Dr. Allen G. Snook, Jr. Named Director of Athletics at East Stroudsburg University

Allen G. Snook, D.H.Sc., director of athletics, wellness and recreation at Cedar Crest College, has been named director of athletics at East Stroudsburg University.

Dr. Snook brings nearly two decades of experience with him to ESU as an athletics administrator, athletic trainer, and adjunct professor in numerous athletic areas.

Snook has been director of athletics, wellness and recreation at Cedar Crest College since 2015, following 12 years at Pfeiffer University in Misenheimer, N.C. where he began as the director of sports medicine before taking on positions as associate/assistant director of athletics and senior associate director of athletics.

“We are very excited to welcome Dr. Allen Snook to East Stroudsburg University,” said ESU Interim President Kenneth Long. “His extensive and impressive experience made him an excellent candidate to lead our intercollegiate athletics program of 22 varsity sports.”

“I am excited for this new opportunity to work with the students and staff at ESU,” said Snook. “I look forward to continuing to move the athletics department forward and even more to becoming a Warrior.”

Dr. Snook is a product of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education, earning his bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Bloomsburg University and his master’s degree in psychology from Shippensburg University. He received his doctorate in health sciences from A.T. Still University in Mesa, Ariz.  He is certified by the National Athletic Training Association, is a licensed athletic trainer in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and certified by the American Red Cross in CPR/First Aid/AED.

In his role at Cedar Crest College, he supervised and managed all aspects of the College’s varsity athletics, recreation center and wellness programs. Snook was responsible for increasing athletic department retention to 93 percent, added diving, and track and field, and wrestling to the College’s sports offerings, developed athletic corporate sponsorship and fundraising programs, increased the winning percentage of the athletic teams by 51% in six years and spearheaded the development of a new turf facility with 6,000 foot fieldhouse construction. Prior to his role at Cedar Crest College, Allen was the senior associate director of athletics at Pfeiffer University in North Carolina when the institution was a member of Division II. 

Allen is a member of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, the Pennsylvania Athletic Trainers’ Society, and the National Strength and Conditioning Association.  He has also attended and presented at a number of local, regional and national conferences and has served the local community by participating in activities associated with the American Red Cross, Be The Match and the March of Dimes. He served as interim commissioner for the Colonial States Athletics Conference (CSAC) for five months.

At ESU, he will provide leadership, strategic direction, policy development and management of all programs, staff and facilities while in compliance with rules and regulations for the University, NCAA and the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC). He will be the chief fundraiser for the department in addition to managing department funds, budgets and accounts. He will also maintain the department’s commitment to ESU’s mission, strategic priorities and the University’s responsibility to diversity, equity and inclusion.

Snook will be begin his new role of director of athletics at ESU on Wednesday, July 6.

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ESU Awarded $2.5 Million To Help Low Income, Potential First Generation College Students Access Higher Education

The U.S. Department of Education announced that East Stroudsburg University will receive a federal Upward Bound grant of $2.5 million to help more low income students who would be the first members of their families to earn degrees to prepare for and enroll in college.

One of the federal TRIO Programs, Upward Bound is an intensive intervention program that prepares students for higher education through various enrichment courses. At least two-thirds of the students in each local Upward Bound program are from low-income economic backgrounds and families in which neither parent has a bachelor’s degree.

Many national Upward Bound alumni have gone on to great success, among them Academy Award-winning actress Viola Davis, correspondent for ABC News John Quiñones and Hall of Fame NBA player Patrick Ewing.

“Upward Bound program is the longest consecutively funded grant at ESU, and we have built a highly successful program with that funding,” said director Janine Hyde-Broderick. “Upward Bound is entering its 48th year on ESU’s campus and we’ve seen hundreds of students graduate from the program in that time.”

Campus-based Upward Bound programs provide students instruction in literature, composition, mathematics, science, and foreign language during the school year and the summer. Upward Bound also provides intensive mentoring and support for students as they prepare for college entrance exams and tackle admission applications, financial aid, and scholarship forms.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, 86% of Upward Bound participants enroll in postsecondary institutions immediately following high school graduation. In FY21, more than 70,000 students enrolled in 966 Upward Bound TRIO projects in the United States.

