We were so inspired by the innovators featured in this issue that we decided to break from routine and create two distinct covers.
let the sunshine in
Sunbeams cast a warm glow as Bucknell’s campus blossoms into spring.

If you would like a reprint of this photo, please fill out the form at go.bucknell.edu/PhotoOffer. We will send you a complimentary 8×10 print.

photograph by Emily Paine
pink leaf trees in courtyard with cement walkways


let the sunshine in
Sunbeams cast a warm glow as Bucknell’s campus blossoms into spring.

If you would like a reprint of this photo, please fill out the form at go.bucknell.edu/PhotoOffer. We will send you a complimentary 8×10 print.

photograph by Emily Paine


From interning in Australia to business consulting in Lewisburg

by Sarah Downey ’25

Ben Fink ’24 arrived at Bucknell with a passion for the environment and an eagerness to make an impact. He took action by co-founding a Bucknell chapter of Epsilon Eta, an environmental honors society, and immersing himself in experiential learning opportunities as an intern with the Office of Campus Sustainability and as a member of Bucknell Student Government’s Sustainability Committee.

Encouraged by his mentor, Professor Andrew Stuhl, environmental studies & sciences, Fink enrolled in an environmentally focused study abroad program in Byron Bay, Australia, his junior year. While there, he secured an internship with 4 Pines Brewing Company and learned about sustainable brewing using locally sourced ingredients.

Eager to apply what he had learned abroad, Fink contacted Rob Antanitis of Civil War Cider in Lewisburg to see if he would collaborate on a low-waste beverage. Together, they developed Misfit Mashup Hard Cider, which is made from “ugly fruit” — produce that would otherwise be thrown out because it’s not attractive enough to be sold in grocery stores.

The beverage, which made its debut at the cidery in December, factors in every environmental impact, from emissions produced collecting fruit at local orchards to how much energy the storage freezer uses. “Bucknell gave me the ability to study in Australia and bring back what I learned to help support the local economy and create good vibes in the community,” Fink says. “It strengthened my interest in pursuing a career in sustainability.”

photography by EMILY PAINE


From the Editor

From the Editor

Double Vision

Sam Nana-Sinkam with hand reaching out to water stream
Picture this: You’re the editor of Bucknell Magazine, and your talented editorial team produces two strong covers. Each one captures an extraordinary individual who embodies an entrepreneurial spirit nurtured at Bucknell. One showcases an esteemed alumnus who is venturing into a new endeavor, motivated to make the world a better place. The other features a current student who is a rising star, bursting with creativity and ambition.

As we deliberated, a realization dawned upon us. We had a unique opportunity to celebrate both Bucknellians while emulating their innovative spirit and their willingness to experiment and take risks.

And so, the Spring 2024 issue of Bucknell Magazine has two covers. Half our audience is receiving a magazine featuring Sam Nana-Sinkam ’10 on the cover. Nana-Sinkam is part of the feature “Redefining Entrepreneurship”. After a successful career at Target and then at Google, Nana-Sinkam decided to pursue a different path in sustainable agriculture. His new focus is on increasing access to nutritious food while ensuring future generations can live within a healthy environment.

Lyric Abdul-Rasheed in lab coat with her products from her cosmetics start-up
The other half of our audience is receiving a magazine with Lyric Abdul-Rasheed ’26 on the cover. Abdul-Rasheed, featured in “Dream Funding”, embodies the Bucknellian “do more” spirit. The chemical engineering major is advancing her scientific understanding so she can create best-in-class cosmetics. She handles every function of her start-up — from product formulation to marketing to order fulfillment — and in 2024, became the first student to hold office space in Bucknell’s Small Business Development Center’s StartUp Lewisburg business incubator.

Katie Neitz, Editor


The Case for Equity

I was pleased to see an entire section of the Summer 2023 Bucknell Magazine dedicated to advancing equity (“Creating an Inclusive, Equitable Community”), and I enjoyed reading President John Bravman’s letter (“Our Commitment to Equitable Access and Outcomes”).

As someone who came to Bucknell from a rural foreign-language school outside the U.S., only to realize just how underprepared I was compared to some of my peers, I can personally relate to the case for equity. So-called “academic merit” more often than not is a reflection of the opportunities a prospective student has had to get to where they are, which tells me there needs to be a better way to define their true potential — one beyond academic performance.

The benefit of diversity, equity and inclusion for the University, its students and the advancement of our society as a whole is clear. I am glad Bucknell is leading the way to ensure underrepresented students not only have a shot at getting in but also thrive there, regardless of where they happen to come from.

I hope the students are experiencing positive change in this area, and if not, that they demand more progress to be made.

Masha Zhdanova ’13

Social Pulse

The Bucknell community engages with our stories online
The Fall 2023 issue included the story of Peter ’05 and Caroline Robbins Gale ’05 (“Stronger Together”). In 2021, they learned their young son suffers from a rare genetic disorder that severely impacts his coordination and motor skills. The Gales found solace and support within the Bucknell community. Peter P’16 and Susan Agostini P’16, parents of Danielle Agostini Gorospe ’16, have two sons with the same condition. In 2022, the families joined forces to collaborate on fundraising efforts.
Peter and Susan Agostini and their children smiling on grass yard holding Bucknell orange and blue flag
As the mom of a young lady who deals with several inherited recessive disorders (the main one is cystic fibrosis), I know the sense of community and a shared mission with others in the battle is so important. We are lucky to have established nonprofits that focus on fundraising and assisting families with CF. It’s beautiful that you found another Bucknell family to look to for support and understanding. Our thoughts are with both of your families, and I hope your fundraising helps fund therapies and medications that change your families’ lives.

Marisa Matascusa Law ’90, P’21
Harleysville, Pa.

Wow! Love this story. Amazing how much has been accomplished by the parents. Very lucky boys!

Linda Jackson ’68
Hilton Head Island, S.C.

Courage Under Fire

I just loved your Fall 2023 issue’s cover story, “An Explosive Revelation,” about Kevin Fitzgerald ’84. What an inspiring alum! Your story provides a real overview of Fitzgerald’s life and character, and I love the quote it ends on from him: “I’m a much more spiritual person … a happier person.” Looking forward to your next issue.

Siobhan Murray ’15
Corvallis, Ore.

