Fisher Recognizes Alumni for Dedication to Community

September 25, 2023

During Alumni Weekend at a special luncheon, St. John Fisher University honored 15 graduates who have been influential in serving communities. The celebration recognized Dean’s Medal recipients from each of the five Schools and graduates of the last decade with the Ten Under 10 Awards.

2023 Deans Medal Honorees

Dean’s Medal Honorees

The 2023 recipients of the Dean’s Medals are Dr. Alex Danforth ’13 (Pharm.D.); Wegmans School of Pharmacy; Rosemary Shanahan ’19 (M.S.), Wegmans School of Nursing; Dr. Michele Hancock ’08 (Ed.D.), Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. School of Education; David S. Bevilacqua ’73, School of Arts and Sciences; and Cheryl Yawman ’86, School of Business.

As a board-certified ambulatory care specialist, Danforth serves as the director of infectious disease and clinical pharmacy at Trillium Health where she oversees the clinical pharmacy program. She works collaboratively with specialty providers and care coordinators at Trillium to manage Hepatitis C medications and HIV care. Prior to her time at Trillium, she worked at the University of Rochester Medical Center where she completed her post-graduate year one pharmacy residency and served as a clinical pharmacy specialist.

Danforth has been a model alumna, staying actively engaged with the University since graduation.  Professionally, she has offered her knowledge and expertise to students by serving as a pharmacy preceptor for clinical rotations, providing guest lectures in classes, and serving as a mentor to current students. She has also willingly provided her time serving on the pharmacy career panel representing ambulatory care pharmacy to prospective and new pharmacy students. In addition, she served as a member of Fisher’s Alumni Board of Directors for the University from 2019 to 2022. 

Shanahan exemplifies the Fisher Creed through her work as a board certified psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. She earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing at St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana and her master’s degree from the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program at St. John Fisher University.

As a board-certified psychiatric nurse practitioner, Shanahan has worked with a diverse population of individuals across the lifespan. She has expertise in trauma and its connection with the symptoms that individuals experience as anxiety, depression, and attention deficits.  She is committed to lifelong learning to improve the outcomes of her patients, demonstrated by the specialized training she earned through Psychiatry Redefined’s Integrative Psychiatry Fellowship and the Walsh Research Institute’s Mastering Brain Chemistry program.

Shanahan was integral in the formation of Gavia Life Care Center, an interdisciplinary office of mental health-licensed outpatient mental health treatment center serving the Rochester community. In addition to her work at Gavia, she recently began her own private practice where she strives to provide integrative, holistic care that is focused on treating the mind, body, and spirit.

Over the course of her career in education, Hancock served students in a growing number of leadership capacities. An elementary classroom teacher for 25 years, she was as an instructional leader in the areas of reading and curriculum design, and led teacher coaching and mentored peers. She served numerous years in school administration as a vice principal of curriculum and instruction in a middle school, six years as an elementary school principal, five years in various school district roles, and eventually served as Kenosha Unified School District’s school superintendent for more than three years.

Hancock has devoted her career and research to teacher education. In 2014, she joined the administration and faculty at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin.  In 2015, she also became the director of the Accelerated Certification for Teachers (ACT) Program. In this role, she supervises all aspects of orientation, course scheduling, program mentor/coach’s supervision, and teacher state licensure requirements. From 2017 to today, she designed and implemented the Equity and Inclusion Certification Program, an independent study of cultural humility and competence, and supports work with the Carthage campus-wide Equity and Inclusion Committee.

Bevilacqua graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in biology from St. John Fisher University before going on to the University of Rochester for medical school and SUNY Buffalo for an orthopedic surgery residency.

He served as an attending orthopedic surgeon, and chairman of orthopedic surgery at the United States Veterans Hospital from 1984 to 1987. He then went on to become an orthopedic surgeon at Buffalo Mercy Hospital, becoming chairman of orthopedic surgery in 2003. In 2014, Bevilacqua became chairman of orthopedic surgery for the Catholic Health System as well.

Bevilacqua has been named “Top Performer: Patient Experience” and “Top Performer: Efficiency” in the Catholic Health System, earning each award twice in 2019. In 2020, Bevilacqua also received recognition as an “Epic Trainer” in the Catholic Health System.

A graduate of the accounting program through the School of Business, Yawman is the director of business development for Consiliarium, a full-service employee benefits brokerage and consulting firm based in Rochester. A certified public accountant in New York, she is a member of the Rochester Chapter of the New York State Society of CPAs. Her career includes positions at the Big 4 accounting firms.

Throughout her career, she has remained active in the Fisher community, serving on the Accounting/Finance Department Advisory Board, mentoring students, and advocating for the School of Business. For her significant contributions to the Fisher community, she was honored as the 2013 Accounting Alumnus of the Year.

Her many accomplishments within the community include the Rochester Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Award, the Sojourner Home Pillar of Strength Award, and finalist recognition at the annual Athena Awards. 

Ten Under 10 Awardees


Gabby Garcy ’21 graduated with a degree in media and communication.  She currently serves as the digital communications specialist for Visit Rochester, a critical role on the organization’s communications team. In this role, Garcy is responsible for creating the social media strategy and content for Visit Rochester, the official tourism promotion agency for Monroe County. She remains involved with Fisher as an alumna, most recently organizing the 2022 Department of Media and Communication Young Alumni Event and participating on a panel during The PRIMA Group’s 2023 Social Media Week.