In 1964, the Economic Opportunity Act established Upward Bound as a pilot program in response to the War on Poverty. It was the first of seven federal “TRIO” programs to later be authorized by the Higher Education Act to help college students succeed in higher education. It recognizes that students whose parents do not have a college degree have more difficulties navigating the complexity of decisions that college requires for success, bolsters students from low-income families who have not had the academic opportunities that their college peers have had and helps remove obstacles preventing students from thriving academically.

“Upward Bound prepares students for college who may not have ever realized college was a very real path for them,” said Margaret Ball, D.M.A, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs. “This grant will help us continue to allow young people to see their potential, become the first in their family to earn a college degree, and give them the power to elevate their lives.”

“As systemic inequality and financial hardship discourage students from succeeding in college, TRIO programs like Upward Bound take on new importance because they continue to help students who are low-income and first-generation to earn college degrees,” said Maureen Hoyler, president of the non-profit Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) in Washington, D.C. COE is dedicated to furthering the expansion of college opportunities for low-income, first-generation students, and students with disabilities nationwide.

As of 2021, over 3,000 TRIO projects serve approximately 855,000 participants yearly. TRIO projects are in every state and territory in the nation.

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Dr. Faith Waters and Reverend Edward Kimes strive to better the lives of those less fortunate

Spirit of Giving: Professor Emeritus and husband establish annual and endowed scholarships to support members of the Women’s Basketball Team, help others achieve their full potential.

By Susan Field

Throughout their lives, Dr. Faith Waters and her husband Reverend Edward Kimes have been dedicated to giving back to the younger generation.

In her 38-year tenure at East Stroudsburg University, Waters was a secondary education graduate program coordinator, department chair, professor emeritus, and distinguished faculty member.  Kimes was pastor at the United Methodist Church in Effort for 12 years and at East Stroudsburg United Methodist for 15. Both strongly believe in the importance of education: the opportunity to experience higher education without struggling to pay it back and being generous with those in need.

When Waters and Kimes were considering ways to give back to ESU, creating scholarships to help students pay for their education was an easy decision.

“Many people struggle with paying back their education debts, and it affects their entire lives. We want to help students have either no debt, or at least manageable debt, so it doesn’t hold them back,” Waters said.

In May 2021, the couple established the Waters-Kimes Annual Scholarship and the Waters-Kimes Endowed Scholarship. Both scholarships assist members of the Women’s basketball team. They also placed ESU in their will.

The decision to support members of the Women’s basketball team came from a desire to help women of color have more equity, and Waters and Kimes both love basketball. They grew up in the greater Philadelphia area as avid sports fans, and Waters briefly coached basketball early in her career as a public school teacher.

The first Waters-Kimes Annual Scholarship recipient was #21, guard Carley Adams, a sophomore psychology major. Waters and Kimes have gone to watch her play and had the opportunity to meet and get to know her.

Kimes’ years in ministry have given him a unique perspective on the power of giving.

“When I’d give eulogies, I could see how someone’s life lived on through their giving nature. I could see the tremendous impact that giving had beyond their years. When Faith and I talk about what we want our legacy to be, we want to continue to give back to causes that are important to us. We want to continue to make an impact,” Kimes said.

When Waters and Kimes told their four children about the charitable bequests in their will for ESU, their children were in full support.

“Maybe that is our legacy—that our children believe that life isn’t just about them; it’s about the larger world where people need help, and you give it,” Waters said.

Waters’ impact on the field of education, goes beyond her charitable donations.

Waters holds a B.S. from Bucknell University, an M.Ed. in English education from Trenton State College, her K-12 supervisory certificates from Villanova University, and an Ed.D. in educational leadership from the University of Pennsylvania. She began her career as an English teacher in Hatboro-Horsham High School. She then served as assistant principal at Springfield High School, director of Secondary Instruction for the Central Bucks School District, and principal of Pocono Mountain Senior High School.

