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New & Notable, June 2023

Experienced Housing Advocate Christine Pietryga Takes Helm of HEARTH

North Hills-based Affordable Housing Program, HEARTH, today announced that Christine Pietryga has been appointed as chief executive officer of the organization. Pietryga’s first day at the organization was Friday, April 28. Before joining HEARTH, Pietryga served as the COO of the Veterans Leadership Program (VLP), which serves 8,000 veterans annually with housing, career development and supportive services. Prior roles with VLP included director of operations and housing case manager. Pietryga is a graduate of Bucknell University and has been recognized by the Pittsburgh Business Times with the “30 Under 30” award and by Whirl Magazine with the “20 in Their 20s” award. She also served as vice-chair of the Allegheny County Homeless Advisory Board.

Students Place in State FBLA Competition/Seven Qualify for Nationals

Eleven Fox Chapel Area High School and Dorseyville Middle School students placed at the 2023 Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) State Leadership Conference. Juniors Micah Cagley and Dylan Work, sophomores Kai Edwards and Gabriella Hample, and freshman Joshua Shah all won first places; and juniors Harry Littwin and Gloria Wen won second places. All seven qualified to participate in the FBLA National Leadership Conference that will be held June 27-30 in Atlanta. Other state place winners were juniors Laney Porterfield (second place) and Jacob Anthikad (seventh place) and sophomores Kai Edwards (two fifth places) and Jackson Hagler (sixth place). Additionally, Dorseyville Middle School sixth-grader Matthew Bartolacci placed second at the state conference. Six FCAHS students were inducted into the National Business Honor Society including senior Stella Ruane and juniors Annalese Bartolacci, Maria Costantino, Whitney Jones, Angela Ngo, and Kieu Uyen Tong. Big 33 Community Service Awards went to 2023 early graduate Zachary Sullivan, junior Joseph Berger, and sophomore Sienna Siegel. Business Achievement Awards were given to senior Stella Ruane (Contributor level, Advocate level, and Leader level), junior Annalese Bartolacci (Contributor level), and sophomore Kai Edwards (Contributor level, Advocate level, and Leader level). The Fox Chapel Area High School FBLA sponsor is business education teacher Christina Congalton.

AWAACC Opens New Exhibit of African American Art

The August Wilson African American Cultural Center is pleased to announce Memories & Inspiration: The Kerry and C. Betty Davis Collection of African American Art, celebrating the passion of an ordinary couple who spent more than 35 years as devoted connoisseurs, building a collection of vivid artworks that are both resonant and remarkably personal. Memories & Inspiration is on view at The Claude Worthington Benedum Gallery from June 16, 2023 through Aug. 25, 2023.

Traveling While Black VR Experience Opens

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust announces the area premier of Traveling While Black, a cinematic virtual reality experience that immerses viewers in the long history of restriction of movement for Black Americans and the creation of safe spaces in our communities. Traveling While Black will be on view until Sun., Sept. 24, 2023, at 820 Liberty Gallery, 820 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh Cultural District. The exhibition is free and open to the public by on-site registration for timed-entry viewing. For more information, visit or call 412-456-6666.

Jennifer Kaniecki MacNeil
Jennifer Kaniecki MacNeil

Kaniecki MacNeil to Join University of Notre Dame Leadership Program

Saint Joseph High School Development Director, Jennifer Kaniecki MacNeil, ’89, has been named a member of the University of Notre Dame’s Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program. The program is a 25-month graduate program for educators seeking to become transformational leaders in their Catholic school communities. MacNeil earned a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, IN and a Master of Science in Electronic Commerce from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA.

FCAHS Students Chosen for All-State Band, Orchestra & Wind Ensemble

Five Fox Chapel Area High School students were selected to perform with the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) All-State Ensembles. They are senior Elijah Conklin (French horn) and juniors Elijah Herzer (bass clarinet) and Chloe Kim (clarinet). Junior Amelia Costello (violin) was chosen for All-State Orchestra and sophomore Marina Dunham (bassoon) was selected for the All-State Wind Ensemble. The PMEA All-State Ensembles bring together the top student-musicians from across the state of Pennsylvania. Pictured from left to right are Elijah Conklin, Marina Dunham, Amelia Costello, Chloe Kim, and Elijah Herzer.