Table of Contents

Let the Sunshine In
From interning in Australia to business consulting in Lewisburg.
Our readers share their thoughts.
Double Vision
Novelist Jodi Picoult discussed literature and politics at the Bucknell Forum.
The organization aims to enhance the economic competitiveness and productivity of the United States.
In Lewisburg and far afield, Bucknellians make a positive and palpable difference.
Wendy Sternberg will join Bucknell in July.
Michelle Roehm will be the next Kenneth W. Freeman Professor & Dean of the Freeman College of Management.
The innovative storyteller and entrepreneur will address the graduating class May 12.
Should you use your face to unlock your phone?
A professor and former student transformed a children’s book into a play.
Meghan Catherwood ’25 plunged into competitive diving after pivoting from gymnastics.
Making it to the NBA is a competitive process — and not just for the players.
A microgrant program helps bring ‘nifty ideas’ to life.
Ryan Nach ’07 took a gutsy leap of faith to pursue a career in the music industry.
At Bucknell, entrepreneurship isn’t a profession — it’s a mindset. See how this spirit has thrived and is now poised to grow.
Discover how Bucknellians are advancing the field of data science to unlock the potential of all the data around us.
Meet four Bucknellians who have curved a niche for themselves in a sport that went from a casual hobby to a serious endeavor.
Sustainable Success
In his debut short story collection, Tucker Leighty-Phillips ’18 challenges misconceptions about his native rural Appalachia.
Environmental lawyer Wayne Hettenbach ’90 fights to keep the planet and its inhabitants safe.
Mark Cool ’91 is working on ‘the coolest conservation project you’ve never heard of.’
Michelle Lesh ’00 is driving the growth of renewable energy in Europe.
Alexandra Campbell-Ferrari ’09 wants clean water to be a universal right.
As an expert in climate-related financial risk, Asha Jordan ’13 is guiding JPMorgan into new territory.
The former professor of engineering and computer science was the director of the Freas-Rooke Computer Center.
Your opportunities to get involved.
Learn the backstory of a retro photograph taken on Halloween 1985.
Reviving a tradition that welcomes new students and brings the Bucknell community closer.

Volume 17, Issue 2

Vice President For Marketing & Communications
Heather Johns P’27

Katie Neitz

Barbara Wise

Kory Kennedy Design
(features, covers)
Amy Wells
(Gateway, Class Notes)

Emily Paine

Matt Jones

Brooke Thames

Heidi Hormel

Kim Faulk

Dave Block, Megan Collins ’24,
Sarah Downey ’25,
Shana Ebright, Mike Ferlazzo,
Matt Hughes, Brad Tufts,
Christina Masciere Wallace P’22,
Kate Williard


Class Notes:

Bucknell Magazine
(ISSN 1044-7563), of which this is volume 17, number 2, is published in winter, spring, summer and fall by Bucknell University, One Dent Drive, Lewisburg, PA 17837. Periodicals Postage paid at Lewisburg, PA and additional mailing offices.
Permit No. 068-880.


Send all address changes to:
Office of Records
301 Market St., Suite 2
Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA 17837
© 2024 Bucknell University

bucknell forum

Literary Liberty

Novelist Jodi Picoult discussed the intersection of literature and politics at the Bucknell Forum
man sitting in red armchair wearing blue suit with yellow holding pieces of paper across from woman wearing all black out fit sitting in a red armchair smiling
Photo: Emily Paine
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Jodi Picoult spoke with President John Bravman during the Bucknell Forum.
man sitting in red armchair wearing blue suit with yellow holding pieces of paper across from woman wearing all black out fit sitting in a red armchair smiling
Photo: Emily Paine
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The author engaged with students in a creative writing class.
by Matt Jones
New York Times-bestselling author Jodi Picoult spoke about the surge of book bans — including the removal of 20 of her own titles from Florida schools — in Bucknell’s 2023-24 Forum series on “Freedom of Expression.” Picoult, known for addressing racism, assisted suicide, LGBTQ rights, school shootings and the death penalty in her work, engaged in a conversation with President John Bravman at the Weis Center for the Performing Arts in January. She captivated the audience with insights into the links between writing, activism, advocacy and education.

The Bucknell Forum speaker series continued with award-winning writer, activist and New York Times-bestselling author George M. Johnson, who spoke on campus Feb. 27. The final speaker of this year’s series was Academy Award-winning actor and activist Jane Fonda, who addressed the campus community March 19.

President Bravman Joins Council on Competitiveness

by Matt Jones
Bucknell President John Bravman has been invited to join the Council on Competitiveness, a national nonprofit organization that unites business, academic, government and labor leaders to develop a nonpartisan agenda that enhances the economic competitiveness and productivity of the United States.

“The Council on Competitiveness recognizes the critical role of higher education in meeting the challenges and needs of an increasingly diverse workforce and evolving economic landscape,” says Bravman. “I am passionate about the enduring value of the liberal arts as a foundation for professional success and honored to share this perspective as a member of the council. This distinguished group represents a wide variety of public and private sector interests with a common goal, and I look forward to gaining new insight that will help inform how Bucknell prepares future generations of leaders.”

The council has a general membership of roughly 80 academic and business leaders and maintains partnerships with universities, corporations and national labs throughout the country. Bravman’s reputation as a highly respected academic and one of the longest-serving presidents at Bucknell, an institution that has a rich tradition in the liberal arts while embracing a forward-thinking culture of innovation, positions him as a leader who can bring unique value to the council.

News Ticker

Big in Business

The Freeman College of Management is one of just three business or management programs from U.S. institutions to be named a Principles for Responsible Management Education Champion for 2024-25 by the United Nations. The college also ranked No. 20 overall and third among Pennsylvania institutions in a national ranking of undergraduate management programs by Poets&Quants for Undergrads.

We Mean Green

In the Princeton Review’s Top 50 Green Colleges ranking, Bucknell moved up 15 spots to No. 25. Bucknell was also recognized by the University Herald as one of 14 campuses “leading the charge in conservation and sustainability.”

no surprises

Bucknell joined the College Cost Transparency Initiative, a coalition of more than 360 institutions committed to following a set of principles that ensure transparency, clarity and understanding around student financial aid offers. Bucknell’s participation demonstrates its dedication to providing students and families upfront, accurate and clear information to help them make informed decisions.

’burg and Beyond

In Lewisburg and far afield, Bucknellians make a positive and palpable difference
Benjamin Wheatley sitting on stairs while smiling
Photo: Emily Paine
" "
Professor Benjamin Wheatley, mechanical engineering, is helping physicians understand how an innovative knee-pain treatment can improve patient care.
Orange Right Arrow


As a fellow with Geisinger Health System, Professor Benjamin Wheatley, mechanical engineering, is working with AposHealth to deliver an innovative, non-invasive, drug-free treatment for patients with knee pain and conditions such as osteoarthritis.

