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Four graduates honored with Alumni Awards

Nominees Mia Antonia Papas ’86, Stephanie DeAngelo ’06, Katie Jacoby ’04 and Kathryn (Sepelyak) Kirsch ’01 were selected as the latest recipients of Independence’s alumni awards, announced April 18 during the school’s 41st Founders’ Day.

The awards recognize Independence alumni who demonstrate outstanding achievement, leadership or innovation in a particular field, whether in his or her profession or through volunteer activities or personal dedication to a cause. The Rising Star Alumni Award celebrates graduates within the past 20 years, while the Outstanding Alumni Award honors those who graduated from Independence more than 20 years ago.

Dr. Papas received the Outstanding Alumni Award. She is currently the corporate director of the Value Institute (VI), a multidisciplinary health services research organization that supports the medical mission of Christiana Care Health System. Previously, Dr. Papas was an assistant professor at University of Delaware, where she also served as an officer on the Faculty Senate and won several awards for teaching, mentoring and advising students. She has been an adjunct member of the Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health in Philadelphia, where she earned a Golden Apple Award in 2012 for excellence in teaching.

Locally, she served on the board of the Food Bank of Delaware. She is a founding member of the Delaware Public Health Association, in addition to being a member of both the American College of Epidemiology and the Delaware Chapter of Hands and Voices, an organization that supports educational and social services for deaf and hard-of-hearing children. Dr. Papas also founded a non-profit advocacy group, Zoe's Healing Heart, to promote and support children with congenital heart defects in honor of her daughter, Zoe (Independence Class of 2021).

Capt. DeAngelo, Ms. Jacoby and Dr. Kirsch all received the Rising Star Alumni Award.

A graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, Capt. DeAngelo is now a commissioned officer in the Air Force. As sustainment services flight commander at Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota, she oversees a 93-member team to operate, among other programs, the base’s $5.2-million dining facility and $51.6-million fitness center. Capt. DeAngelo has received multiple awards, including Outstanding Squadron Element Leader, being ranked first out of 91 lieutenants throughout Beale Air Force Base in California.

Ms. Jacoby, a New York City-based violinist, will be joining 1990 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees The Who on their 28-city “Moving On!” tour across the United States and Canada this spring and fall, as well as at a performance at London’s Wembley Stadium in July. Ms. Jacoby has also performed or toured with The Who singer Roger Daltrey, Foreigner, Blondie singer and 2006 Rock Hall inductee Debbie Harry, pop superstar Miley Cyrus, original KISS drummer and 2014 Rock Hall inductee Peter Criss, musician and producer Mark Ronson, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and many other industry notables. Her television credits include performances on “Saturday Night Live,” “America’s Got Talent,” “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” “The Today Show,” “The View” and “Live! with Kelly and Michael.”

Dr. Kirsch currently works as an attending physician at Morristown Medical Center and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital - Rahway, both in New Jersey, director of simulation at Morristown Medical Center, and clinical instructor of emergency medicine at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. While earning her doctorate from Stanford University School of Medicine in California, she founded Health for the Homeless, which works to improve access to and quality of health care for members of the homeless community in Palo Alto.

Nominations for the 2020 Alumni Awards may be submitted online by clicking here.