UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH SCHOOL OF NURSING
NURSE ANESTHESIA PROGRAM
Class of 2012 – Fall Start
Nicole Appel graduated from Pitt with a BS in Psychology in 2004 and worked in research for several years at
WPIC. In 2007 she started Pitt’s Accelerated 2 Degree BSN program, and after graduating worked in UPMC
Presbyterian’s SICU. Nicole is married and lives in the south hills of Pittsburgh, and enjoys spending time with
her husband Sean, her family, and running in her spare time.
Shannon Barr was born and raised in Pittsburgh. Shannon graduated with her BSN from Pitt in 2009. She
worked in the MICU at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh for a little over a year before starting anesthesia
school. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, cooking, being outdoors, and vacationing, especially
to Disney World. She considers herself very fortunate to have the opportunity to attend one of the best
anesthesia programs in the country.
Louise Cortinovis is originally from Peters Township, a small town in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. In 1998,
she and her family moved to Rockville, Maryland for six years, where Louise attended high school. Her family
returned to Pittsburgh after this brief period of time. Louise attended Duquesne University and received her
BSN in 2008. She was employed as an RN at the Department of Veterans Affairs, where she worked for two
years in the CCU. Louise was elated when she received the news that she had been accepted to Pitt’s nurse
anesthesia program - a dream she had been wanting to pursue since an early interest in her high school days.
In her spare time, Louise enjoys spending time with her loving friends and family, exercising, traveling abroad,
playing piano, and watching Penguins hockey.
David Gaggini is originally from the Pittsburgh area and currently lives in Indiana Township with his wife
Candice and two sons Dominic (11) and Nathan (9). David graduated from Mercy Hospital School of Nursing in
2000 and from Waynesburg University in 2009. He has worked in critical care at Mercy, AGH, and the University
Drive VA Hospital. He enjoys spending time outdoors with his family and friends.
Julie Green is originally from Greensburg, PA. She completed her Bachelor's of Nursing at Indiana University
of Pennsylvania. After graduating she returned home and worked at Excela Health Westmoreland in the
Intensive Care Unit. She worked there for two years before making the decision to pursue a career as a nurse
anesthetist. Julie currently lives in Bloomfield with her very supportive boyfriend, Brian. In her spare time she
enjoys watching movies, reading, working out, shopping, traveling, and spending time with her friends and
Carrie Heiney is a native of Pennsylvania, raised near Gettysburg. Upon completion of her BSN at Duquesne
University, she embarked on her career in the MICU and later, CTSICU at Hospital of the University of
Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. She enjoys spending quality time with family and friends, cooking, traveling and
outdoor adventures. She considers herself greatly blessed to have been afforded the opportunity to pursue
anesthesia at Pitt!
Janelle Henkle is originally from Reno, NV. She is the third generation of nurses in her family and is happy to
be carrying on the tradition. She obtained her BSN from the University of Nevada, Reno. After graduation, she
moved to Portland, OR to work in the Neurosciences ICU at Oregon Health and Science University. She spent
two and a half years at OHSU and enjoyed precepting senior nursing students. She loves traveling and hopes
to volunteer as an anesthetist in South America in the future.
Candace Hipple grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA. She received her BSN from Bloomsburg University
of Pennsylvania in 2007. After graduating, Candace and her husband Ryan moved to Pittsburgh, PA. Candace
started her nursing career in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. She worked
there for a total of 3 years before deciding to pursue Nurse Anesthesia. Candace currently resides in
Pittsburgh’s Southside with her husband Ryan and cat Sephy.
Class of 2012 - Fall - Biographical Sketch
Kera Knisely-Furry was born and raised in Claysburg, Pennsylvania, a small town two hours east of Pittsburgh.
She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with her BSN in 2008. Following graduation, Kera took a job in
the Cardio-Thoracic ICU at UPMC Presbyterian, where she worked until starting anesthesia school. She was
married on June 12, 2010 to her husband Jonathan. Kera enjoys spending time with her family and friends, as
well as reading, cooking and traveling to both new and familiar places.
Adrienne LaFollette was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana. She earned her BSN from Indiana State
University in May 2007. Prior to graduation, she was granted an externship at Methodist Hospital Emergency
Medicine and Trauma Center as a student nurse and found her niche in the ER and never looked back. She
worked there for 3 years, up until leaving for anesthesia school. She now resides in Lawrenceville, with her
goldendoodle Cubbie, and is looking forward to her boyfriend relocating to Pittsburgh in January. Adrienne is an
avid Indianapolis Colts and Chicago Cubs fan. She even traveled to Miami for the SuperBowl in February 2010.
She enjoys outdoor activities, camping, bonfires, spending time with family and friends, and traveling.
Jessica Maritto is a native of Pittsburgh. She attended the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing and
graduated with her BSN. Upon completion of her degree, she started working at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital’s
Neurovascular and Neurosurgical ICU. She resides in Shadyside and in her spare time enjoys painting,
traveling and spending time with her amazing parents, family, friends and boyfriend.
