RECENT ALUMNI SPOTLIGHTS
Mercyhurst graduates will join a network of more than 20,000 alumni, working in a wide array of industries around the globe. These alumni, including those featured below, are always happy to advise MU students and graduates and connect them with professional opportunities in their fields.
Lynne Gillott '18
MU Degree(s): B.S. in Sports Medicine (Pre-PT, Pre-OT)
Current Employment: Outpatient Physical Therapist at Excela Health, Pittsburgh area
After graduating Magna Cum Laude from Mercyhurst in 2018 with her Bachelor of Science in Sports Medicine (Pre-PT, Pre-OT), Lynne Gillott received her Doctor of Physical Therapy from Chatham University in 2020. Lynne was passionate about helping others through service projects as she was Mercyhurst’s Student Sports Medicine Association Chair and ESO Chair. A leader on campus, Lynne was an Ambassador, Resident Assistant for freshman and AIM students, Senior Class Gift Committee Chair, and the recipient of the 2018 Frank Barry Leadership Award. Lynne has completed several PT internships at locations such as The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh, TEIS Early Intervention, and AHN Jefferson Hospital. Lynne has since passed the NPTE to become a licensed PT. Now working as an outpatient physical therapist, she is looking forward to her wedding!
Daniel Leonard ‘20
MU Degree(s): B.A. in Hospitality Management with a concentration in Event Planning
Current Employment: Events Assistant at Ida Rose Events & Design, Washington, D.C. area
During his time at Mercyhurst, Daniel served on the boards of 3 student clubs, helped start several others, and was elected as a Cultural & Diversity club representative through Mercyhurst Student Government. He was a staff writer for The Merciad for two years and served on the Senior Class Gift Committee. To gain real-world hospitality experience, Daniel completed two internships through Mercyhurst. He worked at Kensington Park Senior living in their food and beverage department and PanoPlanning virtual tours in their marketing and sales departments. Daniel was proud to become the thirteenth member of his family to graduate from Mercyhurst when he walked the stage with the class of 2020. Daniel has since received a job in the hospitality industry and has begun his journey working as an assistant at Ida Rose Events & Design with hopes of owning his own event planning company one day.
Carolyn Zaffino ’15 ‘17
MU Degree(s): A.S. in Nursing, B.S. in Nursing
Current Employment: Nursing Instructor, Mercyhurst University
For all the credentials after her name, it’s hard to imagine Carolyn Zaffino, MSN, MBA, RN, PCCN, was a slow starter. Having been disappointed in her first college experience, she wasn’t sure a nursing education was for her. That all changed when she enrolled at Mercyhurst University. “Mercyhurst is a place that lives its mission; it’s not just words on its website,” she said of the university where she earned her ASN and BSN in 2015 and 2017, respectively. She went on to earn her MBA and MSN at Carlow University (prior to Mercyhurst offering an MSN program, which it now does), and returned to Mercyhurst, where today she is an instructor of nursing. She said she is committed to preserving that welcoming, student-centered environment that meant so much to her when she was a student. She also continues a per diem rotation at St. Vincent Hospital, a clinical experience that she believes enhances her teaching and commitment to students.
Justin Hawkins '19
MU Degree(s): B.A. in Sports Business Management with a minor in Spanish
Current Employment: Operational Excellence Development Program Analyst at PNC Financial Services, Pittsburgh area
Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, Justin graduated from Mercyhurst in 2019 with his B.A. in Sports Business Management with a minor in Spanish. Although he was inspired to attend Mercyhurst for football, he also served as a game day operation assistant responsible for managing Mercyhurst Athletics social media accounts. He was also involved with all aspects of campus life as he served on the Student Government Executive Board as the Multicultural Activities Council (MAC) Chair and was a Resident Assistant in his senior year. As MAC Chair, he was worked to promote diversity throughout Mercyhurst’s campus through engaging events and keynote speakers to bring students together. In his senior year, Justin was awarded the 2019 Frank Barry Leadership Award. After graduation, Justin worked as a management trainee at Enterprise Rent-a-Car and before accepting his position with PNC Bank in 2020.
