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The Malcolm Baldrige School of Business is proud to announce the 2021 Baldrige Scholars.  Representing the top five percent of those graduating with an undergraduate or graduate degree in business, these individuals have excelled academically as well as in their professional lives and in their communities.

This year’s honorees are especially notable given the unique challenges they all faced during this last academic year.

“These are high-achieving and resilient students who bring a diverse set of ideas and backgrounds to Post,” said Malcolm Baldrige School of Business Dean Jeremi Bauer.  “They are going to be movers and shakers in business and in industry because they have a proven commitment to excel.”

A virtual reception was held on June 17, 2021 to recognize the accomplishments of the Baldrige Scholars. 

Katelyn Andres

katelyn in basketball uniformWhere are you from?

I am from North Bergen, New Jersey. Nationality Puerto Rican and Peruvian.

What are your plans for the future?

My plans for the future is to return to school to obtain my Masters in Psychology.

What does being named a Baldrige Scholar mean to you?

It was truly an honor to be named a Baldrige Scholar! It showed me that all my hard work in and out of the classroom were recognized. I am so glad I chose Post University’s business program because it has been nothing but great to me!

Tanner Carone 

Where are you from?

I am from Terryville, Connecticut. It is around a 25-minute drive to the campus of Post University.

What are your plans for the future?

Currently, I am a Risk Analyst at Torrington Savings Bank. However, I will be going for my MSA at Post starting June 28th. I then plan to pursue my CPA license and further my knowledge of the accounting profession and the career paths that may align with my goals.

What does being named a Baldrige Scholar mean to you?

Being named a Baldrige Scholar demonstrates my overall passion as a student and leader at Post University through my path to success and growth. I was able to define my way, one being graduating with Honors Distinction and Summa Cum Laude. Another is the ability to take on significant leadership positions, such as becoming the President of the Accounting Society. Being a Baldrige Scholar means that I am continuing the pathway to reflect and define my version of success. I am genuinely grateful for the experiences that I have had at Post University, and the opportunity to be named a Baldrige Scholar is a true honor.

 Jordan Carreira 

photo of jordanWhere are you from?

I am from Naugatuck CT 

What are your plans for the future?

My plans for the future are to continue advancing in my career, going from an Accountant where I currently am to a manager of an Accounting firm. 

What does being named a Baldrige Scholar mean to you?

Being named one of the Baldrige Scholars means that I represent everything I prided myself on for years as an athlete, as a student, and as a citizen in society. It means so much to know that my fellow classmates and faculty recognized the time and effort that went into juggling school, sports, work, and my personal life. It means a lot to know that all the success and failures along the way provided this last final achievement as my time with Post University comes to a close. It will serve as motivation for the future to continue to aspire and achieve even when it seems impossible. 

Frank DiPerna 

photo of frankWhere are you from?

I am originally from New York City but moved to Connecticut for work with my family over sixteen years ago. We now live in a great community in Southbury, CT.

What are your plans for the future?

I am a big believer in the benefits of education and being a lifetime learner, so although I am deep into my career, I decided to pursue an MBA degree to better myself as an employee, as a person, and to improve my own marketability. Now that I have the degree, I plan to utilize (and have already utilized) many of the concepts and skills I have learned to improve my department and my company. Beyond that, seeing the value of adult education and the opportunities it presents, I hope to continue learning and am also motivated to become an educator myself in some capacity. 

What does being named a Baldrige Scholar mean to you?

Being named a Baldrige Scholar is an honor on several fronts. I am honored to be part of a select group of students that exemplifies the best of what Post University has to offer. I am grateful that Post has recognized the hard work and sacrifice all the Baldrige Scholars have put into attaining our degrees. I am reminded of the tremendous support from the Post community and my family, who had to put up with me spending many days and late nights locked into my computer screen. And I am also honored to be associated with Malcolm Baldrige in some small way. Although I may be one of the few students old enough the remember the Reagan administration, I didn’t know much about Baldrige or his place in it. One of the first things I did before beginning the MBA program was read up on Malcolm Baldrige because I wanted to know why the school was named after him. I quickly learned about his accomplishments and influence nationally and locally. Like so many of us, he came from humble beginnings, went on to serve his country in the Army, became a successful and innovative businessman, and finally used his knowledge and skills to improve the economic environment to benefit all Americans. He demanded quality, excellence, and ethics as business imperatives, and he embodies what all Post business school graduates should aspire to be.

 Alyssa Fortin

photo of alyssaWhere are you from?

I was born and raised right here in Waterbury, CT!

What are your plans for the future?

I am elated to say I recently accepted a job offer with Post University in Associate Experience. It has been a wonderful experience working with such a talented and hard-working group of individuals. I plan to obtain my SHRM-CP certification this year to assist in my journey towards becoming a great Human Resources professional. I look forward to continuing to grow in the field of organizational development and setting more goals that will enable me to make the most of all future opportunities that come my way.

What does being named a Baldrige Scholar mean to you?

