Wilkes University

Kirby Scholars

Group photo of Scholars and Interns 2017-2018Kirby Scholars Program

The Kirby Scholars Program provides current Wilkes undergraduate and graduate students with hands-on experience in their chosen discipline while serving as a resource for businesses at the Wilkes Enterprise Center.

Top-performing students in accounting, marketing, legal, product development, and project management undergo a rigorous selection process involving a review committee of field-specific faculty, Kirby Center staff, and the executive-in-residence. Kirby Scholars provide services to the businesses at the center and at the business incubator, in turn receiving valuable experience in their field of study and formal recognition of their work.

Photo of TaylorTaylor Baker '17 - Entrepreneurship
Taylor Baker is a 2017 graduate of Wilkes University, holding a degree in Entrepreneurship and a minor in Management. She is currently a graduate assistant and Kirby Scholar in Entrepreneurship at the Allan P. Kirby Center for Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurship. As the Kirby Scholar in Entrepreneurship, Taylor assists clients with feasibility analysis, market analysis, financial analysis, and business plan preparation and review. She is also a dean's list student and part of the National Society of Leadership and Success. As a graduate assistant, Taylor also assists with the daily marketing of the Center, and is actively involved in the Center's daily operations to include preparing policies and attending meetings and conferences. Upon completion of her MBA, she will pursue a career in business analytics. Long-term, Taylor plans to open her own business in the thrill seeking entertainment industry.

Photo of MichelleMichelle Lehman - Business Development
Michelle Lehman is the Kirby Business Scholar. She is currently a senior at Wilkes University, pursuing a degree in Marketing with a minor in Management & Entrepreneurship. In addition, she is the president and founder of the Wilkes University Human Resources club and a Senior Research Assistant for Dr. Morgan Clevenger. Michelle assists the Center with internal and external client business organization, strategy, and marketing. Her job also includes assisting in the Center's daily operations, research, and human resources. The Dean's list student plans to continue her education and complete an MBA at Wilkes University. In the future, Michelle plans to work at a consulting agency and her career goal is to work as a professor at Wilkes University.

DominicDominic Butchko – Legal Studies
Dominic is a junior at Wilkes University, pursuing a degree in Political Science. He has been on Deans List for four out of four consecutive semesters so far. He is also a member of the Society of Leadership and Success, Pi Sigma Alpha, and Alpha Lambda Delta. Currently Dominic is one of the youngest elected officials in the nation and is the youngest person ever elected to serve on Forty Fort Borough Council. As the Kirby Scholar of Legal Studies, Dominic helps assist clients in determining their legal needs--from preliminary research on patents, trademarks, and copyrights to business formation documents--and reaches out to local attorneys who can also assist the clients. After graduating in 2019 Dominic plans on furthering his career of public service.

Photo of CassidyCassidy Clement - Marketing
Cassidy is a senior at Wilkes University pursuing a major in Marketing and a minor in Management. As the Kirby Marketing Scholar she aids in business activities, marketing information, web presence, and strategy for clients and the center. She has worked on the streamlining of client intake at the center with the extension of the Neoserra database named eCenter. Also she assists in the center's website development, maintenance, and updating. Over the course of her undergraduate career thus far she has interned at a publishing company, digital marketing agency, and digital media agency, as well as being a Kirby Junior Business Scholar in the 2016/17 year. Upon graduating in 2018, Cassidy hopes to be working in the field of digital marketing and technology.

Photo of JosephJoseph Palmadessa - Accounting
Joe Palmadessa is a senior at Wilkes University, pursuing a degree in accounting. As the Kirby Accounting Scholar, Joe assists clients with financial records and tax preparations, in addition to providing general accounting recommendations. He is a consistent Dean's List member, takes part in many on campus clubs, and is an accounting tutor. Upon graduation he plans to attend law school to practice tax law.


Photo of ToddTodd Espenshade – Digital Design & Media Art
Todd is currently a senior at Wilkes University pursuing a degree in Digital Design and Media Art with minors in Studio Art and Marketing. His focus is in print design and web design, however he also enjoys photography, videography, and printmaking. As a Kirby Scholar, Todd works in the field of graphic design; helping clients represent their ideas visually through logos, branding, and other promotional material for their business. Upon graduating in May of 2018, he plans to work in the advertising industry as a graphic and web designer.

