Stories

Leading Through Change: Today and Looking Forward

Seven of the University’s distinguished alumnae recently participated in a discussion presented by the University’s Women’s Network. Watch the recorded webinar, read highlights of it, and learn about pivotal moments in their lives that served as catalysts for growth.

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Then and Now: Being a student during times of great change

Irene Kaplan ’58 and her scholarship student, Johanna Matulonis ’23, compare what it was like living on River Campus during historic times—when the men’s and women’s campuses merged in 1955 and during the pandemic in 2020-21.

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Fred Aman ’67: Legal scholar, academic administrator, and musician

University Life Trustee Fred Aman started playing drums at the age of four. Since then, he’s learned from jazz legends, worked with civil rights icons, and led an esteemed legal and academic career. Learn more and listen to some of his music.

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That’s the Rochester Effect–Rochester is on a relentless quest

The University of Rochester Medical Center is at the forefront of the pandemic response, including testing four of the six major coronavirus vaccine candidates. Angela Branche, MD, and David Topham, PhD, discuss how Rochester is contributing to the science needed right now.

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Among the first

Sean Bajwa ’18 and Genessis Galindo ’20 were among the first to participate in a recent pilot mentorship match program, which brought together first-generation students and alumni through The Meliora Collective.

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Representation matters

Travon Walker ’21E, an aspiring opera singer, recently launched a crowdfunding project designed to introduce middle and high school students to classical music composed by Black, Indigenous, and people of color.

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Helping women build financial confidence

Two alumnae in the financial services field–Marcia Mantell ’83 and Sherry Finkel Murphy ’81–offer tips, know-how, and networking perspective regarding money matters.

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Five tips for applying to college during the pandemic

The University’s Admissions office offers advice for prospective students and parents as they lay out a path to college over the next several months.

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COVID-19 vaccine: What’s RNA research got to do with it?

Rochester research into RNA structure and function provides key information for developing coronavirus treatments. The FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech is based on RNA technology.

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Naveen and Courtney Nataraj commit $1 million to the Together for Rochester diversity, equity and inclusion scholarship challenge

University of Rochester Board of Trustees member Naveen Nataraj and his wife, Courtney, have established a $1 million scholarship challenge to kickstart Together for Rochester.

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Early signs indicate Coronavirus Vaccine is Effective

An interim analysis of study data from a coronavirus vaccine being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech–and with URMC ties–indicates that the vaccine is 90 percent effective in preventing COVID-19.

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Phase 3 AstraZeneca Coronavirus Vaccine Study Reopens at URMC

After voluntarily pausing this study in September, AstroZeneca recently announced the official reopening its U.S. trial. The restart comes after a thorough review by the U.S. FDA and other international regulators.

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Can the Common Cold Help Protect You from COVID-19?

Medical Center research suggests the colds you’ve had may provide some protection against the coronavirus. The research also suggests that immunity to COVID-19 is likely to last a long time–maybe even a lifetime.

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Among the first

Sean Bajwa ’18 and Genessis Galindo ’20 were among the first to participate in a recent pilot mentorship match program, which brought together first-generation students and alumni through The Meliora Collective.

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College finds a connection with students in Puerto Rico

Students who arrived as guests after Hurricane Maria have made their mark on campus—and helped the College attract more undergraduates from the island.

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Gift establishes the Linde Klein Professorship in Head and Neck Cancer

A $1.5 million gift from David and Dawn Klein recently established the Linde Klein Professorship in Head and Neck Cancer at the Medical Center’s Wilmot Cancer Institute. Their generosity will forever honor David’s late wife, Linde, who lost her battle with head and neck cancer in 2011.

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Cultural visionary, Arthur Satz, leaves the largest endowed gift ever in support of the humanities at the University of Rochester

Arthur Satz—a music major from the University’s Class of 1951 and the late president emeritus at the New York School of Interior Design (NYSID)—has bequeathed the largest endowed gift ever in support of the humanities at the University of Rochester’s School of Arts & Sciences. Satz’s visionary generosity will establish the school’s first named department—the Arthur Satz Department of Music—and a minimum of five professorships in humanities-related fields.

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$1 million endowed gift will fund innovative research in chemistry

A recent $1 million gift from the family of John Zabriskie ’66 (PhD) establishes a new, endowed research fund in the Department of Chemistry. The fund will honor the shared legacy of Zabriskie and his mentor, Marshall D. Gates, Jr., who is known worldwide for his groundbreaking synthesis of morphine. This discovery is at the core of many of the medications used today for pain management.