What They Did

Apos developed biomechanical footwear — a shoe patients wear for an hour a day while going about their routine. From most angles, it appears to be a typical sneaker. But look at the sole, and you’ll see two convex cushions. The discs improve the alignment of users’ muscle forces and their gait, which takes pressure off their knees while training them to walk with better form. The result is diminished pain and decelerated joint damage.


’burg and Beyond

In Lewisburg and far afield, Bucknellians make a positive and palpable difference
Christa Starghill and Reece Pauling standing next to each other smiling
Photo: Emily Paine
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Christa Starghill ’24 (left) and Reece Pauling ’24 studied how horticultural therapy can have a positive impact on prison populations.
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Coal Township, Pa.

In 2022, Reece Pauling ’24, an environmental studies and critical Black studies double-major, launched a horticultural therapy program at the State Correctional Institution in Coal Township to equip incarcerated individuals with gardening skills that can help with their post-release reintegration. The benefits of the program extend beyond the prison walls. The flowers grown are donated to residents of local nursing homes and rehabilitation centers.

Measuring Results

This past fall, Christa Starghill ’24, a psychology and women’s & gender studies double-major, collaborated with Pauling to study the project’s impact. She found that the garden not only changed the prison’s environment, but it also improved individuals’ mental health. “One man told me that he became more grounded and calm after working in the garden,” she says. “The garden lightens the atmosphere of the entire prison. It’s cultivating beauty everybody benefits from.”

Bucknell Names New Provost

by Mike Ferlazzo
Wendy Sternberg headshot
Photo: Marc Campos, Occidental College
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Wendy Sternberg will join Bucknell as the University’s next provost in July.
In February, Bucknell President John Bravman announced Wendy Sternberg as the University’s incoming provost. Sternberg, who has served as vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college at Occidental College since July 2017, brings a wealth of experience to her new role.

Her tenure of nearly seven years at Occidental, coupled with her prior roles as the dean of academic departments and programs at Union College from 2013 to 2017 and as associate provost at Haverford College from 2008 to 2012, resonated strongly with the Bucknell students, faculty and staff who participated in the selection process.

“In an extremely competitive field of candidates, Wendy’s combination of administrative experience and deep commitment to the liberal arts distinguished her as ideally equipped to guide our academic program and ensure its continued success,” Bravman says.

Throughout her career, Sternberg has demonstrated steadfast advocacy for interdisciplinary education, a commitment to decision making rooted in data and equity, and a dedication to fostering inclusive campus environments that honor the dignity of every individual.

Sternberg earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Union College and both a master’s and doctorate degree in psychology from UCLA, where she was also a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences. Her research program on the psychobiological underpinnings of pain served as a training ground for hundreds of undergraduate students and contributed important conceptual findings to the field.

“I’m delighted to be joining the Bucknell community. Bucknell is an institution I have long admired for its commitment to the liberal arts in all forms and its emphasis on preparing students for lives and careers of meaning and purpose,” Sternberg says. “I look forward to working with Bucknell’s faculty, students and staff in ushering in the University’s next chapter.”

Sternberg’s anticipated start date is July 1. Interim Provost Margot Vigeant will continue in the role until then.

Freeman College Dean Announced

by Mike Ferlazzo
Michelle Roehm headshot
Photo: Ken Bennett, Wake Forest University
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Michelle Roehm will be Bucknell’s next Kenneth W. Freeman Professor & Dean of the Freeman College of Management.
After an extensive national search, Michelle Roehm has been selected as the Kenneth W. Freeman Professor and Dean of the Freeman College of Management. Roehm will join Bucknell in July, transitioning from her current role as the interim dean of Wake Forest University’s School of Business and holder of the Peter C. Brockway Chair of Strategic Management.

During her tenure at Wake Forest, Roehm managed a 160-person faculty and staff team, oversaw eight degree programs, and earned recognition for her expertise in data and analytics.

A professor at the Wake Forest School of Business since 1997, Roehm served in several leadership roles after joining the school’s senior administrative team in 2008, providing strategic direction to academic centers, pre-experience programs and faculty across academic disciplines. She recently led the school’s strategic visioning process with business school faculty, staff and the school’s Board of Visitors. In 2008, she was named Educator of the Year by Wake Forest’s evening MBA students.

“It is a tremendous honor to join the Freeman College of Management as dean,” Roehm says. “I look forward to enthusiastically collaborating with students, faculty, staff and members of the larger Bucknell community to carry forward the rich legacy of learning and discovery at the intersection of management education and the liberal arts.”

Roehm earned her bachelor’s in communications as well as a master’s in communications from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She earned her doctorate in marketing from Northwestern University.

Interim Dean of the Freeman College of Management Cindy Guthrie will continue to guide the college until Roehm’s July 1 start date.

Nadia Sasso ’11 to Headline Bucknell’s 174th Commencement Ceremony

by Mike Ferlazzo
Nadia Sasso posing in a library
Photo: Courtesy of Nadia Sasso ’11
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Nadia Sasso ’11, an innovative storyteller and entrepreneur dedicated to furthering inclusivity in creative fields, will address Bucknell’s graduating class May 12.
Nadia Sasso ’11, an accomplished creative cultural producer and digital storyteller, will deliver the keynote address at Bucknell’s 174th Commencement on Sunday, May 12. Sasso develops engaging, cross-platform creative content that uses media as a storytelling tool to connect people around the world. Her work has been recognized by former President Barack Obama and former network news anchor Katie Couric.

Sasso’s commitment to furthering inclusivity in the entertainment industry is manifested in her app BlaytorBox, which connects companies, brands and filmmakers to Black, Indigenous and other people of color professionals working in creative fields. The BlaytorBox project earned her a semifinalist position for the Black Ambition Prize, which provides capital and resources to startups founded by Black and Hispanic entrepreneurs.

Through her entrepreneurial and creative ventures along with her passion for making connections, Sasso has worked with award-winning actress, writer and producer Issa Rae; New York Times-bestselling Nigerian-American author Luvvie Ajayi Jones; and award-winning journalist and filmmaker/producer Jose Antonio Vargas. She also has led creative campaigns working with such clients as Viacom, Nielsen, UBS, the Peace Corps and the United Nations. She has leveraged her background in diversity, marketing, communications and new media with the White House, the Smithsonian and universities around the world.

“Nadia is a gifted entrepreneur who has combined her talents and liberal arts education to find exceptional success at the intersection of communication and technology,” says President John Bravman. “Her global perspective and passion for social issues will no doubt inspire Bucknell’s newest graduates as they embark upon their own careers.”

