Alumni Association honors 13

Published on: March 16, 2024

Alumni Association honors 13

Sitting: Casandra Nguyen, Dr. Judith Neubauer, Alana Ward-Lee, Edith Maletsky, Magogodi Makhene, Tahira Austin-Muhammad, and Samantha Zdun

Standing: Mark Bennett, Dr. Sheila Sandapen, Solomon Harris, Anthony Latini, Demi Moore, and Jason Cannon

The Alumni Association presented awards to 13 people at its annual recognition ceremony on March 12.

President’s Distinguished Alumni Award
Jason Cannon ’15

A seasoned finance professional, Jason Cannon holds a Neumann master's degree in organizational and strategic leadership. His experience includes pivotal roles for The Eustace Foundation, serving as a trustee for the Mary Margaret Trust, board member of The Delaney Family Foundation, and senior managing director at Cabrini Asset Management, Inc. Over the last several years, Jason has been associate producer of the highly anticipated film Cabrini

Alumni Association John Neumann Award
Edith Anne Burnham Maletsky ’76, ’95

Edith Maletsky was honored for a lifetime of professional development and service to the university and the community. Edith received her bachelor's degree in nursing in 1976 at Our Lady of Angels College and her MS in pastoral counseling 19 years later. She admitted the first patient to the Crozer Burn Center, developed numerous fire and burn protection programs, and worked with producers of Sesame Street TV to develop fire safety measures for children. Now 90, she has been retired for years but keeps her nursing license up to date and still provides health training to members of her parish.

Alumni Association Recognition Award
Demi L. Moore EdD ’11

Demi Moore graduated with bachelor’s degrees in psychology and criminal justice. She is currently a teaching assistant at an all-male prison for the Eastern University Prison Education Program and runs her own business, Deserve More, LLC. A near-death experience during her time as a Delaware State Police officer led her to research domestic violence and justice reform. She holds an MS in administration of justice and an EdD in Organizational Leadership, Learning and Innovation from Wilmington University.

Young Alumni Achievement Award
Tahirah Austin-Muhammad ’09

Tahirah Austin-Muhammad has earned a BS in biology from Neumann and an MS in public health from Arcadia University. As a young girl, she was diagnosed with Sickel Cell Disease, sparking her interest in the medical field. In 2018, Tahirah co-created the Crescent Foundation to increase advocacy and support for patients, families, and communities affected by SCD. Currently, she serves as an outpatient community health worker at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Volunteer of the Year Award
Mark Bennett ’16

Mark Bennett completed his master’s degree in sport and entertainment management in 2016 and currently serves as the assistant athletic director for compliance and internal operations at Lincoln University. Since graduation, Mark has loyally notified the university when internships or job opportunities became available, hired Neumann students as interns, served the sport management program as an adjunct professor, and mentored students in the sport management program.

The Spirit of Francis and Clare Award
Alana D. Ward-Lee ’02, ’06

Alana Ward-Lee earned two degrees at Neumann: a BA in communication and an MS in education. Alana is the co-principal at the Gesu Independent Catholic School where she has led city-wide and state-wide recycling and bullying prevention initiatives. She implemented a self-esteem and empowerment program for sixth-grade girls and assisted with many afterschool programs. Alana is a founding member of the Archdiocesan Commission on Racial Healing and president of a non-profit cancer research group.

Honorary Alumni Award
Anthony A. Latini, Jr.

Anthony Latini, Jr. serves as managing director of investment banking at Janney Montgomery Scott, leading the firm’s insurance industry effort. He has over 35 years of experience providing corporate finance and investment banking services. A graduate of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, he currently serves as chair of the Neumann Board of Trustees and is an active board member of the Philadelphia Fire Department’s Historical Corporation.

Alumni Association Outstanding Senior Award
Casandra Nguyen ’24

Casandra Nguyen will graduate in May with a bachelor’s degree in biology/medical laboratory science. While maintaining a 4.0 GPA, Casandra has had many roles at Neumann, serving as vice president and treasurer of Boogie Knights, vice president of Sigma Zeta National Science and Mathematics Honor Society, and a member of the Delta Epsilon Sigma National Honor Society. She has worked as a mentor and orientation leader, a Neumann Navigator, and a peer tutor. Medical school is in her plans.


School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Education
Sheila F. T. Sandapen PhD, ’89

Dr. Sheila Sandapen graduated in 1989 with a bachelor’s degree in communications and a minor in French. Sheila then earned a master’s degree in writing and publishing from Emerson College (Boston) and returned to Neumann to teach full-time for the English and Communications program until 2007. After completing a doctorate in literature and criticism from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, she was hired by Drexel University where she is now director for English Programs.

School of Business
Magogodi Makhene ’08

After graduating from Neumann, Magogodi Makhene earned her master’s degree in social entrepreneurship at New York University, where her studies focused on African social entrepreneurship and business for social change. While there, she co-founded Zenzele Circle, which links African entrepreneurs with global angel capital, and co-founded the Society for Innovation in Africa. Her work won the Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics. She won the David Relin Prize for Fiction in 2016, and her work has appeared in Ploughshares, the Harvard Review, and Guernica. In 2023, she published Innards, a collection of short stories inspired by her Soweto hometown.

School of Nursing and Health Sciences
Judith A Neubauer DNP, ’10, ’13

Dr. Judith Neubauer is a double graduate, earning her BS and MS in nursing here. Following graduation, she worked as a primary care nurse practitioner. She soon began to precept nurse practitioner students and teach in Neumann’s nurse practitioner program part-time. She was hired as the full-time director of the graduate nursing program in 2019. Judy completed her Doctor of Nursing Practice through the University of South Alabama and was recently promoted to Associate Dean of Graduate Nursing.


Samantha (Lafferty) Zdun '06, '17

As a member of the women’s lacrosse team from 2003-2006, Samantha played in 58 games, scoring 200 goals and notching 83 assists. In team history, she ranks fifth in goals, third in assists, third in points (283), and third in caused turnovers (126). With a BS and MS in education, she taught in the Upper Darby School District for years and is currently a kindergarten teacher at Primos Elementary School. She was nominated for the 2016 Delaware County Excellence in Teaching Award.

Solomon Harris ’05

Solomon Harris played men’s basketball from 2001-2004. He scored 1,423 points (an average of 13.2 per game) and grabbed 848 rebounds (7.9 per game). In team history, he ranks sixth in points, second in rebounds, and third in games played (108). Solomon earned a BS in business administration and launched a career in banking as a regional branch manager at Wells Fargo. He is now vice president at Fulton Bank with certification from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management for Diverse Leadership.





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