Carrying the Torch Forward
Carrying the Torch Forward
The stories below recognize #FrontlineFriars and acts of #COVIDkindness by the Friar family during the coronavirus pandemic. They reflect the culture of service at the core of the Providence College community and how our alumni carry the values of meaning and purpose into the world.submit a carrying the torch forward story
Dr. Yinsheng Wan, professor of biology
When the pandemic shutdowns began in March, Dr. Yinsheng Wan, professor of biology, and his wife, Dongqin Yang, started cooking for 150 homeless people in Pawtucket, R.I., and Central Falls, R.I., for five consecutive weeks. In early June, they began cooking for 200 people at the Salvation Army locations in Pawtucket and Central Falls, and will continue to cook there into July.
Wan usually cooks monthly meals for his fellow parishioners of the Chinese Christian Church of Pawtucket and in the past, has enlisted his summer research students as culinary assistants to cook for people in need. He also served on a committee of members of Rhode Island’s Chinese community with Lt. Gov. Daniel McKee to ensure the quality of the facemasks procured for the state Department of Health. The group donated 200,000 facemasks to the state and sent some to the mayors of Central Falls and Cranston.
In addition, Wan and Yang delivered homegrown greens to colleagues in the Department of Biology, including Julie Coccia (here).
—PC staffDr. Wan’s Chicken Wings Recipe for a crowd
Emily Bosiacki ’21, student and EMT
While at home finishing her courses online, Emily decided to step up. She took a position as an EMT in Yonkers, N.Y. Located in heavily-affected Westchester County, Yonkers is considered one of the breakout points for COVID-19 in New York state. When her classes ended, Emily applied to take on additional hours in another local town that relies predominantly on volunteers for their EMT services.
—Tara Lizzi ’21P
Steven Rougas, M.D. ’05
As an emergency medicine attending physician with Brown Emergency Medicine in Providence, Steven has made significant changes to his daily workflow to care for the sickest patients during the COVID crisis. Many of them require a ventilator to help them breathe. It is common for Steven and EM physician peers to be wearing special personal protective equipment for hours during their shifts. “As educators, we have had to move our entire curriculum to a virtual platform to ensure we continue to educate our future physicians,” added Steven, who is assistant professor of emergency medicine and of medical science and director of the Doctoring Program at Brown University’s Warren Alpert Medical School.
Dr. thomas r. king, assistant professor of management
He might not be on the front lines, but tom king guided students to stand out during the coronavirus pandemic. Through acts of charity, students in his Organizational Theory course raised awareness of the importance of staying home by creating videos that were shared throughout the country. They also raised thousands of dollars worth of donations towards charity. He empowered students to be leaders during this time of crisis.
—Lauren McNulty ’15
Kelsey White ’19, goodwill mask sewer
Kelsey has sewn over 250 masks and delivered them to professionals on the front lines at local nursing homes and hospitals. She even went out of her way to mail masks to front-line people out of her home state of Massachusetts like me. Way to go, Friar!
—Danielle Vitale ’19
Paul Dunphey ’90, senior VP & chief operating officer
Paul and his incredible team at New York-Presbyterian Allen Hospital have been on the front lines serving the New York City area throughout COVID-19. Due to the overwhelming number of patients, he worked with a team to build the New York Presbyterian Ryan F. Larkin Field Hospital, which was a temporary hospital for COVID-19 patients, built on a sports field at Columbia University.
—Paul Calle ’12 & ’15G
Rev. James Cuddy, O.P. ’98, PC vice president, Navy chaplain
In addition to being PC’s vice president for mission and ministry, Father Cuddy is a lieutenant and chaplain in the U.S. Navy Reserve. He ministered as a chaplain aboard the hospital ship USNS Mercy in Los Angeles for nearly two months. The ship provided relief to hospitals in Los Angeles during the COVID-19 crisis. When that assignment ended, he was re-tasked to minister to 60 Navy doctors and nurses who provided care to COVID-positive patients in a series of skilled nursing facilities in Southern California.
