Meet the Members of the Wilkes-Barre Connect Intern Panel
Sharon Castano, M. Ed, Director of Internships & Parent Programs and First Year Foundations & Personal and Professional Development Instructor at Wilkes University
Sharon Castano is a Student Affairs professional at Wilkes University with over 13 years of experience in higher education. Her qualifications span the areas of internships, mentoring and transitioning first year students, teaching, student affairs within areas of Title IX, student life, and employer relations. She primarily serves as the Director of Internships & Parent Programs, an adjunct professor for the Personal and Professional Development area of The Jay Sidhu School of Business, and a First Year Foundations instructor in Leadership. Prior to Wilkes, she worked as a full time software trainer for Blue Cross of Northeastern PA and later as a consultant. Sharon holds a Bachelor's degree in Business administration with a concentration inMarketing from Bloomsburg University and a Master of Science in Education from Wilkes University. She resides in Laflin, PA with her husband and two college-aged children and their dog Noah.
Nicole Darling, M.S. Eastern Region Employer Engagement and Career Specialist at Penn State University
Nicole Darling is the Eastern Region Employer Engagement and Career Specialist for the Pennsylvania State University in State College, Pennsylvania. She assists with employer engagement efforts for 12 of the 20 Commonwealth Campuses. She is an adjunct instructor at Purdue University, Colorado Technical University, and the University of Phoenix. Nicole developed the first ever four-year career educational program for the Dallas School District aimed at students in grades 9–12. She has also worked with outplaced adult workers coaching them in transitioning to new career opportunities. Nicole also provides private and contracted training in workplace topics such as leadership, supervisory roles, professional development, and generational diversity. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s of science in Organizational Psychology. She is currently working on attaining her SHRM-SCP certification.
Kelly joined the King’s College community in May 2007 and is currently serving as the Assistant Director for Internships in the Office of Career Planning. She received her Bachelors of Science in Recreation Management from Arizona State University. She received her Masters of Education in Counseling, Human Relations from Northern Arizona University. She is a certified Career Development Facilitator under NCDA (National Career Development Association) and is a graduate of Leadership Wilkes-Barre Class of 2017. Kelly has a variety of experience in working with nonprofit organizations in the Phoenix area to include everything from case management to program development and management. Her primary responsibilities include career coaching students and assisting them through the process of securing and completing their internships. She has taught Career Planning courses, First Year Experience, and Business Communications. She is actively involved in various community organizations including the Olyphant Little League and Mid Valley PTA. She resides in Olyphant, PA with her
husband Corey and her four sons.
Bernadette Rushmer, Director, Insalaco Center for Career Development at Misericordia University
Bernadette Rushmer is the Director of the Insalaco Center for Career Development at Misericordia University in Dallas, PA. Bernadette holds a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Leadership Studies from Binghamton University in Binghamton, NY. She has worked as a Human Resources director at a small manufacturing firm and as a member of the HR team at Binghamton University. In her role at Misericordia, Bernadette overseas the Guaranteed Placement Program and conducts career related workshops along with individual counseling sessions to help students develop the professional skills needed for successful career outcomes. In addition to her role in career development for students, Bernadette shares her passion for professional and leadership development with the greater Misericordia community by serving on the staff professional development committee as well as co-facilitator for the faculty and staff leadership development program at Misericordia.
Susan Spry, Vice President of Applied Technologies and Workforce Development at Luzerne County Community College
Susan Spry is currently Vice President of Applied Technologies and Workforce Development at Luzerne County Community College. She has worked at the college for over twenty years, first as Director of the New Choices/New Options Program, which assists single parents and homemakers in their return to college, and then as Associate Dean of Workforce Development until earning her current position. LCCC’s Division of Applied Technologies and Workforce Development provides assistance to those in the emerging, incumbent, and transitional workforce and to the businesses that employ these individuals. The Division includes the Continuing Education Department, Adult Literacy, the Center for Business Solutions, the Public Safety Training Institute, the Educational Conference Center, and degree programs in applied technologies and skilled trades. Susan also teaches as an Adjunct Professor at Wilkes University and serves on a variety of Community and Business Advisory Boards.
Carl Witkowski, COO and Executive Vice President at Berkshire GUARD Insurance Companies
Carl Witkowski is Chief Operating Officer and President of Berkshire Hathaway GUARD, where he has worked since 1996. Throughout his tenure, he has spearheaded numerous initiatives such as transforming the organization to 100% paperless processing in the early 2000s and leading the re-platforming of GUARD’s proprietary systems to a browser-based environment. Similarly, Carl’s prior leadership experience in the health care field has enabled him to serve a key role in formulating and shaping managed care strategies, which have allowed Berkshire Hathaway GUARD to excel in delivering superior claims service that provides quality care to injured workers while containing costs. As part of his current duties, he leads GUARD’s information and technology group and is also “curator” of the company’s “human capital” and culture. All operational units currently fall under Carl’s leadership, including Claims processing, Small and Intermediate Business Unit underwriting, and Customer Service and Support functions. Earlier in his career, Carl was engaged in private practice, was a graduate faculty member of Marywood University for 12 years, and is a frequent presenter on information technology and human capital topics at national conferences. A cum laude graduate of the University of Scranton, Carl received his Master’s degree through the Marywood University Graduate School of Social Work and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.
Jeremey Tomaine, Senior Finance and Economics Major at Wilkes University
Jeremey Tomaine is a senior at Wilkes University and is studying Finance and Economics. He’s a community leader and won an election in the May 2018 Primaries to become a Democratic Representative to the County Party, which allows him to voice his opinions on nominations and resource allocation, as well as have input to the direction of the local party. Around Wilkes’ campus he stays active by having been elected as the Student Government Executive Treasurer. He has intern experience with Ameriprise Financial, Chancellor Financial, Berkshire Hathaway Guard Insurance, and most recently the Allan P. Kirby Center for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship.
Our moderator for this panel will be Dr. Rodney S. Ridley, Sr., Executive Director & (Endowed Chair) Distinguished Professor of the Allan P. Kirby Center for Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurship (APKCFEE) at Wilkes University.
Dr. Rodney S. Ridley, Sr. is the Executive Director & (Endowed Chair) Distinguished Professor of the Allan P. Kirby Center for Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurship (APKCFEE) at Wilkes University. He is the founding Director of the Wilkes Business Incubator, the Technology Transfer Office, the Industry & Community Outreach Office, the Kirby Scholars Program and the APKCFEE Micro-Grant Fund. He also teaches courses in both the Sidhu School of Business and the College of Science and Engineering at Wilkes University. Based on these activities, in June 2017, he was named “Innovator of the Year” by the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce. Prior to his current position, he was Director of & Associate Professor in the Engineering & Physics Division at Wilkes University where he oversaw the faculty and staff in Applied & Engineering Sciences, Bioengineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Engineering Management and Physics programs. He holds a Ph.D. in Engineering Science & Mechanics and an M.S. degree in Electrical Engineering, both from Penn State University where he was a Applied Research Labs Scholar. He also received a B.S. degree in Physics from Lincoln University (PA) where he was a NASA-funded Lincoln Aerospace Engineering Recruitment Scholar.