Conversation Starters logo

Should You Use Your Face to Unlock Your Phone?

Our curious questions are the essence of Bucknellians’ everyday work.

Professor Rajesh Kumar, computer science, and his students research the interaction patterns between smart devices and humans to develop fair and robust layers of security for our smart devices.

Rajesh Kumar headshot
Photo: Emily Paine
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Professor Rajesh Kumar, computer science
Facial and fingerprint recognition offer convenient ways to unlock phones, laptops and tablets. These security features fall into the category of physical biometrics: physiological features that enable your device to recognize you easily.

However, these methods are not foolproof. The underlying algorithms could be biased, favoring lighter-skinned faces. This can be due to underrepresentation in development teams, implicit biases in data annotation, and the influence of historical imbalances in representation. Relying on one authentication layer — such as facial features alone — makes your device and all the information it contains vulnerable.

The future of device safety lies in creating a layer of security that uses behavioral biometrics. Our unique interactions with devices, such as swiping across screens, can confirm our identities definitively and in real time.

Embedded sensors in smart devices, such as phones, watches and headsets, can measure the nuances of our movements, touch and typing. Gait analysis, which discerns how we walk, for instance, could usher in a keyless future where drivers unlock their cars with their stride.

By continually assessing the movements of our bodies, behavioral biometrics also promise to improve how we monitor our health. Smart devices can track disruptions to normal patterns, such as Parkinson’s, seizures and falls, to develop timely responses from medical professionals.

Creative Team

From Page to Stage

A professor and former student draw on their artistic talents and cultural connections to transform a children’s book into a play
by Kathleen Purvis
Mukta Phatak and Anjalee Deshpande Hutchinson pose together in front of their theatre poster
Photo: Kathleen Purvis
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Mukta Phatak ’18 (left) partnered with Professor Anjalee Deshpande Hutchinson, theatre & dance, to bring The Night Diary to life on stage.

t started with a library book Professor Anjalee Deshpande Hutchinson, theatre & dance, read with her daughter. Little did she know it would become a project that’s drawn Hutchinson and Mukta Phatak ’18 into a creative partnership that’s helping Indian and Pakistani families grapple with a tragic era in world history.

Veera Hiranandani’s The Night Diary, a chapter book written for fifth- through eighth-graders, tells the story of two children caught up in the Partition, a monumental event in Indian and Pakistani history in 1947. When the British discontinued their control over much of South Asia, the vast territory was divided into two independent countries — Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan — which uprooted an estimated 18 million people and set off a horrific period of violence that caused at least 2 million deaths. Rarely taught in history classes in America, it’s still known as the largest forced human migration in recorded history.

Hutchinson was struck by the story, in which twins Nisha and Amil, born to a Muslim mother who died in childbirth and a Hindu father, are forced to flee with their father to escape imminent persecution. Nisha tells her late mother what’s happening by writing in her diary every night, struggling with issues of identity, belonging and home.

Meghan Catherwood using gymnastics practices as she dives into a pool
Photo: Emily Paine
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Meghan Catherwood ’25 discovered that her gymnastics training enabled her to plunge into competitive diving.

A Plot Twist

by Bryan Wendell
After repetitive injuries forced an early end to her 11-year-long gymnastics career at age 14, Meghan Catherwood ’25 could’ve given up all that twisting and flipping for good. Instead, she made a splash in a different sport: diving.

In March 2023, Catherwood represented Bucknell as a sophomore at the NCAA Zone A Diving Championships, a significant accomplishment that required consistent high-level performances throughout the season. Catherwood was the first Bison diver to qualify in nearly a decade (following Katie Hetherington ’15, who competed in 2012).

Catherwood was considered a latecomer to the sport when she transitioned to her Monroe-Woodbury, N.Y., high school diving team as a freshman. Everything that made her successful as a USA Gymnastics Level 9 athlete — strength, control, discipline, focus — carried over to the natatorium.

Bison Ballers

by Bryan Wendell
Making it to the NBA is a competitive process — and not just for the players. With talent and perseverance, Bison alumni have risen through the ranks to coach some of the sport’s top athletes.
Bryan Bailey in a blue Bucknell basketball jersey and dribbling a basketball
Photo: Marc Hagemeier

Bryan Bailey ’02, assistant coach, Atlanta Hawks

Bailey grew up playing basketball and dreamed of going pro. As a high school senior, he walked into the Bucknell athletics office with a VHS tape, asking for a spot on the team. Four years, two All-Patriot League teams and more than 1,000 points later, Bailey proved he belonged.

Going Pro Following a 13-year professional career in Europe, Bailey and his brother Mo created a basketball training company near Philadelphia. Bailey found he loved developing young talent. “Getting to coach players and be immersed in the sport — I just love it,” he says. “It never feels like work.”

Inside the Job Each NBA assistant coach has a specific role — plays to watch, athletes to develop (one of Bailey’s is All-Star Trae Young) and teams to scout. When analyzing an upcoming opponent, Bailey watches that team’s five most recent games, scrutinizing 240 minutes of footage and blending his subjective impressions with the objective stats that quantify every action on the court.

Original Thinking

Dream Funding

A microgrant program in Bucknell’s College of Engineering helps bring ‘nifty ideas’ to life

by Kate Williard

photography by Emily Paine

Lyric Abdul-Rasheed posing with her lip gloss products
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Chemical engineering major Lyric Abdul-Rasheed ’26 is expanding her lip gloss business with support from the Nifty Idea Fund.

or nearly a decade, the Nifty Idea Fund has driven innovation on Bucknell’s campus. Recipients of the fund’s $500 microgrants gain the financial support to purchase essential supplies and equipment that enable them to transform their imaginative concepts into tangible products.

By collaborating within campus makerspaces with other curious, inventive creators, fund recipients have developed an array of diverse projects — including a Tesla coil device that turns electrical sparks into music, a Bernoulli Blower exhibit for the Lewisburg Children’s Museum, a heated phone attachment that protects devices and extends battery life in extreme cold, and a blockchain board game.

Each project is as unique as the student who dreams it up. Here are three who took their “nifty idea” and ran with it.


Changing His Tune

by David Pulizzi ’94
Ryan Nach sitting in front of a computer with a music production software and a keyboard
Photo: Vanessa Gonzalez-Bunster
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Ryan Nach ’07 in his New York City studio.
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In a world where consumers are barraged with stimuli, it can be hard for a brand to break through the noise. That challenge is what drives Ryan Nach ’07 and lights his creative fires.
Since 2011, Nach has owned and operated his own audio production house, Knock It Out Music, creating short soundtracks for ad agencies and television and film production companies. His work has been used in campaigns by Audi, the NFL and V8, and even led to a collaboration with Snoop Dogg. Nach produced several tracks including “Wheels on the Bus” and “Head Shoulders Knees & Toes” for the rapper’s YouTube series for kids, Doggyland. It’s a niche profession far removed from the one Nach initially pursued with his Bucknell accounting degree. After working as a CPA for four years, he decided to make a musical leap.


