2020 Alumni Award Recipients

By Caitlin T. Burns | May 26, 2021

Each year, the Arcadia University Alumni Association presents annual alumni and reunion awards, recognizing graduates who have made outstanding contributions to their professions, community, and alma mater.

Class Officer Awards


 The 2020 Class Officer Award recipients have served as exceptional leaders in planning and executing outreach initiatives for their respective classes. Recipients served in various leadership and volunteer roles as class presidents, class fund agents, reunion chairs, and class editors. All of the recipients are faithful supporters of Arcadia University:
• Molly Fretz Stevens ’60
• April Klarman Apfelbaum ’70
• Patricia Pisklak Lucas ’75
• Linda Collier Strickland ’75
• Nancy McSherry-Collins ’80
• Andrew Leschak ’85
• Kathleen O’Connor O’Brien ’00
• Grace Wainwright Taylor ’10, ’18M.

 The Arcadia University Alumni Association announced the recipients of the 2021 Alumni Awards during Alumni Reunion Week on May 1. 

Learn more at Arcadia.edu/alumniawards.


Kristin Weissman ’98 
Bachelor of Arts, Corporate Communications 
Golden Disc Award for Distinguished Achievement 
Kristin has had a wide-ranging and successful career as an entrepreneur and marketing and public relations professional. She is founder and CEO of Studio K, an entertainment studio featuring dance and  fitness classes for adults. In addition, Kristin owns the professional cosmetics line Kristin Noelle Cosmetics; the national public relations  firm Kristin Noelle Consulting; and the entertainment blog “The Backdrop.” 


Joan Nadler Brantz ’65 
Bachelor of Arts, Sociology 
Golden Disc Award for Meritorious Service 
Joan was among the first non-traditional aged students to receive a degree from Beaver College. After graduation, Joan worked as a social worker for the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society for 18 years and remained a dedicated alumna and in uential member of the Arcadia community, serving on  The Board of Trustees from 2012 to 2016. As a loyal donor, she’s a member of Arcadia’s Knight Loyalty Society, the Covenant Society, and an inaugural member of the Jones Poundstone Society. Joan established  the William Bracy Award for Distinction in Shakespearean Studies, which is given at Honors Convocation, and in the fall of 2019, to celebrate her 55th reunion through impactful philanthropy, she established the Joan N. ’65 and George M. Brantz Endowed Scholarship Fund.


Michelle Reale ’96, ’99M, ’16M, ’20EdD 
Bachelor of Arts, English Master of Arts, English Master of Fine Arts, Creative Writing Doctor of Education 
Faculty and Staff Alumni Impact Award  
The inaugural recipient of the Faculty and Staff Alumni Impact Award, Michelle is a professor and access services and outreach librarian at Arcadia University. Reale also holds a Master of Science in Library Science from Clarion University. Michelle has been nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize, and her list of publications, collections, and contributions focuses on her research among African refugees in Sicily. Michelle’s poetry is mainly concerned with Italian-American life, ethnic identity, histories, family dynamics, and remembrance and forgetting. 


Francine Sabino Abel ’11 
Bachelor of Arts, English 
Young Alumni Golden Disc for Distinguished Achievement
Francine is Co-Founder of Pheed Philly, a nonprofit organization that manages physical and monetary donations to distribute care packages to individuals experiencing homelessness in the city of Philadelphia. Since their inception in 2018, they have provided essential items to hundreds of individuals in need. Francine currently works as communications manager for Lemle & Wolff, Inc. in Bronx, NY.


Maya Basu Johnson ’97 
Bachelor of Arts, Business / Healthcare Administration 
Mary Louise Armstrong Wolf Award 
Maya also holds a Master of Business Administration in Information Systems from Temple University, a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) Certi cation, and is an SHRM Senior Certified HR Professional. Since 2013, Maya has served as associate vice president of Human Resources at the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners. Maya has been a dedicated member of the Alumni Association since her graduation, generously providing both her time and philanthropic support to the needs of the University. Maya ascends into the position of Arcadia University Alumni Association President on June 1, 2021. Maya also is a member of the Jones Poundstone Society. 


Zyhkeya Waller-Young ’99 
Bachelor of Arts, Psychology 
Sankofa Award 
Zyhkeya also holds a Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling from Spring eld College and a Master of Business Administration from St. Joseph’s University. Zyhkeya serves as director of Children’s Enhanced Outpatient Programs at  e Consortium, a mental health services provider. Previously, she was executive director at Multi-Therapy Services, Inc. Zyhkeya is founder of Business Bestiez Pro Academy, a business consulting company that provides female entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs the tools and resources necessary to succeed in business.