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Past Newsmakers

Fall 2005

CHARLES CAMARDA joins the ranks of Michael Massimino, Rocco Petrone and Albert Sacco who have contributed to the U.S. exploration of space. A native of Queens, N.Y., Camarda recently served as a mission specialist on the Space Shuttle Discovery this summer. An astronaut since 1996, he holds an M.S, a Ph.D. and seven patents. He has earned over 21 NASA awards for technical innovations and accomplishments.

ALFRED E. FESTA, the new CEO of chemical manufacturer W.R. Grace & Co., is expected to pull the ailing company out of the red. For the past 40 years, Grace has been strapped with personal injury claims stemming from workers' asbestos exposure.

ROBERTA GAMBARINI is considered by many as one of today's finest young jazz singers and a successor to Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Carmen McRae. This Italian native is known for her near-flawless pitch and vast range. Her first American CD, Easy to Love, is scheduled to be released this year.

GIADA DE LAURENTIIS, a granddaughter of the legendary movie producer Dino De Laurentiis, is a star in her own right as host of the cooking show, Everyday Italian on the cable Food Network. Born in Rome but raised in Los Angeles, she is a chef, caterer and entrepreneur, having founded her own food line, GDL Foods. De Laurentiis attended the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School in Paris and has worked at many famed restaurants in L.A., including Wolfgang Puck's Spago. Her first cookbook is Everyday Italian: 125 Simple and Delicious Recipes, available at local bookstores nationally.

LINDA GIUDICE, M. D. is one of the nation's leading physician-scientists. Recently appointed the chair of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at the University of California at San Francisco, she also is president of the Society for Gynecologic Investigation and elected to membership in the Institute of Medicine—one of the highest honors in her field. Born and raised in New York City, Giudice specializes in treating cancer of the uterus.

PATRICIA DE STACY HARRISON is the new president and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), which oversees the federal funding for public radio and TV nationwide. Before taking her new position, Harrison was assistant secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs for the current Administration, focusing on international education.

ED MCBAIN, a master of the police novel, died of cancer on July 6 at age 78. Born Salvatore Albert Lombino in New York's East Harlem, he changed his name when a publisher told him it was "too hard to pronounce." Over 50 of his novels were published, some under the name "Evan Hunter." Many focused on the work of beat cops and forensic detectives, including a detective named Steve Carella. As a screenwriter, he adapted the story that Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds was based on.

MAJOR GENERAL RAYMOND ODIERNO is assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), the third highest position in the nation's top military team that advises the president. He serves under Gen. Peter Pace, JCS chairman and Admiral Edmund Giambastiani, Jr. As a result, for the first time in U.S. history, Italian Americans hold the JCS's three top posts. Gen. Odierno led the division that captured Saddam Hussein.

CAMILLE PAGLIA, acclaimed author, lecturer and critic of contemporary culture, has published Break, Blow, Burn, her interpretation of 43 of the world's best poems. With this, her fourth best-seller in 15 years, Paglia explores the symbolism, meaning and relevance of poems by English and American greats from Shakespeare and Donne to Sylvia Plath and Gary Snyder because she believes poetry can "light the spirit and feed the soul." Paglia is professor of humanities and media studies at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Her previous books are Sexual Personae; Sex, Art, and American Culture; and Vamps and Tramps. (Pantheon Books; $20.00)

SANDRA PIANALTO is one of only 12 Federal Reserve regional presidents in the nation. She votes on the nation's interest rate policy every other year, researches local economic conditions and issues and general banking transactions in her position as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. Pianalto came to the U.S. from Italy at age 5.

VINCENT SCHIRALDI, a nationally known juvenile justice expert, has been nominated by D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams and confirmed by the city council as the director of the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services. He is the first director of this Cabinet-level agency that replaced the Youth Services Administration.

Compiled by Kylie Cafiero and Krissy Ellison