DOWN TO EARTH Sam Nana-Sinkam ’10, founder of Bloom Farm, finds his comfort zone

Redefining Entrepreneurship

After more than a decade at Google, Sam Nana-Sinkam ‘10 made a dramatic career shift to focus on more meaningful work. Read about his sustainable agriculture venture here.
Redefining Entrepreneurship title
At Bucknell, entrepreneurship isn’t a profession. It’s a mindset. One that’s resilient, adaptable, creative and solution oriented. It’s an ethos that thrives in every pursuit, in any field. Discover how this dynamic entrepreneurial spirit has thrived — and is now poised to grow — at Bucknell.
by George Spencer

photograph by April Bartholomew

Redefining Entrepreneurship title

o solve critical problems and spark meaningful change across any industry, you need innovative thinkers and resourceful problem-solvers. You need people who are versatile, who view challenges as opportunities and don’t flinch at risk or adversity. You need the people who, above all, are determined to add value to the world. You need entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurs are often thought of as business moguls or startup founders. That’s a narrow view by Bucknell standards. At Bucknell, creative thinkers eager to forge new paths forward become equipped to not only launch businesses but also to spark change and advance society (see “Beyond Profits”).

Bucknell has furthered its commitment to entrepreneurship education with the launch of the Perricelli-Gegnas Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, made possible by a founding gift from Scott ’94, P’25 and Susan Gegnas Perricelli ’94, P’25. “We’re excited for the ways this new center will connect Bucknell’s three colleges and ensure that all students have the opportunity to strengthen critical skills,” Sue says. “It will be a hub for entrepreneurship for the entire Bucknell community and a differentiator for Bucknell.”

back view of a blocky illustrated man standing at the base of a waterfall, the figure pulls back a side of the waterfall like a shower curtain to reveal lines of bright blue binary numbers against a black background

The Data Science Revolution

The Data Science Revolution typography

The world is made up of data. Bits and bytes of information flow through nearly every aspect of our lives, from our internet habits to how our bodies function. But what does it mean to live in a world increasingly defined by data? Discover how Bucknellians are advancing the field of data science to better understand and unlock the potential of the data around us.

by Matt Jones

illustrations by Jon Krause


hrough humanity’s scientific pursuit of knowledge, novel ways of seeing have been developed to reveal what was previously hidden from sight. The invention of assistive machines and technologies have given us the ability to view everything from the microscopic world of electrons and cells to the distant reaches of the universe. But it is perhaps the introduction of modern computing, and subsequently the internet, that has played the largest role in reconstructing how we see the world. Specifically, as one made up of data.

In the same way that matter is the basic building block that undergirds the physical reality of the universe, data is the element that arranges matter into something meaningful to us: information that can be conveyed, interpreted and, with a little finessing, understood. While the concept of data is centuries old, the digital age has imbued the term with a new significance.

With the advent of the electronic computer in the mid-20th century, soon followed the arrival of data processing and data analysis, computer science, data mining and Big Data — disciplines and research paradigms that emerged in response to an existence more and more defined by bytes and bits of numerical code. The same can be said for data science, which is both a discipline unto itself and a reimagining of how to innovatively apply familiar methodologies and systems.

Big Problem, Bigger Potential typography
Big Problem, Bigger Potential typography

How a cross-college team of students and faculty partnered with staff to solve one of the University’s biggest puzzles

a small team of Bucknell faculty and students sit at a table in a library, holding a meeting

Photo: Emily Paine

Vince Pellegrini (center) is benefiting from the expertise of a team of faculty and students, including Clara Chaplin ’25 (center, right) and Tsugunobu Miyake ’25 (center, left) Chaplin and Miyake won an award for their project at the 2024 Joint Math Meeting in San Francisco.
by Kate Williard

The Problem

Creating Bucknell’s final exam schedule is an intricate challenge, requiring the registrar to organize exams across 80 time slots for about 3,200 students. For 15 years, Vince Pellegrini, assistant registrar, has tackled the complex problem, working to develop an exam schedule that minimizes “inconveniences” for students and faculty — such as back-to-back exams or three exams scheduled in 24 hours. With his analog approach, it took up to three months to produce each schedule. Fortunately, at Bucknell, such problems are learning opportunities for students.

In A League of Their Own

Imagine taking up a sport on a lark, just for fun, only to discover that you are more than good; you are great. So great that before long, you are traveling the world, climbing podiums and winning championship titles. That’s what happened to these Bucknellians. Each carved a niche for themselves in a sport that went from casual hobby to serious endeavor. They may not be Bucknell Athletics Hall of Famers, but we think you’ll be impressed by their achievements — and perhaps even glean insights to advance your own game.
by Katie Neitz

photograph by Emily Paine

In A League of Their Own title; silhouettes of people performing different sports
Harvey Edwards ’78, founder of the Bucknell Mudsharks Ultimate Frisbee team, was inducted into the Ultimate Frisbee Hall of Fame in 2007.
man throwing a frisbee
Harvey Edwards ’78, founder of the Bucknell Mudsharks Ultimate Frisbee team, was inducted into the Ultimate Frisbee Hall of Fame in 2007.

In A League of Their Own

In A League of Their Own title; silhouettes of people performing different sports
Imagine taking up a sport on a lark, just for fun, only to discover that you are more than good; you are great. So great that before long, you are traveling the world, climbing podiums and winning championship titles. That’s what happened to these Bucknellians. Each carved a niche for themselves in a sport that went from casual hobby to serious endeavor. They may not be Bucknell Athletics Hall of Famers, but we think you’ll be impressed by their achievements — and perhaps even glean insights to advance your own game.
by Katie Neitz

photograph by Emily Paine

The Ironwoman

Ava Warfel ’22

Ava Warfel headshot
Photo: FinisherPix
In October, just two years after taking up the sport of triathlon, Ava Warfel ’22 won first place in her age group at the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. Beyond the baseline challenge of needing to cover an imposing distance — 140.6 miles (a 2.4-mile swim followed by a 112-mile bike ride followed by a 26.2-mile run) — athletes contend with Kona’s triple-digit temperatures and gusty winds. Warfel’s 9-hour, 45-minute, 27-second finish time was the fastest among 18- to 24-year-old women and placed her 53rd overall among more than 2,000 world-class athletes.

