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New & Notable, November 2021

Patricia M. Swisher Named Executive Director of Content Strategy at Duquesne

Patricia Swisher recently joined the Duquesne University Division of Marketing and Communications as its executive director of content strategy, where she is responsible for the strategy, development and presentation of brand-related content at the university and also serves as editor-in-chief of the Duquesne alumni magazine. She also oversees the content team, which is comprised of social media, media relations, web communications, web design and video/photography staff. A veteran marketing and digital and social media professional, Swisher most recently served as a senior manager of marketing and communication at UPMC Enterprises. Swisher earned a bachelor of science in business administration from Duquesne University and a master of arts in journalism with a public relations concentration from Point Park University.

Newsweek Ranks Shady Side Academy Best STEM High School in Pittsburgh

Newsweek recently announced its ranking of the top 5,000 STEM high schools in America for 2020, honoring excellence in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education. The national news magazine ranked Shady Side Academy as the best STEM high school in the Pittsburgh area and No. 6 in Pennsylvania. Nationally, Shady Side came in at No. 250 overall out of the 5,000 public and private schools that were recognized. Three other Pittsburgh-area high schools made the top 500: Winchester Thurston (283), Sewickley Academy (372) and Fox Chapel Area High School (461). Niche also rated Shady Side Academy among the best STEM high schools locally and nationally in its 2020 rankings. SSA was ranked the No. 1 Best High School for STEM in the Pittsburgh area, No. 2 in Pennsylvania, and No. 160 in America. Niche ranks SSA the No. 1 Best Private High School and the No. 1 Best Private K-12 School in the Pittsburgh area, as well as the No. 1 Best Boarding High School in Pennsylvania.

Spear Named Semifinalist in 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program

Officials of National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) recently announced Seneca Valley Senior Daniel Spear as a semifinalist in the 67th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. As a semifinalist, he will have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $30 million that will be offered next spring. About 95 percent of the semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and approximately half of the finalists will win a National Merit scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar® title.

Ryan Gloyer Middle School Awarded in ‘Schools To Watch’ Program

Ryan Gloyer Middle School (RGMS) in the Seneca Valley School District (SVSD) has once again been named a PA Don Eichhorn Schools: “Schools to Watch” (PA STW) as part of a recognition program developed by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform. This award is the third consecutive designation after first earning the elite title nine years ago. State leaders selected RGMS for its Academic Excellence, Developmental Responsiveness, Social Equity and Organizational Structures and Processes. In addition, the school was noted as having strong leadership, teachers who work together to improve curriculum and instruction, and a commitment to assessment and accountability to bring about continuous improvement.

Safe Bus Drivers Honored At Seneca Valley

Pennsylvania School Bus Association (PSBA) recently announced that five Seneca Valley drivers were selected for the 2020-21 PSBA Safe Driver Awards. Each driver was awarded for providing service that goes above and beyond and having at least 20 consecutive years of bus driving without accidents. ABC Transit drivers Herb Fletcher, Kathy Richards, Linda Scheidemantle, Pam Cosky and the late Ray Albert were selected for the award.

Deborah R. Silverstein Named Director of Treble Youth Chorale

Beaver Valley Choral Society has appointed Deborah R. Silverstein as director of the BVCS Treble Youth Chorale, replacing former director Donna Mateer who resigned last summer. Silverstein, a Fair Oaks resident, earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the New England Conservatory of Music, Boston MA and a Master of Music degree from Ithaca College, Ithaca NY. She currently is band director at Rhema Christian School, Moon Twp., and serves as the woodwind chamber director for the Pittsburgh Youth Concert Orchestra and the principal flutist with the Pittsburgh Civic Orchestra.

Beyond Spots & Dots Named Travel Marketing & Nonprofit Marketer of the Year

Beyond Spots & Dots earned two awards at the prestigious American Marketing Association Awards ceremony in Pittsburgh including the 2019 Travel Marketing Marketer of the Year on behalf of Visit Potter-Tioga, and the 2019 Nonprofit Marketer of the Year on behalf of Joey’s P.A.W. The AMA awards highlight the very best marketers from both brands and agencies for their creative work, excellence and success.

