“Fairmont State was wonderful for me,” said Dr. Jude Black, President of the Appalachian Life Enrichment Counseling Center in Fairmont. “It was big enough that I could get lost in, but small enough that I could stay grounded when I needed to.”
Dr. Black, 1990 graduate of the College of Liberal Arts with a degree in Criminal Justice, presented career advice and career optimization to students in psychology courses and the Student Veterans Organization. She credits Fairmont State as the birthplace of her independence and confidence as an entrepreneur of a prominent local business.
“I loved the foundation that I got through Fairmont State. It’s where learning clicked for me,” said Black. “I really had to learn how to apply myself and that helped me with a lot of my business decisions. I never knew I could fail because it wasn’t something I considered.”
Dr. Mitch Sokolosky, a 1988 graduate with a degree in Biology from the College of Science and Technology and the Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, presented biology and healthcare management to students in biology courses and the Tri-Beta Biology Honors Association. He attributes the experiences he had as a Falcon in shaping his career in emergency medicine.
“I took an emergency medical technician elective. It wasn’t required for my degree, but it allowed me the opportunity to volunteer in a local ambulance service and later become a paramedic in Fairmont,” said Sokoloksy. “Fairmont State is the reason I became an emergency physician.”
Bill Black, 1989 graduate of the College of Liberal Arts and Vice President of Operations at Appalachian Life Enrichment Counseling Center, presented leadership lessons and career advice to students in the National Security and Intelligence program, the Student Government Association and the Student Veterans Organization.
Danijel Velicki, 2000 graduate of the College of Business and Aviation and Founder and CEO of Sqwire, a company which conducts financial wellness courses, presented on financial literacy and business leadership with the men’s basketball team and students in business ethics courses.
Ryan Weld, 2003 graduate of the College of Liberal Arts with a degree in Political Science and West Virginia State Senate Majority Whip, presented leadership lessons and career advice to students in the National Security and Intelligence program and the Student Government Association. Weld, a former member of the Men’s Swimming team also took time to meet with members of the current Men’s and Women’s Swimming teams to share experiences from his time as a student athlete.
Gerard Schmidt, 1971 graduate of the College of Liberal Arts with a degree in Psychology and Chief Operations Officer of Valley Healthcare System, an institution designed to treat patients facing addiction, mental illness, and disabilities, presented leadership lessons and shared advice on mental health nursing to students in the Nursing program.
Robert Hawkins, 1970 graduate with a Bachelor of Arts Degree and Retired Director of Faculty Professional Education at Defense Acquisition University, presented to students on the value of a degree in education. He also gave his presentation “Elements of Change: How Learning is Being Redefined” to faculty in the College of Education Health and Human Performance.
Roberta Stronsider, 1967 graduate of the College of Education, Health, and Human Performance and Professor Emerita in Special Education at Towson University and Co-Director of the Institute on Executive Functioning, presented to education faculty and students on accelerating students’ executive growth the utilizing explicit instruction of metacognitive strategies.
“It’s difficult to express how much we appreciate the investment of each of these alumni making time to come back and pour into our students. The value that they provided with their years of insight and experience has been incalculable,” said Tim Liebrecht, Director of Development. “We are so proud to be able to help connect alumni back to our current students and faculty and we look forward to more of these events in the future.”