40 Under 40: 2016

Meet our 2016 class of 40 Pittsburghers Under 40 who are changing our region – and the world – for the better.



(page 10 of 11)


 

Shinjini Kundu   [25]
MD/PhD candidate, University of Pittsburgh/Carnegie Mellon University


She finished high school at 16, completed both bachelor’s and master’s degrees at age 20, earned a Ph.D. at 25 and is on target to complete an MD degree next year at the Pitt School of Medicine.

The lightning speed of Shinjini Kundu’s academic progress could test the laws of physics, much less those of probability. How can one star shine so brightly?

Kundu already has broken new ground in her doctoral field of biomedical engineering. Her dissertation work, building on her electrical-engineering degree from Stanford University, explores ways to “train” computers to spot patterns in medical images that escape the human eye. The new technology enables osteoarthritis to be detected three years before symptoms appear.

It’s hard to imagine she has spare time, but along with promoting women in STEM professions and coordinating the Women in Science and Medicine Association, Kundu finds time for writing, travel and Indian dance. Kids these days.

You’d be surprised to know ... I’m a trained Indian classical dancer and have performed at Madison Square Garden.
 

Dr. Ermias Abebe   [33]
Instructional Faculty, Orthopedic Surgery Department, UPMC Medical Center


Growing up in Ethiopia, Dr. Ermias Abebe saw friends suffer through surgeries to repair the random damage of injuries that were a fact of life in a country perennially at war.

His family came to America when he was 12. Now 33, he works 80-hour weeks at UPMC, treating orthopedic injuries, teaching medical students and mentoring two of them as they applied for the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship.

Outside of the hospital, Abebe is team physician for the Mt. Lebanon High School varsity football team, standing on the sidelines and watching battles worth having.

On other days, he can be found working in the soup kitchen at St. Mary of Mercy Church, Downtown.

You’d be surprised to know ... I am naturally shy and reserved. Answering the call of a surgical subspecialty and rising to the challenges of life and service that I chose required extraordinary communication skills unfamiliar to me as an introvert. These processes enriched my communication capacities and helped me shed my comfortable muted inclinations for more traditional extroverted roles.
 

The Rev. John Creasy   [39]
Associate Pastor, Open Door Church; Director, Garfield Community Farm 


The Rev. John Creasy turned 30 empty lots into Garfield Community Farm, a living experiment in sustainability that turns out thousands of pounds of healthy produce for a neighborhood once devoid of fresh food.

An ordained Presbyterian minister who serves at the Open Door Church, Creasy also holds a certificate in permaculture design.

On taking his post at Open Door, Creasy was determined to combine his ministry with service to the overall neighborhood. Creasy sells produce to local restaurants but also remains determined to see to it that the bulk of Garfield Community Farm produce ends up on the plates of local residents. He launched a mobile market this summer to get food to the people.  

You’d be surprised to know ... I also work with a Mexican doctor and his family on a project we call the “Mexico Food Forest Project.” Through this project, we work with an indigenous people group living in central Mexico called the Xi’úi. While they have taught me a great deal about sustainability and multi-crop planting strategies, we’ve helped them plant hundreds of fruit trees in their fields and forest edges.
 

​Rosamaria Cristello   [27]
Director of the Latino Family Center, Allegheny Intermediate Unit


​Rosamaria Cristello came here from Guatemala when she was less than a year old and has spent the ensuing years welcoming others to our region.

At 24, she became director of the Allegheny Intermediate Unit’s Latino Family Center in Hazelwood. It has become a focal point for the city’s growing Hispanic community to share a common bond as they join in what de Tocqueville called “The American Experiment.”

Partnering with A+ Schools, Cristello also created Latino Parents United in Action, promoting the needs of the community in the city’s public schools. Cristello also led a Latino Needs Assessment to better understand the Latino community in Allegheny County.

She’s doing this and more while completing a master’s degree in public administration at Pitt’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.

Cristello recently received the inaugural Spirit of ATHENA scholarship, allowing her to attend the leadership and negotiation academy at CMU.