FCAHS Marching Band Places First at PIMBA Competition

The Fox Chapel Area High School Marching Band recently placed first in its division at a Pennsylvania Interscholastic Marching Band Association (PIMBA) competition. The band also received awards for Music and General Effect. The band is under the student direction of drum majors senior Lance Wilhelm and junior Joseph Thomas, and band directors/teachers Daryl Lesnik and Evan Hertrick.

Eleven SV Seniors Named Commended Students in 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program

Seneca Valley Seniors Nicholas Foulkrod, Chris Helmsen, Kason Kunkelmann, Nick Nedzesky, Alex Neff, Shanker Pillai, Veronica Pimenova, Xavier Reese, Aidan Uher, Liam Volk-Klos and Merrick Wimer have been named Commended Students in the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program. These scholastically talented seniors are 11 of about 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation that are being recognized for their exceptional academic promise.

SSA Seniors Named National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists, Commended Students

Seven members of the Shady Side Academy Class of 2022 were named semifinalists in the 67th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. These academically talented seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $30 million that will be offered next spring. They are Baramee Bhakdibhumi, Braden Crow, Grace Greeno, Jack Hathaway, Jamila Snyder, Prayag Vemulapalli and Anker Zhao. In addition, 11 seniors were named Commended Students in the 2022 National Merit Scholarship program in recognition of their exceptional academic promise. They are Ariella Avigad, Lars Barkman, Sydney Demchak, Vanessa Han, Emily Jordan, Thompson Lau, Daniel Lee, Steven D. Liu, Owen Martens, Lochlan McGinnis and Melody Yuan.

Students Among Top Eight in National Debate Tournament

Two Fox Chapel Area High School students were recently recognized for their performance at the Mid-America Cup Debate Tournament. The team of senior Ian Mackey-Piccolo and sophomore Adhitya Thirumala finished as quarterfinalists, meaning they were in the top eight Policy Debate teams. More than 260 students from 75 public, private, and charter high schools from 25 states participated in the event.

Long-Time Allies Employee Mary Bockovich Named COO

Allies for Health + Wellbeing recently promoted Mary Bockovich from her position as chief development officer to the newly created position of chief operating officer. Bockovich has been with Allies since April 2016 in the chief development officer role. She also previously worked for the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force for nearly seven years as Director of Development.

Northside Community Development Fund Expands Services throughout Allegheny County

The Northside Community Development Fund today is now supporting all of Allegheny County under the new moniker of Neighborhood Community Development Fund. Located in Pittsburgh’s Northside, the Neighborhood Community Development Fund serves as a conduit between local communities and the resources they seek–growing and revitalizing neighborhoods through small business support, residential housing and commercial building projects. Previously, this work was concentrated primarily in the Northside neighborhood. Under its new name, the Neighborhood Community Development Fund will continue to support existing clients, while also aiding those in neighborhoods beyond the Northside and throughout Allegheny County to develop their communities. The organization conducts its work by connecting local business owners and community development organizations with loan opportunities, grant applications, educational resources and strategic counsel.

CCAC to Offer Free Introductory Court Reporting Course in November

The Community College of Allegheny County is offering Project Steno’s Basic Training—a free introductory court reporting course where students learn the basics of stenography and gain insight into this well-paying profession. The virtual boot camp will comprise six two-hour sessions. The virtual boot camp session dates and times are Saturdays, Nov. 6, 13 and 20, from 10 a.m. to noon, and Mondays, Nov. 1, 8 and 15, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Space is limited. To register, go to For more information, contact Mary Beth Johnson at or 412-916-8787.

Cranberry Artists Network Hosting Holiday Show

Members of Cranberry Artists Network (CAN) will be hosting a holiday show in the Back Hall Gallery and Showcase at the Cranberry Township Municipal Center (2525 Rochester Road, Cranberry Township, PA) from Nov. 11-Dec. 16, 2021. Paintings, drawings, prints, sculpture, jewelry, fiber, and pottery created by can members will be available to view and purchase. The opening reception will be held Thursday, Nov. 18 from 6-8 p.m. For more information, visit

Seneca Valley Names 2021 Homecoming King And Queen

Rachel Kremmel and Cooper Sainiak were crowned Homecoming queen and king during Seneca Valley’s Homecoming pregame festivities at NexTier Stadium on Oct. 8. Rachel is the daughter of Bruce and Denise Kremmel of Cranberry Township. Cooper is the son of Keith and Kimberly Sainiak of Cranberry Township. The game went into double overtime, but the Raiders came out with the win against Canon McMillan, 24-17.

