HACC Alumni Association

Distinguished Alumni
60th Anniversary Cohort

Melinda S. Barb

In the field of nursing, Melinda has become a resource in her unit to all new nurses. Several people have requested Melinda as their primary preceptor.

Melinda began teaching in fall 2023 to give back to the field of nursing and help educate new nurses the same way her clinical instructors did for her. Melinda enjoys teaching and plans to continue with a master's degree so she can continue to be an educator.

Stacey Cullen

At HACC and Pennsylvania State University, Stacey studied criminal justice, intending to work in probation and parole. Stacey's career thus far has been focused on community college admissions at HACC as well as two other community colleges in Washington state (Clover Park Technical College and Pierce College).

Stacey volunteered on the board of a small nonprofit organization in Central Pennsylvania (Residents Against Heroin) before moving to Washington state. While in Washington, Stacey volunteered on the Pierce County Community Accountability Board, which allowed her to help youthful offenders avoid adjudication by assigning alternate programming.

La-Kita D Gilmore

La-Kita is the director of business training and development at WebFX, providing oversight and developing best-in-class training initiatives for expert digital marketing account managers.

La-Kita is also the founder and chief executive officer of Women of Purpose. This movement was born out of divine inspiration to create a movement to see every person she knows walk in their God-given purpose.

La-Kita received the "Women of Philanthropy Award" by The Foundation for Enhancing Communities.

Theodore Kautz

Ted works for Sun Motors BMW as an automotive technician. He is a KIA Senior Plus Certified Technician, a Nissan Master Certified Technician and a National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Advanced Automotive Specialist.

The HACC education Ted received strongly assisted his ability to provide a better service to clients and provide for his family.

Thomas J. Long, CEC AA

Thomas feels fortunate to have completed HACC’s first Chef’s Apprenticeship Program, which was also sanctioned by the American Culinary Federation (ACF) and was overseen by the then-local ACF (Central Pennsylvania Chef’s Association) chapter. Thomas became a full-time HACC employee in 2015.

While employed at Holy Spirit Hospital as the executive chef, Thomas became involved with the “Let’s Move” project that was established by then-U.S. President Obama. Thomas also volunteered at his former alma mater, Cedar Cliff High School.

Anita J. Salery (Fisher)

Anita graduated with an associate degree in business management and directly after, she enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. For the last 16 years, Anita has used the skills learned from her degree to aid the growth of countless troops and continue to balance tasks and people effectively.

Anita serves on a public outreach committee in Bowie, Maryland, and is the president of an organization for medics in Guam.

Leila Simmons, MSW

Leila is a mental health services director. She serves on HACC’s Human Services Advisory Committee.

Leila serves her community on a weekly basis just by the nature of the work she does. She is out in the community at just about all times of the night trying to support those community members in need of social work services.

Victor Svistunov

Victor works at Boston Children’s Hospital-Harvard Medical School as a research associate. Growing up, Victor was fascinated by medicine and the discoveries that revolutionized biology. Despite his motivation to make a meaningful contribution to science, the Cape Verdean education system suffered from an extreme lack of funding to support young aspiring physician-scientists like Victor. He often stayed up late to observe laboratory experiments on YouTube to grasp the practical aspects of biology, as only theoretical lessons were provided. As such, coming from a country with a poor education system, Victor chose HACC because he wanted to learn so much more than the theories alone.

Dr. Tamara Willis

Dr. Willis is the superintendent of Susquehanna Township School District. Dr. Willis selected HACC for its affordability for her family. Staying close to her family allowed Dr. Willis to work and financially contribute while pursuing her dream of being the first in her immediate family to earn a college degree.

Dr. Willis recognized HACC’s reputation for providing quality education recognized by four-year institutions across the region. Moreover, the personalized support from employees made her feel valued as a person and not just a statistic. Dr. Willis believed that HACC would pave the way for her future opportunities, and it did!

Ben Byler

Ben began HACC as a senior in high school to kickstart his college journey early and continued attending for its affordability, flexibility and community involvement. Ben believes one of his greatest successes since graduating from HACC was attending Bucknell University to receive a bachelor’s degree in business administration. When Ben began his time at HACC, he never would have thought he would one day be able to attend Bucknell University. However, after hearing about the community college scholars program and attending their summer program, his hope expanded. HACC prepared Ben for the next step in his educational journey. Even though his time at Bucknell ended during the beginning of the pandemic, Ben finished strong and viewed his education there as a great success.

Dr. Joshua Doll

Dr. Doll serves as the chief administrative officer for the Dallastown Area School District. Dr. Doll did not choose HACC, but instead, HACC chose him. Dr. Doll failed to apply himself throughout his K-12 school experience, resulting in a clear lack of acceptance from other post-secondary colleges and universities to which he applied. In turn, HACC was his only option. However, it was the right option. Ultimately, Dr. Doll's time at HACC provided him with the prerequisite knowledge and skills required to become a successful learner. Due to his HACC experience, Dr. Doll grew both academically and in his self-confidence as a learner. This experience served as the foundation for which Dr. Doll furthered his academic and professional aspirations and accomplishments.

Alexa T. Groft

While at HACC, Alexa served as the President of the Student Government Association. In May 2023,

Alexa earned a master’s degree from Messiah University. Alexa has been awarded the YWCA’s Exceptional Young Woman of the Year.

Alexa volunteers for Girls on the Run and is a certified coach.

