Fall 2019
Class Notes

Alumni Updates: Fall 2019

Pitt grads do amazing things.

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Frank G. Helman A&S ’56 retired as an attorney and closed his law office in Boothbay Harbor, Maine.

James Zurcher A&S ’56 competed in the 2019 Bill Heebner Winter Freeze Masters Meet, a swim competition at the YMCA in Phoenixville, Pa.



Marjorie Nichols A&S ’63 exhibited her photography in botanical, a show at the A Smith Gallery in Johnson City, Tex. She lives in Somerville, Mass.



James P. O’Brien A&S ’64 published Franco, Rocky & Friends (James P. O’Brien Publishing), a collection of stories and reflections about former Pittsburgh Steelers Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier. It is the 30th book in O’Brien’s Pittsburgh Proud series.



David Figurski A&S ’69 is the subject of a memoir written by his wife, Donna O’Donnell Figurski. Prisoners without Bars: A Caregiver’s Tale (WriteLife Publishing) is the story of O’Donnell Figurski’s transition to caregiver after her husband’s brain injury in 2005. They live in Surprise, Ariz.

Fred J. Pinckney A&S ’69 completed his 15th year as a commercial arbitrator in alternative dispute resolution with the American Arbitration Association. He has more than 30 years of experience as a corporate attorney in Atlanta.



Susan Fleming Morgans EDUC ’71G retired from the positions of municipal public information officer for Mt. Lebanon, Pa., and editor in chief of Mt. Lebanon Magazine.



Kenneth Shotwell ENGR ’72 was included in Who’s Who in American Art (Marquis Who’s Who), a collection of profiles of influential individuals in the American visual arts. He recently made his “best-of” private art collection available to buyers. He lives in Santa Monica, Calif.



Anil Gupta A&S ’73G, ’77G published Conscious Experience: A Logical Inquiry (Harvard University Press), which explores the role of experience in cognition. He is the Alan Ross Anderson Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh.



John C. Rafferty Jr. UPJ ’75 was inducted as an honorary firefighter by the Collegeville Fire Company in Collegeville, Pa., for his support of volunteer firefighters during his tenure as a Pennsylvania state senator. After finishing his fourth term in 2019, he rejoined the law firm Hamburg, Rubin, Mullin, Maxwell & Lupin.



Anita K. Bryce SOC WK ’76G, ’82G was elected president of the Washington Baltimore Center for Psychoanalysis, where she also works as a teaching analyst and codirector of the Child and Adolescent Psychoanalytic Training Program.



Marc S. Drier LAW ’80 authored a chapter on eminent domain in the fourth edition of Solicitor’s Handbook, a resource published by the Pennsylvania Governor’s Office. He is a partner with Drier & Dieter Law Offices in Jersey Shore, Pa.

Judith R. Robinson CGS ’80 showcased a collection of her paintings and poetry in The Numbers Keep Changing, an exhibit at the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh that honors the victims of antisemitism.



David Feehan SOC WK ’81G was given a Master Community Organizer award by Pitt’s School of Social Work. He recently coauthored Design Downtown for Women—Men Will Follow (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform) and is the president of Civitas Consultants LLC in Silver Spring, Md.



Lisa Travatello CGS ’82 was named chief marketing officer of GENYOUth, a nonprofit youth wellness organization based in New York City.



Richard Kariss UPJ ’85 was named partner at Tax Practice Group in New York City. His practice covers a range of specialties, including corporate acquisition, litigation, tax audits, and risk and compliance issues.

Elizabeth Krisher A&S ’85 was named to the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ Board of Directors. She is president of Maher Duessel, an accounting firm in Pittsburgh.

Stephen Rosenblatt A&S ’85, LAW ’88 has retired as chief counsel of the Sheet Metal Workers’ National Pension Fund, and is enrolled in the clinical MSW program at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. He is pursuing a second career as a psychotherapist.



Ronna S. Colland UPG ’87 was named secretary/treasurer of the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ Southwestern Chapter. She is director of finance and risk management for the University of Pittsburgh–Greensburg.

Douglas Ledney UPJ ’87 received a doctorate in education from Capella University in Minneapolis, Minn.



Ziya “Z” Altug SHRS ’89 published Integrative Healing: Developing Wellness in the Mind and Body and Yoga Forma: A Visual Resource Guide for the Spine and Lower Back (Plain Sight Publishing). He is an orthopaedic clinical specialist and physical therapist in Redondo Beach, Calif.

Wende Dikec A&S ’89 published The Hocus Pocus Magic Shop (Independent Publishing), the second novel in her South Side Stories series, under the pen name Abigail Drake.

V. Scott Balcerek A&S ’89 presented his documentary Satan & Adam at Regent Square Theater in Pittsburgh as part of an event hosted by the Pittsburgh Center for Arts and Media. The film, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2018, follows two musicians who form an unlikely partnership.



Marsha (Feinstein) Cassel A&S ’90 launched a Pittsburgh-based personal chef business, Marsha Will Cook for You. She lives with her husband on their organic farm in Washington, Pa.

Tammy Singleton-English LAW ’90 was elected membership chair of the Estate Planning Council of Pittsburgh. She is the founder of Singleton-English Law Offices in Bethel Park, Pa.



Spencer Borisoff A&S ’91 published Work Sucks!: A Funny View of a Serious Problem (Richter Publishing). He resides in Clearwater Beach, Fla.

