Meet the Team!
Valarie Clark, Creative Services Manager (far right)
Ever heard of Kindersley, Saskatchewan? Us either. But that is where Valarie Clark, our Creative Services manager, grew up, preparing for a career in publications while shoveling through snow drifts and playing hockey with moose. Or so the legend goes.
In the years since, Valarie worked extensively as a freelance writer, designer and public relations consultant – both north of the border and in northeastern Pennsylvania – gaining a breadth of experience. During this time, she also earned her U.S. citizenship. Welcome to the good ol’ U.S. of A., eh!
Today, Valarie is to the Marketing Communications Department what a foreman is to a construction site – responsible for shepherding projects from inception to completion. She oversees the planning and design work for hundreds of University publications and web projects each year.
Having worked at the University for more than a decade, Valarie doesn’t just promote the institution’s mission, she embraces it wholeheartedly. She has served on a variety of committees overseeing such topics as employee wellness and web initiatives. One undertaking especially dear to Valarie’s heart is the University’s disAbility Conference, serving on its planning committee for several years.
Valarie is the proud mother of two University undergraduates, Harrison and Corrine.
Tommy Kopetskie, University Editor (third from left)
Tommy Kopetskie, Scranton’s university editor, grew up in the Pocono Mountains dreaming of entering what some people may call a dying industry: newspapers. But spurred on by a love for writing and storytelling, the choice made sense.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in communications/journalism at Shippensburg University, Tommy followed his then girlfriend – now wife – to North Carolina, and enjoyed mild winters and good barbeque. While in the Tar Heel State, he worked as a reporter/designer at two award-winning newspapers.
He counts among his favorite professional highlights interviewing golf legend Arnold Palmer, joining the Brunswick County (N.C.) Drug Enforcement Unit on a drug house raid, and completing a triathlon, which he recounted in a news article.
In early 2010, he returned to Pennsylvania to be closer to family and friends, and accepted the role of editor, overseeing The Scranton Journal and Royal News – perfect outlets for his interest in storytelling.
Tommy enjoys spending time with his wife, Heather, son, Jaxon, and feisty Welsh terrier, Roscoe. He also has an unhealthy love for the University of Michigan football team – ironic for someone who has never been to the state of Michigan. It’s our idiosyncrasies that make everyone a good story, right?
Lori Nidoh, Director of Marketing Communications (fourth from left)
Lori Nidoh is the Marketing Communications Department’s big picture person. As the department’s director, Lori is responsible for identifying potential marketing opportunities and working with the department’s creative team to capitalize on current trends.
Lori’s ties to the University run deep. She earned her bachelor’s degree and MBA, here and her mother, Margaret, worked in the University’s Treasurer’s Office for more than two decades.
After a successful career in marketing and corporate development at The Paper Magic Group, Inc., and a stint running her own small business, Lori was lured back to her alma mater because of its focus on the person, not the profit.
With expertise in a variety of areas ranging from marketing, financial analysis and new media to project management, Lori has spearheaded numerous undertakings in her four-plus years at Scranton, including expanding our undergraduate recruitment marketing campaign and guiding the development of our mobile website and mobile application.
Off the clock, Lori enjoys hiking, bike riding, and traveling out West with her husband, Gregory, daughter Jaclyn, and son, Adam. Scranton will always be home, but Lori wouldn’t mind a second residence in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, or some other tranquil small town in God’s Country. The beauty of the outdoors is quite appealing, though the pesky bugs she could do without!
JoAnn Pane, Secretary (fifth from right)
JoAnn Pane, our Marketing Communications secretary, takes great pride in calling herself a “pain” to work with. While amusing, this self-appraisal could not be more off target.
JoAnn is an inherent fixer and the duct tape – in a flattering way – of the department. Is the printer jammed? Call JoAnn. Need batteries, an envelope or any of a hundred different office supplies? Ask JoAnn. Need something completed pronto? You get the idea.
Since her arrival in the department in August 2009, JoAnn has become an integral part of our efforts, whether she’s tasked with gathering information on media options and pricing or serving as the department’s first point of contact for the public. The helpful voice on the phone or the friendly face right off the elevator, that’s her.
JoAnn has an innate ability to relate to people that likely comes from her own eclectic background. She’s been a debutante, yet she has her forklift license. Her hobbies include gardening, baking, arts and crafts, and even hunting. They broke the mold when JoAnn was born.
Away from the office, JoAnn – with her husband, Marc – plays a tough-love parent to a son, Christopher, daughter, Laea, and stepson, Carmen. And, of course, a loveable German shepherd named Daigo Red.
Jason Thorne, Senior Graphic Designer (far left)
While Jackson Pollack’s work came alive on a canvas, Jason Thorne’s masterpieces begin in the latest Adobe Creative Suite. Thanks to his impeccable tastes for design, style and creativity, Jason is the Marketing Communications Department’s go-to guy for anything creative. From posters and programs to billboards and chair fabrics, if it needs a fresh look, his opinion carries plenty of weight around here.
Jason’s discerning eye and expertise in visual presentation is at the core of our work as a department, enhancing our content through clean, stimulating design, while maintaining the style and sensibilities of our University and its mission.
The quintessential MAC guy, Jason’s enthusiasm for Apple products is on par with the late Steve Jobs – seriously. It’s a travesty Jason wasn’t hired for the MAC/PC commercials popular just a few years ago!
Raised on the mean streets of Clarks Summit – this is ironic because Clarks Summit is Scranton’s Mayberry – Jason is a local product through and through, having also graduated from nearby Marywood University.
One look at his serene office, complete with intricate trinkets and one-of-a-kind knickknacks, you know Jason’s artistry isn’t limited to the computer screen.
Away from the office, Jason is an attentive owner to his two feisty young cats.
