• Oct. 4, 2019

    2019 Halls of Fame honors 11

    Halls of Fame Eleven individuals were inducted into the Upper St. Clair High School Halls of Fame on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019. Nine alumni and two retired teachers/coaches were honored at the annual induction ceremony and recognized at the home football game.

    The 2019 Halls of Fame inductees include:  

    • Academic Hall of Fame: Akshaya Kumar Chakravarthy, Class of 2004; Dennis Chao, Class of 1990; Dominick Frollini, Retired Teacher & Coach; Elizabeth Wellington Jeffords, Class of 1991; and Melanie Wellington, Class of 1986

    • Arts Hall of Fame: Sean McDowell, Class of 1973; and Emily Reason, Class of 1998

    • Athletic Hall of Fame: Nimit Bansal, Class of 1988; Peter Coughlin, Class of 2013; Jim Render, Retired Teacher & Coach; and Thomas Steve, Class of 2014

    “Thank you to our inductees for sharing your successes and for serving as shining examples to our students of the power of hard work, tenacity and the courage to follow your passion,” Dr. Rozzo, said. “In many ways, our Halls of Fame event represents and celebrates the actualization of our district’s mission and vision.”

    Founded in 2000, the Upper St. Clair Halls of Fame honors those who have distinguished themselves in academics, the arts, or athletics at the high school, collegiate or professional level and who, in so doing, have contributed to the pride and prestige of Upper St. Clair High School. 

    The annual event is co-chaired by Upper St. Clair High School alumni Dr. Timothy Wagner, Upper St. Clair High School principal, and Gordon Mathews, school counselor and coordinator of alumni relations.

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    Learn more about our 2019 Halls of Fame Inductees

    Dennis Chao Dennis Chao (Academic Hall of Fame): Dennis Chao, class of 1990, was a National Honor Society member and attended the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Sciences. Graduating with a 3.98 QPA and sixth in the class, he was a National Merit Semifinalist. After high school, Dennis attended Princeton University and graduated in 1994 with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering for Computer Science. While working at Epson Palo Alto Laboratory in Palo Alto, Calif. from 1994 to 1998, Dennis was awarded two patents. In 2004, he graduated from the University of New Mexico, earning a Ph.D. in Computer Science. Dennis worked at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle as a postdoctoral fellow. He then became a senior staff scientist for Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division at the same center from 2012 to 2015. Dennis has many achievements in the science field as a senior research scientist at the Institute for Disease Modeling. He works with scientists and public health officials to reduce the number of people who get sick from and die of infectious diseases, such as influenza, cholera, dengue and typhoid. He has been invited to the World Health Organization as an expert consultant and has more than 30 peer-reviewed publications. He currently resides in Seattle, Wash., and in his free time Dennis enjoys bicycling and gardening. 
    Written by Karsen Damon, Class of 2021 

    Elizabeth Wellington Jeffords Elizabeth Wellington Jeffords (Academic Hall of Fame):  Elizabeth Jeffords, class of 1991, graduated with the accomplishments of Valedictorian, National Honors Society member, and National Merit Semifinalist. Elizabeth went on to pursue a personally designed major, a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Management, at Yale University. It was there where Elizabeth received a Fulbright Scholarship and an opportunity to earn her MBA, a Masters of Business and Technology, at the University of New South Wales in Australia. Elizabeth now resides in San Carlos, Calif. and works at Alkahest INC. Her previous roles at the company consist of two vice president positions and general manager/CEO of Roche, Norway. Elizabeth now occupies the position of chief commercial and strategy officer where she serves as a leader in redesigning and repositioning the Alkahest brand. She was named a “Key Contributor” at Genentech/Roche six times. Outside of the office, Elizabeth is an active member of the Healthcare Businesswomen's Alliance, where she was awarded prestigious recognitions including Rising Star (2009) and Luminary (2014), as well as serving on several of the organization’s advisory boards. Elizabeth enjoys dancing and is a volunteer costume director for her daughter’s high school theater program. She resides in California with her husband and two children. 
    Written by Marina Bulazo, Class of 2021  

    Melanie Wellington Melanie Wellington (Academic Hall of Fame):  Melanie Wellington, class of 1986, graduated with the accomplishments of receiving the Bausch and Lomb Science Award, National Honor Society member, as well as a National Merit Commendation. Melanie received a ScB in Biology from Brown University. At Brown, Melanie received the Maria Caleel Memorial Award for Academic Excellence, the highest recognition granted to a student in biology that models strong qualities of scholarship, research, academic performance and contributions to the undergraduate intellectual atmosphere. Melanie attended Duke University for both her M.S. in Cell Biology and M.D. She then received her Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Rochester, where she also pursued her Pediatrics Residency in Pediatric Infectious Diseases. She is now an Associate Professor in Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Associate Hospital Epidemiologist at the University of Iowa and its clinics. Melanie is a mentor for peers ranging from undergraduates to sub-specialty pediatric fellows. Publishing 33 research articles, reviews and book chapters; reviewing for the National Institutes of Health, the UK Medical Research Council, and over 15 biomedical journals; and being elected to the Society of Pediatric Research, are just some of her accomplishments in the medical field. Melanie lives in Iowa with her husband and daughter. Her current interests include weaving, sewing, and glass-blowing.
    Written by Marina Bulazo, Class of 2021