In the 1980s, when Waters was an administrator, female secondary principals were unusual. When she joined ESU’s Secondary Education Department in 1989 to teach in the graduate department of Educational Administration, she relished the opportunity to teach future administrators and empower other women in the field.

Waters’ contributions to ESU are significant. She co-founded the Center for Teaching and Learning and served as co-director from 1994-2002. Waters co-authored ESU’s comprehensive classroom assessment model, co-founded the PSED professional development school program, and co-chaired the development of the collaborative Educational Leadership doctoral delivery program with Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

She was an active scholar with multiple publications including the application of the Russian problem-solving system, TRIZ, and co-teaching in the university classroom.

Waters taught 19 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral courses throughout her tenure. She particularly enjoyed teaching leadership, curriculum, methodology courses, and supervising student teachers.

“At ESU we had really good students who wanted to learn, that wanted to be the best they could be. It was never a case where you had to force kids to learn—they wanted to,” Waters said.

Waters retired from ESU in 2008. She remains active with the university as a board member for the Student Activities Association for the last decade. She is also an APSCURF member (The Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties), of which she is the former president. She was actively involved in creating the APSCURF Endowed Scholarship. The scholarship assists a graduate student, of any major, who is in good academic and social standing.

“The overall highlight for me at ESU was the spirit that encouraged you to continue to learn and grow and stretch your boundaries. You were accountable to do quality work. Foremost for me was the spirit of collaboration. There was a feeling that if you worked together with people with different skills and gifts, you could do so much more together than you could alone,” Waters said.

The spirit of learning, growing, collaborating, and sharing has been central to how Waters and Kimes have spent their retirement.

The couple lived in Long Island City for a year and volunteered for a Non-Government Organization that had a partnership with the United Nations. After that, they traveled across the U.S. 10 times, stopping to volunteer with NGOs. They took time to listen to and learn from the passionate volunteers they met along the way.

“The beauty and grace that comes with retirement is that you have time to listen. You are able to hear people’s stories and stay focused on them without having to think about what meeting you have to prepare for next,” Waters said.

Last winter, the couple was living on a barrier island on the coast of southeast Georgia, an area that continues to struggle with the implications of its history. They used their time in the south to listen to people’s stories about racism, equality, poverty, and struggle.

“We have been on a journey of exploration about our own beliefs and actions and ways we can get more insight into how we can be more inclusive, where we fall short, and how we can be better,” Waters said.

When they’re not traveling, they reside at Elk Mountain, between Scranton and Binghamton, where their children and seven grandchildren are nearby.

After devoting their lives to fostering academic and spiritual growth, Waters and Kimes understand how gratifying it is to help others achieve their full potential. “At the end of the day, how much money do you really need in your life?” Waters said. “When you can give back to someone else and make their life better, then you do it.”

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ESU Sport Management Graduates Return to Campus for S.C.O.R.E. Symposium         

Earlier this semester, East Stroudsburg University’s department of sport management welcomed eight alumni currently working in the sport industry back to campus for the S.C.O.R.E. (Sport Careers: Opportunities, Recruitment, and Employment) Symposium.

The alumni served on a panel discussion sharing their experiences and insight with current students on diversity and inclusion issues in the industry. Following the discussion, students participated in a networking session with the speakers and representatives from local industry leaders including the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, Living Sport, and Pocono Raceway.

The alumni panelist included: Kyle Jimenez ’18, group sales specialist at Madison Square Garden; Victoria Gurdak ’17 M’19, coordinator of athletic facilities at the University of Pennsylvania; Sophie Coy ’16 M’17, academic counselor for softball, volleyball, and men’s tennis at the University of Mississippi; Jenny Owens M’09, assistant dean and associate professor at the University of Maryland Baltimore; Brandon Lawrence ’07, director of business development at Tyson Group; Michael Rucker ’06, senior manager, sales enablement at BSE Global; Brooke Powers ’17, leagues and communications director, Penn Fusion Soccer Academy; and Deanna Repollet ’09, manager of premium sales at the Intuit Dome, Los Angeles Clippers.