BHS Food Institute Recognized by HAP/Good Food Healthy Hospitals

The BHS Food Institute was recently recognized by The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) and the Good Food, Healthy Hospitals (GFHH) initiative in their annual achievement report for innovation. Butler Health System is the first health system in western Pennsylvania to participate in the GFHH program that promotes hospitals provide healthier food options and nutritional education to their employees, visitors, and patients. In return, this leads to healthier lifestyle choices that help combat high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Butler Health System received GFHH’s “bronze” achievement by meeting 2 out of the 5 program standards within the past year.

Rotary Clubs Hosting Fundraiser Dinner to Support ShelterBox

Rotary clubs in western Pennsylvania are working together to present Shine for ShelterBox Fundraiser Dinner, an event to raise money for the disaster relief organization on Nov.r 19, 2021, from 6–10 p.m. at The Stables at Connoquenessing on Evans City Road in Renfrew. Members of the public are invited to register for the event at ShelterBox is an international disaster relief organization that delivers essential aid that families need to survive and begin rebuilding their lives after a disaster. Since its founding in 2000, it has helped over 2 million people around the world.

SV Students Accept Unified Champion Schools Leadership Award

Seneca Valley 2021 graduate Taylor Wagstaff and SV student Nick Logero recently accepted the 2021 Unified Champion Schools (UCS) Leadership Award. They were nominated by Seneca Valley Senior High School Learning Support Teacher Katie Smolter for the Special Olympics award based on their positive efforts and attitudes during the 2020-21 school year. UCS is an inclusive program offered in over 200 schools across the state. It provides opportunities for individuals with and without intellectual disabilities to train and compete together on Unified Sports teams and serve as agents for change with their school through co-leadership in Youth Leadership Clubs.

Seven Aquinas Academy Students Commended by National Merit Scholarship Corporation Seven Aquinas Academy of Pittsburgh seniors have been recognized in the 2022 National Merit Competition as Commended students. The Commended Students are Andrew D’Angelo, Helayna Baer, Samuel Everson, Emilia Kartsonas, Joanna Knight, Alica Lenartova, and Nicholas Santucci. These students scored among the top 50,000 students nationally, out of the 3 million juniors who took the PSAT in the fall of 2020.

Shaler Garden Club Offers College Scholarships through Garden Club Federation of PA

The Shaler Garden Club, through the Garden Club Federation of Pennsylvania, is offering 13 scholarships to students who plan to further their education in horticulture, floriculture, landscape architecture, conservation, forestry, botany, biology, agronomy, plant pathology, environmental control, city planning, land management, and/or allied subjects. Each scholarship award is a minimum of $1,000. Only high school, college or graduate students who are residents of Pennsylvania are eligible and must be sponsored by a federated garden club. Applications are available on the GCFP website in the Forms Library. Applicants can call Joanne Laverty, Shaler Garden Club president, at 607-738-5002 for the required signature on their applications, which are due Feb. 1, 2022.

PetPeople To Celebrate Grand Opening At McCandless Crossing Adventure Development, LLC, is pleased to announce the opening of PetPeople, a regional pet store chain, at 9190 Covenant Avenue at McCandless Crossing. PetPeople will celebrate its official grand opening from Nov. 4-7 with 20 percent off savings throughout the store and a signature leash-cutting event on Thursday, Nov. 4, at 9:30 am. A portion of all sales throughout the weekend will benefit Senior Hearts Rescue and Renewal.

412 Food Rescue Saves 20 Million Pounds of Food

412 Food Rescue has reached a milestone: since its launch in 2015, the nonprofit has prevented 20 million pounds of food from going to waste by redistributing it to people facing food insecurity in the Greater Pittsburgh region. Just last July, the organization was celebrating 10 million pounds of rescued food. In little over a year, that number has doubled. Recently awarded #1 Best Pandemic Relief Campaign by Pittsburgh City Paper, 412 Food Rescue recovers surplus food from grocery stores, restaurants, and other donors with the help of its 3,663 active volunteers, a.k.a. Food Rescue Heroes, who have performed 117,512 food rescues. Its national app, Food Rescue Hero, has been downloaded 19,643 times in the Greater Pittsburgh area. The 20 million pounds of food recovered by the organization represent 16.9 million meals and the mitigation of 10.8 million pounds of carbon emissions.

