Alumni News

Coach Iovene's strides continue off the ice

Coach Iovene's strides continue off the ice

When Head JV Hockey Coach Anthony Iovene ‘14 isn’t on the ice, you can find him in the research lab across the street at the University of New Haven (UNH).

Iovene is currently in pursuit of an M.S. in Biomedical Engineering from UNH. He is continuing the biomedical engineering coursework he began during his undergrad years at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, MA.

Specifically, Iovene is interested in the engineering side of the biomaterials field. “I enjoy working with blood-contacting devices and seeing what kinds of things you can do to the polymers so blood doesn’t stick. For example, figuring out a solution so blood doesn’t stick to catheters and cause blockages,” said Iovene.

In addition to his demanding coursework, Iovene is also a research assistant with Dr. Kagya Amoako, Graduate Coordinator for Biomedical Engineering and Director of Biomaterials and Medical Device Innovation Laboratory at UNH. 

“I was pretty excited when he asked me to join the research team. He primarily works with artificial lungs and blood-contacting devices like stents and vascular grafts,” he explained. 

Upon graduation in 2021, Iovene plans to pursue a career in research and development with a large medical device company, excited for the discovery and innovation that lies ahead.

While at Notre Dame, Iovene learned a lot about what means to be a man of character and compassion. He explains he still keeps those lessons with him today.

“Everything about Notre Dame helps you be a better person. Following the Code and just doing the right things. Being that person helps you build friendships and relationships in work and in life.”

Iovene's father, Michael Iovene, is a member of the Class of 1976.  Be sure to check GoGreenKnights.com for full athletic schedules and results.

Stathis '07 takes on software design project with Boston Dynamics

Stathis '07 takes on software design project with Boston Dynamics

With a master's degree in engineering and a minor in music, you might expect to see Chris Stathis' name connected with a pyrotechnic halftime spectacular.  His work is spectacular, but it's not on a stage, at least not a stadium performance stage. While Stathis is a talented clarinetist, his most recent works can be found walking around on four legs. In November, Stathis video conferenced with Notre Dame's Robotics Club to share his latest endeavors with Boston Dynamics' robot, Spot. 

Chris Stathis '07 earned his B.S. in Physics and minor in music from Ithaca College, and went on to attend Columbia University to complete his M.S. in Electrical Engineering. Following graduation, Stathis landed a job with Sikorsky Aircraft as an Autonomy and Electric Flight Controls Engineer, where he was the lead perception software engineer for their autonomous helicopter.

When Stathis joined Boston Dynamics as a Roboticist in 2015, he joined a team of 75 people. Over the course of the past four years, he has been able to see the company grow in staffing and in public recognition. 

“Boston Dynamics makes the coolest robots in the world,” Stathis enthused. “But what is cool is that I get to work at the intersection of hardware and software design. I get to see the effect of that software in the real world,” he explained. 

Stathis specifically works with Boston Dynamics’ robots named Spot and SpotMini, which are dog-like robots that can climb stairs and navigate diverse terrain.

“I deal with different types of vision sensors that go on the robot and all of the software the sensors utilize.” Stathis’ software allows the robot to map the environment, avoid obstacles, and plan the robot’s footsteps.

Robotics is still an industry that is in its infancy. “One of the biggest challenges is figuring out how to make a robot useful to somebody.” Stathis’ position at Boston Dynamics affords him the opportunity to discover, innovate, and create, but also presents the opportunity to make a lasting impact on software design.

Construction companies, in particular, can benefit from Boston Dynamics. Robots like Spot can enter the hazardous work zones so humans don’t have to. The companies go through a lot of trouble to take photos of the build and renovation processes, putting themselves in harm’s way while collecting data. With Boston Dynamics robots, construction workers do not have to face the extra hazards.

“We can make it easier and better for construction companies if we put a laser scanner or fancy camera on the robot and have it walk around the site collecting data,” Stathis explained.

Stathis’ advice to current Notre Dame students is simple: be persistent and persevere. “Don’t let yourself believe you aren’t smart enough or don’t have the background to figure it out. If someone tasks you with something, there is a natural reaction to say ‘well I don’t know if I took enough classes to know how to do that or have the right experience.’ The right answer is to just go and figure it out.”

See Spot in action here

ND's peer counseling program turns into life-long passion for Lennon '95

ND's Peer Counseling program turns into life-long passion for Lennon '95

Craig Lennon ‘95 - Dean of Students (University of Bridgeport)
B.A. in Communication; Secondary Education (Stonehill College)
M.S. in Education Leadership (University of Nebraska-Lincoln)

While at Notre Dame, Craig Lennon ‘95 discovered a passion for being a mentor. Today, Lennon is the Dean of Students at the University of Bridgeport, where he leads a division of student affairs including housing and residential life, counseling services, and the new Department for Multicultural Affairs.

“The one thing I knew when I was a student at ND, was that I wanted to help people,” Lennon reminisced. During his days as a Green Knight, he served as a Peer Counselor, was a member of the soccer team and chorus, and was elected as the class president. 

“What I really enjoy about working at UB and in the Student Affairs Office, is that everything I love to do and all of my previous experiences come together.”

Prior to his role at the University of Bridgeport, Lennon worked with high school dropouts at Grafton Job Corps and as a youth treatment specialist in a group home. 

While earning his graduate degree in Education Leadership from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, he worked with Student Leadership Development and Diversity Initiatives. 

“I liked the possibility of working on a college campus, and I knew I wanted to work with students. By then, I really felt like there was no looking back for me,” laughed Lennon.

