Commonwealth University recognizes standout Class of 2024 graduates



Commonwealth University recently recognized the Class of 2024 with commencement ceremonies held on all three campuses. Among the more than 2,100 graduates were standouts Kimberly Speece at Bloomsburg; Austin Melius at Lock Haven; and Isabella Folino at Mansfield.

Speece, a business education major from Lebanon, Pennsylvania, has been actively involved with Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), serving in various leadership roles at the state and national level and most recently as the PA FBLA collegiate state president and the national FBLA collegiate executive vice president. She was a student worker for the military and veterans resource office at CU-Bloomsburg, where she provided support and resources to military-affiliated students and served as a learning community mentor for the Zeigler College of Business, working with first-year students and participating in welcome week activities. She also serves as a human resources specialist in the Army National Guard.

Speece has accepted a potion with Warwick School District in Lititz, where she will begin working in August teaching ninth through 12th grade business education.

“I knew from my freshman year in high school that I wanted to be a teacher,” Speece said. “I took an introduction to business class and found out I loved how relevant and important the topics were. I decided I wanted to make a difference in the lives of my future students and provide them with the opportunity to learn about business, financial literacy and entrepreneurship.

“Bloomsburg has helped me grow into a confident business educator,” she added. “It provided me so many opportunities to work on my professional development, network with successful alumni and learn about the profession I want to work in.”

Melius is a sport management major from Bellefonte. He served as vice president of the Sport Management Club, with which he attended trips including the RMU Business Conference, Pittsburgh Pirates Networking Summit, the 2024 College Football Championship in Houston, the 2024 Women’s Final Four in Cleveland and the IUP Sport Business Conference, where his case study took third place.

He was a member of the track and field and cross country teams, earning accolades such as qualifying for the PSAC championships in outdoor track and field steeplechase twice, the PSAC championships in indoor track and field in the mile and was an alternate on the PSAC cross country roster.

Melius completed internships with Milesplit taking photos and videos and conducting interviews and with Cooperstown Dreams Park working with photographers, videographers, IT, production and the retail center – also helping with baseball operations, grounds crew and concessions. As an athletic communications student worker at Lock Haven, he helped other student workers and served as one of the main directors of the production on all livestreams for events for the last two years.

Melius has been named a PSAC Scholar Athlete every year he has attended Lock Haven and was recently named the 2023-2024 Lock Haven Student Worker of the Year.

“I have loved my time here at Lock Haven and am so grateful to everyone here and to have made it my home away from home,” Melius said.

Melius will continue his education at Lock Haven in the fall as a graduate student, studying sport management and sport international studies. His future goals include pursuing a career in sport information or communications at a university and continuing his education to pursue a doctorate and teach in the field of sport management.

Folino, of Mont Clare, is an English major with a dual concentration in literary analysis and professional writing, with minors in environmental science and psychology. She was a member of the Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority, having served as president, philanthropy chair and treasure; Sigma Tau Delta English honor fraternity, having served as president and treasurer; the Order of Omega; a member of the Honors College, having served as president and vice president; and was named Mansfield’s 2023 Homecoming Queen.

She has held several campus jobs including a resident assistant for Spruce Hall, worked in the campus mailroom, served as a peer research consultant and as an honors assistant. She started Prism Arts and Literature, an arts and literature magazine for the Mansfield campus and also volunteered with the Tioga County Democrats and You Are Worth It food pantry and clothing closet.

Folino was the recipient of the PASSHE Foundation Quido and Anna Pichini Merit Scholarship, the Dr. Geraldine Cox Leadership Scholarship and the Dr. Kent L. Gardner Scholarship.

“When I was deciding on colleges, I had applied to 17 different ones because I wasn’t sure what I was looking for,” Folino said. “When I toured the Mansfield campus, I knew it was going to be the college I went to.

“The community is so involved with the campus and it was great to get equally involved,” she added. “I have worked with so many amazing people.”

Folino plans to eventually pursue a master’s degree in environmental science and natural resource journalism at the University of Montana. She would like to work in a legal-adjacent field taking complex issues that affect everyday people and converting them into language that is easily understood.