Butler Health System & Excela Health Physicians Named Among Top Doctors

Physicians at Butler Health System and Excela Health are once again among western Pennsylvania’s top doctors, as featured in Pittsburgh Magazine. Receiving the Top Doctors designation in 2023 are Marco Cavagna, MD, PhD, Butler Health System, Cardiac Electrophysiology; George Davliakos, MD, Butler Health System, Cardiac & Thoracic Surgery; Michael Szwerc, MD, FACS, Excela Health, Cardiac & Thoracic Surgery; Lance Brunton, MD, Excela Health, Orthopedic Surgery; Daniel Leigey, MD, Excela Health, Orthopedic Surgery; Kevin Leighton, MD, Butler Health System, Primary Care; Daniel Gagné, MD, FACS, FASMBS, Butler Health System, Surgery; Mark Zelkovic, MD, FACS, Excela Health, Surgery; and Kevin Traub, MD, Butler Health System, Urology.

Coach Tomlin Partners with Urban Impact for ManUp Conference

Fatherlessness is an epidemic in our cities, affecting millions of children and youth across America. ManUp’s mission for the past 11 years has been to encourage men to maximize their impact in their families, the fatherless youth in their communities, and children in the city of Pittsburgh who need strong role models. For the 11th year in a row, Coach Mike Tomlin is partnering with Urban Impact to support this mission. ManUp will take place on June 10, 2023. In addition to Coach Tomlin and Ed Glover, the featured speakers will include Pittsburgh Steeler Alex Highsmith, Claude Alexander of The Park Church, and a virtual appearance from James “JB” Brown. Steelers Chaplain, Kent Chevalier, and Craig Wolfey will return as emcees for the day. The conference is recommended for all men ages 15+ and is $49 per person, which includes a light breakfast and lunch, provided by Jason’s Deli. Doors open at 7:30 a.m. at Victory Family Church in Cranberry; the conference will end at 3:30 p.m. For more information, visit

Sofia Liberto
Sofia Liberto

FCAHS Student Wins Award for Fall Play

Fox Chapel Area High School junior Sofia Liberto was named a winner in the Third Annual Prime Stage High School Drama Awards. She won the award for best student costume design for Fox Chapel Area High School’s fall play, Arsenic and Old Lace. Other Fox Chapel Area students nominated were senior Ghost Snyder in the best actor category, junior Sophia Rike in the best actress category, junior Benjamin Werner in the best supporting actor category, sophomore Marina Dunham in the best supporting actress category, and junior Kaylee Dunham in the best student stage manager category. Additionally, Fox Chapel Area’s November play was nominated for best overall production.

St. Joseph Staff Named to University of Notre Dame’s PIE Cohort

Saint Joseph High School counselor David Anater and Academic Support Lead Natalie Brock, ’11, have been named members of the Program for Inclusive Education (PIE) Cohort 7 at the University of Notre Dame. The mission of PIE is to ensure that Catholic schools educate all young men and women regardless of academic, behavioral, social, or emotional need. This inclusive education program is an 18-credit, four-semester, hybrid experience that combines online and on-campus instruction delivered by a team of national experts. Given their leadership positions in assisting SJHS students’ needs, Anater and Brock will benefit from the in-depth experience of the PIE Cohort to apply in their daily work at SJHS. This program will provide academic support for those students who can complete a college preparatory program but might be deficient in certain skills or in need of basic academic support.

La Roche Adds Family Nurse Practitioner Post Master’s Certificate Program

La Roche University is now accepting applications for its new Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) Post Master’s Certificate Program. Approved and accredited by the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing and the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, the program is designed for nurses who are seeking to advance their education and train as professional nurses. Classes begin in Fall 2023. For more info, contact the Office of Graduate Studies & Adult Education at or 412-536-1260.

