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North Hills Monthly

New & Notable April 2020

Mar 30, 2020 04:01PM ● By North Hills Monthly magazine
Heritage Valley Health System Welcomes New Chief Financial Officer

Heritage Valley Health System has named Robert (Bob) Rosenberger as the organization’s new vice president and chief financial officer. He will lead implementation and execution of financial operations for Heritage Valley, a comprehensive health system that serves western Pennsylvania with three acute care hospitals, dozens of outpatient facilities and three affiliated physician groups. Bob has held senior level financial positions at a variety of hospital and health systems, including regional chief financial officer AMITA Health System in Chicago, CFO of Adena Health System in Chillicothe, OH, and CFO of Centegra Health System in Crystal Lake, IL. Rosenberger joins Heritage Valley Health System as Bryan Randall, the former chief financial officer, plans for retirement in spring 2020.

Students Selected for PMEA Region I Chorus
Eleven Fox Chapel Area High School students were selected by audition to perform with the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) Region I Chorus. They include seniors Alyssa Fabian and Christiana Paljug; juniors Matthew Eschman, Catherine Heidenreich, Nathaniel Hines, Xavier Perry, and Dylan Stein; and sophomores Julia DeMarco, Anna Ferris, Jack Lorence, and Simeone Owens. The guest conductor was Dr. Hae-Jong Lee, associate professor of music from Youngstown State University.

CCAC Announces 2020 NISOD Excellence Award Recipients
The Community College of Allegheny County announced its recipients of the annual National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) Excellence Awards. CCAC’s 2020 honorees include two professors from each campus—Kathleen Kane and David Manel of Allegheny Campus; Susan Rosepink and Raymond Weaver of Boyce Campus; Cristen Colantoni-Brannon and Jason Nadzam of North Campus; and Dr. Christopher Robinson and Dr. Melanie Yeschenko of South Campus. NISOD’s Excellence Awards recognize exceptional faculty members each year that have demonstrated an outstanding commitment and contribution to their students and colleagues. For more information, visit

La Roche Alumnus Donation Helps Fund New Clinical Simulation Center 
La Roche Distinguished Alumnus Anthony Battaglia ’95, M.S., BSN, RN, recently made a substantial gift to La Roche University’s Many Faces, One Vision campaign for the construction of a clinical simulation center. The largest outright gift from a La Roche graduate in the institution’s history, it will allow students, including those in the University’s new Entry Level Master of Science in Nursing (ELMSN) program, to study their craft in The Anthony J. Battaglia Clinical Simulation Center, which will open on April 17. The center will provide students with a variety of opportunities to practice assessment skills and critical thinking before dealing with live patients and will include low- to mid-fidelity simulators to teach vital signs assessments, wound care and more, and high-fidelity simulators to help students learn to respond to more complex conditions related to neurological, respiratory and cardiac problems.

Trixie Sabundayo Named Shady Side Academy’s Next Head of Senior School
Trixie Sabundayo has been named Shady Side Academy’s next head of the Senior School, effective July 1, 2020. Sabundayo currently serves as head of the upper school at Princeton Day School, a PK-12 coed independent school in Princeton, NJ, where she leads more than 400 students in grades 9-12 and 70 faculty. A native of Maryland, Sabundayo earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Johns Hopkins University, and she holds a master's degree in English from Middlebury College. Her appointment is the culmination of a national search for a successor to Sophie Lau, who will depart SSA at the end of June to become head of school at her alma mater, Lincoln School in Providence, RI.

Three Shaler Area Students Place in International Writing and Arts Competition
Three Shaler Area High School students placed in High School Visual Arts and High School Essay categories of the 2020 Waldman International Arts and Writing Competition. Maura Wulf, a senior, won the High School Essay category for her piece reflecting on the massacre at Tree of Life* or L’Simcha – One Year Later. Hannah Llewellyn, a senior, won first place in the High School Visual Arts category her for piece, Through the Eyes of Time. Additionally, Alaina Donovan, a junior, won third place in the High School Visual Arts category her for piece, The Sign, The Box, The Shoes. The Waldman International Arts and Writing Competition is open to students in grades 6 to 12; this year’s theme was “The Holocaust Through a Local Lens.”