Peter J. Moore A&S ’91 was appointed president and CEO of the Ohio Provider Resource Association, a membership organization that supports Ohio residents with developmental disabilities.

Ken Mowad CGS ’91 joined the Board of Directors for the High Fives Foundation, a Truckee, Calif.-based nonprofit that works to prevent life-altering injuries in outdoor sports athletes as well as provide support in the event of such an injury. He is a major gifts development professional in Pittsburgh.



Lisa M. Benzie A&S ’97 received the Lynette Norton Award from the Pennsylvania Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession. She is an attorney at Navitsky, Olson & Wisneski in Harrisburg, Pa.

Paula Franetti EDUC ’97G published her first book, Driving Force: How One Woman Rebounded from Life-Altering Injuries and You Can Too (inCredible Messages Press), which recounts her recovery experience following a near-fatal car accident. She is the founder of Rebound Planner, a health coaching business with an emphasis on recovering from injuries, accidents, and surgeries.



Stephen J. Drabant ENGR ’99 cofounded Atlanta Design Solutions, a product design and consulting firm in Atlanta. He is the director of engineering at NanoLumens, which specializes in the production of LED displays.

Ana Forcinito A&S ’99G published Intermittences: Memory, Justice, and the Poetics of the Visible in Uruguay (University of Pittsburgh Press). She is a professor of Spanish and Portuguese studies at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

Ellen Freeman GSPIA ’99, LAW ’99 opened Ellen Freeman Immigration Law Group in Pittsburgh. In 2018, she was elected to the Board of Governors of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and received both Pittsburgh Business Times’ Women of Influence Award and GlobalPittsburgh’s Immigrant Entrepreneur Award for Immigrant Professional Excellence.



Edward Skirtich CGS ’00 is a freelance journalist for the Northside Chronicle. He is a playwright, screenwriter, actor, producer, and trumpet player living in the Pittsburgh area.



Aaron R. Risden BUS ’03, ’11G was named vice president of the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants. He is chief financial officer and treasurer of Vision Benefits of America in Carnegie, Pa.



Janet L. Feick BUS ’04 was named to the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ Committee on Professional Ethics. She is a senior manager at the accounting firm Maher Duessel in Pittsburgh.



Matthew Galluzzo SOC WK ’05G was named president and CEO of Riverlife, a nonprofit organization dedicated to developing and maintaining public waterfront destinations in the Pittsburgh region.

Jocelyn Horner A&S ’05 received a 2019 Women of Influence Award from the Pittsburgh Business Times. She is the executive director of Strong Women, Strong Girls Pittsburgh.



Gosia Kosturek A&S ’06 was promoted to member at Eckert Seamans’s Pittsburgh law office. She specializes in corporate transactions within the hospitality industry.

Lindsay Semich Andrews BUS ’06 was appointed partner at Louis Plung & Company, a certified public accounting firm based in Pittsburgh.



Adriene Rister GSPH ’07 opened Spark Books, a children’s book and toy store in Aspinwall, Pa.



Ann Gaudino EDUC ’08G was recognized for her work as the founder and editor of the Excellence in Education Journal by the U.S. Department of Education. She is an associate professor of education administration at Millersville University in Millersville, Pa.

Tifany Hansen-Parry UPB ’08 works as a family counselor for the Seneca Nation in Salamanca, N.Y.

Gregory Salmieri A&S ’08G coedited Foundations of a Free Society: Reflections on Ayn Rand’s Political Philosophy (University of Pittsburgh Press). He is a fellow at the Anthem Foundation for Objectivist Scholarship and teaches philosophy at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, in New Brunswick, N.J.



Matthew F. McCabe A&S ’09 was selected as a Neubauer Civic Scholar in the Booth School of Business’s MBA program at the University of Chicago. He is chief of staff for Noble Schools in Chicago.



William Locascio A&S ’10G presented “Middens in the Muck: Evidence of Late Archaic Tree Island Communities in the Northern Everglades” at the Southwest Florida Archaeological Society. He teaches anthropology at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, Fla.



Thomas E. Barnes BUS ’11 was named president of the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ Southwestern Chapter. He is the assistant controller of Chemstream Inc. in Homer City, Pa.



Sandra Reiman BUS ’12G was named executive director and market director for consumer banking for JPMorgan Chase in the Pittsburgh region.



Nancy Conicella A&S ’13 joined the law firm Carlton Fields as a commercial real estate attorney in Orlando, Fla.

Sean McFarland A&S ’13 joined the Executive Office of Health and Human Services in the State of Rhode Island, where he is a public affairs officer.

Tina Zins SCI ’13G was named director of Penn Hills Library in Pittsburgh.



Jacob Wolff UPJ ’14 published an editorial in the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat titled “It Takes Values to Bridge the Urban-Rural Divide.” 



Samir Lakhani A&S ’15 announced the launch of Project Eco-Soap, the retail endeavor of EcoSoap Bank, which collects, sanitizes, and recycles discarded hotel soap and distributes it to impoverished communities. He is the founder and executive director of Eco-Soap Bank and lives in Pittsburgh.

Sierra Smith A&S ’15 joined the professional staff of WTW Architects in Pittsburgh.



Andrew Van Treeck A&S ’16 received the Champions of Learning Award in the Providers/Community Partners category from the Consortium for Public Education and United Way. He works as the volunteer coordinator for Jewish Family and Community Services in Pittsburgh.