Warfel’s meteoric success is stunning but perhaps not surprising to former classmates. After all, she graduated from Bucknell in just three years — balancing a demanding student-athlete life as a biology major and cross-country runner while working full time as a night-shift paramedic in Lewisburg.

'ray Bucknell

'ray Bucknell logo
spin, shape, create crafting pottery in the 7th street studio & makerspace

photograph by SAM GODSHALL ’24

From the President department heading
Illustration of John C. Bravman, President
Illustration: Joel Kimmel

Sustainable Success

When I was a boy, I used to wake up before everyone else on Saturday mornings to watch my favorite program, Modern Farmer, on our black-and-white TV. It was an odd choice for a New York City kid in the early 1960s, but I loved it. I truly thought I’d be a farmer when I grew up.

I like to say that I ultimately achieved my goal, but I had to become a university president to do it. The Bucknell Farm, planted in 2018 on the south edge of campus, offers 5 acres of opportunity for academic research and civic engagement, as well as thousands of pounds of nutritious produce for the community. It’s one of the many exciting advances the University has made in environmental sustainability — achievements that are gaining recognition. (We define sustainability to include financial and human dimensions as well as environmental ones, but this column will focus on the environment.)

Bucknell was well known for many reasons when I arrived in 2010, but perhaps a commitment to sustainability was not among them. I’ve been reflecting on that, as well as on the dramatic progress in sustainability that I’ve seen since my own college days, when Love Canal, catalytic converters and toxic waste dumps made headlines, and environmental issues were largely the concern of “someone else.”
Book Talk typography

Bite-Sized Appalachia

by Matt Jones
headshot of Tucker Leighty-Phillips wearing glasses, a colorful striped shirt and a denim jacket

Photo: Rachel Reeher

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Tucker Leighty-Phillips ’18

Truth may very well be stranger than fiction, though fiction can be a helpful tool for understanding the strangeness that pervades much of the human experience. Tucker Leighty-Phillips ’18 uses his writing to mine the sometimes bizarre realities hidden just beneath the surface of ordinary life.

“I found that when I started to de-familiarize, or lean into the surreal or the absurd, I could capture the truth of a thing in a way that the more direct address of it wasn’t doing,” says Leighty-Phillips.

Maybe This Is What I Deserve, his debut short story collection, embraces the absurd as a tool for illuminating and challenging the memories and myths at the heart of his childhood growing up in rural Appalachia. Over the course of 28 flash fiction stories, readers are introduced to a landscape consumed by consumerist impulses and desires. Toddlers imagine themselves as airports. Parents yearn to become chain stores. Kids construct their identities through the lens of their favorite brands. This intentional conflation between what is human and what is commodity, Leighty-Phillips argues, serves to critique common misconceptions about the place he calls home.

Earth Day Special green leaf

Unearthing Justice

Environmental lawyer Wayne Hettenbach ’90 fights to keep the planet and its inhabitants safe

by Jenni Whalen Gritters ’12
Wayne Hettenbach ’90 is a crime investigator whose mission is to protect the planet from eco-criminals.

Hettenbach has spent 20 years working as an environmental lawyer, litigating criminal and civil matters that involve violations of federal environmental laws, including the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act. In his role as assistant chief of the environmental crimes section of the U.S. Department of Justice, he oversees a team of investigators and prosecutors who specialize in white-collar criminal law as it relates to environmental crimes.

The scope of his work ranges from investigating corporate pollution and wildlife trafficking to prosecuting toxic waste disposal and the falsification of environmental records.

“It’s pretty much like what you see on Law & Order, except our victims are the environment, animals and the public at large,” he says.

Hettenbach says he remembers seeing the effects of pollution firsthand while growing up in coastal New Jersey. Medical and plastic waste washed up on the beaches where he swam; areas where he once enjoyed clamming were closed off due to sewage runoff.

headshot of Wayne Hettenbach ’90 wearing a dark blue patterned tie, a light blue button up shirt and a dark blue suit jacket
Photo: Courtesy of Wayne Hettenbach
As an environmental lawyer, Wayne Hettenbach ’90 tackles corporate pollution, wildlife trafficking, toxic waste disposal and more.
Earth Day Special green leaf

A Bison Protecting Bison

Mark Cool ’91 is working on ‘the coolest conservation project you’ve never heard of’
by Jenni Whalen Gritters ’12
Mark Cool ’91 embraced the liberal arts philosophy at Bucknell, where he “tried a bit of everything,” taking courses in nearly every department before landing on a major in psychology and a minor in education. “My Bucknell transcript was like a quilt with many different patches of interest,” he says. “My career has played out in much the same way. I have never been afraid to try something new.”
Portrait close-up photo view of Mark Cool grinning in a dark blue button-up dress shirt and black vest as he stands in front of a bison animal model sculpture indoors somewhere
Photo: Amanda Determan
Mark Cool ’91 is working to support the restoration of wild bison to Montana’s Northern Great Plains.
After three decades of living in the greater New York City area and working in insurance, banking and advertising, Cool decided in 2022 to make a drastic change. He relocated to Montana to become the chief marketing officer at American Prairie, a nonprofit conservation organization that’s working to build the largest nature reserve in the contiguous United States.

In his role, Cool and his team develop compelling storytelling around American Prairie’s mission in order to build national awareness, engage donors and raise funding to support what he calls “the coolest conservation project you’ve never heard of.” American Prairie’s goal is to connect 3.2 million acres of private and public land to restore a fully functioning prairie ecosystem. By connecting and preserving the vast grasslands in Montana’s Northern Great Plains, the organization strives to restore the biodiversity of the area.

Earth Day Special green leaf

On a Transition Mission

Michelle Lesh ’00 is driving the growth of renewable energy in Europe
by Jenni Whalen Gritters ’12
Michelle Lesh ’00 likes to solve problems — the greater the complexity, the more satisfying the reward. She has dedicated her career to tackling complicated, multifaceted challenges to help the world transition from fossil fuels to more sustainable sources of power like renewable energy.

Lesh is the chief commercial officer for Alfen, a Netherlands-based company that builds and implements sustainable energy solutions across Europe. Lesh is tasked with making sure new technologies, like electric vehicles (EVs) and renewables such as wind and solar energy systems, can work with existing energy grids. From her office in Amsterdam, she manages the strategy that propels several key energy-related areas: creating a system of accessible EV charging stations in Europe, implementing energy storage solutions to enable more renewable energy and building sustainable electricity grids for the future.

