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Gannon community well represented, Erie’s 40 Under 40 Class of 2022

Published: 07/13/2022

Erie's 40 Under 40, photographed by Jessica Hunter

Erie's 40 Under 40, photographed by Jessica Hunter

Erie Reader released its annual community-nominated Erie’s 40 Under 40 list for 2022, and we are proud to congratulate the many Knights featured. Congratulations, and thank you for all you do to transform our community. This list represents “40 young innovators, entrepreneurs, and leaders shaping the future of Erie,” according to Erie Reader

Gannon alum and community honored in this year’s installment include: 

Dr. Zamen Abo-Zebiba ’11, ‘14G
Staff Therapist, Gannon University

"I enjoy empowering people to recognize the control they have in their own lives. I often work with individuals who have experienced trauma and I aim to empower them to acknowledge and accept that they are so much more than their trauma."

Read Dr. Abo-Zebiba’s full profile here.

Rick Bowser ’19
Director, The 10/20 Collective; Sound Engineer

“A warm and magnetic personality, Bowser is a true pleasure to work with, whether it be a late night recording session or a buttoned-up business meeting. A native of North East, Pa. and a Gannon University alum, he studied marketing and graduated with honors. In 2019, he found himself heading up a brand new space in town, one that has grown and thrived.” 

Read Rick’s full profile here

Emily Ernes ’17, ‘20G
Owner, Glass Growers Gallery

"I try to be cognizant of our role in the broader ecosystem and to consider how things interconnect," Ernes said. "I had a strong desire to work in a more creative realm and to connect with the Erie community and am glad I took the leap of faith to purchase Glass Growers Gallery at an uncertain time. I am fortunate to have an amazing team with a combined 35 years of experience, which has helped provide continuity following the change of ownership."

Read Emily’s full profile here

Ellen Kehl ’16G 
Director of Member Engagement and Education, The Nonprofit Partnership

"If you work at a nonprofit organization in Erie, you know and love Ellen Kehl," wrote one of the Erie native's nominators. A Collegiate Academy grad who went on to study social work at the University of Pittsburgh and later earn an MPA at Gannon University, she "has spent her life and her career working to make Erie a better place and is involved in tons of community organizations. On top of that, she's an amazing person: a hilarious woman with a heart of gold."

Read Ellen’s full profile here

Jade Mitchell ’14
Creative Director, Erie Arts & Culture; Adjunct Professor, Mercyhurst University

One goal that drives her is to "make the arts and humanities accessible and enjoyed by all," explaining that "I want creative expression to be viewed as essential to human development as love, family, community, and other basic needs."

Read Jade’s full profile here

Nate Ross ’15
Assistant Vice President and Commercial Relationship Manager, Northwest Bank

“When the COVID-19 pandemic hit local business and industry, Ross helped implement Northwest Bank's Paycheck Protection Program, working with his team around the clock to manually input loan applications so that local entrepreneurs could be approved as quickly as possible. That type of dedication extends to his civic life as well, where he serves as chairman of the board of the Americans for the Competitive Free Enterprise System, vice president of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Erie County, and treasurer of Saint Paul's Lutheran Church.” 

Read Nate’s full profile here

Nicholas Sorensen ’18
Digital Content Manager, WJET-TV 24; Host, Buddycast

“In his interviews, Sorensen's own kindness and positivity radiates. "Every little action of kindness can make a huge difference," says Sorensen. "Set time to meet a stranger and hear their story." It is no surprise then that he has used his platform to raise money for numerous charitable causes. He also ends each interview with a simple request: "Go be someone's buddy." "Everyone needs a buddy, no matter who you are or how your day is going," he adds.

Read Nicholas’ full profile here.  

Helen Tullio ’17 
Owner of Helen Tullio Studio, Freelance Artist

“Adopting a love of painting from her late grandmother Barbara Collins and teacher/mentor Sister Mary Francis Becker, the Villa Maria Academy and Gannon University (business marketing) graduate cultivated her craft with oils and watercolors before more recent explorations in acrylics and epoxy resins. She has parlayed that passion into both a full-time business and a reputation as one of the Erie area's most sought-after young artists, with five solo exhibitions to her credit, and commissioned works for clientele regionally and all across the U.S.”

Read Helen’s full profile here

Eric Pollock ’12G
Founder, Happy Bark, Inc.; Chief Architect, Erie Insurance Group

"Helping people grow within various aspects of their roles and then enabling them to push to higher performance is such a cool thing to be a part of. I love getting to know people on a personal level and treating them like an extended part of my family," Pollock said.

Read Eric’s full profile here

Anna McJunkin
Program Assistant, Gannon University School of Communication and the Arts; Artistic Director, Dramashop

“As the first female artistic director in Dramashop history (and second overall), McJunkin is pushing to foster an even more diverse, inclusive, and representative theater community. A pivotal player in Erie theater, McJunkin succeeds founding artistic director Zach Flock, who had been serving in that role since 2011.” 

Read Anna’s full profile here

See the full Erie's 40 Under 40: Class of 2022 here. 

All media inquiries can be made by contacting Doug Oathout, Chief of Staff and Director of Marketing and Communications, at 814-871-7470 or