The Iona College Campus Quad

Many Iona alumni are health care professionals, essential staff or first responders fighting the good fight against COVID-19.

We are highlighting our alumni who work in health care, are first responders or essential staff - they have committed to serving their communities during this global pandemic, and any other emergency! Let’s show them how much Gael Nation supports them!

If you would like to share your own story, or nominate someone else’s story, please submit it here to be shared on social media!


Michael J. Foti ’14, DO
Internal Medicine Resident

“The best way I can describe my brother is from an early age his mind was always made up. His dream was to be a doctor and he focused on that his whole life. Iona was an important part of his education and laid the groundwork for more success after. He continued to excel and officially became a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine last year. As a first year resident he has already learned so much and I couldn’t be more proud. Currently, he is on the front lines during this COVID-19 global pandemic we are dealing with. His days are long and tiresome but he truly cares about each patient and I know they are in the best of hands. All of our medical professionals deserve an enormous amount of gratitude and appreciation for the tireless work they put in. Our family is extremely proud of Michael and the dedication he shows on a daily basis, especially the patience he shows in answering our constant medical questions!”

Michael J. Foti ’14, DO was nominated by his brother, Vincenzo Foti ’12

Molly Sheehan ’13, ’16MA
Speech Language Pathologist, Montefiore Medical Center

“I am a speech and swallowing therapist at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx. We have become the designated regional COVID-19 hospital for the Bronx. We have been expected to double the amount of beds at our facility to prepare for the influx of patients over the coming weeks. As a speech language pathologist in the hospital, I not only assess speech/language and cognition for neurological impaired patients, but also primarily assess patients swallow function, which will become critical as many of these COVID-19 patients are being intubated (on ventilators) for several days, even weeks. As a result, these patients are extremely deconditioned and at risk for aspiration of their own secretions or food/liquid. If patients continue to have food or liquid go down the “wrong way” they can develop Pneumonia, which could further complicate their hospitalization. It is our job to assess and rehab patients swallow function and make appropriate diet consistency recommendations to keep these patients safe. Please continue to do your part and stay home to prevent the spread of COVID-19! We all thank you for it!”

Peter Vitale ’14, DO
PGY-II, Overlook Family Medicine Residency

“I am a family medicine resident at Overlook Medical Center in Summit, New Jersey, which is about 20 miles from NYC. Family medicine physicians are one of the specialties that are working on the frontlines of this war with COVID-19. We are working to keep patients with mild symptoms out of the hospital and isolated at home, provide reassurance, and maintain the health of our patients we see on a regular basis- most of which we cannot see in person anymore. As family medicine residents, we work within virtually every department in the hospital and are caring for patients with COVID-19 in increasing numbers. This is expected to increase significantly over the next week. We need everyone to do their part- do not buy masks or gloves- as they are in short supply for the people who need them every day. Please practice social distancing to protect our vulnerable population, and thus keep the number of patients infected and requiring hospitalization within the capacity of our hospital systems. We will get through this, but exactly how well it will go will depend on how well the public complies with these measures.”


Daniel Costa ’13
NYPD - Elmhurst, Queens

Daniel Costa ’13 has been an active NYPD officer for 3.5 years, serving Elmhurst, Queens. “EMS has not seen this number of calls for help in decades and hospitals are jam packed. Our small hospital in Elmhurst, Queens is currently the epicenter. Supplies are short and we’re thriving on community donations at the moment. The NYPD has 14% of its uniformed workforce out sick, with 3 members of the department already deceased due to COVID-19. I would just like to encourage people to donate anything they can, particularly N95 respirator masks and PPE equipment to their nearest hospital, EMS station, fire department, or, of course, police precinct . We all need supplies. I was a proud member of the Iona College Pipe Band and current member of the NYPD Pipes and Drums.”


Kaitlin Mallon-Tergesen ’11
Physician Assistant 

“My sister Kaitlin is a physician assistant working at NYC’s Columbia University Medical hospital. From an early age she aspired to work in the medical field, a goal she ultimately went after- excelling every step of the way. Kaitlin has always been a confident, caring, smart, and ambitious person, so it’s no surprise to me that she ended up in a field where she helps and guides others. Kaitlin has to go to work every shift, knowing her patients depend on her, doing her absolute best to help each patient despite the current crisis in the world. Each day putting herself at risk. My sister fell victim to COVID-19, likely because of work, and is now recovered, and heading back to the hospital to help people. Her job is long, tiresome, difficult, and now scary at times and she continues to put others first and go to work. Kaitlin cares about the people she treats and wants to help others. All of the medical professionals deserve our complete and total support during this crazy time. My extended family and I appreciate and respect the work she (and all medical personnel) has and will continue to put in to help as this pandemic continues.”

Kaitlin Mallon-Tergesen ’11 was nominated by her sister, Meaghan Mallon ’10 

Megan Nicolaro '16, MS, CCC- SLP
Speech Language Pathologist, Matheny Medical & Educational Center

"Megan Nicolaro '16, MS, CCC- SLP is a speech pathologist at Matheny Medical & Educational facility. She works with developmental and cognitively delayed individuals. Despite the pandemic affecting the country, Megan continues to provide swallowing, speech, and language therapy to her patients. She is working with some of the most medically complex and vulnerable populations, and continues to make sure that her patients are safe from possible COVID-19 exposure."