—PC stafffather cuddy discusses deployment
Giancarlo Rivera ’18, physician growth & development analyst
Giancarlo works in the Physician Contracting and Compensation Department at Hackensack Meridian Health in New Jersey. He’s been working from home for more than a month, assisting with special COVID projects to ensure the company’s facilities are appropriately staffed to accommodate an influx of patients.
Danielle Vitale ’19, medical scribe
In order to keep her parents and 93-year-old grandmother protected from the coronavirus, Danielle moved into a camper that was loaned to her and continues to live in it outside the family’s home in St. James, N.Y. A medical scribe at a walk-in clinic, she knew the risk of spreading the virus was too big to take. Danielle discovered an RV and camper rental operation — set up specifically for health care workers serving amid the pandemic — through a Facebook group called RVs 4 MDs. She was so concerned about her family’s well-being that she took a leave of absence from work until obtaining the camper.
—PC staffread more about danielle vitale ’19
SCE leadership development group
Four undergraduate students in the School of Continuing’s Education Leadership Development Program are raising awareness and funds for Rhode Island’s homeless during the pandemic. They said, “As a group project the four of us — Grace Rodriguez, Mark Garrepy, Jacob Shakleford, and Leo Whitehouse — have come together to help raise awareness for the impressive work the Providence Rescue Mission continues to do in our community. Our mission is to make a positive impact and raise money, so that the Providence Rescue Mission can continue to help our most vulnerable members of society. This is a critical time. … With millions facing unemployment, the number of people seeking shelter and assistance is on the rise.”
Lauren Boen ’18, fifth-grade teacher
Lauren began her first full-time teaching job this school year in North Attleboro, Mass. I was fortunate enough to have her join me on our fifth-grade team. When we began remote teaching, she spent countless hours getting activities and resources together for both of our classes. Now, seven-and-a-half weeks in, she is still putting forth her best self every day for the students. It’s not how someone would have imagined their first year of teaching, but Lauren continues to persevere. I went on maternity leave five weeks into remote teaching, leaving Lauren as the team leader, and she is doing an amazing job! She not only does Google Meets (video chats) with her students, but she’s meeting with mine, too. Lauren is making sure all the students feel cared for during this challenging time.
—Sarah (Riley) Silva ’12 & ’14G
Management course student group
Eleven students in an Organizational Theory class shifted their focus in a fund-raising assignment once the pandemic hit Rhode Island. Dubbing themselves “Rhode Island Together,” they raised funds and awareness for non-profit organizations supporting efforts to battle the coronavirus. The students coordinated a Run for Rhode Island Virtual 5K and sold T-shirts to support their efforts. Proceeds benefitted the Rhode Island Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund. “Our impact is larger than just our monetary donations. Our impact is bringing a state together to give high-fives virtually and to get outside, be active, and support the invisible faces and families that are struggling during this pandemic,” said Grace Moynihan ’21, a student in the management course.
—PC staffmeet the “ri together” team on instagram
Vincent Marzullo ’69, hospital volunteer
Vincent, along with his wife, Josie, and daughter, Amanda, delivered 100 meals to health care professionals at Providence’s Hasbro Children’s Hospital as part of the “Feeding the Front Line” campaign. The campaign raises funds to purchase healthy, nutritious meals for hospital workers treating patients infected by the coronavirus. It also aims to support the local restaurants that prepare the food for the workers and are struggling for business during the pandemic. Vincent, a longtime volunteer at Hasbro, and his family also donated 20 meals and encouraged others to contribute to the cause.
Joe Greeley ’80, mask delivery volunteer
As part of the Making Masks in Norwood, Joe Greeley ’80 has helped to more than 10,000 masks to Boston-area hospitals, nursing homes, the Navajo Nation, and homeless shelters during the COVID-19 crisis. Greeley, who is assistant controller at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences, has been busy at work with Norwood volunteers who sew and distribute non-medical grade masks for medical professionals. Greeley reports that “the output is great, but the demand is greater.”