While studying mechanical engineering at Bucknell, Lesh participated in the Institute for Leadership in Technology & Management program, which helped her see how her engineering expertise could one day be valuable in advancing a business. She then interned at General Electric (GE), gaining exposure to the company’s innovative work on energy systems. She parlayed that into a full-time position after graduation, and for more than 20 years, she helped utility companies generate power from renewable sources. She also worked on creating smarter electricity grids that would make it possible for more people to charge EVs at home.

Portrait headshot close-up photo view of Michelle Lesh smiling in a black business coat blazer suit and white blouse underneath with a chrome-colored necklace around her
Photo: Remco van den Braak, Fotostudio87
Michelle Lesh ’00 took a strategic risk pursuing a career in renewable energy; today she’s a leader in the rapidly growing industry.
Earth Day Special green leaf

Helping Justice Flow

Alexandra Campbell-Ferrari ’09 wants clean water to be a universal right
by Jenni Whalen Gritters ’12
Alexandra Campbell-Ferrari ’09 believes there’s nothing more important for human survival than water, so she’s dedicated her career to making sure every person on the planet has access to it.

Campbell-Ferrari is executive director of the Center for Water Security and Cooperation, a nonprofit organization she co-founded in 2015 to spur the creation of laws that promote transparency in water management, address issues of water access inequality, and ensure long-term planning so water resources are managed with a focus on future sustainability.

Portrait close-up headshot photo view of Alexandra Campbell-Ferrari in a bright red blouse standing/leaning up against the side of a tree trunk outdoors somewhere during the day
Photo: Luke Wilson
Lawyer Alexandra Campbell-Ferrari ’09 helps develop legislation to ensure water equity.
“Water quality, sanitation and drinking water — all of this needs to be protected,” Campbell-Ferrari says. “Water is one of the most basic issues of human dignity, and at the moment, many laws don’t demonstrate that governments care.”
Earth Day Special green leaf

The Cost of Climate Change

As an expert in climate-related financial risk, Asha Jordan ’13 is guiding JPMorgan Chase into new territory
by Jenni Whalen Gritters ’12
Asha Jordan ’13 is both a climate and data scientist working at the forefront of an emergent field. As vice president of climate risk at JPMorgan Chase, Jordan studies and informs others about the financial risks associated with climate change.

One of her focal areas is understanding how the physical effects of extreme weather events and a transition to a low-carbon economy influence the stability of banks and the broader economy. Specifically, she studies how environmental shifts can affect consumer lending for purchases like homes and automobiles. For instance, rising sea levels or floods can pose risks to properties, which has an impact on the terms and conditions of mortgages. And as the world transitions away from high-carbon industries, associated costs could influence credit losses.

Portrait close-up photo view of Asha Jordan grinning in a dark navy blue business coat suit blazer and multi-chrome colored (light sky blue and dark grey) blouse underneath while she is standing outside somewhere
Photo: Saleh Satti
Asha Jordan ’13 applies the critical-thinking skills she sharpened at Bucknell to tackle the uncertainties of climate-related financial risks.



Frances Meek McCormick M’42, Oct. 21, Allenwood, Pa.


Betty Boyer Tresslar, Dec. 15, Plainfield Twp., Pa.

Darina Tuhy, Sept. 27, Wilkes Barre, Pa.


Marcia Herrgesell Hegeman P’70, July 15, Scotia, N.Y.


Leo “Mac” McQuillen, Aug. 6, Edgewater, Fla.


Barbara Morrow Harris, Aug. 21, York, Pa.


Eleanor “Tish” DeLong Conrad, Dec. 12, Wyomissing, Pa.


Dorothea Detwiler Nelson P’74, July 22, Hollidaysburg, Pa.


Curt Bartelt, Sept. 5, Cary, N.C.

Mel Broome, Oct. 27, Sunbury, Pa.

William Davis, Dec. 2, Lancaster, Pa.

in memoriam

Edward Staiano ’58, M’60, P’85, G’14

Portrait headshot photo of Edward Staiano smiling in a dark black business coat blazer open suit and light gray button-up closed dress shirt underneath equipped with a dark navy blue tie that has curved dark forest green pattern teardrop shapes all over

Photo: Courtesy of Special Collections/University Archives

Edward Staiano ’58, M’60, P’85, G’14 died Sept. 24. Staiano’s ties with Bucknell began as a mechanical engineering undergraduate student. He went on to obtain his master’s from Bucknell and then taught engineering and computer science as part of the faculty before eventually becoming a member of the board of trustees.

Staiano also served as the director of the Freas-Rooke Computer Center. Although he left Bucknell in 1967 to complete his doctorate at the University of New Mexico, he returned to teach until 1973. Recognized for his forward-thinking approach, Staiano helped to establish the Computing Center as a campus-wide facility.

He and his wife, Janet Smith Staiano ’58, P’85, G’14, established the Dominick & Martha Staiano Scholarship (named for his parents), which benefits deserving students in the College of Engineering.

For the second half of his career, Staiano worked at Motorola, where he eventually served as executive vice president, president and general manager. The Washington Post reported that under his leadership, the cellular division grew to become Motorola’s largest business. In 1999, he founded The Sorrento Group, a venture capital firm through which he supported small business entrepreneurs.

He is survived by Janet; his daughter, Eva Staiano Tomashefski M’85, P’14; three grandchildren, including Tony Tomashefski ’14; and six great-grandchildren.


Nominate a Bucknellian!

The Bucknell University Alumni Association is seeking nominations to join its board, a diverse group of passionate alumni who care about maintaining a strong bond between alumni, the University and its students.

Tune In to Commencement

Bucknell’s 174th Commencement, celebrating the Class of 2024, is scheduled for 10 a.m. Sunday, May 12, on Malesardi Quadrangle. The ceremony, which will feature Nadia Sasso ’11 as the keynote speaker (see P. 9), will be livestreamed.

Get Career Advice

Schedule a free, confidential meeting with our alumni career coach to develop your search strategy.

Mark your calendar!

Plan ahead to join us for our signature campus experiences this fall.
Bucknell Family Weekend
Sept. 20–22, 2024
Bucknell Homecoming
Oct. 18–19, 2024

Write to Us

We love to hear from readers. Send your feedback, insights, compliments and complaints.
Write to us at: bmagazine@bucknell.edu or Bucknell Magazine, One Dent Drive, Lewisburg, PA, 17837

Answer This:

what song reminds you of your college years, and why?