Megan Kopitsky

Megan works for the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder as a research assistant. Megan graduated with honors from Bucknell University spring 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and women's and gender studies. She chose HACC, because it felt like home. Growing up in the Harrisburg area, Megan knows that HACC is a name synonymous with community and academic excellence. When she chose to return to school as a nontraditional student, she was thrilled to have HACC as an option. She found that HACC created an environment that allowed her to learn, take risks and grow. She feels that HACC is a pillar of inclusive excellence for the greater Harrisburg area and beyond and that students and people of all ages and identities can find a safe space to be themselves while at HACC. Living in a time when the challenges and uncertainty of daily life can feel overwhelming, Megan believes that HACC provides a reprieve where everyone is welcome.

Dawn Mahan, PMP

Dawn is the founder and chief executive officer of PMOtraining, LLC, which offers professional training and coaching with clients and consultants spanning 11 countries. It is hard to believe that Dawn – as a leader, inventor, facilitator, author, speaker, and coach – was not sure what her career path would be when she enrolled as a HACC student. Dawn recalls: "I had no idea what I wanted to study. The HACC counselor reviewed my scores and recommended actuarial science."

In addition to giving back by helping others at HACC, Dawn serves as the American Lung Association’s Philadelphia Leadership Board chair.

Angela Sanden

Angela fostered the creation of the Commercial Driver's License (CDL) training program at HACC. She recently earned her associate degree from HACC. 

Angela leads and coordinates many community presentations regarding the programs centered at HACC’s Senator John J. Shumaker Public Safety Center.

Emily M. Simms

Emily worked for 10 years in the operating room at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

She is currently an instructor for HACC’s Surgical Technology Program.

Emily has served as president and vice president (each were two-year terms) of a local community chapter associated with the General Federation of Women’s Clubs.

Dante Swinton

Dante owns and operates a start-up business focused on bridging the knowledge gap between seniors and technology. He is responsible for developing and teaching classroom and one-on-one curriculums surrounding today’s technologies.

At the time of his enrollment at HACC, Dante was seeking an economical means of testing the post-secondary education waters. Dante was determined to get an associate degree to open doors to more extraordinary things. After researching three community colleges, Dante met with the dean of HACC’s Lancaster Campus, Dr. Klunk. Dante was overwhelmed and inspired by his sincere, genuine and candid presentation of the campus. Dante is currently the chair of the HACC Foundation Alumni Committee.

Ray (Frank) F. Campbell

Ray has worked in the trucking industry for 48 years, holding all positions starting in maintenance and then serving as president of the company. Ray is currently serving as a Perry County commissioner.

Ray has been involved in numerous community service organizations, holding leadership positions in most, and has contributed countless hours of volunteer work in his community and county.

Rhianna Dupla

Rhianna currently works for Altostratus Technologies, LLC as well as a model for MARZ Management and Consulting Enterprise. She is a published poet with the chapbook: The Poster Child by R.C (publisher: Plan B Press). Rhianna has also modeled for companies like BloomChic and Universal Standard. Choosing HACC was a no-brainer, especially with her husband cheering her on to apply. HACC was a beacon of light for Rhianna when she decided that she wanted to expand her horizons. Rhianna was welcomed with open arms and was taken aback by the amount of support and the expanded curriculum. Rhianna had many online choices for colleges, but she really wanted to get the college experience in-person, but without the price tag. Being local to HACC’s Harrisburg Campus helped solidify her decision.

Imogene Gross

As high school graduation neared, Imogene knew she wanted to pursue a four-year degree and considered many private liberal arts colleges before deciding to start at HACC.

Financial and personal circumstances made HACC the best choice for Imogene. When Imogene looks back at her educational choices now, she feels so fortunate that HACC became her first collegiate "home." Imogene was fortunate enough to receive multiple HACC Foundation scholarships while enrolled at HACC.

Imogene always wanted to travel internationally and since graduation, Imogene has finally been able to achieve that goal.

Jennifer D. Kyle

Jennifer graduated from HACC's Radiologic Technology (Rad Tech) Program in 2009. While working as a technologist, she became a preceptor for HACC, working with and performing competencies for students. In 2012, Jennifer became an adjunct lab instructor for HACC’s Rad Tech program. In 2016, Jennifer became the director of clinical education at HACC.

Jennifer is also involved with a rescue organization, Operation Paws for Home

Ethan A. Poetic

Ethan is a self-published author of a book entitled ‘The Inspirational Story of Ethan A. Poetic: Chronicles of Adversities, Education, Sports, Relationships, & Resiliency.’ Ethan's book has been used for professional development, personal development, people experiencing homelessness, people experiencing arrests and youth audiences.

Ethan is the founder and chief executive officer of Ethan A. Poetic, LLC. He inspires students at public schools, private schools and colleges; communities; and those on social media to overcome adversities.

Danielle M. Shaver

Danielle works at Friendship Community as a direct support professional.

She was an artist in residence at HACC’s Harrisburg and Lancaster campuses as a way of giving back. Danielle returns to campus whenever possible and shares her experiences with current students.

Ildiko Stegman

Ildiko is a registered nurse. After graduating from HACC, she worked on a renal transplant floor.

Ildiko’s greatest success since graduating from HACC has been the opportunity to return and join the nursing faculty team as a full-time faculty member. She is proud to be part of the team that shapes the next generation of nurses who will take care of not just her or her loved ones but also the community. She volunteered in vaccination clinics during the pandemic, donated protective equipment to healthcare facilities during the pandemic and volunteered with the Refugee Health Fair.

Gabriela N. Torres

Gabriela is a talent acquisition specialist in a global business. Gabriela works part-time in the Keystone Education Yields Success (KEYS) Program to ensure that she can continue to inspire HACC students to achieve their goals and graduate. Gabriela chose HACC, because she lived close by and HACC continuously visited her high school. Upon graduation, Gabriela knew she wanted to go to college but she also wanted to be financially stable. Gabriela decided to go to her local community college and stated: "I am so thankful I did!"

Gabriela serves at the local YMCA and provides Spanish and bilingual services as needed.