Marie Trovato, Marketing and Social Media Coordinator (second from right)
Carried by a stride that seems more like a bounce, Marie Trovato’s joyful demeanor – and readiness with a quick wave and hello – is infectious to those she encounters. It’s an endearing quality that gives our marketing and social media coordinator a welcoming sense of enthusiasm even on the dreariest of Scranton days.
A native of Scranton, Marie has served the University in a variety of roles during her more than 25 years on staff. Marie’s tenure illustrates her dedication to our institution, but don’t mistake her longevity for complacency; she’s not afraid of tackling a new challenge.
After successful stints handling the institution’s annual fund and, most recently, serving as special events coordinator, Marie accepted her current position in fall 2012. In her new role, she helps advance the Marketing Communications Department’s objectives, compiling and analyzing statistics relating to our advertising and social media campaigns.
After spending her workdays crunching numbers, Marie enjoys an active lifestyle away from the office, gardening, decorating and maintaining her South Abington Township residence. Marie doesn’t minding pulling up her sleeves and getting to work, undaunted by painting, landscaping and carpentry and masonry jobs. Notice she didn’t mention plumbing or electrical work. She’s handy, and like any good do-it-yourselfer, she knows her limitations.
Matt Wren, Web Designer/Developer (third from right)
Matt Wren assumes two crucial roles for our Marketing Communications Department.
First, he is our one-man Geek Squad responsible for designing and coding the department’s webpages. Secondly, and most importantly, Matt is the department’s new guy, susceptible to good-natured ribbing from the office veterans.
What Matt has going for him is he’s a Scranton alumnus and already knows the objectives behind the University’s mission. A one-time biology major, he traded in the lab coat to study media and information technology and hasn’t looked back. His ability to be a quick study has already served him well in the tech field.
Before returning to his alma mater, Matt worked as digital director at Entercom Communication in Wilkes-Barre, overseeing the websites and social media platforms for four of the region’s leading radio stations.
Matt’s interests expand beyond the keyboard and include mountain biking, camping and music. He regularly performs as a trumpeter with the University’s Performance Music ensembles and various local groups.
A perfect blend of tech enthusiast and yesteryear romantic, Matt enjoys the convenience of digital music, but loves the authenticity of music from the 1940s. One minute he’ll tweet about web code advice, and the next discuss the beauty of a mansion on Scranton’s Moir Court.
Melissa DeSoto ’14, Publications Intern (not pictured)
Before our office hits “print” on a project, we proofread with a keen eye, checking that all T’s have been crossed and I’s dotted. This is where Creative Services intern and proofreader Melissa DeSoto earns her keep, thanks to her great attention to detail. Her second set of eyes is a valued asset, ensuring we maintain the highest of standards.
While the theology major from Port Tobacco, Md., enjoys immersing herself in a good book, soaking in a moment of solitude every now and then, Melissa hasn’t overlooked one important aspect of college: connecting with others.
In fall 2012, Melissa became a resident assistant in Condron Hall, an assignment she calls a “positive challenge,” where she assists her peers in making Scranton home. In addition, she’s an orientation assistant and a Eucharistic minister.
On a personal note, Melissa is an unapologetic fanatic of musician Josh Groban.
Lauren Guinta ’14, Video Correspondent (second from left)
Lauren Guinta, one of our department’s video correspondents, is at home in front of the camera. She’s a regular on the University’s Royal Television Network, where she serves as executive sports producer. She’s also earned her share of broadcasting stripes interning with Cablevision’s Optimum Cable News in summer 2012.
In fact, one of her intern assignments included the Malone Mulhall Benefit All-Star Basketball Game, which benefitted the Michael Mulhall ’10 Memorial Scholarship at Scranton. The event included on-camera interviews with several current NBA players. She gave up a few feet in height, but seemed totally in her element.
Teamed with fellow correspondent Danielle Vallely, Lauren produces our popular event videos on YouTube, highlighting on-campus activities you shouldn’t have missed.
The Lindenhurst, N.Y., native is a New Yorker through and through, with a die-hard passion for the Yankees and aspirations to one day work for the Bronx Bombers.
Kacey Jerman ’14, Social Media Intern (fourth from right)
Who’s the person behind that on-campus tweet or Facebook photo album, keeping you well informed of all things Scrantastic? It’s none other than the Marketing Communications Department’s social media intern, Kacey Jerman.
The marketing major from small-town Glen Rock, N.J., facilitates the promotion and statistical analysis of the University’s official social media platforms. As part of her job, she can be found on campus – smartphone in hand – posting messages to our active fan base.
Drawn to the University because of its welcoming atmosphere, Kacey and her beaming smile and easygoing nature fit right in. That’s not to say the former high school volleyball captain doesn’t have a competitive side. In fact, she predicts a championship is in the near future for her intramural volleyball team. If she does win, don’t be surprised if she “Facebooks” it!
Danielle Vallely ’14, Video Correspondent (fifth from left)
When Danielle Vallely isn’t perfecting her broadcast skills at the student-run Royal Television Network, the communication major serves as one of our department’s video correspondents, compiling footage of on-campus events for the University’s official YouTube channel. Working with fellow correspondent Lauren Guinta, Danielle’s updates are one of our channel’s most popular attractions.
Comfortable both in front of and behind the camera, the Reading native dreams of one day manning the microphone on the E! Network. Seacrest out; Vallely in.
Danielle doesn’t mind getting in on the action either. Last spring, she conquered a Tough Mudder endurance challenge. This fall, she defeated the 2012 Hershey Half Marathon. How do you exercise in a town that literally smells like chocolate we will never know.
When she’s not cheering for all Boston-related sports teams, Danielle can be found listening to Kings of Leon on repeat.