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Salem State announces new class of “40 Under 40”

Young alumni recognized for their significant contributions to their profession, community and/or the university.

Salem, Mass. – Salem State University announces a new class of young leaders through its “40 Under 40” program, building on the recently established biennial tradition.

From the walls of a multicultural toy company to the court of the Detroit Pistons, the impressive group of Viking alumni was recognized during Alumni Weekend for their significant contributions to their profession, community and/or Salem State University.

“The 2023 class of high achievers is a testament to the work ethic, talent and perseverance that encompasses a Salem State graduate. As a member of the new class, it was a privilege to be honored among my peers and hope that a new generation of Vikings will be inspired to make a difference,” said Mike Mitchell ’07, associate director of alumni relations at Salem State University.

A panel of judges representing various areas of the university community selected the class from a pool of talented applicants.

During the milestone celebration, outgoing Alumni Association President Debra Lee Surface ’05, ’19G, who is also a member of the inaugural “40 Under 40” class, welcomed guests and presented awards to the honorees. Posters of each recipient surrounded the room, meaningfully highlighting their community impact.

“There are so many talented and accomplished alumni transforming communities, breaking glass ceilings and creating change,” said Surface.

Read more about the newest class:

  • Melissa Carella ’13, ’19G, marketing manager, Triverus Consulting
  • Victoria Chase ’16, assistant general counsel, Executive Office of Health and Human Services, Commonwealth of Massachusetts
  • Sidi A. Diarra ’16, PhD candidate, Huazhong University of Sciences and Technology
  • Derek DiGregorio ’04, stage manager, Harry Potter and The Cursed Child
  • Julianna Donovan ’20G, owner, Salem Style and marketing manager, Howland Capital
  • Errin Douglas ’18, COO, The Davis System, LLC
  • Drew Duperval ’18, founder, EntreDupe Consulting LLC and EntreDupe Productions
  • Natasha Evans ’16, art educator, Hampton City Schools
  • Leah Falkowski ’08, toddler teacher, Jewish Community Center, Y Kids Club Staff
  • Rep. Jessica Giannino ’14, state representative, Sixteenth Suffolk District, The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
  • Jenn T. Grace ’04, founder and CEO, Publish Your Purpose, a Certified B Corp
  • Tatsuya Ito ’11, associate technical director, University of Illinois
  • Cassandra Keane ’18, ’22G, product business manager, Sanofi Genzyme
  • Mashooma Khalifa ’12, QC manager, ElevateBio
  • Eric Lampedecchio ’08, vice president of learning and development, Pentucket Bank
  • Kelsey Lima ’18, clinical social worker, Department of Public Health
  • Kevin David Linton, PhD ’12G, director of TRIO Student Support Services, Salem State University
  • Adam M. Lord, CPA, CNAP ’08, partner, Penchansky & Co., PLLC
  • Erin Mayo ’16, student affairs scholar practitioner
  • Theresa Melito-Conners, PhD ’11G, professional speaker, Dr. MC’s Self-Care Cabaret
  • Mike Mitchell ’07, associate director of alumni relations, Salem State University
  • Danielle Morgan Acosta ’09G, associate dean for student success, student engagement, Clark University
  • Cameron Morissette ’11, senior project geologist, Mott MacDonald
  • Gaetano Mortillaro ’17, international tax associate, PwC
  • Pedro Palandrani ’18G, VP, director of research, Global X ETFs
  • Sebastian Poirier ’09, senior medical director, Detroit Pistons
  • Katie Pustizzi, MFA ’15, dance instructor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Gann Academy, Aurora Borealis Dance Company
  • Widline Pyrame ’10, CEO and founder, Fusion Dolls
  • Kerry (Stokes) Ramsdell ’10, chief of police and director of public safety, Endicott College
  • Yoscairy Raymond ’19, CEO and owner, Olive Branch Multiservice
  • Brock Riley ’20, professional baseball player, Great Falls Voyagers and physical education teacher, Tyngsborough Elementary School, pitching coach, Chatham Anglers
  • Tony Rossi ’10, actor, writer, speaker, Tony Rossi Coaching
  • Billy Sawyer ’09, creative director, C-4 Analytics
  • Alexandra Slazar-Makarewicz ’08, ’12G, community organizer, Wakefield Public Schools and stay-at-home mother
  • Cassandra Soffron ’18, nurse practitioner, Salem State University
  • Stephanie Spillane, MEd ’04, school principal, Brockton Public Schools
  • Alayna Travaglione ’19, metadata specialist, South Caroline Historical Society and library and information sciences master’s degree student
  • Mike Vella ’05, ’08G, director of talent acquisition, Werfen
  • Andrea Walsh, MS, ECMH-E® ’09, mental health and disabilities manager, Pathways for Children
  • Catherine Workman ’06, city councilor, Ward 4 in Keene, New Hampshire and director of social services, Genesis, Langdon Place of Keene


About Salem State University

Salem State University, established in 1854, is a comprehensive, public institution of higher learning located approximately 15 miles north of Boston, Massachusetts. One of the largest state universities in the Commonwealth, Salem State enrolls about 7,000 undergraduate and graduate students. It offers 32 undergraduate programs and graduate programs that offer degrees in 24 fields. The university also has a continuing education division that offers both credit and non-credit programs. Salem State proudly participates in the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement and has shown a student voting rate above the national average, earning it a Silver Seal from the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge. In 2020, Salem State received Carnegie Community Engagement Classification. The university is designated a Best for Vets College by Military Times.   

About Salem State University Alumni Association and Foundation, Inc.

The Salem State University Alumni Association and Foundation, Inc. (AA&F) is a 501(c)(3) private, not-for-profit organization. In partnership with Salem State University, the AA&F promotes pride in the university and inspires philanthropy to invest in student success. In so doing, the AA&F provides the opportunity to meet the needs of the Salem State community not met through public funding.

Corey Cronin
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