Vargas Named 2020 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Champion
Rosie Vargas, a transplant patient at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, has been named a 2020 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMNH) champion for Pittsburgh. Rosie, originally from Ventura County, CA, has received two liver transplants at UPMC Children’s. Now 6 years old, Rosie’s long-term prognosis is excellent, and she continues to be monitored routinely by the UPMC transplant team. UPMC Children’s Hospital has been a member of CMNH since 1986 and donations raised locally benefit the hospital. The CMNH Champions program celebrates a child from every CMNH in the United States who has bravely battled a serious injury or illness.

BHS Cardiology Welcomes New Cardiac Electrophysiologist
James Storey MD, FACC, FHRS recently joined the Butler Health System cardiology team. He earned his undergraduate degree from Trinity College in Hartford, CT and his medical degree from Columbia University, College of Physicians & Surgeons, New York, NY. He is board-certified in clinical cardiac electrophysiology and cardiovascular disease. Dr. Storey was active duty in the U.S. Navy Medical Corps from June 1993 until June 2006, achieving the rank of commander, and was deployed to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He received the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal in 2006. Dr. Storey will be seeing patients at One Hospital Way, Butler, PA 16001; call 833-995-0118.

Shaler Area Team Wins Annual STEAM Competition
A team of Shaler Area High School students secured the first place award in the fifth annual STEAM Competition hosted by Shaler Area. Juniors Charles Nieder, Dylan Matthews, Sonny DeMasi, Jonathan Zang, and Ryan Rupert bested 19 teams from school districts in six different counties in the daylong competition that incorporated multiple aspects of science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM). Clarion Area took second place, and Mars Area came in third. The competition took place at Shaler Area High School on Friday, March 6.

Bill Knight Joins Legend Financial Advisors, Inc.®
Bill Knight, AWMA® , PPC™, has joined Legend Financial Advisors, Inc.® as an assistant financial advisor.  He had previously been an intern with Legend from 2007 to 2010, and worked at the firm full-time from 2011 to 2014. Knight graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a B.S. in Business Administration with a major in Finance. His primary responsibilities include performing investment research, implementing securities trades, creating investment management performance reports, creating financial planning analyses for clients and assisting in training and development of staff members.

Sharpsburg Resident Appointed to Fill Unexpired School Board Term
The Fox Chapel Area Board of School Directors has appointed Sharpsburg resident Amy Cooper to fill the unexpired term of Lisa Rutkowski in Region I. Cooper has worked in higher education for more than a decade in various administrative roles and currently works at Chatham University as the IM4Q (Independent Monitoring 4 Quality) monitor and as an office administrator. She is an active volunteer at Kerr Elementary School and is the president of the Kerr PTO. An 11½-year resident of the district, she and her husband, James, have two young children in the district. Mrs. Cooper will serve on the board until the 2021 municipal election cycle.

More than $1 Million In Safety Grants Issued for Allegheny County Nonprofits
More than $1 million in safety grants was awarded to 25 Allegheny County nonprofits, the first round of grants from a new program established by Act 83 of 2019. Locally, the grants included $54,000 for Allies for Health and Wellbeing, $25,000 for the Union Project, $25,000 for the Rector, Wardens and Vestrymen of Calvary Protestant Episcopal Church, and $20,000 for Locally Grown. Funded by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, the individual grants will help churches, temples, synagogues and other institutions protect themselves. The grants can be used for safety and security planning, purchasing safety equipment or technology, training and threat assessments, or other safety-related projects. A full list of grant recipients in Allegheny County can be found at

PHLF Awards Grants to Historic Religious Properties
The Historic Religious Properties Grant Program of PHLF has awarded $93,717 in matching grants to 11 congregations in Allegheny County as part of its 2020 funding cycle. The funds, which will leverage over $1.5 million raised by the different congregations, will be used for restoration, renovation, and maintenance projects on the historic structures utilized by religious organizations. The work ranges from slate roof repairs to stained glass window restoration, and masonry repointing, among other needs.