I cannot put into words how grateful and honored I am to have been named a Baldrige Scholar. To be acknowledged along with some of my peers with whom I have become close throughout the course of my graduate degree is an exceptional feeling as we truly understand the dedication and effort made to have reached this point. My family and I are extremely proud of my accomplishments thus far, as I am the first in my family to have graduated from college and obtain a graduate degree. I have exceeded the expectations that I have put forth for myself both in my educational and professional pursuits, and for that I am truly fulfilled.

 Holly Groom 

photo of hollyWhere are you from? 

I have always lived in Connecticut; for the last 23 years in the lovely town of Cheshire. 

What are your plans for the future? 

I have been working for my current employer for nearly four years and do not have any plans in changing this. When the opportunity presents itself, I hope to take on additional and more challenging positions. 

What does being named a Baldrige Scholar mean to you?

To be named a Baldrige Scholar is quite an honor to me. This award recognizes my dedication, hard work, and perseverance in furthering my education and consistently aiming high towards my goals. I am proud to be a Baldrige Scholar!

Shahan Kukreja 

Where are you from?

Born in Meriden, CT. Raised in Cheshire, CT.  Spent 5+ years in New Britain, CT.  Parents are Indian, both born and raised. Dad in Hindu and Mom is Zoroastrian which is a Persian religion.  

What are your plans for the future?

My MBA focus was in Healthcare systems. Since graduating I have completed a Healthcare Administrative Internship and have started working in the healthcare field. My future plans are to ascend to either a Director of Business Operations or Director of Patient Care Experience role where I can have a larger impact on the processes and systems that are used and implemented.

What does being named a Baldrige Scholar mean to you?

Being named a Baldrige Scholar means that all of my hard work, dedication, and belief in myself paid off. It means the world to my family and myself to be awarded with such an honor. It’s proof I always went above and beyond and strived to be the best version of myself. I couldn’t have done it without my supportive and motivational parents, girlfriend, supportive classmates, and friends.

 Colleen Lippincott 

photo of colleenWhere are you from?

I currently reside in Fargo, North Dakota. I was born and raised in the Midwest, living in both North and South Dakota. 

What are your plans for the future?

After graduation, I plan on continuing my education by earning my CPA license. Part of my plan includes prep work for the exams and I’m thankful that Post has provided me resources to help me prepare for this. I’m still contemplating the idea of obtaining an MBA in Accounting. 

What does being named a Baldrige Scholar mean to you?

I am humbled and honored to have been awarded this achievement. The period we are living in has been a very difficult time for many people and I feel lucky to have had the support of my family, friends, and the staff of Post during my studies. A few of my courses studied Malcolm Baldrige’s principles so this award will give me a visual to help remind me of those principles. Thank you for observing my effort and time.

 Julie Lopez 

julie and her familyWhere are you from?

I was born and raised in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  Although, I have also lived in Souris, North Dakota, Gretna, Louisiana, Royersford, Pennsylvania, and Glastonbury, Connecticut. 

What are your plans for the future?

I am working to obtain the CPA license, and plan to become partner in my firm. 

What does being named a Baldrige Scholar mean to you?

It is truly an honor to be a Baldrige Scholar.  Obtaining a master’s degree has been a goal of mine for many years, but as an adult, it is tough to find time for school.  I have three kids and work a full-time job.  My life is always busy.  Juggling work, family, and school is very challenging.  I made a lot of sacrifices in order to put myself through school.  It feels good to be recognized for all of my hard work.

 Nolan Mazako 

photo of nolanWhere are you from?

I am from Oxford, Connecticut, which is only a half-hour drive away from Post University.  I attended Oxford High School.

What are your plans for the future?

My plans are primarily with Crowe LLP.  They are the 8th largest CPA Accounting and Consulting firm in the United States, and I will be working as a Staff Tax Accountant with the firm.  I began working full-time at the Hartford Office on June 3rd and I am very excited to see where my career will take me.  My personal plans include running marathons and ultramarathons, as well as traveling internationally and eventually training to compete in other athletic competitions.

What does being named a Baldrige Scholar mean to you?

Being named a Baldrige Scholar is a testament to my four years of hard work and perseverance.  Upon entering my freshman year at Post University, I was set onto the path of graduating with 150 credits and a double major to qualify to sit for the CPA exam as soon as possible.  Unlike other individuals who pursue this goal of a double major with a 5th year of education, I elected to complete my credit requirements in only 4 years.  I was also a full-time student-athlete, completed internships, tutored, and worked as a Resident Assistant, all while maintaining a high GPA.  Being named a Baldrige Scholar is a testament that my 4 years of hard work and perseverance was well worth it.

Tammy Millan

photo of tammyWhere are you from?

I am from Rocky Hill, CT.

What are your plans for the future?

I was recently promoted last October to a supervisory position in the Audit Division at the CT Department of Revenue Services where I have worked for the last 13 years. My plans are to continue to build on the business management and leadership skills and qualities I learned at Post while pursuing my MBA with a concentration in Leadership. I hope to be able to help the employees I supervise excel in their positions and reach any career or personal goals that they may have set for themselves. I hope to make a positive impact as a leader within my organization as we deal with a variety of challenges that have arisen due to the ever-changing world we operate in. At some point in the future, I would also like to try teaching college-level business and/or leadership courses as an adjunct professor, as well as finding ways to help mentor young women. I was lucky to have had both great professors at Post, as well as great supervisors/managers at my current job, all of whom helped me reach my professional goals over the course of my career. I would like to now give back and help others in the same way.

