Aerial view of campus with Williamsport, the Susquehanna River and Bald Eagle Mountain as a backdrop

In the Spotlight: Melissa (Newman) Achey '09

Melissa Newman Achey photo

Melissa (Newman) Achey ’09 fully embraced her liberal arts education as a theatre major, focusing on acting and directing, while a student at Lycoming College. Today, she is the corporate director for patient experience at AtlantiCare Regional Health System, while also earning her MBA. “Being passionate about theatre means being skilled in emotional intelligence and human behavior. I’ve been able to leverage my skills and adapt them to the healthcare industry,” says Achey.

1. Why did you choose to attend Lycoming College? 

I chose Lycoming College because of its personalization of small campus life with the opportunity to earn a liberal arts degree. The theatre department was unique and special, and I knew I would have the opportunity to really explore my creativity. And, professors Jerry Allen, J. Stanley, Rob Graham…need I say more? They were the dream team!

2. What is one of your favorite memories, classes, professors, or activities while attending Lycoming College as a student?

Being a part of the theatre department was like a big warm hug from the family you didn’t know you had. Jerry and J., especially, took me under their wings and challenged me to explore all I was capable of. I cherish my time working in the costume shop with Jerry, learning to sew, and all of the laughter we shared.

3. How has your education at Lycoming College influenced or helped you in your life and career?

Being passionate about theatre means being skilled in emotional intelligence and human behavior. I’ve been able to leverage my skills and adapt them to the healthcare industry, where I practice serving leader principles and educate our teams on compassion and empathy. The importance of human connection, especially in healthcare, is paramount, and so is understanding that creating meaningful connections takes a certain amount of vulnerability. I’m responsible for the patient experience efforts at AtlantiCare, and part of that is showing up and connecting with individuals every single day, bridging gaps for them, and inspiring them to bring their heart to work.

4. What are one or two of your proudest professional or personal accomplishments that occurred after graduating from Lycoming in which your education played a role?

I’ll finish my MBA this August at Southern New Hampshire University, and I’m one of the youngest members of our leadership team at AtlantiCare. Neither of those things would have been possible without my Lycoming education. Theatre isn’t only about performance. I owe a great debt to J. Stanley for pushing me in my research and writing talents. It’s part of the reason I’ve been successful at graduate school, where I currently have a 3.9 GPA.

5. How do you engage with Lycoming College?

I’ve attended alumni events in the community in the past, and I’d like to return to Williamsport to visit campus soon.


In the Spotlight recognizes members of our alumni community who are doing great things that have been influenced by their time at Lycoming College. Alumni Spotlight submissions are used at the discretion of the College and may be included in the monthly eNews as space and time permit. To participate, submit an Alumni Spotlight questionnaire.