Photo of Saidat Saidat Abidemi Sanni Kirby International Scholar
Saidat Abidemi Sanni is an MBA major in her first year at Wilkes University. She is the first Kirby International Scholar from Nigeria, with a BSc in Statistics from the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) Ogbomoso, Oyo State, Nigeria. She was the valedictorian of her class of 10,317 graduating students. She is currently a graduate assistant at The Institute for Public Policy and Economic Development at Wilkes University. As a statistician, Saidat develops metrics, conducts surveys and statistical data/impact analysis for the Allan P. Kirby Center for Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurship as well as assisting with maintaining client management system records. Saidat helps the Center on center related projects and research activities, assists and communicates with clients as required. She also works with APKCFEE staffs to promote entrepreneurial activities to students through classroom activities, outside activities and student activities. Saidat is an honors student who intends to pursue her PhD degree upon completion of her MBA.

Photo of MatthewMatthew Miller-Engineering
Matthew Miller is a senior at Wilkes University, pursuing a major in Electrical Engineering with minors in Mathematics and Physics. He is a Dean's List student, and a member of The National Society for Leadership and Success. As the Kirby Scholar of Engineering, Matthew assists clients with product design, system design and testing, CADD drawings, and other Engineering Related Services. Matthew plans to pursue a graduate degree in Electrical Engineering, after graduating in Spring of 2018.

Photo of AmandaAmanda Bialek –Communications
Amanda is a senior at Wilkes University pursuing a degree in Communication Studies with concentrations in Media Production, Multimedia Journalism and Public Relations and a minor in dance. She is the Life, Arts and Entertainment Editor for the university newspaper, The Beacon. Amanda also reports, anchors and hosts an alumni segment, Connect with a Colonel, for the Wilkes Now television show. She is the vice president of the Alpha Chi National College Honor Society and is a Dean's List student. Amanda is also a member of the Wilkes Honors Program, the National Society of Leadership and Success and the Public Relations Student Society of America. She has interned in the Development Department of the Osterhout Free Library and in the Communications Department at Rodale Institute. As the Kirby Scholar of Communication, Amanda documents newsworthy activities of the Center, develops their biannual and monthly newsletters and helps with their marketing plan. She also creates web content for the Center and assists clients with their publicity needs. Upon graduating in May of 2018, Amanda plans to pursue a career as a broadcast journalist or as a public relations specialist.

Laura SolomonLaura Solomon - Science

Laura Solomon is a senior at Wilkes University, pursuing a degree in Biology. She is a Dean's List student and a member of TriBeta (a national biological honor society) as well as The National Society for Leadership and Success. She also was inducted into Phi Theta Kappa while earning her Associate's degree in Liberal Studies from Lackawanna College. As the Kirby Science Scholar, Laura assists clients and other scholars with needs in science related fields and activities. She also gathers applicable information to help with marketing and financing projects in scientific fields. She is currently a research assistant for Dr. Kenneth Klemow (ecological research focused on botany and general herbarium work) and for Dr. Ken Pidcock (for medical microbiology research with drug resistant bacteria). Laura plans to pursue a Master's Degree in Microbiology after graduating in 2018.

Photo of AbigailAbigail Sanders– Digital Design & Media Art
Abigail is currently a senior at Wilkes University pursuing a degree in Digital Design and Media Art with a minor in Studio Art. Her main focus is print and web design. In addition to obtaining her degree and being a Kirby Junior Scholar, Abigail is also the editor of the yearbook, secretary of Studio 20, and was president of the Letterwomen's Club for two years. As a Kirby Junior Scholar, Abigail works in the field of graphic design; helping clients represent their ideas visually through logos, branding, and other promotional material for their businesses. Upon graduating in May of 2018, she plans to obtain a job as a graphic designer.

Photo of HollyHolly Lucent - Science
Holly is the Kirby Junior Science Scholar. She is a senior at Wilkes University, double majoring in Digital Design & Media Art and Computer Science. Her focus is print design, logo design & branding, digital media design, web development & system administration. She also enjoys photography and photo editing. As a Kirby Junior Scholar, Holly is involved with assisting clients,Neoserra and eCenter system integration for external clients, and outreach efforts among the university community. In addition to being a Kirby Junior Scholar, she has been a Teaching Assistant for programming courses within the Math, Computer Science, and Engineering departments, instructed beginner programming classes to middle school students during the WEBS (Women Empowered By Science) program, and continues to work as a System Administrator within the Math and Computer Science Department. Upon graduating in May of 2018, she plans to obtain work in the graphic and web development industry.