Marina Boyle '21
MU Degree(s): B.A. in Business and Competitive Intelligence and Hospitality Management, International Hospitality and Tourism
Current Employment: Financial Crimes Investigator at KeyBank, Cleveland area
Originally from Dublin, Ireland, Marina was drawn to Mercyhurst because of its revered intelligence program and the strength of its mission. Along with completing a double major, Marina was the editor in chief of The Merciad, a member of MSG, an RA, an Ambassador, and the chair of her Senior Class Gift Committee. Marina also completed the first Student Emissary Program and dedicated countless hours of service both on and off campus, particularly with Mercyhurst’s Habitat for Humanity club. Marina also enjoyed being involved in academic endeavors beyond the classroom and won prestigious intelligence competitions and scholarships during her four years. Marina was the 2021 Carpe Diem Award recipient at her graduation. Marina has also been featured on the Mercyhurst Made podcast.
Sam Lioi '17
MU Degree(s): B.A. in Business and Competitive Intelligence and Political Science
Current Employment: Judicial Law Clerk on U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
Former Ambassador President and Mercyhurst Student Government Vice President Sam Lioi loved being involved at Mercyhurst. After graduating in 2017, Sam worked at two different law firms and as a professor’s research assistant during his studies at The Ohio State University. Sam also worked pro bono for the Columbus Legal Aid Society, the Grassbaugh Veterans Project, and as a student board member of the Central Ohio Red Cross. Sam graduated from law school in 2020, passed the Ohio bar, and began working for a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. He has assisted the judge in deciding appeals covering a multitude of civil, criminal, and administrative issues arising from Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Sam has also been featured on the Mercyhurst Made podcast.
Morgan (Wangler) Smith '18
MU Degree(s): B.A. in Early Childhood and Special Education with a minor in French
Current Employment: Kindergarten Teacher, Fairview School District, Erie area
During her four years at Mercyhurst, Morgan was involved in many clubs and organizations to help prepare her for her role as a teacher. As president of Kappa Delta Pi, the education honors society, and a member of the Council for Exceptional Children, she cultivated experiences for teacher candidates to gain real-world experience in the field of education. Along with her involvement in education-related activities, Morgan was also an Ambassador for four years, a Resident Assistant for three years, and a student mentor for the Autism Initiative at Mercyhurst (AIM) program for two years. These experiences helped her refine her leadership skills in a variety of ways. After graduation, Morgan started her dream job as a kindergarten teacher at Fairview Elementary School in Erie, PA - the same school where she completed her student teaching during her time at Mercyhurst!
Meghan Maker '19
MU Degree(s): B.A. in Communication with minors in International Relationships/Diplomacy and Web/Social Media Management
Current Employment: Marketing Specialist at Management Solutions Plus, Washington, D.C. area
During her time at Mercyhurst, Meghan Maker was selected to be the managing editor of The Merciad student newspaper, a Mercyhurst Student Government Senator, and a Laker Leader, as well as successfully graduating from the Leadership Development Program. Meghan used her communications background to complete student internships with the U.S. Forest Service, Special Olympics, and the U.S. Department of State. Meghan also participated in a faculty-led study abroad experience to France and Italy, where she studied international ethics and visited many historical sites. As a senior, she was recognized with the prestigious Ridge College Presidential Award for Excellence for her academic valor, becoming the first ever Communication major to do so.
Nate Shemo '20
MU Degree(s): B.A. in Intelligence Studies
Current Employment: Admissions Counselor, Mercyhurst University
Originally from Connecticut, Nate Shemo was initially drawn to Mercyhurst as home of the nation's oldest — and one of the most prestigious — academic intelligence programs. His decision to come to Mercyhurst was made when he learned of its ACHA hockey program, which allowed him to participate in a competitive club sport along with his studies. Through connections he made in his major, Nate completed internships with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Office of the Public Defender in Hartford, CT. As a Mercyhurst student, he introduced prospective students and families to campus as a Student Ambassador, as well as serving as the Philanthropy Chair for Mercyhurst's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Before his admissions role at his alma mater, he served as Mercyhurst's Primary COVID-19 Contact Tracer, playing a role in supporting the university's COVID-19 response. Nate also works as an official for USA Hockey.