—Sarah Firetto ’03
Molly Andrus ’19, EMT and contact tracer
As an EMT/MA for Ocean State Urgent Care of Rhode Island, now a testing site, Molly participates in the testing process. Her responsibilities include everything from patient intake to assisting with tests to communicating results. Patients are seen in cars and Molly laments the loss of patient interaction at work. In addition, she started work as a contact tracer at Partners in Health, ensuring contacts of positive cases are notified, tested, and connected to vital resources for physical, logistical, or mental support in Massachusetts.
Dr. Laurie Ann Malia ’07, physician
Laurie provides emergency medical care as an attending physician, pediatric emergency medicine, at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. This is a role that she prepared for her entire life and was made possible, in large part, by her years at Providence College.
—Peter J. Malia ’73
Laura Jaworski Razza ’00, non-profit administrator
Laura is the executive director of House of Hope CDC, an organization dedicated to preventing and ending homelessness in Rhode Island. Leading with compassion has been the only constant for Laura and others in her organization in the eight-plus weeks since the lockdown began. She was the driver behind Shower to Empower (mobile shower truck program) last year and has mobilized staff and volunteers to create Trunk to Empower — distributing essential items and offering case management from the trunks of their cars to the state’s homeless population.
—Therese Reilly ’83
Karen Saldarriaga ’20, formulation chemist
We wish to highlight a graduating research student, Karen Saldarriaga ’20. She is currently working full time as a formulation chemist — even while a full-time student — at American Bio in Massachusetts, mass producing components that go into the COVID tests.
U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Mark Brady, M.D. ’02
A member of the Navy Reserves’ 4th Medical Battalion, Surgical Company B, Mark has been deployed for more than a month at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, N.Y. “As emergency medicine doctors, we are in the hospital 24/7/365 for anyone, anything, anytime,” he says, adding that he has treated many patients sick with COVID-19. Mark is an assistant professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis but has taken a similar position at Brown University beginning this October.
Dennis Gray ’04 DO, MPH/MA, D.ABA, anesthesiologist
“Dennis Gray grew up in Lincoln, son of a homebuilder dad who sacrificed to send him to Providence Country Day School. Gray was the first in his family to get a bachelor’s degree, in his case at Providence College. He is now an anesthesiologist in Atlanta, where in early April he got an email saying New York City was desperate for doctors. Gray, who is single, felt called. Acute COVID involves some of the exact things anesthesiologists do — airways, breathing tubes, managing respiration. He volunteered and was quickly assigned to Woodhull Medical Center in a rough part of Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant. Just before flying to New York on April 7 on a near-empty plane, he heard from a recruiter offering him $3,000 a day to work instead in a hospital in Queens. Gray turned it down.”
—Excerpt from “On ventilators in NYC, their odds bleak, two patients saved by an R.I. doctor and nurse” from The Providence Journal
Lisa Guillette ’93, foster youth advocate
Lisa continues to advocate for some of the most vulnerable Rhode Island residents — young adults who are foster youth and who are aging out of the foster system. She worked to help R.I. Gov. Gina Raimondo sign an executive order to extend services to youth aging out of the foster system. The extension was due to COVID-19.
—Jennifer O’Meara ’93
Nadine Yousseff, M.D. ’00
Nadine is an ER doctor at Tufts Medical Center in Boston. She selflessly reports every day and works countless hours before returning to her two young children. Nadine embodies the true Friar: She is loving, all giving, faith filled, and so dedicated. On our calls (eight PC girls from the Class of 2000), Nadine is the one reassuring us. We stay in our houses while she goes to the front line of this crisis every day. She is a true example of the Risen Christ.
—MaryTeresa Soltis ’00
Rob Berardi ’85, funeral home associate, Toms River, N.J.