The biggest thing I ever had to overcome ... Completing the Pittsburgh Marathon [in 2015]. It was my first marathon, and after all of the training I injured my knee the week of the marathon so I had to run with the knee injury. But the process of training and finally crossing the finish line teaches you a lot of life lessons and was a huge accomplishment for me.
 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module

Watch This

40 Under 40: 2016

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

True Grit: Homestead Mayor Betty Esper Just Won't Back Down

True Grit: Homestead Mayor Betty Esper Just Won't Back Down

Homestead’s first and only woman mayor has worked tirelessly for her hometown during her 35-plus years in public office. As she faces reelection unopposed next month, the 84-year-old contemplates her role as the symbol of a gritty town fighting its way back.
Photo Essay: Silence on the Cell Block

Photo Essay: Silence on the Cell Block

A look inside the now-empty penitentiary on the banks of the Ohio.
Made in Pittsburgh: 5 Great Ideas

Made in Pittsburgh: 5 Great Ideas

Modern-day creation in Pittsburgh doesn’t just involve physical products; we also have a knack for hatching new ideas that can solve problems in innovative, unexpected ways. These locally based thinkers are applying big thoughts to bigger problems.
Restaurant Review: Scratch Food + Beverage is King of the Hill

Restaurant Review: Scratch Food + Beverage is King of the Hill

The Troy Hill neighborhood spot matures into a casual destination restaurant.
Daytripping: Touring The Region's Most Notorious Prison

Daytripping: Touring The Region's Most Notorious Prison

Plan an overnight escape to the eerie edifice of Moundsville’s West Virginia Penitentiary.
Zumba in the Pool Erases Poor Attitude, Gluttony and Vanity

Zumba in the Pool Erases Poor Attitude, Gluttony and Vanity

Water Zumba promises to add a splash of variety to your normal workout routine.
Edit Module

Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Watch: Local Beverly's Birthdays Gets National Attention

Watch: Local Beverly's Birthdays Gets National Attention

NBC Nightly News profiled Megs Yunn of Irwin, who doles out birthday cheer 365 days a year.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Meet the Federal Galley Chefs

Meet the Federal Galley Chefs

We have the lowdown on who is cooking what in the new North Side food hall from the operators of Smallman Galley.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Best Places for Kids on Rainy Days in Pittsburgh

Best Places for Kids on Rainy Days in Pittsburgh

Read on for some under-the-radar ideas on how you and the kids can survive a rainy day this summer.

Comments


King Arthur's Sword Turns a Spot in Baldwin Into an Entertainment Destination

King Arthur's Sword Turns a Spot in Baldwin Into an Entertainment Destination

IQ Escape's new South Hills escape rooms elevate Crafthouse Stage & Grill and Legacy Lanes.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Encouraging Start Only a Start for The Steelers

Encouraging Start Only a Start for The Steelers

The season's first two victories were notched against mediocre competition. Eventually, the degree of difficulty is going to ratchet up considerably.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
#Gottahaveit: Take It To the Hoop

#Gottahaveit: Take It To the Hoop

Robert Hallett, Goldsmith, handcrafts the jewelry in his Oakmont shop.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Kingsman Sequel Leans Into the Crazy (And Turns Out Fun)

Kingsman Sequel Leans Into the Crazy (And Turns Out Fun)

Reviews of "Kingsman: The Golden Circle," "Friend Request" and "Brad's Status," plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Mad Libs Adds Laughs and Advice to Pittsburgh Wedding

Mad Libs Adds Laughs and Advice to Pittsburgh Wedding

Wedding guests were asked to bring their creativity to the couple’s big day.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Tour Chatham Village, Pittsburgh’s Own Secret Garden

Tour Chatham Village, Pittsburgh’s Own Secret Garden

The home and garden tour in the historic planned garden community in the heart of Mt. Washington takes place next week.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Tuition Increases at the University of Pittsburgh

Tuition Increases at the University of Pittsburgh

School trustees voted this week to increase tuition for in-state and out-of-state students.

Comments