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Past Newsmakers

Summer 2011 Newsmakers

JOSEPH BATTAGLIA, president and CEO of Telephonics Corporation, a leading supplier of communication and sensor systems to U.S. and foreign military, received the Navy League's Nimitz Award last April for his contribution to enhancing U.S. maritime strength and national security. Born in Caserta, Italy, he has held executive positions in the defense industry for 40 years.

JOSEPH BATTIPAGLIA, the popular Wall Street financial whiz, died suddenly of a heart attack at age 55 last April. He was the chief market strategist at Stifel Nicolaus, known for his optimism and willingness to speak to the media. He was honored by the Sons of Italy Foundation in 2005.

MASTER SGT. JON CAMMARATA, a 19-year veteran of the U.S. Army and member of the North Carolina National Guard, saved the life of a man who had been stabbed by inserting his hand in the wound and pinching a punctured artery for 12 minutes until the paramedics arrived. It happened in June, the day after he received an award from the Louisiana Italian-American Cultural Center in New Orleans.

MARY ANN ESPOSITO, creator and host of "Ciao Italia," television's longest running cooking show, began her 22nd season on Public Television last June. To preview the new season, see www.ciaoitalia.com. Her 12th cookbook, Ciao Italia Family Classics, with 200-plus recipes comes out in October.

LEE IACOCCA, founding chairman of the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, who spearheaded the restoration of these national monuments, received a special tribute from the foundation last April. Iacocca, who spent more than 40 years in the automatic industry, famously rescued Chrysler Corporation from bankruptcy in 1979. His parents passed through Ellis Island 100 years ago.

ROBERT LANZA, chief medical officer of Advanced Cell Technology, a leading stem-cell research company, is heading a clinical trial of stem cells obtained from human embryos expected to restore sight to a blind man. Lanza, a pioneer in stem cell research, believes the controversial procedure might help many of the 17 million Americans suffering from macular degeneration, the most common cause of blindness.

ALYSSA MASTROMONACO is President Obama's White House Deputy Chief of Staff. She replaced Jim Messina last January. Previously, she was the president's director of scheduling. Only 35, she has considerable political experience, having worked on the staffs of Congressman Rick Boucher and Sen. John Kerry. She began working for Obama in 2005 when he was a senator and then worked on his presidential campaign.

ANNE PAOLUCCI, the award-winning playwright and poet, has published Crossings, her fourth collection of short stories. Her earlier work, Sepia Tones, was described by The New York Times as an important contribution to the Italian American experience.

MARY RORRO, M.D., A psychiatrist, who is also a professional violist and published poet, has had her poem, "Clean Slate" selected to be posted on the National Vietnam Wall web site by Jan Scruggs, the Wall's founder. She was chief resident at Harvard during her psychiatric training and for the past 10 years, has treated veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder in the New Jersey Veterans Affairs Healthcare system, blending music and poetry into her practice.

RUDY TEMPESTA, 85, is the longest-serving mailman in the U.S. He's been on the job for 65 years, first in New York City and then North Carolina. Born into a large Italian family in Brooklyn, NY, he served in the Army Air Force during WW II, earning a number of combat medals.

LUCIA ANNA 'PIA' TRIGIANI, Esq. became president of the Virginia Bar Association in January, only the third woman to hold the post since its founding in 1889. She and her six brothers and sisters were raised in the tiny mining town of Big Stone Gap in Virginia, made famous by her sister, the best-selling novelist Adriana Trigiani. Today, she lives in Alexandria, VA and is a principal at MercerTrigiani specialists in real estate law.