What does being named a Baldrige Scholar mean to you?

I feel proud and honored to be named a Baldrige Scholar. When I enrolled at Post, I was solely focused on my end goal, which was to obtain my MBA, but what I didn’t plan on, was enjoying the whole experience as much as I did. The Post community of advisors and professors helped me every step of the way, and my fellow classmates did as well. I learned so much from all the people I encountered along my journey just by listening to all the diverse thoughts and experiences of those around me. I feel that all of this played a vital role in my success as a student in the School of Business, and contributed to my pushing myself to excel in all of my classes. I now hope to continue to build on the same principles and ethics that made Malcolm Baldrige so successful in his life and foster a climate of “Innovation, Excellence, Integrity, and Leadership” with everything I do going forward.

 Kathryn Shpak 

photo of katieWhere are you from?

I live in Bristol, CT.

What are your plans for the future?

There are many goals that I’d like to accomplish both in the near and distant future. Upon graduating, I will be in the process of starting my own online health coaching business, called Beauty Begins Within LLC, to help women overcome binge-eating habits. Additionally, I’d love to write a book about my experiences overcoming binge eating disorder with the hope to help others who endure similar struggles. I also plan to begin teaching an online undergraduate marketing and/or English course.

What does being named a Baldrige Scholar mean to you?

Being a Baldrige Scholar is validation for the hard work and sacrifice that I had to put forth to succeed over the past year and a half. Some people are innately intelligent beings, blessed with a brain that retains content the moment it is read or taught. I have never had that privilege. Unless I find something of significant intrigue, it is difficult for me to retain without time spent studying. While it can be frustrating at times, I think it goes to show the power of tenacity. Because learning can be a challenge for me, my dogged persistence to achieve, not only in school but in life, seems to be benefiting me in multiple facets. I believe it is important for every individual to understand that opportunities really are endless when one is willing to put in the dedication required to achieve goals. Natural intelligence does not beget success; hard work and perseverance does.

Savanna Stevenson

savannah in hockey uniformWhere are you from?

Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada

What are your plans for the future?

I plan on attending Law school Fall of 2022 to further my education. As well as to closer myself to my career aspirations.

What does being named a Baldrige Scholar mean to you?

I am incredibly honored to be named a Baldrige Scholar. This award means that the time and commitment I spent to my education these last 4 years have not gone unnoticed But rather acknowledged.

Michelle Wells 

photo of michelleWhere are you from?

 I was born and raised in central New Jersey in Old Bridge about 45-60 minutes from New York City depending on the traffic.  

What are your plans for the future?

I plan to obtain an additional PMP certification to add to my Master of Science Project Manager Professional Degree. After gaining experience as a successful Project Manager, I plan on opening my own business as a Project Manager consultant and building a team that can be contracted out for projects. I also play on using my project management skills on writing my first play/series and putting it into production within the next 1-2 years.  Possibly heading toward the PHD degree but waiting to gain some experience before taking the next BIG step. 

What does being named a Baldrige Scholar mean to you?

I’m truly humbled and honored being named a Baldrige Scholar 2021. I graduated in Aug 2020 and as a nation, we experienced a Pandemic, and many individuals lost their lives from Covid-19.  It caused me to appreciate life because at any moment it can be taken away. This acknowledgment reflects all the late nights studying, researching, sacrifices of not having a social life, missing family events,  intellectually challenged with new concepts, and hopes that if you just press through it will all be worth it. Most importantly, always prepare for the future, be grateful to have beaten your past take each lesson you’ve learned to become better, and enjoy the present because it’s the greatest gift you only get to live once.

 More 2021 Baldrige Scholars 

Holly Amodia – Master of Business Administration – Bristol, CT

Sabrina Bauer – Master of Business Administration – Esslingen, Germany

Hannah Benac – Master of Business Administration – Boerne, TX

Bridget Betley – Accounting and Finance – Fairfield, NJ

Quentin Falkowski – Master of Business Administration – Danbury, CT

Anthony Fitti – Master of Business Administration – Newtown, CT

Herman Hardrick II – Business Administration – Grand Prairie, TX

Michael Hutter – Master Business Administration – Munich, Germany

Antonio Mele – Finance – San Benedetto Po, Italy

Armando Perlaza – Management – Fort Knox, KY

Lindsey Pierce – Marketing – Naugatuck, CT

Chester Skinner – Management – Waterford, PA

Marek Strojvus – Master of Business Administration – South Hadley, MA

Cory Tichenor – Finance – Lawton, OK

Kelsey Tuan – Human Resource Management – Poughkeepsie, NY

Samuel Urban – Finance – Kosice, Slovakia

Chenglin Xu – Master of Business Administration – Shanghai, China