    Dominick Frollini Dr. Dominick Frollini, Jr., retired faculty member (Academic Hall of Fame):  Dr. Dominick Frollini, Jr. retired from his teaching position at Upper St. Clair High School in June 2018. He was a challenging and renowned Honors, AP, and IB HL Chemistry teacher for 21 years, and a curriculum leader for one year. Prior to his teaching career, Dr. Frollini worked as an industrial chemist for 13 years. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry and earned his Secondary Education degree at Clarion College in 1973. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1980 where he received his Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry. Dr. Frollini made a large impact as an educator. He introduced many labs and successful strategies that promoted student learning. He valued student success by allowing test retakes, student input, and he always provided coffee for his morning AP Chemistry classes. In 2015, Dr. Frollini was awarded the Kevin Burns Outstanding High School Science Teacher Award. Along with being a phenomenal classroom teacher, he sponsored the Fishing Club, Chemistry Olympics and Science Bowl. Dr. Frollini is currently the assistant coach to both the wrestling and track & field teams. On top of his successful career at Upper St Clair, Dr. Frollini was a school director at Penn-Trafford School District for 18 years and a Recreation Board member of Trafford for 20 years.
    Written by Caroline Sandford, Class of 2021

    Akshaya Kumar Chakravarthy Akshaya Kumar Chakravarthy (Academic Hall of Fame):  Akshaya Kumar Chakravarthy, class of 2004, is the Deputy United Nations Director at Human Rights Watch. As a high school student, Akshaya graduated with a 3.96 QPA. She served as president of the Forensics Club, where she qualified for national and state-level competition. Until 2014, her team had the highest point total in team history. Akshaya was a part of many clubs and activities. To name a few, she was a yearbook editor, marching band member, law club member, FBLA member, received Dean’s List wards, and earned an IB Diploma. After high school, Akshaya attended George Washington University, majoring in Middle East Studies and International Affairs. She graduated magna cum laude in 2007. She then went to the University of London and completed an LLM in Human Rights, Conflict, and Justice in 2012. She was awarded an LLM with distinction for academic excellence and was a member of SOAS Human Rights clinic. She also attended Columbia Law School where she studied to be a Juris Doctor. During her time at Columbia Law School, she was awarded Harlan Fiske Stone academic honors and was selected to represent the law school at the Jessup International Law Moot Court competition. She advanced to the world championship final round in both 2010 and 2011. Akshaya earned several honors including being a term member on the Council on Foreign Relations, a member of the Columbia Law School Interest/Public Service Council, and, in March 2018, she was invited to ring the opening bell for the NASDAQ. Akshaya Kumar Chakravarthy resides in New York City.
    Written by Karsen Damon, Class of 2021  

    Peter Coughlin Peter Coughlin (Athletic Hall of Fame): Peter Coughlin, class of 2013, was team captain in football and basketball while attending Upper St. Clair. In football, he played both quarterback and defensive back. He was a two-time All-Conference defensive back and as quarterback completed 82 of 121 passes for 1,331 yards and 18 touchdowns. He also rushed for 545 yards and nine scores. Peter helped USC to a 22-4 record, two conference championships, two district semifinals, and one WPIAL final. Peter debuted at quarterback by rushing for 209 yards and engineered an upset win over Central Catholic. While playing at Washington & Jefferson College, Peter was a two-time captain, three-time All-Conference team member, three-time offensive MYP, and the 2016 Eastern College Athletic Conference Presidents’ Bowl MVP. In 2015, Pete led the Division 3 in completion percentage and was second in the entire nation at all divisions at 71 percent. At the time of his graduation from Washington & Jefferson, Peter held six all-time Presidents’ Athletic Conference passing records and 12 Washington & Jefferson school passing records. Currently, Peter likes to keep an active lifestyle and spend time with friends and family. 
    Written by Dr. Deitrick, director of athletics, & Karsen Damon, Class of 2021

    Nimit Bansal Nimit Bansal (Athletic Hall of Fame):  Nimit Bansal graduated from Upper St. Clair in 1988 and excelled in both the classroom and the court. In addition to being a class Valedictorian and scoring a perfect 800 on the Math SAT, Nimit was a four-year starter on the Upper St. Clair tennis team. During this time, the Panthers won 68 of the 76 matches that they played. This included two section championships, one WPIAL runner-up and one WPIAL team championship (no State Team Championship existed at this time). In individual competition, Nimit won three section championships, qualified for states three times, won a WPIAL title, and in 1987 was the state PIAA champion. While compiling his impressive individual resume, Nimit always represented his school and community in an extremely positive manner. He always put the team first. Nimit was an unselfish team-oriented player, and always set an example for younger team members. Nimit is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and received his MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University. Currently, Nimit is the marketing director for external innovation at Church & Dwight Inc. In this role, he leads the evaluation of external investment opportunities for the company. Today, Nimit enjoys playing sports, especially tennis and golf, traveling and reading, and loves spending time with his wife, Tara, and two sons, Nathan and Alex. 
    Written by Karsen Damon, Class of 2021, & Dr. Deitrick, director of athletics