 

Photo of MadisonMadison Kaminski
Madison Kaminski is an operations intern at the Allan P. Kirby Center. In this position, she primarily helps with organizing files and other materials throughout the Center, but also assists with other various projects and activities. As a student at Wilkes, she is currently a Digital Design and Media Art major, and will be a sophomore this coming fall semester.


Photo of EmilyEmily Sutton
Emily Sutton is the Kirby Business Development Intern. She will be a senior in the fall and is pursuing a major in Marketing with minors in Management and Integrative Media at Wilkes University. In addition, Emily is a member of the Wilkes Women's Soccer team and of the business leadership club PBL (Phi Beta Lambda). Furthermore, she works for admissions as a Social Media Ambassador, and has been inducted into the Colonels Elite. As a Business Development Intern, she will assist the center with business activities, marketing, and other developmental initiatives. Emily Plans to graduate from Wilkes in the Spring of 2018 and pursue a career in the marketing field, or a related area.

Emily AbsolomEmily Absalom ’15 – Legal Studies
Emily Absalom is a 2015 graduate of Wilkes University, holding a degree in Political Science. She is currently a graduate assistant and Kirby Scholar in Legal Studies at the Allan P. Kirby Center for Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurship. Emily assists the Center as a Kirby Scholar by working with clients to determine their legal needs--whether it be trademarks, patents, copyrights--and helping local attorneys to ensure clients receive the best legal assistance possible. As a graduate assistant, Emily also assists with the daily marketing of the Center, and is actively involved in the Center’s daily operations to include preparing policies and attending meetings and conferences. Upon completion of her MBA, she will pursue a career in marketing. Long-term, Emily plans to continue her education by attending law school.


James MustoJames Musto Digital Design & Media Art
James Musto is a senior at Wilkes University, pursuing a major in Digital Design & Media Art and a double minor in Marketing and Art History. He is currently a photographer at Knot Just Any Day and a freelance graphic designer and photographer in his spare time. As the Kirby Scholar of Digital Design & Media Art, he assists clients in creating branding packages, logos, and promotional artwork for their businesses. James also helps the Center by creating promotional artwork to further brand themselves and to assist the client intake process. Upon graduating in May of 2017, James plans to work in the industry as a graphic designer & photographer and pursue a MFA in the field of Graphic Design.


Taylor BakerTaylor Baker —  Entrepreneurship
Taylor Baker is a senior at Wilkes University, pursuing a major in Entrepreneurship and a minor in Management. As the Kirby Scholar in Entrepreneurship, Taylor assists clients with feasibility analysis, market analysis, financial analysis, and business plan preparation and review. Taylor plans to graduate in spring of 2017 and continue her education by pursuing an MBA. Currently, Taylor is crafting the fundamentals for a business she would like to start after her MBA. She is also a dean’s list student and part of the National Society of Leadership and Success. 


Michelle LehmanMichelle Lehman — Business Development
Michelle Lehman is the Kirby Business Scholar. She is currently a junior at Wilkes University, pursuing a degree in Marketing with a minor in Management & Entrepreneurship. In addition, she is the president and founder of the Wilkes University Human Resources club. Michelle assists the center with business activities, marketing and internal infrastructure design. Her job also includes assisting in the center’s daily operations, research, and human resources. The Dean’s list student plans to continue her education and complete an MBA at Wilkes University. In the future, Michelle plans to work at a consulting agency and her career goal is to work as a professor at Wilkes University.


Taylor Ryan  Communications
Taylor Ryan is currently a senior at Wilkes University, pursuing a degree in Communication Studies, with dual concentrations in Strategic Communications and Broadcast Production. She is also carrying dual minors in Marketing and Women's and Gender Studies. Taylor serves as a co-Kirby Scholar of Communications for the Allan P. Kirby Center for Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurship. In this role, Taylor documents newsworthy APKCFEE activities (including client success stories), assists in publicity of the Allan P. Kirby Enterprise Center clients, and develops the APKCFEE biannual newsletter. Taylor also serves as a Co-Chair of Zebra Communications, a student-run public relations agency, and is a Co-Sports Editor for The Beacon, the on campus newspaper. The 2016-2017 academic year will also be her fourth year on the Wilkes University Varsity field hockey team. After completion of her undergraduate degree, Taylor hopes to pursue her passion for public relations in the field, or a related area. 


