Skip header content and main navigation Binghamton University, State University of New York - Alumni
Alumni Connect
Binghamton University
Alumni Profiles
It's all about the writing

Andrew Bergman '65, screenwriter and director, wrote Blazing Saddles, The In-Laws, Striptease and Honeymoon in Vegas. His Binghamton education served him well.
Read More



By Lauren Smith, Steve Seepersaud and Heather Brown



Brandon Draper and his mock trial team

David Abrams '05 and Brandon M. Draper '06 (second from left in photo), recently competed in in the Tournament of Champions (TOC) hosted by the National Institute of Trial Advocacy.  TOC is the most prestigious mock trial competition in the country.  Abrams represented the South Texas College of Law and Draper represented the University of Maryland School of Law.  Out of the 16 teams invited, Abrams' and Draper's teams reached the semifinal round.

Harpur recently added two new professors to its faculty. Seden Akcinaroglu, assistant professor in the Political Science department, will teach classes about the Civil War and globalization. Akcinaroglu received her doctorate and master's degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; with other master's degrees from Northwestern University and Bogacizi University in Turkey, where she did undergraduate work. Akcinaroglu's research interests are political economy and conflict; in her spare time, she enjoys hiking, movies and books.

In addition, Harpur hired Jeff Yates, professor of political science, who specializes in law and courts, state politics, public policy and the presidency. Yates taught at the University of Georgia from 1997-2008, and  received his juris doctor from the University of Tennessee, along with a doctorate and master's in political science from Florida State University. He received his bachelor's degree from Carson-Newman College in Tennessee. Yates is the author of Popular Justice: Presidential Prestige and Executive Success in the Supreme Court, and his hobbies include barbecuing, working out, and blogging.



Maureen Gundlach '06

Tires are really cool!  That was the sentiment Maureen Gundlach '06 (pictured) and her colleague Catherine Herchenroder expressed during their visit to Binghamton University on Nov. 3.  Gundlach and Herchenroder met with Watson students at the University Union to discuss their work as engineers for Continental Tire (called Conti, for short) and the Explore program, which gives recent graduates an opportunity to build a career within the German-based company.   

Gundlach and Herchenroder work in Hanover, Germany and stopped in Binghamton en route to the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) regional conference in Baltimore.  It was through SWE that Gundlach first learned about careers with Conti.

"This company really stuck out to me because of the Explore program," she said.  "I liked the idea of working as part of an international team and living abroad."

Gundlach said a key to success in the global economy - in addition to having a solid understanding of technology - is to have a willingness to learn about different cultures.

"I didn't know German before going over there," she said.  "Of course, living in Germany, it was good motivation to learn the language.  It opened a lot of doors for me.  Besides the fact that we like the technology we work with, we learn a lot about different people."

In other Watson news, the school recently added David Klotzkin, associate professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department, who specializes in optoelectronics. Klotzkin, who formerly taught at the University of Cincinnati, will teach Electrical Circuits and Mathematical Methods in Electrical Engineering. Klotzkin received his doctorate and a master's in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan and a master's in materials science from Cornell University. He did his undergraduate work at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.  Klotzkin enjoys biking and running. He is married and has three children.




Rudy Karsan

Jeff Saltzman '81 and his research partner Dr. Anne Herman visited SOM on Nov. 10 to speak with faculty about their Kenexa composite index, regarding employee confidence differences across cultures. Rudy Karsan (pictured), CEO and founder of Kenexa Research, also attended and spoke to SOM students.  The presentations were intended to promote awareness and gain insightful feedback on the index.

The goal of the project is to survey and assess the overall confidence of the company both internally and externally. The Kenexa Confidence Index consists of three main parts. The first is a quarterly measure of employee perception (ECI). The second is called the Kenexa Basket, which is a bank of requisitions and collection of test data. Third is the Economic Measures which consists of the country-level traditional economic and labor statistics.

"Sixty percent of the Fortune 100, including Caterpillar, General Motors, Time Warner, and Wachovia, hire Kenexa to help get inside the minds of their employees and build worker loyalty," according to an article by Kate Rockwood in Fast Company magazine.

Kenexa is a leading provider of employee hiring and retention solutions with more than 1,200 employees operating in more than 10 countries. Co-founded by Karsan in 1987, Kenexa has grown organically and through strategic acquisitions, with clients numbering among the largest and most prominent companies in the world. Kenexa’s products have received numerous prestigious awards.  Karsan began his career as an actuary with Mercantile & General Insurance Company in Toronto, after earning a B. Math in actuarial science from the University of Waterloo. At the age of 25, he earned the title of Fellow in the Society of Actuaries. He moved on to co-found Kenexa.

Ali Yayla

Ali Yayla is a new assistant professor at SOM who specializes in Information Systems leadership, strategy, security and e-commerce. Yayla will teach information systems and applications at Binghamton, and previously taught at Florida Atlantic University. Yayla, of Istanbul, Turkey, earned his doctorate in management information systems from Florida Atlantic and received his master's from Duquesne University. He did his undergraduate work at Istanbul Technical University.




Margaret Contro

The school recently added three new clinical instructors. Margaret Contro, who specializes in geriatrics, nursing administration and information technology, will teach Socialization into the Professional Role I at Binghamton. Contro received her master's in nursing administration from Regis University and a bachelor's degree in nursing from Russell Sage College. She enjoys hiking, fishing, hunting, camping, traveling and spending time with her family.

Patricia Tarcha

Also joining Decker is Patti Tarcha, a clinical instructor who specializes in childhood developmental delays and simulation in nursing, will teach Practice of Nursing II and Pediatric Clinicals at Binghamton. Tarcha, who received her master's degree in nursing from Binghamton University, did her undergraduate work at Clarkson University and Binghamton University. She enjoys golf, travel and gardening.

Yvonne Chesna, a family nurse practitioner for Southern Tier Dermatology and Aesthetics in Vestal, has joined the Decker faculty. Chesna, who is also a Binghamton alumna, earning both her master's and bachelor's degrees here, has been a registered nurse since 1992. She has worked as a public health nurse for the Broome County Health Department, a nurse practitioner for a dermatology office in Johnson City, and as a registered nurse for Lourdes Hospital.




Carol Eaton


Carol Eaton recently joined the school as an associate clinical professor, specializing in the development of educational leaders; she will teach the School Finance and Educational Leadership Internship Seminar at Binghamton. Eaton, who spent the past six years as superintendent of the Whitney Point Central School District, received her doctorate in educational leadership from Boston University, a master's in government and human relations from Ohio University, and a bachelor's degree from the University at Albany. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, reading and collecting.




See coverage of the Nov. 19 CCPA event with Dean Patricia Wallace Ingraham in Washington, D.C., in the Alumni Gatherings section of our e-newsletter.

Connect with Binghamton:
Twitter icon links to Binghamton University's Twitter page YouTube icon links to Binghamton University's YouTube page Facebook icon links to Binghamton University's Facebook page Instagram

Last Updated: 11/12/13