Heritage Valley Multispecialty Group Welcomes Lauren Ayersman
Heritage Valley Multispecialty Group Family Practice–Robinson welcomed Dr. Lauren Ayersman, D.O. to join Dr. Denise Wegrzynowicz and Dr. Melissa Kashlan at the practice located in the Heritage Valley Robinson Township Medical Neighborhood. Dr. Ayersman obtained her doctor of osteopathic medicine from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. She completed her residency at the Lehigh Valley Health Network in Allentown, PA. Before joining Heritage Valley Multispecialty Group, Dr. Ayersman practiced at Mon Vale Primary Care Practice in Finleyville, PA, where she was Medical Director of the practice from 2015 through 2018. To make an appointment, call 412-749-6920.

Fox Chapel Area Students Chosen for Special Bands
Several Fox Chapel Area High School students were chosen for two Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) 2020 honors bands. Fox Chapel Area High School senior Michael Mendelson was selected by audition to perform with the PMEA District 1 Honors Jazz Ensemble, which performed at Pine-Richland High School in February under the direction of Eric DeFade, director of the jazz orchestra at Carnegie Mellon University. Six Fox Chapel Area High School students were selected by audition to perform with the 2020 PMEA District 1 Band East including seniors Jacob Rendall and Anzu Sekikawa, and juniors Madelyn Francis, Nathaniel Kisslinger, Wyatt Krisky, and Joey Wang. The concert was held in February at Deer Lakes High School with guest conductor Matthew Inkster, D.Mus., professor of music at York College of Pennsylvania.

Local History Centers Receive Grants
The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission has approved a $40,000 grant for The Frick Art and Historical Center, and a $40,000 grant for the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania/Senator John Heinz History Center. Cultural and Historical Support grants are used to provide general operating support to Pennsylvania museums and official county historical societies that are not directly supported by other state agency operated support programs. 

La Roche University Study Abroad Director Receives Fulbright to Taiwan
Nicole Gable, director of study abroad at La Roche University, has received a Fulbright International Education Administrators Seminar Award to travel to Taiwan this spring. Gable will have opportunities to learn about Taiwan’s education system, and establish connections with U.S. and international colleagues over the course of an intensive two-week grant. Activities will include campus visits with a cross-section of universities and colleges, briefings with faculty and administration, government officials, and leading educational experts at public and private institutions. She’ll also have the opportunity to tour historical and cultural sites in Taiwan.

Students Qualify for National Forensic Tournament photo FCAHS Grand National Championship
Eight Fox Chapel Area High School students recently qualified for the National Catholic Forensic League Grand National Championship Tournament. The team of senior Boomba Nishikawa and sophomore Ian Mackey-Piccolo won first place in Public Forum Debate; the team of senior Rajeev Godse and junior Jackson Romero won second place in Policy Debate; the team of senior Hanna Chen and junior Hannah Jahnke won third place in Duo Interpretation of Literature; and the team of freshmen Dawson Krisky and Marie Romero won third place in Policy Debate. All eight students now advance to represent the Pittsburgh Diocese at the Grand National Championship Tournament to be held in Chicago Memorial Day weekend.

Dorseyville Student Qualifies for State-Level Geographic Bee
Dorseyville Middle School eighth-grader Adhitya Thirumala qualified for the 2020 National Geographic GeoBee State Competition, which will be held this spring in Harrisburg. The state GeoBee is open to students in grades four-eight who won the competition at their school level and then earned high marks on an online qualifying test which is submitted to the National Geographic Society. At the state GeoBee, Adhitya will compete against more than 100 of the top-scoring students in Pennsylvania.

ACMS Accepting Nominations for Prestigious Physician and Community Awards
Every year Allegheny County Medical Society (ACMS) recognizes extraordinary physicians, dedicated volunteers, and outstanding organizations that have made significant contributions to the health and well-being of patients in the Pittsburgh region and beyond during its annual awards and fundraising gala. ACMS is currently accepting nominations for its annual physician and community awards.  If you know of or work with a physician, nurse, healthcare professional, volunteer or organization whose dedication and contributions to patient care deserve to be recognized, nominate them online at Nominations must be submitted by Wed., April 15, 2020. Awards will be presented at the ACMS Foundation Community Impact Gala in September.