Check Out a ‘Best Feature’ Film

Professor Coralynn Davis, women’s & gender studies, is producer of the hybrid documentary film Sama in the Forest, which is based on her research. The film recently received the top award, “Best Feature,” from the Society for Visual Anthropology and was screened at its film festival in Toronto. You can see it at Lewisburg’s Campus Theatre Tuesday, April 16.


We asked Bucknellians on LinkedIn:

What is something at Bucknell that you absolutely loved being a part of?

“The Russian studies department! It was small but so fun! The professors were so supportive, insightful and engaging. Also, choir! I met some great friends whom I otherwise probably wouldn’t have gotten close to.”
Eleanor Gorman ’89
“BuckWild for Pre-Orientation! It was my first realization as a young person entering college that I really was capable on my own! I didn’t appreciate it as much back then, but looking back, it was a truly incredible experience. I will always cherish that time and all of my years at Bucknell.”
Sarah Cosentino Henry ’04
“The Stadler Center. The welcoming environment that Andy, G.C., Kate and others built within that basement is unmatched. It took me a while after graduation to realize how privileged I was to spend so much time in such close proximity to accomplished literary figures.”
Dan Brown ’14
“I absolutely loved being a part of both the Symphonic Band and Bison Band. Music at Bucknell provided me with an incredibly supportive, encouraging, welcoming and fun University community as well as a strong support network. My involvement in Bucknell music was without a doubt one of the most uplifting and fulfilling parts of my college experience. ’ray for the orange and the blue!”
Morgan Thomas ’23
first year students posing together at BuckWild
Photo: Douglas Kilpatrick
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BuckWild, a Bucknell Pre-Orientation program, enables incoming first-year students to bond while exploring wilderness areas in Pennsylvania.
members of the Bison Band playing instruments
Photo: April Bartholomew

Caption Contest

Caption Contest
Bring Back Memories?
We’d love to learn the backstory of this image. Contact us to share at bmagazine@bucknell.edu
men laying on the ground on their stomaches while women stand on their backs like a surfboard
Photo: Courtesy of Special Collections/University Archives
Submit your caption BMAGAZINE@BUCKNELL.EDU
Compose a clever caption. The five best sent by April 22 will win a cool Bucknell T-shirt.
SUBMIT A PHOTO Have a vintage Bucknell image that deserves captioning?
Send high-resolution images to bmagazine@bucknell.edu for consideration.

Witty Winners

Chris Baker, Michael Gamboli, Reid Leslie, Trupe Ortlieb, Scott Yeager, and John Westrum posing while wearing homemade grapes costumes
Front row: Chris Baker ’86; middle row (L to R): Michael Gamboli ’86; Reid Leslie ’86, P’17; Trupe Ortlieb ’86, P’19; back row (L to R): Scott Yeager ’86, P’20; John Westrum ’86, P’19, P’19 (photographer)

Submit your caption for the retro photo on the opposite page to bmagazine@bucknell.edu by April 22.

Here are our favorite caption submissions from the last issue:
“The unsinkable Bison water polo team reveals its secret for success.”
Craig Butler ’68
“The 1993 outbreak of mumps was one of the worst seen in decades.”
Mark Barbour ’82
“Who wants to play darts?”
Jen Walz Lapioli ’89
“Happy Bucknellians, believing they had invented bubble wrap, fail to see the problem of scale.”
Steven Prasinos ’75
“THIS!!!! This was the moment I knew I was going to marry that boy!”
Jane Patzwall Gamboli ’87
(Indeed, Jane married Michael Gamboli ’86, pictured middle row, far left.)

The Backstory

Photographer John Westrum ’86, P’19, P’19 gives us the juice.
Christmas card featuring a photo of Chris Baker, Michael Gamboli, Reid Leslie, Trupe Ortlieb, Scott Yeager, and John Westrum wearing homemade grapes costumes
Photo: Courtesy of Special Collections/University Archives and John Westrum ‘86, P’19, P’19
I took this photo on Halloween 1985. We loved the photo so much that it became our house Christmas card that year — it still hangs on Reid Leslie ’86, P’17’s refrigerator, nearly 40 years later.

The six of us were Phi Kappa Psi brothers and the first student residents of 611 St. Catharine Street our senior year. One of our girlfriends was hosting a Halloween party. She and her roommates encouraged people to dress up so they could vote on the best costume.

So we decided to get creative. We came up with the idea to be the Fruit of the Loom “fruit guys,” who were iconic characters from television ads in the 1980s. We didn’t want to put in the effort of coming up with the apple and the leaf, so we focused on the grapes.

We went to the store the day of the party and bought our supplies: long underwear, boys’ briefs, balloons, safety pins and clothing dye. We dyed the long underwear and the briefs and then blew up the balloons and pinned them on each other. We laughed the entire time. We thought we were hysterical.

I took this photo before we left for the night. Of course, we didn’t have iPhones, so I used my film camera on a tripod with the self-timer.

We went to two or three parties and stopped by the Bull Run Tap House before we went to our ultimate destination. Making it through doorways took coordination. We’d have to enter in a single file and then group up. Going to the bathroom, as you might imagine, was also complicated.

We were a huge hit. Out on the streets in Lewisburg, we got lots of hoots and hollers. We felt so good about our costume. We were so confident, so pumped up. We knew we were going to win the contest.

But just before the judging occurred, a girl at the party thought it would be funny to take one of our pins and pop our balloons. Boom, boom, boom, boom! And with that, it was over. We went from grapes to raisins in a few seconds. It was deflating.

This picture brings back so many great memories of our time at Bucknell. And now, we’re grape-ful that other generations of Bucknellians are enjoying it too!

Host a Bison Gathering

Reviving a tradition that welcomes new students and brings the Bucknell community closer

by Katie Neitz

members of the Class of 2023 gathered for a photo
Members of the Class of 2023 gathered in July 2019 in Maryland.
The transition into University life can be an exciting yet daunting experience for first-year students and their families, who often grapple with questions and nerves. Fortunately, Bucknell’s Center for Alumni & Family Engagement has a program designed to provide support and guidance.

Bison Gatherings, a cherished Bucknell tradition, are resuming this summer after a four-year pandemic-related hiatus. Bison Gatherings serve as a bridge for incoming first-year students and their families to connect with current students, parents and alumni who live in their area as well as University staff who are able to provide insights into life at Bucknell.

Gatherings unfold in various settings — in backyards, at community centers and around kitchen tables — across the country. They offer a warm and inviting environment where incoming students and families can pose questions, make connections and feel part of the Bucknell community. For many, it marks the first step toward forging friendships and creating a network that will extend far beyond their college years.

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Thanks for reading our Spring 2024 issue!