    Thomas Steve Thomas M. Steve (Athletic Hall of Fame):  Thomas Steve, class of 2014, was a three-sport athlete while he attended Upper St. Clair, including basketball, baseball and golf. In 2014, he was nominated as the Student-Athlete of the Year at Upper St. Clair, along with receiving the Outstanding Senior Athlete Award, Pride of Panther Scholarship, Almanac Premiere Athlete of the Year Finalist, and Western Pennsylvania Positive High School Athlete. In high school, Thomas was also a member of National Honor Society and a Junior Mentor. However, it was on the golf course where Thomas gained the most success. Thomas lettered all four years while playing golf. His senior year, Thomas was the captain and medalist with a score of 71 when USC captured its first PIAA State Championship in USCHS history. Thomas was a two-time WPIAL individual champion and helped to lead the Panther golf team to three straight section championships from 2011-2013. Thomas earned a golf scholarship to the University of Notre Dame and played all four years there. He was a 2014-2015 Atlantic Coast Conference Academic Honor Roll member, active on the Student Athlete Advisory Council for three years, and graduated Summa Cum Laude. Thomas is currently an analyst for Lincoln International in Chicago. 
    Written by Marina Bulazo, Class of 2021, & Dr. Deitrick, director of athletics

    Jim Render Jim Render, retired football coach and faculty member (Athletic Hall of Fame):  Coach Jim Render began his head coaching career in Carrollton, Ohio, in 1970. Nearly half a century later, he proudly walked away from the game as the WPIAL’s winningest all-time head coach. He reached the landmark win number 400 in August 2018 when the Panthers defeated Peters Township. Along the way came the 1989 and 2006 PIAA football championships, five WPIAL titles, six more league championship game appearances, 23 conference titles, and 38 playoff appearances, all at USC since 1979. His combined record of 406-141-6 between Carrollton, Uniontown, and Upper St. Clair place Jim 25th on the national all-time list. He has enjoyed one of the most distinguished and successful careers of any coach in WPIAL history while turning the Panthers into one of the most respected high school football programs in the country. Coach Render is already a member of the Pennsylvania Scholastic Football Coaches Hall of Fame, the Western Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame, the WPIAL Hall of Fame, and has been recognized with Lou Holtz Upper Ohio Valley of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award. 
    Written by Dr. Deitrick, director of athletics  

    Sean McDowell Sean McDowell (Arts Hall of Fame):  Sean McDowell, class of 1973, was on the track and field team where he ran hurdles from 1971-1972. He graduated in 1977 from the University of Dayton with a bachelor’s degree in communication. Sean recently retired after 41 successful years on the radio in Pittsburgh. He spent 26 years at WDVE, where he made the afternoon drive home more enjoyable for many Pittsburghers, 13 years at 97 Rock, and 2 years at WYDD. Sean has excelled in his field, and has been honored with numerous awards. In 2016, he was a Pittsburgh Rock & Roll Legends Inductee; he won four AIR (Achievements in Radio) Awards, where he was voted Best PM Drive Host; and is a recipient of the  Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters Excellence in Broadcasting Award. In his free time, Sean enjoys traveling and participating in charity walks, which include: the Walk MS, the Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community, Tunch & Wolf’s Walk for the Homeless, the Walk to Defeat ALS, and the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. With an encyclopedic knowledge of rock and roll, Sean likens himself to a human Google for songs.
    Written by Caroline Sandford, Class of 2021

    Emily Reason Emily Anne Reason (Arts Hall of Fame):  Emily Anne Reason, class of 1998, was a significant part of the Upper St. Clair Montage and Art Clubs during her high school years. She continued to pursue art in college and in 2002 earned a Bachelor of Fine Art at West Virginia University, graduating cum laude. In 2017, Emily received her Master of Fine Arts from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Emily has demonstrated her expertise in art and ceramics by working as a clay instructor, gallery assistant, glaze technician, juror, kiln builder, and residential artist after graduation. Emily’s work has been published in numerous ceramic art publications and featured in many exhibitions across the country. Some of her largest accomplishments include co-founding and working as a partner and treasurer of Flow, a craft gallery that represents the work of over 25 artists. In addition, she was the sole proprietor of Emily Reason Ceramics, where she produced original art and utilitarian pottery. From 2008-2012, she was the Show Director of the Marshall Handmade Market, which is an annual art show that draws over 3,000 people every year. Emily currently spreads her passion for art to students by working as a clay instructor in professional crafts. She has also written a book titled, “Ceramics for Beginners: Wheel Throwing,” to share her knowledge with beginning ceramists. Emily’s achievements in ceramics, sculpture, and teaching were recognized by the many scholarships, grants, and honors she has received throughout her career. 
    Written by Sammie Seewald, Class of 2021