Dorseyville Students Place in Science Bowl photo DMS third place Science Bowl
A team of Dorseyville Middle School students recently placed third at the 2020 Western Pennsylvania Science Bowl Middle School Competition. The team included eighth graders Shriya Krishnamurthy, Lakshanya Rajaganapathi, Parv Tahiliani, and Adhitya Thirumala; and seventh grader Murugan Ayyanar.  A total of 31 teams from across western Pennsylvania competed in the contest.  

Aquinas Robotics Team Makes it to Semi-Final at PA State Competition
Aquinas Academy’s First Tech Challenge “FTC” robotics team recently competed at the Pennsylvania State Competition, and made it to the semi-final round in their division. They were one of only three teams (out of 50) nominated for the Connect award, which recognizes a team’s effort in creating a video about how robotics changed/influenced them. The Aquinas Academy’s FTC robotics team includes Andy D’Angelo, Theresa Gates, Grant Kearcher, Sabrina Knox, Benjamin Stalder, Celina Whitmer and DJ Whitmer. Entering its seventh year, Aquinas Robotics continues to grow both the 5th-8th grade program (First Lego League-FLL) as well as the high school (First Tech Challenge-FTC) team.

 Achieva Announces New Branding
Achieva, a nonprofit parent organization providing comprehensive services and supports to thousands of people with disabilities and their families each year, is implementing a new brand identity that includes a refresh of Achieva’s 20-year old logo. The vibrant logo and a new tagline, “Empowering People with Disabilities” is well-aligned with Achieva’s mission to advocate for, empower, and support people with disabilities and their families throughout their lives. As a nod to Achieva’s prior logo, an updated star graphic on the new logo is included to represent the North Star, signifying Achieva’s commitment to always encourage people with disabilities to move forward and strive to reach new places in their journey to lead a life of personal significance. The four parts of the star are also a subtle reference to Achieva’s family of organizations: Achieva Family Trust, Achieva Resource, Achieva Support, and The Arc of Greater Pittsburgh.     
M. Denice Leonard Joins Butler Health System
M. Denice Leonard, DO, joined BHS Women’s Care Associates on March 1, 2020. Dr. Leonard is board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology and is a Fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She previously served as an assistant professor in obstetrics and gynecology at Drexel University. Dr. Leonard earned her master’s degree in pharmaceutics from the Arnold & Marie Schwartz College of Pharmacy in Brooklyn, NY, and a medical degree from the Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine, Tulsa, OK. She interned at Riverside Hospital, Wichita, KS and completed a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at St. Elizabeth Hospital Medical Center in Youngstown, OH. She will be seeing patients at 129 Oneida Valley Rd, Butler, PA and 300 Northpointe Circle, Suite 104, Seven Fields, PA. For an appointment, call 1-844-765-2845.

Two SSA Students Win National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards
Two Shady Side Academy students have earned national recognition in the 2020 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the nation's longest-running and most prestigious recognition program for creative teens in grades 7-12. Senior Hyelim "Rose" Lee (Fox Chapel) earned a Silver Medal in art for her mixed media piece Inner Psyche, while eighth-grader Leo Rickard (Penn Hills) won a Silver Medal in writing for his Personal Essay & Memoir piece The Heist. This marks the second straight year that Lee has won a national silver medal for a piece of artwork. Works that receive a National Medal will eventually be displayed in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards online gallery, and a selection will be included in the Awards' publications and/or the national exhibition in New York City.

Science Center Announces Carnegie Science Award Winners

Each year, Carnegie Science Center celebrates some of the Pittsburgh region’s most inspiring science and technology innovators with the Carnegie Science Awards, presented by Eaton. The Science Center recently announced the winners and honorable mentions in 16 categories, who will be celebrated at the 24th Annual Carnegie Science Awards Celebration on Fri., May 8, 2020.