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Shaping lives through music: Howard Spindler

“Music has shaped my life, and teaching has been my greatest joy,” says Howard Spindler ’81E (MA), piano and music theory instructor at the Eastman Community Music School. A few months ago, prior to the pandemic, Spindler decided to include Eastman in his will.

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Rowing for all

Before the pandemic, Cross Currents Minority Rowing Program made two gifts to support the University of Rochester’s women’s rowing program. On behalf of Cross Currents, Lydia Boddie-Rice, one of its cofounders, made a $6,500 donation to support the Rochester team and Patricia Rozzo-Leadley, the group’s former coach, donated the program’s rowing shell and oars, valued at close to $4,000. The gifts help continue the mission of Cross Currents, which was founded in 2006 and closed its doors in 2016.

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‘We have a lot more history to make’: A conversation with Gail Lione ’71

Gail Lione ’71, a successful lawyer and volunteer leader, is passionate about women’s issues. Lione and her generation would become the first in many areas—in locker rooms, conference rooms, board rooms, and more. They were inspired by people like Gloria Steinem, Dorothy Pitman Hughes, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

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Blazing new trails for Black women in science: Monique Mendes ’18M (MS), ’20M (PhD)

Monique Mendes ’18M (MS), ’20M (PhD) moved from Kingston, Jamaica to South Florida, when she was a teenager. Her parents came to the U.S. with the hope that Monique would live the American dream. And, because of her hard work, determination, and passion for science, she has.

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Living in lockdown: Wuwei Chen ’11 recounts 62 days of official lockdown

Every year, Wuwei Chen ’11 goes home to celebrate Chinese New Year. This year was no different.

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Happy 90th, Ray Ettington ’51!

About a year ago, Ray Ettington’s four daughters started planning a 90th birthday party for their father. Family and friends spanning the globe were going to make the trip to Rochester to celebrate Ray’s big day.

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Dave Ocorr ’51: athlete, coach, administrator

Dave Ocorr ’51 has been an athlete, pro-baseball player, author, journalist, university leader, and more. As a Rochester student, he lettered in three sports and was captain of the baseball team. He was also president of Delta Kappa Epsilon, editor for the yearbook, and a sports editor for the Campus Times.

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‘We have a say in our health’

When it comes to her wellness journey, Jennie (Fagen) Malloy’s story begins with some unconventional advice. While pursuing a Take 5 scholarship in voice at the University of Rochester, her vocal cords became inflamed and damaged. When Malloy’s doctor recommended dietary and lifestyle changes, she was initially skeptical and couldn’t imagine how non-medicinal remedies would help. But when she healed after following through with his advice, she realized just how much food impacts every aspect of our lives.

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Getting the news out: Kim Gorode ’05 spends her days spreading news about COVID-19 testing options

Kim Gorode ’05 leads the public relations center of excellence at Quest Diagnostics, the world’s leading provider of diagnostic information services. She is responsible for sharing news about the company’s advances in science and innovation, including its recent launch of a direct-to-consumer COVID antibody test—one of just a few tests provided emergency use authorization by the Federal Drug Administration.

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COVID-19 and public health: Jamie Sokol ’05, MPH, is helping to prevent and mitigate the spread of the virus

When the pandemic hit, Jamie Sokol ’05, MPH, was pulled in early. As the manager for workforce development at the Allegheny County Health Department in southwestern Pennsylvania, she and her colleagues had to implement the county’s public health emergency response plan, and they had to do it fast. That meant shutting down some of the health department’s programs, scaling back others, and building up new ones for an area that serves 1.2 million people, including the city of Pittsburgh.

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Music and medicine: Todd Frazier ‘92E offers resources to calm, heal, and inspire

Todd Frazier ‘92E is a sixth generation Texan who went to the Eastman School of Music to study music composition. What he learned at Eastman transformed his life and shaped his career. For the last eight years, Frazier has served as the director of Houston Methodist Hospital’s Center for Performing Arts Medicine (CPAM). The center’s mission is to translate the collaborative potential of arts and medicine to the health care environment.

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An insider’s perspective: Dr. Jeffrey Le ’08 goes from music to medicine to the frontlines of the pandemic

Dr. Jeffrey Le ’07 graduated from the University of Rochester with a degree in music. He was a member of the Midnight Ramblers a cappella group, with whom he traveled extensively, bringing music and joy to audiences around the world.