My husband, Rob Berardi, is carrying the torch forward through his vocation. He works in the funeral industry, and as part of his duties he removes the deceased from nursing homes, hospitals, and houses, morning, noon, and night. While we are grateful he is employed during this crisis, every single day he has unending, direct contact with COVID-19 decedents. I am so incredibly proud of Rob in the way he honors the dead and their families with kindness and respect at a time where everyone is suffering and terrified. He treats someone who dies from COVID-19 with the same devotion as someone who does not die from this virus. His job has always reflected the Corporal Work of Mercy, “To Bury the Dead,” but during this awful crisis the meaning becomes greater, and harder. He does his job with a devotion that would humble a lesser man. As first responders are being rightfully honored, I choose to also honor the greatest “last responder” I know and love.
—Adele Berardi ’85
Rob Berardi ’85, funeral home associate, Toms River, N.J.
As we give teachers, restaurant employees, grocery workers, and other essential businesses their well-deserved praise, I can’t help but give a shout-out to those that may be overlooked, like my dad and his co-workers in the funeral home industry. He, as well as thousands around the country, goes out to the “front lines” every day without a single complaint or request for sympathy. Though it’s kind of a grim reminder that people pass away daily, our country would surely suffer if people like him didn’t do their job day in and day out, despite the hysteria. Funerals/wakes may be stopped right now, but I guarantee you these people still carry out their duties every day with dignity and respect. If you by chance see someone driving a hearse, limo, or funeral-marked vehicle, say thank you, because nobody else is.
—Robert Berardi Jr. ’19
Matt Cunningham ’12, choral director
Matt is the choral director at Brockton High School. Since mid-March he has been posting a nightly “Quarantune” on Facebook to share some positivity. Many Friars have been following and enjoying his beautiful music. The posts feature videos of him singing and playing piano. Matt shares duets with friends and former students, and sometimes he uses the Acapella app to create multi-track recordings in harmony with himself. Most of the songs are from the musical theatre or Great American Songbook repertoire, with some pop and classical in the mix. He has uploaded them to his YouTube channel.
—Gail Paras, PC staffhear the alma mater, compiled by matt cunningham
Clara Essien ’14, process improvement coordinator
Clara is a world-class friend, employee, and community member. She studied health care policy and management at PC and then at Simmons College for a master’s. She has worked in the medical field ever since and currently serves as a process improvement coordinator for UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, Mass. On Sundays, she serves as a member of the Living Word Church of Worcester worship team. On other days, she shows genuine support and care for those around her. Clara is a humble, gracious, and kind young woman with a heart of service and joy.
—Stephanie Mireku, PC staff
Meghan Mooradian ’04, thoracic oncologist; Hilary Ferguson ’04, cardiac nurse
In the fall of 2000, in the storied McVinney Hall, a group of us formed a friendship that grew stronger throughout our years at PC and is still going strong 20 years later. There are two #Friar04s we’d like to nominate as they are working on the health-care front lines during this pandemic. Meghan, a thoracic oncologist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, is currently working in the ICU treating patients suffering from COVID-19. Hilary, a cardiac nurse at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, has volunteered to work on a COVID-19 floor. We have so much love for our friends. They are true health care heroes.
—Kristen Donovan ’04 and classmates
Dana Lowney ’21 and Nick Lamberton ’21, full-time health-care aides
Dana and Nick, both biology majors, are working 40 hours a week while still in school (online) to support the fight against COVID-19. Dana, a women’s cross country/track student-athlete, is working at a nursing home, taking care of residents. Nick is working at an assisted-living facility. As Nick said to me, he has “a real relationship with the people and just wanted to help.” Apparently, both facilities were understaffed and called them in for help. Just amazing people!
—Dr. Patrick J. Ewanchuk, associate professor of biology
Tom Cotter ’10, director of emergency response and preparedness
Cotter is director of emergency response and preparedness for Project HOPE, an international health care organization based in Bethesda, Md., that provides health training and disaster relief through 15 offices around the world. His work usually involves travel at a moment’s notice, but like most Americans, he is directing this crisis response from his home, in Virginia.