Carnegie Science Award winners are selected by a committee of peers—both past awardees and industry leaders—who rigorously review a competitive pool of nominees to select the most deserving scientists, technologists, entrepreneurs, communicators, educators, and students whose contributions have led to significant economic or societal benefit in western Pennsylvania.

“The Carnegie Science Awards provide an opportunity to celebrate the astonishingly creative and forward-thinking minds in Pittsburgh’s science, technology, and education communities,” said Jason Brown, Henry Buhl, Jr., director of Carnegie Science Center. “Through their incredible contributions to their fields, they’re directly impacting the health, growth, and economic vitality of our region as a whole.” 

This year’s Carnegie Science Award honorees are:

Advanced Manufacturing and Materials Award – Dr. Carmel Majidi, Carnegie Mellon University

Corporate Innovation Award – Stephen Muck and Jeremy Searock, Advanced Construction Robotics

Start-Up Entrepreneur – Bossa Nova Robotics

Entrepreneur Award – TandemLife

Environmental Award – Dr. Ryan Sullivan, Carnegie Mellon University

Information Technology Award – Behaivior

Innovation in Energy Award – Laser and Optical Processes Team, National Energy Technology     Laboratory

Life Sciences Award – Dr. Fabrisia Ambrosio, University of Pittsburgh

Science Communicator Award – Oliver Morrison, PublicSource, and Kristina Marusic, Environmental Health News

Elementary Educator Award – Karen Klicker, Northgate School District

Middle Level Educator Award – Zee Ann Poerio, St. Louise de Marillac School

High School Educator Award – Tamar McPherson, Plum Borough School District

Postsecondary Educator Award – Dr. Bryan Brown, McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, University of Pittsburgh

Leadership in STEM Education Award – Dr. Andre Samuel, The Citizen Science Lab

Leadership in Career and Technical Education Award – Angela Mike, Pittsburgh Public Schools

University Student Award – Alexis Nolfi, University of Pittsburgh

 In addition, Honorable Mentions were awarded in 10 categories. They are:

Corporate Innovation – BNY Mellon UpPrize

Entrepreneur – Showclix

Environmental – Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy Frick Environmental Center

Innovation in Energy – PPG Iocron Battery Binder Solution Team

Life Sciences – Dr. Jelena Janjic, Duquesne University

Start-up Entrepreneur – Avi Geller, Maven Machines

Elementary Educator – Colleen Hinrichsen, Mars Area Centennial School

Middle Level Educator – Brad Adams, Homer-Center High School

Postsecondary Educator – Dr. David Sanchez, University of Pittsburgh

University Student – Kareem Rabbat, University of Pittsburgh

Through the support of committed sponsors, the Carnegie Science Awards program has honored the accomplishments of more than 600 individuals and organizations. Eaton has been the presenting sponsor of the Carnegie Science Awards for 16 years. 

“Eaton is proud to join the Science Center in recognizing some of the most deserving science, technology, engineering, and math educators, students, and innovators in western Pennsylvania,” said Ruppert Russoniello, senior vice president, Digitalization, for Eaton’s Electrical Sector and event chair of the Carnegie Science Awards. “By producing groundbreaking work in their fields, they are helping to build a smarter, healthier, and more prosperous future for us all.”

 Other sponsors and community partners who will present trophies during the Carnegie Science Awards Celebration on May 10 include: ALCOSAN, Allegheny Conference on Community Development, Braskem, Duquesne Light Company, FedEx, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, Kennametal Inc., NOVA Chemicals, Orionvega, Pittsburgh Business Times, Pittsburgh Technology Council, PPG, and WTAE Channel 4.

As the Science Center’s signature celebration of innovation and annual fundraiser, the Carnegie Science Awards Celebration on May 8 will offer an exciting networking opportunity complete with a strolling dinner, silent auction, and awards show that will share the inspiring stories behind the awardees’ accomplishments. The evening raises funds to support the Science Center’s education programs that identify, nurture, and inspire the next generation of leaders in science and technology. For more information about the awards celebration, go to