Jennifer Hartwell '19
MU Degree(s): B.A. in English
Current Employment: English Teacher, Shane English School, China
Highly dedicated to leadership, Jennifer was elected Vice President of Student Ambassadors and an Autism Initiative at Mercyhurst mentor for three years, as well as completing multiple trips with MU's Habitat for Humanity club, where she served as secretary. To gain real-world marketing and writing experience, Jennifer participated in the Student Communication Team for two years, where she launched the university's Snapchat account and provided content for posts across their social media channels. After graduation, she embarked on the journey of a lifetime to teach English as a foreign language in China, as well as paying visits to Thailand, South Korea, and Taiwan. During the original COVID-19 outbreak in China, Jennifer volunteered to check temperatures and sign community members in to her local apartment complex.
Baylee Burns '18 '20M
MU Degree(s): B.S. in Sports Medicine, MPAS in Physician Assistant Studies
Current Employment: Physician Assistant, Crystal Clinic Orthopaedic Center, Cleveland area
After graduating from Mercyhurst's extensive pre-health program, Baylee Burns went on to enroll in MU's distinguished Physician Assistant Program to fulfill her dream of being a healthcare professisonal. While she was an undergraduate student, Baylee was a Laker Leader and was inducted into the Sports Medicine Student Society before graduating with cum laude honors. As part of the real-world experience she gained in PA school, she completed clinical rotations in general surgery, internal medicine, family medicine, OB/GYN, pediatrics, cardiology, psychiatry, and orthopedic surgery. She successfully passed her PANCE exam to become certified as a PA-C, as well as earning certifications in Basic and Advanced Life Support from the American Heart Association.
Austin Winschel '20M
MU Degree(s): M.S. in Data Science
Current Employment: Claims Information Analyst I, Erie Insurance, Erie area
After completing his undergraduate degree in Economics and Statistics at the University of Pittsburgh, Austin Winschel enrolled in Mercyhurst's Data Science master's program to strengthen his computational background and prepare him with the necessary skillset for corporate employment. To support his graduate education, and gain more real-world experience, Austin served as the Head Technology Consultant at the Mercyhurst IT Help Desk, providing support to students and employees with various technical issues. After graduating, he was offered a position with LECOM as a Data Analyst, where he managed COVID-19 reporting and testing. He currently is employed at Erie Insurance as a Claims Information Analyst I, where he creates and supervises reports to inform data-driven decisionmaking for stakeholders across the company.
Cela Veitch-Beck '20 '21M
MU Degree(s): B.A. in Intelligence studies with a minor in Political Science, M.S. in Cyber Security
Current Employment: Activities and Spirit Coordinator, Mercyhurst University
Cela Veitch-Beck chose to attend Mercyhurst so that she could earn both an undergraduate and graduate degree in five years through MU's unique 4+1 program. As a student, she completed internships as a media coordinator at marketing firm Engel O'Neill, a senior analyst for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and a cyber risk analyst for software company CityGrows. She was also employed as a Tier One Level Analyst through the on-campus branch of Cleveland-based cyber security company MCPc. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cela coordinated and led virtual orientation sessions for 650+ new Mercyhurst students, as well as serving as the university's secondary contact tracer. She is now employed as Mercyhurst's Activities and Spirit Coordinator in the Campus Involvement Center.
Mitchell Marsh '20
MU Degree(s): B.A. in Marketing and Hospitality Management with a minor in Web/Social Media Management
Current Employment: Assistant Director of Annual Giving Programs, Salve Regina University
Mitchell Marsh, attracted to Mercyhurst for their hospitality expertise, served as the Chair of the Senior Class Gift Commitee, a Resident Assistant, a Student Ambassador, and the Social Media Coordinator for the Division of Advancement. To gain industry experience, he completed summer internships at the Erie Yacht Club, the Hotel Lenhart, and the Omni Louisville Hotel. Mitchell returned to his alma mater to serve as Director of Annual Giving, where he coordinated campaigns which benefited the Annual Fund and Student Scholarship Program, and led Mercyhurst to its most successful "Giving Day" in history, raising over $130,000. He now serves as the Assistant Director of Annual Giving Programs at Salve Regina University, where he manages and develops the student philanthropy program, as well as facilities strategies for giving days, email communications, text-to-give campaigns, social media, crowdfunding, and electronic stewardship efforts.