny County Department of Economic Development

"My internship has helped me learn how to assist people who need housing, especially those in the area of refugee resettlement who will need housing when they come to America. This internship also has given me skills in general to help people who are in crisis."

"What I like about Point Park is that the professors are always there to challenge you even when you want to stay in your comfort zone. This has helped me to grow and get out of my own comfort zone. Also, I have met some really good friends at Point Park. You never know who you’ll meet here."

Pictured is psychology senior Angelica Audia, who spent a semester at sea. | Photo submitted by Audia Angelica Audia

Pursuing: B.A. degree in psychology
Completed Semester at Sea program

"The psychology program at Point Park is really different than most other psychology programs. It doesn’t teach you that diagnosing and medicating people is the best method to help them. We are taught to think critically about common methods of therapy that essentially tell the client the problem lies within them and not their social or cultural context."

"Study abroad! Our world is globalizing so quickly. Even if you’re not interested in other cultures and countries, chances are you’re going to have a lot of encounters with people much different than you."

Pictured is psychology student and Allegheny General Hospital intern, Robert Novia. | Photo by Connor Mulvaney Robert Novia

Pursuing: B.A. degree in psychology
Internship: Neuropsychology intern at Allegheny General Hospital

"The philosophy that Point Park’s psychology program is grounded on was right for me. I really enjoyed the way in which this program is taught and has prepared me for the field I will be entering in the workforce. The professors I had the pleasure of learning from in this program were amazing and really made coming to class enjoyable."

"The friends I have made, the experiences I’ve had and the knowledge I have gained here at Point Park are things I will never forget and will cherish for the rest of my life. It's been truly amazing and I am so glad I took that leap of faith to come here."

Pictured is Sara Payne, a journalism and global cultural studies double major who interned for the Downtown Community Development Corporation. | Photo by Chris Rolinson Sara Payne

Pursuing: B.A. degrees in global cultural studies and journalism
Internship: Downtown Community Development Corporation

"Classes in the global cultural studies program have shown me how to look at a situation from different angles in order to think critically and be able to make an informed decision."

"My internship has given me the experience of working at a nonprofit organization, and I have learned how to apply the skills I acquired as a journalism major to a different field. I have always considered nonprofit work, and now I know what it is like and what I can bring to the table."


Pictured is M.A. in clinical-community psychology alumnus Kevin Gallagher, program supervisor for Pittsburgh Mercy's Operation Safety Net. | Photo by Jim Judkis Kevin Gallagher

M.A. in Clinical-Community Psychology, 2015
Program Supervisor, Pittsburgh Mercy's Operation Safety Net

"Point Park’s M.A. in clinical-community psychology program allows students an almost radically open space to explore these approaches that many people would consider nontraditional.."

"Also, the community aspect of this master’s program engenders knowledge that human suffering is not always a dispositional or personal issue. It is connected to experiences the person has with outside institutions, including social and environmental systems."

Pictured is Chloe Detrick, a 2015 M.A. in clinical-community psychology graduate of Point Park and media relations specialist for The Humane Society of the U.S. | Photo by Meredith Lee/For The HSUS Chloe Detrick

M.A. in Clinical-Community Psychology, 2015
Media Relations Specialist, The Humane Society of the United States

"My graduate classes taught me many lessons, but one of my most important takeaways was that real change happens through grassroots organizing from people who are truly committed to a cause. This has really helped guide my career path and sparked my interest in the areas of outreach and political lobbying."

"I have been exposed to so many wonderful perspectives and such a diverse group of people at Point Park University."

Pictured is Leatra Tate, M.A. clinical-community psychology alumna and Girl Talk Project coordinator for Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force. | Photo by Victoria A. Mikula
Leatra Tate

M.A. in Clinical-Community Psychology, 2015
Girl Talk Project Coordinator, Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force

"The clinical-community psychology master’s program at Point Park is heavily influenced by humanism, which focuses on the innate goodness and potential of human beings. This perspective really captures the way I approach my position and the way I approach the young women."

"I have been exposed to so many wonderful perspectives and such a diverse group of people at Point Park University."

Pictured is Shari Boddin, Point Park M.A. in clinical-community psychology student and IELTS invigilator/TOEFL administrator and administrative assistant for the ELS Educational Services Center in Pittsburgh. | Photo by Amanda Dabbs Shari Boddin

Pursuing: M.A. in Clinical-Community Psychology
IELTS invigilator/TOEFL administrator and administrative assistant, ELS Educational Services Center, Pittsburgh

"A majority of the experience I have, both voluntary and paid, is related to working with children, their families and communities as a whole. This is the reason why Point Park’s new Master of Arts degree in clinical-community psychology interested me."

"What I value and appreciate the most is that all of the professors in this program provide students with a very realistic view of the field while equipping us with the educational tools to be successful in our careers and effectively help people."