Lennon advises both his students and current ND students to work hard and focus in the classroom, but highlights that learning experiences extend far beyond school grounds. 

“Be open to opportunities for learning outside of the classroom and in the world,” he explained. “Many people miss these everyday opportunities, but they will help you grow as a person. You never know what you might learn just by talking to the person sitting next to you on the plane.”

Former Principal, Mr. Patrick Clifford '75, had a remarkable impact on Lennon. Clifford's guidance changed Lennon's attitude on education and helped set him down the right path. “Mr. Clifford saved my life. He helped instill a belief in me to get more involved.” he continued. "Every student I help, Mr. Clifford has helped too.”

Lennon remembers learning and living the Notre Dame Code, and recalls the way the faculty personified those values. “As a teacher, you never really know the true impact you have on your students. For folks like that, I really wish I could thank them.” 

Sweet Serendipity: summer job leads to successful career path for Mayer ‘07

Summer Serendipity: summer job leads to successful career path for Mayer ‘07

Andrew Mayer '07 - Associate Director for Leadership Development at UNH
B.S. Hospitality Event Management (Lasell University)
M.Ed. Higher Education Administration (University of Vermont) 

Serving as an orientation leader and coordinator was Andrew Mayer’s first taste of working in higher education. While studying hospitality event management at Lasell University, he began searching for a summer job that was a transition into something very similar to his previous experience as a camp counselor.

After his freshman year, Mayer applied to be an orientation leader for Lasell’s freshman orientation program. “I had a blast,” said Mayer. “The following year I applied to be an orientation coordinator, where I was involved in the hiring and training of the orientation leaders.” 

From there, he dove right into life at Lasell, becoming a member of the Campus Activities Board, Nicaragua and Ecuador Shoulder to Shoulder service trips, America Reads, and Residential Life team.

Mayer’s involvement during his undergraduate years foreshadowed his current role as the Associate Director for Leadership Development in the Center for Student Engagement, Leadership, and Orientation at the University of New Haven. 

At UNH, his primary responsibilities include curriculum development for leadership courses, student programming, and oversight of the orientation program and 160 student clubs. Mayer enjoys the diverse workload his job entails, but he explains he especially looks forward to the parts of his day spent advising and mentoring students. 

 “Success looks different for every student. Learning about their individual goals and aspirations, and being able to help them come up with different strategies, is extremely rewarding,” said Mayer. 

 When Mayer reflected on his time spent at Notre Dame, his experience with mentorship was one of his fondest memories. “I was truly fortunate to have so many dedicated teachers and mentors. The faculty cared about me as an individual and helped set me up for success both academically and personally.”

His advice to current ND students is simple: “Find a mentor. I don’t think I would be where I am today if I didn’t have educated supporters cheering me on throughout my journey.” 

While at ND, Mayer was an editor for both The Shield and The Mind’s Eye. Although a knee injury sidelined Mayer from the cross country team after his freshman season, Mayer shared he recently got back into running during graduate school. Nowadays, he regularly finishes half marathons and enjoys being back in running shoes.

 “During my first half marathon, all I could hear in my head was Coach Parkinson screaming in my ear ‘keep going….keep going,” he laughed.

Stankevitch '16 has a call to serve

Stankevitch '16 has a call to serve

by Josh LaBella, West Haven Voice Reporter (Published 9/4/19)

Marcin Stankevitch has worked under two West Haven mayors and will now be making the journey to Hartford to work in the office of U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal. He said he has learned a lot from his time as an aspiring political operative.

Stankevitch has lived in West Haven since he was three-years-old. He said he attended St. Lawrence School from kindergarten to eighth grade and then went to Notre Dame High School.

“I graduated and then went to the University of New Haven,” said Stankevitch. “[I study] political science. I’m a senior now.”

He said he was in the model United Nations at the university for four semesters; playing the role of a delegate three times and a head delegate once. Stankevitch was also a member of the Mayor’s Advisory Commission.

“We’d plan events like WestFest or we’d host town hall meetings,” said Stankevitch. “Sometimes we’d do a food shuttle for UNH students around West Haven.”

When Stankevitch first got to UNH he had yet to declare his major but, after an American Government class with Professor Chris Haynes was motivated to become a political science major.

“I find politics very interesting,” he said. “But it’s not that I just like politics. We also do a lot of community things.”

In the fall of 2017, Stankevitch started an internship in the O’Brien administration. He said he was there mostly as overseeing operations with WestFest. But, after Nancy Rossi became mayor, was invited to continue working in City Hall’s third floor.

“It was kind of surprising to me because I had worked for the past administration,” said Stankevitch. “I felt like I had to prove myself a little bit. So, the first thing I really did in that office was a Town Hall meeting in January of 2018.”

The student described work in the Rossi administration as interesting and fun but also challenging. He said working in West Haven gave him a good perspective regarding local government.

Taking his experience studying local and international government, Stankevitch said he wanted to split the difference and find opportunities in national politics. He said it was for that reason he applied to an internship in Senator Blumenthal’s Hartford office.

“They are going to start me off doing a lot of casework,” said Stankevitch. “But I’d like to a little bit of everything because in the mayor’s office I did a little bit of everything.”

Stankevitch said he enjoys that type of work because he likes to help people solve problems while using government in a “way that’s good.” He said he’s learned a lot from his time in politics so far.

“There’re a couple of important things that I learned,” he said. “Like having a good network and being able to network is very important. Being willing to do menial tasks, even if you think you’re above them, is very important.”

The intern said he has developed a good work ethic and has grown as a person every step of the way. He said he envisions himself staying in Connecticut after he graduates in the spring.