Megan Nicolaro '16, MS, CCC- SLP was nominated by her friend, Lauren Keller '16


Dr. Margaret A. Pisani, ‘85, MD, MPH
Vice Chief for Faculty Mentoring and Career Development and an Associate Professor at Yale University School of Medicine in the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine

"She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from Iona College, an MS from NJIT, an MD from Temple University and an MPH from Yale University. Dr. Pisani completed her internship and residency in Internal Medicine at Yale-New Haven Hospital where she was also Chief Resident. She remained at Yale University for Pulmonary & Critical Care Fellowship and then joined the faculty. She was the Yale PCCSM fellowship director for 10 years and has an extensive track record of mentoring medical students, residents, fellows and junior faculty. Dr. Pisani cares for patients with lung disease as well as critically ill patients in intensive care units. Her clinical and research interests include sleep, delirium and circadian biology in critical illness, functional and cognitive outcomes in older patients after critical illness, aging and lung disease and pleural diseases."

Professor Sunghee Lee, Ph.D. has nominated Dr. Margaret A. Pisani, ‘85, MD, MPH. Dr. Pisani “is currently tireless working in the ICU. She describes the situation as a war zone.”


Louis Cordasco ’85
New Crystal Restoration

“Our Family-Owned business holds the distinction as Westchester’s 1st and oldest cleaning and restoration company. Founded in 1960, we have helped thousands of families and businesses recover from disasters. We are currently working with hospitals to do whatever is necessary and needed to support their effort to provide medical treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic. Louis Cordasco is our director of environmental services. He is working at a NYC hospital to disinfect and clean, assemble hospital beds and to renovate existing space to make room for more patient's care.”

Louis Cordasco ’85 was nominated by Lisa Cordasco ’84


Diane Lantz '07MS
Case Manager, Montefiore Medical Center

"I am nominating my sister Diane Lantz '07MS. She is a registered nurse and case manager at Montefiore in the Bronx. She has worked effortlessly during this pandemic. This facility is only treating COVID-19 patients. She is surrounded by sick and dying patients in a bleak environment. Her hours are long and grueling. She comes home completely exhausted which is a blessing in disguise. She requires a great deal of sleep so she is unable to dwell on what she witnessed during the day. She starts each day with the hope that we are closer to seeing the end of this dreaded virus."

Diane Lantz '07MS was nominated by her sister Susan C. Keller '83


Ken Jenkins ’95 
Deputy County Executive of Westchester

Ken Jenkins ’95 serves as the deputy county executive for Westchester County under county executive George Latimer P’07. Their office has been leading the navigation of coronavirus due to the early rise of confirmed local cases. During this pandemic, the two have worked to ensure proper reporting and containment of the virus and protection of all of Westchester’s citizens and workforce. Jenkins has been a leader in Westchester for over 20 years, and is a proud Iona alumnus. George Latimer is the father of Gael daughter Meagan ’07! Jenkins and Latimer are joined in their office by another Gael - Joe Sgammato ’14, Deputy Communications Director!

Jessica Walberg ’10
Registered Nurse

"Jessica Walberg ’10 is a nurse at Mount Sinai South Nassau Hospital in Oceanside N.Y. Not only is she a frontline hero but she beat the virus herself and is now continuing to give back to her community via donation of plasma. She continues to be a beacon of hope in difficult times."

Jessica Walberg ’10 was nominated by Kate Tavitian ’13.


Cynthia M. DeAngelo '04, '11MST
High School Teacher, New York City

“I’m not a frontline worker during the COVID-19 crisis. I’m not in a hospital with the doctors and nurses nursing patients back to health. I’m not a first responder answering calls to help those in need. I’m not working in grocery store or a pharmacy. But I am an essential worker. I’d consider myself a “backline” worker. I’m a teacher. I’m trying to keep some normalcy in the life of a child whose life is not normal anymore. I am meeting with kids who have tears in their eyes after having lost a grandparent to this virus. I am reaching out to a child who lost a parent to this virus. I am offering virtual love and hugs and support to kids who are hurt and scared and are lost. We are dealing with more than just lesson plans and grading and virtual classrooms.”



Edward J. Browne '15MBA
Assistant Chief, Stamford EMS

“As first responders, the paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians I work with are caring for COVID-19 patients on a daily basis. These men and women are doing unbelievable work and I am awed by their commitment and professionalism. I am honored and privileged to work with such amazing people.”


Kaitlyn Zapletal ’12
Captain, Pleasantville Volunteer Ambulance Corps

“I am the Captain (and an EMT) of the Pleasantville Volunteer Ambulance Corps. We continue to be on the front lines since this pandemic started and we’re not stopping! In addition to responding to numerous COVID-19 calls throughout the day and night, we have begun to read children’s books via video posts for our younger residents who may not have a whole lot to do during quarantine. Stories unite us all and we’re here to support our community!”

Laura Lubrano ’14
Social Worker

“Laura Lubrano ’14 is a social worker at Richmond University Medical Center on Staten Island. She works in inpatient medicine and plans for safe discharges and provides support to patients and families. Usually Laura meets with patients and their families, but because of COVID-19 and the shortage of PPE masks, a lot of her contact is via phone. Near the end of March, all of her fellow social workers were out sick (not from COVID-19) so she was the only one on staff to work with patients and families for a week. She sees many of the families affected by COVID-19 in need of support and guidance from social workers.” - 

Laura Lubrano ’14 was nominated by Rachel Paquin ’13.