Thursday, December 2, 2010


Lita Tirak MPS-1996

Mercyhurst College
Erie, PA
BA Studio Art

College of William and Mary
MA American Studies
College of William and Mary
PhD candidate American Studies
At MPS, Lita was active in the visual arts and the International Baccalaureate program, receiving IB certificates in both Art and English. She fully participated in the creative arts that Mercyhurst offered, all of which influenced her artwork. After graduation, she pursued studies in studio art at Mercyhurst College and animation at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Following Lita's 2000 graduation from Mercyhurst College, she taught art classes for teenage students at Gannondale. In 2001, her professional development expanded to include museum work at George Eastman House: International Museum of Photography and Film in Rochester, NY. At the museum Lita spent four years working in the photography archives, assisting in the Conservation Department and researching for the exhibition Young America: The Daguerreotypes of Southworth and Hawes. She also spent three years performing research for the Development Department and the Administration Department. During this time, Lita continued practicing and exhibiting her own photographs. In 2008, she left the museum and matriculated to the American Studies graduate program at the College of William and Mary. There she acted as the assistant director of the Global Film Festival, co-curated a museum exhibit and presented numerous papers at symposiums. After receiving her MA, Lita continued as a PhD candidate specializing in 19th and 20th century visual culture. Visual culture consists of art history and all visual media outside of the canon, with an emphasis on race, gender, class and trans-national perspectives. She anticipates her dissertation will focus on the visual culture of x-rays. This course of study allows Lita to take advantage of her past work experiences as well as her own experiences as an artist.
"Mercyhurst Prep offered me a tremendous start on my professional and educational path...intense IB final examinations prepared me well for both my undergraduate and graduate work."

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Alicia Bekeny
University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh PA
Major-Economics, Political Science Minor-French
Alicia is a recent grad of MPS, the valedictorian of the Class of 2006 and an IB diploma student. While all of this was going on she also managed to be an outstanding musician in the MPS orchestra and be honored as an All-Eastern musician for her performances on the violin. She was also a big part of the Speech and Debate Team's success. Alicia is now on the verge of finishing her degree at the University of Pittsburgh. There she has also continued to pursue her interest in music, participating in the University of Pittsburgh Orchestra and founding and performing in the university's Honor's College String Quartet. She has also organized a service organization of musicians. She is the Vice-President of the Undergraduate Economics Society, a founding member of the study abroad alumni network-PAW (Pitt Around the World), and an officer in the French Club.
Alicia had the opportunity to study abroad in Budapest, Hungary at Corvinus University, she received a Freeman Foundation Scholarship to study in China and Viet Nam and also spent time at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. Along with being well-travelled, Alicia has stayed rooted in the Mercy tradition of service. She has volunteered in numerous projects here in Erie, through GE. She organized a philanthropic project to benefit the Refugee Center in Pittsburgh, as well as doing service in Hungary.
Alicia credits Mercyhurst Prep with helping her develop as a student. "I honed a strong work ethic under the International Baccalaureate education program."
"Thanks in large part to my MPS education, I had a clear vision of where I could go with a work ethic and dedication...The Mercyhurst experience also prepared me for the real world by guiding me to embody the values of compassionate presence, justice, service and concern for the dignity of all people."
Alicia's concern with justice issues and interest in service has led her to consider further studies in law after graduation.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Joe Allgeier 1999
Cleveland Institute of Art
Cleveland, OH
BFA Sculpture

Case Western Reserve University
Cleveland, OH

MA Art Education

While at Mercyhurst Prep, Joe was deeply involved in the visual arts as part of the IB-Art Seminar program. He also served as president of the National Art Honor Society and he was the Circle of Mercy Award winner for the Arts in his senior year. He continued to pursue his studies at the Cleveland Institute of Art, where he began to focus on sculpture in the traditional techniques of stone and wood. In his fourth year, Joe received the Consortium scholarship to study abroad. He spent a year at the Studio Arts Center International in Florence Italy. He began to explore combining wood and stone in his work at this time. After graduation, Joe continued his studies at Case Western Reserve. There he received his Master's in Art Education and began his teaching career. He has taught in high schools in North Carolina and New York and he has also served as a teacher in the Pennsylvania Governor's School of the Arts.

Joe currently resides in Rochester, NY where he shares a studio with his wife and produces works for private and public spaces around the country. You can see some of the beautiful and complex sculptures he has created on his website at . Joe continues to be active exhibiting his works and he also continues his art studies.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Andrew Storey 2004

College of Wooster
Wooster, OH

BA Chemistry

Indiana University
Bloomington, IN

Grad Student/Analytical Chemistry

The 2004 graduates of MPS were a talented group and Andrew is a great example of that. While at MPS, he was the captain of the Speech and Debate Team and an IB Diploma candidate. He developed his interest in chemistry as he was working towards his diploma.