Environmentally Sensitive Green Space Conserved in Glade Run Lake Watershed A 120-acre tract of woodlands and rolling meadows in the headwaters of Glade Run Lake in southern Butler County has been permanently conserved as a result of a collaborative effort between Allegheny Land Trust (ALT), the Glade Run Lake Conservancy (GRLC) and longtime Middlesex Township landowner Joan Goswell. The land will be preserved through a conservation easement donated by Goswell to be held and monitored in perpetuity by ALT. The two organizations have identified and prioritized the most sensitive lands in the watershed and have created a plan to collaboratively pursue the conservation of those lands through a variety of conservation tools including conservation easements like the one on Goswell’s property. Goswell will continue to own, live on and enjoy her property as she has for much of her life, while knowing that her beloved land will be preserved in its natural state as woodlands and meadows forever.

CVE Receives Highmark Foundation Grant to Host Professional Development Program

Connoquenessing Valley Elementary (CVE) School was recently selected to receive a $7,500 grant through the Highmark Foundation School Grants and Awards program. CVE Assistant Principal Ms. Tina Francis and CVE School Counselor Christina Karmecy both served as grant coordinators and completed the application for Leader in Me and The Seven Habits of Happy Kids under the Positive School Climate category. The funds were combined with additional donations from the Seneca Valley Foundation and CVE PTO to bring in the Leader in Me professional development for teachers on Oct. 11.

Sukanta Nag, Pittsburgh Entrepreneur and Tech Executive, Joins Leadership of OneTen

OneTen, a coalition of business leaders and corporations committed to upskilling, hiring and promoting one million Black individuals without four-year degrees into family-sustaining jobs over the next 10 years, announced the appointment of Sukanta Nag as chief information and technology officer. Nag joins OneTen after over a year spent creating and expanding businesses in Pittsburgh. Launched late last year by leading CEOs and corporations, OneTen aims to eliminate structural barriers that have disproportionately hindered Black talent, and to create economic opportunities across the United States. Nag will be responsible for driving the vision, product strategy, and development of OneTen's overall technology ecosystem. He brings more than two decades of global technology experience to the position, including executive roles at Xerox and Buck Consultants. Most recently, he served as the HR chief information officer at Prudential Financial.

Pittsburgh Opera and Point Park University Present ‘Opera Animations’ Partnership at Special Performance

The Pittsburgh Opera and Point Park University have announced an innovative new partnership that involves students from the Cinema Arts Department of Point Park’s Conservatory of Performing Arts creating custom animated videos set to opera selections by Pittsburgh Opera. As part of their Spring 2021 Community Animation Project, taught by Assistant Professor David Morrison, Point Park students collaborated with Pittsburgh Opera to select arias and duets of well-known operas. The students then designed, created, and refined unique animated video shorts to bring the music to life in new, exciting ways. A total of six videos were created. All six video shorts will be shown to the public for the first time, accompanied by live performances of the opera music, at Pittsburgh Opera’s Nov. 13 concert Animated Arias. The free event will take place at Pittsburgh Opera Headquarters at 2425 Liberty Avenue in the Strip District at noon. The concert is free, but registration is required.

Citizen Science Lab Receives $300,000 Grant from the Eden Hall Foundation for SeaPerch Program

The Citizen Science Lab, a nonprofit organization that provides STEM education to underserved youth in Pittsburgh, has been awarded a $300,000 grant from the Eden Hall Foundation to enhance its SeaPerch program. This year-long program provides middle and high school students with the opportunity to learn robotics, engineering, science, teamwork, and problem-solving skills while building an underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and navigating it through obstacle courses. These skills prepare students for the international competition at the end of the year, where they are awarded based on their ROV’s design and capabilities. The Citizen Science Lab leads the largest African American SeaPerch team in the region.

Tiffany Harkleroad recognized by WQED as Leader in the Butler Early Education Community

WQED recently announced that Tiffany Harkleroad, Youth Services Librarian at Butler Area Public Library, has been named as a PBS KIDS Early Learning Champion. The awards, established in 2018, recognize and celebrate passionate educators who work with the nation’s youngest students, from infants to second graders. Through the Early Learning Champions program, PBS KIDS and local PBS stations like WQED surround educators with professional learning and networking opportunities. Harkleroad was selected as an Early Learning Champion for developing inclusive learning environments, effective family engagement, and innovative and impactful community engagement.

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