Carrie Mieczkowski is from North Royalton, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland. She attended the University of Akron
and graduated with her BSN in 2008. She worked in an adult ICU/CCU in Barberton, Ohio for two years before
moving to Pittsburgh for anesthesia school. Carrie married her boyfriend of four years just two months before
starting the anesthesia program. Carrie enjoys being a newlywed, being outdoors, traveling, and various
athletic activities. She currently lives in Oakland with her new husband and two cats.
Malinda Miller is originally from Maryland, and has resided in Pittsburgh for a little over five years. She pursued
a nursing degree at CCAC and continued her education to receive a BSN from La Roche College. After
graduating from CCAC ,she worked at Allegheny General Hospital in the Neurological/Neurosurgical ICU for 2
years. She lives with her partner, Adam, and her cat in Bloomfield. Malinda enjoys reading, crocheting, going to
the movies, spending time with friends, and the Pens.
Susan Miller is originally from Cochranton, PA and currently lives in Bellevue. Susan received her BSN at
Waynesburg University in spring of 2010. She most recently worked for the past three years in the Coronary
Care ICU at the Veterans Affairs Health Administration in Oakland. While working in critical care, Susan
became certified in Critical Care as well as Cardiac Medicine. Susan enjoys poetry, learning, traveling, and the
Elicia Morris grew up just outside of Toronto, Ontario. She obtained her BSN from Gardner-Webb University in
North Carolina where she was a member of their Division I soccer team. She then moved to Rochester New
York where she worked in the MICU for 2 years. Elicia enjoys watching and playing sports, movies, and
spending time with her cat Kingsly.
Jill Beatty Pruszynski is a native of Pittsburgh. She received her BSN from the University of Pittsburgh’s
second degree program in 2006, having previously been employed as a professional clarinetist and instructor.
Following graduation, she was employed at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in the Neurovascular ICU. Jill enjoys
music, traveling, cycling, cheese, cooking, reading, and spending time with family and friends. She resides with
her husband Joseph and son Quen in Squirrel Hill.
Adrienne Ruzicka obtained her BSN from Penn State University in 2006. She grew up in Hanover,
Pennsylvania and moved to Pittsburgh after graduation. Since graduation, she has worked in the Transplant
Intensive Care Unit at UPMC Montefiore. In her free time, she enjoys sports, being outdoors, working with the
Youth Group at her church, and running. She recently ran a full marathon and has a goal to compete in an Iron
Man competition someday. Ultimately, she looks forward to being in the Nurse Anesthesia Program at the
University of Pittsburgh and is excited about transitioning into a new role with many challenges and
Class of 2012 - Fall - Biographical Sketch
Stephanie Sylvia was born and raised in Dartmouth, Massachusetts. After graduating from Boston College in
2007 with her BSN, she moved to Pittsburgh and began working in the Cardiothoracic ICU at UPMC
Presbyterian Hospital. Stephanie was recently commissioned into the United States Army Reserves. Despite
living in Pittsburgh for the past three years, Stephanie has not acquired the “Steeler fever” and will always be a
New England Patriots and Boston College Eagles fan! She enjoys the outdoors, playing sports, and most of all
her family and friends. She is eager to embark on the next journey in her life at the University of Pittsburgh, one
the best anesthesia programs in the country.
Nkiruka Udodi (Nikky) originally from Nigeria acquired a bachelors degree in Economics from the Enugu State
University of Science and Technology, Nigeria. She then acquired a bachelors degree in Nursing from the
University of Medicine and Dentistry, New Jersey in 2007 . Thereafter Nikky worked at the cardiac Telemetry
unit at St Joseph Regional Medical Center, Paterson New Jersey for twenty one months, and then went on to
work at Mountainside Hospital at the Medical Intensive care unit for fourteen months, and feels very fortunate to
be in one of the best Anesthesia Schools in the Country. Nikky enjoys community services and in 2007 went
with the foundation for peace to the Dominican Republic to help provide food, clothing, and healthcare services
to the materially poor residents. Nikky appreciates time with her husband and twin children in New Jersey. She
also enjoys cooking, watching movies, reading, making friends, outdoor activities, decorating and singing.
Meghan Vucetic is originally from Pittsburgh and grew up in Gibsonia. She received her BSN from Case
Western Reserve University in 2008. Post graduation, she worked in the Cardiothoracic ICU at the Cleveland
Clinic for 2 years. She got married a month before school started and is currently residing in Shadyside with her
husband, Michael. She loves to spend time with her family and friends and is grateful to have such a wonderful
Scott Young is originally from Zanesville, Ohio but recently moved to Pittsburgh from Dayton, OH. He worked
in Dayton in a Burn Unit since obtaining his BSN in 2008. He enjoys spending time with his family, camping,
and hunting in the fall. Scott is an avid sports fan and especially enjoys football and golf. He lives east of the
city with his wife and two small children.