Annelise Przywara Annelise PrzywaraCommunications
Annelise Przywara is a senior at Wilkes University pursuing a degree in Communication Studies and a minor in Management.  Under the Communication Studies curriculum, she is carrying dual concentrations in Strategic Communications/Public Relations and Broadcast Production.  Annelise serves as a co-Kirby Scholar of Communications for the Allan P. Kirby Center for Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurship.  In this role, Annelise documents newsworthy APKCFEE activities (including client success stories), assists in publicity of the Allan P. Kirby Enterprise Center clients, and develops the APKCFEE biannual newsletter.  Annelise also serves as a Co-Chair of Zebra Communications, a student-run public relations agency, and the Director of Wilkes Now, the student-run television show.  She is expected to graduate in May 2017 and would like to obtain a career in the Political Communications field.


Matthew Miller– Engineering
Matthew Miller is a junior at Wilkes University, pursuing a major in Electrical Engineering with minors in Mathematics and Physics. He is a Dean's List student, and a member of The National Society for Leadership and Success. As the Kirby Scholar of Engineering, Matthew assists clients with product design, system design and testing, CADD drawings, and other Engineering Related Services. Matthew plans to pursue a graduate degree in Electrical Engineering, after graduating in Spring of 2017


Photo of SaidatSaidat Abidemi Sanni - Kirby International Scholar
Saidat Abidemi Sanni is an MBA major in her first year at Wilkes University. She is the first Kirby International Scholar from Nigeria, with a BSc in Statistics from the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology Ogbomoso, Oyo State Nigeria. She was the valedictorian of her class of a class of 10,317 graduating students. She is currently a graduate assistant at The Institute for Public Policy and Economic Development in Wilkes University. As a statistician, Ms. Sanni is in charge of developing the metrics, carrying out performance surveys, and statistical impact analysis for the Allan P. Kirby Center for Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurship and the University. Ms. Sanni is also an honors student, she will be coordinating and participating in a lot of student activities on campus. She intends to pursue her PhD degree upon completion of her MBA.

 

Courtney McMonagle — Legal 
Courtney McMonagle is a junior at Wilkes University, pursing a double major in History and Political Science and a minor in Writing. She has been on the Dean’s List four consecutive semesters and is a member of the Historical Honors Society Phi Alpha Theta. She is also the current section leader for the clarinets and flutes in the Wilkes Marching Colonels. At the Allan P. Kirby Center, she assists the Kirby Scholar in Legal with research in legal matters. Upon graduating in May of 2017, Courtney plans to pursue a graduate degree in either law or history. 


Nicole Kutos

Nicole Kutos — Digital Design and Media Art
Nicole is currently a senior at Wilkes pursuing a dual baccalaureate degree in Integrative Media and English; as an IM major, she enjoys graphic and web design, while as an English major, she has a concentration in literature. Nicole is also minoring in Studio Art, with printmaking being her favorite area of fine art. As a Kirby Junior Scholar, Nicole works in the field of graphic design; she helps clients put ideas into a visual form, as she creates logos, branding, and other materials for their businesses. Upon graduation in 2017, Nicole hopes to either have a job with a marketing/design agency or be enrolled in graduate school to earn an MFA in graphic design or Ph.D in literature. 


Cassidy ClementCassidy Clement — Business Development
Cassidy Clement is a junior at Wilkes University pursuing a major in Marketing and a minor in Business Management. She is a Junior Scholar at the APKCFEE assisting in business activities, marketing, research, and website development. Cassidy has interned for Etruscan Press in spring of 2016, enhancing her skills in market research, grant writing, social media analysis, and sales information.  She also has been involved with projects of basic website design and social media setup.  Upon graduating in 2018, Cassidy plans to obtain a career in the field of marketing at a company involving web development and technology. 