He continued to explore the field at the College of Wooster. Along with chemistry, Andrew participated in club hockey, the Moot Court, and he served as Secretary and then Treasurer of Beta Kappa Phi. He also served as president of the school's Hans H. Jenny Investment Club, managing a 1.4 million dollar endowment for the college. Andrew's research at Wooster was environmentally oriented as he analyzed herbicides in food crops using advanced extraction methods and mass spectrometry. While still in college, Andrew had the opportunity to travel to Hungary to conduct research on climate change with Dr. Richard Bowden of Allegheny College. After graduation he worked for a year in Portland, Oregon for ZRT Laboratory using methods similar to those he worked with in Wooster, this time in relation to hormone analysis. Andrew then returned to grad school at Indiana University where he is creating methods to quantitate and analyze error in measurements done utilizing inductively coupled plasmas, including optical emission and mass spectrometry, some pretty serious science, by the sounds of it. he also keeps busy as an associate instructor, teaching in the laboratory at the university.

Andrew's experiences in speech and debate at MPS "...allowed me to thrive and have all kinds of unbelievable experiences." Andrew also believes that the IB was crucial to his development as a student. "Writing speed and ability were the things that IB helped with the most during college."

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Jaime Warburton

Ithaca College Ithaca NY
BA Writing

Sarah Lawrence College Bronxville NY
MFA Writing

While at Mercyhurst Prep, Jaime was a "permanent fixture" on the stage and in the orchestra. However, this did not keep her from excelling in the classroom where she was busy earning an IB Diploma. Jaime continued this habit in college, where she majored in Writing, performed with a dance troupe and the flute ensemble, acted in several student film festival films and a sit-com pilot, while being on the Dean's List and in the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. All through college, Jaime worked as a tutor in the Writing Center, edited the school's literary magazine, Stillwater, and also worked with special needs children though a SonRise Program. After graduation she took some time to travel in Europe with some fellow MPS alums, eventually returning to academia and grad school at Sarah Lawrence College, where she studied with poets and writers like Vijay Seshadri and Matthea Harvey. She also worked as a research assistant for Arnold Krupat with his work on Native representation/literature. While at Sarah Lawrence, she began teaching at a two-year college in mid-town Manhattan, and then moved on to Concordia College.

After completing her MFA, she became an assistant professor at Ithaca College. Now in her third year there, Jaime has mentored the student literary magazine, guest-curated the school's reading series, and co-directed the biannual WomenSpeak conference. She is also a publishing poet and scholar.

"My years at MPS were, to me, examples of an ideal life: community, challenging inquiries, emphasis on self-expression through accomplishment in the arts." As a college professor, her experiences with IB have been such that she "loves to have students who have done IB...They are more prepared for college work by far than those who took AP exams."

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Caitlin Welsh
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA

BA Foreign Affairs

Columbia University
New York, NY

MPA Advanced Policy and Economic Analysis

When Caitlin was at Mercyhurst, you could find her pretty much everywhere, doing all kinds of things, and that hasn't changed since she graduated. She left for the University of Virginia to study Foreign Affairs and in her "spare" time she rowed for the UVA Women's Rowing Team, was a Resident Advisor, Chairperson of the Community Service Committee of her Class Council, and a Lawn Resident in her fourth year. From there it was on to Washington DC, where she worked as a Legal Assistant doing research for Latham & Watkins LLP. Caitlin then spent two years in the Peace Corps as a Youth Development Volunteer in Morocco. She facilitated educational programs directed at women's rights, nutrition, HIV/AIDS, and Arabic literacy for women in her town, and she trained incoming Peace Corps volunteers in the Youth Development sector. After the Peace Corps, Caitlin returned to the US and attended Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs. She received a fellowship and became a Teaching Assistant in the Master of Public Administration program. Between her first and second year at SIPA, she continued her work in Africa working for the FATE Foundation in Lagos, Nigeria.

Now Caitlin is working for a US Federal agency called the African Development Foundation. The agency provides grants for small and medium sized enterprises in twenty African countries. She works on grants administration in Washington DC and travels to the field to monitor projects and do inter-governmental work.

Caitlin is grateful that her MPS experience "taught me enough about the world outside of Erie to make me want to experience that world myself."

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Scott Griebel

Penn State University University Park, PA

BS Engineering

Northeastern University Boston, MA

MS Electrical Engineering

Harvard University Cambridge, MA

MS Electrical Engineering
Ph.D. Engineering Sciences

One of the talented and memorable "Class of 90", Scott went on to Penn State to pursue an Engineering degree, where he got involved in biomedical image processing. He continued his work in this field at Northeastern University, applying his engineering skills to analyzing heart health during operating room procedures. From there it was on to Harvard where his interest in heart "sounds" was redirected to speech. While at Harvard he was a Teaching Fellow and was honored with the Division of Engineering's Teaching Excellence Award. He also worked as a research assistant while at Harvard, focusing on multiple-microphone speech algorithms.

Scott has published several articles on his research and presented at numerous conferences. Since graduating from Harvard, he has served as a consultant for and Acoustic Magic. Currently he is a financial software programmer working to develop financial software for major financial institutions on Wall Street and around the world. In his "spare time" he keeps busy as a copy editor and columnist for REALbasic Developer Magazine, and he also creates iPhone applications for various clients. Scott recently endowed two scholarships at Mercyhurst Prep for science and math achievement.

"The school definitely had a feeling of being part of a family and that everyone, from students to teachers, seemed to be genuinely caring and supportive...I think the principles and generosity that I experienced there have shaped me as a person in my personal and professional life."