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The Charter Oak State College Foundation hosted its 4th Annual Employer Appreciation Breakfast on Wednesday, November 16, 2022 at the TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Connecticut. Students and graduates of Charter Oak were given the opportunity to invite their boss to breakfast and to nominate them for the Golden Acorn Employer of the Year Award. President Ed Klonoski was honored for his 25 years of service to Charter Oak State College and Nancy Martone was awarded an Alumni Ambassador & Achievement Award. Additionally, Marissa Perez Cardona, was a guest speaker, along with Charter Oak graduate, Mervin Alexander and his nomination for Employer of the Year, Paul Foody of Waste Management.

 Joyce Petrella, President of Charter Oak State College Foundation (Calculus of Talent) explained, “This is a significant event for our community as employers are recognized for valuing education, supporting student success, and for promoting and hiring our graduates!  The nominations were very heartfelt and made the selection of just one employer of the year very difficult. However, a winner had to be named.” 

 The theme of this year’s breakfast was echoed in each of the presenter’s sentiments – transformation through higher education is a journey well worth taking!

 The Foundation’s all-volunteer Board of Directors are committed to funding brighter futures and provided an opportunity for guests to help those in need. Joyce explained that, just this summer, the Foundation was moved by the overwhelming need of our students. The number of applications as well as the reality of the financial need was daunting and inspiring. It compelled the board to award more scholarships and set a bigger bolder goal to raise more to give more. Petrella implored, “Imagine the impact if we each gave a little – we could change many more lives for the better!” Donations to support the Foundation’s mission are still being accepted, to give online use link [here]!

 Employer Appreciation and Award Winners

The 2022 Golden Acorn Employer of the Year winner, is Catherine Vanicky, Owner of the Honey Bear Learning Center in Stratford, CT. She was nominated by Charter Oak State College student, Jacqueline Valle.

Catherine was nominated for many reasons, for her leadership style, her commitment to her staff, and especially because, as Valle, explained “she believed in and supported me in my education when I did not.” Catherine never let this Charter Oak student lose sight of the goal – credentials and degree completion. Valle will be graduating in June 2023 with her bachelor’s degree however, she has already received her director’s credentials and an associate degree from Charter Oak.

Nominees for the Golden Acorn Employer of the Year 2022

All employers that were nominated were recognized and honored. Charter Oak State College and the Foundation express appreciation to the following for supporting student success and career advancement

Maegan Adams, Bristol Child Development Center
Nominated by Renee Dailey, Charter Oak, Class of 2005,
Joshua Cross and Jessica Braddock, Charter Oak students

Chantel DiPronio, Childport (Yale New Haven Hospital)
Nominated by Ruth Kenneth, Charter Oak, Class of 2005

Henry Torres, DMHAS-SWCMHS
Nominated by Juliet Atakora, Charter Oak student

Nancy Walsh, Educational Playcare
Nominated by Michele Sinata, Charter Oak student

Roseann Wilder, Educational Playcare
Nominated by Sarah Yineman, Charter Oak student

Carol Work, Grimes Center (Yale New Haven Hospital)
Nominated by Alita Parker, Charter Oak, Class of 2022

Melissa Monroe, Hartford HealthCare
Nominated by Matthew Lapane, Charter Oak, Class of 2022

Milly Arciniega, Hartford Parent University
Nominated by Delmarys Serrano, Charter Oak, Class of 2014 and current student

Graciela Rivera, Hartford Public Library
Nominated by Nancy Mendez, Charter Oak, Class of 2016

Neeru Bhambree, Hudson County Montessori School
Nominated by Diana Euyoque, Charter Oak student

Mikyle Byrd-Vaughn, Lulac Head Start, Inc.
Nominated by Vera Davis Woolfolk, Charter Oak student

Christine Feliciano, Pumpkin Patch Childcare and Learning Center
Nominated by Laurie Glasser, Charter Oak, Class of 2019

Marie Monahan, Saint Mary’s Hospital
Nominated by Melody Davis, Charter Oak student

Lauren Boyd, Veteran’s Health Administration, Portland
Nominated by Kwame Asamoah, Charter Oak, Class of 2022

Paul Foody, Waste Management
Nominated by Mervin Alexander, Charter Oak, Class of 2018

 About Charter Oak State College and the Charter oak state college Foundation

Charter Oak State College ( is Connecticut’s public online college, offering associate and bachelor’s degrees in high-demand fields including Health Information Management, Nursing, Criminal Justice, Early Childhood Education, Social Work and Business Administration. The College offers master’s degrees in Health Informatics, Health Care Administration and Organizational Effectiveness and Leadership.  Charter Oak is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education and governed by Connecticut’s Board of Regents for Higher Education. 

 The Charter Oak State College Foundation (, established in 1977, is a non-profit tax-exempt 501(c)3 organization dedicated to supporting flexible and comprehensive degree completion opportunities for adults and technology innovations through the work of Charter Oak State College. The Foundation is a vehicle for accepting private gifts, donations, and bequests. Governed by an all-volunteer Board of Directors, the leadership provides direction for development activities and stewardship of the Foundation’s assets. The Board is committed to assisting students meet their educational and career aspirations – Creating Brighter Futures, One Degree at a Time.

To learn more contact Carol Hall, Executive Director, at, or 860-515-3889.

Visit Charter Oak State College Foundation Facebook page