Kimberly Keller — Accounting
Kimberly is a senior accounting major at Wilkes and will be graduating May 2017. As the Kirby Junior Scholar in Accounting, Kimberly establishes financial records needed for clients, provides accounting recommendations with mentor support, and assists clients with research, such as financial ratios and industry data. Upon graduation, Kimberly has accepted a job at PricewaterhouseCoopers and plans to take the CPA exam.

Thomas Carton– Business Development
Thomas Carton is a senior at Wilkes University, pursuing a double major in Marketing and Entrepreneurship.  He currently is the President of the Wilkes chapter of Phi Beta Lambda, a Wilkes University eMentor, and a member of the Kirby scholarship program by assisting where he is needed.  He plans to continue his education and complete an MBA.  Currently Thomas owns no entrepreneurial enterprises but he plans to be a serial entrepreneur one day, and often has ideas of where he might start.

Kayla Gradwohl – Product Development
Kayla Gradwohl is a junior at Wilkes University, who will graduate in 2017 with her Bachelor's in Electrical Engineering and a minor in Engineering Management. She is currently a Kirby Scholar for The Allan P. Kirby Center. Kayla supports entrepreneurs with technical and business aspects of start-up companies. Her current projects include creating CAD/Solidworks drawings for various companies, creating a Full Scale Model Document for a Breast Cancer Detection Project, and working with Wilkes' Engineering Senior Projects groups. Upon completion of her Bachelor's Degree, she plans to work in industry as an Electrical Engineer and take graduate level classes in order to obtain a Master's in Business and/or Electrical Engineering.

James Musto – Integrative Media
James Musto is a junior at Wilkes University, pursuing a major in Integrative Media & Art and a double minor in Marketing and Art History. He is currently a freelance graphic designer and photographer in his spare time, and as the practicing Kirby Integrative Media Scholar, he assists clients in creating branding, logos, and promotional artwork for their businesses. James also helps the Center create promotional artwork to assist in client intake process and for events held at the Center. Upon graduating in 2017, James plans to pursue an MFA in the field of Graphic Design.

Brian Surdovel– Accounting
Brian Surdovel is currently a senior at Wilkes University pursuing a degree in Accounting and potential a second degree in Marketing.  He is the practicing Kirby Scholar of Accounting at the Allan P. Kirby Center as well as acting CFO of The Magnesium Works (a company currently enrolled in the center). As the Kirby Accounting Scholar, he is tasked with designing a standardized integration system for potential start-up projects so that the Center may assist, consult, and contribute to the production of accurate and useful financial records for each client. Some of the services that will be provided for incoming clients include partial or complete bookkeeping services, production of quarterly or monthly financials (dependent on client needs), as well as financial analysis and tax advice. Upon graduation, Brian plans to pursue an MBA while gaining experience in the Accounting field with hopes of pursuing an entrepreneurial career.

Justin Topa – Communications
Justin Topa is a senior at Wilkes University studying under the dual concentrations of Public Relations and Rhetoric and carrying dual minors in Marketing and Women's and Gender Studies. The Dean's List student has been serving as a Kirby Scholar of Communications for the Allan P. Kirby Center for Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurship since December 2015. In this role, Topa works with each client partner to foster relationships with the public, writes and edits for the center's newsletter, and serves as a spokesperson for the center and its clients. He also serves as Chair of Zebra Communications, a student-run public relations agency, and Life, Arts and Entertainment Editor for The Beacon, an award-winning campus newspaper. Because of his commitment to professionalism and dedication to his team and the clients he serves, Topa has been named the recipient of three consecutive leadership scholarships as well as the Lawrence G. Foster Award for Excellence in Public Relations, a national award granted by the Public Relations Student Society of America.

Nicole Zukowski – Communications

Emily Absalom ’15– Legal Studies
Emily Absalom is a recent graduate of Wilkes University, holding a degree in Political Science. She is currently a graduate assistant and Kirby Scholar in Legal Studies at the Allan P. Kirby Center. Her job includes working with clients to determine their legal needs--whether it be trademarks, patents, copyrights--and helping local attorneys to ensure clients receive the best legal assistance possible. She also assists with the daily marketing of the Center, and is actively involved in the Center’s daily operations to include preparing policies and attending meetings and conferences. Upon completion of her MBA, she plans to continue her education by attending law school.

Thomas CartonBusiness Development

Jon Conklin ’15– Accounting

Kayla Gradwohl– Product Development

Taillon Staudenmeier– Marketing and Promotions


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