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Head of the class

June 4, 2008
Times Observer
Melissa Bell-Lowden, daughter of Ronald and Lorraine Bell of Youngsville, received her doctoral hood during the University of Pittsburgh commencement ceremonies on April 27. She completed her Ph.D. in social work in December 2007 and was the doctoral speaker during the department graduation ceremony. She received her Ph.D. certificate in women’s studies in April 2008.

Bell is a 1992 graduate of Youngsville High School and a 1996 graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP). She received a MSW from the University of Pittsburgh in 1998 and completed a post-MSW fellowship at Yale University in 1999. She was an adjunct professor at the University of Pittsburgh and was recently appointed to the faculty of Chatham University. She is also an affiliated faculty member of the Pennsylvania Center for Women, Politics, and Public Policy.

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Marissa L. Peters, daughter of Mark and Tina Peters of Warren and a sophomore at Warren Area High School, and Sandy Theim, granddaughter of Donna Roberti of Warren and a sophomore at Warren Area High School, has been granted a scholarship to attend Pennsylvania Free Enterprise Week on the campus of Lycoming College, Williamsport. Pennsylvania Free Enterprise Week is an economic education program that offers students an inside look at the private enterprise system and the way the free market functions.

Pennsylvania teachers and counselors recommend the candidates who are then reviewed by the PFEW staff. Admission is based on motivation to learn that is demonstrated through essays submitted by the applicants. Those accepted are awarded scholarships, which cover all program costs, excluding a nominal registration fee and transportation to and from Lycoming College. When students arrive for their one-week session in July or August, they are housed on the campus in dormitories where they experience a taste of college life.

During the week, student “companies” simulate the actual operation of their own businesses for the equivalent of three years. Business volunteers serve as “Company Advisors” who mentor the students as they face many of the same decisions real executives confront. The companies compete against each other in the areas of management skill, return on net assets, a marketing and advertising campaign, and a presentation to stockholders. Company advisors do not make decisions for their team, but suggest available options and share their own experiences and challenges. Scholarship winners learn the value of teamwork, cooperation, and leadership.

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Dr. Janet Smith, a native of Warren, received an honorary doctorate degree from Franciscan University of Steubenville, during graduate ceremonies held May 10. Smith is a professor of moral theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Mich. Her parents, John and Ann, and other family members reside in Warren.

Smith was declared a doctor of Christian ethics in honor of her defense of the gift of human sexuality. She also gave the graduate commencement address and called upon the audience to be “truth missionaries” unafraid to engage fellow Catholics and colleagues at work on crucial moral issues of our time.

Smith holds the Chair of Life Ethics at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit and is a renowned truth missionary in her own right, who for more than 30 years, has countered the culture with clear, common sense explanations of church teachings on human sexuality. As an author and speaker, she has helped many people embrace Catholic truth in practice and principle.

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Sierra Kuzminski of Spring Creek recently graduated from Edinboro University Of Pennsylvania with a bachelor of science degree in elementary education with a concentration in social studies. She graduated with honors, earning a 4.0 grade average during her final semester. Kuzminski has been hired at Early Connections in Erie where she will be an early education teacher. She plans to go back to Edinboro to finish her master’s degree in early childhood education. Kuzminski is the daughter of Randy and Keeley Kuzminski of Spring Creek.

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April Lee Wiler of Youngsville has enrolled as a music major at Eastern University, St. Davids, Pa. A graduate of Warren Area High School, Wiler received the presidential scholarship and the honor music scholarship. She attends Saron Lutheran Church, Youngsville, and is the daughter of Joseph and Lynnette Wilder.


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