To learn more about studying sport management at ESU contact Jaedeock Lee, Ph.D., professor of sport management and department chair by calling 570-422-3340 or email jaedeock@esu.edu.

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ESU Alumni Invited to Pick Up the Poconos

Calling all Warriors! Help keep the Pocono Mountains beautiful by volunteering to Pick Up the Poconos on Saturday, April 23, 2022 from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Registration deadline is Monday, April 18, 2022 at 5 p.m. For more information, call 570-422-7956.

Register to volunteer!

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East Stroudsburg University Alum Serves as Faculty Rep for “Cinderella” Saint Peter’s

Photo: Dr. Jay Garrels M’11 and his wife, Ali, at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia during Saint Peter’s win over Purdue in the Sweet 16

Every sport has that inspirational “Cinderella story”—the small (or not-so-small) team with a big work ethic and drive to succeed. In this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball March Madness, that team was Saint Peter’s University in Jersey City, N.J., a Jesuit university of approximately 3,000 students. Underdogs throughout the tournament, the team won three games and advanced to the Elite Eight before losing to the University of North Carolina last Sunday.

Dr. Jay Garrels M’11 is the Faculty Athletic Representative (FAR) at Saint Peter’s and had a front-row seat to the Peacocks’ historic run.

“I’m still trying to gather my thoughts on what occurred,” Garrels said. “It’s brought so many good things for the university, and is very well-deserved for the student-athletes. It’s just been very positive all around.” Most sports fans had never heard of Saint Peter’s — they know them now, thanks to the team’s performance. “My wife said at one point we were the number one thing trending on Twitter. It put our university on the map — for two weeks it was all anyone could talk about,” he said.

A native of New Jersey, Garrels knows what it takes to do well on the court. As a student at ESU pursuing a master’s degree in exercise science, Garrels was a graduate assistant for the men’s basketball team from 2009-2011, which included a then-school record 24 wins and the PSAC East regular season championship in 2009-10. One of his best experiences was learning from head coach Jeff Wilson. “He was a great mentor and boss. I learned a tremendous amount — not just about basketball and what goes into running a successful collegiate basketball team and how he engages the student-athletes. My biggest takeaway was on the human side of things. He has the innate ability to get the best out of people. He recognizes things in people they may not recognize. He helped me recognize my strengths and improve my weaknesses. I model who I’m trying to be after him. He’s had a big impact on my life,” he said.

Garrels chairs the health and physical education department at Saint Peter’s. In his role as FAR, Garrels is the liaison for the school and NCAA. He also oversees the college’s faculty mentor program in which a faculty member is matched with an athletic team. “I don’t think you need a background in collegiate athletics, but I think part of why I was chosen was because of my collegiate athletics background. The administration probably felt I knew many of our student-athletes and engaged with them, so I was a good fit for this role,” Garrels explains.

He has many fond memories of his time at ESU, where he obtained his master’s degree in 2011 and taught for several years before pursuing his Ph.D. in movement science at Seton Hall University. He is inspired to be a professor like Dr. Shala Davis, chair of ESU’s exercise science department. “I learned an unbelievable amount of content from Dr. Davis and thought about things from an exercise science perspective. During my first few years as professor [at ESU], she provided a lot of mentorship. She understood it was the beginning of my career, so she helped me with many of the quirks of just being a new educator. She was also the one who pushed me toward earning my doctorate,” he said.

Having been a student, coach, and now professor, Garrels has had the full college experience and he encourages students to make the most of the journey. “Be open-minded. Listen to your coaches—listen to their suggestions. Step outside your comfort zone, and take advantage of all ESU has to offer.”