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Tracking COVID-19: Paul Bleicher ’83M (MS), ’83M (MD/PhD) digs into data to help drive insights about the pandemic

A few weeks ago on a Friday morning, Paul Bleicher ’83M (MS), ’83M (MD/PhD) sat down at his desk and started looking for information on the number of COVID-19 cases nationally, interested in knowing what the numbers were by state and by county within a state. He was particularly curious about the Boston area, where he and his wife Julia Greenstein ’81M (MS), ’81M (PhD) live.

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Tips and resources to support young people during the pandemic with Kim Fraites Dow ’98, ’98E of Girl Scouts

A few weeks ago, Kim Fraites-Dow, the CEO of Girls Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania, did what many others have done during the COVID-19 crisis—especially leaders who happen to be Eastman School of Music alumni. She set up an at-home office, complete with her laptop and a standing desk, a physio ball to serve as her office chair, and, yes, a dedicated space to practice her clarinet. Even though it’s been more than 20 years since graduation, she still plays when she can. And, during the pandemic, Fraites-Dow finds that practicing offers her a much-need respite.

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‘Our community is rallying together’

In response to challenges arising from COVID-19, University of Rochester alumni, students, and friends have been reaching out to help. By mid-March, the University established two COVID-19 emergency funds—one to support the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) and the other to help all students with urgent needs—and the response has been remarkable.

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‘Our parents and alumni in China are true University ambassadors’

In response to challenges arising from COVID-19, the University of Rochester recently established two emergency funds to support its Medical Center and its students who remain on campus—80 percent of whom are international—as well as those who have other urgent needs emerging from this crisis. The University’s network of parents and alumni in China has generously responded.

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Catering to the community with Kristin Klock ’00

Kristin Klock ’00 is a small business owner who runs Root Catering and Kin Event Space. Her thriving, eight-year-old business came to a sudden halt a few weeks ago. “It all stopped, literally overnight,” she says. “Every time I checked my phone, there was a cancelation. Within what seemed like hours, we went from being a busy catering and event business to only being able to offer a take-out option.”

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Everyone wins

Nana Afoh-Manin ’08M (MD) is an emergency room physician at Kaiser Permanente in Los Angeles—a city hit hard by the pandemic. Every day, she draws on what she learned at medical school, to treat the whole person. This means addressing acute health issues while considering a patient’s surrounding circumstances and socioeconomic conditions—all of which contribute to illness and healing.

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New York City-based surgeon on the frontlines: spotlight on Gary Gwertzman ’87

Gary Gwertzman ’87 is a New York City-based vascular surgeon with the Mount Sinai Health Care System in New York City. Because of the pandemic, he and many other specialists have had to shift gears. For weeks, he has been using his surgical skills to help COVID-19 patients at Mount Sinai Hospital Brooklyn. Recently, New York Magazine featured him in one of its “Diary of a Hospital” daily dispatches from the hospital’s medical staff.

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Nine ways to decrease fear during the COVID-19 pandemic Advice from Gina Cuyler ’92M (MD), ’95M (Res)

When Dr. Gina Cuyler was two years old, her father died—an acute illness overtook him in days. Soon after his death, her mother sold everything and moved from Panama to New York City in search of a better life for her and her young daughter. By the time Cuyler was four-years-old, she knew she wanted to be a doctor.

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Coach Pat Stark: ‘He was part of our family’

Peter “Pat” Stark, who had a highly successful career as a coach and an administrator at the University of Rochester, passed away on June 19. He was 90 years old.

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UR Medicine Home Care seeks in-kind donations

When asked, most people say they would prefer to stay in their own homes rather than go to a hospital or facility to receive care. “That’s especially important now,” says Margaret Wiant, UR Medicine Home Care’s director of public relations. “It’s critical that we, at UR Medicine Home Care, do what we can to keep people out of hospitals during the pandemic.”

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Changing course to do what’s needed for URMC

Normally, Monica Brown-Ramos, a fourth year medical student, would fill her days with classes, clinical rounds, and serving the community through the University of Rochester Medical Center’s (URMC) UR Well program—a vital service that provides basic health care support to the most underserved in our community.

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Meals on Wheels: feeding Rochester’s most vulnerable

Chicken with teriyaki sauce, barley risotto, vegetables, and a brownie—that’s one of the meals that nearly 1,000 volunteers will deliver this week through Meals On Wheels, a UR Medicine Home Care program. Each day, volunteers deliver nutritious food and provide daily check-ins to Rochester’s most vulnerable: the elderly and the home-bound.

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