A graduate of Fisher’s media management program, Jack Laino ’21 began his career at Butler/Till, where today he is an account executive serving clients and helping to shape their stories. He is also currently pursuing a master’s degree in business analytics from St. Bonaventure University. Beyond his professional achievements, Laino is actively engaged in the Rochester Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America’s Young Professionals Committee and also serves as a committee member with ROC2025. In his free time, he coaches lacrosse for Clarence Youth.

Since graduating with a degree in interactive media and English, Sarah Kubik ’19 has held several positions with the Walt Disney Company. She was promoted to a guest experience manager, overseeing the recreation and operations of six resorts. In her role, she works with more than 400 cast members, finding new ways of reworking the operation and highlighting cast recognition. She is one of the diversity champions at Disney and also leads team volunteer projects, including the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Through this work, Kubik and her team raised enough money to grant 41 children wishes. She has also gone on to pursue a master’s degree in hospitality and tourism management from the University of Central Florida.

Erica Atkins ’18, ’19 (MBA), joined Deloitte Tax LLP in June 2019, specializing in corporate tax, she has spent the past year transitioning into the role of acting manager for her clients. Her exceptional performance and remarkable achievements during her tenure at Deloitte significantly contributed to her well-deserved promotion to manager. In her personal and professional lives, Atkins upholds the Fisher values by her excellence and her interactions with others. From being a student to a manager at a Big 4 accounting firm, she has displayed leadership and commitment to career success.

Dr. Andrew Cohen is a 2018 biology graduate who went on to pursue his doctorate of veterinary medicine at Atlantic Veterinary College at the University of Prince Edward Island in Canada.  Shortly after graduation, he accepted a position as a small animal primary emergency service clinician at the AVC Veterinary Teaching Hospital. His work is dual-sided, where he performs both critical and life-saving emergency medicine for patients across Atlantic Canada, while simultaneously teaching the next generation of veterinarians. As an emergency veterinarian, Cohen works with critically ill or emergent dogs and cats, offering life-saving care at a moment’s notice. Throughout his first year in practice, he conducted multiple interviews with the CBC, and eventually became the co-chief of the emergency service. 

Marissa Stack is a double Cardinal, earning her degree in accounting in 2017, and her MBA in 2018. While pursuing her MBA at Fisher, she obtained her CPA license, an achievement that propelled her into a series of promotions within her finance career. Following graduation, she served as a tax associate at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). She consistently earned the highest performance ratings in the Midwest region at PwC, thanks to her exceptional leadership abilities and knowledge of tax principles. Today, Stack serves as a senior financial analyst with Constellation Brands, where she oversees a team of eight professionals and orchestrates all centralized activities necessary for forecasting and reporting on the budget. Her exceptional skills and leadership continue to shine in her contributions to her organization.

Genevieve Paeglow ’17 is a graduate of Fisher’s marketing program. Upon graduating, she turned an internship with AP Professionals into a full-time job and was hired by the company as a placement coordinator and director of first impressions. She was promoted to recruiting and sourcing specialist by 2019. In 2020, she made the move to Alliance Advisory Group as the director of talent acquisition. In her tenure with the company, she has played a pivotal role in establishing the Alliance Fellowship Academy, which provides college students with an invaluable externship opportunity, granting them exposure to the financial services sector before embarking on formal internships. Today, Paeglow works for Washington, D.C.-based Financial Growth Partners as regional director of talent experience.

Dr. Corey Hepburn graduated from Fisher in 2016 with a master’s degree in educational leadership, and returned several years later to pursue an education doctorate in executive leadership. His dedication to advancing his own education and his career in the field of education led him from the classrooms of the Rochester City School District to his current role as principal for the Greece Central School District. As a principal, he plays a crucial role in shaping the educational environment for both students and staff members. He remains involved with Fisher as a member of the University’s Alumni Board of Directors and is also an active board member with Rochester Regional Health Isabella Graham Hart School of Practical Nursing.

Nick Shotwell ’16 is a graduate of the School of Business, earning a degree in finance. He began his career at First American Equipment Finance, initially serving as an analyst in the Credit Department. After two years of dedicated service, he achieved a well-deserved promotion to the role of credit officer. In this capacity, he assumed the responsibility of reviewing larger accounts, assessing creditworthiness, and evaluating associated risks. Today, as a vice president at First American, his primary focus is on comprehending his clients’ specific needs and challenges.

Taylor Youngkrans graduated from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. School of Education with a bachelor’s degree in education in 2015. Her career centers around childhood inclusive education with a focus on developmental and behavioral models. Her teaching career has brought her to the Rochester Childfirst Network, Liberty POST STARS Preschool, Wayne Central School District, and Watertown City School District, where she served as a special education teacher. Today, she is a first-grade special education teacher with Pulaski Central Schools and has begun her road to leadership within the district. She also serves as the high school weightlifting coordinator, as well as the girl’s head varsity track coach for Pulaski Schools. During her first year at Pulaski, her team won the Patriot League Championship, the Section III Title, and brought individual qualifiers to New York State finals.