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ESU Madelon Powers Gallery to Present Student Exhibit

Photo- left to right: Emma Brooks, Samantha Wertman, Brianna Vongmany, and Ryan Ackerman, members of ESU’s Student Art Association, helped to organize, curate and install an exhibition that in the Madelon Powers Gallery. The exhibition will run March 30 – April 13.

East Stroudsburg University’s Madelon Powers Gallery will feature art works from the Student Art Association March 30 – April 13. The exhibition will include a range of media including digital illustrations, graphic design, product design, 3D modeling, traditional drawing and painting, and sculpture.

Hours for the gallery, located in the university’s Fine and Performing Arts Center, Normal and Marguerite streets, are Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

A reception for the artists will be held on Wednesday, March 30 from 4-6 p.m. in the gallery. The gallery and the reception are open to the public at no cost.

At the reception, prizes will be awarded in three categories: graphic design and digital illustration, product design and 3D design, and traditional art and sculptures.

For more information on the exhibit or reception, contact the Fine and Performing Arts Center at kdevine5@esu.edu or call 570-422-3694.

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ESU Alumnus Returns to Speak to Political Science Class

Eli Downie, a 2018 criminal justice graduate of East Stroudsburg University, returned to campus on March 23 to speak with a group of students in an American Government class. Downie is currently the acting deputy director in the Office of Advocacy and Reform for Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf.

Downie, who minored in political science at ESU, explained his role as a policy specialist and what calculations he makes as he drafts policies. He explained he has to consider who the policy will help, who it will hurt, and who may be impacted but is uninterested.

The class, taught by Kimberly S. Adams, Ph.D., professor of political science, is a freshman level course that includes students from a variety of majors.

Downie encouraged the students to be hard working, patient, and good listeners. He reminded them that he has sat in the same exact seat just a few years ago, and challenged them to seek opportunities to work for the state, even if they were not interested in government work. For those students majoring biology, criminal justice, social work, psychology, and other programs, he talked about opportunities for them to work with the Commonwealth and suggested that they visit pajob.gov.

“Eli’s presentation to our students was energetic, engaging, and insightful. The students really enjoyed his energy and I believe that several of them will reach out to him seeking internships and career advice,” Dr. Adams said. “I am so proud of Eli and thrilled that he is so eager to share his time and talents with our current students.”

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ESU Pets with Warrior Spirit 2022 Contest

The ESU Office of Alumni Engagement would like to celebrate all members of our alumni family, even the ones that wag their tails, flap their wings, or swim under water. Although your pet may not have attended East Stroudsburg University, that does not mean they don’t share our Warrior spirit. Submit a picture of your pet showing their ESU pride to mkoerber@esufoundation.org to be entered to win the ESU Alumni Pets with Warrior Spirit Contest.

*Winner will be randomly selected*

Submissions may be edited and featured online or in print. We will be updating the website throughout the month. The winner will be announced on March 31, 2022.

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ESU Alum Creates Camp so Foster Kids Can Bond with Siblings

When children are put into foster care, they are often separated not just from their parents but also from their siblings. That can add an extra level of trauma for a child who is already experiencing great upheaval and distress.

With that in mind, Samii Emdur ’08, an East Stroudsburg University graduate with a degree in nursing, founded Camp to Belong River Valley in 2019. The program reunites siblings in foster care for a week of summer camp in Berks County, PA. Emdur, a pediatric oncology and bone marrow transplant nurse at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, witnessed how important siblings could be to each other when a family breaks down.

“They have a shared trauma,” she says. “They came from the same household and a lot of times they’re the only ones who know what each other truly experienced.”

Often a foster child’s only contact with siblings is during sporadic visits at places like a McDonald’s or a state office building, Emdur says. The first Camp to Belong River Valley gave 20 siblings a week to reconnect, enjoy the outdoors and each other. Emdur said some children arrived at camp with a tough, guarded demeanor, afraid to be vulnerable.

“Then the second day of camp, you can literally see their guard coming down,” she said. “And they bond with their sibling and they become inseparable. It’s a pretty magical moment.”