DMS Students Selected for PMEA District 1 Junior High Orchestra

DMS Students Selected for PMEA District 1 Junior High Orchestra

Two Dorseyville Middle School students were selected by committee to perform with the 2023 Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) District 1 Junior High Orchestra. The students are eighth-graders Joanna Bi (viola) and Simon Goode (string bass). The orchestra included more than120 of the most talented seventh-, eighth-, and ninth-grade orchestra students from throughout Allegheny, Fayette, Greene, Washington, and Westmoreland counties.

Butler Memorial Hospital Awarded Spring 2023 ‘A’ Hospital Safety Grade

Butler Memorial Hospital received their 8th consecutive “A” Hospital Safety Grade from The Leapfrog Group, a national nonprofit upholding the standard of patient safety in hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers. This national distinction celebrates Butler Memorial Hospital’s achievements in prioritizing patient safety by protecting patients from preventable harm and errors. The new grades reflect performance primarily during the height of the pandemic. The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade is the only hospital ratings program based exclusively on hospital prevention of medical errors and harm to patients.

FCASD Named One of Best Communities for Music Education

The Fox Chapel Area School District has been named among the 2023 Best Communities for Music Education. This is the 11th year that the district has received this designation. Fox Chapel Area is one of 123 in the state of Pennsylvania and one of 830 school districts in the nation chosen for this honor that recognizes outstanding commitment to music education.

UVA (United Visual Artists) installation Vantage Points

Vantage Points on Display at Wood Street Galleries

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has announced that UVA (United Visual Artists) installation Vantage Points will be on view through Sun., Aug., 27, 2023 at Wood Street Galleries, 601 Wood Street, (above the PRT Wood Street T-station), in Pittsburgh’s Cultural District. The gallery is free and open to the public. Vantage Points brings together two works by UVA, Present Shock and Vanishing Point 3:1 #3, both concerned with perspective and perception and how we experience and try to make sense of the world around us.

FCAHS Team Receives Honorable Mention In Stem Competition

A team of Fox Chapel Area High School students received an honorable mention in the ninth annual Pennsylvania Governor’s STEM Competition. The team members are juniors Lakshanya Rajaganapathi, Adhitya Thirumala, and Gabriella Urso and sophomores Alex Kim and Swati Mylarappa, who developed a product called TURBO, a low-cost turbidity sensor that repurposes the already-existing LifeStraws. TURBO addresses the needs of individuals struggling with various water quality issues and bridges the gap between individuals and communities from around the world to reduce water contamination. The FCAHS students’ advisor was gifted support facilitator Lisa Gibson.

Arvind Seshan
Arvind Seshan

FCAHS Student Semifinalist in Presidential Scholars Program

Fox Chapel Area High School senior Arvind Seshan has been named a semifinalist in the 2023 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. He is one of nearly 630 outstanding high school seniors from across the nation, and one of only 16 from Pennsylvania, chosen as a semifinalist. The semifinalists were selected from approximately 5,000 candidates from nearly 3.6 million high school seniors graduating this year from across the U.S.

FCAHS Students Win National Community Service Awards

Fox Chapel Area High School junior Alexandra Sroufe and sophomore Avanti Muvvala were selected to receive 2022-2023 National Community Service Awards, presented by the United Nations Association of the USA (UNA-USA) and InnerView Technologies. The awards recognize student commitment and community service impact in support of the UN Global Goals. In addition to the National Community Service Awards, both Alexandra and Avanti were awarded Zero Hero Awards which are given by the Kroger Co. to students for taking action to help create communities free of hunger and waste. Alexandra has more than 108 hours of volunteering and leading activities, and Avanti has more than 99 hours. At Fox Chapel Area High School, Alexandra and Avanti are the co-chairpersons of community outreach. They have both have been involved with the Gift of Life Marrow Registry, blood drives, local Earth Day cleanups, World Kindness Day events, Cookies for Kids with Cancer, the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, Fox Chapel Area School District telethon fundraisers, a drive for the Second Avenue Commons shelter, and Fox Chapel Parks Conservancy projects. Additionally, Alexandra led a collection drive for the people of Ukraine; volunteered at a diversity, equity, and inclusion ceiling tile event; and helped collect hygiene products for the Light of Life Rescue Mission. Avanti has also volunteered for the high school’s annual senior citizens luncheon.

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