—Excerpt from “Tom Cotter ’10 helps direct pandemic relief around the world through Project HOPE” from news.providence.edu
Rev. Emanuel V. Vasconcelos, OFM Conv. ’06 & ’08G, associate pastor
Known as “Father Manny,” he asked his congregation at St. Anne Catholic Church in Columbus, Ga., to send in a photo of themselves. He then placed the photos on the pews in the church so he and the parish’s other Franciscan priests could see their faces while live streaming Masses.
—Patrick Walker, PC staffsee father manny on the kelly clarkson show
Kerry O’Donohue, R.N. ’15 and Tara St. Onge, R.N. ’13
Kerry and Tara are cousins and registered nurses working in the same unit at Memorial Sloan Kettering in NYC. They always spend their night shifts treating the immunocompromised and most recently spent weeks treating COVID positive patients together. These #FrontlineFriars continue to provide direct treatment, companionship, and strength for those in their care. While many are without their loved ones right now, Kerry and Tara are blessed to be alongside one another and have the rest of their Friar family cheering their tireless work on!
—Kelli O’Donohue ’11
Danielle Pearson ’14 & ’16G, firefighter/EMT
Fresh out of fire training academy in March 2020, Danielle serves the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services in Maryland. She responds to rescue incidents, fire scenes, and other calls, providing emergency medical services. To limit exposure to COVID-19, Danielle and her colleagues take extra precautionary steps before making patient contact by donning the appropriate PPE. At the fire station, they take their temperatures frequently throughout the day and limit the number of people in the station.
Maura Keegan Mauch ’98, advocate for the needy
Every year during the Easter season, our church, SS. John & Paul in Larchmont, N.Y., conducts a food and money donation drive to deliver meals to needy families to have on Easter. With school being closed, this program was not taking place since much of the money and food donations were given by the families from the parish school. This did not sit well with Maura since these families still needed food like the rest of us despite school being closed. And if anything, there was more of a need now. Maura reached out to the deacon who oversaw the program. With approval by the church, an email was sent out to the school community to donate what they could offer. She then went out and bought supermarket gift cards for the church to distribute to those families in need. Due to Maura’s efforts and the generosity of the families at SS. John & Paul School, close to $1,500 was collected, and gift cards to buy food were distributed to over 15 families in need.
—Chris Mauch ’98
Jennifer Fisher ’16, physician assistant
Jenny is a physician assistant in the emergency room at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Every day she helps care for COVID-19 patients, along with any other individual needing medical care. She is the best, and does it all with a smile.
—Samantha Wagner ’16
Hannah McReavy ’22, recovery center volunteer
This psychology major and PC cross country/track student-athlete is helping to run a COVID-19 recovery center for the homeless in Boulder County, Colo. The center takes in individuals who appear to show signs of COVID or have tested positive. Hannah is working eight hours a day, five days a week, doing everything from organizing volunteers and food supplies to dispensing medications and meals. She started March 21 and plans to continue volunteering through June 30, when the center is tentatively scheduled to close.
—PC staffhear Hannah McReavy ’22 on the pc podcast
Dr. Nancy Conroy ’95, ER doctor
Dr. Conroy is an ER doctor in New York City at NYU Langone Medical Center, where she works on the front lines every day.
—Mary McGloin Stone ’95
Brian Maher ’68 & ’18Hon., class informant
Brian is a past president of the PC National Alumni Association, but to the Class of 1968 he is the glue that binds us together — in good times and bad. Each Tuesday, 52 weeks a year, “Beamer” publishes a class blog. Ninety percent of it is devoted to classmates, family of classmates, friends, and anyone else who is ill, serving in the military, on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, or who needs a prayer chain. Brian’s constant works of human kindness should be honored “¦ especially because he would be the absolute last person to request such an honor.
—Bob Donnelly ’68
Winifred Kennedy ’20, entrepreneur
Wini took her free time to demonstrate her entrepreneurial skills to make hand-sewn masks for purchase. For every “Masks by Wini” bought, one was donated to grocery store workers. A portion of her proceeds were donated to charity as well for those affected by this global pandemic. With the end of the semester at hand, Wini has had to take a production break.
—Francesca Bishop, PC staff“masks by wini” on instagram