Potential campers are referred to her by state agencies and CHOP’s Fostering Health Program. Most of the children come from Eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey but the camp will accept kids from any state, especially if they have a local sibling. Biological and foster parents can apply to enroll their kids and Emdur meets each camper ahead of time to make sure they will be safe and benefit from attending the camp.

After its first successful year, Camp to Belong River Valley held a couple of indoor swim parties to reunite more brothers and sisters. When the pandemic hit in early 2020, the group had to switch gears. Instead of in-person camping, the nonprofit organization sent “Camp-in-a-Box” activities to 50 foster kids in 2020 and to 100 children in 2021. Emdur, who lives in Mullica Hill, N.J., has high hopes that they will be able to hold a week-long in-person camp this coming summer at Camp Conrad, a YMCA camp near Reading, PA.

“We’re a fully volunteer-run organization and all the kids can attend camp free of charge,” she says. The camp is the local branch of a Camp to Belong network that has 11 locations in the United States and one in Australia. Emdur chose the name Camp to Belong River Valley because it serves children on both sides of the Delaware River in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Emdur’s group is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit, responsible for its own fundraising and volunteer recruitment.  To date, most of the funds have been donated by Emdur’s friends and family but the group had a couple of “dine and donate” fundraisers before the pandemic hit. She is learning grant writing. 

It is no surprise to Dr. Laura Waters, ESU associate professor and chair of the Department of Nursing, that her former student has taken on such an innovative, compassionate endeavor. Waters says Emdur was a high-energy student in the nursing program who gravitated toward helping children in need.

“She really is a loving person who wants to put a good, positive light into the world,” Waters said.

Dr. Denise Seigart, dean of the College of Health Sciences, lauded the camp’s mission of reconnecting siblings in foster care.

“This is a really fantastic program that she has developed,” Seigart said. “Her interest in pediatrics and fostering these relationships is really commendable.”

Before launching the nonprofit, Emdur had seen the benefits of summer camp while working at one for children with cancer and one for kids with inflammatory bowel disease. 

Many of the Camp to Belong River Valley activities are typical summer camp fare, such as games and crafts. But it also holds signature events designed especially for foster children. During a single day they celebrate every camper’s birthday, in which siblings bake each other a cake and pick out a gift for their sister or brother at the camp store.

But it’s also the small interactions that matter to the kids.

“I think a lot of the kids feel that people take for granted being able to sit around a dinner table and share a meal,” Emdur said.  “People take for granted being able to give your sibling a hug at night and say ‘I’ll see you in the morning.’ What these kids have learned through their life experience is to not take that for granted.”

Emdur’s work caught the attention of “The Drew Barrymore Show,” which filmed a segment on Emdur in early February; she was one of Barrymore’s “Drew-Gooders.” The host surprised Emdur with a five-day beach vacation in Fort Myers, FL for Emdur, her four-year-old adopted daughter Jordan, and her six-month-old foster child. She is taking Jordan to meet her two biological brothers there.

Emdur grew up in a tight-knit family in Cherry Hill, N.J., the oldest of four siblings all born within five years.

“I knew from second grade on that I wanted to be a pediatric nurse, specifically at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia,” she says. “Once I made my mind up in second grade, I never wavered from that plan.”

“I applied to multiple schools but was drawn to ESU for multiple reasons,” she says. “I felt like it was a big enough campus where I would have diverse experiences in meeting people and experiencing different things. But it was still small enough that I didn’t feel like I was just going to be a number at the university.”

She embraced her classes and plunged into campus activities including the Outings Club, women’s rugby and recreational soccer, teambuilding and leadership events, as well as SNAP, the Student Nurses Association. 

ESU’s nursing program was tough but her class was tight-knit with students spending many hours together in clinical rotations and studying.

“I felt like I really knew my peers and my professors on a pretty intimate level,” she said. The professors “were very approachable and they went above and beyond to help us study.”

Emdur says she loves her work at CHOP and being a parent and foster parent. And her motto?

She laughs, then says: “Live life to the fullest now and I’ll sleep when I’m old.”

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